Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My first sewing project...for real!

So, I know it seemed like completing my duvet cover was my first sewing project...but really it was ALL Rita! This time, I actually ventured out on a mission to complete my first ever simple sewing project, as a wedding gift for a friend (Emily Caroline Hurren)...a tablecloth that will compliment her place settings. It took me (what seems like) an eternity! Charlee lent me her sewing machine, but it took me a really long time to figure out how to thread it. And then of course I had to figure out how to sew in a straight line. I was laughing along as I would steer off course, get nervous and floor the pedal by mistake...oops. Then I would reposition the needle back onto the fabric and do the same thing all over again! By the 4th side of the tablecloth, I had it down! That little project has quite a few crooked lines... Em, let's just consider it a labor of love! You should be honored to be in possession of a Jen Ferrara original...and the inaugural tablecloth ;)

It was so much fun! I feel such satisfaction in creating and learning new skills!

Voila! C'est fini!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

And it only took 9 months...

...To finish making a duvet cover for my bed! Last fall, I decided that I wanted to redecorate my room; as part of that project, I would make my own duvet cover. My good friend, Rita, graciously volunteered to help me with the project - a project that would be my first sewing project. But realistically, Rita did all the sewing because I possess ZERO sewing skills! Thank you, Rita!!! We would get together here and there to have dinner, catch up, and do a little work on the duvet cover. In June, I picked up the duvet cover from her house and sewed on the buttons to complete the duvet.

It's two sided, so that I can use the darker side in a different season.

Just last weekend, I bought a few finishing touches and my bed is now complete! I just love it! What is it about finishing something that is so incredibly satisfying?!

The finished product! (now I just need curtains!)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The most wonderful time of the year...

I can't help but hum this tune when the school year comes to a close and I assess the loot that was received by some of my students. Now, to give you a little background, I work for Annandale High School, one of the most diverse schools in the county. The majority of my students are Korean, Vietnamese or Middle Eastern, all of which are extremely generous cultures.

Now, I am conscious of the fact that this issue poses a bit of a paradox, as it is not appropriate to accept gifts in my profession, and yet it is considered offensive to these cultures to decline a gift. So what does one do? So, I accept them all. In fact, receiving gifts and gestures of gratitude from the students I work with is truly a favorite of mine...not only does it feel good to be appreciated, but the gifts come in all shapes and sizes and at times provides miles and miles of comic relief! At anyrate, throughout the year, the gifts that I receive range from ethnic cakes and treats to $50 Starbucks gift cards; I know! What am I going to do with that kind of money at Starbucks?! But I manage...multiple trips to get hot chocolate or buy the latest Starbuck's CD! In years past, I have received some very interesting gifts. A small sampling: flexible rubber magnets of stick figure Korean children...hmmm, OR super sparkly hair clips...these remind me of the princess barretts that I used to long for when a little girl. But by far, one of my favorites was a beautiful silver Christmas ornament that I received 4 years ago from an ESL student; the ornament said "Our First Christmas, 2005". Hilarious! Much to its dismay, the ornament later became a white elephant gift and was given a new home.

This year was a banner year for end-of-year student loot (gifts)! ....a size 10 flapper outfit (dress) from one student, and the most sparkly, fringy purse I've ever seen, from another student! Mauri and I had way too much fun capturing these most prized gifts on camera.Not really my style, but perhaps I could wear it to a funeral?

Definitely room in there for one more!

I am secretly in love with the purse....seriously! You just may see me prancing around town with it soon!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bad Bike Carma

Just completed another triathlon relay on June 20th down in Bath County, VA at Lake Moomaw. Alicia, Deb and I competed together as "Magically Delicious" AGAIN! No idea why. It's definitely bumping us down a few notches on the scale of class. ;) We didn't break any records and in fact, I biked a full two minutes slower than the last race. I attribute such poor performance to some really lousy bike carma that I've experienced this past month...as a result, I had little opportunity to ride my bike and train for the race.

