Making Home.








We’ve been talking about this since we left Tennessee, the flooding just made us get to work. We have farmland in Southern Wisconsin which had an unlivable house on it. Last July we knocked it down. This July we started building our own.

I’ll spare you the mundane details of permit getting, vendor finding, etc. We got that all in order and got to work. In WI we are not allowed to install our own electric, plumbing, or HVAC. Anything else we can. Going pioneer style, we are building, literally swinging the hammers and erecting the walls, our little house in the country.

Every single day we work. All day. All tiring day. With our small square footage we are making huge progress quite quickly. We decided to build living space inside a metal pole building. Here’s where we are with that.

First, we paid someone to install windows. They peeled the metal off, framed in windows, and reinstalled the metal. Then we paid to have colored concrete poured as our flooring. We’ve had the septic system installed and the yard shaped via bulldozer to prevent future flooding. We paid to have the building insulated. We framed the interior walls and erected the i-joists. We’ve fixed the chicken coop roof with metal Dear Husband bought at auction. Currently, I’m drywall taping the exterior house wall while the plumber, electrician, and HVAC professionals do their thing. Family has been out helping too.

I feel like our full-time job is shopping at Menards. We are there too often. Equally though, we are busy, busy, busy sawing, nailing, screwing, creating. It’s like the best craft project ever! We’re repurposing some things from the old house too. I just can’t wait to share the end product. Stay tuned.

(This is moving along pretty quickly. We have plans to travel again, but we wanted to get our final stop in order.)

Jelly Belly Factory, Fairfield, CA.





On our way to the Sonoma NASCAR race, we passed by Jelly Belly and saw they have factory tours. Well, of course we had to check that out.

The factory tour was an enclosed catwalk that toured us above the operation. We read signs and ran into a few employees to answer questions. We were very curious about bean boozled beans. (Have you played that game? It’s quite yucky…and funny.) We were told by employees it smells awful when they make the horrible flavored beans. We were shown piles of dog food flavor below. Insert gag motion here.

The tour was quite quick and oddly backwards. Meaning, they make you tour through the packaging first, the mixing of the beans, and so on back to the beginning. We were given free bags of beans, and bought a few as well.

I love to stop at factory tours to give the boys a sense of where things come from. However, I’m not sure this place is a good destination. Just a fun stop on the way. Fortunately, that’s how it worked for us.

Tracy Art.



Little fella gets in these moods where he just needs to draw. He had an impulse this week and created Tracy, in pencil, on a junk piece of wood. He then went on to draw portraits of each of us in the family, a ball of yarn with knitting needles, and two tractors. All things we love.

He signed and dated them all and told me each was available for sale for 1 hug, 1 kiss, and 1 cent. I promptly purchased them all, save for the tractor one as Dear Husband wanted that one. We paid 50 cents each because his comment that “homemade things aren’t worth as much” actually seemed quite off. I told him homemade items are indeed worth more.

Chunks of wood stashed in Tracy is very challenging. I’ve boxed them up and placed them in our storage zone in Wisconsin for a while. I told him I am so excited to display them in our future home, be that where it may. He seemed pleased with that.

I’m glad they are on wood. I think I should seal them with a clear coat? I’d love any ideas on how to preserve them.

Yarn Along: 1000 Places to See and Spirogyra Mitts



Joining in at the Small Things blog for Yarn Along today.

Knitting: My fingerless mitts are five years old and I’ve loaned them to the boys so often, they are pretty beat up. I decided to use some yarn stash and make a new pair for myself. I used Spirogyra, a sort of shell like pattern with a thumb piece too. I held two strands of yarn together to get the white/tan blend. They fit wonderfully. I love having the thumb piece. My other pair just left an open hole for the thumb. Plus, I think this pair is a bit more “womanly” which I like.

Reading: I picked up 1000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Shultz for us to thumb through while traveling. I was hoping we’d get some ideas. It’s well organized by clustering the states together geographically. A lot of the places we’ve been to or new of, but I did find out about Cody, WY which looks very interesting! It reads that the Buffalo Bill museum is the Smithsonian of the West. I just love reading about new places, envisioning them, and seeing them in person. Have you ever been to Cody? What fabulous places have you been that we need to see?

Market Bag or Basically The Best Campground Life Bag I’ll Ever Own.




