December 19, 2010

Feliz Navidad

Just got back from taking Ida to Walnut Creek Park.  She seemed to enjoy it.  She managed to corner a ferret or weasel.  I'm guessing it was a ferret though because it was not afraid of Ida at all and once we got her to leave it alone, it just started following us.  It was a lot of fun but would have been more fun if I could relax with Ida around other dogs.  It's an off leash park with a lot of trails, so for the most part I was fine with her off the leash, but as soon as a big dog would come around the corner I would just get scared that she was going to get into a fight.  But nothing bad happened except for a minute Adam and I thought we were lost and were afraid we were going to get stuck in the park in the dark.

Our neighbors sold us their dog crate (their dog had outgrown it) so now we are trying to crate train her.  Mostly for when we leave anytime that's not for work.  She's used to us leaving for work in the morning so she doesn't do anything.  But any other time we try to leave she freaks out.  She's gotten really used to the crate and seems to prefer to lay in it rather than on the floor.  And now when we leave she knows to go in it, and it's only been maybe the 4th day of training!

In other news (non dog related) Adam and I have been feeling a lot like grown ups lately.  Last week we bought a car.  The weekend before a GIANT flat screen TV.  This weekend we got a cable box and a Roku (thanks to Shaw!).  Our apartment is the most grown up apartment I've ever lived it.

We were both feeling a little bummed about Christmas coming and not being able to see our family, so we went to Wal-mart yesterday and bought a little Christmas tree and some ornaments.  We figured rather than just feel bummed, why not just try to have a little fun.  I'm not sure what we will actually do for Christmas yet, but hopefully something special.  Our friend Tim is coming to visit Wednesday which is going to be great.  I wish I could convince more people to visit, because it sure makes me feel happy when they are here. 

Alright, off to go make a Christmas Tree skirt.  Perhaps there will be a photo update soon.

December 5, 2010

Adam's favorite new meal (not including the salad)

I've been buying a lot of cooking magazine's lately when I'm at the grocery store so Adam and I have been trying lots of new food. He's generally a little hard to please when it comes to food, but he loves this one I found. So much so that we make it pretty much every week.

Chicken Pappardelle with Sun-Dried Tomatoes 

- 8 oz dry pappardelle
- 2 strips of thick sliced bacon, diced
- 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and minced
- 3 cups cooked chicken
- 1 T. garlic minced
- 1/2 t. re pepper flakes
- 1/2 c. dry white wine
- 1 c. chicken broth
- 1/2 c. heavy cream
- salt and black pepper to taste

1. Bring a pot of water to a poil for the pappardelle. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Saute bacon and tomatoes in a large nonstick skillet. Add chicken, garlic and pepper flakes. Cook until garlic starts to brown.

3. Add wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Stir in cream and broth. Add pasta bringing everything to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

We usually add more red pepper flakes and some Parmesan cheese.

November 8, 2010

blah blah cancer blah blah

What a long weekend.  I feel so old.  When did my life become conferences? Two conferences in three days was exhausting both physically and mentally.

I spent all of Thursday at the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance conference.  I was invited by one of the faculty in the School of Social Work that does her research on childhood cancer survivors.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to see it's a field or work I would like to pursue.  The conference began with an appearance from a guest speaker, Ethan Zohn.  He's that guy that won Survivor: Africa and then got cancer.  I haven't really followed Survivor so I was only kind of familiar with him.  He was a great speaker though and seemed really genuine.  But after that I really didn't care and lost all attention, which made me feel bad.

I spent the rest of the day listening to boring information about clinical trials and steering committee updates.  I was also surrounded by so many passionate cancer survivors that have made their experience their full-time job, but somehow I was not inspired.  It really bothered me that I wasn't feeling motivated or inspired by it all.  It made me feel like somehow there was something wrong with me because I did not have the desire to dedicate my life to cancer.

But after ruminating on it for the next couple of days (and having breakfast with one of my camp friends) I realized I don't have to care.  I guess my feeling is that, yes cancer is horrible and we can all agree on that.  And I think it's important that there are people out there advocating for cancer.  But I would much rather dedicate my life to fixing social problems.  Problems that are caused by people or systems, not just fate and environmental causes. 

So I guess it was a good thing I went to the conference, even if it wasn't for the reasons I had originally anticipated. 

October 28, 2010

The First Part of a Multipart Installment, entitled

brought to you by Leeann & Ida

And now a picture of cool trees.

October 27, 2010

The post my mom has been waiting for

Photos of our apartment! And Ida.  She tends to follow me everywhere and finds her way in to most pictures.  It's taken me a while to get around to taking pictures, mostly because we didn't have any stuff when we moved in.  And pictures without stuff are BORING.

Cozy in the couch

Our building kind of reminds me of a hotel.  At first I wasn't sure if I would like that or not.  But it's really nothing like a hotel (except we do have a pool and free cable).
The courtyard area right outside our door.  It's got a couple tables, lots of chairs and a couple grills.

 Ida doing some tanning.

 The grill-we-have-never-used-but-probably-should-soon

 The fence that separates our courtyard from the awesome grocery store next door.  

 The neighbors kitty that Ida likes to bother.

Our apartment is basically and open area of the kitchen and living room separated by a breakfast bar.  This is the view from the kitchen of our living room and awesome reclining couch.

Ida's bed in front of the window.

The kitchen
Another view of the kitchen (and dishwasher!)

Keeping the pantry stocked courtesy of food stamps.

My sewing corner (although right now it's set up more as my work-from-home corner)


 I need to make some curtains.

 The dresser we pulled out of the trash.  It's clearly nothing special and covered in the remains of sticker adhesive but it's functional.

 My super awesome HUGE closet

 Adam's not-as-HUGE-but-still-quite-SPACIOUS closet

October 1, 2010

Goodbye September

Failed apartment hunting, sick dog, head cold, campus "shooting".  September was the pits.  Luckily it's now October and all I can think about is the changing of the seasons and how much I love Autumn.  But apparently there have been no signs that the leaves will be changing colors anytime soon or the the temperature will be any less than 90.  I miss Illinois fall.

There is a daycare attached to the Social Work building and the window above my desk looks out onto the playground.  It's nice to hear kids laughing and playing, but I'm slowly being driven insane.  In order to get the kids inside, the childcare worker sings a song.  I hear this song at least 5 times a day. Every day. Guaranteed. 

Walking, Walking (sung to Frere Jacque)

Walking, walking
Walking, walking
Yes we are, yes we are
Everybody's walking, everybody's walking
Now we stop, now we stop

September 26, 2010

My Ida baby

Saturday morning Adam and I woke up and noticed that one of Ida's back legs was swollen and enlarged.  It was a little surreal how different it looked from her other leg.  She didn't seem to be in any pain and wasn't limping or anything.  I was immediately worried because earlier in the week she had made a mess all over our roommates room, which was completely unusual.  A few days later she had puked a couple times but seemed to be getting better.  I thought maybe she just ate something in the garbage that upset her stomach, but now with her leg swollen I got really freaked out.

We spent all Saturday morning in the hospital waiting.  It was horrible.  Finally the vet came in to examine Ida and noticed that one of her lymph glands was really swollen, which was probably causing poor circulation in her leg.  She seemed really unsure of what was going on and had to consult a book.  I was really hoping we would just go in there and she would tell me Ida got bit or stung by something.  Instead I just ended up being terrified and confused.  She said there could be a variety of reasons causing her gland to swell.  Tick borne disease, bacterial infection, fungal infection or cancer.  I know she's just a dog, but when I heard the vet say "cancer" my heart sank.  She's my baby and it scares me too much to think about.

They took some blood and a cell sample and will be calling us Tuesday with the results.  I'm also going to be in San Angelo for work the next two days which just makes me feel so much more anxious and scares.  I'm hoping an praying it's not something serious because I don't think I'm strong enough to handle anything else.

September 22, 2010

My job

I should probably update this thing more. It would probably help me get a better sense of what's going on in my life, because most of the time I just feel confused and a little lost.

My first week of work was rough. I felt like I was experiencing culture shock but it was more like work shock. Working in an office and in a University was such an adjustment for me. Also the first week I was here, most everyone in the IDVSA was out of town or working from home so I spent most of my time reflecting, questioning and comparing myself. It being my first week and not having a lot to do and then not having anyone around to ask questions or get a sense of my role gave me too much time to self reflect.

I spent too much time comparing myself to everyone else and eventually realized that's not a constructive way to spend my time. I still feel intimidated by my work environment. The people I work with are all incredibly smart and focused. And they are all doing really important things that I feel my part is so minimal. But I'm trying to not focus my time on that and instead focus on learning and being more confident.

