Monday, January 31, 2011


Doing taxes is not that difficult with the appropriate software. However, finding all the appropriate paperwork from throughout the previous year can be a real challenge.

This year, because my partner has no educational or teaching expenses to deduct, I went ahead and put the deductions on my taxes. This isn’t the first time, but it has been awhile. Anyway, so I gathered what I thought was all the documents I’d need, only to discover that some documents we didn’t have, like property taxes, so thank God that information is available online. However, every time I thought I’d put in all the information correctly and saved it, something else would pop into my head that I needed to enter.

Organization is key to preparing your taxes right the first time, so I suggest having everything you possibly can think of that you’d need ready to go. I have no idea where the receipts from Goodwill for all the stuff we donated wandered off to (Recycleland, no doubt) but I’m pretty sure after all the digging around and searching I did, I found everything else we possibly needed so I could finish my taxes. The only unfortunate part is that while people who file with the standard deduction will get their refund check right away, those of us filing itemized deductions have to wait until February 14th before they start the review process. Oh well. This money is all going into savings anyway for the move so it’s probably a good thing it won’t be here so quickly!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I hate being sick. More than that, I hate the way I act when I’m sick.

I don’t know why but whenever a bad cold comes on I become a 3 year old child. Seriously. It’s pretty bad. Of course, my partner is just as bad so maybe it is common. That or I rubbed off my sick-time babyness on him, which seems like a much more plausible conclusion.

Alas, here it is, time to go to church and I’m not skipping even though I am totally within my rights to do so given my current ailments because my partner has a solo he doesn’t want me to miss. Yes, I’m doing this for him. Oh, the things we do for love.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Yesterday's Cakes

Usually when I’ve got a couple cake orders I spend all day decorating. Fortunately I had two relatively easy orders and only spent a couple hours in the kitchen.

I knew I had to bake cupcakes first thing yesterday morning for one of the orders I had. Normally I bake everything the night before so it all has a chance to rest, but with cupcakes, well, they tend to dry out due to their smaller size. That and I knew it wasn’t going to be consumed until today, even though I dropped them off yesterday afternoon so I figured I’d just bake and decorate all in the same day. Much easier to do with cupcakes than it is with, say, a torted wedding cake, which really needs that time to rest in order to completely firm up. I also slightly undercook my cakes because that extra time to allow them to rest will finish off the cooking while ensuring the cake is not dry and crumbly.

Anyway, so the first order of business was mixing frosting once the cupcakes were out of the oven and cooling. Butter, sugar, milk, vanilla and voila! Frosting. I went ahead and mixed the colors I knew I’d need, which fortunately were the same for both cakes. Sometimes I get lucky like that. Frosting mixed, I filled a small pastry bag with a little frosting and my handy dandy HUGE pastry bag with the cake frosting tip (think basket weave tip but two inches wide), grabbed the cupcakes and began “gluing” them to the tray. After they were all in place, I piped the frosting onto the top then smoothed it out with my icing spatula before piping the words. I suppose I should warn you that the birthday girl’s mother ordered her a cupcake cake. Not just any cupcake cake, but a Cake Wrecks style cupcake cake. I even made a Cake Wrecks style blog post printout to go with it. Her parents said it was perfect.

For the other cake, for the boys we watch every other weekend, I made a Toy Story cake. I decided against making fondant/gumpaste figures or buying small toys to put on the cake and instead opted for a cowhide and rope theme for the bottom cake to represent Woody and a star theme for Buzz. I also did a quick job of piping their names and ages onto the cake. What can I say? I wasn’t feeling uber-creative. At least the kids and their mom liked the cake.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Cake decorating is a lot like a box of chocolates. Without a design plan, you never know what you’re gonna end up with.

I’ve got cupcakes baking in the oven as I type this, so this won’t be a very long post. Anyway, when making cakes and cupcakes, I usually only have a general idea of what I want or the customer wants in a cake. Most of the time this makes it easier for me to not worry about conforming to a certain criteria and allows me to be creative, but then I have days where my creativity is just nowhere to be found and I really wish I’d at least drawn a quick picture. Today is one of those days. Ugh...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Other Brother Ryan

Today is my other brother Ryan’s birthday. Prepare yourself.

Yes, I have two brothers named Ryan. If you want to get all silly, my first name was Brandon for about three weeks but swapped with my middle name, Cory, due to a family controversy over who had the name picked out, and I have another brother named Brandon. Yes, my family is like that. Okay, so technically this Ryan and his brother Brandon are my stepbrothers, but really, they were 1 and 3 when our dad started dating their mom.

So to clarify, we the kids decided there needed to be a way to distinguish between the two Ryan’s and thus came up with a simple plan of referring to the older one as Big Ryan and the younger one as Little Ryan. Well, Big Ryan didn’t like being called that anymore, so Little Ryan decided to rename himself Cheese Grater. Seriously, I couldn’t even try to make that one up. His reasoning? He doesn’t just cut the cheese, he constantly farts in a steady stream of short bursts. We the Children shortened it to Cheese. People still call him that. And sadly, my brother Ryan was still called Big Ryan by more and more people, some of whom didn’t even know there was a Little Ryan.

