Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Surprises: I May Be Obsessed

I surprised Zeb with Ladysmith Black Mombazo tickets last night.

I'm big on surprising him and perhaps I do it a little too often.

"Surprise, I brought home ice cream!"
"Surprise, I'm home early from work!"
"Surprise, I made dinner!"

I don't know why I wanted this concert to be a surprise, but I bought the tickets last minute, labeled the evening as a 'surprise' and we were off.

We arrived at the beautiful Kauffman Center, Zeb got his snacks for the show, and then we headed to our seats.

The show was so great, and a little unexpected. I knew I was going to be hearing some beautiful music, but I was not expecting all the comedy and high kicks, a lot of high kicks.

If they come your way, take advantage of the opportunity.

I wonder if he gets tired of acting surprised all the time....

Monday, January 23, 2012

Forever Lazy

Whenever talk of Christmas came up last year, Zeb made sure that his mom and I knew that he wanted a Forever Lazy.

I'm not sure how the obsession began, but it continues today. He was so surprised on Christmas day that he received it and now he wears it around the house all the time. He loves that thing!

For this page, I used the sketch from The Green Frog Studio.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Walled Gardens

Here is another page from Ireland.

This stop was on the tour we took of Connemara. We visited the Walled Garden at Kylemore Abby. I think Zeb and I could have spent a lot of time here looking at all the different plants, flowers and landscaping detail, it was amazing...a beautiful place on a beautiful day.

I used the sketch from Elle's Studio for this page.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

On Saying 'Yes'

I'm more of a person who says 'no'.

I turn down most people when I am asked to hang out.
I'm always concerned I won't have fun, won't have anything to talk about, and I dislike having things on my social calendar.  Here's a little taste of how the inner dialogue goes down:
Sounds fun!
What if it's not fun?
What if I don't have anything to talk about?
What would I wear?
What if I get hungry?
What if I get tired?
What if I say 'yes' now, but when the time comes I feel more like staying home and reading a book?
What if I have to get up early the next day?
What if I don't know how to get there?
Where will I park?

I am an extreme home body, an introvert, and I'm also quite socially anxious. Take away the alcohol of my early twenties and I'd rather stay at home with my knitting or my scrapbooking or a movie. I didn't even go out on New Year's Eve like I said I would. 

So I quite surprised myself on Wednesday night, as I was training a client I've had for a couple of years, she asked me to accompany her to see Mandy Patinkin and Patti Lupone perform at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. She had an extra ticket.

My first thought was 'no', of course, but I continued to say 'yes' aloud.  In the back of my mind I knew it was a great opportunity to see these two perform and see the new Kauffman Center.

Now, I had little to no idea who these two were before their performance, and when she said we should have dinner before I made myself say 'yes' again. I wanted to say 'no' to dinner very badly.

Her sitting across from me for an hour....What on earth would I have to say for that length of time? Sure I've been training her for years and she's a great friend in that environment, but sitting down and looking at each other from across the table made me nervous. *

So I said 'yes' to both and enjoyed myself very much. (surprise!) Dinner was great with great conversation and the show was enjoyable. I did enjoy Patti Lupone's performance a lot, Mandy's less than that,  but it was a great show and I didn't fall asleep. It even sparked my interest in seeing Evita and Carousel.

So I said 'yes' and I want to try to say 'yes' to more things in the future. It may seem like a funny pep talk for an almost 30 year old to have with herself, but it's truly hard work for me to be social.

*Let me say now that this post is all about my fears and has nothing to do with this friend of mine, she's wonderful.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let's Swap

Let's trade ad space for the  month of February.
I'll be accepting ads that are 120x120.
The only catch: my ad goes on your blog too.

Email me at cheryl_birkey(at)yahoo(dot)com

Pages Pages Pages

Part of what's helping me achieve my 2012 organizing goal is actually completing scrapbook pages that sit around in my craft room half finished. I spent all day Saturday finishing pages from Ireland.

For the last page I used the sketch from The Green Frog Studio.

Almost Halfway There

So I made it my 2012 goal to get this house more organized and more aesthetically pleasing. I would love to give our bedroom a more put together look with a headboard and perhaps some pictures on the walls.

So far though, I have begun to tackle our office/craft space.

I have several small tables put together that serve as my work space, but I usually end up sprawled out on the floor so that I can really spread out. I am in the process of looking on craigslist for a desk/table that would be more appropriate for this space.

I'm happy to report that this weekend I bought a ClosetMaid cube organizer for my fabric and yarn stash. It has made a world of difference in there already. I'm all about efficient storage and I think this piece represents that. Everything has a spot and it looks really cute too.

I'm not finished in there yet, but it feels good to get started.

Looks good, right?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Looking for the Magic

This weekend  we had a 'clean the house' day. Sounds fun, right? Part of that cleaning was Zeb getting his CD collection in order-will it ever stop? The nice thing about this activity was he found old CDs that he loves and they were the soundtrack for our afternoon. A little Beck, a little Pearl Jam...

One song caught my ear because it was a song he put on a mixed CD for me at the beginning of our courtship. (circa 2005).

The Folk Implosion- One Part Lullaby

and I even made one of the lyrics my FB status for the day.

"Look for magic in the daily routine. That's all it takes to survive".

Good advice, I think.

Then during work today, somebody asked if I was going to go home and play outside and I said,
"No. I am going to clean the house, but I am going to open the windows".

Boring Cheryl being boring.

It's a crazy 60 degrees here in KC today and I am choosing to stay in and clean the house? What's wrong with me? Sure, I have a self imposed 'to do' list a mile long, but it can wait.
I have towels in the dryer that need to be folded, but if the towels never get folded then it won't matter.

Now, the lyrics may not point to this weather phenomenon exactly, I realize that. This sort of weather doesn't happen everyday (that it's happening today is cool/creepy) so it's not necessarily part of the daily routine, but it is a magical part of today.

So here I sit
In the backyard
with my pup
In the sun.

A Page about Christmas

I used the Elle's Studio sketch for this one.

Filling up the stockings is so fun for me on Christmas morning. I sneak downstairs and hope nobody notices me while I play Santa.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Potholder Shmotholder

On Zeb's mom's (Barb's) Christmas list this year were potholders. Easy enough, right? I wish. Upon visiting three to four stores in search of the perfect potholders, I was extremely underwhelmed. They were just so basic and not cute at all, and for the price, I wanted them to be functional and super cute. 

I looked at etsy too and that's when I decided I should just make my own as I knew then that they would be exactly what I was looking for.

Let the sewing extravaganza begin.

First, I found the best tutorial on how to make potholders over at Prudent Baby. That's where I was informed about the ole Insul-Bright batting to protect against heat, and visiting their website I read this warning:

*At least one layer of cotton batting is recommended with Insul~Bright when used as Oven Mitts or Pot Holders. Insul~Bright is heat-RESISTANT, NOT heat-proof.

With all the necessary supplies: the cute cotton fabric, the Insul-Bright, the cotton batting and bias tape, my sewing project began.

I took pictures, of course- a usable blogging moment! I thought. Not only can I have the most beautiful potholders, but you can too!

Step 1: Cut your fabric.

Step 2: Enlist help.

Step 3: Layer everything together: fabric on the outside and the batting in the middle. I used one layer of the Insul-Bright and one layer of the cotton batting.

Step 4: Quilt any way you would like. I just did straight lines. 

Step 5: Add the bias tape.

This is where things get tricky. Actually they got a little tricky at step 4 as well, but step 5 is what brought my project to a screeching halt.

Prudent Baby provided a great tutorial for sewing on bias tape which I followed closely, however, my project started to look like something I made in 5th grade, not a sewing project I made in 2011 and I was starting to get stressed out. 

I think the problem was all of the layers I was using the bias tape to cover. It was just looking a little bulky and not like a nicely finished edge. 

Of course, I wanted these potholders to be the most beautiful potholders anyone has ever seen. I wanted to hear a gasp as Barb opened them Christmas morning. I wanted tears. 

"Never have I seen anything so beautiful" She would exclaim.

