Archive for the ‘Arts & Crafties’ Category

Let’s Get This Party Started!

November 1, 2012

JenFul blogged every day last month, which put the notion in my head. Lord knows I haven’t been making enough time to write lately & I sure could use the catharsis so today, ill-prepared and by the seat of my pants, I decided to embark on a NaBloPoMo adventure! Stay tuned for scintillating minutiae about blustery November days, peppered with shaky cell phone snaps of my ill-conceived endeavors.

New YearFrankly, I can’t even believe it’s November. At the beginning of the year when I started back to work, I created a fresh Notepad document and filled it with goals and to-dos. Just the other day, I realized we’re at the tail end of 2012 and I’m still using that document, entitled “newyear.txt,” to keep track of things.

In crafting news, I just finished this burlap bubble wreath:

Burlap Bubble Wreath

I thought it needed a little something extra so I added 2 yarn-loom flowers. (I am now totally addicted to making them and want
to put a flar on everything I own!) I followed this tute to make the wreath. It requires a bit of finessing but once you get the hang of positioning & pinning the little squares of burlap, you’re set!

P.S. The directions that came with my yarn loom ($2.99 @ Michael’s) weren’t the greatest but I found some awesome tutorials on YouTube.



October 17, 2012

When last we met, things were pretty shitty. Happily, there’ve been some improvements. I was super stressed about finding a new-to-me car and determined not to have a car payment. Luckily, a Honda dealer not a mile from my place happened to have my exact car, only a year newer. I looked around but it seemed like my best option. I had a mechanic look at it, haggled, and snapped up that sucker as quickly as I could. I hope I made the right decision. Big adult purchases always make me nervous. I’m terrified I’ll somehow blow it and forever regret my horrible decision. It’s been about a month and so far, my new hoopty is doing well. I haven’t managed to come up with a name that suits her though. She has a few more bells and whistles (steering-wheel radio controls & a sunroof) than the Goose but beyond that, is the exact same car – model and color! I’ve been so grateful to not have to adjust to a new ride on top of everything else.

My shin seems to have healed and only hurts a teensy bit toward the end of my walks. This injury made me realize how much I’d come to need the relief and release I get from walking. Turning on my iPod, turning off my brain, & hittin’ the road is so cathartic and meditative, with the added bonus of making me feel connected to nature since I’m outside. I’m hoping that winter won’t force me indoors. Since it gets dark so much earlier these days, I bought an obnoxious neon vest to wear for safety during my walks. The humiliation is far outweighed by my desire to avoid the drudgery of the treadmill.

Sadly, my Dad is not better. He improved enough to be released from the hospital but a few days later, ran into trouble again. He’d been sleeping in my bed and I was sleeping on an air mattress. One morning, I went into the bedroom and found him sitting on the edge of the bed. When he saw me, he stood up, and Frankenstein walked toward me, mumbling for help, followed by crashing to the floor on poor, unsuspecting Abby. He was completely incoherent and I was scared to death. I tried to get him up but could not, no matter what I tried, and was so afraid he’d break a hip or worse, so I had to call 911. At the ER, they ran lots of tests and found that one of his medicines caused his sodium to plummet to a dangerous level, which made him, quite literally, delirious. (The doctor said we were lucky he didn’t have a seizure.) He stayed in the hospital for a few days and was then released to a longer-term care facility. Since then, his mental condition has deteriorated even more because he was taken off a lot of medicine while he was in the hospital. At this point, his doctors aren’t sure he’ll even be well enough for assisted-living, which is heartbreaking. I do have hope he’ll get better, but I know it’s going to take a while. I’ve never seen him like this, but I’m trying to stay positive.

One day last week, I reeeeeally needed some downtime, so I followed Cakies’ lead and made some black cat & ghost lights for my kitchen windowsill. It was so relaxing and restorative, I promised myself I’d make more time for crafting in the midst of all this craziness. I’m hoping to be back soon with pictures of a new fall wreath and knitting projects.


September 29, 2011

Felt rosette fall wreath
Felt rosette fall wreath I made, inspired by this

I took Abbs for a walk tonight and couldn’t get over how verdant the grass is. Our summer was so dry but it’s been raining constantly for weeks now. It’s nice to see a little green, even though it’s time for the leaves to turn. Another sign of fall is crazy bees. I battled 2 nutters today who did not understand that no means no. They’re like date rape bees! If I’m making sharp noises and waving my arms around, that doesn’t mean fly closer and invade my personal space. Nasty bees! I know they make honey & flowers pretty but they could do with a little sensitivity training from Mother Nature’s HR department.

