Monday

Today is a cold windy Monday at 1 degree and the wind makes it feel even colder! I just came in from cleaning out the chickens. They are happy campers now. Clean coop, fresh water, feed bowl filled and banana peels for a treat. As happy as they can be I guess being cooped up in the coop. They sure don’t like the snow and cold. The kitties have fresh water too and a bowl full of food and a nice warm insulated doghouse full of straw.

Today has been busy. A two hour delay at school due to the cold and wind. That means keeping Drew entertained and yet ready to go to school when it’s time. He doesn’t sleep in and he gets all settled in at home when there’s a delay and then it can be a fight to get him out the door. Today we played with legos and talked about school. I think that helped.I made chocolate chip cookies when I got home from delivering Drew. Eric goes back to Iowa today and I wanted to send him off with something yummy from home! Then I spent some time on the phone with my mom who is trying to help my aunt learn how to use her new iPhone. Mom doesn’t have an iPhone so it’s quite comical trying to get her to understand over the phone so she can explain to Aunt Konnie over the phone what to do. I think we might be running to Konnie’s house tomorrow afternoon. It’ much easier to explain in person than doing it this way.

 

I did manage to squeeze in a frugal pantry craft though. Am I the only person who will buy a product at the grocery store just for the pretty label? I loved this label on the store brand flour at our local grocery store. Now, in this instance I would have bought this brand anyway due to it being the cheapest. When you shop at the local grocery store in a small town, you tend to buy the store brand. It still many times is more expensive than anything you can buy at the bigger name brand store. But sometimes it’s just cheaper and much less time consuming to run to town which is seven miles away than it is to run to the closest Fareway or Hy-Vee which are 30 miles away.

I was in need of flour and when I saw this label on the flour bag I fell in love. It’s blue for one thing and I love the old time feel!  I thought it would be perfect glued to my flour jar. Now to find similar labels for my other jars – sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, powdered milk, rice, macaroni noodles, etc. I’m not sure that will happen at the store so maybe I can find something on Pinterest I like that will coordinate. I like the how cheery this looks sitting on my cupboard and would like to have all my jars look pretty. And I used wheat paste so if I need or want to I can take this off and replace it with something else down the road.

Linen and Needle and Thread

I’ve stitched for so many years I’ve lost count. My aunt taught me when I was a young girl and I’m so grateful to her for taking the time to teach me. I stitched on and off over the years and then for some reason I stopped for a few years. I just had no desire to pick up the needle. I did lots of other crafts and did lots and lots of scrapbooking for a time. I never thought I would get tired of scrapbooking but for some reason the desire just slowly went away. I have some beautiful books and we love to pull them out and look through them but now I hardly ever even print a picture.  I have so many pictures of Abby and even Aaron. Not as many of Eric but I still have way too many. And then Drew comes along and I had stopped taking and printing pictures. I started taking pictures again but I just don’t print them like I should.

Anyway, back to stitching. I picked up my needle again a few years ago and discovered stitching on linens and developed a love for the primitive patterns and the designers that are out there. Good bye Aida cloth and bright colors and cute designs. But along with this new love and more time to stitch again now that I only have Drew at home, I have run out of room for my creations. And I’m a pack rat and feel the need to keep everything so of course I can’t get rid of any of my creations!

Then I started following some primitive and country decorating pages on Facebook which led me to some primitive selling pages and I took the plunge. Joe has been pushing me for years to try and sell what I stitch but if it wasn’t for Facebook I don’t think I would ever have even tried. And low and behold – my creations sell! I’m not going to get rich by any means doing this but I can at least justify my stitching now. I’m not filling the house with unneeded creations and it’s not costing me anything to make what I do because I’m selling what I make. And now when I sit and stitch at night not only am I enjoying myself immensely I’m making others happy too! It’s a win win right??!!

Stitching is a form of therapy for me. To just sit quietly and pull thread through linen. The feel of it, the sound of it, and the creating process.  The beautiful colors of the threads and putting those threads together to make beautiful designs. And there’s something about the primitive designs that just tug on my soul. Their simplicity and dark muted colors. And then dying them in a coffee bath when I’m done stitching to make them even more muted. Picking out the perfect baking fabric – Civil War reproduction fabric is my fabric of choice. Just one more thing to draw me to the past just like these little pillow tucks, cupboard keeps, whatever you want to call them do. I like to think that even back in days gone by, even when our ancestors didn’t have much and they had to sew by hand out of necessity that they would stitch a little pin tuck and put a little primitive design on it to make it pretty to help lighten their load and have something pretty to adorn their home.  My stitching draws me to the past and gives me something pretty to adorn my home too – a little pillow tucked into a little bowl or the corner of a shelf. Just a little something to brighten the day!

