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!

Christmas 2021

We had a nice Christmas. Quiet. Also, 14 year old boys are very hard to shop for.

As usual, I took them out individually to shop (how many years have we been doing this? I’ll have to go back and look) which was lovely. It was right on the cusp of Omicron taking off, so we were able to eat inside this time (I just remember last year sitting in the parking lot of Five Guys, which just isn’t quite the same.)

We had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner – steak. Yum!

Then it was time to read The Night Before Christmas and take the stocking pic.

I was quite proud that I didn’t have much to wrap that night, I’d gotten it all done. But I did spend much of the day finishing George’s present, a collared shirt with fabric from Spoonflower with keyboard keys all over it because he’s a big ol’ nerd.

relaxing with a cozy fire and my coffee before the boys woke up (or rather, before I let them out of their room)

And don’t you know, I didn’t take any pictures while we were opening gifts. Just being present (no pun intended.)

The boys got a new chair to sit in while rotting their brains on video games, and some clothes, and cases and cords and other electronics-adjacent accessories and all in all they seemed happy with their gifts.

I got a sous vide thingy, and a Ziggy puzzle, and a necklace, and a new Kindle, and some Schitt’s Creek things, and so all in all, I think I did the best of all, but I might be biased.

That Ziggy puzzle is really really really hard, btw.

We had the traditional eggnog French toast for breakfast, and I started drinking mimosas (we had a lot of orange juice, what can I say) and then we all took the traditional Christmas morning COVID tests (all negative) and then Grandee and Larry came over (also negative) and we ate air-fried turkey (yum) and cornbread dressing and spinach and homemade bread (my mom and I both made some and the boys preferred my mom’s but that’s fine) and cheesecake for dessert.

So that was our Christmas, and it was low-key and, oh, 80 degrees, so that part sucked, but otherwise, was really nice.

Evan and Jenny in Baton Rouge

My mom turned 75 on Friday (fun fact, she was born the same day as Eugene Levy) and my brother and sister flew in to celebrate. It was nice. We took her to Ruth’s Chris for dinner because we are good children.

Some pics from dinner:

and then George brought the boys and Ziggy on Saturday so they could hang out. And I drove my brother all over Baton Rouge so he could use his vintage super-8 camera to shoot footage for some upcoming movie that I won’t understand.

Some more random pics:

(Playing Trivial Pursuit with my children and siblings was a mistake.)

Until next time, whenever that will be…

Fourteen.

Feels older than 13, maybe because of the deepening voices and growth spurts going on in our house.

(the 168th monthly picture, which I forgot to take before we left to go meet their friends at the park)

Friends at park:

My first quilt

I have made scores of clothing items, from easy things like pajama pants and t-shirts, to more complex pieces like dresses and a coat and a bathing suit. But I’ve always been particularly intimidated by the idea of making a quilt.

And then, a friend on Instagram let me know that Joann’s had Schitt’s Creek fabric, and, well, that was that. I didn’t need another Schitt’s Creek shirt or more masks so the only thing to do was tackle a quilt. Particularly since there were five different prints. I mean, what else was I going to do?

The middle five fabrics are from Joann’s and the ones on the ends are from Spoonflower.

I was scared of quilt making because it seemed so precise. At least with clothes you can fudge seam allowances (usually) and it’s ok if your lines aren’t straight. But I assumed with quilts if you were off by 1/128th of an inch, then you might as well burn the whole project in a fire.

Turns out, when you’re making a quilt for yourself, it really doesn’t matter if it’s perfectly square!

a lot of squares.

Also the whole batting and sandwiching and quilting and binding…was I going to have to outsource that? That sounded expensive, especially because I had no intention of making a small quilt. Oh no, I’d I was going to make it big enough to sleep with!

two by two

And so I bought the fabric and consulted with my IG friend and got advice from someone at Joann’s and just went for it.

It ended up being about 73” wide and 100” long, which is a lot of 5” squares. I didn’t really plan my layout, just figured I’d make them random, but was trying not to put dark squares together or light squares together but by the time I was putting the strips together I ended up with identical fabric squares next to each other. So lesson learned – if you care, you have to plan ahead. (I didn’t really care.)

figuring out where to put what

I ended up using about 6 yards of the fabric from Joann’s and about a yard’s worth of scraps from fabric I’d gotten from Spoonflower. The backing fabric came from Joann’s (handy that I took up this project when the Black Friday sales were happening) and the binding fabric from a small, local fabric store.

