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November 29, 2007
Over the years, we've collected a lot of small tins. Altoids, Velamints, Penguin mints, travel candles -- the usual suspects. I decided to gather them from their various drawers, boxes, and purses, and make an Advent calendar. Something that could be used year after year.
The transformation required:
twenty-four assorted small tins
one can of white spray primer
four cans of decorator enamel spray paint (RustOleum American Accents Satin, in Colonial Red, Aqua, Soft Wheat, and Seaside Green)
two packages of adhesive tagboard numbers
Coordinating 1/4" wide satin ribbon for the lid rims (which are maddeningly difficult to get good spray coverage on, mainly near the hinges; you can kind of see why here). I did also need one short length of 1/8" wide -- amazingly I had just the piece in the exact color I needed -- for one particularly thin-rimmed lid
glue for the ribbon
twenty-four small traditional Bulldog clips (the more modern black ones just won't cut it)
very strong epoxy for the clips
felt and glue for lining (maybe next year)
It might be worthwhile to give them a coat of matte clear -- the numbers definitely won't last forever on their own, and this is one project that I'd prefer to give many years of use. Luckily I already have a can of this, purchased for Halloween projects.
Originally I'd intended to hang them from an elasticised ribbon meant for hooking over a door and attaching greeting cards with tiny gilded clothespins. But the tins didn't look quite right hanging sideways, and then there were tempted small hands to consider. I like them much better clipped above our sliding patio door, even if it's impossible to get a good photo there! They could also be clipped to a long, thin painted dowel or other strip of wood. Or epoxy very strong magnets to the backs, and just stick them to the fridge.
It doesn't show well, but near the end of the calendar, I had to get a little more "creative" with the digit pairings. Sure, I could've gone to Michael's and picked up a third package of numbers, but that didn't really seem in the spirit of the thing, so I made do.
Day 24 is a Twining's Tea Tin much larger than the others, and, even though I did attach a clip to it, it's too unwieldy to hang right. So it can sit on the ledge above the other numbers, serving as a placeholder to remind us which day we're on.
11/29/07 08:18 PM |
November 28, 2007
Still Here Plugging Away Inside My Vacuum
So today I made another batch of paneer, but with a double boiler. Oh, the perfect snow-pure curds! I'm going to make mattar sauce for it tomorrow, assuming I can find a recipe I like (and have the right spices for). I only hope the paneer will last that long, it's so squeaky and tempting to nibble it all away.
I also purchased and put up outdoor lights to string around our doorway. This after taking down the previous set, which went half out after being oh-so-carefully tacked into place. And, woo, if the new string didn't pull the same. exact. stunt. So we're thinking it's a problem at the source (a light socket with a plug adapter inserted), though a similar setup at the very front of the house works just fine. Bah.
Aaaand I made a point of getting a box of Trader Joe's frozen chocolate chip cookie dough. You know, for, uh, science.
11/28/07 10:50 PM |
November 27, 2007
Decorate this sweet (virtual) gingerbread house, courtesy Jenny B. Harris. Kids will love it, too!
Okay. All-natural premade chocolate chip cookie dough? That's rated highest and the best buy by Consumer Reports? Evidently I haven't been spending enough time at Trader Joe's.
I didn't know until recently that Wilton makes pretzel molds (thanks to a rare wander down the cake aisle at Michael's). What a fun treat for parties (or stocking stuffers).
11/27/07 02:55 PM |
November 26, 2007
So I'm sitting here, gearing up to write another "UPS, blah blah BLAH" post, because it's almost eleven PM, and my package had been "out for delivery" since 6:48 AM. In fact, this is the very last thing I'm doing today; face is washed, teeth are brushed, I fell asleep during a RiffTrax and I'm phoning it in again. But just as I logged into MT, the unmistakeable brown behemoth pulled up outside.
And so this is officially the latest in the day that I've ever received a package. Though it's still not marked as such on the tracking page.
