Friday, January 31, 2014

V and Co: back to organizing 101

last snow day I spent separating, sorting and organizing a lot of pink stuff
 We here in the midwest have been having a doozy of a winter. With frigid cold days, icy roads, and blizzard like conditions due to windy stormy snowy days...there have been more snow days and late starts in january alone than what it seems we had all of last winter! Don't quote me on that I didn't do my fact check so I could be lying...but none the less, we've had our fare share of snow days.
I've been using said snow days to my advantage and been doing some organizing. This last snow day I tackled my daughter's toys with her help.
Remember waaaay long ago when I used to talk about organizing like every other week it seemed? Yeah, well I've been off my organizing game for what now seems like 3 years. (The 6 months where we moved 3 times and then moved across country, and the last 2 and half years we've been been in our house we live in now.)
I used to talk about daily tasks and chores and quick tips of what I would do to help keep the house somewhat organized. This last little bit I've been off kilter, not completely, but just enough that I've not been feeling like I've had my organizing game face on...and well, I think I'm finally getting back on track. At least it seems like these last few months I've found a home for everything and I've been reincorporating my little quick tricks every day.

here's a couple of things that I used to do daily...didn't do for the last while I've been feeling "off" my organizing game, and what I've started to do again...which has made me feel like I'm getting my organizing act together again.

first things first:
*I've gotten rid of unused, unworn, and extra "things" that didn't necessarily need to be clogging up space in my house. 
*I've found permanent homes for most things in the house (for the time being at least, because this house definitely needs more storage cabinet built ins, which will happen as the funds are saved up to have them installed)
*I've started the whole process with the closets and moved out. (if you start the purging with your dirty little stashing places like closets and drawers, then you can make closets and drawers permanent "homes" for things, which means easier times putting things away)

AFTER I did the three things above I now do these few little tricks every day/couple times a week to keep the organizing "going":
*Daily Make beds in mornings (I make my kids do their own beds...sometimes it's a stretch that they even tried and have walked away saying they did it, but because I know some mornings are more rushed than other's I don't really get super anal about it, I go behind them after they go to school and straighten it out...Summer time is completely different story I am a little more particular as there's ample amount of time.) There's something about having beds made that just makes the day seem better and almost puts you in a "jump start" to the rest of the day. I SWEAR BY THIS. 
*Daily Do one cleaning chore (i.e. mop floors, or dust all furniture upstairs. Write it out on a list if you need helping remember what day you are going to do what.)
*Weekly/Daily: Designate at least 10 minutes to empty out completely one or two drawers/cabinets...could be as small as a cosmetic or junk drawer,  or go bigger and devote even longer (45 minutes) and do a larger project like your pantry cabinet. (depending on how many drawers/cabinets you have, you'll start to see that the organizing gets easier to do and less time will be needed to do this task because most likely you'll repeat places after a few months)
If trying to do this daily is too much try designating one day a week you do this...that's how I started and now I'm back to being able to do it a few times a week...the goal is to do something once a day (like I used to.)
*Daily: At night have everyone put back things where they belong. That way you start your morning with a put away house, and all you have to do is the daily chore and the one organizing on your list.

Those are the just the few things I've incorporated back into my life that seems to be helping me get back on track.
Granted there are weeks where things just happen and the LAST thing I want to do is keep the routine going. But if you tackle it slowly...and steadily...bad weeks will not be huge starting points again...just a little extra help will be needed to get back on track.

Every day I work on the house right after the kids go to school and I go to work (um in my house, downstairs in my basement...but, yes, I "go to work"). Because I have to work on deadlines and such things I can't spend the whole day I allot myself only an hour to hour and half in the mornings. I'm usually working on sewing/blogging/deadline related work by no later than 10 am...(unless kids or husband need me to do some kind of errand/or I have to take the dog to the vet, child to the ortho and all the other jazz I have to do because well...I'm MOM and that's what we do...). I don't spend all day doing this just like I didn't back when I had all my kids under my feet every waking moment of the day. I still want and need to do other things, and I don't want to burn out on organizing either. Although I do have to admit, it gets addicting and I've realized just how.much.I'

