My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

45: Please, don’t make me say “netiquette.” (via Something a week) January 29, 2011

Filed under: Family — blankenmom @ 6:13 pm

This just made me laugh – I’ve not only done this, but have been the recipient – and it’s just so true!

45: Please, don't make me say "netiquette." Ugh. What a terrible word. It's that time again. The time when I forgot to do anything useful all week and then quickly knocked-out a comic on Thursday. Enjoy! clicky for biggy (Note to each of my friends who probably think this is about them: Yes, it is about you.) … Read More

via Something a week

 

One of THOSE weeks January 28, 2011

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t saying it was a bad week.  I’m merely stating that it was trying to be that obnoxious, ugly, bad week that makes you want to run and hide; but I prevailed!!

Monday was rainy and rotten.  I love rain, it’s renewing, fresh and makes everything smell good… normally.  The grass here turns brown in the winter, even when it rains, making everything look dead and depressing.  And we’re on top of an old field, so when it rains, it smells like a dairy farm… yum.

But the next day was warm and beautiful!

Tuesday, I had a “nice” little chat with someone I love dearly where they told me how my hubby – who, while taking care of his family, made officer twice, graduated dental school, helped raise 4 fabulous boys, all while able to let his wife stay home – won’t amount to anything other than a soldier (among other things), as though this is a bad thing?  YOU DON’T MESS WITH MY HUBBY!

But out of that I realized that I love what the hubby does and it’s definitely worth the few downsides!

Wednesday, knit night was canceled and the right shoulder of my sweater took TWICE as long as it should have.  Bleck.

But I got an extra work out!

Thursday, I discovered the boys and their friends had broken a window – grrrr.

But the new parts showed up for the stove and microwave and are now installed!

Friday was the best by far.  I missed out on swimming with the boys, but I got to talk to their former swim instructor the whole time.  And then when I got home, the hubby took me out on a Walyworld date – love that man!

There are always weeks like this.  I could have just let it run straight over me, and it has at times, but this week I got the better of it. 

The sweater front is done, I got paperwork filed from the last 5 years (why do I move these things around?), I’m going to work on my outfit currently in time-out and finally get my fabric ordered for my swimsuit.  The hubby has a movie waiting for us to watch and I have a bridal shower planned for tomorrow and to top it all off, I made two good dinners in one week – it’s good, it’s all good!

 

A suit, to swim in. January 23, 2011

Filed under: Boys,Family,Hubby,Sewing — blankenmom @ 1:01 am
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You’d think finding clothing to swim in would be a simple project.  I’ve helped my boys do it many times and it only takes minutes.  But ask any *normal* woman about this shopping experience and your likely to get less sighing involved had you asked about her up coming *girly apt* or as much terror in her eyes had you asked about childbirth.

Why is this?  Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why can’t a manufacturer make a swimsuit that doesn’t make a woman feel like the monster from the blue lagoon?  And more importantly, why do we feel like we need to look like a Victoria’s Secret model at the Y anyway?

I’ve seen myself in the mirror, on the cold mornings when everything is standing at attention and happy to see me; I’ve seen my body on the way too warm of nights, when everything is tired and ever closer to the floor.  I’m proud to have brought forth four children from that same body and would love it if the whole world wanted to share in that pride while looking at my stretch marks, flat chest and dimpled backside.  But strangely enough, I’ve never once seen a Victoria’s Secret, or more realistically, Land’s End model with a stretch mark or dimpled thigh.  She may have a toddler on her hip, but there is no evidence it came from her.

I also know that my dear, devoted, loving hubby thinks I’m “hot” in what ever I choose to wear (he’s so good to me), I don’t think the other men, under the age of 80, would agree.  Not that I’m trying to impress anyone, I would just like to feel a little less like a lit beacon, that everyone has to hide their eyes from, when I walk out to the pool.

I will grant you, my issue is one I probably shouldn’t complain about to most women, but honestly, we are all having the same issue, we just take a different path.  Just like everyone else, I want to be covered as much as possible, a burqa is starting to look very cozy.  I imagine it would be a little tough to swim in however!

The issue arises when we get down to the fact that I’m not your average size.  I can’t go to the Plus Size section that has some fabulous and very sexy suits from the vintage “Pin-up” line, nor can I go to the petite section, which apparently means I’m 90 and as round as I am tall?  I can however go to the kids section, which means a nice Pooh ruffled bikini or a glittery Disney princess one piece – hmmm, I like sparkly but really….

