Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Love Nerds

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A sweet special order I finished up this morning and plan on shipping tomorrow...

Nacho salad - one of my favorite parts of holidays. I've planted an avocado tree in my back yard and can't WAIT for it to start producing... Me loves avocados, but they're way too expensive for everyday.

I'm a nerd

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Eddys at Cayucos Beach

Looking out at the Pacific Ocean - I love California!!!!
Brian and I have wanted to take the kids to the beach for a while now. Kenneth quotes Bugs Bunny a lot and keeps saying "Pismo Beach! And all the clams you can eat!" So, to ensure that we heard that quote a LOT, we planned on going to Pismo. I was sure I was going to have hours and hours to do art, so I packed a lovely bag full of paper, watercolors, origami books and a huge book to fold.

Of course, we got impatient going to Pismo and ended up stopping at a beach that was on the way and looked just as good - Cayucos. It sounds fancy, no?

I ended up folding most of this on the trip to the coast. It's my Press Forward With Steadfastness pattern. The wind was rather incessant and I had to turn my chair so my back was to the wind. Still, my pages kept flapping around and I quit after a little while. The pages started looking a little worse for the wear and I'm excited to see how this one turns out because it's so HUGE. (Reader's Digest encyclopedia - about 5 inches thick... yeehaw!)

Behind Kiff is a 1 gallon jar of pickles. Alex ate about half a jar...
Brian trying his hand at boogie boarding. I got the board the night before at Goodwill for $4!

Kiff doesn't mind sand all over his face. I felt completely exfoliated (and sand-blasted) by the end of the day.

The Young Eddys

There wasn't as much swag on this beach. I'm used to finding tons of shells and rocks and fun stuff. I brought home a ton of little bitty rocks that I'm still cleaning up (they are in the sink as I write this). Brian noticed that the beach was full of these really strangely-colored light green rocks. We collected several to put on our firepit in the back. After a stop at the candy store (taffy, Jelly Bellies, rock candy and handmade chocolates), we picked up dinner at McDonalds and blasted music all the way home (lots of Weird Al and Beatles). We came home to weather that was spookily similar to the beach - cool and cloudy. Weird weather this year, but I'm not complaining...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stitching on More Paper

If you are good with many false starts you may continue reading. Remember the photos I posted a while ago with the stitched paper? The darn thread is so slippery and fine that I'm ho-hum about the project. The paper twine that I bought from Paperphine is still taunting me with its "there-ness" and I'm trying to use it again.

If the twine is too thick and unwieldy, I figured that I just need to use bigger paper with bigger holes. So here:

I took a page out of a large encyclopedia dictionary. I layered two pages together with some kind of Wonder Under-type stuff. Then I poked large holes with a dart. (Of course I used a template I printed off the computer)

The paper twine is heavy enough to use without a needle. The problem I keep having is that it is so stiff it doesn't pull through the holes easily. Several holes have ripped while I've pulled the twine through. I don't know if this one will work either! It also doesn't lay nicely on the paper. It looks nice in this shot because I've only done a few. The ones after this are getting wonky. Oh well. I'll take another break from it and see if I can come back to it fresh...

In the meantime, I let the boy play with the dart because there is nothing more fun than poking holes in things.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Am the Cheese

I have learned how to make cheese! With a kit from here and a gallon of milk and a half hour, this is what I ended up with:

I used to see the fresh mozzarella balls in the deli cases back East when I lived in NY. I believe I even tried some. Still, it was too expensive for me to buy again.

All it took was a gallon of whole milk, the rennet table, citric acid (which I already had on hand for making homemade dishwasher soap) and cheese salt. I made this late in the evening so I could not take pictures of the process. Needless to say, it's rather unappetizing to watch. Milk tends to do gross things.

The next day I took my cheese from the fridge and made pizza. With pesto sauce made from the basil in my windowsill. With dough I made with my bread machine. Yay me! Another goal from the 101 DOWN!

Even the boy likes it.

A meal with a view...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fame and Fortune, Here I Come!

I'm in the local paper today! Woo hoo! Fame and fortune HERE I COME!

I admit to harboring a secret fantasy of quitting the library business to be a designer/artist full time. How this would be accomplished, I don't know. Maybe a patron from the library who is so impressed with my kindness will leave me all his money so I can retire...

