Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I started working on the part of quilting that I find most challenging this week. That is the part that entails putting the layers together, adding the binding, and, of course, the quilting!  This quilt is a big challenge because I have never quilted a big thing like this on a machine ( I have only tied) and I have never done binding the "right" way.  Usually I just cut the backing fabric a bit bigger than the front and fold it over. 

I looked it up, and most sources say to put the layers together, "baste" them with safety pins to hold the layers together, and then quilt before adding the binding.  So that's what I did!  I am doing what is referred to as "free motion" quilting, which means that you just make pattern in a free hand manner all over the quilt.  I make little scrolls and loops like my grandmother does.  

I started working on this last night and learned very quickly that a full size quilt is alot more difficult to manage than the little scrap sandwich my grandma taught me this tecnique on!  My hands hot tired really fast and my neck and shoulder muscles were sore today!  No kidding! 

There is a way to make it easier...

These gloves have little grips all over the fingers!  They helped but were not a magic solution.  I think I just need to get in shape!

I tried to take some photos of my work but the lighting was not the greatest and it is hard to see the quilting.  I will report that it is OK for a first try but pretty mediocre in comparison to the quilts my grandmother has made for me!  I can live with some off-kilter scroll patterns but I am dissapointed in how the back looks.  There are ALOT of puckers and gathers and I don't know how to avoid them.  After spending so much time on the front I feel bad that the back looks questionable.  Oh well, at least it is just for my own use! 

Well, good nigh!  I am going to go apply some BenGay to my aching muscles! 

Monday, April 25, 2011


Spring is finally arriving (too late for my liking!).  Today was so beautiful that I actually went RUNNING because I wanted to be outside so bad.  Days like this make me nostalgic for those carefree spring days I spent in college.  All the fraternities' living room furniture would suddenly be out on the front lawn and my housemates and myself would bring blankets outside and lay in the sun with books and binders of notes and act like we were studying. I don't know why we brought the books out in the first place!  It was the most unproductive but enjoyeable study time I can remember experiencing.  And, weekend or weekday, there was always drinks at night!

I am glad it was kind of spring-like for Easter.  Every year it is cold on Easter around here.  I always celebrate by wearing a dress and shoes that are inappropriate for the weather and freeze on the way to church.  At least there was no snow this year!  We had a nice Easter weekend.  On Saturday we went to a birthday party for our nephew Jack, who just turned one. 

 There he is, destroying his cupcake!

Present time!  Typical kid chaos...

That's cousin Cayson who turned one in January.  He is running all over now and loves to throw balls and sneak drinks of soda!  There was mini golf at the hotel and the little guys loved it.  

On Saturday night we went to Justin's parents' house in Grand Forks and got to help the Easter Bunny fill eggs with candy and hide them around the house!  I was in a candy gluttony by Sunday afternoon. 

Those eggs you see are just the beginning!  There was a whole grocery bag full of smaller ones as well. 

We are so sneaky!  Sorry this picture is sideways...I thought I had rotated it but it must not have saved.

We took a picture with Jack after church!  He wouldn't stop staring at us to look at the camera.  I think this picture is really cute so I posted it even though my arm looks really big.  Side-arm is the worst. 

I love this photo!  Older cousin Dylan wanted to hold Jack but Jack wasn't having any of that baby business! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Back to Big Sky...

Yeah...I wish!  I now have a reminder of Big Sky that I can see all the time!  It is like a souvenir except more tasteful and timeless!  When I was there this spring I bought a vintage poster (well, it is a vintage looking poster!  Big Sky opened in 1973 and Moonlight Basin opened within the last ten years so there are no true vintage posters advertising them...).  I had it framed and it was worth it!

I love the colors in the poster and the mattes I chose look perfect.  The expanse of wall behind that chair was one of our last undecorated areas and I am glad I waited until I had the perfect item to hang there. 

 Speaking of Big Sky, I never mentioned before that we had a professional photo taken!  There are photographers on certain runs at certain times every day and you can ski by as they take action shots or stop and take a group photo.  In all the years we have been there we have only ordered photos once and that was when I was 14.  Every year my aunt wants to do it and we never do because it is hard to assemble everyone.  This year we got it done!  Finally!  The pictures are excellent but WAY overpriced.  Since our last order in the 90's the system has become modern and you can order the pictures on a cd to share (for a high price!).  It was nice to be able to print and share as we wished. 

 I dread outdoor photos like this because my eyes cannot take bright sunlight and I can barely keep my eyes open with out protection.  It was rather overcast but with all the snow it was still way too bright for my liking.  My dad and my brother have this issue also and you can see that most people in the photo are all struggling to look normal without frying their corneas and going blind. The photographer had to count to three so we could force our eyes open right when he snapped the photo.  Pete decided that keeping his goggles on was a better option and I should have done the same. 

Awww see you next year Big Sky!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tell Old...Pharoah...

Today my co-workers were talking about Easter time and the conversation lead to a discussion about the movie "The Ten Commandments".  I haven't thought about or seen that movie for years but love it.  I am not an "old movie" kind of person, unless you consider an old movie to be one from the 80's that stars Molly Ringwald or Emilio Estevez but there are a few that I always enjoy, including "The Sound of Music," "Father of the Bride," and "The Ten Commandments". 

As a child who regularly attended Sunday School I have been familiar with the book of Exodus for as long as I can remember.  The image of baby Moses floating in a basket and being rescued by the Pharoah's sister is a famous Sunday School lesson for young children.  I used to have (and still have, somewhere) a children's bible that I received when I was in Kindergarten or 1st grade.  I loved the stories about Moses and Egypt the best.  I was fascinated by the plagues God inflicted on Egypt when Pharoah wouldn't free the slaves, of course culminating in the death of the first born children of Egypt.  It is eloquently described in the old spiritual "Go Down Moses"...

"The Lord, by Moses, to Pharaoh said, Oh! let my people go.

If not, I'll smite your first-born dead! Oh! let my people go!"

The cheesy, over the top movie, released in 1956, makes a great visual for this story.  Even as a young child in elementary school I was intriqued by it.  I was looking at movie stills online and laughed at the fact that the actors are mostly white people.  But that doesn't matter...the movie is awesome.  It has all the elements that make a movie terrifying, such as child abandonment, infanticide, slavery, sacrificial blood, rivers of blood, blood pouring out of water pitchers, walking sticks that turn to snakes and the Angel of Death (played by a cloud of green smoke).  The scene where Angel of Death smites the first born and passes over the doors marked with blood (Passover was why this conversation came up at work in the first place) and you can hear grieving mothers wailing and screaming in the background is so erie it makes me shudder!

I will always imagine Moses this way, although Mr. Heston's hair is pretty golden for someone who lived n Egypt!

Oh, Rameses, just let them go!

This was quite the scene...I wonder how long it would take to walk across the floor of the Red Sea?  I used to feel so experienced in Sunday School because I have been to the Red Sea.  I wonder if they came to the other side at the port city of Hodeidah in the country of Yemen because if they did I have walked where they walked!

This movie is often played around Easter so I will be watching for it.  I really wish I had my children's bible right now so I could read those old, watered down stories I used to love.  When my mom used to teach Sunday School for one of the early grades she would use it for her lessons and my brother got a hold of it and wrote his name all over inside the book.  I was so mad and no one else seemed to care that he had graffitied my book.  He never got in trouble for anything.  By that time, I was old enough to have my own adult bible, presented to me and my classmates in front of the congregation, but I was still mad about what he did! 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy Palm Sunday...

I cannot handle another minute of crappy weather.  Seriously, if I have to look at the ND DOT Travel Information Map again I am going to have a total meltdown.  STOP F-ING SNOWING ALREADY!  EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND this whole winter I have feared for my life as I drove wherever I had to go.  I have drove in freezing rain, gusting winds and near zero visibility.  I have drove through dark nights wondering if a snowdrift was going to show up right in front of me and send my car careening into the ditch.  I have had travel plans and holiday plans foiled by crappy weather and snowstorms.  Even in town I have taken every turn with a lurching stomach after my car accident a few months ago which sent me sliding into another driver and a snowbank.  It is APRIL 17 and I drove through snow on an interstate covered with some sort of slush/ice mix on Friday and it is now Sunday and it is snowing again!  So, once again, I can head out on the interstate and enjoy the pleasure of having semis throw muddy slush over my windshield so I can't see and have my calve twitch with irritation as I keep it on the pedal for 3 hours because I can't use cruise control.  The first day of spring was almost 1 MONTH AGO!  Ughh the weather here is so awful.  The season of Lent is almost over and it is later than usual and still winter continues...for a reminder of just how crappy this spring has been, I have added this picture of me and our dog Chubby (rest his soul) on Easter Sunday in 2006.  Notice my sandals and tank top.  That is so not happening this year . Those palm leaves that the Sunday School kids held as they paraded around churches this morning are the only green we will be seeing for weeks. 

Well...I guess not the ONLY green...About a month ago, right after we returned from skiing, I noticed that the bulbs were popping out of the ground.  I wrote that I thought they should go back into the ground because it was too early for them to be out.  Well, this was taken yesterday.  They are still green and growing although they have spent most nights freezing and have been repeatedly covered with snow.  What tough little plants they are!  I know early spring bulbs are frost resistant but these are pretty impressive.  When the irises finally bloom I will have a stronger appreciation for them.

I was cutting some quilt pieces this weekend and I left the equipment laying out.  I found Allan like this...

He loves to quilt!  He thinks that rotary blade is his!  Well, that might be a stretch but he does love to snuggle in quilts!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Am Obsessed With This

The Internet has been buzzing with this fun item lately...It is a live feed of a family of Eagles that live on a preserve in Decorah, Iowa.  They have been showing the live footage since before the babies hatched from their eggs.  You can find footage of key moments on the main website.  I haven't caught anything crazy yet, but sometimes the parents (there is a mom and dad eagle) bring fresh prey, such as fish and bunnies, into the nest.  The footage is visible at night because of some special lights.  There is quite a bit of information on the website about the details.

It is so cute how they are all snuggled up in the nest!  One of the parents is always there and they look adorable but also so dignified.  I never really thought much about eagles until I saw a show on Animal Planet a few years ago that featured an eagle that was having surgery to remove cataracts from its eyes.  Now I think they are kind of fascinating. 

These are a few stills photos I found.  Those little fuzballs on the right are the babies!  They look so different as adults!  I appreciate how both male and female eagles are attractive, unlike most birds.  The females are usually plain looking!

I have also been obsessed with the song "Old Haunts" by the Gaslight Anthem.  I went to their concert last fall.  There is a verse in "Old Haunts" that says...

"And with the window down, I hear your tired now,
you borrowed everything and wore all your old welcomes out,
Well, shame on you my love, you sold your youth away..."

That verse jumped out at me and made me wonder if Brian Fallon, the lead singer and songwriter, had a failed relationship with a woman who had a pile of student loans, mediocre job prospects, and was overstaying her welcome in a family members' basement.  It's almost too perfect!  Haha!  Seriously, though, music is such a good friend sometimes! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Opening Weekend (Spring Version)

It was hard to overlook the start of the MLB season this last week.  It was all over Facebook and my MSN homepage.  Over the weekend we were able to go to a MN Twins game for their home opening games!  It was even better because we sat in a box seat!  Oooh that was fun...I don't know if I ever want to go back to the old way of sitting in a regular seat!  Justin and I went to a game at Target Field last summer and he went to two more games without me so it was not our first time there.  We have both been to many events at the poor, old, unloved Metrodome, with its sad deflated roof and its teams abandoning it one by one. 

I used to think Twins games were pretty boring as a kid, mostly because the novelty wore off after a few innings and I can't say I was a baseball fiend in those days.  When I was 16 I went on a high school trip to Chicago and went to a game at Wrigley Field which I thought was very enjoyable even though the week we spent in Chicago was one of record breaking temperatures and it was really hot out.  Outdoor games are a different atmosphere and the atmoshpere is even better now that I am of age and can drink some beer! 

My family was on this trip, as well as a group of nearly 80 people of all ages from my hometown.  We had two boxes with the door opened between them and everyone stayed at a hotel a few blocks from the stadium.  I have to say that it might be hard for me to go back to viewing baseball games in the stands like everyone else!  The boxes had their own bathrooms and hot dogs and popcorn easily accessible.  Also, our view was excellent and there were heat lamps to warm to chilly April evening. 

As we approached the stadium we came upon this statue of Harmon Killebrew and thought my dad should pose with him since one of his childhood barn cats was named Harmon Killebrew because the cat would sit by first base when he and my uncle were playing baseball in the yard on the farm in the 60's.  I think I have told the story before on here.  He reluctantly agreed.  I almost expected a white and black Holstein patterned cat to appear in the picture at their feet!

This was taken right after we arrived.  

Some people stay really focused on the game!  I was more focused on talking to people!  If you can't tell, that is Kirk, Justin and Pete from left to right. 

The opponents were the Oakland A's and I thought this guy's name was awesome...Coco Crisp.  I can't say I am familiar with his work but he must be an OK player. 

When the Twins score the two characters on the sign, who represent Minneapolis and St. Paul, shake hands.  Sadly, the Twins lost 1-0 so we didn't get to see it this time!

This was taken before the game.  You can see I still have my stadium beer in a glass and not the cans that we had in the box.  

We took a nice family photo after the game as everyone was finishing the provisions in the box!  We rarely take a photo like this so I'm glad we did. 

The game was only half of my weekend.   My mom and Andrea and I left on Friday morning (the game was on Saturday night) and shopped.  Our reciept at the Gap factory store at Albertville looked like a receipt from a weekly trip to buy groceries for the Duggar family (the ones on TV with 19 kids).  And Albertville was just the beginnng. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Scenes on the Farm

I visited the farm this week and was not surprised to find the creek that usually looks like a little a little trickle mostly hidden by cattails and other plants (if there is water in there at all) swollen to the size of the Missourri River.  This was not shocking because this happens almost every year in the spring.  It is quite a sight to see the surrounding fields engulfed.  It never reaches the house or any farm building so it doesn't really bother us or anyone else. 

Although I have seen this sight before I couldn't resist taking a few pictures. 

 There are sometimes ducks and other water loving animals swimming in there, and as I was walking along the driveway I saw a big, black, shiny animal moving ahead of me!

 It was a muscrat, and I wasn't sure what to think.  I couldn't remember what I knew about them but I thought they might be mean (I was thinking of badgers).  Wally stopped and stared for a minute and decided he was going to chase it. 

He was too slow.  The Muscrat slid into the water and resurfaced out in the middle!  Poor Wal tried to swim after it but it kept diving under the water and he could't see where it was.

It was OK though, because he loves water!  That water is probably freezing cold but he jumped in a few more times after the first time!  He likes this time of year!

My dad's new shop is coming together.  He is finishing the interior himself and I know he wishes he had more time to work on it! 

As you can see, the yard becomes a terrible mudhole when the snow melts.  A carwash is a laughable idea around that place!  It makes me appreciate my nice little paved driveway!

Monday, April 4, 2011


Today was my birthday!  I was 23...I mean...28.  I can't believe I am 28.  I remember the typical school counselor exercise where the counselor would have us think about how we wanted our life to be in 10 years to encourage decisions about college plans.  Well, I never really knew exactly what I wanted.  I wanted to have a family and a house and my dream job but I didn't know what that was.  Well, I have a house that I hardly get to spend a night at and a job that is not a dream.  I don't think there is any job that is my dream job, unless someone wants to offer me a position designing and then experimenting with quilting fabric or working in a wedding dress store that pays $30 an hour and is never opened on weekends.   I guess the "get my life together" deadline will have to jump ahead another 10 years because it doesn't seem very close right now.  

I was trying to remember how I felt about turning 18 ten short years ago.  I don't think I really cared.  The 2000 presidential election happened when I was still 17, so that priviledge was going to have to wait until I was 21.  I am not and never have been a tobacco user so that didn't really matter to me.  North Dakota didn't have the lottery yet so that was not an issue either.  I guess it was fun to try gambling in casinos!  Also, I could have consumed alcohol in Canada but I didn't cross the border for that purpose until I was in college.  I know I was looking forward to high school ending in a few weeks, going to NDSU, and spending the summer doing whatever I wanted and not scheduling my work hours around anything having to do with basketball. 

Here are a few funny old pictures.  I do it to everyone else, so I am not going to let myself off the hook. 

Tiny baby!  I think I was about six weeks old at my baptism.  That dress was made for me by my grandmother, and my siblings and cousins wore it as well.  It is still around somewhere.  I love my dad's three-piece suit. 

This is a prophetic photo!  The headphones and music players are much smaller but I was probably listening to something I might enjoy today such as Bruce Springsteen!  That brown couch is still serving its purpose at my brother's apartment and it needs to be dragged out to the driveway and set on fire. 

My mom and my grandma always made shape cakes like this one.  That was, I think, my 5th birthday and it happened to land on Easter.  That god awful sweatshirt I am wearing was sewn by my mom and I loved it.  I think I picked that fabric out myself.  I don't know whose filthy hand is reaching for the cake.  I think it was my sister or my cousin Katie. 

