Tag Archives: shopping

I should be sewing

I talked to Aunt Judy yesterday and she told me that the quilt tops I’m sending her way are next on her list, which means I need to get my butt in gear and, you know, actually send them.  Which further means (check out my amazing reasoning skills) that I need to finish the one, rather than just gaze lovingly at the stack of fabric on my sewing shelf. But that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?  So instead I’ll just sit here and piddlefart around and eat grapes until Simon wakes up (at which point I’ll kick it into gear and start sewing.  Promise ;-))

 

I just cut myself a thick slice of that bread from Tuesday’s dough pic, but then completely neglected to take a photo before slathering it in Nutella and cramming it in my gaping maw. So, sorry.  But also yum.  Seriously, go check that out if you want a hearty-yet-soft bread recipe.

 

Speaking of food (since apparently that’s all I’m capable of at the moment), have you seen the Italian Wonderpot recipe going around Facebook lately?  It really seems too good to be true.  So in the name of Science!, last night I made it for dinner.  Here’s an awful picture just a few minutes before it was ready to serve (you let it simmer down until most of  the liquid is evaporated/thickened):

That’s a horribly unappetizing picture, I know, but the actual dinner was pretty good.  I used whole wheat spaghetti instead of fettuccini, and stirred in some garlic chicken sausage that I’d browned in my cast iron, just before serving.  Our family’s consensus was that it was all right, but grossly under-seasoned (this even after I upped all the seasonings).  Next time I think I’ll used Trader Joe’s diced and fire-roasted tomatoes instead of plain diced tomatoes, will add more salt, and maybe 16 oz of spinach instead of just 8 oz (the benefit of 8 oz, though, is that I could convincingly tell Jeff the green flecks were just herbs ;-)).  I also think it would be good with Trader Joe’s basil linguine.  But all in all it was a good, easy weeknight dinner (with enough leftovers to keep us in lunches for a week!).  Add a side of roasted asparagus and a good salad and you’re set.

 

Yesterday during the day we made our pilgrimage up to Cleveland for Trader Joe’s, and my total was about 1/3 less than usual (even though I bought the ingredients for 10-12 meals, just like always).  Part of that is because they didn’t have a few things on my list, but mostly I think it’s because I’m a lot less inclined to dawdle and loiter and browse when I have a tiny tornado pushing the shopping cart than when he’s snugly wrapped on my back.  He was OMG SUPER NOT INTERESTED in making the trek home, though, and I didn’t feel like facing a 35-minute car ride of screaming, so we hit up Panera for soup and a bagel (and then a diaper and some boobies) before heading back down to Akron.  He slept in the car but only fitfully: overall, definitely not his most satisfying morning.  I think it may make more sense to do subsequent adventures in the late afternoon (bonus: then Jeff can haul in the groceries when he gets home from work.)

 

Today was the penultimate storytime of the late-winter session, and it was a little bit smaller group than usual.  Possibly not coincidentally, Simon warmed up a lot more quickly than he has in weeks past.  Today he was actually brave enough to dance with the librarian for a moment, and grab his own shaker out of the music basket.  Progress!  He even pitched a fit when it was time to leave, which was embarrassing but also sort of reassuring.  The librarian is going to be out on maternity leave starting in May, and with Garfunkel coming in July the spring session may be our last.  I’ll miss it!

 

After a quick stop at Chipotle for a mama-baby date, we went to a new kids’ consignment shop that just opened a few weeks ago (the owner is a young mom who’s been advertising it on the Facebook baby/kids resale group I follow).  She had a pretty large amount of stock, but nothing much that I felt we needed, and most everything was WalMart/Target brands anyway. I got him one little Gymboree shirt for this summer, but think I’ll have to head back down to Once Upon a Child (down in Canton) for a few other things he needs.

 

Well this one isn’t going to win any “fascinating blog post” awards, is it?  Have a sleepy Simon by way of apology:

 

And now, of course, he’s awake and I’ve got to get my butt off the couch.  Until next time!

Now it’s official

We told our families last week and posted it on Facebook on Sunday, but it’s not official until The Blog knows:

Simon is going to be a big brother! 🙂

We’re about 16 weeks pregnant (found out on Nov. 21), which means we’re looking at a late July-ish arrival date.  So far this pregnancy is super easy like my last one, complicated only by the fact that it’s about ten times more exhausting to chase around a toddler than to sit at a desk all day.  We found a great midwife who really jives with our philosophy (which is lucky; there aren’t many home birth midwives in Ohio, much less ones who actually bring medical supplies to births and have a friendly working relationship with docs at the local hospital in the event of transfer).  Simon still doesn’t really get what’s going on, but that’s to be expected since he’s so young.  We’re reading lots of books on the topic and I’m going to get him a baby doll at Target, but I doubt he’ll really get it until Hoopling #2 (temporarily called Garfunkel, naturally) actually shows up.

So yay babies!

Our weekend was pretty good.  Friday after Simon’s ped checkup we had lunch with Jeff, then Simes and I went to Canton and got him some clothes for spring at Once Upon a Child, and a few maternity pieces for myself (most of my things from last time aren’t nursing-friendly). We went up to Cleveland on Saturday because Jeff needed some work clothes and I was out of my LUSH face wash stuff.  Definitely not our most exciting adventure, but Simes got some quality Tula Time with his Daddy and I got a change of scenery from Akron for a bit, so it’s all good.  I ran a few errands by myself on Sunday, which was LUXURY.  I missed having someone to talk to as I pushed my cart around Target, but it was nice to browse in peace and not spend my time supervising the wee one as he pushes the shopping cart or tries to wander away.  I treated myself to popcorn and a Diet Coke to make it a real escape 😀  We turned on the football game Sunday night, but we’re not really a football house so it was more about the commercials and halftime show than the stupid game.

I know it’s not quite the same, but I feel compelled to insert this here:

And I suppose that I am Moss in that scenario.  Goody.

Mr. Cuteness was in rare form yesterday morning:

He was rolling grapes all over the high chair.  Apparently it has juuuust a hint of a slant to it, so he was “racing” them, shooting them like pool balls, the whole nine yards.  I made a video but, in true toddler fashion, he stopped as soon as the camera came out:

After breakfast we actually went BACK up to Cleveland to hunt down a couple fabrics that my local JoAnn doesn’t carry, then stopped by a quilt shop in Hudson that I’d heard good things about.  I got a few half-yard lengths for my stash.  Maybe to go into Garfunkel’s quilt; maybe not.

I’d love to tell you all about what I’m working on right now, but it must remain secret for a while yet.  But it’s going to be awesome!  HINT:

And no, I promise you on my great-great-great grandmother’s grave that it has nothing to do with Garfunkel.  For serious.  (Just like last time, we’re not finding out if it’s a boy or girl)

Since driving all over northeast Ohio seems to be my hobby as of late, today we went down to Canton for some lunch and shopping with Kathy.  We went to this place called The Flower Factory, which is a closeout store sort of like a Michael’s-meets-HomeGoods.  I can’t show you any pictures of my finds yet because they’re in the car and I’m lazy (HONESTY), but I got a couple delicious candles, some seasonal decorations for next fall and winter, and a few random craft supplies.  All told, we spent about two hours wandering around just looking at everything.  That place is like a dream!  I can’t wait to go back 🙂

Here’s one pic that I grabbed in the store:

Just aisle after aisle of heavily discounted seasonal stuff, decor, craft supplies, party items, and (I wish I’d gotten a picture of this) disposable “spa thongs”.  Needless to say, I stocked up.  I hate having to re-use my spa thongs.

We enjoyed a long lunch and catch-up session at Max and Erma’s, and Simon got some quality attention that he is sooooooo desperately lacking (or so he says).  We’re so lucky to have a friend in Kathy! ❤

My little dragon also got the awesomest present ever:  his very own castle!

Kathy, he has had SO much fun playing with it, ever since he woke up from his nap!   Thank you SO SO SO MUCH.

Apparently the king needed a kiss:

In our version, the DRAGON is the master and sits on the throne:

OK well somebody is staring at me and shaking an empty snack dish my direction, so I believe I’m being summoned.  Have a great evening, everyone!

DC Saga: Monday and Tuesday and then I went home

Jeff was back to work on Monday, so I took the day to wander around Georgetown.

I didn’t eat here, but will next time:

(“Good story, Kate!”)

I walked past Georgetown Cupcake:

And took a moment to laugh at these idiots:

(Digression #4:  Jeff told me that someone brought these to his office one day a couple weeks ago.  He didn’t know the shop was famous, and he wasn’t impressed.  His exact words were, “They were sorta dry, but the frosting was good.  I like yours better.”  I AM THE FREAKING BAKING QUEEN, Y’ALL.  My cupcakes are better than this stupid shop’s.  Why don’t I have a freaking TV show, huh?  I’d call it “Better than Georgetown Cupcakes.  Suck it, bitches.”)

I loved the residential parts of Georgetown – cobblestone sidewalks and all:

But M St. left me a bit underwhelmed – I kept wondering about what boutique was kicked out so that Zara or Benetton could move in, y’know?

That said, I must admit to buying a cute little top at Anthro.  But it was on sale!!!

OH!  So there’s this weird mall, right in the middle of Georgetown.  It was like something out of the Twilight Zone:  all dead and abandoned, like it was frozen in time:

(See the cute little Anthro off to the right there?  I wonder if that building’s really old, or pseudo-old.)

