Thursday, April 28, 2011

The wait is over

After years of being dubbed waity Katie, her big day is finally here.  Once just a regular girl studying art history and playing #1 for her school's tennis team, Miss Catherine Middleton will soon be wife to Prince William.  She is living out the fairytale dream of our generation.  The horse drawn carriage, the Abbey, the tiara, the Palace, the jewels, they're all for her!

But Kate would be no one without the love and support of her family.  Her mother, Carole, a one time flight attendant and her father a flight dispatcher gave her the opportunity to enroll at St. Andrews where she eventually met her groom to be.  In 1987, while raising three young children, Carole opened a mail order party supply store called Party Pieces.  The business was largely successful and, until recently, it was the employer for Kate.

Upon news of the engagement, I couldn't resist.  I heard about the Best of British party theme on their website and jumped on.  I couldn't possible have a royal wedding viewing party without some British party decor!

So here it is, a little sampling of what was inside the box - all the way from the UK...

The first photo here "God Save the Queen" is one of the British Buffet Napkins.  The bottom right photo is an interesting dinner plate stating "By Royal decree, you may get stuck in".  If anyone can tell me what that means, please leave a comment.

You gotta love the British sense of humor.  How else can you explain the "Stiff upper lip plates"?

Sadly, the Pimms was not part of the box.  It's the last remaining little bit brought home from my trip to London several years ago.  While I was there, the princes put on a celebration of their mother's birthday with a memorial concert at Wembley stadium.  At the time, William and Kate were broken up, yet she sat just a few seats away from him in his box, stirring up quite the buzz of a reconciliation.

And rounding out the contents of the mystery box from London, some lovely British bunting complete with all of the icons of London - Union Jack, the double decker bus, the Tudor rose and the Queen's Guard and an umbrella.

As I opened my package of goodies and set them out to photograph, I couldn't help but imagine that at one point Kate was doing the exact same thing (as she worked as a photographer for her parents' company.)  I'm sure that in my best little pea coat, long brown hair, holding my camera, I must have resembled her for just a tiny moment ;)

So tomorrow, as a billion people watch Kate get out of the Rolls Royce, I can believe that perhaps just one of those flowers in her bouquet was purchased by her parents thanks to their successful online sale of party supplies.

To the happy couple!
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's almost here

Less than three days until the Royal Wedding! 

I found an article online tonight about how to prepare yourself for watching the events live (because DVRs are weak sauce).  Some of the suggestions:
 - Get plenty of sleep on Wednesday night
 - Keep your room light, a dark room will trigger your body's desire to sleep
 - Caffeine (goes without saying)
 - Exercise, get the blood flowing at 2:00 am, sure, no problem
 - Take a nap early Thursday evening

How will you celebrate?  People magazine featured a sample British menu for the day.  The cucumber, cream cheese and dill sandwiches sound quite intriguing.  I hope to be enjoying some hot tea and home made scones myself.  I also thought it could be fun to create silly hats to wear while watching on tv - feathers, pipe cleaners, the works.

Aside from the sleep and food prep, I've been watching my fair share of wedding specials on TLC.  As everyone knows, the Royals are famous for preparing their events and appearances to the t and the carriage ride for Princess Diana's ride to her wedding was no exception.  The story is that the carriage driver practiced over and over again for the exact timing, but on her wedding day, Diana told him that she wasn't ready and they would be two minutes late.  He didn't handle it so well.  After a compromise, Diana arrived at her wedding 30 seconds late.  The lesson here if you're watching at home, follow the schedule and plan your bathroom breaks accordingly.

Can't wait for Friday!  Hope you've got your plans in place!

(Any more guesses on what's inside the box? Hint, it was my way of supporting the cost burden on the bride's family.)
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Monday, April 25, 2011

What's inside?

Did you hear?  It's royal wedding week!  No offense to any family or friends out there who may read this, but not since my own have I been so excited about a wedding.  Maybe it's because I'm nearly the same age as Prince William or maybe it's because Kate Middleton has the best collection of jackets I've ever seen, whatever the reason, I am fevered.

A few weeks ago I ordered a special package online that was to be a birthday present.   After an email to confirm that I really wanted to spend the shipping charges, a missed delivery notice from the post office, a ten minute phone call with the USPS, a 7:00 am phone call from the local postmaster, and two trips to the post office, my package finally arrived!

Can you guess what's inside?

Hint: I think from my story above that you've already received enough hints, but I can tell you it travelled a long way.
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Quilt along progress check

Greetings!  Thought I'd give a progress update on my Spring Quilt Along quilt.  Here is the quilt top all completed.  This one came together very simply.  Each of the large color blocks is just nine squares, bound together with Kona Lime.  (Thanks to my cool hubby who got me the Kona Cotton Solids color reference card so I could check the name.  1 inch samples, 219 colors, it's pretty awesome.)

The outer border is Nicey Jane Picnic Bouquet - Sky.  (Perfect, right?)  I don't have a photo of the back, but the completed top measured a nice 42 x 42, so I was able to use one large piece of  Nicey Jane Hello Roses - Dove.

As this was my first online quilt along, I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I can now say that I've really enjoyed the whole process.  The pattern was nice and simple so I was confident that I could stick with it and finish it to completion.  The best part was checking out everyone else's projects in the Flickr group.  It's fun to see how the same pattern can look so different with different fabrics and it's also a great place to find inspiration for future projects.  Think I might have to find another quilt along to do in the future.

Happy Easter everyone!
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Some eye candy

Looking for some eye candy?  Look no further than A Creative Mint.  It's my Blog of the Week (or is it month?)

This blog is designed by a woman named Leslie out of LA and features the most gorgeous photos and color stories I've found online.  She also has a monthly column on decor8 called Color Me Pretty.  She is crazy talented and has an amazing eye when it comes to staging props, flowers and accessories in fresh and modern color combinations.  In her latest post she announced her blog redesign, so now is a great time to check it out if you haven't already. 

I especially love the coral and aqua combo she has going on and I would love to brighten up some rooms in my house to look more like her photos.

Take a look, you'll leave feeling inspired.
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

DS Quilts or Bust

What kind of blogger/fabric collector would I be if I didn't post this week about the new line of fabrics by Denyse Schmidt out this week at Joann?  As I type this post, there are already 193 members in the DS Quilts Collection group on Flickr (yes I'm one of them).  There are also 155 photos posted and an unknown number of other fabric-y blogs posting about how great they are.

I put it off all week fighting the extra rush hour traffic after work to check my Joann to see if they had it in stock.  On Friday night at 5:00 pm, I decided to put it off no longer.   I scoured the bolts and bolts of fabrics until I found the infamous DS Quilts.  Apparently Roseville is one of only a few stores in the Nor Cal area carrying the line, so I was lucky.  I wasn't the only one.  As I picked each pattern off the shelves I spotted another DS fan eyeing the same thing.  We searched together until we most of the 21 prints.  Luckily I was going for the Fairgrounds prints and she was going for Picnic.  Hair pulling averted :)

Here's what I came home with (after 40% off coupon on my Joann iPhone app)

2 yards of the tile
2 yards of the dots
2 yards of the block flower and
3 yards of the flower

If your Joann doesn't have DS Quilts yet, or you don't live near a Joann, word on the street is it will be available online in May.  Or, do like the other true fans do, drag the entire family on a 3 hour road trip to pick some up now.  Isn't it worth it?
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011


It's been a week of endings.  Tonight we faced what could be the final goodbye for the Sacramento Kings.

The crowd cheered loud and stood on their feet as their team came back from a 20 point deficit.  The Kings drew you in like only they can.  You knew that you were watching the team with one of the worst records in the NBA.  You knew their opponent was looking for a win heading into the playoffs.  You've seen this game before.  You already know the ending.  Just watching the game raises your blood pressure as those old feelings of heartbreaks and blowout games gone by come flooding back. 

But still, they're YOUR team.  You've watched them practically your whole life.  You've jumped and screamed.  You've hit your head against the wall.  You have the rally towels and the t-shirts and the license plate frame.  Grant and Jerry are like your uncles.  And if you don't like that, you don't like Kings basketball!

So as the highlight reel of 25 years of Sacramento Kings seasons comes to a close, we say goodbye.  Goodbye sticky plywood floors and broken red chairs.  Goodbye Slamson.  Goodbye old guy who served at the wine bar.  Goodbye concession guy who wore the net on his head.  Goodbye Big Mike.  Goodbye Sign Lady.

Remember... in 28 other cities, it's just a game...

Guess you had to be there.
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Quilt Along - Day 1

Today was the start of the Spring Quilt Along.  After much debate and browsing over fabrics, I settled on Nicey Jane by Heather Bailey.  I had every intention of using a charm pack already in my stash, but when thinking of a spring picnic, I thought these colors were the perfect fit for a blanket and tote.

I purchased my fabrics from the Sacramento Quilt Craft & Sewing Festival a few weeks ago.  I got a great deal on some one yard cuts.  Instead of using a the precut 5 inch charm pack squares, I cut my own.  This allowed me a bit more freedom when arranging the nine square blocks.

 I decided to put the blocks together by color rather than a random pattern.  The four blocks will be white, green, blue and yellow.

