Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just Because Quilt Progress

I finished all the "Round the Corner" blocks for the "Just Because" quilt. I am working on getting the rows pieced, then I'll add borders and get it ready for quilting! It is coming together very nicely, and I'm excited about seeing the entire top together. Nice thing about not adding any sashings is that you get to see some wonderful secondary patterns emerge.

Have a great day!

For Every Thing There Is A Season....

A time to mourn....

We were sad to get some news Friday morning.

It came as a shock.

It was totally unexpected.

Alas, for Dale's Jetta is now no more.
That's right, it is gone.
Poof. Just like that.
In the above picture it was being taken to the mechanic's.
We got the call that there was a fire.
Amongst the cars destroyed was the Jetta.
It is gone.
Bought the farm.
Kicked the bucket.
Bit the big one.
Gave up the ghost.
Went to the great garage in the sky.

Let us all take a moment of silence for the dearly departed.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mars on Approach

Doesn't that title make you think of something sneaking up on you? Well, the approach of Mars is not covert. This week it has been getting easier to see with the naked eye. This Friday, the 29th, it will be at its closest to earth for the year. I know everyone gets those spam mails about Mars being the closest to Earth ever in history. Pffft.... disregard that and any of the evolutionary garbage you read.

Just pray for a clear night, get your kids, your telescope and your dh (for snuggling and keeping warm of course!) and go out and marvel at God's handiwork.

Last night on our way home from church we saw Orion, and also saw Mars. Thus spurred me to find the following links. You can find much more, and even work them into your Science lessons for a few days. Great opportunity for a spontaneous lesson!

Mars 2009/2010

Mars In the Night Sky (answers a few questions like... why does Mars appear to go backwards in a loop?)

National Geographic article on the Year's Best View of Mars

Facts about Mars

Free Mars worksheet (easy)

Tons of Lesson Plans on Mars by Teacher Planet

Solar System free Unit Study by HomesSchool Views .... I just took a very quick look at this and if we were doing a unit study on the solar system this looked very helpful!

You can google more for yourself. There are all manner of crafts and fun stuff to do. Of course, Mars candies would be fun to incorporate into the study. Or any study for that matter. You just can't go wrong with chocolate. ;)

Happy learning!

(Disclaimer: I do not necessarily agree with all "facts" given. Parental discretion is always appropriate.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, January 25th (yeah, I'm posting this from yesterday!)

Outside my window... RAIN and very warm temperatures (in the 50's!). On the watch for flooding in the church basement.

I am thinking... I wish all this rain were snow and then we could say we actually had a real snowfall!

I am thankful for... the fact it is January, and that there is still plenty of time for winter. :)

I am wearing... Jean skirt, pink t-shirt

I am remembering... to take it one thing at a time today.

I am going... nowhere that I know of this week. Of course, that is always subject to change!

I am currently reading... John Adams by David McCullough

I am hoping... to finish my "Just Because" quilt top this week so I can prep it for quilting next week.

On my mind... The many organizational tasks I need to do this morning.

Noticing that... I am extremely tired and fatigued today.

From the Learning Rooms... Morocco lap books in the making, unit study on Horses, and continuing in our reading of Beric the Briton, some online background reading, and a lap book on Ancient Rome; typing later this week, and all the three "R"'s.

Pondering these words... "The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters." (Psalm 29:3)

From the kitchen... a HUGE pot of homemade turkey noodle soup simmering.

Around the house... Laundry, general picking up, laundry, getting the menu planned, laundry, doing up the shopping lists, laundry, planning the weekly logs for school... oh, did I mention laundry???

One of my favorite things... Bedtime.

A picture I am sharing...

For instructions and guidelines to participate in the Simple Woman's Daybook, go to Peggy's blog.

Jerusha' Letter "O" and "I" lapbook

Jerusha and I have been working on reviewing her vowels. Last week we did the letters "O" and "I". Again, we used the lap book method. I really enjoy this method as it keeps things fun, and helps me not to overplan activities for her. I can get carried away with all the ideas that are out there for learning. :)

Here is the front of her lap book:

The inside of her lap book:

Here are a few of the books we read together just for fun:

We also have been practicing saying the alphabet and counting to ten using different objects. I also have a cutting and pasting book by Kumon that she uses a couple times a week.

Here are a couple links I found helpful. You can google to find a bunch more. There are a ton of free resources to use!

Free Alphabet Lap-N-Note

First School Letter "o" Printables

National Geographic for kids, all about river Otters

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Jerusha!

