Christmas crazy

HI Everyone! 

I hope you had a lovely week. Once again ours was busy and involved moving furniture and boxes. I keep telling myself it WILL end eventually. My back is sore and stiff from three days of moving stuff. I should have lost weight and look like a body builder by now!

I’m not sure I have much to report that is news worthy or all that interesting, but for the sake of consistency I will fill you in.  

We got the Christmas tree up and all was good until two days ago. We now have a half lit tree (no alcohol was involved). My other lights are in our storage unit. I was planning to go get them today but now it is SNOWING and I lost all motivation for leaving my cozy wood stove. 


Did I mention it is SNOWING? I’m one of those weird people who like snow. I don’t like winter, but I do like snow. It’s even better when there is a ski slope under my feet! I’m hoping these two days of snow will bring in some Christmas spirit. It has been MIA and I am alternating between Scrooge and Grinch. I haven’t purchased the first gift yet and now the Christmas stress is setting in.  Ok, I know the economy supposedly would crash without the December buying frenzy, but I really think most people would enjoy the holiday sooooo much more without all the gifting pressure.  I like the decorations, limited amounts of Christmas music, a hefty amount of Christmas goodies and visiting with family and friends, but I hate to shop. I especially hate to shop for gifts that I know people don’t really need or often want just to be giving a gift. I don’t want to receive something I don’t need or want just to be given a gift.  I am then stuck with gift guilt because I either keep it and it takes up valuable space or I give it away and then live in fear that the person who gave it to me will ask about it. I’m a terrible liar and then have to confess. LIFE SHOULD NOT BE THIS COMPLICATED! 

Miss L. and I are making gifts for the people on her Christmas list and I do enjoy that.  She is learning how to sew and seems to be enjoying it most of the time (the machine sewing is good, but she is not into hand sewing). We have had a few pretty comical moments during our marathon sewing sessions. We have had two machines going at once and the time I accidentally stepped on her pedal could have been a bad moment, but luckily it left us in laughing stitches instead of emergency room stitches!  I know that many people don’t like or appreciate handmade gifts, but I personally think they are the best. Someone really cares about you if they make you something and often the supplies that go into them actually cost more than store bought. I have to wait until after Christmas to show you our projects.

I am going to wrap (pun intended) up for today because there is a good chance the school will call for us to get the kids out early due to the snow and I need to be set up for more sewing when Miss L. gets home. Hopefully I will have more Christmas spirit and shopping done by next week.

Keep southern California in your prayers. Those folks are in a bad situation. 

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With Thanksgiving

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving if you are in the U.S.  After my whiney, pitiful last post, I’m happy to report that mine was very nice. Stress, exhaustion and the impending cross country move of my son was not a good combination. I would like to say that would be my last pitiful post but I still have Christmas to get through so no promises.


I did get to spend about a week and a half with the “boy” and his girlfriend came for a visit and had Thanksgiving with us. My daughter and son-in-law made it as well. It had been since May that I had seen them in person. Arden and I got in a 4.5 mile hike together along with my grandpup, Rainey. We had a houseful of people and 5 dogs so there were no dull moments. Top all that off with our well pump dying and life gets really interesting. Two and a half days without running water! Why do things like that always happen when we have people in??

Slowly, ever so slowly things are wrapping up with my SIL’s estate. Every week we think we are done at her house, but then something else needs to be done, looked for or moved. We have an impending deadline so hopefully this Satuday will be the last big day over there. Lots of furniture moving to be done as we get the last of the major items out. We are VERY tired of moving furniture! 

Somehow in all of this (I still have a job that requires my attention too) Miss L and I are making Christmas gifts, the Christmas tree is up, I am cleaning out our storage unit of unneeded furniture and the people and animals still get fed. Poor D. hasn’t had a day off in literally months. Even on his days off from his job he is moving furniture, working on the barn, processing deer meat for a few friends and working on the Honey Do list.  When he decides he can squeeze in a few hours of hunting I figure that’s as close as he is going to get to some R&R for another month. We will all be very happy to see 2017 go bye bye!


