08 November 2013

Unexpectedly Inspired

One of the things I do for my job is to order parts, software, licenses, etc. for clients.  The website of a technology distributor is probably one of the least likely places to find yourself inspired, but today I logged in and this is the sight that greeted me:
Wouldn't the box design for this product make a perfectly fabulous quilt block?  I love the colors they have chosen and the pattern they placed the triangles into.  I envision this being a block that you make 12 ish of, smoosh them all together in mixed up orientation and call it a quilt.  Bind it with that deep grape color and be happy.

Who's with me?!?

06 November 2013


 We had a great group for Crafternoon this past weekend with very diverse crafts being represented. 
Maggie and Aly were doing some quilting.  Maggie has a very precise way of pinning pieces of a quilt together to ensure that they don't shift and that the seams you want to line up are in fact aligned.  She taught Aly this pinning method this weekend and as you can see, they're both pleased with the results!
 Keva decided to join the group and keep herself close to the action!  Mom was laughing because she's really the perfect crafting dog.  She's quite content to lay around while everyone crafts.  
 Kim was working on a knit washcloth.  Interestingly enough, she stated what many crafters probably feel.  This wash cloth is taking way too long; if it were a blanket square it would be different....even though it's the same exact work, for some reason it seems more worth it.  She happens to fit quite comfortably in Tyler's chair so she got the squish chair! 
 I worked on spinning some fantastic fiber that I received in a Mad Color Fiber Arts Geek Tour shipment. 
It's based off of an episode of Doctor Who called "Blink" in which there is the most perfect pick up line ever...."Life is short and you are hot."  I swear, if any guy ever tried to pick me up with that line, I'd fall in a heart beat. 
Aren't the colors fantastic?!? 
 Here I am tucked away at my spinning wheel making great progress.
And this is what the singles are looking like.  I'm trying to keep the colors together on the bobbin because it pleases me to see them all lined up in sections.
 Gary got the other squishy chair and was working on knitting the most lovely green shawl. 
When Aly first walked in the door with her sewing machine and sewing supplies I swooned.  She uses this vintage suit case to keep all her project and supplies together in one fantastic kit. 
 Maggie is working on a machine applique block for a quilt for Aunt Lois.  I tell ya!  Machine Applique takes the patience of Job.  It takes For-Ev-Er to get one block done...But the results are stunning!

Like any good Crafternoon, we had food!  There was an egg, potato, cheese casserole, Cheetoes, Oreos, chocolate bundt cake, orange juice and cranberry juice.  Yum!  But the real treat came in the form of poached pears with fudge sauce over top.  I have never had anything poached before, but now I'm a convert!  Gary has great cooking skill and flair so even though I hadn't had poached pears before I knew I'd be thrilled to eat them. 
 He even put together a fantastic presentation!  They say the eye eats first, but I'm pretty sure my taste buds were the real winners here.

Here is the progress I had made by the end of the day on my stripey yarn:
 Not quite as tidy on the color chunks as earlier in the day, but I'm still very happy with how it looks!

29 October 2013

Shifting colors!

I have been having SO much fun knitting on this colorful mitered square blanket this past month that I just have to share my progress!

This is the first quarter of a 50 inch x 50 inch lap blanket (lapghan for those who like to be clever).  Although I still have a few (ha...a few) ends to weave in on the back, I love the fact that for the most part once you're done with the knitting, you've got a blanket to use. 
This time of year is the perfect time of year to knit on a lap blanket because it's starting to get chilly at night and having 1/4 of a blanket on your lap is cozy instead of stifling.  I started the blue and purple corner last night and I can't wait to see where it goes!
Interestingly enough, I am knitting this for my Nerd Wars dissertation, which means I have 3 months to finish it.  I'm a little worried since it's the end of the first month and I have only 1/4 done.  I'm not going to let that get me down though...I'm going to keep plugging away and let the colors unfold for me!

28 October 2013

Random row


3  [rou]  Show IPA
a noisy dispute or quarrel; commotion.
noise or clamor.

You know your child has been reading too many British novels when, upon being asked if he knows what a row is, a vigorous, boisterous, noisy reenactment of an actual row ensues.  

The other day,  Tyler and I were listening to an audio book of Harry Potter and the word "row" came up.  Being the teacher type I am I usually sneak in questions about what does xyz mean?  How can abc be applied in our life?  Is that an accurate assessment of this situation?    

