Saturday, February 27, 2010

Somebody Stop Me....

because this is way too addicting.  I am loving the immediate gratification of this thing.  Usually when I knit, I work for about a jillion hours, and when I look at the work, it looks about the same.  A slightly longer sleeve, a slightly longer sock, but nothing dramatic.  I can't tell you how much I like being able to churn out a little square in half an hour!

As yesterday decided to cover itself in snow, I got quite a few of the silly little squares done.  (I figure if everyone else gets a snow day, then I get one too.)  Today it's back to real life - Tobie has his last obedience class this afternoon.  He's smart as a whip, but still has quite the attitude.  When I mention that to any sort of animal professional (vet, trainer, etc.) the answer is always, "Well, he is a terrier..."  I've decided that he's like that really smart, really obnoxious kid in your class that you can't help liking the best.  Happy graduation, Tobie!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oh The Humanity!

Big Trouble has started exclaiming this recently.  Today it seems especially appropriate, because their school will be closing early because of...............RAIN.  Yes, rain.  Supposedly snow will be coming, but apparently we are all frightened by the droplets of water falling from the sky.  Good times.

On a knitting note, because I don't have anything else to do (you know, like find a job or study for my upcoming yucky teaching tests....) I was cruising the web and found a project that had been done with the ends of sock yarn.  Every time I make socks, I'm always left with a pile of yarn that I can't bear to throw away, but don't really have a use for.  I did make some Barbie clothes for Miss Serious, but I have amassed more over the years, so this seemed to fit the bill.

It's fun to knit, and I must admit I like the instant gratification of being able to finish a square in about half an hour.  Much more appealing than knitting forever on a sweater sleeve which never seems to get longer.  I've realized, however, that I'm going to need to supplement my leftovers, or I would be knitting on this thing for the next 20 years as I finish socks. 

A bit of amusement on this treacherous, rainy day.....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Back to School

Well, the week of school vacation is over.  Big Trouble recovered from a stomach virus (he got all of the vomiting out of the way at Grandma & Grandpa's - sorry!), Miss Serious worked on her science fair project (yes, those letters are made with the Cricut - see how crucial it was that I purchase it...), 
we spent many hundreds of dollars at the vet because Tobie wasn't feeling well (doing much better now), The Professor took the kids to a program to view the constellations on a frigid evening (they enjoyed it), I made some cards, the kids played in the snow and went sledding (we borrowed friends' sleds - we tried to buy some at Target, but apparently it is impossible to buy anything winter related during winter.  There was, however, a giant assortment of pool toys available...), I finished knitting a sock, and all in all we had a nice week.

Now vacation is over, and I need to start studying in earnest for my teacher tests.  Yes, that's right, at the tender age of only hours away from 40 I will be sitting in a room on two separate occasions for 4 hours at a time with recent, fresh-faced college graduates, and taking tests for certification in CT. 

I think my excitement is palpable....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Waterfalls in Winter...

Due to a combination of school vacation, snow all day, and Big Trouble recovering from a stomach virus, we stayed in and made some cards.  Miss Serious and I decided to try out something called a waterfall card which I've seen floating around these here internets, and here is my version.  I thought I'd include directions, in case anyone wants to play along at home.

The card is made up of 4 equal-sized images mounted on a long strip.  For this card, I used:

Card base: 6 X 6 1/2 folded white cardstock
Layers for front: 6 X 3 1/4 black, 5 7/8 X 3 1/8 pink, 5 5/8 X 2 7/8 polka dots
4 1 7/8 X 1 7/8 white squares
4 2 X 2 black squares
9 X 2 pink strip
3 1/3 X 3/4 pink strip

I stamped my images on the white squares and embossed with clear embossing powder.  I colored them in with Copic markers, and glued them onto the black squares.

The 9X2 pink strip gets scored at 2", 2 3/4", 3 1/2" and 4 1/4"; fold on the score lines to get clean folds.  

After gluing all the layers onto the front of the card, I attached the 3/4" strip with brads on either side.  It's important not to put adhesive on this strip.  Line up the long pink strip, with the scored side on top.  Place the unscored end under the strip secured with brads, and adhere only the edge closest to the score lines.  Adhere this right to the bottom edge of the short strip.

Adhere the first stamped image onto the square at the edge of this strip; then, adhere the remaining stamped images, but only on the top edge, where the pink strip is scored.  Repeat with the remaining images, then punch a hole and thread a ribbon on the bottom of the long strip.  I stamped a greeting above the ribbon, so that when the strip is pulled, the greeting is revealed.

I made a video of the card being pulled:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday, Monday...

Monday is here once again, but as it's a day off, I'm all confused and keep thinking it's Saturday.  (This tendency to confuse dates is endlessly amusing to The Professor...).  The kids have been at their grandparents' for the weekend, and I have enjoyed not having to make a meal (well, I did make Valentine's breakfast for The Professor) or snack for anyone.  You know the bar has been set quite low when that's all I need to make me happy! 

Several years ago I had to have a test on my thyroid where I swallowed some sort of radioactive pill (you know it's going to be a good time when they bring your medicine in to you in a metal box with a radioactive symbol on the outside) and they scanned me.  I couldn't be around the kids for 24 hours, so I had to stay in my room surrounded by books and DVD's and quiet while The Professor brought me my meals on a tray.  (He also made a fall-out shelter sign for my door, but I digress).

A day of bliss, although I found it impossible to explain this properly to the childless.  My friends with children nodded their heads, and looked at me with envy.  I knew they wanted radioactive pills too, but they were all for me....

Friday, February 12, 2010


Miss Serious' shiny new mouth accessories!!  She had her top braces put on yesterday, and even got to pick the color.  I find myself saying things like, "Boy, back when I had braces, we didn't get colors.  And we had bands on every tooth."  I know it's only a hop, skip, and jump away from telling her I walked to school in the snow uphill both ways, but it is what it is.

She was a trooper about the whole thing, and even went to her pottery class afterwards.  This morning she's feeling sore, but as there's a Valentine's party at school, she happily toddled off after a dose of Advil.

Now let's hope they serve smoothies at the party....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Well, They Meant It This Time...

After last week's tease of a snowstorm with no flakes in sight, we were all understandably skeptical about today's snowstorm.  I am no longer skeptical, as there are now piles of snow on the ground, and it seems to keep coming.  The kids had a lovely time playing outside with The Professor (and I had a lovely time staying warm inside - thanks Professor!) as everyone had a snow day today.  I took the picture while standing on a rather wobbly stool and leaning out my fourth floor window - would've served me right if I'd catapulted myself to the ground, but luckily I stayed indoors and in one piece...

Tobie went outside for a little while, but as he doesn't have much body fat or fur, he got cold and had to return.  He spent the rest of the day in his usual sleeping spot. 

A bit different, but then he does seem to move to his own drummer...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Be Mine....

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and that means the kids need cards for school.  We usually toddle off to CVS and buy some little cards for the class, but this year, since I have a bit of paper about, and am continually seeking justification for buying the Cricut in a fit of infomercial-induced insanity (but it is really quite awesome), I decided to make Big Trouble's.  Miss Serious made the ones for her class as well - she just needs to put on the finishing touches.

Love that Cricut - it cut out all my shapes lickety-split.  These are all 3X3 cards; I attached the flowers with brads, and embossed the hearts before gluing them down.  Clean and simple, because I didn't think Big Trouble would want anything too fussy for his first grade buddies. 

Now for the tricky bit - getting him to sit down long enough to write in everybody's names....

Friday, February 5, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Many, many (many, many, many) years ago, while I was getting my Master's Degree, I worked as a cake decorator.  It was a wonderful job - fast-paced, interesting, creative, and it gave me the instant gratification of seeing my accomplishments all laid out in the bakery case at the end of the day.

I had visions of starting a cake decorating business from home when my kids were little, but the health department had other ideas - no home-based food businesses allowed in my county.  So now I decorate to amuse myself and my family; the kids want to do their own cakes these days, so I just color the frosting and hand over the pastry bags.

Like any creative endeavor, however, it requires a lot of stuff, which is sitting in my (very) small amount of storage space, and gets pulled out every once in a while when needed.

A few years back, I made this cake for my mom's birthday (clearly, her hobby is woodworking...); everything on it is edible, and to jazz it up, I purchased supplies like sparkly powder for the buttons.

Fast forward to this week, when I made a card with sunflowers.  The centers looked a little dull, and I was hunting around for something to brighten them up - glitter was too shiny, and I couldn't think what else would work.  And then, thrifty gal that I am, I remembered the sparkly cake powder - perfect!

And now, the sunflower centers are not only sparkly, but edible....

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Socks, Socks, Socks, Socks

We go to Cape Cod pretty much every summer (when we ask the kids if they'd like to go someplace different, they are horrified - kids (and me!) don't like change...), and I have them pick out some yarn to remind us of the trip.  A souvenir they can wear, as it were, that isn't a t-shirt. 

This past summer, we found a new place, which was lovely and I hope is still there when we go back.  The kids decided to each get the same yarn, and now have matching socks.  I finished Big Trouble's quite a while ago, and now Miss Serious can sport hers as well.

I also picked up some lovely Cascade sock yarn for myself (hand-painted yarn sucks me in every time, and this is really soft and lovely), which, after my regrettable winding experience of a few days ago, is turning into a really lovely sock.  I guess I'm looking forward to spring, because all the colors I'm knitting with are cheery and bright, even if it's cold and gray and snowy outside.

* It was really cold and gray (and dark) this morning at 5:06 when the sub service called, even though I'm supposedly still not available for work....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cute as a Bug

I've taken a break from subbing, because I decided that the whole waiting for an early morning call and then babysitting a classroom full of somebody else's kids for the day for less than what a babsysitter actually gets paid was taking a toll on me.   So, with The Professor's urging, I blocked out two weeks and told the system not to call.  Easy peasy, right?

Apparently not, because the phone rang early this morning when it was still dark (I had it in my had that it was 5:63....) and mechanically asked me if I wanted a job.  When I checked the computer, today was still blocked out as a non-work day, so I have no idea what was going on.  I must be so irresistible that the computer missed me....

I did bust out some cute stamps I got at Michael's - they have a new line (I think it's their own) called Recollections, and the stamps are both cute and cheap - thus meeting some of my more important purchasing criteria (of course, I also use my 40% off coupon, making them a whole lot cheaper....).  Round these parts, people throw ginormous birthday parties for their children, involving inviting anyone their child has ever said hello to, so my kids go to a lot of birthday parties.  I thought some little cards to stick on the packages would be good, so I put together these 4X4 cards, and I think they'll do the trick.

Now to make some envelopes....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Older, but not Wiser....

I spent a large part of yesterday re-doing my resume cover letter.  When I originally wrote it, I was still incredibly (perhaps overly....) optimistic about finding a job, so it was safe, said the same things everyone else's said, and basically was rather vanilla (of course, I am basically safe and rather vanilla, but that's another issue for another day).

As I am still a member of the large pool of unemployed, I decided to revamp.  My cover letter is no longer safe, talks about the bad economy and lack of jobs, and toots my own horn more than the last one did.  I decided it's time for some tooting, because goodness knows the previous letter isn't getting it done.

My new letter also stresses the fact that I have experience and wisdom.  I know this is a euphemism for old, but as I am now on the cusp of 40, I need to put a positive spin on all those gray hairs. 

After putting the finishing touches on the letter, I decided to start a new pair of socks.  I had bought some lovely Cascade sock yarn in Cape Cod, and thought I deserved a little knitting time.  I dug up the skein, which needed to be wound.  In my infinite, almost-40-year-old wisdom, I decided that it would be easier to just wind it up into a ball instead of getting a chair and retrieving my ball winder and swift from the top of my closet.

Now, I've wound a lot of yarn, both by hand and using a ball winder, and I know which is easier.  However, it seemed so logical that it would be better to just sit on the couch and do it old school, completely discounting the fact that every time I do this it takes about eleventy times longer and involves knots and disasters and a general hot mess.  After a ridiculous amount of time (and a little bit of bad language....) I ended up with this, which my dog thinks is a gift for him. 

Do you think I need to change my cover letter again?