Monthly Archives: May 2010

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Australian Bobbsey Twins

@Warning: Long Post Ahead@

The Twins. The *Gulls*. Jan and Kellie. It’s so hard to know where to start with these two. Considering I only knew Kellie from blog reading for the last 3 years and I didn’t know Jan at all, it could have all gone so wrong. But, instead, we got along so amazingly well and we had more fun than three invisible friends should be allowed to have. Kellie made me laugh non-stop and I adored Jan — we bonded as only ladies-in-waiting to the queen could!

I was amazed at how well The Twins functioned on almost no sleep. I picked them up from the airport at 7:30 in the morning and took them to the hotel to freshen up and take showers and maybe nap? But no, they wanted to power through and adjust to their new time zone. Fabric shopping priorities are international, so we went immediately to St. Croix County Dry Goods in Hudson, Wisconsin for a little fabric shopping. The *Gulls* do appear to be listing a little — I supposed it’s understandable if you’ve been up for almost 40 hours.

The Twins

After this first day, the days sort of all ran together for me — I don’t think we got any more than 5, maybe 6 hours of sleep any night, all week. On the evening of the first day or early the second morning *someone* let a teeny tiny little naughty word slip and the ice was broken. After that, we were constantly laughing and giggling. The *Gulls* proceeded to make fun of the odd things they saw (the water level in our toilets, our uni-colored currency, MY driving … the list is endless.) So, I defended myself in the only way I knew how….I made fun of the way they speak.

The Twins

Apparently Australians don’t speak English. I got a big kick out of watching people in the booth, as they adjusted their thinking to *AustrALian*. Here are a few clips:

  • “Kellie uses a *roar* edge applique method.”   A What? As they look around the booth — are there lions in here?
  • “How you goin’?” Which, when spoken in the rapid fire AustrALian method, sounds like “Now you goin’?” I swear, I saw at least one lady step back out of the booth and question if it was time for her to leave. By the end of the show, I actually got Kellie to say “How are you doing?” instead.
  • “Here’s our *PATun*”. Your what?
  • And, not an interaction with customers, but while in the booth, my cell phone buzzed. I looked and it was Kellie calling me. She was standing right next to me, but her phone was in her hip pocket. “Kellie, you’re butt dialing me” I said. “I’m *WHOT*”??? I had to explain the term butt dialing. An hour later, it happened again and it went to my voice mail, which was probably an expensive international call. Then, the next day, it happened again. I just looked at Kellie with my phone in my hand and said “Kellie”, and she very innocently asked if she was butt dialing me again, except that she got the term “butt dialing” all wrong which sent us all into hysterical fits of laughter that lasted the rest of the week.

Maybe they were only speaking funny because I scared the bejeebus out of them with my driving? In my defense, we didn’t have any accidents. And we were talking. Do you know how hard it is to concentrate on your driving with two quick speaking Aussies in the car? All my skills were being used in interpretation. All their skills were being used clutching the dashboard. I almost drove on the WRONG side of the road to put them at ease. One night, on the way to The Mall of America, I missed the exit, so I showed them how to get back on the right road without over-shooting the interchange and turning around. We rode the jughandle rollercoaster.

The Twins

We were all laughing hysterically (hey, nervous laughter on their part counts, doesn’t it?) I was just warming them up for the Mall of America rollercoasters. I was laughing so hard while we zipped around those loops that I had tears in my eyes!

But, by far, we had the most fun when we were shopping. We worked like dogs during the day, so our evening shopping excursions were our reward. The Twins were like kids in a candy store at JoAnn’s.

The Twins

And Treadle was super fun too. Try and get your average American fabric clerk to convert feet to meters.

The Twins

And Target. The downtown Minneapolis Target is awesome.

The Twins

That’s Kellie in the red cardigan and Jan in the green one. No need to adjust your monitors. Kellie insisted her hot pink cardigan was red, so Jan and I insisted that Jan’s was green. It worked for us! Most of the time, I felt like a mother hen, keeping an eye on my straying peeps who never stood still.

The Twins

We had SO very much fun. I wish you all could have been with us. Here’s a picture of the Twins taking a picture of my feet on a big bear footstool at a Caribou coffee shop.

The Twins

And my feet. My poor tired feet. We got kicked out of the coffee shop at closing time ’cause we were too tired to walk back to the hotel so we were just hanging out. (Sorry for the dark *Nick-on* camera pictures.)

