Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween Crafting

Any excuse to craft is a good excuse. But holidays aren't an excuse - they're a reason. Holiday crafting is the best kind of crafting!

Here are some of the crafts I've made this year:

Cards! This has been a fun and easy project. Someone left a Ronald Reagan calendar on the free table at work so I incorporated that into some of them. Another person left a whole bunch of James Bond trading cards on the free table so I, of course, used some of those as well. Other cards were just inspired by the workings of my most twisted imagination. I think I've made at least 25 cards but here's a small sampling:

I can't take full credit for the sick one on the bottom right. Others helped.

Last year, my friend Holly (my crafting mentor and inspiration) taught me how to make a witch. This year, I really wanted to make another one so she indulged me. I got the base of the witch in an antique store in Shipshewana, Indiana (Amish country) so I was excited to use it and give the witch a more rustic look. Here's the first step:

 Around the middle point of the project:

The finished product:

Over the weekend I went to a pumpkin patch with my nephew. The assortment of pumpkins at this patch was amazing.

These are the ones we chose:

I also bought a small bale of straw to help display the pumpkins. Once home, Ethan and I gutted and carved his pumpkin. He hated the smell of the inside of the pumpkin. Personally, I love that smell. I cleaned and washed the seeds while he drew a pattern on his pumpkin. While the seeds were roasting, I helped him carve it. Don't try to guess which part was done by me and which part was done by an 8 year old. The skill set for carving is equal:

I took the easy way and instead of carving my pumpkin, I cut out a witch silhouette on my Silhouette machine:

Another very easy craft I did was to paint some craft acorns. I picked up a couple packs of plain acorns from Michaels, then painted the non-cap part (sorry, I'm not very knowledgeable about acorn biology) with a Martha Stewart gold paint I already had.

A very easy craft I made last weekend is a burlap banner. It was easy breezy. All I did was find some Halloween print burlap from JoAnns (favorite place on earth), cut out triangles, and hot glue it to some twine I already had. Sorry, all I have is this super craptastic photo of it.

Gourd Decorating - a couple weeks ago my whole family got together when my aunt and uncle came to visit. To keep the kids busy, I brought a bunch of gourds, paints, and other supplies to the table and got the kids busy crafting! They had some pretty funny creations:

that one on the  bottom left is giving me the stink eye.

And lastly (for now) I made this very easy wreath, based on an idea I saw on Pinterest. It was so easy. I simply got a wreath form from JoAnns (using a 50% off coupon), a boa (also from JoAnns), some ping pong balls, some ribbon I already had, and some vinyl I already had for the pupils. Add some hot glue to the mix and voila!

Even though this seems like a lot of crafting, I'm sure I have more to do and I'm almost equally sure that I forgot to include something in this post. Have you done any Halloween crafts? What have you made?

Friday, October 17, 2014

What I'm Watching

One of the best things about fall is the start of TV season! What are you guys excited about watching this season? At the end of summer, I was pretty bummed that Big Brother was over. But its absence left about 10 free hours of tv time per work. (BB is on three days a week.*)

Here are five my favorite shows to watch these days:

The Goldbergs - This is one of the most consistently funny shows out there. Last season (its first season) was hilarious. It takes place in the 80's, the time period I grew up in, and has so many great cultural references from the time. The show is based on the real home videos of the creator of the show and his family. Most episodes end with one of his personal home video clips from the 80's. I feel 100% confident in recommending this show to anyone who likes laughing.

Black-ish - Really funny. The first episode made me laugh out loud at least five times. Now in its fourth week, I'm still loving it and looking forward to it every week. The show is about an upper-middle class black family and the dad's feelings of racial discomfort at the fact that his kids don't know enough about the "struggle."

Revenge (with spoilers) - OK, this show is hilarious. And I'm pretty sure it's not meant to be. It's supposed to be a drama. In the first two seasons, the show was still taking itself seriously. Everyone was constantly talking in these low, husky voices (oh my gosh, those voices kill me). But somewhere around the middle of season three, things got hilarious. It seemed like the writers said, "you know what? Screw it. Let's go wild." Here are some of the things that happened:
  • The main character, Emily, was shot in the stomach on a yacht the night of her wedding. By her husband. She fell into the ocean and somehow got to some kind of buoy where she was eventually rescued. She then got amnesia. Of course.
  • The dad who's been dead since the beginning of the show - the one the daughter is getting "revenge" for? Well, he came back from the dead and killed the leading man of the show.
  • Emily kidnaps her sister (who doesn't know she's her sister) to force a recorded confession from her. 
  • To get revenge on Emily, her ex-mother-in-law kills Emily's boyfriend then props him up on Emily's couch in front of the fireplace. Emily comes home and starts talking to him before realizing he's dead...

You know what? I can't even go on. There's so much absurdity I can't even cover 1% of it. Just watch the show if you need a good laugh. Just don't say I didn't warn you about the husky voices. Oh my gosh, I love it so much. One thing I haven't mentioned yet is the ridiculous opening speeches Emily makes to introduce each episode. These are voiced over scenes of rolling ocean waves, or something like that. Here are two examples:

The past is a tricky thing. Sometimes it’s etched in stone. And other times, it’s rendered in soft memories. But if you meddle too long in deep, dark things, who knows what monsters you’ll awaken? 

As Hamlet said to Ophelia, “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.” The battle between these two halves of identity… …who we are and who we pretend to be… is unwinnable. 

I can't handle anything about this show. It's one of the funniest comedies out there to me even though its meant to be a drama. 

Bob's Burgers - Some of you are probably too mature for cartoon shows but this is a good one. It's a clever show about a family - the Belchers - who own an unsuccessful restaurant. The characters are all quirky - Louise, the 9 year old, never takes off her rabbit ears hat. Gene, the 11 year old (?), is a musician who rocks a tiny key board and uses his recorded farts in his songs. Tina is the 13 year old awkward teen who's obsessed with writing "erotic friend fiction" about her school friends touching each others butts. It's good stuff.

The Middle -I think this show is either in its 5th or 6th season. It's been around for awhile and it is still very funny. It's also sweet and sometimes even makes me a little verklempt.The Heck family is lower middle class (minus the "middle", probably). They have three kids - Axle is a popular jock, Sue is an overly optimistic nerd, and Brick is a socially awkward kid with physical and social disabilities. It all adds up to some really funny and sweet stuff.

What are you all excited about this season?

*which is not enough.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday Thoughts

I feel like all I ever hear about anymore is the moon. Super moons seem to come every other week, and now everyone's buzzing about the blood moon. In my day, the only extra-special moons I knew about were the harvest moon and the honey moon.

Everyone on FB posts pictures of these special moons and most of these pictures remind me of the 1990's when my family would go whale watching in Maine. We'd all have our cameras out trying to capture the perfect whale picture. This was back when people used to develop film and we had no idea how a picture turned out until we got the film back. We'd take all these "great" pictures and we were 100% sure we got an amazing shot of the whale jumping in front of the boat and everyone getting splashed. Or a mama and baby whale swimming along side the boat. Then we'd pick up the film from CVS a week later and see 24 or 36 pictures (with doubles) of this:

That's what 99% of the pictures of the special moons that I see posted on FB remind me of. Empty dark sky with maybe a little blip of moon in the corner.

I mean, no offense to the moon. I like the moon. We need the moon. Fievel taught me that no matter how far away you are from those you love, looking at the same moon will make the distance seem shorter. The moon's a-ok. But I mean..... I'm not obsessed with it or anything. Like some of you.

In other Wednesday Thoughts, I'll talk about something I *am* obsessed with - FALL LEAVES. I'll never stop posting pictures of them. I realize it may be annoying to some people but if I'm being completely honest, those people hate beauty! At least in my pictures of the leaves the leaves are actually visible, right?

