Sharing some Etsy love

Do you want to know how much I love my new Rav4? I had a custom keychain made, because the red plastic thingy they gave me at the dealership was not worthy.

It’s true.

keychain3
Now this is worthy of my new car.

I found SewSweetStitches [link removed] via Flickr, where she shares some beautiful pieces in one of the embroidery groups. It took me a while to figure out exactly what colors I wanted, but once I did, she made it up for me pronto. I was very impressed.

And then it arrived at my house, quite quickly as well.

keychain1
Isn’t it lovely?

Anyway, you should go visit her shop [link removed]. Keychains aren’t really her thing, but she is more than willing to do custom work (since barrettes and iPod cozies aren’t really my thing).

keychain2
Beautiful stitching!

I… don’t learn

You’d think that a person with a 4.0 GPA (OK, 3.96) wouldn’t be saying something like that. Clearly, it’s not true, right? Especially someone who wants to be a social studies teacher, a genre where people are often found saying, “if we don’t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.”

And yet, and yet… I don’t learn.

I keep a fairly long list of favorites in Etsy. Sometimes they’re inspiration to make something myself (note I said inspiration, not copying), but more often they’re things I wish I could buy or want to buy. And Etsy has an excellent Vintage section, where I often find things I like. Lots of the items are available many times over (as in, if someone buys it, the item is re-posted, because the seller really has 25 of them). Vintage items? Not so much. Vintage items are usually one of a kind.

And I know this. I’ve browsed through my Etsy favorites and found vintage things on my list bought by others and have felt sad about it. I even said aloud, “I need to remember to just buy vintage items if I really want them, before someone else does.”

But did I follow this advice of my own? No, no I did not. And I just browsed through my Etsy favorites and found several Vintage items that have been sold. And now I am sad.

Maybe now I’ll learn my lesson? We’ll see.

Your Opinion Wanted

This morning, I celebrated the sale of our house by not making the bed. You know, because I didn’t have to, because we weren’t going to be having a showing. Tomorrow morning, I might celebrate by making the bed by choice. And I know I said I’d celebrate by buying the darling Pyrex bowls that I love so much, but that’s so not happening right now because who wants to buy stuff that’s only going to have to get packed up and moved to the new place? Right, you buy stuff after the move.

At any rate, I am craving something pretty. And pink. In earring form. Only, I can’t make a decision. See over there ( -> ) in the sidebar, where I have my Etsy favorites? I’ve managed to narrow the list down to about 20. That’s right, 20 pairs of pink earrings. Clearly, I don’t need (or even want) that many. I don’t want to know which earrings you’d wear, but which ones you like for me. And then I will buy some. Hopefully. And then no more buying on the internet until mid-May (or something like that). Because there will be lots of boxes to pack. And unpack. And move about. And so forth….

I know I promised a winter wrap-up, and I’m getting to it. I’m trying not to fall asleep at work, though, so it may have to wait.

Vintage on Etsy

For those of you in the know, Etsy is, like, the most fabulous place ever to buy handmade goods of just about any kind. It’s great for supplies, too (and I’ve had much better customer service than when buying from eBay), though Etsy didn’t really want to be about that. It also didn’t want to be about Vintage items, but it definitely is, and it’s a huge category. Tons of awesome stuff there (that I’ll never buy, because I don’t live in a flea market). I got an awesome vintage owl mug, if that proves to you how cool the vintage selection really is. (For some reason, all the cool kids like owls and mushrooms. I don’t really get it, but I never said I was cool, either.)

As I was updating my favorites today, I came across a few that have been listed there for… a year? Probably less, but definitely a long time. (Curious what my favorites are? They’re over there –> in the sidebar.) There are some vintage Pyrex bowls that match the set we have (which is sadly a set of 2 and not of 3), and I love the ones we have. They were ‘s, so I’m assuming they were his mom’s or something like that. At any rate, they’re brown and white with a floral pattern that isn’t too girly, and I adore them. I can get some additional bowls (including another one of the smallest size, which is perfect for so many cooking tasks) on Etsy. I’m sure I could get them on eBay too, and I know I saw one at a thrift store once (and didn’t buy it – why, oh why, didn’t I, because the next time I came back, it was gone), but I really do like the sellers on Etsy better and the way they seem to really care about customer relations (unlike people on eBay, if you’ve had any experience with less-than-perfect items).

So today, as I was sorting through the stuff, I figured something out. I know the perfect way to celebrate the news (which is not here yet, but one can hope that in the next… six months it will come) that we’ve sold our house. I will buy the bowls. For the new house.

Of course, I’m pretty sure there will be some jumping up and down as well, but… bowls make a pretty good celebration, too.

How would you celebrate?

And the beat goes on…

My apologies if the blog has been a bit boring lately. I’ve been working on stuff in the background, getting tags and categories cleaned up, links corrected, etc, which is terribly boring, and consequently I haven’t felt motivated to write.

Last night I wrapped up what I could on the messenger bag. I also ordered the webbing I need for the strap, so I can’t do anything else until it arrives. But, the only steps left are to attach the strap, sew the lining to the bag, and then some decorative top-stitching. I can’t figure out what the instructions are telling me to do for attaching the lining, but I’ll figure it out at some point.

I did write a post on Monday, but then decided I couldn’t post it. Bummer.

Let’s see…

I’m reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s (borrowed from the library), which is quite good. Very different from the movie, but in some aspects it’s word for word. Interesting. A short read, too, so if you’re looking for some light reading, I advise picking it up. I’m about 2/3rds done. The best part is that the Prince of Brazil, Jose, has a last name in the book (which isn’t mentioned in the movie) that is fabulous. He’s Brazilian, so his name is Jose Yberra, but his mother was German, so it’s hyphenated, Yberra-Jaeger. Maybe not funny to you, but to me it is.

Apparently the open house went well, with 7 parties passing through, which includes a few sets of neighbors who want to sell their units this year. To them I say, good luck! There was also a showing (during the open house – weird, I know), and they were the only people who might have been interested. Our Realtor thinks we should do another one in a few weeks. I would like to be able to garden in the ground this summer, and it’s not planting season here in Minnesota until Memorial Day, so that might be a possibility, but I’m not making plans.

More fabric arrived at my house last night (I know, I know – but the February budget was blown on, like, the 5th, so I already had a “why not” attitude about it), which was exciting. More short cuts from JCaroline [link removed], including a lime and brown stripe that I had designated to be part of a tablecloth and just hadn’t purchased, and now it’s not available anymore, so I had to buy what I could (and I’ll have plenty, enough to make napkins too). So pretty, and now it’s all washed and ironed (but not photographed or folded and put away).

I also cut up the charm squares for the second Mini Quilt in a Bag swap. My partner sent me Sweet [link removed], and I had a plan, which I then had to revise when I read that I was supposed to use a bit of every single print. Oops. Good thing I hadn’t cut anything out. So, I spent some time yesterday doing math and charting it all out. I think there will still be some revisions that I need to make, but I haven’t cut all the fabric out yet, so there’s still wiggle room. I’m hoping to get the main “blocks” done this weekend so I can finish calculating the rest of it out. Don’t want to say too much, in case she drops in to take a peek here.

There was also a tiny bit of studying for tomorrow night’s test, which I’m not worried about (10/10 on the last one, and I’m the student in class who answers all the questions). I should have been writing a paper on my interview with an elected official, but all the ones I’ve contacted have ignored me. I think I’m going to have to be a co-worker to introduce me to the city council member she knows, and then beg him to answer the questions via email. I am anxious to get the paper I wrote back tonight, since it will be the first grade in my Historical Interpretation class. I feel like it was a bad paper, though I will probably get a decent grade, but you never know how a professor grades until that first one comes back.

If you’d like to look to the right, I added a little countdown to the end of the semester (aka Countdown to Hammock Time). I am looking forward to that very much. We’re at the point of the semester where I feel like I bit off more than I can chew, am not really interested in any of it, but it’s too late to drop out of any classes without financial and GPA consequences. So, plug on I will. And it will all be good in the end, but it’s a struggle for a bit. (That said, I have had a great deal of free time the last few days, which has been nice. I’m struggling with my online class, in that I’m not particularly fond of the professor at times, and I’ve turned in two papers that weren’t for credit, but for the online discussions he’s given me 20/25. Grades weren’t posted for the first one until after the second one was over, so then I could try to participate more, but obviously not soon enough to change my grade for the second one. It’s really annoying. But, he liked one of my comments on discussion 3 enough to comment on it, which he rarely does. So I feel like I’m all over the board with him.)

Lastly, today is the last day of the half dosage of Wellbutrin I’ve been on for the past 18 months. Tomorrow I start back on the 300 mg, which is very exciting. I have been sleeping better lately anyways, which is nice (there were a few weeks there that I wasn’t sleeping well or much, and that was rough). Plus, Spring Break is in two weeks, so that’s good.

And, to reward you for hanging on so long, here’s a pretty picture for you. These are my new earrings I bought on Etsy. They arrived on Monday, and I promptly wore them yesterday. So springy and cheerful! (She still has a few pair for sale if you hurry.) Her blog [link removed] is great too – one of my current favorites.

new_earrings_etsy

Update on Grant’s Quilt

As was making dinner last night, I told him, “my plan is to mostly finish or finish the ‘s quilt.” And then I promptly hid in my sweater, because that seemed like a huge undertaking for one evening. I already had the binding sewn on one long side and two corners, so I figured I should be able to make it across a short side and another long side. So after dinner, I pulled it out (it’s so lovely to work on binding a quilt in winter, because you’ve got a built-in lap warmer – who would ever want to do that in the summer without copious amounts of air conditioning?) and got to work. Two hours later, there was some squealing. Seriously. Sorority-girl-reunion-type squealing.

That’s right, it’s done!

Short of having to throw it in the wash (at the very least, all the cat hair needs to be removed, since is allergic), I actually finished it, days ahead of when it needed to be!

Lots of pictures were taken, but I’ll spare you. If you want, you can hop on over to my Flickr photostream to see them.

Most excitingly, while the binding looks fabulous, my corners are perfect! All 4 (8) of them (they have two sides, you know)!

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Perfectly bound corners

There are two leftover squares of patchwork, and some of the green used on the front, so I’m going to try to make a pillow sham with those, and see what I can find to make a pillowcase out of. I had originally planned on a bed skirt too, but decided that wouldn’t like it that much, and so it wasn’t important. Then, whatever I have left (I have a 2″ pile of strips used to make the patchwork), I’ll sell on Etsy.

Yay! Hopefully I’ll get some better photos this weekend, or at some later date. Sunlight doesn’t happen much these days, so good photo-taking opportunities are few and far between.

No Coast Craft-o-Rama Update

I only bought a few things at the craft fair (though I’ve said I could’ve bought more if it wasn’t so crowded), but they’re good things.

Here’s the purse I bought from Cayenne Peppy [link removed]:

cayenne_peppy_purse2

I also bought earrings from her:

cayenne_peppy_earrings

She has an Etsy store [link removed] where you can buy more of her stuff, too, which is cool.

I also found an ornament to give to this year, continuing the tradition:

grants_ornament

It’s from mogo (modern goods), but it took me a while to figure that out, since it wasn’t labeled.

Which brings me to my “lessons learned from attending a craft fair,” in case I ever decide to mass-produce items and sell them.

  1. Put your name (personal, company, brand, whatever) on every single little thing you sell. If nothing else, then people can Google you and find you.
  2. Sell online – it’s super easy via Etsy. Then, put your Etsy shop address on the same label as your name on every thing you sell. Or, if you sell your products at a local store, then list that somewhere, so that locals (one would assume most people at craft fairs are locals) can buy your stuff later.
  3. Have another way for people to contact you, whether it’s email, a mailing address, phone number, whatever.
  4. An email list, so you can update customers about sales you’re having, upcoming events you’ll be at, etc., is incredibly valuable, even if you only have 5 people on it.
  5. Have business cards with the information listed above (name, online shop address, ways to contact you, etc) available so that people who like your products but aren’t able to purchase on the spot can do so at a later date. At crazy-busy craft fairs (like this one was), it’d be awesome if that information was somehow more accessible than your table/stand/setup, since some of the really popular sellers were virtually impossible to get near. Maybe someone standing in the walkway handing out cards?

All in all, I’m glad I went, and will definitely go again next year, perhaps on Friday night instead (I heard it wasn’t as busy then). Hopefully, now that I’m reading more local craft blogs, I’ll hear about other craft fairs that are happening locally, which will be fun.

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. In love :: I’m in love, I’m in love… Accidentally in love (from Shrek, by Counting Crows)
  2. Be my guest :: Be my guest, be my guest! (from Beauty and the Beast, Disney-style)
  3. Number one :: I’m (duh)
  4. Swallowed whole :: something from That 70s show about Laurie, I’m sure
  5. 50 percent :: aka half
  6. Made in :: Taiwan
  7. Supplement :: -al insurance
  8. Right for :: Freedom
  9. Endless :: Love (from some movie about ice skating, I think)
  10. Ceramic :: Cows (still for sale on Etsy)

So exciting!

