Sunday, January 30, 2011

2010 The year of the quilts: A Review

In 2010 I was determined to get a lot of quilting projects finished. Gee, I bet every quilter in America makes that statement every year.

In the first 3 months of 2010, I finished one quilt project that had been lingering for way too long, made 2 baby quilts and a wall hanging..... as shown in this
2010 The Year of the Quilts post.

Then I finished a quilt for our bedroom. When we bought this house, I decorated the master bedroom around my favorite Ralph Lauren sheets. I wanted the room to be calm and serene.

By then it was summer time and my quilting mojo slowed way down.

I did manage to re-vamp and clean up the quilty shack though. Here it was at the last quilty shack viewing

I pretty much decided there was NO room for needless decor. If I could not use it for storage or function, it was out.

One of the biggest "duh why didn't I do this sooner" moment was to butt up another table to my existing sewing table. Pretty sure if I could squeeze a little bed and a fridge in here, I might never leave!

November rolled around I finished this Christmas flannel quilt.
The backing was a panel with cute vintage looking Christmas pictures. I think the line is called Kiddie Christmas and it is a Moda fabric.

We all fought for this one over the holidays. It is warm, warm, warm!

Forward to like 20 days before Christmas and I am sewing like a crazy, nutty, crack head woman trying to finish 2 quilts.

One for my sweet mother-in-law. I forgot to take pictures of it, so I had to take these at her house.

(Good grief, those pictures were taken with my clearly inadequate camera phone. You were thinking I needed to repeat my photography classes, huh?)

It was a turning 20 pattern. Easy peasy.

And I also made hubs a quilt. It was made with the Marines and blonde rascal's old jeans and cami's that the Marine wore in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He thinks I am the coolest wife ever. Naturally. Frankly, I had an ulterior motive....he is always cold and I am hot. I hate the heater being on and breathing in warm air. Now I just mummy wrap him in his quilt and turn down the heater. Mwwhahaaaaaa....

In the middle of all that I decided to make blonde rascal's 3 teachers, mug rugs. Like I had nothing else to be doing? That was a bizarre thought, but thankfully since they were so tiny they went together really fast. And I got brownie points for the semester!

That has me closing out 2010 with 7 quilts completed, one wall hanging and 3 mug rugs. Hmmmm wonder what 2011 will hold?

So many quilts to make, so little time....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Aperture, metering and histograms...oh my!

Now that I am 40 (as I discussed in length, probably too much length, in my previous post), it surely won't be too long and my hair will start having a lovely blue cast to it, I'll start driving 25 mph under the posted limit, my pants will begin having a higher polyester content than natural fibers and my shoes will become more practical than attractive. I can accept that as my plight. However, I am not fond of the idea of my brain turning to mush. The brain is a muscle, yes? So it must be exercised!

We had a local photographer come to our house and take some family pictures before Thanksgiving. Very local in fact, she lives in the small town where blonde rascal goes to school, her twin daughters are in his class, etc.

I know, I know, family pictures...yawn. I'll stop now.

Thank goodness for cool options in photography now days, amen? We aren't stuck with getting our pictures taken in a cheesy J.C. Penney studio. Not to sound harsh JCP, but it is true. Your studio shots are severely goofy.

She was fun to work with and we were super pleased with the results. Carol McCowan photography, if you really wanna know.

It is a fact that I am deeply in love with my Canon Rebel. It precious. It is smarter than I am, and I am not ashamed to admit that. It takes super pictures all by itself but I know that I am not using it to even half its full potential. The reason for that, is... well... even the Canon Rebel for Dummies book is over my head. It is some complicated stuff.

Much to my delight, my girl Carol teaches a digital photography class at our College on the Square. Which takes place...wait for it...on our little town square. Squeal!

One of my Canon camera loving friends and I signed up for Carol's class. We are now in week 3 of the 5 week course.

My aging brain has been thoroughly taxed. I mean, I thought a histogram was a medical procedure. Oh it is a wacked out graph that tells you if your picture has lost detail in any of its light or dark areas. Or some such craziness as that.

I am so in awe of the capabilities of the camera, combined with the fact that with a little additional knowledge on my behalf could produce even better pictures. The technical information has become a little easier to process, in small bites. There is a lot of thought to be put into each shooting situation, but that will become a little more like second nature with time. Lots and lots...and lots of practice. And then, more practice. Thank goodness for digital. Learning photography with film would be SO inconvenient!

I tried to get my model to cooperate with my need to practice yesterday morning. Alas she was too tired. Her mornings are incredibly taxing. Her largest order of business each morning is building a nap nest in the couch.

