Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cotton yarn!



I picked up yarn the other day for an up-coming swap. The Fall Into Autumn dishcloth exchange! Mark your calendar because registration opens September 1 and closes September 8!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A-Z of me


Too many
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
T is for Toys

So, I mentioned eBaying some ponies. This is because I have far too many toys lying around the house for someone with no children. I'm not saying it's weird to have toys, I love toys! But I have FAR too many. I pick them up at garage sales out of habit, I get new ones for birthday and Christmas on occasion, sometimes I just can't pass them up in the store myself. So this is a picture of a few of the boxes of ponies I hope to find new homes for. Mind you, I probably have this many or more that I'm keeping in boxes in the basement. I have a few, 20 or so, out on display but one can't have 100 ponies on shelves where other adults can see them. Plus as cute as I think they are, sometimes their neon colors and over-use of garish pinks gets to me so I try to keep their presence limited.

No-swap swap doll


No-swap swap doll
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
A testament to my last post, this is what I came up with for HopHopJingleBoo's No Swap Paper Doll Swap. Would I have ever decorated this pretty lady if Debra had not used the word Swap? Most definitely not. Call it a swap, even if nothing is swapped, and I feel motivated! I'm going to try this trick and call my closet-cleaning project the Super September Closet Extravaganza Swap! We'll see if it works.

A-Z of me

S is for Swaps

I love getting mail! But that's not really the reason I do swaps. I like the clearcut deadline that a swap gives me for my creative endeavors. I have crafts on my crafty To-Do list that have been there for over 5 years. The reason they don't get done? They have no deadline. A swap has a definitive end date, a specific day when it MUST be out the door. And I strive to always abide by the due-date as should you.

Swaps also give me a starting point. I often get caught up in the first stages of a craft project, wondering if I really want to do the project, whether I picked the right yarn or paint colors, if it will turn out like I dream it should. And sometimes these worries lead to me putting the project away on a shelf never to work on it again for fear it will turn out terrible and I will have wasted my time. Most swaps (at least the ones I pick out) give me at least some idea on where to start. They give me a color pallet to use, or a medium such as embroidery or Popsicle sticks. With at least one decision out of the way, I feel more confidant to begin the process.

The swaps I most enjoy are swaps where you are clearly creating something special, just for your partner. Yes, I swap craft supplies and teabags and books sometimes. But I really like the ones that take some thought, some research and some good old fashioned time and attention to create a very special object that the recipient will cherish. Two recent swaps come to mind that I really enjoyed were a doll clothes swap I hosted on Swap-Bot. We each made an outfit for our partner's doll and the outfit I got was SUCH a lovely, handmade dress complete with bonnet and bloomers AND a doll quilt! Such thought and time went into all these pieces to create such a lovely gift for my doll. I hope she thought the same of her outfit that I created. And the other was the Trash to Treasure swap on Swap-Bot which entailed sending your crafty trash bits to your partner, then they created something and sent it back to you. My partner made me the most lovely book, I didn't even recognize my "garbage"! It had pockets and tags and beads and was just amazing. And I sent my partner a pirate-themed diorama that she flipped over. It was not anything I would have wanted but with a little help from a friend, we looked over her profile and got a good feel for what she might like, brainstormed a creative use for her scraps and it turned out SO well and I was so happy when I heard from her that she loved it! So I swap yarn and postcards and cocoa mix to get mail but I swap truly handcrafted items for the boost to my crafty productivity and for the sheer thrill of deciphering what my partner would truly treasure.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Toofers

Oh and I know had you known I had a dentist appointment this a.m. you would be dying to know how it went. It went well, no reported findings, fantastic polish job by the tech! And I am glad I did not have to admit that I remember to brush my own teeth about as much as I remember to brush my dog's. (Which is still fairly often but not as often as I should if you listen to those toothpaste-salesmen/dentists on tv.)

Listy!

So Sarah of Craft n Clutter (typed and, had to go back and erase a and d) posted To Do as her T word in the A-Z of Me Meme. Not To Do as in a grand To Do like a big show. No, no, To Do as in To Do list! Now, I have found remarkable similarities between Sarah and I starting with we both live in Illinois and ending God knows where. But inspired by her listful post, I give you a portion of the lists that are crammed inside my day planner right now.

Above is my general To-Do list that lives paper clipped to the outside of the dayplanner. It is not very pretty because it continually gets things crossed off and then it gets rewritten.

This one is my list of swaps I need to get things ready for.

This is my brainstorming list for the swap I will be hosting on Create a Connection next month. Those of you reading closely will get an early scoop on both the timeline and the theme!

And this one is my brainstorming list for the sandwich swap I am hosting at work next week. It is based on the one held in Brooklyn. Nice coworker that I am, I have blanked out the last names of participants. And if you work with me, you will notice a scoop on what I am bringing!

I was mildy tense while scanning these because sometimes I tend to leave things in the scanner after I'm done scanning and the thought of leaving a list at home where I wouldn't be able to see it or add to it makes me a little jumpy. Also, I am a little glad my main list doesn't include things like "brush teeth", "shower" or "eat only whole grains" which it sometimes does but know that if it had, I would totally have scanned it in all its crazy glory for everyone to see.

eBay!

