Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tutorial: Perpetual Journal


Hello friends! I finally finished my family's Christmas presents this afternoon and decided to share the how-to with all of you.

You'll remember that I said in an earlier post that I'd tried to do this project but kept running into trouble. I used this tutorial ( with really beautiful pictures) from Design Sponge. It. requires. a. lot. of. steps.

And that didn't work for me.

So... here's my take on it! Easier! Not as much cutting!

Tutorial for a Perpetual Calendar















Supplies:

  • plastic basket from the Dollar Store (they came in a 3-pack)
  • 2 100-count packs of 3x5" index cards (you will need 365)
  • 1 card of a different color (this is for your birthday. If you choose, you can use the regular card and fuss it up a bit to make it special. You *need* to make it special, cos, chances are, no one else will!)
  • 12 larger sized index cards (for dividers)
  • magazines to cut up for the pretty pictures
  • ribbons and decorations to embellish (I hate this word) your basket
  • a small notepad and pen
I paid $1 for a 3-pack of baskets, $1 for each of the packs of cards ($3), and $1 each for the 3-pack of pens and the 5-pack of notepads ($1 for one-third of the baskets, pens and notepads). My biggest expense was for the date stamps and ink pads, but I will be using them for my Etsy shop, so it's okay. (I think I paid about $6 for the stamp and $5 each for the ink pads. Maybe you can borrow one from work?) You could substitute writing the dates for the stamp, but I really like the look of it, so it was a worthwhile expense for me. Like most of you, I already had the magazines and ribbon. 

I made six of these and the total cost for all of them was $21 (minus the stamps and ink). Take that, Economy!

Tools:
  • xacto knife and self-healing mat
  • hot glue gun
  • glue stick (not really a tool, but you need it. don't give me a hard time.)
  • ruler
  • date stamp and two colors of ink pads
Step 1:
Count out 365 cards (or 366 if you are including your birthday card in the regular-colored ones) You want to have one for Leap Day, too, even though you'll hardly ever use it. Be prepared!


Step 2:
Stamp the dates on each of the cards, doing ONLY the month and day (not the year). I used black for everyday and red for special days (holidays). I didn't bother highlighting family members' birthdays. Half of the time, someone in my family isn't speaking to one or another of the family. No reason to bring up un-fond thoughts, eh?



 Step 3:
Make your month dividers. Cut the large cards the same width of the 3x5" cards (5 inches!) and a little taller. I found that I liked the height when I only cut off the bottom two lines' worth of card. 


Cut and paste pictures on each month divider. I chose pictures that more or less went with the feeling of the month. It didn't help that I only had October and December magazines. (Sure hard to find Fourth of July colors in those issues.) You could substitute scrapbook paper or any other paper you like for this part. I'm just partial to color and I love Martha Stewart magazines...
















Put your dividers in to separate the months. Aaah...

Step 4:
Decorate your basket. I used ribbon woven in between the slits on the sides of the basket and glued a fabric rosette and button to the front of each basket. I don't know how well the decorations will hold up over time, but I'm hoping for the best. You can also leave it plain, duh.


How to use this thing:

The reason I am so excited by the idea of this perpetual calendar is that I love the idea of a diary or journal, but I simply don't make the time to write. On each of these date cards you've made up, just write the year and one line about your day. The first year will be a trial in patience, but in the years afterward will be really cool to look at what you've written.


This is how neat it would look if I'd been doing this already for four years...

Last, but not least, include a pen and a notepad with the calendar. That way there is no excuse NOT to write each day.

Good luck and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Can't Get No Satisfaction

This past week I have been trying to make two new types of Christmas crafts - one for my family's Christmas presents (no link in case they are reading) and one a new type of paper ornament. The booger about it all is that I couldn't find all the supplies for the gifts that the tutorial suggested, so I tried substituting. Normally, I am extremely resourceful and can make most things look good. Not so here. My gifts looked horrible from the first step. Ugh. Three nights I worked on different (substitutive) versions. Three nights of going to bed feeling like I had accomplished nothing of value.

Then the prototype paper ornament I made at work with computer paper worked beautifully! I went home to try it with colored paper. Cardstock cracked. Okay. I bought scrapbook paper from WalMart for a good price. It still is heavier than computer paper, so it doesn't quite look right either. Ugh. More going to bed dissatisfied.

Yesterday, I went to the Dollar Tree and found a perfect way to make my family gifts - no substitutions required. And, actually, my version will be prettier than the original tutorial. Yay me!

Now to figure out how to make those paper ornaments out of something prettier than computer printer paper. Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More Paper Roses


If you take:

1 barrette
1 piece of ribbon the same length as your barrette
3 paper roses

And then:

Hot glue the length of ribbon on top of your barrette and then hot glue the three paper roses on top of that you get a lover-ly hair barrette. And it hides many hair sins. Like messy pieces.



Saturday, December 11, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Paper Rose Wreath


It didn't seem like six days, but it WAS six looooooong days since I made paper roses. (Go to Crafting With Intention for directions. Sameh is verrah funneh and maketh me to laugh.) They are really beautiful. Plain, but beautiful. I made a million and they sat on my dining room table for all that time. I was trying to figure out how to seal them because my project was going to be in the bathroom and might (if I am lucky) feel the effects of long, hot showers.

Disgusting, no?
So, I dipped a couple in PVA. Bad move. Don't do it. They be really ugly-lookin'. See here:

Ugly, huh? Moldy-looking with boogers to boot. Not really, but it doesn't look pleasant and I am a pleasant person. Most of the time.

