Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fake Quilting with Woven Denim

I have always loved the looks of handmade quilts. Unfortunately I know that I'll never have the patience, or time, to sit down and piece together all those teeny tiny squares. But I've learned a quilting cheat...weaving.

I saw this idea on Pinterest and I thought it would be perfect for a table runner.
I don't think this one turned out very well, I like to think of it as a good practice one.

I save all my husbands and boys old blue jeans...the ones that are too far gone to send to Goodwill but still have some good wear in that denim. Some of them are down right disgusting but still usable. I cut a bunch of them into strips, about 1 1/2 inches wide. I laid them on a long white piece of cotton measuring roughly 14"x40". I decided to leave a bit of space between the strips but next time I'll butt them right up next to one another. With the strips being a bit apart the final weaving and sewing was a little crazy.

I sewed one end of the strips securely to the white bottom cloth. Then I weaved in three or four strips at a time, pinned them securely and then zig zagged across the width of the table runner.

After I finished weaving and sewing to the end I zigzagged the opposite direction, the length of my table runner. See how my squares didn't line up? Some look big and some look small...that's because I didn't have my first strips, the strips I weaved through, close enough together.

When I first began laying out my denim strips I purposely left extra white fabric around the outside. After I was through zigzagging the denim strips I turned up that white fabric to create a border.

Overall I'm fairly pleased with it but I want to make another one where the strips are closer together before I begin weaving and I think I'll use bias tape next time for a border.

I just love sewing with denim, though I never have enough on hand for all the projects I'd like to do with them. What about you? Do you have a favorite way to reuse old blue jeans?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Devotions - The Comfort of Family

Luke 15:11-32

The Parable of the Lost Son
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.  After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.  So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.  He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’  So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.  So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.  ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.  But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Recently I was able to spend a few days with my family from Indiana; mom, dad, brothers, sister, brother in law. It has been about 4 months since I had seen any of them, a relatively short time! We were all camping together for a few days, in cabins in the rain, which means we spent a LOT of time together. I realized that when I spend that much time with anyone my quirks and weirdness are bound to come out. As well as everyone else's. At least I was with my family who accepts me as I am, though they surely roll their eyes at me sometimes, and love me despite my oddities. Thank goodness for family!

It's a great comfort to know that no matter what mistakes I make in life or how quirky I am I have family who will always be there for me. I know I can go to any of my brothers or sisters for help or comfort if I ever need it.

However not all family relationships are like this. Sometimes there is someone who, for whatever reason, is estranged from their family. Maybe it's an age old argument or some misunderstanding that caused a rift in the relationship that seems beyond repair. I know there are such cases in my own family. I hope one day though that those relationships can be repaired and just like the prodigal son my family members can come together again somehow, someway. Realistically though I have to remember that may not happen.

Although my own family members, to me, seem rock solid people who I can always count on I must remember my family is only human. They aren't perfect. Their might be a time in the future that I can't rely on them for comfort or to accept some future mistake I may make.

But I can rely on God. No matter what happens in my family, arguments, misunderstandings or estrangement I know that God is ALWAYS backing me up. He's ALWAYS there to hold me. He's ALWAYS going to love me. He's ALWAYS going to be there to talk to. ALWAYS. God is just like the prodigal son's father. When the wayward son returned, his father didn't scold but accepted him home wholeheartedly. Thank goodness!!

Dear Heavenly FATHER!
Thank You for allowing me into Your Grace despite my sins and mistakes. Thank You for my earthly family that comforts me but I remember that You are the only constant place for comfort. Bless every one of my family members that they also come to You for comfort. Amen! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Weeks 37 and 38...and the wagon is....

Whoops! I'm out of order...I forgot Week 36 was NO...I'll come back to that I guess. This 52 Week Photo post is short and sweet...I've been too busy to think much about my weekly themes. 

