Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quilting Projects

As mentioned in a previous post, I have been working on finishing up some quilting projects before our move. One of them, the Quilted Flag Wall-hanging, I have been working on since I was at Ramstein in 2003!
I was hoping to have it done before we moved but it's got one
more step - hand-sewing the binding and hanging sleeve down. Maybe I'll get it done while I'm at the beach when there will be other people around to watch the Little Guy...

The other one is the quilt for my best friend. Again, I've been working on it for quite a while...never again will I tell someone I'm making a quilt for them. It creates too much pressure. I'd rather just let them be surprised if/when I get it done and it's ready for gifting...

For the blue quilt I tried some new things...instead of "stitch in the ditch" I drew lines (which you can still see in the picture) and sewed an "X" in each square. Then, I really went out of my comfort zone by "meandering" in the large outer border. In the picture you can see the "Xs" on the front and the meandering on the back. I used white thread for the meandering so you actually can't see it on the front - that was in case I messed up (which of course I did, but only in a few places.) Overall, I think it turned out well - especially for my first effort. I still need to attach the binding and then sew it down. Not sure if I will get either done before the move but I'd like to at least get the binding sewn on. Maybe I'll even finish it before her next birthday in July...that'd be great!
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

One of the things I love about Memorial Day and other "patriotic" holidays is putting out our little flags. This year the Little Guy got to help!

For the past several days I have been reading different articles, posts and tweets concerning Memorial Day. On top of that there were of course all the usual ads for "Memorial Day Sales." On Sunday, at a barbecue with some friends we talked a bit about the difference between Memorial Day, Veteran's Day and Armed Forces Day. As you may know, Armed Forces Day (21 May 11) is a day to honor those who serve in our Armed Forces; Veteran's Day (11 Nov) is a day to remember those who have served in our Armed Forces; and Memorial Day (last Monday in May) is a day to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice while serving in our Armed Forces. 

One article said what I've been thinking about this Memorial Day, but did it in a much better way...Mr. Horton states that on Memorial Day "many incorrectly thank Vets or active duty folks for their service. While appreciated, it's misdirected. That's what Veteran's Day is for. Instead, they should take some time and remember the spirit of the country and the dedication of those men and women who chose to pick up arms. They never came home to be thanked, and only their memory remains."

I found the article through a Veterans Affairs tweet:
Veterans Affairs (@DeptVetAffairs)
5/30/11 7:23 PM
MT @USArmy: "When #MemorialDay Bleeds Across The Calendar." Read a @DeptVetAffairs blog from a #OIF #Vethttp://go.usa.gov/Dg6#Military
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Duct Tape, Quilting and Oprah

I've been working on a quilt for my best friend for a couple years now. One of my friends has been helping me to finish that and a couple other quilting projects before we move. So, needless to say, I'm in a bit of a time crunch.

The couple quilts I've done before I've used blue painter's tape to tape it to the floor in order to do the basting (pinning the layers together before quilting). In this case, I couldn't find the painter's tape and the duct tape happened to be handy. I had already used duct tape once before on a smaller project and it worked fine...besides when something needs sticking, use duct tape, right?

Unfortunately, I didn't take into account that I was using a much lighter batting and had used much larger pieces of duct tape. Holy Cow was the duct tape a mistake. As my friend pointed out, it's true there are many uses for duct tape - in the garage...

I'm hoping since the friend I am making the quilt for was also a maintenance office in the USAF, she will find it both funny and appropriate that I tried to make a quilt using duct tape.

On the deeper end, thinking about the duct tape and quilting made me think about the two different sides of me: the over-achieving, fast-track USAF maintenance officer and the stay-at-home mom quilting, crafting and baking cookies for the husband's office...using the duct tape just seemed to be an interesting combination of the two. The fact that it didn't quite work is something else to ponder...

I have always loved crafts but felt like it didn't really fit into my life while I was on Active Duty. Baking for the "office" would set me apart from the guys and not in a good way. So, I just didn't do any baking or crafting...essentially not at all until I got out of the AF.

Someone recently said on Oprah that she thought Oprah didn't like her...that Oprah only wanted the work - not her. That really resonated with me. I think that's how I've felt for my whole life - especially while in the AF. I felt as if I had to work harder and do better than everyone else - that my work had to be the best so that "they" would continue to want me. Every time I was recognized for my work, I felt as if it was just proof they only cared about the work...sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Some days (most days?), I still feel that way...that I need to prove myself worthy of being someone's friend or of being loved. But I'm getting better at doing things just because I want to and because I enjoy it...and like the duct tape and the quilt - some days it works and some days it doesn't...but it's not the end of the world and if it gets messed up or doesn't turn out quite right, it's usually good enough or can be fixed to be better. Read More......

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Orange Food

I really hate cooked orange food...the smell, the taste, the texture...they're all yucky!

However, last night at Smokey Bones, we had sweet potato fries and they were amazing! So good! I actually chose to eat them instead of the regular french fries. Those who know me, know that is a huge deal.

I just bought the cook book "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2" at Kohl's (for $5!)...I REALLY wish they had the recipe for the sweet potato fries...maybe I'll try to figure it out myself. It seemed as if they had a very light tempura coating and then sea salt...mmm, mmm, mmm.

If you have any ideas or have a great sweet potato fry recipe, let me know!

On a side note, still trying to figure out the "read more" thing...not sure why it shows up on every post even if there's nothing more to read...? Please bear with me. Read More......

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Yard Sale

When you see a sign promoting a yard sale, what do you think of? Finding a good deal? Just more junk getting spread around the world?

I enjoy going to yard sales and seeing what other people are getting rid of. Like most people, I enjoy getting a good bargain - I use coupons every chance I get, I sometimes buy on eBay instead of paying full price and I look through the "sale" rack at stores...so why not save some money buying someone else's stuff?

That's all well and good but I hate haggling. I hate the feeling that someone is trying to pull one over on me - you know, the feeling you get when you go to buy a car...or when you find out that someone else got a better deal on the same thing?

The reason I bring all this up is because we're moving again and have a lot of stuff we want to get rid of. Since it's not junk (at least not to me) I'd like to get rid of it smartly. Friends, eBay, Craig's List, Salvation Army, Goodwill, etc. Whatever way will be fast, convenient and not leave me feeling like I messed up.

The exact feeling I had yesterday when I got rid of some of our extra baby stuff. Now, I didn't want to get rid of any of the baby stuff because I'm not sure I'm done having children. So that was the first problem. I had already given some things (essentially new wipe warmer, breastfeeding supplies, tons of baby clothes, & an activity mat) to a "friend" from OSC who's having a baby boy in a couple months. She said she'd like to pay me, I said look at what she took home and give me what she thinks is reasonable. I don't feel bad at all that I haven't gotten a cent from her. Maybe I will, maybe I won't but for some reason it doesn't really bother me.

Yesterday, I talked to a neighbor (also from OSC and also due in a couple months) about whether or not she'd gotten the car seat and stroller from the first lady. Which then reminded me I had planned on asking if she could use some of the other stuff we were getting rid of. She came in to see what I had and said she'd like the swing, the sling, the mobile and a brand new-never even unpacked-crib set (quilt, sheet, and bumper). She said she had actually just gotten a swing at a yard sale this weekend (for $12) but it was pink and since mine was neutral it would be great (they don't know the sex of the baby). It was my fault things went downhill from there.

She asked me how much I wanted for it. I said whatever she felt was appropriate. I should have given her a price range I was willing to accept. It never occurred to me (especially after she said how much nicer and newer mine was than the one she got at the yard sale) that she would offer me $15 for the swing. I told her to talk with her husband and see if they really wanted all the stuff and then let me know. She took it over to show him and a while later gave me $25 for all of it! $25 for almost $300 worth of stuff!!! AAARGH.

I'm sure there was also a little of that bias where you feel something is worth more because you owned it or have feelings invested in it (can't remember what bias that is). However, if she's been looking at baby stuff at all, she had to know how much all of it was worth - especially when some of it was brand new! How could I have been an officer in the AF and be such a pushover!?

In the end, I used my husband as the excuse to get the swing back. After talking with him when he got home that the swing could hold up to 30 pounds (Bubba is only 22lbs) and that with the move we will need some way to corral him, he agreed that we should never have sold it. He was willing to go over with me and ask the neighbor that since I sold it without talking to him, could we please "buy" it back. So I turned over the $15 and we got the swing back. I feel a bit like a schmuck but I also feel better for having the swing back. The fact that she still got $150 worth of new stuff (that I only had to/agreed to part with since we're moving) for $10 kills me.

So, I think for the rest of the furniture and other stuff we're unloading, I'll do Goodwill or Salvation Army and take the tax credit instead of dealing with the upset stomach that bargaining leaves me with...I'll be happy when this move is over with. This will be my 8th move in 15 years and instead of getting easier it's getting more and more difficult...maybe because we're acquiring more and more stuff and the stuff we already had has become more and more tied to what, for me, makes a home.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Eventful Weekend

First there was the royal wedding on Friday...full of excitement, pomp and history...

Then there was the mass at the Vatican to beatify Pope John Paul II...

Now, the news that Osama bin Laden has been killed by US forces...

I watched TV most of the morning on Friday, about 30 minutes of the beatification mass early Sunday morning, and then missed Obama's speech by about 15-20 minutes. I had gone to bed and then saw a tweet that he was going to give a rare Sunday night press conference. Since there has been so much in the news about his birth certificate (which I am sick of hearing about and question his timing for releasing information....), I decided to stay in bed and not get up to watch his announcement. I kind of wish I had - it's quite a historical moment. On the other hand, my husband had his PT test this morning so it's probably good that I let him sleep...I wonder if they will still air the originally scheduled interview with Obama on Oprah this afternoon - from what I have seen he's discussing - yup, you guessed it, his birth certificate...Based on articles on the web, I'm not the only one (or the first) to question what Oprah might do...

Regardless, it has definitely been an eventful and historical weekend.... Read More......