Sunday, November 27, 2011

My First Sewing Project in Months


I finally got to sew! Every time I have been home and crafting, I have been doing yarn crafts. I finally sat at my sewing machine and played with my dress form for a few hours! The only thing this dress form has been used for this year is another apron. I think this is due to my obsession with quilting. Finally, I used it though to make an apron for myself. 


I used scrap fabric from the first dress I ever made so, it was really sloppy and had a random seams down the front. I recycled the dress into this scrappy apron. This is the picture from me brainstorming and pinning the fabric scraps onto my dress form.


Here is the final project on my dress form. It turned out really skinny but, I don't mind because I just wanted to sew and needed an apron. I used green ribbon for the top strap, sewed a pink heart onto the top half and used some lace border for the bottom and top. I even wore it to make "pigs in a blanket" with my dad....for everyone who has never heard of that it is sausage baked in bread. They turned out to be delicious, too.

Here is me in my scrappy-and-skinny apron next to my tree in my room. I apologize for the poor quality of these photos but, I do not have a decent camera so they all turn out blurry. This is the tree I posted about decorating a few days ago. Almost all of those gifts under the tree were bought on Black Friday. I love my tree and can't wait to come back home and fill it up completely with presents. 


I know this photo is dark and shadowy but, these are behind the tree on my cork board. I sewed these stockings two years ago, I think. One is for Kacie, my best friend, and the other is for me! Usually they just hang on my tree and have never been filled with goodies. This year might hold a different future for these little stockings. I love them because they are nontraditional and mix two different patterns....oh and they are homemade. I hope everyone is enjoying decorating for the Holidays as much as I am!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Black Friday


This is what I did at Walmart while I waited in line for two hours for a TV for the living room. I couldn't find anybody to go Black Friday shopping with but, at 9:30 my parents decided they were going to camp out for a TV. So, I got to go! I made a trip out of line to go get coffee and my mom went and got us yarn and crochet needles so we could stay busy in line. By the time we got the craft supplies we only had about 30 minutes left, though. We did make a new friend, Linda, in line because she was waiting right next to us the entire time. After we got our TV at midnight, we shopped for another two hours and I got almost all of my Christmas shopping done!


For some reason, our line went right through the freezer section so we were basically in Antarctica for the entire wait. This is the view of our line before they doubled the line and made another row of people stand to the right side of the isle. 
I love Black Friday shopping and I went last year for the first time. My mom absolutely hates it but, I had so much fun getting all the great deals on Christmas Gifts I wish she would do it with me every year. I hope everyone else got great deals, too.
I got all of my gifts for Alec and most of my gifts for my family. This week we put up the tree in my room, the tree downstairs and baked Christmas Cookies. I am so excited for Christmas. It is my favorite holiday and I started celebrating it already. Now I have to do homework for the rest of the weekend, and then go back to school...neither of which I am looking forward to.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crocheting, Knitting, Baking, and Cooking.

  I came home last night, a day early, from school to surprise my mom. I pulled in the drive way at the exact time she did and her face was priceless. I'm almost positive tears of joy were involved. Plus, it was the first time I drove my car, which is standard, without Alec! So, I got home and we made cookies and then went to knitting club. I tried really hard to learn how to knit but, wasn't doing as well as I was hoping. So, instead of making the shifter knob cover from knitting  like I wanted to, I went home and made my own crochet pattern for my Subaru.

 

This is my masterpiece! It fit on there pretty well and kept my hand warm this morning when I was driving! This is the first time I've ever made a pattern out of my head and created something. It doesn't move around when I'm trying to shift either. I might try to tweak it a little bit and then I'll type up a pattern for it and post it on here so anybody else who wants to crochet their own shifter knob cover can, too! 


These are the cookies I made to bring to knitting club. They are from a confetti cake mix except instead of making it like a cake I added a little bit of oil and 2 eggs, and made it into cookies instead. We made them "Thanksgiving Cookies" and they are about half gone already.


This is the homemade turkey minestrone soup I made today. I'm actually eating some right this instant. I used the Minestrone soup recipe from my Moosewood Cookbook  as a guideline but, basically threw in whatever we had that I thought might taste good. I think it turned out pretty delicious. I know my mom will eat it but, I'm not sure if any of the boys will go for it. They are picky about their homemade food....they hardly eat anything that doesn't come out of a package. Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday week!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Journaling


I've had such a delightful weekend.  Alec and I spent the morning just relaxing and watching renovation shows on TV, while I read Woman's Day. The new magazine has been staring at me and tempting me for weeks. The cover has all sorts of things I love on it: recipes, couponing, weight loss tips, decoration Ideas...I could not wait to start reading it. Then, we went on a "cheap" and "romantic" date because we have been trying to save our money and wanted to do something new. So, we walked into town, enjoyed the gorgeous weather, and went window shopping. I did end up finding a lovely Christmas gift, though! I also bought a journal, which was one of the main purposes of our journey.  Today Alec and I basically lounged around and did homework...all day. But, I am definitely enjoying the little things.We spent the entire day doing homework in my dorm room. This may sound painfully boring but, it is much more pleasant than sitting in the freezing library on hard wooden chairs. So, I enjoyed the coffee and the relaxing day that we had together. I've also been doing Pilates for the past few days so, I've been feeling good about toning my body and exercising, which I usually don't do. This was overall a great weekend, as far as weekends in the dorm go.


This is my new journal. I love it and started writing in it the first night I got it. I am going to try to write in it in the morning, too. That way I can record my feelings when I wake up, any possible dreams, and any goals I have for the day. I'm enjoying writing in it already.
I'm off to write in it right now, and then cuddling in bed with Woman's Day until Alec gets back from soccer. Hope everyone had as great of a weekend as I did.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fingerprints and Footprints


This lovely little swirl "X" is my first print making attempt! In my art class, we ink stamped our fingers until we found a finger print that we liked. Then, these images were blown up larger and printed on a sheet of paper. From there, I drew the design from my finger print onto a rubber 4x4 block, carved it out with stamp making tools and  tada! A stamp of my finger print! I found that when I arranged them in an "X" , like above, they make this cool swirly design that  I really like.



After deciding on a design, I chose a color scheme and starting working. Each "X" is made of prints in brown on the top right and bottom left corner, and orange and blue prints in the other corners. This was my original pattern but the final results has many patterns in it. I really like the result and think it is a cool concept to have a huge 24x28 piece of art ..that is my finger print!


Food For Thought:
  • One cup of coffee requires 36 gallons of water to make. This water is used to grow, produce, package, and ship the beans.
  • People are using more water every year while the amount of usable water is decreasing.
  • By going to www.waterfootprint.org, you can figure out your individual water foot print (how much water you use in a day).
Remember, you must be the change you wish to see in the world!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Wonderful Chance To Read

Since I have come to school I have gotten so much reading done it is unbelievable. I have read 10 novels for school since September and 1 for school over the summer. I love reading but hardly ever get the chance to. Usually, I read memoirs and non-fiction but, I am a total literature junkie. My reading list of just the classics is pages long, and I've finally gotten a little dent in it! Here are the books I have read so far, and a little bit about each of them. I hope you find at least one or two that spark your interest.


This true story is written by Temple Grandin, a world renowned scientist who happens to be autistic. It follows her childhood and all of the problems she faced growing up as an autistic child. She describes what she needed to help her relax and feel comfortable, so that other people can understand and help the autistic people in their own lives. This book was inspirational and is a great read for anybody looking to either understand this disorder better or read about a person who struggled hard and became successful because of it. Temple actually came and lectured at our school this semester, and is extremely funny because she is so forward.


This book is a collection of short stories that are all western, and about cowboys. I only read a few short stories from this book but the ones I did read were filled with meaning, from social commentary to sexism. You will have to read it to figure out for yourself what she is trying to convey. The one short story that sticks out in my mind is "Brokeback Mountain." I had no idea that this movie was actually a 30 page short story, I thought it was based off a novel if anything. I've never seen the movie but, I thought the short story was good. Proulx is, no doubt, a blunt writer.


Persuasion is another great work of Jane Austen's that layers all sorts of issues (gender inequality, class distinctions, social conduct, individual values...etc). The main character is a woman of the age to marry who is  single, feeling pressure from her family to marry, and waiting on her true love, not an arranged marriage for money. This book is a great read that leaves you cheering for the monumental opinions of the main character in the 18th century. I definitely recommend it. I've read Pride and Prejudice, too. I'm hoping to read Emma next.


This novel, which is also a movie, begins with a description of primitive "man-apes" who began the human race, and delves into a narrative about astronauts traveling to Saturn in a spaceship controlled by a computer. Clarke does an excellent job at comparing primitive humans, with computers and humans today. He has a way of equating them all, instead of portraying humans as the dominant race. This novel has a few exciting twists in it and can be read as a psychological statement on development, an adventure novel, or a scientific exploration of the history and future. 

This book, which I just finished reading today, is a satire-loaded criticism of man-kind as a whole. Swift has an incredible way of creating these generalizations about man-kind through the story of a man sailing and ending up in various countries with different types of people. These people are not just marked by different skin tones; lets just say the first people he meets are all about 6 inches tall. Through describing these adventures, Swift describes the types of people he encounters in great detail, subtly mocking many aspects of society. This book is written in a very dry way with tons of didactic language but, about a completely ridiculous, yet creative, subject matter. His satire left me with a new view on the way humans act. 


This novel was, from what I've been told, one of the first novels written. It follows the life of Crusoe while he is stranded on an island and must fend for himself. It is a buildings roman about this European who was displaced but, still tried to act as civilized as he could by clothing himself, creating a table and chairs, setting up agriculture and farming...etc. This novel is dry in the beginning but, more interesting towards the end. Reading this novel left me with an understanding of THE traditional European novel, which I use as a baseline when judging other novels that strayed from the traditional ideals.


This novel's title is a play on Daniel Defoe's (The author of Robinson Crusoe's) last name. It is a re-write of Robinson Crusoe that tears apart almost every aspect of the previous novel, even the writing style. The female main character tells the story of Crusoe and Friday to "Foe" in such a way that falsifies the entire previous novel. I highly recommend reading Robinson Crusoe and then Foe. Doing so will enhance your critical reading skills, force you to question authorship, and separate you from the plot so that you can make your own critical judgments while reading. You will never blindly follow the main character or plot again.


This is one of my all time favorite classic novels. If you have not read it yet, you should. This story follows "Marlow", a European man traveling to Africa, through Africa to the "heart of darkness" where he slowly learns about the mysterious "Kurtz", the man who seems to be ruling the Congo. This novel is filled with great metaphors, symbolism, and parallels. It questions the divisions between "savages" and "civilized" people. I could read it over and over again. I've actually read it twice, already. 


This novel is almost a parallel novel to the previous. The narrator travels from Africa to Europe and slowly learns about the mysterious "Mustafa Sa'eed". This book presents an alternative point of view to the same concept of colonization. It also questions the divisions between the colonized and the colonizer. As always, this novel also addresses gender divisions, social class, power struggles and modernism versus traditional lifestyles. Again, I suggest reading these two novels together. 


This novel picks you up at the first sentence and does not set you down until the end. The story is composed of a young African girl who works hard to go to school and learns a lot about the problems associated with the new modern ways of doing things as well as with the traditional ways. She feels trapped in a world where she is expected to be a wife and mother, but is drawn to a world where she can be educated and still have a family. This novel is a great read that has many characters who each represent a different type of person in between modernity and tradition, including all the grey areas that lie between.


This story also displays the grey areas between cultures, religions, race, and geography. It follows the life of a woman who was born and lives in Scotland but, is Sudanese. She falls in love with a British man who lives in Scotland but, has been to Sudan and many other countries in Africa. This book reveals a lot about what it means to judge someone and what labels are actually created from. Does geography make you who you are? or does skin color? or religious? what if you are a combination of many things? This is a really easy read that I really enjoy so far. I am only half way through it, though.

I hope that at least one of these novels have interested you and you decide to read it. If you have already read some of them, what did you think about them? Are there any suggestions for books I should read? Enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Long Time, No Post

I have been so busy. I love posting in my blog and did it almost everyday over the summer. It is not that I don't have anything to say; I actually have sew much to say! In all honesty I have been spending too much time working and not enough doing the things I love to do. Last week I spent 7 hours on homework outside of class....7 HOURS! I am turning over a new leaf and spending more time posting, writing in my journal, and reading the Woman's Day and Better Homes and Gardens magazines I have piling up in my dorm room. Just as a general update, I am studying Biology with a pre-med focus. My goal is to have as close to a 4.0 as possible while staying involved in clubs so, I tend to spend too much time working and not enough relaxing.The library is literally our second home and Alec and I spend most of our date nights there.

Sometimes I get to go home, though! When I go home I spend as much time as I can spare crafting and baking. I made this little half of a baby-booty a few weeks ago but, it didn't turn out. This is the first season of crocheting where I spend less time making scarves and more time following a pattern. I find it rewarding to follow a pattern and make something I had no idea to make. It just dawned on me that I am capable of following a pattern and combining all of the stitches to actually make something. Alec even humors me and pulls the yarn for me while I crochet and he watches TV! 
I made this little turkey for my dorm room for Thanksgiving and I absolutely love it. The yarn for the feathers was actually my Grandma Kay's and I have a crocheted afghan on my bed in my dorm room that she made with the same yarn! I'm sure she would be proud to know her granddaughter takes after her. I convinced my mom to make a turkey, too. She was resistant but, now I have two turkey coasters that I can save and use everything Thanksgiving. They ironically look like a mother turkey and child turkey because our turkeys ended up being different sizes due to the tightness differences in our stitches.

 

 For Halloween, Alec and I baked cupcakes and used my new cake decorating kit to decorate them. Alec didn't know how to make cupcakes or decorate them so we had fun doing it. They were Halloween confetti cupcakes with red and orange frosting and Halloween cupcake holders. We made all sorts of designs from pumpkins  to cats and spiders. The idea originally stemmed from a mummy cupcake design I saw in one of my magazines and we basically ran with the concept. 

Here are updated pictures of my two favorite men: Alec Ryan and Ryan Jordan! This first picture was taken on the train tracks on campus on our way to visit my Aunt Rita in the hospital.



This one is blurry but, Ryan's cuteness is clearly evident. He is crawling now and he looks like a little crab when he does it! Apparently, he can walk now but, I have not been home to see him do it yet. I wish I could see him everyday or at least once a week.



I hope to be posting a lot more because I have lots to share. Hope everyone is having an amazing autumn.
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