My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Cross, to wild, blue yonder April 29, 2017

Filed under: Boys,Military,Family — blankenmom @ 8:37 pm
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It’s been a bit of a roller coaster around these parts.

 

Happy (late) Easter, btw, for those of you who celebrate it.

 

We had a nice dinner at home with double the amount of food I normally cook.  Which is double the amount of a normal family.  It was gone within hours by the three sons home and one husband.  Can’t complain though – must have been good!

 

The weekend that followed found the second born and myself getting the last bits of his life put together before we shipped him off to Air Force basic.  And I swear – if I hear one more civi tell me “Oh, it’s just the AF.  My cousins, brothers, sisters, fathers roommate was a Marine, and theirs is much, much harder.”  I will have to start shouting “Yes.  I know it is.  The Air Force isn’t looking for brute force, they’re looking for brains.  And unless you want to sign up yourself, shut-it or give them props for doing it for you.”  ... did I say that out loud?

I took him in to the same MEPS station I took his dad to 21 years ago.  There is just something very strange about hearing the same thing, but with your child.  You also get treated very differently as the mother, than as the wife.  Short of the bag check at the door, I knew the routine.

 

And no, he won’t be flying a plane.

 

It’s also the first time since he was four, that I went grocery shopping without having to arrange entire meals around his diet, read ingredient lists, and budget for specialty foods.  I was a bit lost.  Hopefully the next trip will go a little smoother.

For basic he’s just sucking it up.  He’ll be fine.  Grouchy, but fine.  He’d be grouchy anyways though, so no one will even notice.

 

The paperwork given to me said he’d be calling in two weeks with his address.  The day his plane landed he said he’d be calling in three days.  The first day in, he called and my first thought when I saw who was calling was “Oh no… he broke his arm.”  Just the address.

 

The rest of the week has been a lot of catch up after the last two weeks.  Work on the quilt, planting the seeds for the garden, knitting up a baby gift, and a few home projects.  Tomorrow we’re taking his bed down.   Makes it sort of final, in a good way.

 

Readjusting to a new life, is our life in this family.  Glad we’re used to it.

 

 

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Bottled up April 11, 2017

Filed under: Boys,Made by me,Sewing,Simplicity — blankenmom @ 2:20 am
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I promised a review on the new batting I got this weekend, but a snag (pun intended) delayed it a bit.  Snag removed, review presented.  (And yes I know that me being so excited over batting makes me a huge nerd… I’m ok with that.)

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The person I’m making this quilt for works in a laboratory “knocking up ocean animals” (slightly cleaned up) as she once said.  (Her company helps ocean animals.)  Needless to say she cares a lot about the environment.  The ocean environment specifically.  So when I was putting her quilt together, I thought it would be great if I could find a batting with that in mind.  One that was made of recycled plastic more specifically.  You know, the kind they find floating in the ocean, or stuck on ocean animals?  Yeah, that kind.

Don’t get me wrong.  Plastic has it’s purpose, just not floating around.  Its much better tossed in the recycling bin after it’s use.  Less garbage to pay for too!

Low-and-behold there are actually a few companies out there that make it!

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batting

 

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You can look up recycled batting and find a couple of companies, or go to Amazon.  I got this one at Joann.com on discount (they always have some sort of coupon).  Unless you have a larger quilt store in your city, you’ll only be able to buy this online.  Even Joann’s doesn’t sell this in their store, and I have no local quilting stores nearby, so buying local isn’t an option unfortunately.  Maybe if more people start buying it?

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According to one of the companies, the size that I bought 90 x 108 inches (229 x 274 cm) saves approximately 20 bottles.

Ok, not a huge amount, especially with just one quilt, but if more quilters and more quilt companies start using it, it could save a lot more.  And the price difference isn’t much more that buying the cotton.

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Ok, enough with the greeny stuff, how does it feel?

