Thursday, October 9

Today's project: Crazy quilting

A friend and I are working on an idea for a craft showing coming up, and this is not about that.  It's about the leftovers.

We've been collecting tshirts for our other project, and have a lot of scraps left over.  And I decided to do something with them since I'm sitting here monitoring a very quiet boy who is not feeling well but doesn't want me to speak to him or otherwise throw food at him on occasion.  So I'm sitting here close but not too close, and doing something with my time since my "real work" (ie accounting) is done for the morning.


It's a bit crazy, a bit scrappy, and hopefully, in a bit, will be a lap quilt.  I'm using the same techniques I picked up last year making two photo quilts and the year before making my first tshirt quilt.

Friday, September 26

The Joy of Sixth Graders

I know you probably read that title and think "Oh boy, what did they do now".  Middle schoolers get a bad rap sometimes I think.  But this is truly a story of joy....of sixth graders.

I was lucky enough to join in on a six grade field trip yesterday to the Big Meadows Visitors Center in the Shenandoah National Park.  The forecast was for a beautiful fall day; it was foggy, overcast, and rained.

I was so impressed with these kids though, that a little bad weather did not dampen their spirits!

We started with a literal "field" trip to learn about the Civilian Conservation Corp.  During the Depression, the CCC was established to create jobs and help build what we are now enjoying as the Shenandoah National Park.  We toured the field where one camp was located and read about the CCC on many plaques.  We ran around a field enjoying a scavenger hunt and learning.  Our feet and pants and heads were wet, but we had fun.  And sadly, I have to admit that this was the first time I had heard of the CCC, so I enjoyed it a lot!

Next we walked with the ranger out into the meadow and ran into this fella.  He was one of many we saw, and one time we were privileged to hang out and watch four bucks at one time.


We get to see deer on almost a daily basis; still seeing them in their natural habitat on such a beautiful foggy day was a real treat.

Our last stop was a hike.  Here's where it got really fun!  Just before we started this part of the day for our group, I ran into a few moms that said "good luck!" and "wow...it's really, really steep" and "you're going to break a sweat".   I was getting nervous.

Off we went down the Dark Hollow Falls trail (I know, sounds awesome, right?).  And by down, I mean every step took us down a trail for a total of 440' feet in a half mile.  Just trust me: it was steep. It was like walking down a staircase.   Every step down was felt in my knees, and honestly, I started to get more and more nervous.  Every step down meant the return trip was going to be straight up.  I decided to just not turn around, stay positive and focused.   But I was scared.  The Ranger said they do have to rescue people, and I did not want to be "that old mom" that had to be rescued on the field trip.  I can just hear it now: "Remember that field trip in 6th grade where the mom had to be rescued by the Rangers?"

We got to the bottom of the trail and oh my, it was beautiful.  It was well worth the trip down.   And as soon as we got there and enjoyed it a bit, we found out that we were really behind schedule to get back to school on time.  It took us 20 minutes to get down, and we had 25 minutes to get back up.  The teacher I was with asked if we could make it and I shook my head....no. No way.   Not gonna happen.

She took the front of the group and I happily brought up the rear.  And by rear, I mean last man up.  But I wasn't alone, and enjoyed the company of these awesome kids on the way back up.  It was not easy, in fact, it was the most strenuous thing I've done in a long time.  About 1/2 way back, my last two buddies were really starting to complain, getting light-headed (we breathed together) and I realized I just needed to distract us all to make it to the top.

So I just started talking about random things.  All kinds of random things and I can't even remember what most of them were.  But at one point, I shouted out

"Hey, how much older than you do you think I am?" 

And this is where I fell in love.  My group of two grew to a group of 8, all curious as to this lady just throwing out this age question at random, and I was so tickled at how energetic they became!  I expected to hear 60 or 89, but instead they guessed 25, 31, 40.  And I kept them guessing for a long time as it was really entertaining us all.  I finally fessed up and told them my fabulous age.  They did not believe me.  They all but accused me of being a liar.  One kid said even if I pulled out my driver's license, he would know it was a fake.  The final consensus was that I was not a day over 31.  

