Friday, November 30, 2007

No Sickness Zone

I REFUSE TO BE SICK!!!! Ok, so I am sick. I have been fighting this thing since Sunday. I had a tummy thing that day and by evening my throat was sore. I have just ignored it all week and last night it knocked me on my behind. Today I have NO voice. My children are in heaven! I will prevail!

I have spent much of the day resting. Homemade spaghetti sauce is simmering, but there is no homemade bread to go with it. I have no energy.
This morning I was preparing my second cup of coffee and I threw my spoonful of splenda in the cup. This is what happened.... coffee loves me! Zach was standing there when it happened and says the cup is haunted! I just thought it was cool. One thing that could not be put off today was laundry. I managed to get 4 loads done while home schooling. Don't you think the washboard is wonderful? My sweet father in law gave it to me before he passed away more than 12 years ago. Sweet Hubby's mom used it to do laundry at one time in her life. It hangs in my laundry room, and reminds me of how fortunate I am to have a washing machine.How many of you love table cloths? How many of you love table runners? Well I am a lover of both! I think mixing them is wonderful. A topper on a solid table cloth looks great too. This table cloth is actually a quilt.I LOVE the texture of this 1/8 inch crosshatching and the trapunto. I did not make this. It is machine done, and beautifully exact. It gives a crisp clean look to a table, and the runner warms it up just a little. I really like the look myself.
Well I am off to cook noodles and get dinner over with. Charlotte and I watched Anne of Green Gables this afternoon and we may curl up and watch the sequel tonight. I will get the 3rd installment of the tutorial up as soon as I have the energy to put it together...hopefully this weekend.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I prop this ruler at the entrance to my sewing room. It has been in many of my sewing room/areas over the years. It says "A Quilter Lives Here" Some of you may remember my blog post from last summer describing my life long dream of the perfect sewing room. Several times, I actually had it, only to lose it to another complaints here. I did not have a problem giving up my beautiful sewing rooms to those who needed the space more. HOWEVER, I do have a problem with giving my space over to 2 very ungrateful little children who have the audacity to actually use the words "I don't care" when told that their school area was not being taken care of properly (at least a dozen times in the last month). Might I add that their school area is IN my sewing room!!! Now only about 10% of the mess is mine, and I am willing to pick it up. I would not even have a problem if THEY made their mess, but PLEASE clean it up when you are done. This is what I found this morning, before school started!What started out to be a table and a bookcase has become the entire room. If you notice, my sewing machine is on the desk and my sewing area has all but disappeared. The entire room has somehow become THEIRS!! Now, like I said, I have NO problem sharing my space, but after consistent battles and feelings of entitlement within my children building to the point of no return, I sat them both down, looked them both in the eyes and said "YOU ARE EVICTED!!!" Charlotte looked shocked and Zach looked puzzled. That is right kiddos! You are kicked out. I told them they had 1/2 hour to collect their things and meet me at the kitchen table. I waited patiently and when they came down we had a lesson on "caring". I explained that caring about something is a choice! It does not just happen and it is not a one time choice. We get out of bed everyday and choose to either care, or not care. I gave examples in my own life of things I have chose to care about and how they effect those around me, namely my own children. We talked about how life would be around here if I got up tomorrow and made the choice NOT to care. Well my children have not cared for far too long. Zachary will verbally say "I don't care"...for example:

"Zach, your shirt is on backwards, buddy. You need to fix that."

"I don't care."

"Zach, you just spilled that juice on the floor"

"I don't care."
Now, I NEVER let him get away with that talk. Somehow, he feels he has the right to not care...and he is correct. His life will be wonderful or miserable, depending on his choice to care. Time to step up the parenting...hence the eviction!

Now Charlotte is not that, (what is a nice way of putting it??), maybe a better word is...ok, dense is good. She will not SAY the words, but she sure acts them out. She recently lost all her Barbies because they were never cared for. After a while she got them back with a warning that they need to be taken care of. "I WILL Mommy. I promise!" Less than 24 hours later, they are all over the place and this is after she has cleaned up. Charlotte is my child who works very hard at not working. A good chunk of the mess you see above is hers.

