This & That – April Edition

I found a new mystery series by Becky Masterman. I tore through Rage Against the Dying and am now working on #2 Fear the Darkness.

Spring weather has hit and it’s so nice to enjoy our sun room again. The cats have been enjoying the sun room, too. Watching the birds and squirrels. We even got out and started cleaning up the yard, racking up some leftover leaves, getting rid of sticks. In the process, discovered that we have some rhubarb growing! Pie is in our future.

We went to Reiman Garden’s Easter Egg Hunt. The long line went fast. I loved how they organized it: empty plastic eggs to find, then the kids turn in the eggs for a goodie bag. While there, we wandered some of the gardens and, of course, checked out which butterflies were hatching. Isn’t this one gorgeous?

This & That – March Edition

I’m learning Inkscape. After adding up the monthly cost for using Adobe products, I’m having a hard time justifying the cost for a hobby. I find myself spending at least half my design time searching out tutorials or videos to show how to do a specific action in the program. Now a month in, I feel like I’ve gotten a handle on the basics.

I added a lot of these books from the Modern Mrs. Darcy’s post on 20 books to take you around the world to my “to-read” list. First up is Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr. (He wrote one of my all time favorite books All the Light We Cannot See.)

I finally hung up some quilts in my sewing room. I need to create a mini quilt to fill in that one last bit of white space. The quilt on the left is the first quilt I ever made!


This & That – February Edition

I’m a big detective novel reader. But every once in a while I try to stretch myself. And my kids are good enough readers now, that I’ve started to involve them in this. In January, we read through Science Magazine’s Top 10 Breakthroughs of 2016. Now we’re reading a little bit of poetry. I’ve had “Map: Collected and Last Poems” by Wislawa Szymborska on my to-read list for awhile and finally picked it up at the library. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But the majority of them are short one-page poems, so the boys and I have been reading one or two each night. I’m pretty thrilled that they enjoy them.

Every week I look forward to Shutterbean’s “I love lists” post. Some of my favorite links these past couple of weeks: pictures of frozen Lake Baikal, this article on making friends at any time of your life, and words to ban from your vocabulary. I enjoy finding reading and seeing things through her eyes and occasionally find a new blog to follow or recipes our family ends up loving.

This winter I decided to do a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). We get a weekly bag of greens and a dozen eggs. We can also order off the al a carte menu. I love when I make a CSA meal. This past week was a breakfast casserole with leftover sour dough bread, sausage, kale and eggs. The only thing I added that was non-CSA was some sharp cheddar. Delicious!

We take Sunday walks. Some beautiful things can be found in the dead of winter.

Frozen leaves.

Frozen leaves

These Canadian Geese were hanging out on the lake right where the frozen lake became unfrozen. Very cool…and then my kids scared them to the other side.

Canadian Geese hanging out

Alison Glass Challenge

Quilting Jetgirl started off the New Year with an Alison Glass fabric challenge. Well…I’ve kind of loved Alison Glass’ fabric for a long time. However I did not realize the extent of this love. As I went through my stash, I had a good pile of fabric – enough to narrow down to a specific palette. So I chose purple, teal and lime green and brought in a black Michael Miller solid for my background. (And I realized about half-way through that one of the lime fabrics was Tula Pink 😉

And what did I decide to make?

Pattern is Green Apples by Lisa Walton, pieced by Jenn Rodriguez

The pattern is “Crisp Apples” by Lisa Walton which you can find in Modern Quilts Unlimited, Summer 2013. Yes, I’ve had my eye on this pattern for a long time and this was the perfect pattern to showcase AG fabric.

The quilt I did before this had 9 seams in total and so this was quite a change. I started with 168 half-square triangles. Piecing-intensive!

There was also a point during construction where my mantra was “trust the pattern”. I didn’t think the colors were placed well or would work well together. “Trust the pattern, trust the pattern”.

Linking up to #QuiltingJetgirlAGChallenge

This & That – January Edition

In December, I found myself stressed out by too many sewing projects. Rope baskets for Christmas presents, a twin-sized quilt, start of another quilt and then I found myself preparing 3 quilts for QuiltCon. Just a little too much. So I started using my evenings after work a little differently. 20-30 minutes working on my projects, which I prioritized. I finally feel like I’ve pulled myself out. Christmas presents given, quilts shipped, binding on the twin quilt and there’s now time to piece the second quilt.

My husband gave me a potato ricer and gnocchi roller for Christmas. I miss good gnocchi from our 2 years in Italy, so I figured I could learn how to make it. Turned out great! And the real test was my kids ate them.gnocchi

I’ve been reading the Colette blog for awhile. I really enjoyed this recent post on tools vs. process. I started following the blog as I’ve been contemplating sewing clothing (for about 2 years now) and I like their style. But what got me hooked was their behind-the-scenes series of how they get from an idea to a pattern (part 1 and part 2). Fascinating!

I read Little Labors by Rivka Galchen. I want to use the book’s colors in a quilt. (The book was good, too. And I really appreciate the short vignettes about motherhood. I needed short bites after all the holiday craziness.)


Over our Christmas trip, we listened to Serial Season 2 podcast. This season explored the Bowe Bergdahl case, the soldier who was held captive by the Taliban for 5 years. One thing I really appreciated is hearing the whole story together. I found that I had missed a lot of the events and only hearing snippets in the news does not give you a complete picture. Also, being in a military family I had a lot of prejudice (or maybe prejudgement) because of the military culture I’m immersed in. Eye-opening for sure and the Serial staff do such a great job of telling a story.