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Friday, April 20, 2018

Sweet Stacey Time

Stacey had a doctor's appointment yesterday morning. When she and I are together, there usually is a trip to the coffee shop for coffee or tea. Yesterday was another one of those days where winter tried to keep its hold on us. We opted for warm beverages.

There is usually a quick stop at the closest Goodwill or Salvation Army too. She has a project that she wants to tackle with me in the next couple weeks and it involved upcycling three sweatshirts. The new huge Salvation Army was right on our way home so that is where we stopped.

As always, even after pledging to each other in the car that we will ONLY look as sweatshirts, we end up looking at other things too. So, Matt got a new pair of Crocs and we picked up a cute new pair of brown dressy shoes for Dawn and a sweater that just "looks like Dawn" even still just hanging on the hanger.

I also eyed up a super cozy gray long pullover fleece sweatshirt with the tags still on. I found two other shirts I loved. They were both half price with green tags so they went right in the cart. The pullover fleece was full price so I debated a little. Still, who could pass up a great fleece for the full price of $3.50? Apparently, not me! We got confirmation on the way home that it was a good purchase. In the sky we saw some plane lines in the shape of an XL! My fleece is an XL and we joked that it was meant to be. Today I am enjoying my XL fleece pullover because even though the calendar says April, it is still cold around here!

I will be honest, I have a draft post full of all of my frustrations in my house this week. I will never post it because it is not nice to complain about our blessings even if they are having trouble remember or maybe selectively remembering their chores. I haven't been a model mom. But, I appreciate God giving Stacey and I a time to reconnect. It is just what we needed. I need to do that with all of my kids which is great because that is my favorite part of being a mom...tapping into their heartbeats and cheering them on.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Little Crochet Gingham

When I started this project, I thought it was cool to be able to make a gingham look with yarn. As I got into it though, I started hating the process. You have to bring the color that you are not using along with you when you work so I spent most of the time trying to either keep the yarn untangled or I would have to stop and untangle if I let it go too long.

Here is the funny thing, as I read the finishing details in the pattern there was a link at the very bottom that connected to a YouTube video that showed how to work and keep the yarn straight! Yes, I am one of those who is notorious for not reading the pattern or instructions all the way through before starting. That tendency has come back to bite me many times…you would think I would learn.

As I worked in my tangled mess of yarn (caused by my own neglect to read through the pattern), I wasn’t sure even as I came closer to the end that I would love it as much as I hoped I would. But, with the squares all done and the hanging yarn weaved in, I was getting my hopes up. I thought I would look to find different edges for blankets and came upon the ruffling effect. Yes…that is what I wanted to do. You do three double crochet stitches in every stitch around. It took a while but I am so glad that I chose that one because once it was all done I was in love with it!

Of course choosing this edging used more yarn than I had purchased but I was still hoping to finish with the yarn I had bought to start with. Of course, you could guess what happened...I had about eight-ten inches to finish when I ran out of yarn. It is a common brand and type so I was able to get the rest quickly. Now I have some hot pink yarn to use on a small little project. Either that or some more granny squares. I am getting the granny square bug again since winter seems to be lingering here in Iowa this year. Looking at the completed project and now knowing that there is a way to keep the yard from tangling, I will keep this pattern for another day. I do like how it turned out!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Little Pinterest Inspiration

The boys tackled their room this weekend. There will still be piles of things to go through and things to move into the room once the proper place is determined. Last summer we had moved the furniture around to see if a new view would give them more motivation to keep the place clean. Well, it actually made things worse. So, David had them in there working on Saturday morning and they got the furniture moved back to the way it was before.

One problem that they have always had is the overabundance of stuffed animals. I had pinned a project to help that problem awhile back and as I was going through fabric in my new sewing space, I found my red and gold fleece. Not having a large enough amount of any other fabric that would be comfortable, I used the fleece.

They now have a stuffed animal "bean bag" chair. It has a zippered bottom where the animals can come and go as they play. When they aren't playing with them, they are tucked away in the cushion. They were surprised at how many fit inside and then again when we tried to lift it. It is pretty heavy! I think it will be a great addition to their room and hopefully an even better tool to keep their things tidy!

My favorite part of the project is that everything that I used, I already had, including the zipper.

The lining on the inside is some hot pink leftovers from curtains that my mom gave me. I didn't have a clue what I would use the fabric for but it worked very well for this project. As you can see, when it is zipped up you can't see the pink at all. I had only one zipper that was long enough and it just happened to be gray to match the front panel. I loved the way it turned out!

I used two links to find the instructions for this project. I did a couple of things differently but overall you can get this with these two links if you are interested. It has been awhile since I have tackled a Pinterest project. I messed up a bit on the lining but fortunately you can't see that can you?

Thread Riding Hood
Googie Momma

Monday, April 9, 2018

Basement Update Post #1

I pulled my hair back in a headband as I got ready for my day...did you hear me? I said, I put a headband in my hair (LONG ENOUGH hair to pull back!!!!) Anyway, after getting super giddy about having to pull my hair back out of my eyes,  I got down to the basement over the weekend! I am excited to share the little bit of the progress even though it isn't that much in the whole scheme of things. Actually, I will take that back. It is a huge thing for me because it got the wheels turning to go through the things that I haven't even touched since we moved! (Refer back to the fact that a year ago I was still wearing a wig and well, before that it was radiation, and before that chemo, and before that eight surgeries. I guess you could say I have gotten a bit sidetracked). But, more about how I have been sad about the years I haven't been "me" on a different day.

