July 2014

 July 2014

This month started out pretty horrible.  I had strep throat.  Once I was feeling better, I hurt my back while pulling weeds in the garden.  I literally spent over a week sleeping and lying around.  I feel fortunate to have independent children, a hubby who is able to take a day of vacation anytime and a wonderful doctor friend who will see me in her office on her day off and again on the weekend.  I wouldn’t have been able to get better as quickly without  her!   That week did a number on my brain too.  I haven’t recovered from that lost week yet!

If you come to our house, Nola Mae will want to show you the big hole in the garden.  There once was a large rock there.

garden hole get ready

This hole keeps her busy and entertained.

garden hole jump

Another source of entertainment in our yard.

Nola Mae Tractor

Waiting for fireworks.

Henry & Nola Mae fireworks

Mr. Ernst baling his hay in our field.

Mr. Ernst marshmallows

Counting Mr. Ernst’s marshmallows.

counting bales

I love this smile!

Henry smile

Our big boys went to North Dakota with Grandma, Grandpa, uncle and cousins.

ND July 4 2014 cousins

ND July 4 2014 bluff

When they called me from North Dakota they told me they could spend all summer there because they were having so much fun.

ND July 4 2014 swimming

All four kids together after the big boys came back from their trip to North Dakota.

four kids on rocks

Henry has this great friend, Micheala, who he sat next to in school, they played together, helped each other with projects and giggled a lot together.  Micheala invited Henry to her birthday party at the pool.  Every day we counted down the days until the day before the party.  Henry helped me pick out the fabric for this bag to give to her, because she LOVES pink!

bag pink batman

The weekend came…Eddie came to help Jack cut down the huge oak tree that was leaning towards the house.

Oak tree standing

Oak tree plan

Helen counted about 120 to 130 years for the age of the tree.

Oak tree down

Oak tree sawing

  Jack and Eddie did a fabulous job dropping the tree away from the house and garage.  Jack put his chain saw in a “safe” place.  The tree landed perfectly on our wood pile and did not damage the chainsaw!

Oak tree chainsaw

 The video on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10202381381878986&set=vb.1326037913&type=3&theater

We have an awesome firewood pile.  Charlie thinks we won’t have to make firewood for a couple more years.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him we make firewood for future years, not the coming winter.  This wood is what we will burn, not this winter, next winter (2015-16) and hopefully some will be left for the following winter (2016-17).

Oak Tree firewood

The weekend was over…On Sunday night, after reading our bedtime story, Henry asked me again, “How many days until Micheala’s party?”  At that moment I realized we missed the party, it was yesterday.   The poor boy cried himself to sleep.  I called the mom and made an ice cream date with Micheala.  We picked her up and while we were in the car Henry had a whoopee cushion and kept  blowing it up and squashing it.  They were giggling so hard it just melted my heart to see them having such a great time.  While at the ice cream shop they talked and talked while just sitting on the riding toys.

birthday ice cream 2

birthday ice cream

Fifty-five pounds of blush and bing cherries ($1.66/pound).  We ate almost all of them except for a quart size bag of them went into the freezer.

cherries 2014

Five days later, eighty pounds of blueberries arrived.  I paid $2.25/pound.  The kids were slacking this year and only ate about fifteen pounds before we made one pie and froze the rest.

Blueberries 2014

 There are wonderful times in my life when all four kids will play nicely together, not often, but it does happen.  They went down the path to the edge of the field and played for a very long time.  I can’t remember how long but long enough for me to keep wondering “What in the world are they doing?”  Finally, this is what I saw coming up the hill.

Best big Brother Robbie

And then something like this happens…Henry and I picked raspberries one hot afternoon. While we picked Henry and Nola Mae weren’t getting along.  They were mostly fighting about who would get my next handful. I sent Nola Mae to a shady part to eat her raspberries. Henry was still kind of mad at her so he said, “Nola Mae I hope you eat ALL your raspberries! And then you poop, raspberry poop, on your head!”

 Henry & Nola Mae

Our lotion girl:  Thankfully this mess was outside.

lots of lotion

 My sewing projects:

I made this wet bag for a friend who uses cloth diapers.

diaper wet bag butterflies

And this Didymos Winter Lillies wrap was made into a ring sling for another friend.

