December 2014

December 2014

Jack took our annual family photos:

Family Profile 2014

Family 2014

Aunt Carol brought us the trees behind us in the spring of 2000 (our first spring).  This batch of trees never got cut for a Christmas tree because they were too big when we started having a tree.

We had good snow and great skiing early in the month.  After our first night of skiing Henry wrote a note to his teacher.

Letter from Henry

We had good sledding in our field.   Henry would get a running start and get some serious air before hitting the snow!

sledding Henry air

Nola Mae ran up and down the hill many times.

Nola Mae

The best hats!

Henry black hat  Nola Mae black hat

Early in the month I had two more kinds of soaps that were ready for the holiday: 

  soap vanilla & patchouli soap lavender & lemon grass

The first photo is Lavender, Vanilla & Patchouli.  The second photo is Lavender & Lemon Grass with ground lemon powder.

Charlie dyed a pair of bamboo socks for his teacher.  We did a test pair last month because I wanted him to have a feel for the syringe and working with the dye.  He was easily frustrated with his own socks and it seemed like he hated the whole process.  So I figured we would have to find a different gift for his teacher.  About a week before the last day of school he asked, “When are we going to dye my teacher’s socks?”  I just assumed he hated it and would never want to do it again.  Charlie promised me he would have extra patience for this project.  And he did while he got help from Nola Mae.

dyeing Charlie 3

Mrs. Johnson’s socks:

dyed socks Charlie

The color in this photo is so off from the actual color.  He used a purple and a teal color called Kingfisher Blue.

Charlie and Nola Mae messing around with a backpack:

Charlie & Nola Mae babywearing

We cut our Christmas tree from our property:

I remember planting this tree very well, even what clothes I was wearing, and the pair of gloves I had on. It was one of the first days I accomplished something significant after feeling like crap for months with morning sickness (my pregnancy with Robbie).  I planted a total of 15 trees, only three trees made it this long.  I tried to imagine when we would be cutting this tree down for our Christmas tree.  I didn’t imagine we would have four children around this tree, 11 1/2 years later.

christmas tree 2014

Nola Mae strawberry hat

One of my sisters got engaged this month:

Becca & Ben

Here is some kind of Elemental Warrior equation Robbie made with  some calligraphy pens that I had.

Elemental warrior equation

Dyeing and sewing projects (I have a post all for my December dyeing projects, click here to see them):

My friend, Michelle, gave me some curtains she had in her daughter’s room.  I dyed them, because they were white!

dye ice curtain

Nola Mae and three of her cousins got pretty snow dyed skirts.

dyed ice curtain skirt

My first Maxi skirt for one of my sisters:

sewing maxi skirt becca

Two bags made of dyed fabrics:

bag dyed red mandala

Front of bag:

bag dyed & embrodiery

Back of bag:

bag dyed Aunt Karen

Robbie and I went Christmas shopping and he had the idea that I dye the kids matching shirts.

dyed family shirts 1 dyed family shirts 2

It was my idea to do a “V” for our last name.  Jack helped me with the colors.

dyed family shirts

Jack has been busy in his workshop:

A book shelf for Robbie.

Robbie's book shelf

A tool box for Henry.

Henry's tool box

A bench for Nola Mae.

Nola Mae's bench

We set up the ping-pong table for Christmas break, this could become a tradition I could get use to.

ping pong

More of my favorite photos from this month:

Trombone Robbie

   Robbie Runs

Nola Mae's sled

Monopoly Grandmas

Mama santa hat

Charlie computer

cards Henry

cards Henry smile

Dye Projects – December 2014

Dye Projects – December 2014

My dye projects this month were pretty exciting for me.  I tried new methods and work with different dye blanks.   Every wash out was like Christmas!

I made a few more scarves.

dye DNA scarf black & green 3 dye DNA scarf rainbow 2

dye scarf upcycle frozen theme 2  dye scarf upcylce rainbow 2

My favorite blue ombre linen scarf:

dye scarf linen ombre blues 2

I thought this was our Qwirkle game bag when I dyed it.  Can you imagine my surprised reaction when I found the original white cloth bag in the Qwirkle box when we opened it?

