Thursday, January 29, 2009

Iced in

(Icecicles hanging from the covered parking in my apartment complex. I really wish I had paid for a spot!)

Or maybe I was actually stalled out? Anyway, I got ready for work yesterday -- ate breakfast, showered, got dressed -- despite a headache and upset stomach. I declared it a no-make-up day, though, because of the aforementioned ailments. Though I felt slightly better than crap, I wasn't in the mood to make the treachurous drive in. Lo! and behold: my car wouldn't start. Apparently, Esmee is sensitive to the cold. Yeah, well, her and me both. I called my boss to let him know what was up, so he emailed me the project I needed to finish, and I did my best to work from home. I put in about two hours of production time and spent the rest of the day on the couch crocheting, eating, and watching season 1 of Gilmore Girls. The result:






Yep, this is a potholder -- one very much in need of blocking. Anyway, see the cute little loop? I like to hang mine from a hook. Well, I did until we moved and are now hookless. Tragic. I love the fun pattern on it!










This could also be a potholder, but I made it to be a scrubbie. It also has a fancy-schmancy loop to hang from a hook in your kitchen or bathroom. I used a super-magical-secret pattern to make the surface scrubbier than a standar single or double crochet. I totally love the marriage of the green and the white. It's so crisp.











I like the fun yellow of this washcloth. It's like sunshine in your shower! I used a V stitch here.










And last but not least, another washcloth. I just went for a random pattern using three colors. I think it's fun and festive.


That's all of those I'll inflict on ya for a while. I'm back in the office today, though my car didn't start once again. My love brought me to work, thankfully. This means I'll be stuck here until 6:00, when he leaves, but at least I didn't have to use an annual leave day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Banana-Kissed Chocolatey Cookie Bars

I was in the mood for vegan Kahlua brownies on Sunday. After sifting through cookbooks and my cabinets, I realized it could not be done easily enough to suit my tastes. Instead, I decided to veganize a cookie bar recipe that I'd never tried before. The result is seriously one of the most delicious things I've made in a long, long time. They are vegan, but you'd never guess it!

(Sorry for the green image. There is no such thing as good lighting in my apartment.)
Here's the recipe:

Banana-Kissed Chocolatey Cookie Bars
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup vegan butter, softened (I like Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 a banana, mashed
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) dark chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray, grease, and/or line a 9"x13" baking dish.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and banana until creamy. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Spread batter in baking dish. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool, then cut into bars. Makes about 24 servings of this:

I have eaten so many of these since Sunday. I won't tell you the exact number because then you'll know what a pig I am! You should definitely try them, though. You won't be disappointed.

Brr! It's cold out there!

Tulsa is now experiencing its annual (I wish I were kidding) ice storm. Parts of town have 1/4" of ice on the ground, and the areas south have closer to half an inch. Yikes! Luckily, it still pales in comparison with December 2007 when powerlines snapped under the inch of ice covering them, and much of the eastern part of the state was without power for a week or more. So far, there are no outages in my area. Thank goodness! Our current apartment doesn't have a gas water heater like our old one did, so I'd be extra cold if we had a no-electricity repeat.

I took the dog out this morning, which she absolutely hates when there's anything wet or cold on the ground. I hope to get video of how hilariously she walks on the icy grass, but for now I only have a couple of photos from my apartment complex to share.

This is the nice blue view from my front door at 7:10 this morning. There was a layer of sleet on top of the ice, so it looked like snow but was, in fact, frozen yuckiness. I was one of the first people to leave my apartment, it seemed. Sully and I took our hilarious walk (with her prancing strangely and me wearing knee-high socks, men's sweatpants, galoshes from the kids' department, a long-sleeved T-shirt, gloves that say "Baby Girl" on the palms, a scarf, a hat, and my giant wool coat), doing our best to avoid the slick spots. Other pet owners hadn't been so brave yet, so her tiny prints were the only ones out there. See:


They're so cute and little! I wish I had brought her to work with me (though I'm sure the other two people in my department would have objected). Instead, she's all warm and adorable at home with Grey, who took the day off. Lucky! I'm in the office, slaving away as usual (i.e. writing a grant in between blog posts and Twitter updates and while listening to my MySpace playlist).

I hope everyone else in the area is keeping warm and safe. The roads are still pretty dern bad, so stay off them if you can. If you're feeling philanthropic, bring me a large cheese pizza, and I'll be your best friend. ;)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Experiments

I crocheted three more washcloth prototypes during a Gilmore Girls season 1 marathon yesterday. (I am one wild and crazy girl!) Here are the results:

This is a shell pattern using a lovely, Valentine-colored yarn. I like the results but don't love them. I need to work on consistency with my stitches. Obviously, the edging didn't come out so clean on this one, so I think I'll keep it to try out. I'm curious to discover how the different stitches feel on the skin.


Here is another experiment, crocheted mostly in the round with the exception of the green patch in the middle. I like that it's small and looks a bit like a Barbie rug. Anyway, I'm really digging the lemon-lime combination. Plus, this is just palm-sized, so it would be easy to use in applying a body scrub. Hmm . . .


Yep, more yellow-and-greeny goodness. The colors make me think of spring, thereby distracting me from the hideous iciness awaiting me outside. Anyway, this was a definite experiment, but I love the way it turned out. I crocheted with two pieces of yarn at a time, which makes the whole thing feel thicker and softer. I will definitely make more of these since I'm not sure this one can be pried from my cold, dead hands!

Silly me forgot to take pictures of the other washcloths I made for Jessie's baby shower, but the dear lass did include them in this blog post. (The gal in the fuchsia sweater is me, too, and I'm responsible for bubblegum baby blob #18.) I'm glad you like them, ma'am! The green is my favorite, too. If it weren't a copyrighted pattern, I'd try selling them.

It's now time for me to ignore how completely horrifying the drive home will be tonight. The temperature hasn't passed 27 degrees today, and it's been drizzling since 11:00 this morning. We're not expected to see temperatures above freezing until Wednesday, if we're lucky. Yikes! I'm glad I have cookie bars (recipe coming soon) and crochet projects to keep me busy tonight!

Friday, January 23, 2009

A place in the woods

I'm dreaming of a weekend in a cabin surrounded by nature and art supplies. I was thinking this morning of how fun an arts-and-crafts camp for adults would be, and it occurred me that I could steal away to the woods any time I want to. Oklahoma has lots of lakes and accompanying campsites. I went to Keystone State Park on a photo assignment in my former life as a newspaper reporter, and I remember how beautiful I thought it was. The trees, the water, the hills: everything combines into the perfect atmosphere to reflect and create. Either alone or surrounded by other creative folks, it just sounds like a wonderful way to spend a weekend.



(Osage Hills State Park on a lovely fall day in 2007.)

I can't get the idea out of my head now, so I've been doing some research online. Cabins in local state parks seem reasonably priced. (I'd go whole hog and pitch a tent if I didn't hate sleeping on the ground so much. I'm not much of a roughing-it type of gal.) They have kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, and beds, so I could very easily just disconnect for a couple of days. I could eat oatmeal in the mornings, go for a walk just after, come back and paint or make jewelry or do something totally new, then have lunch, take a paddleboat on the lake, come back for more art, eat dinner, and crochet in front of the fire until bedtime. How wonderful does that sound? I'm currently trying to find info on staying at Osage Hills State Park near Bartlesville (north of Tulsa) because it's the prettiest state park I've never stayed in. It has hiking, boat rentals, beautiful scenery, and eight cabins.

So, who's with me? It would be a lovely way to spend an early-spring weekend.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Living on the edge

The crochet craze continues. I'm doing washcloths in different stitches and in slightly varying sizes to test it all out. It's so much fun!

Anyone who has ever done a square or rectangular crochet project can attest to how irritating it is to see a lovely piece with slightly jagged edges. I really can't stand it, especially in pieces that are meant to look streamlined. So, finally, I have learned edging. Let me tell you -- I LOVE it! No, seriously, edging is totally transforming my attitude towards crocheting in general. You can see the unsightliness in the picture from yesterday's post. I decided to add a single-crochet edge, and now look at it:


Smooth and even. It makes me so happy. I have a better finished one, but it's a gift for a friend, so I can't share it just yet. I love that I can whip these out while I watch TV. I may bring my yarn to the movie tonight, but I think that would embarrass my taller half far too much. :)
What are you working on?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Crafty fun

I'm a big, stinky liar. Actually, I'm rather small, and I smell neutral today. However, I did promise a crafty update on Monday, forgetting, of course, that it was a holiday (and thus I had no good Internet access). Even still, I'm two days late, which makes me a small, inoffensive-smelling liar. Please forgive me!

I have been enjoying some fun crafting the past couple of weeks. After the grueling ridiculousness that was Christmas and Hanukkah, I forgot how fun it could be. First up was a custom order for one of my best customers (not my mom this time).


I actually made her two of these that match. They're bead clusters, and she and I have been collaborating on some little pieces to dress up jewelry she already has. It's a lot of fun.

My second crafting love (after jewelry, of course) is crocheting. I haven't made anything that'll blow your mind, but I've been very much enjoying making little washcloths. I love working with Lily's Sugar'n Cream yarn. It's 100% cotton, and it's very soft and durable. Here's a work in progress:

My goal is to start selling them soon alongside the body scrubs I'm working on. No pictures of them yet, but I look forward to posting some results soon.

And finally, I was in the mood to make a giant Alice in Wonderland ring to match a pendant I received in a swap. I had a bunch of Sir John Tenniel illustrations glued to clear marbles that I was making into magnets. I ran out of magnets, though, so there's about a dozen just waiting to be transformed. I realized the pendant -- of Alice holding the pig, formerly a baby -- was the same as one of my unfinished magnets, so I took out my super-strength glue and a ring blank. Voila!


