Saturday, July 31, 2010

List Week

Andrea over at Hula Seventy always has some great lists. They've inspired me to sit down and make some of my own lists. So for five consecutive days, starting on Monday, I'm going to post some of them.

Lists are fun to read, easy to write, and can be about anything you choose. Favorite movies? Favorite books? Celebrities you hate? Make a list.

I hope you'll play along with me and make some of your own lists.

See you Monday.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Really Grinds My Gears:: The First Summer in Oregon Edition

Okay. A few of you have mentioned, (ahem, even complained about) how much happier I am here in Oregon. I get that. It's always more fun to read about unhappy people. It makes you feel less alone in your unhappiness. And frankly, I'm right there with ya. Whenever I see that someone has posted about their crappy day, their money problems, or just a random interaction with an idiot, I'm intrigued. It's not that I wish ill on people, it's just that for most of us, the 'bad' is just easier to relate to. The bad brings us together.

With that in mind, I've been trying to do a Grinds My Gears post for months now, but most days I'm just not feeling it. There is still a lot of junk in my life, but lately the good is outweighing the bad so much that I rarely even focus on the bad.

But today I'm feeling grumbly. So here is a short list of things pissing me off today:

*Summer. Really summer, I hate you. I don't like your sunshine and I don't like temperatures above 80 degrees. It hasn't rained here in about a month and I am miserable for it. I want my drippy, overcast weather back.

*My Children. Remember how motivated I was at the beginning of summer? I bought art supplies, had activities planned, a designated reading time, etc. Now, my main goal everyday is to not curse at them. Seriously, if I can get through the day without dropping the F bomb on my twelve year old, it's been a good day.

*Real Estate. My house still hasn't sold. It's frustrating because it's been getting a lot of action and most of the negative feedback is stuff we have no control over, like the floor plan.

*Real Estate Agents. This has got to be the most passive job in the world. They don't sell houses, they show houses and expect the house to sell itself, and we pay them thousands of dollars to do so. Listen, I don't expect my agent to talk someone into buying a house they clearly don't want, but please talk up the good and downplay the bad. It amazes us that our house still hasn't sold. We are practically giving away a huge house, in a decent neighborhood, in one of the better school districts in town.

*Smarmy blogs. This is one I've actually been keeping inside for quite sometime.(And fyi: If you're reading this or if your blog is in the sidebar, then chances are this rant isn't about you.) Generally, I don't like to complain about other people's blogs because I feel like, Hey, it's their little corner of the internet, they can do what they want and if I don't like it then I can just mosey on through. But lately, in some of the blog circles I travel in, it seems to have gotten to the point where you're excluded if you watch TV, yell at your kids, don't/didn't cloth diaper, don't eat all organic/locally grown/unprocessed foods, don't make all your/your kid's clothes, don't home school, etc....

Sigh. Here's the thing, I try to do all those perfect mom, socially responsible things. And most days I succeed, and succeed joyfully. But some days, probably more days than I'd care to admit, you'll find me wearing sweatshop jeans and screaming at my daughter to quit hugging the TV or she'll get Cheeto dust all over Alec Baldwin's beautiful face.

There are so many good blogs out there that strike a perfect balance between doing all the things I've mentioned, yet still being down to earth, accessible, and inspiring. But lately I feel like there's an attitude that certain parenting choices are the only right ones, and that's what I don't like. If you want to buy $30 crayons for your toddler, rock on. But don't make me feel shitty for buying the 49 cent Crayola ones. If you choose not to own a TV, good for you. But know that this act alone does not make you a better parent than I am. If you only ever cloth diapered, you are totally awesome. But I am not less awesome because my five year old still wears Kroger brand disposables to bed.

We all want the best for our kids. Quality food, and well made clothes and toys. No one sits around the house thinking, Boy I love all of my Made in China junk. But for most of us, there is a lot of give and take. For instance, I buy cheap diapers so that I can buy $6 organic milk. I let some things slide so that I can spend my money on other things. And frankly, I think this is most people's reality.

Like I mentioned, I've been holding this in for a while and I probably wouldn't have even brought it up but lately the smarm just seems excessive. I want you all to promise me that if I ever start sounding snooty, you'll knock me down a few pegs.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oregon Brewers Festival 2010

This past weekend was the Oregon Brewers Festival. Jay had a volunteer shift on Saturday night and said it was kinda wild and fast paced. My mind immediately went back to Gainesville, drunk college students, and the general Girls Gone Wild atmosphere that always seemed to prevail there. But we went early on Sunday afternoon and the mood was much more low key and laid back, which I was thankful for. There was plenty of food for the kids to eat and shade to sit in while Jay explored the taps, tasting various brews but always popping back over to give me a sip or two. (I was the designated driver.) Garlic Fries. My family devoured two servings. The "Free Rain" quickly turned to mud, but fortunately that's the girl's idea of a good time:
All of the following pictures were taken by Jay, who has no problem going up to folks and asking them if he can take their picture. I always want to do that, but get timid and wimp out. I should get over this though because new faces make things so much more interesting. Plus, it's been my experience that most people don't mind having their picture taken and really, the worst that could happen is that they say no. (I do want to note that we didn't actually ask if any of these folks wanted their picture on the internet, but I'm assuming since they consented to having their picture taken by a slightly tipsy stranger, they would probably be cool with it.)Beer servers and beer drinkers:

Since moving here, I've learned that Oregon takes three things pretty seriously: coffee, beer, and food. I think we're fitting in just fine.

(Next up in two weeks, The Bite of Oregon. I'm hoping to at least be able to make a small appearance there.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flashback Friday

Today I was in a very de-cluttering/throw-it-away mood. After I cleaned out the refrigerator I decided to sort through old photos. We have dozens of boxes and albums of photos, most of which are uninteresting or duplicates.

One giant trash bag later, I came across a photo that reminded me of Peggy's Flashback Friday posts. So Peggy, if you don't mind, I'm totally stealing your idea today.

The offending photo (sorry it's crooked, I have zero patience when it comes to fiddling with the scanner):

Let us discuss this photo, shall we?

*In it, I'm right about the age the girl is now. I think it was taken when we briefly lived in Spokane, Washington.

*Notice the hair. See how the bangs start all the way at the back of my head. This is the beginning of my first fe-mullet. I started young and there were many more to come.

*I have no idea what that rust colored dot is to the left of my head. I'm hoping not a bullet hole or blood splatter.

*Check out that couch! Really, check it out. Are those stalks of wheat? Knowing my dad controlled most of the spending, I'm betting it came from Sears. To this day my dad makes 99.9 % of his purchases at Sears. (Does Sears still sell furniture?)

*I'm totally digging what I was wearing and if I still had those shoes in my possession, you can bet I'd cram the girl's fat feet into them.

*The clowns. I think a family friend made these and I LOVED THEM. I used to swing them around by their arms and legs or throw them around the room and say they were doing gymnastics. Clearly in this picture, the clowns and I have just been caught sharing secrets of some sort.

*But what I love most about this picture is what's written on the back: "Tammie and her favorite friends." Ah yes, that explains a lot.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review:: Good Grief

Sophie Stanton is a 36 year old woman whose husband, Ethan, just died after a long battle with cancer. The death, combined with a meddling mother-in-law and a stressful job, makes it nearly impossible for Sophie to keep it together and she ends up having a breakdown and going to work in her pajamas because she can't fit into any of her clothes anymore. After she loses her job and is forced to sell her house, she decides to move to Oregon to be close to her best friend.

Needing to work, she tries her hand at waitressing but is quickly demoted to kitchen duty after she spills shrimp scampi all over a customer. It's here, in the kitchen, where she discovers she's a really good baker and begins thinking about opening up her own bakery. When not working, she spends time volunteering with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and is assigned a "Little Sister" who enjoys cutting herself and starting fires. On top of all this, she's caught the eye of a local actor who can't make up his mind if he wants to be with her or not.

Okay. So it sounds totally like chick lit, I know. But it's also so much more than that. It's funny and sad at the same time. For instance, there is one part, towards the end of the book where Sophie finally decides to part with her husbands clothes that she's been carrying around in boxes for the last year. She packs them all up in his suitcases and takes them to Goodwill. When she arrives, seeing that Goodwill is closed, she leaves them behind the building.

A few hours later she receives a call from a man at a rest stop a few miles from her home. He had located her through the name in the suitcases, which had been stolen from behind the Goodwill and were now at the rest stop. When Sophie arrives, she finds her husbands suitcases had been sliced open. The would be thieves, apparently not excited by the contents, had left it all there to blow around the rest stop. I just found it heartbreaking to picture this poor woman chasing her dead husbands clothes around a seedy rest stop.

I could relate to Sophie in so many ways. There is one passage in the book that I've saved and read over and over:

"The funny thing about rock bottom is there's stuff underneath it. You think, This is it: I'm at the bottom now. It's all uphill from here! Then you discover the escalator goes down one more floor to another level of bargain-basement junk."

Um....you could say I've felt that way. Recently.

After I read this book, I looked up some reviews on Goodreads to see what other people had to say about it. A lot of people liked it but thought that the ending was too neat and tidy and happily-ever-after. While I'll agree that all the loose ends were tied up a bit too nicely for my liking, I don't necessarily feel the ending was fairy tale. I don't want to give it all away, but I will say that by the end of the book Sophie still isn't completely sure of her relationship with sexy actor man, and her relationship with her mother in law changes in a way that could hardly be considered ideal. So, yes, she's in a happier place a mere year after her husbands death, but she had to work to get to that happy place. Which was what I loved so much about her. I hate it when characters just sit back and repeatedly let bad things happen to them.

As I mentioned before, this book was recommended to me by a reader (thanks so much Shannon!) and I'm so thankful it was because I probably wouldn't have picked it up on my own. I'm certain I would have looked at the cover and misjudged it as just chick lit, which is generally a category of books I can't quite get into. And I would have been missing out because this is probably one of my Top Ten favorite books of all time.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Random Thoughts

*First off, thank you all so much for the anniversary wishes and the birthday wishes for Monty. We had a busy, cake-filled week.

*Last Friday Jay and I went out for dinner on our own. We went to Claim Jumper, which is surprisingly good for a chain restaurant. I feel sorta guilty going to the chains when I have such a huge selection of awesome, locally owned restaurants at my disposal, but Claim Jumper is close to home and we didn't want to wander too far from the kiddos. But the food was really good and our waitress was super sweet. She took our picture and and gave us a complimentary anniversary cupcake:
*Although I love it here, and am the happiest I've ever been in my life, something is going nuts inside my body. I've had hives almost daily since moving here, my allergies are out of control, my eyes are red and my face is puffy. To try and get to the root of the problem, I decided to do the Master Cleanse, and Jay played along with me because he's a great guy.
We lasted a bit longer than a day. How do people do this and still function in their normal lives? Jay and I were tired, weak, and had no energy. But I was allergy free for that day and a half so I'm going to limit my food a lot, eat lots of fruits and veggies, and see if I can rectify this without a trip to the doctor.

*This weekend Jay is volunteering at the Oregon Brewers Festival. He's very excited about this and has been talking about "Beer Weekend" for weeks. He's off all weekend and will be spending it with his mistress, Beer. We all have our own ways of giving back to the community.

*The other day I received a catalog for Tea and I must say they have some of the cutest kids clothes I've seen in a long time. I get a bit choked paying more than $20 for clothing for a person weighing less than 50 pounds, so a lot of it is out of my price range. I did break down and buy this shirt though, since I live with a little gal who has a thing for Russian Nesting Dolls. I may find myself splurging on one of these dresses come back-to-school time.

*I'm ready for fall and winter mainly because I have a weaselly looking neighbor who is way too comfortable being shirtless when the temperatures go above 55. Dude, cover up.

*I've begun reading Her Fearful Symmetry and am totally pulled in and loving it. I'm still working on my review for Good Grief but it seems like every time I write about it, it ends up sounding like chick lit, and I think the story is so much more than that, so it's taking me a while. Hopefully soon though.

*As I mentioned before, on and off this month I've been submitting photos and words to the habit flickr group. So far, only the one photo has been picked for the blog, but I'm okay with that. Some days I just like the idea of taking a picture and saying only a few words. Below is my submission from yesterday:A shady spot between the apartment buildings; a backyard is where you make it.

I really like it because I think it's an example of one of the many changes my family has gotten used to since moving here (plus, I think my daughter looks really cute in the Fairy accessories my mom sent her.) My kids (and my pets) were used to having a big, fenced in backyard they could run around in anytime, night or day. But they've all adapted. Change is scary, but it can also be so very, very good.

(Edited to add: My photo made it on habit today. Yay!)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Twelve Year Old Boy

Living with a twelve year old boy can be tough. There are the Beavis and Butthead impersonations and the never ending conversations about video games. You'll probably hear a lot of songs by Tenacious D. You may even learn all the lyrics and find yourself singing along, against your will of course. You have to constantly nag your twelve year old boy to eat healthier, limit the soda, wash their hair, brush their teeth, do their chores, read more, be nice to their little sister, etc. You have to get used to hearing jokes about farts, butts, poop, weiners, and boobs. You must become accustomed to someone snickering every time they hear the word tool. Oh, and you absolutely must be prepared to hear the phrase, That's what she said, at least once a day. Frankly, the twelve year old boy is one annoying critter.But, if you're lucky, you may end up with a twelve year old boy who is kind and sweet. One who will stay up late making you a homemade card.

One who loves animals and adoringly cares for his stupid little chihuahua even though she doesn't deserve it and repays him by loving everyone else in the family more.

One who, despite the many arguments and complaints, truly loves his sister and really doesn't mind her-in fact, will look out for her. And only hits her or yanks her hair sometimes.
One who doesn't mind that his best friend refuses to acknowledge that we live in another time zone and continues to call and text at four in the morning.

One who tries his best to take care of you when you're sick.

One who anxiously waits for his dad to come home from work because he just "likes it when Dad is home."

If you're really lucky, your twelve your old boy may balance his love of junk TV with an appreciation for better stuff like Curb Your Enthusiasm or anything with Ricky Gervais. He will also love 30 Rock as much as you do and will only occasionally make fun of your Alec Baldwin obsession.

And if you're really, really lucky, you may get a twelve year old who has an inherent knack for staying out of trouble and avoiding the bad kids. He'll choose friends who are just like him. They of course will be annoying at times. They'll stink up your house and eat all of your food, but are ultimately harmless.

So, despite the many drawbacks of having a twelve year old boy, they are a pleasure to have around and I'd advise you to get one of your own. Especially if you can find one like mine.

Happy Birthday Montgomery!

Friday, July 16, 2010

13 Years Ago....


Jay and I took a day off of work, went out for bagels, and then got married at a courthouse near Miami.

I kept my eye on the woman who married us. She knew the routine. She had done this dozens of times before. I remember thinking I bet she is certain this will never last. Actually, for various reasons, I felt like a lot of people thought that about us.

Well here we are, thirteen years later. We've both grown up and grown together. When I look back on the most recent years, things have been.......tough. But without Jay by my side, none of it would have been worth it. He's been my motivation and my inspiration for a better life.

Happy Anniversary, Jay. Here's to proving everyone wrong!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

habit

In case you are unaware, the ladies over at habit have started a Flickr group and for the month of July are inviting everyone to play along too, with the chance of having your photo on the actual website.

I'm thrilled and beyond honored that one of my pictures has been chosen. I'm also quite humbled because there is always so much amazing talent over there. I've been clicking over to habit since the beginning. The combination of photos and a few honest, emotional words, is truly a thing of real beauty.

To see my photo, along with the others chosen for July 13, click here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book Review: Choke

Victor Mancini is a medical school drop-out, a sex addict, and a worker at a colonial theme park. On the side, he makes a fair amount of money by pretending to choke in restaurants, being saved by a stranger, and then continuing to bilk his 'hero' for money by making them feel sorry for him. The main reason he does this, is because he has to pay thousands of dollars a month to keep his dying mother in an extended care facility.

It's hard for me to say whether I liked this book or not. It kept my interest and was an easy read, but I can't really say I enjoyed it. When Daphne was here, we had a brief discussion about Chuck Palahniuk and came to the quick conclusion that his books are "man books." (In fact, I really only even read this book because Jay liked it and had been after me to read it for about two years now.)

For instance, Victor almost always refers to his penis as his "dog." Ugh. And he says this often, at least once ever ten pages, if not more. Now every time I need to say the word "dog", you know, like in reference to an actual dog, I want to throw up. I've been having to use words like "pooch" and "pup." Plus, there is a lot of gross, dirty sex on the floors of public restrooms or in janitors closets.

The book's ending was odd. It all sort of ended abruptly and in a way that I wasn't expecting. Again, I can't decide how I feel about this. In a way, it's neat that it caught me off guard, but at the same time, it seemed to not fit.

I definitely don't think I'd search out anymore books by Chuck Palahniuk, but if Jay had some laying around, I might be inclined to pick one up.

Right now I'm reading Good Grief, which was recommended to me by a reader, and I'm loving it. It's sort of chick-lit without all the mushy stuff and I can relate to the main character in a lot of ways. I can't wait to review it here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Weekend In List Form

{Everything that follows took place between Friday July 9 and Sunday July 11.}

*Decided to drive to Mt. Hood. Stopped at some Friday garage sales along the way and never conquered the mountain.

*At one garage sale I paid 25 cents for a baggie filled with paper odds and ends, various half used post-it note pads, etc. Tucked in the baggie was this:
A ticket stub for the observation level of the World Trade Center.

*Continued to ignore Facebook messages, emails, and now apparently phone calls. What is wrong with me? I suck. (Today, I promise! Maybe.)

*Went to the farmers market.

*Took the girl and Liz Lemon to the fountain at the Commons. Was politely-almost apologetically-reprimanded by a police officer for bringing my dog to the Commons. The conversation went like this:

The po-po: Excuse me, ma'am, but dogs aren't allowed at the common area.
Me: Oh, ok. My husband walked over to the farmers market, as soon as he comes back we'll leave.
The po-po: Oh no problem. Just remember it for next time.

I love Oregon. Even the cops are nice.

*Took a family trip to Powell's.

*Finished one book (Choke). Started another (Good Grief).

*Ate too many cherries.

*Watched quite a few episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm with Jay and the boy.

*Spent a day at the zoo:
*Had sushi for dinner.

*Took a drive out to the country. But quickly came back because the country just isn't for me.

We aren't normally this go-go-go, but it's been hot the past few days and no one has really felt like hanging around an apartment that has no air conditioner. I have learned that I hate summer no matter which state I'm in. I become miserable, uncomfortable, and basically just want to hibernate until fall. I may need to look into getting a summer home in Australia. Today though, I'll just focus on the fact that the high is only 70 degrees and it would appear that, for now anyway, the high nineties are over.

What did you do this weekend?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Things I'm Into Right Now

Just a smattering of some of the things I'm loving lately....

*Rainier cherries:Oh, how I love these, but I normally don't buy them because I feel guilty about paying almost seven dollars for fruit. I was so excited when I saw them at the local farmers market for a dollar cheaper than the grocery store. (Isn't it funny that a dollar makes that much of a difference to me?) This whole basket will probably be gone by Monday.

*Yummy summer reading:Such a great stack, I don't know where to begin.

I've also been reading some fun and inspiring artsy zines (both can be bought here):
And of course I can't forget my Out and About book (given to me by Peggy shortly after moving here).We use this on an almost daily basis.
*Hopworks Urban Brewery: Organic beer and food, a sustainable building, and they compost and collect water in rain barrels? Could this restaurant be anymore of a dream for me? Plus, they have some really impressive chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches:
*Robins Egg Blue:The girl and I found the remains of this egg the other day while out on a walk. Can you believe I'd never seen a robins egg before? So pretty. I want to paint my life this color.

What are you into right now?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pippi

Back in the sixth grade, Dawn and I had to do an oral report on a book of our choosing. But it couldn't be just a regular report. It had to have some type of accompaniment like costumes, music, artwork, etc. We eventually decided on Pippi Longstocking, although for the life of me I can't remember why. It had been a long time since I had read those books and I clearly remember Dawn and I being into more 'mature' stuff like The Sweet Valley High series. We agreed that Dawn would do the majority of the report and I would dress like Pippi. (Now that I think about it, this may have just been an excuse for me to a.) not do any of the actual work and b.) dress up like a jackass. Despite being quite shy, I have a strangely dramatic side and am not afraid to get into costume for no good reason.)

Other than changing into goofy clothes and putting my hair into really stiff braids, I don't remember much about the day of the report. I can vaguely picture the class staring at us and being less than impressed. I know, shocking. Possibly this event foreshadowed my years of crushing unpopularity.

Fast forward to yesterday when I received a box from Dawn. I ripped into it and pulled this chick out:I am very happy to give this funky gal a home. We have some shelves in our living room that are quickly filling up with toys and other fun things:
Yes, she'll fit in very nicely in the cubby next to the boy's brain eating zombie:A good friend is someone who has seen you dress up as Pippi Longstocking yet loves you anyway.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Self Portrait: July

Most of you know how much I hate having my picture taken. When the camera is pointed at me, I tense up and get very agitated and nervous. That is if I let anyone take my picture in the first place. (Jay has compared pictures of me to that of pictures of Bigfoot, kind of grainy and fuzzy with Bigfoot running from the camera.) Then if I see the photos, I just feel ill and most likely end up destroying any hard copies.

Because of this, there is virtually no photographic evidence of me past the age of about 19. Which bothers me. I mean, if I were to die tomorrow, I'd like the kids to have at least a few photos of their mom.

So, I've decided that once a month I'm going to post a photo of myself. This is a huge step for me and not really something I'm comfortable with, but I want to learn to relax when my picture is being taken. I'm tired of looking like I'm in agony.

The rules for this project are as follows:

*The picture will appear here sometime before the fifteenth of every month.

*I'm calling it Self Portrait, but in actuality I'm hoping to get Jay, the boy, or anyone else who happens to be around, to take my picture. The goal being to get comfortable with this.

*There isn't going to be a lot of set up or staging. I'm not going to spend any more time on my hair or makeup than I would on an average day. I'm not aiming for model beauty or perfection. Just me, being me, doing my me thing.

*When doing a self portrait, once I've decided when and where to do the shot, I must choose one of the first twenty shots. I'm imposing this rule so I don't end up standing in front of the mirror for twelve hours hoping the next shot will be better than the last.

*Along with the photo, I'll probably include a few notes about the day it was taken. What I'm wearing, what I was doing at the time, if I was listening to any music, etc.

So, without further ado, here's the portrait for July:Notes on this photo:

*It was taken on the fourth of July. A quiet day at home, just me and the kids. I had been cleaning the bedroom and listening to music (Kandi by One Eskimo has the power to bring me near tears lately) when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I then noticed that I grimaced at the sight of myself. This self hatred is what I'm trying to stop. It's stupid and pointless.

*I was irritable this day and I know I snapped at the kids a lot. I had hives and was super itchy and uncomfortable. I've been breaking out in hives on and off since moving to Oregon. I can't quite put my finger on what the problem is. Maybe my skin just isn't used to living without humidity.

*My pinky finger looks really long in this photo. When did I grow ET fingers? Wonderful. One more thing to be self conscious about.

*The dress I'm wearing used to be Dani's. It became mine last year and it has become my go-to warm weather dress. (I don't own a single pair of shorts anymore.) On this day, I thought it would be warm but by 2:00 it was still 65 degrees so I had to put a sweatshirt over it.

*I'm wearing my glasses. I need these mainly for reading but I get tired of putting them on and off so when I don't need them for seeing, I let them slide down my nose and then peer over the top. I'm sure this makes me look like a mean librarian spinster, but whatever.

*ET fingers and all, I'm mostly pleased with this shot. It's not great, but I feel like it looks like how I think I look.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Overload

I hadn't done anything creative lately. Really, nothing. I blame it on a sort of creativity overload that I seem to have gotten myself into. For example:

*Shortly after moving here I decided to make a lap quilt to throw over the back of the couch. The design phase went well. I chose a color scheme (citrus: oranges, yellows, greens), bought and cut the fabric, and started making log cabin squares with the goal of completing one a day. I have about fifteen done. I've had about fifteen done for the last two months. The project has been temporarily shelved and I don't know when I'll get to it.

*I want to also make a picnic quilt out of vintage sheets. Again, the design phase went well. I have the sheets, I've begun to cut the squares. But then I hit a wall and stopped. My squares sit patiently on my sewing desk, which has begun to look like the place where sewing projects go to die.

*Crochet. I actually want to crochet more. Dani was kind enough to send me a box of supplies and a copy of a book that's helped her over the years and I'm anxious to dig into it all and get started. But I really want to have some quiet time to study through the book and make sure that I'm doing everything correctly. With both kids being home, I just haven't had the time to devote to it. And, if I'm being totally honest, when I do have the time, I usually spend it doing something mindless like watching Ricky Gervais reruns on OnDemand while Jay reads about football on the internet. (My god we are boring!)

*Patterns. I bought them. I'm thisclose to making a shirt. I'm scared.

*Photography. I've declared this the summer when I really learn how to use my camera. I have a very cool camera given to me by my very cool husband and I feel like I'm wasting a large portion of it by always shooting in 'auto'. I've taken out the owners manual and I carry it throughout the house, leaving it places near where I may later be standing around doing nothing in hopes that I pick it up and start reading. I'm on page 4. (I may actually need to take a class for this one......)

*Holiday gifts. I know it's only July, but obviously if I want anyone on my list to have a handmade holiday that does not include wonky dish cloths, I need to start now. I have a lot of ideas floating around in my brain. A bit of crochet. A bit of embroidery. But no one idea is really manifesting itself in any sort of tangible way. Which means I've done nothing.

So....all of this had left me completely overwhelmed and not wanting to do anything. Which leads to crafter's guilt. You know, when you own all these supplies but days/weeks/months pass and you really haven't done anything with it all. And you start to feel like all the money you've spent was totally wasted.

Anyway, yesterday it rained most of the day, Jay had to work past midnight. The perfect crafting day. Although apparently not perfect enough to tackle anything on my (massively long) list, because instead I made myself a new bag! (Which may not be a bad thing since my son told me the purse I had been carrying looked like "poop.")
It's of course the Tiny Happy tutorial. I love this tutorial for it's simplicity, clear directions, and just the way it comes out perfect every damn time I've made one.

The fabric was bought at Goodwill and I always knew it would be made into a bag for myself, but I knew the bag would have to have a little something else, so I refrained from making it until I felt the proper inspiration.

The bird was cut from some IKEA fabric that I have and then just embroidered onto the outside of the bag before adding the lining.You'll notice he is legless. The bird and I had a discussion and together we made the executive decision to cut off his legs. They just looked too messy against the loud and busy fabric. (Although, now sometimes when I look at it, I feel like something is missing. Oh well, executive decisions can be tough.)

The bag is lined with more of the same fabric that our legless friend was cut from:
I had the most fun making this bag. When I began, I had this vision in my head of how I wanted it to look, and the end result matches my vision perfectly. Which is a rarity. Normally, my ideas and skill level aren't quite in synch.
I love it when a plan comes together.

Now to tackle the list.