Monday, October 31, 2011

Power is back on

Power is finally back on in our part of town..... 36 hours after losing it. Over 100,000 people are still without electricity including my parents. None of us doubted that there would be snow but no expected that practically the whole state of Massachusett's and Connecticut would be without electricity. The saturday snow storm began at 2:00 in the afternoon. The snow flakes came down large and fast. Within the first hour over an inch had already accumulated.

During the early part of the storm I went out to take some pictures of the rare sight, colorful flowers with snow on them.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working on my Pinterest Project while Johnny played video games with my brothers online. Outside there was snow, and flashes of lighning followed by thunder. A type of storm I have never experienced before. At about 9:00pm my brothers got disconnected from the internet which meant sure news that they had lost power. It was only a matter of time before we lost ours (1 hour to be exact). I went outside to take some pictures of the snow. It was no ordinary snow. It was so heavy that it was pulling down all the trees.

This was a tree that hung across our driveway. Very unusual. Blizzards don't even have this effect on the trees. I'm no scientist but the only reason I could come up with for this phenomenom is that the trees were still very much alive, with water and sap flowing through them. This would make the trees more flexible. During the winter all this water and sap is usually frozen so it makes the trees stiff and strong. The leaves on the trees also made the trees heavy. I didn't stay outside too long because the eerie silence scared me. The only thing that you could hear was branches snapping.

No power meant no heat, no entertainment, and no lights. The only thing to do was to bundle up in blankets and go to bed. The next morning I woke up to the beautiful frost covered trees. Not a single cloud in the sky. I immediately grabbed my camera to take pictures but to my disappointment the battery was dead! I couldn't charge it without electricity! I figured I could at least get some pictures on my phone but that too had no battery! I'm still kicking myself for not being prepared and charging everything. Thankfully my brother was able to get some pictures. Tomorrow I will upload those so you all can see the damage done. I also plan on posting about my Pinterest Project - The Proposal Pillow. It tells the story of how my hubby proposed to me and the memorabilia I have made for it.

As you may have assumed - with a state of emergency in effect the closing for my house has been postponed until tomorrow or November 3rd at the latest.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wintery Wrath

8" of snow + lightning + strong winds = trees down + power lines down + power outages.
Be back soon..... Hopefully.

Sent via blackberry

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pinterest Challenge

Have you been to lately? If not you still have time to join the Pinterest challenge.
I’ve heard of pinterest before simply by being redirected there when I am searching for things on Google but I have never really paid much attention to what it is. Following my daily read on,  which is pretty much equivalent to a cup of coffee for me, I decided to introduce myself with Pinterest and see what it’s all about. I signed up and couldn’t believe the hoopla that I have been missing out on. Pinterest in short is a virtual pinboard to keep all internet ideas organized. In the past I have always kept a word document with links to ideas that I like. I have come to realize that this is an unorganized method to tracking my internet finds. And that is why I have turned to pinterest, thanks to Sherry, and believe me – it is A-MAZE-ZINGGG! So this weekend I will be working on my pinboard and tackling one of my projects so I can enter into the Pinterest challenge on Wednesday. Join the fun!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wacky Weather in New England

With the early snow reports here in Massachusetts I thought it would be appropriate to do a wacky weather recap for New England in the year 2011. It all began last winter with the epic snowstorms of 2010-2011. Almost every Tuesday and Thursday of the winter we got slammed with snow storm after snow storm. I only remember the days of the week because I was glued to the tube wondering if my classes would be cancelled. And yes, they were which meant a few extra hours of sleep for me! I can’t complain. But for the K-12 students deep snow also means staying in school deep into June. My little brother didn't get out for the summer until June 21! December 26-27, 2010 marked the dates of not only our first snow storm for the season, but it was considered a Blizzard. This nor’easter dumped 12”-32” of snow across various regions of the north east. Following close behind was The January 12, 2011 North American Blizzard traveling in the footsteps of its predecessor. The highest amount of snowfall reported was in Savoy, Massachusetts reaching 40.5”! Our entire state was being buried alive! Before this I had never heard of a roof rake before.
These are our buried cars after the first storm.

