Wednesday, December 29, 2010

MIA .. sorry!

Well, it's been a crazy couple of months. I've finished the directing of the homeschool groups Christmas Play .. it was terrific, thanks for asking :)

We had a quiet Thanksgiving ... just the 4 of us .. the church's women's Christmas Brunch .. was beautiful .. great speech Tina! :) ... beautiful tables, great food .. I decorated two of those tables ...

Also went to a Christmas Music program for my niece and nephew ..

Hosted my parents on their short trip north for Christmas .. had Christmas dinner at my sisters .. and now am watching my niece and nephew today while she works since school is out for them, and they don't have daycare....

And I'm planning on trying to turn my motivation around next year. Hoping that I can get projects done, find a reason to make projects instead of staying in this slump I've been in .. and try to stay off facebook and get on with real life ..

Maybe you'll join me for the attempt .. what are your plans for next year?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Knitting - Baby Afghan

This past week or two, can't remember how long really, I've been knitting up a baby afghan. A couple of days ago, I finished it! :)

I based it off a pattern called "Mossy Diamonds" which I got from a Cloth of the Week yahoo group.

I think it turned out all right. Now I just have to find a baby to give it to! :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sewing: Old and New


The past few days I've been working on a few things...

First of all, I've been working on finishng up one of my grandma's ufo's. She left me some brown log cabin strips and one block she had made using foundation piecing. To the right is a picture of what I inherited. The logs were cut with a ruler, marker and scissors, so they are not perfectly straight like we can now get with the rotary cutter, but they were straight enough that I went ahead and made some smaller log cabin blocks to go around her larger block.

This worked pretty well, and you can see the resultant quilt top here.


Of course, I still have logs leftover, so I will be making a bag or something out of what's left. Any ideas?



I've also been working with something "new". I saw this website and the cute little card holder. I loved it, so using her directions as a jumping off spot, I made my own. I had some 10" squares from a swap and taking two of them, I stitched them face together, turned them right side out, stitched around the edges to secure and started folding. Added a button and elastic loop, and wah-lawh! :) It's kind of cute!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Birdwatching

Last Friday I went out birdwatching on my own since no one wanted to come with me. It was a good time to get out of the house and relax a bit.

I drove to Lake Ahquabi and drove around to see if there were any birds around and active. I wasn't having much luck, but then I saw some Dark-eyed Juncos (slate-colored race).




That's about all I could see at Ahquabi, but as I was leaving I was lucky enough to spot and capture on "film" this Red Tail Hawk.



I then drove up to Banner Lakes. I was truly blessed to spot this diving duck. I believe it is a Gadwall. He was diving like mad and I never could guess where he would pop up next! A lifer for me :)




Then, I spotted a American Crow. Very common, but I like this picture. Very Halloweenish :)



Also seen at Banner Lakes was a turtle sunning itself !


On the way out of the Banner Lakes area, I spotted a bunch of blackbirds. A huge flock of them. I think there were some Brewer's Blackbirds, possibly some Grackles, and a few Red-Winged Blackbirds as well.



Lastly, just before my camera died, I spotted another diving duck, and a few American Coots. I didn't recognize them at first because I'm used to seeing them in groups of a dozen or more, and I only saw 3.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Video my son made.

My son has a blog that he is doing as part of his schoolwork. This week he did a video with some shots of our backyard and leaves and such and set it to music.

It's worth a look-see! :)

This video on his blog - click here.

I'm proud of him for learning the blogging so well, and venturing out to take pictures and create movies. :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Women's Brunch Promo Video - possibly

I occasionally do promo videos for my church. We have an upcoming Christmas Brunch and so I've created this. Probably needs some tweaking.
video

Deck is finished - and almost all the chairs.

We did get the deck finished, 3 chairs, and 1 bench.

We still have the table and one chair (which needs fixing) to finish sealing, but we are happy with what we've accomplished so far.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Crafting & Recycling

Well, I've gotten a few projects done this last week or so. I thought I would share them with you.

First, I finally finished some mystery knit fingerless mitts that I had started in November 2009. I did finished the original mystery KAL, as you can see on my ravelry page, but I had a much larger gauge then what was "supposed to be" and so I turned that first one into a neck scarf/muffler, and adjusted my gauge to make matching fingerless mitts, which I just finished this past week. What do you think?
Fingerless Mitts


Also last week, I finally got out my crochet thread and made a soap sliver holder. I actually made two little bags, as you can see here:

The one on the left is made from a white crochet thread, and the one on the right is made from Louet Euroflax Wet Spun Linen yarn which I bought from Knitted Together in West Des Moines, IA a while ago. You can see the first project I made from this yarn on one of my ravelry pages as well. It was a water bottle tote.

One thing that I am really kind of proud of is this bottle.



I saw one like it on a blog yesterday morning. This blog Textiles4You is a kewl blog with all sorts of different projects and ideas. I thought it was very neat to use the bottom of a plastic bottle to make a cute bag. I used mine yesterday at homeschool group to carry a bunch of scissors that I needed for a project and the plastic kept the scissors from poking into the rest of the items in the bag. I am going to save my next larger juice bottle to make another one. It only took me a hour or two to complete the first one using a 32oz powerade bottle, so they don't take much time.

What other uses can you think of for these types of bags? One thing I know for sure, I'm not going to be using a carpet needle for the holes next time, I will be trying out a power drill! lol. It can be done with a sturdy needle, but it's hard on the hands. I think a drill and the right size bit will work much better, and shorten the amount of time that they take!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Birdwatching

Well, Seth and I went out to Marywood area to the pond there, survived the heavy winds, and did a bit of birdwatching. We were blessed with sitings of...

American Coots


Common Merganser


Pigeons


Herring Gull (I think)


A Duck that I am unsure of what it is . . . Post a comment if you know! :)


And, Seth noticed this by the side of the road when we stopped one time.

I think he was more interested in the caterpillar then it was in the ducks and other birds.

I also saw a Kestral on the way out, but didn't get a photo of him.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

God Bless This Mess

One of my favorite songs . . .


Deck - getting closer to finished ! :)

Well, yesterday afternoon I finished all the railing and the steps we don't use much, and the vertical of the step in the main part of the deck. I also finished the first jug of sealer !

Rob is thinking we'll need two more jugs, but I think just 1 more will do it. There's a lot more surface area to rails then you might think at first glance. We'll just have to see I guess... who's going to be right?

Another Sew Tara / Wild Olive Giveaway!

Sew Tara & Wild Olive have teamed up for another giveaway ... you can read about it here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Deck Saga continued.....

So, we are attempting to get the deck cleaned and put on a layer of sealer before the freezing weather hits.

We do have the deck entirely empty and spray washed! yeah!

And, we have almost all of the deck railings sealed. The last two days we've been working on that. When it gets to 60 today I will go out and finish the railing, and do the steps that we don't use much.

The rain's been holding off, it's been dry, but the temps at night are getting well below 50F, which I'm sure will slow down the drying time considerably, but that's life. We put this off for so long, now we are trying to rush to get it done.

It WILL get done, just give us a couple more days of 60-70 deg F weather, and we'll be finished!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rob has a new toy.

So my hubby Rob has a new toy. He was having quite an enjoyable time with it this week. He bought a .. get ready ... a power washer! lol.

He's been thinking about it for awhile, but finally caved in and bought one. I was a little amazed actually, usually he takes much longer to purchase something.

Anyway, he got it,and immediately had to try it out, and so now we have two clean squares on our driveway! I didn't realize that it was so dirty, but after he used the power washer, you can certainly tell the difference!

After that test, he decided it was past time to give the deck a wash. We haven't washed or sealed it in probably 10 years, so it was definitely time.

Here's some before and after pictures. See if you can tell where he washed and where he hasn't yet!

Deck BeforeDeck After

Deck BeforeDeck After

Deck BeforeDeck AfterDeck After

We haven't finished yet, as you can see, but you can sure tell where he's worked already! Hopefully he'll get some time when it's above 50 deg F so that he can put the sealant on as well.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Picket Fence Creamery



Our homeschool group had a field trip to Picket Fence Creamery in Woodward, IA. I took both my boys and we had a great time. (Joel & I more then Seth, but I think Seth enjoyed it a little bit too.)









I encourage anyone to go and visit them. Their chocolate milk is delicious, the ice cream is also wonderful. Friendly people. :)

After our time at the creamery, we met up with Rob at Applebee's in West Des Moines. I tried their new stuffed meatballs and fettuccine, and it was good, but the meatballs were a bit spicy for me. Seth had the fried chicken salad which he enjoyed, Rob had chicken fingers & fries, and Joel had shrimp as usual.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

1st day back to school (2nd quarter)

Well, today the boys got back in the school mode. Joel went off to his 2nd quarter for 5th grade, and Seth got going in the 2nd quarter of 8th grade at home.

Rob & I hadn't walked in the morning since before fall break, so it was nice to once again start the day with a short walk with Joel to the crossing guard. We then continue around the block. It's nice to be able to start the day together like that. I'll miss it when it gets too cold to be walking in the morning.

Seth & I did well today. We had one small bump first thing, but we'll he did great and got all of his assignments done. Also got his Pre-algebra text book in the mail today. I now have an extra teacher's key, but I've listed it on the homeschoolclassifieds.com site, so hopefully it will be sold soon. :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New animation pics

I just wanted to give credit to animations in the right-hand sidebar. I got them from this blog.

It's a great blog, and she has a LOT of kewl stuff!

A 20x30 Verse Puzzle

So, I'm one of the teachers for the preschool class for my Homeschool Group.

We are teaching the kids a verse throughout the year, and will be putting actions to that verse. We'll be introducing a new word or phrase of the verse each time we meet, and I thought it would be neat to have a puzzle that we would add a new piece to each time as well.

Anyway, I've been busy this afternoon cutting the foam board and printing out large words and images for this puzzle. I had designed the puzzle in a 8x11 size which each child will get at the end of the year, but today I transferred that design to the large 20x30 foam board.

Here it is:



The foam board is not actually yellow as it seems in the picture, it is white, just not as white as the paper.

What do you think? Would love to know! :)

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

I just finished a marvelous book. :) It's "Brightly woven" from Alexandra Bracken.

Ms. Bracken has a blog.

Here is the cover of the book.



There are several reasons I like this book, but probably the most pressing is that it's about a girl who thinks she's ordinary, but then finds out she has a lot of power and ability. With that power comes the possibility for her to harm those she loves without meaning to, but also with that power comes the opportunity for her to help her loved ones.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another Picture from our Trip.



This was taken in Shushan, NY at my father-in-law's place. They have a beautiful view of the mountains, and a corn field, and many trees as well. The boys enjoyed playing in the pond, even though it was only 1/2 full because they've had a dry summer.

A second pic below.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Woven Bag

So I'm thinking of getting into weaving .. As I am doing some research, I came across this blog.

Donis Delis blog

Look interesting, even if you don't weave your own fabric.

Another Giveway by SewTara

This website:

Muffinsnmore.blogspot.com

Is giving away a very cute cozy. What's best is you get to choose which cozy you want if you win. My favorite is this one:

How do I keep my hands busy?

So on the drive out to NY and CT, I needed to do something to keep myself busy in the van. Here is what I accomplished on the first half of the trip.



I was crocheting lots of coasters and washcloths and whatever you want to call them. They are easy patterns, ones that I can do without a written pattern in front of me. I was also using up scrap ends of yarn. Those small balls of yarn that are leftover from the larger skein and won't make a full project by themselves. Some I spliced together before crocheting, and some I just added in as I was crocheting.

There are advantages to both methods. If you splice the ends before starting to work, then there are very few ends to weave in at the end. However, if you add as you go, then you'll have the ends to weave in after you've finished the crocheting.

What's your favorite method of joining small balls of yarn?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

So I'm really not good at this blogging business.

I had great hopes that I could share on this blog and actually contribute something interesting, but it seems I'm not contributing anything! lol.

I will share a quick picture from our recent trip to NY & CT.



This was taken before we left Iowa .. but I really like it. The mosquitos were eating us alive, so I didn't polish it as much as I would have liked, but I think it's still pretty neat.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Seth's blogging

Well, this week we've been having a little difficulty getting Seth's posts up. He very much wanted to do a video blog post instead of just a photo blog post, and so he worked really hard on making and editing a video, but it's a little long. And I don't think it's going to work uploading to the blog itself. I may have to upload it to youtube first, and then link to it.

I've very proud of how much time he spent on editing it. He basically learned the program himself with very little help from me, as I've been very tired the last couple of days and just not myself. I don't think I'm sick, probably just over-tired and need some extra naps. I'm feeling a little better this afternoon, but still not really normal. I'll try to fix the video problem this weekend so everyone can see his wonderful efforts.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Finishing UFOs

Lately I've been trying to finish up some of my quilting projects that are waiting patiently for me. I alteast want to get them to the "top" stage so that I can give them to my local quilt guild and give them as a charity quilt for someone who could use a quilt.
These first couple of photos are of some blocks that my friend Kasey gave me. She loves to clean out her sewing room by shipping ufos and wips to me :) I love equally much receiving them! Boxes from her make me feel like a kid in a toy store.


These were in a baggie of the same style of blocks, all with different fabrics. I've made these two small baby quilt tops, and the rest I'll set aside. I have a vague idea of making the remaining 3 blocks into a bag or something similar.

This next quilt top was a set of 11 blocks, plus the 12th block was nearly complete. Of these 12, 3 of them had a different, darker, tan as the "background" so I removed those from the set and used just these 9 to make a charity top for perhaps an older child or a lap quilt for an adult. I have vague plans for the remaining blocks to be put into either a table runner, a tote bag set, or both! :)

Can you tell which block was the one that I had to finish before putting on the sashing and cornerstones?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Terrific Spice Rack !

Over the weekend, I re-found a guy that I adore! Well, actually, I adore his work and his ingenuity. Let me start at the beginning ....

A few years ago, we were at the Science Center of Iowa and I saw a display of inventions. I believe the focus was on patents originating in Iowa or something like that. In this display was a marvelous spice rack that was versatile and fit the containers that you would buy at the store. There was no transferring of the spices to the pre-set pre-sized containers to fit into the rack. I could buy a normal spice from the grocery store and snap it in place in this rotating rack. I wrote down all the information they had on this inventor, and I ended up ordering this beautiful spice rack.

I loved this rack. It was very nearly perfect. I still use it. However, the one draw back was that it would not hold the little Tone's spice containers. So, my little ones had to stay in the drawer, laying on their side so that I could see the labels.

This past weekend, there was a display set up at the Craft Show on the Indianola Square. They had a rotating spice rack that was even better then the one I had, and it was specifically designed to be able to accomodate those little spice containers that were hiding out in my drawer. I started talking to this gentleman and he was the exact same man that I had purchased my first spice rack from! His name is Alan Thompson from Kelley, Iowa, and he sells these spice racks. His company is called "SpiceRax of Iowa". click here to visit his website.

Here is the spice rack that I purchased this weekend, already filled to the brim. I really should have purchased the one size bigger then this, with an extra row on top.

The only thing that I may suggest to improve this is to make the top wooden piece a bit taller so that I can pick it up from this. My fingers are just a tad too big to comfortably lift it when it's filled to the top like this. He also talked about a model that's coming out that will be even more versatile, allowing each row of this to spin so that you can fit a taller container right next to a shorter container.
I absolutely love these racks, and haven't been able to find any others that even come close to them.