Saturday, February 28, 2015

My first ever quilt: Jeff's Packer Blanket

Last month when Jeff was in Valdez for a week, I spent two and a half days making this:
aaaand I just realized that Jeff is holding the blanket side-ways...  oh well!
This picture is taken in our yard, to the East of the house.  Jeff is standing in the walkway (dug into the snow)
that leads to the fuel tank so when they come out to fill up they don't have to wade through a few feet of snow.

Yep, it took me a whole month to go and take photos!  It's well-used by now; Jeff has slept under it each night since I gave it to him.  It's layer #4, and he claims he's still cold.  Well, I guess I've got my work cut out for me if I need to make enough blankets to keep him warm!

taken at the edge of our "driveway", on top of 5 months worth of piled up snow!

This is actually the first ever thing I've made!  Everything else has been things like fixing jeans, or starting a project that was never finished.  I don't have a lot of sewing experience; my high school Home Ec class consisted of making a sweatshirt.

So when I saw this Packer flannel I knew that I wanted to make Jeff a blanket!

(Okay, blanket or quilt?  I didn't do any piecing, but I did sew 3 layers - top, batting, bottom - together.  I look at it and my brain says "blanket" but the dictionary says "quilt")

I have a beginner sewing machine, which means there is not a whole lot of room for stuffing a quilt through it.  It was, ahem, a pain in the ass.

this was the easy part - adding the binding.
This is pre-wash; can you tell the difference in the fabric from the other photos?
And as I was sewing this thing, I thought to myself "Never again!"

But then, as I was putting on the binding (black blanket binding), I started to get really excited, and really proud of myself.

And when it was finally done, I knew that it wouldn't be the last!  I don't have a great place to work on quilty stuff, but I know what I want to work on next, and I have a pretty solid idea in my head of what I'm going to make, I just need to cut!

A little more info:

  • The flannel is from Joann Fabrics, and man did it fade and pill the one time I washed it.  It also had to have shrunk at least 6 inches in each direction.
  • It now measures about 5 feet square.
  • I used 4 yards each of the top and back fabrics.  For the front, I cut that into two 2-yard pieces.  Then, one of those was cut again.  I then took those narrow pieces and, matching up the pattern, I sewed them to the outside of the wide piece.  You can see if you look closely, but obviously not visible if you're not looking for it.
  • I used high-loft polyester batting.
  • I'm scared to try actual binding, which is why I used blanket binding.  It did allow me to use a decorative stitch, which I LOVE, and just might use on the next quilt too...

linked to 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

store eggs vs. farm eggs

Jeff asked a co-worker if she had room on her egg list for another family, and she did!  We've gotten a total of 3 dozen eggs from her so far.

We get all different sizes together.  I use the smaller eggs for baking/cooking/scrambled eggs.  I like to use the larger eggs when we have egg sandwiches for breakfast.  I used that one in the bottom right corner for a sandwich for me, and it was the size of the bread!  I usually have 2 eggs for my sandwich, but that is not necessary with these huge farm-fresh eggs!

I have noticed some differences between the store eggs and the farm eggs.  Farm eggs just seem to be more hearty.  The shell is stronger, the membrane between the shell and the egg is tougher, and the egg itself is thicker - it doesn't run like I'm used to.

And then we bought eggs after we'd gotten the farm eggs, and man, those white store bought eggs are flimsy!  After using these farm eggs, the store eggs break so easily, crumble almost, and the egg runs all over the pan...  I vote for farm eggs over store eggs any day!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Data dump

So, it's been a while...  Not much going on here, just life.  Here's a snippet:

While I was in Valdez the end of January, for a whole whoppin' 24 hours, we got about 8 inches of snow.  Jeff noticed that he couldn't see the exhaust chimney on the garage anymore, so he got up there to clean off that part of the roof.  There must be a good 3 feet of snow on the garage roof...

Here's what happens when you spend more than a little bit of time outside when it's below zero:
see his breath?

But that was nothing.  I got this one day in a text:
"So cold I grew frost"

Yep, it's been cold.  And then it got warmer, but with the warmth came the wind.  Wow, I'd never felt that kind of wind.  Today it's bright, sunny, and 25 degrees above zero.

Speaking of sunny.  I've really been noticing how much later in the day the sun is setting.  Since Winter Solstice we've gained 3 hours 50 minutes and 46 seconds of daylight!  On Winter Solstice the sun set at 3:15PM and today it will set at 5:25PM!  That's huge!

Hmmm, what else?  I've finished two weeks at my new job.  The files are finally in some semblance of order (whew)!  The unfortunate part is that in the time between arriving in Alaska and starting the job, I got used to not having one.  So getting things done once I get home is not going well - I would rather have my down-time and watch a couple TV shows and read a bit on the internet.  *sigh*  So it will take more discipline on my part.  And more planning.  I know that I will probably need to make tortillas on the weekend so I don't have that huge process if we want Mexican food during the week.  I am NOT used to planning that far in advance when it comes to a portion of a meal.  But if I just plan to make tortillas every weekend, I'm sure they won't go to waste.

I was looking for a show in the guide on DirecTV the other day, and saw an interesting title, "Genealogy Roadshow."  Well, I'm a huge fan of "Who Do You Think You Are," so I knew I had to check it out.  I had only watched 10 minutes of it before I paused it to record the series and text my sister to check it out!  It's on PBS, and it's like if "Who Do You Think You Are" and "Antiques Roadshow" had a baby.  I've seen the one episode, and can't wait to watch more!

And honestly, those are the most exciting things that have happened in the last couple weeks...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Hound + The Fox

If you're ever looking for new artists, you should check out

The Hound + The Fox

They are excellent!  So far my faves are their covers of Say Something and The Hanging Tree.

Let me know what you think!

Friday, February 6, 2015

A different kind of homesick

I've been up here (Alaska) for 4.5 months now.  I knew that I would experience homesickness for my family, and whenever that creeps up Jeff gives me big hugs and lets me be sad.

But I didn't expect to have homesickness for my former co-workers.

I started a new job this week.  An easy, non-stressful, part time job.  I didn't want stress.  I didn't want to work full time (because I wanted to be able to continue cooking home-made dinner most nights).  So this was perfect.

Problem is, now that I'm there, my old co-workers aren't.  No lunches with Colleen & Lois.  No whistling from Mark.  I'm not hearing Lesley enter the hallway and say "He-ey!" (etc etc etc - I could go on for at least a couple dozen examples)  And it all makes me a bit sad.

It's much less boisterous at my new job.  Everyone is very nice - don't get me wrong.   But as the new girl no one knows me yet so while I get "Hi." and "How are you?" the conversation ends there.  I haven't been the new girl in almost 14 years (and when I was the new girl, on my first day, someone came to my office and said "Who's my new friend?") so I had forgotten how it feels.


So the next time there is a new person where you work, go the extra mile for him/her, knowing that they just might be a little homesick for old coworkers.

Thanks for reading.

Oh, and here's a view from my office window: