Thursday, August 30, 2007

My sweetpea

You guys are awesome. Thank you for all of your suggestions. I have a good idea of where to go next with each of my questions, except the paint problem. (I have no paint chip from that color, Firefly. The only place I have it is on the wall!) And have no fear, I still cut all of Jack's food, so he certainly didn't eat a pit/seed.
A few days ago I was taking a nice soak in the tub and Jack asked if he could get in. Perhaps this will sound strange, but it was really the first time in his life that I have had a really clear vision of how fleeting time with him is. It's been a long time since I felt any sadness about him passing from one phase to the next (I tend to err on the side of excitement at all the new things we get to do as he forges ahead), but I was acutely aware of the fact that it won't be much longer that he will be able to/want to get in the tub with me.

He has done a few other things this week that I want to record.

Out of the blue he started playing red light, green light. He learned it at school, and I think it is way cool that is learning things at school. Plus, I love being surprised with the discovery of his new found skills.

He didn't take a nap yesterday at school. When I asked him why his answer was, "First I talked to the nap mat with Dandy. Then I talked with Dandy." Not really an answer to my question, but an interesting insight into my Chatty Cathy.

He has been having a lot of difficulty sleeping. 3 or 4 days ago he started asking for his crib. After no nap yesterday he was so overtired and overstimulated by 5 pm I thought I would lose my mind. At 6:45 I got out the pack and play. (I figured if he was telling me he needed a crib there might very well be a reason.) He wanted to get in it right away. He slept until 7 am. File that under things that make you go hmmm....
Suddenly he is all over imaginative play. When we set up the wooden Thomas stuff a few days ago he told me that we couldn't play until we had all the necessary items like a conductor, Sir Topham Hatt, a station, and an engine shed. Previously he would just run the trains on the tracks with no thought to the "stories."

He is making real progress on letter recognition.

And last, but certainly least, he has started running up to hug me and exclaiming "I love you so much!" I love you so much too, my little sweetpea. (I can't believe that in only 6 weeks you will be "number free.")
Your burning questions seem to be about customizing your blogs. For customizing your header I learned how at Blogatech . There is also a good blog post on how to do that here.

About changing things other than your header, I changed mine before we went to the "new blogger." I poked around on the template of my other blog and I was able to change the background colors, text colors, link colors, etc by clicking on "Template" on your blogger dashboard. Then "customize design". I can't remember exactly what the link was called (and I am using an old template so I cannot see it right now), but there was another link in the template to add links. That really is a LOT easier than the way I had to do it, which was google google google and google some more until I found some HTML instructions I could understand.

If that still doesn't help you, email me and I can help you work it out. I can't log into the Closet blog to see all the tabs and still type this post. :-)

My husband and I are off to the 61 Mile Yard Sale on Saturday, so hopefully the treasure drought will be gone by then!

(Pictures are: Jack at the pumpkin patch last fall, Jack's new quilt in progress, a found butterfly carcass.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Burning questions

Last night as I was getting into the tub I thought, "you know self, I would not be surprised to find them tearing down the Arch the way things are going." Guess what? Today's newspaper headlines read City leaders pitch local control of Arch grounds. The Gateway Arch is a national park and therefore governed by the United States congress. It currently sits on 91 acres. 91 acres which the local government is convinced that it must develop in order to "revitalize" St Louis. I swear there will not be a blade of grass left in this city before they are done.

Ok, that is the end of my political ranting for awhile. Anyone wanna play Q&A?
(Thrifted vintage fabric.) Here are some of my burning questions:

I let Jack hold a basket at the fruit stand and pick out what fruit he wanted to eat this week. He picked up something that looked like a plum on the outside, but was dark red on the inside. There was no seed. He ate the whole thing. Sadly, I have no clue what it was. A little googling revealed something called a black plum, but I couldn't find a seedless one? Any ideas on what he ate? LOL

Jack is totally adept at using a dixie cup to drink from now. But the paper ones go mushy and make a bit of a mess. Are there plastic dixie cups? Or even better a reusable cup that is dixie cup sized?
(Thrifted spice/pill containers.)

My sewing machine needs a new bobbin shuttle because the bobbin bound up while making my quilt. I thought I could avoid the puckering by starting the quilting in the middle and then working to the left side and then returning to the middle and working from the right side. Wrong! The middle is really puckered on the back. Where should I have started?

