Thursday, December 31, 2009

My adventure with felt continues

It is getting pretty funny--because it is getting out of hand. No you may NOT see my sewing room. It is a true DD.

Here are my mittens. I've been wearing them everywhere. Alex and Joseph have some, too. Now Dave has asked for a pair. I've also been trying to perfect a pattern for an owl. My favorite is the one in the middle. Buttons are taken off the sweaters I've used for all these projects. The football shaped buttons are from a vintage sweater--a beautiful brown with a small green stripe and some delicate green embroidered leaves. I've not decided just what to do with that one... but the buttons are perfect for owl eyes.

Just let me know if you want mittens--or a hat--or an owl!

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!

The photos are from Colin's birthday party. Santa visited. I like that Joseph signed thank you to Santa. You can't capture a boy saying thank you to Santa in a photo, unless that boy is signing!

Sarah's blog made me think about how old we would be in 10 years-- 64, 63, 22, and 21. Oh my---We have a lot to do in the next 10 years! However, I think we have done a lot in the past ten, so I guess we will make it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Six Hats and one Monster

and it is only a little past two in the afternoon. That is a pretty good days work for this elf. I reached the limit of what Mom's sewing machine can do with the last monster. Each one of these monsters broke at least one sewing machine needle. But, I now have four monsters all ready for gifting! Although they are pretty cute all together--it will be sad to see them separated. I'm NOT naming them before I give them away. I'm having a hard time picking which two will stay here with Joseph and Alex.

Two of the six hats will stay with us. The other four are gifts. The one in the front right and the one in the rear left of the photo have a piece of cashmere lining around the bottom. You can just see that on the photo of the hat in the front. It makes the hat very comfortable. The bright yellow one will be mine. The stripe one is for Dave.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Teacher tokens

I won't call them teacher gifts, because it is just a cookie. However, I like to remember all the teachers, aides, therapists, etc. that work with Joseph and Alex each year. For Joseph the list includes 11 names, for Alex 10. We do a gift certificate to Dave's company for the lead teacher for each boy as well.

These photos document the process this year! I had a bit of trouble with the cookies. The first trays were under baked--then I forgot to set the timer for the second set, so they were overbaked. I ended up making a second batch of dough. Now we have extras for ourselves. Dave actually likes these this year. It is the first time in seventeen years he has liked my sugar cookies.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Should this Monster be under the tree for Joseph or for Alex this Christmas? I'll make another for the other one--so it doesn't really matter.

I think I've found my medium for creativity. This wool felt is such a forgiving fabric. And making monsters is just my speed. If I make a mistake, it just adds to his monsterlyness. I was inspired by similar toys I saw on Etsy, so I can't take credit for all the creativity. If you can see his mouth, you may be able to tell that it is the pocket on a sweater vest. I stuffed him with scraps of wool felt, so even the stuffing is recycled. I love how soft he is. He should also be washable, since I already washed all the wool in hot water. He may gather lint, so I'll need to clean him off every once in awhile. I also like the fact that I made him in under two hours! Off to browse Etsy for more ideas. Well, maybe I'd better get everything else done that I need to do today before I let myself disappear into Etsy.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

recycled wool felt Christmas stockings

Yep, I'm getting a bit obsessed with wool felt. I made these last night. Dave and I have old stockings from our youth, but I think we need nice new ones. These will be perfect. The boys have quilted stockings I made years ago. I found this sweater at Goodwill yesterday. I thought it too beautiful to pass up, and decided on the way home it would be perfect for Christmas stockings. I even lined them with cotton so trinkets from Santa won't get caught in the yarns on the inside of the stocking. They are about 14 or 15 inches long. There is an old button sewn on by the hanger, but you can't see it in the photo.

FYI 3.29 for the sweater, and I have about a third of it left. 2.00 for the two "fat quarters" I used to line the stockings.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A flock of birds

This is how I spent my Thanksgiving weekend.

I love my sewing room. Mom just gave me her 25-year-old sewing machine and I love it. I didn't think it would be that much better than my old machine, her REALLY old, 50-year-old, machine, but the "new" one is fabulous!

I love felting sweaters. If you have any old 100% wool sweaters, send them my way. Especially if they have interesting colors in them. I made the "robins" by using the part of a striped sweater that has brown and orange stripes. The robins are only shown on the photo of all of the birds... I'm not planning to keep all of these. I'm going to try to sell them at an event at Alex's elementary school--and donate the money to the school's holiday fundraiser.

If you want a bird, let me know and maybe I'll send one your way. Be sure to tell me which one is your favorite!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Felted Hat

My second felted project is a hat. A different sweater, with beautiful cables. It felted better than the first one, and I couldn't bear to cut up the cables. It would not have made nice birds... But it made a great hat. Not ready for primetime, but very, very warm. It fits Joseph perfectly. I have the back of the vest to make a second hat for Alex. The boys don't often wear hats, they prefer the hoods on their jackets, and it just doesn't get that cold that often here. However, I may borrow this hat to walk the dog on cold nights. I may fuss to make the shape a bit better, or I may just let it be kind of "rustic."

I made a few more birds--I copied the pattern at 80% to make a smaller version, and I really like that one. I'll keep you posted and post a photo of the whole flock when I am all done.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Felted birds

Here is my latest craft project:

I felted an old sweater. I knit several sweaters and vests 20-25 years ago. They have not fit for about 15 years, but I've kept a few favorites. I finally found a project to recycle/upcycle them. I felted the wool. Basically, shrinking the vest in the washer on purpose. See internet for information. I'm not happy with the way the process went for me to want to share. I'm doing my sweaters and vests one at a time, hoping I figure out how to make nice, tight wool fabric that won't unravel when it is cut.

Out of half of the first red vest I've made three birds. Two are shown here. I'll use them as decorations on the tree, I think. I'm not happy with the tails, but can't figure out a better way to do the tail, so for now, blanket stitch it is.

The pattern for the bird is from Spool. Maybe someday I'll have a whole flock and a fancy mobile like the one shown in the Spool link. The pattern is VERY simple and streamlined. Easy to make, but hard to make "perfect."

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Mailbox is Ready to go Trick-or-Treating!

"Mom, the mailbox is ready to go trick or treating!"

That is my Alex. I thought it was worth a photo!

He and Joseph wore their football costumes from last year. Alex's choice. Wow. That was easy and cheap!

The whole story is that Alex and I went out to shop for a costume a few weeks ago. He did NOT want a homemade costume, even though I encouraged him to consider that option and we stopped in at the fabric store to browse for ideas. So, I did what he wanted and went to the "Halloween" store set up temporarily next to the fabric store at the local strip mall. As soon as we walked in he got quiet. I was ready to spring for just about anything he wanted, as long as no weapons were involved. We were directed to the rows and rows of boys costumes, and he looked at everything--wide-eyed and silent. When asked what he wanted he stayed silent. He didn't even want to try one on. I've learned over the years that this silent, wide-eyed Alex is completely overwhelmed, overstimulated, and truly unable to make a decision or really to cope. So we left. I asked about six times as we headed to the car if he was sure he didn't want to look at the costumes more. If there wasn't something he wanted. He finally said he just wanted to be a football player again. He and Joseph could be football players again. So that is what we did. The pants didn't fit. The shirts just barely fit. The helmets were fine. Maybe we are starting to outgrow Halloween? Joseph wouldn't wear the shirt to his costume to school on Friday.

And the mailbox looked great!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Skull Session

We went to the "Skull Session" at OSU last Saturday. This is where the marching band plays through all the music for the game--pregame, halftime, and postgame--while sitting in chairs in the old basketball arena. It is free and starts two hours before the game. It is a way to get the boys to campus on game day, hear the band, experience some of the excitement, but not actually go to the game. We have a dear friend who is training to be the Drum Major. She had to try out this fall for the chance to do everything with the band this year, and the chance to try out for the Drum Major position next spring. Here are the photos. We had a great time!

Thursday, October 08, 2009


A trip to the pumpkin patch with Joseph--

Nothing is ever as you plan.

Yesterday was beautiful. Clear, cool, perfect autumn day. So, after school Joseph, Alex, and I headed to the pumpkin patch. It was a beautiful, short drive. I took the back roads to enjoy the day.

We, well I, decided we should walk out to the field to choose our pumpkins rather than buy the ones already harvested. Alex pushed the wheelbarrow. Joseph stalled. He didn't want to walk. He wanted to climb on the tractor, climb on the wagon, turn around and go back to the barn, but he eventually followed.

We made it the 1/8th mile or so to the field. Alex and I started looking at all the different choices, trying to decide how big we wanted. I took out the phone to get some photos. Well... about that time Alex notices that Joseph has grabbed the wheelbarrow and was heading back to the barn. Whoops. I grabbed the biggest pumpkin I could carry, and told Alex to run and catch Joseph so I could use the wheelbarrow for at least part of the trip back.

