Saturday, October 31, 2009


After 12 inches of rain in October (setting a new record), it has finally stopped raining. The sky is actually blue. Downside of 12 inches of rain? Pumping over 400 gallons of water out of our basement. I feel the universe is telling me that we didn't really need all that stuff. Now, if the universe would just come and clean up the mess. I am tired. Oh, so tired and the basement carpet needs to be shampooed, the floors bleached, and so much to be sorted, recycled and thrown away. Here is to hoping for a dryer November!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Anger is slowly slipping away

This past weekend, my daughter and I went for a little getaway - some mother and daughter time at a YMCA lodge not too far away. It was beautiful. Trout Lodge is on the eastern edge of the Ozarks that caters to family gatherings. The drive was full of turning leaves and rolling hills. When we arrived Friday night, we were exhausted and hungry. The staff couldn't have been more friendly and immediately set us at ease (and with some food!). We awoke Saturday to a gorgeous fall day. M and I spent the whole day outside geo-caching, orienteering, hiking, and paddle boating. When we needed a break, we learned how to make marshmallows and spent some time at the arts & crafts center. It was such a wonderful day, spent with one of my favorite people. M and I have decided that we will now have to have a yearly "girl adventure". It was much needed for both of us.

While there, I could feel a lot of my anger towards religion start to melt away. I don't know why, but I could feel myself letting go. Maybe it was all the fresh air and just being away from everyday pressures. The scenery was certainly inspiring. It was good to be outside and exercising. The company couldn't have been better. It was such a nice break and release. M and I just had fun without feeling obligated to anything else but enjoyment. During one break time, we worked on mosaics. I stared at my square and couldn't figure out what picture I should design. Honestly, the only thing that came to me was a chalice. So I went with it. I can certainly say that this is not what I would have made a couple of weeks ago, but now, it was just right. I feel like I am again seeing some positives in UU and am feeling much more open to receiving them. Over the last couple of months, I have been sporadically attending a new UU church, but have felt myself holding back from fully engaging and committing. I think I am now ready to slowly start testing the waters and give UU another chance.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ma Ingalls would not be impressed....

with my Winter pantry. I have been rereading Little House in the Big Woods and am realizing how much of the pioneers summer was spent getting ready for winter. Pretty much all of it. Most of the day was spent planting, hunting, preserving and preparing food. I look at my day and realize how much of it is not spent doing that. I grumble if it takes more then a half hour to get dinner ready. Driving to get my CSA share can feel like a hassle. I think I have accomplished a lot if I made homemade bread or did a little canning over the weekend. In reality, though, my life does not center around food. How lucky I am. Great parts of the world still live this reality and I often take it for granted. I wonder what life would be like in the US if we really were responsible for growing and preserving most of our own food. I have a suspicion it would slow down. Working with your neighbor would become a necessity, not an inconvenience. Finding a bee hive (like Pa Ingalls did) would become a new kind of excitement and appreciation. It certainly wasn't an easy living, but I feel that people really understood the value of work, community, mutual reliance and the preciousness of everyday. Survival and growth were dependent on these values.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sewing Sites - Part II

I realized that I left off some of my other favorite sewing sites, so here they are:

Pink Chalk Studio - She is great about showcasing new fabrics, tutorials and general sewing trends. She also has the best coverage of the Quilt Show. (Oh to have unlimited time and money to sew!)

Heather Ross - It took me awhile to truly appreciate her designs, but now I love them. Her fabric reminds me of old style children's books - specifically Go Dog Go!.

Sew Mama Sew - Excellent site for sewing ideas. They often have theme months. This month is scrap busters. Check out their gift ideas for the holidays. They also run an online store.

Aunty Cookie - I love her self produced, quirky fabrics and designs.

BurdaStyle - This an open source site that Burda and any one else can upload patterns for you to download. Usually they are free or for very little cost. Plus, people often post their results.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

For you Sewers out there...

I was asked about what sewing blogs I follow. Below are some of my favorites, although be forewarned, once you start clicking through them you might be inspired to create something!

Angry Chicken by Amy Karol. This is a great blog for all sorts of indie sewing and crafts. She is also the author of my favorite sewing book: Bend the Rules Sewing.

Anna Maria Horner is an absolute favorite fabric designer. I love her colorful folksy style. She also has six kids, I have no idea how she does it all.

Heather Bailey is my other absolute favorite fabric designer. Her work is just so pretty. She also has lots of cute and fun patterns. She just came out with a new line of fabric and felt!

Oh Fransson by Elizabeth Hartmen. I love her take on more modern quilts. She is especially inspirational in quilts that I might actually be able to make.

Wee Wonderfuls by Hilary Lang. She has wonderful sewing and embroidery patterns featuring children and animals. I have made several of her things and love them.

Gorgeous Things. The women who writes this blog and owner of the online store does fantastic home garment sewing. She also write pattern reviews and tutorials. I have learned a lot about clothes sewing from this site.

Craft Apple writes great craft sewing patterns. I have made several of her things for gifts- especially popular is her crayon holder.

Craft a Green World. I love this site for all its ideas on recycled fabric sewing and environmentally friendly fabric and sewing supplies.

Posie Gets Cozy. Alicia Paulson is a master of homey sewing and embroidery.

Nikkishell - Nicola is another clothes sewer who specializes in repurposing garments. Also check out her Wardrobe Refashion site.