So my darling cow creamers that I’d hoped would sell on Etsy haven’t, and though a few people have favorited them, there’s clearly not been much interest. I’ve dropped the price several times, but still no luck selling them. So, I put them up in the “Sweat Shop Swap” on Craftster, which means that up to 5 of them will be leaving my house this month, to go live in homes where they will be loved and used (instead of living in shoe boxes in the top of my closet). A few people in the swap commented that they liked them, so I was encouraged by that.

But then, just fifteen minutes ago, someone actually bought one on Etsy! Imagine that! It’s a gift, so that’s pretty cool too. The Spanish one, Dulcinea (with “leche” on the side) is going to go live somewhere else.

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Dulcinea

Which also, coincidentally, means there’s money in my Paypal account, but we’ll just let that sit there for a while.

It also means that I now officially have a sold item in my store, which hopefully looks better to potential buyers than none. Hopefully I’ll get a good rating, as well, thus further boosting my selling potential. I don’t really know how it all works, beyond the option of buying featured spots, which I’m unwilling to do at this point.

So, I guess I’ll be taking a break from reading this weekend (lots and lots of reading for class) to go to the Post Office. Yay!

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Goodbye, Dulcinea!

Another Birthday?!?

Yes, well, welcome to the season of birthdays. Most of the birthdays of my friends and family (and family-in-law) occur in the summer. There’s a birthday about once every week or two. Today’s birthday is…

Susan!

And, since Susan reads this blog regularly, maybe she’ll get this message! (And friendly reminder that I need her mailing address, which I also just requested via email.)

Sadly, I just checked Flickr and I have only 7 photos from college in there (ah, the days before digital cameras), and none of them have Susan in them, so I can’t embarrass her with any pictures. Oh well.

In other news…

It’s quite boring here today, as expected. Prince Charming has the day off, and will be picking Alison up at the airport later today. Our plans for the weekend include going to St Joe’s for a parade (there will also be a Charming Family Reunion, but we’re not going to that), and then spending the rest of our spare time ripping the carpeting off the stairs, patching and painting, and then moving all the furniture in the upstairs of our house. The new carpeting is getting installed Monday. (Still no word from the window people regarding our order, which is sad, but not crucial to getting the house on the market.)

Last night, I got a skirt nearly finished. Basically, I re-seamed the sides (since I’d made it a little too big) and installed the zipper (didn’t go as smoothly as the other one that Mom helped me with, but looks acceptable), and hook and eye. I also pinned it to hem it, but didn’t actually do that part. I could have, but decided to go for a walk instead. So, the black skirt is nearly done, and the green skirt is technically done but I think I’m going to have to take it apart and modify it, because I’m not happy with how parts turned out. Also, it is still too big, even though Mom and I altered it quite a bit when she was helping me with the zipper. That is the joy/problem of cutting out a few sizes too big. (I’d rather it be too big than too small.)

I need to get a few more projects knocked out (there’s another skirt that’s nearly done except for the zipper install and hemming, and quite a few that I’ve cut out), because wouldn’t you know it, I’ve gone and bought more fabric (I envision Prince Charming cringing as he reads this, if he does). It’s all JCarolineCreative’s fault, I tell you. They keep putting things on sale and I’m powerless to resist! Some of what I bought were remnants (less than a yard), and may only be used for odd little things or embellishing, but some were, in fact, full yardages or more, with specific projects in mind. I try to do that now, really I do. I also bought some more fabric on Etsy, also with a specific purpose. I’m making a blanket for Grant, and this could end up being more of an undertaking than I’m prepared for. We’ll see how it turns out. (Yes, I’ve all but abandoned my knitting projects. I do really enjoy knitting, but it takes so many man hours for a project to be completed, whereas sewing items, especially easy clothing or home decorating items like pillows can be finished in a couple of hours.)

My second class starts on Monday, so I’ll be busy Monday and Wednesday nights for the next 6 weeks. And yes, my other class is still in session (meeting Wednesday afternoons), so it looks like things will continue to be busy. I haven’t seen Amanda in forever. Liz and I are going to the Taste this weekend sometime, a tradition of ours that has been well documented on this site as being full of … incidents. Last year, however, went off without any glitches, so perhaps we’ve turned a corner.