5 years ago, I went into labor during the worst blizzard of the season! Quite the welcome for a newborn, but as you can see, she was none worse for the wear. It was a good thing we birthed at home, as I have no doubt in my mind that she would have been born in the van, on the side of the road, as the nearest hospital would have been too far away in that weather to make it before she was born. That is all the time frame I am going to give on how long (er, not long) the labor was lest those who have long labors start throwing tomatoes at me. :)

Jerusha was very helpful in making the birthday cake. We made a chocolate cake with pink frosting. The sprinkles on top were in the shape of cats.

For supper we had hot dogs, french fries, and baby carrots, followed by cake, of course. After supper Jerusha opened presents.

She got a doll shawl that Esther and I made:

I also made her a doll quilt. Here is the front:

And the back:

The battery on the camera was dying so I tried to get a shot here with a bunch of the birthday booty:

She also got a nice birthday smile from Isaac:

After her presents were opened the twins helped her do a treasure hunt they made up, then it was time for kitchen clean up, baths, and a movie of Jerusha's choice.

Happy birthday Jerusha!

Friday, January 22, 2010

If You Give Your Mama a Muffin....

If you give your Mama a muffin...

She will ask you for a napkin...

If you give your Mama a napkin,
She will ask you for some tea to go with it.

If you give your Mama some tea,
she'll come and invite you to eat with her!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Just Because" Quilt Progress

After doing all manner of mathematical acrobatics, I have determined I have enough fabric to add a row onto the Just Because quilt. I have some sort of weird phobia about square quilts. I think it is because if it is a throw quilt, like I intend for the Just Because Quilt, then I want it rectangular to reach down my legs.

This quilt is made up from two very modified blocks. One is the New England block and the other is 'Round The Corner. I have been working on the modified New England block and finished all 15 of them, ready and pressed. Hopefully this afternoon I'll get to start on the 'Round the Corner blocks. Oh and the good news is that I can use up some more of those 87 million half square triangle units that I got carried away with!

I know the above block a little curved. That is because I used my couch as the background and the curve of the cushion makes it look a little funny. Just ignore that. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


At the risk of being stoned... er, snowballed, I have to say, that the weather today is wonderful.

Is it sunny?


Is it warm? Well, define warm. If you mean shorts-wearing weather (like a certain person I know... A-HEM!) then ....


If you mean above -62 or whatever it was in Alaska the other day....


It is the perfect temperature... not too hot, not too cold. The sun could be out and it wouldn't hurt my feelings, but I'll take what we are having today over any of the dog days of summer.


You know... the wet stuff that falls when it is around 30 degrees or so. Perfect for snowballing (not that I would ever throw a snowball at anyone... like an ambush on Dale when he gets home... no I'm too submissive and ladylike a wife to EVER do that!) at any time (see the previous statement), or perfect for making tunnels, or a GIANT snowman!

Yeah, I like this weather. I like winter. I like having to put on another layer. I like drinking my coffee or tea and enjoying the warmth it provides, and not breaking out into a sweat over it. I like putting wood into the wood stove and feeling the coziness of the house. I like to be able to knit or quilt without my hands getting sweaty.

For those of you who suffer from the internal high thermostat syndrome as I do, this weather probably pleases you as much as it does me.

Besides.. hey folks, it is winter in the north east. Deal with it. Embrace it. Enjoy it. And laugh at those who don't.


(Written by one who is wearing a t-shirt, has the ceiling fan on, and sleeps with the oscillating fan in her room on high in January. I'd crack a window open but Dale won't let me. *Pout*. )

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, January 18th...

Outside my window... Very gray and dreary but warmer today than it was a week ago. The sun was out Saturday, and it was a simply gorgeous day!

I am thinking... about a couple books I would like to get for reading to go along with our current unit studies.

I am thankful for... those rare quiet times when I can regroup.

I am wearing... Pj's, my favorite fleece bathrobe, slippers. (Seriously, I'm going to stop doing this until I am dressed from now on! Problem is that I do this before Isaac wakes up and I don't usually get dressed until after he wakes up. LOL )

I am remembering... Back when the twins were Isaac's age. That seems like a very long time ago! Almost 12 years!

I am going... to the library this week (hopefully!).

I am currently reading... John Adams by David McCullough (well trying to read it! Too many interruptions these days!)

I am hoping... that my muscles won't be too sore from my walk Saturday to exercise tonight. :D

On my mind... Plans and the "to do" list for today and the general list for this week.

Noticing that... Hey, all the girls are up and doing their Bible reading but there is no sign of the boys.

Pondering these words... "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?" ~ James 2:14

From the kitchen... Just the wonderful aroma of coffee at the moment.