So, I decided, just make the darn wreath - you know how to use a glue gun. I glued a bunch of paper roses to a 12" rattan-type wreath. Then I took them outside (in the cold) and sprayed them with clear sealant. (Mmmm... smells good! There go a few more brain cells...)

Then I glued a ribbon on it and some screen to the back to make:

The earrings hanging in the center read: Happy Holidays


TA DA! A paper rose wreath earring holder! No longer will my earrings be stuck in a little drawer (that green thing on the left of the picture). They will be all together, in pairs, tarnishing equally...

And in Tutorial News: Thirteen samples finished (I made a mistake - big surprise - with how many I needed to make) and these bad boys are all that are left for me to make.



I might get this done in my lifetime!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Paper Roses


Yesterday I made tons of paper roses out of an old atlas. I'm hoping to use them on a wreath and something special for my bathroom! More later. After this burn on my finger heals...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Update on Tutorial

This post is mostly for Nancy (thank goodness for you!) who reminds me often of my responsibility to share my knowledge of the book arts with the world in general. :)

*ahem*

I have conquered the basic organization of the tutorial. It will be based on four basic patterns from which most of my sculptures are made. I will be making examples of the basic patterns in three stages of progress (the pattern, half done and fully done). Of the nine examples I need to do up, two are finished and a third is in progress. (I'll be working on more during church tomorrow - I swear I think better and concentrate on the talks better with my hands doing *something*)

Something I have to decide is how to write patterns. First you fold here and then you fold here. How do I name the folds? How do I describe the directions in the patterns? Do I take a picture and then draw arrows with directions? (NO!) What I really want to avoid is pretentiousness and preciousness.

Ugh.

In other news, I finished the BIG special order. Ha! Done! And I have some paper flowers I'm anxious to try making for Christmas. More on *that* later!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Avoiding Real Work



I have two custom orders in the hopper right now. The first (and simplest) one is finished, but the big one (where I have to make up 40 beads) is half finished. I'm avoiding doing it by reading blogs.

I love this blog. I love her stuff. I want to make it all.

Forget the custom orders! I'm off to cut up books and make stuff!

Oh wait. I already cut up books. Vandal!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pretty vs. Practical: The Overload of Kitch in Crafts

I love craft blogs, but I am starting to wonder about them. Have you ever noticed how stupid most of the stuff people make is? (please note the TERRIFIC grammar there folks!) I mean, who honestly needs most of this stuff?

I'm trying to simplify my life and while cute stuff is ... uh, cute, do I really want to have eight bazillion little things in my home?

Obviously, the answer is no. Does it hurt my head/spirit to look at kitch, too?

Just wondering.

I'm adding this later:

And also stuff that is badly made (pattern-wise, construction-wise, inappropriate material-wise) and yet people spend a long time EMBELLISHING it.

I hate the word 'embellish'. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Peaks and Troughs


The past couple of weeks have been ... quiet. Emotionally quiet. I guess there are peaks and troughs in creative life and I am in a trough right now. I always think, when I'm really busy, oh I can't wait until I have time to just sit and be still. I never think that when I am in that trough period, I want nothing more than to DO something, but I'm just not in the mood. And then I feel guilty. All this time is being wasted.

But I will just be still for a while and see what happens.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Paper Art is Amazing



Lately I have been featured in several treasuries on Etsy. Not every one of these is chosen to go on Etsy's front page, but this one was! I just loved the selection of items that show you paper isn't just ... papery. Wow!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Up to No Good



As I pulled up to the babysitter's house (my sis-in-law's) on Friday morning, Kenneth threw up. Spectacularly. (I was very glad that Brian had asked to switch cars that day!) So I drove home. Arranged for coverage at my branch. And settled down at home to take care of a feeling happy, but throwing up every so often boy. I made bread dough three times in my machine and used it to make personal pizza crusts (10), loaves of cream cheese/fruit rolls (2- one apricot and one raspberry) (I ate most of the apricot one and will give the raspberry one to my visiting teachee), and bread sticks (one large pizza's worth). I listed a billion items in my Etsy shop. I had a beautiful day (in spite of the throw up).

Then I had a weird Saturday. Maybe it is always like that the day after you are productive, like the crest of the wave that reaches higher and higher and then simply tips over and crashes. I didn't feel like I accomplished anything...

It's Sunday now. A day of rest. And I am restless.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Word Nerd


I first made these earrings a long time ago and just brought them back to my shop. I think I need a pair that says "Paper Nerd" too because I'm that. And a Book Nerd.

I suppose I could just wear my Nerd earrings and people will figure that covers just about everything.

*sigh*

In other news, my fast this past weekend went well. For those of you who don't know, I am Mormon (LDS). On the first Sunday of the month, members (who are able) are supposed to go without food and drink for 24 hours and donate the cost of those meals as a fast offering which goes to support the poor and needy. We also fast at times when we need extra help or assistance. Because of the problem I have with my husband's situation I decided that I needed extra help.

So I fasted. My sister fasted with me. Solidarity. And my fast went well. I hardly bothered about the hunger. I kept prayers in my heart so much of the time. I don't know what, if anything, will come of it, but I know that I did well before my Heavenly Father.

And, after five years of being wussy about fasting, it's about time.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Great Task - FINISHED!


Last year I decided that it was high time I read several books that I've heard about for years, but had never read myself. Just children's books, mind you. I decided to go to the children's section in my little library and pick two authors from each letter of the alphabet from A-L who had books I'd heard about over and over and JUST READ THEM. Here's my list. It was a bit overwhelming. I gave myself a whole year because I was absolutely dreading some of the books. Here is my list and my comments about them. The numbers in red at the end of the title are the month/year I read the book.

Alexander - The Book of Three 1/10
I hated this book. Perhaps it was really cool in the '60's when it was written, but when you compare it to The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, it's really stupid. For me.
Banks - The Indian in the Cupboard 1/10
I thought the stereotypes about Native Americans were going to bring the wrath of the Politically Correct Gods down upon me. Interesting in a small way, but not enough for me to read the rest of the series.
Bond - Paddington Bear 12/09
Shoot me if I ever have to read this again. The situations the dumb bear got himself into were stupider than stupid.
Brink - Caddie Woodlawn 2/10
Great!!! It was weird reading this book, knowing it was taking place roughly the same time and place as Little House in the Big Woods. Such a different flavor than that one, but great! And kinda realistic...
Byars - The Pinballs 3/10
Very '70's. Talked about some pretty serious subjects, though.
Carroll - Alice in Wonderland 4/10
I'm glad I read it before the movie. Also, was surprised at how faithful the DISNEY movie was to the book!
Cleary - The Mouse and the Motorcycle 4/10
I love Beverly Cleary, but I didn't love this book. Cute, but irritating.
Clemens - Tom Sawyer 6/10
I felt true accomplishment after reading this book. Now I understood so many cultural references (the fence!) that had hitherto passed over me. Good!
Collier - My Brother Sam is Dead 10/10
Oh. My. Gosh. EXCELLENT!!!!! I couldn't believe the great details this book had about the American Revolution - certainly a different perspective, too. A family that didn't believe in the Patriots' cause - they were loyalists, except for the eldest son. And then what happened to him... oh my.
Defoe - Robinson Crusoe 4/10
I dreaded reading this book. It was huge. It was old. The pictures were horrible. I complained bitterly the first eight chapters (I made myself read at least one a night). Then I was hooked. Robinson Crusoe had such thoughts! I wanted to think such things. A bit wordy, but the guy was by himself for so many years, I didn't blame him for talking a lot.
Dixon - Hardy Boys mystery 9/10
I expected the worse and was pleasantly surprised. These books are not drivel. Perhaps after reading more than a few I'd get tired of them (and their luck/perfection/breaks/etc), but still, I liked it.
Dodge - Hans Brinker 7/10
Definitely written by a person trying to teach small children good morals. And Dutch history. The parts that weren't doing either of those things, but telling a story were good. I think the book could be shortened by about half and would be better for it.
Farley - The Black Stallion 7/10
This story was interesting in that it's strange to see how people acted before good communication became commonplace. The kid was in a shipwreck. Only he and the horse survived. Then he's rescued by some other ship and brought back to New York. Only then do the parents find out he still has the horse and "he wants to keep it." Like it's a stray dog. Very gung-ho boy. Very boyish and manly and all that.
Fleming - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 10/10
Not like the movie. The movie was better. This book was a huge waste of time. Weak plot. Poor story wrap-ups. DUMB.
Forbes - Johnny Tremain 10/10
The last book I read. Very haunting. Brought American history to life for me in a hundred ways. So much evil/good to be seen. Eye-opening.
George - Julie of the Wolves 9/10
Lessons in selfishness.
Gipson - Old Yeller 9/10
Another big surprise. I'd dreaded this one. Heard about the movie. Didn't want a boo-hoo sentimental story. It wasn't. It was wonderful - intriguing, entertaining and plausible. It all made sense and I could see how something like this really could happen. I like stories that make sense. And I cried when Old Yeller died. He deserved my tears.
Graham - Wind in the Willows 9/10
I didn't really *like* this story, but it sticks with me. There is a timeless beauty about this story that I feel when I read about Hobbits and other English books. I want to live among the green and the waters.
Henry - Misty of Chincoteague 6/10
I worried that this book would be stupid and it wasn't! It was a great story and I didn't even mind that it was about horses.
Howe – Bunnicula 3/10
Cute. Glad it was short because it was getting on my nerves.
Jacques – Redwall 8/10
Absolutely hated this book. Too! Many! Exclamation! Points!
Jones - Howl's Moving Castle 9/10
I'd had this book recommended by someone at work. It very much reminded me of Terry Pratchett, but I don't know why. Didn't mind it, but ... I don't know.
Juster – The Phantom Tollbooth 10/10
What a waste of my time. Boy is bored all the time. Magic delivers a pretend tollbooth to his room. He gets into the car provided and drives through the tollbooth into a magic world. That is stupid as all get out. It must have been written when the author was taking medication. In the wrong dosages. Reminded me of "I Am the Walrus" lyrics. Boy has fantastic adventures and learns that life is an adventure... pbbbbt!
Keene - a Nancy Drew mystery 9/10
Very fun! That Nancy sure does have a lot of talents for such a young woman (diving, rowing, detectiving) And if they called her "the young sleuth" once, they called her it a 1000000000000 times. Still, I might read a couple more. Someday.

I made my list for next year already with the second half of the alphabet. I'm dreading "The Yearling." More animals... :(

Knowing Myself


Beware - philosophy post.

For the past several days I have been so angry at my husband. Brian has children from a previous marriage and the relationship Brian and I have with his ex is fraught with tension. I've always tried to see the best in others and blah blah blah. I'm such a wonderful person. See how righteously I act so it's obvious the other person is horrible. Whatever.

It's not so much how the ex acts as how Brian acts with her. I disagree with his actions and decisions. Strongly. I want certain things to happen. But they never do. And Brian will never address those concerns. So there is always this tug of war going on. I couldn't tell you who it is between: me and Brian, me and the ex?

I have no idea how to act in this situation. I don't know what expectations I am allowed to have - by allowed, I mean What Heavenly Father Wants Me to Do. My sister asked me if I've fasted about it.

Confession: I've lost my testimony of fasting. Actually, I've never had one. I hate fasting. I have succumbed over the past five years to giving up fasting. And I need to get back to it again. Hopefully, if I can control myself, I can know myself better. And what my Father wants of me.

My sister has agreed to fast with me this weekend. I really want to know what to do about the relationship with Brian's ex. I want to know what I can righteously expect of my husband. I want to not have horrible regrets at the end of my life for how I act now.

Here's keeping fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And He's Not Even Drunk!


Never fall asleep with an awake three-year old in the house. He will gather up his toys and pile them on top of you. And his mother will not stop him. She will, instead, get the camera and take pictures. Then she will post them for the world to see.

Don't be jealous cos my hubsand's so handsome. He's mine mine mine mine MINE!!!

Of course, I have to move the toys to get close to him...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

One Step Forward and 50 BAZILLION Steps Back

You know how you have plans: I am going to update my shop with all the pictures I've taken of my products! Yee ha!

I've taken pictures of everything I've made so far.

Three weeks ago.

They are in several different folders now on my desktop because I've been taking some of them on a flash drive to work to edit on my breaks. And I don't remember what name I gave them the first time I edited them and saved them and then end up editing a second (or even third) set of pictures of the SAME THING and it looks like I change my mind what size I want to make the pictures and then I look and realize that I don't have enough pictures of that one particular piece and that other picture is a bit fuzzy, but should I list it anyways?

And now I just looked at all my folded book pictures and realized that I made them a different way than I did before, so my descriptions/prices are no longer accurate. So, do I make a new listing for the new (cheaper) version and then do another sculpture of the original (more expensive) one and take the pictures, edit, post them AGAIN and can you see the problem?

I will never get organized. I will die with all of these pictures undone. And only half of my stock photographed and the rest moldering UNKNOWN and UNLOVED forever. And my life in a shambles. And dogs and cats will live together and the world will end as we know it.

At times like this I would really like to just get in the car and leave everything. Then I'd like to come back to a clean house, with dinner made, a candle burning and no one home. Quiet. Peaceful.

And when I feel better, I'll let my family come back.

Friday, October 15, 2010

How I Learned Not to be Bored


When I was little, I was often bored. It was a horrible feeling strangely accompanied by guilt. Why guilt? I must have heard enough older people lament that they didn't have enough time that I realized that the time I had right THEN was worth something, only I didn't know enough how to use it.

As I was able to, I developed skills and interests. I am not good at thinking these ideas up on my own - they are always opportunities that arise that I take advantage of learning.

Here's the problem: I now know too many things to do and have too many interests.

Weird how the pendulum swings.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Shapes in Book Art


Look what I learned to do! I knew it was possible in theory, but it's my first time trying shapes. I hope you can tell it's an airplane. A Cessna, to be exact!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sneak Peeks

Just experimenting with circles. It's called "It Was Just a Phase". I think I'm going to try going from full to empty in the middle next time instead of this way! I don't want the inner circles getting so squished. The "open" circles are stronger and can be in the middle of the book without losing their shape.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thunder and Lightning Very Very Frightning


Gallileo! Gallileo! Gallileo! Figaro-o-o-!!!

Saturday we had a 20% chance of rain, which, naturally, meant that it DID rain! We had thunder and lightning and rain for about two hours. Of course, we all sat outside. When I looked out the front windows of the house, I saw other neighbors sitting on THEIR front porches, watching the weather. Only in Bakersfield do people come *out* of the houses when it does rain.

And that is why I am the way I am.

This picture shows a large flock of birds (crows?) gliding on the air currents as the storm approached. I love watching them wheel around.
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Help! Need advice!

I have now taken pictures of all my folded books and have them just about ready to post on Etsy. Here's the problem I'm facing:

Do I set up a separate shop on Etsy with JUST my folded books?

I ask because I now have such a repetoire of folded books. It seems justifiable. I already have a couple of other Etsy shops that are empty and ready to go. I could do it, but I don't know that I should!

I'm looking for comments on this.

**later, to clarify**

I am concerned about my shop having a lack of cohesion. Are the two things I do sufficiently alike to merit keeping them in the same shop? Do I *have* to have two shops to showcase completely different items? If I want to start selling book purses and book ornaments is that too many types of things? If all my items have to do with recycled books, is that okay even with the jewelry?

I don't want a garage sale.

Thanks for the help so far...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why I Haven't Been Blogging

It had been my hope to have all of my paper beads and jewelry made up for my Etsy shop by the time school started. Then came that big commission and I haven't been able to really catch up!

And I've never thought that pictures of my in-progress work for the beads is in any way interesting!

Anyway, I just wanted you all to know that I'm alive and well. And working madly on beads. The left container has ones that are already photographed (relistings for Etsy), but the right one... well you probably can guess. And, of course, that's the one that is the fullest. *sigh*

So, I spend my evenings grading papers, doing the Wii (I'm still doing it nearly every day since July 7th!!!), reading scriptures with Brian and Kiff and doing beads.

I'm hoping that I can get a solid core of stock - one that I will have pictures of and can simply make replenishing stock for... you know, streamline my business so it's not so labor-intensive. Then I can spend more time with my husband. Cuddling.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Being Righteous in the Dark

Yesterday I was listening to a talk by Neal A. Maxwell about meekness. Normally I don't care for that topic, but there is something about the depth of this man's intelligence that makes me want to listen to everything he wrote/spoke so I can glean something from it, regardless of topic.

