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Storytime!

25 Jan

Cozy up, kids, and I’ll tell you a story.

It was a cold winter’s night … okay. It was last night and it was downright frigid. Cold air + wind = feels like -30. Freezing for all God’s creatures.

Like birds.
How do I know?
One tried to come stay with us.

Picture this. Dave is on the phone with his mom; I’m on the couch, facing away from him. He breaks his conversation with his mom to ask if I’d gotten the mail. Nope. (It was cold out. I wasn’t going out there!) Expecting some sort of pinball package, he decided to brave it and walk to the mailbox. So I’m hearing noise. He’s talking to his mom, shoes are shuffling, I think I hear the door open.

Then I see something fly over my head. My brain tells me, Oh. Dave didn’t go outside yet. He’s throwing Emmett’s duck. The throwing of Emmett’s blue duck is a super regular occurrence. Makes total sense. Only then I realize it’s not the blue duck. It’s a live bird. Not blue and not a duck.

Somehow, this bird was right at the top of the door when Dave opened it to go get the mail and she snuck her way in. (You really can’t blame her. It was super cold! Did I mention that?) Registering that this is a LIVE BIRD, I jump off the couch and run towards the door. Emmett is the dog who will chase a blue duck but is actually scared of real bird things close up so he’s running with me. Dave returns from the mailbox and I announce the presence of the bird. He doesn’t believe me … until she swoops into the kitchen.

He tells his mom goodbye, that he has to go catch a bird. Once he’s hung up, I ask him how one catches a bird. (Seriously. I had no clue.) His idea is to open all the doors (Remember it’s -75 or something ridiculous like that.) and direct the bird towards them. Well, birds, it turns out, are not great at directions. After some small shrieks (me), hiding (the dog), and Dave waving his arms after the bird, she goes towards the front door. Yes! Victory is ours! So close!

It flew upstairs.

Dave runs up after her; the dog follows (to be curious and cower, not to actually help). I stay downstairs until I get yelled at to help (I don’t perform well in situations like this without clear directions.) and head up too. Luckily, there is a door to a small balcony on the upper level. We opened it … and the bird exited. Followed by Emmett. (Again, not helpful, dog.) I slam the door shut, excited at our luck. And then realize the dog is outside on the balcony, trying to regain his dignity by angry barking at the bird once it flew away.

We let the dog back in (no bird this time), close all the doors, and note that the temperature in the house has dropped a good 10 degrees. (Sorry, furnace. Sorry, gas bill.) I didn’t get photographic proof of the bird because, well, we were busy cowering/chasing/opening doors. But this morning while cleaning I found some lovely bird poop on the wall and the smallest of feathers near a lamp she perched upon. Proof of the bird who visited this house on one chilly Thursday evening.

Friday Favorites

11 Jan

It’s been a while, Friday Favorites. But there are some things I am loving right now that I want to share.

First, egg roll in a bowl. We discovered this recipe this past week and proceeded to eat it both Monday and Thursday. We used pork and a combo of cabbage/broccoli slaw, and also added a splash of rice vinegar and sesame oil. It will be added to the rotation for sure.

I think I’ve shared that we try to avoid carbs at supper.  This is another winner with a quick substitution of frozen cauliflower rice for the regular rice. Iowa Girl Eats has superstar status in this house; anything we make of hers is beyond delicious. We also just mixed up her large-batch taco seasoning and her seasoning salt sits in a shaker by the stove.

In the craft room, I’m experimenting with reusable fabric snack baggies and I have to say – they are the cutest things ever. And remember how I love when practical things are cute? These bags with folded tops are going to be practical and perfect for so many things – holding my charger and cord when traveling, a snap pea snack at work, crackers, and all sorts of other snacks. Year goal: less ziplock bags. These will help.

Have you seen Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix? I read her book a couple years ago but it wasn’t until I saw her in action that I really got on board. My bedroom has never stayed so clean, my sweaters never so organized. I still have to do the whole deal – all the clothes on the bed to hold them and decide if they bring joy or not, and then the steps that follow. But I’ve made slight changes in the meantime which have led to many joy moments. (Kitchen junk drawer – organized! That was an excellent feat.)

I’ve also tried to embrace Gretchen Rubin’s one-minute ruleI must do any task that can be done in one-minute. It makes incredible sense and it lives in my brain now. Hang up the coat. Put the dishes in the dishwasher. Tuck the shoes in the basket. Read about it with the link above and see if it might work for you.

There we go. Happy weekending!

Why.

29 Dec

In my church life, I’ve been a part of a leadership cohort for the past year. It’s been wonderful learning and camaraderie. At one of our retreats, we watched the very first bit of this Ted Talk  – Simon Sinek sharing with us that it’s the WHY that matters, not the WHAT or the HOW.

