Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Whole Day with No Plans

Last Sunday, I woke up with nothing pressing. Nothing that I had to get up and look presentable for, nothing that I needed to prepare for, nothing scheduled. It was a delicious feeling, let me tell you! So, after reading from my current book for a while, I got up and made a list of seven things I wanted to accomplish. I finished six, which in my book, is pretty *%$# good.

1. First on my list to be accomplished was the ironing that had piled up on the ironing board. The fun part was that some of it I had left long enough that it worked the wrinkles out on its own and I could just go ahead and put it away. I do like ironing - it's relaxing, almost a meditative thing. I can get thinking done and it's very rewarding. Things are transformed!

2. After the ironing, I decided to make a card for my friend Leonard, who turned sixty on Friday, and whose surprise birthday party was last night. He is (as I am) a really big Monty Python fan, so this made sense to him, his son, and to me. Everyone else was kinda like, "huh?"

3. The next thing on my list was taking Lillabee for a walk. So, I bundled up and we went on a little explore of the neighborhood. It was a really beautiful day, nearly 50 degrees and the sun was shining. Definitely a good day for a walk.

4. When I got back, I began work on an apron made from charm squares (5" squares of fabric). I combined two charm packs of different Mary Englebreit fabric lines - one is Friends & Flowers and the other is Recipe for Friendship. The pattern is called Kitchen Charm by Indygo Junction. I modified the pattern a little bit to make finishing easier and to help it not to remind me of the Flintstones. My goal was to merely get the squares sewed together, but not to do any of the finishing - and I made it. It's quite cheery, yes?

5. Next I worked on finishing up the dishes. One of my new year's resolutions was to wash the dishes everday and I've been pretty good about it... but not as consistent lately as at first. So, I did the couple that had been hanging around and got a fresh start for the week.

6. Quite a while back I received a bunch of fabric from Firefly that I've deemed perfect for my KitchenAid cozy. (Have I mentioned I love my KitchenAid?) So, my final task for the day was to mock up the cozy, since I have the MONDO BIG KitchenAid and the only pattern I found was for the smaller ones. Turns out I made the cozy WAY too big anyway. (I'm so proud of Madeleine - I overestimate her size, even.) Here she is modelling the oversize cozy made of HIDEOUS $.50/yard fabric. My serger joined in the picture, since really it did all the work.

I do love my serger...

The final thing on my list? Folding the clean laundry. And really, that can wait. Who wants to spend a delicious free day on matching socks and trying to fold fitted sheets?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monterey, CA - The Place to Be!

The fateful death of my computer happened while on the train to Monterey, CA (via Salinas). I rode Amtrak and it was a beautiful trip. My camera continued to work, so I can share the beautifulness with you.

My vacation began in Olympia, WA where my patient and long-suffering mother missed breakfast to take me to JoAnn Fabrics to buy reading material for the trip. I got Craft Stylish and Paper Crafts. Good stuff. After dropping the sweet little doggies at PetSmart (PetsMart?) for their haircuts, we headed for the train station. The train was right on time. I had a "roomette" on the top level of the sleeping car. I was across from a couple ladies from Alaska and down one from a South African guy. It was pretty cool and I settled in for a good trip. I was sick, though - so I didn't take many pictures on the way down. I didn't even sleep that well, but I did remember to take a picture of the falling asleep. :)

The prettiest part of the way down was south of San Jose - lush green, bright sunshine, etc. I was ready for some sunshine.

Then, I arrived. It was sooo warm and delicious. I walked around Salinas while waiting for Phillip - there is nothing within walking distance of the train station.

In Monterey, I found this:
Sweet beautiful sunshine! I walked around without needing a coat - and it's a good thing, since I left it on the train. (I got it back as I was leaving.)

Friday afternoon I spent sight-seeing while The Bro finished work. Then we high-tailed it to Santa Cruz for a book at Borders that he couldn't find anywhere else and HAD TO HAVE IT NOW. I was happy to see Santa Cruz, and I got a great book for using my serger called Sew U: Home Stretch. It's a really helpful book and I'm planning to make my own underwear (more about that when it actually happens - might be never). Then, it was dinner at the best Thai restaurant around. The sweet and sour was surprisingly good. No red food coloring in sight. Then, because of my sickness and the nyquil I took to battle the sickness, I fell asleep sitting up in Phil's room.

