Too Many Irons in the Fire

Tales of a crafty, working mom of four.

Moved back to the main blog 08/02/2009

Filed under: Family,Fiber & Crafts,Geekery,Household,Issues,Misc,tips — TypeAMom @ 12:18 pm
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Visit me at linuxchic.net

Visit me at linuxchic.net

I have moved the posts from this WordPress hosted blog back to my main blog at http://linuxchic.net. Please feel free to visit, subscribe to the RSS feed, and leave a comment to say hi! We are embarking on a new adventure and I will continue to update everyone from there!

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Teenagers – argh! 06/03/2009

Filed under: Family — TypeAMom @ 9:58 pm
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I dearly love my teens. That said, they can really drive me up the wall. They are pretty good kids. We have open lines of communication, we have a great time hanging out together, they do their chores (most of the time) without being told more than once, and they are (mostly) good to their siblings. So what is really getting my goat? My oldest darling son doesn’t feel he needs to do school work or answer for himself.

This is a child that has been and can be in advanced classes. He is very intelligent he just chooses not to do his work half the time. If the project is interesting he will work on it. Over half of the missing assignments are completed but never turned in – not even for late credit. It drives me nuts. He barely scraped by second term of his freshman year this year. His GPA was 1.74 with 4 Ds. He literally passed by the skin of his teeth. And that is after he worked his behind off for the finals because he was failing a few of those and didn’t want to go to summer school. Granted he could have fixed it long ago or been turning in extra credit. The icing on the cake was the sticker on the report card stating he didn’t bother to return his French book and I owe $45 or the book immediately.
When I asked him about it he said it was in his room, then he took a nap (which I woke him from) then apparently thought it was within his childhood rights to go play video games in the rec room instead (I also corrected that decision). Now he says he turned it in already. I have heard that story so many times in the last 3 years it isn’t even funny. I would like to believe my son but when it comes to school he is rarely honest.

I have wanted to pull him out and homeschool him for years. To fix this joint issue. It isn’t all him, there is a little responsibility with the schools and districts too. I have had to endure emails from his literature teacher telling me that she is in class with him as she is typing and he is staring at the wall and refusing to work, what should she do. Holy moly, really? I had to start copying the counsellor in on my replies because I honestly thought this was the teachers job to deal with this. Was I supposed to take of work and sit in English class with my high schooler to make the teacher feel better?

As a parent it is my job to make sure my children are prepared to be productive members of society. At the rate my son is going he won’t be and I will have failed him.

I am more than willing to take corrective action but I am alone in my frustration and my plans to correct it. I love my husband but he is rarely supportive of my parenting plans, goals, and decisions. Perhaps it comes from his upbringing that parenting in this fashion is neither necessary, important, or appreciated.

Anyway, I am frustrated so I did something I have never done and blogged it.

If you have another way to get through to a teen who just won’t do his school stuff let me know. I have tried awards, taking things away, and so on. He just doesn’t seem to care.

 

Mending Month 03/24/2009

Filed under: Fiber & Crafts,Household — TypeAMom @ 9:51 am
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Tackle It Tuesday Meme It is mending month at Craft Magazine and I have used that as an excuse to get all my mending done at home. Kids can really tear through their clothes and while I try to fix simple things I usually don’t go all out with big tears and wardrobe malfunctions. However, since the economy is pretty cruddy, I thought I would brush off my sewing skills and start really fixing everything I possibly can.

Today, I patched my jeans while wearing them using an upholstery needle. I like a challenge. It’s not the best stitching ever, but it gets the job done. If you have never used an upholstery needle, it is curved to allow you to stitch and patch in places that you can’t get a needle in behind the fabric – like a cushion or the side of the couch or in my case, my jeans since I actually have them on. One pair of jeans saved thanks to a simple patch. YAY! Now for the pictures to show you the patching process as well as the finished result:

Sewing the patch on my jeans. I used a denim scrap that I saved from shortening another pair for my daughter.

Sewing the patch on my jeans. I used a denim scrap that I saved from shortening another pair for my daughter.

The finished product

The finished product

If you want to get creative, you can stencil a design on fabric and make your patch a designer work of art like I did with these pants:

I used Wonder Under to iron on the owl and cotton thread to attach buttons for eyes

I used Wonder Under to iron on the owl and cotton thread to attach buttons for eyes

How the owl looks finished on the jeans

How the owl looks finished on the jeans

I have added two more birds to the jeans to tie them all in as part of the design

I have added two more birds to the jeans to tie them all in as part of the design

 

Embellishments for Decorative Dish Cloths 03/22/2009

Filed under: Fiber & Crafts,Household — TypeAMom @ 4:19 pm
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This tutorial will show you how to dress up a plain white flour sack dish cloth. I picked up four cloths at Deal’s scoring each two pack for only a dollar. For the embellishments I used fabric paint and fabric from Hobby Lobby. The fabric cost a few dollars because I didn’t need very much of it and the fabric paint was just a dollar each. I am using orange and blue paint and the paint is a matte finish as I didn’t think shiny would be the best in the kitchen.

I am using fabric in cordinating colors – one striped and one polka dotted. This will give me to sets of cordinating (but not matchy matchy) towels to give as gifts.

First you need to measure and cut your fabric. To figure out how long I needed the fabric to be I ironed then layed out the towels to find the length. Add 1/2 inch to this measurement for folding over the raw edges of your contrasting fabric. After you know how long your fabric stripe is going to be you need to figure out how wide. I made mine 4 inches wide when finished so do make it the same measure 4 1/2 inches so that you have enough fabric to fold over the raw edges.

