Friday, September 13, 2013

Festive for Friday-Fall


One of the things I was most worried about when I decided to move to California was the year round temperate climate. How can it be fall without all things pumpkin and apple flavored? How weird is it going to be when the leaves don't turn and fall? (although I'm pretty pumped that there will be NO leaves to rake!) It's September and so fall (at least in my mind) has just begun. It also turns out that September (and October so I've heard) will be two of the warmest and most glorious months in this fine city. AKA it's not foggy ALL THE TIME anymore. And I haven't turned the heat in my apartment on in weeks. Two things helped me feel fall this week, despite the heat.

A tree near my apartment was dropping little bits of red pollen onto the sidewalk, completely filling in the street name etched into the cement. I may not have red leaves, but I have red pollen! 

The discovery that I can get a Pumpkin Spice Latte Frappucinno! I had a hot one earlier this week, but it was when I was in the a cold building during a meeting. I knew that that wasn't going to fly if I wanted to get anything done in Starbucks (another part of operation leave the house). This is pretty much the awesomest thing ever. The cold pumpkiny flavor with the whip cream and the dash of pumpkin spice on top made it taste JUST like a piece of pumpkin pie with a cold dollop of cool whip that we had every Thanksgiving growing up. I can tell this is going to be my go-to drink for this fall season...

What made your week festive? 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Weekend Recap

Oh weekend. You were so lovely and yet you went so fast. I again kept pretty busy this weekend, with running, sewing, working on the book and drinking coffee.

Pieces from my current quilt in progress! 

My favorite adventure of the weekend (which is also a continued part of operation "leave the house each day" was exploring Clement Street. Referred to on Yelp as the "new Chinatown," Clement Street in Inner Richmond and is full of shops, restaurants, cafes and bakeries. There is a decidedly Asian feeling to the street in terms many of the restaurants, cafes and produce shops. It was a warm afternoon when I wandered through, and as Yelp predicted there was the occasional strong whiff of fish, too.

My most exciting find was definitely Green Apple Books! This store came recommended to me as a must-see by a colleague at work and I was NOT disappointed. They have both used and new books, as well as music and DVDs. And let's not even talk about their collection my greatest weakness: notecards, memo pads and blank journals.



Unfortunately (or fortunately for my wallet?) I stopped by when I was heading back from a run so I only had the emergency cash that I keep stashed in my phone with me. So I clearly will need to go back with a large bag and my credit card, starting with these two gems...



When I got home from my adventure I was super pumped to see that this had arrived in the mail!

My Zip Car Card! I have a friend coming to visit in November and we'll need a car to get down to a hockey game in San Jose, and since Fluffy is still back in Indiana this was definitely the way to go. Now to just get over my fear of parallel parking...



How was your weekend? Any adventures? 

#goalsatchoice-Update #1

A quick update here from my first week doing #goalsatchoice with Coach Krissie from Committed Coaching. 



1. Self Care: Doing pretty good with my daily meditation with the Headspace app. 

2. Health: Work out plan is more or less on track for September. Only got in one day of yoga last week, but ran four times. I have fewer work obligations over lunch this week (when I go to yoga), so that should go better. 

3. Space: I remain constantly amazed at how much I can get picked up each night in just five minutes. I also remain amazed at the amount of mess I can manage to make each day considering I'm at work all day! 

4. Stretching: So of all my goals, this is the one that was (and still is!) the scariest for me. It's also been the one I've been super successful at during the first week! I've written letters, written emails, gone out to lunch with family and colleagues, skyped, gone to a new book club and gone bowling! And what do you know, I've actually had a GREAT time meeting new people. It's taken a lot of staring at meetup.com to convince myself to sign up for things (the bowling and book club this last week), but I've had a nice time at both events. 

It's been great having Coach Krissie check in every couple of days, just to see how I'm doing and prompt me to think about how I can find solutions for any hurdles I run across. Excited to see how the rest of the month goes! 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Festive for Friday.

Happy Friday! Nothing is more festive than the Friday of a short work week! This week I bring to you five things about living here in San Francisco that make me happy.

1. Trader Joe's. More specifically, these Coffee Latte and Cream Bars. They're like my super sugary and creamy morning coffee but frozen. And served for dessert.



 2. I can't even remember where we saw this, but I took this picture the first week I was here when the N-boy and I were out exploring the city. Since the Momcat and Daddo are scientists I was amused.

 3. Celebrating Baby Brother's 25th birthday back at the beginning of August. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've been able to celebrate with him in person since I went to college (aka a long time ago).

 4. Being able to walk to work. The boys are pointing down the "hill" (since it's technical name is Lone Mountain I question calling it a hill) to my apartment, which is visible when it's not foggy. What is slightly less festive is climbing these 160 steps (yes, I counted) each morning when I've only had one cup of coffee.

5. Food. So I'm pretty sure food will make this the list of all things festive each and every. This was at the Corner Store for brunch. 

What made your week festive? 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Weekend.

Let's just take a moment to reflect on the awesomeness that three day weekends are. I had an absolutely wonderful weekend. The weather in San Francisco has finally turned into days of gorgeous sunshine and perfect temperatures. If this weekend, the traditional first weekend the start of the fall season, is anything to go off of, I am going to be very happy here come, oh mid February. 

This weekend I...

Consumed a LOT of coffee. 



Worked on sewing at home with this guy watching over. A friend sent him to me as a surprise last week and he's so cute and sparkly. Now he just needs a name...

Went a little bit crazy at Papyrus buying notecards. I HAD to. All of mine are back in storage in Indiana and I need cards for #goalsatchoice. Ad they were on sale!

Drooled over this catalog that randomly appeared in my mail slot. I tend to get a lot of random catalogs from previous tenants. Even though I do everything on my phone and ipad i still love looking at paper planner.

Worked on testing the directions for projects in our book!

How was your long weekend?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

#goalsatchoice

Happy September! In my mind today marks the official start of fall. And fall is my FAVORITE. I'm a bit nervous to see what it feels like here in San Francisco when the change of seasons is not as dramatic as in the midwest, but everyone has promised that there will be plenty of things pumpkin and apple flavored, including my friend the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

I feel like I'm starting to settle into the city a little more, although of course I won't be fully settled until the N-boy and the cats join me, along with all of my stuff. And when I'm not subletting. But BESIDES all of that, I'm feeling pretty good! To keep the good going I'm super excited to be undertaking an accountability self challenge in September called #goalsatchoice with Coach Krissie at Committed Coaching.

I found Coach Krissie through one of my favorite blogs ever, Cassie at Back to Her Roots. Krissie has guest posted on Cassie's blog a few times and when she offered BTHR readers the opportunity to enter for a free discovery session I put my name in right away. And I was chosen! Woohoo!

I REALLY liked talking with Krissie on Skype about where I am in my life, and what small things I could change to make things even better. She really helped me lay out and understand that I've had a lot of very, very big changes in a pretty short amount of time (new job/promotion, selling the house, moving across the country, being apart from the N-boy and the kittens, writing a book). Although I've been trying to settle into a healthy and mindful routine here in SF, some days it's hard.

For #goalsatchoice I skyped again with Krissie to set four goals for the month of September, one in each of four areas: self-care, health, space and stretching. We have an adorable printable made by none other than Cassie herself, and Krissie will email/text/checkin with each person as we go through the month. A "perfect" score is only 25/30 days for each goal, so there's room for flexibility. My plan is to check in once a week here to share how it's been going.



1. Self-Care: 20 minute meditation every day through the Headspace app.

2. Health: Figure out a plan for each week that includes three days of running, two days of yoga, a bonus day, and a day to rest/plan for the next week.

3.Space: Spend five minutes picking up the apartment each night before I go to bed. A five minute Room Rescue ala Flylady.

4. Stretching: This isn't about the act of physically stretching, but about choosing something to do each day that's hard or that I'm a little bit scared of. For me, this is keeping in touch with friends and family while making new friends here in SF.

I was selected for the free discovery session with Coach Krissie through the entry on BTHR, but I'm doing #goalsatchoice with my own time, money, heart and soul. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Big News.

So I'm pretty excited to publicly share some big news about a project the Momcat and I have been working on.

We're publishing a book with the American Quilter's Society



We submitted a proposal for a book about making containers out of fabric using our nifty English Paper Piecing technique. And they accepted it for publication! Woohoo! Our manuscript is due in November, and we're hoping the book will be published in Spring 2014. 

I wrote a longer post on our new website www.prairiesewnstudios.com. We're (well, mostly me!) a bit nervous and anxious about this adventure, so any support or comments on the new website would be much MUCH appreciated! 

Off to keep writing and sewing! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lions, and tigers and... flamingos!

I'm digging this whole relax and vacation thing so far. Especially now that I've stopped waking up at 5:45 and have managed to catch up on some sleep instead! In addition to working on projects, the parentals and I have tried to head out for an adventure each day.

Saturdays adventure...the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo!



Omaha actually has an AMAZING zoo, complete with a jungle, desert dome, butterfly house, aquarium and of course the most important aspect of a zoo-flamingos! We had a zoo membership growing up and I remember going there often as a child. Now that us kiddos are out of the house, the Momcat and Daddo decided to join again so they could go for a few hours every once in a while and not feel like they had to do the whole zoo in one day.

I was slightly worried about the field trip since Omaha recently tore down the old Rosenblatt baseball stadium, building a new stadium downtown and making the old stadium and its parking lots into additional parking for the zoo. The zoo parking was desperately needed, but I'm not a huge fan of tearing down childhood memories. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they'd made a little park with some of the old seats, bases and pitchers mound in the middle of the parking lot. They also left up the vertical foul ball markers and marked where the bases originally stood. Gold star, Omaha.


We didn't hit everything, but I think we saw everything we really wanted to see. Or in some cases, ate everything we really wanted to eat. 

Snow Cone of Deliciousness! 


Butterflies in the new (to me) butterfly house.

Daddo and the Momcat. 
Mr. Crab

 And last, but not least, the most important animal at the zoo...

Flamingos!




Friday, July 5, 2013

Work is over, Vacation has begun!

Wednesday was my last official day at Notre Dame. I keep waiting for it to feel real that I've moved on and don't work there anymore. The facts that yesterday was a holiday, my part of the office is closed today and that I'm going back in on the 16th for the official goodbye party probably aren't making this any easier. I hope it kicks in soon, because for right now...

I'm on VACATION!  (or, as Daddo put it "now you're unemployed!" Thanks, Daddo).

CatCat, Friday and I spent nine hours cozied together in Fluffy the Scion xB yesterday driving to the parent's house in Omaha. We'll hang out here for the next week before I head off to the next adventure and they remain here for a vacation from stress of moving across the country and selling a house. I somehow feel like the cats have gotten the better end of the deal here...

I'm actually going to be pretty busy here working on things with the Momcat (more on this VERY exciting news next week!) and learning how to parallel park from Daddo. The N-boy is alarmed that we didn't have to learn this in driver's ed, especially since it does seem to be a required skill for living in San Francisco. What can I say? Nebraska seems to have PLENTY of space so parallel parking is rarely a necessary talent. Given that Daddo recalls his New York City days saying that "parallel parking is an art form," I'm really quite surprised he didn't teach me when he taught me to drive. I'm sure it will be fine. I learned how to drive on a manual, and today demonstrated my driving prowess by successfully negotiating back onto the interstate, in a manual while eating an ice cream cone and ignoring two very grumpy cats. (A feat that did not seem to impress the N-boy when I told him about it.) Surely parallel parking is easier that that.

Basically this next week promises to be...


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

4H County Fair-2013 Edition

The N-boy and I went to the 4H County Fair last weekend, which definitely felt like it was part of one last "huzzah for the midwest" act since we're moving to California. Although the N-boy assures me that California will also have agriculture and animals and 4H. Still, the county fair feels VERY midwestern to me.

This year we were smart and planned ahead by looking online at the fair schedule to make sure we'd see everything we wanted to. We've learned from past years that you can't go the first day, because the animals aren't there. And you can't go the last day because the animals aren't there. Since clearly the animals are on of the main highlights for us, this was an important lesson to learn (and it only took us four years!).

