Saturday, October 30, 2010

quilting in circles: BQF

i'm participating in my first Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side, and we are asked to post a new entry on our blog about a quilt and the story behind it - so i'm going to apologize to my regular readers about the redundancy because it wasn't that long ago that i posted about this very quilt...

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

i've only been quilting for about year and in that time, i have completed three quilts - one that's completely hand quilted and two that are hand tied.  i'm not big on machine quilting - i just personally prefer the process and the finished look of hand quilting.  it's a slow process, for sure, but totally worth it to me.

being the simple design that it is, and being a crib sized quilt, it only took me about an hour or two to piece the top of this quilt together.  the quilting, on the other hand, took me nearly 6 months to complete.  i spent anywhere from 1-3 hours per night, off and on, hand stitching.  i followed the circular pattern on my backing fabric for two reasons:  1) it was a built in pattern - no drawing or designing required; and 2) i thought the circles were a nice counterpart to the hard angles on the front of the quilt.

i chose to make this quilt in a rainbow palette because i'm hoping that my youngest daughter (the recipient of this quilt) will pass it down to her children - and i figured a rainbow palette is fairly gender neutral, at least for babies.

immediately after i finished this quilt i was relieved to finally be done with it....for about a week...then i started looking for another quilting project.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

don't forget to vote!

if for no other reason than to stop the maddening political message phone calls i get 246 times a day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

holiday gift market

hi all! 

did you know there are only 59 days until christmas?!?!?!   yikes!   get a jump start on your holiday shopping!!

if you or someone you know is going to be in tampa the weekend of november 5th, i have a handful of free tickets to the junior league of tampa's holiday gift market.

drop me an e-mail or leave a comment on this thread letting me know you'd like tickets, how many, and some contact info so i can get them to you.

if you'd like more info about the holiday gift market, check out the JLT's info page.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


the past two weekends have been filled with all kinds of fun things to do:  football games, homecoming festivities, halloween festivities...tonight my son's girlfriend is coming over for dinner and a movie (can you believe she's never seen The Sixth Sense?  crazy!) and tomorrow our family is spending the day at a local farm to enjoy all kinds of fall/halloween fun.

but amidst all the fun i've also managed to do a little giving back, too, thanks to the Junior League.

last weekend i got to paint kids' faces and mingle with Star Wars characters at an adoption fair put on by Kids Connect, a committee created by the Junior League of Tampa and Hillsborough Kids, Inc.  while it was tough to see some of the same kids returning to the fair (i've worked this event once before), it's really great to see kids making connections with prospective parents.

today i worked at an event through the league with an organization called Connected by 25 - they help kids and young adults who are aging out of (or who've already aged out of) the foster care system with various things like getting set up with housing, education, jobs, banking, etc.  there was a definite need for this organization and i'm so glad they're here. 

the event today was a sibling connection event.  kids who are in the system are oftentimes separated from their siblings and, given how erratic their living situations can be, it can be months and even years before they'll see each other again.  early in the day i was stationed at the entrance, directing people to the sign in table.  it was a great spot to be in because i was able to witness a few really emotional reunions - happy emotional, not sad emotional.  it was heart warming, to say the least. 

it's all too easy to find myself wrapped up in my own stuff - writing, quilting, socializing, etc.  getting to do these sorts of things every now and again helps to remind me to not take my family for granted. 

and that's a reminder we could all use now and again.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

color me disappointed

got my blood test results today re: my thyroid and it seems to be working just fine, missing lobe and all.

which means either i have to get comfortable with my current size or hit the treadmill again.  three days a week at the gym just isn't doing it for me.

so come monday, i'll be restarting the C25K (couch to 5k) program again.  it's been at least two months, maybe even three, since i've run regularly so i figure it's best to start from scratch.

i loved Suz's C25K podcast, but i want to try to make one with my own music. 

i have no idea how to do this. 


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the boob tube

i've been watching far too much tv these days.  seriously, it's an illness.  it developed when santa left me a small black & white tv to keep in my bedroom when i was a kid. 

i spent many hours in front of that little tv, learning about male/female relationships from jack, janet and chrissy/cindy/terri; wishing i could go to boarding school with jo, blair, tootie and natalie; and wondering why the professor could make a transistor radio with nothing more than a coconut and twigs but he couldn't fix the ss minnow.

my teen years brought with them a bigger (color) tv and the cosbys, the golden girls, 90210 and my favorite generation of SNL skits.

as an adult, i have considerably less time to spend watching tv (at least tv that isn't animated, anyway), but i DVR like crazy, hoping to get enough time to watch those few shows that my husband can't stand and that i wouldn't dream of watching in front of my two year old.

on my To Watch list right now?
Real Housewives of (Atlanta, Beverly Hills, DC, NYC, NJ and Orange County - i love them all)
Teen Mom
16 and Pregnant

shows my husband actually likes (and you will, too):
Raising Hope ("crappy chicklet" nearly killed me dead)
Mike & Molly
Big Bang Theory
Blue Bloods
The Mentalist

it's probably a good thing i don't have more time during the day to watch tv or i'd never leave the couch.  and there's no way at this time in my life that i would ever dream of putting a tv in my bedroom - i'd never get any sleep!  at least while i'm watching tv with my family in the evenings i can do some hand quilting and get something accomplished (i mean other than numbing my brain).

