Monday, April 20, 2015

College Road Trip by the Numbers

Last week was my kids' spring vacation and after the winter we've had, I should have spent it somewhere warm, laying on a beach, while being served tropical drinks.  Instead, my daughter -- a junior in high school -- and I loaded our phones with music, filled the car with snacks, and headed out to visit prospective colleges.

Here's our first college road trip by the numbers:

We visited

4 colleges in 
3 days in
3 states in
3 different cities,
2 of which claimed to have been voted the best "Foodie City in America."

We spent

13 hours driving, surviving
2 near misses in Connecticut and managing to avoid
9 fender benders during the
60 minutes we spent traveling
6 miles in Boston at
8 o'clock in the morning.  During those
13 hours in the car, my daughter consumed
5 bags of Combos and I drank
17 bottles of water while my daughter, in a futile attempt to turn me into a hipster, forced me to listen to
3 episodes of "Welcome to Night Vale" -- a very strange and creepy, but occasionally funny (and I'm not just saying that to appear hipster-ish) podcast.

We attended

5 information sessions given by
10 perky college students and
3 only slightly less perky admissions officers and attended by
200 anxious juniors and their
400 extremely anxious parents and me (I, of course, was cool as a cucumber) and during which we witnessed only
1 instance of extremely overt student brown-nosing (surprising) and
14 instances of embarrassing parental brown-nosing (less surprising) and, much to our delight,
1 snazzy British father sporting a cravat.

We walked

15 miles during
6 tours guided by
7 impressive college students who, with perfect comedic timing, managed to deliver
50 charming and witty anecdotes while walking backwards.

During the road trip, we spent

23 hours on campuses during which we noticed that at 
9 o'clock in the morning, there are
0 students visible on campus, but that on a sunny day at
3 o'clock in the afternoon, there are
1,000's.  During that same
23 hours we also attended
1 amazing music theory class with
20 ultra-cool students and I spent
45 minutes seeking out restrooms, which I hope was thanks to the
17 bottles of water I consumed during the
13 hours in the car, and not due to
1 developing case of overactive bladder.

In all, my daughter and I spent

67 hours in each other's company during which we spent an exciting, but exhausting,
47 hours discussing campuses, admissions, applications, essays, SATs... and yet somehow, we managed to have only
2 spats,
1 of which occurred because my daughter punched me when she saw a "punch buggy" because she is, after all, 
16 years old and apparently has no idea that she has the strength of a
21 year old
6 foot
3 inch
200 pound specimen.  But despite my sore arm, I forgave her because she is, after all, my
1 and only daughter and our road trip, while amazing, and which made me so excited for her (and yes, a bit jealous), reminded me that she has only approximately
485 days left at home.  


Friday, April 10, 2015

Just Keep Swimming

April 10th and I woke up this morning to another half inch of ice on my car.  Now normally this would really set me off, especially on the heels of the three inches of snow that we got the day before.  I mean really, April 10th?!

But not today.  Today I'm flying high and even the prospect of spending 20 minutes scraping off my windshield can't diminish my good mood.  32°, whatever.  Freezing rain, bring it on.  I just don't care because as of today I'm officially a Moda Bake Shop Chef!!

My first recipe, Just Keep Swimming, is featured today at the Moda Bake Shop.  After our annual trip to Maine last summer (remember summer??) I was inspired to try my hand at incorporating fish into my quilt designs.  This happy little project is one of the results.

Twelve tropical fish swim around colorful patchwork on this fun 16" x 16" little quilt.  Just Keep Swimming is a fast and easy project that basically requires only one mini charm pack and 2/3 yard of a background fabric.  I chose to make this version with a "Paradiso" mini charm pack by Kate Spain for Moda.  I love her bright colors and bold patterns and I think they look great against the Bella Solid Royal Blue -- perfect for summer.

Here's a slightly quieter version of Just Keep Swimming, also made with Kate Spain fabric -- "Horizons" this time -- clearly I love Kate Spain's fabric.

Not sure if you noticed, but the fish are swimming in opposite directions in the two quilts.  Just a little construction issue that I hammered out for my tutorial -- never fear!

Just Keep Swimming is definitely doable in a weekend.  And if you'd like to turn it into a pillow, I give suggestions about how to do so in my Moda Bake Shop recipe.

The only problem I had making Just Keep Swimming was trying to find some sand for my cover shot!  New Hampshire has been inundated with snow this winter and it's hard to even find exposed ground, much less sand.  But last week I visited a nearby lake and after trudging 200 yards along a beach through knee deep snow, I managed to find a 2 foot strip of sand.  I then proceeded to make a sand castle while wearing boots and a ski coat.  Which was surreal in and of itself, but to top it off, the sand was water-logged and heavy and the wind blowing down the lake was arctic and by the time I finished, I could barely see through the tears in my eyes and the mascara running down my face -- hence the less than desirable sand castle.  I'm sure I looked like a fool making a sand castle while bundled up for winter and sporting raccoon eyes, but I got my cover shot.  And hey, it almost looks like summer, right?

Have fun making your own little quilt!  And if the weather is getting you down, just keep swimming...