11/26/07 10:46 PM |
November 25, 2007
Hung around Windsor Town Green a bit this afternoon. It's a mixed-use area built up from nearly nothing, developed with an old-town look and feel. I love how they've mixed residential with independent business, and would be snug as a bug living there... if prices weren't nearly as ridiculous as they are here.
Did some shopping for Advent calendar fillers at the always-fabulous Powell's. Thrilled to find Wright's Pink Popcorn bars again, I treated myself to one of those. Well, that and a Valomilk. Which, if you've ever visited a Powell's, you'll know exhibits some restraint.
11/25/07 08:50 PM |
November 24, 2007
Aww. Even when do have I dog (yes, that's a life-long plan), I'd probably never think of turning my piles of leftover turkey into doggie cookies.
11/24/07 11:13 PM |
November 23, 2007
Bye, Big Martha
It's been a long, long time since I've watched Martha (though that may turn around if the Writer's Guild strike drags on). But I was sad to learn today that her mother, Martha Kostyra, 93, died last Friday. Martha Stewart posted a video tribute on her blog.
11/23/07 08:04 PM |
November 22, 2007
Well, I had salmon. And a pumpkin bread pudding that was... ummm. It was like autumn, on my plate. If autumn were smothered in vanilla ice cream and drenched in caramel sauce.
We ate at the same restaurant as last year, but enjoyed something new and definitely not on the menu -- tantrums. Even though the meal was a full hour shorter. D. had to remove him from the building for ten minutes just to get him to stop screaming. So I'm officially submitting this as Exhibit B in the case of Terrible Two vs. Terrorizing Three. Now pass me that Advil, there's a dear.
Goodness, but he looked the charmer, though. Photos up on Flickr tomorrow.
11/22/07 07:47 PM |
November 21, 2007
The Sorcerer's Spoof
Today, two Harry Potter spoofs. Barry Trotter, in print, and the first (hopefully of many) RiffTrax, on film.
The former I had no idea existed, and the latter I'd been long willing into existence (with scores of other fans). Whee!
11/21/07 09:33 PM |
November 20, 2007
Paper, Printer, Scissors, Glue
3D paper art from Canon Europe.
Craftown looks like fun for rainy day midget fun. And, nearly finished with a complete 1-7 Rowling re-readthrough, the snowy owl seems like an appropriate project.
11/20/07 11:03 PM |
November 19, 2007
I've been watching parts of certain episodes of Beads Baubles & Jewels on PBS. In the past, I've had a hard time sitting through shows dedicated to one art or craft, but it's so much different now that I can record via DVR. Shwoop! just skip right through the less useful segments.
Anyhow. This is the kind of topic that makes television really invaluable. I mean, it's nice to have a book on hand with clear diagrams, or a class. But if there's a technique you don't quite understand, there's not much better than a big-screen closeup that can be saved and replayed until you do.
11/19/07 08:37 PM |
November 18, 2007
Rice Rice Baby
Educational, entertaining, and humanitarian? That's Free Rice. Where, "For each word you get right, we donate 10 grains of rice through the United Nations to help end world hunger."
Be warned, it's very, very addictive. I tend to hover in the range of 40-46 -- my goal is to make the elusive 50 by Thanksgiving.
11/18/07 08:09 PM |
November 17, 2007
Today we hiked around Deer Island in Marin.
I was determined, in the beginning, to make at least borderline substantial posts every day, but tonight this is all I've got in me. I have some kind of chest/throat thing going on, and am very much not into the thought of... thinking.
11/17/07 08:43 PM |
November 16, 2007
Cuties are back in our stores! Hoorah! I had two for dinner. They're the perfect thing for a scratchy-throated malaise. Which, unfortunately, isn't the best time to wander around the supermarket, finding clementines. Ugh.
Before the grocery, we hit Staples to find bulldog clips. You know, the traditional scary things that could pinch the skin of your finger off right down to muscle. I need twenty-four of them for a project, but they only sold them in packages of three, and at about four bucks a pop, there was just no way. It looks as if Awful Despot isn't much better. Maybe a traditional office supply shop will carry them in bulk. Or any other suggestions would be appreciated, too, keeping in mind that I really need them yesterday!
Extreme! Girl Stuff Ahead: I'm trying out this. There are pros (environmental soundness and better health obviously at the top of the list) and cons (I won't gross you out, but), and I'm hoping to find that I can live happily with the latter. I got mine for $20 at LuckyVitamin.com, which means it pays for itself in about three months, but should last for years.
11/16/07 09:09 PM |
November 15, 2007
Well, my knitting and crocheting is at a dead standstill, but if you're like 75% of the blog world, yours isn't. So take a look at Sarah's brand-spanking-new shop of beautiful hand-dyed yarns and accessories, Perfect Day Yarns (and didn't Phaedra do a lovely design job, too?). Check out the blog, too, where you can enter her Grand Opening Contest! New ventures are so exciting.
11/15/07 08:34 AM |
November 14, 2007
Cute But Deadly
I'm not going to lie to you. Things aren't all hunky-dory, and, while I do appreciate that they could be much, much worse, I'm going to take advantage of my blogger's prerogative and whine shamelessly.
I am beginning to see that, yes, it's true: the "Terrible Twos" are a joke beside three. Three is... weeeeelllllllllll. His pictures are as cute as ever, but my eyes are hollow and lined, I've got about a hundred more grey hairs than I did three months ago, and comfort eating does nothing for my profile.
Terrorizing Threes? That sounds about right.
The day in, day out struggle of just getting him to LISTEN is grinding. A tactic that works one time won't work the next (though let me pause here to say that, for me personally, time out is a joke, and a tremendously unfunny one). I know it's all about "testing limits, blah blah blah BLAH," but when you have a strong-willed kid to begin with, a week of it will wear you straight into the concrete, and it's awfully hard to rationalize it away with psychobabble.
To rub the salt in nice and hard, he hardly ever screams things like "Go away!" or "NO! I WON'T!" to the parent that is not me. The difference is not for lack of me trying every conceivable permutation, tone, duration, etc. of the same tactics (because, hell, if there's one thing I'm not short on, it's time to experiment). I'd like to think it's just a simple matter of familiarity breeding contempt; other parents have reported much the same pattern.
In any case, it's just a matter of riding out the storm, I suppose. The trick is doing it without losing my mind. Or liver to self-medication.
11/14/07 10:37 PM |
November 13, 2007
Merry (and Bright)
Oooh. The mail was like early Christmas today:
My super-sweet new holiday knits stamps
Three Paperbackswap books (one of vintage ornaments)
Some reuse crafting supplies from Etsy
Freebie Spanx from a promotion that I'd long forgotten (just in time for "dress" pants at Thanksgiving)
The same Chutes and Ladders game that we had as kids -- still in the original wrapping! -- for just a couple dollars more than what a new (far less charming) game would cost
Hooray! Now, only if it hadn't been hot in a t-shirt and long pants at the playground this morning, I'd really be in the holiday spirit.
11/13/07 02:54 PM |
November 12, 2007
Happy Healthy Holidays
Did you know that you can order up delicious Thanksgiving meats, sides, and complete meal packages from Whole Foods? I might never have, if we hadn't received a flyer in the mail last week. Of course the meats are organic (like Diestel free range turkeys). Add some Apricot Glazed Sweet Potatoes? Yes, please! And of course there are vegetarian options.
At a glance, most of the prices seem pretty reasonable, too; a very generous complete traditional side collection is $35.
Next year I think I might take advantage of some of this. Our kitchen is tiny and annoying for going all-out, but it'd be doable and worth it with even a little (wholesome and natural) help.
11/12/07 11:34 PM |
November 11, 2007
Things That Seemed Like Good Ideas at the Time
Going to Chuck E. Cheese on a Saturday. A rainy Saturday.
Thinking that All Free & Clear in a spouted bulk container would not just be an incredibly heavy, drippy, sticky mess.
Not bringing extra kid pants to Chuck E. Cheese.