I am praying... For the Haitians, for a wayward member of our church who is trying to stir up trouble, and for our Missions conference coming up in March.

Around the house... Not too much going on right now. We are just starting our morning routines. I think I am going to have to wake all the boys up!

From the learning rooms... We are doing a horse unit study, and historical study based on the book Beric the Briton by G.A. Henty, Typing, plus all the regular stuff.

I am hearing... the happy hum of the washer, the water pump kicking on from time to time, Elizabeth starting some oatmeal out in the kitchen, and Jerusha gently turning pages in the book she is looking at on the couch.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Library visit, make a couple of dentist appointments for the kids, Jerusha's birthday dinner and "party" on Saturday.

I am creating... a doll quilt for Jerusha (shhh!), the menu for the week, and a "just because" quilt.

One of my favorite things... Watching Isaac fall asleep.

A picture thought I am sharing...

For guidelines and instructions for the Daybook, go to Peggy's blog.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Freebies and Fun

If you have never subscribed to Homes School Freebie of the Day, you should. Even if you don't home school, you'll enjoy something each week.

Here is the link: Home School Freebie of the Day. If you go there and sign up for their weekly newsletter (free, btw!) you'll get a list emailed to you at the beginning of each week of what will be offered on what day, plus a special "subscriber's offer" each week. Today's is "strange historical" stories. Tomorrow's is Gulliver's Travels in both pdf and Mp3 form.

I also enjoy Econobusters. If you haven't visited Molly's site, then go take a look. Again, sign up for the free weekly newsletter and you'll get lots of great frugal ideas for crafts, organization, recipes, activities, homeschooling, etc. Her ideas are endless! There is a recipe for spinach pie this week that I would LOVE to try! It looks delicious. Spinach is versatile and very good for you. It will help build up the iron in your blood, which means more energy during these gray, listless winter months (well, with a house full of kids it is never "listless", but you know what I mean!). I love to eat spinach raw on a tuna sandwich, or in a salad. You can also put it in lasagna, or a casserole, or in eggs, or just about anything.

I hope you enjoy these sites!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pieceful Thoughts

That is the name I gave this finished wall hanging:

The colors are soothing and calming and cool.
Here's the back:

You can't see it in the picture but I did attach a hanging sleeve. You can see that little patch.. no, it isn't a rip or anything. That is just the label. It says "Pieceful Thoughts" by Lisa, January 2010".

Here are a couple of close ups of the quilting. The one in the border I'm not sure if you can make out or not. That was a continuous line feather pattern. I think I matched the thread just a little bit too well, as it is barely visible in real life!

Now to package it up and get it to its recipient!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

School time!

At the beginning of the year Jerusha started learning her letters and sounds. After Christmas break I decided we should do a review of the vowels, as they are usually the hardest. To make this review interesting, of course lap booking was involved! For the past several days she has been working on some "Aa" and "Ee" review.

In her lapbook is some printing practice, letter identification practice, poetry, cutting practice, upper and lower case identification games, some coloring, and little review books.

I also had her do this fine motor skill activity with an elephant shaped sewing card:

I used several different sites for this lap book. If you google "alphabet lap book" I'm sure you'll find a treasure trove of ideas! Grab a cup of tea and enjoy!

This morning my son had a little experiment to do using a pulley system. Here is why I couldn't get into the kitchen to cut up the chicken for the crock pot meal planned for supper yet:

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY January 11th....

Outside my window... Another below zero temperature this morning. Everything is crystal and white, and it is beautiful. Most people complain, but frankly, I've been waiting for this weather since July. It's winter!!!!

I am thinking... about the many ideas I have in my head right now. Too many! I need to just pick one or two, well, maybe three, and concentrate on it!

I am thankful for... My wonderful, understanding, and tolerant best friend, who just happens to be my husband.

I am wearing... Red turtleneck with little blue flowers, navy blue corduroy jumper, and leggings. Ha! Got dressed before I did this for a change!

I am remembering... that Jerusha's birthday will be on the 23rd and I need to finish making her gift.

I am going... No where this week except to church. Maybe to Barnes and Noble. We didn't go the other week because of the weather and the children would love to make a trip and spend some of their Christmas money, I am sure!

I am currently reading... John Adams by David McCullough. EXCELLENT! I highly recommend any of his books. Make the time to read them. Seriously.

I am hoping... To get thru the trimming and squaring of those 87 million half square triangle units in the next couple of days.

On my mind... Standards and the lack or change of them and our attitudes about it. It concerns me when Christians standards change because of convenience and then it is dismissed as "liberty in Christ".

Noticing that... I am the only one around here that is appreciating the gorgeous winter weather.

Pondering these words... "The government is like an infant. It has an insatiable appetite at one end, and no sense of responsibility at the other." ~ Ronald Reagan

From the kitchen... I am soaking the drip pans from the stove burners and will be washing them soon, and detail cleaning the stove top.

I am creating... quilts, and more quilts on the drawing board.

I am praying... for several people in our area that have major health problems and were hospitalized last week.

Around the house... Organizing the menu and shopping list for this week, and getting a unit study on Horses ready to go this morning. Long term goals this spring/summer is to get more decluttering and organizing done.

One of my favorite things... Gazing at Isaac after he has fallen asleep on my lap. I marvel at a baby's sense of peace and contentment.

A picture thought....

For guideline for joining the the Simple Woman's Daybook, visit Peggy's blog.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Projects in Progress

I was hoping to be able to be able to post a pic of the finished wall hanging I have been working on but it is amazing how many little things can go wrong. I also spent quite a bit of time monkeying around with some quilting templates my dh bought me for Christmas, trying to use a couple different techniques of marking the borders. I finally got it figured out, and got all the quilting done, then went onto the binding. I realized I wanted a sleeve put in it, so I pinned the sleeve so that the top would be attached under the binding in the back. Then I flipped the folded edge to the binding over and started hand stitching it in place, taking beautiful, tiny, little stitches. I was quite pleased with them.

Then I saw it.

Talk about a dumb mistake! I suddenly realized that I attached the binding with the sewing machine, NOT to the right side, but to the back side of the quilt! ARGH! So I took out all the hand stitching and decided that instead of taking the binding all the way off I would just top stitch it down, just like as if the binding was made by using the backing fabric in a fold over method. I recently read in a blog somewhere of another lady doing this on a regular basis with bias strip binding, so I figured it was "kosher". Still, I can't believe I did that!

We started homeschooling again this week so I haven't had as much time as I was hoping to sew, but I did get started on using my new fabric. I picked out a design from a book, then realized I had so many fabrics that I was going to have to replace what goes where. My blocks will look pretty much nothing like the one in the book, but that is what I love about quilting. The possibilities really are endless!

I started out with a ton of calculations as to how many of the first step half square triangles I was going to have to make. Initially, I wanted to add an extra row. I have a thing against square quilts, at least for a lap quilt. The pattern I am using makes a square throw quilt. I really like rectangular. So I calculated again adding on an extra row. Well, after measuring the fabric I realized I wasn't going to have quite enough for the first step, which all needed to be uniform. The other parts of the block I could mix and match, but for these half square triangles they needed to be the same.

I decided to take a row off the original pattern and then just add an extra border or something to make the overall size bigger. That worked for me, and I went off on a cutting spree.

I did 87 million of the half square triangle units and started to think part way through that it was an awful lot of little 3 inch squares for the number of blocks I was making. I use the layering technique to make the half square triangle units. It occurred to me when I was almost done that my calculations were WAY off. I forgot one little fact. When making the half square triangle units with the layering technique, you end up with twice as many. UGH!

If you followed all of the above, then you understand that I have gracious plenty half square triangle units to add an extra row to the original quilt pattern, and I'll probably have enough left over for another small quilt.

So at odd moments during the day Thursday I pressed the 87 million half square triangle units.

I am in the process now of cutting the dog ears off and trimming and squaring them down to 2 1/2 inches.

That may seem extremely tedious. That is because it is tedious. But it is worth it.

Here is a close up. The unit on the left is untrimmed, unsquared, and the one on the right is trimmed and squared. It just makes for more accurate sewing later, and when this quilt is done, you'll see the piecing and all the corners and appreciate why accuracy in cutting is important.

Okay... break over, I'm going to go do some more of the trimming and watch the kids play with the Wii. Blessings!

CM freebie!

Well, not Charlotte Mason herself, but a free ebook from the CM website.

Smooth and Easy Days.... go here for your free download!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Just Because" quilt

I bought the above fabric on sale after Christmas. Yes, it has a "holiday" feel to it, but I don't care.

It took me some time to decide on a pattern. Then I rearranged some of the color values in the pattern to suit what I had. I don't have a fancy computer program to use, so I did it the old fashioned way: with my imagination.

I then did a bunch of calculations to make sure I had enough of what I needed. I am not very good at math, and double and triple checked my numbers.

I won't be using all of the fabrics shown, but that is okay. There is always another quilt.

Why am I making this quilt?

Just because.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pantry Busting

"Use it up
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or do without."

