Saturday, August 25, 2012

New Boxers for the Boy

About a week ago I picked up patterns for my son at the store.  They were on sale for $.99 and I don't have any patterns for his current sizes.  Also, patterns for boys/men are very difficult to get a good variety on so I'm going to keep grabbing a few when they are on sale.  I get tired of making all our patterns from scratch sometimes.

Anyways, this week I'm working on boxers for the boy.  Now boxers aren't used as underwear by my boy.  He uses them as house shorts and sleepwear.  And he has distinct preferences for materials - soft knits.  Now I could either spend extra money to replace all of them that he has outgrown or I could use the materials I have on hand and recycle some more t shirts.  I'm going with what I have on hand.

I'm using Simplicity pattern #9958.  And the first time I made it exactly as the pattern instructions said to.  This is something I do for most patterns but always if it's a Simplicity pattern because I've had problems in the past. 

This pattern went together well and the instructions were good.  The only problems were due to my son's height.  So the second pair has been modified.  I didn't do enclosed elastic.  Instead I sergered the elastic to the top edge of the boxers.  The addition length provided worked well.  I also just rolled the bottom hem.  Overall this would make them too long to be worn under clothing but for my son's purposes they are perfect.

And both pairs got the child seal of approval almost immediately - he put them on and didn't take them off until it was time to go outside! 

And that's as good as the picture gets because my son hates to stand still!

And I haven't forgotten about the blog but it seems Murphy is here for an extended visit!  Would anyone like him to come visit?  I could do with a break - and not a body part!  I'd share the picture of my toes but it's not pretty.  The second to last toe is now very swollen and the shade of purple grapes. 

Murphy can visit someone else now.  Please.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An Amusement!

This was the button tin I was cleaning out!


Ok, this creating was spawned because of the money issue. 

First created was the reusable paper towels.  That's what is in the picture above.  One side is flannel, the other side is cotton knit.  These were recycled from old t shirts and an old bed sheet.  I cut them to be 12" x 12" and then sergered the sides together.  The original craft I found online had snaps to connect them.  While I have a ton of metal snaps I'm not sure how well they would hold up to repeated washings in the machine.  Especially not on sanitary mode.  So I just overlap them slightly as I roll them on a piece of PVC.  So far these have proven useful for everything that disposable paper towels are good for, except greasy bacon.  Not that we've had bacon but I wouldn't use these for that.  And since these are recycled materials, I don't feel that painful twinge when I use them to clean something that might stain.  So my "tea" towels aren't getting as badly abused.  And they are turning out to be the perfect size for small messes.  (And no, I actually don't buy paper towels frequently at all.  But my hand towels were taking a beating from canning messes.)

The second created was reusable toilet paper.  Yup.  It's here.  Again made from recycled materials, these are 7" x 7".  And I ended up with enough of those squares to see us through a week solid if need be.  They do not get reused until they have gone through a sanitary cycle in the washer - by themselves.  The container for them is an old gallon vinegar jug with two cuts made to create a flap.  So odors and no other problems.  I don't roll these on a pipe section because they are just slightly too wide for any toilet paper dispenser.  But they are rolled in batches and set within reach of the toilet.  Oh, and somehow I think some relatives would be highly amused to see certain sections of their old t shirts turned into these.  I tried to avoid any printing but didn't quite manage it once or twice.  This was originally a TSHF idea, so I guess TSHF in our lives.  Either way, it has definitely helped avoid that expense.

The third creation was face wipes.  I used to buy Wet Ones when they went on sale.  For some reason Wet Ones have always been able to handle my rosecea when I have an outbreak.  But I typically wait until nothing else works because they are an expense.  Instead, I made 5" x 5" swatches of the fabric leftover from the two prior projects.  I stuck with using the knit fabric because it wouldn't unravel easily so I didn't have to serger it.  I have enough to fill two Wet Ones containers.  I'm experimenting with witch hazel plain and another batch with a few drops of Thieves' Oil.  Both seem to be working okay so I'll stick with this.  I may try a mix with Tea Tree Oil when I can locate my bottle of it.  If it works out okay long term then I'll start trying to grow witch hazel.  I have stratified seeds that I received as a barter earlier this year.

