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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bitch, Bitch, Bitch, Bitch, Bitch ...

My fucking hip is killing me! I am not one to complain about the physical aches and pains of everyday life, if I did that I would never talk about anything else and I can't stand people like that. I deal with pain everyday, my neck, my lower back,my hips, my head, my stomach and/or digestive tract, something always hurts, but moaning, groaning, or complaining isn't going to make it hurt any less, so I tend to suffer in silence and few people ever have a clue of just how much I am suffering. But today my fucking hip is killing me and I am moaning, and groaning, and complaining about it. Why? Why is today so different from any other day of the last 30+ years of suffering?

I am not really sure to tell you the truth. Maybe I just needed something to write about and since that was at the top of the hierarchy of thought in my brain at the moment, that is what came out. Maybe its because my husband is being a grouchy ass and annoying the fuck out of me, but since I am not allowed to bitch about him here, I picked the next most annoying thing I could think of. Or maybe I am just tired of always being in fucking pain and suffering in silence!

Whatever the reason I picked today to whine about it I think it about time people start trying to be a little more understanding and a lot less judgmental of one another. I know I am as guilty of it as the next person, we all stereotype and judge one another, its only natural, its a self-preservation instinct to want to be around people who are similar to us and to stay away from those who are different. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. The problem comes when one group decides that any “different” group is bad, or that only their way to live or think is acceptable, and anything that deviates from that is bad.

And, fuckitall, I do that too. I think people who destroy the earth for profit are bad, I think people who believe money is more important than people are bad, fuck, I think a lot of people are bad, but only people who hurt others intentionally. But even when I have judged someone as bad I don't want to hurt them, I just want them to stay away from me. I do not understand why some people seem to get so much joy out of hurting other people. How does making someone else feel bad make your life any better? Are you really a better person for pointing out someone else's flaws or failings? Is it really necessary for you to tear someone else down? What is the fucking point?

I am so sick and tired of fucking spelling Nazis pointing out typos like there is some great reward for their doing so. Fuck off. I see them too, and I can look past it and see the information or intent behind it. For fuck's sake they are silly fucking funny things on the internet, not a fucking doctoral thesis, so get over yourselves. I have paid over $200 for a fucking college text book and found typos, and I didn't bitch about it. I fixed it in my head and moved on. Nit-picking is NOT a spectator sport, keep it to yourselves because nobody else cares.

It wouldn't bother me nearly as much if it wasn't for the fact of the thousands of fucking “I haz cheezebuhga” stupid pics out there. I really fucking HATE those things! In my opinion they are an affront to intelligence and I find them extremely offensive to my delicate sensitivities! I do not share them on my page ( not unless they are over the top funny anyway), but I don't go on every single post I find of them and bitch about it! I skip on over them and go on with my fucking life because I have one!

I have reached my tolerance threshold for people coming on MY page and bitching about what I post. Its MY fucking page, I post what I want to post. If you don't like it, leave. There are probably a million pages on Facebook now, you are free to “like” or “unlike” whatever pages you want, I have over 5,000 pages that I have “liked” on my personal profile, and guess what, EVERY single one of them has posted something I didn't like, and you know what else, NOT a single one of them knows it! I do let them know when I “like” what they post, but otherwise I mind my own damn business! 

This blog and my Facebook pages are for ME to bitch to you. They are NOT there for people to bitch at me! Make your own fucking page for that. If you don't like to read my bitching – its easy to ignore me, just don't read it, or “unlike” the freaking page, or go ahead and try to argue with me and I will ban you and solve your problem for you.  

I have seen a picture being passed around Facebook talking about how "on the internet you can be anything you want ... funny how many people choose to be stupid" - to me it is just fucking sad how many people are choosing to be just plain mean!  I am so sick of people always attacking everything that has no direct impact on their lives except for the energy they choose to devote to it.  Get over yourselves.  Get a life, get a grip, get some manners, better yet,  get some fucking compassion and common sense or get the fuck off the internet.  If you can't sat something nice just shut the fuck up already, the world is shitty enough without people trying to make it worse on purpose, especially when there is absolutely nothing to gain from it!  Nobody is going to pay you to be an ass, so consider this your termination notice - You are fucking fired!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Yes, I Have Been Stripping Again!