Inside of creepy mall:

See?  Just weird.  It was only like 30% occupied, and there were almost no people walking around.  I looked on Wikipedia, and it was only done in 1981.  Not, like, 1922 or whatever it’s supposed to look like.  Plus, why would you go shop indoors when you’re in an area with lots of streetside retail?  Just a dumb idea all-around.

This historic site, on the other hand, was really cool:

Built in 1765, it’s now across the street from a Starbucks.  And it’s a bona-fide historic site/museum.  So cool.

I want to live here.

I always love the cheesy info that goes with old-timey fiber arts displays:

It’s so all the Irmas can say, “Look kids!  This is how they had to make clothes, before you could buy them at the Wal Marts!”

Look indeed, kids.  Look indeed.

The child’s bedroom was my favorite:

I love rooms under the eaves.  So cozy and snug.

And look at this cute little hideaway, off a side street:

Isn’t that wonderful?  Behind that gate are three little houses.  One of them will become mine.  And I will live there and never leave.

I got bored with Georgetown after a few hours, and walked back to Dupont Circle and to the Starbucks that had rather become my “home base”.  There I killed time knitting and people-watching until it was time to meet Jeff for dinner.

Oh!  Guess who I saw?

So on Monday night we got back to Jeff’s apartment and I said “JEFF!  Guess who I saw walking down the sidewalk outside Starbucks this afternoon?” and he said “who” and I said “ANDREW SULLIVAN….’s doppleganger.”  At which point Jeff informed me that no, in all likelihood I really saw Andrew Sullivan, because he lives in Dupont Circle.  AWESOME.

(It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t realize it was Andrew Sullivan at the time, because I’d have surely come up with a really great way to embarrass myself.)

So anyway.  I walked down to K St. where Jeff’s office is, and met him outside, and we took the train to Alexandria (actually to Courthouse/Clarendon) and ate Thai food and wandered around.

And OMG YOU GUYS.  I didn’t take any pictures *here* either because I didn’t want to be a crazy creeper lady (Theme #2 of this gargantuan blog post), but I LOVED that area.  The most perfect neighborhood in the world exists just a 3-minute walk from the train to DC, shops, restaurants, and Whole Foods.  It has a Prius Quotient of about .43, and all the houses are tidy little Arts & Crafts or American Foursquare, with cracked and well-used sidewalks and nary a cul-de-sac in sight.  I’m in love. This may be my new goal in life.  Oh and the hydrangeas!  Hydrangeas *everywhere*!!!  And everyone had dogs, and clotheslines, and… it was seriously like something out of a dream.  Like Pleasantville, if Pleasantville were 4 blocks away from a gay bar and a high-rise.   Love.  Seriously.

After that, we went home, watched IT Crowd, and… oh you know the drill by now.

On Tuesday I was starting to feel a bit tired (and my feet were about to spontaneously remove themselves from my legs), so I just lazed about in the morning then spent the afternoon reading and knitting at two different Starbucks in Dupont Circle (gotta keep things interesting, you know).  I met Jeff after work, and we headed to Capitol Hill to have a light dinner at Cosi then check out the Supreme Court building, the various Library of Congress buildings, and the Capitol building.  Suppose it would’ve been smart to save this for one of the weekend days, because of course by 7:30pm everything was closed.  And I forgot to bring my big camera.  So we just wandered around and looked at ducks, and you’ll have to trust me that we were there.

After that we went back to his apartment, then changed into our party clothes and went to a bunch of clubs, where we picked up some hookers and blow and I missed my flight back to St. Louis because I was passed out in a ditch.

…just checking to make sure you’re paying attention.  (Really, we watched IT Crowd, ate reduced-fat Oreos, and were asleep by 10pm.  As per routine.)

One last question:  In DC, why on earth do they call them “Speed Humps”?  Seriously.  Were none of the planners ever teenage boys?

And finally (I really mean it this time):  how do you convey a bunch of new yarn home, in an already-overstuffed suitcase?

Just like that.

I was really sad to leave DC, but had an amazing time while I was there.  It was fantastic getting to see Jeff – will make these last couple weeks go buy that much more quickly!  I also enjoyed getting to toe the line between tourist and…not.  I can’t wait to go back! 🙂

Love,
Irma

Kids these days

Jeff and I went antiquing in Alton, IL last weekend.  Spending hours browsing musty halls of aged linens and rickety furniture isn’t exactly Jeff’s idea of “fun” (or really even his idea of “tolerable”), but he does occasionally indulge me.  The Pappy’s that we ate on our way out there probably helped his mood, too.

 

I’d never been to Alton before, but had heard it was somewhat of a St. Louis-area antiquing mecca.  A cute little town nestled on the banks of the Mississippi, Alton seemed like the perfect place to find a few items from my ever-growing mental antiquing checklist.

