Saturday, March 31, 2007


I think I finally killed my sewing machine. It was limping along, now I can't spool thread onto a bobbin anymore. Like I needed an excuse to buy a new one... I did manage to figure out a bathing suit (top) pattern to fit myself, though! They just don't make them to fit larger than C or maybe D (if you're lucky) cup sizes. I suppose I'll get enough fabric to make three, that way I can experiment around until I figure out the best way of constructing it. I always have problems sewing stretchy fabric.

started feeding the dog this supplement lately. she doesn't really like it, it's in a powder form, but it has already made a difference in her itching and hot spots problem. Only problem is it is made of wheat, and the children and I are highly sensitive to gluten. We just make real good and sure to wash our hands.

The electric company had people cutting down tree limbs from around the power lines (which run behind our house rather than along the street), and our little garden got trampled. Not sure what is gonna make it now, but I will probably get more seeds anyway. Need to put some sort of fence around it, more to keep humans out than the critters. Planning to plant greens all around the perimeter for the bunnies, outside the fence. It always worked for my Gramma.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


for the most part, I am the world's laziest gardener. I don't use fertilizers nor do I buy topsoil or commercial mulch. I don't double dig my planting areas. I do let the leaves that fall from the maple trees on our property lay in a pile over winter which helps control weeds and the worms do the work of composting and enriching the soil. I had a compost tumbler that recently had to go, but I rarely rolled it on the ground, usually only when I added stuff to it (which wasn't that often).

this year is different. I have been adding all our kitchen scraps to my leaf pile, and I have been watering and turning it often. So far, it's fun for me and is very good exercise. I even bought some kelp meal which I added to the newly planted seeds and seedling transplants, and to my compost pile.

baby gourd


So far, and it's not yet April, I have planted the above pictured gourds and watermelons, as well as zinnias and sunflowers that the children started indoors. I have planted the seeds of spinach, more sunflowers (the others didn't survive transplant shock), and some of the beans from a 15-bean soup mix I like to eat. We also planted assorted leftover seeds from previous years. What I'm doing new this time is that I put all the leaves last fall in the spot where my garden is, and just left them there all winter. DH mulched some of the pile with the mower, and I've been adding kitchen scraps and turning it regularly. I simply raked the edges of the pile back, scratched at the earth underneath with my garden rake, and planted things there, with the compost taking up the middle and one end of the bed. The bunnies and squirrels have not intruded or eaten my baby plants... yet. They got all but a few scraggly bean plants last year and I had no harvest except one little carrot and an oddly-shaped cucumber.

muddy kids

...are happy kids!

The girls were digging for treasure and artifacts in the backyard yesterday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

him been hit in the head?

Almost all of our transplanted seedlings survived. The sunflowers didn't make it, but we planted more seeds directly outdoors and they should do well as long as I remember to water them occassionally. Neighbor was watching a little girl last week, and she (the little girl) came over to play in our yard while we were outside. I was planting seeds in our garden, and she asked what I was doing. I told her I was planting spinach. "where's the plants?" she asked. I told her they were inside the little seeds, told her how they would grow into plants just like the picture on the seed packet, and gave her some to hold and examine. She thought that was really cool. All three girls (my two and the neighbor's friend) held seeds and handed them to me one at a time while I planted them. I wasn't sure if it were okay for her to get muddy, so I did all the dirty work, much to my children's displeasure. She also had no idea how those little seedlings were watermelons, they didn't look anything like watermelons to her, so I explained how the plants would grow bigger and before long they would make flowers and then fruit would start to develop.

But funniest of all were her comments about DH's motorcycles:
"Who rides that motorcycle?" she asked with very wide eyes.
"The girls' Daddy does" said I.
"why?" even more incredulously.
"because he thinks it's fun" said I.
Before I could answer this, she said in a knowing tone, "Him been hit in the head?"