Does anyone else feel that way? Is it normal to not like working outside of the home? I would also love to be with my kid (that wasn't an afterthought, by the way!). At this time, he's learning things from his aunt and cousins that I wish he weren't...

Perhaps all of my dreams will come true eventually, even if it's not in a way I can imagine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Here are a couple more pictures of flowers I took when I went to San Diego the other day. Poppies are some of my favorite flowers...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Watercolor Sundays

Thursdays are good days. That is the day that our library puts all of its unwanted donations and oldie, moldy stuff out on carts to be taken away to be recycled. The carts are piled high with books, flattened cardboard boxes, old magazines and other detritus which accumulates in even the most organized libraries. Oftentimes, I see something that strikes my fancy. Since it's going to recycling anyway, I pluck it for my own...

I found this interesting looking book on the pile a few weeks ago. It's an old poetry book and was down in the basement until it was allowed to die. I was surprised that it had last checked out in 1952 (according to the slip inside) and that fines used to be two cents a day. Now fines are a quarter per day.

I was looking for something new to do with my watercolors when I picked up this book and took a look at the paper inside. It was soft and toothy - perfect for watercolors. I drew a quick and easy sketch on the paper and tried a few splashes of color. I am no good at creating fine art on the fly and show my unnaturalness for painting when I do so...

It feels a lot like hot press watercolor paper - the paint goes on kind of slippery. It holds color very well and I rather like the way the text adds (wait for it) TEXTure to the painting. (pause to catch your breath)

I also messed around with a set of really cheap watercolors I picked up at Michael's for $4.99. It's their container which interests me most. After I use the colors in the pans, I can put my own tube colors in there for portability. Aren't the colors yummy, too? I don't have any candy colors like are in the box. I made up a sampler of all the colors to see how they were. Surprisingly, most of them have good saturation. Several are opaque/gouache style paints and I don't mind. I'm hoping to treat myself to all new tube paints this year. Maybe I'll try some new colors, too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Different Perspective

If you put your camera down underneath the flowers and point up, you see the world from their perspective. Rather awe-some, no?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Butterfly Wings

There are so many variations you can do with a single pattern. If you take a simple circle pattern, you can alternate doing some open and some closed folds. The end product is butterflies! (was that proper grammar?) Anyway, this is where some chalks in different colors would look lovely on the folded edges...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

My mom was the young wife of a Navy chief who served tours of duty on board ships. I was born when he was in Naples, Italy. He and my mom had discussed names, so when I was born, he sent her a telegram wishing her and MELANIE lots of love. Apparently, mom changed her mind when I popped into the world. I wonder how life would have been different if I'd been a Melanie instead of Heather.

Growing up in the Navy was nomadic. We moved every three years or so until I was 14 years old. I never really got to set down roots anywhere and longed for a life where I could just STAY. At 18, I left for school. I moved back and forth between home and dorms and apartments for the next five and a half years. After that, I moved between home and apartments every year or two.

Then I got married. Brian has lived in Bakersfield his whole life. He's been to Germany where he served a short mission for our church (he got sick and had to come home after only 3 months) and he went to Japan for his best friend's wedding. Other than that and a few places in California (oh, and Vegas), he's been a homeboy.

I looked forward to settling down in one place after marriage. I moved to Bakersfield for what I hoped was the last BIG move of my life. I was married to a wonderful guy, but still was homesick for something... I didn't feel rested or secure or at home.

Eleven months after we were married, I found out I was pregnant. It was 11pm and I was six weeks late. That had happened before so I wasn't really expecting to .. uh, be expecting. I took a test and couldn't believe it when two lines appeared... I was pregnant. I yelled at Brian to wake up and celebrate with me! I called my Mom and told her. Surprisingly, she was still awake...

My pregnancy was a blast. I was nauseated for two months and then I delighted in amazing everyone with my get up and GOGOGOGOGO! I couldn't wait to feel the baby move.

When I was five months along, I was up in Modesto visiting my mom. We had gone on a walk together and when we came back I laid down on the hide-a-bed in the living room. I felt the most peculiar sensation in my belly. Usually after a walk, I can feel a bubble-popping sensation in the muscles in my legs. I call it carbonated legs. That feeling was in my belly. I told my mom and she said, "That's the baby."  I lay there for the longest time giggling at how funny and WONDERFUL it felt.

