14 and 5/12s

(Took on time, just posted late.)

Less than a month left of middle school. Gasp!

How is it almost May?

The last time I posted about the random little goings on in life was three months ago, so I guess it’s time for another quarterly recap of my extremely exciting life.

I visited Kiki twice. Her mom passed away in mid-March, and luckily I already had a flight booked for two days later, so I was able to be with her and hang out and help her go through stuff and get rid of stuff and drink wine for a few days. And then I went back again last weekend to help with the memorial celebration she had at her house. We did a lot of gardening and cooking. Everything we made was from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I was cursing Julia Child’s name by the end of the weekend. But everything we made turned out well. It was pretty cool, actually. Kristina’s mom was a really amazing, adventurous, well-traveled woman who journaled everything, including her dinner party menus from the 1960s on, so we made dishes she frequently made for those dinners.

(If you’re interested, we made Orange Bavarian Cream, Cheese Puffs, Legumes a la Grecque, Salmon Mousse, Cheese Tartlettes, and Liver and Cheese Tartlettes.)

The spread of food.

Since this is my blog, I can brag that I made the tartlette shells and the cheese puffs (and helped with the other stuff.)

We also did some gardening and I learned how to spread mulch, which is good because I need to mulch our gardens.

Speaking of gardens, kind of, we got a rain barrel from a local organization yesterday, which is exciting because I’ve been on the wait list for a year. It’s sad, though, because in that year, I got a different rain barrel so I couldn’t put this rain barrel in a prominent spot. It’s behind the house, which is a shame because LOOK HOW CUTE:

Oh, and also plant-related, Kiki sent me these beautiful flowers!

Okay, well that about covers the last 72 hours. What else? Hmm.

I guess it’s exciting, if a little sad, that the boys decided on a high school for next year, and it’s not the school they’ve been at for the past 11 years. (They could have chosen to stay there, but they did not.) On the bright side, it’s one of the top public high schools in the country, and a lot of their friends are going there as well. But a lot are staying, so it’s tough either way. At least since their classes are in English, I can help with homework now! Wait, hold on. That’s not a good thing. Heh.

I suppose I already blogged about the boys’ school dance and making jeans, but I also made another quilt for funsies (it lives on the couch, mostly under Ziggy):

And also this one for my friend Heather (I realize if you’re not a Saints fan it’s pretty ugly, but she and her fiance like it, so that’s all that matters.

I also made a red dress for her wedding this weekend, but I’ll save those pics for later.

Oh well I guess Mardi Gras also happened and we didn’t get Covid, so yay! It was pretty fun. We put the house float back up (and added a Rose Apothecary!) and Steph and I dressed up as Moiras on Mardi Gras day and I went to a parade and got a shoe and we saw our house float on a float, so all in all, it was good.

Okay. I think that’s it for real. Coming up: 8th grade graduation! A wedding! A new fridge! Summer! Another trip to Virginia! Camp Aunt Jenny! Quinceanera! Graduation parties! Bugs! Heat! Humidity!

Four years old

I was trying to make Miles look at old pictures of himself with me, but surprisingly, he was not interested. But that didn’t stop me, and I found these videos and now I cannot function any longer.

This is the whole video from the “Totally identical” video that got us on the front page of Yahoo Japan.

and this is the one I couldn’t stop watching last night.

Intense jeans making

Apparently the Mardi Gras parades started in earnest this weekend. I can’t say I noticed. I spent the whole weekend sewing instead.

As background, I’ve been following Lauren Taylor (lladybird) on Instagram and her blog since I heard her on some sewing podcast a while back. She cursed a lot, and I’m pretty sure that’s why I decided to follow her. Anyway, she has been teaching these jeans workshops for a few years, and every time she posted the yearly schedule I’d eagerly look for New Orleans and then would be sad when it wasn’t there. So imagine my excitement when I saw the 2022 schedule and New Orleans was on it! I immediately went to the Papermaple Studio site and signed up for the class.

Blah blah blah you don’t need to know my journey to this class but originally it was scheduled for next weekend, which for Mardi Gras reasons would have not worked well at all, so I’m very glad it was moved up a week.

Because it was amazing. I wish I could express how good I felt leaving the studio yesterday with a completed* pair of jeans. (Fine, I still need to hem them. Close enough.) Not just because I had a pair of pants (frankly, I don’t even wear jeans very often) but because I was around this amazing group of women, and I got to meet this sewist I’ve been following for so long, and who, frankly, I was a bit starstruck to meet. This was one of the first social things I’ve done in, well, a long time, and it was really healing to the damaged inner extrovert in me. I needed it.

So! Why should you take a jeans workshop from Lauren if you get the chance?

