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Since most of my updating is done via Instagram these days I thought I'd add a section that links to my feed. Click on any of the pictures to get an enlarged version. I hope you enjoy the pics:

Monday, February 28, 2011

Today: Taping, Caulking, Priming

Today was a big day in the march towards getting the wall done.  

First thing I did this morning was sand down the wall again and try to feather out the corner a bit more.  I think everywhere but the corner is good now....we'll see when I get the primer on.

After that, I made two loaves of bread and while they were raising I taped and caulked the corners.  My Dad had given me a painters tip that he learned:  When painting dark colors especially, take a very thin line of painter's caulk can run it over the edge of the tape that is on the paint side.  This prevents the paint from seeping underneath a loose spot in the tape and also allows a CLEAN line when you pull the tape off. 

I did this trick with the brown in the dining room and it worked splendidly so I am excited to try it with the red in the stairway!  So, here is the picture of the wall after sanding and the tap in position.

Then, after I got the bread baked and lunch done with, Marion decided he wanted to take some cookies to the elevator with him as he hauled in grain, so I baked some peanut butter and jelly cookies for him to take.  When that was all done, I started priming:

I left a small square where the corner needs to be compounded one more time, and I left a small spot on the wall in the hall where the door knob from the boys' door was knocked through.  I was also able to do a second coat on the upper corner in the stairwell before I took the ladder down for the day.

I think tomorrow I'm going to work on filling some rough areas or holes in the hallway area and putting on a second coat of primer on the rest of the wall.  I'm seriously thinking I'm doing a third coating too...I'm told with the darker colors it is vital to have a GOOD primer coat!

Until later....


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Life Continues to Change...

****I just had to come back and update this post...Ethan does not have JUST ONE tooth...NO SIREE...he actually has FOUR coming in at the SAME he went from being a two toothed grinner to a SIX TOOTH smile!  No wonder the poor little guy has had a runny nose for so long!  :0)  ****

I know this fact is a given...but I'm blown away with the changes that have been taking place...especially with Ethan!

E is now STANDING!  Yes, he can pull himself up in the crib, pack-n-play, and on the stairs by the dining room doorway.  I don't have any pictures of that at the moment, but I'll see what I can do to get you some posted.

Another thing new in E's world is a TOOTH!  Yep, he finally got a third tooth (this one on the top).  Marion thought he would NEVER get another tooth, but today when feeding him, the fork definitely hit something 'hardish' and upon looking, it is barely poking through.

E also LOVES balls.  He loves chasing balls, throwing balls, and just about anything you can do with balls.

Maybe I am being overly sentimental these days, but all of the children are just growing up FAR too quickly. I sit in awe as I watch them from a distance seeing Abi as a budding young lady, Nate as a growing young man.  (Jonny is still VERY MUCH in that rambunctious trouble of 3 but strangely enough I am actually thankful for it...though even HE is showing us that he is growing up.)

Change...though I know it can be good, and often is needed, it can be hard to accept.  I think I am going to try to embrace these changes, and maybe they will help me see and appreciate my children in a different light.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dress #4 My Version

I saw this great little dress called the Village Frock (first made and patterned by Sugar City Journal).  Another blog I visit had revisited the pattern and stated that they no longer printed the actual patterns anymore (and of course are all sold out).  This style is NOT really my thing, but for some reason, it clung to me to recreate this design.  So, starting from nothing (or just Abi's jammies for a basic pattern) I decided to create this Village Frock the best I could.  It was quite the process and I see that I messed it up a bit..but hey...we have another dress anyway!

This is what it was SUPPOSED to look like.  
Now, let's take a look at what I created.  I don't know why I didn't print the picture I'll get creative and try it again with different colors.  Anyway, here is what we did:

Please forgive the messy hair...we've been playing hard and trying this dress off and on all day!
 Okay, the first thing I see that I did 'wrong' was that in the original there aren't the 'shoulder/sleeves'.  It is just a long open neck.  The other thing I see that I did 'wrong' that the gathered sleeve is supposed to be on the bottom and the straight on the top - I tried to reverse that.  I also need to learn how to put MORE fabric in the pattern I create so there is more gather!

