My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Time off for good behavior August 26, 2018

 

 

I am fully aware that it’s been a year.  I timed it that way actually.

 

This last year has been a doozy.  Crazy.  Exhausting.  Productive.  Frustrating.  Amazing.

 

I’ll just cover the instigator of my time off here though.  It was this time last year, that we began our process of selling “that house”.  The bane of my existence.  What kept me up at night, and crazy by day.

As of Nov. 15th, after three, very VERY long months, we had a sold house.

 

You would think we would be ready to shout it from the roof tops – party like crazy!  Instead, it felt more like a limp to the finish line where we fell over it instead of a victory lap.  Our victory lap instead came as a year long recovery.  Well, it may actually take a bit longer than that.

The process itself to sell it, was about as pleasant as it was to own it.  But the people who helped us were amazing – complete blessings!  They got us through it and it’s still kind of not real to us, even a year later.

 

But the year to follow has been an absolute whirlwind.  Seeing so many blessings come after the sale lifting us back up, has been the best part of the whole process.  From nearly no money left in the bank account the day of the sale and still needing bills covered – to the money coming in right on time.  And money to cover the actual completion of the renovations instead of our east coast money pit.  Yes, we’ve finally started.  A stove again.  Floors going in.  Sinks and tiles and faucets that we’ve been without.  It’s exhausting work, but it feels so good to finally see progress, and to walk on real floors again.

 

While this isn’t a long one, it is the beginning of being back.  Not totally sane, but back again.  With lots of craziness to share.  Pictures to post.  News to announce.  And creatures to show off.

 

So… thank you for your patience.  It paid off.  Let the stories begin…

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Battle lines October 9, 2016

 

 

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*Sigh*  I know, I know it’s been a while; to be honest, I’ve been too exhausted to do much of anything as of late.  When I left you last, I had just been hired to work for a grocery chain (to remain unnamed, but they are pretty awesome) in the natural department – right up my alley!  Between the wonky schedule (I work 2 am – 10 am’sh some days, and others 4 pm – 10 pm’sh… but it’s a job, so I don’t complain) and sometimes long hours – this schedule is not conducive to good sleep, or creating an over abundance of extra energy.  Along with continuing renovations, homeschooling, a few more sewing projects and time at the clinic, there is little down time.  But, they work around our school schedule (thank you boss man!), and it’s only temporary until we get the last of the repair bills for “that house” paid off.

 

*I can sleep when I’m dead.*

 

But what prompted me to sit for a few minutes between laundry, ironing, chores, reminding children of their chores, plotting dinner and the Dave Ramsey class my dentist man and I are about to leave to…

…the pastor said something that caught my attention this morning.

 

~ Fight for, not against ~

 

Hmmm….

Back during WWI and WWII the generals knew that their men would fight harder, if they knew what they were fighting for, as opposed to what they were fighting against.  After all, you knew what your mother, sister, wife/girlfriend, country looked like, smelled like and felt like.  What does the enemy look like?  What do they really believe?  Are they really that bad?  But, if you could tell those boys that their families were at stake, you could bet they’d fight twice as hard, against who ever, or what ever they were told the enemy was.

 

Since we moved into “that house” in 2007, I have been fighting various battles.  Between neighbors that decided they didn’t want us there, borough workers that agreed, judges and police chiefs that were too lazy, or too corrupt to do their jobs for everyone equally.  Government that enables, someone else’s drug habits, and insurance companies that didn’t want to cover… anything.  Or mother nature herself – that wench!

To be fair, there were many people through this that were amazing – and they are still helping us fight these battles!

Today’s words in church made me pause though – I’ve been completely exhausted working to clean up the mess brought on by other people’s mistakes (and a few of our own).  I’ve been fighting for a house I loathe, in a town that has repeatedly shown me they didn’t want us there.  I have been fighting against them for far too long.  I’m tired.  I really want to be done.

But… what if I fought for it?  What if I fought for my family?  Fought for the town?  Fought for a real change?  Fought for our future?  Such a small change makes such a huge difference!

So much easier to work for something, than against it!

 

Are you fighting against alcoholism, or fighting for your future ?

Are you fighting against depression, or fighting for your health?

Are you fighting against divorce, or fighting for your marriage?

Are you fighting against corruption, or fighting for honesty?

 

When you are for something, you have a future, hope and something to dream of.  When you fight against something, you just have a struggle.

