Saturday, April 30, 2022

Lego Fan Festival Today

Eliot and I have been waiting for tonight for months.  This evening, we will make our way up to the Portland Exposition to attend the BrickUniverse Lego Fan Festival!

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Tickets went on sale back in early February and they sold out of most time slots almost immediately.  Thankfully, Eliot and I were able to get 6 tickets for tonight and two for tomorrow afternoon.  This afternoon, Jeremy is coming up from New Hampshire and my parents and Nana are coming down from Trenton so we can all go together!

Originally, we thought everyone would be spending the night in Portland, but we're all so busy right now.  Instead, Jeremy will head back south while Mom, Dad, and Nana drive north.  It will be a quick visit, but it'll be nice to see them.  I haven't seen Mom, Dad and Nana since Jeremy's birthday.  (They've been busy with tax season.)  Come to think of it, I don't think I've seen Jeremy since then either.  It's been a while!

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We're all looking forward to getting out for a few hours.  We're not sure what to expect from the Lego Fan Festival, but I'm sure it will be cool.  There are supposed to be a lot of exhibits and builds to see!  I'm also looking forward to exploring the vendor booths to see what they have for sale!  And I know Eliot and Jeremy are looking forward to it too!

I'll be sure to tell you all about it once I have a chance to!  Things are still pretty busy around here... but I'll be back to write more as soon as I can!  °o°

Friday, April 29, 2022

Another Fin-Tastic Season

Two hours from now, the San Jose Sharks will take the ice for their last hockey game of the 2021-2022 NHL season.  It's been another rough season as we didn't make the playoffs again.  But the team battled through injuries, COVID protocols, people actually getting COVID, and a weird condensed schedule.

If you've hung out around here, you know that Eliot and I are pretty diehard about our Sharks.  Eliot's been a fan since he was three and the team was first introduced to the NHL.  Over the past 14 years of us being together, I've grown to love them as well.  I can now tell you more current facts about hockey than I can any of the other sports. 

We really have enjoyed watching the Sharks this season- even if some other fans are starting to lose their patience.  We've been really lucky.  In 29 seasons, the Sharks have made the playoffs in 21 of them.  As a New England fan, I've been really spoiled with successful teams, but I still support the team no matter what their record is.  This season, there have been a lot of great moments and we've enjoyed the ride.

The first thing that comes to mind is Timo Meier's history making 5 goal game back in January.  That was insane... so much so that I wrote an entire blog post about it.

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A few weeks later, Timo was our representative for the All-Star Game.  While there, he reunited with Joe Pavelski on media day and my heart exploded into a million pieces.

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The following day was the NHL All Star Skills competition and they took another photo together in their team jerseys.  If that wasn't spectacular enough, they sat together during the event.  Pavelski's son Nathan was on the ice with him and Timo, Joe and Nathan were talking and having a great time.  I was so pleased to see them together and hanging out like old times sake... all the heart eye emojis!

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Speaking of reunions... while they both aren't Sharks anymore, my heart melted a little bit when Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton reunited at the Panthers vs Stars game.  It was also Jumbo's milestone 1700th NHL game!!!  Big Joe and Little Joe!!!

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This season was the first time that Joe Thornton returned to the Shark Tank.  That was really emotional for both Eliot and me.  He was a Shark since I started watching them, and he and Patrick Marleau have both done so much for the Sharks franchise.  The Sharks organization and the fans gave him a wonderful welcome home!

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It's clear that these guys are family and that they really love each other.  Brent Burns and Joe Thornton also took a photo together when the Sharks played the Panthers in Florida.  Sharks Beard Brothers finally reunited!!!

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And there was another reunion in Florida when Patrick Marleau and his family visited Florida a few weeks ago and hung out with the Thornton family.

Brent Burns also took a photo with Joe Pavelski when the Sharks visited Dallas this year!  It's my crazy 8's reunited together again!!! 

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There have been a lot of other fun moments too.  Earlier this year, the Sharks mascot SJ Sharkie celebrated his 30th birthday back on January 28th.  For the occasion, they gave away shirseys at the January 22nd home game.  Thankfully, Eliot's Dad has connections and he was able to get ahold of two extra shirseys so Eliot and I can both have one!  We love Sharkie!!!

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Fun must be always, and on March 16th, Tomas Hertl signed an eight year contract extension ensuring that we'll keep having fun with Ninja Hertl in the future!

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Speaking of fun, the Sharks provided a few games of four in the net, tacos you get!

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The biggest surprise for Elissa and I this year... cookie nachos exist and you can get them in the Sharks Club Level.  And I don't need to say anymore about that wonder.

The greatest highlight this year was being able to see hockey in person again.  Eliot and I attended the game in Pittsburg during our New Years trip with his family.  Then, we also attended two home games at the Shark Tank during our California trip.  It was so good to see our boys in teal play live again!  It's been far too long!

Unfortunately for Sharks fans, the season was starting to feel like it was ending in depressing drizzle.  We have known the Sharks were eliminated from the playoffs for about two weeks now.  While some fans have given up, Eliot and I have watched all of the games.  We cheer our boys in teal on no matter the circumstances.  Plus, I wanted to get my fill of Sharks hockey since we won't be seeing them back on the ice for five months.  We could have stopped watching too... but Sharks fans who did missed what was probably the highlight of our entire season as a fan base.

The thing that rallied Sharks fans (and the team) to enough energy to push us into next season was our final game against Las Vegas this past Sunday night.  Wow.  We might not have made the playoffs... but this was our playoff game, trying to spoil the playoffs for them.  (I could have written an entire post about this one game, but since I already had posts planned right through until now, you get to hear all about it in this post!)

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This was a big game for us.  Sharks fans hate Vegas, even though the Golden Knights have only been in the league for five seasons.  We have a lot of history in those five short seasons, and we don't like each other.  The players aren't exactly fond of each other either.  So each season, we look forward to those games with extra animosity.

This time around, Vegas was surprisingly struggling to make it into the playoffs in a wild card spot.  No one could have predicted this, but Sharks fans were relishing in the fact that we could be the team to put the playoffs out of Vegas' reach.  In fact, pretty much the entire NHL was cheering for the Sharks except Vegas.  (The Sharks really don't like Vegas, but I should be clear that no one in the NHL likes Vegas.)

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The game started well with the Sharks scoring first.  Then, Vegas tied it later in the first period.  In the 2nd period, Vegas scored again... and again a few minutes later.  The Sharks scored right before the end of the 2nd to bring it back to 3-2.  In the 3rd period, Vegas scored again and I was starting to get a little worried since it was 4-2.  But the Sharks didn't give up.  With only 2:06 left in the 3rd period, the Nick Bonino scored right after we pulled our goalie for an extra attacker.

Things were beginning to look bleak as the seconds ticked down to the end of the third period.  We kept our goalie on the bench and the guys were trying to make a play in those last few seconds.  Brent Burns saved a potential clear and rocketed the puck towards the net.  It missed, as the seconds were disappearing.  Then, practically out of no where, it was Timo Time.  Sharks forward Timo Meier scored a goal with less than a second left to tie the game and send it into overtime.  (No exaggeration.  It was quite literally less than a second... actually .9 seconds left to be exact!)  Eliot jumped out of his chair screaming at the television.  I went absolutely nuts too.  I couldn't believe it.

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Timo's reaction to the goal said it all.  He rocketed over to the Sharks bench somewhat taunting the Vegas fans along the way by putting his hands up next to his ears as if he couldn't hear them booing him.  He didn't let the Vegas fans get into his head. (He had previously been booed by them back during All-Star Weekend... this was nothing new.)

Side Note: If you haven't figured it out, Timo Meier has been my favorite Sharks player all season.  He's always had a fire in his belly even in the worst situations.  He's never stopped trying and he's never stopped fighting.  And clearly, I'm not the only one who has seen it as he was just named Sharks Player of the Year. 

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Before overtime was starting, my heart was racing and I was having a hard time trying to slow my heart rate.  I pretty much spent the entire overtime holding my breath.  We got a penalty that we had to kill.  Both teams had a bunch of chances.  But no one scored, and the game was going into a shoot out.  

Eliot and I hate when the game is decided by a shoot out.  We usually don't do well in them, but tonight, luck was on our side.  The Sharks had a secret weapon in the form of #23, 20 year old rookie Thomas Bordeleau who was only playing in his fifth NHL game.  He scored on a nifty move, and the Shark's bench went nuts.

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At this point, I was hoarse from screaming like an idiot.  You'd think that we just won the Stanley Cup with how much Eliot and I were cheering.  (This is always the point where I remember that we should probably warn our neighbors that the Sharks are playing and that we aren't being attacked by intruders.)  This game was well worth all the cheering and being hoarse the following day though.

For Sharks fans, this was our big moment this season.  This win was also reminiscent to the "Pavelski Payback" game against Vegas three years ago to the day this past Saturday.  There are a lot of similarities between the games too.  The Golden Knights got punched in the gut by #23 in teal on April 23, 2019 and April 24th, 2022... and both games ended with the Sharks winning 5-4.  Deja Vu Vegas?  (#sorrynotsorry) 

Appropriately, it was Timo Meier that first embraced 20 year old Bordeleau in a giant hug to celebrate as the entire team bombarded him at the glass.  We might not have made the playoffs, but this is the reason we watch the Sharks.  They're still fighting and supporting each other.  (For those wondering, Joe Pavelski and the Dallas Stars put the final nail in Vegas' coffin two days later with their win against them in a shoot out.)

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While our season is over after this last game against Seattle tonight, I feel like we can ride the wave of the Vegas win into the next season.  And as much as I wanted the Sharks to make the playoffs, there are some benefits.  Eliot has wanted us to finish in the lower standings because we're more likely to get a higher draft pick.  I'm looking at it from the perspective that by not making the playoffs that there is less stress watching them.  I've missed seeing our guys compete for the Stanley Cup, but the games are more enjoyable to watch when you aren't holding your breath half the time!

At this point, Eliot and I are rooting for former Sharks players.  I'm personally cheering for Joe Pavelski with the Dallas Stars and Joe Thornton with the Florida Panthers!  I'd love to see either of them raise the Stanley Cup!  Of course, I also dream of the day that the Sharks will finally raise the cup for the first time... someday.

I know fans usually say "there's always next year" when their team doesn't do well, but there is always next year.  Next year, Eliot and I hope to go to more games in person and take a road trip to see the Sharks play at a few other arenas we haven't been to yet.  And I'm sure that we'll find our way to San Jose at some point to see a few home games.  This season might be ending, but we have a lot more to look forward to!

As another season comes to a close, I choose to remain optimistic and hopeful for next year.  I'm also grateful for all the fun we had watching these guys compete this season.

Thank you for another fun ride guys!!!  Enjoy your summer and we'll see you this fall!

GSharks!!! °o°

Thursday, April 28, 2022

#tbt Our Disney Wedding Planning Trip

This week marks the anniversary of a special Disney trip for Eliot and me.  Ten years ago, back in 2012, we were at Walt Disney World to plan our wedding, tour our venues and attend our Disney Wedding Planning Session!  I thought this was the perfect time to do a little #tbt to share a few wedding planning highlights from that week!

Not all Disney wedding couples elect to attend an in person wedding planning session, but Eliot and I knew this was non-negotiable.  Most of our wedding planning happened while Eliot was finishing his senior year at Wentworth and I was in charge of a lot of the details.  But we both wanted to attend the planning session so we decided to do the in person session right after he finished with his finals, but before he had graduation.

My parents, my brother Jeremy and my Nana and Papa all went to Florida with us.  It was so hot that week... most days we didn't leave the hotel until after 4:00 pm unless we had to.  This was also the trip where Eliot and I first became annual pass holders when we both activated our passes gifted to us from Disney Fairy Tale Weddings.

Our plan for the week was to visit the parks as usual, but to do it around the schedule of events we had to plan our wedding.  Thankfully, I had booked our planning sessions around two days, so that allowed us to enjoy the parks on the other days!