Our pumpkin plant is not making pumpkins. There are flowers and I could self pollinate to encourage pumpkins, but the flowers never open! Now what?

Jack would like me to sing to him a lot lately. Other than "You are my sunshine" and "Twinkle, twinkle" I am woefully lacking in the "Songs to sing to your toddler" arena. Have any favorites?

I need to repaint the living room. It is currently Martha Stewart Firefly (from back in the Martha paint at K-mart days.) Her new Lowes paint line does not have the same color. I just want to freshen it up, I do not want to change the colors. Is it even possible? Where would I get the paint formula for the old colors?

Ok then! How about all of you? Have any burning questions? (I know someone was asking about customizing your blog, and I will get some links for you later this week.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bringing down the ark

Tomorrow is the end of an era in St Charles. They are finally tearing down Noah's Ark. That place was magical, even from the outside when I was a kid.
Now it is a falling down ghost ship. It all makes me quite sad. Every other day around here they are tearing down beautiful old single family homes to build hundreds of condos on that one piece of land. Every last piece of green empty space is being swallowed up to build mini malls that sit empty for years on end. (After all, how many dry cleaners can one smallish town need?) I once did the find a store thing at and discovered that we have TWENTY Wal-Marts within 30 miles of our house*. That says a lot.
And today Jack and I went paid our last respects to the old boat, which will be replaced by an aquatic center. If you look closely in that first picture you can see the absolute atrocity of a hotel that is replacing our riverfront. It won't be very long before this is no longer the place that I grew up in. (Well, in all honesty it is barely a shell of that place right now. This was farm country when I was a kid. I can still remember when we got a post office.)
I remember on my first visit to England that I was amazed at how much history you could walk down the street and touch. And while they have a longer history as a country than we as Americans do, they also seem to have a healthier respect for preservation. At least more than we do west of St. Louis. Sure that ark was only 40 + years old, but everything was only 40+ years old at one time, right?
I can't help but wonder what Jack's world will look like in 40 years. How far will he have to drive to see a cow? (We already have to drive at least 30 minutes.) Will he know how tall the corn is by the 4th of July? Will any of his childhood landmarks still be around?

Interesting food for thought.

You can read a more fact filled blog post on the Ark here. And I will upload more photos to Flickr. Dana might need to say goodbye to it too.

*I think there are 16 Targets in that same radius.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Slim pickins

Ahhh, junk. I missed you. Even though both Friday and Saturday are yard sale days around here, Jack and I only found 3 sales worth visiting. I managed to find a few treasures. Including a gorgeous piece of pottery.
The cutest apron (it's a bit dirty still in the photo.) Look at the utensils and the roses!
Two sweet little cardboard houses. The graphics are darling. I have no idea what these might have been for though.
And some truly vintage fabric. The yellow daisy one has a price tag on it from Stix Baer and Fuller for 22 cents a yard (!).

Since yard saling was slim, we took Jack to the zoo this morning. That kid of mine would be happy to ride the zoo train all day long.

I really need a new blog banner, but I cannot seem to come up with any photo that makes me happy up there. I think I actually miss the tulips. LOL (Edit: Ok, the ribbons aren't too bad. A little dark, but getting there.)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

8 a.m.

We had a whopping 2 days break from the scorching heat. That means Jack and I are back on the "get out of the house by 8 am" plan.

On our walk this morning we found flowers in the street...
we climbed a driveway gravel mountain...
and we found flowers still on bushes.
"Look mama, there is some cow food." (Jack amazes me with the things he knows. How does he know that cows eat hay and that dried grass looks like hay? Wonderful.)
Jack burst into a rousing rendition of Wheels on the Bus as soon as the school buses started rolling.
And we found "milk money" again too, 25 cents today. It's only proper that I share another milk money treasure, then, right? I bought the chandelier for a dollar at a garage sale.

I am knee deep in my first real quilt. A quilt big enough to cover Jack. It's a bit daunting, but it's fun. Between sewing as much as I can and reading mountains and mountains of books to Jack*, I hope to have something to show for it by Sunday.