The next step tomorrow is to sew the blocks together.
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Saturday, April 9, 2011

The end of an era

As I sat down this morning to write my final post as a 29 year old, I thought about making a reflective list of the best of my twenties, or "... you know you're 30 when..." but first I opened a Pandora window, as I typically do, and as if somehow the universe knew, the music started with "Looking for Space" by John Denver.  

When you're looking for space
And to find out who you are
When you're looking to try and reach the stars
It's a sweet, sweet sweet dream
Sometimes I'm almost there
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
But sometimes I'm deep in despair
Sometimes I fly like an eagle,
like an eagle
I go flying flying 

Couldn't have said it better myself, John.  It's basically your twenties in a nutshell.  You enter your twenties fresh, green, wide-eyed, counting down the days to 21.  Then you excitedly buy your first legal drink, a flavored Absolut Vodka.  A little while later, you're driving away from your college staring out the window and thinking to yourself, "Did the last four years really just happen?  That was great.  What's next?"

You arrive back home, buy some cool, mature, interview outfits and land your first job.  The paychecks are coming in, you're traveling, experiencing the world, trying limoncello.  Heck, you might even start a retirement account and buy a new car.  Life is good.

More time passes, more of your friends start getting married.  You settle in to work and think, "I need a vacation.  My car needs a new CV boot.  Doesn't this pinot have a lovely bouquet?"

After a while you think, "Finally, it's my turn to get married."  You busy yourself for an entire year choosing lighting, cake flavors, the song list, transportation, hotel reservations.  You're sneaking in plans during work hours and preparing for your next role in life as "wife".  You sit down for a meeting with your pastor discussing exactly what that means and you realize that those past eight years of exploring and learning as an independent person have changed your outlook and you're not who you thought you were when you were that wide-eyed twenty year old.

Suddenly you've been married for a year, you're still working and you look around to think "when did everyone grow up?"  You're at a party and it's approaching ten o'clock and you're ready to get home to your cat.  No clubs, no karaoke, maybe we can just dance and sing on our Wii.

Next thing you know it's your 30th birthday.  You're back to drinking pitchers of beer and can't imagine why you would ever want flavored vodka.  Your days revolve more and more around nap times and work schedules.  

But one night after work, as you sit working on your latest sewing project, your phone rings and it's an old college friend you haven't talked to in a year.  He's in the area on business and wants to get together with another college friend.  Twenty four hours later you're sitting in a booth over some glasses of water, laughing and joking and catching up on the years gone by.  As you drive away, staring out the window, you think "I'm so glad to have such great old friends and I'm so glad to see how we've all lived life."  You find peace with your twenties.  With all of the highs and lows, the paychecks and bills, the breakups and weddings, you think to yourself "my life's been grand."

My life's been grand

I been a hand at livin' it up all the way
I've had good times and bad times and hard times and done time
But life's been a blessing every day

My life's been grand
You know I'd write home and tell 'em 
But they wouldn't believe how good my luck's been
And if it ended today I've been all the way
My life's been grand
My life's been grand

-George Strait
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lullabies for a Cause

Take one look at my refrigerator and you'll know that I'm surrounded by loads of friends and families with little ones.  We are extremely blessed and fortunate to have so many healthy and happy babies. 

A few months ago I posted about a special little girl named Getty.  Getty was diagnosed with SMA1 (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) when she was only a few months old.   With the efforts of her parents and close friends, they have now formed the Getty Owl Foundation.  Find out more here.

If you want to help the Getty Owl Foundation and support SMA1 research, there are several things you can do.  I was just informed that today on iTunes an album of children's lullabies was released by the lead singer of the group, The Damnwells.  Alex and his wife Angela have put together this peaceful relaxing album called "Sweet Water Child - Lullabies for Getty."

All proceeds from this album are going to the Getty Owl Foundation, so help spread the word to anyone you know who could enjoy an album of lullabies with a good cause.  I really enjoyed "My Sweet Baby" and "Little Angel."
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wild Times with Wild Thymes

The end to my twenties is rapidly approaching.  With one week left in my youthful, crazy decade, I'm sending the twenties off with some wild thymes (that's right, not times, but thymes.)

Remember this stack?  It's Wild Thymes by Carolyn Gavin.  Maybe it's the warmer spring-like weather or maybe its all of the new flowers sprouting up in our garden, but these colors were really calling to me this weekend.

I've whipped up a couple projects already with these lovelies.  One of my favorites is this zig zag.  This was done using the same simple technique used here.  It's not completed yet, but I thought the seams looked so nice without the backing attached yet, I had to take a photo.

Birthday shout out to my nephew Max who is turning 8 today.  Stay cool Max!

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