I honestly feel like it's taken me a long time to get back to this. Like I had to make that choice to start the process all over again because it's been years...(and YES, it's daunting to start again...let alone start all together!) Now that I've been doing it for a couple of months, and not talking about it because I wanted to see if this was just a fluke and it wasn't who I was anymore...or maybe I just wasn't ready to do it like I used to just yet. But I feel like I'm seeing a moderately organized home again. I feel like it's not so scary to finally finish the process of settling in this house...and finally getting it organized. Is it  Perfect? Am I going for perfect?  Oh swear word no...that's not who I am and remember WE LIVE yeah it's gonna be lived in...
But yeah.
It's coming along.
And I feel like I've come back to a step closer to what I used to think was just part of me...after it not being a part of me for a few years...
It feels good.

just one disclaimer:
Don't go look in my sewing room just yet (or try like ever). That's on a completely different black hole agenda...kind of like my email inbox...(personally I'd like to set fire to my email inbox)
On another note... I've managed to bypass and trick the Overlord by setting out decoy fabric so that I could work on some stuff...and well look for a Valentine How To come this monday. (Yay! It turned out cute and it's super easy and I'm making a few kits to sell if anyone is interested, so come back Monday.)
Have a great weekend. And I hope you get some organizing done in the near future...and if you have an Overlord at your house...may you decoy your way back into some work...
We'll talk soon. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

this kid is 14

As I look back on life with this kid, I get emotional. Where we are today, is a dream come true. But without our past years of heartache and stress, and emotional roller coaster of a ride with this kid, I don't think I would have the kid I have today.
This truly is a success story of a kid that went to hell and back and lives today a better person because of it.
At the age of 14.
 If you are a long time reader you know what I'm talking about. For those that haven't been around for the long haul, it's okay. We don't need to link back to past posts where I cried my eyes out as I watched and HURT so much for this child as he suffered with debilitating anxiety, social awkwardness, and being bullied. The physical parts alone, like not being able to stop the involuntary body movements long enough (aka ticks) that made everyday normal, take for granted actions, like getting a glass of milk from the table to his mouth... one of the hardest things to accomplish, or watching my once happy child go "blank" from emotions and become a nothing but a shell of who he used to be to cope with his dad's deployment and being made fun of and bullied for his physical ticks. To know, that everything I felt I tried to do, would be met with anger/sadness, not being able to fix it, and feeling like I was being blamed for most of what was going on...was just downright miserable. For him and I. Well, for a lot of people especially our family.
See, we talk now. And laugh off how insanely hard those couple of years were.

His laughter...I actually can remember VIVIDLY the first time I actually heard him laugh again after such a loooong time. It was in Fifth grade, his dad was home about a year and half from the deployment, and we had decided we were going to stay for the long haul in the middle of nowhere. Life became safe again to him, and I heard him laugh from the other room.
I stopped dead in my tracks, got thoroughly confused as to who's laughter I was hearing. Then I smiled and cried...but for completely different reasons than the ones I had cried for the last few years.

And well now? As an 8th Grader. And after moving across the country to the midwest...It's insane that we ever went through that. Who he is now, is who I remember before all of that. That silly happy little kid, that...well...the kid I felt I lost for a few years.

So with that long introduction (and with tears and snot dripping down my face)'s my right now for you:

