Thursday, February 18, 2010

Moving Over

Today, I am moving over.

I moved over my toothbrush in the bathroom cabinet.

I moved over to MY side of the closet.

I moved over my snacks in the fridge to make room for extra food I will soon be needing.

I am moving over to my side of the bed.

I will be moving over to my rightful side of the car (which is NOT the driver's side, let me tell you).

I am moving over my Bible to the side of the coffee table instead of the middle so that soon, a second Bible will be placed next to mine in the morning.

I am so excited to be moving over all these to make room for a very important someone. I can barely type from this overwhelming excitement. I think there have only been two other times in my life when I have felt this excited. My wedding day and the birthday of my little girl. I love moving over.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Going for Gold

If, after reading the title, you thought this post would be about the Winter Olympics 2010, you were mistaken. I am very sorry to disappoint you. My post pertains to a different subject matter entirely. One that started with this...

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...which I found on the dining room ceiling during my spring cleaning mission yesterday. I touched it. Wet. Uh-Oh!

I sat down to knit. That didn't last long. The spot bothered me. I didn't want to know, but I ventured upstairs anyways to locate the source of the wetness. (Visions of falling through my ceiling into my dining room while I slept in the middle of the night keep coming to me so I opted for investigation.) I found this on the back of my nightstand...

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...and said, "Crumbs!" fairly loud, followed by a few, "Oh no's" and an "I don't want to deal with this. When is James getting home?" I felt the floor near the wall and my hand came away wet. I felt the wall. Wet. I put my finger through the wall at the ceiling.

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And almost through my wooden windowsill.

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I did NOT want to find a leak in my bedroom. Especially considering everything else we've been through the past 6 months. The toilet is broken. The bathtub is broken (I can still shower, I just can't bathe Chloe). James computer is broken. The shed is broken. The closet doors are broken. Two of our four faucets leak. And not to mention the seizures, the head injury, the baby strangulation and everything else. I did NOT want to find a leak in my bedroom.

I almost lost it. Almost. I came so close to climbing into bed, never to exit that comfy hiding place until James walked through my door. I came close, but the Lord spoke to my heart last night. He would not allow me to cave in. You know when they say the Lord is your strength? Oh yes. This is true. So very true.

My eyes were not focused on Jesus. They were focused on my circumstances. And let me tell you, they are not the most pleasant circumstances to find yourself in. (I am sure many of you can tell me stories of horrible circumstances you find yourselves in at this very moment too.)

James 1:2-4
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."


God brought this verse to mind yesterday afternoon. I realized that my faith is being tested. I realized as well, that I must persevere in my faith, refocus on the Lord Jesus Christ, so that I may become mature, complete, not lacking anything.

I Peter 1:3-7
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”


Ahhh ha ha ha. There's that gold. My faith in the hope of my salvation is more precious than gold, more costly than gold, more valuable than gold. My hope is in My Lord and Saviour. My Redeemer. My future salvation. This is why I can rejoice and consider it pure joy when I find a leak in my ceiling. My hope is not in my home. The walls about me may crumble. My computers may fail. My car may die. But my hope lies in nothing this temporal earth offers. My future is sealed in Christ Jesus who will save me and welcome me with open arms to spend eternity with Him. In light of that, who cares about the water draining down the wall? I sure don't. I am thankful for it. Thank you Jesus for my leaky roof. Thank you! My faith was tested and I pray I passed the test and developed a deeper perseverance and a more genuine faith.

(P.S. The roofer stopped by this morning and sang something to the tune of $6,000 and a new roof - better than the $15,000 my non-roofing husband quoted me yesterday. He also informed me that this will be a common occurrence in the next few weeks as the snow starts to melt on other houses and the water has no where to go but in. We just aren't built for 5 feet of snow in one week. Its not really something we could have prevented.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Spring Cleaning Day 1

We started spring cleaning this morning at approximately 6:34 am. I printed off my detailed cleaning list last night and forced myself to bed instead of starting at 10:14 pm. That was hard. When an idea strikes me, its hard for me to patiently wait until the appointed time to begin said idea (even cleaning). But I figured I would accomplish so much more today on a full nights sleep.

So, cleaning commenced in the kitchen. I began by thoroughly cleaning the fridge. Now I must tell you that when I clean, I really clean. Everything comes out. Everything gets washed in hot, soapy water. All the expired condiments got thrown away. (Did you know mayonnaise expires? I didn't. Apparently mine expired in January of last year. Yikes!) I shift the fridge over and clean underneath. I wipe down the back of the fridge. Yes, I said the back. I am telling you...I really do clean when I clean.

