Finish It Up Friday 2016: Update #3: All Construction, All The Time

Thanks to all our at-home time due to Jonas, I got a good bit of sewing done.

Here’s what I crossed off my list:

I sewed all three of these baby blankets on Saturday as the snow came down. :)

130 (800x533) 131 (800x533)The color matching of the the hedgehogs and seahorses doesn’t come out as clearly in this picture – they’re really a lovely shade of coral! :)

Last week, Nik’s mom gave me a couple cuts of flannel that she didn’t need.  One of them was a construction print and Mark immediately insisted that I had to sew him EVERYTHING from it.  One morning, I even found him using his scissors to do the cutting for me. :) Eventually, we settled on a blanket for his doll, some new cloth wipes, and an apron (from this pattern) (the apron being on my original list).

069 (533x800) (2)“Yay! Mama finally made Marko an apron! Let’s have a party!”, Ellie insisting on partying in her apron.

132 (800x533)I added a pocket of blue with that little excavator applique.  It’s backed in that same blue.  I’ve now officially just about used up all the solid blue from Mark’s quilt.

133 (800x533)Both sides of the doll blanket are construction (because you know, CONSTRUCTION OBSESSION) and the other side of the wipes is trains because he’s obsessed with all things that go. A pretty nice ensemble, if I do say so myself! :)

Additionally, this week, I decided that I didn’t need to force myself to complete those baby bibs (a job I was dreading) so I’m going to pass them along.  My sewing time is too limited for that! Also, I did all the prep/machine sewing for the four baby birds. The list is looking better!

Still to do:

Items that are currently in progress (and/or should have been done by Christmas time):

  1. Make corn sacks for J, J, and A – three special people in my kids’ lives.
  2. Fix two of our office Roman shades (annoyingly, the little plastic rings just keep on breaking)
  3. Sew 4 baby birds (like this one)
  4. Design and finish two final Handmade Christmas 2015 projects (because no, I’m still not done)

Items to sew next once the first list is finished:

  1. Sew a large neutral tablecloth for our dining room table (have had the fabric since spring 2013)
  2. Actually get the dining room shades installed – clearly I should not have allowed myself to cross that one off the list.
  3. Sew hot pads for us (and a tutorial for you)
  4. Design and sew a new bathroom curtain. (This one I just put on the list this week but we really need it)

**********

As for books, I took Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids off my list because I didn’t get it re-read in time for book club. So no completions to report but I am whittling down the list one way or another, as I’d wanted to!

Books still to read:

Books borrowed from friends and family:

  1. Unclean by Richard Beck – I’m about half way through this one and have really been thinking a lot about the implications of his arguments.
  2. The Wisdom of Stability by Wilson Hargrove
  3. That Distant Land by Wendell Berry
  4. Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
  5. First Impressions by Sarah Price
  6. Road Song by Natalie Kusz
  7. Creed or Chaos by Dorothy Sayers

Books we own:

  1. The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris (I’ve been almost done with this for probably two years and it’s SO good but somehow, I haven’t read that last quarter or so of it.)
  2. Gender and Grace by Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen (I read this in college but I’d like to read it again.)
  3. Intimate Allies by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman
I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Finish It Up Friday.
Posted in books, sewing | Tagged | 2 Comments

Favorite Books of 2015: Fiction

I read around 75 books in 2014. (I know that seems like a lot but that’s 50% down from 2011 so doesn’t feel like much to me!)  Here are my favorites, just a month late compared to all the other book bloggers out there! I track my reading on Goodreads.  So if we’re not friends there, you should join me!

Here are my favorite fictional books of 2015.
(with apologies for the repetitiveness to my Goodreads friends as these are my edited reviews from what I posted there through the year)

The Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear: I read books books #5-9 this year.  I’m inevitably sobbing by the end with so much sadness and often so much healing too. I think I liked An Incomplete Revenge (#5) the best out of the five I read this year.

A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley: I do love Flavia, her love of chemistry, and her quirks. (I listened to this via the Overdrive app and it was  a fun one to listen to because of the varying British accents.)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr :  This book is terribly sad. Several times I had to skip forward to find out who had died because I couldn’t take not knowing and falling in love with the characters without warning of what their ultimate fate would be. With that warning, it’s an amazing (if quite slow) book. This was also the first time I read the Pulitzer award winner in fiction before the award was announced, which made me feel pretty smart. ;)

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: Liane Moriarty seems to have a knack for writing fiction that sticks with me for days/weeks, helping me think through big, hard issues. This one left me terribly sad at the end (even though the ending is ostensibly happy). It was an enjoyable although sometimes difficult and certainly eye-opening read. (BTW, I also read The Husband’s Secret this year and didn’t like it nearly as much as this one. What Alice Forgot is still my favorite of hers.)

Isn’t that cover gorgeous? I need to learn how to sew myself a dress like that!

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner: Yet again, I got sucked in by a WWII-in-England fictional novel and really loved this one (terribly sad but good too).

Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon: I listened to this on audio, which was a mistake I think because the narrator wasn’t super strong and at times it was hard to tell who was talking. Regardless, this was yet another incredible, amazing, ponder-for-days (still pondering weeks later actually) fiction offering from Jan Karon. (Make sure you start with the first book if you haven’t read this series before.)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce: I loved this one!

I also read through many classics this year and enjoyed but didn’t love the majority of them.  The exception to that was The Memory of Old Jack by Wendell Berry (my review here).

For the younger crowd:

Greenglass House by Kate Milford: I devoured this in two days. It’s so good. I love the adoption story line, the ending totally took me by surprise, and it’s just enough weird and geeky to make it fun. It would be fun to read aloud (maybe middle elementary? I’m not good at gauging age appropriateness. Definitely middle school.)

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall: I love the Penderwicks, the whole family. I’m really looking forward to reading these books aloud to Ellie and Mark.

Do you have any favorites on this list?  Any more to recommend to me? (Not that I’m allowing myself to take on any new books right now but I can still dream!)

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Snowpocaplse 2016, in pictures, by the hour

To satisfy my sister-in-law up in Alaska, a weather junkie, I’ve been taking pictures every couple hours (with a longer break last night) thorough the storm.  Perhaps you’d like to see them too?

Friday, 1/22, 4:31 pm431 pm (600x800)

Friday, 1/22, 5:02 pm

502pm (600x800)

Friday, 1/22, 7:19 pm

719pm (600x800)Friday, 1/22, 10:11 pm

1011pm (600x800)

[Good night!]

Saturday, 1/23, 8:49 am

849am (600x800)impossible to see but a plow did come through at some point in the night (and we haven’t seen another one since) (I am not, for the record, complaining about that. I know we’ll get plowed out eventually!)

Saturday, 1/23, 10:20 am

1020am (600x800)As Marko kept saying, “The wheels are sinking into the snow!”

Saturday, 1/23, 12:01 pm (noon)

1201pm (600x800)Hello crazy blowing snow! Goodbye cars!

Saturday, 1/23, 2:37 pm

237pm (600x800)

Saturday, 1/23, 3:38 pm

338pm (600x800)

Saturday, 1/23, 8:04 pm

804pm (600x800)At least the wind blew the snow off the window.

Where, you may be asking, are the pictures of cute kids romping in snow while parents shovel? There are NONE because we stayed inside.  It may be advisable to shovel mid-way through a storm like this and we watched many neighbors doing so but Alaskan blood or not, I despise blowing snow. We didn’t even open a door today.  Tomorrow is supposed to be bright and sunny and relatively warm.  So we’re planning on many shoveling sessions, lots of snow play, and seeing if we can find our cars again.  That’s jumping ahead of myself though as it’s probably going to take hours just to shovel our steps and the sidewalk to the cars.

So how did we spend our snow day? I spent most of the morning cleaning our kitchen, attempting to unearth it from a crazy week. Nik spent almost the whole day in our upstairs, prepping all three rooms for priming and painting (super duper exciting news on the home renovation front! I’ll share that soon!). The kids did their usual play/fight/play/fight/play cycle as well as some bike riding in the empty rooms upstairs. I also have almost three baby blankets sewn.  I can be remarkably productive when my sewing room is in our living room.

001 (800x533)Also, fort building in our newly-spacious office/playroom because we got rid of all our furniture (more on that soon too!). Didn’t even have to close the blinds tonight!

What will tomorrow bring (besides shoveling feet of snow)? With our church service canceled, Ellie already has made plans for how we’re going to have our own home church (it involved church and Sunday School but no nursery and a lot of other complicated talking that I lost track of somewhere in the middle), probably some bread baking, and lamb chops with risotto for dinner.  Life is good in a storm!

Good night!

Posted in house/neighborhood, weather | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Finish It Up Friday 2016: Update #2: Does Moving My Sewing Room Count as a Finish?

Over the past two weeks, we’ve had to completely empty out our upstairs (other than one closet, which I was able to pack totally full) in preparation for some home renovations.  We’re hoping that the work won’t take much longer than a month (ha, ha) and so until then, my sewing room (along with a bunch of other stuff) is set up in our living room.  Does that count as a finish?

021 (800x533)

I did manage to sew one baby blanket last weekend as a gift in the midst of the mess, plus I remembered that I had sewn one other baby blanket in January that I forgot to report as a finish.  So there’s two finishes anyway!

002 (800x533) (2) 028 (800x534) (2)

Still to do:

Items that are currently in progress (and/or should have been done by Christmas time):

  1. Finish the baby bibs that were given to me to complete so that we could sell them at the 2015 Advent Bazaar. (Oops, I forgot, we’ll sell them in 2016!)
  2. Make corn sacks for J, J, and A – three special people in my kids’ lives.
  3. Fix two of our office Roman shades (annoyingly, the little plastic rings just keep on breaking)
  4. Sew 1 baby blanket in blue and 2 in pink (yes, I just added more to this list)
  5. Sew 4 baby birds (like this one)
  6. Design and finish two final Handmade Christmas 2015 projects (because no, I’m still not done)

Items to sew next once the first list is finished:

  1. Sew a large neutral tablecloth for our dining room table (have had the fabric since spring 2013)
  2. Actually get the dining room shades installed – clearly I should not have allowed myself to cross that one off the list.
  3. Make an apron for Mark – currently the poor guy has to wear one that’s way too big for him.
  4. Sew hot pads for us (and a tutorial for you)
  5. Design and sew a new bathroom curtain. (This one I just put on the list this week but we really need it)

**********

As for books, I finished A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (the real one), decided I didn’t need to finish the graphic novel, and also returned Soul of Discipline because I was out of renewals. One way or another, I’m whittling down this list!

Books from the library

  1. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham (I’ve already read and love this one but need to skim it in review for a book club on 1/30)

Books borrowed from friends and family:

  1. Unclean by Richard Beck – I’m about half way through this one and have really been thinking a lot about the implications of his arguments.
  2. The Wisdom of Stability by Wilson Hargrove
  3. That Distant Land by Wendell Berry
  4. Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
  5. First Impressions by Sarah Price
  6. Road Song by Natalie Kusz
  7. Creed or Chaos by Dorothy Sayers

Books we own:

  1. The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris (I’ve been almost done with this for probably two years and it’s SO good but somehow, I haven’t read that last quarter or so of it.)
  2. Gender and Grace by Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen (I read this in college but I’d like to read it again.)
  3. Intimate Allies by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman
I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Finish It Up Friday.
Posted in books, sewing | Tagged | 2 Comments

I’m on Instagram! What’s Next? Periscope?

This post has two pictures you missed if you aren’t yet following me on Instagram.

This is my official announcement that I’ve finally given in and joined the crowd on Instagram. I had been resisting yet another way to waste time on my phone but once I figured out my niece was posting to Instagram (and not Facebook), I figured it was time to join in.

I’m @salmonandsouvlaki on Instagram too.

IMG_1845 (800x800)“Look! We built a big mosquito!” (???????)

I’m now planning to use Instagram as my primary method of documenting our homeschooling adventures (to satisfy the powers-that-be who insist we have to educate our children in a certain way).  Ellie isn’t officially kindergarten age until next year so for now, I’m just practicing. We have no plans to use any worksheets, set curriculum, or any other traditional means of schooling/documenting.  Pictorial documentation is the way to go for me.  Nik is going to write a computer program for me to scrape my Instagram account and organize it by topic (i.e #writing or #math) and that will help me both keep track of what/how we’re doing and be able to show a homeschool reviewer our progress.  I’m sure I’ll write more about this in the future on the blog too but if you want more of our unschooling, homeschooling adventures, then be sure to follow me on Instagram.

IMG_1854 (800x800)Digging for really huge “bugs” at Cromwell Valley’s Nature Discovery Zone.  They buried them too! #archaeology #entomology #nature #cromwellvalleypark #getoutdoors #unschooling #selfdirectedlearning

My nerdy sewing self has also been thrilled to discover that many of my favorite sewing bloggers who have mostly disappeared from their blogs are in Instagram instead! So my feed is now full of beautiful fabric!