Inspired by Tammy over at Mimmsical Creations I have posted my first in a series of de-cluttering eBay auctions. If you like My Little Ponies, or you liked them when you were 8 and wish to recapture that feeling, check them out!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A-Z of me


Furry winter mule butt
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
R is for Reading

I read several blogs so today I thought I'd feature 5 of them.

Jenny C.-A blog I have been reading as long as I've been reading blogs. Jenny posts about her lovely yard sale finds, her garden and her wonderful pets. I could do without the posts about concerts but her project page makes up for it.

Amy-What a lovely person and she posts such lovely inspirational stuff, she's also the lady behind Club Little House.


Mimi Smartypants
-Quite possibly the only "mommy blog" I can tolerate.

Tracy-A newer blog to me, I am enjoying her food, cat and garden pictures! I love blogs with pictures. So I have included one in this post even though it is thoroughly unrelated to the content.

Cybele-I love getting the scoop on new products, especially tasty sweet products. So I read Candy Blog and it's cousin (written also by Cybele) Junk Food Blog.

A-Z of me


Second corgi wall hanging
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
Q is for Quilt

I don't typically quilt. But I can. Quilting is too long a crafting process for me to really get into, first the piecing then the sandwiching and quilting, then adding the binding. I suppose that's what some people like about it, it's time-consuming and relaxing. But I generally craft for end product. That's why I like
Malec Designs patterns for free-standing appliqué. Quilting with a glue stick?! That's my kind of quilting! It's still time consuming, hand-folding the edges of each appliqué piece. But the actual quilting goes a LOT faster since I use a machine to zigzag around each free-folded piece. Awesome! This wallhaning won fourth place at the county fair and will be auctioned off in October to benefit Corgi-Aid.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The key!

The key to getting a self-esteem boost semi-regularly:
Start a new job at your heaviest and progressively loose weight. Then whenever you need a little boost, visit an area of the office you haven't been to in a while! I was nearly 240 pounds when I started this job over two years ago and now I am under 200 (that finally happened this year!). I was swimming in my clothes and felt like they made me look like a bag lady. After purchasing a few new clothes this weekend, I am feeling SO confidant and getting MANY new compliments. People are probably getting tired of feeling the need to comment but I wish I could hug them all when they do!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Good swap day!

When I got home, not one but two swap packages were waiting. First, my Vintage Kitchen Swap package! Oh my GOSH this package was bursting with stuff! I am so worried now and I hope Scrappy Jessi, my partner, isn't disappointed with her package when it arrives.

She did such a great job personalizing this package! She included Illinois items (a vintage plate and post card), corgi items (a card and a magnet), tins with brand icons on the and even some My Little Pony stickers!

The old Swan's Down cake pan is awesome, the cookbooks are right up my alley (vegetarian! cookies!) the handmade card is SO fantastic and everything else, I'm sure I'm forgetting some things because they is so much! Thank you!


The other package was from an adult-themed swap on swap-bot and I won't show you a picture but I got many choice adult items! Including this body spray from Victoria's Secret that makes your skin feel like silk! So nice!

A-Z of me


Dogs I've known
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
P is for Pets

I've had many pets over the years including an iguana, a sheep, several mules, MANY rabbits, geese, ducks, chickens, turkeys, quail, guineas, guinea pigs, cats, and fish. But most special to me have been the dogs. As I write this, my thoughts are with Alicia and her husband as they have recently lost their dear corgi girl, Audrey.

My very first dog was a Shetland Sheepdog named Kelsey who was also my first obedience dog, though my mom did the training and I did the "let me show you what my dog can do" routine. Kelsie moved with us to the country and lived to a fine old age with help from medication for her thyroid and other conditions.

We had a few other dogs while we still lived in town. Choochoo was an Australian Shepherd hit by a train before we adopted him at the vet's office. Winston was a Bichon Frise I remember as being a little stinky (eye gook) and not that easy to housetrain.

When we moved to the country, we learned about puppy dumping. People think (Lord knows why) that if they dump a puppy (or box of puppies) along with a half-empty bag of food (if you're lucky) in the country, someone will either take care of them or they will get eaten and that will be that. They also dump adult dogs. And thus began a stream of dogs that either ended up staying with us or mom finding homes for them elsewhere where she knew they would be cared for. Millie was memorable for her size (HUGE) and demeanor (ever so gentle, she would nuzzle the tiniest chick into her soft fur and pretend to mother it). My dad had a penchant for beagles so anything that looked remotely beagle-ish stayed in the garage with dad.

Then I started dog training in 4-H. My first obedience dog was Trinka, a tiny balck and white Rat Terrier. (see picture of Trinka in her adorable Parka) Trinka was a sweet, shivery bed warmer and the highest-winning 4-H dog I would ever have, earning 3rd place in the State competition. She died entirely too young (3 years) of acute pancreatitis. I worked my mom's rescue Doberman Chelsea, who was so tired after pumping out God knows how many batches of puppies before coming to live with us that she slowly walked every inch of the obedience exercises but she got them done. She was also a very sweet, motherly like dog who, like Millie, would try to nurse anything smaller then herself. I tried a Jack Russel named Rickie but couldn't deal with her typical terrier dog aggression and we found her a new home where she'd never have to leave the house.

