Monday, November 30, 2009

Can't sleep, clown will eat me

Dreams have always been a very interesting topic to me. I have a tendency to have really bizarre dreams and have several reoccurring dreams. Most of the time when we think of a nightmare, we think of being chased or hunted down, death and destruction sort of theme. But lately, it seems like a lot of people have been telling me about nightmares involving losing their job or getting a new job. Must be the recession. Here's a few nightmares I've had:
1. Bad feedback on Etsy. Insane, I know. I actually had to get up one night to make sure it was a nightmare.
2. Having to return to a former job working for a former boss, both of which I abhor.
3. Being dragged to an underwater death by an alligator. (I live in Iowa - not a place where reptiles thrive.) This is a reoccurring one I've had since childhood.
4. Being kidnapped and forced to sell watermelons out of a garage and not allowed to go to the bathroom - another reoccurring one that I still have occasionally as an adult. (This one always end with me waking up and running to the bathroom to pee!)
5. Being pursued by a man-eating glob of toothpaste. That's not a typo. I'm serious. I had this one several times as a child, but not since. It is a very long dream that I can remember a lot of details about.

I also have a few reoccuring places in my dreams. The most memorable of these is a huge house. For the most part, there is only one room per floor and it's probably about 20 stories. Typically I am running up the stairs, trying to find some place to hide from whatever happens to be after me during that particular dream. The dream always ends in a room with mauve walls and framed black and white photographs, hung floor to ceiling. For whatever reason, this is where I always realize it's a dream and I've been there before and can wake myself up.

What's a weird dream you've had, either recently or as a child?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nom, nom, nom

We have two cats. Alven:

And Winston:

They are both very entertaining and sweet and have inspired a few of the "I hate cats" crowd, to give felines a second chance. Probably because they both seem to think they are dogs. They both fetch and beg to go outside. They greet guests at the door and are generally dopey.

Alven has always chewed on shoes, but thankfully, he prefers cheap flip flops. He's ruined many, many pairs, but all together they probably cost less than $50. In the last couple of weeks, Winston has decided to chew as well. His tastes are not nearly so discriminating. He'll chew anything as far as I can tell, and the bigger, the better.

Things I saw Winston chew on this weekend: the toilet bowl brush, followed immediately by my toothbrush, the faucet in the bathroom, my sweater, the coffee table, the ottoman, a penny, the laptop, a sconce, the entertainment center, a thumb tack, a plastic baggie, a measuring tape, speaker wire, the closet door, a pair of scissors and the metal handle to my dresser drawer. What is wrong with him?!?!

We say Winston has two personalities, think Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Personality #1 is Winston, who is sweet and cuddly and so easy going he's like a rag doll. This cat lets my friends' kids pull on the skin of his head until his eyeballs disappear without so much as a meow. This cat inspires people who detest all cats to wish they could have a kitty like him. Then there's the Meatball, personality #2. The Meatball runs around the house at full speed, crashing into book cases, trying to run up the wall and summersaults down the basement stairs. And now, the Meatball chews everything.

Does anyone know if this is a sign that he's missing a nutrient or something? He's 1 1/2 so I think he's way to old to be teething. I'd love some advice if anyone has dealt with this before.

Alven lounging in the office window, one of his favorite spots.

Alven two Christmases ago, when he unrolled six rolls of wrapping paper, chewed on a bunch of it, then laid in it purring.

A very angry Winston after his first bath.

Winston watching the Olympics. He loved volleyball and trampolining the most.

Winston laying right on top of Alven for a nap.

And then there were three

I've been busy sewing this weekend. I enjoy doing it, but it sure makes time fly - which isn't really what I'm looking for on the weekend. I made seven totes yesterday and I'm down to three more custom orders. Hooray! I would be done if I had just done custom order bags, but I made a couple for gifts and make a couple to put in my shop. I made three out of the fox fabric from Ikea.

Unfortunately, the fox is just not in a good position on the fabric to be featured front and center on a tote. Fortunately, there are a lot of other cute things on the pattern and the bags turned out really good. Here's the one that is available on Etsy.

I have enough of this fabric to make three more, which I have all cut out, but it will probably be a while before I get to them.

Three of the other totes were also from Ikea fabric. They turned out really good and, again, two were spoken for, but one has made it onto Etsy.