I love the results I got on this bag I wish I could repeat it on a shirt.

dye draw string bag

My towels in earth tones last month were very popular so I made another batch, here are a few of my favorites:

 dye earth tones 1 dye earth tones 6 dye earth tones 7 dye earth tones 9 dye earth tones clothes line 1

I also dyed more red towels to go with a table runner for one of my aunts.

     dye towel reds 2 dye towel reds 3 dye towel reds 6

These are the same shades of red, it is the difference in lighting.

dye table runner Mandalas Aunt Linda

A friend asked for blues, greens and purples.

dye towels blue muck

dye towels blue  dye towels blue (2)

I had a little fun with leftover dye.

dye towel dots  dye towel mandala Anita 1

dye towel rainbow heart

I dyed bamboo socks this month for the first time.  They are a lot of fun, but suck up a lot of dye!

dyed socks 1 dyed socks 2 dyed socks 3 dyed socks 6 dyed socks 7 dyed socks rainbow and purple blue  dyed sock variety

 

November 2014

I have been busy dyeing all the white things I can find.  I am beyond dyeing all the white things in our house, now.  Actually, the only undyed item in our house is my shower curtain in the upstairs bathroom.  It WILL get dyed, I am just waiting for a possible bathroom remodel and inspiration.   I have graduated to getting white things given to me by friends and family and buying really cheap white stuff at thrift stores and even buying dye blanks (flour sack towels, bamboo socks & fabric).  I often think about posting an “ISO” (In Search Of) request on the facebook resale sites that I follow for good conditioned white clothing that might have a stain.

You can check out my dye projects for this month, here.

Because I was dyeing this month I didn’t keep up on household chores, which is a common practice when I have more fun things to do than clean!   I was brave enough to post about “What Normal Looks Like…to Me”. (Click here to see that post).

Early in November Nola Mae and I made a day trip to see my sister, Emily.  While we were in town we got to meet our newest cousin, Derek, his sister Morgan and my cousin Cathy.  We met at a library, and found the coolest library story room in the whole world!

wauwatosa library story room

Inside was awesome!

wauwatosa library story room books

Every day Henry carries a huge load to kindergarten!  Agenda book, boots, snow pants, gloves, hat and winter coat (on the outside) and lunch box (on the outside).  It is too hot on the bus to wear his winter coat for the hour-long ride.  He also tells me his feet get too hot if he wears his boots.

Henry's load for school

The school allows children to leave winter clothes in their cubby. I have two pairs of snow pants in almost every size because Robbie and Charlie have left a pair at school and recently have worn the same size. Henry has rejected the 2nd pair I have in his size, because some silly thing about the straps. The day he forgot to pack his snow pants, it didn’t seem to bother him because his teacher had a pair for him to wear. I was secretly hoping he was freezing at recess so he would agree to leave a pair at school.

When Robbie was younger we would make a nest for him to sleep in.  I got the idea because he is a pheasant lover and when he was little falling asleep in a nest helped him go to sleep.  Now at 11 years old, he has a double bed all to himself, I often find him in a nest.

Robbie's nest

I look closer at this nest and it reminds me of the swaddling we HAD to do when he was a baby.

 

Cozy and under blankets close to the fire, ready for our 7 AM reading time!  I am not a morning person!  Once the boys get on the bus at 6:50, it takes a lot of effort for me to stay downstairs and not crawl in bed.  Reading is a good distraction!

Reading with Nola Mae

Reading Pile Nola Mae

We are slowly working on reading 1,000 books before Kindergarten.   My challenges have been taking the time to write in this pile of titles afterwards,  I lost the folder for about a week and am now out of the habit.  I know we will get there, but it will be fun to know when we do reach 1,000 books.

Nola Mae loves Henry’s “reading finger”. That thing was creepy to me when Robbie brought his reading bags home in kindergarten, I was a little better about it when Charlie brought his reading bags home and this time with Henry I was looking forward to it. I assume kids love them and it makes them point to the words.

Reading finger Nola Mae

I was inspired to try making carrot juice again when we scored some sweet flavored “seconds” at the winter farmer’s market.  Since then, Nola Mae often asks to make carrot juice.  Our five pounds of carrots didn’t last very long.

carrot apple juice Nola Mae

Too much dyeing and too little sewing this month!  I made two of these hats.

Hat fleece A Anita

My baby wearing days are numbered.  I will be taking and sharing more photos in the future.  Action shots help sell wraps, so when that time comes I will have the photos!

Baby wearing with my  Ellevill Zara Aubergin wrap.

wrap ellevill abergine

Dye Projects – November 2014

I have gone out of my comfort zone this month and tried color combos that I would never imagine I would like and have found that I love them…earth tones!  From the beginning of November to now (mid-December) I have dyed four different batches of earth tones (3 of them in November).

Ice dyed bandana.

dyed ice bandana earth tones

Ice dyed flour sack towel.

dye dish towel earth tone Ila mandala

One of my aunts commissioned me for a table-cloth and dish towels in earth tones.

dye mandala table cloth & towel set earth tones

Another Aunt asked for a table-cloth and dish towels.

Dye earth tones Ila table cloth and towels

I found some white pieces of cotton fabric in my stash of things, so I dyed these.  I hope some day to make them into quilts:

dye mandala fabric blue green purple               dyed ice mandala snowflake

One of my favorite dish towels:

dye mandala towel sunflower

I found a round table-cloth at Goodwill.  I was hoping to perfect the sunflower so I could dye this set:

dye sunflower table cloth and towel

Dyed at the same time, with the same dye, on two different cottons – table-cloth colors are a little dull compared to the towel.

A table runner or dresser scarf (is that what you call them?)

dye table runner rainbow spiral

It is a linen and poly blend – 30 1/4 X 19 1/4 inches.

I am working on perfecting the maṇḍala design.  Robbie was in the basement visiting with me during one of my rinsing sessions.  I was excited about the results and showed him a few.  He asked, “How did you get so good at them?”  How sweet of him!  Since they weren’t so good.

Susie asked me to dye some linen napkins for her.  They were the smallest pieces I ever worked with.  And a bit of a challenge.

dye smallest mandala fold

I knew they needed a lot of time in the dye, so they sat in “the muck” after the ice melted for a long time.  A new method for me and a little nerve-racking because really, how can something beautiful come out of that yucky water?

dye smallest mandala in brown & blue in muck

These did…

dye mandala napkins Susie

I have been wanting to make a few more buffs for us, since Henry seems to steal mine.  I had this stripped knit fabric that I “needed” to dye (because it was so boring).

dyed buff w blank

A buff was perfect for this fabric.

dyed buff action  dye buff knit

Here are a few more of my favorites from the month:

A ring sling for a friend’s little girl.

dye ring sling toddler size

White clothes I found at a thrift store:

dye shirt 3T purple and blue slants

   dye baby rainbow DNA

What Normal Looks Like…to Me

What Normal Looks Like…to Me

I am far from normal, read here for my reasons , if you like, I may be normal in other ways.

There is a great article floating around Facebook titled “What Normal Looks Like”, written by Elizabeth Broadbent.  This article is raging through the mama groups I follow. I didn’t need this article a affirm my way of life/cleaning habits. But it sure has gotten a few mamas to feel better about the household chores that seem to never get done or to realize that to obtain your house’s cleanliness b.c. (before children) seems impossible when you have more important things to do than dust or fold clothes, at least in my opinion.

I live in a house with four busy and very active children. They make messes, they clean them up most of the time and they also do jobs around the house and our farm.

Everything on Elizabeth Broadbent’s article is what happens here.  I don’t host many playdates or have many friends over because of the state of our house.  When I do the house gets the bare minimum of cleaning – bathrooms are clean, floors are swept (maybe mopped) and the kitchen is clean.  All other doors are closed and no one is allowed up stairs!

I am being a little brave here by sharing some of the normal sites you may see if you stopped in unannounced or went in rooms that are not meant for company.

Normal:  I have a two-year old that puts away the silverware:

silverware drawer

Normal:  Trashed kitchen, dishes in the dishwasher are clean, dish strainer is plump full and sink and counter loaded with dirty dishes because I played wallyball last night.  Missing in this photo – the fridge door wide open.

