Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting Ready For Those Resolutions!

Two balls of yarn waiting for January's project - yes, I do have it picked out lol - can't wait to show it to y'all!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Fun Day!

I've enjoyed striking up a friendship with Tracey of Lovin' Life... We've gotten together a few times to cook and bake, and we made date today so we could sew matching aprons for her and Brianna. Tracey is always fun to be around and I knew we'd have a blast!

Our visit started out with a terrific surprise - Tracey came bearing (lots of) gifts! I still don't know how she managed to find gifts for everyone that fit so well since we haven't known each other for very long! My gift was a beautiful cedarwood/rosemary scented oil reed diffuser wrapped in black and white tissue! What a great gift!

After we had fun wrapping and admiring our presents (and eating some tasty food), we began our project.

This is the pattern we wanted to use... The idea was that I would teach Tracey how to sew, but I'm the one who believes that a pattern is made to be altered, so I don't know how much I was able to teach. Tracey had bought some curtains at a thrift store nearby that were strangely covered in little plastic loops, so our first order of business was to undo the seams and remove all the little loops.

Anna gives us a hand.

The sewing machine decided to have issues when we first started, but Mum soon had it put to rights!

We had two major issues with the pattern: one, we had nowhere near enough ribbon to make two aprons (one for Tracey and one for Bri), and we had no D-rings (the pattern called for four). We solved this problem by electing to use the ruffled edge of the curtain for the bottom of the apron, instead of edging it with ribbon, and we used the loops that we took off the curtain for rings. Perfect!

The pattern went together pretty easily... we never had to take out a seam we sewed (though we did lots of ripping on the original seams!).

Here's the finished product (as modeled by Tracey)! I love the slight 50's flair the ruffle adds! Isn't she cute?

Tracey and I take a moment to admire our hard work. You'll notice the windows were light when we started and dark when we finished!

Mission accomplished!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

2010, Here I Come!

I can't believe it's been almost ten years since we entered the new millenium! In January of 1999, I was 12 years old and excited about becoming a teenager; I had met Robin but we hadn't really bonded yet; had never had a job; was completely into Star Wars and was sooo excited about the release of the new movie; I had written four novellas and a lot of sketches/vignettes (but hadn't studied poetry at all); we had just moved from my beloved childhood home to our new house on 25 acres of wooded land; I had just gotten on the Internet for the first time that summer and by January I had found The Young Writer's Club and thought I'd died and gone to heaven; I had quite a collection of cassettes and had just started buying CD's - but they were sooo expensive!; I got a discman for Christmas that year - so did Robin - and it was the coolest gift ever; I was still taking piano lessons but dreamed of taking voice lessons; and I had never flown on a commercial airplane.

It seems like everyone is
reflecting on the old year, thinking about the New Year, gearing up for new adventures, and making resolutions. I'm no exception! I usually clean out my room, my car, my bathroom, etc, the week before January 1st, but this year I got everything cleaned and organized before Christmas - which never happens! - and so I have some extra time to reflect on other things, like what I'd like to accomplish in the coming year(s). I took myself on a "date" today for a gingerbread latte, a new notebook, and a chance to come up with some goals for the new year and the new decade. Here are some of the things I came up with!

~ Go hear live music once a month - it doesn't have to be an expensive concert, though I certainly hope to get to a few of those, too!
~ Post to "
Taleia & Company" at least twice a week.
~ Post to "
Girl In Skirt" at least once a week.
~ Get my "
EdResource" blog up and running.
~ Plan and execute at least one roadtrip to a place I've never been or driven to.
~ Get my hair trimmed every 8-10 weeks... I'm so bad about this, but it really looks better when it gets clipped regularly.
~ Save $1000 just for emergencies! (I did it this year and it was a great feeling!)
~ Write one poem per week and post it to
my personal writing blog.
~ Read one new magazine on an interesting topic per month.
~ Crochet one new pattern a month, and make at least one of those projects an item of clothing... this has been on my want-to-do list for a long time now.
~ Go on one "date" with just myself per week, even if it's just to get coffee and online window shop for an hour.
~ Take a couple trips into D.C. and explore some of the museums/attractions I haven't seen yet. Cherry Blossom Festival, here I come!
~ Plan one "just the kids" outing per month. I have really enjoyed the last few times my sibs and I have gotten to hang out and I'm really looking forward to making this a more regular occurrence.
~ Finish reading the "
100 Greatest Books" list.
~ Watch the "
100 Greatest Movies" list.
~ Dedicate some time to work on my writing... not quite sure if it'll be on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, but this is definitely a habit I want to develop.

