Saturday, February 27, 2010


I belong in the sewing world. The universe has done an amazing job sending me these signals lately.

I hate having long fingernails; haven't had them since middle school since I had to keep them short to play the cello - Long fingernails just get in the way when sewing. I was blessed with family members who are pretty skilled sewers & quilters. I love cats. I'm lovingly - I think - dubbed the "Crazy Cat Lady" by friends, family, & coworkers. Each has their own 'hilarious' version of what my life is/will be like: always covered in cat hair, security cameras set up a la Angela from The Office, buying crazy clothes & costumes, single at 50 with just as many cats & houseplants, basically a hoarder of cats. I guess my point is, what kind of CCL would I be if I didn't also sew?

But the most recent sign is "wonky." I started using this word a little while back & I'm not exactly sure where it came from. I just started saying things like "I feel wonky," "That picture is hung all wonky like," etc. My new vocabulary was met with some strange looks from those around me. But I promise you, wonky is a real word & is in the dictionary. Apparently I was just using this word with the wrong crowd of people, because my sewing world knows wonky! At the fabric store the other day, the woman helping me referred to a cut of fabric as wonky. Patterns online have wonky in the title, they use it as part of their everyday language. Finally...people who understand me! :)

Letting Go...

I'm new to the world of sewing & quilting & this past year, as I've stumbled my way into this hobby, there have been many surprises.

I was surprised at the amazing fabrics that are available. My grandmas both use similar fabrics in the projects they make so I was blown away at the variety that is available. Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, Anna Maria Horner, Heather Ross, Valori Wells, & all the others that I'm just now discovering...I can (& do) spend hours looking through fabrics online & am made fun of for finding yet another fabric I think is "awfully cute."

I was surprised how quickly the costs add up. The quilt top is just the tip of the iceberg. After the pretty part is done, there's the batting, the backing (though I love some backs as much as the fronts), the quilting, the binding.

I was surprised how attached I have felt to each quilt top I have made. Thankfully they are going to some of my VIPs so I'll get to visit them often. But how do people put so much thought into the fabric, the pattern, the quilting and then ship it off?

Last weekend I left three quilts with the quilter: my sister's, Jacob's, & mine. I miss them. Yeah, sure, I want their quilts done so they can have their gifts...but I really want mine back! It's still cold out & I want to snuggle up under it on the couch. But my quilts are numbers 16, 17, & 18 in line. I guess for now I'll just have to moon over my pictures & learn a little patience. Ha! We all know how much patience I have!

Crazy Eyes

I read an article Friday about the mind games Olympic athletes use to psych out their competitors. Most shocking: spitting in another swimmer's lane! Can you imagine the balls/confidence/lack of tact it would take to do something like that? In high school, all of us on the tennis team would joke about walking up to shake our competitors' hands with our eyes crossed after a match. Yeah, I know, not quite the same thing, but we thought it would be great to hand someone their ass and have them think we were terribly cross-eyed. (please don't take that as an attack on people with crossed-eyes) That would mess with your head a little, don't you think?

So anyway, after reading the article and sprinting through Wilson Park taking a walk down memory lane, my head was stuck on crossed-eyes. And here's what came of that...


Jackie visited a few weekends ago with one goal in mind: to get her first tattoo. After checking her "BucketList" she realized that she hadn't been chasing items on her list like she should. Her goals for the year: tattoo and skydiving. Unfortunately she wasn't able to get her tattoo (stupid tattoo shop was all booked up) but it made me realize I needed to give my BucketList another look. Anything to add? Edit? Cross off?

My SimpleBucketList: Go everywhere. See everything. Do everything.

But FFA taught me that goals need to be specific, measurable, and quantifiable have a feeling my SimpleBucketList doesn't exactly follow those rules. So I created a MoreSpecificBucketList. It is PAGES long, and I'll spare you that, but I wanted to share a few things with you.

Stage dive or crowd surf - at K-state football games.
See an erupting volcano - Volcan Arenal, Costa Rica.
Skydive - Static Line, Manhattan, KS.
Take my mom to Costa Rica - after graduating college, summer 2007.
Volunteer - Tampico, Mexico, summer 2005.
Go to Disney World - April 2008.
Attend a midnight movie premiere dressed up as a character in the movie - Pirates of the Caribbean 2.
Rescue cats - Leavenworth Animal Shelter, Summer 2006.
Make sure friends and family know how much I love them - everyday.

Recently Accomplished:
Make quilts for loved ones - Christmas 2009.
Get a massage - Thursday!
Start a blog - you're here, aren't you?

Not Yet Accomplished:
Take a random road trip.
Realize my childhood dream.
Storm chase a tornado.
Go up in a hot air balloon.
Scuba dive.
Relearn to play the cello.
Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

I've tried to remember both the big and small things in life when making my list. It's one of those things that is ever changing as I am always discovering new places to go, new things to see, and new things to do.

How about you? Do you have a BucketList? What is on it? Have you marked anything off lately?

Monday, February 22, 2010

AC Treasure

Leprechauns have their little pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. Pirates have their stashes of booty. The British have their crown jewels. But what AC has is even better than all of those. My hometown has...

When I lived in AC, Jerry's Donut shop was pretty much everything. A special morning treat for my mom, sister, and me; how I survived those early morning FFA trips; my friends' and my favorite meal to gab over; and a high school classmate's wedding 'cake.' AC's box of gold is so much better than the more traditional treasures...we can eat ours!

Outsiders are always skeptical when we talk of the glory that is Jerry's (now Ike's - run by a classmate of mine). Yes, we understand that there are other Daylight Donuts in the area; yes, we realize there are other donut shops out there. But what they don't realize is how other donut shops can't hold a candle to ours. It only takes one visit to make them realize realize that this...

