Friday, August 26, 2011

Quilt Completion and Anniversary



















Over a month ago, D and I celebrated our One Year Anniversary (yup, it's so special it deserves capitalization). We used our state park pass that we purchased earlier this year and hiked around a nearby park on Saturday, and then on Sunday we saw my parents and went out to dinner. Relaxed and low key---that's us! I made some cupcakes, and attempted to make them "our wedding" themed with green and cream colors. I had coconut on mine and D got mint-flavored for his, since he doesn't like coconut. They were not as pretty as they were tasty.


In other news, I finished the quilt that I showed that "sneak peek" of last time. We have a friend who is pregnant, and I am way too excited about this upcoming little one. Therefore, I made my first quilt ever. EVER. and it turned out adorable!!!

I followed the tutorial from the Purl Bee with some fabric I bought impulsively from JoAnn's a few days prior to deciding on a quilt. I was very nervous about the binding, since I've never done anything like this before, but I used tutorials for a mitered corner and making my own green double fold binding, and it really wasn't too bad. I used my sewing machine for one half and then finished it off by hand. I didn't swear once while making this!!! Now that's impressive.

I am so happy with how it turned out. I wanted to make one that would be fun and bright, and also gender neutral, which I think I accomplished. Plus that animal fabric is so cute! Hopefully the future momma will like it.......

Friday, July 15, 2011

Oh and by the way...

I've been busy. Here's a sample. Ok, you're right, it was more than a sample. I am SO bad at secrets.

A photo heavy post...

Oh, HELLO there, tomato.


I see you've brought friends!



And look at that lovely little pumpkin-shaped one.


Remember those three little tomato plants I got for my new box? Well they aren't so little anymore.
They're ginormous. I after 63, I stopped counting the tomatoes. Too many, perhaps??? Never.

I thought I would give you all a nice tour of my deck. Oh, I wish it were a beautiful 5 acre farm with gardens and flower gardens and landscaping, a chicken or two, grass mowed with a push mower, a picnic table and fire-pit. But we aren't in "the right place" for a real home just yet (remember that whole unemployment thing??) so we have a deck. This is me, making the best of it.

I'm attempting to grow as many vegetables as possible in pots. The tomatoes are obviously going very well. Additionally, we have:

Peppers (complete with bloom):
Peas (a total failure on the left there, since they dried up after a long weekend away and haven't recovered yet)

Green beans (a similar story on the top there, only I think there is an additional "something is eating the leaves" thing going on):

Carrots (down on the bottom, we'll have to see how these manage, since I'm fairly certain that root veggies were not intended for 5" deep pots):

And more peppers (on the right):


Rounding out the deck tour, we have

More carrots (in the blue pot):

Cucumbers (doing surprisingly well with lots of blossoms and what I can almost certainly say are FUTURE CUCUMBERS!):


All I need are a few lawn ornaments and I'll be "that neighbor".

P.S. I selectively excluded the hanging basket that I have because it is the only non-edible plant I got this year and is completely and totally dried up and pathetic. *sigh*

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

The strawberry picking was pretty good, although the we missed the first round of picking, and the berries for the second round were fairly small. That meant a long time picking, and a long time cleaning and slicing.

Once again this year I made jam. I got 6 1/2 pint jars (don't worry, the half jar went straight into the fridge and is pretty well gone already) and hope that will last us a little while. My dear hubby likes his jam sandwich snacks.

I made my first attempt at a strawberry rhubarb pie (the rhubarb was the last of the season from the farmer's market down the street!) and it turned out beautifully. The strawberries pretty much eliminated the tartness of the rhubarb, so this pie was perfect for those of us who don't particularly like that tartness. I found the recipe HERE and would highly recommend it.



Definitely put a baking sheet under this pie in the oven, just in case the juices get away from you. I had expected it to be one of those extremely juicy, flops on your plate sort of pies, but once it cooled it held it's shape when cut and didn't have too much juice either. What can I say, I was impressed with my pie skills. You should try it, too!

With the total success of the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie came the total failure of Strawberry Hand Pies. The problem came when I prioritized the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and left the hand pie crust dough in the fridge too long. It dried out and became unruly and unmanagable. It cracked and the strawberry juices leaked out, leaving puddly crunchy messes all over my baking sheet.

