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Friday, February 27, 2009

Hail Storm

I need to spend some time editing a video to share our hail storm.

Remnant scarf -- wore it two days ago. needs length on end to accommodate tying like a neckerchief.

Prayer shawl -- growing longer. one-third finished. very pleased with the color combo.

Crazy quilt -- I need to buy "frame fabric." If I get one yard, I'll have a remnant left. Oh, the dilemma! More than half the quilt top is ready to finish. I may start stitching what is ready to go while I wait. I do have coupons to ease the price burden, but do I have the time to shop?

Scrapbooking -- I need to buy adhesive before my March 7 crop. Got 50 prints from Walgreens (buy 25, get 25 free) ready for layouts. And find the page kits I made in Oct. at a Stampin' Up! home party. Where did I put them? Archivers (the franchise store) coupon expires tomorrow -- free paper, yay! However, I want to patronize Heirlooms, my locally owned scrapbook store. I also want to cut down on my travel time, so there's the dilemma.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

awarding the fifth blog

This has been in my head since the last post, but I was hesitant to award the last blog because I don't want a ton of non-family visitors to their blog. Not that anything crazy is there. Sometimes it just feels odd to have strangers visit and comment.

Gramps and Grandma Campbell (no hyperlink included) -- they have an attitude of gratitude. They are my real grandparents, and the gratefulness they have for family is expressed in their blog. Family is reason for the blog (and facebook, and email!). Many of my colleagues are surprised, then realize the coolness factor of having them 'plugged in.'

So I have changed the name of the Sisterhood Award to the Attitude Award, no graphic. Rules are still valid. TTFN!

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sisterhood Award

From my sis IRL, one mom, five boys, I was given the Sisterhood Award.

The rules of this award are...
1. Add the sisterhood logo to your blog or post. Check.
2. Nominate at least 5 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude! Check. See below.
3. Link to your nominees in your post. Check.
4. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award. This will be checked off the list as soon as I am done here.

Five blogs to nominate. Well, I don't know that I tagged anyone for the last award, which was similar (I was intimidated by the large number of ten blogs to nominate). I feel like I HAVE to check these blogs when there are new posts. I like all of these blogs.

Handbook of Nature Study -- gratitude for our Lord's creation and a positive attitude toward it, even when the weather is bad.

Bubble's Domain
-- my daughter's blog (unsure if she opened it to the public yet), for her creative attitude toward writing. OK, the awards says "sisterhood." That is as awkward as spelling the word awkward.

LEGO Maniac -- my son's blog, for his open attitude at my suggestion of combining writing and LEGOs. Again, the award says "sisterhood." I'll have to think of a different name for this award before I pass it on to the kids. But they'll read about it here. Dilemma. I'll also have to make a cool graphic, too. I may have to re-write the rules for the different name award. But I like their attitudes.

The Unzone -- one of the first homeschool moms that I ever met. Her respectful attitude toward her kids has been inspiring to watch.


Friday, February 20, 2009

New Knitter

Needle knitting for the first time! I came home this afternoon to find my child finishing Teddy's scarf. Size 10.5 needles. No idea what this yarn is. Something fat and frizzy and acrylic but not splitty -- perfect for a new knitter. She caught on very quickly after a few attempts over the years. She was just ready for knitting this time. "A" of GAIN bound off for her. I was hoping she would teach her little sister, not do it for her, but with only five stitches across the needle, I can understand her reasoning.


Monday, February 16, 2009

not finished

The batting in my trunk is all narrow strips. No memory of why.

Fortunately, batting was 50% off at LFS (local fabric store) -- $4.99 before sales tax.

I cut some more brown frames from the last of my remnants. I'll need more. No appropriate remnants at LFS. Will check a couple other places before going in for full price. I may have a 40% coupon somewhere though. Gotta stay as close to zero expenses as possible.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Finish work

I unstacked my blocks, spread them on Mr. GAIN's old bed sheet from high school (conveniently printed with a 2" x 2" grid), and figured that 54 blocks will work. I swapped seven or six blocks with a tiny edge of fabric for blocks with beefier edges. And the one block I had under the presser foot, I didn't finish. It would have looked very different from all the rest, but there is no need for another block on this project. Perhaps another project.

