Thursday, September 10, 2009

Here Is Your Blindfold, M'Lady.


At our last dance practice we had an interesting proposal.

Remember I told you about the young man who knows how to lead in dancing? He was given a short opportunity to talk about it with the other gentlemen. It was WONderful!

His sister also had a terrific idea.

She suggested that the girls be blindfolded, and be completely unable to dance UNLESS the boys actually did the leading.


It was great! I would love to use this method over many practices.

In the dances, very often it is the ladies who do a larger percentage of the footwork. If the young man does not know how to lead, he could begin to feel unimportant and non-participatory. This really caused them to see how important their part was.

So cool. Wish I had pictures. It was great, and you can imagine the laughter as the girls made their best attempts.

I think Michael is coming down with the flu. He was very tired today, and is achy.

But he did a great job on finishing up the bed. He, Seth, and Mikka did the sanding.

I made an error. My dad had loaned him a dremel, since ours is no longer working, to sand down the nooks and crannies in the scroll work. I assumed he knew that's ALL it was for. But he used it for sanding the rest of the pieces as well. Needless to say, it was a little rough. So Michael spent a lot of time trying to sand out as many dips in the wood as he could. It is here that we find them...


Our power sander is missing, along with our jigsaw, sadly. But with a bit of old fasioned elbow grease and 100 grit sandpaper, much of the roughness was removed.

And while I worked on my sewing...

... he got the rest of the pieces done for me to put together.

Budget project - no available batting in my closet. I had to use stuffing. It's a little lumpy, but I choose to call it "Period Correct".

Here's the little reversible spread I made for it. I used available scraps from my sewing and fabric stash, and then used those for the paint selection.

And with the pillows.

I don't want to paint it. I love the natural wood, and would just clear coat it. But Maddie likes pink, so pink it shall be. Likely tomorrow.

Since it will have a thick coat of enamel, I won't tap these nails in and putty over them. The real reason - I'm not sure I have putty that's not dried out.

If you have an interest in making something like this, the wood for the project cost about 20 dollars. It was made for an 18 inch doll. I bought a 4 foot piece of 1x2 pine; a 4 foot piece of 1x8 pine, but 1x10 would give a better look; and a set of pre-cut scroll decorative pieces.

If I'd been doing it myself, I'd have taken step by step photos, but I was off picking apples.

Cut the bed base and rails to 22 inches, and then cut your headboard and footboard into whatever decorative design you choose. The headboard on this one was about 9 inches high, and the footboard was about 6 inches high. Glue on the decorative scrolls.

Use wood glue and small nails, I like paneling nails, but headless nails are nice for a less obvious look. Use 1/5 inch length. Affix the rails to the sides of the base first, then affix the end boards next, making sure you keep the whole thing level, so it's not catty-whompus when you are done.

I might add these to my ETSY, don't know.



Doll Bed; Michael Goes Shopping.


My young man is growing up. He wanted to go shopping for a hat the other day.

Dear friends came over and we thrashed our few sewing brain cells into finishing off a set of drawers and beginning my bodice. We've got a review coming up on Tuesday where we will all critique each others' Civil War re-enactment clothing to help refine our details. We are scrambling.

Fabrics that make me feel happy....

Preparing the board for cutting out the doll bed.

Look, Ma! Mattress and pillows!

And a reversible quilt!

Tossed templates...

Needed to borrow my dad's scroll saw for cutting out the head and foot boards. So headed to my folk's house and the work sheds.

I got sneaky. I decided that Michael and I do a lot of projects together, so I stepped out and sort of disappeared so these two would work on it together.

My dad is a good one to do things with, as he does them well. So you learn a lot.

A plaque that I helped my older three kids make for my dad about 20 years ago. The handsaw is missing at the top.

Working now on the scroll saw.

And I had more apples to pick. These will join the pears on my kitchen floor. Then I'm going to drive off a cliff.

They are looking pretty!

Their garden, almost put to sleep for the year. It looks Waaaaaaay better than mine.

Now ready to be sanded, glued and nailed, and painted.

And my work for the evening. These were just the last of what I could reach without climbing.

I have no idea what to tackle next.



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Onion Braids, and Shameful Things


I took my camera along on our Monday excursions, but didn't take any pictures.

Michael and I learned to braid onions in the morning. I don't know if you can look at them and say, "Wow! Look at those braided onions!" But we did braid them, so that's what they are, by dingo!.

We took a very long piece of twine, folded it in half, and tied a loop in the end.

The first onion was placed on the twine, making three strands to braid; two that were twine and one that consisted of onion top.

Begin braiding...

Add another...

Get tired of how slow it takes and add several at a time. They are small anyhow.

Tie it off and trim. The loop at the top is how you hang it.

After doing some work in the garden and kitchen on Labor Day we took off for parts known.

A stop by the home improvement store to pick up lumber and paint samples for a little girl named Maddie. Maddie is a sweetheart. She's got a wonderful new family with a brand new baby brother. But she's been going through a lot. Her wonderful new daddy is battling cancer. Doctors say he is likely not going to survive this.

So with all that going on, plus having a newborn in the family, it's kind of nice to give Maddie a little extra attention. She's got a doll that does not have a bed. Michael and I are going to build one for her, and we hope it makes her smile. Her favorite color is pink.

If you remember to pray for this family. Todd truly means a whole lot to all of us. We selfishly desire to keep him here, with us.

It was a gorgeous, mostly cloudy day, as we headed to the blueberry farm for one more go at filling our freezer and jars.

The leaves were just beginning to turn color in some places. Not as red as these in this photo.

The bushes were mostly stripped bare. It was the last day he was going to be open. It was a little sad, feeling the season coming to a close, seeing the bare branches, feeling the change in the air, the leaves the soil, even the birds sing differently as the years progresses. The incessant joyful twittering of spring has long since faced into simple occasional calls to one another across tress.

It was only Michael and I then, so we didn't have a lot of constant chatter. Filling the buckets was taking a long time. We'd just decided to reduce our goal of 4 gallons down to 2 gallons, when we hear voices across the empty fields, calling our names.

It was our dear friends, coming to help.

They knew we were going picking today, and we were late meeting them and couldn't reach my cell phone which had been left in the minivan, so they piled into the car and drove to help us finish. Needless to say, the gloominess I was feeling quickly vanished and all was well with the world, once again.

The rest of the day was just hanging out with them. We played the clicker game, so everyone could get an idea of what clicker training is like to not only teach with, but what it is like to learn with.

Then we went down and worked with the horses a few times, had dinner, and watched "The Shaggy Dog".

Aaaaaaaaaand on the way back home, late, tired, needing to visit the powder room.....

Michael and I are chatting, wishing we were already home and sleeping, when he tells me he feels nervous. I look over at him, concerned, and ask why. He says, because there is a police car with flashing lights right behind us...

...I got my first ticket in nearly 20 years. AGH!

Common criminal, signing off,



Monday, September 7, 2009

If you lay down, you may never get up again.


So had become a rueful joke amongst those of us who share my own particular lifestyle.

We are TIRED!

But you know, it's a GREAT tired. By Friday night, we were fairly wiped out and, while sitting on the couch at a get together with friends, it was hard to not want to run screaming for the shores of Tahiti.

We took a Saturday Shabbat rest. Now, Shabbat is all about setting aside your worries, your tasks, the things that encumber you and remembering that the most important things are your relationship with God, and the joy and fun in the simple things of family and friends; resting in God, and remembering that He takes care of us.

But, as I often do, what began as something fun, my photography, turned into work (coming up with an order) about 3 hours into it. I asked for God's leading in it, in prayer, and suddenly the whole truth occurred to me. Whereupon I laid it down, and we spent the rest of the day playing games, reading, watching a movie, taking a nap.

Have you been able to yet open your windows? I can't wait, every winter and summer, to get to the milder weather that allows me to keep the windows open as much as possible.


I am excited about getting another scoby. I have not had one in a while. I had ordered one with a woman, and we were to go in halves, but I never heard from her again. The last few days, however, I've been chatting about it with a friend on a forum and she may be able to send me one sometime soon. You want one of these, don't you. Admit it.

Weird news of the week: My husband, who is thousands of dollars in arrears for support, and in defiance of a court order, left me a message on the machine. He'd accidentally deposited more in my account than he meant to. Please send him a check or wire him the money. He needs it.

Upon conferring with my attorney, I am keeping it and applying it to the money he owes. However, I fully expect retribution, so the money will be saved for those future weeks of punitive vengefulness. I'm so grateful I have a church family who steps in and cares for us when we need help. They have done so much for us.

The pears!

Here they are. Well, these and more that are already in the kitchen by the time time photo was taken.

They are now under newspaper in boxes, awaiting the magical time of ripening. And I am awaiting the magical time of stubbing my toe in the darkness when I forget they are there.

We are finding a few things here and there in the fusarium-decimated garden. No, not the bananas.

We are finding far more rotted produce than anything though. The melons on the counter were picked from dead plants. We have opened two of them and found they were still unripe. I suspect the rest are the same. But it's worth a shot.

A precious hubbard squash. I'm so happy!

Must get busy on those chores today! Next item, learn how to braid onions.