Sunday, March 30, 2008

Productive Sunday

How can it already be the end of the weekend? It has really flown by quickly around these parts.

My son came down with the croup, so he was confined to the house and unable to attend two birthday parties this weekend (not that he knew any of this since he is too little to really get it), but it also meant at least one of us was required to stick around the house all weekend as well. Perfect timing, since we have officially commenced on "Potty Training 2008" -- good times, good times, folks. All I can say is thank the good Lord above for "Elmo's Potty Time" DVD, Pull-ups training diapers, jellybeans (incentive to go #1 on the potty) and a cooperative toddler (for the most part). You would totally crack up if you came to our house and used the bathroom because there is a stack of 4 little wrapped presents sitting on top of the toilet -- bribes, if you will, for our son to go #2 on the potty, which has yet to happen. Oh, how I am hoping the presents will be enticing enough! Part of me is excited about the whole potty-training adventure, and part of me is so tired of it already. A trip to the potty every 20 minutes ALL DAY long is starting to really wear on this Mama...

My husband got a whole lot of work done on our son's room this weekend, so I was very excited about that. I will have to take some pictures of it tomorrow to show you what has been going on in there. And since I have sent all previously unfinished quilt tops off to the professional, I treated myself and started a new quilt top for fun with fabric I bought quite a while ago (being that one of my new goals is to use up fabric I already have). I used a "jolly pack" of Kaffe Fasset squares (from and some white cotton I already had a ton of. I totally stole the idea off of Creative Little Daisy's blog -- it is the Freshcut Doll Quilt from Better Homes and Gardens. The picture is all the squares laid out, prior to them being sewn together. So far I actually have the first six rows sewn. And I think I will be adding some borders to the whole thing as well to make it at least big enough to be a decent lap quilt size.

And I was also able to steal away a little bit today to go to a movie (thanks to my husband who stayed behind with the Potty Master) and got to see "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day". What a delightful movie -- I loved everything about it. The costumes, the music, the cast (phenomenal), and it even had the guy from Pushing Daisies on ABC, a fun little bonus. I'm so glad it was worth going to -- now that I am a mom, I rarely see movies actually in the theater, so they have to really be good for me to see them, and boy am I ever disappointed if they aren't!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A typical day...

Today was a pretty typical day for me.

First I sent my son off to school like this (I did not know it until I picked him up this afternoon, and his teacher kindly brought it to my attention):

Next I dropped off two more of these finished quilt tops complete with batting and backing to be quilted by the professional (no matter that they were supposed to be finished by Christmas, oops):

Then I picked up one of these, in the hopes that I will be getting the nerve up to go and take the driving test for my motorcycle endorsement:

...which will in turn make me finally legal on this:

(I've been riding for five years now, and this is my new scoot I got last year. She's all pimped out, complete with wicker basket, whitewall tires, and personalized pin-up girl. Yeah, so maybe after a good five years of riding I might finally be feeling a teeny-tiny twinge of guilt at not being legal -- that, and I've heard the test isn't that bad after all.)

Then I capped off my "free-time" (that is, time away from the 2-year-old) with a little bit of shopping at the big red bull's eye:

I wonder what all I can accomplish tomorrow...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen Indeed! and Merry Christmas...

Hello there...

just popping my head in quickly to wish you all a very Happy Easter (even if it is in the evening, and Easter is almost over). I am completely and utterly exhausted from all of our Easter festivities here in Wonderland. We had a full day of church attending, last-minute asparagus cooking, eating lunch with family and new friends, Easter egg-hunting, a little bit of soccer playing, kite-flying, remote control-airplane flying, trying our hands at a game of horseshoes, dessert-eating, chatting, and nap-taking. (See, aren't you exhausted just from reading our list of festivities?!)

I love Easter, and this one was yet another great day. Our pastor gave a fantastic sermon, urging the congregation to start off on a journey of reading through all of the "red letters" in the Gospels -- reading through all of Jesus' teachings and really trying to follow His commandments, moreso than most of us might truly be making the effort to normally. He used the example of a book that came out this past year by A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically -- if you haven't read it, it is pretty enlightening and very funny in parts). To sum it up, an atheist decided to tackle the job of trying to (literally) follow all of the commandments in the Bible for 12 months, something that is really humanly impossible, but our pastor's point was this -- if this guy, who is a declared atheist and doesn't even have a relationship with Christ, can devote a year of his life to living passionately in the attempts of trying to follow and obey God, then why don't we as Christians, people who openly are declaring our love for Christ to the rest of the world, show the same passion in trying to obey Him and His teachings? The pastor made a very good observation in my opinion, and I am personally going to try my humble best at this "Red Letter Experiment" for the next 12 weeks. What a great Easter sermon, not only a time to reflect on Christ's great love for us and the sacrifice He made, but also a much-needed kick-in-the-pants reminder of how, if we truly love Christ as we say we do, we need to be obeying Him and keeping His commandments.

Of course, one of my favorite things about Easter Sunday at church is the phrase we all say: "He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!". I love that part every single year. This year our pastor added a little something funny -- he said that a former pastor of our church would also add in "Merry Christmas!" at the end of his invitation, since many folks won't darken the door of church again until Christmas rolls around...:)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Progress as promised

I can't believe I'm actually going to post these pictures, but they really must be posted in order for me to feel the accountability in finishing the clean-up. It ain't pretty, folks. But the upside to these pictures is the fact that I worked on both the guest room (pictured here) and the basement (no pictures), and both are about halfway done (er, excavated, that is). I should have taken photos of the basement as well, but I wasn't actually planning on cleaning that one yet -- it just happened that I was stuck down there for "TV reasons" (i.e. the Tivo upstairs was recording something and I had another show to watch at the same time so I had to use the second TV in the basement, sad, sad, sad, I know). So I got some bonus work done on the basement over the course of a good two hours.

Apparently, I could open my own craft store with the amount of stuff I have accumulated...

I promise to post some "after" pictures soon.

On another random note, I'm beginning to think robins are not all that bright. We had new windows installed in our basement last week -- the high-up kinds that barely peek out over the ground kind since ours is a true basement and not a walk-out of any kind. Anyway, the windows are crystal clear and have those robins fooled completely. The poor little things keep flying up to the windows and running into the glass with their beaks. I think they are trying to get the dead spiders and bugs they can see trapped inside in the cobwebs (note to self -- clean the old cobwebs out). I thought it was kind of funny at first, but now it is getting to the annoying stage because there is now a constant "boom, boom" noise all day with them continuing to try to break through. Seriously. Don't you think they'd give up after a while?

(Are you bored yet?)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Technical difficulties...

Anyone have this problem? I am trying to add a new label for music to my posts (since I now have a few of them), but every time I go to add a new label, my Internet window shuts down and reports a problem. I was able to add the one label the other day for "quilts", but for the last two days, it won't let me add any new labels. There's a lot more to me than just quilting, so I am hoping this gets fixed somehow soon. :)

Go out right now and get it.

That's an order.

I was blog-surfing yesterday, and on one of my favorite blogs ("Me" by Tara Whitney, and no, I haven't learned how to put that in here underlined where you could just click on it to visit it automatically), and she was talking about a new CD she bought. Out of curiosity I hopped on over to iTunes, listened to a few snippets, and fell. in. LOVE. It's like the CD was tailor-made for me and my personal taste in music! I had trouble at first remembering who Zooey Deschanel is -- she is an actress, and I remember her from the movies "Elf" and "Failure to Launch" (as SJP's roommate, or sister, was it?) although she has been in more than just those two movies. Anyway, apparently this girl sings on the side. She's a fine actress, but I think she should quit her day job and take this gig on the road!

See what you think. I found this video on YouTube -- I guess she recently performed at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin.

By the way, this is the first full album I have actually downloaded on iTunes. Usually I only buy songs one at a time because I never hardly like every song on the album (unless it's Pink Martini or Sondre Lerche or one of my faves). But yes, I downloaded the whole entire thing late last night, and I love every song. But poo on iTunes for not putting the album up on it's new releases since it just came out Tuesday. I always check those to see if anything good came out, and had I seen it listed there, I definitely would have checked it out.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Kick-start your day

If you're anything like me, you might need a kick-in-the-pants to start your day off right. I know I do, especially after last night and having to bid adieu to the lovely Gilmore Girls. I almost started crying during the last episode, and even my husband kept saying, "This is sad!". I'm telling you, I think both Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel both looked a little bit puffy around the eyes throughout the whole thing, like they had already been crying before having to shoot the episode.

