Saturday, December 31, 2016

My 2016 Crafty Finishes

Holy cow, another year is over!  Well, over for most of the world, mostly over for us here in Alaska...

I didn't do nearly as much fun crafty stuff as I would have expected to, but what I did do was fun and, if I do say so myself, pretty awesome!

The year started with some lofty goals for the first quarter, but only one those ever got finished:

Berry Bravo Quilt:
I had a lot of struggles with this quilt, conceptually, but finished it fairly quickly (for my standards), and it's been well loved ever since!  And I just love seeing pics of the whole quilt, I really love the design that I decided on!

Big Bear Little Bear Baby Quilt:
Now with this quilt, I knew exactly what I wanted to do as soon as I ordered the fabric.  I didn't finish it by the birth of the recipient, but gave it to her daddy a couple months after she was born.  I just wish she didn't live so darn far away, cuz I've never gotten to squish her...  *sad*

Holly Hobby Stocking:
A couple of times I have ordered a Mystery Parcel of fabric - it's where you don't get to select what you get, but what you get is a way awesome price!  When I got this Holly Hobby fabric in one of those parcels, I knew I would be making something for my sister!  I finished this in less than an afternoon, and it was a lot of fun to make.  The doilies for the cuff, toe, and heel are from my wedding decorations.  :-)  The best part was hearing her reaction when she opened the gift - it was awesome!  And that is someone I will get to squish when we visit in 2017!

Other than those, can I call doing my very first garden "crafty"?  It sure took up a lot of my time...

And I did a really quick little project that has made the process of quilting way easier:
My Design Curtain!
So, you can't see it so well in this black & white pic, but I have a large batting hanging on the wall in our guest room.  I call it a curtain because it's on dowels hanging on hooks, which will make it easy to take down & fold up whenever we have guests.  I am so excited about this because I was using the guest BED to lay things out, and a design curtain is way easier to use than a design bed!

What's hanging on the design curtain will be one of my 2017 Finishes.  No details now, as it is to be gifted once complete!  I have lots of ideas/plans for being quilty/crafty in 2017, and they will all reveal themselves in due course...

Sunday, December 18, 2016

New Experiences

Of course when you move somewhere different, you are going to have new experiences; here are a few of mine since we moved to rural Alaska:

Throwing rocks on a frozen lake:

Jeff had seen a video of a guy who threw a rock on a frozen lake, and it bounced away, and make the coolest noise!  We decided to try it one day on the way back from Anchorage and it was so cool!  We went back a few days later, on our anniversary, but by that time the ice was much thicker and therefore the sound was different.  This is something to do but there's just a short window of time before the ice gets too thick or the snow covers it, muffling the sound.
Alright, I have no idea if this video is going to work...

Turning boiling water into snow:

This is another thing from the internet (we've probably all seen it).  They say if you throw boiling water outside when it's below zero, it'll turn to snow.  Well, we had a cold snap for quite a few days with temps in the negative 30sF, so we tried it!  It makes a really cool "woosh" sounds when you throw it and basically all evaporates before it can hit the ground!  Definitely cool.
If you know my hubby, you may be able to find a video of this on his Facebook....

Chopping Wood:

Seriously you guys, I have chopped wood.  Like, twice!  I need to do it more often so it can help me build some muscle back up - but I was so proud of myself!  I was outside anyway, burning garbage, so I found the ax and started chopping!

It was quite cold that day...

Of course there are other things that I've done for the first time since moving to Alaska, but these are probably about the most "Alaskan" that I could think of!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Holly Hobby Stocking

I had ordered a mystery parcel via Instagram a few months ago, lots of fabric, some small pieces, I didn't get to make any selections, and I got it for an AMAZING price!  So far I've used 3 of the pieces of fabric.

One of the pieces in the package was Holly Hobby fabric.  When I saw that, I knew that I needed to make someone for my sister from it.  She remembers Holly Hobby from childhood.  Me, being so much younger, don't really remember it much, but I connect Holly Hobby to our Grama, because she drew something similar in her sketchbook.

Finally I decided I would use the fabric to make a stocking for my sister!  I had made a stocking last year, which she really liked, so I already had a pattern and everything!  Yeay!  It took me about 2-3 hours from start to finish on a Sunday.  Luckily today they received their Christmas boxes so I was able to have her open this one:

I loved hearing her expression via phone when she saw this!

The heel, toe, and cuff are made from doilies that I used as table decor at my wedding.  I figured out the placement that I wanted and pinned then sewed them down.  The doily that made the cuff was a rectangular large piece, so I was able to cut it and wrap it all the way around, and I like the way it overlaps in the front.  The toe and heel were actually made from one oval-shaped doily.

I had a blast, and will be making more stockings in the future!

What have you handmade for Christmas this year?

Linking Up to:
Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Confessions of a Fabric Addict  
Sew Fresh Quilts
My Quilt Infatuation
Cooking Up Quilts

Friday, December 16, 2016

September 2016

For #FallbackFriday, I thought I would share a little bit about our September...

Road trip to Anchorage with Mt. Drum behind us.

Fall colors arrive in September to our neck of the woods.
Once we crossed the mountains over towards Palmer, everything was still green.

Mom & Dad sent us this early Anniversary present that they made!  I love it - it's made of maps of where we've lived!

I had a Daiquiri Ice for the first time in decades.
Downside - I didn't like it...
We went to the Lantern Fest in Palmer.  Worst decision in a while.
So, the Lantern Fest.  If you live somewhere that is in the 50s at the time of year when the sun is setting around 9PM, maybe not a good idea.  Turns out the Lantern Fest was expensive, unorganized, cold, rainy, windy, and ended up getting shut down due to fire hazard.  I wish I hadn't spent the money.  I should have said "Oh, honey, the night of the Lantern Fest I want to go to eat that the restaurant near the event!" and we could have seen how lame it was without spending the money.  Sad.

Alaska now has a Krispy Kreme!  Woo hoo!

I got started sewing on a gift, and I'm still not finished!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Best Nine

I've seen a lot of #2016BestNine on Instagram lately.  And I decided I had to jump on the bandwagon.

What's funny is that if I run it again (using, this #2016BestNine compilation will be on it...

And while I was at it, I decided to make my 2015 Best Nine:

Have you found your 2016 Best Nine?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Changes and a re-introduction

Have you ever had that feeling that "oh it's been to long, they won't remember me, it will be awkward" so you just don't say hi/call/email/write a blog post?  Yeah.

Life around here has changed since the last time I blogged (OMG August!).  After MUCH thought, consideration, and agreement from my hubs, I resigned from my full-time position.  Not to take a job elsewhere, just to leave the workforce for a bit.  Well, I really like my boss, so I offered to do some project work (intermittent, on-call, what-have-you), so now even though I'm not working full-time, I am heading up the HRIS implementation project at work.  What's nice is that I'm basically creating my own schedule and can, at times, work from home.

I am very lucky that I have this opportunity - it was one of Jeff's selling points for moving to Alaska - but it was still a hard decision to make.  It's difficult to say, I have a steady job, a steady income, but I'm going to give that up and stay at home and no I don't have kids to raise.  It's just not, well, respectable these days.  Or maybe that's my perception.  BUT it allows me to make dinner for my husband, and work around the house (I'm still trying to get the place not-messy), and be in a good mood instead of being owly all the time.  Plus, the job really served its purpose; in the time I worked there we paid off all credit card debt and my student loans!  And, well, if I/we ever decide that it's time for me to reenter the workforce, just having Jeff spread the word will probably result in some interest.  He was at the chiropractor's office last week and she asked what I'm doing now that I'm not working there - no wonder, she lost her Office Manager who came to work at my employer, and she's now looking to replace.  No thanks, not ready to go back full-time when I'm not completely unemployed yet...

That being said, there's really not a whole lot going on here, just snow and cold.  I'm working on a couple of sewing projects, but gifts, so nothing I can share right now.  If you don't already, you can check out my Instagram feed here as I am much better at Instagraming than I am at blogging.  But my goal is to be better!  And if I haven't lost everyone, maybe some people will stop in and take a look at what's going on around here.  I really really really want to be more crafty - I have all this fabric that wants to be quilts! - and I want to share that with anyone interested.  I want to go out and use my awesome camera more (that we bought with money I earned at that job that I resigned from) and remember that yes, those mountains are majestic, and no, not everyone has this much snow or chops wood or whatever (yes, I have chopped wood.  twice).

Soooooo......  any blog post ideas/prompts for me?

Oh, yeah, re-introduction for anyone who doesn't know:  I'm a MidWestern girl, married to an Army Brat who wanted to move back to the Alaska that he loved so much for 3 years as a kid in the 70s.  We live in rural Alaska, but on the road system, in between Glennallen and Copper Center.  Some of what I write about is about Alaska, every day stuff, and some is just every days stuff you could do/see anywhere, like recipes, crafting, etc.  Nothing too exciting, but I've enjoyed sharing.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

July 2016

July ended up being a busy month, by our standards.  Not only did we have off for July 4th, I took three PTO days total, giving me two 4-day weekends - and it was amazing!  I highly recommend 4-day weekends!  We also went to town three times, which is unheard of for us, and we had two social engagements to attend all on the same day!  Holy crap, just call my a socialite...

nothing like a noisy meal at Red Robin to remind us what we like about home...
but this salad was delicious!

The Matanuska Glacier
7-2-2016 7:10 PM

Jeff enjoying crab legs...

Jeff made a new friend...

the view from the school in Glennallen...

mmmmm, gyros.....
the cucumber came from our garden

view to the West from the scenic overlook at the Matanuksa Glacier
7-30-2016 9:33 PM

The Matanuska Glacier
7-30-2016  9:35 PM
We also went to the Arctic Thunder air show and saw the Blue Angels perform.

Annnnnd, I just realized that all the pics I took of the 4th of July parade in Glennallen were on SnapChat, so I don't have any of those...

Friday, August 5, 2016

Finished! Big Bear Little Bear Baby Quilt

Big Bear Little Bear Quilt
Wow, I am a slow quilter.  If my math is correct, it took me 4+ months to make this baby quilt.  I was on track, had all the blocks cut, most of the brown cut, and got it pieced.  Then the baby (my boss's 7th child!) was born early, and I decided that I hate using that "fur" fabric as the backing.  Which resulted in not touching the thing for 2 months.

I started out by buying the fabric from Massdrop way back in November.  It has totem poles, and my boss is "totem pole people."  His words, not mine.  I had this idea in mind for a "brick" look, so I took out the graph paper and drew it out.  I had 7 prints that I was using (not including the 3 accent bricks), so I was able to arrange the blocks in a way that there were no two bricks of the same fabric next to each other.  Maybe the same design, but different background color.

Once I finished that Berry Bravo quilt, I got to cutting the fabric.  I liked how easy it was to cut the fat quarters, and I think I won't be so reluctant to buy them in the future.  A fat quarter just sounds like so little fabric...
again, I need a design wall, instead of a "design bed"
I decided to use the fur for the backing because, well, bears.  But when it came time to do the quilting, I found the fur to be very slippery.  Plus, I hadn't used any batting because I figured that the fur would be fluffy enough.  Maybe if I'd sandwiched a batting in there I would have had better control over it.

To quilt, I just started by making a line from corner to corner on my top corner blocks, and went from there.  I found my fabric marker pretty much disappeared instantaneously, so eventually I got to the point where I had to mark each line individually, and it would still nearly disappear before I could get the line done.
The people who owned this house previously used this area for their ducks.
One time they looked out to see a bear attaching the pen.
Looks like the pen is under bear attach once again...
But with the end of it, I loved it.  I was very proud.  Once again I was able to take photos of a finished project without leaving my property.  When I gave it to my boss, he said "It's not big enough to cover me!"  I then proceeded to show it off because I was darn proud!

Linking up with:
Fort Worth Fabrics
Sew Fresh Quilts
Freemotion by the River
My Quilt Infatuation
Fort Worth Fabric

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Blue Angels

One of the reasons we wanted to go to the Arctic Thunder Air Show this past Saturday was to see the Blue Angels.  We've all heard of the Blue Angels, but I had never seen them.

It was nice that they were announcing "From the right..." and "From the left..." so that we could know that they were approaching.  We were very near the C-5 Galaxy for most of the performance, so there wasn't a huge crowd around us.  Next year, I think I'll watch the Blue Angels from the parking lot.  There were a lot of photos that would be GREAT had it not been for a floating head at the bottom of the shot.