  1. You will learn so many little tips and tricks that not only apply to jeans sewing, but to all kinds of sewing. (For example, I learned why my top stitching has always been horrible in the past – my thread was too heavy!)
  2. You will make friends with other sewists. This is 20 hours of intense sewing over 2.5 days. You will be taking your pants off in front of them a lot. So you can’t really not be friends.
  3. You’ll come away with a pair of jeans that fit well (maybe not perfectly, but you’ll know how to make the next ones perfect!)

PS We made the Ginger jeans pattern from Closet Core Patterns. (I also had the option of making the Ames jeans from Cashmerette, but I was happy that the Ginger jeans did fit, which I didn’t expect, as they’re not designed for an extended size range. But stretchy denim is stretchy! Not that I would have minded making a plus-size pattern when everyone else was making “standard” sizes, but at least this way we were all using the same pattern pieces and the same seam allowances, etc.)

Some pictures from the weekend:

The studio where the class was held is tucked away in the French Quarter, and is run by the fantastic Leisa. I can’t say enough about her and the gorgeous space where the class was held. We even got a little private shopping with Cole from Promenade Fabrics. (I got a bunch of this red stretch twill that is destined to become a dress of some kind.)

If you can ever take a workshop from Leisa or at Papermaple, again, I can’t recommend it enough.

Now I guess you’re going to want to see my new jeans, huh? They’re very dark wash, so it’s hard to see the detail in a picture, but I’ll try.

Bar tacks! Belt loops! Top stitching! Pretty pocket lining! Rivets!

(I don’t really have a good picture of them on because I need to hem them and wash them so they shrink up a bit, but you get the idea.)

14+2

Gross weather + kind of forgetting anyway until the evening = inside picture.

January, a recap

I kept meaning to post this month, but couldn’t really make myself do it (aside from the quilt post.) But now I am feeling more up to it.

Starting with my birthday, which I was kind of not excited about (which is VERY SAD because I love birthdays so much) because the weather was supposed to be gross, and omicron was in full force so we couldn’t go anywhere and I couldn’t do anything and I was just sad. And I was supposed to go visit Kiki, but thanks to omicron, we decided it was best to postpone it.

But it ended up being a lovely day! I did a live Peloton class (alas, no birthday shout-out but lots of high fives), the boys gave me cards they made that made me cry, and Oliver made me scrambled eggs. Then my friends Jen and Aimee came over and the weather was lovely and Jen brought me a bananas foster king cake and half a gallon of frozen margarita and we sat outside and gave ourselves diabetes but it was just so nice to sit and chat with friends.

George gave me a vacuum sealer to go with my sous vide he gave me for Christmas, and while it may not sound like the most romantic gift ever, it was very appreciated. I mean, who hasn’t always wanted a vacuum sealer? It is very fun. And Kiki gave me a subscription to NYT cooking and some fun goodies to open.

And I spent the day making a cake from scratch, then ordering a ton of Chinese food for dinner, and all in all, it was a lovely birthday.

Cards and cake and vacuum-sealed king cake!

Other notable things in January…

I got an new sewing machine! I am in love. It’s fairly basic, feature-wise (just a straight-stitch machine) but it’s so powerful and FAST and sews through multiple layers of canvas and denim like it’s NOTHING. And it was so nice to use when quilting the quilt I made for Kiki.

Hey, gorgeous!

Which brings me to the quilt I made for Kiki, that’s quilt number 3 if you’re counting. I wanted to send her comfort and coziness so I made it out of flannel. I wanted to do shades of blue, and kind of ombre, so I cut long strips and sewed them together into one big long roll, then cut them into roughly 70″ lengths, then sewed them together! Simple, but I like the way it turned out. Until I realized I really had to hand sew the binding because of the solid colors, and then I hated myself for making it so big, but you know what, Kiki’s worth it, and it only ended up taking a couple of evenings to finish up.

I just am not really into making clothes right now but I had fun making a few wristlets and a little pouch. It’s the Yarrow Wristlet pattern from Noodlehead. It was just challenging enough to be fun, but not, like, torturously hard.

Why yes, that is Schitt’s Creek fabric on the inside of the black and white one. As if I’d go a whole post without mentioning it! (Got it from Spoonflower.)

Oh, and the boys got their booster shots for the vaccine trial! Yay! That was a relief, because they also started back at soccer this week. Oh, and they took a test to maybe go to a different high school next year but I’m not quite ready to think about that just yet.

Boosted!

So yeah, that’s about it for January. I am supposedly going to visit Kiki in mid-March now. Next month I am going to a jeans-making workshop that I’m very excited about (despite what I said earlier about sewing clothes) and of course Mardi Gras is coming up, and the house float is going back up, and we might be adding to it, so hopefully everyone stays healthy and we can have a nice February! And March!

P.S. This is random but pork tenderloin cooked with a sous vide is revelatory.

Quilt number 2

After I made my first quilt, I thought I probably wouldn’t make another one for a while.