I was listening as I played a game on the computer, but some part of my consciousness was paying attention enough to be floored by something that was said:

I turn now to an excerpt from President Brigham Young's secretary's journal for a choice insight brought to my attention by Professor Ronald Esplin. When asked in conversation, "Why are men left alone and often sad? Why is not God always at man's side promoting universal happiness at least for His Saints? Why does not God do everything for man?" President Young responded concerning how man's divine destiny requires individual experience and practice in learning "to act as an independent being"--to see what we will do, whether we will be "for God or not"--and in developing our own resources. Such experiences will teach us to be "righteous in the dark--to be a friend of God" (Brigham Young Office Journal, 28 January 1857).

It had never occured to me WHY God doesn't do more for us. I have been under the impression my whole life that once I conquered a fault it would no longer be difficult for me to do whatever it was. It would be easy. Some people have issues with paying tithing. I don't and thought that it was because I had "overcome" whatever that is when you have a problem with it. It's hard for me to exercise. I do not enjoy it. Therefore, I haven't overcome this.

But, wait a minute. We need to develop our own resources and learn to be righteous in the dark? Doesn't that mean that we need to do the right thing all the time, easy for us or not? And WHAT IF IT NEVER GETS EASY FOR US! What if this is as good as it's going to get for me - exercising and hating every minute of it. Not losing weight no matter how much I exercise. Is that a reason for me to stop doing it? Can I be righteous even in the dark?

Thoughts to ponder, definitely. While walking on the Wii...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Herd of Turtles on my Table


In case you are wondering where I've been, this picture shows what I've been up to. Thirty books. Folded. Jacketed. Wired. Packaged. Soon to be sent.

Aaah... it feels good to be done.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

All Work and No Play


Since I got that order for thirty (COUNT 'EM!) books, I've been a bit busy. I fold during my breaks and lunches, in the drive-thru line at Taco Bell and during scripture study while Brian reads to me. So far, I think I've gotten 27 done. I need to recount...

In the good news, I'm getting faster and better. I still have no idea how to explain how I do these to people! Where's a technical writer when you need them? Anyone have any ideas how to explain the folding process and make patterns?
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm Not a Librarian. I'm an ARTIST!



Today was one of those days at work where I thought God made a mistake making mankind. People are just too stupid to live, you know? But then one good thing happened. Then another.

And tonight, an interior designer called me and asked to purchase thirty of my folded books for a display in a building in LA. Oh, wow. Validation!!!!!

In the picture above is one of the pieces NOT going to the LA thing, but staying in my Etsy shop. Yay for librarians!
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Last Mad Rush

I've been rather quiet on the blog front because I've been spending all my free time making beads.

School starts next week (the 23rd) and I know I'll have almost NO free time with taking care of 70 students in my two classes. Sometimes I hate doing it and I wish I didn't need the extra money ($100/week - it adds up). And then I feel proud that I'm able to teach a college course - it makes my mom proud of me and that is very important to me. And I feel that I've achieved something in life worthwhile. That's probably because my family wasn't very high in the social standing of anything in our lives - church, neighborhood, extended family or anything. I'm trying to achieve a status of greatness with no baseline. Ouch.

Anyway, I've nearly finished cutting out and rolling all of my beads for the Christmas season. After that, it's dipping and making into jewelry. Speaking of that, I need to go order findings so I'm ready to buckle down this weekend...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Baseball and other sports I ignore

Last week Brian had tickets to go see the Blaze game (local AA? team). Trying to do stuff with the family, I agreed to go. It was lovely. The weather was great and I was able to fold.

I don't really care about baseball (I like hockey), so I just sat and folded and wrangled Kiff when he kept going up into the Patio Party boxes to play. Our starting pitcher gave up 9 runs in the first inning.

Our team never recovered - we went down 15-6. I finished a book that said "Librarian."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Lovin'


Our trip to Utah was wonderful. Perhaps because we were visiting MY family, I didn't get very much down time with all the duty visits to every family member (why didn't you come to see ME?). We did have the opportunity to take family pictures of all the kids with their respective children and spouses.

It was weird with one thing. There are six girls and one boy in my family. Of the seven kids, only one sister was not there. This sister has always been a little different than the rest of us and has made very different choices her whole life - even though she'd been brought up the same as the rest of us. (I hadn't been aware of some of the choices until I became an adult) Her choices have made it so she has lost so much in life - her husband/marriage, her children, jobs (multiple), her TEETH and, now, I guess, us - the rest of her family. Although invited several times, by different family members (including the MOMMA!), she decided not to show up for family pictures even though she said she would. The family pictures look a little weird without her. I missed her.

Still, we had fun in Utah. I loved the drive - we live in such a beautiful part of the world. The desert is lovely with all the rock formations and the abundant green (yellow-green) surprised me. I think in my next life I am going to study geology. I want to know why the rocks looked the way they did...

Now I'm back and I'm working on getting my course materials ready for the new school year and trying to get my stock ready for my Etsy shop - ugh. So much to do and not enough time.

Oh well... for bed now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Folding and Vacationing

folding a book while waiting at Denny's...

My family and I have been in the wilds of Utah this past weekend. I brought all of my beads and three books to fold. I finished folding all three books by the middle of the second day of traveling. Weird. I surprised even myself.

It's been a busy week, visiting several different family members and juggling emotions and temperaments. Part of me says vacations would be better if I were rich and could afford to stay in hotels. That way I could avoid a lot of the hurt feelings that come from spending more time with the person you are staying with than the others. *sigh*

Anyway, more traveling tomorrow... Yay.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sometimes My Life Doesn't Have a Title

Busy, hot weekend. Brian's and my first weekend together was spent apart. He had to go help his great aunt pack up and move to Northern California. His "I might be home by 3 or earlier" ended up being 5:30. I spent my day printing out the rest of my beads, gardening a bit before it became too darn hot (my garden has been completely inundated with 2-ft high grasses), taking Kiff to McDonalds (or is it McDonald's?) -- where, incidentally, I had the best QUIET time ever - Kiff played on the toys and I simply cut out beads. IT WAS GREAT! I made pizza sauce in my blazing hot kitchen and offered Brian to make dinner. He wanted to go out to eat because he was very very very hungry.

The line was so long for Hometown Buffet that we went next door to Rusty's pizza. I received a terrific compliment from Brian that he was so used to my pizza (artisan crust, varied and abundant toppings, garlicky sauce, ooer!) that this one (thin, limp crust, abundant bland tomato-ey sauce, I-think-there-was-some-cheese and sparse pepperoni) paled, I say paled!, by comparison.

I've been trying to make a routine at night. (Brian feels it is his duty to try to mess it up every night, but I will persevere.) I do the Wii. Yesterday was my 12th day in a row. Yay me! At as close to 9pm as I can, I have Kiff ready for bed and we go to my bed for scripture study. There we sing an opening song, have a prayer and read out of the illustrated (badly) scriptures. Kiff actually has learned the opening song (I sing the same one each day until he knows it) (this time we're learning "Jesus Said Love Everyone") and asks for the closing song ("The Golden Plates") multiple times. That was my favorite song when I was little, so I indulge him. He's changed the words to the Jesus song from this: When your heart is filled with love, others will love YOU to Others will love Kiff. Cute, huh? Not at all ego-centric!

Also, made lasagna, enchiladas (2 batches), salsa and 2 pizzas yesterday. It was good.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Eye Spy

The other day my eye started itching. I thought I had an ingrown eyelash. Turns out it was a cold sore. Yep, underneath my eye. I had one back in college (stress?) and the doctors at the health center all came in to look at me cos they'd never seen one there before. I decided to make an appointment with my doctor to see if medicine had improved in the past 20 years to the point where doctors don't think my disease is something so awe-inspiring.

It isn't awe-inspiring. It's medicateable now (is that a word?). But it itches like the devil. I went home early yesterday from work. This morning I woke up to grossness and I'm leaving work as soon as my replacement gets here.

I look like I've been punched in the face. I thought about wearing a patch, but the dumb eye is leaking. Double gross.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thinking Thoughtful Thoughts

The longer I work on this monthly meal-planning thing, the more I'm getting accustomed to working within boundaries and frameworks. For instance, yesterday I figured out exactly what things I need to have in my refrigerator. The list is relatively short. I also weeded the fridge of all the excess (haven't used in nearly a year and was only keeping cos I *might* need it someday) stuff. It wasn't really a lot - mostly odd bottles of salad dressing and other weird condiments that had been hanging around since we moved last year). It was weird to see the fridge clean and organized. I showed Brian and he agreed that it was much easier to find things. I'm going to print the inventory and put it up in the refrigerator so we always know what goes where (that will help the kids know where to put things) and also what we need if we use something up.

Now I'm looking with an eye to simplifying my food cupboards. We have a billion cans of vegetables that we don't eat. I got them when I was on a prepare-for-the-worst kick. But we don't eat canned vegetables. Except for tomatoes that we make into salsa. I will clean them out and take them to my sister in law's house. Their family DOES eat canned veggies. (I wouldn't throw them away so don't worry!)

Simplifying feels really good. My OCD makes it hard to focus on things, so having extraneous distractions gone will help my peace of mind.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oh What a Week!

While I drive to work, my mind is always full of what I want to record about life to my blog. When I get time to write on the blog, I go blank.

Ah life!

I have been making a point of doing something important every day for the past week. I will get up in the morning and work on a batch of beads for my Etsy shop - I've made a list of all the regular sellers and am in the process of printing pages of beads of each one. Then, assembly-line-like, I will cut each one up, then roll them all, then make all of them into jewelry. I have a quota I'm doing for each one. Hopefully, I will have enough to last me through the Christmas season as I will not have time to make anything due to teaching classes again. Oh what we do for money... (which reminds me of something horrible I found out yesterday of what someone I know does for money - but horrible things have no place in this blog today!)

My efforts to exercise have restarted and I HAVE EXERCISED FOR 15-20 MINUTES EVERY DAY FOR SEVEN DAYS IN A ROW. We have a Wii and I've been doing that. I figure that 20 minutes on the Wii is better than no exercise at all. It does make me feel like I'm doing *something*.

And I've withstood buying any Dove chocolate this week. Even though it's on sale at Rite Aid for $2.99/bag.

I've finished a major part of my monthly meal planning stuff, too. I made up a chart on a white board that has all 25 meals on it that my family regularly eats. The chart is actually a table of 28 squares that I've labeled with each of the meals' names and a list of ingredients underneath. Then I made up a bunch of same-sized cards with the name of the meal on it and laminated it and stuck a magnet on the back so that IF I HAVE THE STUFF FOR THE MEAL, that label will be on the meal board. After we've eaten that meal, the magnet part is taken off and put on the side of the fridge, just showing the ingredients. That way, I know to add those ingredients to my shopping list at the end of the month. And now we know at a glance what meals we have to choose from in our pantry. No more guessing what to make for dinner!

The great thing about this is that I've made up a bunch of meals and they are in the freezer. Just pull one out in the morning and bake it at night. Easy peasy.

