Whoa

Wow. Where to begin?

Seven months goes by SO QUICKLY! I never meant to fall off the face of the earth, but here we are.

Our third little boy was born January 10, weighing in at 8lbs even. We named him Benedict Michael (hereafter on this blog as “Beanie”, thanks to his older brothers). He’s a sweetie.

The birth went really well and there were no complications and he fits into our family perfectly.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/91936282@N00/27333732630/in/datetaken/

His brothers are growing up, too. Yuri turned 3 a little over a month ago and is delightful and trouble and mischievous and clever and very hard to stay on top of. He colors on walls without abandon and without regard to consequence, cuts his hair with no second thought, punches his older brother on a daily basis, and really enjoys helping out in the kitchen. He has also recently learned how to play minecraft, so he and Kostya do that nearly every day, until Yuri starts breaking everything Kostya has made. I think this photo pretty much sums it up.

Kostya turned 6 in February, and he is a delight as well. He is progressing through his phonics, and he is a fantastic big brother and a great help around the house. He is usually at the receiving end of a punch from Yuri, but he almost always kind of deserves it, if that makes sense.

I cannot believe how old they are getting! I have three sons! It is the best ever.

After Christmas I decided to shut down my etsy shop, probably for good. Kostya was going to be doing proper homeschooling, I would have three little ones to look after, and with the etsy shop, all of my free time was spent working on it instead of doing any fun sewing. The money was nice, but after four years, it was time to say goodbye. I don’t miss it at all.

In the meantime I have made real progress on my WIP list from the past few years, and, of course, started many new ones and have about a million other things I want to make.

I finished this in the spring as a gift for a friend of ours whose daughter was born about a month after Beanie. I really enjoy using the Quick Curve Ruler and the patterns that go along with it, and this Bonnie and Camille fabric was darling.

After

After I gifted the quilt, however, Baby’s Mother told me they actually fell in love with the back side of the quilt. Mom had always referred to her daughter as her “Little Mermaid” in utero, and so I found a mermaid panel printed by Hawthorne Threads, and so this is the side they display in the nursery. (This shows off the quilting I did a little bit)

I also finally finished the pink and brown BOTM I started years ago (in my gallery is it’s twin, Jun) and gifted it to one of Kostya’s friends.

I also finished a Halloween wall hanging using Cotton + Steel’s Spellbound line. It’s actually quilted and ready to hang, but I don’t seem to have a picture of it all finished. I’m not sure why I made a wall hanging, and a Halloween one at that. I don’t typically decorate for holidays or anything, and I’m not particularly attached to Halloween. Maybe I just really liked the fabric.

Another big finish (well, almost), is this quilt top I started last spring, but then fell pregnant and felt absolutely horrible and set it aside until this year. The pattern is Alsion Glass’s “Timber” and I chose to use dark neutrals paired with Jennifer Sampou’s Shimmer and Shimmer 2 lines because I felt that, altogether, it would feel “masculine” and even a little bit “dwarfy”. This quilt will be my husband’s when I’m finished and it’s the first quilt I’ve ever used wool batting in. I’ll report back on how we like the wool. In Texas.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/91936282@N00/28468222176/in/datetaken/

Of course there are a million other things going on. I’m homeschooling a bit and I need to update the homeschooling blog. I’ve been reading and cross stitching some. My brother got married. Our garden did well this spring. Life is busy and I am a terrible updater. Also I hate computer, the internet, and most social media, so there you go.

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Homeschool Review weeks 3 – 4

This should be the last totally homeschool post on this blog, as I am in the process of making one specifically for these types of posts. I think I’ve come close to deciding on a name for our school. I know it will be something along the lines of “Divine Mercy Homeschool” or something like that, and I’ll go into the naming later on that blog.
(edit, here is the blog. suuuuuper exciting)

Overall, I would say our first block (four weeks on, one week off), was a great success. Kostya is a delight to teach, and kindergarten is a great first year to start since we have so few real deadlines and our goals are few (basically, I want him to be a beginning reader by the end of this and for everything else I just want a feel for what approaches are best for him and what kind of pace we’re looking at and what interests he might have we can pursue in the future).

Reading lessons have slowed to one lesson per day. Kostya recognizes the new sounds and how to say them almost immediately, but putting it all together into words and short sentences is much slower, and so of course sentence comprehension isn’t there yet. Totally fine. We are *just* starting, after all! His writing is picking up a good deal and so instead of practicing one letter a day like we had in the beginning, we are doing two – five most days.

Mathematics has been fun. I’ve had to rework how fast we would go through materials, and he has surprised me with how quick he is to pick up on certain things. He can add numbers quite well, especially with some sort of manipulative, so we are working on recognizing the notation. Last week I went ahead and introduced place value. All I have to say as far as that goes is thank goodness for youtube! He loved the songs and cartoons that were available that helped break things down in ways I could not. While I did not have him use the work book, our last two math lessons last week were the lessons out of the actual Math U See Alpha book. My hope is that next week, when I start block 2, we can use that more. Whenever I felt like I couldn’t really tackle what MUS was doing,  I used Life of Fred: Apples instead. I have a feel that if I used that as our primary math book with some supplements, Kostya would blast through it. As it is, I intend to keep using it once or twice a week. I don’t have anything really planned out, it’s just how I feel that day: Do I sit and try to explain a proper math lesson from MUS, or do I just read the “story” out of LOF and make up some accompanying exercises? I was worried this approach would be confusing, but so far it has not been for either of us.

At this point I wonder when I should start giving Kostya easy books to try, or if I should keep doing our 100 Easy Lessons for a while longer. I suppose I could just wait until winter since we will have to stop school anyway for baby boy #3, who is due to join us early Jan.

I’m not much of a crafty person, but I’ve been trying to incorporate some other activities into our schooling. In the last month we’ve baked cookies a few times, made play doh, and went to the grandparent’s house to help with honey harvesting (“bee milking”, as my FIL calls it).

Some photos, since I haven’t posted any in a while

Homeschool Review: Week 2

I have no intention of doing this every week, as I would prefer to keep this blog more craft oriented, but as I have no created a homeschool specific blog (haven’t thought of a name yet), this will be where I post some homeschool thoughts.

This week was a bit tougher than last week. It was our first four day week (Fridays are library/activity days), and our first week with math.

While Kostya progressed through the first 20 reading lessons in three days last week, we have since slowed down significantly as he comes across new, less familiar sounds and letter combinations (one of our successes was mastering “th” this week!). There are things about early learning that I sometimes take for granted that I have to back up and teach him, like sentences ending with a period. He rolls along with things rather well, though. He still enjoys the lessons and sometimes asks for extra after lunch. I have a collection of Bob Books, so after he’s learned new sounds, I pull out the books that have those sounds for extra practice.

Writing is still slow as molasses, but that is okay. We are almost finished with Lesson 2 of the Memoria Press Copybook. I suppose I could lay off writing entirely and he would be fine, but I think that as long as we move gently through this, it will be okay. Kostya is always asking me to write lists and letters, and I’d like to give him the tools to do so ASAP. I may change my tune later, but I don’t want to stop writing completely. Not unless he shuts down with it.

Math has been interesting. Like I wrote before, I am hoping to use Math U See Alpha. Now, I think brain wise, Kostya is more than ready for the concepts, but after viewing the DVD that came with the program, I realized that format would probably not work with Kostya at his current maturity level, and might move too fast. What I’ve done is reviewed the first few lessons and broken them down into teeny, tiny pieces. Actually, here we are at the end of week 2 and I still haven’t even said “Place Value”. Only today, day 4 of math lessons, did I bring out the blocks and show how they were organized and divided. We spent the first three days practicing how to write numbers correctly and legibly, and since writing is the hardest for Kostya, we still have a long way to go. Today I made a simple worksheet of single digit addition problems with no carrying, and even though Kostya could read the problems out and answer them quickly with and without the blocks, writing the answer down was a huge stumbling block, so I think next week I will lay off writing numerals and just let him dictate the answers to me and I’ll think of another way to bring in writing the numbers at a later time. I want so badly for him to enjoy math as he has done so far and to not be frustrated.

Another  little hiccup, which I understand is totally age appropriate, is his ability to listen and repeat back to me a story I’ve read. I’m reading short Bible stories to him, and only a fraction of the time is he able to tell me anything back in the story. Today’s problems were more behavioral than ability, though, as he got tired of listening to me and walked out of the room in the middle of the story. We had a chat afterwards about how that was unkind, and that it was very important to listen, because in order to learn, we *must* listen. I told him trying his best in his schooling was not at all about pleasing me, but that in order to be the man God has designed him to be he must try his best, and that means listening. I do not ask or expect perfection, but I do want him to try. He cried, and we hugged and I told him how much I enjoyed our time together, how much I loved him, and how honored I was that he was my son. Then we sat and read the story again, this time while he played with blocks, and he was able to retell a bit back to me. I was very surprised when he cried. He doesn’t often show disappointment with himself and I hope I wasn’t too harsh (hence all the hugging and kissing afterward).

And then there is Yuri. My sweet Yuri, who spent all last week sweetly sitting next to us, coloring away. Yeah, that’s completely gone. I think he must be going through some development spurt, because his food intake has nearly doubled this week and his behavior is a dumpster fire. Oh, and he’s actually napping right now. Yeah, there must be some serious brain growth happening. Totally appropriate for his age, but man it’s frustrating. He has colored all over every page of Kostya’s. He tells me “NO!” after every request. He takes things out of Kostya’s hands and close fisted hits him for no reason, and seems to take joy in destroying everything Kostya builds. I think he is an expert in the “terrible twos”. Weather the storm, I guess.

It’s not you, it’s me

I’m not in love with Tula anymore. I know, shocking. It really is beautiful fabric. I appreciate the saturation, the fascinating subjects of some of her panel pieces, the creativity, but after about a year of seeing that fabric everywhere and in every thing, I can say with some confidence that it just isn’t my cup of tea. Oh sure, I browsed #thegreatfabricdestash on IG sometimes to catch a good deal, but I realize now that more than anything it was the thrill of the chase, and trying to acquire a highly desired piece of fabric simply because it was hard to find and so many other people wanted it. Thankfully, I set a price point early on and never went over it, so I don’t have any pieces I’ve purchased that I’m really ashamed of the money I spent on it. I am, however, a little ashamed of how much I have spent on bundles (usually just FQ) of entire collections that now I’m just not sure I’ll ever use. “Sure, just destash it”, you say, but that comes with its perils, some of which I have recently discovered. First, destashing is stressful and a big pain the rear. I destashed a lot of what I have so that right now, of my Tula, I only have a FQ or less of each print. I made some money, but I can’t say for sure if it was worth it. Second, and this is what really turned me off of both destashing, and maybe even the fabric itself (bad associations now), people can be nasty. See, you think you’ve done some research into the pricing of particular, HTF OOP fabrics, you list them for that, and instead of people behaving decently and just scrolling along if that price is too high, they comment. They balk, they tag their friends to come and look at your listing. Maybe then someone comes along and undercuts you and alludes to you in their listing, so their followers can go and look at your high priced listing and then go back and say nasty things about you, your motivations for selling at a certain price, and so on. All the while, you thought you had found a fair price point. You had seen the fabric sell for that very same price just that day, with no balking, no nasty talk, just a fair and honest transaction.

Yeah. My feelings were hurt. Yeah, maybe it’s silly to have my feelings hurt, but I really thought it was unnecessarily childish and hurtful. How hard is it to just move on? If it costs too much, you are under no obligation to buy or even comment.

I can’t even bring myself to look at this fabric right now.

So, the goal now is to use up what I have. Difficult, since this hasn’t been my go-to fabric to begin with.I did want to do the 100 Modern Quilt Blocks Sampler with what I have (I know, how original). Maybe later, after some more prints have gone out of print, I can try my hand at selling again and make back what I’ve spent.

Yesterday I broke up most of the collections and put them in my regular bins, sorted by color. I need to use the fabric from those bins more often, and I’ve been feeling pigeonholed by seeing collections all together. Maybe breaking them up will help the creative juices flow, and maybe after a while out of sight, I won’t feel so negatively about the fabric and will actually be able to use them.

