Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's Toast

It's hard to know when being thrifty/cheap outweighs practicality.

For example, five years ago we acquired a toaster oven. Within a few months the knobs broke off both the heat controller and the timer. We debated for a while if we should replace the whole toaster, but discovered that a screw driver was able to turn the timer/oven on and off. And not wanting to spend money, we settled and became content with the screw driver method (much to the horror of most any house guest that has stayed with us).

Fast forward five years and my sister finally confronts us on our sub-par screw driver method and suggested we try to put a dime or penny in the timer slot and just leave it there.

We attempted that, but the penny and dime were to big. However we discovered that a bread bag clip fit perfectly. It was amazing! No more fiddling with getting the screw driver into the right slot early in the morning before we've had our coffee. It was like a whole new world was open to us.

Unfortunately within two weeks the bread bag tie broke off and left a piece in the timer slot. After trying to remove the plastic remains with pliers, a file, and yes, a screw driver...we gave up and went out to Bed Bath and got a new toaster oven.

So five years of being cheap and trying to avoid throwing down $80 bucks was thwarted by a cheap bread bag tie.

Monday, July 25, 2011

In honor of my sister....

I had to re-post this after seeing it on a friends blog ( This sums up beautifully my thoughts on crazy people (like my sister) who have gotten into running lately.

(Although sadly I find myself secretly envious of people who can run farther than 5 miles and have found myself attempting to run further and further at the gym this past month. Why is running so addictive? Still though...I don't think I'll ever be crazy enough to run a marathon.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Crazy Quilting 2


So after learning how to do a small crazy quilt block, I thought I'd try something larger and use up some old scraps of fabric I had been hanging on to for far to long. You can see some of the blocks for this quilt up above. These are 15x15 inch blocks and there are nine of them total. I just pieced them together today and am working on quilting, binding and finishing the quilt this week and probably next.

I have to admit that I've cheated a bit on the quilt. I found these old embroidered roses and lace from thrift stores and an old table cloth that someone had started in our family but never finished. I liked how they worked into the crazy quilt and the roses added much more to the overall look than anything I could have done on my own.

We'll have to see how long it will take me to finish the binding and tacking. It's supposed to be around 100 degrees all week and warm weather and quilts do not go super well together. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Crazy Quilting

Back in March I mentioned how I was experimenting with making crazy quilt blocks. This experiment was initiated when I learned how to make a crazy quilt block from a few ladies at church. The instructions that we followed can be found here:

I then taught a class this past spring at work for our annual Art Festival on how to create a crazy quilt block. The idea was to make a 9x9 inch block out of scrap material that I had. The block could be turned into a hot pad or small wall hanging (see pictures above). The class itself went fairly well. The only thing I would do differently would be to have more sewing machines in the room. We only had one machine in the room and with 10 of us attempting to make a block, the sewing part backed up fairly quickly.

I think the biggest thing I've learned about crazy quilting is that the quilt is more about the thick top stitching than the actual quilt pieces. When I first pieced a block together, I thought it looked ok. But after doing the top, it looks so much better.

I've enjoyed crazy quilting so much that I started a larger lap quilt. I'm in the final stages of that quilt and will post some images of that later this week.

In the meantime, here's some more picture of the class.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Painting Faces

I never would have thought I'd enjoy painting faces so much. At our old church, we somehow started doing face painting for festivals that we'd participate in. After getting over my initial fear that I'd ruin kids faces forever, it actually was quite enjoyable to throw paint onto kids faces. I think I learned that kids really don't care what it looks like, they just want paint on their face.

After a year of not face painting, I pulled out the paints for a Fourth of July party at our new church. This was probably my favorite creation from the night. It's supposed to be a frog.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekend Project


Over the July 4th weekend, one of our projects was to build a garden tool box for a community garden at the office. This was our second attempt at building something from scratch and I think we did a much better job this time around. Using the right tools and taking the time to measure correctly made a big difference. (I know, go figure) So 6 pieces of wood resulted in a fairly decent box.

Oh, and don't let the pictures fool you. Matt actually did most of the work. I just did the easy stuff like cleaning up all the saw dust and painting the box.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Media Wednesday

Fun little project that some of the folks back in 2100 put together promoting InterVarsity's back to school campaign for this fall. It's called the "Comfort Zone"

Untitled from InterVarsity-twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Monday, July 04, 2011


Now that it is hot out, the fireflies have emerged and there is nothing quite like sitting on a porch trying to guess where one might pop up next. It's one of my favorite things about summer. 
But even after being out in the Midwest for 5 years, they still seem mysterious to me. I don't actually know tons about these little critters, but I discovered this fun firefly website called and learned some new things about fireflies. The most fun facts are:

  • Fireflies produce "cold light" which I guess means that no heat is emitted when they light up. This means they emit 100% of light. (as far as I know no man made light can do that)
  • You should never feed fireflies to reptiles (I guess they can poison them).
  • And fireflies are disappearing around the world. Never would have thought that if you look outside our window.
One of these day's I'll get brave enough to try and catch one. But that might be a while. As pretty as they are, they still kind of creep me out.