Thursday, June 28, 2007

WIPs

Thank goodness it's Friday. Joe came home last night, after being out of town this week.

One of the first things I did was cut out some fabric for a new outfit for Spenser. I have been feeling very sewing-deprived lately. (I was also feeling sleep-deprived, but what's new? That always happens when Joe is away.)
Yesterday afternoon Mason and Spenser played outside with a bucket of water, the kitchen set, and some old rags. I peeked out of the door and found Mason scrubbing the deck. Incidentally, a few months ago he and Jackson took crayon to the deck and made a very horrible mess. You can see some of the swirly remnants of the great crayon adventure in the wet spots. We had told the boys that when the time came, they had to scrub the deck to remove their crayon creations. I guess this is part of Mason's WIP.

I think I forgot to mention that Carter and Jack are at "art camp" this week at their school. For only $5 per child, they have gone every morning this week from 9-11 a.m. and had a blast. They have been working with clay. On Monday they built castles; Tuesday - unicorns; Wednesday - dragons; Thursday - shields. I think they thought today was knights or swords (although I can't believe they'd make weapons at school). I won't be able to show their WIPs until next week or so, after everything has been fired in the kiln. I can't wait to see what they created all week.

Our school has five weeks of camp this summer. All for only $5 a week per child. A local (large) business donates money to the school to pay for all other expenses, including the teachers' salaries. They also have drama, computer, and two weeks of sports camp. My boys are going to do one week of sports camp (which they usually do each summer). The other camps were either scheduled during other summer plans or they weren't interested in (drama camp). Just one more reason I love my small town.

Go-Kart Racing

Last night for cub scouts pack meeting the boys had a go-kart race.

This is Carter (left) racing his cousin.

Each boy raced two times. The final race was between my two boys, Taylor (left) and Carter (right). I don't have any pictures of the actual race because I videoed it on my camera. Let's just say that there was a near accident. Carter started off with steering issues (from the boy who pushed him) and sharply cut in front of Taylor, who somehow missed colliding into him. Carter veered off into the grass and Taylor continued down the hill. Carter's pit crew helped him back on the "track" and he almost finished the race, before running off the road again before the finish line. It was quite an adventure. My heart stopped beating on occasion.

Jackson and Mason were too little to ride, so they sat on the stone wall of the cemetery and were spectators. Sometimes they ran down the hill to "help" the bigger boys bring back the go-karts. Mostly they hitched a ride on the way back up.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Virtue Bunting


At church I work in the Young Women's program. It's very intimidating to me. I've served in the children's program [for many, many years (before I had children) but children are more forgiving if you don't know what you're doing]. I've served in the women's program (I am a woman, I could relate). I have not been in the Young Women's program since I was a young woman. That's what's intimidating.

Last night I had to give a lesson on virtue, our theme for this year. This lesson had me totally freaking out. I don't know why I let these things stress me out like they do. It happens every time I have to teach or talk in front of people. Even though I did a ton of research prior to writing my lesson, I sat down and worked on my lesson on Monday night from 9:00 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. and then throughout the day on Tuesday. Oh, and did I mention it was a 5-10 minute lesson? Yes. Stress. That's what happens to me. And did I mention that I usually get so nervous that I speak a mile a minute and no one can understand me? I don't think that happened last night. I'm trying to get better at that. (Deep breaths. Deep breaths.)

Anyway, to go along with my lesson, I made a virtue bunting to hang up for display. At some point in the near future, it may be on our bulletin board at church. It wasn't the best sewing job, so I may not even admit that I made it. lol. However, I used what I had, so it's headed for flickr.

Thoughts for the day:

1- Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

2- ...let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly...

Cheery Cherry Fabric

Remember the day that I had a bunch of surprises, only one of them was good? Turns out, I had some very good surprises that same day.

That day I received an email from a (lurking) reader, Diane, who offered to send me some of her cherry fabric (now known to me as the "cheery cherry fabric" because it makes me so happy). However, Diane didn't just send the fabric. She put together a "little 'Thank you for entertaining me with your blog' package" (her exact words), except it wasn't little.