On Friday April 27th, Mom, Dad, Eliot and I headed over to Franck's Bridal Studio so we could take a tour of the Living Seas Salon in The Seas at Epcot, where we were having our wedding reception.  We got a private tour from Joel (who reminded me so much of Joe Pavelski).  We got to go through "backstage" areas to get into the facility and Joel drove us through private cast member roads to get to The Seas Pavilion.  It was so cool to go behind the scenes of Epcot and see the countries from the back!

When we got back from our tour, we had a few minutes before our next appointment was going to be starting.  Joel told us we could go into the Wedding Pavilion since no one was currently using it for a ceremony.  This was the first time that any of us had ever entered it and it was an emotional moment for me.  This was really happening!

After our tour, Mom and I attended a session with Shelley from Impressions.  She was designing our wedding invitations and all of the paper products.  We met with her at Franck's Bridal Studio, the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings headquarters located right beside the Wedding Pavilion.  We picked out colors, designs, and details while there.

The highlight of our trip was on Monday April 30th, when we finally had our Wedding Planning Session.  They only allow four people at the planning session, so Mom, Dad, Eliot and I attended that.  During our meeting, we met with our Disney wedding planner Christy to discuss our vision and the timeline for our day.  Then, we also went over details like table linens, floral arrangements, decor for both venues, etc.  But the best part of the session was trying out wedding cake and frosting samples!

Another pretty big highlight of our trip was our Epcot Menu Tasting.  That took place after our Wedding Planning Session. It was so cool to go behind the scenes at Epcot again.  This time, they took us into the actual Epcot kitchen.  We had a small table set up right in the middle of it, and there the four of us sampled our pre-selected menu.

Eliot's not into fancy foods, so he wasn't eating that much while we were there.  Christy asked Eliot what he usually ate at home, and he answered tater tots.  We all got a good laugh, but a few minutes later, we understood why she asked.  One of the Epcot chefs came out with a plate full of tater tots for Eliot.  (The table must have had a hidden microphone.)  They took note of it too, because on our wedding day, the same chef came out with a plate of tater tots for Eliot at our wedding reception.  It was really special and our private menu tasting at Epcot was an experience that I'll never forget!

The rest of the week, Eliot and I enjoyed our time exploring the parks and riding on our favorite rides with my family.  One of the days, we took advantage of the hot weather and visited the water park at Typhoon Lagoon.  It was so refreshing!

Eliot and I never took formal engagement photos, so another day we dressed up in coordinating outfits and took a few PhotoPass photos at the Magic Kingdom.  We also had my brother Jeremy capture a few photos of us at the Contemporary Resort, on the balcony from the Main Street Train Station and on Main Street USA.

We also enjoyed visiting the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot.  We had seen the topiaries before, but this was the first time I remember seeings so many of the newer ones!  We were certainly dazzled by all of them spread out over the World Showcase!

It was a wonderful week and Eliot and I had such a great time planning for our Disney Wedding!  
I only wish that I'd taken more photos of our planning session and our menu tasting.  But other than that, it was pretty much picture perfect!  °o°

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Administrative Professional's Day

It's Administrative Professional's Day!  Normally, this isn't a holiday that I would even celebrate.  But since I've recently found myself back in that role while helping out at the chiropractic office the past few weeks, I thought that I'd celebrate it one last time.

I never actually celebrated it much in the past.  Even when I was an administrative professional full time, I never really marked the occasion.  One year, my boss gave me a miniature orchid inside of a miniature mug.  It was a sweet gesture and I loved it.  But other than that, the day usually went by without my noticing it.

It's nice to acknowledge how hard administrative professionals work though.  Most of the time, they're the hero behind all of the things up front, and they don't get enough credit.  I know when I was doing it full time, I was juggling being the office manager, front desk receptionist and a chiropractic assistant doing laser treatments.  It was a lot and it's nice to take a minute to celebrate all of my hard work over the years.