From the pictures, you can see that I had to 'add in' several times.  Like the hot pink hidden pleat on the side. The original skirt I made restricted her walking too much even though I had THOUGHT I had tapered it enough.  I also had to reconstruct the sleeves a few times to get them so they weren't too tight.  AND the binding was VERY interesting.  It was the first time that I cut my own bias from the fabric I had and trying to figure out how to finished the edges was FUN!

The back isn't very appealing to look at.
Like I said, at least it is functional for a play dress!

Here is a good look at the side panels.  The hot pink matches the buttons we used.

I don't have a WIDE variety of buttons, so I used the hot pink ones we had on hand.
Don't look too closely, that bias is a MESS!  It was insane trying to put the loops on.
Abi says she likes it and will actually wear it.  We will see if she does.  I guess the main point is that I tried something new and creative and it is functional even if NOTHING like the original.   ROFL!  I still LOVE the Villiage Frock...I just might have to try again!

Now I am off to sand down the wall and put on another coat of joint compound.  Hopefully we will be able to start priming and painting early next week!  YAY!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What was I thinking...

Marion helped me with the wall today...AND I DIDN'T GET ANY PICTURES OF THE PROCESS!

I don't know what I was thinking.

I don't know what the weather was like for you all, but it was COLD and SNOWY here.  So Marion decided today would be a great day for him to help me get that sheet rock up the stairs and attached.  So, he measured the hole, measured the sheet rock, and cut the sheet rock.  Then we hauled it upstairs and scored the wall so we knew where we needed to chip out the old plaster.

Then I started working on removing the plaster, but then Ethan woke up and needed some attention.  He is still not feeling the best with a really runny nose and a slight cough.  Anyway, so Marion said that he'd help with the sheet rock so I could give some loving care to the sick baby.  (maybe that is why I forgot to get pictures) :0(

So, with Abigail's help, Marion chipped away the old plaster and fit the cut sheet rock piece into the spot.  Abi would hand him screws as he put them in.  When the sheet was all installed, he told me I could have the project back (to clean up...LOL)!

After I cleaned up all the old fallen plaster and vacuumed the residue up, I decided to go ahead and fill in the gaps with joint compound and put the first coat on the screw holes.  Here is the picture of what we have now:

Tomorrow I will do some sanding and finishing of the seam.  There are a few spots where I will need to feather out the joint compound a ways as the plaster and sheet rock don't match up.  But considering the bulge in the lathe and the age of the house, we feel it is a very good match.

I tried to get Marion to pose for me next to the wall, but he refused...I guess I just missed my opportunity to get those pictures. Oh well, until next time....


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

And the saga continues....

No pictures today.

But after Marion got home last night he agreed we should just stop for the time being.  We decided to do some research on repairing plaster and basically found out that the method for doing such is to put in sheet rock.  One of the places we referenced was This Old House Video Tutorial where it told us that we needed to score and cut out a square then cut a piece of sheet rock to fit in it. Secure the sheet rock, putty it in, and wallah!

We did find out that This Old House recommends a product called Big Wally's Plaster Magic.  You can find it here.  Basically, it helps to bond the plaster to the lathe with an adhesive bond instead of nails or screws.  If we had known this BEFORE we tore out the wall, we could have possibly saved the plaster!  oops!  But seriously, since we didn't know if the problem was the lathe or just the plaster, it was probably a good thing to find out.  Anyway, I did get some of the Plaster Magic on order to aide in the repair of the other cracks in the wall, but we still needed to get the sheet rock to patch the wall we have now. So off to town we went.

Unfortunately, I was thinking that I'd be getting a piece of sheet rock that was cut for me to a 3x5 dimension and that it would probably fit in the van with all the kids.  I did not anticipate that they wouldn't cut it for me, so I made the trip into town, bought the replacement gallon of pink tinted primer and a few other needed items - like the joint compound, screws, and scrapers - but I couldn't get the sheet rock.