After that, I wasn't alone anymore. I had a buddy with me all the time. Work was fun because I had my baby with me. Sometimes, when my stepdaughter lay her head on my lap, the baby would kick her. That was fun, too. :)

It turns out that I wasn't going to be able to have the baby naturally, so a C-section was scheduled for January 19, 2007. I decided to work up through Tuesday, the 16th, the same day as my last doctor's appointment. Dr. U said I wasn't dilated at all and that I was good to go for Friday. I went home that night happy to have that last bit of alone time before the kid got there and also give me time to get ready to go to the hospital.

I went to bed that night intending to have a lovely relaxing day the next day. I'd clean the house, pack my bag, watch a movie and do Heather things. Around 2am I got up to use the bathroom. Just as I got in the bathroom, my water broke. It was the most peculiar sensation... And it wouldn't stop. Again, I had to wake Brian up... YEE HA! As I stood in the shower doing disgusting things, he called the hospital and got the go ahead to bring me in.

"Where's your bag?" he asked me. As I dripped in the bathtub, I reminded him that I had been SCHEDULED FOR A C-SECTION AND WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAVE TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL BEFORE FRIDAY. My bag wasn't packed. So Brian put things in a bag for me. I was held hostage by my bodily fluids and tried to think what to ask him to bring. Puzzle book! Underwear! Chocolate! A book! MAKEUP!

I swaddled myself as best I could and we made our way outside in the cold and dark of Bakersfield in the dead of night. "I'm going to have a baby!" I kept saying to Brian. "Yes, you are..." he said smiling at me.

We got in the car and Brian broke every traffic law in the land. He was practically daring an officer to stop him. He went through 35mph zones at 70-80 and ran every red light. I told him I preferred to make it to the hospital whole, but Brian was charged on testosterone.

Once we were at the hospital it was a bit of an anti-climax. I wasn't in labor. Brian had brought me the wrong things in my bag and I hadn't had a shower. The nurse allowed me to shower with my IV bag on the wheeled-hook thing. It was hard to wash my hair, but I did it. And then I put on makeup. A friend in Modesto told me that her sister insisted on a full face of makeup and keeping her artificial nails on while giving birth. (I didn't realize that they didn't allow nail polish once upon a time...). My mom had always looked like death warmed over in her after-birth photos. Not me! I was going to look FABULOUS.

It was a good thing, too, because Brian had done something that made me spitting mad. His family is fond of dropping everything and camping out in patient's and waiting rooms for hundreds of hours at a time. I wanted to be alone with my husband and enjoy this. I did NOT want his family to be there until they absolutely had to be. When I came out of the shower, he confessed that he'd called them. It was 3am. "But don't worry!" he said, "I told them to be here at 6 am." They were there within 45 minutes. Needless to say, it was good he had someone to talk to because I certainly wasn't ever talking to him again...

My doctor happened to be on duty that night. I told her I'd missed her so much I came in. hahahahaha! I'm hilarious! Because I'd had ONE STINKING OREO at midnight, they wouldn't do my emergency c-section until 8am.

Just before 8am, they took me away. (My mom had moved to Utah just after that visit to her a few months before - she was on the road driving to me at that minute). I was nervous about the epidural because it sounds DISGUSTING to be injected in my spine... It wasn't so bad. And then my legs went numb. For some reason, it made me wacko. I started yelling at everyone that I CAN'T FEEL MY LEGS AND I DON'T LIKE THAT! I noticed that the doctors and nurses ignored me and kept getting things ready. And then I didn't remember anything else until someone said, "Heather! Kiss your baby!"

A warm little head was put up next to my lips and I kissed obediently. I started becoming more aware and was sane again. And there was a baby squalling in the corner being cleaned. I. Had. a. Baby.

That night they brought the baby into my room to stay the night with me. I know they expected me to leave him in his trolley, but after Brian fell asleep and I was on my own, I got out of bed and picked up the little bundle and brought it back to bed with me.

It was the first time I'd been able to look at Kenneth Calvin George Eddy all by myself. I laid him down next to my face and fell asleep with my baby by my side. And he didn't suffocate or anything. He made the funniest little noises like a baby goat. He wasn't pretty and I was surprised by that. But I felt so ... intrigued by him. I didn't love him terribly yet, but that didn't bother me. I knew I really LIKED him, more than my sisters, more than my mom and dad, and even more than Brian...

