As I talked about in my 2009 Goals post, I’ve seen some other bloggers do a list of goals for the season. I think this is an excellent idea, especially since they are, at least for me, far more fun than my yearly goals.
This winter (now through March), I’d like to:
- Go skiing.
- Try the following foods: beets, brussel sprouts
- Sew one item of clothing for myself each month
- Modify one item of clothing from the drawer each month (the drawer of thrift store purchases that don’t fit properly and unfinished sewing projects)
- Take our plecostomus to live somewhere else, as he has been too big and aggressive for our small tank for several months now
- Go through closet and dressers and get rid of clothes I no longer wear / no longer fit
- Re-organize kitchen cabinets (again) – this should probably be a spring cleaning goal, but it’s driving me crazy now
- Not to pick up a new hobby
- Clean out the under-the-bed area in the spare bedroom
Some things I’ve bookmarked recently:
- Eat Less Fish, and Why : Planet Green – Follow-up to the conversation Prince Charming and I had the other day about whether or not eating fish is good for the environment and what fish farming was (and what fish are farmed) – neither of us had answers, and this is a good starting poing.
via Google Reader (Shared Items)
I need a wordsmith. I have all these categories, and all these tags, on my posts, and most of them don’t really work for me. I need something more clever, more creative. Can anyone help? The categories I have that I do like are:
- all things superficial
- life at home
- memes (because it’s perfectly descriptive, not because it’s clever)
The tags I have that I like are:
- fashion police
- any that refer to the name of an ongoing meme
- your mom
I think I need to change the pics category to a tag, since ideally posts would be in one category but have multiple tags.
So here’s my question…
Since tags are the easiest way to search the site (or most effective, perhaps), what do you suggest? What would be helpful to you as a reader? What’s the main content of posts that grab your attention? I have some ideas of what might work better, but I’d rather have your thoughts.
Last night, I finished ‘s Christmas present. I just have to wrap it. Of course, her birthday present hasn’t been started yet, but the list of outstanding gifts is definitely shrinking. I also made more progress on ‘s scarf, and brought it with me today so I can knit on the bus ride home. I’m hoping I don’t have much more left on it. That leaves the fleece jacket I gave him for Christmas (well, I gave him the pattern, and we went and picked out the fabric together). That’s it – the rest is all done!
Swap-wise I’m on-track too, though I had somehow forgotten completely about a recipe swap that was due the day after Christmas. It’s fixed now, though. I think it’s time to start working on Tom’s quilt for the Mini Quilt-in-a-bag swap, which means deciding on one of the three ideas I had. I think I might be able to get that cut out tonight though. The other “big” project is figuring out what to do for the My Favorite Things swap. The idea is to pick one of the “favorite things” from the Sound of Music song and make it in any way we desire. The person I’m creating this for has her profile filled out and I’ve perused her Flickr stream and her blog and still don’t have any inspiration. I will figure something out – the problem is that it has to be done by January 9th, which doesn’t give me too much time, and all the good ideas I’ve had so far would take much more time than I have.
We did have our last Christmas celebration over the weekend, with , , and , the latter of which loves his new “big boy bed” and was a hoot. He only had one present to open, since had given him money (or given his parents money, I should say), but it was an awesome gift. If you can’t tell from the picture, the screw driver is battery powered and really works, and you get all you need to make a car (two pieces of car “body” and five screws/bolts). got right to work assembling it, and was completely enamored, staying busy while the rest of us opened gifts. gave me exactly what I asked for – a black satin robe and some new canisters for the kitchen. did too – a sweater and some long-sleeved shirts. I was very happy. At some point, all the excitement became too much for , who had been up until midnight the night before, traveling back from Iowa, and he started running around the room yelling something only he could understand. He was very excited. We made our exit at that point (it was nearly 9:30) and left his parents to bathe him and put him to bed.
Sunday we attempted to stimulate the economy by participating in after-Christmas sales, but had absolutely no luck. was trying to find new jeans, but Lucky was out of his size, as usual (though he did determine that he can just order them online and save the shopping trip). I was looking for some casual work pants (preferably cords) and after half a dozen stores and pairs, we left the mall altogether, empty-handed. The pairs I tried on at Old Navy made me look like I was 5 feet tall (instead of 5′ 8″) and unflatteringly curvy, and the pairs I tried on at JCrew, who only had skinny-legged ones, made me look like my hips were transplanted from a very large person. It was very, very bad. As usual, Express has their store set up to make me want to flee the scene without shopping, and Limited, while calm and subdued, has even fewer casual clothes than they used to, which is unfortunate since one of the pairs of cords I’m getting rid of is from them (a Black Friday purchase five years ago that I didn’t even try on).