I was SO frustrated with myself and the situation.  Fortunately, my husband is a patient and generous man and offered to go get the sheet rock with his pickup after he was done hauling grain for the day!  I could have taken the kids over to Grandma's but Ethan isn't feeling the best (he has a runny nose and is rather cranky) and Jonathan needed a nap.  Not to mention Abi had school, and well, you get the picture.  So it is a HUGE blessing to have a hubby willing to make the extra trip for a sheet of sheet rock!

While I was waiting, I was able to go ahead and get the joint compound on the wall to help fill in the nicks and gouges.  I just put a skim coat on so it is already starting to dry, but at least I was still able to do something while I was waiting for the sheet rock.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When a simple project turns complicated...

So, today I started scraping the down the glue paper on the wall.  Fortunately, the hardware store in Downs gave me an amazing suggestion for Piranha Wallpaper & Paste Remover.  That stuff was AMAZING!  I just diluted it down, sponged it on and the paper just wiped right off!  

Here I am with my Pampered Chef scraper, bucket of remover
and the ladder positioned so I could get to the corner.

At first, I was actually ripping the paper off, but later, I found that by using my scraper,
I had less glue resider to wipe off later.

WOW...look at the clean wall!

It looks so AMAZING...
of course from a distance you can't see all the nicks and imperfections,
so it looks AMAZING!
 So, you might be asking...what went wrong?

Well, after I got all the wallpaper off, I noticed that in one spot where the wall had cracked and someone had tried to patch it the wall was VERY loose.  I mean, I could push on it and the plaster would move at least 1/4 of an inch if not more!  Then a chunk fell out - apparently pushing on it was not a good idea!

So, when Marion came in for lunch, I asked him what he thought we should do.  A simple plaster patch was not going to fix this...especially after further investigation...because the the wall bubbled and moved for quite a ways into the wall.  SO, Marion said, "I guess we need to find out if it is the lathe or the plaster.  Take a hammer to it, but don't go beyond what is loose.  If it is solidly attached, leave it."

So, here we go:
Just loosely prying, trying to only pull off what was 'necessary'.

We got this far and I started to panic!
It was still bubbling and loosely coming off with ease!

Nathan REALLY wanted to I let him!

Then Abi wanted to help, so I let her.
 And we ended up with this:

It doesn't look so bad in the picture.  Basically everything that is left is fairly firmly attached to the lathe, EXCEPT one spot.  And, it scares me:

I don't know if you can really see it, but that middle board is basically splintered in half.  But if I kept going, I would have to pull the plaster off the entire board another 2-3 feet to the right.  And if I did that, you KNOW the hole would be bigger than just the width of the lathe board.  So I stopped and am waiting for Marion to get home.  We'll see what he thinks and how much farther we have to go.


Monday, February 21, 2011

What we've been up too...

For those of you who might not know this...there are always projects to do to keep a house up and running!  Some of them are easy, some of them take time, some of them are fun, and some of them are just a pain!

Well, quite a while ago, one of the little rebels in our home decided it would be a great idea to color on the wallpaper going up the stairs.  Then a while later, either the same little rebel or another one decided it would be great fun to pick at the little seam that was coming loose on the wallpaper going up the stairs.  Then, apparently the temptation was just SO great that all the little rebels in the house were caught at one point or another picking more wallpaper off the wall! 

***Updated - Marion thought my terminology for the children was a bit harsh even if true, so we changed from calling them little sinners to little in the same...just not so harsh sounding!  :0)

As you can imagine, it started to not look so pretty, and really bothered my wonderful husband who honestly doesn't pay much attention to these things, but when he does IT BOTHERS HIM!  So, sometime last summer/fall I came up with a plan to redecorate the dining room/stairway.  But with all that happened last October, it didn't get done!  You might remember seeing the post on the Pink Primer Paint that was purchased for this project (if not you can read that here).  And by the way, there is STILL pink primer on the back step and house!

ANYWAY, my mom was planning on coming this week to spend some time and it got me thinking that MAYBE this would be the time to tackle this project.  Unfortunately, due to health issues, she wasn't able to come, and I about abandoned my plan.  BUT, then I decided, WHY NOT?  I was planning on getting it done this week...why change that?!!

