Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thinking about thinking

 Sammi took a very rare nap on Monday. She woke up with a 103 fever afterwards!
Dave has been out of town for a few days and I have been thinking about thinking, if you will.

Right  now I wake up to a crying kid (always Grant), go to sleep to a crying kid (Usually Grant, but often Sam and on a REALLY bad day all three of them), wake up at 2 30 am to a crying kid (Grant again) and listen to crying, fighting kids for all the many  hours in between.

I get three hours one day a week without any of them (if I am lucky, during the  last few months there have been illnesses and school holidays and blah blah).

I try very hard to make time for MYSELF each day - sewing after dinner - but let's be honest here - it's always done while they are crying or calling my name or fighting.  Yes, it's Dave's time to take care of them, but it's not as if I cannot hear them.

Dave and I have often had the "you get to go to work" argument.  It's not really about the going to work part though, is it? I think today I realized it's not. It's that there is a lunch break and about 45 minutes in the car, each way, with no children.

 There is HEAD SPACE there, thinking space.

I really have got to find a way to get 30 minutes of that per day.

I am just  am not resetting each night when I go to sleep. Each day when another kid wakes me up crying I just die a little thinking "AGAIN WITH THE CRYING*?!?!" (It's been four straight years of this at this point, and I am feeling every minute of it lately.) Every day is the same - feed them 30 times, clean up after them 30 times, referee 30 times, change 5 poopy diapers...and on and on. 

We have a huge house, a 500 sq ft playroom in the basement, a fenced in yard and yet  the amount of time these kids spend more than 5 feet away from me every day? About 5 seconds.  Right now they are both sitting ON THE OTTOMAN of the chair I am sitting in. Jack would be in my space too, but he is still at school.

So today I have been pondering this problem.  How (and when and where) to squeeze in thirty minutes of thinking time on a daily basis on top of making time to be creative (and clean the damn house and care for the children and do all the other nonsense).

I'm thinking morning is the only space and walking is the only way, but Dave has been leaving here at 4 30 in the morning and getting up at 4 to go for a walk is only going to make me bitchier. LOL

I guess the good/bad news it will be another week before I have another 12 minutes in a row to even think about this problem!

*I swear Jack was a really high strung kid, but I do not remember this much damn crying all the time.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Road tripping - the fabric outlet

Let's talk about what you all really want to talk about - the fabric outlet!

I got wind of this place on instagram. I like to just surf photos there and I happen to click on a photo of a pile of fabric and see that she said it had come from "the fabric outlet". A few minutes later I was able to see that she was in Springfield, MO and google led me right to it.  They are just called The Fabric Outlet, nothing special, and here is their website. (They do have on line sales available on their website.)

So, the store itself is small and in a rather non descript strip mall (pretty common in Springfield).  There are 4 aisles of quilting cottons, so it is NOT a huge place.   Much, much smaller than my Joann, but with way better quality fabrics.  There is a section devoted entirely to polka dots and chevrons, a juvenile section, a batik section and then the rest is divided by color.  Not every fabric had information on the bolt end, but most did. The ones that tended to catch my eye were Michael Miller and Riley Blake fabrics, but I tend to buy those on line a lot too.  I am sure there were plenty of other lines in there.

There are no carts - you just make a pile on the cutting counter.  There are only two people cutting, and before we had arrived there I was really thinking oh man, we are going to be in line for HOURS in this place (like you are at Joann), but that is totally not the case. The cutting goes fast and it is  not super crowded. (At least it wasn't on a Saturday afternoon when I was in there.)  There is no computerized reading of bolt ends and printing of tickets etc. Because everything in the quilting cottons is the same price per yard (I *think* the regular price is $3.99/yd, that's what all the stickers and all of the signage said), they just count how many yards you had cut and write it on an old school pad and ring you up.

I went on a sale weekend, which I knew about from their facebook page, so I paid $2.99/yd for everything. (Disney Frozen fabrics were excluded from the sale, and they are $5.99/yd. They had about 5 times the amount of Frozen fabric as my Joann.)