Normal kitchen scene

Normal:  At least one splat of spilled milk EVERY DAY!

Normal spilled milk

Normal: Boxes and bins filled with dye projects “batching” by the wood stove.

Normal dye projects by wood stove

Normal:  Toy room/guest room is always trashed or in the process of being rearranged and organized by Charlie (9-year-old).

Normal toy room mess

Normal:  Mudroom lockers overflowing with stuff from all seasons.  Boys were at school today so this doesn’t include their backpacks and winter clothes, those items can be found spread out on the floor all over the house in the evenings.

Normal mud room mess

Normal:  We have a selection of sandals to ski boots, year-round!

Normal mud room shoes

Normal:  Upstairs bathroom/laundry room.  A boy took a shower and dropped the towel on the floor, living out of laundry baskets (clean clothes on the right side of the room and dirty ones to the left of the shower), clean sock baskets on the counter for boys (over flowing).

Normal bathroom

Normal:  More laundry baskets of clean clothes downstairs.

Normal laundry

Normal:  Books spilling out of book shelves.

reading books spilled

Instead of changing all this mess…

I will go to play dates, meet friends at the library, maybe host some play dates,

library

I will go to the park or a beach.

Sunset Lake 1st day 2012

I will continue to ignore it all so I can read to my child, sew, dye things, write blog posts, go biking

Biking Henry in PJs

bike train

or go skiing!

Ski family Charlie crash

Call me if you want to do something fun!

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
Kurt Vonnegut

Dye Projects – September & October 2014

 Dye Projects – September & October 2014

I bought 24 white bandanas to dye, here is the start of them:

dye bandanas

The blue one on the right was supposed to be green and blue but you couldn’t see the green.  I over dyed it with black.

dye bandana blue & black

 dye bandana pink w purple

I dyed the boys bandanas with our school colors:

Dye bandanas orange and black

A few shirts, size 5 or 6T:

dye ice rainbow tanks

Henry has claimed this shirt.

dye ice t-shirt

My favorite white shirt that I tried to do a Galaxy dye on and it flopped.  In my opinion I saved it with adding the black swirl.

dye ice fail swirl w black

Four small bags that were upcycled from the corners of a high quality fitted sheet, so the opening is elastic:

dye shibori bags

I need to find a use or a market for these.  The elastic is in great shape because this sheet was new, but damaged.  I was thinking for fruit that you want to ripen faster or for when you are traveling and short on space in you bag and you need to pack a second pair of shoes – put them in this bag and your clothes won’t get dirty.

A small canvas bag:

dye rainbow canvas bag

Pajama pants for me, rainbow DNA on the side of the leg and I attempted a swirl on the bottom of the other leg:

dye PJ pants

The pants are so comfortable I went back to Walmart’s clearance rack and bought the rest of the ones they had in my size.

A solar system pillow case (king size):

dye solar system pillowcase

Charlie pointed out that Earth is the wrong size compared to the sun and other planets.  That is what I wanted.  I also wanted the sun to be more yellow and Earth to have more land.

I found this new tool at a rummage sale for $0.25.  It will help me apply small drips of dye in small places.

dye injector

Ice dyeing is really my favorite kind of dyeing.  Soon snow will be here and I can use snow instead of buying ice!

dye ice in progress melted dye ice in progress

I have attempted to make dyed scarves.  I am not a scarf-person because I am always hot and I have no clue about fashion.  With the help of my sisters I may wear one of my scarves.

This rainbow infinity scarf was given to one of my sisters.

scarf Kayla

The other half of this scarf was purchased by a friend.

scarf vintage dyed rainbow 4

dye ice rainbow scarf lace 1

I dyed this infinity scarf for another sister.

scarf Danna

This scarf went to my step-mom.

