Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fine, I'm Enjoying Early Spring

This is a bridge where we live, getting rebuilt (and causing a giant pain in our butts). It does need to be done, and has been interesting to watch. The two younger boys have an excellent view from their bedroom, so Alan has been taking pictures so our friends and family can see. We normally use it to get to the grocery store, Goodwill, Costco, Home Depot, and pretty much everywhere else we need to go. Now we have to go around, taking us over where the houses in the photo are, and across a different, longer bridge. The hills in the back are actually Washington. 

We've had frosty, clear mornings, beautiful, almost warm days, and lovely sunsets over the last week. Today has actually been stormy, which is nice, but I really have given in and enjoyed the Spring-like weather. I always balk at first,  I just love Winter so much, but it only takes a few beautiful days to win me over to the idea of being able to do things outside, leave doors open to allow fresh air in, and to start finding things in bloom.

The goaties are getting excited, too. Poor things have such a mucky area by Spring and all through Spring, but as the blackberries start overtaking, they get to explore the yard a bit for a snack. My mom is looking forward to them visiting her pretty soon, too. I am really hoping to pretty up their area sometime soon, everything that has been built for them has been caused by an immediate need and leaves a bit to be desired, visually speaking.

 Our magnolia bush is in full bloom and is gorgeous! It needs a bit of a prune, pruning being something that we've failed at completely the last few years. The blueberry bush next to it is in a severe need of a trim - they should be pruned in Fall, and I keep putting it on the back burner until I realize the year has zoomed by once again. I also need to get some more blueberry bushes! Amelia loves them so much, our two bushes barely feed her over the summer. I haven't gotten any in the freezer since she's been born!

I cut a few branches off the magnolia this morning (I meant to yesterday, before the rain, but...) and filled my new milk glass vase I got at Goodwill. I love the shape and size of it, and snatched it up as soon as I laid eyes on it. David gave me a bit of a funny look, heehee, but he's use to me.

I also picked up a huge bag of tapestry wool. It came with some chunks of canvas, but I've been keeping an eye out for some to embroider on a rather moth-eaten wool army blanket we have.

This helmet is David's score. We don't know what we'll do with it, but we both like the markings - rather Captain America, haha. I do hope everyone else is having better weather, or enjoying the weather they have! I'm heading back to make some progress on the kitchen. I'm planning to make a page on here for a list of the projects I've got planned or have in progress. I like Pinterest and all, but I'm a list-maker, and think a page on here would be a fun list, providing I am able to steadily mark the projects off! I'd like to freshen up my blog, too, but man, that takes time! I just get too indecisive about it. Hope your weekend is going well!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Goodwill Gallery Wall

I'm finally posting my bird picture gallery wall! I had posted my Goodwill find of bird coloring pages quite a while ago, and knew pretty quickly what I wanted to do with them. The pictures are blurry, I'm really not liking this version of my Nikon camera, it really doesn't do well, and you can't tell until the picture is on the computer. Ah, well. Better than nothing. (edited to add: I replaced the pictures, both a lot better, esp. the top one of the birds! The very top two I took a long time ago) The frames are from Dollar Tree, and spray painted ocean blue. It's kinda funny because people regularly ask if one of us drew them. The first time it happened, my oldest, Scott came in, saw it, and asked, "Did you do that?" I say, "Yeah, looks pretty good, huh?" He looks at me stunned and I instantly knew the misunderstanding, haha! After correcting it, he said he'd been stunned to think he'd lived with me for so long without knowing I could draw like that - he himself draws amazingly. The spot is right in the middle of our front door and a front picture window, which doesn't help with photographing it any. I will have to keep trying in different light. Actually, the cupboard below is a Goodwill find, too. It was raw wood and I had it in the kitchen for a while, trying to figure out how I was going to use it. Then it moved to the dining area, where I still wasn't completely sold. During the last furniture move around, I put some feet on it, slid it over between the door and couch and now I love it! The walk in area is a little awkward, since there's no entry hall/foyer/enclosed porch or anything like that, but it provides a good spot to stash my purse and drop our keys. It's really nice to be getting everything in a place that makes sense and functions well!

In spite of the terrible pictures, I'm sharing at:

                                                                  Ivy and Elephants 

                                                       Funky Junk Upcycled Link Party

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dot Com (two posts in a day)

Well, a while back I stopped being allowed to comment on a few blogs that I had previously been commenting on regularly. I didn't do anything about it for a while because I was so busy I didn't really have time for blogs, anyway. There seems to be a lot of potential reasons, one of which was someone using my blog for spam. YeeHaw. I did find a strange address in my settings, deleted it, and saw a few recommendations for using a domain, so the email uses the domain. For $12 for the year, I figure it's worth a shot! Since my blog is just a personal, family/crafty blog, I'm not wanting to go crazy trying to solve the problem, but...we'll see. It's been extremely aggravating, but at the same time, is it really a huge deal?

