Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pi Day and Other March Happenings

I had things that I was going to share this month, meant to share, but decided not to share because they really weren't worthy of a post.

I've gone "all out" (not really) for St Patrick's Day before, but not this year.
I didn't decorate for Easter.
I forgot to write a birthday post for my brother/an anniversary post for my grandparents (both happened on March 18th).

Mostly, we worked and went to school. I had a birthday, which I did record. We went to Pennsylvania, as you might recall. But the little things that happened and were recorded in picture form didn't get posts of their own, so here you go.

Pi Day
I was going to record our adventures of Pi Day, which was March 4th (3.14, get it?), but the reality is that it's not something I really thought about beforehand. I texted Carson "Happy Pi Day! Sorry I didn't make you any pie!" at some point during the day, which now sounds like I taunt him cruelly with things he can't have, like pie. When I picked him up at work, we went through the McDonald's drive-thru for some "apple pies" which don't really deserve the name. It was his idea, and we sort of phoned it in, but here are pictures:

Carson made the stuffed squirrel join us for this picture. For some reason, he tries to include it in family events. Like movie nights and pie eating.

St. Patrick's Day
You were going to see pictures of our super fun, super green St. Patrick's Day, but there weren't really any. We wore green (I made Carson change so we were late to church. Blue just wouldn't do.), we had a Shamrock Shake from McDonalds, which tastes very strange, for the record (I hope I remember that next year).
After that fun adventure, we went to the $1 theater and watched Les Miserables and Jack Reacher back-to-back. It's funny that those were our picks, because not only could they have less in common, and when Brooke and Levi were here, Brooke and I saw the first movie while Carson and Levi watched the second. In between the two, we walked to a grocery store for an early dinner (movie theater popcorn was my pre-dinner choice). I made Carson stop in front of the theater for a picture, which he was more willing to do than expected. He's getting used to me.

March Weather
You would have seen springtime pictures, only there weren't too many to be found. Yes, daylight savings offered us more light during the evening hours, but when it's 34 degrees outside, being outside is not exactly priority. This is what the weather looked like in March:
Sunny! 60-something! 03.10.13

6 inches of snow overnight! 3.25.13

This wasn't very promising. Taken 03.26.13
Deceptive, but sunny (39 degrees and slightly windy, but we read in the sunshine for an hour in short sleeves anyway. I noticed that a few of my freckles returned as a result.)
Thrift Store Score
Sunday is the only day that we both have off work, and generally the only day we can truly spend together (I don't have a consistent work schedule so sometimes we see each other more often but Carson has plans six days a week between two jobs and school). Recently, we drove around Cleveland in search of thrift stores. We were feeling like taking a drive, so we chose stores that weren't right down the street. We found some great items, saw Cleveland, and had a great afternoon together!

We seriously scored. Books (a couple for Carson and several children's books), a game, a picnic basket, 5 work shirts for Carson, a pair of boots for me, four pairs of shorts for Carson, 1 pair of pants for Carson, two summer shirts for me, a wooden sign for me to paint over, fabric (an old flat sheet!) for an upcoming project... and more! The tags Goodwill had on sale were what saved us so much! C even found some things to list on Ebay and those sales made the whole trip worth it!

Best "Brand New" Purchase?
I got a hairdryer. I had one a long time ago, but assumed that it wasn't worth it because it made my (already full of volume) hair huge. I guess I thought that the sleek "blow out" look would work for me. It doesn't, but this does save time (it takes about 8 hours for my hair to air-dry) so that I can now shower in the morning instead of at night. Obviously, I have to straighten or braid or something after this process, but finally, nearly-instant dry hair is mine!

I hadn't dried the ends yet. 
Just Random
I found this lampshade for $4.54 in the Target clearance aisle. All of my lampshades were various neutral colors, but I couldn't beat the price and needed to replace one that got beat up during the move, so this came home with me. I actually like it! It's in our bedroom.

We've been working on this puzzle for SO LONG and it's been so difficult. I can't decide if I want it to be finished, or if I want to find it one day, accidentally fallen on the floor. It's a doozy.

Carson brought me flowers one day randomly. This doesn't happen very often, but I love when it does. Wherever he gets them from has really great flowers, because they usually make it for close to two weeks.

I finally finished cleaning and organizing the landing upstairs from all the things left over when we transferred the bookshelf to downstairs. Our DVDs now reside in the guest room. I really want to organize them, which is important to exactly nobody but me. Ps - one of the things I bought with birthday money was Cinderella on DVD - I'm out to collect the classic Disney DVDs, so if anyone wants to add to that collection, feel free.

Here's my birthday card collection, still displayed in the living room. I love looking at them and rereading them.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Follow Along

So, in case you were wondering, you can feel free to follow this blog by subscribing on Bloglovin'. Google Reader (definitely my most frequently visited site) will be shutting down this summer, so if you'd like to stay updated, click the link below!

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The Groundhog Should Be Fired

Growing up, I can't really remember the transition from one season to the next. 
There were no changing leaves, no first snowfall of the year (it snowed the year I was born and again when I was almost 21). I remember boxing up the summer clothes at some point, but I also remember needing to break out the shorts at Christmas time. It felt like it took FOREVER for the pool to open and the pool opened in April. I remember putting on sweaters and turning the heater on when it got below 60 degrees out. I remember sweating in short sleeves around bonfires in late October. 

Looking back, my life was rather idyllic. 

If it were up to me, the transition from winter to summer would happen overnight - I'd wake up and the birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, grass is green, skies are blue, self tanner isn't necessary...

Today, the first day of spring, I woke up and looked outside. There was sunshine! However, it was also 23 degrees and 3 inches of snow still taunt me from the ground. Snowmen lose their charm in March, don't they?

That groundhog that predicted only a few more weeks of winter should probably not be allowed to predict the weather anymore (but then again, why were we trusting a rodent in the first place).

I wanted to mention that it warmed my heart greatly to hear Carson say today that he's looking at PhD programs closer to my "neck of the woods" (he means hometown). The shorter drive to family would be fantastic, but at this point, I'm really sort of in it for the warm weather. 

Watch, we're going to end up in Maine, where we'll break out the shorts for the first time in July.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DIY Maxi Skirt

When I was little, my mom made a decent amount of our clothes. We'd have play shorts and new dresses every once in awhile, after she'd spent the evening in her sewing room (which at that time was the laundry room). I didn't really think too much about it at the time, since that was normal for me, but I guess that as I've grown up I've seen the beauty in being able to make things for yourself. You can choose the colors, tailor the fit, make the little details perfectly for you. 

Also, thanks to Pinterest, I've seen a number of things that I feel like I could easily make. I think that having a sewing machine gives me an unrealistic view of my sewing abilities which are mediocre at best, but still I like to put it to use. Making anything beyond simple pillow covers scares me though (as even those can be disastrous).

On my last day off, I decided to finally face the fear of cutting into fabric and make a maxi skirt. Thankfully, it wasn't as scary as it seemed. 

I began with 2 yards of black medium-weight knit fabric (I didn't need that much, but I was being safe), elastic, scissors, a white crayon for marking, an old skirt for the pattern, and black thread

I traced my old skirt onto my fabric, which was folded over in half so that my pieces would be exactly the same. I stretched the waistband out as far as I could and held it there with my feet as I bent down to trace. I didn't leave any room for seam allowance because the skirt I was tracing has always been a little long and I didn't mind if it was slightly tighter since the original skirt is fairly loose.

I used an old yearbook to get the straight line on the bottom.

Then I cut.

Then I sewed the sides together with a zig-zag stich. Apparently, the zig-zag stitch helps stretchy fabric to be able to stretch and for the sides not to look bunchy or weird. Despite taking the zig-zag stitch precaution, I feel like bunchy sides have a lot to do with user error (I could very well be wrong).

