Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The fun part of the weekend

Yesterday I intimated that only part of my holiday weekend was good. That's because I felt like crap on Sunday and most of yesterday. My sinuses are hatin'. But until that point, the weekend was going swimmingly.

On Friday I left the lab early, packed up some stuff, piled in friend Anne's car and we headed down to Chi-town. New Friend Veronica's brother was getting married and we had been recruited to bring one of their aunts down for the festivities. Said aunt ended up not going, so Anne and I headed off on our own eager to meet V's family (who all seem so fun and zany when she talks about them) and, to be completely honest, eager for a yummy wedding dinner and open bar. 'Cause we're not crazy.

Look how cute we are! That's me, Anne, and V! I don't always have that "deer in the headlights" look, though. I don't think.

There was dancing and chatting and a generally fabulous time was had by all! Yay Mr. and Mrs. V's Brother!!

The next day, after a yummy brunch at V's folks' house, Anne and I headed back towards WI. But not without stopping first at Cheap Home Furnishings Mecca:

I had never been to IKEA before and it was insane, kids. Crazy huge! Full of so many things I could instantly need desperately merely by laying my eyes upon them for the briefest of moments. I restrained myself though. Mostly, I got some gadgets to give as part of a wedding gift this summer. But I totally had to get this one cute thing. Well, two of them, because I decided only one wasn't going to be enough. But I'm only showing a picture of one. The other one is just like it, only lime green:

SO CUTE!!! Might... DIE!... from the... CUTENESS!!! Oh! But the best part! Yes! The puzzle pieces actually FIT INTO ONE ANOTHER!!!

Ahem. So, perhaps this unrestrained excitement over silicone ice cube trays caused me to rupture something, causing a headache, and ruining the rest of my weekend.

Nope, can't do it. Can't blame any amount of suffering on the cutest ice cube trays ever manufactured! Of course, I've never seen Hello Kitty ice cube trays...

Somebody STOP ME...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Evening snow -- now, with prizes!


I had a really fun, then not-so-fun weekend, but I'll have to tell you about it later. Right now, this is just a quickie to show that I have, in fact, produced two flakes for Snowflake Monday. Both are simplysnowflakes sign-up flakes and now I'm officially caught up with Judy (who just won the contest over there with her awesome crochet adaptation of a photograph of a real snowflake -- go check it out!)

Snowflake signup #3

Snowflake signup #4

And speaking of contests, I won one, too!! I'm so freakin' excited! It's another fabulous blogging milestone for Sus! Becky has been asking for people to help her rename her blog and she picked my entry, Fine Martial Fiber (she's a fine artist, a martial artist and a fiber artist -- get it??)!! Oh joy, the blogosphere is full o' wonders!

All this excitement done wore me out. Peace!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mighty, mighty milestone!

There are milestones in all aspects of life. When I started this blog almost a year ago, I wondered if anyone would ever read it. Now I read blogs that get well over a hundred comments a day and think, "I'm so glad I don't have to keep up with all that mail". The truth is, I'm very happy with the way my blog has turned out so far. Some family and friends read it and I've got some new and awesome Blog Buddies that I keep up with (almost!) daily. I've never had comments number in the double digits, but I'll take quality over quantity any day. It's a nice place here and I like it.

Having said that, I'm totally excited that I have passed an important blogging milestone! I've been tagged! For a meme! By Becky, someone I've never met in Real Life (this is an important component)! w00t! This is cool! I feel like a real blogger!

It may be that I'm attaching too much significance to this. I'm blissfully ignoring that possibility.

The Meme

Those tagged must list 7 random facts about themselves. They also need to write in their blogs the rules of the game, which are pretty simple--you list your 7 facts, then list 7 people you are tagging. Then you leave them comments letting them know they've been tagged.

Here are my 7 random facts:
  1. I am a huge Star Wars fan from way back. In fact, I used to admin FanfiX: The Star Wars Fanfiction Library (now archived).

  2. I hate avocados. I think they taste like snot. Firm, pasty snot.

  3. Though I do many forms of handwork, I do not quilt. However, whenever I can't calm my mind enough to sleep, I think about designing quilt tops until I fall asleep.

  4. For seven years, I managed and owned my father's business -- a western wear store. I will never work retail again.

  5. I have no children, no pets and no houseplants. I briefly considered to getting a fish, but I doubt I could effectively care for it and I would be devastated if (when) it died. So I haven't gotten one.

  6. I used to teach swimming lessons and I really miss it. Almost every summer I think I should get my certification back, but then I think that I should wait until I'm less busy. Now, contractually, I can't take on an extracurricular commitment like that, so I'm out of luck for a few more years.

  7. I really like to be alone. Gator is the only person I can be with and it's as good as being alone. I realize that sounds really weird but, trust me, it's really good.

There. Those are my seven facts. The seven people I am tagging are:
  1. Gator
  2. Dorothy
  3. Judy
  4. Laura
  5. Missa
  6. Regina
  7. Trish

Wow! I feel so accomplished in the blogging realm! I have been tagged and have, in turn, tagged. I feel like I should get a lapel pin or something.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Insane addiction with flakes at the end


How was your weekend? Mine was ridiculous!

How's that? Well, my loser-dom reached new heights this weekend. I only had a little bit of work in the lab, so I should have gotten a lot accomplished and I should have another strip of the Crazy Quilt Coverlet to show you. But I don't. There was a challenge at simplysnowflakes to create a pattern based on an actual snowflake from nature, but I didn't do it. I have to return the book I'm reading to the library today and I wanted to finish it this weekend, but I didn't do that either. Why not? Why didn't I accomplish any of these perfectly enjoyable things that I really, genuinely, wanted to do? LOSER! That's why.

I became addicted. Stupidly, insanely, completely, ridiculously addicted. To what, you ask? The beautiful outdoors which displayed lovely springtime weather this weekend? Friends, food, and fun? A horrible drug that left me unable to function in society as we know it? No. Well, maybe sorta on that last one.

I became addicted to YouTube episodes of Judge Judy.

I'm so ashamed.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have loved the judge shows for a long time now. When I had a TV, I would watch whichever one was on, including Divorce Court (so you see how bad this is). Since I moved up here TVless, I was thrilled to learn that the local FOX affiliate broadcasts their entire TV schedule on the radio AND they have a healthy line up of judge shows. Good deal. But with TV and the radio, the shows are on when they're on, I catch them when I can, or I don't, and life goes on. Not so with YouTube! It just goes on and on and on and on!!!! It's crazy! "Just one more" episode becomes four hours later. Seriously, yesterday, this was all I did. I am a complete reject.

I did knit two dishcloths while I watched. Here's the evidence of my shameful weekend activity:

Luckily, I did get something done during the week last week, so I have two -- count 'em! -- two snowflakes to share this Snowflake Monday:

simplysnowflakes sign-up flake #2

#40 from Leisure Arts' 99 Snowflakes

Check back often. There's no telling what stupid crap I'll do next!


PS -- Becky, I'm doing it tomorrow, I promise! I was distracted by insanity and also being a complete loser! Sorry!


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Culturin' myself up

Blogging regularly is hard and I suck at it. I always feel like I should provide some reason as to why I haven't written, especially since classes are over and I technically have more time to do things I want to do. Hmmm. Maybe that's the key. Maybe I don't want to blog regularly. I'll have to think about that.

We're well into "pretty blue square" season here at Saturday Sky. I'll try to catch clouds occasionally, but maybe I should wait for the occasional sunset.

Yesterday, while waiting for part of my experiment, and inspired by Becky's recent trip, I bopped over to Marquette's Haggerty Museum of Art and looked around.

There is some nice outdoor sculpture:

I couldn't use a flash indoors, so most of my pictures are blurry. These are the best. There's a portrait hall:

We have a Salvador Dali! Awesome!

This one is titled "Unicorn Cadaver" (I lurve it!!!):

These are actual US one dollar bills that have been elaborately embroidered:

The special exhibit right now showcases Japanese prints:

The collection was larger than I had thought it would be. I was only there for about an hour and I will definitely be back and often. Admission is always free, not just for Marquette students, but for everyone. Gotta love that.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My babies

No, I don't have children that I've been hiding from y'all, but I do have beautiful, wonderful great-nephews and a great-niece that I miss horribly and that I don't get to see nearly often enough. Weird Old Great-Aunt Sus wishes she could spoil them more completely.

Three of them were featured on the front page of their hometown newspaper manning their lemonade stand that they set up during the city-wide garage sale. Z (left), is the oldest and probably thought he was in charge; A1 (middle), as you can see from his expression, was not happy about having his picture taken; and A2 (right), I'm sure, actually was in charge. A2 is a princess extraordinaire. Baby G was too little to participate this year. If he's at all like either of his grandpas, next year he'll be running the place.

The kicker? My sister said they made $12 from their lemonade. From her garage sale? Sis made $8. LOL!

So these are my "grandbabies", and they're perfect. Of course, "perfect" factors in that Z and A1 recently had all their toys taken away because they dismantled part of their "kid proof" swingset last week. But I live two states away and can look at it as a cute story. My niece probably thinks they are less "perfect".

Being a great-aunt rocks.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The more I read these posts, the more I realize how lame my life is

Oh, I know you think it's all science and glamor up here. But wait! I'm going to talk about (and show pictures of) soap!

But first, Snowflake Monday! Last week, I joined a new mailing list, simplysnowflakes, and made the first pattern in the snowflake sign-up. It's a wee little flake called Edelweiss, and pretty cute. Next week I'll have #2 and a challenge flake to show you. Won't that be exciting!

Last night, New Friend Veronica and I went to the yummy Mongolian barbecue and I, unsurprisingly, did not take pictures though I did remember to put my camera in my new Parfait Purse. Oh well.

Last Wednesday, after my last final, V and I and our friend Anne went out to a celebratory dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery. There, we made a fabulous discovery: Francis Ford Coppola makes wine. Not only that, he makes a sparkling wine named after his daughter, Sofia. And, not only that, but Sofia sparkling wine comes in hot pink cans which come with their own, individual, bendy straws!!!! Sweet!

In case you were wondering (and I know at least one of you were), I did get some laundry done over the weekend, but far from all of it. This is because I only had enough laundry soap to do three loads. So, yesterday, when I went to Walgreens (for Duracell batteries), I picked up some detergent. It was on sale! Yay! It was 3 for $15. Now, some places, this would mean 3 for $15, or 1 for $5. But not at the almighty Walgreens! One bottle is still the $6.85 of normal price (the campus Walgreens inflates prices like crazy, FYI). So, in order to feel like I wasn't bending over for the corporate convenience gods, I had to buy three bottles of soap. Like I was at Costco or something.

So fear not! I shall be clean for months!

The other day in my comments, Laura included a link to a post that made her think of me and she thought I should do something like this.
Just so you know, I have been planning to start such a project just as soon as I finish all my WIPs.



But I have been planning for it, nonetheless. Observe my awesome plan!

Yes! It is a mighty plan! It involves throwing all my Walgreens and Pick N' Save bags onto the top shelf of my closet so that someday, someday, I can turn them into plastic yarn and make wondrous cool items with them! Until, of course, I move and decide that there's no way I'm moving 147 pounds of empty plastic bags. But until then! I have a plastic bag recycling project practically started, as you can clearly see!

So now it's time to let the science-y glamor to commence! I'm ready for it any time.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

I barely own anything pink, I swear, though you'd never know it from this post

Oh, Target Dollar Spot, thou hast forsaken me!

The last time I was there, they had four-packs of Panasonic AA batteries. I bought two packages, thrilled with the bargain and looking forward to a couple of months worth of digital camera powering.

Alas! Said batteries will not power my little digital picture-taker! Brand new, from an unopened package, AA batteries that immediately caused my camera to shut down and warn, "Shutting Down! Insufficient Battery!" All eight of the new batteries.

Do I have the receipt? Of course not. Do I have any recourse? Just this: Dear Readers, do not buy Panasonic batteries, from the Target Dollar Spot or anywhere else. They are crap! Dear Panasonic battery people, may the power of my intense bloginess poop all over your inferior product!

The point of this, of course (other than starting my own personal Better Business Bureau), is that I could not take pictures of my crafty progress this morning when I wanted to. Since I had to go into the lab today anyway, I stopped at Walgreen's and got some handy dandy Duracells -- on sale to boot! I guess this was a sign from the battery commerce gods.

So, now, sufficiently powered up, I present pictures of the recently completed Parfait Purse that I totally like, but do not totally lurve.

I sort of even accomplished photographing it in natural light (which would have been much better this morning but, you know, the battery thing). Oh, and pay no attention to that mess in the background -- I managed to pull a drawer clean out of my desk and I haven't gotten it picked up yet, what with the earnest crafting and battery-buying!

I lined it with a fabric that I'd had for awhile but had never really found a use for. I got it in a 99-cent remnant roll, and originally thought it just had high-heeled shoes and pithy little sayings on it. However, when I unrolled it, I realized that, while it did depict both of those things, it primarily contained the designer's name and "Winter '98" all over it. So, probably not a skirt. But for lining a stash-buster purse, it will totally do.

So, yay! I have a new purse! I trotted it out for my jaunt to the lab and Walgreen's (for Duracell batteries, let's not forget), and it seems to fulfill all my purse-carrying needs. Huzzah!

Next project, much less labor intensive: As New Friend Veronica can attest, I've tried to find a pair of skimmers that are cute (no problem! So many of them are sooo cute!), and stay on my feet (huge problem). What V doesn't know is that I actually already own a pair of skimmers which fit me. I got them to wear as part of my costume in Honky Tonk Angels last spring. The problem? They are kind of a putrid pink and are covered with sequins which, frankly, makes them look a little "straight out the trailer".

No, really, see the sequins??

But I've been thinking quite a bit about them lately and finally decided to just remove the freakin' sequins and see if they aren't just cute as a button without them. So that's what I did:

And, I was right, they are perfectly cute little crocheted skimmers once those pesky sequins came off. Which leaves only one small gripe. Have you ever wondered how the poor sweat-shop workers know where to place all the tacky sequins on something so that they are symmetrical and match the other shoe? Well, wonder no more. The answer is: They mark the shoe with a Sharpie.

At first, I was ticked as all get-out that my newly cute shoes were marred by annoying black dots. Then I decided that if anyone was looking at my feet that closely, then I didn't want them to be impressed with my shoes, because I've known those kind of people and, really, it ain't all fun and games.

So happy feet, happy purse, happy all around! What a wonderful day in the neighborhood!

Now I'm researching nearby Mongolian barbecue places for V and I to try tonight. She just got back from Cali and she's going to tell me all about it! If I remember to, I'll take pictures (but no promises, because I totally suck at that)!!

Ooh, and tomorrow I'll have a flake and everything!!


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sunshine day


First, in Saturday Sky business, I've finally got a pretty, blue sky with interesting cloud formations to show you. These are my favorite -- much better than plain blue squares or gray haze. So I kind of feel like the sky gave me a little present today!

Okay, now on to the truly important part of the post -- I'm done with classes! My last final was on Wednesday and I've just kind of been decompressing since then. For some reason I thought I would start a flurry of activity right after my last exam, catching up on all the things I'd not been able to do (at least without big guilt) because I'd been studying. Ha ha! That's a good one! No, the last few days I've been sitting around like a lump on a log, reading a bit, crocheting a much smaller bit, listening to the radio and vegetating. My largest accomplishment has been painting my toenails. But they sure are purdy now!

So today I have to work in the lab and then I really have to tackle the laundry problem. It's gotten to the point where I'm not sure what to wear while I do laundry. My current outfit has been Febreezed within an inch of its life. Gross, huh?

Tomorrow there will be craft content! w00t!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Crafting through the journey

Well, next week is finals and my first year of graduate school is drawing to a close. In a way it seems like I just got here and in others it seems like I've been here for eons. I've worked through homesickness and dealing with Gator's illness long-distance, feeling unsure about my sense of belonging, both professionally and personally. I've come out on the other side content, fairly centered, and happy (though I still miss Gator like the dickens!).

Also, I've made some stuff. Handwork has been my constant -- a therapeutic exercise, and means to ends I could not otherwise afford or at least justify, my preferred method of procrastination. I suppose that will continue; I certainly don't see why it wouldn't.

This week, while not getting right on top of studying for finals, I've worked on my Parfait Purse (named for the color scheme), making the design up as I went, though I had a pretty good mental image of what I wanted when I set out.

I admit that it's not an exact rendition of my original vision, but my vision is pretty good at adapting to what it's presented with in reality. I still think it will be pretty cute, but I also admit that my mind has already starting to design what it would rather have, so I guess I'll be making another purse when I'm done with this one.

It still wants a lining and decorative embellishments. By this time next week I'll have a full-fledged purse FO. It will be fun to take it out for a spin! For a parfait, no doubt. ;)

While going through my fabric stash for suitable lining, I decided I just wanted to reorganize the crap out of everything. I realized that all my embroidery supplies (and embroidery WIPs) were scattered about here and there among my fabric and my yarn. I decided this was dumb and set about righting it. During my organization, I ran across a wee little piece of cross-stitch that had originally been part of a little magnet kit. The stitching was complete, but the rest of the kit was completely missing. Not that I was terribly surprised. Another thing I found was a little wood-grain plastic embroidery hoop with built in hanging hook. The tiny piece of stitching fit the hoop perfectly, so I decided to just give in to fate and add a little bit of happiness over my kitchen sink. It looks pretty cute.

Fair warning -- I'll have no flake tomorrow. I have a final Tuesday and one on Wednesday. Then I'll be free to flake out all I want! Well, after the purse is done, of course.

So, one down, one more of classes to go, then three or four of research and writing. The journey is officially underway with a vengance.