Monday, December 31, 2007

A Christmas quilt

When I have the time I love to sew or create something. 3 years ago when my mother got really ill and we thought we were going to lose her I started a quilt for her to have during her hospital stays. She loves purple and having some really pretty purple pansy fabric on hand it was easy to decide what to use. The kids even chipped in by sewing a block a piece and signing them. Thankfully she got better and the quilt top got put away. My two best friends, who are quilters also, have been bugging me to get it done. Mom's health is not very good and we've made tough decisions about where we want to go with her health care next year. So I knew I needed to get it done. The top was originally a twin, remember she was going to have a lot of hospital stays. I decided to make it a double though and added extra borders. My two wonderful friends had it machine quilted and we gave it to Mom for Christmas. She was thrilled.
Mom gets her quilt and she is thrilled.

Here's the front side. She's tickled purple so to speak.

Happy New Year everyone. May you and your's have a blessed year.

Love, The Kramers

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Belated Merry Christmas and Winter home tour

We hope every one's holiday season has been wonderful. The last few weeks have been just hectic. With two in high school that's double the semester final studying load. We were up until 12 and 1:30 a lot of nights. That's probably why we got sick. I know you're wondering why homeschoolers are having to do semester finals, but let me explain that we homeschool through a charter school and are required to do assessments. The kids take a science class and math classes with the charter school and they had to take their semester finals with them. I had to create history and English finals. I'm so glad it's over with. It probably wouldn't have been that bad if we hadn't gotten behind with our work. The play practices and other things took a bit of time out of our schedule.
I know we're behind but I'd really love to show the winter decorations that we have. We don't decorate for Christmas but I love to decorate for winter. I love snowmen and pine trees. It's a challenge to find ones that aren't decorated for Christmas, but one that I enjoy. I leave my winter decorations up until about Valentine's day. By then it's getting a little warmer and I'm ready for a change again. So let me begin with:
Grab a cookie and come along with me.
This beauty. Do you recognize it? Yep! It's the hutch that took the team to nationals in Las Vegas this summer. WE WON IT AT THE RAFFLE!! Of course I bought tons of tickets and that helped. Fortunately I had painted the living room walls in anticipation of winning. The dining room is too small to hold a table and a hutch. I'm not sure what I want to put in it yet, but I'm sure I'll figure it out.
Here's the inside of it with the doors open.
I have two winter teapots that I just adore. We use them Christmas eve for hot cocoa and popcorn.
Here's the new shelf that hubby installed above the corner sink in the kitchen. I'm thinking I'll have to get another light fixture because it interferes with the shelf display.
Here's another angle of the shelf. I still have to paint it, but I'll get it done eventually.
This oak shelf Neil made for me several years ago. When we did Seth's room redo I had to find another place for it. So I put it back in the dining room which prompted so other shuffling of things. I've put my collection of milk glass here. My collection is getting such that I'll either have to find another home for it or not collect it anymore. This is one of the two corner shelves in the dining room. If I were more tech savvy I could put those little send ya to the former blog where it's mentioned things in. I'm limited though.
The last day of finals finds us looking like this. Of course it's a perfect place if you're a cat in need of a nap. Hope you've enjoyed looking around and that your New Year is one of peace and blessings.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Waiting to catch my breath

Oh my goodness! I didn't realize that it had been a month since I've posted. I've checked in on a few blogs, but haven't had time to write anything. I'll try to get something in next week. We're doing a really big push to get things finished for the semester. Hope everyone in blogland is doing well.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Which Jane Austen character are you?

Okay, I couldn't resist any longer. I just had to figure out which Jane Austen character I am. So here it is. I guess it's right. Though I look nothing like this pretty actress.

