Late Night Nikon D40 Action

Our sister-in-law Mindy recently bought a Nikon D40 digital camera that makes life just that much better. When we went camping last weekend we got to play around with it a bit and have fallen in love. We can't spring for it right now, but luckily Ted's work place needed a new camera for the magazine photos. He somehow convinced them that the Nikon D40 was the camera they needed. Which means he also needs to learn how to use it. Which also means that I get to learn how to use it.

It's very late right now and we just got done tag teaming our wedding invitations. There are a few more bits and pieces to finish, but the majority is done. The sight of our invitations basking in the glow of my office lamp made me feel all warm and fuzzy and called for a Nikon moment:

I'm so looking forward to October...


The sewing extravaganza continues...

Apparently it's a sickness. I found another online tutorial for a "twirly skirt," and also ran across some fabric on sale while I was out today. The result is another cute little skirt for Bella with a matching top. I bought the little tank top and appliqued the letter B on, which I made from the same material as the skirt. My zig zag stitching needs some improvement, but overall I think it came out well and will serve her summer romping clothes needs!

A wee skirt for Bella

I'm still on my sewing kick and am really enjoying venturing into clothing. I followed an online tutorial and made a sweet little tiered skirt for Belle. Shipped it out today...hope it fits her! The nice thing about it, however, is that if it doesn't fit my mom can just take in the elastic in the waist a bit. So excited to see it on her!


No Large Financial Losses or Personal Injury!

Our camping trip with Teague and Mindy was a success! It was gorgeous weather without a cloud in the sky. We didn't even bother setting up the canopy as we could tell it wasn't going to even think about raining. Needless to say, our camping gear survived this trip without problems. Teague and Mindy arrived in the early evening Friday and set up camp. Ted and I rolled in around 11:30 that night and we all sat around the campfire catching up. Saturday brought an excursion to the local flea market, which was a riot. We all found some wonderful treasures to pack into our cars and take home. We spent the rest of Saturday hanging around the campfire talking and grilling. Thanks to Teague and Mindy for picking up some Snappy Grillers, our favorite camping food from Syracuse! We even got to bring a package home and let the deliciousness continue!

We stayed at the Harper's Ferry KOA in Harper's Ferry, WV, which turned out to be pretty much exactly half-way for each of us. As Ted and I pulled in our driveway tonight I called Teaguer up and they were just pulling into Canastota. It was a really nice campground (though expensive as far as camping goes) and was the perfect meet-up spot. And you really can't beat the flea market. I think it was the best one I've ever been to. At any rate, if any of you New Yorkers ever want to meet up for a weekend camping trip with us, this is the place to do it!

Some pictures from the weekend:

Ted dons an early birthday present from my parents

Eilis and Ted make faces for no particular reason

Teague and Mindy at the flea market

Teddy and Teague check out "the coolest toy gun ever."

The Crew.

A few of our fabulous flea market finds:


Take Two.

We're going camping this weekend with Teague and Mindy. We're not hitting the beach, so I'm hoping we won't run into any hurricane winds. Ted and I got a canopy, so we'll see if it gets destroyed moments after setting it up or not. Poor Paul and Stephanie still have not replaced theirs, nor do they have any plans for beach camping anytime soon!

We've got the camera and camcorder packed and ready to capture the weekend--will update upon our return!


The Sewing Fool!

I've been a woman obsessed this weekend. I made a special gift for my sister and then started in on a halter top for myself. This was my first attempt at clothing as well as a few other firsts (installing a zipper, for instance). It went pretty well minus a few blips and mishaps here and there. The shirt is definitely wearable, and wear it I will. I can't believe I just made my own top. So cool.


For the Kids.

Here's a couple of presents I made last night. I've had this adorable pink bike material for ages and have been dying to make something out of it. I found a great tutorial at Angry Chicken a couple of weeks ago on how to make your own little applique patches with cute fabric, so I gave it a shot. Too cute! This is for my new niece Bryn, due at the end of August.

