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Baby’s Quilt Finished

It’s been almost exactly a year since I checked in here, and in just a week or two, I’ll have a baby. I’ve made some quilts this year — not too many — but somehow they never made it to here. I’ll have to try to catch up on that backlog. I have been documenting some of the pregnancy over at my other blog .

So, with a due date of January 19th, I wasn’t sure I’d get the baby’s quilt done. My fall quilting was devoted to remaking this quilt. 

Well, not quite remaking it. I took off one row of blocks to make it more compact. This was a quilt that I made for my sister two Christmases ago. Not long after that, she took it on a trip and shipped it home to reduce the amount of luggage that she had to carry. Despite a tracking number, the quilt never made it to her, and the post office was not helpful at all in helping us try to figure out where in Florida this quilt might have gone after it disappeared. She still had leftover fabric, so I surprised her this Christmas by remaking the quilt — and she says the post office shall never see it again.

After Christmas, it was time to get moving on the baby’s quilt — pronto. We don’t know whether we are having a boy or a girl, so I made a quilt that is gender neutral and fits in with our nursery colors – black, red, grey, and a little yellow. We have giraffes and elephants sprinkled into the room for a subtle jungle theme.

I wanted to base the quilt on this Valentine’s Day card that I bought a few years ago for Mark. I thought it was funny; I can’t remember if I had the quilt in mind from the beginning or if the idea occurred to me a little later.

Since I absolutely cannot freehand anything, even stick figures, I traced the giraffe onto a transparency sheet,  projected it onto the wall, and traced it out on the fusible webbing for the applique. I was definitely rocking it old school.

I rocked it old school when it came to the quilting too. I usually quilt in a wavy line, so I don’t have to keep the lines too straight. I thought a diamond pattern would be nice in this case. So, I pulled out my 1/4 inch quilters tape (an ancient roll of it) to keep me on track. The hubster gets a shout out here because having him to help tape all the lines saved tons of frustration (and he helped me square up the quilt too before I bound it).

And, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Each of the pieces of the giraffe’s mane is an individual little tag. I originally was going to use a few different types of ribbon for the mane, but then I found some old binding in my sewing room that was perfect. It was even more perfect once I realized what project it was left over from. A few years ago, I made a quilt for my grandma when she went through chemo treatments.  The fabric in the mane is the same fabric I used to build the bookshelf and bind her quilt. It was a happy accident that the baby’s quilt is linked to his or her great-grandma’s quilt.

In one of the quilts that I haven’t posted yet, I also learned that I like to quilt some messy sketch lines around my applique. I decided to do that in the giraffe spots, and I like the texture that it provided.

And, here’s the full quilt. All the fabrics were from my stash except for the spots. Go me! I’m getting nervous. This baby has taken one room, and when baby #2 eventually arrives, I’ll officially lose my sewing room. Time to start sewing through my stash. Tips for sewing with babies around are welcome 🙂 

Well, ok, I will admit that I was going to use that red herringbone from the binding on the back of the entire quilt, and I do love it on the binding. But, when I was out getting some fabric for my sister’s quilt and the giraffe spots, I found a background fabric that I could not resist.

Seriously, could any of you have resisted that background fabric?

So, now, I have one more quilt that I want to get finished for the rocker in the nursery. I plan to finally finish a triangle quilt that I was working on before I ever got married. I don’t have a guest room in those colors any more, but those are the nursery colors, so all is not lost. However, it’s nice that the most important quilt is finished. Now, it’s just waiting and waiting (and vacuuming and walking and doing whatever people say will get this baby to decide to appear). We want to meet our new arrival and let him or her stretch out on the new quilt.

Table Runner Gift

Table Runner Gift

I’m back after a long hiatus and realizing that there are several quilts that never made it to the blog. Even though I know my spring won’t be super productive on the quilting front, this discovery of the missing quilts is a welcome one because I can at least bring the blog back to life while I’m inching along on the productivity front. I’ve also let myself start to ease back into the quilting community by catching up on some quilting blogs while I eat lunch. It beats reading emails. I have blogged minimally about non-quilty things over at Yet What Will Be… if you want to catch up there.

Ok, back to the quilting. I did finish up a project while on Christmas break. My department got a full-time administrative assistant this summer, and she is a-maz-ing. She has learned the ropes so fast, but she’s done so much more than that. She organized our first ever department Christmas party, keeps things rolling behind the scenes (and often in front of them), and quite frankly is spoiling me. Today, I walked into my office to find cookies on my desk with a Bible verse. What more can a girl ask for on a rainy Monday morning?  I still remember when I had to go to work after my miscarriage, she was quick to scoot into my office with just the right touch of compassion to make sure that I was genuinely ready to be back to work.