Yesterday I received the cheery cherry fabric, along with a bunch of very cool buttons, trim, ribbon, magnet, needle book, patch, notepad, Bath & Body Works aromatherapy goodies,

a very cool magazine on Louisville, fabric, a bag of yo-yo's,
patterns (including doll clothes, dresses, pajamas, chair, and misc. clothing),
and for the children's boredom bucket: gummy candies (yum!), a wooden doll to color, and some foam clothespin kits.

Diane, I am completely overwhelmed. Your kindness and generosity amaze me. Thank you so very much. You are right, the cherry fabric will look great as a skirt for Spenser with the red gingham rickrack. Must get to work on that!

Also that same day, Katie left a comment saying that she was going to send me some of her cherry fabric, because, as we all know, Katie is stashbusting. I emailed her and tried to tell her not to send it, but I think her response was something like, "it's already done, missy." Thank you, Katie.
And then, remember our toilet incidents? Well, Teresa informed me that we could just buy a toilet tank and not the entire toilet, which is saving us hundreds of dollars. We have ordered the new tank and are awaiting its arrival. (Joe is out of town again, so I'm hoping by the time he gets home, the new tank will be ready and waiting. It was supposed to be delivered yesterday, I think, but it's not here yet.) Thank you, Teresa, for your toilet expertise. With the money we're saving, I might be able to buy some fabric ... just kidding. I signed up for the challenge last night, kicking and screaming. I didn't have a choice.

edited to add: I hope you all weren't thinking I was being a cherry-fabric beggar. Truly it was not my intention. It was just the kindness of friends. (I'm beginning to feel a little self-conscious now.)

Old and New

On Saturday night I had to iron the boys' white church shirts. Because I was bored, I decided to make some more bias tape while the iron was hot and ready. It amazes me how much fun I can have making it. The only problem? I'm getting too old. My neck started to hurt from looking down. Why must all good things come to an end?

Somehow my micro-beads went on the lam and decided to run amuck over my dining room. They are so dang staticky that they are making cleanup a real headache.
Yesterday I got to hold a nine-hour-old baby. So. Very. Tiny. So much tinier than my nine-month-old chunky baby. It just seems like yesterday. Well, more like nine months ago today ...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Family Fun

My children have been getting along surprisingly well so far this summer. And they are trying new things. I love these moments that I captured.

Spenser and Mason watching the big boys in the pool and on the trampoline.Spenser feeding Carter her sno-ball. (And if you look closely near his elbow, you will see that she spilled some on his swim trunks. I think that's why he looks so afraid of her.)

My way of keeping Sawyer occupied for a few minutes while taking pictures of the other children. (Don't worry, my wallet doesn't have any coins that he could choke on.)

A trip to the pool with a friend. It took almost all day before Spenser was brave enough to go into the water. She liked hanging out on the side of the pool filling the watering cans and buckets. Once she was in, I couldn't keep her out. Unless I was taking her to the bathroom for the millionth time.
Jack caught mid-air ... This year is a first for him.

Thunder and rain ended our pool day a little too soon. On our way home, we got stuck by the train on Main Street. We never seem to mind waiting for the train to pass (unless someone has to go to the bathroom).

And look at these adorable tank onesies I found at Walmart (3-pack for about $6). Won't they look so cute appliqued? If you are interested in them, you better go quickly. I only found one package of boys 12-months (they were out of 18-months) and I was told they only get one shipment per summer. When they're gone, they're gone until next summer.

(P.S. They also have girly ones. They aren't with the regular onesies, they were on a free-standing display kind of thing.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Embroidery

I'm out of sorts. This summer thing is for the birds. I have no time to craft. I have no time clean (something I need to do). Instead, I'm on pool-watching duty. The children have been swimming every afternoon for the past few days, which leaves me glued to the rocking chair, watching the boys in the pool and listening for the napping baby. In between, taking Spenser to the bathroom 999 times. No lie. No accidents though.