So, here are the kids helping me:

They actually ENJOYED it a lot (like that was a big surprise).  They got the majority of the vinyl off and an amazing part of the 'glue paper'.   Abi especially worked at it until there was NOTHING she could pick at anymore.  Tomorrow, I will have Marion bring in the ladder for me to get to the top corner of the stairway and I'll finish getting the glue paper off and cleaning the wall!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dress #3 - Lady Bugs and Twirling

Okay...I finally got it all done...Dress #3:

you can see that the ruffles roll up a bit...
I think that is due to the fact that I hemmed them AFTER I attached them...lesson learned!

Has a slight twirl factor...
Lots of lessons learned on this dress:  hem first, mark placements ALL ACROSS the fabric for easier placement, make sure you have enough fabric, and it doesn't all have to be done in one sitting!

It has been so much fun making all these dresses.  I plan to make more, but I need to take a bit of a break from Abi's and work on mine...and maybe something for the boys...they feel left out!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My New Toy...

I am so excited...I got a new toy...hehehehe!  

Last year, my mom got a dehydrator from her sister (my aunt Sharon) and she went crazy with!  One of the times when she was down visiting, she brought the dehydrator with her and we kept that thing going non-stop for the entire time she was here.  We dried jerky, bananas, apples, oranges, apricots...and garlic...lots of garlic!  I think we even made a few fruit leathers too!

Well, I have wanted a dehydrator for many years but could never convince Marion that we'd actually use it or that it would be beneficial!  After that week with my mom, his opinion changed, but not enough for him to give the okay for us to get our own.  His opinion was it worked well to use Grandma'!  THEN his birthday came, and Grandma sent dried pineapple (as well as a bunch of other stuff including more jerky).  After that, he was SOLD!  

Those of you who know that Marion's birthday is in September, you might then be asking why I am only NOW getting the dehydrator.  Well, there were many reason, mostly that I couldn't decide on which one to get.  But I finally found the one I wanted and it even included 4 yogurt cups for me to make homemade yogurt in 4 hours!  I think that will come in mighty handy this summer...the kids eat LOTS of yogurt in the summer! it first batch of dehydrator goods:

pineapple (for my hubby since it is his favorite)

and apricots and plums as a tester run

It even has a timer so that it will automatically stop after the set amount of time...
no getting up in the middle of the night to check the dehydrator now!

I actually have 6 total trays but I decided to stop with the four for my first run.  I'm going to get some jerky marinating over night and hopefully run it tomorrow.  I'll let you know how that turns out!  YAY!

New Blog Tabs

If you didn't notice, I've been changing things around on the blog again.

We now have 'tabs' at the top which correlate with the labels to the posts.  I've never labeled posts before, but I thought this would be a nice touch to allow those who maybe only wanted to see one 'aspect' of the blog to be able to go directly there.

For instance, let's say you only want to see the sewing projects that I have been doing.  All you have to do is click the 'sewing' tab at the top of the blog (under the big picture) and it will bring up ONLY the posts that have been labeled "sewing".

I hope you enjoy this new feature.  Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Per Grandma's Request

Grandma requested a video of Ethan crawling...this is one of his favorite activities....

The original video goes on and on and on, and he never does actually 'get' the ball.  It is a very alluding ball.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I know that this is not a new topic...and that everyone else has the same struggles with trying to keep the laundry up and running...but I just had to share this picture.  

I wish I would have had the picture that followed this...but let's just say I wasn't a very happy camper so taking pictures were NOT on my mind.  LOL!

For the record, the new laundry technique that I have adopted from some advice that my Aunt Patti gave me works wonderfully!  I now have 6 baskets that I sort the laundry into on Laundry Day and they stack up very nicely to keep the clothes corralled and separated until time to go into the wash (which usually prohibits the story that follows from being so tempting).  When I empty a basket into the washer, it sits empty until I use it to transfer the laundry from washer to dryer and then after they are dry, the clothes go back into the basket until folded.  The empty baskets get turned upside down as a 'table' to set the unfolded baskets on so that I don't have to bend over and kill my back during folding time.