I’ve used that thinking in the church world but I’ve also been pondering it in the sewing world. In my Sew Practical world. Why do I sew the things I sew to sell? (Say that five times fast.) And I think I’m just beginning to figure it out.

I believe that everything should be full-stop covered in color. There is never too much color. Step into our house and you’ll see it. My kitchen spatulas are not white; they’re every color under the rainbow. My measuring cups and mixing bowls: color. (Here is where a love of vintage Pyrex makes complete sense too!) Our dinner plates? The same plate in six different colors.  Coffee cups? The same cup in five colors. My closet is filled with cardigans and scarves of every color. In my sewing room, one wall is green and my fabric stash is organized in such a way it’s part of the decor. Color. It’s why I love scrappy quilts with a whole variety of patterns and designs. Prior to June, people would ask me what our wedding colors were. I’d say, all the colors. (It was never the helpful answer they were looking for.)

I try to infiltrate every corner of the house with color. Even the most practical things. Here’s what I’ve figured out: I am filled with joy when practical, everyday, ordinary things – dog collars, key chains, coffee sleeves, pillowcases – consist of color. Color and design and pattern to the exponential degree. And so naturally, I want to share this color happiness with others. Why have a super boring key chain when you could have a fun one? It makes zero sense to me.

Pillowcases are my new favorite way to spread color and excitement. Sure, you could use the pillowcases that come with your sheet set. That works. But you could also add a pop or have some fun with something so simple. This year for Christmas, all of my siblings received a pillowcase and I’ve made pillowcases for nieces/nephews/younger friends for many years. Dave and I have Christmas flannel pillowcases on our couch. (And – case in point – Dave giggles whenever he looks at them because the fabric is so fun/silly.) (Watch for pillowcases to come to Sew Practical in the coming year.)

This fall/winter was the official beginning of Sew Practical. I had done a couple sales last year but it was this year I kind of jumped all in. Two sales AND a facebook page. (I know.) I’m hopeful to list some new, seasonal things throughout the year to the facebook page and may up my number of in-person shows in 2019.  It’s been fun spreading color in the most practical of ways.

 

Merriest of Christmases.

28 Dec

Merry Christmas, friends of the blog-o-sphere. I hope your holiday was fun and magical and full of laughs.

Mine consisted of dressing up the dog (see below) and staying in pajamas ALL the day long. After a long week that led up to Christmas Eve worship, come Christmas Day, I was toast. Done. Burned. And a day of pjs, movies and egg bake was precisely what I needed.

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I’m spending these days after Christmas catching up on some sewing and some housekeeping. That includes you, dear blog. It’s time for some catching up and housekeeping.  More is coming!

Crafting.

10 Nov

Craft show #1 of the season is in the books. (Photo below.) I’m currently restocking for show #2 in a week.

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As I sew more pillows and dog collars and over-the-collar bandanas for pups, I also created a facebook page. (eek.) It will be a place to send people who ask if I have a facebook page (previous answer: no. now answer: yes.) and who request special orders. It will also (hopefully) be a place to sell items in the near future. (That’s where the true eek comes in. I’m not sure how ready I feel for digital sales but I’ll figure it out before that piece launches.) If you would like to like my page and follow along, here’s a link.

I’ll come back to keep you updated. Other updates I constantly intend on writing: a trip to Portland, a rug I sewed from fabric, wedding photos, etc. Don’t give up on me yet.

 

Gold.

21 Sep

Dave and I have discovered gold. Gold in the form of lovely seasonal produce — spaghetti squash. We’re obsessed.

We go through a couple a week so we went to our local produce market place last weekend to stock up. We bought six spaghetti squashes. And then yesterday I bought a couple more at Aldi. (For only 43 cents a pound!) We’re like squirrels, stockpiling for winter.

We’re on a kick where we don’t incorporate carbs into our evening meals. Hello, spaghetti squash and its perfect base for pretty much anything. Spaghetti squash lasagna. Spaghetti squash with marinara, ground turkey, and cheese. Spaghetti squash with leftover barbecue from the confirmation family night. On the menu this weekend: chicken bacon ranch spaghetti squash casserole.  Maybe sometime we’ll try spaghetti squash pizza crust or spaghetti squash hash browns.

Here’s the other piece that makes me love spaghetti squash so much more: it’s SO easy to cook in the Instant Pot. If I had to roast the squash in the oven, I probably would not be such an exuberant fan. (Roasting for nearly an hour, probably chopping a finger trying to cut it in half beforehand, blood, etc. no thanks.) Enter the Instant Pot. Poke a few holes in the squash. Put it in the Instant Pot (raised up from the bottom; I use a little metal trivet thing) with a bit of water. It’s done in 30 minutes (15 – 18 minutes at actual pressure, depending on the size of the squash) and I still have all of my fingers.

Spaghetti squash can do no wrong in our books. We’ve already determined that next year the garden will have dedicated space for this fall/winter veggie.