Today was a low key birthday.  I had a few fun surprises.  My parents sent me flowers at work! 

I love the purple vase they came in!  I also love that daffodil.  They are so interesting.

Another fun surprise came this morning.  I had brought a poster to a framing store to be framed and it was not supposed to be done for another week but I got the call that it was ready this morning!  Happy birthday to me!  Also, I had ordered a pair of shoes online a week ago and they showed up at the door!  It was like two birthday presents even though I bought both items for myself. 

My favorite surprise came in a card from my aunt.  She enclosed a letter dated August 1997 that I had sent to my cousins to tell them about one of our cats giving birth to a litter of kittens while I was at a friends' house and my mom was at a meeting.  I remember Andrea calling me at Haley's to tell me about it.  (And no, we did not have indoor cats.  We would let a mother in to have her kittens if we could catch her before it happened so we could tame them as they grew and keep them safe from wild animals like foxes.  It was delightful to come into the yard and see kittens frolicking near the house!  Otherwise they would would give birth in the woods, in the combine header, or any number of places and we would have to go searching for them.  The usual place would be in a box lined with old towels in the basement or the bathroom).  The funny thing about the letter was that my penmanship was a whole lot better in 1997 than it is now.  I never thought it was good then!  It is not very feminine or pretty and has morphed into a cursive/print combination over the years since I left high school that is pretty wierd.

It was a good birthday, although not the most exciting I have had.  That's OK though.  I celebrated over the weekend and I will be able to again next weekend.  And I will enjoy being 28 even though I feel at least five years younger. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mr. Drumstick Legs

Justin often sends me picture messages of Allan when they are watching TV at night.  They are so cute, although they make me sad about not being home.  There have been some priceless ones lately.

This photo makes his back legs look like big, beefy drumsticks.  He's so fat but I am glad he is always content and relaxed! 

The drumstick legs from another angle...

Aaaaand my favorite...

What a huge whale he is becoming!  I have to acknowledge, however, that the angle and the way he is laying makes the fat situation look more extreme than it really is. 

Mr. Puffy Neck!  Don't worry, those sheets are not on a bed...I tossed them in a pile when I was doing laundry and he snuggled in. 

Friday, April 1, 2011


Happy April Fool's Day!  I tried to think of some lie to write on here and then reveal that it was a joke but I couldn't think of anything very funny.  Sorry to dissapoint. 

I had some spare time yesterday and today and I finished assembling the top of my current quilt in progress!  This is my first "big" quilt that is not a t-shirt quilt and it is huge!  It is 84 inches long and 64 inches wide. 

The patterened fabrics were purchased in a pre-cut bundle and they all came from the same line.  This line seems to have been discontinued except for a few remnants on some websites so I had to find an alternantive that didn't look completely odd with the rest of the quilt.  Also, I wanted something cheap since the brand of the prints, Moda, is generally expensive at around $10.00 per yard.  Fortunately I found this...

Yes, those are cats!  Haha.  The blue actually matches perfectly with the blue in the quilt so that is the main reason I chose this.  And, of course, I like cats. 

The buzz around the Internet and Facebook today is that it is the first Twins baseball game of the season!  We are going to a game next weekend at Target field with a big group of people from my hometown!  We are staying in a hotel within walking distance of the stadium and other downtown Minneapolis attractions and I look forward to it!  On top of that, UND is playing in the hockey Frozen Four that same weekend in downtown St. Paul so ND people will be infiltrating!  This weekend could become a disaster!

In other exciting news, my birthday is next week and today I recieved an email from that I had been given a gift membership!  My dad thought of the idea.  For years I have been interested in history in general and also family history and geneology.  I don't really talk about it because no one else really cares!  It is not something most people my age are interested in.  I don't remember why it started but it began when I was in middle school.  I am fascinated by the huge families people used to have and the way people can be connected.  Also, I love to imagine the experience of becoming new Americans and how we all came to be here. 

I spent about an hour on the site right after I recieved my gift and already found some new information.  The database had the World War I draft registry cards of two of my great grandfathers scanned!  I could see the images filled in with their own handwriting in 1918!  I have the membership for 6 months so maybe I will start another with to record my adventures in geneology.  I will probably password it so I can use full names and such.  They say (whoever "they" are) that you should not use identifying information on the internet for security purposes and I guess that is wise advice.  That is why I don't use last names and am vague about places.  So, I will let you know if I do!