Laundry Mountain

I’m busy today.  I seem to have gotten to the stage of sleep deprivation where I feel like the energizer bunny.  I hope it lasts through dinner and getting the kids in bed!

Last night when Miss C woke to nurse I realized that our laundry piles had taken over the rocking chair.  Uh oh.  Today I had to address the problem.  When the clean laundry starts to look like this, all stacked together and starting to compress and merge, we refer to it (not affectionately) as “laundry mountain.”   It happens at least every other week.  Five kids make a lot of laundry.  There is a foot stool in there, somewhere.  I think.

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Color Coding Kids

I have been thinking about organization a lot recently.  One of the tricks I use I learned from my mom, who learned it from her mom.  Each kid is assigned a color.  My mom and her sisters were red, green, blue, and yellow, in that order.  My siblings and I were red, blue, yellow, and green.

We assigned colors at birth, kind of accidentally.  They were each given a blankie knit either by my sister (#1, #2, and #3,) or myself (#4 and #5.)  That color stuck.  In order, R has yellow, Big A has blue, O has green, Little A has red, and Miss C has purple.

The main reason this is useful is because kids can learn to identify their color before they learn to identify their initial or name.  It’s also often easier to mark something with a color then with a letter or name.

We use the kids’ colors around the house: on all the bathroom stuff, on the laundry baskets, one the lunch containers, and so on.

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D is for Deer

I thought about making this a doe (female.)  I mean, the book is for a girl, and all the deer we have seen near our house have been does.  But, I didn’t really trust it to look like a deer without antlers (look, Mommy!  D is for Horse?  Or Dog?  Or… what is that, Mommy?)  And, bucks are flashier.  And antlers helped the visual composition.  And I thought they would be fun to appliqué.  So, it’s a buck.

I don’t like this one as much as the others.  For some reason I couldn’t get the pieces to fit just right and the neck looks short to me.  I’m not going to do it over (probably,) but I’m guessing it will always bother me a little.

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Wrapping up some WIPs

The kids determined my craft schedule this week.  The youngest two have been tag-teaming me at night.  My husband usually helps out with the nighttime wakings, but he has been very busy at work this week and hasn’t had much chance to sleep either.  In my sleep-deprived state I decided it would be wise to stick to knitting and crochet this week and save the sewing for later.  It is a lot easier to undo knitting and crochet mistakes than sewing mistakes, especially when sewing appliqué.  And I definitely have had to take out knitting and crochet mistakes.

I have managed to finish off three blankets so far this week.  This pink one is part of a baby gift for the brand new daughter of one of mu husband’s friends.  My husband chose the colors.  I knit it corner-to-corner in garter stitch, so the stripe pattern is a little different on each side.

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This one was waiting for the last few squares for a while.  I love the autumn colors.  I don’t have a baby boy in mind for it yet.

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Finally, I did another small corner-to-corner crochet blanket (the photo lies, it is actually square.)  I have a few of these and am hoping to find a suitable place to donate them, maybe a NICU.

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Straw Bale Garden Part 5: Fall Update

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Fall is upon us.  We have already had a frost advisory, but thankfully it didn’t get quite cold enough to kill off the garden.

After a long, hot, dry summer the plants are really taking off now.  The bales are wonderful in wet weather because they drain so well.  In hot, dry weather it is very difficult to keep the bales moist enough for the plants to grow.  The plants are enjoying the much cooler fall weather.

The tomatoes did okay all along, except for the chipmunks, but they are now very bushy and dark green and covered with unripe fruit.  We are picking around a quart of cherry tomatoes every other day.  I pick them slightly under-ripe to try to beat the critters.

Notice how little blight there is.  The bales are amazing at minimizing blight, even compared to planting in pots.  There has been a little down low, but it never seems to spread, even though the plants are very tightly packed.  I do fertilize my plants, occasionally, but I do not use any chemicals on them.  The kids are in and out of the garden and it’s just not worth it.

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Our peppers in the bales struggled this summer, but now they are covered with flowers and little bell peppers.  Our potted peppers took a break in late summer, but are coming back full force now.  One Italian pepper plant has 57 peppers 1-5 inches long (at last count) plus many flowers and tiny peppers starting.

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Our cucumber plants recovered from the groundhog and we have enjoyed a few delicious cucumbers.  Sadly, it’s getting to cold for them, so they were pretty much a bust this year.

You can see, however, the difference in powdery mildew between the few I planted in the ground and the ones in the bales!

The strawberries and raspberries are doing extremely well.  We have a row of everbearing strawberry plants and have been enjoying a small harvest from them.  The raspberries are all everbearing and, even at only 2 years old, are producing very well.

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Appliqué Practice and Tutorial

Before starting the alphabet book I decided I needed to do a practice appliqué.  When we moved into our house I briefly had my own sewing room.  It is now Miss C’s room.  While we were transitioning I didn’t have my sewing machine out for almost a year, so I was feeling a little rusty.

I figured since I did the project I might as well provide a little tutorial.

I asked my kids who would like an embellished t-shirt.  R accepted, excitedly.  He offered a bright orange shirt and chose a Saturn design and two fabrics.  He loves planets and space.

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I traced the two parts of the design, the planet and the ring, onto fusible interfacing.  It’s great stuff.  You have to make sure to trace the designs backwards (mirror image,) but it didn’t matter for this design.   I used a mug to make sure the planet was actually round.

Way back when (oh, 18 months ago) I bought a bolt of fusible interfacing and a bolt of tear away stabilizer.  It was a great decision.  It was a lot cheaper than buying smaller amounts and it means I don’t have to be stingy with it!

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I ironed the pieces to the back of the appropriate fabric and allowed them to cool for a few minutes.

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Then I cut the shapes out.

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I peeled the paper backing off the fusible interfacing, placed the shapes onto the t-shirt, and ironed them in place.

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I put a piece of stabilizer underneath the t-shirt and started to sew.  I just used the zigzag stitch on my machine, set pretty close together, and did it free hand.  I need to get a clear or open foot to make this step easier.

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It’s pretty!  I love the colors he chose.

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I used tear away stabilizer, so I turned the t-shirt inside out and tore off the stabilizer.  With the close zigzag stitch it comes away very easily.

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There is a little stabilizer left between the stitches.  It makes the t-shirt a little scratchy until it has been washed a few times, but unless the kid is really sensitive, it does eventually soften up enough.

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I set the design a little low (oops. should have checked!) so I might add a star or two above it at some point, if R cares.  He loves the shirt.

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