I wanted to get her something for Christmas to show my appreciation for everything she does, but I couldn’t find anything appropriate to celebrate her warm hospitality. As I was reaching my shopping limit, I remembered that I had a table runner flimsy at home, and I decided to get it quilted up for her. Giving her something that she can use as she entertains others seemed fitting.

On the technical side, I’m out of practice and made the stupid mistake of quilting in from the sides, which created a ridiculous wrinkle that was covered a bit by the cotton batting shrinkage and the graciousness of the recipient. I also learned that while our new kitchen light is useful under most circumstances, it’s not so great for quilting pictures.

On the gifting side, I was glad I took the time to finish this up to gift and to show my appreciation in small measure.

Caddy Shack – Too Adorable

Caddy Shack – Too Adorable

Caddy Shack PanoramicMark and I are on a mission — to try all of the miniature golf courses in Lancaster (or at least all of the ones that we find BOGO coupons for). Yesterday, we had one of those idyllic pre-kid Saturdays that all young married couples should enjoy. We lounged around as I devoured 70ish pages of a book while Mark played on his tablet. Then I took a nap curled up next to Mark. Then we got ready for date night. I flipped open our trusty Entertainment book, the source of our BOGO adventures, and decided we should go to Caddy Shack. You will want to go there. Seriously, visit Caddy Shack. It is the nicest miniature golf course that I’ve been to. Ever. The picture above is a panoramic view of the course. Have you ever seen so much grass while playing mini-golf?

Caddy Shack – 662 South Oak St. Manheim, PA 17545
Price – $8 per adult golfer and $6 per child golfer

We braved the rain to go, which worked out well for us because we saw only one other group of golfers. That left plenty of time for our picture-taking shenanigans. The only downside to being alone is that it means other people seem to not be very aware of this course, which is a shame for the rest of the people in the world – or at least those wanting to mini-golf in Lancaster, PA. Judging from the feedback on Yelp, the course had gotten pretty bad, but new owners took over in late fall of 2014 and resurfaced all of the greens last year. The owner was the one who greeted us, and I could tell he really takes care of the place. We rolled in right after a mini-storm, and he said he had been planning to take a leaf blower to the greens to clean up loose leaves. Even with the storm, there weren’t many leaves, so I have a feeling that’s a routine for him.

So, why do I love this place? It’s so adorable! As we pulled into the drive, I felt like we were pulling up at a summer camp. Cute yellow buildings with a lovely wood patio for dining out greeted us. And, even though we heard some road noise, it wasn’t nearly the highway type of noise that we’ve heard on some of the other courses. In fact, we felt like we were on a nature walk between holes. Don’t get me wrong, the paths are very well-maintained, but walking more than three steps to get to the next hole made our adventure more leisurely. If other people had been on the course, we still wouldn’t have felt as rushed as we sometimes do because the holes are nicely spread out. The picture below was taken as we finished up the first hole. Caddy Shack pathWe encountered two families of ducks…. and two bunnies, a chipmunk, a squirrel, and a little disgruntled band of three bachelor ducks who waddled away from the gazebo hole as we approached. I wish we had seen the duck food dispenser on our way into the course. Maybe we could have made some friends on our adventure.

Caddy Shack ducksSee that water wheel in the background? It’s an honest to goodness, moving obstacle on the course. So sorry that the video below is sideways; I didn’t know that Mark’s camera can only take video in one direction.

Did you hear my “yay”? We shot that video quite a few times. I miraculously got through the water wheel on the first shot. I won’t say how many times Mark had to attempt it to make the shot. Maybe the video shenanigans were distracting him…yeah, that’s it.

The water wheel wasn’t the only challenging hole. They were all challenging but not frustrating. See the one below. Shooting the ball into one “shortcut” PVC pipe allowed it to come out in one of two spots, with one of the spots very close to the hole. Where the ball went was the luck of the draw, and I liked that element of chance, maybe because it gave me a few opportunities to level the playing field with my husband, who is decidedly the better golfer.

Caddy Shack Pipe trick


Caddy Shack cliff

My favorite course challenge was the hole where there was a little ramp shot over some water. Just see Mark’s first attempt below:

I will watch that little gem whenever I need to be cheered up. Seriously, I did just watch it again.

At the end of the day, Mark beat me, but I maintained my goal of sticking within 10 strokes. If I can do that, then I feel like we’re having a good day. Caddy Shack score cardAfter the game, we just intended on having ice cream, but we were hungry, and the restaurant menu looked good, so we decided to have dinner too. The corn nuggets! I will eat them every time I go there. I might even choose them over ice cream if I was only going to get one thing to eat, but let’s hope it never comes to that.