I have a crap-ton of links and recipes to share, but I don’t want to overwhelm, so I’ll try to dispense them gradually over the next few weeks, assuming I find the time to write them up.

Have an excellent 4th!

A kitchen conundrum

Help! I have recently discovered some information that has me quite confused about my kitchen loyalties.

You see, I hate, absolutely detest, abhor, and other synonyms… Corelle. Hate it. Specifically the plain white Corelle dinnerware I grew up with. The worst thing about it? It never breaks, never dies, and you can never get rid of it. Its existence could make me lose sleep.

And, I love, love, love Pyrex. Adore it. Simply cannot live without it. Love my 20-piece set that gave me at my bridal shower, love the vintage brown bowls that has leftover from his mom maybe, love my glass measuring cups (even if they’re not as user-friendly as the Oxo ones, I’ve used ones just like them for as long as I can remember and I’ve adapted), just adore it. (In fact, last week I’d bookmarked a new website I found called PyrexLove [link removed], intending to share it with you at some point, and now I don’t have to because I shared it today. My favorites? The Pink Daisy [link removed] pattern and the Rainbow Stripes Mixing Bowls [link removed]. And a set of pink mixing bowls available on Etsy right now. Not that I need more mixing bowls. I mean, I jointly own 8. That’s gotta be enough.)

So you can imagine my confusion when I learned today that both brands are owned by the same company.

What exactly does one do with that information? It’s like finding out that Coke and Pepsi are owned by the same people, or Ford and Toyota.

Future Crafting Predicted

The list of things to fix in our house is very short these days, which means we’re not as busy as we have been. In fact, this weekend we did almost nothing on the house. (Yet there was still a trip to Home Depot, amazingly enough. We seem to be there a lot lately.) There are still some big things to be done, but contractors have been contacted and now it’s a lot of waiting. We were supposed to get the estimate for the windows yesterday or today in the mail (it hasn’t arrived yet), and once we have that, it will take 3 weeks to have them custom made and then a day to install. The carpet has been measured for, and once we know about the windows we’ll order that, and then it takes 10-14 days to be ordered and then a day to install. There are some fabric-related things I need to get done (decorative pillows, hemming curtains, bedspread, rollerblinds, etc), but those require the use of my sewing machine, which is still out for repairs (Thursday will be three or four weeks – I’ve lost track of time, it’s been so long!).

Plus, homework is light right now (mostly because I’m caught up, and my second class doesn’t start until July 7, and then it will be 6 weeks of nonstop homework).

So I have all this… energy, and nowhere to focus it. Surprisingly, this does not mean that I made cookies this weekend.

I may make some tonight though. Or bread (finally bought bread flour and yeast this weekend). Or both.

It also means that all my crafting energy is being spent dreaming of things to do, which inevitably leads to browing Etsy and ebay and buying things. Oh, and JCarolineCreative [link removed], who has notified me that I should not visit their site during June because they’re going to be putting lots of things on sale. Woe is me.

So yesterday, I bought some fabric and some patterns. For those of you who might be interested (ahem, ), JoAnn is having a huge pattern sale Thursday through Saturday, with McCalls, Simplicity and Butterick all being on sale for $1.99 each and Vogue for $3.99. I sense that I will spend more than I want to.

From JCarolineCreative I purchased a brown and white floral (that has since disappeared from their site, which means I bought the last or near to last of it on clearance).

My intent for the brown is probably a skirt, though it could be a dress, and this blue one is supposed to be a shirt, but could end up as a skirt.

Who knows. I also got this cute paper on clearance.

And then between Etsy and ebay, I got these patterns, most of which I’ve been lusting after for months (not the first one, but the other 4):

butterick_5213
Butterick 5213
butterick_5181
Butterick 5181
simplicity_2925
Simplicity 2925
simplicity_3739
Simplicity 3739
mccalls_3296
McCalls 3296

Exercise some self-restraint, say you? Well, I have. There are half a dozen more patterns on Etsy I’d like to buy, and dozens upon dozens of yards of fabric for either clothing for myself or a cute blanket for the Grantster. So, you see, I do have some self control. Some.

Ooh, exciting project from . I get to design some “we’re moving” postcards for one of our offices. Later, I may get to do labels. Wow, my job is exciting.