A few weekends ago, B and I went to the symphony. B works with them so we got the perk of sitting in an area called The Terrace, which is an exclusive space right beside and above the orchestra. Killer seats, is what I’m saying:

View from The Terrace

I was fascinated with the up-close-and-personal view of all the instruments & players and thoughtfully studied each one. When I got to the French horns, I happened to catch one of the musicians emptying his spit valve…on the floor. This at once mesmerized and disgusted me and I was unable to focus on anything else for the remainder of the performance. I know some of what’s in there is condensation but there’s definitely some spit too. Can’t they at least use a cup? Or maybe a small hand towel on their lap? Something, anything other than casually dumping your DNA on the floor, which must be like some kind of CSI slip ‘n’ slide. I mentioned my concerns to B but he wasn’t compelled. Of course I am so, so grateful that I got to go and the performance was incredible but I can’t deny that I was preoccupied by the spit dumping spectacle. Should we form a task force to address the issue? It’s not just the French horns you know.

With that, it’s time for what I’m loving this Thursday. Have a good weekend and for God’s sake, carry a handkerchief! 😉

Delicious, talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt who was stellar in 50/50. (Listen to an interview with him & Will Reiser, who wrote 50/50, on a recent ep of Fresh Air.)

These festive papier-mâché jack o’lanterns:
Papier-Mâché Jack O'lanterns

This adorably curious chimp:

This pretty, romantic fishtail braid:
Fishtail Braid

This 70s-inspired necklace Bleubird Vintage designed for ModCloth:
Bleubird Vintage for ModCloth Necklace

This clever chalkboard talk bubble DIY:
Chalkboard Talk Bubble DIY

And finally, this UH-MAY-ZING vintage Singer sewing table:
Vintage Singer Sewing Table

Tinkle Tale

May 20, 2011

Last weekend I was humbled by the indelicate task of retrieving a specimen of Abby’s urine. I’m sharing this because if you’ve been a reader for even a short time, you know how glamorous my life is and this is no doubt the kind of captivating story that keeps you coming back. Normally the patient, experienced vet techs get urine samples but Abby went on strike and refused to pee. She was probably mad because she thought we were merely taking a walk, when instead we were going to the vet. It’s right across the street from my apartment so we stroll over as it’s easier than loading her into the car, where she pants and chirps and sheds 10 layers of fluff. Now we’ve taken the walk enough times that she knows a certain direction equals vet time so the next time we go, I’ll probably have to tie a piece of bacon to a string and hang it in front of her face to coax her.

You’re probably wondering how one retrieves urine from a hound, so let me tell you. The vet gave me a fancy plastic tray with lots of convenient little divots for urine to pool in. You simply follow your pup and in one swift movement, thrust the tray under her booty as she expels. Because I’m a hard-headed eejit, I didn’t think that would work and why would I assume that experts knew what they were talking about anyway? Instead I tried shoving the tray in from the side. I anxiously pulled it out from under her to find only a few strands of booty fluff. This happened on a morning when a phone company technician was parked right by the potty area. The look he gave me as I performed the odd ritual made my face burn with humiliation.

The next morning I tried again using the technique the vet tech suggested. I had to sort of lift Abby’s big fluffy tail to get the tray positioned properly. She turned her head around and looked at me like, “What in God’s name are you doing woman?” but happily filled the tray with revolting pools of pee pee. I was so excited that I jumped up but then remembered the shame I’d felt the day before when I was being watched. I calmly looked around and saw no witnesses, after which I skipped inside to pour the specimen into a cup.

The reason I needed to collect urine was Abby had been begging to go out over and over, even when she’d already done her business. I thought she might have a UTI but the specimen revealed no problems. No doubt she was just torturing me for her own amusement.

This post can’t just be about piss so I’ll also mention that I went to the fabric store last week and was shocked to find that it had been totally renovated. I hadn’t been literally in months because I decided not to allow myself to buy anymore fabric until I used some of my stash. Still, I feel like I should’ve been notified about the changes and sent a detailed layout of the new floor plan so I could study it and not feel so at odds in what normally feels like home. The reason I broke my fabric store fast was to get embroidery floss for this adorable pattern, which I plan to hang in my bathroom. I’ve only ever cross stitched but the pattern Web site has great how-to videos so I’m excited to give it a whirl.

Edited to add: I feel compelled to come clean and tell you that I also bought fabric at the fabric store. I had seen this adorable pear print on Flickr & just couldn’t resist. And it was on sale! Do you see now why I can’t go often?

Pear Fabric

Happy New Year!

January 5, 2011

You know those bloggers who care for 2 beautiful kids, decorate their walls in lovely photos, exercise regularly, and still find time to churn out interesting blog posts every day? HOW DO THEY DO IT? It seems like it’s always feast or famine around here. My crushing perfectionism doesn’t help but I’ve made progress in not letting it hinder me. Still I struggle a lot with comparing myself to others. It’s a sickness really and sometimes I let it consume me. I have to be hyper-vigilant about reminding myself that my journey is just that – my own and the rate at which I’m progressing and reaching my goals may not be the same as others. (Moose’s recent post along these same lines made my heart smile.)

