Friday, October 30, 2015

What I'm Into (October 2015)

Well quite honestly, I haven't been into much this month bc we've had my friend from Guam here for two weeks and we've been living it up and having an amazing time, which doesn't leave much time leftover for mindless telly and nonstop reading.  #worthit

I have been reading a little bit though.  This month I finished Finder's Keepers, Nothing to Lose (a Jack Reacher), Death on Demand, and Among Others and I'm about ten pages in on God in Ruins.  Invasion of the Tearling was FINALLY two bucks at amazon (!!!!!) so I snatched it up bc there's STILL not a copy of it in my library systems.

Can I go off track and talk about how amazing amazon is right quick? I preordered Career of Evil forever ago, without a second thought, bc I've always preordered all her work.  #jkisagod But I've got so many library books in my basket and more waiting at the library so I haven't even downloaded it.  Then, I was playing around on the computer to avoid doing housework the other day and I noticed that our library system actually got three copies of Career, which surprised me but it shouldn't have since she is a British author.  Weird.

ANYWAY, I hopped on amazon just to try my luck and see if I could talk someone into letting me return my kindle copy of the book so I could read it (FOR FREE!!) from the library.  Yall.  I didn't even have to talk to anyone.  I didn't even have to fill in a 'reason' for my return.  I requested the return, ten minutes later I got an email saying they'd put the fifteen bucks back on my card.  I got on the waitlist and the library (number three in queue, gross) and that was that.

How amazing is amazon? How amazing are libraries? How amazing is life? To quote Mor from Among Others: Interlibrary loans are a wonder of the world and a glory of civilization.  Libraries really are wonderful.  They're better than bookshops even.  I mean, bookshops make a profit on selling you books, but libraries just sit there lending you books quietly out of the goodness of their hearts. 
Then I turned around and preordered Winter.  The library still doesn't even have Cress so I'm pretty confident I won't have to return this one.

All right.  What have I been watching?  Lemme think.  I went and saw the Martian (loved, even though they left out quite a few of my favorite quotes) and Hamlet (LOVED, it's going to be hard to keep up my shunning of Benedict Cumberbatch bc he was absolutely breathtaking in this) and Crimson Peak (meh) and at home one morning I watched This is Me, which I sort of loved.  It was weird, but for some reason I was sort of completely riveted.

Nick and I have been watching Bloodline on netflix with Coach Taylor and it's all right, but it's nothing we get too excited about.  We gave You Me and the Apocalypse a try, but I think it's safe to say that one is going to be deleted shortly. We've been watching Walking Dead (don't wanna talk about it but man that show is amazing) and season two of the Leftovers, which I sort of think is a tad better than season one.

I am extremely proud of myself for not taping the second season of the Affair.  I hated the way season one wrapped up, but usually I would plow thru the second season just bc everyone else thought it was so amazing.  But I thought it sucked and I'm sticking to it.  I will google it when it's over though bc I'm curious how it turns out.

I also watched season three of Orphan Black while I was getting thru those baby quilts.  That is just the best show ever.  Helena is my soul mate.

Listening to the Limetown podcasts again bc I can't get enough.  So weird!! So cheesey!!! SO GOOD!!! I've also been listening to all the back episodes of the Bakery Bears podcasts.  I just love those two.  Also (along with the rest of the entire world) I love LOVE the new Adele song.  Oh, and I've already started the Christmas music.

Looking forward to decorating the tree this weekend, the kids go back to school Monday, concerts this week and at the end of November, planning our Christmas in Germany, and I'm really REALLY looking forward to scrapping my two weeks with Yvonne.

What have ya'll been into this month?











Friday, October 23, 2015

Finish it Up Friday: Baby Girl Quilts for the Hudson TWINS!!!

Whoa.  Holly told us she was pregnant forever ago, and I ordered the fabric as soon as she said they were both girls, and according to the google that was July seventh.  I feel like I just picked it out, but that was forever ago!!!

Wow.  Time flies, right? Although probably not for Holly...

Anyway.  I wanted something that I wanted, not necessarily what Holly wanted.  Which makes me sound like a horrible person, but she did say she didn't mind what I picked, and I know from experience that sewing for three months on fabric that I hate sucks, so I took her whatever you love, I'll love and ran with it.

For Baby A (automatically my favorite baby bc I have a thing against youngest children.  Although my own youngest child is my favorite.  That's what I don't like about them, they're always the favorite!!!) I picked another collection by Katarina Rocella, this one called Skopelos.  I used a different Rocella for Megan's last quilt (the gorgeous reCollection) and I gotta say- Rocella is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite designers.  I don't know what it is, but there is just something about her style that (for me) is to DIE for.

I ordered a layer cake bc that's just so much easier than yardage, and went with my go-to Easy Bake pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew. Southern Fabrics layer cakes are different bc she makes them herself (so awesome!!! You can get just about ANY collection as a layer cake!!!) so there were only 20 squares a pack, instead of the standard 42.  So I went with two layer cakes, plus a yard of my favorite print from the collection and then a yard of another print for the binding.  I had enough for a regular layer cake, but Baby B's was going to end up smaller, so I sized Baby A's down to match.  I can't play favorites too much ;)

Then it was cut squares, sew together, cut again, sew together again, sew squares into big squares, sew big squares into rows, then viola!! Quilt top.
Then the crappy task of trying to match minky for the backing.  I actually got this pretty quick, I ordered a few swatches (never done that before but it was FABULOUS) and went with two yards of Minky Cuddle 3 (my favorite of all the minky) in watermelon. Throw my favorite flannel sheet in the middle for batting and baste the hell out of it with spray bc my thumbs hurt from basting the Minecraft quilts.
I baste on my dining room table bc I am an old lady and doing on the floor KILLS my back. 

Then I quilted diagonal lines thru every square and took the lines all the way from end to end. And remembered why I don't like spray basting. This has quite a few puckers.  Frowny face emoji.

It was SO FUN to quilt, and I absolutely LOVE the way it turned out.  All those X's!!! So rad. Then attached the binding using my go-to tutorial, washed and dried it twice, and we were donezo.

This one (and Baby B's) ended up being about 48 inches square.  Big enough to not be useless (I hope) and small enough for a kid to drag around.  I've got a few quilts of my own that are just a tad to big to comfortably drag from room to room, if that makes any sense. It's also a perfect size because you can get away with 1.5 yards of minky just about EXACTLY.

And simultaneously, I was working on Baby B's quilt.

I went with this amazing Jeni Baker collection, Geometric Bliss in the Pinkest Angles colorway, although the Turquoise Angle was just as gorgeous (if not moreso) but she didn't have any layer cakes available.  And she doesn't have ANY now, so that sort of sucks if you wanted to do one.  AGF always does things 'limited' which I guess is good for business, but sort of sucks if you're late to the game.  I guess try etsy?

Anyway, same story, two layer cakes, plus an extra yard of spherical buds (no longer carried) and a yard of vertex tulips in mint for the binding (also no longer there :( )

Because this collection lent (lended?) itself perfectly to a Plus Quilt, that's what I went with.  That's why they both had to be smaller, the math is all weird when you get into laying out the plusses.  Anyway, I cut each layer cake into five inch charms, then laid it out on my wall and played around till it looked good.  Then the usual: sew rows, sew rows together, viola- quilt top.

Then came the nightmare of trying to match for the backing.  I wanted a mint green to match the mint green in the quilt, although in hindsight that wasn't the best idea since the binding was mint.  Hindsight.  Anyway, I tried FIVE different swatches, and none of them worked!! FIVE!!! Ugh.  So I ended up going with purple, which is fine and looks decent blah blah blah- I just don't like purple.  And the fact that I wanted mint and tried five different shades and none of them worked just really pissed me off so every time I sat down with it, I got irrationally angry and threw a hissy fit and texted the girls and cried.

Not my finest moment.

I basted it with pins and seriously- that's just better.  SO much better.  I mean, I'm not saying there aren't any puckers.  LOL. There's ALWAYS puckers.  But pinning it just works better.  I should quit being so lazy.

Despite my hatred, I eventually dominated that quilt.  Showed her who was boss.  I quilted a quarter inch on either side of every seam, mindless easy quilting that went SUPER fast but still looks so good on a Plus Quilt.


They really are my favorite. I love the way backs of plus quilts look.
The word of the day is favorite.

Washed and dried it twice to make sure the stitches would hold up to plenty of use, and then it was finally done!! I gotta admit, it was worth it- this one is GORGEOUS.  It's different than Baby A's, but there is just something about a plus quilt.  Am I right?!

Now I've just got to get them in the mail and wait for those adorable babies to vacate the premise and get all snuggled up in them.  I am SO EXCITED!!!

Linking up with Sew Can She for Show off Saturday and Quarter Inch From the Edge for TGIFF and A Quilted Passion.













Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mistake

Well, no one in my life has ever accused me of being an optimist, or of putting a Pollyanna spin on...anything.  At all.  And maybe it's bc I just lucked out and never made any huge mistakes, but I feel like every mistake I've made (that I can remember...I seem to not remember a lot of things...) isn't really THAT big of a deal.  And for the most part, they seem to correspond with something not-so-much a mistake.

Most likely a mistake? White shoes.
Never a mistake? A sassy hat.  I think it really pulls the look together.



Not a mistake? Trusting my best friend absolutely enough to let her cut my hair in high school.
Probably a mistake?  Encouraging her to run her hands thru my hair and cut off everything that poked out.  Live and learn.




Probably a mistake? Powder blue, off the shoulder bridesmaid gowns.
Completely not a mistake? Marrying that amazeballs badass less than a year after we'd properly met.
Side note mistake? Hiring a crap photographer (who still cost a fortune) and insisting on film instead of that new fangled digital photography fad.  Ugh. UGH.



Craptastic mistake? Buying a house with no driveway or garage or any off street parking whatsoever.
Not a mistake? Bringing three of my babies to that house and making it our home.



Mistake? Gaining sixty seven pounds when I was pregnant with Warren.
Not a mistake? Wanting to be in a pic with my non lesbian soul mate even though I was so fat, bc look at our babies!!! And look at us!!!



Some mistakes, there's just no way to add a Pollyanna spin.  Going blonde from a box I got at walmart? Horrible mistake.


And some things are just never mistakes.  Like taking hiney pics of your babies.




Linking up with Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop with the (obvious) prompt: mistake.




Saturday, October 17, 2015

2015 in Scrapbook Pages (Vol Four)

So the last time I checked in with my pseudo Project Life was way back in July!! I was sort of not keeping up with it back then...and things haven't gotten too too much better.  BUT!! I will press on.  I want this sucker ordered BY THE END OF JANUARY.  That will be a personal record.

So let's dive right in.  First, I needed to redo the camping page bc I hated it, plus we went camping a few more times.  And I obviously want photographic proof that I did, in fact, go camping.




Then, of course, our fabulous trip to Greece!





Then some random shots of summer.  Spoiler alert- some of these were like waaaaaay back in spring. Hopefully future Jennifer won't remember.


Grandma Jane's visit, which was so much fun.  So glad I don't have one of those awful mother in laws.  Mothers in law? Anyway.  It was great.  Low key but still fun.


A back to school page that I'm not too wild about...

And then some random shots from the beginnings of autumn.

So I'm basically all caught up!!! Just in time for Yvonne to visit, me to take two hundred pics, and get behind again.  PERFECT!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Texting

So, I move around a lot.  Coming up in January, we'll have lived here for three years, which is the longest we've lived anywhere in quite some time.  Poor Warren was born in one house and by the time he turned two he was in his fourth, and when he turned three, he was in the fifth. And if you're wondering, when he turned four? Sixth house.  This one.

Also, when I said he was born in the house, that's not what I meant.  I'm not one of those people.  He wasn't born IN the house, he was born in an operating room while his mama was drugged out of her mind and not feeling a single thing.  Because that's how I roll.

I've gotten distracted.

Anyway, moving around is amazing, and I love it, but I don't know how people in the olden days did it.  The olden days being like the early 2000s when texting hadn't really taken off yet.

No matter where I go, I know Angela (and then Holly, and now even Megan and Samantha <look at how my village is growing!!>) is only an arm's length away.  Assuming I've left my phone within arm's reach.  And accounting for time differences.

I texted Angela from my samsung slider type phone when we moved to Connecticut in 2009.  Remember those? Like, fourteen year old girls used them.  They went up and down for a phone, then you could slide the top off and turn in on its side and then it had a qwerty keyboard.  The qwerty keyboard was essential in my sanity when we started moving.

I had a blackberry in Guam (lol) so we had to use what's app and right after Daisy was born I got my iphone (same one!!) but we didn't have service and I guess I was too stupid to figure out wifi and imessage or whatever bc I used to have entire conversations with Holly in the Words With Friends app.  Isn't that crazy?!?!

Anyway.  The prompt was a recent text exchange that made you laugh but honestly, they ALL make me laugh.  My friends are in there!!! That little black box with it's soft DING that still manages to startle me and make me drop cookies into the couch cracks- that's my lifeline to my friends.  Knowing that they're in there, that I can reach out and with a few clumsy fat thumbed key strokes they'll rally at my back NO MATTER WHAT- that's a good feeling.

It's also slightly embarrassing to think that if one of us is ever murdered, some poor CSI sap is going to have to wade thru hours and hours and HOURS of utter nonsense.

We're talking about...how gross hair is? How rude some people are when you're pregnant? My recent narcolepsy?

Holly, if you're reading this, you're welcome for blurring your face out.  It's the pic of when you got your highlights and you made that awful face.

Anyway.  This probably makes no sense to anyone else in the world, and that's okay.  The point is, I love those bitches with all of my heart and I don't know what I would do if we have some sort of nuclear holocaust or the zombie apocalypse knocks down all the cell phone towers and we can't text anymore.  Yes I do know what I would do, I would die.  Life just wouldn't be worth living.

Linking up with Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop with the prompt share a recent text exchange that made you laugh.








And just bc I can't stop (won't stop) I'm gonna add in some of the images that Angela's sent me recently bc they REALLY make me smile.

We send LOTS of pics of our kids being awful.  Take Little Mouse, who won't let Angela out of her sight and also has HORRIFYING mood swings.

 Plus, we're don't always talk nonsense about tv shows and food.  We're also very academic.


And my personal favorite, shopping suggestions.


And a lot of times (okay, twice in the past five years...) we're just super sweet to each other.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Report: The Three and Day Four

 I'm not even sure these are technically part of a series.  Like, is Day Four really a sequel to The Three? I don't see how.  I read them in that order bc duh, but I can see reading them backwards, or even reading either one without the other.

Regardless.  I got Three by Sarah Lotz from the library right before we left for Greece and I literally COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. It's all written as a book within a book, if that makes sense, short chapters told from various points of view, sort of as 'found footage' but with books.  It was so good!!! It was just creepy enough to creep me the hell out, but not so scary that I couldn't read it into the wee hours of the morning.  Man, vacation books are just the best, aren't they?!?! Greece will forever be linked with this for me.

I think Lotz is an absolute BRILLIANT writer.  I don't know what sort of genre you'd put this in- supernatural? Horror? Creeptastic? Whatever, it's worth a read, seriously.  The writing is to die for, the story was fabulous, and the religious cult parts- you KNOW how much I love religious cult stories.

FIVE VERY ENTHUSIASTIC STARS.

Lol, I just cut and pasted my initial review and I basically said exactly the same things I said above, except I started out with "I don't even really know what it was about or what happened, but man did I love every SINGLE word." Sounds like me.

From the back of the book:  Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he's right?

The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn't appear to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters a child survivor is found in the wreckage.

Dubbed 'The Three' by the international press, the children all exhibit disturbing behavioural problems, presumably caused by the horror they lived through and the unrelenting press attention. This attention becomes more than just intrusive when a rapture cult led by a charismatic evangelical minister insists that the survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse. The Three are forced to go into hiding, but as the children's behaviour becomes increasingly disturbing, even their guardians begin to question their miraculous survival...
 

    
But yall, that summary doesn't even BEGIN to get into this book.  Like, at all.  It was so good!!! And also, creepy little robot Hiro and his creepy cousin and her creepy hacker boyfriend? BEST CHARACTERS EVER.  Followed closely by Pam's self righteous 'friend' whose name has escaped me.  Perfectly written, that poor woman.

Just go read it!! It's so good!!!



Then there was Day Four, which I didn't love AS MUCH, but still tore thru in about two days.  My initial reviewI don't quite know what to think about this one. It was good? Not as good as The Three. It kept me interested and creeped me the fuck out, but it was just missing something that The Three had. But what? Who knows. Know this (lol) though- I'll never take a fricking cruise EVER. I did love the end, when she switched to the 'found documents' type writing she used for The Three. Why couldn't she do that for the whole book? Guess she didn't wanna be repetitive, but I'd say that's her niche- those parts were BRILLIANT.

So yeah.  I preferred The Three, but honestly, Day Four wasn't a waste of time.  I had to pay for it, and I did it without thinking twice, and I have ZERO regrets, and if you know me (heart eyes emoji for libraries 4 EV AH) that's a pretty serious endorsement.  In fact, I loved Three so much that I shelled out the thirteen bucks for Four even before I'd finished it, bc the wifi was spotty in Greece and I wanted to make sure it got downloaded before I finished Three so I could literally turn the last page of Three and then the first page of Four, without even getting up to pee.

Yes, Three was THAT good!!!
From the back of the bookFour planes. Three survivors. One message. It seemed like the end of the world... but it wasn't. This, however, just might be.

The extraordinary, unforgettable sequel to THE THREE - perfect for fans of The Shining Girls, The Passage and Lost.

Four days into a five day singles cruise on the Gulf of Mexico, the ageing ship Beautiful Dreamer stops dead in the water. With no electricity and no cellular signals, the passengers and crew have no way to call for help. But everyone is certain that rescue teams will come looking for them soon. All they have to do is wait.

That is, until the toilets stop working and the food begins to run out. When the body of a woman is discovered in her cabin the passengers start to panic. There's a murderer on board the Beautiful Dreamer... and maybe something worse.

Four was much more straightforward, if that makes any sense.  Beginning, middle, end.  The end was the best part, but the whole thing was very enjoyable.  Although, again, I'm not TOTALLY sure what happened at the end.  I get where they went when they landed and how they got back, that was easy, but I wasn't totally clear on the baby? Anyone else read this and have any ideas? I guess it was a child, not a baby.  But still.

So, take home message? GO READ THESE BOOKS!!! Then come back so we can talk about how cool they are. 


Friday, October 9, 2015

I Made a Sweater!!!

Yes ladies, you heard that right: I MADE A SWEATER!!!!

I'm basically Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I mean, for real.

I mean, sure, it took me...a week shy of three months.  Sure, it cost triple what the same sweater at Old Navy would have cost, plus all those hours.

BUT WHATEVER!!!

I'm gonna wear this sucker every day for the rest of my life bc I MADE THIS!!!

I may be more proud of this sweater than I am of the fact that I made four children.



So, the nitty gritty, for any interested parties.  I started with Elise (of COURSE I did) but I didn't want chunky. I'm not super active on Ravelry, but I found this sweater pattern on sale (Polished by Alicia Plummer) so I took the plunge.  Bought the pattern, ordered yarn five minutes later, and we were off.

Lol.  We were not off.

Oh, I used this yarn from Knitpicks, comfy worsted heather.  It's 75% cotton, 25% acrylic.  I chose this for two reasons, one being that I'm cheap and the other being that wool makes me itchy.  The colorway I used was 'overcast' but it's no longer on offer, which is a bummer bc it's gorgeous.   The pattern actually calls for aran weight and suggests this base from Colour Adventures which is GORGEOUS, of course, but at 21 bucks a skein and at least six (probably seven) skeins needed...it was definitely out of my budget.  By like three times.  For comparision, my Comfy was on sale for 2.67 (regularly 2.99 so big whoop) and I ordered thirteen skeins.  I only used ten though, if you're interested. That it was thirty five bucks.  Compared to one fifty ish for the proper wool.  Knitting is not for the feint of heart.  Or for people on a budget.

I cast on with my birthday present Addi interchangeables and used my favorite Supernatural stitch-markers and THEN I was off.  This was July 15.

It was slow going.

I didn't understand the pattern at first, but honestly, even though Elise says the SAME EXACT THING, once I just got into it and started the rows, it started to make sense.

I was too scared to take it out of the house, but I worked almost every single night on it.  I'm still super slow (knitters, when will I get all fast like on tv?!?!) but I guess I was persistent bc it started to look like a sweater!!!

Something happened during the increases at the waist area, I'm still not sure what.  But it happened every time (like every thirteen rows or something) in the same place.  So I should probably figure out what.  There's just this small hole.  It's not a slipped stitch.  I don't know what it is.
Poor Angela.  I texted her A LOT during these three months. I mean, I always text here a lot, but this was random pics and outbursts about the sweater.

Anyway.  I couldn't try it on again until I split for the back, and when I did, I almost died.  For real.  IT WAS BECOMING A SWEATER!!! Ya'll, it was becoming a sweater.

 Then I did the hems on the bottoms, the sleeves (the sleeves!!! They look so small but they took almost as long as the actual sweater!!!) the hems on the sleeves, and the collar area, and then it was done!!!

I blocked it (I think.  I'm not entirely sure what blocking is...) and it took THREE DAYS to dry, and then I took four hundred pictures in it.

I wanted to be all curled up on hardwoods with a fur blanket (???is that a thing???) in front of a roaring fire.  But.  We don't have hardwoods, or a fireplace, or fur blankets, if they are a thing.  So I settled for the dining room.  Ugh.  Wouldn't that have been so cool?!?!

 And there you go!!! My very first sweater.  I love it.  I don't even care that there's some sort of gaping hole in the collar.  Or that the sleeves are way too long and the sweater itself is about three inches too short.  I love love love it.  LOVE IT.

I've already ordered the yarn for my next one!!! I'm going with a cardigan by the same designer, the Campside Cardi by Alicia Plummer.  Side note, I needed a bit of help with the pattern and she was SUPER helpful.  I avoided the recommended yarn again, for the same reasons, and went with this Drops Belle in the light beige.  It's  53% Cotton, 33% Viscose, 14% Linen.

I'm very excited.

As always, linking up with Flamingo Toes for Show and Tell.