Bits and Pieces

I’ve had several partially-formed blog posts in my head for the last week. None of them really make up a full post on their own, and they’re probably too random to make up a meaningful post, but they’re cluttering up my head, so it’s time to get them out.

I am currently on a bird kick, as in all the cute things on Etsy I’ve noticed are bird-related. Don’t worry, it’ll pass. Before that it was milk glass, frogs and ladybugs, and plants. These phases usually last a week or so, so to avoid buying the entire world, I just put everything on my “favorites” list and let it sit there until it no longer amuses me. Of course, this means I have 17 pages of favorites right now, many of which I have no intention of ever purchasing. There are lots of duplicates, too, since there is a lot of fabric out there that I’d really like to buy but I’m trying not to at the moment.

I mentioned yesterday that I moved some things around in my cubicle. Specifically, I moved my printer to the opposite corner, and switched my garbage with my purse. I’ll be confused for several more days, but in the end I think this new arrangement makes more sense and is aesthetically more pleasing.

The book I’ve been reading, Apartment Therapy (yes, that Apartment Therapy of the website I check all the time), has taken a turn for the worse. I love the website, and have generally been enjoying the book, though I ignored it for a few weeks (which is no good for library books, since they have to be returned within a finite amount of time). The design advice is, generally speaking, good, and well written and simple enough (yet detailed enough too) for those who don’t instinctively understand good design (I do not consider myself one of these people, as I think I generally do a good job and have a good eye, and one of the careers I considered in high school was interior design for good reason, but I do know a few people who don’t have this knack and I think this book would work for them too). But, the last few chapters have turned… well, pretentious. The author has taken to suggesting more than just brands of cleaner or that organic cotton sheets are a good idea to suggesting things that are far beyond what the purview of the book should be; this morning as I was reading on the book, he suggested a brand of men’s razors. Really? How is that helpful?

Now, I’ve been trying to get what I could out of this book without following it (since it’s designed around the idea of spending 8 weeks “fixing” your house, which is not helpful for what we’re doing since we’re not planning on staying in our house), and trying to take things with a grain of salt since the author is located in New York City, and let’s face it, New York is different than the Midwest. It’s like watching “What Not To Wear” or any of those style shows. The advice is good, great even, but slightly impractical or just out of place for those of us not in NYC. Spending $300 on a pair of dress shoes, no matter how well made, is just simply not something that most women in the Midwest are going to do (yes, there are some who will, but it’s just not important to most of us). And a lot of the design advice is like that too, which has been OK because the book is admittedly aimed at NYC apartment dwellers (owners or renters) who live in very small, very expensive places, and for whom the cost of living is just greater in general and the trends, things of importance, etc are just very different.

So I’ve been trying to gleam the important parts, like this morning’s selection about the importance of good lighting and what the light should focus on, where it should be placed, etc. I’ve been trying to finish this book because 1) it’s due back on Monday, and 2) I desperately want to read the other book that’s due Monday, You On A Diet, so that I can 3) read the three other books I have checked out on PCOS and Insulin-Resistance and health (that’s one subject, three books). I hesitate to think that I might not finish the book, because I know I’ll never check it out again, but it may not be worth finishing. That makes me sad, but glad it’s a library book and not one I paid for.

Wednesday, I walked part of the way to work. I drove downtown and parked at Metro State, as I do on days I have class (since it’s $2.50 to park all day, compared to $2 – $7 all day downtown plus then having to park at the university lot), and as I was getting out of my car, I saw the bus I take to get back downtown and knew I wouldn’t even come close to catching it. So, on a whim, I decided to walk the rest of the way to work. I figured it was probably 2 miles (I was wrong – it’s 1.25 miles, which means I am a very slow walker, but I did have to wait at a lot of stoplights and wasn’t carrying an ideal bookbag/purse, etc.) and I could handle that fine. I realized much too late that I’d inadvertently forgotten to put on deoderant that morning (which was quickly rectified at work, since I have backup there). The bus passed me about 2/3 of the way there, and it took me just less than half an hour, so I still got to work well before 8. It was nice. If I had the luxury, I would have walked back before class, but I didn’t want to be late and had exactly half an hour from when I got off work to when class started. Then yesterday I toyed with the idea of getting off the bus a stop or two early downtown, but got lazy at last minute, and ended up being glad I was because my butt was sore from Wednesday’s walk. This morning, however, I got off at Rice Park, stopped at Starbucks, and then walked the rest of the way to work (just a few blocks, but every bit counts, right?). I got in about 15 minutes later than usual, but our bus is currently detoured which adds 5-7 extra minutes to our commute, so that’s not bad. I’ve been trying to get as much outside time as is reasonable lately, or at least during the work day (apparently I don’t feel so compelled when I’m at home, though I do get the uncontrollable urge to open all our windows and air out the house, daily).

There were probably several other piddly things I was going to talk about, but I can’t remember them. Must not have been important.

And now, Etsy shall love me

I’ve got the first half of the cows up in my Etsy shop now, as well as the candle holders (or egg cups, if you prefer). Flickr has been having difficulties all day, but they claim to have fixed the problems now. Something about databases having trouble communicating with each other, which sounds like a big deal to me. Hopefully I’ll get the other candle holders I have at home finished this week and get those online too. I had fun giving each of the cows a name (call me a dork, I don’t care). If you look around there and see any glaring errors or spelling mistakes or whatever, let me know so I don’t look like a total buffoon on the internet.

I’m also trying to learn not to put two spaces between my sentences, after having read an article today that explained why this is an obsolete practice. My thumb is having trouble remembering though.

Boring day at work. I got caught up on some projects but have saved some icky ones and am trying to avoid doing them, but I think I have no more excuses. Bummer.

Quick photo update then, before attacking these tasks.

cows_batch1_baking
I finished the cows over the weekend. Here is the first batch going into the oven to cure, and the second batch drying. My favorite one is the French one, and I’d keep her but I’m guessing someone will snatch that her up. Just a guess though.

I also made a bazillion cookies. Or, three batches. Whatever.

macaroon_closeup
Jumbo Black Bottom Coconut Macaroons

I made up Jumbo Black Bottom Coconut Macaroons, Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (not a typo), and Toasted Coconut Washboards (those are kind of hidden in the picture underneath the chocolate ones). All are quite yummy, though the next time I make the macaroons I will make them about a third of the size because I didn’t quite care for the inside texture, and I will also use an electric mixer instead of trying to whip egg whites into soft peaks by hand. I don’t recommend that. Note to self: purchase a wire whisk, because the large plastic one is crap for delicate tasks like this. Also, I will re-make the Washboards and toast up much more coconut and melt much more white chocolate, and paint the bottoms entirely with it and sprinkle the coconut on them. That was the best part (plus, I will not roll one batch too thin – I think they’re better when they’re thicker and not so crispy, as the one I ate was).

My co-workers devoured their share (one plate), and I’m guessing the plate at ‘s workplace is equally empty (there’s 3/4 of one cookie left here). It wasn’t my plan to make up all three batches. I made the Chocolate ones up Friday night (I think, or maybe Saturday afternoon?) and then on Sunday I was going to make up the washboards, but I got partway into it when I realized that my mixer bowl for the KitchenAid was currently in the dishwasher, so I had to come up with a way to spend half an hour. So I made up the Macaroons, which didn’t require a mixer (technically, though see afore-mentioned note on that). In the end, it was not as many cookies as you might think, since the recipes in Big Fat Cookies generally make smaller amounts (though the cookies are quite large) – there were 9 macaroons, 17 chocolate ones, and about 24 washboards. There are less than 10 in a bag at home to be eaten by us. (I’ll post recipes if anyone requests and/or can find out what the general copyright rules are about that.)

macaroon_closeup
Close-up
cookies_plated2
Jumbo Black Bottom Coconut Macaroons, Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (not a typo), and Toasted Coconut Washboards (those are kind of hidden in the picture underneath the chocolate ones).
chocolate_2x_cookies_closeup
Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Saturday morning and came over and helped us paint our garage, which is now super white. I don’t have pictures because we’re not quite done yet, but there will be a nice before-and-after post when that’s finally done. We have some touch-up work, some cleaning, and then generally putting it back together first. Not sure when we’ll get to it, but I’m glad that the weather is finally nice and warm and it’s OK to keep my car parked outside (and by OK I mean that I don’t have to worry about scraping snow off my car in the morning and being late for the bus).

In the afternoon, in the rain (we were led to believe that it would rain on Sunday as well, which it did not), we went to Gertens and bought some plants. Mostly peppers, actually. bought four different varieties of hot peppers (chili, red, jalepeno, and banana I think), and I bought some herbs (rosemary, dill, marjoram, and chives) and a stoplight pepper plant (red, yellow and green bell peppers).

gertens_seedlings
We planted them on Sunday, but I neglected to take pictures of that, so you only get a shot of them in their as-purchased habitat.
gertens_stoplight_peppers
Stoplight Bell Peppers
korben_in_a_box
Finally, Korben would like you to know that he loves boxes. This one made him very happy all weekend. Jumping in, jumping out. The only thing that didn’t make him happy was when Prince Charming thumped the side and he got scared. That cat is skittish beyond belief. There’s some good video I took as well, but I’m still working on getting that pulled together and one day I will have a very cute “a day in the life of…” video for you.

Another Exciting Weekend at our House

Friday night I was sitting on the couch, watching TV and feeling a bit lazy, but also feeling that I’d like to make cookies. I turned to and said, “I could really get on board with the idea of having a TV in the kitchen. I’d like to make cookies right now, but I want to watch TV, so I think I’ll just sit here and watch TV.” And not 24 hours later, this is what our kitchen looked like:

new kitchen tv
(There’s a Mac Mini in the cabinet that is the brains behind the operation.)

Apparently, I’d said the magic words (along the lines of “another TV,” not “cookies”) because had been wanting to try out having a second TV in the house (there’s some long convoluted explanation about computers and software that we use and DVR stuff but do you really care?) and I gave him an excuse. After it was all set up, I spent the rest of the weekend in the kitchen, reveling in the joy. I used to be embarrassed about my love of television (and movies), but I’ve learned to accept that it’s just part of who I am and nothing to be ashamed of. At least once I said to , “I’m could just spend all my time in the kitchen now,” which he was very excited about. The result?

pb slabs
Peanut Covered Peanut Butter Slabs
chocolate crack
Chocolate Crack
spicy chickpeas closeup
Spicy Oven Roasted Chickpeas

I baked Peanut Covered Peanut Butter Slabs (from Big Fat Cookies by Eleanor Klivas) on Sunday, as well as another batch of Chocolate Crack [link removed] (this time with cashews and pecans).  I also tried Spicy Oven Roasted Chickpeas [link removed], which were pretty good (more about that on the Flickr page).  Any ideas on what else I should make in my kitchen this week?  (Sidenote: my goal for this week is to return the spare bedroom to a decent-looking room, which includes getting all the stuff off the bed and making it look like a guest bedroom, and which probably means putting a bunch of stuff into storage.  It also means I have to hem the curtains, which I’m not looking forward to, because I didn’t do a very good job on the last set.)

hiaworth potted closeup
Also, I finally got the plant I’d bought on Etsy into a pot. Very cute, no?

And, the cats provided some photo-worthy moments.

matea shadowed
Matea
matea korben snuggling 5
The first-ever picture of Matea and Korben snuggling. It was bound to happen eventually – it took a little longer than I thought (Korben has been with us since the first weekend of October), but I’m quite pleased. Matea is too, as she is quite a snuggler. I’m glad she has someone (that’s not me) to be happy with.

We also did some less exciting things, like getting a few new lighting fixtures (though the bulk of what we wanted was saved for next week, since Southern Lights is having a tent sale and we want to capitalize on that), picking up our quasi-fixed vacuum cleaner, and spending a lot of time in the garage cleaning it and patching the walls.  This week we’re going to paint it and it will look so pretty!  We’re really plowing through our list of repairs.  There are still some big ones left, like getting new carpeting and a few new windows, but we won’t actually be doing that work (just shelling out the cash for it).

The summer semester starts this week, so I will be in class on Wednesday afternoons for the first half of the semester, and additionally Monday and Wednesday nights for the second half.  We’re looking into planning some camping trips, so this summer might be just as much of a whirlwind as last (though a bunch more fun, since my idea of a fun summer is not packing to move and planning a wedding – for reference, this time packing to move involves another person, which makes it better already, and I’m much more excited about the situation we’ll be moving to, even though we have no idea what it is yet).

I’m about 6 months behind on some personal emails, and one of the support staff is on vacation this week.  Unfortunately, our new support staff either hasn’t been told yet that she’s supposed to answer phones primarily, or she isn’t that good at it, because I’ve been the only one picking up today.  We’ve got a staff meeting this afternoon, and I’ve got a bunch of things to do, so I should probably get to it, huh?