I went through almost 1000 meters of gray thread and now I know why some sewing machines have giant bobbins. My sewing machines performed admirably, though I had to replace my walking foot, after it sprained its ankle or something. (that’s a sewing joke.)

quilting!

I decided to quilt it myself and while I maybe wish I hadn’t decided on parallel lines roughly an inch apart, I’m happy with how it looks now that it’s done. (90 total lines, 100 inches long each, that’s a lot!)

I didn’t think I’d be up for doing this again anytime soon but I think I would like to try a smaller quilt, and maybe, you know, plan the design ahead of time.

For now, I’ll cuddle on the sofa with this beast and watch Schitt’s Creek again for the one millionth time.

PS Soccer goals make good quilt display tools.

Home improvements and delicious food

Kiki came to visit and, as usual, we got a lot of little things done around the house to make everything a bit more pleasant. And also ate yummy things.

Replacing the blinds

The blinds in my sewing room/bedroom have been up for 14 years. If you don’t believe me, believe this blog post from November 2007. (Why wouldn’t you believe me?) They were basically destroyed, so it was time.

One thing I haven’t taken down are those flags. Probably about time.

I also had to change out the curtain rod brackets because the blinds stick out so much, and I put up some hooks to serve as curtain hold-backs.

Medicine cabinet

This one involved a lot of cursing. Removed the plate glass mirror and put up a medicine cabinet. Yay more storage! Feel free to nose around in my medicine cabinet. Nothing interesting there. I wish I had a better “before” picture than a selfie from a dress I made. Alas.

Picture rail

Kiki was dismayed by the lack of artwork above the TV. I am still waiting to hang stuff after we painted. (Okay, that was like four years ago.)

Another part of the project involves getting a print (a drawing of our house) framed that’s been sitting on my mantle for six months. That’ll go next to the house numbers. I might need to move the house numbers, because I keep thinking it’s a clock and that it’s 8:14. (It’s usually not. Well, just twice a day.) Not sure what else I’ll put up there. Oh, and that ledge was repurposed from the nursery as well. And I hung the bracket upside down first. Fun!

New curtain rod/hemmed curtains

The curtains behind the sofa have always been too long, and I should be embarrassed by how long it took me to realize I could just hem them. I do sew, sometimes, you know. I also needed to replace the cheap curtain rod that sagged in the middle and sometimes fell down.

Oops, I went a tad too short. Oh well! Also our sofa is way wrinklier than it was six years ago! But also there’s a cute doggie that wasn’t there before, so it’s all worth it. (Look how unchewed my ottoman was in the first pic. Sigh.)

We also hung some artwork in my office. (Yes obviously I am still obsessed.)

Speaking of, I also got this Christmas ornament. I posed it in front of our Mardi Gras house float (it was in a book!)

And I think that’s the majority of the projects. (I won’t take a picture of the under sink organization in the kitchen, though it is nice.)

Yummy things we ate and drank:

Homemade pizza (crust by King Arthur, sauce by Smitten Kitchen), this winter squash bake from Smitten Kitchen, a pavlova from the San Lorenzo, my Italian margarita, and Kiki at the taco place (mmm margaritas.) Not pictured: the amazing hummuses from Saba.

13 years, 11 months

Yes, Oliver is taller now. Not that much taller, he has shoes on and Linus and Miles don’t. But they did get measured at the vaccine clinic last week and Oliver is 3/4″ taller than Miles and an inch taller than Linus. So.

(And yes, I took this on time, but haven’t had a chance to post it til now. Kiki was visiting!)

(And yes, we got an outside outlet, finally! So exciting!)

(And yes, they’re going to be 14 in a month! Hold me, please.)

Making an outfit (accidentally)

In the past couple of months, I’ve made three items of clothing. It just so happens that they all kind of go together. Well enough to put them all in one blog post, anyway.

Item 1: Calder shorts by Cashmerette

This was the second pair of Calder shorts I’ve made. Because I’m shaped like a rectangle (no waist to speak of), the first pair I made was sized not exactly right (not really too small, but, well, okay, a tiny bit too small) so I wanted to try again, this time just maybe making some minor adjustments to the seam allowance. I didn’t want to go up a whole size, as that would be too much, and also I’m very lazy and wanted to use my existing pattern.

In the end, it worked out fine, maybe they’re a little too big, if anything, but no biggie. I definitely need to hem them a bit more though. If I have them pulled down to where my waist would be if I had a waist, they’re too long.

I made them with a cotton flannel from Joann’s. Shorts in flannel? Why yes. I live in Louisiana where winter shorts are totally a thing. (A thing I made up, maybe. I think these would work really well with tights.) I love this fabric – it’s super easy to sew and it comes in a million patterns and it’s soft and inexpensive. Oh, and I lined the pockets in some leftover supima cotton that they don’t seem to sell anymore but it’s so silky, I love it.

Item 2: Blackwood cardigan by Helen’s Closet

This is my second Blackwood cardigan – the first was appropriated by Linus. He likes to wear it around the house. I made this one out of some french terry I bought a while ago from some online store and have been sitting on (not literally.) I decided to put the loop side on the outside so it would be a darker red. (The “right” side is more white/red variegated.) I like the way it looks, but the loops do tend to catch on things and get snagged. Oh well, live and learn. I love the rainbow serger threads I bought, they make for a really fun inside view!

Item 3: Akita top by Seamwork

A couple of weeks before my friends and I went to the fake Rosebud Motel, I ordered some fun Schitt’s Creek-themed fabric from Spoonflower. I was going to make a skirt or something to wear when we went. Well, it didn’t come in time, and I decided I didn’t need another skirt. I wanted a shirt, and I remembered how much I like the Seamwork Akita. I’ve made it a few times but those don’t, uh, fit anymore. So now I have one that does! And I absolutely love the fabric.

It’s a really fun pattern to sew. If you have non-directional fabric, it’s just one pattern piece, but because mine is directional, I had to add a shoulder seam. No biggie. Then you bias bind all of the raw edges and sew up the sides. Super easy and I like the shape. I didn’t get any good pictures of the sleeves but you get the idea:

Well, you get the idea.

(Turns out this pattern isn’t on their site anymore. Not sure why!)

Well, turns out they all kind of work together – the red in the cardigan is the same as the red in the shirt, and, well, gray goes with everything. So there you go, I accidentally made a whole outfit!

A visit to the Rosebud Motel (sorta)

There’s a cool store in Hattiesburg, Mississippi called the Lucky Rabbit that seems to be obsessed with Schitt’s Creek as my friends and I are. So Jen, Stephanie, Terry, and I made the two hour drive yesterday to go!

Here we are at Mardi Gras last year! So fun.

Anyway. There’s a little “Rosebud Motel” set right there in the store, and it’s pretty amazing how detailed it is, if not completely accurate. (For instance, Moira’s wig wall was not really in David and Alexis’s room as it was here.)

Me on the left, David on the right, in case you didn’t know.

Wide shot of the whole room

(If you need more pictures to see what the actual room looks like to compare, well, just go to Netflix and start at episode 1 and watch it again if you haven’t already. Or even if you have!)

13 + 10

Miles was not into smiling before 7am. Hard to blame him.

Getting back to normal

Yikes, it’s been a while since I posted, and a lot has happened. Well, for one, we came home. Wheee!

Let’s see, the last post was taken on a Saturday, and power came back on late Monday night, so we went home on Tuesday the 7th. All told, we were away from home for 11 days, and boy was our fridge gross. We’d thrown out all of the food the previous Friday when George and Miles and I went to check things out, so it could have been worse, for sure.

Gas was still hard to come by when we got home, as were groceries. Even now, two weeks after coming home, stores aren’t fully stocked. But it’s getting better.

We had to get a tree removed, and while we had a crew, we also had them prune some of our other trees. I was sad to see the tree go – though I’m hoping that the increased sunlight in the yard will mean my new plants from when we had the yard redone last spring will start thriving.

Just a stump.

It’s sad to look out of the upstairs bathroom window and not see the tree, though.

I’ve also been sewing a bit more. I made a new cardigan for myself and a skirt for Terry for her birthday.

I’ve also been baking a bunch. I found this no-knead recipe that is so easy, it seems silly not to make bread every day. Well, last night it was pizza. We also made flour tortillas the other night because, why not?

Ziggy is still cute.

Oliver has eaten avocados.

The boys still haven’t gone back to school in person yet – this week has been virtual. In theory they’ll go back to campus next week. (Mold issues, not COVID.) And soccer was supposed to start last week, but we’re waiting on that too. Hopefully soon!

So yeah. That’s about it for now. Yay for fall!