A good reason to start blogging again

11 Feb

I haven’t had the time or interest in posting to the blog in over a year…life has been busy but mundane, so there just hasn’t been a lot of fun things to share or time to post.  However, now Chuck and I have a new reason to post periodically…

As of today, we are 18 weeks and 2 days pregnant with a little boy!  His estimated date of arrival is July 12, 2012.  Yesterday, we had our second sonogram and the first sonogram where the baby actually looked like a little person and not just a grey blip on the screen.

Unfortunately, the baby wasn’t being too cooperative when the technician was trying to get one of those lovely side profile pictures.  We mostly got pictures of his little butt (from the bottom) and a front view of his face.  During the sonogram, we saw closeups of the his bones, his legs, feet, arms, hands, heart, abdomen, all sorts of organs…the technician looked at every little detail and explained it to us (if he didn’t immediately explain what we were looking at, I asked for clarification).  The baby appears to be healthy and normal in every way.

Below are some first looks at little boy dela Cuesta!

And finally, from the bottom looking up, we got a very clear view of little boy’s bits and pieces…

So…there’s that!   We’re having a boy!

I currently have placenta previa (the placenta is situated over my cervix) but this early in pregnancy that’s not uncommon and nothing to be alarmed about…  Because of that, though, we are scheduled for another sonogram in April just to keep an eye on it.  The technician said that he would make a note for the next technician to try to get a profile picture so we have something more human-looking to show off to folks.

We’re not making any big announcements on Twitter or Facebook…we’ve already told our families and many of our friends know.   It’s no longer a secret, but we like the intimacy of keeping something this wonderful somewhat quiet on the internet.  We like having control over who we share information with, so I will send links to my blog posts to our close family and friends so we can continue to share pictures and updates, but you probably won’t see anything on the social networking sites until July, when baby boy arrives and we start posting gratuitous photos of his adorable exploits.

I haven’t fallen off the edge of the Earth! I swear!

14 Jan

I’m still here and I still actually continue to do things – I just haven’t been blogging about them.  This weekend is a long weekend, so perhaps I’ll make the time to catch up on here…

It’s been more than 6 months since I posted to this blog, but I haven’t given up on blogging, I’ve just been incredibly overwhelmed and busy!

Quick overview of my life since last June:

  • Chuck and I did our usual summer vacationing:
    • We went to Virginia Beach for a week with the dogs and visited our dear friend Mary, and met her friend Debbie.  We can always count on a fun and relaxing week when we visit Mary.
    • We went to Rehoboth Beach with Chuck’s friends and enjoyed the boardwalk and having fun with all of our friends’ dogs, bunnies, and children (I let a 12-year-old convince me I wanted to sling-shot myself into the air with nothing but bungee cords strapping me in…but, as they often are, the 12-year-old was right…it was fun)
    • I went to Ocean City for the first time ever.  It was like being on the longest boardwalk I’ve ever seen, with tons of eateries, shops, and arcades…that repeat every block…for blocks and blocks and blocks.
    • We traveled with my family to Edisto Island and enjoyed a week of sun, sand, and toddlers.  We rented bikes and a golf cart and enjoyed a nice, slow Southern vacation with family.
    • We visited with my mom in South Carolina and now I realize that will be my last trip to see her there because she’s moving back up here!!!!  (well, to Tennessee, which is closer than SC…so YAY!!!)
  • I got a full-time teaching job in a school I love, teaching students I love, alongside colleagues whom I both respect and enjoy.
    • Finally teaching.  Is. Awesome.
    • AND. INSANELY. TIRING.
    • Along with the teaching job came the added responsibility of being a class sponsor.  I am sponsoring a spunky class of 375 Sophomores.  I love being a class sponsor, but it definitely adds more to my already full plate…however, we kicked ass at Powder Puff, we won the Spirit Cup during our Fall Spirit Week, we had a fun and successful Breakfast with Santa fundraiser, and we’re preparing to host two more big events this Spring…we’ll see if I make it out alive!
  • We adopted a puppy for Chuck’s parents (but I not-so-secretly wish he was mine).  His mama was a black-and-tan coon hound and we think his papa was a Vizsla, or something like it.  He’s a farm dog, and he’s awesome.  He’s handsome and smart and very sweet.  Having a puppy around has been fun and has definitely kept us entertained.  I think Chuck’s parents are as in love with him as I am…
  • Chuck and I celebrated our 30th Birthdays by taking a trip to Orlando over Halloween weekend.
    • Hard Rock Hotel = AWESOME (this was new for both of us and it was totally worth the $$$)
    • Disney World = AWESOME (as usual…this is a place Chuck and I never tire of)
    • Universal Studios = AWESOME (this was new for me, but not Chuck…it was really fun!)
    • Universal Islands of Adventures = AWESOME (we’ve done this together before and loved it)
    • Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios = CRAZY AWESOME!  (SOOOOOOOO much fun!!!  For Halloween lovers like us, this was the ultimate Halloween celebration)
    • Wizarding World of Harry Potter = O.M.F.G.  This was seriously the best place I’ve ever been in my whole entire life.  We drank butterbeer.  We went to Zonk’s.  We bought wands.  We dorked it up like we’ve never done before and I think when I die and go to heaven, I will wake up at WWoHP.  For reals.
  • We lost Gus, our 17-year-old Pomeranian, right before Christmas.  I don’t want to talk about that.  But we love him and miss him terribly.
  • After a long pregnancy (well, it was actually the normal duration, but seemed long) with gestational diabetes, my best friend had the most beautiful baby girl right before Christmas…  I made her a quilt which I will share with you later…
  • I’ve only read a very few books since I last posted…
    • The first two in the Millennium Trilogy (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Girl Who Played with Fire)…I have the third on my Kindle App, but have been sidetracked by other books.
    • The Thirteenth Tale (LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this book!  So fun to read!!!)
    • Sarah’s Key (I’m reading this one now and I really like it so far…)
  • I’ve made a few crafty things…As I already said, I made my friend a baby quilt, I also made some scarflettes as Christmas presents and I’m finishing up some burp cloths for Chuck’s cousin (who is due in a couple of weeks) and my best friend.
  • OH!!!  And I bought a NEW SEWING MACHINE!!!!  I managed to royally jam mine, and although it could have been taken to the shop and fixed, I thought it was the universe telling me “Go buy that super cool, super affordable Singer at Costco!!!”  So, I did!  I love it.  It has 79 stitches and a digital readout.  I’m so fancy!
  • I’m still attending Weight Watchers meetings at work and still not actually following the program, so I’m still not actually losing weight.  I made no resolutions because I never keep those anyway, but I do think I’m ready to start making better decisions regarding my health.  We’ll see.  Continuing to attend WW is part of the plan.  They just started the new Points Plus program, so I think it’s a good time for me to “rededicate” myself.  Again…we’ll see.  I make no promises, so nobody can shake their finger at me later.
  • Another part of the “making better decisions” plan is playing with Chuck’s Kinect more.  That thing is crazy fun and I actually enjoy it…I just need to do it regularly.  Again…no promises, because promises mean accountability and who really likes being accountable, anyway?

Okay, so that’s it for the catching up.  When I’m more awake (maybe tomorrow) I will post some photos of the trips and crafty things so that everyone can see.  For now, I feel good about actually coming back to the blog and I’m excited about posting more crafty stuff for you to see!  (you = my mom, sister, and best friend…because nobody else actually reads this blog…a fact with which I am totally cool).

Graduation!

19 Jun

Fairfax County Schools are graduating this weekend (even though we teachers and poor little underclassmen must trudge on for another four days).   Chuck’s cousin is graduating high school and is off to the Culinary Institute of America, affectionately called the CIA…not to be confused with these guys or these guys:

Over a year ago, I purchased an adorable apron pattern from Sew Liberated, in hopes of making one for my one-day, some-day, in-my-dreams, kitchen of my very own.  Here’s the Emmeline Apron pattern: an adorable, reversible apron that is anything but matronly.

Very cute, indeed!  I like the gathered bodice (which gives the allusion of boobs to those of us who weren’t gifted with them naturally) and it looks more like a summer dress rather than a groddy old apron.

