Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The one about jealousy

So, I have this problem. It’s called Blogs.

I follow a ton of really wonderful blogs. Most of them are written by women who are about my age. And they’re really creative! They cook, they craft, they have great style. I find them very inspiring.

But I also find myself becoming resentful sometimes. Or maybe just jealous. Is there a difference between the two?

In any case, I find myself thinking, “They’re living MY life! They’re doing what I wish I could do!!”

Sometimes this causes me to get up off my couch and go make some change in my life, be it crafting something awesome, finding a way to use what I have to reorganize or redecorate my house, or whatever.

But, more often than not, I just sit and marvel at how these other girls in their late 20s are living their dreams, and I get frustrated that I’m not.

I’m intimated.

I’m fearful.

I want to do something creative and awesome and not be tied down by someone else’s rules. But I don’t know where to start. I have a grand image of what it might look like in the end, but I don’t know how to get there.

Someday I’ll figure out what I want to do with my life. In the meantime...


Monday, November 8, 2010

The one where I stack wood and discuss middle-child syndrome

This is how I spent my Saturday this weekend.
Forgive my sweatpants. It was early. Like 9:00 a.m.

Well, Saturday morning. I spent the rest of the day on my computer and phone planning a super-fun monkey-themed baby shower for one of my dearest friends. ;)

But anyway, Rob and I received a cord of wood to burn in our cast-iron stove. And we had to stack it all ourselves.

As the two men who delivered the wood were tossing it off their trailer into our front yard, I posted on Facebook, “Stacking a cord of wood. It's weird to me to have wood delivered.”

To which my big brother said, “What are you talking about? You grew up having it delivered. Except then it was delivered by your dad and brothers to the back door.” And my little brother “liked” it.

And I said, “Hey! I helped. Once.” I can’t help it if I’m the princess.

But of course my brothers would gang up to pick on the MIDDLE CHILD!! This has been going on since we were little.

It’s true, though. Generally, it was my brothers out in the woods helping my Dad cut down the tree, chainsaw it to the correct length, split it into pieces that fit the fireplace, then stack and haul and stack and haul. I might go out occasionally. Not to take them coffee or hot chocolate. Nope, not me. That would be too nice. I just went to watch a little and maybe play with the cat that thinks it’s a dog named Marcus.

Sometimes it payed off being the only girl. ;)

And P.S. I happen to know that my Dad already has a day of work in woods planned while we're all home for Thanksgiving, so that he, Big Brother, Little Brother (who is 6’, by the way. But Big Brother is 6’2”, so it still works), and Husband can “do the manly bonding.” {Name that movie.} Maybe this time I'll take them something hot to drink. ;)


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Word of the Year Preview

My husband thinks I’m a little bit of a big nerd, because I’m designing my own planner/daily calendar for next year. I started with November 2010, which I’ve already printed out. I’m hoping to catch some of the kinks this month and next, so it’ll be just right by January. I haven’t designed a whole lot into it other than the basics (days, months, weeks, etc.) plus those little extras that I can’t find in a store-bought planner (goals, chores, to-do and project lists, etc) which caused me to undertake this project to being with.

Anyway, as I’ve been laying my planner out, I’ve been pondering what else to do with it. Design it? Make it pretty and girly? Do I want to use colors, or just black and white? What do I want to commit to looking at pretty much every day for an entire year? 

I remembered the idea of choosing a “word of the year” to focus on, rather than making resolutions in January, etc. My word for 2010 was Balance. To be honest, I didn’t do much with it this year. I thought about it occasionally. I wanted to become a more balanced person, and have less of an all-or-nothing attitude towards life (because when I’m faced with all-or-nothing, I tend to pick Nothing). I think I’m a few steps advanced in this journey, even though I wasn’t all that intentional with it, and thankfully I still have two months to work on it, right? ;)

Part of me wants to pick Balance again, because I think it’s important, and because I haven’t achieved it. But let’s be serious—I won’t ever achieve balance in this life. I’ll get better at it, but I’ll never get there 100%. So, instead of dwelling on my “failure” and trying to get a mulligan, I’m going to allow myself to move on to a new word for next year.

Is it too early to be thinking about all of this? I don’t think so. I have two months to get my planner ironed out and two months to work on picking my word, too!

Last year’s word: Balance

This year’s options:
  • abide
  • abundance (acknowledge the abundance in my life, not the abundance I “want”)
  • Adore
  • Appreciate
  • Awe
  • Be
  • Beloved
  • Blessed
  • Breathe
  • Calm
  • Compassion
  • Create
  • Creativity
  • Delight
  • Discover
  • Embrace
  • Enjoy
  • Flourish
  • Grace
  • Gracious
  • growth
  • Journey
  • Joy
  • Observe
  • Possibilities
  • Presence
  • Refine
  • Relish
  • Satisfaction
  • Savor
  • Simplify
  • Thoughtful
  • Thrive
  • Wholehearted
  • Wonder
I think I know the one I want to go with, but I want to give it time to simmer and settle.

