Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My Uber-ly Big Misunderstanding

I can start this post by saying that I know I live in a fantasy world a good portion of the time.  My imagination is such that often, when someone tells me about some new product, I'll create such a vision in my head that the real thing is just one huge disappointment.

I've been doing this my whole life.

I do it when people tell me about someone I don't know, a place I've never been, an animal I just have to see.

And every time?  NOTHING like what I imagined.

I live that portion of my life in a  land where people sing LA LA LA LA LA LA over and over.

So, a few years ago, before Uber (the car service) had overtaken the taxi world, someone first told me about it and this is what I thought it was. 

She told me that her sister in California had had some kind of surgery that made it impossible to drive and she had little kids, so getting anywhere was a pain.  Insert UBER, the new car service where you call and tell them  where you want to go and they come in cars like Lincolns and Cadillacs and take you where you want.

Wow, I thought.  FANCY. 

And expensive, right? 

She said you had to pay for it but it wasn't a car service where you pay for a certain amount of calls, you just pay as you go.  She wasn't really sure how much it cost.

Wow, life in California, I mused.  I pictured sleek, shiny cars with chauffeurs, whisking away her sister and nieces for a day shopping and what have you.

Later, I heard a little more about UBER and completely misunderstood how it worked.  The next person who told me about it, made it sound like any old Joe in a car could go to some website and say "hey, on Friday at 10am, I'll be heading to XYZ place.  Anyone needing a ride in that direction, let me know."

Nowhere did I understand that payment was involved. 

And, k-ster is going to kill me for even thinking this, I thought "wow, I should look into driving people when I'm on my way somewhere."

For free.

This is what America should be.  This is people helping people AND the environment.

People who need rides because they don't have a car of their own.

I live in a fairly rural area, so no one here should not have a car.  We don't have public transportation.  Therefore, if someone needs a ride, it's a sketchy situation and I should not, in any way, be giving them rides.

By my fantasy brain imagined the fun of having someone in the car for 5 miles, someone to chat with, whom I  could drop off at a place not out of my way. 

The fantasy does not end there, my friends.

When I found it that drivers actually get PAID to drive these people around, I got even more excited!  So, I just go online, post that I will be going to my gym on Friday and if someone needs a ride in the direction, they will actually pay me to do this?  SWEET!

I pictured it becoming a regular thing. I'd bring the same people to the same places as I went on my same errands each week.

And that's where the record screeched and the music stopped.

Because then I realized, I'd be driving the same deadbeats, every week, not to their jobs, but to sketchy places where they did sketchy things with other people who don't have jobs.

I'd be driving kids, likely my former students, to the mall to hang out with their dopey friends who aren't old enough to drive yet.

I might have to drive around someone who didn't smell good.

I don't live in a swanky city.  There won't be fancy business women perfuming up my car as I drive them from their doormanned buildings to their high rise offices, them talking a mile a minute on their cell phones as I navigate the high stakes task of driving in rush hour. 

Everything here is off the beaten path because there really is not any beaten path.  That means I'd be driving God knows where to pick these people up.  And then I'd be letting them out where, on the sidewalk?  At stop signs?

What was I thinking?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

TAKE THAT You Darn Varmints!

Two springs ago, after I planted an entire packet of peas in containers in the greenhouse, some mice helped themselves to the plump pea-ness of my efforts and ate every single one of them!

How do I know?  Because they apparently didn't like the slightly firm outer shell and they removed every one of them and left them all over the shelf.

Irate doesn't even begin to describe my reaction.  But, the realization that they might have found a happy place and start eating every seed I plant hit me and I started taking drastic measures to protect my little seeds.

I found old screens and laid them over the tops.  But those little critters just crawled up and pushed under the screens and found gaps to crawl into.  So I weighted the screens with bricks.

And put lots of other just planted seeds in the clamshells that spinach and lettuce come in.

The greenhouse was starting to have a million little greenhouses, all in the name of keeping out the mice.

Fed up with the precariously balancing of weights on the screens, and wanting freedom to plant like I did the first year, without mice worries, I asked k-ster if he'd help me build something.

We never do anything small, so here's what we came up with.

I wanted it to be deep enough that I could put my big containers (usually for peas) and also smaller ones as we get further into spring.

