Saturday, April 30, 2011

We Saw a Panda


I thought, oh, we'll see the panda, no biggie. But man, it is so cool to see a panda. He (or she) was sitting very close to the front of the enclosure and drinking out of a bottle. Last time we were at the zoo we didn't even walk up to the panda area because my friend said there was a chance they wouldn't be out. So not only were they out this time but this one was right out in the open where we could see it.

Hands down, the best part of spring break.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Easter Bunny Told Me to Give this to You

We never really did anything for Easter other than getting dressed up in "Easter clothes" and having a lily; at church Mr. Higgins sang "He's Alive" to mark the occasion. But no candy or baskets.

My first spring at BJU, I made an Easter basket for my mega-crush of the time and guy auction purchase, John-John. I met him for the sunrise service at the stadium and gave him the basket of candy on top of which I had tied his tie into a bow.

I had his tie because we (my XK girls and I) were obsessed with wearing ties as belts thanks to the influence of Phinny in A Separate Peace. I guess he needed his tie back due to having to wear ties every day.

When I gave him the basket I said, "I met the Easter Bunny on the way here and he told me to give this to you." This must have been before we were socialled (a unique punishment invention of Christian colleges that says the punished student cannot talk members to the opposite sex and a story I may or may not get around to telling) because we went to breakfast afterwards.

Later he gave me a polaroid* of him with the Easter Bunny at the mall. Because he was a town student and could go to the mall on Sunday.

*blogger wants me to capitalize polaroid and I don't want to.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Feast or Famine

Today I did a version of this. That is not my picture, it's Funky Junk's. But I will show you my version if I get around to it. I seem to either write lots of posts back to back or just leave this poor blog to languish . . . I have no real plan for the foreseeable future to be any more predictable. (I do not know what is up with the spacing! I drive myself crazy trying to put in paragraph breaks that just won't take.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Broccoli Breakthrough

Tonight for supper we grilled some beef, made some noodles from a package, and steamed some broccoli. Kate loves the broccoli. Sam usually doesn't. I was thinking a few months ago about how all the advice when moms start feeding the baby solids says you have to introduce it something like 15 times. I realized I was taking their word for it that they didn't like something when they'd only tried it 2 or 3 times. So I kind of went back to basics with Sam and the broccoli (and other things, but I can't think of them right now): I put a little piece on his plate every time we had it and he had to eat it and that was all. Last week we had an amazing moment: broccoli in something with a sauce and Sam said he liked it. Then tonight, he ate his stalk and said he liked it. Then he ate all his meat and noodles and asked for more. Actually last week on a few nights he said he was hungry before bed and ate again. He must be growing or actually realizing what hungry feels like and can pay attention to it long enough to eat.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Disappearing Nine Patch

One of the first pages I stumbled upon was this one from Cluck Cluck Sew. I immediately became obsessed with the disappearing nine patch. With a few simple steps the quilter ends up with a complicated looking quilt. I ended up making three and I might not be finished with this method. The one I took pictures of was the second one I made. Craig's aunt gave me this fabric years ago when I first started quilting. There was about 1/4 yard of each and I never really knew what to do with it. Since I'd already made a randomly arranged disappearing 9-patch, I made three identical nine patches and rotated them all in the same direction.
Observe:



sew together


cut vertically and horizontally through the middle


rotate the same direction


Finished project: runner. I did go buy the dark green for the binding. Oh, and I didn't make three identical squares, I made two. But you can see how making the squares identical and rotating them the same way makes a pattern.


Contrast:


This fabric was leftover from the doll bed bedding I made before Christmas. I was thinking about trying to make pjs for the dolls for the girl's birthday but seriously doubted my skillz in that department. For this one, each 9-patch had a brown center (which when cut made the small brown squares) and then randomly rotated them. I tried to recreate a new mitering (is that the word?) technique for the corners that I found on the internet but since I didn't go back and re-read the directions and it didn't work nearly as well as the method I typically use.


Having practiced disappearing the 9-patches twice, I started in on some fabric I've had lying around for a really, really long time. Last summer I gathered these fabrics together and went with my mother-in-law to pick out a neutral to go with them. At the time I didn't have a real plan but I love how this turned out (excuse the ghastly picture, I realized as I started to write this I needed one and snapped it quick so I could get on with my life).


I know what you're thinking: Yes, we got new curtains. You might not have noticed because they look stunningly like the old ones, but I'm soooooo happy with them.


Back to the quilt, I love how it turned out. It is my first all-machine done quilt: machine pieced and machine quilted (a road I might not have tried except for the carpal tunnel syndrome). I wanted to do a blog post on the walking foot titled "this foot was made for walking" but I never took a picture of it in action.


There was a small amount of planning when laying out the fabrics and planning what each 9-patch would contain, most of it revolving around the dark pink and where in the 9-patch it was placed (if in the center, it would be cut into 4 small squares; if in the center of the rows or columns, it could be cut into rectangles; and if in the corners, it would stay as a big square). My other thought was to keep all the 9-patches different.


These cut 9-patches were all rotated randomly, again with a little bit of moving around to try to spread out the dark pink, which I think is the strongest color. Then I threw on the biggest borders I could with the fabric I had and ordered my walking foot.


While I was working on the quilting part, I felt like the quilt was becoming too puckery as quilt lines crossed each other but I carried on, as is my style, because finished (to me) is better than perfect. Then I washed it and 90% of the puckers that were bothering me were gone. I think with more practice and a little more patience I can get better results. Or I'll risk my wrists and hand quilt; it's easier to get the fabric taut and flat.


I backed this with fabric bought years ago (5 years, to be exact; when I was pregnant with Kate and found this at Marden's and I bought the 2 bolts they had for when she gets a room, this could be her curtain fabric. My MIL made her crib bumper and skirt from this fabric) and made the binding from the same fabric.


I used a bowl to draw the corner curves, something I read somewhere, and I love how they turned out. I put the pink and green squares in the corners before I remembered that I wanted to round them. I might not have done that if I had remembered but also I was cuttin' it close with that neutral. Irregardless*, I like the result.


Maybe if I get some energy I'll take and post better pictures and close-ups.


**not a word but oh-so-funny to say



Linking (first time!) to Show and Share at Just a Girl.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

One Shining Moment

The spring I was president of CRC*, I was in the A&O** with a bunch of other people on the night of the NCAA*** championship. The Student Body Council was working on something, or not really, and I was helping, or not; Grog (student body president/not his real name) decided we needed to stay up late to see the "One Shining Moment" montage at the end of the game. Someone made a call to Jim Berg (or whomever one calls there to get permission to do what any other 20-yr-old on the planet is capable of deciding for oneself) and we were granted permission to continue working on the project past light bell**** . . . project being done, or unimportant enough to stop, or possibly non-existent in the first place, we watch the end of the game, soaked up the montage of highlights from games none of us had seen, and then headed to our dorms, elated to be elite enough to stay up late. *Community Relations Council **Activities and Organizations Office ***I do not know what these letters stand for ****prayer group 10:30-10:45, light bell at 11. PM.