So, as we go on our little adventures, I want to give you the low-down on the golf courses.

Should you go to this one? Yes!

How would really little tykes do here? I wouldn’t recommend this course for the little, littles. There are some steps, so stroller navigation wouldn’t be easy, and the holes are too challenging for them. However, older kids would enjoy the challenge, I think. And, if you have little ones, get a sitter and make it a date night. You have enough space between holes to hold hands and enjoy each other.

Uniquenesses: As noted, the setting of this course was way more lavish than any other course I’ve ever been to. And, the restaurant on site is a nice feature too. I know many courses have ice cream and maybe a little something to eat, but the menu here offered quite a few options, and if you’re with a group of friends, you don’t have to squish onto some outdoor picnic tables to eat. Tables both indoors and out make this a great place to meet up as a group to golf.




Quilt for Jillian

Quilt for Jillian

Jillian's full quilt 2015This quilt has been a long time in the making. My sister, Jillian, and I went fabric shopping before I ever left my old house in July 2014, and she bought all of the fabric. It became apparent that Jillian was very specific about how she wanted the colors spread out, so while she was visiting with my mom, we all crowded into my old attic sewing room, and I cut all the batik pieces and darker frame pieces. Then the quilt languished.

Fast forward to me getting engaged, then married, and Jillian living through two summers of beach weather without her beach quilt. After I got married, I pulled out the project, thinking that I was going to get down to sewing because all the pieces were cut. No so. I realized I had not cut the background pieces since Jillian didn’t need to have a say in their placement. I love this In Your Neighborhood Pattern by Melissa Corry, but there are so many background pieces in the pattern. So many. 273 of them to be exact. It was not exciting to realize that instead of sewing right away, I’d be doing a lot more cutting.

But, I prevailed through cutting. Mark and I have found a nice marriage balance. He enjoys playing video games on occasion, so some evenings, I sew while he plays video games, and we both get to enjoy our hobbies. As Christmas approached, I realized that I might be able to get the quilt done, so I picked up the pace. Jillian wanted the quilting to be as hidden and as minimal as possible, so even though the quilt was mammoth, I was still able to get through the quilting on my home machine.

So, what have I learned through this quilt:

  1. Never let a bad seam go. During its test wash, a seam came undone in the middle of the quilt. I was horrified! It happened on Christmas Eve, and I couldn’t believe I had let a bad seam go during piecing. Ugh. Since the quilting was light, I was able to pull the quilt together and hand stitch a new seam.  Someone does have to know to look for a flaw, but still, there is a noticeable pucker where I had to pull the quilt together, and I’m holding my breath that the new seam I had to sew will hold. The quilt was secretly going through its second test wash while my sister was downstairs playing an epic Christmas Eve monopoly game.
  2. My sister has a good eye for color.  I never shop the batik aisle, so I cringed when Jillian first selected these batiks. I still won’t rush to that aisle of the fabric store, but I do love how they worked in this quilt, and it was  fun to see Jillian get excited about fabric shopping.
  3. I love using flannel for batting. Since Jillian wanted minimal quilting and for the quilt to be as lightweight as possible, I used flannel to prevent the batting from pulling apart and bunching up in the wash. I tend to like heavier quilting, but it’s nice to have an option where I can keep quilting minimal,  and the quilt is a great summer weight.

Jillian's quilt close-up 2

Wedding preparation marches on…

Wedding preparation marches on…

Here we are at 37 days to the wedding and counting!

I needed a photo in landscape format for my featured photo of the post, so I picked our engagement photo that seemed to be everyone’s favorite. Maybe when I don’t have time for too many words one week because I’m busy writing my vows, I’ll let pictures take over and post more engagement photos. Our photographer Megan from Blackstone Photography did an amazing job.

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I have three key thoughts about wedding preparation this week.

1. Meetings – I didn’t realize just how many meetings come along with weddings. Our blitz weekend of visiting about 9 venues is a distant memory now, but just since the new year started, we’ve had 4 meetings with our pre-marital counseling mentor couple, one pre-marital seminar, one meeting with the pastor and church wedding coordinator, one meeting with the florist, one meeting with the photographer, and one meeting with our venue coordinator. On the plate still is one more meeting with the pastor and church wedding coordinator, one more pre-marital counseling meeting with our mentor couple, my practice hair session next week, getting our marriage license next week, and touching base with the DJ to finalize the extensive online forms that we filled out.

Whew! It’s pretty difficult to get that all fit in around our jobs. I am thankful, however, that my job does give me some flexibility to move hours around meetings. Still, I you tell me meeting fatigue exists, I believe you. And, all those meetings lead me to my second point.

