Saturday, September 27, 2014

Store Up Not for Thyself....

 Lay not up for yourselves...

 treasures upon this earth....

where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal....

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, 

where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Day 4 of battling the carpet beetle infestation, laundry, moving furniture, laundry, vacuuming, poisoning, carpet cleaning, laundry.... 

It's exhausting, and not just for me, but my poor mother in law is working and working on this. And the worst part is, its mostly my fault (and a little bit the 8 cats fault, for shedding fur, mostly long haired, which makes the dust here delicious). 

My fault, because of my stash of fabric and things made out of fabric that I was "going to refashion." Like those 2 beautiful deep red wine colored wool winter coats I got from the thrift store for the amazing deal of 15 bucks total, that were going to turn into a splendid medieval winter coat with silvery buttons....
Or the piles of sheets and re-purposed clothes, all awaiting their transformation into medieval-inspired gowns and nostalgic children's clothes. 
Or the 15 belts and worn out shoes & boots that I had stuffed in bottom of my closet with dreams of glory, of scabbards and medieval boot making skills....

For some reason they really like fabric stored under beds, and in closets. I don't know why they are on the cotton as they can't eat cellulose, but I suppose a thin layer of cat hair is all they need. And evidently the leather & keratin-muncing pupae (hatch in 5-35 days, are pupae 2 months to 2 years) live quite a while, eating and eating in the dark to prepare for their brief 2 weeks of adult life in the light.

When I found the first signs, and told Josh, he said "Store up not for thyself..."
When I threw the wine-colored coats in the trash, and said it to myself. I think God is trying to get my attention.


1. Vacuum the floor and closets 2x a week. (and wipe down dusty baseboards) Mondays and Thursdays. Make one of those times moving furniture that can be moved.

2. Do a deep cleaning 2x a month. (moving mattresses, vacuuming under beds, dusting bookshelf tops and trying to vacuum as much as I can behind dressers, dusting baseboards) First and Third Mondays of a month.

3. Do Fall and Spring Cleaning, moving all the furniture, shampooing the carpet (especially closets) and washing the walls and baseboards.

4. Don't store stuff under beds, or on carpet level. Put it in tubs and stack them to high heaven.

5. If I'm not planning to make it into something in the next 7 years, DO NOT BUY IT, nomatter what a great deal it is. While I might be saving money on a deal by buying it now, say I get it for 4 bucks now instead of 24 bucks ten years down the road, I am saving 20 bucks but hauling a chunk of stuff around with me FOR 10 YEARS. That's 10 YEARS of space used up in my home, 10 YEARS of mental stress about my stuff not getting moth and rust and all that. It comes out to 2 BUCKS A YEAR for hauling it around. So if I realistically am not sewing something for the next 7 years, don't buy it.

6. If it takes me more than 20 seconds to figure out what I'm going to do with a scrap, then throw it away. (and that use had better be within the next 7 years) I love making silk purses from a sow's ear. I love taking somthing that would have been thrown away, and turning it into something precious. Like a medieval hat from an empty diaper genie refill container (literally). Or elven leaves applique from T-shirt scraps, or fabric flowers from old shirt collars....
I hate to think of a 10" x8" piece of a white sheet rotting in a landfill just because I was too lazy to come up with a use for it.
I hate wasting fabric, even cheap fabric. To the point that I find cutting out patterns mentally exhausting, as I reposition my pattern pieces for half an hour, trying to get the least wasteful method of cutting them out from a polyester mockup sheet. I want to have a scrap bin, waste turned into endless possibilities, that I will transform into amazing things. 
But the truth is, my scrap bin is paralyzing. I feel I must justify the existence of each scrap, like the animate things in a Hans Christian Anderson story, and give them purpose. And if I throw them away, its like I've failed. It's emotionally exhausting to dig through the scraps and try to think of uses for little odd shaped trapezoids of fabric. I cart around little 2" wedges of fleece that I might turn into fleece flowers, etc, because I can't bear to see them sitting in a landfill till Jesus comes back.
But  all I'm doing is turning my house into that landfill. 

And it is paralyzing my creativity (Its so much easier to make flowers from a 75 cent piece of felt, than spend an hour piecing together fleece bits from my scrap bin), and time is a resource too. A very precious limited resource with the kids and all. 

And something else I've realized. Trying to make cool stuff when you are unemployed or trying to support 3 kids off a grad school stipend, made me value money. If I could decorate, sew, and make beauty for cheaper, than it was possible. I wanted to prove that you didn't need money to make things. That you could get a medieval gown with thrifted table-clothes, a medieval hauberk with a stained leather jacket at a thrift store. That with grit and ingenuity, I could make all those things that other people spent thousands on, with grit and pocket change.

