My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Happy Trails – sewing on the go September 23, 2013

 

 

Since I’m sitting here bored, without any of my belongings, I figured I should probably do a quick “tutorial” on sewing while traveling. 

 

Why?

 

Because if I had taken my own advice, I’d at least have a bit of sewing with me – or even my machine and I wouldn’t be watching a Star Trek marathon (the original to Voyager)…. again.  

 

Ok, I probably would be, but with my sewing machine wirrrrring next to my laptop as it played.

 

 

First – is it actually possible to take your sewing with you?

 

Of course!  For just hand sewing, there are so many different types of sewing baskets available, you could be stylish AND have something to do.

You could have vintage to traditional to just your style.

 

 

 

antique

traditional

 

 

hello kitty

 

Even a tackle box would work if you’re not picky about what it looks like.

 

Make sure you’ve got everything you think you might need.  But usually you can find it in a smaller scale.  You probably won’t be cutting out any dresses on your hotel room floor, so large scissors probably won’t be necessary.  Do remember your thimble for hand sewing.  Unless you enjoy pain, or have no feeling left in your fingertips, you’ll want something for those hand needles.

 

 

inside

 

This is probably a bit more then you’ll actually need – but you get the idea.

 

For those of us who like to bring their sewing machine with them, for say… classes, moves, long vacations, a craft night at your friend’s house or sewing with the other parents for a school function – what ever your reason, there is a way to safely and conveniently move your sewing machine AND your serger if you have one.

Several companies make varying styles of bags, roller bags, totes and luggage to carry your not-so-little precious all over and back.  As always, it comes down to price and style.

Whether your going for the quick and easy Joann’s at 50% off or the “matchy-matchy” whole darn set.  There is a right one for you.

One of my personal favorites, due to the functionality and color choices is Tutto.  How can you go wrong with that many color choices after all!

 

Now that we have most of our tools and gadgets with us, let’s answer our second question.

 

Why would we want to sew while we’re traveling?

 

If sewing is only for when you absolutely have to – then you don’t really need much of these.  A mini-kit in your luggage will suffice for emergencies.  

If sewing is a passion, then a small sewing basket and your latest work to practice a little hand sewing, will do great.  After all, once you’ve seen one corn field on your move…. you’ve seen them all.  

If sewing is a little more of an addiction than say, crack – than you’ll want the luggage.  And as the ReFashionista shows us, there’s always time to whip-up a dress!

 

And for those of you, who are seriously, seriously addicted, there are, in fact, sewing, knitting and crocheting cruises and vacation destinations.  

 

Happy Trails!

 

 

 

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Wi-fi nigh September 10, 2013

Filed under: Boys,Family,Hubby,Moving,Places,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 12:23 am
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I must share a little story about our attempt at getting a bit of civilization dragged up to our newest digs.

 

First, I must share just how pathetically important the internet is to our household at this point.

USAA, a military only bank, only banks on-line (as far as I know??).  There are no Navy Federals in the middle of our state, since there is no navy base.  No water=no base, makes sense.  Our long-standing credit union from where we came from is 4 hours away and the bank account we keep open for “that house” is a block away from “that house, making a trip to cash a check a bit of a challenge.  That leaves us with two choices.  Open yet another bank account or get internet to do all our banking.

We also don’t have cable or dish.  After sitting in hotels for 2 1/2 weeks, we now remember why.  Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Crackle and various other outlets allow us to view what we want, when we want with out all the stupid commercials and nastiness that seems to exist on today’s television.

A lot of our schoolwork comes from off the internet.  I know – “it’s a little thing called a book”.  It’s a new age people – embrace it!

My dentist man and his off spring are huge gamers.  *hangs head in shame*  But lets face it, with nothing else to do until our furniture shows up, I’ve given them a bit more leeway on that one.

And lastly, I’m trying to buy a house and maintain another one from across the country – I need to have a connection.

 

Those reasons being said, we needed the hook-up.

 

While sitting in the hotel rooms, we started about a week before we got in the house, looking up various providers, none of which could find our house that has sat on top of this here hill since exactly 1980 (give or take a few months).

