Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I Painted 15 doors, yesterday...

let me rephrase that... I painted 15, 6-panel doors, yesterday! Oh guys, com'on! Cut it out. Really, I'm blushing. There's no need for a standing ovation! I'm not doing this for the glory... (I'm doing it for the cold hard cash!) I also painted 2 bathrooms. Amazing how much whiter things look when you paint everything white! I need to finish up all the painting, tomorrow. Just touchups, really- and the doorframes- which might just get a good washing... Then, DH Bill gets to finish up, putting a clear coat on 100 miles, seemingly, of trim. I think it all looks great, hope she's happy with it.
So... what am I sewing on? Well, guys that would be nothin. nada. Zip. Not any time for that kinda thing. OK, you caught me, I did throw together a postcard or 6, but they were super simple with a Michael Miller print. But other than that... it's been something of a forced hiatus. Which I am sure I will be paying for dearly in the next few weeks. 3 client quilts to wrap up in the next week, but I am hopeful as the guys are all going hunting and that leaves me in a wonderful housebound situation- must quilt or else! I usually work on Tuesday, but I am playing hooky. No, not really, Tanya! I didn't abandon you lightly. But Abe the babe is feeling poorly with a croupy cough and stuffed up head. So I am playing nursemaid with him. He has been miserable. And when the baby ain't happy... well, you know the rest.
See that hand? That is DS Jake's hand. See what's on it? Well, it was the weirdest thing... Thanksgiving day was unseasonably warm and very sunny- not a cloud in the sky. The guys were busy framing in my new porch/dining room. About noon, it gets real quiet out there, no more hammering or groaning... and they start to shout that I need to bring my camara and get outside. I dash out and... Weird! The sky is full of... this stuff. Odd. Not just like a small patch, but the whole sky. It was floating and moving- kinda like strands of silk... Did you figure it out before I did? It was a gi-normous spiderweb!!!! Tons of spiderwebs, actually. Full of these tiny little chigger-size spiders. weird. All of a sudden I start feelin' like I had all these things crawling over me.... probably did, but just freaked out a little bit over the quantity. DS John caught a few of the little buggers- should I ask where they are, now? Nah, sometimes ignorance is blisss. By 2 in the afternoon, all of the cars and trees are draped in these strands of spiderweb. Weird. You could just reach up your hand and catch them as they floated down to earth. If you wanted to. Me? Not so much. But it was an awesome thing to see. The pictures didn't come out- the sun was too bright. So I had a little excitement thrown in with the montony of painting.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Squeezing in one more thing...

I did get a postcard made, last night. I have a friend that collects Raggedy Anns(even has a business named after her) and so I put it in the mail first thing, this morning. I thought she turned out sweet and cheerful. I had a lace collar on her, but it wouldn't lay down right so I had to simplify. better luck, next time. I love her raggedy hair- I was going to use yarn, but the fabric just called to me, so.. I once had a Raggedy Ann doll and I took her with me to the hospital when I had my tonsils out- I was 8. I had prettier dolls, but I was attatched to her- she was so soft and had been with me for a long while. Now, she was a bit grubby- spindled, even. But I loved her anyway. The admissions nurse took a look at her and said, "My! Isn't she a pretty ugly doll?" Well, I guess she thought this 8 year old wasn't intelligent enough to understand what she said, but it only made me love Raggedy Ann more. What kind of nurse criticizes an 8 year old's babydoll? I haven't cared much for hospitals, since!

Dawn- Yes, I love to cook. But you know, there are all kinds of tricks to it- just like sewing. And knowing the tricks is most of the battle. It doesn't take me much effort to fix a meal for just me or for the 10 of us. Really. I just use a bigger pot! And look at that expression on my 16 y olds' face! Worth every bit of effort I put into it! I have 4 teenage boys- I gotta cook or I'd have a rebellion on my hands! Keeps the natives happy. Hang in there and think "one pot meals" - maybe a crockpot recipe book would help! And I don't cater much to individual tastes- you don't like green peppers? Well, you can fish them out of your own plate!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

I'm just grabbing a couple minutes between cooking to wish you all a blessed day! We are having a great day- the weather is crisp and the children are all outside- some playing in the forest- a pleasure they have had to forgo while there were crops in the field, but now that the corn has been harvested, they can now cross the field and play in the 5 acres of woods in the middle of 250 acres of corn. They make bases and do all those universal things children do when they have the world as their playground. Several of the older boys are helping their Dad make a new porch on the house- the old one is barely worthy of the name. Next year, we plan to enclose the new porch so that we can have a new dining room- it's a tight fit around our rather long and narrow kitchen table! That leaves me in the kitchen, cooking. And running up here to blog and running to the quilting room while uploading pictures, to mend some curtains that didn't much appreciate the time they had in the clothes washer. I take down most of the curtains in the summer, but when cool weather returns... it just feels a bit cozier with the curtains rehung.

