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!

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.

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!)

Mardi Gras 2021: Moiras and the BBC

What a Mardi Gras we had!

All of the work we did on the house float and our costumes was so worth it. But I am exhausted, but want to get this down before I forget any of it.

Yesterday I posted this tweet with a video I made teasing our costumes and special throws:

That got the attention of a producer for BBC News who DMed me and asked if I’d be interested in doing a live interview later in the day.

So I spent the next four hours mildly freaking out. In the meantime, we had dozens of people walking by, taking pictures and cheering us on and getting our very special throws (custom Rosebud Motel/Krewe of Moiras keychains with glittered keys.) Steph was interviewed by the AP! (she’s much better at this kind of thing but you know my Anglophile heart wasn’t going to let anyone else do this BBC thing, sorry friends.)

Oh, and it was literally freezing. We had a hard freeze last night, and it was in the 20s standing out there all morning, but we were committed! Thank god I had a loose dress that I could put plenty of layers on under. And wigs and giant papal hats are also good for staying warm. (Life hack!)

Finally, it was time to do the interview, which was done via Zoom, and as usual, I couldn’t be still so I was kind of all over the place and it might make you nauseated. You’ve been warned.

Me during the interview, everyone posing in the background. hee hee!

Maybe the best part was getting a text from a friend in Ireland that said (I’m paraphrasing) “ARE YOU ON THE BBC RIGHT NOW?!?”

So yeah, it was live, too, no pressure. And hey, now I’ve been on the national news and international news!

Anyway, and then I was able to relax and have fun seeing all of the people coming by. People loved the house and our costumes, because the show brings people so much joy. If you haven’t started watching it yet, what are you waiting for?!?

Now I am exhausted and am going to sleep until next Mardi Gras. But the Krewe of Moiras will live on!

Mardi Gras 2021: The House Float

It’s almost Mardi Gras and my friends and I have been busy getting ready for it. I know what you’re thinking. “There aren’t any parades this year!” That’s true, but there are floats. House floats! And we have turned Stephanie and Chris’s house into one.

Let me back up a bit. Before we knew Mardi Gras was being “cancelled”, a bunch of friends had decided we were going to dress up on Mardi Gras day as the “Krewe of Moiras.” We had all binged Schitt’s Creek and were pretty obsessed with the show and let’s face it, the many looks of Moira Rose would make for great costumes.

And then the parades were cancelled, and COVID wasn’t getting any better, and walking around on Mardi Gras day didn’t seem like such a good idea anymore. And then someone in our neighborhood came up with the Krewe of House Floats and it spread across the city and now you can hear about it on CNN and other big news outlets.

So we decided to do a Rosebud Motel house float! And on Mardi Gras day we’ll be wearing our Moira costumes. We even have special throws for the day (but those will remain top secret for now.)

Full credit for the construction and painting go to Chris and Darrell. The girls helped but mostly bossed them around.

And now for a zillion pics of the house float…

If the weather cooperates, we’re going to visit the other Schitt’s Creek houses around town on Sunday in costume so you may get a sneak peek then!

PS If you’re local, the house is located at 504 Vallette in Algiers Point. Come see us and take a pic with our sign (be sure to tag it #kreweofmoiras!)

It’s February?!

How’d that happen? And I haven’t blogged in forever. So let’s see, how was January?

Lots of king cake, yum.

Lots of working on our house float, which is SO AWESOME I COULD DIE. (It’s not at my house, it’s at Chris and Stephanie’s house, and oh my lord it is so good. I want to do a complete post just on the house (also it will be getting more finishing touches) but here’s one that I haven’t posted on my Instagram:

So good. So good. And the Today Show camera people came by yesterday to film it, so you might see it there!

This is all leading up to Mardi Gras day, when we will be outside being the Krewe of Moiras, all dressed up and handing out very special throws. (Or tossing them from several feet away. Safely.) Follow #kreweofmoiras on Instagram so you can see how obsessed we all are with Schitt’s Creek. (A lot.)

I also spent a night in Baton Rouge this week to help my mom who had shoulder surgery. It was weird to be away from the boys. It’s been so long. I kind of missed them?!?!

This is kind of sad. I just looked through the pictures on my phone to see what I’ve been doing for the last three weeks, and it’s all photos from working on the house float and Ziggy. I’d say I need to get out more but that’s definitely not true.

Okay, here are a few. Got my new AirPod Pros for working at Automattic for 7 years! (Which was back in November but they took a while since they’re custom.)

Yeah I did the Bernie meme, and it got more likes on Instagram than any other post ever. Yeesh.

My contribution to the house float has been lots and lots and lots of paper roses.

Chilly weekend nights = firepit and Ziggy staring adoringly at George.

So yeah, I guess that’s it for now. Tomorrow is the monthly picture, and after that I’m hoping to have a post all about the house float.

46

Saturday was my birthday! I was kind of worried it would suck because, you know, the state of the world, but it was really lovely.

I woke up early to do a class on my Peloton. Back in November or so, I set a goal of getting to 500 rides by my birthday. When I made the goal, I was about 120 rides short of that. So it was very ambitious of me, but I made it!

Why did I care about this arbitrary goal? Because during live rides, you can get shout outs if it’s your birthday and/or if you hit a milestone. So I figured if I hit a milestone ON my birthday, my chances were good. But the class I was in had over 4000 participants. What were the chances the coach would call me out?

Quite good, as it happened! Yay!

I was in the shower after my ride when I heard Ziggy freaking out. George said someone he didn’t know was on the porch. It was my bread-baking frenemy Jimmy! He and his wife Julie were there dropping off a gift (also from Ren.) Very thoughtful of them. In a kind of passive-aggressive way.

The boys gave me cards (homemade cards is all I care about from them) which I can’t share because they’d kill me, but the general theme of them was this:

And George gave me some skincare that I wanted from a local company.

After all that, I went to run some errands (which is really just an excuse to talk to Kiki on the phone while I drive.) I had to pick up this framed print from a local artist:

And some other boring errands you don’t need to hear about.

Here are some presents Kiki gave me…are you sensing a theme? (The other ones are also Schitt’s Creek themed.)

After I put together dinner (lamb skewers that Kiki also sent and some sides I picked up from a restaurant), I went to Jenn’s house where we sat around her fire pit. (Safely of course.)

And they got me a cake! A tres leches king cake! Sooooo good. And beautiful!

Terry gave me this, continuing with the theme:

And then I went home, way too late and slept til 10 the next day, which was glorious.

2020, don’t let the door hit you on the way out

This is going to be a weird year-end recap. Let’s see.

January

I got to go to Lisbon! Thank god we planned our meetup for January, or my only trip (outside of Louisiana, anyway) in 2020 never would have happened. Also I turned 45 there. (My third birthday meetup since I started at Automattic.)

The boys finished up their season playing soccer for the school team, which ended in winning the championship! I adore this picture of Linus.

February

Kiki came to visit! Thank god. I’m so glad I got to see her this year at least once. We ate a lot and took a road trip to Alexandria and Natchitoches for Linus’s archery tournament.

Later in the month was Mardi Gras! Where we were probably all spreading COVID like crazy! I made a fun Mardi Gras dress. Maybe I’ll get to wear it again in 2022.

Also I got a new wardrobe from IKEA. I love it.

March

Well it started out okay. I had raised over $2000 for St. Baldrick’s and I was so ready for my hair chop scheduled for the end of the month. Yeah, that still hasn’t happened. I did get a haircut, but nothing too drastic. (You can still donate, you know!)

Friendship day at the beginning of March. Probably we were all spreading COVID like crazy here too.

I took two days off to spend with Linus and Miles, just like I’d done the year before. We ate lunch and escaped from rooms.

Two days before Oliver and I were supposed to have our day off, I was sitting at soccer practice waiting for the boys when I got a message from the school. It was going to be closed for the next two days because there was a possible connection to a COVID case. You know what happened next.

The rest of March was a lot of sewing, cooking, and watching movies.

Click here for the fun part of 2020

Schitt’s Creek and stretchy clothes

For the past few months, my friend Mary Catherine has been selling these workout clothes as a little side gig. I like to support my friends (and I like new leggings for riding my Peloton) so I agreed to host a Zyia party over on Facebook. But my condition was that of course it had to be Schitt’s Creek themed.

There are actually a lot of gifs that work for this, it was fun finding them.

Alexis running…
David doing squats…
Patrick and Stevie dancing…
And some hiking!

So if you’re interested in checking it out, join us over on Facebook!

And if you just want to peruse the catalog and skip all the fun gifs (and Facebook), you can go straight to the source and just shop from the Zyia website.

P.S. I have a pair of the leggings and they really are very soft and high waisted (which I like) and comfy.

Good things

My sourdough starter is thriving. I decided it was time to name it. Introducing…

Moira Doughs

Well, you just have to wait for me to bake something. I made popovers last night.

Sleep meditations

I have a hard time falling asleep. Or I did, until I started doing sleep meditations at bedtime. It’s magic, I swear! Instead of my mind racing, I actually fall asleep, usually before the 5 or 10 minute meditation is over. I use the meditations from the Peloton app as well as the Ten Percent app (which my company pays for, which is extremely generous of them.)

Talented friends

My friend Zandy is doing this Inktober thing where she has a prompt every day to draw something. Last week, she drew Ziggy! (The inspiration pic is here.)

Making everyone I know watch Schitt’s Creek

I’ve forced strongly recommended that my coworkers watch it, and at least one was very skeptical and by the end he was, and I quote, “chopping onions.” I am here to spread the joy! Look, I get it. It took me like six months to watch the first season. But then I powered through season 2, and by season 3 I was all in. And now I have these.

If you haven’t watched it yet, and you like to laugh, and you like to have some joy in your life, just do yourself a favor and watch it already. You won’t regret it. It’s exactly what you need in these trying times. All six seasons are on Netflix, you really have no excuse.