An OLD Grain Elevator...I'm not sure if it's even used anymore. 
1/320, f16, ISO 800 

A NEW Sunset. 
1/320 sec., f10, ISO 1600 

And if you are stopping by for the answer to yesterday's post. This wagon was used to haul water out to the steam engine on the farm....well, duh!!! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What Kind of Wagon is THAT?

I've been to a LOT of museums in my lifetime and considering I grew up on a farm, was a 4Her and a daughter of a man who LOVES history I've been educated about antique farm equipment. But on our way home from Oklahoma on the Eight. Hour. Drive. I needed a break so we took a short detour to see a sod house museum. It was closed but there was plenty of equipment outside to take a look at. 

When I saw this wagon I was stumped. It looked like a beer barrel. Could they have hauled beer on a wagon? That didn't make sense. Though it would have been darn cool to have a huge keg of beer delivered! 

Especially when this was what the front looked like. I kept thinking if it were beer then the tap would have been at the back and that sure didn't look like a tap to me. But with the curved shape to the wagon it had to have hauled some sort of liquid...but why??? 

I was stumped and sent the photos to my dad who came through with the answer, of course. And I must say once I figured out what this wagon was for it was a "DUH" moment. Obviously, THAT was what it was used for!!! 

So, do you have any guesses?? What was this wagon originally used for? 

Answer tomorrow! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Water Witching

I thought I had blogged before about Witching Water but I was searching through blog posts and I couldn't find a thing so I guess not. 

Water Witching or Dowsing is a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oilgravesites, and many other objects and materials (Wikipedia) 

I remember when I was a kid back in the late 1980's our well went dry and an older guy from the well drillers came out one day to take a look at where they'd drill the new well. I remember we were in the back yard and he walked over to a maple tree and broke off a forked branch. To me, it looked like he walked around the backyard with this stick pointing out in front of him and every once in a while it would bounce up and down. After a bit he told me mom where they would drill and how many feet deep the water was. He was only five feet off when they actually drilled. I was AMAZED! 

Fast forward to this past week in Oklahoma. My parents, brothers and sister came to southern Oklahoma to visit our brother Mountain Man and we joined them on Wednesday. I had always heard that our youngest brother, who we affectionately call Mater, could witch water but I'd never seen it. He is a lot younger than me after all and just a young pup at 21 years old. 

We had been walking in the backyard and Mountain Man was pointing out where the ground had been disturbed to place a drain from his washing machine. I asked Mater if he could show me how to witch it. He proceeded to pick up two semi straight sticks off the ground and walk across the drain. 

Those two sticks crossed just like that. I made him do it a couple of times and I watched carefully. He held them really loosely and he wasn't moving them at all. Those sticks moved all on their own. 

Not everyone can witch water I learned. Dad can't do it but Mom can, but only with wire. Dad cut a wire hanger and shaped it into two L shapes and we were trying it out with that. 

I was kind of bummed at first when I tried it with the sticks and nothing happened but I was absolutely tickled when I tried it with the wires and they crossed for me right over the disturbed ground. 

My sister Officer could do it with the wires too. 

Later on that day we all walked to an old cemetery with missing stones. As we walked across certain areas the wires crossed and uncrossed at regular intervals indicating unmarked graves beneath our feet. 


When my mom, sister and I used the wires to walk over the disturbed ground the ends of the wires only crossed a little. Whereas for Mater, when he used the wires, they practically crossed so far they slapped his chest. Mountain Man remarked sarcastically that Mater could balance a penny on his finger and make it spin witching water. I'm not altogether sure he isn't right about that. Mater must have water, or dirt, running through his veins. 

I haven't a clue as to why some people can do it and some can't. It's one of those old time skills that not too many folks know about any more. I sure wish I'd thought of it and taken a video! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oklahoma Wedding!


Am I ever tired! The kids and I just returned from an Oklahoma wedding. Our cousin was married on Saturday about 8 hours away but we'd actually been gone since Tuesday night. My parents, a sister and two brothers came down earlier in the week to spend time with Mountain Man in southern Oklahoma. We drove down (5ish hours) Tuesday night to see all of them, Wednesday we spent the day with them and some other Oklahoma family there, Thursday we drove through pouring rain a few hours to the northeast corner of Oklahoma, Friday we had the rehearsal, Saturday was the wedding and Sunday we drove home. What a great week! Long and tiring but well worth it. 

