Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Letter to My Future Self

A Letter to My Future Self

Dear Megan,

About two weeks ago, you turned 27. While there's nothing particularly momentous about this age in American society, it's been an eventful year, and today seems like a good a time as any to sit back and reflect on the events of this past year.

The biggest life change was your wedding day. In September, you were lucky enough to marry your best friend. You had a surprisingly stress-free time planning the wedding, although your mother might not say the same thing. It poured down rain like cats and dogs from the time everyone gathered at the church for the rehearsal on Friday until the two of you left town after the wedding on Saturday night. But that didn't seem to phase you. You're both smiling like dopes in all your wedding photos, so the rain didn't hamper your spirits too too much. The food was incredible, and you're planning to go back to Main Street Catering in Jonesborough in the near future and get a small version of your wedding cake and the groom's cake. Oh, and your first meal as a married couple was at La Carreta, and unlike many brides who have super-cute post-wedding threads, you were sporting sweatpants and a t-shirt. No need for the Hubz to have unrealistic expectations about marriage from the outset then be disappointed later.

Wedding - Officially hitched

Your honeymoon was also kind of rainy. Y'all took a cruise up to Canada and New England. In short: Halifax was pretty neat, St. John was a hole that you have no desire to return to, Maine was awesome and deserves another trip, and Boston was just as sweet as you remembered it, as long you remember how to read a map. The cruise ship itself was kinda meh, and you probably won't take another cruise in the near future, but it was exactly what you needed after a year of decision-making - a week where the most pressing decision you made was what to eat for the next meal.

Honeymoon - Bar Harbor just off the boat

About 3 weeks after you returned from the wedding, you closed on a house. It was nothing like what y'all thought you were looking for, but now it's tough to imagine yourself in any other space. The two of you quickly realized that home improvement projects always take longer than originally planned and that you (Megan) kind of stink at painting. Luckily, the Hubz is much better. Come springtime, you realized that your idyllic autumnal dream for a big yard with lots of space for the dog to run around and play would lead to lots o' yardwork and lots o' weeds.

It Snowed!

After living in the house for about 9 months and still not being able to use your living room due to all the still-packed boxes, you've decided to throw all your enthusiasm and energy behind the less is more life philosophy. But this new outlook on life has been hampered quite a bit by the fact that in January, your parents up and moved about a 1000 miles away for a new job. Your parents were pretty adamant that most of your stuff had to be out of the house by the time they moved, so you've been slowly dealing with the byproducts of 20+ years of your compulsive hoarding personality. You finally convinced yourself that no matter how famous you might become, no researcher will ever care about the following items: 1) the research paper you wrote about Herbert Hoover in the 5th grade 2) your notes from History of the German People, even if it was your favorite class at Furman 3) the few dozen half-used bottles of Bath and Body Works lotion that you collected in middle school 4) your surprisingly large collection of Disney pens 5) the day planners you've held on to since your junior year of high school. Hmm, okay, so an anal retentive historian might actually be interested in #5, but honestly, you don't care what you were doing on April 13, 2000, so you're fully prepared to move on with your life and recycle those planners.

Stack o' quilts

You were pretty active in the craftiness department this year. You've gotten marginally better about updating this blog, and your photography skills have slightly improved. I don't have any fancy stats for you, but you managed to make a quilt for each bridesmaid (and the groomsmaid) in your wedding, and you cranked out a pretty good number of quilt tops. Right before the wedding, you joined in the fun with A Year of Schnibbles. You've been fairly faithful in completing your projects [note to self: Go back and make the April project!!], and you've stretched your quilting arithmetic skills, since you've only bought and used the pattern of the month once thus far.

With all this crafty activity, you would think you'd make a good-sized dent in your stash. Unfortunately, when your parents moved back to Louisiana, your mother bequeathed an obscene amount of quilt shop quality fabric to you. Let's just say that the stash has gotten a little bit out of hand, but you're doing your level best to tame it. All progress = forward progress!! In that vein, you have big plans to take on another ongoing project in the beginning of 2011. You still haven't decided, but you're contemplating quilting your way through one of your quilt books - maybe Jelly Roll Quilts, Miss Rosie's Spice of Life, or Quick Classic Quilts.

You also joined the newly-formed Triangle Modern Quilt Guild back in the winter. While you've been learning a lot from your traditional guild, it's been awesome to get to know other quilters who don't have hissy fits when the seams don't properly align.

Visit Triangle Modern Quilt Guild

Hopefully, there's another action-packed year ahead. Don't forget to come back and read this later.

Joy Luck Schnibbles - Final Steps

It's not officially finished, but I'm thisclose to being done, so I'll go ahead and post before I get swept up in the activities of the next week or so. This month's Schnibbles pattern was brand spankin' new - Joy Luck. I decided to use up some Whimsy charm packs I purchased when Fat Quarter Shop had a big Whimsy sale a few weeks back. (BTW - if you aren't following FQS on twitter or facebook, you should be. They've been running some sweet sales on specific collections for their social network buddies.)

Joy Luck in Whimsy (bad lighting)

I'll post a better picture with more details once it's bound. The short story: I had a blast making this quilt, and I think a larger version of it would be awesome and doable with only one layer cake's worth of squares, if I'm willing to forego the pieced rail fence border (I am).

