Archive for the 'projects' Category

Projects Shower Down In April!

In the middle of a kitchen renovation, Meagan’s Un-birthday party comes due and Matthew’s bipolar goes completely unstable. Oh the excitement! =/

The kitchen thing is pretty exciting, actually. I’m getting a new (temporary) floor, new sink, new countertop, new cabinet/counter/bar, a couple of new shelves, and I’m redoing the existing cabinet doors…some will be repainted others replaced with super awesome curtains. I haven’t gotten very far yet. The only things done are the sink and the countertop and both of those still need some tweaking. The floor should be started tomorrow, though, and once the floor is done, I’m hoping to get the new counter/bar/cabinet whatchamacallit put in quickly. The painting and curtains will take a little longer, obviously. I’ll post pics (before and after) once I’m done. I’m REALLY hoping to finish this project by Mike’s birthday on the 1st of June.

Other things happenin around here are Meagan’s 13th Un-birthday party tomorrow afternoon, followed by a “Fashion/Spa Sleepover”, and the neverending saga of trying to get Matt’s bipolar stabilized. I saw a little glimmer of possible good news on that front this morning after he took his new dose of his med. He was actually HAPPY, singing even, while doing schoolwork…without a major fight!

Amongst all this stuff, I’m trying desperately to get the house decluttered and cleaned. This is going to be a long-haul project, I know, but it NEEDS to be done. There is just too much STUFF in here!

Of course my crafty project list continues to grow, too. Seems I just can’t find the time to knock any back OFF the list. =( 

Much as I dread it, I guess I’d better get back to tossin junk and doin dishes!


The Year the Appliances Revolted

Two posts inside of a month, I must be feeling spunky. lol I’ve been working on getting the house back in shape after my being too sick to do anything with it for years. How many years I don’t want to try and figure out. *sigh* Anyway, the last week or so I’ve been focusing on laundry and the living room.

In the living room I’ve mostly just cleaned, straightened, blahblah. Only exciting (read: different) things were I had Matthew move one of the DVD racks from one wall to another, I changed out some old, yellowed artificial daisies for fresh, crisp, white artificial daisies, and I added two collage frames of pictures.

The laundry had been moving steadily along, but is now at a standstill. Why? Because we are nearing the end of … The Year the Appliances Revolted. I know we are nearing the end of it because we are nearing the end of the list of appliances! Since last spring we have seen the revolt of almost every single appliance we own. In order (at least to the best of my recollection…):

My computer- working fine one day, wouldn’t power up the next
Printer- after installing about a dozen copies of itself on the computer it refused to print again
Dishwasher- put its foot down (or whatever it is that makes it go!) after being slammed one too many times
Camera- *barely* survived our vacation, guess it decided I worked it too hard in AR
DVD player- died, just died
Oven- decided it would no longer heat…at all
Milkshake maker- the mixer bit busted off and stayed off
Hot water heater- rusted plumb through
Microwave- death by fire when I attempted to bake potatoes (hey, the oven was dead remember?)
TV- went kinda funny about powering on for a couple of weeks, then peacefully went to sleep…forever
Heater- developed a leak between the intake and the pilot light, so we had 2 pilot lights for awhile
Washer- death by electrocution; power cord/extension cord connection was laying on the floor (WHY?!?!) and got wet. Fizzle, sizzle, smoke, pop!

Interestingly enough, they have all (but my computer, I believe) gone out since my deciding/starting taking bible classes through F.B.I. I’m no dummy, but the devil is! He must think that I’m gonna get irritated enough to quit school. Ain’t gonna happen, though. =) Joke’s on him. It was through class that the Lord provided a replacement for one of those appliances. HAHA

I just ordered new parts for the oven and washer today. They should be here inside of a week, so I should be able to get back to baking again soon. =) Matthew has been patiently waiting for brownies for about 6mo now.

In the meantime, I will focus on catching the dishes up (by hand, obviously, since the dishwasher revolted), and rearranging and straightening the dining room, kitchen, and master bath.

Lingering projects are something else I’ve been trying to attack. I had some stickers for the tiles in the bathroom sitting on the counter for about 6 years. They are actually on the tiles now! woohoo! Also tonight I went through a bunch of pictures and put together several collage frames, and then filled 3 albums with loose pics. Only one was arranged, though. A small one entitled FRIENDS!!! with pics of the kids and some of their friends, of course. The others were just randomly inserted, not even arranged by date or occasion. lol Hey, after sitting in a box for ten years (give or take a couple) I figure in the album in any order is better than the way they were!

Oh, and as for the rest of the appliances (besides the oven and washer, that is)… For Christmas we replaced the TV, DVD player, camera, heater, and printer with some $$ that my SILs sent us. Unfortunately I’m still without a printer. I sent the new one back, got a replacement, sent THAT one back, and got another replacement, and this one doesn’t work either! Grrr. The microwave was replaced by a friend of mine from class (take that, devil!) and my mom fixed my computer. The hot water heater we replaced over the summer with the $ that would have gone to my doctor for my monthly appointment had he not retired the month before. Talk about providential timing, huh?! That just leaves the dishwasher and the milkshake maker. The former Mike does not want to replace until certain young people around here learn to do the dishes PROPERLY by hand, and the latter is not really a big deal anyhow. It was a novelty/decorative thing to begin with. No worries. I’ve just been making my strawberry-banana milkshakes in the blender the old-fashioned way instead. haha

UPDATE 2/19: I placed the order for the parts for the oven and washing machine yesterday afternoon, and they came in by FedEx this morning. My mom came over this evening and by 10pm had them both fixed!! Praise the Lord! It was so funny… while Mom sat and took a break with a cup of coffee after checking to see that the oven actually worked before putting it completely back together, Dad sat beside her complaining about breaking 2 fingernails today! LOL *note: Mom fixed both appliances single-handedly while Dad ate Taco Bell and watched a movie. haha

Baby obsession

Ok, I think it’s official. I am obsessed with crocheting for babies! LOL In the last 4 months there have been several new babies up at church. Two were born to very good friends of mine and so I did what I do… I crocheted a toy for each of them. Only it kinda didn’t stop there. In fact it kinda just started there. lol

For baby Jenna I crocheted a fleet of baby caps with interchangeable flowers, and for baby Micah I crocheted a couple of winter hats and a pretty big blanket (my first graphgran). Then I bought an Edgerydoo and I’ve been buying up remnants of baby blanket makin’ fabric for the last 2mo. I punched holes in and crocheted an edging on the first one last week. Not 100% sure which baby is going to end up with it just yet, though. lol I have a BUNCH more blankets I want to make this way (all those fabric remnants are calling to me!), plus I just bought yarn to crochet a little newsboy cap for Micah. For Jenna I still need to find the right yarn, but a pair of brown Mary Janes are itching to come off my hook!

I just love crocheting!! I also have several potholders I need to get busy on. Mom and I both are in desperate need of potholders. Hotpads, too, but those are going to be made with rope on the new loom I got (handmade by Matthew) for Christmas.

So many projects! I also want to go through a bunch of old photographs and get some put into albums, and maybe a few put into frames and hung up. And of course on a bigger scale I have several rooms I need to paint (though no $$ to do so) and curtains to hang in just about every room (though I only have curtains for 2).

Back-To-School (and other stuff)

It’s Back to School time here. At least, for the females in the house! Meagan’s school (through the church) starts tomorrow. Matthew (homeschooled) won’t start until after Labor Day.

Something new this year, though. *I’m* going back to school, too! Not just as a teacher, which wouldn’t be anything new, but as a student!  I’ve enrolled in a 3yr bible college, taking 1.5 credit hours a semester. It’s called Faith Baptist Institute, and you can learn all about it here. It’s administered via DVD through our church. There are 12 students in our class. =) *We* went back to school last Monday, the 16th! 

There’s something really cool about that date… I remember when I first started high school, as a freshman, school started on the 16th. I remember because that was the year my brother, James, was born and he was exactly 4 days old when we snapped a polaroid of his chunky little cheeks for me to take to school to show him off to my friends. So I started high school on Aug 16, 1992 as a 13yo and now here I am FINALLY starting college on Aug 16, 2010 as a 31yo. How cool is that?

