On Saturday, we had Littlest’s birthday party. We were planning a campout in the back yard, but the weather was touch and go, so the boys slept inside instead. We still went outside for s’mores and scary stories (which is, in my opinion, the best part of a campout anyway), so the boys didn’t seem to mind. I can’t believe that my Littlest Guy turns 8 this week! Whaaaaa!

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Saturday was also a big day because teacher assignments came in the mail. This is a major event in the life of a suburban mom. There were texts flying through the neighborhood of who got what teacher. We got the ones that we wanted so YAY!

My parents are currently visiting and will be with us for 10 days. It is nice to see them, but houseguests stress me out big time.  Disruption to routines + people around all the time = frazzled me.

Last week, I took out my completed cross stitch projects with the intention of framing them (finally) in the frames that I’ve been collecting. I quickly realized that it was a bigger project than I wanted to take on, so off they went to the framing shop. Framing is so crazy expensive, even when you supply the frames! What a racket… but I cant wait to see the results!

How cute is this picture of Sammy?

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He might just be the cutest dog in the world, especially when he snores with his eyes OPEN. He’s a little weirdo but we love him. I think that he looks like a puppy, but he is actually 12 years old! I wish that I knew his secrets for a youthful appearance.

This project is going OK.

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I’ve mentally recovered from my fabric cutting snafu, but my thread is tangling A LOT on this one and it’s really annoying. Does anyone have any tips? It’s driving me crazy.

Blergh.

I know that I have a tendency towards melodrama sometimes… but this deserves it!

I was chugging along nicely with this…

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When I realized that thing weren’t matching up. It took me forever to figure out the problem.

The heart was off center (ironically, the very first thing that I stitched!).

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So I frogged the heart and the section to the right of it.

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In the process, I accidentally cut some of the threads of my FABRIC! Right next to the start of my new heart!

Whaaaaaaaaa!!!

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My eyes keep going to that spot now.

I’m so annoyed.

Ooh la la.

Bonjour! Are you wondering why I’m speaking French? Why… because I’m going to France of course! In 3 weeks! For work!

At first I was excited about it, but then I realized that it would be whirlwind and that Tom couldn’t join me and I was less excited. The last time I went to Paris for work, I only got to see the Eiffel Tower from the car. Boo. I don’t mean to sound thankless though, because Paris is still Paris. Bien sur, mes amies!

I can’t believe that Summer is winding down already. The boys only have 2 more weeks of camp. Then we have a week with my parents visiting. Then school starts. Yikes. I will be Mom to a 2nd and 4th grader! Say what?!

When we were on the cruise, we read aloud from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory every night before bed. Now that we’re home, we have moved on to Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. We’ve only just started, but so far it’s not as good. This seems often to be the case with sequels.

I took no pictures yesterday, so will end this rambly blog post today with this:

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My first quilt!

On Friday, I decided that I wanted to make a quilt. I stopped at a cute sewing store on the way home from work and bought some stuff. Then I went home and laid it all out. I am notoriously bad at math, so I didn’t have enough squares and no extra fabric. So what did I do? I cut up an old shirt! How’s that for improvising?

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I tried to make the pattern random which was surprisingly hard to do. I kept accidentally putting similar fabrics next to each other. The other thing that was surprisingly hard to do was keeping the dogs off of my work. They were obsessed with walking right over my quilt. I really wanted to get sewing, but had to clean up and go to a Mom’s Happy Hour. My life is so hard.

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I started sewing right away on Saturday morning. The corners don’t line up perfectly, but besides that, it was super easy and fast to do.

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Then it was time to add the batting! Tom had borrowed my car so I had to take his stick-shift Jeep to the fabric store. It was HOT and BUMPY and I am NOT GOOD at driving a stick shift, but nothing can stop a woman on a quilt making mission. I was DETERMINED!

By the way, I spotted this book while at the store. How funny!

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And did I just out myself as a nerd? Although who am I kidding, you’ve all figured out that I’m a nerd by now.

I finally got home safely (but sweaty and annoyed) and proceeded to sew on the batting.

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The thing is that I didn’t really “plan” how to make a quilt before I set out to make a quilt. I was just following along to a Martha tutorial without really thinking too much ahead. Martha said to sew on the batting first, then add the backing, then sew bias tape around the edges without mitering the corners. I guess that her instructions are for a more rustic looking quilt which is great and all, but I kinda wish that I had looked at other methods before diving into this one. Oh well… live and learn.

At this point, I got too tired to deal with the edging and backing so I abandoned my quilt for dinner and some relaxing.

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On Sunday, we went to a christening. Tom was the godfather, which was crazy for so many reasons! The baby was super cute though (as was the godfather). We visited and ate and went home.

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And so ended another wild weekend around here.

Around here.

Hi Blog! Another week is flying by.

The boys are in Minecraft camp this week and, man, are they excited. My idea of camp is being outside and running and swimming and playing. Most of their Summer has been spent in active camps, so we are indulging them with one week of playing video games. Seriously, kids are so spoiled these days!

I have had such a busy month. Work! Work! Work! All the time! Tom is working on a new business venture, so I’ve been helping him with designing the collateral materials. He is a terrible client and is always changing things on me. Haha… just kidding, Q-T!