I will confess that in the midst of yesterday’s productivity, I completely failed to go to the gym. I thought about it at about 9 pm and decided it wasn’t worth it. I also did not eat what I should have. Full disclosure is good, right? Also, my skin no longer likes the lotion I’m using, as I am itchy again, but that’s OK because I am almost out anyways, and needed to buy a new bottle. I’ll just pick something different out – I did make it all the way through two bottles of what I had, which is pretty good for me.
It’s freezing at work (again, though I’m better prepared today), and I’m going to go take my break and get some decaf chai. That means my two visits for the week will be all used up, but Tuesday is double-stamp day, so it’s worth it. I’m not sure how I’m going to keep warm tomorrow though. I have some bags of tea in my desk drawer and there’s hot water in the break room. Doesn’t sound very exciting, but I bet it’ll work.
Some things I’ve bookmarked recently:
via Google Reader (Shared Items)
Monday Mosaic 12.29.2008
Click the photo to go to Flickr and see credits for who took the original pictures.
It’s very cold here today. Outside it’s not that bad (it was hovering right around freezing when I left, and the last few days it’s been in the upper 30s), but inside at work it can’t be more than 66, maybe less.
So, cold things have been occupying my mind, though I should really try and concentrate on warm things. This mosaic is my representation of that idea, being surrounded by cold but trying to focus my energy and attention on warm, happy things.
Oh, and I totally love the Mr. Sun plushie. Might have to make something similar for myself, since it doesn’t appear to be for sale, though I don’t own any yellow felt. Hrm.
I’m not really into the whole “New Year’s Resolution” thing – if you check my archives, you should be able to see that I haven’t made one since 199x (sometime in college), when I decided that I needed to stop air guitaring once and for all. I stuck by that one, which I’m pretty sure everyone I know is glad about. (To clarify, it’s not like I did it a lot, but let’s be honest, it’s almost never a good idea to air guitar.)
2008 was a pretty good year for me, and I’m going to start my planning for 2009 with a summary of my major accomplishments / things I’m proud of / what made me particularly happy, in no particular order:
keep reading 2009
- Destined :: to be
- FAIL :: epic
- Camping :: tent
- Only you :: can make me feel this way
- Incessant :: whining
- Tomorrow :: is another day
- Impressive :: display
- Riches :: galore
- Dislike :: tomatoes
- Speaker :: for the Dead (great book)
May your day be filled with family, friends, good food, laughter, hugs, warmth, and love, and may you know the love of God, evidenced by the sending of His Son, Jesus, to live with us.
That could have been last night’s theme, I think. Cookies and Cleaning. And folding fabric, but that counts as cleaning I think. When I got home from work, I preheated the oven and started cleaning the spare bedroom. I multi-tasked and had the room halfway clean and the first batch of cookies (the Super Sized Ginger Chewies that everyone loves, recipe in the sidebar) baked by dinnertime ( made dinner).
After dinner, I worked on the second batch of cookies (Lemon Ginger Sandwich Cookies), and was quite frustrated. Not only could I not find the right shapes/sizes of cookie cutters (my good stash is somewhere in storage, and I haven’t seen them in probably 2 years, and if it could be done in less than half an hour, I’d attempt to find them in storage, but no luck), but I had great difficulty with the dough. It kept falling apart while I was rolling it out, and the tips of the stars kept breaking off. The dough itself is quite delicious, and I think that my problem was not grinding the toasted almonds fine enough. The frosting, however, I’m not a huge fan of – it’s too lemony for my tastes, but oh well. We’ll see how ‘s family likes them.
And while I already had the counter top floured and messy from making roll-and-cut cookies, I figured it wouldn’t be that much extra work to roll out the sugar cookie dough that I’d thawed in the fridge, and make snowmen. Yesterday it popped into my head (perhaps the internet had something to do with it, but I can’t remember what specifically) that I could make snowmen cookies and decorate them with royal icing and that I have glitter that looks like snow. Well, that proved to be too hard to resist. Unfortunately, I ran out of powdered sugar, so the undressed cookies are in a bag, waiting for decorations. Maybe Thursday night? It depends on how long everyone stays at our house, and how much clean up there is, and how much my back hurts.
Then I retreated to the spare bedroom and folded fabric for a billion hours, until I was so sore that I had to stop (sitting on the floor with bent knees, bending over to fold fabric is not a position that is comfortable unless you’re 7 years old). Then I finished cleaning up the room. I even put the cover on my sewing machine, since I’m pretty sure we’ll have company over before I get to use it again (unless we get home really early from Christmas Eve dinner tonight, which I find unlikely). I also wrapped ‘s gifts while he was out buying the last Christmas present we needed (for his brother).
Today I drove into work, since there is limited bus service and I have to leave at 1 (which even if the buses were running on a normal schedule, I couldn’t do), and the commute was fabulous. I’d drive to work every day if it only took 20 minutes and I didn’t have to pay $6 to park for half a day (no such luck on that latter part today). I’ve been remarkably productive so far, and Friday should be the same way.
Christmas Eve dinner is at 3, which is, coincidentally, the same time we’re planning on eating on Christmas day. I think we have everything taken care of for Christmas dinner and the accompanying family. The only detail I can think of that needs to be worked out is that the ants have come back – not in our kitchen, thankfully, but they like to hang out by the sliding glass door underneath the potted plants, which is, coincidentally right where our dining table will be when it’s expanded to seat 5. I killed a whole bunch this morning, but I’m not sure how long that will last. They seem to come back quickly, especially when it’s cold out.
There are two crafts I didn’t even come close to finishing (didn’t even start, with the exception of purchasing some fabric that would work) this year that I wish I had – I wanted a table runner, and a Christmas apron. Oh well, there’s always next year, right?
is at home today, boiling eggs (he’s making deviled eggs for tomorrow’s appetizer assortment) and wrapping my gifts. He’s under strict instructions not to go snooping around in the spare bedroom, because last night I filled his stocking and stashed it in plain sight in there. I was tired of all that little stuff making my t-shirt drawer messy.
I totally floored my co-worker by giving him a gift this year – we don’t do gifts as a general rule. We did do a small $5 Secret Santa exchange with about 6 of us, and some people do cards. gives each of her staff these amazing gift baskets each year – this year it was fruit, which has enjoyed a lot. Support staff occasionally get quite a few cards and gifts (though not this year, Scrooginess abounds apparently), so I “give back” by making cookies for the office. I didn’t do that this year (yet), though I may get around to doing chocolate-dipped pretzels and bringing those in (bought all the stuff, just haven’t had the time). Anyway, my co-worker is always complaining about how he never cooks at home, even though he used to, because his kitchen isn’t set up well (he rents) and because he doesn’t like having to buy large quantities of foods that he’ll never finish. I knew exactly what he needed – the Starving Student’s Cookbook. It’s way more basic than he needs, since he professes he can cook, but what I like about it (I have the vegetarian edition, which is excellent) is that all of the recipes serve 1-2 and use small quantities of food that can be readily purchased in that size (a lot of canned stuff, really). So, I bought it for him and would have given it to him whenever, but Christmas gave me a good opportunity. He was quite thankful, and shocked. Also, he complained to another co-worker that I was being mean to him (by giving him an unexpected gift), and she said, “I don’t believe you.” Yes, in the PR battle, I have won, and everyone thinks I’m nice. Ha. It’s quite amusing.
I’ll leave you with this Christmasy photo that I took when we were in Grand Rapids in October at the Frederik Meijer Gardens.
Frederik Meijer Gardens
Poor has spent the last couple of days bringing in mail for me, full of packages (fabric, swap items, his Christmas presents) and the occasional Christmas card from family or friends. We finally had some sunlight this weekend (as evidenced in the photos), so I took some pictures of what has arrived lately.
Some more ornaments for the Holiday Ornament Swap:
A set of 5 little squishy, glittery ornaments, including two trees, two birds, and a star!
A glittery blue ornament and some cookies, all the way from Germany!
And, a Santa from crazyhairdesign.
(Here’s crazyhairdesign’s Flickr photo posting of the ornaments, where she talks about how she made them.)
Unfortunately, most of my swap partners don’t have their blogs or Flickr accounts linked in their profiles, so I can’t give link love.
Also, I received my package from Katherine for the Holiday Traditions Swap!
The guidelines were: an ornament, a tradition tutorial, and a recipe. She sent… a rose felt pomander (that I’d seen a tutorial for but didn’t have time to try it for myself), a set of coasters, an embroidered linen sachet, a CD, a letter, and a copy of Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris as the tradition tutorial. The latter is a book that I’ve heard about and haven’t had the opportunity or energy to go find myself a copy, and she did the hard work of going to the used bookstore and getting me one! Aren’t used bookstores great? I haven’t had a chance to throw the CD into my computer yet to listen to it, but the playlist looks amazing. Thanks so much, Katherine! (I don’t think we swapped blogs, so I don’t know if she has one or what the address is, unfortunately.)
I also finally photographed the second towel I embroidered for Mom, before packaging them both up.
I’m definitely not as happy with the second one (the darker background) as the first, but I think she’ll like them both, and I learned some new stitches (on the second one, I did tons of laisy daisies, french knots, and made up a way to stitch grass, plus the pear on the potted plant is satin stitched with a variagated floss, which looks pretty cool).
Finally, on Friday night I drove over to Hancock Fabrics, hoping they would have a different selection from JoAnn, since I had been having great difficulty finding the fabric requested for her pillows. I hadn’t been to a Hancock Fabrics since I lived near Roseville, so it’s probably been about 5 years. If you’ve been to a JoAnn anytime lately, you know that it’s crazy there around the holidays, always busy and it takes forever to get my shopping done. They’ve had some good sales, but they haven’t had the fabric I needed for this particular project. So, I hopped in the car and drove over to the Hancock in Richfield (or whatever city that is over by 494 and Penn). Much to my surprise, the place was practically vacant, and almost everything was on sale. Still, it took me nearly 2 hours to pick out fabric.
Barring finding the perfect fabric (to match a red wall in her house, to go on the tan/taupe couch, preferably with retro-looking rectangles, which was basically an impossible order to fill), I had decided to use the modern log cabin pillow pattern from Stitch magazine. Matching reds proved to be quite difficult, and I had decided that it would be basically impossible to match the pillows to her wall, given that I haven’t been to her house since August, and didn’t pay much attention to the wall color at the time (though, to be fair, I did paint said wall when they moved into their house four years ago). So, I decided that if I used a variety of colors, that probably none of them would match but hopefully the overall idea would (we’ll see, come Saturday).
Here's what I ended up with
There’s also another fabric (a taupe with circles on it) for the backing and for use on the fronts.
Here's the layout of the first pillow, before stitching
Several more rows had to be added after sewing, since it gets smaller with each seam sewn. Last night around 9:45, I finished the fronts, and then I spent another half hour getting the backs ready. So, next up is quilting them, which shouldn’t take too long. I did run out of red thread (well, nearly out – the spool is visible and my bobbin is almost empty), so they’ll be quilted using white thread, which is probably a lot safer in the end). Putting them together should take almost no time, and the pillow forms have already been bought, so this project will definitely be finished before we get together to celebrate on Saturday (barring major illness, natural disaster, or act of God).
Last week (or maybe the week before?), JCaroline Creative had updated their short cuts and sale sections, which I took advantage of. I bought up a ton of short cuts, some of my favorite fabrics, which are now in Flickr if you’re interested, which you’re probably not. I think several of them will be used in making my next nephew’s quilt, two years from now (there’s nothing wrong with planning ahead, when sale prices and limited stock are in the picture). I also bought a bunch of cotton solids, and perhaps my favorite holiday fabric of 2008.
Cotton Supreme Solids
So, there you have it. I only have Christmas Day off of work, so I will still be around tomorrow, probably posting earlier in the day. We have ‘s family Christmas at 3pm, so I’m taking the afternoon off of work. Tonight’s plans include baking up the 2 batches of cookie dough that I made up last night (to bring to aforementioned family function on Christmas Eve), and maybe working on those pillows some more. Oh, and we have to find a Christmas present for ‘s brother. And I have to do any prep work I can for Christmas Day dinner, to which has been invited, as well as ‘s dad and brother, and if she’s in town (, were you not in Ohio, you would also be invited, but you’ve got your own fun going on right now). So, a busy night, for sure. In case you were wondering how it all gets done, my keys right now are: getting home at 4pm, which means dinner is usually eaten and cleaned up by 6; no homework to do; and, don’t stop moving. Oh, another key to my recent productivity is that we’ve moved my computer into the spare bedroom where my sewing machine is, so that I can watch movies and TV. ‘s dad has been recording Angel for me, and right now I’m part-way through season 2. Great show, I must say. Loved it the first time around (I think I’ve seen probably 90% of the episodes already), and loving it again now.
Monday Mosaic 12.22.2008
Click on the image to go to Flickr and get links to the original photos.
Some things I’ve bookmarked recently:
via Google Reader (Shared Items)
- Carpet :: Bagger
- Bottoms :: Up
- Music :: Lover
- Nails :: Chalkboard
- Watch it! :: Buddy
- Your life :: in my hands
- Candies :: Shoes
- Chafing :: Corduroy
- Svelte :: Smooth
- Ding :: Dong
- Said the night wind to the little lamb, do you know what I know.
- The first Noel, the angel did say, was to certain poor shepherds in fields where they lay.
- Go tell it on the mountain, Over the hills and everywhere.
- It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old.
- Have yourself a merry little Christmas (I kinda cheated on this one), Let your heart be light.
- And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing right before their door.
- And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to wrapping more presents? finding the fabric for a certain Christmas present?, tomorrow my plans include planning Christmas dinner and Sunday, I want to be ready for the holiday!