Saturday, March 31, 2012

Doing Some Single-Lady Thinking

After going to a birthday shindig where I was the only single entity in attendance (a 15th wheel - if you will), I spent some time doing some thinking about the state of things. And, well, I've decided that I mostly like the state of things in my life. Sure, there are some things I think about and hope for. I pray that whatever's supposed to happen, happens with those desires God has planted in me.

But, really, it's a grass is greener type of situation. And I'm happy to spend some time investing in my own "yard"- to extend the cheesy metaphor. While I'm here in this moment. There's plenty of things that are awesome about being single during this part of my life.

Here are some thoughts I had on the sitch.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

For the Baltimore Couple

Now that I've received notice that the package arrived safely, I can share some pictures of a recent wedding gift I made. Katy and Martin met at Beloit College in Wisconsin where I earned my degree. We shared a lot of good times during those years and I was disappointed to miss their wedding last October. They are a lovely couple with a jovial, youthful spirit and a heap whole lot of creativity.

The inspiration for their gift was a picture of their halloween costumes from last year. They sported the personas of two major Baltimore faces: "The Utz Girl" of potato chip fame, and "Mr. Boh"from National Bohemian Beer. Both are particularly quirky representatives of Baltimore consumption. So is the couple.

As you can tell by looking at the date of their wedding (OCT 2011!), it took me a long time to get around to getting this project done. Once I started the process, however, it only took a couple evenings to finish the embroidery.

I stretched it so that it would fit in any 8x10 sized frame (that way they could pick a frame that would go with their chic home decor). That freed me up to send the gift via cheap-o snail mail. It was fun to wrap it up in brown paper and to stick several stamps on it, knowing that it would arrive at some unknown date between 3-5 days later. How I love the postal service!

I feel good about the way it turned out and am pleased to hear that Katy and Martin like it too. I think I will file this design for when I get my Etsy store finally up and running. There might be a market for it in the Northeast.

I hadn't been in touch with this couple much at all since graduation from college. These life moments punctuate the time between then and now. A wedding a month or so. Recently, the babies have started to appear. I am startled to find that 6 years have passed since I was a college student. I still sometimes think of myself as a high schooler. Perhaps that's the fault/benefit of working with young people all the time.

I'm always making embroideries to mark the big moments in other people's lives. I think the next project I take on should be a sampler for myself. What should I make? Perhaps a map project? (Ala The United States of Sinda & Niko) Maybe a treasure map, or a Family Circus style bouncing dotted line map. What do you think? What are the landmarks I should include in my-awesome-life-so-far-journey embroidery?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ladies in Painting (and) Another Record Day

Since summer decided to come early, I've been enjoying an awful lot of unprecedented March social events and outside engagements. The windows are open and fresh air is flowing. Creative juices are flowing, too!

photo credit - Amy Bracken

Sunday, I met with some lady friends to have an afternoon of art-making. Our host, Tracey, provided the necessary tools and everyone (but me, gosh I was underprepared) brought snacks for sharing. None of us claim to be professional painters. Though Tracey is a (seriously talented) media artist and graphic designer. We all just came in with open minds and blank canvasses. It was fun to watch our hall of fame grow as we taped up finished products.

photo credit - Amy Bracken

The afternoon was very productive for me. A pastel drawing and a few watercolors and pen drawings and blind contours (drawing without looking at the paper- my favorite!). I practice quantity when it comes to making 2D art. I think maybe my lack of ability to focus for too long makes my attention to detail suffer a little. Meh. It's fun!

 Today was equally gorgeous. I spent a good part of the day outside exploring some of the parks in Tipp City. I was really impressed by the paths around the ponds and the river at the Nature Center. Afterwards I ran some errands, did a little shopping and I found secret stash of dollar records in the 2nd story of a little antique store. I might have gotten a little carried away, but I couldn't help myself. And, yes, you do see the Village People, ABBA, and Steve Martin in the mix. 

Though Smoke Dreams has a truly wonderfully spooky/sexy cover (perhaps too sexy for this space), I must vote this Tommy Dorsey album the prettiest of the day.

 I have yet to listen to them all. I am excited to throw open the windows, turn up the knob and listen from a cozy corner on my back patio. First, there's a project to be completed. That back patio is just a slab of concrete sporting a crispy Christmas tree, bike, and trash can. There's a lot to be desired. Thank goodness the weather looks to hold out for a few more days so I can prepare the porch. 