I’ve actually been preparing for ‘back-to-school’ for lots of girls this summer. First I made a bunch of new culottes for Autumn and Ashlin (my adopted nieces) before we left for Arkansas. Then I bought school supplies and got my registration taken care of. Last week, of course, I went back to school, and then the rest of the week I spent making and mending culottes for Kylie (another adopted niece) and letting out uniforms for both her and Meagan.

You’d think that would’ve been the end of it, but nooooo…. Our bible class (actually 3 classes, but we only meet 1x week, and do all 3 in one night) met again tonight and then AFTER that (and we don’t get out till 9:30pm) I had to mess with MORE uniforms. Not for any nieces or nephews or even Meagan, but for Meagan’s DOLL – Samantha! LOL

Ok, so I didn’t HAVE to, but I had promised Meagan I would make her a uniform skirt back several months ago, and she really wanted it for the first day of school. I just finished it before I sat down to type this post up, and when I snipped the last threads and looked at it, I realized I messed up the pleating HORRIBLY!! =*(

Not in the pressing of them. That I could’ve fixed. In the sewing. I don’t know how I managed to do it, but the front pleats are not quite centered correctly (well, neither are the back ones…they are actually worse), and then on top of that the front and back pleats don’t even come close to matching!

The design of the skirt is such that it has a center solid ‘flap’ with 2 pleats on either side. Well, in the front the center piece is the correct size, and the pleats are just fine, except the whole thing is off-center. In the back, though….!!! The center section is at LEAST half again as wide as it is supposed to be, if not double! I don’t have a clue how I managed that, since I marked the pleats on both the front and back at the exact same time and in the exact same places (I marked one off the other, so I know they matched).

I feel like such a dunce and am so totally NOT happy at ALL with the final product, obviously, BUT it is going to remain the way it is. I can’t stand even thinking that, but it’s got to. For one thing, to undo all the stitching it would require to get back to the point at which I could rearrange the pleating, would take a couple of hours at least (which I don’t have). It would actually be much simpler and quicker to just start over from scratch. Problem with that is I have no more fabric! Last year she switched to wearing just skirts for her school uniform, so I just took the top of the jumpers off instead of buying new skirts. That’s how I had the fabric. She only had two jumpers, and it took almost every bit of both pieces to make the skirt for the doll. All that’s left is the skinny bits that came down from the shoulders and met in the front at the waist to make a V.

So, Samantha will just have to live with a VERY asymmetrical (and not in a fashionable way, either) school uniform skirt. Somebody doesn’t like it, they’ll just have to learn to deal, ’cause I’m not spending any more time or effort on a skirt for a DOLL! lol

I’m still not even done with the back-to-school sewing, though, believe it or not. Tomorrow I need to make said doll a blue uniform shirt! Plus, I think all but *maybe* one pair of Meagan’s 458 pairs of culottes need mending. *sigh* If I’m feeling real frisky or insane, I’ll probably end up making Meagan and her doll hair scrunchies out of the scraps I have left.

In other news… =)   Mike went to church with us last Sunday am. He came to Sunday School with me, and left towards the end to come home and get the Strong’s Concordance. He tried to start/have a conversation/question with my SS teacher between SS and worship service. It didn’t work out so well, though, since my SS teacher is also the music director and he was already running late getting up to the podium! LOL

So, instead, he agreed to let him come by Thurs eve (before he had to leave for work) and answer his questions and talk then. Marcy, my best friend (and adopted sis!), came by and picked the kids and I up and we went to her place while her hubby came over and talked with Mike! This was so totally a work of God. Not even 6mo ago when Marcy and I brought up the idea of David coming over and talking with him, Mike had said there was no point, it wouldn’t do any good, he wouldn’t do it.

Then, THIS week, Mike came to Sun pm service with us! =) He’d actually told me last week (before the first time he came) that he would attend with us on Sun am for 2-3mo to see if it would make any kind of difference or help at all with Matthew’s attitude/respectfulness/discipline. So this week was sorta kinda a cheat. lol In the morning when it was time to leave he bailed saying he was just too tired and not up to it, but that he would go with us that night (which, of course, he did).