And speaking of baked goods, it’s been really difficult to avoid sugar this holiday season but I made it with a bit of white knuckling. The final challenge was at work last week when someone made a HUGE spread for a birthday party. There was a multi-layer chocolate cake rotten with delicious-looking icing and a huge blackberry cobbler. I had to refuse the sweets several times while being shot looks implying the terrorists are winning when I don’t eat cake. I ended up nibbling on crackers and jealously wondering how some people can breezily enjoy sugar in moderation.

Boy, this post is sounding sort of bitter and I didn’t mean for it to. It’s a new year after all and I have high hopes. Also I’ve been crafting up a storm lately, which I’m thoroughly enjoying. (You can see the fruits of my labor here.)

Felt wreath Shark Week Bag
Zipper Pouch Cooking with ♥ Mustaches

More goodies to come, including a new masthead and the 2010 MymBOs! (Take a peek at last year’s for a recap.)

For Sabbath

November 4, 2010

Day 4 of SchloMoBlowHole is the perfect time for me to own up to something → I fail at unpacking. In fact the luggage from my recent trip to Chicago is currently strewn across my bed, along with one lingering bag from my trip to MOwhich was back in September. It’s just seemed easier to select clothing from my luggage instead of the tremendously laborious task of transferring the clothes back to my closet. Such are the mysterious of the gelatinous blob that is my psyche.

Lean’s birthday was last week so I made her a special pressie. A few months ago, her dear sweet cat Sabbath died. He was the alpha of her then 4-kitty litter, a quiet but steadfast ruler with a level head and lustrous black fur. The loss was especially difficult because Sabbath was the first kitty she ever had the pleasure of serving. Our critters are very important to us so I wanted to make her something to remember him buy and tried my hand at some simple appliqué:

Gift for Lean

The E is crooked and I should’ve used darker thread on the cat but Lean loved my masterpiece’s “hand-did” aesthetic, which put a smile on my face. We miss you Sabbers!

Not Freezing My Credit Cards Just Yet

January 29, 2010

Have I mentioned that I don’t like shopping? It somehow triggers a convergence of my neuroses and I find myself loathing every minute. I go to great lengths to get in and out with a minimum of muss and fuss. And so last week, when I finally made it to the checkout after an especially big haul, I was ready to abandon my cart and run screaming from the store. I started loading my things onto a rickety conveyor belt and when I picked up a package of q-tips from my cart, its cardboard lid fell off and q-tips spilled everywhere. The look on the cashier’s face told me that had we been in the wild, he would’ve chased me a short distance, followed by mauling me and defiling my carcass all while a British gentleman narrated the kill in a tense, hushed voice.

The exception to my anti-shopping rule is of course fabric and craft stores. I can spend hours in one, completely unaware of the passage of time, finally emerging with a maniacal grin on my face and my clothes covered in multi-colored threads from the 70 bolts of fabric I sorted through. Although I love that kind of shopping, packing and moving last year forced me to come to grips with how much crafty accoutrement I had accumulated. My fabric stash was especially shameful, given I’d only been sewing for a few years. And so in 2009, I banned any craft and fabric purchases. I stuck to my guns too, except for 2 yards I bought at IKEA in Chicago.

Most recently, this easy-peasy tute got me knitting again. I just finished a hat for myself and am working on one for Moxy to match the scarf I knitted her last Christmas. But when I ran out of yarn the other night and had to go to Jo-Ann Fabric after such a long absence, I wondered if I might experience some sort of sensory overload and pass out in the remnants bin. Fortunately I left with only a skein of yarn and a pom-pom maker and so perhaps I’ll narrowly avoid a guest appearance on Hoarders after all.

Oh, Christmas-and-the-Better-Part-of-January Tree…

January 7, 2009

I can’t bring myself to take down my Christmas tree. I hadn’t put one up in a few years so I’ve really enjoyed mine this year. It’s small but festive and heavy with sentimental ornaments and a few new ones I scored on clearance after the holiday. Since I hadn’t put up a tree in awhile, I had to root through ornaments of relationships’ past. Deciding which ones to keep was a rather depressing chore, which may explain why I’ve long neglected it. But now I have a clean slate, aching to be adorned with the baubles of new love.

Oh my God – I promise never to talk like that again.

The beginning of my first full week of work in quite some time is going relatively smoothly, except I broke a nail all the way to the quick. I jokingly asked my boss about workman’s comp since it happened on the job, but he didn’t seem amused. I think he’s just jealous because he’s a nail biter. That’s not really true but he is vigilant about using hand sanitizer gel. It seems a little silly, if you ask me. I don’t fret a lot about germs but I do fret about many other odd things most people would think are dumb, so I try not to judge. Like for example, I really hate it when my apartment smells like food. I guess the smell of cookies wouldn’t bother me but I rarely bake. Regular food smells just annoy me. I’d prefer a neutral or non-food odor. WEIRD, I know.

A few nights ago, I finished knitting a Christmas present for a friend. I hadn’t knitted in quite awhile and was quickly reminded why. For one thing, it seems like it takes 100 years to finish a project. I use chunky needles, which make projects go quickly but it still sometimes feels like a drudgerous task. The main problem is that I get frustrated when I mess up because I can’t fix my work. The first scarf I ever knitted had holes in it from when I accidentally dropped stitches but my Mom easily fixed all of them because she’s an expert knitter. I’m not experienced enough to do that, so my Inner Perfectionist goes crazy. I have to take deep breaths and say, “It’s OK! No one will notice those holes big enough to stick your fist through.”

Monday evening as Moxy and I watched a new spin-off of The Hills, we sheepishly wondered if other 30-somethings still watch these inane, hedonistic, scripted reality shows. I suspect if we ever have children, we’ll long for the days when we had enough free time to waste on such drivel. Still in the meantime, we can’t resist. We heartily hope we’re not the only ones so tell me, are you one of us?

Christmas in February

February 14, 2008

Attention: If your name is Lean, please proceed with your normal activities, such as downloading porn and pranking my Mom. Everyone else? Meet me after the jump!


Resolutions Schmesolutions

January 10, 2008

I’ve been having lots of high school dreams lately. Usually when that happens, I’m workin’ through some meaty stuff in my 98th percentile-sized head. Last night I woke myself up several times telling off someone in my dream. I also screamed once and poor Abbs looked so worried. She hopped up on the bed and snuggled close, no doubt pitying my weak mortal mind.

Lean and Moxy and I finally exchanged Christmas presents, which is to say that they gave me presents while I could only apologize that my presents for them are still unfinished. As always, their gifts were SO sweet. Lean got me Thumbsucker, which is a great movie. If you haven’t seen it, definitely add it to your Netflix queue. I fell in love with it when Bernard and I saw it a few years ago. It’s a thoughtful coming-of-age tale with an amazing cast. The main character is a guy I would’ve definitely wanted to hang out with in high school. He’s sensitive and reflective, and confused as hell. He’s trying to find himself in the mess of a dysfunctional family, coupled with the quagmire o’ crap that makes being a modern teenager kind of suck. He finds a way to be what people want him to be but learns he’d rather be true to himself, which of course isn’t easy. The personalities in the film are so dynamic and complex but still totally relatable (although I’ve never had a dentist as delicious as Keanu Reeves.) I also love the soundtrack, which is loaded with Polyphonic Spree tunes. Good stuff!

Lean made a pledge to be a super-conscious shopper and thrift as many Christmas pressies as possible. Isn’t that great? Half Price Books helped greatly in her endeavor. We should all be so conscientious.

Sweet Mox got me the Once soundtrack, which I’ve wanted since I saw a preview for the movie. So far I’m still mesmerized by track 1, Falling Slowly:

Glen Hansard’s voice reminds me so much of Cat Stevens’. Isn’t the chorus moving? That harmony is achingly tender. I haven’t managed to see the movie yet but can’t wait because I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it.

Mox also got me The Guerilla Art Kit by Keri Smith – something I’ve coveted for awhile now. I love Keri Smith’s blog and her philosophy. The book is full of ideas and inspiration for creating guerrilla art, which in Keri’s words is

“…a fun and insidious way of sharing your vision with the world. It is a method of art making which entails leaving anonymous art pieces in public places. It can be done for a variety of reasons, to make a statement, to share your ideas, to send out good karma, or just for fun. My current fascination with it stems from a belief in the importance of making art without attachment to the outcome. To do something that has nothing to do with making money, or listening to the ego.”

Great concept, right? I can’t wait to try some of the projects.

I can’t say too much but I’m very excited about my presents for Mox and Lean. I don’t want to be hasty, but I think I’ll have them finished by Valentine’s Day – if not then, definitely before Lent. That means I need to sew sew sew, which I love but have neglected since the holidays.

On a related note, I half-decided to open an Etsy shop to sell all sorts of crafty goodies, including hand-made cards. I made some stuff but when things got crazy, I abandoned the idea. That was until Lean and Moxers saw some of what I’d made and encouraged me to get to gettin’. Several people have been interested in some of my sewing projects so I thought about adding those wares to the shop too. I originally thought I needed to make a lot of stuff before I could open a store, but I read an article about selling on Etsy (sorry, can’t find link), which said that’s not necessary and it would sort of defeat the unique, lovingly-crafted thing. I may throw caution to the wind and go for it…or I may get wrapped up in inventing a new language.

And speaking of new languages, how do ya like the new masthead?

January '08 Masthead