Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Have Resurfaced to Tell You a Story

I took the summer off.  And the beginning of fall.  We were just having too much fun.  But more on that later.

Right now there are two things you need to know going into this tale.  1. I drive a 1982 Jeep CJ7.  It makes me feel tough.  2. I drive my CJ rarely enough that we only filled it up 8 times in 2011, which is quite a feat for a vehicle that gets 11 miles to the gallon.

Additionally, Josh and I disagree about the function of this part of the Jeep:

Yes, it is large enough to be used as a temporary shelf.  Yes, it leaves the garage only occasionally, so it seems like a convenient place to leave things.  However, call me crazy, but I don't expect items to be stored on the front of my car.  So I don't often look there before driving away.

Many things have made it all the way down highway 26, through Portland, and to the Red Cross on the front of ol' Wheezy (it's short for Louise): a burlap sack, Josh's steel tipped hiking staff named John, a styrofoam cooler.  But this is the tale of the one thing that didn't make it.

After a day of working in the garden, Josh took off his cozy flannel and corduroy jacket, placed it on the above disputed area, and came inside to rest his weary bones.  Who knows how many days the jacket stayed there before I needed to drive the Jeep instead of taking TriMet.  But I do know that it wasn't until I came out of work one evening and approached Louise from across the parking lot that I saw the jacket on my bumper.  "Phew," I thought, "I didn't lose it!"  And I moved it safely inside the Jeep for the trip back.  But when I got home and returned it to Josh, we discovered the tragedy:  The items inside the pocket of his jacket somehow came out and flew away without the loss of the coat itself.  How does that happen?!

And of course, I didn't lose the cheap cooler or the free burlap sack.  I lost the only thing to make this dangerous journey (other than John, which is priceless) that was worth anything.  And now I have to buy Josh a new pipe.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

June Happened

Oh my.  June was a whirlwind.  We started off by marching in the Grand Floral Parade for Portland's Rose Festival.  We were pioneers with the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.  We looked like this:

Then we hosted Josh's mom and her two sisters in a Portlandia Extravaganza.  We went everywhere and did everything.  Which includes walking through the Naked Bike Ride.  10,000 people shed their clothes and ride through the city to protest oil dependency.  They got between me and VooDoo Donuts.  So I went through them.  With my mother-in-law.  It looked like this:

Just kidding.

I was going to make it a more elaborate story.  We had to cross the Nude Sea to get to the Promised Land which flows with maple and bacon.  Or something along those lines.  But I couldn't quite flesh it out.

We finished Josh's second year of residency and partied with the program's 2012 graduates.  In 362 days, that'll be us!

I took my serger class at Modern Domestic.

We ended the fiscal year at work, and I give myself a B in my fundraising for the year.  Except then we adjusted the goals because (thank the Lord) there was no big earthquake this year like there was in both 2011 and 2010 to boost Red Cross awareness.  Once we made those adjustments, you could say I exceeded my fundraising goal.  If you wanted to.

We celebrated birthdays, welcomed friends back to Oregon, geeked out at trivia nights, and congratulated friends on impending parenthood.  I made a couple little gifts and gave them away.

It was also in June that a new life dream came to Josh and me.  Now our shared goal in life is to become Royal Rosarians.  They are ambassadors of goodwill for the city of Portland, and have a love for pageantry.  We, too, are fond of goodwill and pageantry.  We have taken our first steps to drawing an invitation from the Rosarians by being in the Grand Floral Parade, and also I was on the Portland Society Page last week with the Red Cross.  Pageantry and  goodwill, folks.  This is happening.  We will look like this:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Moving Right Along

As soon as I finished Remy's quilt after months of careful piecing and design, I started a simpler, but still detailed, quilt.  This quilt is probably made of just as many pieces, but they went together so much faster!

I used this technique to piece together 300 3" squares super-quickly.  There's none of that one-piece-at-a-time nonsense this way, and the points come out just perfectly.  Every time.

Look how much was lost to seam allowance in the first row!

I had fun sticking 300 individual squares on my design board and trying to make it look both random and balanced.  Although it took up the whole design board before they were sewn together, the finished product is a little baby quilt only about 3'x4'.  This one is for one of the chief residents at Josh's program that just had a little girl this week!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Little Gifts

Last week I had a farewell party for a work friend and a baby shower for another friend.  I made a couple little gifts for these hello and goodbye occasions.

First is a little appliqued wall hanging for my work friend.  At the Red Cross (like most workplaces, I'm sure) we use a ton of acronyms.  We send DATs on DRs and they need to have CPR and AED training and we ask our MGOs to find gifts to make it all possible.  Right?  There's a lot to absorb when you're a new employee.  So my co-worker started using extra abbreviations to poke fun; she particularly got a kick of calling the restroom the "LGR" (Little Girls' Room) to discreetly say it was time for a break from marathon meetings.  Our team thought it would be nice for her to have something to remind her and so I made this:

I just found a font I liked on the computer to print out, traced the letters on to a two sided fusible paper which I then fused to my fabrics, cut them out, ironed them on to some natural linen, and did a zig zag stitch around the sides.  I made it 8x10 so we could put it into a cute little frame for her to hang in her own LGR!

Secondly, I made this for a friend who is having a little boy in July:

I couldn't not buy this tiny Columbia fleece.  It's the cutest thing I've seen in my entire life.  Baby Greer will be about 6 months old in the winter, which is the size of the jacket, so it seemed too perfect to pass up.  I had the blue part of the hat mostly done when I got the jacket and found some matching green yarn in my stash, which, again, seemed too perfect to pass up.

It's nice to have smaller projects than quilts sometimes for some more instant gratification!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Whew!  Though small, my latest labor of love took a while to make, but I'm so very happy with the finished product!

I made this for little Remy Willis.  Josh grew up with a good dude named Brad; Brad and his wife Megan had a baby girl a couple months ago.  With two parents in the military, I bet she is going to be one tough girl, but I just made her a very dainty quilt.  Most of the fabric is from the Swell set by Urban Chiks for Moda, which I picked for the variety of patterns and colors.  Josh was not convinced by my vision at first, but he conceded that it might be the best quilt I've ever made!  I quilted roses in an all-over pattern throughout it, and did I mention I am so very happy with the finished product?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hey, Go Stick Your Face in There

Here is a series of photos that make me smile.  Whatever these things are called, Josh and I can't resist putting our faces in them:

Lyman Orchards, Middlefield, CT

Tillamook Cheese Factory, Tillamook, OR

Oregon State Fair, Salem, OR

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Woodburn, OR

Fruit Loop, Hood River, OR

Yup.  You're never too old for these things.  Though, the parents of the kids that wait in line for us to finish being the only adults to get our pictures taken might disagree.  But they're clearly  incorrect.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Holy Undertaking

Our friend Robert paid us a visit at the end of March.  I think March is a pretty good time to visit Oregon because things are blooming and you even have a chance at blue skies.  In fact, I was thinking on March 29th that it really hadn't been that rainy this spring.  There were even some beautiful clear days when we went to the beach and worked in our garden.  The very night I had that thought, I saw on the news that it has been the rainiest March in recorded history in Portland.  I guess I adjusted back to a Northwest mindset pretty quickly!

I've been working with a moderate amount of diligence on a quilt that I will post as soon as it's finished; but in the meantime, I made something that is not a quilt!  Although, it is quilted.  Since he is a Presbyterian minister, I made a stole to give to Robert when he came to town.  This might be the holiest thing I've ever made.

As you may be able to tell from this photo, Robert is quite tall.  This means that 1. His stole is about 4' on each side and 2. He didn't fit all the way in the picture.  The pattern I made with the fabric reminded me of stained glass windows, of which Robert is a big fan.  I was happy with the way it turned out!

I am also happy with the way this picture turned out:

It's not often that I take a nice picture, so I thought I would show it off!  This was snapped at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm where we went for a sunrise service on Easter morning.  It was lovely!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pura Vida

Since we got back from Costa Rica, it feels like I haven't been keeping up with anything.  It didn't help that I came down with a pretty vicious bug of some sort for a week, but I feel bounced back now and ready to share some exciting pictures!

 Our luggage for two weeks - mine is on the left, Josh's is the right

Me rappelling down a 200-something foot waterfall

 The sunset as we walked out of Santa Elena

 A trail in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

 We sat here for five days.  It was awesome.

Quite possibly the most hilarious picture we've ever taken

Our Costa Rica vacation was a great way to start out 2012.  It had the perfect blend of adventuring and relaxing.  We brought along a durable, waterproof camera that resulted in hysterical water-spot-face-distortion.  We laughed a lot.  We walked a lot.  I remembered more Spanish than I thought I would.  We enjoyed where we were.  Our love for Oregon deepened. We made up a new humidity index based on how tall my frizz gets.  The highest LFI (Laura's Frizz Index) was 10cm.  We embraced the Pura Vida!

Now we're hosting a friend and running all over northwest Oregon showing him its wonder.  I've finally finished a quilt top, we've got a plan for a fun Easter package for our nieces, and now that I'm feeling better, I'm actually going to do some yoga tonight.  I'm digging proactivity again.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Just Call Me Miss Marple

No, I don't tend to witness or solve many murders, which is probably a relief to those around me.  Seriously, what are the odds of one woman coincidentally being at that many murder scenes...?

But I did trot around Costa Rica with my yarn and crochet hook.  That earned me a Miss Marple reference from a friendly Brit.  So picture if you will, a sunny beach 8 degrees above the equator, palm trees, a hammock, and me making these:

Sure, the projects may have contradicted the setting, but I found both quite relaxing.  I used a blue yarn from Estonia for the slippers, but it fades from light blue to dark blue and back; so my slippers aren't exactly the same shade of blue.  But that helps me remember which one I wear on which foot.

Then, in keeping with our goals for 2012, as soon as we got home from Costa Rica, we baked some Valentine's cookies and packed them up with souvenirs for our nieces.  Here's a peek at the first package of the year:

We've added more excitement to our calendar as well since one of our friends from Oklahoma (now Chicago) is coming out to visit us in March, and we get to welcome some friends back to Oregon next week!  So far, so good, 2012.

Though we decided that we were absolutely built for the 45th parallel or higher, we thoroughly enjoyed our adventures in Costa Rica.  Once our pictures are all squared away, I'll put some up; but for now, I'll leave you with one from my phone.  This was our view for 5 days of doing nothing but reading, crocheting, and relaxing in hammocks:

Pura Vida!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sometimes You Need to Drop Everything and Play Zelda

When Josh and I were dating, we talked about a lot of important, life shaping things.  For instance, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the best video game ever made.  Early in our marriage, we pulled out the old N64 and went through the whole game again together.  It was vital to both of us that we could share in the joy of Link's many quests to save the princess.
Well, we're at it again.  We got the new Zelda game for Christmas; and though we haven't touched our Wii in maybe a year, we dusted the old thing off, bought the new controller we needed, and started adventuring.  Yes, we have some final arrangements to make for Costa Rica in a couple weeks.  Yes, I have a quilt top that I am very excited about, yet am ignoring.  But it's Zelda we're talking about here.  Everything else can wait.

I'm happy I married my perfect match.

On that note, we're also working on one of my previously mentioned goals for the new year: exploring Oregon to see where we want to settle after residency.  McMinnville had been pretty alluring for us, but after having spent the weekend investigating the area, I don't think it's as high on our list as others.  It was tons of fun to visit.  We stayed at the McMenamin's hotel and explored the main street (which is 1/3 tasting rooms and therefore awesome), but all in all, I might prefer the northern part of the valley.  Our next mission: Estacada.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

First Homemade Gift of the Year

Unique yarn from small shops has become my souvenir of choice.  I like it because then, when I make something out of it, the item has an interesting back story.  I can say, "I made this hat out of yarn I got in Italy," or "My mom picked up the yarn for these slippers in Norway," or "I got that purple yarn in Camden, ME."  The last of which is true about the yarn in this scarf I made for our friend Denise:

I snapped this photo before running to catch the bus to meet Josh and Denise to give her the present.  I generally stand against taking pictures of myself in the mirror, but I was alone and feel like I had no other choice.

I picked a blanket square pattern and instead of putting them together in a rectangle, I attached them all end to end.  The scarf really is mostly purple, but I added the yellow, orange, and maroon because 1) Denise likes them  2) I'm in a fall colors phase  and 3) I didn't have enough purple for a reasonably lengthed scarf, but had just enough of those other colors to make it work.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome, 2012

It's strange to be almost 30 and to still have June feel more like the end of the year than January. Although life will probably change more for us on July 1 when residency year 2 becomes residency year 3, one of my goals is not to live in waiting anymore, so I'm putting up my thoughts about and hopes for 2012.
That starts with thinking about the last two years. About how 2010 was a year of adventure. We went through the residency interview process, match day, I quit my job so we could run off to Europe, we moved to Oregon (in a Jeep with no a/c. Through the desert. In the summer.), we started new jobs, we met and got to know lots of new people.
Life stopped feeling adventuresome pretty quickly, though. 2011 was a year of getting by. Don't misunderstand me, "getting by" was still pleasant most of the time. Josh and I are pretty good at enjoying the moments we have, but the big things started getting wearisome. Hour long commutes that eat into our precious time together, long days at work (mostly for him), even just not having a space of our own ate away at us from time to time. We often reminded ourselves of the big picture, the long term goals, and how the lifestyle we're sacrificing now will make them more accessible in the future. There were some fun things in 2011; but even though we had a few chances to climb mountains, go to the coast, and enjoy the quirks of this fair city, nothing really felt like ours last year. We feel like we could have done more.
Which brings us to today. I know every day is a good day for a new beginning and there's nothing really magical about the replacing of an old calendar, but why not use January 1, 2012 as a jumping off place? I guess my overall theme for the new year is proactivity.
So far, in 2012 I'm looking forward to:
*Going to Costa Rica in January
*David, Ruth, and the girls coming up in the summer
*Starting the last year of residency

In 2012 I want to (in no particular order):
*Check out potential places to live after residency. We're jumping right into this one - we already have reservations at McMenamin's Hotel Oregon in McMinnville next weekend so we can begin our investigation.
*Take a serger class.
*Take better care of my hair. Most of the time I simply rely on its ease of management which often ends up just looking unkempt. And big.
*Find a church home.
*Actually start exercising. I know this freakish metabolism with which I've been undeservedly blessed won't last forever. To be specific, I will try to do yoga twice a week and run once a week. Just that sounds like a lot to this sewing-chair-potato.
*Meet my fundraising goal for work.  I'm proud of my job.  This is important to me.
*Make more clothes. I got some Pendleton wool from my aunt that I hope to turn into awesome free shirts for Josh; and I have had some clothes to alter and fabric waiting to become a dress in my "not quilting projects" basket for too long.
*Send more fun packages to our nieces (we'll shoot for Valentine's Day, Easter, and Halloween).
I tried to be specific in what I want to accomplish this year.  I think this list will please the part of me that likes to check things off and provide enough lifestyle change to propel me forward.  I hope to add to it as schedules flesh out and some things move into the "completed" column.  I will, of course, also post about my various projects still.  In fact, I'm half way done with my first quilt top of 2012, and it's pretty darned adorable.