They are very friendly and helpful, and it is a really low key kind of place.

For me this was my first chance to see these kinds of fabrics "in the wild".  I generally have to look at this stuff on line and buy on line (hello fat quarter shop!). Joann is my main source of NEW fabrics.  (I am sure that somewhere in St Louis a person can buy this stuff at a local quilt shop, but I swear to Moses, I just do not like those places. Every single one I have been in so darn snobby and awful. They offer all sorts of opinions on what I am doing, which I really don't care about, and lord help you if you go in there with a vintage quilt top looking for fabrics to match it.)

Did I miss anything you want to know? 

It's a long haul for me, but I would love to be able to get there twice a year! Buying fabric on line is just not the same really. (It's overwhelming, there are just so.many.choices. This allowed me to just choose visually instead of specifically searching for something.)

Here's what I bought:

17.5 yards total.  (Come on! Sarah Jane Frames!)

I really could've bought more, but I passed on some large print fabrics I liked because I just don't think those large scale prints are very useful for me. I had just cleaned out my sewing room so I was trying to only buy what I can fit on my darn shelves and what I think would be super useful for quilts, bindings, and some projects for the boys (who I never have fabrics for)! LOL

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Road tripping flea market Sunday

Yesterday Dave and I took a road trip to Springfield MO with NO children. 

Many years ago we went down there for their world's largest garage sale event, and I remembered that I did find some things there (sadly the photos have been removed from the service I used to post to them to the blog, so I wasn't 100% sure what I bought).  Then this week I saw someone's fabric purchase from a fabric outlet in town there.  When I realized the yard sale was this weekend plus I was already itching to go to that fabric outlet, I rounded up my mom to watch the kids and we planned a little road trip.

It's a darn long trip down there. 3.5 hours. When we finally arrived we had to sit in line for 45 minutes to get into the expo center parking lot. (Where for some totally unknown reason they had all but one gate closed, they were parking all over the grass taking hours and yet the parking lot itself looked like this??? BIZARRE.)

Then you had to wait in line at least another 20 minutes to buy a ticket.  Oy, this was not going well.

Once inside it was SO CROWDED. I cannot even find words in the English language for HOW CROWDED it was in there.  Everyone is just moving in this very slow moving herd where you cannot move or get out to get into a booth and you are just shoved together in this weird salmon swimming stream experience. Expect they are all bitching more than salmon. LOL

I happen to be pretty claustrophobic.  It was okay until it started to get SO HUMID in there from so many people breathing and I really needed to breathe some air that no other (so many sick) person had breathed. Heh.

Anyway. I have to write that down so that the next time I get this crazy ass idea I can really remember what it was like.

What did I buy?
This is a dark, inside my house photo, but this is a lovely wallpaper. Pearlescent white with pink and red and flowers and polka dots!
And this wallpaper is an antique restoration paper. I have a piece of it hanging in my bedroom right now. I have been wanting to wallpaper part of the bedroom FOREVER but paper is so darn expensive! 

These are both Brunschwig & Fils papers, which is not cheap stuff. There is a LOT left on the rolls, so maybe I finally have some paper to do that with!  (And $2 a roll is my kind of price.)

These both came from a thrift store, not the crazy crowded sale.
These old light bulb covers did come from the sale. I think they make beautiful flowers. I plan to use them like this as light shades on some wall sconces in our bedroom.
You cannot tell the scale here, but these are TINY German deer antlers. They are about 3 inches long. AMAZING!  And that carved plaque! I bought these from a very German woman (named Elsa, no less) who brings back antiques from Germany.  I was totally in love with her booth. Best one there.
Also from the crowded sale, a pile of old handmade Halloween decorations. These are from a classroom - the teacher's name is on every one of them. I love the vintage handmade charm of them.
This bucket is HEAVY. Silver plate, big enough to be a champagne bucket, but screaming to be filled with wildflowers in the summer, no?  When I picked it up the guy in that booth says to me, "that's a heavy ass bucket."  Indeed it is. LOL

So, not a lot of really awesome stuff, but the peace and quiet in my head was much needed. It gives us some time to actually discuss the children (and their issues, like Grant not sleeping at all right now) and hopefully settle some of those problems by being able TO THINK about them for a damn minute.

Now, about that fabric outlet. OH MY HELL. I was sure I died and went to heaven. Loads and loads of "name brand designer" fabric - aka Michael Miller, Riley Blake, etc. for $3 (!) a yard. I went a little crazy. I took better pictures of it all, because I want to be able to really remember what I bought down there, which  I will post tomorrow.  Because we all know I WILL BE GOING BACK THERE! (With plenty of money in my pockets. Oh yes, I will.)

Happy Sunday to you!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ramblings of a renegade mother?

So I was sitting at propaganda night last night (aka DARE) watching 150 5th graders vibrating with excitement  and wondering this - how much change could those kids put in motion if we used that 10+ hours of DARE education putting them to work as volunteers in the community instead?

Harnessing their enthusiasm while it is still ripe and teaching them to be for others instead of themselves. And would that be a lesson that would TRULY stick with them?

I was a middle school teacher and I am very aware that three years from now a lot of what those kids have right this minute will be gone.  They will be too cool for this or that, or too jaded already to show such enthusiasm for a school related project.

 Fundamentally I have very little issue with DARE, functionally? Oh man. Sigh. Six kids read essays, and Jack was chosen as one of them. He was the only child to mention the "decision making model" which is the WHOLE POINT of the program these days. The others just recited what might be questionable statistics. While I am very proud of Jack for writing an excellent essay, our conversation this morning sums up everything I think is wrong with programs like this.

"Jack are you supposed to wear your medal to school today?"
"No, they didn't say I should. But they didn't say I couldn't."

Props to him for being proud of it and wanting to show it off. But it illustrates the failure in this whole thing, no?  For RIGHT NOW they are (somewhat begrudgingly at least at home) still following along with the program.  Right now they won't smoke cigarettes because someone is telling them NOT to.

We have 20 something elementary schools in our district. Our school ALONE would have 1,500 man power hours if each kid only did TEN hours of community service. Over twenty schools? That is an amazing amount of man power hours these kids could be giving. Would it give them a truer sense of self? A sense of worth and accomplishment? A feeling of community that would outlast a lecture on the dangers of alcohol? (I still think that information is important, but perhaps it's just as well served by having our kids have health classes EVERY year instead of just one year in high school.)

I happened to read The likely cause of addiction article just as all of this was already swirling around in my head and it cements my feelings on "propaganda night" pretty perfectly.

If you haven't read that already, it's pretty enlightening reading. And well worth reading, particularly if you have kids and are pondering how to help them navigate the stickier parts of growing up.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Yes please, yes please, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

Apologies for the gray photos in advance, it's the grayest winter ever apparently. (With no snow. Ever.)

Yesterday I had my first three hours without ANY CHILDREN in at least two weeks. I had to choose - thrift or sew?  I have a ton of projects I am working on right now, and I haven't even STARTED the crafting for Sammi's first friend birthday party next weekend. (And oh yea, Dave is out of town next week. That should go well.)

I choose thrift. Instagram is making me itchy to thrift.

When I saw the strawberry tablecloth I threw it right in my cart. Yes please! I already have this one in a different size (and I couldn't get the rust out because I am out of rust remover) but a girl can never have too many strawberries.
And then I saw this one. Yes please! Throw it in the cart and marvel over it's awesomeness.
Dutch girls...
Dutch boys...
Tulips and windmills!

Wander around some more and then I spot the holy grail:
Shut.the.front.door. Are you kidding me? GET IN MY CART!

This is the crème de la crème of my tablecloth collection at this point.
Elves on ducks (What?)...
Elves with toys...
Elves on reindeer...
And Jack in the box Santas! 