Anyway, I put the potholders away to work on anther day, but that day never came. Every time I thought about working on them again, I would get stressed out again because I had convinced myself they weren't going to turn out how I imagined. 

Then I had this idea that I should just stop stressing, buy some potholders and call it good. 

So that's what I did. (Zeb bought them actually). He was on his way to Target and I asked him to pick up the potholders his mom asked for and then I took a nap. A glorious, stress free nap. 

Perhaps I'll finish the potholders another day, and maybe I won't. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012


So I recently spent a whole Saturday organizing all of our photos on the computer by date and event and then backing them up on an external hard drive.

(I make it sound very easy and stress reality, the day we bought the external hard drive, we also bought the mother of all surge protectors. When we got home, Zeb turned everything off to re-plug everything into this amazing surge protector and this was the moment the computer decided to not reboot properly. This was the moment our computer broke. With all my precious pictures neatly organized and unreachable. I was definitely unhappy. sad. mad. sad again. Fast forward one week and all of the data was recovered for us by a company nearby. yay! So now my precious pictures are living happily on an external hard drive.)

Having them so neatly organized makes my organizing self feel confident that they'll be around as long as I need them to be.

However, I happened to pick up the KC Star this week when they were covering this exact topic and that's when the extra stress set in. The article brought to my attention all the pictures that weren't digital, that weren't nicely organized on my external hard drive. What about those pictures? They are in a different format, in a different place altogether. How will those memories be preserved and organized?

The article actually suggested scanning them into the computer so you have them digitally. Seriously? All 29 years of pictures? Who has time to do that? Or, the article said, I could pay to have it done.....

After a week long panic attack, I decided to move forward archiving the digital pictures in the same manner I have been and not have a coronary over the pictures not in digital format. (I'm an organizing fool so this was a hard decision to accept).

I realize this may seem like a trivial worry (I've been known to worry over trivial things), but pictures are the things I treasure most-when it comes down to the things I would save in a fire, I would get my pup and my pictures. 

Is this something you think about? How are your pictures preserved for years to come? What about your prints before the digital age? 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Episode One

On today's edition of 'So I'm Dating a Hoarder' we're going to talk about our CD collection.

It's no surprise that Zeb likes to keep things. Everything. He's not really a hoarder, I use that term loosely here, but he does have an affinity for throwing nothing away. nothing.

That doodle that you mindlessly drew at work? He kept it.
An instrument neither of us can play? We have it.
A lamp that doesn't work? It's here.

I just went through four years of asking him to clean up the spare bedroom which consisted of a bed for guests and lots of boxes filled with things he couldn't throw away. However, upon going through the boxes, he realized a lot of it was just trash-old mail, random papers, etc. Some of it was worth keeping, I'll admit, and I did have fun the nights I went in to keep him company and we looked through some of his childhood memories. He couldn't part with everything though, and I'm not asking him to, but a box of old T-shirts and a pair of roller skates? I thought for sure we could let those go. nope. not yet.

The room looks 100 times better though. Cleaned up, organized, and a space for guests when they come over, not just a direct path from the door to the bed.

For some reason yesterday, I decided to go through the piles and piles of CDs we have, to try and organize them. It turned into quite a mess of purchased CDs with no cases, cases with no CDs and lots and lots of burned CDs-some with labels of the band and album, some labeled 'random' or 'mix' and some not labeled at all.

If it were up to me, we would get rid of the majority of them because I don't think either of us has touched them for four years, but Zeb is a keeper, so we will attempt to find a way to organize them.

I'm overwhelmed by the stacks and stacks of scratched up CDs, especially since I feel like CDs are a little obsolete anyways.

Do you have a CD collection? Have you touched it in the past year?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

More Love Less Hate

Zeb and I decided to make a family resolution this year.

ie: he told me his resolution and I loved it and wanted it as my own.

More Love Less Hate.

We will try to have more love in life.

To me this means not getting mad over the silly things, like my phone not working or the person in front of me in the checkout taking too long. I can get pretty mad over the most trivial things sometimes, because I let myself get mad. I will try to have this happen less.

I also want to love more. I want to love Zeb more and my friends more and myself more.