I thought necessity for this knitting project. I noticed I needed a bag. One to carry stuff and jam stuff in. A campground, hiking, biking, sort of bag. I found this fabulous nest bag at Purl Soho. On my needles and off again in about three days, it’s been put to the test. It’s had wet and dry laundry, snacks, stuffed toys, and most recently seashells. I’m most definitely fighting the urge to make another.

Square Knitting Needles.


My fingerless gloves need replacing. I found a sweet pattern called Spirogyra and needed to purchase size 2 double-pointed needles for the center section of the gloves. had square double points at 50% off. I thought I’d give them a try.

I prefer wooden needles. Metal needles are too slippery for me. Still, I wanted to see what the difference could be, so I purchased the 7″ set. I switched them out where necessary in the pattern and did a round. Interesting. Tried another. Huh. Tried another. Wow.

I didn’t expect a large difference but I will try to explain what I did notice. My current needles are fine and I knit until the point where I am “fatigued.” It’s the point when I know my hands and wrist are getting tired and if I go further I’ll end up with long-term pain which would delay my knitting for several nights. So I stop. It just depends on the day what that point could be. With the square double point needles I didn’t know when to stop. I really didn’t feel that point of fatigue. That was very surprising to me.

I feel like they have a good grip on the stitch. They don’t slip or slide out. I am definitely going to buy more of the double points. I emailed Kollage to see if they have interchangeables and they promptly responded they are releasing a set at the end of this month. I am not a fan of the pink color but I think I’m going to save my monthly spending budget for them anyways.


Homemade Lotion.



It’s that crazy dry hands winter time. That red, raw skin on the back of hands type of season from diligent hand washing. Imagine my delight when I found this fabulous three ingredient recipe for functional lotion bars. These bars are so convenient, I’m thrilled to bits to have discovered the smart recipe. Body heat just melts the lotion onto our skin as necessary.

Saturday afternoon found me in the kitchen whipping up our second batch of these heavenly smelling sweeties. In less than 30 minutes, I restocked our canning jar, which should get us through to spring. But, if not, making more always makes the house smell like honey, so I’m okay with that as well.

Dresden Table Topper.



This was my first attempt at the dresden block, a small gift for my mother. My father has a flea market obsession (like parent, like child!) and small table love. My mother is usually a sucker and keeps most of them. I know there is a little table waiting for this topper easily.

I made a sturdy template by printing off a paper one and taping that to thick cardboard. (There are plastic rulers, but I’m working hard at not buying and using what I have on hand. Frankly, my cardboard one worked just fine.) It was exceptionally fun using such a variety of fabrics and it turned out downright springy. I think the dresden would lend to an adorable round pillow which shall be next on the list for me.

I’ve also seen the dresden used to form a line, instead of a circle, by inverting every other piece. That looks fabulous to me too. I think I could use up a huge amount of scraps this way. Either way, I’m a fan.

Finally, to make the inner circle I used this video by Missouri Star Quilt Company. Oh my, I could watch their videos and make for hours and hours!

Homemade Board Game.




The boys took over the living room floor with markers, cardboard, tape, and ideas. In a favorable moment, they were friends (as opposed to enemies, it goes back and forth all day long) and were chipping in to make a Minecraft board game. Younger fella recruited Dear Husband for cardboard detail. I was put at the computer typing cards and finding matching photos online. The boys, were sprawled across the carpet designing. And then is was complete. They did it together, happily.  And we played. And it was fun. And now Minecraft board game has a little space next to our other board games. Not all moments turn out so well, but it’s pretty darn great when they do.

Herringbone Christmas Quilt.




I scored a few yards of vintage holly fabric for $2 this summer at a sale. When working on holiday gifts, I grabbed it out and thought I’d make a quick table runner for our kitchen table. Turns out I made a lap quilt instead! While searching for a pattern idea, I found this Herringbone Quilt tutorial and was hooked. In one quiet evening, the boys were playing with the neighbor and Dear Husband was on the computer, I pieced the entire top out of scraps I had on hand.

I tore apart an old quilt (a Kmart poly one, not some keepsake or something) for the batting. It has a high loft, not my usual preference, but it was free. I even hand sewed the binding on. All firsts for me.

With Christmas looming, the desire to finish this quilt was so huge. I would spend some minutes in the morning and evening quilting to get it done. And I did! In one swoop, I attacked this thing and made it.

Yet, all the while I was making this quilt, I kept shaking my head thinking how crazy I am. This quilt will only be relevant maybe 6 weeks a year? It’s so bizarre of me to do that, but so I did, and it was fun. I guess that’s my walk on the wild side…. I’m cool with that.