Didymos winter lilies ring sling convert

 I dyed this in June and sewed it into a ring sling this month.

dye ice Navy over Intense violet ring sling

and this one.

ring sling green july 14

My first minecraft creeper inspired pillowcase.

pillowcase minecraft creeper

My dyeing projects:

Charlie designed the glue resist on this cloth to cover his desk.  He wanted rainbow colors, which I used to ice dye it, but it doesn’t look very rainbow-ish to me.  When he saw it for the first time he said, “Awesome!”  I was holding my breath because it didn’t turn out like I expected.

dye glue resist ice Charlie

I made this ring sling for a friend who loved the ring sling I made last month in the same colors.   This one turned out a little darker and just as beautiful.  We traded this ring sling for a new bike for Robbie.

dye ice cerulean blue & better blue green 2nd time ring sling

Robbie with his new bike.  I think we got the better end of the deal!

Robbie bike traded for ring sling

 This is a picture of “testing my patience”.  I have learned that dyeing stuff takes a lot of patience.    All of those items in the bags first sat under ice for over 24 hours, then I gently put them into these plastic bags for 12 hours.

dye ice rainbow swirl batching

Then they needed rinsing with the hose, and then rinsed in the washer for many rinse cycles.

dye ice rainbow swirl rinse

 Once I dried everything in the dryer I hung them on the line to get a good look!

dye ice rainbow swirl on line dye ice rainbow swirl osnaburg

dye ice rainbow swirl ring sling 2

This was a white sheet that I will make into a quilt for Robbie.

  dye ice rainbow swirl sheet dye ice rainbow swirl Tank

This was a white table-cloth.

Dye LWI rainbow table clothe

with matching napkins that I dyed.dyed rainbow napkins set 1

  We have a trombone player!  He is very happy to be done playing the piano.

  Robbie Trombone 1 Robbie Trombone 2

I have had this sign on my fridge for many months.  I was reminded this month how very important this is for everyone to follow (adults and children)!  I hope you follow this advice too.

THINK

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Fun Projects

 I spent the last week sewing and dyeing till I was sick of both.

I have been planning/designing/working on this “creeper” valance since mid-April. Finally it is complete and ready to mail along with the TNT pillowcase:

Minecraft Creeper valance & TNT pillowcase

After this was done I left the sewing room for a few days.

Then a friend asked me to make a ring sling:

ring sling natural w bronze rings

At the same time I got another request from a friend who wanted a dyed ring sling. While I waited for our plans to finalize I went a head and over dyed a flopped dyed project from this winter.

This was muslin 12 x 12 inch squares, dyed using a Shibori technique, with Dylon Dye Dark Green. I have no idea what I did wrong. The patterns hardly showed up and the fabric was a very light shade of green.

Before:

dye Shibori dylon dark green failed

Second attempt:

dye Shibori dylon blue jeans over failed dark green dye on muslin

dye Shibori dylon blue jeans over failed dark green dye clothes pin

Once I finalized the shade of blue to shoot for I started my first dye bath method.  The ring sling turned this pretty shade of blue (Dylon Blue Jeans):

dyed ring sling dylon blue jeans solid dip

 

I got a bonus out of this project, a dyed tank, sort of gradual change in shades of blues:

dye dylon blue jeans grad attempt

With both these projects with blue dye and many rinses later, left me swearing I would never dye anything blue again.  I shouldn’t even say that because it was kind of fun and the blue is so pretty in real person!

I am taking a break from sewing and dyeing for now. I am doing some serious spring cleaning this week! Spring has finally arrived.

The next sewing projects on the table will be some fun skirts.

skirt pink flowers Payton

April 2014

April 2014

April was a busy month for us and for my blog.   I posted six times this month, see all my posts here:  https://skiingmama.wordpress.com/2014/04/

Then the snow started to melt.   Henry has learned about spring-time at school (and at home of course).  He thinks spring should be here already:

spring hot blooded Henry

He told me today (April 30th), when I told him it was time to go outside, “I am not going outside when all that grey stuff is in the sky.  And that fog is yucky.  It has to be light out there and then I will want to go outside.”

 

This month we celebrated Henry’s 5th birthday:

 Birthday Henry 5

 

 My brother and nephew called to sing “Happy Birthday” to Henry.  He loved it.

Birthday call

The cake, this teenage mutant ninja turtle cake is pretty close to earning  my “ugly cakes” award.

