My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Seeing the light May 1, 2015

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School is almost out for us and my favorite season is about to begin.  I won’t lie, I love Summer the most.  While I enjoy every season for its unique qualities, Summer is by far my favorite.

Longer days to get more done.  Yes, I know that the days are the same amount, but Summer begs to be used to completion.

Yummy sunlight coming through all the open windows for hours and hours at a time.  And you can actually go out to enjoy it too!  Sitting on the porch for hours.  Folding laundry to making dinner on the grill.  I will find a way to move what I’m doing to the deck.  I’ve been known to move Brutus, my treadle machine, out to the deck to sew outside.

So many things to do outside.  I love to do even the smallest thing in the yard, if it get’s me out of the house.

And warmth.  I love warmth.  No aching.  No baggy sweatshirts.  No hats or gloves to hinder me.  Shorts and a tank top to allow full movement.  I will take sweating over shivering any day.  Oh… I love warmth.

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I’m starting to see the light.

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Our amazing contractor started work on “that house” this week without the insurance money even there.  He knew we needed renters ASAP, and knew we were good for it, so he started in good faith.  As soon as carpets are in – we’re good to go on renters.  So hopefully by next month, you’ll see me doing a happy dance.  (Figuratively.  No one wants to see me dance!)  The buckets of human feces have left the backyard, and the dog feces filled carpets have left the house.  We’re ready to move on to people who live in reality!

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I’m starting to see a glimmer of light.

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I’ve actually started decorating the house… No big deal you say?  I went 20 years without decorating because of finances, moving, children or dogs.  I think it’s time we start to decorate!

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Ok, it may not be much, but it’s a start.  But we’re starting to see the light!

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And all these new babies coming; I’m having so much fun getting to sew for them AND get sleep.  So this is sort of what being a grandma (or awesome aunt) is like?!

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“Minky” fabric. You MUST try some. It’s the softest fabric I think I’ve ever felt! I may have to buy some for myself?

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Ah yes.  That wonderful light.

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And meet “Spare”, as in a spare cat.  He’s adopted us apparently?  His last known address was about 4 1/2 hours and one giant river away from where he is now according to his chip.  This lovable 5 y/o boy is so stinking friendly, even with the pug up his backside and a hovering giganticus dog.  His only nemesis is the queen fur-biscuit of the house.  Our 20 y/o toothless, clawless (at least in the front) brittle old woman of a cat had him huddled for life under a chair.

We’ve tried nearly everything we could think of to get in touch with his owner.  Contacting Sprint (their carrier) but something is wrong with the line.  The vets office where the chip was linked to.  Their former apartment complex.  The police here in town.  FB.  And sent a letter in the hopes it would get forwarded.  We’re not exactly in a neighborhood, so we can’t really go door-to-door.  We’re now putting up flyers and I have a friend who works with the police checking on a forwarding address for us.  We want to return him… but it’s turning out to be quite the challenge.  We may have gotten a new cat?!  Now, if he’d just stop eating my lovely birds off the porch!

The pets aren’t quite sure what to do with this, and Viola (aka: Kitty) is none-to-pleased.  But she’s calming down now that she knows he’s not threatening her territory.  She’s still the queen of all things furry!

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She’s beginning to see the light.

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And the last ray…

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My poor 40+ tomato plants, dying to see the light!

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Frost season get’s over pretty late here, so we have about 20 more days until they get to officially…. see the light.

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If we can hold on just a bit longer, our winter will be over and we’ll begin to…

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Skirting the issue April 9, 2015

Filed under: Knitting,Refashioning,Sewing — blankenmom @ 3:19 pm
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I picked up a skirt while out in NJ at this great shop called Vintage Variety but had no idea what I’d be doing with it.  I just moved it around for about 5 years.

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I see your confusion at the word skirt here.  But if I wore it as a skirt, it would puddle around me.  The bottom, worn this way, hits just below the knee.  But I really liked it!  So it stayed in the back of my closet.  Calling to me every so often.

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I received a gift card for Joann’s fabric store the other day and went to poke around.  Nothing really coming to mind on what I wanted to make, I bought a few things for some up coming baby items and a new thread rack.

