Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oodles of Resolutions

Ah yes, it's New Year Resolution time.

I love making resolutions. I know that every second of every day I have an opportunity to start over and be a better person than I was the second before. However, when there's a new calender start, the new beginning seems most natural. A new day, a new week, a new month, but most of all a new year, are excellent times to take stock of where you are, remind yourself of where you want to be, and try to get there.

I don't often really write down a lot of goals, or make a lot of plans as to how I will achieve them, so I'm hoping that that was the missing key to accomplishing past resolutions. I have a lot of goals for 2010, 12 to be exact, and I'm going to take them month by month. This month-by-month plan does not mean that I will ignore my goal until its month comes, but each month will have a focus as I try to accumulate some better habits and be a more well-rounded and generally cooler person.
 resolutions for 2010
January: Be kind.  I want to be kinder and less judgemental. I want to focus on my relationship with God more and living my Christian faith every day. I want to be a better wife, friend, sister, daughter and co-worker. I want to be less selfish. I had wanted to put this month off for more fun months, but this one I think is where I have the most need. By setting aside more time for prayer, seeking more volunteer opportunities, and being more involved at church, I'm hoping to see the big picture, not be so petty and judgmental and love, love, love more.

February: Be well-read. This is probably the one that bugs me the most. I've read so little since college it seriously disgusts me, more than the muffin top (That's saying a lot.). In 2010 I'm going to read 50 books (I'm not even halfway through two books right now and I'm going to count those toward this, but will hopefully read more than 50 anyway.). Reading a book a week should not be hard, especially if I make time to read. Normally reading is that thing I'll do before bed but bedtime rolls around and I can't keep my eyes open. First then when I get home, I will read.

March: Be healthy. I would really love to be in good shape and have actual muscle tone. I don't mind the number on the scale as long as none of that number jiggles and some of my number jiggles. I'm going to investigate more ways to eat healthy, continue trying to buy foods that don't have ingredients I can't pronounce, and make some kind of physical fitness a regular part of my life. Hopefully this month it will be warm enough to start biking.

April: Be a better friend. It seems that as I start keeping in better touch with one friend, I stop keeping in touch with another. I keep thinking, "Oh, I'll call her when I have some free time" and that never really comes. Or I come up with lame excuses like maybe she's at dinner. Who knows when she's eating, she doesn't have to answer the phone or she can tell me she'll call me back. I'm going to make the time to call. And start writing real letters more. I love real letters.

May: Be Stylish. Have you seen the trailer for the new Sex and the City movie? I highly recommend it. At :18, you can see a glimpse into my dream life. Who doesn't have that dream? I could just watch :15-:25 of that trailer on repeat and drool. The opening scene of The Devil Wears Prada causes similar feelings. Since we'll hopefully be in a house at this point (Whee!) I hope to be thinking about decorating the house and myself. Perhaps finding a personal style and not just settling for fitted tees and boot cut jeans everyday. (Perhaps fitted tee and boot cut jeans with a fun belt? Brightly colored shoes? Skinny jeans since I'm sure I'll be jiggle-free by May? ;) )

June: Be a better photographer. Check out some books. Research some online tutorials. Figure out Photoshop Elements.

July: Be a better writer/blogger. Plan more posts. Participate more in the blog community, especially 20 Something Bloggers.

August: Be a better local. There's museums, amusement parks, free concerts, fun bars, tasty restaurants, bike trails, parks, old homes, all kinds of awesome stuff to do in Louisville (and the surrounding area. Hello Bourbon Trail.) that I have never seen. This goal could be subtitled: Get off your butt and explore.

September: Be crafty. Learn a new crafty skill or improve on one. Crochet, embroidery, and knitting are high on the list, although my sewing has tons of room for improvement.

October: Be a better cook. Work on trying new dishes and developing new skills. Cook more. I've been relying on frozen pizza a bit too much lately. (Digiorno flat bread with pepperonis and red peppers....yum!)

November: Be a movie buff. I'm hoping to watch 5-6 movies a month this year in an attempt to widdle (Is "widdle" not a word? Blogger is saying it's not. Hmm.) down my Netflix queue which is over 300. No, I'm not exaggerating that a bit. My DVD queue has 292 and my Instant queue has 69. There are a few repeats in the DVD and Instant queues, but that would probably trim off no more than 10.

December: Just be. Perhaps this would've been better at the beginning, but oh well. I'm hoping to do all of these things all year long, each month is just a focus and this is a reflection of this past (err...current) December and how my procrastination caused a mad holiday panic that did not result in peacefully enjoying the season. This year I want to enjoy Christmas. And all of those other moments where I let not-really-that-important-in-the-big-scheme-of-things tasks get in the way of my joy.

Do you guys have any resolutions? Crazy plans for 2010?

