Saturday, April 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad!!

     Happy Birthday to my Dad, who is one of my favorite people in the world. He is always there to listen to me and tell me to shut up and stop whining. So much of who I am is directly because of things I learned from my father, and I would like to take a minute to acknowledge the great person that he is.

    Yes my father is an engineer and can at times be exasperating (does it really matter if the lights are exactly in the center of the table and do you really need to leave death threat messages in the closets to make sure the right towels are put in that closet?) but he is also one of the most patient and caring people I have ever met. I am convinced that he and my Uncle John are two of the worlds most patient people to live with my mother and my Aunt Boni. Mom and Boni are equally amazing people but they don't tend to think things out before acting and as such can end up in some comical situations (Really Mom, I mean who else goes to sleep while making eggs and then has to scrape them off the ceiling?). People often remark upon my patience at work and every time I hear this I can't help to think but I learned that patience from John and Dad. Thanks to both of you for that!!!

  So Dad, I hope you realize today that you really are an amazing person and many of the qualities that you love about me are things I learned directly from you. I would not be the person that I am today were it not for your influence and teachings. I hope you get to rock out to some Lady Gaga today and I truly wish I could dance around the kitchen with you today...

And because I could never forget, here is your birthday card:
-Just as long as I don't have to clean it up for you :) I will send your gift along when I get paid on Tuesday. I love you!!

Monday, April 23, 2012


    My allergies have been going crazy these last few summery nice weeks in Juneau. This means that generally no one wants to be around me because I have mucus pouring from every orifice and I am constantly making nasty sounds trying to scratch my throat. Anyway, to add to my general unsavory appearance my left eye decided to get some kind of infection this weekend. I am not sure what it is, it could be a sty or it could be a blocked tear duct or something else entirely. The only things I know for sure: it's pinkish, swollen and hurts like hell. Naturally I was exceptionally excited to find this when I woke up this morning knowing that I have an interview at 9am tomorrow morning. Oh what joy!

   Sadly today is Sunday which means no going to the doctor before my interview, so I decided that the next best thing to do was to take some pictures and send them to some nurse friends to see if they had any ideas of how to make it better. So I set about taking some close up pictures of my eye to send to my friend (thanks Therese!) to see what she thought. Her diagnoses: a sty, use a hot compress as much as possible to help throughout the day. Whew, the compresses did manage to help a bit but it took most of the day to get the swelling down to a point where I felt okay going out in public. Hopefully, I will not wake up tomorrow with an even worse issue just in time for my interview.

    Anyway after all the diagnosing was done I was looking through my pictures and I realized that close up shots of your eye are pretty creepy. Naturally the first thing that came to my mind was how can I make this even creepier? Solution: do some careful editing and send out mass text messages to family and friends that look like this:

    HAHAHAHAHA I am almost glad that I woke up with such an unsightly visage this morning just so I could do this. I am sorry but I find this incredibly funny, especially when I picture my family and friends reactions as they looked at this text message. Sorry for the creepy message, but when you have something like this to work with you just have to use it!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Guest Blogger, Sam the Dog

Today instead of hearing from me, I have invited a guest blogger to make a post. Please welcome Sam the Dog!!! Yay Sam I am so happy to have you do a guest blog!!

    Oh well hello Tressa, thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest blogger. I think that Tressa invited me to be a guest blogger because my Mom is out of town so I have been feeling a little down in the dumps. I miss my Mom but I have been having some fun with Tressa anyway. Today she took me on a pretty cool adventure with my friend Lily who I haven’t seen in a long time. I had fun running around and playing with Lily. We went for an adventure out on the Dupont Trail. We walked all the way to the beach and back. There was a lot of fun things to smell and see on the trail but I think my favorite part was a really tasty bone that Lily found in the woods. Lily likes to run into the woods but I prefer to stay a little closer to Tressa, you never know what is in those woods…

    I was kind of sad after Lily found the bone because Tressa wouldn’t let me chew on it and bring it home. I don’t know why she wouldn’t let me bring it home, it was so tasty. I was also a little sad that Tressa and Nicole wouldn’t let us chase after this spiky animal that was crawling in the woods. It would have been fun to say hi but Tressa put me on a leash and didn’t let me chase it. Maybe next time I will find a way to distract her so I can go say hi to the spiky animal.

    Mom would be very proud of me after my adventure. I listened to Tressa and was very nice to all the other dogs on the trail. It was a lot of work running out to the beach and I was so hot that I even went up to my belly in the water. Lily tried to get me to go swimming but I think I prefer to keep my feet on the ground. Lily was the only one who went swimming, Nicole, Tressa and I just walked into the water a little bit to cool off.

        Overall it was a pretty fun adventure and I am glad that there was lots of cold water for me to drink along the way. But now I am really tired and I think I will just sleep the rest of the day on my Mom’s bed, maybe when I wake up she will be home again. Tressa, Nicole and Lily are going to go on an adventure to Herbert Glacier next weekend, maybe I’ll see if Mom wants to go too and then I can see Lily again. Well that’s all for now, I need to take a nap….

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Richie's Short Visit

Today my cousin Richie was in town for a few hours in the morning. He is moving up to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska and taking the ferry all the way up so that he can enjoy the scenery along the way. So I went to meet him at the ferry terminal and take him to see a few things in town before he had to get back on to continue on his way north. Sadly we only had about 4 hours and as such I didn't get a chance to show him much but it was still good to see him as it has been a few years.

His trip on the ferry, despite an unfortunate round of seasickness last night, has been awesome so far. The ferry is always fun to ride on and you get a chance to meet and talk with so many awesome people. He introduced me to a few guys he had been hanging out with on the ferry (all of whom were new to Alaska) and it was fun for me to listen to them talk about how amazing it is up here. They all had quite a few stories they wanted to share with me about how friendly and awesome they found all the locals on the ferry to be. Needless to say Richie and his friends on the ferry seemed to be very excited by the culture that exists up here.

Since we had such little time I just took Richie out for a short trip to the Shrine of St. Therese and over to the Mendenhall Glacier, which Richie was quite impressed by. He seemed genuinely excited to see a glacier ("this is like something you read about in school but never see") and to hear about some of my adventures taking hikes out to the glacier and climbing around in the ice caves.  I took him on a short walk out to the waterfall and tried to let him just soak in the beauty of it all. Sadly by that time it was time for Richie to get back on the ferry and continue on his way. I had a fun time chatting with him and hearing about how much he already loves Alaska and sincerely hope that he will come back to Juneau to spend a few days with me like he promised so I can take him on some amazing hikes. Good Luck on the rest of your travels Richie and I hope to see you in Juneau again sometime soon!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Today thanks to my little brother Sean I discovered that Instagram was now available on the Android market. I downloaded it and I must admit I am kind of obsessed...

Sadly about four days ago I transferred all my pictures over to my computer : (  This means that I have far less pictures than I would like on my phone but I did have fun with a few. This picture is one I shot a few days ago while enjoying a fire on the beach which happens to be one of my all time favorite activities in the world.

Naturally I had to mess around with some of the awesome photo's I took of the Deathly Hallows Quilt I made for baby bj....

I can already tell that I am going to have way too much fun with this app in the future and I realized that I now have the perfect thing to do with one blank wall in my room, fill it up with awesome Instagram photos...

I am not sure why I am so in love with this photo of Jamie and Karl, but it has long been one of my favorites...

Eeekk! I love, love, love what I was able to do with my favorite photo!!!

If you want to follow me on Instagram please feel free to do so my username is _twim_ because they won't allow periods....

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Deathly Hallows Quilt

    To explain the idea for this quilt I have to go back a few years. See I have this amazing friend Rachelle, I love her to pieces as does the rest of my family, she is part of our family now. When she needed a place to live in college we shared a room in an apartment, when she needed a job after college my Dad helped her get an interview where he works, when she needs someone to laugh with my sister Sarah is always there. So when she got pregnant my Mother and sister worked on throwing a baby shower for her. I cannot be there and am oh so sad about that, so I decided that I had to make the best gift she will get at that shower (or maybe just after depending on how fast I sew).
Ben, Rachelle and I relaxing in my bed when they came up to Alaska last summer, my only friends from down south who have made the trek up to Alaska and visited me. Yes it was where they eloped and a dream place for Ben to visit, but I maintain they came up solely because I live up here : )

    See Rachelle, Ben (her equally awesome husband) and I love Harry Potter. We take this love to a whole new level, all three of us listen to part of one of the audiobooks every single day. I am not kidding, we cannot sleep without a Harry Potter audio book. Ben and Rachelle are afraid that their child (whom I call baby BJ because it's a Barck-Johnson baby) will think Jim Dale is it's father because we listen to so much Harry Potter. This all started when Rachelle and I shared a room in college and had to put it on at night, Ben was often there too and as such a legacy began. Rachelle and I are going to take a vacation in a few years where we are going to get in a car and just drive taking whatever roads we like with no destination in mind. The main part of this vacation is that we are going to drive as we listen to all seven books. It will be amazing and fun, because we are those geeks.

     I knew that this quilt had to have a Harry Potter theme. I have some amazing Harry Potter flannel leftover from Jamie and Karl's quilt that I knew I wanted to use for the back, but I wanted a cool Harry Potter theme in the front too. A theme that would not immediately tell you this was a Harry Potter quilt if you were not an avid fan, but you could still love. I wasn't sure how to do that, especially knowing that the quilt needs to be gender neutral because they are not sharing baby BJ's sex.

      After a lot of careful thought and deliberation, I came to the conclusion that making a Deathly Hallows quilt would be the best way to go. I could make a cute quilt front with just one Harry Potter element: the Deathly Hallows symbol. This way, to those of us who know and love Harry Potter we recognize and love it as such immediately, but those who are not such avid Harry Potter fans can still appreciate a very nice baby quilt. I decided that the color scheme I would use for the quilt top was going to be yellow and grey because I have a lot of yellow receiving blankets that I want to use (like in Elin's quilt) and I am a huge fan of a yellow and grey combination.

     Figuring out how to frame up the quilt front was my next dilemma. I thought about how to best use the three different yellow baby blankets I had and decided to do yellow squares with grey boarders in the front. Then I could put a big square in the middle with the Deathly Hallows symbol. I am SO excited to get started on this quilt!!! It is going to be AMAZING!! Here is a sketch of what I am thinking of doing....

I set to work immediately. First off I had to get all my cutting done, then I could work on sewing it together, which is the fun part. I do not enjoy the cutting part, I wish all quilts could be made with pre-cut fabrics. My biggest issue is finding a way to cut out a Deathly Hallows shape to applique onto the quilt. Ideally I would have some sort of projection system that I could project a picture onto fabric to then cut out but this would be hard to do. I may just have to hand draw it and cut it that way. We shall see what I end up doing, but in the meantime here is an awesome shot of all my fabric squares all cut up and ready to be sewn...

 I got all the squares laid out and cut, and it took some time because I am a freak and don't want any of the two same pieces touching each other, which takes a bit of coordination and effort. It took me most of my day today to cut out all these squares, lay them out and sew them up. I did do quite a few other things as I always have to do when cutting fabric. I get too sick of cutting to just sit down and bang it out all at once. So I cut some then go to the gym, cut some, then run to the post office, cut some, then do the dishes; you get the idea. I am really excited to get most of the front of the quilt finished tomorrow. I am hoping to get it all finished, but that may be asking a bit too much...

 Today (after a nice long hike) I set to work on cutting the grey boarders and sewing them on. It took a bit of time to finish the top piece but not as much time as I thought. Luckily I felt I had enough time to work on quilting it together before the day was over. The back part took a bit of sewing as well because I did not have as big of a portion of fabric as I thought I did, so I had to cut up some of it to sew together. This was the biggest bit of fabric I had remaining from Jamie and Karl's quilt...
So I cut this up and sewed it together in a very fast careful manner. It may not look awesome, but it's all Harry Potter which I love. Then I taped it down and got ready to sandwich all the fabrics together...
This was a little harder than I expected only because I had to move around furniture and had very little space around the quilt in which to work. This quilt takes up almost all the free space on the floor of my bedroom making it hard to tape down. But I finally got it done and was able to sandwich the fabrics together. I used fusible batting for this quilt as it was all that I had available. It made basting the layers together a bit easier. Instead of using numerous safety pins, I just had to carefully run a hot iron with steam over it, and the heat and steam activate the glue which holds the fabrics together...

Here it is before I started quilting it all together. I think it makes an amazing baby quilt. I cannot wait to see what it will look like once I have figured out how to cut out and applique on the deathly hallows symbol. I was able to finish most of the quilting process tonight after dinner, but I ran out of thread so I will have to wait till after work tomorrow to finish the last bit of quilting. To keep with the yellow and grey theme on the front of the quilt I used grey thread when quilting it together. I decided to do straight lines on the yellow squares and use free motion quilting for the grey boarders. The applique will take care of some of the quilting process for the square in the middle, and I will likely free-motion quilt the remaining areas.

It's not a great photo, but this is what I have finished as of today, tomorrow after work I will finish free motion quilting the remaining portions of the grey boarders. Then hopefully on Sunday before Easter dinner I can applique the Deathly Hallows symbol on. I will square it up and bind it on Monday morning before running to the post office to ship it back to Minnesota. I have to get it finished and in the mail by Monday so that it will get to Minnesota in time for Baby BJ's shower on Saturday. Hopefully I can make that deadline!!

A picture of the back and a close up of the front corner that shows how I am quilting it together.

 I had to work all day on Thursday but as soon as I got home I went right to work on finishing the free-motion quilting. I needed to finish around the edges and in the middle. I got so excited by how the quilt was coming together that after I finished I decided to draw and applique the Deathly Hallows symbol on the front because I really wanted to see what it would look like. I decided the only way to do the symbol was to free draw it and then use my rotary cutter to cut it out very carefully. This took a lot of time because it needed to be absolutely perfect and I am not good at free drawing things. Luckily I could use my ruler to draw the triangle and lines, but the circle was difficult because getting a perfect looking circle is not easy. I finally ending up using a thread and pencil like a compass to get a circle that I was happy with.

      I took my time carefully cutting out the symbol with my rotary cutter which was no easy task with a shape that was only a half an inch wide. I was so scared that I was going to go too far and cut right through an area I shouldn't. Luckily that did not happen and I was able to get it cut out and pinned onto my quilt so that I could work on appliqueing it. After another hour of work I finishing appliqueing it to the front!!!

         It was now about 12:30am and I had to be at work at 8am that morning, but I couldn't sleep because I was too excited about the quilt and how good the applique of the Deathly Hallows looked, so instead I took a few pictures of what I had finished so far....

I deliberately waited until I had all three layers sandwiched together to applique on the symbol. I wanted the symbol to be visible from the back, which it is if you look closely. It's hard to see from this photo but if you could see it, the grey thread around the symbol is quite visible on the back of the quilt...

Needless to say, I didn't sleep much Thursday night on account of being so excited about the quilt. I jumped up and down with excitement till I got too tired. Then I tried to go to sleep but ended up just taking short naps before waking up again to admire the quilt. When it was time for me to leave for work in the morning I packed up the quilt and take it to work with me. I wanted to square it up to get ready to bind it when I got off on Saturday, and I wanted to show it to my co-workers to see if they liked it, and it they knew that it was a Deathly Hallows quilt.

My co-workers really liked the quilt which I was glad about. I was slightly afraid that people who didn't know what the symbol on the front was wouldn't like the quilt, but they liked it anyway. They really seemed to like the Deathly Hallows symbol that I appliqued on the front even thought they did not know what it was. Yay!! It seems I had achieved success of making a Harry Potter quilt that had mass appeal, those who know Harry Potter will love it because it's a Harry Potter quilt, and those who don't know Harry Potter still really liked it!!

The next day was beautiful in Juneau, a bright blue sunny sky without a cloud in sight and I decided there was no way I could not get out an enjoy this beautiful sunny afternoon, so I took my client out to Eagle Beach for a picnic in the sunshine. Naturally, I took the quilt with me to get a bit of a photo shoot in...
The final quilt is a four foot by four foot square, quite big for a small infant yes but I wanted something that baby BJ could love for years and years to come. The size makes a perfect lap quilt for an adult, as you can see in this beautiful picture of me enjoying the quilt I made...
When I got home on Saturday night I got the fabric cut for binding the quilt, but ended up spending most of the night with my good friend Izzy making food and Easter Egg Jello Shots for Easter the next day. We made some awesome Easter Egg Jello Shots for everyone to enjoy after an Easter Egg hunt on Sunday. There is something about watching all my friends run around the yard looking for Easter Eggs like little kids that I really enjoy :)

After a great dinner with my Juneau Family I returned home to finish my quilt so that I could get it in the mail right away on Monday morning. I decided to bind it in more of the yellow flannel after a lot of discussion with Izzy about what would look best. We both wished I could have bound it in the same polka dot fabric from the center, but I didn't have enough of that left, so we decided that the yellow would be best. I got it bound and in the wash before I went to bed Sunday night.

I woke up to another amazing summer day in Juneau this morning (Monday). It was so warm and sunny that I knew I had to go for a nice long hike and take the quilt along for a photo shoot before bringing it to the post office. Yes I am a bit of a dork, but the quilt is so cool it really does deserve it's own photo shoot. After a quick hike up part of Mt. Roberts, I took it downtown for a photo shoot on my way to the post office.

     I am not sure which photo is my favorite, but there it is: my magnum opus. I am so sad that I don't have the quilt here anymore!! I know it will be loved and cherished by Ben, Rachelle and baby BJ forever but I want it back because it is so awesome!! I don't think I could ever design and make a quilt that will be as awesome as this quilt is, but I will try. If you like it please let me know, I want to know if others find it as awesome as I do. I also welcome any and all criticism of it. I know for a fact that it will be forever loved by Ben and Rachelle and there is no other quilt I could have possibly dreamed up that they would like more. To all my other friends and family members who live down south: this is what you get for making a trip up to Juneau to see me. A quilt designed especially by me for you and your family to love forever, that's right Therese and Eric, I am talking to you :) And no, Sean, Mom and Dad I will not be making an awesome quilt for you guys for coming up to visit me, you fly for free so if I can afford tickets down south twice a year, you sure as heck can take some time off work once a year to come see me ;)

    I hope people think it is as awesome as I do, if you like it please share it and let me know!! I can't wait to see what it looks like after a few years of love, the wonderful puckering you get from quilting has just started and will only get better as time goes on. Congratulations Ben and Rachelle I love you both very much and I am SUPER excited to meet baby BJ next time I am in Minnesota - or next time you come up to Alaska (which I highly recommend)...