 

Like so many other things in St. Louis, though, this too was a disappointment.  Though I freely admit to being outside perhaps the most common antique-shopping demographic, I was really – unpleasantly – surprised by the selection available and by the way we were treated in each shop.

 

In my experience, antique shops tend to fall into one of three categories:

1)the gentrified, lovingly-maintained shop full of mint and/or impeccably-restored items, where prices are either carefully hand-written on tags and string (never tape!) or, worse, “available upon request”.

2)the run-of-the-mill shop, with an ever-changing but always-constant mix of carnival glass fruit bowls, darkened prints of the Blue Boy, splintered “rustic” plant stands and stacks upon stacks of mismatched dinnerware, and tags are scotch-taped on with wild abandon.

3)the glorified flea markets, where you take your chances and dig a bit, and almost always find a 1970’s repro of a 1930’s Coca-Cola sign, a 1980’s Superman thermos sans lid, or a dusty box of great Aunt Mable’s macrame.

 

The majority of the Alton shops fell into Category 2, though the first place – the one where the shop’s owner scurried to the door when we entered and followed us from room to room as we browsed – fell firmly in Category 1.  In another shop, a small group of dealers stood in the corner glaring at us as we walked around, appearing (oddly) increasingly ill-at-ease as they overheard me telling Jeff the style of that end table, the use of that unwieldy iron kitchen tool, and explaining the difference in value between two seemingly-identical plates.  Rather than thinking, “Hark! This young twenty-something couple seems to have a moderate degree of interest and knowledge in our wares!  How unexpectedly surprising! Surely they will not prove nefarious; we will leave them alone to browse in peace”, the cluster of smug dealers leered from the corner, fairly ready to pounce (or maybe just boot us out the door) at any moment.

 

Guess none of them are acquainted with the Design*Sponge demographic.

 

But that was OK, really.  Because in the half-dozen shops that we went to, I found a whopping three things worth purchase – a small plate for my hopeful eventual plate wall (inspiration here), a cute little tourist’s-souvenir decorative tile, and a few more bobbins to hold my handspinning.  We browsed for 3 hours, and found less than $15 worth of “stuff”.  Everything seemed exceedingly picked over – likely by other day-trippers from St. Louis.  Certainly not anyone under 50, though, since we were clearly such a suspicious oddity.

 

Oh, well.  I’ll just stick to my favorite haunts in Kirksville and Kansas City from now on 😉

Contact High

My mom (and a friend of hers) was in town this weekend.  We ate Thai, successfully navigated old north St. Louis, laughed a lot, wandered around the Loop, watched Roxie’s tongue loll, and ate FroYo.

 

And we went to Knitorious and Knitty Couture.

 

Now, before I show you the inevitable, I would like you to refer to Provision 2 of the Yarn Diet Document.

2.  Yarn given to me as a gift, or for the purposes of test/sample knitting is OK.

You know where this is going.

 

 

Oh, yarn.  I love you.  I’ve missed you so very much.

 

This puts me a fair bit farther from my sub-goal of “have more ‘used’ yarns in my Ravelry stash than ‘in stash’ yarns”.  I was so close.

 

But with this influx of yarn comes an influx of inspiration and motivation, so with no further ado…

 

I’m off to knit.

 

Happy Sunday!

 

PS>Yes I have the best mom ever.

Mine. All mine.

At long last

 

 

Click on over to Two Closets to see more!

 

And many thanks to my parents for the lovely belated birthday gift.  I will love them forever.  The boots and the parents.

 

Fluevog.

It had to happen sooner or later

Dear LLBean,

I just did something I’ve never done before.

I received an item from LLBean, and then sent it back.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I don’t think that has *ever* happened before.  Every LLBean product I’ve ever owned has completely exceeded my expectations – from my favorite armchair, to my ten-year-old (and still going strong!) wool-lined slippers, to my camera/overnight bag, to my myriad skirts, jackets, sweaters and dresses.*

I guess the streak had to end sometime, huh?

This bag (photo taken right before I repackaged it for return) just wasn’t right for me.  Not the right color, not quite big enough, not quite stylish enough, not quite comfortable enough.  Just…not quite right.  (For me.  You may have a different experience.)

Wrote you a review.  It’s here.  And it’s long, and probably too detailed.  Clearly I’m quite passionate about…small canvas bagsw.

Well, be that as it may…

I still love you, LLBean.  Please forgive me, ok?

I’m wearing your rainjacket today if that makes things any better.

Hugs & Kisses,

Kate

PS>I’ll be OK, bag-wise.  I just ordered this from Zappos and it should arrive today and I think it’ll meet my needs a lot better.

PPS>I think it goes without saying that neither Zappos nor LLBean have any idea who I am, and would probably avoid me if we were at the same party.

~~~

*Shameless Two Closets link, there.