Friday, January 29, 2010

Such a doll - until she bites your leg right off

And then she sank her little fangs into my thigh,
and suddenly,
I didn't feel like cuddling with her anymore.

Love, J

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Garland and the grindstone

The garland is ready to roll for the shower this weekend. I'm pretty excited for it.

Apparently, having only one or two social events a month ramps up my enthusiasm for each one ten-fold. But parties are always big fun, and as a gift-giving fanatic, showers rank high on my list.

I'm still plugging along, studying lots each day. I don't yet have a firm grasp on every subject, but I at least have a light hold on them all, with a little deeper knowledge of a few. With almost a month left to go, I'm happy with my progress.

I'll be glad when it's February in a few days and I can tell myself, 'It will all be over this month.'

Love, J

Friday, January 22, 2010

Plates, Punch set, and a Pretty tablecloth

Is what $30 and an afternoon at Value Village will get you.

And also, the answer to my kick-ass salt & pepper shaker prayers:

Love, J

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Late night blog link - Rethought

I bought this dress the last time I was at Value Village. It's way too big for me, but how gorgeous is the fabric? It will be dismantled and turned into any number of pretty things.

I just found a new hero:

Thank you, Katy.

I've read about 'The Compact' before but never made a conscious decision to stop buying things new. It has just sort of happened over the years, and now I can't remember the last time I bought something that wasn't second hand. Except food and toiletries, of course... and shoes. But that's another story.

Anyway, reading Katy's blog made me want to add something about my last post, on the plush star: All the materials are second-hand. Fabric, thread, needles, pins, embroidery floss, and the batting I stuffed it with. And the coffee table it's sitting on.

There's something about creating things that feels so pioneer, like a throwback to when it wasn't an option to go get a crapload of plastic-y, crisp new fabric off the bolt. If you wanted a new dress, you had to cut up the curtains, Maria Rainier-style. Oh-oh, or use flour sacks. (Do you have any idea how bummed I am that I missed flour sacks? I mean come on, the bags you buy food in, being made of cute, floral fabric? Who the heck decided to phase that out? Worst decision ever.) But when you drive the minivan to Michaels or JoAnn's for supplies, it winds up feeling more like a cheezeball arts & crafts project kids do in Sunday school (paper bag reindeer, anyone?)

Buying and using pre-owned materials is earth friendly, it's a cheaper way to get high-quality supplies, and let's face it (if you enjoy the hunt like yours truly), it's just more fun, darn it.

And one more time, it's earth friendly. Best reason there is.

Which is why I may lust after the designs of Anna Maria and Amy, but I will remain true to my thrifted linens. They're softer than the new stuff anyway.

Love, J

P.S.~ Best line from Katy's blog: getting the 'hippie ethic without the hippie aesthetic.' I like to think I avoid the hippie aesthetic. The hubs says my decoration style is 'dorm room chic' - that doesn't sound too earth muffin, does it? I mean, there's no macrame or anything.

RETHOUGHT: I've been thinking, and I should clarify that the 'nonconsumer' moniker probably doesn't suit me at all. I shop. A LOT. I buy things all the time, just because they're pretty or colorful or I think I might, someday, use them. But they're always pre-owned. So while I'm not really *consuming* anything from the stream of commerce, I am for sure a consumer in that I come home usually at least once a week with something new to me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Time out toy making

I could not focus on my studying last night. Flipping through my flashcards, everything blurred together.

Hands are getting restless. Time for a break.

To make something pretty for my first niece, who is due to arrive in two short months.

I meant for it to be a ball, but it came out a star.
I like it.

And now I feel better. Calmer. Ready to get back to work.

Love, J

Saturday, January 9, 2010

At least it's cold outside this time

I appear to have been overly optimistic on my ability to keep up with posting as the exam approaches.

Studying is kicking my ass.

Other than a couple trips to the grocery store, I haven't left the house since Christmas day.

I've stopped getting dressed, and I have no idea what day of the week it is.

My brain is fried. Twice I've loading the washing machine, put in soap, and wandered off without running it, only to come back a day later and be confused about why the clothes were still dry. I started a small kitchen fire yesterday when I got sucked into the black hole of Secured Transactions and forgot I had something on the stove. And then last night I collapsed in bed and was later woken up when the rabbit jumped up on my pillow, reminding me that I hadn't put her in her cage for the night.

The spontaneous, burst-into-tears hysterics have begun.

At least the hubs is being spared having to witness my hot messiness. He's busy with his first stint on the night shift, and our awake-and-home-and-unoccupied times only overlap for about 30 minutes each day.

I don't want to jinx myself (again), but the upside to all of this is that I do feel like the studying is sinking in. Slowly but surely. While I'm a physical wreck and an emotional basketcase, at least mentally I seem to be absorbing the information I need.

Probably this will be the last I'm on here for a while.

Love, J

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Shower garland

I am a major hoarder. I try not to pack-rat sock stuff away indiscriminately (though that's harder to avoid, now that we have a basement), but when I acquire something I like, I save it. For a long, long time. It takes me on average about a year to start spending gift cards. And pretty craft supplies will sit neatly on the shelf for ages, waiting until I find a worthy project. I enjoy using nice things, but what really sends me is potential.

I have been collecting pretty sheets from thrift stores for a few years. It's my green, inexpensive way to accumulate a wide selection of fabric. The stash keeps getting bigger, and I very rarely have kept its growth in check by actually using some of it. But this month I began a project. It won't use much yardage, but it will take advantage of the variety that I've gathered.

I am craving crafts like this these days. Slowly, mindlessly tracing and cutting the fabric and passing it off to the hubs to iron and stack, while we watch 'Greek' online each night. I look forward to this time all day while I read, re-read, and re-read again the elements of 1st degree arson.

And it will be a dainty decorative touch to the baby shower I'm co-hosting with mom-in-law at the end of the month. We'll be celebrating the first girl baby in the family in generations with properly frilly tea & cupcakes.

Love, J

ps ~ Yes, that is the Christmas tree in the background, and yes these photos were taken this morning. There's no telling when it will come down. I seem to have lost all sense of time in this sucking study vortex, and keeping up with the seasons has been one of the many casualties. Along with eating any food that isn't processed beyond recognition, and leaving the house more than once a week (and even then, it's only to purchase more processed food). But I still blog. And watch 'Greek.' Because I have my priorities straight.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Weather girl

Rainy, dreary day today. I kind of love it. For our last year in Seattle, we lived in a basement apartment. While it was totally beautiful on the inside, it wasn't fun being windowless for 12 months. I felt like I missed a whole year of seasons. In our house now, I know what the weather is like as soon as I wake up. And if it's bleak, like today, it's fun to tidy up, light some candles, and make it all cozy inside.

Does anyone else totally love winter weather?

I think it's because in the winter, I have no expectations of what the weather should be like.

In the summer, it better be hot. Like, so hot it hurts. So hot that I stand a chance at getting warm.

In the winter, it's supposed to be crappy out. So I'm totally satisfied with whatever each day brings.

For example, this year has brought practically no snow.

I love snow. But no snow is cool too.

Except I hope there's a little bit more snow at some point. I haven't gone sledding yet.

Love, J

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Update on the 2-legged dog

Cooper pre-accident

Cooper is slowly though not-quite-surely regaining feeling and strength in his second front leg. There's still no way to tell whether the nerves will recover enough for him to put weight on it and use it to walk, but the vet said it would be months before we'd know for sure.

In the meantime, he's in amazingly high spirits for a dog who can't walk. He barks and whines and drags himself over to people when they come in the front door. He can actually move around pretty well on the carpet - not so much on the linoleum, where he slides and skitters and can't get good enough traction.

Step-dad carries him out back a few times a day and leaves him out there to do his dog-thing, then goes out to get him when he barks. Once, he took Cooper out after dark and when he went to go bring him in, he couldn't find him. Cooper had dragged himself all the way across the yard and underneath a bunch of bushes. It took some time (plus a flashlight) to track him down.

So anyhow, he's still trucking along.

Love, J

Friday, January 1, 2010

New resolve

A couple of years ago, I was riding bus 43 home from school on a way-too-stereotypical dreary Seattle afternoon. I was zoning out, watching the raindrops wander down my window, when a woman boarded the bus and sat across from the back door. She had a bulky raincoat on and no makeup, but she was a knockout. Like, movie star pretty. I forgot about her until a while later when I pulled the cord and went to stand by the door to wait for the bus to stop. Before I knew I was talking out loud, I suddenly and clumsily told her I thought she was beautiful.

And even though it was probably very weird to hear that from a random, crazy bus passenger, she lit up. She said she'd been having an awful day, and that hearing that made her feel totally better.

Saying it made my day better too. I was happy for hours afterward, thinking about the look on her face after she heard my awkward and sort-of inappropriate compliment.

I began to do this each time I saw a pretty lady on the bus and was feeling bold. And only once did a woman squirm and mutter a 'thanks' without making eye contact with me (which is the reaction I would have expected from all normal people before I took up my new compliment hobby). To my pleasant surprise, all of the rest overlooked the oddness of the exchange and enthusiastically accepted my words in the sincere spirit in which they were offered.

One more example before I get to my point: This spring the hubs brought home a gorgeous bouquet from Pike Place Market. You know the giant sprays that you need 2 hands to carry and are all wrapped in brown paper the way you imagine flowers were sold 100 years ago? So it was lovely, but the next day we left for a 5-day road trip, and I knew the flowers would be all wilted by the time we got back. After we loaded up the car, I wrapped the bouquet back in its paper and took it to the park across the street from our house and offered it to the first person I came to.

This lady acted like I was giving her one of those big bank bags of money with the giant dollar sign on them. She said she had finished her first marathon that morning and then took her kids straight to the park to play, and hadn't done anything to celebrate. And then she gave me a hug. Freakin' Hallmark moment right there.

My resolution is to make people smile in 2010.

So this year, I will:

~ Make (and sometimes probably buy) and wrap one gift a month, and then go out into the world and give it to a stranger.

~ Do something a little bit extra each week to reach out to someone else.

~ Volunteer somewhere that needs me (this one I am postponing until after my test).

And I will keep track of my progress here, in hopes that I can make you smile too.

One more time, Happy New Year,

Love, J