Monday, January 31, 2011

Poetry in Motion

More snow coming tomorrow...of course.  All it does is snow, snow, snow.  It makes me want to curl up on my couch, drink grocery store wine and eat day old chilli.  So that's what I did tonight.

I want to do at least one creative thing a day to get the juices flowing.  Also my job is especially not creative so I need something to keep the sanity sometimes.  My creative endeavor tonight is very very's a Haiku!  For those of you who don't know, a Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry consisting of 3 lines: The first line contains 5 syllables, the second line has 7 and the third line has 5.  Now I heard a rumor that they changed the rules of the Haiku so that it just needs to contain 17 syllables in any order..but I think that's crap. How do you just go and change ancient art forms? 

I decided to write a Haiku inspired by my new apartment.  Today I came home and a lightbulb in my kitchen went out.  I'm not tall enough to reach it even standing on my stepstool.  Now I'm afraid to turn on the lights for fear the other bulb is going to burst.  Then what am I going to do.  It's silly to call the landlord and can you change my lightbulbs? Ridic.  They should provide everyone with a ladder if they are going to make the celings so tall.  Actually there is a ladder in the basement but it's so heavy, I can't get it up the stairs.  Anyway, as I was saying, I wrote a Haiku:

I feel all grown up
A housewife with no husband
My new apartment

Once I wrote the first one, the juices kept flowing.  So I wrote a second one, although this one is decidedly more depressing so I apologize in advance.

Loneliness is here
Happiness is all around
When will I find it?

That's all the poetry for now.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fighting SIckness And Thinking About My Next Endeavor

I didn't go out much this weekend.  That's sadly not unusual for me but I felt overwhelmingly tired ever night of the week.  Today after I went to the gym and ran some errands all of a sudden I started to not feel well.  I was coughing I felt dizzy and went back to lying on my couch.  I popped a bunch of Advil and I'm drinking tea now so hopefully I can fight it off.  I rarely get sick.  Blah.

I took off my flowerly nail polish strips.  I don't care what the box claims, they do NOT last 10 days.  They started peeling after 4...but since I bought two different patterns, I applied another round of the strips.  This time they were houndstooth.  I'm pretty sure that on a good day, I could do this pattern myself with my nail art pen, but it still looks cool.
This week I'm not sure what my next project will be.  I have all of these old postcards that I bought at a flea market (picture below), but I don't know how to use them!  I loved the pictures and at the time I was thinking of making a mixed media art collage..but I don't even know where to start.  I'm afraid of using them, messing up and wasting them.  That's actually how I feel about all my crafting equipment, hence, the reason the good shit never gets used.  I'm trying to get over it.  I spent so much money on it, I need to use it!! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Color Me Fun

My hands are covered in crayon and killing me.  No, I did not just play a game of tug o' war with a three year old, I just colored in a page from a coloring book...or a coloring book clip art page as I do not own a coloring book (wish I did).

As I've written about in previous entries (if you are a loyal reader..if not.welcome! I'm excited to have more than 1) I've been lacking for creative inspiration.  I own a book called The Crafter's Devotional by Barbara Call.  It's pretty awesome and it gives me a lot of inspirational ideas when I'm fresh out.  One of it's suggestions for overcoming creative block is to color with crayons.

So, I went online and found a website that allows me to print out a coloring page ( I printed out some celtic circles.  Luckily, because I'm sort of a weirdo, I still have crayons in a ziplock bag from when I was little...and I for some reason brought them when I moved into my new apartment.   Coloring is actually very calming.  When I was little my mom used to take me to all the PTA meetings and concerts, etc for my older brothers and all she had to do was give me a piece of paper and a crayon...I never said a word or complained. Sat quietly drawing and coloring for hours. That's exactly what I did tonight.  I colored for hours and hours. 

Here is the blank page:

And here is my completed creation:
Enough being creative for tonight....definitely time for bed!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

See! I Do Craft

Tonight I learned an important lesson...I can not use my toaster oven and microwave at the same time.  I came home and started to cook the burger I craved all day.  Of course if you are cooking a burger the bun has to be toasted so I popped it in the toaster oven.  Then I needed a side dish and I bought some potatoes the other day so I stuck one in the microwave.  About 3 minutes into the potato cooking I noticed my lights started to get dimmer and dimmer....and then all the power went off.  I was in total darkness except for the fire still burning on the stove (and I quickly turned off).  Luckily my dad forced me to put a flashlight in every room so I wasn't in the dark for very long (thanks Dad!)...but the power box isn't in my apartment...its in the super creepy basement.  I would not even be shocked if I found a body down there one day. So needless to say not a very pleasant dinner.