Just some thoughts

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about my internet usage, particularly social media, and I think it’s time for a change. It’s taken however long facebook, twitter, and all those other social media outlets have been around for me to really come to this (I’m a slow learner), but I really don’t think the internet is a safe place. Not for thoughts or opinions, or anything really personal. Sure, some people navigate it all really well and even make money off of it. People can keep in touch and have so much information readily available. I guess I need to amend my opinion to say, “*I* don’t feel very safe on the internet’.

I thought for a while I might get used to the different ways people communicate through the internet, but I haven’t, and I don’t like how people seem to change online (myself included). In person,  I am not confrontational. I like smiles and easy conversation, but online, especially over things I feel passionate about, I tend to get really confrontational, brash, and I say things in ways that aren’t exactly loving or respectful. I don’t like it. That isn’t *me* and that isn’t how I want to be remembered or known.

Likes, shares and comments feel great when you get them, but they can’t be why I do something or why I share it. I’ve been so immersed in the internet that sometimes I forget that yes, I can do somewhere, do something, or make something, not share it online, and yes, it still happened. 

The way people communicate in person is still “the real way”. Yes, more of everything is moving to the internet, but if I don’t participate in most of it, I’m really not going to miss out on life. I can still have friends and hobbies. I won’t have to worry about the stress of something about my life being misinterpreted, over examined, ridiculed, or criticized. No, I’m not going off the grid completely, but I think my resolve to stay off certain areas is a little more solidified, and I’m rethinking what aspects of myself I *would* like to share with the world.

A year in review – instagram inspiration part 2 (the bad)

I’m only weeeeks behind on getting this out. Sorry, all my six readers.

Now, like in my previous post (if you skip the hockey one I reblogged – sorry, but that was an amazing night and game and no I’m actually not sorry I reblogged), I highlighted several things I thought were super great about what using Instagram can do for quilt inspiration. But with good things, there are often downsides, and I know I have definitely come across a few.

1)FABRIC TEMPTATION. Seriously, I have probably spent more money this past year on fabric than everything I ever purchased up to last year, including non fabric quilting supplies. Fabric is gorgeous, and when everyone posts their latest purchase and happy mail from conventions and sales and shops, it’s really hard to resist. With Instagram, you can also follow designers and shops directly, and so you see the latest lines and all the sales. It isn’t just stores and shops that are the problem, either. See, there is this little hashtag called #thegreatfabricdestash with THOUSANDS of posts of users destashing some of their fabric stash. It’s usually at at least a slightly discounted price, and a lot of it is OOP, so that can be a problem. I am usually a little late to the ball game with big destashes, so I haven’t purchased a lot. Tula Pink goes especially fast, and the prices can get really high, so I’ve actually taken to make sure I don’t follow any destash accounts and I avoid Instagram when one of the people I follow regularly hosts a destash because I just don’t want the temptation to get caught up in it all, and believe me, it is really easy to get caught up in the frenzy of fabric purchases, especially when something highly sought after is on the line.

2) Every thing starts to look the same. I don’t mean this as an insult to anyone, because certainly everyone buts a lot of effort into every thing that they make, but after a while, it seems a lot of the work people make tends to start resembling each other, and it’s quite hard to really stand out and find your own voice. Now, a lot of quilters really just like to make what they know looks good, and I don’t think there is anything wrong at all with making a trendy quilt in a trendy quilt pattern with the latest fabrics, but for me, it’s started to become a bit much. I suppose there is a safety in knowing what already looks good, and like I said, that really is okay, I’m just a bit weary, creatively, from it all. A lot can be learned from mimicking other artists and quilters, and I’ve certainly made some cookie cutter quilts, but I’ve learned enough now that I really want to branch out and find where I stand in it all.

3) Extreme sadness when my quilt friends get to go do cool things and I can’t. I’m just three hours from where Quiltcon was held this year, and because of other things going on around that time, I couldn’t go. I signed up for classes and everything, and missed one of the biggest quilting events of the year, where pretty much my entire list of IG friends were. I had to not look at IG that whole week because everyone was sharing awesome purchases, amazing quilts, and getting to hang out with each other. It made me sad.

And that’s really about it for me on the bad. I have another post on quilt swaps which will hopefully not take a month to write. Thanks!

Taking a quilty break

Things have been really slow around here, crafty-wise. I’m stressed about a few things, and sometimes I’m able to turn to quilting to relieve some of it, but right now it’s the opposite. I am just not excited about sewing right now. My inspiration has dried up. My desire to touch new fabrics or browse the endless ideas on pinterest has completely gone. It’s a strange feeling, and not one I imagine will last forever.

So, for now, this blog may be used for other purposes, maybe to document whatever it is I’m working on that’s taking up my attention, or it may sit dormant until my quilt mojo comes back.

For now, the plan is to finish my WIPs, because I have deadlines and I don’t want that baggage of unfinished projects from previous bouts of inspirations hanging over me (it seems when people go through dry periods, and then come back, some of their tastes or the direction their work takes often changes).

I will, of course, post finishes as they come!

Hot Springs (mini vacation!)

Last week we packed up the boys for our first real road trip and vacation as a family of four and it was… illuminating? Exhausting? Something like that.

We left Tuesday morning and all was well. We fed the boys some breakfast from Chick Fil A, and like most other times, they didn’t really eat anything and the chicken got lost on in the back of the car somewhere and we still haven’t found most of the chewed up pieces. They slept fairly well until we got to Texarkana, where we thought it was a good idea to get Chick Fil A again for lunch. While I like their chicken sandwiches, two meals in a row is just too much. Too much. The boys played at a park while we ate to burn off a bit of energy. We realized at this point that Kostya had not used the restroom before we left, which was a big oversight on our part, as he had peed sometime before Texarkana. Luckily, I was a super great and prepared mom and had packed several extra changes of clothes for both boys.

On the second leg of our journey, from Texarkana to Hot Springs, we discovered that Yuri gets carsick! Especially on a full stomach. I heard him cry and cough in the backseat, and then we heard the gurgle and splat as it all hit the back of his seat, so we had to stop and change him and I nursed him for a while. The  outfit was a goner, so I just tossed it and opted for naked (except for the diaper, of course), so I wouldn’t use another outfit in case he needed to vomit again. Luckily, he didn’t.

We arrived at Hot Springs in good time, and our hotel, The Arlington, was gorgeous, and one day I might actually read the history on it. It’s located right on the main street of Hot Springs, at the end of Bathhouse Row. We’ve actually been to Hot Springs, before, two years ago, but we were not able to get a room at the Arlington because Hot Springs hosts horse races, and we weekend we went there were races, and all of the rooms at every decent hotel we booked, so we had to stay like five miles out of town. It was definitely worth staying at the nicer hotel because we didn’t have to drive anywhere this time. All the restaurants and other places were within an easy walking distance.

Here are some terrible pictures of the hotel

Our bed was lumpy, but they were really quite comfortable.

We checked in and went to our room. The hallway was definitely channeling some creepy Doctor Who vibes

By now it was almost evening, and we were all hungry and ready to walk around, so I went to change from my gross and sweaty t shirt and skirt into one of the few cute things I brought to wear for dinner, only to find out that Yuri, the night before, had unpacked a lot of my things and I only had about half of the clothes I thought I had packed. So I was stuck in frumpy t shirts and skirts. Sigh. Kids. We found a delicious Cuban place and I can’t remember the name (sorry), and the food was SO GOOD, but I got indigestion because of the stress of worrying about whether or not the boys could be entertained long enough before they exploded. Restaurants haven’t been good to us recently. Lots of prayers were said and answered, and we actually finished the dinner and received compliments from other patrons and some wait staff. We went back to the hotel and hung out, and I worked on some sewing handwork.

We woke up the next morning way, way too early and ate at a place called Pancakes, which for a place called Pancakes, was pretty good but not like, amaaaaazing. I love eating out for breakfast food, but Wafflehouse is almost always better than any other place. After breakfast was a visit to a small aquarium (for the kiddoes) across the street. There they had a tortoise named Slowpoke who walked freely. The kids liked her. My stomach was bothering me again so I went back to the hotel. Like home, the bathroom door didn’t shut all the way so I had no privacy. Just like home. Children are gifts from God. Then a nap happened, Alleluia. We took the boys for a swim in the pool on the 7th floor, but the water was too cold for me, and Yuri hated the hot tub, and then he found a katydid bug that scared him after it buzzed and everything fell apart because he kept trying to throw himself down stairs, so we decided swimming was out, and it was time for dinner!

This time we opted for this delicious italian place called Angel’s. It was some of the most flavorful italian food I’ve ever had, and they do not skimp on the garlic. Not in the least. It’s excellent. Like every other meal, James and I sat through it on the edge of our seat, trying to prepare ourselves for tantrums/broken items/thrown food/the apocalypse, but amazingly, we made it through. There were some close calls, but fortunately we were seated out of the way from everyone, so no one noticed.

At this point in our evening, despite the weather forecast predicting just a “cloudy, breezy” day, the sky opened up and it poured. We were a good four or five blocks away from the hotel, with no umbrella or cover for the stroller, and it was a serious, soaking rain that didn’t look like it was going anywhere for hours. We decided we were just going to run it, so I strapped the kids in the stroller and took off. We got soaked nearly immediately, and Yuri started to cry, so James took him out and carried him while I ran with Kostya, who also started crying.

It’s hard to see in this picture, because I’m a terrible photographer, but this was actually after the storm had lightened up, and it’s still solid rain.

Yuri was so unhappy.

At this point I had no clean clothes and we needed warm baths, so I was gross. Originally, I had thought we might be able to stay an extra night, but food costs, lack of clothing, and the inability to relax in any way cut that idea out. I had also intended to hit up the in house spa, but that never happened, so I had to settle for a bath in the hotel room (can’t complain too much – the tubs were huge and the water so so hot and wonderful), but because the door didn’t latch, Yuri could come in, so I spent my bath trying to deflect all the random objects he kept trying to throw in the tub.

James and I ordered coffee and chocolate cakes from room service, we managed to get the kids to sleep at 11, and went to bed. James was able to sleep, but Yuri is growing four teeth at the same time and so I didn’t really sleep at all. We checked out the next morning, had some Wafflehouse on the way out, and I was a zombie for the rest of the way. Yuri slept the whole way home, though, so that was good.

So, things I learned – vacations with small children are not relaxing at all. We had fun, the boys seemed to enjoy themselves, but James and I are definitely going to try for an us-only overnighter at some point. Children are really good at doing things that could probably kill them, and that’s stressful.

Christmas in July!

Hah. Not really. Not really at all. I was just reminded that I now have less than six months until Christmas, and I should really, really get started on whatever Christmas gifts I would like to make for my friends and family.

Since people read this (in theory, at least), I suppose I should refrain from posting ideas here, lest I ruin the surprise.

I will say I intend to make lots and lots and lots of apple butter in the fall for gifts. I love apple butter. Maybe I’ll post my recipe when I make it.

Watch me sit here and goof off for another three months, and then just not be able to finish anything. Like every other year.

Someone want to babysit my kids so I can get started 😉

It’s been forever

Apparently momming two little boys is time consuming. Who would have thought? Kostya is taking a break from phonics because we hit a little wall, and I wanted to back off before it became a struggle. Yuri is four  months old now and huge and adorable (17 lbs and 27″ tall at the last appointment!).

 

Here’s the fam at a nursery recently. It’s so hard to get a family picture now that isn’t blurry or has everyone’s eyes open or someone isn’t doing something goofy. 10303995236_3b50493852_z

In crafting news, things are as slow as always. I did get one of the block of the month tops done, though.

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The other is about 85% pieced. I just need to finish the sashing and borders. My points aren’t perfect on either, but I’m  pretty pleased. After the brown and pink one is finished, I’ll need to switch my brain into quilting gear, because I’ve got what I imagine will amount to at least a year’s worth of quilting work before I get back to piecing again.