December 2015

We have had a crazy start of winter.

The first snowfall was pretty lame.  Nola Mae was excited with the dusting of snow, so much, that she wanted to harvest all the snow so she could eat it.

1st snow harvest on rocks

1st snow harvest

Then it disappeared.

We hiked at Iola Winter Sports Club.

ski hill hike shelter

ski hill hike

ski hill hike babywearing

The boys wanted to walk to school, so I dropped them off at the high school when I dropped Robbie off for band.

walking to school

I started the school year caring for Bailey while her parents work.  Occasionally, my friend Jack comes.  In December, temporarily, I started caring for a 23 month old.  My house was full when the three of them were here to play with me and Nola Mae.  It was a wonderful day and I had so much fun!

reading daycare

The next day, I spent on the couch.  They whipped me good!

day after daycare

A little flexible!

flexible

Gifts for Christmas:

Henry made zombie guys for his siblings.

henry's zombies

Robbie made a fleece soccer blanket for Charlie.

soccer fleece blanket

Cookies for Christmas.     christmas cookies 2015

christmas stockings 2015

christmas tree 2015

My Frozen inspired cape.  I made one for Nola Mae and Bailey.

frozen cape snowflakes

Nola Mae tells me it is supposed to drag on the floor.  I may attempt to make some adjustments.

    frozen cape snowflakes Nola Mae

Our annual family profile.

2015 Family Profile

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Nola Mae – 3 years old!

Nola Mae black hat

Happy Birthday! Nola Mae – 3 years old!

I dyed this shirt for Nola Mae’s birthday. I found this shirt at a thrift store early this month and thought that it needed a little more rainbow to it. Nola Mae Birthday   Nola Mae wasn’t interested in getting interviewed, this is how our conversation went before I gave up:

Me:  I want to know what some of your favorite things are, like your favorite movie?

Silence!

Me:  Is it Peppa Pig?

Nola Mae:  NO, me not watch it. You take it back to the library.

Me:  How about your favorite color?

Nola Mae: Me not telling you.

Me:  How about your favorite snack?  What do you like to eat when you are hungry?

Nola Mae:  Me not telling you.

Me:  Where do you like to go?

Nola Mae:  ME NOT TELLING YOU!

Silence.

Nola Mae: Me want to go to that restaurant. Me want to go a playground. Me want to go to school. WAIT, NOT school, a playground!

Me:  What do you like to play outside?

Nola Mae:  Don’t know, something else.

Silence.

Nola Mae: What do you want to play?

Me: I want to play, “You tell me what you like.”

Me: So Henry, what do you think Nola Mae’s favorite food is?

Henry: I don’t know.

Nola Mae: CANDY! Nola Mae Ellevill wrap Me:  Henry, what do you think Nola Mae’s favorite game is?

Henry: Maybe hide-and-seek?

Nola Mae: YEP!

Me:  Henry, What do you think Nola Mae’s favorite color is?

Henry: Nola Mae, is your favorite color blue?

Nola Mae: NO, blue AND purple! AND RED!

Me:  Henry, what do you think Nola Mae likes to do outside?

Henry: What do you like to do outside, sledding?

Nola Mae: Yes.

Nola Mae:  Playing games. Sledding.  Games. Nola Mae's sled I have given up on her favorites, she loves to talk about what she wants to talk about.  And if I word my questions or statements differently I could get more answers from her.

I want to remember our 2-year-old Nola Mae…

Nola Mae called Henry “Henny” until two days before her birthday.  Now she is saying “Henree”.  Sometimes she would think I was calling her Henny when I would say Honey to her.  In my sleep deprived/fried brain sometimes I think I did call her Henny and she wasn’t very happy with me about that.

Henry and Nola Mae

Nola Mae isn’t keen on nicknames and is very vocal about that now that she knows they are out there.  The first time someone referred to her as a little peanut is when she learned this.  Later she asked me “what a peanut?”  After I explained to her what people sometimes say, she told me in a very clear and loud voice “ME NOT A PEANUT!”

Nola Mae is friendly and very talkative to everyone.  Every day at the ski hill we would see people getting ready to ski and she would want to know their name and sometimes tell them something about what happened that day.  I appreciated all the grown-ups who gave her a few minutes of their time.   And it was fun to see them again and they would talk to her (not me) and make sure she remembered their name from the last time.

Nola Mae has a friend, Lily.  She talks about her almost every day.  Lily is an imaginary friend.  Lily has been at Nola Mae’s school, rides Nola Mae’s bus, is nice and sometimes mean to Nola Mae.  Sometimes Lily is sick.  Sometimes Lily helps Nola Mae.  One day I was sick and accidentally fell asleep, while I was sleeping Lily came over to play.  I think Lily is avoiding me.  Recently, Nola Mae told us that Lily died.  I wasn’t sure if Lily dyed or died, since both words are talked about in our house.  I haven’t noticed much talk of Lily, lately.  So maybe she did die.

Nola Mae was an awesome skier this winter.  She loved the downhills and groomed trails.  At the end of the winter she was flying down the hills in the tracks all by herself.  After a nose-dive into the snow she wasn’t afraid to do it again!

Nola Mae skiing 1

Nola Mae skiing 2

The things I know Nola Mae loves…

  • to paint. “Painting with Pappa!”
  • to cross-country ski.
  • to play our memory game and her version of Blokus and Spot It.
  • to read books with someone and by herself.
  • candy but not enough to motivate her to use the potty.
  • to play outside.
  • to follow her brothers anywhere.
  • to push the kid sized shopping cart around the grocery store.
  • to help with any project.
  • to show any guest to our house her jumping on the bed tricks.

Nola  Mae Painting 2 I know she loves Peppa Pig, so I made this stuffed Peppa Pig out of fleece. peppa pig 1   Click here to read last year’s birthday post for Nola Mae.  

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

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 – 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

 

 

August 2014

August 2014

A moment when everyone was getting along nicely!

4 kids talking

Charlie is thrilled about his candy DNA he made in summer school.  I had to take this photo for Aunt Danna who is studying Bio-Chemistry at UW-Madison.

Charlie Science

Charlie celebrated his 9th birthday.

charlie bday cake 9 yr

Mask making:

 

blue tape mask

blue tape mask 4 kids

 

We biked to Big Falls this summer for the first time.  Round trip was 16.5 miles.

We went to the Sweet Shoppe for some games and ice cream.

 

 

big falls sweet shop

 

big falls playground

big falls waterfall

 

Charlie’s new hair cut – trim at the beauty solon.

 

 

charlie long hair

 

Then a buzz cut from Papa:

charlie short hair

 

This hen has always acted “broody” so I decided to give it a try to let her hatch some eggs.  I expect chicks any day.

 

chicken coop hatching eggs

Nola Mae loves to come to the chicken coop with me.  She has figured out how to climb so she can collect eggs.

chicken coop Nola Mae

My garden is doing well:

Garlic crop was a success.  I am not sure how many pounds I grew this year.

 

garden garlic 2014

I was able to recruit some helpers for the peeling and trimming jobs.

garden garlic cleaning

garden garlic trim

We got a lot of rain this month.  I didn’t get out to the garden to pick my green beans for a few days.  I was surprised with an 11.5 inch long green bean.

  garden forgotten green bean

We found this cute frog in my purple cone flowers.

garden frog purple coneflower

I have lots of corn in the freezer, about 120 cups.

garden corn

I did some dyeing this month, check out my post Dye Projects – August.

These dyed items found new homes this month:

dye clothes

 

Granny visited us for Charlie’s birthday.  Nola Mae put her glasses on.

   Nola Mae Granny glasses

Napping Nola Mae.

Nola Mae sleeping

A common scene at our house.

Play house swing

I made a new soap this month:

Tea tree and lavender essential oils with ground Calendula flowers.

soap calendula lavender & tea tree

My very popular soap:

Orange and cinnamon, swirled this time.

soap cinnamon orange

Playing on the sinking canoe is always a lot of fun!

sunset sunk canoe

I made this wrap for someone, 100% linen, color is honeysuckle and beautiful!

wrap 100% linen honeysuckle

I had to try it out!

wrap 100% linen honeysuckle action

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

June 2014

June 2014

June was a productive month for me.   I am happy with the amount of things we did and the things I accomplished since it was our first month of summer vacation.   Things are getting easier for me with four children, because I remember past years in June I spent the month adjusting to summer vacation and me feeling very frazzled.

I did a lot of dyeing this month, check out my post about those projects here.

purple dress

A friend asked me to make her daughter a rainbow skirt for her birthday.  Her favorite color is pink so I reversed the rainbow and put the pink on the bottom so it is more visible and because I can never make the  same thing twice.  I always have to mix things up!

Spiderman was in the house when I needed a model and

skirt ruffle rainbow for Laura

he was pretty good at twirling around.

skirt ruffle rainbow for Laura spin

I had helpers planting my hanging baskets and flower pots.  I am usually picky about what color flowers go together and how many get planted in certain pots.  Not this time.  Lately, I have challenged myself to “let go” of the middle steps and be happy with the finish product – planted flowers.

planting flowers

I got my garden planted this month.  And my garlic is looking awesome!

garden June 2014

Since I am so late at getting this post done I am able to include a comparison picture of the garden a little over a month later.

garden July 10 2014

Jack had some company while he changed the oil in his car.

 changing the oil

Henry had his 4K graduation.  I also wrote a blog about these awesome socks Henry is wearing.  (Click here to read that)

Graduation 4K Henry

 

 First day of school, September 2013.   Frist day of school 2013

Last day of school, June 2014.

Last day of school 2014

 

Our strawberry patch was going strong this year.  I didn’t have much time to pick them all when they were ripe.  So I often sent kids outside to “eat as many strawberries as you can!”

strawberries Charlie

Strawberries Henry & Nola Mae

Nola Mae playing in her kitchen.  The hole for the sink (was a plastic bowl) is a common place for her body.  She usually goes from standing on the stove, to standing on the narrow shelf, back to the stove and then into the sink area.

Nola Mae kitchen

Aunt Susie came over and switched up our dinner table seating arrangements.  Henry worked it out so he and Nola Mae could share the piano bench.  And they were pretty cute together!

Henry & Nola Mae at table

My sister, Becca, is training for the Madison Ironman this year.  She is amazing!  My Mom, our sister Danna and I went to cheer Becca on at the High Cliff Half Ironman race that she participated in this month.  All I can say is “WOW!”

tri becca

Our cousins came to visit with us for a couple of days.   I had a wonderful time with a house full of children, seven kids – 10 years old to two years old.  Although I had to share my time with Jessie and seven kids, it seemed much easier to visit with her than it is when we are at a family gathering of 50 people.

Jessie field

jessie rock cousins

Our youngest babies together.  These two littlest cousins got along amazingly well for being two-year olds.

Jessie cousin friends

Our oldest babies together.  Some how our middle children got missed, isn’t that what always happens?

Jessie oldest kids

We spent a few days at Granny’s while our cousins (Andrew & Libby)  and Aunt Karen from the West were visiting.  Our visit happened to overlap on my Mom’s birthday.  When I announced my plans to the kids that I was going into the sewing room to make Granny’s birthday present Henry followed me down to the sewing room with his own idea.  He asked me what Granny’s favorite color was and I said blue.  He gathered scraps of fabric, cut pieces out and told me his design – to make Granny’s house.  I serged edges and he sewed the roof, windows and the door on.  This was the first time he has sewn something on my machine.

Henry sewing for granny Henry sewing Granny's house

This is what I made for my Mom from one of my dyed projects.

dye ice on glue resist bag

 You never know what you will find on the farm.  Henry happened to wander into the corn field and found hundreds of little frogs hopping around.

       Mom's Henry's frogs hands 1

He took a handful back to the house to show Granny.

Mom's Henry's frogs hands

I had a blast this weekend.  Visiting with family, watching and playing soccer.  We have our own CrossFit coach in the family, so we did a WOD (I don’t have a photo of that).

Mom's soccer on the farm chopper box

The littlest goalies.

Mom's soccer on the farm little goalies Mom's soccer on the farm

We ended our time with cousins at Diamond Lake.

Mom's Diamond lake resting

Four days after leaving Granny’s I took the two big boys to Grandma Helen’s to spend four days with the Vater cousins in North Dakota.

I didn’t realize this month was full of extended family stuff until I put this post together.  What a great month!

Dye Projects – June 2014

  June was the month to work on some dye projects that have been brewing in my head.  I will be doing a demonstration on fabric dyeing at my local quilt guild’s meeting in early August.  I am far from being a pro at this, but with every project I do I learn more and more.  I am looking forward to sharing my projects, ideas and my knowledge with them.

I was motivated to try a new (new to me) technique called Low Water Immersion (LWI) when a friend asked me for a three color ring sling.

Dye LWI green blue purple ring sling

The finished ring sling:

dye lwi ring sling finished

During most dye projects I am able to add a few extra things to my dye projects.  I have a stash of white items that I pick from.  Most often I have a slightly stained onesie or child’s shirt that is still in good condition, so I add those kinds of things to my dye projects.  In the above LWI ring sling I dyed these items:

dye LWI green blue purple clothes

and this cotton drawstring laundry bag,

dye LWI green blue purple laundry bag

and this old sheet that was going to be a ghost for our dress up box, but the face never got cut out.

dye LWI green blue purple old sheet

Whenever I dye something I get the bug to do more…

I had this brown skirt that I loved and could only wear it around home because it had some stains on it.

Dye brown skirt before

I did a LWI dye technique and Dylon dye Terracotta Brown.  The lining of the skirt is prettier and turned out more how I was expecting it to look.  The red splotches are from the dye not being fully dissolved.

dye lwi terrecota brown skirt

I ice dyed this dress of Nola Mae’s that had some color bleeding from the colorful trim when I used a stain remover on the dress.  It was the exact same shade as Dylon dye’s Bahama Blue.

Dye before photo dress

Underneath the dress I added a scrap piece of a bed sheet that my step-mom gave me.

dye ice bahama blue fabric

dye ice bahama blue dress on

I was disappointed with the results on both the dress and the scrap sheet.  The Bahama Blue doesn’t give that “ice dye” look.  I would have been better off practicing tub dyeing with those two pieces.

One night on facebook I saw someone in a dyeing group I follow list dyes for sale.  People rave about this brand of dye (Dharma Dye).  I wasn’t really interested in purchasing it mainly because it is only available on-line, Dylon Dyes I can buy from JoAnn Fabric easily.  This deal was a good one and this was my chance to try that brand.  I bought about $150 worth of dye and didn’t have to pay shipping for a lot less.

dye dharma

I have wanted to try a glue resist dye project and since the scrap sheet was a flop and blotchy it would work for this technique.

dye glue resist hands

We traced hands and Charlie and Henry took turns adding designs to the fabric with the glue.

Dye glue resist Henry's sun

I scrunched up the fabric on my ice dyeing tray, piled ice on top and sprinkled a tiny amount of my new Dharma dyes on the ice and this is what we got:

dye ice on glue resist results

Dyes: Daffodil, Cerulean Blue, Better Blue Green, and Fuchsia Red.

I made this little bag for my Mom for her birthday.  Each side of the bag has one of my children’s hand print.

dye ice on glue resist bag

 

I had part of the rainbow colors done for this set of napkins.  With my new dyes I wanted to try a tub dye with them so I finished my rainbow by dyeing the yellow with Daffodil, and the pink on the right was dyed with Fuchsia Red.  I had two purple napkins and threw one of them in the Fuchsia Red dye.  I think that is the napkin next to the orange one. dyed rainbow napkins set 1

I did an ice dye with my new dye and got this piece that will be made into a ring sling for a friend who will have her baby this fall.

dye ice creulean blue & better blue green

Dyes:  Cerulean Blue and Better Blue Green.

Dye ice ring sling creulean blue & better blue green

These are the bonus items I dyed (top two shirts were under the ring sling and ice and the bottom two were in the “drip water”).

dye ice blue green

 

My biggest failed dye project is this (I am sorry Michelle, if you read this):

dye ice purple middle strip ring sling 2

Ice dyed with Intense Violet Dylon Dye.

Overdyed with ice and Navy Dylon Dye.

dye over intense violet with navy1

I am falling in love with the LWI technique.

These two pieces I made after someone saw the first LWI ring sling I did.  This ring sling was done with my new dyes.

dye LWI granny apple, peacock blue, & power berry

Dyes:  Granny Apple, Peacock Blue & Power Berry.

dye LWI granny apple, peacock blue, power berry ring sling

dye LWI granny apple, peacock blue, power berry rings

I had a little bit of Peacock Blue and Power Berry left so I scrunched up this piece of scrap sheet into a coffee can, squirted the blue in the middle and the purple on the outside edges, this is the result:

dye LWI granny apple power berry