Thus ended our visit to the pumpkin patch. We had a great time. And I didn't have a chance to get annoyed that it was taking Alex too long to decide which pumpkin he wanted!

My only photo is out of focus and doesn't show Alex's face.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Hanging on--

I'm having a blue period. Some of it is brought on by a medication that I took for three weeks, and don't have to take any longer. A big relief. That medication caused a real spike in my depression. For those of you who don't know, I have fought depression all my life. I now take medication for it, and I'm much, much, much happier. Life is just easier with an antidepressant in my system. I'm not "fighting" depression. I'm just being content, or being sad, or being happy. I'm not fighting to get through the day.

Taking that medication for three weeks reminded me of how I used to be. Not all of the time, but way too much of the time. I spent the last three weeks struggling to get through the day. Struggling to keep a smile on my face, not yell at my kids, not snipe at Dave. I don't have the patience for it any more. I now know that I don't have to live like that, so when I sink into it--even when I know that I'm sinking only because of a medication--I don't have the grit to fight it. I kind of let myself wallow in it. And I'm letting it be an excuse. Ah--there is a word that needs to be analyzed. Is depression an excuse or is it a reason?

Is depression a reason to set more modest goals for myself? Do I need to accept myself, as I am, and not expect myself to achieve, produce, etc. as a non-depressed person with the same skill-set could or would? Should I be proud of what I do accomplish in a day, despite my frame of mind? After all, I got out of bed... Some days that is a big deal for me.

And on top of my depression, I wonder how much having "special-needs kids" is an excuse or a reason to have blue days, difficult days, grumpy days, lousy days? Do I use my kids as an excuse? Or are my kids a reason for me to have a tough time?

I'm not looking for sympathy or answers. I'm just articulating a struggle going on with myself.

I'd be interested in thoughts of readers that have similar struggles--for similar or completely different reasons.

And I'm interested in the thoughts of those of you who don't struggle with this kind of thing. Until I married Dave I didn't realize people existed that didn't have these kinds of struggles. Just as he didn't understand that depression was real until he married me. He thought all those depressed people were whiners that needed to "buck up!"

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thrifty or Cheap

I get such charge out of saving a few dollars... I think I'm thrifty, but maybe I'm just plain cheap.

Macy's has their coupon sale today and tomorrow. 10 off 25. You are only supposed to use one coupon per person, but I used seven today. Yep, I spent about 120 at Macy's today, but I saved 70!!! I never tried to use more than two coupons at one time, and the clerks were all happy to split my purchases into two transactions.

I bought stuff I wanted, and a few things I needed. Everything I bought was already on sale, some was already on clearance. It was all at least 30% off, and then my coupons took almost 40% off that.

My best deal? Some fiesta plates, retail 17, clearance price 11, final price 4.59 after 40% off clearance and my coupon.

I was happy to see someone else in line ahead of me buy a big item, that didn't quite add up to the 25 needed to use the coupon but she was also buying a single washcloth. a useful item, but obviously purchased only to make the order total over 25 so she could use the coupon. A woman that thinks like I do.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thoughts on Alex and adoption

Adopting a child and adopting a dog should not use the same verb.

Since we brought Beebe into our home, I have tried to avoid the word "adopt" when referring to Beebe. But the shelter sent us home with a pamphlet and a DVD about bringing an "Adopted puppy" into the house. Alex can't avoid seeing the phrase.

So, how does it affect him? It seems it has brought some negative feelings to the fore, and allowed him to articulate some things he needed to articulate.

While driving in the car last week, he asked me, out of the blue, "Why did my other family give me away?" Okay. Let's talk. First of all nobody EVER gave you away. Your other family was supposed to take care of you just until we came along, until a family that was going to keep you forever could take care of you. Next he asks... "But what about the mom who had me in her tummy..." No, Alex, she didn't give you away. The grownups had to put you with a different family because she was too young to take care of you properly.

I think that is what I said. That is what I've practiced and thought about saying ever since we took adoption classes nine or ten years ago. One thing the classes talked about was having a way to explain the adoption that doesn't make it sound like it was in any way shape or form the "fault" of the child. I don't want to tell Alex that his medical condition was a factor, because that makes it sound like it was something about him... It is all these nameless, faceless, "grownups" that made huge decisions about your life over which you have never had any say...

