Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Love

I just wanted to post some of the things on the internet that are making me swoon.

1. This beautiful scarf/neckerchief by Olivia Mew. I am in love with Star Wars and adore this droid scarf. I think I might have to pull the trigger and buy this one. What do you think?

2. Going along with my deep love of deep space, I stumbled on this How-To project that is going on my project list. This is from Etsy's How-Tuesday series, this one is called Planetary Plates:

In real life these are the things making me smile today
  • My brother, Ryan, is moving in today and starts his first day of work tomorrow
  • Because of that, Geoff and I cleaned the house and it is looking pretty good
  • We went to Trader Joe's and got the best chocolate bar I have ever tried
  • I'm going to make an amazing stir fry in a bit 
  • Rachel is coming over to visit soon
  • We got Lego Star Wars, the Clone Wars video game and it might be my favorite Lego video game yet
  • I think I need to watch some Game of Thrones tonight
  • I spent a good chunk of this afternoon with a pile of books, a hot bath, and a cold beer. 
What is made you happy this weekend? Ready for August?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

don't forget to curl your eyelashes

I was reading a post from a dear friend of mine about how she was struggling with this feeling that she needs to drastically change some part of her appearance to fix things. This and the fact that I just finished reading Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti (of set my mind a going.

I have always, like every girl to some extent, struggled with the way I look. I was a chubbier kid and had a strange view of fashion. I once wore a leopard print jumpsuit to class in 5th grade and lets just say I am still cringing at the things kids said to me. I have spend so much time focusing on my weight and how things would be just easier for me if I was at least a size six.

Somewhere in my 20s I realized that it was pointless trying to work and work to be beautiful in someone else's eyes because that work will never be finished. There will always be some new thing I should be doing, some new makeup I should have or some new hairstyle I should try and it is exhausting. I tried to embrace what I love about myself. Doing Boudoir photograph with my dear friends really helped, especially since I was not doing them for anyone. I had no significant other, I just got dolled up and took sexy pictures of myself for myself. And it was wonderful.

But one day does not fix everything. I still find myself obsessing for hours at work worried that someone will notice and judge me because I forgot to pluck my eyebrows that day. I think that maybe if I fit into my skinny jeans I would feel better about myself. Just now I ran through a list of all the things I need to do before work so I can look good enough to go out tonight, while I am sure my man is just going to go to work like he does every day. How fucked up is that? How do I get over that?

It is hard to try to get this mindset that we are not good enough as we are out of our heads. That we need to buy something in order to fix something about ourselves. I have yet to find an answer. Anyone have one?

Aside: Galadarling runs a lovely blog that has great articles of what she calls Radical Self-Love. I have to look to her for support sometimes and try to put some of her advice into my daily life. Check her out, especially this article, How to Practice Major Mega Supreme Body Love...Daily!

I am trying something small, something that probably no one will notice but me. I am a serial nail-polisher. I think my nails look weird without a layer of paint on them. I have bought those damn expensive Sally Hansen nail stickers and have spent hours doing crazy patterns on my fingernails only to take it all off and do it again the next day. All because I think that that is a requirement for me to look "done" when I go out. So, starting now, and going through August, I am going to shun nail-polish on my fingers and toes. I really want the goal to be that I don't think of the natural way these parts of my body look aren't gross. Like I said, starting small.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hey brother

Yesterday my brother Ryan came up and interviewed for a job at the company Geoff and I work for and he got the job! I am so happy because Ryan has been a little stuck living with my dad and really needs to get the heck out of there. So he is moving up to Madison with us. That's right! I just finished unpacking and now we are moving into a bigger apartment in our building so that my brother can have the spare room for a little while he gets on his feet. I'm really excited about having more space and eventually a room to put all my books and craft things in.

After the interview we went out to the Terrace and had a pitcher of beer and a little dinner. It was perfect in the shade and we feed the birds until one of them pooped on my head.


The terrace is one of my favorite places to hang out in Madison. Afterwards, Ryan headed back and Geoff and I had a lazy day off. I'm a little at a loss because I have finished my triangle quilt-top and at the moment have no quilt projects! Basically I want to go fabric shopping because I have roughly 500 ideas and am not inspired by the mostly basic fabric I have now.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

heat wave!

Our AC is broken and Geoff, Taft, and I are all suffering. Thankfully we ran out and got a box fan this morning and I can finally think a little bit. I am a major baby when it comes to the heat and I have been pretty much useless for the past few days. I thought I would share my top five heat distractions this week:

1. Playing Final Fantasy VII. This is the best video game ever. No question. The story is lovely and well thought out and the music sets my head bopping. Also you get to ride giant chicken-dudes.

2. Working on my triangle quilt. I'm so close to finishing the top layer and while it is really too hot to think about using quilts, I like having something to do with my hands while I watch silly tv shows.

3.Watching TV shows. I got a chance to check out Sherlock (streaming on Netflix) and love it. Another great British show. And on the American front, we have been watching all of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and I am falling in love with the gang all over again.

4. Planning our trip to Minnesota next month. I am so excited to go back to my adopted home state of MN and see my dear friend get married. The fact that I get to stay with my best girlfriend is also great. And I get to meet her new addition to the family, her cat! I want to do so much in the three days that we are going to be up there. Geoff has never been to the Twin Cities and I want to show him where I lived and worked and hopefully he will love it as much as I do.

5. Worrying abut Taft. Taft is 18 1/2 pounds and has long hair so I have been worried about him in the heat. He has spent most of his time laying on the ceramic floor in the bathroom and licking the condensation off of my soda cans. But now that we have some air flowing he is doing a lot better. I've just been doting on him for the past few days.

I also can't stop singing this song to myself - such a great one!

Have a great day - stay cool!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A short morning rant

I haven't had my coffee yet, but as I was checking the internet this morning I stumbled over to the lego website and saw something that really made me pause and think. See if you can spot what I find objectionable in this photo of Lego categories:

From Lego's Website
Girls. As a category. Because clearly every other category is meant for boys. Now, I know that the common thought is that building toys like Lego and Tinker Toys are more often thought of as "boy's toys" but come on, this is 2011. We have school that don't use gender identifiers in order to help neutralize some of this cardboard cut out gender role shit we are spoon feed. Do you really want to market something like this? Pink tubs of Legos for girls? Aren't there some of us out there who were girls that yes, loved horses but also liked to build things? I can't have been the only one with more He-Man action figures than Barbies. And I am not saying in anyway that dolls are intrinsically bad, just that I think this kind of marketing is outdated and frankly offensive. Girls are more than this.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rachel hits the town

Yesterday a big chunk of my family came up to visit us and we took Rachel to the Madison Children's Museum. It was such an amazing place, way cooler than the educational kid museums in Rockford. Everything was beautiful, artsy, light, and just fun.

This cute little bench was just hanging out in the elevator. Rachel had a blast. She is very sensitive to sounds and got a little overwhelmed when babies were crying, but she loved it. She set up house in a little hut with fabric foods and a fake fire, she really loved this water exhibit they had and painted on windows in the art room.

She seemed to have just as much fun scraping the paint off of the windows too. My favorite was the rooftop exhibit, even though it was 95 degrees out. They had so many plants and a great view of the Capitol and there were critters up there. And I got to see Geoff hula-hoop.

Ryan looks impressed. We met a chicken named Roberta and Rachel and I got to pet her! She was so sweet and then there were also baby chickens which made me pout at Geoff that I wanted a big flock of them someday.

Basically this place is amazing and if you have kids of any age and are around Madison, you should go. My 14 year old brother had just as much fun as my 8 year old sister and I will admit that I even climbed up on some things and went down a slide that I am probably too big for. But it was great.My mom was super impressed and I can safely say that we will be going here a lot in the future.

The heat was super gross, but we walked down State Street afterwards and had a little dinner somewhere (I forgot the name and the food was iffy anyway). After a mishap with someone running back to get the car and pick everyone up, we trucked off to Trader Joes so my mom could stock up on some gluten free items and I could stock up on two-buck-chuck.

Leaving my sister is always difficult, and she wanted to move right in with Geoff, Taft, and I. But luckily we are coming down tomorrow so we'll see he soon. I love living so close to her and being able to see her twice in one week as opposed to twice in six months when we lived in Ohio. I am super pumped about going down tomorrow because my brother Mikey and I (and Geoff) are finally going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II. My dad called me yesterday and asked if I would go with Mikey if my dad paid for me because he doesn't think he can sit through it. I think I will be able to handle it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

wedding what-nots

I have been having a rough couple of days, mentally. I am prone to stressing out about everything under the sun and recently I have been so tense that I cannot even think. My neck and shoulders feel like cement. And to tell the truth, I don't really have that much to stress about right now. But I have been told that with anxiety issues, it isn't about the outside circumstances that stress me out, it is just something off with my body that puts me into panic mode while watching and episode of Project Runway in bed with a cup of hot tea. It is all just very frustrating.

In other news, Geoff and I are seriously looking into a few places for our upcoming wedding and I am getting very excited. This seems like it would be a HUGE thing to stress about, but really I am just looking forward to it. While I want the day to be wonderful and beautiful and us, what I am excited for is not having a wedding but being married. I have found the person I want to tie my life to and the details aren't the important part. They are pretty fun, but I'm not freaking out over my wedding colors or anything. In fact I don't think I will have wedding colors per say, as my hair will probably clash.

One of the things I am super excited wedding-wise for is that my brother, Ryan, is going to perform the ceremony. We thought about having a wedding in a church for about half a second, but realized that it would just be to please family members and since neither of us is drawn to any religion, we wanted a more custom ceremony. Ryan and I have gotten a lot closer as we have grown and I think he will do a great job of making the event serious and fun at the same time. He has been trying to figure out if he will wear a Darth Vader costume or this number:

Crazy outfits aside, I am pumped to have my brother do this for me. My other three siblings will be a big part of the day as well. With the boys I'm not one hundred percent sure in what capacity, reading something? playing guitar?, but I know they will be great. As for Rachel, if you think I am missing out on a chance to put her in a flower girl dress you are out of your head. She's going to steal the show.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blue-haired cat lady

My hair color changes on a monthly basis and I dyed it today on my big day off.

My hair before starting. I had used a brand called Splatt and was unimpressed. The color faded very quickly (and I use cold water and special shampoo) and I just wanted something brighter and better. After looking around at some online suggestions (for the best hair dye advice, please see thedaintysquid) I bought some Manic Panic Atomic Turquoise.  

I had some bleach on hand and got to work! After a bit of sitting around drinking some coffee and leveling up my chocobos on FFVII, my hair looked like this:

I love that little pink in there! Filing that away for next time... But then I thew some dye on and got some gardening done.

We put our basil plant in my stormtrooper mug and set it out in the back. Taft loves jumping out and just rubbing his face on the concrete. I love this picture of him!

Look at those crazy eyes! As per daintysquid, I left the hair dye in for a loooong time. About four hours. My hair feels fine afterwards and I am thrilled with the results! What do you think?

In closing, here is one last photo of my pretty boy. Geoff and I are looking at adopting another cat because I think we both got bit by the cat-lady virus. I cannot wait to have another little dude.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Music and Poetry

Today has been pretty laid back so far. Geoff and I ran to the post office so I could finally mail off at he portraits from my little give-away - hope you like them ladies! And we also had to pick up a package Geoff's best friend Patrick sent him. It is a double album from Akron Family - which is a fantastic group and an all around great album.  Plus it has a sweet volcano on the cover which is always a plus.

Afterwards we stopped by the little Sun Prairie farmers market and walked around a bit. Not as impressive as the Madison on by half, but we got some good stuff. Upon arriving home I was determined to make my own Vinyl Record Bowl. I followed the instructions (loosely) from's diy fashion. I used one of my extra copies of Fleetwood Mac's Rumors album and set it on top of an oven-safe bowl. The directions say to place these on top of a cookie sheet, but I don't have one so I used a muffin tin. Side note, I am not sure why I do not have a cookie sheet as I seem to bake cookies every other week but I have muffin tin when I cannot remember ever actually making muffins.

I put these in the oven at 200 degrees and made sure to open all the windows because blech that smell is gross. I am super impatient so I kept checking it and trying to take it out before it was ready. I shaped it a bit around the inside of the bowl and pinched the parts that were forming together like a star. Afterwards it looked like this:

We are going to use it to throw our keys and my work ID because I am always misplacing that sucker. I want to try this again with a smaller oven-safe bowl but I guess I will have to find one first. And some more records because I am not done listening to all of those Disney records I have yet. 

While cleaning the house I noticed one of my crazy collections I have going and thought I would share that too. As some of you may know, I love buying books and have too many to fit in all of my bookcases. But I have weaknesses for certain ones. 

I have a huge stack of Poetry magazines that I have collected. Many are from when I had subscribed and the rest are ones I bought either at retail or at used bookstores. I love picking one up randomly and reading either a poem or a commentary on the nature of poetry. Sometimes they feature artists as well and I have been known to frame some pages and put them on my walls. Check out their website, poetrymagazine, as they have an interesting blog and podcast.

And next to these fine magazines rests a book I found at a half-priced bookstore

Dear Editor is a history of Poetry magazine that I am dying to actually read one of these days. This magazine has a long history and I am very interested in it. Anyone else love literary publications? I know, I know, everyone does.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Critters around the apartment

Just wanted to do a little fun post about a few of the critters that dwell in my place.  Hope you enjoy!


Bartlybee is the little owl that perches atop of my favorite bookcase with his monster friend Maurice. Bartlybee was given to me for my birthday this past year by my youngest brother. He painted it all white himself. Maurice is a little sock critter a friend made for me that used to be my cat Jack's plaything. I found him in a box a bit ago and Taft did not seem that into him, so Maurice has retired to a quiet life of judging me for not reading all of the books in the bookcase.


These two chickens are some of the few last remaining pieces of my once glorious chicken collection. In high school I got the nickname chicken for telling tall-tales that often involved fowl. My favorite was telling my mom that a man brought a chicken into ShopKo in order to find baby clothes for it. The chicken bowl my dad found for me at a garage sale and the tall majestic rooster is from (I think) my dad's travels to Norway. It is actually a whistle - you blow out of the chicken's tail which is rather interesting. 


Inside my fancy book case is the home of my girl, Nancy Pearl. She is one hell of a librarian (and author of all of those Book Lust books) and was given to me by my sweet friend Megan on Christmas. I did a brief stint in library school and loved learning about some really great radical librarians.

And of course, Lando. Despite his proximity to Geoff's shaving accouterments, Lando has been with me for the past um forever. He used to have a more prominent place, but he has been treated unfairly.

I have many more little buddies around the place that make me feel more at home and give me something to smile about. I'll have to do a follow up piece with more of them. Until next time!

P.S. My favorite word ever is hidden in the blog post. Anyone want to guess what it is?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

peachy keen

Today I had one goal. To make blackberry peach pie from Sunshine and Carousels. I made the pie crust dough the other day and got all geared up to make something delicious.

Fun fact: I do not own a rolling pin and instead used an empty wine bottle that I had cleaned and soaked the label off of. It worked super great and saved me a trip to the store.

Before the oven

After baking:

It was very tasty and nice and fruity. One that I will for sure be making again. I really enjoy cooking and baking and can't wait to try my hand at other pies! What are your favorite summer time treats?

In other news, I finally finished all of my portraits and have them ready to go out in the mail. Except for Geoff's, which is already on our walls. I might have to have an entire wall of portraits of him, Richie Tennenbaum style.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I am not a weekend warrior

As stated earlier, I've been feeling a little gross this weekend. I've got a headache I cannot shake and I am really loathe to lay down and rest. But there are some good things about my weekend too. Such as:

I have two of thirteen rows of my triangle quilt-top done! I'm hoping to have this one set to go by the time I see my gram next when we are planning on going over the next steps in turning these suckers into actual quilts. I want to note that while I do have a sewing machine ( Bernice!), I have been doing all of my quilt piecing by hand. And god help me, I think we are going to do the actual quilting by hand just like my gram did back in the day (last Tuesdayish). But I am going to fire up Bernice to work on a couple of projects this summer, including a Batman costume for my cat.

We stopped by the local Half-Priced Books in an effort to get me moving around and maybe knock my headache out. I love that the women's bathroom is wallpapered with the covers of old pulp novels. Adorable! Looking at this photo makes me realize that my hair is fading and I'm not sure I was as much in love with the blue as I was the purple:

And so next week I think I'm going to get a trim and then dye it again.  Not sure what color yet, but it will be awesome.

And finally, Geoff busted out his ukulele to serenade me with such hits as "Dancing Queen", "MmmBop" and my fave, "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard." He's pretty great. When we were in different states he would often send me songs he had recorded for me and they would make me swoon every time. Even after living together it still has the same effect.

Anything exciting happen for you guys? Hope no one blew any fingers off with fireworks!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Taft loves Dostoevsky

I'm playing hookey today from work. I've been feeling super tense and antsy and just really needed a mental health day, so here I am. Despite the fact that I'm suppose to be relaxing, I've been super busy today. I finished two of the portraits for my giveaway and am really happy with how they turned out.

I've also been working on a quilt that is just made up of little scraps of fabric that my grandma gave me. I'm just going to turn it into a throw blanket and it's shaping up. No big exciting plans for the holiday weekend - just chilling at home with Taft and my book. I've got more in me to blog about, but my head is achey and I need to nap I think.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Winner winner chiken dinner

I was so happy to have people comment that I am going to give a portrait to all four of you guys!  Be sure to send me your addresses you would like them mailed to (Megan and Geoff excluded) and I will get to work on them. If you want a certain picture of yourself you better send that too, otherwise I will just troll your fb/tumblr until I find one I like.

In other news, it is my last day of my morning schedule at work which I am super happy about. Try as I might, I am just not a morning person. Sorry 6 AM, it has been great, but screw you.

Also I am getting super excited about planning a trip to Minnesota next month. My dear friend is getting married and I cannot miss it. As I plan, I realize that I want to see so many people and do so many things that it is going to be a jam-packed awesome trip. And I might need to request off a few more days. 

My goal for this weekend is to dive back into Keri Smith's books that I have collected. She is amazing at getting one inspired to think creatively and I highly suggest checking out her website and grabbing one of her books if you see them in the bookstore.

I also have her newer one, Mess and the "non" planner planner that she made as well. The pages have prompts and then you are free to do whatever inspires you, using different mediums and interpretations. Here are a few of my favorite ones I have done so far:

"It is a new day"