Friday, February 27, 2009

Where Was I?

Night before last, by the time I got pics loaded in and new listings up in my Etsy shops, and my blog written, and Betsy put to sleep not once but twice, it was after 2 AM. Betsy woke again at 3 AM. I put her to sleep and since I was up, checked on some stuff I had a eye on, online. Got back to bed at 4, had an alarm set at 5 to check again, my dh turned it off and woke me, but too late. Back to bed for a few minutes, as I had to be up with him at 6 to put his contacts in for work. Back to bed another few minutes, to be up at 7 for the kids' 4-H meeting.

We took the stuff along to do their demonstrations, and found out that not only is it NEXT month, it's only hands-on for Veronica. The older kids have to do story-board exhibition-style presentations. Bah.

On to my brother in law's house, to have Artemas and Russ work on my brakes. I was supposed to take him my palm-grip sander. Halfway to his house (and 12 miles from my house) I remembered the sander. Had to turn around and come get it. Basically my whole day was like that. And if I had had an IV of Mtn. Dew, I don't think it would have helped. We got back home at 4 oclock and I took a 3 hour nap.

While making dinner, Taco Salad, Beverly decided to come down with the same puking flu that Veronica had 3 days earlier. The difference being that B is not even 2 and doesn't have an extra ounce of weight on her body. But this is the first time she has ever been sick and vomiting so I guess that isn't too bad.

During the evening I started processing some of the handspun yarns a lady sent me from Japan. She said she is at an APO and they frown on people using them to ship for business. She had all these handspuns that she would love to sell and contribute to the Youth Center that I give a percentage of my sales to. So if she sent them to me, would I sell them and give the money on her behalf? I agreed to do so for 100% profit donation. Here is the box as I received it. Fabulous. LoL.

And THIS is what was inside. Well, all but the baby, the bed, the pillows, and the quilts. There were:
  • 20 skeins of handspun art yarn
  • 7 skeins of a 50/50 wool/nylon ribbon yarn
  • 2 large skeins of a bulky black chenille yarn
  • 2 little floral picks with ornaments on top
  • a hand knitted poncho with handspun, glitz, and stripes of eyelash yarn in bright turquoise, and
  • some scrolls of antique concept paintings of kimono fabrics.
    An incredible treasure trove really. There is a picture of me holding up and hiding behind the poncho, below.

  • The skeins were wound really small, making it difficult to twist them up to get standard pictures for my esty shop, so I started last night reskeining them. Then while I was at it, I took pics, soaked them all just to be sure the twist was set, and went to bed last night with multicolored damp sheep hanging here and there all over my house. Well I say "went to bed"...

    But Beverly is still being sick. What a good natured baby, of course she doesn't understand what is wrong with her, but she figured out to use the bowl if she had to be sick and would actually sit up in her sleep and reach for it. But, it was another sleepless night.

    Today I have gotten a few more skeins prepared for sale, but it is slow going since she wants to be held the whole time. The bigger kids help but of course none of
    them are mommy either. And Artemas found out the hard way, don't let a sick baby eat grapes. LOL.

    So! I haven't gotten any more quilt blocks done, but I do have a couple more pics to share. Do you remember the yarn I had a lady special order from me, that ended up taking like 3 days of my life to make? 100% silk in hand-dyed red over tan. Well she sent me a pic of this most excellent and luxurious scarf that she made from it. It is so gorgeous, it almost made all that trouble worth it. I hope she can enjoy wearing it for many long years to come.

    And, one more pic... long ages ago, last summer, I sold a skein of yarn that I had hand-dyed and called Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein. I was looking at feedbacks today and noticed that the lady who bought it, had posted an appreciation picture of the hat she knitted out of it. Here is it, a work of art in itself. Very nice indeed!

    Since I have hardly known where I am for 2 days, tonight, I am hoping for sleep...

    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    Some Stuff I Got!

    I got a package Saturday from my VERY secret Secret Pal! She is SO secret, she even mailed my package to my daughter's house so I wouldn't see where it came from! Anyway I didn't get a chance to get a pic of the contents til today, so here it is!

    I got a quilting magazine (that I had not read yet), a book on Bargello quilts, which I love, a Dark Hershey Bar (yes this is just the wrapper but I really have not eaten all the candy yet... just stashed it to fool my kids), a 4.5" square ruler that I really needed, and 3 beautiful Fat Quarters... one in very handy and bold black and white, one in a gorgeous rainbow batik, and one in my favorite, purple. Hiding somewhere in the pile is also a package of sewing machine needles, which I needed badly... seems I am on my LAST one! Oh, and a beautiful quilt notecard with a little note in it. So if you are reading this, STEPHANIE, Thank you! Thank you!

    Also I am a day or two behind on the block of the day, because I have been doing yarn and knitting and making stuff for my etsy shops. But today I did a Teacup Full of Flowers applique for Connie Rosolli. Right now the block is the same as on the left... I can't decide whether to leave it that way, or to add buttons... black like in the middle, or yellow-gold like on the left. Any opinions?

    Wednesday, February 25, 2009

    Pain is Just Weakness Leaving The Body

    Yesterday we ran around. During the runaround, we managed to find an obscure little town with an even more obscure firearms place, that was packed with people. It also looked like someone's garage with glass cases with guns, shotguns sitting out where you could handle them, stacks of boxes and cases of bullets piled everywhere, and holsters and scopes on the two merchandise racks in the place. Everything was piled with dust too. Hmmm. Guess with the breathing problems I have, I didn't stay long in there!

    I also managed to get my application in at the DMV for my carry permit. And, we found a treasure trove of a thrift store with about 2,000 sweaters... all half price. I showed remarkable restraint, and only bought 11 of the very choicest fibers in pale enough colors that I can dye them. Aren't you proud of me?

    Yesterday I listed a 2nd skein of the Mordor yarn that sold in only hours, and the baby hat that I listed in my HeartFeltFun shop that also sold in mere hours. Here it is pictured with a quarter. I made this hat to fit a preemie of 25-32 weeks gestation (or to dress a stillborn preemie).

    Today we stayed at home more, but not entirely. This morning Veronica came to my bed, saying she wasn't feeling all that great. Then she sat up and puked on my bed, my sheets, my quilt, and my carpet. Good morning to me! Originally washing several loads of sheets, blankets, and quilts wasn't on my agenda for the day, but that is what having kids will do for you! Makes you master of Plan B.

    After cleaning that up, we went walking. Came home, packed up orders and did school. Took the orders to the PO this afternoon, got my fingerprints taken for the gun permit, took dinner to Richard, and went to IHOP for the free short-stack pancake special.

    I got one new yarn listed in my my7kids shop at Etsy, this one is Samwise Gangee, the gardener and dear friend of Frodo Baggins. Don't even get me STARTED on the names. ROFLOL!

    I also made a new rucksack or drawstring handbag or knitting bag, from a ramie/wool/acrylic/nylon blend sweater that I hand dyed. It is lined with dark magenta print cotton and has a couple pockets. Ramie doesn't felt and the wool content isn't enough to have done so, but ramie is a short-staple fiber like cotton, and sometimes the yarn can't be unraveled because it breaks too easily. That was the case with this sweater, and no sense wasting it! LOL!

    It has been 3 1/2 weeks since I had that really bad attack on my kidneys, and while I have not been in constant pain, I haven't passed anything either. But tonight I have been in incredible pain again, like something large is finally trying to get out. So this is it for now, signing off to a few aspirin and hopefully some sleep.

    Monday, February 23, 2009

    A Treasury, Among Other Things

    I got a Treasury at Etsy this morning. Treasuries are collections of items put together by an Etsy member, either related in theme or color, or just something they like. Etsy tallies the comments and clicks the items in the Treasury get, and decides what to put on the front page from the popularity of a treasury. So go see and click! Accessorize... PINKly!

    The Other Things, you will have to check back tonight to get an update! Muahahahahahaha!

    Plates in the Air

    Ever feel like one of those performers with all those spinning plates in the air? Call me old... they used to feature acts like that on the Ed Sullivan show. Of course I was a TINY baby at the time. (You X generation people, go look him up on YouTube, LoL). The performer would flit from stick to stick, rubbing them furiously between his hands to keep the balanced plate on top of the stick from slowing down and falling. That is what I felt like yesterday.

