Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What a great day for America!

I'm not going to go all political here, but I am really proud of America and really excited for the changes to come. Even if this president can't accomplish everything he'd like to--as long as he moves the direction of the country so those who come after can carry it through---that would be terrific!

Congrats President-elect Obama!

Ok, well I had some detours in the last month that kept me away from my blog and away from my crafting. I spent most of October sick as a dog, I ended up having my gall bladder removed and I had to have some repair work done on my stomach as well. I had a gastric bypass 6 years ago. Appparently, my surgeon had taken my old stomach, wrapped a surgical wire around it and somehow used it to connect it to my abdomen. That wire had come loose and was poking and scratching and prodding me inside---can you say excrutiating pain???? I had the surgery 2 weeks ago, I'm still feeling punky from having my gall bladder out, but the pain is going away and overall I am feeling much better.

One thing I was terribly upset about missing during my illness---the changing of the leaves. I did get to see them at the beginning of the change, on my way to and from the hospital, LOL! DH started a new job, so until he gets his van from his work, he's been taking my van to work and I've been without wheels---so no going to the park or taking drives through my country. I did get some nice pics of our yard, not the bright colors I would have liked to capture, but it's definitely fall! Click on the pics for full size.

My old man, Flounder, greeting me as I come up the walk.

I did make the kids Halloween costumes, pics to come soon. I ended up with 3 kids posing as Link from the Legend of Zelda---although they were all different versions of Link, LOL!

I have not gotten past the first part of my Tobacco Road mystery quilt, I haven't been able to work on that in over a month---but I do have nearly all of my four patches done, here are some pics of the squares and the fabrics I am using for it:

I never got a chance to show you my new sewing room. It isn't done, by any stretch of the imagination, but for now it's a place where I have room to move and work---and DH made me a huge, wonderful sewing table and a bunch of shelves to accommodate my needs and I just have to show them off! He is so good!!!

Above is the sewing table me made me. He loosely based it on the plans sold by Keepsake quilting and I have to say, it is the most wonderful work area I could ever imagine having! Lately, it's been used as a dump space for books, magazines and fabrics---that's going to end REAL SOON, LOL!

Here are all the different shelves he made for all my stuff. He is planning on making me a wall of shelves or cubes for fabric storage, right now most of it is in boxes and stored under my Grace frame.

He found this magazine rack at a job site in the garbage---we are all about recycling!

He made all the shelves with leftover wood he had, or pieces of furniture that was damaged or thrown out. He also made the thread rack, pretty cool, huh?

My Grace Sturdy lite that I have yet to use. SOON!!!!

I'll have pics of the actual room soon, my camera is on the brink of death so I've been using my son's when I remember to get it.

I am starting a new project (while leaving behind another UFO, shoot me!!!)

I am getting ready to make the Yo-Yo Advent Calendar from Sunshine's Creations. I am working on picking fabrics right now, I just may have enough from my stash to not have to buy any more :-( Too bad for me, LOL! I do have tons and tons of Christmas fabrics, though. This will be a good project to start thinning them out.

Onto Homesteading news---the garden wasn't a big or productive as we would have liked, but we got a lot out of it and it fed us through the rough financial times we've gone through this summer and fall. All is picked in the main garden, I still have lettuces up by the house and herbs. They all managed to withstand the hard frost we had a couple of weeks ago, so I can continue to look forward to fresh foods for a little while yet.

I learned a lot from my small garden this summer. I learned a lot about our land as well. I can't wait to plan my next garden, and get my seed catalogs and get my boxes of seed and plants in the mail! I will be ordering chicks in the spring, I can't wait for that AND we hope to look into getting ourselves a cow. Or, at the very least, a goat.

We had our first experiences of cold weather without the use of the furnace. We turned the gas off last spring, after seeing the huge gas bills for this house. So far, we got electric oil furnaces for the bedrooms--and they do a really good job of keeping it warm upstairs. We have a wood burning stove in the dining room. It has a blower on it and does a good job of warming up the dining room, living room, bathroom and my sewing room. We did get another woodstove from someone on Freecycle, this one a regular cast iron stove. We still have to get some of the chimney pipe for it---but we managed to get most of it from another person on Freecycle, thank goodness! It would have cost us nearly $2500 to buy all the chimney pipe new! I love Freecycle! We still have to get some kind of heater for the kitchen, it is behind the stove in the dining room and even though we have the fan on the stove and ceiling fans going, the warm air doesn't seem to go into the kitchen, much. I have found if the upstairs is warm, I can turn on the fan from the old furnace and it'll distribute air around the house. It'll be interesting to see how this all works out in the cold-cold months---but we did go as low as 24 degrees and we were warm enough! The thought of not having to get those $1000+ a month gas bills is enough to keep me warm, LOL!

Ok, I've chatted enough to make up for the missed weeks and months, LOL! I miss talking to my regulars that used to come to the blog, and meeting new people as well so please, take a moment or two to say hi, leave a message for me and I'll reciprocate as well!