The two Ryan’s are a lot alike. He’s also an adventurous, risk taking, hilarious individual. The main difference was that growing up, he had a blankie. Yes, Ryan, I’m bringing up that dingy yellow blanket you used to sleep with. What’s more, he called it by its Vietnamese name, mền , which, yes, sounds exactly like it’s spelled. He would cry if he couldn’t find his mền to sleep with. We the Children never failed to find a way to tease him about that. Or the fact that in order to fall asleep, he’d bang his head on his pillow, nose down, for twenty minutes. Let me tell you how much fun that was to be on the bottom bunk!

Little Ryan was, and still is, fairly athletic. Soccer, wrestling, even surprisingly basketball he was good at. I say surprisingly because the kid was tiny. Still is tiny. Okay, so short with a wrestler’s build is more accurate. Some of my favorite memories of him are just the two of us playing what we called Roller Ball where we would play one-on-one basketball in our rollerblades. So much fun! Ah, how I miss those days.

But alas, he’s all grown now, and while I can’t say he still sleeps with his mền, I can say that he is far more independent than I would’ve thought him to be. Happy Birthday, Ryan! I hope your day is filled with amazing things, and the year ahead brings you nothing but happiness! And because I’m evil, and this video never seems to get old, here’s that wonderful recording of you dancing to Bobby Brown’s Ain’t Nobody Humpin’ Around!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


With the move only a couple months away, there are a few things to think about. Of course, the one at the top of the list is that we’ve got a lot of shit.

I mean, let’s face it, any time you move it is a time to purge what you no longer need or use or want because, well, why would you want to take it with you to your new place? When we moved into this house we really didn’t have that much, however after over thirteen years we have acquired quite a bit. Yes, we’ve had garage sales and Goodwill donations once a year and gotten rid of a lot of junk, but we still have a ton of stuff we use regularly that I don’t think we’d be able to fit into a new place, especially if that new place is (GASP!) an apartment!

Ideally we’d find a duplex or a rental house with a single or double car garage we could use as storage. Heck, there are some apartments that have garages too, which would also be good for storage, but not so much for a Great Dane. Okay, so it’d be fine for her but more work for us to have to make an effort when she needs to be let out to go potty. I guess the thing is, we will need to downsize no matter what because there is just way too much stuff in this house as it is, and it’d be quite doubtful we’d find something larger for the amount we can afford to pay in rent. Alas, I suppose it will all come down to wherever we find ourselves a new place to live.

Of course, the plan is to be able to move a couple weeks before the house sells at auction, or as more likely the case, reverts back to the bank because it is highly unlikely to sell at all in this market. That way we can take our time moving stuff in and be able to figure out what will not fit, which will then be sold in an estate sale type deal. It’ll be April, so I’m sure people would totally appreciate being able to shop inside the house rather than just a damp and leaky garage. Ugh… the thought of moving at all seems particularly daunting, however.

I suppose the best way to look at it all is that it is just stuff. Replaceable. Obviously there are some things that we can’t part with for sentimental reasons, but a majority of it is simply material, which in my craft room closet, this is quite literally the case! If I were a smart person we’d start packing stuff we know we want to keep but won’t use before we move. Again, this is if I were a smart person, but alas, I’m a procrastinator, so it’d be a miracle if anything even got boxed up in the first place.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lack of Cleaning

I have to admit that since we found out the date our house will be on the foreclosure auction block, cleaning hasn’t been a priority. Alas, it should still be done.

While it seems like the logical thing to, at least in my brain, simply not clean anything because we aren’t going to be living here much longer, there are, well, health concerns that need to be dealt with. Like mold and mildew, both of which seem to run rampant in this house if not kept in check. Our backdoor hasn’t been sprayed in a month and it is practically covered right now in black spots converging on one another about to form a cohesive conglomerate colony of mold. The bathroom on the other hand was done at the same time and surprisingly is still mostly devoid of mildew.

Then of course the vacuuming, which I never seem to be on top of anymore. I used to do it every day like I used to do the dishes every day, but I don’t see the point in keeping the floors clean. Except that it makes our socks dirty if we don’t clean them regularly and that is a pain. I don’t even remember the last time I mopped.

Other parts of the house that have gone by the wayside include the toilets, sinks, mirrors and windows. Well, the windows aren’t too much of a stretch as I think I only ever cleaned them once every year or so. Most of them are so old I’m afraid cleaning them will make them fall apart. Actually, a few of the windows, due to their brokenness, will fall apart if a cleaning was attempted on them.

Ugh, I suppose one of these days I will break down and clean something, even though my brain doesn’t see why I should bother. Of course, there will have to be a damn good reason, like having company over or something similar. Hmmm… perhaps I should plan a Good Riddance Party?

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Week Ahead

With another two cake orders this weekend, I should probably start planning what I’m going to do. Should, but I doubt it will happen.

I’m a procrastinator, even when I have plenty of time to accomplish something. But sometimes it is necessary to do work ahead of time, like fondant figures. One of the cakes I’m making is for the boys we watch every other weekend, who are having their joint birthday this Friday and they want Toy Story. I plan on making Buzz and Woody, but I’m not sure it that is such a good idea. I mean, they won’t be edible as it is because of the sheer amount of gum paste I’d have to add to stabilize the figures. Ugh.

The other order is for a couple dozen cupcakes for a person who is artsy and eclectic. Those are the descriptions her mother gave me. This person is in their forties, so, um, yeah. That will be fun trying to figure out what to do. Although, her mother also told me she loves Cake Wrecks, so perhaps a dreaded Cupcake Cake is in order.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


After I dropped off the little girl’s cupcakes and mini cake, it was time to start making my other order for the weekend. I just didn’t know what flavors I was going to make.

For the little girl’s birthday, I made Princess Aurora Crowns to adorn the cupcakes, half of which I decorated in pink and the other half in blue to represent the different dress color options her Fairy Aunts fought over. I wanted something cute for the mini cake, and my original plan was to hand paint the princess on fondant. However, the more I thought about it, the more I really wanted to simply make her dress. So I did. In blue. Why not pink? Because when Briar Rose is given the dress for her 16th birthday it was blue. Yes, I’m a geek like that.

Anyway, so for the Bullied cupcakes I already figured I’d make the Gluten Free Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache, but I didn’t have enough cream for the ganache and had to add in butter, which in turn made it Chocolate Truffle Frosting instead. Darn. For the other flavor, thinking in the same realm as being different, I decided to make my The King Cupcakes, a banana cake with crunchy peanut butter frosting topped with crumbled bacon. Yes, I said bacon, and the combination is delicious. I also made my amazing Triple Chocolate Brownies and a batch of blondies. Hopefully that will be enough sweets.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Moda Bake Shop

If you are a quilter or sewing enthusiast and haven’t checked out the Moda Back Shop yet, you should. And what better time than now while they are having huge promotional giveaways?

The Moda Bake Shop is an excellent website with free patterns and tutorials from some of the best sewing bloggers out there. A few days ago it was revealed that Moda is finally releasing a book based off of this same concept of using precut fabrics (which are also available from many other fabric companies as well) to create quilts, bags, pillows, clothing and so much more. It’s called a bake shop because of what Moda calls their precuts; Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls, Honey Buns, Turnovers, Charms and Candy Bars. These all indicate specific sizes, but best of all they are a great way to get an entire product line at a very cost efficient price.

Personally, I love the Charm packs because I’m cheap like that. At 5 inches square, they aren’t all that large, but I find the size to be perfect for quick quilting with little cutting. I’ve made a few dog quilts using Charms to coordinate with people quilts because, well, the sofa is all torn up and I need a way to hide that fact. Hence, a sofa quilt for the dog to sleep on that can be washed before company comes over.

While I haven’t used a Layer Cake, which is 10 inches square, my partner bought one last year at a quilt store we saw in St. Helen’s, Oregon. He hasn’t even looked at it since. I, however, have, and even picked up a Charm pack just in case he does. You know, for a coordinating doggie sofa quilt. Jelly Rolls are fascinating to me, and at 2½ by 44 inches are perfect for a wide variety of projects. While I used a Scrap Bag (the selvage ends of fabrics used during Layer Cake production) to make my Framed 9-Patch Quilt, the pattern I used from the Moda Bake Shop was for a Jelly Roll. Well, actually two Jelly Rolls, but I just used plain muslin for the solid instead because I’m cheap like that. Honey Buns are basically thinner Jelly Rolls, and I haven’t used them, Turnovers (6 inch half square triangles) or Candy Bars (2½ by 5 inch rectangles.)

Okay, so enough product explanation. I really wanted to discuss my love of FREE, which is why I love the Bake Shop. The projects are usually fun and fresh, whether they are a new take on a traditional technique or something entirely original, and always inspiring. The book that is due out this May is sure to be the same. Plus, right now Moda is having a giveaway of the book and various fabrics at each of the designers featured in the book on their blogs. I don’t know why I’m promoting this to you, as I’m sure it will deplete my chances of winning anything, but I got excited and had to share.

Moda Bake Shop

Friday, January 21, 2011

Princesses and Bullies

This weekend I’ve got two cake orders. One is for a Princess themed birthday party and the other is for a viewing of the movie Bullied. Princess cupcakes are easy, but what does one do for a movie about kids being bullied for who they are? Perhaps this means I will actually have to (GASP!) do some research!

Most little girls like princesses, so it came as no surprise when a friend of mine said she wanted me to make her daughter’s cupcakes as such. However, what in the world am I going to do for her mini cake? Do I go for an over-the-top mini masterpiece or do I keep it simple since it is only a 4 inch cake? Alas, I’m thinking somewhere in between the two. I love painting fondant, so perhaps I can figure something out that route for the cake.

For Bullied, I’m stuck. But perhaps I’m overthinking it, which, yes, I know, is a shock! I mean, this is just supposed to be something for after the movie during the discussion portion, so I could simply just make regular cupcakes, chocolate and vanilla, and be done with it. Oh, I should probably throw in some gluten-free ones too. I’m thinking my Gluten-Free Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache. This plan, along with a couple types of cookies, sounds much more like what I should do. Oh gawd, cookies! Now I’ve got to figure out what type of cookies to bake too!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Cat

Most people, upon the news that they are being forced to move wouldn’t get a new pet. We are not most people.

I can see where working at an animal hospital is going to be somewhat problematic. There are always cats up for adoption, and sometimes dogs too. Of course, there is usually a reason most of these animals were abandoned, but with Anton I’m not sure what that reason could be. He was left sometime overnight a couple weeks ago on the clinic’s doorstep and everything checked out that he was a healthy and neutered male Maine Coon mix cat. A couple days ago my partner came in to meet him and told me to bring him home.

So here we are, two days later, and after trying the whole slow introduction thing, allowing our other two animals to get used to the smell of a new cat, decided to see what he would do if we left the door open in the room he’s been staying in. Of course, no surprise to either of us, our dog decided to go on the attack. Anton, instead of backing away, showed her that he wasn’t going to be intimidated and when she backed off, he slowly walked towards her. Our dog promptly ran to her bed and laid down, the cat continued his investigation of the house for a few minutes before we decided to keep him in the office for another day.

Ugh. Why is it that introducing new pets can be so problematic? I remember when we brought home two kittens one time and our older cat we had, Footers, wanted nothing to do with them for weeks, even though they would follow him everywhere. Our dog, Lucy and other cat, Tuesday still go at it if Lucy thinks Tuesday is receiving any attention from either my partner or I. Huh, I guess we’ll just have to take it slow. And sorry about the picture. The only time I’ve been able to get a picture is feeding time because otherwise he’s twirling or trying to climb up me to be held or sit in my lap.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Brother Ryan

Growing up in a large family has both its advantages and disadvantages. My brother Ryan falls into both of those categories.

Ryan was the goofy kid, the class clown, and he always seemed to garner attention towards himself by, well, being him. I, on the other hand, was fairly introverted, the studious one, and would try to deflect attention away from myself by any means necessary. We were, by nearly all accounts, complete opposites. This meant we got along well… most of the time.

Anyway, today is his birthday. His thirty-second one to be exact. And he has done a lot of living in those years, which sadly as his older brother I haven’t. I definitely can take a few cues from his life, though to be perfectly honest, he’s too much of a partier and I’m, uh, just not. He’s never been afraid to look at anything that life threw at him and regarded each instance as an adventure rather than an obstacle. He’s fearless when it comes to doing stupid-human-tricks, like when we were in the middle of Nowhere, South Dakota (okay, so it was in Custer, but still) and our mom and stepdad were looking at property to invest in and he decided to jump on this old rickety trampoline completely rust-laden and no padded guard around the edges and flipped just a little too close to the edge where he promptly fell against it and started bleeding ferociously, leaving me to run after the adults who had taken off in a car to look at the various properties for sale. Yes, things like that. If they could somehow capture the fearless gene he no doubt has and combine it with the common sense gene I possess, that person would be destined for greatness. Of course my brain is still focused on the fat kid (me) running through fields that were quite reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie and I was secretly praying I didn’t pull a Carrie and fall flat on my face while anyone may have been looking.

My brother no longer lives here in the rainy Pacific Northwest but in the sunny warmth known as Southern California. I have serious doubts he will ever return as he absolutely loves it down there. His two kids do too. And I’m sure the third who has yet to be born will as well. We’re not as close as we once were, but alas, it’s because none of us keep in touch unless we live in the same general region. I don’t know what that is all about, but I think it may be because we all are more face-to-face interacters than long-distance. I don’t know if interacters is a word, but my word processor is screaming at me that it isn’t and I don’t give a damn. It should be.

So happy birthday, Ryan! I hope your day is great and your future is greater.

p.s. – I’m planning on doing a birthday post for all of my siblings, so this is only the first of six, so be afraid Brandon, Ryan (yes, another Ryan), Ashley, Kassidie and K.C.!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

King of Procrastination

Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? That motto is all too relevant in my life.

This isn’t some revelation or anything but just a fact… I am a procrastinator. I know it, and so does practically everyone who knows me. However, with some pertinent stuff that has been needing to get done I’m beginning to think that my Save-It-for-Later ways are starting to catch up with me. Ugh. I guess that means I need to get to work.

I offered to be in charge of getting our church’s directory in order, updating addresses and phone numbers and email addresses and such and preparing everything to send off. Alas, I’ve had the packet for two months and while a majority of it is finished, I still haven’t gotten it all done. And it didn’t help that I misread the submission rules and made the whole thing way harder for myself, which, honestly, isn’t much of a shocker either.

My list of stuff keeps growing, and a majority of it from church committees. Postcard and poster files need to be sent to the printer for printing them mailed off; minutes need to be typed and sent not for the previous Christian Education meeting but the one before, assuming I can find my notebook I took the minutes in; updates need to be given for our Capital Campaign with new totals on the poster I made to show our progress; I need to put together a planning committee for the Spring Auction so that we actually have one; and I suppose I should start making the crowns for a little girl’s birthday cupcakes and, oh, I don’t know, figure out what I’m doing for her mini cake too.

Huh, so my goals for the week look a little grim, but I’m sure I can whittle down the list at least by half before the week is over. And if not, nobody will be at all surprised.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Baby Blanket

Ugh, I’m having some creative issues on my sister’s baby blanket. I definitely should’ve drawn out a plan before starting it.

Okay, so when I made my other sister’s baby blanket and posted the step-by-step instructions on this blog, I figured I’d gotten all the little kinks worked out. However, I must have forgotten about the worst kink of all… the creative one. I usually have a simple drawing with what the basic plan is for the blanket and, if needed, templates for the center appliqué figure. I didn’t do any of that with this blanket and the sad part is that I can’t post the specifics about the blanket to get some feedback from you because, well, my sister reads this blog. My other sister doesn’t so I didn’t feel any pressure posting how I made her little boy’s blanket.

