Thursday, February 26, 2009

i had a good title for this post, but i forgot it.

i would say it has been a quiet week but it has actually been rather busy. nothing blog-worthy though unless you count doctor's appointments and chores and running endless errands. kiddo is still happy and healthy as far as anyone can tell which is good news. we replaced the overhead light fixtures in the museum and the kiddo's room, but they are pretty basic and not blog-worthy except that they give off more/better light than the old ones which completely sucked. nothing else to do in the nursery until the dresser is built which is wreaking havoc with my nesting instinct but i am trying to be patient. in the meantime, this week i am thankful for:

1. my boys, brian and woody, who were snoring in counterpoint when i woke up the other night and it made me almost laugh out loud. at 3 am. and brian would have woken up and killed me so it is a good thing i didn't.

2. actually getting things accomplished. even though it has been an exhausting week chock-full of all kinds of fun things like interviewing daycare providers (which rips a hole in my heart to begin with, i don't know what i am going to do when i actually have to leave her with one), it is nice to get that stuff checked off my list.

3. these delicious waffles which we (i) have been eating every weekend for the past few weeks. the recipe is basically the one from joy of cooking with just a couple tiny tweaks. it is chock full of butter so not terribly healthy but damn they are so good that i just don't care. joc says lots of butter is necessary to tenderize the waffles and keep them from sticking to the iron, and more butter makes a crunchy golden pancake. the recipe calls for anywhere from ½ to 2 sticks of butter and i make it with the full 2 sticks. i also tossed in some whole wheat flour for good measure and somewhere, i don't know where, i saw vanilla which is not even in the recipe but makes them taste like candy. i could eat an entire batch all by myself and that is not just because i am pregnant.

basic buttermilk waffles

1½ c. flour
¼ c. whole wheat flour
1 T. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 T. sugar
½ tsp. salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
½ - 2 sticks butter, melted
1½ c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla

combine dry ingredients. combine wet ingredients. make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well and mix well to combine. batter will be slightly lumpy. or combine the wet and dry ingredients in a food processor which is what i do. one waffle uses approximately ½ cup of batter.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

simple things

this week i am thankful for:

1. pedicures, especially since it is rather difficult to reach my toes for any extended period of time these days and not likely to get better anytime soon.

2. getting to see my girlfriends for dinner tuesday night, whom i have not seen since we moved. i did not realize how much i missed those gals until i saw them. thank you so much, ladies, for taking the time for us to get together.

3. getting the quilt finished, though now i am a bit at a loss for projects. nothing percolating at the moment so i'm not exactly sure what to do with myself. clean my house? nah, not fun enough.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

quilt love (part 4 of 4)

i was determined the quilt was not going to end up in the Guilt Box of Projects That I Need to Finish Because They Have Been There Forever. and it is finally done! and i so love it:

i did not do anything fancy to quilt it, just straight (mostly) lines down and across the sashing (the light stripe in between the blocks). i used cotton batting because i had read that it is a bit easier for beginners to use and the threads do not wiggle through the needle holes as poly batting sometimes is wont to do. all things considered, i really liked working on the cotton batting and it gave the quilt a very nice hand and weight once i was finished. i also did not baste my layers together, not sure if that was a good idea or not. i pinned prodigiously so maybe that helped but everything i read recommended basting, if i were doing a larger quilt and/or more advanced quilting i probably would.

i also did not use a walking foot, i don't have one. i looked at them when i was at the fabric store getting the batting but the generic one was $29.50. looks like a fun toy but i just don't know if/when i would ever use it again. if i were quilting on a more regular basis i would invest in one since it wasn't that expensive, but $29.50 is a lot for one little project.

nothing fancy to finish the edges either, just a simple binding. i did not blind stitch the binding to the quilt because i liked the stitching line running around the edge, similar to my other quilting lines. i was kind of thinking i might want to do prairie points on the edge but i decided that would be too busy and too much work.

this turned out to be kind of a fun project, not as awful as i thought it would be once i got into the swing of things. i can see why quilting is so rewarding for the people who do it. it did feel a bit backwards to me from regular sewing though. all those ¼" seams and pressing in one direction and perfectly straight lines and matching seams exactly, it all seems to run counter to everything i do as a seamstress. it kind of felt like i needed to forget everything i ever learned about sewing and start over. so, i don't think quilting is going to become my newest obsession hobby, but i wouldn't mind learning more and improving my skills.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

actually rather liking the quilt (part 3 of... ?)

finished piecing together the top of the quilt and i really like how it turned out. except for the fact that i cannot sew in a straight line apparently, it ended up being not so awful. i have a renewed appreciation for quilters, not only because of the beautiful art they create but also because i just do not have that kind of patience. if the kiddo doesn't love this then i am taking it for myself:

from left to right, top to bottom: stretching to the stars, chinese lantern, scrappy heart, celebration star; log cabin, friendship star, four-square pinwheel, ship at sea; invented pinwheel, bug jar, diappearing nine-patch, nine-patch; framed four-square, shoo fly, scrappy house, spool; four-square yankee puzzle, simplified maryland beauty, old maid's puzzle, and monkey wrench.

i especially love the little house:

all the fabrics i used in the quilt are in this one block. that light stripe for the "door" and "window" is what i also used in between all the blocks. the pink is actually leftover from this blouse which is partly why there is only a tiny bit of it sprinkled throughout the quilt. there was only a tiny bit leftover and i also wanted it to be more purple and yellow than pink.

i tossed it up in the nursery to see and it really ties everything in together very pretty. we painted letters spelling out her name in the same purple as the butterflies, and the crib sheet we picked up cheap at ikea picks up the pink. that washed-out pink is actually the same tone as the wall color so the whole thing looks cohesive. i will post photos of the nursery as it comes along a little more, right now it is just a crib and a rocker in an empty room.

in the meantime i have to figure out how to actually quilt it and border the edge. i'm kind of scared of this part (the quilting) because i don't think i have the right presser foot and i have never done it before. so we shall see. after that i think i am going to get started on a skirt for the crib. i was going to forgo a skirt because i really detest them in general but the crib looks kind of undone without it because all the underparts are showing. that sounds a lot more scandalous than it really is.

Friday, February 13, 2009

wedding part 1

brian and i got married on august 1, 2004 - a day i thought (hoped) would be beautiful and sunny. instead i woke up to overcast clouds, cold breezes, and a light drizzle. it was a sunday, two days after the bachelorette party. i and my girls spent saturday working on flowers - my lovely sister did all my flowers for me. we had 400 roses delivered from 2g roses, along with stock, misty, and greens. kerry really made me some beautiful flowers.

sunday morning alice, jackie, mil, and i went to get our hair done and then headed over to the crystal springs golf course in burlingame, where we were getting married. it was a little chaotic in the dressing room because we were running a couple minutes behind, but in the end we managed to get out there okay. i did not want to be late to my own wedding!

the only "problem" with the site was that because it was outdoors, there wasn't really a place for me "hide" before the ceremony so brian wouldn't see me. my dad solved that problem by waiting in the back of the car with me (with tinted windows) while everyone got into place and walked down the aisle ahead of me. i was happy and excited to be getting married, and the moment i saw brian from the window of the car i started crying. there was the man i had waited so long to marry (we were engaged for a year and a half prior) and he looked so handsome in his tuxedo. my dad worried that i was getting cold feet but i assured him they were happy tears.

i got teased later because i was "bouncing" on my tiptoes during the entire ceremony, as if i was so excited i couldn't sit still. i didn't realize it at the time but sure enough, there i am on our wedding video, rocking backing and forth up onto my toes. brian was a nervous wreck. i think it had only hit him the night before that he was really getting married.

our photographer (whose personality just did not mesh with ours, the only other bummer of the day besides the weather) let us know that we were actually lucky with the weather. if it had been a bright sunshine-y day it would have been hard to get good photos that were not all glare-y and washed out. it didn't exactly make up for the goosebumps but it was nice to know we would at least have great photos.

we had a lot of friends and relatives who helped us out with our wedding and we were so thankful to all of them for making our day come together so beautifully. my godmother spent the day before sewing pearls onto my veil and other friends decorated the tables that morning. as i mentioned my sister made gorgeous work of the flowers. we had another group of friends who decorated the gazebo and even left us a little note that only we could see during the ceremony.

when we kissed, brian's groomsmen whipped out signs they had made "rating" us. from left to right, we scored a 9.9, gross, 9.8, and 10.0! we really had a great wedding party and i am so glad we chose the people we did. of course, they are the people who were (and still are) closest to us. kirsten, kerry, me, brian, ed, paul; alice, jackie, isabel, joaquin, jimmy, and dave.

i am so thankful for my sister. over the years she has grown into a beautiful, clever, interesting woman who loves God with her whole heart. she is so fun and talented and i am so lucky that she was my maid of honor.

we barely had time to take all the pictures that the photographer wanted (wait, whose wedding was this?) but i am really glad he got these shots of us.

then we had to head up to the golf course clubhouse, where our guests were waiting for us. our reception was ready to begin!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


this week i am thankful:

1. for not having gestational diabetes.

