My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Take it down a notch… or ten. November 3, 2014

Filed under: Boys,Church,Hubby,Knitting,Made by me,Sewing — blankenmom @ 11:29 pm
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I’ve gotten quite a few easy projects done this last weekend.  Easy sometimes is a good thing.


The shirt I made I had planned on wearing to church the day I completed it, but somehow it ended up with a funky smell before it was even worn?  So, it’s in the laundry… I hope that smell goes away?  


My mother-in-law bought some very yummy yarn a few weeks back, but it was a bit spendy, so we only got one skein of the Alpaca/Silk goodness.  What exactly can you do with just one skein?  Well thank goodness it was a big skein and Ravelry is awesome.  I searched for the yardage and voila!  Infinity scarf, with beads no less.






She’s going to love it.  And the lard I rendered for her this weekend.




Yeah, you heard me, lard.  Don’t be jealous!




I also made the most epic pajama bottoms ever!






I know, they’re awesome right!



I had actually planned on seasonal and regular stash p.j.’s, but alas, one needs to know how much yardage is needed before one buys.  Remember that kiddies!  These took me about 2 1/4 yards because of the pattern.  Without the pattern I could have gotten away with the 1 1/2 yards I have.  I guess the regular stashes will become an excellent pillowcase for me!




And, as I type, I’m wearing the most comfortable pants I think anyone should be allowed to wear in public.






Wow… uh pictures really do add weight?  



No matter – these pants are awesome!  I made them out of “jegging” type material.  Very heavy, fairly thick (meaning no see-through cheeks going on) and uber soft.  And I mean, uber.  And the bonus, my dentist man asked where I bought them – always a compliment!  I will be making more of these.


See, I have been productive!


So productive, I’ve been running ram-shot right over people who clearly don’t deserve it.  While sending our potential new renters their background check packet, I managed to scare the pants (figuratively I hope) off the poor woman!  I’ve been so used to having to deal with thick-headed, lying… well, our last renters, that I didn’t even give the poor people a chance to breathe.

After a very personal sermon at church this weekend on gratitude, I realigned myself, took a breather and remembered that “that house” may be our curse, but to someone else, it may be a blessing.  If I’ll let it.  So I’m loosening my grip, taking a breather and taking the “DEFCON 1” level down a bit.


Productivity is a good thing.  Scaring people to get it done, not so much.  It’s good to know I have it in me though, for future use.


And tonight, our nice wood guy made his final delivery of our 3 cords of wood, at about 10 pm.  The guy likes to work!  So hopefully I can burn off a bit of that pent-up energy stacking, and stacking, and stacking.




Oh who am I kidding… that’s what I have boys for!







This counts as P.E. right?


Home Alone July 31, 2014

Filed under: Boys,Church,Family,Hubby,Pets,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 11:14 pm
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On Sunday afternoon I handed over all three remaining chillens’ to a youth pastor who took them to church camp across the state.  For one week, someone else took care of all three of my younger boys.


My house is empty.


For the first time in my *cough* 38 years… I have the entire day to myself.  For an entire week no less!  It’s also the first time my dentist man and I have ever been alone.


I wasn’t quite sure what to do with this?


I will admit there has been some nekedness involved, merely because I could.  Not to mention it’s been hot as heck here!




No, we don’t live in Death Valley and no, that wasn’t directly in the sun.  INSANE!


What did I do with all my new-found time alone?  Not much actually.  I took the time to clean (and have it stay that way).  Made some homemade ramen noodles, soon to be attempted in a gluten-free version and had some long discussions with the dogs.




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Can you tell they’re listening?



Oh and had a lovely date night.  We’ve actually been sneaking pre-made Amy’s meals all week.  Mmmmmm!


Mid-week the oldest called since he knew I was going a bit stir-crazy.  It was nice to catch up and hear his voice.  Eight hours is a long time to go without a conversation I’ve discovered.


Next year I may be more prepared for this week.  Plan something a bit more exciting or go somewhere, but for this year, the experience was enough for me.  To be alone.


I pick them up at 2:00 tomorrow and while I’m enjoying getting to hear my own thoughts a bit, I will be ecstatic to hear the boys’ craziness again.

Even if that means putting bottoms back on.







No worries for my neighbors, there was a sundress involved in this picture.


Shake your groove thing….. December 4, 2013






The Christmas tree is up and the decorations are all, well mostly, unpacked.  I even busted out long-lost, slightly melted Christmas candles that made it through several moves, only to finally be lit by one slightly pyro 11-year-old with entirely too much glee.