Worthless wiener dog.

Photography class sums up my Thursday evenings. It fills my brain and gets the rusty neutrons firing again.

Then, every other Saturday morning, this morning in fact, I fill my heart.

With fabric and sewing and a room full of fits of laughter and wonderful women! We formed a little group at the local quilt shop, also on the square (squeal!), and we are each making a log cabin quilt. Mine is stripes and polka dots, in wacky colors. So fun.

My head is full and my heart is happy, I call that a good week.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Holy Mackerel!

As a few of my kind friends pointed out in my previous post, my time line of events was missing one event. Yes, as it turns out I forgot to mention that between Thanksgiving and Christmas I had a birthday. I am pretty sure that had it been just another run of the mill birthday, my kind friends would have not even brought it up. However, since I turned 40, yes 40, 40, 40, 40...they felt compelled to not let it slide. Yes, kind friends indeed. Like Mary, my dear friend who is like 24 and to add insult to injury looks like she is 17. Yah, just wait Mary, if I can still see to type by the time you turn 40 I'll be ratting you out too! And then there was Linda, my faithful lifelong friend since jr. high. She ratted me out, well because she has lots she could blackmail me with, and also she shares in my pain as her 40th birthday was 3 weeks after mine.

40. There it is all out in the open now.

I am sure if you had asked me 20 years ago, my opinion of 40 was practically one foot in the grave.

Now, I would honestly not want to go back to 20 for all the money in the world. OK maybe better said this way, I would not mind having my 20 year old hottie tottie body combined with my 40 year old brain and heart.

I feel like I am the real me now. Real experiences to learn and grow from, 40 years of beloved friendships, always the possibilities of new friendships along the way, cherished memories and my heart full of the people I love.

Life is great at 40.

The best perk of growing older as I see it, is that you can speak your mind. I plan on losing more and more of my filter as each year passes. Life is too short. By the time I am 90, they will then be chalking it up to senility and that is fine with me.

My other thought on growing old is that you MUST maintain a cool haircut. Once the style goes, it's all over people. Again, at 90 while I am spouting off my crazy opinion, I may only have 20 hairs on my head but they will have a sassy cut. Imperative.

My good (over 40) friend LoriusedtohaveablogEaton and I often discuss hair via random text messages. It is a highly intellectual friendship we share, don't waste your time trying to understand it. Anyhoo, here is a run down of our worthy opinions....Kathie Lee Gifford clearly needs to cut that nonsense off. Every female on any and every version of "The Real Housewives" need to cut off their over processed manes. And finally Lori threw Sandra Bullock's long do at the Golden Globes last night under the bus. Just so you know.

So, back to me and my 40 year old self. I have a good haircut, a quickly diminishing filter and I am healthy (thank God for that). I had my yearly physical last week and chose to see the nurse practitioner as it is SO much easier to get in and see her, rather than wait 3 months for an appt. with my dr. and then wait in the exam room for an hour.

She made me get lab work done. I am a needle phobe and my veins roll. Blood draws are never a barrel of monkeys for me. I'll save the story for another day about how they had to stick me twice to get a vein and I was on the verge of passing out, sweating like Lindsey Lohan in church. The little lab tech was screaming out for someone to get me some orange juice. While I was screaming just find a vein you dimwit! I inherited this needle weakness from my father. Thanks Dad! Well, I guess I just told you the story that I was going to tell you another day. Nevermind.

Anyway, my lab results came back with a vitamin D deficiency and bad cholesterol at 108. So I am now taking vit. D and Omega 3, for my cholesterol. I do feel the nurse practitioner is being a little over zealous with the high cholesterol thing, I mean the American Heart Association hardly sneezes at 108. Better safe than sorry I guess. Do you know what Omega 3 consists of? Mackerel, anchovy and sardine. Blech. The 2 soft gels I have to choke down daily are the size, and coincidentally smell similar to that, of a small rodent.

I believe the cholesterol thing is also hereditary, thanks for another one Dad! I mean I honestly do eat low fat and exercise. OK so, I was running 3 miles a day for the first 9 months of 2010, until the day we boarded our plane to Mexico in September. You know, to eliminate as much beach jiggle as possible. Have not run another step since then. Well, unless you count the occasional spontaneous footrace I challenge blonde rascal to. Gotta show that punk who is boss every now and again.

Then after Mexico hubs and I did sort of a clean eating program for 3 weeks and I lost 12 lbs. All of this to say come on cholesterol, cut me some slack! I feel confident I will beat it though, what with my mackerel/anchovy/sardine breath and all.

Now that you have wasted 3 minutes of your life, that you can never get back, by reading all of this complete nonsense, I will stop.

Do come back though. I am taking a photography class AND joined up with a quilting group that I am sure you are dying to hear about! Hopefully for your sake this will be the last time I speak of Mackerel and good haircuts, in the same blog post anyway.

Now leave me a comment and tell me how you feel about getting blood drawn.

Cheers to 40!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Merry Christmas!! Oh's January.

Christmas Eve, blurry photo, but at that point I was feeling rather blurry myself. As in tired, weary, worn out.

Well, no rest for the weary, as they say and as always the entire Christmas season was wonderful despite the lack of sleep. Full of family and fun and cherished memories!

Since one of my most recent blog posts was chocked full of Halloween festivities, I must recap for the sake of keeping the blog chronologically in check.

November brought our 15th anniversary. I had an adorably talented local chic (thanks Ashley!!) make a mini-wedding cake for us. It was so fun!That's some cake baking, decorating fabulous-ness right there! Almost too pretty to eat....almost.

That weekend we took a trip to San Antonio for a little celebration get away.We remembered The Alamo.

Had an all around great time, just the two of us. I love this man. He is my rock, my bff and he holds the key to my heart! I am blessed by having him and honored to be called his wife for the past 15 years!

Next up on the time line....
The Marine got engaged! Wedding March 12, 2011. Jeepers, right around the corner. Darling girl and we are thrilled to be welcoming her into the family!

Followed of course by ThanksgivingYes, I decorated for Christmas BEEEFORE Thanksgiving and it was the best thing I have ever done. Loved it. Yes, blonde rascal was in his pj's for turkey day dinner. Yes, despite how it looks we did have more to eat than pink jello salad. It was a nice, easy going T-day since it was just the 4 of us.

After Christmas blonde rascal and I drove to Houston to spend a week with my family. The best part of that was getting to be with my ridiculously cute and fun twin nieces!Seriously folks, not much more adorable could they get!

The year ended by B.R. and I driving back from Houston on NYE. Hubby left home that morning to go to a roping in San Antonio, so it was just me and blonde rascal.
This is how an 8.5 hour drive from Houston to Snyder treats me. It is not pretty, my road hag look. Anyway we partied like rock stars that night and made ice cream sundaes. Blonde rascal clearly got hopped up on whipped cream. We were asleep in bed by 9:45. Glamorous life.

OK so that catches me up. I'll be back around Easter time for another re-cap. Kidding (I hope) as I do miss blogging and am aiming at being a more regular blogger!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Life in Grace

Funny thing about blogging is that once you start reading someones blog you feel like you know them, even if you have never personally met. I have fallen in love with Edie at Life in Grace! She is completely hilarious, a dedicated mother and wife, a talented decorator, an all around smart and spunky girl...and that is just the tip of the iceberg! My favorite of her posts is this one. Mainly because her decorating style is so amazing...funky and outside the box. Also because that is soooo something I would do, take a ten minute plan and turn it in to an all day house re-arranging! Anyway today is her birthday! She is in need of an extra special "blog hug" this birthday as her home burnt to the ground the Tuesday before Christmas. I pray for her family the peace that only God can provide.

The gamut of emotions that must follow that experience are unimaginable. However as Edie said in her post, the only thing that mattered was that her entire beautiful family, dog included, got out completely unharmed. Thank God.

My heart broke for her as I read her post and at the same time made me think of my family's safety in the event of a fire. I went through the house and replaced all smoke detector batteries. I decided I would do that every New Years and 4th of July. Ordinarily we only replace them when they start chirping and you want to hit them with a baseball bat!

Then Blonde Rascal and I did an emergency drill in his room. I reiterated that should he ever hear the smoke detectors go off in the night, he is to immediately climb out the window. Not ever try to come through the house looking for us. We set an outdoor meeting area by the pool. Then I went outside and coached him through climbing out his window. Of course that turned humorous as he struggled, wiggled and fell to the ground! But I slept better that night. While our "drill" was light hearted and silly, I feel certain that in an emergency the details of how to get out of the house safely would come to his mind.

Then in a dreadful flash of some sort of teenage foreshadowing he decided to try to climb back in the window!I told him in no shape, form or fashion did he need to master THAT skill. That had us giggling again as climbing back in was far more cumbersome than climbing in!

As it turns out Jake wanted to climb in the window too...

Pray for Edie and her sweet, sweet family as they travel the emotional road of re-establishing their home. Then, go change your smoke detector batteries and make an escape plan. I say thank you Edie for sharing this journey with us, as your story may end up saving another family.