Wednesday, September 30, 2009

~ Army Recycling ~

Finding a school bag that both Little J and I agree upon, is always a challenge. Little J thinks he is 16, not nearly 8 and I have a tendency to forget he is no longer 4. So this year before the start of school when cleaning out the coat closet, I spied Mr. VW's old camouflage army jacket (when we were first married he was serving in the U.S. Army - the jacket no longer fits him as he has grown since then :-0 ) and I set to work on another recycled bag project :-)

I used almost every inch and item on the jacket - buttons, badges, name tag (which although really personalized the bag, I had to blur it out in the photo before posting), stretchy cord, lining and even the giant zip!
The handle is adjustable, just in case and heaven forbid Little J grows :-)
This badge is for the division Mr. VW served in - no clue what it was called. We met in Belgium many, many moons ago, he was stationed at S.H.A.P.E. and had some cushy office job - but I am certain the badge has nothing to do with Mr. VW being stationed there.
I even used the pockets - in tact - so Little J would have a safe place to put his glasses which get lost on a weekly basis.


The giant zip, which I was able to shorten ensures nothing falls out when the flap is closed and Little J flings it on the floor when he comes home.

I wasn't able to finish it before school started (I was too busy getting distracted and starting other new projects) and by then Little J had come across a very cool one at the shops which we both agreed upon. I am very pleased how well it turned out, although it is super heavy. Little J has used it a couple of times for school and he was quite proud to show it off to his friends!! I was quite relieved that he wasn't too embarrassed to use something his Mum had made, although I am sure that time will come......

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bee Beautiful

As I was heading upstairs this evening to remove the 'Three Rings of Saturn' from the bath tub before Little J added a fourth, my bee lights on the fireplace caught me eye and made me smile.






Mr. VW isn't sure why we have outside fairy lights inside on the mantle, but I quite frankly don't care. They are one of my favority things in the living room, even during the day when they aren't lit up.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Uneventful Monday

As you can see, I have been 'fiddling' around with the design of my blog. Did it surprise you when you clicked to see what Gephart 836 had been up to this fine September Monday? It sure surprised me when I clicked the 'save' button!!! Not quite sure I like it, right now it feels quite different and a little like it belongs to someone else.......so it may be a work in progress.
Today was a rather uneventful Monday. I was a little shaken upon my arrival at work this morning to find out our company had been 'acquired' (google Xerox if you are interested). It was a little unnerving. Even though I am just one of 74,000 employees who received the news, it still felt a bit like I had been sold at the market like a lamb - for a measly $6.4 billion!!! The boss was calm (nothing like an acquisition to set you into a blind panic about lay offs and redundancy!) and I was too busy to worry too much as I was looking forward to slipping out for the day at 2:15pm! Nothing like sneaking off early on a Monday to alleviate any Mondayitis..... :-)

Shame I was only leaving to take the old gentleman above to the vet. I think I worried more about this than the acquisition! He's an old guy and not been himself lately, so I was very relieved to hear from our lovely vet that he is just 'old' and behaving quite normally for his 12 years.

Sorry nothing exciting to share today, nothing really eventful, other than the glorious weather this evening which I have nothing to show for, except a few extra squares for my crochet love blankie. Little J skipped around in the front yard this evening while I enjoyed some hooking and the weather from my front porch.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

PomPom

Thanks to the miserable weather yesterday when we finally made it back to the Canal for a Funnel Cake, all the stalls had shut up shop and gone home. It hasn't rained here significantly in months, but yesterday afternoon it made up for lost time. So no funnel cakes for us and I spent the afternoon engaged with Molly Chicken's fabric pompom tutorial. Let me tell you, this looks way easier, less time consuming and fiddly than it really is!!! But I think it is adorable and may, on a day when my patience is in abundance, make another one.
The canal/rail festival is still underway today, the sun has come out this afternoon, but instead of enjoying a delicious treat I have engaged in the mammoth task of cleaning out my linen cupboard. It was in a shameful state. I have a tendency to shove stuff in on any shelf and shut the door quickly!! I am constantly moaned at by Mr. VW who can never find right size sheets - I simply reassure him that he is not alone! :-) Once, when we first moved in to the Gephart about 10 years ago, my MIL came to dog sit for a few days while we were away. I was completely embarrassed upon our return to find out she had organized my linens! Surprisingly I haven't asked her to dog sit again - the shame was just too much for me to bear again.
Whilst cleaning out my closet and finding numerous table mats/runners I have created over the years I remembered I hadn't revealed my chooks! So here they are!
I hope to hang them above the window & sink in my kitchen - but that will involve the help of Mr. VW and he's on his back under the car changing oil right now.....so I'll have to put it on his to-do list! :-)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Train Pull


