Monday, April 26, 2010

Back from Michigan and Mackenzie's Big Day Out

S. and I went to Michigan for a long weekend (Friday was a furlough day). We left on Thursday and got back to Atlanta last night. I was so excited because I got to meet my niece Mackenzie for the first time in person. I am so happy that my SIL said I could put photos of Mackenzie on my blog because I know all my readers want to see The Cutest Baby Ever.

Here she is!!! 6 weeks old and stylin' in stripes!
Here she is in an outfit I bought for her (note: I do not "do" PINK for babies!).
I thought this outfit looked a little Tim Burton-ish from his Beetlejuice period what with the stripes and all. People who know me and my brother will completely understand. We are big-time Beetlejuice fans from way back. 1988 to be exact.

I also got to play with Mackenzie's big brother Jack. Jack says "I know I'm Aunt Gretchen's favorite because she brought me fancy organic dog biscuits and the baby got none haha! I'm also going to play with her toys when no one is looking hee hee!"

My mom, SIL, and I took Mackenzie on her first big day a quilt store!!!! Yep, Mackenzie visited one of our favorite shops Mabelena (check out their website and you can "friend" them on Facebook too!).
She loved being at the quilt store and looking at all the colors. I guess the batiks put her to sleep though.
But of course, she is a Moda girl at heart! Look at that smile!!!

Anyway, S. and I had a great time visiting with family and playing with Mackenzie and talking about Mackenzie and taking lots of pictures of Mackenzie.

PS: I am not a "baby" person except when it comes to Mackenzie.
PPS: I already miss Jack...
and Mackenzie.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Just Blocks

Blocks 3 and 4 from Moose on the Porch jelly roll BOM.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010!

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day!
Earth day started on April 22, 1970, when 20 million Americans participated in a grassroots environmental movement led by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. This outpouring of concern and involvement was the catalyst for important environmental legislation in the U.S. For more on the history of Earth Day check out Wikipedia here. Every year I resolve to do something more "green" to help the planet. What are your resolutions this year?

If you need some ideas, check out this guide to energy efficiency and this guide to 12 things you can do for a healthier planet both from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Looking back to last year's post, I am happy to report that I am doing everything I said I would do! Bird feeders, a bluebird house, and compost bin are in the yard. I'm planning my "Recession Garden: Year Two" garden now and also planning new ways to conserve energy, money, and resources as I transition into working one job.

I am also looking forward to cooking more at home since I'll have more time. Fresh foods, more veggies, and buy (and grow) local and organic is my mantra for this year. Can you tell I've been watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution! Love that man!

I have also tried to influence my coworkers at Starbucks to be more green and I am sure they will be happy not to hear me say "stop wasting cups!" all the time. But really, it has worked :)

Love the planet--it's the only one we have!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stella's Got a Brand New Bag

Well not really but I liked the title and I'm channeling a lil' James Brown. Not that I can sing or dance but I do it anyway. Especially to James Brown, he just makes me happy. "Papa's got a brand new bag....OW!!!"

Thanks to traveling down this tangent with me now back to the bag...
Behold, the new spring-into-summer purse (or pocketbook if you are from the South) I made.

Here is the interior with nifty little magnetic closures and four big inside pockets for things like makeup and bandaids and earbuds and iPods and little scraps of paper with fabric yardage written in cryptic code and allergy medicine and SBux Via.

Stella doesn't need a bag. Just like royalty and foreign dignitaries and big-time celebrities, Stella doesn't have to carry a bag. She has staff.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

National Library Week

This week was National Library Week and the honorary chair this year is one of my all time favorite authors Neil Gaiman. I discovered Neil's brilliant writing a long time ago when he wrote comic books and I'm glad that everyone else (who perhaps do not read comic books) has discovered his wondrous stories.

His recent children's book (or young readers as it is called now) The Graveyard Book won the 2009 Newbery award. I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book. Another great book is Coraline, which was made into a fabulous animated movie.

Libraries are such a vital component of our communities and they are even more important during tough economic times. I heard a story recently on NPR about how many people are left out of job and college opportunities and even students cannot complete homework assignments because they don't have a computer and internet access at their home. They rely on computers available at their local public library. Lots of cities and counties are looking for ways to cut their budgets. I am so lucky to live within walking distance my local library and use it all the time to check out books. I make sure that my local government knows how important my local libraries are to me personally and to my community. Budget cut elsewhere not my library!

Well there's my public service announcement for library week.

If you want to learn more about National Library Week check out the ALA website.

For more about Neil Gaimen see his website at

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hanging Up My Apron

Yesterday I put in my resignation at Starbucks effective at the end of this month. Sigh.... I am sad, but it is time. I've worked two jobs nearly eight years and I am getting burned out. It is time for a break. I will miss my coworkers, our regular customers, and all that free coffee but I want to leave on a high note.

I am immensely excited about the prospect of more free time
to spend with S. and the cats
to sew
and to blog!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Arch Nemesis

I have met my arch nemesis and its name is POLLEN!!! Does anyone else in the country or world have a problem with spring pollen or is it just Atlanta? I somehow think it's just here and everyone will think I'm crazy but here in Atlanta, we have pollen season. I am highly allergic to most pollens (trees, grasses, and weeds) so unfortunately, beautiful spring weather can be a nightmare for me.

See the yellow stuff on my steps? That's pollen. The stuff you see is pine tree pollen and it doesn't cause allergies because it is too big but it does cover everything in a sticky yellow-green dust. Like this black patio table.

It is a visible sign of what is floating around in the air--lots and lots of too small-to-see pollen grains.
Reflected in my truck Xena's hood (which should be black) is a big oak tree, a major source of pollen too.
(In crazy town (Atlanta), the local paper posts the daily pollen count on a scale from 0 to 120. 120 is extremely high. This week the number reached 5,733!!!! This means there is so much pollen in the air that the air turns yellow-green too and you can taste it. Really. Lots of people have been sick this week because of the pollen and are taking lots of medication (or at least I am...) Karin mentioned that I might emerge from my house around July. I wish. Or at least I wish I had a stylin' haz-mat suit to wear when I venture out to go to work. Here is my footprint in the pollen.

Today's pollen county is *only* 1,941...
I am hoping for a huge rainstorm to wash it all away so I can get something done besides supporting the antihistamine industry and vacuuming.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Springing into Spring

Well maybe we sprung over spring and are in summer here in Georgia. Who knows? It's in the 70s-80s F. Blooming things are blooming everywhere, sun is shining, birds are chirping, squirrels are squirreling, pollen is flying, and allergy girls are sneezing (I went out to enjoy the outside for about 15 minutes and came back in all allergied, as I like to say.) There was spring in my sewing too! I finished my Schnibble top (the pattern is "Lincoln" and the fabric line is Verna by Moda with a random light background for the stars from my stash). Maybe I'll actually get it quilted and bound next weekend. That would be amazing. You can also see Morpheus and Gomez (well his feet) enjoying the sunshine. My dirty windows are unavailable for viewing however.

So he doesn't feel left out, here's the rest of Gomez.

Hope everyone has a happy Easter and Passover.