Teenage Mutant Nija Turtle cake

 These things sure are the ugliest cupcakes I have ever decorated.  I was pretty embarrassed sending them to school with Henry.   And was reassured that four and five year olds don’t really care.   At the end of the day I found out there were extras and he delivered one to Charlie’s 1st grade teacher, Charlie’s current teacher, and one to Robbie’s teacher.  Now I am really embarrassed!   On a positive note this was the first cake decorating project I have done in the last two years where Nola Mae wasn’t crying or needed to be worn.

Teenage Mutant Nija Turtles cupcakes

 

Then the next day was Nola Mae’s 2nd birthday:

Nola Mae facing forward

 I turned her around to face forward in her car seat.  She wasn’t unhappy facing backwards,  now that she is two she is okay face forwards in her car seat.  Often I noticed her cranking her neck around so she could look out the front window.  Now she just tells me “go that way”.

We skied on snow:

When we were getting ready to go out to ski Nola Mae wanted to wear her baby.  So I wrapped them both.  I think this is one of my favorite baby wearing photos, minus my eyes being closed because the sun was so bright.

This was April 15th.

babywearing  double ski

 I had the best  ski with my friend, Mary, on April 17th at the ski hill.

April 18th was our last ski.

And we skied on grass to find the snow:

skiing on grass

Last ski babywearing

Can you see her feet in my shadow?

Last ski looking for snow

 This was the last piece of heaven for me this winter…four of my favorite boys on snow, laughing, getting exercise and

Last ski 1

 a fun little chunk of snow to ski back and forth on for a little while.

ski last ski

 The boys headed back to the chalet without me, like usual, and when I came in I found them doing this…

last ski boys waiting

All three boys had a friend’s birthday party to attend.   Two birthday parties landed on the same day, the same weekend Jack’s canoeing trip was scheduled for, and the same day I needed to work at the ski hill for our big spring trail run.  Grandma Hanna saved the day!   She played with the kids, transported them to the birthday parties, visited the library, and cleaned the messiest parts of my house.

Henry’s friend was given this ice dyed cape that I made.

iced dyed cape

ice dyed cape hood

Charlie’s friend got a store-bought gift, which I thought was kind of boring.  I don’t have many good ideas for a homemade gift after all of their friends get a pillow case.   And they are too old to have fun with capes.  When Charlie saw the gift I bought for his friend he asked “how come you didn’t buy two?”  I asked him, “Why, does it look like it is going to break right away?”  No, Charlie wanted one for himself.

Robbie and I made this  Minecraft TNT pillowcase together, which was perfect for that boy!  I walked into the party and saw Minecraft stuff everywhere.  That mom put on a pretty amazing Minecraft themed party like no body’s business!

pillow case TNT Landon

Side note:  I went to school on a Friday where there was a reading party kids can bring pillows and blankets to get comfy to read.  I saw one boy with a pillowcase I made a couple of years ago, so that was cool!

We were home for Easter:

I took the opportunity to dye eggs with the boys while Nola Mae napped.  She woke up at the tail end of things, she was happy to watch and hold an egg.

happy with one egg

 This was the first year we had enough of our own brown eggs to dye.  I saved them so they were “old” eggs like the store-bought eggs in order for them to peel nicely.  They peeled nicely and they were the most beautiful shades we have ever had.

Easter eggs

I spent a total of $27 on our Easter treats/gifts this year.  Each boy got a small gift with a small amount of candy in their basket.  Charlie learned how to make those rubber band bracelets using his two fingers from a girl on the bus.  This sweet girl has given him many handfuls of rubber bands.  So I decided he should get a couple of bags of his own.  Robbie and Henry were very excited about the cool colorful socks they got.

Charlie's rubber bands

 Nola Mae waiting by the window for the boys to come home:

Nola Mae blueberries

We had Charlie’s VIP (Very Important People) Day:

Each child is scheduled for  a VIP Week.  The child can fill out the “all about me” poster and include photos of them as a baby and other childhood photos,  and photos of their family and pets.

VIP poster

And then one or both parents come to class towards the end of one day for 30 minutes to talk about their work, hobbies and/or  interests.  I did a little demonstration on cake decorating with Robbie’s class when he was in 2nd grade, so Charlie wanted to do the same thing.  Extra bonus is that at the end of our time everyone got to decorate their own cupcake.

I talked about sewing with Charlie and my sewing.  I brought the shirt Charlie sewed when he was 5 years old and Charlie’s baby quilt to show them.  I had a few other quilts in my bag, if they seemed interested.