I've also been dying to make some stuffed animals. I made a small bunny for Carrie's baby Addison after she was born, and it was cute but lopsided. I made up this owl on my own and I love him! He's rough around the edges, but it was my first time working with fleece. I had a riot making him though! My other niece Bella will soon be the proud owner of Duncan, the owl.


Just Because I Can.

Our favorite comedian Brian Regan has a new special on Comedy Central (that we can't watch because we don't have cable...silly wedding). We love him. You will too. I'm all about putting videos in my posts lately. Good times.


Apparently Hurricane Season Has Arrived.

We drove the 3 hours to the beach with Paul and Stephanie yesterday and were having a lovely time. It was crazy hot and we set up our campsite and had enjoyed frolicking in the surf together. We were enjoying ourselves immensely:

I even took some video documenting how cool it was to camp on a beach:

Ted and I started to hear some thunder in the distance, and there was a chance of rain in the forecast, so we quickly set up our tent and put our things away to keep them dry. Stephanie and Paul returned and we got everything covered and ready for some rain, which came quickly:

Literally minutes after the above video was shot, the wind picked up like nothing we've ever seen before. We first noticed the tarp coming off of the top of the Jeep, so Paul ran over to secure it down. In an instant the wind was blowing even harder and our canopy started to COLLAPSE and blow away. Stephaine, Ted and I jumped up and grabbed hold of it as the wind picked up even more. We could feel the metal crumpling as we held on with all of our might. I remember looking over at our tent, which was staked down a few feet away. It seemed stable. The wind picked up even more and I felt as though I might be pulled into the ocean with the canopy, which was completely imploding at this point. The next thing I saw was Ted and Stephanie running after our TENT, which was tumbling into the ocean (full of all of our stuff) like tumbleweed in a tornado. It was mass hysteria. All the while it was torrential downpour as well and we were all getting soaked to the bone. Luckily it didn't last long, but after approximately 10 minutes of this, our campsite was completely demolished and a few pieces of key camping gear completely destroyed.

With our site destroyed and our spirits a bit dashed, we decided that the best thing to do would be to pack it in. We might have reconstructed and persevered through the night if all of our clothes and sleeping gear weren't drenched. None of us felt like freezing all night, and we had no idea if wind like that was going to occur again. So we quickly loaded the Jeep back up and headed home, with quite a camping story to tell!

Ted demonstrates what the wind was like


Not Really About The House.

It sort of started off that way though. I was browsing Repro Depo for some cool new fabric. I came across this, which I thought was really cute:

Until I looked closer and realized that the racoon appears to be on fire. I immediately sent it off to Bek and Ted to confirm the weirdness. They in turn pointed out that not only does he appear to be on fire, he is also dead and bound in front of the house and drowning in water. Ted got on the case quickly and found that the fabric is based on a whacked out Japanese fairy tale about a "racoon dog" Tanuki that terroizes a man and his wife and is eventually tortured by the rabbit that is depicted. You can read all about it here.

So then Bek started talking about a character called "Gloomy Bear" which her friend who is living in Japan had told her about. I found some more information about it here. We've now been passing emails back and forth all afternoon about how crazy these characters are and making jokes about pimping out our babies nurseries in this stuff. I was cracking up over this whole Gloomy Bear character, so I did some more research and found this GEM over here. Go ahead, click on it! I know this post has been full of links and you might be tired of it, but FOR REAL. You've gotta see this.

Here's another good one Ted found. Watch it for a few seconds...

You can read more and see a few more links at Bek's site too.

Anyone know of any other crazy fairy tales or toys that are this violent? I mean, I know the old school fairy tales always had some strange violence in them (Hansel and Gretel is one of the best), but this Japanese one is CRAZY.

Anyway, it's been a MOST productive day, as you can see!


Weekend Events

We had a great weekend! We were invited to a BBQ at our neighbor's house on Friday night. There were 4 other young couples there and we had an absolute riot! We couldn't believe it when we looked at the clock and it was 11:30...it was sad to see the party break up. We met some great people and hope to get together with them again soon.

We've actually become fairly good friends with our neighbors Paul and Stephanie. They came with us to see a free concert in Raleigh on Saturday night and we had a great time. We have plans to go camping at the beach with them next weekend which should be a blast. It's fun to finally have some other couples our age to hang out with!

We spent some time in the yard Saturday afternoon. We've made a little more progress with the grass, but still have some patches. Ugh. It's rained a lot today, so we're hoping that helps things along a bit as well. I hooked up my little gnome sprinkler finally. I've had it for years, but have never hooked it up to a hose. I was pleased to see it works...so cute!

Click on the photo to see a larger view of the lawn progress

The gnome sprinkler!

Ted gets busy in the dust bowl...

And now for the gratuitous cat photos:

When we returned from Philly we found that Morty had developed an addiction. We are planning an intervention.


We're Not in Kansas Anymore...

Well, we're not in Upstate New York anymore, that's for sure. Yes, I've heard about ticks. Deer ticks to be exact. Where we come from a tick bite equals Lyme Disease. I've never seen a tick. I've never known anyone who's seen a tick. Mosquitos? Billions. Garden Snakes? Yup. Bees, wasps, hornets? Check, check, check. A tick? HELL NO. I've seen fleas...and in my mind a tick would look something like a flea. I didn't do much research on what they look like because I planned on never ever encountering them. It's just not something we New Yorkers worry about. Unless you are a hunter or something, which I am not.

Down here in North Carolina? They talk about "tick season." They had a big newspaper spread about protecting yourself from ticks. We're supposed to check ourselves for ticks EVERY TIME WE COME INSIDE FROM OUTDOORS. When Ted showed me the article I gagged a little bit just thinking about the possiblity of a tick being anywhere near me. They warn about tall grass in fields and walking in the woods with shorts, etc. Gross.

Last night we took the cats out in the backyard for a few minutes to enjoy the last of the sunshine for the day. Morty was in his glory rolling around and chasing grasshoppers. Ethel kept busy trying to eat grass. Ted had to chase Morty up the hill in the back yard and physically remove him from it--he was having a ball. We went inside and had dinner and did our normal "hanging out in the evening" routine. As I brushed my teeth last night I heard Teddy crawl into bed. I then heard the covers fly off quickly and his footsteps across the room.

"Weazie?" he asked with concern in his voice. "Do I have a tick on me?"

I grabbed my glasses and made some sort of gasping groaning noise. He lifted his undershirt, and there it was. A tick. I'm barfing as I type this. I shudder just thinking about it. This thing was ginormous and ugly and not anything I ever thought I would see in my lifetime:

Should we name him Fred?

I grabbed the tweezers while choking back screams and quickly pulled him off of Ted. He looked, as they say, "engorged," so I think he'd been suckling at poor Teddy for a few hours at least. We gagged and sputtered and shuddered as we threw him in the toilet and tried to figure out how our lives had led us to a place where ticks exist and will ATTACH TO YOU AND EAT YOUR BLOOD. Gah! We flushed the little bastard and stood there looking at each other with wide eyes for a few minutes. We then ran to the internet to find out how long Ted has left to live.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most severe and most frequently reported rickettsial illness in the United States. It also occurs in Mexico and in Central and South America. The disease is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii, a species of bacteria that is spread to humans by ixodid (hard) ticks. Initial signs and symptoms of the disease include sudden onset of fever, headache, and muscle pain, followed by development of rash. The disease can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, and without prompt and appropriate treatment it can be fatal.

Characteristic rash of late-stage Rocky Mountain spotted fever on legs of a patient, ca. 1946
(photo provided courtesy of Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH, Hamilton, Montana)

We read that the onset of symptoms can be anywhere within 3-5 days of the tick bite. We studied the list of symptoms and Teddy immediately began to feel a fever coming on. I had nausea.

After we changed the sheets and got into bed, we both just sort of laid there trying not to think about it but not being able to do anything BUT think about it. I was itching all over. Ted was counting down the hours until he would get full blown RMSF. We finally fell asleep but woke up groggy and exhausted.

As we dressed for work this morning, Ted pulled a shirt out of the closet and exclaimed "Only 5 more days until I become violently ill!"