A two piece is the obvious choice, since I’m to short for an adult/Jr’s one piece, unless I feel like showing way to much on either end due to the extra 3 inches the material would offer.  And granted, I love a nice triangle top for a day at the beach when I’m sitting on the sand, reading and keeping a close eye on the boys, and not going anywhere NEAR the water!  It would not be a suitable choice for actual swimming, or say holding a thrashing 9-year-old boy who’s afraid of the water.  No one wants to see my “nothings” hanging out of my top!  So, a tankini top would be the perfect solution for being covered, while eliminating the size issue.  And of course, board shorts!  I LOVE board shorts!  They cover my, as my first-born said today “th-ass”, or as I say, my second butt.  That area just below your keester, or at least below where your keester used to be, that has now morphed into your thigh.  Yeah, I would like to keep that little secret to myself thank you!  So a tankini and board shorts, how hard could that be to find?

*Oh My Word!*

I looked at suits for nearly 5 hours yesterday on-line, there had to be over 500 suits.  If it was my size, it was $50+ per piece (my hubby would rightfully pitch a fit if I bought a $100 suit!) if it was the right price, it was out of my size.  Never mind the color, it could have been puke green, or *gasp* PINK, for all I cared, as long as it was what I needed!

To no avail.  I came up empty in my “shopping carts”.  I did however end up with a big glass of wine! 

Today we went out so the boys could burn their last remaining Christmas money (heaven forbid they save it?) and I bought a pair of board shorts and a tank top.  This will be my swimwear…. until my fabric shows up!

Yup, that’s right.  I’m “diving” into that no-man’s land of swimwear!  Any suggestions, tips, warnings, stories or help on sewing a swimsuit would be highly prized and appreciated!  I admit, I’ve made one before, but not out of anything stretchy or that required anything special.  I actually have no idea what the fabric is that I used for the main part of the suit, it just felt like the boys’ swim trunks, so I went with it?

Again, while this suit is great for a day at the beach (usually with a cute little, gauzy cover-up), not so good for holding a child in chlorinated water.  We don’t want anything floating away or disintegrating, much to the embarrassment of us all!

So – a new adventure will begin for me, all due to this lovely experience in personal torture; next up a PAP with a cute, male doctor or maybe shooting out a big booger at the dentist office!

 

Aran sweater January 14, 2011

Filed under: Family,Hubby,Knitting,Military,Moving,Sewing — blankenmom @ 11:25 pm
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I decided about a year ago I wanted to make my dad a traditional Aran sweater in our Irish clan name.  I found a store in Ireland that had the pattern, the background, and the yarn I needed all neatly packaged just for crazy people like myself. 

Let me give you the back story to a “Clan Sweater” (btw- this isn’t “clan” like a lynching.  “Clan” in the old school term meaning tribe, your people, the folks with your name.  No white hoods, burning crosses, or rude words involved.  Just “your folk” .  And it’s also not Arian either, it’s Aran, like the island.)  They were made for the fisherman in Ireland so that when they went out, not only could they be kept warm by the nice wool that still retained the oils, called lanolin, from the sheep, making them almost water repellent.  But also, if they were washed overboard, they could identify whose body was found, by the sweater pattern.  Gruesome, I know, but it’s tradition.  *Break into Fiddler on the roof song now*

The unfortunate part of this story is that my dad has an enormous chest.  Mind you, not because he needs a Hove-a-round to get his big buns around Wallyworld, to buy more beer and Cheetos, thank goodness, but because he’s worked his entire life on a farm and has ginormous muscles, even at 65.  This isn’t speaking from a “my daddy can beat up your daddy” perspective, I had my brother measure him, and we were both a bit shocked.  The largest the pattern came in is 58″ and that wasn’t big enough, so 60+” inches, that I’ll need.  WOW!  That’s a LOT of knitting, and a lot of Aran knitting to boot.

Luckily in my test swatch I discovered that knitting with the suggested size needles, I knit just slightly bigger than they want, making it the perfect size, so no math necessary to make it larger.  Granted, it’s not his style so I can pretty much guarantee he’ll never wear it, so size isn’t an issue, but that isn’t the point.  It’s all about the history, the pride in the family name and his youngest daughter spending months making him something.  Yes, I said months.  I am starting to understand why just about every knitter I talk to says that they have an Aran sweater sitting in their closet, half done.

It’s not that it’s hard; once you get the Irish knitting down and the Irish lingo (and a few corrections to the pattern *uhg*) the pattern is pretty easy and repeats itself, lending to mindless knitting.  The problem comes from the fact that it’s not truly mindless.  I can’t watch my silent Alfred Hitchcock while knitting it, for fear that I’ll skip a yarn over, or a purl 3 together.  So it’s “Biography” or “Bewitched on HULU I guess.

So now I’m down to the last 10” on the back….. and still have the rest of the sweater to go.  I’ve been working on it about 2 weeks now and tonight was the first night that I looked at it and thought “Really?  Do I REALLY want to work on it tonight?  You know, you have a pantsuit in time out calling to you!”  Granted, it probably doesn’t help that you need to knit the yarn off of a swift instead of balling it, making your knitting positions limited to where you can attach your swift, although I cheated at the ortho the other day and just draped it over my knees instead.  (Those ortho appt.’s can take up to 3 hours on occasion, I bring water, knitting, a magazine.  If I could fit my sewing machine, I’d bring that too!)

~Which brings me to a side note.  For anyone who has never knitted in public, I’ll let you in on a little secret:  Knitting in public makes you friends with everyone!  People will stare at you, watch you, and ask you a million questions. Also, as my Knit Night girls know, get you several dates, if wanted?  I don’t know what it is, but people like to see a girl knitting?!~

So tonight, as I turn on “Biography” again, and turn out another 10 or 15 rows, with my hands tiring and sore, I’ll think of my dad receiving his sweater, or with any luck, I can deliver it to him in person, granting we get stationed where we think we will, and how happy, proud and loved he’ll feel that I did this for him.

And just think, I bought two, so I could make one for the hubby, yay –

 

Rain, rain, rain January 10, 2011

I’m from the NW; I have “webbed feet” as they say, and actually enjoy the rain…. usually.  Right now the entire country is in “the grips” of snow.  “That house” up north has 2′ of snow and expects more this week.  We however, have rain.  Granted, this morning it was freezing rain, making the trees beautiful.  Green, with a nice, icy white cover on their tips.  If I had only known by mid afternoon it would all soggy and no sparkle, I would have taken a picture.

Instead I have this:

*QUICK – ANYONE HAVE A BOAT?*

The ground outside is about an inch deep in water and the temperature is slowly rising, promising 40 some degree’s tomorrow.  I would prefer a nice 70* if it was going to be warm, but we don’t always get what we want.

While I’m trying to enjoy my blustery, cold, wet weather; finding projects to keep me warm and yet still within feet of my boys to attempt to stave away their incredibly short attention spans, every UFO I have sitting in a box comes to mind, but they are all out in the cold garage.  I have 5 pairs of pants pinned and ready to be hemmed sitting on my treadle “Brutus”.  My outfit, which is still in time-out, hanging from “Betty”.  The sweater for my dad is on the swift next to me, and bills that want to be paid.  None of these things seem appealing or cozy however. 

Stew?  Meatloaf?  They both take preparation, and both have to be in the oven for a while, making the house warm and good smelling.  And really…. since the “maid” didn’t do my laundry yesterday, I’m still in my p.j.’s and the hubby is starting to wonder if I own clothes, I should probably do SOMETHING to prove I moved today.  Well, after a few more rows at least.

I know I can’t be the ONLY one feeling like this today?!

 

Hemming jeans, with the original hem January 5, 2011

Filed under: Family,Sewing,Sewing lessons — blankenmom @ 4:26 pm
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After reading one of my favorite sewing tutorial blogs, and seeing that she was attempting to hem jeans with the original hem. I was impressed that she would just jump in, having never done it, on her blog.  I love, even more so, that she used her daughters jeans; something I would SO do!

I learned it from “Threads” magazine, just in time for my first “customer” my mom, who cut her jeans wrong by mistake.  Very useful for the “home-hem-gone-wrong”.  This also happens to be something I’ve done numerous times for customers.  It’s great for those pairs of jeans that have the great worn in look, especially if you’ve paid quite a bit of money for that look. 

It’s not has hard as it sounds, but as I’ve discovered, very hard to relate through just words.  So here I’m going to show the steps, in pics, so it’s more easily understood.  I too am a visual learner and need it to be shown to me, hopefully the pics help.  If you still have questions, feel more than welcome to ask them.  (Please excuse the black pants, they’re the only jeans I had that needed to be hemmed)

So here we go –

1) First, mark where you want the hem to fall.  And cut it ON that line.  I know, this falls contrary to everything you know about hemming, but this is where you really want to cut it.  Also cut the original hem off about a 1/2″ or less above the top stitching.

Cutting exactly where you want it to fall on your leg.Cut above the original top stitch line. 1/2" or less above the original top stitching.1/2" above original top stitching.1/2" above original top stitching.

Cut above the original top stitch line.

 

2) Remove the stitching and open up the hem.  Don’t iron it, you want the folds still.

The outside.The inside, opened up.

 *note* When placing the bottoms back on, I switch the left to the right and right to left, so the side seams folds match up.  Not necessary, unless you have issues like me.

3) Pin the original hem back on to the bottom, right sides together, matching cut edges.  Also making sure you have the back and front correct.  Most jeans have larger backs than fronts and these will need to line up.

Make sure to have right sides together.

4) You’re going to sew just to the right of the of the original stop stitching.

The green line shows where the original top stitching was. Normally you would use regular thread, I used white jeans thread so you could see my stitching.Normally you would use regular thread, I used white jeans thread so you could see my stitching.

Normally you would use regular thread, I used white jeans thread so you could see my stitching.

 

5) Fold over the original hem over the seam allowances.  Sandwiching the new seams inside the fold, hiding them.

Fold the seams towards the bottom of the pants.Fold the original hem up, covering the stitching you just did. Sandwiching the new seams inside the hem.This is what it will look like from the outside.Fold the original hem up, covering the stitching you just did. Sandwiching the new seams inside the hem.This is what it will look like from the outside.

Fold the original hem up, covering the stitching you just did. Sandwiching the new seams inside the hem.

This is what it will look like from the outside.

 

6) Sew the new top stitch, either very close to the new seam line, or over the original top stitch line if you’re trying to preserve the worn look that some jeans have above the top stitching.

This is what your finished hem will look like, usually with blue jeans and gold thread. With these pants, would be black thread.This is what the inside will look like.This is what it will look like on the inside.

This is what it will look like on the inside.

 

I hope this helps explain how to do this a little better than just in words.

 

 

Hey, my boys are pretty cool! January 3, 2011

Filed under: Boys,Family,Homeschooling,Hubby,Pets — blankenmom @ 11:51 pm
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First day back from Christmas vaca.  Always tough, always slow, always interesting.  After getting a 30 minute late start because the boys “forgot” today was a school day, I hustled them to their respective spots at which they choose to do schoolwork and they start with their usual “I didn’t get breakfast yet, because I forgot today was school!”  “I didn’t take my shower yet!”  Yet?  You haven’t taken one in a week, and now all of a sudden you feel the need to be clean?  They pulled out a few more, but I won’t bore you with the details; needless to say, the started their schoolwork. 

The hubby got home early today, and the fist thing we got to do is put more medicine on the big dog’s bum.  She get’s what we call “zits” but they’re really some sort of “cootie” that lives in her and breaks out when it becomes too much.  Normally she get’s a few little one’s on her face, we put her medicine on and they goes away.  This particular “zit” on her back side is now about the size of a tangerine.  We’d have taken her in already, but it got this bad on Friday, and the vet won’t be back in until tomorrow – and it’s not exactly an emergency.  So, while the hubby lies on her, keeping her gangly legs under control, I get the dubious job of putting her medicine on her patootie – yay me.  It’s pretty gnarly, not to mention it hurts her pretty bad when I put the medicine on.  I can’t wait to call the vet tomorrow! 

The boys got their work done in record time and began their idea of a real day, play time.  Which means I get to finally take a shower and make phone calls.  Our mail arrived late today, which is when I discovered that according to the state up north, which is where “that house” still stands, the state has decided that since we don’t have a license through them, we never lived there.  Funny?  We lived there enough to pay taxes?  We lived there enough to go to court?  Hmm – so now my challenge is to prove that we exist to that state.  I’m actually not to upset over this, it’s more of a challenge to me.  It got me riled up, but with out the anger and irritation I usually get when dealing with this state.  Few – I must be calming back down!  So, tomorrow will be spent trying to come up with said paperwork.

The first-born made dinner again on his grill, very good as always.  The second-born assisted, making the yummies to put on the burgers.  The third-born entertained the big dog, so she wouldn’t sit under the grill waiting for the burgers to drop and the fourth-born made the fries.  Ah – good boys!

As the boys were getting ready for bed, I put in a cd that the hubby bought me for Christmas; The Message.  I just wanted to see what it sounded like.  As soon as I put it in, the boys turned off their video game, sat down on the couch and quietly listened.  It kind of freaked me out at first; but they were intently listening, asking a few questions and understanding it.  I was so surprised, and excited!  I guess, hearing it, is easier than reading it.  After all, isn’t that the way people got the bible for hundreds of years?  Someone else reading it?  Yes, I know, if I were a good mom, I’d read it.  But we’ve already established that I’m not, and that I’m ok with that, so let’s move on.  And this version is much more understandable that the older versions.  Although, even the author of the this version states that you need to use it with a real bible, but it’s a good stepping stone I’m thinking.   That was just way to cool!

As the fourth-born was hopping into bed, he asked his oldest brother if he can play with the plasma ball.  As he was playing he discovered that if he brought a light bulb close to the ball, it came on!  He thought this was just too cool!  He comes running out to tell me his new scientific discovery!  So of course, being a homeschool mom, I had to ask the “why” questions.  And he knew them, he thought it out and told me the how’s.  He went back in to try a few other things, that didn’t work, but were worth trying.

It’s just the most amazing thing to watch your kids’ minds grow!  It makes me feel so privileged that I get to be there for it, and help them along.  So cool!  Makes me want to make something explode tomorrow, just to see their faces.

Obviously no knitting or sewing was done today, in light of the “way coolness” of the evening.  But a good work out did ensue and made bed, all that much more appealing.