Next day we went to church - a lively fun church, although the guest speaker couldn't seem to get any cohesion to his sermon. He was all over the map, but luckily didn't go on and on. In the afternoon I got to see the Pacific Grove butterfly sanctuary. There were soooo many butterflies. Then! To the beach! Phil and I were both reading really good books, so we found a park bench facing the ocean and sat until the mosquitos showed up. That evening was killer. Pizza, Coldstone, and Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Need I say more? (The movie was silly, yes, but I enjoyed it.)

Sunday brought a downhill mountain bike race for Phillip and pit crew duty for me! He came in 5th in his class and I nearly burst with pride. Afterward we had some delicious food at a local restaurant where the dessert case nearly killed you just looking at it. HUGE cakes with chocolate and frosting and peanut butter... Mmmm....

Finally it was back to the train station and time to begin my trip back home.

The trip takes 24 hours and on the way back every stop was warm and the Amtrak employees were really friendly. Here's southern Oregon, making me want to move there:

What a fun trip! I recommend it to anyone wanting to relax and get some warmth!

Monday, March 23, 2009


I sit before you, typing at my much-loved computer once again. Thank you for your well-wishing, prayers, and crossed fingers. The local computer doctor was victorious. Turns out the power supply and the motherboard weren't getting along - okay, their connection was loose. Now that things have been smoothed and tightened, we're in business. It's good (oh so good!) to be back.

Here's a token picture of me and a lovely lady from PT. We sat together at the Fantabulous Follies of 2009. Of course, since I wasn't in the Follies this year, they were lacking in some areas, but I thoroughly enjoyed being in the audience and cheering and laughing.

Also, here's a picture on which I need some feedback. I've laid out these fabrics as a quilt that is totally "merryheathre". It's my self-centered quilt, I suppose. I'm quite excited about it. So, the feedback I'm hoping for is: do these fabrics go okay together? Am I missing something? (I think I'm missing fish and stars before it can be totally "merryheathre") This was all planned around the pink paint by number bird fabric third from the top on the left. It's from Erin Michael's Uptown line. There are two other Erin Michael's fabrics - the one next to the pink fabric, and the circles on the bottom right. I've got pineapples, bees, letters, batik, asian fabrics, and even some egyptian hirogliphs. Once I work in fish and stars, I think I'm in business. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Well, it's been an "interesting" few weeks since I last posted. I went on a fantastic trip to Monterey, CA and soaked up some sun. I rode the train down and back - takes 24 hours each way. It was a really fun way to vacation by myself and I took pictures and read a fantastic book - but sadly, after I watched my first movie of the trip, my much beloved computer took a turn for the worse (okay, dead) and I am currently without computer companionship. It's already been to one doctor who pronounced death and advised purchasing another. I, however, do not take no for an answer, so tomorrow morning my computer will be visiting another doctor. Cross your fingers, pray, chant, send good thoughts, whatever it takes - I want my computer back!

In the meantime, one of my three faithful readers is letting me use her computer so I can spend a little time in blog world.

I promised an update on the diet/exercise thing. In a nutshell: it's going okay. I definitely had a hiccup when I went to Monterey, and since getting back it's been difficult to regain the same momentum. But, I do feel good when I'm eating the whole wheat/no sugar/fruits and vegetables way. And, I think almonds make a great snack. So, I've lost 3 pounds, and my next goal is to get the exercise started again. (Really, I should have been doing it from day one - 30 minutes of walking a day...)

In crafting news, I haven't done much... Before I went to Monterey I made quite a bit of headway on my Egypt scrapbook - but didn't finish it in February like I had hoped. I did the sermon last weekend, then travelled to my parents and cleaned out some boxes from their "attic". I got textbooks to begin studying for my PE exam. Last night I fell asleep to the enthralling discussion of free body diagrams! Yeah baby!

Let's plan on pictures soon - the computer WILL be fixed, I can feel it!