We ate them anyway and they were described as "fine". Oh well. At least they were eaten and I'm determined that next year's hand pies will be delightful.

Friday, July 1, 2011

New happenings

I started my new job at the end of January, had a long long long training experience there, and finally was starting to get out on my own and do things for myself. I experienced so much stress during this time, I wasn't sure if it was the normal "you are new and just have to suck it up and get over the hurdles" kind of stress, or if it was "this job is so genuinely stressful that you can't stop thinking about it" kind of stress.

Needless to say, I was constantly worrying about it, constantly thinking about what needed to be done for work, constantly dreading meetings with my supervisor because of the things she would instruct me to do, that I was terribly unhappy. I had thought that after the initial hurdle of stress, things would get better. Then, I looked around at my coworkers. They were always busy, constantly missing deadlines because of insane workloads, constantly under review and covering their butts. I heard one woman (who recently resigned) threw up every day before coming to work. The (good) benefits were keeping a lot of people trapped there.

And I didn't want to get anywhere near that myself. I hadn't taken care of myself at all since I started working--no haircut, no exercise, no decent (ie semi-healthy) meals, no relaxation, no crafting. My last day there was Monday, the 27th.

So we are back to being a one-job family. I feel bad for relying on my husband for so much, and that he is trapped at his job for the money and benefits. At the same time, I know that I made the right decision because of how relieved I felt on my last day. So I'm back to job hunting, and in the meantime, I'm trying to live as cheaply as humanly possible.

Yesterday, I spent my time doing something that I haven't had time to do. Something that makes me unbelievably, undeniably, unimaginably happy.


I rearranged, re-folded, and organized our linen closet. Ahhhh... that's better.

And it was a free activity!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Basil

There must have been a heck of a storm here today while I was working, because I came home to a catastrophic fracture to one of my lovely tomato plants. Darn. Hopefully a little string will help it recover??

Also on the patio these days is this little Basil plant in a custom, handmade basil bucket. I just used a free online font that was made up of dots and copied it onto a piece of paper. I got several of these little tin buckets from the dollar section of target, filled them with water, and froze them. This helps to keep the bucket from caving in when you...you know...go at the dots with a hammer and nail. Then I just planted my basil seeds and luckily nothing has rusted.



There is a cilantro bucket half completed in my freezer right now, because the ice fell out and refused to go back in. Now that it's half completed and there are holes punched in the sides, I can't fill it back up with water and I'm stumped about how to finish it up. So, the basil is lonely. And lovely.

P.S. I'm sure this has already been thought of somewhere out there in the craft world, but not anywhere where I heard of it, otherwise I would have posted a link. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tomato box


Last summer, I watched as this lovely family planted (a beautiful variety of) tomato plants in their yard in wooden boxes. I know, it doesn't sound that exciting. Oh but it is.

Their boxes are much larger and are handmade, and of course, filled with more exciting varieties of tomatoes; but I'm in this for the food and so I stuck with varieties of the trusty favorites.

I recreated this exciting tomato plant box myself, with a vintage wooden crate found in a dusty corner of an antique store. I just added a few wheels since the soil and plants make this one heavy planter, used some plastic garden liner stuff from HomeDepot, and TADA!!!!

I took this picture last week and already my plants are loaded with blossoms and have really taken off height-wise. It's going to be a sweet, tomato-filled summer for us!

Monday, May 30, 2011

My happy curtains...

Don't they just make you happy? They make me so happy every time I wander into our office.

The best part is that they aren't TECHNICALLY curtains. Technically, they're tablecloths. You see, I never actually sewed, cut, or otherwise altered these ($4 target clearance) tablecloths before I hung them in my office, so they still count as tablecloths.







The ring clip thingers were purchased at JoAnn's, bringing the grand total for these babies up to $16. Just the way I like it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The post I've been working on for...4 months

video
Music by the lovely Mumford & Sons.

Remember that trip D & I took up north? Well this is it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Epic Snow Battle!

I had my first day of work on Monday, then I stayed home on Tuesday and Wednesday because of the weather.  I was probably being a bit wimpy for staying home Tuesday, but all I had to do was read a lot of "new employee" literature and I wasn't going to risk my life to go in and read.  This morning, however, we awoke to snow, and lots of it.  We received about 15 inches in the past 2 days, and there were blizzard warnings in the area.  This means there were huge snow drifts that had to be photographed. 

 That's the dusting we received on half of our deck, the 3 feet we received on the other half.

The snow reached to my husband's butt.

And a snow drift at our downstairs neighbor's door that reaches to the window in one area, bare concrete patio right next to it. 

The furnace went out last night, but it only got to 67degrees in our apartment; it's better now, though!  Both my husband and I stayed home today, so our snow day consisted of my reading, his work on the computer, and soup and grilled cheese for lunch.  Wouldn't it be nice if every day was a snow day???

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Knitting Projects

Yup, I have some knitting projects that I've been working on, too.  Since I tend to ramble, I'll make it into a separate post. 

I finished the socks I've been working on FOR-EV-ER.  They started out for me, but when I didn't check my gauge and they started getting really wide they became socks for Dillon.  The scylla socks pattern was found online, and I fell in love.  They turned out a little bit "swamp monster" because of the color (Patons Socks in Camo colors) but they will be okay for warm tall socks.  In my opinion, at least they are done.  I'm sure we've all had projects like that, right???


After I finished these size 12 lovelies, I made the cowl my Mom requested at Christmas.  She asked for gray to match her peacoat.  I found this adorable chunky Patons Tweed yarn in Charcoal (dark gray with little yellow and white flecks) and used The Trio of Cowls aka Infinity Scarves by Cari Clement pattern (found on Ravelry).  Of course, I can't help but modify just about every online tutorial/pattern/direction that I encounter, so I only used the one color of yarn (instead of the written 3) and only used a two strands held together (instead of the three as written).  Additionally, it was only supposed to have one twist, but somehow I managed two.  I would HIGHLY suggest this pattern for anyone just learning to knit.  This would be a great first project worked in the round (as it is easy to see what it means when they say "join, making sure not to twist yarn"), only uses series of knits and purls in easy patterns, and was a quick project to whip up (I made this in 3-4 hours).  So, Mom, consider this yours as soon as we see each other again. 

Sewing Projects

I've been sewing up a storm this week trying to finish some projects I've promised to people. 

First of all, I've been meaning to make a microwavable heating pad thing for awhile, but when I crawling into our freezing cold bed last week I made a realization:  I could heat up a rice bag and put it at the foot of the bed before I get in (cue the angelic chorus or mental light bulb).  So I got a nice, 2lb bag of rice and sewed it into a little bag, then made a tiny pillowcase for it so that it can be washed.  A minute or two in the microwave will be perfect.  No more freezing feet.  YES!!!

And once again, Thanks Rach for the birthday fabric!

Additionally, I told Dillon's coworker that I would make him a reusable sandwich wrap similar to Dillon's one that I made him last Christmas.  Since I will be taking sandwiches to work with me (YAY WORK!), I whipped up two.  They are basically a cut up plastic Ziplock bag and two pieces of fabric, sewed into a flat square with plastic on one side (and the right side of a piece of fabric showing through it) and fabric on the other side.  Add velcro to each corner.  To use, you place a sandwich at an angle on the square wrap, fold opposite corners to each other and fasten. Then, fasten the other corners and it holds a sandwich perfectly!  Hope that makes sense, here are some pictures to help:


I used the manliest fabric I had for Brian's, and the prettiest fabric I have for mine.  There is no reason not to make everyday things beautiful.  And yes, I left the pretty selvedge edge on purpose!




                     Have you made anything lately?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The bathroom




This is our bathroom.  Pretty cool, huh?  

Well I think it's cool anyway, since we got this nifty shelf from my parents for Christmas.  It helps us to fill up our giant bathroom, and it is an excellent place to put towels for those of us who don't remember until we are actually IN the shower.  

Also, I'm showing this to you today because I remembered waaaay back in October that I promised to show you the gift I made my mom for her birthday.  Unfortunately, I can't as it's currently hanging above the mantle in her home; fortunately for us, I made myself a replica since I liked how it turned out so much.  It's that nifty wreath above the towel bar.  Here's a close up:
Green and white wool felt rosettes, painfully hot-glued to the wreath form, inspired by THIS etsy seller, handmadecollectibles.  So there you have it, my bathroom wreath duplicating my mothers birthday wreath inspired by someone else's wreaths.  Like it?




Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Old & New

Things around here are changing!

See that?  It's our old Christmas wreath awaiting deconstruction.  Unfortunately, it's now covered with snow and I really don't want to bring it in the house anytime soon.  I missed out on taking a picture of the imprint our old tree made when we "gently lowered" it off our patio to the dumpster.  It was old, now it's gone.

Next up is the tragedy of my Zumi 2.0 that I was so excited about.  It came with some small cracks in the case covering the battery compartment that finally broke off.  So I'm sending in my "old" one for an even newer one.  Hopefully it will be back in time for our little trip to Sturgeon Bay in February.

And this is us, being an oldy moldy married couple.  We've been married for 6 months!  (I know its a little silly to celebrate, but this is the only year I can get away with it, so I'm doing it!)  I made lots and lots of homemade yummies for dinner that night, using this recipe:
I think it's old, originally from my grandma.  I made homemade egg noodles (with a vintage noodle cutter thing) for homemade chicken noodle soup and homemade buns and this cake:
It's not old, but it sure looks impressive, I think.  So come and visit us so that we don't eat the whole darn thing ourselves.

The last thing that is Old/New this week is that I got an offer for a job!!!  New career, here I come!  I start on the 31st, and am a little nervous for it.  I did get to go purchase some new dress clothes for it though!  This job is in another city, which means that eventually this apartment that was our home for the first year of our marriage is going to be our OLD apartment, and that we will be needing a NEW apartment closer to my new job. 

Things are changing!  I've got to go child proof our home for my nephew, who I'm babysitting today.  Yikes.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pants!

Nope, I don't technically know how to sew.  But I do try my darndest, and thus far, most of the projects I've attempted have turned out okay.  So when Dillon got this hole in his pants, I patched it.  Technically, this is the same pair of pants that I already patched near the back pocket, the front left pocket, the zipper, and the knee.  But this was a new hole, so I patched some more!  I'm not sure that this patch is going to stand the test of time, because I didn't stitch the peripheral, or use pinking shears to guarantee that the patch wouldn't fray, or use super strong fabric for the patch (I did a lot of internet research about the best methods, then I ignored them and did it my way).  Anyway, here's the final product, and I'm proud.

Friday, January 7, 2011

lucky me!!!

This is the guy!  A few things have happened and come to my attention this week that make me realize how incredibly blessed and lucky I am to have such an amazing man in my life.  He is the perfect one for me, even though we fight (maybe even fight a lot) and drive each other nuts sometimes.  But we are perfect together in at least one way:  we have the same solid beliefs in Christ and what it means to live our lives for Him.

I was reminded this week of just how big of a challenge that is for some couples; I know that no matter what happens, Dillon and I view everything from the same christian perspective and will be able to live our lives together that way.  My faith is not challenged because of the environment that I live in, instead, it is encouraged.  So this week I've been thanking God for this man, and doing a lot of praying for other couples to experience this same blessing.  (not MY blessing, but, you know, their own) 

Don't forget to thank the Lord for the blessings in your life this week!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Thanks, Grandma!

Check out this... thing that I got for Christmas from my Grandma.  I know it's a little bit different, and when I opened it I wasn't sure about putting this up on my walls. When Dillon said it was "vintage-y" and that he kind of liked it, I was set.  It's above our entryway, and I like it a lot. 


When I was a little girl, this was hanging behind the couch at my Grandma's house (she made it in 1983).  I remember putting my face inches away from this and looking at the threads, wondering how it was possible to make a picture out of them when I backed up. 

Now I can stare at it all I want.

 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Someday...

This is what we have:
Someday, THIS is what we will have:

The Expedit desk and bookcase from Ikea.



While we're at it, why not throw in one of these little beauties from Anthropologie?  I love that the doors slide open.  Ahhh to be organized.  And to be organized in such a pretty way! 

By the way, if you haven't stopped by Anthropologie lately, I would highly suggest that you check out some of the eye candy they have on display there.  Admire it.  Long for it.  Then attempt to make it yourself because you, like me, cannot afford the $3,000.00 cupboard to the right.  What's your favorite online store to visit?