When he told me he’d start coming to church with us, I almost fainted! When he said he’d KEEP coming, I thought for sure I would have a heart attack! I didn’t get my hopes up, though, because… well… this was MIKE coming to a BAPTIST church we were talking about.  I wasn’t going to hold my breath, ya know. Nor was I going to truly believe it until I saw it… which, praise the Lord, I did!

I thank the Lord that Mike is giving this a go! It’s a HUGE blessing and borders on being miraculous, really. I’m so proud of him for following through thus far! =)

Speaking of being proud of him… I’m also one proud puppy over the way (and the length of time it took) he got our busted hot water heater replaced with a brand new one. Especially since it required running a new electric line (it’s direct wired to a breaker, not plugged into an outlet). We were only without hot water for about a week and a half. MAJOR improvement over the 2 years it took to fix the ginormous holes in the floors so the bathtub could be put back in the bathroom! LOL

In other, other news… I am officially without a Lyme doctor again. Mine retired the end of last month. =(  I’ve already started running out of different meds, which is not cool. It is totally not cool, because running out of them, is leading to symptoms flaring back up. =(  First I ran out of Mepron, right about a month ago. Within a week, I was having bad headaches again, as well as night sweats and muscle cramps and bone and joint pain. Prior to running out I had NONE of those except some mild joint aches in the morning when I first woke up. After he added the Plaquenil to my mix, I was feeling almost human again. Well, really MOSTLY human. I did great on vacation and was doing just as well until the Mepron ran out.

We took a weekend trip down to Austin a couple of weeks back (after I ran out of the Mepron) to see my very talented cousin, Scott, perform in the Zilker Musical. This year’s presentation was Annie, and Scott got to shave his head bald and play Daddy Warbucks! LOL The play was GREAT, but *I* was not.

We left Friday and were supposed to camp. We didn’t, though. When we got to the campsite (around 12am) it was soooo covered in brush that Mike decided it would be far too dangerous. So off we went to find another campsite. We drove around Lake Travis on back roads that went UP and DOWN and curved around so much they literally had switchbacks in several places for like 3hr! Then we drove around some more for another several hours. All the campsites were either full or locked, so we ended up parking at a WalMart at about 5am to try and catch a couple of hours of sleep before the campgrounds opened back up.

The driving seriously MESSED ME UP! It wreaked absolute havoc on my central nervous system. I was sooo dizzy and off balance and edgy and I don’t even know what all. My CNS was just so irritated!! When we got to the campground, I could barely walk. I was soooo sick and weak! Then after we pitched the tent, we attempted to sleep until time for the play. I couldn’t. The heat was unbearable.

My muscles in my leg and back were cramped up so bad by the time we got home that I couldn’t straighten my leg at all. I was stuck in bed for 3 days! This after a 2 night trip. We were gone for 10 nights when we went to Arkansas and I didn’t have any problems at all and didn’t need any recovery time!

Then last week, after church on Sun and class on Monday night, I was stuck in bed all day Tues. Too sick to move. I’m backsliding, or relapsing, or whatever you want to call it so quick it’s not even funny. =(

I don’t know what I’m going to do. Hopefully I won’t get too much worse before we can figure out what to do about a doctor.

YIKES! It’s almost 3am now. I guess I’d better go take my meds and climb in the bed!

Big Dreams, Little Dreams

Heard a really great message at church Wed on dreams. (You can download the sermon and listen to it here: Baptist Basics Download Page Look for “Dream A Dream”.) Not dreams like where you find yourself flying the spaceship from Flight of the Navigator around town with all your younger cousins on board in highchairs, but dreams like when you say “One day I’d like to…”.

The speaker brought up a lot of good points about dreams. He talked about how we *should* have them, as they give us a goal to work towards. They motivate us to DO something. They give us a purpose.

If we have a dream to do something, go somewhere, meet someone, be somebody, or accomplish something, we have a much greater chance of actually DOING something, GOING somewhere, MEETING someone, BEING somebody (although, to be sure we are ALL somebody to Jesus whether we ever realize that or not), or actually ACCOMPLISHING something. In other words, if we don’t have something to set our minds and hearts towards in the future, something to work towards, we won’t make any progress towards those things and so we won’t move forward in life.

Life isn’t stagnant. It’s ALIVE! It’s moving. Look at the bodies of water on the earth. All but the Dead Sea have living things swimming happily away in them. What’s so different about the Dead Sea? It doesn’t have an outlet. There is no way for the water in the Dead Sea to get back out. It TAKES, but it never GIVES. Life enters into it, but there it stagnates and dies. The same thing will happen to small ponds or even fish tanks (like the aquarium the kids’ goldfish will be in once we find it!), if there is no circulation of water – life – movement.

I believe I once heard the term ‘living being’ defined as a being that has the capability of growing and moving on its own. But plants can’t move, you say, and they are alive. Yes they do move, I say! They grow don’t they? Then they move. A rock is stagnant. It doesn’t move, it doesn’t grow. Neither does metal.Things like water and air move, but not on their own. They have to have an outside source of energy propel them in some way. A hand has to tilt the pitcher to pour the water into the cup, A sudden bolt of electricity (if you really want me to explain where/how that happens, I will, but it’s rather lengthy) has to warm the air causing it to expand and crash into the cooler air around it with a bang.

In short, then, we could say that life = movement. Dreams give us something to move towards. Without dreams… be they big dreams like a wedding in your future or one finishing med school and opening your own practice… or little dreams like the Christmas gifts you want to make for your family or the dinner you plan on cooking tonight… we have no reason to move.

God created each of us, for HIS purpose. For HIS glory and HIS pleasure. He saves us by HIS grace and desires a personal relationship -talking, sharing, loving, working- with us. He live in us once we are saved, and desires to live THROUGH us as well. If He comes into our hearts and never comes out, we WILL stagnate spiritually. And of course, if we stagnate spiritually, the rest of our lives WILL suffer.

Jesus is the reason. Jesus is the reaon for the season, yes. But He is also the reason for living. He is the biggest dream to work towards… being like Him. We don’t have to work to get to Heaven to live with Him forever, but we DO need to work towards being like Him… sharing His qualities and character. We take life in when we accept Jesus into our hearts because He IS everlasting life. We need to give Jesus back out to keep from stagnating and scumming over like a pond with no circulating water, air, and life.

Share the gift of eternal Life with someone this Christmas season. Make it a dream of yours to show someone how to accept Jesus into their heart and live eternally. Then MOVE (on your own, without outside energy sources propelling you) towards that dream. Now you’re livin! ;-)

Just like all dreams, if you move towards it at all, you will have gone farther and accomplished more than you would have if you’d never tried. Even if you never achieve your goal, you’ve still succeeded. I believe it was Bob Jones Sr who said “Success is finding God’s will for your life and doing it” (that’s close, if that the exact quote).

That’s one of mybig dreams… to lead someone to Christ… to lead many someones to Christ, actually. Now I’m going to share some of my little dreams with you. It’ll be a kind of progress report, I suppose. LOL Listed below are all the different Christmas gifts I’m making this year as well as other Christmas projects. The ones crossed out are completed. The ones with an * I haven’t even started yet! YIKES!! =)

  • sew Coast Guard patch onto knit hat for Mike
  • make Christmas candies (candy melts/molds… painted details) for Meg to hand out at school
  • display case of Coast Guard memorabilia for Mike
  • stain/seal display shelf for Coast Guard hat
  • sew ‘sleep sack’ out of queen and throw sized blankets
  • sew matching dresses for Meagan* and the 18″ doll she is getting for Christmas (I have the doll’s dress finished)
  • sew blue snowflake dress* for the doll
  • crochet quitar for the doll
  • crochet poncho* to match one I made Meagan a couple of years ago…for the doll
  • crochet Santa hat*, scarf*, and mittens* for the doll
  • dye and embroider 2 sets of 5 tea towels (red w/ whitework snowmen)
  • change name on Mike’s childhood stocking to Matthew*
  • sew jingle bells on the stockings Meme made the kids*
  • make fudge for giving away and taking to get-togethers*
  • coat choc. sandwich cookies in white almond bark and sprinkle red/green berries/leaves on top*
  • crochet backpack for doll*
  • hang garlands*, window clings*, wreaths*, and lights*
  • finish getting ornaments on the tree and setting out decorations
  • wrap a bunch of Christmas gifts*
  • clean house
  • do about 5 billion loads of laundry (ok, not quite that many, but close!)

I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting, too! Can you say BIZ-ZEE?! I’m gonna go work on that blue doll dress now. Oh! And the matching dresses are a metallic burgundy with black trimmings. =) I’ll post pics of all the finished projects when I can. Well, for all except the stuff I made for the girls from camp. I didn’t get pictures of them before I mailed them out. I made a yellow pillow w/ “John Deere” in green, an American flag design scarf, an American flag design doll blanket, a pink/purple scarf, and a hat and scarf for a doll in red/white/blue.

A new adventure. Thanks, VA!

Mike got his new prescriptions in the mail today (VA). I am SO not happy with the supposed ‘care’ the VA gives. Or at least through this particular office.

He was put on Metformin last year with absolutely no instructions on anything having to do with diabetes. No diet info, no blood sugar level info, nothing. He called several times and even went back in to ask about a monitor and test strips, since we were thinking it was probably a good idea to test if he was taking meds to lower his blood sugar. The doc kept telling him there was no need and so he never got a monitor.

Since we had no way to test to make sure his levels weren’t getting too low (and his levels at the doc’s were only just barely high), he just quit taking the Metformin.

He had another checkup last week and I went with him this time. This time he did get a script for testing supplies along with the Metformin, cholesterol med, nitroglycerin, and inhaler. Still no information on managing the diabetes, though. He also got put on a waiting list for a sleep study so we can get something done about his horrible sleep apnea (granted it’s a years wait, but at least it’s in the works…).

Anyway. His meds came in the mail today. He now has an Accu-Chek glucometer, lancets, test strips, and something else that goes with it that says to use 1 dose a day to calibrate the glucometer. The problem is there was NO information or instructions on how to use the thing. So, we have all these new tools for managing his diabetes, but not a clue on how to use any of them. Lovely.

It’s a good thing he married into the family that he did. I have an aunt who is a diabetes nurse. Her whole job is teaching newly diagnosed diabetics what they need to know to be able to manage their condition. I’m hoping we can get her to meet us at my grandparents sometime soon and give us a crash course.

It makes me wonder about all those veterans who DON’T have access to that, though. How many other veterans has this doc put on blood sugar meds with absolutely no instructions on what to do to take care of themselves? How many of those are capable of figuring it out on their own? I mean some of the older veterans may have difficulties with memory or may even be Alzheimer patients. Does this doc prescribe meds to them the same way? That is– he enters the meds into the computer (says nothing about the meds in the office) and then a couple of weeks later they just show up in the mail.

Add to that the fact that they didn’t want me going into the exam room with him (I insisted) which tells me that 99% of the time no one is “allowed” in with the vets…

It makes me sick to think of how many veterans are getting such sub-standard care just out of this one office. =(

*update* Mike just got back from asking the pharmacist at Walmart for some help. Turns out the lancets the VA sent will not fit in the pen-thingy. Also, there still is no actual machine to READ the test strips. This thing that came in today is just for pricking the finger. >=(

Pics of last 2 finished projects and kids on Easter

I’ve been away from this blog for far too long!! lol It’s just been so busy here, plus it’s difficult for me to get much time on the puter since I have to wait till Mike is at work. (My puter is still ‘in the shop’.)

A lot has happened in the last month or so. I got the stocking finished several weeks ago, and then started on a crocheted shrug for Meagan for Easter. I got that done the Wed or Thurs before Easter (don’t remember which). We also had an all-girls slumber party for Meagan’s 11th Un-birthday party.

Lots of balloons, giggling, nail-polish, food, and fabric paint! She had 4 girls over and they all had a blast. Meagan and one of the other girls were up till about 6am!

Anyway. If I can find them, I’m going to stick pics of the finished stocking and Meagan’s shrug in this post. Lemme see if I can find them…




Now here is a pic of it on:



And here is one of Matt on Easter, too…


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