My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Sitting still is for the bored March 18, 2015






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.







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!!






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






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






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






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






Pillow cases done and ready to be sent off.






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!






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!





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.)











alton brown

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.






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.








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?





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.







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!




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.)





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!



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.


Saying AMEN! Even when ice skating through the kitchen. January 17, 2015



snow 2




Things are settling into a groove for the new year here in our blankenworld.


My dentist man is working solely at his own practice now – even got a write-up in the local paper!   But I can wholeheartedly say it is a bit scary, but the man has never failed at anything, so between him and the good Lord, I’m not sweating it… too much.


The boys are back to school and staying ahead of schedule; even starting to talk about getting together with some friends.  Which is nice to finally hear!






Trim and more flooring is being removed… none being laid, but we’ll get to that someday.



neked floors



The only thing really not moving forward is “that house”.  It’s actually headed in the wrong direction.  I know – you’re shocked!  I mean really, when is it not?






While texting a very good friend out there who has been especially helpful after the eviction, a whole thought process started.


Through this whole catastrophe, we have found we have some really, really wonderful people backing us.  For someone like myself who trusts no-one (I mean really, why would I?), there really are a lot of people to thank!  However having these three people (and their spouses), bending over backwards for us has been such an eye opener that there really are people that won’t let you down.  And through it, I’ve found that stressing does no more than make me ill, grouchy, grey, wrinkly and not very fun to be around.


And those two items all combined this week.


Tuesday, one of them discovered a skating rink on the first floor due to the water company failing to shut the water off when scheduled, before the big freeze.  He just happened to be checking in on the house when he found water gushing from two locations.  He climbed through snow and mud to turn off the water valve under the house to stop the gushing water, in his business clothes.  Another one’s spouse, rushed over to try and remove as much water (now frozen) from the floor, counters and filled sink as he could before work.  But the damage from a week of flowing, and freezing water was already done.  The final person, after hearing this, came over to assess the damage for me as soon as he heard.  He is the one who replaced all this just the year before.

And that’s when he found it.  The former renter didn’t think it was enough to steal the power meter (which is why we still have no power) and the baseboard heaters, but he decided to take the pipe that catches the excess gas that comes from the intake valve (or some-such jargon).  Which was fine for their family, since the gas company turned the gas off for none payment.  But had we turned the gas back on before we had found it, the house would have gone up!




Good for us – we’ve been begging for that house to go away!  Not so good for the gas man… or if delayed, the workmen fixing everything the renters had broken.  Or… our next renters and their children.

I am learning, through this “lovely” house, that God does things for a reason.  It may not be pleasant, but if you’re paying attention even in the slightest (which unfortunately I’m usually not), He is yelling in His loudest whisper, what we really need to know.


If we didn’t still have that giant money pit, I wouldn’t have learned that I can give, even when things get really hard.

If we didn’t still have that piece of crap, I wouldn’t have learned to trust Him in all things.  Like say, buying a new practice.

If we didn’t still have that stupid house, I wouldn’t have learned to trust people.  Well, not all people.  The renters proved that.

If we didn’t still have that freaking *&$, I wouldn’t have learned that sometimes, a seemingly bad thing, is really a blessing in disguise.


If the water lines hadn’t of broken, the house would have killed someone.   That is the last thing I ever want to happen!

The water company is paying for the damages and so far are being great about it.  I am taking a deep breath and taking it as it comes.  Stressing isn’t going to change the wet, warped floors, cabinets and walls.  Nor is it going to get the utilities hooked up or the gas line fixed.  It’s not going to make us more money or bring a renter in any faster.

And as I’ve learned this last year, through court dates, nasty texts, repair jobs, skating rinks and theft; the more stink that happens – the more I should give.  The more I give – the better life gets.  The better life gets – the more I want other people to feel the same way.


Yes, even the former renters.  (You know, once they stop stealing.)



~So giving I’ll do~




I’m smack in the middle of one of my friends blankets.



quilt flowers



I just finished another round of baby blankets.



cat - blanket



And I’m about to work on pillow cases for more foster kids.








I’m going to say Amen – and start charging money for the skating rink in my kitchen!








Moving on… January 1, 2015







Just as everyone else is posting their year-end post, I thought I should, in between firework displays, get my few words in as well.  (Short of my beginning of the year wifi crash.)


As I sit back and reflect, 2012/13 are still haunting us, no matter how hard we try to toss them away.  The flooding brought on side effects that will last us for forever I’m now thinking, as “that house” may follow us to our eternal resting place, probably still flooding.









The passing of our faithful companions, brought about two new ones this last year.  I’m still deciding if that’s a good thing or not?  Lady has definitely been good for us!  On the other hand, anyone want a pug that poops on their bed?

The cat, who turned 20 this month has decided on a few new places to curl up, so even she has a few new tricks up her furry sleeve to bring to the new year.