I lasted a whole month before I started a second one. But it was fine, it would be so easy, because it was just a baby quilt, for my friend Erica’s baby who is going to be born in a couple of months or so (or weeks, I don’t know, what is time?) A small quilt would be a piece of cake!

Well, it should have been.

One evening in early December, I drank some wine, then got an email from Spoonflower saying they were having a sale on fat quarters that ended THAT NIGHT so I started looking around, found some adorable pit bull-themed fabrics, and hit “order.” Easy peasy. (Erica has a beloved, adorable, goofy pit bull mix named Francis.)

Francis.

One print was pit bulls working out, because Erica and her husband like to work out. Another print was pit bulls and pizza because Erica likes pizza. Or, I mean, at least this one really yummy pizza place in NYC that she’s taken me to a couple of times. And another print was pit bulls in Philadelphia, because I remembered that Erica and her husband lived there. (Put a pin in that.)

The fabrics came, I got the rest of the fabrics I needed, I cut, I pinned, I sewed, and before too long, I had a quilt top.

Hooray! That was easy! I showed some friends.

And that was when I was reminded that Erica and her husband had bought a house in New Jersey. They no longer lived in Philly. They hadn’t lived in Philly for quite a while. I knew all about her house hunt. I knew she moved. In August 2020. So why did I order Philadelphia-themed fabric?! (I blame the wine.)

So. I went online and ordered a different pit bull fabric and painstakingly removed 11 of the 12 Philly-themed squares (gotta leave one) and while I was at it, decided to throw in a couple of other squares.

That’s better.

And then I finished it and hand-stitched the binding because that’s what you’re supposed to do and never has this tag been more appropriate.

And that’s it! I hope Erica’s sweet baby boy (and Francis, his canine big brother) enjoy snuggling with it.

And yes, I am working on quilt #3 now.

14+1

Right in the middle of our three day winter! (Not that their wardrobe really changes…)

2021 in review

I feel like maybe the last thing I want to do is revisit 2021, but you know, there were some real high points, so let’s do it.

January

I turned 46. I sat around the fire pit at my friend Jen’s house and it was all I wanted to do for my birthday – so it was perfect. Spending time with my friends was what made 2021 bearable, but it happened so infrequently, so that is what made it terrible.

February

Mardi Gras! I spent a lot of January preparing for this, the Schitt’s Creek house float that I participated in. It was one of the high points of 2021. I had so much fun making my Moira costume (and Jen’s!) and helping with the creation (mostly telling Chris what to do) and then on Mardi Gras day, seeing all the people and BEING INTERVIEWED BY THE BBC.

You know, in case you wanted to watch it.

That wasn’t the only excitement in February. The boys were also enrolled in a COVID vaccine trial (Moderna) and we learned later in the year that they actually did get the vaccine (first one in February, second in March.)

March

Really, not much happened. Well, I got my vaccine. That was nice.

April

My sister & fam came down for Easter.

Our yard renovation was completed!

May

I went to visit Kiki! We baked a lot.

Linus was hospitalized for asthma. (He’s fine.)

June

Things were looking up. We found out the boys were fully vaccinated. Was it over? We were able to take off our masks and do things! I took the boys to a couple of soccer games. We ate at a restaurant! We booked a trip to California! Life was back to normal! I call this “the golden time.” Boy were were we naive.

July

My blog turned 20.

We got devastating news in the middle of the month when my sweet cousin Molly died suddenly. I still can’t believe it.

The boys and I went to California to visit Evan and Jennifer and Ellie. It was a lovely trip, even though it was under a cloud of sadness. Things still felt normal. We went to Disneyland and to an LAFC game and to the beach, and I got to meet my best friend in person finally. (She’s 3.)

This is when the golden time ended. LA had re-introduced a mask mandate not long before we got there. Delta was coming. Thank god we went when we went, or we wouldn’t have been able to go at all.

August

We got to hang out with the Murphys, which was wonderful.

The boys started 8th grade.

We went on a terrible road trip. Thanks Ida!

September

We finally got to go home! After spending 11 days in Houston and Baton Rouge, we were ready. And that’s about all I can say about September.

October

I went to the Rosebud Motel with my friends. That was fun.

That’s about it. Oh, I did some sewing.

The boys finally got to start soccer again. Or was that September? I don’t know. One of those months.

November

KIKI CAME TO VISIT! That was awesome. We did a lot of stuff around the house and ate at restaurants. Things were starting to feel normal-ish again.

I made a quilt!

Obviously it was Schitt’s Creek themed.

We had a quiet Thanksgiving, just the five of us.

December

My sweet baby boys turned 14!

My mom turned 75 and my brother and sister came in for it.

Finally, we celebrated Christmas with Grandee and Larry and negative COVID tests.

On to 2022!