Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wedding Photo Video

I made this primarily for our parents, so I could put it onto a DVD and give it to them for Christmas, but it turned out so nice I decided to post it here and on facebook so other people could see it too.  I think it really captures what our wedding was like.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Word for 2012

My word for 2009 was Passion.  My word for 2010 was Love.  I don't think I did a word for 2011, but looking back on the year, I would say that the word would be Anticipation or something to that effect.  So what should my word for 2012 be?  There are a few contenders that I'm considering right now and I will come up with a winner before Jan 1, but here's what I have so far and the reasons behind them...

1. Relax - I get so anxious about things sometimes.  Paranoid, even.  And I always think I should be doing something productive, even to the point of feeling guilty when I'm just sitting around doing nothing.  Of course, most of my current hobbies are fairly productive, so that helps.  I find it pretty relaxing to sew, knit, and crochet, and they are productive because I'm making something!  Maybe my word for 2012 needs to remind me to relax and enjoy life.  To take it as it comes.  To not get anxious or worried about things I can't control.

2. Organize - Pretty much the opposite of the previous word, right?  I need to get organized and stay that way. I have all these ideas on how to organize our home and our lives, but they never actually happen because I'm too "busy" to keep it going.  What's funny is, this is not a problem in a work environment, just at home.  Perhaps I need to focus on that this year.

3. Family - I have my natural family... mom, dad, Gina and her family.  And now I have Jon and the dogs.  And Jon's family.  Getting to know family members, some for the first time and some all over again, could be a great focus for this year.  I realized I've lost touch a little at Christmas when I thought Hannah was two years younger than she actually is!  I guess I missed the last two years.  :(  Well, I have been pretty busy.  Lol.

4. Focus - Rather than jumping from project to project, from idea to idea... perhaps I need some focus in my life.  I'm good at this at work, but not so much at home.  I will start a knitting project, for example, and then see something else that looks fun and awesome and start it too.  This leads to more unfinished projects than I have space for and a feeling of failure because I can't manage to finish anything!  And now with sewing becoming another fun thing for me to do, I can already tell I'm going to have the same problem there!

So, any thoughts on which word I should choose?  I'm open to suggestions for other words as well.  For some reason, I'm having a hard time coming up with a great one.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Goodbye, 2011 - possibly the greatest year ever!

And now for my annual recap of the year.  I feel pretty blessed to have had the experiences I have this year, and I am excited to see what will happen next.  I'm in such a great place in my life right now, and when I look back on years past, I can see the path to this moment.  And it makes me happy to see what all I've been through to get to this point.  I have to thank God for bringing me through everything and blessing me with what I have now.

January - The year started with travel for CPSI.  I was still very happy to have a job, but I knew the travel would become an issue before long.  My first trip was to Bunkie, LA.  We stayed at a super-nice casino and the hospital was small and friendly.  The application didn't work, but it was still a fairly pleasant experience.  Four of us went, two from our training class and two more seasoned employees.  I learned a lot from the experience.

February - What an eventful month!  February brought with it a ring and a house!  Jon proposed on Valentine's Day after a lovely dinner at Macaroni Grill.  He did it at our apartment, where we exchanged gifts.  There was a cute teddy bear in my gift bag and I loved it so much that I didn't even see the little box at the bottom of the gift bag!  He got down on one knee and proposed.  Kaylee was our witness.  It was exactly as it should have been.  Shortly after the grand proposal, we moved to a house.  Renting for the time being, but planning to buy.  We painted some of the walls, which was actually a lot of fun, and are planning to do more at some point.  Hopefully.  I also took a trip to Texas in February.  Fort Stockton was a neat little town and I actually enjoyed some of my time there.  Travel was beginning to wear thin, however, and I knew I would need to be home more for wedding planning.