This duck made me smile. He looks like Mozart to me. 


Please tell me you've seen this video. Pretty sure we need a goat if only to do this in our spare time. 



We get a little overly competitive about ski ball. We tied this year, each winning laffy taffy on exactly one round. And losing on the every other round. 

 Twist ice cream cones are my absolute favorite summer treat. Let's not talk about what is going on with my medusa-like hair in this picture. It was windy.

Goodbye, 4H Fair. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

July.

I love that today is July 1 and officially the start of the second half of 2013. It's an even better happy July 1 because it's on a Monday! I always feel over-the-moon giddy when the first day of a month (or a year!) falls on a Monday. It's the color coded spreadsheet part of me that just loves the feeling with the stars align a fresh start with the calendar.

The first half of 2013 has been....interesting. Some ups and downs, but the second half promises to be even crazier and (hopefully) more exciting because...

WE'RE MOVING TO SAN FRANCISCO!

I got a new job as the director of an international student and scholar office at a university there, so on July 23 the N-boy and I head out to get me settled in just in time for new student orientation and the kick off of the fall semester. The N-boy is actually teaching here this fall, so he'll only be with me for a week before heading back to South Bend. Even though it's a little frustrating that we'll spend the semester apart (again), the excitement of a new job, a new city, and a whole new west coast culture makes it all ok.

I think I'll have lots to say about the move (as well as some other exciting updates to share), but I'll leave most of that for later. One thing I am definitely looking forward to is living in the same city as BabyBrother!

Not sure San Fran is ready for us!


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Christmas Tree Bargello Wallhanging

So it's been a while again since I posted anything here. I figure it's my blog, so that's ok with me. It's been a rough spring, but things seems to be looking up now. AND it's finally warm outside so, woohoo!

One thing I'm working on in 2013 is finishing up some of the flimsies that are sitting around in my closet. Some of these projects are years old, just waiting for quilting. Some of them are for babies that aren't quite so baby anymore. And some just bring up lots of feelings and emotions so it's hard to get any traction on them.

First up for the year is the Christmas Tree Bargello. I'd actually posted about this this back in the fall of 2012 as a link up to Leah Day's Sunday UFO day. I was super excited when she chose my UFO to respond to on her follow up day, and also that several very nice quilters came and commented on my own blog post!

I actually finished this wallhanging in February of this year, and even managed to take pictures but with everything going on in my life just haven't been able to post them until now.

Tada!



In the end, I decided to STOP worrying so much about choosing a perfect quilting pattern. Since I'm still very much learning how to be comfortable with free motion quilting, I knew that the quilting itself wouldn't be perfect (I mean, really, will it ever be? no). so I should just make the commitment to getting it done and ready for next winter!

In the borders I used Leah Day's icicle lights, but just did it going one direction instead of two.  I liked how they invoked the feeling of twinkly christmas lights, and I think the gold Isacord thread is sparkly and festive. 

In the sky background I went with just a simple swirl. There are couple of places where I tried to add a five pointed star, but wasn't really feeling it was working so I didn't too too many.

On the tree itself I just did a simple meander, focusing on not crossing back over any of the stitching. Lesson learned here-be careful with scale. I started out on a scale that was probably a little too small for the look I really wanted, but again just decided to run with it once I got started. Definitely something I'll keep a closer eye on next time. 

Shot of the back, with the label. The backing fabric was very shiny, and went well with the front of the quilt and the red and gold finding. I didn't take a picture of it, but I actually followed the AQS guidelines for adding a sleeve as an exercise in doing it right. Gold star for AQS having a YouTube video to help me along!I'm actually quite pleased with how that sleeve turned out, so I'm happy I took the extra time to do it the "right" way. I'll probably keep adding that extra effort for all of my future wall hangings, instead of my usual "OMG I'm almost done just slap something on there" effort. 

So with ONE finish done for this year, I'm working on my next one! Hopefully I'll get some pictures taken this week. I've got several other VERY VERY exciting quilting and sewing projects going on, but since I don't want to get burnt out on just one thing I'm going to try and spend a little time doing different things to keep it fun.