I wish I could tell you about all sorts of cool, creative things I am doing but I don’t have much. I finished my second pair of knitted socks and plan to start a sweater next and I got in a drawing though it’s not finished yet. There are big plans in the works and hopefully I can share at least one of those next week if all goes well.  Right now the biggest thing I want to accomplish is getting my house clean and catching up on the laundry that piled up during our dry spell! 

My apologies for the same drawing twice. I can’t get it to delete!


Have a great week and be grateful for clean, running water. 

November?

Hi Everyone!

I am getting this week’s post done pretty much on time. Well, it’s 10:30 pm and I can’t get to sleep yet so I might as well be productive.  I also have plans to go hiking tomorrow with my son and need to clear some things off my To Do list so I can hike guilt free. 

Is anyone else wondering where the month of November went? How can next week be Thanksgiving?? I feel like I have been inside a tornado for months and things are whirling past me. I see them go by, but barely. 

This week has been another one of THOSE weeks where every day includes hours of travel and a stack of paperwork. I think we are almost done and then something else needs attention. I cannot begin to tell you how much I hate moving furniture right now, and boxes. I have temporarily cleared our guest room and main living area of boxes so that my son has room to function while he is here, but this weekend includes more furniture moving and even Thanksgiving day is likely to find us traveling Beverly Hillbilly style to and fro. Aaarrggghh! My goal for 2018 is TO NOT MOVE FURNITURE ANYWHERE!

On Monday I decided to at least give myself a short amount of time to enjoy a lovely Fall day and hiked around the farm and the neighbors’ farms. Tomorrow I am going to take time to enjoy some time with my son before he leaves for Hawaii the first of December. It will be almost a year before I get to see him again and dang it, I WILL NOT move anything tomorrow. Yes, I’m sounding a little stressed and frustrated again. This too shall pass.


I did manage to start a drawing and I’m still squeezing in a little knitting and quilt piecing to maintain my sanity. Next week begins the holiday cooking and decorating. I AM NOT READY! Can I just skip Christmas this year? For many reasons I just don’t want to do Christmas in 2017. 

I apologize for being such a downer this week. I got a little taste of normal life and then the abnormal moved back in this week with more furniture, boxes and people who don’t do their jobs. I will be taking a break next week. Both of my kids will be in for Thanksgiving and since they will not be home for Christmas I am going to try to get in as much quality and quantity time with them as I can. I have not seen my daughter since May and am not sure I remember what she looks like.

For those of you in the USA have a lovely Thanksgiving and for all of you everywhere I hope you have MUCH to be thankful for. I will be back in a couple of weeks and hopefully in better spirits. 

Another rabbit hole

Hi Everyone,

I’m squeezing this in just before my self imposed deadline is up. I try to get my posts done before Saturday. It’s 9:17 pm on Friday night and everyone has gone to bed except me.

So I’m feeling pretty good about this week. I finished and delivered my commissioned piece. You will have to wait until after Christmas to see it though. I had a pretty good work week including meeting a tight deadline. The laundry is caught up. The house is in pretty good shape. I have had enough down time to keep me sane. Yep, best week in a LONG time. 

I am planning a series of drawings and paintings and other stuff now that the commission is done. I’m just in the gathering stage right now so nothing to show yet.

Along with my sock knitting I decided to take on another project for my evening lazy hour or two when I can get it. I found a pile of partially pieced quilt sections that we think were started by D’s grandmother and want to see if I can put them together. There were two parts that were almost sewn together so I started by finishing them. Oh please don’t judge. I have never hand pieced before and they have not been ironed yet.


Then I tried to figure out what the block design was. I looked at pattern blocks on Pinterest  until my eyes bled and could not figure it out! So I turned to Facebook. You know there is a group for EVERYTHING on Facebook so I found a quilting group that has about 52 THOUSAND members. Seriously! Surely they would know what it was. I gave them the same photo as here and in just about 2 minutes a lady told me it is a star pattern and how to put it together. From there I did some star pattern research and it looks to be a Tribute Star pattern.

Yes, I have a habit of falling into rabbit holes on a fairly regular basis. But look at all the cool, weird stuff I chase down. 

Don’t look for the finished product to show up any time soon. I am hand piecing these babies (I can’t keep my sewing machine out all the time and will be too tired to sew if I have to drag it out every night) and there are 37 sections which will eventually make 9.5 Tribute Stars. I’m assuming the half is in case of disaster or I’m missing a half, but I can sort of visualize 3 rows of 3 stars to eventually make a quilt. Do NOT hold your breath waiting to see these. It’s gonna take awhile.

