Friday, February 7, 2014

Halloweenie...A Few Months Late

Halloween was right around the corner when I dropped off the blogging, I thought I'd show you some Halloween projects I finished way back when. 

My mom made a gorgeous Halloween quilt (that she enjoyed well into December) which I had the joy of quilting on our long arm machine.  I don't have an overall picture of it because I only did the quilting, she finished and sewed the binding on.  However, it features a big, fat jack-o-lantern in the center and then is surrounded by multiple blocks that look similar to the second picture.  I quilted swirls onto the pumpkin, then did a fun, cobweb design on all the other blocks.  Enjoy!

I also made a couple of cute Halloween table runners.  Both are nearly identical, but one went to the woman I lovingly refer to as my third mom.  She's my dad's best friend's wife and I've known her since I was five.  Phew, that's a mouthful, huh?  Anyway, her birthday is two days from mine and we always celebrate our October birthdays together. 

This second picture is mine once I finished it.  Both table runners are quilted with swirls.  While I was able to get the birthday present table runner out in time, this one was finished well after Halloween.  I'm totally looking forward to this one being displayed on my dining room table here in about nine months.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Long Time No See...

::tap, tap, tap::  Is this thing on?

Wow, it's been a while!  Almost four months to be exact.  I didn't mean to take this long of a hiatus from blogging, it just kinda happened. 

Around the time of my initial break, David and I took a road trip across the country.  I called it a sister trip because we visited both our sisters, while viewing the foliage across the midwest and eastern parts of the country.  It was beautiful and we really enjoyed it.  Here's a nice pic from said trip:

Does my face look a little puffy in this picture?  Well, that's because it is...I was around two months pregnant at the time! the real reason for the blogging hiatus. 

I didn't want to slip up and say something about being pregnant when we were not ready to share yet.  And it took us a little while to get to this point.  Thankfully, not as long as some, but longer than we had initially "planned."  What is it that one of my favorite friends likes to say...God laughs at your plans.  Yea, He really does.

So!  In the meantime, David and I used our Christmas card to announce the pregnancy to family and close friends...we used this picture where I'm holding our first ultrasound pic.

Doesn't the Christmas-y looking tree fit the bill for the scene?  Haha!

The news has slowly been leaking out to other friends and acquaintances via Facebook and the ol' grapevine.  David's so shy about it and doesn't want to draw attention to us, but I thought it was a good time to share on here.

So, now that the big secret's out, I suppose I can continue with this blogosphere.  I'm not sure how much I'll feel like blogging as my pregnancy progresses (by the way, I'm currently halfway-20 weeks!), but we'll see how things go. 

In my next few posts I'd like to catch you up on my most recent craft projects and some of my favorite books that I've read within the past four months.  I've kinda decided to review only books that I realllly like on here from now, if you don't see a book review for a while, it's because I've only been reading not-so-fantastic stuff.  Which happens.  Every reader gets into a rut from time to time.

Also, I've removed the NYE Resolution tab because I've decided to not renew the same resolution this year.  Being pregnant...yea, there's no way I'll get around to reading every book that I own this year.  I'm smart enough to know that'll neeeever happen.  Plus, add in all the pregnancy and baby books I'm adding to said list.  Yea, no way.

With all that being said...I hope you're still here with me.  And we'll see what this next chapter of mine and David's life brings!

P.S. For those curious, we have not yet found out the sex and no, I will not be posting names of baby on the blog until it's a done deal.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Good Reads

In today's post I thought I'd share, quickly, the books that I've read recently that made it up to snuff.  None of these I did particular back flips over, but each of them was a good, solid read that I would recommend.

First of all, Sharp Objects.

This was Gillian Flynn's first novel and it's the last one I've read.  You can definitely tell this was her freshman novel if you've read the other two.  However, it was still pretty creepy and I "enjoyed" it as much as you can say that you enjoy a thriller like this.  I definitely want to read whatever else Gillian Flynn writes in the future, she's quickly become a book club least in our little book club.

Another Agatha Christie is next, Murder at the Vicarage.

This was another good, solid Agatha Christie mystery.  It wasn't my favorite of her books thus far, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit.  And yes, I do still get that old lady feeling when I pick up one of her books.

And lastly for this post, Beautiful Ruins.

While I don't participate in my church's monthly book club, I did notice that this book was their selection a few months back.  When I read up on the blurb about it, I was intrigued. 

The premise of this novel is that in present day an old Italian man, Pasquale, shows up at an old school movie producer's lot looking for an actress that stayed in his hotel back in the 1960s when the movie, Cleopatra, was being filmed.  It is Pasquale's understanding that this actress had cancer and he wants to know whatever became of her.  This novel then follows Pasquale, the film director, his assistant, a young man trying to pitch a movie...and the actress from long ago.  This is a book where most everyone has a major flaw in their character, but the dynamic and how things unfold is extremely interesting.  I enjoyed it and would definitely recommend!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crystal's Still Here!

 Things have been pretty busy around mi casa as of late... 

This past Saturday was my birthday and I got to celebrate with most all of my favorite friends and family.  In case you're wondering, it was pretty fantastic.  I got to see both of my grandmas, all three of my parents, both of my "extra moms" aaaaand got to pick my husband up from the airport (after he had been away on business multiple states away for the previous 8 days).

In addition to getting presents, my favorite homemade cake from my auntie, I also got these beautiful flowers.  The pic on the left is when they first arrived, the one on the right is today.  They just keep getting prettier and prettier. 

On another note, I made a big stride since my last book review post.  You know how my goal is for all of my to-read books (not borrowed, though) to fit on my bookshelf nightstand?  As of a week or so ago, all of the ones I have to read by the end of the year fit!  We won't discuss the borrowed pile (partially on top of and mostly below the shelf) or my stash that I've already purchased for next year.  Hey, it's baby steps, right?  And yes, I know I have a bookish obsession.  But, everyone has their thing, right?

Also, I've been working a little bit on the long arm.  Yesterday I was able to start and finish quilting this balloon quilt.  It still needs to have the binding attached (it's in that plastic bag to the left), but the majority of this quilt is done!  I'll share what the end result looks like soon!

In the meantime, I'm in a mad dash to finish all of my Halloween projects.  I have a couple of table runners that I'm making out of the fabric in this pic, which you might have already seen on my Instagram.

Plus, I loaded up my mom's Halloween quilt on the long arm before I went to bed last night.  I'll hopefully finish it either today or tomorrow...fingers crossed!

We're getting ready to enter the busiest time of the season!  Here's to hoping we all make it through unscathed, haha!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Halloween Blossoms

Yea, so I made these cookies yesterday.

I love making cute stuff.  And my husband is a sucker for cute sweets too.  These cookies are actually inspired by these cookies, which I think everyone and their dog has pinned on Pinterest.  Including myself.  No lie though, I did make those cookies at Christmas time as our presents for our neighbors.  We got lots of praise all around for them.  So, basically I'm telling you that I knew this recipe was proooobably going to be a success yet again. 

Halloween Blossoms
adapted from Candy Cane Blossoms, cookie recipe is from Hershey's

1 bag Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
Seasonally appropriate sprinkles or colored sugar

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended.

I have a confession to make.  When a recipe calls for "softened butter" and I don't feel like waiting around for an hour or so...I just nuke it for a tiny bit. 

I totally did that for these cookies.  OK, great.  Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.

These sprinkles were actually the reason why I decided to make these cookies.  I found them in the dollar section of Target.  Can we just pause for a second and talk about how wonderful that little part of the store can be?  It totally sucks me in every time.  But anyway, both of these sprinkle containers...a buck each.  How awesome is that?

Shape dough into 1 inch balls...I scooped mine out with my handy, dandy cookie scoop, then rolled them up into a nice little ball.  Then, rolled them around in one of the two sprinkle containers.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies are set.

While the cookies are baking I unwrap the necessary number of Hershey's kisses.

Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes.

Press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

This recipe supposedly yields 35 cookies...I got 22.  But, that's all dependent on how big you scoop out your cookies.

Enjoy!  We sure have!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Classic Catch-Up

So, I've been doing relatively well with keeping up on my fiction, non-fiction, classic rotation...except for the non-fiction part.  But, we won't focus on that in this post... 

The three books I'll review for you today are all being quite old, one a little older than me, and the third being a modern classic.

First, Madame Bovary.  The quite old classic.

Ugh...I cannot even tell you how much I disliked this woman!  I know that you weren't supposed to and that you're supposed to focus on the writing style on this one...but, I just couldn't get over it.  I, literally, wanted to throttle Madame Bovary multiple times throughout this book.  I kept calling her a twit, which is an understatement.  And to top it all off, this book has a horribly sad ending.  Two stars from me...sorry, the writing style just didn't make up for the storyline.

Next, a modern day classic, The Historian.  This book is on every to-read list concocted within the past ten years.  So, I thought I'd give it a go.  It's only been sitting in my book club borrowed pile for about a year.

My sentiment?  Eh.  Do you remember my review about The Swan Thieves?  I kinda felt the same way about The Historian that I did about it.  In other words, it's OK...but, when I'm going to read a huuuge book like this, I want to LOVE it at the end.  And that didn't happen.  It was good, just not fantastic and worthy of all the hoopla.

Lastly, a Judy Blume classic from the 1970s...Blubber.  This one is also a favorite on the most controversial and banned books lists.

I'll be honest and say that I haven't read a lot of Judy Blume.  This might be only my second or third.  And when Becky and I went to Kansas City to meet Maggie Steifvater, this was one of the books we listened to on the way.  Wow...have you seen the movie Mean Girls?  This is like that, only grade school.  Those girls were mean, including the narrator!  This is not a feel good YA by any stretch.  Becky and I discussed it and both of us agreed that the bullies didn't even really feel bad about what they did in the real closure. 

When the book was done, thankfully, there was a commentary with the author at the end.  And Blume explained why she wrote this book.  Back in 1974 when this book was originally published, bullying wasn't the headline news story on the evening news like it can be today.  So, her point with this book was to open the door for conversations about bullying.  I'm glad I learned this before rating the book, because I was fully prepared to give it somewhere between one and two stars...but, knowing that, I went ahead and gave it three.  Because this book would be an excellent way to kick-start that conversation with your kid(s).

So...what classics have you read lately?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gray and Yellow Baby Blanket

I finished yet another baby blanket this past week!  This one will probably be the last for a little while...simply because I don't know anyone else who is pregnant.

This is the same pattern that I used for this blanket, just different colors.  This particular blanket I crocheted for David's cousin, whose wife is expecting later this month.  They're decorating their nursery in yellow and light gray...hence these colors.

Love how this blanket turned out! 

P.S. In case you're interested, I offer this blanket as a custom order in my Etsy shop!


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