Monthly Archives: January 2008

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Bloggy Peeps

Yesterday was a very exciting day for me, as I had not one, but two fun bloggy meet-ups. I also managed to procure some Synthrapol and Shout Color Catcher so that I can ponder the solution to MeMum’s bleeding tree skirt.

Anyway, first I stopped in on Clementine’s to check up on Ms. Cami. Holy cow, is she ever a hoot! (You may remember that TheManoftheHouse and I stopped into Clementine’s last fall, so all that awkward first meeting stuff was behind us.) I was there long enough to take off my coat and feel at home. And as an added bonus, I got to meet Robin. I really wish I’d had more time — I would have pulled out some knitting, sat on a big comfy chair, and knit a spell. That’s going to be next time — I’ll drag the quilty peeps along and we’ll spend 1/2 day knitting bugging Cami and 1/2 day hitting the other shops in the big city. It was really fun to talk to Cami and Robin and see what they are working on. Cami is making the CUTEST baby sweater and I was kicking myself all the way home for not taking a picture of it! (Cami — please put a pic on your blog when you get done — everyone needs to see that cute twisted stitch on the button band.)

But I digress. Lookee what I came home with:

Sock Yarn

Isn’t that color heavenly? (I stuck the cute little stamp from Cami’s shopping bags in there too.) Cami is a knitting goddess. She’s convinced me to try doing two socks on one circ — one size 0 circ. I have to finish my current pair of socks-on-dpns but I’m really anxious to try Cami’s suggestions. I suspect I’ll be cursing her name until I get the hang of it. She’s tried to also convince me to do toe-up, but I’m definitely not ready for that yet. Besides, I secretly like doing the kitchener stitch and I think I’d miss it. Cami also has a GREAT selection of Westminster fabrics — she’s probably the only one in the whole state who does. If you’re in the vicinity of Franklin IN, you must stop in — you won’t regret it! (I even overheard the clerks in one of the other local quilt shops saying how neat Clementine’s is — BTW, Cami — could you puh-leez move up here? At least to the north side of the big city????)

After Clementine’s, it was on to meet Beckie. Several months ago, I commented on Beckie’s blog that I loved the little soldered pendants that she makes. She graciously offered to teach me how to make them. We decided to have a little bloggy trade — a bunny pincushion for a pendant lesson. (Guess who got the best of that deal?) Here’s my her little BeckieBunny wearing one of the soldered pendants:

BeckieBunny

Beckie is a sweetheart and I had a great time seeing some of her crafty projects. (Her bottle cap magnets are adorable.) She’s a great teacher and she was very patient with my questions and lack of speed. I love making these little pendants and I’m sure there will be more of them in my future. All the way home, when I wasn’t kicking myself for not taking a picture of Cami’s baby sweater, I was dreaming of all the ways I can use this new skill. Here’s the front view of the little pendants that I made:

Pendants

And the back view:

Pendants

I just love them! I really don’t advocate having a first bloggy meeting in a non-public location, it’s probably not “right bright”. We joked about how I didn’t end up in a pit in her backyard (someone recently watched The Silence of the Lambs LOL) and that I didn’t tie her up and kidnap the baby (tempting though it was — he’s soooooo cute!) Beckie, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your skill — I’ll cherish it and take good care of it. Your family and neighbors are very lucky to be in the midst of your fabulous talents!

I hope wherever you are, you’re staying warm (or cool, for those of you down under.) We’re having a pretty cold weekend here in the midwest. I sure hope someone is letting my goats stay in the kitchen LOL!

XOXO,
Anna

Books and More.

Thank you so much for all the Yapper and apron love. A few of you asked where I purchased the cupcake fabric. I couldn’t remember, but then SweetiePie reminded me that we got it at the Fabric Shack in Dayton. (They don’t call me the Alzheimer’s Poster Child at work for nothing! LOL) I didn’t find it at the Fabric Shack’s online site, but I did find it here. And for those of you out there kissing your dogs on the lips, don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.

Last week, we had our annual book group dinner. We always draw names and purchase a book for someone. I thought some of the gift books looked interesting, and since I know there are many readers among you, I thought I’d share some of them. Lately, we’ve sucked at picking monthly books to read, but I think we do a pretty good job at picking gifts.

BookPossessing Genius: The Bizarre Odyssey of Einstein’s Brain by Carolyn Abraham. The Library Journal says “Abraham, a reporter for Toronto’s Globe and Mail, tactfully sets the record straight regarding the people and events surrounding the notorious removal of Albert Einstein’s brain after his 1955 autopsy and its history over the next 40 years.” I’m always up for a good book about Einstein. Or his brain.

BookPeople of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. Amazon says “One of the earliest Jewish religious volumes to be illuminated with images, the Sarajevo Haggadah survived centuries of purges and wars thanks to people of all faiths who risked their lives to safeguard it.” The little line under Geraldine Brooks’ name says “Author of March.” It should say “Author of Year of Wonders.” Year of Wonders is one of my favorite books. It’s about the black plague in England. I loved it and it makes me want to read more by this author.

Book Unfinished Season by Ward S. Just. Barnesandnoble.com says “Set in Eisenhower-era Chicago, An Unfinished Season brilliantly evokes a city, an epoch, and a shift in ideals through the closely observed story of nineteen-year-old Wilson Ravan. In his summer before college, Wils finds himself straddling three worlds: the working-class newsroom where he’s landed a coveted job as a rookie reporter, the whirl of glittering North Shore debutante parties where he spends his nights, and the growing cold war between his parents at home. With unparalleled grace, Ward Just brings Wils’s circle to radiant life. Through his finely wrought portraits of a father and son, young lovers, and newsroom dramas, Just also stirringly depicts an American poltical era.” This book has really good reader reviews on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

BookWorld Without End by Ken Follett. We read Pillars of the Earth several years ago and I LOVED it. Pillars of the Earth told the story of the building of a cathedral in 12th-century England and World Without End continues the drama two centuries later. (Supposedly they don’t have to be read in order.) And there will be more black plague. I’ve just started this book and since it has 1024 pages, I’ll probably be dead before I finish it. (The only thing I read anymore is blogs. ;-) )

BookElizabeth by David Starkey. A historical fiction about Queen Elizabeth I. It has good reader reviews. What can I say — as I’m sure you’re noticing, I love historical fiction that takes place in England and this one looks good to me.

BookThe Virgin’s Lover by Philippa Gregory. This book is historical fiction about Queen Elizabeth’s lover, Sir Robert Dudley. Not sure how this one will be — it’s getting mixed reviews and it sounds like it might be a lot more fiction than historical.

There were more books given and received, but these caught my eye. BookAnd while we’re talking books, LOOKEE at this little beauty that I got in the mail today!!! That fabulous Jade has gifted me with this wonderful little Japanese book, Freehand Embroidery. I would tell you who the author is, but I can’t read Japanese LOL. I’m so excited — this is my first Japanese craft book!!! It’s full of wonderful hand embroidery instructions (pictures, thank you) and tons of ideas for embroidering on clothing. Thank you, Thank you Jade — you’re a sweetheart!!!

TheManoftheHouse sent me a link to this article about destination bookstores this morning. I had to counter with this link — have any of you European bloggers (or, specifically Dutch bloggers — Nicolette?) been to this cathedral bookstore? I find this more than disturbing, but it might be interesting to see.

And one last non-book related thing, since I’m experiencing link mania. I’m sure you’ve seen this ’cause it’s been all over the blogs. To think of the countless hours I spent watching Top Gun with my boys. I’m stunned, and I’d like a moment of silence please.

*Sigh.*

Where, oh, where has that young, innocent, HOT Tom gone? (If you’re a scrapbooker in need of a humorous twist, check this out.) I’m feeling more than just a little vindicated in my decision to move on to Sawyer two years ago. He’s young, HOT, and as you may remember, he fondles fabric. *Very Big Sigh.*

XOXO,
Anna

My Weekend Entertainment

I hope you all had a great weekend! Mine was fairly quiet. On Friday night we saw The Bucket List — I loved it — highly recommended! Then, my youngest niece had her 11th birthday last week, so on Saturday morning, I finished up her birthday present and took it to her house. I took a few pictures while I was there.

First we have TheYappers. You may remember that I mentioned them — TheEmptyNestChild could squish them. They’re sisters, about 5 years old, and loved and pampered by the whole family. Here they are wondering what in the heck is going on — things were a little wild at their house.

The Yappers

My niece decided she wanted a 70′s themed birthday party and she had two of her friends over. The girls cracked me up. I dragged them outside and took pictures of them. The two on the left kept saying “Ooohhhhmmm” as if they were meditating, and the one on the right kept striking a disco pose, ala John Travolta.

Girls Backpacks

My sister did a great job on the party. She had a disco ball, a vw bug pinata and lots of other fun decorations in their basement. When I got there, the girls were playing twister. If you have kids this age, this is a great idea for a theme — I was laughing the whole time I was there.

Here are some pictures of the gifts I made for my niece.

Cupcake Apron Dog Lips

I made her a little apron to go with the cake decorating kit that she is holding. The apron is from this pattern by Cindy Taylor Oates. Another great pattern — Cindy is going to think I’m stalking her. It took less than three hours to make this apron, start to finish. I love Cindy’s patterns! I also had a good time using some of the tools that I rarely use on the ruffles — the narrow hem stitch from my serger and my ruffler foot on my machine.

Apron Ruffles

As for the shirt, I couldn’t resist embellishing a little sweat jacket with that saying. It makes me smile and it made MyDadLovesMeBestSister and my niece laugh! Now, if you have germ issues, you must avert your eyes. Here’s proof that I speak the truth. Yapper1 and my little niece in action:

Dog Kiss

Eeeewwww!!! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I’ll try to clean things up around here next time!
XOXO,
Anna

Awards, In Spite of the Writer’s Strike

Warning and Apologies: Long Post!
I’ve apparently cast a spell over two very sweet Kims who read my blog. I’m very honored and humbled and definitely not deserving!

Make My Day AwardFirst there’s Kim at Kim’s Big Quilting Adventure who awarded me the “You Make My Day” award. I can’t remember whether I found Kim or she found me, but I think it was sometime last spring and I’m really glad she did. Kim tells great stories and is always working on a fun project (one of her more recent ones that I’d like to make someday is this cool picnic tote.) Like me, Kim works full time outside the home but she amazes me with all the projects that she completes! Now, I’m supposed to nominate up to 10 blogs for this award, and I’ve been thinking all day about it. Who should I nominate. Every time I come up with a list, I think of someone else who just has to be on it, so I start all over again. I just can’t do it. All the blogs I read make my day — that’s why I read them. And that’s why I’m becoming buried under blogs to read — I’ll find a new blog then add it to my bloglines. I really need to pare down my bloglines ’cause I have trouble keeping up with everyone but I just can’t choose. So, lame as it may be, I’m awarding it to all of you!

Amazing AwardAnd second, there’s Kim at Ragged Roses who awarded me the “Amazing Blogger” award. This Kim and I go way back — she’s one of the first bloggers I found. And I instantly fell in love with her adorable little ragged corsages and had to order one. A few months ago I had a little panic attack when I thought I’d lost my corsage but I found it during the big 2007 Christmas CleanUp. It was in my hummel cabinet — clearly among the things I cherish! This award has two parts: to pass the award on to one person (again, I truly have given this a lot of thought, and I just can’t choose — in my defense, I think it’s ’cause I’m a Libra!), and to list 7 random facts about me. I’ve listed random before, but it’s Friday, the end of ReturnToHellAfterChristmasVacation week, and I’m feeling chatty, so….

1. I’m one of those people who put snowmen out in January. Santas for Christmas, Snowmen for Winter. There will be no discussion LOL. (In the grand scheme of turning baby food jars in to little lanterns, we have flags on the 4th of July, pumpkins on Halloween, and snowmen on…Ha! You thought I was going to say Christmas. No. Snowmen in Winter. These are the last of the them — no more lanterns for holidays. The idea came from Rock Creek Emporium.)

Snowman

2. I would randomly list my favorite food, but Kim hates them, and I’m taking a vow not to mention them. Well, for this post anyway.

3. Diet Pepsi is my preferred morning drink. (Ok, my preferred anytime drink.) While my coworkers are getting coffee from the coffee pot, I’m getting ice from the refrigerator for my drink. A lot of coffee drinkers will comment how weird that is, but when I point out that it’s my source of morning caffeine just like coffee is theirs, they see the light.

Snowman

4. There are a ton of great New Year’s resolution posts out there. I’ve loved reading them all but especially enjoyed this funny one. With the exception of her first one, it’s exactly how I feel! I don’t make resolutions, but I do make lists. However, after my dismal performance on last year’s list, I’m not even doing that this year. I’ll just let my projects randomly vie for my attention.

Snowman

5. I have a little blogging fairytale to tell you. Once upon a time, I was seeking shopping advice for the upcoming quilty peep trip to NYC and the adorable Vallen referred me to her good blogging buddy Rebecca who works in Manhattan. SnowmanDuring the course of my conversations with Rebecca, she mentioned that she works for company XYZ. Well, that’s weird, I told her, ’cause we used to have one of our house utilities with XYZ and they got bought out by ABC and just this morning I was on the phone with ABC trying to resolve a billing issue involving us and the two companies. So, sweet Rebecca said, well, if you have any more problems, just let me know and I’ll see what I can do. Of course, I’m thinking, there’s no way I’m going to bug her with my piddly problem. BUT, fast forward a few more months and after lots of phone calls and confusion, the last word from ABC was Sorry, we can’t help you — Pay. Up. About then, Rebecca happened to ask, Did you ever get that problem solved? So, I told her the story. And can you believe it? Rebecca fixed our problem! I’m thinking Rebecca is the closet CEO/Miracle Worker of XYZ!!! She’s an angel and I’m deeply indebted. Don’t let it ever be said that blogging, Rebecca and Vallen aren’t awesome! Now, when your spouses raise their eyebrows about all the time you spend on the computer, just tell them this story. You never know what might happen in blogland! (This little snowman is waving to his brother over at Joni’s! And he’s waving his undying love to Rebecca too LOL!)

6. Um, more randomness which I may have told you….we had several cross-country moves when I was a little girl and I didn’t go to the same school for more than 2 years until I was in high school. After two years of high school, I was very upset that we couldn’t move again. It’s been fascinating for me to watch my boys form lifelong friendships as a result of growing up in the same place.

Snowman

7. Finally, #7. I joined a Valentine Swap over at Lucy Locket’s. You have until Sunday, Jan 13th to sign up — if she hasn’t closed it already — there’ve been an awful lot of sign-ups already! C’mon Quilty Peeps — you don’t have to have a blog and you know you want to!!! (Speaking of quilty peeps, Jewels made this fat little snowman — isn’t he adorable?)

Snowman

Phew! Sorry, I rambled on so long. Those of you still reading this get a big prize — Mmwah! Thank you, you adorable Kims, for your kind and generous awards. You guys are the best!
XOXO,
Anna

Backpacks

Thank you all so much for your great advice for the bleeding tree skirt. I told MeMum about all the great suggestions, but she’s afraid doing anything will cause more bleeding. I’m thinking I’ll probably have to kidnap the tree skirt and then if I ruin it, I’ll just have to make her another one. (It’s just more embroidery and quilting, right?) I’ll keep you posted when the deed is done.
This years pre-Christmas sewing frenzy included several backpacks that I couldn’t show you, for obvious reasons. You may remember that I made a backpack for myself several months ago and I LOVE it! I originally made mine to carry my laptop when I have to go on a work trip, but recently I was without a purse for a month (while it was being repaired) and I started using my backpack for everyday use. I have my purse back now, but I’m still using my backpack as a purse. I love that I can throw lots of stuff in there.

Anyway, I made two backpacks for my almost 11 and 15 year old nieces.

Girls Backpacks

I used this pattern from Cindy Taylor Oates. This is the small backpack view. I love, love, LOVE this pattern. The instructions are easy to follow and Cindy uses some really solid construction techniques. I love the way the straps are constructed on this small backpack. Bag straps have always been a pet peeve of mine, ’cause they are often flimsy. Cindy uses my favorite method of covering webbing straps. Nice and sturdy!

Girls Backpacks

Then, for SweetiePie, I made a “Bride-to-Be” backpack out of the large backpack pattern. This is the same pattern as my backpack. This backpack is made from the black and white fabric that SweetiePie will be using a little bit in the wedding. SweetiePie loves polkies.

Bride Backpack Bride Backpack

Knowing, that SweetiePie will only be a bride-to-be for 5 more months, I made the bride-to-be tag removable and put her new married monogram under the bride tag.

Bride Backpack

If you need a backpack, I can’t say enough about this pattern. I did a few things differently than Cindy suggested, but I suspect that’s ’cause I’ve been sewing since the stoneage and it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Thanks Cindy, for another great pattern!

XOXO,
Anna