I  also told them about Jack’s interests in woodworking and brought a few of his wooden bowls that he has made.

turned bowls

Charlie’s teacher, Mr. Wester, knows how to facilitate the short time you have with the class so it is organized, purposeful in ways of giving the students opportunities to be respectful, thoughtful and polite while practicing communication skills.  Mr. Wester asked Charlie to introduce me and Nola Mae, he had everyone sitting on the carpet to focus on Charlie and our talk.  I am sure they are well-practiced since it is April already.  The questions the kids had for me and for Charlie were impressive.  My favorite question was from a boy.  He asked something to the effect “what was the most important subject in school for you to be good at sewing?”  Thankfully, I had the “right” answer…”Math”.  He slapped his leg and said, “WHY DOES EVERYONE SAY MATH!!!!?”  It was cute!  I was able to pull out my current quilt that I am working on and explained to them the math I  needed to do to figure out the spacing of many different colors.  It was a perfect “math” example!  I forgot to point out where I made some measuring mistakes.   I had so much fun!  I thanked Mr. Wester for taking the time to do this with all the families because it was so nice to come to the classroom.  I hope that all the other families that had their VIP Day felt as excited and as important as I did being Charlie’s mom.

Charlie's VIP

We took a hike on the boardwalk in town and did a little wrestling:

I am slowly adjusting to the fact that boys wrestle.  I never did that with my sisters or brother.  I became more open about wrestling when I saw home videos of my sister-in-law and her sisters wrestling.  Here Charlie is on top, which isn’t always the case.

 walk wrestling

 Often I wonder how the wrestling match started and why Charlie is the one that seems to get hurt.  And then I see a picture like this…Charlie doing something to Robbie.

walk teasing

Sewing time is supposed to be fun and peaceful.  The month started off great.  I was able to make a few things with ruffles (see my post “I Love Ruffles” ).

rainbow ruffle dress

And then my sewing time became unpredictable and limited.  Nola Mae hasn’t been napping well and seems to know when I sneak away to the sewing room.  I have wanted to take a picture of her on my sewing table for a long time.  This day I had the camera and was able to get this shot:

sewing table

Sometimes it is stressful when she is in the sewing room with me.  Because she wants to be on the table.  If I am sewing at the machine I sometimes let her sit there and she plays with the buttons and papers.  She learned on her own to leave the spool rack alone because once it tipped over and it scared her.

I had some time to make a few cute skirts.  I will post about that next, maybe.

 A very enjoyable sewing project for me was coming up with this valance for someone who found my blog when she was searching for Minecraft things for her son’s bedroom.  She was looking for a Minecraft Creeper valance.  This is the design I came up with, 5 ft long and 17 inches tall:

minecraft creeper valance

 And in the last week of this month I dyed these things.   The fabric squares are muslin, with a base color of light green – my first attempt was a total flop.  So over dyeing with Dylon Blue Jeans looks okay.  I expected better results.  While doing that dye project I slowly dipped this tank top in the dye bath, you can see a gradual change in the shades of blue, if you look closely.

dyed blue jeans shirbori fabric & dipped tank top

Baby wearing photos this month:

Just before our ski.

babywearing doll with flag

 Waiting for the boys to come home.

Nola Mae fake hair babywearing

 If anyone was wondering if it is possible to keep your baby wrapped on your back while flopping yourself on the floor, kicking and screaming.  Nola Mae’s answer is “Yes!”

babywearing flopping on the ground 1

 I am not sure what brought this on.  This is actually one of the first times she has done this.   That’s the reason for the photo.

babywearing flopping on the ground 2

Robbie helped Jack in the woodshop:

 woodshop Robbie

And so did Nola Mae.

   woodshop Nola Mae

I hate making cookies because I don’t like messing with the oven and cookies every 8-10 minutes, plus I eat a bunch of warm ones throughout the process.  The boys love cookies.  My latest and greatest idea is to make a triple batch of cookies and separate the batch into small logs (enough for 1 dozen cookies), wrap them in wax paper and freeze them.  These cookie dough logs are larger than I usually do because I didn’t have any wax paper.  I am not sure how well they will keep in the freezer with just plastic wrap, so we will have to use them up quickly.  I also left out enough for us to have two pans of cookies this time.

cookie dough

I am ending this month with a cold.  I had two very worthless days.  I am drinking lots of water, mullein tea and eating garlic and extra vitamin D.

Cold remedy