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I will admit, I’m more of a cotton girl, so I wasn’t expecting much with the feel.  I have the standard polyester batting that I loath, but use when I know the blanket won’t be used often or will be used outside.  And I do tend to use it with baby blankets.  Mostly because the poly won’t hold smells and liquid quite as well.  And lets face it, baby blankets rarely get used for family heirlooms, so I don’t want to add cost where it isn’t necessary.

So when I opened the package and this batting was actually soft and smooth I was very, very surprised!  It felt nearly as silky as the cotton.  It still catches on any rough spots though, which makes it a little tougher to work with if you don’t have baby-butt soft hands.

It’s still a bit thinner/fluffier than the cotton, more like the poly, however, it is a lot stronger than the poly when I tried pulling on it.  I’ve had far too many poly quilts and blankets pull apart inside, no matter how closely I tie it off.  It just can’t hold up to the abuse of a family of all boys – it’s just not cape/parachute/fort/tug-o-war/stair-sledding/whipping/climbing material I guess?  Go figure!

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This would be great for outside blankets because it won’t hold water or mold like cotton, but will hold up to the elements better than the poly.

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From what I can tell, this is the only thickness it comes in.  Low loft, which I believe is about 1/4″, so if you’re looking for thicker, you’ll have to double up.  And working with it so far is a bit more like the poly when putting in the stitches.

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All of these are considered “low loft”.

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I will definitely be using this again.  I still prefer my cotton, but when I need to use the poly, I’ll be getting this instead.

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Now… on to the next step we go!

 

Cleaning weekend away April 2, 2017

Filed under: Family,Knitting,Military,Pets,Places,Sewing — blankenmom @ 11:22 pm
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cathlamet 2

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Last week, poor Lady was tripoding (walking on only three legs) due to her arthritis in a back leg.  Bad breeding from meth heads does that.  Along with bad genes, too many litters too soon, her body won’t last as long as even the normal short life of a healthily bred mastiff.  But we’ll love her anyways, all the way to the end, hopefully several years from now.  But… it will take a lot of work between now and then to keep her comfortable.

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Cleaning up other peoples messes, always does take a lot of work, doesn’t it.

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However, that doesn’t stop us from needing cleanings.  And when your dentist lives four hours away, you make a weekend of it.  Thank goodness my dentist man has an apartment above his practice, or we’d be sleeping in his dental chairs for the weekend!

We left her and her sister home with the second-born and pain meds, so she wouldn’t have to work the stairs while she’s in so much pain and over work that leg.  He now appreciates me being home and getting to pee by himself, and the girls are ecstatic that I was back home to stalk.

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While we were there though, we had a nice time relaxing, talking, trying some locally brewed cherry hard cider, a bit of a family Doctor Who marathon and a short trip to the cold, cold ocean.  And then headed back home again.  It’s always tough to come back after our trips, but it is nice to be home.

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He has reserve duty this weekend though, so we won’t see him for another two weeks  Glad we made the trip.

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In the four hour trip there, the four days we were there, and the four hours back, I finished knitting up a pair of gloves that still need to be felted, got as far as I could with a baby gift (waiting for more yarn) and only have a row left putting the quilt pieces together.  (The batting shows up this week – I will be showing that off next weekend – it’s pretty cool… or should I say warm?)

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projects

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A busy couple of weeks, but very productive and yet, relaxing.

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~ That’s a good life.

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cathlamet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washed up March 18, 2017

Filed under: Simplicity — blankenmom @ 5:58 pm
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Sort of a break from my usual posting.  But someone out there has probably had the same experience, so why not commiserate!

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Due to some health issues, my hair has been falling out, and not growing properly.  So I was trying out the “no-poo” method to see if that would help.  It was a crazy, scary ride my friends!

It wasn’t even that I was a wuss and only tried it for a week or so, and then gave up?  I tried it, in various fashions for around 6 months.  Low-poo, no-poo, water-wash, dry shampoo, masks…

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I started out like they said and only shampoo’d every other day, cutting back from there slowly.  And gave it about 3 months for my body to recover and chill on the oil production.  Thank goodness I wore pony-tails to work!  Around the 4th month I was starting to think there was something terribly wrong with me, or my hair, or how I was going about this project?  Thing is, I have extremely fine hair on majority my head.  The base of my head has this random, crazy, super thick-stranded kinky hair that contrasts the pin-straight hair all over the rest of it.  The kinky hair, loves the grease, and the straight, completely hates it.  What I’ve discovered with this, among other things, is that the people who love it and rave about not using shampoo, all have dark, or thick-stranded hair.  I rarely see a fine-haired blonde profess their love of not using shampoo.

About midway through the 5th month, I woke up on my day off (thank goodness) to hair that looked like a swarm of bee’s had deposited vast quantities of honey on my head!  The pin-straight hair stuck to my head, and when I attempted to comb through it, it moved as one giant hair helmet of grease.  The kinky hair underneath, stuck straight out like a board.  And all of the hair passed the length of my chin, was full of static and raised as high as it could go, or to my face.

So glad my dentist man was not home to witness… or document this!

I have no idea what cause this congregation of oil to amass on my head overnight, but I was not having it!  I took two showers that day, with “real” shampoo (strong stuff, none of this organic stuff was going to work on this problem!) and still, my hair looked like I had put my head in a grease vat!  I had to go to work the next day sporting the “wet hair” look.  No one said anything, hopefully no one noticed.  But I was back to washing my hair daily.  Granted, with the expensive “all natural” shampoo’s, but I couldn’t be sporting that craziness again.  I have enough issues to deal with.

Doing a little more research, I came across shampoo bars.  I happen to have some all natural, hand made soap I had bought from the local farmers market on hand and thought that might work?  The first week or so I wasn’t impressed.  My hair still felt a bit greasy afterwards, but it was a vast improvement on the previous experiment!  The second week I noticed a huge improvement!

And my hair has finally come back around.  It feels a lot less dry at the bottom, a lot less greasy at the top; it’s growing again and breaking less, and I can actually go one full day without washing it without becoming a grease ball –  none of this happened with regular shampoo’s and conditioners.

So, handmade soap, boar bristle brush and apple cider vinegar rinse was what ended up finally working.  How funny that in the end, something as simple as soap was all that was needed to get my hair healthy again.

If you want to give it a try, you can make it, buy it on-line, some local stores, or from your farmers market.  It will be healthier for your body, your budget, and little to no packaging left over to boot!

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Wellness-Mama

 

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Confession of a not so closet trekkie March 11, 2017

Filed under: Sewing — blankenmom @ 8:20 pm
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Star Trek

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So… I’m a trekkie.  (A fan of all things Star Trek, if you’re not privy to that term.)

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A lot of my time watching reruns now however, is seeing how they made the costumes?  I know all the plot lines.  I know where it’s going, so I can spend more time trying to figure out just how they got that hem line, crease or shade.  While watching the original series, I spend a lot of time just trying to figure out how in the world they got the garment to stay exactly where they needed it too, with out… parts… popping out?

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Yeah… we’re talking to you ladies wearing the magical tape, glue or wires!

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One costume specifically, even as a kid, I’ve always wanted.  Maybe not exactly how they made it, but the idea of it.

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Dr. Polanski 2

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Recently I told my dentist man that I really I want to make it.  One of those – long, drawn out, slowly done, time consuming, artsy-fartsy that will take forever, but its worth it – type of projects.

“Why?”

“Because I want to?”

“When would you wear this?”

“Vacuuming?”

“Then why would you make it?”

…looks at him confused…

…looks at me confused…

“Because I can?”

“Ok?”

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He doesn’t understand, but he rolls with it.

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On breaks from the quilt and renovating, mostly while I sit waiting for the boys at random events and appointments, I will start to plan and plot what I want exactly.  What I’ll need.  How I’ll do it.  I’m quite sure it will change as the project goes along, but that will be part of the fun – to see where it goes!

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After 40 or so years of watching Star Trek, and wanting this specific costume.  I’m finally going to start it.  Slowly… very slowly.  No reason to ruin something you’ve thought about nearly your whole life, by rushing it.  Especially when there’s no deadline.

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Dr. Polanski 1

Is There No Truth In Beauty? S:3 Ep:5 1968

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What are dream projects for you?

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Scewed perspective March 7, 2017

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no parking

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I know it’s not Saturday, but something has been on my mind all day.  Sharing usually fixes that right?

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One of the last few days of work, I came in at later than usual (5:00 am if you care), so the parking lot already had cars in it.  Because it had been snowing all night, the lines weren’t visible.  People parked the best they could, but inevitably some were parked a little off… or more than a little off.  The whole row was actually tilted the complete wrong way on a one way row.  By the time I got out of work, the snow had melted enough from people driving on it, to show the correct position to park.  I of course, was now the only one parked incorrectly because every one else that was there before me, had left work already.

Someone was nice enough to leave a “clever” note written with the winter grime on my back windshield, along with their less than creative drawing of a penis.  Which, had nothing to do with what they wrote.  I mean, if they had said I parked like one, I would have at least gotten the reference?!  But no, it was a random penis, along with the fact that I don’t park well (paraphrased).

My point.

We don’t always know why people do what they do.  They may actually be doing something because they really are just that screwed up, or uncaring.  Or life’s circumstances may have brought them to that spot, in that way.  Someone else may have caused the position they’re now stuck in.

Most things we can avoid by just being proactive – I could have come out on my lunch break to move my car, but the thought never even crossed my mind while I was doing my job.  I was focused on doing my work well, not on where my car was parked, or if the snow was even melting.

The next time you see someone doing something that seems totally bass ackwards, or even parked strangely for that matter, stop to think before leaving that giant penis.  First, does the penis make sense with what I’m writing?  And second, could they maybe, possibly just have been screwed over by the people before them?

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Ok, some people really are just jerks!

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Piecing it together March 4, 2017

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A friend from our last duty station lost her mother nearly two years ago.  She handed off several of her t-shirts to me to make a memory quilt soon after.  I felt honored she’d trust me with this.

I could have wisely chosen simple squares, but we all know I’m not that wise.

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After nearly two years, I am finally able to start putting the “blocks” together.  If you’re quilter… please don’t judge me.  I’m not a quilter.  I don’t tend to measure anything exactly – which may be part of my issues with cooking.  But we’ll work on that another day.

She knows I’m not a quilter, so this is merely because I sew, and I love her and someday, I may actually get it done.

This quilt has made it on several trips across the state to my dentist man’s office and family get-together’s.  It’s been a staple at the pool, far away from the water.  Arm and ortho appointments.  It’s become a big part of my home and family life.  There will definitely be a big part of me that goes with it.

 

I had a six month pause while working though.  I didn’t want to take it into the break room for fear it would pick up a weird smell, or get spilled on.  It was one of the first things I picked back up once my wrist was (almost) healed.  And now the blocks are coming together, almost nicely.

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It never goes quite how we picture it, does it?

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It does feel nice getting back to sewing again.  The pets agree.  Two at my feet and one enjoying the temporary wool backing that keeps finding it’s way to the open floor for layout.

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As a full labor of love, the entire quilt has been hand pieced, short of sewing on the backing for turning, done on the treadle.  I guess you could say that part was done by foot? Once the quilting part starts, I’ll pull out my homemade quilt stand.  Hand-quilting will be a nice break from working on the house, or something to do while poking and prodding distracted children during schoolwork.

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It’s nice to finally see some progress.

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No matter how it looks now, it will turn out amazing.  Things made with love always do.