I wonder what the neighbor woman thinks of us. Have never spoken to her, but I did meet her husband when they first moved in. I can't imagine letting a three-year-old play in the neighbor's yard without adult supervision (yes, this really happened. One morning the little girl was in our yard before we came out to play.), but she has no children of her own and maybe just doesn't have that same level of apprehension that Mommies get. Then again, I can't imagine a child not knowing that food comes from plants or that plants grow from seeds, either.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

puzzles for kids

My oldest child loves working puzzles and word and number games. I stumbled upon this site without even trying, I clicked an ad for it I saw elsewhere. Anyway, there's free printable puzzles and such, though I don't know about their age categories. For my almost-six-year-old, I printed two puzzles that seemed on her level, one each from the 3-4 year and the 9-10 year age groups.

My three-year-old would not be interested in these things yet, so to be fair I suppose I will print out some coloring pages for her. I have quite a few links to printable coloring pages. Why, I do not know, seeing as how the coloring book shelf is overflowing! Anyway, here's my favorite one, the one I go to first when child needs to color a specific something. Plus, they have lots of mandalas, which I sometimes like to color myself when the girls really want me to participate.

Monday, March 26, 2007

the littlest hippie

Probably should have gone outside to take photos, and I did photoshop out the mess in my kitchen, but I didn't want to wait to post it here. It's all about that dress anyway! I'm quite proud of it, considering it was my first attempt, and I didn't have a pattern or anything to go by. The second set of buttons in the back is to adjust the straps to fit big sis. (photo removed by me -s)

kids wanted merit/acheivement badges and these were the first attempts. The peace sign is for my Levi's jacket from the 80's that is almost completely covered in patches.

mousey was so much fun to make! (DH made the dollhouse for xmas the year before last.)

Friday, March 23, 2007

coming soon

so yesterday I spent a whopping $5 at Goodwill on a skirt and blouse. No, not to wear, but rather to reconstruct into something else. The skirt will be another skirt, because I really love the fabric it was made of. Taking it apart at the seams, I realized it was not originally a store-bought item but something someone else had sewn. Oh well, they gave it to the thrift store, and it wasn't very pretty the way it was, and it didn't look as though it had ever been worn. The blouse is a turquoise blue color reminiscent of the early 1990's, but was half-price and good quality linen fabric. It will make a really nice apron (my original intent) or possibly a skirt because I have some cotton eyelet fabric that would go perfectly with that shade of blue. Only problem now is to get the scent of Gain detergent out of them! The plan is to put them on my etsy shop, and if they sell, buy more 2nd hand clothes to reconstruct.

environmental toxins

be afraid. be very afraid. I don't understand why people are not more afraid. Our tap water contains chlorine (not all tap water does, though). Chlorine reacts with things, that's why it works so well as bleach. When chlorine reacts with organic matter (carbon) it creates dioxin ("agent orange") which is the most toxic substance known to man. ...Uh, wait a minnit, aren't we organic matter ourselves? In tiny quantities, dioxins have been proven to cause autoimmune and reproductive disorders such as endometriosis and infertility in males and females of all sorts of animals, including humans. What makes me fear is the idea that my children may someday understand why Mommy sometimes can't play with them and has to take pain medicines. Before you ask me for links, I don't have them anymore. The ones I used to have are now owned by Dow Chemicals, who makes billions of dollars selling, guess what? Chlorine! You most likely can't find the information hardly anywhere, but you can try looking it up yourself. If you find anything, let me know. But I still bet the website will disappear, like, soon. Yes, it's a for-real conspiracy. Don't even get me started on the endometriosis websites, and research organizations, that are now funded or sponsored, or owned, by Tapp Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of Lupron, the world's most evil drug. Just know that if you see an ad for Lupron on any website about endo, I wouldn't trust the information you read there.

Okay, so why harp on this now, Stacy? We've all heard what you think about chlorine before...

In my email today was this article. Apparently chlorine also reacts with antibacterial hand soap to create chloroform. I don't use antibacterial soap, I'm more afraid of the chemicals in it than I am of the germs it is supposed to kill. Of course, the article is about the dangers of triclosan, not at all about the dangers of chlorine.

"In the new study, the same researchers from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University tested 16 household products, including lotions, soaps and body washes. All the products containing triclosan produced either chloroform or other chlorine byproducts when exposed to tap water."

