Thursday, April 28, 2011

Battle: Wind vs. Tree

Last night there was a battle between the wind and the tree. If I'm typing this, I think it's obvious who won.

I never blogged about our sewer problem, it appears. I must have Facebooked that because I remember doing something with those pictures somewhere.

Short version: there's this tree in our backyard. We're pretty certain it's the largest tree in our neighborhood. Its roots got into our sewer line and caused problems.

We got an estimate to see what it would take to get the stupid thing taken out. $1200 and there isn't access for some of the equipment to get into the backyard. So we decided "later".

Later has come for some of that tree. In all the wind last night, we were awake (thanks to Kaelyn) when we feel our house kind of rock and there's a loud noise. At first, we thought it was the neighbors garbage cans. Jared investigated.

"Do you want the good news or the bad news?"
"It is 3:00 am and Kaelyn has already been keeping me away -- THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR GAMES."
"Um. Good news is we still have power and internet. Bad news is part of the tree came down."

Stupid, stupid tree.

So here's the good news in all of this.

The tree is RESTING ON THE POWER LINE but did not cause our power to go out. (Our internet lines are on the ground. Again.)

The tree HIT OUR HOUSE but just barely the corner and did no damage.

We didn't die.

 It's not completely weird that I feel better having taken pictures, right?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cloth in the Kitchen

Two of my items to do this year is 9. Make huck toweling towels (aka, cloth paper towels). and 33. Make cloth napkins. Now, this may seem cheating to everyone else, but I am now counting these as one item and leaving them as two items on my list. Awesome, right? I was going to make both. Really. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there was no need to. We rarely use napkins or paper towels in our house and with only three of us, I didn't need two sets of something that can double as both.

What is huck toweling? In my third grade level explanation, huck toweling is the stuff they use in hospitals to dry the surgical utensils off. They are absorbent and lint-free. It is bumpy on one side, smooth on the other. I have heard that you can get colored huck toweling, but I purchased plain white huck toweling. It goes with everything I'd use it for -- remember, double use out of one item.

I don't even know if we'll keep paper towels on hand since I can't remember the last time I used them. I cook bacon in the oven and we drain off fat from ground beef, etc into cans or down the dish disposal.

Anyway. I made 'em. I like 'em.

Lucky me, the material came 15 3/4 inch wide with that edging on both sides. This means less sewing, faster project.

 I ironed the two unfinished sides in a half inch and then folded them under and ironed again for 1/4 inch seam.

As you can see here, we have a square.

Sew a straight stitch down the ironed sides.

Fold and enjoy! Note: I washed, dried, and ironed the huck toweling first. Even so, I had a freaked out moment when I first washed them after I made them. It looked like they had shrunk! But no, they didn't. I even ironed them again to make sure. I don't iron every time I wash them. Only if I expect company. Also, I just wash them with regular towels but wouldn't hesitate to wash them with clothes.

Linking to: Today's Creative Blog, Sugar Bee Crafts

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! I'd like to say that I've gotten tons and tons of stuff done in my garden and that I've been so busy with that that I haven't had time to update what's been going on. In truth.... I don't have one thing planted yet. But I do have some herbs and tomatoes started on my kitchen table. I should have started them a month or so before I did, but... I did.

Anyway. Ashli over at Maillardville Manor issued a pledge to reduce your waste. This isn't anything new to my household as we have been slowly changing our ways. This just keeps me going a little bit.

One of the biggest things I want to accomplish is to start a compost. I just need to buckle down and find myself a few more free pallets (I have one) and then I will probably need a shovel as well. Then I'll be in business. I do want to get a yard waste bin so I have a place for branches and other yard waste that I don't want in my compost.

We are pretty good with recycling now that I have a system in place for us.

We use very little paper products in our house. I can't remember the last time I bought napkins. Paper towels aren't a frequent purchase either. I just recently made towels/napkins (a post in the works in my head). We've been cloth diapering Kaelyn (which I don't think I've ever really done a post about). And some other changes that may or may not get a post or even a mention soon.

I join Ashli in her pledge!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My first shirt refashion

I realize this months is Food and Outdoors month for me but I don't really have an update on that front yet.

I first started sewing when I was.... twelve maybe? I may have sort of played around before then (at home and perhaps at Achievement Days) but I don't remember. What I do remember is some of my first sewing projects.

For Girls Camp either my first or second year, we made camp pants in Young Womens. These pants rocked my world. They are wide leg which I just love and they were so comfortable. My pants was this jungle print. Green with lions and bears and stuff. Cute jungle. I didn't think to measure my draw string prior to making it. It went around me three times. Nothing a pair of scissors couldn't fix. From the same pattern, I made a pair of black pants that the waist band was (for some reason) too low for comfort. I wore them anyway for volunteering at COSI because they were my only black pants and it wasn't really a problem. Just made me self-conscious. My sister made one from a tiger print. I own those now. They are warm.

Another early sewing project was finishing a dress that my sister started. It was yellow--two different types of material. I loved that style of dress and the material was so cute and pretty. I felt bad that my sister couldn't wear it because it was too small of a size (I think that was why she didn't finish it) but at the same time, I liked that I was the beneficiary of such an unfortunate event.

My first large project was my prom dress when I was 16. I don't know if I have a decent picture of me standing up in it anywhere. I'll have to search.

Other large projects were my oldest sister's wedding dress and my mom's regency style dress and coat. Uh, well the dress anyway. The coat is still unfinished....

Just recently I introduced refashioning to my skillset. I'm still learning but this was my first on-my-own attempt and it took me about 30 minutes. The dress form (see??? I remembered it's name--not a mannequin for those of you who saw my facebook status a while back) on its smallest size is very nearly my size. I think it could go just a teensy bit smaller and be my size perfectly.

Ignore everything that looks piled in the background. I promise there's an order and it really isn't just piled.

 I started by turning the shirt inside out and cutting the sleeves off at the seam.

Ta da! Still a hugely sized shirt.

Take picture of adorable helper. Yes, those are cats on my pants. I'm still in PJs.

I used pins to mark where I wanted my new side seams to go. I took another shirt that has a fit I like and loosely followed that. I could have used one of my pencils but I find the white one doesn't work so good and blue doesn't really show up on blue. I should get chalk for this. Meanwhile, pins.

I just sewed the sides and then cut off the excess material. I did nothing to the sleeve seams. I was going to bring the shoulder seam in and reattach the sleeves but modify them into something I liked better but.... then I tried it.

Who needs to mess with the sleeves when this is the perfect cap sleeve???

This is all the excess material. Look at how much I cut off! Why did I not do this sooner? I love my clothes to fit me and I like this shirt. Why did I live with so large for so long? It simply didn't occur to me to modify my clothes before. How lame of me, I tell you.

If I owned a serger, I probably would have gone over the sleeves just to kinda pretty them up. But I don't have a serger and I don't care for it to be perfect. It's not that type of shirt.

I also cut off part of the collar. You can see the before of the collar a few pictures above. I actually wore the shirt with the collar for half the day before I realized what else bothered me about the shirt. Off came the color and I was 100% in love with my *new* shirt!

Even my grandma says it's cute on me.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Backyard Surprise

I really need to blog more. I have a lot of things to blog about. I have pictures to blog. Today's topic is my backyard.

Before my spring break vacation (Valerie's spring break, that is -- we went to Virginia and stayed in a yurt), Jared and I talked about making April our "Food and Outside month". We want to start a garden this year and don't have our beds made yet. We (J + S) didn't even have the space cleared where we (S) wanted the beds to go. Our cherry tree needed love. And we had a section of dirt, rocks, leaves, and sticks from the sewer issue last year. On the food side of April, we wanted to focus on our diet. More balance and just more focus in general. We were kinda slacking on meal planning and such. I also have a goal to keep trimming our grocery budget down but increasing our food storage from like one week to three months.

So we were going to start when I got back. Little did I know what Jared was planning. Let's look at what the backyard looked like a few months ago. Well, longer than a few months ago.

Let's take a tour of what the backyard looks like after fall and winter happened. And hard work from Jared and some help from Reed.

Sewer junk. It used to be a mound of dirt and rocks. Now the dirt has settled and there are rocks, sticks, and leaves. I don't know what we'll do with the rocks but it seems like perhaps I can use it somewhere. Ideas anyone?

CLEAR asphalt!!! This thing is big, people. And over half of it was piled with wood that Jared got rid of.

Some lovely fence line. It's bent and rusted and over grown.

The pole there is the power line thing.

The tree stump (thank you, Reed!).

Lovely cement blocks.

This used to be a climbing rose that was entwined with the tree and power line. :( I'm sad to lose it. But I already plan to remove some fugly bushes from the front yard and plant roses in their stead. I've missed roses ever since my family moved when I was 16.

The cherry tree got some love with some dead limb removal (thanks again, Reed!).

And this is what it looks like today. What you can't see so well is that the internet cord was cut when the tree in the corner got cut so it is now running along the backyard waiting for them to come back and bury the cable. He also got rid of all the cardboard in our garage.

What an awesome surprise! Jared, you're the best! I love you!