Weekend, Progress and Another Start

One of my favorite things – enjoying a good campfire!

Wow, the weekend went fast. Saturday was spent at home just getting stuff done. Joe serviced Eric’s car and cleaned out the shop. I worked in the house. Drew spent the day helping his dad – I was told I wasn’t allowed outside! I love that he wants to spend so much time with his daddy! Then we ran out to Belva Deer for the evening and sat around the campfire with Dad and Mom as they had been camping most of the week. It was beautiful evening for sitting around the fire!

Between having all night Friday night to stitch and then stitching Saturday night while sitting by the fire – I’ve put a good dent in this. It’s a fun stitch!

Sunday was a fun filled day. We had a picnic at Belva Deer with Dad and Mom and my sister and Abby and Jeremy and Braxton came too! (I forgot to take my camera and so didn’t get any pictures.) It rained, which we still need the rain badly, so nobody complained. We just ate our lunch under the awning and sat crowded together and chatted. It was fun! When the rain stopped Braxton, Drew and I went for a walk and left some painted rocks for others to find. It worked too – Dad walked up the bathroom and came back with one of our rocks. He didn’t realize what we were doing and thought Drew had dropped it! After everybody had left except us and Dad and Mom, Eric texted asking where we were. He and his friend Ally had decided to come home to do their laundry! So, he came out and spent some time with Grandpa and Grandma. It was great to see him! He seems to be adjusting well to college life. I asked Abby if she had been hearing from him and she said yes and that she thought he was doing great. I love that my kids keep in contact with each other like that. If only Aaron could have been there, the day would have been perfect.

Since Abby was around I couldn’t stitch on the stocking so I got started on a little bit of fall stitching while sitting under the awning during the rain. Any idea what this is going to be? It’s by Jenny Hoffman, Country Rustic Primitives.

Today it’s nice and quiet around here. Joe is gone to work and Drew is gone to school. I plan to work in Drew’s room a little bit. Go through some clothes and organize his drawers. Tomorrow will be spent with a friend. Then it will be time to work on getting the camper ready for our big Labor Day Weekend camping trip. I have lists to make, food to prepare and a camper to organize. We’re looking forward to the weekend and spending it with good friends we hardly ever get to see. It’s always a fun time!

 

More Black

Looking at this picture, I think it needs some distressing and some staining. That will have to wait though – too much going on, at this week. No fun crafty projects for awhile.

I think I shouldn’t be allowed to have black paint. I’m not sure why I bought this cupboard due to the color. It’s green. Not a color that I decorate with. But I do like the cupboard. It’s solid and very well made and I love the make do handle. Due to the color though I had stored it away and had not used it for a few years. Then recently I brought it out but was just not happy with it because of the color. Then I thought, why not paint it black! And I love it. It fits in with my black bench in the dining room. But now I have to decide whether to leave it like this or to distress and stain it. I’ll live with it for awhile before deciding. In the meantime, I wonder what else I can paint black??!!

Rocks and Camping

I don’t know why he takes the dolls hair off but he seems to like them better this way!

Yesterday Drew and I were missing Eric and I could tell Drew needed a little extra attention. So, even though my house is a disaster and I had planned on doing some major picking up and cleaning – I instead spent the majority of the day with Drew. We played with his Playmobil camping toys – he has the truck, camper and tent and he has so much fun with them! Then we painted rocks! I had seen that our community had started a Sigourney Rocks project where you paint small rocks and “hide” them around town for others to find. If you find a rock you can either keep it and paint another one to hide or you can re-hide the one you found. You also share a picture of the rock you found on Facebook under the Sigourney Rocks group. What a fun project – something both adults and kids can enjoy together!

Then last weekend while at our family get together in Burlington my cousin showed me some rocks she had painted with her granddaughter that they were taking to Lake Geode (which is just down the road from Uncle Terry’s place) to drop off with the same principle behind it. Only she was a member of Art Abandonment on Facebook. The way she explained it they do the same thing only you can do more than just paint rocks. You can make anything you want and leave for others to find. I see it to be a way of spreading joy to others without expecting anything in return. Something I want Drew to understand and want to do. We are going to take our rocks to the campgrounds when we camp and leave them for others to find. And we’re going to be on the lookout to see if others have left rocks of their own for us to find!