So for one day,  I learned, laughed, got wet and made it up the hill without having to call out the search and rescue team.  

And I was not a day over 31. 




Saturday, September 13

Dumpster Living?

I definitely couldn't go as far as this professor did by living in a dumpster, but I do like his style!   University professor Jeff Wilson moved into a 36 square foot dumpster on the property of the university where he works to prove that having less really can make you happier (well, at least that's my take on it!)

No, I can't go that far as I really do like indoor plumbing (which is coming to his abode).  But I do like cleaning out and living with less.  I've started with closets.  We "needed" more space in our master closet, but first I decided to take everything out and start fresh.  Yesterday I took two more bags to Goodwill, and added 9 and 14 pounds to my running tally for a total of ((drumroll please))

45.5 Pounds!!  

Guess what?  We have plenty of space, just less stuff "stuffed" in there.

We are not major shoppers or clothes hounds, so this sounds like a lot to me.  But now that's it's gone, I really don't miss it, and realize that our closet is plenty big for two of us.  A friend asked me what in the world I gave away (knowing that I don't hang onto clothes) and I honestly couldn't answer her!  Out of sight, out of mind.  And for those 45.5 pounds of stuff I gave away, I did treat myself to a few new pieces that I love: 4 new in, 45.5 pounds out!

My goal is to have empty space in every space....one closet at a time.


Friday, September 5

5 things Friday and an updated decrapify total

It's been a busy week!

1)  I added to my "decrapify" total and took another bag of clothes to Goodwill today.  Today's total: 14 pounds, for a running total of 22.5!

That bag of clothes came out of here, the master closet.  It's amazing the things you find when you pull it all out.
2) I jumped in (against my own head telling me to finish one project before jumping into the next).  I've been itching to redo the master closet to better fit our needs, and there's no better way to clean out the extra clutter than pulling it all out and seeing what you have!  It all comes out, and only what is really used is going back in.   Hence, the 14 pounds (so far) of stuff that is already gone.

3) This.  People on my roof in the middle of a really hot day and walking three stories up like they're on the ground.



4. Leaks.  Ah yes, the glories of an almost 20 year old house.  A little leak in the dining room is connected to porch issues which is connected to roof issues, and decaying fascia boards are connected to shot gutters.  Let the quotes begin.  We are lucky as this house is generally very solidly built, and these are normal things to take care of in a home at this age.  #fabulousandtwenty?

5.  It feels like summer in September, and we're all getting tired of it (including the roofers).


Wednesday, August 27

Giveaway tally in pounds:De-clutter your house

Over the past few years I have worked to de-crapify the house and get rid of stuff we don't use any more.  If I don't stay on top of this and de-clutter the house bit by bit, it would get ahead of us in no time.

I have no clue how many bags of stuff that have gone to Goodwill or passed along to friends. Most of the boy's clothes has gone to a teacher friend that works in a lower income part of our county, and those outgrown items have gone to someone that needed it.  Once I took a bucket of things to a consignment store, but the payout was not worth the work, and they took only a fraction of what I took in.  I ended up bringing most of it home.   We have done a yard sale, and it was a little fun, a lot of work,  and again, a large amount of stuff that then had to be piled in the van to take to Goodwill at the end of the morning.

The point is, though, isn't where the stuff went, but that it went.  Away. Out of our space, and into someones hands that have a use for it.  Whether you give away, yard sale, consign or Freecycle, just DO IT!

De-cluttering on a regular basis, closet by closet or shelf by shelf keeps it under control.  You can de-clutter your house without taking on a major project.

I keep a bag close at hand, usually in my closet, and anything I put my hand on that needs to be passed along goes in the bag.  When the bag is full, it goes in the car and is given away.  

I wish I had kept a log or tally of what has gone OUT of the house in the past few years (I've been brutal).  So I thought I'd start today, and keep track in pounds.

Today's "declutter the house and decrapify" total is EIGHT POUNDS!

Now if I could just lose weight as easily, we'd be in business.


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