In the haze of craziness back in 2017 and 2018 (when I was so busy that I was barely posting anything on here) I actually won an award that was a huge deal.  Each year, the Maine Chiropractic Assistants Association selects someone to be the Chiropractic Assistant of the Year and I got it in 2017.  I never thought I'd ever win it, but when they started reading the letter my boss had sent in, I knew it was for me.  They mentioned the fire when our office building burned down the night before my first day of work and I knew that had to be me.  I mean, what are the chances that someone else would have the exact same thing happen to them?

I briefly remember walking up to receive my award statue in front of all the Chiropractic Assistants and the chiropractors.  (That year, we did the ceremony in front of all the doctors too.)  It was a bit of a haze, but I was really moved and it meant a lot to me.  I never wanted to be a Chiropractic Assistant forever, but this award was truly an honor that I was proud (and a little bit shocked) to receive.  The doctors at our office and our patients were so proud of me too!   And I was proud to display it on my desk at home in my office.  (It's tucked away for now after our squirrel incident.)

I know that I was good at my job.  My Mom is really organized and detail oriented, so I guess that I come by it naturally.  I also know that I could have had a good and long career doing this, but the simple truth is that it wasn't what was in my heart.

At times have I questioned my decision to leave?  Yes; running a business for yourself out of your home can be overwhelming and completely terrifying.  There is something attractive about having a steady paycheck.  And I'll tell you my secret confession, I've toyed around with the idea of going back knowing my replacement wasn't going to be there forever.  I've always had it at the back of my mind ever since I left in 2018.

I can also honestly say it wasn't until I've been helping out these past few months that I finally found the answers that I've been looking for all this time.  Did I miss my job?  Did I miss working with the doctors?  Did I miss the patients?  Would I want to go back?

The short answer to all of those questions, is yes, a part of me missed my old job, working with the doctors and seeing all of our patients.  But after covering for a few days in December and January, I finally felt the answer deep inside of my heart.  While I was there, I was so proud and happy to tell everyone about our businesses.  I felt myself light right up while telling everyone what I was up to these past few years.  And that was my answer all along.  Nothing sparks joy inside me like creating things.  

When my replacement just gave her notice back in mid-March, my boss offered me my old job back, and I considered it for a moment.  But I knew what the answer was and respectfully declined.  This chapter of my life was closing, and I've moved on to fulfill my own dreams and passions while creating things.  I have so much that I want to create... I would never be able to do both jobs and feel genuinely fulfilled.

So today, I'm celebrating all of my hard work through the years.  I'm proud of how hard I worked at the chiropractic office.  I'm proud of how I passed the chiropractic assistant exam on my first try even though I don't have a medical background at all.  (I went to school for interior design.)  I'm proud of how the patients at our office enjoyed having me at the front desk.  I'm proud of how my boss loved having me working in the office so much that she asked me if I wanted my old job back when my replacement left.

And I'm proud that I know myself enough to acknowledge that I don't want to do that anymore... not because I didn't love my job.  Because I really did love it.  But because after some serious thought and soul searching, the simple answer is that isn't my dream.  I considered going back a few days a week on a more permanent basis... but deep down I knew that wouldn't get me any closer to realizing my own dreams.

I know my calling is to create things and that I am a Magic Maker.  Eliot and I are creating new designs for Happily Ever Hatter and Snowblade Creations.  I'm working behind the scenes on a few new products for HEH.  We are in the process of opening our home decor businesses and my clothing business.  We also have a few newer ideas that we'd like to pursue.  I even thought of another business idea just a few weeks ago that I'd like to flesh out, explore and start doing in the next few months. 

As my time helping out at the chiropractic office comes to a close, I'm happy with my decisions and where I'm at.  There have been some moments where I've questioned if I made the right choice in leaving my job to pursue our businesses full time.  It hasn't been easy, but I feel like it's the best choice I could have made for myself and for our businesses.  I've chosen me and my dreams, and I'm so happy that I did.  

While I was (and still am) amazing at being an administrative professional, I know that my heart and soul are in designing, creating and being an entrepreneur.  And I can't do both successfully.  So today, I'm going to celebrate this chapter of my life, how good I was at it, and how it's time to continue moving forward.  