2. that brian's back is getting better. he's not at 100% yet, not by a long shot, but he's a lot better than he was last week, and more himself which i really like.

3. for my dad, who is eager to build us a dresser for the nursery. my dad is a very talented and skilled carpenter, just not always very reliable on the time issue, so we were a bit hesistant to rely on him for this big thing. we basically want this ikea dresser only a bit shorter and a lot more durable than the ikea one. (we actually have it already in our bedroom and love it, and it's pretty sturdy, solid wood - but it is ikea furniture, after all.) he has promised it will be delivered in 3-4 weeks, in time for the baby shower, so we'll see. and he's doing it as his gift to the baby, so it is a huge relief to not have to worry about coming up with the money for a dresser.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

quilt part 2 (of... ?)

i've settled on a sampler quilt. i'm actually kind of liking making it, surprise surprise. who knew! the piecing part is still slow and frustrating, but i think that it is a sampler is keeping my attention more than it would otherwise. each block is different so i'm not doing the same repetitive thing over and over and hating it [as much]. although figuring out how big to cut the pieces is a bit more challenging because... each block is different.

here is what i have so far:

from left to right, the block patterns are: spools, ship at sea, and old maid's puzzle; disappearing nine patch, stretching to the stars, and celebration star; nine patch, framed four patch, and my pinwheel; bug jar, shoo fly, and friendship star; and monkey wrench.

all total i am figuring i will need to make 20 blocks, because the quilt will need to be 4 blocks by 5 blocks to get to be about 45" x 60". i have a pretty stripe i think i am going to throw in (it is actually in the old maid's puzzle block) for in between the blocks, and i still have not figured out how i want to finish the borders. i am figuring i am making pretty good progress in that i have 13 blocks done so only have seven more to do, and a bunch more patterns to use. some are more complicated than others so we'll see if i get up to those.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

how to annoy your husband

1. lose one of the cordless telephone handsets.
2. deny using the phone, thereby negating that it is your fault that it is lost. when it becomes obvious that it is your fault, admit that you can't remember when you last even used the phone, so how could it be your fault?
3. blame it on pregnant brain.
4. call the handset using the intercom feature on the other handset (or your cell phone).
5. allow husband to discover handset on the shelf in the closet next to your shoes.
6. laugh uncontrollably, thereby increasing his frustration. blame it again on pregnant brain and remind him that you cannot remember the last time you used the phone.
7. kiss husband and remind him that he loves you despite your "quirks."

Monday, February 9, 2009

nursery and the quilt (part 1 of... ?)

latest project: a baby quilt for the nursery. we painted the nursery last weekend in behr's rose glow, a kind of pinkish lavender. it changes color depending on the light and sometimes looks pink and sometimes looks lavender. we are not in love with it, mostly i think because it was a compromise color. brian wanted a brighter lavender and i wanted a softer, lighter peachy pink. it is also a color that i think neither of us would ever in a million years choose for our house under normal circumstances. it is starting to grow on me though.

we got a crib this weekend, this pretty white one. i love it. the white makes the paint a lot more bearable. we are also going to get this dresser from ikea. we actually already have it in our bedroom in the antique stain and love it, and it is a nice height to use also as a changing surface. i also really want a small white bookcase. the rocker that brian was rocked in as a baby is already in there.

i tidied up in the nursery, tried to make it look a little less "un-done," tossed my old yellow baby quilt over the crib for an accent. suddenly i liked the nursery a lot more with the lavender and yellow together. we have been struggling to find a "theme" for the nursery and i think those colors together with the white will be very pretty. i was inspired to make a quilt to start us off and so we ran out to the fabric store to pick something out.

this is what we ended up with:

the white and the yellow actually have very subtle prints, the yellow is has a soft basketweave on it and the white is actually a white-on-white scroll-y print. very pretty. brian chose the purple butterflies and though it is bright against all that white and yellow, i really like it.

i know that one square looks a bit wonky, i remembered last night why i don't often quilt. in fact i have done very little piecing in my entire life because i hate it. piecing gives me a stomachache. (piecing refers to putting together the top of the quilt; quilting is the actual putting-together of the quilt and stitching through all the layers of fabric and batting.) i hate cutting out all those tiny squares and triangles and whatnot. i hate stitching them all together. i hate that i do all this sewing and pressing all those seams and have virtually nothing to show for it. it feels like i do all this work and never make any progress. it drives me crazy.