    I went from task to task, and at 5PM I said to Diantha, I wanted to get yarn and blocks and my room done today, and still haven't gotten any of those 3 things done. ~~sigh~~ It went kind of like this:

    Make a batch of muffins, While the muffins are baking, make another batch of muffins. While they bake, go get dressed. While the kids eat breakfast, go take my walk. Put in a load of diapers to wash. while the diapers are washing, process the alpaca fiber that Marion sent me. While the fiber is soaking the 2nd time, go get lye and put down the tub drain so the muck off the fur the first time will drain. While the Alpaca fiber is draining, go sit on the couch and help Artemas and Diantha with school. (Yes people, we homeschoolers sometimes even do school on SUNDAY! Especially if people weren't HOME for a couple days during the week!) While I am helping them with school, direct Veronica to clean up the living room floor.

    Go put diapers in dryer. Go check on Alpaca fur. Separate some of the mulberry silk and dye it. This proved to be about a 45 minute task, as that mulberry silk is STRONG! In order to separate it at staple lengths, I had to separate fiber bundles down to almost individual fibers. While I am separating silk to dye, direct Josiah to load the dishwasher and clean the sinks. While the mulberry silk is soaking, unravel a sweater and skein the yarn. This one is a vegan cotton/acrylic/metallic blend called Mordor, from the Lord of the Rings series, and is now available in my my7kids shop at Etsy. Drain the silk. Put the alpaca in the dye. Put the silk outside on the railing (where it froze, LoL). Hang the bags of alpaca over the kitchen sink. Take pics of silk, fur, and yarn.

    Get everybody dressed. Because I am a brave woman, I took all 6 kids still at home out to dinner without my dh. We met Des and Tony and their babies and went to (oh dear, shall I say it?) Hooters for some buffalo chicken. We got home at 9 o'clock.

    I still hadn't made my last 2 Morelli blocks! So I sat down and sewed, and Diantha squared up pieces for me. So here we have Joseph's Dream (left) and Ball and Chain. The Ball and Chain block should have been done to finish 9" square, that way all the little sub-components would have finished to 3" square and each little individual piece would have been 1". But NO! I needed a 12" finished square block. Glutton for punishment that I am, that means that each piece of the block had to be cut to 1 1/3" plus a 1/2" seam allowance... HSTs cut 1 1/3" plus an inch. Do you have a ruler with 1/3" measurements? I don't! So each piece had to be cut 1 7/8" plus a hair, and so on. It's a wonder this block fit together at all. It won't win any prizes, but it isn't BAD.

    While I sewed, I made the kids get ready for bed and have a nighttime snack. How in the WORLD can they want a night-time snack when we just got home from eating? By the time I was done with the blocks and took the pics and nursed B to sleep, I was too dang tired to write my blog. I never did get around to cleaning my room, which is starting to resemble a very disorganized Thrift Shop.

    But I am told that today we must go out of town, adventuring. So the room will be scary another day. Gotta go, I see a plate starting to wobble...

    Saturday, February 21, 2009

    A Colorful Yarn, or 4, and Treasures!

    Tonight I got my first ever Treasury West from Etsy. Go see the gorgeous items I picked!

    Thinking about today, seems like it was uneventful. But really, we walked 3 miles (Artemas and I), mailed out Secret Pal packages, and got a lot of school done, being as it was just me and the boys and Betsy.

    While they were doing school today, I did yarn. I put one new yarn up last night, but today I re-took the pic, re-skeined the yarn for another pic, and re-named it to go with the Lord of the Rings series my daughter thinks I need to do. I actually think those movies are stupid and make fun of the characters' names to the point where she almost wants to throw up on the floor like the guy in Mooby's in Clerks II. LoL. The yarns shown here are Arwen Undomiel on the left, and The Eye of Sauron (on the right). The Eye of Sauron is sock weight, Arwen is lace to light sock weight... both with some or a lot of wool in them. I don't have the Eye one listed in my7kids at Etsy but I will in the morning!

    Here are 2 more yarns I got done! On the left is The Shire... very green and earthy in a bulky weight 55% wool blend. On the right is Aragorn. He is bold and strong, so he is done in Man colors of royal blue, silvery gray and charcoal. This one is a sock weight in 70% wool. I will be listing this one in the morning too!

    I was a bad girl today and didn't get a block done. My choice really... I want to do the block they showed today, on another day when there is not a block to do. And yesterday I cut out 2 blocks that I need to do to finish my Morelli quilt top, but didn't get them pieced. But I read with Josiah during that time, so.