 

This worked perfectly with the bible study we recently finished about the Armor of God.  Using our armor – fight for what God has given us, not against what the enemy has put in front of us.

The battles will never go away, but we can fight them in the right way.

 

So…

…what are you going to stop fighting against, and start fighting for?

 

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Drowning in DIY October 17, 2015

I have been thinking of you non-stop, but that doesn’t translate into actual sit down time.  When you haven’t had time to check your email for 3 days, blogging doesn’t even have a chance.

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With our new, *paying*, non-crappy, non-psychotic (literally), actually leaving their house on occasion, fixing it when it needs it and allowing repairmen in, non-state-aid renters, we’ve sort of had money to start the renovation we began last year.

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Well, sort of.  We think we finally finished the last of the repairs the last renters caused.  After they stole the utility meter, copper piping, copper wiring, soaked the carpet in dog waste, left human waste in buckets on the deck, broke the fridge, caused a minor flood… the last repair (we hope) was to fix the re-wiring they did on the third floor.  The *entire* third floor.  And our current renters – total champs about it!  I could seriously hug these people!  The first two months of rent money went to “that house” still, but this month – all ours!

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Well, sort of.  Being a (new) dentist isn’t cheap, so after paying a lot of insurance(s) (yes there is more than one we have to pay) for the next six months (on top of student loans, taxes, business fee’s, advertising, on-going education, new/updated equipment, etc) it will be ours.

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Well, sort of.  We have to start Christmas shopping.

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I could go on, but I’ll spare you….

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I do know that I save *tons* of money doing majority of the repairs myself.  The new spigot I put in myself saved us about $350.  The new outlet outside, about the same.  The 9 outlets that were already wired, but just needed the actual outlets, another $500 (was the lowest quote).  Sometimes it’s totally worth having someone else do the job though!  The windows will be done by pro’s.  I’m not even remotely big enough to get a window in, especially when it comes to the 5′ x 12′ windows.  But I *can* hunt down the best price for them.  (Or, in the case of the big windows, a company that will just make them – very hard to find item.  Thank you Fleetwood!  The only company we found that could make the windows in that size, or at least call us back about them.  Either way, they get our business!)

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What I can do?  In the last three months I’ve:

  • Painted 1800 sqft, including the ceiling.  With four different colors.
  • Added one new spigot.
  • Added one new outdoor outlet.
  • Repaired the faulty outlet in the covered area that is about 12 ft up.  (No I have no idea why.  And yes we use it.)
  • Hooked up 9 new outlets in the garage.
  • Replaced 11 lights in the house.  With three remaining.  (Can’t quite decide on what I want?)
  • Rewired the kitchen light so it’s actually grounded.
  • Replaced 3 switches.  Switching from toggles to fancy/shmancy dimmer switches.
  • Discovered you can spray paint switches/outlets to get any color you like.  (Very carefully!!)
  • Kitchen ceiling tiles.
  • Removed a hanging kitchen cabinet.  (Looks so much better now!)
  • Repaired where we took down a wall.

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What I still have left to do feels a bit overwhelming though?

  • Trim.
  • Cabinet re-staining in the kitchen and bathrooms.  Also the bedroom doors.
  • Floors.
  • Kitchen and bath tiling.
  • Windows/Doors.
  • Shower plumbing.
  • Kitchen and bath sink replacement.
  • Painting the fireplace doors.
  • Possible ceiling fan in living room. (still deciding on that one?)
  • Pendant lights over the stove.

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It’s all about finances and how much I can fit into my daily schedule now.  On top of our usual schedule of schooling, tutors, youth group, volunteering and normal projects, we now have two permitted drivers that I have to teach to drive and I’ve got very little time left to do much else.

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However, I have designated Saturdays as my “No working on the house” day, and “Don’t bug me, I’m not even getting out of my pajamas” day.  Maybe if I stink enough, they won’t even come into my sewing/office room?  Did I mention I moved my office down to my sewing room?  This designation gives me a chance to breathe, and get here each week.  Along with some sewing time and a little time for my hands to recover – so many blisters!

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The most comical part in all this, is that the people at Lowe’s are actually starting to learn my name!  I have been there at least once a day for the last three months.  The place I used to love to just wander around and get idea’s, I’m starting to sort of dread.  Just send our paycheck to Lowe’s please.  They’ve been pretty awesome though.

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I know, first world problem!  But after the last 2 1/2 years of dealing with the insane renters and their, well… insanity, this is a huge blessing.  And thanks to an ever working dentist man and some actually decent renters, at the end of most days, my biggest worries (now) are what color the floor should be, if I’m going to shock myself again and if I’ll survive today’s drive with the boys.

I get to take a pause from remodeling the next few weeks, so our finances can catch up with the projects list, but I by no means will be idle.  A requested memory blanket, Christmas gifts to be made, and *hopefully* (if I can pick out the right color finally), cabinets to be redone.  That’s free right?

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Pictures coming soon…..

 

First month of summer…. June 29, 2015

Filed under: Home improvement,Pets — blankenmom @ 8:35 pm
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I don’t know about everyone out there, but over here, it’s flipping hot!  I didn’t move to Arizona for a reason.  I like summer, I don’t like Hades.  Right now, we’re teetering on Hades.  Over 100* for three weeks keeps me cooped up inside the house for far too long.  And the bag of cheese – curds I threw at my husband last night may be a good indication I need out of the house longer than to just water my plants.  And for those of you who live in hotter than that climates… my hat’s off to you.  I want back outside!

I’m still working on the house here.  I think it will be a looooong process, since the money we were going to use for it went to cover “that house”.  A “small” loss, in the mid five-figure range that the state has said is part of doing business with them.  The so-called “can’t lose any money” they touted on their paperwork turned out to be not so true.  Noted.  Don’t do business with the government.  Ever.  *cough* still waiting on military pay too!!

But the repairs are all done with and the insurance company is now slowly doing their part for the water damage.  No worries – it’s not like we need that money or anything?

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Camera’s are up – and are awesome!  I love being able to see what’s going on over there.

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Now – new renters.  Not sure if that’s said with excitement or dread?

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Our “Spare” cat is no longer spare.  Our 20-year-old cat, that we had for 18, developed a fast growing tumor in her mouth.  (I’ll spare you the picture.)  Not wanting her hurting any longer than she had to, we opted to quickly put her down.  There is a good reason she lived for so long – she was one ornery cat!  She has taken two trips through the dryer (one of those for almost an hour – thank goodness for cloth diapers!), had her tail slammed in a car door.  Was lost in a drug store for a week, the ceiling, and the crawl space.  She survived four boys, four dogs and a new cat 15 years her younger that she could still take down a few pegs.  She’s seen more states than most people can name.  It took 2 vet techs and a vet to get the IV in and two of the heart stopping shots to get her to go down.  And I was with her to the very last.

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That a’girl!

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(And if you’re keeping track, that’s 4 pets, in 3 years.  The others are starting to get nervous.)

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Can’t you tell? That’s the look of fear right there. Three very stressed out pets.

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But not one to sit around too much thinking about what I can’t fix.  I opted to take down a few things and to stitch up a few things instead.  Four babies in one week makes for a busy sewing schedule!  I also finally picked out the last thing for the house – the bathroom tile!  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I’m having a hard time with the ceiling paint.  Did you know that when you paint the ceiling the color is different from on the wall?  And… why can’t I find light tan paint?

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The slate matches perfectly with the fireplace – what we’re decorating around. If you can’t change it, use it!

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The paint on the far left is the same as on the wall?

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This is how I know my dentist man loves me. He comes home from his two-week tour to this and says nothing.

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No, these aren’t the hardest decisions in my life, these are just the minor distractions from the infuriating ones.  Let’s see what excitement the second month of summer brings!

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pug and spare

 

Monday blanken-style June 1, 2015

Filed under: Animals,Dentist,Military,Pets — blankenmom @ 11:10 pm
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It’s been busy, but boring around here the last few weeks.  Repairs on “that house” have been going on and it’s now up for rent again… so we wait.  School is officially out for the home school portion, so we were busily rushing to get the last of it finished off.  And my dentist man is off saving the world, one mouth at a time… for his two weeks.

.I guess the crazy quiet, like ants quietly working on a hill, wasn’t quite enough for us.  This morning’s shower alone may give us a clue as to what may be in store for the rest of the week.

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After dropping the second-born off at his tech school, I got home and did my usual morning routine.  Let the dogs out, check FB messages, email, bible study, shower.  All according to plan.  Radio is playing, hair is conditioning, one leg shaved.

