And the inside.
Monday, January 29, 2007
And the inside.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
My family only had one Valentine's Day tradition; my dad always bought a Valentine for everyone else in my family and wrote them a note about the ways they are special and how much he loves them. Getting a card from my dad in the mail is still one of the things I love most about Valentine's Day.
I realized that I don't really have any Valentine's Day decorations, and I think it's really hard to find something that's not too cutesy or cheesy, but I needed something around the house to put me in a festive mood. I decided on something to hang around our candelier so I bought this garland on sale ar JoAnn's. Then I cut it up and strung the hearts on plain fishing line. Yes, it is still pretty cheesy, but I can't resist red glitter.
Monday, January 22, 2007
And the snow was just starting. It may not be exciting to a lot of you, but we haven't had the snow really cover the ground in Columbus once this winter so it was exciting to us (or to me anyway, Larry worked all weekend so he didn't even know that it snowed until quite awhile later).
And for the few of you who haven't seen it, this was our Christmas card this year. The pictures that my sister Candice took are really what make the card and it only took her a few minutes to take them in front of her house, just as we were getting ready to head home. I printed them before we left for our trip in December, but I didn't notice that a lot of them didn't print well so I just barely got around to reprinting a few so some of you are about to get a really late Christmas card. I figure better late than never!
Friday, January 19, 2007
Amy, the creator of these dolls, doesn't live my her sister Sarah so even though her kids talk to their Aunt Sarah on the phone, they didn't really have a visual of her so Amy got the idea to use a real picture of Sarah to create Aunt Sarah Dolls for her kids to play with.
Seeing a picture of a real person on a doll is a little bit freaky, but I also think it's such a fun idea for people like me who don't live by the rest of their family. I could make a whole family and baby Ford would grow up know what his realives look like. I was telling my mom about it last night and she said it would even been fun to use a picture of your child to create a doll version of themselves to play with.
For a while I've been thinking about all of the fun/cool things my friends know how to do that I'd like to learn (as I said, there's a lot that I wish I'd learned from my mom before I moved away and I don't want to end up feeling the same way after I move away from Columbus). I've been toying with the idea of starting a how-to group that meets once a month or something. My friends Melissa and Katie make the cutest hooded towels and Krissy's bags are amazing, and my friends Cat and Jessica can knit just about anything. I'm sure they wouldn't mind teaching a few other people and maybe they'd like to learn a few things too. I orginally got the idea while thinking about some home improvement jobs that I would like to attempt. Think about it; it would be great. Who ever was hosting could think of a project they wanted to do around their house and we could find someone to teach us to do whatever they chose and the whole group could help them finish the project or at least get started. The attendees would benefit by learning a new skill and the person hosting could get some help on their house. Anyway, I thought why not just make it a how-to group and we could learn all sorts of cool things, like how to plant bulbs in the fall or force them in the winter, how to tile a floor, how to create a basic website, and how to make a sock monkey. The possibilities are endless.
I realize there are a couple of flaws in this plan so far. First, I'm already in charge of the children's literature book club and I'm not sure I'm ready to be in charge of another group just as I'm preparing for the arrival of Baby Ford. And second, You really would have to limit the size of the group so that everone would have to have a chance to be hands-on or get a project done at their house and I hate excluding anyone so I'm not sure how you would manage that.
Anyway, if you were in a how-to group, what would you want to learn to do?
Maybe that's why I loved getting this ad today that Creating Keepsakes/ScrapNfonts created for one of the card kits I designed for them (although I don't love all of the cards that they designed using the kit, but still it's just nice running across something and realizing that I made it).
1-1/4 yds. top flannel
4 yds. flannel in colors to match top flannel
1 yd. coordinating flannel for binding
Fold the top flannel at a 90 degree angle and press it for the starting of the stitching. Lay the top flannel face down and then layer the other four layers on top. I use the whole piece of 36" by 45" for the quilt. Pin it together with large safety pins for sewing. One set of directions that I read recommended spray basting the layers together with an adhesive they make for quilters that dissolves when you send it through the wash and I think that might work better than basting it with safetypins like I did.