I think this idea has merit because we went grocery shopping (for the whole month in mind) and spent only $57. I still have to go to Costco on Thursday night for some other stuff, but I've never gotten out of the grocery store with spending that little before. And knowing that it was EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED. ooh...

Friday was my five-year anniversary. I actually felt a great sense of accomplishment for that. Since it's the odd year, it was my turn to plan our time together. I had Saturday off (!!!!), so asked Brian if he wanted to go to the beach. We've never been there as a couple. We went to Pismo - 2 1/2 hours away - as a trio - Kiff, too. The beach was clean, with soft sand and freezing cold water. I found lots of shells and got sunburned on my calves and forearms. Because I'm a hottie. So there.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nothing Much

The weekend is at an end now and I'm starting the beginning of my new work schedule. This week I need to remember where I am at three different locations over the course of five days. Here's hoping I can keep it all straight!

In other news: Kiff is exploring the feeling of being sick. I don't know how he really feels, but I have shown him how to go to the toilet if he thinks he's going to throw up. It's now his go-to place for every kind of negative feeling.

Last night he insisted on sitting in front of the toilet so he "could feel better". I was doing something else and suddenly realized it was quiet. Here's why:



Good thing I cleaned it the day before.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beginnings and Endings

We had the most wonderful ending this past Monday. Brian finished his last class for his bachelor's degree!!! I'm so proud of him. It's weird now because I actually have Brian in the evening. For the last four years he's been doing schoolwork nearly every day/night. Since he started school only a year after we were married, this is going to take some getting used to. Also, I realize now that we haven't had as much time to get to know each other (I don't mean that as a double entendre either!). We haven't been strangers, but we just haven't had TIME together. We've always had to consider his school schedule and deadlines. Now we don't. Hmm. Wonder what will happen?

In other news, my new work schedule begins next week. For the first time in a year - I DON'T HAVE TO WORK ON SATURDAYS! Again, there is now time for Brian and me. And our kids! I get to see them, too! And I can go to the temple again! Hurray!

I've told Brian that he gets to help me take pictures for my tutorial. It's hard to get him to remember my projects because he's pretty into his own projects and they seem to encroach on my time, too. I'll just have to get bolder about reminding him that I need his help, too. Wish me luck.

My garden is growing well. Last night I harvested my first ear of corn. It is tiny! I've been picking zucchinis for a few days now and have hit on the idea of making zucchini chips out of them to eat with my salsa instead of tortilla chips. I made my first batch yesterday in my new dehydrator and they work GREAT! They are definitely a flavor to get used to tasting, but they'll cut down on my caloric intake and my food bill.

Speaking of food bill, I've been doing a project for a while now regarding once-a-month cooking. I've written down all the meals my family eats on a regular basis along with their shopping lists and all that. It turns out I've been spending about twice as much on food as I should have. Now I am trying to make meals in advance and put them in the freezer. On Monday, I made up six pizzas, wrapped them in plastic and put them in seal-a-meal bags. I am going to be making up a chart for the front of the freezer with a list of all the meals for the month on it that we can cross out what we've had and I can shop more sanely. I'm embarrassed that I've misspent so badly.

Oh, forgot to mention that I've read two more books on my list for this year: Tom Sawyer and Misty of Chincoteague. Luckily I enjoyed both more than I thought I would. I'm dreading reading Old Yeller. Ugh. Next on the list is Howl's Moving Castle.

So: endings (school), beginnings (food sanity and new library schedule).

Much is good.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Small Successes

As I have mentioned before, I am a librarian. Ours is a poor system with little public support other than cries of outrage when library services get cut. These cuts have meant that fewer of us are doing more work. I say more work because people have been coming out of the woodwork to use the library. We are bustling ALL THE TIME. Most of the full-timers work at multiple locations to get in our 40 hours. Until the 3rd of July, I work at two locations. After the 3rd, I will work at three.

Today I was working at the main library downtown. After less than an hour of our doors opening, I'd already handled two certifiably crazy people. By 11am, I was tired of presenting a compassionate and understanding face to the public. I wanted them to all go away. Unfortunately, that blah-ness lasted all day.

And then Brian called me at work just before closing and asked if I wanted to go out to dinner. The kids had been stolen for the night by their aunt and we had free time! We decided that we wanted to go somewhere new and each of us said we'd look into possibilities.

We decided on Frugatti's - an Italian place. It was really packed (and noisy - there was live accordian music playing). I wanted to try something new so I chose lamb medallions and garlic mashed potatoes. I hadn't had lamb since I lived in London during college and didn't remember how it tasted.

While we were waiting for our food, I confessed to Brian about the trouble I was having with my folding books tutorial. I could see the wheels turning in his brain and was a bit despairing. My husband, very intelligent, sometimes tries to solve problems he doesn't fully understand. And then he gets frustrated when I tell him thanks, but no thanks. I didn't want to ruin dinner! Anyway, after I told him what I was trying to do, he asked me a few questions about the focus of my tutorial. And as he asked me questions, I finally saw what I was trying to do clearly! Emboldened with this small success, I told him my other frustration - how to explain the patterns. He listened as I explained what I needed to show and some ideas I had on how to do that. As I explained, he made small comments and I found my problem being solved. I became more and more excited, seeing how THIS COULD WORK. I probably overwhelmed Brian with my giddiness, but he's getting used to it after nearly five years.