Here was someone who would always be a part of me and might be like me and understand me when no one else would... I haven't been homesick once since.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Coastal Inspiration

My sister April is a nanny in New Jersey. This past week, her family flew out to San Diego for an extended stay. Brian and I took the opportunity to crash on her hotel room couch and see some of the sights. (The family had given her a private room so she would have time by herself)

Our first site was the San Diego temple. It was on my 101 goals to-do list. Check! With the three of us we were able to do sealings for tons of names April had brought with her. She's so proud of herself for finding all of them through Ancestry.com.

There were beautiful poppies in bloom. I took many, many pictures. I might hurt you with all the pictures I took. Be prepared.

Next we went to the La Jolla beach. It was really crowded so I was a bit self-conscious at first about doing my normal scavenging for neat things in the sand. Then I forgot about everyone and let them all see my booty sticking up in the air and the treasures down the front of my shirt as I bent over. It's my way of giving back to the world...

This is my beautiful sister April. We share a birthday. We're 8-year apart twins. She's going to go to school to be a psychologist and I think she's going to be amazing.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stitching on Paper

Remember this post about sewing on paper? I have been thinking about what I want to do and have realized that I love just a few things in art - words and letters most of all. Therefore, I decided to embroider a word on a piece of paper.

A little while back, I indulged myself and bought some paper twine from Paperphine. It was kinda expensive, but I love paper, so decided to give it a try. The shipping alone was half the price of the product because it was coming from Austria. When it arrived in my mailbox, I was a bit disappointed - you know when you pay a lot for something and it's not ... very big. Yes, I know that diamonds and babies are small, yet wonderful things, but still...

Anyway, I wanted to stitch with paper twine on paper. It seemed the perfect match. Unrolling it off the spool (which is a vintage wooden bobbin - very cool - almost makes up for the high price), it reminded me of wire. It was thick and not very flexible. Hmmm... and that's when I realized that it was NOT going to work to embroider onto paper. Perhaps the twine can be worked until it is soft just like you can crumple up paper to make it fabric-like. Anyway... it was way too stiff to use like thread on something as delicate as a sheet of paper. (she said for the *second* time)

So... I dug around in my drawer of treasures and found a spool of golden brown rayon thread. It's fine and silky and shiny. It also matches the paper very lovely-ly. (say that slowly and you'll get the adverbial effect I was trying to achieve)

Because I wasn't feeling very profound on this, my first attempt, I just did my name. I don't think part of me has ever outgrown that fourth grade mentality of loving their name on EVERYTHING. I used one of my sheets of Harry Potter book paper and ironed a patch of fusible interfacing on the back to give it some strength.Then, using Word Art on MS Word, I printed out an outline of the word I wanted to use (in that same Harry Potter font - Lumos). Then I used my word template, laid it over the paper as a pattern and poked holes around the edges of the letters where I thought I would need to stitch. Hmm... that was a lesson in preparation - I hadn't thought about whether I was doing a satin or chain stitch until I started poking. Yay me!

Anyway, my fingers got SOOOOO tired poking all of those holes. I only had strength to sew a little bit before falling asleep. This morning I looked at it and still think I like the look, even for this first attempt. I'll have to finish it in a few days as I have a date with my sister in San Diego this weekend. It'll be the first time I've been back there since I was eight years old. I hope it is as pretty as I remember it being... If nothing else, I'm looking forward to attending the temple and being in cooler weather...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dahlia Folded Flower Pin

See what happens when you give a girl a circle punch and leave her alone in McDonalds while her son
runs around like a lunatic? SEE? Dahlia flowers!

And then she gives up her exercise time to take fancy, romantic pictures of the pin, making you think she lives among roses and chamber music when, in reality, she has a four-year old boy crying to have her can of Diet Pepsi and yelling "You wascally wabbit!" at the top of his lungs.

I live the goooooood life.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Flower Garden folded book

I have a pattern called "Bachelor's Button" that uses an arc and a basic shape. I decided to simplify the design and just use a basic grid for both of these parts (instead of an arc for the stem of the flower) and - well - it looks the same to me! Without pages holding the shape in rigid lines, the stems arch naturally...

Monday, May 2, 2011