Thursday, September 30, 2010

Change in Direction

Well, I am sitting in my apartment on what could be the best, most beautiful day of this year so far. Did I ever mention how much I love autumn and October? The colors, the mild weather, people come back to their senses after a long summer of heated debauchery. If I could bag up all the scenic beauty and relaxed feelings of this beautiful day, I would! And then I would selfishly store it in one of my gargantuan shoulder bags, so I could pull out this great day any time I needed a pick me up. Since that isn't possible, I will just enjoy this sunny picture of some garden/shrine that some old ladies made across from my apartment. I love this little area. It's a great place to sit and read or sketch.

The past few days have been a complete whirl-wind! My dad tells me the day that he is supposed to watch my toddler that he won't be able to for some time to come. This sent my sleep deprived husband and me into a frenzy as we packed and jetted our kid to the in-laws, who live 3 hours away in the woods. For. Serious. This was Wednesday. Then, I go in to work, super exhausted, to find out that I have a whopping mad heap of work to do! Wednesday is when I realized that I have a very intense prejudice, almost hatred, for Lazy People! I can't complain. My job is fairly easy. I have plenty of time to do the things I am supposed to every night. But if one person doesn't do their job, I am bombarded with an overwhelming amount of busy-work that must be completed in one night..."or else". Long story made short, my supervisor calls me right when I get to work to tell me she is coming in to help me with my nightly tasks even though she had the day off because I am behind 6 training hours on the final day of the fiscal year.

First, let me say, I am an amazing employee and I am never behind in any trainings! I completed them all in the first place... but some other Lazy Imbecile lost my documentation... and we all know what my craft room looks like as evidence of my organizational "skills". My super tells me she will be in between 2-3 am to help me finish everything. This is coming from the woman who spends a considerable amount of time passed out in the parking lot inside of her car. I knew better. So I just found some online quizzes to take for training hours, where I didn't have to watch the video. The training videos are a mess. A hot mess! This guy who looks like Santa Claus does most of them and he has the worst monotone voice, yet somehow his jokes are even more intolerable than the sound of his drumming on about random topics. I happen to really enjoy Christmas, so I admit, when I am down, I will watch a training video just because Santa makes me feel happy.... Moving on.... My super shows up at 5:30am and proceeds to check her e-mail for an hour! I have to wake the kids up at 6:45. Luckily, I am self-reliant, skeptical, non-trusting, and a control freak. I was able to finish everything just in the nick of time. I had absolutely No time for crafts for the night. I know I am at work and I have no right to whine about not making things while on the clock, but still! Dammit! So while serving pancakes, I completely ignored all the whining and rude comments from the children I work with in order to attempt a new square for quilts.

Apparently, I have some sort of a knack for screwing up instructions because I was met with several FAILS! This is the first attempt. I was supposed to end up with a symmetrical closed square with a puff stitch flower thing in the middle. Somewhere between losing count and "Ms. Bri, you're a jerk! We know you burn our breakfast on purpose, bitch" I made a mistake and ended up with a lop-sided square that I wouldn't be able to connect to anything.

I realized that counting is also not quite my specialty, so I made an effort to turn the closed square into a granny square pattern that didn't require as much thought and effort. But somewhere between "Dammit! Why are my pancakes hard enough to bust a hole in the plastered walls? You are evil, Ms. Bri!" and a daydream about hexagon afghans in an effort to tune out the morning insanity, I decided that this motif also wasn't for me.

So I played around and I finally came up with something that I think is really precious for a baby girl afghan. I have never made puff stitches before. I have to admit that I am a little addicted! Puff stitches are so cute!

So my new baby blanket will be made of these precious hexies...

Thursday night was more of the same insanity, as I went in to work 3 hours early. We had a staff meeting. I am not the most intelligent or even verbose person alive, but I at least try very hard not to use words I without knowledge of how to use them properly. In the same 10 minute frame I heard "I pacifically asked about..." "Well I wasn't sure, but I didn't have time to require any information on..." and something else that had me laughing for an hour straight. Then the head honcho comes in and speaks in so many euphemisms in regards to the Devil, that we all laugh literally until we are snorting, snotting, and farting all over each other. The last staff meeting he attended, all euphemisms were related to mirrors and horses. I got to work early, but due to my supervisor either being eaten alive by pterodactyl or being abducted by aliens, I was rushed in my work because I wasn't given the things I needed to do my job until an hour before I was supposed to leave.
The upside? The progress made on these cutie pie puff stitch hexies... I made 27 hexagons last night while waiting to get to work...

I know what you may be thinking... What happened to the giant, twin-sized purple blanket? All I can say is that is an excellent question! Just kidding. I decided to go in a new direction. This new direction being getting things finished within the time I have allotted. Right now, I just have a few weeks to finish as many blankets, hat/scarf sets, books, jewelry, and some other things. I also need to create some magical photo space to upload pictures onto my website/shop. In the mean time, I should find a free photography class! Ha! I do not have that "photographic eye", or whatever it is called.

