Meow Monday: The Cat Days of Summer

I’m not going to lie, there’s not much going on with the cats these days. Their lives are pretty routine, just the way they like it.

Eat. Sleep. Repeat!

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

These days…

…both cats still love going outside and spend the majority of the day and night out on the screened porch or the yard.

…Tali is convinced that any time the porch door opens, it’s time to eat.

…we’ve hit a sweet spot with their diet, and thanks to going outside more often, they’re both at much healthier weights.

…Cora makes sure to come in every night for a power nap before we go to sleep and it’s time for her to hunt… and every morning after breakfast she spends a few hours napping on our bed before starting her day.

…now that we don’t have litter boxes in the house, our days no longer revolve around their bathroom habits (just in time to introduce diapers into our lives!).

…we lock the cat door at night, so we haven’t had to deal with any “presents” lately.

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

All is well in the cats’ world, and they constantly remind me to soak up the sun as summer wanes… or at the very least, try to be aware of the seasons even if I’m more likely to sit in front of the air conditioning with a popsicle instead of actually going outside🙂

High Five for Friday!

I’m sharing the highlights of my week… five to be exact!  Focusing on five little things that made me happy is my way of recapping the week and a reminder to stay grateful.

The Amateur Librarian // H54F The Amateur Librarian // H54F

1 -Canoe Dropoff. It’s been so rainy and humid lately, I’ve been avoiding the outdoors as much as possible. But over the weekend it cooled off long enough for us to check out the new canoe drop off at the bend of the Harpeth River at the back of our neighborhood.
2 – Sneak Peeks. I’ve been getting texts from the longarmer this week showing progress on the two quilts I sent her… can’t wait to see them again!
3 – Music City MQG. It’s always a good time to sew and chat with the MCMQG gals, and I really needed a few hours of both. This handkerchief quilt was stunning – Maria folded her mother’s handkerchiefs into these dresses and they’re amazing!
4 – Minor Inconveniences. I read a post from Everyday Reading this week that inspired me to fix one of those minor inconveniences that you don’t even realize are driving you crazy until it’s finally fixed. My hairdryer has been literally disintegrating over the past few months and it’s annoying every single morning but I hate weeding through online reviews or trying to compare products in an aisle full of options, so a rec from a trusted blogger was just what I needed to finally pull the trigger (I bought this one!). I read the post on my lunch break, left immediately, and stopped by Ulta on my way back to work… I was done in 10 minutes and now my mornings are so much more pleasant!
5 – Kubo and the Two Strings. So good! I loved this magical movie.

Sand Castle Cross Stitch

Second cross stitch finish this week! Sand Castle, the second mini cross stitch in a trio by Hands on Design, is done! (See the first one, Sail Around, here.)

The Amateur Librarian // Sandcastle Cross Stitch

I used a navy blue aida fabric, and the same floss colors are used for all three patterns, so they coordinate well. I finally picked up this one when I had a break between Frosted Pumpkin patterns, and the  4″x 4″ design came together super quickly.

The charts are really unique – just one quarter is shown, then you rotate the chart to complete all four parts. It got a bit tricky in parts and one of my quarters doesn’t line up exactly… but strategically placed embellishments covered that right up. Someone at guild recently said that “imperfection is beautiful” and I’ve decided that’s my official motto🙂

I’m working on #3 now and have white frames picked out as soon as the trio is complete.

A few progress pics:

The Amateur Librarian // Sandcastle Cross Stitch

My Flosstube obsession continues! It is strangely soothing to listen to strangers talk about their WIPs while I stitch.

The Amateur Librarian // Sandcastle Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Sandcastle Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Sandcastle Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Sandcastle Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Sandcastle Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Sandcastle Cross Stitch

Ta da!

The Amateur Librarian // Sandcastle Cross Stitch

It’s not a quilt… but I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday!

WIP Wednesday

Another weekly update on my current Works in Progress🙂

Octopus Dance Cross Stitch

After finishing up the Pumpkin Passport, I had some time before the next month was released and the first installment of the new SAL (the Trick or Treat Costume Club), so I went back to my trio of mini nautical cross stitch projects in the Hands on Design’s Square-ology series.

I finally started the third one, Octopus Dance, and I hope to get it finished soon so I can frame and hang all three.  For once I know exactly where I want to put them, so they won’t sit around waiting to be hung up for months.

These little patterns look simple, but they can be tricky buggers! Doing only a quarter at a time, and rotating the pattern four times, has caused some counting errors but nothing too major. This third one is my favorite, so I saved it for last, and I’ve had the least amount of trouble with it so far. It might be because I’m using hand-dyed aida fabric from Picture This Plus instead of the cheaper navy aida fabric from my LNS that I used for the other two – there is definitely a quality difference that makes it so much easier to stitch on the PTP fabric.

The Amateur Librarian // Octopus Dance Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Octopus Dance Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Octopus Dance Cross Stitch

Sail Around was my first finish of 2016 (see here), and I finished up the Sandcastle Frame during a Pixar marathon over the weekend (we’re watching them in chronological order and just checked Cars off the list – #7!)  Pics of the finish are coming tomorrow!

 

Square Dance Baby Quilt

I started another baby quilt – I couldn’t resist! Simple patchwork (Square Dance pattern via SewMotion) and simple fabric choices –  white and two Cotton + Steel prints. I wanted something that would be easy to chain piece while gabbing at the Music City MQG Open Sew last weekend, and I made some good progress. I think this one will be so sweet when finished!

The Amateur Librarian // Square Dance Baby Quilt

 

The Amateur Librarian // Square Dance Baby Quilt

 

The Amateur Librarian // Square Dance Baby Quilt

 

And that’s about it!

The Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch: August

This is my third year to work on a year-long cross stitch project, and the second year to play along with a mystery stitch-along month by month. Stitching Once Upon a Time in 2014 and Woodland Creatures in 2015 was so much fun – it’s addictive!

In 2016 I’m joining the Frosted Pumpkins on an adventure around the world. The eighth stop was India, with the beautiful Taj Mahal front and center. This one stitched up really quickly since I was watching the Olympics most nights. I can’t believe it will be September next week already, and time for the next destination to be revealed. The new Halloween SAL is also releasing this week… so hopefully I can juggle two projects over the next couple months (all bets are off after baby arrives, of course!).

A few progress pics:

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

The finished blocks so far:

August

August

Eight months down, four to go…

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

Meow Monday: Big Sisters

The cats seem completely unaware that anything big is about to happen… but in a couple short months, their little lives are going to be quite different!

There are a few signs if they knew what to look for…

lots of new boxes…

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

lots of new furniture…

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

lots of new visitors…

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

lots of new cuddly blankets…

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

a big ole belly…

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

and still plenty of lounging on the outside. I guess that won’t change one bit!

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

High Five for Friday!

I’m sharing the highlights of my week… five to be exact!  Focusing on five little things that made me happy is my way of recapping the week and a reminder to stay grateful.

The Amateur Librarian // H54F The Amateur Librarian // H54F

1 – County Fair. Nothing says summer like the county fair, right? The fairgrounds are right down the road from our neighborhood, and last year while we were visiting the building site of our new house every week, we looked forward to the next summer when we’d be settled in and strolling around the fair. And it’s just as much fun as I hoped!

2 – Grime Guard. I never knew what all the fuss was about, but I finally bought a Q snap cover (via HKats Crafts) and now I’ll never stitch without it! It keeps the fabric safe from dirty hands, but my favorite part is tucking in the excess aida fabric into the cover. Super handy!

(Honorable mention: Pixar movies! For the past couple months we’ve been doing the slowest marathon ever and watching them in chronological order – Finding Nemo is #6!)

3 – New Start. This summer is all about baby quilts! I love it when ideas, patterns, fabrics, and plans all come together and the first cuts are made. The next MCMQG meeting is an open sew, so I’m looking forward to making more progress.

4 – To the Longarmer. Quilt backs are NOT my favorite thing to make, so I felt extra satisfied when I made two of them in a row and got two more quilts to the longarmer. Can’t wait to see them again!
5 – Nesting. All the bits and pieces are starting to come together and we’re finally ready to start ordering nursery furniture and setting it all up. First piece done, the glider!

 

Blueberry Shortcake Quilt

This post has been a long time coming! First off, there’s good news and bad news. The good news: my friend just had a beautiful baby boy. The bad news: the quilt I sent her way never arrived!😦
Obviously the good news outweighs the bad, but as a quilter it’s just a bit heartbreaking to put so many hours into a project, thinking of the recipient at every step, and then have an irreplaceable handmade quilt lost in USPS limbo.
(Just in case you want the gory details: I shipped this baby quilt via Priority Mail in late June, the same day I mailed True Blue, but while True Blue was received within a couple days, poor Blueberry Shortcake got stuck somewhere. The tracking still says “in transit” with an expected delivery date of June 28!  After it was about a week late, I had to alert my friend about the package, and we both filed missing mail claims (she even went to the post office multiple times) to no avail. It’s possible it will still turn up one day, but it’s been almost 2 months now and I’ve chalked it up to a lost cause. Plus, I hate that the burden falls on my friend to track it down – a newborn is enough to keep anyone busy without worrying about a lost package!)
But let’s move on… at least I took pictures?
Blueberry Shortcake Baby Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt
I used Cluck Cluck Sew’s Shortcake quilt pattern and leftover jelly roll strips of solid blue/green/aqua and a few prints from my stash… hence the name Blueberry Shortcake🙂 The patchwork blocks came together really quickly and the color palette is definitely one of my favorites – everything in our house is some shade of blue!
After the top was done, Studio V Quilting did the longarm quilting. To make it more baby-friendly, I chose a Moon and Stars pattern and aqua gingham backing. I really love how it turned out! There was enough leftover gingham to also make the binding, which finished it off really nicely.
I shared a few sneak peeks in WIP Wednesday posts, but since it was secret sewing I never showed much. Now I can final share a few more progress pics:
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt
Ta Da!
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt
I’m still super sad this little quilt never made it to its new home, but I guess the cliche is true in this case… you win some, you lose some.
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt

I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday… when she comes back in September🙂

WIP Wednesday

Another weekly update on my current Works in Progress🙂

Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

I started the August portion of the Pumpkin Passport, and this month we stopped in India at the Taj Mahal. Thanks to the Olympics, I’ve gotten plenty of stitching time in lately and hopefully I’ll finish up before the new Halloween SAL starts on August 25th.

Also… I ordered my first Q Snap Cover (AKA grime guard) from HKats Crafts and I love it! (I’m still smitten with the Wee Wander fabric line and couldn’t resist the pink fireflies.) I never really understood what was so great about them, but not only does the fabric keep dirty fingers off the aida fabric, you can also roll up the excess fabric into the cover, which the elastic keeps in place and out of the way.

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

To the Longarmer

So technically this falls somewhere between a WIP and a Finish… I finished two quilt backs over the weekend and they are off to the longarmer now. I can’t wait to see the quilting and finish these up!

Vintage Star (see the finished quilt top here)

The Amateur Librarian // Vintage Star Quilt

 

The Amateur Librarian // Vintage Star Quilt

 

The Amateur Librarian // Vintage Star Quilt

Firefly Baby Quilt (see the finished quilt top here)

The Amateur Librarian // Firefly Baby Quilt

 

The Amateur Librarian // Firefly Baby Quilt

Square Dance Quilt

I couldn’t resist starting a new quilt, starring two of my new favorite Cotton + Steel prints (Birch in Periwinkle from the Les Fleur line and Clothesline Floral in Red from the Lucky Strikes line) and crisp white patchwork. I’m using the Square Dance pattern from SewMotion, a disappearing four-patch that should really show off the fabric.

The Amateur Librarian // Square Dance Baby Quilt

 

The Amateur Librarian // Square Dance Baby Quilt

 

The Amateur Librarian // Square Dance Baby Quilt

This weekend is the August Music City MQG meeting and we’re doing an open sew, so I should be able to make some more progress then.  Open sews are the best!

 

And that’s about it!

6th Blogiversary!

Today marks my 6th blogiversary… wow!

Since 2010 I’ve chronicled my “adult” life… from starting as a newly married librarian, to my health saga with thyroid cancer and Crohn’s Disease, living in San Francisco for three years, way too many pictures of my cats, moving to Tennessee two years ago, building our first house in Franklin last year, and now my first pregnancy with a baby coming in October… whew! Blogging has been a constant throughout it all, a habit I’m glad I’ve kept up with since I have six years to look back on.

In past years I’ve done giveaways and surveys but this year… how about a blast from the past instead? I’m in a nostalgic mood.

My very first blog post:

Crohn’s & Poems… The Names That Will Never Be
August 16, 2010

So, how to start your very first blog post?  I don’t remember this is any of my education classes… the First Step, of course, is choosing a name.  I am not exactly creative when it comes to naming things.  My childhood blanket was named Blankie.

Blog.  Blog name.  Blog title.  It has to somehow describe the writing you aim for… to somehow embody your life in a word or two.  And when I try to think of my life, my grand ambitions, my passions… all I can land on are books.

But that’s ok!  Because books are pretty cool.  They are my friends!  And now, they are even helping to pay the bills.  When I had a midlife crisis during my junior year of college, when I suddenly realized that I definitely did not want to be a teacher and yet found myself knee-deep in student teaching, I turned to books.  I realized that my ever-growing collection of children’s books was not meant for a future classroom (hands off!) but actually were a clue to MY TRUE CALLING… or something like that.

Actually, there was a lot more desperation involved on the night I started googling “what to do with an education degree” and finally realized: duh!  Where can I go to be surrounded by as many books as possible?  Preferably of the picture book variety?  A library!  And I have access to children through a handy-dandy elementary education degree!  And thus, a school librarian was born.

I did the requisite studying, took the requisite test, and actually got a job.  The actual mechanics of said job are another story, but I’ll leave that for another post.  (yes!  There will be more!  I aspire to be a REAL LIVE BLOGGER!)

For now, I give you:

The Names that Will Never Be

1. Crohns and Poems

(my husband’s crowning achievement… however, I’d rather not bring my bodily issues into this just yet)

2. Book Smart

(how nerdy can you get?)

3. My Hands Can do so many, many things

(getting desperate here… plus, that faucet commercial was stuck in my head)

4. TalkTalk

(did I mention I’m bad at naming things?)

5. Book Talk

(I think this has been done before..)

6. Chit Chat, Book Chat, & Craft Chat

(too long?  too ambitious?  Not a winner…)

I guess I’ll live with: The Amateur Librarian

(I hope it’s not blog suicide to put a hardish-to-spell word “amateur” in the title?!)

As always, thanks so much for reading for the past six years (!!) … and cheers to many more🙂

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