A few more projects are in the works.  A travel lunch bag that converts to a place mat for my son.  Placemats made from my old favorite table cloth.  Garments for my son.  My sewing machine is happy to be out.

The Good

A wonderful treasure find.

An amazingly compassionate doctor!  He not only helped but in no way whatsoever has let it affect his attitude towards my son and/or myself.

That my son is, hopefully, going to get better relatively quickly.  (A few months of healing for his stomach lining.)

A possible lead on a work at home job from another home school mom.

A wonderful homeschool group.

I'm sure more will be coming or are here and I just haven't seen them yet.

The Bad and the Ugly

I've been away for a while.  That's because life decided that I didn't have quite enough strife to deal with and dealt me a few more blows.

First, within the next two years I will have to move.  This was supposed to be my last move, our forever home unless I found another partner in life.  But in order to get this house, I had to allow family members to purchase it.  My marriage/divorce had destroyed my credit.  Now, I am in a financial situation that is worse, so even though my credit is better.  I can't afford the down payment for a mortgage.  Well, those family members have decided that they are moving.  And they have decided that since they are moving over 4 hours away, I must move so that they will be on hand if I need them.  They are ignoring that my brother lives here.  They are also ignoring that I finally have a support network for my son here.  They are ignoring that I hate moving.  I have put soooo much time and energy into this house and land. 

I haven't been taking this well.  So right now my brain is percolating through all the projects on the To Do list.  It's deciding which projects are worth doing when we are going to be forced to move and which will have to be put on the back burner, for years, again.  And I'm battling the anger and depression that this has triggered.  Especially since this exact issue was discussed before I even agreed to move here.

Second is that my son has been ill.  All we could figure out was that his stomach hurt.  That led into a whole adventure with doctors and insurance.  Finally, one doctor was incredibly, wonderfully kind and said he would see and treat my son - and write off anything that our primary insurance would not pay.  The tears that come to my eyes over this still occur now - days later.  An upper GI has been done and my son is on medicine to help his stomach.  Hopefully this will all soon just be a bad/good memory.

Third is that money is even more insanely tight than usual.  This month is the month to pay for homeschool, homeschool Co-Op, and car tags.  Add on to that more than a few doctor trips to doctors that are over an hour away.  And I've still got to figure out how to make it over the mountains to take my son's service dog to his vet.  And how to afford the gas to take my son to the eye doctor - three hours away.  Right now the indian is riding the buffalo and I'm still coming up short.  Thank heavens for the supplies I have put back for other things.

Now, if you've actually read this far I'm amazed.  I don't normally rant.  But I do know that sometimes, if I put things in writing, my mind clears enough to see a path through it all.  And sometimes fate kicks in, in a friendly way, and helps set things straight.  So thank you for reading this far and bearing with me.

Unusual Buttons

I like to sew.  I am the only person in my generation of my family that likes to sew.  The result of this is that when another family member passes on or quits sewing I get a load of sewing stuff.  I'm sure that others of you experience this.  You get a large load of stuff that is easily over 5 years old, half of which must be tossed because of it's age.  But you can find some marvelous things in those abandoned items.

One of the most unusual items I've found to date came from my great grandmother's button trove.  Apparently, at some point in time, one of the ways to make cloth buttons for an outfit was to enclose two coins in a circle of fabric that matched your project.  I haven't done this because I find the buttons to be too heavy for realistic use.  But there were five such buttons in my great grandmother's button tin. 

For years I've just left them in there as a novelty.  But today I was cleaning the tin out and decided that I should toss the fabric encasing the buttons.  The fabric was starting to shred from age.  And in doing so I found a wonderful treasure - from my great grandmother to me.  The buttons were made with 8 silver nickels.  Those are now set aside to be a "treasure" for my future children, if I am gifted with any. 

