Saturday, March 27, 2010

Birthday Bags for My New Sisters

Two sisters-in-law. Two birthdays. Two bags...

The Kezia Bag:

The Olivia Bag:

Bought the fabric at Hobby Lobby when I was home a couple weeks ago. Wish I had bought more. I so wish we had Hobby Lobbys here (Lobbies?) and also Target. I went to target 5 times when I was in Texas. I was there for 7 days.

My Button Monogram Pillow / Driving Lessons Part 2

Here is my version of what Sarah made in the tutorial below. I did not put a zipper on because I was enjoying myself, and I didn't want to ruin that:) It has an envelope closure instead. I made this from the pillowcase that came with the duvet that I used to make my curtains.


So I had my first driving lesson. The instructor is a guy who is friends with one of my coworkers so he was in the office before the lesson and they were all teasing me and even made fun of my Ugg boots--something about being able to drive with dead puppies on my feet. Ha. Ha. He's an okay guy really.

Anyway, I drove around for about 30 minutes, reversed around a corner and parallel parked. He said I drive like someone who has been driving for a long time and that I would have failed if it had been the test. Awesome. I don't check my mirrors enough, "They must be checked every 15-20 seconds and every time you put your foot on the brake" (I totally made my self dizzy trying to do it that often on my drive home that night--NOT SAFE). And I follow cars too closely, "You must be able to see the tires on the tarmac." He was excited to tell me there is nothing I need to change about the way I steer--oh yippie skippie! But that I'm not supposed to use all of the gears because it is not environmentally friendly driving and they take points off for that, and also you are not supposed to wave a thanks to anyone who lets you into traffic or stops to let you by because they could sue you for some reason that he did not adequately explain to me and I was pretty much ready to get out of the car by then anyway. Whatever. Just give me my flipping license and no one gets hurt.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Driving Lessons Part I (of what I hope is a series with not very many parts)

The day I turned 16 was the greatest day of my youth. I went to the DPS to get my license on the morning of my birthday and ever since have thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of being able to drive. Until I moved to England. The first few months of my life here were wrought with traumatizing near death experiences as I learned to drive a manual for the first time on the other side of the car on the other side of the road. And because we live where we do, this often occured on tiny one lane roads surrounded by hedges and blind turns where I suddenly found myself nose to nose with a tractor and had to back up up hill for 3 miles until there was a place wide enough to pass. Needless to say, I often broke down (in the mental sense) and Sam had to take over as I cried and shouted obsenities to no one in particular and cursed my bad luck for falling in love with an adorable English boy.

Because of some strange law in this country, a foreigner is able to drive on their previous license from their mother land for 12 months. By the time those 12 months are up you are expected to have taken and passed a theory test, hazard perception test and a practical test. If you fail to take these tests, or fail the tests themselves, you are demoted to the status of a 17 year old (15 to those of you in the States) which is the age at which you may obtain your provisional license. All that to say, I am now in the process of learning how to drive. I never expected, at the age of 26, to be taking my very first driving lessons with an instructor. And if I don't pass all of this nonsense I will be on a provisional license and wont be able to drive by myself for 6 months. Hahaha. All I can really do is laugh about this because it's too terrible to bear otherwise.

I'll be honest with you, I'm not too worried about the theory test. Having 11 years of driving experience, and 7 months of experience driving here, I pretty much get what you're supposed to do. If a granny is crossing the road you slow down and/or stop. You go the speed limit. You check your mirrors. Duh. It's just the bizarre wording here that scares me. I need to know the difference between zebra, pelican, toucan and puffin crossings--what's the deal with all these references to exotic wildlife in a country where the most exciting native animal is the hedgehog? There are about 1 billion signs to memorize, but again, no big deal, I can do that. It's the actual driving test that I'm worried about. I can't yet say that I'm an expert with a stick shift--but put me in an automatic and I can multitask like no other. I drive about an hour and a half each day to work and back, but I still get nervous at some busier roundabouts and my hill starts could more appropriately be called hill stalls. It's not that bad actually, I'm giving myself a hard time here, but it really is nerve wracking and more than a little shameful that I am once again among the ranks of high school students even though I have never been in an accident or caught speeding in my life.

So it begins tomorrow. My first driving lesson is at 12:30 during my lunch break... wish me luck.

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like spring time!

I went home to Texas for a week two weeks ago, and when I returned to England it was a totally transformed place! Daffodils are blooming, there are buds everywhere, it's warmer, there's no need to take a coat with you everyday (although an umbrella is highly recommended) and the air is fresh and hopeful. Winter is just about over! I don't see my breath anymore when I wake up in the morning! Here are just a few pictures from around here that will brighten any day...

Ah... wasn't that refreshing? Flowers and veggies and strawberries--lots of things to look forward to in the next few weeks and months. I'm a big fan of English spring time.

Before I left for a week I started a very exciting project that I am completely thrilled about. I'm not quite finished, but let me just tell you, it's AMAZING. I can't wait to show you:) Here's a sneak peak: