Friday, January 26, 2007

Time to hit my thumb again!

I’ve been gone a while. I’ve been afraid to blog because I was sure to jinx the news. I’m blogging tonight because the jinx is on, so no big deal. We have made no secret of our attempts to get a house built. I’ve dug some holes and run some lines but not started. Well, we’re about to start. We have bids in and if the weather holds we will be under construction next weekend. We’re having a builder come in and pour the foundation, erect concrete block walls and put a roof on. We will then put in the windows, doors, plumbing, electric, heating, air conditioning, septic, flooring, framing drywall, lighting, blah, blah and blah.

I can hardly sleep at night I am so excited. The builder came over this afternoon to take a look at the site. The girls asked who was coming over and Melissa told them it was the builder. They jumped for joy, literally. We have all grown to dislike this house as it settles and ages and cracks and creeks. We are all looking forward to a house that will work for us and is designed with our needs in mind. When I try to sleep I see the house and try to figure out how to run the duct work to our best advantage. I have been thinking about installing an aerobic wastewater system, rather than the standard anaerobic septic system. Melissa found a web page with engineered drawings for such a system this afternoon and it turns out I already had the design in my head. I love it when that happens. The only difference is that they use electricity from the grid and I plan to use either wind or solar to pump the air into the treatment tank.

Over the last nine months we’ve done a lot of research on cheap building and green building. We started with the thought that we would build cheap. The more we read, and the more we paid for gas, the more we realized that cheap now could get expensive later. In the last few months we have moved more toward green, solid and cheap. There are some neat techniques that I will still want to try on a guest cabin or stanchion, but for the immediate work we are going for lots of insulation, cooling with earth tubes, heating with wood, building an outdoor kitchen for the summer and exploring more solar and wind options for things like pumping and fan motors.

Finally, while I am happy to be saying goodbye to Big Bill, T.O. is still wearing a star so I will skip next year’s Cowboy’s season, unless Jerry hires Norv Turner. Then I’ll watch.

One final thing, Jonny Lang’s new album is great. Get it and listen.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Welcome to the World, Zoey!

I just wanted to congratulate my sister, Julie, and her husband Fred on the arrival of their beautiful new baby girl. She was born early this morning and Gloria can't wait to play with her.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Warm projects

Faith's jacket
Here's the jacket I made for Faith. It is reversible and has a hood. You can't really see the hood in the picture, but believe me, it's there. The pattern called for a collar and I had it ready to sew on when Faith asked if the collar would be something she could turn up to keep the wind off her back while milking the cow. I knew that meant she needed a hood. Thankfully I have this really cool software that allows me to create custom patterns. I was able to find a pattern for a hood in the right size to fit the jacket. Unfortunately, it doesn't have instructions as to HOW to sew the hood. It was easy enough to figure out, but there's one little place that just doesn't look good. Her long hair covers that and she assured me she won't be cutting it this winter. I think I should have done the hood earlier in the project, but oh well. It will be easier when I do Grace's. Faith said she didn't really want pockets, but changed her mind after it was too late. The jacket is kind of plain looking on the denim side. We thought about trying to get them added, but it would take a while and she needed a coat TODAY. How warm is it? It was 29 degrees outside. She said she was warm except for her legs. Maybe I should make her some coveralls? She wouldn't have worn them to church anyway though.

Gloria's poncho

I haven't quite finished this project. I get so frustrated with trying to put jackets on babies. You struggle to get them on only to have the front of the coat rise up to cover the baby's face when they are in their car seat. Then all the straps have to be adjusted to accomodate the coat. The alternative is to use a blanket. I usually put a baby in the car seat then cover her with a blanket. This is great if you are planning to carry the carseat in and out of the vehicle. But with a 7 month old, I don't usually do that. So then she gets cold while I take the blanket off, get her out, then cover her back up. And I just have to hope the wind doesn't blow that blanket away. So the other day it occured to me that I could just cut a hole in the center of a fleece blanket. Then I could sew buttons on to hold it down between her legs and under her arms. In the picture, I've got it buttoned between her legs. I couldn't decide if I really needed the buttons under her arms, but after using it I learned I do. With a 5 point harness, I can't get the straps over her shoulders unless I can find her arms. So those buttons will help me out with that. Being fleece I didn't have to worry about sewing buttonholes or finishing the edges where I cut the hole in the center. The only sewing involved was sewing on buttons. For buttonholes, I just cut slits where I wanted them. If we're out at the park or something I can just skip the buttons and she has a poncho.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside

We've been quite spoiled by the weather lately. I've LOVED the warm weather. Yet I knew this cold front was coming. And I've had a job that I've needed to tackle since October when I got my "day off" and went shopping with my mom.

On my shopping trip, I bought fabric and a pattern to make Faith a new jacket/coat. It is a jacket pattern, but I was planning to make it reversible with a heavy denim on one side and fleece on the other, so hopefully as warm as a coat. She has a coat that probably isn't much warmer than a jacket and she keeps growing so her arms now hang out of the ends of the sleeves. Yet, between everyone having the flu and the need to sew for customers, and all the cooking and cleaning and a baby who just can't remember she can sleep in her crib, I couldn't seem to get to Faith's jacket.

I finally decided to quit stressing out about my sewing business. My webpage hasn't been updated in ages. I've decided I will probably move the page to the Panivino Ranch page along with Faith's Little Clay People page. I'm just so busy trying to do too much and really can't do it all. So rather than try to be superwoman and homeschool 9 kids, sew all our clothes, make all our food from scratch, AND run a business, I've decided to cut back a bit. I will now do what I need to do for our family. If God sends me business through sewing, that is well and good. But I'm not going to stress out and try to make the business a success by sacrificing the schooling or cooking and I'm going to sew for my family's needs first. Forget the crossdresser who wanted a specially made dress! It really isn't much of a change, other than mentally, but it was freeing to realize that we're better off financially if I put OUR needs first. I don't make much sewing for people, but we save a lot if I sew for us. So if I sew for us first and then for others, that can work. And if I happen to have any free time, I will try to work on the thing I've wanted to do since I was little--at least 10 yrs old--and that is to write children's stories. I just have to figure out how to get published. . .

So the jacket just needs buttons now--on both sides of course. But I could get Faith to do that if I need to. She has waaaay more free time than I do. ;-)

And while it's cold, I'll try to get stocked up on butter in the freezer. I've found it's much easier to make it when it's cold. And my Bosch does a great job making it for me now that I've figured out to only put a quart of cream in at a time rather than a gallon. Duh. Sometimes I'm slow. But homemade butter is practically free (since we'd otherwise just drink the cream with our milk), but it's, at best, $2.50/lb at the store--and we eat several pounds per week. And I know it's healthy this way, too. Same with our homemade bread, pizza, soup. I've finally tried making my own biscuits and gravy and they both turned out great. Cooking when it's cold out is so nice.

I'm looking forward to the outdoor kitchen in the new house so I can enjoy summer cooking, too. I really prefer summer anyway. But for now, I'll just enjoy sewing that nice warm fleece jacket.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Starring the Dallas Cowboys as the Tin Man

Don’t misunderstand what I am about to say here as I have been a Cowboys fan since 1969. I have rooted for other teams from time to time, like the Chiefs when I lived in Warrensburg, but I have always been a Cowboys fan. Typically, when the ‘boys lose I am in a foul mood for days on end. I have a hard time watching them play as I die with each failed play or dropped pass or big play given up by the defense. I met Jerry Jones and for a while we negotiated with him for a stadium in Grapevine. (That deal, thankfully, fell through as it would never have made it past the voters.) I have several Cowboy sweatshirts, caps and other paraphernalia. But, after last night, I am officially fed up. Parcells was, once again, out coached. A team that gets as many penalties as the Cowboys is a team without discipline and that is the coach’s fault. A team that gets whipped to snot by the likes of the Detroit Lions is either highly predictable, a comment Madden made last night, or it has given up, again problems with the coaching. I found myself watching the game last night hoping, just a little bit, that the ‘boys would lose so I could quit being disappointed by them. They obliged and disappointed me, after tricking me into believing that maybe they were somehow worth rooting for.

The sun came up this morning. I got out of bed and had a pretty good day. I have a new purpose in life. I will not watch the Cowboys until it once again becomes worth my time to watch them. I will not root for another Parcells coached team ever again. I will never again root for a team with TO on it. I’ll still watch football, just not the Cowboys. That should be pretty easy to do right now. By the way, it was the Tin Man that did not have a heart, just like the Cowboys.