I have also now 'installed' Rubber-maid drawers by the washer that the kids' clothes all fit into.  No more running up and down the stairs to put clothes away. No more unfolded clothes being strung throughout the house as they get dropped.  No more lost PJs because they put them in the wrong drawers.  This new system has saved in SO many ways the hassles that we previously had with the kids' clothes and their chores of putting them away.

Now I said all of that to explain that we have done a pretty good job of keeping the laundry monster at bay and in its place. However, we have ONE problem that apparently is just beyond resistance!  We have a 'dirty laundry hamper' that sits in the kitchen corner by the door to the dining room.  This basket has a tendency to get VERY full and run over.  There have been numerous times that I've had to pick up clothes that got pulled out....tipped over...or just forgotten, but this week, we had extra clothes because I worked at the local Agape Shop. I had found so many items that I just stuffed them in a large black trash bag to bring them home, and of course they have to be washed too!  So in the picture you have the kitchen hamper and the Agape Shop clothes (this does not include the bathroom laundry or the bedroom laundry hampers).  Now some of you might be saying...that isn't very much!  But it turns out to be ALOT when spread from kitchen sink to kitchen sink!  ROFL!

As you can see, the clothes made quite a pile and apparently that pile was very hard to resist in the temptation to pretend it was a pile of leaves to be JUMPED IN!  Yes indeed, I had left the kitchen to do something (I don't even remember what) and when I came back the entire pile...even those in the hamper...were strung, flung, and gallantly spread ALL OVER THE KITCHEN!  I even took one article OUT of the sink!  And worse yet, I had ONE basket of clean clothes that had not been folded yet...YEP...they made it into the mix!

Like  I said, this story would be all the more 'impressive' if I had taken a picture of the scattered clothes, but I was not thinking of picture taking!  Fortunately, I was able to see the humor/fun in the situation and the kids just had to clean up the mess...though they got a harsh talking to about getting into the clean clothes too!


GREAT news...

One of my bestest friends just sent out this amazing Valentine announcing the expectation of another blessed BABY!


Congrats, Kim and Mark! We are so very happy for you!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dress #2 - Prairie Girl

In an attempt to find dresses that would work for Abi to wear for everyday, I took another pattern she liked that was too short and made this dress out of a yellow with little blue flowers.  We liked it...but it was VERY YELLOW!

So one night, as I was laying in bed awake, I had the thought of adding an apron!  Here is the final product:

She is really enjoying modeling her dresses.

The neck was a bit too small for her head to easily slip through,
so we added a hook and eye at the top to give some leeway.

We tried to just have the apron separate, but it didn't work, so I attached it.
The only thing that I'd change with this dress (when I make another one) is that I'd flair the skirt a bit more instead of the straight up and down.  I've got ALOT more fabric so when I manage to get the next one like this pattern down, I'll flair the skirt and variate the top and bottom patterns.  (I'm having so much fun!)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Abi's New Dress

Some of you will be very surprised by the picture below because you'll think "That is NOT the pattern I saw her working on last!"  LOL!  Well, you are correct.  I have not had a chance to get the other fabric washed and lined out and then sewn since I was working on the pattern at Mom's Group a few weeks ago!

However, Abi has the dress that is a home made Raggedy Ann (RA) dress that she absolutely LOVES, but it is getting too small.  I don't know what came over me yesterday but I decided I was making a new one cuz I liked the pattern as well.  So, I started by taking her RA dress and measuring it all and sketching a pattern from it on newspaper! Then, I added 1-2 inches on various sides so that she would have 'growing room'.

THEN, I had to find some fabric.  Well, my Aunt Patti had given me a HUGE bag of fabrics that were left over from her sewing days and so I went to the wealth there and found a beautiful purple and a fun bear pattern that matched.  (I thought it would be a bit much to do the whole thing in a pattern!)