I then took a short amount of time cutting 2" x 2" blocks, mostly from two colors of fabric. Love the rotary cutter and self-healing mat. Very time-efficient and accurate. Bought them years ago as a special package. I knew that I had a great deal when people in line behind me were happy for me and congratulating me on my purchase. :-)

I rolled up the sheet with the blocks on it, and spent time looking at my leftover fabric to decide what "frames" I could have. Brown is what I had a lot of. A left over All Saints Day costume from long ago. Not a thrilling color, but my goal is to spend zero dollars. Or close to it. Especially since no one in my house currently needs a quilt. I just need to create something useful with all my junk.

As for the junk: My top drawer of remnants looks nice. My bottom drawer, not as nice, but not packed full like it was. Everything is still cramped in there, though. I have a darker brown fabric that could supplement, but I haven't much of it. I went ahead and cut brown rectangles. I'll hopefully get time to lay everything out tomorrow and see what my purchasing needs, if any, are. For some reason, I have a lot of batting. I'll have to see if there are scraps or untouched full cuts yet this evening.

I feel that I'm channeling my Great-Grandma Campbell and my Great-Aunt Shirley. It's a comforting thought. They made a quilt for my high school graduation. I treasure it. Since it's a one of a kind quilt and I'm such a messy person, I've rarely used it for fear that something bad would spoil it. I could never replace it.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Handmade Gifts

I intend to work on the quilt Saturday, so I thought I would show a few of the 'smelts' that have been given to us over the years. I don't think I'll be taking any pictures because I want to get a lot of progress on the quilt. I haven't worked on it this week. For any new readers, a 'smelt' is a gift that was handmade and given for Christmas in the McGuire tradition. The word was lifted from Victoria Jackson and Paul Simon's Saturday Night Live Christmas on a Deserted Island skit.

Here is a chair that Dave made for Mr. GAIN. It folds up quite a clever fashion. Made of 1 x 1's. Very impressive because he had to travel from North Carolina to Iowa with it, or assemble it once he arrived here. Either way, long-distance gifts require extra brain work -- whether you are giving a gift that someone has to haul back home or hauling a gift to give (assembling, pre-assembling, purchasing material upon arrival, etc.). You have to stretch your creativity to ensure a good idea for packing.

Here is a pen and pencil holder that Jeff made for me. Soldered copper pipes. It originally had "an apple for the teacher" on the front since I'm a homeschool teacher. It was formed with copper wire and you can still see the little dot of solder from where it was attached. I added a piece of sticker-ized felt to the bottom so it wouldn't scratch the counter and added a bean to each tube so the pens wouldn't stick to the felt. We use it all the time. I don't think it will wear out.

We also have a few lamps in the house. I've made a lamp to give away. They are pretty quick and easy to make. The ones that were given to us have a branch for the vertical post with a pipe for the horizontal arm. One is de-barked and the other is not. I couldn't get a good photo of either the floor lamp or the tabletop lamp because we have too much stuff in the way to get a clear shot. Yes, we have junk to get rid of. A lot of junk.

Lastly, we have a snowman. Donna and her husband recycled some boards from a fence to make a snowman for every family. Ours has gotten some wear since we received him. His hat has no brim left. But his scarf is still there and all of the buttons, too. A little chalk embellishment on the hat never hurt a snowman, either.

We have gotten a lot more handmade goods through smelting than I've shown here -- an apron for the barbecue, a genuine cork board, and embellished flowerpots and photo frames are four items that I can think of right now. They are such a part of our every day lives that I have difficulty separating them from our conventional useful things. Now that I think about it, I feel wrong to not treasure the handmade more, since they were made with thought of the recipient. I'll be considering this as I pass the weekend.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

DM Art Center

My plug for the day is based on our recent visit.

