Day 365: The Woods

Winter FieldYesterday, Jim and I went on a hike in Ryerson Woods, a beautiful nature preserve on the Des Plaines River. We just discovered this place for the first time this weekend, and I’m pretty excited about it because there is a 4-mile trail in the preserve. It’s hard to find hiking trails that long near Chicago.

Water Jim in TreeI made Jim take a picture standing in this dead tree. He didn’t really want to do it for some reason. Scared of squirrels, perhaps?

PathHiking BootsThese are my new hiking boots. They’re not that cute, but they fit well. Thanks New Balance for making shoes in wide width! You’re the best!

Jim on PathThe DamMeJim took this picture of me sitting on a tree stump that was once chewed up by a beaver. I think it’s a good picture.

Here are the other nature-y photo posts I’ve done this year:

Advertisements

Day 360: Christmas Day

NieceWe always spend Christmas day at my parents. Around 11 a.m., my sister and her family shows up, and we all get to open presents together. Wahoo! Lately, we’ve developed the tradition of going in age order, with the youngest starting first. My poor mother always has to go last!

RockyMy parents’ dogs were both remarkably good about these ridiculous hats. They kept them on for quite a while!

Big NephewSmokey JonesSmokey Jones was not nearly excited about opening presents as I was. SistersMy oldest sister couldn’t be at Christmas this year so she Skyped in for opening presents. It was fun to have her there “via satellite,” as I kept saying. It was also hilarious because she kept changing into various hats while she was Skyping with us. At one point, she was wearing a sombrero. Hehe!

Niece 2Brother and Aspen

Day 359: Blue Whale Plushie

Blue Whale Plushie On Christmas Eve, I spent a lot of time with my Mom.

While I sat at the kitchen table working on the stuffed blue whale that I was making for my new nephew, she spent hours preparing dish after dish for our Christmas meal the next day. It was nice to sit and chat with her. I don’t spend nearly enough time at my parents’ house lately.

After I finished embroidering the mouth of the whale and sewing on the eyeball-buttons it was time for me to use the sewing machine to finish the whale.  My mom brought me downstairs, showed me how to thread her sewing machine, and then left me to finish the whale.

I never did finish it. Instead, the whale fabric flitted around the sewing machine like it had a mind of its own, and the needle kept coming unthreaded, and the thread kept getting all jammed up in the machine, and I started swearing, and steaming, and getting extremely angry at the whole idea of sewing.

“Why did I even start this project when I find sewing so frustrating?”

My mom was on the phone with my sister when I started freaking out. Luckily, she got off the phone and came downstairs to see what was going on.

“There’s something wrong with this stupid machine! I don’t think I can do this!”

My mom was rather calm considering the state I was in.

“Let me look at it.”

She sat down at the sewing machine and took over. I went upstairs and worked on the bean dip appetizer she still wanted to make for Christmas Day.

By the time I was finished with the bean dip, the whale was completely sewn. I flipped it inside out and stuffed it and then sewed the final little bit by hand.

It was adorable, thanks to my Mom.

Blue Whale Plushie FaceAfter we finished with the whale, I went with my family to church and I sang with my Mom in the choir. She’s great at alto harmonies. I stood next to her and sang the soprano part, and we sounded nice together.

While we were singing, I thought about how great my mom is and how much she’s done for me over the years. I’ve been very lucky.

Note: This blue whale plushie is part of my “Jeannimals” project. Learn a bit more about it in my post about the plush heart I made for my niece. It also involves a sewing disaster.

Day 358: Camper

CamperMy Dad is very hard to find gifts for, I guess because he doesn’t ever really want anything. Sometimes he needs new sweaters or a new baseball cap, but I’m not sure he really cares about getting those kinds of gifts. I’m not sure why. I love presents. Socks, scarves, books, candy bars–I don’t really care. Unlike my Dad, I just think presents are fun.

Anyways, because I really didn’t know what to get for my Dad, I decided to make him a painting. See, I made him a teeny tiny painting of a house several years ago, and he still has it hanging on the wall, so I figured a painting is a gift he might actually enjoy getting.

The little artwork I made for him this year is supposed to be our camper during a trip we took as a family many years ago to Mackinac in Michigan. We stayed at this cute little campground on the water and camped right on the beach. It was pretty.

I gave him the painting on Christmas and I think he liked it. He said something like, “Well, that doesn’t exactly look like our camper, but this must be us in Mackinac!” and then smiled brightly. It was nice.

Day 357: Bathrobe Belt

1-Bathrobe BeltJim has been missing the belt for his bathrobe for a loooong time. This means that he occasionally walks around the house in just his robe without a tie and with only his hand clasping it together.

Since we have roommates, this also means that he may or may not be in constant danger of flashing them. While my roomies  never really mentioned being uncomfortable about the robe situation, I wonder if they also recognized the constant uncertainty. Exposure could happen any moment!

But no more! On Saturday, I made Jim a belt for his bathrobe to eliminate this little situation forever….and I also made it to make Jim happy. I’m sure it will be more comfortable to have a belt.

Since I’m not much of a seamstress, it actually took me over two hours to make the thing and the craftmanship isn’t even that good, but it’s the thought that counts.

I gave Jim the belt yesterday as a Christmas present, and he seemed quite happy. Yay!