Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

I have been having a very merry Christmas Vacation. It's been filled with many of my favorite things -- eating good food, lazing in jammies until noon, lots of crafting and puttering around, and


That’s right, I’m the proud owner of a brand spankin' new LAPTOP! She’s a beaut with her big, wide, crystal clear screen, and some fancy internal thingamajigs with lots of megamilatonobytes of pixelRAMS and fast whizzy horsepower stuff. And I think she has some kind of processor or something.

But most impressive of all, she has a built-in camera and a push-button control pad and a fingerprint scanner! And there's even a twee little remote control to…uhm…carry in my pocket when I have to leave her behind! Yes, I think it's so I can take a little piece of her along and never forget her.

She's really something.

I’ve wished for a laptop for a long time, but I wished in the way that I also wish to win the lottery, or have a maid, or live inside of Target. (You know, one of those fantasies that I don't really expect to happen.) But Santa was VERY generous this year. (And apparently I was REALLY good.)

So let me show all the amazing stuff I've been doing!

First I did this, early in the morning, while the rest of the house was sleeping:

Then everyone else was up and around, too, so I did this:

And later I did this:

And then I took a break to tell everyone good night. So that I could do this:

And then I realized that my eyeballs were completely dried up and exhausted from the hard day's work:

But I couldn’t stop, so I told myself I could follow just one more link.
And then I told myself the exact same thing TWO HOURS LATER:

But I just kept at it until I nearly fell asleep in the chair:
...which was when I noticed that there were crazy avatars with assignable moods, and so of course I had to turn myself into a puking cat, which kept me awake for another minute or two:

Until finally this happened:

Thank goodness the battery died SO I COULD FINALLY GO TO BED!!

This has been the Christmas Break of my dreams. Unlimited computing and crafting, tasty meals made by my hubby who's been home nearly every day, everyone warm and cozy and busy with new games and toys, no appointments, no schedule... Ahhhhhh...
Does it really have to end??

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hand-Knit with Love

I've been having some crafty fun around here lately. (And I've put in some long hours over at Santa's Sweatshop Workshop! I can hardly wait to show you, but I promised the big guy that I'd keep my secrets secret just a bit longer. Check back AFTER Christmas to see those photos.)

If you are being gifted by me in real life, you know what all that means, don't you? This:

Now I readily admit that there have been a few things along the years that haven't quite turned out the way I imagined them. Many of those are still in a drawer somewhere -- or even, possibly, a landfill -- but I'd like to think that I've come up with some really good stuff along the way, too. Right? Right?? Ok, thank you!

Now, if you happen to have in your possession one of my more questionable crafts...well, I apologize.

(But please note that I'm only apologizing for the ones that I agree are a little bad. The ones that I think are great but that you actually really sort of hate? Those you must continue to appreciate. heh.)

That's the thing about crafting -- it's all so subjective; one person's trash is another person's treasure. My craft might be your craftastrophe. (thanks for the site link, Rachel) Yep, that's right -- there's an entire website out there based on Crafts Gone Bad; their tagline reads "because handmade isn't always pretty."

(Be forewarned, things get rather cringe-y over there at times and it's often NSFW* but there are some classically tragic wonders to behold, for sure.)

It's given me a new standard by which to judge my projects, though, which is this: Would This Craft Look at Home on Craftastrophe?

Or, alternatively, What Would Craftastrophe Do? (I think making yourself a WWCD bracelet to wear while crafting could be a very good idea...)

So, with these questions in mind (and with bracelet on wrist)**, I would like to offer previews of some sweaters I knitted last night, just to get some viewer feedback and make sure I'm on the right track...

This first one is for my husband -- a nice manly vest in black, with appropriately understated applique:

The next sweater was created specially for my sister-in-law (the youngest, liveliest, most energetic member of our family) in a jaunty shade of green with the very latest in holiday embellishments:

(I envision it with a star that flashes and bells that jingle when she moves her arms...)

Finally, here is one for my mom, a classy, refined woman with classy, refined taste:

So how did I do? (giggle) Do you have any suggestions for me? Any design elements you'd recommend?

If so, please pop on over to the sweater shop at to design and "knit" your own custom sweater! It's great fun and only takes a minute, and then you can email your sweater to a friend with a custom message.

I want to see what you make, too! Send your knitted best to me at

I am a crafty force to be reckoned with this year. Get your Gift Faces on, folks.


*after seeing this phrase numerous times over the years, I FINALLY realized what it meant just yesterday: Not Suitable For Work. I had it somehow confounded by SWF (Single White Female) in my mind and interpreted it as a vague warning about the possibility of sleazy pop-ups or personal ads or spam if you click on the link... But now I'm in-the-know and can use it to make myself sound all hip and internetty! (And perhaps now you can, too!)

**(and with tongue in cheek!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Breaking News!: Suburban Housewife Unveils Bold Paint Choice, Inspires Others

I know, I know. My recent post about being stuck sounds a little shallow. It was all very Waa, paint! And Woe, all my things!! Such Suburban Dilemmas...I get that. Trust me, I do.

But the thing is I typically ENJOY doing the kinds of things I mentioned. (No, sorry, not cleaning or laundry or housework in general. No, thank you.) But being creative and making and changing and dreaming up stuff? Yes, please! I love it; it energizes me, it satisfies me. My lamenting was not so much about superficial material stuff as it was about BLANKNESS. Being just...out of it. My disconnect was disconcerting.

I'm still slightly meh about the world outside my door, but I'm incredibly relieved that my brain & I have resumed communications again!
Upcoming holiday deadlines festivities have helped kick me into gear, I think. Also, just taking on some creative challenges got the wheels a'turnin.

So, anyway, back to the paint situation. As I mentioned yesterday, I got Junior's room painted with some help from my daughter who was thrilled to assist. (No, really -- she was thrilled!) It seems my love of all things crafty -- and paint, in particular -- has been passed straight down to her.

I have received an inquiry regarding the color of the paint. Are any of the rest of you curious about the long-debated, long-awaited paint color selection, too? Are you prepared to be awed and amazed by the wellspring source of my inspiration??The color that felled the wall of blankness??

Brace yourself:

Now you just sit back and let it wash over you. Feel the power of that vibrant, stimulating, life-affirming, energizing, joyful, immutable, inspiring...LIGHT GRAY. (*snort*)

Who knows what bold craziness I'll dream up next? Grab your dentures, we're going out!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Earliest Works of a Painter-To-Be?

Actual bit of conversation that took place while my daughter and I were painting Junior's room the other day...

Tootsie: (discussing a friend from school) ...So, yeah, she says she wants to be a lawyer when she grows up. A lawyer! I do NOT get that!! Why would anyone want to be a lawyer??

me: Well, lawyers usually enjoy arguing sides, and doing lots of reading & research, and trying to make sure things are fair. So if she enjoys doing those kind of things, she'd probably be a good lawyer.

Tootsie: Yeah, she does like to...WAIT, did you hear that?!? Listen!

me: (worried) What?!

Tootsie: The PAINT! Wait -- ok, don't move. Listen!

(she rolls the freshly-loader paint roller slowly up and down a patch of wall again)

Tootsie: Ooooo, I LOVE that sound! Don't you?!

me: (grinning to myself) Yeah, I like to paint. I love seeing an entire room change just like that.

Tootsie: But doesn't it sound so neat?? Do you hear it?!

me: I do. It sounds kind of...juicy.

Tootsie: Huh, yeah, it just sounds so cool! I love that sound!! And look at it -- doesn't that look so neat, how it just goes like that? Look at this!

me: (amused by her enthusiasm) I bought an extra thick roller because this wall is textured, and it holds a lot of paint to help get in all those cracks. It is louder than normal -- because there's so much paint soaked into the roller.

Tootsie: (continuing) Yeah, so my friend wants to be a lawyer but....Wait a minute...where am I?!? Oh! (chuckling) For a minute there I couldn't remember what corner of the room I was in!! Heh! That was so weird. I need more paint!

me: ...?!? (bemusedly turning to watch her take a few steps to the paint tray)

Tootsie: (finding the paint tray and rolling and rolling to reload again) ...But I just don't get why anyone would want to be a lawyer. Ooooo, listen to it now!! I would hate to end up being a lawyer!

me: (trying not to laugh) Umm...well, I don't think you should worry too much about that happening...

Tootsie: Hey!! (looking up) Are you laughing at me?

me: Well, I am a's just that you kind of sound more like a painter than a lawyer to me! (grinning) And I think I also probably need to open up a window and try to get a little more fresh air in here now....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

'Tis the Season

Brace yourselves, because I've finally done a couple of things:
1. Purchased a can of paint!
2. Shopped for Christmas presents!
3. Elfed myself!

Stay tuned for photos of the mystery paint color and also for Jujyfruit's Christmas Gift Guide (2008 edition), both coming soon.

The elf item (#3 on the list) is ready for your viewing pleasure below. Click & enjoy! (and then go try it out -- it's hard to stay all meh when watching your elf self!)

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

These special e-cards are only available for a limited time, so hurry on over there and Elf Yourself today!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


You heard it's official, right? That "meh" is now in the dictionary?* That's helpful, because I'm using it a lot these days. (Also, I'm glad to hear the ever-useful "heh" is getting the notice it deserves; I'm a heavy user of that one, what with my frequent need for sarcasm or to sort of - kind of laugh, while simultaneously conveying that I'm a bit meh about it, and all.)

I feel the need to acknowledge my lack of posting lately. I continue to have a list of great ideas, but can't seem to get around to making them happen! It's partly the ongoing computer frustrations, partly lingering house stuff, partly general busyness, but it's mainly due to an ongoing period of meh-ness I seem to find myself in.

And as evidence of that theory, I will half-heartedly cut-and-paste this email I sent to a group of internet friends recently:
Hello, all. I've been checking in, but pretty much incommunicado lately. Don't know why exactly. I've been generally in a weird place these past weeks (months?). I don't really feel depressed, but just totally stuck. Definitely aimless, very nonproductive. Peaceful, with a touch of bitter. There needs to be a word for that in the English vocabulary, because it seems to be a fairly common state for me.

I think part of it is this new house. So much adrenalin to get here and through the initial icky stuff, but now I'm just immobilized. There are boxes I can't bring myself to unpack, paint colors I can't seem to select,pictures I don't know where to hang. But maybe the house is just a reflection of ME. Because I really do like being here, and am so much more relaxed. Perhaps its similar to D's situation: I've relaxed my emotional tone to the extent that I'm forgetting to...uh, well...MOVE, in my case. It sounds like a good thing on the surface, but there are things that really SHOULD be happening that just are NOT. I don't know what I'm doing with myself these days, and if you watched me on a time-lapse video, you wouldn't either.

This morning I was supposed to be going in to school to help roll out and cut gingerbread house pieces. Great idea, but they are making 52!! Sounded fun when I signed up, but was dreading it this morning. Then B woke up and said his stomach hurt and he's staying home from school today. Which means I am, too! And instead of being disappointed, I have been thrilled at this turn of events! Seriously warped that this would make my day.

So what will I do with these extra hours? Well...likely nothing. sigh.

See? Meh.

I'm thinking I should probably change the sidebar photo of me to one of these options:

( No, I didn't get a fresh new spunky haircut. That would indicate decidedly more intent and action than I have now, wouldn't it? We meh folks prefer to just leave stuff as is.)

I found these photos in an old file from 2006. And WOWIE WOW WOW have I aged in 2 years...!!** Current photos show a marked wrinkle between my eyes. Apparently I've had a chronically furrowed brow for 2 years straight, or something. Huh. And the bags under my eyes are now big enough to carry home some of that Christmas shopping I need to do. Not presents, of course -- they aren't that bad -- but I could definitely tote some stocking stuffer items around.

Now, in all fairness, I also have gained quite a few laugh lines around my eyes. I view that as a positive. I'm gonna focus on those.

So there you go. I slathered a nice, uncomfortable layer of seasonal meh all over the place just for you! Happy Holidays! (heh.)

But the nice thing is that typing all this helped me see what I need to do to move forward: I need to do whatever it is that will help create more of the laugh line wrinkles, and fewer of the furrowed brow ones.

The rest will follow.


*Just an F.Y.I. -- Blogger's SpellChecking Button didn't get the memo yet.

** It's possible that the middle-aged acne I've been experiencing could help offset the wrinkled effect and impart a certain youthfulness about me...but that might just be wishful thinking.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Oops, My Tendencies Are Showing!

Tonight I was looking up a recipe in my trusty old Betty Crocker's Cookbook (1990 edition). I grinned to myself as I skimmed over the section dividers, thinking how it's kinda funny that crazy Betty rank-ordered them in much the same way that I would put them!

You know, with the most important things towards the front?

She starts with Appetizers, Beverages, Bread, Cakes, Cookies, Eggs & Cheese, then a variety of Meats, and finally Veggies & Fruits as a chronically neglected afterthought (ahead only of Nutritional Information, which is essentially buried in the back)! I mean, seriously, in today's PC, health-conscious, nutritionally & ecologically responsible world, you just don't find a cookbook like THAT anymore!! I mean am I right, or am I right? But ol' Betty, she knows what's good!

...And then I realized that the whole thing was simply in ALPHABETICAL ORDER.