Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pom Poms, etc


Hello, it's been a little while, I've got a whole hodgepodge of things to share.  First off, this little guy was just too cute, and he was so cooperative about having his picture taken.  He was hanging out chirping in the garden after what was possibly our last big "summer" rainstorm a few weeks ago. 

Next up, holy cow, I don't think there is much more of a crafty thrill than making pom poms.  My mom is visiting, and she brought her newly purchased pom pom makers, and we've been having a lot of fun.  Mostly just working with leftover yarn of all colors and varieties, but I've got some ideas now...  and Amy made two for herself to tie on her school backpack.  She also really wanted to make a big one for Daddy, so we found some yarn in Coast Guard colors: 


Next up, I promised to introduce some new friends, and here they are - meet Belle: 

and Bingo:


We had a terrific red betta for over two years who recently died a peaceful fishy death of natural causes.  After a proper fishy mourning period I set out with the kids to find someone else to fill the tank. We were planning on another betta, a blue one, to be exact, but something drew us to the tank of 27 cent goldfish, and with the thought that the kids could each get one, we picked out two with interesting markings, bought some food, and brought them home to our already-established 5-gallon tank.  Amy chose the name Belle and William chose the name Bingo.  

Of course, I can't keep anything simple, and after reading some about goldfish later that night, I started feeling guilty about their relatively small digs.  I realize that plenty of people keep goldfish in nothing more than a bowl, but knowing that these guys can grow to 12" and live for a decade or two in a nice pond, I thought that perhaps they deserved a little more room. 

And as I pondered all this, I got thinking about a different place for the tank, somewhere where the kids could see it more and free up my kitchen counter a bit, and while I was at it, how to better organize the kids toys and art supplies that are front and center in our living/dining space.  Trust me, it was all tied together in my mind. This was the first change: 

Bought a smaller shelf for below the "bar" area, reduced and recombined the art supplies, and moved the bigger, 9-cube shelf over to the empty wall in the living room.  Don't have a picture of that at the moment, but boy did it make me happy to sort through the toys and reorganize and consolidate and pitch out... ahhhh!

Anyway, after almost talking myself and Don into a 30-gallon tank that would, dimension-wise, fit exactly on the top of this shelf, I decided that perhaps that was just too much for our current circumstances, moving and all that.  And so as a compromise William and I picked up a simple 10-gallon glass tank and hood at Petsmart today.  Amy and I set it up this afternoon, and voila! 


Clutter! Clutter!  Right now my decorating scheme is a bit "kindergarten class"... hmmm, need to work on that.  Also working on my fish-photography skills.  But you get the idea.  We are all really pleased with the aesthetics of the whole setup now, and the fish seem happy with the roomy accommodations.  And, rest assured, the cats have a close eye on the whole situation: 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On a Roll

I've been on a roll since the weekend, organizing and moving things around.  I've been mainly dealing with shelving and storage issues and the kids areas of books, toys, and art supplies.  I don't have any decent pictures yet of what I was up to over the weekend, but today's project was completed so expediently that I must continue my roll and blog about it.

Before we even moved into this house I spotted this idea for kids bookshelves. Vinyl rain gutters as book shelves are all over blogland, so I can't even come close to claiming this as an original idea.  Nevertheless, it is a good one, and a really cheap one. After we moved here and settled our furniture in we didn't really have the kind of wall space I wanted for that project. But just last night I was sitting in the rocker in the playroom and sort of absently staring into the closet where the toys were kept... and then at the yellow shelf loaded down with books we love but that don't get read much simply because there are so many and they're kinda tight on the shelf (and lately we've been reading mostly library books).

Anyway (phew, this is a big lead up... sorry), I decided to move the toy bin/shelf out of the closet.  The toy shelf was being rather under-utilized, and it wasn't hard to find other boxes and places for the items on it (most are still in the closet). Then the yellow book shelf moved into the closet, freeing up the other wall. (This post has some pictures that sorta show where things were before).

A quick trip to Lowes this morning for a 10' gutter and 3 end caps (they only had the right-side ones in stock; I still need to get 3 for the left).  The grand total on this project will be a whopping $18.

Don was glad to have a project for his day off and so he happily cut and mounted the shelves for me, and voila!

Those end caps help stabilize each shelf, so until I get the left-hand caps the arrangement is a little lopsided.  I am really pleased with how it all turned out.  My plan is to put out new books from our own "library" every week or so, so that they seem fresh and attractive and we can enjoy some old favorites as well as the "real" library books. 

If I can get some good pictures, I hope to introduce some new friends in my next post... stay tuned! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Quick Zippie


I've been cleaning out my fabric/yarn/crafting closet (again) and found a whole stash of tiny knitting accessories purchased many moons ago when I first took a serious stab at knitting. Stitch markers, cable needle, stitch holders, etc. Now that I'm actually-sorta on a roll with some knitting I figured these items deserved a proper home.  

So, this afternoon, I put some home movies on the playroom/sewing room tv, plopped my button box in the middle of the floor to entertain the masses, and with only one false start I successfully put together this little thing. Yay! 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday Night Thoughts

Truthfully, these aren't really Sunday night thoughts.  My thoughts right now are pretty much only about the a.m.a.z.i.n.g peanut butter pie that I just finished off. 

But I'm overdue for a post so I thought I'd just take a stab at the stuff that's been on my mind all week, and see how much I can remember on the spot. 

The quilt above? For a friend's wedding... which was several weeks ago... oops.  It's almost done, just need to decide what to back it with.  However, I have so totally fallen in love with this collection of squares that I ordered two more sets to make myself a quilt, too.  That's embarrassing. 

Somehow I never spell embarrassing correctly the first time; spell checker always has to fix it for me. 

I started knitting my very first sweater today.  It's quite exciting.  I'm trying this pattern.  I hope it goes well, because I have grand ambitions of making three of them by Christmas, one for Amy and one each for two other little girls in our "family" of friends.  Hmm.  I don't know what to make for each of those corresponding little brothers.  

I actually have a lot of good ideas for Christmas this year, and seeing as it's just now September, I stand a good chance of getting it all done as long as I don't squander the fall crafting season. 

Amy is also waiting for me to make her a Dorothy costume. 

It's been a generally crafty weekend here.  I got a kit from Target - a set of unfinished wooden blocks (toy blocks) and paints. Probably overpriced, but it's been a huge hit and we've been painting them all weekend. Amy also made a necklace and a bracelet, and painted a little barn for all her tiny animal friends.  

I'm finding already that the preschool routine during the week helps tremendously with morale through the weekend.  Weekends with Don away always used to be tedious, but with a now-busy week, I am finding myself grateful for the empty days and the chance to purposefully sit back and relax with the kids.  Paint at the kitchen table for an hour, rather than jump up and down attending to the laundry or drive around all morning running errands.  There's time and place enough for that during the week.  

I am continuing to be extremely grateful for dear friends who live a mere 50 yards away.  I don't know what we'll do with ourselves when they move. 

Speaking of moving, we don't know whether we will be here for one or two more years.  Don put in his "dream sheet" of picks in case we move next summer, but then again we might not.  I really don't know which way to go on the matter.  On one hand I'm starting to feel a little mossy, and wouldn't mind rolling on to the next adventure, but at the same time I still love our house and Amy's school and wouldn't mind sticking around for her to do kindergarten there as well. 

But as they say, we're just taking it one day at a time. 

And in closing, my deep thought for the week: I am a closet political junkie and totally reveled in every night of the GOP convention this past week.  But what I found myself thinking about more than anything else has been this:  Story after story of persons from humble beginnings.  Parents who sacrificed so that their children could have a brighter future.  Parents who offered wisdom and guidance constantly, with words that were remembered by their children well into their adult lives. Persons who credit their parents with their ability to do the things they are doing today.  All this has kept me thinking, what am I saying to my children that they will remember and take with them into their adult lives?  Do I spend enough time encouraging them to be all they can be?  I think I am, but I wonder how I can correctly teach sacrifice when my own life (and theirs) has been one of relative privilege.  Perhaps I'm getting too deep, but anyway, that is what's been on my mind these days.  

Thanks for listening!