This whine brought to you by Nyquil

Blogging is a unique form of communication. It's sort of like going into room, closing the door and then having a conversation. You hope that there are people with their ear to the door and that they hear you, understand you and like what you are saying. What is even better is when at least once in a while they slip a message under the door so that you know that they are out there.

In my case I know that you are out there since I can see that I get somewhere near 50-100 hits a day, sometimes more and somtimes less. Now I can even cop to the fact that up to 1/2 of these hits might be bots and web crawlers but that still leaves quite a few people per day putting their ear up to my virtual door but not staying long enough to even say hi. Maybe people don't like what I have to say... heck.. even tell me that, I am ok hearing that you think my dog is ugly and I can't sew my way out of a bag... ok.. don't tell me that.. but you know what I mean.
Honestly sometimes this does hurt my feelings and today in my cough syrup induced haze is one of them. In my better moments I know that it's just busy lives of busy people and since you think I don't know you have been here there is no harm done. But today the cough syrup speaks making my tongue loose and my brain even looser. ... really there is no need to give criminals "truth serum", all it really takes is a shot of Nyquil!

So olly olly in come free... pop in, say hi.. I like knowing that you are out there.

Excuse me while I Rant

It's been quite a while since anyone challenged my children or myself over the topic of homeschooling but it happened tonight. Worse yet I was not even there to protect my little guy from what turns out to be a misunderstanding but all the same got me really riled up and still has Greg upset.

In the early days of homeschooling I was pretty accustomed to defending our choice to homeschool but it's honestly been years since I have had to do much but raise an eyebrow when someone started to verbally malign homeschooling as a whole based on the actions of one or two stupid people out there.

I guess I am out of fighting shape since tonight when my 9 year old came home to say that he was quizzed at length by somone we know I was just sad. When there was something he( my son) did not know ( what the Pentagon was) the person quizzing then condemed homeschoolers in what he thought was a joking way. But then went right on qizzing and making my little guy feel awful even though he knew and could answer most of the other questions this person peppered him with.

p.s. I am sorry if this is awash with typos.. Blogger seems to be on a partial vacation and we all know I am a sucky typist.

A little something different!

I have been playing around with my new camera and while it's much nicer than my old one I am still no good in getting good photos!.. Not the end of the world but I have some learning to do on this subject. Anywhoooo i was looking through some pics that I took while trying different settings on my camera and am posting some here just for fun.

One of my favorite things in my house is the way the old windows cast great shadows in strong sun. I am not one for modern art but love shadow play... and the shot of Apollo... well he just looks so dang regal while protecting home and hearth that I thought he deserved some bandwidth to himself :)

Dainty Bag

I had some fabric left over from the Handmade Parade Vintage Pillowcase Challenge. The first part of the fabric went to making the lampshade and the leftovers were just enough to make this Dainty hanger bag.

I remember that my grandmother had many of these bags. Each of her *outfits* had multiple accessories and I guess she never switched stuff up.. so with each outfit the little bag would hold the things she would wear with that outfit.. Often this held a silk scarf or a pin or "broach" as she would say... to me broach rhymed WAY to much with ROACH.. so I did not and still do not like the word. My grandmother went so far as to pin a note on each bag letting her know when she last wore that particular ensemble, I guess in fear that she would wear it again to a similar bridge club meeting or something. I am sure the she is rolling over in her urn that the jeans I have on today have been worn 3 other times this week and will only just tonight head for the hamper!
The pattern was a custom one I cut from one of my favorite vintage wooden hangers. The bright blue zipper is also a vintage jobbie that I got with a whole slew of them from the thrift store last year. Today's zippers come in the MOST boring colors compared to zippers of the 70's and 60's and before.. I have lime green, a million shades of pink, blues and more blues.. it makes them so fun to use.

Being Practical- sweater baskets!

As I have mentioned before, one of my goals for the new year was to create things that have practical applications in my life and for my home. So while as much as I like to make bags from fulled sweaters... how many bags can one person need?.. so this has lead me to think about other uses for the fulled sweaters I have around here. I did not have enough to make a nice sized blanket so.. think think think.. I had a few that I have already needle felted with designs and I played around with one of them last night and came up with this.
It's a sweater basket!.. the sweater was an American Eagle tween-sized sweater that shrunk up quite thick.. this was the main body section with it's original side seams.. I cut a large oval from a left over arm section and stitched it to the bottom.. this gave an oval shaped structure to work with.. about the size of a small bathroom trash can. .. Even as thick as the wool shrank up it still did not have enough body to stand up on it's own so I took a piece of Pellon Peltex and covered it in a cheerful yellow print and then used that to line the inside. I did the same with an oval of Peltex that I cut and covered to fit the bottom of the bag. I carefully zig-zagged around the top to secure the lining and the wool together. It's quite sturdy now and perfect for holding balls of yarn or magazine.
The needle felted flower and bee were done with some left over roving from some wool I was spinning last year. I used a barbed felting needle and it was a free hand deal. I look forward to doing more needle felting in the near future... but as always it has to serve some purpose so I was thinking of doing some ornaments that represent all the pets we have had and loved over the years.. and I am going to use this book as a jumping off spot.

One at a time

Ok.. well maybe this one at a time thing might work out!.. I finished the re-do on a vintage skirt and one of the entry for the Handmade Parade Vintage pillow case Challenge!
I will show off the skirt soon and am making a quick tut for the lampshade. But here is the finished project. I made it from a vintage pillow case that I thrifted a few months ago. The cases were the size for twin pillows or I would have used it on my bed. Since that point I have run into matching sheets but they were not in good enough shape to bring home. According to the tag the case is from the Sears Percale collection and the sweet little print it stamped to look like cross stitch. I used Gingham ribbon from the fabric store and some vintage rick-rack.. I cut it sooooo close on the rick-rack that I was pretty nervous..but all is well and even if it never gets a second look from the contest judges I am very happy to have it in my sewing room :)

Making 40 Sexy

Well if my clock is right it's a mear 4 hours until my 40th birthday. I am very excited about it. I know that a whole lot of women go into a black funk at the thought of being 40 but I could not be happier. It's my hope that my 40's are 10 wonderful, full and sexy years. To that end I pledge to take care of myself, both mind, body and spirit. Happy Birthday to me!

Checking out the TOTAL MOM

Ah... time to read. When taking time for myself I choose one of two things. Crafting or reading. So while at the library I picked up a few new books.. One of them being Hannah Keely's TOTAL MOM MAKEOVER. Now I will be the first to say that i knew nothing about this rockin' mom, but after reading her book I am pretty sure she is a great gal to hang out with.

She is the mom to 7 kids and a dynamic homeschooler to boot!.. She has a nifty web site and lots of great advice on tons of stuff. Best of all she says the sorts of things that I have been saying for a while now and already working on in my own life. So while we both have differnt words for it.. we are both working towards the same goal... she just happened to write a book about it! She is a mom who knows that nobody likes the hostess of a pity party and she STRONGLY encourages all mom's to take care of themselves so that they can take care of their families... neat lady!

So in that spirit I am putting out there my top ten ways to leave your own pity-party and get on with raising your family and rockin your marriage the way you and your husband deserve!

1) Buy new underwear!.. if the only time you bother about wearing nice undies is the one time a year you go get a pap-smear then you have some shopping to do missy!.. Nobody likes to see panties with shot elastic, or worse yet blood stains. And yes you CAN afford to get new undies.. just start with 1 pair a week till you have 10 pairs, then each time one gets ruined buy 1 new's that easy.

2) Buy a bra that fits. A bra fits when the center point ( between the boobs!) lays flat on your chest. If your bra is nothing more than a hammock for your endowments then you are not wearing the right size bra. Custom order it if you must, but do it. A well fitted bra takes 10 visual pounds off of your weight.

3) Dress at least as well as your dress your toddler. If you would rather die than to see them go out of the house in a stained outfit, don't wear one yourself. Don't drag around the house in something that would be better suited for a dust cloth. This does not make you feel good nor does it send a strong confident message to your children. If you sent your kids to school and their teacher schlepped into the class room in faded flannel bottoms and an over sized old Hanes shirt... would you think they were ready to teach your kids?

4) Get a hair cut!!... I will say that I was totally guilty on this front for a long time. If and when I got my hair done it was a $12 Super-cut that did nothing for me or my hair. While the ladies there might be very nice they work there since they can't get a job at one of the hi-end salons. There is a difference!!!.. Good hair makes you feel good. Same goes for spending some time actually doing your hair. Take 10 minutes.. it will pay you back all day!

5) Teach your kids to respect your time and have a signal that means that they are not to bother you at that moment unless there is blood or fire. I will totally cop to the fact that I had been getting real lax on this one but in the same breath tell you that it was crawling all over me the way the kids were interrupting while I was on the phone or talking with their dad. So we are back into to swing of making sure we are clear about it. A good rule of thumb is... if you would DIE if your child did the same thing to another person then they should not be doing it to you.

6) Flirt with your husband! ( or significant other!).. EVERYONE likes to be flirted with! It puts a pep in your step and makes you feel good. Your husband ( unless he is a total @ss, and if so why are you still married to him?) deserves to feel special too... flirt with him! I happen to be very talented in this area and can ummmm *engage* my husband with as little as a look or a few words but it does not take a sultry voice or even a smokin look. Just tell him how good he looks in that new shirt or how good he smells when he uses that certain soap. For god's sake just let him know you notice!

7) Ditch the guilt. I know for a firm fact that any time I hear that little voice in my head say.. " a GOOD mother would ________" it's like my little bell that I have some resentment about doing that thing. Now sometimes it's something that really needs to be done but very often i find that I am doing/ going into the event, trip, expericne without a loving state of mind. This usually means that I will be somewhat snippy, or worse, in the end I will make everyone unhappy with my bad attitude. Keep track of these things and act in your own best interest since it's most always also in your kid's TRUE best interest .

8) Be a firm gatekeeper of the household finances. Don't bury your head when it comes to money. Don't let your husband worry alone. Even better work on the bills together and come up with a budget and stick to it. Don't spend money out of guilt or to buy happiness or to make up for something that went wrong.

9) Put your kids to bed!.. for you and for your marriage. Little kids need a lot of sleep even if they don't think so. They can get out of the habit and it might take some time to get them back into it. Putting children under 10 into bed between 7-8 pm gets them they sleep they need and you time as individuals, and time as a couple. This time will strengthen your marriage and pay you back in so many ways. If you have older kids ( teens) make sure they also have a firm bed time then leave them be. Create a parental haven in your bedroom. Bring up some drinks, maybe a few snacks, books, whatever.. But do your best to turn off your mommy-brain and work on being you... or even better... you with that great guy your married! Of course all bets are off with sick kids and the like.. but soon as they are better.. claim back your time. You deserve it!

10) Be a happy parent. If you are not do what it takes to get that way. I grew up with a mom who was not happy being a mom. There is nothing worse than feeling like a burden to your parents. Even small children can pick up on this and it will color everything they do. So if you are not happy enough that your children and friends can tell, do what it takes to get that way. Yes there are days that are frustrating but over all it really should be the joy of your life. Think of it not only as a gift to yourself but as a gift to those around you.

Make it a good week!

Late Night Poetry

My youngest could not get to sleep since he had a poem in his head. He asked his sister to write it down..

Snow Falls
The birds fly away

The flowers are beneath the snow
No birds are to be heard

Spring is under a blanket of snow

By Sam (age 6)
You know, some times this parenting thing is so freaking worth it!

One More Bright Idea

For the new year I had decided that I need to finish one project before starting another? Radical hu?.. I really don't mean to be a stick in the mud but the number of unfinished projects in my work room was bordering on the ridiculous.

THIS IS KILLING ME!.. I have bunches of ideas and I want to dive in.. but I have fallen down this slippery slope more than one time so for now I am making due my at the very least using a journal to write down my ideas, sketch out thoughts and scribble down inspirations. I hope it's going to work but DANG!.. this is hard!

Pressed for Time

My commitment for the new year has been to invest my time in projects that will save me time in the long run. No matter big or little or inbetween, if it saves, time or space it's a valid project. So since I was not feeling all that well today and it was going to be the day I worked on the basement I thought that at least I could putter around in my sewing room. After a while it occured to me that my ironing board was really in the way and that most of the time I was only needing to press small crafty things and that a table top pressing surface would be ideal. So after a bit of digging and thinking I came up with a nice/free solution since being thrifty is also part of my new years pledge!

It went like this.

First I found a piece of board the right size to fit my table top. I could have made one the size of the whole thing but wanted room for my lamp and scissor box. In this case I used a piece of luan paneling that was left over from doing the kitchen. For those unprepared to cut wood a piece of wallboard would also work and can be cut with carpenters knife.

Next I coverd the top with a piece of left over cotton quilt batting. You could also use the section of an old wool blanket or a few layers of old flannel sheet. I covered the batting with a cut-to-size layer of old sheeting.


Since the luan was too thin to put a staple into I pulled the batting and the layer of white sheet around the to the back and secured them with some heavy duty white duct-tape.


After this I took a piece of some printed vintage cotton sheeting I had and cut it to size adding about 2 inches to each side. From there I took the sheeting and sewed elastic around all the sides, sort of like I was making a large crib sheet or even better a very large rectangle shower cap! I chose this method instead of just taping it on since I wanted it to be removeable and washable.

I fussed with the fitting a bit, but with a few sweet words and a few that were not so sweet it fit on just right and works like a dream.

Of course in the end it does not seem like I might get to use it much since one fellow has already found it and I am sure the rest of them will in sort order!

Ok, first off I have no idea what *Blogger* has been smokin since these photos will not line up to save my life so, sorry about that.

It has been mentioned that I have not done an update on the progress of our kitchen remodel. The reason is pretty simple, we have not gotten very far of late. I hope to get some work done this week but since the flu seems to have come to visit my house I am not making any promises. The photos I have included show some of the progress and some of the work that is left to do.
The photo with the big chicken is a shot of my stove area. The windows still need to be fixed and I still need to make custom screens for them. I also need to construct a cover for the up pipe off of the vent hood. We ended up going with a upper end of the standard line of vent hoods since we did not have an indoor grill top. It's worked great so far an the halogen lights over the stove top are wonderful.
The small center prep island still needs to be painted and I am thinking of using the red from the other side of the kitchen, but it's still up for discussion. It also needs to be modified to make better use of it's storage space but I am not going to bitch since I only paid $15 bucks for it and it's very solid and heavy.
I have gotten up most of the wallpaper that is a divine shade of chocolate with a very vintage floral that I just love. The rooster prints are unframed but that just seemed right for that wall and it's view over the side yard. that space used to be the door way to the back porch but filled in it made a nice fly wall to tuck the fridge behind. You can see the transom up top.. and that is where I plan to build a shelf to hold my cookie stamp collection. I found a nifty shelf at the reuse center a few weeks ago that will fill the purpose nicely. We are still ahead on our pledge/desire to use at least 50% recycled or re purposed items for the kitchen and I am proud of that.

The floral arrangement was from a dessert reception we held last week. I was just really pleased how it came together considering that 20 minuted before guests were to arrive I was skulking about the front yard in the dark looking for some juniper to snip and some wintery support branches to fill in my skimpy rose bouquet that I snatched up at the store when I ran to get some napkins!

Rainy day, quiet day

Just a quick update to let those who have been checking know that our dear friend made it through surgery and while it might not be a quick recovery I hope to see him at my and Claire's birthday party at the end of this month.

My MIL is doing better and we hope that she will gain more strength everyday.

As for my testing... some good news... and some confusing. We shall trudge on until I can find something for the very annoying joint pain.

So there you go.... and hopefully in the next day I will have some fun new projects to show off!

A Day for Prayers

Today is a day for prayers, candles and lots and lots of good vibes since they are needed all around.

A family near and dear to our hearts has had a bad auto accident and the daddy person has broken his hip and will be having surgery tomorrow. We don't get to see them as often as we would like be they are really part of our family in my heart and I am holding all the light I can for them.

My mother in law is ill and I worry that it's serious, but at 90 just about any type of illness can be serious. I took her to the doctor today and hopefully some of the tests will be back tomorrow and we will know more.

And long as I am calling for them I might as well let the cat out of the bag that I have been getting testing done myself this week. No results are back yet but there is a very strong reason to suspect that I have Lupus and what going on right now is a flare up. I mean this is not some shock out of the blue. It's been suggested by a few different doctors that I have it but it's never really caused me any problems ... until about a month or two ago. At this point I am having trouble with quite a few joints (pain!) and some pretty freaky muscle weakness. Of course there are other things it could and can be but the big money players are betting on Lupus.

Soon as I know more I will post... but until then.. keep those candles and vibes coming for all of us!

Do You Like My Hat???

Is this not the cutest hat??? My daughter made it some time in the past year and then stuffed it in her closet only to be unearthed today when we put down hardwood flooring in her room. And she gave it to me!!!!.. Happy- happy mommy dance!!!...
You will have to excuse the queer camera angle as it was the only one that let me crane my head so far back that I was able to hid my double chin. I fear that my family thinks I am too old to wear such a hat.. what do you think??

