Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just Totally Beat

Today we helped Des and Tony get started on making their new house, their own. I am just totally beat tonight.

Five years ago I hairline-fractured my right wrist in a motorcycle mishap, so wielding a paint roller is really a lot of stress on that wrist. But I can cut in around trim very accurately, with no taping, and quickly, because when dh and I were first married, we had a painting business for several years. I like to paint. Almost anything can be improved by a nice new coat of paint. And I'm good at it, so it was a pleasure to help.

Because Des is out of internet connection right now, I guest-wrote her blog tonight. So please drop over to 3AM Feedings for the day's happenings and LOTS of pictures, which will get nice and bigger if you click on them.

We put up a BUNCH of new items in Diantha's shop and in mine. So maybe tomorrow night, if I'm not in a stupor, I will write about them. Thanks for dropping by, and good night!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Something I Did Right

A couple mornings ago I was ironing shirts for my husband (yes, [gasp!] there are still people who iron shirts), when it occurred to me that I have known how to iron shirts since I was 5. (I think that is over 40 years, but I'm not really sayin'.) Then I thought I would give you a glance into his closet.

Early years we were married, we had hardly any money. I got a whole box of vintage bone and shell buttons at the flea market for $1. For a little while, I worked in a discount fabric shop, where I could sometimes get fabric for as little as 50c a yard. Having more fabric than clothes-shopping money, I learned to make his shirts.

My dh has a penchant for bright fabrics.

I can make a man's short sleeved, collar-band shirt with a breast pocket, that the pattern matches up across the button band and at the pocket, in 2.5 hours start to finish.

Note the extra, matching button sewn inside at the bottom of the button placket, just like store bought. It's there so I don't have to replace all the buttons. Not that I am in that habit, but just sayin'.

For several years, the branch of big-box Home Improvement store he worked at had Wild Shirt Thursday. Every few months they would offer a prize: a store gift card, passes to movies, lunch out, etc. Until they realized that Richard always won the prize.

In recent years, now that I have (still) 6 kids underfoot and a little mo money (I worked for 4 years, until last year), I have bought his shirts in the store if I can find a good deal. One of his shirts (a JCPenney brand) was a good deal. After about 10 washings, the top of the pocket has frays all hanging out of it, and the fabric is as limp as overcooked pasta. Only overcooked pasta tastes better.

In the last couple years, I have taught my oldest daughter to make shirts too. She made this one for her dad for Christmas last year. Note the nice, finished edge inside the button placket.

So, I have passed the torch, or is it thimble, to a new generation.

Can I turn the iron off and sit down now?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Not Much To Report, But Why Not

Diantha got a convo today from someone who bought this lovely, gray corriedale fiber from The lady spun it up fine and plied it with a grayish black mohair, to get this gorgeous yarn. She said she is going to knit a hat for her daughter for winter!

In among Diantha's renewal listings, she also has listed this gorgeous superwash merino batt, hand-dyed and carded here at the house (shown left) ...

and on the right, this beautiful, even, handspun superwash merino sock weight in pale honeydew...

We went to Des' house on Wed. and Friday to help her finish packing. Got just about everything packed up too. Knowing she would need to use a little bit of food yet for meals, and a few utensils/pans/etc, what I did is pack them, but leave them in open boxes set on her kitchen countertops so she could get to stuff if she needed it. Then the mortgage company did NOT call them with a confirmation of the closing date this Tuesday. So there they are, all packed, and waiting... eating out of cardboard boxes. Sigh. So much for being a help. LOL!

I have been working for a couple days now on some new yarns for my My7kids Recycled Yarn Shop. I have several now dyed and just about ready to list, and another 16 (?) planned for the series. Just have to see if I can get some decent pics tomorrow in the daylight.

I finished a project I have been knitting, with this yarn that was sent in the box of yarns last spring from Japan. So a portion of the profits equal to the amount the yarn would have brought on its own, will got to the youth center when I list the item. Hopefully the pics of the finished item will happen tomorrow too. For now, here is a sneak peek...

