Feb 26, 2009

All Aboard!!! - February 2009

Note to Reader. As I’ve said a hundred times before, I really don’t feel like I am a crafty person, but once again I’ve boarded the crafting short bus and produced something far too cute not to talk about.

In an effort to save money, since we have a million friends getting married and having babies this spring and summer, I decided that I would try to make at least the baby gifts. So I started searching the blogesphere for crafts and I didn’t have to go far. Back in August, one of the blogs I follow, SabbeSpot did a tutorial on an Easy Baby Quilt and I thought to myself, “Self, you could do this!”

So after spending 4 hours with two of my BFFs, at the brand new
Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts, picking out my fabric, then chickening out and putting it all back, and then forcing the Hub to go out there again a week and a half later to get what I’d chickened out on and put back, I had all the tools necessary to finish this project.

Additional Note to Reader: I need to say that although I got the idea for the project from Mrs. Sabbe Chic I did take a few creative liberties to put my own spin on it.

I used the following
1 yard x 42” Printed Cotton Fabric (Large print old fashened trains)
1 yard x 42” fleece (Red Tie Die Fleece)
NOTE: Prewash and iron all of your fabric. (This prevents it from doing funky stuff when you wash the assembled blanket for the first time.)
1 yard x 42” quilt batting
2 packages of COTTON Double Folded Bias Tape
1 spool of COTTON thread (color should coordinate with the tape)
1 package of 6 thread string.
1 can of spray adhesive

Step 1: Sandwich the batting between your fleece and printed fabric and pin. (I used a spray adhesive that really helped keep things together till I could get it all pinned)

Step 2: Sew around the outside of the fabric joining the top print and the bottom fleece together.

Step 3: Take the double folded bias tape and pin it around the edges that you just finished sewing.

Corners and Junctions
The corners were a little tricky. I folded and pinned them instead of cutting and sewing them back together. Either way works just fine. Since my blanket was a little bigger, I also had to join two packs of Bias tape together. HINT: A trick I learned half way through was that it was a lot easier for the machine to go over the corners and junctions if I pinned it going the same direction I was sewing.
Step 4: When you have everything pinned, begin attaching the bias tape. Try to sew as close to the edge as you are able, maybe a quarter of an inch) Make sure that you are covering the stitching below on the top and underside of the blanket.
The final step is to knot the blanket.
Step 5: I first cut a piece of the 6 thread string that I felt was long enough to do all the knots and used a needle with a large enough eye to fit the thread. HINT: Make your knots by making one stitch from top to bottom and then back to the top. Tie a square knot and clip the remaining string to leave a quarter of an inch or less of length.
NOTE: Your batting will indicate how far apart the knots need to be. Mine were every 5 inches, so I alternated spacing so that every other row lined up and that alternating rows were in the middle.

That’s all there is to it! It literally took about 5 hours start to finish, but it must be said that I am a novice sewer and wrestled with setting up my machine for 1 of those 5 hours. I hope the mommy, daddy, and baby like it.

Giving Credit Where it’s Due:
I have two people to thank for the completion of this project.

One is the rockin’ sales assistant at the Jo-Ann Store who prevented me from buying the wrong thread, the wrong binding, the wrong batting, the wrong material to do my ties, and pretty much everything except the fabric that I had to swap out because I’d gotten it all wrong.

Second is my friend Sarah, without whom I would have never gotten past threading the bobbin wrong. To you both, Thank You! Thank You!! Thank You!!!
I am so happy with how well this turned out and I am inspired to make a few more for some deserving mommies and babies. In fact, the hub liked it so much that he has requested one in camouflage!!!

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Feb 25, 2009

Don’t tell our future kids!!! =) - February 2009

Note to Reader: Have you ever forgotten a meal, gotten so busy doing other things that you completely neglected to eat? For me, this is a VERY rare instance, but when it happens there is either a stern case of the “grumpy hungries” and an obscene eating fest that results in extreme happiness at what ever is on my plate. Oh and don't forget a massive case of heart burn!

So there we were, playing Wii Golf and I was complaining that I was hungry.

The hub asked "Do you want a peanut butter graham cracker?”

I said "nope. I want something like chips".

“Okay, get chips and salsa” he said.

“We have chips and salsa?” I said with a head tilt of confusion “Are you sure?”

With the controller dangling from his arm he walked to the pantry and from the way way back he pulled out a giant bag of On the Boarder tortilla chips, and from the refrigerator he produced and set on the counter an almost completely full jar of salsa.

My eyes widened with excitement as I exclaimed “WOW!!! We do have chips and salsa!”

In the next 30 minutes, we proceeded to eat the entire jar of salsa and most of the back of chips. The Hub convinced me to eat not one but THREE graham crackers with not only a heaping spoon full of peanut butter, but a happy layer of Hershey’s chocolate syrup as well.

It wasn’t till we were halfway through the salsa jar that the Hub looked up at me and asked, “Did we eat dinner?”

I shut my eyes trying to replay the events of the day and to my shock and amazement, the last meal I could remember was Pancakes at 9:30 that morning. “I can’t remember eating dinner” I said putting another chip into my mouth. “Do you?”

He shook his head and said “I think we forgot!” He reached for another chip, but stopped short. “You want me to make something?”

I looked sheepishly at the spread we were working on and said “I kinda just want to eat this.”

“Me too” he said happily. “Have another cracker!” He said handing me another graham cracker with a big boy sized spoon full of Jiff and enough Hershey’s syrup on it to turn an entire glass of white milk brown!!! Mmmmmmmmmmm!!!

Additional Note to Reader: Don’t tell our future kids!!! =)

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Feb 23, 2009

A Place to Be! – February 2009

Note to Reader: this is a VERY belated Valentines Day post.

The Friday before Valentines Day the Hub and I were going to baby sit for a couple we are friends with. Their baby is a SUPER CUTE 6 month old who was so fun to sit with for a couple of hours while his mommy and daddy got to have a V-Day date! YAHOO!!! And oh so much fun!!!

So I rushed home from work just a little before 5:00 to try to beat the traffic and found the Hub up to something. He stopped me at the door and took my red laptop bag, coat, and purse, set them all down and told me to close my eyes. He led me by the hands, he walking backwards guiding me forwards into his office. As we passed from the darkness of the front hall into the room, I smelled the unmistakable sent of new wood furniture and started getting excited. What was it!?

He spun me around and then said “Open your eyes”!

I gasped, speechless at what I saw, which for me is a really big deal. A beautiful new writing desk was sitting adjacent to his!

I must give you a small amount of back story. I’ve been a writer in some way shape form or fashion since I was old enough to write. My best friend in grade school, Mishella, and I used to read the creative things that we would write over the phone to each other and give critiques.

My freshman year in high school I took a biology class and about mid way through the year my teacher had a mental break down and the rest of the year was a long string of substitutes, so I took it upon myself to write my first full length story about a girl that goes from obscurity to a gymnastics star at her high school. (I made a C in biology that year!)

I wrote all the way through college and even got something published in our Literary Magazine. It’s never been a play thing for me. It’s always been something very real.
However, in the past few years, I haven’t really had a place to write. I’ve dragged my laptop all over the house writing on the couch, the man chair, the bedroom floor the floor of the Hub’s office, the kitchen counter, really, just anywhere I fit. It’s never been something I complained about, but I have been looking forward to a time when I could have a little corner to call my own.
I looked up at the Hub and he proudly said, “I split my office with you. It took me five hours to put that thing together, but now you have a place to write!” He'd even taken some of my trinkets, photographs favorite books, and writing books and decorated it.
This is one of the most thoughtful gifts he’s ever gotten me. I’ve written at it just about every day, the last several blogs have been posted from it, and the first novel is well on its way! (More details about that are coming soon!)

Anyhow, I just wanted to take this chance in front of the whole blogesphere to tell the Hub thanks for giving me a place to be!

Till Next Time!
Bon Voyage!

Feb 15, 2009

And the Winner Is… - February 2009

Well, the scores have been calculated and the results are in! The winner of the 2008 -2009 Football Picks Competition is ME!!!

If the news actually cared about our little competition I think the news article would go something like this.


“I can honestly say that this is a contest I never thought I would actually win.” These were the words of the newly crowned champ as she exited the presentation stage, trophy clutched tightly in her hands. Her record of 166 wins and 98 losses was just enough to beat the two time champions record of 163 wins and 101 losses.

When asked what her strategy was and if she was able to hold to her guns during the grueling 17 weeks of regular season play, she smiled and said, “Well, I don’t want to reveal all my secrets, but I really owe my success to being open to new ideas and new ways of picking the winners.” She went on to reveal that the first six weeks she alternated between “who had the cuter mascot and which color uniforms I thought looked best.” She noted that in the beginning I really tried to focus on things I liked and in the second half of the season, I really thought hard about what would work and win games”.

One thing can be seen about this year’s winner. With one glance at the season, you will notice that she has a fierce loyalty for the Tennessee Titans. Without fail she picked them to win each week and only four times in the entire season, including the playoffs, did they fail to produce a win for this year’s competitors. “That is one of the things that the Hub and I have in common. We are crazy loyal Titans fans!"

In the 2008-2009 NFL season, including the playoffs, there were a total of 264 games played and when you look at the final scores, the race looks like it was tight, with the Hub losing it all by only three games, however, reviewing the entire season shows the truth.

In the first part of the season, Lili came out strong, and in week 6 and 7 she solidified her lead by picking 12 wins and only 2 losses both weeks.

But the real highlight of the season came in week 10, when the Hub set a lifetime best a nearly perfect week with 13 wins and 1 loss. “The final game that week was between Arizona and San Francisco. “He’d picked the 49ers and I’d picked Arizona that week. It was the week that Mike Singletary had been named as the interim coach.” says this years Champ. After hearing that story and knowing that the Hub was one game away from a perfect week, I found myself cheering for the 49ers hoping that I wouldn’t win that game.”

Suze, a holiday house guest and special guest competitor in week 16 commented “Wow Lili, you’ve got a great lead, but you’d better look out. He’s gonna sneak up on you and win for the 3rd time in a row”. That would not become the fortune of the two time Picks Champ. In the second week of the playoffs he gave a concession speech indicating that “there wouldn’t be enough time to come back because our picks are going to be the same pretty much from now to the Super Bowl”.

As with every major sports competition, this year’s NFL Picks Competition was scarred by roomers of foul play. Not steroid use, but just as bad in the eyes of fierce competitors like the Hub. “After I’d leave for work in the morning I’m positive she watched the rerun of Mike & Mike and I know I wasn’t the only one in our house going to ESPN.com and Yahoo sports”. Despite numerous requests to provide proof that this year’s champ wasn’t playing by the rules, there was never any evidence that any unlawful activity was taking place. When asked to comment about the controversy the 2008 - 2009 champ declined to comment, stating that she hadn’t had time to really pay attention to anything being said. “It has taken a lot of hard work and time to keep this trophy polished. There just hasn’t been any time to listen to roomers”.

Now that the NFL season is over and the Pro Bowl has been played, the excitement is starting to brew about the awarding of prizes and also about who will be next year’s winner. “As far as this year’s prizes are concerned,” said this year’s champ “The Hub will be taking me to the Melting Pot sometime in March and the car washing will begin in the spring.” When asked why she had decided to wait so long to receive her prizes, she simply stated “Look guys, all of this winning has been great, but to be honest, next year isn’t a given, so I just want to make it last as long as I can”.

As for who‘s going to win it next year, there are a few favorites, and a few little four legged ones practicing on this year’s stage, but it’s really a mystery. There’s always the possible dark horse that could sneak in, pounce on the competition and win it all. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Feb 11, 2009

"Little Miss" – February 2009

Note to Reader: Okay, I’ve got several posts in the works, but research and my inability to take a rockin’ photo are holding me back, but please know that there are several on the way that will be worth waiting for, including… drum roll please, my First Blogiversary Contest in March!!! So, stay tuned!

Additional Note to Reader: This story is long over due!

