Tag Archive | fun facts

Sometimes I’m inspiring

I know, I find it a little shocking myself, but occasionally people tell me this. And to you people I say, “Thank you.” Specifically this time to my blogger friend, Elle of Erratic Project Junkie, who nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Not only did she nominate me, but she did it in the midst of my blogging slothdom. I hardly felt inspiring at that moment, but it was a good catalyst for getting back in the game. So I owe you two thank yous, Elle — one for the award and one for the kick in the pants. If you like my blog, there’s a pretty high likelihood that you’ll like hers as well. She is also eclectic in her craftiness, plus, she and her stepson are voracious readers and post some entertaining book reviews. Go check her out!

And now on to the award stuff. Here’s how it goes:


  1. Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Alrighty, so let’s see what we’ve got here. Thanked and linked, check. Rules listed, check. Award displayed:

The internet said it, so it must be true

The internet said it, so it must be true

Now is the part of the program where you get to learn seven (7) facts about me. I asked Mr. Gren for help in choosing these fascinating tidbits (this is hard!). These are listed in no particular order in terms of importance or interest.

  1. Without ever having studied Italian, I once walked into the train station at Venice, looked at a couple travel posters on the wall, then walked up to the counter and held a conversation in Italian and ordered two tickets to Florence. Mr. Gren continues to be impressed at this, ten years hence.
  2. Also filed under “Self-taught skills”: When I went to college in Tennessee, I didn’t get to watch my beloved Seattle Mariners (baseball team). The Commons at the dorm got a copy of USA Today, though, so I taught myself to read the box scores so that I could mentally recreate the game. That’s why Mr. Gren married me.
  3. I have an elaborate protocol for spider disposal all hinged on my completely rational philosophy on spiders, their habits and evil powers. Mr. Gren didn’t laugh at me when I explained it all to him. That’s why I married him.
  4. There is an extra bone in my left arm just above the elbow. It’s not really that special. It doesn’t do party tricks. Most of the time I forget it’s there until I bang my arm on something. But when I was a kid, my dad said it was magic and rubbed it for good luck.
  5. Although I have traveled all over Europe, I have never been to Canada. It’s a 3 hour drive from my house. Someday when I do go (dream big, Jennifer), I will be sure to wear my red shirt with the white maple leaf that says, “Eh?” It’s da best. canada_large
  6. I don’t use a cell phone. I have one because Mr. Gren forces me to carry it. And I do. Grudgingly. On the extremely rare occasion that I even turn it on (maybe once a month), 99.98% of the time, it’s to call Mr. Gren. My dad learned the hard way that texting me is an exercise in futility.
  7. Last summer, I sat next to Zachary Quinto in the Pittsburgh airport. Ok, not right next to him. Since the waiting area was mostly empty, it would have been way creepers to just plunk down next to him. So I chose a seat four chairs away. I would have taken a picture with my cell phone as proof, but I don’t know how to use it.

zachary quinto


Alright, facts have been shared, so it is my great honor and pleasure to nominate more bloggers as inspiring. Here is where I am lame: I don’t even read 15 blogs regularly. And THEN, as I was going through the list of blogs in my blogroll over there on the right, I discovered that a few of them are defunct and/or “taking a hiatus” like somebody else we know. Hmph. So this will be a short list. Let’s see how many I can get. Drumroll, please…

