Sunday, August 30, 2009

Goodbye Summer

As I sit here typing this sad sad post I am getting closer and closer to 8:40 am Monday August 31st, which is the day I begin school once more. I am sure you can tell that I am depressed about this matter. I feel as though my summer has just begun and now it is coming to a swift end. 
In order to cheer myself up I have decided to write a summary of the 10 best things I did this summer.
1. Went to see Taylor Swift with my friends in Boston, and stayed in a fancy hotel, for only $14 (thanks Jill), danced at a Boston club and celebrated the end my first year of graduate school. 
2. Went to Cape Cod and went swimming in the ocean, saw an old friend, hung out with new friends, and went for a near deadly boat ride on the Atlantic Ocean in our trusty Jenny (a 10 foot aluminum boat, most likely not built for ocean travel).
3. Made friends with two newborn babies (insert goo goo baby talk about how adorable the babies are here).
4. Went swimming a lot. One of my most favorite things to do. Notable swimming holes of summer 2009: Lake Nubanusit (Hancock, NH) Willard Pond (Hancock, NH), Pirates Cove (Rye, NH), Short Sands (York, ME) Sibley Pond (Pittsfield, ME) and my new place The Durham Outdoor Pool. 
5. Playing baseball in the front yard with my brother, his friends and some local cronies at my Mum's house.
6. Having time to read for fun, although I seemed cursed to only read bad books, so I re-read a lot of my favorites. Here's so of the books I liked again: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (always a favorite), The Time Travelers Wife (highly recommend to anyone), Summer Sisters (a must read for anyone on summer vacation),  and the only new book I read this summer was "The 19th Wife". It was extremely interesting to begin with but got less so towards the end, not sure if I would recommend it due to the disappointing ending.
7. Going to Maine and seeing my old friends, and spending time with my Mum. One particularly great trip was when we went to the Penobscot Narrows Bridge in Bucksport ME and went to the top of the bridge where there is an Observatory. This was quite thrilling and very scary. The observation tower is 447 feet in the air and there are floor to ceiling glass window (duh). Here is one of the 365 degree views: 
I took this picture once I built up enough courage to get close enough to the window (which was a little while, boy oh boy it was high!) Here is a shot of the bridge, and at the top is where we were.
8. Going on lots of hiking trips with Charlie, and getting really good at using the timer on the camera. It took a few mess ups, as you can see....

9. Wearing shorts and flip flops all but one day in August. I might have mentioned to a few of you that I have a phobia of pants in the summer. I am not sure why, but I hate wearing shorts one day and wearing pants the next, it really bothers me. Just wearing pants when it should be summer irks me. Must be one of my many clothes phobias (I also hate scarves, turtlenecks, tee shirts, and anything else that is too tight on my neck...weird I know.) Basically, what I am saying is that I LOVED THE WEATHER in August!!!! I think Mother Nature was saving all the sunshine just for me! So thanks Mother Nature. 
10. Having time to sew, sit on the balcony and read and eat dinner with Charlie, seeing my family and friends, and just relaxing. This was a great vacation, although short, I could not ask for a more relaxing and fun time off. 

I guess that means I should be ready to accept that school starts tomorrow. My last first day of school ever. How exciting. Now I guess I am sort of excited, what should I wear? Who will I sit with? You would think after 17 years of formal schooling I would have this covered. But no. 
Wish me luck! I am off to pack my bags and choose an outfit for the first day (It won't be pants!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Story of My Sewing Machine

While I was in Maine I had the chance to reconnect with an old friend, my sewing machine. I had loaned it to my Mum, and she has left my old friend in a closet all summer, instead of using it to sew a dress for me, which was why I left it in her care to begin with. I took my friend out of the closet and used it to finish the baby quilt, because it is the best sewing machine in the world and I love it.
This made me want to write a post about it, and since I named my blog after it, I felt my machine needed it's own post. 
As Maria says "Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.." This sewing machine belonged to my great-grandmother Mabel Dysart. She used it in her 5 and dime store to alter dresses that women bought.  From what I have been told my Mum used this sewing machine a lot when she was younger, and loved it. Let's skip ahead because I don't know much else in between. I can remember going to Maine when I was younger and my Mum would go to Grammy Dysart's house and borrow the machine and use it to sew stuff like curtains for our camp. She always used to tell me that when Grammy died all she wanted was the sewing machine. Then came my Mum's biggest mistake; she let me use the sewing machine. I remember making a pair of shorts using the sewing machine one rainy summer when we spent the week at camp. When we were leaving to come home to New Hampshire we took the machine to return to Grammy and I showed her my shorts and she said; "I am so happy you have learned to sew Lauren, I think you should have the sewing machine." And then she whispered, loudly, "And don't let your Mom use it unless she asks you first." I thanked Grammy and hugged her and turned around to see my Mum's face, I think it was the saddest I have ever seen her. You think this would make me sad and want to hand the sewing machine over to her, but you forget that I was about 13 and secretly liked making her sad. This is one of the most regretful moments of my life. I still feel bad about the look on my Mum's face. Just thinking about it gives me a little twang of guilt in my stomach. But, if I had never been given that sewing machine I might not have been as interested in sewing, and then I never would have been as crafty and would have no reason to have a blog. So I hope my Mum forgives me, but I still feel bad so sometimes I let her borrow the sewing machine for long periods of time. And also if I ever want her to make me a dress (like a prom dress or bridesmaid dress) I have to let her use the sewing machine, because like I said it's the best sewing machine in the word, and she likes using it as much as I do. Here is it, isn't she a beauty? 
I love a lot of things about the machine, but my favorites are the way it smells (old), and the clinky sound it makes when you use it, the way it's been fixed 20 thousand times and still works, how the pedal is made for people wearing shoes, and this:A note written by Grammy Dysart to tell you how to thread the machine. Oh I just love everything about it. It's sentimental and silly to say but I don't think I would be who I am without it.

Blueberry Picking

One of my favorite towns in Maine is Athens. I bet not many people have heard of it but I love it there. This might get confusing but, my Mom's bestfriend, Wendy's grandparent's had a house in Athens on a hill with a great view of a lake and about 10 million acres of fields filled with blueberries. Did you get all that? Well, anyways we went there to pick blueberries while I was in Maine. Aren't they pretty?
They were everywhere!!!!! I think my shorts are permanantely stained from sitting on lots and lots of blueberries, and no one told me until we went to the grocery store 4 hours later and I caught a glimpse of my reflection in one of the produce mirrors. Oh well, I think everyone should walk around for 4 hours with blueberry stains on their behinds, keeps you humble. 
Here's me with our bounty. I guess now is as good of a time as any to tell ya'll that I don't even like blueberries, not in the least. But the next morning I woke up and made blueberry waffles for my brother (a non-blog follower), his girlfriend, Jaimie (my most loyal blog follower) and Charles, (my most hesitant blog follower). They said the waffles were good, but they tasted strangely like pickles, don't ask it's a long story, but let's just say that everything I baked, cooked, or otherwise touched last weekend tasted like pickles. 
I am trying to post about all of the interesting and fun things I did while on vacation, so there are more posts and pictures to come (anything to avoid running the 10 miles I am supposed to run today)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Baby Quilt

The baby quilt is done. And just in time for school (eww). I call this a "mixed media quilt" because I used a lot of different methods. I decided to embroider Scottie Dogs on the two big squares. Then I used applique to add dog collars to both doggies. Then I machine quilted some of the square, hand quilted a few of them, and then added more embroidery to some of the other squares. I gave it to my cousin and she really liked it, hopefully once the baby comes she will like it too. Isn't the dog so cute?!
On another note my two friends have had their babies, and the ultra sound technicians were right, so the presents I made are a full success. I have met both of the babies, and they are super cute, but don't worry, I don't want one, at least not yet.
Enjoying my last day of vacation in Maine!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

White Mountains, What?

Yep, Charlie and I went hiking in the Whites. Now, you'll never believe it but I am a New Hampshire girl born and raised who had never been hiking in the White Mountains until last Monday. I have been there before, to see the Old Man (may he rest in peace), but never hiked anything. So we set out to change that by hiking Mt. Lafayette. 
I did make it to the top, all 5,620 feet of top. Now I should tell you that Charlie has told me that he is going to propose to me at no less than 4,000 feet elevation. I think this was a genius ploy to get me to go hiking with him. But none the less I still get a little nervous whenever we go over 4,000 feet. Anyways no questions were popped, no diamonds given (thank goodness). Here we are on the top:
After hiking we went camping. I don't like camping very much. I don't understand why people would want to eat yucky food, sleep on the hard ground and be dirty at all times. But I did it, with the agreement that Charlie would have to take me to "Keepsake Quilting" in Center Harbor NH on the way home. This store is like the Mecca of all quilting stores. I have been hearing about it for years from my mom and her friends, but never had the chance to go. So I slept in a tent (on an air mattress that I gave Charlie for his birthday, don't you just love giving presents that you actually want) and ate food off of a camp stove and open fire, and bathed in a lake, all so I could go to the holy land. 
Keepsake Quilting was all I had hoped and dreamed of. However, I was so overwhelmed by ideas that I did not buy anything (not purchasing anything might also have to do with the little bird named Charles who kept ruining my chi by saying "you have to start school again in 2 weeks, you don't have time to start anything else." Shut up little bird! Except you saved me a lot of money, so thanks little bird). 
Well, I survived camping and hiking a huge mountain, and Charlie survived another 2 hour trip to a quilting store. I guess that means we love each other, 2 carat diamond or not. 
Enjoy the day!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's a Good Thing This Quilt Isn't Any Bigger

Because I would have had to get a bigger apartment in order to put this quilt together. (Please excuse the hideous flooring.) And the big old mess. 
Now the quilt is basted and ready to be finished. 
I am enjoying the last few weeks of vacation in Maine!

Recent Insight

13.1 miles is a long way to run. Let's hope I can make it in 4 weeks!

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Must Be Crazy

I love sewing, and making quilts. I have only made 2 quilts but I really loved every second of it. When I realized how close to being done with my quilt I was, I panicked! "What will I do? I'll be so bored! I'll have nothing to do but clean and cook, EWW!" So I did what any crazy sewing fanatic would do, decided to make another quilt. My cousin is having a baby in September, a girl, yippie. I was debating what to make her, and so when I was faced with the quilting dilemma I jumped at the opportunity to make a baby quilt. There are only 2 weeks until I start school again, I might be crazy to make another quilt, but at least I realize that it needs to be a small one. (I also am lacking funds, which makes a baby quilt very smart). However, on the tails of calling myself smart I should mention that I don't have a pattern for this quilt! I saw a picture of a super cute tiny quilt on a blog and it really inspired me. I figured out dimensions, and colors, and yardage pretty much on my own(Charlie helped me a little with the yardage part). 
So yesterday when I should have only been going to the fabric store to get thread to finish the first quilt I also bought fabric to start another one. Geeze, just writing it makes me realize how silly I am. I must say that picking out fabric was the one of the easiest thing I have ever done. Typically looking at the pattern or picture on the pattern overwhelms, and confuses me in regards to fabric color choices. But when you make up your own pattern you only have your own vision in your head to go by, no confusion, it was great. Perhaps I should always fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to quilting and purchasing fabric. Perhaps I will wait until the quilt is done to see if that is a good idea. 
Here are my fabric choices:
I bought baby blanket binding because I think it is so soft and snuggly, and I have fond memories of how soft my baby blanket was with this type of binding on it. 

And here is my rough design for the blanket. I did all the cutting last night. The pieces are pretty big so it didn't take long. 
In the big pink rectangles at the top left and bottom right I am going to embroider or put appliques of something. I am having a difficult time deciding what to do though. I was thinking either a black scottie dog or a white lamb. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. 
Now I am off to enjoy the sunshine.

The Last Stitch

I am home from vacationing and have been sewing up a storm since. Last night I sewed the last stitch on my quilt. Boy oh boy did that feel great! I even slept with the quilt last night (in the summer I find it impossible to sleep under the covers). I love it!
Here is the quilt on our bed. *Notice the new sky light! Ooo La La (Thank goodness I was gone when this was being replaced because the roofer thought it would be funny to take out the old skylight and wait a day until installing the new one. Poor Charlie had to sleep on the couch so birds wouldn't poop on him in his sleep.)

Here's my signature. My Dad had to remind me it was 2009 while I was stitching it, if he hadn't I would have stitched 2008, I think that just proves that my brain needed a vacation.

WARNING: Cliché quilt hanging on a clothes line photos ahead.

I wish I had some profound words about quilting, but I don't, so instead I'll leave you with these two quotes I like: A quilt is a treasure which follows its owner everywhere. Blankets wrap you in warmth, quilts wrap you in love.
Enjoy the sun and heat!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sweet Summertime

I used to be a diver. I wasn't very good, but I don't tell people that.
On the lake where my Dad, kind of sort of, has a boat house, there is a rope swing. I like to go there and do "tricks" and try to impress people. Sometimes when I am in the mood, and there are people around, I pretend like I have never been on a rope swing and I ask them for help and tips and then once I finally build up the fake courage to try it, and have everyone around me thinking that I am scared and a rope swing novice, I do a flip and sometimes add some twists. This stuns everyone, then I pretend that my "tricks" were just a happy accident, until my brother spills the beans about my diving past. But it's still fun anyways. 
I wasn't really in the mood for this trickery yesterday when we went to the rope swing. There were three surfer dudes drink PBR there and as we pulled our trusty boat Jenny up to the shore one of the dudes did a flip off the rope swing. "Oh nuts" I exclaimed "I guess I won't be showing anyone up today." We made our way up the rocks to the top, Mary Lou went first and then the dudes let me go second. And I did this:
It certainly isn't the most graceful thing in the world, but I think I impressed the surfer dudes judging by their surfer lingo complements, and their extreme use of the word "Dude!" One of them asked me how I did the "twisty thing". I figured I could use diver terms to explain it but then I went the more dude route and said "Pretend you're brushing your hair and then sniff your arm pit and you will twist". He tried it, not much success, but his second try was better. As we pulled away to go back to the boat house the dudes were all like; "Thanks for teaching us those gnarly moves!" And I was all like; "I loved you in Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

Here's the sunset from our boat house. 

I love summer. 

P.S. I promise someday my blog will go back to being about sewing, knitting, painting and other crafty things. Until then I am enjoying the summer weather (and I am still working on the quilt). :)

My Best Friend Taylor Swift

After enduring the torture that is summer school, and the anguish called Summer Clinic, summer is finally here for me, Lauren, and my friends, Kirsten, Jaclyn, and Jill.And my friend Taylor Swift.
And my acquaintance Keith Urban.
And my 30,000 other friends. 
Just kidding, I only wish Taylor Swift was my best friend. 
The concert was great and it was an excellent way to finish my first year of graduate school with my friends. Now I have 30 days to relax, read for fun, swim, soak up some sun, see my family and friends, and keep training for the half marathon.
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