I thought that the snow would be a permanent fixture and never melt away. This worried me because my best friend was getting married on March 26, 2011 atop a mountain and it was planned to be outside. Fortunately for her and her wedding plans all the snow disappeared just in time for her to exchange her vows with her hubby in her dream location. Not so fortunate for me because as her Maid (Matron sounds awful) of honor I froze my butt off for her in the bitter cold and strong winds that day! Just kidding – well kind of – I would do anything for her!

 All was fine and dandy until June 1st rolled in. There was some small talk in the morning about tornado warnings – really a laughing stalk in our neck of the woods. But the unthinkable happened. Around 4:30 in the afternoon there were reports of tornado touchdowns in the Connecticut River Valley area. In fact, my father was driving home from his job in Connecticut and as he passed through the area the funnel cloud formed right above him. I'm so thankful that he is okay. The areas that were hit the worst were Monson and Sprinfield (just yards away from where my mom works). You can see just from my experiences how everyone in the area was affected. Many were left homeless and the areas were left devastated. Some schools were forced to be shut down for the year due to the damage. The last deadly tornado similar to this one that struck Massachusetts was in 1995.
After this incident, the residents in our state no longer treat the metorologist like the boy who cried wolf. This past year they have been pretty spot on about their predictions. That’s why when word of Hurricane Irene hit our area everyone raided the grocery stores and did everything they possible could do to prep for the storm including shutting down small businesses. A state of emergency was declared across the entire state and people were warned to keep off the roads. While awaiting the hurricane to hit an unexpected surprise occurred. An earthquake that stemmed in Viriginia rumbled the eastern coast causing damage even to the Washington Monument which is closed indefinitely.
This is a picture of the crack in the Washington Monument
 I can’t say that I felt the earth shake but many people in our area did especially those who were in cars or at their homes. Thankfully as hurricane Irene approached Massachusetts it died down to a Tropical Storm. Many thought that Tropical Storm Irene, which hit on August 28, 2011, was overhyped but they should feel blessed for that.

This is Hurricane Irene as it approached the north east.
Even though the winds weren’t as bad as expected, and trees weren’t everywhere, we still had to deal with the after affects of the storm, including lots of flooding in the area. My dziadziu’s (can you tell I’m polish?) whole squash crop was wiped out and ruined.

 This also marked the end of the boating season in our area.
Connecticut River swells morning after Tropical Storm Irene blows through
This at one time was a parking lot.
Connecticut River swells morning after Tropical Storm Irene blows through
This entire road leading to Northampton was flooded.
And that brings us to today, October 28, 2011. This morning, there I was outside scraping my car's windows wishing that the defrost button would work quicker so I could make it to work on time. The snow from last night didn’t stick but we are being warned that we are going to get more snow tomorrow! I can’t believe this, its too early. I am still recovering from last year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Google It!

So I'm sure that you've all heard enough about the sewing machine! Before abandoning the topic I just wanted to share a tip for anyone else that has had the issue that I had. First I'd like to mention that my solution to all problems is - just google it. Google is my most reliable resource for any type of problem. I ask it a question and it always answers me. In the google search engine I asked, why does my thread keep bunching when I use my Singer Sewing machine? I surfed through multiple pages to find the answer. The most common reasons I was getting was that there was an issue with the Bobbin. This was good news because it meant that my machine wasn't broken. I took some notes and three main cause for the "bunching of thread", which I later learned is called "birdnesting", were:
  • The Bobbin could have tiny pieces of lint or dust on it causing a jam (highly likely seeing as I forgot that I even owned a sewing machine for the past 4 years).
  • The Bobbin could have been inserted upside down. 
  • Or the tension settings were wrong.
I decided that I would try these solutions and if all else fails, wait until my Grandma visits in November and ask her to fix it for me. When I got home from work, I took the Bobbin out, flipped it so it would no longer be "upside-down" and unraveled the spool a little bit to clear any dust or lint particles. I was unsure about how to adjust the tension settings, and warned on google that I shouldn't mess around with the settings. Much to my surprise, I tested the machine and it worked perfectly! I'm not sure if it was the dust particles or the fact that the bobbin was upside-down or both, all I know is that my problem was solved! That night I was able to complete two more pillows to match the previous two that I had made.

I tried to start a third pillow but of course, I ran out of thread on my Bobbin. Once I refilled the Bobbin I then ran out of thread on my spool, and to be honest it wasn't worth the time or energy to go rifling through all my boxes that are packed for our big move! Monday we close on our home! Less than 5 days away!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Decor

Over the weekend I tried to think of more fall decor projects to do. My neice Kami was in town, so to keep her busy I decided take her and my parents dog, JoJo, on a walk.

In my opinion JoJo is one of the prettiest dogs I've ever seen!

During the walk we made sure to keep our eyes out for colorful leaves. We collected the ones that we liked. Once we got home I showed Kami a quick and easy project to preserve the leaves and their color.All you need is wax paper, a towel, and an iron.

These are some of the leaves we collected. They're not as colorful as some that I have found in past years.

Cut the wax paper into small squares. Or rectangles. Or any mishap shape if your not a scissor professional. Just make sure that the pieces are cut to size to be able to fit a leaf on it. Then cut a second piece about the same size. Feel the wax paper to determine which side is the waxier side. Take your leaf and place it between your two pieces of wax paper, allowing the waxy sides to touch the leaf. Place it on a towel and iron it. Flip it over and iron the other side. Once your done, let it cool, then peel the two pieces of wax paper apart. You now have a preserved leaf! When you iron the leaf you remove the moisture, this way you don’t have to worry about the leaf curling as it dries. The wax paper has a lot to do with preserving the leaf too because the wax is transferred from the paper to the leaf. Once your all done you can use the leaves for decoration or you can frame them.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Florida's Foliage

Today my brother Nick and I took a road trip to view Florida's Foliage. I know exactly what your thinking. Florida? Foliage? I've never heard of it before either but about an hour and a half north of my hometown is a small town called Florida, Massachusetts. It is a town over from North Adams and it is situated on top of a mountain.

 Nick and I have been planning this trip for a few weeks now hoping to make it out there before the foliage season is over. Unfortunately for us this season has been very rainy and windy which has made the leaves a dull brown and yellow. Because of the strong winds a lot of the trees are already bare. Nick took me to a place that he has been to called hair pins turn. Hair pins turn is just like it sounds, in the shape of a hair pin.

It is located in North Adams and it has a beautiful view of the mountainous region below. Here are some pictures from our Sunday afternoon daytrip.

Another downer for the day was that it was kind of cloudy so the lighting wasn't good for pictures. Eventually the clouds burned off a bit. Either way I had a great time spending a few hours with Nick. On our way home we stopped at a few more places along the mountains edge to take some pictures.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Sewing Machine

After making pillows for the first time with Keeana I decided that I wanted to make more! In the past I owned a sewing machine but I never knew how to use it. Earlier this week I decided to rummage through my parents basement to find my sewing machine. And there is was..... Dusty, Musty and Rusty. I took it home, cleaned it up and tinkered with it a bit until I finally realized that the machine was more complex than I had imagined. I watched a few Youtube videos on how to thread a sewing machine and bobbin, and unsuccessfully attempted to do it myself.  Finally, I left the sewing machine feeling very frustrated. Then a thought popped in my mind. We have all become so handicapped by technology. Think about it. If we can't find a clicker - then we automatically think we can't watch TV. We get ourselves all worked up looking for the darn thing that the thought never crosses our mind that we can manually change the channel. I decided instead of being frustrated about the sewing machine, I would become the sewing machine and manually hand stitch the pillow myself. Now I will admit, sewing machines make our lives much easier. A project that could have taken me 10 minutes took me about an hour. At least I can proudly say that I know how to hand sew a pillow. On the otherhand, when I finally learn how to use a sewing machine I will thank Isaac Singer everytime I use it, not only for saving us time and making us more efficient but also for saving us from pricking our fingers!
This is my crooked hand stitching job!

Imagine if I had made a bigger pillow!

Thank you Isaac Singer!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Decorative Pillows

Keeana has inspired me to start making decorative pillows! She started about a month ago and has already made six!

Keeana and her mom have become pillow experts so I decided to join the fun. It began a week ago with a trip to Joann's Fabrics. I wasn't sure where to start so I brought Sheila and my Mom along with me. Here are some of the fabrics that I picked out.                                                             


These are fabric quarters and are the perfect size for making a 16x16 inch pillow. They were $0.99 each and I got two of each pattern.


Depending on the shape and size of the pillow you can either buy stuffing or pillow inserts. On the day that I went shopping the pillow inserts were buy one get one free so I got the inserts rather than the stuffing. The stuffing is a better option if you want to make different types of shapes and sizes for you pillow.

After all the supplies were bought we began by measuring out the fabric. You want to always make sure that you have an extra inch on all sides. You end up losing this inch once you sew the seams together.

For my first pillow I wanted to do a basic pillow. Instead of having my pillow be one solid color I cut out strips from two different patterns.

Once you have all your pieces you pin the fabric together. You pin it close enough to the edge so that when you being sewing with the machine you don't hit any of the pins.

After I pinned all the strips together I brought it to the sowing machine to begin sewing.

This antique from 1958 worked like a gem!

When your using the sewing machine you have to make sure you guide the material along. Do not push or pull it the material.

When making a pillow you have to be sure that you leave a small portion unsewn. Through this hole you have the ability to turn the pillow case right side in and then stuff the stuffing or the insert into the pillow. Then you have to hand sew the pillow shut.

Yep! How sweet. Keeana's boyfriend Mike decided to help with the pillows!

Other pillows are more intricate and require a lot more than just a sewing machine. I feel ready to try one of these. You can add buttons, embroidery or decorative flowers onto the pillows. I decided that for my next pillow project I would sew on buttons. Once I got home from Keeana's I began that next project!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dream Makeover

With a Physics exam this week combined with signing my life away I have had no time to start any new projects! Instead, I have been spending my spare moments packing. 16 Days until closing! Exciting and Scary at the same time.

Gracie helped by packing herself into a box. Take me with YOU!!!

Although I have had no time to physically do anything, my mind is spinning with ideas for our new home. Of course, these are all long terms goals, and we can only do a little bit at a time. I wanted to share some of my dream makeover ideas.
Most of these ideas are taken from my favorite blog.( )

I love this dining room! I really like the shelving boxes. Hopefully my father-in-law will teach me how to make one somewhat similar to this one!

In the house that we are buying all the bedrooms are small and lack storage space. I love this bedroom and I think that this idea is amazing! Sherry and John created storage space by installing floor to ceiling closets (from ikea) and then inserting shelves into them. Then to dress up the room and hide the closets they hung curtains in front.


I think this striped bathroom is really unique and cute!

This looks tedious (and sounds tedious) but I love the look of the stenciling much better than wallpaper.

Finally this is what I really want to do in the dining room! I love the look of the banquet style sitting area. This picture was taken from thanks to John and Sherry's referral. This would also be cute in the kitchen  but I don't think the kitchen would be big enough.

Pinned Image

This one was taken from . Again props to John and Sherry from

So there it is. My Dream Makeover. Wow. We've really got our work cut out for us! So exciting!!