Anyway, I cut out the pattern and the fun started!  Honestly, I have NEVER had to rip out a project more...LOL! However, considering that I had no instructions, I don't feel that I did too bad...I mean, I DID get it assembled...eventually! It is slightly complicated because the dress top is like a casing.  So the first thing I had to rip out was the sides.  In trying to attached the side ties, I inadvertently put the two wrong sides together...lesson #1! When I figured that all out, I started on the skirt, got the basting in and other than ripping it in a few places, manged to get the gathering all approximately the right size.  THEN came the hard part.  Trying to figure out how to match up the fabrics so that the skirt fit INSIDE the case starting the with back inside panel!  I think I ripped that out two times before I figured it out!  After the skirt was secured to the inside panel, the outside panel was easy...just tuck the edge under, place it below the seam of the skirt/inside and pin it!  WALA!  (oh, then there was the hem, put that was a piece of cake.)

So, without further is Abi's new RA Dress:

Absolutely LOVE the length...glad I added that extra few inches!

You can see it 'gathers' alot in the back...I wanted it to be big enough she could grow into it.
The fabric is a very WARM fabric with a 'fuzzy' inside...I'm hoping maybe it will last for next winter too!

Here is a closer look at the tie...the inside is the purple and the outside is the pattern.
It makes a HUGE bow (at least for now) and she LOVES that!

We put a simple white turtleneck under it with some purple little flowers.
But I think there are many colors that would go with this!
Marion is shaking his head because I started this project at around 7:00 last night, and finished it for her to wear today!  (it wouldn't have taken me near as long if I had not had to rip out so  He said I am 'such a sprinter'!  LOL!

Oh...and Nathan came marching up to me this morning and asked, "Mom, why don't you ever make anything for Jonny or me?"  I said, "Because you don't wear dresses which are easy."  His response, "Well, I could wear a dress if you made me one!"  ROFL!  We had a serious talk about that and I told him I'd try to make him some jammies soon! (I don't have much confidence in making pants...yet.)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Relationship = Dependency

Let's explore this concept.

A child is dependent upon their parents for many, shelter, training.  And in an odd change of role, often a parent becomes dependent on the child at some point when they are older and the child is grown.  Wives are dependent on husbands, husbands are dependent on wives.   Pastors are dependent on congregations, congregations are dependent on pastors.  Students are dependent on teachers, and really, teachers are dependent on students (if there were no students...there would be no one to teach).

All of the above are relationships.  I can't think of any relationship that does NOT involve dependency of some sort! There may be different levels of dependency, there may be good dependency and bad dependency, but there is always SOME level of dependency in relationship.

That being the case, then I ask, why do we think we can have a relationship with Christ without depending on HIM?  Why do we go about our lives, living for ourselves?  Why do we only 'fit' God in when it is convenient for us or beneficial for us?  Would we have a relationship with our husbands, teachers, pastors, or parents if we treated them like that?

I have a 'relationship' right now that is nearly all one way.  In this 'relationship' contact is rare.  Time spent together is rare, and mostly because our lives are 'busy'.  The question is...what kind of relationship do we have?  Is there a closeness that is appropriate for that 'type' of relationship?  Do we trust each other, can we be open with each other, would we depend on the other person in a crunch?  Absolutely not!  It has become more of an association than a relationship.

I have come to understand that association is acknowledgement, relationship is dependency!  In the above example, I acknowledge the person for who they are, or what role they play in my life, but I am not dependent on them.  But with GOD, He wants us to not simply acknowledge his role, but be dependent FULLY on Him!

Christ longs for us to trust Him, to depend on Him for our every breath, to commune with Him continually, to come to Him in a crunch, to allow Him access to every part of our life so that an intimacy...a closeness can be established.  Christ LONGS for relationship with US!  Our purpose is to have RELATIONSHIP with Him!   DEPENDENCY on Him!

Have you ever seen that analogy with the jar, walnuts and rice.  When demonstrated, someone takes and puts all the rice inside a jar and then tries to stuff in all the walnuts....surprise...they don't fit!  But then, they put the walnuts in and pour the rice in afterward and it all goes in smoothly!  The point being, if we put the important things in life first, then the other things in life will fall into place.  But I'd like to challenge that...Life isn't just about putting the walnuts in your jar first so that the rice all fits nicely in...It's about letting God SUPPLY the jar, walnuts, and rice...all according to His Plan!  Are you gathering your own walnuts or are you dependent upon God to SUPPLY ALL?