But there's something else, much much more precious and limited than money. Time. 

I only have one life on this earth.

And yes, in my lifetime, even with very limited funds, I might be able to sew and make every cool craft and dress and medieval weapon that was in my inspiration folder. With lots of creativity and a little money, making dresses and boots and swords and satchels...

But I only have one life on this earth.

And while I could do it, it would use up all my time.

And there are other things I want to do more. Read the Hebrew and Greek, read the Church Fathers and Midrash, write children's books with beauty & symbolism, help re-write StarCraft, make movies that touch people's souls and reveal the deep symbolism that God wrote into the universe, go camping with Josh & the kids on a frequent basis, teach the kids survival skills and archery and history....

And there's the things I should do more, because I know when I'm 70 I'll look back and wish I did them more, read the kids more books, eat more popsicles with them, cheerfully change diapers, make Josh tasty lunches, listen with Isaiah says "Mommy!" at the crazy little babble he has to say....

"Fix your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our that you may run..."   
                            ~ (Hebrews 12 from the slightly mashed Bible in Hannah's head...)
I haven't been fixing my eyes on Jesus. I've been fixing them on my wishlist, on supplies I need to get from craft stores, on the pretty things I want to make. And I haven't been running. I've been sorta slowly trailing, like a kid on a leash not wanting to leave the park, who had calculated the most amount of resistance he can do before the frustrated parent turns around and reprimands him....I've treated God like the frustrated parent, who is trying to take away my happiness, when really, he's trying to get me to the brink of battle, to the wind from the break in the sky and the morning star...

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Message for the Media

Dear Media,
I do not want to know about person x's lover and wife x's murder and how person y was involved and who sent dirty texts to whom, and the method of murder used....

If that someone is not in public office, is not related to me, is not my friend or my aquaintance or business partner or coworker---THEN I DON'T NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IT.

There is nothing I can do.

If they represent me (politically or religiously), then I should know that they are not trustworthy (although, once its really proven, I really don't need all the horrible details).
If I am on a jury, then I need to know all the horrible details, because I hold a life in my hands. (although I don't think the lawyers want me learning the facts from the news)
If I were related or friended to them, then I should know, so I can pray for them. (although, I think I would hear about it by word of mouth. And if It were someone I loved, I don't think I want to see it on the news)

So if there is nothing I can do about it, and there is not a single logical reason I should know about it THEN WHY SHOULD I WATCH YOUR "NEWS"??!!

So I can emotionally rubberneck at the broken humanity?
So I can reel in fascinated horror, the way a kid stares at a half-squashed bug?
So I can feel better about myself, that at least I'm not involved in affairs and murder?
So I can figure out who cheated on who, and give my mental verdict of who was to blame?

God alone really knows. God alone really weeps. God alone is full of holy wrath. God alone really understands the hearts and minds of those wretched people.
God will judge.

So, thank you for filling me in on all the misery of humanity. I will no longer watch or read your articles. I do not want to contribute to the monetization of human wretchedness.
Because really, if I really don't need to know about it, you just want me to read about human wretchedness so I will see the ad for snicker's bars or bounty towels in the right hand corner.


Of Mega Blocks and Cold Bags

Jenny is really into building things. It started ages ago, one morning (perhaps she was a year and a half?) I went into their room in the morning, to find Isaiah asleep, and Jenny had quietly built a tower, which she was then observing, sucking her thumb. As I came into the room, she pulled out her thumb and told me "I buiwd a castwew [castle]"

For her birthday we got her more megablocks.

She has this dedicated intense mode when she builds. Like she's a little engineer, stratregizing, creating. Isaiah gets very emotionally involved in his creations. Whether they are supposed to be "lambs" or "Big Green Hulk" or just a tower. When they fall down, he freaks out.

The tower partially collapsed. Isaiah wept. Jenny observed, and built more things.

Jenny with her tower.

Jenny and Isaiah built a "sheep" and then got into an argument about what it ate. Isaiah insisted it ate "grass", but Jenny maintained it at "cookies"....

I put on the old Gondor Tunic (just a Tunic cut from a black worn out adult's T shirt, that I embroidered with a bit of white DMC floss from Walmart) that I had made for Isaiah for Hallelujah night 2011, onto Jenny, and without the belt and pants, it made a little dress. It was before I knew about knit neck bindings, and alas, I cut too large to fit over Isaiah's huge little head.

Best view of the embroidery. Alas, she is coveting Isaiah's "cohwd bag"
They had a little struggle over the "cohwd bag" (cold bag) which Isaiah had for a bump on his head.
Jenny is upset, while I try to explain to her that Isaiah needs it because he got hurt, and Jenny doesn't really need it.

