Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Just Do It!

I did it!  I left my job and we are now officially self-employed.  There are a lot of implications to that move, but the most fun is the extra time for creativity.  Here's what I've been up to since "retiring".

My front porch got a mini-makeover for summer.  First, this worn and rusted garage-sale find:

got new life with just a fresh coat of paint and a pot of flowers.

 Some patriotic fat quarters became a banner for the porch rail:

 And the front door got a much needed face-lift with a coat of "Ranch Red" paint.

Speaking of painting, I did some of the canvas and easel type also.   Sometimes inspiration comes in the form of an internet image like the one at the right.  (I apologize to the artist that I did not make a not of where I saw his/her beautiful artwork.)  
Here is my version:  

In the sewing room, I used Pink Sand Beach Designs' pattern to create this "Sonoma Swing Bag".  This was the first time in thirty years that I've sewn anything with a zipper, so that required a little "refresher", but I'm pleased with the results.  Since I no longer spend 10 hours of my day away from home, there is no need to carry a large purse.  This size is perfect for a run to the grocery store and I can tuck it into a larger bag when I need to.

Drawstring lunch bags were my next project:

I found this pattern on Pinterest   It goes together much easier than it looks.  Read all the instructions before beginning, and give some thought to which direction the fabric pattern will run before you cut - otherwise your shoes will be sideways.

I'm not sure how well they would actually work as lunch bags. They are not insulated - although I think you could insert a layer of Insul-bright batting in place of the interfacing - and they are rather small if you take more than a sandwich and an apple for lunch.  

I'm not sure how I will use them.  They would work great for carrying small craft projects, like hexies, or to pack with snacks, crayons, etc as a child's  "goody bag" for car trips or during church.  For now, they are sitting in the closet waiting for inspiration to strike . . .  Maybe in time for the next "Inspiration on Monday".

IOM is a bi-weekly meme hosted by Trish @ Love, Laugher and a Touch of Insanity.  I am also linking this post to Needlework Tuesday, hosted by Heather at Books and Quilts.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Inspiration: The Chicken and the Egg

While visiting our son, Mitch, over the weekend, I visited one of my favorite quilt shops.  I was barely two steps in the door before I was "ooohing" and "aaaahing" over some retro prints.  Whitney, Mitch's girlfriend, who was patiently indulging me on this stop, innocently asked "What are you making?"  Making?  You mean from this specific fabric? - or any of the 17 other fabrics I purchased?"  .  .  . I have no idea!  I wasn't, technically, shopping for fabric.  Well, I mean, I was shopping for fabric but, on a grander scale, I was shopping for inspiration - slowly ambling the aisles, taking in all the beautiful colors and patterns until something grabbed me.  

The old question about the chicken and the egg applies well to my sewing. Which comes first?  The fabric or the project idea?   A basket of fat quarters sits on the corner of my work table in my sewing room. These are the fabrics from past shopping trips that "grabbed" me; that I just had to have - even if I didn't know why.  Some fabrics only remain in the basket for a few days, others may stay months.  Sometimes the fabric plainly says "I am a ________."  And sometimes the project idea comes first, and suddenly it's obvious that a fat quarter I bought 8 months ago is the perfect fabric.

Here is the inspiration that came home with me this weekend:
Christmas prints in red and lime green;
Pink(ish) newspaper print and two coordinates;
Mid-Century geometric prints
Christmas prints in black and aqua;
Fashion fabric and coordinate
Coral and aqua patterns
Awesome retro fabric!
Which comes first in your sewing or crafts?  The project idea or the perfect supply?

Inspiration on Monday is hosted by Trish and Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity and occurs the first and third Mondays of each month.  Link up your post about something you've created or things you are doing to help inspire others. Posts about projects in progress, finished projects, tutorials, and how-tos are all welcome. Feel free to share recipes, crafts, lifestyle, organizing, and DIY tips, and any other idea that can spark inspiration.

Needlework Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Heather @ Books and Quilts.  Show others what projects you've been working on and see what they are working on.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


SAHM = Stay-At-Home-Mom. 

From 1981, when I was twenty years old and knew everything, and therefore did not need to finish college - to 1990, when our first child was born, I held a string of jobs.  I was a clerk for the Department of Sociology at Kansas State, a bank teller, a clerk for an Experiment Farm run by Kansas State, a secretary for an insurance/real estate business,and a bookkeeper at a John Deere dealership.  At one point, I scheduled local commercials at an NBC affiliate.  

When Mitch was born, Dave and I decided that I would quit my job and stay home to raise this child and any future children.  Actually, it wasn't really a decision, it was a foregone conclusion.  We both expected me to be a SAHM.  

I loved those years and would do them again in an instant - provided I get to be 30 again and have more energy.  I took pride in caring for my children, running an efficient household, being the "class mom" who got volunteered for every school activity, and discovering creative ways to entertain and educate our children.  I'm proud of the job I did.  

I returned to work part time when they were in grade school - working only during school hours at a medical clinic across the street from their school.  As far as they were concerned, life continued as always.  When they were nearing jr. high, I got the chance to be a librarian - a life long dream - so I returned to full-time employment.  When we moved to Green Acres, both kids were in college, and a second income was helpful - so I found my current job in the office of a manufacturing plant.  