The Twins

I could write many more posts about these two. About the time when Kellie walked into the hotel revolving door the wrong direction and it chased her around until she exited. (Apparently, just like drains, they go in the opposite direction here?) Or the discovery that our hotel rooms don’t have auto-flush toilets. OR the REALLY big discovery on the last day that those two don’t prewash any fabrics. The SHOCK. The HORROR! To think that I spent a whole week with people from the wrong side of the washing machine!

The Twins

I know you’re horrified too, so I’ll just leave you with a parting shot of the three of us in our cute booth uniforms. (I was too tall for the camera. ;-) ) By the end of the trip, I was starting to feel like one of the *Gulls*. And the last night, it was even confirmed, when we went straight from booth tear down to a restaurant and some goofball asked us if we coordinated our outfits (all white shirts and blue jeans). Smart Alec. If all went well, the Twins should be arriving back home about now. Thank you, Thank you *Gulls*,  for a fantastic time. If you two had half as much fun as I did, then I think the week was a success!

XOXO,
Anna

Shandi* Goes to Market

I’m ba-a-a-a-ck!  And Oh. My. Gosh.  I’m beat.  Worn Out.  D.E.A.D.  I got home last night and the car is still sitting in the driveway waiting to be unpacked.  It may be the end of the week before I get the get-up-and-go to do anything about it too.  I think there must be some relationship between how much fun you had and how tired you are, and I maxed out on both!  (And I’ll apologize in advance as this post will probably bore many of you, but I REALLY want a record of the fun people I met at market!)

So.  This is Shandi.  My pretty little chandelier that hangs in my ugly, unfinished sewing room in the dungeon.

Market Photo

I love my little Shandi and when I stood in my sewing room weeks ago and whispered “I’m going to market” her crystals shivered.  She shimmied to and fro and her lights sparkled.  “Please, oh please, take me with you” she begged, “I want to meet your invisible friends.”  And how, may I ask you, could I refuse?  So, off to market we went.

We picked up the *Gulls* (we officially speak Australian now) early on Tuesday morning.  Kellie and Jan were SO SO SO much fun — but more on all of that later.  (If you’re new here — Jan and I were helping Kellie with her booth at market this year.)  We spent Wednesday and Thursday transforming her booth from this:

Market Photo

to this:

Market Photo

Shandi was looking hot.  And she was adored by many.  That picture’s not our best shot, but Kellie has two new quilts that haven’t been released in Australia yet, so, I’m waiting to show them.  It doesn’t really matter though — this was my view for a fair amount of time during the three days of market:

Market Photo

I spent a lot of time crawling around on the floor, gathering patterns to fill orders.  Quilters have some very nice shoes LOL!

Anyway, for me, market was really all about the people.  Thursday night was Sample Spree and I was so busy that I forgot to take my camera.  Our table was sandwiched right between Bunny Hill and a table that was being manned by Quilt Dad and Jaybird.  And while we were setting up our table, I ran into Monica and PKM.  I’m so sad I never got a picture of PKM, as the other two times I saw her, I was on coffee runs for the *Gulls* and again, I didn’t have my camera ready.  PKM got a really funny picture of me though — in my classic Wilson style.  It looks posed, but I assure you it wasn’t — I carried a lot of boxes over those five days!  It was also fun to bump into Vanessa – I tortured the poor girl by talking before I told her who I was and she was confused.  Don’t you hate that feeling?  What a cutie!

The actual days of market were a total blur.  Kellie was a big hit (WooHoo!!) and we were swamped most of the time, so I didn’t get out much, unless I was making a coffee or *pat-un* run.  A few people stopped by though.  Mary from Lake Pulaski and Kelly Ann:

Market Photo

Good Buddies Anne and Ms. Yellow Farmhouse herself.  How cute is Anne — putting her arm around me there in that picture – that cracked me up!!!  And Ms. Farmhouse!  We go way back (in blog years) and are founding members of the mom of two boys club, so I was thrilled to finally meet her!

Market Photo

By now Shandi was beside herself, and then …. how excited we were to have Ms. Bunny Hill come by — her gorgeous booth won first place in it’s category at market — Congratulations Anne!

Market Photo

And, last, but by NO means least, my two mystery bloggers who I couldn’t wait to meet.  I was so very lucky (and touched) that they both came by several times to talk because we were busy in the booth and we had to get our talking done in shorter spurts.  I know you know my Wilson buddy.  My sister wife.  The adorable Happy Zombie.

Market Photo

And can you guess who these gorgeous feet belong to?  Anyone???

Market Photo

I covet those stripey socks and cute shoes. Did you guess yet?  It’s none other than CrazyMom (who knows how to write a market report – quilts?  were there quilts at that market???  Thank you CrazyMom for showing some great quilts!)  I am humbled.  And sooo excited.  We talked and talked like old buddies.  I know how rare CrazyMom sightings are and how very lucky I am.  And you know what?  She’s not crazy – she’s sweet and fun and adorable!  (Extra big X’s and O’s to you two (HappyHappy and CrazyCrazy) and to you Ms. Farmhouse for making multiple trips to visit — that really meant the moon to me!)

Enough for tonight — next time I’ll tell you all about the Australian Bobbsey Twins.  Oh. My. Gosh.  Those bundles of fire Wore. Me. Out!!!

XOXO,
Anna

(*With apologies to my real-life cousin, Shandi, who bears absolutely no resemblance to this chandelier!!!)

I Love My Boys (and SweetiePie!)

Well, hi there!  Did you all have a good weekend?  How ’bout all you mothers in countries that celebrated Mother’s Day?  I had a perfect Mother’s Day Weekend — I got to see my boys!

I left on Friday morning and took some furniture and oddball things to TheSecondChild in Nashville.  He got a job in a pharmacology lab a few months ago (I think I forgot to mention that!) and he’ll finally be moving into an apartment in a few weeks.  After we unloaded all of his things, he took me to see the lab where he works.  Here’s a pretty little statue that sits in the courtyard outside of the building where he works. (How cute are those babies?)

Baby Sculpture

We also went on a little shopping spree to get a few things for the apartment.  He’s so excited to finally have a place that will be clean.  He’s been living in a temporary situation with a bunch of college seniors — and their place lives up to all the male-frat-house stereotypes.  The roommates were all gone on a trip, so I stayed at the house with him and I’m sort of surprised I lived to talk about it.  Ewwww.  It was filthy!  I offered to help him pick up, but he refused, so I held my nose and covered my eyes.  (I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture of the sty — for posterity, you know.)

Baby Sculpture

On Saturday, he took me around Nashville — it’s such a beautiful city!  They’re an amazing community too — they’re all pulling together and working hard to recover from the awful floods.  Outside of Nashville, we didn’t hear much about the floods — and more importantly, we didn’t hear about looting or rioting or begging for help.  No wonder so many people want to live there! 

TheSecondChild took me to a hill that looks out on the city.  In the picture below, you can see the city skyscrapers in the background and all the big buildings in the middleground (on both sides of the trees in the middle) are part of Vanderbilt University.  I was so surprised that the campus is so large — it doesn’t feel that big when you’re actually walking on campus.

Nashville

On Saturday afternoon, I said goodbye to TheSecondChild and drove home as far as TheFirstChild’s and SweetiePie’s home.  I was so pooped, I fell asleep on their couch.  Very sad.  I came home on Sunday and found a little surprise in the mail — some adorable crochet flowers from Ms. Bitty Bit herself.  (Picture stolen from Ms. Bitty Bit.) 

Nashville

I won two cute flowers in a giveaway at Kim’s. I love them — Thank You Kim! You can make some too, as Kim is very kindly sharing the how-to here.

So, that’s all the excitement from ThimbleannaLand.  Unless you think pulling weeds is exciting — I’ll be doing that all week after work each day.  And then, as some of you know, I’ll be leaving this weekend for quilt market.   I’m going to help Kellie with her booth.  I’m also super excited because it’s been 10 years since we lived in Minneapolis and I can’t wait to visit some of the fun places that I loved so much when we lived there. 

If you’re reading ahead…you can guess that I’m going to take a little blogging break.  I’m pretty sure you have better things to do than read about my weeding this week and I don’t think I’ll blog during market, although who knows?  So, I’ll plan on being back after market, when you’ll already have heard all about it from real bloggers who’ll give you the blow-by-blow.  I’ll miss you while I’m gone and I’ll make it up to you by making you suffer through my report when I return.  Have a great few weeks without me!

XOXO,
Anna

Giant Snickerdoodles

How is your week going? Not even a teeny tiny bit of sewing going on around here — too many other things going on. Tonight, after work, I mowed the lawn for 2 hours, tidied up the house and loaded up the truck with a bunch of stuff for TheSecondChild. I’m headed to Nashville to see him in the morning. He’ll be moving to a new apartment next week, so we’d planned for me to visit this weekend. He’s managed to stay high and dry through all the flooding, so we’re feeling very fortunate.

