Monday, April 27, 2009

I can't not

I slept til 10:30 this morning (and ohhh it was nice), and now I'm sitting here with a cup of coffee (still doing okay with the half regular/half decaf!) wishing I didn't have to leave for work in half an hour.

Once upon a time, sleeping in and then sitting at my computer with a mug of coffee meant I could write for an hour or two. But that was before I got the full-time position at work, before I started back to school. I was in a weekly writing group last summer, which helped keep me on track, as well. I also didn't have friends in town to hang out with. They were all either too busy, or had moved away.

Now I have new friends to sew with, drink coffee with, and go out with. I'm working at least 32 hours every week, on top of 3 hours of class and about that amount of homework per week. I have no writers group, and IF I have some time during my days off where I'm not playing catch-up from the previous week, I want to sit and do nothing: watch movies or play around on the internet.

Well, no more! I miss writing, I reeeeeeally miss it, and I can't not write anymore! No, I don't have long, four-hour chunks of time in which I can sit at home or in a coffee shop and type and type. But I can FIND little one-hour pieces here and there. Between homework and bed, or between work and supper. On the days when I don't work until the afternoon, I could get up an hour earlier to write. (I could also get up earlier to do my poor, abandoned Wii Fit. I seriously need to, I hate feeling like I'm 80 years old when I get out of bed in the morning. Ow.)

Unfortunately, this is not a promise to start back up with Bernice's story, at least not yet. It's been long enough since I stopped that novel that I need to take a few days in a row to read back over it and find my place again. Get out my notes and the websites I've saved and really immerse myself in it. This will most likely happen in the two weeks I'll have between the end of this semester and the start of the Summer one. We'll see.

But I AM going to write more. I don't know WHAT I'm going to write, but at least it will be SOMETHING. Writing here on my blog only makes me long for more. Getting a little poetic in letters or journal comments isn't enough. I need characters, I need dialogue, I need stories. I need a project, is what I need, but I don't think I can start the big one (Bernice) for another month.

So I'll do what I can. I won't go crazy with it to the detriment of other aspects in my life. I do like having food in the house and a relatively clean place to live. I also like sleeping. (Oh, do I like sleeping.) But this can be done. Help cheer me on! Help me by bugging me now and then, "Have you written anything today? What did you write? For how long?" I need it! I need your help and, more than anything, I need to write. I don't know how I've survived this long without it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

8 Things Friday

1. I really want to tag all my posts, and the longer I wait to do so, the more blog posts there are to tag. This is post #131, so it will not be a task lightly undertaken. I have Thursday and Friday off of work next week, so maybe I can get the majority of it done then, a little at a time.

Any ideas for blog tags? Should I be very general, like "crafts" for anything crafty, or more specific like "knitting," "sewing," "papercrafts"? Just "food," or "cooking," "baking," and "drinks"? And of course all the 8 Things Friday posts will be tagged as such.

2. As some of you may have seen from my Facebook updates yesterday and today, I dropped my computer off where I got it to get the last bit of good from my protection plan before it expires. I ordered a new laptop battery since the current one lasts all of about 5 minutes before the "OHMYGOSH YOUR BATTERY IS LOW! DOOOOM!" message pops up. I also got everything "optimized," so I have the latest Windows updates and everything that doesn't need to be here and running is gone. Yay!

3. Sewing, finally!



This is a halter dress of my own devising--no pattern! I've had it rolling around in my head since the weather started getting nice, and since I re-found the sheet (from Goodwill) I intended to sew with, I thought why not go for it? It's fully lined with another sheet, plain white. If I make this again, which I'd like to, I'll make the bust triangles narrower at the top, and not so long, so there's more string around the neck instead of fabric. I'll also make them overlap a little more nicely, since you can see a sort of corner on the top one, which I didn't intend to happen.

The bust pieces are slightly gathered onto the waistband, as is the skirt piece. The rest of the skirt piece has drawstrings through either side which allow me to get into the dress without anything complicated like a zipper (yuck). Ties at the neck and across the back, too, huzzah for bias tape! I like that this shows off a little of my cherry blossom tattoo, and the tip of my quill pen. :)

I like the dress at this length, but I'm thinking of chopping the bottom 6" off and putting a 6" long ruffle on. Maybe a bubble ruffle? Is that the term? Like bubble skirts, where the fabric is folded in half so the fold "bubbles" out a little, but just at the bottom. I saw it on the hem of one of Rory Gilmore's dresses and liked it.

