Sunday, July 31, 2011

First quilt, finished!!!

Edited to Add Clover and Violet's Stash Project link-up!

Somehow, I managed to make my first quilt finish ever almost completely from my stash! I started sewing, simple things like bags and little girl skirts for my best friend, before I started actually quilting. I love picking up remnants from Joann's, and I'll definitely admit to having purchased a few collections of random fat quarters on eBay.


My first finished quilt, and it isn't even for me! It's just a jelly roll race quilt - read more about them here - but I'm in love with the format and have one halfway done and another started right now. I wasn't sure how much to make for this particular quilt, so I just kind of kept going, so I have a second top with these fabrics finished already, for whomever has a baby girl next.

This particular one, which is already wrapped up and ready to go, is for one of the managers at work, who's girlfriend is due to have their baby girl (his first little one!) pretty much any day now.

It's a mix of regular quilting cottons and flannels, and the back is half flannel, half fleece. I didn't label it, even though I know I'm supposed to - but I did make sure to wash/dry it before tying it up, using Shout's Color Catcher sheets like someone's blog (sorry!) had suggested.

After I gave him the quilt - almost made him cry! - he said that the brown striped fabric on the right side of the bottom picture is the exact same as some of the other items in Stevie's room. So lucky! : )

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Safeway Savings, July 2011

Grocery shopping is finished for the month, so here's the monthly recap again - because I enjoy boring my readers, of course.

$216.25 spent - down from the last two months, thanks to fewer BBQs - and when we did have them, we were able to get better deals on meat since they were on clearance.

$160.31 saved - or 42.57%. Not bad! I had one trip, for corn, where we saved 75.85%, but there were a few bummers in there, too.

So far, over the past four months, my grocery shopping tactics have saved us $630.60 dollars - or 3/4 of a mortgage payment! It doesn't seem like much each individual trip, but adding it up like that is amazing.

The thing I learned this week is that it's much better to go grocery shopping late in the evening. The store's less crowded, as it's after kids' bedtimes, but also for this important, money saving reason. Around 9PM, the meat/seafood departments are closed - which means THAT is the time of day that they're putting out the last of the "prepared" meat items - like the DELISH hamburger patties w/ bacon and cheddar cheese mixed in. Mmm. 50% off if you buy them late in the day!

I know I could do "better" at my grocery shopping if I were more diligent about looking for coupons - I'm pretty happy with the savings, though, given that I DON'T put much effort into it - maybe 10 minutes a WEEK.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I'm pretty terrible at this.

I've been quilting up a storm, all jelly roll race quilts for gifts.

I want to do more. I'm addicted!

Between that and the bathroom I'm slave-driving Jeff to finish and stress at work and anxiety over our vacation, I'm not doing well. Upset stomachs and all.


Anyway, I joined up with a swap for fat quarters with dots! I got my first of four in the mail today - it's an adorable shade of blue. This is the part where, if I were a *good* blogger, I'd insert a photo. But I'm not.

I'm sending out mine tomorrow. Two are the same maroon-with-white-dots that I used for my skirt; another, baby pink with dusky pink dots/circles. The last is dark green with white dots and Japanese-looking-blossoms. I like it, just don't have a use for it. :)

Anyway, that's it for now.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Book 31: Loose Girl

Book 31: Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity, by Kerry Cohen

In the Acknowledgements section of the book, Cohen cites several memoirs as inspiration; two of them are ones I own, the other are on my to-be-read shelves.

Unfortunately, this book was not as good as the two I'd already read. Cohen goes into great detail of her sordid sexual encounters with men and how she used them to overcome the painful experiences of her childhood, including her mother abandoning the family to study medicine in Asia and her father's attempts to be more friend than parent.

The part where the book lacks, though, is the resolution. To hear Cohen tell it, she basically woke up one day over things. There was no lengthy struggle, but rather simple an "Oh, well, maybe I shouldn't do this anymore."

A quick read, but not really recommended.

Book 30: Reading the OED

Book 30: Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 pages, by Ammon Shea

The OED, or Oxford English Dictionary, is enormous. 21,730-pages-enormous, to be exact. Along the same vein as A.J. Jacobs's The Know-it-All, wherein Jacobs reads the entire Encyclopaedia Brittanica in a year, Shea takes one year to read the Oxford English Dictionary. The OED contains over 600,000 entires; its goal, when first published, was to include every word in the English language. Its goal was to eliminate:
  • Incomplete coverage of obsolete words
  • Inconsistent coverage of families of related words
  • Incorrect dates for earliest use of words
  • History of obsolete senses of words often omitted
  • Inadequate distinction among synonyms
  • Insufficient use of good illustrative quotations
  • Space wasted on inappropriate or redundant content.
 As such, it's enormous. Obviously.

Unlike Jacobs's Know it All, though, Shea's book was less a tale of personal discovery and mostly a compilation of interesting words. Words like "unbepissed," meaning...not having been pissed on. Apparently not only did someone feel the need to come up with "bepissed," meaning "having been pissed on," but they also wanted to describe the state of not having been pissed on. Awesome?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Money matters

Money's a huge stressor for me. When I get stressed, I get anxious and micromanage - I know this (and hate this) about myself. I tell myself, "No more Starbucks. No more Wendy's for lunch. No more trips to Jo-Ann's after work... okay, well, not unless they have a really great sale. Gotta get all the funds I can off Crowd Tap and Swagbucks." and so forth, until I end up crying to Jeff and he gets annoyed.