Yesterday I said I was going to start on another strip quilt, and that is exactly what I did.  This time I grabbed a box of 3 7/8" strips.  I like to make "surprise" quilts, I have no clue what I am going to make when I start sewing pieces together.  I just start sewing and see where it goes.  So I decided to sew these together randomly on the short ends at a 45 degree angle, alternating the direction of the angle.  I then sewed a second line about a half an inch away from the first in order to save the two triangles off the ends and turn those into squares for later.  I cut those triangles off, and then cut each of the strips in half and sewed them back together randomly again at a 45 degree angle.  Now there are well over 100 strips in the box so I am pretty sure I will have more than enough for a quilt top, maybe even two.  The last box I picked was narrower strips and I sewed them together along the longest sides first, and the cut them into strips and sewed them back together, I am thinking that I may put the two back to back as a reversible quilt, but we will have to see what I end up with when I get further along.

That is the real joy of quilting for me, the ability to not have to plan ahead.when I don't want to.  Now there are plenty of patterns out there that require precise measurements and exact piecing, I don't like those so much.  They can be fun, in their own way, a challenge can be a good thing from time to time.  But I really just like to make it up as I go along sometimes.  There are few other other forms that allow such wild abandon, abstract painting I guess, but I am not much into that.  Dyeing fabrics is kinda that way too I guess, Most of my favorite hobbies tend to lend themselves to pleasing the slacker in me, that's probably why I enjoy them so much. 

I really am a craft-aholic.  My studio really is a crafter's dream, except for the fact that you can't turn around in there for all the stuff!  Every time I develop a new hobby I have to have all of the possible tool and accessories known to mankind for it.  I have always been that way.  When I was a kid I had to have the biggest boxes of crayons and the biggest packages of markers or colored pencils, and I still do!  I have hundreds of stencils, hundreds of rolls of ribbons and lace and all kinds of trims, thousands of sheets of paper, thousands of yards of fabric, hundreds of bottles of paints and inks of all types.  I have every color they make of DMC embroidery thread, and hundreds of spools of cotton, polyester, and rayon threads in a rainbow of colors,  and thousands upon thousands of sewing, quilting, and embroidery patterns (both machine and hand embroidery) as well as dozens of rulers and templates.  I have three sergers, two embroidery machines, and 7 sewing machines, plus a knitting machine (which I still have never used!)  I have the biggest Cricut cutting machine on the market, dozens of scissors, rotary cutters, and other specialty cutting tools, my own power tools and hand tools, a complete screen printing system, and three computers with most of the crafting software in existence.  I have hundreds of thousands of beads in all shapes and sizes, dozens of books on every craft subject I have ever had the slightest interest in, and hundreds of magazines. And that doesn't even begin to cover all the kids craft stuff!  I think I have mentioned before that I am a little bit obsessive.

Yes I am spoiled freaking rotten, I admit that. My wonderful husband has given me more than I ever dreamed I would have access to, and more than that, he has given me the ability to provide myself with more than I ever dreamed I would be able achieve.  But much of my "stash" is the result of 30 years of obsessive collecting.  I am an expert at Goodwill hunting and hand-me-down accepting, I have never turned down anyone's scraps or unwanted articles.  I recycle, up-cycle, and re-use whenever possible, and I never buy anything that is not on sale.  When I want to start a project, I want to start it NOW! And I want to have every possible tool or other accoutrement I could conceivably desire, right there where I can use it.  I can't wait for a trip to the store, that would involve actually planning a project ahead of time and that is not something I tend to do very often.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fighting an Obesessive Compulsive Personality is Hard Work!

Well the wind is blowing too hard for me to do any cutting of pajamas today so I thought I would write for a while.  My “work” is done for the day, (well except for a couple of pans that I still need to wash but I am hoping if I leave those sitting there long enough my husband will wash them!) so I have a little time of my own and I know I have been seriously slacking on keeping up with writing here. 

The more work I do for my husband, the less I want to spend my free time typing on the computer, so the 2000 listings I helped him write this month really put a hole into my motivation pool!  The problem with the work I do for him is that it gives me too much time to think and too little time or energy left to do anything else.  So I have a head full of ideas and never enough time to explore them all and I ended not doing anything because I can't decide what I want to do the most.  It drives me crazy! 