4. We're getting rid of our old entertainment center (actually given to us by friends when they moved) since we got a new, smaller one, and wall-mounted our TV. Would anyone like it?


Sorry about the mess, ignore it! This was in the middle of moving everything from that one to the new one. And there IS a drawer that goes in the space where I drew a really crummy-looking drawer, we just had something else in that spot so it looked empty and weird.

Dimensions: 62" wide, 55" high, and 19.5" deep at the most. The inside, where the TV would go, is 38" by 29". If you know of anyone that would like it, let me know and you can come pick it up!

5. I spent what felt like all stupid day at the stupid mall on my day off Tuesday. (It just feels like I LIVE there, since Matt and I both work there, and that's really the only place to shop for a lot of things here.) I had lunch with Matt, went to pick up the entertainment center we ordered, found out it wouldn't fit in my car, called Matt to have him get it on his way home, went back to the mall on a purse quest... UGH, purse-shopping! I'm reeeeally picky about purses, and I went everywhere in the mall where purses (which I could afford) were sold. Didn't find anything PERFECT, but I did find:


How much did all of this cost me, you ask?



(I just want you to know that I will not wear the footless and stirrup tights as such. Ew. I wear those like normal tights, but with socks and boots so you can't tell they're footless/stirrup. I just liked the colours. The bottom two are thicker and cabled, and will be so yummy this winter!)

Heck yeah! :D I'm thinking of going back to get the black purse that looks just like the pink and brown ones. The littler pouch is currently inside the brown one, which has a big fabric flower brooch (which I made) pinned on it. I think I need to make more brooches to put on those purses.

6. I can't believe I didn't post a picture of the award-winning brownies from the company picnic!


When I see Nicol tomorrow at work, I'll get my gift card to the movie theater from her. :) I think we'll use it to see the new X-Men movie next Friday. (Mmm, Hugh Jackman.) (Fangirly aside: Squeeeee! They're doing Magneto in 2011!!)

7. *Sigh* I'm getting a little more behind in my "Do It Now" thing with the house, despite having Tuesday and Thursday off. I was either running around, or sitting and watching Gilmore Girls on DVD. And now that I'm behind, it will take more effort to get back to where I was, having a sink empty of dirty dishes, and a clean coffee table and so on. Bleh. Stupid cleaning. And I don't have another day off til Thursday, so I'm afraid for the state of this house. I'm doing inventory at work from 8pm to 2am on Sunday night, so maybe during the day I can catch up a little (and then take a good nap!)

I did, however, clean off the sewing table and chair in order to make that dress on Thursday, so that's something, right? And I did laundry and ran the dishwasher and emptied it. Gotta focus on the positive.

8. I've thought of at least three things to write about here in the last few minutes as I ran around doing a couple of things (it usually takes me an hour and a half, at least, to do an 8 Things Friday post) but I can't remember any of them right now! I'll leave you with a photo from my Flickr favorites, which I might start doing now and then. Maybe every 8 Things post. Here is SouleMama's youngest, a couple months ago. :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Picnic and Possibilities

The company picnic was a success, I think. Not a smashing success, since the turnout wasn't huge, but the weather was very nice for this time of year, sunny and 70 or near it all day. I didn't get off work til 6:30, so Matt and I had a hamburger and chips at the park after that, and a cheesecake brownie each (which turned out, if I do say so myself, fabulous). Then we watched the perpetual volleyball game for a while. After about a quarter to 8 it got too chilly to sit outside on the grass, so we came home. No one else brought a dessert, so apparently I won the dessert contest by default. *Eye roll* Whatever. There weren't any sides, either, except for a million bags of chips which, I think, the store provided, and the side dishes that the other people on the committee brought. But that seems about the usual for big "group events"; the ones that plan the event do all or most of the work, and everyone else just shows up to eat and have fun. I'm not bitter, honestly. I've accepted it by now. It just still doesn't seem fair.

Moving on!

Moving! Us! Maybe. Yesterday, pretty much out of the blue, Matt talked to me about buying a house. Soon. Like in a couple of months. We could get an $8,000 credit from the government--they're doing that this year for first-time homebuyers. Just something small, nothing fancy, something to build up some equity and blah blah blah. (I don't really understand a lot of it, which is probably bad, but I'll learn as I go, I guess.) We're in about 900 square feet now, with two bedrooms and one bathroom, which is fine for us and, in a while, a baby too. So a house with pretty much the same things but a yard and a driveway and a mailbox.... Like this, but better! Our own! We could paint! We could hang pictures and not have to re-spackle the holes! We could plant flowers and have a dog and a clothesline. Nothing's for sure yet, but we've looked at online listings a little, and we're dreaming about paint colors and kitchen islands. Silly at this point, I know, but fun.