Anyway, I asked what he thought "row" meant...I was fully expecting him to say "a fight" or "an argument."  What I got was SOOOO much better.  Tyler acted out a full on screeching, gesticulating, two sided row.  It was fantastic!  I should have recorded it, but I was too busy laughing on the floor (literally).

23 September 2013

Quilt camp 2013

Quilt Camp this year was a little different from years previous partly because real life leading into Quilt Camp weekend was quite hectic with schedule changes, and partly because Kim, Jessica and Valerie were not there this year to add their zest and joy. We did get to make new friends this year though since Emily brought her mom and her friend/cousin/chosen family, Aly.  Though there was one point during the day when I looked around and wondered where my pressing expert, Valerie, went off to since I needed her desperately. 
On the last day that we were there it rained quite a bit and hailed a little.  One of the quilters even talked Roger Zimmerman into starting a rip roaring fire in the Lodge fireplace.  I swear the fire started so fast I thought there was a gas pipe underneath it that allowed it to start up so quickly, but Roger assured us that it was all him!

10 September 2013


So, it turns out that if you put a bunch of mischevious people together in one room for long enough and with enough talking and laughing....Crazy ideas will be hatched.  Ordinarily said mischevious people would look like normal humans you might see anywhere in your life...
Exhibit A
 Exhibit B
Exhibit C
DO NOT let their innocent appearances fool you though.  These folks are wickedly creative!  One night while Mom and Jess were visiting Aunt Lois and Uncle Doc in Texas, they got to talking about how much I like sheep...well, scheming really.  I'm not really sure HOW it all went down, but eventually the plan was hatched that Aunt Lois would sacrifice her beautiful sheep to the cause of a good practical joke/gift and Uncle Doc would sacrifice his beliefs on the way to treat a lady and write me a letter about my sheep's creation.  Both sacrifices were GREATLY appreciated (even a lady can understand that it's not really lying if it's for a good hearty laugh) and boy did I get a kick out of opening, planting, and sprouting Gertrude.  I swear, when I walked into the kitchen one day and saw that my sheep seed had sprouted I practically fell over laughing.  Evidentally, while Mom was in Texas, Aunt Lois helped her pack up Gertrude and bring her home in her luggage.  Then they waited...and waited...and when the time was right and I was the least suspecting, they SPRUNG their plot on me.  Uncle Doc acquired the closest thing to sheep "product" as he could get (eeeewww....I watered sheep poo!) and spent time gluing on some fleece.  Then he packaged it all up and they shipped it off to my house.  When the time was right and I was beginning to give up hope on my sheep seed ever sprouting, Mom brought in Gertrude and put her in my pot!!!  Even my dad was in the kitchen for the big discovery and boy did his eyes twinkle.  Mind you, I didn't find out the story until a while later since a)I couldn't quit laughing and b) my mom was being coy with their plotting.

09 September 2013


Ok, so this whole exciting event in my life happened several months ago, but I've finally gotten all my pictures in the same place and am able to post about what happened.

I've always wanted a sheep.  It's probably no surprise to anyone who knows me that I LOVE sheep.  I think they are the absolutely fantasically MOST adorable things in the whole farming world.  I know they're dumb.  I also (now) know that they stink.  It doesn't matter to me; I still love them unconditionally.  Anyhow, that's the motivation behind the gift I received in the mail one day.  Another important tidbit is that I have and aunt and uncle in Texas and Uncle Doc is a COW doc.  He has absolutely no use whatsoever for sheep.  I'm pretty sure if they all fell off the face of the earth his life would be improved.  Mine however would be desolate...but I digress.  I received this letter in the mail which explained my package.
 If you look very carefully you will see that Doc had used his veterinarian contacts and know how to obtain a "fertilized ovum" to sprout a little lambie if only I would "plant it in some good potting soil about an inch deep and keep the soil slightly moist."  Turns out I knew even less about science than I thought that I did because I thought mammals had live births, but Doc is a doc so I should trust him.  I was a little leery...I'm not going to lie.  I felt like this was some sort of an intelligence test.  If I planted the sheep seed and it didn't grow I failed because everyone knows that sheep have live births.  If I didn't plant it, I failed because Doc knows things about animals that I don't (like, a LIFETIME'S worth more than I do...) and I shoulda trusted him.  If I planted it and it grew, then I still failed because everything I knew about science was wrong.  There was NO way for me to win this intelligence test. 
But...I'm a trusting person.  I believe that if someone tells me that something is for sure true, I should take their word for it.  So.....I got a pot...and tucked my fertilized sheep "product"...
And I waited.  Another thing my precious readers should know about is that I am NOT a very patient person.  But the letter said to wait 7-10 days to have my lambie sprout so I was determined to wait.  And wait... 
I dutifully watered my lamb every other day and wouldn't you just know it!?!  It sprouted!
 Do I look completely disbelieving?  I was VERY surprised at the miracles of modern verterinary medicine!!

Since my lambie was born with a purple ribbon, it was determined that she is in fact a she.  I named her Gertrude and she now lives happily at the office where I can see here every day.  She even has friends!!
I have been greatly enjoying having Gertrude to keep me company at work and she has been greatly enjoying being the first ever sprouted lamb.
Check in tomorrow for further details surrounding the birth (?) of Gertrude!!!

08 April 2013

MCC and Memories

This weekend was the West Coast MCC Sale and it was FUN!  Although this year I knew going in that I probably was not going to be coming home with any quilts because I chose to buy a new spinning wheel instead, I still had a great time eating a delicious tri-tip sandwich, homemade (at someone else's house) berry pie, fresh Fritters, tacos and a teeny tiny amount of homemade ice cream.  I loved getting a chance to see and catch up with people I see very infrequently--mostly we see each other at the MCC Sale, with very occasional smatterings of visiting throughout the year.  The quilts were beautiful, but I worked very hard not to get toooooo attached to any of them since I didn't want to cave in and buy something I hadn't budgeted for.  The food, the quilts, and the people were all amazing, but my all time favorite part about this year's MCC Sale was Tyler.  Now, I know what you're thinking.  It's no surprise that Tanya has a "Tyler is so wonderful" tale to tell.  Honestly, that's not what this is! 

On Friday night, Doug and Tyler came to the MCC Sale with my dad for us all to have dinner together.  While we were in line for food, we ran into one of Tyler's friends from school and karate and his family.  I have really enjoyed getting to know his mom over the past few years as we keep running into each other at schools, karate, vacation Bible schools, summer camps, etc. and Tyler enjoys playing with his friend, Josiah, and his younger brother, Elijah.  After the kids had finished eating together (translation--Scarfing down their food as quickly and efficiently as possible), they left the table to play together in a big grassy area nearby.  I swear, one second there were just the three kids playing and the next second there were 8 kids running around together.  THIS was my favorite part.  The friends and the carefree memories being made. 

I have so many amazing memories from when I was growing up and going to the MCC Sale every year and playing with all my friends that I didn't get to see often.  We would have so much freedom to run around and just check in with parents for food tickets or money for books or whatever and running around like crazy people.  I even remember one year when my friend, Peter Hasegawa, bought an avocado green toilet to put in his bedroom as a fish bowl.  I realize that I do a similar thing at the MCC Sale now, it's just a lot more sedate and there is a lot more discussion on "where are you working now?" "how's your family?"  and other "grown up" talk.  I will always cherish my carefree childhood MCC Sale memories and am so glad that Tyler is having the opportunity to create some of his own.

Here are the boys coming back to the table after running around for a while.  I love how they just casually sling their arms around each other and talk about their time playing.
 Tyler, Elijah and Josiah posing together for an MCC Sale wrap picture.  Boy were they happy (and exhausted).
One of the other fun things about the MCC Sale is that they have a book sale every year.  I feel like God is trying to tell me that He has a plan for me:
(note: As funny as I think it was to find them here, I did NOT buy these books.)

02 April 2013

Nature's Bounty

Last Friday, my friend's mother offered me some strawberries since she had been given more than she felt she could eat. Although I didn't measure or weigh or in any other way document how much I received, I was told that she got four pounds, she gave me half that and then I gave some to my friend to take home with her....I'm pretty sure I brought home about a pound of strawberries. And boy were they delicious! I polished those puppies off on Monday night and then was offered some more. Never one to turn down fresh (and free!) produce, I brought them home with me and ate some for breakfast.  I had the brainstorm to turn some of my remaining bounty into a longer lasting treat. I remember when I was growing up making strawberry freezer jam with my mom and how I loved having it on toast. I cooked this batch up tonight while Ty was doing his homework.
I had just a smidgen of homemade ice cream left to smother with the bit of jam left in the mixing bowl.  Wow!  After making this again, I think it's a great idea for people to homemaker their own condiments every now and again to keep in touch with what goes into their mouth.  2 cups of strawberry moosh to 4 cups of sugar!,,