That’s when I see The Spare Cat run passed the shower with something in his mouth.  Grrrr – it got another one of my birdies….  Well, I’m soaking wet, so I figured I’d get it when I get out.

Then I see the pug race passed the shower to the corner where The Spare Cat is now hiding his treat.  Behind the toilet and trash can I hear barks, hissing and faint chirping.

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Wait, what?  CHIRPING?  *ducks in the shower*

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The Spare Cat brought in a LIVE bird!

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Well of course Lady hears the commotion and wants in on it, so now I have a bird flying around my bathroom, a cat trying to catch it, a pug trying to catch it and the cat and a mastiff trying to catch all three.  And here I am.  Naked, wet, soapy, conditioned and half shaven.

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Anyone else want to come join this circus?  Where’s the old lady cat?

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I grab pants from the counter and throw them on the bird where it’s landed.  Shoo out the carnivores and close the door.  Figuring the bird would be just fine until I was finished, I got the remaining leg taken care of and my hair mostly rinsed, and step out to dry.  Mid shorts leg I see cat claws coming from under the door.  Slowly opening it from the bottom, sliding it, quarter-inch, by quarter-inch.  The bird, who is now resting in the sink in a towel, hears the meowing and clawing and starts chirping, which only eggs on the fur-babies on the other side of the door on.  The door is now fully opened by each consecutively larger head and the bird is now attempting to fly again.

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Quickly recapturing the bird.  Two dogs and a cat removed once more.  And another attempt at putting my shorts on.  Everyone quiets long enough for me to get dressed, hair combed and shoes on.  Now to sneak the bird out?

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As soon as I pick the stinker up it starts chirping again – which alerted everyone that it was time to start chasing each other!  I make sure it’s fully wrapped in its towel, open the door to three drooling quadrupeds, “Meow”, “Wheeze”, “Sniff”.  I rush past them and out a door I know they can’t open.  I deliver the bird a field away and put it under some sage to let it rest a bit more before it fly’s away.

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It’ll fully recover.  But if this was just the first few hours of my week, I’m not sure if I should be scared or excited for the rest?!

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Seeing the light May 1, 2015

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School is almost out for us and my favorite season is about to begin.  I won’t lie, I love Summer the most.  While I enjoy every season for its unique qualities, Summer is by far my favorite.

Longer days to get more done.  Yes, I know that the days are the same amount, but Summer begs to be used to completion.

Yummy sunlight coming through all the open windows for hours and hours at a time.  And you can actually go out to enjoy it too!  Sitting on the porch for hours.  Folding laundry to making dinner on the grill.  I will find a way to move what I’m doing to the deck.  I’ve been known to move Brutus, my treadle machine, out to the deck to sew outside.

So many things to do outside.  I love to do even the smallest thing in the yard, if it get’s me out of the house.

And warmth.  I love warmth.  No aching.  No baggy sweatshirts.  No hats or gloves to hinder me.  Shorts and a tank top to allow full movement.  I will take sweating over shivering any day.  Oh… I love warmth.

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I’m starting to see the light.

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Our amazing contractor started work on “that house” this week without the insurance money even there.  He knew we needed renters ASAP, and knew we were good for it, so he started in good faith.  As soon as carpets are in – we’re good to go on renters.  So hopefully by next month, you’ll see me doing a happy dance.  (Figuratively.  No one wants to see me dance!)  The buckets of human feces have left the backyard, and the dog feces filled carpets have left the house.  We’re ready to move on to people who live in reality!

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I’m starting to see a glimmer of light.

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I’ve actually started decorating the house… No big deal you say?  I went 20 years without decorating because of finances, moving, children or dogs.  I think it’s time we start to decorate!

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Ok, it may not be much, but it’s a start.  But we’re starting to see the light!

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And all these new babies coming; I’m having so much fun getting to sew for them AND get sleep.  So this is sort of what being a grandma (or awesome aunt) is like?!

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“Minky” fabric. You MUST try some. It’s the softest fabric I think I’ve ever felt! I may have to buy some for myself?

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Ah yes.  That wonderful light.