 Scarf Lynn

This scarf is my favorite scarf.  I had a different idea how this was going to turn out (mistake #1 never have any expectations of a dye project).  I used a tie dye method call DNA with liquid red, yellow, and blue dye to do the rainbow squiggly line and then iced dyed the loose fabric with black.  Someone said it reminded them of the Hungry Caterpillar.   This one was sold to a family member.  I am still dreaming up ideas on how to do this method again but with different colors.   I am stuck on deciding the colors, my fabric is prepped and ready for dye!

        dye tie & ice DNA flat   dye tie & ice DNA

This is a full size sheet.  I was testing the folding method and the color combos and was pleased with the results.

dye ice spiral purples cropped

 I want to do flower looking tie dyes, so I am practicing on flour sack dish towels that I bought at Fleet Farm and Target.  The fold is call a mandala.  My first attempt was on these two towels.

 dye tie flour sack mandala orange & blue dye tie flour sack mandala rainbow

I am calling this my birthday sheet.  I bought this white sheet at Goodwill for my birthday to try a mandala design on a larger piece.   I finished this today and it was like opening up a birthday present!  I can’t express how happy I am with these results.

 dye tie mandala purples & green

dye tie mandala purple & greens center

Funny dyeing story:   Jack’s brother, Eddie, called our house.  Henry (5 year old) answered the phone. Eddie must have asked if Henry knew where his mom and dad are. I heard Henry say, “I don’t know. I think my mom is dyeing in the basement.”

I have a bunch of my other dyed scarves, sewn scarves, soaps and other handmade items in my etsy store.  I am too lazy to put them in this blog post. I especially don’t really want to use up my blogging space for photos of that kind of stuff.

Feel free to check out my etsy store (my store name is skiingmama):   https://www.etsy.com/shop/skiingmama

October 2014

October 2014

I started out this month posting about Henry’s Pumpkin, click here to see that post.

Henry's pumpkin

Henry’s teacher had this note attached to a new pumpkin for him to take home two days later…

Letter Mrs Fechter

Robbie turned 11 years old this month.  I decided to do a birthday post for him this year because I haven’t been mentioning him very often in my blog.  Robbie’s Birthday

We don’t give many gifts or big gifts or have a huge party.   During the last year I have been not planning parties where we have many friends over.  Since our family grew to four kids, birthdays needed to be simplified.  Our family celebrates birthdays in a very simple way…we do special things – you pick your favorite dinner meal and dessert, you invite a friend to do something fun with us around your birthday time and we do something fun as a family.

I dyed a sheet for Robbie this summer with the intentions of having it made into a quilt.  Robbie helped me pick out the colors of the rainbow to use.   I loved that idea!  He doesn’t know that he is my “rainbow baby”.    I hired to have it machine quilted  and it was finished just a few days before his birthday.

dye swirl rainbow quilt finished

 I started this quilt in February after learning that my cousin would be having her “rainbow baby” in September.  I finished it the last week of October and gave it to her on October 31st!

quilt rainbow

 

quilt rainbow baby

 

Homecoming week at Iola means the school has an Orange and Black day.   I dyed their bandanas for this occasion and I expect they will get a lot of use out of them.

Dye bandanas orange and black

My sister Emily had her liver transplant in September.  I posted two posts around the time of her transplant.  A Prayer for Emily and A Sister’s Emotions.   She came home in October.  I have saved these before pictures to share an after picture at the same time.

This is the week she was in the hospital before her transplant.  She was very jaundice, I believe her bilirubin levels hit and all time high of 40 the week this picture was taken.

Emily Jaundice w John

I went to visit her and was pleased to see a smile on her face and she her in good spirits.  What else can you do when the doctor says, “You are not going home until you have a transplant.”  When I sat down next to her bed with the hospital window at my back I was shocked to see how yellow the whites of her eyes were and her skin color compared to John’s was also shocking.

Four days before her liver transplant:

Emily jaundice2

Emily jaundice 1

Almost three weeks after her transplant:

Emily not jaundice eyes

Emily not jaundice

Emily is home, recovering and getting stronger every day.  She told me she has lost a lot of weight since her transplant and looks very healthy.

Drinks!  I have a few favorite drinks.  I love coffee the most.  All kinds of coffee!  I also love beer, but don’t get to drink that very often.   Jack’s mom went to Finland, over a year ago (?), and brought a pair of Kuksa (Finnish drinking cups) for us.  We finally sat down next to each other on the couch and broke in our cups drinking Four Roses Single Barrel.

