This weekend I had a day to myself so I played Santa and decked the halls. Santa’s little helpers were great assistants, of course!
I started off the morning talking with a good friend, followed by the post office and the indulgence of hot chocolate and a warm croissant.
Then Cora helped me pull out the decorations. She was obviously very helpful.
I pulled out a few of my favorite things with Christmas music playing all day long.
Next came wrapping paper… color coded of course, so I don’t have to worry about labels!
Then a break for lunch… fried rice and a magazine!
Then came a mountain of cards to address, stuff, and stamp… I finished up the Sound of Music in the background while I worked.
I ran a few more errands, but they were boring so no pictures. Tali was exhausted by our busy day!
The night ended with the Not So Silent Night concert in Oakland. Quite a busy weekend!
Cora is pleased with her performance as Santa’s Helper
We just returned from San Diego yesterday – it was a great getaway and so much fun to explore a new city. I didn’t have any time to prepare a new Meow Monday post, so I figured it’s a good time to catch up with Instagram. This next batch is awfully Cora-heavy, sorry Tali… #blackcatprobs
Our visitors have all flown home, and everything has been moved back into place. It’s amazing how a one-bedroom apartment feels so tiny but when necessary it somehow accommodates more people than you ever thought it could!
But before we rearranged everything back to its proper place, the cats enjoyed the suitcase which hung out in the living room. (When Cora peed on an offending suitcase, we offered one of ours while it was drying out). Both cats took turns turns sleeping on it and squabbling over it.
Who knows how much silent negotiating and bickering goes on that we humans are not aware of…
But the cats will have to give up their napping spot soon, because we’ll need that suitcase when we fly to San Diego this week for Thanksgiving! Now where did I put extra lint brush… I have a feeling I’m going to need it!
Spotted around the apartment:
New curtains in the bedroom, and Cora enjoying the view from her hidden stool by the window.
Tali, queen of the couch.
Lazy Sunday afternoon naps (love the new curtains!)
Sleeping in the closet… again…
And last but not least, Cora trying to fit into a much-too-small bag.
We got out the harness this weekend to give Cora another try. She still thinks her legs don’t work when it’s on, and wriggles around on the floor. Eventually she would do an army crawl of sorts but she never got on all four feet.
We took off the harness after about 30 minutes, but maybe we’ll give it another try soon. Practice makes perfect… who knows, maybe we’ll be walking Cora down the street after lots (and lots and lots) of practice!
This past week has been a doozy. If I hadn’t scheduled a few posts ahead of time last week, nothing would have happened here at this blog at all (and that’s why High Five for Friday didn’t happen). Not that it would be a bad thing to take a break. I blog for fun and don’t take it too seriously, but I also want to be honest about what’s really going on in my life. I don’t want to get into details online, but two ER visits and quite a few missed work days later, we are finally on the mend. The cats haven’t been too pleased with the extra visitors who came to help us out, but they still found time to snuggle. And of course I still found time to snap a couple pics.
What would we do without family and cats?
Last week I had an itch to make something for Halloween. So I went to my two favorite places: eBay for some novelty fabric and Pinterest for some inspiration!
I wanted to do some sort of string block, so I looked up ideas on Pinterest for making something like a spider web. Below are a few of my favorite pins (sources link to the original blog post):
I could spend all day just pinning and planning, but after a while I just want to step away from the computer and start doing something! So even though I didn’t have a clear plan, I started with an idea and went from there.
Earlier in the week, I ordered some Halloween novelty fabric jelly rolls (pre-cut strips of fabric) from eBay… and wow, the prints are like a Halloween explosion! In retrospect I wish I had also gotten some more muted oranges or blacks for more balance, but it was also kind of fun to go full speed ahead with the busy Halloween kitsch.
Halloween Wall Hanging
I used this tutorial from PS I Quilt for making a 6 ½-inch string block. Four together equals a 12 ½-inch finished block. I’ve been intimidated by using a paper foundation, but I was happy to find out that it’s super easy!
There are lots of great tutorials online, but here are a few pics of the basic steps:
Cut as many 6 ½-inch squares as you need out of paper – any kind will do; I used regular computer paper, but I’ve also seen scrapbook paper or even phone book pages.
Attach the center strip across the diagonal with a dot of glue stick on each end. I used a white strip as the center for each block for some cohesion, but of course you can do all scrappy too.
Plan out what strips you want to cover the rest of the square, and cut approximate sizes. I did a pattern of orange-black-orange on either side of the white strip for two blocks, then black-orange-black for the other two blocks.
Lay the first strip right side down on top of the center strip and sew together with a ¼-inch seam. Make sure to change the stitch length to 1.5 to perforate the paper.
Press to the side and repeat!
When your blocks are all done, trim the edges using the paper square as a guide.
Then tear out the paper between each strip. Sew the four 6 ½-inch blocks into one 12 ½-inch block.
I knew I wanted to make some kind of wall hanging that could later be used as a table topper/runner (when I actually have a dining room or table that seats more than two), but after making two string blocks I decided I wanted something different for the center block. I went back and forth trying to decide between a spider block to go with the webs, or maybe a black cat… and then I remembered a cute patchwork pumpkin pin and decided to use that as inspiration.
In retrospect… I like how the inspiration pic’s colors weren’t necessarily “Halloween” prints. And I was a bit limited by my 1 ½-inch jelly roll strips, so the pumpkin turned out pretty tiny since I couldn’t use bigger squares.
But I made it work anyway! I added more strips log cabin-style until I had a 12 ½-inch block.
I attached the three blocks with a strip of white sashing, then I started scrounging around for some backing fabric. I settled on one piece of grey because I didn’t want to bother with a pieced back, but it made me realize that it would be nice to get a few yards of fabric just for backings… I have tons of fat quarters, but hardly anything bigger. I’m also down to batting scraps… time to do some more shopping!
After layering the batting, backing, and quilt top, I used the pillowcase method to turn the right side out. I sewed a ¼-inch seam around the perimeter to close the gap. I quilted each block separately – a big X first, then spiraling squares like a spider web.
The quilting was my favorite part, which is unusual! Generally it stresses me out, but it was actually fun to think up the design and I love seeing the spider web on the back.
Oh! And before I forget… since I intend to use this as a table runner eventually, I didn’t want to add hanging pockets. So I rigged a no-sew hanger with a piece of ribbon and some mini clothespins.
It actually works pretty well! (I leave the 3M hooks up year round, I love those things!)
And there you have it – a fun Halloween project that took me a leisurely weekend to complete.
And in the process, I…
- tried paper foundation string blocks for the first time
- combined patchwork and log cabins
- actually enjoyed the quilting part, and
- reveled in a riot of crazy Halloween prints.
I call that a win! I’ve got a couple weeks left before the holiday to enjoy my wall hanging, and I will definitely look forward to pulling it out again next year to add to my decorations.
I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday!
My 2013 resolutions were pretty simple: Exercise more. Travel more. Cook more. Here we are ten months later, and it’s been a good year for the first two resolutions… the third one, not so much. We’ve been eating in more often, but mostly we just scrounge around for dinner… which means lots of baked potatoes. Frozen dinners or leftover soup. Breakfast for dinner.
When I was visiting my parents in Alabama, I wrote down notes while Mom made shrimp alfredo for dinner one night… the best part is that it’s all made in one pot and it’s super easy to improvise depending on what you have on hand. I finally made some for dinner this weekend, and now I’m enjoying the leftovers. It’s a great base for all kinds of add-ins, so it’s the perfect leftover. Sam’s a pretty picky eater so I made the plain version first, but for myself I’ve been tossing in whatever vegetables I have on hand.
Below is the recipe straight from my Mama’s kitchen. (I like to have a reference online just in case I lose the recipe card. Strange but true… often I find myself referencing my own blog rather than looking up a recipe in my notebook!)
One Pot Pasta Alfredo
- 12 oz. package of egg noodles (or any other kind of pasta)
- 8 oz. Italian mix of shredded chese
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup peas (optional)
- Shrimp (or chicken, tofu, etc.)
- Seasoning: basil, season salt, lemon pepper
Sauté the onions, garlic, and (optional) add-ins peas and shrimp. Set aside in a small bowl. Add water to the pot and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain the pasta. Add the whipping cream. Slowly mix in the cheese. Add the onion/garlic/protein mixture and seasoning. Serve immediately or cover to keep warm.