Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hello, old friend!

For various reasons, it has been months and months since I have been able to use my sewing machine... and I have a list of projects the length of my arm.  Sometimes it takes inspiration to get back at it again... sure, I have all of those projects, but none of them was motivation enough to hop back on my machine.

Then, a few weeks back, I was perusing Facebook and one of my work/Facebook friends posted pictures from the Balloon Glow in Cedar Rapids.  I loved the pictures and suddenly was struck with an idea... I have this amazing hot air balloon batik that I've been hanging onto (read: clutching for dear life until I figured out the perfect project for it)... and I thought it would be neat to make a small project using this fabric of a glowing hot air balloon.

And... I have the perfect recipient... a friend of mine had a birthday this last week, and she is also the same friend that invited me (and others) to my first Balloon Glow and then to the Indianola Hot Air Balloon Classic two years ago when Julia was just a little pipsqueak.  I hope she loves it!

While it didn't turn out exactly as I had expected, I think it's a good "first try" and had a lot of fun making it today.  Adam was also helpful in offering his opinions (which I honestly appreciated today).  What a fun way to get my sewing machine moving again.  Now I'm ready to tackle the real list of projects again.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vintage Tablecloth Dress

So, a few weeks ago, somewhere I had seen a pattern for a seriously cute little girl's dress made from a vintage tablecloth.  I have a few, but none I was willing to cut up, so while the pattern struck my fancy, I set it aside and moved on with life.

Fast forward to yesterday while I'm looking frantically for an outfit for a murder mystery dinner for THIS Saturday at our local thrift shop.  We have two now, and I had struck out on Monday at the newer one and was not too optimistic about the older one.  Add that lack of optimism to my current ridiculous state of mine coupled with my procrastination and frantic hardly describes it.  At any rate, I SCORED the perfect outfit and the old thrift shop and while browsing, I found a vintage tablecloth.  For TWO DOLLARS.  Umm, what?  Snatched. It. Up.

Today I'm sitting here saving documents and while doing so, I'm browsing my blogs I read.  Occasionally I glance into the laundry room and see that tablecloth on the floor and realize, I MUST FIND THAT PATTERN!  Problem is, I could remember WHERE I had seen it.  Throughout the day I checked various website that I figured MUST be where I had seen it but to no avail, I could NOT find that pattern. 

Then lightning struck... I had seen it in a MAGAZINE.  You know, those paper thingies that we occasionally read NOT ON THE WEB?  Yah.  One of those.  And it was about one point five feet away from my hand.  (Ironically enough, I need to go to the web to download the pattern.)

Now add THAT to the project list.  What?  I think I'm only at 5,098 now.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Raven at 10 months

Hello and Happy 10 months to my youngest, Raven!
Hard to believe that 10 months has flown so quickly by since Raven was born.  While I see shadows of the infant she was, she has definitely crawled her way into babyhood and isn't looking back!

Our precious girl is becoming more vocal, loves to crawl, and still is a pretty happy cat UNLESS she is upset.  Then she is REALLY upset.  Ha!  But, I suppose that goes with the territory when you're 10 months old... make yourself heard!

Raven's favorite things these days... anything that is Julia's... ESPECIALLY Julia's shoes... trying to give mommy a heart attack by attempting to find all of the outlets in the house... and food.  Man, can that girl eat!  She loves everything, it seems!  Which is such a good feeling when across the table sits her sister who acts as though you've committed a major sin by coaxing her to eat... anything that isn't meat, cheese, or bread.

But, we do so love our beautiful girls and while they have lots of noticeable differences, it is still awesome to hear Julia greet Raven in the morning and for Raven to respond with her own version of a happy dance.  The best part of my day, right there.


Saturday, July 10, 2010


A fun photo to share... we made good use of the library and its abilities to wear my kids out this last week and Julia is fascinated with the statue outside.  :)


Bumper Crop

Yesterday Julia and I picked our first veggies from the garden.  We yieled a meal's worth of string beans and about six pounds of pickling cucumbers.  Guess what I did for the first time today...?  I set my cucumbers a-brining... just like "old times"... heh.  A lot of people told me about "easier" ways to make dill pickles, but I really enjoy the PROCESS of making things (especially with pickles, since I do NOT enjoy the destination... heh, yet again!), and so it is fun for me to go through the process of brining.

I hope that the results are fabulous for dill pickle-lovers!  I have a whole sort of things in mind for another crop of cucumbers ('cause, oh, boy, they are wild out there!) as well as the numerous tomatoes.  Yay!



Kermis is a Dutch-inspired children's carnival held in the Historical Village each summer.  I felt that Julia was old enough to go this year, and game tickets were only $0.10 a piece... can't be that! 

Unfortunately Julia had her crabby pants on when we first arrived, so she wasn't AT ALL interested in playing games... as I stood there with 20 tickets in my hands.  But then... THEN we happened upon the "Lucky Ducky" game.  The object?  Use a fishing net to catch three "ducks" (most of which ended up being frogs) in the Historical Village pond.  Add up the numbers on the bottom of the "ducks" and depending on your total, you win a prize.

(This reminds me SO MUCH of my FAVORITE game at the county fair each summer...)

This, along with playing in a fountain, were the ONLY things Julia wanted to do (though it didn't take her much coaxing to join me in a brownie in the air conditioned village bakery).  We played the duck game four times and won prizes, we sat next to the pond and fished out frogs with our bare hands, and we got SOAKING wet in the fountain.  It was a good time had by all!  (Raven laid back and had a bottle and watched the kids.  She's easy like that.)


End of the Week

I don't think I have ever been so glad for the end of a week as I am for this one.

I won't go into too much detail because it's depressing... but... this week has been rough.  Thank God for my beautiful kids and their ability to survive and be joys in my life during another week sans Daddy.

The Data Loss Bug finally bit me and bit hard... I managed to lose about five months worth of pictures and all of my personal files (i.e., hospice, nursery, quilt guild, knitting patterns, and the list goes on and on) due to haste.  Haste resulting from a puff of smoke, freaking out, and screaming children... but haste, nonetheless.  I have some friends who have been a blessing and are helping me try to recover what I've lost, but I am not a computer guru and what I did post-loss to try and salvage the data caused further problems with full recovery.... suck.  I spent a lot of time crying yesterday.  And, poor Adam... I lost a number of canoe pictures.  (AT LEAST WE STILL HAVE THE CANOE, RIGHT???)  All around, it is not a good thing.

BUT... it has been a good day and thankfully a good end to the week despite all else.  I had reached my allowed limit for work hours on Thursday (yes, I worked THAT many hours this last week AND by the end of Thursday), so you can imagine the stress of single-parenthood mixed with a large and looming deadline at work.  Add to that the data loss, and I was sent over the edge last night.

But, I have so much to be thankful for.  Again... it was an awesome day.  Adam came home, and I spent a wonderful time with the girls at the kids' carnival in town (Kermis).  We had a nice afternoon, bought a new "grill" (Traeger!), and had some great BBQ for dinner (Adam's friend's party).  I have wonderful helpful friends....  Miss Amy was SO awesome to work on her holiday day off this week (Monday, the 5th) so that I could bust a move on my work projects, Friend Rach picked up Wednesday and Thursday afternoons for me so I could continue with my work quest, and Friend Amy in PA had her hubby talk to me today to help figure out some of my possible 'puter solutions...

... and okay, yet another long post you have already stopped reading.

Anyway... just an update to let you know what's up in life... and, despite the bad, there is good.  Off to rebuild some important files...........


Randomness Act of Weirdness for the Week

Today at Kermis (possible pictures to follow... I know I promised that last time too!), a mother offered to buy the clothes off of Raven's body.  I am not joking.  Apparently she had twins and had received ONE outfit that matched what Raven was wearing, but not TWO and it is an "older model" (i.e., Gymboree 2007).  It was the size she was looking for and she suggested, with an off-handed laugh, that she'd be willing to be it from me right then and there.  Umm.  Right.  I had no additional clothes for Raven and well... it's one of her few short outfits AND it's one of my favorites.  So, no, I didn't sell it to her.  Funny... but weird.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Birthday!

A very happy Birthday to my mother-in-law, Marcia!
It was so much fun to celebrate her birthday with a frog jumping contest, brats, and fireworks!  :)  Too bad we didn't all spend it together.

Happy Birthday, Mama Marcia!


Friday, July 2, 2010

Catching Up

As you can probably tell by my lack of posts this last month, life has me a bit by the coattails.  Between the basement, work, the kids, and the Rest of the House (i.e., laundry, dishes, toys, etc.), it's been a little more than hectic around here, and my pictures continue to pile up on the hard drive and camera and I find myself jotting notes about things to tell you.

So... I may as well start with the basement.  (pictures at some point...!)  We went around and around deciding what to do with the flooring, and after a recon mission to Menards (in Ottumwa) this last weekend, we settled on carpet remnants, as we could get them much cheaper than carpet tiles, and Menards was also have a 30% of sale.  Monday night we drove to Menards (in Altoona) and picked out three pieces, and each successive night, we laid a piece and moved the major pieces of furniture on top.  Of course, we are not professional installers, and we opted not to install a pad, so the floor is harder.  But, without spending the money to fix possible "structural integrity" issues (i.e., installing a draining system, etc.), this was the easiest way (we felt) to deal with possible water problems in the future.

Now we to go through and replaces the DVDs and CDs, dig through the fabric and projects, figure out how to hook up the sound system again... but with this all comes the ability to finally do what I've been wanting to do... dig through and get rid of things we don't need / use.  So cathartic!  So far we've cleared off two shelves and further reduced our book footprint (though, it's hard to do!), and we also plan to find a new home for my super massive desk.  Some fabric and things will be sent off to a friend who has only been sewing for a few years and is WAY more prolific than myself, and that pile of garage sale stuff?  It will FINALLY be headed to the thrift shop.

Next... work.  Suffice it to say, I'm busy right now, and due to the basement fiasco and home needs, it has been hard to find enough time to finish what I need to do without staying up until all hours of the night.  But, that's how it goes sometimes, and I WILL finish my work by my deadline... it's just going to be a very stressful and hard 11 days yet...!  And, I will say... if folks think it is hard to leave their work at the workplace and switch to home mode when they are home... it is exponentially difficult to do this when your office is in the dining room.  One of the negatives (and sometimes positives) of telecommuting, I suppose.  So, my balance that I had found is extremely off-kilter again, but I plan to regain it soon.

The kids are both well, though we had a bit of a day yesterday!  (Serious lack of sleep on my part due to a nightmare for Julia which woke up Raven who then didn't want to go back to sleep.... ack!)  Raven is a crawling machine now... not fast, but it has finally clicked that she can get places she wants to go, which of course proves to be a bit of fun for all parties involved.  She also loves to practice getting onto her toes and hands... it is CUTE to watch!  she gets a big grin on her face as if she says, "Ah, ha!  I know I should be able to get up on my feet at some point!"  Then today she granted me with another new surprise... she was STANDING in her crib and shaking the side/bars back and forth as if to say, "Hello, Mommy!  Here is a new challenge for you to overcome when it's time for me to go to bed and sleep!  I can STAND UP by MYSELF now!!!"  How fun to know that she is learning and doing new things... she is a much happier goose too!

Julia is well and continues to prove her stubbornness, but she is most certainly a soft-hearted and sweet soul.  I am continually amazed by the love she shows her sister, and while jealously rears its head now and again, it is often warranted and she usually deals with her sister gracefully.  She is protective of Raven too, and she continues to be a Big Helper in regards to "Baby Sisser".  We are doing the summer reading program with Julia, and while we used to think we read to her "enough", we are finding that we don't... ack!  It doesn't help that the attention span of a 2yo who would much rather be off running and playing is rather short.  We are to read to her for 9 hours by the end of July... doesn't sound like a lot, but I'll admit that we don't sit and read for hours and hours each day. 

The girls both have transitioned to the new daycare well... hard to believe it has been five weeks already!  We love Miss Amy and Julia and her daughter, Greta, are becoming fast friends.  Raven has three mothers during the day, but what baby doesn't love the attention?  So... all is well on that front!

Well... that is all for now... this has become rather long!  Tomorrow we head up town to celebrate Buscha's birthday (a.k.a. 4th of July Weekend) with fun foods, frog jumping contests, and fireworks!  YAY!  Adam is also playing with Amy Steenhoek as part of the festivities, so it will be fun for the girls to have a chance to watch daddy play his "gttarrrrr" (bass).

Much love!