WIP Wednesday (the teensy tiny version)

We’ve been so busy around this joint- building new patio furniture to replace what was ravaged by the epic September hailstorm…     

 

And then finally putting up the awesome new mailbox my mom gave me for xmas…    plus going to see The Breakfast Club on the big screen with 12 of my nearest and dearest,   

(and who could forget our geeky weekend) that there’s barely been any time for sewing.

But I did manage to pull off a little bit. 2 little bits, actually. 2 blocks for Quilting Jet Girl’s wonderful project- read about it here.

I made one block for each quilt. First, for the boy:  I was so excited to have a use for that music note fabric- I think it’s been in my stash for 10 years or more! And some of my ever growing stash of tonal pearl bracelets. They’re just so useful.

Next, for the girl’s quilt. I found a tutorial for a fish, and just adapted it a tiny bit to make it the right size… (If you use the same tutorial for the same project, I’d suggest reducing the center rectangle of the fish’d body rather than shortening the tail blocks like I did.) It was wonderful that my new Tula pink and grey print fit the requirements exactly- and that the blue came from stash. Something about butterflies on a fish makes me smile- and hopefully it will do the same for the recipient.

Meanwhile, there’s going to be even less sewing around this place for a bit. We’re taking a long weekend in Santa Fe (have I mentioned how much I like working at a school, and getting breaks off?) When we get back, I’ll still have 5 full days off from work, and while I’ve filled those days with breakfast and lunch plans with friends, I also plan to tackle an ugly project.

My scraps.

I’m going to turn on the TV in the sewing room, and not sew anything until the awful scrap disaster is dealt with. Hopefully I won’t exhaust Netflix’s streaming options before then! Wish me luck. And- if you have any great scrap organizing tips, send em my way!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social.

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Filed under Quilts, WIP Wednesday

Geeks on Ice

By now you’ve probably noticed that we’re a “little” bit geeky, as families go. Yesterday we geeked out in a major, public way.

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It was Star Wars Night at the Colorado Avalanche, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. My favorite sport, with geekiness added? Who could resist? Well, Rich might have been able to, but, for the sake of his wife and kids, he came along to the sport ball event. He told me it was okay to share this story- we were waiting in line to take a photo, and he asked me, “What time does the show start?” After much confusion, I realized he meant the GAME. He may never live that down…

The event was 2 fold: in the afternoon, there was an hour where ticket holders could go on the actual NHL ice, and meet and take photos with members of the 501st Legion, as well as the good guys. The email said costumes were encouraged- so costumes we wore. I actually do own a Han Solo dress. I know, I know. But when I was a kid, I was going to grow up to marry either Han or Indiana Jones. So, that didn’t work out, but at least on occasions where a costume is required, I can dress up like Han, right? Rich has a Chewbaca T-shirt that he busts out for halloween, etc., and I also have an R2D2 dress that I wore one halloween that Annie borrowed. Henry used to have an entire wardrobe of star wars costumes, but he’s outgrown them all, so we picked up a new Xwing fighter pilot shirt for him… Hey, we’re going to Comic Con in May, so we’ll get some more use out pf these outfits.

The photo ops were truly awesome. We actually got to go into the penalty boxes:

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And into the goals:

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And onto the benches:

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And we even admired center ice:

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The ice was less slippery than I expected- but the kids still couldn’t resist sliding on it.

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This was such an awesome, crazy, once in a lifetime experience. And it was only part of it- there was still the game. There was a gap between the end of photos and the start of the “show”, so we walked downtown to have dinner. Yup, we walked through one of the trendiest, most touristy parts of downtown Denver (Larimer Square) in our costumes. I was embarrassed, I admit, but I got schooled by my daughter. “Mom, don’t be embarrassed. You like this and this is who you are. Be proud.” So, clearly I’m raising her right. At least somewhat…

So then we went back for the actual game- and thank goodness the Avs won! Poor Rich was forced to high-five jubilant strangers at the end of the night- but he survived. The game was full of fun moments- the mascot Bernie the Saint Bernard was dressed as a Jedi and had a light saber. Snow troopers rode on the zambonis. The 501st was around the arena for photo ops with the regular ticket holders. My fave part of the evening was when they kicked off the kiss cam with Han and Leia- but I didn’t get a pic of that :-(

I was bummed that they didn’t seat all the Star Wars ticket holders together- we were scattered al over. It would have been fun to have geeky bonding time- rather than odd looks from regular fans. But oh well. Aside from that, it was a truly awesome night.

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Filed under General Geekery, Hockey

A short hop on a long trip.