Happy New Year's! :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

For Brandy

I'm a cryer. I cry when I'm happy, sad, scared, sleep-deprived, grumpy, get the point. But sometimes I cry because someone is experiencing my worst nightmare, and it terrifies me and breaks my heart for them, whether it's Steel Magnolias ("I can run all the way to Texas and back but my Shelby can't" gets me every time and I've seen that movie like ten times.) or Brandy.

I don't know Brandy. I'm not even subscribed to her blog, but I will now because she seems awesome (I love Glee and juice boxes too!) and I want to be kept up to date on her hot awesome dude. Brandy is living her worst nightmare and when you're faced with a nightmare I don't know what to do but pray. I truly do believe in the power of prayer so I'm joining with several other bloggers to ask you to pray for Brandy's hot awesome dude. Here's the story:

My name is brandy. And I have a blog.

And a plea.

I use my blog to showcase the crazy I meet everyday, share the stories of the kids I teach and document my love for tequila, dairy products and the abdominal muscles of Ryan Reynolds. Rarely do I talk about personal issues on my blog- as personal as the dude that I adore (who I actually met through my blog- single ladies, let that be a very good reason to blog, the possibility of meeting someone as wonderful as my man), but I need your help. And it involves my dude.

He’s a guy who made math comics for my class, so they would love learning about addition. He’s the kinda guy who sends my friends gift cards when they are having hard times, who remembers every story I ever told him, who was the first person I celebrated with when I got a teaching job. He’s the guy who sent flowers to me at school- dozens of my favourite pink roses just because he loves me. He’s a guy who has spent a year patiently explaining (and re-explaining) everything there is to know about football during the important games when silence is preferred. He’s made me word puzzles and comics and stayed up late playing Scrabble with me (even though I beat him almost every time). He’s listened to me cry about school and family and jobs. He is everything I never knew I needed and everything I always knew I wanted.

The holidays have hit us hard. He’s recently been told he may have something called multiple myeloma- an incurable cancer, that gives a person an average of five years of continued life. Though this news has came as a shock, he continues to be exactly who has always been- spending his time worrying about me, rather than worrying about himself. He’s the most selfless individual I know- (he stayed late on Christmas Eve to work, so his co-workers could leave early) and a post like this would never be something that he would promote or encourage but when I’m overwhelmed and feeling helpless, the blogging community has always given me tremendous support and comfort, two things I desperately need at this time.

As I write this, the future is uncertain and we aren’t sure what’s happening. He’ll need to see an oncologist soon, to verify what’s going on in his body. My hope is that everyone who reads this think positive thoughts and if you are a person who prays, could you add him to your list? (You can refer to him as ‘brandy’s hot awesome dude’). If you don’t pray, please keep him in your heart.This cancer is only a possibility and I believe that the prayers and positive thoughts of people can make sure it never becomes a reality.

I want to give a big thank you to the blog owner who scraped their original blog plans and graciously put this up. My goal is to get as many people as possible to see and read this post. If you are reading this and want to help, copy and paste my plea into your blog or send a link through twitter, so more people can keep him in their thoughts. I would be so very grateful (even more grateful than I am to my friend who first showed me the picture of Ryan Reynolds on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. If you haven’t seen it, google it. You. Are. Welcome).

I realize this all sounds dramatic, a Lifetime movie in the making- but this is life. Right now. And I’m throwing away any hint of ego and am humbly asking for you to pray or think kind thoughts. If you are able to pass this on, thank you and if you know anything regarding MM- please email me (my email is on my blog). This isn’t a call for sympathy or a plea for pity. It’s just one girl hoping you can think positive thoughts for the person she adores. If my current heartache provides you with anything, let it be with the reminder that life is short, love is unbending and no one knows what could happen next. Maybe it is silly, but I really do believe that positive thoughts can make a huge difference. Thank you for reading this and if you haven’t already? Please tell someone you love them today.

I did.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Crafty Christmas in Review

Christmas was wonderful! But I'm so glad that I have no plans with friends or family tonight. Not that I haven't enjoyed my time with them very much, but I have some catch-up to do, like telling you how I feel about my partially handmade Christmas now that it's over (finally).

The handmade Christmas started because I was learning how to sew, I didn't suck at it too much, it would be tons of fun, and a great way to save money on holiday gifts. My budget numbers aren't super accurate because this year I would occasionally buy craft supplies for non-holiday projects with holiday money (oops ;) ) and I can only find last year's planned budget, not what I actually spent. So I think I saved....

drum roll, please...


Which is six months of Netflix. Three rounds of Applebee's 2 for $20. Twelve tickets to $5 Tuesday at the movie theatre. Not a terribly exciting amount, but better than nothing.

Oh, I forgot that I a couple less gifts this year in general, but let's still live with the assumption that I saved $60. Go me!

Making Lee a UofL snuggie (super easy pattern here) makes up for years of UofL smack talk, right? Both in the past and the future. As I was telling some friends this morning, with everything that's gone on with their basketball program in the past eight months THE JOKES WRITE THEMSELVES!

Were the stress and long nights worth the savings? Yes and no. If I can start early again next year, I think I'll do it again. If I procrastinate and realize that it's December 10 and I two purses, one snuggie, four notecards, and a year of happy to finish, then I'm just going to Etsy. (Should I remind everyone that I started planning my homemade holiday on September 3?! What went wrong?!) I would rather spend the holidays baking and watching Christmas episodes of Friends than cussing at Laura the sewing machine, swearing every ten minutes that if I ever get a machine with a serger stitch I will never iron open another seam again, and pouting about being the one-woman holiday sweatshop. (This is not meant to diminish the joy or heartfelt-ness of the handmade gifts I gave to my friends and family, because you are wonderful and totally worth it, but maybe next year, I won't procrastinate and you'll also get Christmas cards, cookies and a saner wife/daughter/sister/friend.)

I already have some ideas for next year, which I plan to start on in July at the latest. I promise.
magnetic calendar
argyle ornaments
typographic coasters

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Santa's writing
From the start of my memory Santa used special wrapping paper and had mysterious handwriting. Even though I now know where the special paper comes from and whose opposite-hand-handwriting is on the label, I insist that these things never change.

Christmas is here and I'm so excited. I'm excited about the presents I've opened and will open. I'm exciting to give Lee his presents. I will see many friends and family that I have not seen in far too long and ones that I'm lucky to see often. I will eat, eat, eat to the point of being uncomfortable and wonder why I can't stop putting chocolate in my mouth.


But my favorite part of Christmas, is on Christmas Eve at Christmas Eve mass. The exact moment varies but most often (and my preference) it is after Communion when someone sings Oh Holy Night, which is the most beautiful Christmas song ever and my absolute favorite. And I sit there, feeling all the Christmas hope, magic and wonder inside me. The love of family, the promise of salvation, this tiny gift from God, and I generally cry. Happy tears, of course. Even if the soloist is sub-par, the words of the song inspire me every time.

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of Our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world In sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd And the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope The weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks A new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O, hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts By His cradle we stand.
So led by light of A star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men From Orient land.
The King of Kings Lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials Born to be our friend.
He knows our need, To our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us To love one another;
His law is love And His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break For the slave is our brother;
And in His name All oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy In grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us Praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory Evermore proclaim.
His power and glory Evermore proclaim.
Merry Christmas everyone! :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Note Cards for Everyone!

A lot of this gifts I made this Christmas were note card sets.

These went with the gifts I mailed.

018 - Copy
Perhaps this will encourage my friends to write me real letters? I do love real letters. I should send more myself.

The cards were a nice break from sewing. You'll have to wait until next week to see how the totes turned out.
tfln cards
I made my sister some with Texts from Last Night on them. We love that site!

I tend to keep them pretty simple.

Not only is it easier, but I tend to have a clean, simple aesthetic.
Christmas gift bags
I also stamped some simple gift tags and sewed some bags to wrap the cards in.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Year of Happy

Perhaps the Christmas project I'm most proud of is the one that was the easiest (sort of). For Caitlin, I made A Year of Happy: a jar filled with 365 hand-written quotes (or it will be when I mail her the rest). The quotes are mostly from Caitlin's favorite movies, TV shoes, books and people, along with some happy memories. (Although I might have included a happy memory that was with someone else. Oops!)

happy jar

Despite the simplicity of writing things on coordinated paper and cutting them out, it took a very long time! I only sent Caitlin the first 195 and hopefully in January (February, March...) I can get the rest done. Surprisingly though, I haven't run out of quote inspirations yet. We'll see how I'm doing once I get to 320.

happy jar

Mod Podge, more paper and stamps helped to decorate the top of the jar.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Week in Review: 12/18

my wordle

I discovered Wordle via Ha ha. Wait. What? and it's a pretty fun way to pass five minutes. My wordle is above.

Despite the lack of babies in the immediate future, that doesn't keep me from planning nurseries! (Is this wrong? Creepy? Weird? It's not that I purposely seek out ideas, but if I see one I bookmark it.) Awhile ago I found the perfect piece of art for a boy's room, and yesterday I found the perfect piece for Elizabeth's room at Red Velvet Art! (Yes, I've had my daughter named since I first read Pride and Prejudice eleven years ago.)

Excellent and easy-peezy craft idea from Clever Nesting. Mildly concerned I'll burn my house down in the process, but I'll keep you posted!

My real-life friend Jenn was so intrigued by my brief mention of Krampus this week that she sought out other lesser-known Santa Claus sidekicks and shared her newly acquired knowledge.

Warm winter hats mess up my hair and Sew to Speak has the perfect solution.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I think I'm finished. I'm sure something little will come up, but I think I'm done.

The presents are all made and I can see my dining room table again.

holiday craft mess

The gifts are under the tree.

presents under the tree

And in about seven hours I will be home-home, snuggled on the couch with some of mom's pot roast (my favorite) and a bourbon slush (another favorite).

Ever since I buckled down into holiday craft mode about ten days ago, I've been going non-stop, staying up at least an hour later than normal. I'm exhausted, but happy. Next week we'll start seeing some of the goodies I made, but first, a nap.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Toast for Jane

Today is a very important day in the history of the world. It's Jane Austen's birthday.

I was going to celebrate by watching Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility but Lee's work party is tonight so that won't happen. I guess I'll just have to hug one of my four copies of Pride and Prejudice and drink some tea.

I might suggest checking out this post from Design*Sponge on English country houses, more generally referred to as "my dream home". And last year on this occasion I shared my Jane Austen testimonial of sorts, if you're interested.

And since I won't be watching S&S, I will just enjoy Emma Thompson's acceptance speech from the BAFTAS when she won best screenplay.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2009 Nice List

After yesterday's Naughty List, it's time for the Nice List.

1. Glee
I don't think I could love this show more without someone needing to get a restraining order. (That would be you, Mr. Shue.)

2. Peppermint Mocha CoffeeMate
One of my favorite things about Christmas is the excessive amount of peppermint-flavored things. Of recent discovery is peppermint mocha coffee creamer. Joy!

3. Kentucky Basketball
3a. John Wall
3b. Coach Cal
3c. Patrick Patterson
Nothing makes the season brighter than a 10-0 start, especially after playing UNC, UConn and IU. There's a lot of problems in the world, but with UK in the Top 10, I can sleep with the peace of knowing that something is very right. ;)

4. The Hangover
A great movie or the greatest movie? Either way, it comes out on DVD today and is the perfect last-minute gift for me if you're looking. If not, I'll probably be at Target December 26 with my Christmas money.

5. You!
Is that cheesy? Lame? For real though, thanks for reading, saying nice things in the comments, generally being awesome and contributing to my inflated sense of self-worth. ;) May you all get very nice things from Santa this year.

image: alliet

Monday, December 14, 2009

2009 Naughty List

Last year around the holidays I made a naughty list, which was so fun I thought I'd do it again this year, and follow-up with a nice list tomorrow.

Learn more about Krampus.

1. Jane Austen mash-ups
Okay, yeah, I can laugh at Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I've flipped through it in the store once and was highly entertained. But now that there's Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Emma and the Werewolves (Although this seems to be from a separate person than those who created the previous two.), it has clearly become an attack on my beloved Jane which should stop. Spread the love. Pick on some Bronte sisters. I mean, they already have characters locked in the attic so that would be a good place to start.

2. The United States Government
Since Lee co-signed his friend's mortgage and was on the title for a year, we don't qualify for the $8,000 tax refund for first time home buyers. I know this isn't really the government's fault, but it makes me sad even though I'm not a big fan of government spending in the first place.
Even after they expanded the qualifications, we still don't make the cut since we haven't lived in the same home for five years.
(Yes, I could get a mortgage without Lee but Lee qualifies for the VA loan which is better than the FHA loan.)

3. Ice storms
We lost power for four days. That was not cool, Mother Nature.

4. Cat pee
While I have forgiven Reagan, I can't forget. We still have a long way to go on the road to building back trust.

Note: I just realized that last year's naughty list was titled "2009 Naughty List..." Oops.

5. Jon and Kate Plus Hate
I have a high tolerance for over-publicized celeb fiascoes and miscellaneous celeb non-sense. If I get tired of your crazy life, then you must have already crossed the line 70 miles back. Although, I will admit to the unpopular opinion of siding with Kate.

image: annia316

Friday, December 11, 2009

Week in Review: 12/11

a perfect evening
Christmas lights + reading = How I would love to spend every day

Lots of craftiness this week. Both in how I've spent my evenings and my favorite links of the week.

I love Colin Firth. A lot. And English Muse got to interview him. I'm just a little jealous. ;) (Actually there would be no sense in my interviewing him. I would only bumble away idiotic mutterings regarding Mr. Darcy and Mark Darcy and those leather pants in What a Girl Wants.)

Such an adorable and simple necklace to make.

Brilliant shirt upgrade.

Love the crochet garland.

