My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Up in the air July 8, 2019

Filed under: Growing,Home improvement,Moving,Renovations — blankenmom @ 12:53 am
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A couple of years ago, I put in trellises for our raised garden beds.  My beds aren’t anything amazing, you can’t really get to fancy when you know you’ll be moving again, but for us, these are working pretty well.

I wanted something that even my 6′ husband could walk under, that was inexpensive and would accommodate changes.  With twine attached, this did all those things.

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However, the trellises were leaving something to be desired.  They kept flying away.

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We get pretty strong winds out here, and for the last two years at least one has been going down on a monthly basis.  Very frustrating.  After two flew away into the neighbors 20 acres and the 4th born and I had to run after them, I was done.

After constant repairs, readjustments, even bolting them down –  I needed to rethink the whole thing.

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These have been amazing!

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A little more than we had planned on spending, but, we can take them with us when we move and reuse them.

I’m very, very pleased with these so far after a couple of months of 40 mph winds – I haven’t had to catch even one!

If you’re looking for trellis idea’s for your garden, I highly suggest these.

At 4’11” I was able to pound the cattle fencing poles in rocky ground myself.  I was able to put the panels up myself.  The birds love them, and the plants are doing much better with these.

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How are your gardens growing this year?

 

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Time is relative July 1, 2019

Filed under: Church,Places,Random thoughts,What's happening — blankenmom @ 1:43 am
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This last weekend I helped a mom host a baby shower for her daughter.  She had never thrown one before, so I obliged, having thrown a few, and attended more than a few.

Keep in mind, I will give extra gifts to the expecting mom if she leaves me off the party list.  I genuinely do not enjoy these types of parties.  Give me a few friends, a quiet place and good food and that’s what I call a party.  I truly am not offended by not being invented if of course it wasn’t out of malice, in which case, you’re just going to get boring gifts – so there.

But I get her stress at trying to figure out the scheduling and invitations, and all that goes into one so I said of course.

Here is where things get more interesting…

Ok, the family is Mexican.  As in, straight up from Mexico.  And if you’ve spent even one event with a family of Mexican’s you already know, they’re going to be late.  And not like, 15 minutes late.  No, they’re going to be 1-2 hours late.  Usually two.  So when I was helping her get out the invites, I suggested giving them a two hour difference on their invitations, and she whole heartedly agreed specifically because we only had the room for two hours.

However, in all the chaos of the baby arriving very early, she forgot this step.

The baby shower turned into a “Welcome Baby” party, and the absolutely adorable 5 lb baby girl was adored by all!  Of course, mom arrived an hour late and new mom arrived an hour and a half late.  And all the guests arrived 15 minutes after that.  Leaving us with 15 minutes to swoon over yummy baby scent.  Thank you to the venue allowing us the room even after our time, since there were no more parties booked after us – that was awesome!

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I have a friend from Nigeria who is notorious for being 30 minutes late every where she goes.  During her cancer treatment, our bible study took turns taking her to her appointments.  Which in turn, also had the added benefit of getting her there on time.  “I’m on African time” she’d say in her thick musical accent.

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When we have parties with some friends out this way who are from various places south of the border, and a few of us North American’s, they will accordingly invite us all at different times.  We’ve had a good laugh over this –

White folks show up 15 minutes early.

Asians show up exactly on the dot.

Black folks show up about 30 minutes late.

Latinos show up 1-3 hours late.

Plan accordingly.

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For the first year we knew them we never met their family because we always left for church on Saturday night before their families even made it!  But once we got the schedules figured out, and we switched churches, those were the most amazing parties!

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The same was definitely true for the baby shower.  Once the waiting was over, for those of us who showed up 15 minutes early… or somewhere in between, meeting all their friends, trying out new foods, getting to hear their stories of how they know each other and them teaching about what their culture does with new babies, it was an excellent time.

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Every culture, and family, learns different customs.  It would be so boring to ignore them.  The more people I meet, the more interesting the world becomes.