I started a scrappy trip along precisely to have a go-to between other projects- especially a go to that is simple (I’m using Bonnie at Quiltville’s excellent tutorial, the only difference is my strips are 2″ wide, because I had a ton already cut that size). So, I’m between projects right now… and I got it back out last week.

 I’m up to 36 blocks now. Not bad for a project I barely touch. I’m pretty certain that this barn raising style layout will be my final choice. This one is ALSO destined for our bed, so I need it to be 10×10 blocks to get it to size.

By the end of this year, I’d like to have 3 new quilts for our bed. My goal was always to have 4 to rotate between (seasonally?), and we were at 3. But then there was the great bleach incident that is too painful to talk about, and we were back to 2. I love them both, but I get bored. One is also a wee bit narrower than I would like- I so wish I’d added ANOTHER extra row when I made it. You can check it out on my old blog. No wonder I’m bored with my bed quilts- looks like they both date back to 2007! When this one is done, I will have a total of 5 to choose from. The 2 current options, the modern cross that’s being quilted right now, the city sampler, and then this. Not too shabby!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social.

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Filed under Quilts, WIP Wednesday

Sunday Stash, Supersized Edition

Overall last year I was really good about buying fabric. Not a ton came into the house. Blenders, lots of blenders. And some other tasty treats, of course. But my resolve has been weak as of late. I blame Tula Pink and her awesome new Elizabeth line. Before it was even released, I placed a preorder through QuiltHome. They had a fab discount… and I was certain I bought all the pieces I wanted.

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It arrived, and I loved it. And I wanted more. Way more. But of course, the discount coupon code was expired by then… What’s a girl to do?

Answer: check out the LQS going out of business sale. This particular store was lovely, and carried a great selection of modern fabrics, but their prices were at the higher end of the range, and that kept me from going too often. But when the closing sale got to 40% off everything (last week) I couldn’t resist. The Aurifil was totally cleared out, and the fabric was close behind, but I managed to find a few treasures.

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They had quite a few Tulas from Moonshine and Foxfield left. And even an Acacia. And some good blenders.

But by now my fabric willpower was shot to hell. So when the Equilter sale email popped up in my inbox, I couldn’t resist it.

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In my defense, this is only half of what I originally had in my cart. Equilter is in Boulder, just up the highway from us- so I should have had this practically overnight- but they didn’t ship it for a whole week. THEN I got it practically overnight. This is all novelties, something I do don’t need. But the glasses in yellow? I have some in pink but needed, yes needed, more. And the space text purple is for Annie. The awesome Alexander Henry sewing theme print is one I’ve been eyeing for ages. 3 deer head prints, yum. And the piece de resistance, the kittens- with yarn!

Meanwhile, I went looking for more Elizabeth online. Hawthorne threads had it all, and at a great price, and some other Tula pieces I wanted.

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And just in case you thought that wasn’t enough, I bought an Allison Glass FQ bundle from Massdrop.

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More blenders! My first Massdrop experience was great. I didn’t commit to buy unless the lowest price was unlocked- and it was a good price that included shipping. The shipping was fast, too- I had these FQs in my hands very quickly. If you haven’t checked out Massdrop yet, it might be worth it. If you sign up and eventually make a purchase through my link, I met get a cool swag box. The prices range from great to not really better than you might find elsewhere, so it’s worth shopping around before you commit.

Finally, I have a sweet prize that I kept forgetting to photograph. I won it from Blossom Heart Quilts and the Fat Quarter Shop a while back (um, in November last year)- a fat eighth bundle of Moda Grunge Basics.

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Aren’t they pretty colors?

Phew. That’s a lot of fabric. Probably time to go on a fabric diet again…

Linking up with Sunday Stash.

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Filed under Stash Enhancement

It’s Tula Top Time!

I think I might have mentioned that I finished my Tula Pink City Sampler top two weekends back?

Yup. I totally did.

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I spent a Sunday holed up in my sewing room, with the new season of House of Cards. (It took 4.5 episodes to get the top finished up.)

I was driven to find a way to get the entire thing on my design wall- and in doing so, I rearranged some furniture. Pros: WAY more space on design wall, room for a new cube shelf for even more yarn storage. Cons: I think I liked the way it looked before a wee bit better. But the trade off for more space is worth it. I’ll take pics once I have the yarn re-stored.

I wanted to show this to you all as soon as it was done. But I have been really struggling with getting a decent photo. A queen sized top if hard to show off…

I did take it for a test run on our bed.

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It’s just the right size!