I have the same problem when it comes to cleaning the house, I try to pick a place to get started, and then I start making mental lists of all the things that need to be done, and then I get overwhelmed and exhausted by all of the things on the list, so I end up doing the basic necessities and leaving the rest for another day.  People who do not have an obsessive compulsive personality probably cannot even comprehend how mentally and physically draining it is to try to keep it under control! 

People who do not know me probably think I am serious when I refer to myself as “lazy” or “a slob”, what they don't realize is the amount of time and energy that takes!  Let me set the record straight here, my house is not going to be featured in "Good Housekeeping" magazine (ever), but it is NOT going to be featured on the “Hoarders” TV shows either.  My house is basically clean and sanitary most of the time, and my children are well cared for, but beyond that, I really just have to refuse to care.  I don't want to live my life to impress other people, I want to enjoy my life and my family, and damnitall a little bit of dust and pet hair is not going to stand in my way! 

So I think I will fire up my sewing machine this afternoon and see about sewing some pieces of fabric together.  I have another strip quilt ready to start (even though I haven't finished the last one yet), actually I probably have about 100 strip quilts ready to start, but I think I will start with just one.  I have literally dozens of boxes filled with pre-cut strips of fabric in all different increments from 1 1/4” wide to 6 1/2” wide all ready for whatever project I decide to use them on.  That was my previous attempt at down-sizing my fabric stash.  I spent 3 months cutting yardage down into strips.  I had no idea what I would ever do with them, I just started cutting.  And I kept cutting for several hours every day for weeks and weeks!  I did mention something about my being obsessive-compulsive, didn't I?  I have made several quilts from them already, but it does not seem like I have even made a dent into the stacks of boxes of them!  I guess I better get back to work!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Its Pajama Time!

I spent the day outside cutting out flannel pajamas.  That might seem like a strange thing to you, but it has become quite common for me to do things like that so no one around here ever even notices any more.  Anyway, I have a cupboard out in my studio filled to bursting with flannel fabrics, and I would like to have some of that space for other things (I am thinking that the screens for my screen printing system might fit in there).  I know the boys are both going to need new winter pajamas this year so I figured I would just cut them all out now and get them out of the way.  I make the boys new pajamas every summer, and since their pajamas seem to last them about two years, I alternate between summer pajamas one year and winter ones the next.  So far it has worked well.  This year is flannel.  I couldn't find the pattern I used the last couple of years, but I have several, so I just picked a different one, it is easier, but wastes a lot more fabric.  So as I have been cutting out the pieces for their pajamas I have been cutting the leftover pieces into 6 1/2" strips.  And I have been doing some creative piecing on the pajamas as well since there wasn't always enough of the fabric to make a whole set of pajamas, some have different sleeves, and I don't think any of the pants match the shirts, but the boys will love them and that is all that matters.  They will all be finished with rib knit cuffs and collars so they will still for a couple of years.

I got six and a half sets cut out today, and I put things "away" so that it will be relatively easy to get back to it after I finish the mail tomorrow.  I set up in the back yard today because I knew it was going to get hot, and I can stay in the shade most of the day out back.  A couple of years ago I figured out that I could cut out the pajama pieces with my big rotary cutter, so I covered my outdoor work table with cutting mats and went to work.  My husband still gives me funny looks when I take all of my cans of tuna fish outside, but they work great to weigh down the tissue paper patterns (especially when it is breezy!) and I can just zip around each piece with the rotary, mark the notches that I need, and then throw the piece into the stack.  No pins, no scissors, no problem!  I don't worry about precision, close enough is good enough, they are kids pajamas after all, and its not like any body else will ever see them.

I will probably spend another day cutting flannel, that should give me at least two empty shelves, and then I will have to dig out the boxes with knit fabrics so I can find the rib knit that I need.  I really am trying to get rid of as much fabric as I can.  I literally have thousands of yards of all different types of fabrics and it is taking over my whole world.  So I am trying to sell it on eBay (the stuff that people might actually be willing to pay for anyway), and use the rest of it in as many ways as possible.

I really want to move back to my home town, the sooner the better as far as I am concerned.  But I am NOT looking forward to moving all of that fabric, or all the other crap we have either for that matter.  So the more of it I get rid of, or use, the less i have to move (don't fuck with my logic on this one, I know if I just turn it into other stuff that we keep I still have to move it, so don't remind me!).  Mostly I would really like to be able to work in my studio again, and right now I can barely turn around in there!  That was what started me cutting the pajamas today, I went out to try to re-organize and clean up a little and decide it would be easier to put things away if there was less stuff in there.  I still have lots of stuff I need to get listed on eBay that is being stored out there too, maybe now that I have finished my husbands latest project he will give me a little time off from his stuff to work on my own.  Some how I doubt that, but a girl can dream...

In the mean time, I will have a couple more empty shelves in my cupboard and the boys will each have several new sets of pajamas for whenever it cools off again.  And I will have more flannel blocks ready for the next time I am ready to sew them together.  I didn't really need more of those, but I will use them, eventually, and they take up less space than the uncut fabric.  At any rate, at least I am keeping busy, and even sort of being productive, so I call it a good day, now I just have to haul the serger into the house to sew these things together!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another Hobby?!?!

You may or may not have noticed that Mother has been a little preoccupied lately and hasn't posted as much on Facebook and she certainly has been ignoring this blog for a while.  There has been a lot going on around here this Spring, but there is nothing unusual about that, for people with no life outside of our selves we are always busy.  The new adventure in Home Schooling using the Time4Learning website is going remarkably well, both the boys are enjoying themselves immensely and they are learning new things, so its all good with that so far.  The latest round of "improvements" on Facebook have really made it even less user friendly for me and I just don't have the motivation or the time to do as much as I did when I started.  I will keep it going, and I'll keep on sharing and posting and what not, but I am not even trying to keep up the same pace I started with.

Anyway, what does any of this have to do with the title of the post?  Not much, but I was getting there. In the midst of being busy I have started researching a new hobby.  I know, I know, I have way too many hobbies already, especially for someone with obsessive compulsive tendencies such as myself, but it looks like so much FUN!  So this is what I am learning how to do:

This is NOT my work - it is a scan of an old book cover created with the technique I am learning.

Its called "Marbling" and it is a printing technique which involves floating paint on a "medium" and then swirling and combing to create the intricate patterns.  Then you lay the paper or fabric on top of the ink to transfer the pattern.  Each print can only be made once, so every print is unique.  I have always been interested in it, but as with dyeing fabrics, I had always thought the process involved the use of toxic chemicals, and as with dyeing fabric, I was thrilled to learn it does NOT!

You know its funny how many things I have wanted to do in my life that someone (my Mother usually), would always try to talk me out of by convincing me it would be somehow "dangerous".  I guess it makes sense in hind sight, since my family seems to consider any new knowledge as "dangerous", but it was really quite ridiculous and frankly I am angry with myself more than anything for letting them restrict and constrain my creativity for so many years.

So I have been learning all of the intricacies of how this process works, and I have learned that the most toxic thing to it is a little bit of ammonia in the "medium" which is actually called the "size" which is actually made with either Carrageenan or Methocel, both of which are non-toxic and safe to use.  I have watched all the videos I can find online, and read every blog post and website on the first ten pages of Google matches, I even ordered a few books off of Amazon, and I am thinking that I will give this a try.  I know, I know, the last thing I need is another hobby, but, but, but, ....  I am going to do it anyway.  

This looks to be another "outdoor" hobby, as it appears to be pretty messy, so my time frame is limited and I am not sure just how good I can get at this in just a few weeks, but I can at least give it a try and see if I do enjoy it as much as I think I am going to and then maybe I can find a way to move it indoors in smaller measures for the winter.  I still have some more reading to do (whenever the books arrive) and I have to order some more supplies, so I can't get started just yet, but I am sure I will post an update when I do!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Time4Learning program review Day #1

Okay, I posted the disclaimer yesterday that I am going to review the website for here on the blog in return for a 30-day free membership to the website.  As some of you may remember I am a Home Schooling Mom, and have been for over 20 years (on and off)  I have home schooled all five of my kids at one point or another, for one length of time or another.

My oldest son started it, it is really all his fault.  When he started school he had such high expectations from the Public School System and they failed him miserably.  He taught himself to read when he has 4, so by the time they let him in to Kindergarten he already knew everything they were going to teach him for the next two years.  Instead of finding some way to challenge him, his teachers had him help them teach the other kids.  And while that was fun at first, he was bored most of the time. For three years i listened to teachers promise me that they would try to get him into the Gifted program, but no one ever did.  Around the middle of second grade he asked me if he really had to go back. 