Monday, October 18, 2010

it's just a hop to the right

it's nice to know that, at least in some alternate (albeit parallel) universe, i'm still virginal

stretch marks and children be damned, i am pure.  and these guys and gals are just dying to pop my proverbial cherry.

and pop it they will when a group of my friends and i descend upon the local sticky-floored, god i hope that's beer i'm stepping in independent theater for what will by my very first live viewing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

i am WICKED excited about the whole thing, really.  it's the ultimate let-your-hair-down, get a little crazy girls' night out.  it's an experience.

and if time warping gets me a night like that, then i'm so in.

because damnit, janet!  every mom needs to cut loose now and again!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

i'm sick

and it's no wonder with all the running around i've had to do this past week and weekend.

i am parked on the sofa, dog at my feet, hot tea on the table and i'm searching the guide for something entertaining (but not too entertaining) to watch til the medicine kicks in and i have no choice but to crawl into bed.

looks like tomorrow will be a very low key recovery sort of day.

do you have any home remedies that work wonders on congestion, a sore throat, sneezing and a runny nose?

or perhaps a nanny you can live without for a day?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

homecoming weekend




                                          p   .....

Friday, October 15, 2010

blast from the past (or something like that...)

remember her?

when we grew up, she became this girl:

and then this girl:

and now, thanks to the magic of CGI,

she looks nothing like the original.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

confessions of a (new) origins junkie

a relatively new friend of mine invited me along for a free mini-facial at our local origins shop this morning and i'm oh-so-glad she did (though my husband's probably going to wish she hadn't when he sees the credit card bill)!

it's been more than a year, at least, since i've actually paid any real attention to my skin.  i've just been washing my face in the shower each morning with some oil of olay daily cleanser and slapping on some oil of olay daily moisturizer with sunscreen.  and that's it.

my mini-facial at origins this morning was like a revelation, seriously.  and i soooo hope that a month from now i'm not breaking out like crazy, because here's what's in my new skin care arsenal:

Modern Friction exfoliant (she used this on my hand and it still, hours later, feels like a baby's bottom)
VitaZing moisturizer (this is my favorite so far - it's tinted and totally gives me this perfect all-over glow that really does make me look just so well rested)
GinZing eye cream (works like the vitazing but formulated for your delicate eye tissue)
the Brighter by Nature series for lightening up those dark spots and evening out skin tone

pricey?  definitely.  worth it?  we'll see!  my friend has gorgeous skin and has been using these products for quite a while so i have plenty of confidence in them.  if it makes getting older even a little more palatable, then it's worth it to me!

do you any of you have any experience with origins products?  if you're not an origins user, what is your favorite skincare line?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

a quilting dilemma

i found a quilt i'd like to make in Kaffe Fassett's Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts - the Not-So-Lone Star quilt (below) - but i've got a few concerns...

my first concern is that some of the fabrics have been discontinued and those that are available i can buy online but only in 1/2 or 1 yard (or larger) increments (i only need as little as 1/8 of a yard of some fabrics - and at $7-$9.50 per yard, with 21 fabrics making up this quilt, i'd like to save as much as possible wherever i can).  i'd love to make this in fabrics of my own choosing but i'm seriously lacking the confidence to do so.  i know i just need to sack up and do it but i don't want to end up with something that resembles vomit.

my second concern involves how to hand quilt this one.  my first quilt was easy - the backing fabric gave me the perfect pattern to quilt.  i could follow whatever patterns present themselves on the quilt top fabrics, but what about those little areas where there is no distinguishable pattern?  then i thought i could just stitch one giant lone star (the kind that starts small and gets bigger and bigger as you stitch outward), or maybe do a bunch of small/medium sized stars all over, but i'm not in love with that idea.  how would you do it?

and my last concern is that this quilt is all about diamonds and i've never pieced anything that wasn't square.  are diamonds just as easy as squares or is there some trick of the trade i need to know before i starting piecing?