March - This month took me back to Texas for another week.  I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, my sister, and Hannah.  It was so much fun, but a little overwhelming.  I have photos of me in a bunch of different dresses, but they are currently on a computer that I can't access.  My laptop cord bit the dust and I haven't been able to purchase a new one yet.  :(  I ordered a dress online, one I hadn't tried on, so I was pretty nervous about it fitting correctly and everything.  I also started working on my wedding wrap because I knew I would need something to go over my arms since the dress was sleeveless.  I went to Oregon this month too - and endured the worst travel experience I had ever had.  The hotel was nasty.  I mean seriously nasty.  Dirty sheets, smelled of pet urine and moth balls, and the carpet felt greasy on my feet.  I slept in my clothes and put a hoodie over my pillow.  Slept on top of the covers, too.  In addition to the nasty hotel, I also caught the flu while at the hospital training the doctors.  I knew it was the flu, but our primary (the person in charge) kept saying it wasn't.  I got sicker and sicker, and his excuse for it not being the flu was that I would be in bed and unable to get up.  I told him I would rather be up and at the hospital than in that nasty hotel bed.  Oh, and someone banged on my door in the middle of the night one night, screaming for Joe to come out and face her.  I told her through the door that there was no Joe in the room.  She didn't believe me - kept screaming.  I threatened to call the police and that's when she stopped banging on the door.  Seriously.  This was a crazy place.  Oregon was beautiful, though, and I got to see my first REAL snow - you know, enough to actually stick to the ground, enough to build a snowman.  I didn't build one, though.  I was too sick.  (it was the flu, by the way - I went to a doctor when I got home)  After getting over the flu, I got on the plane and went to Oklahoma.  It was interesting.  Not much to say about that trip other than that we had fun and went to a cool winery.  I bought a bottle of wine that I intended to drink on our wedding day, but it didn't happen.  So I still have it!  :)

April - Jon traveled for work during April and May.  He came home on weekends, but it was still very hard.  Had a work trip to Florida and spent the evening at Panama City Beach.  That was pretty fun.  This trip was only a couple of hours away from home, so that wasn't bad.

May - Probably my favorite trip of all, I went to New Mexico.  It was beautiful out there.  The hospital was not so bad either, although there were some issues getting the application working.  We drove to Roswell one day and spent some time in the UFO Museum.  It was fun.  We settled on bridesmaids dresses in May, and everything started to feel VERY REAL for the wedding.

June - I knew I wouldn't be able to keep traveling like that, so I looked for and got a new job in May/June.  Back in my field, although not exactly ideal, this position allowed me to do what I needed it to do - I was at home every evening with my love and the dog!  We started talking about getting a new puppy for Kaylee to play with, and at the end of June, we adopted Simon from the Animal Rescue Foundation.  It was so much fun having a new dog in the house, and he is still so much fun to have!  They play together so nicely.  And sometimes not so nicely, lol.  We also went fishing with my parents once during June, on the same day that a wildfire consumed a large portion of the Gulf State Park.  I took some photos showing the plume of smoke. It was sad to see all those beautiful natural wetlands burn.  Oh, and right at the beginning of the month, I fell through a rotten board on our back porch.  Trip to the ER, x-rays, etc... all for some bruises.  I really could have just stayed home.  Oh well.

July - We went to Bellingrath with my parents and my sister's kids, took our engagement photos, took Noah to see Harry Potter, and got our passports!

August - We did so much wedding stuff in August.  Got the website finished, recruited victims... er... people to do stuff for the ceremony and reception, reserved the tuxedos, shoe shopping with bridesmaids, flower girl dress, etc.  We also paid off my car!  YAY!  Oh, and we ordered our wedding rings, which was super exciting.  Near the end of the month, we sent out invitations.

September - This month brought our 3-year anniversary of first contact.  I located his first words to me and my first words to him.  It was interesting finding those messages and seeing how we've grown in our relationship and what it has become.  I'm so happy I decided to return that message!  It led to the bliss I felt throughout our relationship and especially now.  We did a lot of final wedding stuff during September, and started getting RSVPs from guests.  I started freaking out a little about the upcoming wedding and all the stuff we still had to do.

October - One of the best things we did this month (besides getting married, of course!) was to take some time out to take the dogs to the botanical gardens for an afternoon.  We took photos and walked through the gardens, and didn't talk or think about wedding stuff.  It was so great to get away from the insanity for a moment and just be us.  I finished knitting my wrap about 2 weeks before the wedding, so that was nice.  I was so glad to have it finished!  And now I don't want to knit anything for awhile!  I ordered a new dress to wear for the Halloween party on our honeymoon cruise, and to wear at the Renaissance Faire.  It was gorgeous and I was so excited to have it!  There's a huge recap of wedding weekend, so I won't reiterate any of that here, but I do want to mention... we got married in October!  Also went on a cruise for our honeymoon - a first for both of us!  It was awesome - both wedding and honeymoon - and I am so glad we did it exactly the way we did it.  No regrets at all.

