Sunday, June 27, 2010

28 Before 28: Month 1 (and 2...and a half)

So I had grand plans to update you all on my 28 goals on the 15th of every month, but as you may have noticed, that didn't happen in May or June - mostly because I was working on goals 1 and 2.  So, in review:

#1 - My dissertation is about half done and I'm planning to defend it in August (as soon as I can find a date that works for everyone on my committee!).

#2 - I've had two post-doc phone interviews so there are options in the works - I'll tell you more when things are finalized.  To get some of the other projects I have here at Penn State finished, we're probably going to stay through the end of the year so I won't start a post-doc until January.

#7 - I have been jogging off and on as a way to clear my head but it is dreadfully humid here now which makes it harder to motivate myself.

#8 - Well it has been two and a half months and I baked one loaf - but it was good!

#13 - I have volunteered twice in the past two months to work with high school students to teach them more about anthropology and genetics.

#14 - I've gotten started on this!  Since we gave up our lease effective July 31st we will have to move into an apartment here in State College in August and then move again in December.  Two moves in six months is the motivation I need to finally start getting rid of stuff!

Not a bad beginning to my goals.  I wasn't really expecting to get too many things on my list before I finished the dissertation.  I have lengthened the list though!  The additions are:

19. Use up all my yarn
20. Make my own yogurt and cheese
21. Be vegetarian for a month and vegan for a week
22. Learn to Decorate Cookies (hey!  I've already done that one!)
23. Visit two national parks
24. Read two of Shakespeare's plays and two Historical Biographies
25. Visit California (recommended by Craig)
26. Media-Free Saturdays

Media-Free Saturdays may not be a weekly occurrence and definitely won't happen until I've finished the dissertation, but the idea is that on Saturdays I wouldn't check my e-mail, turn on the TV, read blogs, or anything else electronic.  Instead I would read, craft, whatever else doesn't involve a screen of any sort.  You would not believe how much time I spend in front of screens.

Any ideas for the last two spots?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Halfway to a Dress! (the easy half)

I have had about a yard of this fabric sitting around in my stash for a while.  I found it at JoAnn's in the clearance a while ago and bought a yard or so without a real plan for it.

I absolutely adore it - the wacky colors, the flowers and the polka dots - yay!  With the wide border pattern, the only thing it could be was a skirt.  Luckily for me, cutting it straight up the middle gave me plenty of fabric to make a pleated skirt.  I looked at some patterns online but for me the easiest thing was just to calculate the difference between the amount of material I had and my waist measurement and make even pleats.  I kept about a 3" width of fabric to make a waistband and that was really about it.  I'm quite happy with the results:

This was my first shot at putting in an invisible zipping into a garment and honestly, it was really easy.  There are instructions in the package and it turns out the super weird looking adjustable arm thing with two notches that came with my sewing machine is, in fact, a zipper foot (seriously, I've never seen a zipper foot that looks like this).  I made the skirt for Kevin's graduation but was deterred by the wet metal bleachers I would be sitting on for three hours.  So on a somewhat less rainy day this week the skirt and I joined lovely mommy Sarah for a ladies night out.

I'm so happy with my skirt, I might make a whole dress sooner rather than later....or maybe I'll start with a top.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Graduation Crafts

For Kevin's graduation, I didn't know what to give him.  I'd been kicking around the idea of learning how to make some of the amazing, finicky cookies I've seen made using the flooding technique.  I spent several nights reading the fantastic blog Bake at 350, absorbing all of her tips and tricks until I was convinced I could do it.  Then I found a Jayhawk cookie cutter - and my decision was made.  I baked the cookies in PA using this recipe and took them to KS.

I made frosting using meringue powder which is to egg whites as Tang is to orange juice. (Sorry about dying your nice spatulas blue, red, and black, Dad.)  Then each of the three shapes I selected were outlined.

This rapidly turned into a more complicated job than I had anticipated but luckily my very talented mom was there to lend a helping hand. Next came the flooding part where slightly thinned out frosting is used to fill in the outline.  This part is probably the most fun, like coloring in a coloring book - there are guidelines.

 After flooding all the cookies, we let them dry overnight and piped on some additional details that made them specialized for Kevin.  Instead of the Jayhawk's traditional KU, these 'hawks got KQs.

My favorite cookie ended up being the graduation cap that I piped an orange tassel onto (the engineers get orange tassels - mine was boring white).  I was so happy with the way the fringe turned out.

The diplomas got 2010's and we were all set for the graduation party. 

The cookies went over really well although a number of people (ahem, me) ended up with black and blue tongues.  I'm pretty happy with how my first effort at flooding cookies turned out and I'm excited to try some more.  I'm trying to think up some genetics and/or anthropology cookies to make for my dissertation defense.  

I'll leave you with a few more glamor shots of my cookies:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rock Chalk Jayhawk! KQ!

So I noticed yesterday that I didn’t post anything between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  A lot has happened in that time so I’m going to try and catch up with a few posts about big events over the last month.  The first of which was my brother’s graduation from college!

Kevin got his BS in Computer Engineering on May 16th.  He was the fourth member of my immediate family to get a bachelors degree from the University of Kansas (mom and dad have other degrees from there too – I’m the only renegade with non-KU degrees).  This is Kevin’s senior project which used cameras and whatever this thing is to determine where a player is in a life-size grid. 

You move around as PacMan and your movements show up on the screen.  He even got grandma to play it.

For those of you not familiar with it, KU’s graduation ceremony is a really great tradition.  The graduates walk down The Hill on which KU is built, through the Campanile (bell tower), and into the stadium. 

It is bad luck to walk through the Campanile before graduation - luckily Kevin didn’t and he graduated!

Watching Kevin walk down the same Hill my parents and I also walked down got me a little emotional.  We’re one proud family of Jayhawks!

My mom made Jayhawk finger puppets (pattern she designed here) with each of our Bachelor’s graduation dates.  So cute!

Congratulations, Kevin!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Thank you for coaching all of my sports teams and teaching me to be strong.
Thank you for trying to understand me through my teenage years (and going so far as to take me shopping for "anything you want that isn't black").

Thank you for staying up late to proof-read all of those papers I procrastinated writing (and I promise not to make you proof my dissertation.
Thanks for inspiring me with your love of learning to also become a Dr. Quillen.

Thank you for teaching me to cook and being my "sous chef" as I tried new things.
I can't even count the ways you have shaped who I am.

And one more thing...thanks for the nose

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