In other important news, last night I decided that my love for my camera and my sewing machine is too strong for them to continue unnamed a moment longer and a decision must be made. So my camera is now Charles and my sewing machine is Laura. I know, won't that be confusing, a sister and a sewing machine with the same name?! But I'm not usually talking to my sister and sewing machine at the same time. Or ever. And I was trying to think which Project Runway contestant was most like my sewing machine and I selected Laura Bennett, because they're both older, talented, grumpy at times, and I would wear the things they make.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Return to Paper

I like technology mostly. So over the past year or so I've tried to lean more on technology for certain tasks, specifically my calendar and to-do list.

That ends now.

I had been thinking about going back to a paper planner. I love Google Calendar and I will continue to use it since Lee is a computer calendar person and he can check it as necessary. But for me, it's back to paper.

So this weekend I bought a paper planner, with space for a to-do list, and since then my productivity has been rediculous! Maybe it's just the fact that I've reached the point where I HAVE to get things done (15 days til Christmas!), but things have been going so smoothly now that I have my planner and paper to-do list. I have accomplished all my tasks for the past three nights and now all of my long-distance gifting is crafted and shipped!

Oh paper, I will never leave you again! (Okay, that's probably unlikely, but I'll stick around for awhile!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Zoey's Holiday Photo Shoot

Yes, I like to dress my dog and no, I'm not ashamed nor do I feel bad about it. Zoey does get cold sometimes outside in the winter and it entertains me. I mean, I have to smell her breath and pick up her poop everyday! Don't get me started on the time she ripped up my carpet. So the least she can do is entertain me by sitting still for some photographs of her wearing holiday accessories. And it's just so cute!

I don't know if you can tell but those antlers have flashing lights!

This is actually Reagan's but we can't get her to wear it. (She might have poked her head out of the bedroom during the photo shoot, gave a bewildered look, and ran back under the bed.)
Jester Zoey
Jingle bells rock!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Trying Harder

When I started blogging, my goals were just to actually blog about something -- anything -- on a semi-regular basis, like at least weekly. Then as I got more into it, I decided to blog regularly five days a week. And I did that for awhile, but I wasn't always satisfied with the product. Some days I would be busy and just slap up a YouTube video, which is fine, but it wasn't consistent with my blog goals (Be a better writer, tell stories...). So I decided to not force things anymore and I would write when I had something to say, hoping I would have things to say at least three times a week. (This last transition occurred within 24 hours of signing up for NaBloPoMo. Oh well, maybe next year.)

This morning I was reading this post from Writing Roads and now I'm rethinking the quantity/quality thing again. Julie's feelings on the matter are right:
I mean, I hear what they’re saying – which is basically, ‘Don’t post crap.’ But my response to that is this: Figure out a way to post something good. Work harder.
So I resolve to work harder, and find something worthwhile, everyday. Well, maybe just Monday through Friday. 

image: r3v || cls

Monday, December 7, 2009

Welcome Christmas

We finally got our Christmas decorations up! Joy!

Welcome to our home.

The tree is complete!

Umm...since we have these random nails along the top of our porch I tried to string lights across them but it turned out pretty ghetto.

Lee decided the situation needed some TLH (Tender Loving Hammer) to even out my uneven light swag.

I did a much better job with the mantel.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Week in Review: 12/4 and Blogiversary!

Wow. It's been one year of blogging thing. I'm pretty proud of myself for sticking with this. But mostly a HUGE thanks to my readers. I have a lot of fun doing this, but it would get boring after awhile without anyone to comment so thank you thank you. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! I am sending you many virtual hugs right now.
Thank You
Feel free to leave any thoughts or suggestions for the upcoming year in the comments or there's a link to e-mail me to the right. I spend a lot of time thinking about goals and plans for this thing but I can never make up my mind so now I will just let you tell me what I should do. Topics to discuss? more or less of anything?

My post from a year ago today/Evidence of improvement (at least I give you pictures now!).

I really love Lexington Children's Theatre and if you do some clicking on Facebook you can help them get $25,000 or something awesome like that. Trust me, they deserve it and are just amazing. Amazing productions, amazing outreach, wonderful people. So if you can, give them some clicks.

There has been a lot of doubt about the cause of Jane Austen's death because it's a tricky business retro-diagnosing people, but it's been in the news this week that once again, it was more likely TB than Addison's disease.

I've noticed recently that when discussing colors of things with Lee (like shirts) he likes to correct my "purple" with "eggplant". I think eggplant is the only fancy color name he knows so he likes to trot it out as much as possible. This would explain why, when I found the perfect color for our future kitchen, he called it "baby excrement" instead of "mustard". He even compared it to this one house we saw that truly had poop-colored counter tops but this kitchen and those counter tops are nothing alike! The offending counter tops had a lot more brown and orange in them. I am determined to see my mustard kitchen some day. Don't fear!

I also found some prints and cutting boards I want to hang up in this future kitchen as well.