Today is day three in my Spring Break week of trying to knock stuff off the list, and today is going to be a doozy. I am going to tackle my guest bedroom. I don't have any pictures yet, but I promise to post a "before" and an "after" picture, but at least I can describe what it looks like in there right now. It basically looks like a craft store threw up in my guest room. There is so much stuff piled on the floor that you cannot walk in there. I have three windows that have lovely drapes (made by myself) hanging up, and one poor window that has been bare. The worst and most pathetic part is that I made the drapes over a year ago, and the fourth one is only missing the hem at the top. All of those hours spent making the drapes, and I couldn't find the 15 minutes to finish the measly hem across the top?! I am lame, lame, lame. So, today will be spent fixing the guest room. And by "fixing" I don't mean cramming all of my junk into other rooms and re-stuffing it in other closets -- I do mean to fix it all properly, finding a place for everything.

So to kick myself in the pants, won't you join me in watching a very cute video? This is one of my favorite songs by The Ditty Bops, and what makes it especially cute is the fact that it is a video of one of the girl's grandmother's Jazzercise class exercising to the song. I dare you not to get up and shake what God gave you when you watch this...

(Oh, and I was successful yesterday in dropping off my quilt for professional quilting. Go me!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Leaving Stars Hollow

Today it is raining. Raining, raining, raining. All the pouring down seems very fitting for today, a day that is very bittersweet. You see, today my husband and I will be leaving Stars Hollow.

Yes, Stars Hollow from the "Gilmore Girls". :) Let me fill you in -- last summer, there was nothing on TV but reruns. And who wants to spend their summer watching reruns? Not us. A good friend had just recently been talking about one of her favorite TV shows, one I had never watched a single episode of while it was on TV. So I thought to myself, why not? I added Season One, Disc One to my Netflix queue, and the rest is history. I, of course, was hooked after the first episode, but little did I know that my husband would jump on the Gilmore Girls bandwagon with me. He came in the living room with his laptop during the second episode, and ever since, we have watched every single episode together.

But it all will end tonight. The final disc arrives today, and it has the last two episodes on it. I wish I could tell you I was on the edge of my seat with anticipation wondering how it all ends, but alas, I cheated a couple of months ago and looked online to see how it all goes down. Come on, don't tell me you guys would all be able to make it through all seven seasons to the very end without peeking?

Seriously, I think Gilmore Girls is now my favorite show EVER. I want to live in Stars Hollow. I want my house to feel as lived-in and as quirky and as cozy as Lorelai's house. I want to have a Luke's Diner to go to and chat with all the quirky locals and have town festivals and all of it. Oh, how I love everything about this show! But as sad as it feels to be leaving Stars Hollow, all is not lost. I have actually been "collecting" the boxed sets of all the DVD's so I will be able to start over from scratch when we are done. (My husband, however, did tell me he will NOT be joining me for a second go-round. I'm just proud of him for watching the whole thing through even once, and not being ashamed to tell people he enjoyed it.) So far I have Season's One through Three...

So farewell Rory and Lorelai. We sure have enjoyed spending this past year with you.

If you read this, who is your favorite Gilmore Girls character? I think my husband's is probably Kirk. Haha. Hmm, mine might be a toss-up between Babette and Lorelai, but I think my favorite character changes with every episode...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Break Project #1

I'm happy to report that I have at least jumped in and gotten my feet wet on this whole "to do" list adventure. I started this quilt back in, well, it's been so long that I can't honestly tell you when I actually started it (other than sometime in 2007), that's how sad I am. This quilt top has sat for many months unfinished, so I unearthed it yesterday and added the outside borders. Of course, the borders didn't take all that long to add, and once again, I look back wondering why I let it sit so long unfinished. Tonight I hope to sew the backing, cut the batting, and fold it all up to take to be professionally quilted by someone with a long-arm quilter. My plan is to drop it off tomorrow.

The pattern is called "Buttons and Bows" by Glenna Hailey of Hollyhock Quilts. I am renaming it "Birds of a Feather" since I didn't quite follow all of the rules (when do I ever) and replaced the flowers and stars that were supposed to be appliqued in the plain blocks with various bird silhouettes. I couldn't tell you what fabric lines were used because this came out of a quilt kit I purchased in 2006 (I think) at a local quilt shop that is no longer in business. The quilt top is 50"x60". Depending on how it looks after it has been quilted -- since the quilting can oftentimes completely change the look of a quilt -- I may add on a quote to the front, putting a couple of words on each square. I would handsew them on just like the label on the back.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spring Break, Bring It On!

I love Spring Break, never mind the fact that I haven't been in school for nine years now. I still love the idea of Spring Break. And it affects me in a smaller way -- my son does not have Mother's Day Out this week, and I do not have my choir rehearsal this week either (I am a pianist). So that gives us a nice long week with not much on the calendar.

I plan on using this week to catch up on a very long "to do" list, one that is dripping with unfinished projects. Oh, am I ever the Queen of Unfinished Projects. Yep, I love love love to start projects, but finishing them is a whole other story. I am hoping that this week will be different and the fact that I am posting my intentions on the blog (whether anyone reads it or not) will serve as some sort of accountability for me.

So, bring it on! Um, well, starting tomorrow that is. Isn't that what Mondays are for? Tonight I'm going to crash my lazy self on the sofa and watch a little HGTV, maybe all the while hoping and praying that I get a knock on my door with a camera crew telling me that I just won that big ole' house and a lot of money. Ha.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A very special quilt

My dad passed away almost three years ago. It's always hard to lose a parent, but especially at my age (I was 27 at the time) when you expect to have your parents around for a long time still. He had kidney cancer, but he didn't find out about it until he was already in the last stages. It was only a month or so after his diagnosis that he was gone. It was a horribly difficult thing to go through on it's own, but unfortunately it was made worse by many other losses all at the same time. Only the month or two before we had lost both my grandfather and my grandmother (within weeks of each other). And the week after my dad died, my husband and I got the devastating news that the baby we were waiting to adopt had been reclaimed by his birthmother. It is true: when it rains, it pours.

Needing something tangible to hold on to in order to keep on remembering my dad, I came up with the idea to make a quilt out of his clothes. Thankfully I had a dad who didn't like to go clothes shopping too frequently, and who also held onto several shirts from different periods throughout his lifetime. This was great for making the quilt since we were able to have squares of fabric from clothes spanning a lot of his lifetime (well, his lifetime from my parents' marriage forward). He had extra military clothes as well, so we didn't have to cut up the nicer dress Army uniform. And there were a few funny shirts in there as well -- like the one he always wore to wash the dogs in. Don't ask me why it was always the same shirt, but it was. Ha -- I bet not too many people have a dog-washing shirt! We also threw in some ties he wore that we enjoyed as kids (like the one with the trains on it).

I wanted to be able to make three identical quilts -- one for me, one for my brother, and one for my mom. Not only did we have enough clothes to be able to make enough squares, we also found three of each type of patch he got in the Army, so I was able to sew them on as well. My dad passed away in April of 2005, and I finally got around to starting them (with some help from my mom) that fall. They were then quilted professionally in November 2005, so we were able to have them done in time for Christmas, our first one without him. I can't tell you how much it means for me to have this quilt hanging in the hallway, for me to be able to walk up and physically touch the different squares with my fingers and remember my dad wearing those shirts and pants. It is such a comfort, especially on the hard days. Time does eventually heal the loss, but I will never stop missing him.

This was only the second quilt I had ever made. (Well, second, third, and fourth.) Sometime I'll have to tell you about the first one, from the class I took after we had first moved to the Great Cold North...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another great movie

If you haven't already, get out and rent this one -- "Dan In Real Life". I'm not normally a Steve Carrell fan, and I don't usually go for the slapstick goofy roles he typically takes. But this is a fantastic movie with even more fantastic music. I had never heard of Sondre Lerche before this movie, and now he is one of my favorite musicians. This song is by far my favorite in the whole movie -- I spent days afterwards trying to track down the song name, etc. (Can you tell how "YouTube"-happy I am right now? Now that I figured out how to upload video clips, you'll definitely be seeing a few from me on here...)

The cinema

Now that I am a mom, a movie has to be downright unbelievable for me to actually make it to the theater. Netflix has made my life so much easier, delivering so many movies right to my door, and I've actually become lazy in making it out to the theater. I see a preview on TV and think, oh, I'll add that to my queue. I can wait. But occasionally a movie preview comes along that actually has me asking my husband if he will take me to see it, and thankfully this movie also meant that we could take our son along as well.

So, all that being said. Go see "Penelope", a little gem of a movie. It's nice and clean for the most part. The cinematography reminds me a lot of "Pushing Daisies". And it doesn't hurt that it looks like Penelope lives in Anthropologie. Oh, how I love all things Anthropologie.

While I'm on a roll...

...I have more projects to share that I finished recently.

First off, there is this lap quilt that I made three of for Christmas presents -- one for my in-laws, one for my mother, and one for our wonderful lady that cleans our house and we could never live without. :) The first one was completely finished, and the last two are unfortunately still in the quilt top stage and are awaiting their batting, backs, and quilting to be completed. Um, yeah, a tad embarrassing to be a few months behind on actually giving them to their recipients. Most of the fabric is from Anna Maria Horner's "Bohemian" line. The squares are "Disappearing Nine-Patch", but I made the rest of it up myself, adding borders wherever I felt like it.

