31 March 2010

meet heirloom

Are you ready?  Can you handle the excitement? 

Ta Da! 

My quilt is complete!  I'm calling it our heirloom.  At first the Engineer told me this was impossible.  "You can't make something to be a heirloom.  It becomes an heirloom over time."  I informed him he was wrong.  I was working hard on that bad boy and it had to have more significance or else I was just going to throw in the bucket or whatever it is they say.  It's a handmade quilt.  It just has to be our one and only heirloom.  After he watched me work tirelessly over this ridiculous grandma project and have a couple of meltdowns (you know when I sewed the thing together wrong side out or when I cut a piece of fabric too short) he has had a change of heart and is graciously calling it our "heirloom".  So that, my friends, will be the quilts new name, Heirloom. 

It's kind of like our baby right now...you know our pride and joy.

My secret quilt tattoo. I highly recommend adding a special touch on your favorite block. This way the grandkids know you actually made it.  Since they're actually going to want a raggedy old quilt someday...

Now for my second and final quilting lesson.  Since I now have so much knowledge to pass on to you.  If you know what the words batting and mitered and bias and binding mean in the quilt world then you should probably stop reading at this point, because I'm about 5 notches below you.

Lesson #2: Once you have your strips sewn together, cut the backing fabric and batting (I choose an 80/20 cotton poly blend) down to fit.  Layer the three together.  Make sure everything is facing the same way...I had issues in this department...and sew all three together.  Then sew about 1/4 inch down all the seams (I just did the vertical seams).  I used red thread to make this stitching stand out.

Based on my initial inspiration you may remember that I liked a quilt with a fun backside.  I tried to add this to my quilt as well.

Finally to get rid of all those nasty edges you'll need to make some sort of edging.  I found lots of websites that teach one to do this, but they tell you to hand sew - A LOT.  And that is not something I'm interested in at all, so...I made up my own way and it meets my first and last time quilting standards.  I followed this lovely blogger's directions and when she said to hand sew I plopped that bad boy into my machine and used red thread to make it look intentional.  Here are the pictures of what my method looks like.

Finally, I washed it in about 5 gallons (ok quarter gallon, but still...) of vinegar to prevent any bleeding.  All in all it took me about 1 week to make this quilt.  I did have a day off last week to work on it and most of my evenings last weekend went towards it, but that isn't so bad.

27 March 2010

individual yumminess

If you're anything like me you're baking every other day just so you can satisfy your sweet tooth.  You don't buy sweets at the store (unless it's ice cream), because you don't want all that unhealthy junk laying around tempting you (like homemade sweets aren't just as evil as store bought ones?), but then 1 day later your whipping up chocolate (fill in the blank).  It's a sick game I play and with swimsuit season just around the corner I'm going to need to start losing the game!

To add a twist to my homemade sweet tooth satisfiers, I've developed a simple way to make a single portion no-bake cookie.

1/3 cup quick oats
1-2 Tbs peanut butter
1-2 Tbs chocolate chips
1 Tbs milk

Combine oats, peanut butter and chocolate chips into a small bowl and microwave for 45 seconds. Add milk and stir until ingredients are well blended. Eat out of bowl or form one cookie on parchment paper...mine rarely makes it out of the bowl.

The best part is that this can double as breakfast.  Peanut butter and oats - what a perfect breakfast and who couldn't use a little chocolate to jump start the day?!

25 March 2010

quilting 101

Taken directly from g-chat on Tuesday, March 23rd:

me: i purchased the first part of my quilting materials! and the first of my planting materials. you just may be able to get some school work done without distractions for the next few weeks :-)

Marcus: not sure if thats good news or not
me: why?
Marcus: you're going to ignore me again
me: ahhh is someone afraid of their own medicine?
Marcus: maybe
me: you'll just have to try my own patheticness on me if you want attention
Marcus: is it time to pay attention to me yet?
me: yep

Oh how the tables have turned!

Aren't my supplies pretty? 

It's decided.  The quilting project has begun, as of Tuesday, March 23rd.  I'm combining ideas from a few different websites that I read about, as well as a suggestion from a reader/friend, Annie (thanks for reading, Annie!!!).  I like the design of this quilt and the directions from this one were quite helpful.  I don't have the fancy quilt cutting materials, so I'm using scissors and a fabric tape measure and lots of "eye balling it".  Basically, I'm just sharing my quilting journey with you and I'm not so sure you would actually want to do what I'm doing... 

Lesson #1: For a throwish sized blanket (60ish by 60ish inches) buy a 1/2 yard of 4 fabrics and 1/4 yard of 5-7 fabrics.  I started by cutting my fabric into 5X5, 5X10, 5X20, and 10X20 pieces.  As I was cutting pieces I'd lay them out on the floor to get an idea what sizes I'd need more or less of, etc.  I decided to make my quilt with vertical strips of varying sized squares and rectangles and then sew all the strips together.  Above are my completed strips.

Once the strips are sewn together it is important to iron the seams down flat.  I may not be following all quilting directions, but I did pick up that ironing at every stage is very important!

Happy Quilting!

22 March 2010

the story of two cones

Have I ever told you the story of two ice cream cones on a beautiful Sunday evening? I guess it was just yesterday that two lovers went for a walk with two ice cream cones across the bridge, you know the one named after that guy who wrote the Star Spangled Banner.

The story begins with McDonald's, $2, and a warm Spring evening.  The two lovers began heading toward the bridge to make all the runners jealous of their yummy cones and leisurely stroll.

Then there was a wind storm and the girl cone got dirt all over it.  Ew.  The boy was very nice and licked the dirt off her cone.

He charged her a tax of one bite.  He always does that, but this time she wasn't mad about it.

1/2 way across and 1/2 way done.

Last bite.



Destination reached.  And that, my friends, is the story of the two cones.

17 March 2010

blogger power

Have you heard?  Nat the Fat Rat is pregnant! 

I know, you're asking "Who in the heck is Nat the Fat Rat?  And why does Julie care that a rat got pregnant?"  Stick with me for a minute here.  I just had to share this with someone, because I'm just so stinkin happy for her.  I was feeling a little ridiculous about all of this and then I saw that my blog/actual friend Rachel is also following Nat and she is also excited about the good news.  So, it's not just me who is way too attached to random bloggers that I know absolutely nothing about other than what I randomly read on their blog from time to time.  Thank goodness I'm not the only other weirdo out there (hope you don't mind me pulling you into this, Rachel)! 

Nat inspired me.  She was brave enough to share her "trying to get pregnant" experience and all the ups and downs it comes with.  I may do this someday...I'm still debating.  It's so real and raw...and maybe more exposed than I'm comfortable with.  But I do think it's great that she made the topic seem less taboo.  Throwing social norms out the window - Who said to keep it all private and hush hush until you hit that magical 2 month mark is a good idea anyway?  It makes me feel all girl powerish, like maybe I should go in the streets and shout "Women of the world, lets share our stories!" 

The Engineer is a rather closed book, if you know what I mean.  I have to talk and talk until it's all out.  I cannot leave one thing unheard by the Engineer.  Not one tiny detail.  Do you remember how accounting caused me to be ignored on Saturday afternoons?  Well organizational behavior is making me be quiet during commercials.  I caught the drift when we first got married that the Engineer doesn't value my stories over the drama of the current show on display, so it works best if I wait until the commercial and then I can poor it all out until my heart is content.  But guess what - yesterday he told me he has to read his textbook during the commercial.  He calculates that he can get 8 minutes of reading done during a 30 minute show.  Absolutely ridiculous!  (He would probably want me to tell you that we had a picnic dinner and homemade ice cream to follow prior to his new commercial mandate.)

Maybe I'm a storyteller.  Maybe all women are.  The Engineer figures blogging is cathartic for me.  I think he's right.  Thank you  dear blogger friends/acquaintances for sharing your stories with me and for reading mine!  Whew, I feel much better now that it's all out there...

Blogger power!  = is girl power or something spice girls like.

15 March 2010

super duper gems

"Is it time for you to pay attention to me yet?"


I do not like accounting.  It takes the Engineer's complete and undivided attention off of me.  I clean, I google everything I can think to google, I facebook, I bake, I do catch up calls, and then when I'm about ready to burst and I cannot wait any longer... I get pathetic and I put my cutest face on and say "Is it time for you to pay attention to me yet?".  He smiles, puts down his books and says "Yes, it's time to pay attention to you."  Now, I don't know if it's going to work for your husbands or not, but it works for mine.  Maybe he feels sorry for me or maybe he just appreciates me putting it out there exactly what I need, either way I keep this little gem in my pocket for rainy days.  Now gem number two is "I need to be walked."  Just like a dog who's going to pee on your floor right now if you don't walk them, that's me.  The Engineer knows to walk me when I'm getting antsy or shoebox crazy.  Now that I'm writing this, I'm thinking maybe he has me trained.  Oh dear, he's good. 

Todays question: Can I do this?

Any thoughts out there on quilting?  Simple, super duper simple, quilting.  *Loganites, growing up did we have a grocery store called Super Duper?  It feels so familiar, but wasn't there also Super Thrift?  Too many Supers in such a semi-Super town.*  I'm thinking about venturing in to this as my next project.  The Engineer's response "don't be a loser."  Hehe.  Sometimes I wonder how our lives came to look like this.  How did I end up in the breastfeeding world slash director of the home (I don't like the traditional words...they feel ughish), all while the Engineer sits back and entertains my randomness.  Oh, it's a beautiful life.

P.S. Anyone ready for a different author entry?  Yeah, me too.

09 March 2010

my breakfast date

Last night the Engineer and I went to bed at 8:20pm.  8:20pm?!  We decided we would go to bed early and get up and have breakfast together.  I assumed this meant I would make it while the Engineer got ready for work, since I have the morning off.  These days we have to plan dates and quality time together. One night I'll have class, then the next he'll have class, then I'll work some evenings or the weekend, and before you know we haven't seen each other all week.  So, to justify our early bedtime we came up with the breakfast idea. 

Guess what?  It turns out we love breakfast dates before work.  The Engineer wants to go out for breakfast everyday when we get old.  So that, my friends, is our new plan. 

01 March 2010

babies, vacations, & heat

Have you ever met someone that is 2 going on 4?  This just happens to be the case for my niece, Ada.  She turned 2 on Sunday and the girl thinks she's 4. 

Have you ever known anyone who makes dessert for every meal?  That's my M-I-L.  No wonder we go to PA so much.  Here's what greeted me on Friday night. 

Does your husband entertain your weirdo picture taking habits?  Mine does, bless his heart. 

You know what I've been thinking about a lot lately?  Babies, vacations, and heat.  Preferable all, in reverse order.  (1) There are babies in the air these days.  Are you feeling it?  We try to make non-baby friends, but then they have a baby.  And their babies are so cute that we keep them around.  I attract them.  It must be my career or something...  (2) Vacations, yes please, but I can't spill the beans yet.  (3) Brrrr....it's cold in our shoebox.  We've got this heating issue and we both seem to be too cheap or too apathetic to address it.  Visit us at your own risk!    But do visit us.  We like visitors.