Friday, October 15, 2010

The Classics

I've been thinking a lot lately about the "classics"...those books that you "should" have read, but never actually got around to. As an English major, I read a lot in school (although, oddly, I think I read more of the classics in high school than I did in college), but in a lot ways, I've always been more drawn to the current best sellers than the tried-and-true cannon.

I decided to research what books I "should" have read. One Google search later, I discovered the "100 Books That Everyone Should Read at Lease Once" least according to the "experts" at Their list is an interesting blend of modern and old school literature. Of the list, I've read about 45 or so (though some of those I think were abridged versions), and I have some type of connection to a handful of others (that is, I've read excerpts, I own, etc.).

I've listed below some of the ones that I haven't read (or, at least, I don't think I've read them). Maybe I'll add these (or some of them!) to my reading list....

The Catcher in the Rye
Fahrenheit 451
Jane Eyre
The Giver
The Kite Runner
Wuthering Heights
Brave New World
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Color Purple
Crime and Punishment
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
One Hundred Years of Solitude
A Tale of Two Cities
Memoirs of a Geisha
Anna Karenina
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
The Hiding Place
War and Peace

What do you think? Any good ones on that list? Any that should be added?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Under the sea...

For my niece's recent birthday (she just turned 6!), she requested new clothes for her doll, Ariel. Ariel is Makayla's favorite Disney princess, and the doll is one of Mak's most prized possessions. (The picture to the left is from the year that Mak first got the doll from her Uncle Keith. I think she was 4.)

My SIL passed along Mak's request for new clothes, along with some crucial measurements, and I got to work on a design. I still had some fabric left over from the Ariel apron I made for Makayla earlier in the year (do you seem a theme here?), and I thought that would make a perfect dress!

I made the dress in two sections, plus the straps at the top. I designed it as a smock-type dress with a snap closure at the back. (I wasn't sure how big Ariel's' head was, so I figured it was better to make something that didn't have to pulled over her head.) Even though I found out later that my measurements were a little off (apparently Ariel is a little more "gifted" in the "fin" region, so the top fit, but the bottom of the dress didn't cover as much as it should have), I think it was a good learning experience. I'm planning on making a new-and-improved version of the dress soon...hopefully one that will cover everything!

Ariel's dress Ariel's dress...not on Ariel

Friday, September 10, 2010

Roller Tube

Over Labor Day weekend, Dave and I spent the weekend with his family at Carowinds in Charlotte. On our trip, I discovered that YouTube has a lot of front seat POV videos for roller coasters across the world. It's not quite the same as riding them, but I think the videos are pretty cool.

This video is for the newest coaster at Carowinds -- The Intimidator. I rode the ride, but I had my eyes shut for most of the trip, so it's fun to see what I missed!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rubber Ducky, You're the One...

A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law asked if I would make a cake for a baby shower that she was throwing for a family friend. I wanted to create something cute and more exciting than a flat sheet cake, so I started looking at designs online. I found several cute ideas -- onesies decorated with Teddy Grahams, a clothesline of paper scrapbook baby clothes, and little cakes shaped and stacked like building blocks. They all sounded (and looked) great, but the one I liked best was the barrel of ducks.

I ordered a package of rubber ducks from Amazon (they have a ton of varieties!) and got to work.

Ready for the beach Supplies

Amazingly, I think this was the first layer cake that I've ever made, but it was super easy to put together, so I'm sure I'll try it again.

Stacking the layers Frosting!

Once the frosting was in place, I started adding the sides to the barrel. I used two canisters of Pepperidge Farm piroutte sticks, held in place by the frosting. Ducky ribbon from A.C. Moore added a little flair and helped reinforce the piroutte sticks.

Barrel walls Ribbon

Add a few ducks and voila...the rubber ducky cake is complete!

Rubber ducky, you're the one... Rubber ducky, you're the one...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Princess Party

My mom's family gets together twice a year to visit and catch up. During our summer gathering last month, my aunt decided that the little girls should have a princess party....which meant the big girls got invited too. The big girls didn't get princess dresses, but we had fun just the same.

Princess Party Cupcakes Princesses

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One-Yard Wonders....Take 1

For my birthday, my dear friend Diana gave me a fabulous sewing book called One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects; Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Yard of Fabric! It's a great book with project ideas for creating things with, you guessed it, one yard of fabric.

A few weeks ago, I decided to try my first project from the book. I selected the folklore bag, which looked absolutely adorable in the picture! I've always had a weakness for cute bags, so I figured it was a good place to start.

I set off for the fabric store, ready to pick out my "home decor" weight fabric and get everything else I needed. After a lengthy conversation with the fabric cutter as to why my bill was estimated much higher than I expected it to be (reason: I had mistakenly told her that I wanted the entire rest of the bolt instead of just one yard. Yeah. Go me!), I felt I was ready to begin my adventure.

I suspect that my fabric store faux pas should have been my first indication that I might be getting a little ahead of sewing skills, but I decided to press on and give it a try. I soon encountered scary sewing words. Words like pattern. And interfacing. And bent needle (note to self: that home decor weight fabric I picked out requires a stronger needle).

In the end, I'm not thrilled with the results, but I think it was good practice. The bag was supposed to have a top panel all around the top. The top panel was part of what I really liked about the picture, but once I got to it, I wasn't sure how it was going to look with the bag I created (and, to be honest, I couldn't quite work out how I was going to attach it). So, this is what I ended up with. At the very least, the bag is functional and I do like the fabric. And, if all else fails, there's a lot more projects in my book that I want to try.

Purse outside

Purse outside

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Les Miserables

During my high school and college years, I was very involved/interested in the world of theatre and musical theatre. With the help of the traveling Broadway series that frequented Charlotte through the years and my semester abroad in London, I managed to see a number of musicals throughout the years - Phantom of the Opera, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, Cats, Chicago, Lion King, etc.

My favorite, however, has always been Les Miserables. I've lost official count, but I'm certain that I have seen Les Mis at least four times, if not more.

BUT, it's been awhile. In the hustle and bustle of life, I have gotten away from my musical theatre roots. My iPod has few Broadway tunes, and I had nearly forgotten how fun some of these shows can be.

I have to give credit to the writers of Glee for a resurrection of long-ago delights. While listening to the Glee soundtrack a few weeks ago, I realized that it had been years since I had listened to the actual music of Les Miserables. I pulled the CD out of the closet, dusted it off, plugged it into my car CD player, and got...


Actual goosebumps. Silly me: I had forgotten how beautifully haunting the music from Les Mis was...the heart (and heartache), the emotion, the tragedy. With the music filling my brain, I have thought about the storyline much more over the past few days than I have over the past few years. I suspect that I will reread Victor Hugo's novel in the near future (it was required reading in the 10th grade, but I haven't touched it much since then), and I may even have to go see it again the next time it's in town....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

To make a house a home...

It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home. ~Author Unknown

A little over two years ago, we moved into a lovely rental house in Fuquay. It was a brand new house that seemed just perfect for us.

Welcome Home

Two years later, it still is. While things are not quite so new as they once were, we have settled in and made it our home.

The cool thing is that, by this time next week, it will really be OUR home. We have worked out a deal to buy our house from our landlord, so as of next Thursday morning, Dave and I will be happy home owners! (And we don't even have to move!)

Friday, June 4, 2010

And then it was June...

Did you see the speeding bullet that just plowed through here? I only got a glimpse, but I'm pretty sure that was May. Happy (belated) Memorial Day!

Dave and I had a very nice mini-vacation. It started with my 30th birthday. A very big thank you to all who made my birthday extra special!

Early birthday celebration My early birthday gift! Flip flops! Jeweled sides

Before we left, I tested out my new sewing machine by making an Eeyore apron for my sister-in-law and a Little Mermaid half apron for my niece. But you'll just have to image their beauty since I forgot to take pictures! I'm looking forward to spending some more time with my new machine!

After dropping Sadie off at my parents' house, Dave and I set off for Atlanta to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and niece. We had fun checking out some of the sites (especially the behind the scenes tour of CNN) and just generally hanging out with the fam.

CNN New newsroom Broadcasting Go Bucs! Junior Canady's Waiting for the 3D show Jonah imitation Waiting in line Rough day for Pearce The Varsity

Monday, May 24, 2010


I think I’ll take a moment, celebrate my age
The ending of an era and the turning of a page
Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here
Lord have mercy on my next thirty years


In a couple of days, I'll be the big 3-0! I don't really mind turning 30, but it's still weird to think my days of being a "20-something" are over. The past decade has been an amazing adventure -- college graduation, Bolivia, my first career, my second career, getting married. I'm not sure that they'll be as many "big life" events over the next decade, but I'm sure we'll find ourselves into some excitement just the same.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Coming soon...

Oops. I'm desperately in need of an update. Update coming soon to a blog near you....

In the meantime, happy Friday!

Dave & Mer

Friday, May 7, 2010

Feeding an Army

The problem I have with a lot of art forms is what to do with the final product. I enjoy the creative process and making pretty (or yummy!) things, but I hate to do so without having a definite purpose in mind -- a definite need in my house, a specific person to give the thing to, etc.

Unfortunately, that same hesitation applies to baking. For the most part, I enjoy baking and trying new recipes. Some of the blogs I read are full of brownies, bars, cakes, and cookies that look absolutely decadent...and that serve 16.

