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DIY Family Photos

Every year I think, "This time I'm going to hire a professional photographer to take our family photos," and then every year I look up the prices of professional photographers in my area and very quickly change my mind!

I have nothing against professional photographers--we hired one for our wedding and I am very happy that we did! And I'm crazy jealous of people who are friends with professional photographers who give them discounts on things like family photos, don't get me wrong. The quality of those pictures is definitely miles above what I can do on my own.
In fact, we started doing our own family photos out of pure necessity--we couldn't afford it when Gunnar was in school--and then we got pretty good at it and I couldn't justify the money even when we could technically afford it, and even besides the money aspect, the cons are pretty much dealbreakers for me. Most of the photographers I've priced out have strict copyright policies, only give yo…
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Cowboy and Cowgirl Doll Quilts

I originally bought this "Howdy" charm pack (by Stacy Iest Hsu for Moda) to make a baby quilt for my cousin's little girl, but the pack was half girl charms and half boy charms...and not enough to make a baby quilt for either one. It sat on my desk for a long while until I needed a few pick-me-up quick projects, and then they became two separate doll quilts--one for a cowgirl and one for a cowboy!  I actually made them back in October or so, but just finally got around to taking pictures! Now I can sell them or give them away guilt free!

Both are just simple charm squares laid out how I liked them, backed with a fat quarter of the same line of fabric and bound in some leftover cream satin blanket binding. Two extra charm squares became two small decorative pillows.

Front above, back below. 

Front above, back below. 

I can't decide which one I like better! How cute would these be for baby girl and boy twins??

Youtube Spotlight: Sacramento Koi

Even if you don't have a koi pond like John, or if you're not geeky about Japanese culture like me, this short documentary about a man with a pond business who travels to Japan to select koi to ship to his store in Sacramento is AMAZING. It features so many beautiful fish, landscapes, and hard working people. I was riveted!

What I'm Reading, Watching, Playing March

What I'm Playing This month Gunnar, John, Diana, Erik, and myself are finishing up a 2 year long Dungeons and Dragons Campaign! Gunnar is the DM and the game is set in a Steampunk Era Middle Earth. My character is a halfling rogue named Ledagrace Took (yes, descended from that Took!) who, in our last session, just got married to her longtime smuggler boyfriend while a Gorgon/Kraken hybrid destroyed the city. Diana's mermaid character (a priestess) performed the ceremony for us while John's destitute Prince and Erik's bear-kin character held off the giant thrashing tentacles that were attempting to destroy the church and kill all the guests. It's been epic.

Some of my favorite quotes:

We needed a dwarf to help us craft something and had just returned from the funeral of a longtime friend NPC dwarf named Loni.
Me: Anyone else have a dwarf friend? Mine died.

DM: The swarm of bees is attacking!
Erik: I'm good against swarms! And I'm in bear-form! I take all th…

Flannel Party

A while back Joann's was having a sale on flannel, and so even though I have tons of projects in progress and hardly any energy and a huge fabric stash...I bought some! I took a few evenings and whipped up some jammies for my boys. James has Batman, of course, and Jack has sharks. The shirts are extra t-shirts that I had from a school decorate-a-shirt project that were just in a pile in my closet, so I spruced them up a bit because they like matching tops and bottoms.

 The "J" on the back was his request! I freehanded it in sharpie and then used a simple zigzag stitch on my machine to appliqué  it on. 

And for Jack, shark print flannel! The pants are a little short since I modeled them after some of his size 6 pants and really he wears more size 7/8 pants. The shirt is a plain white t-shirt that I appliquéd a shark onto the front, like with James' shirt, using a zigzag stitch. I drew the shark freehanded too. Skillz, huh? The picture is terrible, but I think you get…

Catan Hexagon Quilt Update #2

Since my last update I've gotten a TON of work done on's starting to come together! I've also decided on placement and worked out some of those details, so it's easier to actually quantify how much I've done and how much I have left to do.

Previous Installments:
Starting My Dream Quilt
Update #1

The biggest thing is that I decided what it's going to look like when it's done:

Once I decided that I definitely wanted big hexagons made of hexes, I cut out different sizes of megahexes and played around with them on my paper mock-up until I found a pattern that I liked...semi symmetrical, but not perfectly. I was also working with the fact that I had completed one of the big 7 Hex megahexes so that had to be part of the design. No way was I going to pick out any of those once they were sewn into a big landmass! I also really wanted to include some of the 3 Hex sized megahexes because that's the size of the original Settler's of Catan game board, t…

The Fish Tank

Did you know that you can keep shrimp as pets? I didn't until about a year ago, but apparently it's really popular among aquarium keepers now! And we have some!

They aren't the big ugly looking gray ones that you think of though, these are cute little "cherry shrimp"  scientific name neocaridina davidi. They are tiny, bright red, and fun to watch. I was worried that they would be hard to keep, but they have multiplied from five to thirty since we first got them last August. and they don't look like they're likely to slow down.

Also living in our tank is a school of guppies. They started out as 3 ahemmale guppies but apparently a mistake was made because now there are 30 of them. I am desperately trying to give away as many as possible now that they are growing bigger because our little 10 gallon tank is not equipped to deal with that many fish!

The other inhabitants include a yellow mystery snail (fun to watch, and lays a clutch of eggs every few weeks),…