Have I mentioned that I'm mildly crazed by the amount of Christmas crafting I have left to do? Probably twenty times. I decided this week that we're not sending out Christmas cards this year because A. I normally see, e-mail or call the people I really care about and B. Removing them from my to-do list brings great peace of mind. I think printing and filling out this gift organizer from The Project Girl will also help.

Happy weekend-ing!

image: Orin Zebest

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Riding the Wave

I love Google and am excited to announce that I am now Google Wave-ing. 

What is Google Wave you ask? I HAVE NO CLUE. But it's exciting! This video is my favorite for trying to explain it.

Caitlin has it too and we are trying to figure it out together and utilizing this tool for an upcoming project. I will try to keep you posted on my learnings. Today's important discovery: Shift + Enter will send messages so you don't have to click "Done" everytime! Apparently CTRL + Enter will reply but that didn't work for me so it might just be a rumor.

I have a few extra invites if you want one. You can e-mail me here and there's also an e-mail link on the left if you're at my actual blog. Feel free to offer bribes, but the only real requirement is that you wave with me, and we can learn together.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Camera Shy

I didn't take any pictures Thanksgiving. I didn't even take my camera with me to Grandma's, which is where we do the bulk of our holiday celebrating. Even though I have an awesome new camera that I love playing with and need to practice more with. I left it at home, because sometimes, taking pictures makes me feel socially awkward.

It's one thing to take pictures when you're traveling or at a big event. Duh. That's what you do on those occasions. But I feel very self-conscious taking pictures of the Thanksgiving spread. Or secretly snapping shots of my family members chatting. Or taking pictures of the area around my Grandma's yard, which is actually pretty photogenic (dinner bell, old barns, antique farm equipment, huge areas of farmland).

This seems totally irrational. I'm sure it's irrational. But do you ever feel this way? There's almost something pretentious in taking pictures at times. Taking photos makes me feel like I'm saying, "I'm an artist. I'm talented. I'm capturing things that will be awesome, artistic and beautiful." And while I would love for that to be true, I don't really feel like it is. Yet. Sometimes I feel that way about blogging too. And maybe that's why this blog is about the only thing I've written outside of work or school in several years.

On a humorous note, my sister snuck out her Veggie Tales nativity scene (Laura and I love Veggie Tales! Mom thinks we're nuts!) and put it on our entry table. Mom was not amused. I did take lots of pictures of this. It was awesome.

Veggie Tales nativity scene
Veggie Tales nativity scene

Friday, November 27, 2009

Week in Review: 11/27

I totally experienced a Black Friday Miracle today. Mom and I wait until later in the morning, like 9 a.m. to head out because there's nothing we want so bad we'll get up before daylight for. So we get to Target and I wanted one of their $7.50 puffy vests in brown or gray. Sensing this would be a popular item, I went there first, scanned the area, no puffy vests. Look again, because they have to be somewhere, and I see the empty rack with the $7.50 puffy vests sign. Oh well. Mom and I went on to pick up some electronic items. Seeing I had some money left I stopped back by the clothing section right as someone was putting back some gray puffy vests and I totally snagged the small just as another lady was heading over. Go me! Success!

So yeah, this week...

A book lover's tiny paradise, although I'm still holding out for Belle's library from Beauty and the Beast. Best library ever. In reality though, the Britsh Museum has a nice reading room.
British Museum Reading Room
If I had ridiculous amounts of money, I would soon own Audrey's dress from Love in the Afternoon. And if I was like 5'7" and 105 lbs., I'd wear it to the opera too.

Must incorporate turkey bowling into future Thanksgivings.

I really want to have more plants around and here are some good ways to keep them . If only my cat didn't try to eat them and if I didn't tend to forget about them and let them die (the sad fate of our herb garden). Here are some great potting ideas if I ever get my plant act together.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I'm thankful for:
  • My job. I get to work with amazing people in a wonderful environment. And things are going well for us so I'm not too worried about getting fired! 
  • There are some friends that I have been much better about staying in touch with this year and I'm so happy about that. (And some that I need to work much better at, but we'll reflect more on that at New Year's.)
  • Glee.
  • Learning how to knit and sew. It's been a lot of fun spending the time with Aunt Billie so she can teach me these things and I love knowing how to do them. Next year I shall make a Jane Austen dress (fingers crossed!).
  • My hair grows out really quickly and I'm glad we're back to messy bun length.
  • My family. And Lee's family. They're all awesome. Kind, loving, funny, good at making tasty treats and sending care packages and the like.
  • Most of all, cheesy drum roll...I'm thankful for Lee. He really is like the coolest guy ever. And I get to hang out with him everyday and snuggle. He makes me laugh. He empties the dishwasher. He saves me from the certain doom that awaits if I take Zoey outside to potty at night. And he smells nice. Oh! And he does some great animal sounds (He's best at turkeys and monkeys.) and has a cool squeaky voice too. I'm determined to get him to let me YouTube these skills someday.

Friends' Thanksgiving episodes are the best.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In the Holiday Spirit

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

I love Christmas. Christmas is easily my favorite holiday. Out of respect to Thanksgiving and to maintain my sanity (I can only function at 100% Christmas Cheer for so many weeks.) I wait until the day after Thanksgiving (sometimes staying up until midnight) to begin my holiday crazies. But really, my Thanksgiving excitement revolves more around days off from work and getting to wish people "Merry Christmas" in 24 hours than Thanksgiving just for the sake of it.

But I just don't feel that excited yet. It's not that I'm not excited, just not nearly excited as normal. I have some theories on this.

  • Since I'm making a lot of my gifts this year, Christmas is now a huge deadline. It's always a deadline, but one that can be knocked out one diligent Saturday. Not this year though. My original goal had been to have everything made by Thanksgiving, or at least be at 75%, so I would not be exactly where I am at this moment: lots to do and less than a month to do it in. 

  • I don't want this statement to be taken in the wrong way and -- oh dear, am I getting misty typing this?! -- but this will be my first Christmas not at home. I love Lee's family very much. I have been blessed with truly wonderful in-laws whom I enjoy so much and I'm looking forward to spending this Christmas with them, but it breaks my heart a little that I won't be at home with my family. I will be celebrating Christmas with them the weekend before, but it's not the same. 

  • I'm really excited about 2010. Not so much the New Year holiday, but the whole year 2010. For the past three years I have been waiting for 2010 because that's when Lee's Army Reserve contract is up (September to be exact.). 2010 has been this illusive magic year when Lee's contract would end and we could start thinking more about babies and this wonderful year starts in like 35ish days! We're also going into serious house hunting mode in January, so as I put up our tree on Saturday, I'm really just thinking about our tree next year. In our front window. In our home. And Lee hanging lights outside. And holiday baking in my kitchen. And really starting our "home".
I'm still looking forward to Christmas. I will still get up on Friday morning and switch to my holiday ringtone and put on Zoey's holiday collar. Perhaps I'm just a little too excited about other impending excitements to really absorb this Christmas? But life is too precious for that.

Must. focus. on this. Christmas. Because I'm sure it will be plenty of wonderful.

Image inspired by Amy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My New Crazy Thought

I've had a new thought lately. I'm hesitant to tell you because I can't remember if I've told Lee. I know I've mentioned it but casual mentions don't always register with Lee so I don't know if that counts, but I will tell you all anyway.

Lee and I have always considered adoption. Now might be a good time to mention that we are not thinking about babies soon and nothing I'm about to say involves immediate actions. But yeah, Lee's sister was adopted from China when she was two so Lee has always been pro-adoption and I've always thought it sounded like a fine idea. We'll see how life goes but I've kind of figured that after two to three of our own we might adopt the rest. (We're thinking three to four total. Depending on how things are going financially, I might like more. But not so many that I have to get one of those Jon and Kate sized vans. So maybe no more than five. Are there eight-seater SUVs? I don't want a minivan. Anyways!)

But then a couple weeks ago I read White Oleander by Janet Fitch. The novel starts when Astrid, the narrator, is about 11 or 12, and is sent to foster care after her mother murders her ex-boyfriend. And it gets worse from there.

I don't want to hate on our foster care system because I'm know they're doing great work. One of my substitute teachers in elementary school had foster kids and I'm sure she was an amazing foster mom and I'm sure there are tons of incredible foster families out there. But (spoiler alert!) Astrid got stuck with some veritable nightmares. Really, there must have not been a lot of background checks or home visits going on (Granted, this is all fiction.). Or maybe they just didn't care. Or maybe there were just too many kids who needed A home that they got ANY home that would open its doors.

So now I want to be a foster parent. Because Astrid was smart, talented and kind and she deserved a better chance. And the whole time I was reading I kept thinking, "We could do a better job. We could give her a wonderful home."

image: fiskfisk

Monday, November 23, 2009

Super Crafty Weekend!

It feels like super crafty weekend but then I didn't get nearly as much done as I had hoped. I also suspect that those hopes were unrealistic. Anyways...

I finished the square of the baby blanket I was working on, and counseled with Aunt Billie on how to do the border. She's modified it some which will make it easier, but it still seems kinda daunting so I'm procrastinating on it now. Oops.

I used this tutorial to make a check book cover. Although a little tight, it works and I'm super excited since my old checkbook cover was ruined in the great cat-pee-tastrophe of 2009.

checkbook cover

014 - Copy (4)
And I completed one of the purses that I had planned on making for several people's Christmas gift.

It turned out a little smaller than I thought, and I had toyed with switching to fabric cubes with fun things in them instead, but everyone needs a small purse for some occasions so I'll be churning out more of these very soon!
006 - Copy (6)
Thanksgiving is this week which means my free time is now totally devoted to gift making. *sigh* If I had only started sooner...

UPDATED: Oops! Totally forgot to link to the purse pattern which is here. And all the lovely fabric is from Joann!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Week in Review 11/20

fall night

Love these classy bulletin boards from The Shabby Nest.

When Lee and I were registering for wedding gifts, we did not register for a wall clock. We attempted to, multiple times, but clocks are one of those funny things that Lee suddenly has an opinion on. Despite his general lack of interest in things not related to me, computers, and UofL sports, he will have surprising opinions, out of nowhere, about clocks. Lee prefers clocks with roman numerals, abstract markers, or nothing but the hands. I like clocks with twelve numbers because otherwise I can't read time. (Well, I can, but it's harder than necessary.) Long story to say, I found this clock (found via Apartment Therapy). Will Lee like it? It doesn't have numbers!

I think these hole-punch cards are awesome and could be a lot harder that it looks of fun to do yourself.

The big excitement for me this week has been the announcement of a Young House Love baby. For reals, I did a happy chair dance and interrupted a deep chat with Jenn about religion and politics with this:
me: YOU MUST GO TO YOUNG HOUSE LOVE RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jennifer: [Jenn did not immediately following my directions and continued the politics/religion conversation.]

Have a wonderful weekend! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cough Cough

sick supples
This is what my bathroom vanity looked like last evening. (I've tidied it up a bit since then.) So yeah, I haven't been feeling well. I am feeling better today though so yay! It's becoming increasingly unlikely that this is swine flu which I was mildly convinced of while I was tossing, turning, and shivering Tuesday night. But I worked a full day today and plan on cooking dinner tonight (spaghetti!) so better health and clear nasal passages are in my near future, I am sure.

To continue with ways my mom is awesome, I got this in the mail from her.
care package
It arrived on Friday but I forgot to pick up at the office until Tuesday night. I almost didn't pick it up Tuesday because at 2 p.m. snot had started pouring non-stop from my nose and it was raining and I had had to wear fancy pants to work, so I was trying to get inside in pj pants as soon as possible. But I went ahead and stopped by to get my package and was it worth it! My favorite chips that I'm normally too cheap to buy, my favorite freezer bags that I can't find anywhere anymore (This is a legit problem I'm having. These are superior freezer bags! Where are they going?! If your Walmart still carries them you might have to start hooking me up.), and beloved Little Debbie Christmas Trees. Mom had gotten me some of the trees for my last trip home but the family ate them before I arrived. Well family, you have been redeemed.

Why this kindness from my mom? I might have put it in her calendar last time I was home. ;)
a reminder

Monday, November 16, 2009

My New Toy!

Lately, I've been thinking about getting a DSLR. It's expensive and it would require some money that could perhaps better be used going toward a house or vacation (Lee and I haven't gone anywhere since our honeymoon and I'm determined that we shall take a legit vacation in 2010.), but I still kept thinking about it. I've analyzed some of my favorite bloggers' pictures and the cameras they used. I've tried to improve my point-and-shoot pictures in an attempt to convince myself that it's more a matter of skill than camera (This is probably true to an extent.). To help me decide, I asked my mom if I could borrow her DSLR for a couple weeks and see how I liked it.

After a few days of playing with it, I got an e-mail from my mom. There was another camera she wanted and she was going to get that for Christmas, so I could just keep her wonderful Nikon D60.

Much happy chair-bouncing ensued.

I replied to her with many thanks and said that I was relieved because I thought I might have to buy it from her, which I'm sure would've been a bargained but free is so much better. In this e-mail, which contained other topics, I had mentioned that I would be picking up some toys for a toy drive we were having at church. So mom suggested that in lieu of actual cash money to her, I go get a stuffed animal for the toy drive, since stuffed animals are her favorite. But not a cheap one, a quality Build-a-Bear. So I went and built a dog this weekend, in exchange for my fabulous new camera.

a Build-A-Dog
He also barks.

So without futher ado, meet my new bff!
me and my precious
Clearly he needs a name. Yes, I've decided he's a he. And no, I still haven't decided on a name for my sewing machine. Ideas for both are welcome in the comments. My sewing machine is a girl by the way.

I'm thinking about George for the camera. Mike? Niki the Nikon? That's more of a girl name. And a little lame. I really like George but would hate to need it some day for a child and have already spent it on my camera.

Also, feel free to direct me toward any useful DSLR-for-dummies resources on the Interwebs.

Expect to see lots more pictures coming! Like this one, in which Reagan does not support fitness.