Jenny got it. Isaiah is distracted by the water dripping off the roof....

Jenny triumphs in her victory.

And here she just wanted to spray mommy with the spray bottle....

Isaiah frequently requests I draw "Darth Vader" and "Wuke" and "Stormtroopers" in chalk, (they are the successors to the Beaver families that I drew hundreds of times..."draw Daddy bwue beaver" "draw mommy beaver" "draw Isaiah bwue beaver..." "draw Jenny bwue beaver.." and just when you thought you were done "draw Daddy white beaver" "draw mommy white beaver..." etc etc etc repeat with all colors of chalk that we own)

Anyway, here Jenny has proudly announces she's drawn some "stoymtoopehs"

I took them inside, and posed Jenny on a chair to photograph her tunic. That's her "I know I'm cute" face.

Isaiah kept the baby occupied. Often I come up and hear Keziah laughing, and Isaiah playing with her and being silly.

Here are what selfies look like when you've got 3 kids.

And since this post was mostly about Jenny, here are the other two....

Monday, September 22, 2014

Making My Room Like Rivendell part 3: Thoughts on Making Elven Banners

I must make this. applique trees and leaves etc (w/ heat n bond, I have no shame. The elves probably had cool stuff) maybe outlined in silver stem stitch? Definitely do the scrollwork with couched silver cord.


Just looked up some more pictures. They totally used paint. Guess that's medieval enough. I guess I will too. Def not puff paint though....

Definitely paint there....

Ok, so just looked at these helpful links of other fellow banner makers on alleyscratch

After looking at various recreations, I realized my favorites were ones done on a sort of matte fabric surface, they somehow looked less costumey to me than the ones done on satin (perhaps this is all the fault of flash camera...)

This was my favorite
Arwen's Banner by Sidhe on Alleyscratch
 Which was done completely with paint on fabric. She did it for her wedding decor, and afterwards hung it up in their room, which I thought was very cool.....

Then there was this one, done with heat n bond and lame applique, and details in a silver paint pen.
Elvish Banner by Sarah (Aranel13) on Alleyscratch
I lover her speckled stars look, it just looks So. Incredibly. Awesome.

 This one's pretty cool too....
(Leah on Alleyscratch)

Done with fabric applique with fusible interfacing.

So I think I shall do fabric paint, with stars cut out of lame and appliqued. Because they are geometrical and easy to cut out :)

I remember than Joan of Arc referred to the making of her banner as hiring someone to "paint" her banner, so it must be authentic.

So paint, here I come....

(Although I know Arwen sewed Aragorn's there's that....maybe I'll embroider it a little bit....)

So I am planning to probably do a rendition of Arwen's banner.

Although make the trees more like the trees on the gates of Moriah....

And do it on a blue-black matte fabric, with speckled stars on it like Sarah Aranel13's elven banner above....

And a Gondor banner, ofcourse. I need a Gondor banner. I am planning to paint some sort of elaborate medievalish looking border on it, all in silver.
Some mix of the below designs....

I think Tolkien would approve.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Zoo Trip 2

We went to the zoo again, this time Jenny wearing another dress from a re-purposed shirt....anyways, the kids had fun.

Jenny the Fearless....
She kept pointing to new animals in the exhibit "I want to ride duh...[insert Jenny's names for things here]!"

"I want to ride duh ewephunt!"

Isaiah was cautious, and preferred the warthog, as he could climb on to it himself.

Isaiah on the elephant. Earlier, when we were looking at real live animals, he got really excited over the emus. "Dragons!" Josh corrected him "No, they're not dragons. They're really big birds" to which Isaiah responded joyfully "Dere DINOSAURS!!!"

Isaiah wanted them both to sit on the warthog, together. Jenny wanted to sit on taller things...

After posing on the baby elephant, Jenny requested that Josh put her on the "big Daddy Elephant"

Dream on, fearless one....

Isaiah was a little nervous on the (ibex??).

I decided baby Keziah needed to join in the fun and ride the Lion.

These were such cool creatures, I had to get a picture....

Keziah was unimpressed.

Josh helping them see the lions and tigers. There was much joy, as the usually-always-sleeping lions got up and did such thrilling things as lick themselves. "Duh Mommy Wion went and sees duh Daddy Wion! Duh Daddy Wion wake up! Duh Mommy Wion walking..." Isaiah and Jenny gave us a running commentary.

Much fun was had by all. We came home and Jenny gave a meticulous report to Grandma and Grandpa about what we saw.
"En we saw duh Turtle, en duh fish, en duh Mommy Wion woke up..." etc.