This month I read A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson...well, I started.
I read a glowing review from another blogger that I admire and she made the book sound really intruiging...
I tried to get into it, and once in awhile there was a really cool story about a really crazy scientist that peaked my interest and I started feeling pret-ty cool learning about scientific stuff...but the excitement faded fast and I wondered when he was going to start talking about stuff other than the size, history and age of the world...and he didn't. (I probably should have read the synopsis) I was imagining a short history of everything throughout history...stuff like world wars, the invention of the telephone, chewing gum and when men started wearing top hats...where did I come up with that??
The book was definitely PACKED with scientific information and stories, and I suppose if I was comparing it to a textbook it would win hands down, but it just isn't my cup of tea.
I tried to remember the people I was reading about and what they did and their crazy stories that I actually found quite funny...but after a few pages I couldn't recall anything specific enough to casually chat with any intelligent person about it.
So I tried not to remember the people and what they did and just enjoy the book...that didn't help either.
So...after reading 6 long chapters (exactly 96 pages) of A Short History of Nearly Everything I stopped....I was going to push through, try to force myself to finish it on principal, but then my husband so wisely reminded me that there was no reason to read a book for recreational purposes if I wasn't even enjoying it. The funny thing is that he would probably really like this book...he's smart like that. :)
So all that being said...if you're interested in the history of the world, the elements, crazy scientists, atoms and dinosaurs...seriuosly give this book a chance. And if you've read a cool book that covers world wars, the invention of the telephone, chewing gum and when men started wearing top hats all in a pleasant and readalbe way, please let me know what it's titled...I suppose I could just start reading an encyclopedia. Hmmm.
Anyways, I'm on to my next book and totally enjoying it!! Yay!
One of the challenges for the One Little Word workshop is to make your word visible by choosing a symbol or having your word somewhere that you see it each day. I decided that for my word Choose I would use the ampersand symbol...because i'm choosing between this & that. :)
I was purging my closet of old sweaters (I'm talking 10 years old...getting pretty raggedy looking) and I got, what I would consider, an inspired idea to use some of them to make a pillow with my symbol.
One of my goals this year is to embrace imperfection, another is to finish projects that I start...what better way than to sew a pillow, right!? My plan was to avoid looking at other people's projects or looking at any patterns/tutorials...basically I wanted to fly by the seat of my pants (this is not my strong suit), make mistakes, forgive them and just do it. I didn't even measure...not even the distance between my button holes. I know...
(If you are a seasoned seamstress or perfectionist you may want to stop reading...haha)
The edges of the sweaters are already finished so it takes out one of the steps...even if they are completely warped and uneven, it helps me embrace the imperfection from the get go.
If I totally mess up, it's not really a huge loss
It's good practice and gets me sewing
Some of these shirts have some pretty cool memories attached to them so its nice to keep them around
Here's how I did it:
Step 1 - I chose two shirts with contrasting look and feel.
Step 2 - I chose which section of the shirt I wanted to use and cut off the sleeves and excess material...I left as many "finished" edges as possible. (While I didn't measure my cuts, I did take a good while deciding where to make the first cut and what edges would make the best pillow shape. I measured from hem to hem of the sweater to check if it was "square"...it wasn't...I stopped measuring and moved on.)
Step 3 - I decided to leave the little "V" cut that was originally in the neckline to add a pop of color to the back of the pillow. I cut out an appropriate sized, non-measured, chunk of the watermelon colored shirt, pinned it in place then sewed it into the negative space. Once that was complete, I sewed that side of the pillow closed and cut off the excess material.
Step 4 - I printed out the shape I wanted to use and pinned it onto my shirt where I wanted the bright color to show through. I cut around the paper as closely as I could. I was hard to get a perfect cut with how stretchy the fabric was.
Step 5 - I placed the watermelon shirt under the negative space and pinned the two shirts together.
Step 6 - Next I sewed around the ampersand shape in black thread...I like the texture this created. I sewed around a few times to make the stitching stand out then sewed on the sweater pieces to finish the ampersand. (at this point I only had one side of the pillow open and it was definitely a little tricky.)
Step 6 - Because of the sweater material being knit and pulling in places, I needed to use a pillow form instead of stuffing it myself. I found a pillow form that was a little big so I could stretch the case around it nicely. I chose to finish the pillow with buttons and create an "envelope" pillow case. Button holes were the hardest part for me. I knew I would hit a wall at some point and consider quitting...this was it, but I'm so glad I didn't! I DID have to look up how to use the button foot on my sewing machine...cool little contraption if you ask me! This material was not the best for learning to make button holes but I went with it and since I made the holes on the black section, it was pretty forgiving. Once I had my holes made (they are not even close to evenly spaced) I pinned the bottom flap up and put a pin where I should sew on the buttons so they would line up with the holes. I'm sure there has to be a much better method for doing this but like I said...I wanted to fumble my way through this and be free to problem solve creatively.
Step 7 - This material had so much pull to it that my buttons didn't hold the material in place how I wanted so I just "tacked" the edges in place with black thread, which you can't really see. So while this looks like an envelope pillow...it's stuck this way forever, which is totally cool with me. ;)
So there you have it! While this tutorial is probably the most unhelpful that you've read in terms of exactly how to do something, perhaps it will inspire you to create something and embrace imperfection! It was actually quite freeing and I'm pleased with how it turned out!
A little note about this black and white sweater...I wore it a lot...it was one of my favorites.
I wore it living in Chicago, feeling empty, lost, depressed and like my life was going no where...and I was wearing it about a year later, the night Nate proposed to me...and I knew I was exactly where I needed to be.
Thanks for reading!
It's been quiet here on the blog for the last few weeks and here's why...
Nate told me a while back that he had a business trip to Japan for 10 days at the beginning of February. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit his parents and sister in California so they could spend some quality time with Graham (and me). They've come to visit us numerous times but due to Nate's schedule at work he hasn't been able to get a lot of time off to head out there lately.
We kept our visit a surprise from Nannie, (because who doesn't love the anticipation of a good surprise and making their mother in-law cry happy tears!?) In the end, with the help of everyone, we pulled it off beautifully and she was definitely shocked! ...and cried. ;) Yay!!
I knew that traveling with a toddler would be a new experience, and like everything in life, I had some real and some not so real expectations...
I expected the traveling to be difficult with Graham, and that I needed to be prepared for anything.
I expected an adjustment period as Graham was away from his Daddy and sleeping in a new place.
I expected to have plenty of distraction from the fact that I was missing my husband like crazy.
I expected to have lots of free time, relaxation, reading, blogging, playing with my camera and photo editing while everyone was at work and Graham napped.
...wait, did I forget that I was bringing a toddler? And that we were sharing a room? And that I was going to be a single parent for 10 days? And that babies don't perform? And that nothing ever really goes as planned? Right.... (Note to self: you totally over packed and should have left your camera, laptop and 3 books at home)
What I didn't expect was...
That Graham was going to be SUPER clingy and not allow anyone to even attempt to touch/feed/hold him if I was anywhere nearby.
That he'd have 4 molars start breaking through that week.
That he'd sleep only 9, (not his regular 12 hours) a night.
That he'd wake up if I got out of bed in the morning (meaning no being ahead of the game and showering before he woke)
That I would experience some form of crazy bad allergies/headache/migraine=puking most of the time I was there.
BUT despite all of that it was still great and I was not going to waste my precious time there laying in bed, not that I could have if I wanted too. Ha. :)
We got to spend 10 straight days with Nannie, Pop and Chanel...real life.
We got to go to church and listen to Nannie sing....Graham danced the whole time and stole hearts.
We got to soak in every bit of sunshine they had (70's and 80's...oh yeah!).
We got our nails done.
We went on walks.
We finished a project.
We sang loud together.
We did mini (scary) facials.
We wore tank tops...and sun dresses... and sunglasses.
We drank lots of Starbucks.
We made and ate delicious healthy food.
We visited Pops office and got to see what he does.
We got spoiled by Nannie and Pop.
We watched movies.
We watched the olympics.
We strolled Seaport Village and toured the aircraft carrier...and got to learn all about the cool planes and ship functions from Pop.
...and although Graham played hard to get all week...on the very last day he was in a happy mood and spent a good long time being carried around by his very happy grandparents...Finally!
I'm so thankful that although it wasn't always perfect, we got to spend so much time together as a family. It was definitely a full and successful trip....and a great learning experience for trips to come! ...hopefully in the future Nate will be with us, cause we kind of prefer it when he's around. ;)
Thanks for reading! ...and if you're just dying to see a few more pictures from our time in California, check out my instagram feed. :)
One of my goals for this year is to take at least one photo of the three of us each month. After looking back over last years photos I realized that I have so few of us all together.
...this photo is not great quality* but it's us in January, and I'll be able to look back and see how we grew together over the year...that's the goal...not perfection, just documentation. :)
My plan is to include these as a full 12x12 with my project life...still deciding how I'm going to tackle it this year...leaning towards doing monthly spreads. (I know, I'm already way behind.)
*I waited until the last day of the month, had to take the photo in the evening when there was no natural light and there is nothing super exciting going on in the background...embracing the imperfection!
I do not do gritty/intense/jumpy/gory "drama" tv shows (or movies for that matter).
Cover page and some of Janaury's prompts
I've enjoyed doing the One Little Word on-line workshop prompts this month. They were definitely challenging and thought provoking...which is of course the point. I took my sweet time and I'm happy with how my pages and writing turned out. I think that all the thought I put into them will set a strong foundation for my intentions for the year and keep me focusing in the right direction... this kind of change cannot be rushed. :)
I chose an ampersand as my symbol this year to remind me of my word. Reason 1 - I can't help but like ampersands, 2 - they are everywhere right now, and 3 - it makes sense, because I'm choosing between this & that. :)
Some days it's definitely easier for me to live my word, and some days I despise my word and feel angry towards it (sounds ridiculous, I know)...it's clearly a love/hate relationship at this point. :) That being said, I'm still glad I chose it and I do see it changing me in small ways already and it's only January, so Hoorah!
I love the quote I found for the month...
"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
- George Bernard Shaw
How true is that!??
My goal is to set a few small intentions each month to keep me heading in the right direction. This month I didn't post them in the beginning of the month to keep me accountable but that's ok, right? I started small...my main goal was just to start building some good habits...CHOOSE to start. That's difficult for me sometimes.
1. Choose to renew my love of reading and increase my intellect. (I got my library card and as mentioned in this post, my goal is to read and review at least one book a month. January - done!)
2. Choose to be fearless in my creativity by starting a project and finishing it - embrace the imperfection that is inevitable! (I started a sewing project and after a couple of hiccups I'm almost finished! I will blog about this soon, but here's a lil' sneak peek...)
3. Choose to document our life as a family by taking at least one photo of the three of us each month. (I'm finishing this one tonight (by the skin of my teeth) how is it the 31st already!?...and why is it so hard to take a minute for a quick but high quality picture!?)
4. Choose to get Graham more involved in play dates and social situations to work on his mobility. (I feel like we have been great about this in January! We've met up with lots of friends, started some physical therapy through a great local program and participated in MOPS groups. This is something I'm trying to make a habit for sure to give him every opportunity to learn and grow.)
January is over and I have a funny feeling that February is going to FLY by very quickly!
Have a great day!
Struggling to wake up at 5am these days...meaning, it's not happening at all.
Processing our taxes and excited to use the return to pay off the last of my ridiculous school loans...finally!
Attempting to keep my front room plants alive...not sure they're gonna make it.
Laughing as I re-watch this group dance to "What Does the Fox Say" from last seasons Dancing With the Stars...so bizarre and hilarious!
Taking pictures almost daily with my Nikon 50mm Lens...LOVE the amount of light it lets in!
Writing new to-do lists daily. I love crossing off each line.
Re-watching Pitch Perfect ...I can't help it. Despite some ridiculously annoying lines "aca-scuse me?" I love the musical numbers and wish I could randomly break into song and dance in the perfect mash up...kinda lame, I know.
Finishing my January prompts from the One Little Word workshop using my word choose.
Dusting off the sewing machine and trying out something new...blog post to come soon!
Loving this blog post from the Girl of Cardigan blog and feeling the same.
Listening to songs from Frozen ...I can't get enough.
Trying out story time at the local library.
Starting my next book, A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. Enjoying it so far but I'm not gonna lie, it's a bit intimidating.
Craving the sunshine and warm weather...winter, and this nasty inversion, is getting old.
This fun free camera printable is making me think of picking up my water colors again...
Waiting for Graham to just stand up and start walking at any moment.
Have a great day!
Today I love that my floor is covered in wooden trivets, that at the other corner of the kitchen my son is pulling cutting boards out of the cupboard and neatly stacking them in a pile (he's so smart). I love that he has pulled all of the spoons out of the dishwasher and attempted to put them back unsuccessfully.
"And I’d want to say:
How was my day? Today has been a lifetime. It was the best of times and the worst of times. There were moments when my heart was so full I thought I might explode, and there were other moments when my senses were under such intense assault that I was CERTAIN I’d explode. I was both lonely and absolutely desperate to be alone. I was saturated- just BOMBARDED with touch and then the second I put down this baby I yearned to smell her sweet skin again. I was simultaneously bored out of my skull and completely overwhelmed with so much to do. Today was too much and not enough. It was loud and silent. It was brutal and beautiful. I was at my very best today and then, just a moment later, at my very worst. At 3:30 today I decided that we should adopt four more children, and then at 3:35 I decided that we should give up the kids we already have for adoption. Husband – when your day is completely and totally dependent upon the moods and needs and schedules of tiny, messy, beautiful rug rats your day is ALL OF THE THINGS and NONE OF THE THINGS, sometimes within the same three minute period. But I’m not complaining. This is not a complaint, so don’t try to FIX IT. I wouldn’t have my day Any.Other.Way. I’m just saying- it’s a hell of a hard thing to explain- an entire day with lots of babies.
But I’d be too tired to say all of that. So I’d just cry, or yell, or smile and say “fine,” and then hand the baby over and run to Target to wander aisles aimlessly, because that’s all I ever really wanted."
I have never read such a spot on description of how I often feel...and I only have one!
It's amazing how reading someone else's words can help me process how and why I feel a certain way, and somehow make it easier to accept. I'm not sure if that makes any sense at all. Honestly, some days I feel like I'm still learning to embrace motherhood and not run from it. Reading that article helped me see that I'm not completely crazy (or alone)...and that I truly CAN be thinking and feeling so many things at the same time...and that it's normal and ok.
"One of my biggest regrets...is that I didn't spend my youth staring lovingly at my neck. It never crossed my mind to be grateful for it. It never crossed my mind that I would be nostalgic about a part of my body that I took completely for granted." - I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
One of my goals for this year is to read at least one book each month...nothing too scary, just something fun, light, inspiring and on occasion possibly a "parenting" book. The goal is to renew my love of reading. When I was a kid I would read late into the night, transported to far away places and times, and I loved it. College killed that for me and in the business of life, although at times I've tried, I know that I haven't made a true effort to create a good habit of reading...I'm certain that once I get in the habit of choosing to read over the alternative (watching that danged TV), that the love once experienced will return. :)
At the beginning of this month I FINALLY went down to the local library and got my card. Our library is unfortunatly small compared to the one I grew up with, but it will have to do. I heard about this book from Elise Blaha's blog and it sounded like the perfect light reading to kick off January.
This book was fun, I found myself laughing at some parts that were so incredibly true and at other times found myself being completely lost on some references that were clearly before my "time." The tone was light with some great "one liners" as you read snippets from her life. I didn't realize upon picking up the book that she was the screenplay writer for Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail, Hanging up and many more. Once I realized that, I instantly recognized her humor and character in each of those films and how they correlated with pieces of her life...kind of interesting.
Although a super easy read (I read it in two long sittings), it is still smart, witty, genuine and made me think...think about cooking, raising kids, reading, relationships, maintenance, not taking myself so seriously, life accomplishments and about what my life may look like when I'm in my 60's. ...oh, and of course, about my neck. :)
I have to be honest, after reading about her life, part of me felt sad being certain that my life will never be so interesting and that I'll probably have to embellish my experiences quite a bit to make any story of mine worth reading by my children/grandchildren. On the other hand I realized that as much as I love the idea of living in an old eclectic studio apartment in some busy city and drinking my latte in a hidden corner cafe, perhaps some just aren't meant to live such a life...and that's ok. Besides, I would probably be terribly unhappy if I decided to uproot my entire family in search of random adventure, despite sometimes dream of it. As much as I love change, it always throws me for a loop and I take awhile to adjust. :)
Overall this was a good, worthwhile read. Not life changing, but enjoyable. I don't particularly think it's one I need in my personal library but I will definitely be jotting down the list of books she mentions throughout and adding them to my list to consider reading.
And so, in honor of Nora Ephron, not taking myself so seriously, and appreciating my non-saggy/yet to wrinkle neck for granted at this age...it feels appropriate to document my neck at this point in life, if just to prove that it was once not so bad. ;)
What books are you reading right now? I would love any suggestions that you consider a "must read" or even something fun and easy you picked up recently.
Thanks for reading!