I AM sewing!

Guys, I may have lost my sew-jo last year for various reasons, but it is back big time now.  I have so much to say, but I’m gonna ease myself back into blogging with a few snapshots of what I’ve been doing.

Working on this and that:

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I instagrammed a couple of videos while I was working on the above clamshells, so go look for those if you’re wondering how these go together.  20180212_164845.jpg

IMG_20180214_113020_747 - CopySent Diabolical Jane to Stitched in Color to be longarmed.  Thrilled with the results!

IMG_20180218_212812_256 - CopyThese are Paleo! 

What? your caveman ancestors didn’t have chocolate cupcakes?  well someone’s did.  The cookbook said so.  Anyway, they’re delicious and if you are eating healthy but getting desperate for a treat, check out My Paleo Patisserie.  Everything I’ve made from it has been good.

20171114_135938-copy.jpgI washed dried and folded like a million yards of fabric.  I had decided to freshen up my stash and there was no going back.  Then I donated half of it to my local crafty thrift shop because I have too much.  OK maybe a quarter donated.  But there’s more to wash.

Parenting!  Oh the parenting.  Everyone’s back to homeschooling now and I am so glad.  The school schedules were just not good for me.

20171121_162712 - CopyLooking for a farm.  Yes, I want to farm.  really bad.  But we have to come to terms with what we can afford and figure out where that’s going to be and it’s a really huge decision, so for now the talk is still all hypothetical.

IMG_20180102_141930_481 - Copy20180111_162613.jpgChicken farming:  I may not have land yet, but you don’t need much space for chickens.  We have been eating exclusively our own chicken for a couple of years, and added egg birds last fall. We love our chickens but they are definitely not pets; the kids are understanding where our food comes from and the animals that will become our food live a good life, and that means a lot to me.

So there’s a little snapshot of where I’ve been!  Back soon!

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Big changes- I’m going home

 

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At the beginning of this year, I had one of those moments. A moment which, though you don’t know it at the time, is going to change everything that comes after. I was having a little new-years introspection and I realized that this year I turn 37, our oldest child turns 12, and we’re still not living life as I imagined it. I felt like my life so far has been just a giant holding pattern, we are circling, circling, waiting for something to happen.   But what, exactly?

“Welcome to the club,” some might say, but I wanted to do something about it. This is not at all about having the money to do whatever, and all about the choices we have been making. It’s been 7 years since I graduated and since then we’ve been renting a variety of places, moving here and there, never wanting to commit to anything. We’ve been in our current house for 3 years, mostly just because it was easier to stay than to make any more choices. I shared my feelings with my spouse, and we decided that we would commit to looking for a permanent home.

SO. We were looking for something to buy. I want land, privacy, space.  Well guess what?  So do a whole bunch of people in the greater DC/Baltimore region. Places with any land in our price range were an hour or more from Garrett’s job. He was willing to commute, and in the past has done so up to 1.5 hours each way, but was that the lifestyle we wanted to commit to?

We discussed very seriously getting a country place for the family and having Garrett live in a hotel 3-4 nights a week for work.  I think that was the solution we had settled on when on a lark, he applied for a job in our hometown. We were rather astounded with the speed at which the whole apply-interview-offer process went, and he got the job.

Oh my god, we could move back home! Really?  Family, the ease of small town life, the mountains… All those things I’ve been pining for, could be mine! Never mind the massive pay cut. It doesn’t matter; we don’t care. Now we can build a life!

We have found a tiny house to rent, well within our means, while we look for a home, a true home, where our kids can spend the rest of their formative years and hopefully remember it fondly as they grow into themselves and away from us.  Where I can plant those fruit trees and be there when they begin to bear, and have piggies and chickens and just be able to go for a walk without being assaulted by the relentless traffic….

So, here’s what’s happening. We move home to Central Pennsylvania in 3 weeks.  Just enough time here for one more DCMQG meetup. 🙂

Our tiny new place won’t support a home studio, so Faraway Road is going big-time and moving to its own address!

Husband will have a truly “new” job for the first time in 15 years! What else? Just a complete lifestyle shift is all…

So excited.
In very big denial of how much work I have to do in the next 3 weeks :-).
But happy. So happy!

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Hello Viv!

I’ve been told that I am not posting enough baby pics, so allow me to recap Vivian’s journey in photos…

Vivian at 1 week

1 week

Vivian at 3 weeks

3 weeks

Vivian at 3 months

3 months

Vivian at 4 months

4 months

Vivian at 6 months

6 months

 Vivian at 7 months

7 months

Vivian at 9 months

9 months

Vivian at 10 months

Almost 10 months!

Above selfie taken this moment as I blog – she’s asleep in her baby pack, 21 pounds strapped to my chest 🙂

About parenting

Since the arrival of little # 4 I’m feeling busy and generally a little overwhelmed by everything I’ve got going on.  My mind is overflowing with fun things I’d like to do with my kids, projects for the house, art I’d like to get down on paper/fabric.  But, I barely get the dishwasher loaded most days, let alone sit down and do something with my kids for fun.  I love data so I thought I’d prepare a little graphic representation of what I used to dream of before I was a parent and what I’m actually doing these days:
parenthood chart 1
Parenthood chart 2That’s right, I spend 62% of my days cleaning up pee.
Of course, I wouldn’t trade any of these little buggers for anything, etc. etc., BUT right now it feels like I’m snowed in by the many mundane and even sucky tasks that parenting entails while, stuffed in every corner of my cluttered mind, the other things I’d like to do for fun and profit never see the light of day. But, enough complaining, I’m trying to claw my way back to the land of the living and this here blog post (acknowledge the problem) is my first little baby step..

Star Count

I’m so excited the main part of the quilt is together!  Now it just needs a couple of strips around the edges and it’s done.  I’m borrowing these quilt photos from Frederick, since he did such a good job…  I like the second one because it includes the dimpled elbows of little miss intended recipient.

 The quilt has not progressed much since the DCMQG meeting 9 days ago… now that it’s so big it’s gotten hard for me to work on it while holding the babe and so that leaves, well, just about never, for me to pick up the quilt and get it done.  Not that I am wishing it to be any different.  The fourth time around, we are well aware of how fleeting everything is.  Vivian’s milestones keep flying by; one month, then two, then three.  She smiles big toothless smiles and had her first laugh the other day, watching Evelyn jump up the stairs like a frog.  She grabs at her toys and holds her head up high when rolled on her tummy.  Sigh, where is my newborn nugget?  Speaking of babies, another of mine has recently turned 11… how?  Violet is already a teenager at heart and Evelyn is only a couple inches and a couple of pounds behind her.  I’d wish for a pause button except that they are obviously so pleased with growing up.

 

Have I mentioned how much I love the back of a piece of patchwork?  I’m sure I have..

Check out the others: Monday Morning Star Count

Star Count #24

Thank goodness for Jessica at Life Under Quilt’s linkups, or I would never post anything!  Here is how my baby quilt is looking:  IMG_0399

And that last chunk is assembled into a few big pieces.

Last night, Vivian fell asleep in my arms on the couch and so I stayed up late, basting some tiny diamonds, triangles, and a few more hexies.  I need these tiny shapes to fill in around my star points, and the quilt actually needs a couple more rows of white on the left side, which didn’t fit on my foamcore “design wall.”

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I’m feeling really optimistic about getting this thing in the quilt frame soon!  And after spending so long piecing it, the quilting will be a piece of cake.  Vivian Pepper is in her bouncy chair beside me right now, her eyes questioning me when we are going to head up to bed.  She is my good helper, anchoring me to the couch during the day so there’s nothing I can do but stitch…

Vivian Pepper

Roughly a dozen blog posts have been composed in my mind since April 2nd…  They mostly start off with ” Meet Vivian”

and somewhere in the middle mention how relaxing and peaceful it was to give birth in my own home instead of a cold dreary hospital surrounded by strangers.

Depending on how much time had passed since her birth, the imaginary mind-post would end with me saying how lovely it is to be pampered by my husband and my mom, or that the other kids were being so sweet to their new sister (still are!), or that I was sad my mother had to go home so soon, or that I was panicking because it was time for my husband to go back to work and leave me alone with 4 kids; two who need home schooling and two in diapers.  Maybe I would have gone off on a tangent about how my other children’s hospital births compared to this one.  But these all happened only in my mind because even though this is my fourth time around, I still suck at getting the baby to sleep somewhere other than in my arms, and getting to the computer requires more fortitude than I can conjure most days.  So, almost 6 weeks later; world, meet Vivian Pepper!

Still Nesting

All I want to do is cozy up and knit.  And sew receiving blankets.  And work on this most epic of baby quilts, and rearrange bedroom furniture.  And look at my big kids and marvel at how much they have grown.

For more than two weeks now, I’ve been having random contractions starting in the early afternoon and getting more intense as the evening comes, and I’ll think maybe tonight will be the night.  We go to sleep and I wake up the next day like nothing happened.  Then after lunch it starts up again. It just makes me want to stay home, cozy and safe, and get ready.

My original due date has come and gone, my revised due date is this week.  If baby follows the pattern set by her siblings, we still have a couple of weeks to go before we get to meet her.  My speed as I go about my day has slowed to a crawl.  Or more accurately, a shuffle.  I putter around the house, I keep the existing children fed and reasonably clean.  I pick up my knitting and do a row, and put together some hexies.  I don’t feel bad about sleeping late in the morning.  If something is essential, Garrett will probably take care of it for me.  And if he doesn’t, it probably didn’t need to be done. I feel quite liberated, actually.  And really I don’t mind the wait.  I love being pregnant, I love that the baby is all mine and always with me (yet so easy to take care of!)  and I’ll miss this feeling so much when it is gone.  We’re taking our time getting baby’s essentials ready, so the extra time has been useful as well.

A week and a half ago I skipped a DC Modern Quilt Guild event that we’ve been working on for months.  We had invited speakers and pop-up shops to the gallery where our quilts are currently on exhibit for a full afternoon of quilty goodness.  And I had been so excited to go.  The event was practically designed just for me.  When we picked the date, I thought I wouldn’t have a problem attending, because all my babies arrive late. But as the date crept up on me and these “warm-up” contractions became a regular event, I couldn’t bring myself to be so far away all day.  I don’t even really want to be out in public.  Plus Hubs was convinced that I would end up delivering alone in some crowded DC hospital instead of the relaxing home birth we have planned.

So I skipped it; I stayed home and left the other officers to run the event and welcome the speakers.  How lucky I am that they were there for me.  I’m so very grateful.  Also sad for missing it and feeling guilty for reneging on my presidential duties.  And feeling a little silly for feeling guilty, because I’m sure the day went just fine without little old me.  But I suppose I need to let go of all that and keep looking ahead, right?

This is a little nursing blankie I’m working on.  It’s meant to be a tube that will slip over my shoulders, so it will stay around me, rather than using a regular blanket, which you have to pay attention to to keep it from slipping off your shoulder.  I’ll let you know if it works out the way I imagine.  The yarn is hand-spun and hand-dyed merino, and it feels lovely.  I probably would not have gotten into this thick-and-thin yarn had my husband not bought me this book as a little surprise gift early on in the pregnancy.  But once I tried it I find the unique texture to be really pretty.  And shopping for handspun, hand-dyed yarn on Etsy is just really fun.

Oh by the way…

I have been working on another project that I haven’t talked about yet here.  Although it’s no secret at this point if we are friends in person…

I’ve been working on the best kind of project for the past 6 months or so; growing a new little person to add to the lovely craziness of our household… 🙂 This will be kid #4 for us and I’m so excited to have some tiny-babyness in the house again.  These ones are growing up so fast…

(Baby Legwarmers are on Ravelry here, dress purchased from BabyGap)

Winter Hike

We snuck out from the holiday clutter to get a little fresh air a few days ago.  Thank goodness because now it’s 17 degrees out and the wind is blowing like crazy.  The kids picked up pretty rocks and looked for tiny minnows and all those things that I always want them to do… getting boots thoroughly muddy was a highlight for some… and I loved finding dried flowers and seed pods and just enjoying that low winter light.  A lovely little trip!