    Beverly wore her new red dress over her clothes most of the day. It was really cold in the house. When she put it on, she got on the coffee table (an old trunk), stuck her arms out and said, "Tada!" Oh also Betsy decided to "do" her hair today. I gave Artemas a trim so I guess she had to do something too... she got into a tube of yellow hair super stick-um that I got Josiah when he had a mohawk, and put it all over the top of her hair. Pretty!

    Guess I don't have much else to report. Des and Tony, their babies and the girls will be down in the morning sometime. We are going to go walking and then get some work done here, probably on the porch. Hoping for a slightly warmer day tomorrow!

    I do want to make an Thank and Praise offering for the fact that Tony gets to go back on 2nd shift as of Monday. It has been hard on him, trying to balance wanting to be with Des and the kids with needing to sleep during the day. And it has been really hard on Des, to be alone with the babies all night, especially with Hannah still waking during the night... and then to be the only parent during the day and try to keep them quiet so Tony can sleep. She has been having bad headaches and I am sure that is part of it. We have been praying for a change so I am so thankful for the news!

    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    HOW Many Kids Do I Have?

    Last night my 17yos spent the night at my sister's house so that today he could go help my BIL load and stack firewood. One advantage of homeschooling... sometimes you can do something else. Artemas actually gets a good chance to study some economics firsthand when he stays there, as my BIL is a Forex trader. But anyway Artemas wasn't here today.

    Des came down with the babies and we pinned out her Artificial Prairie 9-patch quilt that she started making when she was 12. She did some free-motion quilting on one of my old machines. I got my Sally Sweet quilt pinned out too.

    I also got a new yarn done for my my7kids yarn shop. The original was a wool/angora/nylon blend in pale blue and periwinkle... I overdyed parts of it with a nice earthy green. It is sock weight... pretty!

    Diantha and I both got blocks done yesterday. It was a no-block day again, just a quilt pic. So she did a Dutchman's Puzzle (left) and I did a Bachelor's Puzzle, for the Joe Morelli quilt. He is a Bachelor and a Puzzle, alright! And it seems the theme for the day was puzzle blocks, though we didn't plan it that way.

    Today while Des was here, Diantha got a block done again. She did an Ocean Waves block (left again) (no really it's still here). I didn't get mine done until later this evening. I did the block shown on the calendar. I don't know what they called it but I am calling it Crosshairs. I am sorry the pic stinks! For some reason a couple of the pics I took tonight, I had to color-correct the HECK out of them!

    I was making a pot of bean soup for dinner. What was leftover from tonight I was going to use Sat. night to do a pot of chili. When I went to put Beverly to sleep for her late-afternoon nap, I scorched the soup. Yes, folks, the wonderful cook Scorched. The. Soup. Great. Fortunately it happened before I added carrots, celery, onion, and smoked sausage... so I didn't waste ALL the food, just basically beans, water, and garlic. WHEW!

    When Des left, she invited both the big girls to go home with her, until she and Tony come back Saturday to help Richard and I do some work. Des has had one terrible headache for a couple days. Since Tony has to go to work at night and sleep tomorrow, she thought having the girls there would be a help to her with the babies.

    So with Allen at work and Artemas still gone (where WAS that kid anyway?) and Richard working until 11 and the girls gone, I had two children. TWO CHILDREN. What the heck? It's been almost 21 years since I had TWO children. So with only a couple little kids, no hubby and a burned dinner, I did what any red-blooded Yuppie would have done: packed the kiddies into carseats and went to Burger King. LoL.

    Tonight Josiah wants to sleep on the couch, because he is lonely.

    I am lonely too.

    In three minutes, Beverly and Richard will totally cure me of that.

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    One Hour Sundress Tutorial

    You may read the title and scoff... but seriously, if you possess any sewing skills at all, you can make one of these darling sundresses in about an hour! The one shown (child's size 3) uses only a yard of cotton fabric. Larger sizes use more... but I will help you figure out how much. No pattern needed, just a few simple measurements! No kidding!

    You will need a chest yoke measurement, a girth and a length measurement. For the Chest Yoke measurement, the easiest way I can explain it is to hunch your shoulders forward (or have the child do it), and put your thumbs in the hollows that are formed. Leaving thumbs in place, straighten shoulders back up, and measure from thumb to thumb. Measure the person the garment is for, around the chest (Girth) and from armpits to where you want the garment to end in length. Note for adults, these make cute sun tops!

