Surprise!

My mom sent me a text message the other morning which read: “Could you please update your blog so I’ll know what you’re up to?”

This text came in the day after my friend Paula told me she had a very vivid dream that I had published a book of all of the craft projects I’d been working on in secret, which was the reason I hadn’t been blogging in so long.

Sadly, no, I’m not working on a book, although that would be awesome, it’s just that I haven’t been up to much at all.   Continue reading →

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This One’s for Paula

This is the video that Paula has been asking for since the night it was recorded.  You see, Paula got a new Wii dancing game where you follow the figure on the screen and dance to score points for accuracy.  Unfortunately I seem to lack the ability to move the upper and lower half of my body at the same time – which Paula kindly informed me was actually the point of dancing – so this video is of me, very pathetically trying to follow the punky video girl dancing to K.C. and the Sunshine Band.  I’ve dubbed Shaggy’s “Dance and Shout” over the video since you couldn’t hear the music coming from the game anyway, what with all the laughing and all. Please enjoy.

(Click the image to go to Vimeo and play the video, or just click here: http://www.vimeo.com/8822137)

Everlasting Aquarium

Do you have a friend who just can’t keep her fish alive, no matter how hard she tries?  A friend who probably has a WANTED poster tacked up at the back of the aquatic area of every pet store in Connecticut?  A friend who wants to have fish but keeps mysteriously losing the ones she buys?  If you have a friend like this, have I got the perfect solution!  The everlasting, impossible to kill, no tank-cleaning required tropical aquarium.

A while back I had seen this post on Purl Bee about making magnetic, felt fish and it caught my eye.  I bookmarked it and went back a few times to look at it, then one day while trying to decide what to make a certain friend (cough!Paula) for her birthday, it hit me!  Fish that won’t die!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Some people have bad luck with houseplants, others have bad luck with fish.  This friend is one of these people.  No matter what she does for them, her fish keep croaking and I didn’t want her to get discouraged about losing so many fish so I thought I’d just give her a few that would never go belly up.

Each fish is made with layers of felt sewn together with a magnet sandwiched inside.  My handy-dandy husband cut out a piece of steel in the shape of a tank and I spray-painted it a nice shade of tropical blue.  I added some plants and a few rocks and, ta-da!  An everlasting aquarium!  Never again feel the pain of flushing a dead fish or feel shame when entering the fish store.  My friend (cough!Paula) can move the fish around and rearrange the tank and – even better – never worry about leaving these fish alone when she goes on vacation.  Pretty neat, huh?

Happy Birthday, Paula.  I hope you don’t mind that I told the Internet that you’re a fish-killer.  Oops, did I say that?

Chaos and Flowers

This weekend kicks off a week and a half of relaxation and parties that begins with a Friday afternoon hair appointment and ends with me dying of fun at the close of next weekend.

Friday we bring our friends’ camper to Luke’s cousin’s house to get ready for the big graduation party/summer pig roast extravaganza on Saturday.  There will be lots of food and SUNSHINE! and a live band.  I’m very excited.  At some point between now and then I have to make a million or so mini devil dogs for the party.  After probably staying up way too late Saturday night, I have to leave the party grounds Sunday morning to meet my sister at my house at noon to leave for a few days in Maine.

We’ll be in Maine playing on the beach, visiting the zoo and outlets, and generally having an awesome time until Wednesday when we come back and switch gears into birthday party mode.  Cameron’s 7th birthday party will be on Friday and I’ve promised to make his cake.  He requested one with a jousting match, a castle, queens, and knights fighting.  Also he wants it chocolate and vanilla.  Hmm… not sure how that one’s going to turn out.

The next day is the 4th of July which is PAULA’S BIRTHDAY! and also our favorite annual 4th of July party in Farmington for which I have to make something delicious.  After that I plan to go to bed early and not do anything until Monday.

This week has been chock full of preparations for the upcoming fun and I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday.  Monday was shopping day where I got almost everything I needed.  Yesterday was sewing day – because of course I need a new camera bag, headband, makeup bag, and the summer blouse from my Weekend Sewing book before I go.  The shirt needs to be finished, hopefully tonight in between all of the cooking.