Now, if I wanted to be mean to a bunch of my Indiana family I'd post photos of our trip chronologically. But I know there were some who didn't make it down for the wedding who would love to see some photos. I didn't get as many as I would have liked but I'll share what I have. 

Our cousin Al!! Isn't she just gorgeous! 

She tied one of our Grandpa's belt buckles to her bouquet. He had passed away this past May and yes I was tearing up taking this photo. 

Al married a wonderful Oklahoma rancher/farmer and in true western style the whole wedding party wore cowboy boots! 

Al asked if my kids would be in the wedding and I was happy to oblige. Though Friday night after the rehearsal I was nervous that my three exhausted kids would cause mayhem but they pulled through and did fabulous. 

Yahoo wasn't a flower girl but a sign girl! She carried a piece of barn siding right before Al that said "Here Comes Your Bride!" How cute!!! 

See those three little boys standing so perfectly still? Their mothers promised them ice cream and money if they behaved like absolute angels!!! 

I don't know about you but J, the groom, looks just a bit nervous to me! 

What a wonderful couple they are! Too bad we don't live closer though. 

I didn't SEE this part but I HEARD that when Al and J were kissing that my boys, the junior groomsmen, covered their mouths like it was gross and looked away. Anyone get a picture of that?? 

During the rehearsal I asked J if he had made the archway backdrop for the wedding, it was gorgeous! 
"You mean the Outhouse?" he asked, "We're getting married in Outhouse! But don't tell Al that, she doesn't think it's funny!" 

Oh, J will sure fit into this family! 

At one point before the wedding the photographers weren't in the dressing room and Al asked if I'd take some pictures of the girls. I was able to watch the bridesmaids pray over the bride. What a wonderful group of women these are! 

Party time!! 

I have practically no photos of the reception because Yahoo was asleep on my arm for most of it and the rest of the time I was cutting and serving cake! The kids and I had to leave way too early to get started on the 8 hour drive back. We had such a wonderful time with family I sure didn't want to leave. But isn't it nice to have a family that will drive so far to see one another? I still feel blessed! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Crying Petals

I completed a new painting. It's large 26 inches square but it went relatively quickly. 

I had some leftover black matte board scraps laying around that I cut into various pieces, painted and then hot glued together in layers for a 3D effect. 

I enjoyed creating textures on some of the pieces. I had forgotten how well acrylic, good acrylic, paint can be built up. 

I had a hard time capturing the real colors but you get the idea. 

I've mentioned before how I don't like to title my paintings so I asked advice from friends on FaceBook and one of my cousins suggested Crying Petals. I thought it rather fitting. Overall I think this painting could speak for the Kansas summer that flowers have had to put up with. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Artistic Recycler

If I had my way the summer would have been filled with art projects that my boys and I did together. 

It wasn't. 

Instead this is where Yip spent most of his time.

He was constantly found on my laundry room floor he was constantly spreading out the recyclables, cutting and taping and in some cases coloring. 

A motorboat...from a beer box.

And here he's posing with his cardboard pogo stick (left) that he was inspired to sculpt after we stumbled on some images of cardboard sculptures by Christ Gilmour. After Yip built it he emphasized how it was just a "sculpture" and it really couldn't be played on. He was quite serious, as though I couldn't figure that out. 

And then there's the machine gun. See the cardboard that has round indentations? Those are his bullets and he pulls them through the hole just like they'd go through a real machine gun. 

But then....then there are his Wolverine claws. 
I think he's tried making 4 or 5 different versions of these over the summer but THESE were by far the most successful design. He has since learned the meaning of the phrase, "Trial and Error". 