Alas, I’ll have to tough it out. Perhaps I may even have to make a quick sketch just to have something to go off of before I get too involved in the project and have it turn into another Uninspired Quilt. Yes, I definitely need to do that. And I definitely need to find just one more fabric for the border. Maybe then I won’t be so nervous about the project!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My First Mug Rugs

Yesterday was our church choir’s After Holiday Party which concluded with a White Elephant gift game. Figuring I’d try something different and quirky, I made Mug Rugs.

It seems that all over the quilting blogosphere Mug Rugs are making a huge splash. For stash loving/hording quilters who hate to throw away their small scraps, this project definitely has its appeal. While I don’t know if I’d ever actually use one myself, I must admit that it was fun to make what is essentially a combination super-miniature quilt and oversized coaster.

So why did I make Mug Rugs when I could’ve been working on other projects during my free day of sewing? Instant gratification. You see, I knew that this project was small enough to pump out one or two rather quickly and I really wanted that feeling of accomplishing something quilt-wise. Hence, a double whammy gift for my sanity and an unsuspecting victim. Okay, so it actually ended up in the hands of someone who said that they were perfect for eating her lunch at her desk without making a mess so they’ll get used.

My only complaint about them is that, well, I’m a bit out of practice on quilting. Okay, so I’m still learning the whole machine quilting thing, but alas, I will eventually learn it. The biggest issue with these small projects is that while a large quilt something like a little fabric pucker is easily hidden within the whole realm of the quilt, whereas in a small project like a Mug Rug it is super obvious. Oh well, it was a White Elephant gift which is a time to get rid of those unwanted items lying around the house. While I cheated by making ours, I still never would’ve used them so I’m glad that someone will… even with their flaws.

Oh, and just so you know, I’m not in the choir, my partner is. Nobody wants my tone deafness and anti-tune-carrying skills in the choir loft. Nobody.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Ah, finally I was able to sew yesterday. Of course, I could’ve gotten more done.

After going through my stash I realized I have absolutely nothing that would work for a baby blanket I’m working on, which isn’t surprising if you know my sister or her quirky color combinations. So I made a quick trip to one of the local quilt shops, Country Manor. Okay, so quick is a relative term as there is so much fabric to sift through and the lady who owns the place likes to talk. My first stop, as usual, was the clearance room where I quickly found two patterns that would work and was desperately hoping I’d find a third but didn’t have any real luck. I also picked up a few Charm Packs while I was there for both the baby blanket and some White Elephant gifts for tonight’s After Holiday Party for our church’s choir. I’d tell you what they are but too many of them read this blog.

So instead of spending the day sewing, I spent a majority of it doing laundry, dishes, grocery shopping and getting fabric. I really didn’t want to work on the Uninspired Quilt anyway as I am just so uninspired by it still. I did, however, get the center section of the baby blanket started and am nearly finished with the White Elephant gifts which I will finish after I get home from work this afternoon. I promise to post pictures tomorrow of the projects, but sorry Sister… you’ll have to wait to see the baby blanket!

Friday, January 14, 2011


With congress back in session it is bound to be the same old divided political crap as usual. And you can bet that one party will dominate this session yet again with healthcare.

Personal life and death decisions shouldn’t be made by our elected officials. And yet, as the debate over the constitutionality of enacting a mandatory healthcare law come into effect over the next few years it seems that is all anybody wants to talk about. Well, at least from one of the major political parties anyway who vow to overturn the law. I say let them. The law is flawed from many angles because of all the crap that had to be placed in or taken out just to get the damn thing passed and honestly I’m sick of this being a dominant issue in America right now when we have so many other problems to conquer.

Allow me to explain my position on this before I get too many people pissed from my friends on the left, which, don’t worry, I’m still 94% Democrat according to a survey which means I’m pretty left leaning. I don’t think the debate over someone having to make a decision on whether they should live or die be based solely on if they can afford to do so. I don’t think that a person’s life should be attached to the profit motive of another. Allowing a human being to die simply so another person can make money is wrong, both morally and ethically. As long as we have a for-profit healthcare system dominating our country we will have this stigma attached to it.

I say overturn the law and have a real conversation about that small phrase we like to quote, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Do not all three of these rights directly correlate with having to make a decision on whether to get the treatment you need to survive or becoming homeless in the process of trying to pay for the costs associated with those treatments? This isn’t a game and yet those in power don’t seem to understand just how basic being able to see a doctor when you are sick really is. Well, except for, perhaps, Maryland Representative Andy Harris who, after winning the election was shocked to learn he’d have to wait 28 days for his government healthcare plan to kick in. His hypocrisy over running an anti-Healthcare Reform platform and then complaining over not getting his own government funded healthcare would be laughable if it wasn’t a familiar tune sung by many in the Republican party.

This debate over whether it truly is a government takeover of healthcare or if the government should truly be responsible for taking care of its people needs to continue, just not in the current form of attack and retreat. This is a conversation we need to have as a nation. Too many people have had to make the decision to simply end their lives early rather than go into debt or leave that debt to loved ones after they pass away.

I’m putting a lot of blame on the Religious “Right” for the current fear-mongering over Obamacare, many of whom love to tout that they are Christians but whose actions are anything but Christ-like. You want to have a conversation about What Would Jesus Do? He certainly didn’t ask the lame man for his health insurance card before healing him. This goes for the Tea Party too. You want to take this country back? Don’t forget you aren’t the only ones living in it. Putting dangerous ideas into people’s heads and touting it as their patriotic duty to act on it will only result in the loss of innocent lives as we’ve seen with the recent tragedy in Arizona.

