Saturday, April 20, 2013

A cheery little basket

Yay, finally a sewing post! Sorry, I know most of you are probably here for the sewing and keep thinking, "Dang! How many pictures can she post of that amazingly cute kid?" Am I right? No? Well, there will be more of those to come (It's springtime! We can go outside!), but for today, you get sewing.
I love, love, LOVE this divided basket, which I finished last night. Like most of my projects, it has been on my to do list for forever, so it was so nice to finally pound it out. I love how cheery and happy it is, perfect for this beautiful spring day.
The pattern is the Divided Basket Pattern from the ever-wonderful Anna Graham of the Noodlehead blog. I bought the pattern months ago, and the pdf has been sitting on my desktop ever since, taunting me. "When, oh when are you going to make me?"
And if you follow sewing blogs (which, if you're here, there's a good chance you do), you've seen these guys popping up everywhere. Each time I saw one, I knew I had to make mine like NOW.
The basket is super sturdy, with both interfacing and a fleece lining. The divider in the middle is pretty easy to install, and you finish it off with a great pocket on the front. I will definitely be making more of these very soon. Like all of Anna's work, the pattern was very detailed, clear, and easy to follow.
The fabric is from the Timeless Treasures Fruit Punch collection (I think I originally bought it at Hawthorne Threads, but you can still find it a few places around the Interwebs), and I've been hoarding it for years, not really sure what to use it for but loving it so much. A bit of it popped up in a Kindle sleeve I made for my MIL (you can find my tutorial here), but I couldn't bear to cut into the big fruit pattern.
When I bought the divided basket pattern, I knew the fabric would be perfect for a basket for B's felt food and cooking items (all from Ikea, in case you're wondering).
See? So cute! And a huge improvement over the falling-apart cardboard box they used to be in.
Who wants to play?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The big 3-0

I turned the big 3-0 on Friday. It's still kind of hard to believe and sounds even weirder to say, but I guess it must be true. And I'm feeling pretty good about where I am for 30. I have an amazing husband and son, a great job that I love, a wonderful home, and family and friends that bless my life every day. Not too shabby at all, I'd say.
To celebrate my big day, Matt and I had the meal of our lives, an eight-course affair with wine pairings at one of the best (if not the best) restaurants in St. Louis, Niche. We've been to Niche a few times in the past, but they recently changed locations and revamped their menu to consist of tasting menus only, so it was definitely a different dining experience.

We made our reservations months ago because we also wanted a spot at the coveted kitchen counter seats, where you get to watch everything going on in the kitchen (it was amazingly calm, quiet, and organized) and talk to the chefs, who were all super friendly. In addition to giving us a bonus course (because eight clearly wasn't enough), they added a cute little candle to one of the dessert courses: a coriander cake with dandelion root and orange sorbet and black walnut brittle (or something like that). Not your average birthday cake, eh? Thankfully, no one sang, "Happy Birthday."
After the meal ended, I slipped away to the bathroom, and while I was gone, Matt asked for a copy of the menu and then asked the executive chef, Gerard Craft, to sign it. He happily did so and then asked us if we minded if he asked the other chefs to sign it, too. Of course not! So he took it around to each and every chef, and they all signed it. It was very sweet.
It was a fabulous way to start off my 30s. I think we need to celebrate again next month. ;)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Relay it

I'm turning 30 this week. I'm not sure whether it's hit me quite yet, but I think I'm okay with it. Ask me on Friday.
To kick off the 'ol birthday week, on Sunday morning I ran the St. Louis Marathon Relay with three friends. Split among four people, each person runs roughly a 10K, so the team as a whole runs a full marathon. It was the first time I'd done a relay or a 10K race, for that matter, which added a little excitement.
I took the first leg, which was one of the shorter ones but also really hilly. I ended up getting to the race too soon (out of fear of being late, of course), which threw off my eating and hydrating schedule, so I struggled a bit getting through my leg.
But in the end, I still had a really fun time, and the other girls did great on their legs. We all met up with our fourth runner a few blocks from the finish line and crossed together. 
Afterwards, we met up with the boys and went for beers and brats. Now that's a good way to finish a race. Cheers to turning 30.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

An Easter visit

The Monday before Easter weekend, I got a call from my dad asking if we were expecting visitors for the holiday. I said no, and he asked if we'd be up for them coming to visit. Of course!

They hopped on the Amtrak (a new experience for everyone, and it seemed to work out pretty well) and arrived Friday morning ready to go. Thankfully, we had beautiful weather all weekend, so we were able to spend a good amount of time outside.

We started off by exploring a park we'd been meaning to try. And while we arrived too late to check out the carousel and butterfly house like we wanted to, the playground was definitely a winner!
The boys had a ton of fun climbing all over the equipment and sending B up and down the slides, not to mention swinging and wandering around the park.
I LOVE this sequence.
On Sunday, we started the morning with a trip to church, of course. We arrived a bit late, and the sanctuary was already full, so we wound up sitting in the dining hall, where they'd set up a projector and extra seating. We were the only people in there for a while, which was a bit odd, but a few more trickled in, and in the end, it was kind of nice to experience a quiet Easter service.
After a bit of lunch at home, it was off to Forest Park for B's first egg-hunting experience. He loved it!
He caught on to finding the eggs immediately, and we ended up "hiding" them several times in different locations.
Taking a break on Papa's feet
And then it was back to hunting eggs (those eggs won't find themselves, you know)
Heisman Beckett
Hut, hut!
We ended the wonderful weekend with a delicious Easter dinner of ham and scalloped potatoes and then sent Nana and Papa home on the train. We're so glad they could come and can't wait until their next visit.