Monday, October 11, 2010

in favor of one's right to bear arms

Peanut and I took a little walk around our small neighborhood this afternoon to enjoy all of the halloween decorations our neighbors love to put up each year.

there were ghosts and goblins hanging from trees, pumpkins stacked by doors and windows, cobwebs everywhere, and lots of faux tombstones with funny sayings on them.

all pretty standard stuff, nothing too creepy or scary.

but then we came upon an empty house.  the owner has been renting it out periodically for a while now and when it's empty, it shows, particularly with the lack of lawn maintenance.

today there was a car in the driveway and what appeared to be the scariest halloween decoration i've ever seen:

*Note: this is not a photo of the actual animal spotted today; this photo came from here. i don't normally carry my camera on walks around the neighborhood; i think that just changed, though.

i stood there for a moment, staring at this completely still...thing, trying to figure out whether or not it was real. 

it wasn't moving.  at all.  it was in a crouching position, appeared to have something in its grip, didn't move a hair.

i saw a couple of guys standing in a driveway a couple of house down, so i grabbed Peanut's hand and we made our way over to them.

i said, "hey, do you guys know who takes care of this house over here?"

one of them said, "yeah, i do, what's up?"

"i know this is going to sound ridiculous but i don't know if this is a halloween decoration or if it's real, but there's a 'possum in front of the door."

"it's there?!?  it was sick the other day, i thought it might have died." clearly it's real....ummm....suddenly i have no idea what to do....

i'd love to tell you how this story ends but i really have no idea because i've been holed up in the safety of my house as soon as the words "oh yeah, it's still alive" came out of the man's mouth.

i do think, however, that this, in addition to the these posts, is mounting evidence in favor of a move northward.  they don't have 'possums in new england, do they?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

for the love of hand quilting

i like to keep the thermostat hovering somewhere near 70 degrees (much to my husband's chagrin) so i keep lots of snuggly blankets near the family room for everyone to cuddle up with when watching tv, reading, or napping.  we love to snuggle with blankets.

my dogs love to snuggle with our blankets, too.  quite a lot, in fact.  so they're currently in the laundry room waiting to get de-stinkified. 

all of them.

which meant that i had to go searching for an adequate substitute tonight when Peanut wanted to cuddle up on the couch for a little tv before bed.  i walked into my bedroom when i spied the quilt my grandmother made folded up in the chair; i made a beeline for it.

Peanut stood in the doorway waiting to see what i was getting.  when she saw the quilt in my hands, her face lit up like a christmas tree.  i explained that it's a quilt that her great-grandmother made a very long time ago, she said, "for me?"  i said, "no baby, i'm sorry, this is mommy's quilt, but i'd love to share it with you - let's go snuggle up on the couch with it."   she said, "oh thank you, mommy!"

as we lay there together, watching Max & Ruby, i found myself studying the randomness of the nine patch layout, then each little hand tied knot (there are 5 in each square), then the visible-in-some-places, hand sewn threads on the binding...all of it encompasses the only reason i choose to hand quilt or hand tie each quilt i make:  love.

finishing a quilt by hand can take anywhere from several weeks to several years, depending on the level of detail and, of course, the amount of time one can spend working on it each day.  it's a slow process, to be sure, and therefore one that requires an intense level of commitment that can only come from a place of love.

and as i cover up with this quilt that my grandmother put together, her hands having touched every square inch, i feel the love and commitment that she put into it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

and the winner is....

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2010-10-09 12:19:40 UTC

and the 24th comment was made by:

B. Wilson said...

I need a breastpump. They're expensive... so I'd use this as a discount. Or maybe toward a Wii. :)


congratulations brandy!!!

thank you to everyone for playing along!

Friday, October 8, 2010

better to busy than bored, i always say

and busy i am, so why am i still fat?

we'll see.  i had some blood drawn this a.m. so my doctor can check my TSH and T4 hormone levels and, crazy as it sounds, i'm kind of hoping they're all wonky (at least a little) least there would be a solution, a light at the end of the tunnel.

working out religiously, eating healthier foods (and less food in general), drinking gallons upon gallons of water and still not budging in size/weight is the very definition of frustrating to me.

about two years ago i had a goiter, along with the entire right lobe of my thyroid, removed.  (btw, the correct pronunciation is "goiduh."  say it as if you're an old, jewish mother from long island.)  it was the size of a softball.  so i lost about a pound that day (woo hoo).

but since then, despite hundreds of dollars spent on a personal trainer and countless hours logged in the gym and aerobics room, i'm only down about 15 pounds.

so i ask you, WTF?!?!?!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

reason #842 why getting older sucks

chin hairs.

and why is there never a pair of tweezers to be found when you need one?  and no, i don't want to go get the pair i keep in the car.  it's a long walk out there and besides, i'll just forget to take them back out to the car tomorrow and guess what?  the next time i'm sitting at a red light and i find yet another flippin' chin hair, i won't have anything to pluck it with and i'll try plucking it with my fingernails, which we all know only curls the stupid hair, so it'll still be there but then harder to find when i can get home and look for it in the mirror.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

would you rather...

be the clown that distracts the bull

or the cowboy that rides it? 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

another giveaway!

(not mine but i figured while i'm at it, i might as well post someone else's, too)

my friend, a girl in paradise, is giving away a pack of really cool fabric squares typically used to make I Spy quilts (though you can totally use them for other things, too -  i don't think the quilt police will hunt you down and haul you away for being creative).

check out her contest here and, while you're there, take a peek at some of her work - she's quite creative and resourceful!

well, poo.

4 days in and i've already missed a day of daily posting.  boo.

i feel i have to make it up to you.  so today's going to be a relatively meaningful, well thought out post and one fun little giveaway (my first!). 

i'll get the well thought out post up later today.  in the meantime, here's the 411 about my very first giveaway:

what you could win: 

a $20 Amazon gift card
(sent via e-mail)

how to enter (up to 3 times!): 

1. leave a comment telling me what you'll do with your newfound loot;
2. follow my blog and leave me a comment telling me you're doing so; and
3. read through my previous posts and tell me which is your favorite!

contest ends FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8th at 9pm.  winner will be chosen by and will be announced no later than Sunday, October 10th. (it's shaping up to be a busy weekend already!)

good luck!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

on the subject of habits

in my thirty something years on this planet, i've come to hate them.  habits, that is. 

as a child, i developed a people-pleasing habit.  as soon as i can figure out a way to do so without upsetting anyone, i'll be kicking this habit.

as a teen, i developed a sleep habit - one that requires me getting copious amounts of shut eye even now, obligations be damned!

in my early twenties, i developed a nasty nicotine habit which, thankfully, i was able to kick with the help of Commit lozenges - though now i'm addicted to breath mints.    (it's true.  i can't drive anywhere without a tin of eclipse mints.)

and now, in my thirties, i've developed the habit of giving in to my toddler's habits.  i'm actually doing it right now, as i type this.  i'm sitting in the glider in her room, passing the time playing online until she falls asleep.  she says she's scared and i believe her, even though i know there's nothing to be scared of.  and sure, i'd much rather be watching Swamp People on the history channel right now, but i know that, before too long, she's not going to need or want me to help her fall asleep at night.  so i take advantage of opportunities like these pretty frequently (though sometimes Swamp People does win out)

so what habits have you developed over the years?  any you'd like to kick to the curb?  any you'd like to develop?

Saturday, October 2, 2010


went to a massive community garage sale in the area this morning and scored my toddler's big christmas gift:

it's the Savannah dollhouse by Kidcraft - full price it goes for $150 at most retailers and i snagged it for only $45!!!   comes complete with furnishings so all i need to buy are the dolls :)

i also managed to get a bike trailer to tow my little Peanut around behind my bike in for $5 (it's super dirty and needs a little TLC but otherwise works just fine); i got a Safety First bed rail for a friend for $2; and i got several dress up things for Peanut (Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Fancy Nancy, a cheer outfit and a bright pink feather boa) as well as a few puzzles and a board game, all for around $25.

my mom came along (she'd never been) and wound up getting two solid wood rocking chairs that she's planning to refinish and paint white for her front porch and an exersaucer and oodles of baby clothes for my niece.

all in all, it was a VERY productive morning out!  the dollhouse alone made getting up early on a saturday morning worth it.

but now i need a nap...

Friday, October 1, 2010

blogtoberfest 2010

hey there.

welcome to my first blogpost of blogtoberfest 2010 (essentially, i'm agreeing - along with a slew of other bloggers - to post something on my blog everyday during the month of october).

i was having a hard time thinking of something witty or descriptive of my blog to write about and then it occurred to me:  maybe there are other first time blogtoberfest participants running into the same deer-in-the-headlights, suddenly-i-have-nothing-to-say problem.

if you're one of those people (or if you're just looking for something to write/talk about), here's a question from the Would You Rather... game to ponder:

would you rather...

see everything in slow-motion -OR- see everything move at double speed?

this is an easy one for me - i'd rather see everything move at double speed.  i'd get far too irritated with slow-motion.  consider waiting in line behind the person who still pays for everything by check.  and can't find their license.  or the person who can't make up their mind about what to order for lunch in the drive thru.  after they've ordered for the other six people in their car.