This debate needs to happen, but it needs to go further than only a few seem to want to push it. Basic Health should be a Basic Right for every citizen of this country. You want another plan? Fine, buy into one. But please don’t threaten those of us who wish our taxes served our needs better.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


It’s official. The house goes on the auction block April 15.

Last night, just minutes after getting home, the screen door pushed against the frame like someone was here and the dog went crazy, looked out the big picture window then ran to the front door barking her menacing bark the entire time. I had a feeling who it might be and debated only one thing… whether to open the door and let Lucy greet the guy putting the notice up that the house will be sold at auction. I’m regretting the fact that I restrained her until he was safely back in his car.

This got me thinking that during these hard economic times, even though the job of foreclosure notice deliverer is not a satisfying position, unless, of course, you get off on other people’s misfortune, it is, nonetheless, a job. Crappy, yes, but work all the same. Alas, I’m glad I’m not him. Especially if I had decided to go ahead and open the door while he was taking pictures to prove that he indeed attached the notice to the house and “accidentally” let the dog out!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Prepping Projects

I have Friday off of work because I’m working Saturday. Finally, a day to sew to my heart’s content.

I know, I know. If I really wanted to I could be sewing right now instead of blogging, but here’s the thing… I’ve gotta prep first. It may sound crazy, but I can’t just pick up on a project at any time because, well, I don’t have them lying around the house waiting to be finished. I have to unpack everything, figure out where I left off and check to make sure everything is in order before I start. Okay, so this really only applies to quilting stuff. Fine, so it is just an excuse to not sew even when I really want to because once I start I have a hard time pulling myself away. There, now you have the real reason.

Allow me to explain a few things.

I am the type of person who likes to paint, but I find myself in the same category of painters as Vincent Van Gogh in that I won’t spend more than a day on a painting. Of course, unlike Van Gogh who actually painted stuff and then didn’t sign his work if he didn’t finish it, if I think it will take more than a day to finish I won’t even start it. Yes, that means my brain actually goes through the entire process ahead of time to calculate how much time it will take to complete. You honestly don’t have to tell me how crazy that sounds because I already am well aware of my own neurosis.

Before I start work on a cake, I have to make sure I have everything in order, or at least a general idea of what I want to accomplish. This includes all of the ingredients and any decorations that will need to be made ahead of time, which obviously requires planning ahead. However, I find myself a little more lenient on cake prep than others, probably because it is food and I read something very intriguing one time that said that people hesitate to eat something that looks perfect, so having a few minor imperfections will ease up on their apprehensions to just eat the damn cake. This is from a very well respected lady in the cake business, so I have since taken her advice.

When I’m quilting, I like to make sure I have everything I need to at least complete the front, but preferably the entire project. I like to look at everything all at once to make sure it will all go together into one cohesive product. Sometimes this will only take a couple hours from start to finish as I’ve done on a few of the baby blankets I have made, and other times I will spend weeks researching and rearranging and trying to get the right fit for the project, which was definitely the case on The Uninspired Quilt.

I also must apparently admit that this same theory kind of applies to me and chocolate. You see, when I get a box of chocolate, I eat it. Not like one or two pieces at a time, but I sit down (maybe) and devour the entire box. The exception is a double Whitman’s Sampler box, since it is two tiered. With those, I eat one layer, close the box, then eat the second layer another day. Call it a disorder or whatever you wish, but I love chocolate and hate to see lonely pieces sitting next to empty wrappers.

So today I am going to go into my craft room, pull out everything for The Uninspired Quilt and possibly even prep it for quilting. I’m just going to use the backing fabric folded over for the binding on the front, so I won’t have to prepare a separate binding for the project. Now I just need to decide if I want to go with my original plan of using a dark brown thread for the quilting, or simply use a natural color thread that will hide my sometimes erratic lines better? And I suppose while I’m at it decide if I want to hand quilt the insides of the blocks or just use the sewing machine for the whole thing. Ugh… I wish I had a box of chocolate right now.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


With the kiddos gone the house is a mess. Well, actually the kitchen is a mess. Why is it whenever they come over I somehow neglect the dishes? I don’t know why but I never let the dishes get so out of hand when we have guests… just a second, my phone is ringing.

Okay, so that was work and they need me to come in so, well, um, I guess the dishes will have to wait for another time. Oh well. I didn’t really want to do them anyway.

Monday, January 10, 2011

No Sewing Whatsoever

I wanted to get some sewing done over the weekend. Our guests had other plans.

Having a craft room that doubles as a guest room and having a two and three year old guest staying for the weekend meant no time for sewing. Not even during naptime since I put the sewing machine in there before Christmas. I knew that decision would come back to bite me in the ass.

Oh well, it’s not like I had any projects with deadlines on them that needed to be done. I was just hoping that the first non-holiday weekend after the busy rush would allow me some much needed time with my 1963 Singer Touch-N-Sew Deluxe Zig Zag Model sewing machine. I mean, if I really wanted to sew I could’ve toyed around with the 1948 Singer my partner’s mother bought me at a garage sale last summer, but it needs serviced badly and I don’t want to break it in by literally breaking it.