~ Wash my face every day... and I mean really cleanse it and moisturize it with actual cleanser and moisturizer instead of splashing water or dove soap over it. :)
~ Submit a piece of my writing to some publication (any suggestions?)
~ Get my
new website up and running.

~ Read through the Bible this year.

You can track my progress, game plans, etc for these goals through the website 43 Things (check it out - it's a great tool!). In the meantime, what are some of your goals?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everybody!
I hope your day was "merry and bright" because mine certainly was! Christmas morning is always a magical time at our house... I look forward to creating my own Christmas-morning-traditions someday in my own home with my own family, but I know I will look back wistfully at these times. :)

Our family has opened gifts every-which-way over the years... We've opened gifts all at once, we've opened each gift one at a time, and now gifts just sort of get opened. :) One positive change we've made is that in the past, my father always videotaped Christmas morning, which I'm sure we'll all be glad for in the future, but set him apart from us when we wanted to share the fun of presents with him. Last year we requested that we not have any videotaping on Christmas morning, and he agreed... this year, though nobody discussed it, the videocamera stayed put. I like this much better! :)

We always get some form of reading material on Christmas - books, magazines, etc - and there's usually a mini-pause while we resist the temptation to read everything right then. :)

On to the gifts I gave... these three modern-art-inspired horse prints I picked up at the thrift store for a few dollars apiece (and kept one for myself, lol). This summer/fall, I took the kids on a trip to D.C. and while there, Ruth and I ducked into the art museum together (everybody else pooh-poohed the idea, but Ruth is like me - always open to new ideas and adventure!). We enjoyed spending some time discussing the modern paintings and sculptures, and when I saw these prints I immediately thought of that memory we'd made. Everyone else in the family thought that 1) the paintings were ugly and 2) didn't see much significance in the trip to D.C., but when Ruth opened them on Christmas morning she immediately said, "Oh, these are from our trip to the art museum!" And she loves them. :)

Lizzie is hard to shop for... I picked up this "Cowgirl: Spirit, Spunk, Style" sign at Ross (is there no good thing that cannot be had at Ross?) and was afraid that the design was too "pink" for our tomboy, but Lizzie assured me that the message of the sign outweighed the girliness of its design. :)

I bought the girls these removable wall-stickers for their room last year, but I don't think I've ever seen them on a wall... I was amused yesterday to see their decorating. :)

Allen has asked me for two years now for WiiPlay, so I got him that for Christmas, then I saw this Venus Flytrap plant at the nursery and I just had to get it. A plant that eats flies - what more could a 13 year old boy want?!?

I got Anna a lunchbox set for our days at co-op... here, she shows off a sign I found in the dollar store. Oh, so true!
Gifts I gave but neglected to get pictures of: My dad, who is impossible to shop for, got a sentimental picture frame (when in doubt, go for sappy-sweet :)); my mother, who is also impossible to shop for, got a black cotton sweater from Lands End (she spents days each fall hunting for a suitably plain/sturdy black sweater, and I have been incredibly impressed with the quality of Lands End merchandise, so maybe this will end the hunt for a few years); Maggie opened a copy of Jaws and found this poem:

For your gift, you're going "to sea"
But don't worry (much!) 'cuz you're not going deep!
To Camden, New Jersey, we'll go on a lark
If you don't get eaten, then they'll let you stay
To swim next door and feed the rays!
So grab your suit and towel and dash -
This gift is sure to make you splash!
Magge was thrilled and excited about her adventure! :)
On to gifts I got...

Okay, by far the most incredible gift I got this year was this moon sculpture that lights up and goes through the stages of waxing and waning. I love it! I am obsessed with the night sky and I love moongazing, and now I can have a piece of my passion right in the room with me! Of course, this was my gift from Maggie, who always knows exactly what to get me. :) The wrapping itself was a work of art - she wrapped it in white tissue paper with silver stars, and put it in a silver bag. :) Can't wait to put it up!

The kids went in together and got me this home spa kit, which I had hinted about multiple times. :) I can manage a DIY pedicure, but there is just no substitute for sticking your feet into a hot bubbling massaging footbath. :) I used this last night after we came home from our family celebration and just about died of ecstasy...
My dad got me this incredible aviator-inspired vintage-look leather jacket (try saying that five times fast!). I am so in love...

I don't know why, but we kept throwing the wrapping paper down the stairwell. :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Little Christmas Gifts

A few years ago, I heard this song on the radio and fell in love with it. I never heard who sang it, and hadn't heard it this year, so I desperately googled the first line of the song and up popped the title and artist. It's totally worth the 99 cents. :) Merry Christmas, everyone!