Yes, tonight is cooking night.  I need to make a freeze a few meals for my not-helpless husband.  He could cook for himself, but I feel bad leaving to have fun while he’s slaving away at work.  I’m also going to make a batch of yogurt to bring to Maine, I’m going to make attempt #2 on the mozzarella, and I’m going to prep the desserts I’m bringing to the 4th of July party.  Oh, also the million mini devil dogs.  Are you tired yet?

I still have to buy the rest of Cameron’s birthday gift, finish up some crafting, and pack for two separate trips.  Phew!  I’m going to need a vacation after this vacation.  But I’m not complaining.  Barbecue, friends, beach, family, cake, and more friends?  Sounds perfect to me.

Oh, the weather outside…

This was yesterday, driving home in the snowstorm from Paula’s house in Eastford.  It was so pretty, although we lost a windshield wiper on the way home and spent two hours driving around trying to find a new one.  But still, so pretty.

This was the view this morning out in the sideyard.  Luke measured about nine inches of snow in Friday night, then it snowed all morning and afternoon on Saturday, and most of the day on Sunday so we must be up over a foot by now.  We should have a white Christmas for sure!

I confess…

DISCLAIMER: If talk of money and spending makes you feel stabby, please move on. I promise I won’t write many more posts about money, it just happens to be on my mind at the moment.

So, day two of the strike and I’ve already failed. Although Paula tells me that technically ice cream is a much-needed grocery store item, I specifically listed it as something we’d go without this week. And yet I bought a half gallon. But it was on sale! For $3! I was going to make ice cream with the ingredients I had on hand, but if you added up the milk and eggs and sugar I’d use to make one lousy quart, it would have cost more than $3. So I don’t feel totally bad. Only half bad.

Interestingly, not spending money has not been easy. I find this strange since I don’t have a lot of money and I don’t spend a lot of money, but apparently I spend a little money a lot of things. I was dying of thirst on the way to the grocery store where normally I’d but an iced coffee at the Dunkin Donuts, but not yesterday. I shopped thirsty. I was updating some things in my Etsy shop and saw some cute letterpress thank you cards that I love, and also something that would be a perfect gift for a friend. All totaled they would have only cost me $25 but I resisted. And hardest of all, there’s this song I heard in a store while I was shopping (hey, what a surprise) last week. I had the radio on over the weekend and I heard it again. I really like it but don’t know who sings it. I know if I go to the iTunes store I’ll find it in a second, but then I’ll want to buy it. It’s only a dollar after all. But NO! That’s how I get into trouble.

So I’m putting my blinders on. I’m not going to open the iTunes store. I’ll look the other way when I pass the Starbucks on my ride home from work knowing that there’s a pitcher of iced coffee in the fridge at home waiting for me, and I will avoid browsing Etsy when I’m bored. I can do it.

Good thing I didn’t proclaim that I’d quit spending AND Advil Cold & Sinus in one week. I don’t think I could handle that.

[sigh…]

What a weekend. I want to go back and live it all over again, it was just too perfect. It was one of those weekends where I was having too much fun to remember to take pictures. Now that’s something. I took Friday off to go to Sturbridge and shop with my mom. The weather was fantastic, we had lunch, we bought shoes, it was the most wonderful day.

Saturday we worked on the deck and in the yard. We went for a motorcycle ride and to a picnic with friends. Sunday we had a repeat of Saturday, complete with a picnic in the evening and a relaxing afternoon of sitting on the deck with our neighbors, enjoying the fact that we were SITTING ON THE DECK! Woo-hoo! Monday we finished up a few things in the yard and I planted some new things in the garden. Luke put up a screen door off the kitchen so I can leave the door to the deck open and not have to chase wasps and flies out of the house.

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect weekend. Oh wait, yes I could. Yesterday we went across the yard to our neighbor’s house so Luke could help our neighbor uncover his camper. We were sitting in his driveway on the side of the house facing our house, but now that the leaves are on the trees, we can’t see our house from our neighbor’s anymore. We were there for maybe a half hour, then we walked home and saw a note written in the dirt just off the deck left by Paula and Karlo! I can’t believe we missed that. I’m sorry Paula! That surprise visit would have really topped off the weekend.

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S’Mores Bites Update: I took them to two picnics this weekend and was frankly shocked at the response they got. People were coming up to me and thanking me personally for bringing them. They were a huge hit! I still think I’ll make the again with Fluff and see if I like them better, but apparently I’m in the minority. Everyone else seemed to think they were pretty yummy as they were.