Monday, April 30, 2012

Macro Monday

I am just popping on to do a random Macro Monday.

Cuckoo Wasp

I believe I was stung by one of these buggers because there is a very tiny hole near my left knee and it swelled up like the dickens. Bad bad buggers.

But, you have to admit that these suckers are beautiful... spite of being evil mean buggers. I mean, they PREY on honey bees! Sheesh.

{These pictures were taken with my macro lens on Sunday, April 29, 2012.}

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quarterly Review of my #FinishYear list

My Word of the Year & #FinishYear list

Well, I feel like I am an utter failure. Why am I not surprised? Let's review:

Here is my original five:
  1. I am going to finish learning how to swallow a pill. I may not ever learn how; but, I am determined to try.
  2. I am going to finish the Layer Cake Quilt. In the process, learn to machine quilt.
  3. I am going to finish saving up for “new” car. We only need a couple more thousand.
  4. I am going to finish walking a mile (two miles is the ultimate goal)
  5. I am going to finish cleaning / purging the office. I can only do this if Dan helps the process as half the stuff in there is his. I hate to nag him; but, this is important to me.
And, here is the original secondary list:
  • I am going to finish making meal plans (every two weeks).
    {I started and completed the first plan on 1/2/12.}
  • I am going to finish writing down thoughts frequently – once or twice a week – journal style.
  • I am going to finish organizing my fabrics onto “bolts” – 2 or 3 a day should get me there eventually.
    {I started this on 1/4/12.}
  • I am going to finish taking a picture at least once a week
    (I started this on 1/2/12.)

So, Let's see. How am I doing?
  1. I never learned to swallow a pill; but, I still try from time to time.

  2. I started the process of getting the setup to get the Layer Cake quilt finished; but, it's been so slow because I am so darn slow! And now, it's at a complete standstill because we're in the process of closing on a house. And, then we've got to move, which means I have to take apart my setup. I decided not to start machine quilting the Layer Cake quilt until after we move. Speaking of which, I'm already designing the "studio" in my head and even have scribbles on paper; but, I cannot really truly plan until I know the final dimensions of the room. So, it might be awhile before I have the room; but, I am praying that the process will be fast and I'll be back to doing sewing/crafting in a heartbeat.

  3. We are still saving up for a car and I thought I would have enough by summertime. However, I did a little research into the car I have been wanting and well, I think I am just going to have to focus on getting a different model! I did not realize that the 2 or 3 year old cars I wanted were still that expensive! Sheesh. So, it is a setback for me priority-wise. However, I still would like to get a new second car by the end of the year and hopefully, it'll be a decent car for Dan to drive back and forth to work and I'll take his gas guzzling truck for when I need to go do errands or go to the grocery.

  4. I successfully walked a mile. In fact, I've been walking around the block three times every morning until I went quilt shop hopping several weeks ago and fell off the bandwagon. The walk is slightly over a mile and the block itself has a slight incline. So, it gets my heart pumping three times (once every lap). I need to get back to walking every morning; but, I have been busy!

  5. The office has been cleaned out and purged. Yay! So, this is no longer on my list.
As for the secondary list, I think I am a little more successful with this endeavor.
  • I have been making meal plans every two weeks. So this is a success.
  • I have been jotting down things here and there. However, I think it could be a little more often.
  • I did start out by wrapping fabrics onto "bolts" every day; but, I fell off the bandwagon over a month ago. I'll pick this up again when we move.
  • I am also taking pictures more often; but, I haven't been tracking when and how often. I also have been very bad at letting them sit in folders without even looking at them.
My last word has nothing to do with this review; but, everything to do with the house we're in the process of purchasing. I have been cleaning up and somewhat halfheartedly packing the last two weeks. I guess I do not want to commit to packing until we close on the house. This is the furthest we have ever gone and it is looking good so far! All we lack is the survey of the property (which will be done within 3 - 5 business days); but, the application is going forward. I am really praying that this will be closed by the date stated on the contract and I am needlessly worrying. I cannot control what happens with the bank and their appraisers. So, why do I worry? Because it is my nature! Ha! Anyway, things are looking good at the moment.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Link Roundup

I am just popping on briefly to post these links. I hope your weekend is going fabulous!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Best News Ever & Blogging Break

As you know, yesterday was our wedding anniversary. We did not do much to celebrate which is typical of us both. It is just not our nature to do so. However, we did go to Chili's last Saturday night and have dessert. It isn't often we do this; but, once in a blue moon we just walk in, sit down and order dessert. I love their Brownie Sundae and Dan loves the Paradise Pie. So, it's a perfect thing to do even though it is not exactly cheap.

Anyway, we spent most of last Saturday (4/14/12) running around like mad hatters. It was our wedding anniversary weekend and we spent it investigating our options on houses. It is just the (perfect) thing we do.

We ended up looking at a house we both thought would be out of our price range because every single house we looked at so far needed some kind of work. However, we were pleasantly surprised. And, come to find out, it is only five years old which is why it was in fabulous condition.
It is another estate sale which always makes me feel a tad sad. However, there were so many signs that this house could be the one.

The variety of wildflowers growing all over the land. The fruit trees already planted for us (eight total). The mega detached garage for Dan is already wired with tons of outlets and it had windows to let in natural light! The kitchen was a decent size and had my dream island. The attached garage is more or less finished and only needs to be walled up (where the garage door is) to convert it into my dream crafting/sewing/guest room. And, the house had a decent front porch! I was not a fan of the fence surrounding the house. But, that is easily fixed.

I could not believe that it held most of our wish list items including land. We always knew that we would have to compromise; but, this house was by far the most perfect we have seen over two years of house hunting.

The only downside was the price as it was over our maximum we were willing to spend. So, we tried our hardest not to get our hopes up.

For the first time in our search for a home, we both were willing to go to the maximum price we were willing to put up for a house. We put in our best offer that same day fully expecting them to either reject or counter offer. Much to our surprise, the offer was accepted that very night! We only needed to get an updated pre-approval letter as the old one "expired". We got that done first thing Monday morning and proceeded to wait... anxiously...

This morning, Dan got the call that the contract was sighed! Hurray! We both sighed with relief.

I think we finally have a home to call our own and it is practically perfect. Dan has already arranged the home inspection for tomorrow at 8:30am. It is required anyway by the bank and insurance. However, we do not expect any problems to crop up. In fact, I think the inspector (which we used in the past) is going to be downright bored going through his routine because the last house he inspected for us was a rather interesting challenge! Ha!

This is the best wedding anniversary present ever to us both! Needless to say, I am so excited! And, I think Dan is too.

So anyway, I am going on blogging break. There will be sporadic posts as I love to blog. But, for the most part, I will be offline. It is going to be very busy in the coming several months with packing, moving, attending a nephew's graduation, camping in June and more. I hope you all will understand.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Eighteen Years

Has it really been eighteen years? Here is a short condensed version of how we first met.

I started working for a company February 27th, 1989. Dan showed up working in April that year. We first were coworkers. And then, we ended up on a bowling league together that Fall with a few co-workers and friends. In the process, we got to know one another and became good friends.

Our first date was on July 22nd, 1990. We went to see Ghost playing in the theater. We dated for over three years before we tied the knot on this day in 1994. We have been through so much and survived.

I am so lucky to have this man in my life. May we have many more years together.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordy Wednesday

On April 4th, I posted this as my status on facebook:

I sewed up a strip of something. I took a short break and left the door open. As I was about to put the foot to pedal after the break, something moved on the arm of the sofa and scared me to death. It was Chessie laying on top of the Pure Layer Cake quilt top and some leftover blocks. Camouflage! She has it!

The fabrics has a lot of browns in it. She is brown. So, I didn't notice her until she moved. She then had the brass to get onto the cutting table and walk around including checking out the sewing machine.

Ur Sewin Machine Iz Meh. Yez, I knoe urban werdz. I r not stoopid.

Pai attenshun 2 meh or else evil kat will mak an appearance.
{Both pictures converted to black & white and set opacity at 75%}

She also had a good time using the cutting table as a perch to gaze out the window.

{converted to black & white leaving opacity at 100%.
Due to the bright light coming in from the window, her white fur around her mouth and underneath chin got washed out.}

She is not often allowed in the sewing room especially if I cannot keep an eye on her. She is a licker and will lick anything plastic. I have not kitty proofed the room against her. When she was much younger, she came to Dan in loads of trouble. She had dropped a loose ball of discarded thread in Dan's lap. I noticed she was licking and realized that she was eating thread and desperately needed help. I pointed out the problem to Dan and he then gently removed the thread. She could have died. She was so smart to come to Dan when she knew she was in trouble. (Dan was and still is her person.) And yet, she is so stupid because she continued to lick plastic!

I figured out that she was licking the plastic garbage bag and accidentally licked up some discarded threads. It scared me and ever since, she and all cats we have are banned from the sewing room. I cannot take chances with them considering the dangers of pins, threads, and whatnot. I would never forgive myself if anything should happen to them due to carelessness on my part.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday's State of Affairs

Remember this?

Well, The project is now completed! I cut it all up and sewed the edges up to prevent fraying. It is now on this:

We put these leaders on last Saturday (4/7/12). I could not have done this without Dan's help. I am thankful that he is so supportive. I am planning to continue with this project this weekend and for this first time, I am finally feeling a tad excited about this. I am also very nervous and scared! But, I just have to dive in and get over the fear.

On another note, Chessie completely destroyed two toys that I got specifically for Gracie. That reminds me, I need to purchase some more of those toys as Gracie really likes them. Anyway, I had some leftover fabric from the above project. So, I decided to make a kick stick for Chessie last Saturday (4/7/12).

I still have plenty of fabric leftover to make probably two more of these in the future should this one get destroyed.