Hope y'all have a great weekend!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm Famous and Dinner

Okay, I'm not really famous, but I nearly peed in my pants this afternoon when I noticed that Kate Spain, that's right The Kate Spain, commented on my Verna top quilt photo.

Verna Nine Patch

My first thought was "Holy @#%^!" My second thought was, "Crap, I really should have ironed that before I threw it out on the front lawn, snapped a photo, and stuck it in the Verna Project Group, where the fabric designer could see it. Eh, whatevs. I guess I'll have to finish it sometime next month and take another photo.

But just so y'all know I'm keeping it in perspective and not letting this brush with greatness go to my head, I'd like to fully disclose that she was kind enough to say nice things about ALL the projects in the pool. Conclusions: Put your stuff out there so peeps can see it! But if you're worried about famous people seeing your stuff, you should probably iron it before slapping it into a flickr group.

Menu Plan Monday Banner

And because 1) it's Monday and 2) I know you're on the edge of your seats wondering what we'll consume this week, here's our menu...

Sunday - Spinach and Goat Cheese Risotto
Monday - Macaroni and Cheese, Broccoli
Tuesday - Streamlined Minestrone Soup (from the Vegetarian Family Cookbook), Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Wednesday - Bean and Rice Burritos
Thursday - Pasta with Vodka Sauce, Broccoli
Friday - Pizza, Salad

For more menus, be sure to check out OrgJunkie!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Lovin'

Things I'm crushing on this summer...

Fabric = Bliss (no explanation needed)

Food = Macaroni and Cheese - Anyone who knows me knows that I luv macaroni and cheese. It can't be helped. We've had homemade versions at least twice a month, maybe more all summer.

Macaroni & cheese

Books = Charlaine Harris - My sister-in-law introduced me to these books a few months back. I'm plowing my way through most of the series this summer - the PERFECT summer reading series - just pure plot, no long rambling, run-on sentences, deep meaning, or deep thinking.

TV = Modern Family re-runs - We didn't start watching this show until after Christmas, and it makes us sad that we missed so much. We keep hoping they'll run the earlier re-runs this summer, but no luck yet. We're enjoying the re-runs just as much as we did the first time around.

Music = Homemade Summer 2010 playlist - See links to the youtube videos below. All these songs made my summer 2010 playlist on itunes because 1) they specifically mention summer or 2) they remind me of summer somehow, someway.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Best Of My World This Week




Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bee Splendid Month 1

Jacob's Ladder + scrap square

This month, the Bee Splendid group is sewing up Jacob's Ladder blocks for Sarah. She sent us a bag full of bright, fun scraps. I added a couple of my own scraps in there, at her request. Hopefully, they don't stick out too much.

The blocks went together really quickly, and they would be great for stash-busting or charm squares.

Jacob's Ladder with weird flash

Speaking of charm squares, Karrie, our beekeeper, was so enamored with this pattern that she decided to form a charm square quilt along, using this block as the basis. She even managed to secure a coupon code valid until the end of the month for Crafty Girls Workshop, which already has some pretty flippin' sweet prices. I tell myself I have plenty of charm scraps in my bin (it's practically overflowing), but the lure of a good deal might just be too much.

Freckled Whimsy

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dilemmas and Food

Alright, y'all, here's my quandary. I had this great idea to make a beautiful quilt for my guest room bed out of Martinique fabrics. All was going along swimmingly, until the holiday brain kicked in this weekend, and I flubbed quilting arithmetic 101.

quilting arithmetic fail

I have 2 sets of squares - 9-patch squares and snowball squares. I had high hopes of both sets being roughly 6.5". When I made the sashing on the snowball squares, however, I forgot about the charm square middles ALSO losing 0.25" on all sides for seam allowances, so my snowballs are lovely (if I do say so myself), but they're also 0.5" smaller on all sides than the 9-patches. Oops.

So what do I do? Here are some options I've cooked up:

1) Add more sashing in fun Martinique prints to both sets of blocks to square them up to about 8.5" (8" finished). I think Fat Quarter Shop has a secret camera set up in my room. They just sent out a 40% off Martinique coupon to all their Facebook and twitter followers/friends.

2) Make two lap-sized Martinique quilts - one nine-patch quilt and another snowball quilt. Save the guest room bed to fight another day.

3) Find some other sashing fabric in the stash and make yet another teeny-tiny set of sashing around the snowballs. I'm leaning towards this one because honestly, y'all, my Sonnet sampler quilt is lovely, but it makes my eyes hurt when it gets too close to the pink shag carpet in the guest room. I'd prefer to get this quilt in its rightful place sooner rather than later.

Guidance? Advice? Words of encouragement? Argh.

Our hand painted bakery menu board

Also, here's what we've been eating this week...

Sunday: Snack-type dinner, Dessert + Fireworks @ Durham Bulls game (sold out); alternative celebration: Local Yogurt
Monday: Mint Pea Soup, Rolls
Tuesday: Corn and Roasted Tomato Risotto - Like this, but with fresh corn and roasted tomatoes, instead of mushrooms and spinach
Wednesday: Cheese Quesadillas, Drunken Beans
Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
Friday: Frozen Pizza, Salad
Saturday: Creamy Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches