Whew

Finally managed to reset my password. You know how sometimes you have a small task that you just never seem to get around to? 

My phone WordPress app managed to forget my password somehow, and that’s where I primarily write & post from… so I’ve finally dug out the ol’ password from my files and gotten it reset and ready to go.

I’ve finished some projects (sister’s 50th anniversary dress for one), started others, and basically have a bunch of things to blog-catch-up on.

In the meantime, I’ve been obsessed with the frogs growing up in our backyard whiskey barrel lily pond!

Parent:   

One of the babies: 

Argh.

I am overdue on Me Made May final week round up. I’ll definitely get that up this week, but probably will have a fancy cake post first. Tomorrow at work we are celebrating two young ladies’ upcoming weddings in one big potluck, and I am on cake duty. 

There’ll be a longer tale in the actual post, but suffice it to say, it’s been quite a day!!! However, the cake is finally in the freezer, and should taste awesome tomorrow, even though it’s not as close to perfect as I’d like. 

Pics after the party!

Me Made May

#mmmay15

Ok, so I think Me Made May is probably really for people who are better at sewing & fitting than I, and I’m not even positive I have enough different items to make it work… but I’m going to try for a version of Me Made May. I haven’t found any “official” rules, but I’ve seen several different versions of the declaration of joining… so here’s mine:

I, Amy, of Birds of a Kettle, commit to wearing me-made items as many workdays as possible in May!

I might repeat a lot, LOL, since I haven’t got a huge number of completed items that are suitable for workday wear (many of my earlier projects are swing dancing dresses that are a bit too fancy). I’ve usually got several projects going at any one time, though, so I will focus on adding more completed-and-wearable me-makes in May. 

I did wear Vogue 8831 on Friday to work, so although this post is not on May 1, I did wear a me-made item that day (feel free to ignore the lovely laundry room background!).  

 
Not sure yet what I’ll wear Monday, but whether this is officially part of Me Made May or not, I will be posting work daily pics on Twitter using #mmmay15. Feel free to follow along, or tell me if you love or hate any of my makes! I look forward to feedback.

Another week down

Went to NY last weekend with my twin sister to see my brother and nephew’s last play (the organization they are involved with is making some big changes in response to loss of funding from New York State, so there won’t be any more shows). 

It actually might have been their best ever – out with a bang, as another sister (I have a few) described it.

 

The pic above is about half the cast, the Whos. The rest of them are behind the curtain waiting to show their part in Suessical…. the show was great, the costumes were fun, and both the actors & audience members had a good time. Success all around!

As an aside, my twin sister stayed with me an extra day, before she headed back to NC. She has no reasonably-close IKEA, so we went and she picked up a Kallax 4×4 bookcase, to help organize at her house. I love these bookcases. Please don’t ask how many  Kallax/Expedit (predecessor) bookcases-that-are-pretty-much-used-for-everything-but-books exist in my & my husband’s house; I might be embarrassed to answer! I say might because I honestly haven’t counted… but they are dang useful. 

My twin also helped me finish installing some cleats in the closet-about-to-be-an-office, so painting that and actually getting the standing desk reinstalled is on the docket soon. Then, hey, wow, the office-that-became-a-gym will actually be able to be used as a gym! And since I’m down 8 needed pounds from my Whole 30 experiment, going for another slightly-modified round (starting next week) and being able to add in some gym work (time to swing the monkeys!) will hopefully help get me even closer to my fitness goals. ūüôā

I don’t know what’s up with my dash happiness tonight. Maybe I can distract you from them with a pic of my finally-corralled monkeys? 

  

PS You know I purposely went back and added “finally-corralled” just so I could have another dash, right? ūüėČ

PPS Those monkeys are in kilograms and poods, not pounds.

Well… I know it’s a bit dusty in these parts

But I’m getting back into it. Might take me a bit but I plan to post more often! I’ll try to update on¬†Tuesday evenings – I’ve already added a reminder to my calendar even.

Life has been a little crazy, commuting still takes too long, LOL, and we’ve had quite a bit of change at work, so I’m pretty much happy to be breathing at the moment. The change is for the good, but it still kicks up a learning curve.

Among the things taking up my time:

Maxtla needs lots of exercise so many weekends we spend time at the dog park visiting his dog buddies and throwing squeaky balls. His latest favorite is ¬†a “Meteor Ball” by Outdoor Dog which has a nice tail – it stays generally clean(er) while the main part of the ball gets slobbery from him picking it up – that I can fling it with!

I’m also still working through converting the room that was my office to a gym, with my standing desk/office being moved into the closet. The gym part is pretty much¬†done, but I’ve run into a few snafus getting the closet conversion completed¬†(dang moving studs), so my office stuff is still taking up space on the gym floor. That should¬†soon that will be usable though. Pictures later.

Today is¬†my last day of a Whole30 experiment. I know, can you imagine? I’m not really much of a meat-eater, but having an¬†obsession with sugar is bad… and since quitting cold turkey hasn’t been at all successful, so I decided doing something drastic was in order.

I have to say, it’s been wildly more successful than I expected. Today is 30 days without sugar… or beans, grains, dairy, or pretty much any packaged foods at all. The sugar was so overwhelmed by everything else I was choosing not to eat, that I didn’t really miss it much after the first week… but I really need some beans & rice, LOL! ¬†I plan to take a week or so break, then adjust the rules to my own sensibilities, and try another round. (Obviously keep the no sugar rule as that’s my main goal.) I’ve already got ideas for making food prep easier, as that took up a huge amount of time and planning.

Tomorrow I weigh in to see if the change has effected any weight loss. By the pants method, I’m definitely down, which is good, as it was another of my goals. I also have some pretty big-for-me-fitness goals that I’ll share more about later. I’m also still running monthly fitness challenges at work (sorry colleagues, that this month has been so haphazard – better next month I promise!), that I plan to post more about.

Additionally, I’m continuing with my multi-year project¬†to have most of the clothes in my closet be ones made by me. There’ll of course be a few pattern reviews coming, for my sewing friends and whoever else might interested in seeing the clothing pieces.

Later this week my twin sister comes up to Maryland and we’re off to see family for the weekend. I’ve also got an Excel Dashboards training session to watch, and I’m studying for CompTIA certification (nope, not busy enough, right?).

For those who remember my first focus – ¬†bird photography has unfortunately fallen by the wayside and will need to stay on the wayside for a while… but I’ll always come back to it! To tide you over, here’s a Green Heron at¬†Cape May, actively fishing last September (click the photo to see it bigger):

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What a state (solid)

Well it’s been an up and down couple of months with my computer, mostly down, with a lot of the blue screens of death. Scruff finally decided he’d had enough, and decided it was best to replace the hard drive. We considered a solid state drive, but a decently-sized one is still beaucoup bucks, which I did not want to invest into this laptop. A large standard drive was inexpensive but Scruff felt it would be just as fragile as the current one. We wandered the aisles at Microcenter, and lo and behold, there was a terabyte hybrid drive, $100 – some parts are standard spinner, some are solid state (ie supah-fast!). After discovering this particular laptop practically required disassembly to replace the drive, Scruff dropped it off back at Microcenter and let them handle the physical installation. (They ran some diagnostics as well, and agreed the existing drive was bad.) It’s not quite ready for me to use, but soon I’ll be back online!!

More to come…

I’m very back logged on writing right now! I apologize and promise more to come. I’ve made a platform bed from Ikea bookcases (still need to do the headboard), sewed some baby clothes for a colleague, have joined a couple of sew-alongs (new work tops on the way), and am nearly done with a simple sleeveless dress.

Tonight, got supplies laid in for a chocolate strawberry cake I promised another colleague. It’s not a single-evening cake, especially when I’m not getting home until well after 7, but there will be a post. Probably Saturday for that one.

Not enough birds! But, Scruff has set up a webcam for me, that auto-answers a Skype call – I can call any time, and it will turn on and I’ll be able to see whatever’s at my feeder, even when I’m not home!! How cool is that?!

Here’s a photo of the baby outfit. I’d never sewn seersucker before and found it quite enjoyable to work with (now I think I need a summer top out of seersucker!). The little hat reverses to the stripe like the bloomers. More of a pattern review in another blog post later.

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Back Online

Whoops!

Sorry about that “Redirect Loop” message you may have been seeing.

The hosting provider made some requested account changes, but mistakenly set things up so that anyone trying to reach BirdsOfAKettle.com would be redirected to BirdsOfAKettle.com.¬†¬† You can see where that might be a problem….

It’s fixed now and the site is back online.¬† Happy reading!

– Amy’s Tech Support

Strike a chord

Wow. I was researching some equipment selections for my Bonneville and somehow came across this piece by Wendy Moon. What an incredible piece of writing. I am thankful I have no “tIM” in my life, but the rest… definitely pause for thought! ¬†I have also been too much a passenger in my life, although that changed a few years ago.¬†I agree one of the reasons I love my LME (pronounced Ellemy – the name for my Bonnie) so much is exactly the feeling of being in control of my own experience, and the feeling of being “in” the world as I drive through, not isolated from it – believe me, 60 mph on a stock Bonneville is not at all the same experience as the same speed in a Prius, or any other car I’ve ridden in or driven.

A must read!

http://riderchick.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/i-am-a-motorcycle/

 

Focii

My main interests are birding/birding photography, sewing, and fitness/nutrition, plus my current obsession with developing my motorcycle skills. This isn’t to say other topics won’t appear… It’s not as if these aren’t diverse enough – you should see the looks I get when I go into the sewing shop with my hi-viz jacket, helmet in hand! LOL

The immediate focus the next couple of weeks will be sewing! The Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is coming up in about another week, which has me really excited to warm up the Juki!

I took home ec in 8th grade, part of which involved sewing a fuzzy pillow and a pair of sweat pants with too-tight ankle elastic. Since then, I’ve been sewing off and on, mostly off, but the last few years have been increasing quite a bit – ranging the gamut from a simple coverup

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to my wedding dress, which is another post entirely but sneak peek:

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I’ve given myself a goal to end up with 50-80% of my clothes being made by my own hands, starting with a few tops, and learning to do pants.

However, in spite of that goal…. I’ve yet to take a sewing class! I know the expo classes are pretty short, comparatively, but in two days I get to take 9 different classes/seminars on various aspects of garment sewing! As a pretty-much-self-taught, calling-older-sister-over-the-phone-taught-sewist (which BTW, seems to have become the preferred term over sewer or even seamstress)…. this is very exciting! Stay tuned for reports and adventures!