I am sure some day.... in the way distant future, when I no longer need my wrists, I will be able to sit and work diligently on the purple blanket. Until then, it's going to be baby blankets and throws for sofas. By the way, YES, I absolutely always have some justification as to why I didn't finish something I started. Always. You can try me if you like!

Since I have been wandering aimlessly amidst all the chaos that has come about in the past few days, I didn't even think to make a to-do list. Tomorrow... I am not working at night *Happy Dance* so I will: 1- do something with my hair, 2- go to the ST JAMES ART SHOW, and 3- get groceries so I can cook something delightful. Tonight, I will pick out some new recipes to try. I am excited.... and 4- get some Japanese & specialty papers for my books that I will start to bind on Wednesday, whether I have finished all crochet projects or not! If I have time and/or remember, I will also post some links to crochet tutorials, other awesome blogs, and possibly also my little project time line that I am working towards... But that's just a maybe!

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


As I sit here, late at night on my night off from work thinking about how I always bite off more than I could ever possibly chew, I realized something amazing...

I can't say I *never* finish *anything*. The truth is we will all die one day. And I can say that I started AND finished a rather satisfying life, living and loving every single day to the fullest. Even the bad days work out for the better, when it's all said and done. And for that, I am so very thankful.

Until *that* day arrives, I will be crocheting until my arm falls off. At this point, I must break because I can no longer feel my wrist! These purple granny squares are by far the Hugest granny squares I have ever made, totalling 25 rounds each! The most rounds I have ever completed is 12. Sadly my impatience always takes over before I can protest. With these purple squares, I am attempting to make a twin sized bed set. I am excited, but terrified. I may develop arthritis before I finish. As of right now, I have 2.8 squares finished. I need 12 total.

Something hilarious happened. I forgot that I hit my wrist on something before napping after work this morning. When I got up to run some errands, I put icy hot all over my wrist because I thought I was developing tendinitis. The funny thing is that while at the library, some random man who smelled like a big can of stinky foot odor attempted to hit on me. When I glanced at him to give him my infamous "Fuck you and Fuck off" face... much to my dismay... he told me I had something in my nose. I thought it was snot, boogers, something so I frantically rubbed my nose. It turned out to be icy hot cream from my wrist and it burned my nostrils like hell!!! But I didn't let Mr. Toe Jam know that my nose was in complete flames. Instead, I rushed to the cookbook section and hid until the burning stopped. Luckily, it didn't last long because I may have been desperate enough to rip pages out of a book in order to wipe my nose if it had gone on much longer.

For the past 4 years, I have been buying books on and at bookstores. I somehow forgot about the PUBLIC LIBRARY! What a wonderful place! I mean, I must have been totally bonkers to shell out so much cash that could be otherwise spent on art supplies. Case in point, the other day, I spent $30 on cookbooks. What I really wanted was some Japanese paper to make more of these really awesome journals. Next week, I will put away my yarn barrels and hooks so that I can completely commit (oooh! it burns to even think of that word!) to making paper items-- notebooks, journals, photo albums, and stationery sets. I am excited to spend the next two weeks outdoors and in shops looking for some serious inspiration. Let's face it. When it comes to paper items, you really can go as wild as you want with collages, illustrations, photography. I can pay homage to everyone and everything in the world that I love and stamp it on books to sell in bulk. I am super excited to get back into the paper world. This tangled yarn and aching wrist have me just a little cranky!

In preparation for my bi-weekly task, starting next week, check out these awesome books I grabbed from the library. I totally recommend them all. I have read and tried the techniques back in my two bookbinding classes during undergraduate studies. They are really easy to follow! Stay tuned for some amazing results!

By the way, I didn't do anything I planned. Very little sleep. No lemony goodness... and *sigh* to be honest, I can't even remember what else I scheduled myself to complete for the day. All I can think of right now is a warm slice of something sweet and some more zzzzz's. Unfortunately, in an effort to lose weight, I haven't brought anything sweet into this house in AGES, so I guess I will have to find comfort in my pillows for now.

So here is another plan: 1- buy food for a good meal AND dessert, 2- mail letters, 3- do something to both my & my daughter's hair 4- cook and 5- crochet!!! I have to be as close to finished as possible with these crochet projects by next Wednesday, the latest, if I am going to make my deadline...which I will not disclose because it is subject to change! Ha!!!

Calling on the Coffee Spirits to Get Me Through

3 AM again. I am enjoying another glorious cup of my favorite flavored coffee, now sugarless. It is most definitely the small things in life that make me so very happy. Tonight, I decided to take a break from the movies I normally watch. For two weeks, I watched the Matrix Trilogy. Then, I started to watch Independence Day for two weeks. Then V for Vendetta. And I already confessed about my Julie & Julia obsession of the past week. For someone who gets bored very easily, you wouldn't be able to tell by my movie viewing habits! Tonight, it's The Day After Tomorrow, which I have seen so many times, I can act out the movie alongside the actors.

