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!

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.

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.

Things other than pictures

While I’ve been posting a ton, it’s just been the daily photos, really. So I haven’t posted updates or anything. So let me get all caught up on that.

I posted about Lisbon already…

Kristina came to visit! We were chatting on the phone and I was expressing my stress about being overwhelmed by the mess that is my house. I didn’t even know where to start with getting it organized and decluttered. I swear this wasn’t my plan, but within hours she had booked a week-long trip to visit and help me out. I took some time off work, and we organized and cleaned and ate delicious food and also took a road trip with the boys!

The road trip was to Alexandria for Linus’s archery tournament, and then we drove another hour to Natchitoches because why not? We were so close!

Linus did really well in the archery tournament, especially considering he had only practiced a few times. He got the third highest score from his school!

I’ve signed the boys up for summer camp at LSMSA, which I’m very excited about. Less exciting is the thought of making the 8 hour round trip twice in a week.

Coming soon: Posts on my new wardrobe (like, the furniture, not clothes) and the Mardi Gras dress I made.

 

The Great Road Trip of 2019: Part 2 (off the road)

So I’ve already blogged about the two days we spent in NYC as well as the fun we had getting to Virginia. But most of our trip was actually IN Virginia and we did a lot there, so I need to post about that now!

So uh let’s see. We arrived in Virginia Thursday night and were all pretty exhausted. Dinner. Wine. Sleep.

Friday we walked to Chipotle for lunch. Then we got ready to go our first professional soccer game. The boys were very excited. We went to Audi Field to watch DC United play New England something. I can’t remember. The boys got free scarves! The sunset from the stadium was gorgeous. Anyway, ultimately the game ended in 2-2 but we didn’t mind because it was exciting.

Saturday, the boys and I drove to my sister’s in Clifton. It’s about half an hour from Kiki’s, and it’s a pretty drive if you take the shorter (I think) route but it’s also windy and hilly so I prefer to take the boring highway route. I know, it’s bad but what can I say?

I’m going to put the rest of this behind this link. There’s a lot.

Vegas, baby

Man, for someone who is going to be giving a talk on Making Blogging a Habit in three weeks, I’m not doing a stellar job, am I?

Well, I’m here to remedy that with a little recap of my trip to Las Vegas. It was Kristina’s 40th birthday trip, and I flew there Saturday morning to meet up with Kristina, Mike, and a few other couples that they’re friends with. (I joked that I was the 9th wheel, but I really never felt like it.)

I arrived early Saturday afternoon after a couple of thankfully uneventful flights. Got to the hotel and rested for a few minutes while I waited for Kristina to get back from another casino. The rooms at the Aria had automated lights and curtains, but I found the system somewhat buggy. I was just sitting there relaxing, and the TV and lights went off and the curtains closed. Oooookay. I guess they were trying to tell me to get out of there.

The view was nice, though…

IMG_2882

Basically, we ate a lot. Had lunch at a Mexican place in the Aria that had delicious pineapple margaritas. Then dinner at Bazaar Meat, where we ate a lot of amazing, um, meat. And Bill and Whitman surprised us by driving in from Los Angeles!

Sunday we had breakfast, then the ladies went to the spa. I didn’t get any treatments, but relaxed in the jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna. I also hung out in a “salt room” that was supposed to improve my upper respiratory system, or something. Whatever. It was chill.

That evening, we went to Ka, a Cirque du Soleil show. It was crazy. The set was immense. So fancy. After that, we ate at Yardbird, where I ate the most delicious fried chicken I’ve ever had in my entire life. Holy cow (or chicken.) So good.

Some more random photos from my trip…

Made it home last night without too much travel drama. Just a little bit.