I originally thought I wanted a bunch of smaller versions of this, about the size of a flat of plants from a greenhouse store, but then I wouldn't be able to cover my big pots, which was the whole point.  I take those pots of peas right out to the garden when it's warm enough and let them grow there, without transplanting them.

After many debates with myself and then with k-ster over the size and how to close it, we decided to make two pieces of the same size that will sit on top of each other.  Then, if I am using small pots, I could actually use them as two separate covers and have even more covered space.

A hinged cover didn't really make sense to me.  So, the top just sits on the bottom.  But getting it off was quite a production since it's 60 inches wide and I'm only 62.5 inches tall!  Adding that little handle makes such a difference.  Getting it off is still entertaining for anyone nearby because I have to make sure I don't hit any parts of the greenhouse as I move it on or off!

Because it's not latched in any way, I quickly discovered that when the top is on, it left just enough of a gap to allow any rodents in that wanted to squeeze by.  A thin later of metal around the inside did the trick and it keeps the top from slipping off or sitting crookedly.

I planted peas, radishes and beets last weekend, hoping that the 20 degree weather at night wouldn't impeded the germination process.  They are pretty hardy once they 've started, but getting them going in cold weather can be tricky.

Thanks to the 48 inch wide heat mat, with an actual thermostat, that I bought last year, nothing is freezing overnight and things are looking good in less than a week!  The heat mat isn't something that you touch and feel heat, but you can tell it's warmer than the air around it and that's really all I want.

 Radishes are happily poking up.  These are a rainbow mix so I'm curious what I'll get.

My first pea is poking up!  The year I started peas nice and early inside, I actually could go out in the late spring and pick enough peas to actually eat for dinner.  In the past, I'd plant peas but I'd get a handful of pods and just eat them in the garden.  If I can get them started soon enough, I can plant a lot and really have some great results!

The beets haven't shown their heads yet but I'm not worried.  Plus, they are an old packet, so if they don't start at all, I won't be surprised.  Peas are the thing to worry about because once it's too hot, they bolt and it's over.  I get radishes and beets to grow all spring, summer and fall.

The super cold winter, many days below 20 degrees, killed everything in the greenhouse except this one Brussels sprout.

I don't heat the greenhouse because I'm not growing enough to sell, and heating a plastic hut is just such a waste of fuel, as far as I'm concerned.  If the winter isn't too cold for too long, broccoli, beets and chard usually keep going, but this winter it was not meant to be!

As I look outside and still see snow, pretty high in some places, I'm excited to think about spring and starting my seeds.  Having this rodent proof contraption makes me so much happier about this process!

Now, if I could just make one about 8 feet tall to keep the squirrels and coons off my corn......

Linking here:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What's In A Name

Lia Sophia Tomgirl.

That's the name of this blog.

How often do we see titles but don't really read what they say.  We never process what they mean.  If you've ever really read the title, you must have thought it was really strange.

Originally, I created the blog because I had just become a rep for lia sophia jewelry and I had plans to talk about the jewelry here. That's why sparkling is in the URL.

I had no idea how blogs really worked and now I just laugh at what I thought I was going to do.

After a couple of posts that had nothing to do with jewelry, I realized that if I was going to start writing about whatever was in my head, there was going to be no real way to define myself.  And once I put up my first post about getting sweaty or filthy, I realized that I must come off like quite a tomboy.

Pairing the art of selling jewelry with someone who doesn't mind being covered head to toe in mud gave  me the idea for the name.

I call it irony.

And all these years later, not only do I not sell lia sophia jewelry anymore, the company went out of business!

Much of my blog is devoted to what I make, whether it's sewing, cooking, canning, crocheting, or sewing, thought there are still plenty of posts about digging in the dirt and doing things very tomboyish.  Or at least things that keep me constantly dirty (riding horses, for example).

Now that lia sophia has closed, I really think my name is ridiculous.  At least before, if someone happened upon it, they might have arrived here because they googled lia sophia and somehow connected to me.

But now, there's no rhyme or reason.

And sometimes, I really don't like my URL.

So, over the next....some period of time (I have no idea when), I'm planning to change the name of my blog and my URL.  That will first require that I buy the name for my URL.

Then I will have to make sure I direct it all properly.

Then I will change the theme a little to more reflect what I want my name to be.

So, if you come back and realize the colors are different and the title isn't quite right, you're still here. I'll still provide you will my perspectives on life around me.  I'll still show you my progress in the garden.  I'll still show how much I love Bernina.  I'll still share pictures of the horses I ride.

And most importantly, I will still share occasional pictures of my butt.

If you're curious about my new name, you can get a hint by following me on instagram!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

One Of the Tricks Up My Sleeve

As I've shared many crafting successes and craftastrophes, I'm not sure I've ever told you that I can knit.  I go through phases where I like knitting and then I don't do it for a while.

I'm more a fan of crocheting because it's faster and because if your hook falls out, you lose one or two stitches.  If your knitting needle falls out you could lose 100 stitches and never really pick them all back up.

Knitting can be a real pain.  And it's very slow-going.

I've collected some knitting needles over the years, usually getting the size I need for a pattern I am trying and then storing them for later.  I never really have a good place to store them.  I have a very bizarre bag that my father got all of us for Christmas one year and one of the neatest features is a lot of little slots for things just like knitting needles.

I like the bag but the needles are kind of exposed and it's bizarre.

I'm always thinking I should make a knitting needle holder and a crochet hook holder.  You can find them in stores and online, but I want to make them for myself with my own favorite colors and textures.

In the fall, I was looking for yarn for my students who crochet in my after school and enrichment classes.  I put a free ad in the Write to Know column of my local newspaper.   I was kind of afraid I'd be inundated with more yarn than I'd know what to do with.

And my biggest fear?  That the yarn would smell like cigarettes, or worse, air freshener.

Amazingly, not one bag of yarn smells like cigarettes and only one smells like air freshener.  I let tht one sit out and the smell is mostly gone.

In one bag, there was a whole cache of knitting needles!

The woman said she knew I wanted the yarn for crocheting, but maybe I could find a use for these knitting needles too!

Not only was I excited to get quite a horde of knitting needles, filling in the blanks for any sizes I might not have, what an awesome holder!

It definitely smelled like some kind of spray, so I had to wash it.  And wash it.  And wash it some more.

Eventually, the smell went away.  I wiped down all of the needles and had to get rid of a couple because they were some kind of metal that had corroded.  I have a full assortment, anyway.

There are even a few half sizes, which I didn't even know existed.

Let's talk about the holder.  I truly can't figure out if it's homemade or factory made.  There isn't a label but there is nothing about this that says amateur.  It's extremely well made if someone made it themselves.

I like the material.  It's some kind of toile print with a lovely satin lining.

The ribbon line that hold the needles is at just the right height and the slots for the points to go into are just right.  The precision of the lines is what makes me think it must be factory made.

The ribbons on the outside are sewn so that one stays in place while the other wraps around the back and meets at the beginning to tie it.

Now  I want to make one for my crocheting hooks. I have all of that home dec fabric still sitting there.  How much fun would the pinks be??  Polka dots outside, hot pink inside?

I've kind of been inspired to start thinking about knitting something.  BUT, I'm in the middle of that heart quilt, making excellent progress on the backing, so I really feel like I can't do anything until that's done.

Are you someone who needs to finish one project before starting another, or do you have a dozen UFOs at any one time?

Linking here:

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Band Uniforms- Sewn, Trimmed, Delivered and PAID!

I know you're here to see an update about my heart quilt that I started making during the 4x7 sewing challenge with berrybarndesigns, but you'll have to come back another day for that update.

Before I launched into the sewing challenge, I had agreed to make uniforms for the local high school's winter percussion team.  One of the people who runs the team is the son of a woman I've done a lot of sewing for in the past.

In the very far past, I made sleeves for the winter percussion when they did something with a mariachi theme.  I made mariachi sleeves from a rented costume they let me use and saved them a ton of money while making a pretty penny myself.

When their original costume was backordered and wouldn't be sent until most of their competitions were already over, his mother told him to ask if I'd make them.

Here's what he showed me.

My first concern was that this picture is shows a costume made of costume material, such as spandex/lycra.  He had already tried making a demo one on a t-shirt.  I explained that the flow would be totally off with a t-shirt.  

He said they know that and they were fine with it.  They had some kind of black stretchy pants to wear with it and the shirts would be just what they were looking for.