Enough of all that emotional stuff. Here's the lowdown on the stuff I'm doing as the Interpersonal Violence Education Coordinator:

1st International Conference on Human Trafficking - October 6-7, 2010
This conference is spearheaded by Texas Representative Senfronia Thompson. I'm not really involved with this conference, but I get to attend and that's really exciting to me. Also two members of the IDVSA will be panelists for the conference.

5th Liberation-Based Healing Conference - November 5-6, 2010
I will be the volunteer coordinator for this conference which seeks to bring together practitioners and therapists, community activists and organizers, educators, and faith community leaders for dialogue and inquiry focused on a system of relational healing that embraces critical consciousness, empowerment, and accountability.

Expert Witness Training - January 9-11, 2011
The training is designed for attorneys, domestic violence service providers and professionals who are interested in being considered as expert witnesses in court cases involving domestic violence. This is a big project that I am involved with, working on organizing the curriculum and programming for the event.

Statewide Sexual Assault Needs Assessment
This research project of the IDVSA is assessing and evaluating different sexual assault programs in the state. We will be interviewing police officials, district attorneys, nurses and survivors throughout the state to evaluate the different programs and approaches. I was invited to go to San Angelo next week to tag along on the trip. It's really exciting for me because research has always seemed so mysterious to me and it will be great to get some first hand experience.

There's lots of other projects going on, but that's all the room my brain has right now. I will leave you with a photo of me in my office.

August 19, 2010

Some things about Austin

1. There is no worse feeling than just missing a bus here and having to wait in the boiling sun for another 40 minutes.

2. Austin seems to be very disabled-friendly or maybe I'm just noticing more people with disabilities. There was a dwarf bartender at the bar we went to the other day. I've also seen quite a few blind people and many wheelchairs. I think it's really cool!

3. I have no idea who the homeless people are here because no one ever asks for money. Sometimes I see people that I think look homeless but I don't think they are. I think they are just hobo chic. But generally I think many homeless people and most of the weird people tend to congregate around the bus stops.

4. a. So far I am one of 3 people from Illinois that live in Austin and have a tattoo of corn. Yesterday I met the other 2. The first was Chris, who some guys on a bus last week told me about after asking if I knew him. Well now I do. The other is a guy Robert that works at a cafe I went in to. He is from Alton, IL and might know someone that knows someone that I know.
b. It seems as thought almost everyone I have met is from the Midwest. Aside from our roommate I don't know any Austinites.

5. Some people we knew from Chicago (who now live in LA) are on Food Networks new show The Great Food Truck Race. We watched the first episode on Sunday and saw that there was a team from Austin on the show. I had seen their food truck a few days before when we were out at a bar. We decided to stop by and say hi the other night. The guy who owns it was so nice and friendly and we ended up hanging out at a bar with him while he was on call for deliveries.

6. Ida and Schilling seem to be getting along better so I am happy.

August 7, 2010

We made it!

So we've been in Austin about a week, but it feels so much longer. Maybe it's the 100+ degree weather every day. It's hot, much hotter than I was prepared for but I think I'm slowly adjusting to it. And we have AC in our apartment and a pool in the complex. And we also live right by the Green Belt which has natural spring water to swim in.

For the first 3 days our roommate had his dog here. Ida and her seemed to be adjusting. But it seems like Ida doesn't like older dogs and ends up fighting them. It's been really stressful because they seem to be getting along really well then all of the sudden something snaps in both of them. I think they had finally adjusted alright and then a 3rd dog got thrown into the mix. Jesse (our roommate) was dog sitting for his girlfriend. Ida and that dog got along really well but it messed up the doggy dynamic and Ida and Schilling got into the biggest fight yet. Jesse got a small bite trying to break them up and then took the other two dogs to his mom's for the weekend. And since then Ida has gotten into a two more scuffles with geriatric dogs while walking around the complex. What gives Ida? Stop picking on the old dogs.

Aside from the stress of Ida, we've been having fun exploring the city. It's really weird to have so much free time but absolutely no idea what to do with it. I miss my friends and family, but I know I will feel better once we start making friends. I wish I was starting my job earlier because I'd love to have people to meet and things to do. Adam and I went to the UT campus the other day and I really liked it. I'm excited I will be working there.

We quickly realized that this is a city we need a car in. Our apartment isn't centrally located so we have to take at least a 30 minute bus ride to get anywhere or ride our bikes. And in the 100 degree weather bike riding isn't fun, especially with all these hills they have in Austin. I've been looking for a cheap car on Craigslist but haven't really found anything yet. I did find a guy who is selling a 87 Toyota Tercel Station Wagon. It's $600 and has a Buddha on a lily pad painted on the hood of it.

We're adjusting, slowly but surely.

June 30, 2010

My new job

Say hello to the new Interpersonal Violence Education Coordinator VISTA at the University of Texas' School of Social Work's Institute of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA). Man that is a mouthful.

Last Thursday I had a phone interview with the IDVSA, Friday morning I was offered the position. It's an AmeriCorps position so the pay is what they call a "modest" living wage. It's not much more modest than I've already been living, but at least now I have medical coverage and an awesome opportunity to be a part of the School of Social work.

Everything about this position just feels perfect for me and I really think it was meant to be. It was the last position I applied to, a month after I had already applied to 10 other positions. I had just had my first phone interview and it went awful. I was unprepared, had confused the position with one of the 10 others I had applied to, and after the interview was finished felt a little defeated. Determined to not let myself get down I looked for and new AmeriCorps positions in Texas and came across one for the UT Austin Volunteer & Service Learning Center. The description didn't interest me much, but I applied anyway. The next day the Program Coordinator contacted me and forwarded me some more information about the available positions. My jaw dropped when I read the one for the Interpersonal Violence Education Coordinator. I had recently been looking into UT's School of Social Work and was so excited and impressed to see that they are doing LOTS of research on Human Trafficking. I've been wanted to pursue something in that area but have had a really hard time finding an opportunity where I could pursue it.

This position is perfect for me. And what's even better is they seem to love and and are really impressed and excited about my own experience. I see this position as a great opportunity to connect with the school, find incredible mentors, and have a multitude of opportunities.

I recently revisited the School of Social Works website and the main feature was a story about how the school is one of the first in the nation to blend social work and oncology. You can read more about it here. I'm so impressed and absolutely have to be involved with this in some way. The position is only a year and then after that I will have Texas residency and will qualify for in-state tuition. The women I have been in touch with at the school have already told me that "they don't let good people get away" and that they would be able to help me get an assistantship.

So Adam, Ida and I are still on schedule to move to Austin at the beginning of August. We haven't been able to find a place yet and it's a little difficult without being having the money to be able to visit first. Luckily my AmeriCorps position will be giving me about $500 to relocate so that will be extremely helpful with the moving expenses. Now we just need to find a place!

April 28, 2010


DC was awesome! It was a week filled with site seeing, great people and great opportunities and learning experiences. I think my favorite part of the site seeing was the International Spy Museum. Everyone on the trip seemed to agree that we didn't get enough time to spend in this awesome museum. The last full day was spent on Capitol Hill where we got to meet with our representatives (or in my case, my representative's Aide) to talk to them about childhood cancer survivor issues and legislation that affects childhood cancer survivors.

Since I've been back it feels like it's been non stop for me. Between fighting a cold, increasingly hurting wisdom teeth, crappy weather and Census training this week all I want to do is crawl in bed and sleep. But hopefully the weather will warm up in the next couple of days and make everything feel a little better.

I think Adam and I have decided that we are going to move to Austin, Texas. I've never been to Texas and honestly never put much thought into going to Texas. It's a decision that we have made after very little discussion really. Originally Adam had suggested the idea of going on a road trip to Austin and somehow it turned into us moving there instead. Adam isn't too much a fan of Chicago winters and I can't really say that I am either. We both think it would be nice to have a fresh start somewhere as I think it will give both of us the motivation we need. Also even though I have never been to Austin before, I have honestly never heard a bad thing about it. I started looking at graduate programs at UT and was really excited to find a Social Work program taught by a woman that has done a lot of work on Human Trafficking. They also have an Audiology program, which Adam is interested in. The plan (in my head any way) would be to move to Austin in August so that I could work a for a year and then receive in-state tuition the following year. That's the plan. Not sure how it will all work it's self out but I'm really excited about figure it out and making it happen.