Wedding gift post will come soon. I have to mail it first... and confirm its receipt before I show it off. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patty's Day Weekend (& Cookies!)

Last night I had a little traditional St. Patty's day debauchery. (Watered down a good deal for kid-friendlyness. I am a grown up with grown up friends who sometimes have children, now. It's true.) We hit up an Irish joint in Troy before the real partying started. I had a shepard's pie and enjoyed good company. We kicked off the karaoke after hours with a little Dolly Parton and The Sugar Hill Gang. 

I've not spent much time in Troy but I from what I've seen it's a pretty cute little town. I need to spend an afternoon there with my camera to capture a bit of its small town charms. It has some nice architecture and signage as well. Not to mention a haunted bookstore (supposedly- investigation is necessary).   

Today, I spent talking sunny walks, cleaning house and doing a little holiday cooking for a cell group gathering. Of course, it had to be green!

(Green) Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5 drops green food coloring (holiday optional)
  • 3 pinches dried rosemary
  • 2 cups flour
Mix the top 5 ingredients well. Softened butter works best. Rub dried rosemary in-between fingers before sprinkling in to release flavor. 

Once mixed, patiently knead in 2 cups of flour. I didn't end up using all the flour because it was getting really dry. The recipe said to roll it out, but it wasn't rolling so well so I made 1 inch(ish) balls and smushed them with the bottom of a smaller cup to make the shape. 

Baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so. Keep better track of time than I do and they'll probably be softer in the end. Still, they turned out yummy and I love the pairing of a savory spice with a sweet treat.

Great weekend so far, and tomorrow there's church, tennis and an afternoon of painting with some lady friends. Beautiful weather seems to be doing wonders for my productivity. How about you?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Feeling Like Painting Tonight (or) My TV Romance

Just watching some Woody Allen while storms are abrew North and South of my little hovel in Tipp City tonight. Some movies remind me of my childhood dream to be an actress. (I used to pray nightly that God would let me be in a movie before I turned 16. It was more like a mantra. I said it over and over until I fell asleep.) Now, when I watch movies I particularly enjoy, I think about what it would be like to be a part of the production or to be friends with the group of creative minds that pulled it all together. 

I think I would enjoy Woody Allen in person, although I imagine I would annoy him. I might be too cheerful for his taste. He might like me better if I wrote my blog at glasshuffempty.

I fiddled with some sketching and watercoloring tonight. I really like to do this. Even if you aren't a fantastic pencil artist (which I AM NOT - I do not understand dimension) the watercolor makes things look finished and fun. I've some sketches for a children's book I've been slowly working on for 6 years using this technique. 2012 is the year I get'er'done. (And now that I've said it online, it must be true!)

I made a funny here. The original jar reads "ATLAS - STRONG SHOULDER - MASON" What does it all mean?! Nothing, really. Or does it?

I got a little silly here, too. I think perhaps I'm insinuating that TV is my boyfriend. Do you see what I mean? (Read the article I wrote for GLG and you might start to believe that it's true!)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Branching out in the Blogosphere

I'm just so excited to have been asked to write a post about the Bachelor Finale for my friend's blogging venture, Girls Like Giants. (I became the 3rd Sarah to write for the site! Go Sarahs!)

Check it out if you dare to submit yourself to an in depth look at the villainous constructs of the show so many of us hate to love.

Girls Like Giants is a really awesome site chock full of thoughtful accounts of women in pop culture. You should shuffle through the posts and enjoy some of the other bloggers colorful insights. I especially enjoyed   Sarah T's response to Zooey Deschanel and the cutesy chic nerd trends. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Crafting Comes Naturally

Recently, the seasons have taken a jarring turn for the better. Oh I am ready for spring. I was sick most of last week with an icky flu-like ailment. When I finally felt better I was greeted with the above sky and a gorgeous spring day. I said, hello spring and pulled out some crafts I'd had in the dockets.

With some guidance from my friend and neighbor, Madison (a peppy elementary teacher and scarf maker for a little boutique in Peoria, IL), I tackled a painting I had been wanting to do for a big, bland, blank spot on a wall in my office. I've never been much of a painter, but I had fun thinking outside of the box and making a little bit of a mess in my parking space on a Sunday afternoon. I think the final product 
will really brighten up the space.

