My big, white dress

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most photo in this post by Power Photography

Happy 2 year anniversary to me…and Tom too!! I found this post in my drafts from… ahem…approximately 2 years ago. In honor of the occasion, I hereby let it see the light of day:

I was so happy how my dress turned out and I am so glad to have chosen the one I did. It was just perfect. As what I usually focus on is the experience of something, I will lead you through some of my dress shopping experience.

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Modesty is very important to me and sometimes wedding dresses are far from pointing toward the virtuous. I know modesty doesn’t always sound too appealing in our culture. It sounds boring and completely unattractive. But, modesty ≠ frumpy and dumpy. I would argue that dressing and behaving modestly (not drawing undue attention to oneself) actually puts things in right order and makes one free-er, helping sever ties with vanity, egoism, and boastfulness, which don’t make anyone happier ultimately because those sins are really just a party of one! Modesty isn’t about being invisible but rather letting others see your beauty & dignity given to you by God.

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I went in to my dress shopping experience knowing what I didn’t want (anything strapless with no additional coverage), which eliminated most of my choices. I found this to be good and bad. It weeded out hundreds of potentially difficult choices but it also left me with a very small pool to choose from.

I tried on a nice range of styles and almost settled on this dress:

David’s Bridal: Vera Wang collection

It looked better in person, especially the back. Also, this dress was not fitted to me so it doesn’t have the most flattering fit…but you get the idea!

I felt quite pretty in this dress. It was big and elegant and had an aesthetic that I LOVED. Vera Wang is a great designer, in my unprofessional opinion. The above dress was pretty warm and I got married at the end of summer…so, that was a big mark against it 🙂 I also was a little concerned about the strapless part. It cut me strangely, I thought. There was one other that I seriously considered but ultimately decided on neither.

What’s a girl to do? Well, I went shopping in a very unlikely place the next day:

I shopped at my parents’ home! We pulled my mom’s 25 year old wedding dress out of its sealed box. Turns out I fit into the dress with the exception of the sleeves and length of the dress. My mom and I had talked about using her dress before. We thought if the sleeves went, it would still look very nice with today’s fashion. Upon looking in the mirror at myself, I decided this was the look I wanted to go with. It was classic, flattering, and I felt grown-up. Plus, there is history there!

Now, I know what you are thinking…those sleeves! They’re perfect…or maybe not. In their own right, they are nice but they obviously date the dress incredibly! They’ve got to go!

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With a few trips to an awesome seamstress, my dress really began to take shape. She made an underskirt to add fullness and length, leaving the original skirt completely intact. The sleeves were removed and used for various other projects on the dress and a little purse. (They were soooo huge and there is STILL material left over!).

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All in all, I am so very pleased I made the decision I did. It was just perfect! Thanks, Mom, for letting me re-purpose your dress!

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I’m back

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Hey there! After a yearlong hiatus, I think I’m going to start filling this space again. Blogging stopped being fun for me quite awhile ago, so I just stopped. I have a full time job and already neglected housework enough to justify something like this blog. I think I had this perfectionist view on this space and just wanted to be a cool blogger like the others I read everyday…but I’ve found out that I don’t have that polish in my tone because I haven’t worked on it and I don’t want to because I also discovered that I don’t care too much about connecting with others online. I got the most enjoyment from this blog when people in my real life would talk to me about it when we would have a face to face conversation. Acquaintances would surprise me by mentioning this or that post from my blog. That was probably the coolest part to me.

So, I think I will just take myself a little less seriously and write about the creative projects that keep me excited about everyday life. And anything else I feel like sharing with the entire World Wide Web.

Crack candy

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20130831-204421.jpgI haven’t figured out exactly why one of the many names for this candy is “crack candy.” Is it because you have to crack the cooled sugar to break it apart, or is it because it has addictive qualities similar to the illegal substance with the same name? Two batches later, my theory is that it’s a bit of both!

My colleagues, students, and I literally sweated it out for the last two weeks with broken a/c at school. Let me tell you, this school was NOT designed to have natural air flow since most of the year it’s cold around here. It needs a/c. Once the students arrived, all their warm bodies made the rooms even more sweltering and near impossible to think, let alone do school work. I’ll end my tale of woe here and just say…”And everyone lived happily ever after” or “Repairs were made and, as of Friday, we have cool air.”

During this time I wanted to make a back to school treat for my department so I tried my hand at this honeycomb/crack candy, and while they turned out great, the experimental candy (recipe here) was not without its uncertainties and snags during this first try. Boiling sugar seems to have this humbling effect on me. I didn’t quite get it fully incorporated before it started hardening on me. Oh well. My coworkers loved them but the candy definitely had to be left in the fridge since it was an inferno in our office.

So to those of you who live their lives by the academic calendar…happy back to school! (Bonne rentrée!) I wish I could offer you some candy, but since my arm doesn’t reach through the computer screen, your take-away from this little post can be to consider the blessing that is air conditioning.

I finally sewed buttons on!

I hate mundane tasks. I hate sewing on buttons. I made an entire dress in less than 4 days, (button holes and all) and take over a week to sew the buttons on. I hate it. I set a goal of sewing 3 buttons on a day (11 total), which quickly changed to 2 a day. The only problem was that I didn’t actually do that everyday 🙂

I made this dress while I was in Montana using my mother-in-law’s machine and assistance.

So here it is: I can finally show you since the buttons were essential to the dress being wearable. As my husband put it, it’s really just a nice smock until you can button in.

 

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Cornflake Marshmallow Cookies

20130729-095321.jpgAt the dinner party where we entertained our guests with baby bunnies, I served up a new cookie for dessert and it was A-mazing. They’re Cornflake Marshmallow Cookies. They have a crunch from the cornflakes, peanut butter and chocolate chips, and the marshmallows melt and make the cookie crisp in parts. They kinda taste like salted toffee actually (I’m not sure if “salted toffee” is actually a thing. If salted toffee doesn’t exist, then just imagine what toffee with salt *might* taste like.). I highly recommend them! My only suggestion is that you use the parchment paper like the directions say. Turns out they were serious. I made a second batch the next day (umm…because all of the cookies were eaten by guests…all of them…ahem, anyways…) and I used parchment paper. It worked like a dream. No cookies stuck stubbornly to the pan this time.

I might actually make a third batch this week. I have all the ingredients…so…you know. Why not?

Lately

So, Tom and I have a new neighbor neighbors! What you can’t tell from this blurry, zoomed-in picture is that there are 7-8 teeny baby bunnies nursing right under this mama. They were spotted by some of our dinner guests on Saturday night right outside our window and in front of our garage. Little did we know, we’d be providing this kind of entertainment.20130722-085707.jpg

The babies are only about 3-4 inches I would guess (!) and have started hopping around in the grass that’s pretty much taller than them. Last night I saw a cat (that I’ve never seen here before) and the mama bunny bolted, I didn’t see any of the babies out, but I told Tom if I saw any dead baby bunnies on our sidewalk I might just lose it. I know it’s nature and all, but they’re soo cute! Their ears are less than an inch long!

In other, non-bunny related goings-on these past few days…This was our first weekend back in town after a couple of weekends away. We went for a bike ride both Saturday and Sunday and I’m left wondering why it took me so long to go on the bike path by the river.

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Tom in front of a dam in the Red River

Also, I hate our garage door. It’s cheap and tricky to open if your name isn’t Tom. I went on a bike ride last week (while Tom was at work) and when I finished I wasn’t able to open the stupid door to put my bike back in the garage. So…what’s a girl to do? I didn’t want my bike to get stolen so…

20130722-085732.jpgThere it sat until Tom got home.

Summer Traveling Update

I just got back from visiting family and here’s a little (mostly photographic) update. The highlight of my traveling was definitely being able to spend a week at my husband’s parents’ house. I just love going out there but only make it out a couple of times in a year since we live so far away.

Some of my views from our trip to Montana include:

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Near my in-laws’ house. I just love it out there!

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The last photos are all a part of the seriously wonderful scenic route we took home. Unfortunately our driver got a little confused and this route tagged on an extra 2 hours to our already long trip. Oops! (The views were worth it, btw)

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I am so glad he loves to drive.

My mother-in-law is an awesome quilter and is generously making one for us. We picked out fabric and figured out a design that worked. Tom was actually pretty involved in the process of designing. It was a lot of fun.

My mother-in-law is an awesome quilter and is generously making one for us. We picked out fabric and figured out a design that worked. My husband was actually pretty involved in the process of designing. I’m so excited to see how it turns out!

While Tom was working on the never-ending-truck-restoration-project....

While he was working on the never-ending-truck-restoration-project….

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…I made 2nd breakfast (It’s a thing): French toast coffee cake

While Tom worked on truck stuff, I worked on sewing with assistance from Marie. i'm almost done with this project, but I'm not done sewing on buttons! Imagine that.

While Tom worked on truck stuff, I worked on sewing with assistance from my mother-in-law. i’m almost done with this project, but I’m not done sewing on buttons! Imagine that.

I love Montana. I wanna go back!

I love Montana. I wanna go back!

Rhubarb Soda

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Ok ok, this is the last time I’ll talk about rhubarb until next summer. I’m all out and I think this phase has passed for now. I’ve made rhubarb “jam” and crumble, as well as rhubarb pie, and now I’m showing off my rhubarb soda.

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This is not a timely post whatsoever. I haven’t had a rhubarb soda for at least a month now, but I liked it so much and took pictures of it in its cute mason jar. I couldn’t let the pictures die on my phone!

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I made rhubarb syrup by cooking it with some water and sugar. Eventually you strain the whole thing and use the juice to combine with club soda. It’s really quite simple: Rhubarb syrup + club soda = rhubarb soda

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I also used the leftover mush and put it on toast for breakfast. It tasted great but I won’t punish anyone with a picture of it as it turns a putrid green color…enough to make you want to not eat it. But I did anyways.

It was nice while it lasted. Farewell, Rhubarb! Until next year.

7 Quick Takes : 7/5/13

1. This past weekend we visited Minneapolis/St. Paul (“the cities” according to North Dakotans) for a wedding of a couple of friends. The liturgy was beautiful and it’s so uplifting to witness weddings where the couple truly desires relationship with the Lord and strives to live in right relationship with each other.

Photo 52. We made a weekend of it and went to the zoo. We also went to Ikea and that. was. an. experience. We were very overstimulated and ended up exhausted by the end of it. I was so excited to go initially! No pictures of that.Photo 7 Photo 8Photo 3

Tom's bigger than an ape!

Tom’s bigger than an ape!

3. I’ve noticed a spike in traffic after being linked up to Shutterbean, Joy the Baker, and Fr. Leo Patalinghug via Twitter after linking to/writing about their respective recipes. It’s not something I set out to do but it’s kinda cool.

4. In the craft department: I’ve crocheted another couple of bibs to use up my cotton yarn. I’ve made some peace with my sewing machine and managed to make a pillow for our bed that I’m proud of!

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5. Also, God is so good. I love being catholic. You can be weak with Jesus because he’s gone before us and been as weak as one could be. He gave up his body, let it be broken for us, defeated death by rising again, and wants to dwell in us and does that in a very real way by receiving him in the Eucharist & sacraments of the Church. He wants to mend our broken hearts and make them whole! Praised be Jesus Christ! Now & forever.

6. Along the lines of Jesus being awe-inspiring: An excellent blog post (and blog in general) by the Evangelista (cute name, right?) on forgiveness. It really resonated with me because it’s just real talk. It’s hard to forgive someone because they owe a debt to you. They wronged you and that’s just not ok; it’s not just something that can be swept away. But but but….being a Christian involves forgiving the other specifically because you love Jesus and he asks you to forgive. Huhh, well I know this but I sure don’t think like this all that often.

7. On a more frivolous note, I made this case (finally) for my iPod. I only really use the iPod when I travel and usually stick it in a side pocket of my purse, zipped in, so it doesn’t get scratched. No need now! I made this like I made a case for my dad’s Nook e-reader and my friend’s iPad (no pictures). It’s adapted from this post from last summer.20130703-182105.jpg

Don’t mind my sketchy button hole…

Happy Friday!

Cookbook Project: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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The Cookbook Project is my idea for making one new recipe from each of the cookbooks I already own over the course of a month. I’m really just forcing myself to use up some of the resources I already own, like my cookbooks.  It’s a bit of fun and a bit of a mental de-cluttering project. I have a lot of great material at my fingertips and I want to take advantage of it.

Next up: One Girl Cookies

Obviously, I haven’t given up on rhubarb yet 🙂 I wrote about quick rhubarb sauce/jam and rhubarb crumble and am planning another post still. I actually had everything to make this, which ended up being the deciding factor for picking this recipe. I have definitely overlooked it but it caught my eye this time for…you guessed it: it has rhubarb in the title!

Photo 8The recipes in this cookbook are a little fussy for my caliber of baking, but it’s just so beautifully put together that I can’t help but love it. This pie was a little on the tart side, which is fine by me. The crust had a bit of ginger in it, which I think is the magical ingredient in a great crust. It just adds a little extra flavor to an otherwise bland crust.

I was trying to multitask while make this pie so it was a little underdone. Obviously I was dissappointed but I took it to my church the next day to have after daily Mass and everyone else thought it was good. So much so that I left with only 1 slice left.