Kuksa cup breaking it in

 

 I also have to share a new find for me – a local coffee roaster is here in my area.  I had no idea!  Here is the link to the article where I learned of them, “Ruby Coffee Roasters sees business perk up”. 

ruby coffee

 Kuksa cup espresso

I also like to make and drink smoothies.  My best friend in college, Bethany, first introduced me to smoothies.  One day I made the mistake of prepping the blender with the smoothie ingredients and not blending it until after the boys got home.  When Robbie saw the blender before the blending happened he scrunched up his nose and said, “what is that going to be?”.  He didn’t drink my smoothie that day.

If he only knew that every day the before blending looks the same, he probably wouldn’t drink my smoothies.

 smoothie before             smoothie

Charlie has begged me for jobs that he could get paid for around the house.  It was hard to come up with something since everyone does jobs around here for no pay, like emptying the dishwasher, feeding the dogs, taking care of chickens, sweeping and vacuuming, cleaning up rooms, making firewood, stacking and bringing in firewood.  I only fold clothes when they come off the clothes line, if they come out of the dryer they get separated into each person’s own laundry basket.  That is as good as it gets around here and sometimes I wonder why we have dressers.  I decided folding laundry was a job I would pay to have done for the sake of it getting done and Charlie earning money.  Nola Mae isn’t very helpful when it comes to folding clothes.

Laundry charlie & Nola Mae

 Nola Mae loves to be measured, we’ll see if all our body measuring pays off when we go in for her well-child appointment this week and if she lets the nurse measure her.  When ever she finds one of my tape measures I measure her head circumference, arms, feet, toes, legs, nose, and ears.  It is a fun little game for us.   After her bath she stood there for a long time so Henry could count every inch.

Measuring Nola Mae

 I have worked really hard to exercise 5-6 days a week.  Doesn’t always happen that many times in a week, but is my goal!   I had recently organized our basement and got my Nordic Track out in the open for when there was a day I had time to get on it and do it.

One day it was windy and too yucky to run outside and I was too lazy to drive to the ski hill to hike on the trails.   I was wishing it was winter because skiing on a day like that would have been fine.  So I climbed on the Nordic Track and skied for an hour.  I had a great workout and imagined I was skiing.  I thought it was funny that our box of ski boots just happened to be right there in my face.  I couldn’t decide if that made it helpful to imagine skiing or painful because I wasn’t skiing on real snow.

nordic track

 Our school had a day off on a Friday this month.  I figured going to the skate board park in Waupaca would be a good idea because we would have the park all to ourselves.

 Charlie had fun riding his bike.swan park 3

 And everyone had fun sliding.

Swan park 2

 Nola Mae ran all over the place and tired herself out!

Swan Park 1

 Swan Park also has a very nice hiking trail.  We went on the trail through the woods and Nola Mae got a little nap.

swan park hike

 Robbie was in charge of the camera.

swan park Robbie selfie

Instead of trick or treating I bought each boy a bag of their favorite candy and we stayed home.  We had a good time in the woods making improvements to their forts.

Fort in woods

 And they had a fun game of 500.

500 Robbie & Charlie 1

 

500 Robbie & Charlie 2

 

 A few babywearing photos:

 I slingafied the other half of my friend’s woven wrap Winter Lilies.

ring sling didymos winter lillies

 

 I made these linen wraps for my cousin a matching one for her daughter.  (Rucksack Carry with Tibetan Tie)

wrap linen blue Cathy

 

 I took the boys and Jack to the ski hill to show them the new trail and Jack took this cool picture of Nola Mae waiting to be wrapped.

wrap Girasol rainbow back carry

 And this one when we were done wrapping.

wrap Girasol rainbow back carry tada

 Double Hammock  Carry with my Ellevill Norwegian Jack wool woven wrap.

wrap ellevill Jack action

 

 Wool wraps are tricky to wash.  I wanted to wash it to soften it up a little more, and it worked!  I had to take a photo of how pretty it looked on the drying rack.  It is a beautiful wrap!

wrap ellevill Jack drying

Swan Park nap in my woven wrap Ellevill  Zara Velvet.

swan park nap

 

 

I was hoping to share my dyeing projects from September and October before this post, maybe that will be next?

For now you can see some of my dyed items in my etsy store:   https://www.etsy.com/shop/skiingmama

 

 

September 2014

September 2014

First day of school photo:

First day of school 2014

On the first day of school, Nola Mae and I took a bike ride to town to run errands.  I needed to do lots of things this day, grocery shopping, library, bank, post office, drop something off at school and most importantly get exercise and get away from the house so I wasn’t thinking about missing my boys.  Our way home was a lot of work for me…27 pound child, 15 pound bike trailer, 75 pounds of groceries and library books.

Bike errands

I have planned to dye my hair a non-traditional color (purple) for many months.  I finally got around to doing it and it faded to pink (not one of my favorite colors).  In the last month I have considered chopping my hair just twice to get rid of it.  When my mom first saw me after I dyed my hair, she joked with me that my fabric dyes got in my hair.   Now, I am feeling like I will keep it for a while.  Next, I will attempt purple and maybe more colors.

 hair dye pink

Jack has made many cigar box guitars in the last year.  This month Charlie finished a two string cigar box guitar.

 cigarbox guitar in progress

Jack made a video of Charlie and shared it on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10202628856665701&set=vb.1326037913&type=3&theater

cigarbox guitar Charlie's

I have an amazing husband, he deserves a blog post all to himself.   He is talented in many areas, he is intelligent, he is teaching our kids many skills, he creates beautiful wooden furniture and boxes.

I was a little skeptical about these ugly pieces of wood when he loaded these into our car.

wooden burrow

One day he handed this beautiful bowl to me and told me he made it from the wooden burrows that we brought home.

wooden burrow bowl

Charlie turned a bowl with Jack.  He took his unfinished bowl to school to show his teacher.  Charlie was eager to finish it and then took it back to school.  One day I was looking for Charlie’s bowl to take a photo.  He told me he gave it to his teacher.

We got together with all the Vater cousins this month, unfortunately because Grandpa Neil passed away.  It was wonderful to see our kids having a blast with their cousins, and visit with the cousins we don’t see very much.  Nola Mae and I missed out on the last family gathering because she was sick.   I am not interested in doing the math on when I last saw Jack’s cousins from CA, it was sometime when Ben was still a little boy.  When Ben opened his mouth I just about died, because he had a man’s voice, not a little boy anymore!  Ben is the tallest man in the Vater family.

vater cousins and family

I have many sisters, four of them, all of them are amazing in their own way!  Early this month, Becca completed her first Ironman in Madison,  2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run.

I wasn’t able to make it to Madison to cheer her on.  I was able to watch her finish from the comforts of my home, 130+ miles away on my computer through the live-feed video on Ironman’s website.

I have my very own finish line photo of her.

IronMan Madison Becca

 Nola Mae loves to put clothes on, take them off, and put extra layers of clothing.  While I was taking a shower  Nola Mae climbed   on the counter and was putting socks on and taking them off.  I took this picture with the intention of doing a blog post with all the photos I have collected of her in her many outfits.

Nola Mae socks happy

Everything was going great.  You can see all the socks on the floor that she had on and took off.  Then she got stuck in these blue socks, that is when things started to get UGLY!  Exactly, one minute later…

Nola Mae socks sad  Nola Mae socks sadder

Two days later…there was an outfit that included many layers and many tears – three shirts, one dress and one pair of tights – she wanted more clothes on and I wouldn’t help her.

Nola Mae flopping

The above photos aren’t so pretty ones of Nola Mae, but this one is!

Nola Mae

When you co-sleep and put your child to bed before yourself they claim their spot.

Yours spot

I knew Henry was outside on the deck.  I heard sounds of a trombone.  I was afraid he snuck Robbie’s  trombone upstairs and outside.  I was relieved, happy and very excited to see him making music with the vacuum cleaner hose, rather than the $754 trombone!

Henry hose trombone

Four days before my birthday a wonderful gift arrived at our house – a spiral ham and caramel popcorn!  I was delighted, ham is one of our favorite things.  Especially, mine because one ham goes a long way here.  If I am remembering correctly this ham gave us  at least four meals, fillings for additional meals, made awesome snacks and were added to cold lunches for boys.  The very last of this ham will be eaten sometime this fall when I make my favorite soup!

bday ham

On September 11th, Nola Mae and I drove to Milwaukee to see my sister, Emily.  Earlier in the week she was admitted to the hospital for liver failure and the talk was “she isn’t going home until she gets a new liver”.  Her MELD Score was so high, she was on the top of the liver transplant list for the Midwest.  As the week progressed and she got more fluids and antibiotics she was feeling and looking better.  I was thankful to see her in better spirits and health later in the week so that when and if a new liver came to her she would be strong enough to make it through a transplant.

Emily hospital 9-11

On Monday, September 15th, around 4:30 AM Emily was told that there is an organ donor who is a perfect match for her.   I am pretty sure this was the longest day in her entire life.  It sure was for me!   The staff took her to surgery for the liver transplant at 5:30 PM.  If I am remembering correctly, I got the call at 12:21 AM, on the 16th, telling me that her surgery was done and she will be heading to ICU.

Click here to read my thoughts on the day of Emily’s transplant, “A Sister’s Emotions”.

I spent the day before my birthday glued to my computer and close to the phone waiting for any news on Emily’s transplant.  I didn’t get much sleep that night and woke up for my birthday in a zombie-like state.  I knew Emily was sedated, well cared for in ICU and I needed to get the heck out of my house!  IT was MY birthday and I wanted my special coffee and I wanted to use my 60% & 50% off coupons at JoAnn Fabrics!  So Nola Mae and I went to town!

I made a trip to my favorite thrift store and found a bunch of dye blanks!

  I bought these fabrics.  The birds and butterflies were on the $4/yard rack.  The bottom white fabrics I bought for making dyed scarves.

bday fabric

A close up of one of the white fabrics.

dye blank for scarf

I made two scarves from this fabric – one for my step-mom and one to sell or give away as a gift (or maybe keep for myself).

Dyed Scarf Rainbow colors

My last stop in town was Starbucks, thanks to my sister Danna and her boyfriend, I purchased a yummy coffee and this beautiful coffee mug.

bday coffee cup

The boys (& Jack) gave me a package of socks, these awesome rubber boots and something else.  I can’t remember what the third thing was.   I love my new boots and wear them every day!

bday boots

Usually my garlic gets planted in October.  The planting window for garlic in Wisconsin is mid-September to November.  I remember this because my birthday is the beginning of this planting window and my brother’s birthday, which is at the end of October, is my absolute last day for planting garlic.   This fall, I started planting my garlic before my birthday and then finished planting 200+ cloves of garlic the day after my birthday.

garlic planting 2014

We are were still picking raspberries into October.

Raspberries 8-31-12

 Every year I find a pair of Walking Sticks in my raspberry patch.  They are always attached to each other every time I see them.  This time I happened to have the camera with me and when I bumped them, they came apart and I took this photo.

walking stick

I have accumulated many dye blanks, I am always looking for more.  Recently, I  had some time to organize and prioritize my dyeing projects

dye thirft store blanks

I also had some time to set up a little dyeing space in my basement and got busy.  In one week I dyed 20 pieces.

dye table

We paddled up the river from Big Falls when the leaves were beautiful.  It was a great way to end the month.

paddle car fall 2014

paddle big falls 2014  paddle rocking 2014

I am making and selling soap again this year.  I started early for Christmas by making four batches.

“Cleansing Calendula”, with essential oils: Lavender & Tea Tree and ground Calendula flowers for a great exfoliation.    Aroma:  Soft, floral.  Benefits:  Renewing, cleansing, stimulating.

soap calendula flowers & lavender & tea tree  

“Cinnamon Swirl”  with essential oils:  Orange & Cinnamon and ground cinnamon, which gives it the dark color.   Aroma:  Warm, spicy   Benefits:  Warming, comforting, energizing

 soap cinn & organe

(these are the same soap, just different batch and different method of coloring with the ground cinnamon)

“Jumping Juniper”  essential oils:  Juniper, Lavender & Rosemary   Aroma: Floral   Benefits: Restoring, empowering, balancing, purifying, &  uplifting.

  soap juniper, lavender & rosemary

I have about twelve pounds of garlic to sell.

garlic for sale 2014

It was a good birthday month for me!