A poor orphan girl named Maria

Was walking to market one day

She stopped for to rest by the road side

Where a bird with a broken wing lay.

A few moments passed till she saw it

For its feathers were covered with sand

And soon clean and wrapped it was traveling

In the warmth of Maria's small hand.

She happily gave her last peso

For a cage made of rushes and twine.

She fed it loose corn from the market

And watched it grow stronger with time.

Now the gift giving service was coming

And the church shone with tinsel and light

And all of the town folk brought presents

To lay by the manger that night.

There were diamonds, incense and perfumes

And packages fit for a king

But for one ragged bird in a small cage

Maria had nothing to bring.

She waited till just before midnight

So no one would see her go in

And crying she knelt be the manger

For her gift was unworthy of Him.

Then a voice spoke to her through the darkness

"Maria, what brings you to me?

If the bird in the cage is your offering

Open the door, let me see."

So trembling she did as he asked her

And out of the cage the bird flew

Soaring up into the rafters

On a wing that had healed good as new

And just as the midnight bells rang out

And the little bird started to sing

A song that no words could recapture

For its beauty was fit for a king.

Now Maria felt blessed just to listen

To the cascade a note sweet and long

As her offering was lifted to heaven

By the very first Nightingale's song..

- "The Gift" as sung by Aselin Debison

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Food For An English Major's Soul =)

Oh, I am SOOO doing this next year... It will force me to clean off my bookshelves and organize my tomes when I reshelve in January. :)

Embrace Change... Or, Not...

As you can see, I've spent some time fiddling around with the design/layout of this blog... There are definitely some aspects of the new template I like; I think the partial white background makes the text easier to read, and makes the design less 'dark' - I'm going for a 'beautiful night sky' look, after all, not buying into the recent vampire craze! - also, I lovelovelove that it allows the star background. There are some things about the new design that i dislike a lot: the skinnyness of the columns, for instance. What do you think? :> Hope that you are getting every last bit of joy out of these last few days of advent!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I have been remiss in not posting these last few days, although in my defense I took the time to write a post yesterday which for some reason didn't post and didn't save, either. We have gotten our 'snowstorm of the decade' here in beautiful southern Maryland - about 20'' the news says, almost unheard of for us, and quite frankly I would rather be doing snowed-in sort of things instead of blogging. :> However, tomorrow begins a new week and hopefully my inspiration will return! Hope you all had a great weekend!

Virtual Tour - My Room

After spending so much time and effort getting my room super-clean and organized for the new year, I thought I'd reward myself by doing a little bragging and giving a virtual tour!

My room is the place I come home to, the place I feed my soul; since I don't share it with anyone, it's totally "my space." Over the last few years I've filled it with things that reflect who and what is important to me. I've also done a little interior decorating that I'm pretty proud of (I'm totally a former Trading Spaces junkie and I lovelovelove looking at interior decorating/design books).

It's not a lot of space, but it's a space with a lot! :)

Welcome to my room! This is what I see when I come to my room (ideally - it's usually a lot more messy!). My room is on the corner of the house, so it gets a lot of light.

This one one side of my room...

... and this is the other. :)

blogged before about how much I love this art, but I thought I'd just say it again. :)

I bought this sheet set a few years ago on clearance for $7 at WalMart, back when you could actually find 100% cotton sheets there. Aren't they awesome? In case you haven't noticed, I LOVE black and white and strong geometric shapes.

I bought these bedside tables a few years ago... I love their Asian-inspired design and their versatility (I've had them stacked as a tall bookshelf, side-by-side as a headboard, as two bedside tables, etc).

I bought this diffuser over the summer... it's Bergamot oil scented and I love the scent, but one of my goals for the new year is to replace all the candles in my room - pillar, votice, oil , diffuser, etc - with sandalwood scents (which is my fav scent in the whole. wide. world).
I'm not sure why I have an obsession with bamboo, but I do. :)

These two matching copper frames were given to me on my graduation day by my voice teacher, an incredible Christian woman who has really spoken into my life in a profound way. :) They hold photos from that day.

This "Dream" decoration was given to me for my birthday by my good friend, Becka, who knows how important dreams (and dreaming!) is to me!
This is my other bedside table, featuring my very sensitive alarm clock (which randomly chirps and beeps for no reason. Time to get a new one).

