"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."
-Abraham Lincoln

Happy Memorial Day

Eulogy for a Veteran

By Unknown Author

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.


I finished Middle's octopus.  I used a pattern out of Tiny Yarn Animals: Amigurumi Friends to Make and Enjoy.   By Tamie Snow.  

I'm about half way through my shirt and should have it done for the graduation.  If I have time I may sew up a skirt to go with it.   But that's a pretty big if. 

I've finally finished all the cleaning that I need done for the party, except for the bathroom.  It's amazing to me how quickly two small children can destroy a clean bathroom.   I finally have some time now to relax, watch some Cheers reruns and do nothing, absolutely nothing.  :)

The Best Laid Plans...

After DH left this morning to get Middle Brother from the airport, I managed to get Gran out the door to her doctor's appointment and get Oldest to school.   Then I cleaned out the rest of the spare room, the desk in the "office" and that was no small job believe me, and somehow kept the other two littles off of the plastic covered floor in the dining room.  
Gran's doctor's appointment went well, by the way.   They found an irregular heartbeat but it wasn't anything that they were overly concerned about.  Apparently it was well within the benign arrythmia range.   They also found that the veins in her legs are weak which is why she had the swelling (no clots, thank God) and they want her to wear support hoes.  They also prescribed her some medicine for GERD which is a blessing because there have been a couple of nights where she's woken up vomitting or unable to breathe because of the acid reflux so hopefully this medicine will take care of that.   All in all for a woman of 86 she's in very good shape.   Better yet, she even LIKED the doctor and alot of her fears about doctor's offices were eased.  
DH came home with Middle Brother about an hour after we got back from Gran's appointment.   So DH spent most of his day chatting with MB and running out for a hair cut and to do some shopping.   It wasn't until about 10 pm that he finally got around to the floors.  Needless to say, they aren't nearly as finished as either of us had hoped.  
This is what I'm looking at right now...

He wore himself out hanging with MB and after about 15 minutes of "floor work" he passed out.   You can't hear him, but he's snoring like a freight train right now.

This is the current state of the floor. 

I suppose I had better go and get him off to bed before he ends up with a sore neck or back.  At least we have one row down, something is better than nothing after all. 

New Floors and One Very Scary Little Dude

With three days left until Nanny and Pampaw come up from Florida and 4 days left until graduation and 6 days until Youngest Brother's graduation party....DH decides that now is the time to rip up the floors. He started last night, at about midnight (he has the worst timing sometimes) which meant that we had to clear all the furniture out of the way. Which is where the very scary little dude comes in.

See we inherited this house from DH's great aunt and some of what was her's is still left here, we uncover it from time to time and usually it makes for a nice little surprise. Well this guy was a surprise but I wouldn't describe it as a "nice" surprise.
This is who we found.....

He was completely tucked away and I had never noticed him before.   He is a wine bottle cork.   There is a lever stuck in the base of his skull and if you press it his jaw goes slack open and his eyes roll back in his head. How charming.  My first reaction was "get rid of him".   DH: "But he's kind of fu.."  Me: "Get rid of HIM".   DH: "But don't you think he's sort of funny?"  Me: "No, no I don't.  He's terrifying...throw him out.  Throw him out right now."   In the end I won out and he is now sitting somewhere in the county dump.   Good riddance. 

We finally did get the carpets in the dining room pulled up.   We went from this....

and this...

To this...

We've got the concrete scrubbed and the plastic down and probably tonight or tomorrow we'll have the actual floors down which I'm really excited about even if the timing is bad.

Tomorrow is going to be a hectic day as well because DH is going to pick up Middle Brother from the airport, I have to get Oldest off to school, then I have to pack up the other two munchkins and DH's grandmother so that we can take her (Gran)  to the doctor.   Her leg has been swelling off and on for about a month and starting last week it's been swollen and we haven't been able to get it to go back down.   She's a little bit nervous about the whole ordeal, she HATES doctors and she's also scared they are going to find something seriously wrong so any of you out there who have left over prayers, she could surely use them about now.  