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And meet “Spare”, as in a spare cat.  He’s adopted us apparently?  His last known address was about 4 1/2 hours and one giant river away from where he is now according to his chip.  This lovable 5 y/o boy is so stinking friendly, even with the pug up his backside and a hovering giganticus dog.  His only nemesis is the queen fur-biscuit of the house.  Our 20 y/o toothless, clawless (at least in the front) brittle old woman of a cat had him huddled for life under a chair.

We’ve tried nearly everything we could think of to get in touch with his owner.  Contacting Sprint (their carrier) but something is wrong with the line.  The vets office where the chip was linked to.  Their former apartment complex.  The police here in town.  FB.  And sent a letter in the hopes it would get forwarded.  We’re not exactly in a neighborhood, so we can’t really go door-to-door.  We’re now putting up flyers and I have a friend who works with the police checking on a forwarding address for us.  We want to return him… but it’s turning out to be quite the challenge.  We may have gotten a new cat?!  Now, if he’d just stop eating my lovely birds off the porch!

The pets aren’t quite sure what to do with this, and Viola (aka: Kitty) is none-to-pleased.  But she’s calming down now that she knows he’s not threatening her territory.  She’s still the queen of all things furry!

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She’s beginning to see the light.

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And the last ray…

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My poor 40+ tomato plants, dying to see the light!

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Frost season get’s over pretty late here, so we have about 20 more days until they get to officially…. see the light.

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If we can hold on just a bit longer, our winter will be over and we’ll begin to…

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Just finished! April 1, 2015

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I’m finished.  Done.  Throw up my hands in so much not caring any longer.  Throw in the towel.  Finito.  Terminado.  Fertig.  Criochnaithe.  Fartik.  However you want to say it.  I’m finished

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If you want me, I’ll be under my desk… hiding.  Possibly with some wine.  And a coloring book.

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If the best part of your week is “Well, at least no one’s died so far.”, you’re not doing so hot.  Granted, the second-born’s oral surgery went well today and I did get to laugh at him a bit when he kept repeating himself, and petting me.  Not so funny when he keeps trying to open the car door on the way home.

With the insurance company coming out last week to “that house” to try to get us a bit more money from the water company’s insurance company, and saying “Well, we can get you more, but not enough.”, yeah, not cool.

When you’re actually excited one of the repair bills “doesn’t cost over $1000”.

Taxes due.  And in all new and confusing ways because of the new practice.

And when a close family member passed in a sudden and tragic way last week.  Definitely not cool.  Still working that one out.  Prayers would be welcome.

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At a certain point you just look up and say “Really?  I mean really?”

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But a slow progression to getting things done is creeping back in.  A small, but important one is the quilt I had been working on.  I finished it yesterday with its final ironing… and cat hair removal.  No thanks to the cat who then proceeded to lay on it again behind my back.

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Quilting is not my favorite, nor is it what I’m best at.  But I will make them on a rare occasion for someone special.

Mostly done by hand, excluding putting the blocks together, all the quilting, applique and border were done by hand.  A labor of love.  Hopefully the recipients feel it when it arrives.  (The paranoid part of me hopes they don’t look at it and think “Seriously?  What was she thinking?”  But I’m squashing her back into her hiding place and sending it anyways.)  These people have been amazing to us over the last 5 years and I’d do just about anything for them.

She gave me her kimono before we left to see if I could fix it, but wasn’t able to repair the damage because of where it was.  In frustration she just said “Toss it then.”  Bought on a work trip to Japan several years earlier, couldn’t bear to since it was her favorite.  So I kept it all these years and moves until I figured out what to do with it.  And this is what I ended up with.  The flowers are from the kimono and the blocks are all the different shades from the fabric.

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I wanted the flowers to move like they were floating in the wind, like the blossoms in Japan.  One stray even floated to the back.

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Sorta wished I had moved it further down, but too late now.

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With that finished and about 3 other sewing projects lined up to be mailed out, I’m able to move on to a few other projects on the less expensive end.  And a new gift from the hubby to assist in the home reno project will help immensely!  It’s not expensive, but it’ll help a ton.

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The second-born was joking the other day that we should start buying and laying the floor a board a day.  He may be on to something there?

I’m hoping that with a few projects to finish, my heart will begin to mend the loss of my loved one and I’ll start to feel normal again.

And hopefully with some new renters in soon, the nightmare of the last two and half years with “that house” will finally be over and we can start to move on.

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I know there will be a few more hiccups, hopefully with no more major losses anytime soon, and we can finally say were finished.  And smile.

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