November - The cruise lasted into November, and when we got home, there were wedding gifts to open!  That was fun.  We finished out our registry with gift cards and cash we got for the wedding, and I got on the thank you notes right away - wanting to get that done before holiday insanity started.  Our photos were going to be delayed because our photographer was having a family crisis, but we did have a few shots from friends and family members to tide us over.  November brought my 35th birthday, and for my birthday Jon got me a sewing machine!  I have had so much fun with it!  And I think he is having fun watching me make stuff.  He just sort of randomly wanders over to my sewing area and watches me for a few minutes.  He also helps sometimes.  He likes to cut fabric and sometimes he will press fabric for me too, which I think is very sweet.  I got a book and some notions and a couple of small pieces of fabric and started practicing.  By the end of the month, I had made two pillow covers for our couch pillows, and an eye pillow filled with rice (to soothe tired eyes) I got some patterns for skirts, tops, dresses, and a few costume patterns that will need to wait until later!  (a Renaissance dress and an Elizabethan dress)  I'm starting with the skirts, lol.  We went to the Renn Faire, which is a yearly tradition.  It was awesome, as usual.  Thanksgiving was nice.  Splitting time with different families was interesting and a little difficult, but we figured it out.  We got our first Christmas tree together and put it up - and decorated the house.  It was so much fun, and really nice when we were finished.

December - We both spent most of this month dealing with sinus infections, ear infections, etc.  But that didn't stop us from enjoying Christmas as much as we could!  Our first Christmas in our house, first Christmas as a married couple, etc.  It was awesome.  And so ends the year 2011.  Engagement and wedding year.  The best year I've had in a very long time.  Maybe ever.  I don't remember ever being this happy.

Looking forward to seeing what's in store for 2012!

Friday, December 23, 2011


I'm feeling very nostalgic this Christmas season, which you could probably tell from my "Christmas Memories" posts.  Maybe nostalgic isn't quite the right word.  I'm not yearning for the past, but I'm trying to remember it as much as I can.  I think I put my finger on the reason this morning while driving to work.  At this point in my life, I am closer to that time in the lives of my parents than I have ever been.  My memories of childhood are the memories my parents have from their thirties and forties.  Being 35 now, and married, I feel closer to them than ever, simply because I remember them at this age and what they did for us.  Being married and talking about the future, the family we will have one day, is making me want to remember my past and the family I came from, so that I will never forget what my parents did to make my childhood so warm, loving, and special.  I always felt safe, always felt protected, and never felt unsettled.  I never felt like there was a crisis or a problem, even when we had lean years on the farm and there wasn't as much money as there normally was.  When my mother was 35, I was 7 years old.  I remember thinking she was the most beautiful person on the planet, and my dad was the smartest.

I am making myself remember these things because I want to be the same kind of mother my mom was to me.  And when we start trying to have children (and when we do, we will NOT be telling people because frankly, it's nobody's business until the stick shows two lines - or a plus mark or whatever those sticks say these days, lol) I want to keep in mind the lessons my parents taught us through simply being good people.

Lessons I carry with me to this day:
- Be kind and compassionate with everyone.  You never know what someone may be going through at any given time.
- It really is better to give than to receive.  Give more than you get, because you will be happier in the end.
- Keep God in your life and talk to Him often.
- Family is important.  Keep them close to your heart, even when they can't be close to you physically.
- And so many other lessons I can't even repeat all of them.