Kitchen In Progress (free plank walls, too!)

Well, it's not pretty, but we're making progress! After peeling nasty wallpaper from Alan and Owen's room, I realized this part of the kitchen likely also had actual, tongue-in-groove plank walls under the paneling. Our living area does, too, though we had to peel SEVEN layers of wallpaper and a weird layer of cardboard to find it! I began pulling it off part way and peeking underneath, and sure enough! Our home is 100 years old this year, built in 1915 by a ship builder. I'm hoping to accumulate more on the history of it, how fun would it be to have all that information? David also found that we can get a whole newspaper of the one I found by the heating duct. That will be flat out awesome!

This perspective is from the middle of the room. The area shown is the original kitchen ( I would LOVE to see a picture of that!!) The room was extended in the 60's, I think David knows the exact year. Actually, I use to, it's on our paperwork. This part serves as sewing room, play room, and eating area. I recently moved our big table into it, realizing it was kind of silly to bring food out to the "dining room" (just through the swinging brown door) every meal, where the tv was, making more work for ourselves in the process, as well as being tempted to leave the tv on while we eat. Ignoring clean up was also easier - we don't have a dishwasher, so whoever is in charge generally procrastinates, a trait we both passed on to every child. Yay. We are overcoming it, though! Having the large table in here will also be really nice for larger sewing projects, which use to get dragged out to the living room. The funny cupboard with the red tile scraper (which we ended up not using, of course) leaning on it is where the chimney is. Right next is the heating duct. There use to be two wood stoves linked to the same chimney, a big insurance no-no, hence the chimney plug. We still have the wood stove, it's now in our living room for decoration, because we just love it and have nowhere else to put it. I keep battery operated candles in it, which throws people for a minute!              There has never been door or window trim in here, and I can't wait to finally put some up! There is a fan in the upper right corner that will be moved to over the stove. I'm so happy it works well, and to finally have a working fan in the cooking area! There is a ceiling fan that does NOT work on the cooking side, and makes the most horrifying racket when someone turns it on. I will be very  happy to have that one removed! We plan to plank the ceiling with stained wood. Although there is very likely a "planked" ceiling underneath the old ceiling tiles, I pried one loose, and there is a paper glued to it. Not worth the effort! Better, I think, to keep it, with it's minimal sound-proofing, than to make our house even noisier!

We've had to fill in some spots where there hadn't been flooring, and where I'd started to pull up all the flooring, before realizing how much of a pain that was going to be. The picture above reaffirms how happy I am to be able to have peel and stick flooring, rather than anything requiring many layers of glue or paint! I'm still painting over everything with some "garbage" paint we have, just to give the flooring a good surface to stick to, but I can't imagine what a pain it would be to try to keep kids and kitties out long enough for things to dry. Especially during our damp, cold spring!

This is what is going in, poor picture, though, it is.  Owen was so funny, he knew I was happy to have a floor that wouldn't show dirt as well, so when he was telling my mom about it, he said, "And we don't have to clean it, ever, because it won't look dirty!". My mom said, "Well, you'll still have to clean it", and he says back, "No, never, it won't look dirty, so we won't!" We will.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Early Spring and Double Digits

I've slowly accepted that we are having an early spring this year, no matter what the groundhog said. Difficult for a fall/winter loving, snow craving person like myself. Mia is another story. This was actually a couple weeks ago, when it was just barely nice enough for the kids to play outside. One of the nice things about living where we do, is that there really isn't anyone to see when I let them out in their jammies, heehee. They weren't out for very long, it's still extremely muddy out.

The kids were extremely excited to find a baby snake. I think it was the combination of baby snakes and the chorus of evening frogs that forced me into the reality of spring.

February 8 was both my birthday and Emma's. I turned 42 (why doesn't being a grown up ever really feel like being a grown up?), and she, 10. I just can't believe she's so close to being a teenager, this girl of mine. At the same time, I can. She is so much fun, she loves crafting of all sorts, is enjoying being introduced to some of the movies and books I loved when I was younger (still do), and is generally a lovely young lady.  I am planning to teach her to sew this summer, and am pretty sure she will do wonderfully. She is becoming interested in cake decorating, which I use to do a lot of. Unfortunately, my massive set of decorating tools were left behind when I went through a divorce in 1997. Fortunately, decorating tools will be a fun collection for gifting her with whenever she starts outgrowing dolls. She had seen a toadstool cake on pinterest, and wanted to make her own. She used fondant for the decorations, but she didn't want fondant covering the whole cake, just frosting.