It's weird, I don't feel like that much of an adult yet. But I guess this is how you get to be an adult, by doing these things.

Friday, April 17, 2009

8 Things Friday

1. How is it Friday already? Seriously! It feels like it was JUST Easter Sunday, cold and cloudy and windy so all the lovely people in their lovely fancy Easter clothes froze their buns off. That we were just eating ham and potatoes au gratin and rolls. That we were just playing dominoes after dinner and... well, why don't I just show you?

2. Easter:


Mom with the Easter Bunny, and a yellow layer cake with chopped pecans in it, pudding between the layers, and frosting with coconut, all topped with Peeps.

And the traditional ending to any holiday with my family.

3. I made cupcakes last Friday (I think?) and brought some decorated ones to my friend's house last Saturday night.


Mmmmm, Peeps. (Yes, the cupcakes are green. I wanted a white cake, but why should it stay white? No reason I can think of.)

4. More baking! I made this pizza dough in the morning before work last week sometime. (The dough rose considerably in the fridge all day, but I punched it down and it turned out just fine. I think it would make amazing garlic bread, too!) I also cooked the sausage, made the sauce, and chopped the olives so I could just throw it together when I got home from work that night!




It was pretty wonderful, if I say so myself. Excellent crust! The sauce was a little salty, but practice makes perfect. Definitely something I'll be making again.

5. The Easter Bunny FORGOT ME even though he remembered Matt! (Matt got a package of Peeps, a thing of Orange Tic-Tacs, a chocolate bunny with the ears bitten off, as per tradition, and the graphic novel of Watchmen.) So my LATE present from the Easter Bunny was an album from itunes, and I picked ABBA Gold! :D Good house-cleaning music!

6. Speaking of house-cleaning, I'm getting better with the "Do It Now" philosophy. Everything I have already deep-cleaned (which isn't much, but some is better than nothing) is staying clean because when I stand up from the couch, I also grab my trash/bowl/coffee mug/papers and take care of it, whether that's throwing it away, loading it in the dishwasher, or putting it back on my desk. If I'm already in the kitchen, I quickly unload the drying rack and wash the couple things that are in the sink. If I'm going into the bedroom, I grab a pair of shoes on the floor near the table and put them in the closet. Granted, every area I haven't deep-cleaned is still a disaster, but one thing at a time, like I always say. Bit by bit, each surface will be clean, a new slate, and then I will keep it clean.

Along the same lines, I cleaned out my closet, dresser, and the Scary Pile of Clothes lying on the trunk in the bedroom, and gave a big box and a very full trash bag of clothes to a friend's teenage daughter. (The very little she didn't take, I took to Goodwill, which is when I locked my keys in the car while it was running. Fun times.) And the Scary Pile of Clothes has been organized and put away; all I need to do is hang up the "hang it up" pile and I will be able to maybe, actually, SIT on top of that trunk, or even STORE things inside it and be able to get to them!

7. The company picnic I've helped organize is on Sunday. I didn't think to request the time off because the manager that makes the schedules knows who is on the committee that plans these things and I figured she would give us all that day, or at least that afternoon, off. Nope! That would make too much sense, I guess. The picnic is about 1-8pm, and I work 10-6:30. *SIGH* But Matt and I will go for a while. Have a hamburger, enter my mom's fabulous cheesecake brownies into the dessert contest... hopefully not get snowed on... You never know, this time of year.

8. Crafting news: I made another inch or so of progress on Beehive Baby Hat #2. Still no leaf on the second Leafy Hat. Haven't sewn in forever. I don't know if I'll ever have a day off again when I'm not shopping, cooking, doing laundry, dishes, etc. etc. etc. Someday, maybe!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Peeps Show

I know this isn't what Easter is all about, but it sure is funny! I give you the third annual Peeps Show! (Sorry, there's an ad beforehand, but it's only 15 seconds long.) There are links to the previous two years' finalists as well, if you have some more time to kill.

