Tag Archives: projects

Party in a Balloon

15 Dec

Until the moment you read this blog post, you may be one of the many human persons under the faulty, narrow-minded perception that good parties have balloons at them. That is true, but only partially. Equally, and perhaps even more true, good balloons have parties in them!

I hereby expound.

Way back on a sunny summery day of June, my friend got hitched. Way back even further, on a sunny but somewhat chilly St. Patrick’s Day, my friend had her engagement party. I looooove shopping for creative gifts! But I couldn’t think of a big enough gift that said WOW-YOU’RE-GETTING-MARRIED!!!

In such cases, one must go back to the basics of gift giving: “What does this person like?” In this particular case, one of the many answers I came up with was “balloons.” Ah yes, this friend of mine loves balloons! She even incorporated them very tastefully as the backdrop for their marriage altar! That started my mental wheels a-turnin’. This is what I came up with:

balloon gift


I took all the little mismatched gifts I’d been finding hither and yon for her, added confetti, stuffed them into balloons, then blew a bunch of hot air into the balloons! I tied them all together and attached a wide ribbon for carrying ease. If I had thought ahead a little more, I would have filled them with helium instead of my very own carbon dioxide, but hey, it was pretty cool as it was.

Gifts that could be put inside: gift cards (I tried…success after a few irreparably-stretched balloons), chapstick/lipstick/lip gloss, confetti, nail polish, very small (ahem) garments, more confetti, jewelry of the non-poky variety, individually wrapped chocolates/candies, Starbucks VIA coffee packets (or any drink that comes in those just-add-to-16.9oz-of-water packets), travel-sized lotions or hand sanitizers, more and more confetti, ETC.

There is really no foreseeable end to this list. Most of the things I listed above were for a girl. Guys can get…..um, Hot Wheels cars, army men, candy, bowtie, Swiss army knife, etc. Men are so hard to buy for…..

Oh, and then I attached a card that had cute straight pins on it, for popping purposes! No need to sharpen your claws to pop the balloons!

straight pins


Your recipient need not be a balloon enthusiast. They need only have a will to find the party in the balloons at the party.

Aaaaand in conclusion, I make absolutely no promises for another post before Christmas. Only a vague assurance that I have other great gift-giving ideas that I might share with you in the future. *wink*



20 Oct

Remember when our basement “went under” with Hurricane Irene? Still hard to believe how much drowned in those six inches of water. Well, since then, every aspect of my life has been undergoing change of some sort.

I moved into Sarah’s bedroom after the flood, and almost two months later, I’m still there. It’s terribly convenient. Terribly. I can sew and sleep within the same four walls. But for a moment, please imagine the chaos that would/did exist in those same four walls when they hold the contents of two rooms – my bedroom and my sewing room. Yup, chaos. Introduce plastic bins from Walmart. Add random cleaning spurts. Sprinkle generously with coffee breaks. And the result (so far) is visibility of carpet. In fact, enough carpet can be seen that I’m considering vacuuming just because I can. By tomorrow, I’m hoping for moderate-to-complete organization of fabric. It’s a long shot, but that’s why the coffee pot is on. Oh and I got a new floor lamp for the sewing corner too. Sorta pretty much really excited about that.

The room in the basement where I used to sleep (and one day will sleep in again) has not gone forgotten. I have big plans for that room! Some changes have occurred, some are still ongoing. Already done: new “genteel lavender” paint job with “polar bear” trim, tile floors instead of carpet, white sheer curtains instead of closet doors, new black dresser, new black bookshelf, new dark wood night stand, new set of drawers at the end of my bed, ALL-plastic waterproof storage, big framed horse print for my horse-crazy lil sis, new black and white lamp. To be done: new curtains for my window, new wall art to cover the electrical box that my bedroom has been blessed with, photos and drawings and other forms of art to frame and hang, new rugs to make out of super-awesome fabric, new slippers so I can actually walk on the tile floors.

I do not currently have pictures of any of these works in progress. I don’t even think I have “before” pictures. But sometime I hope to get some “after” pictures posted here. A reminder from readers would not be deemed unnecessary…jus’ sayin’.