For those of you who don’t want to be on Instagram (and I get that) or if you don’t have a smart phone (unfair I know), I now have my Instagram feed on the side bar of the blog’s home page.  Now that I’ve both notificed you that I’m on Instagram and also set up a way for non-Instagram users to see all the pictures, I’m not planning to post many of my Instagram pictures to Facebook (except for a rare “this is too cute not to share” kind of picture).  I don’t want to annoy anyone with too much hash-tagging! :)

So follow me on Instagram for up-to-the-minute sewing project updates, mini-blog posts on things I’m thinking about but aren’t worthy of full blog posts, cute kids, unschooling inspiration, and

@salmonandsouvlaki

And for the record, I have no Periscope plans…for now. ;)

P.S. I’m not sure why WordPress is automatically turning my @salmonandsouvlaki into a link that leads to a search.  Just ignore that, I guess.

Posted in Ellie, Mark, school | 2 Comments

Finish It Up Friday 2016: Update #1: Making Progress and Keeping Secrets

If you haven’t done so already, Ellie would love your vote for your favorite farm animal! :)

I made a lot of progress this week! (See the second half of the post for my book progress.)

Here’s what I accomplished:

  1. Hemmed and delivered my friend’s pants.001 (800x533)
  2. Moved the cuff buttons on my new blouse.
  3. Fixed the sweater ball (which is stuffed with sweaters!)
    004 (800x533)
  4. Finished one Handmade Christmas 2015 project.
    005 (800x533) (2)

extreme closeup to keep the secret until it’s actually delivered

Still to do:

Items that are currently in progress (and/or should have been done by Christmas time):

  1. Finish the baby bibs that were given to me to complete so that we could sell them at the 2015 Advent Bazaar. (Oops, I forgot, we’ll sell them in 2016!)
  2. Make corn sacks for J, J, and A – three special people in my kids’ lives.
  3. Fix two of our office Roman shades (annoyingly, the little plastic rings just keep on breaking)
  4. Sew 1 baby blanket in blue and 1 in pink
  5. Sew 4 baby birds (like this one)
  6. Design and finish two final Handmade Christmas 2015 projects (because no, I’m still not done)

Items to sew next once the first list is finished:

  1. Sew a large neutral tablecloth for our dining room table (have had the fabric since spring 2013)
  2. Actually get the dining room shades installed – clearly I should not have allowed myself to cross that one off the list.
  3. Make an apron for Mark – currently the poor guy has to wear one that’s way too big for him.
  4. Sew hot pads for us (and a tutorial for you)
  5. Design and sew a new bathroom curtain. (This one I just put on the list this week but we really need it)

**********

I have no actual book finishes to report (although I’m so close to finishing Connecticut Yankee) but I did take a couple books off the list because I decided not to read them.

Books from the library

  1. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham (I’ve already read and love this one but need to skim it in review for a book club on 1/30)
  2. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – the real one and a graphic novel version (both for my Classics Club January pick)
  3. Soul of Discipline by Kim John Payne- We love his other book, Simplicity Parenting so I’m excited to read this one.

Books borrowed from friends and family:

  1. Unclean by Richard Beck – I’m about half way through this one and have really been thinking a lot about the implications of his arguments.
  2. The Wisdom of Stability by Wilson Hargrove
  3. That Distant Land by Wendell Berry
  4. Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
  5. First Impressions by Sarah Price
  6. Road Song by Natalie Kusz
  7. Creed or Chaos by Dorothy Sayers

Books we own:

  1. The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris (I’ve been almost done with this for probably two years and it’s SO good but somehow, I haven’t read that last quarter or so of it.)
  2. Gender and Grace by Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen (I read this in college but I’d like to read it again.)
  3. Intimate Allies by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman
I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Finish It Up Friday.
Posted in books, sewing | Tagged | 5 Comments

Ellie Needs Your Help – Please Vote!

This morning, while I was trying to get our basement cleared out in preparation for some coming home renovation work, Ellie found a bag of farm animal manipulatives and asked to play the game that went with them.  So I pulled out the teaching guide and we did a few of the simpler activities.  She started “reading” the guide herself and came upon a worksheet for graphing favorite animals.  At this point, she told me she NEEDED to know what a graph was and how to fill it in.  Not wanting to squash a keenly interested mind, I promised her that we would poll our friends and family to find out their favorite animals so that we could make a graph.

In other words, we are crowd-sourcing our data collection! :)

007 (800x533)

Please vote, either by leaving a comment here on the blog or on Facebook:

Out of these five animals, which one is your favorite?

  1. duck

  2. horse

  3. pig

  4. cow

  5. sheep

We’ll only accept one vote per person (so no good trying to stuff the ballot for “Team Sheep”!)

We’ll be sure to report back with our completed graph and data analysis. Thanks so much for your help!!

Posted in Ellie, school | 17 Comments