Sprucing Up

All this time spent at home lately has really made see how shabby some spaces around my home are. I spent all of last Sunday repainting the trim around my front and garage door. Seven years of furniture moving, dog scratches and kid marks really made them look ROUGH.

I busted out some paint from the basement and some painters tape and put two new coats of fresh paint. I was even a good homeowner and pre-sanded the woodwork before painting to make it look smoother and less dented up.

Next up was the bathroom wall that the hubby had turned into swiss cheese while trying to hang a second towel rod. My blessed father patched the interior wall and fixed up the sheet rock for me. All I had to do was sand and paint.

I just happened to have a TEENY TINY amount of green paint left that was JUST enough to repaint this section of wall and feather it in so that you can’t see the contrast of new versus old. Well….good enough for me anyway.

Next up on my to-do list is hang photos from PB’s birth (two years ago) and the kids height boards I received as Christmas gifts. Better late than never!!

Summer Canning

Our current temperature in Kansas is roughly the surface of the sun with like 1,000% humidity. So why wouldn’t I want to haul out all my canning supplies and heat up my kitchen? I was having some anxiety related to world events and general unrest so I felt the need to make something. That feeling turned into one batch of strawberry rhubarb jam, two batches of blackberry jam, two batches of peach jam and one batch of strawberry jam.

Jellybean helped me off and on saying that he “didn’t like the hot and sticky parts”. Which we all know is almost the whole process. He did like how dark and ruby colored the blackberries cooked down into. All this fruit, except for the strawberries, was homegrown from my families gardens. To me this gave me a grounded feeling and a connection to people I can’t visit right now.

This project did make me feel a bit better. I did have a tiny bit of frustration when my peach jam didn’t set and I had to haul all the supplies back out to re-cook and add more pectin. But the re-do process did seem to work. Now I have some jelly stores for the next year and enough to give as gifts this holiday season.

How is everyone else coping lately?

Bring Me All Your Butter

We spent what we hope was a responsibly safe 4th of July with my parents. We kind of have made our own little “bubble” and see few people but each other up close and within breathing distance. Everyone in my family is getting really good at cleaning…even the littles. And we stayed up WAAAAY too late shooting big fireworks and chasing fireflies.

So Sunday morning, after the 4th of July, I found myself awake with PB with the rest of the house was snoozing. So PB and I raided the fridge to make breakfast. Being good hearty Midwestern folk I made a well rounded country breakfast. I turned leftover baked potato into hash browns, used up the last of the sausage gravy, cooked off some thick sliced bacon and fried a perfect medium egg in butter.

Forget yarn….bring me all your butter!!

Getting A Little Dust On Our Boots

Restrictions here in Kansas are easing despite our cases of COVID still rising. I have opted for my family to err on the side of caution so we are largely doing the same routines we did during Shelter in Place. However, my kids and I really needed to shake things up so we decided to do that carefully. We loaded up the van and spend a quiet weekend at my parents house as a “vacation”.

We opted not to interact with other extended family or public spaces. We played in the yard and around the house with lots of trips around town in my dad’s golf cart to get some wind in our hair and dust on our boots (or bare feet in Jellybean’s case).

One evening we stopped to say hey to the local high school’s chickens. They are definitely missing their kids! We rolled up to their “coup” after they had been put up for the night to protect them from predators. They came RUNNING to us. So the kids and I talked to them and threw in some fresh grass and chicken feed. It was quiet and simple and a nice way to spend time as a family.

Note: These chickens are most certainly well cared for despite schools being closed since March. They are fed, watered and set to graze daily by the ag teacher and her family. They even collect the eggs and hand out to local families in need. No animals were harmed in the making of this blog post 🙂

My Back Hurts

Y’all….I did a thing. I almost single handedly moved 4 tons of landscaping rock. I definitely way over ordered from the quary but my neighbors were delighted to take about one ton of it for their fire pit area.

Now the hubs did help me here and there but I can proudly say this was my baby. I finished the big bed pictured above, our rose garden and the driveway lining. Everything is now cohesive and hopefully weed free at least for a little while. And boy is my back sore!

I’m already scheming on how to jazz up the large bed. I’m thinking a standing planter for seasonal flowers that can stand high sun and maybe a hanging bird feeder. PB REALLY likes to watch and talk to birds lately. I think it would be neat to have a feeder out the dining room window she could watch.

All The Yard Work

Happy May Day!!

Today I will regale you with my yard work adventures from last weekend. We have a large landscaping bed off the south side of our house. It’s out of sight and out of mind and long neglected. Well, bring on a global pandemic and I decided I needed to be outside and away from kids! The area looked like this to start.

