Monday, August 31, 2009

Family Resemblence

It still takes me back every now and then when I look at Sam and realize how much he looks like my brother.


Unbelievable, eh?

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Day

I went to Grace and Syd's school this morning to witness their first day of school. What a hoot! I was working when Chris and Isaac had their first day and Danny was 180 miles away, so these are the first grandkids I got to see on their first day. Wouldn't have missed it for the world!

Two very cute kindergartners. They're not in the same class but their classrooms are right next to each other. Everybody is going to think they're twins.

Sydney barely had time to let me take this picture-he was too busy on the playground. When the bell rang, he grabbed his backpack and lined up, totally ignoring us. Mom and Dad-who are they?

Miss Grace had a minor meltdown, but her awesome teacher, who she had already met, immediately took her under her wing and reassured her. I see a great relationship growing here.

I had to be there, after all, I was there when they were born. First Gracie, such a sick, tiny baby.

Then Sydney, six weeks later-small but healthy.

Where did the time go? All those days of diapers, bottles, croup, colic-now they're "grown up!" Now just don't blink or they'll be grown and going off to college. I know-it happened to me with my three boys!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Other Boy's Sweater

I just realized I've been negligent in posting about the red sweater-Sam's birthday present that is a buddy to Sydney's. I did finish this one before the birthday-it was well received by Mom, but the birthday boy just pitched it over his shoulder when he realized it was more clothes! I know he'll love wearing it this winter, so my feelers aren't hurt one bit.

I actually had a bit of time to take shots of the sweater mid-block, instead of on a wiggly preschooler.

Both sweaters had these buttons. The package had trains, cars and airplanes. I put cars and trains on Syd's; and cars and airplanes on Sam's.

The best part of the sweater is the hood. I think I need to find a different pattern, though. One that is knitted more in one piece. I got pretty sick of sewing them together.

Now I'm working on February Lady in a soft off-white Lion Brand yarn for myself. I'm almost past the yoke and I have the three buttonholes done. I might make it short sleeved instead of the 3/4 sleeve the pattern calls for. I've wanted to make a short sleeved, off-white sweater for a long time to go over light dresses and this just might fill the bill.

In other news, the roofing materials were delivered yesterday. Jeremy has one other job to finish and then we're next. We're going to have him put in a tubular skylight while he's at it-we'll pay for that out of our own pockets. The roofers in the area are doing a booming business after the hailstorm three weeks ago, but there sure is a difference in pricing. Can we say, "taking advantage of the situation?" I think Jeremy will get more jobs since he isn't gouging us.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Kitchen Chairs

For a long time now, I've been totally frustrated with the chair pads that are supposed to fit the farmhouse style chairs. Mainly they DON'T fit! So after much thinking and working through stuff in my head I finally came up with the solution.

This is the old cushion. Notice how it doesn't fit at all and half the pad hangs off the chair. Also, even with the ties, it moves-like all over. I put the no-skid rug liners under them which helped, but they still moved a lot. The ties would tear right out of the pad.

What to use for the cushion? Foam is expensive, and it compresses after a while and you don't have that comfort you need in a wooden chair. I was strolling through Jo-Ann's one day with a coupon in my hot little hand when I came across this stuff. It's compressed, bonded polyester batting, 2 inches thick, and it looks to me like it isn't going anywhere very soon.

Now to the travel problem. I decided that I wasn't going to put ties on, instead I went with the rug lining stuff, but I used another coupon and got the good stuff. I found out there is a right and wrong side to this stuff so I was sure to have the stickiest side to the outside.

I used fabric from my stash and knew I didn't have enough to do both top and bottom, so I lined the no-skid with a yucky looking flesh colored fabric I knew wouldn't show. I made them about 16" before ruffle. I wanted a wider ruffle, but that was not possible with the amount of fabric I had. I think it looks fine.

And the finished product! I think it looks smashing if I do say so myself. They're just as comfortable, maybe more so, since you don't have to constantly shift the pad. moving-none, nada, not one bit. Hooray!

One small confession-I only have three finished. The other five are cut out and ready for assembly. I hope my ADD doesn't kick in until I get them all done.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I Was Blogged About Today!

Saturday I went to a book signing for the book, Crochet Adorned, written by Linda Permann. I showed her a variation of one of her patterns that I had made, and bought her book.

What a nice gal! She is so natural and chatty it was like meeting an old friend. She even recognized Sydney from my blogs, which means she has been reading them, so cool! Her stuff is super cute, too, and the book is full of interesting and helpful instructions.

I'm now all fired up to crochet flowers and trims-I actually have small amounts of fancy yarns that I've picked up at various sales, so they should really work up cute in one of Linda's patterns. Check me out on her blog, I'm definitely not the prettiest one in the picture but Sydney is really cute.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Julie's Dress

Three days before my grand niece Julie's first birthday party, it dawned on me that I hadn't made her a dress yet. Knowing she is a "chubby" I made her a size 2.

