Search This Blog

Friday, May 25, 2018

BabySchep's Monster Quilt: Part 4

Great news!  No, my new machine hasn't come in yet, although I should probably start trying to come up with names for him.  Hmm...maybe a contest is in order?  We'll see.  No, I'm here to share the next two finished blocks for BabySchep's birthday quilt:

Love the glasses.  A lot of Antonie Alexander's patterns include bespectacled folks.

It's okay to have a girly monster in a boy's quilt, no?
These monsters are a lot of fun to make.  In case you missed it, here is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

This post marks the halfway point for the applique blocks.  I now have 8 more monsters to finish--at this point, they have all been fused and are ready for their embroidered finish.  This particular quilt calls for simply pieced borders, so I'm likely close to the actual halfway point for this project.  I will keep y'all posted.

Recent Reads:

Dragon TeethDragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am predisposed to love everything Crichton, and can't wait to introduce his work to my children, and my parents did for me. I'm also amused that they keep pulling these out of the vault, so to speak, which is a testament to his work ethic. Despite its tantalizing cover, this book does not fall into the Jurassic series--it's historical fiction about the early days of digging dinosaur fossils. It was a fun read (or listen, in my case) for anyone, and just about the only way you'd get me to read a Western, lol.

View all my reviews

Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in HistorySex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, this was a book I judged by its title. Sorry, but my prudish upbringing leads me to outright reject books with the word "sex" in the title, regardless of how many times it pops up in my recommended books list. I finally took a closer look at it--the audiobook is read by Casey Affleck. Ugh. Another year of ignoring the title. Finally, I found myself in between books, and this one was available without a wait. The first third of the book was rather dull--I mean, can't you just hear Affleck's voice droning on and on about Mormons and teen marriage? Then, it picked up. What a crazy story! What really gets to me is how I never knew about the moon rock heist when this guy was caught practically in my backyard, housed in the jail I drove past almost daily! I found I could relate to this tale--while I never interned at NASA, I've participated in other geeky away-from-home adventures, so I could picture the scene. What I failed to understand was how easily his coconspirators agreed to help him. Short but interesting.

View all my reviews

My StoryMy Story by Elizabeth Smart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elizabeth's ordeal happened when I was still in high school, so it was very illuminating to read it as an adult. I felt like she was rather defensive at times, which is really a shame. Overall, I was fascinated by her story, and am now much more alarmed for my children's safety.

View all my reviews

While I purchased a few new board games recently, none of them have made their way onto our tabletop.  Now that our team is out of the playoffs, I'm sure I'll have a title to share soon. 

Linking up with Finished or Not Friday this week. Until next time, God Bless!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Crafty Goodness Bonanza

My husband and I follow a pretty strict (yet rather generous) budget.  I completely busted that budget this month on crafty retail therapy.  There was a deal on the Cricut EasyPress machine:

"Oooh, wait until Daddy sees the bill for this!" -BabySchep
Very cool doodad.  I hope to use it a lot in the future, but that will require some dedicated sewing time.  I also purchased next school year's Abeka Book curriculum for the boys:

We buy the unbound books to avoid those pesky perforated pages.

The 3-year old curriculum appears to largely reinforce the concepts introduced in the 2-year old program.

Lil'Schep is pretty excited about his upcoming memory verses!
And the biggest purchase of them all: 
If you're reading this, you likely have an idea of the price tag on this guy.  (I know most of y'all refer to your machines in the feminine, but my machines are boys!)  I saved up for a while to be able to afford him.  I bought it from Gigi's Fabric Shop in Brandon, Florida.  Gigi offers lots of perks and support when you purchase a machine from her shop, so while she's not paying me for saying this, I feel that we quilters should support our local shops when we can.  It hasn't arrived yet, but I'm excited about picking it up in a week or so (and having Gigi show me how to thread it!). 

So, no finished blocks or projects this time, but still quite a lot going on in the sewing room.  The Stanley Cup playoffs are currently occupying just about every other night of my time, so I'm trying desperately to get a little bit of handwork done while on the couch. 

I'm hoping to have another monster or two to share soon.  Until then, God Bless!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Hexies and Pizza

No finished blocks this week.  (Or last week, for that matter!)  A nasty cold knocked me out for the count, rendering me (practically) useless for a week and a half.  Remember when I mentioned all those CLEs I had coming up?  Well, one required an overnight stay at the Orlando airport.  Never again.  Perhaps my negative feelings about that airport are exacerbated by how darned miserable I felt, but it made me appreciate the gleaming, pristine, Tampa International Airport so much more.  Why do I mention this?  Because I planned to baste some hexies during lectures, and managed to baste ZERO! 

Not to be completely defeated, I did get some more basted during another CLE back home:

I've been using one of those plastic zipper pouches that pillowcases are sold in for this project.  A little cramped, but it'll do until I get properly organized.
 And that's the extent of my sewing related post.  Then again, this blog isn't strictly about sewing, is it?  I'm also documenting the crafty things I get to do as a mom of two boys.  This weekend, we made pizza:

The spread.  And the excited kiddo who kept eating the ham before we got started.

His idea of evenly distributing cheese.

After mom's intervention, we could move on to more toppings.

The final product pre-baking. 

Proud kiddo with his finished pizza.

This one is mine.
We had fun making mini pizzas, and the little miniature crusts from Aldi were perfect.  We made meat lover's pizza this time, but we'll add veggies next time. 

Now, I know y'all are dying to know about the books I've finished over the past two weeks!

102 Minutes CD: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers102 Minutes CD: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Short, sad, and angering. Listening to this book was a little like watching the news coverage of the attack all over again. Seventeen years ago, I was too young to appreciate a lot of the information that came to light about the buildings and rescue efforts. Now, it's simply heartbreaking. If you're going to read this, just be ready to be sad and mad for a while.

View all my reviews The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-DiscoveryThe Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one I'd save for print. Even though this audiobook was read by the author, the subject matter is just too detailed to adequately absorb on the first listen-through. I'd never even heard of the enneagram before this book, so it definitely piqued my interest, but my experience with this book will probably keep me from checking it out any time soon.

View all my reviews

On our tabletop:

I hope to have more monsters to share with you soon.  Until then, God Bless!

Friday, April 20, 2018

BabySchep's Monster Quilt: Part 3

Hello, and welcome to week 3 of this monster quilt journey!  In case you missed it, here are weeks one and two.  Once again, this week will be short and sweet.

Our yard sale on Saturday was (mostly) a success, so I was pretty busy/tired this week.  I'll have to pick up the pace if I'm going to keep up with these weekly progress posts!

Goofy monster.  Anyone else a fan of those Toscana blenders? 

I'll call this one Greenhorn.  There are very few areas in life where I actually feel "experienced," so I can relate.
More cutting has happened on the long term hexie project.  I have some seminars coming up for work, so it won't be too rude to baste while listening, no?
In other news:

Recent Reads:
The Woman in the WindowThe Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not very impressed. I thought this would be another Flynn-esque psychological thriller, but it just wasn't that thrilling. Yes, it retained my interest long enough to get through to the end, but it wasn't the "page turner" (I actually listened to the audiobook) I expected it to be. Perhaps that's partially due to the soft-spoken narration of the audiobook, or the fact that I had it figured out from the beginning. Not a bad read, just don't expect it to be one that you rave about to your friends.

View all my reviews

I used to have a set of Disney read along books as a kid, so I started buying some for the boys.  Now they come with CDs instead of cassette tapes!  Our library offers free access to virtually all of the Disney read along digital audiobooks, but there's just something nice about teaching a kid to use a CD player.  I've started with Lil'Schep's favorite Disney character:

We still have a long way to go patience-wise!

Nothing new on our tabletop this week.  Stay tuned. 

Perhaps I'll actually remember to link up to Finished or Not Friday this week.  Until next time, God Bless!

Friday, April 13, 2018

BabySchep's Monster Quilt: Part 2

Wow, has it been a week already?  And I've actually blogged two weeks in a row??  Something crazy must be going on.  Anyway, in case you missed it, check out Part 1 of this quilt.  