Way in the back I found some trims on sale – deep sale.  Sparkles galore!  Also some lovely coral ribbon in the exact shade I would like for every piece of clothing.

And this is when I finally figured out what to do with the skirt in the way back of my closet.

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This excellent piece of sequined trim covers the top elastic waistband section.  It is black, although it does appear a bit brown in this picture.  You can still see where I joined the two pieces together in the underarm area.  I chose this spot because it would be less noticeable while I was wearing it.  I bought a lot of it, so you may see it on something else later on.

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As for the rest of the dress, I chose to also give it a bit of sparkle since it had dots, it was ready-made for it.

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It’s sad it doesn’t sparkle as much in the pictures.  But I promise these little black, glue on jewels do in fact have a very nice sparkle!

I would like to take a moment here to point out that when you glue on jewels, you need to make sure you’re using washable glue.  As in, you can wash it and it will stay.  I made the mistake of using some regular sewing glue, but after looking at the bottle realized it was washable as in, it would wash off easily.  And, after almost finishing gluing them on and then realizing this I put it in hot water and yup, jewels floated right up.  Off to the craft store for a few more jewels and some specific jewel glue.  Much better!

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Something along these lines.  By-the-way, I usually use these jewels on the heads of my push pins on my cork boards.

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The main body has one size, black jewels and the “drops” at the bottom have larger grey jewels.  Gives a little something extra to the all black.

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I’m much in love with the simplicity and sparkles of this new dress!  Kind of reminds me of a flapper dress.  Now I’ll need to knit a shawl just for this dress – something with sequins I think?

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Just finished! April 1, 2015

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I’m finished.  Done.  Throw up my hands in so much not caring any longer.  Throw in the towel.  Finito.  Terminado.  Fertig.  Criochnaithe.  Fartik.  However you want to say it.  I’m finished

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If you want me, I’ll be under my desk… hiding.  Possibly with some wine.  And a coloring book.

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If the best part of your week is “Well, at least no one’s died so far.”, you’re not doing so hot.  Granted, the second-born’s oral surgery went well today and I did get to laugh at him a bit when he kept repeating himself, and petting me.  Not so funny when he keeps trying to open the car door on the way home.

With the insurance company coming out last week to “that house” to try to get us a bit more money from the water company’s insurance company, and saying “Well, we can get you more, but not enough.”, yeah, not cool.

When you’re actually excited one of the repair bills “doesn’t cost over $1000″.

Taxes due.  And in all new and confusing ways because of the new practice.

And when a close family member passed in a sudden and tragic way last week.  Definitely not cool.  Still working that one out.  Prayers would be welcome.

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At a certain point you just look up and say “Really?  I mean really?”

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But a slow progression to getting things done is creeping back in.  A small, but important one is the quilt I had been working on.  I finished it yesterday with its final ironing… and cat hair removal.  No thanks to the cat who then proceeded to lay on it again behind my back.

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Quilting is not my favorite, nor is it what I’m best at.  But I will make them on a rare occasion for someone special.

Mostly done by hand, excluding putting the blocks together, all the quilting, applique and border were done by hand.  A labor of love.  Hopefully the recipients feel it when it arrives.  (The paranoid part of me hopes they don’t look at it and think “Seriously?  What was she thinking?”  But I’m squashing her back into her hiding place and sending it anyways.)  These people have been amazing to us over the last 5 years and I’d do just about anything for them.

She gave me her kimono before we left to see if I could fix it, but wasn’t able to repair the damage because of where it was.  In frustration she just said “Toss it then.”  Bought on a work trip to Japan several years earlier, couldn’t bear to since it was her favorite.  So I kept it all these years and moves until I figured out what to do with it.  And this is what I ended up with.  The flowers are from the kimono and the blocks are all the different shades from the fabric.

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I wanted the flowers to move like they were floating in the wind, like the blossoms in Japan.  One stray even floated to the back.

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Sorta wished I had moved it further down, but too late now.

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With that finished and about 3 other sewing projects lined up to be mailed out, I’m able to move on to a few other projects on the less expensive end.  And a new gift from the hubby to assist in the home reno project will help immensely!  It’s not expensive, but it’ll help a ton.

