Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dwelling on the past:

I will now post about Thanksgiving 2010.

I have very little to say about our actual Thanksgiving day, because it was kind of boring. I guess we are a boring family. We had no family about to come over and no family to invite us over(it's a theme with us: our blood relatives avoid us) and all our church family had already been invited over to various houses. Hopefully Christmas will be more buoyant.

So, now for that seasonal question everyone else has already answered with exclamation marks at the end of every sentence: What are you thankful for?

Two physical differences stand out in a brief look back at the past year:
  1. Much more traveling than usual, both together as a family and for me alone.
  2. The entire family being so very sick over the summer
Traveling, though eventually exhausting, is always a great learning experience. This year I traveled to Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, Illinois, South Dakota, and Ft. Robinson, NE. I began re-enacting the 1820's at Ft. Atkinson. I attended a dance workshop in Iowa and campaigned in Omaha. I'm not sure I can summarize the widely varied benefits of these trips, so I'll just say they were good for me. I'm grateful that now I can travel more(funds permitting) as the boys grow older and I have fewer of the babysitting responsibilities that used to tie me down.

Being (so terribly, horribly, awfully)sick wasn't in itself perhaps a good thing, but it was providential. Our church family was a huge blessing to us while we were ill and I know we are so grateful for our Church now in ways we weren't before. Joining the church five(or six?) years ago was a huge adjustment; having Dad quit his job at the University this spring and work for the Church was too. And we were blind, totally blind, to the changes it would bring. I think we are all feeling much more accepted and a real part of the church now, and are really enjoying it. And being sick was part of that. So bring it on.

And notice, I didn't use a single exclamation mark.


Education through Frugality

When we were little, every free concert, every free event, we attended if we could in an effort to gain "culture." We heard the Air Force Band from Offutt; we saw the Christmas Carol, we heard every traveling gospel band and local choir possible. We take other people's junk and use it anyway, because it's free. We take leftovers, hand-me-downs, and coupons. Sometimes I truly appreciate what comes our way, but other times it drives me nuts to have so much "junk."

Last week our neighbor offered us a (dead)deer. We've never butchered a deer before; I think we've ever only done chickens. But Mom, in the spirit of education and frugality, accepted. Because of course, we have a book in our library that tells you how to cut up dead deer! What could be easier? And then we had no choice, because it was hanging up on our garage and we couldn't park there until it was gone.

It took Mom and Caleb ten days to carve up the four quarters. I've decided that if anyone ever offers me a deer, I will gratefully take it to the butcher.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New and Improved

The finished and nearly re-arranged living room. Notice we moved the clock(a long-lived wedding present) to a different wall- I garuntee you that for the next month we'll all be looking at the wrong wall to check the time.

The boys insisted we place the furniture differently from it's former position. Why, I don't know. I would think new paint and carpet would be change enough. Besides, the room itself is so small as to make rearranging extremely difficult and highly controversial.

This picture was not staged. Jen might be reading "Fearing God;" but then again, she might be reading a novel. Gasp!

So there it is, and so it will be for the next ten years(we decided it's better to redecorate every ten years, instead of every fifteen). The new curtains are still in the works, and some of the wall hangings aren't back up, but the important stuff is pretty much in place(namely, the TV and couches).

After 15 Years: Our Living Room Facelift

When we moved in to our house seventeen years ago(conveniently marked by Caleb's birth, and thus remembered), the house was green: painted drab green outside with dark green trim, green wallpaper inside, avocado green carpet, painted green rooms, and a green kitchen with rust-colored metal cabinets.Think massive eyesore. Thankfully, only one green room remains today and  we don't often go in there.

Living Room, 1990's version:

Is it unsafe to post pictures on one's living room online?

Notice the new-two-years-ago leather couches: we're moving up in the world!

So anyway, when we moved in Dad painted the green-and-gold three times wallpapered living room off-white, and thus it stayed for at least fifteen years, growing more and more off-white through the years. I think I can safely take credit for being the one to say, we should paint the living room again. Really, it needed it. So I forced/helped pick a color(paint is on sale, Dad, we should buy it now) and set a date(Dad, I really want it done by Thanksgiving, can't you take one day off work?) and lo and behold it happened last weekend:

We carried the furniture to the dining room, taped, and poor Dad moaned over the sagging wallpaper and cracks. I like perfection, yes, but perfection can't happen to our living room in one and a half days, so stripping the wallpaper was not an option. Then Mom suggested new carpet: 20% off at Menards! So we did that too. I didn't get to pick it.

 The floor wasn't as bad as I expected, though it wasn't finished in the center.

Not since we moved in has this room been so empty. Notice the new (clean!)wall color.

Next post: the end result.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Evolution of the TROUSERS

This has been my first year doing historical reenacting of any kind, and I dragged my brothers with me. Now, after five months and at the end of the season, Caleb finally has basic garments: Shirt, waistcoat, and trousers. And he'll probably never do reenacting again. Sigh. Maybe Andrew will grow a foot really fast and fit them properly for next year at the Fort.
Here's the back panel.
 Here's the front. Obviously these pants are constructed very differently from modern pants, with different seam lines and and drop-front(called a small-fall, in this case) fastened with buttons.
This is an inside view of the front panel. The facings for the fall-front came out a bit too short.
Here's the end result- isn't he good looking? This was the first pair of pants I've ever made. Notice the .50 inaccurate buttons.