Monday, May 31, 2010

Chicken Condo

Sometime around end of February, we decided to renovate our small chicken coop and during this time, I also decided that we needed some more color in our lives.

I'm presently enamored with the color "robin egg blue"; however, during the time that the coop was being primed and painted in our paint selection would have been more aptly dubbed "institutional green" than "robin egg blue."

Nevertheless, once dried, the paint color was much better than we had feared. I think it would look just right in a desert or island setting; though I don't think it's half-bad here in our piece of Appalachia either.

You be the judge. (Pretty snazzy, eh ; the present tenants seem pleased.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Things People Say...

So, everywhere I've gone (it seems), I have picked up certain ways of saying things that have stayed with me since. To start with, my family has always had an interesting way of expressing themselves with the English language anyhow (think eccentric, perhaps, as opposed to intellectual), starting and not ending with the smattering of Pennsylvania Dutch that sneaks into our dialogue (does "rutchy", "doppich", "ferhuddled", and "craddel up into the welshkin grip and see the lovely hossel bears" make sense to anyone?)

One of the phrases that has stayed in my vocabulary, I was "given" by a perky young hair stylist from a Wal-mart hair salon. I have since sworn off Wal-mart hair salons, as my hair has been "butchered" too many times, but at the time, I never knew what state (geographical) I'd be in and the allure of the simple walk-in, no-appointment-needed salon at Walmart was too much to resist.

At any rate, as conversations go, the hair stylist asked me what my occupation was (as she hacked at my hair) and when she found out I was an OTR truck driver, she stopped and exclaimed: " Oh, do you just, like, totally, ROCK OUT?"

In the half second that it took me to process an answer, I thought"huh?" as scenes of big city traffic, fighting for a turn to dock, grinding gears, and dodging corncribs and ditches on one-lane farm roads in the depth of the night, replayed in my chronically sleep-deprived mind.

After the moment's hesitation, I looked back at her in the mirror, grinned, and said, "Yeah, that's what I do, that's what all us drivers do...we just rock out. ALL DAY."

Her enthusiasm amused me, but also made me "ponderous."

And in truth, Axl Rose has gotten me through many a night, Bach became a very nice afternoon ritual for my son and I, and Zeppelin and Pearl Jam...well it's nice to have friends for long miles. LOL.

Regardless, "rock out" has taken a turn for a much broader meaning and it is used liberally in our family. Stereotypically, "rock out" can have some negative connotations, and for us it doesn't involve booze or drugs. And lest you think we wander about in a rocker haze, it is possible to rock out to Andres Segovia or a really great rendition of "Jesus Loves Me" (may I recommend the version by Bobby Pinson, check it out here, it's number 12 on the list...).

Back to the broader meaning it took on for's more of an outlook and a decision to revel in the moment regardless of where you are and what irritations you may be putting up with. :)

And out of the mouth of a babe...Not too long ago, I had just started the truck and turned the stereo on, and our son, who was about 2 and a half years old, at the time, said ever so sweetly, "Rock out, Mommy." My eyebrows went up as I looked at him in the mirror and then I had to laugh. I hope our children learn to rock out with life, not just music, with whatever cards are dealt to them.

So..take time to rock out a little today. Corny, perhaps...
but would you have it any other way?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tune Man

As I started my day, at exactly 2:45 AM, I booted up the computer to blurrily check my email, cup of coffee in hand, before I headed out the door.

My inbox had it's token quota of forwards and spams, including a message from GodTube (something that I don't recall signing up for?!). I did bother to read it instead of immediately deleting it and was glad that I did.

The clip is of a man that spontaneously joins in singing with another man who was jammin' in a park. Their music to's not whiny. It didn't make me nauseous. It appears to be sincere..and (I have to say) it rocked. Check it out here.

It's a reminder to me of our natural craving for God. I was raised being taught this, and at our house we try to illustrate this for our son, by describing it as a "God-box" in your heart that everyone has. If you listen to the quiet Voice... He continues to fill the empty box and you can hear Him. If you ignore your God-box... well, the still, small Voice eventually becomes silent.

Enough preaching from me...check out the clip and see what you think. My perspective: an inspiring, impromptu little tune for the Master Musician.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rag Quilts

So back to the rag quilt project for our baby. It's finished and here it is. I used some of my favorite flannels I've had in my stash for a long time, remnants of fabric that I've used to make quilts for other babies.

As I've mentioned in my Etsy profile, my first "quilt" was from a photocopied , hand-written set of instructions from the Walmart craft department. I thought about doing a tutorial in this blog (if you can sew a somewhat straight can make a rag quilt); however, there are so many great tutorials out there, I'll just link those to this post. All you need is a variety of fabrics (scraps, really) and some muslin for the batting. I've found that a 7" square is a very nice size with a 5/8" seam for ragging. What it boils down to is a matter of personal preference, so long as you leave a hefty enough seam for the ragging.

Meanwhile, here are some links to make a rag quilt:

This one has very clear instructions and good pictures. This tutorial uses batting for a heavier quilt.

And here is another take on this topic.
Here is another one for more ideas.
The best part about these quilts is that they keep getting better with each washing. This is another one that I recently finished for Etsy.