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The second-born was joking the other day that we should start buying and laying the floor a board a day.  He may be on to something there?

I’m hoping that with a few projects to finish, my heart will begin to mend the loss of my loved one and I’ll start to feel normal again.

And hopefully with some new renters in soon, the nightmare of the last two and half years with “that house” will finally be over and we can start to move on.

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I know there will be a few more hiccups, hopefully with no more major losses anytime soon, and we can finally say were finished.  And smile.

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Sitting still is for the bored March 18, 2015

 

 

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I’ve been on a daily quest to make phone calls all day.  By the time I’m done telling insurance that no, the contractor isn’t crazy, and telling the contractor yes, insurance is crazy, driving one kid to tech school and back and two others to homeschool swim, and various other add-on’s, caveats and addendum’s, it’s dinner time.  And then I’m pooped… headed to bed.  It’s a sad, sad life.  *HA*

 

Ok, really I love that they’ve got this all going on.  I just wish the phone calls could be done.  It’s been almost 9 months since we’ve been paid for the rental and we’re coming down to our last and still need repairs done.  But we’ve come back from worse, and now I know the routine.

 

But the crazy current schedule still leaves me with my weekends open.  Sundays have been spent looking for another new church.  Saturday’s in particular I’ve made sure to schedule nothing on purpose.  A girls got to relax!  Even more so when your husband comes out to the deck you’re sitting on and says “You alright?  You look sort of out of it?”  “Hmmm, just relaxed?”  Yeah, it’s been so long since he’s seen me relaxed, he’d forgotten what it looked like and it made him worried.  Need to do it more often I guess?  I’ve also managed to run out of projects.  No, back up.  We’ve run out of money to finish several started projects.  I’m left with pulling things apart.

We’re still waiting to put the floors back in, so I’m pulling all the trim down in the mean time.

 

 

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I do still have one section of floor to rip out, but I’m dreading it.  It involves the front loaders.  *sigh*  I’ll get to it!!

 

 

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The t.v. turned terrarium is sitting next to me, waiting for its innards.

 

 

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The kitchen is still waiting for its island, all marked out and ready.  Plans sitting in my planner.

 

 

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And the lights, only one of which works, waiting to be replaced.  Replacements picked out.

 

 

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Main section of the quilt is finished and waiting for its border.  I’ll get that when the next really good sale comes up.

 

 

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Pillow cases done and ready to be sent off.

 

 

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BUT (notice it’s a big but – *giggle*) I have one project that I’ve been saving.  My son’s girlfriends dress.  I felt so awesome that she asked me to make one for her.  So I’ll be enjoying this one… and I can afford it!

 

 

katelyns dress

 

 

I managed to find a pattern for the top, but nothing that remotely came close to the bottom section.  Thinking about it… I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a pattern with pleats?  Or at least with sharp, numerous pleats.  Cheerleading skirts don’t count here.  So I’ll be making the skirt portion myself.  I’m also a bit excited since we discovered we’re the same size.  Hey – give a nearly 40-year-old woman some excitement!

 

 

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We’re using Linen instead of the shiny material used here so that she can wear it as a simple summer dress, nothing too fancy.  I’ll make sure to show the stages.  I’m looking forward to making it.  I do love making dresses – can’t stand wearing them.

 

Various projects laying around show I’m keeping busy.  Spring is springing and I’ll soon have outdoor projects to add.

 

We may be in a holding pattern, but that won’t keep me still!

 

 

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Something fun! February 24, 2015

Filed under: Family,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 8:58 pm
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Ok… this is probably the only time I’ll post a picture of myself, but I was just so excited I did something fun and got out of the house!  (Also, this is why you ALWAYS take a shower before you leave the house.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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They actually had to talk me into the picture. I was going to be all boring and not get one. Thanks AB staff for being awesome!

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to my fourth-born for having a 13th birthday this week so we could all get tickets to the Alton Brown show.  It was excellent!  And I did something out of the ordinary… waited in line for an autograph.

 

Oh and Alton Brown and his staff – super-duper nice!

 

That is all.