  1. A Dress A Day It’s a little funny nominating Erin for this award because she’s all blog-famous and has written books and a dictionary and stuff. But she really was an inspiration to me when I started reading her years upon years ago. Thanks to Erin, I realized that vintage sewing patterns were a thing, so I can credit her with that addiction. Stemming from that, she inspired me to start sewing for myself in earnest.
  2. LLADYBIRD Lauren is just flat-out awesome. She’s a salty little Southern sailor (ye have been warned), but her sense of humor and style make her blog worth checking out. She has a bit of the same sewing/crafting philosophy as I do — she’s not afraid of trying anything. She taught herself how to knit, you guys, and her very first project was gorgeous little cardigan that was most definitely not a beginner’s project. Mad props, woman. Thanks to her, I was inspired to teach my own self to knit. I’ve still got a ways to go to catch up.
  3. Down to Earth Rhonda has had a major influence on my life, without her even knowing it. She writes of simple living from her home in Australia. I’ve learned so much about gardening, raising chickens, and home arts from her. She has such a gentle, soothing manner of writing, too. Every time I stop by her blog I feel inspired.
  4. YarnChick40 I’ve mentioned Lisa on here before, so naturally she should get a nom. Why? Well, I feel like she and I make each other better. Better crocheters, better bloggers. Not in a competitive kind of way, just totally encouraging and… inspiring.
  5. Did You Make That? Karen has only been sewing for about 4 years, but you would never know it by looking at her blog! She started it as a documentation of her learning process. She has thrown herself into learning everything she possibly can to make herself a better seamstress (sewist).
  6. Mister G Kids Mr. G is a substitute elementary school teacher who hand-draws a little comic based on the funny things he hears kids say in the course of a day. Always a pick-me-up!
  7. Dan Frugalberg features nature photography accompanied by heartfelt poetry, often delving into his faith in Jesus Christ.
  8. Another faith-based blog is my friend Rebekah’s Three Bees in a Blue Bonnet which she uses to examine the motives of her heart as she journeys through life and invites us to do the same.
  9. Now, this next blog I’m about to list is definitely not a fun blog, but I feel like it is an important and necessary one. Clara shares her heartbreaking story in Finding a Healing Place where she urges us to keep our eyes open for the sake of our children so that no more have to suffer the horror of molestation. (Clara has already played an important role in my life by creating the website Silent Grief which helped me through the loss of our first child).
  10. Pfft. I’m petering out here, folks. I think that’s about what I’ve got!

So there you go! I hope you’ll check out some of the above blogs and I hope I can continue to be inspiring in some way. Thanks, Elle!

Brought to you by the letter B

B is for buffalo. And brown. Also, bison, if you’re into particulars. But don’t be surprised if the rest of us ignore your smug self and continue to discuss buffaloes. The American Bison has been referred to as a “buffalo” since 1635 according to the American Heritage Dictionary and frankly, 377 years of public consciousness is hard to change.

“Jen,” you may be asking, “what is the big deal about buffaloes?” Well, I’ll just tell you. I had a dream. Not a MLK Jr. type of dream; my dreams, while vivid and detailed, rarely have anything to do with moral and civil betterment. This dream was about a buffalo. Track with me here.

Fun with photo editing.

I was running through the plains of Colorado, desperately trying to escape the buffalo that was charging me. But guess what? I am not faster than a buffalo (they can run up to 40 mph!). The buffalo caught me and pinned me to the ground. I cried and pleaded with the buffalo not to eat me. Apparently it was one of those rare carnivorous buffaloes (that’s not really a thing, just so you know). The buffalo then told me that he would release me on one condition. “What? What?” I cried. “If you promise to blog about buffaloes on Monday, Tuesday, Gretchen, and Saturday, I will release you.” Fair enough, I thought, so I agreed. The buffalo stood up and I was instantly teleported to Norway. It’s nice there (I’ve never been there).

There you have it. Today is Monday and I am fulfilling my promise so that I won’t get eaten by a buffalo. What about Tuesday, Gretchen and Saturday? Well… I don’t think I want to dedicate a full week of blogging to buffaloes. Besides, I’m having trouble finding Gretchen on my calendar, despite helpful advice from a friend who told me that it falls between Barb and Carol.

Buffalo mama and baby in June at Northwest Trek animal park.

In keeping with my nature, I began researching buffaloes and learned all kinds of interesting things. Did you know that the reason zoologists talk about American Bison is because there are also European Bison? True story. European Bison look nearly identical to American Bison, although slightly taller and not as heavy. They used to live all over Europe but were almost driven to extinction by the early 1900s. Only 12 captive European Bison remained and it is from those few that the herds of today were descended. Now they mainly live in the forests of Eastern Europe. The European Bison is also the national animal of Belarus as the American Bison is the national animal of the USA. See all the things you can learn?

I didn’t want this to be completely unrelated to crafts, so I printed out this picture of a buffalo (American version) and colored it for you. And I made sure to include a bit of my beat-up cutting board in the photo so that you could be certain that this work of art is, in fact, mine.

I guess I should sign it.

As I was coloring, it reminded me of a book I saw in a catalog. I want this. It looks like a lot of fun!

It says “look inside,” but you can’t because it’s just a picture. But if you click on it, it will take you to Amazon, where you actually can look inside.

So the next time I color a buffalo, it will look even more lifelike. It may even talk to you and give you a free trip to Norway.

And, if you can’t get enough of buffaloes, you would do well to watch this video. Seriously. It will make your life better. I’m not kidding. And there are four episodes!