And then I told him the hood must go.  First, because I had no idea how I was going to make it and second, because it really creeped me out.  Me, and everyone we showed it to.

He said the hood had to stay because it was one of the things the kids like the most.  


So, with a deadline of mid-February, off I went in mid-January to make a trial version.

He had supplied me with a couple of gold fabric choices and a really great red.  The red was swimsuit material so it was very flowy and great.  The golds were not so great.  One was a chiffon type thing that would have no stretch and would have just popped off.

I spent a lot of time debating what to use for the gold and silver.  At one point, I was sure the best option was ribbon.  So, I bought a sampling of ribbons and then realized before I even left the parking lot that they would have no stretch and therefore wouldn't be easy to put on and take off.

These are high school kids, many of whom are boys.  There would be no putting on and taking off carefully.

And then I discovered these beauties.

I explained that the sequins were meant to catch the light, that they are not already rainbow colored.  He like it a lot and told me to go ahead.

My first plan, after cutting off the sleeve, was to cut up the same side as the missing sleeve so I could completely open the shirt to sew on the stripes.  I can't even tell you how much thinking it took before I figured out that would be the best way to do it.  And it was!!  Having the freedom of the open shirt to put on those stripes was fantastic.

When I was finished, I planned to jut serge up the sides and no one would know the difference.

My first attempt looked like this.

Without the hood, I thought it was a pretty good likeness, albeit this was the wrong side.  That's because the shirt he gave me from his demo was cut on the wrong side and I figured as long as all of them were the same side, it would be fine.

What I didn't know is that they had to be on the left side because of the way they were lined up in their performance.  You wouldn't see properly if everyone had the sleeve missing on the right.

And they liked this version but opted to completely remove the red for the real versions.

This made me happy because it was a lot less work and took away the toy soldier look to it.  But it made me a little sad because the flowing red piece was my favorite part of the whole thing!  

I was more relieved to remove the red because that band at the bottom was making me worry about kids who might be bigger in the hips than I anticipated.  It would hug them all wrong.  And for those super short kids, they'd be wearing them down by their knees.

At one point, I thought I might have to go to a rehearsal with my sewing machine and customize the red bands on each one.

That would have been a huge time suck.

So, charged with changing the side for the missing sleeve and removing the red, off I went to buy a crazy amount of fabric.  I'm no math wizard and my biggest concern was not getting enough material and then having them be out of the material when I went back to get more.  I did some ridiculous estimating and let's just say I have enough gold and silver spandex to outfit another entire winter percussion team....head to toe.

I had it all planned out, assembly line.  I'd cut off each sleeve and open the shirt.  Then I'd pin and sew the silver piece across the front.  Then the stripes.  Then serge the seams. 

Then worry about those effing hoods.

Before I went too far, I whipped up some version of what I thought could be a hood and told him it was the best option.  If he didn't like it, I had nothing else.  It was a stand alone hood that could be left down like a big shawl collar or put up like a scary gnome in the woods.


It was a simple rectangle that I serged one seam.  Since it was bathing suit material, no need to hem, which was fantastic.

So, I went along, sewing some of the silver sashes and stripes.  And then I decided as I finished each size, maybe I'd serge up those side seams so there'd be no surprises.

And this happened.

As I was happily serging along, there was a noise I can't even explain and my serger came to a DEAD HALT.  So frozen, I couldn't even turn the dial to lift the needles.  NOTHING.  It was completely dead.

After internally bursting into tears (I had 22 of these things to make and now I'd have NO SERGER???  They'd look like total crap!) I tried to see if I could figure out the problem.

It was clear that #13 and #14 had somehow smashed into each other.  #13 was currently what looked like stuck into #14 and there was no movement.  They are supposed to glide by each other like scissors, never touching.

I was sure that meant my serger was kaput.  It's almost 20 years old.  I've never had it serviced because it never gave me any trouble.

I called the one place within an hour's drive that I know repairs machines and they put me in touch with the woman who specializes in sergers.  Over the phone, she calmed me right down and said she thought it was something easily repaired and not to worry about it.   It would take a couple of days but I should be back in business.

But then it snowed and she went away and had to order parts and ONE MONTH LATER I finally got it back.