And the background fabric really is perfect. I love it so much. Such a happy feeling when a project works out…

I took the quilt out to the front yard and enlisted family to hold it up for some photos. But it is so big, I couldn’t dodge the sun…

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Not a great photo at all. I’m consoling myself with the idea that, once this is quilted and bound, I will find some way to get photos that do it justice. Of course, first I have to figure out what to do for the back. I have a decent bit of the Anna Maria Horner Dowry print that I used as a focus fabric leftover. Also some of the Carolyn Friedlander backing. And some yardage of SOME of the Tula prints in the top… And I picked up a pile of tonal deep purple Pearl Bracelets for the binding.

Just over a year from start to completed top. Here’s hoping it’s on my bed by the end of 2015…

Linking up with WIP Wednesday, Let’s Bee Social, and Sew Cute Tuesday.

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Filed under Quilts, Tula Pink QAL, WIP Wednesday

To Infinity and Beyond

I’ve been off the blog for a while, because after finishing my Tula top, I was beat. Oh, yeah, I finished that sucker! And I’m struggling to take some decent photos to show you- a 90×90 queen sized top is hard to shoot.

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy. Finished a shawl, a hat, and some socks. Started a new afghan. Had one of my busiest work weeks of the year. And also threw a little party.

You might have heard, at least if you are in the US, that this past Saturday was the Pi Day of the Century. 3/14/15. To take it further, the exact moment of 9:26am and 53 seconds on March 14, 2015 is the longest date representation of the mathematical abstract Pi this century. At least, if you record dates the American way… Pi Day is always a fabulous reason to eat pie- but the Pi Day of the Century calls for more than just a pie. So we invited some equally geeky friends over and we ate all the pies.

And I do mean all of them.

pies savoryTo start, we had shepherd’s pie, quiche, and PI-zza. Rich made the shepherd’s pie from scratch. I married well. The quiche and pizza came from Costco- and we personalized the pizza with some extra pizza sauce.

Of course, we couldn’t stop there. Savory pies are great, but we needed sweet ones as well.

pies sweetOur guest Becky made not one but 2 of the most amazing apple pies ever- and she had a cute helper.

IMG_4819There’s honey on the crust. Oh it was good. And because she made two, we got leftovers!!

My mom contributed…

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…her amazing chocolate cream pie- a Thanksgiving tradition in our family since I learned about the pie as a grade schooler.

Rich made a meta-pie.

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I even baked. This is a very big deal. I am afraid of my kitchen*, and truly hate preparing food. Eating it? Whole ‘nother story.

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I made butterscotch whoopee pies. I found a recipe online that was easy enough even for me… These were delicious, but very very very sweet. I think eating one all by yourself would give you insta-diabetes.

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Thank goodness this day only comes around once a century, because we might not survive another one!

*I have a whole huge list of kitchen mishaps that have contributed to this actual fear, including second degree burns from ramen noodles, a minor explosion trying to light a pilot light- when my hands were still in the stove, and a stove with electric burners that ended up having an exposed element and dramatically exploding our first day in a new apt when a pot boiled over. Plus, I just HATE cooking.  

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Filed under Food, General Geekery

The Beginning of the End

I’ve been away a wee bit, but unlike seemingly everyone else in the quilt world, not at Quilt Con… Rather, I was in DC (my old stomping grounds for 7th-12th grades) for a funeral. My great aunt passed away; she lived a long and good life, and was ready to go, so while I am so very very sad, I am also happy that she met her end on her own terms, at home, at relative peace. I left the husband at home with both kids. They all traded cooties which I seem to have missed. Hopefully. Then I flew back into town just hours after my MIL flew in for a visit… So the last 10 days or so have been simply insane.

I *did* manage to get to a fab yarn shop while back East- Fibre Space in Alexandria, VA. I treated myself to a luscious skein of locally hand dyed sock yarn that is part cashmere. And my god, it was SO cold while we were there, I was debating trying to whip up new socks in one day. Instead, I kept going on my packed project- a slightly less squishy pair of socks. Mom and I decided to make the most happiness out of this sad trip, and so aside from getting to spend wonderful time with family, we also went to my mom’s fave museum, our favorite restaurant, and the National Portrait Gallery so I could visit one of my loves…

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All of this also meant that I hadn’t sewed in a bit. BUT! I did finally pick a background fabric for my City Sampler:

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Carolyn Friedlander, Architextures, Crosshatch in black- thanks for all the advice and suggestions; they were very helpful!

I ordered it not having seen it in real life, and so my fingers were very very crossed.

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It arrived last Tuesday. Phew! I love it with my colors…

But of course, now came the hardest part- picking a layout for my blocks. Because I was worried that the grey blocks would retreat into the background fabric, and because many of the pink blocks used the same fabrics over and over (oops!), I decided a rainbow-esque layout was out of the question. Instead, I needed to mix them all up. So, I sorted the blocks into piles arranged by dominant color, totally cleared my design wall, and got down to business.

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Slowly, slowly, a layout began to grow. I don’t know how long I spent arranging and rearranging, but I came up for lunch ;-) There was a lot of stepping back across the room, and sitting in my sewing chair, just looking. I really tried to achieve a good balance. Finally, I ended up here:

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(PS Did I mention that my design wall is just barely too short to put up all 10 rows by 10 rows? SO annoying. So that top row is crammed up there, folded in half…)

I was worried that the greens pop too much, but not much to be done about that now. I got to cutting, and got all my background strips ready to go. And then…

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It’s a terrible cell phone photo, but I am in LOVE.  Love. The dark but not too dark crosshatch fabric makes all the blocks pop. You can really see the colors, and the piecing. And the many raccoons, squirrels, and foxes I fussy cut throughout the thing. I got through 7 of the 10 rows before I needed a break- plus, time to watch the Oscars. (How on Earth could NPH be so dull??) There will be a 2.5″ strip of sashing between each row, but I wanted to get each individual row pieced before I started joining them all together. That will hopefully happen this upcoming Sunday. I was briefly hopeful we might get a snow day on Monday- and then I’d be showing you a finished top today- but no such luck. Instead I slogged through a 2 hour carpool from hell since none of our kids’ schools were on delayed start- thank goodness the school where I work was, or I would have been so very very late.

Here’s hoping that I DO have a finished top to show you by next week… I’m so excited to get this one done.

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social.

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Filed under Quilts, Tula Pink QAL, WIP Wednesday

Back, for the Future…

On Sunday, I did something very exciting- I spent the day piecing the back for my Modern Cross quilt, and also prepping the top to be dropped off, and then I took them to the longarmer!

This quilt, by the time I get it back, will have been a 4 year project. 4 full years. I had big plans for it to be my February AYOLF project, but it turns out my quilter has been getting a lot of new business. I am very happy for her- and really, at this point, if I don’t get it back until April, does it really matter? What’s a few more weeks? (Besides, it’s king size, and it will be pricey… fair payment for amazing work, but still a hit for my budget…) So, it’s not to be a February finish after all.

At least I already owned enough coordinating fabric to piece the back without spending a penny.

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Sometime, years and years ago, I bought huge yardage of those 2 Kaffe fabrics. Like, at least 9 of one and 7 of the other. (Gosh, I hope they were on sale. I bet they were.) They coordinate perfectly, and they work with the top. I also had 7 blocks left from the front, so I decided to piece them into the back. (2 of them are the same- and that fabric didn’t end up in the top at all- I couldn’t decide if it was green, blue, or purple, and so my OCD side didn’t know where to put it…)

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I put them into the center of the center panel of backing, then I added the corn-ish print to either side. When I got to the quilter’s, she put it up on her frame, and I managed to ALMOST get a shot of it- at least enough to give you the idea.

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It’s freakin huge. 108×129. The top comes in at 95×100… We put it up on the frame, too, and I got another shot of the entire thing…

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I cannot wait to sleep under it- especially as the custom quilting Yael designed is awesome- sleek, modern, geometric, and just the right amount of understated. We’re going to do one color change- white on the background, and a color on the crosses. As always, thread color was the toughest choice…

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We ended up going with the purple second from the left. I’m planning to bind in purple, and this one looked so rich and jewel-like on the various squares. I should get it back April-ish, and then, I’ll bind it and sew on 100 buttons, one in the center of each square. I’m not excited about that- but I am thinking in the end it will be worth it. Now for the hardest part- the wait to get it back!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday, Sew Cute, and Let’s Bee Social.

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Filed under Modern Cross, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

My Kingdom for Another Yard

So, back in 2013, I made 2 sets of Sugar Block Club blocks- one for me and one for my mom. You’ve seen how my mom’s ended up. But what about mine? Here’s where we left off in Jan 2014.

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Left to right, top to bottom, that is January to December. And please please join me in pretending that you can’t see how much smaller that final block turned out. Ugh. It was paper-pieced, and I checked the printer twice, so, no idea how that happened.

I love these together, and am not thrilled with a few of them individually. I wasn’t sure how to set them, so like my mom’s, they sat around for a year. And then I decided to make another set, and make the top bed sized. We don’t need another purple throw sized quilt around this joint, and I want to keep it.

So this past week, I pulled out the patterns, and the secret stash of fabric I had leftover from the original blocks, and got to work. This time, I tried to make more darker/higher contrast blocks.

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This is what I got done this week- half a year’s worth. But then I had to stop.

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Why? Because this is all the background fabric I have left. I grossly underestimated the leftover pile. I had enough of all the prints to make it through another 12 blocks, but apparently only enough shiny lavender background fabric to make it through 6. The worst part is that I don’t know when I bought this fabric (aside from “over 3 years ago”), I don’t know where I got it, and I don’t know the manufacturer because the selvedge is plain. So when I say I am out of background fabric, I am totally out of background fabric.

Here are all 18 together.

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So now I have the added challenge of deciding how on earth to set 18 blocks. I have varying amounts of all the other fabrics left. And you can sort of see the striped Kaffe Fasset woven below the quilt- I had it pulled aside to do something with this quilt, but what? I’m truly hoping it won’t take me another year to decide…

MEANWHILE… I have a new idea for background fabric for my Tula blocks. After spending the last week looking at layout options, I realized I am really attached to the simple king sized grid layout from the book. With that in mind, I went back to the drawing board, and came up with 2 fabrics from Carolyn Friedlander’s Architextures line. What do you think of either of these?

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To refresh your memory, here are the blocks…

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I feel like the darker version could really make the blocks pop, without being TOO dark… And the idea to a slightly textured solid is very appealing to me. What do you think?

And if anyone happens to recognize that solid lavender shot through with silver sparkles, speak up!

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Filed under Quilts, Sugar Block Club BOM, Tula Pink QAL

All of Time and Space

You ever have one of those super quick knits that is oh-so-satisfying, and also makes the recipient very very happy? Today I’m going to show you one of those… because even though I knit as much as I quilt- and sometimes even more- you’d never know it by looking at this blog! So let’s look at yarn. And then stay tuned, because boy do I have a proud mom moment to share.

You may know that I am part of a family of geeky nerds. In fact, hard as it may be to believe, I may be the most mainstream of us all.

Chew on that for a few.

You still there?

This is Annie. My sometimes enchanting, other times maddening 13 year old daughter (is there any other kind?)

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Astute readers might notice the Tardis hat on her head. No, that’s not my handiwork- but it is a good example of her daily wardrobe. If it relates to a time lord or a Marvel character (especially Captain America), she’s probably wearing it.

In late 2014, I learned that KnitPicks had temporarily re-released some of their Felici self striping yarns in some very particular and sought after color ways, including this one.

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It’s called “Time Traveler”, and it references the 4th Doctor‘s trademark scarf. I immediately ordered 8 skeins- enough to make a pair of socks for each member of the family. So glad I did; it sold out very quickly! When it arrived, I remembered that my kids don’t like socks.

D’oh. But Annie DOES like arm warmers. So, with this easy and free pattern by Susan B. Anderson, I whipped her up a pair, in just about a week. They were done and being worn everywhere even before xmas. And they actually only took one skein plus a few yards, so I think I have enough left to make her a matching hat!

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Super cool, eh? She loves em. I love that I made her so happy. And that they are machine washable.

And she was even happier this week- last Friday, we went to see Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Don’t know who he is? Even if you don’t, you probably know one of his most famous moments- he was instrumental in the demotion of Pluto from full planet status.

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The next slide said, “GET OVER IT.” Maybe you had to be there, but it brought the house down.

Last week, he gave 2 sold out lectures here in Denver (2,900 seats in the venue!). My mom bought us the tickets last August- the kids didn’t know until xmas- this was their big gift. (As an aside, can I tell you how happy it makes me that my kids were thrilled to receive tickets to a lecture on astrophysics for xmas??) The man was even more awesome in person than you would think, and after talking for 3 hours with no break, he took questions from the audience.

My Annie wants to be an astronomer. And she really wanted to ask him a question- but she ended up fairly far back in the line. I was worried she’d be so let down if she didn’t get to talk to him- but I needn’t have been. When he announced he could only take a few more questions, the audience and the people ahead of my girl asked them to let the kids go! (There were 2 behind her.) And they did! So, thanks to generous and kind strangers, Annie was able to ask her mentor a question.

I totally broke all the rules, which, if you know me, is a huge deal, and used my phone to record her Q&A. But here’s the thing- how often do you get a chance to ask your living idol a question, in person? (Her dead idol is Alan Turing…) So the video quality is crap as I was dodging and weaving to avoid the very, very conscientious usher who was bent on busting every single camera wielding rule breaker in the room. Want to relive the moment? You can, if so inclined… It is pretty darn awesome if I do say so myself. (And if you saw the video on my FB, this is actually the full version with 45 extra seconds…)

PS Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday

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Filed under Annie, Brushes with Greatness, General Geekery, Gift, Kids, Knitting