Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Maggie's Pastry Caper ~ Part 2


"Mrs. Chipmunk won't miss just one."
But soon all the treats were gone.


Carried to the garden shed;
Where grownups do not often tread.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Maggie's Pastry Caper ~ Part 1

Mrs. Chipmunk loves to bake.

She bakes delicious pies and cakes.

Little Maggie loves to eat.

Pastries are her favourite treat.

~Gripping tale to be continued~
(when I get around to doing the rest of the illustrations).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Sort of Office Special & Stuff

So I had an retail-therapy moment yesterday. Of course, because I'm me, retail therapy does not mean a splurge on new clothes, oh no. I don't derive that much enjoyment from modern clothing. To me it's something to put on for modesty's sake and no more. There are no 'I-Love-Me-Clothes' as my sister calls them. The closest thing I come to being a clothes nut is the historic thing. Otherwise, a pair of comfy jeans and a shapeless sweater will do. I think if I felt more comfortable with my body, I might like clothes more, but since they never fit me like I wish they would, I just don't bother.

For me, retail therapy can often entail fabric purchases. I did that recently and bought $180 worth of silk velvet just because. It was so bad. But in the case of yesterday, retail therapy comprised dropping a couple of Jacksons on art supplies I probably didn't need. I already have a nice set of watercolour pencils at home. I have graphic pens, I have sketching pencils, I have a case. What did I do? I basically duplicated these things (except the coloured pencils are just coloured pencils, no water-colour features included this time). I bought a new set of each, and a new case and a pad of sketching paper.

I am not sure why. I think because it just made me feel good to open up that new tin of 24 colours and to roll my fingers across them. It felt good to open up the fresh sketch book and to pencil out the lines of what would become the image above.

It is in essence one of my 'office specials' except this time, it wasn't made with my muddy collection of pencils I found in the supply closet... the pencil sketching wasn't done with a mechanical pencil with a worn-down eraser, and it wasn't inked with as sharpie. It wasn't done on my printer paper. This was a commission from my etsy shop; someone wanted 'A Wee Bit of Tea' with an owl instead of a chipmunk. I'm not entirely happy with the snowy owl.

Since I already own these thing at home, I'm thinking of keeping this new set of art items here at work for my office-special breaks and lunches. Maybe that's a good way to justify having the second set of everything.

Yes. It is nigh. The 22nd will drag me kicking-and-screaming into my 38th year on this planet. Where did my twenties go? Where did my thirties go? It's so weird how time just seems to accelerate with each passing year. As a child, a week felt like a month (except in summer time). I'm starting to think that the secret is ANTICIPATION. As a child there is so much to anticipate, that time just seems to trudge along. As an adult, there's more to dread, and dreading is like an accelerant. That's my theory and I'm sticking with it. Hopefully I won't spend my birthday alone. Husband has a tentative return date of Thursday. I am not counting on it though. His original stint was supposed to be two weeks. We're pushing seven weeks right now. So I night be sitting at home on a pile of 17 ounce Trader Joe Chocolate Bars on Sunday night, watching something appropriately depressing and feeling sorry for myself. Who knows? ::heh::

I added a couple of more prints to my etsy shop last night. I added the new drawing above, but also a couple of my classic 'Five Oaks Friends' series. I went on a sheep binge when I was taking care of the livestock on my sister's farm back in '03 & '04. These are two of many drawings I made from that time. I have some goat images I will be adding in later on. But they're on now. Maybe someone'll like them. Fiber artists maybe?

Friday, February 13, 2009

The good thing is that it's Friday.

OMG, these past two days have been insane. Wednesday, I discovered that my vehicle had a coolant leak. So, I left work an hour early to get my car to my local garage to fix it. The owner of the garage is a REALLY great guy named Chris (Mt. Hood Auto & Tire). He offered me a free loaner-car, because he knew that I had a hellish commute and a job to go to, and since Hubby's Jeep is under the weather too, I can't drive it.

So I dropped my car off after work on Wednesday, and the owner gave me a 1998 Mazda MPV with 228,000 miles on it. It's a good car, he said. It drove to Seattle and back only recently. So all I had to do was to bring it back this afternoon with gas in it. It worked like a dream Thursday.

This morning, just barely off the mountain, on Rt. 26 when all of a sudden all the dashlights turn on. Check engine, airbag, oil temp, you name it. The radio also cuts off for a second. So I start looking for somewhere to pull over, figuring something is about to happen. I pull off into the parking lot of a place called Calamity Jane's, and the whole car just turns off. It's not even 7:00 AM. It's freezing. I call work to tell them that my loaner vehicle has just broken down, and then leave a message with Chris. "Hey Chris, I'm at Calamity Jane's and I don't think this Minivan likes me very much. I think I made minivan and soccer-mom jokes one too many times yesterday."