So enough is enough. This Mama took back her sewing room. Not because I am unwilling to share it or even give it up to a person who needs the room. I am not willing to share it with those who "don't care"! I still need to organize the closet, which was filled with more school supplies, and though I did straighten the hutch, it could use a real cleaning out also. The desk drawers will get a reorganize and the kids heritage library will be moved to the living room. We will do school work at the kitchen table just like many other home school families, and just like we did the last couple of years. For now, I feel like I was a good parent. I am not all "happy dancing" because I have my sewing room back, though I am not unhappy about that, but I am more content with the eviction as an important lesson that I hope will be remembered for a long time to come.
I am feeling the inspiration of quilt making washing over me again!!!! Mmmmmm, it feels good.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Portraits & Presents

Today was a busy one! We were out the door early to get portraits taken of the little kids. They all did very well. Here are my favorite shots. Aren't they wonderful??!! Charlotte looks SO grown up and Zach is like a magazine ad! And TJ turned out beautiful! Precious memories of an age that will be gone much too quickly. TJ does not like to "pose" and is not willing to follow the direction of "say cheese". A game of "catch" with Grandma and a plastic apple did the trick! To know those eyes were looking at me is the icing on the cake. I have not seen the little guy in over a week. Paw Paw said he would probably have whiskers and a girlfriend by now! Nope, he was still my little guy, but he did look taller.
While we were gone, the UPS man brought new Science and Social Studies workbooks for the kids. This will be very helpful in our school, as I was finding it difficult to incorporate these subjects in the way I felt was adequate.

I ended up getting a gift made and actually made the apron I have been itching to make. Here is Charlotte modeling it. It fits me very well and I really like this pattern. It was hard to tell but the fabric is holly leaves, berries and little cardinals. (Linda thought it was cayenne peppers, so maybe some of you did too) I stopped at Lemstone's gift store and Walgreens on my way home from portraits. I managed 2 gifts and my Christmas cards. I also ran into Hancock's and bought some fabric for another apron...this one a gift. I have 3 packages ready to ship and may run up yet today to mail them off. My sewing machine will be burning as Rachel needs to make several bags and pillows for Christmas gifts. Mix that with the aprons and bags I have yet to make and my little White will be getting a full work out! Oh, I also made some hair ties and think these will be nice stocking stuffers ;)
I am off to bake some cookie bars, and head to the UPS store. I will leave you with this photo of my mom's is so cute!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday and Kitchen Tip Tuesday

How many of you used your stove top to the extreme over the last week? I did. With Thanksgiving and all the other cooking I have been doing, my stove top got a huge work out. My tackle to share today was my stove top. I took the entire thing apart and scrubbed it down. I often throw the drip pans in the dishwasher, but every once in a while they need a good scrubbing. Here is a before (slick with grease and burned):Here is the after:
For more Tackle It Tuesday posts, visit 5 Minutes For Mom.

For my kitchen tip this week, I will share with you "how" I get my stove so clean and shiny. Like your kitchen sink, a clean or dirty stove will really make or break your kitchen appeal. Have you ever seen a kitchen with a really dirty stove? I will say nothing more...
So, I have a little story to share. First I will say, I receive NOTHING from the following endorsement except a huge dose of humility.
Several years ago, maybe 5, a young woman came to my door with a spray bottle and a script. I would not let her in my house to "clean anything you want", so she proceeded to clean my door knob. She sprayed her "magic cleaner" on the door knob and took a little green pad and rubbed very gently. The door knob SHINED like the sun in the spot she rubbed. I thought it was antique brass, but come to find out it was dirty, shiny brass. Ok, maybe we can try it on something else...she came in and we used her magic cleaner on my most difficult jobs! Everyone of them was a success. Areas that were thought to be my stove drip pans, and the edge of a drain. The stain on the counter and the spot on the frig door. I had tried EVERYTHING on these areas and nothing worked. So for a mere 199.99 I could get 2 quarts of her magic cleaner, which was highly concentrated, PLUS she would throw in 2 spray bottles and a little bundle of green pads which were a perfect 2x4 inch rectangle. SOLD! (Ooooh, if you are reading this Sweet Hubby, I DID learn my lesson!)

You know that saying "There is a sucker born everyday"?...I am the one on Nov. 8th, 1960. To make a long story short, the cleaner was NOT magic.....but the little green pad WAS!! Come to find out the cleaner (I think it was Pine Sol in a different bottle) was no more effective than my own cleaner, but the green miricle pad was just as effective with plain old water! These little pads had the words "scotch" lightly printed on them. You can get them at ANY grocery store for $1.29 for 3 large pads. You just need to cut your own little ones for a total of 9 pads. She only gave me 6!!! So here is my kitchen tip: I do not use these on surfaces that are easily scratched, but they are really great on stainless steel cookware (and of course the kitchen sink). Another GREAT tip when cleaning your stove is to use this cleaner: It cuts grease better than anything I have ever used, plus it is earth friendly and non toxic! It was developed so kids could help clean, yet it is amazingly effective in grease cutting. I use the pink. You can get it at many retail stores and it is less expensive than regular cleaners. Again, I am getting no rewards for saying this, except the reward of sharing my wonderful tools to get a beautifully clean stove top! For more Kitchen Tips, visit Tammy's Recipes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Holiday Panic

Guess who Looooves the Christmas tree???? You can tell by looking at the bottom of the tree, she thinks it is her new toy. Much training to be done on this dog...she is rebellious!!!

I am starting to panic since Christmas is OFFICIALLY less than a month away! I have 1 gift bought...I had 2, but then decided to give Charlotte her jumper for portraits being taken this week. I went backwards on my shopping! I have at least 6 gifts to make. Speaking of making gifts, I thought of making myself one...doesn't this fabric whisper "holiday apron"?? Ok, I will concentrate on others right now. Yesterday was a productive day, even though I was home from church with a tummy bug...Zach had it the weekend before. It was not enough to keep you down, but just enough to make you feel like you wanted to be. I had a wonderful phone call that really made my day!! I finished part 2 of the tutorial and posted it this morning. (You can find all the steps under the label "tutorial" on my side bar for future reference) I make a crock pot meal on Sundays in case I decide to go to evening service. This week I made a pot roast, carrots, potatoes, gravy (I DO make a great homemade package or jar) a loaf of homemade bread, and chocolate chip cookies for dessert (or "zert" as Zachary says). Look at that shiny stove....I will share it tomorrow for Tackle It Tuesday!
Sweet Hubby and Zachary put up the lights and decorations outside. Zach is a Daddy's boy. Our older boys never really took a huge interest in the same things Daddy did, except sports. Bud is more into working with cars than wood, and Kyle is not into any of it...he is more a movie buff. They would help when asked and not complain, but Zachary never needs to be asked...he is always right there when a tool is brought out, or a ladder set up. Dad even built him his own workbench and gave him a set of "real" tools, some scraps of wood and hardware. He loves it!So my Christmas panic has set in....this is a good thing. It motivates me to get going on my gifts that need to be mailed out. I think I will make my lists this morning and spend my day multi tasking between the sewing machine and home school. It is a test day in math, so no "teaching" on my part. Perfect day to get going on these gifts, so I will!!

Table Topper Tutorial 2

Let's Sew!!!!

Now that all your pieces are cut and you have your hand sewing lines marked, grab a needle and thread or your sewing machine and let's sew these rows together. We will be making 5 rows that look like this:
Take a light and a dark and put right sides together:
Stitch small, even stitches on your sewing line by hand, or using your machine, sew a 1/4 inch seam to join the two squares together. There is no need to lock your seams on this step. Now I could go over the wonders of chain piecing here, and if you know how, then by all means do so, but I will skip that lesson for the few squares we are dealing with. It will go quickly with or without chain piecing, so just enjoy the process.

Join 3 of each fabric to create the 5 rows pictured above. Now we will join the rows together. First, take your rows to your ironing board and press all the seams toward the dark fabric. Make sure the rows are taut, but not pulled to tightly. If hand sewing, make sure you can see all your hand sewing lines. Lay your rows out to form a checkerboard will need to flip 2 rows to do this. So using a black and white for contrast, I want you to look closely at the center where the squares come together. This is the aim, the goal, the hope and prayer, that you will be able to match up your corners correctly. Now do not panic...I will show you how this is done. Rarely, if ever, do I have a corner that does not come together perfectly with this technique. You have pressed your fabrics all toward the dark side (did that sound a little "scary movie"??). Now you will, with right sides together, pin your rows at each intersection by butting your seams up against each other. Look closely (squint if you have to). If things do not quite fit, this is where you make it fit. Do not focus on the rows from end to end, but from intersection to intersection. What you see below is an intersection...where 4 pieces of fabric meet. (pay no attention to the fact that I pressed toward the light fabric on this showed up better in the photo this way.) Pin the seam pointing to your left. This will help when you are feeding your rows through the machine. Do the exact same thing for hand piecing.Stitch all 5 rows together in the same checkerboard pattern you laid them out in. Again, no need to lock your stitches. Press your seams in the same direction when you are finished stitching.When you have your rows together you now have a "flimsy". GREAT JOB!!!! Next time we sandwich, baste and machine quilt in the ditch!! (That almost sounded like cooking)