The seventh tote I made yesterday was the last of the Running in Circles fabric. The weight and texture of this canvas is really nice.

I only have three more custom orders for Christmas, which I hope to get done today. I'll post pictures if I do. It is for sale in my shop.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has a happy and filling day. If you're traveling, be safe and take my grandma's advice: whenever we were traveling she always told us to "watch for deer." This week is the biggest travel time of the year and traffic was already bad yesterday by lunch time, so be careful and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holey donuts!

I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of donuts. There are some delicious ones out there, but most of them are just ok. I found Holey Donuts on Fun Fabulous Finds, who is doing a giveaway! These are low and reduced fat and they seriously look good enough to buy a deep freeze for. If I don't win the giveaway (and none of you do either - because if you do, you must share with me!) I am going to buy some so I can tell you exactly how delicious they are. Heather over at FFF says they are great and highly recommends the cinnamon bun middles.

I've been really into coconut lately and want to try the coconut cream pies and the fudge crumb boston cremes look amazing too.

Tip for the day

My tip stems from selfishness and is directed at my fellow bloggers. It drives me nuts when I click on a link in a post and it takes me to the link within the same window as I was reading the blog. I wasn't done reading your post! Now if your link is really interesting and I click through a number of pages, it takes me forever to back up to your post. Here's the solution: add this

behind your a href but before the closing bracket. Here's an example:

 The result is the link will open in a new window or tab.

Blank Target link: My Etsy Shop
No Target link: My Etsy Shop

It will make me (and others) stay on your blog and easily be able to pick up where we left off.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Down in the dumps

Feeling really crappy and down in the dumps today. Anyone have a good, uplifting story to cheer me up?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Seven and seven

Not the drink. I finished seven totes this weekend and have seven custom order totes left for Christmas orders. Hooray! I must admit, I was skeptical of this candy cane fabric but agreed when I was asked to make a tote out of it for a gift bag. Now that it's done, it is actually kinda cute.

Rollercoaster ride of a day

I've accomplished a lot today. Made three more custom order totes. These first two with the Shih Tzu appliques go with the pink paisley ones showed in my last post. They turned out really good.

When I was just about done with the second tote, my sewing machine stopped working. Well, it ran, but made a giant wad of thread around the bobbin and generally made a mess. I worked on it for over an hour with no luck. I finally got frustrated enough I walked away and came back about half an hour later. It worked just fine then. Absolutely no reason it stopped working and no reason it started working again. I'm happy it's going again, but I still don't have solution if it happens again.

The other tote I made today is a University of Nebraska. I only have two more sports one left (both Chicago Bears) and I cannot wait until they are done! The custom order list is now into the single digits which is thrilling. These three are all sold, but I'll let you know next time I get one listed in the shop that isn't already sold!

One reason I really like sewing is the way my mind wonders while sewing. It's kind of like playing a free association mind game for hours at a time. Sometimes I have great ideas and day dreams. Sometimes I have horrible realizations. Last week one of our cats peed on my duffel bag. Today, out of the blue, I remembered that my iPod was in the pocket of the bag when I put it in the washer. Crap. The two positive things are 1) it was in its case, in a pocket, in a bag, so hopefully it got as little water and beating possible. 2) I didn't dry the bag so it didn't get as beat up as it could have.

When I realized what I'd done, I stopped sewing and called a friend who is a manager at an Apple store. His suggestion: DO NOT TURN IT ON! Which, luckily, I hadn't. Then he told me to put it in a baggie with white rice for a week. The hope is that the rice will absorb all the water that may be inside it and it will be dry when I turn it on next Sunday and work. Please keep my pretty pink iPod in your prayers this week.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pretty in pink paisley

Finished these up a few minutes ago. I have to say, they are the prettiest totes so far. The two on the bottom with the green trim are already sold. There are two white ones that will go with this same order with pink paisley Shih Tzu appliques. Haven't started those but hopefully will get them completed this weekend. The one pictured in the top two photos is now listed in my shop. I do have a little more of this fabric so if you are interested in two or three matching ones, let me know.

Not sure what's up with the lighting between these three pictures. The windows were open so the sun must have been going behind clouds and coming back out in the 5 minutes I spent take them. No time to fix them now. The colors are most accurate in the top photo (at least on my screen!)

Where did the time go?

When we were kids, it seemed like it took eons to get from Halloween to Christmas and my mom seemed to be running around frantically those entire two months. I get it now. How is it possible that it's November 21st? Seriously, it feels like it should be September still. I think having all the custom order totes for Christmas looming over my head is making time go at warp speed. I had plans every night this week except Tuesday so I only finished two more Iowa Hawkeye totes.

This morning I started on four more custom orders plus one that will actually get listed in my shop before it's sold. These aren't sports related because I need a break from that for a while. I am hoping to get them done yet today and I'll put some more pictures up.

Yesterday afternoon I went Christmas shopping. Crossed several more people off my list, which feels good. I'd say I'm well over halfway through. I am having a really hard time finding things to put in my parents' stockings this year. Any one have any good ideas?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Making something new

I eat meat. It's not my favorite thing and I'm pretty sure I could do without it, but I eat it. I have a mild iron deficiency but usually forget all about it until it comes time to donate blood when I only have enough iron about 50 percent of the time to actually do the donation. But every once in a while my body reminds me by crazy red meat cravings. Usually in the form of really wanting beef jerky, which normally I don't even like very much. This time instead of buying the expensive, slightly disgusting store variety, I hijacked my dad's dehydrator and made my own. It was really easy and turned out so good! Here's the recipe I used from with some slight variations from me:
Buy a 2 pound roast or steak or whatever your butcher recommends and get him/her to slice it thinly for you (most will do it for free). This saved a ton of time and headache.
1. Mix together:
    * 1/4 cup soy sauce
    * 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    * 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
    * 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    * 1 teaspoon meat tenderizer
    * 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    * 1 teaspoon onion powder
    * 1 teaspoon paprika
2. Place beef strips in the bottom of a large bowl.
3. Pour seasoning mixture over meat and mix to assure all the strips are evenly coated. (I put the lid on and shook it up.)
4. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
5. Arrange the meat strips on the tray of a dehydrator and dry at your dehydrator's highest setting until done to your liking, at least 4 hours. Store in an airtight container or resealable bags.
(I'd post a picture, but beef jerky isn't very pretty!)

My next adventure is making goat cheese (chevre). I told you wanted to order a cheese making kit in the I Heart Goat Cheese post. Now I finally ordered a kit from Urban Cheesecraft on Etsy. It's taken me trips to grocery stores in three towns, several phone calls to other stores and calls to two goat farms, but I finally found goat milk that isn't ULTRA-pasturized at Campbell's Nutrition in Des Moines. I am going to pick some up on Monday. I'll let you know how my first batch turns out. I am hoping it's good enough to take to the in-laws for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordle is fun

I'm not exactly sure why I get so much pleasure out of but I could play with it all day. Enter some text or a web address and TA DA! it makes a collage out of the words. You can changes the colors, fonts and layout - even remove common words like "the" and "and." The more times the word shows up in your selected text, the bigger it is in the final product. Here's a few I made by using the url of this blog.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Must go to MOMA, very soon

When I went to NYC last year, my favorite place was the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). I never wanted to leave. Seriously, I could live there. Now MOMA is having a Tim Burton exhibit.

I. Love. Tim. Burton.

My favorite movie is The Nightmare Before Christmas, but I love almost his entire list. Sweeney Todd, Edward Scissorhands, Mars Attacks (We come in peace!), Big Fish, Beetle Juice, Batman and Frankenweenie. Love them all. I cannot wait for Alice in Wonderland to come out. I was even the Queen of Hearts for Halloween this year (and was Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd last year.)

Here's a little promo video and then a "Behind the Scenes" with Tim. I will go to NYC before April 26th, no question.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Where my loyalties are

There are three state universities in Iowa. Iowa State University (ISU), University of Iowa (UI) and Universirty of Northern Iowa (UNI). I grew up in a house of UI fans, but we rooted for ISU and UNI too - afterall, they are all Iowa schools. Then I went to ISU and my little brother and sister went to UNI now my parents are way more likely to be wearing yellow with red (ISU) or purple (UNI) than with black (UI).

Over the years I have shied away from rooting for UI, not because of the school or teams, but because of the fans, not all of the fans, but that select few that are intolerable. The Hawkeye football team is doing really well this year and Hawkeye fever is sweeping the state and has reached my It's Easy Being Green business on Etsy. Here's the first three custom order ones I've made; I have two more football specific UI ones I am working on.

Five Hawkeye totes, 1 Nebraska tote and 2 Chicago Bears totes. No ISU totes. Boo. I think after this batch of sports team themed totes, I'm done with them. I don't get the thrill of "It's so cute!" when I'm done, which is really the best part of sewing. These felt a lot more like work than I'd prefer.

Autumn awesomeness

I love summer. Hands down, it's my favorite time of the year. 95 degrees with 80 percent humidity? Yes, please. While I have a love affair with summer, I have a quiet, close friendship with autumn. It's one of those relationships where you can go a long time without speaking and you kind of forget you miss the other one, until you get together again and its like you never missed a day. All year long I long for summer, except for fall, when I remember that I love it too.

Anyway, my desktop wallpaper and icon graphics were still Halloween this morning, and although it's my favorite holiday, I decided it's time for me to move on for the year. I went to PixelGirlPresents - a favorite for fun desktops and icons - and I wasn't disappointed.

I found these Leaves icons right away. I love that they look so real and beautiful. There are lot of other good ones on the site, especially for holidays. I mixed this set with another autumn set I got last year. Here's the result on my desktop:

So pretty. She leaves all the seasons and holidays up year round, so stop by and grab a few sets and your icons can be festive all year long!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A few more

Last night and this morning I made 7 totes. Four of those are pre-orders, but the good news is the other three are now in my Etsy shop. All three of the are the last of the fabric I have in those patterns, so if you're interested in them, I'd get them now, because they have been really popular prints and the previous totes sold fast. I'm not quite done with the other four; they still need their handles and appliques sewn on. Hopefully I'll get that done tomorrow and get at least one, if not more additional totes made. I'll feel a little better when my pre-ordered number is under twenty!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Friday 56

I found this game on Snowball Jewelry's blog. It's fun! Here's the rules:
1. Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
2. Turn to page 56.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post that sentence along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this post.
5. Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
6. Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Here's my sentence:
In his collection of old tool manuals and vintage magazines, Burruso found a photo of a hand holding a hammer, which evoked the word "smash," and another man clad in suit, which suggested a business executive.
It's from a book called Graphic Design that Works. I really enjoy the randomness of this game. Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things

We spent over $1300 on cars this week between a breakdown plus towing on the car, new breaks and schedule maintainence on the truck and car insurance premiums for 6 months. With Christmas coming up, we don't have a lot of cash to spare, so I've been admiring a few things on Etsy, knowing they aren't in the cards for me right now, but one can dream...

I'm a graphic designer and most of us have font and character fetishes. I'm no exception. The ampersands character is one of my favorites. This is the Epershand Necklace from the Ampersand Collection at Islette's etsy shop. Love it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Around the World

Google Analytics lets you track a ton of different things about the people who are using your website, blog or Etsy shop. One of the more entertaining (but I'm not sure how useful) is where your users are from. I have at people in 22 different countries visit my Etsy shop. Here's my list:
New Zealand
I am sure some of them are spammers, but it's still fun to thing that people in all those countries have taken a look in my store.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New prints

My friend went to Minneapolis this weekend and I sent her armed with money and a list of fabric from Ikea. THANK YOU, SHANNON! I am so excited about these new fabrics! I have sold totes made with the caged bird fabric previously and I already have totes ordered from the hot pink and fox fabrics. I better get busy!

If I ever get all my pre-ordered totes done, these will be the next ones to go in my poor, nearly empty shop.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Des Moines Sculpture Garden

I don't have much to post today, so I thought I'd share some more pictures from the sculpture park that we took yesterday.

The top photo is looking up into the letter sculputer. I admit as a graphic designer I have a font/letters fetish, but I really think this a great piece of art. The bottom photo is a compilation of 20 photos taken 360 degrees from the hill in the center of the park. Windows Live put them all together to creat this panorama. It's so tiny on here, it really doesn't do it justice, but it's really amazing. If you click on the picture, it should bring up a larger version, which is better but still not big enough. To give you an idea, the actual panorma is 75 inches wide!


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