So, with nothing crafty going on, I’m going to add to my online recipe collection.  If you’ve been around here very long, you know that we love cookies. TheManoftheHouse has pretty boring tastes, and he likes his goodies plain. It’s always a battle between us because I love lots of nuts or oatmeal or cranberries or most anything. Two cookies we can agree on are chocolate chip and snickerdoodles. So, over the weekend, I made him a big batch of snickerdoodles.

These are jumbo cookies and they’re pretty darn good. I’ve tried snickerdoodles with all butter (not crispy enough) or all crisco*(not enough flavor), but I prefer a good mix of butter AND crisco. I can’t remember how many cookies this recipe made, but it seems like it was around 40.

Snickerdoodles

Giant Snickerdoodles

5 cups flour
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cinnamon Sugar (mix together in small bowl and set aside):
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt and set aside.

With mixer, beat the butter, shortening and sugar at medium speed until light and creamy, 4 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.

With mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture until combined.

With cookie scoop, scoop a ball of dough into hand.

Snickerdoodles

Roll dough into a smooth ball.

Snickerdoodles

Roll dough ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Snickerdoodles

Place cookies on cookie sheet, leaving plenty of room for spreading.

Snickerdoodles

Bake until lightly browned and puffy, 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from oven when middle of cookie looks just slightly under-done. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for 2 to 3 minutes and then cool on wire cookie rack.

Shortly before I got to the end of the batch of cookie dough, I decided to try to speed things up by putting the dough on parchment paper. (I just purchased a silpat mat for when I was trying the macarons, so I haven’t tried it with any other cookies.)  Here is the difference between parchment paper and the silpat mat.

Snickerdoodles

Can you tell which is which? The cookie on the right is traditionally what a Snickerdoodle should look like (although MeMum likes the cookie on the left better), and it was baked on the parchment paper! So much for silpat mat superiority!

Either way, they still taste good — Pour yourself a cold glass of milk, take Big Bites and Enjoy!

Snickerdoodles

XOXO,
Anna

* – Crisco is vegetable shortening, for those of you not in the US.

Rain, Rain…

Hello…did you all have a good weekend?  Ours was rainy again, but very nice.  It’s like a baby who has it’s days and nights mixed up.  We’re in a weather cycle of beautiful, sunny weekdays and rainy weekends.  But, that’s ok, April Showers bring May Flowers you know.  

Anyway, we just hung around the house all weekend.  On Thursday night, I made baseball cupcakes for MyDadLovesMeBestSister.  It was her turn to make a treat for the boys on the baseball team.  My nephew plays on the same high school baseball team that our boys played on.  His teammates call him Little K (our last name), after TheFirstChild.  That cracks me up, since he’s not a Little K — he’s a Little L!

Baseball Cupcakes

On Saturday, just after a rainstorm, we noticed the kitties on high alert in front of one of the windows.  We peeked out the window, and Look!  It’s Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail. 

Bunnies

We watched them for awhile, and then I moved to another window to take pictures, and noticed this:

Bunnies

Bat Rastards!  Look what they’ve done to my hostas — there are hardly any leaves left.  And see all those little leaves next to the hostas?  Those are weeds.  Why can’t the bunnies eat the weeds and help me with my weed control issues?  So Rude.

I finished my backpack this weekend.  My candy backpack is worn out and I’ve loved it so much, I had to make another one.  Someone at work the other day looked at my candy backpack and asked, what could I possibly need to carry around, that I need to carry such a big backpack?  I didn’t think he’d understand yoyo and sock knitting needs, so I just smiled at him and shrugged my shoulders. 

Backpack

This is my third black and white backpack (well, not for me — the other two were gifts) and the fabric is finally gone! ;-)

So, that was all the excitement for the weekend, but two other little things –

– I’ve been having a lot of trouble commenting on some blogspot blogs.  It happens on blogs that ask what account to use for my comment.  Blogger pops up a new window and makes me log in.  It takes my login and makes me think the comment registered.  It took me a few weeks (after checking on old posts) to realize that my comments were disappearing.  It makes me sad to think of all my comments that were lost.  So, if you’re a blogspot blog and I usually comment and suddenly I haven’t been, you now know why.  I’m thinking I’m not the only one with these problems?

– My April 20% sale for Bolts o’ Bella is over, but since there was so much interest in the Bella swatch cards, I’ve decided for May to send a free swatch card ($19.00 value) to anyone who buys a bolt.  It will be one swatch card per person, so please indicate in the comment box at checkout that you’d like the swatch card.  They’re really cool — I promise you’ll love them!

XOXO,
Anna