Craft Magazine Blog. This site has so many sewing, knitting, embroidery, crafting ideas. You could spend hours looking through this site.

SouleMama by Amanda Blake Soule is an inspirational site for all you do-it-yourself moms. She has so many ideas on how to make your home a home. She is an avid knitter and sewer while somehow managing life with four children. Much of her work is centered around and includes them.

The Crafty Crow is a site dedicated to crafts for kids. It is a collective with tons of ideas.

Well, I hope this is a start for you all. There are more that I read, but I think this is enough for now, and really, constitute my favorite. In reality, there are a TON of sewing blogs and I am sure once you search these sites you will find more favorites.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

You Never Know

When I was in eighth grade, we had a long-term substitute teacher in biology. To us thirteen/fourteen year olds she seemed a bit kooky. She was fairly young and a "back to the land" type person. We, of course, were cool and thought her very odd. The thing is, though, she was very passionate in her beliefs and tried so hard to convince us of her ways. You might imagine that it is an oxymoron to be a "back to the land" person in Iowa. Well, believe it or not, most of us grew up in cities, not farms. Cedar Falls had about 30,000 people in the summer and about 15,000 more when the university was in session. Yes, we were surrounded by farms, but really had no desire to actually work on a farm. We weren't blind, we could see how hard the work was. Well, the substitute was determined to convince us that that was the only way to save the world. Mind you, this was the 80s and not a popular movement as it later would become. She decided the best way to accomplish this was to teach us the benefits of making our own yogurt. And she did, for two solid weeks. If you also flashback to the eighties, yogurt was still not considered a very mainstream food - especially to young teenagers. We pretty much had ZERO interest in learning this. When I look back on those weeks, I feel so sorry for her that we were not a better audience. She had so much passion, but her delivery fell very short. Needless to say, I remember very little about what she said, except that she really, really, believed in it.

Twenty years later, I wish I would have paid attention. She is right. Homemade yogurt is a lot better then store-bought. I would love to have her recipe. Husband has cobbled a few different recipes together and come up with a fantastic product. When he gets the time, I will have him write it out and post it. I am totally addicted to it and look forward to it every day. So, Mrs. X, I tip my culture to you!

Friday, October 9, 2009


I am so excited that the International Quilt Market in Houston is starting soon. I so wish I could go, but it is only open to trades people. What it does mean, though, is that fabric designers will be debuting their new collections and I can't wait to see them! I follow several sewing/fabric blogs and I am hoping they post lots of pictures. They are always inspirational, especially with the holidays fast approaching.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tired of Religion

Lately I am finding myself in a deep funk about religion. I am just tired of it. I am tired of thinking about it and debating it and pondering it. I just don't care. I know a lot of this feeling has to do with how things ended at my last church. I feel burned out from devoting so much time to something I felt was important only to feel like it was all for naught. I can't say that the nine years was wasted, I did receive a lot of benefits and I hope that I made some sort of impact, but I am very reluctant to put out that much effort again. It has just reminded me that ministers, priests, clergy are just as human as me or you. They have no special divinity and, really, not a whole lot of extra insight. I am having a difficult time justifying going to services, when I get as much self-reflection reading at home. I don't want to make connections only to have them broken when I can't support the leadership. I am angry that despite all my work and trying for improvement, I am the one who has to leave. It is very hard to commit again. I just don't see the point.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Reunion Update

Last night was the big reunion night at my house. Despite everyone being late because they got lost trying to find my house (we are that far north), the evening went off without a glitch. We had a really good time. Thankfully, all our kids got along and were pretty much out of sight the whole night running around and having fun. It was just so weird to have four other people from Cedar Falls sitting in my living room. I hadn't seen most of them in eighteen years! It is crazy that that much time has gone by. It was fun to hear about everyone's adjustment to St. Louis. We all had been confused by the term "hoosier". I remember when Husband first used that term to describe a stranger. I asked him how he knew they were from Indiana. Evidently, in St. Louis, it is a term equivalent to redneck. Not particularly flattering. Another friend had been completely confused by the term "depressed section" on the traffic reports. She couldn't figure out why they kept saying this area is depressed.* We also talked about the age old question, "where did you got to high school" that St. Louisians are so fond of asking. When you grow up in a one high school town, it is pretty much a question never asked.

It was interesting to discover the roundabout ways people landed in St. Louis (work, school, marriage). Most of us did not grow up thinking we would be here. Many of the kids I was friends with ended up in Minneapolis - which is exactly where I thought I would be. Three of us have been married thirteen years. The other two are single and never been married. We all seemed to be doing really well, which was nice to see. It was fascinating to see how we had all matured and become "responsible" adults. Our former eighteen year old selves would occasionally peek through, but, wow, we have grown up.

*It actually refers to a section of a highway that is lower (depressed) then the rest of it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It is all in the Fit

A friend has two autistic boys. They go to a public school that requires them to wear uniforms. Due to the medication one of them is on, he has gained a lot of weight in the last year. The mom had to quickly buy some new pants, based on his waist measurement, and hope for the best. Well, Monday dawned quite chilly and her son went to put them on. They were way, way too long. Even with rolling them, they just didn't fit. She convinced him to wear shorts and later was told he had had a rough day. Since she doesn't sew, she asked if I would hem them. I said, "of course!" After taking them up quite a bit, I returned them. The next day she told me that it made all the difference. He had had a great day. Clothes really do make the man! (I am just glad I could help in some small way.)