This Friday - May 1, 2015 - will be my last day there.  I am "retiring" . . . at least from the public workplace.  I will be helping Dave run the construction business we purchased at the first of the year.  Along with some bookkeeping duties, my main responsibility will be to feed the crew.  Stopping work to drive into the nearest town (grain bins aren't usually built inside city limits) and finding a cafe or fast food can take a large chunk from the middle of a work day.  And often the nearest town is too small to have a restaurant.  So, on the days that they are working within "reasonable driving distance" of home, I will take a hot meal to them.  On days when the drive is too far I will either pack a cold lunch to go with them or, if available, let them eat out.  W e are also hosting a monthly employee get-together to promote teamwork and a "family" feeling. 

None of this is set in stone.  If I decide to visit one of the kids or my parents, Dave and the crew will fend for themselves as they have in the past.  My parents are now 78 and 80, and they live about three hours away.  I'm excited to have the freedom to visit them more often and be there when needed.  Without a 9 to 5 job, I can also take advantage of deals on plane tickets to visit the daughters in Albuquerque, without worrying about scheduling time off work (cause the deals are never on a weekend!).  

As I was trying to explain to a co-worker why I am leaving, and why I want to take on these new jobs, it dawned on me that I'm returning to being a SAHM.  The family dynamic has changed.  Someday my parents will need more care than my children.  Our six employees and their families have become our extended family.  But the job is the same -- caring for my original and extended family, running an efficient household and business, being the dependable "gofer" and "girl Friday", and discovering creative ways to entertain and educate the "family".

Yes, I'm excited for time to have a clean house and a well-maintained yard; time to garden; time to attend a Bible study; or time to read, sew and paint.  I'm excited to wake up each day and no longer think about what I have to do today, but what I want to do, what I get to do.  

There will be no tears over leaving a career; no feelings of inferiority because I don't have a title; no regrets about what I could have or should have accomplished.  Only joy at returning to what I was created to be - a stay-at-home-mom to all those whom I call family.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Read-a-thon Wrap-up

Unfortunately, there's not much to wrap up.  My read-a-thon did not go as planned - not even close.  I had a little health issue that required me to take a break from reading to pick up medicine - about a 30 minute round trip.  Along the way, I stopped at an estate auction that Dave was attending (sans cell phone) to tell him what I was doing.  The sale was poorly attended because of the rainy weather and things were selling for a song.  I got sidetracked and spent way too much time there.  Eventually, I finished my run to the pharmacy and returned home.  

For the next few hours I tried to read but was just too uncomfortable to concentrate. . . fast forward through several phone conversations . . . finally was told to go back to town for a different med.  By that time it was late evening and I was still uncomfortable so I pretty much gave up and went to bed.

I checked back in for the last hour this morning and found the Share A Song Mini-Challenge hosted by Reno at Falling Letters - Share a song featured in or inspired by one of the books you read today.  Since I got very little reading done, I decided to share a couple songs that fit my entire read-a-thon experience.

First up - - Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show - "I Got Stoned and I Missed It."  No, I wasn't actually stoned, but it was drugs, in some form, that caused me to miss most of the day.

Thankfully, this wonderful day comes around every six months.  So I'll mark my calendar for October and join Carly Simon in Anticipation.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mini-Challenge: Bookish Brew

Amanda at Fig and Thistle wants to know what we've got brewing - - as in tea or coffee.  The challenge is to post a picture of what we're reading and what we're drinking. 

That calls for two confessions:  I'm still working on my first book, The Girl On the Train,  and I'm drinking plain old water from a Charlie Brown Christmas cup.  Yes, I'm just a kid at heart.


Mini-Challenge: In 100 Years . . .

This hour's challenge poses the question, "What books will be "classics" a hundred years from now?"  Selections can be made from any book published since 1990 and published in English.  

Here are my three choices:

11/22/63 by Stephen King - It ties the world of 1963 to 2011 (when it was published). I'm sure in another 100 years, the history will be even more thrilling and fun to read.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - In spite of all the hoopla surrounding the movies, the books in this series will hold up as extraordinary writing and a phenomenal story.

For my third choice, I would like to select "everything ever written by Sarah Addison Allen", but since that's probably bending the rules, I will narrow it down to "The Sugar Queen".  Obviously, I love all of Ms. Allen's writing, but the Sugar Queen is her most surprising story.  If it's not a classic already, it should be!

Mini-Challenge: Treasure Hunt

We're going on a readathon treasure hunt.  Remember Indiana Jones' number one rule of treasure hunts - "X" never, ever marks the spot! 

In this case, we're not looking for an X. Our hostess gave us a three items to find on book covers - a tree, snow and a weapon.  This proved to be pretty easy on our bookshelves.  I am nuts for anything Christmas, and especially for A Charlie Brown Christmas.  The covers of any of my various copies contained both snow and a tree.  But to keep things fair, I only counted it as "tree", and added Phillip Gulley's Christmas in Harmony as my "snow" entry.  For weapons, I simply grabbed a paperback off of Dave's shelves containing the complete set of Louis L'Amour westerns.  Nearly every book has a gun of some sort on the cover.  

I found the treasure! and the prize is - - more hours of reading.