...this is AWESOME! Be jealous...I had chocolate and maple longjohns for breakfast Sunday morning!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

At a Very Safe and Legal Speed

What does a 47 degree February late afternoon feel like at a very safe and legal speed* you ask...AMAZING! Especially when it's the first ride of the year.

Ponds are still frozen over. Snow is still piled up. Coats are still a necessity. And according to Punxsutawney Phil we still have many weeks of winter left. But Thursday we got a glimpse at the goodness that is to come. It was a beautiful day and to celebrate, Jacob pulled his motorcycle out of her hibernation. He picked me up from work and I nearly skipped out of the office I was so excited. I zipped my jacket, fastened my helmet strap, pulled on my gloves and we were on the road.

After such a cold and oppressive season, it was great to be out, to feel the freedom being on the back of the bike, to have that little reminder this winter will all be over soon enough.

*Text edited for the health and safety of my mom, grandma, and Jacob.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day, Birthday, Washington's Birthday, Easter, Earth Day, Arbor Day!

Jacob is a bit of a double whammy. Valentine's Day is February 14th and his birthday is February 15th.

I really wanted to surprise him with a quilt top for Heart Day and went to great lengths to hide the gift from him. I had the fabric was delivered to my office, smuggled it out of my office in my purse, worked on it all day while he was feeding, and tried to keep him away as much as possible.

The whole weekend was supposed to be mine to measure and cut and sew. My poor planning only allowed me two full days to put the whole thing together. Saturday was to be spent finalizing the pattern and cutting pieces. Sunday was to be spent laying out the pieces and sewing. Sunday morning I was right on schedule and had just started laying out the fabric, so imagine my surprise when I got a text message from him at 10:40 am saying that he was done feeding and on his way over. I panicked. "Wow, Russ doesn't have anything else for you to work on?" "Oh, well don't you have homework you could do at your place?" Rather than destroy the layout I was almost halfway done with and put the living room back together, I decided to let him see his gift early. He knocked on the door as I was talking to Jackie and I'm pretty sure she temporarily lost hearing as I yelled at him not to come in. After he took off his cow stank boots (with his eyes closed) we played a little game of 'imagination.' I told him to imagine it was two weeks in the future, Valentine's Day, and that he had a nice big present in his hands. He unwrapped it, and "here's your present."

Of course he loved what I had put together so far and wondered how I had time to do that much work...if only he knew what else I do while he's not around! ;) -normally it's watching insane amounts of dumb TV & cuddling with the cats-

Well, the entire process of creating a quilt is a little more costly than I had initially his Valentine's Day present has also become his birthday present and his President's Day present and maybe a few more holidays will get added to that by the time this baby's complete! But I think it's safe to say that he doesn't mind. I think the quilt has turned out pretty great so far...what do you think?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Moo Cows...I don't eat you!

I've been a vegetarian for 3 years now. Living in Kansas, I knew I would face some criticism for my decision. I have been called many things by people who judge me for my diet - including unpatriotic because didn't you know the pilgrims and the Native Americans ate meat at the first Thanksgiving while holding hands and  singing Kumbaya - but my family and friends handled the news pretty well. Some rolled their eyes and figured it was just another cause I would lose interest in soon enough - a well educated assumption. Some offered to grill me a steak whenever I decided to rejoin the omnivores. But for the most part, after the initial questions, nothing else was said.

A few of my nearest and dearest have made the ultimate sacrifice, trying out vegetarianism for themselves. Last December, Jackie decided to make January her VegMonth. One day I got a text from her asking if going veg meant that she could eat milk duds & cookies for all three meals of the day. I told her of course it did & then decided I would have Cheetos & Tamarindo for lunch!

Happy Anniversary to me!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snap back to reality...

I have always loved reading. Some of my favorite memories are sitting in Momo's (my) cherry tree reading, soaking up the sun on the roof of the shed reading, laying in bed all day Sunday reading...getting lost in the world of the characters in my books. Spending an afternoon with the elves and solving mysteries with the boxcar children. When starting a book, I dove in and didn't come up for air until I was finished.

During high school and college I took a hiatus from reading books that I enjoyed. It seemed like I was being bombarded with required reading for classes and I didn't have time to fit my reading in between Lazarillo, Marketing, International Trade, and El Cid. But a few months ago I started a new series and disappeared from the rest of the world. I got completely lost in the world of vampires & shape shifters (yeah, sue me, I read those books). Mornings, lunches, evenings, and weekends were spent devouring each word. When I didn't have my nose in the book, my head was still stuck in it. I speed read through the entire series until the end...

I hate the end of a book. In general I don't like good-byes (as has been evident in other aspects of my life...sometimes to my detriment) but with books, it's a definite end to the relationship. I'll never again get to spend the afternoon with the characters I came to love. To put off the final good-byes I savor each word, reread paragraphs several times so that I don't miss anything and I can delay the sadness. For me, there's always a period of mourning when I shut a book for the last time.

This period of mourning is now over, but I think I'll hold off on finding my next fictional world for a little while. There's too much sewing to be done, and I think the boyfriend missed me a little bit last time.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Spring Fever

It's no surprise I'm not a cold weather person. Every year I try new ways to combating the winter doldrums: tanning, working out, Vitamin D, boxing, going for walks, buying flowers for the apartment, etc. The other day Jacob bought me a hyacinth because he's just a nice guy like that. I was all kinds of excited for this pretty new plant. For one thing I love filling my living/working space with plants, but also bringing a little bit of spring inside makes it seem less cold out. The plant started off great.

But then it started to grow wonky. No wonder Jacob thinks I have a brown thumb!