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Demise of a Monster

If you read a few posts back, you would have seen the morning glory vines we grew over the summer. They more than exceeded our expectations for them, which was to cover the garden bench that Seth had built. We enjoyed going out every morning to see what new growth had happened or how many flowers were open that morning. It provided a wonderful attraction for our yard. We knew that it was getting near the end of its time. But we so wanted to linger over it a little longer, drawing out its last blossom until the very end. But that was not to be. A few Saturdays ago a strong wind came along and knocked over the very top heavy bench. No damage was done to the bench, but several vines were ripped from the ground. So, resigned we pulled out the few remaining vines and disrobed the bench for the winter. Parting certainly is such sweet sorrow.
The day before the strong wind. The monster had certainly grown.
Close ups of the blooms. They were such a wonderful, vibrant blue.
We all fall down in strong winds.
Fortunately the vine was the saving grace of the bench. It cushioned the fall so to speak. We'll greatly miss our morning glories here at morning glory cottage. We did manage to save several praying mantis egg casings and jumping spiders. I could have done without the jumping spiders but the budding entomologist said we had to save our "friends".
We've been so busy here at Morning Glory Cottage. My mom was in the hospital for a week. No serious troubles just a flair up of her lung condition. But running back and forth to the hospital and daily life can just get to you. Work and school continue even in crisis. We managed to finish painting the kitchen and the new flooring was laid. Yippee!!! It looks so good and we are really enjoying the spaciousness of the two rooms. We might never move now.
The carpenter finally got a chance to work on his desk project that we left him from his room redo. He did a fine job. Pardon the teenage mess in the pictures.
Just a little help from dad.
Just about done.

We still have to stain and paint. He picked out cherry stain for the top and black for the legs and sides. Should look really nice. This was a really narrow spot for a desk, but the only available spot in the room. So we had to make the desk. We basically bolted it to the wall so it only has two front legs and a frame.
Seth put molding around the frame to finish it off. On to the next project. They shouldn't have written the never ending story about that boy and the flying creature. It should have been about a house remodel.
I hope everyone is doing great and enjoying the fall weather. We've had just lovely weather. A bit of quick cool down for us, but I'm not complaining. The temperatures have been a little warmer these last two days but not expected to last. I hope to do a post on the new kitchen complete with old pictures in the next couple of days or weeks. Which ever comes first. Take care everyone.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Just a quick word

You'll notice or hear the new player. Thanks for the idea Tina at Cherry Hill Cottage and Kim at Daisy Cottage. (If I knew how to put those little forward thingys, I would put those in. Please feel free to tell me how though. ;-) I borrowed Kim's first song from her player because I found it so beautiful. I hope she doesn't mind. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I let Seth blog this week. Hope everyone has a great week.

Out of the woodshop

This week out of the wood shop we have a beautiful bench. It's about 4 feet long. It was quite simple to cut but not simple to assemble. It has a white sealer stain on it. I began this project last year while we were making the oak cabinet. I had to quit working on it to work on the cabinet. It took me about 4 weeks this year to apply four coats of stain on it. It needs a long time to dry.

Here we have a beautiful welcome sign. Scrolled out of oak remnants from the cabinet. It has a natural stain which gives it a golden look and one coat of clear gloss. It adds a very beautiful touch to my new room.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Tole Mour

So I bet you're wondering where I was while Mom, Dad, and Tina were remodeling my room?
I had embarked on a 7 day sailing trip aboard the Tole Mour, a 150 foot schooner run by C.I.M.I(Catalina Island Marine Institute). We set sail Monday, Sept. 3 from Long Beach, CA and headed west to Catalina as well as the other channel islands. Our first day was spent sailing to Catalina where we anchored in Isthmus Cove for the night. We sang sea shanties after dinner then went to bed. The next day we got up at 6:00 am and did the polar bear dive, which is diving into the ocean AT 6:00 IN THE MORNING (better than coffee). After breakfast we had our first snorkeling trip in the cove where we saw the usual Garabalde, Starfish, and Erchins as well as a Leopard shark and Horn shark (depicted below). We then set our course for Santa Barbara Island, a small island northwest of Catalina. We anchored there for the evening and learned how to square dance for the night's activity. We also watched sea lions chase flying fish which was way cool. Day 3 we started off with the usual polar bear dive, which was the coldest one of the entire trip. We then had breakfast and a snorkeling trip to swim with sea lions. Once we were done snorkeling, we went ashore for lunch and a hike. After the hike we hauled anchor and headed back to Catalina to a cove directly across the island from Isthmus Cove. For the nightly activity we watched a movie projected onto one of the sails. Unfortunately no matter how hard we pleaded they would not let us watch "Finding Nemo" or some other movie. Instead we had to watch "Around the Horn" a documentary on a sailing ship that made some 80 trips around Cape Horn (trust teachers to suck the fun out of everything). On day 4 we sailed to Shark Harbor to do some boogey boarding before heading for San Clemente Island located west of Catalina. We had sea watches which are 3 hour shifts for each group when you help the crew run the ship. They lasted till 12:00 am so there was no night activity. Day 5 found us anchored on the west side of the island where we snorkeled in some crystal clear water. We saw most of the same fish but the coolest was the bat ray we found lying on the bottom. After snorkeling we did the rope swing while lunch was cooking. The only bad thing was that San Clemente is owned by the Navy, so at noon the island went hot which means they started bombing it!!!!! So just as we were putting up the rope swing we heard several loud BOOMS which meant the F-14 we had seen flying around earlier had commenced its bombing. Fortunately we had known the island was going to go hot so we were well on our way back to Catalina before the bombing really got started, so we didn't get to see any of the explosions (bummer). On the way back we pulled 10 knots under sail with all but 2 sails set(up)which is really quite awesome. We anchored on the southern tip of Catalina. For the night activity we watched "Blue Planet, the Deep" and jumped into the water at night to swim with the biolumenising plankton, giving you the feeling you were swimming in a pool of thousands of tiny blue lights which light up every time you stirred the water. At dawn on day 6 we arose from our bunks to do our last snorkel around the the harbor of Avalon (the small city on Catalina which even has its own Vons). On the snorkeling trip one of the guys in our group found a bicycle handle bar, a fishing spear, and a car battery. We also feed the fish who were not scared of humans. So the minute the bread was in the water we were swormed by tons of sea bass (some measuring 2 feet in length) as well as some Garabaldes. A few people, including me, had our fingers bit by some sea bass. After we got out of the water we sailed for one of the C.I.M.I island camps. On the way there I got to go aloft with most of my group to unfurl the lower topsail, later the same day I was allowed to go up with some other people to furl the same sail as well as the upper topsail wich is a little higher (I did really well considering I'm not one for heights). We anchored just off shore from the camp and went ashore to visit their small aquarium which had two touch tanks. This was for the last night activity. There we got to see some different varieties of star fish, an octopus, a Morey eel, a giant kelp fish, and some other fish. We also got to touch some sea stars, sea hairs, some sand rays, as well as some leopard sharks, horn sharks, and a few tiger sharks. They also had some crabs in the touch tanks that we weren't supossed to touch but most of the boys daringly touched them just out of their claw's reach. On day 7 we did the last polar bear swim and for a treat one of the crew took us to the bow sprit, which is the net that runs under the pole that sticks out of the bow of the ship, there we got to jump 20 to 25 feet into the water below, yee ha. After we emerged from the water we went ashore to kayak out on the ocean. After which we went back to the ship to jump off the bowsprit again before heading back to the main land. On the way we saw our 4th pod of dolphins and a pod of blue whales which we followed real closely till they dived. It was the perfect thing to end the trip with. We made port, said goodbye to the friends we had made and left for home.
And now you know the rest of the story.
This is the Tole Mour anchored off Catalina Island.
This is the fore mast. You can see me on the fighting top waving. The sail right above me is the lower square sail which we were going to unfurl. The sail above that one is the upper square sail which I later got to furl. I also was allowed to climb to the very top of the mast which had an awsome view.
Here is the Leopard Shark we saw the first day snorkeling
And this one is the Horn Shark we saw the same day. The person holding it is our crew chaperon Emily. We gave her the nick name of "THE QUEEN OF SHARK CATCHERS".

These pictures are of the rest of the kids relaxing on the stern (top, the guitar was one of the crews) and the bow (bottom). Don't be fooled by the photos though. We hardly got breaks because if we weren't setting or striking sails, we had pride (a sort of ship cleaning period that took place after every meal) or else we were in classes learning about oceanography or marine biology. In fact the few breaks we did have were pretty short most of the time and were ended by the dreaded sound of the Muster Forward bell (by the end of day 7 I was ready to chuck it over board).
Hope you enjoyed this and have a great week.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Once Again

Well we managed to pull off another "while you were out". Seth took a 7 day Tole Mour Tall ship trip. We decided this was a good time to redo his room while he was gone. Especially after the comment he made the week before he left. "Gee mom, I wish you, Miss Kelly, and Miss Janie had time to redo my room while I'm away. I know you don't though because of work and everything." I said "Yeah, I'm sorry Seth. Work is pretty hectic right now. We'll try some other time." Seth left Labor day Monday and we got busy.
Here we go. The before shots.
I really hadn't realized how much my neat kid had become like my messy kid.

Now the work begins:
One of the first places we went was to RAD. Where we purchased this cool bookcase headboard and chair. Cost? $45.
We'll strip this baby and stain it. Recover the cushions in corduroy, probably some shade of red.
Then we went to Lowe's. Don't ask how much we spent there because it was more than enough. Then we went to Big Lots to purchase the cool curtains and shelves. Fortunately we didn't have to paint the walls like we did for Tina's room redo. Seth likes his "crisp toast" paint job. Yep that's the color name.
Here's Tina working. She did a lot of the work because I was busy working my big girl job and so was everybody else. This was the first week we had students in the library and things get pretty hectic when that happens.
Neil assembling things. He'd really like it if I would quit doing projects. He just wants everything done, neat, tidy and put away. Thank you very much. Seth returned late the following Sunday to a room that looked quite a bit different. Here's the finished product or near finished product. We ran out of time because well with work, etc there just wasn't enough plus the carpenter was out to sea. That really puts a kink in the works.
Here's Tina reading on the "new" bed. We painted the headboard black and put new knobs on it. Kelly made the cool hot rod pillowcases. I've got to finish up the Route 66 quilt I started several years ago. I'm ashamed to admit. I bet Seth feels like I never finish anything for him.
Seth likes Coca Cola memorabilia. So we did one wall of his Coke things. These are the shelves we got at Big Lots. We painted them black. I still had a half gallon of black left from Tina's room. It came in handy. I still have more black paint. Ugh!
Close up of Coca Cola things.
The chair isn't finished. This will add to Seth's incomplete feelings he has for his mom, but at least he'll get the jest of what we were trying to accomplish. We did manage to get the chair stripped. We just need to stain it and cover the cushions. Kelly says she'll help me one weekend.
We used the old, smaller desk for a new nightstand. This worked great. It gave us a large surface for Harry, the tarantula and also created a niche for his ammo box. You can see it in the first photo. We ditched the old bookcase. Actually it moved to the school room and created the new system here. This is what cost the most at Lowe's. Seth's worth it though. Notice the incomplete desk the carpenter has to put together when he gets home. The only way we could get a desk for this spot was to make it our self or himself as the case maybe. We did stain most of the shelves and got the hardware installed.
The dresser moved where the bookcase used to be and got a cool retro cover which you can't see unfortunately. I hope to eventually find a mirror to put in this spot.
Here's a good shot of the front view of the desk/bookcase system.
And here's the really surprised owner returning home. He was distracted by a phone conversation he was having with a friend as he walked into his room. He really likes the room and wished we had built the desk. That's what you get for being the family handy man though. Enjoy your room Seth.

Morning glories for Morning Glory Cottage

After the rain last night the sky was just beautiful this morning. Seth took some pictures of the morning glories out front. These will probably be some of the last photos of these beauties. This is a side view of the front yard. You get a pretty good shot of the three morning glory "bushes". I love morning glories as you can tell. Actually there's very few flowers I don't like. I even like thistle with its puffy, purple head.
This guy is actually a vine from the one on the trellis who crept his way over here and grew over the shepherd's hook I have staked here. Cheeky little guy!
This is a close up of the one growing up the trellis. It finally decided to bloom after much persuasion.
Here's the monster. It's more than fulfilled my dreams of filling up the garden bench Seth built. The cats all love it. They think it's their secret hiding place and a wonderful place for a nap during the hot afternoons. You can't even sit on the bench part of it anymore, at least unless you're daring.
This is the front. The morning glory has decided to take over this flower bed. Which is what bind weed will do. Couple more weeks and I'll be pulling them out though and the other flowers will be glad.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.