April 16, 2010

My Refugee Sewing Class featured in NY Times

Zahra Jambir, an immigrant from Somalia, works in a sewing class run by a Chicago-based refugee resettlement organization.
Published: April 15, 2010

Agencies Are Stretched in Efforts to Aid Refugees

The hum of sewing machines echoed through the basement of the United Church of Rogers Park on a recent Friday morning. Refugee women from Bhutan, Iraq, Myanmar, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia sat at the machines, exchanging smiles and nods, but few words.

Mostly they pointed and motioned. Myanmar needed scissors from Ethiopia. Bhutan needed help from Iraq to thread her machine. Eritrea was having trouble with her bobbin. Could Ethiopia help? Yes, of course. It’s nice to know they are not completely alone, the women said, even if the verbal exchange is difficult.

“We want the women to feel empowered while gaining skills that they can use,” said Melineh Kano, the program director of Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Ministries, the Chicago-based refugee resettlement organization responsible for the weekly class. What started as one day a week has now grown to three, attended by an average of 15 women — both the agency’s clients and others — who want to sew and socialize.

Women comprise more than half of all refugees worldwide, and classes like the one in Rogers Park offer access to a social and skill-building environment, said Helen Sweitzer, director of the women’s programs at the interfaith ministries. All of the machines and material are donated, a necessity at a time when state budget cuts are prompting major reductions in taxpayer financing of resettlement programs.

Even as budgets are slashed, arrivals are surging. Since 2003, refugee arrivals in Illinois have increased 175 percent, and the number of countries sending refugees has gone to 60 from 31. Iraqi refugees, according to the United States Office of Refugee Resettlement, went from zero to 1,298 from 2006 to 2009, making Chicago home to the second-largest Iraqi population in the country after Detroit.

Illinois and nine other states received more than half of all incoming refugees to the United States in 2008, the last year for which data is available. Yet severe cuts in financing —Illinois will receive $2.8 million in 2010 for resettlement services, down from $7.5 million in 2000 — have strained the budgets of local resettlement agencies.

What was once a public and private partnership has become increasingly private, said Ed Silverman, who directs the Illinois Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Services.

Resettlement agencies are trying to keep up with the growing diversity of the refugee population with culturally appropriate counseling, translation and other services. Greg Wangerin, the interfaith ministries’ executive director, said the agency resettled refugees from 44 countries in 2008, its busiest year to date. But tight budgets forced it to stop taking “free cases,” those that are not family reunifications, he said.

“We want nothing more than to resettle refugees,” Mr. Wangerin said. “But we don’t want to do it sloppily.”

Last fall, the organization suspended its women’s sewing cooperative, an extension of the class that allowed women to sell their goods and receive 50 percent of the profits.

“We don’t have the additional funds to buy nicer fabric, pay the teacher for an extra day and rent out booths at different fairs to sell the items,” Ms. Sweitzer said.

The resettlement agencies got some relief in January when the United States State Department increased a one-time stipend for food, clothing and shelter to between $900 and $1,100 from $450. But the money is allotted for individuals and cannot be applied to services like the sewing class.

Tulasa Biswa, 30, a refugee from Bhutan who arrived 13 months ago with her husband and 4-year-old son, attends the class regularly. Ms. Biswa was 12 when her family left Bhutan in the back of a truck, a week after the government told the country’s ethnic Nepalese that they were no longer welcome. The government revoked their citizenship, forcing them over the border to Nepal and into a refugee camp that Ms. Biswa called home for the next 18 years.

“It was a miserable life,” Ms. Biswa said. High winds periodically tore through the camp, forcing her family to huddle in the middle of its bamboo hut and hold down the roof with a battered rope.

“I would pray to God that the wind would not take away our home,” she said, shaking her head.

Sitting in her neat apartment furnished with couches and chairs covered with brightly colored seat covers and crocheted doilies she has made, Ms. Biswa recalled her family’s arrival in Chicago in February 2009, the coldest winter in more than a decade. No one in the family had a proper coat, and it was the first time they had seen snow. When they entered their Rogers Park apartment, set up by the Ethiopian Community Association, it had only kitchenware and a single bed. Twice a day for the next two months, she and her husband went out looking for furniture left out for trash collection.

“We didn’t have money, and we had an empty house,” Ms. Biswa said.