Earlier in this post I mentioned that DH has a bit of bad timing....well, he isn't the only one.   On top of trying to clean the whole house, paint, put in new floors, plan a party, and still cook and take care of the kids, I've also started three new projects.  Two crochet projects and a cross stitch project. Last week I realized that I needed a new top to wear to the grad party but my fabric stash is running low and I didn't see anything there that I wanted to use for a shirt.   I thought about running out to the fabric store but with the new floors and the party we're trying to cut down on our spending for the month.  Instead I decided to dig through my yarn stash and I found some suitable yarn and a free pattern off of Ravelry.  Since this one is for the weekend, it's going to take top priority.  
The second project is actually 3 projects in 1.   The kids found an amigurumi octopus that they wanted me to make for them out of one of my crochet books.   I've got the first one almost finished, I just have to make the rest of his legs.   Then I have to make two more little guys for the other two kiddies.   Come to think of it, I still have to finish the other kitty cat for Oldest's friend and I have to get that done before school is out. Yeesh.  
The cross stitch project is fortunately one that I can take my time on.   I found it off of Amazon for a very reasonable price.   It's cute and whimsical and small so it should be a lot of fun to work on.   I also bought a beginner cross stitch kit for Oldest and have ordered one for Middle.    We have been tackling those projects bit by bit, as time allows. 

Well, that's it for now I suppose.   I'll be sure to post some pictures of the floors when they are put down.   Try not to think about that first picture before you fall asleep tonight...who knows what kind of horrible nightmares that guy will induce.

The Last Knit....

When knitting becomes an obsession...

A New Blog

I've mentioned on here before that I've signed up to review books from Booksneeze.  At first I thought that I would just add the book reviews to the homesteading and crafting stuff on this blog but I changed my mind.   I've decided that the book reviews, since most of these books are neither craft nor homesteading related, would be better placed on their own blog.   So I created Lamplight Reading which will be the permanent new home for all of my Booksneeze book reviews (say that five times fast) from now on out. That way, those who are interested in the book reviews can easily find them and those who are not so interested in the book reviews can skip them altogether.  

A Little Rant

I have been sitting on a tack of sorts the last couple of weeks and it's starting to give me a blister ;)   It actually started with what could've been an interesting article that my husband found online.   The article was discussing a study that showed "Atheists and Liberals have higher IQ's"   Now before assuming that I'm taking a turn towards the political...that's not actually what I'm trying to do in this case.   It's more the study itself that I take issue with, not whether one political affiliation or religious viewpoint is smarter than another.  

What irks me is that this thing has become almost viral with so many people accepting it as proof of something that they've wanted to hear for a long time but the study itself has several very serious flaws that seem to be simply ignored for the most part.   For one, the differences between the groups were mariginal at best.  6-11 pts.  And while that is statistically significant, it's hardly a huge gap and therefore could easily be a case specific finding, as in there is a good chance, with the difference being so small, that the same difference may not be found in subsequent studies.   Before declaring this study as "law", we should wait to see what the follow up studies, if there are any, have to say.  

Another consideration is that, and this one actually favors the atheists in the study, is that the scientists who performed the study foolishly looked at the iq's of two different age groups.   The first being adolescent atheists and the second being adult believers.   You can't compare the IQ's of adults and teenagers without first taking into account whether or not the adults went to college at the very least.  Some people will claim that IQ is fixed, but the fact of the matter is IQ is far from fixed.   To some degree (about 40%-80%) of our IQ is genetically predetermined but the rest (20%-40%) is determined by our environment and our experiences.  The more we experience, the higher our IQ.   Doing things like going to college or graduate school actually works to increase our IQ's even in some cases simple things like life experience can increase our IQ's.   You cannot, with any degree of scientific accuracy, compare the IQ's of teenagers (whose brains have not even fully developed yet) to that of adults.  