It'll be short and sweet this time--here are the next two blocks I've managed to complete for our little monster's quilt:

Red eye is a tad creepy for me.  I'll go with a less creepy color next time. 

I love the baby monster!
In case you're wondering, I use Sulky 12wt cotton thread for the hand blanket stitched edges. 

In other news, I'm having my first grown-up yard sale of my own tomorrow (eek!), so I will need much patience, I'm sure!  I've got a bunch of quilty things in the sale, so if you're in the Lakeland area, come on by!

Linking up with Finished or Not Friday this week. 

Recent Reads:

Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of AppalachiaFlat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia by Jennifer McGaha
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a delightful listen! This book came at just the right time to remind me why we're so budget-conscious--to prevent the financial collapse that this family experienced. Admittedly, at times I judged these people for their poor decision making, and at other times, it was simply laugh-out-loud funny. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it.

View all my reviews

I've been trying to introduce Lil' Schep to audiobooks, and so far, he likes the musical books the best:

On our tabletop:

Settlers of Canaan.  Yes, Canaan.  I have a wonderful collection of Bible themed games!

Medici, the Card Game

Until next time, God Bless!

Friday, April 6, 2018

BabySchep's Monster Quilt: Part 1

Biting off more than I can chew, I'm sure.  I have started another birthday quilt with fusible applique finished by hand.  You may recall this quilt for Lil'Schep's first birthday:

Windy Hill Farm Quilt, pattern by Antonie Alexander

Now, Baby #2 is 8 months old, so I've got to get going on his first birthday quilt.  I've chosen another quilt from the same book:

This time, I'm making the monster quilt, and here are the first two finished blocks:

I'm sticking with the black/white/grey backgrounds on this quilt so that the monsters will really pop.  These applique quilts always seem like a daunting task, but they are oh-so-fun when you're actually stitching them! 

I'll keep y'all posted.  Linking up with Finished or not Friday today. 

Recent reads:

What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science ExplainedWhat Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained by Robert L. Wolke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More of the same. If you've read other books in this series, you'll find several repeat explanations in this book, but frankly, I don't mind. It kinda makes me feel smarter to already know the answer to the question! I did find it enjoyable for these questions to be focused on the science of cooking--I'll definitely be giving the sequel a listen, too.

View all my reviews

Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear DisasterChernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster by Andrew Leatherbarrow
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This Leatherbarrow fellow has decided to tell the story about his trip to the Chernobyl disaster area alongside his retelling (through research, not personal experience) of the disaster itself. It was okay.

This had the potential to be so much better. This is actually the first book I've "read" about the disaster, so I really have nothing to compare it to. What I did find laughable about this book is the fact that the author starts off by complaining about other nonfiction authors who find it necessary to share their opinions, when Leatherbarrow is guilty of the exact same thing! I didn't find his account of his trip to the Ukraine to be compelling in any way--I read this book to learn more about what happened, and the people it happened to.

Unfortunately, I do find myself curious about disasters, and this book did little to quell that curiosity. Now I'll have to find a different book to read to "clear the air," so to speak.

View all my reviews

What Einstein Told His Barber: More Scientific Answers to Everyday QuestionsWhat Einstein Told His Barber: More Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions by Robert L. Wolke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More of the same type of simple scientific explanations for commonplace curiosities. I always enjoy listening to books like these because I'm the type that seems to always ask "why?"

View all my reviews

On our tabletop:

We've been playing this gem for years, and I've got a quilt in the works inspired by the game!

Until next time, God Bless!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Finally, some sewing

Okay, this post title is a little misleading because I have been accomplishing some hand-embroidered applique on BabySchep's monster quilt, mostly on my lunch break at work.  Unfortunately, I keep waiting for the lighting to be just right to photograph my progress, to no avail.

Well, last night, I finally decided to snap a few pics with my iPod while watching Lightning hockey:

Who knew that those empty Huggies wipes boxes would come in handy?  Glad I saved them!

Totally ignoring the mess, because otherwise, I'd never sew!

I stayed up until 9:45!  You astute observers will note that this is actually an EPP project, and not the aforementioned monster quilt.  I've decided to tackle a scrappy quilt--admittedly, I throw away most of my fabric scraps.  If it's smaller than a fat quarter, into the garbage bin you go!  I just don't have the energy to try to save and organize scraps.  Enter hubby--he is more than capable of cutting 2.5 inch squares, so I put him up to it.  Now I have a nice little pile of colorful scrap squares, and some nice, neat 1-inch hexies cut by my Cricut. 

This is definitely a long-term project, so I imagine I'll have periodic updates on its progress. 

In other news, here are the books I've listened to recently:

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Surprisingly good. I really felt like I was going to get sucked into an hours-long 80s reference that was going to go completely over my head, but it wasn't all that bad. I primarily played NES games in the 80s, so the arcade game references did little for me. I also only watched a handful of the movies referenced, and hadn't listened to any of the music referred to. Even given my raised-under-a-rock upbringing in the 80s, I've done enough online gaming to appreciate the world the author created to find this a compelling story. That, and my childhood crush on Wesley Crusher makes any audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton an automatic win. I just might watch that film adaptation now.

View all my reviews
Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and BeyondPandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond by Sonia Shah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well-read by the narrator. She kept me engaged through parts I might have tuned out otherwise. I just can't get enough of these types of books. I feel like I should be racking up some higher ed credits at some online university for listening to all of these.

I really appreciate the author's cause-and-effect approach to the subject. At times I felt like she was blaming modern convenience and society for the spread of disease, but she backtracks from that at the end, explaining that our understanding of our contribution to the problem is key to our being prepared for the next pandemic.

Short and concise, with just the right amount of detail to not bore the layperson, I'd recommend this title to the nerdy type like me.

View all my reviews
Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical VirusRabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gosh, I read some weird stuff. Like an entire book about rabies. It was a much lighter read than I expected--after all, how much can you really say about rabies that we don't already know? The author spends a lot of time making correlations between prevailing thoughts about rabies at points in history with the literary and theatrical works of the time. It was quite fun, actually, to revisit old books and movies in my mind and say, "Yeah, I do see how that fits in." It was particularly satisfying for him to end the book with a look forward, suggesting that rabies research could one day lead to treatments that transcend the blood-brain barrier. Yet another book that made me wish I had stuck it out and gone to medical school instead. *Sigh* Back to my law books.

View all my reviews
Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of GodMissional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God by Gloria Furman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Somehow, my first review of this book disappeared into the world wide web. The gist of the review was that this book could have been titled Missional _____, that's how broad of an approach the author took. It was refreshing and frustrating in a way. On the one hand, it's good to be reminded of why we are here--to make disciples. Otherwise, as my pastor once joked, the best thing he could do for us is to hold us under the baptismal until the bubbles stopped! On the flip side, I'm still sorta new at this whole mom thing, and was seeking some affirmation from a Biblical perspective. You won't find that here--the author's approach is more of a "stay on mission, even if you're 'just' a mom." Worth the read for it's spiritual pep talk purpose, but don't expect any practical advice here.

View all my reviews
The Zookeeper's WifeThe Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Meh. I should have known I wouldn't care for it, because it's about a zoo. I thought the WWII story would do it for me, but we kept going back to the animals, over and over again. I guess if you like animals, this book is for you. I don't want to detract from the family's bravery--WWII history is full of accounts of people who were brave enough to do the right thing, even at their own peril, but I would have found this story much easier to follow but for all the animal interruptions.

View all my reviews
City of Endless Night (Pendergast, #17)City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can't get enough of my favorite fictional FBI agent. There's not much to say about it. Either you love these books, or you don't. As usual, there's an outlandish fact scenario behind it all, but that's why you read fiction, no?

View all my reviews

And for a little something different, here are a few of the games my family is playing:

Go, Go Little Penguin, by HABA

Pandemic Legacy Season 2, by Z Man Games

Chartersone, by Stonemaier Games
If you want me to share my enthusiasm for any of these titles, feel free to drop me a line!  Until next time, God Bless.