One thing I've been working on a little bit here and there (at poolside and karate) are these little embroidered trees. Mason's favorite tree is the weeping willow, which he affectionately calls "monster trees." As we drive down the road (any and all roads), we point to all the monster trees we can find. I think I know where each one is on our way into town.

I embroidered these trees so I can remember his sweet innocence. And about how he was afraid of these trees last summer and isn't this summer. And how Spenser is afraid of these trees now.

The tree on the left has little green leaves (hard to see) and I filled in the trunk. The one on the left is entirely brown with a hollow trunk. I'm not sure which I like better. (Care to share your opinion?)

I've thought about branching out and making different kinds of trees (branching out -- ha ha ha). And then maybe making them into pillows or totes or patches or something. I really have decided what I'm going to make with them. I think I'll have plenty of time this summer to make them.


And I wanted to show you this little miniature cherry pie. (Don't judge me by my crust -- I don't like to bake and I was running out of dough and I was hoping to hurry up and finish so I could clean the flour that was all over me and the kitchen. I made a big mess.) I made five on Saturday night. Our church gives them to the fathers on Fathers Day every year. I always make extras to give to my two neighbors who are widowers. It's become a little tradition. I know my neighbors enjoy them and they always say, "cherry pie is my favorite," which I remember from year to year, but act surprised and pleased when they tell me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Music, an Art Show, and Water Fun

Yesterday we went to see the United States Air Force Heritage Brass (band). They performed a children's concert and it was excellent. Even more excellent because it was free.
It was held at the local art council, so after the show we headed into the "art gallery." Taylor is studying this piece of art made entirely from bubble gum. Incredible.
Carter is studying this "amateur" piece made by the patrons. The "S" on the right was made by my niece, Sheyla, and the little dot about the "A" on the lower left was Mason's. The bowl in front held the gum.

Afterwards, we headed home for a little water fun for Spenser on our deck (while the other children swam in the pool and jumped on the trampoline).Just add water, bubbles, a sponge, and some dishes, and it equals hours of fun. Hours.
And a little grumpy girl, who has almost completely mastered this potty thing. She is giving me the evil eye for taking her picture.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Boredom Not Allowed

I'm putting a ban on summer boredom. The children are not allowed to be bored. I don't want to even hear that word. To combat what would be boredom if I hadn't banned it, I've put together some ideas to keep them me happy this summer.

Walking to get Slurpees from 7-11 which includes:
red tongues.
A "boredom bucket" filled with wooden put-together kits; pony bead animal lanyard kits; pipe cleaners; ready-to-be-painted plaster dragons;


cash register tape to draw on (from my friend, Jen's swap shop find); a "call bell;" children's pastels; candy wax bottles;
Archie comics; word finds; origami book (complete with origami paper); and Origami with Dollar Bills.

The boys are allowed to pick one a day. As soon as I introduced it to them yesterday, they went wild. They couldn't decide what to do first. Two chose the wooden kits (a tank and bi-plane) and one chose a skunk bead lanyard. It was fun. And a little stressful because they all wanted help at the same time. They are already planning what they are going to do today.

Most of the items were picked up at Walmart (lanyard kits, pipe cleaners, comics, plaster dragons, bell) or Michaels (origami books using my 40% coupons, pastels, wax bottles, wooden kits). I will be replenishing as needed.

This morning we are heading out to a free military (Air Force?) band concert for children at the local art council.

Also planned for this summer Free Family Film Festival (others theater chains do it, too) and bowling (kids with a report card get one free game a week).

Monday, June 18, 2007

A New Room

Joe is home. He came home Friday night. Earlier than I expected. He caught an earlier flight home from El Paso, where he was attending the Sergeants Major Academy. He was supposed to go last year, but he broke his arm just weeks before he was supposed to leave. I guess it all worked out in the end.

While Joe was away, I had a secret Work in Progress. You've seen snippets of it, but I was pretty tight-lipped about it, as to not ruin the anniversary/Fathers Day surprise.