I wasn't that hungry anymore because I was so excited about the tutorial not being my Sword of Damocles anymore. (That's probably not an apt metaphor, but I've felt it hanging over me for so long that I'm going to use it anyway. So there.) My lamb medallions came. The garlic mashed potatoes were made with butter and roasted garlic and I thought I'd died and gone to Heaven. The lamb tasted like meat. Brown meat. Tender brown meat. I tried the mint jelly that came with it, but it was just too weird. It looked like green Jello. I kept expecting it to taste like lime candy. Yuck. I even ate the asparagus with herbed mayonnaise. It was a very grownup experience, eating vegetables without being forced to do so. And they tasted yummy.

We got to-go containers for our leftovers and I kept babbling a mile a minute to Brian when I saw a familiar face walk by. Someone I knew from work was there with his wife. I've always admired this person and was proud that he'd seen me there, too. I wanted him to notice that I'm cool, too! It's sad that I'm 42 and still feel as insecure about myself as I did when I was in high school.

We came home and I laid down on the bed to read my Sookie Stackhouse book (the sixth one?). Brian fell asleep next to me. It's been a good day. (And I only feel a little bit guilty for eating a baby baa-baa)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Check This Out


Hello friends, I'm an avid follower of certain blogs, one of which is Lil Fish Studios. (That's a picture of her stuff above) Several blogs have done interviews with her (not me - I'm not an interviewer or an interviewee - I fly under the radar!) and there is a neat one of her today on The Rikrak Studio. Go check it out! And enter the giveaway. I'm trying to win, too, because I love Lisa's stuff. *slobber*

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Need for Change

I need to do something new with my life. I want to throw all of my stuff out and start over, fresh, new, clean!

I want to change my personality, too. I think I will speak with a French accent. (Say it with me "Fronch Ok-SONT.")

bien

I want all the projects lingering in my closets and on my table (and in the million boxes in the garage) to be finished so I can begin something new...

And while I'm at it, I want a pony.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hello My Name is Heather

When it has been a while between posts, I sometimes feel that I have to re-introduce myself.

Hi, my name is Heather and this is my blog.

It's been quite a week. Last Friday afternoon, my husband called me at work to tell me he feared he was being laid off at the end of the day. It turned out to simply be a disciplinary thing and he was suspended for three days. This is the third time this has happened to him. There is a person at the work who is behind this problem and I'm feeling very uncharitable and hoping this person gets laid off himself. He has caused me and my family a lot of grief.

The family schedule this week has made it so that I've been gone every evening since last Monday. When I'm out that often, I get really cranky. And that's being kind to myself. I am a bad lady. Mean. I was looking forward to this weekend with two days off to myself (with Kiff, of course). Brian didn't tell me he had the kids for extra time and was taking the day off to be with them. There went my alone time. It's hard for me to comprehend that this man can't understand that his being around is a LOT OF WORK FOR ME. And his kids are quadruple work.

I ended up coming home from church early with a headache. I laid down and fell into that not-asleep, but paralyzed/dreaming state that is almost as good as a nap until Kenneth burst into my room and climbed into the bed and onto my head an hour later (when church was really over). Why does he ALWAYS sit or lay or something on my head?

I'm going to try to do something art-related tomorrow, even with a house full of people. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Keeping Heart


Trying to keep my chin up during a bit of a trial. My car died on the road coming home last Friday. On Monday, we found out that the engine was beyond repair. That was after we'd spent $200 getting it towed (twice) and looked at. Now I have to figure out how to get to work during the week without borrowing my in-laws' cars all the time.

Keep your fingers crossed that my upper lip doesn't get unstiffened...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Work in Progress on the Window


I really like designing new patterns for folded books. It's surprising to me how one set of marks can have so many different possibilities. Nearly all the books you see (except for the one closest) have the same set of marks. The order in which you fold them or the place where you stop or start folding makes the pattern. I can make a half circle type of pattern that I want to see if I can make look like scales within a fish shape. Or maybe it looks enough like a crescent moon that I can pair it with stars in an alternating pattern.


And my son likes to wear baskets on his head. For no good reason. And he keeps it there all the while he's doing something else...

My husband's genes. I'm sure of it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Down the Rabbit Hole

I am reading Julie & Julia right now and am having a guilty pleasure. It's amazing, this gift of writing that some people have. I don't know that I would like the author as a friend, but her way of writing is just so... so SOMETHING! I must continue reading to the end.

There is a quote I just read that has stopped me in my tracks:

"It just makes you happy, thinking about the possibilities out there."

He
[the author's husband] meant that sometimes you get a glimpse into a life that you never thought of before. There are hidden trap doors all over the place, and suddenly you see one, and the next thing you know you're flogging grateful businessmen or chopping lobsters in half, and the world's just so much bigger than you thought it was.

So that night I made my New Year's resolution... If I was going...down this rabbit hole, I was going to enjoy it, by Go* -- exhaustion, crustacean murder, and all. Because not everybody gets a rabbit hole. I was one lucky bastard, when you came down to it.


I am lucky, too, and need to dive headfirst into my own rabbit hole. Bye now!

shwoop!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ambush



The backdrop was up.
The book was centered.
The light was perfect.
The shot was all lined up.

And Kiff decided to put the car in the picture.

Kid for sale. Cheap. Will throw in purple Hot Wheels car for free.
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Oh My Stars and Moons


To quote Mr. Collins:

When I'm feeling blue
All I have to do
Is take a look at you
Then I'm not so blue

Kiff has taken to mooning me. We're keeping him nekkid to promote good potty skills. He takes advantage of the nekkidness by pointing his backside at me. Suddenly. I get ambushed by the booty.



I've been taking pictures of my treasures... This is another A Capella pattern. I wish I had a picture of my window next to my bed. I've been taking my basic patterns and trying to see how many variations I can make from one set of marks. I set them on my sill after I get the pattern down a bit, then I go on to another one. They're all lined up prettily...