Monday, December 29, 2008

crafty goodness

It seems that, in recent months, I've developed a new fondness for adorable fabrics. Along with that fondness, I've begun to purchase said adorable fabrics. No, I don't sew, quilt or do anything that would resemble coziness, so I think it's time to change that.

So, one of my new-years resolutions is to learn to quilt! I've found a quilt shop in Gaithersburg (bonus, it's metro accessable!) that will be offering a ten week course, teaching you to quilt!

Capital Quilts Complete Course click for photo Annette Burns 10 sessions/2 hrs. ea./$168 This is the ultimate quilt course! Annette will teach you everything you need to know about quiltmaking, from fabric selection to cutting, piecing, pressing, appliqué, set-ins, paper piecing, and so much more. You will make a sampler quilt incorporating all the major quilt techniques, and learn to sandwich, quilt, and bind your masterpiece. This is the perfect opportunity to start at the beginning and learn one step at a time—but it’s a great refresher course, too. You’ll be welcome whatever your background in quilting may be!A.) 2-4 pmB.) 7-9 pmJan. 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25, Mar. 4, 11, 25, April 1

Now, I can learn to make masterpieces! Anyone want to quilt with me?

books, books, everywhere!

I went into Barnes and Noble today and all Christmas books are 50%, an additional 10% off if you are a Barnes member, which of course, I am. Shocker...

So, I purchased the following-

Olivia Helps with Christmas (I love that pig!)
Madeline's Christmas (who doesn't adore Madeline?)
Librarian's Night Before Christmas (for my mother, next year!)
The Nutcracker (illustrations by Susan Jeffers, and they are gorgeous!)
Auntie Claus (had never seen this one before, but love it!)
A Very Marley Christmas (can't wait to see the movie...who wants to go with me?!)

Yes, they are all childrens books.

So, 60% off all hardcovers? Yes please! Now the hard part will be deciding which to keep for my collection and which to give as gifts!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Apparently I'm dyslexic this month.

I got back to DC around midnight last night to find a week's worth of mail waiting for me...including my scarf swap and sweet treat exchange packages...unfortunately, they were mine, as in, the ones I sent to my swap partners!

They were returned to me because I'm an idiot. Meaning, when addressing the box/envelope, I switched zipcodes and wrote the IL zip on the package going to CA, and vice versa. I guess the post office didn't like that, because they both came back.


They both will be re-sent tomorrow...

PS. More on holidays later! I'm still unpacking....

Monday, December 22, 2008

white, white everywhere!

Oh hello! This is Lexi, live from New Hampshire, where I'll be ALL WEEK LONG! Yes, true bliss, right there.

My cousin also lives in DC, so he and I drove home Saturday. We were welcomed to the Granite State by at least a foot of snow and more to come. Today? There's close to two feet of white, fully wonderfulness.

My week so far? Yesterday- church with my parents, visiting my grandmother, home, lay around and read a book, homemade beef stew for dinner, ice cream for desert, more reading my book, bedtime. Today? Errands- went to post office to mail Christmas gifts to Steve's family (yes, I'm the jerk who forgot to send them home with him, so I had to pay $36.10 to express them to Iowa), license renewal and such.

My gifts are wrapped lovingly and under the tree, which is gorgeous, by the way. Note to seld- take a picture and post it. Maybe I will be a good daughter and go outside to shovel the back walkway. The dogs are outside frolicing in the snow.

I kinda want to go make snow angels...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

her small hand

I came home from work tonight and found in my mailbox two Christmas cards and two letters from Albania. Excited, I hurried up the stairs to open them. Both letters were from Majlinda. One thanked me for the jump rope I sent many months ago and told me how much Majlinda likes to "build the snowman," but it doesn't snow much there. She asked about my Christmas tree and what sort of decorations are on it (note to self: take a picture of my tree to send to Albania).

The second letter told me how much Majlinda loves going to kindergarten and how she wants to learn to read, so she can read my letters, and then learn to write, so she can write to me. Ahh, simple joys. Then she said "I am asking now Majlinda what she would like to send you and she says a hug and her small hand." When I looked at the second page of the letter (the first page is the English translation and the attached second page is the original, in Albanian), Majlinda had traced her hand, and written both our names inside the hand. She even colored at the end of the fingers and she has green nail polish, along with a pink bracelet.

I may frame that letter and hand.

I love coming home to mail from my girls and I love knowing that I am making a difference in their lives. Part of my Christmas shopping was done on the World Vision website. Ducks, chickens and seeds, oh my!

Really though, it's things like this that make my holidays happy.

What makes yours happy?

my green thumb?

I don't have much luck with plants, but I still have it in my head that I could have a gorgeous garden someday. Someday, just not this day. In the meanwhile, I practice on things that are supposedly impossible to kill, but this isn't always the case.

For instance, bamboo. I had a bamboo that I bought at Eastern Market more then two years ago. It was growing like a champ. In fact, so champ-like that it was getting too big for its container. So, I googled "how to transplant bamboo" and figured it wasn't too tricky. I had a larger container and bought a bag of those smooth, polished stones and lifted it out of the old to move to the new. Meanwhile, I noticed that the roots were a bit stinky, maybe from being so cramped together, so I decided to rinse them under the sink. Maybe that was the downfall, because soon after, the bamboo died an untimely death. The leaves were yellowing and falling off, and the stalk was black. It also was really stinky. I had to toss the entire thing.