I am proud to report that, despite my terrible time management ways, I did manage to do what I planned. I must admit that it did cost me some serious sleep. In fact, I was late to work. Let me tell you something. I am a complete expert at getting from my apartment to work in about 11-13 minutes when I live a little less than half an hour away. I am also an expert at "Tokyo Drifting" off the highway, so beware if you are on the roads in my city between 11:30pm-12:15am! And now, I am totally putting a hurt on this coffee, hoping it has some mystical powers to jump start my energy reserves... Otherwise, I may crash while serving breakfast to the kids in the morning. Vision: My head in frech toast sticks as the kids stab me several times in the head with forks.... not pretty, not pretty at all.

I am excited to report that dinner was ahhh-mazing! So very delicious! I am also happy to report that I prepared it all single-handedly. I had no clue that pumpkins were so hard! I have never carved, eaten, or... well, even handled a pumpkin before. In fact, I just thought they were for Halloween decoration, not something to eat. Kind of like fortune cookies. You don't eat those, right? They are just for fun. I am curious as to how people carve pumpkins so easily because slicing the little orange wonder that I purchased was like trying to cut into a cement wall with a butter knife. I didn't taste the pumpkin, however. Not even in the soup. But the cheese soup was awesome! I thought it was an interesting, but potentially odd tasting recipe, but my husband loved it, as did I. The chicken dish was also phenomenal! I've never bought fennel before. I had no idea how to cut it...or what the recipe was speaking of in terms of the parts of the fennel. I just chopped it up, washed it, and hoped for the best! I guess you can imagine that I am not great with following directions. It totally clashes with my free spirited nature. Althoguh fennel smelled like licorice, the chicken was amazingly flavorful. I guess it was the white wine & garlic mixture. YUM!!! That recipe is a keeper, and I will be using it when I host my next dinner party for sure.

The pasta dish wasn't such a hit. I almost passed out in the deli section when purchasing the pecorino romano. The "Cheese Lady" died of laughter... and then proceeded to hand me more cheeses to smell. Despite the fact that I was choking on my own bile by the time I had gone through several cheeses with her, I did decide that my next food adventure will involve brie! And as for the pasta... well, my mom always told me that if you don't have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut. I think she was on to something there because that practice has always served me well.

As for craft magic.... Did it happen? Did I do what I said I would? YES! But, again, time managemnt failures left me with little time to finish everything planned. I was able to turn one heap of granny sqaures into apretty baby blanket for a girl and I finished a cardigan and hat for the layette as well. I am very happy with that. I have had these sqaures nearly completed since the first week in April! Tomorrow, the boy blanket shall be completed as well. Then I will have a total 4 finished crochet projects (out of about 30-40 that I have began) total. I am so excited!

I know what you are thinking right now. *SHOW US* I would...and will. Unfortunately, something has happened to my card reader in my camera. So I have to find an alternate method to upload the pictures onto my laptop. So, check back and these last two blogs will be visually enhanced!

Tomorrow's plan... 1- SLEEP! 2-- finish the baby boy layette 3-- job hunt. Christmas is around the corner, and my bank account is not keeping up with the time! 4-- bake something! I think I will bake something lemony. I love lemon! Let's see how it goes. Also some time tomorrow, I will manage to post the (good) recipes that I cooked last night. It was so delightful that it'd be rude not to share!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Who knew?

Mmmm hmmm. I am sitting in my freezing tiny office at work with a huge bowl-like mug of Folger's Gourmet Vanilla Biscotti coffee. YUM! I was really worried that there wasn't any sugar left at work. Saturday is popcorn night, and the children I work with completely pigged out, each drinking a 2 liter of some carbonated, fattening beverage and consuming a massive mixing bowl filled to the brim with popcorn smothered in butter, sugar, and these random spices topped with hot sauce. Yes, the smell of it all is of total barf quality, but the kiddos love it, so I am happy if they are. What I am not happy about is that they have consumed FIVE pounds of sugar in one night! I was terrified that with no sugar, my coffee would suck, but apparently flavored creamer is... well, Flavored! Ha! So my coffee is fantastic and I will no longer be using sugar!

It is now, 4am, and I am taking a small break from my absolute crochet madness in which I have been enthralled. I have been spending hours on end crocheting until my fingers and wrists go numb! These days, I have realized that there are so many things that I just don't know how to do. I am sure you are thinking, "Duh! No one knows everything!" But this comes as a shock to me. For some reason, I seriously felt for a long time that I knew everything that mattered to me and that if not, I could easily find out the information and store it in my magical, portable storage bin of a mind forever.

Well, today I found out that was not the case. First, I got out of bed, just about 2 hours later than planned. That is when I realized that I need a lesson on motivation, schedules, and punctuality. I thought I knew it all in that department, but evidentaly, that information has fallen out of my mind somehow. Then, I went to the Border's Bookstore with my daughter. It's a shameful fact, but I do base a lot of my daily activities on whatever random bits of inspiration I cross. That and my dreams. I have seen the movie Julie & Julia about 6 times in the last week. That means, and yes, I admit this, I have seen it everyday since I bought it about a week ago. So I decided, after each viewing, that I should be cooking too! I love to cook, and I have 20 or so cookbooks and another 30 magazines about cooking. I went to Border's to find out about Julia Child's french cookbook. The food looked so great in the film! That was lesson number two for me: I have no idea how to focus without getting completely overwhelmed when flooded with information. I found myself spending a good chunk of time sitting on the floor playing ponies with my daughter because my head was hurting from trying to find the damn French cookbook section. When I did find it, I decided not to buy it because, well, I didn't intend to spend $60-100 on the book! I did buy a magazine that has some interesting recipes and a book that is just plain scary. There are recipes for just about every animal organ possible from brains to testicles. So. Not. Happening. The sad thing is that when it was all said and done, I made spaghetti for dinner. My husband, daughter, and I are all very picky eaters. It's damn near impossible to find something we all would enjoy... but pasta always works. I wonder how mom's who work manage to cook something everyone will eat without going absolutely bonkers or getting bored with the same recipes? Ha! I bet they don't! I am sure dinner at the average housewife's house is just as boring and routine as it is in my apartment.

The last thing I learned today is that I don't know anything about interior design. Finally, I have a craft room! Well, actually, right now it is an explosion of random arts & crafts supplies strewn all over every cubic inch of the parameter. I tried to make it functional, but I am lost on how that is supposed to happen! I have been looking up "creative spaces" online and in books trying to imagine what the hell these women did to get so organized. It's like they are professionals or something. Well, then it dawned on me... these women are professionals! Clearly, there wouldn't be postings, blogs, books, and magazines on random rookies' crazy craft heaps like mine! And furthermore, I know these women have spent years cultivating spaces that would best suit their needs for motivation, inspiration, and creation. So for now, I will just work at it until something magical happens.

Tomorrow, I will do three things: 1- SLEEP! I am exhausted from working extra shifts these past 3 weeks in a row. 2- COOK! Yes, dammit! I am not Julie or Julia, but I can work some magic in the kitchen too! I plan to cook Cheese Soup, although I have no clue where to find a pumpkin...or why pumpkin is in the soup to begin with. Roast Chicken with Fennel, although I have never purchased or even tasted a fennel. I love new adventures! And as the side, Penne with crisp prosciutto, zucchini, and corn. I am sure my husband and daughter will immediately fall into some sort of catatonic shock as they struggle to find an answer to what the hell I was thinking making them try Three new dishes at once. I just pray that the overall taste of these recipes will be so amazing that the flavor alone will conquer their bewilderment and leave their mouths watering.

As for art projects, I plan to have turned these two heaps of precious granny squares into the boy & girl baby blankets I planned. So I am guessing it's only fair to return tomorrow night to report back on my progress! *Note to self* Research time management!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm Baaaaack

Well, well, what have we here? I'll tell you what we have. Another oh so typical episode of "Bri-itis". Every time I decide I will do something, I always change my mind. I never finish anything.... it's true! Unfortunately, it's a sad part of my personality that I have embraced with way too much pride. I'm not too familiar with "Normals", but I think "Normal People" are at least minutely able to finish some/most things that they start. Not me.

So! New goal time....

First. Blog twice a week! Blogging became difficult when my internet modem wasn't worth paying for. I have pictures on my laptop, but I would have to get them off my laptop and onto the company computer at work. Some anal, fun hating, dingle berry of a genius decided to disable all USB jacks, so I can't transfer any pictures that way. This means, I have to start doing what I am right now: Sitting on my stained couch in my hot living room, sweating up a fury when I should be sleeping before work and updating this damn blog!

Second. Lose 10 pounds by Halloween! Yea... nuff said.

Third. Get some inventory on my cyber shelves by Halloween! As usual, there is some craft fair or another that I would love to partake in... but then again, we all know what that means. I would have to FINISH what I start. So rather than setting myself up for that failure, I am just going to focus on the Halloween deadline. I want to have 60-70% of my magical, hand-crafted must-haves on my website by Halloween. I also need a logo and some other technical b.s. But! I am sure that will all fall into place once I get serious about making things to sell. More than anything, I want to sell things for Christmas. A total dream!

If I can just do those three things for the next 5.5 weeks, I might actually get somewhere in life. And wouldn't That be blog-worthy?!