September 3, 2010

Artful and Clean

Today I’m pondering art. Moreover I’m pondering that canvas covered in books at home. I told you my art never ends as it started. Already the painting has made a shift from a bird to a girl with an umbrella. I found a lovely stock piece from DeviantArt. With the help of Photoshop and a projector I could get the outline onto the canvas and then paint it in. I super wish I had the stuff for screen printing! That would be awesome.

I’ve decided I want my house back. When we moved in the house was already full of other people’s stuff. Lots of which we simply stuffed into the third bedroom (which has been impossible to get into for about a year now). So about 2 months ago I finally entirely cleaned out our closet and bedroom from top to bottom. In the process I scattered stuff throughout the rest of the house in a “staging” attempt for a full house siege on the mess (one room at a time). The next day our a/c died. We live in Louisiana. Sweltering is too soft a word for the heat that consumed our house (and us with it). We got a window unit and barricaded ourselves  into the clean bedroom for about 5 days while we waited out a weekend and then struggled to get a new a/c unit installed. By the time that was done the motivation had gone out of me. Finally it’s back and my house needs to be cleaned. I’ve emptied out a lot of the spare bedroom and donated 6 trash bags of stuff to Goodwill along with throwing out 3 trash bags of trash. I’m almost to the point of being able to organize the third room into a nice storage/craft/guest room. Last night I wasn’t able to get anything done but tonight… I think I may need to stop by the store and pick up some more dusters and 409. I’m declaring war on my mess. The battle plan is: I’ll start in the farthest room of the house, my bathroom, and then continue until I reach the parlor (Shawn’s guy room) on the other end of the house. There’s a LOT of work to be done between.

We’re still counting down to vacation. I’m afraid that some of the stress might be getting to Shawn so vacation is very much-needed. The restaurant Shawn works in as Head Chef/Kitchen Manager is owned by a rather impulsive young fellow. He bought the restaurant on a whimsical idea that it would be a fun job, decided he didn’t like the clientele, changed the restaurant into a bar & grill instead of fine dining, wants the place to succeed but refuses to put any more money into the place (It needs a super makeover). Anyway, after 6 months of trying to make it work the way he wants it to and trying to make money off of the place without having to put a dime into it he has finally decided he wants to sell the restaurant and open up a food wagon instead (first the idea was he was going to move the restaurant to Mississippi, then they were moving to Alaska, then he was going to join the military, then so on and so forth. He has a new idea every week). My dear husband is a bit of a workaholic (and EXTRA committed). He is constantly trying to better himself and his resume and the business he works for. In the beginning when Shawn would have an idea to better the business (he’s cut their food cost down by 80%) the boss would get excited and then implement it. Now the boss is never excited except about the two guys who went to look into buying the place. Shawn says they want to turn the place into a creole restaurant, which is all fine and well, but that they want to entirely renovate the building and change the layout. That would mean shutting down. Shawn is afraid he’ll be losing his job soon. Moreover he’s disappointed because we were just getting ahead and just finally getting things done and in order. We can survive on my income alone, but we don’t have any money leftover after survival and usually end up a few dollars in the red each month. If we’re ever going to be able to move we still need a good year of both of us working stable positions. Sadly I guess that’s just not how the world works right now. I really think my parents had it easy. Economy was generally on the up, jobs were plentiful, and job security wasn’t just an urban legend.

Sorry for this somewhat depressing post. I’m just feeling a little under the economy.

August 31, 2010

Tea and Torn Pages

I was having my morning cup of tea (Earl grey, 2 sweet and lows) when I had a fantastic idea! I think I’m going to make a bunch of crocheted Christmas ornaments for my extended family. But they have to be crazy cute! Like candy or something. Candy is the ultimate in cute. I bet I could come up with some cute little patterns. I’d share them here, of course. Wouldn’t that be splendiferous?

Yesterday Shawn and I went to the pier so he could fish. I brought my yarn and worked on the cookie scarf while the waves made pretty sounds. We had a good time even though he didn’t catch anything. We left when the rain began.

Crocheting on the pier

Some relaxing quiet time on the pier.

When we got home I decided to attack a canvas with some books and glue. I had an old painting that my stepbrother’s ex-girlfriend had done (and left when they moved out). It wasn’t that wonderful and she didn’t want it back. I tore up a couple of books that were falling apart and already missing pages (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a David Eddings novel, and a self-help book that was left in the house by the previous tenants). I have torn up pages and decopaged them to the canvas in a random fashion. Now I intend to get a bunch of colorful magazine pages and decopage them into a bird in the middle. At least that’s the plan at the moment. When I make art it tends to shift in direction continually and then end result is never what was initially intended.

The day before yesterday was interesting as well. In a half-hearted attempt at getting some exercise Shawn and I traveled to Gulfport, MS to go to the outlet mall. We had no intentions of spending money but ended up spending a bit more than we should have.  Shawn, as I may not have mentioned before, is 6 feet and 5 inches tall and wears a size 15 shoe. He’s rather hard to shop for (bet he can reach all the high shelves for me!). We were wandering around the mall when we came upon the Casual Male XL store! I heard angels singing! Shawn had never been there (as it turns out he never really bothered looking for clothes that would actually fit him, he just did with the tiny bit of clothes he could find and always bought the same style of shorts from Wal-mart. Men.) and was surprised to find clothes that were too big for him! He was quite elated which of course made me giddy too. We got him a lovely tan herringbone suit jacket and two pairs of nice trousers. We fawned over some Rockport boots for him, but ultimately decided we had spent too much. We were just about to leave when he spotted the Fossil outlet and offered to buy me a purse. We went in and looked around but nothing caught my fancy, except a lovely deal they had on watches. So Shawn got a watch face and three straps for about $50! We had really overspent ourselves at this point (Not because of bills but because we’re saving for our end of the month trip to Wisconsin) when we spotted a Wilson’s Leather outlet… Shawn decided to grab a can of leather care spray for his two jackets he had bought a few years ago… when I spotted a lovely plaid pea coat! I had been looking far and wide for a nice winter coat that didn’t make me look like a plus size blob (even though I am, but I have shape dammit! Let me show it!). So a good bit of money later I had a new coat and we were running for the car with our eyes covered so as to not be distracted into any more stores. I think it’s probably the last spending we’ll be doing for a while but I still have my eyes on a purse and some shoes from the Fossil catalog. They’ll simply have to wait.

I suppose it must be lunch time.

August 27, 2010

Etsy and Other Musings

I’ve been thinking a lot about Etsy lately. I’m still learning to crochet but soon I’ll have all these crocheted scarves and things laying around my house. I’m not sure I could make things to order as I get distracted mid-project sometimes. And I’m afraid of orders piling up (I should be so lucky). I guess I need to figure it out. Also, how much should I charge? I use cheap yarn most of the time. But it takes me a super special long time to finish a project. I’m sure I’ll get faster with time though. I was thinking I might charge $40 for a basic-ish scarf with medium quality yarn. Is that too much?

I’m also on the lookout for a leg-warmer pattern. All the ones I found were knit, not crochet. I got a fantastic skirt and am trying to make an outfit with it. I need: beige ankle boots, khaki leggings, purple leg warmers, khaki shirt, beige belt, purple hat/headband, and purple shrug. Can you guess what colors the skirt is?

Speaking of outfits, I have to come up with outfits for this season of football. I need a U of W Badgers outfit and a Packers outfit to combat Shawn’s Cal Berkeley and Minnesota Vikings stuff. I have a Packers jersey. I wanted to get a yellow waist belt and some yellow heels to go with it. As for the Badgers I’m trying to come up with something that doesn’t make me look like I jumped off of a Where’s Waldo page. I was thinking maybe a grey outfit with white and red accessories.

Then there’s the matter of price. I love scouring Goodwill and thrift stores for stuff. I got a fantastic hand stamped leather purse recently for $2.50. It’s worn and mistreated but it has such rustic charm! I think it’s absolutely darling. I got it the same time I picked up an old wrought iron pedal sewing machine base for $18. I was sooooo excited! Shawn found the sewing machine. I have to hand it to him, he knows me so well. I have it set up at home as an end table in the living room.

I’m sort of rambling at this point, so I’ll stop while I’m ahead.

August 26, 2010

Aspirations of Ukulele Stardom

When I was about 15 my Mom gave me my grandfather’s mahogany ukulele he got in the mid 50’s. I tinkered with it from time to time but it remained mostly just a box in the closet. In my adolescent apathy I somehow allowed the handle on the case to be broken. You know what they say about hindsight.

Lately I’ve picked it up and have been making a decided (and in my opinion rather successful) effort to learn to play my dear little uke. The tabs and chords are simple, I’m just clumsy. I’m still tripping over measures and pausing to change finger positions. But, I have to admit the little thing is some of the best fun I’ve had with an instrument. Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine myself on an empty stage with some cheesy cardboard cut out stage decorations and a deliciously mismatched outfit kickin out some awesome Decemberists and Zee Avi covers. It could happen! Don’t burst my bubble. Aside from that Shawn wants an accordion. If he gets ok at it we could make one hell of a duo! But these are dreams for another day. Until then Sheena (ukulele) and I will content ourselves to concerts in my head.

In other not-so-musical news: I am almost done with the base part of the Tetris scarf I have been slaving over. Once the main scarf is done it’ll be time to add the crazy colors and do some pixely embroidery. I’ll post a picture when it’s done but I think I may have to finish another project (chocolate chip cookie scarf) before Shawn will let me buy all the yarn I need to finish Tetris. Oh well.

Less than 1 month to vacation!

August 25, 2010

Just a (not so) Brief “Hello”

I am not a writer. I’ve never written for anything (other than my journal). I love literature and am an avid reader, but have never been that fantastic at getting my own words out onto paper. So, for no apparent reason I’ve made this blog. Moreso as a way for me to record my adventures and projects (of which I have far too many).

You wouldn’t think that my life would be so eventful as it is. I’m 23 years old, recently married, living in a house I rent from my mother is south-eastern Louisiana (state not by choice, simply situation). We are not very social creatures. We don’t “partay” or get “crunk”. We work hard, save money, play with our dog, and collect yarn, books, and recipes.

Currently our life’s goal is to move to Madison, WI. My mother’s family lives there and we’re sure we’d be much better suited to the area. Despite objections from my family claiming that I’m a southern girl who has never known true winter (true as it may be), we are quite determined to make our home in Madison.

Until then we are just surviving. Trying to attain a couple short term goals. For example the last week of September we’re going on vacation to visit my family in Wisconsin, and then we desperately need to buy another car. Sadly, we live in an area that makes it virtually impossible to survive without each person having their own vehicle. We’re making due currently, but not without some problems. Public transportation options, as well as simple things like sidewalks (of which there are NONE here) were a major draw to Madison among many other reasons.

So I’ll be adding little tidbits to this as fun things happen… or don’t.