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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Not Sewing

20171026_175008I have been Not Sewing, Like for months now.  I have been reading, lots and lots, and thinking.  Reading new cookbooks, health books, history books, farming books.  Sociology and education.  My Amazon order history is astounding and there’s still 215 items “saved for later.” I started to wonder if I was having a mid-life crisis, but those seem to be more superficial; revolving around stuff like missing your youth and buying expensive cars.  Which is nowhere on my radar.  Plus, my grandma just turned 98 and is in good health so I don’t really feel like I’m at mid-life yet.  a 2/5 life crisis?  Then one day the term came to me; it’s an existential crisis.  As in, I was really not satisfied with how a lot of things were going and I had to learn and figure out how to change all this.  How I eat and how I feed my family.  The sad realization that every food company, even those making “healthy” products, is looking to make a profit, not to make people healthy.  I’ve been not satisfied with how we manage our money and how we’re educating our kids.  Family relationships and how I spend my days, all reevaluated.  And then there’s the fact that we moved to rural Appalachian Pennsylvania and though we love so many things about living here, there are a few things about the community that make us feel like we’re swimming in the wrong pond.  But we keep moving and moving and never really find the right pond.  It’s time to “Be the Change,” I think.  Should be no problem, right?

But back to the sewing..

We’ve been slowly progressing through the renovation of what was meant to be my studio space, which meant that the small temporary sewing room is packed with all the weird stuff we had been storing in the studio space since we moved in.  So much stuff that it’s now more of a storage closet.  With no place to sew and supplies lost in a sea of boxes (and my mind caught up in my books), there was no sewing going on.

But (finally!) the studio is finished, pretty much.  Maybe a few more minor things will get done if our carpenter/distant relative has a chance this winter.  But I’ve started using it.  And even if the space is not quite at 100% (what ever is, really) it feels really really good to have a place to create (to think) and a place for my business again!  And I’m sure having the space set up will draw me out there to get to work.  And I’ll keep thinking.

Anyone else challenging the status quo in areas like nutrition, education, kid raising, finances?  I’d love to hear more.  Shoot me an email if you don’t want to comment here!

With Love,

Jessie

 

Public School..

Well this happened today…

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After 6 years of exclusively home schooling, my youngest 3 are starting a new chapter.  Two are off to public school for the first time and the little to preschool.  Why now?  These girls have been dying for the whole school experience, riding the bus, making new friends, following a schedule, packing a lunch…  Now that we have bought a house and are a little more settled it was just the right time to let them have that experience.  I’m so happy for them!

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Little Vivian, I feared, would be bored to pieces without “her guys” to hang out with all day so I found a little preschool just for her.  She was so excited to go to school today. Although, she did not appreciate that she had to get there in the car.  Hopefully now she understands that school is at the end of the trip so tomorrow it will be less… loud.

So, where does that leave me?  With lots more time to blog for one 🙂  I’ve got my 8th grader still home with me but he is pretty self-sufficient compared to the others.  So, I’m really excited for what I can do with this new found bounty of time!

 

Home

IMG_7635Well we bought a house!  It is not a farm, so I’m tucking away that dream, for the moment. But it’s wonderful.  It’s old.  I feel so at home.IMG_7529IMG_7530IMG_7639 The view.  I don’t have my own land but open land is all around me.  I’ve realized over the years that I have a constant, almost subconscious feeling of unease when I look out my window and can’t see out into the distance.  Conversely, now that I can look out across the valley to where field meets mountain and mountain meets the sky, I feel peaceful.IMG_7619The studio.  It needs some plaster work first, but the old summer kitchen, upstairs and down, will be for me and my business. More peace.  And for now, there is a downstairs office where I can set up all my things.  IMG_7510IMG_7512And the living spaces… I am so happy.  It is cozy and comfortable and there’s enough room for all of us to spread out.  It’s hard for 6 introverts to live together in a modern house with an open floor plan.  We need a closed floor plan.  Separate spaces where we can retreat and be ourselves, not feel assaulted by whatever noise the others are making, but still with gathering places where we can come together.  It’s perfect.

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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Stocking up

I’ve got nothing but computer work lined up today, but I am comforted by the basket of freshly washed fabric acquisitions at me feet. (and a plate of Cranberry-Quinoa Scones from Aran Goyoaga’s beautiful cookbook)

I feel like a squirrel, putting things by for the long winter… we canned over 100 quarts of applesauce, some veggie soup too, I stocked up on water and pantry items (because I dream of stormy days when we are all cozily house-bound), there is talk of getting a chest freezer and a pig to put in it, and now a lovely collection of fabric for the cozy crafting months ahead.

Some of the fabrics in my basket mimic the view from my window.  The children wore themselves out already today, playing with dad in the leaves, and I want to make a quilt to remember these golden days.

Cozy Wozy

These are the best kind of days.  It’s wet and windy outside and we are warm and dry inside.  We have gingerbread-chocolate cookies and apple cider and enough apples in the house to make 80 quarts of applesauce.  Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons concerts streaming in the kitchen.  There’s a pile of basted hexies beckoning me to settle in and stitch them together, some precious new fabric to run through the washer and dryer, and more apples, apples everywhere.  The children have concocted some sort of dinosaurs-at-school game and they even remember to include Eva in the fun.  Just when I began to worry that I was not doing enough for the children with our homeschooling, I heard Gus drilling Violet and the dinosaurs in Latin roots and I was reassured that everything is OK.  Eva desperately wanted to go outside and so all 3 suited up in their rain gear and went out on an adventure.  Everything is different in the rain.  I watched through the window with hot spiced cider.  I’m sitting now in my room looking out at the treetops and I love how the rain makes the bark on the Sycamore look even prettier.

I want to make some pretty stitched things to hang above the mantle.  Just simple embroideries.  Probably some English Paper Piecing, too.