I decided to use the same JoAnn print for both sides, in two color-ways, blue and lavender (our cousin’s favorite color is purple).   I paired it with black for a simple, chic look.  Here’s what I came up with:

Complimentary colors:

Blue Side:

Purple Side:

I like how you can tie the apron in the back, on the side, or in the front.  The ties are extra long so you have some choice in where you wear your bow.   I took some pictures of Chuck’s mom wearing it, but they all turned out blurry, so you’ll have to imagine how adorable it is on.  It’s very flattering.

I think this is an adorable project – it wasn’t very difficult to make and I really like the way it turned out.   :)   Hopefully, our cousin will whip up some  yummy meals in her dorm or apartment while wearing this cute apron.

Unfortunately, I’m still nursing a wicked cold, so I’m unable to take this gift to the graduate, myself.  I sent it along with Chuck, so I won’t get to see her reaction when she opens it, but she’ll receive it tonight at her graduation celebration dinner.

Congratulations, Amanda!!!  We’re proud of you!

(Totally unrelated:  Gus and Francy’s cousin, Riley, is here with us for the weekend.  He’s keeping me company while I lie in bed, coughing and sneezing…he’s a little cutie-patootie!)

Lydia’s Bunny

17 May

Our friends, Mike and Maya, just celebrated their little girl’s first birthday.  To show Lydia how excited we are that she’s been around for a year, Chuck and I decided she deserved a snuggly bunny, handmade with love.

I had no pattern, but I drew one out on paper and this is what I came up with…

Looks kinda like a chenille pillow with legs and ears, but it’s very soft and snuggly, which is what all stuffed animals should be.

I struggled with the embroidery on the face…  Embroidering on a fuzzy surface proved difficult, so it turned out a little less neat and symmetrical than I had hoped, but again, as long as the stuffed animal is cuddle-worthy, all’s well!

So, happy first birthday, Lydia!!!  We love you! (even though you don’t remember us well because we’ve been rather absent from your life)  :o)

Newest Quilt…

18 Apr

I recently sewed what I think is my favorite baby blanket yet…   I am long-term subbing for an English teacher who has just started her family with a bouncing new baby boy.  I thought the best way to thank her for asking me to sub (and providing me with nearly 4 months of steady income) was to make a baby blanket for her little one.

I scouted out an adorable line of fabric by Riley Blake called “All Stars” (I purchased a 10 yard bundle here).  I am IN LOVE with this fabric.  So is Chuck.  I’ve saved the scraps in hopes that I can use them in a quilt for a little boy of our own some day.

I got my inspiration from a quilt featured on the Moda Bake Shop website.

Their quilt looks like this:

Here’s what I came up with:

(Sorry for the blurry picture…it looked clear on the camera screen)

I used Heat-n-Bond to hold the appliquéd letters in place, then hand-sewed them on with a  a tight whip stitch using matching embroidery floss.  I can’t sew with a thimble on, so I actually ended up creating a deep hole in the tip of my middle finger from all of the hand stitching.  I’m SO GLAD I machine-quilt and don’t hand-quilt.  I love the look of hand quilting, and truly appreciate the hard work real quilters put into their work,  but man-oh-man, I don’t believe I will ever hand-quilt anything in my life.

I really love the All Star prints – my favorite is the small dots with stars, which I used for the backing.  My second favorite is the star print.  I love the colors and the design.  It’s simple and very “boyish”, I think.

Here’s a look at all of the prints together:

I’m so proud of my mitered corners.  I think if it weren’t for easy tutorials online, I might have never mastered this, but thanks to the internet, I got the hang of these early on.  I always love the  finished look of a nicely mitered corner.

And again, a look at the final product.   It’s larger than a crib-sized quilt, but smaller than a twin.  Here Chuck is holding it up, so I’m guessing it’s roughly 6 feet by 3.5 or 4 feet.    I think what makes me like this quilt so much are both the fabrics I used and knowing that I put a lot of work into this one – although it’s a simple design, I spent a little time on it every night for a couple weeks, hand sewing the letters on and then spent two nights perfecting my blind-stitch to finish the binding by hand.  I was super proud of my blind stitch – it was the first time I’d used it and it looked professional!   I was really annoyed that I didn’t put a label on this one – I didn’t want to embroider one (because my fingers were already so sore) and my printer is broken, so I couldn’t even crank out an iron-on label.  I think I’m going to actually order some printed twill tape with my name on it to use as labels in the future.

Ta-Da!!!

Keeping Busy!

18 Apr

I know I’ve fallen off the blog-wagon as of late, but I’ve been busy – making and doing!

Several months ago I made some fleecy Hokie blankets – I guess I can’t say I made them, but I cut the fabric and sewed on satin trim and then added a little embroidered label.  I made identical blankies for two little girls, so I put their nick-names on each so they wouldn’t get mixed up.

A few weeks ago I got a notion to put something on our bare bathroom walls.  I used some scrapbook paper and my handy-dandy X-acto knife and made some really simple papercut “art” to fill those empty spaces.  Turned out alright…  I like paper cutting, but I need practice and better ideas…I have to keep it simple for now, since my skills are pretty limited.

I accidentally cracked the glass when I was putting it back in the frame, but otherwise, they turned out pretty cute…

Postcard Swap!!!

18 Feb

Yay!!!  I’ve finally got all 10 of my postcards off in the mail today.

As you recall, I’m participating in iHanna’s 2010 postcard swap.  This is my first ever craft swap and I was super excited!

My original idea for the postcards went bust (I had a great plan and idea, but when I gave it a go, it didn’t pan out), so I opted to use materials I had on hand, so I didn’t spend any money other than postage.

Once upon a time, I made a few scrapbooks…this was before digital scrapbooking came about (which I haven’t gotten involved in) and before I discovered MyPublisher and Photoworks.  I still have all of my nifty scissors and punches and some leftover scrapbooking paper, so I decided to utilize those tools and materials.

I wanted the postcards to say something about me, without really saying anything about me.  I love the power of words…I adore reading…I’m an English teacher…  So, naturally, I incorporated quotes from some of my favorite books, thinking maybe the quote on the postcard will inspire the recipient to read the book!

I also love to sew and I knew I wanted some stitching on the cards.  As all of the recent snow shoveling has really irritated my carpal tunnel syndrome (which also makes blogging and typing a bit of a pain…literally) I opted against handstitching and used my sewing machine to stitch the cards together.  I really liked how this finished off the postcards…I think its my favorite element.  Along with the stitching, I pulled some ribbon from my stash and added that for a more mixed-media effect – I even used the some of the silver ribbon left over from my wedding invitations which I handmade back in the day.

I wanted to incorporate a little whimsy, so I cut up some plastic sheet protectors (ah yes…another love of mine…school supplies!) and created a little “window”, sandwiching some tiny punched-out flowers between the plastic and the quote.  This forces the recipient of the postcard to manhandle the postcard, shaking and tapping it to move the flowers around so they can read the quote behind (clever idea? yes…  did it work?  not exactly…  you really have to shake and tap some of the postcards hard to get the flowers to move about, whereas some of them move more freely… this will need some R&D to perfect, I believe).

I decided to make the cards fairly simple – y’know, less is more, and all that.

When I finished them it was nighttime and there just isn’t good lighting in the basement…even with my handy dandy directional flash, my photos are a little grainy, but anyway, here they are:  (can you guess which books the quotes are from?)

Post Card 1

Post Card 2

Post Card 3

Post Card 4

Post Card 4

Post Card 5

Post Card 6

Post Card 7

Post Card 8

Post Card 9

Post Card 10

For the back of the cards I created a simple template.  You can see at the bottom right, the credit for the book and author from which I took the quote…  I actually wrote messages on each of my postcards – I even had Chuck help me translate a message into Lithuanian (no, he can’t speak Lithuanian, but he can Google with the best of them).

So far, I’ve received four postcards in the mail, two from the UK, one from Pennsylvania, and one from New York.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE getting snail mail.  It’s the best!  I can’t wait to receive the other 6 postcards!

Where did mine go?  I sent postcards to Tennessee, Wisconsin, New York (x2), Minnesota, South Carolina, Arizona, Florida, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom.   Cool huh?  I can’t believe that something I made is going to be in someone’s hands as far away as Lithuania!

I really had fun with this, so I think I will be participating in more craft swaps.  I’d really love to be part of a fabric swap, but I have such a limited fabric stash, I dunno if I’d have anything worth swapping – but I’d like to give it a try anyway!

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