Friday, May 27, 2011

In which I have an affair with ruffles

Seriously, I'm going to get back to real posts soon. I promise.

But tonight was this. For my friend.

A friend who I love (A LOT).

Enough to add a lens cap pocket with an "S."

To monogram, simply cut out a shape with your die cutting machine (I used my Silhouette) or use a stencil to pencil the letter in backwards on the back, then hand stitch around the letter. Super easy.

I used my leftover fabric from the curtains I hemmed months ago for my guest room. I'm pretty excited that she's going to have a piece of my guest room. Because if I choose anybody to get to come here to stay in my guest room? It'd be her.

Inspiration from here. Sending it here.

(I swear. Pinterest is going to flat-out kill me.)

(See also: I AM SO HAPPY.)

Monday, May 23, 2011

We got new toys today at work

And I?

Made mine pretty.

Did I mention crafting is my BikeMS reward?

Just making sure.

Hopefully Jack understands that too, because he's pretty hungry right now since I still haven't gotten around to making dinner.

Camera: Canon Rebel T3i, which, by the way, has a kick-butt video capability with a super-cool digital zoom that doesn't lose quality on the video setting. (Mind. Blown.)

There's a great tutorial for a camera strap here, though hers is much better than mine. :) I used a padding (Insul-bright needled insulated lining, which can also be used for pot holders, by the way!) to make mine softer, but it's came out pretty thick. I think in the future I'll either use the padding on just the bottom side or go with straight interfacing instead.

I learned how to make the fabric flowers here. (Thank you, Pinterest!)

I'd better go make Jack's dinner. It's almost midnight. If I don't cook before then, I think it's technically breakfast.


Update: I made this the next night using this (awesome) tutorial:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We may only have tonight

So, Jill Krause introduced me to Pinterest a while back, but when I went to sign up and see what it was all about, I discovered it was invite-only, and I think that anything that requires an invite is pretentious, so I said "screw that, I'm going with Evernote." Because I can keep track of things I find online with Evernote! I don't need an invite! I WILL NOT BE A PART OF THIS RIDICULOUSNESS!

And then Jill sent me an invite. And I checked it out. And then I LOST MY FREAKING MIND. I have spent the last two nights laying awake in bed, unable to sleep because I have been thinking about all of the home decor stuff and crafts that I've been pinning.

I wish I were kidding. It was so bad on Friday night that I went ahead and finally got back up at 3:30 a.m. and stained some wood. Seriously.

But if I can get my crazy brain to calm down about all of this, I think it will work to my advantage. Because I am officially inspired. And I officially have allowed myself to be, because, as I've mentioned before, crafting is my reward to myself for BikeMS. For at least a month.

So yesterday, I made this wall-hanging:

Total cost: $5. Oh yes.

I have been dying to make something for over our bed for a long time. It was just this boring empty space that was begging for a wall hanging. I figured I would make three canvases with a tree or something like Amanda did, but on Friday, I found this image on Pinterest:

That wall-hanging caught my eye. I loved that it was rustic-looking and made from planks put together. I didn't love that you couldn't really see what was written because it was black on dark brown, but the concept had me.

So I asked my parents if they had any scrap wood, and they gave me some fence pickets they had stored.

I was sneaking into our garage when Jack got home, noticed the mischevious look on my face, and looked at me, concerned.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Um, moving my car." I replied.

"Why are you moving your car?" he followed-up.

"Um... because I want to use the table saw."

Jack got the same look on his face that he always does when his wife is doing something crazy (which is lots of the time), and insisted the he would be cutting the wood for me, since there was a very high probability I would lose an appendage trying it.

After Jack cut the wood, I stained it (at midnight and 3:30 a.m. - see above about The Crazy), and after that was dry, I attached strips of particle board to the back with screws to attach them all together. As you see in step 3 above, I painted the side that would be facing the outside with our bedroom wall's color just in case you would be able to see the particle board strips through the slats (I don't think you actually can so this step may be optional).

After the wood was prepared, I started on my design. I picked a favorite quote to put on it and designed what I wanted it to look like in Photoshop. (It's from "Rhythm of Love" by the Plain White T's, which my brother insists is dirty when placed over a bed, but I just thought it was nice.) I used my Silhouette to cut out the letters and my ATG Gun to attach it to the wood. Originally, I had planned to seal the paper onto the wood with a clear coat on top, but after I saw how nicely they were attached and yet how easy they were to remove, I decided to leave it the way it was so that I had the option to change the quote or design later without having to make a whole new wood plank.

Optional next step: catch a snake in your bedroom immediately after hanging.

So, there you have it! My new wall hanging, for a total of $5 (that was for the wood stain). The wood may cost you a few more dollars if you don't have scrap wood around or aren't comfortable constantly stealing things from your parents. And of course, if you don't have a Silhouette or digital die cut machine, you can easily paint on a design, use die cuts, or stencil something on.

Finally, something to look at over the bed! I love it!

I'll see you around Pinterest - if you need a pretentious invite, let me know and I'll send you one. But you've been fairly warned - it is crack.

In which there are critters

Last night, I walked in the back door after dinner with Jack to find a huge slug in my back entryway. It was long and fat and slimy and disgusting, and it was oozing itself across the baseboard and up the wall.

I froze.

"Jaaaaackkkk????" I called. "There's a slug. I need you to get it out of here."

Jack was audibly annoyed from the other room.

"Can't you just get it yourself?" he called back.

"No. No I can't. Please, come get it," I pleaded, watching it leave a slimy trail across my wall as it traveled toward Maggie's food.

For some reason (he was afraid of it too), Jack had had it with my not ever wanting to catch disgusting crawly things myself, and he decided to take a stand against Crazy Mandy in that moment.

"I'm not getting it this time," he said, stubbornly. "I don't see why I should have to catch stuff every time. You do it."

He was grumpy. I was unable to let something like this stay in my house. Needless to say, this led to a fight, at which one point I yelled "WHY DID I GET MARRIED IF MY HUSBAND WON'T CATCH THE CRITTERS!?"

I should add that yelling during arguments is really out of character for us, but most of the reason for that was that we were still residing in different rooms during this exchange.

Anyway, Jack had resolved to finally make me do something for once, and I was there, alone, eyes on this living slime ball.

I don't really know how to explain what happens to me when I see a gecko or large bug in my house. My brain just sends "MUST WATCH IT SO IT DOESN'T ATTACK" signals to my muscles until I'm standing there, paralyzed, staring at the thing like a Neanderthal. I don't have any way to catch the critter without leaving, and if I leave, I'm 100% sure that said critter will escape/attack while I'm gone.

So I stood there, watching the slug, as if that's what would keep it from getting away. As if I would actually be able to do something if this slug all of the sudden rocketed across the wall and flew at my face like that rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

But it didn't do that (this time), probably because it's a slug and there's a reason that people say "as slow as a slug" (people say that, right?) or "sluggish." It's because slugs are slow.

Regardless, I stood there, watching it get closer to my beloved dog's food.

What if it gets in Maggie's food and eats her food? What if she accidentally eats it and it's a poisonous slug!? Then she'll DIE. THIS SLUG IS GOING TO KILL MY DOG!!!*

*Actual thoughts I thought in that moment.

Anyway, after about 10 minutes of silence, Jack stormed through the room, threw open the door to the garage, emerged a moment later with a dust pan, slamming the door behind him. He scooped up the slug and threw it outside, and then stormed back into the living room.

This moment just proves that 1) I can totally win any battle of wills by being my natural neurotic self, and 2) even when Jack tries to be a jerk because I'm being crazy, his natural instincts to take care of his woman does not allow it, and he has to do the chivalrous thing and remove the critter.

So, I won that one, I guess, though I paid for it during the next few hours in annoyed sighs, "I don't know why you just stand there and stare at it!"s, and silence.

Fast forward to today - Jack went to the lake with his friends and I stayed behind to finish a project 16 projects I've been working on/want to start (thanks a lot, Pinterest, I now have Crafting ADD.)

After I finished my beautiful new ($5!) over-the-bed wall hanging I made (I'm posting pictures tomorrow!), I headed to our room to hang it up. I had already put the screws in the wall (plus a few extra holes in the wall for good luck!), so all I had to do was stand up on the bed and place it up there.

As I stepped back off the bed after hanging it up, I happened to see a long black string over by my bedroom door. Except, the string was moving. Because THE STRING WAS A SNAKE.

I can't possibly tell you this without seeming even more crazy, but I am far less afraid of snakes than I am of geckos. And yes, I realize that many species of snakes are poisonous and zero species of geckos are poisonous. But the heart fears what it fears. There is no explaining it away. I have The Crazy.

But still, I'm not a huge fan of them.

But I was alone in the house, so I knew I'd have to do it myself. Plus, there was really no way Jack was going to get this one for me even if I waited for him to get home to get it; he's terrified of snakes. I was on my own.

I grabbed a vase that I had set aside to paint in the garage and a Corningware lid and headed back to the bedroom. The snake was still in the same spot but slowly inching along the baseboard. It looked like it was burrowing between the carpet and the baseboard. If he got under the carpet, it would be really bad news for the state of my Crazy.

And then I basically blacked out like those moms who lift cars off their babies, scared the snake back out of the baseboard, then scooped up the snake in the vase and put the lid on top.

My name is Stan I am scaly and disgusting and IMPRISONED!

I kept Stan in the vase in the foyer, lid on top, for the rest of the evening, because I was done with the adventures and didn't want to take any chances of running into a gecko while I carried the snake outside.

But at least I caught it. Myself. So, Jack? I'd say we're even for the slug thing now.

And honey? Can you get the next one too please?

I think I'm done.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Voice in my head

Today I turned on the TV and started flipping through the programs on the DVR before Jack got home.

Hmm... I thought, Grey's Anatomy, Glee... meh, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother... have to wait and watch those with Jack, Gilmore Girls, Friends... reruns, wait... where's The Voice?

I scrolled back to the top and down again.


I can't believe he did it again. He watched it without me and deleted it. I was really looking forward to watching that one, too. I'm going to have to talk to him. I mean, accidentally deleting Gilmore Girls after I fall asleep and miss half of it is one thing, but I wasn't even here! I can't believe he did this again!

And then I remembered.

We watched it last night. Together.

And I deleted it after we were done.

I think I need to start drinking. I don't think it would diminish my mental capacity much at all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In which there are no segues

  • I have been sewing. And painting. And folding paper things. And baking. And baking and baking and baking.

  • It was my reward for my BikeMS ride. Months of planning and training (and almost-there-please-help fundraising!) left me not much time for craftiness. So now? My dining room table is a mess.

  • (It's really my whole house.)

  • Does everybody hate bobbins as much as I do?

  • I got an Audible account recently, and then a radio transmitter for my iPhone, and Jack got me an iHome for my birthday, and the combination of those things have been completely wonderful. I am currently enjoying "One of our Thursdays is Missing," by Jasper Fforde, read by Emily Grey (if you haven't read the Thursday Next series, run, don't walk. It starts with "The Eyre Affair.")

  • For as long as I can remember, my mom has been very offended when others say "I read this book" when they really listened to the audio book. So hear this, world: I am not reading these books. I am listening to them.

  • While I sew. And bake. And paint. And fold paper things.

  • Audible really needs a book-sharing option. Hopefully someday soon it will have that functionality. Make it happen, Audible!!

  • This.

  • I made that last night. I think my self-rising flour broke. Because it did not rise. It did, however, turn into very nice biscotti when sliced and baked again.

  • Hooray.

  • Next time, I'm going to get vanilla bean ice cream, mix it up with the flour, add in slivered almonds and Craisins, slice it really thin, and make thin biscotti and put white chocolate on top.


  • We went to Six Flags this weekend with our karate school people. It was beautiful weather, which meant it was exactly the wrong time to go. People were everywhere. The lines were 2+ hours long. Note to self: go to Six Flags on a crappy weather day next time.

  • While in line for one of the rides, I saw a woman wearing a tube top with "I'd do me" screen-printed over her giant rolls of fat.


  • This wasn't the only really, really, really classless outfit I saw. My question: WHY, OH DEAR GOODNESS WHY!? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, AMERICA!? Is it Six Flags that makes you want to look like a cheap (by that, I mean, FREE, FREE, FREE FREE FREE FREE) tramp? Or do you just dress like that all the time?

  • Speaking of Six Flags, for some reason, one of the prizes at those "pay us $10 to play this game even though you just spent $60 to get in!" games was a basketball, so all over the park, you'd have kids dribbling the ball while walking and while standing in line for rides.

  • For two hours.

  • Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce. BOUNCE. BOUNCE. BOUNCE. BOUNCE. BOUNCEBOUNCEBOUNCEBOUNCE.

  • Until finally, while throwing it up in the air, he lost control of it and it went over the fence. And as we have learned, trying to retrieve it would have been a bad idea. So it was gone. I mean, right there, but gone.


  • That is what you call "natural selection on a smaller scale," and it was DELIGHTFUL.

  • I have this dill pickle obsession. I can't get enough of them. I think I may have a pickle deficiency. Or something medical that makes me inhaling pickles like some kind of addict okay.

  • I have zero self-control.

  • See also: May 3.

  • When I was at the store last night, getting my regular two jars of Vlasic Kosher Dill Spears that would last me about 36 hours, I noticed something. They have baby dill pickles. Like, whole pickles, except tiny. Tiny dill pickles.

  • I thought tiny pickles were only the sweet ones.


  • I apologize for that outburst. Sometimes, when you really, really believe in something, you get all passionate and scream-y about it. (See also: Christians!)

  • I fear this post will go on forever if I don't stop now.

  • Farewell.

The thing is, I can't afford smaller jeans right now anyway

And in case you're wondering, it's a strawberry cake with chocolate cream cheese/vanilla icing.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Five minute Friday - Deep Breath

So, evidently Blogger had a meltdown. There was fire, flooding, much gnashing of teeth, many tears, and possibly a grizzly bear attack.

But I had no idea. Because I haven't checked up on my blog in weeks... instead, I've been baking lots of things, trying to find ways to avoid doing laundry or cleaning the house, and rewarding myself for BikeMS with many creative projects (which I will share soon) and hours spent on the couch not working out or planning anything at all.

It's fabulous.

But between the crazy part of life and the relaxing part of life, I have found myself no longer blogging. Which is okay with me most of the time, since blogging should be a treat, not an obligation.

I'm quite the rule-breaker. I'm also not going to stick to five minutes here. AND! IT'S NOT EVEN FRIDAY!

I'm on fire over here with all the rebellious.

Anyway, this week's topic? Deep breath.

Which is funny, because lately, a deep breath is what I have needed.

This unpaid non-stop slave wife of a business owner thing. This BikeMS planning, fundraising, and training thing. This design business thing. This darn full-time job that they always seem to make me come back every day for thing. This not remembering the last date night we had thing. This messy house with not enough time to clean it but not enough money to hire somebody else to clean it thing. This never catching up thing.

Never. Catching. Up.

Jack has gotten in the habit of going out to dinner with his friends after work once a week. He's usually out kind of late, which means that I have a night to myself; a night where I don't have to cook dinner or watch what he wants to watch on TV. I don't have to listen to him talk about budgets or taekwondo schools or design t-shirts or update karate websites if I don't want to.

And yes, I could go out with my own friends that night, but instead, I enjoy my quiet house. I can clean and listen to my British audio book. I can totally mess a project up with my sewing machine or make a big mess in the kitchen making cupcakes.

And usually, even though I think it will, it doesn't help me catch up with much of anything.

But it's a few hours for just me. And it's one of the few deep breaths I get these days.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In which I ride a bike and learn about sunscreen

Usually I like to blog about BikeMS before the ride, but well, here we are, after the ride, and this is the first blog post I've had a moment to write about the ride.

Look! I made a video!

Even now, I don't have a lot of profound things to say. I feel very much the same as I did last year. You're all probably aware of why I ride. I've been shoving this cause down your throats for six years now, and I don't intend on quitting any time soon.

You are welcome.

But it really was a great ride. I finished all 86 miles for the first time, and I'm pretty excited about that. It was hard and great all at the same time. Riding this particular ride is ridiculously fun once you're on it, but I still dread riding every year because I know how much effort it takes. When they finally cure MS? You'll probably never see me on a bike again.

And more than anything, I am exhausted. More exhausted than any other year I've ridden, which is funny since day two was cancelled because of severe weather, so I got more rest than I had been expecting this weekend.

Except adding on the royal wedding on Friday at 4 a.m., then being up at 5 Saturday and Sunday, then the President's announcement late last night and work Monday morning were the perfect storm. And oh yeah, this year I was the captain, so that's slightly more work than just riding. It kind of sucks the life out of you, to be honest. And every moment I was walking dead today, I couldn't get past how it must be to feel like this all the time.


All. The. Time.

This is one of the main symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, and many people living with MS seriously do feel exhausted much of the time. It's one of those "invisible symptoms" so common to diseases like this. Most everybody I've talked to who has MS will say that that's the worst part - not the wheelchairs; not even the pain. The uncertainty and the fatigue messes with your life more than anything else.

And I believe it. I have only had a few days of fatigue and I'm getting stupider by the second.

So I'll take a few days of exhaustion for the people who feel like this all the time.

I'll struggle to get out of bed with my sore muscles this one week for the people who struggle to get out of bed every morning of their lives.

I'll grimace at my sunburned arms a little while for the people who can't lift theirs.

I'll sit carefully on my sore underside for a few days for the people who will sit in wheelchairs the majority of their lives.

I'll swallow my pride and beg for donations for the people who swallow their pride and ask for help to go to the bathroom every time they have to go.

Can you imagine that?

Neither can I. And when the MS Society accomplishes their goal, none of us will have to ever again.

Now there's a reality that's worth the exhaustion.


Thanks for considering making a small (or large!) donation to the MS Society on my behalf! You can do that here!