Busy Busy Busy

I don’t know why exactly, but I’ve just been insanely busy lately. I enjoy most of the things I do, but it seems like I haven’t had any downtime in forever. I haven’t even had spare time for reading! Today I’ve got a collection of pictures to share, of some of my recent projects in progress!

This is a quick shot I took of my to-do list just before I sat down to upload pictures and write this post. The right side is tasks for my home or family – stuff like “clean the fridge” and “mail Mother’s Day cards.” The left side is personal projects or desires, mostly for Etsy or for my blogs. Yes, it’s giant. And it’s mostly not very itemized. It just says “clean,” instead of “clean living room and bathroom and bedroom and kitchen,” for example. Told ya I’m busy.

I’ve been trying new recipes, but I haven’t been photographing them. I’ve got such a backlog of recipes to blog about. So it’s a great time to try new things, so I can improve on them before I blog about them. This is last night’s dinner – Spinach, Ricotta, and Parmesan Stuffed Shells. I based them off a recipe I shared with you a few weeks agoSpinach-Stuffed Canneloni by Happiness Stan. Delicious, although there are a few things I’m going to do differently next time. I’m really loving recipes that fold the vegetables into the main dish, because we have a tendency to forget to make the veggie until the food is done. Also, I officially love ricotta. It makes such lovely leftovers.

A new project! Care to guess? I shared the inspiration for this with you just a few days ago. It’s rock candy! I loved the jewelry idea from 1 Fine Cookie, but I decided I’d better try out just plain rock candy first. I stirred up some sugar syrup, added in a little of the flavor extracts I had on hand, and some coloring. It’s a pretty simple concept, so I don’t anticipate any problems.

Here’s a quick shot of some earrings I knocked together today. The ones on the left are for Kako. They’re a version of my Corkscrew earrings, with silver-colored copper wire and Sapphire blue freshwater pearls. They turned out a bit longer than I expected. The ones on the right are pearlescent black glass pearls, wrapped with 26-gauge wire. Quite delicate. I like them. Look for them in my shop on June 1st!

Here’s a sneak peek of another commissioned jewelry piece. My friend Ri likes cameos like my Secret Cameo earrings, but doesn’t wear earrings. So I went on the hunt for a necklace for her. I found this classic-looking pendant, and embellished it with 28 green Swarovski elements. It hangs at about the breastbone, from a double-loop of black cable chain. I’m really happy with it.

I’ve also been sewing! This is a prototype of an e-reader cover that I’m hoping to produce for my shop, but it’s giving me fits at the moment. I’m happy with the front side, but the back just isn’t cooperating. I’ve got an idea I’m going to try next time I sit down with it, so hopefully it’ll work out well.

My sewing has been successful on other fronts though. Here’s a shot of a “string backpack” I knocked together from 2 fat quarters. We have a similar one (that we found in a parking lot haha) to carry dog-related items when we take Charlie for a walk. This one is the new home for kid-related stuff when we walk to the park. I really like the two velcro’ed pockets on the front, to stash my keys and wallet.  I’m thinking about Etsying these as well. What do you think?

If you want to find out what this is, you’ll have to read about it on the Snark Art Blog!

In honor of Matt Smith’s debut as the Eleventh Doctor 2 years ago, April 3 was Fish Custard Day. (Go watch The Eleventh Hour; you’ll understand.) I got brave and tried it. It was actually pretty good!

Here’s a process shot of a set of items that should be appearing in my shop on Listing Day (the first of June). Care to take a guess?

Another process shot, of a very old and long-since-completed project. I had this lovely skirt, but it was longer than I liked, and, um, too small in the waist. So I shortened it by hacking off the top. I’m quite happy with it. I’ve got to get the courage to model it so I can put up a proper post about it.

When I joined Paperback Swap a few weeks ago, I went through my box of “get rid of” books and listed them all. Except a few. Four of the seven Chronicles of Narnia books, in pretty rough shape. I couldn’t list them, but I didn’t want to just throw them away. So I salvaged them. I cut (by hand) hundreds of circles from the pages, and glued them onto a paper lantern I already owned. It turned out AMAZING. I’ve got a ton of scraps, as well as a whole book and a half, left, so I’m thinking about other things to do with the papers. I kept a couple of the chapter illustrations, and am thinking of using my scanner to blow them up and use them as embroidery patterns. The scraps of paper might get blended up into pulp so I can make “fresh” paper – I’ve got a bookmaking project running around my head too.

PONY CUPCAKES. Our FRG had a “cupcake social” this past weekend. (I apologize to my Pinterest followers for the deluge of cupcakes that one day that I was looking for ideas.) I made these little picks from the box art (yes I saved it, why do you ask) from my daughter’s ponies. I am particularly proud of these lovelies. Definitely expect to see a post featuring these babies in better detail soon.

Last photo of the day! This is a shot from wayy back at the beginning of April, the day of the season two premiere of Game of Thrones. I prepared a fabulous Westerosi feast. Somehow, the blog never got written about it. I made a number of amazing recipes that day though, and I plan to share them – especially those lovely Dornish peppers you see on the right in the foreground. Deeeeeelicious. Fresh bread dipped in salt was also a revelation of flavor.

This isn’t even all of the amazingness that I’ve been up to! Here’s just a quick sample of the things I’ve got folders of pictures for: Homemade Butter, Cola Cake, Fried Chicken, Roasted Chicken, Lasagna, Onion Rings, Shield Weaving, and Wheat Bread. I’ve also got some great craft tutorials in the planning stages (it’s harder than you think it is to take process photos of delicate things). Oh, and I got my May Birchbox the other day – that blog will be coming soon.
Don’t forget – next week is Giveaway Week! Be sure to come back early and often for your chances to win free stuff!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this mishmash photoblog. Which project are you most excited to see more of?

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This is gonna happen!

My Pinboard featuring my plans for celebrating the Game of Thrones premiere.

Oh yes. This is definitely happening. (While you’re over at Pinterest, follow me! I pin alllll theeeee tiiiiiiime.)

I’m getting up early (like 9 am) to start the bread dough. Then we have to take the dog to get some booster shots. Then I’ll be home and cooking.

I made some awesome progress on my Readering this week, and it’s actually below 1000 total (haven’t seen that in aaaaages). I hope to manage a Roundup tomorrow, but it may be late, or even Monday.

And OF COURSE there will be postings and pictures about the special meal! Don’t worry!

 

Industry

I’ve been Making Things. I’ve kinda clocked out of the internet lately, but I have been BUSY otherwise. I’ve got so many posts in the queue lol. What’s really funny is I was just about ready to compile my weekend roundup on Sunday morning and just … didn’t do it. LOL.

I’ve got several foodblogs coming. I made a bunch of jewelry last night, and I’m planning some tutorials for chainmaille. I am, at this very moment, working on a half-shirt of “patchwork maille” for my husband. It’s an interesting process.

Also, we just got HBO. So I’m watching Game of Thrones. (Well to be precise, at the moment I’m watching The A-Team, but we’ve been working our way through GOT.) I am a little ways into the second book, and we’re on episode 8 of the show’s first season. I am SO OBSESSED. 🙂

Apologies & Shopping Loot

Oh my lord I have been SO BUSY this week. I don’t even know what I was doing, but I have gotten NOTHING done. Of course, part of that is because I just got a Kindle Fire, so it’s rather addicting. I did read a couple books on it; that was good. Love that thing.

So, because I’ve been so busy, I am AGAIN horrifically behind. I’m still behind from LAST week. Aaaa! I am frantically readering in another tab as I type this (you know what I mean). I have every intention of bringing you your regularly scheduled Roundup later – hopefully Monday. I shall make an intense effort to bring it on Monday.

As apology for my tardiness, I bring you some pictures of some LOOT. We got our tax refund this week, and we make a tradition of setting aside a certain amount of it as “fun money.” (We also paid off our car, and the final payment was less than our regular payment. Yay!) We live austerely most of the year; it’s nice to let our hair down and just buy stuff. We also are putting a substantial amount in savings, getting computer repairs, and buying a freezer (yay!). I have a substantial amount of loot to brag about. The vast majority of it was on sale or clearance. 🙂

I didn’t edit any of the pictures, and they are all rather messily staged. Sorry. 😉

The Art Supplies

Missy picked these beads
Oh god, the art supplies. My daughter chose these beads (and many others – I weeded through them and chose the ones I thought I could use). She’s got a great artistic eye – you better watch out for her.

yellow fat quarters
I have such a weakness for groups of coordinated fat quarters. The light reallllly messed with these – they’re actually a sunny yellow and grey theme.

my steampunk stuff
Some gears, some clock faces, and some “game spinners” that I’m gonna use like orphaned clock hands. Can’t you feel the steampunk stereotype just dripping off these?

mini bottles
A collection of miniature bottles with corks. I just like bottles.

asian inspired pendants
Just a quick little group of Asian-looking pendants.

pendants of creatures
Some pendants of creatures. I can’t decide which is my favorite.

random new pendants
A key, a circle, and a group of smaller things. I actually got two of those ones on the right – they were 67% off, I couldn’t NOT get them. I’ve got great plans for the key and the round one.

beads
LOL, of all the beads I bought, these are the only ones I chose myself. The lighting killed me here – these are kinda pink and green mottled.

watch faces
These cute watch faces are destined for great things. One of them is for ME. The others will be made similar to my own and Etsy’d. 🙂 I think you’ll love them.


Knitting needles (my first ones!), new crochet hooks (these are plastic, hope I like them since I lost the metal ones I had), some blue pigment paint (for the Snark Art project!), grey threads (for the fabric above), and some “artist trading cards” – they just looked like fun.


Some hanging tags, because why not, some tailors’ chalk, some yarn needles, a loom hook (lost along with the metal crochet hooks, all of which will probably be found now that I’ve bought replacements), and some cookie cutters, which I’m planning to use on clay!

sewing box
My pretty new “sewing box.” Here you see it stuffed with my loot, but I’m planning to use it to hold my current projects as I work on them. I’ve had my eye on these for a long time; found them on 40% off. 🙂


A “rainbow” box of beads. Most of the beads seem to be remnants, errors, etc – unique pieces. Some were broken and maybe unusable, but hey, whatevs.

And yes, I did immediately sort them. Ring ring, that’s my OCD calling.

Omitted pictures:
Grey yarn, a tiny adorable tote thing, a small foldover organizer thing, microfiber cloths, 28 Evenweave cloth, fusible interfacing, new scissors, some small boxes that I hope I can mail, some red stick-on rhinestones, several ribbon necklaces, an 8×10 canvas (also for the Snark Art project), and god knows what else…

The Books

Quick one here: I found a set of the Zelda mangas at the epic comic book store in Carousel Center on Saturday, as well as a copy of the newest Fables collection (#16). So excited to read these; hope I find time to do so sometime this century.

Side note – this week, I read The Secret Garden on my Kindle and it was awesomer than I remembered. I also bought the newest Phillippa Gregory, the one about Elizabeth Woodville’s mother – SO excited. I can’t remember what others I bought, but I know I’ve downloaded just about all the free books I could find. I imagine I’ll be blogging more about this later.

The Pretties

You may have noticed that I have a slight obsession with fingernail polish. This is funny because I am a nail biter. But I always have pretty toes, anyway. I’m not an incredibly feminine person, so this is also somewhat out of character. I dunno, don’t ask me to explain myself.
Anyway, I got some awesome nail polishes at Trade Secret, and all but one of them was on clearance. Hee! I’m so excited for these. The one on the right is *magnetic* and I cannot WAIT to play with it (Edit: just remembered I got this one at Sephora, separate from the others). The one in the middle is matte; I’m thrilled about this as well.
I also got some glue-on nails and a lot of glue.

The Random Things

I got 18 flour sack towels for my kitchen. I tossed all my old, non-absorbent, ugly towels and threw these pretty ones in the drawer. Yay!
I’m a sucker for containers, and I now have many new ones, many from the Dollar Spot at Target.
I picked out two new puzzles. One is a Charles Wysocki (I just enjoy doing his puzzles) and one has some birds on a tree branch in the snow.
I finally got to get Harry Potter 7.2. Planning a marathon, eventually.
We got some adorable cups for Missy – one is shaped like a rocket ship and one is shaped like an owl, and I wish I could drink from them.
I picked up an assortment of random things for around my house – a small colander, a measuring shot glass (for measuring a teaspoon of oil or whatever), an onion-shaped container for onions.

I can’t think of anything else I got other than food, so I guess that’s all! 🙂 Enjoy the shinies, and see you soon with a Roundup!

Organizing, Downsizing, and New Things

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been realizing that I’m very unhappy with the layout and working of my home. I can’t do much about the physical form of the building, of course. But I feel like my furniture is wrong and that the “flow” of the house just isn’t working. The main symptom of this is that it’s very very hard to keep it clean and organized, because it just doesn’t WORK.

I’ve been talking to Jonathan about it over the past couple of days, thinking and talking and passing ideas around. Trying to come to some decisions and conclusions about how to improve it.
Also playing into our discussion is the knowledge that we will be moving later this year – knowing that we have to pack, we have a desire to downsize and pare away the excess, as well as organize things now so the packing is easier later.

Here is a list of what I’ve got running in my head, about what I want to do with my house:
– rearrange the living room (but it’s long and narrow so I don’t know how)
– buy an e-reader and begin to pare down the books and clean the shelves
– better organization of our movie collection
– buy shelves and baskets to create “hidden” storage for the stuff that accumulates around the rooms (dining and living rooms, specifically)
– find a way to incorporate a “landing strip” where keys, wallets, mail, etc, can be dropped on the way into the house (no room near the garage door where we generally enter)
– organize the vast amounts of paperwork we possess. scan and shred as much as possible.
– downsize some of the dishes, upsize some others (I know that makes no sense)
– decor is not satisfying – change it!
– get a coat rack or two
– down size the “stuff” – is it important to me? If not, why do I have it? If yes, then is it being used to the best advantage?
– install shelves in various places (above microwave, in bathroom) for storage and display
– purchase large airtight containers, so we can buy large (warehouse-size) amounts of staples like flour and sugar

That’s all I can assemble in my head at the moment. I’m constantly scouring the internet, so I have a ton of ideas in my head for new decor, new organization, etc, and I am looking forward to beginning. (When we get our income tax return, I’m hijacking part of it for specific use on these projects.) So you can consider this list to be a preview of things to come on this blog.