That’s all from The House of Weird this week. Go make something! 

Glorious Saturday 

Hi Everyone!

I have no idea why I missed writing this post yesterday other than I was enjoying the fine art of lollygagging through my Friday. I survived a high level deadline for a job on Wednesday, a day full of deliveries Thursday and only had one low level deadline yesterday that evidently numbed my brain.

Today is the first Saturday in MONTHS that I have been able to stay home and do neglected domestic stuff and work on my commission and just enjoy a no deadline day. Glorious!

I think I am almost done with my commissioned drawing. I need to just spend a few days looking at it and seeing if there are any touch ups to do. I can’t show you the whole thing but here is a little sneak preview. 


I still have a logo to do for my daughter. I’m so glad she is distracted by her anatomy class right now and not needing the logo right away. The hours and hours I have spent on the computer the past few months seem to have made me reluctant to focus on technical creativity. Normally I enjoy creating logos but it requires a long time on a computer. I get a little squeamish thinking about it at the moment. 

What I am looking forward to is soon having the time to start work on some projects that have been percolating in my head for a VERY LONG time. I’m sure you have had the experience of thinking about something you want to do, a place you want to go or a needed solution to problem and out of the blue comes the exact “thing” you needed. Call it what you will, God at work or the universe, but it happens often and it has happened to me.

Without the long explanation that I will probably cover in the future, I have a fascination with textile art. In the past couple of years I have also developed a fascination with quilts, especially art quilts. For most of my adult life I had a sewing machine that only sewed a straight stitch…when it felt like it and too many other things on my plate to really spend the time or money working with fabric. 

Take a wild guess at what I have wound up with during all this cleaning out of the husband’s family stuff. Better yet let me show you just a drop in the bucket. 


I now have boxes and boxes of supplies to work with. Hobby Lobby may not have the inventory that I do. I’m pretty sure I am being told that it is time for me to get to work! There will be a learning curve and I have no idea where this is going but I’m itching to get started.  No, I’m not going to give up the drawing and painting. Somehow I think it is all going to work together but we will have to wait and see how. I have been playing with ideas for years. 

That’s it for this week. I had planned to spend some time cleaning a lovely antique piece that is moving in here but it’s a little damp and windy today for me to take that on. Miss L. is away for the weekend visiting friends and making up shoe boxes for Samaritan’s Purse. I told her I was going to work on reorganizing her room while she is gone. There is chili to make for dinner. D. is heading out to the woods this afternoon for some time in his deer stand. Not a bad Saturday at all!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 

I see Normal!

Hi Everyone,

I’m running a little late this week but better late than never. I hope you had a great week!

As we are winding down this last week of October, off in the distance is a glimmer of light. That thing called Normal Life is coming into view!

Now of course Normal is as subjective as Olympic ice skating, but we all have our own normal. Our normal has forever changed, but we have a good idea of what we want it to be now.

This week we end the weekly and sometimes twice weekly trips to my SIL’s house. There is still more to do but the worst is over and what needed to come out will all be out tomorrow. We get our Wednesdays and Saturdays back!!!

Miss L wraps up her soccer season this week so we get our Tuesdays and Thursdays back!!!!!!!  If we weren’t so far behind on all the things that need to be done on the farm and house I might think we would be bored. Nope. Never happens around here!

Tonight kid# 1 is helping with her National Honor Society Club chicken stew and won’t be here until late, kid #2 has a bonfire/dance/chicken stew at her school (like I have explained in previous posts, chicken stews are a BIG thing around here) and the two exhausted adults are going to enjoy a do nothing evening.

Soooooo, hopefully you all will not have to hear me whine and complain much longer and I can get back to doing the fun, artsy, creative stuff I’m supposed to be writing about. I can tell you that those creative things are going to be taking an interesting turn by the first of the year. I’m so excited to start some new stuff!!!

Have a NORMAL week!

Photo credit Matt  Kochar

Simple

Hi Everyone,

This is going to have to be short today.  There is a long list of To Do’s waiting on me.  The whole week has been that way.  Every single day has been full of different appointments to rush to and fro from.  We are worn out and still not done.  Monday is our last scheduled appointment…I think.  Somewhere soon I have a bone density test, but can’t find it on my calendar at the moment.  Not good.

I finally got a beginning sketch for the commissioned drawing done.  It will be after Christmas before I can show you the final piece because it is a present and I bet that someone will recognize the little guy, so I have to keep it under wraps.  I am very much looking forward to putting a pencil to paper again.  I now have two logos that need to get done as well and my usual work is pretty busy.  I was up at 4 am working Wednesday morning.  If you can’t sleep, work.

What is weighing on my mind this week is how to get back to simple.  I have been downsizing and cleaning out stuff for 5 years now.  Every time I think I am close to getting where I want to be someone else’s stuff moves in on me.  Yes, I still have some of my own to part with, but most of it has been in storage for a kid or two.  Now, I have 4 generations of stuff to work through.  We have formulated a plan.  Wish us luck.

For those of you who have not heard, my son is moving to Hawaii in December.  Yes, it is a real paying job he is going over there for.  People keep asking me if he is going to get a real job. Yes, it involves an ocean, kayak, whales and probably a surf board, but he is actually getting paid to do such things and even gets real work benefits.  Are you green with envy yet??

What I admire about my son is his ability to walk very lightly on this earth.  He will be moving to the other side of the country with only what he can carry in his camping backpack and his school backpack.  That’s it. Even as a small child he rarely had more than one item on his Christmas list.  He is not a collector of STUFF.  He collects experiences.

My daughter and son-in-law have been working to minimize their STUFF as well.  I think their generation has seen the error of our ways and do not want to burden themselves with the cost of STUFF in real money and in environmental impact.  Do some research on just how much clothing alone goes into our landfills here in the U.S.

D. and I are both people who crave a very simple lifestyle.  We admire the Shakers and Amish in their simplicity and the beauty of that simplicity.  Clean lines in furniture and have only what you need.  We are far from that right now, but as we go through this experience of distributing a bazillion things we are more sure than ever that we do not want our legacy to be STUFF.  We do not want to leave such a burden on our children.

I can tell you that I am now analyzing every single item that I own and will be letting go of things that I have held onto only because it is connected to a memory.  Things DO NOT hold memories.  PEOPLE hold memories.  I can look around me and see THINGS that I do not truly love for what they are but just because they are a connection to my past.  THINGS that if I were to see them in a store, I would walk right by them.  No more.  They have to go.  They are taking up valuable real estate in our home that could either be open, airy, peaceful space of its own or hold something that I truly do love for its beauty and/or usefulness.

I hope that in some way I have influenced my kids in their simplicity.  I don’t think their lives were filled with an overabundance of stuff growing up and I showed them how to regularly clear out their belongings.  Now I have a young lady that needs, more than most, to have this example and instruction given to her.  What happens in her future I have no way of knowing, but I do know that D. and I are committed to showing her a simpler, more peaceful and more financially sane way to live.  Sometimes life provides you with an unforeseen way to accomplish your goals!

Have a great week and keep it simple!

Photo credit

 

Salt water and memories 

Hi Everyone!

I will just start by saying that I WAS NOT READY to come home from the beach! A long weekend was not long enough. It was a few glorious days of much needed R&R though. Miss L. spent the weekend with her Aunt Netty and Uncle Steve. I think she decided the Old Farts wasted a good beach trip when we told her our weekend consisted of eating, sleeping and sitting on the beach. Did I mention that it was glorious? I slept for 11, yes, ELEVEN straight hours!


And now back to the grind. 

Nothing creative. Nothing fun. 

We are now on a time crunch to finish up at my late SIL’s house. Every spare minute will be spent there moving stuff out. Tomorrow we are having a POD dropped in our front yard to stuff everything into until I get time to sort it all out. Yeah. You hear the excitement in my voice don’t you?

Next week we are once again calling in all available family members to do some heavy moving. It has been hard enough watching D. and his sister remembering their Mom, Grandparents and sister as we sort through all the generations of stuff. Now the nieces and nephews will have to come to grips with the fact that the house they have happy memories of their Grandma Judy in (it was her house before it was my SIL’s) will have to be sold. 

Our annual chicken stew is this weekend. I have several boxes of family items that I am either delivering to a family member or taking for the family to sort through and take with them. Hopefully there will be good family stories told over these. It is kind of weird being the outsider without emotional attachment to all these family mementos. I am often able to appreciate the old items for their workmanship, artistry or history without a memory of where it sat in Grandmomma’s kitchen or remembering someone working on needlework at a Sunday dinner.


Today I unpacked several drinking glasses from the 50’s and they were so bright and cheerful that I decided I would replace the ones we normally use that no one seems to like. While I am noticing how much better the thickness and quality of glass is than current ones, D. is telling me how he always noticed that his Granddad’s cornbread and milk (it’s a Southern thing if you aren’t from around here) matched the design colors on the glass he is using. This change of glasses not only gave Miss L. some family history but general history as well as we explained how some of the glasses were once jelly jars. 

Most of the cleaning out and sorting is just hard labor, but when some of the old pieces of pottery or needlework or old 40’s clothes turn up it becomes a little treasure to appreciate.  I’m afraid that future generations will not get as much enjoyment from our mass produced plastic and cold technology. Hopefully we will find our way back to quality and beauty before the skills are lost. 

So, maybe next week I will share a photo of our beautiful POD. Yuck. I hope it won’t have to hang around too long. I guess an eyesore in your front yard is motivation enough to get a daunting job done. B.J.C. thank you for the sweet note. That helped me keep my chin up and carry on! 

Have a great week and go make something beautiful! 

A patchwork of things

Hi Everyone!

I hope all is well in your world.  We have a little touch of Fall in the air today but are in great need of rain as you can tell by this photo of my car.  We live on a dirt road. Washing my poor car will not help right now.  dirty car

It has been another non-stop week and my brain is tired, but I will try to share what I can.

I finally finished my dress last week.  Pictures will come later, but the pattern is called the Fen Dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts and I absolutely loved how it turned out.  If I had realized how simple the pattern was I would have finished it during one of my insomnia nights. There will be more made. Next one will be in a plaid flannel I think for winter.

Knitting has been my sanity saver the past few months since I do not have the time or space to drag out my paints.  Here is my next luscious skein of yarn for my next pair of socks.  yarnThis hand dyed yarn is from On The Round in Maine.

Next week should be slower and I plan to possibly finish my daughter’s logo for her blog, Body By Nutrition, then start on a drawing commission.

In the never-ending process of cleaning out three, sometimes four, generations of stuff from my husband’s family I have discovered what talented ladies his Mother and Grandmother were.  Both were excellent seamstresses who made most of their own clothes as well as their family’s.

I think there is a future post on all those unfinished projects we crafty/artsy folk have laying around and tucked into corners of closets.  Here are a couple that I found.  I think the finished star was made by D’s Grandmother and the partially pieced one made by his Mother.  I found the lovely old needle case in with some of these.  It contains all sizes of needles including old, tiny beading needles.  patchwork

Hopefully in the not so far future, I can finish the quilt squares.  There are not enough for a quilt (unless I unearth some more), but probably some pillow tops for the family.

In other news, those of you who know Miss L. will notice her sporting new glasses soon.  She had mentioned she lost some glasses this past winter.  I don’t know what made me schedule her an eye appointment before other doctor appointments that she needs since she never complained about headaches or difficulty seeing, but I did.  Boy, am I glad.  She has 20/300 vision!  The doctor made her pinky swear that she will wear her glasses all the time in an attempt to correct her vision at least to a better point than where she is.  Seems there is a limited age range where this particular problem can be corrected and she is right at that limit.  So if you see her without them on…remind her! Those pinky swears are serious stuff!

I gotta go get some more work done.  I have no affiliate advertising on this blog.  Any businesses mentioned here I share in case you want to check them out.

Have an awesome week!  I will be MIA next week.  We are escaping for some much needed R&R to a secret location.  All I can tell you is that there is an ocean nearby. YEAH!

 

Photos by Christel Huttar

Miss L. and life at a snail’s pace

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are having a great week.  Oh, how I would love to tell you that we have made marvelous strides toward at least one goal, but, alas, it has not happened.  Sigh.

We ARE making progress, but it is excruciatingly slow.  Slow, like watching grass grow, as a snail crawl, molasses pour, banks do their job.  Sigh.

I will not name names, but there is one very large bank that I MUST deal with in all this and evidently their faxes, email, phone and PERSONNEL systems do not work or communicate with each other.  I am losing count of how many times I had had to fax the same paperwork to the same number only to have them tell me they have no record of it.  I’m pretty sure that is the definition of insanity. I have quit praying to God for patience because when I do He sends me more paperwork from this sorry excuse for a bank. Ok, rant over.  Moving on.

I know that many of my readers check in here to check on Miss L. so I thought I would give you a brief update.  I want to protect her privacy so I limit what I put out there in cyberworld.  I’m sure you can understand that considering not only her situation, but the dark side of our world.

Miss L. is doing great!  I checked in with her homeroom teacher (who she really likes) and I got a lovely report.  Her grades are still excellent.  Her reading score is off the charts.  She is participating in class and is making friends.  Don’t tell her, but I love sitting in the car line and seeing her talking with friends and not paying any attention as to whether I am there or not.

She is playing soccer.  None of us have been overly impressed by the soccer organization at the moment, but it’s fresh air and exercise so we will finish the season and re-evaluate afterwards.  Miss L. has also gained some healthy weight.  D. and I are borderline health nuts who cook at home 95% of the time and rarely eat much junk food (ice cream being the regular exception).  At first she resisted eating anything she had not tried before,  but now gives new food a try (that’s all we ask, is that she try it) and most of the time finishes a plateful.  When we went clothes shopping I gave her the choice of a tried and true fast food restaurant or an unknown entity…Greek food.  SHE CHOSE GREEK FOOD and really liked it!

Miss L. is now a regular at our church Youth group meetings and started singing with the Youth choir last week.  She loves to sing and I think she will love this group.  Ms. Jenny had ordered 25 sets  of music for the new year and Miss L. made the 26th member so there will be more music ordered.  I raised my two kids at this church and in this Youth group and even though it is a 45 minute drive for us each way, I know the huge amount of love and support that surrounds each young person involved in this group and it will be worth the time for Miss L.

Next week we start with doctor visits.  After two months of agonizing attempts to get her health insurance that is finally done and I have vision, dental and regular doctor checkups lined up.  I also have grief counseling scheduled for her with Hospice.  With all the enormous changes that have occurred in her life in the last three months I am amazed at her strength.  Yes, she has times when it all gets to her, but overall she has handled it very well and we want her to have an outlet and knowledge of how to handle what will be a long process.

Probably the biggest adjustment any of us have had to make is just getting to know each other and living in the same house.  Although we all saw each other several times each year (for me it started about 5 years ago, of course D. all Miss L.’s life) that is NOT the same as every day.  D. and I are fairly old school parents who think kids need rules and responsibilities.  I’m not sure how many rules Miss L. had on a regular basis, but I suspect not many and very few responsibilities.  There have been a few “adjustment” moments for all of us as the settling into new roles has occurred.

Right off the bat, Miss L. had to take regular responsibility for Dinah (her dog) and Sweetie Pie (her cat).  We already had several critter mouths of our own to feed.  Dinah had always been an outside dog.  I have no idea how that tiny fluff ball survived three years outside, but she very likely would not survive outside up here with the high level of predators that would consider Dinah a snack.  So, I taught Miss L. how to house train a dog.  Every two hours she had to take fluffy butt outside whether either of them wanted to go or not.  Fast forward two months and Dinah is pretty reliably house trained. If there is an accident now it is human error, not canine error.

Miss L. gives Sweetie Pie the cat her daily food, water and snuggles AND she has discovered that she enjoys feeding the horses.  Most days now she helps D. get the three pasture ornaments fed.  At the very beginning of her days with us, Miss L. informed us that she has a bird phobia.  Even though she will not get very close to them, occasionally she will even help feed the chickens.  She also gets to clean her room each week, keep up with all her school papers, help with all the house chores and has added bean picking to her resume.  We will be working on cooking this winter.

That’s the update on life in Crazyville right now.  Miss L. is the easy part.  The bank…not so much.

I hope your week will be slow in a good way! Until next week…

Alex Blăjan