Whatcha wanna bet some of those "other chlorine byproducts" were dioxins? Can't find the study itself, will keep looking.

AHA! found it, but haven't read it yet.
Environ Sci Technol. 2005 May 1;39(9):3176-85

if you search pubmed, you get 880 articles on triclosan, 14 articles on triclosan and chlorine, 12,054 on chlorine, 314 articles on chlorine and dioxin, and 11,380 articles if you search just for dioxin.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

parenting philosophy

link of the day For the most part, I agree with the general idea behind TCS (taking children seriously) and unschooling. The way it works is that you work together, with your people (children in this case) to find a solution to any given problem that answers the needs and wants of everyone involved. Instead of one getting their way, leaving the other's needs ignored, it involves figuring out exactly what it is you both want and working together to find a solution that makes everyone happy. It's more work than saying "because I said so!" but it pays off in a big way when control issues are no longer poisoning your life. I basically use this sort of approach with raising and educating my children. When allowed autonomy, children are able to make the right choices. It is those who are not allowed to think for themselves and make their own decisions, those who are accustomed to being told what to do, what to believe, and how to act, who make poor decisions. My problem comes, not with the philosophy itself, but with parents who use this philosophy to excuse neglect. Both of my girls are unschooled, that is, I do not force any sort of curriculum or learning schedule or educational expectations upon them. And it works great! Neither child is behind academically, as compared to other children of the same age in institutionalized learning environments (either at home or in school). Mostly my job is to answer the unending stream of questions, and when more information is requested, to find reference material and educational opportunities that pertain to the interest at hand. Sounds easy? it is. Why can't the easy way out be a good thing sometimes? Especially if everyone is happy with it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Happy Spring!

busy busy busy.... But except for the doctor's appointment and the actual surgery itself, I have (I hope) jumped through all the hoops as requested by my daughter's dentist prior to having her teeth capped.

In celebration of Spring's official arrival, the children and I are going to start planting in our garden. Yeah, it might be too early, but it might not be. It's very cloudy and overcast, but I bet the rain will hold off. Digging in the earth yesterday, I noticed our garden spot is chock full of worms. Worms are my littlest one's favorite critter, she will carry one around with her while playing outside and call it her "baby wormie friend" until it starts languishing, at which point I gently ask if she would like to put him back in our garden where he will help the plants grow. In a very similar vein, at her dentist appointment back in January, she brought her precious snakey. All the other little kids had cuddly toys or blankies with them, but my sweet little girl was carrying around a very realistic rubber black-headed python. LOL

and wonder of all wonders, I beleive I'm going to update the frog blog today or maybe tomorrow! Just need to take some photos next time I feed them.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

and now for something completely different click check it out, browse around a little while, you're sure to love it, and you might just learn something new in the process.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

link of the day

I almost forgot! Here's one that has been in my favorites for a while now. click Everyone knows I don't make things that are very complicated, but it is a way cool website, and I have learned many new things from just this one page.


So I restarted that same rag rug a couple times. At first, I was being so careful that my stitches don't show that the edges started curling and it wouldn't lay flat. So I took out the stitches (not a hard thing to do, as they don't go through any fabric, just through the loops of the braid). Decided it was better to have a nicer looking finished project, and that the perfect stitches would come with practice. I am very pleased with the results so far, plus this project will get rid of lots of extra fabric I probably wouldn't use in anything wearable. The most time goes into folding and ironing the strips in preparation to be braided. I hate ironing, but for some reason, this doesn't bother me, I actually find it relaxing. Then I roll them up into balls like yarn and stick a pin in the end to hold it all together. I experimented with folding a strip as I braided, and it just didn't work as well as those that had been ironed, had trouble keeping the raw edges hidden.

The "rug" I made of strips of towels has been claimed by the dog. Okay, so now it's a dog bed, and what a nice fluffy bed indeed!