    Now for a *little* math (an I mean very little!)
    ______________ Yoke measure + 1 1/4" = _____________ (A)
    ______________ Length measure + 3 1/2" = ___________ (B)
    The only reason you need a girth measure is this: if the person is less than 30" around, you can make the whole dress out of the width of ONE 44" wide piece of fabric. If the person is larger around than 30", you will need to purchase the length twice, plus enough for the additional pieces (about a foot).

    The length of fabric you need is the length measure (B) above (or twice that if recipient is more than 30" in girth) plus a foot.

    You can use a rotary cutter for the cutting if you are handy with one! Lay the fabric down. I kept the center fold and folded it to the selvege edge again. You will cut:
  • one strip about 3" (or for adults, maybe 4"). This strip will be cut into your yokes.
  • one strip 1 1/2" (for adults, 2 strips). You will cut this strip into 4 equal pieces for shoulder ties (for adults, cut each of the 2 long strips in half for 4 pieces).
  • one strip 6" wide. You will cut bias strips and yoke interfacings from this (more on that later).
  • One piece the length desired plus 3 1/2".

    Just a few more cuts:
    From the 3" (4") strip, cut 4 pieces to measurement (A) (yoke plus 1 1/4").
    From the 6" piece, cut 3, 2" wide strips on the bias (diagonally). From the scrap that is left, cut 2 more yoke pieces. These will be used as interfacing, which is an inner lining that helps stiffen the piece. You will not see these when the dress is finished.
    From the length piece, for a child, fold the center fold of the fabric to the selvege. Then on the resulting fold (4 thicknesses of fabric), cut a curved piece about an inch deep and about 2" long. For adults, cut a similar shape out of the front and back lengths, out of the selvege edge. (not at the fold).

  • Ok! Let's Sew! No! Let's Prep!

    Fold Strap pieces in half the length and sew, starting at the fold one end, curving toward the long raw edge, and down the long edge in a 1/4" seam. Turn these right side out (a bodkin, sturdy safety pin, or knitting needle is really handy for this!

    Sew diagonal ends of the bias strips to each other (they should "point" in different directions as shown).

    Sew the two selvege edges of your length piece (the dress body) together in a 5/8" seam. I actually use a little deeper than 5/8" so I can cut the very edge off the selvege. Otherwise it often shrinks when pressed or washed, puckering the seam!

    Take your straps, bias strips, length, and 2 yoke pieces to the ironing board. Press straps. Press bias strip seams in one direction, and then press long raw edges of bias strips together to make one long folded piece. Press up a 5/8" seam allowance on one long edge of both yoke pieces. Old Seamstress Trick (not that I am an old seamstress!) If you rub the part to be pressed up with a soft soap (shown here: a thin slice of my dh's handmade soap!), when pressed the soap will stick to itself, making your pressed piece nice and flat! Press the seam to the length piece open, so it lays flat.

    Now Back to the Sewing Machine

    Take a yoke piece that DOES NOT have the edge pressed under. Lay it face up on top of a yoke interfacing piece (one cut from the 6" scrap or any other scrap fabric that won't show through). Lay 2 straps down on top of this, with the raw edges up toward one long yoke piece edge, and pin them 5/8" in from either short end, as shown. Now lay one of your yoke pieces that DOES have a long edge pressed up, face down on top of this stack with the raw edge up by the raw ends of the straps, and the pressed edge away from the raw ends of the straps.

    Sew this piece up one short end, across the long edge with the raw ends of the straps, and down the other short end. You will get a sharper point when this is turned right side out, if you take two TINY stitches diagonally at the corner as you sew. Don't ask me why this works, but it does. Repeat with the other yoke sections and other two straps. Trim seam allowances, holding scissors at an angle as they go through the fabric so the resulting edges are each lisghtly longer than the next one (this is called Grading). Trim a little diagonal corner off. Turn pieces right side out and press.

    Next take your length piece. Sew a bias strip to the right side of the fabric, at the cut-out arcs, having raw edge of bias about 1/4" from the raw edge of the fabric. Do NOT stretch the bias as you sew! Sew about 3/8" from the edge of the bias (which would be the standard garment 5/8" from the edge of the armhole. Trim the seam allowance to a scant 1/4". Turn bias to the inside and stitch close to the folded edge to hem it down. Press.

    Next run a line of Gathering Stitches on each of the front (where the fabric center-fold was) and the back (where the seam is) of your length piece. A gathering stitch is slightly longer than a regular sewing stitch, and stitched at about 1/2" from the edge of the fabric. Really good seamstresses use *2* lines of gathering stitch. LoL. Pin the edge of your back to the free seam-allowance edge of one of your yokes. Remember the other edge is already pressed under. Do not pin that edge! Leave it free! Put the armhole edges of the dress at the outer edges of the yokes. Pull up gathering stitches by pulling the BOBBIN thread. The edge will gather right up. Pin it in several places along the yoke edge. Stitch. Trim seam. Tuck seam up into yoke, covering it with the folded pressed-under edge of the inner yoke. Pin this pressed edge down over seam. Turn the piece over and "stitch in the ditch" to sew down the inner yoke. "Stitch in the ditch" means to slightly spread the seam and sew right where the sewn-together pieces meet. Press. Repeat with dress front and other yoke.

    Press under 1/4" along the bottom edge of the dress or top. It will help if you use the soap trick! Then press up about 2" for your hem. I used 1" on the dress shown. You can top stitch this on the sewing machine, or hand hem if you like. And there you have it! A simple, cool, sundress or top using only a couple simple measurements and about an hour of your time.

    And for me for today, bl-eee-bl-eee-bl-eee th-that's all, Folks!

    Monday, February 16, 2009

    Almost Nothing Quilty

    Well today I got nothing quilty done. Oh, wait, I lied. I got ONE little police-badge-shaped piece of fabric sewn onto a block that I made before. Over the weekend there was a block to do and I didn't. Today was to sew a heart shape on the weekend block, so I sewed a shield on a block instead. Such a rebel, tsk, tsk.

    Diantha made an Annie's Choice block. She thought the block today was stupid too. She is actually doing pretty well at these. Love the way she laid out the colors in this one.

    Yesterday I went to a sale at Joann Fabrics, and one (two) of the things I got were one yard pieces of fabric off the rock-bottom table. Each of these were $2 a yard, because they were ugly. But I am going to make Betsy a couple little loose, cool sundresses out of them for warm weather. When Des was little, I made just about every stitch she wore until she was 7... mostly sundresses for the FL heat. I got one of the dresses done today, with bulldogs on it. I took pics as I did it, to put up a tutorial. Honestly these things are so easy, with a couple simple measurements you could make one to fit just about anybody. Here is a sneak peek!

    So what did I get done today? I cleaned out our linen cupboard in the bathroom... turned our mattress and changed the bed... went to Walmart for marked-down Valentine's candy... did a set of stitch markers for my my7kids shop at etsy... and a new hand dyed yarn for the shop too... made dinner... made the boys work in their room... did school with the kids... showered me and Betsy... made a sundress... cleaned off most of the table. In other words, Nothin'.

    Here is a pic of the mug I made for Richard, that I talked about on my blog yesterday. And, I added pics to yesterday's blog, of our qualifying targets from our CCW class on Saturday. Scroll down to see those!

    Sunday, February 15, 2009

    Catching Up

    Des put one of my yarns in a Treasury West at Etsy!

    I had things to write about Friday night but was too tired. I had things to write about yesterday but didn't want to detract from Des. So maybe tonight I can do a little catching up.

    Friday we decided to do an impromptu birthday party for Des. Tony had gotten off work early Fri. morning, had some time to sleep, and didn't have to go in to work. My dh was working late, but he had to work today too. And we couldn't do the birthday yesterday because Richie and I had class all day.

    So I rubbed down, marinated and oven-braised 10 pounds (yes, 10 POUNDS) of pork ribs. Baked some Funfetti cupcakes and a dark chocolate sheet cake from scratch, and made a vat of scalloped potatoes. Took the whole shebang 30 miles to Des' house and made cole slaw there. Tony had bought 5 pounds of steak which he also marinated, cut into squares about 3" on each side and about 2" thick and grilled. He took several of the slabs of ribs and threw them on the grill for just a few minutes too. Being the carnivores that we are, steak, ribs, and cake were just enough for a party. LoL.