Then I got my first Corgi, Penny. Penny was handful, a very female corgi, which if you don't know corgis means obstinate, opinionated and bossy. But I knew then that I was a corgi person because I liked that about her.

It was at about the same time that my mom started rescue work for a small dog rescue. A slow but steady stream of Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Pomeranians, Poodles, and mixes arrived, were nursed back to health and either stayed with us for their life or found new homes.

To see a little set of photos of these dogs along with a couple of mule pictures (can't dive into the scrapbooks without scanning a few more mules!), check out my flickr.

Potat-ohs!


Potat-ohs
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
So, I am frugal tending toward cheap. I don't usually buy many convenience foods like meals in a box or pre-chopped veggies. Have you seen the Betty Crocker Cupcake Mix at the stores?! It's just cake mix, but it only makes 12 instead of 24 like a normal box cake mix! Why would you buy that!?

Anyway, one thing I do buy (besides prewashed lettuce which is just too practical NOT to buy) are these washed, shrink wrapped potatoes. They are called PotatOhs! Now, I wouldn't buy them if I were needing make a ton of baked potatoes for a family dinner. But I'm usually the only one eating a baked potato at night for dinner and these really keep MUCH longer than average potatoes AND they taste WAY better beacause you cook them IN the plastic. They stay so moist and bake so evenly in the microwave! Now I could probably wash and wrap a normal potato in plastic wrap, right? Doesn't work the same, I've tried it. These are far superior and that is why I splurge. When they're on sale. 10 for $10.

August Clean Sweep Challenge


Z shelf
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
The latest news in
August Clean Sweep Challenge:
1-Jean skirt-covered in previous post-consider it DONE, a leaning experience
2-Changing out my work shelf-DONE! Check out that collection of Zs! There are about 10, some are hiding. People have commented they miss the ducks, the ducks were a stand against the man with their glaring yellow gaudiness in our nicely but maybe blandly decorated office. But I like the Zs, they're more me now.
3-Clearing out old clothes from the closet-this weekend!

I'm a winner!

I won a contest on Rachel's blog, The Times We Are Living! It was for her birthday/100th post! So happy belated birthday to her and hooray for me!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ribbon wreath


Ribbon wreath
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
The other dayScrappy Jessi, my partner for the Vintage Kitchen Swap , posted an awesome swap package she got that included some altered vintage ribbons. They are so beautificent and altogether too timely as I had just started working on this wreath for the living room to replace the paper snowflakes that had been up since last winter. I have a few spares left over and I'm thinking maybe of craftlifting the idea from Kimla, the one who made them!

I can't decide if I like this wreath or not. It's cheerful and I do love having my ribbons out instead of on boxes in the basement but it also reminds me a bit of wreaths at funerals. Opinions?


Note-I completey forgot to tell you where I got the idea for this wreath. Danny Seo made one with a grapevine base (mine is wire) and it was in some magazine, possibly Better Homes and Gardens, a while ago. I've carried the idea with me for quite some time and finally when I requested some of my trophies from my parents' house and my mom sort of insisted I take the whole lot, ribbons and plaques and all, I finally had reason to make one.

Sweet!

Sarah requested a few recipes since I mentioned my fondness for baking. I will share my prize-winning sugar cookie recipe and another sweet dessert.

These sugar cookies won first place (never mind that they were the only ones entered) at the county fair in the decorated cookie division. They are called Sugar Shortbread Cookies because they are crumbly like shortbread, and hold their shape superbly! They are the closest I have come to my dear Cookies by Design, which I dearly love but only get on VERY special occasions because they cost an arm and a leg.

3 eggs
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Whip sugar and shortening together. (Make sure to do this until it is fluffy, very fluffy.) Add eggs and beat well. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Sift in remaining ingredients and mix just to combine. Chill dough. (I always wrap it in two flattened balls in plastic wrap.) Roll out and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

And the frosting I use is:
1 lb. confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 stick margarine, room temperature
3-4 tsp. milk

Mis all together until smooth. This replicates the frosting on Cookies by Design and doesn't get completely hard but you cans till stack them without them sticking together.

This recipe is for Fairy Pudding. One of the cookbooks I got on Saturday is an old recipe pamphlet (another of my collections) from Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk. I LOVE that stuff. My mom always says she could eat it straight from the can. This is one of her recipes, from her mother I believe. Sweetened condensed milk was popular during the war because it is nutritious as milk, keeps well and is already sweetened so you didn't have to buy extra sugar to use in your desserts.

3 cans Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
2 containers of cool whip
1 box vanilla wafer cookies

Boil the milk in the cans for 3 hours with a lid on the pan. You may need to add more water before it's done. Mix boiled milk with cool whip. In a large cake pan (9x13) alternate layers of the cookies and the milk mixture. Refrigerate until the cookies are completely softened. Do not try to use reduced fat cookies and do NOT mistake evaporate milk for sweetened condensed milk. Mmmmm, this makes me hungry for fairy pudding! It is VERY sweet and such a treat, we would only have it at Christmas.

Thrifting


S&Ps
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
Friday was National Thrift Shopping Day. While I didn't know that until after our trip how timely it was, we did a little thrift shopping on Saturday at the Illinois Antique Center. For some, an antique mall would not be considered thrift shopping but I don't buy antiques like expensive glassware or old lanterns (those babies are neat but expensive!), I buy cheap old cookbooks and buttons and things like that. Things that I can use and be creative with. I got a salads cookbook to alter and use as a scrapbook for my fruit and veg sticker collection! For $1. I got a neat old map of Illinois with historic places illustrated on it. The colors are so vibrant, I think it will look wonderful framed, if I ever get around to it.

Mike and I found some salt and pepper shakers for our collection! They are the smaller two on the left. Their bodies are just about the same size as the others, but their heads are MUCH smaller.


After shopping, we headed across the street to the Tavern on the Water for lunch. We had
tempura battered onion rings (tasty)
Tuscan fries with truffle oil (kind of bland but fresh-tasting)
Wonton wrapper mozzarella (not crunchy at all and bland).

Mike has a Caesar salad (very good)
I had a house salad (which came mistakenly as a chef salad) and a bowl of the cream of mushroom with thyme soup (interesting).

What was so interesting about a soup that I could have used as the basis of a tater tot casserole? When I was served, a shallow bowl was placed in front of me containing only a small pile of mushrooms at its center. I was a little confused. I tipped the bowl to see if there actually was soup there (there wasn't), looked at the waitress quizzically and asked if there was soup. A green bottle was produced and she proceeded to pour the soup out around the little pile in a grand soup presentation. Would Gorden Ramsey have stood for that? I don't think so. The soup was acceptable and very thymey, so I'll let them get away with it.

A-Z of me make-up day!

O is for Oven

Mine gets used a LOT! I love to bake, mostly sweets but sometimes biscuits or rolls. I do make bread but I use the bread machine for that because I am hideously bad at kneading/rising/all other steps in bread making. Right now I am in a swap-bot swap for muffin recipes and am excited about the prospect of savory muffin recipes!

Jenna's top five favorite pies
1-Strawberry Rhubarb
2-Chocolate cream (from scratch, not just pudding in a pie shell)
3-Banana cream with big chunks of banana
4-Coconut cream with meringue and toasted coconut on top
5-Apple pie with brown sugar streusel topping

Jenna's top five favorite cookies
1-Cut-out sugar cookies (very thick and with royal frosting)
2-Almond spritz cookies
3-Chocolate chip cookies (chewy and thicker than average)
4-Soft ginger/molasses cut-outs (Not gingersnaps, not gingerbread, like soft sugar cookies but gingerbread-flavored)
5-Chocolate crinkles

A-Z of me make-up day!


cross stitch
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
Goodness, I've been neglecting my A-Zs!

N stands for Needlework

I enjoy the occasional needlework project. Every Christmas I do a cross stitch tree ornament. Once in a great while I embroider something like a pillow case or towel. But larger projects seem VERY tedious to me. I have two large cross stitch items that have been in a state of semi-stitch for about a year now. This is one of them, meant to be framed, I made up this sampler with a sating my grandmother once sent me on a postcard and it's meant to have flowers and dogs and other things around the edges. But this is where it sits. And I also have an illustration from the book Guess How Much I Love You that has about 1/20th of the lightest brown color done! I wish I were more inspired to finish them as I really hate having half-finished projects lying around.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Garden 2007

This whole post was completely stolen, wait no, inspired by The Queen V. Her lovely garden shots mosaic compelled me to do the same with my own green yard. So I give you Garden 2007:

1. Back porch corgi, 2. Blue pumpkin, 3. larger gourd, 4. Zinnias and gourds, 5. tiny gourd, 6. The main garden., 7. Another ripening tomato!, 8. Zucchini attack!, 9. pink tomato!

The recent rain after NO RAIN for weeks finally made my tomatoes turn pink! I have had masses of tomatoes but they were all still green. Luckily a friend at work had been supplying me with my quota until mine decided it was finally time.

Poison Train

Amy (angry chicken) has an excellent post about alternatives to toys made in China. I have been following the recalls since I first heard about the pet food recalls in Itchmo, but it is way more than tainted pet food now. Tires, toys, toothpaste, fruit, shrimp, and more have been recalled or stopped from entering the US due to safety violations. I have nothing really insightful to say about it except the it scares me and I wish I could remember when I went shopping to check labels.

Clocky



I saw Clocky in Parenting magazine. (No, I don't read Parenting, I skim it for cute things because it comes to us randomly at work for no reason.) How cute! The price tag is a little high at around $50 but he runs away and hides until you wake and retrieve him to turn the alarm off!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A-Z of me

M is for Menus

I love menus. Restaurant menus, school lunch menus, weekly menus for at the home cook. My grandmother was a lunch lady and my mom had the most wonderful school lunch cookbooks from the 40s and 50s, with from-scratch recipes in quantities in the hundreds. I don't know where they went, though. Too bad.

We have a bulging plastic folder full of menus from everyplace we have ever eaten, just about. I always try an nab one as a memento. I love to look through them, remembering what we ordered, thinking about what I would order if we went back.

Every once in a while, I check my old grade school's homepage to see what they're eating that day. I love the combinations of food. Chicken patty on bun, french fries, corn, applesauce, milk. Corn dog, nachos with cheese, carrots, pears, milk. Chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, jello, hot roll, milk. I can recite them, they are mostly the same as when I was in school. Except sometimes they have french toast sticks! For lunch! Crazy! These daily menus I know so well are like familiar recipes, comforting and safe. I still make the rolls just the way they do, rectangular and with putter melted on top. Yum!

I also love Woman's Day Magazine's monthly menus. Even though I rarely cook by them, I do love the idea that I have a whole month of menus already planned out for me! And the idea that other women are cooking the exact same meal on the exact same day appeals to me. Like a secret club, all going through the same motions, bringing the same meal together. I wonder if there is a club, or maybe a message board that's made up of monthly menu-users.

Club Little House on my wrist

Here's an adorable charm I saw on Silver Confetti and it made me think of Club Little House.


I have two charm bracelets that I love to add to. One was my mother's originally and when I kept adding to it, it had to be expanded into two. I try to pick one up when we go on trips but sometimes I forget and have to pick one out online after the fact. I'd love this dollhouse, I love the ones with moving parts! Maybe for christmas!

A-Z of me

L is for Laundry

There has been a recent duty change here in our house. I used to do the laundry and Mike folded it. But he was not satisfied with the way I was doing the dishes so he traded me folding the laundry for doing the dishes. It's too early to tell how well this arrangement is working out but the dishes are getting done more regularly. But I still haven't folded Sunday's laundry. Does this mean I'm lazy? I am just not a regular housekeeping kind of girl. I get in fits where I super-clean, which works for things like bathrooms or basements where you can super-clean them every once in a while and you're pretty much ok. (I think some of you just threw up a little in your mouth. What can I say, I'm not a spic and span kind of person. Clean enough is clean by me.) But dishes, laundry, taking the garbage out, these things need to be done without fail every week.

Funny I don't have trouble cleaning the catbox though. Or brushing the dog's teeth. These get done frequently and without delay. I suppose the comfort of my pets comes above my own cleanliness in my mind.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Encyclopedia

Miss Bella Dia's Encyclopedia of Me meme was inspired by the book Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Rosenthal so I ordered it from the library. I'm a very slow reader, so I've only just begun but one quote struck me as particularly pertinent to my crafty life.

"Spend it, shoot it off, lose it, all right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good...for another book...The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now."
-Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

A book quoting a book, and yes it's about writing. But I find that I have always saved special things for "another time" or a "special project." And then they languish away, beautiful ribbon or vintage buttons tucked away in a drawer, lovely rub-on letters and decoupage images waiting for some elusive magical project rather then the everyday ones. But I find that when I use these special trimmings or supplies, my project becomes something special and I am so much more happy with it. I have tried, in the past year or so, to break out and use my stash rather than hoard it away. I bought cute storage so I could see it every day and enjoy it, and also so it is easy to get at and use. I don't know how common this is, maybe it's just my upbringing to scrimp and ferret things away for a rainy day. But I suspect there are other crafters out there with supplies aching to get out of the box, bin or drawer. My advise: Start small, use one item and see if you don't enjoy the process and the finished piece. You won't miss it being hidden away, I guarantee.

A-Z of me


Red shawl
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
K is for Knitting

Of course! What else could K stand for? I've been knitting for about 8 years now, after my Mother in Law taught me how. She taught me crochet first, then gave me a lesson in knitting and I really picked it up when I perused an illustrated pamphlet on a drive. This shawl is the largest project I've made. I made two, first this red one and then a black one for my mom. This one keeps me toasty warm at work when the air is cranked way up!

No Swap Swap



Debra at HopHopJingleBoo has provided us with a simply smashing idea! The Paper Doll No Swap Swap! This hits me in the nicest place! I know just the word swap gets my creative juices flowing. And I often send away things that I either wish I could keep or create a double of (if only time permitted!). But I LOVE mailing them off and seeing how excited the recipients get so off they go in the mail. But a No Swap Swap is genius! Or I'm sure some people, like my husband, are calling it lunacy! Play with paper dolls, create something fab and then keep it! What's not to love!?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Update on the Clean Sweep Challenge

It's almost half way through August so it's time for an update on the Challenge Sunny put forth.

1-Jean skirt- The jean skirt of a tale of learning. Plus-sized jeans do not work well for creating a jean skirt a la these instructions. I don't want to be crude but there's just too much fabric in the crotch area or maybe the legs aren't straight enough since there's more "ease" in the tummy/butt areas. When I tried to flatten out the opened seams, they created hideous bumps of fabric jutting out in JUST the wrong places. So live and learn, this in one less project on my to-do list now but I will be using my Old Navy gift card to buy a fall jean skirt. It will fit properly and not make it look like I have both man parts poking out the front and a tail poking out the back.

2-Changing out the ducks at work. This is right on schedule! I have brought home half the ducks in preparation to take another of my collections in. I collect Z's. Wooden Z's, ceramic Z's, magnetic Z's. I find them and make them (you can get all sorts of unfinished wooden letters at craft stores). I think this collection is a bit more toned-down and up-scale than the ducks. But some people have already expressed sadness at the loss of the ducks. They feel they are a sort of anti-establishment art installation since our office is decorated so nicely and some of the people in charge find the ducks tacky and wish they would fly away. I don't really care what other people think-the ducks made me smile but I have seen them one too many days and now they are dusty and make me a little claustrophobic. So out they go and in go the Z's! I think sometime this week will be the big switch!

3-Get rid of clothes that don't fit. Haven't started in on this one, but I do have a small bag gathered up just from everyday trying things on and finding they don't fit. I need to go through my winter stuff (not looking forward to that) and also my t-shirts because a t-shirt that is too big is just not flattering and makes me feel twice as fat as I ever was at my fattest. I talk a lot about weight, don't I? Well, I don't spend a lot of my day worrying about it, that's for sure. So don't start thinking I'm some sort of Weight Watchers fanatic or calorie counter. Today I skipped the gym so I didn't mess up my rag curls, ate half a marble pound cake at lunch while watching a movie and am not worried one bit!

A-Z of me


In rags
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
Last night I put my hair up in rags. To see the finished product, you'll have to check out my flickr. I like rags because they make me feel both very old-fashioned and very young at the same time. I think of postcards of cute little girls in slips with their hair in rags. Not that that has anything to do with today's A-Z of me!

J is for Journal

I have kept numerous journals over the years. In grade school, I had a "Dear Diary" sort of journal in which I recorded the usual crushes, fights with friends, and school field trips. Then in junior high, when I thought I was super grown up, I ripped those pages out and started again with a sort of dream journal/favorite quotes/why-are-we-here sort of existential blahness.

After we got married, I kept a journal mainly to communicate to my husband what I couldn't verbally express. It was full of "If only you'd..."s and "If you want so badly to..."s. It facilitated many a newlywed meltdown.

I've had a LiveJournal since 2003, used mainly in the early days to belong to several communities that I no longer frequent.

And now I've started this blog. Inspired by all the wonderful blogs I read, I wanted to create my own entertaining, quick daily read. Maybe make some new friends. Maybe feel a sort of belonging in the crafty, home-tending, cupcake-baking, artful blogosphere.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A-Z of me

I is for Inches

I am 70 inches tall. Don't worry, I've done the math for you-5'10". Or 1.778 meters. 6 inches above the national average woman. 3.5 inches taller than the average Miss America winner. 1 inch taller then the average American male. I'm fairly tall. But I actually never realized it as a kid. This is because I was also fat and more kids make fun of you for being fat than for being tall so I always saw myself as fat, not tall. My husband is the exact same height as me but we have completely different body types. I have long legs and a short torso and he is the opposite. Long legs make it hard to find a partner to walk in 5Ks with you because you are either going really slow with them or you leave them halfway to go your actual speed. But long legs are awesome for horseback riding and yoga. It makes buying pants hard. (I almost always have to hem my pants unless they are extra long like some jeans are now a days.) But you can also wear normal-length pants as capris if you simply MUST buy them because they are pink and have gingham inside the cuffs!

Movie to see in the future


Ooh, now I'm picturing myself watching a movie in some sort of futuristic theater with a popcorn tube hooked up to my mouth and maybe wearing some sort of plastic water-filled massage suit.

My husband, the true movie buff in the family, showed me the trailer for Be Kind Rewind. What a hoot! Must watch when it comes out. Here's some gossip/dirt on the picture.

Another contest to enter!

Cass of Shut Up, I'm Counting (love that name!) is holding a contest!
Sign up before 2:22 on Monday.

And of course, if you mention that I referred you, I get an extra entry. But I'm sure we'll both win so I won't be stealing a prize from you. :)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Giveaway!



Laane is hosting a lovely give-away. Be sure and hop over and sign up! And if you've got a spare moment (which I just don't right now) you can offer up your own August Give Away.

A-Z of me


pumpkin pals
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
H is for Husband
Before I got married, my whole concept of a husband was made up of all the husbands I had ever know: My dad, my sister's husband, and neighbors. These men are all good men. They work hard and provide for their families. They are mostly manual laborers, farmers or factory workers. I mean them no disrespect when I say what I'm about to say. They also are not very affectionate. Outwardly, at least. (Every once in a while, my dad would leave the cutest little note for my mom or I.) They are strong heads of their household, decision-makers and I think they need that distance to keep themselves at the top. They are obeyed, catered to (to a point). Husbands in my family eat first, get the most comfortable seat and aren't required to stay awake for small talk after dinner. And so I always thought I would grow up and marry a man, perhaps a farmer, and spend my days generally making him comfortable and content.

Is that really a relationship? It's more like a business arrangement, tending to the money-maker so that he can continue to go about his business. I don't doubt that there is love in all the marriages in my family but there's a line between doing something for someone to make them happy and doing something for them so that they won't get upset or be inconvenienced.

Our marriage is nothing like that and I owe it all the my husband. He showed me how to be affectionate and how to discuss things in order to make decisions. We are a team, we work together on each bump and curve that comes along. I don't defer to him (very often) as I thought I would when I was younger. I have my own goals and he has his, but we also have goals together. And that doesn't mean I participate by making him tea and cutting his meat. He's a great, caring, openly affectionate guy.

Ravelry!

I got my Ravelry invite today! I've posted some projects and I still have to fill out all the information on them. How fun! I'm so excited to join some groups and really find out what the site's all about.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A-Z of me

G is for Garage Sales

My mom is a super-garage-saler! She has in her head memorized a list of things that she needs/wants and anyone she knows needs/wants and can keep an eye out for each and every item every mentioned to her. I believe I've mentioned this before in regards to the rubber duck collection. So, word to the wise, don't tell my mom you need/want/like something unless you want several! Luckily I am a collector so I love the extra set of eyes checking every garage sale for me!

I am not such a good garage-saler. I'm a looky-loo. But I often pass over things that I've expressly said I need or want. I gravitate toward the toy bins, I think out of habit since I've been garage-saling since I was wee. So in an effort to keep myself on task, I keep a list of things to look for and I read it before I go to try and remind myself.

The list changes but right it now looks like this:
Cute socks and or baby clothes to make sock dogs out of
Boxes to mail things off in
Baskets
Fabric/linens
Stationery/stickers
Kids books to make greetings cards with (I cut the pictures out)
Dog supplies (new in package to offer to the Corgi-Aid auction)
Vintage cookbook-vegetable themed to house my fruit/vegetable sticker collection
Cookie/dessert cookbooks for my swap pal
Copper/tin molds for my swap pal
My little ponies/other 80's toys to sell on ebay ( a terrible habit of mine is picking these up but then never putting them up on ebay)
Small paint brushes
Craft supplies (yarn, felt, glitter, vintage chenille stems, patterns)

Of course, I usually end up with about 90% things that aren't on the list at all. :)

Monday, August 6, 2007

A-Z of me

F is for Farm Life

For the last half of my childhood, I lived on a farm. We moved the summer after third grade and I was sure I would miss my friends terribly. I did for about a week after the move. But I soon got used to the solitude and I'm sure that's when most of my crafty talents were formed, forced to entertain myself and unable to run to the store to pick up doll clothes or candy or hair accessories, my mom and I made them. I also developed a deeper understanding of animals, plants, nature, reproduction, breeds of cattle, sheep sheering, chicken dressing, the life cycle of dragonflies, and small engine repair than I'm sure I would have in the city. One of my friends always says if she were stranded on a dessert island, she would be lucky to have me there because I could definitely keep us alive, fed, clothed, warm and dry. I could probably even entertain us for a little while.
Farm facts:
Muscovy ducks are mean.
Dogs love to eat the pieces of horse hooves that the farrier shaves off.
A farrier is the person who trims and shoes horses' feet.
Both male and female cows have horns. Unless they are polled or hornless breed. Or have been dehorned.
Jacob sheep can have up to six horns! Usually 2 or 4 though.
Oxen are really just adult cattle trained to drive, not a specific breed or species.
When driving horses or oxen, Gee means turn right and haw means turn left.
Brown eggs are no more or less nutritious than white eggs. It is deterimned by the breed of chicken that laid them and most commercial poultry farms have White Leghorns which lay white eggs. But often hobby farms have more exciting varieties such as Bardrocks, Rhode Island Reds, Turkens, Wyandottes or my favorite, little Cochens, all of which lay various colors of eggs.
Araucanas can lay pink, blue, green, yellow, brown or speckled eggs!

Pay It Forward Swap

I got in on the Pay It Forward Swap over at Sunny's Morning's Light blog. If you'd like in on the PIF action too, here's how it works!

"I will send a handmade gift to the first three (3) people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don't know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."

So I will email the first three people to comment to this post, get your personal info and mail you out something peachy! But only if you do the same. :)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A-Z of me

E is for Email
I will tell you an embarrassing story now. Embarrassing like ripping the crotch of my sweat pants in 2nd grade. Embarrassing like not knowing how to fill out a traveler's check in high school on a trip and having to go back the next day and SIGN each one I had paid for something with. Embarrassing like when your mule poops in the ring during a show. But worse, because this story is about work!

My work email was taking forever to delete emails! I mean 20-30 seconds EACH. So I wrote to the appropriate people who sent down a nice guy to install the latest email program. But it didn't help so I wrote again. Again the nice guy came down, this time he emptied my trash and fixed the problem. I told him he really should have just called and yelled at me and told me what to do and not to waste their time but he's too nice a guy for that. So now I feel like a complete boob. I guess I'm just not as computer-y as I think I am.

Now that I see people are doing such fun swaps on Ravelry, I'm getting antsy and checking their antsy checker every day or so. Only 597 people in front of me!! Surely it can't be long now! :)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A-Z of me


Doll swap!!!
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
D is for Dolls
I never liked dolls as a child. And my mother could not have been more disappointed. She loves dolls, baby dolls, toddler dolls, all sorts of dolls. But not me. I would occasionally dress up my Kermit the Frog puppet and did force myself to dabble in doll-clothes-making for my miniature horse hobby (miniature horses need miniature riders in appropriate showring attire) but I can honestly say I never played baby doll like most little girls do. If I did ever "play" with dolls, it was more of a companion relationship, choosing outfits and accessories, pretending to go on adventures.

These dolls are Fisher Price My Friend Jenny dolls. One is from my childhood, one I got on ebay along with LOTS of patterns for clothes for her. Now that I'm an adult, I play with dolls. Ok, I don't play with them. I make clothes for them. They're like little canvases for clothing design and millinery, SO much faster and simpler than making clothes for myself! I can make them whole new outfits in an evening. Change them for the seasons, holidays, on a whim! They have a vintage fridge and sink. They're the perfect size to make cute little polymer clay food for, too. And I'm sure it warms my mom's heart to see me dressing up my dolls!

Friday, August 3, 2007

A-Z of me

C is for Cel Phone.
As in, I do not own a cel phone. Neither does my husband, Mike. I can't imagine someone needing to talk to me so badly they can't leave me a message and wait for me to get to my home or work phone. I don't want to be instantly accessible. And I don't necessarily want the ability to instantly access anyone else anytime I want. I like my time in the car to be time in the car and my time at the bank to be time at the bank. Waiting in line at a restaurant can bring about interesting people-watching opportunity or maybe a creative streak will blossom while grocery shopping. But if you're on the phone, otherwise occupied, you could miss out. And for what? I bet 90% or more of cel phone conversations are mostly pointless, just time-fillers, wasted speech. I have never liked to talk on the phone at all, so that might be filtering into my thoughts on cel phones. I prefer in person or written communication. The phone is awkward to me, disconnected and uncomfortable. My husband and I started out in a long distance relationship and we spent some time on the phone but I never really developed a fondness for it.

This week, I have been fighting off a bug that is going around the office. I'm not sick, but I feel very weak and tired. I thought it might be an iron issue but supplements haven't cleared up the lightheaded, cloudy feeling so I think it's the office illness. I missed my last swim lesson because I couldn't get up the strength to change into my bathing suit, let alone swim several laps last night. So this weekend will be a recuperating weekend, full of fluids, pajamas all day and movies with the husband.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

A is for Arms

Another lovely idea from another lovely blogger, Bella Dia. For the month of August, she is typing up a post each day to correspond with a letter of the alphabet. And she's invited us to join along. I am one day late so I will be doing A and B today.

A is for Arms
If I won the lottery, the first thing I would do is see a doctor about having my arms done. I have hideous upper arm flab. And now it hangs down more like saggy old-lady skin than just being chubby baby-arms. When I look at my arms, I see two different people. On top, a strong bicep, muscular and firm. And then underneath, a remnant of who I used to be, stretch marks and saggy flesh. I'd love to wear sleeveless shirts at the gym or a cute sleeveless summer dress! My arms are strong and useful but I can't say I am very happy with them.

B is for Books
I am very much a non-fiction girls these days. I can sit with a book of lovely pictures of craft projects for hours. I have LOTS and I borrow a lot from the library. But on occasion I just want to lounge in bed and read a book and drink cocoa. But I don't want to start a new book every time I get this whim because it only happens maybe once a month. For this purpose I keep around a pile of books that I am constantly in the process of reading. When I finish them, they stay in the stack and I start them all over again. They are familiar and safe. Not very daring of me, is it? And I'm sure not what a lot of readers would enjoy, always reading the same pages, but it makes me comfortable to tuck in with a book I could practically read with my eyes closed. My bedside list consists of:
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
The Hallmark Book of Holidays (a non-fiction book, I know, but I love turning to the month that it happens to be and reading about the traditions that belong to each holiday)
1984 by George Orwell
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Challenge


desk
Originally uploaded by Beastbunny
Morning's Light and her pal Nicole challenged each other to complete three lingering projects by August 31. She extended the challenge to her readers. I was inspired and have taken up the challenge!

Challenge: August Clean Sweep {projects}

1-Finish my jean skirt that has been sitting on top of my craft shelves since last summer as a pair of jeans opened at the seams. Won't it be nice to have a new jean skirt just in time for fall?

2-Replace my ducks at work with something new. The ducks were fun but they've been there over a year and I need something new and fresh. *

3-Go through my closet and get rid of clothes that don't fit. I have TOO many clothes and so many of them are now too large and I'll never wear them. But I keep them around "in case I need a shirt to paint in" or "to wear to bed when it's chilly" but I have more than enough clothes that fit for those things! So out with the old! My closets are overflowing because I didn't follow the rule that when you buy an article of clothing you then have to give one up. I just kept piling them up!

* The story with the ducks (which you can see in the above picture): I have a ducky bathroom. So I kept my eye out at garage sales for ducks. And my mom kept her eye open too. My mom is a super-garage-saler so she would find BAGS of ducks and still has several for me each time we visit. So I had boxes of ducks in my basement, ducks that wouldn't fit in the bathroom. I took them to work, on a whim, and people either liked them and thought they were whimsical or hated them and thought they were tacky. I liked them but it's time to move on. Anyone have ideas? I'm thinking if I keep my eye open for cute 40's planters, I'll have enough by the end of August! You know, donkeys pulling carts, bunnies with flowers, pastel lambs.