Happy Administrative Professional's Day to all of my fellow rockstars!!!  °o°

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Spring 2022 Sewing Recap

Earlier today, I had my last Spring 2022 Sewing Class.  It always amazes me how quickly the eight weeks go by.  This spring session went by extra fast since I missed the first class due to our trip to Disneyland and California.  However, that didn't stop me from making the most of the remaining seven classes!  

My first project was to finish the rainbow placemat that I started back in the fall.  It turned out really cute and after I saw it, I wanted to make another one.  Originally, I was going to make 6-8 of them for our dining room, but it took so long to complete the first one, that I figure I'll make easier ones for the placemats.  These first two will be decorative mats instead!  I haven't quite finished the second one because we switched to another project... but I was 100% ok with that.  And I'll finish it at some point!

March 29th, when I walked into my fourth class (our 5th week), my instructor excitedly told me that she'd found a simple tutorial on how to make tiered skirts and that we would be able to make one during this class!  During my first class, I had told her how much I wanted to make a skirt like Mirabel's in Encanto.  She had gone home and done a little research.  The other lady in my class is in her first sewing session, but since this is an easy project, my instructor said she would be able to join us if she wanted to.  I left that class with a small supply list for next class and a lot of excitement!

On April 5th, I came to class with my elastic band (for the waist) and my three yards of inexpensive cotton fabric.  I chose a turquoise blue fabric with white and yellow daisies scattered on it.  I thought the pattern was cute and the fabric was on sale!  I probably spent a little more on it than I should have considering this was my first skirt, but I really wanted a fabric that I would end up wearing after the skirt was completed!

That morning, we worked out the waist measurements and how long each of our tiers needed to be.  Then, we took turns cutting our fabric down to the correct dimensions.  I spent the rest of that class sewing panels together to make them longer.

During our April 12th class, I was able to cut the long panels down to the correct sizes I needed for each tier.  The part that took the longest amount of time was folding and pressing the hem for the bottom tier of the skirt.  After I finally finished pressing it, I was able to sew it together pretty quickly.  I've never sewn something that length before and I was so happy with how even it came out!  (Look at those stitches below!!!)

I spent the remainder of that class sewing the basting stitches into the top of the tier panels.  Then, I spent a few minutes starting to gather the bottom tier of the skirt before realizing that it was going to take me forever.  Class was ending anyways, so I took it home to gather during our two week break (for the school's April vacation).  Naturally, I was doing it last night before class, but at least I didn't have to do it during class!

Or so I thought anyways... 

This morning, my goal was to finish my skirt.  Unfortunately, I didn't quite reach that goal.  Apparently, I got a little overzealous with the gathering, and I had to let a bunch of it out in order for the pieces to line up correctly.  (My instructor said she did the same thing.)  Lesson learned, but I spent more time spreading the fabric back out.

Then, the universe had a few more things to throw at me.  The basting stitch of my middle tier broke so I had to resew that.  Then I had to re-gather it.  Before I was able to finish sewing it, I ran out of bobbin thread.  Thankfully, everything (other than using the seam ripper) was quick but it still put me behind where I wanted to be.

I did stay a few minutes late to make sure that each of my tiers were correctly sewn together.  After zigzag stitching the bottom to the middle, and then the middle to the top, I at least had something that looked mostly like a skirt.  I still have to sew the seam up the back and add the elastic and the top hem, but other than that, it's done!

I'm really excited for how easy this project was and how many possibilities there are to make more in the future!  I'm thinking about making myself a bright rainbow skirt, as well as a pastel version that would be cute for the spring.  I might make a red, white and blue one for the 4th of July.  I haven't even thought much about the possibilities for Halloween and Christmas.  Plus, I'm still planning to make my Mirabel inspired skirt!

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to our fall sewing class... as long as there are at least three of us so we can run it.  They've been letting us get away with fewer people due to COVID, but I guess we really need to have at least three people.  So here's hoping we get at least two other people who sign up to join us so I can have another session of sewing projects and learning this fall!  °o°