I called AAA, who told me Purdy's was going to come and get me. They were; no lie, diagonally across the street from where I was broken down. However, the truck was at home with the driver. He finally gets to the office at 8:15; he goes inside to do something, and then crosses the street, arriving at 8:25. My toes feel like little ice-cubes. He is kind enough to tell me to get into the cab, where I crank the heat up to broil, and bask for a while.

8:50; we pull into the Mt. Hood Auto, and all four guys who work there including the owner come outside to apologize and share in the humour of the situation. I spy my poor Jeep, its hood agape, bits of its motor on the fenders and resting on the ground. Poor baby! The guy working on it wants to show me what he's doing, and Chris comes in and says to me:

"Stephanie, I'm so sorry. Please take my car to work, you need to get down there."

The guy gave me his personal vehicle so I could commute to work and get my job done. Wow. I felt terrible, and so did he. So the guy working on my car engages me a minute or two more, and I come out and my training books and CD cases have been transferred into his black 4Runner; his keys taken off his chain and added to mine. Yes, the Toyota logo looks wrong on my Jeepy key chain, but frankly, I'm so glad it's there.

Every once in a while the small gestures make the biggest impressions. Chris is my hero. I will take my car there any day now.

I got to work at 10:00. I'm leaving early to insure 1) that Chris gets his 4Runner back in one piece and 2) that I get my Jeepy-Jeep back in one piece. I'm so lucky I have a job where this stuff can happen and things can be flexible.

So despite the stress, it's still a Happy Friday; however I'm afraid I have no office special drawing for you today. I have to finish my work on this shortened day.

Happy Friday all. :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I love Simply Swank!

No other craft kit has ever been more fun to play with (and dangerous and destructive--when in my hands) than the Simply Swank starter kit. Once I used up what they had in the kit, I promptly went to Craft Mania and bought more.

I made my little ornament with a Simply Swank soldering kit, and I am sold on it. I print my drawings in high-res, teeny size, cut them out with care, and layer them in glass. SO MUCH FUN! I won't mention that I burned myself and burned hole in my fleece pajamas with solder and that I dropped the soldering iron on the dining room floor and melted the carpet pile. ::::grin::::: But I will say that I've been having a lot of fun making my ornaments, and I cannot wait to go and buy more glass and copper and solder to make more!

I made one with Mr. Corbeau, one with the Dearest Friends image and one with the Racoon Hug, yesterday too. I need to only buy more solder to finish one. I'll post pics of the ones I completed tonight.

I recommend this kit to anyone who is adventurous in crafting; you can make cool pennants, bracelet links, ornaments, anything you want with this kit! It's easy too. Like painting with metal.

Try it. You will become addicted like me.

PS, this post was inspired entirely by my own enthusiasm for making little ornaments. Nobody paid me to say this. I'm just so excited about it I had to rave.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Marriage.

By general standards, I am a newlywed. We've been married for about three and a half years. It is my first marriage.

We have a good marriage so far. I think our both marrying in our thirties might have a lot to do with that. Of course, being human we have our trials and tribulations. We quibble over the little things to hide the bigger thing beneath. And we struggle with the stress of this long-distance marriage. It’s been hard.

But I cannot separate myself from the notion of how valuable it is that he is my best friend. All of the distance, the solitude, the grumbling aside; he is the person I am most comfortable with in the world. He is the person I trust the most in the world. He is the person I love like no other.

I miss him every day. When he’s home I don’t have time to sweat the small stuff; to dwell on the little nagging demons that plague every human being in life. When he’s home, I’m more at peace with myself. I'm selfish. I want that peace.

Field jobs are cruel things. For the sake of livelihood, we have to send our spouses away to pay for a home they’re not occupying. I wonder sometimes if it’s worth it. Are responsible decisions; retirement, and the financial freedom to perhaps start a business or improve our lives worth the sacrifice and the solitude, the resentments and the emptiness? I don’t know. These jobs can be hard on a marriage; especially when it’s a young marriage where the couple still actually likes one another. ::tee hee::

We are mature. We are friends. We are able to be composed and objective on the most part. We do slip, and we do have bad moments, but I really believe we’ll be alright.

I always feel that way after I see him come 'round the corner from the arrival gates, and come through security. Anything that is worrying, everything that is wrong is gone when I have his arms clutched around me and I’m kissing the face I’ve missed so much. It’s important to remember that when it gets difficult to live life without him there… It’s important to know how right it is when he comes back.

I’ve always been an independent soul, and I had always reveled and thrived in my solitude before I met my husband. It’s different now. I miss him terribly; being alone is so hollow. I think that’s a sign that we have a good thing.

But I wish he were home.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

There are days…

There are days when even the signs of spring cannot lift your spirits.
When the antics of the squirrels and the downy woodpeckers cannot make you smile,
When a cheerful dusting of snow looks nothing but dreary.

There are days when the weight of your world seems crushing,
Where everything looks grey and mournful,
When the weeds are so much more noticeable than the tender sprouts of the spring bulbs.

Today is one of those days.


I’m grumpy.

Grumpy that I’m already through to Season 7 of the Star Trek the Next Generation Series… and it’ll be over soon and I want more.

Grumpy that I haven’t caught up with my laundry or tidying because I spent the weekend flitting about with friends instead of being responsible (although the friends bit was really nice).

Grumpy that I can’t think of what I want for lunch.

Grumpy because it's Tuesday. Not Wednesday, not Friday. Tuesday. YUCK!

Grumpy that my husband’s current stint is extending far beyond the original schedule and I miss him.

Grumpy that I can’t focus today.

Grumpy because my sinus is sore and icky.

Grumpy because it’s raining and snowing and gross and wet.

Grumpy because all I can look forward to today is the hour-long commute home among really selfish and stupid drivers.

Grumpy because I’d rather be at home sipping some fragrant tea, snuggled under my knitted blanket on the sofa with the dogs, enjoying the warmth of the stove and the dulcet tones of Judge Judy as she rips someone a new one (I love Judge Judy… Have I mentioned that before? ) I want a do-nothing-day, where nobody calls me, nobody bothers me, and I can putter around, do occasional projects but accomplish little. That’s the only cure for a day like this. Unfortunately, I have to be responsible and stay at work. So I’m grumpy about that too.

::grumble grumble grunt::

Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Friday!

I love Fridays. I'm sure you've noticed this by now. They are a thing to be celebrated. Especially at 4:30 when I'm getting in my car, and I know I have two days before me that are 100% mine to do with what I please. There's something wonderful about that. :)

I have a bonnet workshop tomorrow, and guests coming over too, which means I have to actually fold he laundry in the basket and take it off the rocking chair in the living room, and to tidy up the little sewing mess I haven't put away yet.

Oh well. I hope you all have a delightful weekend.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Vitamin D is for Day Gown.

Wow, this post is all over the place. :)

Hallelujah, I’m working on a new regency gown. It’s about time. I’ve been very low-key and tired lately.

I received a phone-call from my Doctor’s office last week to follow up on my latest blood work, and it turns out my Vitamin D levels are ‘Dangerously Low’.

I had no idea Vitamin D was so crucial. It turns out a Vitamin D deficiency has profound effects ranging from depression and fatigue to gastro-intestinal issues, to bone-density problems. My calcium levels must have been fine, because they didn’t say a word about that, instead my Doctor focused on the fact that I’ve been so morose and exhausted all the time.

He put me on a six-week mega-Vitamin-D program, where I take a pill once a week where I get a mega-dose of Vitamin D (50,000 IU), and on top of that I have to take 2,000 IU on a daily basis. Someone told me I could get whatever I need just from standing outside in direct sunlight for twenty minutes a day. I’m not sure if I believe that.

You see, we apparently get Vitamin D from the sun. Being part-vampire and Hungarian, the sun and I are not compatible. My pasty skin will fry up like crispy chicken even with the smallest exposure—even on cool days. Heck, I sunburn on overcast days. I also get sun-sickness very quickly. So if it’s sunny out, I tend to retreat into the cave that is my house or I find the nearest shady spot and I don’t move. It might as well be death-rays instead of sunrays raining down from the sky as far as I’m concerned. I suppose a good consequence of my sun-aversion is that I do have pretty nice skin for someone who’s pushing 40.

I digress, I’ve been on this program for almost two weeks and maybe it’s psychological, but I feel like there’s a difference already. Last night, instead of setting the DVR for Fringe, providing the requisite ‘rumbling’ time with the dogs, and practically passing out after supper, I actually focused on the project of a plain muslin regency gown for my coworker.

I’m using a pattern that sort of scares me. It’s called RH837 (Reconstructing History Regency ‘Morning’ Gown). I don’t know why I’m using this pattern, I’m just going to give it a fair shot. I think that it has been drafted without being tested…. None of the pieces fit together the way they should so I’ve had to modify a few things as I go along. Here's a little movie--a gripping documentary of my progress... LOL.

[[UPDATE 4/15/10 ~ I added a post that talks about this gown and how it's been modified since--and shows pictures of Sherry in the finished gown.]]

Oh, and sorry about the weirdness levels of the office special I drew above. I don’t know what possessed me, he came out a bit creepy, didn’t he? He looks like he wants to kick someone’s butt. Maybe he's just a reflection of my own innate desire to exact some butt-kickery on the world. :)


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