Archive | October, 2014

Fall check-in.

22 Oct

Back on October 1, I wrote a post detailing all of my favorite fall activities and what I hoped to do this month amidst the leaves and colors and cool temperatures. As I reflect on the last weeks, October is living up to expectations quite well. Here is the list:

Make soup. Eat soup.
CHECK. Joe and Amanda came and stayed at my house this past weekend. We cooked a turkey, two kinds of soup, and a jumbo batch of lasagna to spread between our freezers. Meals pulled from the freezer are awesome.

Walk on crunchy leaves.
Check, check, check.

Bike ride through crunchy leaves.
CHECK. Dave and I went on a bike ride this past Monday evening. It was a beautiful night to bike through Austin on paths covered by leaves. We even made a swing stop at a park.

Still waiting on this one.

Carve pumpkins. Maybe paint one too.

Make an apple pie. Maybe some applesauce too.
CHECK. I didn’t make AN apple pie but rather many small salted caramel apple hand pies, aka individual pies to eat in four or five bites. I made some yummy crockpot applesauce too!

Visit the pumpkin patch.
Check, check, check. Most recently, Dave and I went to Farmer John’s just down the road from me to find the perfect pumpkin for my front stoop. AND, this past Saturday, my BFF Carter and I went to a patch for a corn maze and other fun.


Quilt and cuddle in quilts.
Check in progress. Two baby quilts down, I’m now working on a BBQ (boyfriend birthday quilt) and another baby quilt soon! Here is the BBQ in progress on the design wall …


I’m kinda dreaming about this butternut squash lasagna.
A mighty delicious check.

Puffy vests! Scarves!

Read a good book. (Any suggestions?)
No progress here yet …

See Gone Girl in the theater (a good book now in movie form).
Check. Loved it.

Reinstate my tea-and-reading before bed ritual.
This is a no go so far. The bedtime ritual of late has been quilt-until-my-eyes-get-blurry/quilt-until-the-episode-of-Gilmore-Girls-is-over.

Not on the original list, but there also have been some Halloween art projects in the house! Fused beads and painting. Overall, it’s shaping up to be a mighty festive and mighty fun October!




Okay. Maybe I am crazy.

15 Oct

Maybe I’m crazy because I’m going to dork-out about wrapping paper.

Yes, wrapping paper.

As a self-proclaimed paper snob, I’ve always loved a good roll of wrapping paper. I’ve always loved wrapping gifts. I used to get out of stripping tobacco by claiming that my mom needed my help in the house wrapping Christmas gifts more than my dad needed me in the strip house with tobacco leaves between my legs. (It’s how you did it. You strip the leaves from the stalks and when they become too much for your hands to hold, you put them in a bundle between your legs. Makes total sense to any kid who also played in a manure spreader filled with tobacco stalks.)

In summary: I always have loved wrapping gifts. But today it all changed.

I had a bridal shower gift to wrap and get in the mail. I went for a new roll of wrapping paper I bought many weeks ago at Marshall’s. I bought it because it was blue and white polka dot, not because I knew I would never wrap gifts in the same way ever again.

I took off the plastic wrapping and immediately knew that this roll of wrapping paper was different. It felt different. Smoother. Matte. Different. I unrolled the amount I needed and went to cut. Now, I love it when you can take the scissors and zoom across the paper. With a regular roll of wrapping paper, sometimes it works. Sometimes it leaves your edges jagged. Oh, buddy, not this time. The scissors sailed across the roll with such ease. I always have wondered what people meant when they said something cut like butter; now I know.

I wrapped the gift, fully aware I was in the presence of something wonderful. I tweeted this:


Later, someone responded to the tweet and asked about the wonderfulness. It caused me to do a little investigating about this new-to-me paper product. Turns out this was no ordinary gift wrap made from trees; this was gift wrap made from stone.

For serious.

It’s called stone wrap and it’s made from some form of salvaged limestone. It creates a paper that is matte, smooth, waterproof, nearly tear-resistant, and extremely durable. A paper that is absolutely wonderful.

I cannot begin to tell you how exciting this is for me.

Proof that I’m not crazy.

15 Oct

Some people laugh at me when I tell them about my adult coloring book. They roll their eyes when I talk about my new colored pencils for coloring in said coloring book. They don’t believe me when I say it is relaxing to color.

A friend sent me an article from the Huffington Post. Proof that I’m not crazy or alone in this adult coloring venture. Here’s a quote from the article –

The practice (of coloring) generates wellness, quietness and also stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity.

Pick up your crayons and color, folks. It’s good for you.

Two quilts. Same baby.

