Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Check It. Proof That I Did Graduate High School.

I had an afternoon to spare recently, so I did a quick little sewing project that was long overdue.  Take a gander at my old beat up checkbook below.  

Lacks a little flair, wouldn't you say?  Except for one thing.  Notice the big white card on the middle of my checkbook (hard to miss, I suppose)?  Let's take a closer look:

Yes, ladies and gentlemen.  That IS my high school diploma.  Shrunk down and laminated, made to fit right in my wallet.  A gift from HHS as they sent me out into the "real world".  The gift of preparedness: that I should always be armed and ready to present my high school diploma in case I would ever need to prove it to somebody.  And goodness knows I've said and done plenty that could leave a person wondering...  

Obviously I still carry it around with me almost a decade later.  In college, I was shocked to discover that my boyfriend (future husband) didn't have one in his wallet as well.    I guess I thought everyone received a tiny diploma when they graduated high school.  He still makes fun of me today for carrying it around.  Jealous, that's what I say.  He wishes he was a Hillsboro Hiltopper!  (And, yes, I did spell it correctly...where I come from we spell it as one word and with only one L...the right way.)  But let's get back on track.

The old brown checkbook and I have been through so much together.  I remember buying it at Walmart in high school, a purchase that I felt to be very grown up and sophisticated.  Whipping out the checkbook to flourish my signature on a check seemed glamorous and oh-so-mature.  But to everything there is a season.  So, out with the old and in with the new...

Ta-da!  Much better.
And the inside.
I am sad to point out that I no longer have a piece of vinyl on the front to proudly display my diploma.  But you might notice it peeking out of the top pocket in the second picture.  It will never leave me.  I will always need proof that I graduated high school, just in case.

And now for a blast from the past...

Me, a high school graduate, with Mom and Dad.  :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Big Reveal: My FINISHED Quilt! it is!!!!

Here's the back.
You guys, I seriously feel like I just finished a marathon!  I feel like I'm on some sort of running high; a quilting high, I guess.  I'm an old lady.  I am so glad this project is over but I feel so good about having done it at the same time.  Will I make another "big quilt"?  You bet your britches I will.  Will I have a little break before starting my next "big quilt"?  Yup.

The finished quilt measures 58 1/2" square. Big enough for me to be wrapped comfortably in it, but not so huge that I'm drowning in it.  Here are some of the steps that went into making my "big quilt" dream come true:

Cutting lots of fabric and sewing together 32 of these bad boys.
Taping fabric to the floor and making a quilt sandwich.
Putting 192 safety pins in it...Michael counted them.
Machine quilting the beast.  Lots of frustration here...and learning!   :)

There were some other steps in there, like hand-stitching the binding around the edges (while watching several episodes of PBS's Downton Abbey), but you get the gist of it.  Now that I've finished it, I like to keep it in view at all times.  I've thrown it over beds, chairs, the couch, etc.

Someday I will probably get sick of looking at it, but I'm nowhere near that point yet.  Now, I'd like to give a shout-out to the women before us, who did all this stuff BY HAND.  My hats are forever off to you ladies.  

Wish I had this hat.

Before I bid you farewell, I wanted to share my favorite picture of the quilt with you all.  

Slam and Paul Terry approve.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Homemade Gift for an Artist Extraordinaire

I am still hard at work on my first real quilt.  I'm currently in the phase where I'm machine quilting my "quilt sandwich" (quilt top + batting + back fabric).  I am so excited for the end result, but that probably is still a ways away.  So, in the mean time, I thought I'd share with you a homemade gift from last Christmas.

My brother Adam is a crazy-gifted artist.  He always kind of dabbled in it, but who knew he would get this good??  I'm very proud of him.  Here's an example of his progression:

"Great Aunt Sophie" in Junior High (1st place in Old Settlers Art Show---hey hey!)

To this....
"Green Lady" least that's what I call her....sometime last year

I know...crazy good.  Since my bro has blossomed in his artistic ability, I wanted to give him a Christmas gift that would feed into that creativity.  I wanted to make him something so that he could make know, like a chain of creativity.  Hence, the artists' tool roll:

I think he liked it!  Such a cool thing to watch someone open a gift that you made for them.  

I'm always looking forward to Adam's next artistic creation.  Although, Great Aunt Sophie will always hold a special place in my heart.  She's been hanging proudly in my family's basement for a long time now.  She's kind of like a member of the Mackey family.

There are few things as rewarding as creating something for someone else.  Remember when you were a kid and you colored a picture for your mom?  So much love on both sides.  There you were, beaming proudly as you hand your mom a multi-colored crayon etching of her.  And there was your mom, looking at it as if there was nothing more perfect in all the world...even if it was the tenth one you've given her that day.  What a feeling.  All that said, consider making something for someone.  And if you don't consider yourself "crafty" or artistic, simply do something kind for someone you love.  There.

Since this post is mostly pictures, why not throw in one more for the road?

Hillsboro is special.  Ree & Adam circa 1991

Monday, September 5, 2011

Boston Shmoston (Swank Alert!)

I went to Boston, you wicked pissah!  (said in my thick new Bostonian accent)

Michael and I just got back from a 7-day excursion to Boston and Cape Cod, or "The Cod" as Michael kept mistakingly referring to it (people usually refer to it as "The Cape").  I love that guy.  We speak Bostonian to each other often now.   It's too good of an accent to let drift away.  We even read junk mail to each other in our new accents.  Make it last.

Oh, so many memories to share...beaches, history, fresh seafood, shopping for tchotchkes, hanging out with friends (much love to the Sanghas and Coles!), beautiful weather, etc.  Here are some favorites:

  • Picking up seashells on the beach.  My husband found an especially pretty one for me.  He picked it up, then we watched it crumbled apart.  Seagull poop.
  • Being invited to a show in Provincetown by two guys dressed as Brittany Spears and Scary Spice.  The name of the show: Naked Boys Singing.  Very friendly guys, but alas we did not go to the show.  Rain check.
  • Getting lots of protein.  To save money, we went grocery shopping to make our own breakfasts and lunches at the condo.  Scrambled eggs for breakfast, tuna sandwich for lunch, and repeat.  
  • Bad news turned good, kind of.  We lost a credit card.  Traced our steps, revisited the place of the last purchase, looked through wallet 4 times or so.  No card.  So, we called and cancelled it.  No one else had used it--good news!  Found the credit card...right in front of the wallet, and laughed our heads off.  Team Duncan: high five!
  • Eating breakfast on our deck with an ocean view.  As I peel my banana, I hear the sounds of seagulls, breeze through the trees, crickets, and....gagging?  I turn to my husband, and between gags he says, "I don't like bruised bananas."  I die laughing and realize how in love I am with my husband and his sensitive gag reflex.
  • Sunset at the ocean.
  • Seeing whales in their natural environment: breath-taking!!!  I always tell Michael I'm having a "worshipful moment" anytime I'm near something really huge (including construction cranes, which remind me of brontosauruses--don't judge, haha).  This was one of those moments.
This purpose of this trip to the East Coast was to celebrate five years of marriage together.  I'd say we did just that.  Michael, you wicked pissah, I love you like crazy.  Here's to many more.  Cheers!