2. Wedding team – I’m grateful for the team of people that are surrounding us as we approach the wedding. We were super blessed to find a church where one of my former students is a pastor. An entire team at the church is incredibly invested in helping couples start a Christ-centered marriage. So, while I’m sure that Mark and I will face our challenges and might even have our first fight within the next year (haven’t had one yet), I feel like we’re being helped to be as prepared as possible to enter into marriage with our eyes as open as they can be. Our photographer, as I noted above, is fun to work with. And, our venue coordinator is a gem.

Oh, and the bridesmaids 🙂 I had my bachelorette  party since I last posted. I wasn’t documenting the night, so I only have one photo in my phone, but it was a blast. My parents lied to me and told me that they wanted to take me out for one last dinner before I was married. I thought that was strange since I love them fiercely, but we’re not a sentimental crew. Nonetheless, I picked a restaurant and got dressed up that night. I was taking the dog out for a walk while waiting for my parents when my sister pulled into my neighborhood. It was hilarious. My other bridesmaids had done a quick U-turn that I didn’t notice when they saw me with the dog; they texted my sister to warn her, but she was stopped to read those texts when I spotted her. The most hilarious part was that even though we both saw each other, we didn’t acknowledge each other. She drove past me, and I walked towards home. I was so confused because my sister lives about 2 1/2 hours away. I was just finally deciding to text her to tell her that I knew she was stalking my neighborhood when she and the bridesmaids pulled into the driveway. We went out to a nice dinner with me decked out in a pink cowboy hat completed by a veil hanging off the back and a shirt with boxes on the front that I had to get checked off by people. They kept the boxes pretty tame for me. I think the most embarrassing thing to happen was when I approached two elderly people at dinner to ask if they had been married 25 years so I could complete a check my shirt, and they told me they weren’t married. Oops! I did find two very nice people married for 30-some years in line at Walmart. Then, we opened gifts for the wedding night 😉 and proceeded to play laser tag. It was hard core laser tag with a foggy arena and all sorts of little buildings that we had to run between as we fought the other team. We definitely plan a return visit some time in the future.

3. Life after marriage I wouldn’t say that I lost sight of this during the entire process, but life after the wedding is getting more and more real. Mark’s furniture is getting moved in at the end of his month, and then he’ll stay with his parents for two weeks until the wedding. He told me tonight that he’s packing up his books and DVDs to bring to my house this weekend. I’m clearing off a shelf on the bookshelf for this guy! This is getting very, very real. I’m so ready to stop saying goodbye at night and to stop going days without seeing Mark.

Though I’m ready for life after marriage, wedding prep does roll on. This Sunday between meeting the pastor and the Super Bowl, Mark sensed it would be wise to take my stress level down a notch or two by focusing in on wedding projects. He made our practice cake while I worked on cutting fabric for our table rounds. I even, in a daring act of stress relief, have decided not to hem the fabric that forms a small circle on our tables. That’s right. I’m not hemming it! Circle hems are beyond my level of interest right now to get us through one day. And, yes, everyone, I just said that Mark made our practice cake. All. by. himself. (Ok, I assisted for 3 seconds with the cake leveler). I still pinch myself sometimes to see if he’s real.

Mark and the mixer


And, this next photo is one that I just like. We’re using a pumpkin cream cheese filling in our cake, assuming it survives the freeze/thaw test it’s currently being subjected to this week. Mark was letting Deogi get in on the cake making by letting him have a little pumpkin.

Mark feeding Deogi pumpkin

Well, until next time, I wish you all happy quilting. There should be more creating going on around here, but it won’t be of the fabric variety — unless you count that I have to sew my veil to a comb and mess with the lace a little tomorrow night…


Gift Quilting

I’m sure I don’t have to tell any of you out there that wedding planning takes up many free evenings and lots of mental energy. However, I was thinking the other night that someday I will kick myself for not documenting at least some of the journey leading up to the wedding. So, even though it’s going to be a busy couple of weeks filled with work and finishing up the wedding plans, I’m making a goal to try to get on here to post at least once a week. So, this is your warning. If you come around the next 46 days, 15 hours, and 55 minutes, you’ll see more wedding preparation updates than quilting. (Seriously, who’s counting though?)

First though, let me say that I have gotten some quilting done over the past couple of months. I have three and a half quilts to show for my credit, but all of them have been gifts for people who read my blog or see my Instagram posts, so I couldn’t show works in progress. You’ll notice from the hastily snapped photos that I didn’t leave much time to photograph the quilts either.

Lauren's quilt front


The first quilt that was gifted was for my cousin who had a baby this fall. Her mom passed away fairly recently, but one of my other aunts had some clothing and asked if I would be willing to make a quilt. I used the Storytime Squares pattern because I  already used it once and knew that it lets fabrics speak for themselves. I pulled the pink from my stash to try to make the quilt a little more girly.