That was the beginning.  He stayed home until 5th grade, and then went back to Public School until about the middle of seventh grade.  He went back to home schooling until he graduated at 16 to start at the local Community College.  He was easy to home school.  He wouldn't let me do a damn thing, except help him gain access to the information and answer his questions as he had them.  We talked, a lot, about everything under the sun, no subject was ever off limits, but that was all I had to do.   He loved to read, and he loved to learn, all I had to do was allow him to do so.  They call it "UN-schooling" now I guess, but I just knew he was learning just fine on his own.

"The Kids", (my children by my first husband, including son #3 and my daughter, my #4 child) are 19 months apart and as a result of #3 son's Asperger's Syndrome they were in the same grade.  They were only home schooled for short periods of time because their father had to be a pain in the ass, but when they were at home the required complete and total structure for their learning or they would not do anything.  So I had their days planned to the minute with workbooks and projects, and over the course of 6 months we managed to bring both of them up to grade level when the Public School had managed to let them fall almost a year and a half behind.  Because of my son's "disability" the school system had lowered their expectations of his ability and refused to challenge him in any way and as a result he was not expected to do much.  At home he was expected to do what he was capable of doing, and I wouldn't accept anything less. 

"The Boys" are my two youngest sons (my husband's children).  They are 8 and 9 (almost 10) years old, they both went to Kindergarten at the Public School, and the older one tried a few weeks of both 1st and 2nd grade before giving up entirely on Public School.  I have tried a little bit of both "UN-schooling" and some structure with them, but I am learning that they are needing a little more structure if they are going to reach their potential, so I was looking for a curriculum source that could help provide some of that for us going forward.

Now, we all know my life is busy, and I like to claim to be lazy, so I was looking for something that wouldn't require a great deal of extra effort and also something that wouldn't cost a fortune.  My two biggest requirements were that is completely non-religious based and that I could afford to pay for it.  I searched online and found the Time4Learning web site.  After spending two days exploring everything I could access without registration I happened across the page that offered a free 30 day membership in return for a blog review.

Now there was a deal I certainly couldn't turn down!  I posted the disclaimer yesterday, filled out the information form, and waited for an email, which I received the this morning.  Since we are starting this program in June, I initially arranged to have both of the boys start out at the grade level they will be starting next Fall.  Today I let them just play around on the site exploring activities and lessons how ever they chose so they would learn to navigate and see just what Mom had gotten them into this time.  They both seemed to enjoy it immensely, each spending 2-3 hours on the site over the course of the day.  The younger one had some difficulty at first because he wanted to jump right into the questions without reading the text, but once he settled in and learned the rules he did just fine.  I did decide to back him down a grade on Language Arts for now as this is not his strongest subject and he seemed to be struggling a little more than he needed to be, but the change was really easy and I can change it back at any time which is one feature I really like.  Each subject is independent in the grade levels which allows him to stay at the higher level in Math which is his strongest subject. 

So our first impression of the web site is definitely favorable.  My goal is to try to post an update at least a couple of times during our free trial period, and if all goes well I think I might be willing to pay the monthly fee to continue long after that.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Time4Learning program review

I've been invited to try Time4Learning's online education program in exchange for an honest review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so come back and read about my experience! For more information, try their lesson demos or find out how to write your own curriculum review.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Easy Refrigerator Jam

 I made some of this last night using a quart of strawberries left in the freezer from last year.  I let them thaw in the bag and then just poured the liquid that was still in the bag right into the pan with the berries, but I dumped the liquid that was left in the bowl down the drain. 

It is not technically a "Vintage" Recipe, since I made this one up myself, but it is one of my favorites!

Easy Refrigerator Jam

1 quart cleaned berries
2/3 - 1 1/2 cups sugar (to taste)
1 tsp. lemon juice (I never used it for raspberry jam)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch (opt)

Dump the berries in a medium saucepan and crush well with a potato masher.  Add lemon juice, then sugar and cornstarch and mix well.  Cook over medium to medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Use hot as syrup on pancakes or allow too cool and refrigerate for jam.

All the other recipes that I have seen don't include the cornstarch, so apparently it may not be necessary, but I have always used it and have had pretty consistent positive results, so I keep using it. 

This makes a very lumpy jam, probably closer to "preserves" but that is what I like.  You can run it through a blender, food processor, or use a mixer and smooth out the texture if you prefer it that way.

 It will keep for 2-4 weeks in the refrigerator or can be frozen for longer storage.