January 3, 2012

Pretty Polish & My Make-Up Muse

Lately I have a rapidly growing interesting in make-up and nail polish. I've always worn eye make-up and, very occasionally, lipstick, and have painted my nails off and on, but both have been ramping up over the past six months or more.

My first impulse is to blame it on my Pinterest activity (here's one of my boards as an example)... but it feels like it might be something deeper. Maybe all of the hormones coursing through my body over the past five months of my pregnancy. Maybe even the discovery that we're having a daughter, and the realization that hey, someday she might want someone to teach her about these things and it would be pretty cool if I could actually do that for her. (Also, I am so excited to figure out how to put crazy braids in her hair, like I've never been able to do with my own.)

One thing I've really been aware of while painting my nails and playing with make-up is that it really is a fun creative process, with so much variation in color and texture and quality. So I want to see how it fits in here with all of my other creative interests. Thus, a swatch of my latest nail color!

Brett gave me this polish Christmas morning, along with a couple of other lovely Essie choices. Somehow this one reminds me of a blue polish I used to wear back in... I want to say eleventh grade, but it may be have been even earlier. It's fun to see on my hands.

I'll lay off the cosmetics talk for now, but I have to just add a little link to my current make-up hero. Her name's Jen and she's the purveyor of frmheadtotoe.com. Check out her site if you're interested -- she's about the most adorable thing I've ever seen, her videos and reviews are super helpful for (let's face it) novices like me, and she's obviously very smart, with awesome taste. Plus she just posted her resolutions for 2012, and I have to say I'm with her on her #3: Gold star every song on Dance Central 2 on Hard. You're my newest muse, Jen!


January 2, 2012

Whittling down the WIP list in 2012....

Looks like it's time to start a good visual list of ongoing projects, so I can try to tie them up before moving on to anything new this year! Here are just a few of the various works-in-progress that I have stashed around the studio/office (...and living room):

First is my contribution to the Sketchbook Project -- needs to be postmarked January 31st!
A baby cardigan I started in California last week -- using this pattern from Bernat. These pictures don't do a lot of justice to the soft yellow yarn. It's looking cute, though the corners could use some blocking after some of the pieces traveled around in a suitcase for a couple of days. (Check out my progress -- and other crochet projects -- on Ravelry.)
I got a sewing machine last month and got straight to work on this baby quilt. Most of the front is pieced, though two rows still need to be attached. Then it needs sides and a back and, oh yeah, to actually be quilted!
One more baby item -- this is the crocheted blanket I started as soon as I found out I was pregnant... and made it about nine rows in. Time to stop being lazy while watching TV.
Here's the cover for a David Morse fanzine that I already have written -- just need to print it out and lay out the flats.
And I have plans for turning last year's calendar into another handy device.

Those are just the projects I have pictures for! I also need to:
  • Clean out and paint my studio/office, and turn half of it into a nursery.
  • Finish several more lingering crochet projects.
  • Rip all of my CDs to our external drive and get rid of them.
  • Perhaps take some birthing classes and, you know, name this baby that's rapidly expanding my abdomen.
Who knows, maybe the public accountability that comes with posting goals online will help keep me moving. Anyone else have an insane to do list already this year?

January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

via design sponge
We're starting off the new year easy with some tea, music, and random cleaning/ceremonial tossing out of naughty foods. I have big plans for getting projects done this year, sharing more of my creative efforts here, taking more photos, and most importantly, getting ready for the rapidly approaching arrival of our daughter! Hopefully all of that will get tapered down to some more achievable goals in the near future....

A day late maybe, but adorable nonetheless!

had to get the botanical one for my home office/nursery and the fruit for my work office.... Rifle Paper Co
Hope everyone has a productive, easy-going and joyful 2012 that all around kicks the ass of your 2011!

December 2, 2011

Gift Advent Calendar for Brett

A combination of inspiration from a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living and a few fun advent posts on Pinterest resulted in this:
An advent calendar of jauntily wrapped gifts for Brett! He's been super awesome since I got pregnant, cooking and cleaning more than his share without ever complaining (though I help as much as I can!). I wanted to do something extra special for him for the holidays to thank him.
I collected up 21 small items over a couple of weeks, added several personal coupons to make the total 24, and wrapped them all in the same fun paper from Target. Each gift was tied up with ribbon, then tied together with a separate length of ribbon that can be cut to release the next gift. The number tags are just circle-punched cardstock with sticker numbers. Time consuming, but easy overall! We happen to have four hooks drilled in under the mantle (for stockings), so I just hung six gifts per hook.
I don't want to give away what's inside the gifts in too much detail, since Brett will read this at some point, but they vary from candy to ornaments and other holiday items to toys and even a couple of slightly useful items. Wondering where gift #1 is?
I didn't actually finish putting the whole system together and getting all the numbers attached until today, so Brett got to open #1 last night!

November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo... 2003

Well, my 11,000+ word NaNovel from 2003 was here, but then Brett read it and liked it so well, he insisted I finish it. And remove it from my blog. So it goes.

NaNoWriMo 2011

this little beauty is for sale.
Yesterday marked the beginning of National Novel Writing Month 2011. Who's excited!? I've participated in NaNoWriMo four or five times in the past, but have never won (meaning I've never made it to 50,000 words). A couple of times I made it pretty far into a work, and a couple of times I pretty much failed flat-out,  giving up early because November always seems to be such a busy month. This year, I'm breaking all the rules -- using the 50,000 word goal to motivate me to write all of the bits and pieces I've been meaning to work on in the past few months. That mainly means zine articles, but I'm also hoping to crank out a couple of short stories and guess what -- even this blog post counts toward my total because blogging more is one of my goals! How excellently meta.

(And if you're asking yourself how I'm able to write and blog at 11:00AM on a Wednesday, let me just say this: there are small benefits to just how sick being pregnant is making me. And I'm enjoying those silver linings while I can, because I hit the second trimester last weekend and am expecting the nausea, headaches and exhaustion to just vanish any time now. Aaaaany time now.)

A few months ago, I ran across my last decent-length NaNo attempt hiding in an old Livejournal. It's a little sci-fi in the beginning, and was meant to be an adventure through a kinda-sort post-apocalyptic only-there-was-no-apocalypse world for the rest of the story. It appears I made it 11,328 words in. I'll go ahead and post it in a separate post for anyone who's interested. Looking at this untitled piece again makes me feel very tempted to continue the story. I remember vague settings and plot points -- it would have been fun. Even yesterday morning, as the wee hours of NaNoWriMo wore on, I considered dropping the whole "bits and pieces" idea and committing to an arbitrary, off-the-cuff novel. Honestly, though, I'm an outliner, and I would probably have been finishing up my outline around Thanksgiving. No, randomness will work out better for my fickle brain.

photomanip by AmandaAbomination
This year, I started my efforts with a David Morse fanzine. It's not complete yet, but it's getting there. I want to add some fun pictures and illustrations, but I'll probably save the layout for early December -- there's too much writing to be done! My biggest regret... or complication, anyway... is that I'd love to be doing some of my writing on one of my lovely typewriters, but that makes it more difficult to keep an accurate word count, and I can't attempt to sneakily validate the length of my "novel" at the end of the process. I'll probably use the typewriters some anyway, then type the same content into the computer to satisfy my OCD. I'll have to do the same thing with a notebook, so why not?

Alright, I'm off to (lie down till my neck stops hurting, then possibly) get back to work with Mr. Morse for a little while.

Good luck to all of the other NaNoWriMo participants! We can do it. Just don't take your fingers off the keyboard!

October 29, 2011


What creative messes are you guys up to this weekend?

I'm spending my evening chilling out with a certain greyhound dog, looking for Joshua Jackson movies on Netflix and making envelopes out of old issues of Martha Stewart Living. I have no immediate use for these envelopes, but for whatever reason putting scissors to magazine pages seemed like the thing to do.

Want to make your own? Just find an envelope, carefully pull it open flat, lay it on a cool magazine page or any other piece of paper, trace, cut out, and fold back up. Glue the appropriate flaps back together and boom -- cooler new envelope! Repeat until you're totally tired of carefully cutting out envelope shapes.

Need pictures? Here's a fun tutorial at the Knitted Blog.

I remember always making my own cool envelopes back in the days of trading decos and slams and Nervousness.org. (By the way old Nervous-ites, I just ran across a new site for mail art projects: artfortytwo.org. Can't vouch for it yet, though.) Making these envelopes tonight gives me a strange little nostalgic pang for times when I could spend hours on end making artwork for strangers, without feeling like I was avoiding household duties or other important responsibilities. We could all use a little more unnecessary but fulfilling crafty fun.

Speaking of, I once even crocheted an envelope to house a gift for a friend.

Thank you Flickr for never making me go without a photo of an old craft project....