A few days before we moved in, we started calling.  “Ma’am, where is “S” again?”  “It’s right outside of “Y”, a major city in our state?”  “Yeah, I’m not finding that on the map?”

Once we moved in, I started seriously calling…. anyone and everything that offered the most remote chance of a whiff of “the net”.  (You have to say that in a deep, drug induced withdrawal type voice.)

We finally hit on a company that said “Sure, we know where that is!  We’ll have to check to see if we can service that house first though.”  What do you mean “if”, we’re not on the top of Mt. Everest?

We totally thought we were in.  I mean, all our neighbors have internet.  The house had a phone… shoot, it even had a cable coming out of the wall!  How hard could internet be?

Talking with another company later that day, hearing that their rival company could possibly offer us internet, they started making us deals.  “Sure, if (we’ll call them “Shmomcast”) can offer you internet, *we* can offer you internet!”  Whoa there buddy, don’t go offering things you can’t make good on.

 

Two days later, a day after “Shmomcast” was supposed to call to let us know what our situation was, I got desperate and called them.  “Oh, I’m sorry ma’am, the box is 700 ft from your house and we can only go 350 ft.”  *click*  That was it….. The thought of lightning fast speeds torn from my laptop-empty hands in mere seconds from a cold, heartless and apparently slightly lazy cooperation was breaking my heart!  I called their rival (we’ll call them “Shmenterylink”) in protest, only to hear “Oh, “Shmomcast” couldn’t quit make it up the hill?  Yeah, neither can we then.  Anything else I can help you with today?”  While the fact that they didn’t hang up on me immediately was heart warming, the notion that they could “still help me” after promising me the world and then walking away was cruel at best.

 

We tried “Shmerizon”, who could only give us 20 gigs a month which is laughable.  I couldn’t even bank on that much and it wouldn’t hook-up to our t.v.’s.

We tried various satellite companies all who could only offer a mere 4 mps and 20 gigs a month and that was “If” they could get a clear shot.  Each company attempting to find our little town.

At one point one salesperson was so apologetic, he offered to send us to a service that was supposed to help us find service in our area.  “Hold on ma’am, this service will help you find a company that will definitely work in your area.  But before I go, how do you intend to protect this new property?  Our company offers a great plan for security systems!”  “I buy big dogs that can eat people.”  “Oh umm, well thank you for your time.”  Side note here…. they can’t get internet up the hill, but they can schlep the security lines up?  Go figure!

 

“Hello ma’am, I’m so happy to be able to help you today.  I’m with “Shmomcast”.”

AAAAAAHHHHHHH *hair pulling, nail-biting and possibly a bit of screaming may or may not have happened at this point.”

 

After about 6 hours on the phone while I finished several loads of laundry.  Cleaned, folded and put away.  Ironing and dinner made all while talking, being put on hold, and in the end being denied by every company, I finally gave up for the day.

 

The next morning my search started all over.  I contacted our realtor to find out who he uses.  And with that, finally found a company that was in our area, had unlimited access, but crappy speeds.  “I’ll take it!”  I exclaimed in both exhaustion and excitement.

 

I call, since as previously stated, I have no internet.  And after 20 minutes on their awesome phone tree…. that keeps telling me to stay on hold and then hangs up, I finally navigate to a real, human – I was so excited!  I exclaim in my enthusiasm for a real voice  “Yes, I know I’m in the wrong “branch” of your tree, but all the others kept hanging up on me before I could find a person?  Can you help me get signed up?”  She proceeds to tell me…. I kid you not, to tell me to “GET ON THE INTERNET TO SIGN UP!”  WTHk?

 

“Hon – if I *had* internet…. would I be *calling* you?”

 

“Oh uh, well, did you try calling customer service to sign up?”  *head… banging… on… desk*  “As I previously stated in sheer excitement at reaching a human being.  ALL the OTHER “branches” told me to HOLD and then HUNG UP!  Yes I tried calling – that’s why I’m here, talking to a real human being….. that would be you.”  “Oh sorry ma’am, I don’t know what to tell you.”  *blink.  blink, blink*

 

It was 2:30 in the afternoon on a weekday.  I pulled out a mason jar with a handle, since a plastic cup just seemed to suit this situation properly…. poured some boxed wine in it and sat to soak in all the glorious stupidity of the situation.