Spoiled as it may sound, my mother graciously offered to pay for my husband and I to fly cross-country to attend my cousin's wedding in the middle of August. I got a great deal on the tickets - about 20% less than I was expecting and she was willing to pay. Unfortunately, I found them mid-day while at work, so I had to pay with them on my credit card.

Then Mom forgot to tell Dad how much the tickets were, so he was a little...delayed in getting me funds. We finally managed to get things straightened out today.

Just knowing that the money's on its way from Paypal to me is huge. I'm so much more calm - by mid-week next week, the credit card balance will be back to $0, and I'll be a much happier gal.

How do you deal with money stress?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What a week!

I love getting mail. Always have. From Zoo Books and Highlights magazines as a kid to all the cards and letters I got in boot camp - hell, I even like receiving bills! This week, I got not one but TWO great packages in the mail - both on Friday! Let's rewind, though, before we get there.

I love me some thrift stores. We have a great one here that, three days a week, offers 30% off their whole inventory. They also give an extra percentage - either 50% or 75%! - off merchandise with certain colored tags. This week, we picked up a lab coat for my husband, the budding scientist, for $1 because it had a 75% off tag, and I got myself one of these:  A big ol' pattern cutting board, also about $1! Not a huge deal, since they aren't that expensive new, but I wasn't able to find one this size on Amazon - plus my husband claims they're good for playing RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons because of the grid that's on them. Hooray?

Anyway, the packages! The little one contained this adorable mug rug and some super cute fat quarters from Jan at SewSowinLove! There was a mix up from the mug rug swap I did back in...May, was it?...and the person who got me didn't get my address, so I didn't get one. Boo!

The coordinator took care of me, though, and I got hooked up with Jan, who sent this adorable rug, now on my desk - maybe more for cool drinks than hot ones, but definitely appreciated nonetheless! Check her out on Twitter, too.

I definitely would've called it a great mail day at that, but that wasn't it! I also got this AMAZING assortment of stuff from Renay at And Then We Started Living - all kinds of things, including embroidery floss, a ton of scrapbooking stuff (a hobby I may now have to start!?), cuuuuuute stationery, even a painting!

 I had another painting where this one is, but we did some rearranging so that one was too big - and this one goes perfectly with the girly purples and greens and gray that are my office.
 Scrapbooking paper and doo-dads, stamps, some fabric, stationery, much adorable, cutesy girly stuff! I think that's what I appreciate about it so much - it's the sort of thing I'd probably never buy for myself, but I totally love it now that I have it!
 I LOVE these kinds of magnets - I had another one, so now I have five! They've got great sarcastic sayings on them - the top left one says something about being disappointed that the weiners keep getting smaller while the buns keep getting bigger. Teehee!

So thank you, thank you, thank you, Renay! What an amazing collection of items!

If you appreciate good design, like pretty pictures of house interiors or baby rooms or what have you, follow Renay - both her blog, and her upcoming journey to move across country, to get married, plan for children...all that fun "big stuff" one does!

Friday, July 8, 2011

picture post

Big picture post coming tomorrow, and maybe a book review.

Sorry I've neglected you all. I fear my brain hath melted in the heat. 100+ for a week+. Oye.

All kinds of anxiety stirred up tonight over our upcoming vacation, too. Sigh. Someday I'll be rid of this, right?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Book 29: If You Can Read This

Book 29: If You Can Read This: The Philosophy of Bumper Stickers, by Jack Bowen

I need to learn to read book synopses more closely. I think I expected this one to be more like the psychology of people who apply bumper stickers or something. Instead, it was more along the lines of the Buffy and Philosophy book I read a while back.

The author takes various bumper stickers, like the formerly popular "Baby on Board!" and analyzes them according to various philosophical principles. In this case, Bowen comments that drivers are no more likely to NOT get into an accident with a car displaying this particular sticker than they are any other vehicle. He goes on to refer to the "action bias" - a person's inclination to believe that doing something is better than doing nothing, even if the "something" that they do makes things worse than the situation would have been had they done nothing.

By the end I found it difficult to pay attention to the full extent of the author's philosophizing about each sticker. I think changing the layout of the book would have been beneficial - rather than finish the section I was on, I felt myself inclined to skip forward to the next sticker as soon as I saw it.

Book 28: The Rhino with Glue-On Shoes

Book 28: The Rhino with Glue-On Shoes, and other surprising true stories of zoo vets and their patients, edited/compiled by Spelman and Mashima

It took me forever to get through this book - I seriously think I started it in, um, January, if not longer ago than that. Not because it was bad, but because each chapter is completely separate from the last, so there was no continuity, only the overarching theme of the trials and tribulations that zoo veterinarians face on a daily basis.

That being said, it wasn't a bad book. The stories were incredible - from the title story, literally about a rhinocerus who required special glue-on "rhino shoes" (akin to horse shoes) to help its feet recover, to the story of a woman who shipped her ordinary pet goldfish halfway across the country so it could undergo cancer treatment.

I suppose I liked the books because not all the stories had happy endings - the doctors were not always able to cure the patients they saw. Regardless, you get the sense that they always come away with a new lesson that they can apply to another, similar case.