I had the fabric and pattern. I had done some sewing for a co-worker and she gave me the choice of money or a pretty large stack of nice fabric and a couple of little-girl patterns. I chose the stash, of course. I had the bit of lace and found ribbon in my massive collection that matches perfectly. The yoke was constructed a bit differently that most I've done and I'm not sure I'll do it this way again. It called for a double fabric on the yoke, but to bind the neck. I think it would look better if the seam was at the neck and the hand stitching was around the inside bottom of the yoke. I could have gotten a much cleaner look in the zipper and neckline areas.

The pattern is Simplicity 7189. It fits her perfectly-I hope that she can wear it for a while.

Here she is with her daddy. Her mommy said she looks like "Anne of Green Gables" in the dress. I think she's just a darn cute baby.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Our Weekend

We had a very busy weekend. We started off with a barbecue to honor the chili contestants in the state chili cook-off, held in conjunction with the Manhattan Potato Festival. Stan was a contestant. It was pouring rain, so the meal was moved to the senior center. The street dance was bagged because it didn't stop raining until late in the evening. The Festival is held to honor the potato growers in the area. Manhattan area potato farmers grow about 90% of all seed potatoes used in the United States.

Master at chili.

Saturday was the Festival and miracle of miracles, it was sunny. Not really warm but warm enough to get out and have some fun. The parade was fun and full of neat things, and just as the parade started, Air Force One flew over Main Street. Purely accidental, but neat anyway.

Parade loot.

There were booths in the park that runs along Main Street. There were crafts, food, games, and someone was even selling those dumb visors with the fake fur that looks like hair.

Taking in the attractions.

Stan came in third in the cook-off and won a new camp stove, $50, and a pottery chili bowl from Big Sky Carvers.

Big Sky Carvers is a company that manufactures carved wooden bears and ducks, as well as contracting with other factories to make dishes and figurines. The company has their products in stores all over the world. They are probably Manhattan's largest employer. Every year at the Potato Festival they have a huge tent sale and sell their seconds, overstocks and unfinished items for super-reduced prices. People start getting in line the evening before the sale and charge the tents when they open at 6:30 AM. (Yes, AM)

The firemen have their breakfast-their big fundraiser for the year. I think a lot of people become firefighters for one day just to help put on the breakfast. It takes tons of work to pull off, but the food is always good and it's a good opportunity to catch up with friends and neighbors.

After the festival, we went to a friend's funeral. This was a 56 year old man who went before his time. He was a co-worker of Stan's. This was quite a coincidence because the funeral was held in the same church as last Saturday's funeral. It was sad but Stan and I both got to visit with several of the guys he used to work with.

Today was church, a special service-we installed our new pastor. It was really neat-we as the Council got to lay on hands and pray for him. I think he'll be a real blessing and asset to our church.

Then this afternoon we attended a birthday party for our grand niece. I hadn't seen my nephew since their wedding two years ago, and here he is with his one year old daughter! We had good food, great conversation and were entertained by the kids' antics.

Cutie patootie opening gifts.

Now Stan is snoozing in front of the TV and I'm not too far behind him!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Birthday Boy

Since Bresnan had a three-state shutdown, I didn't get to post a happy birthday for Sam. His birthday was yesterday.

Sam is the baby his parents thought they'd never have. After the tough road they walked with Gracie they were pretty convinced that three kids were enough, thankyouverymuch.

Then came the surprise. After a couple of pregnancy tests they got up the nerve to tell us at Christmas. I feel pretty bad-I started laughing. If there is one thing life has taught me, it's never say never and expect the unexpected. And God sends babies when He decides.

Sam has flaming red hair. We've all wished for a child with red hair, and now we have one. He's built like his Grandpa Stan, but he has my brother Rick's face. It's pretty cool since Rick has been gone for 33 years. He never had any kids of his own, so now he has someone who looks like him. And just like my brother, Sam loves anything with wheels-especially bulldozers or Disney's "Cars."

He also has the "redhead temperament." He's a rough-and-tumble boy, focused on whatever he's doing, and can charm your socks off with his big grin. He has the requisite sprinkle of freckles across his nose and can sunburn in a heartbeat. He has almost as many allergies as his Grandma, but they mostly have to be super careful with peanuts and eggs. The peanuts will be forever, but he could shake the egg allergy. (Hasn't yet, but there's hope)

I always take the grandkids for a "birthday coffee." I go to a coffee shop with them and order a latte' for myself and string cheese and a juice box for the kids. They absolutely love it. It gives them a chance to bond with Grandma without siblings, cousins or Mom and Dad around. Wednesday I took Sam for his coffee. We were sitting Sydney that day and I had shown him Sam's gift, a fire engine, and made Syd promise that he wouldn't tell Sam what his present was. We were nearing the coffee shop when Syd piped up, "Sam, I know what you're getting for your birthday but I can't tell you what it is." "You can't tell me?" asked Sam. "No" said Sydney, "but do you like fire engines?"

Happy birthday Sammers. We are extremely glad you surprised us with your arrival four years ago. I look forward to the adventure that will be your life.

As Close As I Will Probably Ever Get

Watching Air Force One land in Belgrade, MT. It flew over my house and I got a couple of decent pictures. Couldn't get tickets to the Town Hall Meeting, but I'm watching it on TV. This is the first time since Teddy Roosevelt that a sitting president has visited the area.