2014 brought about a new practice for my dentist man, albeit 4 hours away, but that just means I get to decorate a house AND an apartment – yay for me?!  It also makes for a good transition from him being on the ship, to him being home… constantly… for days at a time.  This is a good transition for us!






The boys have started finally making friends, and enjoying school (for the one who attends outside school).  Finding their place in our new place.  Which is good because they were starting to, you know, act a little weird – darn homeschoolers!  And the oldest, finding out what it’s like to be a “real” adult – can someone say *food budget and Mustang payment*!


And, as I’ve posted before, this last year brought about quite the challenge with our thieving, lying, crazy people who haunted me night and day.  That is one thing we can say about 2015 with certainty – at least they will be out of “that house”!  *see my happy, happy dance*






The biggest thing we’re taking away from 2014 and into 2015 is that God has carried us through this whole last year.  Days without work, paychecks that shouldn’t have carried us through, days where my body didn’t think it could make it.  Stress levels that made it so I could hear my heartbeat in my head (which I have been informed by my dentist man is not a good thing) and paperwork up to our eyeballs.


We’re still here.  We’re still strong.  We’re still able to help others out.  We’re still smiling.  We’re still full of faith.


While part of me is terrified of the new year and what new crazy things He has planned so that we can grow, a bigger part of me is excited to see what new things He has planned to bless us with.



So, bring it on 2015!



‘Tis the season, for craziness… December 1, 2014









Gosh, I didn’t even realize how long it had been.  Life get’s so crazy sometimes!


Since I have posted last, my dentist man has gotten his very own dental office – yay for great, no money down loans!  (Or it would never happen… for any dentist these days.)  He is very much enjoying his new office, but not so much the paperwork.  We realized he’s never paid bills before (my job, since he was always gone), so I’m having to coach him a bit.  But he’s a quick learner and doing great – and honestly, he’s a great dentist, so it can only get better from here!


I just wished it wasn’t four hours away. 




Christmas is coming – and the question on everyone’s lips is, “What are you’all making this year?”.  I know I’m getting asked this by just about every person who knows I sew?!  So, what are you making?


I have to admit, I did buy more fabric for the clinic.  It was a darn tootin’ good sale too!  Most of it ended up being about $2.00 a yard.  For 12 blankets, that’s a good deal!





I let the ladies know I’d be making mostly boy blankets, as most of the ladies who donate prefer to make girls quilts, but as I’m discovering, even when I go with boy themes, it ends up slightly girly?  Blue or green, flowers?  I’d proudly use it – it’s still stylish!  Green with a pink bird, meh, I’d probably still use it?  After all, I’m really the only one with the “pink issue” I think?  But I’ll be keeping my eye out for that issue with the next few rounds of blankets.


I did get another shirt completed and I’ll even have a tutorial coming up on it.  How to work with sweater knits!  It was not as easy as I was thinking?  But I love the shirt and can’t wait to wear it!





Last week my dentist man came home from his other office to a new surprise –







Not exactly sure what made me suddenly in a pillow mood, but pillows were made.  And people are happy!  And he’s made a request for a 6 foot pillow for the floor?!  This should be interesting?


He has also mentioned that every week, when he get’s home, there is a new plant… I have no idea what he’s talking about?




These are tomato plants!  In December!  I have learned how to grow new plants from cuttings off the mother plant (behind them – which is also still growing and fruiting.)  I think we’re up to about 6 now?  I have no idea what I’m going to do with 6 tomato plants in January?  Any one want a tomato start?



And my current sewing project, that will not be done for Christmas, but instead, enjoyed slowly through the process -




Yes, there is pink.  Show’s how much I love these people!



A friend of mine who has helped us countless times over at “that house” left us with his wife’s kimono that she loved, but sadly couldn’t be repaired.  So, to tell them how much I appreciate them, I am making a hand-sewn quilt with it.  The picture above is the colors from the kimono.  I will post the entire quilt when it’s finished… in 2 or 3 years!


These are all great distractions from “that house” and the current holding pattern.  Their 33 days for us to hold their property are up, and they claim they want their items, so by law we can’t throw it out yet.  But since he was stabbed six times while trying to break back into the last house he was thrown out of, we’re not sure that will be happening any time soon.


Sewing therapy… it’s good for everyone.


And, at the very top, is the 96″ star the boys and I made.  After several failed attempts to get it out the door *sigh*, we had been trying for weeks to figure out how to get it all the way up the wall where it could be seen from down the hill.  Too low and the wall blocked it.  Too high and the ladder didn’t reach (and mom got a little sick from heights) and no one could lift it.  Today, we came up with a pulley system that worked excellently – if the hook holds!  But, for now, it looks amazing!  And… I am giddy.  And I got a Science/Math lesson out of it!   




Sometimes, you have to just enjoy the crazy…





In remembrance of our Granny.  She was taken home before Thanksgiving after 94 years of faithful service to the Lord, her husband and family.  She was ready, and we are happy for her.  Love you Granny!



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