Now I'm off to the church nursery to help with the toddlers. We went to service last night to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, and today we're going to have dinner with my parents and grandparents.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

8 Things Friday

1. Part of the "deal" to start trying for a baby this fall was that we get the office cleaned out gradually. I guess so Matt has time to get used to the idea? (A full year??) Well, whatever makes him feel better about it. Anyway. In order to get furniture out of the office so it can become a nursery, we have to pare down the furniture in the living room, which means one of the big stand-alone bookcases has to go. Last night I got the built-in shelves which serve as a divider between the living room and kitchen cleared out. I still need to find a place for the boxes of pictures and memorabilia that were there, and the five million (at least) Star Wars paperbacks that were in the big bookcase, but all the books that were in the big one are now in those shelves! I also re-stacked the CDs so we have a little more room, and alphabetized the DVDs. (We'll see how long that lasts.) One project at a time, right? :)

2. I got all the patterned squares for the baby quilt cut out at Weekly Fiber on Wednesday! I have 99 of them, if I counted correctly (which is possible, but maybe not probable). I'm just going to wing it! If I need a few more squares toward the end to finish the blanket, I'll cut a few more! Or if I'm about done, but have some squares left over, oh well! Maybe I'll make a little matching patchwork pillow. The next step is cutting out the 3 1/2 by 4 1/2 white rectangles (so they'll be 3x4 when sewn) to go between the patterned squares. After that, I'll need 3 1/2 by "however long" strips to go in between the strips of pattern + white. Confused yet? It's simple really. Or at least I hope so!

3. I haven't knit anything for a while. Last Weekly Fiber, like I said, I cut out squares. The one before that was spent detangling a very weird, maybe slightly chewed or cut (it had about seven loose ends) hank of sari silk that another member brought. I rolled it all into little balls, and she let me keep one for my trouble. The only things I have on the needles (that haven't been abandoned/forgotten for ages, and therefore don't count) are a baby hat that just needs the leaf at the top knit (and I can't count and talk at group at the same time) and another "beehive" style baby hat which is just not terribly interesting right now. I'm wondering if I want to make some little mitts for shower gifts. Those would be very fast and very simple.

4. Okay, enough about crafting. Here's what my weekend looks like:
-Saturday 7-9am: All-store meeting
-Saturday 9:45-12:30ish: Work. I took another girl's shift today, so she's going to take the rest of my Saturday shift, thank goodness!
-Saturday after work: make potatoes au gratin for Easter dinner the following day. I won't have time to make and cook them ON Easter (see Sunday's points) so I'm baking them then and just reheating them Sunday
-Saturday at 6pm: Easter service at church
-Saturday after church: vVsit my friend, Megan, who's in town for the weekend

-Sunday at 9am: Help in the nursery at church
-Sunday about 11am: Drive down for Easter lunch/dinner with family
-Sunday evening-ish: Come home and SLEEP

5. Man, it has been a good year for strawberries! I just finished my second small box of them last night. They're pretty cheap, which is always a bonus, and so red and juicy! They don't taste like they were picked green and then left in a warehouse to ripen toward reddish. I mean, they probably were, but they don't taste like it. I've had strawberries in chocolate fondue (nuke equal parts peanut butter and chocolate chips, stir til smooth) and strawberries dipped in sour cream, then in brown sugar (it sounds gross, but it's amaaaaaaazing). Now I need ice cream to put strawberries (and bananas!) on! Ooh, and maybe smoothies!

6. I signed up for Freecycle last night. Since we're going to be getting rid of stuff with all this clearing-out, it might as well go to people who could use it! We are certainly NOT having a yard sale at any point this summer, and while I always intend to bring boxes and bags of stuff to Goodwill, they usually ride around in my trunk for two months before I actually do it. So if we're not going to make money off this stuff anyway, let's give it to someone who does want it.

7. We're thinking of getting a new car soon-ish. We've replaced practically the whole engine in Matt's stupid Toyota Celica, so we could probably get a decent price for it. And Matt's been browsing online. So far we really like a Subaru Impreza hatchback like this one. Apparently it has really high ratings for safety and control and yadda yadda, and the price is something we could afford (with some leftover!) after we sell Matt's car. Hmmm, things to think about...

8. Another 8 Things post with no pictures, sorry! To make up for it here is a picture of myself with sheep sculptures, taken by Matt on my Blackberry. I wish it was bigger and clearer so you could see how awesome these things are!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Two New Projects

Jen, you will be so proud of me!


These are for a coin quilt (sorta like this), my very first! To start with something small, it'll be a baby quilt. For me. Or rather, for my baby.

Okay, calm down! Sorry to get you all excited! No baby yet. Actually, no baby for a while. But we are Officially Going to Start Trying this Fall. So IF I get pregnant right away, this time next year I'll be hugely pregnant! Oh boy. Scary and exciting at once. Mostly, right now, really really exciting.