Not alot happens in our small town, it's generally quite a sleepy little place. However, it is home to a wonderful historic railroad and canal - not particularly unique if you live in the UK (gosh I must say I am jealous of the fabulous history you Brits have right on your doorstep), but quite unique for this neck of the world and it's literally right at the end of our street!!!
Today is the annual Rail/Canal Fest, which is normally causes an inundation of people to the train station and surrounding canal and therefore we generally try to avoid it (I don't particularly enjoy crowds). However, as it is wet, miserable, cold and gray, we decided it might be safe to go down for a bit of a looky-loo and watch teams attempt to pull the great locomotive. So with umbrella in hand we rushed out of the door to see if it is actually possible to pull this large locomotive.
There were minimal crowds, however it was quite cold and wet, but I do love this train. I am not a train person, but I am always impressed by the shear size of this train. Sometimes, when our bank account permits, we ride this lovely train on a cold winter's evening just before Christmas up the mountain to enjoy hot chocolate and a visit with Father Christmas at the other end. It's a lovely ride, especially if it is snowing, however it does require a second mortgage if you don't plan to ride alone.
The teams do actually manage to pull the train, surprisingly faster than I thought - even the local high school cheerleaders were able to make it move a few inches.
Little J quite enjoyed it (secretly so did I - I love being able to get so close to the engine) even though it was cold, smokey and involved quite a bit of standing.

After watching a few teams we decided to have a little wander around. Now we frequently go down to the canal - there are some wondeful artsy craftsy shops, a fabulous toy shop and the wonderful old canal to enjoy.
We said hello to the mules - who are bought in for the occasion. They were very sweet although not very cooperative with my poor photography skills.
I love the old stone walls of the canal.
We were home by lunch time - it become colder as the day progressed and started to rain more heavily than my umbrella could manage.
We may slip back down this evening to participate in a 'ghost tour' and gobble down a yummy funnel cake (or two) :-)
Edited :: for those readers on the other side of the pond or down under and are unfamiliar with a "funnel cake" - it is a delicious, scrumptious treat found mostly at fairs and amusement parks. Basically I believe it is batter of some sort which is deep fried and coated with icing sugar (powdered sugar) - it is quite possibly the most delicious american delight! The brilliant wikipedia can tell you more about this wonderful treat.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday

The flu is visiting us this week at the Gephart - hopefully not the curly tail variety, which appears to receive limited media attention in this country, as compared to others. Little J and I have spent the day playing hookie from work/school, lying around watching a variety of movies - mostly his choice. This evening I plucked up enough energy to work on my crochet love blanket and some cross stitch which has taken my fancy lately.


Sorry again for the somewhat blurry photos - I don't quite know what the deal is with my camera. It looks like it has focused perfectly and then when I click it loses focus. I wonder if it is user error or the camera?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Birthday Quilt Mark II


Here it finally is.......Little J's spooky Birthday Quilt MarK II. He was a tiny bit disappointed that it didn't include all of his original fabric choices (BQ Mark I is still in the closet and I am still too scared just yet to look at it). His initial comment to the quilt, pre-binding was, "Theres not much too it is there, Mummy?". Well to be honest after the disaster with the original version I was too terrified to make it anymore complicated!!!
I was super strong and went with his binding choice, reminding myself repeatly this was to be his quilt and he had been quite thoughtful with his fabric purchases. I can't say that I didn't make at least one feeble attempt sway him with my choice :-). I must admit that I am pleased with the green binding with it's tiny smiley spiders. This has actually turned out to be the largest quilt I have made thus far.
This is also probably the first quilt I have actually completed on time ~ with the birthday event aka halloween just 38 days away!
Edit :: I realized this evening that Little J isn't really so little anymore, being almost 8 years old. Upon exiting the car this evening he noticed the neighbour putting up halloween decorations, his comment "Look, how nice of that lady to put up decorations just to celebrate my birthday!" - with a smug smarty @rse smile on his face.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Green


When I was a little girl, my favorite colour was green. I remembering always insisting that none of my art work was complete until it had some green on it. Sharing a room with my younger sister I won the paint colour war - green - bright green to be precise and I believe it was called "Parrot Green" (she had a love of orange). I even had a shocking green quilt for my bed and I was lucky my school uniform was green. I still love green, but the only green room in my house is the dining room and navy blue is the dominant colour in my life.
The latter part of the week has been rainy and miserable, but it has saved my dying garden and made it green again.......I have also been finishing a certain project with a little green. :-)
The weekend was kind to us in the end and today I spent the afternoon with my family at this wonderful local lake.
While lying on the green grass, admiring the gorgeous greenery, I realized that very soon it would all be a glorious shades of orange.....and I wondered if my sister far away in the land down under still loves orange? Must ask her next time I ring!
I do know when the trees are a blaze with their autumn oranges, we won't be dipping our toes in the water for a long time.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

< Chooks >


Why is it the years I completely neglect my garden, I seem to get the best flowers???? This post was going to be about my latest project, but whilst burning the dinner and thinking about my latest project, I happened to notice some snapdragons growing in a basket on my back patio. Not a particularly remarkable thing to notice, I like snapdragons, they aren't unusual flowers to see in a garden, unless of course you haven't planted any in three years! Somehow, these lovely annual flowers have sprung up in the baskets that originally contained pansies and I even found a lovely yellow one growing under the stairs off the back patio.

So upon discovery of these little spots of gorgeousness (little gifts of colour directly from mother nature herself), I took that short wander I have been know to take around our itty bitty patch here at the Gephart.
Just take a look at the colour thats still hanging around our garden ::
The marigolds, grown from seeds that sweet Little J handed to me with love and a smile on Mothers Day - these are magnificent this year! A real shock of bright orange and yellow colour.
Geraniums.....still blooming, despite the neglect.
A simply ENORMOUS bush of red 'mums, which have miraculously survived from LAST year!!! :-0

An some lovely new 'mums for this year, in my favorite autumn colour - orange. These have only been at the Gephart a few weeks and I am in shock the bugs haven't eaten them yet! They don't usually last long around here.
Oh and the real reason for this post - chooks (aussie slang for 'chickens'). I love them.....Would have some if the city would adjust it's ordinances on farm yard animals. Oh and I didn't think chooks would drive our dogs bonkers in their pursuit to chase them!
They are a work in progress and need some 'tweaking'.....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Lovely Little Journey


This morning, quite bright and early for a Saturday morning, especially for Mr. VW who likes (no LOVES) a Saturday morning lie in, Mr. VW decided we need to make a journey to the big smoke in order to purchase a new 'loo'..... Due to the limited selection in our immediate area, he felt it necessary to make the 1.25 hour journey to the nearest proper town which contains the Big Orange DIY store.
Initially I was not particularly amused, but Mr. VW is generally very accommodating with my weekend madness and I realized I would have a lovely car ride with time to work on the above item. So Little J and I happily piled in the car - Little J with trusty Nintendo DS in hand and I of course with a rather large bag of yarn and shiny hook.

Of course being engaging in some hooky goodness, I failed to notice upon arrival that we were not parked in front of aforementioned big orange store - but in fact in front of an enormous version of our local fabric store!!! A place I had been talking about visiting for months, but honestly thought it had gone in one ear and out the other with Mr. VW. I squealed with delight, Little J let out the loudest moan ever and we trooped in the door. Even Mr. VW came with me - a rare occurrence. He followed me dutifully up one isle and down the next until we had covered every square inch. He nodded in agreement as I present my fabric choices.
Didn't bat an eyelid at the price of the lovely thread box below (26 spools in a gorgeous rainbow of colours) and acted as the most gracious Sherpa carrying bolts of fabric and holding my handbag so I could examine various items.

Of course, we did purchase the purpose for our trip, however I figure no one would be interested in our new, shiny white porcelain bathroom item, so I skipped those photos :-)
On the way home as we rode up and down the mountains, I snapped the photo below - it's about as fuzzy as can be as we whizzed down the mountain, but I think it almost looks like a painting and am quite pleased with it.