Then I ran out of thread on my bobbin and had to wind more on there

And then made a waistband. I didn't measure, but I did hold the elastic up to the waistband and go from there. I made it a little wider so that the elastic would fit, and next time, I don't think I'd make it quite as roomy.

 I left a little room to fit the elastic in.

And put it in there using a safety pin as a guide. Before I did this, I'd held elastic up to my waist and determined how big I wanted the waistband, but no pictures because I was using both hands.
Once it was through, I sewed my pieces of elastic together like my life depended on it. I didn't want any wardrobe malfunctions. It also got kind of stuck in my machine, which is why it looks mangled.

Once it was in, I sewed the hole shut, made the bunching on the waistband uniform, and tried it on

And it fit! I took a number of pictures, but the light was terrible and this was the only non-blurry, non shadowy one besides the first picture.

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the leftover fabric at first, but finally decided to make a shorter version of the same skirt. I traced the bottom part of a dress, but I should have used a different one because I'm planning on altering this one due to the dress being too wide at the bottom..

And I shouldn't have tried it on with a flowy shirt, but oh well.

I haven't worn the long skirt anywhere yet, but I wore the short one at work the next day and it didn't fall apart so I'm feeling good about it.

The skirts, from first dragging out my machine and setting the fabric down flat, to taking pictures and putting my machine away, took a little less than two hours (total - I made one after the other). Since I can barely sew a straight line myself and this seemed to work, I recommend that everyone make skirts for summer!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My Birthday Weekend

This post involves a lot of pictures, just so you're forewarned. 

Carson wouldn't let me get up on my birthday until 9am, because he was decorating the house with streamers and balloons. I came downstairs and everything was so festive and fun! He'd wrapped presents and put them on the table, just like I remembered from my childhood. 

Shortly after, he had to go to work, so I stayed at home (looking mostly like I did in that lovely first picture) and did pretty much nothing until he got home at 6:30. I got a few phone calls and birthday cards in the mail that day.

That night, we got dressed up and Carson took me to dinner. But first, pictures. I discovered that Carson took some test photos trying to set up the self-timer while I was still upstairs. This was my favorite.

We went to The Melting Pot and it was FABULOUS! We had a terrific server and a table tucked back into a corner so it was fun and cozy. We've never been but I've always hoped to go and it was even better than expected. We had a cheese fondue for our first course, which we consumed entirely.

Carson with the fab forks

And our dinner course was fun too - there was a pot of boiling water with spices and vegetables inside. We were served raw meat, which we pierced with our forks and put in the pot to cook. Then there were all sorts of spices and sauces to enjoy with the meat.

Last was dessert. I'm not a huge dessert person, but it was really good. We had a cookies and cream fondue with various fruits and cheesecakes, marshmallows and rice krispy treats. On the side, our server brought out a plate with chocolate covered strawberries and a birthday message. He then lit some liquor (Rum, I think?) and poured it on top of the fondue as a "birthday candle", which was by far the coolest candle ever. No one sang the birthday song, which is always my number two birthday request (number one is no surprise parties).

More pictures when we got home, but Carson forgot that we were going to do that and changed.

Day Two
That night, my friend Casey brought over a delicious cheesecake. We didn't want to eat it before our huge meal, so we saved it for "breakfast" the next day. SO GOOD.

A few weeks ago, I told Carson that all I really wanted for my birthday was warm weather. I was joking (but if I thought it were possible, I'd really have wished for that), but the day of my birthday was sunny (not warm) and the day after was sunny and warm. It was 63 degrees, which sounds like winter weather to the old me, who used to live in South Carolina, but because it's Ohio, we saw people in shorts! I had to document the first warm day.

And as if there wasn't enough sweet stuff for the weekend, Carson bought a little ice cream cake and sang happy birthday (I'm okay if it's just one person singing).

Despite the fact that we probably have diabetes from the weekend, it was pretty great! I felt loved, overfed, and warm, which are not terrible things to feel on a birthday weekend.
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