Even at work at the hotel, things are changing! Busy summer season with a bunch of families and unruly children running the hotel halls is OVER! It’s “just” a bunch of business people, construction people, “lifers” (aka long-term guests), other miscellaneous people…. generally people who know the hotel biz and don’t ask a million questions or demand extra pillows or complain about credit card authorizations. It’s nice, I will admit. In fact, this month marks a year that I’ve been working at the hotel! Very exciting! I still love working there! I can’t remember a single day I’ve dreaded going to work there!

Everyone at some point will undergo changes in their life. Adapt. Don’t go under and drown. Even if it is only six inches of water.

Back with a capital B

10 Mar

February is over. It happened so fast. On February 27th, I was packing a suitcase, making a list of things not to forget (which I ironically lost), and sewing a skirt. On February 28th, I was on a 7:25am plane to Wisconsin, then I was in Wisconsin, then I was taking a very necessary nap. Suddenly, on a day which should have been February 29th, March sprang upon me with its cold Wisconsin winds and an inaudible lion-like growl.

It is still March, though I am no longer in Wisconsin. I am Back with a capital B.

Since coming Back, I’ve accomplished quite a bit –

— I’ve Blown my nose so much that I’ve depleted a tissue box of its innards.

— I’m feeling Better now. I think I owe some of it to Airborne.

— I Bought 18.5 yards of fabric (at least) yesterday, so I can fill the orders I took while I was in Wisconsin.

— I Began the super-exciting process of making patterns for all the orders I took.

— I Befriended a few new guests at the hotel during the three days I’ve worked since my return.

— I Broke the “Control” key on my laptop . . . again.

— I Blogged with a capital B. Maybe later I’ll update this blog on the trip itself.

the nerdy side of sewing

15 Sep

Beyond the pretty, cutesy things I do related to sewing, there is a nerdy process that is considerably less than cute.

I’m not a nerd. I just thought I’d clear that up right now. I’ve been accused of being a nerd before, but I’m not, k? Nerds have big glasses and buck teeth; they play video games; they can tell you how to rewire your harddrive so that it can brew coffee while it combs your hair. I don’t do that. Being smart is not nerdy. Moving right along.

I have what I call a “culotte formula.” It is a Microsoft Excel document that I created a few years back. When I measure girls for culottes, I take three measurements: waist, hip, length. I go home and plug those measurements into my “culotte formula” and bazing! the formula calculates to the fraction of an inch, how much I need to add to or subtract from which part of the existing single-size culotte pattern. That’s not nerdy. That’s transferring my mathematical headache to the computer. A computer computes; I sew; it’s that easy.

The most recent could-be-classified-as-nerdy thing that I’ve done is making tags for the volleyball culottes. Not the tags that actually sew onto the culottes (though I am looking into that), but rather the tags that attach with the little plastic thing that you are supposed to cut off before wearing. Yeah those. I designed them. First I did sketches, like a good lil aspiring graphic designer. Then I transfered the sketches to the computer and traced over them with the pen tool to create a vector. And now for an abbreviated explanation of vector images, I’m going to turn this over to Amanda who is in the computer room. Amanda, would you explain what vector images are and why you chose to use them?

Amanda in the computer room: “Vector images are actually pretty simple to explain. When you take a digital photograph (a raster image), the image is made up of pixels. You’ve probably noticed that if you try to zoom in too far to a photo, it gets grainy….or pixelized, which isn’t a word according to Dictionary.com. If you zoom in even farther, the graininess becomes more noticeably squares. Each square is a pixel. So even if you take a really good quality picture and can print it out fine as a 16×20”, it would look pixelixed on a billboard. Raster=pixels.

However…… a vector image is not based in pixels; it used mathematical formulas to calculate curves, colors, lines, etc. So if you create a small vector image for a business card, and your business really takes off, you can simply resize the vector image to fit a billboard and it will retain its crisp, perfect lines. The vector image just recalculates its mathematical formulas to be bigger! Vector=awesome! This is Amanda, in the computer room for IDon’tCare News. Now back to the sewing room.