So I want to take this moment to thank my parents for being so great.  Not everyone had parents like I did, which makes me even more grateful for my childhood.  I want my children to say that about us one day on their blogs or whatever they do in the future!  I truly believe they will.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

No-Spend January

I’ve been seeing a lot about having a “no-spend” month online lately, and Jon and I have made a commitment to this challenge in January, 2012. We are hoping it will help us jump-start our credit card payoff plan and help us take charge of our budget a little better. Our goal is to buy a house for each other for Christmas next year, so we want to do everything we can to make that happen, which means getting the debt GONE! I will be blogging about this just to keep track of our thoughts and feelings, as well as the progress.  I think an exercise like this is exactly what we need, as we have both always been pretty free with our spending - if we have it, we can spend it - and we really need to focus on saving right now.

Here are the rules we created. You can feel free to make up your own.
  1. No spending on items that are not groceries or other necessities.
  2. No going out to eat except for one weekly date night.
  3. All entertainment should be free, or if there is a charge, it has to be under $10 for both of us and can only be once a week.
  4. Write down ALL spending and categorize for future budgeting.
  5. No unnecessary car trips to save on gas.
  6. No online shopping.
  7. Plan meals and stick with them - allow leftovers for lunches so that there is no “going out” for lunch.
  8. Emergencies, doctor visits, vet visits, do not count. If something comes up that needs to be taken care of, it will be - health is more important than money.
  9. At the end of the month, evaluate feelings and thoughts about the process and make a new budget for the year based on the findings.
As you can see, this will also help with weight loss goals, as meal planning will include healthy meals rather than restaurant food which is always pretty high in calories, etc.
Any money saved will go toward the payoff of the credit card we are working to pay off right now.
So who’s with me? No-Spend January? Anyone??

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Knitter's Night Before Christmas

I saw this on and had to share.  It's absolutely adorable.  I didn't do any Christmas knitting this year, but the year I learned to knit, I made washcloths for each of my aunts and wrapped them around a little bottle of bubble bath.  They are crafty people themselves, so they appreciated the gift.  I am sorry I don't have the author or an original blog post to attribute, but after about 45 minutes of google searching to find these things, I gave up.  So it's "Author Unknown" for now, and I would like to say, if the author happens to read this for some reason, it really made my day.  Thanks!

A Knitter's Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
Was unfinished knitting not under the tree.
The stockings weren’t hung by the chimney with care
’cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
but I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep; he was no help at all,
And the sweater for him was six inches too small.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.
Away to the window, I flew like a flash,
Tripped over my yarn and fell down with a crash.

The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how much I still had to go.
Out on my lawn, I heard such a noise,
I thought it would wake both dad and the boys.

And though I was tired, my brain was a bit thick,
I knew in a moment, it must be Saint Nick.
But what I heard then left me perplexed-ed,
For not a name I heard was what I had expected
“move, Ashford; move, Lopi; move, Addie and Clover
Move, Reynolds; move, Starmore; move, Fraylic–move over”
“Paton, don’t circle round; stand in line.

Come now, you sheep wool work just fine!
I know this is hard semi, it’s just your first year,
I’d hate to go back to eight tiny reindeer.”
I peered over the sill; what I saw was amazing,
Eight woolly sheep on my lawn all a’grazing.

And then,in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa’s feet coming across the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet,
And as I turned round, Saint Nick, I did meet.

He was dressed all in wool from his head to his toe
And his clothes were handknit from above to below.
A bright Fairisle sweater he wore on his back,
and his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack.
His cap was a wonder of bobbles and lace,
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.

The scarf round his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
The back of his mittens bore an intricate cable,
And suddenly on one I spied a small label.
SC was duplicate stitched on the cuff,
and I asked “Hey Nick, did you knit all this stuff?”

He proudly replied “Ho-ho-ho, yes I did,
I learned how to knit when I was a kid.”
He was chubby and plump, a quite well-dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself for I’d thought up a plan.

I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew he was tied to a chair.
He spoke not a word, but looked in his lap
Where I’d laid my needles and yarn for a cap.

He quickly began knitting, first one cap then two;
For the first time I thought I’d really get through.
He put heels on the stockings and toes in some socks
While I sat back drinking Scotch on the rocks!!

So quickly like magic, his needles they flew,
That he was all finished by quarter to two.
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
And I heard him exclaim as he sailed past the moon
“Next year start your knitting sometime around June.”