As I put it in the car to drop it off, the two cone holders in the back snapped right off, probably because the plastic is so old.  I figured I could live with that as long as the machine itself could be repaired.  She was able to order a new one and I can't even imagine how she put it on because the break wasn't a clean one.  Apparently, this is a common problem, if they actually sell them!

During that whole month without my serger, I put together all of the pieces of the shirts and got them ready and then worried I'd have to sew them shut with just a zigzag.  That would look so unprofessional and I was afraid it wouldn't allow for enough stretch and they'd be popping seams left and right.

And I was most worried about the hoods.  There was no way they'd look good or work properly if I couldn't serge them.  That material is so stretchy that no zigzag in the world would do what we needed.

With no time to spare, I got my serger  back and got everything done, delivered and actually got paid for my efforts!

There seems to be a disconnect when I ask for a sample of what they all look like when they are on.  He keeps telling me he will send a picture and then can't find one when I ask for it.  I can't figure out how they wear the hoods and how it looks, and I'm really curious.  I want to see whole ensemble together to see how it all flows.

If my serger hadn't taken a powder for a month during this, it would have been a breeze and not a lot of stress.  Not knowing if I'd get them finished to my liking in time for their competitions really put a wrench into everything.  When I finally did get my machine back, the timing was such that I had to work on them all in one day.   Not exactly what I planned.

Figuring out what to do was kind of fun.  Seeing them come together was kind of neat.  I like doing these kinds of things because it's kind of fun to problem solve.

And everything if fine and dandy until the machines turn on us!

And now, what do I do with a million gold sequin scraps??

That paper in the  background is my wild math.   You probably shouldn't look at it.   The number of shirts in each size kept changing because he couldn't find enough in each size and he cleaned out the local Joann, Michael's and AC Moore. 

Linking here:

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Squash Cake Bread

After growing, zucchini and yellow squash in my garden last summer, shredding the yellow squash and zucchini and  roasting and freezing some pumpkins , I thought I'd make a lot of breads and muffins all winter.  Sadly, none of the recipes I have found meet my picky criteria, so it's one disappointment after another.

With some, it's the texture.

With others, too much sugar.

With others, too many spices.

I thought I had found a fantastic muffin recipe that included pumpkin and cranberries.  I made them a few times and we ate a lot of them.  I liked that it had wheat flour and oatmeal and not a lot of sugar.I thought I was satisfied.

And then, without even meaning to, I stumbled upon a recipe for something called Greek Island Pumpkin Cake.  I didn't even know I needed this in my life.

I looked at the ingredients and my first excitement was that it didn't have 2 cups of sugar, which so very many of the recipes I have used require.  It also had a lot more pumpkin than usual (2 cups).  And no eggs.

I don't have to watch sugar in my diet per se, but I'm tired of all of the recipes tasting the same with that much sugar in them.  The no egg thing isn't dietary either, but it makes it one step easier.

They also usually have a lot of oil and after a day or two tend to get greasier than I'd like.

The comments on the recipe were what made me want to try it.   They said the texture was fantastic, somewhere between a cake and a bread.  This intrigued me, so I made it.

It absolutely did not disappoint.  The texture the first day is slightly moist and I would say it is between a cake and a bread.  The second day, it magically get a little more moist, not greasy, but also solid.

You have to make it to understand it.

If you want the original recipe, click the link above.  I don't like a lot of spices, so I've tweaked the recipe a little.  To make it look like the pictures, here's what you should do.

Squash Cake Bread

2 cups of  pumpkin, yellow or zucchini squash (pumpkin should be cooked unless it's from a can)
1 c. frozen cranberries (craisins work but it will be slightly different)
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. olive oil
1 T. honey
1 T. vanilla
1/4 c. water
2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350.

2.  Puree squash or pumpkin in food processor until smooth.

3.  Add 1/2 c. frozen cranberries to puree and process until very finely chopped and blended.

4.  In mixing bowl, all other ingredients.  Add puree and remaining cranberries.  Mix gently until combined.

5.  Pour into a baking dish, 9 inches round.

6.  Bake 1 hour.

7.  Insert a knife into the center.  Only the very tip should have some cake stuck to it.  If it's quite runny, continue baking until the knife is almost clean.

I have found over the years, that we think pumpkin is what we taste in pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes and all of those other things companies trick us with.  In my opinion, it's the spices, not the pumpkin we taste.  If you have ever eaten pumpkin straight out of the can or just roasted, it isn't very pleasant by itself.

Therefore, because what we want in this cake/bread is moisture, I have used pumpkin by itself as well as a mix of pumpkin, yellow and zucchini squash and all have tasted the same.  Use the squash that you think best suits your tastes, if you really believe that's what you're tasting....

Linking here:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sewing For Myself Week #4

Berry Barn Designs
It's hard to believe this is the end of the 4th week of the 4x7 sewing challenge from berrybarndesigns.  The challenge was to spend 30 minutes a day, all month, sewing for the pleasure of making things for ourselves.

During week #1, I thought I'd get my sewing room organized, a goal I've hand since the dawn of time.  Instead, I whipped up a sewing machine cover that I fell madly in love with and did a couple of of odds and ends.

Week #1 was a snow week, literally 5 days off of school, so finding time was a breeze.

During week #2, I embarked on a heart quilt.  I think I had started planning it out in week #1 but I really made progress during week #2.  Because I didn't have an actual pattern, just a picture I found online, I've been winging it all month.  The half square triangles were a fun challenge, which is good because I needed 231 of them.  I made them way too big, so now I have an enormous quilt on my hands, rather than a throw or wallhanging as I intended.

Week #2 shocked me with my inability to devote 30 minutes each day to sewing.  I made up for it by spending more time on other days, but it was a surprise that 30 minutes isn't really available to me every day.

During week #3, I worked diligently on the heart quilt and had to make sure those band uniforms were done, done, done.  That wasn't so much selfish sewing as better get it done so I get paid sewing. 

Week #3 was February vacation and also a big snowstorm, so finding time was a little easier.  Sort of.  I ended up teaching a class the mornings of that week and beanster came to visit so I was very busy being entertained by her.

This past week was week #4.  Back to work, no beanster to entertain me and difficulty finding 30 minutes every day.

Serious ice and snow.  This was the skating rink that was my driveway for most of the week.  We got more snow on top of it which made it deathly for a couple of days but as the snow melts and refreezes every night, it's getting crunchy and slightly better for traction.

I only slid under my Jeep once this week.  I was just trying to get into it....

We had a day of flurries all day long which made this view one of the prettiest since I've been at this school.
After I posted it on instagram, I realized it looks like the snowdrifts go right up to the doors, which they do.  But this is the courtyard outside my classroom and those doors are not the main classroom doors, so no one has touched the courtyard.   I love untouched snow.

This view never gets old, even when it's been my morning view for 30+ days.  Seriously more than a months since I've seen bare ground on the front yard.

With all of that, significant progress was made on the quilt front.
I got the whole top put together and realized that these last two rows, the rows with the smallest number of red and pink squares, were upside down.  I internally cried for a minute and then realized I didn't have to remove the entire rows.  I just took out the sections where the squares were upside down and flipped and resewed them.


All of the hsts and their white balance squares are together.  Most of the points are visible and I'm pretty happy with that.  I am lazy and refuse to trim my squares before sewing them.  I prefer to wiggle them and coax them into line.  Really, I'm afraid that my reference point will be off and I'll cut them all wrong and really be in a mess.  I find it easier to push them around and make the seams go where I need them.

To balance out the odd rectangular shape, I will add a couple of rows of just white squares.  It's now too wide to be a throw but not wide enough to be an actual bed quilt.

I have a fantasy about something pink and red along the edge.  Something about half of a hst, maybe.  I have no idea what that will be like.

I think the shape might still be odd, even with the addition of the white rows, so I have some thinking and ironing to do this week.

Now that the 4x7 sewing challenge is over, I feel a little lost!  I'd like to thank Sarah at berrybarndesigns for this challenge.  I never participate in any sewalongs or challenges but the timing was just right.  It really made me think more about sewing and why I do it and how I'd like to experiment and never do.  I liked having to "check in" every week and see where everyone else was in their progress.

I also discovered that even in the dead of winter, when it's cold in my sewing room, with the right clothes, it's really not that bad and the light is really amazing when I get up there in the afternoon.  So now, I really have no excuses.

But, I'm a little sad with no one to check on my progress!  That means you all better keep coming back so you can see the finished product!

Linking up here: