Wednesday, May 30, 2012

the joy of libraries

One important item on our beach trip preparation list was a visit to the library. 

I also love to read on the beach.  I like to take at least five books, just in case I want to read a whole one every day.  I almost never do, but it's nice to be prepared. 

But there's more than just books!  Magazines make perfect beach reading, because sometimes there is way too much going on to focus on a book.  I have been saving all the magazines that came in the mail this month, specifically to enjoy on this trip.  I picked up a few more at the library to round out the group. 

Steve and I checked out the movie section and ended up with a stack of six that we wanted to see.  We narrowed it down to two, but plan to go back later for the rest.  The library is a great place to find older movies, which is something we have trouble finding, being primarily RedBox movie-watchers. 

Sometimes I'm just amazed that there is this place where I can go to get books and magazines and movies- all for free!  It seems like there should be a catch or something. 

I'm probably working my way through my stack of books as you read this, but don't worry- I always try really hard not to get sand in them.   

Monday, May 28, 2012


July 2002

Steve and I met ten years ago this spring.  We were friends, part of a group, and although I thought he was terrific, I never expected to fall in love with him. 

August 2002
We went to the beach later that summer, again with lots of friends.  We held hands for the first time as we ran across Ocean Boulevard in a rain storm.  I never expected that I'd end up reaching for his hand for the rest of my life. 

April 2003
We spent lots of time together and I came to find out that Steve is the real deal.  He says the truth, all the time, and is totally comfortable being himself.  The more I knew about him, the more I wanted to know.  I never expected I'd get to know him better than anyone else. 

February 2004
By the time we actually started dating, I was all in.  I think we both were.  All my life, I thought that the proper "formula" was to date someone for several years before deciding if you wanted to marry them.  I never expected to be jumping-out-of-my-skin ready to accept a proposal after just one year of dating. 

April 2004 (yes, we are sleeping in pews- it's a long story)
I never expected to find someone I felt so at home with.  I never expected that I'd get so much time with just Steve, just us two.  I never expected that I'd be able to chase my dreams faster with someone to run by my side. 

July 2004
I never expected this much joy. 

We're leaving for the beach today to celebrate seven years of joy.  I've got a few posts scheduled for while we're gone and I'll be back to share pictures next week!  Hope you have a great one!

Friday, May 25, 2012

what leaving looks like

- enjoying my new gloves while I mow the lawn

- (trying not to mow any bunnies)

- cleaning bathrooms and doing laundry

- an empty inbox!

- buying sunscreen, getting the umbrella out of the attic, packing, packing, packing

We leave for the beach in three days and I can hardly wait!  Today I'm getting everything in order so that my biggest worry next week will be which book to read next. 

I'll be back here Monday with a special celebratory post before we hit the road- see you then! 

ps- class registration is open for Summer Sewing Classes!  You can register in the sidebar and find all the important details here

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

market totes: the inside scoop

Whenever I design a new product, I always like to try it out for a bit to see if I need to make adjustments.  Is the strap too long?  Are the pockets in the right place?  You know, things like that. 

It's also a great way to get photos of each item in use.  When I originally posted the new market totes a few weeks ago, I didn't have pictures of them in use yet.  But I was just so excited to get them in the shop that I posted the pictures I had and have been slowly updating them.   

Using the totes a bit has given me more insight into what they are especially useful for.  I like to toss in my wallet, phone, and planner for a day of running errands.  They're also great if we are out shopping and just need to pick up a few things- all the items and receipts go straight in the tote and I'm not juggling a bunch of shopping bags.  I plan to use a few to pack for our upcoming beach trip- one for books, one for magazines, one for cell phone chargers and other electronic stuff. 

The totes have been selling so well that I added two more patterns to the collection- first, there's this one, that reminds me of a Downton Abbey fox hunt.  I love the bright red and blue, and those awesome red handles I found for it!  I also love the sketchy look of the drawing, as if you're carrying around a work of art. 

