Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Newest Family Members

Although I've wanted chickens forever, it was about a year ago that I became seriously interested in getting some and started a "chicken campaign" with Joe.

On Saturday we had a few errands to run in town and I asked Joe if we could run into one of the local feed stores just to see what it would cost to get set up. Little did I know that once six little kids saw the baby chicks, we would not be able to leave without getting some. (Okay, it wasn't all them. It was a lot me, as well.)

It really was not my intention to buy any that day. We were just looking. I guess that's how we ended up with eleven. But look at them. How can anyone resist? We bought four "Reds" (New Hampshire Reds? Rhode Island Reds?? not sure), two "Ambers" (have no clue on this one, even using Google), and five Araucanas. (And please don't ask me their names. I'm a terrible mom and cannot remember them all. And I cannot identify which chick belongs to what name.)

Mom-Mom had an antique chicken brooder in her attic, which was recently discovered. No one knows why it was up there, but we picked it up on our way home on Saturday afternoon. It's absolutely perfect. I imagine Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop raising baby chicks many decades ago. (My mother said they also raised turkeys, but they were mean.)

The children love the chicks. Right now the chickies are living in our recently remodeled laundry room, right off the kitchen. While we have an old (130-year-old) chicken coop on our property, it's a little close to the house and where we set up the kids' swimming pool. Over the next few weeks Joe will have to build a new one.

**Thanks for all your support from my last post. Tonight is the "Meet the Candidates" forum and I'm freaking out. I have to answer questions. On TV. Please pray for me.**

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Official

It's official.

I am running for Town Council. It's exciting and makes me terribly uncomfortable at the same time.

I actually submitted my application about two hours before the deadline on Monday, April 13th. Luckily it was a short application, or I may have changed my mind. Again.

I really thought it was a low-key election. However, there are signs going up for others and everyone is starting to ask who I am. Apparently, not many people know me in this town of 1,100 people. So, we've been hitting the "campaign trail." We are walking around town in the evenings meeting people and handing out a little bio that Joe typed.

Joe designed the kids' shirts. We used regular old boys' white under shirts and iron-on transfers on both the front and the back. The front says, "Vote for my mom for (my town) Town Council."

Joe even designed the logo on the back of their shirts.

I had shirts made for Joe and myself. Joe's says "Elect (me) for Town Council" on the front and has the large logo on the back. My shirt says "Running for Town Council" because I'm going to wear the shirts (one red, one blue) when I run through town.

(I even got my hair cut for the occasion. Eight inches ...)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Repurposed: Shower Curtain Skirt

Yes, it's true. This skirt was once a shower curtain. And I think whoever made the shower curtain, made it from a vintage sheet.

When I first found the shower curtain, I wasn't quite sure what it was I found. I thought it was a sheet. Then I saw weird hemmings and thought it was a curtain. And then I noticed all the buttonholes at the top. I didn't care what it was. I was in love with the shabby chic-ness of it and it was coming home with me. So this sheet has been repurposed twice now.

The skirt is another Simplicity 7229. So very simple. And my girl has requested a matching one "so we can be twins."

So, what's the count? I think it's three new skirts so far this spring.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cloth Napkins

Happy Earth Day! Last year I made a bunch of cloth napkins using the rolled hem feature of my serger. And, while we used them a lot in the beginning, I kind of forgot about them and paper napkins crept back into our lives. (Although, I must admit that paper are better for cleaning up spilled lemonade and for packing in my boys' lunches. I'm afraid I'd never see them again if they were in a lunchbox.)

I am trying to be more mindful of our waste. I find myself asking, "Can I reuse, reduce, recycle, or repurpose this?" about everything. I recently discovered our town has a receptacle just for paper recycling. That makes me giddy. We get tons of papers from school, so now I can load it up and drop them off at town hall.

So, in honor of Earth Day, I am giving away this set of six cloth napkins. They are made from thrifted, vintage (therefore repurposed) sheets that are leftovers from various projects. If you'd like a chance to win them, please leave a comment on this post today. I will randomly pick a winner tomorrow morning.

* * * * * *
The winner of the cloth napkins is:

Marty said...
I've been going to make some cloth napkins for a while now. Winning these would save me some precious time. I agree-some things just work better with the paper. I should re-purpose some of my sheets, but I have the habit of using them until they almost fall apart.

Marty, please email me your mailing address.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Repurposed: Tablecloth Skirt

Last week a friend of mine, Kat, gave me a bag of tablecloths. One floral tablecloth she bought for herself, and then realized it would make a cute dress/skirt, so she gave it to me. You'll probably being seeing that one soon ...

In the bag was this harvest gold tablecloth with a lace edge. As soon as I saw it, the wheels in my brain started turning. In the end, it became a skirt. Simplicity 5505, to be exact. The skirt, which says takes two hours, took 20-25 minutes, because I didn't have to hem it. It only required a quick sew up the side seams and a casing for the elastic waistband. Easy peasy. And, had I listened to the little voice inside my head that said, "Check the tension on the serger before you start, Lera" it may have taken less time. And, had I listened to that same little voice yesterday morning that said, "Turn the crock pot on high for now and then turn it back to low," my dinner may have been done at dinner time and not bedtime.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day Legs

Earth Day is coming! Are you ready?

I found some cute little Earth Day socks at the store a month or so ago and decided that Spenser just needed another reason (or not) to have some more legwarmers to add to her collection. This is one of two pairs that I made for her, although Sawyer is the one modeling them this time. With his cute little piggies and rolled-up camo pants.

And in celebration of Earth Day, we have an extra pair to give away. Just leave a comment on this post today and I will pick a name Tuesday (Tuesday as in tomorrow) morning. If you have anything earthy to say, or any tips on how to be kind to our earth, I would love to hear it, although it is not mandatory when commenting.

Legs details:

These are shorties compared to my usual legwarmers. They are not the knee-high socks I usually use, so they will fit a younger/smaller child. They are comparable to the ones she wore on St. Patrick's Day. I would guess that they would fit a child up to age six or so, depending on the length of the child's legs. I also picked a pair that I considered unisex.

* * * * *

Thank you for playing. The winner of the Earth Day Legs is:

Sarah and Jack said...
The best thing I did after Earth day last year was to stop using paper towels. Holy moley we were using a lot of those things.I LOVE that you have the leg warmer fever. Jack adores them still!

Congratulations, Sarah. I think I have your address around here somewhere!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Doll Pillow

I am repurposing one of Mom-Mom's dresses. The original project from this dress should be titled When Sewing Goes Bad because it is having some major issues of its own. Anyway, this is actually the secondary project coming from the repurpose. You'll have to wait until next week to see the first one. After I attempt to fix it.

It's a small doll pillow made from the bodice of the dress. I kept the original buttons and buttonholes, sewed a small rectangle, and stuffed it with batting. I was hoping it would be large enough to be used as a decorative pillow for Spenser's bed, but the darn armholes were in the way.

Quick and simple. My kind of project. Now I have to tackle the demon that is the first project. Ugh.

Happy weekending to you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

When Sewing Goes Bad

I was busy sewing along on my serger when suddenly a section of already-serged fabric somehow popped over the cutter and bent the heck out of my needle. Can you see that? It was so loud and unexpected, it scared me to death.

Thankfully, it was a quick remedy. Well, the replacing of the needle was quick. Having to re-thread and make sure everything else was okay took longer.

Have you had any moments when sewing has gone bad?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Remember when I woke up itchy last week from my new laundry detergent? Well, I'm so very sorry that I complained about that. Because, in perspective, that was nothing. At the time, it was a major ordeal. In retrospect, I'd love to have that itchy rash all over my body right about now.

Last week, Joe was out of town. After giving the little ones baths on Tuesday night, I noticed a little something that was "off" in Spenser's freshly-washed hair. It looked like a fruit fly or a gnat. But upon further inspection, it appeared to be a tick ... or worse. Head lice.

As I found a few of these bugs, full panic set in. This is our first case of lice. And there was some living in my girl's hair. I checked all the boys, and they seemed fine.

Joe was out of town, and because I wanted to treat this sooner than ASAP, I called his mother to stay with the children so that I could drive 20 minutes into civilization to remedy this problem. $58 later, I was armed with shampoos and sprays.

And then my hell began.

I shampooed and combed her hair for hours. (Not getting started until 10:30 p.m. and ending around 1-ish.) I was up until 2:30 a.m. doing laundry. Then laid in bed with an adrenalin rush (and complete and utter paranoia) until I first closed my eyes around 3:30. My eyes did not stay closed for long as the horrible bug dreams started and I woke up often to turn on the lights and inspect my bed. I didn't know if it was the paranoia, or sympathy itch, or lice itself, but I was one itchy mama. (Poor Joe was in Florida itching at the news.)

By Wednesday morning, after two hours of total sleep, I re-checked the boys and discovered lice. After a return trip to the store, and $110 later, I had enough shampoo and spray and new pillows for a small army. Or, in other words, our family. All in all, five of the six had it. Thankfully, all the cases were mild and I caught it just in time for it to spread around, but not totally infest their heads.

About 50+ loads of laundry later (I kid you not), I feel less icky in my house. I can relax when my head is on my own pillow. I cannot relax when I am sitting on the sofa (which is vacuumed daily now).

My hands are raw. I'm still itching up a storm (I did treat myself, just in case!). But I survived with minimal tears. I have never been so tired in all of my life. But, I had super-human strength that carried me through. All of my children got nice new hair cuts for Easter because I decided it would be easier on me to re-treat their hair this week. Spenser had her final treatment yesterday. Today is the day for the boys. So far, all is good.

So that itchy rash from last week? Yeah. That pales in comparison.

(And I feel that I must apologize to you now. I'm sorry that I made you itchy. Go ahead. You can scratch. No one can see you. And just be happy that you've been at a safe distance from us this past week.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Dresses

It's nice to be back in this space after a little break. The boys had off of school for a few days and it's been a wild and hairy ride. They are all heading back today and I'm looking forward to some peaceful moments with only two at home.

About a week before Easter, it occurred to me that I had given no consideration to our Easter outfits. For the past two Easters I've made ties for all the boys in the family and dresses and skirts for the girls. I quickly whipped up two dresses (Simplicity 3835 and 4206) for me and the girl, but the ties, well ... they just didn't happen this year. Life got in the way and, sadly, my little Easter tradition did not make the cut. (Joe also informed me that he does not like to tie the cotton ties and that it was a pain in the butt to do so. Even for one day.)

The dresses are made from a Shabby Chic sheet that Karyn spotted while thrifting in Maryland last summer. We split the set and I put it aside for Easter. And then forgot about it. And now I see I had the sheet pre-destined for the boys' ties. Totally forgot about that one, too.

And no Easter outfit is complete without green shoes. (Actually, my black toenails, which I've yet to paint, were too ugly to expose with my pink shoes and I just didn't have energy to paint them.) But the dress has green in it.

* * * *

Oh, today is Sawyer's first post-op appointment. I am very happy to report that the doctor called (March 30th ::ahem::) and left a message that Sawyer's biopsy is fine. I didn't check my voicemail until April 7th ... I could have known so much earlier ... and stressed so much less ...

AND I forgot to report back that in February, the bank robber was caught and arrested. He was from a neighboring town.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

For the Girl

My mother and aunts have been cleaning out Mom-Mom's house, getting ready to put it on the market, and they came across the eyelet dust ruffle that used to be on her bed. They were about to throw it away (she had cut it to fit around her hospital bed), but my mother thought that I could re-purpose it somehow.

And somehow I did.

My first thought was a little petticoat for Spenser. It's for her dress-up drawer and will go perfectly with her bloomers, pinafore and mob cap. I {heart} dress-up clothes. I would totally wear this set if I could...

The second idea I had was to make a skirt similar to what Miss Chris did. This skirt set is actually one piece. The petticoat is sewn into the top skirt. I wanted the skirt to be a little longer and prairie-like for Spenser. After I finished sewing it, it would appear that the petticoat hangs down a little longer than I like. I think I'll have to fix that before she wears it.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Simplicity 7229

We had some nice springy weather this weekend. Saturday was windy. I think Sunday was perfect, but I never went outside.

Springy weather means skirt weather. I'm kind of bored with all of my skirts, so I decided I'd make a few more for spring. This is the first of, hopefully, many to come.

It's Simplicity 7229 made from some vintage fabric that was gifted to me a while back. This skirt is so very simple. I first made this skirt almost two years ago. It's been a love-hate, so I decided to try it again ... I think there will be more.

* * *

On Saturday morning I awoke with an itchy-burny rash all over my body. I only noticed the itchy arms at first, but after my shower I realized my whole front was covered in red welts. The only thing I can think of is the new "he" laundry detergent I had to buy recently for our new washer/dryer set. I religiously wash our bedsheets every Friday and this was the first time I used the new detergent to wash our sheets. I spent all of Saturday itching and scratching and trying to stay awake while under the influence of Benadryl. 10:30 p.m. Saturday night I decided I could not sleep in those sheets again, so I stripped the bed and found some old sheets to put on the bed. I'm still itchy. I also spent yesterday morning re-washing all the clothes I have worn in the past two weeks in different detergent. (Not 100% sure that new stuff is non-itch-proof either.) I had to stay indoors on Sunday because I had no clean clothes to wear! I have a pair of pajamas that I don't wear often (therefore not washed recently) and stayed in them all day.

(Spenser had a few red dots on her cheeks last week after I washed her sheets and Jackson had some yesterday ... Both are fine now. I'm the only one still itching.)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Fun Lollies

I tried to think of a fun April Fools' joke to play on you. But, I couldn't think of anything as good, and believable, as last year's. (If you weren't around for last year's joke, make sure you also read the followup to post here.) Oh, ha ha. The joke was kind of on me last year.

Anyway, I had seen these funny mustache molds and thought they'd be hysterical to pack in the boys' lunches for today. I made them last night, while doing the dishes. And watching TV. And shooing the older two out of the kitchen.

I asked my favorite girl to pose with one this morning, as soon as the big boys were off to school. If Spenser's and Sawyer's reactions are anything like what the boys' will be like, they're sure to be a hit.

Do you have any jokes planned for today?

* * * Random News: * * *

Yesterday morning, around midnight, I awoke with horrible body aches and chills. It was a terrible night. My MIL came to get the boys ready for school. (Joe had to leave at 5:30 a.m. for work.) She stayed until I crawled out of bed around 11-ish. Thank goodness the worst of it was over in 12 hours.

Because I was weak for the rest of the day (with some minor aches and pains), Joe picked up fried chicken for dinner. This day will go down in history: all six of my children ate mashed potatoes. This is huge.

Last night Jackson had a karate exam. He advanced from yellow belt to red belt. Congratulations, Jackson!

Also last night, the mayor asked Joe if he or I would consider running for town council. There are some vacancies ....