Weekend Projects

An ordered list, though I make no promises on the order of completion:

  1. Helping Olivia move to her new digs!
  2. Baby knitting for a shower next week
  3. Getting myself educated about the candidates since election day is Tuesday. See the League of Women Voters for information about candidates and elections in your district.
  4. Doing SOMETHING with the green tomatoes: pickles? chutney?
  5. Can-jamming up the five or so pounds of peppers in the fridge. I’m thinking of some sort of spicy jelly for fancy sandwiches.
  6. Birthday knitting and felting for a birthday the following Monday
  7. Cleaning my house OH MY GOD
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Lent

For Lent this year, I’ve decided to not buy any craft supplies. I actually implemented this ban a couple of weeks ago, but it is intended as my Lenten sacrifice. This should serve a couple of purposes:

  1. Saving money
  2. Encouraging stash-down
  3. Knocking out projects I’ve been meaning to get to but somehow don’t because new ideas are more exciting

The only acceptable exceptions to this rule are supplies needed for wedding stuff.  We’re getting married two weeks after Easter, so for my sanity and Shane’s, if we decide to DIY anything for the wedding, those purchases are allowed.  My friend spark has signed on for this challenge as well, and she agreed this is an acceptable cheat.

In the spirit of stash down, my first project was eliminating my Sugar n Cream yarn by making burp cloths for two of my pregnant friendos.  There’s a freaking huge baby boom going on amongst our friends and relations, so there may be many of baby projects coming in the next six months.  These were super easy and went very quickly, and I’m generally quite pleased with the results!

Ravelympics project: 8 burp cloths

Up next?  Either much belated birthday x-stitch projects, a birthday hat or two, or baby sweaters.  Or maybe all of the above.

2009 Resolutions, Resolved

1.  Build up an emergency fund to cover my half of 3 months’ worth of the household budget (approx $4500).
I didn’t make it to this dollar figure, but I did save enough to be not uncomfortable for 6 weeks of unemployment and 2 following months of part-time employment.  At this point, my savings are pretty depleted, but I’ll start replenishing them with my first paycheck from U of M, due to arrive tomorrow!

2. Pay off laptop loan to SB.
Done!

3. Finish my CAS.
Done!  I defended my thesis in March and finished my last class in May.  Recap available here.

4. Get published (something, anything).
Done!  David’s and my presentation at ACRL was included in the official conference proceedings.  Buy your copy now! Oh, AND our talk was mentioned in The Chronicle of Higher Education!

5. Start eating beef again. (after almost 13 years!)
Done!  I had my first bite of beef in nearly 13 years at our fancee NYE dinner last year.  I’ve since become an enthusiastic omnivore, which has changed my life less than you’d expect.

6. Run a 10K (or two 5Ks).
I ran one 5K – the Race for the Cure, run with my friend Tina in June – and started running longer distances in the fall once we were settled in Ann Arbor and I was devoid of a gym.  Nike+ reports that I’ve run 169.05 since I started using it to track my runs in February.  I discovered sometime around May that the Nike+ calibration is off by up to .25 miles per mile – a pretty significant difference!  Regardless, this is far more running than I’ve ever done before, but less than I hope to do in 2010!

7. Do an unassisted pull-up.
Total unmitigated fail on this one.  With no access to a gym, I took a lot of time off lifting, and when I started working out in our home gym again last month, I could barely do girl pushups.  Adding this one to the list for 2010.

8. Make one craft project per month.
Done:

  • January:  Thesis, draft one.  Not a craft project, per se, but a substantial creative project and one that ate up most of my time and energy.
  • February:  A fantastic mix cd, which was my contribution to a year-long mixtrade.  My theme was “selling out”, broadly conceptualized to mean great songs that were popularized by commercials rather than their own merit.  The accompanying post of videos is available at the above link.  Also I tried my best to post somewhere every day, but I don’t think I actually succeeded.
  • May: Holy craft extravaganza! I celebrated finishing school by making a bunch of envelopes from USGS maps, the last of which just sold on Etsy over the weekend, plus sewing four aprons and canning a large batch of strawberry-rhubarb jam (mmm).
  • June: Feels like we were gone the whole month, so the best thing I can take credit for was improvising a recipe for strawberry and toasted coconut ice cream.  Let’s hope I can replicate it next summer when strawberries are back!  Also made more strawberry-rhubarb jam and baked a lot of homemade bread.
  • July: Mostly just canning this month – several pints of Lodi applesauce, some peaches, and also tomatoes, all of which had to be stealthily packed for the move in August.
  • August: Amidst the hassle of moving, I sewed a cushion cover for Mark’s lounger.  First time working with really heavy fabrics and velcro, and with making up a heavy-duty project as I went along.
  • September:  Unemployment turns out to be very good for craft productivity.  I wrote a zine!  The first issue of Bon Ton Fesenmeyer is about my favorite holiday, which is Thanksgiving – and about my family and food and tradition, all rolled up into 32 delicious half sized pages, about half of which are recipes.  Also I helped team #18 place in the top 10 in dishrag tag, and I sewed curtains for our bedroom and office and made a custom x-stitch project for Frederick Jones Quinn’s room (only 9 months after he was born!).
  • November: Hat and legwarmers for our new godson, Milo James Flerchinger.  Also a hat for Keem and one for my Pop.  I like knitting hats, though I really need to learn how to not fear DPNs so that I can branch out in my knitting.  We also made umpteen pints of apple butter and applesauce and several quart bags of dehydrated apple rings from the 40+ pounds of apples picked early in the month.
  • December: Several projects have yet to be posted as I’m waiting to hear from the items’ recipients – but I can tell you that I worked with bias tape and snaps for the first time to make a circular needle clutch – and made my first marshmallows and first (and second) batch of granola for holiday snacking and gifting.

9. Take a trip with SB.
We took a quick overnight trip to Rehoboth Beach in April – really our only vacation, as the rest of the year’s travel was either for work or weddings or family visits for the holidays.  I’m hoping that this next year brings more day trips and weekends away for us, though we’re planning to knuckle down and save towards a house in the near future.

10. Reduce magazine subscriptions to 5 or fewer.
Done!  I started out the year with subscriptions to: Domino (ceased publication, replaced with Vanity Fair), Blueprint (ceased publication, replaced with Martha Stewart Living), Everyday Food, Body + Soul, Self, Natural Health, People, Fine Cooking, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, and Cooks Illustrated.  I actually think there was one more, but I can’t remember what it might have been and I don’t have any issues lying around.  I have opted to not renew all but the following: Body + Soul, Self, Bon Appetit, and Cooks Illustrated, and am resubscribing to Real Simple.  The superfluous subscriptions will start running out soon, and the piles of magazines sitting around will decrease accordingly.

11. For the third year running – complete my Bond resolution!
Fail again, though I did make some progress.

May Projects!

This year, I resolved to complete one project per month.  I’m not sure how well I’ve done at posting about those projects, but that’s neither here nor there, as this post is about May’s project.  And by ‘project’, I mean ‘projects’!

Project #1: envelopes for the Etsy shop

Drakesboro, KY

Earlier in the year I inherited three boxes of deaccessioned USGS maps from the library.  After asking and then asking again if I *really* got to take them home, they sat in a corner ignored until I finished my last class and could focus on them.  Right now I have 9 sets of envelopes posted, and a possible custom order pending.  Hooray!

Project #2: Handmade items for the Facebook meme

I promised handmade items to Jackie, Jen, Tina, Molly, Rachel, and Greg.  So far I’ve made an apron each for Jackie:

Sparkly Stars for Sipes

Molly:

Fun prints for Molly

Rachel:

Olivia apron for Rachel

and a special bonus for Jennifer, who was late on the draw.

Fun patterns for Jennifer

Items forthcoming for Jen, Tina, and Greg.  I have plans, but I’m not revealing them yet.

I also canned four pints of strawberry-rhubarb jam (and 7 more half pints tonight!):

Strawberry Rhubarb

And no, I have no idea what June’s project will be.  Hopefully the Etsy custom order – and also more canning (pickling too)!

I pulled out my fabric tonight so that Shane could pick out something for a Scrabble bag – the opaque plastic one that came with the game is falling apart despite diligent applications of duct tape – and I realized that I haven’t done any crafting whatsoever since the holidays, which made me sad.  It also made me realize that I have been pretty diligent on my project, even though I feel like a big ol’ slacker sometimes.  This then made me think of all the things I’m looking forward to doing once the thesis is done, despite the fact that I’ll still be taking a class until the beginning of May:

  1. Make a cute apron for ME with the Olivia fat quarter.
  2. Sew cat toys for our Etsy shop.
  3. X-stitch!  I don’t know what, but I want to stitch it!
  4. Spend an entire glorious day watching Long Way Round – I bought the box set as a “congratulations, you did it!” present to myself.
  5. Read for pleasure.
  6. Ride yellowbike.
  7. Daydream about our garden if we get one.
  8. Spend quality time with friendos without feeling guilty.
  9. Beat Shane at Scrabble.
  10. Explore parts of DC that we still haven’t seen.

I’m sure there are other things, but that’s what springs to mind at the moment.  Less than a month to go!

Crafty-Pants

Among other things, I’ve been getting much more into crafting lately.  Tina and Sonya and I started a craft blog recently and are hoping to Etsy it up after the holidays (though the holidays are really the ideal time to Etsy something up).  Last weekend Soy and I spent a great deal of quality time just hanging around our hotel room in Pacific Grove, watching bad TV and working on projects.  She knit pretty things, and I cross-stitched a freakin’ pineapple:

Pineapple!

This weekend Tina and I went to Knit Happens’s knit for the troops event at Buzz – well, it was supposed to be at Buzz, but it ended up being at Rustico (we had cupcakes anyway).  Tina made a valiant effort to help me remember how to knit, but it was to no avail.  I have basically forgotten how to knit.  To prove this, here’s a video of Major General Doug Stone knitting a helmet liner, and me attempting to knit and then purl a swatch.  The General located two other Marines in the bar before he left, and I’m (dis)pleased to note that they were both knitting by the end of the afternoon.  Me?  I have a pattern, some new needles and yarn, and two left thumbs.

Today I intended to finish our living room curtains (they need to be shortened, hemmed, and hung), but failed on that project as well.  I measured and shortened one panel, jammed up my machine trying to put in a new hem (I blame the bobbin), then gave up and just used the fusible web to hem it up…only to realize that it’s STILL too long.  Ugh.

What I did manage to do, though, is make a scarf holder out of the curtain remnants!

Fabric Scarf Holder

I saw this project on Apartment Therapy last week and got excited because it looked quick and easy and like it’d be a fun way to manage colorful pretty things that I have IN ABUNDANCE.  It’s basically just a length of fabric with pretty ribbon loops:

Loopy

But hey!  It’s pretty, and I made it, and now at least a few of our scarves are hanging up.  I’ll have to work on other versions to manage things like belts in our bedroom closet.

Right now though?  Bed.  Or maybe tea, then bed.

“friday”

What a week. I’ve been super busy at work all week – all three days of it – getting caught up because Dan’s gone and we’re running two bill pay promotions at once. And today we’re running a stress test for the new system – and because of it, all our other systems are running slow or crashing. Ugh. If this is any indication of how the conversion is going to go, it’ll be great……. All I want to do is work! Is that too much to ask? I have so much to do and don’t want to leave piles of work for after the weekend.

The house passed inspection, so we’re on for our closing next Friday. N and I are going refrigerator shopping this weekend. I just got off the phone with the gas company and the cable company – now I just have to call the electric co and we’re set! I’m excited – and a little overwhelmed cos we have SO much to do.

Card night last night was a lot of fun. It was just Rachel, Mom, and I – so we were able to play a bit more than when there are more people. That worked out well for me cos I knew what I wanted to do but hadn’t actually put it down on paper. I wish the scanner was working…