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I was glad to be reminded of “African” time from my Mexican mom’s.  And see that time, is relative.

 

 

Recalibrating December 30, 2018

I am recalibrating my system

 

2017 was a whirlwind of crazy, crazy ups and downs that left me at rock bottom.  Which can be a good thing… When you’re down, you only have up to go right?  So I took 2018 to get back on my feet.  Recuperating takes time my friend.

This year was a great year to figure things out.  Recoup.  Learn.  Gather.  Recover.  Gain back strength.

Which means next year, I can start stronger.  More confident.  More knowledgeable and without the fear I carried for far too long.

When people talk about getting older, I’ve always laughed.  I don’t fear getting older.  It means I don’t get mistaken for a teenager any longer (yes, this can be a very good thing!) and it also means I’m one year closer to fully not giving a care about others opinions.  While I’m not totally there – I still wear a bra when I go places.  I do have a new sense of “What-evs!”.  My boys can attest to this.

 

The old thoughts, going back to childhood, went away.

Teachers telling me I would fail, merely for being me, went away.

Harsh words from strangers, that have held on for years, went away.

Worry about massive failure, went away.

Thinking I had to fix all the problems, went away.

 

They fell off on the way back up from rock bottom.  They’re still down there, but they were too heavy to bring back up with me.

 

A sermon discussing Job has been going through my head the last few months.  The pastor talked about Satan telling God that Job failed because he railed against Him.  He complained, and groaned.

God told Satan, “Yes, but he still came to me to do those things. He never turned away from Me, and he never disobeyed.  He did not fail.”

 

Failing isn’t going through hard times.  Failing is quitting during the hard times.

 

We started work on the bathroom – we were trying to get it done before a mission kid came from Costa Rica.  It won’t happen.  I discovered I have to change out the plumbing behind the wall before I can even think about tiling.  Which means learning a new skill, and possibly setting the house on fire.  After a day of researching, sweating, getting stressed.  I finally just ordered the parts and figured – if they don’t fit, I can send it back.  If my plumbing skills don’t work, I call in a plumber to fix it.

Asking for help is not failure.  Not having it work the first time is not a failure.  Giving up before even trying, is a failure.

Worst case scenario – I scorch the inside of the wall, lose water for a day (or so), and have to call in a plumber.  But I tried.  Better to have tried and failed, then to have never tried.  I’d rather fail at dozens of things, than do nothing, safely, having not learned a thing.

 

One more year.  Getting a little older.  A little closer to just not caring.  Learning a few more important lessons.  Letting go of a few people who needed to go, and gaining a few more that are needed.  I can’t think of a better way to remember a year.

 

What are your best memories from this last year?

 

Michael Broom

 

Rounding the corners and creating more space July 30, 2015

Filed under: lessons,Made by me,Sewing — blankenmom @ 1:45 am
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Have you ever looked at a pattern that has curved edges and wondered how exactly you were supposed to do that?  Ten burnt fingers later, after trying to lay the edges down to press it and finally giving in, and ending up with a shirt with wonky edges.   (Wonky is technical word you know.)

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This lesson, I will show you how to round your corners, whether it’s on a collar, a hem, or something in between, without losing your mind, or spending hours burning yourself.  I’ll also show you a quick and easy way to give yourself a bit more space between your shoulders if you’re like me and have “swimmers shoulders”, but no chest.  Meaning, you’re back is bigger than your front.

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Let’s start off with the room in back –

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I tend to pop stitches under my arms and on the back arm seams when I move because of this, even in ready to wear clothes.  But I also have plenty of room in the chest of the same exact shirts.  Sure I could redo the whole back, which would mean adjusting the collar too, but if I just want a quick, easy shirt, why?  Plus, it adds a little style.  Like you were all technical and fancy!

This is not the only way, but it is a very easy way.  Just make sure it doesn’t affect the look of the fabric or style of outfit.  Casual shirts, nice blouses, some dress bodices work well with this, and you can always modify it for your own tastes and affects.  (Click on photo’s to enlarge.)

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When you put the pattern edge to the fold, creating the center back, place the bottom in the correct spot.  No extra fabric, just as the pattern calls for.

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At the top, give yourself some extra space, I used and 1″ (one inch – more or less, depending on how much more room you need).  Just keep in mind that if you keep the line on the pattern 1″ from the fold, it creates 2″, an inch on both sides.

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Now you’ll stay stitch the top.  (Stitching the unfinished edges, usually of the neck and shoulders, so the fabric doesn’t shift when you start putting the pieces together.  You will not be sewing together two pieces of fabric, just running the fabric through the machine to make it behave.)  To create this particular fold, I butted the two edges of where the fabric *should* have been cut, up to the center fold and stitched it down and pressed.  By doing this, the top of your shirt will still match the collar.

You could make the fold on the outside, by putting the folds the other way.  You could also place a small tack stitch (a stitch to make things stay put – look at the bottom of a ready to wear zipper) farther down the back, creating a more “bubbled” look.  I have a few vintage patterns that do this.  I wanted something very casual.

By doing it this way, and not adjusting anything else, it created only a slightly bigger back.  Even though I didn’t make any other adjustments, the waste still fit me correctly.

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Now let’s start with those curves –

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Place your curve, here we have a ruffle edge, under the presser foot close to the edge.  You’re going to sew it as you would a ruffle, gathering as you go.  Put your stitch setting on a long stitch.  I had mine at 5, which is the smallest gathering stitch.  If you have an older machine, this may actually be your largest.

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shirt 8

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Tie off one end so it doesn’t slip as you pull the thread on the other end.

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shirt 6

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When you pull the threads, it’ll look like a big ol’ mess.  It’s ok.  Keep gently pulling until it starts to lay itself on the inside, towards the center.  Press.

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shirt 5

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That big mess, now looks all purdy and lays flat.  Make sure to use steam if possible, to make it easier.

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Now turn over and press again.  If you used a regular sewing machine, you may need to cut some of the fabric away from the edge, so you don’t have a lot of fabric inside the corner, or fold over again, to make the edge look clean.  If you’ve serged, this won’t be necessary.

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shirt 4

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See how nice that looks!

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And repeat at hems.

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shirt 3

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This is a bit more subtle since the corners aren’t as sharp.  And it will be necessary in some places, but not in others since parts of the shirts hem may not have a curve.  You don’t need to run the gathering stitch across the whole hem, only at the curves.  And, there is no exact spot.  It’s ok to eye ball this.  Pull.  Hem stitch and Press.

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shirt 2

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Now show off your curves!

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shirt 1

 

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!

 

Nothing!

 

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.)

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

Textile therapy October 26, 2014

Filed under: Made by me,Sewing,What's happening — blankenmom @ 12:01 am
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I don’t know what you do when you’re in a funk and can’t get out?  Usually I hide from all sewing, knitting and house projects.  And as a person who likes to constantly have two or three projects going at all times (much to the irritation of her ever patient dentist man), doing none of the former, isn’t a good sign.

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And if the house is super clean, run.

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We’ve been stuck in courtroom hell, held hostage by crazy people who, when last texted, “had the ear of the governor for their unjust removal” caused by them not allowing anyone in to make the state required repairs for six months, among numerous other issues.  Trying to do court dates over the phone, manage repair dates that go unanswered and having repairmen physically thrown out has been, well, a challenge to say the least.

What did I turn to in this time?  Are my toilet bowls sparkling clean and kitchen counters shining like usual?

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Nope –

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Instead of fuming over  the time it was taking to remove them and the constant nasty grams they were sending, I finally went out and bought the fabric for baby blankets for the clinic and pillow cases for the foster kidsboxes.  My absence for the last few weeks is due in part to a less than chipper attitude and a complete submersion in my tasks.  It’s been very therapeutic.  I think I’m almost back to normal – I even bought new costumes accessories!  (On discount of course.)