And so I thought that perhaps after we took the kiddos home after church yesterday I could sew, however, there mother had errands to run and we didn’t end up getting them home till after seven and by then I was too exhausted to think. Alas, I don’t know how fulltime parents do it, because this extreme part-time thing is kicking my ass.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sewing Today?

With the kids going home after church perhaps I’ll get to some sewing this afternoon. I say perhaps because I may just want to sleep.

Of course, should I sew, I’d be tempted to finish the Uninspired Quilt. I’ve got the batting and the front and back are pieced together so it’ll just be a matter of quilting and folding over the backing to bind it. Wonky line quilting will probably be my choice of “patterns” because, well, there are a lot of wonky lines in the fabrics. Then again since it isn’t a quilt I care too much about I’m tempted to try my hand at stippling. I take that back… this quilt is way too big to try something new.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


This weekend we’re watching the boys. I always seem to forget just how much work it is.

Okay, so being a pretend parent is nothing like the real thing, but still requires the ability to fairly discipline and entertain. After talking with the kids’s aunt, this might turn into an every-other-weekend thing, which honestly will probably ease some of the adjustment time the younger of the two seems to need, especially as it nears bedtime. I mean, if you consider a thirty second realization that it is bedtime and he’s not in his room an adjustment.

Of course, I wish they’d sleep in a little longer, but ten hours is a good amount. Perhaps we shouldn’t have stayed up until midnight so that when they woke up at six-thirty this morning we’d have been able to cope with their demands. Then again, their demands are simply Curious George and The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That.

Alas, it is time for me to go make breakfast. I was thinking about making biscuits and gravy but the lack-of-sleep in me wants to simply say, “Here’s your cereal.” Ugh. Perhaps I should just suck it up and make the damn biscuits and start the gravy already and quit my bitching. Or perhaps I should drink another cup of coffee because Super Why is now on and they love that show too.

Friday, January 7, 2011

April 15

No, this isn’t about Tax Day here. This is the day the bank has decided to sell the house.

Last night when I got home from work, my partner informed me the bank had called and told us they are planning on selling the house on April 15th. This is all and well. It means we have a goal date to move by and also make plans for items we plan on either taking with us or giving away.

There is something about knowing a date to help make plans. Before we were just going to wait until something got posted on the house or a For Sale sign was placed in the middle of the yard. However, this doesn’t make me any less sad about losing the house, even if it is falling apart along with the furnace and water heater and the yard is a huge mud pit.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Morning Routine: Dog Edition

Our dog, Lucy, has a regular routine in the morning. This routine drives me up the wall.

Okay, so here it goes. I wake up. The cat howls her little, “Feed me, I’m starving!” cry. I feed her. Then I refill the water in the dog’s water bowl and add food to the food bowl at which point she is now standing just outside the kitchen flapping her head around and scratching her armpits until I motion for her to sit. Food in its place, I motion for her to go eat. Using hand signals gets her attention so much more then talking. Time to make the coffee. Usually by the time I’m done dumping the grounds, grinding the beans, adding water and turning the coffee maker on, she’s finished eating and is now in front of the backdoor scratching her armpits. I reach to unlock the door, which usually signals her to sit or I wait until she sits before letting her out to go potty.

Of course, she doesn’t go outside to go potty, instead, she stands on the deck and scratches her armpits. This can go on for twenty minutes or so, which yes, I’ve just watched and waited thinking that perhaps she will go up on her own if ignored, but no, she just alternates between armpit right and armpit left. So I tell her, “Up! Go potty!” which apparently signals to her it’s time to start shaking her head violently, ears flopping back and forth, which if I don’t stop will result in blood splatter patterns everywhere reminiscent of a horrific crime scene. So I grab my outdoor shoes and go outside, which usually prompts her to go to the upper part of the backyard and go potty. Perhaps she thinks this is part of the routine, but I think it is all a ploy to get more attention. She is, after all, spoiled rotten. Or perhaps she just has really itchy pits.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Daunting Tasks

Cleaning out a closet doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Unless, of course, that closet belongs to my craft room.

Okay, so I’ll freely admit that I didn’t even bother pulling anything out of the craft closet yesterday either before or after work. This is something I’ve been dreading since the thought of moving was placed into my mind when we received news of foreclosure on our house. And me being a procrastinator I figured it’d be the last thing I tackle… until I blogged about it yesterday. Ugh, now I’ve got people to hold me accountable.

I can’t imagine that I’ll find some hidden gems (figuratively, that is, since I know there is a box of beads and jewelry making supplies in there) but I really don’t know what to expect. Well, except for ten yards of natural cotton canvas I got for five bucks on a major clearance special in the year 2001, which I just realized is ten years ago. Goodnight! Where has the time gone?

Well, I suppose the only way to tackle this task is to start it. I’ll make three piles; Keep, Toss and Donate. The Keep and Toss piles are obvious what I’ll be doing with them, but the Donate pile I am thinking I’ll make as many projects as I can with it for sale or charity and anything that doesn’t get used before the move will be dealt with accordingly. Eventually this process will be incorporated into the rest of the house. Well, maybe. I’m tempted to just pack up what we want to keep and have an estate sale after we move for the rest of the stuff. We’ll see. Considering we know we have at least until March here and possibly as long as it takes for the bank to sell the place, which, let’s face it, houses in our neighborhood have been up for sale for years with no buyers because values are far below prices, I’m thinking the only things I want to pack away are things I know we want to keep but don’t use often.