Now to hear the give and take at the meeting. Let's hope all parties stay civil. Mr. Obama is good at keeping his cool, so that will be a plus.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stepping on Some Toes

I know that many people out there are protesting the President's health care program. I just ask that you read and research all the info before getting upset. And please DON'T believe all those e-mails that Aunt Mary forwards from somebody else-most of them are propaganda that some one who stands to gain financially from this thing not passing has manufactured. Go to and read for yourself.

In the meantime, here is a link to a friend's blog-he seems to have done some research and has a pretty good take on it:

Joe's Knitting Blog

I welcome comments, but I do have the "moderation" set, so if you want to call me names you won't see that on my blog. A good give-and-take is fine, though.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Freaky Summer Storm

I was having coffee with a friend at my favorite place when Hubby called. He asked what the weather was like in Bozeman. I described it, calm and cloudy, and he told me that he was witnessing the biggest hailstorm Manhattan has ever seen. Golf-ball size stones that shredded our garden and drove apples and leaves to the ground.

The ice loving dog-she must have thought it was manna from heaven.

Good size hailstones.

I don't think the storm ever hit Bozeman, even though it was heading that way. I did hear from Jenn and she said Livingston got hit as hard as we did, and they also had a huge power outage.

An update-the insurance rep came right out (Safeco-nice, huh?) and told us that our roof was trashed, so right then and there he cut us a check to replace it. We will get a bid when our roof guy gets back from camping. That really was some kind of storm!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'm On a Roll!

So I had this shirt I made a few years back-I made it out of a thermal knit cotton print. Every time I washed it, it would get longer and wider. I know I'm chunky, but this thing could have covered the couch!

Yesterday, I was bagging up some clothing to take to a charity when I spotted this shirt. The waffle knit looked like it would be perfect for more mop covers. Back out of the bag and into my sewing room it went. I was able to get three mop heads out of that big top.

I also cut out a cover for this small scrubber thingy I use in my bathroom, because I'm too old and stiff (fat) to scrub behind the toilet with a scrub brush. I made a pattern by tracing around the scrubber, then adding about 2 1/2" to the tracing. I finished just like the mop covers.

I thought it would work pretty well washing the ceiling, and then I wouldn't have to haul the stepstool upstairs. I can tell you're really impressed with my housekeeping skills! Such dedication!

The finished products. I tested one of the mop covers-much less "sticky" than the smooth knits, and Sydney tested the scrubber thingy by dusting the floor.

I think I'll keep the test mop and maybe give the other two as gifts. Or maybe I should put them in my Etsy shop.

Monday, August 3, 2009

So Sad

A young woman, very good friend of my sons, died today at the young age of 30. She was admitted to the hospital on Friday with dangerously low platelets, and passed away today. My medical knowledge is limited, but my guess it that it had something to do with her Lupus. She suffered badly from the disease.

She always wanted children-it was her goal in life. They had just decided to not worry about getting pregnant and were going to start adoption procedures this week.

My heart goes out to her husband. He's such a neat young man and they both have been good friends to my boys. In fact they all roomed together at one time.

Gonna be a tough week.

Reusable Swiffer Wet Mop Cover Tutorial

First let me say I HATE housework! Anything I can do to make it go quicker and easier makes me happy. Housework cuts into knitting , sewing and "coffeeing" time. Funny thing, though, the elves don't come while I'm doing the fun stuff so every now and then I have to knuckle down and actually DO something!

This mop cover was born of that need. I like the wet cloths that go on your swiffer, but they have to be changed so often, several times when you do a whole floor, and they dry out in the container. I also can't tolerate some of the cleaners they put in them. My favorite mop is a big old-fashioned string mop, but then we're talking about a bucket, soap and actual work.

So today here is my first tutorial. Have fun with it-sure would like some feedback:

Approx 1/4 yard fabric-I used T-shirt material, but I think some kind of knit microfiber would be the best-recycle a shirt or something, if you like. 1/4 yard would give you at least two covers, so they're pretty cheap to make. Be sure it's something you can throw in the washer.
15" piece 1/4" elastic
paper for pattern
pins, safety pin, thread, scissors

Make a rectangle on paper 16" x 8 1/2." Cut out and round the corners.

Pin to fabric-lay out with grain running the length or crosswise, doesn't really matter. Cut out and pin with right sides together.

Stitch around, using about a 1/4" seam allowance. Leave about 1 1/2" from start so you can turn cover.

Turn-you can press it to make it lay nice and flat, but heck, this thing is going to scrub your floor so unless you're giving them as gifts, I wouldn't go too crazy.

Topstitch 3/8" from edge all around-this forms a casing for the elastic.

Using a safety pin, thread elastic through casing. Stitch ends of elastic together.

Pin and topstitch open area closed. You could hand stitch it to make it nice and pretty, but like I said....


Ewwww-it really works!

The only thing that I didn't like was that it didn't slide as smoothly as I wanted, that's why I think the microfiber with a bit of nap might work better. This was new fabric, so even though I pre-washed it, there might still be a bit of fabric finish to make it not very "slidey."