Monday, February 23, 2009

Cushion Mania

Hmmmm. I seem to have been outsmarted by a bunch of couch cushions. No matter how carefully I measure them, they defy being properly covered. I was hoping to tackle them again today, but alas, I was sucked into the dump that is DD's room. I got one box of crud cleaned. And that only took a few hours!!!!!! He is my material girl. Never met a piece of paper he didn't love and considering that he doesn't read, he has lots of paper and books. Sheesh.

Tomorrow the cushions and I come to some kind of understanding!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sewing Blitz Day 2. . . or is it 3?

Sewing things are going swimmingly so far. FTD was at BS camp, DH went to the home show, so I only had DD pestering me. And he watched a couple of races on the tube, so he was only partly annoying.

I've got the inside covers for Amy's couch done. Being cheap and Scottish meant I kept putting smaller and smaller pieces of fabric together for the tops and bottoms. They look awful, but they don't show so who cares!!!

To reward myself for a job well done, I worked on something I've been planning since last summer. The building where I work, the Madison Information Station was built in the 1920s and is what we call Parkatecture. Native lodge pole pines and locally quarried granite-rhyolite. It's a beauty in a beautiful location.

There are reverse carved pine trees all along the edge of the building. Last summer I asked Ranger Doug (who's 6'4" tall--yep, a full 14" taller than yours truly) to make a rubbing for me, and I took several photos. For my sewing project, I made a reverse applique of the tree using park service brown and green. For the border I had left over stuff from another project, so I re-purposed it for this. I love it.

Now back to those cushions!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

GS World Thinking Day

Happy World Thinking Day!

Great Backyard Bird Count

This is so cool. The results from the Great Backyard Bird Count are coming in. What a cool resource. There's soooooo much information right at your fingertips. So here's what we know about my zip code: 43558.

There were 5 lists turned in--way too low, neighbors!
There were 18 species reported by the 5 of us.
There were 271 individual birds reported.

The interesting news? Last year we submitted the only list for 43558. So at least some of our neighbors are joining in.

But here's the important question--DID YOU SUBMIT YOUR LIST???

Anywho, check out the website. The Top Ten Lists are fun to read--we had 9 out of 10 of the Top Ten Species. Guess that makes us All-American Lazy Birders.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sewing Blitz

One of the really great things about knowing where I'll be next summer (assuming that The Call from YNP will happen soon) is that I don't have to wonder what to take for living. You know, stuff like pots and pans, linens, junk like that. There's at least an 80% if not higher chance that we'll be back in the same apt as last summer, so this week I finished curtains for each room. I stuck some fabric over the boys' window last summer, but this year I dug out ones I had made for their room in Acadia. I took my sewing machine with me then, hoping there would be room for it. Boy was there and we totally paid thru the nose for it.

But I wasn't sure what we'd have in YNP. Turns out that it's wonderful--all 664 square feet of it. Yeah, I know our Ohio house is three times that big plus the garage and the basement, but what the heck. And as great as our view is here--woods we actually own--there are no bison roaming around. I can actually do without the bears, but bison I miss. Wolves would be nice, but the occasional coyote here is nice, although they hardly ever howl here.

Our cabin in Theodore Roosevelt NP was the cutest of our housing places. It had a nice size bedroom with a closet, nice bath, small but cute kitchen, living room--which was the boys bedroom--how loverly, campground office, and front and back porches. We ate 95% of our meals on the back porch. Since there were no mosquitoes thank goodness, Tom and I pretty much lived out there. The boys each had a bed in the LR, along with the ratty couch, one small dresser, and a small closet. They set their game cube and vcr up on our traveling boxes and called it home. And I when we got home to Ohio, I went on a rampage and cleared out a lot of stuff that we don't need.

Living in a tiny space will do that to ya. Sadly, I'm still up to my eyeballs in stuff I don't need, but I've done pretty well getting rid of stuff I don't want. I even--gasp--got rid of lots of books!!! There are still some things I can't resist, but I'm soooo much better than before. For many years I kept myself on a strict rule about if I buy new clothes a like item has to go to the Goodwill. Then I was subbing and needed school clothes. I'm not subbing much now, so last week I pared down my school clothes. That felt good.

