Monday, December 21, 2009

Solstice Stuff

First of all, happy solstice to you! Today will be the shortest day of the year, and that just figures. Why? Well, because I need for it to be the longest. But it isn't. Yikes.

Here are some of the things that I have been up to this season, instead of doing the things on my List. My List is very very long. And frightening.

Stockings. well, the three in the middle. The gray one is BF's, and the two pink and green ones belong to the dogs. They are made using the instructions from Warm Fuzzies and I think they are too cute. However, they pose a problem in that now I am the only one with a Store Bought stocking. This saddens me in ways I cannot even begin to express. And, that means that next year i WILL have the most magical of stockings. I may even start on it now.

Yeah Right.

We are heading out of town on Wednesday, returning only for a breif two days before ringing in the New Year elsewhere. I have succeeded on giving in some ways, and failed in others. But, I am just sort of letting that go at this point, and trying to enjoy things for what they are. Instead of gift knitting, I went out with friends for pizza and Christmas lights. The best part was that I brought the Fart Putty I got in my stocking along, and made delightfully hideous Putty Farts the whole time. It's hysterical, really. It's probably time for me to get back to the frantic pace of laundry, listing, errands, wrapping, and knitting, but the few little minutes I can stop and enjoy all the smells (I wish I could have a real tree in my house all year long) and sights and even a few of the songs (For some reason, "So This Is Christmas" has made me bawl about 4 times so far this year. Usually I hate Christmas music.) are so, so nice.

BF and I had our own little Christmas yesterday, and we exchanged gifts. It was so much fun, our First Real Christmas (last year we were apart and didn't exchange gifts). We sat by our tree that he admitted really is better than a fake one and I opened up some things I really really wanted (I Love Patchwork and Creative Time and Space) and I keep sneaking off to be alone with them for just a few minutes at a time. They are both great in their own way, and I am very inspired, which is a great way to feel when heading into a new year.

And now it's time to get to work. The List beckons.

Friday, December 18, 2009

No Paycheck Fridays: You Can Still Look Good

Okay, first of all, I have regained my composure, and I am now getting to the portion of our programming where I let go of what I cannot accomplish, I but what I cannot find time or will to make, and I feel silly for being all woe is me.

So there's that.

Second of all, I spent most of the afternoon driving to get to an anticlimactic 15-minute interview. I braved the elements (raining emus and ostriches today) and drove about 40 minutes each way to see a lady about a job. It went kind of meh, sort of okay, rather ho-hum, and a host of other lackluster descriptions. BUT!

I looked really pretty.

And every day I look really pretty. Because I put a little effort in. And I find that it makes me feel lots better, and far more human than that feeling you get when your significant other comes home, takes one look at you and says "Kitty cat pajama pants...still? Okaaaaay." Time slips by so fast when you've nowhere to be. But I have found that it's much better if I get up when I used to get up, and I shower, put on Real Clothes, and do my face up. I thought like it was time to stop looking like I felt.

So, i don't want to sound all infomercial-ish. I am not getting anything out of what I am about to tell you. I am simply saying this because it really, truly, has made a difference in how I see myself (literally and figuratively) and I think it's awesome, and you will too. If you like awesome makeup, that is.

Give Sweet Libertine a try! Really! Here's why: First of all, it's handmade makeup. Handmade = great. It's mineral makeup. That means that if you are Sensitive Skinned and your eyes feel all itchy and yucky when you wear eyeshadow, you can probably get away with wearing this stuff. It doesn't have all the ick-o chemicals in it that the store bought crap does, and it turns out that those ick-o things are the very things that make my skin feel itchy and burny. It's handmade mineral makeup made by a one-woman show. If I need to tell you why this is an worth supporting, then you are just a Lost Cause. It's handmade mineral makeup made by a one-woman show that is affordable. You get a lot for a little. Do you know how cool that is when you are a person with not a lot to spend on things like eyeshadow? It's super cool. I got my Retail Therapy Allowance package in the mail today, and I am very pleased. It arrived quickly, looks awesome, and didn't break my bank. And y'all- these days everyone banks are pretty fragile, no? And the colors are pretty much magical. Dragonfly, Thai Silk, Feral, Boombox- how the hell can you go wrong? You totally can't, that's how.

Anyway, it's not too late to snag some gift certificates, some sparklies for yourself (the better to look hot while ringing in 2010, yes?), or start making your wish list for when you do land that Next Big thing.

I realize that I am sort of getting kind of commercial-y here, so I will cut it short and say that I think this makeup is very rad, it's a little thing that goes a long way in making a gal feel good, and I wanted you to know about it. Cool?

Now get back to your frantic crafting, wrapping, or smug Ignoring of A Holiday Which You Are Not Into.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hold Me.