*You are doing great in school. This is the year I got the call from a teacher saying "Your kid just came up to me and said 'I think I got it.'" Yeah, kid I think you do. You've got all A's and B's 
*You are in band and play the trumpet.
*You LOVE playing the trumpet... you just taught yourself how to play Greenday's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
*Have I mentioned you love playing the trumpet? You play "Taps" for us every night around 9 pm. (your siblings think it's kind of annoying...secretly your dad and I think its hilarious)
*You have a few really GREAT friends. THIS alone makes me cry. To watch you with friends, is wonderful.
*You really love to do art as well, you draw really well.
*You love little kids (this is something I've known since you were a little kid) Now it's very apparent that you have an extra sense of patience with little toddlers. You are great with little kids.
*You are very aware of when others are being left out or bullied, you go out of your way to make sure they feel included. 
*There have been instances where I'm just floored with your maturity of a matter at hand. Perfect example would be when someone accused you of making fun of them, we talked about it, figured out the individual just didn't want to be there so he picked you as the scapegoat so he could leave. We decided together as a family that you would go to this person's home and apologize for any misunderstanding or any impression that you might have given off that would have come across as making fun. This individual said you hadn't, (much to the caretakers amazement that he lied), and you then invited him again to come back if he wanted to because it was great to see him there. I don't know too many adults that can or would do that.
*You don't care for chocolate. This I don't understand but tolerate.
*You love music. Anything from instrumental, to modern day you appreciate it and like to pick out the parts of each musical instrument. Imagine Dragons are one of your fav bands.
*You are a great baby sitter. 
*You are finding Spirituality all on your own. You ponder and study scriptures, say prayers, and help out with family home evening. You have just been released from being Deacon's Quorum President.  (a responsibility in our church held by a boy of the age 12-13) You have grown much in the last two years.
*You stand up for yourself now. Last year a kid started picking on you, I got the phone call saying you had fought back. I told them I was proud that you had stood up for yourself, then we figured out how to make it so this individual wouldn't bother you anymore...we have a wonderful school system here...oh and btw you told me you are kind to that kid now when you see him in the halls.
*You tell me often you love me. As a matter of fact you tell all of us you love us often. It's always heartwarming when you tell me and your dad...but when I hear you from another room tell your siblings randomly it makes me feel like I haven't failed as a mother.
*You have a great sense of humor.
*You laugh ALL.THE.TIME now. 
*Your teachers and counselor at school have also seen a ton of personal growth in the last two and half years. (so it's not just me being your mom saying all this crap) 

*I couldn't be prouder to be your mom.

Don't get me wrong you're still a snot nosed teenager at times with normal teen mood swings and short fuses...but we don't care, we Love you and are so lucky to know you and know where you came back from. 
Happy Birthday kiddo. 
ps: I know there's a lot of people who have rooted for you in the past that are very happy to see how well you've adjusted to life and who you have shaped out to be. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Becoming a Midwesterner

 Well, I don't know about you, but I'm a little over winter. This winter has been the coldest I've ever experienced no
I've experienced negative degrees before...but this winter we've  experienced negative degrees that made my past experiences childs play. We've been been in the negatives with -45 windchills. It's insane. You would think that at a certain point it's just cold and you don't feel the difference but yeah...there's a difference when you try to breathe in when it's that cold.  Especially if you think you're not going to be out there for too long and you don't have anything covering your face when you try to breathe in. One time I walked outside when a friend texted that she was waiting in her car in my driveway.(cause duh it's freezing why would she get out of the car?!) I walked out to get whatever it was that we felt so important that needed to be swapped during this polar vortex ordeal and I swear to you my whole body sphinctered up inside and out. It was like I walked out and every part of my body wanted to be inside of some other part of my body...including my lungs. I lost my breath when the wind hit my face and when I did finally take a breath I started to cough. Man, LUNGS BURN WHEN THEY'RE COLD!! I quickly learned my lesson that day.
I am never leaving my house every again in the winter months. period. End of story.  Okay so that's not  totally true. I have gone out since that one day.
As a matter of fact a few days was 0 degrees with windchill of -8 and I litterally walked to my mailbox in a long sleeve shirt and jeans, and actually looked up to the sky and thought to myself "Wow, it's really kind of nice today."
Did you see what happned there? Yeah, I think that's what's called "Becoming a midwesterner."
I did get some virtual high fives "you've become one of us finally!" on Facebook...but somehow I am not as excited about it as they were. I'll be excited to thaw out in June.
The good thing about it being this cold, is that A) we all have enough quilts to be under and we are truly feeling blessed for all the basics of shelter, heat, and blankets and B) I don't want to go anywhere so when we don't have snow days I'm spending a lot of time sewing and working on all the various projects I have going on all at once (and trust me it seems like theres like a bazillion at the moment)
One of the things I got to cross off my list of need to do's was making my mom an extra large Hampton weekend Bag with a zipper instead of a snap closure. She wanted in my Simply Color eggplant fabric, and she specifically asked for a zippered top. I got that sent out to her and she happily says it's perfect. PHEW!
Next on the chopping block is another how to for the Bernina Blog We All Sew. Its almost done and heading over that way soon. :)
And well because a few of you requested I show off some of the decorating I've been doing in my home, here's a picture of our living room. This house hasn't really gotten completely decorated because I feel like we've been in limbo trying to save money from when the husband's company he worked for closed it's doors, and we were without a job for 6 months and had to use every single penny we had saved for instances like that...And now we have a new predicament...our house in middle of nowhere is back on the market. (paying two mortgages is not something we were foreseeing last year...but things happen, and well...yeah things happen.)

