Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I've done it again

I am starting a Google+ account so that I can get on here more often to read the blogs I 'follow', but that should also remind me to post on here on occasion.  And I should post, because, strange though it may be, people are still actually checking it on occasion.

So, I will attempt to post more on recipes I am trying, my TV obsessions (Doctor Who and Sherlock), the games I play, and any other interesting projects I come across.

Lately that has included a lot of little things, first of which is a baby afghan for a shower I went to earlier this month, although I don't think I took any pictures of it.  It was really cool, three strands of yarn, white, green, and yellow, all crocheted together using rows of double crochets.  It turned out to be a chunky, variegated, soft blanket, which I am pretty proud of.  Also, it probably only took 5 or 6 hours altogether to do it.

My TV watching has been mostly a waiting game, since Sherlock just started filming their 3rd series and Doctor Who doesn't start airing for another week.  I am a big fan of those shows, although that apparently makes me a bit of a sadist, since Steven Moffat is evil and I still watch his shows.

As for games, my new hobby is LARP and table-top role playing games.  LARP's are Live-Action Role Playing, which means a group of us act out our characters' roles.  I am really enjoying the role playing games and have managed to get involved in 3 of them now, two World of Darkness and one Dungeons & Dragons game.

I still go geocaching on occasion, and hope to get out more now that the weather has started to warm up.  I am also learning to shoot, thanks to a nice guy at work.  I promise, once again (I hope I don't disappoint again), to keep more up on this blog, since writing it is fun and a good way to record some of my projects.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Busy doing I don't know what

I have been racing around doing something for the last while, even though I am not sure what that something was. I am positive that I was busy though.

Life has just been going along, full of work and housekeeping and visiting with friends and family. I try to make it out geocaching as much as possible, although other plans and the weather have kept me in for the last couple of weekends. There are a couple of caches close to work that I may try to get this week and a couple near home that have been calling to me. :) A friend and I have decided to try to do the SE Washington oldies challenge, which requires you to find the 25 oldest caches in our area and then log the title cache. There have only been about 5 people to finish it in the 3 years that it has been going, since apparently they made caches harder in the olden days (early 2000's) of caching.

Other than that, I finally set a date for my next murder mystery party and I am so so excited. Everyone I wanted has agreed to come and we all agreed on a date. An old friend from college will come for the weekend and we are looking forward to the visit very much! Did I mention I am very excited. I have a little over a month to get all the planning and set up done, as well as make a costume and figure out the menu. The mystery is set in Chicago 1928 and is full of gangsters, flappers, and the most horrible punny names, including Molly M. Awbsterr. Yes, that's what I said. I always shake my head at these things, since puns are very low on the list of my favorite kind of jokes. Oh well.

There is not really anything else going, other than my ongoing quest to eat better, exercise more, and keep my house cleaner, all while getting out and having fun. I feel like a super-hero for doing all of that...on the days when I actually accomplish it. I feel a bit lazy on the other days. Eh, that's life, I suppose. I am glad that spring is here, the weather is trying to get warmer and the flowers and trees are all beginning to blossom. It is one of my favorite times. Tonight I am going to try to go for a walk after work and take advantage of all of it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Post Christmas Wrap-Up

Christmas is over now and I am back to work and life is back to normal. Not that I wouldn't mind another week of vacation, but since I spent most of it lazing around or geocaching and almost none of it accomplishing things, it is probably for the best that my break is over.
I vaguely recall that I may have promised to post pictures about the things I was making for Christmas. I am not sure what prompts these strange actions, but I suppose that I might as well show you the pictures that Chantel was nice enough to take. :)
Project 1 was the clay ornaments. I wanted to make some salt dough clay and cut out ornaments to decorate. Steps one and two were easy enough.
Step three caused us some pain. By us I mean Chantel, Autumn and myself. We are all fairly creative and at least somewhat crafty, but our ornament decorating skills were very, very entertaining. We each ended up with one that we are embarrassed to admit to making. Chantel gets off easy on this though, since she says that anyone who asks about it will be told that her two year old made it. :) We learned one valuable lesson, though. Glitter not only makes things better, but it does a great job of distracting you from a really crappy coloring job.
Project 2 was the lotion bars. I found the recipe for these a while back and though they would be super-neat to make for Christmas. I enlisted some help (thanks girls) and we got cooking. Literally. The process for the bars is super easy. Heat stuff until melted, pour in molds and wait until it is hard again. Ta-da!!!
Melt one part shortening, one part beeswax, and one part vegetable oil in a double boiler.
Stir in a small amount of your choice of essential oils for a nice scent.
Pour the melted mixture into molds. (I have an insane amount of cupcake tins, and they are a really nice size.)
Let set until cool and solid. Also, remember to label them, or you might mix up the different scents. I actually thought of this while doing the second batch, yay me!
These turned out really great. They are slightly greasy when you rub them on, but it feels nice once it has soaked in. They smell really great, too. We made a violet batch, a vanilla batch, a violet jasmine batch, and and orange batch. We ended up with a total of 36 bars, or 12 each, out of a pound of wax and the equivalent weights of shortening and oil. I gave away a bunch of mine to people for Christmas, but I still have several. :)
Project 3 was a spur of the moment idea to make little tulle tutus for my 3 year old niece. I did not have a pattern, but I dove in anyway. It's not as bad as it sounds, they didn't come out quite like I had envisioned, but they still looked nice. I made each one with 2 different colored layers of tulle and a wide purple ribbon (blanket binding is so great for hiding edges you don't really want to try to hem). I made all three of them for about 7 dollars and 2 hours of work. And she loved them. She loved them even more when she found out what they were.
Project 4 (the final project) was an earring holder for my mother-in-law. She mentioned it in her Christmas list and I liked the idea. Years ago, my grandmother made earring holders for each of my aunts and I remembered her idea and thought that my mother-in-law would really like it. The ones my grandma made were a bit frillier, but I didn't think that would be quite right, so I went really simple with this. The basic idea is you take an embroidery hoop and stretch a piece of lace over it and then embellish. I hot-glued a cord and some beading along the edge, which also helps to keep the lace in place. I then glued some little enamel roses I had in my craft crap along the top, just to dress it up a bit. All done. The way it works is to slip the hook or post of the earring through the holes in the lace and then put the backs on on the back side. She really liked it. She liked it even more when I told her what it was. :)
That is all for my Christmas projects. For once I actually finished everything I wanted to get done. And on time, too. Go me!

p.s. I forgot, there was a project 5, but I never got any pictures taken. I bought some glass beer mugs and etched them for my husband and his father with their last initial. I made the stencils in a different font for each of their sets and made 4 mugs each. The etching was pretty easy, but cutting the stencils was a giant pain. It is a good thing they really liked them.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's not quite letterboxing...

but geocaching is pretty fun and, in some ways, easier.

I love letterboxing, and often describe it as treasure hunting with no treasure. Well, geocaching has the treasure. Well, at least it does if you consider small toys and trinkets treasure. Whatever. It is just as good.

Geocaching uses GPS coordinates instead of written clues, and is much more widespread. For example, there are 10-20 letterboxes in my metro area. There are more than 200 geocaches. I will never find them all. Which is a good thing.

The only real requirement is a GPS unit you can plug coordinates into and a computer with which to obtain those ingredients. The best site is the official geocaching site, www.geocaching.com. It is a free membership and there are thousands and thousands of caches everywhere.

I have added my GPS to my letterboxing kit and plan to look for them wherever I go. I recommend you do the same. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The first snow of the year

It started snowing last night. And continued all day. And is supposed to continue all night again. So far we have 6 inches. :)

I know, I know, I shouldn't be happy, since I have already seen one accident and 2 people going all squirrelly on the city streets, but I can't help but think of how pretty it is. I plan to spend the evening curled up on my couch in front of the lovely fire (pellet stove) and drink something warm and read my book.

I hope you enjoy the snow!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas Projects

Yet again I have high hopes for craft projects for this Christmas. There are several things I want to make for gifts, for friends, and for snacking.

I am going to make a set of salt-dough ornaments, for myself, and probably for a lot of other people. I am not sure I even did this when I was little, but I have an urge to use my cookie cutters, even if I don't make cookies with them. The pack of cutters came with a clay recipe on the bottom. I hope they turn out well, then I can give them out to my family and they will have something made by me on their trees.

Another gift to make for my friends is a set of lotion bars. I found this idea on the linked blog and love it. The are a solid bar and rubbing it with your hand melts is enough to spread on your skin. They can, of course be customized. I have a couple of friends coming over to help and we will make a bunch of them for gifts (and for ourselves). I will post pictures of the process.

Cookies. I don't know what types yet, but I love baking cookies and I want to come up with a few that people aren't used to. I think I have talked the girls at work into doing a cookie exchange for Christmas, so I will hopefully have several really great kinds without have to bake such a huge variety myself. If anyone has a great recipe or just a favorite, please share it. :)

Finally I have a couple of crochet projects that I need to finish up. These aren't really for Christmas, but I need to get them done. A few months ago (read: lots of months ago) I promised some friends a "craft it forward" gift. I have finished one and have two more almost done (including yours, Laura) but there is one that I have not even started and I am not sure what it is going to be.

That is a lot to accomplish in the next month, but I think it will be fun. I will try to be good and post lots of pictures of all of these things as they happen.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fall is here...with a vengeance.

Fall showed up a couple of weeks ago. It sort of crept on, sneaking in cooler weather and tinted leaves. Fall is always beautiful. Golden leaves on my sycamores, falling to create a pretty carpet on the lawn. Red trees, yellow trees, and green trees, all blended in a fall painting.

I would love to show you pictures of even more gold. However, yesterday, fall invited it's dear friend the wind to visit us. With a high wind warning and gusts of 50 miles per hour knocking out power around the state (although thankfully not mine) I have no leaves left. There are a fair number of them piled in my yard, but almost none left in the trees.

Bare trees leave me ready for winter. The cold wind continues tonight and makes it feel as though it could snow at any time. I know many across the northern parts of the country have snow already, but I will be happy to wait until after all of our travelling next week.

Just a side note, I somehow got my camera to take this picture right after the other. I don't know what I did, but it is sort of neat. Enjoy your fall.