 

 

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Do we really need to bank all that much?  I mean, I don’t need to pay bills right?  I don’t need to be paid for “that house” right?  My children don’t ever want to play their games ever again I’m sure?

 

I pulled out my “smart” phone (we’ll use that term loosely here) and pulled up the same company as we last discussed, since at this point it was the only one who could find AND access our home.  I proceeded to order, something…. I wasn’t exactly sure what on my tiny screen.  By the time I set my phone down, I hoped I had ordered internet.  I had hoped I ordered the right plan.  I had hoped I didn’t just give my credit card information to a drug lord to fund his rooster fighting ring.

 

My dentist man comes home and says “We still don’t have internet?”  *Poured a second glass of wine.*

 

So, after all is said and done.  I did actually order internet.  I didn’t, as far as I know, fund any sort of underground hooliganism and our internet is working rather well.  And while I am quite aware that this is truly a “first world problem” it doesn’t make the craziness any less crazy.

 

 

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Btw – I’m still getting calls from the satellite company trying to offer me a product they can’t get to my house.

 

Happy surfing!

 

 

Where is that ma’am? September 4, 2013

Filed under: Boys,Family,Hubby,Military,Moving,Pets — blankenmom @ 2:31 pm
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We’ve finally somewhat settled into “our” house.  The somewhat and “” are due to the fact that we are currently renting the home we’re attempting to buy because the V.A. takes so long to finalize paperwork.

 

As I sit here, we still have no furniture, short of two folding camp chairs and a blow up bed.  Our move is considered a “specialty” move since a giant moving truck may not fit up our hill and back down again and so to save everyone involved a headache, we’re not sending for the furniture until we’re signed and official…. we are after all the same people who had a double deployment, broken arm requiring surgery, a house ran into, a hurricane/flood and lost two dogs all within 6 months.  We’re not pushing our luck.

 

 

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Now that we’re here, I am getting a refresher and the boys, including the big one, are getting a new lesson on rural living.  Septic tanks and well pumps create a whole new set of challenges, along with the inability to get phone, internet or cable – not that we ever would.  Just to get our internet set up took us two weeks and probably over 100 phone calls, but that 700 feet was just too much for anyone and we finally had to go with a “rural”, 4G provider.

 

Within an hour of finally having a bit of civilization back, the power went out.  While this has nothing to do with be considered rural, it does pose a challenge when you’re on your own system.  “Oh, you want to flush?  Well, you get one.  Use it wisely.”  For those of you who have never been on a well system, you have a pump hooked up to bring the water into the house from the well.  No power, no pump.  The only water you have is what’s left in the house.  Personally I see this as an excuse to drink the wine in the fridge, but that’s just me.  Now, having boys, we got to cheat a bit.  A bit I say.  Not all of us can use the ample shrubs out back!

 

 

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A pump also means that when you water your grass, you don’t get a decent shower or get to run the dishwasher do to a lack of water pressure.

 

I’m having to teach the boys about the septic also.  No 30 minute showers boys!  Besides – you have an inch of hair, what are you doing in there?  Umm… never mind, don’t answer that, just get out!

 

If you fill your septic tank full of water, you’ll end up with a field full of….  ew… let’s not think of that.

 

All of this may seem like a huge pain.  But when you walk out on to your porch and there is a nearly deafening silence.  Maybe the hum of far of farm machinery, or a rooster crowing a mile away.  Birds singing, or at night a coyote giving away its position, it all becomes worth the small inconveniences.  No neighbors yelling, short of the distant far off laughter of some kids in their backyard pool.  No dogs constantly barking for hours on end.  I don’t hear other people’s televisions or discussions with their teenagers.  The only cars passing are your neighbors, who want as much privacy as you do.

 

And that leaves our fur-baby.  She used to be a champion birder and mouser.  Now she won’t leave the porch without me because there are bigger things out there that will eat her.  She has to learn to be a cat again.

 

 

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So as we all learn and relearn what the world really looks like, we’ll keep explaining to companies where our little piece of quiet is.

 

 

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