Over the last 6 or so months I have been flip flopping back and forth about my feelings toward motherhood and my confidence in my ability to be a good mother. I didn’t have the most traditional of upbringings, but I think that most of the time, my parents did the best they knew how to do with what they had. Because my mother wasn’t around that much, I’ve always had some serious insecurities in this department. My older sister often times was my teacher for the things that mothers normally teach. She walked me home from school, and she taught me how to put my hair in a pony tail. She gave me the “4-1-1” on the best ways to deal with girl bullies. She taught me how to tight roll my jeans, tease my hair and when my sneakers were falling apart and we both knew that there was no money to buy new ones, she showed me how to duct tape my sneakers so that no one at school would ever know. For all of these things, I owe her the world, but she grew up and moved away when I was about 14 so we never really got to the “big stuff”.

So, as the Hub and I get closer to the day that we’ll start our own little family, I find myself frightened at the possibility that I will completely fail at being a mother, especially to a little girl. What if I forget to teach her something important? Each time my fear reaches the roof, little angels zoom in and sprinkle happy thoughts and sweet sweet hugs on to me and my fear dissolves. This was just such an occasion.

My good friend brought her 3 year old little girl to our weekly bible study. This “Little Miss” has always held a sweet place in my heart, and on this night, at the sight of each other, she ran over and I scooped her up. She sat next to me that night and as the conversation rose she laughed as though on queue and when it fell soft, she was right there along side me wearing a face of concern and contemplation. Every once in a while I glanced out of the corner of my eye to see her beautiful brown curls bouncing as she took notes just like the big girls. I twisted my pen between my fingers and she twisted her pen between her fingers. When I thoughtfully held a finger to my cheek, I snuck a peek at her and she was copying my every move. At the end of the night she came to hug me good bye and when she was close by my ear she whispered “Love you Ms. Lili”.

My heart rose as she shuffled away to meet her mom, and in those little moments, I am able to understand that I will be a good mother because I have so many good mothers to learn from like my sister, Little Miss’s mom, and all of the wonderful women that have come into my life and filled in the spaces that my mother couldn’t.

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Feb 4, 2009

A true Miracle!

Please keep this family and baby Tuley in your prayers. This baby is a true Miracle!

NOTE: I want to post more about this when I have more time, but I also wanted to get this up as quickly as possible.

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Feb 1, 2009

25 Random Things about Me - January 2009

1. My favorite person on earth is my husband.
2. My Myers Briggs personality type is ENFJ.
3. I have a blog, www.wanderinglili.blogspot.com and it makes my day when people comment, even if it’s just one word.
4. I am a freak about loading the dishwasher correctly. (Dude! A place fore everything and everything in it's place!)
5. My favorite author is Jennifer Weiner. (I am a total nut and tagged her on this in hopes that she might read it and we would become BFFs - ha ha - but knowing the odds of that happening are a million to one!)
6. I am worried that I will not be able to find an agent when I finish writing my first novel later this year.
7. To earn money in high school I folded a couple’s laundry twice a week.
8. A have a stuffed Nemo sitting on my cubicle wall.
9. I LOVE LOVE LOVE audio books!
10. I was on the Varsity Mens Rowing Team in college. (I was a coxswain.)
11. I have run four marathons.
12. When I was little I could recite from memory the cartoon version of the movies, Bambi and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
13. I brush my teeth in the shower.
14. The older I get, the more I love my siblings.
15. I never cheated in school.
16. I was fluent in sign language and French. (I can still speak pretty decent French, but the sign language is almost all gone.)
17. My hair is naturally curly.
18. I would take a long, hot bath every day if there was time.
19. I still haven’t found the perfect pair of Jeans. UGH!
20. I have always wished I were left handed.
21. We are going to get a German Shepherd puppy after “The Match”!
22. I don’t like it when my food touches.
23. I want to have totally natural child birth. (No I am not prego now, but one day!)
24. One of my biggest regrets is not keeping in touch with my college room mates.
25. My nick name at work is "Kitten"! - (Not really sure how that happened? - Thanks Ashley!)

Till Next Time,
Bon Voyage