Today the sky is clear, something rare in fall in Michigan. Most days are overcast which makes for a bad background for pretty leaf pictures. Here are a few pics I took earlier this afternoon:

Pretty gorgeous, huh?

I'm sorry for going off on the moon.

Happy Wednesday.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A White Girl Post

White girls take quite a beating about our love of all things pumpkin spice and fall. If you are on any form of social media, you'll see things like this:

I don't really get it. Don't people (both male and female) of other races like fall? Don't white men like fall? Should I be embarrassed to be writing a post about fall? Since I'm a white woman and stuff? Well, I don't care. I'm about to write a post about how much I love fall.  UNABASHEDLY!

I'm going to even go ALL out and make a word bubble about my favorite parts of fall:

I've been oohing and ahhing over the gradual changes in the leaves. Orange, yellow, and red are starting to take over the outer edges of the trees and it nearly makes me gasp to see it. I love the fall colors. But part of me mourns the leaves dying. There are so many trees around here, and I love their canopy.

But for now I'll enjoy their colors. After sending a snapchat to a friend out west of a tree changing colors, he wrote back, "you have a crush on fall." I totally do. It's just so gosh dang cozy.

I've expressed similar feelings probably every year on this blog so I won't write a full length love letter to fall in this post, but I might not be able to refrain in a future post so you've been warned!

A white girl (am I allowed to stereotype myself? or is that racist?)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

On Stress

I've been thinking a lot lately about living with stress. I have had some changes in my life that have left me feeling stressed out, all the time. It's not a "bad" stress, by which I mean, things are going well! My stress isn't due to things going badly. But it's stressful to take on more responsibilities and learn new things. Keeping track of all I have to do is a real juggling act.

I dropped one of the balls recently (a small one - not a big deal) and was accused of having a blonde moment. I guess if you're not a blonde you never forget anything? LUCKY!

ANYway, I digress. Living with stress. I talked to my doctor about it yesterday when I was in his office for a checkup. I asked him for tips on living with stress. He said that one of the things people who are very stressed neglect is self care - ie, getting enough sleep, spending time with friends and family, cultivating faith and spirituality, pursuing hobbies, and so on.

As he was saying this, I guiltily thought back to a lunch I had at work last week that consisted of a bag of Doritos and a diet Coke. I also thought about how I've been neglecting a lot of dear friends because I feel so drained when I get home from work that I let the Netflix wash over me. I thought about how I hardly slept at all last week then on the weekend, slept for 15 hours straight.

I don't mean to make it sound like I am any more stressed out than any of you. I know when someone talks about how stressed they are, it brings out people's competitive nature. You're stressed too, I'm sure. That's why I thought I'd write a little post about dealing with stress.

My dr. has a lot of elderly patients, including my grandma. He told me that when he saw her recently, she was lucid at first, but got confused after a few minutes. We talked about her for a bit, then dementia in general. I told him about a study I'd heard once that was done with a group of elderly people with Alzheimer's and dementia. One of the groups was shown a funny movie and the other was shown a sad movie. Later in afternoon, after they'd forgotten they'd seen a movie, they were asked how they felt. The group who'd seen the funny movie felt happy. The group who'd seen the sad movie felt sad. Neither group knew why they felt that way.  But the feelings generated by the movies they'd seen lingered.

My dr. mentioned that this study could apply to my situation as well. Expose myself to happy situations - doing the things I enjoy, spending time with friends and family, reading funny books, watching funny shows - and the happy feelings will stay with me.

It wasn't the first time I'd thought of this. When I heard the study, I thought the same thing. But it's so easy to forget, isn't it?

So last night, when I got home I worked on something that needed to be done, but I did it in a creative way, while watching a funny tv show (the Goldbergs on DVD - SO funny). And this morning, even though I had a busy, stressful day ahead of me, I felt happier.

