November 20, 2012

Remember to be Thankful Vol. 6

This sixth installation completes my 30 days of thankfulness.

So without futher ado:

Day 26: Mini, home-made apple pies. I am thankful for the time I get to spend alone in the kitchen baking wonderful treats for those that I love.

Day 27: More techie gadgets! I am thankful for the ability to have a book with me at all times and to be able to get a new one with the click of a button. I still love the feel of paper books, but am so happy to have my kindle as well.

Day 28: ChapStick. Because no one is thankful for chapped lips.

Day 29: Fall leaves and cool weather. I am thankful to be able to experience changing seasons and nature's beauty.

Day 30: Truffles. And new experiences. I love taking on challenges in baking. After all, I have to work to maintain my Betty status.

November 18, 2012


“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
- Charles William Eliot                                          

This is a lesson I want to teach my future children. I went through a stage when I was younger where I didn't like reading. I spent most of elementary school refusing to read anything that I didn't have to read for school. In middle school, I can remember overhearing one of my teachers saying that she could pick out the students who would get scholarships later on because they always had a book with them now. It was this comment, not even meant for me, that changed my mind about reading for fun. From then on I tried to have a book with me at all times. And before I knew it, I wanted to have a book with me at all times (I also pulled in a few scholarships). Now as an adult I read whatever I can, whenever I can.

Thanks to Project Gutenberg and my Kindle, I have been trying to read some of the "classics" that have been on my list.  One of those is L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

I am so glad that I finally read this story. Everyone has seen the movie, and it was a fantastic feat in its day, but the original story is so much better! The imagery paired with child-friendly adversity and a simple but meaningful plot make this a book that I would gladly read over and over to my children.

If you have never read the original, or if you haven't read it recently, please do so. You won't regret it.

November 15, 2012

Remember to be Thankful Vol. 5

Day 21: Crafty mornings with friends. Coffee and pastries and reality shows that make your life seem so very normal.

Day 22: Ham and cheese sandwiches. So simple and so delicious. These have been my favorite since I was just a little kid.

Day 23: Reusable bottles. Thoughtful, useful gifts from my guy. And most importantly clean water to drink.

Day 24: Plaid! I am thankful that it is the time of year when I get to break out this beautiful bag for a few months!

Day 25: Hair salons, pretty hair and stylists that listen to my requests. Choosing a hair salon is stressful for me, so I am thankful for friends that act as guinea pigs.

November 12, 2012

Reading Good Books...

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.”
-Mary Ann Shaffer     

I love reading good books and I could not agree more with this quote. I recently experienced such ruin when I switched from "A Song of Ice and Fire" to reading books from the Star Wars universe. George R.R. Martin is a genius, his books are thoughtful and complex. I think the first book after reading ones of this caliber would have felt like a little dull no matter what it was. Nonetheless, this geek girl still loves the ever-expanding Star Wars lore. Even though these books may never be considered literature, they are still worth the read if you are a sci-fi fan like me.

I recently finished Fatal Alliance: Star Wars (The Old Republic) by Sean Williams

This is one of several books that take place during the "Old Republic" in SW lore. I was first turned on to these books early this year when Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG came out. Nerd Alert! I know! The Game takes place at the same time, so it was fun to learn more about the back story associated with what I was playing. 

Just is case you are as geeky as I am, you may be interested to know that SWTOR goes free-to-play this Thursday!

November 11, 2012

Remember to be Thankful Vol. 4

Day 16: I am thankful for artistic writings in the form of short prose and long novels. I am deeply thankful to be able to count myself among those who know a love like this. To know that I have found the sun to my earth and to have a light in the sky even during the darkest night.

Day 17: Magazines. I love getting mail, especially when it is a surprise 2-year subscription to my favorite magazine. Thanks mom!

Day 18: Coffee! Need I say more?

Day 19: Shadow kittens, even though this particular being makes more noise than anything that size should ever make. I am thankful every night when I get home and she rushes to the front door to greet me with a little kitten meow. I am thankful for pet-friendly landlords. No home should be without at least one four-legged friend to cuddle with.

Day 20: Night shift. There are some not-so-positive aspects, but I am thankful for working evenings. And I am thankful to have a night owl for a fiancee, who is always awake when I get home at midnight.

November 8, 2012

Paper Pine Cone Pretties

Here is the first of my homemade holiday decorations. After making some adjustments to the original template (found here), and finding the right thread, needle, and bead combinations, I only ended up with one finished pine cone. But, now that those lessons are learned the next session should move along a littler easier.

My first little pine cone in what will soon become a beautiful garland.

  • Card stock. I chose some metallic blues and browns, and plain white
  • Beads
  • Embroidery Thread. The original tutorial calls for wire, but since I am making a garland and not individual ornaments I thought thread would be a better choice

November 7, 2012

Winter is Coming

No, no, you don't have to worry about White Walkers or Dire Wolves, but winter is right around the corner here in NY and winter means holidays! I am thrilled to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my family this year, but after that comes my least favorite holiday of the year...

I won't get into my feelings on this dreaded holiday, except to say that I do enjoy some parts of it. Mostly fir trees, snow, and wrapping gifts. Since I have a big, beautiful house this year I am going to try my best to actually put up some winter decorations, something I haven't done in four years. Thanks to Pinterest, I have a pretty good plan in my head for what I want to do.

I don't really like "traditional" holiday decorations. I think they can be very pretty when done right, they just don't fit with my style or my personality. Instead, I lean more towards winter decorations focusing on nature. When I have decorated in the past, I've used wintery hues of blue, white, and silver, with some real evergreen in the mix in the form of a tree and wreaths. I am hoping to build on this theme with a few handmade extras this year.

1. I fell in love with this holiday wreath the moment I saw it. You can find the full tutorial from Whipper Berry. For my theme I am thinking about making the whole wreath white and adding a blue or silver bow. I am also tossing around the idea of working in some lights if I can figure that out.

2. Snowflakes! I love snow! I mean love, love snow! I have been a snow bunny since before I could walk. My mom loves snow, my dad loves snow, my fiancee loves snow! So it is safe to say my decorations will celebrate this wonderful piece of nature. This snowflake curtain can be found at Bugs and Fishes. It looks like it could be a little time consuming, but the great thing about decorating for winter is that the decorations don't have to come down at the beginning of January!

3. More snowflakes!. These simple little hot glue snowflakes come to you courtesy of Pitter&Glink via Under the Table and Dreaming.

4.  In addition to a real Fir tree, these cute little paper trees seem like they would be perfect lining the top of the mantle, buffet, or in a little cluster on the dining room table. Leave it to Martha for such cute and easy holiday staples.

5.  Back to Martha for this adorable little Jingle Bell wreath. I am thinking one of these on every door with a variety of white, silver, and blue ribbons.

6.  Finally, my fascination with pine cones can continue into the holidays with these amazing little paper ornaments. Canadian Living has step-by-step instructions. I'm thinking of making a garland instead of single ornaments.

My plan is to get through most of these in November so I will be all set to decorate after Ryan's birthday. Wish me luck and keep an eye out, I'll try to post the successes as they are finished!

November 6, 2012

Remember to be Thankful Vol. 3

(With this post I have caught up. All following posts should be every five days)

Day 11: I am thankful for bamboo knitting needles, wool yarn, and "Knitting for Dummies". I am thankful to have been raised in a crafty family and I am thankful for the ability to teach myself new craft techniques.

Day 12: I am thankful that the NYS DMV is worlds easier than its equivalent in Missouri. I am extremely thankful to be able to have my own car to drive myself to work every morning. And I am thankful for my father, who is a mechanic, and who began teaching me about cars and engines at a very young age.

Day 13:  Techie gadgets!

Day 14: My sewing machine. For all the times I swear at it, it never gets its feelings hurt.

Day 15: Flowers and blooms in November with snow flurries in the air. I have no idea why these flowers decided to bloom so late, but I couldn't help but smile when I saw that little pop of color in the back yard. I am so thankful for this beautiful Earth that we are guests upon.

November 5, 2012

Remember to be Thankful Vol. 2

Day 6: I am thankful for Halloween, decorations, and candy corn

Day 7: Plants of all shapes and sizes. This little guy is an "Elephant Bush". I am also thankful for Elephants!

Day 8: Photogenic kittens.

Day 9: Scarves. These multipurpose little beauties are both form and function. In addition, I get loads of compliments on days that I wear them. I am thankful for vanity in small doses.

Day 10: I am thankful for candles! Superstorm Sandy knocked out our power for close to three days. I am very grateful that it was just a matter of power and nothing more serious.  Playing Trivial Pursuit by candle light with the hubs is a nice way to get away from the rush of everyday. So, I am also thankful for board games that can be played by candle light.

November 2, 2012

Remember to be Thankful Vol. 1

This is the time of year that everyone starts their Thankful 30 lists on facebook and the like. I decided I would try something a little different. I am trying to take one photo a day of things that I am thankful for. My intention is for this to be a year-long project and not something that I let slide once Thanksgiving is over. It is important for me to remember to be thankful. Especially when life gets a little rough, because even then, I have so much that I am truly thankful for.

To keep me on track, I will be posting what I am thankful for five photos at a time.

 Day 1: I am thankful for good books, science fiction, and growing up in a family that valued my education

Day 2: Watches, I would be lost without them. I am also thankful for the time spent in Germany that taught me to read a 24 hour clock without hesitation.

Day 3: Color! And a mom that loves Crayola and who spent my entire life encouraging and inspiring my creativity.

Day 4: Good beer and the friends that I share it with.

Day 5: Ryan and Bagheera. These boys have been around at the lowest and the highest points of my adult life. They bring me more joy than I could ever express. I love them both with all of my heart and I am thankful for them every day!