    We gave each kid a little goodie bag with valentine candy in it. Des got her windows tinted on the car and a yarn swift (from Tony), a couple handmade bracelets from a local art shop (from Jeremiah), a ball winder (from us) and a red leather handbag from Tony's mom, Cheryl. Quite a nice birthday. My sister's dh and my niece came, sister came late, and Cheryl showed up... we had ONE slab of ribs left and 3 pieces of steak. We all didn't get home until midnight, and that was all the fun we could have without going right to bed.

    I gave Richie a mug for Valentine's day. It was one of the ones I painted at the Liza Moz'. I will post pics of all the stuff tomorrow, didn't have my act together to photograph them today. I painted the bottom half of the mug to look like a brown/gold plaid flannel with a little green and red stripe 'cause he wears flannel for like 6 months of the year. The top of the mug looked like a Chocolate Chip Cookie. I filled it with some cookies. It has a lid, for travel. He loved it!

    Also for Valentine's Day, we took a CCW (Carried or Concealed Weapons) self-defense course at Coal Creek Armory. It was fun. The instructor had a good sense of humor. He said all gun accidents are Ignorance or Carelessness. I said, "If a person can't get the hammer to go back down on his gun, and hits it with the palm of his hand, and shoots a hole in his brand new bed, is that Ignorance, or Carelessness?" He looked over at Richard (saw him turning pink) and said, "There is Something Wrong with the GUN." ROFLOL! Later when he was talking about stance, he said, "How many of you shoot low?" Richard said, "I shoot low because I am short!" Everybody laughed.

    We both did well... 100% on our written exams and 100% on the range test. The range test involved shooting 12 rounds at 9 feet, 12 at 15 feet, 12 at 45 feet, and then another 12 quick-fire at 9 feet. The number of rounds landing outside the 7 ring (which is basically the whole body) counted off. I got 47 out of 48 inside the 9 ring (a 4" wide by 6" tall area) and ONE in the 7 ring (from 45 feet). Richard got only 2 outside the 9 ring, but he got more in dead center than I did. Pretty good shooting.

    The instructor said that when we were done, most of us would have 2 Barney bullets left over, and if we felt compelled to have to shoot our target somewhere outside the rings (the head, the groin, you get the picture) we could use those 2 bullets. Richard didn't use his, because he is a party pooper. So when I was done, I had 4 bullets leftover. I asked the instructor if I could take out the guy's right ear, and then I put all 4 bullets in the right side of the target face in an area the size of the end of your thumb. When I walked out into the armory with the target, several men from the class said, "Whoa!". And one said, "There is a woman you don't want mad at you." LoL.

    I don't know but someone said you had to have 70%, which means one could shoot 14 rounds completely outside the body outline and still pass. There were 2 old ladies in the class, in their late 60s, who had never either one shot their guns before. They both passed, though their targets were shot to hell. Bullets everywhere, and that was with the instructor "helping" them aim. And, turns out TN is a "shall issue" state. Some states are "may" issue - if you pass the course and your background check, they still "may or may not" issue a carry permit. But in TN if you pass the course, meet your background check, and apply for the license, they "shall" issue it. Really kinda scary in light of what we saw yesterday, LoL.

    A few statistics: The class had 25 people in it originally. One guy came in late, making 26. But for percentages sake, I will go with 25. There were 2 black men (8%). There were 5 ladies (20%), 4 out of 5 of them were in their 60s (80% of the women). I felt like a duck out of water, until I got to take the range test. Then I felt right at home. LOL.

    Today we did NOTHING. Well we went to Joann Fabrics and spent a little (too much) money, and I had a nap. This evening I finally conquered the Week-long Living-room Laundry Battle. But, I have a load in the dryer even as we speak. ~~ sigh ~~ Oh and I finished and felted my OTHER purple handspun slipper. Not anything to brag about.

    Saturday, February 14, 2009

    The Best Valentine Ever

    Twenty-three years ago today, I gave birth to the Best Valentine's Day Gift Ever. I had been on bedrest for 3 months. I had gone off the medication, and started blowing up like a balloon. Large purple feet, large red hands, fat puffy face. So even though our due date was still 3 weeks away, Richie and I headed for the hospital for a non-stress test, and eventual induction. We were so broke, the business he had been working for had just shut down a week earlier, and we joked on the way there that the only way this baby would be born with even a plastic spoon in its mouth, was if we went through McDonalds and got one to stir coffee with. But we couldn't afford for him to buy a coffee. LoL

    Worst labor ever, with the dr. giving orders to try to kill me with Pitocin. But blessedly short... 3 hours, the midwife making it back to my room before the doctor and then there she was, this mewing little China Doll that we named Desiree (french for Desired One). When each of our kids has been born, we have claimed a scripture for them, based on their name or circumstances of their births. .
    For Desiree, we claimed, "Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the Desires of your heart." And that has been the theme of her life to this day!

    As a baby, she had the straightest, messy hair you ever saw. I couldn't KEEP it combed. So when she was 2, I took a trip to Ohio to visit my mom, and we gave her this perm. Since I was in the habit of always putting her into ruffled underpants, my uncle affectionately called her "Frazzle-ray Rufflebuns," a nickname some of which has stuck into adulthood.

    By the time she was 12, she was so gorgeous and so sophisticated that people were mistaking her for an adult and often thought my baby Veronica was hers! I had to give guys in stores the Evil Eye more times than you can count! Not only was she beautiful, but intelligent (a genius IQ), kind to her brothers and sisters, and loving of the Lord. What more can a mother ask?

    Even when she brings home THIS guy. LOL. She has always been a kind of free spirit (like her mom, maybe?). The first time Tony came late to watch a movie and fell asleep on the sofa, my dh came in our room at 6 in the morning and said, "Nikki, there is a Large, Hairy, Tattooed, Pierced man snoring on our sofa without a shirt on. Is that ok?" LoL!! Despite outward appearances, Tony is a great guy... loves the Lord, adores my daughter, and is a good provider. They seldom fight. And he was willing to wait until marriage for my Christian daughter. How can you say no to a match like that?

    And how can a girl like that NOT make a beautiful bride? Des wanted to get married in the Fall, so she could have some of our beautiful Mountain color as a backdrop. They got married in Frozen Head State Park in Wartburg (yes, there really is a Wartburg) TN. It was a gorgeous day, with warm breezes, and falling leaves. Both God and man smiled at this, the most relaxed and fun wedding I have ever been to.

    Today, Desiree is a grown woman. She is a wonderful wife, keeps a pleasant home, and is an artist in her own right. You can see her beautiful bags in her Hamncheezr Shop at Etsy and in a little local craft shop in Clinton, TN. She is a talented writer, as shown on her blog. She takes beautiful photographs, knits, spins yarn, is a great cook and makes gorgeous quilts. She loves the Lord like I have rarely seen. And she has given us TWO cute, smart, and happy grandchildren.

    The day she was born, I didn't get a box of chocolates. And I love all my children, without a favorite (unless one of them asks, and then of course THAT one is the favorite, LoL!) But I think I have never had a Valentine's gift as good, or as great a blessing, as Desiree. I love you, Des!

    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Whatever, Whatever, I Do What I Want

    Sally Sweet QuiltThat's not really my attitude. I hear you laughing. No really, I do have some restraint. But the block today on my calendar was a Swamp Angel, which I have done already. No sense being redundant. So today I set together my Sally Sweet quilt top. Here it is! Tada!

    I hit a couple thrift stores today and got some yummy sweaters to recycle. A silk, an Ecuadoran wool, some angora, and others. And, my daughter and I walked Walmart. I was doing that last year but gave it up over the holidays... too crowded. If one walks every aisle of our Walmart, it is about 3 miles, and takes us almost an hour. Physical fitness, here I come.

    Richard's Choice is ChocolateI had a kid throwing up for about half the day today. He managed to take a bowl to bed with him, in my room, since it is the closest bed in the house to a bathroom. The bowl was in case he didn't make it. He used the bowl. Then promptly spilled it on Richard's Chocolate quilt that I made him for his 60th birthday. So today I got to wash a quilt too! Oh and fold 3 other loads of laundry.

    I made a Bacon Mushroom Quiche for supper, with some sauteed onions and chopped fresh tomatoes in it. And then my kids sat down to eat and put KETCHUP on it. Even the kid who was throwing up just 8 hours earlier. Whaaaaa? Man, why do I bother to cook? Why not just buy ketchup and bread and let them make loathesome ketchup sandwiches?

    Other than this, I got nothing done today except make my husband happy. Hey, I made chocolate chip cookies for him to come home to. What were YOU thinking?