Here is a picture of the children at their big breakfast yesterday. It wasn't easy to get them to all look up at me- they had their little noses pressed to their plates! 8 of mine and the one girl is our "adopted" daughter- a young nursing student here at the university. It was a perfect morning- the children were so surprised and so sweet in thanking me for fixing their favorite things. Frost was thick on the ground and it just sparkled in the morning sunshine. Oh guys, how couldn't I be happy? It is so easy to get worried about silly things- things I can't control and it can make you cynical- like where in the world are we headed with wars and polution and people being so unkind and cruel? But when you see the joy in a child's eyes when they lift their sweet little faces up to the snow floating down all around them... it just tells your heart, "It's OK." There are still beautiful, pure things in this world and it's OK.

Forest Jane- Creamed tomatoes- it's a poor folk, mountain food. And if you like tomatoes, well, I think you'll appreciate it. I use tomatoes that I've canned during the summer, but you can use store- canned tomatoes with good results. Just empty a can of diced tomatoes into a saucepan, a pinch of sugar and salt and pepper to taste- bring to a simmer. While that's heating up, mix some flour with some milk and add to the tomatoes to thicken- thicker than gravy, but the same idea. Spoon over hot buttered biscuits. mmmm...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Mission Accomplished...

I finished the table runners I was making to sell at the tearoom. And a few wonderwallets. And while we were at it, we made some tree ornaments. And some earrings and bracelets... and my Mom made these adorable little pinafore aprons, and tons of napkins. I even made some redhat postcards! Imagine that. I dropped everything off this afternoon and the owner of the gift shop couldn't have been happier. And now it's back to everyday life. ahhh....

I love this time of year. Winter is waiting to drop it's white mantle upon the fields- we had our first "stick" last night. The children were ecstatic- so much fun to see it falling down and covering the ground and frosting the trees- makes the winter worthwhile. We moved into our house 7 years ago, today. We spent our first night here, on the kitchen floor- all the children on pallets on the floor around us. We had so much to be thankful for. Our Thanksgiving table was some plywood on a couple 50 gallon drums. It was really lovely. Such sweet memories. Thursday is my favorite day of the week- I can't say why, but the fact that Thanksgiving comes on a Thursday, every year, makes it a near perfect holiday in my book. It will be a quiet holiday. Dh Bill will bring his mom over and we'll have a turkey with all the trimmings. Last year I must have cooked 7 desserts. This year, we'll cook 4 pumpkin pies- keeping it simple. A quiet day at home surrounded by my favorite 9 people.

I am planning a surprise breakfast for the children on Wednesday- all of their favorite foods. Pancakes and bacon and creamed tomatoes and biscuits, applebutter(thank you Grandmother) and orange juice with gingerale. Scrambled eggs and fried potatoes. Sausages and croissants and coffee cake. And strawberries. I am so excited. Joe(16) is going to help me keep the little ones out of the kitchen while I cook. I want to set the table with my best china and linens(thanks Grandmother!) Yes, I'll be up early, but seeing as I get up at 3:30 am anyway... and I have something else to celebrate. Bill is changing his work schedule so we will be able to sleep in until 5:30, after this week! Who would have thought there would ever be a day when I would be thankful for the chance to sleep in until 5:30am? See? Life has a way of changing your perspective. Even when things seem a little dismal and bleak... I am just so amazed at the riches of His grace. Another year of happy memories of precious family and loved friends- even some new friends, here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Life gets "teedjus"...

So sometimes ya gotta shake things up a bit. How about that simple little 9-patch? You have to love the 9-patch, a staple of many a quilt. But, if I slice it down the middle and again, across the middle... turn the pieces... how cool is that!!?? Blocks with sashing and cornerstones all thrown in!! I've been wanting to share my little discovery of this for a couple weeks now. (I'm sure some of you smarty-pants have already been doing this for years! But it's a new trick for me!) Tanya, at the quilt shop showed me and I thought it was a really fun way to make a simple change. These are 6 1/2" blocks, but it works for any size! We even cut out 6" squares(made an 18" block) and it worked great. Try it, you'll love it! Now, you will have to make sashing and cornerstones for the left side and across the top, but that's a snap. Just add after you piece the top. Have fun!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

One I wouldn't want to be stuck with...

When I first started making table runners to sell, I figured that if I didn't sell them, I'd just give them as gifts. I have plenty of people in mind to whom I'd love to give a little gift. So there really wasn't any stress involved in color choices and design... until I started making them for the tearoom. She requested victorian- not my strong suit, but it's just a table runner, right? And flowers are generally something that a lot of traditional people like. But then there was the "Red-hat" ladies... Oh, dear, I really don't know anybody that I could give this to as a gift, so I sure hope it sells!! And I made 2! For those of you unfamiliar with the Red Hat set, I believe they are women 60 and older who... well, I am not sure what they do- other than wear red hats and eat their dessert, first. Maybe they are worried they won't make it through the entre... There were about 20 of them in the tea room when I last visited- they kinda stand out in a crowd, if you know what I mean. Well, this table runner certainly stands out! I have made several Xmas table runners and those "wonder wallets"- which make very nice gifts. In fact, I made 5 table runner tops, yesterday, before the children got up! And did about 6 loads of laundry, too. It was a pretty good morning! I had 4 of them quilted before breakfast. I have a few more things to throw together before the holiday sales. I decided that I wasn't going to rush or try to hurry- where would the fun be in that? So what I get done will be what I have done and that's it, folks!

An amazing thing happened, today. I didn't have a headache! I have had a headache since July- no kidding. And today, I am afraid to hold my head the wrong way for fear of it returning! I have a little niggling pain dancing along my right eyebrow, but nothing compared to the intense ache I have been trying to get rid of for months now! I am off the caffeine and synthetic sugar, I quit pulling my hair on top of my head, I have seriously cut back on my time at the quilting machine(sniff), I haven't taken a pain killer in about 2 months, I am drinking more water and eating more protein, I have started with new supplements of whole grain oil, Salmon oil, and Carotenoids... Really, I am trying! Next stop, the chiropractor. I am determined that he understand that it is a one time stop- I won't be returning- so hope he gets it right, the first time!

All this, in time to paint an entire house- even the closets by Monday. Is that possible? I might put off the chiropractic adjustment until after the house painting marathon... and it isn't even my house! And can I whine for just a minute- or have I whined enough, already? OK, just a little bit more... I just wish the paint were more interesting colors. White. Moonlit white. Now that's white, friends. sigh. All done whining. Now it's back to work. Those table runners aren't going to bind themselves!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Good Morning! Good Morning! Good Morning!!!!!!!

Well, it is still dark outside, but I have faith!! And I have so much to share! I had a stellar day, yesterday! I want to tell you how it started- I hope you don't think me materialistic!

  1. I made $110, yesterday!!!!! On Postcards!!! I just can't believe it!! I am thrilled, thrilled thrilled- and apparently talking in triplet, today! Where to start... I had this lunch date with a girl friend at a local tea house. (Yes, I am still decaffeinated- my eyes feel a little too big for their sockets and the headache persists- though abated, somewhat.) The Tea in the Country teahouse is in Yorktown, IN, and you have to make reservations to eat there. The food is delish and they sell gifts- she is expanding- bought the cottage next door- only 2 feet away. She's opening the new addition the day after Thanksgiving. (For those of you in other cultures and climates, the day after Thanksgiving is a huge shopping day here in the States- you'll find me hiding in my house.) After tea, I showed them my postcards- she bought 25! in 10 minutes! And her daughter bought several, also. And I gave her 1 as a tip for waiting table. I brought my 2 table runners- she grabbed them up and asked if I had any more? I will!! (Those will be on consignment) Then I sold 11 more postcards to a couple friends last night. So now I won't be doing that little craft show next month- I'll just sell my stuff at her shop and let her deal with the hassle. She told me to go home and start sewing- and don't stop for 2 weeks! She loved my cards and my quilting and didn't even make any artistic suggestions-said she could see I had talent- she'd take whatever I brought in. She had a nice variety there and I could see where my more traditional stuff would fit in nicely. I don't know if I can do victorian, but I'll give it a whirl. I'll have to find a place to sell the art postcards...
  2. I received the most beautiful thank you note from a soldier in Iraq. I had made a QOV quilt and he was so sweet in his appreciation. If you haven't taken the time out to make one of these- wow! The thank you letter is enough to make it all more than worthwhile!! I have always thought it would be so cool to write a book with pictures of quilts- a little blurb about who it is for- and then a copy of the thank you letter on the opposing page. I have a small stash of these letters and it is really very humbling to see how your time and efforts can really touch someone. So many people I love, so many quilts, man! I need some more time!
  3. I got a letter from my friend "Windy." She knows who she is! She had even printed out the words to that song- "Who's looking out to capture a rainbow? Everyone knows it's Windy!" Had me just singing my heart out- if a bit quietly so as to not allow my head to roll off my shoulders from the pain behind my right eye! I did buy some decaf tea at the teahouse- yummy stuff- had to add milk as I am off the sweetners, too.

It was just a great day! The kids and I will be huddled in the quilting room, if anyone needs me! No, don't say that! It's not a sweat shop! It's quite cool out there...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Honey, I'm home!!

Joe (16) got his first deer, today. 11 point buck- not a bad way to start! Bill got a 6 point buck. We'll be busy cutting up the meat, tomorrow! Oh, that's right! I work on Tuesdays. I guess they'll be busy tomorrow, teeheehee. See Tracey? Delegate. And they had such a wonderful time together.

Whatza Monday?

It's just another day of the week. Nothing special, but somehow... it's a day that can make me a bit moody. Maybe because I am always starting another diet on Mondays! The diet du jour- and that's all I can hope it will last- no caffeine (wah!) and I am trying to seriously restrict the artificial sweeteners. And for some one with BB's- that's a challenge. So I went without my morning cup of tea. Honestly, I'm havin' chest pains. And hot flashes. and a bad headache. And my toes are cold and my nose is hot. And I hear this strange ringing... Oh, OK, I'll survive. But I'm not happy about it.

DH Bill and the 3 oldest boys are hunting, today. They left yesterday afternoon and spent the night in the woods. So that might attest to my normal routine being out of whack. Speaking of whacking... hope they get something. I figure that with 4 people hunting, surely they will be coming home with some protein for the freezer, right? I have been bumping around the house with all the extra room their absence has afforded me. Just me and the 5 little ones. We've done some cooking and watched a movie. I made a few more postcards- I like this dragon fly one. It is a lot of fun to make- I use the 4x6" stabilizer as my foundation and then just stitch and flip- improvisationally. I don't even trim up the extra fabric- what fer? It's just a post card, right? When I have covered the whole peice of stabilizer, I iron it down and trim it up. Ta-da! I stitched over all the seams with some pretty variegated primary color thread- rayon. (5 adjectives in that sentence-shew!) And then stitched it to the card base.

The table runners I made to sell at a tea room. (Notice the empty tea cup?) Now aren't you all just shocked at their traditional colors and patterns? I can do traditional if I put my mind to it! These are the poetry collection fabrics by Moda. I got them while down in Tennessee with Sarah. I have been making a few things to sell at the tea room and at the craft show- but I always have someone specific in mind, if they don't sell. That way I have some gifts all ready to go.

oh, I think my decaffeinated body needs a nap! Now why am I doing this? Oh, that's right, caffeine and artificial sweetners are supposed to be bad for me. I'm wondering if I really care... Now stop that, Nines! I can do this!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Heading to Riley Childrens' Hospital, today...

Evabeth has her last routine visit with the neurologists at Riley. Her Dr. is Romanian and she can do a hilarious imitation of him, "Soooo... Ow are yu veeling today?" Like a Transilvanian Vampire! Even he laughs when she does it for him. She has been doing so well on her medication and I am pretty sure we'll skate through this visit. While she isn't cured, the difference in her is so great that we feel that we can certainly be very happy and feel very blessed with her current condition. She told me last night that she was going to outgrow it and I thought, "From your mouth to God's ears, little one." I will be glad to wrap up our visits at Riley- they are very good to us there, but it will be nice to come back home and have visits with the local drs- like normal people. At least until she has a growing spurt. Then it'll be back to the circus. But she is only 7 so I figure she has a couple years until... things change. Lord willing.

How do you like our "do's"? I wear my hair pulled up most of the time, and the girl's wanted theirs up, too. Of course Abe had to have his picture taken, too. Eva's dress is a sore point with me. You didn't notice it? I really don't like fussy clothes- lace or big flowers... but a friend made it and Evabeth loves it- of course! So she gets to wear it around the house- didn't want you thinking I'd let her out of the house in that giddup. It looks like a curtain, doesn't it? A little Von Trap child. The more froo-froo, the more she likes it. Typical 7, huh?

Update: Bummer. Because Eva had a severe convulsion in the past 6 months, and she still has some abnormal brain activity, her meds are being increased and she isn't being released from the specialists' care. No big deal really. I guess I was just ready to get on with our lives. Which of course, we still can. 6 more months. We can do that.