A daunting task? More like a multitude of daunting tasks. However, with a little planning it can go rather smoothly. Hopefully I won’t get all sentimental and want to keep everything.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sewing on the Mind

With the inevitable move looming in the not so distant future, the idea of packing and moving a bunch of material is not appealing. A plan must be made.

I love fabric. It is apparent that I do in the fact that some of the fabric in my craft room closet I’ve had since I was a kid. I’d use a little for a project and keep the rest for later use, which most of the time never happened. It also wouldn’t be surprising to know that I have the hoarding gene in my blood. Thanks, Mom.

However, I think it is time to finish some projects I’ve started, like the Uninspired Quilt and Fall Quilt, as well as think about what I want to do with all those puppet making materials. Hmmm… perhaps make puppets? I mean, I could make some more of the basic puppets like the pattern I have in my Etsy shop, or I could make theater quality puppets, which, honestly, while they take a lot more planning and work are totally worth the effort in the end result. But the problem with that is then I’d have a puppet to move as well, so if I make another puppet there will need to be a purpose, which means there will need to be a puppet show they would be made for. Alas, none of those in the immediate future.

So I’m thinking it would be time to possibly purge my bins and bags and random fabrics again and see what I should keep and what needs to go away. This means actually taking out the stuff on the bottom of the closet too, not just all the stuff on top. A scary thought considering I haven’t touched those bottom bins in five or six years. A scary thought indeed. I know I somewhat did this last summer when I went through the fabrics in the top portion of the closet and put coordinating prints together into potential future projects, but the bottom bins are another thing all together. That is the stuff I’ve been carrying with me for years. I don’t even remember what is in some of them, and quite honestly one is probably filled with nothing but beads for necklaces and such which I haven’t used in fifteen years.

With so many raw materials, perhaps I need to start sewing and stop thinking about sewing. Wait a minute. Take out the perhaps. I need to start sewing. If for nothing else, just to get some of the unused fabric into something that someone can use. And since our church is having an auction this Spring to raise additional funds for the skylight and cathedral glass we just had fixed this past Fall, I can donate some of the quilts I make to be auctioned off. Perhaps the Uninspired Quilt will find a home after all.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Waking Up

Ugh, it must be Monday. I can’t seem to wake up from my sleepless night.

I’m not sure why, but Sunday nights are the hardest for me sleep-wise. I’m certain it is because I tend to not do a whole lot on Sundays, thus prompting me not to expel enough energy to produce sleepiness. Alas, yesterday was extra lazy. Although we did get the tree and village put away, so it wasn’t all wasted. Okay, so I helped put the tree away and watched as my partner packed up the North Pole Village into their appropriate boxes.

Honestly, the worst part is waking up and thinking you’ve got hours left to fall back asleep and then the alarm goes off. Unless you’ve got an iPhone, then your alarm may not go off. Just saying. Anyway, it sucks. It means a busy day on less sleep. But the one good thing to come from a Sleepless Sunday? A Monday full night’s slumber.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Yesterday my partner and I had aspirations of cleaning the house and putting away all the Christmas stuff. We got so far as washing the dishes.

I know what it is. I mean, the older I get the less I am able to stay awake past eleven at night. Pushing that to almost three in the morning will wreak havoc for days to come on my sleep schedule, as today when the alarm went off for us to get ready for church and my partner turned it off went back to bed and we woke up two hours later. Yes, I will admit that I love my sleep. Without it I can’t focus on much more than a television show or, as I actually did, three episodes of True Blood I’d Netflixed.

So I suppose today we will actually have to start putting some of this stuff away. I was originally thinking I’d like to get the North Pole Village done first, but sitting next to the Christmas tree right now and not being able to see around it, perhaps it should get packed before. You know, in case we don’t get around to finishing everything today. Which, let’s be honest, is a rather high probability!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Ah, the day after a fantastic New Year’s Eve party. The day where it seems difficult to do anything but sit around and be lazy, but alas, there is cleaning to do.

Last night we had a few friends over and then a few more we didn’t think would be able to make it came too. Having guests bring stuff makes for a fantastic spread. We decided to host another fondue party, both cheese and chocolate. Figuring that since we’ve had a chocolate fondue pot for a year and a half without ever even taking it out of the box, it was time to do something with it. Not only is chocolate fondue much less temperamental than cheese, the dipping choices we had were evenly split between sweet and savory, such as potato chips, pretzel sticks, French baguette cubes, coconut macaroons, apples, pears and biscotti. Super delicious and will definitely be employed for further party use!

But today we have to cleanup. Fortunately since it was all finger foods and, even though we had small festive plates for people to use, only one person did. The rest of us simply had a drink in one hand and ate with the other right off the platters or our dipping sticks. In fact, a majority of our cleaning is glasses and stemware, so cleanup should be a breeze. Well, except for a little vomit. Our friends’s dog got a bit sick around two in the morning. I guess I gave him a few too many dog treats. Fortunately it was all contained to the sofa quilt I made for our dog, so it just needs to be thrown into the wash.

We’ve also decided it is time to put Christmas away. As much as I’d like to keep it up until January 6th, the tree just takes up way too much space. Oh, how I wish we had a bay window for it instead! So goodbye North Pole Village. Goodbye Christmas tree. Goodbye 2010 and hello 2011. May you be much kinder than your predecessor.