Fortunately, she hasn't outgrown dolls yet, and loves her American Girl doll and all her knock off counterparts. I had wanted to order this kitchen for her at Christmas, but it was sold out everywhere, except for people on ebay selling them for twice their original price. Forget that! It's from Target, and is so stinking adorable!! I don't have pictures of all the accessories, but it came with the cutest measuring spoons, shakers, pans, food, a box of cocoa with six tiny cocoa packets! I would have been in heaven with a kitchen like that as a girl! She, Owen, and Mia have been having a wonderful time with it, especially because it's been ordered to stay in the living room until we finish fixing up the girls' room.

Astoria Evening Budget, Astoria Oregon, Thursday, March 27, 1924

We actually have a TON of fixing up going on! We're pulling off the paneling in the dining/sewing half of the kitchen, exposing the tongue in groove walls, which we'll paint. Hubby surprised me with a bit of set aside money, which I'm stretching as far as possible!! We needed a new rug for the living room, and after much searching, I found one at Home Depot for $165, not bad for an 8x12 rug. I decided to look around Amazon before ordering, and found the SAME rug on sale for $62, + free shipping!!! My "dream rug" is actually this one, but I just can't justify the price. Everywhere I found it, it ran around $1000 for the size we need, and that's without shipping, ugh! That's a someday rug!  Apparently Mia likes to do "carpet angels" at grandma's house, and proceeded to do them on our new rug, hahaha! Owen, of course wanted in on it in his new footie pj's. I'm thinking we maybe should have waited for most of the fixing up to put the rug down, we're extremely messy while working on projects. Our fireplace chimney runs up through the kitchen, so I was peeking under that portion of paneling, when I figured out that our ductwork for our central heating runs up next to it. I will leave the paneling, and cover it with scrap wood, likely. While peeking,though, I found a chunk of old newspaper glued  to the inside wall. I'm so bummed, I'll bet there use to be more of it that was removed when the heating was first put in! Still, such a cool thing to get a glimpse of.
Emma and I did take a bit of time to make our own version of Myquillin Smith's book page garland. We added some coffee filter flowers to ours, which I like for now, but may remove later. Most of them are hot glued directly to my craft cupboard.

I had to come back and add one more pic! Goofy Mia outside today on our not-so-wintry day. She's wearing the first sweater - the first anything - I ever knitted! I knitted the cable part a bit tight, but it's still really nice. I made it for Alan, who will be 12 in April. She's the fourth kid to wear it, which I love. I crocheted the hat last winter, and have a pink/brown one still waiting to be finished. Sigh. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Finished Project!

Yay! I finally took a picture of my most recent Finished Project!!

And, I finally have a Finished Project logged in on my Ravelry page, heehee. I was beginning to think I was only going to use it to store things I'd really like to make, but never end up having the time to while I still have little ones of my own! Though I will happily make things for grandbabies! This is the  pom-pom scarf with hoodie by Mon Petit Violon. It was really a super easy pattern, and I just love it! Fortunately, so does Mia!

I'm so glad I remembered this and was able to make it while the weather is plenty cold!
I still need to give it a wash and trim up the pom poms a bit. I'm also making a small one for one of her dolls, but I actually had to go buy another skein of the yarn - I was so sure I still had one floating around somewhere, but no. I remember buying this yarn, knowing she loved pink  and thinking this particular pink would look rather lovely on her, and it does! I laughed when I first came across the pattern, because the one made up for it is about this color, too.

Speaking of rather lovely, Baby Alaina (as she's referred to around here) has started laughing out loud! She's a little hoot. She's already two months old, and her poor mama is gaining her firsthand knowledge at the Bittersweet thing motherhood is, and how fast they grow!

Can you believe those cheeks?
How's that for a short and sweet post? I didn't think I was really capable of such a thing, heehee!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

December. Part Two.

We're almost halfway through January, and I'm still getting caught up on December! That is exactly where our lives are right now. We're still cleaning up Christmas. I'm sorting again, every year getting packed away more efficiently, which I love. I will never have Christmas sorted room by room. I used to hope I would, then realized I don't decorate exactly the same every year, so it is pretty impossible. 
Amelia turned three on December 20, which has been incredibly bittersweet for me. She may well be our last baby, and even though I'm at a place in life where I'm *almost* ready to be done with having babies, I'm still sad over the idea of no more toddlers of my own!  I adore my little granddaughter, but she isn't *mine*.  I love where our life is this very moment, and wish I could put life on pause.  We have kids from 3 to 22, the two oldest have wonderful "significant others", and there is a very, VERY sweet grandbaby. *sigh* Getting on with Mia's birthday (she is now sitting on my lap singing "Happy Birthday"!). She currently loves rainbows and the only birthday cake at Costco was this rainbow cake. Perfect! We kept things extremely low-key, as we were already staying only barely caught up for Christmas! We got her some new Lincoln Logs and a doctor's kit. We had grandma and grandpa over for cake and coffee. At three, she's still a bit confused by having her birthday so close to Christmas.

I had been reading Thrifty Decor Chick's blog, when I saw this post. I specifically saw this snowman and knew we could make our own. David was in bed behind me, saw the same snowman and thought the same thing. I found this guy, too. We had leftover plywood in the garage, so he cut the shape out, then I painted him and gave him eyes and holly. I am very happy to have a treat/project/activity/little pieces -free advent calendar! He is easy to put up, easy to use. This year Owen moved his carrot nose first thing every morning.

 Every year we load up our van and drive around looking at lights. I only took a few pictures. The first house was set to music, which is fun to look at, but I'm so glad they aren't my neighbors! The lit up tractor was across the street from them. I just LOVED it, not sure why, but I did! We drove through town, up to the Column, which is strung up like a tree every year (you ever want a dizzying workout, that ginormous spiral staircase will do it! I'm always petrified to have small children up there. I haven't been up it in...hmm...a Very Long Time). The middle house is ours. We have never had lights on our actual house, only the fence. We started small, as poor hubby is no more fond of heights than I am, and he had to rebuild the porch this past summer, which required a lot of Being Up High.  I laughed pretty hard the first time I went out at night and saw our lights. You see, David has a Thing for Mandalorians (Star Wars - like this, for example). Our house looked like a Mando Helmet! The next house is my brother in law's. They went really big this year, even using a cherry picker to get those lights up! That blow up dinosaur was huge!!

Last year we "officially" declared a family tradition of Watching A Christmas Story and having Chinese Food for Christmas Eve dinner.  I really love it, as it gives us something to rely on that is pretty effortless while making last minute preparations and wrapping the last of the gifts. I thought for sure I'd be in bed early this year, but no. Alan was wonderful and stayed up so late helping with the gift wrapping. Even though we don't give each child a ton of gifts, when you have many children and they only add to the family, you still end up with a ton of gifts to wrap!  I'm hoping to eventually add to the traditions and have new pj's for all, but this year only the younger ones got in on new pj's.    Emma has been desperately desirous of footie pajamas. Because she's going to be ten next month, and the wish for something sweetly childish won't last much longer, I splurged and ordered her some from Land's End. I presented them to her Christmas Eve, along with a pair of Pink Christmas pj's I'd found for Amelia at Goodwill. Owen wore some Sock Monkey Christmas pj's that we've had for a few years. I'd bought two pairs at Goodwill a few years ago for Emma and Owen, but she'd grown out of hers and he grew into them. Mia will fit into his old ones next year. They had a lot of fun posing and being silly. Emma's footies are red and white polka dots, but not actually Christmas ones, so she can wear them pretty much year round, weather permitting. I didn't take too many pictures on Christmas, though it was a really nice day - probably because it was such a nice Christmas. I made a ham and a turkey, and they both turned out very yummy. I don't personally care to have turkey on Christmas, a month after Thanksgiving, but I have a couple ham-haters. Also, since we have been eating Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's, we don't end up with leftovers, so this way we do. Scott and Cecilia both liked the scarves I made them, and Scott is generally wearing his anytime I run into him at the store (btw, it's kind of a weird thing to run into your grown child at the store. You chit chat, then you're like, "Umm, bye." It feels like they should still hop into your vehicle and ride home with you, lol).  We actually didn't make our Christmas cookies until a couple days after Christmas. We just hadn't had the time. We did make a ton of cake balls to send into work with David. I'd unintentionally started the tradition many years ago,but had been unable to make them  the last few years. I have to package them separately according to shifts, and if someone has the day off when they come in, too bad! I almost made an extra batch for those who had missed out, but caught myself before setting another precedent! Rachel and Martae came back a few days after Christmas for another visit - that's the last pic in the collage. My oldest girl snoozing with her own girl and my youngest girl. Amelia is beyond in love with her little niece! Well, I think I've pretty well covered our Christmas. To sum things up, I felt like I was rushing the whole month to get things done, we did miss Christmas Eve service at church, but had wonderful family time with my growing family. I adore Winter, I wish we had snowy winters, but I like the cold rainy season we have, too. I love the early nights and am always a bit sad to see the days begin stretching out. I miss blogging regularly, and having time to get around other blogs; meeting more bloggers. David will be changing shifts in February - either swing shift if he gets a promotion he's put in for (he interviewed for it today, prayers, please!), or day shift if he doesn't get it. Either way, I *should* have time to blog more. Swing shift in summer isn't helpful, too much outside to get done, but swing shift in winter is fairly conducive to blogging, as well as making things to blog about. I did finish the project I mentioned before, and plan on posting about it tonight or tomorrow.