-Author Unknown

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Memories (kindness)

Just after I turned 14, my dad had an accident.  He was at work and something very heavy fell on his leg, breaking it in a few places.  He had to wear a cast and was unable to work for several months.  Being self-employed, he didn't have vacation or sick time to spend.  We didn't have very much money coming in at all during those months, and we knew it was going to be a small Christmas.  Being 14 and 16 years old, my sister and I were old enough to be okay with this, and we all decided to just focus on spending time together and not worry too much about gifts.  We went to bed on Christmas Eve expecting nothing to open in the morning. We were so wrong!  Sometime during the night, a church member came to our house.  They brought all the food needed for Christmas dinner.  They also brought gifts.  When we woke up on Christmas morning, there were more beautifully wrapped gifts under our tree than there ever had been!  Beautiful gifts like bracelets and earrings, useful things like clothes, and fun items like albums for popular bands and other entertainment.  And gifts for our parents - some nice things for my mom that she never got to buy like expensive lotions and bubble bath, and some fun things for our dad - I think I remember a fishing rod and reel or something like that, which was very exciting for him!  When I saw that amazing pile of gifts and found out where they came from, it made me realize that there were people who cared about us.  We were never "needy," but they knew we wouldn't have much of a Christmas that year and they wanted to give us something that would make us happy.

I will never forget that as long as I live - not because of the gifts themselves, but because of the feeling we had when we woke up that morning and realized that an entire congregation cared enough to plan this special surprise for us.

Every year since then, I have adopted an "angel" from an angel tree.  Whether it is through work or by myself, I have always done this because I remember what it feels like to be a kid and receive an unexpected surprise on Christmas.  It was a special feeling that I want to make sure others experience too.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pro Wedding Pics!

We got our professional wedding photos this week.  I'm happy to say I love them very much!  Here are a few of my favorites so far:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Memories (bikes)

I remember the year my sister and I both got bikes for Christmas.  I'm not sure which year it actually was, but I remember going out to the tree that morning and there were two bikes sitting beside it.  We were so excited!  Because we lived so far away from everyone, and because it wasn't too terribly cold outside, I remember that we went straight outside in our PJs to ride our new bikes.  We had so much fun that day, and for a long time afterward, riding our bikes down the long dirt driveway that led from the road to our house.  We would go on adventures with our bikes, all over the farm land that we owned, even through the areas that our dad never farmed.  They were not our first bikes ever, but they were our first "real" ones.  And our first new ones.  It meant so much to have that kind of freedom and to have something so nice.  Our parents always tried so hard to give us everything we wanted.  What's funny now is the thing I remember most is now what we got, but the looks on their faces when we so obviously enjoyed a gift.  I hope I never forget that happy look as long as I live.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


We are both sick right now.  Sinus issues, etc.  I went to the doctor yesterday and Jon went to the doctor today.  We actually got the same antibiotic and everything.  Funny how we ended up sick at the same time with non-contagious stuff.  Kind of sucks to both be sick at the same time, but on the other hand, it's also nice that we are both getting the illness out of the way so that when we start feeling better we can both feel better.  If that makes sense!

So yay for antibiotics and cough medicine that sometimes makes me hallucinate!  Hopefully we can start feeling better soon.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Memories (traditions)

Christmas was always magical for us.  Not because of Santa or reindeer or whatever, but because Christmas was a time filled with traditions that made our time magical.  My dad wasn't as busy during that time of the year, so he was able to spend more time with us.  We baked cookies and cakes and took them to people we knew from church.  We spent time at the nursing home with our "adopted grandparents."  (residents who didn't have family that we would go visit once a month and on special occasions.)  Spending time with elderly people who were lonely because their own family abandoned them was a great way to put things into perspective.  I always loved going to the nursing home and singing to the residents, or just bringing a wrapped pair of socks or a bathrobe to a lady or man who needed a gift.

And we would take part in Christmas activities at church, including a drama/music program and caroling the weekend before Christmas.  I loved caroling.  We would all load up in cars or vans, dressed in sweaters, scarves and mittens (even if it was 70 degrees out) and we would visit certain people and sing carols for them.  Everyone had some kind of treat ready for us when we got there, and we ended the night with hot chocolate and doughnuts at the church fellowship hall.