Last night I also made a skirt for my oldest child. The littlest one keeps claiming for her own all the cute little dresses I make, so I made this skirt especially for big sister, in yellow, of course. It only has two tiers, but is ankle length, with lace around the hemline. turned out quite lovely, even if I really wanted a lighter shade of yellow at the top part. At this rate, I might yet fit all of my fabric into those storage drawers mentioned previously... but I'm sure to buy more before that actually happens.

...and yes, the sewing machine is still sitting out in my computer room.

Friday, March 16, 2007

link of the day

pattern/instructions for making a nursing top. click this is one I might actually wear... only problem is I'm not so great at making things of knit fabrics.
this one looks easier for some reason.


c-c-cold... I knew I should wait before putting our seedlings out in the garden. Good thing I did. Silly me, I turned off our heat and woke up shivering this morning. At least I didn't open the windows last night! Tomorrow morning is supposed to be down to 30 degrees (that's farenheit, I can't figure out celcius conversions, and nobody uses celcius, or is it centigrade, around here anyway). We *always* have one cold spell after my birthday. Once we get past it, I know it's safe to start planting!! :D The kids' watermelons and sunflowers are past transplanting size already, hope they make it. If not, it's a good learning experience, and we still have the rest of the seed packets we can direct sow outdoors.

And just look what my incredible husband made for me last night!

It's a needle for lacing rugs! Here's another photo, with my current work in progress:

Thursday, March 15, 2007

look what I'm making now!

No, it's not perfect, but it is my first attempt and I know what I did wrong and what I will do differently the next time.

It's a braided rug (rather, the beginnings of one anyway), made of strips of old bath towels that I dyed blue. As far as instant gratification goes, this was a great project for me. Went fast enough that it didn't tax my short attention span. It's very fluffy and squooshy, and will feel wonderful under my feet as I step out of the shower each day.
click for my inspiration

while I stitched the braided rags into a rug, the girls and I enjoyed The Magic Flute, and DH enjoyed Down From the Mountain. Really, we all loved both movies. Yes, we got two Netflix movies in the mail yesterday, one opera and the other bluegrass, and had to watch both of them, back-to-back. You got a problem with that? ;-)

We have been really enjoying this beautiful weather, up to 80 degrees the last couple days (which I consider to be the perfect temperature outdoors). I wish I had gotten photos of the girls' picnic up in the tower of their play set. I wanted them to eat, they wanted to go outside, so we did both and it worked wonderfully. We are spending more and more time outside and less and less time indoors. I have been working on the yard, at least the backyard anyway, while the girls run and play. I really need to do something about my front flowerbeds. And, I also need to snap a photo of the metal flamingo DH made and stuck in the front yard, but first I need to thin out my bulbs and perennials and get rid of all those weeds, then decide where Ms. Flamingo would like to live.

Looks like rain today, so maybe I can get caught up with the dirty dishes. *sigh* I really hate washing dishes. Someday Santa has got to bring me a dishwasher...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

link of the day

77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better from an email to TNunschooling list.

I suppose I must focus today's limited online time to figuring out why my personal bellsouth email account is not working, while our other email addresses from bellsouth are just fine. Anyone need to get a hold of me, use my yahoo acct or telephone instead!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

some of the simplest things make me so very happy

My clothesline has finally been restrung!! I love the smell of line-dried clothes and the feeling of crunchy towels and blue jeans. And the sunshine is the best-ever stain remover (I am always spilling and sloshing mess on myself). I also dug in my compost/leaf pile yesterday afternoon, starting to prepare the garden spot for planting (ha! more stains!). My compost tumbler is history, though. It was the most wonderful gift from my very best friend ever, and it worked great for many years. Only problem was it was made of biodegradable "earth-friendly" plastic, and it eventually started to biodegrade, I suppose. I emptied the rich black contents of said composter and mixed it into the leaves from last fall in the hopes it will speed up the decomposing process, but if not, no biggie, they make great mulch, too. I promised my husband that the compost will not be ugly or stinky. I'm going to use the back 1/3 of where my garden was last year for the compost, and focus on growing fewer things but taking much better care of them. Now all I need is a container with a lid to contain kitchen scraps. Surely I can find something around here that will do the job...

