Nov 11, 2012

Doodle de doo.

I think my brain has been unhappy with me lately. The left side has gotten all the attention, what with school and all, and my poor right side was feeling left out. 
Why do I think this?
Because when I sat down with a pen and paper a few days ago, the right side of my brain rather desperately abducted the left side and took over. And almost before I knew what was happening this had jumped onto my paper:

I guess my mind was more desperate for creativity than I thought ...

There's just something refreshing about a good long doodle session...

Nov 10, 2012


 Aaaand it's pomegranate season! Let my annual over-consumption of said deliciousness commence!

Ok, who am I kidding?
We're on our fifth one already.

Nov 1, 2012

Super easy friendship bracelet DIY

I went over to a friend's house last week, and she taught me this super fun way to make friendship bracelets! 

First cut a small circle out of thin cardboard (cereal boxes work great.) Cut a hole in the center, and eight slits around the edge. 

Cut seven strands of embroidery floss or thin yarn. Each one should be about two feet long. Tie them together at the top. I chose to use six gray threads and one green one. 

Tuck the knot down through the hole in the cardboard.

Slip one strand of embroidery floss into each slit. There will be one empty one.

Now for the fun part!
Find the empty slit. Going to the right of it, skip two threads, and pick up the third one. Pull it out of its slit, and slide it into the empty one!

Now rotate the cardboard disc so the empty slit is on top again and repeat, taking the third thread to the right and putting it into the empty slit.

That's it! Just keep repeating and repeating! You're basically making an intricate braid. 
Soon you will see a tiny woven tail appearing like magic:

Once that tail is long enough to wrap around your wrist, pull the bracelet off of the cardboard and finish it. I chose to make two thin braids at the end for tying purposes, but you can finish however you want. Cut off the extra thread, and you're done!

As you can see, using one thread in a different color makes little dots.
You can experiment with different patterns though!

The first time I tried this, it basically blew my mind with how simple but awesome it was!
It would be a great project to do with kids, or even while watching a movie; it's that easy!

Have fun!

Oct 30, 2012


It's been thirteen years since the first photo was taken, and this morning my mom still brought coffee to her bed-headed, very-much-not-a-morning-person daughter. Best mom ever? Quite possibly.

Oct 28, 2012

Tie-front tee DIY!

So when we were in Holland this April, I wanted to get a tshirt. Unfortunately, the place where I bought mine had the shirts folded into plastic packages, and I couldn't open them to see how big the tshirts were.
So when I finally bought and opened the package, the shirt was waaaay too big.
But! I decided I could fix it with a restyle, so s'all good! :)

And yes, it has taken me six months to get around to it.

Here's the Before & After! 
(These pics were only taken 1 day apart. And yes, that *is* snow. In October. Welcome to Minnesota.)

I recently found this shirt at a second hand store, and decided to use it as my inspiration:

Want to make your own tie-front shirt? Here's how I did it!

I used a white colored pencil (finally! A use for those things!) to draw out the shape I wanted, using a ruler to make sure it was even and centered.

And then: scary part! Snip snip. 

Then I turned the shirt inside out, folded over the raw edges, pinned and sewed all the way around.

For the collar I just cut off the existing one, and pinned and sewed the raw edge.

While the shirt was inside out, I sewed up the sides to take them in a bit. And then I sewed the opening of the sleeve a little smaller, giving it that "bat-wing" shape which is so popular. And finally I cut off the extra fabric.

And wa-la! My inspiration, and my finished product:

Now I can finally wear my souvenir for more than pjs! Yay!

Have you ever restyled something? 

Oct 17, 2012

Chipmunk face

Because life is just so full and the mornings smell of coffee, wood smoke, and rain, and I'm too busy living to document life

The last two weeks have been full of weddings, a funeral, tears, long hugs, helplessness, horse chestnuts, hysterical laughing fits. New tap shoes, surgery, swing dancing. Oma, learning dances for the Christmas show, yellow leaves, snow. Being behind in school, awkwardness, beautiful music, student ID cards, mopping floors, painting walls, cheetos, business, deep theological conversations, Nero, Alexander the Great, exams, gummy bears, heartaches, and overwhelming grace to face it all.

So I'm going to do something I don't normally do, because I have nothing else to post at the moment. 
I'm going to post a sort of story ... something I wrote for my journal. Not sure if it's "blog worthy" material, but whatevs, guys. I got nothin' else for ya. 

So here you go! The story of how I lost my wisdom teeth and gained these gorgeous chipmunk cheeks. :)


Tropical fish.
Smooth gray glides by, neon yellow and orange outlining him, defining him. Little vibrant coral-colored fishy swims by happily, royal blue fin contrast. They float around in their strange watery atmosphere. What if our air were thick enough to sit on?
Tiniest of fin flickers send the fish darting through the maze of rocks. I peer through to the other side of the tank, a window into the hallway that leads to surgery.
Soon I’m back there in a cold room. Blood pressure and temperature taking. The doctor comes in, I shake his gigantor hand – how the heck will he get that into my mouth?! - and I smile at his kind eyes. I can tell right away that he’s fun and trustworthy. Some people you just know.
 I’m led to the surgery room. Sit in the large chair, and heave a sigh.
A nurse drapes a heavy, just-out-of-the-dryer warm blanket over me. This isn’t going to be so bad …
Tight elastic tied around upper arm. Pump and squeeze my hand to get the blood going. The doctor gives me two of his massive fingers to squeeze – “but don’t crush them!” – and he taps my vein gently. It feels good to hold onto someone … warm and secure. He counts down from three. A sharp pinch into my vein.
“That’s it! No more needles.” He tosses the wrapper across the room and straight into the waste basket. His eyes twinkle. “That’s two out of three today!”
Almost before I know what’s happening, he has attached the IV to the needle. “The ceiling tiles will begin swimming soon. I’ll ask you every once in a while how you’re doing. When you can’t answer I’ll know you’re out.”
I nod. Look at the ceiling. Hmm. Suddenly the tiles are jiggling, sliding over each other, switching places.
Here we go!! I think, as if I’m at the peak of a roller coaster ready to zoom and fall.

I dream a tube resting on my cheek, under my nose. The word oxygen fogs into my brain. Did somebody say it?

I’m awake. My cheeks full and fat. Done.
“Take your time,” a voice resonates out of nowhere. I can’t see anybody, but someone’s there. I sense a hold on my arm, a dream of sitting into a comfortable chair. Blink.
I feel a sense of expectation. Did someone ask me something? Oh. TV. What TV channel.
“Food Network,” I think, trying to say it around the gauze. Disapproval … or is it an apology? I need to give her a different answer. “HGTV,” I say, not knowing how I remember the name. Dark. Warm. Someone’s smashing something long and white. A kitchen counter. Must be a sledge hammer.
Beep. Beep. Beep. In the back of my brain. It quickens as I breathe in. Slows as I breathe out. Like my heartbeat. I feel something on my finger. I twitch it. The beeping falters, comes back. My heartbeat is coming through the thing on my finger.
There’s a voice. A picture comes into my mind, a pile of receipts and credit cards. Mom is paying. She’ll be back soon.
  There’s the nurse. I can see her face now. Blonde hair. She clicks off my beeping heart machine, her nails blue and sparkly like the universe. There’s Mom. She holds a pad of cotton against my hand as the IV is pulled out. The nurse lifts the blanket off of me.
“She said she wasn’t cold,” she says to my mom. “But she looked like she was, so I gave her an extra blanket.” I said I wasn’t cold? When was that?
“You can sleep,” the nurse says to me. “You won’t remember any of this.” But I do. She’s talking about what I can eat, and rinsing with saltwater and not spitting today. The doctor stops by, I can see his dependable face clearly, but later it fades. Mom leaves to drive the car around. I stand and zip the black zipper on my coat, nurse holding my arm. We walk slowly out the door and stand in the chilly entryway, looking at white skies and damp streets, the nurse still holding onto me.
This is awkward, I think. Silent. Linked arms with a stranger. But it’s ok. I don’t have to fill the silence. I just got out of surgery! For once my silence is acceptable, so I relax into it, and let it draw out. The car pulls up. I sit in front, and say thank you to the nurse. At least, I think I do. I can barely hear my mumble around the gauze.
And then I’m home. What happened to the car ride? I don’t know.
Suddenly: a lazy-boy.
A blanket and bloody gauze and yoghurt and a nap.

“Mom?” I ask, my mind working, but aware that I may sound crazy if I’m not careful, “Would they have put those stickers on my side to measure my heartbeat?”
“They might have …” she says.
That’s good. Because I thought I dreamed a female hand slipping gently under my warm blanket and up my shirt, a round sticker.
“Mom? Did the doctor say a long word and then mention something about the lines inside my cheeks?”
Good. I smile. That one wasn’t a dream either.

I think back to the swimming ceiling tiles, and remember another dream. A metal pipe was dancing and flowing like water. Boy, I was out before I knew it! “Here we go” was my last conscious thought. You’d think it would have happened more gradually, lids drooping sleepily and slowly. But it’s more like a drop off. A bang. Boom. Blank. Waking up again.

        Soon I’m watching Merlin and eating lukewarm chicken noodle soup and thinking up humorous facebook statuses:
       “It’s a good thing I’ve had 17 years of practice with a spoon, because getting that thing into my mouth when I’m numb up to my eyeballs is pure guesswork.”

       I’m pleased that my mind is working well enough to be sarcastic.

      My pain pills make me light and dizzy with happy sleepiness.
The days pass blissfully with Merlin and apple sauce, doggy snuggles, warm blankets, and a good book. I let out a sigh, blowing the air through my lips, pony style, and groan because it hurts. And then I laugh because sighing hurts, of all the ridiculous things. And then I groan because laughing hurts, and then I laugh even harder. And then I hold onto my chipmunk cheeks for dear life, grinning painfully.

It’s been an entertaining experience, this surgery stuff. 


Rainbow leaves from early October.

Have you had your wisdom teeth out? Any good stories? I'd love to hear. :) 

Oct 2, 2012

Instant grilled apple cheese sandwich!

Reason #9600534 that I like pinterest: it introduced me to the sideways toaster. 
Set a toaster on it's side and boom! Instant grilledness!

I made my grilled sandwich with sliced green apples and shredded cheese. Mmmmm.

And if you decide to try this, just don't ... you know ... put the toaster on the edge of the counter. Otherwise, well, when it pops the sandwich will sort of shoot out and, *cough* you know ...


But hey! 
One of them worked! 
And it was delicious.
Especially with Trader Joe's roasted red pepper tomato soup.

Healthy autumny meal that's super easy and fast and delicious? AND makes you feel scathingly brilliant when you turn the toaster on its side and run around the house telling everyone to come see the awesomeness??

Count me in.

Sep 24, 2012

Hi. I painted a chicken.

Sis: Who is that for?
Me: A chicken? Really? 
Sis: Oh. Jill.
Me: Yeah. Why else would I paint a chicken??
Sis: Well, I was wondering ...

Yeah. My sis in law, Jill, is slightly obsessed with chickens. She's awesome. And she likes purple. 

I give to thee, for thy viewing pleasure, "The Chicken." Acrylic on canvas. 

Sep 17, 2012

Sometimes you forget // knitting inspiration

Sometimes you forget about the things you enjoy.
You get so caught up in school and work and stuff that needs to get done that you forget. And when you take a break from the monotony you automatically go online and browse around and blur your brain and you forget.
You forget the way knitting relaxes you, letting your mind wander and think things through as you go rhythmically around and around. The way it makes you feel accomplished and refreshed and creative and nostalgic. 
You forget.

But then one day ... you rediscover. 
And boy, is it good.

Mustard cowl
:: 29" No. 11 circular needles :: 4 ply yarn, doubled :: 60 stitches :: knit 2 purl 2 ::

What joys have you forgotten that you can rediscover?

Sep 11, 2012

1940s dance!

You remember how I was practicing my hair and makeup for a 1940s themed dance? Well the dance was this weekend. And it was ... indescribable.
So, of course, I have to try to describe it. -_-
I've been putting off writing this for a few days, because I know I'll get the writing wrong and you will barely even get a hint of how special it was, but dang it, I have to try!!

So let's get on with it, then, shall we?
I thought I'd share some about our costumes first, and then about the actual dance!

First, my sister's costume!
She based it off of the picture on the left, and this is what she came up with:

Closeup of her cool shoes:

And here's my costume!

Ok, actually, the shoes were just for the photo shoot. Because ... well, I can't dance in heels. *sad face*
So for the actual dance I wore oxfords with bobby-socks. :)

But hey. The heels just looked too cool not to be in the photos! Oh, and I think I probably used about half a can of hairspray on those victory rolls. ;)

Another costume idea? Cardigan. 1940s all the way, baby.

Even my brother got into it! 
Guys costumes are pretty easy for the '40s. Slicked hair with a bit of a wave in front and some suspenders! Easy and classy. 

Once we got all spiffed up, and after our super quick photo shoot, it was time to leave! I rode out with my friend, Liz. We were basically bouncing up and down and laughing with excitement silly-girl-style the whole way there. Girls just gotta do that sometimes ...

And then we arrived! We stood around and chatted and exchanged complements on costumes and tried extremely hard not to smear our extremely smeary lipstick (no wonder 1940s ladies had to go to the powder room to touch up their makeup so much!), and then ... the evening officially began!
Some of our great friends hosted the dance in an outbuilding on their country property. The atmosphere was just so happy!

There was even some really cool decor from the 40s to get us in the mood!

And then we took some "family photos" with our friends in the little photo corner.

One of the most attractive photos of the evening, and therefore my most favorite. :) Makes me grin like an idiot whenever I see it!

Sisters straight out of the 40s! I look really pleased about it, don't I? ;)

After a while those of us who dressed up had our costumes judged. These are about half the guys who wore costumes:

Girls and guys costume winners! 

And the guys costume winner with my mother, Rosie the Riveter. 
Didn't know she was my mom, did ya??

After some some more dancing, we had an intermission with hors d'oeuvres, including WWII appropriate spam! :P

There was a happy babble of chatter, and one of the guys wandered around playing an accordion (!). White Christmas lights were overhead in the dim room. Friends and family and familiar faces were all around.
Sitting on the cold cement floor, munching my spam (and other more delicious food items), I just felt so content and incredibly blessed to be a part of something that special.

And then of course we had to go around feeling each other's hair to determine whose had the most gel/hairspray and was therefore the crunchiest. Hehe! 

As the evening wore on my brother brought out an old army coat and hat. Totally changed his look! 

And then more dancing!
Wild dancing. Happy dancing. Laughter. Sweaty hands. Swirling skirts. Grand ballroom music and peppy '40s big band. We did the Spanish Waltz, Patty-Cake Polka, Posties Jig, Scottish Jig, Virginia Reel, Kaleidoscope, the Grand March, and the Fairfield Fancy ... all topped off with some swing dancing!

At about this point I wandered outside to cool off. It was so dark and still outside, light and music and laughter swirling out of that building in the most joyful way. 
I tilted my head back and stared at the glorious stars which I miss so much in town. The music trickled out the door and before I knew it I was waltzing by myself, eyes still upwards, hands behind my back, listening to voices chatting in the darkness nearby. Soaking up the goodness.

And then, as the evening wore on, we all gathered around and lifted our voices a capella, singing the Doxology, praising the One who blessed us with these friends.
And finally after one o'clock in the morning, and yet all too soon, the party completely wore down in that sad but unavoidable way parties have. 
I could feel myself dead tired, but the adrenaline kept me awake. 
People putting on jackets and saying goodbyes. Eyelids beginning to droop. 
Hugs all around. Thanks and smiles and see-you-laters. 

Finally we were home. Around 2 o'clock I made myself some tea and sat quietly, not wanting to take my shoes off or my hair down, not wanting it to be quite over just yet, reliving the funny moments and the awkward moments and the peaceful moments and the wildness and the happiness which is just hard to describe, smiling to myself into my cup of warm tea. Holding onto that feeling just a little bit longer ... blinking sleepily content.