Sometimes I feel like I need to find an army or a soccer team to cook for. But only when I feel like it. You know...I don't want an official position with responsibility or anything crazy like that. I just enjoy baking for other people when I have the time and finances to do so. With two people in our house, that can be tough sometimes. Dave and I both have a sweet tooth, but really, do we need to eat a dozen cupcakes each? Tempting, but no.

Oh well. C'est la vie and let them eat cake. There should be more than enough to go around.

Mmm, cupcakes!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times,
always with the same person." -- Mignon McLaughlin

Four years ago today, I walked down the aisle and married my best friend. It's been a great and wonderful adventure so far, and I'm looking forward to many more years of the same.

Rings Husband and Wife

I ♥ you, Dave (more!)! Happy anniversary!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Memory Playlist

“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” -- Plato

I love music. As I get older, I am beginning to appreciate bits of silence every now and then, but for the most part, I think music makes pretty much everything better. Long commute? Check out the local radio station! Have to clean the house? Time Warner gives us music stations for a reason! Stuck on the treadmill? Hello, iPod!

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the songs that have touched my life in some way. In most cases, these are the songs that put a smile on my face as soon as they come on the radio. Almost all are attached to some funny or touching memory in the reaches of my mind. Since no one likes to travel down memory lane by themselves, I thought I would share with you the top 10 hits on my memory list.

1. Let’s Get Physical by Olivia Newton-John
Laugh if you want, but Let’s Get Physical was one of my first “favorite” songs. I’m sure my mom could only shake her head at the 3-year-old who used to sing it around the house. Granted, I thought Olivia really was singing about exercise.

2. Mountain Music by Alabama
This was a family favorite growing up and featured in nearly all of our family road trips. Some families have 100 Bottles of Beer...the Canady’s had Mountain Music.

3. Flood by Jars of Clay
I will never forget the first time I heard this song. I was at missions camp the summer after my freshman year in high school, and the camp staff wanted to introduce us to this new, cool group – Jars of Clay. I loved Flood from the first moment I heard it. The song became even more appropriate when we had to be temporarily evacuated inland for a hurricane warning. The hurricane did next-to-no damage and there was no flooding, but the song always reminds me of what an awesome trip that was.

4. Time of My Life by Green Day
Time of My Life always reminds me of senior year and high school graduation.
For what it's worth/it was worth all the while.
It's something unpredictable/but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

5. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
I spent the spring semester of my sophomore year (in college) studying abroad in London. I quickly learned that sometimes weird things happen in Europe. Case in point, some of my friends and I went to check out an Irish pub one night. We hadn’t been in the restaurant for more than 5 minutes when a random guy asked me to dance (to Brown Eyed Girl). I think he was from New Zealand. From what I remember, we were about the only ones dancing. It was a little embarrassing, but a lot of fun.

6. Must Be the Money by Nelly
College memories of friends, dancing, and parties at the Pi Kappa Phi house.

7. Lauryn Hill (any song) / Aserajé by Las Ketchup
I know that there are multiple songs here, but it’s my list, so I get to make the rules. :-)

Both Aserajé and Lauryn Hill remind me of the year I spent in Bolivia. Aserajé is a pop-y, fad hit with a Macarena-style dance to accompany it. It was very popular the year I was in Bolivia, and we heard it playing everywhere. A couple of years ago, I finally found it on the South American version of iTunes. Love it!

For some reason, we also listened to a lot of Lauryn Hill while I was in Bolivia...but it always came as a surprise. It became a running joke that inevitably, someone would walk into a room, pause, and say, “Hey, is that Lauryn Hill?” I now have the same thought every time I hear a Lauryn Hill song on the radio.

8. Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts
The first song Dave and I danced to as husband and wife. I love the song in general, but the words seem so appropriate. (I guess everything thinks that about “their” song?)

9. How Great is Our God by Chris Tomlin
An awesomely powerful worship song. We sing this song fairly often at church; more importantly, we sang this song the first time we visited Hope. We could tell from the spirit of the song that this was a congregation that we wanted to be a part of.

10. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
This is the only song on my list that doesn’t have a specific memory attached, but it’s one of my favorite songs, so I wanted to include it. At any given point, I can name some song or two from the recent Top 40 claim as my new “favorite” song, but those are usually fleeting moments of favoritism. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay has been around for longer than I have, but it never gets old.

As I sit and think about it, there are so many more than I could include – songs that remind me of road trips and travels, boyfriends and friends, laughter and sorrow – but I said that I would make a list of 10, so that’s the list I’m going with.

What’s the soundtrack of your memories?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mascot Love

If you've followed my blog for long, you know that I ♥ Stormy of the Carolina Hurricanes. Not only do I have a Stormy doll and a Stormy bobblehead, but my jersey to wear to games also has Stormy's name and number.

Every year, one of the spring Canes games becomes a celebration of Stormy's birthday. For Stormy's birthday, other mascots from around the state (and the NHL) come to Raleigh to help the Ice Pig celebrate in style.

Dave and I weren't able to make it the game this year, but we discovered that they were hosting a separate event prior to the game that we could attend -- the mascot competition. Stormy and his buddies competed against each other in American Gladiator-type events. It was lots of fun! (I think Dave and I may have enjoyed it even more than some of the kids!)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Variations on a Theme: New projects, familiar look

As time allows, I’ve been trying to keep up with my sewing. I am definitely still in the learning stage, though, and I sometimes have trouble figuring out whether my mistakes/difficulties are the result of inexperience, an old machine, or pure user error. I suspect it’s a blend of all of the above.

Difficulties aside, I’ve completed two new projects in the past couple of months. I had quite a bit of fabric left over from the first apron I made, so I’ve been using it for my new projects (it’s a good thing I like the colors!).

The first thing I made was a coaster for my bedside table. Dave has been using a coaster we got as a wedding favor, but I had largely been using whatever piece of heavy paper I could find laying around. It seemed like time to find something a little more permanent.


The coaster came together quickly. I think I made it from start to finish in a single morning. I pieced together the top and then sewed three of the edges to a bottom piece. I added a very thin layer of fluff filling (left over from my “LOVE” pillow) between the layers, sewed up the bottom, and “quilted” the filling in place. Quick and easy!

My most recent project was to create another apron. Even though I really liked the first apron I made, I decided to play around with another design for apron #2. I knew I wanted a full apron, but I struggled for awhile with how to incorporate both fabrics. In the end, I was inspired by a wall hanging that my friend Erica made. For her wall hanging, Erica used a pretty color fabric to make her own binding around the edge. It gave the outline of her picture such a pretty finish. I thought the same look might look nice on my apron.
Full apron Self portrait in apron

I’m fairly happy with how the apron turned out, though the edge binding did make it a little more awkward when it came time to attach the ties.

I’ve never been much into wearing aprons (perhaps because I’ve never had a good one to wear?), but I’m looking forward to doing some baking in mine. We’ll see how well the apron holds up to the wear and tear of kitchen life!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


My husband told me last week that I needed to update my blog more often.

He's right, of course (but don't tell him I said that!).

Off to look for inspiration...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ready for Spring

Is it spring yet?
Beautiful Flowers

Don't get me wrong. I love snow and sweaters as much as the next girl, but this winter has been cold (well, by North Carolina standards anyways!). The pretty weather this past weekend was just enough to remind me how glorious the weather can be in this part of the country. Just in time for the threat of more winter weather. Boo.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Best Wishes

I'm sending out best wishes to my big brother today. Today is his first day at his new job at CNN! My parents and I helped move my brother, his wife, and their daughter to Atlanta over the weekend. It was a rocky adventure (no heat in February = no fun), but I think they'll do well once they get settled. Good luck, Benjamin!

It's a sibling thing

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Sidewalk Fairy

For a number of reasons, we use the back door of our house instead of the front door. For the most part, this works well and is more convenient...except when it's wet. Unfortunately, the driveway doesn't quite meet the back patio, creating a muddy gulf that has to be crossed when it's raining.

But not anymore!


A couple of weeks before Christmas, I was visited by the sidewalk fairy! No more muddy gulf for me!

Thanks, Dave! I love it!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Project #2

For my second sewing project, I wanted to make something special for my friend's birthday. I thought about making another pillow, but I really wanted to try something different. When I stumbled upon this apron tutorial, I knew I had my project!

Apron Apron

The apron came together fairly quickly, and while I wouldn't look too closely at some of the seams, I'm happy with how it turned it. I might just have to make one for myself!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Enrichment To-Do's...Did they get done?

Last January, I created an "Enrichment To-Do List" of things that I wanted to accomplish in 2009. Now that it's January 2010 (2010?!?), let's see how I did....

1. Read some books.
Successfully completed. I read 26 books in 2009 (17 actual books, 8 audio books, and 1 short story). That averages out to be a little over 2 books a month.

2. Scrapbook.
Decently completed. I finally finished our engagement scrapbook. Maybe I'll actually get the wedding photos scrapbooked sometime this decade! :-)

3. Figure out the sewing machine.
Successfully completed. I'm still learning, but so far, I've made a pillow and an apron. I'm happy with that. (And currently trying to decide what my next project will be....)

4. Cross-stitch.
Nope. Still sitting untouched. I'll add my cross-stitch projects to that new decade list.

So, there you go. Three out of four projects completed in 2009. All things considered, I think that's pretty good. I enjoyed working on all of them, and I am excited to get things underway in 2010!

Happy new year!