So in light of my demanding “client” and work and all that nonsense, I haven’t had any time to sew or cross stitch! Not to mention that the house is a mess, there’s laundry to be folded, and we ate grilled cheese sandwiches and pickles(!) for dinner last night! Huh? What can I say… I am tired and lazy!

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Blah blah blah…

It is unusually chilly this Summer. I’m not complaining. I’ll take chilly over brutally hot any day!

We had a pretty nice weekend. Tom and I went to see a Billy Joel concert on Saturday. He was really good! I was not particularly a fan before the concert so I looked up his Wikipedia page (what ever did we do before Wikipedia?). I know all about him now and could probably win a Billy Joel trivia contest.

Look at all those people!

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Gavin Degraw was the opener. He was pretty good too. And Boys II Men made a surprise appearance. We decided that if Billy Joel asks you to make a surprise appearance at his concert, you pretty much have to do it.

We noticed that EVERYONE around us was taking selfies, so we did too. I had trouble getting us to fit on the screen. This is the best that we could do. Awkward…

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Sunday was a home day (Yay!). I made 12 quarts of pickles! By the end of the process, I smelled like a pickle. That was not pleasant. I didn’t feel like cooking after all that pickling, so we went out for Vietnamese. Yum. I made a pig of myself, but really, it’s not my fault when Vietnamese food is placed in front of me.

Monday!

Work has been turning me into a grump, so I decided that an attitude shift was in order. Last week, I tried really hard not to COMPLAIN and, you know what, it worked! I felt much more positive by week’s end.

It may also have helped that I got a lot of stitching time. On Friday, I brought my cross stitching to work and spent my lunch time stitching in the park. A stitch break was just what I needed.

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Friday night, I sewed my first pair of pajama pants (for Biggest)! It was pretty exciting.

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Stephanie and I hung out on Saturday. Lunch (Yum!), followed by a trip to the fabric store (Yay!), followed by afternoon cocktails (YUMMM!), followed by a quiet evening at home with TV and stitching (Perfection!). I am making good progress on this.

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Sunday was sooooooooooper productive. I spent almost all day in the kitchen (Fun!). I made:

  • chocolate zucchini bread
  • regular bread
  • spaghetti sauce (for this week)
  • more pickles (New recipe… this one is a keeper!)
  • meatloaf, potatoes, and green beans (for dinner)

I love productive days! I also did laundry, went grocery shopping, cleaned up the house, and made another pair of these…

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Oh, and look at my cute sewing buddy!

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Happy Monday!

Down by the river.

My office is next to a river. I found that if I squeeze through a gap in the overgrown bushes in just the right spot, there is a tiny beach.

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It’s not much to look at and is, unfortunately, strewn with trash, but I like to go there at lunch time. It’s a good place to take a breath and decompress. I suppose people know it’s there, but I like to think of it as my secret beach. I like to hear the waves crashing or just watch them ripple softly, depending on the day. I like listening to the leaves rustle overhead and the birds chirping. I like feeling the wind on my face. It even smells beachy. If I close my eyes, I can pretend that I’m at the ocean instead of just standing behind the bushes outside of an office building.

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Sometimes I go for a little walk. Lately, I’ve been trying to notice how the plants and trees are changing through the seasons and work on identifying them. For instance, this week I noticed that all of the Honeysuckle is gone and has been replaced by bunches and bunches of Queen Anne’s Lace. I guess it’s technically a weed, but I’ve always been a fan.

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Did you know that Queen Anne’s Lace is also called a wild carrot? I pulled one up to look at the root and it did indeed resemble a white carrot and it smelled like one too.

Did you also know that there are a few tiny purple blossoms on each flower? They almost look like a squished bug in this picture.

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Those purple blossoms are one way to tell the difference between Queen Anne’s Lace and Hemlock (which is poisonous!). The other is that Queen Anne’s Lace has hairy stems. See the things you can learn by taking a lunchtime walk?

Last night, I went to my first ever stitching group meeting! The ladies were so welcoming and I really enjoyed it.

We learned some specialty stitches and worked on Christmas ornaments. Here’s where I got with mine.

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I tried to use nontraditional Christmas colors. We are supposed to complete stitching by the next meeting so that we can work on finishing techniques. So fun! I think I will enjoy being a part of this group.

In a pickle.

We had a busy Saturday with lots of running around for appointments and a birthday party. I was feeling really crappy so went to bed early with my books. I finished Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Loved them!

I was still feeling sick on Sunday, so I dragged myself around and didn’t do much. I made my first ever batch of Refrigerator Pickles. Chopping cukes was kinda therapeutic.

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I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. They seem way too salty, but maybe they’ll mellow in the fridge. It was a really fun project!  Tom is a pickle fiend so I might give it another try this week.

The boys washed our cars and thought it was great fun. Why didn’t we think of this sooner? Entertainment + clean cars.

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I found Littlest quietly drawing by himself in the dining room with Coal next to him. It was pretty cute.

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When we were at my parent’s house a few months ago, my Mom gave me these old Tupperware things that she used to make Jello when I was little. The boys wanted to make Jello today, so I broke them out. I texted this picture to my sister and we got a kick out of seeing them. Who would have thought that a bunch of old Tupperware could bring back so many memories?

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