Fold under raw edges and iron

Fold under raw edges and iron

When sewing, your iron is your best friend.

Once you have cut out your fabric, iron under the raw edges on the long sides – 1/4 inch on each side.

When you have finished that, fold under and iron the raw edges from the short sides.

Raw edges turned under and ironed

Raw edges turned under and ironed

Layout your flour sack towel and lay your stripe out on it. Get it positioned where you want it to be then pin it to the towel. Top stitch the fabric to the towel. I did horizontal stitching only and did not go vertically up the sides. When you are done, trim your threads and repeat with the next towel.

Pin fabric stripe to towel

Pin fabric stripe to towel

Top stitch the fabric to the towel

Top stitch the fabric to the towel

Finished sewing

Finished sewing

These towels are 100% prettier with the fabric added but I wanted a little more interest. I am using matte fabric paint – blue and orange for these – to stamp birds just above the added fabric. To make the stamps  I used the printables from Craft Magazine and two sponges. I traced the pattern of one of the birds onto a sponge and then used an Exacto knife to cut it out. I squirted some paint onto a paper plate, dipped the sponge stamp into it and then placed it onto the towel.

Sponge bird stamp

Sponge bird stamp

Sponge stamps in two sizes

Sponge stamps in two sizes

Make sure you cover the surface under your towel where you will be painting. I used wax paper for easy cleanup.

Stamping imperfections can be corrected with a paint brush

Stamping imperfections can be corrected with a paint brush

Sometimes the sponge leaves the paint with gaps or holes on the impression so I just used a paint brush to smooth out bumps, globs, and imprefections.

Finished embellished kitchen dishcloth

Finished embellished kitchen dishcloth

When you have added all the painted details you want to your towel, allow to dry as the paint instructions indicate. When it has cured you will have a unique and impressive gift for family and friends, or you can keep them for your own kitchen!

If you are feeling extra crafty, you can use any extra or left over paint to stamp paper to make cordinating custom gift wrap!

Stamps on paper for custom gift wrap

Stamps on paper for custom gift wrap

Wrapped gifts

Wrapped gifts

Happy crafting!

 

To explain my absence… 03/08/2009

Filed under: Family — TypeAMom @ 10:03 am

For the last three (going on four) weeks I have had limited use of my arms. From the top of my biceps to the tip of my fingers I have had constant pain and if I move just the wrong way I get shooting lightening pain. I have been to the doctor and now the neurologist and am hopefully on my way to some answers. It wasn’t anything I did to injure anything. I literally went to bed during the week and woke up and no longer had the use of my arms. The least painful way to use them has been to keep them pinned against my sides and only raise them from the elbow. We have named this my “dinosaur arms” because I look like a T-Rex with its little tiny arms.

It has really been stinky because I haven’t been able to do any task for very long without being in excruciating pain. By the time I get off work after sitting at a desk all day I don’t want to start typing at home. I can’t knit for long and projects that shouldn’t take more than a few days are going to take a few months. My DH and kids have had to help with tasks from unloading the washer to making dinner. It’s even been hard to drive and turn the steering wheel. I am honestly about to go stir crazy.

This week the neurologist ran nerve tests and said I have damaged nerves in both arms. They are thinking a virus attacked them. I am being scheduled for an MRI just to be sure.

Anyway, I hate talking about my “private life” but I don’t know how much longer this is going to carry on. Wearing arm braces (like they have for carpal tunnel) on both arms has been pretty helpful. Yesterday was a good day for my arms, today not so much. It is really getting exhausting and I am missing things that I should be doing so I thought I would explain my absence.

Hopefully you haven’t forgotten about me and hopefully I will be 100% again soon. 🙂 I would really like to get back to accomplishing things and blogging about them.

 

Frugal Friday – Printable Paper Dolls 02/13/2009

Filed under: Family,tips — TypeAMom @ 8:36 am
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Betsy McCall Vintage Paper DollsI grew up with paper dolls and just loved them. They were easy to dress and change unlike Barbie dolls with their annoying rubber legs. Paper dolls are also a great way to keep your little ones entertained in the car or while waiting at doctors offices and the like (you can slip them right into your bag or purse). Download and print you own free Betsy McCall paper dolls. These vintage dolls promise hours of entertainment!

Check out what others are doing for Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.

 

Made It (Make It) Monday – Winter Berry Jam 02/09/2009

Filed under: Household,tips — TypeAMom @ 1:22 pm
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If you haven’t mastered the art of canning yet (I haven’t) then this refrigerator jam is for you. I use frozen berries here because fresh are a little pricey in the Midwest this time of year.

Ingredients:

  • 18 oz of frozen mixed berries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions:

  • Thaw, rinse, & drain berries.
  • Place a saucer in the freezer for later.
  • Combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice in bowl and mix well. Leave out at room temp. stirring occasionally for two hours.
  • Transfer mixture to saucepan & bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to prevent burning.
  • Mash to thick puree then reduce to medium heat and gently boil for about 20 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken & stirring often.
  • Remove from heat to test jam for gelling point. Drop a teaspoon full onto the saucer from the freezer and place back into the freezer for about a minute. Test by pushing the jam with your finger. If it is ready, it will wrinkle on the surface. Cook a few minutes longer if it fails to do this and test again until it gels.
  • When ready, ladle jam into a clean jar. Place in refrigerator when cool. Jam will last about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.