Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas in the kitchen

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We had a nice little Christmas by ourselves. Our family is all a thousand miles away, so we have gotten used to a quiet kind of Christmas. And it was a White Christmas this year, so that was very nice.

As in other years, i'm still putting presents together. I just CANNOT ~no matter how good my intentions and how strong i think my will to do so is~ get my gifts together and posted in time for Christmas. Epic fail, as my kids would say.

I got a fabulous set of pots and pans from DH. I think that's why i spent Christmas afternoon in the kitchen without even a grumble! Nothing like fine cookware to bring out the Julia Child, eh? My candied yams were delectable. I used less sugar and added slivered orange rind to my cranberry sauce, and it was awesome. My gravy wasn't even lumpy!

Because of the subzero temps, i've got my torch clamped to the kitchen table. I'm working on a transparent purplish series of beads.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Owl love

My youngest niece, Holly, loves birds. We believe it started with her attachment to a funny little stuffed toy owl, but there again, why choose the funny little owl toy when you have cute little kitty and teddy toys to choose from? It seems to be a genuine bird thing, because she also really likes ducks. I just made this little owl beanie toy for her.

I borrow this book from the library over and over again because the toys, although very small, are designed with the nature of the animal in mind. I've sewn up many of these patterns over the years, and i don't know anywhere else that you can find a beanie walrus pattern (really good). Some of the patterns are a little fussy, and i won't make them again, but many can be done in just a few hours. I'm going to do a wiener dog for one of my older nieces--teenagers need handmade stuffed animals, too.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

and it only took five years

I've been working on my part of a kids' book project, off and on, for a very long time. Maybe not five years, but at least two or three. In that time, my BIL has had a child and made his daughter a couple of really sweet books for the last couple of Christmases, and i think that is so wonderful. So i also used one of those online book-making websites and brought my project to the real, hardcopy, world. I am so proud of myself (see photo).

The two companies that i looked at were and They are really easy to use. Just pick a format and plunk your own files and text into it. Click the "order" button, make your payment, and within 3-5 days, your printed and bound books are shipped to you. I highly recommend it to anyone who has the dream to publish their own book!

It's a guilty pleasure

I haven't read the Twilight books (and haven't seen the movie), and i don't know that i ever will. But i have read all the Laurell K. Hamilton books. Which is an explanation in itself. Not that i don't think the Twilight writer must be a good writer. Lord knows Hamilton is not. But you don't read Hamilton for the nuances.

From what i understand, the Twilight books are very noble and as chaste as you can be while being totally titillating. The Hamilton vampire series was titillating until the 6th book and then innuendo was replaced with in-your-face descriptions of sex with vampires and werewolves. But that's only half of the reason why i like them. I love that the heroine is a killer in the bloodiest way. She isn't the classic female who twists her ankle as she's running away and some male has to kill the big bad vampire to save her. (Actually, if she isn't killing it, she's having consensual sex with it.)

I live in a small town and i visit the public library often. It was very unsettled when i realized that the librarians knew me by name and often commented on my book selections. I am actually embarassed when i check out the latest Hamilton or Charlaine Harris vampire romance pulp novel. But i can't help myself, cuz i do enjoy them.

So i hand over my library card and the incriminating books for check out, and hope that the librarian is too righteous to have any knowledge of these tepid examples of literature. Then i think, although she will not have read them herself, she will recognize them as "those disgusting vampire lust books from the Science Fiction shelf that no intelligent, self-respecting woman would ever read." And i think to myself, "Yeah, i know." But i also read the entire works of Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, Braughtigan, Cohen and Kafka before i was out of my teens, so please cut me some slack, library lady.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A couple of brilliant moves

Unheated studio and two weeks of frigid weather. Dear hubby even went out and bought a space heater, which really helps, but when you need to leave the windows and doors open for ventilation, "heater" is a bit too strong a word for it. It keeps the chill off my knees and postpones the grip of the deep, bone numbing chill that inevitably sets in.

But, in a flash of inspiration (go ahead and say it: Duh!), i brought my torch and equipment into the kitchen. Just one of the perks of using the propane gas torch system--no hoses and big tanks. To prevent the build-up of toxic fumes, i only do one bead at a go, taking a break between to yell at the kids or put a dish in the dishwasher, and i shake my head that i never thought of this before. And so my spread of junk around the house grows. And so my stock of BirthBones is building. But where are the sales!?

Second stroke of geniousness in as many days: I added a BirthBones Gift Certificate to my etsy shop. I was thinking: what if people are looking at my BirhtBones and saying to themselves, "Well, that would be an excellent unique little gift for Kathy, but i don't know her precious pooch's birthdate. Oh well." And now, they can just go ahead and buy the Gift Certificate, and cross Kathy off their list.

The BirthBones and a little charlie brown christmas tree of my minigourd snowman ornaments are now available in the Crafty Creations shop downtown. BirthBone sales have totally stalled at the vet's office. I will pack that one in if that doesn't change by mid month. Maybe they need to be in a business where you spend money on your pets frivolously, rather than out of medical necessity.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A tat like this

Even as a younger woman, i have never really wanted a tattoo. But i do appreciate a good tattoo on someone else. The topic of tattoos has come up several times in various places over the past few weeks, which has made me think about tattoos more. IF i were to get a tattoo, what kind would i get? Where on my body?

I toyed with the idea of a lifesized 3D spider tattoo in an ticklish area for a bit. I think this appeals to me because it would be small and i could keep it hidden if i wanted to, and as an arachniphobe, i would get alot of personal bang for the buck. But i wouldn't find it beautiful.

I thought about a foot tattoo. Maybe something soothing like a sea turtle. But then i remembered that i once decided that small tattoos were wimpy. That if you were going to get a tat, you might as well be serious about it.

And that's why, if i was going to get a tattoo, i would have to get something like this gorgeous big black and grey inked koi with stylized splash and blossoms. Oh yeah.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cookin up bones

I'm using my bead making time these days to make BirthBones beads. Not that they've been flying off the shelves in my etsy shop, though. But it strikes me that my best sales for the dog collar charms should be Christmas sales. So i'm renewing often on etsy, and getting another display board, outfitted with charms, to another vender in town. And then i will lean on friends to push BirthBones on all of their friends and acquaintances. Oh yes, i will stoop that low.

How do you like this T-shirt design? It is in an etsy shop (which is worth a look for it's public announcements). I believe the stated intent of this T-shirt is to do the speaking when the child you buy it for is quiet or shy. The T-shirt does the defending and the threatening, you see, and thereby protects the wearer from unwanted attention. I wouldn't be surprised if the potential perp would instead be scared off by the thought of the mother who dressed their child in this T-shirt.