Chessie was feeling very aggressive last Sunday and went after Gracie. Gracie was fighting back by yowling and hissing as she was cornered. It was not a pleasant sound. Dan went after Chessie and gently diverted her away from Gracie. I picked up Chessie, took her into another area and sat down on the floor with the kick stick to try to help alleviate the aggression she was feeling. Boy howdy, she ripped into the toy! Even Dan was surprised. Fortunately, it held up really well. And, she was a much nicer cat afterwards. I think the catnip helped get her drunk and calmer. Ha!

Dan suggested that the next kick toy be made out of a thicker material such as canvas. The material I am currently using is a home decorator fabric that I purchased on clearance. It is slightly tougher than 100% cotton fabric; but, not as strong as canvas.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pictorial Monday: "Going Gray"

A friend of mine is being brave and going gray. She looks fabulous. There is a facebook page called Going Gray, Looking Great. I have never heard of this movement and / or book until recently.

I have never dyed my hair. The only thing I ever had done to my hair was get it permed. Once. I hated it. I also hated sitting in that chair for two hours when I could be doing better things with my life. So, I never did fuss with my hair again other than to blow dry and fuss with it a bit in my career days. I do get it cut and trimmed periodically; but, not much more than those things.

I asked Dan to take pictures of me focusing on the gray in my hair. So, we managed to get some pictures taken on March 12. Below are some of my favorite pictures from the "session". Ignore the ugly ol' lady and take a gander at my gray. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Link Roundup

  • Dainty Blossoms Couch Pincushion Sewing; Tutorial

  • Copyright Terrorism {in the quilting world}
    There has been a recent flack between a designer of fabric and a publisher / book author that I have been watching closely. Much of what you see and hear is techno mumble jumble that goes way over an average person’s head. But, this post puts forth my thoughts and feelings about this matter in a straight forward manner. Note, it has eased some of the concerns I had about using fabrics in any shape or form I desire and selling them. But still, my biggest worry is that this could all change someday.

  • Rainy Day Photo Posing Ideas Photography
    I have always loved the rain and will even go walking in the rain (if it is safe to do so). These are some really good ideas!

  • Energy Drinks: Good or Bad?
    Not to be confused with sports drinks, these trendy beverages are a dangerous mix of sugar, chemicals and stimulants. We won’t keep you in suspense – they’re no good!
  • In Praise of Jobs Frugality; Jobs, Opportunity
    Here’s the reality of the situation: there is no work out there that will allow you to do nothing but what you enjoy doing. At some point, you’re going to end up doing things that are un-fun. You’re going to have to do paperwork or negotiate a contract or interact with someone you don’t like. You’re going to have to accept unfair criticism or deal with technical problems or handle drudgery. Unless you are incredibly rich and have people that buffer you from these things, there is no job that is free from drudgery.
    I have an incredible amount of respect for people who go out there and do several hours worth of drudgery a day. If you loathe every aspect of your job, but you keep doing it because you have people to support, that’s an incredibly impressive thing to do.

    However, it’s a joyless thing to do. I’ve watched friends of mine wilt under the pressure of a drudgery-filled job and the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood. I’ve seen people resign themselves to the fact that many hours of their day are going to be filled with drudgery until their health fails them.

    That is simply not a recipe for a joyful life. The more of your day you can spend doing things you at least enjoy doing (even if it’s not the perfect thing, it’s still a good thing), the better off you’ll be.

    That’s where frugality comes in. That’s where time management comes in.
  • Dealing With Criticism: A Biblical Approach Christian
    Criticism isn’t all that bad – life has it, God allows it, and we can use it to grow in understanding. The negative side of criticism is rooted in selfishness, envy, and jealousy – all of which are present in the world. Inevitably, you’ll be faced with criticism that is rooted in these things, and that’s what I would consider to be negative criticism.

    The next time you’re approached with a criticism, ask these things:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wordy Wednesday

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

~Nat King Cole

This picture was taken when I saw a smile on the wall from a broken hanger/hook.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Aurifl Designer Collection

Lilly's Quilts announced an Aurifil Make-A Designer-Collection competition. Just follow her instructions at the link. It is easy peasy! You can enter as many times you want; but, I'm only entering once because designing bundles or designer collections are very time consuming. The deadline seems to be April 17 as the winners will be chosen April 18. By the way, the contest is actually held in a Flickr Group. I am also blogging my choices here for posterity's sake in addition to passing on the word about this competition where you could win your own designer collection.

Here is my designer collection. I went with "neutrals" because that is what I use the most.

This is a cotton 50wt collection. The color codes are, from left to right, top to bottom:

2360, 4012, 2320, 2315
2026, 2000, 2021, 2024
2615, 2600, 2625, 2630

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pictorial Monday: Eek! A Mouse!

Herb Field Mouse

We have fields all around us and this little critter came a visiting. He better not hang around considering there is two feral male cats prowling about the neighborhood.

This picture was shot with Dan's EF 70-2000mm zoom lens. This is not a bad picture considering I shot it behind the safety of the glass sliding door and I rarely use his zoom lens due to the fact it is heavy!