And the final, and most grievous in my opinion, error is in regards to the liberal vs. conservative model.   Again, my problem with this isn't so much the idea that the two groups could have different IQ levels, my problem is in the way the test was performed and subsequently labeled.    Here's the issue, the study itself says that it ignored all other political associations except views on charitable giving.   It forgoes any association with abortion views, any association with immigration law views, gun control, gay rights, etc.   Yet, when you attach such politically weighted terms as liberal and conservative, in the public mindset these things are implied.   When people hear the term liberal or conservative they immediately associate an entire political ideology, they don't think of it simply in terms of charitable giving.  So right off the bat you are going to have a skewed interepretation of these results by the general public (something I've already begun to see).
Secondly, the define liberals as having "concern for genetically non-related people and support of private resources that help those people".   The problem here is that, despite the apparent arbitrary labeling of liberal or conservative by the authors of this study, it's actually conservatives who believe in using private resources to help those in need.   Liberals tend to believe in using public resources and public funds.   This is going to skew their results because conservatives and liberals alike are going to read and respond to the idea of using private resources, not simply resources in general, to benefit others and are going to respond accordingly with conservatives being more drawn to using private funds.   You also have to take into account the fact that several other studies have shown that when it comes to charitable contributions conservatives and religious people tend to donate more, by a drastic margin, than atheists and liberals.   Which means that if you are basing your assumption on who cares more about genetically non-related people by how much they give to those who aren't related to them then conservatives and the religious win out.   Which essentially works in direct opposition to their previous claims about atheism.   And this is why trying to get a handle on who is smarter than whom is such a tricky business.  There are alot of variables and contradictions.   Not to mention the fact that the authors of this study where, in my mind, downright irresponsible when using political labels to describe something that was in reality not political at all but merely reflective a person's generosity.   If they had wanted to attach a liberal and conservative label to it, they should've followed that with the term "giver".   Liberal givers scored higher in IQ than conservative givers would follow their actual method much better than the broader, politically weighted terms that were used.  

Possibly what irks me the most is the fact that the authors of this study more than likely knew that it wasn't the most responsible thing to do to use political labels for a non-political study.   They more than likely attached the labels the way they did to garner more attention and therefore more money and more claut to themselves and their study.   Scientific study these days is more about playing politics than it is about getting out the facts it seems.  Having spent a good several years of my life in the field of psychology and after reviewing hundreds of studies in my time, I can honestly say that the mistakes made here resemble more what you would expect to see in the results of experiments done by undergraduate students, not that of professionals in the field.  

And now, with the joys of the technological age, we also get to experience intellectual and culture libel where even the worst studies spread like wildfire and are soon taken as an absolute.   It just irks me.   For my own personal guess, I don't think you can assign an IQ level to an entire diverse group of people, with the exception of groups that specifically look for individuals with high IQ's like Mensa.    There are simply too many variables involved and all you have to do is research a bit to see the overwhelmingly contradictory outcomes from other studies that have tried to link IQ to ideologies, political classes, races, and belief systems.   Those things tend to encompass groups that are simply too diverse and therefore the collective IQ cannot be accurately measured.

Well, now that I've written that book and gotten it off my chest, I'll be heading off to get dinner started.  Just remember that old axiom "you can't believe everything you read".

A Little Tutorial

After my kids and I finished the memory quilt for Youngest, the older two decided they needed a little something as well.   SO, I made them bunny and monster stuffies.
Check out the tutorial if you'd like to make your own but don't know where to start.

Step 1: Draw your critter on a sheet of paper.  Keep it simple.

Step 2: Cut out your pattern.

Step 3: Pin your pattern to your fabric.  I used a shirt that Oldest had outgrown and a t-shirt of mine that was all stained and no longer fit to wear.  If you use old shirts make sure to turn them inside out first.

Step 4: Cut out a heart.  I used an old pair of Oldest's corduroy's.   What can I say, I'm a make do with what you've got kind of person.

Step 5: Fold the square/squares (depending on how many critters you are making) in half and pin them in the middle.

Step 6: Cut out a half heart shape like you would if you were cutting folded paper.

Step 7: Admire your heart cutting handy work.

