Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Welcome to our

Not that we have guests that often/ ever but I thought it would be nice to provide our wifi network and password during the few times that we do. I love how easy QR codes are - snap a picture with your smart phone and you are automatically connected to whatever the QR creator intended you to be connected to. I've had this idea of cross stitching a QR code planned out for a while and even had the pattern almost entirely complete for near 6 months. I am proud to say, I have finally completed this one of a kind cross stitch project.

I started with a basic QR code generator where I could customize the link however I wanted. Once that was complete and downloaded, I got to planning out the pattern using an Excel spreadsheet. I do not take complete ownership for the border, though I did customize it a bit to fit my needs. Making the pattern was fairly simple and, since I wanted to the QR code to be large enough to be recognized on a phone, I stitched 4 squares for every 1 square of code. After my pattern was printed, it was just a simple matter of stitching it like anything else. It took me several evenings to complete the stitching but once it was done, I was so proud of how it all turned out and it fit so nicely with my goodwill-found picture frame.

I've had an empty space where this would one day go ever since we moved into our new place. Now, the hole is filled and I can check off another week of goal #6. Until next time, live long and prosper!


Saturday, January 17, 2015

New year pt.2

Welcome back! I told you this would be all ready for your reading pleasure. Returning back to the remainder of my 23 by 24 goal list. Here is my progress on goals 12-23:

12. Find a home church to attend - This one brought me a lot of anxiety but I also felt it was very important. We attended one church a few times but it was much too big and I'm not a huge fan of the "write-a-check" kind of churches. Thankfully, my amazing friend B suggested we visit another Quaker church near by together one Sunday. J and I loved it right away! Now that the business of the holidays is over, we were able to attend last week and plan on making it a weekly outing.

13. Travel somewhere I've never been - This was another one that I wasn't sure we would be successful with but, my goodness, we were. If you click here, you will see that we finally visited Crater Lake. Not only that but this winter we decided to drive to my parents' house in Arkansas so it was our first time visiting Texas and Oklahoma as well (and J's first time in Arizona/Grand Canyon and New Mexico)

14. Say something positive everyday - I'll admit that I haven't been successful doing this everyday and this goal has somewhat transformed to be writing down something I'm grateful for everyday. Though there have definitely been those difficult days, I am able to look back and remember the happy things in my life.

15. Learn to accept the things I can't change and strength to change the things I can - 
16. Photo-a-day - Well, if you follow me on instagram you'll know that I haven't been so great at this one either. However, I do take at least one photo everyday, some just don't fit the photo-a-day prompt or aren't fit for public eyes. I feel good about the progress I've made on this one.

17. Transfer all pictures and music to external hard drive - Progress has been made on this one, though I don't own an external hard drive yet. Also, I'm considering turning this goal into putting all those lovely photos into photo books (at least one for our college years, one for my month abroad, and one started with photos of the last year) so we can actually enjoy them.

18. Donate 5x - I knew when I wrote this one down that I wouldn't be able to donate blood 5x, which was my original plan. Turns out I can't donate this year at all because my iron was crazy low - like the iron stores value was 5 when it should be 50-200 and the iron level was at 21 when it should be 30-160 (it takes 3-6 months to raise the iron stores). I'm hoping to do some major spring cleaning and donate a car load to goodwill but I'm afraid this goal may not be met.

19. Finish an entire puzzle book - A silly goal, I know, but its going quite well. I actually have this nifty puzzle app called CrossMe that has 764 nonogram puzzles. I have done a bunch but if I complete all of them, I would be so stoked. If you're looking for a good puzzle to tackle, check out nonograms!

20. Write a letter to myself to read when I turn 30 - ...0 progress has been made on this. I don't know what else to say... Does it count if I at least skimmed over pinterest for ideas?

Testing out a tattoo idea with some henna
21. Get tattoos touch up and/or redone - With money tight, I  don't know if this goal will be met but I have made some progress in what I want done. I may also have another tattoo lined up. I'm thinking of making a collage of images that each represent a family member, in the shape of a heart, to cover up my shoulder one (I love the tattoo but it was poorly done). For the one on my ankle, I just need the spelling corrected. And the new one will be an assembly of geeky things that have brought joy and encouragement to my life. I really want to include the quote: "But in the end it's only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it'll shine out the clearer... there's some good in the world and it's worth fighting for" (Sam, The Twin Towers). I'm thinking I would also want a silhouette of either Enterprise or Voyager (though I am leaning more towards Voyager), a sketch of the light post from Narnia, and the words "Not Today" (Arya, A Song of Ice and Fire). Yes, its a lot, that's why I'm struggling with how to make it into one cohesive piece.