Leaving a pile of to-do sewing on top of the dryer. Next to the big honking jug of All.
11/11/07 07:25 PM |
November 10, 2007
AT CHUCK E CHEESE STOP OMFG STOP SEND DISINFECTANT STOP WELL AND MAYBE I COULD DO WITH SOME EARPLUGS STOP NOT THOSE CHEAP FOAM ONES THE INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH SILICONE KIND STOP OH YEAH AND MAYBE A CATTLE PROD TO USE ON THE EMPLOYEES AND OR FOR CROWD CONTROL STOP OOPS DID I JUST SAY THAT OUT LOUD STOP
11/10/07 09:04 PM |
November 09, 2007
Whitney's post on her evolution to all-RSS browsing and the subsequent out-dating of her old skool link list served as a reminder that my link list had also slowly degenerated into a hot mess for the same reason.
So I spent the morning cleaning up my Bloglines subscriptions, culling out the dead links, setting most of the remainder to public, and putting it out there. The list is still hideously long, but then feeds cultivate that, I suppose. I only selectively read posts from sites like MeFi and Gizmodo, which can generate a few dozen a day.
11/09/07 02:23 PM |
November 08, 2007
It Is Dry All Up in Here. Yo.
Three days. Three whole accident-free days. That includes a long nap yesterday.
We've literally been working to this point for months. I doubt I could be much giddier about a developmental milestone. If I kept ice cream in the house, there would be much eating of it. And cake. I suppose rum will have to do. Rum and The Office (sniff. sniff.) .
11/08/07 07:26 PM |
November 07, 2007
Iris Folding References
Iris folding involves strategically taping strips of folded paper beneath a cutout shape to create a dimensional pattern within it, reminiscent of a quilt. I just learned about it yesterday, and now I'm intrigued. Origami papers are one of my favorite craft items to browse, and now I'll be able to put some to good use. And my scrap ribbon drawer might finally get an overdue cleaning-out, too.
How to create your own patterns at Circle of Crafters
Video demonstration on YouTube (parts a and b)
Some very pretty Asian-themed examples at Oriental Stamp Art
And of course Flickr is a gold mine of projects.
11/07/07 11:15 AM |
November 06, 2007
Been Through the Trainyard on a Horse with My Name
And now, for some Daniel news.
He's been making up funny little stories with his toys. One serial plotline features his two GeoTrax engines, a firetruck, and a wooden wheeled horse. Ever since we went to Discovery Kingdom, he's been on a Thomas the Tank Engine kick, so (aside from calling everything "cheeky") he's named the trains Thomas and Percy. Understandable.
What really cracks me up every time I hear it? His names for the truck and horse -- Dad and Jennie, respectively. Too funny.
As usual, Daylight Savings temporarily threw his sleep world into chaos. He seems to have shaken it off faster than the last adjustment, though, for which I'm grateful. I wish I didn't still feel a little bit disoriented, though. Getting old sucks.
I can't believe some of the multi-syllabic words he's been dropping (and in the correct context, even); "fantastic" and "absolutely" are two that come immediately to mind. He's able to express himself clearly a good 90% of the time. Which -- let's be honest -- may just surpass me! Ha.
We finally made it through an entire game of Candy Land this weekend. Aside from being thrilled that he managed not to burst into a sitting-still-induced conflagration, it's now obvious to me why other adults grow to loathe the game itself. So Chutes and Ladders and Cootie are next on the menu.
No extravagant plans for his Christmas. I've already got him a "laptop," and the Fisher-Price Medical Kit (since he enjoys "fixing" his "hurt" animals so much). The Honeybee Hop looks intriguing, too (score one for television advertising!); he doesn't really have much in the way of active (read: tiring out) toys.
Breaking News! We had our very first entirely dry/clean day. Very, very exciting. Someone's going to Chuck E. Cheese soon!
11/06/07 07:59 PM |
November 05, 2007
I haven't done a lot of Artist Trading Card swapping (quite honestly, mine haven't been that terrific so far, but I'm working on that), but I have collected enough that I wanted to keep them together. I was tempted to buy a hard trading card case at Toys r Us when I shopped for plastic protector sleeves there, but only briefly before I set to thinking about making my own.
As it turns out, an insert box from a certain large, assorted package of feminine hygiene product fits the cards almost perfectly, and there's just enough cardboard there to cut out a fold-down lid. I covered the sides with some adhesive fabric I found as part of a cardmaking kit at Big Lots (cheap!), the button came from my button jar and some long-ago shirt, and the elastic closure was saved from some kind of hyperpackaging.
It doesn't have a dragon on it, but I think it'll do just fine for me.
After the holidays I plan on joining swap-bot for some ATC trading action. Eventually, I may just need more cases.
11/05/07 08:09 AM |
November 04, 2007
Pump it Up for Jesus
There's just something about an inflatable manger that feels so, so wrong.
"Inflatable Holy Gifts" is a phrase you just don't hear every day, either.
11/04/07 09:50 AM |
November 03, 2007
According to the original poster, the rules for this meme are: “Devise a list of 5-10 courses you would take to fix your life. It’s more fun to be in classes with friends, so include one class from the person who tagged you that you’d also like to take. Tag five.”
There are a few from her list that I'd happily steal. But I suppose the best might be:
1. Graphic design. Well, I already take any Adobe classes I can possibly get my hands on, so does this one count?
2. Assertiveness Training or Debate. A lot of the constant low boil stems from my fear of engagement, or inability to do so effectively. As you can imagine -- probably not good.
3. Thai Cooking. Yum.
4. Potty Training 101. Yeah, I don't care if it's a real class or not, nyah. After a few months of up-and-down and up-and-down and UP. AND. DOWN. struggle, I'm at a loss.
5. Field Training with the Isle Royale Institute. Just because this is something I've felt I should do for almost twenty years. It wouldn't be at all practical, just something purely temporary and selfish, all for my own enjoyment.
6. Group Voice. Because I miss Community Chorale. Otherwise, I only sing when alone with music, and... well, I'm awfully rusty. Stick this in both the physical and mental health categories.
7. Beading. I could sure use more tips and techniques, and the motivation.
8. Bay Area ecology. Because sometimes I feel clueless here.
I will tag other NaBloPoMoErs: Amanda, Kate, Sarah (no linky because her site is under hacker siege at the moment), Erin, Susie.
11/03/07 04:02 PM |
November 02, 2007
A Fault Line Runs Through It
I've never been comfortable with the thought of earthquakes. I'd thought a lot of the discomfort had to do with the unknown, but this week's small taste has put me even more on edge.
So, I set out to gird myself with facts and preparation, which is usually an effective way for me to deal with nervous fear. That is, unless I find something that I'd probably be better off not knowing.
It's an insignificant enough line that it doesn't show up in main USGS maps. Not going to be throwing out any 6.0's. Probably. But still. It runs very nearly right beneath our house, within a mere handful of yards.
Pretty much the opposite of comforting, that.
11/02/07 02:59 PM |
November 01, 2007
And happy NaBloPoMo! Woot! I'm determined to post daily once again.
We took the bub trick-or-treating last night (photos on Flickr, and also overdue pumpkin patch shots). This year he really got into it -- he'd ring the doorbell and jump up and down when someone answered. And "Let's go to THAT house! How about THIS one?" Much fun to watch. He got a lot of "Awww! Curious George!"
Of course, the very year I give up on us having kids show up at our own door is the same year that they do, and in droves. The neighborhood with the big houses was so overrun that our little circle got some of the spillover. Oh, well. Next year I'll leave stuff out again.
I was going to send out little treats this year, but we had visitors/visitor prep/visitor recovery right in my procrastinator's sweet spot, so it didn't happen. I did have one of these candy cauldrons shipped, though, to an equally ardent HP fan. Too bad it didn't include any Chocolate Frogs!
11/01/07 12:44 PM |