Um, someone tell me just WHERE the last 3 weeks have gone? Where are they? I intended to fill my time with finishing gifts, buying gifts, mailing gifts, etc. Somehow there has been very little of that and I have a lacy cowl, some felty slippers, and some handwarmers to finish in the next week. I also have more baking to do, more shopping, some sewing, and OH GEEZ the mailing.

Hold me.

I am so aggravated with myself. I have no clue what I have done with the time that I have had. Oh wait, I do know- I have been doggedly job hunting. But still. I had a schedule, people! A SCHEDULE! I don't know where I went wrong. Oh for shame. Woe is me.

Wait, I do know where I went wrong. First it started with this one pair of damned stupid fingerless mitts. Somehow or another I managed to not only ignore gauge, but i used about 4 sizes bigger than the recommended needle. Then I proceeded to make the most beautiful mitt in all the land- in a size only Shrek could wear. So that recipient is getting an IOU for her gift, and she's okay with that. Then I guess I went out frantically shopping for INTERVIEW CLOTHES (because I had one, yay!) Then after that I dealt with a glimmer of hope on the work front, some car drama, a fabulous holiday horror movie, and now here we are: 8 days and counting, and not nearly done.

Hold me.

Friday, December 11, 2009

No Paycheck Fridays: Junk Food Is My Frenemy

Frenemy: Someone who is both friend and enemy, a relationship that is both mutually beneficial or dependent while being competitive, fraught with risk and mistrust. (From

Yes, this is sort of the worst time of the year to be of the Jobless Variety. Not because of gifts and all that crap, but because there is delicious junk food EVERYWHERE. Homemade, store bought, you name it. It's there. It has sprinkles. And it knows you are weak.

Like a lot of other people I eat when I am depressed. I eat when I am sad, lonely, afraid, anxious, happy, bored, you name it. And carrots are not comfort food last time I checked.

So, I have learned something about myself physically here lately, and it's a good thing for anyone to remember during hard times: garbage in, garbage out. A little ice cream can soothe the soul, but once you get in the double digit range for Christmas cookies in one day, it's hard to beat the streets looking for the Next Big Thing when your pants are too tight. It's much, much easier to just take a nap and try again tomorrow. Only if you do take that nap, how many people aren't napping, and are instead snatching up the few opportunities out there? Long story short, you (I) can't give into temptation and stuff your (my) face. It's self defeating, and hey- it's not like you have the money for new pants right now anyway, am i right?

The other thing: Job Loss is like grieving. I know this because I am at the Anger stage. I have expertly placed the blame for this squarely where it belongs, and now I. Am. Pissed. The best thing to get over Well-Placed Anger is to punch the offender square in the nose. You can't do that though. Because if you do, you will go to jail, and then you will have to spend your Gubberment Cheese on bail! And that would be terrible! Because you would have no money left for the cookies that you shouldn't be buying but are anyway because they are delicious and you don't know what I am going through so just give me the damn cookies and stop judging me already!!!


Yes, anger. See? See what it does to a person? That's why you have to Move Your Ass. Regularly. And with enthusiasm. I thought long and hard about deferring my gym membership in the interest of Cutting Back. But you know what? No. I will not. Why? Because going to Spinning Class helps take the stabby feelings away. Weight lifting is good too. You can't punch people in the nose if you are too tired to lift your arms. Besides, you know that you are still eating those cookies anyway. And we have already visited the issue of having the means to buy new pants.

So in short: get off the computer and go move your butt already. And put down those damn cookies. Or better yet, just give them to me; I will hang on to them for you. Especially those ones over there, the ones with sprinkles.

Have a great weekend! I am in full crafty manic panicked swing over here. Hopefully I will come back Monday with lots of hastily cobbled together goodness to share.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Quilt Update

After some more cutting, measuring, improvising, and sewing I think I have the quilt situated just the way I want it.

Charlie thought otherwise.

We made a few adjustments, and now Charlie likes it just fine.
What do you think he will think of the finished product? I bet he will love warming his bald little tummy on it (don't make fun of him; he licks off all his fur, presumably because the dogs make him neurotic.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's Beginning...

I have started the decorating. We are in full, glittery, Fraser Fir-y (and furry) fresh, sparkly, ridiculous swing here at the Casa de Stupids. Some of what we have been digging out and enjoying:

My new wreath. I am pleased with it because it cost about $3. This is a sad, super fake looking, boring wreath that I found in our garage when we moved in. I yanked off the pitiful and wrinkly red bow and added lots of sparkly ornaments. I bought the ornaments at a yard sale a few months ago. This was the first thing to go up.

Leftover ornaments in the hurricane lamp from Thanksgiving. That and our red cushions make the dining room feel a bit more festive. And, I have realized that I really love shiny round ornaments anywhere but on a tree.
Our tree. this is the biggest tree I have ever gotten, about 8 feet tall. We were overtaken by holiday cheer while watching Christmas Vacation, and ran off to buy one. I just love seeing all my ornaments. I try to get a fun fancy new one every year and also make one. Usually mom buys the fun fancy over the top one for me, and those are memories in and of themselves. Then two years ago she realized that she doesn't Do Christmas anymore, so she let me have my pick of all my ornaments from my childhood. I LOVE seeing them. they just remind me of a different time, and a time when Christmas was exciting, waiting was excruciating, and I felt like there was magic and wonder and the potential for miracles all around. The only time I truly feel that way about the holiday anymore is decorating the tree. After that it's still fun, but you have to work harder to see the magic amidst the commercialism and over-scheduling. Anyway. The tree.

And finally, my adorable BF channeled the spirit of Clark Griswold and did up our lights while I was at work. I compromised and agreed to have big colored lights outside in exchange for little white lights inside. It turns out that I love our lights. Most especially, the fact that I randomly wished aloud for some white and green lights to do up our little baby palm tree out front. Can you tell? It's hard to see the green but you see the white on the trunk part. We ended up having to go back for another strand of green, and we have to fix them every other day, but oh! I love that lit up palm tree with all of my heart. I am sort of priming BF to let me leave it lit all year round. I figure after that it won't take much convincing for a few flamingos to pop up in the yard too.
In spite of ourselves, we are getting merry and bright.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Few Things

::Wow, time is FLYING by! I am getting further and further behind in my knitting schedule. This does not please me.

::one of my photos taken in San Francisco has been short listed to be included in a Schmap! I don't get paid, but it does indicate that someone thought I took a good picture of something, and this pleases me to NO END.

::Maya got a doggie ski type vest for an early Christmas present (don't laugh; she is a short coated little girl that gets cold at night). She looks super duper cute in it, and is sort of learning to function in clothing. What a good girl.

::Yesterday Maya ate a corner of the coffee table. What a bad girl.

::Sew, Mama, Sew has announced that there is a Holly that won a yard of Heather Ross' Nicey Jane fabric. I entered the giveaway, so I am hoping against hope that it's me. But I bet it isn't.

::Have I told you to go read Ricë Freeman-Zachery's blog lately? I know i mention it occasionally, but lately she has written a series of wonderful posts on organizing and decluttering. Perfect for a great start to a more organized life that leaves you time to make art and do the things you love. These posts have been of huge value to me lately, but one on purging things really stuck with me. You can find it here. The remark about not using things or throwing them away because you may not have them later or have money to get more absolutely shook me to my core. That is my main self defeating behavior with regard to creative endeavors. I took her advice to heart, decided to live life from a place of abundance rather than fear, and i cut up some felt and had a fabulous time doing it. So go give it a read.

::I got a new phone. It's a Blackberry Curve. It's orange. It has an Amazon app. This could get ugly REALLY fast.

Friday, December 4, 2009

No Paycheck Fridays: Some Reading For You

Okay so:

I realize that I am relatively new to this whole Not So Very Employed thing. However, I have given this a lot of thought. Obsessed over it, if we are being honest here. And I have decided a few things.

  • I will soldier on and have the Merriest of Holidays, and there's nothingyoucandoabouddit!
  • I will continue to laugh at this. Sometimes maniacally.
  • I am smart and sometimes downright ingenious when I need to be. I forecast needing to channel MacGuyver in the near future.
  • I am not alone. As such, I feel obligated to share with you what I learn and know to be true. It's my way of paying you back, because you know- if we go out for dinner or something you are totally paying. Suckling upon the government teat and all.
  • I hate the word teat.
So, first I would like to mention some Reading For The Unemployed. Or reading for the Employed Who Like To Laugh. Whichever. Read Bitter is The New Black by Jen Lancaster. Or, pass it along to a friend. I got it this summer from my local library. It's full of awesome. I don't recommend it as a holiday gift, because I think that it would be filed along with other Unintentionally Insulting gifts, like giving a chubby college girl lots of work out clothing and a pilates set (I'm looking at YOU, Mom!), or wrinkle cream to...any woman. Still- the book is hilariously funny, and there is a good deal of Schadenfreude for those of you into that sort of thing. I totally am, so it was wonderful reading along as a very materialistic bitch got her comeuppance. She is so lovably terrible that by the end of the book I would have had her over for a bowl of Ramen Noodles and a walk around the block with the dogs. I'd even let her walk Maya (Lilly is strong as an ox, and it takes a Herculean effort to get her to act like she has a lick of sense on walks.).

And then, once you love her as much as I do, you can toddle on over to and read her blog, which is also hilarious. I find her so funny that I forgive her for her obsession with Twilight.