Fall!

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Doesn’t it seem like Fall flies by?  Definitely the best of the seasons and it always goes too quickly.  This year is no different.  We only have the kids every other weekend, so our fall weekends are precious.  When my stepson had an all-day debate tournament last weekend, we tried to get some fall fun in with my stepdaughter, but it was tough.  Every place was busy, no parking, etc., etc.  We did get this one adorable picture of her though.

I have been enjoying some sewing.  I have tried to focus on process rather than pushing to finish a lot.  I have worked on this quilt several weekends in a row – which is pushing against my desire to GET STUFF DONE.  Which is probably good for me.

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I have fluctuated between loving and hating it – but I think I am solidly in the loving it camp now.  I love all the interesting shapes the 1/2 square triangles and triangles make.  And I think I like the color palette – lots of low-volumes and neutrals and a purple-less rainbow.  I had cut several black squares, but it was too overpowering, so they were edited out.  Which means I will be several blocks short to be able to finish my quilt.  But I am ignoring that fact right now.

 

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I had to make 240 1/2-square triangles for this quilt.  Actually, 480 because I got a little baby 1/2 square triangle by sewing a 1/2-inch over from my seam for the big 1/2-squqr3 triangle.  About a third through the process, I taped guides on the machine so I didn’t have to mark my squares.  Lesson learned – going to do that from the beginning next time.

Happy Fall – I am hoping for cooler weather here so that this little guy will want to cuddle at night.

 

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My Stepdaughter’s Quilt

I have made lots and lots of quilts for other people’s children.  This year I made a pledge to make quilts for my stepson and stepdaughter.  Actually I made the pledge last year, but this year I pledged to really finish them.

First up is my stepdaughter’s quilt.  It includes her favorite colors.  Well, at least they were her favorite colors when I started the quilt.  (now her favorite color is red.  sigh.)

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I included a lot of sawtooth stars, and lots of fabrics with her favorite things – matches, converse shoes, musical notes.

And I made one block that was inverse of the rest.  Because she is totally a standout – in the absolute best way.  When others zig, she zags – beautifully.  My beautiful, sweet, stepdaughter.  In her Ramones t-shirt and black converse.  Zag.

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I love the yellows in this quilt.  and the blues.  and the greens.  I love this color palette and I love all of the great low volume fabrics.

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I backed the quilt in this fun orange by Carolyn Friedlander.  And used a sunshine-y binding.  I love this combination.

The quilting is rudimentary.  It is hard for me to quilt a quilt this big.  So straight lines it is.  With a few, uh, bumps along the way.

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This quilt now happily lives in her bedroom.  I hope she will treasure it for a long time.  I think she will.

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Rock On.

A little bit before Christmas, I took SD and her best friend to a rock concert.  This is them chilling in their chucks in between bands.

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It was beyond fantastic.

My first concert was pretty epic- Michael Jackson Thriller world premier with my friend Alynda.  And that was just the tip of an awesome concert iceberg.  I have seen some great concerts.  I used to scream like a lunatic at Cake concerts – so much screaming that people backed away.  I don’t do that anymore.  But I still love concerts

I don’t like being out past my bedtime, parking and driving downtown, being around drunk people, or not being able to sit down.  But I do all of those things fairly regularly (for someone my age) for those awesome moments in concerts – when all the people sing to a loved song performed live.  An awesome high.  And last year I found a friend who likes the same music as me and is almost always game.

.My SD has similar taste in music – I am Wilco, she is Green Day – but fairly similar.  I have wanted to take her to a concert for a long time.  But we live in Kansas City and good bands come to Kansas City on Tuesday nights, if they come at all.

And then all of a sudden the The Cold War Kids (LOVE them!) were playing on a Friday night.  I scooped up 4 tickets and got excited.  (There were other bands – ones I didn’t know).

It was everything I hoped it would be.  Definitely one of the best nights of my life because I got to give these two awesome girls the gift of their first rock concert.  Their first time seeing how dumb drunk people can get.  Their first time singing at the top of their lungs to a song they love with hundreds of other people.  Their first time seeing an encore.  (I LOVED explaining encores.)

The featured band (Cage the Elephant) performed an encore and the lead signer took off his shirt.  My SD’s friend went CRAZY.  She kept saying “He doesn’t have a shirt on.”  Hilarious.

I loved that night.  Rock on.

2014 – The Good

2014.  Uh, blech.  So many things went more than a bit awry in 2014.  Work was, well, anyway…  My health was…. well…

Let’s focus on the good.  As always, thanks for reading and sharing and caring about me.  This is really a highly-censored personal journal for me, but I love there is a bit of an audience, especially since I abstain from almost all social media.  I love this outlet, I love sharing my projects, and I hope to make the blog fuller and more personal next year.

Here are some of my personal highlights (in no particular order):

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My stepkids.  This year we really got close.  I think this year they finally got me completely.  My SS realized that my smart-ass comments were meant to be funny, not that I am an idiot.  And sometimes he even found them funny.  And my SD started saying she loved me – all the time. W.O.W.  For years, people, including my stepkids, have reassured me that they are in fact “my” kids.  This year it felt like that was true.  In sharp focus I can see what they have gotten (at least in part) from me – including a fierce sense of humor, some kick-ass irreverence, a respect for the absurd, and the importance of looking past the appearance to find substance.  And they totally see the value I bring and they like to be around me.  The kids and my husband are awesome – and now I totally realize that they are more awesome with me.  I guess I will always be a little sad that I never had my “own” kids. But that is almost completely tempered with the sheer awesome heart-pounding joy of being a loved, admired, accepted stepmom.  ‘Cause that shit is hard.  And the kids, my husband and I earned it – through time and patience and acceptance and love and work.  I wouldn’t trade being their stepmom for anything – not even kids of my own.  Not. fucking. anything.  And that makes me a parent and that makes them my kids.

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My marriage.  This year has gotten stronger.  I feel like this year we have crossed a line into something that feels completely like forever family.  The steadiness of my husband’s support and love and encouragement is truly my cornerstone.  I can’t imagine not having that.  From outside our marriage looks “unconventional” – with me being the wage earner and stepkids and all that – but it is completely old skool conventional in that we totally have each others’ backs, he is my best friend, the person I want to see every day for the rest of my life.  Our marriage works.  Gawd, what a magnificent thing.  In an amazing moment a couple weeks ago, my step kids told my husband and I that we “were made for each other”.  It took my breath away.  That they know we will always be there for each other and a team for them is what my parents gave me growing up.  And that I gave the kids that gift – even if in a blended family – was so gratifying.  And now I get to tease my husband that he is so weird that he was made for *me*.  And he teases me right back.  Love that man.

IMG_1663My house. Ok, now this is getting a bit trite.  Kids, husband, home.  As I told my husband the other night when we went out for sushi, I am quite suburbane.  Proving it with this post.  But our home has been a challenge.  Things wearing out, no longer functional and no money to replace them.  This year ushered in new appliances, new downstairs bath with a working subfloor, and lots of little things fixed that have been bugging me.  Our house is not a castle… it is old and quirky (like us), but it is waaaay more livable than it was not too long ago.  One thing I do love about my husband and I is that we can see the joy in the small things.  And all of the little fixes and upgrades in our house this year,along with the general eclectic awesomeness, have brought us lots of joy.

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Quilting.  Now we get to it.  I have never, ever, ever immersed myself in a hobby like I have in quilting this year.  I have been a knitter and a jewelry maker – but they are nothing compared to quilting when it comes to total consumption of one’s soul.  I have spent too much money on fabric, and have too many times lingered at my sewing table when I should have been living my life (or at least showering).  But I do think quilting has saved my sanity this year.  My brain has always been very loud with worry.  I practically invented making a mountain (or mountain range) out of a molehill.  Work, finances, and my health beat a million bass drums of pounding worry into my brain.  Quilting shuts them up.  Amazingly.  I have gotten better and faster.  I have partly slayed the demons of fabric buying and unfinished projects, and what I have left is a passion that brings me so much joy.  This year I finished *60* projects!  That is 5 a month.  Lots of baby quilts for friends and charity, lots of pouches, lots of things for my home.

This upcoming year I am facing a lot of scary things.  The turn of the calendar doesn’t make those things go away.  But the four cornerstones of my kids, my husband, my home, and my quilting give me a strength of sorts.  I am scared, but not beaten.

In 24 Hours….

I have had a really great 24 hours.  Last night DH and I made Coq Au Vin.  Seriously.  LIke for real.  And it was wonderful… truly wonderful.  Not perfect, the amount of sauce we ended up with wasn’t quite right.  But the chicken tasted like the chicken you would get at a good french restaurant.  Just so yummy.

I do not have photographic evidence of said Coq Au Vin… you will just have to believe me.

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What I do have photographic evidence of is this poolside tote that I made!  I am really proud of this one.  As I have said a bazillion times on this blog, I could not have done this a year ago.  Sewing, sewing, sewing and I am getting better.  Obvious that would happen, but still cool.

Now this bag is far from perfect.  My topstitching still has a looooooong way to go.  But it is perfectly serviceable, and I got a “that looks so cool!!!” from my stepdaughter for whom it was made (she needed a big bag for all her books and stuff).

I sound very smug, I know.  But I am just a technician getting better at the things I do – the pattern was by Anna Graham, the recipe by Winnie Moranville.  The time and the dedication to become an expert at some things (very slowly) is mine.  I am VERY LUCKY to have the time and resources to do these things.  Very lucky.  I am grateful – very grateful.  And a wee bit proud of myself.

I am about to shower after a hike through the woods and then off to cook some steak with wine and cherries.

The next 24 hours are looking pretty good, too.

Addicted to Frolf

You like to think that you’re immune to the stuff
It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough
You know you’re gonna have to face it

A few months ago, on a whim, we tried some disc golf.  And now we can’t stop.  DH and I go every weekend, dragging the kids with us on our weekends with them.

Like all sports, I am bad at this one.  Unlike all sports, I still enjoy this one.  The family is tolerant of my suckage.  And it is a lovely walk through the woods.  We play the same back 9 of the same lovely course at Smithville Lake.

When people ask me what I am doing every weekend, the answer always is disc golf.  Followed by a response to my response with something like “You really like disc golf?” and the look you give slightly crazy people.

Yes, I really like disc golf.  A lot.  And so do DH and the kids.  Maybe the pictures will start to give an explanation.

imageSecret little ponds with an amazing display of waterlilies

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Pretty stretches of woods.

imageDH and start each hole together, but a lot of my time is spent far behind him.

imageFlora and fauna and cool mushrooms

imageThe satisfying clink when the disc gets in

imageFamily time with the family