One last. A few years ago, I was sitting out in the sun one afternoon, when my then-4-yos Josiah came out and very busily started lining up on a railroad tie, a bunch of springs from an old mattress my dh tore up to take to the dump. When I asked him what he was doing, he said, "You can look at this, and not be afraid." So I took a picture of his art, and thought I would share it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tackled by Tuesday, Shoot, a Package, and a Product Review

Today we did a Tackle-it Tuesday with the end of our family room that holds videos, video equipment, etc. We must own several hundred videos, and today we sorted them, cleaned out that end of the room, put Xbox controllers all in a basket and the games all in a file cabinet, and generally made the area around the TV look peaceful again.

My original plan for the day was to pin out a quilt top that I have ready, and piece together 2 others. Sounds like too much for one day, but one is a mini and one is all laid out in order to sew. Alas, my plans aren't always, or even usually, what actually happens.

Instead I got up today and took 5 LARGE boxes of good, clean baby clothes to our local Project Hope. Then Artemas and I went to the range to shoot a little. I got these awesome pictures. The one of Artemas shooting, I actually and accidentally captured the cloud of cordite and the bullet, making its way to the target. Too cool.

These two targets are mine. The one on the left was shot with the .22 Ruger longbarrel. You can see the cluster is in an area 1.5" x 2". The other target, while not centered, still shows the shots clustered in a 2" x 3" area. To give me some credit, the target was only 6" across and was shot from about 20 feet away. I shot it with our Lorcin .380, which is the one I carry, until my Bersa Thunder comes in. I like the .22 better, but being a longbarrel, it looks funny down the back of my pants. LOL.

Ok, on to other things! When we got home, I tackled the laundry once again. DH was off work yesterday, and we ended up spending the entire day in Knoxville. Seriously we didn't get home until like 9 PM. That is kind of late to start Monday Laundry Madness. So I did all 7 loads today and folded them. As incentive to get them done and put away, I folded them all over our bed. Can't go to sleep until it is done! (And it *is* done.)

Here is one that tackled ME. We got a new computer, a smoking-hot Dell, a few months ago. Since then, I have put off and put off having to sift through files on the old computer, suck them onto a flash drive or something portable, and put them in the new computer. Today I discovered I needed an MSWorks type application and guess what? Our laptop AND the new computer do not either one have it. The old one did. So I had to sit down and transfer files. Note on the screen, this ONE folder it is transferring says it has 114 minutes remaining in the transfer! (Also note how many folders I had done already!) When I hooked the drive up to our new computer, it transferred ALL the files in 3 minutes 14 seconds. Quite a difference. I am so spoiled.

Ok yesterday I put out a teaser about a spindle sent to me by my beautiful friend Marion in Indiana. She has a shop, Mommbaear7, but she is in well-deserved vacation mode right now.

She sent me 5.6 oz of this gorgeous superwash in pacific blue with flecks of pink and gold... also 170 yards of incredibly soft 2-ply handspun in gray and white (thinking a little top-down raglan sweater for Betsy on huge needles), and the spindle.

The top of the spindle is bone, carved with two elephants. On the underside of the bone, she has pressed and baked thin layers of this very Aborigine-design polymer clay cane in black and white turtles. I LOVE it. And you can see, I have already given it a whirl, so to speak, to test it out.

While I am mentioning whirling things, go on over to Feeling Sheepish for a wonderful giveaway of 2 oz. of handpainted milk-protein fiber!

I am going to close tonight with a product review. The other day I went in a grocery I usually don't patronize, and there were these chips made by Herr's. They had several interesting-sounding flavors, like Heinz Ketchup, Pizza, and Cheddar and Horseradish. In the interest of pleasing nearly everyone, I bought Pizza and Cheddar & Horseradish.

The pizza chips really *almost* taste like pizza. I have a comprehension problem with a product that tastes pizza-ish but is room temperature and crunches. Though I guess in my past, there were times I probably ate crunchy, 2-day-old room-temp pizza. Can't remember though (LOL!). Anyway, one with a really sensitive sense of taste can taste various flavors of tomato, garlic, oregano, and some stinky cheese, perhaps Provolone or Parmesano-Reggiano. Not bad for pizza that crunches.

The Cheddar & Horseradish chips are WOW, HORSERADISH! The cheddar flavor is a base note, but the horseradish (which I find to be slightly bitter) is strong enough to clear the sinuses after about 15 chips. Which is supposed to be the good-sense limit anyway.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just Totally... Oh, Look! A Chicken!

I get the Bad Blogger of the Year award, because it has been 8 days since I posted. I have been totally uninspired. Or perhaps rather, completely overwhelmed and exhausted. Yes, folks, even Wonder Woman needs rest sometime.

Ok, I guess first on the list. In 23 years of homeschooling, we have never had lice. I don't know how people whose kids go to school cope, but the little public-school girl next door unknowingly gifted us with lice, and despite treatments every 4 days, cleaning bedding, etc., meticulous combing and picking, I am still finding *a* nymph or two every time we treat, after 6 weeks. The kids have been good natured and patient about it. The boys shaved their heads. The rest of us, with hair ranging from 6" (Beverly) to 2 feet long (me), are just about sick of lice treatments. Maybe next time will be the last.

Did I say something about a chicken? Can't remember if I posted this or not. But our 7 week old chickens are now in their coop, and they are very happy. Don't they look happy? And I am happy that they are no longer in a large box on my front porch, in the 95-degree F heat. Whew.

So we had a yard sale. Des and Tony hauled all their stuff from moving, down here over 30 miles from their house, and I cleaned out stuff, and stuff, and stuff. We cleaned and ticketed and sorted. Put out signs, put up a tent, sat in the 95-degree heat Friday (I was out from 7:30AM to 5 PM). Saturday did it all again. I made about what my dh makes in one day at work, in the air conditioning, $100. Told my dh I could have made that on my back in 2 hours. He said "Yeah, but it might be hard to find 20 willing guys. Har, Har. (or should I say, "Ho,Ho"?) Des and I were both struck with heat prostration (mine hit on the way to church to keep the nursery, and I had to come home). If I never have another yard sale again, it would be fine.

Diantha went to auditions for a Christian modeling agency Friday evening. Saturday she got her callback. So from now until January she will have a coach, and in January she will make a trip to Orlando FL for a scouting convention from major agencies like Ford, Nickelodeon, Mattel, etc. The trip will cost $3600 so from now until then, all our Etsy profits that aren't going to the Youth Center, will go to fund-raise for her trip.

I bought some beautiful stone whorls to make some spindles out of. There are 3 or 4 more that aren't shown here but I love these. Clockwise from left:
  • Blue Dumortierite 50 mm
  • Purple Mookaite 40 mm
  • Dalmation Jasper 50mm
  • Black Onyx 40mm (very light)
  • Pink Rhodonite 50mm
  • Pink Onyx 50 mm
  • Center: Orange Mosaic Flower Turquoise 50mm (very heavy for it's size!)
  • I also got a gorgeous spindle in the mail. I will try to get pics of my surprise package tomorrow and post them. Wonderful stuff!

    So, as if two days in a row weren't enough in the heat. Sunday my little grandson Jeremiah turned 4. Big boy!! Looks *just* like his daddy too! So we all trooped to Clinton to a really nice little park which happens to be just past a rock drainage ditch across from the back yard of the house Des and Tony are buying. Hung out for a couple hours having pizza and pasta salad and cake, then retired to Des' house for the afternoon/evening where eventually I pried myself out of a really good book and made pancakes 'n' cheesy eggs for dinner and helped Des pack up a few more boxes of stuff. A week to go to Moving Day.

    Beverly held up alright in the park, but looks sleepy and sweaty here. Precious though!

    I made some Ugly yarn. I hand dyed this formerly pink to a cantaloupe color. Nice cotton-blend summer sock weight, but not quite enough for a whole pair of even short socks, unless a toe and heel are added. So I was going to put this skein of green/blue recycled sock weight that I actually BOUGHT at one time with it, like cantaloupe and rind(?), add the pattern for these socks that I did for Diantha, and sell it as a package. (Pic of the socks has been paled out for color comparison to the yarns. The real sock is hurt-your-eyes orange-red and deep turquoise, LOL) But I think I am too chicken to put it up and never see it sell. So whaddya t'ink? Should I list it? Or should I hold a giveaway on the blog and give it to someone creative? Make it conditional that they have a month to send back pics of something interesting made of it? Comments, Please!!

    Sunday, July 5, 2009

    Bombs Bursting in Air

    Yesterday, the church we go to (Faith Promise Church), had a Field Day for July 4th. They rented out the campus of Pellissippi State Tech College at Pellissippi Parkway and Hardin Valley Road in Knoxville, TN. The event was from 5-10PM but I am sure there were people there from the crack of dawn.

    The kids and I went a little early, and helped set up the Snow Cone and Popcorn booths.

    We found a nice shady area under a tree and set up camp. Here are Veronica and Josiah next to our real estate, and Beverly, studiously ignoring Mom and the camera.

    There were plenty of things to do, like this climbing wall from Knox Rocks.

    There was free food for everybody, including Coca-cola soft drinks in cans, bottled water galore, hot dogs, pulled-pork barbecue sandwiches, bags of chips from Frito Lay, popcorn bags, cotton candy, and snow cones.

    I ate part of one of Josiah's pork sandwiches (I swear that kid eats like a HORSE), other than that I drank LOTS of water and ate cotton candy. I LOVE cotton candy.

    Everyone seemed to be having a good time, like this kid with a monkey on his back. I didn't have permission to post his picture, so I put glasses on him to make him incognito. Shhh!

    There were bouncers for the little buddies, from 1 year to to 6 years:

    There were bouncers for kids from 6 to 12 years:

    There was even a section which had a couple bouncers and a couple obstacle courses, for kids from 12-20 years. There was a HUGE bandstand. This pic also shows some of the people who were there:

    Here are more people, with another view past the kiddie bouncers and over the lake:

    and even MORE people. Last time we had one of these events, in the sizzling 97 degree heat last September, there were about 4500 people who came. Since it was a balmy 87 yesterday (30C), AND it was a holiday, I can only guess at the head count. 5000? 6000? Maybe...

    Here are shots of the Popcorn, Cotton Candy, and SnoCone booths:

    There was live Christian-rock music all day. The kids ran around doing whatever kids do. B and I spent some time on the quilts, she lolling around and Mom knitting.

    A little later on, she had a nap. The kids got her a temp tattoo, which appropriately, given her mom's penchants for string and pointy things, and her own idea that she knits (which is thinly disguised as tangling up my yarn), was a sheep.

    It wasn't all fun and games. Well, yes it WAS... but...
    The church did hire a guy to come up and preach, from Texas. He was very funny, starting his short sermon out with a stretching exercise and a turn-and-rub-someone's-back deal.

    His sermon was very relevant for a public crowd, and very moving. When he gave the invitation, there were about 100 people who came forward.

    After the preaching, the bands took the stage again, the field lights came on, and the games/bouncers reopened until 9:45 pm. DH made an appearance (he had to work until 9 PM), and he and the kids and I walked around talking to people and picking up trash. Then the evening ended with a bang. Thought I would share:

    Beverly kept bouncing up and down, clapping and saying, "Awe-tum!"
    One last, which truly was an AWESOME special effect: a Lake of Fire.