on the plus side, this one is much smaller than the two "quilts" i have done previously (actually duvets, so i just pieced the tops and did not actually quilt them). they were both king-size which is a bit daunting let me tell you. the first one i did in a log cabin pattern which imho turned out really pretty but was a lot of work for a quilt that size. my pieces were very small and it just took forever to make each square, and i think i had to make 64 squares. the second was a very simple pattern of 3 lines of contrasting fabrics alternating with large solid blocks, i'm sure there is a name for the pattern but i have no idea what it might be. that was a lot easier because the squares were so much larger. this baby quilt is crib-size (45" x 60") and those pinwheel blocks will be alternated with solid yellow blocks, kind of like a double nine-patch, which means i only have to make 12 of them. like my second quilt top, i'm sure that pinwheel pattern has a name, i just don't know it. i drew it up on my own but there is nothing new under the sun and i can't believe that it's completely original. i haven't decided yet how i want to border this one.

we'll see how it comes along. i really like the double nine-patch pattern and i have more than enough fabric, 2 yards of each, so i could possibly stop here and start over with the nine-patch squares. i might do some blocks in the pinwheel and some in this neat disappearing nine-patch. i might do all three. i might do a "sampler" with 12 or 24 different patterns, one in each block. i might tear all my hair out and just do a large basic block quilt. i might end up in a mental institution from all that piecing, wheeee!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

project catch-up

have not been sewing up a storm lately. i kind of want to, there's a dress i really would like to make out of this tan linen with navy flowers embroidered on it. i'm just not sure if i want to make it a maternity dress or just a loose regular dress. i'll likely be wearing it this summer which means after baby with nursing boobs and a poochy post-baby belly.

did this cute top a couple weeks ago. same pattern as this top but i couldn't find navy ribbon dark enough for the tie. it really is navy, not black. i wore it anyways without and boy is it comfy that way. maybe i will leave it without.

these "cargo" capris are also from the same pattern as the pants in that post. can someone please tell me why i cannot seem to find khaki ribbing anywhere? one would think that would be common, but alas, no. and the tweakiness in the legs, i am thinking it is just the way they hang for some strange reason. because the other pants did the same thing when i took a picture, but these (and the other pants) hang fine when on me. and of course they are cut on grain so it is not that.

this fourth of july stripe was on sale for $2/yard. i did not even use a full yard, which is good because i think a little floppy wide-brimmed hat would be absolutely adorable with this dress. obviously this is not for me. it is butterick # 3913, sans the lame little vest-y thing that goes over the dress. one of the surprisingly few patterns i have with a newborn size. unless she is overly huge (please God, no) or premature and tiny, our gal ought to be able to fit into this just fine for fourth of july.

if the ultrasound tech was wrong and she comes out a boy, i am going to shoot myself.

these were christmas gifts for my mother, sister, and grandmother. my mother specifically requested soap and i hadn't made any in a while so i think kerry was running out also.

the spotty orange/yellow one is citrus with calendula flowers and orange peel in it. i used bramble berry's beach breeze fo, bergamot eo, and some mandarin eo. the pink swirl is a floral scent of rosewood, lavender, ylang-ylang, and violet eo's. the dark brown one is the soap from this post that kind of caused me a bit of a headache which is why it looks a bit rough around the edges. vanilla and earth musk fo's, both from bramble berry, with some yarrow and honey. i may have tossed in some cream and/or almond meal towards the end as well, not sure. it doesn't look so beautiful but man does it smell nice.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

the husband is basically useless and i mean that in the best possible way

this week i am thankful for:

1. the man my husband (usually) is. this was brought into sharp focus for me this week as his recent nagging back pain became unbearable and debilatating. we are not sure if it is a pinched nerve, muscle spasm, recurrence of a bulging disk he had four years ago, or something worse, and the drugs the doctor gave him only do so much. it's really difficult to see my husband in so much pain and so useless in the face of his regular everyday activities, especially when i'm used to him being so strong and capable and masculine. he seems somehow diminished right now, like a little old man. i want my old husband back, the one who carries the heavy grocery bags and doesn't wince every time he gets up from his chair.

2. my mother, who is amazing and generous and exceedingly excited about our baby and helping us out. my mom is the best bargain-hunter i have ever met and her skills have been put to the test with this baby. she found us a graco stroller system for only $75 and a ton of other things. just last night she found us the perfect crib, for only $40. i don't know how she does it, but i do know we would be much poorer without her help.

3. rain, which i am usually not thankful for, but we're in a drought out here right now and really need it. the rain have gotten so far this morning is pretty pitiful and we won't get enough this season to alleviate our water issues, but every little bit helps. also, it means i get to wear my rain boots.