Instead, lets talk about how I started with the paper and yarn craft area trying to organized the shelves with the things that we need. I went through so much and have a garbage bag full to show for it! I should have probably taken a picture last week before the moving began because even though I have barely touched the things in this part of the house in years, it was organized pretty good (at least all of the puzzle pieces aka bins and drawers fit nicely on the shelves). I set up a card table and I was able to go through about four bins/baskets of things that have just been shoved into something to get it out of the way. Now it all has a place on the shelf.

I went through pictures...lots of pictures and found some favorites. It was therapeutic and fun all at the same time.

Look at these...oh so many fun memories just about the actual day each one of these pictures were taken! A story for each one. Stacey was down with me for a little while and we just kept pulling out pictures and saying "OOOH, look at THIS one!" This is the fun part of the work I did this weekend. Pulling out memories and smiling. One of the poses when the triplets were two has them laying on their tummies in a row. We opted for that pose because little did we know that Stacey had a fractured leg we didn't find out about til the next day. We just knew she wasn't wanting to put any weight on it. Like I said, each one has a vivid memory with each pose!

Oh and then this little man...I didn't lay pictures out for each kid although I certainly could, there were plenty that I paged through. Lots of great memories of Zach's picture days too. (He has some hilarious stories from his portrait days!)

Now that I have had a little fun down there it will be easier to go and get to work. This week however, it doesn't look like I will get back down there til around Wednesday afternoon. I hope to jump to my cutting table so that I can work on a quilt that I have in my head.

Baby steps...I told myself that before I started all of this. So, I am pretty pleased that I took a few over the weekend. David even had Matt and Zach help move some of the lighting fixtures so that the will be centered over my sewing and cutting tables. I am positive already that I will love it more than my old space.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Okay...I'm Gonna Do It!

Here I go, posting the MESS that is my sewing/crafting "room". Let me give you a disclaimer, none of my children or anyone else's children are buried anywhere in the mess although there were a few tense moments as I put some of them to work moving all the stuff! You see, the best "bang for our buck" in our basement would be for us to put the two bedrooms and bathroom where my sewing machines and craft tables were. That means that my sewing "room" needed to move.

First things first...I had to set up an area where I could
sew no matter what the place looks like around me!
I am going to be transparent here and maybe some of you can hold my feet to the fire. Do I want an organized area to sew and create? Of course!!! Do I want to go downstairs in the chilly basement by myself and go through everything I have to purge and organize? Not when the family keeps having NCIS marathons upstairs in this cold April and there are crochet projects to work on!

So, to get my feet in the fire, I will post my mess. I am not sure when you will all get an update, these kinds of acts of desperation don't always work for me. But, since I really do have the end goal to be organized (and a list of projects that need to be completed), I do think I will make my way down there. Starting today. I put before myself the picture in my mind of me downstairs during the 90 degree months in the cool of my basement as kids run through the sprinkler outside the window. I better get busy...I can't imagine it being 90 again with the single digit temps this weekend, but I do trust that the One who holds the earth on its axis will bring summer in due time, even if He decides to skip spring this year.

All right...let me take you on the tour.
Above was the zoomed in view...this one would
be the step back and see the wide angle view.
Sadly, I can't tell you much of what is in those piles...just that many many projects done without me cleaning up after myself made me shove all kinds of things into boxes and bins. One by one I will go through them. Ugh.

Here is the yarn and paper craft area. The big
shelving unit was emptied and moved, much
of what is seen here just needs to be organized
and put back on the shelves.
I may have to purge some things before I put them back on these shelves. There are a lot of things I haven't used in a  long time. I get to decide if I will find a good use for them in the next year, or if they are just weighing me down. There will be an eight foot counter along that back wall (those who have been in my garage for garage sales may not recognize it without the saw horses that it usually sits on to display our merchandise!) I will definitely post when it goes in. I have been waiting to get it out of the garage and used since we moved in back in 2013!
So, here it is from the opposite direction. Again,
shelves that need to be organized. I could
move these without emptying them but they do
need to be emptied and again, purged and organized!
Woo Hoo! The bracket that my mom had on the
back of her tv from the old kitchen was still
attached to the back of it where it sat in her living room.
It fits on mine!
So, there it is! It is safe to say that if you can't get ahold of me, I may be stuck down there sorting through stuff. There is a lot that I can use, it just isn't (and honestly, wasn't in the other location) easily accessible. I am not really a organization guru and when I go all out to organize I usually find a way that I can't really maintain, or maybe it wasn't such a good idea in the first place.

I will think through as I go and Mom next door has already been a huge help! She IS the ultimate in organizing sewing areas. I love hers! I look forward to many projects getting done once it all gets put back together. It will happen, hopefully in a timely manner. To be honest, I am used to working over a mess so I will admit that two projects have already been done in my new space. So if worse comes to worse...stay tuned!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Long Winter Woes

How can it be the week after Easter? It isn't always this bad, but let me tell you, this is the longest winter we have had in a long time! So long that the first week of soccer games are cancelled because at 8 a.m. on Saturday the temps are supposed to be in single digits! So, another snuggle up cozy weekend when we should be out tilling through our soil and preparing the ground for planting soon. Well, at LEAST we should be getting out the swing and the patio furniture!

Enough of my belly-aching. We actually did have a nice Easter. We were able to enjoy our traditional Easter activities. Church at 9:25 followed by brunch with the fam at our house. Then there was a little time for a nap, and then off to my parents for Easter dinner all together. We have only one still interested in egg hunting so big sister Stacey stepped up and asked if she could hide them for Matthew this year. She said he told her he wanted them to be hidden so they would be hard to find. She took him seriously!

I was in the house when she came in and said she hid them REALLY good. She then explained that you can't see any of them because she buried them! What? I told her that is probably not what he meant. It was hard, so this year Matthew played "hot or cold" and eventually found all ten! The fun part is that she got some good pictures of him. He is kind of a ham if you couldn't tell! At least last weekend they could go out in a hoody. This weekend we are back in winter coats. I hear that this should be the last of winter striking in the next couple of days.

Zach is telling me that on April 21st will be 60 degrees and after that it will not go lower than that. So, there it is the good news. As I pulled out my winter coat yesterday I was thankful that I at least I am able to keep warm during all of this. I am a BIG fan of hibernation in November but in April...not so much!

As I finish up my musing, I am engaging in mental debate. When I finish here should I venture out in the cold and wind to pick up toilet paper? OR, should I pull out a couple extra tissue boxes I have in the hall closet and strategically place them on the back of the toilets in the house? These are the questions this silly weather has me pondering today!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Little More Life Left

I have mentioned this week that I am working hard making a big move in the basement. It is such a disaster that I have not taken pictures of progress because it doesn't seem like too much when I think of all I have left to do.  But thanks to my mom's help yesterday I was able to get the rugs and all of the shelves and tables moved over to their new place.

Now, it is determining lighting and placement of machines, cutting table, and counter top that will serve as a place to organize and work on future projects (like card making and photo books, quilts and other fun handmade gifts). I do have to say that I am a little excited. BUT, I am a lot excited about a little project that has come out of the first big move day.

You can see the particle board on the
front where the fake strip had fallen off.
I have had this little shelving piece since my mom and her siblings were cleaning out my grandpas house. I remember where it sat in their house in the hall way to the bathroom. Every so often a new or different knick knack would be sitting on one of the shelves. It has been in my basement in the last two houses I have lived in and held more practical things like pen cups or paper and other things I used in my crafting. When I did the last rearrange of the furniture in my sewing area I found that my scrapbooks fit like a glove on the shelves and so it has been down there holding on to our family memories. Seems fitting...except for one thing. They never get seen or looked at in my sewing area.

Fast forward to this afternoon. As we were emptying the contents of the shelves so we could move it, I was pretty sure I didn't want the family albums to be moved into a deeper corner of the basement more out of the way than they were before. So, I brought it upstairs, moved around some little pieces of furniture and found a place for it to sit.

It is no priceless antique but instead mostly particle board and 70's spindles but I thought that maybe I could spruce it up a bit. We are in no place of late to purchase brand new furniture and well, it is a memory that could actually be functional. The little strips of fake "wood" had fallen off of a few of the levels but because of the little door on the bottom every time one strip would fall off, I would stash it inside the cabinet part. So, I had every little strip to glue back on once I found a place for it.


Excited when I realized it would work!
Then there was the hardware. It also dated the piece and so after remembering some things I have in our "junk" drawer I measured and figured that the pull I had left over from our whirlwind "flip the house" month we had getting our old house ready to sell would work perfectly! It was a little tricky getting the holes drilled on a door that was already mounted but I found some longer screws and think it turned out pretty great considering I haven't bought a single thing for it. All of the strips of fake wood were re-glued on and I turned the little top do hickey another half turn and hid the crack on the wall side.
After I got it all glued I was able to sort through the books and put them in order by year. Zach is having a ball going through these books that he never knew were downstairs! They had a blast looking at the books and trying to figure out where their story started as part of our family. Lots of talk about grandmas and grandpas and great this and great that. If nothing else, the time I have spent on this project has already been worth it!

 As Zach opened up book after book he was so excited to see how he smiled when he was a baby, showing me his favorite pictures with his siblings and even excited about the heritage albums. Opening one of the albums he said "these are like a key to the past!"

Those who know me know that that is music to this moms ears! It was also a big of a kick in the pants to get the books I have in progress finished and on a shelf too! I really think that me spending the time to purge and organize the things I do downstairs will be the "key to our future!" Meanwhile, it looks like this memory piece has a little more life left in it after all. I giggle as I have typed "piece" throughout this blog talking about this particle board unit as if it was some priceless addition to our living room! We all have our own definition of "priceless".

Now I just have to decide what to stash in the little cabinet at the bottom! I love a good place to stash stuff!