Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The End of the Road

This will be my last post on Cape Cod Makeover. This blog has sort of been wandering without a purpose for a while and so I'm bidding adieu to this project that started almost 3 years ago as a way to document our home remodeling process. Thanks for reading!!

DIY Travel Neck Wallet

My sister left this morning for a 3.5 week stint in Peru. I suggested she take summer classes and the girl finds a 6 credit class that takes her to Peru. SMART GIRL. Anyways, the leader of the trip recommended they all get those touristy travel wallet things for around their necks. She asked me to make her one since she wasn't crazy about the blah-ness of the ones available online. Of course I accepted this challenge.

It was a challenge because it required me to make something without instructions. Oh believe me, I scoured the internet, my Google Reader and a bunch of craft blogs to find some sort of tutorial but came up empty handed. So I improvised.

And you know what, it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.

I don't have a picture of it. I gave it to her Monday night and forgot to take a picture so if she sends me one, i'll post it. I based it off the Rick Steves wallet:


I made it out of this material that she picked out from my stash:


I repurposed a neck cord from an old conference name badge that had a self adjuster thing on it so two zippers were all I needed to buy. I'm working on developing a tutorial for it in case you want to make your own.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DIY Road Trip

This week is travel week on my blog! As we prepare for Schlotty Road Trip 3, I am going to kick off travel week with our tried and true tips in case you ever venture off in your car and do your own road trip (is anyone else out there as crazy as us?!).

Did you do road trips as a kid? My parents certainly took us on them and so did Nate's. My mom was telling me funny stories of the road trip my grandparents took them all on out west. It really made me even more excited for our upcoming trip.

Schlotty's Suggestions
Planning
1. Get your car checked out pre-trip. We usually get an oil change and have everything looked over before embarking. The place that does our oil changes usually does this anyways, regardless if we are going on a trip or not.

2. Join AAA. We are members of AAA for the discount we get on car insurance and also for the free towing in case we need it, which we have called into use three times in the past three years (never on road trips, however). The nice thing about AAA is that you also get free access to maps and travel guides which are nice to have. We usually also get a Trip Tik of our trip so we have some heads up for construction. Last year, I gave Nate a Garmin Nuvi for his birthday. We definitely bring this along on road trips, but sometimes, you need to rely on a good old fashioned map in the event of detours, etc. The Garmin does come in handy for food, restroom and gas stops though.

3. Make sure you have your license, registration, car insurance and AAA cards in your glove compartment. Thankfully, we have never had to summon these documents while on a road trip (knock on wood!) but good to have just in case.

4. Are you going to run into any tolls? Make sure you have change and or case to cover. Luckily, we have an Ipass that works in a lot of states outside of Chicago, IL. We were able to use that on our entire roadtrip to Cleveland last year and most of our trip this year.

5. Plan your driving time with traffic in mind, particularly if you are going to go through any large cities. Given that we depart from Milwaukee, we usually always have to consider Chicago traffic which means we generally try to leave for trips after work during the middle of a week so that traffic is light by the time we get to Chicago. Doing this means that we usually stay in some off the highway hotel the first night and we never reserve this in advance since we don't know how much driving we will feel like doing. This also works well because then we will make it to our destination midday on the second day and actually feel like doing things rather than being tired from spending a whole bunch of time in the car.

6. We generally try to pick a handful of destinations that we want to stay at while road tripping, find and reserve hotels there. Some people would like to be more spontaneous - we are not those people. Using our current trip as an example, we knew we wanted to see Asheville and Charleston and then go to the beach. Myrtle Beach was not our first choice, but it was the closest so we chose that. For hotels, we search Trip Advisor, websites and sometimes have magazine recommendations. We found our hotel in Charleston after it was written up in some Charleston on a Budget article in Southern Living. Generally, we try to pick one "splurge hotel" to stay in and live it up. This trip, I would classify two of the three hotels we are staying in as splurge hotels because we got great deals. Your AAA card will come in handy here too - a TON of hotels offer a AAA discount.

7. As far as planning the days, we're planners, but not to the extreme. Outside of the hotels, we don't really plan any of the days. We have a list of things we would like to see in each place and then see what we feel like doing each day. Since Nate drives most of the time, my "job" is to comb through the guidebooks and make this list.

What to do in the car...
I have perfected things to do in the car. Nate really enjoys driving and I do not so he does the majority of the driving.
1. SNACKS! Pack snacks. My mom always brought Twizzlers along on our road trips as kids and I still get a family bag of that for ours.

2. Ipod with car adapter. Road trips are a great way to catch up on all of those podcasts! It is also fun to create some mixes for the drive which you can sing at the top of your lungs.

3. Hand held solitaire. My own personal vice. Nate bought me the light up version before our first road trip so I can continue to play when it gets dark outside.

4. Travel journal. We started a travel journal on our honeymoon and continue entries in it for all of our trips. The journal is a good idea on road trips because it gives you something to do while riding. And when you can't remember what that goofy billboard in Oklahoma said three years after your trip, you can alwasy refer back to the travel journal. :)

5. Books, magazines. I usually bring 2-3 books along and save my magazines for a while to bring along. I'll also bring my knitting along.

6. State signs. We did this as kids - stop at the sign welcoming you to each state and take a picture. If the sign is located along the highway (thereby preventing you from stopping) we try to take an action shot as we drive by.

7. Sleep - bring a pillow.

8. I did borrow a personal DVD player once. I hardly used it so I no longer bring that.

9. Crossword puzzles. We are big fans and something we can do jointly.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Want Free Samples?

In graduate school, a bunch of us signed up to be BZZ Agents. What is a bzz agent? Basically, you get sent "campaigns" which are products to try. For a free sample/free stuff junkie like myself, this is wonderful! You also get free samples to pass out among your friends to "spread the word" about the product. I also signed up to be a She Speaks member at some point, which is essentially the same thing but tailored to women.

The thing about these things (BzzAgent, SheSpeaks) is that they ebb and flow. I don't remember the last time I had a campaign and recently I have gotten THREE shipments! So if you want the latest and greatest Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo and Conditioner samples or Hawaiian Tropic Creme Lotion SPF 50 samples leave me a comment with how to contact you (if I don't already know you personally) and I will send them off. I think I have 4 or 5 samples of each.

BOI-NGGGG! Very Excited that Friday has Arrived!

Woohoo! Another Friday! Things are looking good even if it is rainy here in good ol' MKE. I'm in a great mood because:

1) Vacation time is almost here! One last roadtrip as Mr & Mrs before Baby Schlotty arrives - We're headed to Asheville, NC; Charleston, SC & Myrtle Beach, SC. I always get excited about vacation, who doesn't?

2) I had a great prenatal massage last night. Nate got this for me as a mother's day present. A woman rents out a space in this chiropractic office in our 'hood so I was even able to walk to it. It was amazing!

3) I got an email that 1154 Lill fixed my bag and that it is shipping out today so I should have it in time for vacation! Hey if I have to look like a whale in a swimsuit, at least I'll have a cute bag. Despite this messing around with this bag, which is annoying, I'm thinking about having my own purse party this summer. MKE peeps, will you come? (HB, You don't have to answer, I already know you're obsessed :) )

4)I've been up since 4 AM. Yeah that sucks, but I was able to sneak a few Mad Men episodes in before work. A little Don Draper to start your day - anyone would be in a good mood after that, right?!

5) I'm about to embark on a new craft this weekend. Refinishing furniture. Getting knocked up just makes all of these opportunities to cross off those "someday I want to learn to {insert hobby here}" things. I crossed upholstery off the list and now refinishing furniture. What am I refinishing? A high chair! I really wanted one of those old school wooden high chairs for our dining room. Well guess what - they don't really sell those at Target or Babies R Us. There was one wood high chair in the lot and we didn't like it. So I told my mom to keep her eyes peeled. She peeled them and found one at Goodwill for the bargain price of $20!! However, the stain color is a bit too light - of course I want it to match our dining room table. So tomorrow whilst my hubby is being a pro-fisherman for the day; my mom and I are refinishing the high chair. Don't worry - I have a gas mask (Thanks HB!).

6) Where is all my energy coming from this morning? Easy - i put chocolate chips in my oatmeal ;) Perhaps that's why this baby is extra kicky this AM.

Have a chocolate chips in your oatmeal kind of day!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What to do with Rhubarb?


My MIL gave me a bunch of rhubarb. I have never made anything with rhubarb but have eaten plenty and have always really liked it. Any good rhubarb recipes you may have are greatly appreciated!!!