Step 8: Going back to your critter pattern you can either cut out around the template and then sew the two pieces of fabric, right sides together  OR you can simply sew around the templates without cutting them out first (again make sure that either your shirts are turned inside out OR that your fabric is right sides together).  Be sure to leave about a one inch opening either on the top or bottom of your critter for stuffing.

Step 9: If you sewed around your template then cut around your sewing line leaving about a 1/4 inch margin.  Then turn it right side out. 

Step 10: Stuff 'em and sew on the details.  If you are using them for decoration you may want to fill their bottoms with some poly beads so they stand up better.  I used buttons for the eyes because both of my older kids are past the age of trying to eat their stuffed animals.  If you make this for an infant or toddler (or any child or adult for that matter that is NOT past the stage of chewing their stuffed animals) then forget the button eyes and opt instead for pieces of felt cut to look like eyes and then sewn on OR safety eyes. 

Step 11: Admire your creative genius and then hand them over...or keep them if you decide to make them for yourself ;)

Finished Quilt and Some Bread

I finished Youngest's memory quilt today (with the help of Oldest who used it as an opportunity to learn how to use the sewing machine).   You can definately tell that the squares weren't cut straight and that some of the sewing was done a little lop-sided but it was worth it to get the older two involved in something for Youngest and they were so excited to see it finished. 

I also got some bread baked yesterday.  It was supposed to be enough for the rest of the week but, as usual, the first loaf is almost completely gone already.  I guess nothing beats fresh baked bread :)

Now that I've fed the family, I'm off to feed the dogs.

Rainy Days

The weather around here today was nothing but dreary and gross.  As a result the kids were stuck inside and all I heard was "I'm bored"  "Sooooo bored" "This is boring" "I'm bored, why can't we go outside".    So we decided to make a playhouse.   We used the box that our new dishwasher came in and I cut out a door and a little window on the side.
Pay no attention to the messy floor of their bedroom.  They just cleaned it up enough so the floor was actually visible yesterday.

Then they grabbed their crayons and colored pencils and went to town "painting" their house.

After they were finished decorating they played in it for several hours while I cleaned the bathrooms.  So at least I was able to get some work done today.

Fiber Festival

Today started out pretty busy.  We went out to the farm to feed the cows in the morning.  We weeded in the flower beds and got those mostly cleaned up.   Then I spent much of the afternoon cleaning off the back porch and doing laundry. 

I was really hoping to hit the fiber fest by 3pm.  BUT, we didn't even make it out the door until 4:40pm.   I thought that today's booths were open until 6pm but they actually closed at 5pm.  We got there with 10 minutes to spare. 

I didn't manage to get a chance to pick up any yarn which bummed me out.  BUT, the trip wasn't a total bust.  The kids found some really cute knitted finger puppets.

One is an alpaca and the other is a sheep.  This picture doesn't do them justice. 

I also managed to find a few size 3 and 4 circular knitting needles which our local JOANN's doesn't seem to carry.   I searched for them online but they ranged from $8 to $12.   I found these for under $2 each.   I couldn't believe it!

The fiber festival continues through tomorrow so I just might make my way back there, depending on if I can justify spending more time away from the household chores.  We may even be able to catch some time at the arts and crafts show tomorrow if we head over there.    I'm kind of looking forward to seeing the afghans and such at that so hopefully we'll get to take a little time without cutting too much into our schedule.  

Little Flower Headband

Oldest just got a brand new yellow dress from my MIL which she loves but she had nothing to go with it, including nothing to put in her hair.   So she asked me to make her a headband for it.   This is that headband.

For the headband itself I used the Jordyn's Headband pattern from crochetville.  Except I used a G (6) and I omitted the last row in the pattern to make a slightly skinnier headband.

For the flower, I substituted the one from the original pattern with a flower pattern from Mr. Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful Book and again used the size G hook and the small flower pattern. 

Tomorrow we have big plans to attend the fiber festival in town and the arts and crafts show that is going on at the same time.   Should be fun and exciting.  I'm going to try to remember to take my camera so I can snap some pictures to share later. 

Really we should be getting much needed projects done around the house instead of galavanting off to the fiber festival.   Younger Brother's graduation is in 2 weeks and we still haven't finished painting, still don't have the house straightened up, still don't have the weeds pulled out of the flower beds, still don't have the carpets pulled up yet and the new floors down, still don't have the grill set up, still don't have the charitable stuff taken to the church shelter.  We DO have one of the freezers cleaned out (we were able to find families in need in the area and donated over 100 lbs of farm meat, vegetables and fruit to them which is great but it took awhile) and we were finally able to get the new dishwasher installed, thank you DH and we have finished some of the housework.  So much to do, so little time.  DH only has one weekend off work before the graduation so it looks like we'll be asking friends for help with some of these projects.  

"The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong."
-Laura Ingalls Wilder

New Books

I think shopping online is way to convenient.   It's addicting in a way.   I can sit here, in my pajamas, at 10:33 pm., spending money without ever having to leave my chair let alone my house.   Now I see why QVC was so popular with my mother and her friends.  
During my latest online shopping excursion I nabbed two really cute crochet books: Mr. Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful and Tiny Yarn Animals: Amigurumi Friends to Make and Enjoy.

The critters in these books are so cute.  I just have to order the eyes from Etsy and I'm gone. :)

I also ordered two books for the littles.   Good Night God  and Where Does God Live? both by Holly Bea.   I don't have any pictures for them, sorry.  They're cute though and the illustrations are great. 

Now...more shopping awaits me ;)


Happy Mother's Day!

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love. ~Mildred B. Vermont

This was my mother's day gift from Oldest.   She cut it (it's supposed to be a heart), sewed it by hand and stuffed it all by herself.   She LOVES to sew and she's getting better at it bit by bit.  

I also got a very pretty rose bush and several psychedelically colored pictures of disney princesses and Mater from Cars and countless numbers of dandelion bouquets.  

Otherwise, mother's day over here was pretty quiet.   We've been gathering stuff for the Veteran's tonight and that's pretty much been it.   Hope all you mother's out there had a nice mother's day with your families as well.

Memory Quilt

Lately I've found myself over run by baby clothes that Youngest no longer fits but are just too cute to throw out. I've donated at least three boxes worth but there are still more (the grandparents LOVE to buy the kids mountains of clothes). So I've decided to turn some of them into a cute little memory quilt for his crib.

Memory quilts are easy because they don't have to coordinate perfectly, they can be a fun mash up of colors, textures and patterns.  I personally prefer it to have a random, thrown together kind of look but you could easily make it more "planned out" if you wanted.  All you have to do is cut out a 6 in. square of cardboard, place it on the fabric or baby outfit that you want to use and cut around the square.  Then arrange it how you want it to be (as I've done in the above picture) and when you're ready, sew it all together. 

So far for mine, I've got all the squares cut out and arranged and hopefully I'll be sewing them together over the next day or so.

In the garden front we have everything replanted that we had put in the ground before that late frost.  So that's done now at least.  

We also have peach buds starting on all four of the peach trees.

And cherries started on the lone, young little cherry tree in our yard. This is the most we've had on this little tree since planting it 3 years ago so it's pretty exciting.  Last year we had a whole 1 cherry on this little bugger.  ONE.  Uno.  That was it.  This year we've got several branches with several little bunches of green fledgling cherries. Yay! The 10 or so cherry trees we have out at the orchard are also starting out nicely this year.  It's a good day when the garden and orchard are doing well outside the house and crafts are going on inside the house. 

Uplifting Video...Fun too...

Ok folks, this is a Christian video talking about issues from a Christian perspective. So if that's not your thing then feel free to skip this one, but don't worry, I'll be posting some more general audience stuff later on.

This video was brought to my attention via friends on Ravelry. I personally think she busts it up (that's younger brother's way of saying "she does a really good job").

Kitty in Jammies Amigurumi 2

I finally finished Oldest's friend's pink pajama amigurumi kitty (say that 5x fast). 

She's a little "chunkier" than the last pink pajama amigurumi kitty that I made but I guess that just means there is more to love :)