Many of the women in the sewing group live in the diverse neighborhood of Rogers Park. Some social service agencies are able to secure refugee apartments with little more than a verbal agreement with landlords and a bit of good faith. “How can you say ‘I have this imaginary family coming in two weeks and we need an apartment with no lease?’ ” Ms. Kano said. “They must trust us.”

Back in the church’s sewing room, women milled about asking questions and socializing. Dei Thluai, from Myanmar, barely speaks a word of English, but with the help of universal hand gestures and a few women who act as translators, she has become a popular fixture in the class. In another corner, Sarah Araya, from Eritrea, asked for help with a pair of gauzy curtains from Tafesech Feyissa, an Ethiopian with luminous brown skin and a scarification tattoo on her forehead.

“We can talk because we speak the same language,” Ms. Araya said.

Across the room, Taggrid Albosherif, 36, worked on a blanket for summer picnics with her family. Ms. Albosherif came to Chicago from Iraq in 1997 to be reunited with her husband. In 2005 he went back to Iraq, leaving her and their four children behind. He has been missing for four years and six months.

“He’s dead — he’s kidnapped,” Ms. Albosherif said without emotion.

Five months ago, she was laid off from her job as a cashier, an increasingly common experience among refugees that experts said causes them to depend more on agencies, even as their resources dwindle.

She stopped working on her picnic blanket and took a moment to explain why the class is an important fixture in her life.

“I enjoy my time here; I love doing things for my family,” said Ms. Albosherif, who hopes to help refugees and abused women by working at an organization like the Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Ministries. “It was my dream to come to America. Some days that dream comes true. Some days it’s really tough.”

New York Times original article

April 2, 2010

Yay! Census Job!

While listening to Hall and Oates vinyls, drinking tea and writing cover letters I just noticed I missed a call. It was from the Census. A couple months ago I applied for a Census job, took a test and have been waiting to hear from them. Well they want to give me a job which is great because I could really use one right now. 25 hours/week at $18.25/hour sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me. And the training is the week after I get back from Washington DC which works out great!

Yesterday I attended my first ever job fair. It was for government jobs, which also sounds like a pretty sweet deal if I could get one. I waiting in lines for 5 hours to talk to people for less than a minute. It's difficult to say if the experience was worth it or if it will give me any sort of edge on a job. But it was nice to wear grown up clothes and get some experience talking to people about my skills and experience. It was also nice to learn about all the different jobs offered even thought to apply to most of them you have to fill out lengthy online applications.

Well I'm off to finish this cover letter for an AmeriCorp job I'm interested in and then I'm going to enjoy some sunshine with Ida.

March 31, 2010

Truckers who knit and quilt

Read the Wall Street Journal article here

March 28, 2010

Burrow Bed

While browsing looking for things I might potentially want, but don't necessarily need I came across the Burrow Bed.

I made Ida a bed when we first got her. She sleeps in it but much prefers the bed or couch mostly because she LOVES being under blankets. Unfortunately the bed only comes in a small size, but fortunately for me it would probably be much cheaper for me to make it myself. So that's what I will do!

March 24, 2010


Yesterday I finished quilting and binding my second quilt. I got the pattern from Oh, Fransson!'s blog. It was my first attempt at free motion quilting. It went alright, I definitely got better at it the more practice I got. I'm sure most people wouldn't notice the flaws (the skipped stitches, the overlapping stitches, or the varying lengths of stitches) like I do. I think it's just something I need a lot of practice at first before I master it.

The next quilt I really want to make is Denyse Schmidt's Single Girl. I bought the pattern a couple weeks ago, but I haven't had the money to build up my fat quarter stash. It takes about 30 different fat quarters and I've been very particular about which ones I want to use. Right around my birthday I ordered about 8 quarter yard pieces from Sew, Mama, Sew! and waited and waited to get them in the mail. They never came and when I contacted the company they told me that the tracking number showed that they had been delivered and that I had to contact my post office. I tried calling them and after waiting on hold for 30 minutes they weren't able to tell me anything. So I decided to go into the post office a couple days later. After waiting for a supervisor for about 30 minutes I was told that they would talk to the carrier but since there was no insurance on the package I wouldn't be able to claim anything. So I've now accepted the fact that I'm just out the $25 since the company seems to be ignoring my emails. Too bad, so sad.

March 23, 2010

What I've been doing

Wong-O-Wong, has it really been a month? I really don't know why it's been so long since I've made a post. I've been doing stuff, just haven't been in the mood to blog about it.

The following is some photographic evidence of said stuff:

My quilt finally finished!

Backside of the quilt

Ida B. and me getting some use out of the quilt

Sewing machine cover

Kitchen curtains

My kitchen herb garden

Bunting for Ida B

My new quilt I'm working on (still need to quilt the second half and bind it)

February 24, 2010

Oven Mitt

Last night I tested out the walking foot on my new sewing machine and made this oven mitt with Skip To My Lou's tutorial. It was so easy with the walking foot that now I'm really anxious to start quilting. Now I'm off to the laundromat to wash my backing fabric (and a mountain of dirty clothes).

February 23, 2010

Welcome Back

I'm taking a break from cleaning an apartment that has been neglected for the past couple weeks. Yesterday I sent off a Thank You care package to Peter and Jodie for giving us an awesome time in New Orleans. I included the card above that I made from these tutorials for the card and envelope.

New Orleans was great! This time I actually got to see New Orleans and not just the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. We got to see lots of parades, which is apparently real Mardi Gras. There are multiple parades every day in different neighborhoods. The streets are packed with families and ladders where their children are propped on top. I was amazed by all the different ladder contraptions that everyone had, most with wheels attached so they could be easily carried to and from the parades. I have some pictures on my flickr but I still need to scan the 35mm roll I took as well.

My birthday is a week away, I'll be 27. I know this is not old, but I'm starting to feel old-er for many reasons:

-I am now obsessed with quilting. I haven't finished my quilt yet but I already have other projects in mind. The next of which must include these fabrics.

-I have a new love for Snail mail and want to get back into actually sending regular mail and packages. If you would like to be included in this you might want to send me your mailing address because I only know a few.

-I will be able to upgrade my phone next month and I'm really, really excited about getting a phone that has NO internet capabilities. I'm trying to get Adam to join my plan so it will be cheaper for the both of us but he keeps threatening to get a land line. I guess he's more old man than I am old woman.

Alright, back to cleaning!

February 10, 2010

I love corn

I have a tattoo of an ear of corn on my arm. I get asked all the time "why?". The response I always give is "I like corn". People don't seem to like that explanation. But why would I tattoo something I don't like on me? Growing up in the Midwest I have fond memories of corn, which maybe is hard for people to understand. I have fond memories of going corn picking with my brothers and Grandpa when I was little. I have one distinct memory of going to pick corn and then our Grandpa taking us to Dairy Queen for a treat. This was when there was a Dairy Queen on North Prospect just past the railroad tracks. As we got close to the Dairy Queen, I remember our Grandpa asking us "Railroad crossing, watch out for cars. Can you spell that without any R's?"

The older I get the more I am amazed at how easily entertained children are. Picking corn was so much fun. Also lots of fun? Throwing around packages of toilet paper. I learned this after watching an old home video of me any my brother playing at our old house on Locust. We didn't need fancy toys all we needed was a 4 pack of toilet paper to throw around. I can't believe how much fun we were having.

Anyway, this post is not supposed to be about my childhood. It's about corn. And how I love it. And ultimately it's about how today I made myself some corn chowder soup (courtesy of my Betty Crocker recipe book).

An ode to my ancestors

I would like to dedicate this post to my ancestors, who have supported my love for sewing throughout the years. My generous Grandma Edie and Grandpa John recently purchased me a brand new sewing machine as an early birthday present. I have never owned, let alone used such a nice sewing machine. It's completely electronic but very easy to use. I've been having a lot of fun using it recently. I've even picked up some projects I started years ago... which brings me to the other branch of the family tree.

Maybe 3 years ago I decided I wanted to start a quilt. I've always loved reproduction quilts and wanted to try making one of my own. I picked out a pattern and my grandma Myrna helped me purchase the fabric and cutting supplies necessary. First I had to prewash all the fabric and then cut 1,248+ 2.25"x 2.25" squares. It took me a good couple months but I finished all the cutting and started piecing. When I got to the point where I needed to had applique some squares I think I lost steam or got distracted. So my quilt pieces sat in a drawer for the past couple years.

Until last week!

Ida wanted to be in the photo too

close-up photo

I still have a way to go, but as soon as I get some backing fabric and batting I'll be ready to try out some machine quilting.

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