Trip to the Children's Museum

My husband was here last week for a visit. I was so glad to see him! We didn't have a whole lot of time together, but we definitely wanted to get out and do something fun.

I don't get to Indianapolis very often, even thought it's only about an hour away. And when I do go, it's usually with family who have ideas of where they want to go, so I don't often get to pick and choose activities. I really wanted to go somewhere different and fun though, so I suggested we check out the Indianapolis Children's Museum, even though I was kinda worried people would think we were odd for going there childless.

The outing was really fun though, because everything was so interactive and non-stuffy. I also love stuffy museums, like art of all kinds, but my husband doesn't share that sentiment too much.

My favorite part of the museum was the glass sculpture in the center, which is called Fireworks of Glass, and it's by Dale Chihuly. There are 4,800 pieces, and it took 14 days to install it. I'm fascinated by the glass blowing process. Last year my friend Amy and I went out to a local glass blowing shop and studio. It was so cool because the two were connected, so you could just walk back and see how the pieces were made. They even offer classes, and someday I hope to sign up and learn how to do it. I can't at this stage though, since the studio is out of range for the short bus. Damn not having a car/being able to drive again! :)

Anyway. Sancho and I had a ton of fun posing for goofy photos around the museum. This is my favorite of him:


A dorky one of me doing my polar bear impression:


And one of us later at dinner, a belated celebration of our anniversary on Dec. 29. It's been seven years! A bumpy and eventful seven years, but we're trying to stick it out.


He also surprised me that night with an early Valentine's Day present, which he found when he ran into the grocery store to pick up a few basics for me. I love it!



I miss him a lot already. It sucks that we're geographically challenged right now.


Latest project

I finally decided on a pattern for my strawberry fields strips. I found this perfect green background fabric at Joann's ... it has tiny dots with a lot of the same colors that were in the batiks.

I cut the strips so they ended up 2.5" by 6.5" and ended up with six columns across and each one has 15 batiks and 15 green blocks going vertically. It ended up being a pretty big lap quilt and I think it will match great with my sofa. I didn't plan it that way, but the coloring is very similar. I still have some of the batik fabric left. I am still tossing up the idea of either a border or use some of them for a pieced back. Decisions, decisions!


Here's the naked couch so you can marvel at the color coordinating! :)



Blog posting detour

So I know I said I would post more about the glass sculpture and its home in an upcoming post - and I still will - but I've gotten distracted.

Right now? So much fabric, so many options. I don't even know what to work on. I've gotten engrossed in looking for a perfect (or close to perfect) pattern for my recent fabric purchases, but I'm having so much trouble deciding what to do!

I have this set of Hoffman Bali pop batik strips called Strawberry Fields:


This set of Hoffman Bali pop batik strips called Kiwiberry:


And this Moda jelly roll from a line called Charisma:


Oh, and a few things from two recent trips to Joann's. :)

Yes, I know I was on a fabric diet, but I got all the strips during a half-off sale at Fat Quarter Shop before Christmas and Joann's has all its quilting fabric 50 percent off.

And yes, I lost the recent stash busting contest. By a lot.


My day yesterday ...

included this, which is amazing.


I'll be back later with more details!


An exercise in frustration

Tonight has been completely annoying.

I was thrilled to get home after work. It was Friday and I had nothing I HAD to do, but had lots of things I wanted to do. I decided to start quilting the top of a baby quilt I am working on for a co-worker, so I set to do that right after I got home. My right foot was starting to really bother me, so I popped a few pain pills and got to work.

The machine quilting started to suck early. My stitches were irregular, my thread kept breaking, and I couldn't keep my seams straight enough for my taste. I tore out the first bit I did, but tried again. Finally, I was in a semi-decent groove and then my sewing machine needle broke. Any quilter worth her salt has extra needles on hand, and I'm pretty sure I do, but I couldn't find them for the life of me. I spent about two hours looking everywhere I could think of - and reach - and still no dice. Meanwhile my foot is still killing me. Imagine a foot cramp in the arch of your foot that returns every minute or two. Good times.

The swearing just kept getting worse and worse. It was a toss-up between whether I was cursing more about my inability to machine quilt and how shitty I was feeling.

And I still couldn't find the bloody needles. I found lots of other stuff I had misplaced, but not the needles.

Oh well. I finally gave up, got a couple of scoops of ice cream, unrolled (and fondled) my new jellyroll and settled in to watch the cheesy Miss America Countdown to the Crown show on TLC. And my foot is finally starting to feel better, thank goodness.


Bring on the carbs

I'm a big fan of carbs in just about any form, and I ended up focusing my holiday cooking on two items: one, homemade white bread, which is a Christmas staple in my family, and two, Cinnamon Buns From Heaven, which I've made a couple times before and are amazing.

Christmas Eve marked the first time I ever tried to make bread ... usually my mom or one of my sisters would do the honors. I was excited to try it myself though, since I secretly have this delusion that someday I will magically turn into a super domestic person that bakes their own bread, raises vegetables in a garden and cooks a from-scratch delicious dinner every night. (I'm a long ways from that -- last night I enjoyed chili given to me by my dear friend Amy warmed up in the microwave. Located next to a loaf of store-bought bread. In a kitchen with only canned or frozen vegetables, minus some baby carrots and a bag of lettuce in the fridge.)


I used a recipe from one of my mom's oldest cookbooks ... a Betty Crocker back from the 1950s or so. I love looking at this book, it's got a ton of retro illustrations and tips on hostessing. I was worried about the bread, since the texture of the dough seemed a little off when I was kneading it. My mom told me she doesn't normally use as much flour as the recipe states. Whoops.

After it rose a bit though, it looked fine. I followed the directions and let it rise twice, then we slipped the two loaves into the oven. It was long before we smelled something burning ... one of the loaves had ridden so much it was burning on the roof of the oven. My mom pulled them out, moved the racks and stuffed them back in. Not much harm done.

I smeared the loaf tops with butter after they got out of the oven and then had to wait until Christmas to find out how they were. And they turned out great! I was really happy, since we're all carb-lovers and not having bread would have been a travesty in the house.

Here they are, resting after being baked:

My first homemade bread!

My other baking was the cinnamon rolls. These are, hands down, the best cinnamon rolls I've ever eaten. The recipe is from "The Best American Recipes 2000." This listing on Amazon even includes the recipe.
And here are four of them (the recipe made 18).

Cinnamon Buns From Heaven


Why am I up?

This has been one of those nights where I randomly wake up in the middle of the nights and then can't fall back asleep. Ugh. I know all the sleep experts suggest getting out of bed and doing something else until you're tired again, but truthfully I can't be bothered. I am way too cozy in bed with my flannel sheets and comforter.

Here's a photo of a project I finished last month for a Christmas ornament exchange we held at a party with coworkers. We exchange ornaments every year and it's always fun.

Quilted ornament

I made the tiny stars in 2007 and didn't really know what to do with them. They are crazy little, just because I love trying to make tiny stuff.

Size of ornament

And here's the back:

Ornament back with rick-rack hanger

This combines a lot of my favorites: stars, polka dots and rick rack. Maybe I'll make one for myself next season! It was fun, didn't take too long and used up a few of my tiny scraps I insist on saving.


Mmm ... fuzzy food!

I've spent much of the last few months making Christmas presents for my family and friends. Surprisingly, I got just about everything done I had hoped to do, and even on time. One thing I did finish Christmas day, but still, that's pretty close for me.

Anyway, one of the projects I was working on was some felt food. I love making this stuff, but it does take a lot of time since I do it all by hand. I started around Thanksgiving and got some cute stuff done. I didn't take photos of it all -- there was a slice of swiss cheese and a spread of peanut butter -- but here is what I ended up with.





Fried egg


I was working on these during my trip to my parents' house over Thanksgiving and while I was there, my teenage niece really liked the food. I was trying to think of gifts to make for her and thought there wasn't much she could do with the lifesize food, but I should either go really small, like a keychain size, or really big, like a pillow. I decided to try to go big.

Luckily the non fuzzy-producing fleece was on sale at Joann's when I went there and even found a remnant of cream ... which was half off the half off. Yay! I also bought a bit of tan for the crust.

I traced half a slice of bread on a sheet of 8.5" by 11" paper then pinned that to a fold of the light cream and cut out two like that. I cut some strips of the tan for the crust. Before I put it together, I had to make the face, so I used a smile made out of felt and some safety eyes. Then I assembled it on the sewing machine and stuffed it with an entire bag of stuffing! Fluffy bread!

And here it is:
Bread pillow

This was by far the most-appreciated gift this year! Stephani loved it and hardly put it down the entire Christmas visit. That definitely made me happy.


Shiny, fresh new year

As a rule, I'm not a big fan of new year's resolutions. I take that back, I am a fan of resolutions, just not a big fan of following through on them. It is fun to make all sorts of lofty goals for a new year that is just starting, with the thought that maybe this year, things will be different. I think my optimistic side is decreasing though, and I have come to realize that I'm likely to stay the same old person I've been for the past 33 years.

I do hope to do a few things different this year and experience some new things. My thought: maybe if my resolutions are fun ones - as opposed to the usual "I am going to work out all the time, eat tons of vegetables and get skinny" - there's a better shot at me following through.

Here are some things I want to do this year:

- Watch more movies and less lame TV shows.
- Learn to knit something other than a scarf. Maybe a hat next?
- Try to cook more and try new recipes. So far so good ... I made a pasta with Cajun-spiced shrimp tonight. Considering I didn't have all the ingredients I needed for the sauce, it wasn't too bad.
- Read more books and keep track of what I read.
- Buy a set of oil paints and paint something modern-esque for my bedroom wall.
- Listen to more music.
- Go on a trip somewhere.
- Wear makeup more often (to help make my large collection make more sense). I love buying makeup. I love putting it on. I just don't love putting it on at 6 a.m.
- Add more stuff to my etsy store. Maybe design a cool header or something.
- Not stay up so late on the weekends! (surprise, surprise. I'm yawning like crazy right now.)