Photo Source

You Are My Sunshine


I have gotten some emails and a comment about the You Are My Sunshine sign from Nursery of the Day. Isn't it just awesome?! The post said it was from Sugarboo Designs. I emailed them to find out where i could buy it and they sent me a link to their shop since we didn't have a store nearby that carried them.

In the meantime, I just googled "you are my sunshine sugarboo" and found three places online that carry them if you are interested.

Chasing Fireflies
Twinkle Twinkle Little One

$280-$300 is a bit out of my price range. I'm tempted to find an old piece of wood and stencil it myself.

Photo Source: Blueprint Bliss

Nursery of the Day

We have taken a bit of a hiatus from working on Baby Schlotty's nursery. Essentially it is done - things left of the to do list are cosmetic (aka more DIY). However, I still love seeing other people's ideas, particulary those that would work for either gender. Enter Baby C's nursery:


I am IN LOVE with this sign.


More pictures here.

Photo Source: Blueprint Bliss blog

Monday, May 17, 2010

Baby Bump Love

The baby bump is growing day by day, it seems. Everyone is giving Baby Schlotty some love lately, including my 4-year old niece, who fist bumped him/her.

I actually don't mind when people touch my stomach. I thought I would, but it's fun to see people get so excited about it. Most people actually are really hesitant and ask before rubbing. It's only the rando people that I don't know that just grab it, and even then I don't mind. Maybe it will get old in the next 15 weeks. Yep - 15 weeks left. I cannot wait!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Babies!

Ok, it's probably just because I'm knocked up but I really want to see this Babies movie. Here is the NY Times review

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Minor Whining

1. I was so excited to come home from the ATL to find that my 1154 Lill Bag had arrived. However, upon opening it I discovered that they messed up the fabric on the handles. It was correct on my invoice from the party so I'm not sure what happened. They had great customer service and are fixing it but I have to wait more time to get it. Boo! I also am a tad annoyed that the bag I ordered in April is now 15% off in May. Does it count that I won't be getting the bag until May?!

2. I generally try to get books from the library and usually only buy books secondhand or if I have a gift card. Swaptree has been very good to me as well. However, my book club book for May was not coming in at the library so I sucked it up and purchased it Thursday night in preparation for my flight last weekend. Guess what came on Monday? A notice from the library that the book had come in. {Eye roll}

3. I don't know if Baby Schlotty is laying weird or what but I have had this back pain in the middle of my back, right side since Sunday and it is starting to drive me crazy. Unfortunately it seems to get worse when sitting for long periods of time - not exactly helpful when my entire job requires me to sit in front of a computer all day. Not even my Herman Miller chair is helping out. Nate-O is being amazing and rubbing my back every night but I would rather just have it go away!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Quilt in Four Days (Subtitle: How I almost Lost My Mind)

I spent the weekend in the ATL. My friend MB is also due in August and her baby shower was on Saturday. I have known about the date of this baby shower since March...maybe even February. When did I decide to buckle down and make something for it? OH, Friday April 30. Knowing that we were going to go away for the weekend and that I would really only have 4 nights to work on it. Why i do these things to myself, I don't know.

So Friday night I buckled down and started cutting pieces out for a zig zag quilt. I picked this for MB & her husband because they had recently sent me pictures of their nursery and it had horizontal stripes. I also have been wanting to make a zig zag quilt for someone!

I used this tutorial. Anna Maria Horner also has a free tutorial for one on her website. I decided to not use the AMH one because the other one was cutting out squares, which is much easier than using a pattern to cut out triangles. The tutorial I used assumes you bought the quilt package that the blogger sells on etsy, which I also did not do, so I had to translate her instructions for materials, etc into my own materials. So "orange octopus" became "Fabric A". If you wanted to also use the same tutorial for your zig zag quilt, you need about 1/2 yard (probably less) of 8 different fabrics. Then do the following:

Cut 20- 5" squares each out of Fabrics A, B, C.
Cut 10 - 5" squares out of Fabrics D, E, F.
Cut 15 - 5" squares out of Fabrics G & H.

You will have cut 120 5" squares at this point. It is helpful if you use post-it notes with the fabric letter on them for each of the eight piles - i.e. marking which is Fabric A vs. Fabric B.

Next you will make 5 pairs of squares in each of the following 12 combinations by taking one square from each of the fabric piles and pinning them right sides together.

1. Fabric G + Fabric A
2. Fabric A + Fabric C
3. C + H
4. H + D
5. D + B
6. B + G
7. G + E
8. E + C
9. C + B
10. B + A
11. A + F
12. F + H

Now you can pick up the tutorial with more ease. After I got all the rows laid out, it was also easy to use post-its to mark Row 1, Row 2...Row 12 so that I wouldn't sew it together wrong.

So Night 1 I finished cutting out all of the squares, sewing the squares together, cutting them into triangles and sewing the twelve rows of squares together.

Night 2 I sewed all of the rows together to finish the quilt top! Quilting is definitely an art form - if you mess something up cutting - it only multiplies further on down the process. I found this out while sewing the quilt top. If you look very closely on the top, you can see that my seams do not line up. Rookie mistake. The nice thing about the zig zag is that you can sort of fake this - it still looks good even if they don't line up.

Night 3 I cut the batting and the back of the quilt and lined them all up and pinned it using some cloth diaper pins we had. Then I had to hand tie the quilt. I will admit that this is not what I wanted to do. I wanted to machine quilt along the vertical and horizontal seams. BUT since my seams didn't line up, it looked like total crap. I got one vertical line done and started crying. Enter my husband with the seam ripper. I made an emergency call to my mom who said that of course I could hand tie it. Thankfully HC stopped at Jo-Ann fabrics after our prenatal yoga class so I could get materials to hand tie. This basically requires you to thread a needle with some sort of string (I used 6 threads of embroidery floss) and go into the top of the quilt and come up from the bottom right where you first put your needle and tie the two strings into a knot. I have had lots of practice at this since my mom would make us do this part of quilting with her when we were kids. I was able to finish the hand tying in one night in front of the television.

Night 4. I save the binding for the last night and I didn't read the instructions for the binding until the last night. I used Heather Bailey's tutorial. Now, I know I'm a rookie at this quilt thing but I thought these instructions were not good at all. It could be that I was under pressure to finish this and therefore was not thinking clearly but I think I'm relatively smart. I still ended up having to rip out like 10 seams in the process of trying to close my binding (Steps I-J). Finally I figured it out and finished attaching the binding. Then I read Step L which mentioned hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt. What?! It was already 9:30 PM. I was fading fast. I would be up all night if I hand stitched this beast. So I cheated and machine sewed. My mom made me feel better and said that that decision might be a good one so that it holds up in the wash better. (Thanks Mom!)

So here is the finished product. I did the binding and the back the same as one of the zig zags. I think that I had 3 yards of this material to begin with and I maybe have 1/2 - 3/4 yard left after doing 20 squares, the binding and back.







Materials needed:

Thread - I used white thread to sew everything together and a navy thread to sew the binding since the navy thread is the only thread you would see.
If you are going to hand tie it, this took 2 skeins of embroidery floss in a coordinating color.
1/2 yard of 8 different coordinating fabrics. 1/2 yard is PLENTY. If you like to be exact about the amount of material, you can figure it out. The fabrics I used were: Tres Belle Shell Blue (from fabric.com), Morningstar Bouquet Ecru (from fabric.com), Amy Butler August Fields Knot Garden Slate, Amy Butler Midwest Modern Honeycomb Blue, Anna Maria Horner Dance Party in Teal, Michael Miller's Spring Petal Party and two green ones from ReproDepot.com that are no longer avaiable.
About 2 yards for the back and binding if you decide to make them in the same color. My back and binding were the Tres Belle Shell Blue.

So that is a quilt in 4 nights. I don't recommend doing this - save yourself more time and you will save some sanity (and some f-bombs). It was all worth it though when i saw how awesome it looked in their nursery!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wait...It's Friday?!

I am shocked that it is FRIDAY. I have had quite the busy week.

First off, I am thrilled to say that I survived my second semester moonlighting as a professor. Final exam was Tuesday night and Grades were submitted Thursday morning. PHEW! I am relieved that that is over and that I have a hiatus for a while. I took the fall semester off and told them to contact me for Spring 2011 if they were interested in keeping me on, but we'll see how it goes. A lot is going to happen between now and January!

My FIL and I took a road trip on Wednesday. It was a fun time. He even packed a bag of snacks (Red Vines! MIL's Caramel Corn!) for me and Baby Schlotty. If ever a FIL was excited about the arrival of a granchild, my FIL is it. It is very fun when people are as excited as you are to have a baby!