You can't see it in the picture but I ironed the diagonal line, and then I went over it with a chalk pencil so I could clearly see it when I was sewing. I didn't think it mattered which side of the quilt faced up while I was sewing, but it does! Make sure you do the opposite of what I did and have the side that you will not be cutting face up. With so many layers, the fabric shifts a little as you sew and it's hard to feel if you have any wrinkles in the bottom layer of fabric. My top side looked better then the bottom in the end so I wished I'd sewn it with the pink side up. The layers won't line up perfectly, but wait to trim it square until after you've sewn your diagonal lines since the fabric will shift. My mom also recommended using a walking foot on your sewing machine to reduce the shifting, but it was too late for me. I'll have to try it next time.
Begin sewing on the pressed line and continue sewing at 1/2 inch intervals. It helps to hold and stretch the quilt so you don't get too many wrinkles in the bottom layer. I usually use a layer of white flannel next to the top flannel which you don't cut. Many sewing machines have guide arms that you can adjust to half an inch and line up with your last seam to show you where to sew, but my machine is pretty old so I couldn't find one for it. Instead I used half in quilters or masking tape and lined it up with the last line so I knew where to sew and my lines were straight.
After all the stitching is done, trim all around the quilt until all layers are even. You can see in my picture how mine had shifted and had to be trimmed square.
I cut through three layers of flannel (leaving two layers uncut) about 2 to 3 inches from all edges so it can be bound before the rest of the cutting is done. Some people just use scissors, but that's a whole lot of cutting and you have to be extremely careful not to cut through the bottom two layers. I picked up a slashing tool at JoAnn's that made this process so easy! You slide the long plastic part in between the layers that you want to cut and the layers that you don't and then slide it down the row.
Fold the binding flannel to get the bias and cut 4 strips of 2-1/2 inches for the binding through the middle of the piece of flannel so the strips are as long as possible. Sew the strips together on the bias and proceed to bind the quilt. This makes about a 1/2 to 5/8 inch binding all around. I like to mitre the corners so they are square. I'd go into explaining this, but I found the best tutorial on binding a quilt so I'll just refer you there.
Next you just wash and tumble dry the quilt and watch the chenille side bloom (and be prepared for massive amounts of lint!). Here's my finished product before washing it.
Monday, January 15, 2007
I think Larry may have topped his longest shift record this weekend. He worked form 6 a.m. on Friday to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday (which is more than a little illegal, but he couldn't leave without treating all of his patients). He got home just in time to see our little visitors who spent the day entertaining me on Saturday.
Friday, January 12, 2007
I'm feeling much better today and I've been on task all morning but my mind is beginning to wander as we get closer to the weekend. I have a few random things that that made me smile this week that I've been wanting to share. The first is this purse.
It may be my new favorite thing that I own. My friend Krissy made it for me for Christmas, and I've only used it a few times because I feel like I have to save it for special occasions because I don't want anything to happen to it. The inside is lined with soft, brown corduroy. I love having some super-creative friends and can't wait until I have more time to work on projects like this with Krissy. I heard a rumor that she will be selling bags like these soon so if you want one, now is the time to let her know.
Next is more cute baby bedding. I think I'm going to stick with the polka dot bedding from the Gap, but this bedding from Target is pretty cute too. You can't tell very well from the photo, but it's light blue and brown, not light blue and dark blue.
And third, these silver fortune cookies:
They're from Pottery Barn and they're meant to be place card holders, but they hinge open and you can leave notes in them or write your own fortunes. I think they are so cute and they would be fun to use to leave little notes around the house or in sack lunches. Mind you I can't afford the Pottery Barn Outlet let alone Pottery Barn, so I'm watching for them to go on sale.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
At least I wasn’t the only grouchy one in Columbus after the Buckeye’s huge loss at the National Championship. I think the whole city is in mourning.
Both of my bosses were out of town for the football game and I was still feeling sick on Tuesday so I only worked a half day and spent the rest of the day at home. It worked out well because it gave me a chance to get some rest and start a new project, a baby quilt for one of my best friends who is having her first baby. I’m attempting to make a faux chenille quilt with flannel, which is going to take me longer than I thought, but I’m trying to remember to take pictures so I can show you when I’m done and give you directions if you want them. Keep your fingers crossed that it will turn out well because I don’t exactly know what I am doing. Attempting projects like this always make me miss my mom a little bit more. She is a craft genious and she knows how to do everything (yes, I mean everything: quilting, painting, decorating, basket weaving, book binding, home repairs, embroidery, and to top it all off she’s an interior decorator). I often look at my projects and I’m sort of glad that she can’t see them because I look at the little flaws and just know that she would find a way to fix even the tiniest mistake, but I’m just too lazy for that.
I think I get a lot of my creativity from my mom; she’s always working on several projects and I love that I can ask her what she’s working on at the moment and she always has a list of fun things. Interestingly enough, I didn’t learn to sew from my mom, I took lessons from a neighbor because my mom said that she didn’t have the patience to teach me, but I think it was better that way because that meant that sewing with her wasn’t a task, it was always just for fun. She gave me my first sewing machine for my tenth birthday and another one when I was a senior in high school, which I have never gotten along with so she gave me her old sewing machine after I moved to Columbus. She owned a quilt shop so our house was overloaded with fabric and other craft supplies, but she was always willing to take me out to get my own supplies for the various projects that I came up with: felt for clothes for my troll dolls, fabric for clothes for American Girl Dolls, she even traipsed to a bunch of second-hand stores with me in Hawaii when I went through my year of wanting to be a fashion designer and decided to make a dress out of men’s ties and then she helped me figure out how to make it work (I wish I had a picture of that one for you and I’m actually sitting here wondering if it would fit me if I cut it down into a skirt because it might actually be kind of cool).
Candice, Marissa, and I all agree that there’s so much more that we should have tried to learn from our mom when we were living close to her. I have to call her asking her how to do things I would much rather learn in person like, how do I scald with milk for your butterflake rolls, and if I’m using safety pins to baste a quilt, how far apart should they be? And I often find myself thinking, “If my mom were here, we’d work on this together.” She’d help me choose paint colors for the nursery, she’s show me how to bind this quilt, she’d give me advice on choosing tile for the bathroom . . .
Now that I’m having a baby I find myself wondering if I’ll gather skills over the next 20 years that will encourage my own child to call me for a little help. I hope so. It looks like I have a lot to learn and to explore.
Is there anything that you wish you’d learned from your mom when you were at home?
Monday, January 08, 2007
Here's Larry with the Conch shell that he found while snorkeling.
And here was are getting ready to go back to the ship.It was the perfect relaxing day. My parents said they're tempted to move to the Grand Turk now and I would love that because I would love to go back on vacation and spend more time there.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Every night our steward left us an animal folded out of extra towels. He was pretty creative.
We spent Christmas Day in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We hired Duane to be our personal guide and then we headed to Dunns River Falls.
The Falls were amazing, but a little crowded . My family climbed the falls while I took the dry path since I couldn't risk falling. Here they are towards the bottom, just beginning their big climb.
And here they are about halfway up.
There were a few calm spot where I could slip in for a picture too.
After the Falls Duane took us around the island. We visited Fern Gully, toured a garden, visited the Spice Man, checked out the view from a good lookout point, and we even convinced him to take us to his house so my mom could hand out some toys she brought along for kids there.
On the way to Duane's house we ran into this creepy parade with people dressed in scary costumes. Duane said the parades are a tradition there on Christmas day left over from slavery days. It's not a tradition I'll be trying out at home.
After all of that we relaxed on the beach while we ate some jerk pork and then we headed back to the boat for a big Christmas dinner. I think I was pretty tired.
We met up with my parent to spend two days in Miami before we left on our cruise.
For just a quarter you can take a public bus in a circle around South Beach, but at the end of the line everyone has to get off and switch buses so the driver can take his/her break. There happened to be a Publix grocery store at the drop off, and I think visiting it was Larry's favorite part of the day because my family is all about trying the local cuisine so if you see something and you don't know what it is, of course you have to buy it. Mmmmmm, nothing like a beef-filled glazed turnover or a passionfruit and cheese turnover!After spending the morning exploring we headed to the harbor and took a boat tour of the homes of the rich and famous and spent some time shopping.
It was nice to spend that evening and the next morning just relaxing with my parents.
Then it was off to meet my little sister Marissa and her husband Mike for the cruise.
Has anyone else noticed that Larry likes to put his hand on my stomach in pictures as if anyone could miss that I'm six months pregnant?
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Of course Dave Letterman was great. Cate Blanchett was the other guest and Larry says that she's as creepy and unpersonable in real life as she is in movies. They had a huge Christmas number with a big choir at the end of the show, and it was fun to see them change the set. We loved that we recognized all the staff from seeing them on the show.
The next morning we headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and we could have easily spent a week there. I had to drag Larry away after a few hours so we would have time to see some of the other sites. We wanted to see a Broadway show, but we didn't want to pay full price. They have a TKTS booth near Times Square that sells reduced priced tickets the day of performances, but they don't open until 3:00, and people start lining up in the morning so you can wait for hours and still not see what you want to see. We opted to head to the new TKTS location in the Financial District, which worked out perfectly because it was on our way to see the Statue of Liberty and they opened earlier so you could get better tickets to plays that you actually wanted to see AND there were only about five people in line when we got there. There were lots of plays to choose from, but thanks to Mark's advise, we chose the Drowsy Chaperone. Then we took a nice walk along the waterfront to the Statue of Liberty Ferries. We decided just to admire the Statue of Liberty from the shore because it was too cold to take a ferry so sadly this is the best picture that we have.
That gave us just enough time to make it to Rockafeller Center at dusk so we got to see the tree during the day and at night along with the Windows at Saks Fifth Avenue across the street. I loved seeing all of the decorations on Fifth Avenue.
Then it was just a short walk to the Donnell Children's Library, where I got to meet Betsy, the author of my favorite Children's lit blog Fuse #8. I've been serving on the Middle Grade Fiction Cybil Award committee with her so it was nice to meet her in person and get a personal tour of the library (scary picture of me, but Betsy looks cute).
They have an amazing collection, but a lot of it is not open to the public because they don't have the funding to catalogue it. One of the coolest things that they have on public display are the original stuffed animals that inspired Winnie the Pooh.
As if all of that wasn't enough, we got to spend the evening watching A Drowsy Chaperone starring Sutton Foster who got a Tony (I think) for playing Millie in Thouroughly Modern Millie. It was hilarious; a musical even Larry enjoyed. We had a little time left over to wander Time's Square and the place that entertained me the most was Charmin's advertising ploy. There were two escalators between stores with a huge sign above them that said something like, "If you've gotta go in New York, Go in Style." and then inside it said, "Charmin's holiday gift to New York City: Free Public restrooms" And there was a really happy guy dancing in front of it singing about how if you have to go, go here. The escalators take you up into a huge room lined with bathrooms and Charmin employees went in after each guest to clean them and periodically they all cheered as someone entered a bathroom. Weird. They had flat screen tv's for the people waiting in line with footage of the Charmin Bear traveling around the city, donating money to homeless people, riding the subway etc. Then around the rest of the room that had a stage for people to dance to the Charmin music and a picture area where you could get your picture taken on a sled with the Charmin bear and several fake fireplaces with lots of extra seating. They even have there own web site. Too funny!
We headed back home the next morning, but we could resist a stop in Hershey since it was on our way home.