I did, however, find time to craft...finally.  I got a sudden urge to make a scrapbooking page about my first apartment.  I moved here about 3 months ago (ack time goes fast).  I printed out the pictures last night and tonight I measured and made the layered background.  So I ended up with this:

I apologize for the flash orb in the center there.  My pictures are haunted!  No, i just don't have a fancy camera (totally wish I did).  But as you can see from the picture, I did a good job layering the background.  The detail doesn't come through but the base is a patterned purple piece of paper that actually started as a 12x12 sheet. I cut it down to 8.5x11 because that's the size I'm more comfortable working with.  I layered on top of it black cardstock and then white cardstock.  But these pictures...sized all wrong.

I could've just went back to my computer and reprinted them but instead I decided to use my square hole punches (favorite supplies ever) and punch them into squares.  I didn't care if I cut off parts of the pics. It make it look more artistic.  So I ended up with this (again I apologize for flash orbs/blurriness. I usually scan scrapbooking pages in so you can see the details but I was too lazy to pull out the scanner and hook up my computer tonight):

I did a non flash and a flash picture but I promise, the next page I post will definitely be scanned.

Supplies: Glue: Ad Tech Glue Runner, Elmer's Craft Bond, Lettering: A Family Affair Chipboard Stickers, Making Memories Letter Stickers Stickers: Soft Spoken, Mary Engelbreit.  Cardstock: Unknown brand

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thank You Mr. President

Normally when I come home from work by the time I change, make dinner and sit down...all my energy is gone. By the time I get off the phone with my mom I find it very difficult to get off the couch.  I want to watch my tv shows and crawl into bed.  Needless to say it is very hard to keep up a crafting blog while sitting under a blanket.

Tonight, however, was different because the President was speaking. None of my shows were on.  I kept the President in the background but it's honestly not the most stimulating thing to watch so I had to find other ways to keep myself occupied.

First I "painted" my nails. Last year I paid $55 to get one of those fancy minx manicures but this year good old Sally Hanson is bringing minx to the drugstores with her new nail strips.  I bought two of them today and quickly applied it.  The ends are a little frayed but overall it turned out well..
The State of the Union was still on when my nails were completed.  Mostly because it only takes about 20 minutes tops to apply these and there's no dry time.  So still time to do some creative work...

I feel intense pressure to finish a project in one day.  A lot of my projects turn out half-assed because of my lack of patience so I'm trying to stop this...starting with my first scrapbooking page since October. 

The only steps I took tonight are printing the pictures and laying out all the materials I might need.  By the end of the week the mess below will be turned into a scrapbooking page I'm not mildly disappointed in.
Exhaustion takes over now.  Good night to my two failthful readers.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spin Spin Spin

I possess a profound appreciation for any girl brave enough to climb up and spin down a pole and be able to take their clothes off at the same time.  As I learned from experience today, pole dancing is hard.  Really hard.  And it's even harder to look sexy while doing it. 

A month or so ago I bought a Groupon for one intro to pole dancing class and one beginner climb and spin class at NY Pole Dancing (  I originally signed up for Groupon for deals on craft classes or craft supplies.  What I found, however, is that the website is more beneficial for exercise classes.and/or packages.  I always wanted to try pole dancing because I always though spinning around on a pole looked like it was fun.  Another reason, I confess, is that I also want to feel sexy again.  Last year, I gained a few pounds (probably noticable only to me and my jeans) and started feeling really bad about myself.  I've since lost the weight thanks to a loyal gym membership but the confidence never came back.

Before the class I was nearly having a panic attack.  I do not like trying new things by myself.  I'm forcing myself to to gain more confidence and get myself out of my comfort zone but I really really hate it.   It's not that I panic about looking silly in class.  I panic about the moments leading up the class. Am I going to get lost? Where will I put my stuff? Is there a locker room? What should I wear? What if i'm the only one in the class?  If it sounds's because it is. I calmed myself down and marched straight..up to the studio...about the size of my apartment.  Gotta love NY.  

The class was a lot of fun.  I didn't feel very sexy as I struggled to get up on the pole, but I was reassured that everyone in the class was as bad at me.  I am excellent at spinning though.  I resisted the urge to spin around on the subway pole on my way home.  Trying new things still makes you feel good and I'm proud I didn't back out of it just because I was by myself. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Websites and Books for Inspiration

I took a walk through Barnes and Nobles today for some inspiration.  The bookstore is one of my favorite places on earth.  It's the reason I feel depressed every time I see someone with  Kindle.  Don't get me wrong, the gadgets are really cool and I completely understand their function.  Books are heavy, digital things are cool...but I can't bring myself to own one.  I love to be in a bookstore and pick up a book, browse through the pages and smell it before I buy it.  I can't browse through books on websites..even with the "see inside" feature. 

Anyway, enough with me feeling sorry for the state of future book stores. When I feel completely uninspired I like to go to the craft section of BN and browse through the display books.  Even if it's a craft I would never do like woodworking, the pictures are still inspiring.  Lately, I've noticed a trend towards inspiration journals and books., for example: 365: A Daily Craft Journal by Noah Scalin, Living Out Loud by Keri Smith, Be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith, etc.  Keri Smith actually has a lot of these inspirational journals out.  I don't own any of them, mostly because I can't justify spending money on the books right now on my budget, but they are really cool.  Here's a link to her Amazon author page (don't you love Amazon?):

I also began to browse the interweb for some new blogs to look at. Some of my faves are listed below.  Full Disclosure:  I found these within the book 365: A Daily Craft Journal. Perhaps I will add these to the blog roll at side when I get time.   This blog used to be called obsessive consumption, now it's moved to bigger and better things.  The author, Kate Bingaman Burt draws a picture everyday of something she bought that date and posts them here.   Exactly as it sounds.  The author makes a robot out of a pouch every day(ish).  This girl changes her nails to a new kick-ass design everyday.  I love this blog because when I was younger I was obsessed with putting designs on my nails.  I still do every once in a while but I'm so lazy about painting my nails most of the time.  Well..more impatient than lazy.  I hate waiting for them to dry.  The artist creates a new collage everyday and sells them through the blog.  I love collage art but I mine never look as cool

I hope I can find some inspiration!  Tonight, however, I need to clean my apartment for company tomorrow. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Getting my Creative Spirit Back Through Needlepoint

Lately I feel as if I've lost all my creativity.  I can't motivate myself to start any projects.  I feel very lost.  The only thing creative I can motivate myself to do is cook..and even that wasn't so great last week (I think the majority of my meals were frozen pizzas). 

So today I decided I need to stop acting like a fat ass (seriously, along with those frozen pizzas I haven't been to the gym in over a week) and start doing.  The easiest way to get back in the game is start working on my needlepoint again.  My dad entered retirement recently and his big project is cleaning our basement.  Before everything ends up in the trash I took a look around and along with some Patterson books, I found a brand new needlepoint kit. 

Now for those of you who don't needlepoint, it's essentially the laziest way to be creative aside from paint by number.  The kit comes with all the materials and a prepainted picture.  The most difficult part is matching the yarn colors to the assorted colors on the canvas...many look exactly the same and it takes a half hour of squinting and comparing to figure out what yarn matches.  Once the frustration is over, the needlepoint stitch is super simple and actually kind of meditative.  Plus you can watch tv while doing it and it keeps you from snacking...not that I really have anything to snack on in this house (unless you enjoy snacking on dried pasta or artichoke hearts mmm). 

After 2 hours of needlepointing, I barely finished one of the leaves (the full needlepoint is a picture of roses).  The picture below isn't's from my cell phone..I didn't want to bust out my camera wire to upload one photo.

I feel as if I accomplished something tonight.  The easiest way to get over procrastination is to just start working on something even if you really really really don't want to.  I need to fight my laziness before it takes over my life and I end up actually being on The Biggest Loser instead of watching it on my couch.  Gym tomorrow?  I think so. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Traveling On

Today I booked a trip to Berlin, Germany.  I am beyond excited.  If you know me, you'd know that I am not a well traveled person.  I did not get on a plane until I was 21 and I just got my passport 2 years ago.  Unlike other college grads who need to "find themselves" for a few months by staying in hostels and taking pictures of themselves on snow covered mountains after college, I started working right away.  Not much time for serious travel or so I thought.  I do have 15 days of vacation and compared to a lot of companies..that's pretty awesome.  I always thought if I was to go to Europe I would "need" 2 weeks at least. My new boss has taught me different.  She travels to Scotland for the weekend or Costa Rica for a few days.  Inspired by her, I decided to book the Berlin trip (with a friend) for 5 days/4 nights.

Eager to travel more and notoriously bad at geography, I decided to print out two blank maps (one of the US and one of the world).  I want to color in all the places I've been and keep coloring it in as I go to more places. I taped it into my pretty notebook - a fancy flower covered notebook I keep on my coffee table and jot down random ideas in. 

Here is my sad states map.  I've made it to all the surrounding areas, Disneyworld and Las Vegas.  I definitely want to visit all 50 states in my life, but I'm not into the cross country driving trip everyone is dying to do.  I hate being in cars for long periods of time for the simple reason that I suffer from extreme motion sickness.  A month of puking does not sound like a great time to me. 

And here is my extra sad map of the world.  As you can see I've stayed on the western hemisphere.  Germany will be my first venture across the Atlantic.  Super excited! Right now there's sadly only 4 countries colored in - Canada (awesome because I've only been to like Quebec but when I color in the whole country it looks like I've been to a lot), US, Mexico and the Bahamas. 

I won't ever have the entire map colored in.  I like to be adventurous but I still want to be safe.  I do hope to see a lot of Europe colored in, Australia, maybe a few places in South America.  Unfortunately all of the Caribbean islands are so tiny compared to the rest of the world...but I want to go to all of them.

Until next time, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cooking Out the Winter Blues

As I mentioned in my previous posts I'm in a serious funk and I need to snap out of it. I think part of the reason I'm so unwilling to move most of the time is that my apartment is ridiculously cold.  Right now I'm in fleece pajamas (as comfy as they sound) and a giant fur blanket and i'm still ice cold.  How am I supposed to get off the couch in these conditions? 

I did force myself off the couch to do some cooking and since this has accidently become sort of a cooking blog I will write about it here. Speaking of accidents, I am also accidently a vegetarian lately because buying meat is so expensive! I can't wait to visit my parents and eat a giant steak.  Don't let this blog fool you...I LOVE meat.  meat meat meat.

But tonight I prepared a meatless dinner and it was nevertheless delicious.  It was Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah as I learned a few weeks ago) with spinich, avocados and feta.  I love to pretend I'm on a cooking show when I follow recipes from a book so I tend to lay out all my ingredients in front of me

I actually used correct measurements for this one.  Since I'm cooking for one most of the time I tend to reduce recipe measurements so that I only make one serving.  Sometimes this works out well other times I get my measurements slightly off. 

This recipe also required avocados, not shown in the picture.  Just the other day I asked someone how restaurants keep their guacamole green all day.  For those who don't know if you leave cut avocados out for a while they turn this really disgusting black color.  Apparently, if you brush the sliced avocados with lemon they don't get that gross black color.  Lesson learned. 

There were only two disasters when cooking this meal.  For one I spilled the Quinoa everywhere (time to use the dustbuster I recently bought). Then I realized I was using a saucepan I did not have a cover a recipe that called for a covered saucepan.

It's OK though.  You can't get frustrated when you make mistakes.  After the quinoa was cooked, I added the vegetables plus feta cheese, olive oil and a little lemon.  The result? Delicious.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snap Out of It

I am in serious need of a life reboot.  Has anyone noticed that this is essentially a crafting blog and I have yet to craft anything?

I've been so lazy and tired lately that if any doctor were to observe my behavior in the last 3 days they would conclude I was clinically depressed.  I'm not...or I hope I'm not. Is denial the first sign?  I'm just really really inexplicably tired.  I think it's because besides going to the gym I don't move very much during the day.  At work I sit at a computer all day and feel the energy pouring out of me.   Even when I'm in the gym lately my workouts are so unorganized that I spend 10 minutes walking around trying to figure out what I want to do.  It's like my brain won't focus on anything.  And because my brain won't focus, I do not start any new projects.

I'm not sure how to snap out of this funk.  I am getting a haircut on Wednesday.  Sometimes a little makeover action helps. When I was younger, I was not the prettiest child. Super awkward with thick glasses, braces, bad skin, frizzy hair..the whole deal.  I used to draw pictures of myself as I was then and then draw a new picture of myself with a brand new makeover.  I still have some books of these drawings at home.  I was obsessive. Luckily I got contacts and my braces off around the same time.  It took a few years for me to understand curly hair..still working on my skin although it's not teenager status anymore.  ANYWAY, the point is that I love a good makeover and I'm always convinced that I will be happier if I get one. 

The other option to counteract laziness is some good old Mom advice - just do it.  My mom claims that Nike stole her slogan.  I need to start working on projects even if I really just want to be on my couch with a blanket on.  I think I will need to ease into this situation and possible start tonight with my needlepoint and then maybe move into some scrapbooking territory.  We'll see how it goes...there's no point in writing a blog if I can't get off my couch.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wine Flu

A few months ago I went to my local wines and spirits store to pick up a cheap bottle of wine.  When I told the clerk what I was looking for (a cheap bottle of white wine) he began asking me a series of questions about wine that I had no idea how to answer.  One of my biggest fears in life is looking dumb in front of other people.  It's the reason I shy away from many activities..fear of looking stupid.  The clerk finally realized I am not educated in wine so he gave me the house white and called it a day (it tasted fine to me).  After I left though, I decided that possibly I should learn more about wine so I signed up for a wine tasting class at the Institute of Culinary Education.

I chose to take Best WInes Under $20 and over $50.  The class consisted of a few couples, a few groups of friends, distinguished older gentleman and another single girl like me.  There were a few wine snobs in the class that kept interrupting the teacher with their knowledge of wine. I knew one guy would be a wine snob right away because he wore both a turtleneck and a scarf..why you need both I don't know but it automatically makes you look like a douche.  I thought i could bond with the girl next to me and maybe make a friend but this girl was reading from the kindle app on her iphone the entire time and barely touching the wine.  Why do you voluntarily pay for a class and then not pay attention at all?  I don't understand people. 

The teacher explained each wine in detail - color, smell, taste, etc but for the life of me I could not smell the hint of honey or lemongrass nor could I tell the difference between a "woody" wine or "licorice" flavors.  The cheap wines tasted just as nice as the expensive wines.  I finished each glass off only to look around me and see other people were just sipping their wine and pouring the rest in the spit cup.  No thanks. I paid for this class I'm drinking all of the wine (and eating all of the complimentary cheese). 

Overall the class was a good experience but I don't think I'll be any more educated in the wine store.  The only things I did learn for sure:

1. I'm still going to buy cheap wine
2. I hate sharp cheeses
3. Next time I should bring a friend with me (they offered glasses of wine at the end of the class but I felt awkward standing around with the wine snobs)
4. Nametags + My hair = ouch

Next time I go in a wine store I'll just have a brand in mind to avoid the question embarrassment.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Carving a Chicken...Or Why I'm Glad I'm Not a Surgeon

Confession:  I did not make this chicken.  I bought it at my local supermarket.  The beauty of a rotissere chicken is you only need to heat it up, it's delicious and you can use the leftovers for so many delicious meals.   Despite all it's magic, I've been avoiding buying one for embarrassing reason that I'm afraid to cut it.  I bought one once and had such a hard time cutting it that I ended up just pulling bits of chicken off with my fingers and wasting half the meat.

Well not this time. I'm going to get over my chicken cutting anxiety.  I brought out my new cookbook (How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman) and turned to the chapter on carving a roasted chicken.

The directions seemed easy enough but it seemed to forget something...chickens have bones.  Cutting straight down the middle of the chicken proved to be too much for me and I just ended up making a huge mess.  Once I got the chicken into two half I thought I could relax but the only easy part of this chicken was cutting off the legs.  Everything else was very very messy.  Let me just say...I am glad that I never became a surgeon.  No one wants to end up like this:

I definitely need to work on my knife skills more but the chicken still tasted delicious.

Read all about it

I have this idea in my head that I'll be really smart if I read every single article in the newspaper every day.  I don't get a newspaper delivered and I really don't have time in the morning to read it if I did so I decided that I could read every article in the Sunday NY Times. There's tons of sections to the Sunday paper...think of how diverse and knowledgable I would be. So I shoved a few dollars into my gym bag and headed to workout, planning on picking up the paper on my way back. I walked into the corner market and was shocked to find the Sunday times costs $5!  Now, I know all about the internet and that I could easily go to the website and read the articles..but it's really not the same.  Plus I own a's really difficult to read any article on a netbook screen.  So I settled on the second-rate (or really third-rate) Newsday...only $2.  I read every article in that paper, but I don't really think that articles about Long Islanders complaining about the snow really made me a better person.  Perhaps I will try again next weekend.

On the bright side, I did get a weekly TV listings insert and was excited to see a new episode of Hoarders was to air that night....and then disappointed to find out that the TV listings were wrong. Sigh.