I get to sew and knit baby stuff! AND KEEP IT!

Friday, April 03, 2009

8 Things Friday

For this episode of 8 Things Friday, I'm going to share some of my favorite websites with you instead of posting random things about the last week of my life. This has absolutely nothing to do with me forgetting it was Friday until 11 o'clock at night. Of course I would not forget such a thing!

1. I love Sheldon. I don't remember when or why I started reading the comic--probably because Matt showed me a funny strip and I just read back through all the archives--but I've been checking it daily for at least a year or two now. It's about a 10-year-old boy genius who has his own software company, his grandfather who's raising him, and his weird pets/friends, one of whom is a talking duck. (He downloaded speech software into the duck's brain.) It sounds kind of stupid, but it's soooo hilarious. I'm particularly fond of this one about pugs, and this one on Halloween candy.

2. Cute Overload is always a part of my day. If you haven't at least heard of it by now, I want to know what internet rock you've been living under. Seriously, go see it! Every day there are at least a couple of posts of cute things. Most often it's of animals, and most of those are generic pets: cats, dogs, bunnies, hamsters, etc. But then they throw in some otters from the zoo, or monkeys, or lion cubs. There are also a lot of videos, usually just low-tech stuff people have done at home, but occasionally there are commercials or clips from the news. More rarely there will be something with a kid or baby in it, or something not real, like from a movie or video game. But the posts always make me smile, and who couldn't use a little more Cute in their day?

3. I also visit SouleMama's blog several times a week. (She doesn't always update every day, but with four little ones under the age of, I think, 7, I can't blame her!) Amanda Soule posts stories about her family's everyday life: crafting, baking, sewing, knitting, hiking, camping, learning, exploring. Her photographs are excellent, very focused on the little details of life. Her house is charming, as are her crafting projects. She has a book out called The Creative Family, about creative things to do with your kids. (Not just crafts, but things to listen to and act out and talk about.) None of the chain bookstores nearby have it so I haven't had the chance to flip through it yet (although I have looked through the Flickr pool of projects from the book), but I do want to buy it someday. Her posts are little tastes of one family's life in the woods of Maine, and they always bring me a bit of peace, somehow.

4. At the other end of the country, in Oregon, there's Posie Gets Cozy. (Mom, this is the one I was telling you about the other day, with the lovely house and the little Corgi.) She has one book out already, Stitched in Time, and another (about embroidery) on the way. (There's a Flickr pool for Stitched, too.) This lady is also an excellent photographer, and her house and craft projects are simple and neat. While both "Posie" (Alicia Paulson) and Amanda repurpose and imitate vintage items in their crafts and home, I would describe Alicia's style as more sweet, while Amanda's are a little more funky. Alicia is a big fan of ric-rack, polka-dots, little floral prints, and pastels, all of which show up throughout her light-filled, Welsh Corgi-inhabited home. She also posts a lot about cooking and baking, often complete with recipes!

5. WhipUp is a website run by several people who find neat crafty things all over the internet and post links to them for our enjoyment. There are a lot of tutorials, but also interesting art shows, contests, and crafting news. I've found many interesting blogs and sites through this place, and while they post almost more than I can read every day (some days I skim), there's just a plethora of crafty goodness, especially around holidays! Take these cupcake lollies, for instance, or these ones! And knitted grafitti! And Threadbanger! And and and....

6. Oh my, Etsy. I don't let myself on this site very often because I can literally waste hours looking at stuff. It's basically a big online store of handmade and vintage items, everything from dresses to mugs to soap to patterns to business cards to envelopes to toys. A person can set up their own shop, name their prices (the listing fee is something like 20 cents for several months for each item), tag their items so they're easier to find in searches, and post up to five pictures of each item. There are also message boards about all aspects of Etsy, and other stuff I haven't even explored yet. Sometimes I search for something in particular to see lots of pictures of lots of versions when I'm trying to figure out how to make my own. (Is that cheating the sellers? Meh.) Other times I get interested in something new and "research" it on Etsy. Here are some of my favorites, my "wish list" items I'll probably never buy, but like to look at none the less.

7. Okay, I'm getting low on websites that other people might like and about which I could write a little review, so if you have about 15 minutes to kill, I highly, highly recommend this video. It's a little independent short and it will just... make you happy. I was grinning almost all the way through it. It's lovely.

8. And for my eighth thing (it took me about five tries to spell "eighth"), since I've had a long day and I'm tired, I will say this: I got the letter in the mail today, and I'm officially in the post-bac teaching program! Woot woot!