I finished reading Sophie's Choice. Very well-written, but I guessed what the "choice" was long before it was revealed. Lots of context clues. I wasn't as distraught about this book as people told me I would be. I didn't even cry. Maybe because I was expecting it given all the looks I got while reading it. I'm interested in seeing the movie adaptation.

The remainder of my non-work time was spent crafting. I took a plunge last Friday night and started a project for MB's baby shower tomorrow in the ATL. I finished it at 10:30 last night. Phew. Just in the nick of time. I'll discuss more details with photos next week when I return. My flight leaves this afternoon - I'm excited to see the ATL crew. I'll be back home Sunday night, just in time for the Amazing Race Finale!

Here are a couple recent photos:

Me sprinting towards the finish at the 5K I did last week - 23:52!


Toni & Me playing Don't Break the Ice. Lord I need a haircut.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Time flies - Toni's Four!

Since I am headed to the ATL this weekend for a visit, on the way home from Appleton, we stopped by my mom's to take her out for an early Mother's Day lunch and drop off a little gift. We were in luck - my brother and niece were around to go with us. My niece just turned 4 last weekend so we also gave her her birthday gifts - Don't Break the Ice (which came with 3 tubs of free play-doh!), a Princess and The Frog card game that my MIL scored for free on the Disney Cruise, and this book which was illustrated by my friend, JT. Holy games. This girl loves games so we had to play about eight rounds of Don't Break the Ice and eight rounds of Princess and the Frog before she would let us leave. And of course she is already on the countdown to her 5th birthday. She definitely is related to me! ha ha ha

Here is a picture my mom snapped of Toni waiting for us under my mom's tree. It's my current favorite pic of her. She is holding some flowers that she picked for me off my mom's plant, much to my mom's chagrin.

Appleton

This weekend was our vacation to Appleton. We were joking all week about going on "vacation" two hours away from home, but it really did feel like a vacation. Saturday morning I did the Foster Care 5K and we left for Appleton after that. Nate had won a free stay at the Settle Inn from a golf tournament last summer. The hotel was nice - pretty standard but clean and in a nice location. We shopped downtown Appleton, ate lunch at a good gyro/kabob place aptly named "Gyros Kabob" and then even braved the mall. We had dinner in downtown Neenah at Cy's Asian Bistro. It was VERY good. We got in some pool time and watched a movie (Taken) on HBO before heading to bed.

Sunday morning we did some more shopping in the area - I got Birkenstocks. Sign me up for the mom club, ladies and gentlemen. Nate wanted to go to the store since he thought there might be some good deals. He told me I should try a pair on. My feet were really sore over the weekend and I put the shoe on and I was like, "SOLD". I think this may have been some ulterior motive of his since he was probably sick of me complaining about my feet and giving me foot rubs. As I have mentioned before, I'm not usually one to buy shoes for comfort. The shoes I got were a blue/grey color and on sale for $49.99! The style is pictured below, but they color is not as shiny looking.


I immediately changed into them in the car. AHHHH. You know what else has been coming in handy lately? My Yoga Toes. My MIL got me these for Christmas after they were recommended to me by both a friend and a co-worker for bunion issues. If anyone is looking for something to get a pregnant friend, Yoga Toes are the answer. I might just start bringing them to work. (I have heard that the faux Yoga Toes suck and that you do have to get the "real" ones.)

Recipes of the Week

Some recently tried EASY recipes for you.

Breakfast Quinoa
From: Martha Stewart 2010 February issue
(I cut this in half for one serving for myself.)

2 cups milk
1 cup quinoa
3 TB brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
fresh blueberries

Heat milk on stove. When boiling, add quinoa and stir. Cover and simmer until all liquid is absorbed. Add brown sugar and cinnamon and berries. Eat.

I am now obssessed with eating this for breakfast!

Penzey's Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
From: Penzey's Spices catalog
1 turkey breast (6-7 lbs)
1 cup apple cider
1 TB paprika
1 TB poultry seasoning
salt & pepper

Wash & dry turkey breast and place in slow cooker. Pour cider in slow cooker. Mix spices and rub over top of turkey breast. Set slow cooker on "LOW" and cook for 4-5 hours until turkey is done. If you're into gravy, you can use the juices to make gravy.