I painted our bedroom. It used to be purple. Now it's a light aqua. I love it.

I won't go into detail about the first wrong color choice (that made me feel like I was living in a swimming pool); or the fact that I had to sand and prime several times; or that I came down with mastitis in the middle of this project; or that my friend, Kim, came to the rescue and painted trim while I had a bruised palm. The fact is, it's finished ... almost.

Every night while Joe was away, I burned the midnight oil. I painted or cleaned or sewed or moved furniture every night (except the night I was the sickest). When he came home Friday night, a night early, I hadn't finished.

This is the direct passage into Spenser's bedroom and the baby's makeshift nursery from my side of the bed.

A corner where the attic steps are in our bedroom. I really want to get a wooden chair and paint it red. I think. I still need some type of window treatment (which was scheduled for a late Friday-night sewing extravaganza). And when I finally find a chair I want, I will make a seat cover.


And this is where all that red gingham bias tape went. I bought a white, simple dust ruffle and added bias tape along the edge.

Joe was pleasantly surprised. He can't say I didn't warn him.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

12

June 17, 1995

Happy anniversary (and Fathers Day), Joe!

(You can read all the nice things I said about him last year. They are all the same, except I could probably add to it.)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Surprises

I've had a few surprises within the past 24 hours. Only one of them was good.

First up:

A chipped toilet tank lid. Mason went to the bathroom, threw the lid and seat up and it broke right off. I wasn't very happy with him because I always tell the boys they are too rough with everything. (I know. They're boys. But c'mon.)

That paled in comparison to this:


Within two hours, Spenser and I took a trip into the bathroom (she's doing much better, thank you) and when she put the lid down, we heard a loud bang on the bathroom floor. I found a large chunk of the toilet, but had to remove the tank lid to see where it fell from. Nice. Luckily the water level is just below the break. I guess Mason wasn't as rough with it as I had thought.

Joe's going to have a fun weekend, huh? Welcome home, honey. Replace the toilet.

And did I mention that the toilet is only six years old and that it wasn't a cheapy one either? We bought one that had an "antique" feel to it to match our original clawfoot bathtub.


This is the "good" surprise. I was thinking about making a twirly skirt for Spenser and was thinking about the red-gingham bias tape. I kept thinking how cute it would be with some "cherry" fabric, which I didn't have. In my mind I decided to use the yellow fabric that I recently acquired to go along with the red. Turns out, it has cherries on it! (I've always secretly wanted cherry fabric. I don't love this fabric, but it has cherries on it!)

Now onto that last of the not-so-good surprises of this morning. I thought, being the first non-school day of the summer, I would "sleep in" (as much as a mother can). Ha! Baby decided that he wanted to nurse at 5:00 a.m. and be all cute in bed with me and try to do some cute baby talking. Then Taylor walked into my room 7-ish and claimed he thought he had pinkeye. So much for sleeping in. (Taylor is very eye sensitive and getting drops in his eyes are worse than 4-year-old Mason.)

Bias Tape

Yesterday I tried something new. Homemade bias tape. Red gingham bias tape. I think I underestimated how much I would love it. I think I thought it would be too time consuming, especially when I can just buy a package of it. Wrong! I love it. In fact, after finishing a project and having leftovers, I'm already plotting my next project to include bias tape.


Last night after the last of the last children were in bed, I had some "sewing therapy." It was one of those kinds of nights that you don't want to remember. It started off with my decision to grill hamburgers outside. And ended with four burnt burgers, lightning and thunder, drenching rain, a spider flying right at me (yikes!), tree debris in my hair and on my burgers ... I had to run back outside in the terrible weather to put on more burgers to compensate for the ones that became blackened hockey pucks. Oh, and that was all before dinner. After dinner we had to rush out the door. Of course, this was not without incident.

So what was I saying? Oh, that's right. Sewing therapy. I sewed that patchwork pillow last night. I didn't feel like dealing with a zipper, so I did the envelope back, like Kirsten makes.

This morning Spenser walked into the room and said, "Oh, Mommy! Pretty pillow! Good gob (job)!" Glad she took notice.

And, speaking of Spenser, turns out she likes to pee in her underwear. I would say, "Are you wet?" And she would answer, "I'm fine." (But she was wet!)

It doesn't phase her. Well, it didn't at first. Later in the day I found her later changing her own underpants on several occasions. By nap time, I had washed a load of underpants. As of this morning, I think I need to do it again.
***

Thanks to Rachael for pointing me in the right direction with this nursery rhyme from yesterday's vintage sheet:


Tom, Tom, the piper's son,
Stole a pig, and away did run!
The pig was eat,
And Tom was beat,
And Tom went crying
Down the street.

A little harsh, dontcha think?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wednesday

It's been a little hectic here the past few days weeks. I'll be so happy when school is out (uh, can I recant that statement?); Joe's home; and life is somewhat "normal" again.

I've been up late every night since Joe left, except for the day I was sick. Then I could barely keep my eyes open. For the past few nights I've been working on those cards for the teachers. Last night I realized I forgot a teacher and the boys' karate instructors. Oops! I hate when that happens. I made enough cards for the forgotten teacher and we'll see if I'm brave enough to go back to the store for more lavender, although my children were very-well behaved on the last trip to the gardening store. As for the karate instructors? Oh well. We won't see them again until September (except for our mayor).

Being our first "home" day, I popped Spenser in a pair of big girl panties. Okay, technically they are big boy underpants, but she doesn't know the difference. They are the ultra-padded ones. She has been showing interest in using the potty for quite awhile, but our crazy schedule has not allowed us to be home for any length of time. With preschool and kindergarten over, we're going to give it a shot starting today.

Here are a few things that are making me happy.


Swimming and play time with cousins after school.

My new fabric from the Free Friday Fabric giveaway.

A truly adorable vintage cradle sheet. It has Little Miss Muffet, Mary Mary Quite Contrary, Jack Be Nimble and one other little guy that I forget what my mother called him (he has a horn and a stolen piggy). I found this at the thrift store yesterday. It was the only linen that I bought. And since I haven't technically signed up for the challenge, I don't even feel guilty or feel the need to explain falling off the wagon. Okay. Maybe just a little...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Winding Down


We're winding down the school year. Today is Jack's last day of kindergarten and Mason's last day of preschool. Even though Mason graduated last week, he still has school today (and since I paid a half-month's tuition back in August, he's going). They are having "sprinkler day," so he is ready and waiting in his swim trunks.

I've spent the past two nights working on teachers' gifts. This year I'm making cards and giving a lavender plant. The cards are the same as the ones I made for Mothers Day, using the Amy Bulter scrapbooking paper. They're coming together okay, but when I have ten teachers, the process is becoming a little long.

We're in a rush this morning, I still have to wrap up the plants that were too damp last night.

And, if you didn't see Spenser, go take a peek. I'm going to take it down in a few days.

Highlights

Thank you for all of your kind comments over the weekend. All of your positive thoughts and vibes worked miraculously. I have been healed. ;-)

While I was still pretty sore on Saturday, Sunday was the first morning I woke up feeling 100%. It's hard to believe I felt so terrible just a few days before, but boy am I happy it's in the past. My house looks like a war zone. Lots of little kids and a sick mama equals a messy house. I have a lot to do this week. Joe comes home on Saturday. It still seems far away, but I also feel like we're over "the hump." It should be smooth sailing from here on out. I hope.

We were able to enjoy some fun family time this weekend with cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles. We had great weather, great food, and great company.
Building a dam. Walking above the creek.

Catching butterflies with cups.

Fishing with cousins and Pop-Pop.

Catching the biggest fish of the day (Spenser)!

Watching big boys in the creek down the bank.

(I have video of Spenser trying to catch the butterfly, but I'm still working on getting it uploaded to YouTube.)