Sunday, August 24, 2014

A new Era; first child off to Trinity School at Greenlawn!

It just seems like I need to write a blog post this week. This is a big turning point; our oldest child has entered school! I homeschooled her from kindergarten though sixth grade, and now she has entered Trinity school for 7-12th grades! This is the same Trinity school that my husband has worked for, on and off the 'clock', for the last 14 years. Teacher, college guidance director, and now director of development and net-worker extraordinaire! Our family has been supporting Trinity, and sacrificing financially while our head works for this wonderful non-profit, for many years. And now! Now we get to benefit from this wonderful education opportunity! I am so happy and peaceful.
Getting ready for school to start, I was having a bit of insomnia. I was not really worrying, but all the preparation and anticipation were taking their toll. We school-supply shopped. We prepared the uniform and went to the parents' orientation. I crashed, literally, in bed nursing the baby, after that informational overload.

Student orientation went well. Only problem being that my firstborn's shoes were 'dumb looking'. They are perfect school shoes; sure to be allowed, quality, comfortable leather loafers. I admit they were thrifted, but only because I happened to see them last spring, when Hermione was shopping with me, and they fit perfectly! So, we went all summer, blissfully free of shoe-worries. Then. The brown loafers were dumb, compared to the black flats-with-no-socks that lots of the other seventh graders were wearing. (I did not see what the upperclassmen were wearing. That would have been good information.) I am very practical in the shoe department. I do love a fabulous pair of shoes! But, if they hurt your feet, it's not worth it. And a 12 year old girl who is lucky enough to go to a school that still gives all the students, 7-12 grades, recess, ought to wear shoes that she can run around in, and go up and down stairs in, without getting blisters! So. I told the daughter, sorry, but we can't do anything about the shoes immediately.
Then I kept thinking about it, and how maybe I was wrong, and maybe they really are outdated, dumb-looking pilgrim shoes, and my sweet daughter should wear what people wear, otherwise its not a 'uniform' is it? Thrift guilt. Is that a thing? I searched online. Found some really cool, cute black shoes that are shaped like sweet flats, but have leather and mesh, and a flexible rubber sole (think sketchers). Hermione and I went to Kohls and found them in her size right away. I had a coupon. Thank you, Lord. It was meant to be.
Daughter had to wait for the shoes to be approved by the Dean of Girls. She had to wear her Pilgrim Shoes one more day, this time with invisible footies. They really don't look that dumb. I may have over-reacted. But I am delighted to help her feel happy about how she looks, while still insisting that she wears shoes that won't give her blisters. Win-win, don't you think?

So many other things coming up. In September, Notre Dame Children's Choir starts. Also Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at our parish, and I am a catechist for the first time! I was extremely anxious about this, but I decided it could be the Enemy, and it's not a good idea to change direction when you are experiencing desolation. Plus, with all that is going on in the world now, what do I desire to give my time and energy to more than proclaiming the gospel? My binder, or 'album' is ready. We have a meeting coming up! I have been planning for a year to serve as a catechist once trained, and I am going to do it!
Also, an opportunity has arisen to take my homeschooled kids to a wonderful local farm every wednesday. Awesome. My children and I need this. I long to be in the country, but know that it makes more sense for us to live in town as near Trinity as we can. So a farm day once a week is a gift. More on that to come.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thrifting Haul, and Bilbo's 10 Month Photo Shoot-- In Which He Never Holds Still

Hermione and I just ha d a nice browse through our Goodwill for an hour. We got some great things!
I like shopping for her, but I can only do that when the dear almost-teen is with me, nowadays. It was fun! I found that tank dress, with beautiful color blocks and a hi-lo hem. Yes, we are going a bit trendy with this one. I will see if I can get her to pose in it...
 Also, I found her trying on fun high heels and other crazy shoes. And these adorable purple ankle boots. Which I bought her for her birthday. They were $10, which is big bucks for me to spend in Goodwill. They look awesome on, and I am kind of proud of her having such a strong sense of her own style.
I also got her these pointy-toed black flats. Cuz she's going into seventh grade and I want to help her be prepared for her new school, so I.... buy her shoes? Anyway, they are a staple!
All in absolutely brand new condition!
 And on the way to the checkout I found this book. We got a son The Dangerous Book for Boys, which is great. I had heard of this one as well. I looked through the table of contents and read a few pages. This is a really cool book! The Daring Book for Girls. Two bucks, baby.

For me, I scored these camo capris. 50% off, yeah! I gave away a camo skirt to Goodwill last year because it was just not the right fit, and I have been looking for another camo item since. And yay me! Gap size 8 fits me. I also got this cool t shirt. 100% cotton, cuz that's my rule. I am a fabric snob.
Is it being a snob to insist on quality, non- sweaty fabrics?

And the part of this post really worth looking at....

Baby Bilbo Photo Shoot!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Crocheted Rag Rugs; The Lazy Frugal Woman's Braided Rug!

I have claimed, over there on the right, to make braided rugs from thrifted sheets. Wanna see evidence?
I started learning a little about crocheting last year. And I got the idea, being a frugal, lazy homemaker who loves beautiful, handmade things, that crocheting might be a faster way to make a braided rag rug! I was not wrong. I was not the first one to think of this, either. There are dozens of tutorials on youtube. I liked this youtube tutorial best. You rip up some cool sheets from your fave thrift store, get a big huge crochet hook, and take it away! It is much quicker than braiding, because the chain is created and attached to the previous row all at once with crochet. To braid, you have to make three long strips, braid them, and then sew the braid in a huge coil! And, as far as crochet goes, this working in the round this way is super easy and forgiving, because you don't have to count or line up rows. I have found that, with my state in life, I have to leave perfectionism behind. If I can get a decent result that makes me happy and blesses my family, I will use the simplest, quickest method I can, even if it would not pass the inspection of more scrupulous homemakers.
Here's the first crochet rug I made:

I learned a few things about the width of sheet strips I prefer and the type of rag texture that works best. This one has sheets, as well as a cool woven tablecloth. I should have made the tablecloth strips more narrow, since the weave was significantly thicker than a sheet. Also, cheap, cotton-poly blend material is not so good to use. There is a princess sheet in here made of such a blend, and the texture is really not as nice as the pure cotton.
Still, thick and soft and cute in my little girls' room.

I started another. Because, I am wierd about buying beautiful material at Goodwill. I had quite a few sheets to put to good use! This one I planned to use in a public area of the house. I put my new knowledge to use, making big torn sheet yarn balls of the right thickness.
Here's the rug in progress:
My foot may not be so helpful for scale; I wear size 11.

 I learned more things. Like the fact that tearing vintage sheets creates dusty little cotton fibers! And apparently I get a bit allergic to cotton shreds. So I delayed a bit. But then a brilliant child of mine (jokingly) suggested I wear a respirator to finish the rug. Great idea!! I grabbed my mask from my tool bag and finished off the ball of rags I had. It helps a lot to keep it on a flat surface, though it gets more unwieldy as it grows.
There is nothing odd here.

Here it is! About 16 in diameter. I can add to it. I probably will, because it needs some red/orange/pink tones, and it wouldn't hurt to have it a bit bigger.
But it looks nice in the entry area, I think.
And here's a sweet mommy-baby selfie. Because this post needs some baby adorableness.