How do you deal with stress?

Full disclosure: I had a bag of Doritos and a diet Coke while writing this post. It's a process.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Catching Up

Due to life pressures, and the exhaustion that's come with it, I haven't blogged in awhile. And because of that, I've really missed some good opportunities for blogging. Notice I said good, not great. I make you no promises. But I know that I would have been amused by these topics. Here's a little of what I missed blogging about:

1. Sharing the inappropriate pictures that could be leaked from my iCloud (does anyone even know what the cloud is!?!?! I don't!!!), such as:

Filthy. Just filthy. Oh my gosh, I want that so much right now.

2. The opportunity to share this picture with you and tell you how much I love the movie "Forrest Gump." But here's the thing about Forrest Gump - I only watch it alone. I can't have anyone elses emotions and reactions mingling with mine when I watch this movie. It has to be a pure experience - just me, alone, experiencing all the many things Forrest did. Running across the country with him, yelling, "JENNY!" at the National Mall, getting shot in the buttocks, having leg braces... I can't get into everything Forrest did. It would take me all day (Or at least 120 minutes).

Also, I don't like crying in front of people and how can you NOT cry during this movie!?!? I recently visited a traveling replica of the Vietnam Wall Memorial, and I thought about Forrest searching for Bubba and saving several soldiers and getting shot in the buttocks and I got all emotional.

In conclusion, I love Forrest Gump. And I now I present to you this image:

3. I went geocaching with some friends for the first time. Have you guys ever done this? I know some of you have (Brady and Emily! Hi!). It was very fun even though I ALMOST PUT MY FACE IN A SPIDER WEB. DIRECTLY INTO IT! It was dusk and I didn't see it until I was ALMOST IN IT! Gosh, I can't handle even the memory of it.

Anyway, we geo-ed our way to the cache (that's the correct way of saying it, right?). Here are a couple pics:

4. Have you guys seen this current picture of Anya and Xander from Buffy, The Vampire Slayer? Humina humina, Xander, am I right?

Before (cute):

Now (even cuter):

They both look great! Sidenote: Remember when Xander dated Cordelia? What was that all about? Dumbest couple ever but NOT as dumb as when Buffy dated Riley. I just can't get into all of that right now but I have a lot more to say.

5. Lastly I wanted to reminisce about time spent up north this summer and how beautiful northern Michigan is. Luckily I'll be spending a little more time up north this fall and possibly winter, so I don't have to wait till next summer. Here are just two pictures from Labor Day weekend in northern Michigan:

And now I guess I'm caught up! Well, caught up enough. What's new with you?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Faces of Jessica

The final scene of almost every episode of "Murder, She Wrote," includes a frozen shot of Jessica smiling or laughing. It's THE BEST. It amuses me to no end to see which shot they choose to end on. On rare occasions, the episode will end on the face of someone else, and sometimes when Jessica is especially disappointed in the murderer, it will end on her "tsk tsk, what a shame" face.

Last night while watching the show on my ipad, I decided to take a few screen shots and share them with you to show you a taste of the faces of Jessica.

"Funniest thing I've heard all day" Jessica

"You did a bad, bad thing by committing murder and I'm very disappointed in you" Jessica

Romantic Jessica

In this scene, Jessica is walking out of the court house with a man who has taken a fancy to her.

BUT WAIT! They walk out together and...

I'm sorry, but I just don't think that outdoor scene is Jessica. It's a stand-in and I want answers.

"Till we meet again" Jessica

"Turn this way and laugh" Jessica


"Did you seriously have to freeze on this face" Jessica

Here is the point where I am out of pictures, but I find myself thinking, "I should take like ten more pictures tonight for this post" and another part of me is thinking, "this is probably enough (for now)."

It's hard when you love Murder, She Wrote as much as I do, you know? Just don't be surprised when you see a "The Faces of Jessica II" post coming soon.