I took the online quilting class and learned some solid, basic information.  We worked with just squares of fabric, so nothing fancy.  I learned that pieces can be “chained” which means you do not backstitch at all, and you simply stop when one piece is done, raise the presser foot without cutting off the last piece, and then start the next one.  The result is a “chain” of sewn together pieces that you can then cut apart.  Chaining is nice because it is fast and it keeps all your sets in order.

But, I got a bit bored working in miniature with normal blocks.  I will be working full scale with just blocks on a quilt for my brother (I just need to get a little more fabric), but I thought it would be neat to learn how to do more complex blocks.  I found a series of bog posts that teaches some classic blocks, and I got started!

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It’s not a very good picture, but I did the Friendship Star and Shoofly patterns as 12 inch blocks, the Yankee Puzzle as a 6 inch block, and the Bear Claw as 3 inch blocks.  There’s a whole lot more to learn, but I’m excited at how these have turned out!

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The comet Swift-Tuttle orbits every 133 years. Despite its lengthy orbital period we can see an interesting spin off from this astronomical body.  It is the parent of the Perseid meteor shower.  Though the Perseid meteor shower has been observable since the end of July, your best chance of observing it is on Saturday night & Sunday morning.  You can learn more from Space.com or by watching the video below.

This morning when I decided to try a new recipe, I had no intention of writing about it.  However, now that it is all said and done, I feel like I need to.  (This post contains no pictures since I didn’t plan to write it in the first place.)

After I worked out this morning, I wanted to try a smoothie recipe that I found on Pintrest.  I was especially intrigued because the blog post claimed that this smoothie (with a tooooooon of spinach in it) would not taste healthy, but, instead, rather delicious.  I had prepped by putting my banana in the freezer a night or two earlier, so I was ready to give this one a whirl.  

I will say that this smoothie does not taste like spinach, but it also does taste healthy.  My banana was a bit green (OK, fairly green) when I sliced it, so the flavor from that was a bit off.  Just a tablespoon of peanut butter really does infuse the whole thing with an after taste of the peanut butter, but, overall, I was unimpressed.  While I did not feel like I was drinking a spinach smoothie, I also did not find the resulting flavor as anything I would call tasty.  My husband made a face when I put the glass down next to him and demanded he try it.  “You didn’t make this for me, did you?” he asked.  I shook my head no.  “Good.  I think it is awful.”  

I am going to give this a try again tomorrow without the peanut butter (but still the banana) and some frozen berries.  Perhaps the (now ripe) banana and some berry goodness with help make it into something I  would want to drink again.  I will say, though, that the recipe makes a LOT,  I filled two glasses and did not alter the recipe at all.  If this was something I wanted to drink I would be impressed by all I could have for the (relatively) small caloric intake.

Some of my best friends are people I have never met, nor ever can.  They are characters in novels and movies and histories.  Some writers have a gift that brings people to life from the confines an an individual’s imagination and allows them to frolic in the world of the reader.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is teeming with characters that I feel like I know.  They are real people-dynamic, flawed, confusing; and they deal with real problems that are both universal and individual.

In the simplest and least spoiler way, here is a plot overview.  Sixteen year old Hazel Grace has cancer.  Ever since she has been diagnosed she has know she is going to die.  At a support group meeting she meets Augustus Waters who also has cancer-a type that takes your leg but might not take your life.  The relationship that ensues revolves around all the things that any good relationship centers around-literature, learning that it is OK to be yourself, grand romantic gestures, awkward moments, and determining whether you should do what you want to do or what you think you should do.

Here’s the publisher’s trailer:

As I read I started to write down lines that were just “so perfect.”  Eventually, though, I was mostly transcribing the book.  This book made me cry real and ugly tears and then laugh as the streamed down my face.  I simply can’t tell you how much I love this book until you have also read it.

And If I can’t convince you, perhaps the enthusiasm and sheer likability of John Green will do the trick (with bonus tidbit about The Great Gatsby):

Seriously-read this book.  As soon as you stop crying, give me a call.  We’ll go out for coffee and get to work on our transcriptions.

Soon we will hopefully be updating more and adding a podcast. Stay tuned!

But not for meningitis.   Lori Loughlin aka Aunt Becky from Full House encourages getting vaccinated against bacterial meningitis.  I second this idea.

You can prevent bodily harm or death from meningitis by getting a vaccine.  What is not to like?  Aside from the meningitis.

When I was in elementary school I had the run of my neighborhood.  My parents set the limits on three main roads that I was not allowed to cross whether on foot, on bike, or by trying to jump really, really far.  I was fine with this as all my friends and all the adventure I could ever want were inside those bounds.

One of my favorite things to do was ride my bike.  I loved the feeling of the wind rushing past my face (like any other kid) and used to imagine that this was probably what it felt like to fly.   There was a “hill” that was ideal for flying.  When I was little I thought that I could go rather fast down this hill.  It had this soft curve to it that always gave me a thrill of excitement as I anticipated it.  I used to “save up” for the hill and not let myself go down it everyday.  It was a treat that I would allow myself just every now and then, and never with my friends.  It was my own personal reward.

Today I am married to a man who loves to bike and dreams of going 40 mph under his own power.  He has two bikes and loves to ride for miles and miles and hours and hours.  And me?  Somewhere along the way I lost that sense of adventure.  A husband like mine is probably not so secretly ashamed at my lack of grace on two wheels.

I now hate the idea of riding more than 10 mph.  I have difficulty getting off of my bike.  I am constantly thinking about falling off.  I am, in fact, the sort of person little-er me would have hated hanging out with.  In other words, I totally suck.

However, it’s time for me to get over it.  So what if I fall off?  Bruises fade, bones heal.  Watching the Tour has shown me that it’s certainly time to man up.  For reals.  Some of these riders crash, break bones, and still finish the stage before they get bandaged up.  That’s not just inspiration to ride, that’s inspiration to live.  And if you ever needed a metaphor for life, a cycling race will surely fit that bill.

But how to overcome such a thing?  For me the answer is simple-research.  Since the Tour de France is currently on (and of course we watch it every day!) I am totally into the competitive cycling world.  I am starting with no knowledge but whatever I can eke out of the husband as we sit mesmerized in front of hours of cycling for the next two weeks (9 days are already done).  So I start with learning all I can about the sport.  Understanding is half my battle.  Somewhere I stopped being the kid that made up songs and sang them to herself as she walked home from school and started being the bookish researcher who needed every detail to determine what she was going to do.  If that’s me, so be it.  That is how I will tackle that problem.  And, hopefully, along the way, I might just start to yearn for that rush of wind and maybe I’ll even sing a song about it.