A sampling of bad bike carma? Took my road bike to Duck beach and while on a ride hit a construction staple that lodged into my tire. Removed said staple and replaced the tube. The next day, received another flat tire...for no apparent reason. Returned home and replaced yet another tube. Bought road bike shoes and installed road bike pedals....very proud of myself and looking quite profession in my new gear. Went out for the first time with clip in shoes...didn't get two feet in front of my house when I had difficulty clipping in and fell over right on the derailleur system. Sustained major bruise to right buttocks and seriously bent the derailleur system. The next day, took bike in for repair at Dick's. Three days later, found out that Dick's could not replace the part. Took it over to a different bike shop. Paid an arm and a leg to get the needed parts (plus labor) just days before the race. Went on a ride that very day...endured yet ANOTHER flat. Paid another arm and leg to have tires entirely replaced two days before the race. Arrggghhh!

Let's hope i've got my mojo back with my bike!

Some of our Triathlon group.
Dismounting after my biking segment of the race. Looking very sporto ;)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Team Magically Delicious, you ask?

Now, here's a good story! A few months ago, Deb, Alicia and I decided to sign up as a relay team for the Smith Mountain Lake Sprint Triathlon. Backing up a few weeks...at first I thought...1/2 mile swim, 20K bike, and 5K run? no sweat, I can handle all of that on my own...sign me up! Well, my good friend Sharyn (and competitive swimmer), decided to take me and a few other to the pool for a "swim assessment", as she called it. I have never taken swimming lessons, but feel I did pretty well at teaching myself to swim, so i thought I'd pass with flying colors. Come to find out that the Ferrara brand of swimming = not real swimming! ;) Needless to say, I failed the "assessment" miserably, because I just really don't know how to breathe correctly when swimming free style.

Fortunately, Deb and Alicia were up for a relay, so Deb took some time late one night to sign us up and we all worked hard to prepare for our leg of the tri. When we arrived on Saturday morning to check in, the woman at registration said, "so what's you're team name?" We all looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. When were we to have chosen a team name? Deb obviously chose one for us late that night when she registered us, but even she couldn't remember what it was. The woman began looking us up by name and then stated, "your team name is Magically Delicious." Alicia and I both turned to Deb, "Deb!!! Really? what were you thinking?" She replied "oohhh, it was late at night! It was late!" It was hilarious! and yet embarassing that the thirty-somethings have a name that seems identical to a cereal slogan! I mean, calling us the Lucky Charms would have been better than Magically Delicious! Fortunately, we were certain that from that point on in the day, no one would be able to associate US with our team name. It was once again a funny moment, when Deb crossed the finish line and the announcer says "magically delicious now crossing to finish." We couldn't help but laugh...it served her right for giving us that blasted name!

But our funniest moment yet, was when they began the awards ceremony and shockingly WE were awarded 3rd place in the women's relay!...and over the microphone, we all hear, "third place goes to magically delicious?" Even the announcer didn't quite know what to do with our team name! and in the end EVERYONE knew exactly the faces that belonged to Team Magically Delicious! Sooo funny!

I absolutely LOVED being part of a triathlon! We are already talking about doing a few more; Next one will be at the end of June. It was so exhilerating to even be there, watching others work toward achieving something that they set out to do AND to work hard (myself) at accomplishing one small personal goal, to race in a triathlon. My bike race time was ranked #2 for the women's relay! A complete surprise! I'm looking forward to training for the next one and hoping to doing the entire tri myself. I'm so proud of us! Go Team Magically Delicious!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Tragic Price of POOR Choices

A colleague just sent me an email with the following article attached. My mouth literally dropped open as I read through the article and found that 5 of these ten individuals arrested were students that I worked with at Westfield High School from 2002-2006. I KNEW these kids! J.R. Quick, Skylar Schnippel, Anna Richter, Lokesh Rawat, David Schreider. I worked with Anna and David on their post-graduation plans...clearly I didn't make much of an impression! I should be fired! ;) J.R. was consistently in trouble, failing classes, disrespecting teachers, etc.; even referred him for drug use/abuse services. But Skylar was a mainstream good student and athlete. To think that all of them have their lives and their futures in the trash right now...SO INCREDIBLY SAD!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Little Mexican Fiesta

Last night we made authentic Mexican cuisine, with the help of Scott Porter. We made two types of salsa...one that would make anyone breathe fire, except for Scott! We also made homemade corn tortillas, guacamole, carne asada, chicken, chili & lime soup (an interested experiment), refried black beans, and plantains for dessert. I love cooking! It makes me so happy every time! Here are a few pics!

The King of Red Chilis

Making tortillas...in our sassiest Charlee fashion!

Ben, Rita and Scott slaving over the stove.

The Tortilla Chef at work

The finished product!