Next we have my winter quilt submission that was made for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. This is my second time to participate, and I had a lot of fun. It is especially nice to receive a quilt in the mail made especially for you, and this season my quilt came all the way from Hungary! I'll have to post a picture of it up sometime soon. But for now you can see the one that I made for my partner (in Utah). I really liked it myself, and when I get some spare time (insert laughter here) I want to make a duplicate to keep.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More crafty goodness (you know you want some)

Hey, now that I figured out how to upload a picture into a post (woohoo for me), I figured I might as well continue with the record-breaking number of posts in one day (this is number 3) and add another small doll quilt I made recently for a little miss who recently celebrated her first birthday and her recent arrival to this country. (Oh, that is some bad grammar. I just used the word "recent" three times in that last sentence. Forgive my over-eagerness on all these posts!)

Here it is in all it's little dolly glory...

Her present also included a baby Cabbage Patch doll, hence the little doll quilt that I was just itching to make. And yes, I am a proud child of the 80's -- I remember getting my first Cabbage Patch Kid (named Paige), which was a "homemade" Cabbage Patch Kid because, back then, back when our parents had to "walk uphill in the snow both ways", Cabbage Patch Kids were super hard to come by. There were crazy long lines at the local Toys 'R Us stores, and people were lucky if they could find the dolls. I did end up getting a "real" Cabbage Patch Kid a few years later (named "Dino Manny" -- and yes, that is seriously the name that was printed on his little birth certificate in the box). Remember how they all had the Cabbage Patch signature stamped on their little rear ends? And what was the guy's name who "discovered" the Cabbage Patch? Was it Xavier Roberts? Ah, a trip down memory lane...

Something crafty

I came up with the title of my blog because of Oregon, or really, my love of all things Oregon. I love Oregon. It is truly one of the greatest states in the world. (And no, I do not live in Oregon. Which might add to my great love of Oregon, since I am someone on the outside looking in, and oftentimes those doing so look in with rose-colored glasses on, like myself.) In Portland, Oregon, there is a monthly craft fair called "Crafty Wonderland". I drug my husband and son there on our vacation last year (and yes, I confess, I might have planned our vacation specifically around the weekend that I knew Crafty Wonderland would be held that month, but really, does it matter?). Since my state does not have a Crafty Wonderland, I figured I could make my own, in the form of a blog, and post all of my quirky creations. (And all of my jealousies, too, since I am constantly plagued by the green-eyed monster when I visit other blogs and see all the beautiful creations out there.)

Finally, a picture post.

This is what I worked on yesterday. The 8&1/2" quilt square for my Spring Fling Round Robin swap. I like all the fabrics, but they are a bit busy. Of course, it was too late to change that after I had sewed them together (come on, surely you don't peg me for a perfectionist, one who would take the high road, go back and rip seams and correct her busy mistakes? Nah, that's not me.), so I took the busy part of it up a notch and added applique on top of that. Ha. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, that's my motto. Hopefully my partners will like it...

Is anyone really out there?

Ha! When I posted the first entry (way back in October) I had no idea anyone would possibly read it. I didn't know that when I commented on other blogs that I love and read daily, that somehow they might see my own blog somehow associated with my signature on the comment. Duh. Makes sense, but my simple brain wasn't thinking that way. So, boy was I surprised when I got back on here today, wondering if the blog I started even still existed, and saw, lo and behold, 7 comments!!!

Oops. Truly, I had no idea. I figured I would be blogging to some invisible universe, and seriously, without a catchy banner or a beautiful background, and only one measly entry so far to speak of, I really had no idea someone would read. Especially that SEVEN someone's might be reading. (Or more, since 7 is the number of comments, and maybe there were actually more lurkers out there as well that read it, too.) I even was very confused the other day, when I saw my friend, Candy, at a party, and she said something about my blog. Blog? I don't have a blog! She did seem confused when I appeared confused, and now, looking back, I feel pretty stupid. So Candy, if you actually happen to read this, only my second post ever, you were right! Of course, I have a blog.

So poor little blog, I will not let you down again. I will try my hardest to actually start posting. I can't promise how often, but I'm thinking that more than once every four months will be an improvement to start, and who knows, maybe I'll even get up to the daily stage. Maybe I'll eventually have a beautiful banner like the other "big blogs", maybe a beautiful background, maybe even a handful of loyal readers! Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves, but you get the idea...

Here goes nuthin' (again)....