Bless him. I hope this is all part of him learning to be more open with his feelings. I hope it is the beginning of the conversation, not the end. I pray for the right words each time I have the chance to talk with him about his past. I don't like to belabor the issue. I try to let him bring up his concerns naturally. I may have to look for more openings to say little things that reassure him, and give him the opportunity to ask questions more often.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Reading with Grandma is the best

And she thinks she isn't doing enough around the house to help out!
(Grandma is 92. Alex is 11)

Summer Bounty

I tried an unusual yellow/red striped variety this year. They are good.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The newest member of the family

Announcing the addition of a delightful puppy to our family:

Beebe, aka Princess Beebe, 3 months, 20 lbs.

She is a true delight. She joined our tribe on August 1st. It is clear that she will be a very good companion for all of us. Dave is enjoying short runs with her, I'm enjoying walking with her, while Alex and Joseph have had a good time learning to avoid her playful doggie bites. I can't wait until I trust her enough to let her have the run of the whole house so she can cuddle with the boys by the TV or in the basement. So far, the training process is going well. She has even started bringing her leash to me when she needs to go out... She is learning to "come" "sit" "stay" and "fetch." Shelter says she will end up in the 50-80 lb range.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Visitors from afar!!!!

The sheep from Flutterby are coming to visit us in Dublin Ohio!!!! I am very, very excited to have travelers who have been all over the globe stop by to see us here at DD. They are coming on an iceberg!!! I'm not at all sure how that will work, but I assume they will float down the Ohio river and then up the Scioto. Charlie, Kate and I will have to trot down to the river to pick them up when they arrive. As you can see, Charlie and Kate are waiting by the phone for the call that their friends are here. They won't let me use my phone at all!

Click on the link to read all about these sweet sheep and their travels. They have most recently been in Dublin, Ireland. I love the Flutterby Patch blog. I've spent a lot of time looking at her crafts, Christmas decorations, photos, etc.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Letter to my representative...

Okay.... So I'm disturbed enough by the scenes on the news that I've been inspired to write my congressman. I think I may send the same thing to the two Ohio senators.

I support the health care reforms proposed by Obama and others in the Democratic Party.

If you need to raise taxes to support this effort, I would understand. It is necessary for us to fix some of the big problems facing our nation before our economy will ever recover.

I am the mother of two special-needs children. One is adopted. He has learning disabilities as well as emotional and social problems. The other is autistic and was born with a cleft lip and palate.

We are lucky. I work for xxxxxx, so I have access to great health insurance, although I pay a lot for our family coverage.

Please do not listen to the folks who are scared that changing our health care system will ruin our country. We are all worried about the economy, frightened by the incendiary rhetoric spewing from entertainers that pose as news commentators, and concerned about an uncertain future.

Thank you for your service to the people of Ohio.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

More Sheep! (at the State Fair)

The family had a great time Friday at the fair. We were on the fairgrounds for more than 7 hours. That is a great accomplishment for the boys--and for the parents. Joseph did great. He only ran away once or twice, and we were able to follow him easily. Of course he wouldn't leave the "lost kids" wrist band on his arm, so we had to be sure we didn't lose him!

We saw some real sheep. I should have taken Kate and Charlie to meet their bigger relatives. Also, I enjoyed the sheep with their cloaks on. I assume this is to keep a newly bathed sheep clean until it is showtime. I wonder if Kate and Charlie need capes?

Thursday, July 30, 2009


So, this morning Joseph saw a deer in the backyard. This afternoon, I walked out front and found these two little sheep eating my flowers. I brought them in the house and named them Charlie and Kate. I made Charlie a new coat, but Kate laughed at it, so I didn't make her one to match.

I found a wonderful blog "Flutterby Patch" with many beautiful dolls and crafts. Included in a post was a pattern for these little sheep. Others from all over the world have made sheep from the same pattern. It is a lot of fun to check all the variations that happen when everyone makes the same pattern using different bits of leftover yarn! Just imagine all the things that didn't get done today at our house!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is it an improvement?

Be honest. Do you notice the change in the kitchen, and do you like it???

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm going to lose my DD license

No, not my driver's license, my domestic disaster license.

We had dinner the other night with oven-fried chicken, cold cucumbers (from our garden), steamed green beans (from our garden), and sauteed zuchinni (from our garden). Three green vegetables on the same plate.

Nary a poptart in sight!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

splash park

Alex and I went with cousins to a nearby splash park this afternoon. I didn't know about this park. It is under 10 minutes from our house. Free. As a bonus we were able to stop at the farmers market in the same park on our way home. Alex is in the middle of the photo--can you find him?