And here's the other new pattern- a subtle fern print that looks like a page out of an old horticulture textbook.  I love the detail in the line drawings and the green and khaki palette.  One of my favorite things about all these market totes is the timeless quality of the prints.  I feel like they would be equally at home on the arm of a sixteen year old or an eighty year old. 

Or a gentleman.  Steve left his lunchbox at work yesterday and ended up packing today's lunch in a market tote.  Talk about swoony. 

I've got a whole stack of totes that are ready to ship out and I'm offering a special coupon this week!  Use the code "SUMMER" to get 10% off your entire order from the shop, today through Friday (5/25).  We're headed out of town next week and any orders placed after this Friday will not ship until June 4th, so be sure to place your order this week!

Monday, May 21, 2012

birthday recap

Our hydrangea bushes are in full bloom this week.  We went out on Friday and cut a huge birthday bouquet to bring inside and enjoy.  The only thing better than getting flowers for your birthday is getting flowers that you've grown yourself for your birthday. 

Steve made breakfast for me- his famous poached eggs and bacon on bagels.  It's such a treat to have a meal made for me and not feel like I have to do anything but sit at the counter, sipping an iced latte, and chatting with the cook. 

We went to the library and laid in the yard and the weather was perfect.  Sometimes I feel guilty for having a birthday in the most beautiful month of the year.  But mostly, I just feel really, really thankful. 

One of my favorite parts about birthdays is when people remember.  I feel so blessed by every card, email, text, facebook message, and phone call.  Hearing from so many people that I love, all on the same day, is delightful. 

We did a bit of shopping, ate a fabulous dinner, and brought home a slice of cheesecake for dessert.  Then we cozied up to watch a movie that we'd picked out at the library.  It was, all in all, the most relaxing day I can remember in a long time. 

In fact, it was the most relaxing weekend I can remember in a long time as well.  Lately, we've been high on the fun, but low on the relax.  It was the perfect start to the week ahead.  Don't you love coming out of a weekend, feeling ready to tackle anything?  I sure do.

Hope your week is off to a running start!

Friday, May 18, 2012

if we didn't have birthdays, you wouldn't be you

My feelings about birthdays can best be summed up in the words of Dr. Seuss from, what I consider his greatest book, "Happy Birthday to You!"

"Today," laughs the Bird, "eat whatever you want.  Today no one tells you you cawnt or you shawnt.  And, today, you don't have to be tidy or neat.  If you wish, you may eat with both hands and both feet."

"If we didn't have birthdays, you wouldn't be you.  If you'd never been born, well then what would you do?  If you'd never been born, well then what would you be?  You might be a fish!  Or a toad in a tree!"

"Come on!  Open your mouth and sound off at the sky!  Shout loud at the top of your voice, "I AM I!  ME!  I am I!  And I may not know why, but I know that I like it.  Three cheers!  I AM I!

Today you are you!  That is truer than true!  There is no one alive who is you-er than you!  Shout loud, "I am lucky to be what I am!  Thank goodness I'm not just a clam or a ham or a dusty old jar of sour gooseberry jam!  I am what I am!  That's a great thing to be!  If I say so myself, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!"

I'm so excited to be spending the day with my sweetheart, doing some of our favorite things.  Every day is a gift and if we're just willing to open it, doesn't that make each day a little like a birthday?

Hope your weekend is full of gifts, both seen and unseen. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

eye on the prize

Can you blame me if I happen to still be posting pictures of our weekend, and it's Wednesday?  (Also, can you tell me how it got to be Wednesday already?)

I mean, first of all- we had so much fun that my mind is still halfway back on Saturday.  The girls found a cat on a leash, of all things, and were so thrilled you'd have thought we took them to Carowinds.  I'm sure it was almost as good. 

And secondly- who has time to take pictures anymore?!?  I've spent the past two days simultaneously trying to return our house to its normal, child-free state, while juggling several large sewing projects.  Last night when Steve got home from work and asked what our dinner options were, I glanced around the kitchen and said, "Eggs?.... or, um....eggs." 

We went out. 

Today is my day to use the car, which means errands all day long.  I bought 30 rolls of toilet paper and 8 boxes of tissues.  I forgot to buy coffee, but that's okay because we don't actually drink it that often anyway. 

I find that the best way to make it through a super busy week or month is to keep my eye on the prize.  In this case, "the prize" is Friday, when Steve will be off work and we will sit in our lounge chairs, sipping cool drinks, and talking about whatever we want.  For as long as we want.  Or until we get hungry and decide to go out and get dinner. 

I can hardly wait.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

we're out

We're out of tissues. 

We're out of hand soap and dish soap.

We're out of clean napkins. 

We're out of clean towels.  And dishes. 

We're out of ketchup, milk, lunch meat, and coffee. 

But mostly, we're all out of patience with this silly business of living so far apart. 

Best part of the weekend: cracking open the atlas and pinpointing an area we could all agree to live in.  It may be years away, but it feels good to have a goal. 

How was your weekend?  Did you set any life goals?  (Goal setting is secretly one of my favorite things!)

Friday, May 11, 2012

time to hide the Easter eggs

I feel like the past week has passed in a blur of washing sheets and trying to keep enough food in the house, but it's been a fun blur.

Every child who shows up here wants to know why the Easter eggs are still out.  Why are the Easter eggs still out?  Because in my head, Easter was about three days ago. 

Where does the time go?

Well, aside from the cooking and cleaning, I think a significant amount of time has passed me by while sitting at the sewing machine.  I'm super excited about the response to the new market totes that have been in the shop for about two weeks now.  Have you checked them out yet?  I just added a new one with some awesome jute handles yesterday. 

My friend, Stephanie, who was here earlier this week, was nice enough to drive me to the fabric store so that I could get some more of that amazing fabric.  While I was there, I picked up two new prints by the same designer and am anxious to get some samples sewn up and in the shop. 

Today I'm making this strawberry pie for the weekend ahead.  Can you believe we've almost used up all of the strawberries we picked?   I'm itching to go back and pick some more before the season is over. 

Hope your weekend is happy!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

the best burgers

If you're a vegetarian, you'll probably want to skip this post.  Meat lovers, read on. 

Several weeks ago, Steve and I got a meat grinder attachment for our KitchenAid mixer.  I already like it way more than I thought I would. 

So far, all we've done with it is grind beef for burgers, but each time, they've been the best burgers I've ever had.  We buy a mixture of sirloin and chuck steak to get a good meat to fat ratio.  Then the beef needs to be cut into smaller pieces.

The pieces get dropped into the grinder and pushed down with the fancy pusher that came with it.  I put my mixer on speed 6 and it seems to be the right speed for beef. 

The ground beef comes out of the front and we catch it in a big bowl.  It only takes about five minutes to grind two pounds of beef. 

To keep the burgers tender, I try not to handle the meat very much.  I drop it in little clumps on a cutting board and gently push it together to make patties.  A little salt and pepper on each side is all the seasoning these burgers need.

I haven't tried cooking fresh ground burgers on the grill yet.  Because I don't handle the meat a lot, the burgers are pretty loose and I worry that they would fall apart.  And I've never liked burgers cooked inside, so I know what you're thinking, but trust me- they taste amazing cooked in the skillet on the stove. 

I cook them about five or six minutes per side and only flip once.  You don't have to worry about cooking burgers as thoroughly when you grind the meat yourself, so this would be a great option for people who like a rare burger. 

Our second group of house guests are on their way home and I'm headed out to the grocery store now to stock up on food for the next crew, who are arriving in 48 hours.  We'll be serving burgers, among other things.  I'll check back in on Friday before the next round of fun starts to share some other things I've been working on!


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