Thursday, February 25, 2010

For a Friend

My friend, Nikki, a former grad student in the department moved away up to Michigan last year. =( She got a job at a pharmaceutical company up there, and her fiance, Nick, is going to law school there as well. They both grew up in Michigan, so naturally, it made sense for them to go back home once they finished with school here in Texas. But oh how I miss my buddy.

There were so many hours of fun game nights, with margaritas and Scene It! (fun game) . While they are not as frequently held now, we always play this classic for game nights that I still have at my apartment. There is always a sad empty spot on my couch, and it's just not the same without them. I will never forget the time she and Nick convinced Ryan and I to finally check out The Oasis (where Nick proposed to Nikki [awww!]), a beautiful restaurant high on the cliffs above Lake Travis. The sunsets there are quite breath-taking. Anyhow, we made a big trip to go out there (it's a bit of a ways out of town) one summer evening. Sure enough, as we get there, huge rain clouds are moving in. We decided to take our chances. As soon as we sit down, torrential downpours had us soaked in seconds. We all laughed, and thought it hilarious something like this would happen to us during all the possible summer nights we could have chosen to go there for dinner. Needless to say, we did not get to see the sunset that night, but still enjoyed their great company and dinner. I cannot think of Nick and Nikki without thinking of that dinner. good times.
Nikki and I were also pool buddies, shopping buddies and the likes. I miss her, and the fact that there haven't been too many girls here in the department makes her presence missed even more. They are getting married this summer, and just bought a house. I knew had to send along some things as a sort of house-warming gift.

First I did some crochet produce bags. Nikki was here when I decided to take up learning how to crochet and knit. Remember that knit square I did way back when? Yeah, she was the second person I proudly showed it off to, in a sort of "Look, Mommy!" moment. As well as many of my other early projects. She thoughtfully picked up a knit and crochet magazine for me one day when she was at Barnes and Noble, so I wanted to do at least one gift of that craft for her.

two crochet bags: one dusty rose and the other heather grey cotton blend

The pattern I followed for these was from the Purl Bee - Whit's linen grocery tote. I love the Purl Bee, they always have such great tutorials on this site. I have done several of them, and this was another easy, relatively quick project. I hope they work out well. . . it looks like they can get pretty stretchy. She already has plans for riding her bike to the farmers market downtown and using them once it warms up. I'm glad she likes them.

I also did a napkin set, using this great tutorial. I'd made them before, for my sister Ashley. She is keeping hers in her hope chest. =) Though now, I'm kind of feeling bad that she got those particular ones. They were the very first thing I made with my brand new sewing machine, and pretty much making something on my own. ever. So they've definitely got all that first-time love and little mistakes going on. Nikki's set turned out drastically different.

front of the napkin. the back is a dark wine red, you can see a glimpse of it to the left of the top-facing napkin.

I am kind of confused by that picture. Does it look kind of blurry to you too? It's weird, some parts look clear, others blurry. maybe my eyes are starting to give out on me. It's my only one of a single napkin front so I had to use it. please forgive me if it's just a bad picture! I'm really trying to be better and more conscientious of the photos I take.

I chose that print because Nikki spent some time in Paris, and I remember her telling me about some of her travels in Europe. I've never been there myself, but this reminded me of that, with the fancy flowers, swirlymagigs (I can imagine this embedded in the ancient architecture, moldings, etc), French script, and Paris passport stamps.

with one of my plates

I am so glad she liked the fabric, and she told me she was really needing a set of napkins. They just got a new dining table and she said that they looked great together. As if I had seen their table and made the set accordingly. I don't know how I am so lucky with picking these sorts of things out!

the whole set and pouch

There are six napkins and a linen pouch to store them in. The tutorial is awesome, I was able to follow it on my own, with little to no prior sewing experience to make that first set for Ash. Next time I make these though, I think I will make the napkins a bit bigger. I have long legs and they had just a little extra over my lap. I don't think they could even begin to think about covering Ryan's lap, plus I like a nice big napkin. Half the time I'm using them to keep my legs warm anyways. =)

tucked away inside their pouch

Ryan was impressed when I showed them to him, he thought they looked like something you would buy at a department store. I made sure to be as impeccable as possible, but I thought he was being overly nice, because he loves me and is always complimenting me like that. I talked to Nikki after she got them, and she said that when she opened the gift, she and her mom could not tell if I had made them or not. I had attached washing instructions, but did not say if I had made them and they had a hard time telling the difference. Can't say that I'm not proud of that. =) So Ash, if you want a better version of that napkin set, just let me know, k? You can tell me if you want different fabric too. I can whip it out for ya.

The last part of the gift was a game, since they helped me establish game nights down here. It's the Werewolves of Miller's Hollow. I don't remember if I raved about this game yet on here, but it's awesome. It's for large groups (you need a minimum of 8, and can get up to 50!) and it is a lot like the Mafia game. I've never played Mafia myself, but others who have played both say that Werewolves is more fun. The overall point of the game is the same, but there are special characters and situations that add some nice twists and keep the things interesting. We love it here (we've even had a department game featuring the game and that never happens here), and it's spreading like wildfire at my sisters' college campuses. Since Nick comes from a family of 8 and all his siblings pretty much have their own families, I knew they would have enough people to play. This is what the game cover looks like. It's just a small box with a set of cards, and their is also an expansion pack. I have both, bought from Amazon and it's so worth it.

Get this game I tell you!

at the Iguana Grill on Lake Travis celebrating my 25th birthday
(me, Ryan, Chris, Nick, Nikki)

Congratulations on your new house Nick and Nikki! Hope to catch up with you guys in person sometime soon.


Nikki said...

Awww thank you Vanessa! You are so sweet...Nick and I really miss you guys and are working on a way to fly on down to Austin for a long weekend sometime.

Thanks again for the beautiful gifts- the napkins will be used often and the produce bags are hanging on a key rack right inside the door just waiting to bring home delicious food :)

Hope writing is going well!!

元素 said...

thank you for you to make me learn more,thank you∩0∩ ........................................

Vanessa Monet said...

I am glad that my blog can be a sort of inspiration or encouragment to you! =)

Nikki, Ryan and I would love to see you guys. You can meet my new kitty, Baby, and see the snakes. theresssss ssssssso many of the ssssslithering creaturesssss now! haha. I am so glad you liked the gifts. Thanks for being such a good friend. Even if we are so far away now!