*Jack is on a real reading kick again. He would be happy to have me read every book we own, two or three times a day right now. And we own a lot of children's books. At least 50 in nearly every room of the house. LOL Last week's favorites were Where the Wild Things Are and Tumble Bumble. This week we are onto the "enstein Bears," a.k.a. The Berenstein Bears, and The Spooky Old Tree. As long as it isn't Lyle the Crocodile, I will try not to complain.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Milk Money

Jack and I took a long walk up our little road to his friend Joey's house this morning. It was the first day of school for the kids here, and we had the pleasure of watching Joey board the school bus for the first time. He isn't my little one, but I still felt a little choked up watching him climb on the big bus.

Jack kept telling me that he REALLY wanted to get on that bus now mama! And why, oh why, couldn't he ride the bus too? Soon enough, sweetheart, soon enough. Don't rush your poor old mama.

I love the first day of school. It is the one day when I miss teaching. It is also the one day when I miss being a student. Freshly sharpened pencils, a new backpack and lunchbox, the smell of new crayons, milk money jingling in my pocket...

We picked up quite a few treasures on our walk. Plenty of green acorns, pine cones and a grand total of 26 cents! Not a bad chunk of milk money for the first day of school, eh?
The coins we picked up made me think about all of the things you can buy with 26 cents. So, I did a quick run through the house and took a few photos of the things I have picked up for a quarter at garage sales. I bought the cake carrier above sometime last year for 25 cents (missing it's handle). It is living on my currently revamped kitchen shelf with the yellow one I bought a few weeks ago.

The tablecloth was my very first one! Also bought for a quarter when we lived in Florida. (And look at what that one tablecloth started. My collection is now nearing 120 cloths.)
Sweet little duck embroidery, bought for 25 cents sometime this summer. It needs a nice mat and a white frame. Excuse the hard to take photo there, it is actually rainy here today. Shocker, LOL.

Do you have a favorite "milk money" treasure?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Dinner

I like to tell Clarice that we are going to live on take out pizza over here. (Clarice makes some wonderful things! Nothing like our cake mix standards over here.) Since time still feels very fleeting with my grandfather, we had a proper Sunday dinner with him today. Time to sit at the table together, watch an old movie together, read books together, and just enjoy whatever time there is left to be together.
I was working on the applique for this bunting flag while he was reading a book to Jack and I remembered his mother, my great grandmother was a seamstress. It's a shame I was too young to be interested in sewing while she was still alive. I am sure she had not only a lot of knowledg she could have taught me, but great stories to tell too. I wish I had a picture of her for this entry to share with you. She was a redhead like Jack.

It feels a bit strange to be working on a wool felt project when it is still hot here. The forecast for the next 2 weeks doesn't look much better. I've been hoping for a touch of autumn since I really need to start thinking about Jack's Halloween costume (owl?) and a theme for his "number free!" birthday (I am thinking numbers or letters this year) and oh so much more. Like camping! We really want to go camping, but that requires cool air and a break from those pesky mosquitos.

How is everyone else? Doing anything exciting? Have any good yard sale finds? (I am virtually treasureless for this week, a first in a long time!)

Friday, August 17, 2007


I've been a little remiss in thanking these lovely women for giving me the Nice Matters blog award. A big thank you to Sarah , Wanda , and Jools . Take a minute and visit their blogs if you don't already do so!

I wouldn't even know where to begin with passing it along. I appreciate each and every one of you that takes the time to stop by here. You are taking the time to get to know us, and in a world that is so often busy and somewhat insular, I think that makes each of you, bloggers or not, very nice!

I have recently added a batch of new blogs to my bloglines, in case you are looking to meet new people. You can check them out by clicking on the "and many more" link over on the sidebar there. (And if you don't already use bloglines and feel like you don't have enough time to read blogs, check out bloglines itself while you are there. It really does streamline blog reading. And no, that is not a paid advertisement. I just love my bloglines!)

If you are a garage sale fanatic, good luck this weekend! There are hardly any sales here this weekend, which is a bit of a bummer, but I am sure I will manage to get in junking of one kind or another. :-)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Drive through crafting

I've had a set of fabric covered boxes for about 7 years. This is what they look like after 2 years of holding hotwheels.

Nice raggedy mess, eh? Since they were something crazy like $10 each, I can't throw them away.
I ripped off all the old fabric, and recovered them.

Love the result. Hate the glue lines! Next time I will use a spray adhesive.

I guess that means I will have to do it during the day and wear mosquito repellant to avoid being carried off by the swarms of mosquitos in the yard. :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Well then.

I was up all night worrying about my grandpa's surgery. This morning the car wouldn't start, so I was late getting Jack to school, which made me late getting to the hospital. I was sure I had missed my chance to see him before he went to the OR. It turns out I hadn't. The anesthesiologist wouldn't do the surgery because he thinks my grandpa's EKG looks like he has had a heartattack. So, nearly 3 weeks after all of this began, we are still back where we started.
Since I can only clean so much before I go crazy, I went to the thrift store. Thrift therapy. LOL I nearly jumped up and down when I spotted this old crib blanket in the kid's linens. I wish it wasn't sun dappled on my laundry line right now so you could see it without the shade. (You can click to enlarge it.) Somebody put a lot of love into this beauty!
The cats faces and tails are made with a thick flannel, and her stitches are so perfect and tiny that I think there are more than 10 per inch. The book says "big bad dog stories." And their stools and the rug! Oh my, I love it all.
Jack and I managed a little kid crafting this week. I saw the idea to make a message in a bottle in a Family Fun magazine. Jack loves getting mail, so I thought it would fun for Jack to exhange them with other kids. I have a few other things to send to the family of this friend, otherwise we would have just put the address label directly on the bottle. (The magazine estimates the mailing cost to be about $1.50.) Imagine the great party invitations for a pirate party you could make with this idea!

Monday, August 13, 2007

"I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Last night was a wild, scary ride around here. Shortly after midnight we had thunderstomrs that brought with them 70 mph straight line winds. As if being awoken by random things slamming into our house wasn't bad enough, it was followed by the electric going out. It is not uncommon for our electric company to leave people in the dark for up to 2 weeks, and thought of 2 weeks with no power in 105 degree heat? Well, I nearly wet my pants. Thankfully it was back on around 4 am.
I spent the weekend organizing closets and rearranging shelves. I remember when I was only 11 years old, my first little "boyfriend" commented on my need to clean things when I am agitated. (He turned out to be a very good friend to me well through our college years. Now that I am a mother I am amazed insightful he was at only 11 years old.) Nearly 20 years later I clearly still have that need.

Since the pottery collection has quickly outgrown the bedroom mantle, I took down a long neglected assortment of teapots from the kitchen cabinets and replaced them with pottery. I thrifted this beauty while Jack was at school a few weeks ago. Not a higher end piece of "art" pottery, but easily one of my favorites.
This piece is really small, only about 4 1/2 inches tall. I found this one via Craigslist, of all places!
I bought this tablecloth on the 127 sale. I had tried bidding on it several times on Ebay (in the red colorway), so I was super excited to find it for $5. It is the tablecloth of the week over here.

It looks great with that bright green stool you can see in the right corner. I had been looking for a new chair for Jack for awhile now because I was so sick of cleaning up Jack's plastic booster seat (nearly 2 years of messy toddler meals = serious yuck), so when I saw this old stool at the flea market I snatched it up. It is the perfect height for him and is so much nicer than the folding chair/booster combo. (Although, Jack + no seatbelt at the table can equal a few hair raising moments. He is extremely fidgety. And writing that has caused me to have a flashback to when he thought it was funny to rock so hard in his chair that it would literally walk across the kitchen. Oy.)

*By the way, I had to google that Wizard of Oz quote for the title. Did you know that was what she said? I had no idea it started with "I've a feeling."

Sunday, August 12, 2007


My grandfather is scheduled to have surgery this week. It feels like a long time since life has felt "normal" around here, and it is making me a bit anxious. So, I've spent the last 4 or 5 days digging in and trying to get back to our usual routine. Getting the laundry done, doing the grocery shopping, working a bit more on my redecorating projects, playing in the backyard, etc.

I don't think Jack has ever been so happy to see the backyard. It has been a 100 degrees or more here for weeks now, so we have to get out there by 8 am, but it was worth it for both of us.

We played on the "house wheeee." (One of those super expensive wooden playsets which we acquired for free! from someone who bought a new house and didn't need the playset in the backyard. All we had to do was take it down.)
We played Jack's favorite game, wash everything in the backyard. He can do this for hours.
You had to know there were bugs involved. We found cicada shells all over the playhouse. Jack likes to carry them around in his pockets. (Yes, I know, it's a *little* bit eww.)
Yesterday we all went garage saling together. It was National Garage Sale Day on August 10th, and I had hoped that would mean an extra bit of luck in my pockets. I didn't find a ton of anything, but I did find TWO feedsacks. That was super exciting for me, since I have never found them in St Louis before.

I have also been squeezing in some sewing, which feels good to do again. Hopefully this week I will be able to get back to more regular posting, I miss you all!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The fabric of our lives

(Dusk in an Illinois farm field) As you might have expected, I bought a lot of fabric items. Aprons galore, a handful of tablecloths, and a few pieces of fabric. There is something about fabric that draws me to it, that calls out my name from a 100 yards away. I think that I quite literally touch every piece I see, even if it doesn't come home with me.
These 3 pieces are old feedsacks. I had really hoped to find more. The two on the left were a surprise in a plastic bag full of fabric that I knew I had to have even though I didn't know what was really in there. (Too darn hot to dig through smelly fabric bags.)

I bought the purple and yellow one in a field filled with vendors. After I had paid for it ($5), the woman selling it came over to ask me if I was sure I couldn't use the others. (I didn't care for the prints.) And then she shared a lovely story with me, which is really the best part of the 127 sale, the stories.
(Super cute candy fabric, also from the mystery bag.) Here is her story:

"I will share a story with you that my husband always tells. Back when he was a little boy, you know times were hard then, his mama saved her feedsacks until she had 3 that were the same. Then she used her old treadle sewing machine and made him a western style shirt. Once he had that shirt, he says he felt rich."

His story gives me a little lump in my throat. The love between a mother and her son, his joy over his new shirt, the appreciation of the small things. I feel rich myself just from knowing their story.
And then there are the aprons. With their beautiful fabrics, and carefully chosen trims. Aprons that saw Wednesday lunches and Sunday suppers and sunny days on the washing line. I cannot resist their charms.
This is a pretty patchwork sheet. Not from Kentucky, but too pretty not to share. It is calling me to quilt it.

I wonder what the fabrics of *my* life will say to those who stumble on it when it is no longer mine.

P.S.The tablecloths are still hanging on the line, so they are not photographed yet, but hopefully by the end of the week I will have them done also. (Things are still far from normal over here.) I will put the rest of the apron photos on Flickr in the 127 set. If you have a minute you should pop over and click on all sizes so you can admire their lovely fabrics.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A million miles and a million thank you's

I owe each and everyone of you a huge thank you for your support last week. Things with my grandfather are still dicey and things with my family are still strained, as no one wants to help David and I care for him, but I feel better able to cope with the challenge at the moment.

At the very last minute we were able to swing the trip to the 127 sale. It was so last minute I left without the camera, my hairbrush and all the other things I had planned to bring with us.
It was hot. So, so, so hot. Walking on the face of the sun hot. It actually made spending 2 days (10 hours a day) yard saling not so much fun. It also made it hard to take pictures. The camera would fog up from the humidity, and I had to carry water with me which meant leaving the camera behind a lot.

We did about 250 miles of the sale this time. That's less than we did the first time we went, 4 years ago. The picture above is one of the flea market type stops. The prices were pretty high at those types of stops, but it is where the best stuff was.
This was a big barn sale, complete with donkeys. We also saw pot belly pigs for sale, a horse named Dan who walked on a treadmill to churn the Amish ice cream, and about 300 McCoy Little Red Riding Hood cookie jars.

The verdict this time is mixed. The last time we went, we loved it. This time? Eh. It was fun and the people are very friendly, but the stuff was nothing "unusual." I found plenty of good stuff, don't get me wrong, but, there was nothing there I couldn't find at home given a good yard sale day.
I have taken (not very great) pictures of everything but the fabric type stuff and I will put them all on Flickr. I need to wash the aprons and the linens, but I am tired!

I love these green letters, but boy did it take me forever to try and think of a word I could spell with what few letters were left. Paint is a good word to have though, it suits our house.
I also bought a lot of pottery. My shelf makeover is officially complete.

I did manage to keep track of everything I bought and what I paid for it. (I know you guys always want to know!) I hope I will get that list up early this week, along with more pictures. Now I need to go try and catch up with all of you!