Visit the dm art center -- free admission, Grant Wood's American Gothic, and a fun shop full of crafty ideas to copy. Examples of fun stuff: a purse of crocheted pop can tabs, a purse of woven candy wrappers, stools covered with uninflated balloons, and stuffed felt flowers. All feasible to make in my mind. Never a lack of ideas here.

And the front desk has a picture study guide available for you home schoolers out there.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Soap carving

"I" of GAIN and I carved soap in preparation for Valentine's Day. The Scrooge in me likes to say, "Singles awareness day." We're planning a family day, because Mr. GAIN can profess his love to me any other day and have it be more meaningful than a day that culture and society chose for him. That's the anti-consumer in me.


Blog Award

I keep forgetting to publicly accept my award from very blessed mommy, the Kreative Blogger Award. In accepting this award, I am supposed to nominate 10 other blogs that show great attitude/gratitude, link the blogs I choose here, then comment on their blogs to tell them about the award. Ten is a big number. I'll consider a few then let them know.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Prayer shawl finished

I finished the prayer shawl by adding fringe. Unsure if the Homespun yarn will maintain its integrity as fringe. I chose one skein of yarn from the basket and will work it with the remaining yarn from my last shawl to create a new shawl. Unsure if it will have fringe.

During the meeting, the leader read a card to us from a recent recipient, and I was touched. Many stories about the effect of prayer shawls from a faith community have affected me as I work on projects for this ministry.

Reading Karen's post about taking a class with her daughter reminded me of our prayer shawl ministry. We meet monthly, and we always have at least one school ager in the mix. The most consistent school kid is a 7th grader, and she made a presentation to her 4-H group about knitting. She invited everyone in the group to learn to knit at our Prayer Shawl meeting, so we had two kids and mom learn to knit tonight! Last meeting, we had 4th graders knitting with us, as well as a college freshman.

Multi-age learning, leisure and life skills are things that I have striven for in my adult life. I am thankful that I have the freedom to explore all sorts of things to satisfy my quest for the new, new to me, thing. I think I was really narrow in my view of education until my freshman year of college. At that time, I visited a professor, and he said, "You don't have to be enrolled in a college course to learn something." He then gestured with his arm to the wall of full bookshelves behind him. He had a very diverse collection of reading material. Until that time, I think I was wearing blinders. Thank you, Sam, wherever you are!

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Happy Scrappy Day

I spent ten hours working on scrapbook pages at New Life Church. It was a fundraiser crop (freewill offering) for their youth group's upcoming Appalachia mission trip. Although we have a new printer/scanner/copy machine, I decided to photograph my work from that day. Much faster.

I loved getting a bunch of pictures out of storage and into an album. I still have journaling to finish, but getting the pages laid out is the biggest hurdle to leap. Journaling is easy, doesn't take much space at home, etc. I finished 25 pages. I also started two big layouts, but found that each layout was missing one big photo. I think I must have been waiting to print the enlargements with the occasional Walgreen's "Free 5 x 7" special. I'm still waiting for that special to run, and I'll remember this time that I have images to print. I also organized some photos. Some photos from 2005 -- four years ago -- got stuck on a page (finally). Yes, I am pretty late.

Another notable detail about the crop I attended was that someone had just purchased a CriCut at WalMart (under $200) and brought it along. This weekend was the first time it ever saw use. I had never seen one. It was nifty and fun, even though we couldn't use cardstock with it. You can see some of the letters I cut with it here. It seems to have a lot more to offer than a Sizzix or QuicKuts.

I'm not finished embellishing all of my pages. With a self-imposed spending freeze of all craft supplies, I will pore over my idea book that I bought back in the days of yore, and create some awesome-ness that fits my style and current stock of supplies.

I also pumped out quite a few blocks for my crazy quilt and "I" of GAIN finished her pincushion on Friday. She plans to give it to a friend tomorrow during a play date. I made a few more after this photograph was taken. I recently saw a 'project improv'-style quilt where the stitcher made the back of the quilt with large scraps of fabric. I am considering the idea, but I like using a flat sheet, then tying it. The kids can participate in the tying, which is why our quilts are tied. (I have made two or three quilts that are not tied, and they weren't for our family to use.) I haven't made any decisions on finishing this, though. I don't even keep track of how many blocks I still need to sew. I may be done, but who knows.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Giveaway Thoughts

I browsed everyone's stashes and blogs and came to some conclusions. (See yesterday, or here for info on the giveaways.)

1. I am morally staying out of most giveaways that require international postage. I wasn't paying attention to all of the hosts, so I have to say "most" instead of all. I just never paid attention to the originator's location until I won the lovely Nostalgems charms (thank you for picking me!). The cost (in all value systems) of international postage is too high for my personal life. If I were building a business, then I might reconsider.

2. There are a lot of Australian and NZ crafting blogs! (I love the English language for uniting us.) If we Iowans want Australian things, maybe we could take our business to my IRL Iowa friend, Shannon. Our history goes back to 1985!

3. I think I ought to giveaway some stuff. I read about One World, One Heart and found it thought-provoking. I'll let ideas simmer in my head for a while.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sign Me Up!

I'm a Gingermonkey is hosting a stash-busting giveaway! All of us hoarding crafters can volunteer to declutter somebody's stash (that sounds positive and not greedy, doesn't it?). My fabric drawer has recently seen a reduction in its contents, I want to make some fabric napkins, our youngest will need more fabric for her quilt, timing seems good, price seems great, why not? Join me in the fun! I'm sure I'll pay it forward in the days to come. That is how it works in bloggerland.

Crazy quilt update: I have a couple more rows of blocks to create. The small pieces of fabric are all used up. I broke out a few bigger remnants. Feeling good to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I" of GAIN update: I got a Felicity's Craft Book a while back. Unsure if it was donated to me or bought. "I" had to keep her feet up and rest yesterday (we'll be shopping for new snow boots), read through the book, and has done a couple crafts from the book. She has the pincushion almost done. Actually, she is waiting for me to buy some poly fill. I needed some in December for my Mr. Bluebird, but used fabric scraps. She wants soft poly fill because it is a gift. She learned the backstitch.

Her first quilt block is coming along nicely. She completed a row of 3 patches while I was out of the house yesterday. I was surprised, but really, it's not a difficult activity, so why not do it yourself instead of wait for Mom?

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Monday, February 2, 2009

what's happening to the world

I rarely shop. With my birthday this week, I've ventured out more than usual, and noticed a couple things. First, I hated Hancock Fabrics turning into a KMart a couple years ago. Now it has changed again -- they sell ready made clothing and shoes, now in an upscale, non-KMart interior. Ugh. Isn't this a fabric store? Or broader yet, a craft store? Home dec was kind of a niche, with coordinating fabrics, but really, this is going a little far. Next, they'll probably get flat screen TV's running in every corner, playing ads and infomercials. ("G" thinks flat screens at stores are the biggest waste.)

Second, "G" of GAIN really enjoys shopping. He always want to go with me to any store, even if we're not buying a thing. We went to Target and saw these lovely decorative balls. If you have a large bowl on your table, you may want to fill it with these easily smelt-able items -- balls that were painted, then covered with little slices of twigs. The boys and I have always joked about harvesting bundles of grasses and reeds for $20 mark-up -- at least these things show a little brainwork, labor, and crafting. I have no idea what is going on with the world and its decorating taste. If you want to surround yourself with nature, just go outside.

I've thought much on the cloth napkin idea. It's percolated sincerely since our Metro Waste class, Throwing It All Away, But Where Is Away? My target price for a roll of paper towels (napkins) is one dollar. Maria remembers her clearance napkins being 54 cents. I hoped that I could find 25 cent napkins -- a cotton fat quarter, full price at Hancock is $1.25. Mama B commented the other day that flannel is very nice for napkins. I was thinking that I could find flannel sheets at Goodwill and use one for my next WIP. Today, I found covet-worthy cloth napkins, woven, textured cotton that I like better than flannel, for $1.48 each, already beautifully finished at the store. There were A LOT of them. I will keep my eye on this situation since I live close to the store.

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