So what does all this have to do with a sewing blitz? All the curtains are done for the apt.. Venetian blinds are in each window, but I hate blinds with a passion, so now the place will have curtains. Our Ohio house doesn't have any curtains because who's going to bother looking here? Out there we have neighbors and tourists and all sorts of other interesting riff-raff. Not to mention the long summer nights and early mornings. And the curtains give a sterile apt. some flavor. I'd post pics of the place, but when 4 clutter-prone people live in a tiny space, it always looks messy. Ah hell, it IS always messy. I've got a couple of ideas on ways to try to do some clutter busting next summer, but as usual it involves serious re-training on 3 male members of the species. Wish me luck.

And for extra sewing fun, Amy and I are working on new cushions for her cool old "Heywood Wakefield" furniture. I was hoping to duplicate the shape and construction of the original cushions but after dinking with one for several hours that ain't gunna happen. So we re-grouped and got it figured out. The inner covers are done for the 3 bottom cushions (well, almost--they're all cut out that that's the pain in the butt part). Tomorrow I'll finish those, and in between errands, I'll start cutting out the outer covers, which will be simple black denim. We were hoping to put on piping, but again the pain in the butt factor is high there. Amy also has the good sense to want good looking simple stuff as opposed to poorly done cooler stuff. Yea.

Oh, and I also made 2 wee tiny pillow covers today, too. Gotta justify all those fat quarters that seem to jump into my cart at the fabric shop. . . .

Monday, February 9, 2009

Home, Sweet Home

I just googled Oak Openings to see who else is crazy about my backyard. There are just a handful of us folks who have the honor to say we live in Oak Openings. This area is a globally rare ecosystem. Think sand dunes (albeit small ones), hardwoods, and Indians. Well, okay, there are very few native families still living around here, but tradition has it that the Ottawa, for one, liked this area because the sand dunes created higher, drier places. Most of NW Ohio was more like the Great Black Swamp. This area was impenetrable by everyone, until the coming of the Big Ditchers. But every here and there, small sand dunes--remnants of the shores of ancient Lake Whittlesey--poke up and provide an area where trees could grow and spread their crowns. In these areas, why, you could drive your wagon through the openings! Openings in the oak trees, get it?

When the local park district starting purchasing land, this area was considered crappy agricultural land--especially when compared to the ultra-deep topsoils of the drained swamp (still some of the most productive land in North America, currently covered over by huge and unnecessary big box stores and strip malls, barf). The district was able to purchase large, "useless" tracts out here and viola! a beautiful park.

In the '30s, concerns about any bit of sand blowing anywhere caused the local CCC to plant thousands of pines in the park. In recent years, this has become a hot button item. Oak Openings purists want to rid the area of all pines, as none are indigenous to the area. Others love the park because there are 100 foot tall pines creating cathedral like corridors in the park. Birders enjoy the added variety of species, due to the added variety of tree species. What's a park district to do? When the pines were planted, it was assumed they would also be harvested when the time came, then replanted. That time came and went. Many of the trees became diseased, and well, old. They die, ya know? In the past 5 or so years, several acres, make that many acres, of pines were clear cut. Good news, bad news that. I'm on the fence on that one. And many areas are actively brushed out, mowed, and burned on a rotating schedule. Again, are we interfering too much? Only time will tell. In the mean time, we need to whack down several more trees on our own property. Dang. We'll replant along the property boundary, but will likely plant--wait for it.... pines. The property next door, you know the one that looks right into my bedroom, will be developed some day. I need my space, and natural privacy, so the pines will go in.
Unless, of course, some kind soul gives us the money to buy the 10 acres north of us. . . . . please make your checks out to me. Soon.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Starting Out

I've been blogging off and on for a while. I gave blogspot up for a while, figuring I'd set up a web site instead. But alas. I'm too cheap to do it. So back to blogspotting. Let me know what you're thinking. And if you're a Mom and/or a Ranger, join me for the ride.

The over-riding thing to know about our household is that both of our sons have Autism. Want to have a wild and crazy time? Live with autism. It's odd, painful, weird, and fun. My kids say things that are so funny and caring and loving, and so totally mixed up that they bring smiles to us everyday. There are also many moments of sheer anxiety and terror. If you've been here, you know of which I speak. If you haven't had these experiences, well, count your blessings.