Afterwards Madison and I spent some time making scarves in her homey little craft room. She taught me a couple tricks of her trade and I ended up with a repurposed fishy sarong. We'll see whether I can pull it off or not, but I really do like the fabric a lot more now that the sea life scenery has been deconstructed.

So far, spring is just great. This evening after work I got together with 4 friends and neighbors to toss around a frisbee. It's pretty great that I like my coworkers so much that I want to hang out with them after a whole day of seeing them in the office. Madison made a comment about how it felt a little like college. She was totally right. 

With the sun glaring just right off my glasses, I was transported back in time. The sounds of the neighborhood kiddos playing on the swings were the voices of my teenage friends in the quad my freshman year at Kenyon College. It seems like so long ago. Sometimes I even forget about that year of my life, having transferred to Beloit after only one year at the Ohio College. I have a lot of history in this state, and it feels good to be living here again after all the places I've hopped around from. Nothing like Spring to remind you how great the journey can be.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Alefeast Day & Dayton Night

As promised: a photo diary of some of my Saturday in Dayton. We also hit up some spots in the Oregon District (Press, Peace on Fifth, and The Record Gallery) which I didn't capture. But I did get a few shots of some great old signs and buildings we passed during our walk across the river to the Masonic Temple.

And a few shots of ALEFEAST itself. Not enough. And NONE of the food! What kind of diary is it if it doesn't reflect the crux of the event? I guess I ate so much that my brain wasn't functioning properly. Check out those awesome lighting fixtures in the main room. I was kinda in love with them with their funny uncovered bulbs and crusty green foliage.

After the event, we took the long way back to my friends' place in the Oregon District and walked past the Riverside Community Park. We watched the skaters for a while and toasted our fingers on the open fires. It's nice to see people out and about in cooler weather. It reminds me of my winters in Minneapolis (except much, much warmer).

In summary- Yay, Dayton! I continue to learn new amazing things about my nearest metropolitan area that make me love it more. It is a great truth that our experiences are only as enriching as we make them. I can either grumble and groan about living in an economically depressed, small Ohio city or I can make an adventure of each and every outing and encourage others to do so as well. That's the only way Dayton will ever evolve and grow to thrive post-industrially.

Coming soon: an overdue wedding gift! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

2 Favorite Things : Kentucky & a Record Frame

Whelp, I've been a little absent this past week. A little emotionally exhausted and a little busy. Life is slowly slipping back into it's normal paces.

I made a quick trip to Kentucky for Mike's funeral with my mom last week. I learned over and over during the visitation and funeral about the amazing influence Mike's life had on a buh-zillion people. It was so good to be surrounded by my southern family- especially after a 4 year absence. What a relief to find that I still feel as though I "belong".

Kentucky is several weeks ahead on its journey towards spring. There were crocuses and buds. At night, we stayed in the guest house at Alice Lloyd College (the school campus I grew up on as a professor's brat). Caney creek was rushing from the melted snow. The sky was darker, the stars bright. Voices bounced off the hills as college kids yelped late-night hellos. Did I imagine the sound of spring peepers? I slept more soundly than I had in ages.

In the morning, before we left campus, mom and I visited the grave of our dear dog. I brushed wet leaves off of the slate slabs marking the spot. We stood for a few moments, remembering it all. On the way out we saw a black dog, his shape and size trotting towards the highway.

I didn't bring a camera. At first, I regretted the oversight, but it turned out to be a blessing. There never was a moment that felt like it should be captured. It was a beautiful visit that will exist in memory only.


On another, less somber and more crafty note.. I wanted to show off one of my absolutely most favorite (and most useful) Christmas presents from this year. I asked my dad to craft a "Now Playing" shadow box for my media center. I imagined a shelf box in which I could put a 33 record. He went above and beyond and created this gem.

It's an enclosed frame that you slide a record in from the side. I absolutely adore it. And it gives some oft neglected cover art a moment to be the center of attention. I totally think he could make a million dollars selling these babies to hipsters and jazz cronies.

Coming soon: a picture diary of Dayton's Ale Fest. Now, THAT's a photo opportunity.
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