The picture is awful.  I just couldn't get a clear one.  But this is a wonderful surprise for me.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Alive and Kicking

It's been a tiring period.  Munchkin and I got sick with something that took us out for over a week.  And it still doesn't want to let go.  Today was only the second day that he spent any time playing outside in because he was so worn out.  But things have been getting done.

I got the first set of jar cozies completely done.  And one of the moms in the home school group saw my snack bags when we went to a group event.  She is teaching sewing this coming year and liked the idea of the bags for one of their projects.  We had an interesting discussion about sewing.  And of course, my son was determined to get as many hugs as he could.  He really likes this mom.  She accepts him as he is completely.  He's missed the regular interaction that he was getting during swim time.  This year he'll be going to Co Op, swim time, and swimming lessons.

Then I moved on to getting canning done.  Do to the generosity of others, and the rain for my garden, I suddenly have a flood of cucumbers to process.  So two versions of pickle relish are done.  The rest will be sliced/diced and spiced then put in the dehydrator.  They make good salad toppings and snacks.  And the pickle relish recipes used up all the spare onions and peppers that have been floating around.  Now I just have to process the tomatoes and jalapenos.  Salsa anyone?

I've spent a chunk of time ripping seams out of some old clothes from my folks.  The material will be used to make hand towels/cleaning clothes for various uses around the house.  I've still got about a bagful to go.  Then I'll rewash everything and get to work with the serger.  It's costing me time, but since I can't afford to purchase the material to make these items I'll spend the time.

I spent a day rearranging the dining room.  There's still some things to be done but most of the big things are done.  There is now a low shelf for all the homeschooling things which helped clear my dining room table off.  My idea to put the table directly in front of the window didn't work, but with the things rearranged it's easy to reach the curtains and open them fully now.  That has made a big difference.  I'll work on the rest in between canning and laundry this week.

I finally had a reason to go to the new Kroger store.  And I'm glad I did.  This one is only 20 minutes or so from the house so it's reasonable to reach.  (Before you wonder - even though I live in a small town if I want decent prices every store is at least 20 minutes from me, even Wal-Mart.)  I've been in the few Kroger stores that are within an hours reach and haven't been impressed at all so I wasn't expecting much.  I got a big surprise.  This store had an amazing selection of the items I need for my son's diet.  If they carried four more items I wouldn't have to visit Earth Fare but once every three months or so.  As it is, I will start using them as a regular store for some things.

And I spent quite a few days prepping our homeschool stuff for the coming year.  I got annoyed at myself at one point because I thought I had printed everything for the first 30 lessons only to discover that I had missed a lot.  I'm using a free curriculum that uses older materials for lesson plans.  I spent some time entering altered lesson plans into the online schedule tracker.  Right now I'm thirty lesson plans out on all subjects, further on some.  The plan is that I will take time each Sunday to add another ten lesson plans to each subject and pulling together the material for them.  For me the bonus is that I don't have to worry about last minute things unless I want to.  If there is something I need to order or make, I will have a few weeks to do so before the lesson comes up.  For day to day stuff, it will already be in the file and all I have to do is grab it each morning.

And last, but definitely not least, I got lucky at the thrift store again.  More fabrics at really good prices.  I'll be making more towels and other projects, including making a new backpack for my son.  Of course, I still have to sit down and plan out the new backpack, and disassemble the old one for a pattern.  But I'm tired of having to buy new ones every year because the seams rip out, so this time I'll make it and reinforce it properly.  I also got 3 chalkboard slates.  They are nice ones with the full handwriting lines meant for teaching at Pre-K and K levels.  So I'll be able to use them to help my son with learning to write.  And I splurged on a purple lava lamp for kiddo.  I'm so glad that this thrift does regular 50% off sales or I wouldn't be able to afford much at all.

Well, it's time to go.  I've got more to do before I can rest tonight.  I'm hoping to post more frequently again now that I'm not fighting whatever bug it was that got us.  I hope things are going well for you all.