Thursday, June 24, 2010

this is what happens

This is what happens when Ben leaves for a week work trip and I am left to my own devices.

I sew adorable blankets from random scraps of fabric (and a towel, which I used as the back). This is the very first piece quilt I ever made. I had to make some adjustments, since I rarely measure, which is required when quilting.

I am in love with the butterfly fabric that I got on clearance over Christmas. Utterly adorable.

I also made this girl's quilt, but I need to get some white fleece backing to finish it.

I also finished another baby blanket, and decided to put a caterpillar on it. I forgot to rotate the photo, so just rotate your computer.

I also learned why no one in their right mind makes swimsuits. Even when you working painstakingly slow and are really careful, you still get all sorts of bumps and unevenness. Man, that made me mad. But it still turned out well. I just hope the less than great sewing holds up in the ocean.

Diedra and I got this fabric on one of our trips to New York. I miss the fabric district. Who knew that an entire store of spandex would be so awesome?

And last, but not least, I take pictures of hilarious billboard signs in our small town. I absolutely love this sign for Hair Prophecy International. Garrett, I think you need to visit me just so that you can go there and get your hair cut.

beach cruiser

My beautiful mint green beach cruiser. It arrived last week, and Ben took them out for our first ride last weekend before he left for a work trip. Boy, is it mint green.

(Parents: that is our apartment in the background.)

Me taking a test drive down our street.


Proof of the bug problem. We kill all the large cockroaches too fast to photograph, but I did manage to take a picture of this 4 inch long centipede while Ben grabbed a paper towel and a chair in order to kill it. We included Ben's hand to give you an idea of the scale.

I saw this guy last Sunday after we were eating dinner. He had crawled onto our drapes and was at the very top. This has since taught me that no piece of furniture is safe, hence checking the coach before I sit down. Ben calls this paranoid, but I think I am perfectly justified.

Monday, June 21, 2010

the beach, more bugs, and bikes

This weekend Ben and I headed to the beach, in hopes of some waves. Unfortunately the surf was down, so there were no waves to ride, but we did get to visit a few beaches (Emerald Isle and Indian Head). At the first beach we went to, we saw a skate right near the surf. It was pretty small, but fun to watch. Then at the second beach we saw three dolphins pretty near shore right as we got to the beach (at first I thought they were snorkelers, but then one jumped out of the water). I've seen dolphins before on the East coast, but never that close to the shore. We played Frisbee, boche ball, and went swimming.

This post is titled "more bugs" because that is the daily battle in our home. After Ben showed me the mole crabs that live right on the sand you walk on (and you can feel them under your feet...gross), I am even more grossed out by things with lots of legs. Like the four-inch long centipede that we found crawling on our curtains one night, or the 1.5 inch long cockroach that Ben chased down and killed. I probably kill 4 large bugs a day, which is about 4 over my limit.

And last Thursday I went to girls camp for the day to help one of the leaders make fires. A few of the girls needed to learn how to make fires and cook on them, so I showed up at 8:30 am to get this started. Once our fire was going and some coals were started, I showed the second year girls how to make ash cakes. All of them were pretty grossed out, but we made them all cook one and try it, and most of them really liked it. Maybe ash cakes are a family thing, because no one had ever heard of them before, never mind eaten anything cooked directly on the ash and coals. While I was cooking some ash cakes, I managed to step into a fire ant nest, and my ankles are still itchy.

In spite of all the crazy bugs living in our apartment, Ben and I did get to take our new bikes out for a ride on Saturday. After a little test ride on our street, we went down a pretty big road to get to the next neighborhood (which is very quite and perfect for biking). The loop is about 5 miles, which was a good little tryout with our bikes (seeing as how I haven't been on a bike since I was about 15). I do love my bike thought, and the ride is so smooth. Now the only thing I need is a basket.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

avatar tree

This evening while Ben and I were out walking, I spotted one of the craziest looking trees I have ever seen, and I immediately thought of Avatar. The picture does not to justice to just how bright pink the puff balls were on the top.

Ben took these photos on his blackberry, so the color isn't great. But there were a few pink trees next to some white ones.

Oh, and this afternoon I learned that you can be allergic to fire ants, just like bee stings. Oh yippee. Right now we have fire ants all over our front yard, which means we can barely even walk on it. We have already treated them with some fire ant killer, so hopefully they will start to decrease in number, or at least not be all over the grass. Last night while we were putting up the hammock, we both got stung the feet just while walking on the lawn.

handy things that I love

I love decorating. A lot. In fact unpacking and putting together the new apartment was actually fun, since it meant I got to redecorate our new place. Okay, maybe not completely redecorate since we didn't buy any new curtains or furniture (no job = no purchases), but it still has a different feel than our last place. I really love our more open floor plan and that fact that we can actually put up curtains in this apartment.

I thought I would give a shout out to my facorite handy things in my apartment. I love for everything to have a place and to be organized. This first was was a present from my brother Garrett. He made these jewelry hanging frames for all of the sisters last Christmas, and I absolutely love it. I have yet to find a better way to organize all my earrings. Right now this is hung on the wall above a small bookcase in our bedroom.

To make, simply take an old wood frame, pop our the back and glass, spray paint black, and insert small hook and wire down the sides.

I also love my magnetic spice containers, which I keep on the side of the fridge. I can never find spices in cabinets, so these are a great way to keep your spices, plus the lids twist allowing you to either poor or sprinkle the spices as you cook. The only downside is that they are not labeled, so I have learned the smell of each spice.

And lastly, my flour/sugar jars. My mother always kept flour and sugar in tupperware containers, and it wasn't until I went to college and my roommates got all kinds of bugs in theirs that I understood why. This was one of the first things we bought when we got married, and I absolutely love them. I keep them on the top of the baking rack for easy access. Right now I have wheat flour and corn meal in the medium size jars, since I make so much homemade bread.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

early retirement, new apartment, north carolina

I should probably update my blog and explain why I have not been blogging as of late. Ben finished his third semester at MIT in the middle of May and then we moved to North Carolina for a 7-month internship as part of his master's program. This meant that I had to quit my job (hence, the early retirement) and we got to pack up the house, fit all of our belongings into 5 linear feet in a moving truck, and move to North Carolina for the rest of the year. Let me just say that it is a very good thing that most of our furniture breaks down, otherwise we would have never have fit it on the truck. We are excited about this change and a chance for a new adventure.

We have been here almost two weeks and are already loving it. Our apartment is really coming together, and we love that our rent is 1/5 our rent in Boston. Despite the large quantities of bugs that make their way into our apartment, I love it here. We live on a quiet street with lots of natural shade, which allows me to keep the windows open during the day and the AC off. We hope to spend the summer relaxing, going to the beach, avoiding all future run ins with fire ants, and making lots of friends in our new city. We have been to church twice and were completely shocked by how friendly they were (probably a result of not having new people move in in over three years).

Since my web cam tour with my mom was shaky at best, I thought I would give a little house tour. As much as I hate packing, I have loved putting our new apartment together and getting another chance to decorate. The walls are white and the carpet is off-white, so it is a good thing we have lots of colored furniture.

Our dinning room. This is the first thing you see when you walk in past our TINY kitchen. Sorry, there are no pictures of our kitchen. Just imagine a tiny room filled with panelled wood cupboards and an ancient stove.

Living room, complete with our "new" modern chairs and my wool rug that I found at a garage sale for $50.

The buffet under the window in our main room. Before I left Boston I bought a set of Anthropology bowls, which were on clearance, and let me tell you, I love them.

Some of the only books we brought with us to NC. And what is that awesome clock you ask? Just my Christmas present from my brother; a vintage edition of The Bridge of San Luis Rey made into a clock.

Since we have lived in only small kitchens since we've been married, we own a beautiful baking rack. I actually love having all of the pots and pans, bowls, and small appliances so handy. And yes, that is my disco ball on the ground. I still haven't decided where to hang it.....

The apartment also has two bedrooms and 1.5 baths. We love having more office space and a place for all of my crafts. I feel spoiled by all of the closet space and the fact that we bought our first washer and dryer.