Today picking up the house is on my agenda and then working in the camper and if time allows, maybe painting some more rocks. It’s kind of addicting! Tomorrow is Joe’s and my anniversary and we are camping, just the two of us, for the weekend in Pella. This is a yearly tradition for us. We don’t buy each other presents and we rarely, if ever, get away just the two of us except for the weekend of our anniversary. We tend to stay either in Pella or at a favorite campground outside of Des Moines. This year we will be heading to Roberts Creek in Pella. We always look forward to this weekend and this year is no exception. Drew will spend the weekend with Grandpa and Grandma, Eric doesn’t plan on coming home this weekend, so we’ll be off to spend a nice relaxing weekend on our own!

 

Learning a New Craft and A Rough Day

Soon to be a baby bootie!

During our first camping trip this spring the lady camping next to us was loom knitting a stocking hat for a baby and she showed it to me. I’ve never learned the art of knitting but this looked like something I could possibly do. So I ordered a set of looms off of Amazon and headed to YouTube and easy peasy – stockings hats and baby booties and these little dolls for baby girl. I enjoy it but it’s not something I want to sit and do all the time but  I can now make stocking hats for the little boys and baby girl when needed. They’ll make great Christmas presents this year.

On a different note – yesterday was rough. Rougher than I expected. We moved Eric to college. The move itself was wonderful. Everything went very smoothly and we had him moved in in less than an hour. Of course the fact that he would only let me make up his bed and do nothing else made things go a lot faster. Girls are so different than boys when it come to these things. Not only did we have a small load to move, he wanted to unpack and put everything away himself after we left so that didn’t leave much for mom to do! Moving Abby was a whole lot different!

After we had everything up to his room we left to run errands. We kept running into another family we had seen at the dorms. We saw them at the restaurant and at Walmart and the boys decided they would meet up later in the evening. He seemed nice and that made me feel better knowing Eric might have already made a friend in his dorm. We ate lunch at Hu Hot then onto Walmart for a fan, microwave, coffee pot, groceries and odds and ends. He shares a bedroom and study room with one other boy and they share a small kitchen and bathroom with two other boys. The kitchen has a refrigerator and stove but he wanted a microwave and coffee pot. His roommate is bringing a toaster and a TV so that seemed fair enough! Then we had to stop at the Hawk Shop to pick up his computer and then back to the dorm.

Eric’s roommate won’t be moving in until Thursday and they haven’t met yet. They have talked on social media. He’s from Chicago. The other two boys had moved in earlier but we never saw them. We did hear them in their room when we got back from shopping but they soon left without introducing themselves. Being a worry wart mom I immediately noticed when we first got in the dorm that it smelled like cigarette smoke. When I went into the kitchen I discovered an empty water bottle sitting on the table and it contained cigarette butts and the used cigarettes had been dropped on the floor down where the wall meets the floor. There is a gap there that doesn’t have a baseboard and I guess somebody thought that looked like a good place for used cigarettes. Along with that the kitchen window was wide open. I’m sure to try and get rid of the smoke. But – the air conditioning was on and although the bedroom was cool, the kitchen of course was not. I’m sure smoking is not allowed in the dorms but Eric wouldn’t let me go talk to the RA about the situation. He said he would wait until his roommate got there and they would work things out themselves. I get it. But I’m not happy with this situation. But, I’m sure everything will turn out fine. I don’t have a problem with them smoking. I do have a problem with them smoking in the dorm and leaving their mess in the kitchen like that. If just seemed rude to me.

Anyway, leaving him was harder than I thought it would be. No roommate, the neighbors just don’t seem friendly, he has no idea how to use the bus system, he doesn’t know anyone in his dorm . . . And yet he seemed fine. I’m just a worry wart! And then Drew was crying and refusing to put his seatbelt on because he thought that way we wouldn’t be able to leave Eric. I had to sit in the back with him and he cried himself to sleep. When we got home I texted Eric to let him know we stopped and picked up his car, which had been in the shop, and that it sounded great. The exhaust had needed some work along with the alternator. He said he was with Allie and they were at Target. I should have known. Allie is a friend and classmate from high school who also moved in yesterday only in a different dorm. Funny how much better it made me feel knowing they had hooked up already! And now I’m trying to stay busy and not worry and not text him. I will at some point today but I have to let him do what he needs to do without constant interruptions from mom!

Wednesday Chatting and Stitching

Happy Snowman designed by Tina Herman, Shepherd’s Bush.

I had a surprise visitor yesterday. Aaron stopped by and spent the majority of the day here. It was so nice to see him and have a nice chat. We hadn’t seen him for what seems like forever. He started a new job as a manager at Walmart and he’s also still working part time at Casey’s. He’s been putting in 70+ hours a week between the two jobs. That’s too much as far as I’m concerned. I tell him what I think but ultimately it’s his decision and he knows I support him in whatever he chooses to do. As a Mom I have that right to tell him how I feel. He can take my advice or not, it’s his life and he’s an adult. He just knows I’m going to tell him how I feel and at the same time respect his decisions!

While visiting with Aaron, Eric and Drew I gathered up floss and linen and got a great start on Christmas ornaments. One stitched and a good start on another. I stayed pretty true to the suggested colors on these two, just switched them up a little. I still have to decide on Baby Girl’s. I’m thinking pinks of course! And I need to figure out a font to use to stitch the year and their names. Then hopefully I can find some tiny snowflake buttons and some fabric to back them with at Hobby Lobby. It’s great knowing I can head to Hobby Lobby now whenever I need to and not have to plan a trip to Iowa City! It’s good to be back to stitching. I didn’t realize how much I was missing it.

The rest of today is going to see us working on Eric’s bedroom, doing laundry and packing for college. My pack rat Drew is having a ball. Eric is giving him all his Iowa State stuff and he’s loving it! Then tomorrow we meet my sister to drop Andrew off with them. He’s heading out on a camping trip with them in their RV. They’re going to Illinois for the weekend. Saturday we go to Burlington to spend the day at our annual fish fry at my aunt and uncle’s. Looks like a couple busy days ahead. Sunday and Monday will be finishing up packing, organizing and probably shopping so we can move Eric to Iowa City on Tuesday. Now I’m going to be wanting to plan trips to Iowa City. I have a feeling he’s not going to be coming home often so we’ll be heading that way if we want to see him!

Panic!!!!

I searched and searched but could not find a picture of the stockings I made for Abby. These are my family stockings. As you can see – the first four match. Then Eric came along and I stitched him a Shepherd’s Bush stocking. Then Andrew – he loves that his is the biggest one of them all!

No – I am not ready for Christmas yet! I am ready for fall. We’re having such beautiful fall like weather and it’s my favorite time of the year but as I was searching through some of my favorite cross stitch designer’s patterns this morning looking for patterns to make my annual Christmas ornaments for Drew and Braxton I was not having much luck. Then I decided to check out the Shepherd’s Bush site and see what they had. I found a free snowman pattern that is so cute and I can customize it with different colors and add their names. Perfect! But searching the Shepherd’s Bush site led to panic mode! Oh my goodness – here I’ve been stuck in a rut not having anything really to work on crafty wise in the evenings, just yesterday I was thinking about how I’ve not been in a rut like this in years, when all of a sudden it hit me. I have to stitch a Christmas stocking for baby girl. Maybe that explains the rut – I knew there was something I needed to be working on. How could I have not remembered this before now? When Braxton was born I made Shepherd’s Bush stockings for Jeremy, Abby, and Braxton. I picked Shepherd’s Bush for many reasons – they are beautiful, they all match, they come in a kit and specifically, there are so many of them that I knew if/as Jeremy and Abby added to their family, I could easily find a pattern to fit in with what I had already made for them. The panic part is due to the fact that these stockings are big and intricate and take time – lots and lots of time! So, this morning Drew and  I picked a stocking, ordered it and now I will wait impatiently for everything to arrive – and I’ll have to break the news to Mom. She did all the sewing into stockings after I finished the cross stitch part last time. Hopefully she’ll feel up to the task again! In the meantime I should probably get started on the ornaments. With baby girl coming I’ll be making three this year instead of two!

River Rocks and Cement

Even as a little girl I remember thinking these flower pots that Aunt Konnie had were so neat but for some reason I never thought to ask about them. Out of the blue while visiting Uncle Jerry and Aunt Konnie, Uncle Jerry told me they were made by his Grandmother and her sister. He said they would hitch up the horses and go down to the river to collect rocks and bring them back to the house and build these beautiful pots. They are unique and one of a kind and had to have taken a lot of hard work and patience to make. I’m glad that they are still there and that they get used. What a wonderful piece of family history for Uncle Jerry!