22. Be seen on tv - I wrote this one knowing that we would be going to WWE RAW in Portland. If you watch the episode, there is the quickest flash of us which was just enough for me to say success! It was a great time to together and J was so excited.
We celebrated Hulk Hogan's birthday with the WWE Universe
Curled up on a sunny with book #1

23. Read 10 books -  I honestly thought this one would be really hard to accomplish but riding the max almost everyday, reading is the best way to pass the time. Now with 8 books complete, I'm feeling pretty good about this goal. Those books, in order of completion, are:
#1 The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
#2 The Horse and His Boy (one of my favorites)
#3 Prince Caspian
#4 Voyage of the Dawn Treader
#5 A Game of Thrones (read out loud between J and I)
#6 The Hobbit (completed before the final movie)
#7 Bossypants (audiobook)
#8 Silver Chair
and no doubt #9 and #10 will be The Last Battle and Clash of Kings

I'm happy with how much progress I've made on my goals and I have plans set to get the majority of them completely finished. Thanks again for stopping by. Join me again on tutorial Tuesday for a short tutorial on how I assmbled my Home network QR code cross stitch. Until then, live long and prosper!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Winter Roadtrip

Welcome back! Now that we are back home and finally all rested up, I thought you might enjoy hearing about our cross country adventure:

Now, we weighed all our options as far as how to go about getting from Portland, OR to Fort Smith, Arkansas. For just J and I, tickets to fly would be $1200 and that wouldn't include boarding for our pup. It was near impossible to have the pup fly since he doesn't do well in crates and there was no direct flight to the nearest airport. We looked into taking the train, which would be super awesome, but they don't allow pets. In the end, taking the train would take around 4 days and would cost more than flying. If you've seen the John Candy and Steve Martin movie than you know what the next transportation option was: driving! I absolutely love roadtrips, even if there aren't any stops.  We calculated cost of gas, renting a car(since our grandma Subaru would never make it), food, and hotels. In the end, the excitement of the trip was too good to pass up and we were certain we would be saving money as opposed to flying and putting our pup through a ton of unnecessary stress.

For our rental car, our cheapest option was to go through Hertz (age restrictions were waived with J's USAA membership). We opted for a midsize SUV crossing our fingers it wouldn't be red or a jeep. As fate would have it, it was both of those things, as well as not being properly cleaned (let's just say, I have the receipt and all the details of the last person who rented the car). Since we got the car Friday evening and were leaving early Saturday morning, we didn't pay the stains much mind. We spent all of Friday cleaning and packing (I prefer to come home to a deeply cleaned house). I may have gone overboard since J maybe got 4hours of sleep and I maybe got 2. Yikes. Aw to be young - we made it through our first day of driving (12.5hours not including bathroom breaks). We packed up any perishable food for the trip so as to cut down on wasted food and price of food on the road. Day 1's meals were pre-made sandwiches, cheese and crackers, and 2 coffee stops.
coffee break and a selfie; Me driving as we say farewell to rainy Oregon and hello to more-rain-California
We were more than exhausted once we got to our first hotel in Bakersfield, CA. The excitement of the trip was keeping me up so I ended up watching an incredibly interesting show called "Arab Labor". Yes, it is in Hebrew and yes, it is incredibly racist. At the same time, it was like the Israeli version of Everybody Loves Raymond. Finally crashed at 10pm to catch some zzzz's before our 6am wakeup. We stayed at La Quinta's the entire way: they were some of the cheapest hotels, they allowed pets without an additional fee, they had continental breakfast, and it was a hotel we were familiar with. It should be noted that we left at 4am in the morning for our first day of driving which was entirely unnecessary. If we ever make the drive again, will not be getting up so early - 6am would have been just fine.

Day two of driving was possibly our favorite day. I was the first to drive since I had done so little the day before. We passed through some incredibly beautiful rolling fog as we left California and enjoyed the change in scenery as we began making our way into the desert. If you read up on my family's roadtrip from 2 years ago, you know that we followed a similar path. This roadtrip and the previous one finally crossed paths as we entered into Arizona and stopped at In'n'Out. We had stopped in Needles, CA (which is right on the border) just an hour earlier so we didn't feel much need to spend any time stretching - we grabbed some grub and were back on the road.

Our only planned stopped was at the Grand Canyon, which was one of the only things J wanted to drive out and see that my family had seen on our trip. I thought it was spectacular so I had no problem gazing in to the canyon once more.

Oh yeah, and one more thing:
Yup, we got engaged at the Grand Canyon. Jealous yet?! Now, a week before leaving for Arkansas I did a lot of thinking. J and I have been together for a while and no little date is going to be big enough to sum up all that time together. I realized I had been putting way too much pressure on J, even knowing that we both wanted to make that step. Additionally, if you know my story, I have been engaged before. It was a terribly unhealthy relationship and when the other guy proposed, I felt powerless. Even though it was done just how I would have wanted it, I felt very stuck. Even though I wanted to say "yes" to J, I felt that our time together allowed for me to say that I wanted to be apart of the decision. We planned the stop together, I showed him the ring I wanted, and he got to deciding what to say (it still had to be sweet after all). When we got to the Grand Canyon, we were both nervously excited. I'm a bit of a sentimental crier but J's words were just so incredibly wonderful, I surprised myself with tears. The best part? When he got down on one knee (something I had dreamed of since we first started dating in high school), instead of saying the 4 words out loud, he signed them! (as in American Sign Language). I was confused with the first sign since it caught me off guard but when I realized what he was doing... I don't think I have ever smiled so big. I said "yes".

We spent quite a bit of unplanned time walking around the Canyon ridge and didn't make it to our hotel in Albuquerque until close to midnight. The next day was filled with excitement at our new relationship status and that it was finally the day to see my family! Thankfully I-40 is almost completely straight - we had the car on cruise control almost the entire drive. In addition to stopping for gas twice, J requested we get some authentic Texas BBQ food. If you ever pass by a Rudy's you have to stop! It was sooooo so sososo soooo delicious! I got a pulled pork sandwich and J got brisket, both mouth watering good. Plans were made to stop there again on the way back.
Worf enjoying having his own bed; passing out of New Mexico and into Texas; A giant cross in Texas.

Late Monday night, we finally pulled up to my parent's house. Though our trip was entirely mishap free, we both heaved a sigh of relief to at last be with loved ones. J said the entire drive to Arkansas he was both excited to see my family and excited to not have to be so much of an adult (because coming home to a clean house everyday is just too hard - goober). Things I miss most about my family being in Oregon: watching silly Sci-Fy movies, enjoying HGTV and TLC shows with my mom, geeking out with my brothers, having long discussions with my dad, and chatting sewing and fashion with my sister. The small stuff that we looked forward to most we got to do. My parent's have a wonderful dog named Linc and we were also pretty stoked to have him and our Worf become good friends. They had their share of tussles at first but in the end they were besties.

We enjoyed Christmas lights, a movie on Christmas night (Into the Woods), J watched the Jurassic Park movies for the first time, I introduced my youngest brother to the huge graphic novel section, traveled to Eureka Springs to see Thorncrown Chapel, played board games until the ball dropped, and went on a long walk/ hike with my dad. A relaxing and enjoyable trip.

Thorncrown Chapel, Eureka Springs, AR - J and I agreed, if we lived closer, we would want to be married here.
At the top of our hike, looking over Fort Smith (okay, we walked part of the way and drove the rest)
It was a fantastic trip and we were sad to go. The morning that we were getting ready to leave, Worf and Linc played together officially for the first time. It put tears in my eyes to see how far our pup has come and gave us hope that we might be able to enjoy the dog park someday. It also reflected how we felt about the trip - just when we were getting comfy, we had to pack up and head back home. Saying good bye is always the worst part of the trip but I know I'll see them all soon.

The drive back was fairly uneventful, with some snow on the ground in Arizona. I did all of the driving on the 2nd day and most of it on the final day since I was so eager to get home. J was his sweet self and read out loud to me as I set the car on cruise control.
Driving, driving, driving

Snowy Arizona and a sleepy pup as we finally pass into the Pacific Time Zone

Final day of the trip allowed me to press the home button on Waze; Mount Shasta as we near the Oregon border; A trip-tired dog as we enter into our home state
Was the 3-day drive worth it? Yes! In the end, including coffee, gas, food, hotel, rental car, and anything else we spent $1,348. Less money to drive than to fly, a bunch less stress, and seeing parts of the country we had never seen before were definitely worth it. Will we choose to drive again? If we're visiting for 2 or more weeks, probably. Shorter trips (or solo trips when I fly out for my brother's graduation) we'll have to stick to the sky but driving was great. The weather was ridiculously cooperative - the only sliding on ice that happened was when we stopped for some touristy fabric and I completely biffed it in front of the store. I had a small bruise on my right side the remainder of the trip but oh well.

Thanks again for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed my adventure. Join me again Saturday to get part two of my 23 by 24 goal list update. Until then, live long and prosper!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Kicking off the new year pt.1

I'm kicking off the new year by updating my 23 by 24 goals. If this is your first time here, my 23by24 are simply goals I want to accomplish by my next birthday - very similar to setting New Year's resolutions. I haven't done such a great job keeping everything updated here partly because I got busy with school again and partly because my craftiness became a lot of Christmas presents that I didn't want to reveal. Since New Years just happened marking the new calendar year and the half way point to my birthday, I thought it was the perfect time to bring you some updates so here goes part one (goals 1-11):

1. Unplug & turn off for 24 hours each month:
     July - What better way to unplug than go camping!
     August - Spent a friday evening playing board games then drove out to spend saturday at the beach (making this the 3rd year - an official tradition; ending the summer by watching the sunset)
Aren't they the cutest! - September's unplugged
     September - Again, going camping makes unplugging super easy and relaxing!

     October - First month of school made this month a fail. Oops!

Out and about in Portland - November's unplugged
     November - I was sick over Thanksgiving break so I spent almost all of Friday in bed. Not the relaxing unplugging I was hoping for but it works. We also went out that Saturday and spent half the day in Portland checking out the Christmas bazaar, grabbed some brunch, and stopped by our favorite comic book store. The remainder of the evening was spent curled up with our new graphic novels (Deadpool for J and Walking Dead for me).
     December - This may be cheating but since it took 3 days to drive out to my parents' house in Arkansas, we were somewhat forced to be unplugged (with the exception of our gps). It was a fantastic trip (more on that in Tuesday's travel post)
     January - It hasn't happened yet but the plan has been set to unplug next weekend. After my Saturday post goes up I will be unplugging and enjoying some quiet time with J and my little four legged family.

2. Pick my own berries and make them into jam: I had hoped to do this during the fall but obviously that didn't happen so its on the list for the spring/ summer berries.

3. Go camping 5 times: 2 down! For my birthday we went camping at Fort Stevens near Astoria and in September we tried out a new spot along the beach. Cape Lookout became an instant favorite and we will definitely be camping there again as soon as the weather warms up a bit.
My parent's gave me this awesome tent for my birthday. There's plenty of room so get comfy, and a screened in area for cooking at night.
4. Make a new friend: I am blown away by the number of acquaintances I've made. Starting at a new university, I thought I would meet a bunch of people but the atmosphere is very different from George Fox. At Fox a big class meant 30-40 people but my average class size is in the 70s, which overwhelms me so much I tend to sit in the front and focus intently on the lecture, then book it home. That said, I've found so many wonderful, crafty people on instagram that I am getting to know better as time goes by. I've also become a part of a small group of girls that, though we were friends before, have become much closer by meeting every other week to check in with one another. Though its only for a few hours, it is so life giving and heart warming to meet with these sweet ladies.

Walking on a rainy day & trying out my new glasses
5. Lose (at least) 50lbs: Now this goal was written with the main goal truly being to have a healthier lifestyle. Admittedly I've only lost 10lbs over the last 5 months but I have made some positive, healthy changes. We found ourselves a PCP (Primary Care Physician) that has me on a few supplements that I was missing, severely impacting my sleeping. Plus, I had been having headaches almost daily, so we are currently working on fixing that as well. Now 3 months in, I'm sleeping better and my headaches are down to a few times a week. This improvement has allowed me to have more energy to actually workout and get outside with the pup. Just the other day I worked out for an hour and it felt so wonderful! I've also tried to up my water intake - I've averaged 100oz of water everyday for the last week! Another thing adding to my level of energy. Going to school in Portland requires that I ride the max and add in extra walking to my life. I probably walk at least a mile just going to and from class everyday, in addition to hiking up several flights of stairs (instead of taking the elevator). Oh yeah, and to cut down on headaches my doc suggested an eye check. Apparently my left eye is more than droopy - got some low prescription reading glasses. Finally, we found a dentist that is so wonderful which has helped in motivated me take better care of my terrible teeth. Overall, I'd say that this goal is going fabulously!

