Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's not Hoarding.

Is it? But it undoubtedly can be classified as an obsession. Yarn! Fibers! Textiles!

Over the last couple of weeks I've been getting all my crafting supplies out of my bedroom closet and turning my unused front room into - get this! - a STUDIO!

Well, not really a studio yet. Right now it's more like a workroom. It needs some additional storage solutions, some cheerful curtains, some really fun art on the walls and a good, comfortable work chair before I can officially call it a studio. But it's getting there.

I remember so vividly that when we moved into our home 15 years ago I vowed I would have nice furniture in my front room within 10 years. It seems dumb now but hey, it's how I got through the days. Of course it didn't happen - 10 years after we moved in I had been teaching seminary for a couple of years and my front room was a classroom. It stayed that way for a couple more years after that. And ever since I stopped teaching seminary the front room has been kind of a blank space where the boys play their video games. The uselessness of the room bothered me but I wasn't really sure what to do in there. Nice, new furniture seems kind of silly at this point - we never sit in there. Because after 15 years we are firmly entrenched in the family room. And it's not like we ever have the Governor over or anything like that where we'd feel uncomfortable making him sit on our holey family room couch.

So I've claimed the space as my own. It's a little weird, yes, having it all out in the open right by the front door. But it's my house and I'm a crafter. If you're offended by the sight of craft supplies you can stay on the front porch.

I'd like to state for the record that most of this yarn I inherited from my grandmother. Tomorrow I'll show you the sewing area.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I haven't been blogging...

but I have been busy doing other things. Stay tuned for details on what "other things" includes.

I finished this hat and mittens for my darling, adorable, and oh-so lovable niece C. She picked out the yarn when I visited her this summer - it matches a jacket she got for school.

Tomorrow they go in the mail, and just in time for the cooler weather!

( In case you're wondering just how awesome I am, let me tell you. The directions for the hat were written for straight knitting needles. I got a good way along on it with straight needles and realized that the variegated yarn was creating a pattern that I didn't like. So I ripped it all out and started again using circular knitting needles. I had to improvise and convert the directions (I'm a beginner - remember that!) and had to buy (and learn to use!) some double-pointed needles in order to finish it when the hat started getting smaller at the top. I'm starting to feel like I'm getting the hang of knitting. Don't you think that getting the hang of knitting is such a square, old-lady thing to do? Oh well. I'm an awesome old lady!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Putting things by...

I used to have a sweet poem about "putting things by" but now I can't find it.

Today I made jam out of a big pile of fresh strawberries. It took about an hour and it was kind of fun for a change. It's been a long time since I made jam, and each time I do I get a weird little thrill when I look at the filled jars all lined up. I can't explain it.

Anyhow, we're all set to enjoy the taste of last summer in the dead of next winter.

(Well, we do have at least one day usually at the end of January or the first part of February where it could rightfully be called "the dead of winter".)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The face

that has yet to launch a thousand ships, but has already inspired a thousand declarations of love and devotion.

My Little Friend tells me at least 10 times a day how much he loves our little "Butter Butter". And sure, that says a lot about how lovable our dear Buttercup is, but it also speaks volumes to how sweet an uncle Jake is.

Those lashes - wow.

Monday, September 13, 2010

If I had a million dollars

would it be anywhere close to enough to buy this lovely horse farm? It's for sale right now in Magnolia, Texas.

I don't dare look at the advertised price. So I can just keep dreaming that my imaginary million dollars would be enough. Cousin Lucy could play Cowgirl Princess for real, and wouldn't Buttercup look simply adorable on a pony?

Goodnight, everybody.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Blue States and the Junk Drawer

You have a junk drawer too, right? I'm not the only person with a dirty little secret hiding in the kitchen, right?

Yesterday pretty much lost me at daybreak. I wasn't okay. I don't know what was wrong because there wasn't anything really wrong. I was blue. For no reason.

For me, the surefire fix to the state of "blue" is to clean something out. I've found this to be true so many times that I've often wondered if it's the hidden, cluttery messes that exist here and there in my house that occasionally bums me out and leaves me feeling blue and sick and tired of it all.

Whatever. The point is, when I'm feeling that "sick of the whole world" feeling, making some part of the house tidy usually makes me feel better. And it did yesterday. I tackled the junk drawer. Here's the actual, unretouched "Before" (there's no need to laugh, or be shocked or horrified because this is a reality blog, not a fantasy blog):

And here is the lovely, peaceful, useable "After":

I get into this drawer at least three times every single day, and on days I need batteries or a screwdriver or to sharpen a pencil, it's more than that.

I do believe it will be a much more pleasant, much less aggravating experience now. For the investment of about $3 for the small baskets and an hour's work, I went from blue and frustrated to calm and organized. That's a pretty good return!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Did you know this?

Some days I am sick, just sick, to death of myself and I'd give anything, anything, to not be the me that I am.

For no other reason than the seams of my clothes are bothering me and my hair seems to be thinning and I've got a great big zit forming in the center of my forehead, a la Cyclops.

I'll be back tomorrow with a more sunny disposition. I'm just sure of it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

thriving versus surviving

I was introduced to this way of thinking about food storage about a year ago: If you had to live for an extended period of time (say a few months) only on the resources you currently possess would you survive or would you thrive?

I knew without even looking at my currently-in-my-possession resources that it would be pure survival, baby.

So I've set about changing that. For food storage I got some ideas and some help from a friend of mine and started purchasing some freeze-dried products like vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and other things to go along with my beans, wheat, rice, and oats. I've been getting them from a company called Shelf Reliance, and the cool part is that freeze-dried food (cool part, freeze-dried, hahaha. I crack myself up) has a longer shelf-life (approx. 25 years!) than dehydrated food. So even when I don't use it up super quickly by incorporating it into our daily menus, it's still good.

I'm not necessarily promoting Shelf Reliance, because I'm sure there are other companies that are just as good, but this place has a program called "Q" that lets you buy a little bit every month on an ongoing basis. They will figure out what to send you, or you can figure it out yourself, and something comes to your house once a month. I've been participating in the online program for a few months now, and my available resources are beginning to grow.

(I've had so much fun looking at all the items they have available that it's ridiculous. It's like shopping without have to get dressed and find your shoes.)

So, if tough times come, or natural disasters, or economic crises, or whatever, I am prepared to thrive. I have brownie mix in my food storage, people. You can see it in the picture, over on the right.