Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lee's First Project

Lee and I don't own a house. We're kind of thinking about possibly maybe starting to look, but it will still be awhile before we purchase. And once we purchase, we probably won't have a lot of extra money for projects and things so that will be slow-going. First we'll need paint and flooring perhaps. I want a nice master bedroom set and we'll need some new dining room furniture.

However, I already have Lee's first big project picked out: a pergola. This could change depending on what kind of outdoor situation we get, but I really want one of these. I have visions of draping it in white fabric and some other fun outdoor lighting.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jshappell/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Homemade Gift Everyone Can Love

This Christmas I'm making a bunch of homemade gifts. Partly out of financial concerns, partly because of my new craft obsession. However, some people are difficult to make things for. They might not be interested in anything my limited skills can make, especially if they're a boy (Although I have thought about sewing some ties.). But I've found an excellent idea for some of the blanks on my holiday gift list. (Yes, I'm already planning this. Don't judge. I'm super organized!)

Homemade Skittles Vodka from Mix That Drink.

Who doesn't want to see this under the tree on Christmas morning?!

image: Mix That Drink

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My 15 Minutes of Fame

On Friday I shared my masterpiece creation: a YouTube video to promote Louisville's Jane Austen Festival. Margaret Sullivan, author of The Jane Austen Handbook (I love it!) and AustenBlog (Love it too!), will be speaking at the event so our regional coordinator e-mailed the video to her and yes my friends, today I was on AustenBlog. (Okay well, my YouTube video, sans any linkage to me, was on AustenBlog, but same difference.)There are no words to describe my joy and sense of accomplishment on this glorious occasion. First, I must thank Jane because she started it all. Next, I must thank my parents for loaning me their video camera. Third, my friends and family who so graciously volunteered their time and talents to giving a voice to our beloved Bennets with only cookies as payment. And of course YouTube and the other Internet wonders that have made this kind of big publicity possible.

Today -- Austenblog.
Tomorrow -- Oprah?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy [insert holiday here]!

Various recent birthdays have returned my attention to someecards.com. I have long used someecards for all my free ecards but I hadn't visited in awhile and forgot how delightfully wonderful and vulgar it was!

Sorry swine flu is visiting more countries this summer than you

Friday, June 19, 2009

My Masterpiece

So I have this thing with Jane Austen and I'm active with the local region of JASNA. We're having a Jane Austen Festival next month and I somehow volunteered to make a video to promote the event.

Do I have any video making skills? No.
Have I ever operated a video-making device whose primary purpose is not to take photos? No.
Do I know how to use any video editing software? No, but I firmly believe that if I can use Adobe Photoshop then I can do anything (except Adobe Illustrator.)

Despite these many setbacks, last night I had some friends over to make this little video. I'm sure it will make you all want to reserve your space for tea this instant!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

For the Third Time This Month

I've been playing again with the design of my blog. It's getting a little ridiculous, how I change it up every two weeks, but I'm trying to put in some big efforts this time to get something that I will be happy with for an extended period of time. I'm putting in so much effort, I've even started a new fake blog so I get get it arranged there and then upload it back here.

Since this has become all I think about (I even woke up this morning and blog design was my first thought.), I thought I would share some places that I've been using for help.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Virgin Attempts at Salmon and Chard

Tonight I made salmon and chard for the first time. I had never even eaten chard before so I was glad it turned out well. I used this salmon recipe, cooked the chard with garlic and EVOO, and added some mashed new potatoes with green onions. I was super proud. And it looks so pretty on our china!

Friday, June 12, 2009

If I Had a Lake House

*This blog post title should be sung to the tune of Gwen Stefani's "If I Was a Rich Girl" or Fiddler on the Roof's Tevye's "If I Was a Rich Man." It's your choice.

Despite how much I don't like bugs and bears that aren't caged, I do like the idea of having a lake house. (Of course, the first goal is to own a house-house.) And despite how much I've never liked having dead animals on the wall, if I had this lake house, I would want dead "animals" for its walls. Here are my three top choices, and yes, I do want all three. I might even put them next to each other so they can hang out. If loving this idea is wrong (and it is...) then I don't want to be right.

The first one comes from Rick's Custom Squirrels. Actually a dead animal, but it's dressed up so that's okay.

This keeps it classy, from Rachel Denny via Crib Candy.

This is the real prize, and I think even if the lake house never pans out, little Albert might like it for his room. T-rex is also from Crib Candy.

And of course they will all wear Santa hats during the holidays.

On a final note, I would like to say that animals on the wall generally goes against my decorating aesthetic, it's just an odd weakness. Don't judge.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Randomly Found Internet Things

I was at AdRants today, one of my favorite blogs for doing "work research" and found a couple very interesting things.

I was very intrigued by the Tide Total Care commercial and it's promises, only to later by horrifically sticker-shocked when I went to go purchase it at Walmart. One should never be sticker-shocked in Walmart. Apparently though, it's just as good as another type of Tide at half the price, which works as well as the All Small and Mighty I've been using since college. Tide, you have lost my trust; Tim Gunn, never!

I watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, so on many levels I feel that I can't judge this. And I respect arranged marriages as a cultural institution as long as everyone's a willing participant and not 12. But arranged marriage realty TV? I'm not surprised it's on Fox and CBS.

Sarcasm + Cooking = Cooking for Assholes. Brilliant. (I don't think this had any relation to AdRants, but was found today.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Small Bit of Sewing

Despite the cake-tastrophe, I did make a cute bookmark for my mother-in-law! It went along well with the three books I got her: Jane Austen's Persuasion, George Eliot's Middlemarch and Louisa May Alcott's A Long Fatal Love Chase.

The bookmark was ridiculously easy, but still fun. And this photo reminds me that I have got to get better at taking photos. "Point and shoot" does require a little more than simply pointing and shooting.

Here they are all wrapped together. I thought it was an excellent reuse of a Bed, Bath and Beyond wedding bow, therefore worthy of being shared.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Okay, that's a huge exaggeration. It wasn't a total cake-tastrophe because it still tasted great. There's only so much one can do to harm a cake, because at the end of the day it's still chocolatey goodness...even if it's being held together by icing and raspberry spread.For whatever reason, I couldn't really get the cake out of the pans. I buttered and floured like William Sonoma told me to, but that was all I could get out.

So I pieced the two layers together with the raspberry jam and smothered it with chocolate frosting. I thought the polka dots were cute since I quickly realized that attempting to write on the cake would only make matters worse. It's kinda cute. And it tasted wonderful. But umm...yeah...it's a little ghetto. Did I mention that this was for my mother-in-law's 50th birthday? The nice thing about parents is that they love you even when you bake them birthday cakes that can barely support the birthday candles. (And we were only using about 10 candles.) (That was also not meant as an age joke but as a flimsy cake joke.)

My Garden!

I have had a ridiculously productive weekend!
  • I watched three movies a coworker lent me (Hot Shots!, Hot Shots! Part Deux, and Top Secret -- hilarious wacky 80s/90s fun!) so I'm all caught up on my movies and ready for Netflix to send me Benjamin Button this week (Side note: I've talked about Google Reader causes pressure for me to read all the articles, but I have 300+ movies in my Netflix queue! That's some real pressure.).
  • I've got a ton of stuff in my trunk for Plato's Closet and Goodwill.
  • I cleaned out THE junk drawer that has been taking in random crap since middle school.
It's been awesome for my little OCD heart!

The big highlight is I bought some basil. A coworker gave me some of her chives that I planted months ago, so now with my basil, I think I'm done for this year. It's not much, but basil is what I wanted the most since I love to cook with it but never do since it's so expensive.Aww...little container garden with a fake snake to keep the chipmunks away!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Want!

William Britain, a company known for making toy soldiers, has popped up on my radar with their introduction of a Pride and Prejudice set.

Meet Elizabeth:
She is tolerable I suppose.

I am a little disappointed that the facade for these characters to mingle at is a pub/inn. Longbourn would have been the better choice.

These figures will be available to purchase in August, so yes, feel free to go ahead and order me some for my birthday or Christmas! Thanks! ;)

image: William Britain

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

DIY Earrings

I'm collecting ideas for DIY gifts (Especially for Christmas, I only have 6 more months.) in hopes that it will cut down on costs and be extra special and thoughtful and potentially more awesome than what I select after wandering the mall for hours. (Not to knock wandering the mall because I love the mall! But not when it's crowded, I'm tired and can't find anything for that last person and have already blown my Christmas budget a week before.)

Clever Nesting
posted this brilliant earring tutorial that has me totally inspired. I'll let you know how it turns out (probably in a month or so).