Sew fun.

1 Sep

Since the wedding is in the not-too-distant past, do you know what that means? I get to sew for fun again. No more napkins for me for a long while!

I finished up a baby quilt for a new boy named Brecken last week. Brecken, born to my cousin, Mike, and his wife, Jennie, is bound to be an adventurer in the making. No doubt he’ll be out among the trees and at the cabin in no time.

And so his quilt is one of trees with a border/backing fabric full of outdoors-i-ness. It’s off in the mail soon, hopefully to be enjoyed and loved and used.

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(Did you notice? Now that I have a live-in husband, I have a live-in quilt holder-upper.)

Next up? Finishing a quilt that’s been in the works for a year or so. A version of this. It’s taking me forever because it is pushing my sewing abilities to the brink! There’s also a jelly roll rug in my future, another baby quilt, and sewing for the fall craft shows. Let’s just say there is no lack of projects in this girl’s sewing room. (I’m sure there never will be.)

A new thing.

22 Aug

A new thing for now. In high school, it would have been considered an old thing.

I’m playing in a pit for a musical.

It’s true.

img_7192.jpgA couple weeks ago, it popped up in my newsfeed. The Blooming Prairie High School was looking for people – high school students and adults alike – to play in the pit for their fall musical, The Wizard of Oz.

Now, sure, I have a flute. The last time I seriously picked it up was, err, early college. I pulled it out again and the fingerings are surprisingly (mostly) still living in my fingers. And so yesterday I went to the first practice. And even though it was sight-reading music that was way too hard at this moment in time, I had fun. And think I’m going to practice and stick with it.

An opportunity to be involved in the community and meet some new people. This new thing will be good … and hard … and require practice and a chunk of time … but, ultimately, good.  #bandgeekatheart

I’m here to talk about mushrooms.

18 Aug

It’s been a while friends. Lots has happened. It’s been so long that I’ve pondered again and again what my first post back should be.

Mushrooms.

So Dave and I are married now. Two months and counting. And being married and finally living together means that we tackle tasks together. Like removing stinky, disgusting mushrooms from the garden.

IMG_7172Last week, I’d noticed some egg-like things appearing in the front garden. They were weird, alien looking. At first, I hesitated to get too close because, obviously, what if they were snake eggs? (Do snakes have eggs? If they do, do they even look like that? Why are they in my mulch? All good and VALID questions from the gal who had a run in with a snake while on the mower a couple weeks ago. Now everything outside is snake related.)

IMG_7169But then, yesterday or so, the eggs hatched into mushrooms. (Phew. Not snake eggs.) Dirty mushrooms. Mushrooms known for their likeness to something male AND for their disgusting smell. I noticed a couple yesterday … and then more this morning … and even more this afternoon. These mushrooms – stinkhorns – can “hatch” in less than an hour. An hour! Mother Nature, you are amazing … and humorously disgusting. Thank you for my first stinkhorn experience.

And so Dave and I, the happily now-married couple, spent time this afternoon removing these lovelies from the garden. Dave shoveled; I held open the trash bag. (All online advice told us that they need to go in a bag and in the trash. Yes, sir.)

Yes, marriage! Boo, stinky mushrooms!

I’ll be back with more; promise.

Forgive me.

26 Apr

Father, forgive me, for it has been nearly three months since my last blog post.

What brings me back?  It’s been a day of excitement – the eh kind and the great kind.

IMG_7005I dropped this guy off at the vet this morning to get *whispers* neutered. No more romps with the neighbor dog for him. (That’s another story.). He’s a little out of it and sleepy but he’ll get lots of extra treats in the next couple days.

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I tried out my new Chacos for the day. I’m so ready for sandals all day, every day.  I also got a new pair of Chaco flips (My most favorite, everyday summer sandals. Yes, they’re expensive. But they’re comfy and will last for years. Unless your puppy chews them. Like Emmett did to my favorite pair last summer. Hence the new pair.)

Dave and I had a lunch date. We ate at our favorite downtown Mexican restaurant but before that, we walked across the street to the government center to get our MARRIAGE LICENSE. It’s real, people. On a related note, invites went in the mail today. A big task to check off the list.

What else is happening in life? I’ve been grateful to be showered with love TWICE in the last couple weeks – a fun, lovely shower at home in Wisconsin and a wonderful shower thrown by the women at church.

We’re getting the camper out tomorrow.  We’re not taking it anywhere quite yet but getting it ready. We have reservations at a primitive campground just south of Austin for Memorial Day Weekend and we have a floor to fix. (The cold weather this winter warped and tore it somehow. But it’s okay. We were planning to replace it anyways.)

So there you are. A blog update. Maybe more will come in the next weeks or maybe you’ll have to wait in suspense another three months. *shrugging woman emoji*

 

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