A few weeks before Christmas, we would go over to my grandmother's house (on my dad's side) and help her decorate.  She had the coolest silver Christmas tree and this rotating light that she pointed at it, which would shine different colors onto the silver tree.  It looked like Christmas in outer space.  I loved that tree, and would just sit there and stare at it for hours.  After we helped her decorate, we would go see the other grandparents.  They had a massive real tree every year, and all the local grandkids came to help decorate it.  We each had a ceramic angel ornament with our name on it.  Mine had brown hair and green eyes, and wore a light pink dress.  We would each be allowed to hang our own angel ornament onto the tree.  It was always so special to unwrap that angel and pick the perfect spot for her to sit on the tree.  The grandkids who had to come from far away got to hang theirs on the tree on Christmas Eve when we would gather to celebrate.

We spent Christmas Eve at the grandparents houses.  First on my dad's side, then on my mom's side.  Everyone always did something small for each of the kids, so we left with lots of candy, cookies, handmade items and trinkets, and of course, toys.  As we got older, the gifting stopped, but the spirit was the same.  There was always love and happiness in the room whenever we gathered.  On my mom's side, someone would always be able to play piano, so we would sing carols and read the Christmas Story from the Bible before opening gifts.  And of course, we had lots of amazing food!  A Christmas Feast!

Christmas morning at our house was always an exciting event.  Since Gina and I were so close in age, we often got the same gifts.  One year we both got bikes, one year stereos, etc.  There are so many photos of us in our new Christmas pajamas surrounded by our identical gifts.  Our parents always tried to make sure everything was equal.  :)

After all my grandparents passed away, the traditions changed somewhat.  We don't go over there on Christmas Eve anymore.  We actually meet up with my parents at their house.  Gina and Rob bring the kids and we all open gifts together after eating the same Christmas feast.  This year, I have a new family member to contribute - Jon.  Maybe next year we will have another new family member.  (fingers crossed!)

Just because the traditions have changed, that doesn't mean they are not still magical and wonderful.  Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  Not because I get gifts, because honestly I could do without gifts. But because everyone seems a little happier, a little more peaceful, and a little more generous than they normally do.  Because Christmas is a time of singing and spending time with people you love.  Because you have days off from work to spend with people who matter to you.  Because there is an important reason for the celebration - the birth of Christ.  It's just magical.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Memories (baby dolls)

The first Christmas I can remember was when my sister and I both got dolls.  I don't know how old we were or what kind of dolls they were, but I remember getting a "baby doll" and being its mommy.  I can remember giving him a name and treating him like a real baby for something like a year after getting him.

I felt like a mommy - like I had someone to take care of who depended on me.  I didn't cut corners either, I changed and fed him when it was needed and I rocked him to sleep every night.  It was such a special gift, because I believe it woke up a maternal instinct within me (even as young as I was) that has lived on even to today.  I still love taking care of people, and if someone would let me, I would rock and sing them to sleep every night.  :)

Friday, December 09, 2011


Last night, I was bored.  I haven't been bored for awhile.  There was no real reason for the boredom, I had TV  I could watch and conversations that could be had and sewing to be done and a knitting project to work on, but I was bored.

I think I've had too much time to be in my head lately.  When I'm at work, I can think about other things because work isn't really very mentally challenging.  So I can think out everything I need to think out, and when I get home, I don't really have anything else to think about.

I need to start a big project.  Something I can really sink my teeth into.  Maybe sewing a garment.  Or knitting something big.  Or writing.  I need to get back to writing.  That creative outlet has basically gone away and I want it back.  Maybe I should start dedicating some time every day to working on the fantasy series again.  In fact, that's exactly what I'm going to do.  I need to get back to that world.  I miss it.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Christmas decorating!

Our first Christmas as The Powells and in our house.  We had so much fun decorating!  Here are some photos of the house with decorations.  We did a real tree with blue lights and silver, blue, and white ornaments.  I love the sparkly snowflakes!  In the archway from the living room to the dining room, we twisted some lights around some garland and draped that with a silver bow in the middle.  Check out the blue glowing snowman, the stocking I made Jon last year, and the Christmas gift cookie jar on the corner shelf!  We also did some colorful lights in the dining room curtains and I love how that looks!

And the last photo is of my little winter pillow covers.  I think the dogs have claimed them!  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

First sewing project

My first sewing project is now completely finished!  I just had to share these photos, because I'm so proud of how great these pillows look!  (And because the dogs are so cute. I think they like the new pillows too.)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Journal Topic: My life today

My life today...

I have no complaints today.  There is nothing wrong in my life today.  I have a job that, while sometimes frustrating and not exactly ideal, is a job nonetheless and I'm doing something I love to do with good people who seem to like and respect me.  I have a home with lots of space, filled with things I like to use and things I like to do.  I have two furbabies who are like children - in that they frustrate and fascinate me at the same time.  They are loving, rambunctious, sweet, crazy, and have their own personalities and ways of doing things.  I have a wonderful family and a great set of friends and acquaintances.  I have hobbies that enrich my life and my brain.  I have lots of creative projects in the works, and I am always trying to learn new things.

And last, but certainly not least, I am married to the most amazing man on the planet.  Seriously, if I had been able to build the perfect man, he would be just like Jon.  He's intelligent, kind, loving, and gentle.  He has a great sense of humor.  He's handsome, playful, and compassionate.  We love spending time together.  We have some fun little inside jokes and games we like to play - we love playing with words - using puns and such to amuse each other.  We will do that until we are laughing so hard we can't even talk anymore.  Nobody else in the whole world would be this amused at our little jokes, but we totally are.  I love that about us.

So yes, right now I have no complaints.  I've been through a lot in the past 15 years.  Some would say too much for any one person.  But it has all led me to this place where I have no complaints.  And that's pretty awesome.

Sew Much Fun

So Jon got me a sewing machine for my birthday, and I've been having a lot of fun learning how to do simple things.  Having absolutely no previous experience with sewing, I got a good beginner book: Me and My Sewing Machine, and read it cover to cover before getting started.  I also found a great youtube channel, The Crafty Gemini, which has video tutorials for some simple beginner projects.  She also has a blog here on Blogger.

I've used two of her tutorial videos to make small projects and it has been so much fun.  They are far from perfect, but for first attempts, I think they are pretty good!

I have these pillows that I bought to take to college with me (the first time I went in 1995) because they were cute and went with my sun, moon, stars comforter that I had just purchased.  I still have the comforter and I still have the pillows.  They have recently become pillows for the dogs, so they are pretty hairy.  Even after washing, they had dog fur on them, so I thought I might make some covers for them - removable so they can be washed - and in a seasonal pattern to go with our Christmas decorations.  I found this video and watched it all the way through, then started following the instructions.  The photos shows the result - pretty pillow cover right beside old pillow.  Sadly, after washing, these pillows were in such bad shape that I've decided not to use them after all.  Must go buy a pillow form that fits my new cover!  A trip for the weekend!  Then I will do the other one and these pillows will sit on our couch all year round, with new covers for every season and/or occasion!  Yes, I intend to make a bunch of different ones!

Last night, I had to work late.  When I got home, I found a post-it on the door telling me to check my computer chair.  I went inside and found a cutting mat sitting on my chair with a post-it on it telling me to look in my yarn basket.  Inside my yarn basket was a square ruler and a post-it telling me to go to my stocking.  I found inside my stocking a rotary cutter and a note telling me "merry early Christmas."  My husband is so amazing!  Oh, and he was also in the kitchen cooking dinner!  So here are my early Christmas gifts, which I took advantage of last night.

Again, I consulted my new friend, The Crafty Gemini, and discovered this quick and simple project that actually incorporates some great techniques that I hadn't learned before.  There are actually three parts to this tutorial, but it's totally worth it to watch all three before starting, then go through it step-by-step while you do what she does.  Finished product: an eye pillow made from some pieces of fabric I purchased all bundled together when I first started playing with my machine, and an old head scarf that I have no current use for, but is a really nice material for the back of an eye pillow.
So those are my first two projects.  I really like sewing so far, and I think it will be a fun and useful hobby.  Now to learn how to hem pants...

Oh, and just for fun, here are some of my first attempts at some of the stitches on my machine.  I know they are not quite straight, but for a first attempt, I'm feeling pretty good about them!