It only looks big. It's actually massive! I could take a backtalker down with this thing. Not that I would . . .

Anyway, I hope this quenches your thirst for creativity. I hope to post my decoupaged picture frame and some body scrubs very soon. Have a happy hump day, and enjoy the Lost premiere tonight!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dun dun DUN . . . TAXES!

One of the topics for the current EtsyBloggers blog carnival is how we're doing our business taxes.

Ahhh taxes. Well, this will be my first year to do them. I didn't become a licensed, sales-tax-collecting entity until March of last year. To be honest, I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm sure I haven't kept adequate records and receipts. In fact, I know I haven't saved soooo many receipts. I have records of all my sales, but my expenditures are a little iffy. Oy. However, I'll still be doing them myself unless I totally freak out. I have some friends -- you know who you are! -- whom I will bug if need be. I plan to get started soon, too, so I have plenty of time to screw it up, fix it, and then screw it up some more. :)

I will have a fun craft update on Monday -- I promise! I've been crocheting and making some scrubs. I can't wait to share them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Not exactly crafty . . .

But I did do it myself.


Yep, I dyed my hair. I must have gone crazy! I'm not a hair-dying kinda gal. In fact, this is my fourth experiment with coloring my hair. The first was red Kool-Aid in seventh grade (didn't show up), the second was caramel highlights in early college (barely noticeable), and the third was temporary dye at the end of college (entirely unnoticeable). This time, I used the permanent stuff. Huzzah!

Unfortunately, the picture isn't showing the color super-duper well, but you get the idea. It's a medium auburn color. My normal shade is a dark-ish brown, like this:


Anyway, hopefully being a redhead will help get my creative juices flowing again. I want to show you new products soon!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Creative outlet

I keep thinking I've hit a creative block lately, but I think the problem is actually motivation. I'm still worn out from November and December craft-show mania, and I've been very neglectful of my beads and wire. It's understandable, but it's not really acceptable. I vow to get back on the ball . . . really soon.

In the meantime, I've been getting ideas for new products -- non-jewelry ones, too. I think I've found an idea or two that will not interfere with CPSIA malarkey. I'd share, but I'd rather it be a surprise. Plus, if I change my mind, I don't want to feel silly later. :)

In addition, I've recently acquired (i.e. spent too much Christmas money on) Rock Band 2. My boyfriend stumbled upon (see previous description) a PlayStation 3, and this was the only game I cared to purchase, I mean, obtain. I cannot confess to having spent so much money on something so silly. I've been learning to rock out with the best of them, mostly by singing. I am no accomplished vocalist in real life, but as lead singer of the very awesome band Flight Risk (tee hee), I enjoy assailing the world with my flat notes. Though I haven't created anything -- even any beautiful music -- I'm having a wonderful time letting it all out in an artistic (well, sorta) outlet.

All that said, I will get back on track and start posting fun craft projects SOON. I promise. No really, I mean it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Rarr!!

I've decided to embrace the silliness and giddiness as much as I can today. Whenever possible, I'm not going to focus on my unemployed father and friends, my boyfriend's aunt's surgery, or the way the apartment complex is being bastardly to us. Instead, I'm going to think about yetis. Now you can, too.

Who's hot? We are!

The Tulsa Craft Mafia made the Urban Tulsa Weekly's Hot 100 list for 2009! I'm so proud to be part of this group -- I can hardly express it. You can read the entire article here. This is the blurb they wrote about us:

Tulsa Craft Mafia and Indie Emporium. These men and women are making it cool to buy handcrafted clothes, purses and accessories.

Hurray! Also on the list are amazing people/groups such as state Senator Andrew Rice (who ran against Inhofe), the Circle Cinema, philanthropist George Kaiser, and Barack Obama. Heather Oakley, founder of Global Gardens, is also there, which makes me happy. She's doing some incredible things with the students of Eugene Field and Rosa Parks elementary schools. (You can read the article I wrote on the subject here. Ahh, the old days.)

Thank you, Urban Tulsa, for keeping indie and handmade artists a priority in 2008. I look forward to even more support in 2009!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The economy strikes again

The bad: Our local newspaper -- the one who laid me off almost a year ago with 17 of my colleagues -- just let 28 employees go, including my father. I still haven't found out about the rest of my friends in the newsroom. My dad was there more than 10 years. I hope he can find enough freelance gigs to add up to something. I also really, really hope they can afford health coverage for my siblings, both of whom need it.

The good: I found my perfect wedding band! Click here to bask in its beauty. Of course, I have no need for it at this time. I am madly in love with it, though. Maybe I should marry it!

Today, the bad wins, but hopefully tomorrow will be better.

About Me

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Tulsa, OK, United States
Hello! Welcome to my blog, which I run in conjunction with my Etsy shop, greyeyedesigns.etsy.com. Here, I'll track things I'm working on, do reviews and interviews, and offer advice and information. Thanks for stopping by!

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