Last spring, I bought one of those herb kits from Whole Foods. It came with four small pots and bits of soil, and four seed packets- rosemary, thyme, parsley and oregano. For the first few weeks, they too, grew like champs. Then, they dried out and died too. The same day I planted those, I also had two pots where I planted wildflowers. Same story.

Last October, while waiting for my flight back to DC at the Orlando airport, I found a palm tree plant in the gift shop. I thought I so desperately needed it, so back to DC it came. I can't tell how it's doing, it looks about the same it did then, but it could possibly grow to be five feet tall. I'd totally love having a five foot palm tree blowing in the spring breeze of DC. I also have a new bamboo plant that is okay so far.

Just now, I ate an avocado and "planted" the seed. We'll see if I end up with an avocado tree to add to my nursery.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

until we meet again

It's so strange to think that it was six years ago that my grandfather passed away. It's still such a shock, as it was so unexpected. He hadn't been sick, there was no big accident. Nothing unusual.

I had been in Poland since August, and I was coming home for Christmas. My flight landed in Boston late Friday night. That morning, Grampa had gone into the hospital for a few tests. Apparently, he had a slight case of peunomenia and spent a few nights there, just to be safe. Sunday morning, my sister and I went to see him and he was so good. He was in great spirits, happy and jovial, as he always was. Grammy was with him. He always got a big kick out of those scratch off lotery tickets, so I had brought a few from Poland with me. He scratched them off and won roughly 50 cents on one of them. He gave me the ticket and told me to buy myself something nice with it. I still have the ticket. He was to be released the next morning. Well, I'm not a doctor and I don't know how it happened, but my father woke me up very early Monday morning to tell me that he died suddenly from some complications with the medicines he was on, or the like. I couldn't believe it. I still can't.

My father took my sister, my brother and myself over to the hospital, where my mother and my aunt were already there of course with my grandmother. It was bad. I don't remember much of the day. I assume the wake was the following day, but I really don't remember the entire course of action, it was all such a blur. I think the wake was the next morning and the funeral was that afternoon maybe. We also had a ceremony at the cemetary. My cousin and I both did readings during the funeral mass, but I have no idea what I read. I don't know who was there and what was done. It wasn't the best Christmas we've ever had.

Grampa was my mother's father. My Meme, my father's mother, died six months later, of lung cancer. Somehow, that was much less tramatic for me, maybe because she'd been so sick for so long that it was expected and better for her so she wasn't suffering anymore.

I've been sad today, remembering. Just thinking about all the aspects of the day and the day before and the days after and how much we still miss Grandpa. I'm also thinking how all the memories still make me smile. There are so many smiles to remember and reasons to laugh out loud. My mother tells me how proud Grampa would be of me and of my sister and brother, and my two cousins. He loved politics and would be so thrilled by my being here, and working on the Hill and now for State. So many random make me think of Grandpa. The missing him never goes away, the thoughts of him will be with us always, but usually with a smile.

and until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His you always Grampa

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

it's the little things

I came home the other day to find two letters from Albania in my mailbox, one from each of my girls. Bliss! Both girls are only 6, so their mothers write. Majlinda's mother told me that everyday when she comes home from kindergarten, she takes my letters out and looks at them, every day. Inaete wants to know when my birthday is and she loves vegetables.

My heart melts each time I hear from them.

I love these girls, I do, I do.

Monday, December 8, 2008

picture this

A hodgepodge of pictures, from the last few weeks...

maybe my favorite new wine? vidal blanc from bluemont vineyard


yeah, we're dorks :)

but sometimes cute!

really, really pretty

our Christmas tree!

me, on the ground, sawing down the tree...yes, really!

my favorite little Charlie Brown tree! we got a different one though...

Thanksgiving dinner!

my turkey!!!!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas, Balkan style

I just packaged up two puffy envelopes for my two favorite Albanian girls to be mailed in the morning! Happy Christmas, Majlinda and Inaete! Soon, in their mailboxes, they should be receiving each a book (in English and Albanian!), a small stuffed Care Bear, two little bracelets with wooden beads and one of the Wizard of Oz Madame Alexander dolls from the McDonalds Happy Meals (not the scary flying monkey!). In addition, I had also called World Vision a few weeks ago to set up a gift donation for their families. I'm hoping they'll use it for Christmas gifts for each other, and a turkey for dinner. Okay, if they don't like turkey, I don't mind if they get something else :)

I just hope their Christmas is happy.

all I want for Christmas is youuuuuuuuuuu

I have NO idea what to get Steve for Christmas.

Am I an awful girlfriend?

Yes? No? Maybe so?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Say Thanks

A friend forwarded me this website called Let's Say Thanks that I think is so lovely, I thought I'd pass it along to you all, with the hopes maybe you'll pass it further. It allows you to chose a design and send a note to a service person stationed overseas. Apparently Xerox is the company behind it, and they are printing out the postcards and sending them along. I think it is such a nice idea all year long, but especially during the holiday season when some may not receive much mail from home.

I've sent a few already...and plan to send more!

energizing mornings?

I love it when it's not until I'm in the shower that I realize I bought two conditioners and no shampoos the night before.