 

This, that and the other. February 14, 2015

Filed under: Family,Home improvement,Pets,Sewing — blankenmom @ 9:58 pm
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Being here has been on my mind the past few weeks.  I’ve missed a few weeks again, but thank goodness not out of frustration.  I’ve been busy with this, that and the other.  None of which was really all that unpleasant for once.  After several weeks of nothing but fog, Spring has sprung early for us here, thank goodness!   Not so much for my friends out east.  So while I’m getting our house ready for spring and summer, “that house” is getting socked in by snow and cold.

 

While balancing both house projects and the hubby being gone for two weeks, I’ve also been giving myself some distractions.

 

 

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I made a very simple quilt frame for the quilt I’m working on, so I could sit more comfortably and next to the fire while it was still chilly.  Had I known earlier that our heat pump had stopped working, I probably wouldn’t have needed to snuggle with the fire quite so much.  But then I wouldn’t have spent some nice warm nights next to it working on my quilt… no one has to know I was watching James Bond.

 

 

 

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Granny passed the week before Thanksgiving and last weekend we began going through her things.  The grand kids have all taken several pieces of furniture so they won’t go outside the family.  Some of them have been in the family for quite a while.  We took several pieces home ourselves and will be taking more once things get situated.

 

This piece however isn’t so much a cherished heirloom as a “groovy” piece of technology!  Yes, it still worked, before we had the t.v. taken out.  (The boys wouldn’t let me do it myself.  Apparently they thought *I* would shock myself on the CRT.  Pfffftttt – so little faith.)  And this cabinet “may, or may not” become the home to either a large amount of goldfish, a lizard, some frogs or a small terrarium.  We’re still researching…. I’ll let you know how that turns out?

 

 

 

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Don’t be jealous!

 

 

We also confiscated her massive doily collection for a “project” (which I will share with you as I go along).  But first I had to explain to my boys what a doily was.

 

What a great few weeks we’ve had!  I could learn to enjoy peace and quiet, with a small side of mayhem.

 

 

 

 

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A tiny, tiny tutorial January 24, 2015

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,Home improvement,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 11:52 pm
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Tonight I’m going to divert from my usual… (I hear a collective sigh of relief that it’s not about “that house” this week…  Well pthththt to you!)  But instead it’s a tiny, tiny tutorial on something I was working on recently and could NOT find a single tutorial on!  In this day and age, how could there NOT  be a tutorial on everything?

 

I digress…

 

Last week I was taking all the baseboard’s off through the whole first floor.  To my delight, and slight frustration, the original homeowner did an excellent job of putting this house together, which means taking it apart has been a challenge.  Each baseboard came off nicely, but the nails stayed in the walls.  Too close to the floor to use the hammers claw and too small of a head to use the crow bar or nail remover.  The nails weren’t nearly strong enough to get pounded all the way into the wall, and I don’t want to have to worry about them back there when I put the new baseboard’s on if I just bend them.  On a search I went all over the webs to find out how I was supposed to get the silly things out!

 

Nothing!

 

I found several showing how to get them out of the back of the baseboard’s, but not one on how to get them out of the wall?  I’m not sure if they just figured we all knew this, or that no one else has ever had this problem?

 

My search did reveal one thing… I needed a new tool.  Nippers to be exact.  (The twelve-year-old boy in me giggles every time.)

 

nippers

 

 

So off to the local store I went!  I had every intention of using these to just “nip” off the end of the nail, and leave the remaining nail behind in the wall.  Can I just tell you here that nails are really hard!  No seriously, those suckers weren’t going to give in!  However, in my attempt, I did figure out a much easier way of using them.  You know, the way they were intended!  *GASP*

 

So here’s my very tiny tutorial on how to get the nails that were left behind, out.

Using a putty knife behind your nippers so that you don’t damage the wall (try it once without it and you’ll see what I mean) and holding the nail very firmly, roll the nippers up until the two handles meet.  It actually slips right out!

 

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No you don’t need the board at the bottom, that was just the baseboard that was laying there.

 

 

 

 

That’s it… seriously, no one could post that anywhere?

 

I feel better now.

 

 
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