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16 baby blankets –

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And 32 pillow cases –

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Isn’t this just the most awesome fabric!

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Thinking about the little ones that will get these, who really need our help, was much more enjoyable to think about than the nasty things bombarding me day and night.  I went to bed feeling better.  Woke up in a better mood.  And can’t stop eyeing the baby fabric isle.

No worries, the youngest got two new pairs of pajama’s, so I’m not neglecting my own… much.

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*Tip for the day*  “One yard” baby blankets require two packages of pre-made quilt binding.  Buy them at the same time or they will not match.  *sigh*

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What do you sew, or do instead of sewing, as therapy?

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*The Embrace Foster Program is available in most states, google “Embrace (your state name) for foster kids” to find yours if you’d like to help out.  I’m sending these back home since my area doesn’t have it.

 

One of “those” wives. August 15, 2014

 

Here’s the dealio –

 

With my current project affording me extra thinking time, I started to remember when my dentist man was one of the lowest men on the totem pole in the military (we’re talking E-3 here).  I would meet these women in the higher ranks who were sort of loud, sort of  know-it-all’s, sort of obnoxious and sort of ran ram-shot over most of us younger gals… and civilians.  They sort of scared me.  I remember telling him that I never wanted to act like that.

 

 

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Nearly 20 years later and here I’ve discovered I’m “that woman”.   Well crap!

 

In the military world, I was in the middle somewhere.  Not a fresh newbie wife who knew nothing of what was about to happen to her and not the 20 years in veteran wife who had seen it all, either.  Nor was I so ingrained into the military lifestyle that civilian life scared or called to me.  I knew how to get certain things done easily and still had questions about others.  And when I was around other military wives, I fit in just fine that way.  Not too quiet, not too loud.  I knew “my place”  (don’t try to tell me mil wives don’t have a pecking order!).  Not to mention we’ve been in and out of the military, active duty and reserves and in different branches.  We’ve been around!

Now in the civilian world… all these attributes mean I’m loud, I’m abrupt.  I ask too many questions.  I know a little about a lot.  I’ve been to more places than most people I’m around and experienced things they may never know or understand.  I’m self-reliant and I get it done and now.  (As my poor dentist man recently learned the hard way.)  I may at times, even run ram shot over people to get things done.  “Waiting until your husband get’s home” may not have happened for months, so I’ve gotten used to packing, discipline, home maintenance, school, doc visits, paperwork and anything else the average civilian does with their spouse, done solely by me.  Not because my dentist man is lazy, but because that’s what we’re used to.  That’s what most military spouses are used to.  The last few years in particular!

 

So where is this all leading to?

 

Looking back at those loud, obnoxious, know-it-all women, I now understand them a little better.  I get that they’re loud because that’s how you get heard.  They seem obnoxious, because you sometimes have to be pushy to get things done and really don’t need your approval.  And maybe, just maybe the really did know-it-all… or at least a lot.

 

I think I’m starting to like this part of me.  I get it done.  I get it done quickly.  I have endurance and flexibility for the insane, crazy and throw-up-your-hands changes in life.  I know what I want, because I’ve experienced it.  I know what I really don’t like, because I’ve experienced it.  I also know that I do need my man for support, but I don’t need him right here with me all the time.  A weekend trip (or his two-week tour this month) can sometimes be a welcome break to remember how much I love him.  I can deal with the big boys – once you take on the military to get things done, state officials and inept renters start to feel like small potatoes.

 

While I’m still “finding my place” here –  instead of shying away from this crazy woman, I think instead, I’m going to let her out a little more often.  Enjoy her a little more, and if the people around me find it a bit too much, they’re probably boring anyways.

 

 

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I want to be the type of wife who would do THIS while her dentist man is gone!