Dang, I almost forgot!

On today's afternoon hunt for a small kitchen table I picked up some vintage cuteness at my local English thrift that i wanted to share with you! The cups are a set of 6 chocolate mugs from Germany.... I am in love with the the flower print!
The ornaments are from England and I am guessing them to about about 20+ years old.. Claire says the Santa is spooky but he cracked me up and the little skaters were too cute. I do worry about their little girl... is her head a little big or what?
The dishes are from England and are Bone China. The dotted ones are dessert plates and the fl orals which are just as big as suppose to be saucers but I am going to use them as dessert plates anyway... they are just toooo sweet. The little cream jug is also from England and I still need to look up the stamp mark on the bottom. It's common ware but I am not sure how old it is, I am thinking at least 20 years due to the shape..but I could be way wrong.
The stuffed felt puppy is Daisy. I made her a couple of weeks ago and have not had a chance to show her off. She is the keeper of the key that goes to our living room coat closet. She makes me happy just looking at her but since my new rule is that everything needs a purpose her role in life it to keep a good eye on that key.
I did indeed tackle the school room shelves and while at times I thought I was being sucked into some other dimension where the harder you worked the worse it looked after 5 hours I was able to say.. "Ehhh" at least it's better than before.
So while not my version of perfect it meant that I cleared out 5 boxes of stuff for donation. This was all stuff that my MIL left here when she moved to the "swinging octogenarian palace" 1.5 years ago.
Precious stuff such as a whole box of candles that had melted together at some point. Old power board bills, and small resin figures of bears dressed as people. Yes, 5 large boxes of such wonderment!

The wonderful Dh removed the glass doors and fitted the shelves with board to replace the former glass shelves. Since no matter how strong I am pretty sure that shelves that held a life times worth of Hummel collecting were not up the strain of our massive library of homeschooling books. You might be able to tell that the top shelves are still glass, we ran out of wood and I ran out of patience. So there is just lite weight stuff up there until we can put stronger stuff in. The bottom section is also filled up with project boxes, files and other bits and bobs of the homeschooling life. So while not perfect I am calling this project DONE.

Dinning room Done~

Go me.. go me~~~.. YES!.. another room is done!.. For quite a while now...uhh like 6 months we have have 25 boxes of hardwood flooring sitting in the dinning room while we slowly did the upstairs floors. Well, it was down to six boxes and it was time to get it out of there! I had the boys move the boxes up to the hall near the last bedroom to be floored and I got to work on the dinning room. I spiffed up the hutch. Yes this is the one I painted a few months ago... love the color and the vintage wax finish I used. I saw one at a very upscale furniture place that was very much like this style and finish and it was over two thousand dollars. I got the hutch for free and the paint was $12 and the handles came from the reuse center for 20 cents each so I think for less than $15 bucks I have myself a pretty good deal. I still need to sew the rod pockets for the bottom of all the curtains but that is ok.. I am still so happy when I look in there and i still love the hand painted vines after all these years.
There are two more pieces to be painted but I did get the scotch/wine bar area set up and a large chest that holds my table linens and party supplies. I am one happy girl! It took me till 10 pm last night but it was well worth it. And even better, all the stuff that was in the room has been moved to it's proper home(s) not just shoved somewhere.. that is a good feeling.
Next is the school room... I suspect this one is going to need some sort of cosmic intervention, so pray for me!

Schelping Towards Order

I so crave having a tidy house, but we have chatted about this before. And of course once again I am on my one woman cleaning spree through our home. The living rom now looks like you might be able to live there.
Yesterday I moved an unused antique dresser from another part of the house to use for more living room storage. The piece really needs a paint job in the worst way but that is going to have to wait for another day.

I even went so far as to label the inside of each drawer and fit them with dividers. The top drawer holds office supplies. The second holds drawing paper for the little boys. The third drawer is split three ways and hold our collection of audio tapes ( yep. audio, children's tapes.. Boomerang have you heard of them?... they are great!)

Next section is computer software. I do know that normal people would keep this near their computers but since we have 4 or 5 computers spread over the rooms of this house I have chosen and central location to keep the discs and software instruction manuals.

The third section is currently odd is that?

Drawer 4 is totally empty and drawer 5 is devoted to my collection handmade note cards, envelopes and funky monkey sorts of gift cards and stationary.