28 March 2013

Servings and Remainders

It's Girl Scout Cookie time!  I confess, I'm a sucker for enterprising young people spending their free time to raise money for their organization.  It also helps that their cookies are so delicious.  (Especially the Samoas--I know the box says they're Caramel DeLites, but it lies.  They are, and forever shall be, Samoas.)
Since I'm the kind of parent who feels like any conversation has the potential to be a learning opportunity for my kiddo, when we opened this box of Samoas, I asked Tyler to guess what the suggested serving size would be.  He guessed (correctly) that it would be two.  We then chatted about how it's really important to stay active and how exercise is an essential part of staying healthy, but that it was also important to make sure you don't overeat because then you might still be unhealthy.  And yes, I understand the irony of a slightly chubby mom having this conversation with her rail thin, super muscular kid.  He may not always be so active... 
 A few days later he asked me, "Mom, if the serving size is two, WHY do they give you a box with 15?  Then there's a remainder and someone doesn't get all their serving."  (They were learning division with remainders in school that week.)  What a great question!  I figure that if they're going to have a serving size, it should be appropriate to what they give you in the container size, especially if it's something so easy to control the amount/number of.  I could see if they didn't count out each individual M&M or grape, but cookies?  That's just lazy.  So we bought another box to be sure there were no remainders.

15 March 2013

So much to learn...

My photography class started this week and I've already learned so much about my camera and about making it work for me instead of me holding it while it does whatever it wants to. I went all wild and crazy and instead of just choosing whether or not to use a flash, I turned it to manual and played around with shutter speeds. Wow! What a difference that can make. But good heavens do I have a lot to learn. Luckily I have a fantastically adorable and mostly willing practice subject.
And sometimes one who isn't given the choice. 
Most of my pictures don't look quite right...this one's a bit washed out, but it was too fun to document this moment when we got home from scootering to the library and Tyler wanted to read his new books out in the front yard.  Boy does this kid love to read!  He didn't even want to take off his helmet before he dove right in to his book about the American Revolution. 

He finally took enough of a break to look up and smile for me. 
In non-Tyler news, the guys at work found this fantastic hamburger joint near our office and we made an almost all office lunch event out of it.  A-Mazing!  The burger was perfect and the fries were delicious.  I will definitely be eating here again.  
I also stumbled upon Keva making use of the tent that I had set up in the playroom last weekend when he had a friend come over to spend the night. 

26 February 2013

A mom, her son, their dogs and ...

THEIR LAMB.  That's right...A Lamb.

This Saturday I went walking with my dog and my bonus dog, Hawk, at the park on their main walking trail.  I stopped the dogs along the trail to take their picture (because who doesn't take a picture on their walk?) Keva was sniffing rather interestedly towards the lower bike trail that was just to the side of us so I peeked over to see what she was so curious about. 
See how she's cranning her neck?  That's very unusual for her.
I couldn't quite tell what it was that I was seeing, but I knew that it did not move like a dog.  So we decided to check it out.  Granted, this might have been a rash choice since I wore walking shoes, not hiking shoes and the lower trail is quite a bit more "rugged".  It all paid off in the end though when we caught up to the lady, her son, their three border collies and their little baby lamb who thought he was a dog.  Cutest dang thing ever!
Keva and Hawk got the opportunity to sniff a sheep up close and personal (in the way only dogs can get personal) and I got the opportunity to dream about my future life with sheep and little lambs who are part of the family out for a stroll.

25 February 2013


Here's my day today:

Tyler is home sick today so between laundry and nurse duties, I have decided to make some cornbread comfort food using this fantastic recipe I found online. It's the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue corn bread and I LOVE it.

22 February 2013

Spindle Spun

Remember this yarn?
I finished spinning this second half of the wool: 
 And then plied it up on my spinning wheel to make this fantastic yarn. 

One of the things that is so interesting to me about spinning is that you can take wool that is bright pink in sections, orange sherbert colored in others, and then dark purple in others and put it all together and it just works.  I love how the colors all kinda mush in spots and then other spots just pop. 

(Don't be alarmed by that bit of white in there.  I was a bit off on either my spinning of the two halves or the separating of the two halves and when I plied them I had a little left over on one bobbin.  Because I can't stand to waste anything, I decided to ply it in with some other white I had already spun up.  My plan is to ply any extra lengths from the current spinning I'm doing with white and then use all the varied marls together in one project so that the white is their commonality and the colors are their visual interest.)

I seem to be awfully enthralled with spinning right now and am finding it kind of hard to want to knit.  The ironic part is that as I'm knitting less (due to the spinning), I'm also increasing my yarn amounts.