Somewhere in this process I dumped out an entire bucket of chemical infested water (I use cleaners when I spring clean...can't help myself) all over my kitchen floor. Not fun! Not a great way to start a week of spring cleaning. But I managed to hold on to my wits (and emotions) and used every towel in my house to wipe up all water and continued on to the stove.

I ran vinegar water through my coffee maker twice. I cleaned the oven and the stove. Whew! I am beat. Now I am stalling on the rest of the kitchen by spending some time telling you about my morning cleaning adventures. I know you all wanted to hear about each item I cleaned, didn't you?

No?

Well then, here are some observations I have made while cleaning. Maybe you will find that a bit more interesting to read.

1. 1 kitty = x amount of hair + smell
3 kitties = x times x amount of hair + smell
Translation: there is a lot of hair and kitty smell in my house that needs extracted. I believe I pulled enough hair from underneath my fridge to create a good sized rat. Yuck. That's disgusting.

2. It is not a good idea to leave a full bucket of water and cleaning solution directly next to the chair you are using to stand on and reach the top of the fridge.

3. While this cleaning spree is to celebrate James homecoming (soon...very soon), he will probably not notice a lick of it. (He probably won't even remember what the house looked like before he left.)

4. In addition to not noticing, I've got a sneaking suspicion he won't even really care.

Do you think this is gonna stop me? Nope. Because if I don't clean like a banshee, I will surely pine away my days until he returns home. That glorious day just can't get here soon enough. So, I am off now to clean the cabinets. Tomorrow will find me in the living room.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tangerine...Opps....I Mean Blue Top.

I must say this first. This pattern worked up super quick and easy. If you are a beginner crocheter and think wearables completely out of your league, think again. ANYONE can crochet this top. And do you want to know the greatest thing about it? It fits. Yes, its not one of those boxy "crocheted" sweaters, typical of eras past. Nope. This top fits perfectly and flatters. This is Mary Jane Hall's Tangerine top from her Positively Crochet book which I started yesterday and finished off this morning.

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I do wish I had made the starting chain at least 2" longer but I can add that to my next one, because I am sure I will making this top again. I love the yarn too. So soft and easy to work with. I need to see what other colors it comes in.

In other news today, I dug out the second half of my car this morning. I felt desperate to get out and speak with another human being not the age of four. I wrote out a list and headed to JoAnns, with the explicit rule that I was NOT to even look at the fabric. Oh, how JoAnns must hate me. They put the fabric right by the walkway across the back of the store between the yarn and the framing department. And not just any fabric...the cotton. Oh, I have a thing for cotton. And do you wanna know what else they did to me? They Put It On Sale!!! This birdie valentine fabric practically leaped into my buggy.

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I don't know where that turquoise and brown fabric came from. Somehow it was in my shopping bag when I arrived home. Honestly! Oh, sometimes its so hard to be good for so many days in a row. So very hard. You don't have any idea how hard it is sometimes for someone with my disposition to be good ALL the time.

Friday, February 12, 2010

What a Good Girl!

Happily I announce what a good girl I've been. Oh, I doubted myself a time or two during the past couple of days, but my goodness triumphed and I have many delightful things to showcase because of my sheer perseverance and dedication to my goal.

"What on earth are you talking about?"

I figured you'd ask that. Remember that gorgeous blue cotton yarn I purchased Tuesday? Do you recall my mentioning the rule I gave myself in order to be able to splurge and allow that yarn to journey home with me? The birthday dress must be finished FIRST and I also must complete four other projects from my WIP pile or my sewing room before I could allow that deliciously soft yarn the privilege of running through my fingers.

It proved difficult.

Very difficult.

But I did it! I really did it! And more than that too...I finished SIX projects. First, the birthday dress, but that will wait for another post later this evening (it deserves a post all by itself). Then, the never-ending doily finally ended. Yes, I wove in every single end and I even blocked it. She is DONE!

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Then I added a zipper to this skirt that somehow buried itself in my workbasket before I could catch it and get that zipper attached. I actually forgot about the skirt until I dug out as many WIPS as I could find last weekend. I will be sending this on to a dear missionary friend of mine in Africa. I might see her this summer during her furlough so I will give it to her in person if I get that opportunity.

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The blue pile previously located on the floor of my sewing room turned out to be a wrap shirt in a knit for myself. I finished this up in a jiffy. I used Vogue 8390 for this shirt.

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Okay. After these items found their way out the door of the sewing room, the real fun began. I picked out a fabric and allowed Chloe to choose one of four patterns to make her a dress. Thank goodness she picked an easy dress. I cut it out and sewed it together in 1 1/2 hours. That must be some kind of record. Granted, the dress lacks its zipper, but that should be remedied tomorrow if I can make it through the snow to Jo~Anns.

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Since I finished the above dress with time to spare before bed, I decided to sew up another quick dress. This one proved not quite as quick as the first one. Think gathering. Loads and loads of gathering. I think this is Chloe's favorite so far (although she hasn't seen her finished birthday dress yet).

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So, my reward for all this hard work? Ahhhhh...the top I have been dying to crochet. Mary Jane Hall's tangerine top.

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This top seems super easy and so I think I can whip it up tonight. That in the picture above is the entire back. The Plymouth Jeannee cotton/acrylic yarn is amazing. Super soft and very pretty. I love working with this stuff. I can see some future projects being worked in various colors with this yarn.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Snow

In the midst of yet another snowstorm, I looked out the window and decided to post pictures of our last snowstorm. Blizzard, really. I've had enough people ask to see pictures of our snow that I finally caved. Here is what our yard looked like Saturday afternoon just as the snow finished falling.

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That's my BBQ grill under there along with our air conditioning unit. I managed to shovel my entire back walk before my back gave out.

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Its a long walk. Very long.

Chloe played in the snow as best she could considering her limited range of motion due to three layers of clothes and a snowsuit.

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I've received a special request today. When the snow stops falling we have need for a tunnel and a slide built with snow. I think I can manage. We sure have plenty of the stuff.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Blizzard Dress and Delicious Yarn

Uh-oh. Oh no. I've done it again. You see, it began with good intentions. The birthday dress progressed along at a snails pace. I feared the loss of electricity during the historic blizzard which blanketed my world this weekend. Put those two facts together on the same day and you have a yarn store splurge. I needed a knitting project "just in case" the power cut off.

Well, I am happy to announce that while we received 3' of snow in our backyard, our power hummed the entire time and we stayed perfectly warm and content. Did I sew the dress? Nope. I had power, right? Yes. So why didn't I sew the dress? How could I when the weather outside froze water? The knitting called me. The bright watermelon color whispered in my ear (or yelled across the house when I tried to lock it upstairs in the sewing room) and I caved. I knitted a dress with the lights on.

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I used 3 1/2 hanks of Tahki Stacy Charles Classic Cotton for this Elenka dress I found on Knitty.

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The good news is despite all my errors and mistakes, the child LOVES the dress and preformed quite a few ballet dances for me while wearing it today. So, the yarn I chose proved a bit smaller than the recommended yarn. The pattern calls for Lion Brand Cotton Ease. I lengthed the bodice by about 4 inches and it looks exactly like I lengthened the bodice by 4 inches. The dress also sports a line across the middle of the bodice. I have no idea why. It looks terrible. The dress is also on the small side. I struggled with the daisy stitch. Cotton yarn doesn't have much give and so my fingers wore out trying to stuff the needle through 3 stitches at at a time, twice. I actually have a little callous on my right hand thumb. The crocheted trim on the bottom only half helped the rolling of the stockinette stitch. I think I am going to have to block this dress. UGGGG!

Other than that, the dress worked up nicely and I am quite pleased with it. I have to tell you...this was my first attempt at a knitted garment. With that in mind, I think it turned out very nice.

Now, I have a dear knitting friend who braved the icy roads to take me to a yarn store this morning before another snow storm hits. I somehow came out with yarn. I don't know how that happened, but it did.

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Oh, but its such lovely yarn. 8 balls of it. Plymouth Jeannee. 51% cotton/49% acrylic. I am not a huge fan of acrylic, but it did make this yarn a bit cheaper than the 100% cotton I had my eyes on. And I love the color.

I did make a rule before I allowed myself to carry the yarn to the clerk. I MUST finish the birthday dress FIRST. I also must complete FOUR other projects from my WIP list or my sewing room BEFORE I crochet the delicious top I have in mind for this yarn. What top might that be? Oh, the Tangerine Top by Mary Jane Hall.

So, I had better run along and finish up that birthday dress "just in case" the power goes out with the storm that appears to be arriving any moment now. I might or I might not post some snow pictures from our weekend blizzard. I haven't decided yet.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Finally Some Ravelry Loving

I finally did it. I finally sat down and logged into my Ravelry account. I had one. I just never used it. At some point shortly after I joined a couple years ago, I added about 4 projects I was working on at the time. Did I bother to upload pictures? Nah! Then, I fell off the face of the earth and failed to remember Ravelry existed.

Until a couple of days ago.

I logged on and voila! An amazing world opened up to me. A world where I can keep track of my crochet hooks and knitting needles. A world of yarn stash catalogs and project progress updates. All this and so much more. I now know what you all knew this all along. Ravelry is the best place on the planet...(or the internet, to be more precise).

And the coolest thing I found on Ravelry? I click on a pattern I see and it immediately jumps into my queue. I can create a project queue that could potentially take three lifetimes to complete. Isn't that amazing?

Now Ravelry does have a downside. A bummer. DRATS! An "Ugggg". I must now face my WIP pile. Every time I log on. Worse yet is when I upload the pictures of all my WIPs. Not a pleasant sight, let me tell you.

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Baby Bloomers during which I ran out of yarn before I could finish the second leg. Now I shall have to frog.

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The skirt I was in the middle of designing when I decided to take my hiatus last winter from designing.

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A dress called Angel Blessings I began designing about 3 years ago and never finished. Somehow it managed to bury itself in my workbasket and I totally forgot it existed until this morning during my WIP digout mission.

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Angel Traditions dress I started to sell in my Etsy shop. Once I realized it would take me a month of steady crocheting to finish the christening length, I laid the dress in my workbasket where it too tunneled to the bottom.

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I really should weave in those ends and call this done.

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Sheer Witchery. I don't want to talk about it.

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You all know the story about this one so I don't think I need to talk about it. I don't want to talk about it anyways. *eye roll*

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A knitted sweater I started a couple of years ago and ran out of yarn. Sheesh! Why do I do that?

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Remember the sweater I started a few months ago? Well, I didn't like it so I am frogging away and knitting up a simple garter stitch scarf/stole. I think I have enough yarn to make three of these suckers. I lost my motivation for this project at some point and now it glares at me with evil eyes every time I enter my craft room.

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A cute little cabled purse I am working on. (yes...I AM working on it! Just not this exact moment.)

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A gorgeous little dress I am working on this blizzardy weekend. I needed a project to work on in case the power went out. Well, I got a little too excited and the power didn't go out yet, so I began working on it anyways. I am almost done with the skirt and will work on the bodice today. Its a little dress for Chloe. Elenka found on Knitty. I am using Tahki Stacy Charles Cotton Classic.


I should probably get off the computer and go finish a project or two. Uggg. Why do I do this to myself? Thank you Ravelry for providing a method of helping me get out of this WIP mess I find myself in.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Crazy Hat Night

Friday will be crazy hat night at Awanas and since Chloe and I felt a bit crazy today, we decided to begin working on our hats. I sent Chloe on a hunt around the house for random objects which I hot glued and tied onto the hat. Here is our first hat.

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And just in case you were wondering, yes...that IS a feather duster hanging off the back of the hat. This is a wonderfully crazy hat. Fits our personality quite well, wouldn't you agree? (or, actually, I think I would rather you not affirm that statement.)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Living On Purpose

"Without a clear purpose you have no foundation on which you base decision, allocate your time, and use your resources. You will tend to make choices based on circumstances, pressures, and your mood at that moment. People who don't know their purpose try to do too much - and that causes stress, fatigue, and conflict.

It is impossible to do everything people want you to do. You have just enough time to do God's will. If you can't get it all done, it means you're trying to do more than God intended for you to do (or, possibly, that you're watching too much television). Purpose-driven living leads to a simpler lifestyle and a saner schedule."
- Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life)


What is my purpose? To honor and glorify God, to bring Him pleasure. To be a godly helpmeet to my husband. To raise my daughter in the knowledge of my Lord and Savior according to the Scriptures. These are what God has called me to do. They are the tasks He has assigned to me.

"If you want your life to have impact, focus it! Stop dabbling. Stop trying to do it all. Do less. Prune away even the good activities and do only that which matters most. Never confuse activity with productivity. You can be busy without a purpose, but what's the point?"
- Rick Warren


It amazes me how energized I feel when I live according to God's purpose for my life. When I cut out all the unnecessary activities I am compelled to add. And why? Why do I add these activities into my life? To please people. Yes. I am one of those. A people-pleaser. I like friends. I want friends. I want friends who like me back. I sometimes go out of my way to please them. But, if going out of my way to please people causes me to step outside the purpose God has for me, then eventually I am going to feel downtrodden and weary. The only one I should be worried about pleasing is my Lord. I cannot always please man. I will do things that my friends will not like while I am in the middle of trying to do something in hopes they will like it.

So, lately I have been focusing on my life purpose. Many may question why I say no to so many wonderful opportunities. Why I stay home so often instead of attending "church" functions. Why I don't attend more playdates for Chloe. Why I don't join more activities for women. The answer to those questions lies in the quotes above. If by attending all these wonderful functions and activities geared to "help" me I stop living according to the purpose God has willed for me, then I am filling my life with needless stress, fatigue and conflict.

On the other hand, if I am living according to God's purpose for my life, He gives me the strength I need to endure. He becomes my mainstay and I run to Him when I find myself in need of refreshment. He fills me up with contentment to live the life He has given me to live.

I love my life. I love my purpose. God gave me the easiest man to help. He really is a dream. God also gave me the most precious girl in the world who I adore spending my days with. I couldn't ask for a better life. I couldn't ask for a better purpose. I am content with the one I have been given.

Princess Bodice Complete

I spent about 3 hours sewing yesterday and have a delightfully pink bodice to present to you.

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I am using Simplicity 4764 to create this gorgeous dress. I opted for view "D" but altered it a bit to include sleeves. I am also changing the overskirt to be a coordinating fabric (the pink sheer with pink glittery swirls)instead of the same pink satin. I haven't decided yet as to whether or not I will make the gauntlets. Chloe said she would like them, but I just don't know if they would look the same with the sleeves. I will have to think about it.

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I have sewn enough toddler sized sleeves in the past 3 years that I feel quite comfortable with them now. I have no trouble sewing around that tiny curve any more. When they say that practice makes perfect, they weren't kidding. There are just those things that one must continue practicing until one gets it. Sleeve curves must be one of those things.

The two major differences I see already between this dress and her birthday dress last year are the princess seams and the sleeves. These sleeves were gathered around the bottom edge and then the band attached. I like the effect. It gives a certain professional feel to the dress. And I also just noticed (after looking at the pictures) that her dress last year had a collar. This one does not.

So, I hope to get somewhere with the skirt of this dress today. We have something like 4-5 layers of skirt. This is one hefty dress. But it is going to be oh-so-beautiful.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Weekly Goal

I finished knitting the second lime green sock for Chloe. This sock should actually be the first sock of the second set of socks. It turned out closer to the size the pattern stated. I guess my gauge tightened up drastically.

At least its done though. And since Chloe isn't particular, she is wearing her "set" of socks today.

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This picture depicts the size difference between the two socks.

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But hey...its done and now I can move on to other things. Friday night I packed a little project with me to Awanas. I needed something to work on during my "down time". I opted for dishcloths. Quick. Easy. No thinking or counting neccessary.

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These will make a lovely addition to the welcome baskets I put together for our Sunday School class at church.

Now for my goal this week in my endeavor to reduce my sewing/craft room by 50%. First, I need to sew together THE DRESS! I imagine this might very well take me all week to complete. I cut out a skirt, a slip (identical to the skirt), a netting skirt (out of tulle for puffiness) an an overskirt. Needless to say, this dress has MANY layers and will take quadruple the time to complete.

If I get THE DRESS done in a timely manner, my next goal will be to finish up a couple more projects residing on the floor of my craft room. I seem to recall a blue something or other, probably that knit shirt I started for myself shortly after James left, and some Christmas cards I started over 2 years ago. Needless to say, no one has recieved one yet and they really should be finished soon. Once I get these projects off my floor, my next step will be the giant tote stuffed full of fabric scraps. I need to get that tote so it will at least close. That's my goal. Let's see how well I do. I am off now to work on THE DRESS.

This Month

Wooo Hoooo! This is the month! This one. The one that starts today. This is the month James arrives home! I can barely contain my excitement. I get to see my hubby this month! We are going to celebrate today. I think I will go eat some M&M's for breakfast.