12 Oct

Two baby quilts have traveled with me to Wisconsin in the last month. They – though unplanned – went to the same baby. Here’s the story of two weekend trips, two quilts, and one baby named Natalie.

Quilt #1:


This quilt – a scrappy polka dotted baby quilt – was created with a purpose instead of a person in mind. At the end of September, a benefit was planned and held for my Uncle David who is currently awaiting a heart transplant. I made a quilt for the silent auction and there it joined an outpouring of other donations for the cause. It was overwhelming in such a wonderful way. The benefit itself was overwhelming as well, with hundreds of people in attendance. The community really turned out in support of a great family.

(I was grateful to make the quick, one-night trip home for the benefit. Dave and I left Austin Friday afternoon, only to return late Saturday night so I could lead worship the next day. It was a great though short trip; even Alaskan brother, Ben, was home!)

Ironically (or not), the winner of the quilt at the silent auction was the new grandma and grandpa of the baby girl for whom quilt number two was made – the newest baby Banana, Natalie. They plan to keep it at their house for when Natalie comes to visit.

Quilt #2:


I’m home again, this time for Crazy Cousin Molly’s confirmation, which was held this morning. Molly is my Godchild so it was important for me to make the trip. (I even got to assist at the service which was fun.) I drove home on Thursday and while home, I finished binding and then was able to deliver quilt number two. Natalie was born to Banana (aka high school) friend, Lynn, and her husband, Kyle.

Two other Bananas (Kim and Krissy) and I made the trip to Madison to meet ten-day old Natalie while I was home this weekend. I delivered the quilt and stayed a safe, hygienic distance away from the baby (as I’m fighting the inevitable fall cold). Here is Natalie giving her best monkey face –


I head back to MN super early tomorrow morning after a pretty relaxing and fun weekend at home. While these two baby quilts have been completed and rest in the arms of their new humans, I return to MN dreaming of the next baby quilt project. Next quilt due date: mid-December.

A perfect fall weekend of backup plans.

6 Oct

First of all, I had my sermon written by last Wednesday. WEDNESDAY, people. Can you believe it? It made for a wonderfully care-free weekend.

On Friday, I welcomed my BFF Carter and his family for pizza and cake pops and hot chocolate and games with large play balls. The original plan was to go to the pumpkin patch but we needed a backup plan because it was cold and windy and icky outside. The evening turned into a lot of coloring and ball tossing and giggles.

After the kiddos and their parents left for bedtime, Dave stayed a bit longer and we watched Back to the Future. It’s my annual tradition on the day my dad died. It was a movie I grew up watching together with him. Friday marked ten years. Ten years.

Saturday was another day for a backup plan. Dave and I had planned on packing up our bikes and heading to the Root River trail in Lanesboro to go biking, something we talked about doing all summer and never quite got around to getting there. We didn’t get there on Saturday either because of the wind and cold once more. We chose a new destination – a toy store.

First, we stopped in Rochester so Lindsay could buy new tennis shoes and grabbed some lunch. Then we headed to Kellogg, MN, on winding country roads, to the home to Lark Toys. I’d heard about this toy store but had never been; Dave hadn’t either. It was the perfect destination. Great fun and a giant shelf full of rubber duckies. Dave models them here:


Upon returning to Austin, we decided it was time to carve pumpkins. Whether they make it to the actual holiday is debatable; if not, we’ll carve a couple more. I forgot how fun it can be to carve pumpkins.


And wait. There’s more. Yesterday was the church’s annual hayride and bonfire fun. It was a bit chilly but we bundled up and had our fun in the woods. We had a mini pumpkin hunt and painted pumpkins, along with s’mores and hot dogs and apple cider.

So yes. It was a crazy fall weekend. I’m tired.


Hello, October.

1 Oct

The first day of October here in southeastern Minnesota is rainy and dreary and makes me want to crawl back into bed while drinking coffee and watching Gilmore Girls (which as of today is streaming on netflix). Alas, no luck doing that on this Wednesday. However, I will dream about fall activities to come. This October, I hope to –

Make soup. Eat soup.
Walk on crunchy leaves.
Bike ride through crunchy leaves.
Carve pumpkins. Maybe paint one too.
Make an apple pie. Maybe some applesauce too.
Visit the pumpkin patch.
Quilt and cuddle in quilts.
I’m kinda dreaming about this butternut squash lasagna.
Puffy vests! Scarves!
Read a good book. (Any suggestions?)
See Gone Girl in the theater (a good book now in movie form).
Reinstate my tea-and-reading before bed ritual.

It’s going to be a busy month.

(The view on a nature center walk earlier this week.)

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