Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chelmsford Quilting Guild

I am very happy about my introduction to the world of quilting guilds last night. I was inspired by my very favorite friend, Sister Forbes, and her very enthusiastic recommendation that I ought to investigate joining a quilting guild. I googled the idea and came across the Chelmsford Quilting Guild and I went to my very first meeting last night. I was a little apprehensive, anticipating that everyone would already know each other and I might feel a little awkward- especially considering the infamous New Englander "reserved" personality. But my fears were unfounded, several people were very kind and friendly.

The evening was filled with socializing, showing off guild projects, and organizing for their upcoming biennial show. I really enjoyed myself and plan to join as a member for the next coming year.

I am especially excited because I want to meet people with my same interests. The next thing I want to do is join a book club (where people actually read interesting books) and join a yoga class...... It's easy to get in the habit of just trying to socialize with those in your ward, but I really want to get out of the habit of depending on my ward to fill all of my social circle.....

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend project!

Here's a cosmetic bag/purse I made for Aimee's birthday. I kind of improvised as I went along, and I ended up feeling pretty satisfied with the results. I especially liked the effect of putting batting in between the lining and the outside of the bag- it gave it great structure! I definitely wished I had a surger, it would've made it a lot easier... But anyhow, I finished it in a few hours. I think I might enjoy some of those pattern books for purses out there....... Maybe that will be my next obsession after the sock animals.
I also gave Aimee the sock elephant I made a week or two ago. Now she has a little "friend" she can take with her to London!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yard Sale Finds

You can imagine how thrilled I was when I started the day of yard saling by buying all this thread for....... only one dollar at the first sale my mom and I went to! You know I love a bargain and you know I love crafts- the combination of the two is a perfect combination.

It only got better when I got all of this embroidery floss at the next sale for $8.

I keep going to yard sales in hopes of buying things for the house that will save us money in the end by not having to buy it at a store..... But instead, I keep finding this awesome crafty stuff that I don't necessarily "need." Oh well.....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What I've Been Up to Lately:

This is a preview of a project I have been working for at least 6 weeks. It's a quilt made out of batik fat quarters and plain black fabric. It's 100% triangles, so it is driving me NUTS! It's easily the most challenging pattern I have chosen yet. I have decided to take a long break from it- especially being that I have many gifts I want to make for friends who've had babies recently.

I made this little guy on Saturday night. It was a challenge and didn't come out wonderful, but I am still pleased with it. It was difficult to work with socks that had a lot of elastic. Making these little sock animals is a lot of fun because you can improvise (i.e. it's not a disaster if you make a mistake) and it's a very quick craft (2-3 hrs. from start to finish.)

All last week I worked on a baby quilt, I finished the top on Friday and will post a picture of it after it's received by my friend and her son.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever made!


I was absolutely THRILLED with how this cute dog came out. It took me forever to figure out the whole mouth/nose part, but it was worth being patient and trying to figure it out. I got these socks at Target for a very nice clearance price and I have since returned to two Target stores to get more socks, as they are perfect for this craft (great price, perfect length, etc.) I sent this little guy to my awesome sister-in-law for her birthday. (Bytheway, he has a cute little tail, you just can't see it in the picture I took).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Burp Cloths

Okay, so I am not sure how to spell the name of this craft, but I was able to learn how to make this craft thanks to the blog "Homemade by Jill." This girl makes some awesome stuff, and I am totally addicted to her blog. Thanks to her easy pattern and tutorial, all of my friends with newly arrived babies will have some of these in the near future. It's a perfect "instant gratification" kind of craft because it's really easy.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What to read?

How do you choose what books to read? For me, the process of looking for a good book can almost be as enjoyable as actually reading a good book. Nick and I are "starving students" (well, I guess I am an employed social worker, but is that really that different?) so we have been known to spend an evening browsing a bookstore- which is really quite a cheap date because we don't buy anything (see below).
When I was a teenager, I was pretty excited about wearing nice clothes. I used a lot of my babysitting money on trips to the mall. There were certain stores that, if I went into them, it was highly probable that I came out with something. It's a little embarrassing now- I wish I had saved that money for better things.... Now, buying clothes is not so inviting for me anymore. But the phenomenon of not being able to come out empty-handed from a library is pretty strong. I will go in to maybe get one book, or to check out a movie, and I end up coming out with a huge stack!

But recently, I decided I can no longer allow myself into a library for a while, and this is the reason:

This is probably about 1/4 of the books I own. I know, it's too much! Now, I have only bought brand-new books at a bookstore, a handful of times. I am one of those "cheap" Barnes and Noble customers who not only does not buy anything at their expensive cafes, but I also never leave the store having even bought one book. That's because I have been trained by experience to never buy anything that I can get cheaper somewhere else. Hence, all of the books I own come from yard sales, library book sales, and second hand book shops. BUT, living spaces are small and my collection has become overwhelming. So I have made the difficult decision to ban myself from the library- with a small exception: I can check out books regarding my job and crafts but for pleasure reading, I must read what I own.

How do you decide what to read?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Dodging a Butterfly?

You might be wondering what the significance of the title of this blog is. Well, don't think too hard- there's not a lot of depth in my choice of titles for this blog. It comes from an incident several years ago on an afternoon driving home from church, my sister was startled when I swerved in the middle of the road for no apparent reason. She asked, "What are you doing?" My response, "I was dodging a butterfly."

It's a funny statement I think and has the potential to start an interesting train of thought..... But I won't bore you with all the connotations it brings to my mind..... Feel free to share what you think about it......, if anything.

I created this blog about 2 years ago when I was bored out of my mind working a summer temp job at a real estate agency. Lots of things have happened since then: I finished my last year of an MSW program, volunteered in Uganda for 4 months, and moved to Boston for my husband to begin law school. I kept up well with most everyone through mass emails while Nick and I were in Uganda, but have had limited internet access since we returned, until now. (Actually, that's kind of funny that it was easier for us to use the internet in Uganda than it was in Boston). So what's changed? A lot! And for the better! We moved out of the city and our shoebox of an apartment and headed for the 'burbs as soon as we were able. Lots of people like it, but Nick and I simply aren't city slickers. Nick is able to commute to the city and I finally got a social work job providing counseling to children and families.

One of the happiest parts of our move has been having more space to pursue my hobbies: quilting and crafts. As always, I have been reading like crazy. I'd like to focus on these topics in my blog..... And maybe now and then there will be something fun/worth sharing about life in the NorthEast. I thought about having separate blogs for crafty stuff/books/and newsy updates from our family- but that's just too complicated. I guess this post will be a mix of all three.

Nick and I are loving being out of the city and enjoying paying less than $5 for a gallon of milk, local shopping is Kohl's and Wal Mart (instead of Coach and Marc Jacobs), and actually seeing "green" and wildlife. Here's what was hanging out in our backyard on Saturday:

One funny thing about it is that the night before, we had watched that corny, yet likeable movie, Groundhog Day.

What kinds of crafts have I been doing lately? Well, here's a sample of what 3 months of unemployment/job searching and another 3 months of underemployment will do for you:

It's counted cross-stitch- the first one I've ever done. I haven't completed the "outlining" stitches yet but I can't bear the sight of it right now, so I am going to set it aside for while.

This past weekend, I learned how to make a stuffed animal out of men's socks. Here's the result:

I found the pattern from a book called "Sock and Glove" by Miyako Kanimori. I can't say I am thrilled with the finished project- I made the mistake of buying men's socks size 13-15, so the doll came out bigger than I wanted. But I think it's still cute and I am sending it off to my Grandma in Georgia.

Finally, a couple weeks ago I finished reading a book about a woman who'd give up a child for adoption when she was 17 years old, Giving Away Simone by Jan L. Waldron. I really liked her writing style and was fascinated by her story. Here's what she writes after she gives her child up for adoption,

"I began, in the years following, to orchestrate a low-grade self-loathing. I felt unlovable and had no reason to believe otherwise at an age when reasons are desparately needed. An adult woman can hunt for and find her own value- she can graduate herself into importance. But during the shaky span from childhood to womanhood, a girl needs help in determining her worth- and no one can anoint her like her mother" (page 93).

If there is any lesson I have learned this past year, it has been how much I appreciate my parents; especially my mother. Both abroad and state-side I have encountered shattered families and it has been an education and a humbling experience in innumerable ways......

Hope this post isn't too long! I promise they usually won't be so lengthy.