Don't you just love that old New England saying? It is the epitome of frugality.

This month, or however long I can make it last, I am going to try and use up what is in our freezers and pantry areas. I got the inspiration from Abbi's blog, Proverbs 31 Living.

Also, something else I want to use as much as possible is my remnant and scrap fabric for as many sewing and quilting projects as I can squeeze them into. Okay, except for the one I am working on now. I don't know if that counts as I bought all the fabric a couple weeks ago at JoAnn's and a quilting store near here when everything was on sale. :)

There are a few things we will need to replenish, but for the most part, I think we can do at least a month, if not more, of meals from our pantry. I figure by the time spring comes, there will plenty room in our freezers for garden produce later in the summer. My goal is to get one of those chest freezers emptied and shut off for at least a few months.

I have an advantage that most of you probably don't. One of the gentlemen in our church volunteers at a food pantry and always brings us a box of goodies. Usually most of it is some sort of greens, weird veggies, or outdated milk that is okay to use, but you have to be careful. Sometimes there are things that I have NO clue what to do with them and either I am successful in finding something to make that will appeal to the masses here at the Hive, or it gets recycled into garden fodder.

Tonight we had scrambled eggs with cheese and spinach in it, and English muffins. All of it, including the milk that went into making the scrambled eggs, were given to us today.

Anyone care to join me?

Family Pic experiment

Don't mind me... I'm trying to do something with this picture and I needed it to be "hosted" somewhere so I am trying it from here.

Technical Difficulties

Sorry to anyone who was trying to comment recently and couldn't. Haloscan has been discontinued and I didn't want to pay for Echo so I have been wrestling with Blogger to get their comments thingie to work. I finally saw a tiny little blip about reverting to widgets to "default" (whatever that means) and followed the steps and I think the comments widget is now working.

So... fire away! Let me hear what you have to say.

Hey, I'm a poet and I didn't know it.

Okay... I REALLY need to get more sleep.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Winter Project List

Now that the holidays are over, and things are settling down, I have made up a Winter Project List. It is an ambitious list, but thankfully, whatever doesn't get done won't effect the fate of the nation, so no worries. I won't copy the list here because just looking at it will freak most sane people out. Instead, I will just post about the items as they get finished.

It seems to me that sewing naturally converts over to quilting, and for some reason, many who quilt, also have a penchant for knitting/crocheting. Maybe it is because we love working with our hands so much and love any kind of finger work tedium. Whatever the reason, knitting has made its mark here at the Beehive.

I am waiting on some needles from Knitpicks before I start Isaac's next BSJ. Well, they were having a big end of the year sale, so I indulged it a couple (3 to be exact) books. Two on sock making, and one on knitting cables. Dale looks at me funny whenever I talk about knitting cables, as in his masculine mind he pictures something like jumper cables. I'll teach him about cable knitting later, after he masters the terminology of "knitting" and "crocheting". He gets the two mixed up as often as "jumpers" and "skirts". Thankfully he doesn't make the mistake of calling a quilt (a marvelous,creative,work of fiber art, thankyouverymuch) a "blanket". That makes any quilter cringe.

Since Christmas I have a few little projects finished.

Here is a scarf for Josiah. I had gotten the yarn for him for his birthday in October when he was showing quite an interest in knitting, but that petered out and I offered to do his scarf for him after I was done with the holiday crafts. My mom was out for the holidays and not two rows into the project she took over and worked on it until it was almost done. She had to go home (something about work... how lame!) so I finished it up. Yup, that's right, Memere can knit! And she does a fantastic job. I can't really lay claim to Josiah's scarf other than maybe a fifth of it.

My Mom, thankfully, goes to bed much earlier than we do, so in the evenings after Christmas, I worked on making her birthday gift. It is a little Ipod, or Camera cozy.

I have a burning desire to learn to make socks this winter, so Dale got me some "practice" yarn. It is fingering weight, and I used size 2 needles to stitch up this little cell phone cozy for a friend of mine. Under it, you'll see just a little glimpse of a wall hanging I am making for another friend. I am almost done with that, and I'll post a pic of the completed project soon.

We are still on break for the most part here, even though Dale is back to work. I am taking a few extra days to get all the paperwork, portfolios, and new unit studies organized before we jump in again. Of course, this leaves a little extra time in the schedule, and since my needles aren't in yet, I think I will finish that wall hanging and start cutting out for a new "holiday" quilt with some fabric I got at JoAnn's while my mom was here. Bless her heart, I had her in every fabric store in the area just to match colors in the main print. It's too bad she doesn't enjoy quilting, as she has an excellent eye for color!