Wow thank you, Amanda. I couldn’t have said it better myself! Actually I won’t say any more at all. I’ll just put some pictures up.


10 Sep

I’m torn between a lot of things right now. My mood swings have been many, sudden, and sometimes severe. Does that make me a mental case? Possibly bipolar? Or maybe just having an extremely normal experience with “real life” (emphasis on extreme)?

I just finished several big, humongous, monstrous, sorta-intimidating, hallelujah-they’re-done projects. There was the volleyball culottes project that I’ve known about for months. It has been sorta hanging over my head and sorta awaited with great anticipation. Now I love sewing, don’t get me wrong. But multiple pairs of the same exact thing? I have literally made almost (of not more than) 200 pairs of culottes. It’s kinda getting old. *faint wish for leprechauns who can sew* Getting old like those super-cute flip-flops I got for my 16th birthday that I keep holding onto, hoping they’ll evolve into something wearable again. BUT my point is that the culottes are done! No less than three Red Bulls, two bags of M&Ms, and one 15-yard roll of elastic later.

The second project is something I agreed to whilst I was in Tennessee….yes, that was in July. Just days after Anne Bananne’s wedding. Hemming up 8 “black-out” curtains to specific lengths. Not terribly difficult, just to very specific measurements. None of the 8 curtains were the same dimensions. Try keeping that straight! This was something that, while I was working on it, took up the entirety of the sewing room (aka my sister’s room). Again, my point is, the curtains are all done!

The last thing that has been crossed off my ever-growing to-do list is something that I agreed to a little over a week ago. No time to think about it really, I just said “yes” to the project. I do that a lot. I think it’s because I hate disappointing people. Maybe I should create a therapy for myself and go about intentionally disappointing people so that I can overcome my overwhelming list of obligations. Anyways, the project was computer-related. This conjured up images of working on the high school yearbook CD and the two computer classes I took last spring semester. But I convinced myself that I liked doing graphic design stuff. And you know what? Besides the whole trying-to-figure-out-what-was-wanted-from-me thing, I DID enjoy it! I did two full-page handouts about “living the sanctified life” for a Bible class that will be taught at another church. It is likely that I had entirely too much fun creating something I affectionately refer to as the “Lil Man.” That would be the image that appears to be changing shirts and ties as he runs through this post. He is actually running through the sanctified life. Confusing, I realize. Trust me on this one. My point here is that the handouts are done! Complete with Lil Man.

The thing that makes this post so bipolar is that the entire time I’ve been writing it, I’ve been feeling incredibly successful, productive, and energetic. But as soon as I’m done and I cast my eyes upon the revised to-do list I made while at work, I will feel swamped, lazy, procrastinatory, and possibly faint of energy. Which makes little sense. Because being faint is lacking energy to begin with.

Amanda, stop making no sense. Okay?




(See? Bipolar.)

Slip, trip, and fall

5 Sep

“I tripped and I fell.”

“We do slip and fall.”

“Yeah, I tripped.”

“We do slips.”

“I remember I slipped at first. I remember thinking, ‘Hey, I am predominantly slipping!’ “

“And then you tripped?”


“We don’t do that.”

–Brian Regan

Sorry, but this was the only quotable quote I could think of about fall. Some call it autumn. For me, it’s the transition stage between flip flops and fuzzy socks, between tee shirts and layers of hoodies, between pink & orange sprinkles and red & green sprinkles to sweep up at work.

Fall is finally here, which means that all the projects that I was going to do before fall….should now be done. Remarkably, they aren’t. Some approach the state of completion. But some have not even procured a second thought from me.

School started two weeks ago-ish. I’ve attended one class twice and my second class hasn’t started yet. Most of biology is going right over my head. But the little that does penetrate only serves to concrete in my mind the veracity of Intelligent Design and the obvious fallacy of evolution.

I recently agreed to do some graphic design work for a man from another church who will be teaching a Bible course and needs a handout made. And I also designed little clothing price tags for the volleyball culottes I am almost done with. All this work on the computer remind me of the small amount of enjoyment I found in the two computer classes last spring semester. I still prefer fashion, but I haven’t crossed graphic design off my list of possibilities.

(sneak peek of aforementioned tag:     )

On a totally different topic, we have an inhabitant under our porch. I’ve never seen it, but I’ve been informed that there is a groundhog under there. Therefore, a trap has been set, with offerings of corn, lettuce, and acorns. I wonder if an eviction notification would be effective.

Happy falling! If perchance you happen upon a shard of mitochondria or a herd of amino acids, you can be thankful you’re not examining them under a microscope like I am.

wow and mmm!

25 Oct

The wow is in reference to my last post. Wow. I did not mean to confuse my dear readers. Apparently the elephant in the foreground of my picture totally blinded y’all to the stack of cardboard in the back. My apologies. Actually I’ll blame this one on the elephant and its obesity. Tsk, tsk, how dare he cover up my nicely-stacked stack of cardboard?!!

*pause as you all scroll down and look at my last post….see there IS cardboard in the back, behind the small carved wooden elephant. Amanda’s right again. Fancy that.*sarcasm dripping* *

I have a few progress pictures that I took while working on the elephant, which I shall post perhaps later. I have not yet painted him pink or purple……tho I do still plan to. I finished the elephant himdearself, but I left him in the classroom. Like who really wants an elephant in their house to begin with?! I regret to inform you that I did not photograph the finished product. That shall be done this coming Tuesday. No word yet on when I’ll post them though. Possibly before Hanukkah. Uh huh.

As far as mmm! I would like to introduce you all to a most luscious recipe for Coffee Jelly Frappuccinos. My first thought was one of strawberry jelly, grape jelly, and various and sundry other jellies and how horrible that would taste in coffee. However, a careful perusal of the recipe revealed a quite different story. (Yes, folks, if you click on “the recipe” in the previous sentence, you will see….the recipe.) The jelly part is actually coffee jello, which you make.

This is what mine looked like once I cubed it:

coffee jelloHowever, if I had carefully read the recipe, I would have known to cube them quite smaller. Like 1/4″ sized, instead of 1/2″ to 1″. They were big. If you decide to make this, cube them small. Trust me. (According to my brother, even the big ones can go up a standard size straw though. But I’m dubious of that.) Lesson learned: the best things come in small cubes.

Another piece of advice I have for you is to use a ginormous blender for the coffee (non-jello) part of the frappuccino. Or you could do what I wish I had done, and just blend half of the coffee and half of the milk and half of the ice (and half of the flavor syrup, if thou so desirest) together at one time. As stated, I did not blend mine this way, and the coffee foam leakage which ensued made me regret that choice. Here I was thinking that 3 1/2 cups of liquid plus about 10-12 ice cubes would fit nicely in a 5 (or was it 6?) cup blender. HA! <—–aka “obviously not.” Lesson learned: bigger really is better.

The recipe says at the end, and I quote, “…top with whipped cream.” Guys, that really isn’t necessary. Below you will find a picture I took of the blender after I poured out like half its contents into me and my brother’s respective glasses.

no extra whip, plzSee that thick white layer on top? Well it’s whipped topping. Not whipped cream per se because I added milk, not cream, to the coffee. But it’s whipped and on the top, so there. In the pictures I took of the finished coffee jelly frappuccinos, you’ll see the ultra-thick layer of whipped topping. Seriously, like 2/3 of the cup. (Hint: the coffee jello floats to the top of the coffee liquid, but sits beneath the whipped topping. Ah, now the picture is becoming clearer.) Come to think of it, it’s really like coffee-flavored whipped topping. So why ruin the experience with store-bought, loaded-with-preservatives whipped cream? I don’t know why. Lesson learned: When in doubt, spray-paint the elephant purple. It will be able to hide better amongst the pansies.

coffee jelly frappuccino

coffee jelly frappuccino2

And I just love this close up of the coffee jello at the bottom of the glass. Ahhhh, how the mouth salivates!

cubes of deliciousness