Thank you Mr. VW for our lovely little journey today....you are a real sweet hubby!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Skellytongs

As fairly customary on every other Friday - that is the Friday my gracious employer half fills my pockets with silver - I stopped at the local fabric store to increase the Gephart national debt. Today's purchase :: boring muslin, equally boring white cotton fabric, scrummy all natural cotton batting (super soft and cuddly) and some 'skellytong' fabric (as Little J would say) for 'birthday quilt mark 2'. I chuckle each time he says it - skellytongs!!!!
Seriously, this guys don't look sensible enough to be skeletons, only skellytongs!
Sorry for the crap washed out photos, it's late, dark outside and I am knackered after a long patience testing day at cubeville (aka work). I do however, still have enough spark in to me work on my crochet love blankie. :-)
Happy weekend folks......
P.S. - even though the 'birthday quilt mark 2' in the first photo appears 'wonky', fear not, it is merely my poor photography skills and the fact I pinned it to the curtain so I could hang it up and take the photo :-)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In the closet.....

You can't possible forget my love of this fabric, which Little J chose for his birthday quilt. And surely you remember the stippling disaster which resulted in hours of unpicking miles of thread. I sure haven't been able to forget.
So last night, with the unpicking completed and the help of my 'assistant', we worked on top stitching the quilt. A simple top stitch which shadowed the 4 inch squares of the quilt top. I was relieved to say the least, when it was finish and excited to add the binding - may favorite bit :-)
The joy was short lived. I was mortified to see a HUMONGOUS ripple in the top of the quilt. HORRIFIED to see the back was no longer lined up with the quilt top!!!!! It wasn't just centimetres out of line, but quite possible metres out of line and no matter how I sliced or diced it, I couldn't see how to rectify this disaster.
I cried.....
I wept.....
I didn't sleep last night it bothered me so much.....
and actually got up in the middle of the night to look at it secretly hoping it was just a bad dream....
I studied the quilt this morning before work....
and made myself late for work :-/
I spent the entire day at work thinking about it......
work productivity was at an all time low....
I vowed never to rush a quilt again and after work today, I had Mr. VW put it in the closet, YES THE CLOSET. All the way at the top where it would take serious effort for me to get to it. I couldn't bare to look at it, but couldn't stop looking at it!!!! So my theory =
:: OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND ::
The evening, after leaving my family to fend for themselves (the thought of making dinner didn't even cross my mind)
:: I took a deep breathe ::
Thankful for an excessive amount of left over fabric, I went back to the beginning. Vowed to take it slowly and started all over again.
I am now excited about this quilt and I believe my blood pressure has dropped significantly.....I am looking forward to a peaceful nights sleep. :-)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day


The Labor Day weekend was kind to us here at the Gephart, although we didn't spend the weekend here and of course three days is never enough!! Little J often comments that he would like an "extra" weekend...not sure how that would work, but it sounds nice! :-)
So on Friday we hiked it (4.5 hours drive) down the mountains to spend time with the IL's working on their summer house. No photos I am afraid, too busy working and too overwhelmed to know where to start taking photos of the poor neglected house. Anyhow, it does have a lovely new roof and Mr. VW has great plans, so hopefully by Thanksgiving we'll have a nice little place on the water to retreat to.
Before collapsing on Saturday night and demanding an 'emergency' trip into town for ice cream, I spotted a great ball of fire in the sky - at least on first glance that's what I thought it was. Mr. VW quickly corrected me (Little J was a little alarmed when I spoke of a 'fireball') and told me it was just the harvest moon. I tried about twenty times to get a photo, but above is the best imagine I could produce. Doesn't really do it justice.
I did however manage to produce quite good photo of the field at night!
Before departing for a long ride home, Little J and I left Mr. VW to home renovation and took off to the local State Park in search of shark teeth = we were acting on the wise words of Mr. VW and his fond memories of trips to this park during his youth. No luck finding any teeth on the beach, much to Little J's disappointment. However, the gift shop delighted him with a rather nice specimen after Mummy coughed up $3.00.
We were only afforded a few short minutes of beach wandering before we had to head home to the distance land on the other side of the shore....Maryland :-)
For those of you on this side of the pond, hope you had a lovely Labor Day weekend and for everyone else, I hope your Monday treated you kindly. :-)
Toodles!
L