A little background: I read about this concept all over the internet, but the conversation Ali Edwards held on her blog was the one that really impelled me to explore my own “One Little Word.” She has a great list of words her readers contributed here.  

So. Has anyone else chosen a Word of the Year in place of, or in addition to, New Year’s Resolutions? What was it? What will you choose for next year?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wedding Guest Book Update

This quilt has the most pieces I've ever worked with. Seeing as it's only my third quilt, that's not saying much, but hey... I have the privilege of putting together my friend's wedding guest book, which is a quilt. I've loved reading other people's well-wishes (is that bad?). I've also made it a point to say some prayers for the bride and groom, their union, their transitions, and their new family. I've loved the whole process.

It's currently sandwiched and draped over my sewing chair, just waiting for me to get my *new* walking foot attached to my machine. I've never used one before—any advice??

Here are some sneak peaks:

I blurred this pic so the bride & groom can still be surprised by their messages.
Just enough of a sneak peak to whet their appetites. ;)
All Photos © Me

This quilt has been a total and complete experiment. Thanks for being my guinea pigs, L and M! I've tried some new tricks, which have turned out spectacularly, if I do say so myself!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Cowboy Quilt—Blogger's Quilt Fest!

This is my second quilt, and first ever entry in Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival! I just hope I have enough nerve to hit "publish" and then go through the link-up process... ;)

Introducing, my cowboy quilt!

And the back.
This quilt was a gift to my (at that time) unborn nephew, who has since been born: Isaac Lawrence. See the original post/fabric selection story here, and the official "finish" post here.

And the in-between time included:



Pinning, stitching, ironing...



I decided it needed sashing...

Adding the border...

Designing and piecing the back...

Sandwiching (blech, least favorite part)...


And that's how I got from here... here! All for the sweetest little boy!
All Photos © Me

Thanks for checking out my process, and don't forget to take a look at the other masterpieces at the Blogger's Quilt Festival!

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival


P.S. Keep an eye out for some upcoming photos of my current WIP—a friend's wedding "guest book quilt"!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cousins don't shake hands, cousins gotta hug!

Are you tired of my summer vacation stories yet? I've got one more, and then since it's been almost two months, I guess I'll find something else to report. Thanks for humoring me! ;)

My cousins and brothers and I are all super close, especially because we've been doing this reunion thing since before I was born. That said, sometimes we treat each other more like siblings than cousins. Take this as an example.

See this picture? See the two people sitting between the boat?

That's my youngest cousin with her (relatively) new boyfriend. He'd never been to our reunion before and was meeting most of us for the same time. Cute, right?

This was the welcome he received.
A cousin, a cousin-in-law, and a sister, spreading the love.

The balloons hit the boats around them and water in front of them several times before they realized what was happening.
This was right after she got nailed in the back of her leg. Ouch.
Run guys!
You can imagine we were all laughing pretty hard by this point.
All Photos © Me

And that's the kind of love we share.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Bats in the Belfry

Weird things happen at our family reunion. I mean, it's to be expected when you have 25 grown people, all related to each other one way or another, living in close(ish) quarters.

But this has never happened before.

I'm sitting in the living room, talking with my cousin, and I lean my head back on the sofa. I'm staring at the ceiling, and all of a sudden, I realize that there was a little black thing up there that I didn't remember seeing before. I continue to stare, and slowly it occurs to me that the little black a bat. I have no idea what to do. Quietly, I mention to my cousin what I've just discovered. And one by one, we tell the other folks around us, so we're all standing (or sitting), heads back, staring at the ceiling.

Eventually someone calls the folks we've rented from, and they send out animal control. Not much later the guys showed up, and sure, they were missing a few teeth, but I've never seen anyone so gentle with, let's be serious, a rodent. A wild rodent, no less. They just kind of nudged the little guy with a really long tape measure, which caused him to fly down to a window ledge. They nudged him again, and he flew across to the steps. He was in a bit of a stupor, seeing as the middle of the day for us is the middle of the night for him, so the guys had no problems picking him up with their gloved hands. Up close, he was actually kinda cute! (The bat, that is.)

We asked what they were going to do with him (I keep assuming the bat was a him, but maybe it was a her? We didn't ask for confirmation),  and apparently the older animal control guy has bat houses on his property, similar to bird houses. He hosts several hundred bats! Said he has zero problems with mosquitoes. ;) At least we know our small friend was going to a nice new home.

All Photos © Me


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cut Flowers

Can I just say, my mom and aunts grow the most beautiful flowers? These are from my aunt's garden.

All Photos © Me
I love hydrangeas.


Monday, September 20, 2010

How much fun is skiing?

I love this series of my cousin skiing.

All Photos © Me

Now, I don't see the appeal in being dragged behind a high-speed boat by a rope on a single plank, but he sure does make it look like fun, doesn't he?!