We'll All Float On, Alright*

I almost hesitate to post this, because then you'll know what a nerd I am. I guess you probably already know, I'll just cement it. Here we go:

Chris and I have been amusing ourselves for the past two days with an X-Box 360 and Rock Band 2. I was incredibly adverse to buying an X-Box to begin with, because A) Who has time to sit around and play games? B) If we did have time to sit around and play games, it would probably be better spent, I don't know, cleaning the house or walking the dogs, and C) Three hundred dollars? For a game system? That will serve as a procrastination/time wasting tool? The hell???

I'm sort of ashamed to say that I was the one who initiated the Rock Band purchase and who has been jumping at the chance to play even more than Chris has. So far, we've been playing in a band as Dr. Girlfriend (me), the singer who can reach pitch but sometimes not get the words out (it turns out all you MUST do to get points - at least on the easy setting - is match the pitch. One needn't clearly say the lyrics, which has resulted in more than one song being "sung" in pitch-perfect gibberish by yours truly), and Toki (Chris) the guitarist. It's been a really fun way to spend time together and hanging out.

Truth be told, though, I have felt guilty spending so much time on activity that doesn't allow me to cross something off of my to-do list, but it has been nice to just relax. Really relax. Usually, when I "relax," I'm watching TV or a movie while knitting, folding or sorting laundry, or thinking of things I could or should be doing rather than sitting there. So spending some mindless time enjoying myself and not taking care of responsibilities has been rather rejuvenating. Something I tend to forget, since I have so little time at home, is that I don't HAVE to spend each moment striving for perfection in tidiness of the house or the like. I can let some things slide and give myself a break.

So I think I'll go give myself another break. Probably for the entire afternoon.


*We keep getting "Float On" by Modest Mouse handed to us in set lists and though it's a very good song, the fact that it's stuck in my head is driving me crazy.

Inspirations

A few things I've been daydreaming about lately:

Making a blanket of felted sweater squares...



Making a quilt of different patterns and hues from the same color family, and another one of multicolored scraps...

from Laupre

Having a tidy closet craft space, rather than the dining room corner my supplies currently inhabit...

Current craft space

Fantasy closet craft space, from this post via whip up

Making felt baby name books: one for my nephew on his first birthday, and eventually for my own children...

by annam42 on Craftster


by kahlan on Craftster

Made Over

If you are one who visits often, I'm sure you've already noticed: Inexplicable Candor got a makeover! I worked with Ellie from Rainy Day Templates, and she did a fabulous job. Thanks, Ellie!

I just put back in the sidebar content this morning, so if something isn't working, please let me know. So: what do you think?

It's Just That Kind of Day

When I came home on my lunch break today, I threw together the ingredients for a chicken, rice, and broccoli dish and put them into the slow cooker on low for tonight's dinner. This was partially because I was feeling industrious and partially because I knew that I would be in class until late evening, and wouldn't feel like cooking (oh, and Chris is bedridden with a thrown-out back, so he couldn't cook) when I got home. I was excited to have a hearty and hot meal after class, and broccoli and rice is one of my favorite combinations.

It sounded so good that when I got home and smelled... well... you know how cooked broccoli sometimes smells like... farts? Even that didn't dissuade me from going directly to the slow cooker, only to find our dinner had turned into brown mush. It got burnt and cooked much too long at much too high (yes, high - not low as I had intended) and now it sort of resembles stuffing. A really pasty, sticky stuffing.

But y'know what? We ate it. And it didn't taste that bad... and at least now we know what to do for next time. I think I'll have some ice cream for dessert, though, just so I'll have eaten something delicious today.

The End of Christmas

As you may recall, I posted previously about the gifts and other crafts I had been working on for Christmas. The closer it got to Christmas, the less time I had, and I am only just now getting around to writing about what else I made. Here we go:

1) Stockings for myself and Chris
Chris' stocking

Both stockings flanking my bird painting, above our table.

My stocking

Our initials hanging on them are ornaments; as I thought, I didn't end up having time to stitch the initials on with yarn like I wanted. Maybe I'll get to them next year. Additionally, I may end up having to line them with fleece or similar, they are very stretchy and as a result lose their shape and stability when they are filled. I'm trying to decide whether I care about this enough to spend the time lining them.

2) Bottling up and making labels for the extracts:
All of the bottles together, awaiting their boxes.
Homebrewed Lemon Extract: Made with real fruit!

Homebrewed Orange Extract: Made with real fruit!

Homebrewed Vanilla Extract: Made with real beans!

I designed these labels in Microsoft Word and printed them out onto cardstock, then attached them to the bottles with clear contact paper. The bottles were packaged in dollar-store tins on top of packaging shred (also from the dollar store) and wrapped with ribbon. They were all well received, and I'm waiting to hear back about the results when used in baking.

3) Journals: one for myself, one for my sister-in-law, and two for friends
One of the friend journals is on the left, mine is on the right.

The endpaper of the friend's journal.

This was my first foray into bookbinding. It was more tedious than expected, and I had a lot of screwy parts where the glue seeped out and stuck things together, but I was able to correct most of those issues. I suspect I would enjoy it more if I were making one book at a time instead of four.

I'm sure you've noticed that there are only two journals pictured; this is because I gave out the other two before photographing.

I have to admit that I didn't do so well with the picture-taking this time. In the rush to complete gifts for various get-togethers, I neglected to capture the following things:

4) My dad's black and gold mittens, to match this hat:
5) The Blurb books we made with all of our wedding photos and gave to our parents
6) The six boxes of various cookies we made and gave out to each family. In them were: honey-peanut butter cookies, icebox spirals, brownie bites, chocolate-dipped shortbread, and sugar cookie cutouts.

...so that's it! I'm starting to think of things to make for next year. I may start making surprise balls to give out to all the kids for next Christmas now, as I'm sure I'll become disenchanted with them fairly quickly and need to take many breaks.

Currently... 1/6/09

Reading:
The Time Traveler's Wife

And:
One Hundred Years of Solitude

Listening to:
SModcast Archives

Buying:
Cats Let Nothing Darken Their Roar 2009 Calendar

Drinking:
Archer Farms Wildberry Italian Soda (from Target)

Partying Like it's 2009*

Happy New Year, everyone!**

Can you believe it's 2009? I can't. Especially since New Year's Eve and the following day were so anticlimactic for us. We spent New Year's Eve in bed with pizza and popcorn watching movies, and went to bed around 10:30 (in our defense, Chris had to work the next morning at 5 a.m.***), only to wake up to the sound of fireworks somewhere near our apartment. New Year's day held a casual lunch/movie date [Have you seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button yet? Loved it!] and a trip to Pier 1 to snag some clearance Christmas decorations (and I scored, majorly).

Each year around New Year's I find myself feeling sort of floaty and without purpose. I want so badly to have a New Year's tradition to follow, after the days spent honoring Christmas traditions. For the life of me, however, I can't think of anything good enough that we'd be willing to do year after year. What are your New Year's traditions?


*By which I mean being incredibly lazy. Many recent days have been spent at home in pajamas, hanging out and watching movies.

**I am still working on the gift recap. The lighting in our apartment has been horrible for picture-taking in the wake of all this snow and fog, and I haven't figured out how to artificially light well enough to make for a decent photo.
***This does not necessarily mean that if he were off on New Year's day that we would still be awake at midnight. In fact, we didn't make it last year, either, and there was no early schedule to blame. One day I will betray my grandmotherly ways and spend the countdown in public and awake, possibly with liquor!