I topped off that thrift run with some $2 flowers from Trader Joe's and $1 boxes of delicious raspberries and called it a wonderful day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The paint elephant

 Yesterday the children managed to rip another of my living room shelves right off the wall.

I am not going to lie - I cried. It was only five years ago that we COMPLETELY remodeled our house. Five short years.

And the children are wrecking everything.  The walls are filthy. There is crayon on things, pencil on things, gauges in the floors, trim falling off, holes in the walls.

We could use a total redo already.

That kills me. (And it is not for lack of my hollering at them to STOP IT, plus living with nothing to write with, no scissors to cut with, etc to keep them out of everything.)

Since literally EVERY SINGLE ROOM needs fresh paint, I decided I had better just start by painting something instead of being overwhelmed.
So the back of the kitchen peninsula went from blue (which was just so filthy I could not even clean it anymore)
to green. I still need to do the trim there. I didn't bother trying to paint neatly because the condition of the trim is awful. (See the missing piece on the corner?)

It's something, but man it is only a small bite of the paint elephant.

The real problem  is this - how on earth do you even paint with all these small kids? I mean I just cannot even get my head around the logistics of it. Oy.

Next up is the dining room I think. Then foyer, then hiring out the master bath.

Send brownies. Or Nannies? Yes, nannies. Send those please!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sewing for others

Last year I came "clean" and told the preschool teachers I could sew.  If I have to do volunteer hours I might as well spend them doing something I enjoy right?
Sam's teacher asked for a class set of beanbags to use during music and movement time.

It actually took what felt like forever to make 20 beanbags, but maybe because I was being picky about them.  I made a matching bag to keep them in out of a canvas cookie bag Dave brought home from the office. I covered up the branding with coordinating fabrics. (Should've taken a before picture, but by then it was almost 10 pm.)

I made them out of felt and raw edge appliqued on dinosaur squares from some dino fabric I had in the stash. I figure the felt might hold up longer? 

Sam has complained that she doesn't like the dinosaurs and doesn't want a dinosaur. LOL  I sort of purposefully chose something that works for both boys AND girls and would hopefully avoid bickering.

Here's hoping, eh?

I just put the last bit of hot glue on my Heart to Heart ornaments too.  Progress you shall  be mine this week!

Off to cut sashing for the baby quilt while the kids play outside in our unusually warm weather. :-)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Flea Market Sunday

Let's try and get things back to normal around here, eh? Today I am FINALLY free of most of the pain, so I am trying to *unfuck* my house. I can see the counters again!  The laundry is in the wash! The Christmas lights are off the house!

The flea market was not that great this week, despite my VERY high hopes.  Some of this stuff is from thrifting too.

A pile of glass garland, I need to go put it all away when I get done here, it is still in the jars on the counter.
One not so old and one old candy box - already on the mantle for Valentine's Day.
One HUGE floral egg.  Usually I pass on the floral ones, but this was cheap and big!
Man I love this. It's not old and it was never finished (it needs a propeller on the back to make it work), but I love it as folk art. I had Dave hang it above our French doors as is.
Cowboy up! Still collecting some Western things in case I decide on a room for Grant when he turns three. (This year! Three already!)
And a lovely snail trail/drunkards path/whatever you want to call it quilt.
I also joined instagram a few weeks back, if you are into that sort of thing.  (makinprojiks) Mostly I post the kids or an occasional sewing project, but really I am  using it as quilt and fabric porn. SO MUCH LOVELY TO LOOK AT! Better than pinterest really, at least in that drooling aspect.

With that I am off. I MUST finish my swap project today and I MUST pay some attention to the shop, which has been totally neglected since I was injured.

Happy Sunday to you!

Friday, January 16, 2015


Hello there.
I had not intended to be away from this place of  mine for so long.  On Saturday we took the kids to do something special for Sammi's birthday - swimming at the indoor pool.
And then while we were there I had a horrible accident and well, things have not been the same since.
There were no presents or cake on Sweet pea's birthday and frankly, I can barely bring myself to look at these photos.
I still have a fair amount of discomfort and emotional drama to boot. I mean I am fine, but not. The children are taking a fair amount of time to process it as well. :/
I will tell you all about it once things are settled for good.

We also moved my mother from her small down town apartment to an apartment in a senior community right around the corner from us yesterday.  The move took an excruciating 12 hours. The building is filled with mostly women who are crazy about the children and looking forward to making a new friend with my mother. I REALLY hope she is able to make that happen. This place provides a lot of the things that I have been trying to provide (library, hair cuts, etc) while juggling the children plus it has the added benefit of being so close that I can more easily pick up her meds or whatever she needs.  The children are looking forward to being able to see her more often.

And that's what has been happening over here.

I need to get started on my valentines STAT, but my house is a complete wreck from all the upheaval (And time spent in doctor's offices) this week and I am in serious need of a mental break.

Hopefully your week has been better than mine?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cheeks turns 4, Hapde Burfday Sammi girl

 Goodness. 4 years ago today my precious chubby cheeked girl was born.
 After years of miscarriages, the loss of her twin, weeks of laboring and walking miles in the cold and snow to try and get her to come - there she was. The most perfect, beautiful little girl I had ever seen.

I sobbed like there was no tomorrow. My miracle girl.
 I spent her whole first year just staring at her. Drinking her up. (age 1)
 She is a mini me in so many ways. (age 2)
 And yet she gets more and more awesome each year. (Age 3)
 And today she is FOUR!
 A growing up girl.
 Full of spunk.
 And crazy.
But still little enough to be my sweet baby girl.

Dear Sammi,

As you turn four, you are:
*a social butterfly. You make friends EVERYWHERE we go.
*starting to eat fruits and vegetables! This has been a long process but this week you ate both peas AND a whole orange wedge all on your own. Yipppeee!
*running everywhere. You never walk. Ever.
*still a gross motor skills kid. You like riding a bike, rolling in your truck, swinging on swings, climbing on everything.
*Starting to write your name.
*getting a much better grasp on letters and numbers and counting.  This week while watching tv I heard you shout that 5 - 3 is 2!  You didn't realize it, but you are doing math.
*Not so keen on being alone. You ask every day if it is "a school day" so you know whether or not you can sleep in Jack's room with him. Yesterday I found you passed out in his bed while he was off somewhere else.
*finally having a growth spurt. After years of still being able to wear 24 months clothes you have rocketed into a size 4.
*Weigh 35 lbs (exactly the same as Grant, btw)
*wanting to grow your hair as long as it will go, like Rapunzel you know
*still in LOVE with playing with costumes and dress up clothes.
*still changing your clothes at least 20 times in general
*in love with fashion in general. You notice other people's clothes, you like your clothes to match mine, and you are very good at coordinating with no help
*learning to wash your own hair! No more crying over water on your face
*playing with ponies and princesses and playdoh but also trains and legos. You like to play "doctor station" with grant.
*fighting less with Grant and learning to help him when he is hurt or sad
*You had your first sleepover at Christmas time with your cousin Maggie, what fun!
*learning to use scissors. You do an amazing job at cutting out the pictures you like and gluing them onto paper. You can do this for hours.
*always the first one to offer compliments to everyone, from waitresses in restaurants to me! (you really appreciate the quilts)
*pretty awful at sharing. Don't worry, I was too, in fact, I am still not great at it
*pretty bossy. Don't worry, I am too, people get over it
*still biting! argh, this is awful

I love you baby girl. I often feel like I am missing out on you a bit. Wedged in between the boys, who are both pretty damn demanding, it's easy to find you at the end of the line. But I feel so damn lucky to get to enjoy you growing up. Don't let anyone talk you out of your spunk baby girl. Women do not need to be wallflowers.

Love, mama

P.S. Jackson just tried to wipe a booger on her and she yelled, "I am going to wipe pickles and sauce on you!" LOLOLOL