The art teacher in me would have loved to spend the summer in art museums on art drawing walks or doing fabulous huge projects with them....but I'm glad I didn't push it. Because watching his creativity and problem solving grow over the summer has been a real joy and I know it will serve him much better than any art project I could have forced on them! 

Besides he's made buying Christmas gifts really easy for him this year....


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Devotions - Childhood; Intense love and learning

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.  When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.  Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.  When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.  After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.  When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.  Luke 2:44-52

My boys Yip and Yap are getting the hang of second grade; longer spelling lists and more reading home. Luckily they have a great teacher this year that seems to really keep them motivated and engaged in their learning. 

More than once my boys have come home excited to share some tidbit of new information. "Did you know tomatoes are fruits NOT a vegetable?" " Did you know pigs are smarter than dogs?" It will be amazing what I'll learn by the end of the year with teachers like my sons. 

Even though my boys are only eight years old, and to me they seem so very young, they are learning new things everyday and given the opportunity they are excited to share their knowledge. That doesn't mean they always make the best decisions however. Yip made a bow from a stick and arrows from bamboo skewers...and managed to shoot me in the head while showing off hsi skills. 

Children are learning and they'll make mistakes. Even the boy Jesus made a mistake (a worldly one anyway). Instead of sticking with the traveling party or telling Joseph or Mary where he was going he stayed in the Temple to learn and gain and share understanding. He was following His Father's instructions. I wonder if the temple priests weren't just a little overwhelmed with the presence of Jesus. 

God sent Jesus to Earth not as a grown man but as a baby to grow and have a childhood and experience a childhood that each human on Earth experiences. Jesus as a child had that same willingness and excitement to learn as our children today. 

We know that God and Jesus dearly loves children in a very special way. In a way that I imagine I don't have the capacity to understand. God loves our children more than we do! 

Matthew 19:14

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Matthew 21:16

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

“‘From the lips of children and infants,  you, Lord, have called forth your praise?”

Matthew 11:25

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

Children can really try the patience of parents and other adults. Children are loud and messy and seem to be deaf when their parents speak. Children are reckless and impatient and have poor judgement. 

But God designed childhood to be just like this. God has a very special reason that we all had a childhood. 

Childhood is also the place in our lives where children nurture their dreams and creativity. Childhood should provide a safe environment for making mistakes and learning from them. God has provided children knowledge, faith, trust and understanding that adults may never truly fathom. Childhood is a precious, precious gift and we adults would do well to remember the details of our own just a little bit better. 

Yes, our kids can be trying. That's the way God made them....and they are perfect!! Childhood is perfect, and short, let's give our kids a break today. 

Dear Heavenly Father, Grant me patience today as a parent. When I feel like I'm at my wit's end with my children help me to remember that you made them perfect. Their childhood is fleeting and precious to them. Help me nurture them during this time in their lives and open my heart to learn from the. Amen. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Are You Ready for Some Football!!

I can't even read this post's title without thinking about Hank Williams! 

It's football season!! And once again poor coach has to keep reminding these guys that we are playing FLAG football and not TACKLE! 

I love football and football weather, especially football weather. COOL weather. Ninety degrees is too hot to be outside running! 

Getting a drink like the big high school boys! 

"Watch out!! You're going to get sacked!!"

Of course Yip and Yap are on the same team which at the same time makes it hard and easy for me. Easy because I'm only running to one practice. Hard because they are one another's biggest competition. They don't like to face up to each other. Rather than work as team mates they'd rather criticize one another. How do you get twins to understand that on the field your brother turns into just another guy on the team? They are the tallest and the oldest and probably catch the worst. I blame their father for their stone hands. We'll see how the season goes :) 

Even if they never win a game they are having a great time with their friends. 

Even the little sisters find a way to enjoy football practice. 

I'll never understand this part of football. It's the one time of year that it's okay to let somebody touch your butt. 

The boys were a little disappointed after their first practice when they learned they had to play flag football for one more year. Those helmets and pads have a big attraction for little boys Lord knows why! They look hot and uncomfortable to me. 

Football - More commonly known as Hoosier basketball conditioning! 

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