Last year we weren’t much in the mood to decorate, so we put up the tree with just the lights.  This year, in spite of being off our game and still trying to find our groove, we’ve broken out the whole sha-bang!  I’ve even begun putting up the banister lights out back (front?) so as to “out-do” that giant house across the way.

I may need to buy some more lights?!

I’ve gone so far as to look into hooks for the roof for this coming year so I don’t fall off while I’m up there – pain hurts!  A two-story drop would make me a bit grouchy and I’ve got some serious one-upping to do!


As for the sewing room redo… yeah, that’s been put on hold.  The second-born has been working on some pretty good drawings and he wanted a drafting table to assist in this.  We looked up some free plans and came up with a good table!


Can we say “wood shop”!  Darn homeschoolers – always making it a learning moment.






Ok, so it won’t win any awards, but for the kids first attempt at woodworking – it’s not too shabby!  We learned several good lessons.  First being, check mom’s measurements – she’s sort of a flake!

As for my room, it will have to wait until after the holidays.  I’m swamped.  Not so much with things to do, just with thoughts and thinkings and wonderings.  Don’t roll your eyes – that can be exhausting!

Besides, I’ve been cooking.  I know – it’s scary!  Which seems to take an annoying amount of time?  I’ve even been cooking *well*.  I know – even scarier!  Which takes even *more* time. 

Being able to afford real food AND watch some t.v. while I’m cooking is working out nicely for the family.  Not to mention a timer that tells me when the food hits the right temp.  I can go downstairs to make sure the second-born doesn’t cut his arm off with the saw or watch the fourth-born play with the candle wax and still not burn the food.  It’s like magic!


We’re finding our places, a soccer game, a Christmas song, a first fireplace lighting, a youth group meeting, and a crisp, cold morning at time.


Until we’re fully grooving, I’ll be over here, getting wax out of the carpeting….



I have to eat what? June 30, 2012

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,Random thoughts,What's happening — blankenmom @ 5:53 pm
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I’ve been having stomach problems for years…. and years.  After several docs just chalked it up to nothing I gave up.  However, that didn’t make it go away.  So I recently went to a naturopath in our new town and she put me on the “Elimination diet”.  Don’t look at me like that – it’s about eliminating food from your diet, not from your body – Ew!











The main portion of my diet for the next month will be rice, rice and a little more rice.  YUM! 









Ok, I can have chicken and veggies/fruit, but all the side dishes will be rice, rice noodles and potatoes. 









Day 2 and I’m starving!


It’s all for a good reason thought right?  You’ll keep reminding me of this while I’m on vacation with the in-laws and can’t eat all of their good cooking and yummy restaurant foods…. RIGHT!


A few things keeping me happy are the decaf she’s allowing me and the soda water in juice (no sugar juice).  Mmmm!





I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad if I actually knew how to cook.  I could come up with all kinds of tasties, but no, I have no cooking abilities and the first-born is gone on a missions trip, so he can’t even save me with his yummy cooking.  So I’ll just keep myself distracted with projects.  I’ve got several that are attacking me at once. 









On a lighter note – the second-born thinks this is hysterical; now he can actually eat more foods than I can.  Show off!


Coated in something November 27, 2011

Filed under: Family,Homeschooling,Knitting,Pets,Sewing — blankenmom @ 9:38 pm
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My coat is done *dancing a little jig* AND it looks great!

With the whole week off from school *another jig*, I was able to clip right along.  Well, except for that whole cooking for Thanksgiving thing.  But I didn’t let it hold me back too much – that’s what Thanksgiving morning is for right!

You got to see the inner workings last time, after which I was finally able to put the lining in.  The buttonholes are what really held me up however, and instead of machine holes that didn’t show up on this fabric, I did hand stitched buttonholes.


I really dislike buttonholes…


I put in an awesome looking inside welt pocket, for my cell phone or what not.



 The THREADS article I used to get this done suggests using silk organza to help turn the pocket, but since I’m a normal person and don’t have ANYTHING silk lying around, I used what I have plenty of; “recycled” dryer sheets.  Smells good and does the job!  Somewhere, there is a THREADS editor cringing…



And this is my final product –



THIS is a terrible picture of the pocket – It really does close all the way!
* Notice there is no close up of my buttonholes!


And now that, that’s done and I’m all warm and toasty, I can get started on Granny’s Christmas gift –



Mohair and silk with a bit of sparkle for a beautiful scarf.  I’m already on the 6th rep of a 13 rep pattern, so it should be done in plenty of time for Christmas.



*Now, for a safety warning.*



Who would have thought that hand sewing buttonholes could be so dangerous?  Well it can – and now you know why I dislike buttonholes… well at least part of the reason.  HA!




Kitty agree’s.  This whole sewing business is to darn dangerous and instead you should just take a nice, safe nap, preferably on something mom is working on.




Baby it’s cold outside! November 20, 2011

Filed under: Boys,Family,Homeschooling,Hubby,Navy,Sewing — blankenmom @ 7:07 pm
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I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s COLD out!  My feet are freezing!  Well, they’re always cold, but this week they’re REALLY COLD! 

In light of this, I’m putting off my two “sewing surprises” to make a coat, granted I already own a coat, but I wanted to make one – a “Pea coat” to be exact.  I’ve seen them at Old Navy and they’re a pretty good price, but that would be taking all the fun out of it!

M5525 – Modified view C

So off to the fabric store I went on Veteran’s day to get my mil discount and apparently I wasn’t the only one; the cashier automatically asked for my i.d. – first time that’s ever happened?  After gathering my great finds, off I went to wash and begin cutting.

I managed to get most of it finished after a long phone conversation with another mil spouse the other night.  I had also realized that the outside fabric wasn’t “beefy” enough and would let the air just pass straight through, so I added a little “insulation” and since this coat is lined, no one will know!

The very thin, natural batting I put in was hand sewn – so calming.  This should keep me very warm without a lot of bulk.  The lining to cover it up isn’t as exciting as usual, but it is beautiful.  I love linings, you can make them as crazy as you want – they don’t even have to match the item, and no one will know and then BAM!  You take it off (appropriately I hope) and there it is, you’re great lining! 

I spent most of yesterday finishing up necklaces for a customer out east, then worked on a few things for the coat and finished the “evening” off with a fb chat with the hubby at 4 am (isn’t that when most people talk with their spouse?).

Tonight I’ll be adding my own little touch to the coat; an inside pocket for my cell phone.  I took off most of the buckles and do-dads for my jacket anyway, I’m to small to have all that bogging me down.  So something extra will be nice.

I gave the boys the whole week off (the perks to being “administrator” among other roles) so I could get my baking done in time to head south to be with family for Thanksgiving, so that should also give me plenty of time to get the coat finished to wear there.

The baking should be nice also; something a little different, smells yummy and it’ll warm the house up because Baby – it’s cold outside!



Winterizing the blankenfamily October 14, 2011

After spending almost a year in the south, I’m finding it a bit difficult to get used to the NW again.  This includes the fall rains that I used to enjoy so much.  We’re hunkering down and winterizing everything we own. 

The wood was ordered and stacked.  I have to admit I’ve missed real wood fires.  And what a great way to tire out your kiddo’s than to have them stack two cords of wood …. and bring it up the stairs to the fireplace!



The grass is fed for winter, new patio furniture put under the tarp, deck cleared off and outside toys (read: Nerf outlet)  put away.  The grey skies are looming and the rains are enough to make you look for Noah.  We’re all trying to get back into the NW thinking, but it’s slow going.  We’re finding our own little things to perk us up.  Fires that we love and will of course soon include s’mores and roasted marshmallows.  Lot’s of warm soups and yummy foods.  We invested in a “Light therapy box” and we’re enjoying thoroughly.  We park ourselves in front of it for lunch everyday;  it makes the schoolday go so much smoother.


Note the grey, dark skies outside… at noon.


My little ways of coping? 


Just the most yummy, sparkly, bright, fabulously soft yarn EVER!  It’s just so me I can hardly stand it!  More than once my boys have walked into the room to find me petting my wondermous yarn!






The pictures just don’t nearly do it enough justice to it’s fabulousness!  EEK!







And then of course I have my new do – mind you, this is a special treat for me.  I’ve never had my hair professionally done before!  (Well, I take that back.  I had someone do my hair for prom.)  *We’re on the grow out plan, I’ll have my long hair back very soon…. hopefully.*



Yes, that IS orange in my hair.  Love It!!


The pet’s are doing their own version of winterizing.


Josie hunkered under my blanket.


Kitty has found her spot.... and she's NOT moving!


Oly Monster in front of the heater.... *eye roll*



Little bits of happiness for each of us.  It’s our sunshine, while our sunshine is hidden.  We’re winterizing ourselves and hoping for a little ray of real sunshine in the midst of all this liquid sunshine.


*That being said.  The hubby was nice enough to point out that it’s cooled down to 85* where he is – the big stinker!  I suppose I can give him that, since he doesn’t get to see sky for months at a time. 


~ Any suggestions for little rays of sunshine during your winterization?