Thursday, August 25, 2011


Since I live in Richmond, VA, I definitely felt the East Coast 5.9 earthquake on Tuesday.

This was what we found at home:

Our bottle of EVOO on the stove fell. We also had some crooked frames and a couple things fell down in the shower. That was all.

It was a neat experience. There have been several aftershocks, but last night was the first aftershock I felt. It actually woke me up and kind of made me mad because I was trying to sleep..had to get up extra early today so I could find parking before the madness started on campus. Today's the first day of classes for students here and I did not want to have any trouble looking for parking. Luckily, I found a free all-day spot.

I am glad that everyone's okay after the earthquake. It was a neat experience for me. My second earthquake ever (the last one I felt 7-8 years ago while in Richmond, VA). I am sort of looking forward to more aftershocks just because it's such a neat phenomenon (as long as no one gets hurt). I heard that the aftershocks can last about a week or so. We shall see!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hot Air Balloon Festival 2011

My sister Bonnie and I went to the Hot Air Balloon festival at the Flying Circus on Saturday evening. It was so cool!


I love hot air balloons, but I am not ready to ride in one (they are expensive to ride, but I am also probably too scared). One day I do want to ride in one, though.

It was so neat getting to see all the colorful balloons. When we got to the Flying Circus, we checked out all of the planes that were flying around and were on display. We took a bunch of photos, too.


This is a basket for a hot air balloon that we saw in the back of a truck. It was so small and not what I imagined! I always thought hot air balloon baskets were huge and could fit a bunch of people to ride in them. I was wrong!


We rode this hay ride for $1 and the man, "Grandpa" drove us around for about half an hour, stopping every now and then to tell us about the history of the Flying Circus. He was so nice and really interested in the place and I could tell he really enjoyed driving the tractor around and telling people stories. He almost reminded me of my dad the way he played jokes on us during the ride!


When we were riding the tractor, we spied this behind some trees:


We also saw this guy sneak around some trees:


When we went around the other trees, here was a rainbow balloon being blown up:


We were really close to it and could feel the fire!



Here it is taking off:


This guy set his up all by himself, and he even wore it like a backpack.



This was my favorite hot air balloon (they were all gorgeous!):


And some more balloons..



Here's a bunch of the hot air balloons in the sky:


And another sky shot:


It was a great day! I will definitely go back again (maybe in several years), and hope to take my own kids to this one day. It was very exciting!

Movin' in!

On Saturday morning, I helped Daniel's little cousin Paige and her mom get her moved into her dorm room! She is starting her first year of college!! I remember meeting her when she was just 8 years old, over 10 years ago. Time has flown by..

We had 2 cars, and we parked on the side of the street next to her building and unloaded. I moved the cars to parking after we were unloaded and we took turns taking items up to her room (we took the stairs, her room isn't very high up). Eventually we got a cart to take the rest of her bigger items up with the elevator, but we got her moved in pretty fast, considering the craziness that move in days usually are.

Here is Paige and her mom standing on the sidewalk with all of Paige's college belongings:


We saw so many other students with TONS of stuff. She definitely did not bring as much as most other students brought. I saw one student with cases of drinks and snacks that they must have bought from Costco....! You probably won't even eat all of that in one semester..

We also saw some VIPs walking around, like the university president, some other staff members, and the dean of the students. It was neat seeing everybody involved with move-in day!

Here is Paige after we got her moved into her room and set up for the most part:



Hope her first semester is as amazing as ever!

Monday, August 15, 2011

T-Shirt Quilts!

This past Saturday, Bonnie, Kristen, and I finally did something we had been talking about doing for what seems like years now.

Kristen's mom made her a few t-shirt quilts when she was younger, and a few years ago Kristen made one for Nate (my brother-in-law). These are the most comfortable blankets, and anytime all of us would be at Kristen's house, we'd all claim those blankets if we were watching movies or something and needed a blanket to curl up in. They are the best! There is nothing like an old t-shirt and a comfy fleece blanket! These blankets combine those two very things.

Kristen sent us a tutorial a long time ago, and then we all recently decided we needed to make one big day out of it, with Kristen playing the teacher. Kristen rented a room at a local church so we could have plenty of room to work and spend all day concentrating on our quilts.

First, I cut out all my squares and strips. I used gold squares and black strips of fabric. The strips are for the sashing on the quilt and the squares are for the corners. The squares are 3.5x3.5 inches and the strips are 3.5x13.5 inches.



I cut out all of my tshirt squares. These are 13.5x13.5 inches. I had a lot of scraps left over, too.



Here I laid out all of the tshirt squares to get an idea as to where I should place all of them on the quilt.


Then, I laid out all my tshirt squares, little gold squares, and black strips to line everything up and see what it would look like.


I sewed 4 gold squares to 3 strips.


And repeated 4 more times with the remaining gold squares.


Then I sewed 4 strips to 3 shirts, to make one row. And repeated that 3 more times, so I had 4 completed rows of shirts and strips.


Next, I sewed my rows of squares/strips to my rows of shirts/strips, and then I sewed all of those together to get this:


See? It's basically done! Except for the batting and fleece part. At this point I decided to iron everything to make sure there were no wrinkles on the sashing/squares/shirts. I also cut off extra thread that was sure to bother me later.

I laid out my big sheet of batting (I bought of a big roll of this stuff), then my big sheet of fleece (about 2 1/4 yards). I placed the tshirt part face down onto the fleece. I trimmed the extra fleece and batting, and left room for seam allowance. Then I pinned all three layers together.


Then, I sewed it all together (left a hole for later use), and then folded it up.



It was time to leave the church building we were in. We packed everything up and made our way to Kristen's house, where I turned my quilt right side out. First, the fleece part comes out, and then the shirt part comes out (so the batting is now in the middle). It was neat! You can kind of see in the top right corner the hole where everything got turned right side out from.


It took me about 12 hours to complete my quilt. Maybe less? We didn't leave Kristen's house until midnight, though. The day included everything from laughing and joking to almost crying, because of the frustration that sewing machines cause. There was one point where I almost ran out of the room crying, and another point where I almost picked up my machine and threw it out the church building window. Well, not almost, but I did have an image of that happening cross my mind. I did throw my bobbin hook across the table one time. And I did break a sewing machine needle. And slammed my fist down a time or two. I had to remain calm the whole time though, because we were in a church building. There were so many times when I could have yelled out some bad words, but since we were in a holy building, I figured I better not. And it looks like "someone" was on our side, since the machines started working again (after playing some musical machines), and all three of us were able to complete our quilts!!

Here are all three of our completed t-shirt quilts:


Mine is the VCU one, Bonnie made a WFLS one with all of her old radio tshirts, and Kristen made her husband Dave a JMU one, since he went to JMU. It was a lot of fun making them and I am really glad we were able to complete our project!! I am no longer afraid of my sewing machine!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The City of Fredericksburg River Boat Cruise

The City of Fredericksburg River Boat

We had a birthday party for my sister Bonnie and her friend Sharon on the City of Fredericksburg river boat cruise this past Sunday (8/7). Both of their birthdays fall this week, and the river boat cruise was something different to celebrate it on. It was cool!

The City of Fredericksburg River Boat

The City of Fredericksburg River Boat

The City of Fredericksburg River Boat

We got to sit on the boat and watch the scenic view as we made our way down the Rappahannock river. There was lunch (brunch?) and lots of conversation. The band on the boat played some awesome 90's cover songs. Kristen made some adorable sunshine cupcakes (the inside was yellow AND orange), and Bonnie and Sharon had a great times with their friends/family, from what I could tell.



The City of Fredericksburg River Boat

The City of Fredericksburg River Boat

After the boat ride, everybody made their way to Carl's ice cream to get some of their delicious ice cream. I got some chocolate and some strawberry (after searching everywhere for an ATM). How come they haven't joined this century yet and gotten a card machine? I guess the line would be even LONGER if they took cards..

Here's Bonnie and me on the boat:

Bonnie & Me on her birthday trip

Happy birthday girls!

Gone to the Birds 2011

This past Saturday (8/6), was Richmond's 3rd annual Gone to the Birds (purple martin) festival, in Shockoe Bottom. I got there around 5:30pm and checked out the different tables that were set up with information about purple martins.

My dad loves purple martins, and their regality appeals to me (cheesy, I know), so I figured it would be a great opportunity to get some photos of them and witness such an extraordinary natural phenomenon.

Purple martins establish roosts when they are migrating to South America. One roost they have is in the pear trees on 17th Street in Shockoe Bottom, by the Farmers' Market. This urban roost is only one of 2 that are known about, so it makes it a unique and fun experience to witness the birds when they are "checking back in" to their roost at night in late July and August.


Purple martins depend on humans to provide housing for them. When I was growing up my dad tried really hard to get purple martins on our property but it never lasted. At my grandparents' at Smith Mountain Lake, every Spring my dad and grandpa would put up the martin house, and they'd take it down at the end of the summer when the martins left. We'd get regular progress reports from my grandparents and uncle about the martins. So, they have a special place in my heart.



It was a neat experience! I am not sure what the count was for the birds on Saturday night, but the big group arrived around 8pm and there were tons of them. It was really cool to see the swarm of birds in the sky as they all circled around the pear trees and then finally dove straight down to their roost. It was amazing.

In this video, you can see the "funnel cloud" of birds before they dove down into their roost:

The sound was very constant and very powerful. It reminded me of the constant sound you hear of water at the ocean or beach, or the sound of traffic on a busy highway. It was the birds! You can hear it in this video:

Friday, August 5, 2011

August Weekends

Gone to the Birds 2011 in Richmond, VA

Fredericksburg River Cruise

Filipino Festival 2011

T-shirt quilting (photo by Kristen)

Hot Air Balloon festival in Bealeton, VA

Fabergé egg exhibit at VMFA in Richmond, VA

DIY projects

Farmers' Markets

box of wires.

Scrapbooking and Cardmaking

gorgeous sunset
Road Tripping

What do you have planned for your weekends this month?