6. Create something once a week: Its been 26 weeks since my birthday and there was only one week that I didn't work on anything. Some weeks I made progress on several different projects without completing anything and other weeks I started and finished an entire project.
 week 1 - Patriotic doggie bowtie
week 2 - wine cork cork board
week 4 - finally hemmed all the curtains
week 6 - Kimono style summer cardigan (I am super proud of this one)
week 7 - all new recipes
week 8 - Crochet infinity scarf (Simply double crocheted in rounds)
week 10 - Altoid tin first aide kits (bandaids, pain meds, emergency hair tie, cotton swabs, and makeup remover pads - only the essentials)
week 11 - reorganized the guest room/ office/ sewing room (pic is of my desk/ sewing area)
week 12 - hung my US map surrounded by postcards from all over
week 13 - Lego creation (Sauron's tower - Tower of Orthanc)
week 14 - A&P drawing assignment (I spent all day on it so it counts!)
week 15 - Finally finished my QR home network cross stitch
week 16 - tried out 5 new recipes including making my own noodles
week 17 - Crocheted Amigurumi Link (Such a great pattern!)
week 18 - Crocheted R2D2 cup cozy
week 19 - FAIL!
week 20 - 1/2 finished on my xmas quilt
week 21 - Sister's Christmas present (pictured - duvet cover)
week 22 - A little bit of everything (pictured - Batman quilting "nanananan")
week 23 - Bionic bag (for myself)
week 24 - Littlest brother's (okay, he's a freshman in HS) Christmas present (Batman quilt; first ever fully completed quilt!)
week 25 - Other brother's (senior in HS) Christmas present (yes, finished after Christmas; flannel shirts)
This week (26) - super simple infinity scarf with fabric from Arizona

7. Get on Deans list every quarter: One quarter down and, I think, 2 more to go. I got all A's last term but since one was an A- (ugh) it set my GPA at 3.91. I feel super awesome about that and am hoping to get a solid 4.0 this term. So far (first week just finished) so good!

8. Get into grad school or get a job utilizing my degrees: Well, this is the official announcement that I will not be going to grad school next year. J and I talked a lot about it and we decided it would be best to take a year off (for a number of reasons). So, we're saving the little money we have by not applying to schools and, instead, I will be applying for jobs (starting yesterday). Best case scenerio is I get a job in either a school or hospital working close enough to an SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) to observe. If you are reading this and know of anyone, please please please let me know!

9. Go on a long walk with Worf once a week: Though I have tried to get out a least once a week, I don't feel I can truly say I've been successful with this every week. Visiting my family and seeing Word finally make friends with their dog Linc, however, brought me so much joy I am motivated to get out and play!
Who can resist this cute face?
Cider and parade

10. Start a new holiday tradition and cook a full meal: Oh yeah, this one is complete! Since I was sick, J did have to help but we cooked our Thanksgiving meal together. The new tradition for Thanksgiving being sipping hot apple cider and watching the Macy's day parade together. We were so successful on this goal, in fact we started a second tradition: Cutting down our own Christmas tree and listening to Christmas music as we decorate. We sort of did some advent related activities throughout the month but that wasn't as successful (goal for next year?). Since our family is still fairly new (living together and just recently engaged), there is so much we can still do and look forward to all the fun traditions we can have together.
Happy family decorating our first Christmas tree

 11. Finish reading through the entire bible: Its certainly a work in progress. I read quite a bit during the summer but once school started, I got a bit behind. Once I get acclimated to being back at school this term, I will pick it up again. This one is definitely destined to success by July!

Thanks for joining me. Stop on over next Saturday to read part two of how I'm doing on my goals (its already written up so I promise it will be here). Or, if you're just super eager to keep up on my life, I'm going to once more try my best to update more regularly. To help in this process, I have a long list of crafty things to do, I signed up for my first IG swap (#NerdsCraftItBetter), and I think I've finally got into a regular workout plan. So, until next time (whenever that may be): Live long and prosper!