I still feel like we were sort of prepared for this financial issue...we have been trying really hard to save up again...just like we did the last time...and even though we're not where we were a few years ago with our emergency funds...we have been able to get the ball rolling in the right direction. So, yes, we feel a little prepared...We at least have some funds saved that we are able to have the house be put on the market for a little bit without renters. That house was a great house...if I could transport it here I would in a heart beat. But unfortunately, I couldn't bring the house or the people from there here. (Even though we have met so many new wonderful people here in the last 2 1/2 years and this new house is pretty sweet too) 
We feel very blessed to have been able to be in that house for the small amount of time we were in it...and we are very grateful for the home we are in now...but seriously...I kind of only want to have one mortgage and only one house to worry about. 
SO. With that word vomit out in the open...that's all I've got for the day. I have to start baking like a madwoman...because we have a birthday this weekend. :) 
We'll talk soon.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Blog hop: V and Co does Vintage Quilt Revival

Hello! It's my turn to talk about this beautiful book that my friends Katie, Lee, and Faith co authored. 
I feel pretty lucky to know these ladies, they are super talented. 

 First things first this book is hands down one of my favorite. From cover to cover its beautiful.
Inside it showcases 20 blocks. Each with it's own quilt or project. And then at the end they show you the full sampler quilt made up of all the blocks together.
If anything this book is filled with GORGEOUS colors. All three ladies are have always wowed me with their ability to chose colors that just make quilts from pretty to wow.

 The block I chose was the Spiced Chai block. I used my simple color eggplant ombre and ikat for the block. The instructions were great, and I had great eye candy to look at as I followed the step by steps. I really want to make a blown up one block quilt like my ombre dutchman of this block! (and when I have time I'll totally do it!) ;)
If you want to find the book, its popping up at bookstores near you in large chain, and also at your local quilt stores as well. And well you can always get your copy from Amazon.

Thank you ladies for letting me be a part of this blog hop. It's been a gorgeous book to pet...
I'm not the only blogger talking and making these quilt blocks! There are 20 in total bloggers who have made a block and returned and sent them back, as these ladies are going to make 3 charity quilts from the blocks they receive. I can't wait to see them! 
here are the rest of the bloggers talking about this book:
Vintage Quilt Revival Blog Hop Schedule
January 13th (Monday):
Crazy Mom Quilts – Amanda Jean
Don’t Call Me Betsy – Elizabeth
Film in the Fridge – Ashley
Happy Quilting – Melissa
Noodlehead – Anna
January 14th (Tuesday):
I’m A Ginger Monkey – Katy
Quilting Is My Therapy – Angela
A Quilting Life – Sherri
Sew Mama Sew – Kristin
Tall Grass Prairie Studio – Jacquie
January 15th (Wednesday):
Christa Quilts – Christa
Diary of a Quilter – Amy
Quilting Gallery – Michele
Sew Take a Hike – Penny
V and Co. – Vanessa YOU ARE HERE! GOLD STAR!!
West Coast Crafty – Susan
January 16th (Thursday):
Bijou Lovely – Holly
Don’t You Know Who I Am – Sukie
Lily’s Quilts – Lynne
One Shabby Chick – Amber
January 17th (Friday):
Swim, Bike, Quilt – Katie
Freshly Pieced – Lee
Fresh Lemons Quilts – Faith

All right, that's about it for me, Make sure you check out the other blocks as the week progresses!
We'll talk soon! Ive got some more projects and stuff to talk about ;) 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

a little love

i heart you quilt pattern and textured pillows pattern braided pillow shown
 Well! I do have to say that you guys were cracking me up on the last post with some of the crap your kids have said! WOW!!!! Fantabulous! And thanks for making me laugh!!

So with Valentine's being kind of around the corner I thought I would do a little highlight on my I heart you pattern. 

 This pattern was created with my pink ombre fabric. But you don't have to use it if you don't want to! If you want to buy my pink ombre fabric find it here , and here. I would also check your local quilt stores! I have a little left I'm hoarding, till I can add it again to another fabric line (ahem a little forshadowment!)
It's created using HST (half square triangles.) And a whole heck of a lot of chain piecing. Personally I love chain piecing because I can sit and power through a lot of blocks and feel totally accomplished when it's all said and done.

This quilt comes in two sizes one is 54" x 54" (shown and yes! It totally hangs in my daughter's room when it's not traveling with me to trunk shows and lectures) and a HUGE one of 108" x 108" which would be perfect for snuggling with your loved one (or is the case with us because our kids end up crawling into bed with us in the mornings...)
faux pleated pillow featured from the textured pillows pattern

And for a limited time I'm offering a 30% off discount on this PDF pattern. Just enter LOVE30 at the check out for instant gratification of downloading the pattern and saving money while doing so. :)
Don't  want to spend money? Or can't?? It's okay, I totally hear ya! So, here's a few free past valentines V and Co. tutorials. 
French Knot Heart Pin Cushion

Reverse Applique Pleated Heart Pillow

Painted Heart Bag

Gathered Heart Pillow
I'm getting ready for my turn on the Vintage Block Revival tour tomorrow. Also I'm working on a couple of free tutorials, a couple new patterns, and a new line for the fall, and a HUGE project. So yes, you'll be hearing from me. :)
Oh and of course I have a few more stories to tell...we'll talk soon

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

that time when my kid made me look like a word that rhymes with four

This quilt has nothing to do with the blog post...I just needed a pretty first picture.
Please excuse me as this is the SECOND TIME I am writing this. I finished my first blog post and then tried to insert a picture and that's when blogger decided to brain fart and it froze. I couldn't even get a screen shot because the "insert picture" window was covering about 7/8 of my writing...and for some reason (because it's me and everything hates me right now) NOTHING SAVED. You know how every so often it automatically saves? Not this time. I feel so defeated right now it's not even funny. Well it's kind of funny. No it's not. This is right up there with getting hemorrhoids after having a baby. It's that serious people. (not that I know anything about that I've just heard from friends)
I was supposed to have this all done and written up a few days ago so I could just wrap up and hit "publish" the minute I did a once over after the kids headed back to school. But that's not happening. This never ending winter vacation made even longer because of "snow days" has obviously taken it's toll on me and I'm extra saucy. Add a blog post kerfluffle and well now you have this. It aint pretty.
We are on day 19 of kids being a freaking row. This once spacious enough for us home feels like a small cave enslaving us...This morning promised to be the same thing of "Mom, who can I play with." "Mom, I'm bored of coloring, crafting holiday crafts, helping you in the kitchen, cleaning my room, reading my books, watching you go crazy...can I play video games?"

As tempting as that sounds. I'm gonna have to go with "UH, no."
And I'd like for it to be known that it was around day 19 when I lost my mind, but that I gave it my all till the end. (kidding, I have a few more days in me and yes, YES, I know one day I too will miss these days. I just wish it was today that I missed it... again, again I kid) .saucy.

Anyways, I did get friends for my kids to play with so I had a little bit of time while my house got trashed, that I was able to write my hilarious (to me now) encounter...but as I already whined in the beginning of this blog post. It went POOF...and I went "swear word" and now here we are again.

I'll get on with it and hopefully I can write it like I did the first time if not better because people it was freaking hilarious.

So this is a story about the time I took my third noisemaker with me somewhere only to have it be the last time I promised to take him anywhere ever again....
This is my third noisemaker.

So I sell patterns. Yeah yeah, I know you know.
I am grateful for the sales of my patterns, it helps me to buy fabric which then helps me to create things again to create new patterns to sell, which helps me to buy more fabric. And hence helps with the ongoing vicious cycle. YAY! Anyways, with said sales I often times have to make trips to shipping stores. They know me there.
My UPS store I frequent knows me pretty well. Well sort of well. Okay so they see me drop off packages and we joke about the crazy weather or what not...and I come off as a mom who works from home. Pretty good on the surface acquaintances. Nothing too scary...till I had one of my kids with me and he made me look like I was a professional you know what. Or in other words:
"That one time when my kid made me look like a word that rhymes with four." other names for this profession:  streetwalker, lady of the night, someone that stands on the corner and waits for business, or a floozy.
Know what word i'm talking about now?
Yeah that one.

My third noise maker is a happy child, most of the time. He's usually in LALA land and comes to reality when he's hungry or wants something. Other wise he's playing with legos, reading a book, wanting to play video games, or climbing something. The kid is all over the place, but generally speaking he's an easy going happy child...who sometimes speaks in riddles. I don't know how else to describe it other than sometimes you're scratching your head going "wait what?" till the kid then explains what he's thinking. To which we usually all end up going "Ohhhhh. I get it, yeah makes sense."

So this one time I needed to go to the UPS store and for some reason it was just he and I on this errand. When we got to the UPS store...said child chuckled and said "The "ups" store. Do the send everything "up"?"
I smiled at him. Like to say "haha, you are funny."
"Okay all we have to do is get this package in there and drop it off and then we can leave."
"Okay...hey do you think we need to look "up" when we get in there?" hehehe he cracks himself up. (I never claimed that he was funny.)
I roll my eyes and we go inside,

When we enter the store, I get in line behind the only other person in there. I check my package to make sure everything is okay, everything looks good. So efficient I am! (I apparently speak yoda whenever I feel cocky)

We move to the front of the line and nice UPS gentleman says "Well, well! Another package I see! Going to so and so place, weighing in at so and so lbs..."

I look down at the child and notice he's off in that special place all the while staring "up"...cause we're in the "ups" store of course.

"Yep, just one today!"

"Oops looks like you missed one signature right here."
He pushes it towards me, someone walks in to stand in line behind us.

I reach over get a pen, and start signing my signature...

Then all of a sudden my son comes out of wherever he is tugs on my shirt and says "I have three dads."
whaaaaaaa the???
I stop dead in my tracks in the middle of signing my name...and it's dead silent.
The man behind me has stopped moving all together, perhaps he's stopped breathing...the nice UPS gentleman stopped in mid taping of a package...and all I can hear is my heart beating in my ears...
And then he said it again "Mom, I have three dads."

I slowly look up at the nice UPS gentleman and he's staring looking over his glasses at me with one eyebrow clear up his forehead and his mouth half dropped open.
His hands still hovering over the package with the tape in his hands. As if saying "Oh, well then...I see..."

I smile with a haha kids look...and then look down with the same painted on smile and through clenched teeth say to my child who I'd like to pummel "You only have one dad, silly. hahahaha...ahem."
Man it's hot in here...
The third noisemaker answers matter of fact "Nope I have three dads."
The nice UPS gentleman clears his throat...
And i'm like

this can not be happening...Is.this.happening? It must have happened because it feels like everything is going in slow motion, and the walls are caving in...and did someone TURN ON THE FREAKING HEAT IN HERE???

I finish my signature, and push the package back to the nice UPS gentleman and I say "That about takes care of it right?"
He answers back "That'll get er done."
ALL we had to do was get in, drop off, and get out. GET IN, DROP OFF, GET OUT....GET OUT oh my gosh I have to get out!
I say thank you with my head down grab the child's hand that is going to lose his life soon, and walk past the man that has given me ample amount of space and is hiding behind his package to ward off any evil viruses or whatever that I might give him from being too close to him...
We walk out and get to the car.

A sigh of relief...Holy mother of all that is good.

I open the car door still shaking my head trying to figure out what in the world just happened...the third noisemaker starts to get in and I have to ask...
"Seriously? THREE DADS? I don't get it."
He looks at me innocently and smiles and as he's buckling in says "Yeah, I have ONE DAD, and TWO granDADS...that makes three DADS. Can we go get pizza now?"

And just like that it made sense and I said "Ohhh I get it. huh." And no one was around to hear the explanation to the riddle but me... and then I got in the car and that was coincidentally the same day I looked to see where the next closest UPS store was, cause I wasn't going to go back to that one like ever.

ps: thanks for the word of encouragement. life is good. ;)
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