God Bless the USA!!!!

Here are our 4 legged babies, and half of our human ones, LOL!

Annie, our 8 year old Border collie/Shepared

Flounder, our 14 year old patriarch

Ryo Ohki, our crazy tortoise shell 6 year old kitty
Usher, our 4 year old baby of Ryo-Ohki

Tama, our newest baby at just under a year and Raven, our 2 year old lab.

Silly boys.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New stuff happening

I'm in a major construction phase right now, hopefully I'll have things back to normal sometime this week. In the meantime, please excuse my dust and watch your step! Let me know what you think so far, please leave a comment!


Saturday, July 26, 2008

What I've been up to........

It's been a while, I haven't had much time to post! Things have been busy around the homestead! I did finally finish the quilts for my nieces, want to see them???? Click on the pics to see the full size.

This is Ashley's quilt---or I should say, blankie. I didn't quilt it and the backing is a nice soft, fuzzy fabric, perfect for cuddling.

This is Savanahs' blankie. She has the soft green backing fabric. I tried to do strip blocks, I'm not sure I like how they turned out---I think it looks cute, but I don't like how the bottom colored fabric strips aren't in the middle with the white. I apparently didn't block them correctly or something. I will try this pattern again. I really liked making it, I like strip piecing and paper piecing a lot, I could do paper pieced quilts all the time!

So, now I am planning my other niece, Sam's quilt. She wants a nautical quilt so I bought this pattern from Ula Lenz called Summer at the Shore.

Ula has tons and tons of beautiful patterns, if you have never been to her site, be sure to check it out! Ula's Quiltpage

My next project for me is to make the Third Weekend in October quilt. I got the pattern and kit from Keepsake Quilting (I love that website!!!) I am also going to make the Yo Yo Advent Calendar from Sunshine Creations. BUT, before I get started on anything, I need to get my quilt room set up and get all my fabric out and in a place where I can see it and find it, LOL! My wonderful DH is going to make me a nice book/fabric shelf so I can get all my fabric out and set up---well, most of it anyway. I don't have too much fabric so he doesn't have to make it too big. My room is only 9 X 9 and my Grace Sturdy Lite takes up half of it. My sewing table is outside the room in the diningroom, so the rest of the room is basically for storage. Right now, it's being used as an all purpose dump room. My poor Sturdy Lite is covered with stuff that needs to go elsewhere!!!

So, right now my quilty priority is to straighten up my quilting room, get all the intruder stuff out of it and get my fabric out and visible so I can start planning my next quilts.

We had our huge Forth of July campout and it was a blast! Our camp ground was too muddy to actually camp in, but we at least were able to get the firepit dug and had some nice fires---the tents were placed out on the lawn since it was dry out there. Over all, it was a great weekend and we found out that we can stay home and watch the fireworks!! We had planned on going to the next township over to see the fireworks but we ended up eating late and everyone was tired so we decided to stay home. The kids were a little upset---but they started chasing fireflies and forgot all about it. All of a sudden, in the north sky appeared large fireworks. At first we thought it was just someone blowing off fireworks in their backyard but as they continued we realized that they were much too big for a private display and it turned out that it was an excellent 40 minute display put on by one of the area townships. How cool is that???

We have been having some rough periods. I found my 16 year old son passed out on the floor one morning. He had just had a seizure and we rushed him to the emergency room. They did some tests but they couldn't much for him and he had to be transferred 25 miles away to the nearest children's hospital. After 3 days in the hospital and countless tests, we found out that he has Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. Since then, he's had 4 more seizures and frankly, they are quite scary and no matter how many times I see them, I don't think I'll ever get used to them. He has to make a lot of changes, which he isn't happy about---no driving for a year after the last seizure--so we had to cancel his driving lessons. He has to limit his video gaming and he can't play many of the games he loved to play before---which to me isn't a big deal, but to a kid I suppose it would be one. He can't go into the pool without an adult. He can't go to dances or concerts if there are flashing lights or strobes. He has to make sure to get a full nights' sleep, no more late nights. Lots of other stuff that in the grand scheme of things, don't seem too major---but to a teenager it stinks. He'll be fine once his medications are leveled off, but until them there is always a risk for more seizures, which means I can't leave him alone---which he hates. I just try to keep reminding him that it's only temporary and life will get back to normal---just a little differently.

Other than that, it's been a busy summer. The garden is coming along, slowly but surely. I've finally got zucchini's growing, tons of tomatoes and the potatoes look to be doing very well. The corn is stunted, but there are still some cobs growing. My soil needs more nitrogen---next spring I am going to make sure that before we plant anything we are fortifying the soil first. We couldn't do it this year, it was a miracle to get a break in the rainy weather to be able to till and then to be able to plant anything! Now, we haven't had rain in over 2 weeks, LOL! No happy medium this summer.
Lots of yummy lettuces, though!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Help needed from my quilter friends!

Hiya gals! I need help finding a fabric. My niece wants me to make her a wallhanging by Debbie Mumm called By the Sea. I am looking for the fabrics used in the wallhanging, specifically the border and the sashing fabrics--or it may be a panel, I'm not sure. The way the instructions for the wallhanging are written, they were all separate fabrics. Here is a picture of the actual wallhanging.

Now, I could get along with just the border fabric---that is really what caught my nieces' eye. If anyone knows where I can purchase this fabric, please let me know! I've looked everywhere, or at least it feels that way!


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Spring is here, finally!!

I can't believe it's been almost 2 months since I posted anything. It's been pretty busy around here, I'll have to admit. With trying to get all the schoolwork done before the end of the year, and taking the boys to take their proficiency tests---it's enough to make me seriously consider going back to unschooling. I am very conflicted, though---which isn't good for the boys either way. So, while I sort through my beliefs and thoughts of what I feel they need to survive in this world, they will continue with the online charter school for now. It hasn't been so terrible, actually they seem to like it for the most part. We have a very loose and flexible schedule, too. We may do school work in the morning, or we might play all day and do it at night---just depends on what is going on and what their moods are for the day. I will not make them do schoolwork, especially math, if they are cranky---then it is a miserable time for all. While I completely dislike and distrust the public school system, this program (OHVA) has actually worked well for the boys, so we will probably continue with it and just work it into our life, rather than making our life work into it. As long as they remain happy---that is what is most important.

In addition to working hard to get all the schooling done, we've been working on the garden and the chicken coop. We weren't able to till nearly the whole month of May---it was so cold and rainy that the ground was drenched and there was barely any heat or sun to dry it out. We finally had a dry week last week and DH got the tiller out and got a big chunck of the garden tilled twice. I was going to plant today, but we have a flippin' frost advisory tonight!!!! I am sick of cold---I loved it during the winter when it was SUPPOSED to be cold, but I've had my fill and want warm days and nights now, please!!!!

As usual, click on the pics for the larger, easier to see version!

DH tilling yesterday---it was very overcast and cold---but no rain, thank goodness!!!

3/4 of the garden tilled as of today---although DH got more done tonight after I took the pictures! He's nothing if not diligent!! It was sunny all day, but still cold. There is 5o X 50 feet left to till at the top, but he got halfway done today!

Beautiful dark, rich soil. The grass in the middle is where a path will go--I told DH not to waste his time and energy tilling the path, LOL!

My lettuce up by the house has been thriving for quite a while now, we've had salads for the 6 of us from it probably 4 times already! As soon as I snip off leaves, it grows new ones by the next day! I love nature--and eating it, LOL!

Onto other things, we've also been working on making a chicken coop. We are converting an existing shed into the coop. DH fixed up the floor, he cut out a doorway between the two sheds and put up a door. And he got the floor sealed. Now we need to make the cage for inside the shed, with roosts and nesting boxes. We will also have a small cage to hold chickens that may be sick or injured. After that, we'll build a fenced in yard for them around the sheds so they'll have plenty of room to roam and get their fill on bugs.
The two sheds.

I've also been busy cutting down our acreage. Nearly all of it is overgrown with everything from bushweed to brambles and berry bushes and thistles and a million more assorted flora. I've been plowing through it with the tractor the last 5 days now that it's pretty dry out there.

Before--although this is a month ago. When I was cutting over the weekend, the grasses were between 3-4 feet tall and everything was extremely thick.

After, so far anyway---there is probably 3-4 more acres yet to mow! Sorry for the blurry pic, I didn't realize it was so blurry when I took it!

So, that's what we've been busy with here at the homestead. DH and I are tossing a name for our homestead around---we're thinking Avalon Acres. I'm a huge fan of King Arthur and the whole tale and DH's nickname is Myrddin (it is pronounced Merthlin---it's the Welsh version of Merlyn) which is just mindblowing since I've been a King Arthur fan since I was 8 and I had no idea of his nickname until I saw a wood burnt sign in his shop that he had made when he used to sell different wood carvings he made. I guess that is one clue that tells us that we were meant to be, LOL!

As far as quilting goes---it hasn't been going anywhere ;-( I haven't had time for anything sewing. I still haven't had time to put my sewing room together. I still haven't gotten a chance to try out my Grace frame. When I got it in January, we put it together and I was set to get quilting on it---then we got approved for the house and we haven't looked back since. Once the homeschooling can take a hiatus and I've got the garden in and the areas for my animals to come set up and ready---then I'll find time to quilt again. I've been aching to start something---or finish all the UFO's I have. One thing---I am getting DH to take me down to Amish country next weekend---I need some summer, beachy fabrics for a quilt I am going to make for my niece. I can't find what I am looking for, so I am hoping the Amish quilt shops will come through for me!!!

That's it for now, I'll check back soon!