Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another Treasure

Don't worry.  I still LOVE my kindle. :)  I use it every day pretty much, whether for school or my own self, and I'm not likely to slow down on that much.

But I got something for my birthday that is just about as nifty. I decided an ipod would be really fantastic.  I coveted my friend's ipod Touch a while back (don't worry; I repented), amazed at the way the screen would turn with the ipod if you wanted to read tall or wide, impressed with the touchscreen and smoothly slowing scrolling down the page.  It could access internet for heaven's sake.  I barely knew what else it was for.

But nifty screens and internet wouldn't really enrich my life for the long run, so I did research.  I'm still no expert, but it turns out that there are quite an assortment of ipods and generations of ipods out there. My niece got a tiny ipod nano for Christmas, which is about a 1.5-inch touchscreen, but holds a relatively small amount of memory. I saw photos online of the new ipod shuffle (also smaller memory, no screen and no programming - just shuffling).  In real life the thing is TINY!  Like postage-stamp tiny!    The Touch started at 8 GB of memory, but also at $230.  The classic sure offered a lot more memory (the new 7th generation ipods start at 160 GB!  What are they putting on those, anyways? All 20th century film and music?), but the same out-of-range pricetag.  I started watching ebay for auctions (and my, there are SO many!) and gathering info on the older ipods.  Then I lost a whole lot of auctions. :)  I got serious finally, and bought a just-right 30 GB ipod classic, Generation Five, in white (matches my computer even, but not my kindle). For a much more reasonable price.

It came from Maryland. A gangster in Maryland named Jeff, apparently, based on the contents of the ipod.  I sew aprons and homeschool, and I didn't know who Li'l Wayne was. Jay Z? I recognized some of the names from when I was in school (Notorious B.I.G.  R.E.M. Green Day Beastie Boys), but seriously?  This is music?!?  I scrolled through approximately 3 seconds each of 67 songs (thought that might've been the contents, but was only one playlist) and were I Catholic I'd have had to attend Confession straightaway.  Yikes!  I'm not Catholic though, so I prayed for Jeff's salvation instead.  I admit, while cleaning the kitchen, I did rock out to Michael Jackson's Thriller (well, inasmuch as one can rock out in an apron and slippers).

Then the true Redemption occurred.  I plugged in the ipod, renamed it "Mama's Ipod"** and trashed all 2400+ gangster rapper songs AND the Family Guy episode and whatever movie(s) Dave Chaparelle or Chapelle had.  This was the "Dead to Sin" part.  After that I uploaded some podcast preachin', some homeschool convention lectures, some worship music... A splash of holy water and a dab of anointing oil later, and we managed "Alive to Christ!"  [I hope I'm not blasphemin' here.  No disrespect intended.]

Seriously though, I am LOVING this. And the iTunes store? Wow. I don't know if they sell music (okay, I'm sure they do), but the podcast stuff is amazing.

I can attend Voddie Baucham's Family Conference (or whatever it was) while I scrub the toilets!  I can listen to House of Bread, preaching my Dad is ALWAYS telling me to listen to (it's great, truly) in the van on the way to errands.  If the kids aren't with me, I can listen to The Ramp sermons (are they sermons?  They're pretty excited, and southern) my cousin told me about while I do my shopping!  I can re-hear homeschool convention speakers, which is nice since I spent the live-version juggling a baby and a toddler and didn't exactly take notes.  I. have. even. managed. to. put. my. workout. on. there.  I know, anyone who has been part of this century lately knows all this already, but remember: I kill chickens every June.  This is big.  Truly, the workout plays right there on the little screen, though I can't flail my arms about when there are wires between my ears and an upright ipod, and I can't see the screen when the thing's tucked into the back of my britches, so...  As far as I know, I can't get just the audio track without (horror of horrors) spending money on a program to do that, but I would if I could (do it for free).

It really has enriched my life.  It's hard to yell very loudly at your naughty child when Julie True is crooning some beautiful Jesus-worship in your ear (sometimes I have to go mono, see, for the sake of parenting and all that).  Hearing some church, when I'm not simultaneously counting and locating my children (or if I DO have to do that, I can use pause and rewind!) keeps me focused on God more than I was before.  Prayer is up, too.  Perspective freshened.

I have an anti-progress bias in some areas (organic farming, in some ways), but this kind of technology can help increase Kingdom in the world.  In my house, at least. :)  I am grateful for this blessing, and I'm so glad to have such a meaningful birthday gift!

**Truth be told I call it "Granny."  If the 7th generation was just born, and this is the 5th generation, it is a grandparent, is it not?  And I think it's a girl, so Granny it is..

Monday, January 24, 2011

Other Sewing

I spent a few pre-Christmas days chained to the sewing machine, with the door locked and myriad threats against intruders. :)

Here are a couple gifts I made:

Quilted Potholders
I made the above potholders for my mother-in-law. They are quite large (9 1/2" square, I think) and have two quilted layers, one with a cutout, so to be used as a mitt. The outer layer is cotton, the linings are muslin, and in between there are a couple layers of ugly canvas (shhh.. don't tell Mom) and a piece of old, weird blanket (ditto on the shhh). The binding is terrible. Please don't look closely, but for the love of Pete, do tell me if there is a Binding Alternative out there somewhere.

Christmas Slippers
I made Baby a couple pairs (wish I knew where they were) of baby slippers, and went ahead and monkeyed with the pattern to make her sisters each a pair (yes, there is a match to each of those in the photo).  I traced each girl's foot for sizing, and went from there.  However, Big Sister has already worn entirely through her polyester sherpa sole, so the idea obviously works best for the "under 25-lb" crowd. Something non-slip might also be in order; thankfully everyone around here seems to have sturdy bones...  I considered brushing a little rubber cement on the undersides, but we don't have any.  Can you buy non-stick fabric like you find on pajama feet?  That would be handy.

The girls were thrilled with their slippers.  I'm so glad they still think Mama making everything homemade is cool.  :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Little Late

I didn't make quilts for my first two girls.  There was a baby shower Big Sister, back when she was Only, and gifts were abundant.  My mom made one for Little Artist.  I've posted about Organique's, but Baby (who is hardly a Baby and really needs a bloggy-name!) didn't get one from Mama for a while.  

If my sewing room was clean, I might've found a flat spot to take a picture.
I decided a quilt would be her Christmas gift, and I'd make it larger than some of our other baby quilts.  I found some fabric on clearance (but of course) and "designed" (yes, consider that term very loosely used) her quilt.

Love my dots. :)
The top fabrics match, and are blue/cream/brown, with darling butterflies and coordinating spots.  You don't know how rare it is that I end up with coordinating fabrics.  This was very exciting to me. :)  If you look at the picture above, you can see that I don't trim the selvedge from the fabric. I'm cheap that way. Worse, I actually work to incorporate the darling little dots that show the colors used in the design.  Ah, it's getting out of control, really.  Quilts, baby's birthday dress, aprons...  I just can't bear to abandon them!

More dots.  Ill-matched backing.
The back is a nice quilter's cotton I picked up out of town (this stuff never makes it to the clearance racks locally).  It really doesn't match the top (it's pinkish instead of creamy), but the vintage look and feel of the roses makes up for it.  Maybe.  In any case, I used what I had, and it will work! :)  I also don't know the proper crib-size quilt apparently (the batting fit, but it was wider than the fabric.  Oh well, an opportunity to add in some dots...), as this is the second baby quilt on which I've had to widen the back. 

I used 80/20 cotton/poly batting, and I the weight and loft is just right for machine quilting.  I literally used every bit of the fabrics (I think I had 2 yards for the back, and 2 total for the front), and even "pieced" several pieces.  One corner square in fact is an entirely different fabric, mostly brown (less warm) with some muted blue flowers printed thereon.  I have decided that imperfections are character, and I embrace them now instead of letting them cause angst in my head, or stress in my pocketbook.  I'm not in love with the pre-packaged binding 'look' and 'feel,' but I AM in love with the pre-packaged binding 'time' and 'effort of application,' so there we are. :)  The center rectangle is quilted with 2"ish squares not-at-all-on-center, and you can see the meander quilting outside of that. As with Organique's quilt, Baby has her cursive name hidden among the machine stitches. 

 If there is opportunity for future Baby quilts, I will remember that it's best to get it done within a reasonable amount of time after their birth.  Reasonable being defined as "before said baby can walk up and push all the fancy stitching buttons on the machine, or turn it off entirely, while you're carefully trying to stitch decently."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another Habit

This year may be a year of transition for me.  Not only do I have the whole text-message protocol (or lack thereof) to process, NOW I find out that I shouldn't be typing two spaces between sentences! I really am astonished at this. I've never even HEARD such a thing. The reasons make sense, and I'll put some effort towards changing that habit, but it won't be easy! In fact, right now I'm putting two spaces and a delete between each sentence. :]

What irks me just as much as the relearning is the fact that I was taught wrongly.  That really bothers me! It wasn't because the teacher was mean, or doing it on purpose (I learned in a class with both typewriter and computer). But it really gives substance to the scripture, "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher." (Luke 6:40) 

I've spent half my life in what I now discover is a bad habit since that 'full training.' How careful we need to be in choosing teachers! Typing two spaces, as hard as it may be to change, is a mild thing compared to other habits we learn and practice. 

Habit of overeating. Habit of laziness. Habit of self-serving. Habit of overspending. How about our thoughts? Habits of judgment, of assumption. Habits of seeing God inaccurately. Habit of believing our own strength is enough (or thinking that it SHOULD be). 

So much to learn, to change. The good news is that for all the important ones, the answer boils down to One Thing.


Love Him. Be loved by Him.

Friday, January 14, 2011


It was a good year for Jesus.  He fulfilled his destiny, changed the world forever, conquered sin and death...

I'm not exactly aspiring to all that (maybe I should be...?), but trying to walk where my Father leads.  Trying to let Him love me (which will fulfill an element of my destiny).

Today there is a mountain of laundry, and bay leaves (?) crumbled on a bathroom floor.  Considering last year's gift was a little more dramatic, I'm counting this as serious progress. :)

I get to have lunch with a friend/cousin, and facebook is overflowing with birthday wishes.  If I play my cards right, I might even manage a discount on some eggs... :)

Thank you Lord, for life.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Textus Impossibus

Are you a text-er?  Do you text message others?  Do you know how hard it is for me to write those sentences, using nouns as verbs?  How about, Are you a sender of texts?  Do you send text messages to others?  Ah, that's better.  But it only gets worse from here.

I've recently started sending and receiving text messages. Like facebook and blogging, I like the ease with which it connects me to others.  I like sending a text message to my farmer, asking him "where's the beef?" and hearing that he will call the butcher shortly.  Or asking my motherinlaw exactly which April date is my niece's birthday, so I can mark it on the calendar.

I've sent and received text messages before, but only under duress. :)  That is, if I was "roaming" and the text was cheaper than the call.  My extended family of in-laws uses text messaging quite a bit, and I've been bummed to be the last person to find out that a close friend (who is also a relative) had her baby, or other "news" that I missed out on because I was "out of the loop."  This is my own fault, mind you; I've grumbled before, receiving a "you are the best mother to your child/children" award, knowing it cost me 15¢.  Really?  If I'm so worthy, why don't you know whether I have one or more offspring? :D  I still don't know who sent that to me, or how many of us mothers it was sent to, but it still cracks me up.

So, I've now added a whopping $5 to my cell phone bill, and for that I can send and/or receive 250 text messages per month.  Which solves the problem of knowing when someone important is in labor, but has brought up a whole other issue.

can u guess what it is
i cant wait 2 tell u
ready? its sumthin that drives me crazy @ txting


I always thought I was a numbers girl, you know?  Memorizing my bank account numbers, and even my Power Company account number.  But I find that in my old age, I'm getting a little wordy, too (hmm, maybe that's why I have a blog?).  I've been reading poorly-written Christian fiction on my kindle (they were free.  Good thing.) and critiquing them to no end, astonished at the incorrect labeling for real-life things, or the unlikely conversations/plot twists/whatever.  And clich├ęs?  Gag me with a spoon.  Anyways.  About words.  Using text messages is supposed to (I hear) save time and effort, doing away with the pleasantries necessary in a voice conversation, and get your questions answered and details ironed out without interrupting anyone's day.  Much.

But here's the thing.  I happen to believe punctuation is handy, and purposeful!  So I type my text message with appropriate apostrophes, commas, capitals, periods, etc.  I write out "to" and "you" and other things, because I just cannot bring myself to write such purposeful mistakes. Errors, they would be.  BUT - My text messages need to be 160 characters or less, else they become two text messages.  And I'm nothing if not frugal.  So I end up with a problem.. I type out my nice little text message, and realize it's going to be too long.  So I have to back up and use smaller adjectives and fewer qualifiers, or whatever.  If that's not enough, then I have to make errors, changing "to" to "2" and "you to "u" and worse.  It's excruciating.

By the time I'm done writing, rewriting, and un-proofing, I've spent eight minutes on something that would've taken one, had I just dialed the daggum number in the first place!

So - do you send and receive text messages?  Do you use the abbreviated misspellings?  Does it bother you?  Will I ever get comfortable using such things?

**I do not want to be understood as condemning the use of misspelled words in text messages.  It just bothers me to do it.  Like someone who just can't handle clutter on their countertop and constantly cleans it off (gee, now THAT would be a useful neurosis!). :)