My best friend, Robin, moved to Alabama a few years back, so this is my little spot to keep her close by. :) Anyone who has had a loved one at a distance for any period of time knows how hard it is to have "half your heart" separate from your body. Robin and I keep in touch frequently through phone calls, countless text messages, facebook, etc, and visit as often as we can, but having photos and reminders around makes me feel less distant. Isn't she gorgeous?! She gave me both photo frames at various times, and also sent me this handcarved soapstone candleholder last year for Christmas. It's almost time to add another frame, though - Robin is expecting her first child, Khy Christopher, in February! :)

I've had this fountain forever, but it has never worked well, so once I came close to getting rid of it... then Robin came for a visit and reminded me of how much I love this Stargate-inspired design. I put it back on my shelf. :)

Fun story - years ago, I see a bamboo rug and fall in love with it. Cheapest price I can find is $150 (just a bit out of my price range :)). While I am saving up for it, I find this beauty clearanced at a decorating discount store for $20. What can I say? God loves me. :)

These are actually gardening stepstones that I picked up at the dollar store... they are stone and each one features a different sun/moon carving. Someday when I get a moment I am going to mount them all... someday...

This is my messy desk/workstation. I need a bigger desk - or just another one to shove up against this one, lol - but until them it's a little crowded. I actually do very little computer work here (I prefer to work on lapdesk on my bed, or at Panera Bread, or the library, etc) but I do sew, write letters, etc here. The mousepad was also given to me by Becka. ;)

Isn't this lamp awesome? I think I paid about $10 for it years ago on clearance. It's a pain to keep clean but is gorgeous, especially lit.

And, of course, whatis important to me? Books! I thrift books frequently, keep my college texts, take books that friends are giving away, ask for books for birthdays/Christmas... At last count I have over 350 tomes (and yes, I DO read/reference every one at least every few months!).

Another gift from Robin... you can't really tell in the daylight, but this candleholder has two layers with star and moon cutouts which shine when lit!

I picked up these two storage bins at WalMart on clearance years ago...

I also have an undying love for Ikea and picked up these media storage boxes for $1-$3 per pack (depending on size) on the last trip Maggie and I took.

I picked up this french coffee press from the World Market in Texas on my first trip there with Maggie and Anna and our grandparents. If you have never been to a World Market, go! Filled chock full with hand-made items from around the world, with prices ranging from ridiculously cheap to just ridiculous. :)

This little "Hold on to your dreams" snowglobe was a present from Robin.

This fireside candle from Bath & Body Works was a Christmas present from a coworker. It's a smoky, woodsy, pinesy scent that instantly evokes the memory of bonfires and fireplaces. :)

I also picked up this unique pencil cup (really a mini kitchen colander!) from Ikea for about $1.50.

This is where I store my current crochet projects... I also have a bin in the closet where I store the rest of my yarn (I LOVE yarn of all kinds!).

Isn't he cute? I picked up this little hand-carved soapstone owl for $1.
And these star bookends from Alabama (I bought two) for $1 apiece.

This hot oil warmer was a gift from a coworker last year. :)

My space is filled with photos, old and new.

This little silver and black "Dream" decoration was handmade for me by Robin.

Moving on to my closet... A while back my dad installed hooks all along one wall of my closet for my ever-growing purse collection. I totally love purses. :) Now that I've pretty much maxed out the wall, I might move on to collecting boots (my latest obsession).

I also took a cue from Project Runway and Robin (who installed hand-painted star hooks on her wall and displayed her gorgeous charm necklaces as a decoration) and installed hooks on the opposite wall for my necklaces. I totally love this arrangement... I wear a lot more of my pieces now that I can see them displayed instead of having them hidden in my jewelery box... also, they stay in better condition and don't get snarled/snagged.
I'm ALWAYS ready to travel! :)

My latest organizing project... eight mini-Rubbermaind bins that fit perfectly into my above-the-closet shelf. I even labeled them!

The cowboy hat I brought home from Texas...

A few last Christmas presents waiting to be wrapped.
The only ugly part of my room is the top of my dresser... I have no idea what I'm going to do with this space to organize it. I'll keep you posted.
This dresser came from the thrift store and as soon as the snow melts it's getting a new coat of paint (I have an incredible idea - look for it!). I also removed the old pulls and replaced them with these star pulls that I bought. On clearance. For $3/6. :)

This wrought-iron sun deco needs a new position... Hmm...

This is my poetry mirror... lol. I tape printed poems to it, write poems on it, etc. Weird English major compulsion. :)

Another weird oddism... I installed these glow-in-the-dark stars on my fan blades. In the summer when I turn off the lights and turn on the fan, the effect is surreal and incredible. :)

The back of my door is my catchall... currently it has my calendar (over top of my new calendar) and sonogram picts of Khy. :)
This is from my old room... we've been on sub-flooring for years and I wrote poetry, quotations, lyrics, book excerps, etc on the floor around my room. :)
I hope you enjoyed "touring" my room! Come back soon!