I love the photos of them in front of the mountains!
Just like Top Gun!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Arctic Thunder 2016 - Air Show at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, AK

A couple of weeks ago Jeff mumbled something about "Arctic Thunder" to which I responded, "What is Arctic Thunder?  It sounds like generic Mountain Dew."  Turns out Arctic Thunder is an air show held at Elmendorf Air Force Base, which is now merged with Fort Richardson, the Army base that Jeff lived on as a kid, so now it's called JBER (Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson).  I said, cool, let's go!

So yesterday morning, Saturday July 30, we got up and ready a little later than anticipated, and left the house at 9AM.  We drive the Glenn about once a month on average, so we didn't make any stops; it was overcast and nothing so extraordinary as to stop our progress to the air show.  The website said there were two entrances, so we took the one closest to us, which then took us through Richardson and every once in a while Jeff would wonder if a building or place was something he remembered from childhood ("I wonder if that's the building where my Mom worked?"  "I wonder if that's the storage lot where Dad kept the travel trailer?").  It was cute.

That was pretty much the extent of cute for the trek that was our drive from the entrance of the base to the actual airshow.  We hadn't stopped at all, and then we proceeded to spend two hours inching our way to the airshow, all while my bladder threatened to burst.  Long story short, we got parked, we found the entrance, got through security (we were on a military base, after all), and the port-a-potty lines went pretty quick.  Whew!

There were tons of food vendors, like at a fair or festival, and we picked the shortest line (poor Jeff hadn't eaten breakfast), and we had a pulled pork sandwich and pineapple cole slaw.  The slaw wasn't the greatest but it had a fresh taste which was nice.

I honestly don't know what everything was that we saw, other than the Blue Angels, which I'll make a separate post about, so anything with specific commentary will be coming from Jeff.

I only took 545 photos total, so sorry if this doesn't have the detail you would prefer.  ;-)

These first two photos were taken while in the slow line driving to the airshow...

Cheryl tells me this is a Blackhawk, and it's what Garrett flies.

This plane is extremely ginormous...
C-17: the Globemaster
for the record, Jeff has added this thing to his Christmas list...


This next aircraft is something that Jeff used to jump out of when he was in the Army.  We walked through it and ended up talking to a guy who had jumped out of one just a month prior, in the Middle East.  CH-47  Chinook

you jump out the back end of the aircraft
the interior (panoramic shot)

P-51 Mustang and F-22 Raptor

This next aircraft was so big, even the wings got their own wheels.  Jeff said that it's from WWII, and you can see from the interior photos just how old the machine is...  B-52 Stratafortress

We were able to duck under and stand under the open plane bottom.
This photo is looking up into the plane.
KC-135 Stratotanker:
another panoramic shot.

More planes...
I can just hear it, "Highway to the danger zone..."
But Jeff says that this isn't the plane that Maverick and Goose flew...
F-16 Falcon

Couldn't get too close to this one - it had ropes around it and people watching that you didn't cross the ropes.
Jeff said that the outside is some kind of metal that deflects radar, and the glass used is some sort of vibration glass to keep the dirt off.
I speak very technically about military aircraft, don't I?
F-22 Raptor

This photo is for all my friends & family who can't resist a man in uniform...
What was really nice is that you could speak with military personnel who worked on and/or flew the aircraft that you looked at.
AH-64 Apache

some of the aircraft are based in AK.
UH-60 Black Hawk

KC-135  Stratotanker

This is the C-5 Galaxy.  This aircraft was so big...  The nose hinges up, the flight crew flies the plane from above the cargo area, and there are ramps into/out of the aircraft at the front and rear of the plane.  We were able to walk right through.
See the people inside, for scale.
Flight deck is above the banner.

It was like a wind tunnel in that thing!
We were sitting on the walkway at the side of the cargo hold.

See, the tail says "Super Galaxy"

KC-165 Stratotanker

B-1 Lancer

These guys watched the Blue Angels from the wing of a plane.


taken from inside a plane
B-1 Bomber

The Australians were there.

Following the Blue Angels' performance (separate blog post on that)

This is a AWACS.  It was the aircraft parked furthest away, and the one that Jeff really wanted to see.
We walked more than 6 miles total that day...
E-3 Sentry

There were also some smaller planes there available to look at.
SBD Dauntless