Lauren's quilt back


The fabric selection got a little tricky because my aunt also wanted me to incorporate some sunflower fabric that the baby’s grandma was using in some items for the baby. It didn’t gel with any of the fabrics on the front, so I used it in moderation on the back and tried to pick a binding that would work for both sides. The quilting was the first time that I’ve used a wavy line on my machine. It was a nice strategy to fill the gap until I have time to sit down and learn free-motion quilting.

mom's quilt 1


We had a lovely evening out at a local theater with Mark’s parents to celebrate his mom’s birthday, and I wanted my mom’s birthday to be special this year too. So, I decided that it was her turn for a quilted project. I remembered her liking my fabric pull for the Modern Trees quilt along, and she gets sentimental about ornaments that my sister and I have made in Christmases past, so I decided to resurrect the partially cut fabric for that project and get moving. In typical fashion, I finished the binding late at night at her house after she went to bed and then quickly wrapped up the gift.  Mark learned how a quilt is trimmed in an attempt to square up a project as I pulled to the finish line on this one. He’s the one who told me I’d better stop trimming or I was going to lose some trees 🙂 Next Christmas when it comes out of storage, I’ll have to try to get a better photo.

So, there’s my quilting that I have to show. Mark got a quilt too. I actually finished up my barn door quilt along quilt for him, but it turned out to be large enough to cover a double bed as a coverlet, and the weather was miserable by the time I finished, so we’ll grab photos of that sometime after it comes to roost here in 46 days, bringing its owner with it. Perhaps between now and the wedding, I can quilt a baby quilt for a baby who was born last summer (thank goodness for understanding friends) and can get to work on my sister’s beach quilt since sunshine and beach season will be here very soon after the wedding.


To the chapel with my best friend…

To the chapel with my best friend…

I have really and truly the best excuse ever for being MIA on here. Moving, of course, was keeping me busy, but even more exciting, I’m engaged.

Breathe in, breathe out.

That was me resisting putting 8,000 exclamation points after the word engaged.

ring picture 3

I get to marry my best friend!!!

That deserves some exclamation marks.

Now that I’m surfacing from hours and hours of venue research and more hours of having fun cruising around on Etsy and Ruffled blog, I’ll tell the story of how my life changed on September 6th.

First some background… Mark texted me one day in July to ask if I had a hot glue gun, which amused me greatly. (I was actually at a random antique store checking out a wedding arch that I wanted to keep an eye on for the future.) When I asked if he was planning a craft night, he told me that he was working on a secret project. For the next month or so, I kept getting veiled progress reports about the project.

Finally, I blurted out one day, “Is the secret project a box to hold my engagement ring?” I caught him off guard, and his answer led me to believe I had guessed correctly. He played it off well, telling me he wished I wasn’t such a good guesser because as soon as I saw him with a present I would know he was proposing. I told him that, of course, the only solution would be to bring me a present every time he saw me 🙂

He then let me in on the fact that he had ordered the ring but was disappointed to learn that it would take at least a month it to arrive. I could tell the suspense was killing him. Finally, Mark got the ring on a Thursday, but what followed was quite possibly the worst weekend all summer as far as engagement timing.

We usually have date nights on Friday night, but Mark had to work the night shift. I also booked Saturday from beginning to end. My parents were in town all day to help with a yard sale and a dishwasher installation. Fifteen minutes, literally, after my parents left, Mark and I had to dash out the door to baby sit for some friends. Poor Mark. The whole day was go, go, go. He had the ring burning a hole in his pocket the entire time.

Finally, we got home. I had a headache setting in and suggested we just start the new dishwasher and watch Downton Abbey (no spoilers, please. We’re only on season 4). Since we’re paranoid about water damage after the washing machine incident, I wasn’t going to leave the house after hitting start on the dishwasher.

I loaded the dishwasher, closed it, and  got ready to start it when Mark said, “Well, let’s not tie ourselves to the house yet. Let’s take a walk.” We’ve walked in the dark before, but I knew something was probably going on. I was complaining about a headache and heat lightning was flashing like crazy in the distance. The conditions were not ideal for walking, but I could tell he really wanted to go. So, with butterflies in my stomach, I prepped for the walk, pretty sure I was coming back engaged.

Mark started the walk a little quiet with a few extra squeezes of my hand. But, after that, the walk was textbook normal. We walked a long loop talking about normal mundane stuff. I can’t remember for sure, but we might have even talked about the frog road kill that we occasionally see around the new house. It definitely wasn’t all mushy. love-sick chatter the whole way. We were getting very close to my place. We had crossed a romantic little bridge without incident, and I was starting to think I was coming back to the house still a girlfriend and not a fiance. But then Mark started tugging me towards the dark back deck and squeezing my hand a little.

I knew we couldn’t get in the back door because we had left it locked, but I didn’t have much time to shift back to engagement mode. That meant even though I wasn’t completely surprised, I was still taken off guard when the proposal started to happen. Mark walked me over to the bottom of the stairs. He had snuck outside while I was loading the dishwasher to put his secret project in the backyard.

by the paver take 2He hadn’t made a box. He made a garden paver asking me to marry him. What a sneaky devil…

I started saying, “Yes, yes, yes!!!”

Mark had to jump in and say, “Wait, I didn’t get down on one knee and give my speech yet.” He then went down on one knee. I was somewhat euphoric at that point. I vaguely remember that I was fidgeting all around, and Mark says that I was giggling through the entire speech. Then I said yes (probably several more times) and Mark got off his knee and hugged me. And, I was hugging him and hugging him and hugging him until he said, “Well, do you want the ring?” I shoved both hands at him and he had to ask which one to put it on. Then I hugged him and hugged him and hugged him some more until he asked if I wanted to go inside to actually see the ring since the full moon overhead was giving us enough light to see each other but not really enough light to see the ring.

proposal reenactmentHere’s us reenacting the proposal the next day  with some poetic license. The full moon made its appearance again for us, but we couldn’t pull off another lightning storm on the horizon.

That’s the story. Mark certainly could have waited for me to find the paver the next day when there was no lightning and no dishwasher to run and no whiny girlfriend with a headache, but I’m counting myself 100% blessed to be marrying a man who just couldn’t wait one more day to officially ask me to be his wife. We’ve had almost a month to process it, and I think we’re both giddy that we’re going to be husband and wife within six months. He has chauffeured my sister and I through 500 miles worth of venue hunting and has sat through way too many hours of Pinterest browsing. He thanks me frequently for putting in so much planning time on the wedding and even tried on his own to find some workable venues (yes, he’s that sweet and all mine). And, tonight in his daily email, he told me to look at our shared calendar because two Saturdays from now he’s blocked out time for a surprise  for me to help me unwind after a few busy weeks of pulling together the initial stages of wedding planning. We plan to get married on March 14, 2015, pending just a few more details to lock in that date. 164 more days…

standing by the fence

Finally landed…

Finally landed…

I’ve been MIA from the bloglands for awhile because this summer I’ve been busy living life. A few times I thought about how it might be nice to post about the adventures, but that just took too much time away from the adventures (and the sleeping that I occasionally had to do to survive).

One of the biggest time consumers this summer was moving. Getting all of my worldly possessions from one place to the next took quite a bit of time.  And, I was geared up post an after the move update a couple weeks ago; however, I got to chat with an old friend after her baby was in bed and her house was quiet. You don’t give up those moments for blog updates. So, here are the progress pictures from a few weeks ago. Some stuff has changed since then, but I’ll catch those updates later.

dining room emptyHere’s the before photo looking into the dining room. That door now has navy and white curtains that Mark hung up for me. It’s nice to have a tall guy around. I’d like to give Pinterest a shout out for saving me hours of shopping time by hooking me up with curtains that I loved at Lowe’s that were barely more (and possibly no more) than it would have cost  me to make them myself. In the old house, Deogi had to stand on his back legs to see out of any windows; now he loves that he can just walk up to the door and see outside. His nose prints all over the door prove it.


living room emptyAnd, here’s the before shot looking into the living room. I’m so grateful I found a place that still has hardwood floors in the living area. There’s my dad on the side of the photo. How awesome is it that while I was settling some last minute settlement details, my parents cleaned the whole house to prep it for moving in? It’s also cool that the previous owners left the place sparkling to begin with. I was so glad my parents were available for the afternoon after the absolute chaos of loading the truck and leaving leaving the old place the day before. I walked 8.5 miles on moving day according to my Fitbit, and if my mom hadn’t stayed to the bitter end to help me with cleaning, I might still be there cleaning.

kitchen unfurnishedHere’s looking to the kitchen. The evening of the move my community group from church and a few other friends came over in one of the worst thunderstorms of the year. They unpacked what my parents, Mark, and I hadn’t gotten off the truck yet, started washing my dishes, put beds together, and hung shower curtains. Most amazing moving team. Ever.

kitchen in progressHere’s the kitchen in progress. A rooster that I got as a gift from my grandma keeps watch, and the fridge was stage 1 of switching over to stainless steel appliances. Right now the dishwasher is sitting in the garage and the new one is coming on Thursday. I’m so excited; I scared Mark a little when I opened the floor model in Lowes and said, “I could make out with this dishwasher right now.” I’m not the only one who has ever had a crush on an appliance, am I? I also put an entry table in the foyer. It either needs to be painted or replace with a slightly narrower model if I can snag one on the cheap, but I do like how it defines a foyer.

paint samples in kitchenAnd, here are the paint chips that were auditioning in the kitchen for awhile. Ultimately, I’d like the countertops to be darker to contrast more with the cabinets, so I’m holding off on painting until I switch the counters. I’m thinking I’m going to be brave and try the DIY concrete countertops that I’ve seen on blogs lately. Has anyone done that? Once that’s done, Mark almost has me talked out of orange for the goldenrod chip on the top left. The blues didn’t make the cut for the kitchen, but the blue in the bottom right corner got to be the new laundry closet color.

living room furnishesAnd, here is the living room. Eventually in phase two, the finished basement will be the TV room, and this space will just be a sitting room with couches, but for now, the space is working out just fine.

paint samples in guest bedroomThere are two bedrooms upstairs that need to be painted. It’s somewhat amusing that one is bright pink and one is bright purple, which are the two colors my sister and I chose for our childhood bedrooms. I tried peeling that wallpaper off with my nail, and that didn’t work out so well, so I’m really hoping some water and vinegar will take it right off. None of the three paint samples won, but I’m not too worried as I have a few leads on a truer gray. I’ll be excited when this room looks more like a proper guest room instead of a catch all space.

sewing room washer and dryerA moderately disastrous washing machine related event meant my washer and dryer landed in what is supposed to be my sewing room for a couple weeks. The details of that mess are still being sorted out with the insurance company, but at least the washer and dryer have been hooked up again (new laundry closet pictures later), and I can move around in my sewing room again.

game shelfAnd, though I’m mostly leaving the basement unfurnished right now, I did want to get the board games unpacked but needed some new shelves to do so. Of course, when I saw a Craigslist ad that said mid-century modern, I had to click on it. I snagged this shelf for $80. It’s not my best furniture steal ever, but I am really happy with it for game storage, and it’s a solid piece of furniture. You should have heard me gasping for air after Mark and I got it down the stairs into the basement.

Painting class

Painting class

A few friends from my community group at church gathered tonight in the garage of my art-teacher friend, Becca, to have a girls’ night out. Becca led us through creating a landscape painting, and it was intriguing to see how each of our paintings turned out so differently. I fully braced myself to be ready to throw the painting in the trash when I got home because I really struggle with drawing or painting. Stick figures stretch my skills. I’m not claiming my painting is a masterpiece, but it definitely exceeded my expectations. Of course, it also was nice to be doing something creative again.

Here are few process shots.

painting foundation


This one is the foundation. I didn’t quite know what I was going to do, but I accidentally made a spot in the sky too dark and gloomy, and then somehow it morphed into a tree and then I just went with it.

water close-upThen came my river. I was really digging it and then Becca pointed out the rivers don’t really ripple like that between the banks. I sort of tried to fix it, but my hands didn’t want to do what she was telling me to do. Plus, I was kinda had a painting crush on my ripples even if they defied nature. She said I should imagine what it would be like to tube down that river. It would be pretty turbulent, I’ll admit. I chalked up the desire to paint the ripples that way to the fact that in less than two weeks, I’m going rafting with Mark. He’s super excited, and I’m pretty nervous. Maybe my sub-conscious is coming out in my painting…

My friend Danielle also pointed out to me that my resistance to changing my painting should give me greater empathy with students when I’m tutoring them in writing and they really don’t want to change a paragraph that I think really needs to be axed. Sometimes it’s good to see life through a new lens.

cake and paintingThen, the painting hit a point where it seemed a little flat, and I could feel my creative energies flagging, so I ate a piece of peanut butter Boston cream cake. What in life isn’t improved with a little chocolate and peanut butter?

picture on easel

With my attention span and creative energies renewed, I went back to painting. Becca helped me fix where I had taken the advice to add the sun to my painting a little way too literally. She showed me how to shade my tree trunk, helped me add a branch, and then suggested adding a swing. I’m glad she suggested it because I wasn’t liking the big open span of blue until I added that. I’m drawn to landscapes that make me want to be inside them, and I would love to find a big tree next to a river. Mmm…I could swing all day with a nice book and a gentle breeze.

finished pictureAnd, here’s the finished picture. I sliced off just a tiny bit of the right side, so I’m missing a tree trunk, I actually like it better with that tree cropped out like it is two photos above. Maybe I should make myself a cropped limited edition print. Wouldn’t it be nice if canvas could be edited like photography?

And, if anyone happens to be in the Lancaster, Pa, area, you should know that Becca is hosting a mother/daughter painting class at the end of July. You can check it out at her website if you’re interested. If she can get me from a stick figure to a painting in a couple hours, you know she’s got to be a good art teacher.

Blogger hop – go visit!

Blogger hop – go visit!

Hey, everyone, I’m not going to try to explain the lack of quilting progress other than to refer you to the picture of my living room and dining room that I just snapped minutes ago.

living room chaos


The dog walks around mostly looking like this.

Deogi moveYeah, he just looks at me asking, “Is our life ending?” Every. day.

I tried to tell him the new house has central air and carpet that he can scratch his back on just like when he visits grandma, but it’s hard to reason with a dog. He’ll just have to hang in there for two more weeks.

I’ve promised myself on the quilting front to keep my fabrics for my two most pressing projects close at hand and in a well-labeled box. I’ll push hard the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday after I move to get as settled as possible, but after that, I’m quilting at least a couple hours a week. I don’t care if I have to do it in a purple sewing room still waiting for its new paint. I have to get back to some fabric. I’ve been coming up for air in the quilting word by trying to read blogs a little more often again, and that is nursing me through the withdraw for now.

Speaking of awesome blogs, the newest batch of participants in the New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop hosted by Beth at Plum and June have their posts up now. I just now finished reading the blogs from the last go round. Did I mention quilt withdraw symptoms?!?

Like last time, I don’t want to undermine anyone’s fabulous blog by leaving anyone out, but I thought it would be fun to highlight a few favorites from the last round (and one that I totally meant to post from the first round).

Let’s talk about Chelsea @ Patch the Giraffe. First, she loves giraffes, which makes her awesome — automatically. Second, she’s also a teacher, so we have more than quilting in common, even if she does teach math and no one would ever, ever, ever ask me to teach math. Ever. Seriously, one of the things I love about this blog hop is that participants are likely to just “click” with a few other bloggers. You’ll like their blog and you’ll feel like if that blogger lived next door, you’d invite her to coffee and then you’d go fabric shopping together. I’d invite Chelsea to coffee. I hope you join the hop and find some bloggers that you enjoy emailing about common interests.

I’m glad I finished tracking down the last of the links from last round, or I would have missed Kelsey @ Lovely and Enough. I found that she explores quilting through a slightly different lens than many other bloggers. She even got to do her senior college show though quilts inspired by one of her favorite verses in Proverbs. I love her eye for color and her integration of her faith into what she does. Oh yeah, Bloglovin’ feed, here you grow again.

I also just added Alice @ Blossom Quilts & Crafts to my Bloglovin’ feed. She’s getting ready to embark on FMQ and paper piecing adventures and so am I. I want to follow her journey.

And, finally, I can’t believe that I forgot Yvonne @ Quilting Jet Girl when I recapped the first round. I’m blaming it on having to blog from a hotel room in Louisville. Yvonne has been ridiculously helpful giving me honest feedback about how to improve my blog along with practical tips to fuel the improvements. She’s also ridiculously fun. If someone names a cat Puppy, then you know they have a sense of humor. Yvonne asked a fun get-to-know-you question when she introduced herself for the hop. She asked what quilting superhero we would want to be. After much contemplation, I decided I would want to be Prismatic Color Girl so I could create stunning color combinations for my quilts. Lo and behold, Yvonne sent me a link to this Etsy necklace at the shop Beijo Brasil.

Photo: Prismatic Color Wheel @ BeijoBrasil

Photo: Prismatic Color Wheel @ BeijoBrasil

Wouldn’t this just be the most absolutely perfect necklace for my quilting superhero persona? I think it’s a happy accident that I missed Yvonne the first time around because now I can tell you that you have to go see her Synesthetic Alphabet quilt. It’s one of those quilts that just makes me explode with joy that so much creativity and beauty can possibly exist on the planet. Read the process behind it too.

Then, go read the other blogs for this round of the hop. And, don’t give up on me. I will quilt again!

Sarah @ Berry Barn Designs

Liz @ Green Cheese Quilting

Janet @ Simply Pieced

Ruth @ Charly & Ben’s Crafty Corner

Kristyn @ Melon Patch Quilts

Jo @ Riddle and Whimsy

Linh @ Calling All Stitchers

Alida @ Tweety Loves Quilting

Rachel @ Quiltineering

Shauna @ Shauna’s World

Pam @ Sewing Wilde

Wendy @ Wendy’s Quilts and More

Jan @ The Colorful Fabriholic

Carole @ From My Carolina Home

Lin @ Lin’s Quilts

Helga @ Green Mill Vintage

Kate @ Thread Everywhere

Cheryl @ Texas Quilting Gal

Jenn @ Sew Crafty Jenn

Heather @ QA Creations 

Cornelia @ Pieced With Love XOXO





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