Monday, March 12, 2007

This morning

I woke before the sun rose, but just barely. I stitched patches on the knees of several pairs of DH's work jeans. Just because we got him some new pants that have reinforced knees doesn't mean he can't still wear the old jeans just because he has worn holes in the knees. I called the pediatrician and set up an appointment for little one's physical exam prior to the surgery to have her teeth fixed. I also called the hospital and answered all their questions and got her pre-registered (I think they call it). And I managed to do all that, and more, before noon! I love getting up early, I get so much more done than if I sleep too late. I also put the old netflix dvd's in the mailbox, and put The Magic Flute at the top of the kid's cue. They are big into opera right now, and really like that "Pa-pa-pa-pa-gay-nah". I just hope the movie comes with english subtitles so we know what's going on.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


2 new aprons for me!

I did manage to begin two new aprons on Friday, and finished them early Saturday. One of them, I just don't like. I don't know what's wrong with it, other than I made it too big. The colors look nice together even if I did run out of the bias binding tape I was hiding the raw edges with. The other one I just love, though I'll admit it is the ugliest apron ever! DH requested that I never wear a certain comfy old shirt ever again. Instead of throwing it out, I turned it into an apron. Ha! But it's perfect for an apron, the all-cotton fabric is so soft and worn that it's perfect for wiping up spills and catching drips (which is an apron's entire purpose in this world). And the shirt was given me from my Gramma. I really like how it turned out, and I didn't have to hem it because the shirt already has a hem. The only parts that went to waste were the collar, sleeves, and a few very small scraps. If it had long sleeves, I could have made them into the ties, and not had to find a matching fabric to use instead. So now I have it in my head to go to the thrift store and purchase old shirts with the intention of turning them into aprons. And yes, my sewing machine is indeed sitting right here beside my computer on a tv dinner tray. *sigh*

Oh, and I also managed to snap a few photos of my dafodils and some other things I have made (but no photos of the aprons, yet). I just need to remember to transfer them from the camera to the computer and upload them.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

This weekend's featured website that of an online friend of mine from one of those message forums I cannot go to anymore. I met her in real life when we visited Nashville last year, and she's one really amazing woman! humblebee designs
I especially want this purse she made:

Friday, March 9, 2007

a link a day...

Might as well continue with the new tradition... groovy green Someday I'll get around to reading more of this one, it makes me feel less out there, if you know what I mean.

and in other news...

my yearly March sunburn came just a bit early this year. Not so bad, just a pink nose today after spending the majority of the past few days playing outside, probably back to lily white skin with more freckles by tomorrow when the rain gets here. I don't know why I can never think of getting out the sunblock until after I get one minor overexposure. Littlest one just looks sun-kissed, and oldest child who has never had a sunburn (yes, the one with auburn/red hair) doesn't seem affected in the least.

I think it's safe to say that Spring has come to the Southern part of the US!! Wooohooohoooo! But I'm still afraid we started sprouting our seeds indoors too soon. It's time to move them outside, and we usually have one last frost at the end of March or beginning of April...

I fully intended to take photos of my dafodils while they are busting out, just keep forgetting. Trust me, my yard is awash in yellow blooms. After reading a bit of that groovy green article linked above, I kinda wish they were an edible bulb instead. Well, you can always eat daylilies (uh, if you were hungry enough), and i have tons of those, too!

I think I'll justify getting out my sewing machine by cleaning off the kitchen table, and set it up there where I'll have to put it away in order to feed the family. I really must create something today, even if it doesn't turn out so great! I spent a good bit of time the day before yesterday figuring out a new skirt pattern using a coffee filter to draw it on. I wanted to make a circle skirt, but not out of one, or even two pieces of fabric, so used the circle of the filter to figure out how to do it from triangles.

One of these days, I plan to post my 101 things you can do with coffee filters (besides brew coffee). Still my favorite is to paint them with watercolors, and after they dry, cut flowers or snowflakes from them and hang them in the windows, but the girls and I have come up with, as I said, probably 101 nifty ideas! Little one really loved the fairy I made using one coffee filter and a tiny piece of a pipe cleaner (oh, that's not what they call them anymore, but I can't spell chenille), really should have taken a photo before she got destroyed. Though you never know, I might find her someday sitting on a shelf somewhere safe.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

another really cool blog

Tie One On Well, if I'm not gonna be creating cool things, at least I can read about the cool things other people make. In actuality, I was trying to figure out how to make myself an apron like the one Mary Poppins wore, and stumbled upon another blog I want to read whenever I get some spare time (HA!) At issue is my inhumanly large bosom, and I can't seem to find aprons or patterns with darts in the bib part. I suppose I just need to purchase another 20 yards of that cheap muslin and start experimenting.... *sigh*

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

and more insanity...

If you like to sew, you really must check out this super cool blog! Plus, if I post the link here, I can go back and keep reading more and more whenever I get the time, because I simply cannott sit here reading this lady's blog all day long. :D

inspired, or just insane?

I was browsing around etsy this morning, and found quite a few skirts I really really want! Problem is, my sewing machine and all my fabric is put up for the time being, until I can get the "junk room" cleaned out and a king sized bed in there. Yeah, sure, I could set up my machine on a folding tv dinner tray... but... then it will just sit there for months before I put it away. And my littlest one likes playing with the sewing machine, all those wonderful knobs and switches and things. So, can I justify purchasing some really fabulous skirts from these other mamas even though I'm perfectly able to make similar items myself?
This one, in particular, I just love, and I think I could justify buying it to use as a pattern to make more of my own skirts from it! And just dig the colors in this one! And that one is made with that spiral pattern I wanted to try (I managed to make Barbie a spiral skirt, but never translated that into human dimensions). I now have 15 favorite sellers, and I keep running across more... Oh, no! I just can't stop.... I think I'll have to set up my sewing stuff to get it all out of my system. Now that my fabric is organized by fiber content, finding matching material won't be such a chore, and I'm much less likely to go out and purchase more if I can use what I already have!

Monday, March 5, 2007

chimp woman no more!

Yesterday I shaved my legs for the first time in ?three years! I wouldn't bother except my hair is very dark, very long, and very thick, and my skin is lily white, which makes for a not-so-attractive body/self image. So I got over my reluctance to the pain and itching involved and just did it. I also ran a little experiment. On my left leg, I shaved against the hair growth, up my leg, as I have always done. On my right leg, I shaved with the hair growth, down my leg instead. The left leg was much more closely shaven, and had much fewer spots where I had missed some hairs. The right leg was slightly less red afterwards, but had more cuts and was quite prickly, and had many spots where I just could not remove all the hair. So to heck with DH's advice to shave the direction the hair grows, it just doesn't work even if it did irritate my skin slightly less that way (it felt the same, just appeared less irritated). The next thing you know, I'll be swimming in the public pool at the Y... NOT! Okay, well, maybe, with the kids... :O

Sunday, March 4, 2007

fabric, fabric, fabric

Yesterday I managed to fit almost all of my fabric into six 45-quart storage bins. I chose the clear ones that pull out like drawers and are stackable, making two stacks of three drawers. I feel like I really accomplished something, but the issue now is do I purchase three more bins, or do I get rid of some of my material? I don't want them stuffed too full to the point where I have to dig through them to find what I need, or I won't use them as intended, and I still have two other unmatched bins full of fabric, plus one bin full of scraps and remnants. I think I'll do both, get three more bins, *and* give away some fabric. That way I can hopefully organize all my notions and supplies in matching drawers to keep everything looking neat. Mostly all that's left now is to throw a bunch of junk away, or donate it to the thrift store. Problem is I first have to go through it all to find the few things I want to keep... bleh! Once that is done, we are getting new beds!!! The tax refund came Friday.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

ever wondered

what to do when a child touches a magnet to your television screen or computer monitor? link I can't really be angry with her, I did the same thing when I was little. Fortunately, it was the new tv I gave DH for his birthday last year, and it has a built-in degauss thingy. I kept reading all the comments at the above-linked website, and as he was about to go downstairs to fetch a cordless drill and some magnets, I decided to try unplugging the tv first. No more pretty pink spots on the screen! :D