Sunday, 31 July 2011

New Car and Road Trip!

I have a new friend for you to meet!  This is Dominick.  He's my new car and let me tell you, we bonded quickly.  Well, when you drive 700 miles together in the first two days of your acquaintance, you get to know each other very quickly.

I know, for example, that he gets almost 30 miles to the gallon.  That his radio is loud and his windscreen wipers good, but the air conditioning is never truly cold.  (Adequate, but never cold.)  That his gas tank is supposedly 12 gallons but if you drive until the "check gauges" light comes on, it actually holds 13.

He knows that I sing along with the radio whether I know the words or not.  That I nibble on snacks almost constantly on a long trip, to keep myself awake.  (Several varieties of bite-sized snacks were kept within reach!)  That I can do an 11-hour drive all by myself, but sometimes I need a brief nap in the middle.

Nice to know you, Dominick!  Here's to a long and happy relationship.

Conrad thought he would come along with me in my carry-on bag.  TSA would've had a field day!
The rest of my trip was lovely!  Once I got through security at the airport, anyway.  (I didn't take off my insulin pump - I've done this before with no trouble - and the TSA worker didn't inquire about medical devices.  So of course it showed up on the scan, and I got the full private-screening-room pat-down and questioning.  They were very professional about it, but it was still annoying.)  After that though I enjoyed the flight!  My seatmate on the first plane was a girl about my age, who read quietly and chatted a little.  (The ten-year-old boy behind me, flying for the first time and very vocally excited, was less charming, but I could mostly tune him out.)

I had a layover in Charlotte; I got breakfast at Starbucks and sat and wrote to my brother and watched people.  It was a pleasant break.  Then on the flight to Detroit I had two seats to myself!  Ah, legroom.  Those little city-hoppers never have enough of it, so I was glad enough to borrow from the space next to me.

It was lovely to spend a couple days with my family (and a family friend who is staying there for a week or so.)  I got to meet for the first time a friend I've known for a year online, and stopped on my way back yesterday to visit a friend I've known for 12 years.  And now I'm back, and I'm ready for this week!  My best friend is getting married on Friday, so I'll be busy with wedding activities on top of work.... which means you'll probably get more blogging than usual, because I seem to blog more when I have most to do.  Someone explain that logic to me....

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Goin' Home

Tomorrow I'm going home!  It's just for a few days but I'm ridiculously excited about it.  I'll be home for my dad's birthday on Friday and my sister's theatre camp performance the same evening... I'll get my own family birthday celebration... I'll get to meet a friend I've never met in person and catch up with a friend I've known for 12 years.  I'll get to enjoy cooler temperatures and revel in the beauty that is my home and spend time with my parents and sister.

I have an ulterior motive for going home, though.  I'm getting a car!  My dad found and bought it for me (I'm paying, though, he's not that rich) and I'm flying home Thursday morning to get my hands on it.  I'm pretty ridiculously excited about this, too!  I went 3 years of college with pretty much no access to a car.  This past year my roommate has been incredibly generous in lending hers, and I've had free rein with it this summer as she's been out of the country, but as I'll be starting grad school and living on my own, having a car is going to be a huge blessing!  It's not new and it's not fancy, but it will drive.

This is from March, flying over the Italian Alps.
So I'm leaving Memphis in the wee hours of the morning, arriving in Detroit in the afternoon, and spending a day and a half with my family, driving back on Saturday, since I have to be at church to sing a duet on Sunday morning!  I'd appreciate prayers for safe travels (and no problems with security at the airport!) and I will see you all next week -- with pictures of my car!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

More Random

We had a fabulous thunderstorm this evening.  The sky grew darker, the wind picked up, and grumbles of thunder heralded the incoming storm.  Then it broke over the town with a roar of thunder and spectacular flashes of lightning through curtains of rain.

The best part of the storm was watching Conrad watch the storm.  He sat in the windowsill, staring down raindrops and never flinching at the lightning.

I've been running every other day for the past couple weeks, a 1.5 mile loop around campus.  (I think I said this already.)  The new part is I think I'm starting to like it.

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

That quilt I'm making for my best friend's wedding?  I finally have the top almost completely pieced.  I'll finish that tomorrow.

Her wedding is 12 days away.

I don't think I'm going to have the quilt finished by her wedding...

One thing I have finally learned this summer: how to clean up after myself and keep a space (particularly the kitchen) tidy all the time.  It's only taken me 23 years.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Birthday Supper

Thursday was my birthday, and only the second one I've spent away from my family.  (And the other time, my 18th, I was with my aunt and uncle so it only sort of counted as being away from family!)  Probably most people my age have spent several birthdays away from home, but since mine is in mid-summer I've never been at college or anything for the day.  I had a surprisingly lovely day, however; I didn't have to go in to work, so I had a leisurely morning followed by a voice lesson, followed by chocolate cheesecake from my lovely teacher :)

I made my own birthday dinner (which I frequently do anyway even at home, since I like to cook!)  A friend had posted up the link to this recipe just a few days previously and I thought they looked lovely.  So I made salmon croquettes, with mashed red potatoes, garlic bread, and peas.  It was a lovely meal, light but filling, and extremely easy to prepare; the best kind!

Then I had a cupcake, since the family I babysit for had brought me birthday cupcakes earlier in the day.  (I'm pretty sure the 3-year-old, S. was much more interested in meeting my kitten than in delivering someone else's birthday cupcakes, but that's okay with me!  Her little brother L. was glad to see me -- he recognises me now and it's so delightful to see his face light up when he hears my voice!)  Then a friend stopped by in the evening to return something he'd borrowed, and stayed to talk -- I always enjoy some adult conversation, since I've spent most of my summer either with children under three, or working by myself in the church music library!

All in all, it was a lovely birthday.  Now, I get to go home next week and have a birthday celebration with my family, too!  A bit unexpected but I'm so glad :)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Random Wednesday

I don't have any kind of really coherent post for today... so you get a bunch of random thoughts.

1.  I decided to dodge the whole weight loss/clothes that fit dilemma and make an elastic-waisted petticoat.  It's petal-pink cotton, hem bound with matching satin ribbon, and I kind of love it.  Even if it's not quite as full as I wanted it to be.  Time to pull out the starch!

2.  My little brother travelled to Parris Island Monday and is a couple days into boot camp.  It's really strange to think of him being in the military now... but it's something he wants, he'll be good at it, and I'm so grateful that he and so many others are willing to do this for our country.  Makes me a little teary when I think about it!

3.  I've been watching a lot of soccer on TV the last couple weeks - caught the end of the women's World Cup, and now I'm watching all the televised matches of the World Football Challenge, which is fun.  I played (and refereed) back in high school and I've always had a soft spot for the sport :)

4.  All the futbol - and the sewing projects lined up - are great motivation for exercise.  I've been running/jogging fairly regularly over the last two weeks.  I'm aiming for three times a week, and I'm doing a 1.5 mile loop at the moment.  When that gets easy (when I don't have to walk in the middle!) I'll add an extra zigzag to bring it up to two miles.  My eventual goal is to be able to run 3 miles without stopping, and I'd like to get down to at least an 8-minute pace.

5.  When I was 8 I could run a 7-minute mile.  I'm not sure that will ever happen again.

6.  But it's worth a try.

7.  Oh, and I've lost 1.5 lbs since last week.  This is an excellent birthday present!

Sunday, 17 July 2011


I have a question for all those of you who make your own clothes... how do you deal with weight loss?  I have a long, long list of projects on my to-do list, but I've been hesitating to start any of them because I'm in the process of losing weight and getting into better shape.

This fitness goal is not really so much because I want to be smaller... although that would be a nice side effect... as for health reasons.  I'm a little bit overweight and I have medical conditions that make this a bad thing, so I'm really trying to shed a few pounds.  It's slow.  (I like food too much and exercise is not my first choice of a good time.)  But it is happening, and that's where it affects my sewing.

So... what do you do?  Do you just wait to make that new dress or the outfit you're craving?  Or do you make it in the size you wear now, and plan to take it in later if you drop some inches?  Or do you make it in a smaller size as incentive to exercise?  I really don't know what to do here and I'd love some feedback :)

Friday, 15 July 2011

When life hands you lemons

... you could always collect them and put them in this copious string market bag.

Knitted from dishcloth cotton and a conglomeration of patterns.

Then you can take them out again and cut them into gorgeous slices...

...and make honey-lemon marmalade.

Or try strawberry-lemon.  Like summer on toast.

If canning is too much for you, why not try lemon crinkle cookies?   Absolutely to die for.  Do not make a full batch of these if you are the only one who will be home to eat them, because you will find a mere 36 hours later that you have just devoured the last crumb.

I put about double the amount of lemon zest and juice called for.  Try it!
I think lemons are the epitome of summer - bright, tart, refreshing.  What would you do with a bag full of them?

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

David Dancing

I'm finally getting a chance to post about my little brother's dance recital!  It happened actually over a month ago, but I just now got hold of photos, and they're quite good so I didn't want to post something without them :-)

All the blue-shirt photos are from the jazz number.
David's always been a very physical sort of person - a natural soccer player, quick and agile.  He took up dance lessons 4 years ago, I think, starting just with tap lessons.  Last year he added ballet and this year he took tap, ballet and jazz lessons.

It's been so fun watching him progress in his dancing.  The first year he hadn't hit his growth spurt yet.  He was the only boy (until this year, he was *always* the only boy!) and as it was his first year they sort of hid him in the back.  The next year he was more confident -- and taller! -- and he had a much more prominent role.  This year they actually featured him!

I may be biased but I think he cuts a very impressive figure on the stage :-)  I'm impressed with his dedication and with his skill -- this year he was in the Advanced Tap class, along with girls who have been dancing since they were six years old.  I think he's done well :-)  And I can't help thinking of the Biblical David, dancing before the Lord.  I think my David does that as well :-)

And now, my (big) little brother is about to enter a new phase of his life.  This coming Monday he ships out to boot camp for the Marine Corps.  He'll be at Parris Island for the next 13 weeks or so.  A very different life from high school and dance classes, but this is the right thing for David and I'm excited to see his growth through these next few weeks.

Ballet number. Can you believe this is only his second year?
I don't have his mailing address yet but when I do I'll be posting it.  He won't have any contact with the outside world except through the mail, and I know he'd love to get letters.  I realise very few, if any, of my readers know David personally but I think he'd appreciate anything he can get!

Final jazz number for all the high-schoolers.
Yep, that's my little brother :)  Here in the tap number.
I can't wait to see what God does in David's life in the next few years.  Maybe it will involve dancing!

Friday, 8 July 2011

A Quilt and an Announcement

I've thought about this move for a long time, and finally made up my mind to go for it.  I now have an Etsy shop!  It's called Somewhen Designs and I'll be offering up a variety of things -- knitted, sewn, and vintage.  My page isn't very lovely yet but I'm working on a pretty layout.  Stay tuned!

For now, there's a baby quilt in the shop!  Machine-pieced and quilted using high-quality cotton fabrics, a cotton-poly batting, and cotton quilting thread.

There will be other things in the shop soon.  I'll try to post about them as I put them up for sale, but do check by in case I miss something :)  And spread the word if you like what you see!

Best of all, it's Conrad-approved!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Thrift Store Finds

This week I've visited several thrift stores -- the big Goodwill in town, a little vintage/antique place downtown, and a book shop.  I've found several lovely things!

This used to be a Planters Peanut canister.  Now it's for my looseleaf tea!

 I loved this cup -- not only is the shape unusual but there are little faces in the gold work.  Utterly charming.

It has a wee chip in the rim as you can see in this photo, but it's completely usable still and I've never minded chipped china.

From the book shop (and one from Goodwill) - a stack of lovely books.  I paid on average about $4/book, which I think is excellent!

Finally this charming plate, just a few cents from Goodwill.  I use so many small luncheon-size plates that I'm always running out, so I've decided to pick up interesting ones when I see them :)

I also snagged a couple of dresses, but I'll be making them over so I'll save them for later posts!

And just for fun -- a few snaps of my best friend and thrifting buddy.  She's getting married in August and picked up this veil!

Don't worry - she's going to deconstruct it and make it into something MUCH more graceful and attractive :D  (And I did have her permission to post these photos!