I raked, scooped, shoveled and pulled weeds for a solid three hours. The bed at one point had a wooden mulch layer but I scooped that out as well, no thank you termites! I managed to get down to a pretty nice even dirt layer. I did use a quick spray of weed and grass killer to discourage new growth. My next plan is to call a local quarry and get some rock delivered. I want nay NEED low maintenance ground cover. I do plan to roll out and stake down some weed barrier before the rocks.

I could barely move my arms and legs the next day (or two) because I moved a metric poop ton of debris! I filled two trash bins and five large yard bags with junk. I probably should have left the sanitation workers a tip…

Anyone else out there sprucing up their yarns or gardens in this time of #stayhome?

More Gratuitous Baking Content

Jellybean looked at me this week and said “we should make cookies”. And I said why not! So here is more gratuitous quarantine baking content.

We made pretty standard cookies except for Jellybean insisted on adding the whole bag of chocolate chips. He then put fork marks in them like peanut butter cookies because why not? He also squished the completely flat. So we have very nice and crisp cookies.

They lasted all of 3 days. But to be fair I only baked 1/2 the dough and froze the other half or another baking day. I hope future Rachelle enjoys the work of past Rachelle, lol.

Happy Baking!!

Dyeing Finished Objects!

You guys, I have a dying FO this week! The weather turned a little nicer so I sneaked outside on a break from work and took photos of our Easter dying attempt.

The tie dye turned out very nicely! It was very muted compared to the yarn but I’m guessing that is the difference between a plant fiber and an animal fiber. I have zero idea of what we will do with this fabric as it literally just tiny remnants. But Jellybean was really pleased with this “art” and that might just be enough for me!

I think the yarn made a very lovely variegated skein! As predicted we have white/undyed spots for sure. But it’s not a bad first attempt. I have not yet re-washed this skein to see if I am going to have any dye loss. I will for sure do that before working this up into a project. I 1000% percent do not trust my dyeing skills…lol.

I think this looks really nice skeined up even! This skein was a partial leftover so its around maybe 50-60 grams? I’m not sure what I would even want to do with this once I’m safe the dye won’t run on me. But all the value of spending time with Jellybean and forgetting about the state of the world for an afternoon was well worth it. Even if I never knit this!

Happy Knitting!!

Easter Dyeing Project

I just couldn’t quite bring myself to waste the leftover Easter egg dye. And we are all still “sheltering in place” here in the State of Kansas so why not try a new craft? I dashed down to my stash and pulled some muslin scraps and some white Cascade sock yarn and started soaking both in a vinegar and water bath.

Once they were soaked we lightly rinsed them and laid them out. Jellybean helped me add rubber bands to the fabric. And then we waited until PB went down for her nap because I know better than to mix messy stain inducing crafts with a 23rd month old!

Jellybean was in charge of the colors and the placement of the dye. We had discussions of the color wheel and complimentary and contrasting colors. We make sure to turn our work and get the dye every where. (Thank god for plastic wrap!)

I then took the helm for the yarn dyeing. I took the skein and lowered sections into each of the five colors. Jellybean got to be in charge of pushing the skeins down with spoons. We totally on a scientific basis decided to let them soak for 7 minutes. I did zero research before starting this project. We literally just winged it and did what felt appropriate.

After the timer went off we pulled it out onto a pan. Then carefully under Jellybean’s watch we used the remaining liquid to blend the color sections. It was harder than expected and we ended up using some paper towels in the middle to catch the dye liquid form ruining other sections as it ran. We weren’t 100% successful but close enough for these novices.

We definitely have some white sections left on the yarn as it was hard to get complete coverage using solo cups and just pouring liquid over the yarn. I heat set this yarn and fabric in the microwave for 3 min and left to dry.

They are both still hanging fully dry in my basement as life took over. I’ll try to see if Jellybean is interested in helping do a FO photo shoot this week. I mean….we’ve got nowhere to go!

Working From Home

I have joined millions of people across the country and the world and I’m officially working from home. I have my work laptop and my personal computer all nestled into our junk room/pantry/office space. I am lucky to be a) allowed to work from home b) have a job that will at least let me be a little productive during this physical distancing. I had to grab an old backpack and make a “bug out bag” and grab all my notebooks and manuals before leaving my work space. It was very surreal.

I decided to join others who are flashing their temporary work spaces. I still have to supervise four staff from this spot and make sure that we still keep the local government wheels moving. I’m honestly a little scared and I’m sure we are going to find many obstacles. But we are in this together and nothing lasts forever. Let’s do this!!

Sending love and hugs to those who need it!