Happy Halloween

At Liesl’s encouragement I’m blogging again, even though I don’t have anything in particular to say.  So feel free to disregard this entry.

It’s Halloween, and I’ve been at work for about 20 minutes.  Came in at 8:30 because my boss asked me to stay until 5:00 and then said that she didn’t mind if I slept in a little this morning.  It was soooo lovely, too.  This morning was rainy and cool, though not as cold as it’s going to be tomorrow.  And I am so awfully glad that tomorrow is Saturday, so I won’t have to get out of bed until I’m good and ready.  I like it when the weather works out the way I want it to.  (I also like it when my sentences are accidentally alliterative.)

Last night, instead of staying home and making a Halloween-themed dessert for work today, Stephen and I drove down the Natchez Trace a ways with some mulled wine and several jackets.  The sun set a little too soon but it was still lovely.  Got to see some colors on the Trace bridge before it got too dark, and then moseyed over to a pull-off to drink the wine and smoke cigars (well, he smoked a cigar).  Just lovely.  After, had dinner around 10pm which consisted of chicken, baked potato, and asparagus.  Have I mentioned that Stephen likes to cook?  It’s a good thing.

Oh, and he’s making potato soup and cornbread tonight, which I’m also looking forward to.  I’m sort of hoping that he’ll be in the mood to watch Zodiac, as it seems like a perfect Halloween activity.  It’s very easy to be distracted from watching movies when you’re handing out candy though, so we’ll see.  I hope it’s dark and stormy tonight, like last Halloween was.  PERfect weather.  For someone who doesn’t ever really celebrate other than handing out candy and sometimes decorating, I do like Halloween.  Hm.  I’m going to have to bring over a ton of candles to Stephen’s tonight.  That’s a good idea.

Ok ok, sorry to keep talking about him, but one last thing – he totally got me flowers yesterday.  If you know me, as most of you do, you know that flowers are one of the reasons that I stay alive.  Sorry, that’s a little dramatic, but you know.  I fucking love flowers.  And 99% of the time I end up buying them for myself, so when someone else gets them for me it just makes me happy.  I added some leaves to this bouquet because they seemed appropriate.  He said he got this color mum because they reminded him of leaves.


Anyway.  I would like to be able to share with you guys the craft projects I’ve been working on, but alas, you’re not going to be seeing them until Christmas.  *sigh*

So I have to admit that seeing so many people dressed up is making me want to dress up.  I almost wish I had a costume.  I might go home and grab that gauzey black piece of cloth I wore as a shawl last year, which, coupled with the black lace skirt I have (and lack of adequate lighting) looks witchy.  Hm.

Well.  Anyway.  That’s all I can think of at the moment, unless you want to hear me complain about how weird my face is looking today, and how flat my hair is.  It’s clear I swear!!!

UGH I want to go home and craft.

I ordered this spacer set ——–

———– and man I just would like so much to be using it right now.  Also I had a fabulous idea for a Christmas present for Dad, and would like to be working on that right now, too.  My Christmas gift ideas are slowly morphing into leather craft ideas, so don’t be surprised if you get something leather-y (but, uh, don’t be disappointed if you don’t).

Someone asked for a tutorial/pattern for the thing that I posted on Imgur/reddit, and I’m thinking about making another one out of a softer, lighter leather (and using the stitching tool to make my stitches look more professional, too).  I also ordered a spacing tool – it basically creates a groove that runs perpendicular to the edge of the leather – but have not gotten that one yet.  I should probably wait to start the new [thing] until it comes.  Might as well.

I know this entry really is not very interesting and it’s definitely not informative, but it’s helping me distract myself anyway.  Only about an hour and a half until lunch anyway.

I would write about my weekend, and the last couple of days, but I haven’t really gotten much sleep lately and don’t feel terribly wordy.  In brief: I went to Knoxville on Saturday, got to see a bunch of family and some exciting children’s books, then came back home on Sunday and ended up going to Hidden Lakes with Stephen.  It was a gorgeous day for a little hike.  Mm.  Yesterday, went with Katie to see Ben Folds perform a few pieces with the Nashville Ballet, which was enjoyable.  Then went to Stephen’s for a movie, and did not catch up on sleep at all last night.  I’m very much looking forward to my lunch break because I’m going home for a nap.

Tonight, I want to fit in more than I’ll be able to.  I’d like to take a bath, and work on leather stuff, and hang out with Stephen (I kinda like him, if I hadn’t mentioned).  I’m thinking that I’ll probably have to cut one of those things.  But maybe not!  But cutting the bath will allow for more crafting time, so we’ll see.  Hm.

Crafts, and biting my tongue

I really want to tell you guys about this thing that I made (see previous entry), but as it’s still going to be a Christmas gift for Sister X, I’m still going to bite my tongue.  However, I will note that I posted a picture of the prototype to reddit, and made it to the front page (granted, you had to subscribe to the subreddit in order to see it on the front page, but still).  It currently has 1921 upvotes, which is absolutely ridiculous as the most karma I’d had before was like 700 from a comment I’d made last year.  I got a TON of positive feedback and people saying that they would love to buy it, so I’m actually feeling motivated at the moment to make more of these.  Unfortunately, they might have to go on the back burner until after Christmas since those gifts should be a priority, and I just have two months left to finish everything.

That said, I will say that I went to the leather store on Saturday and got these two pieces (cat for scale) for a really good price; the tooling side (the lighter colored piece…I can’t remember what it’s called specifically) was $50, and the darker piece on top – which is folded into quarters in the picture – was $40.  Both really good prices.


Uh huh.  All that leather — so exciting!!!!  Plus I got some rivets and buckles and a bone folder, so it was a great trip.  Was playing around with my pyrography kit (which, I’m sorry Mom, but I had never really played around with very much before, even though I’ve had it for lots and lots of years now…) and have decided that I love it and it’s more versatile than tooling.  You’ll notice the imperfections below, but nothing I make is perfect and anyway, this was a practice piece.  I just thought it was cool-looking, with the tree and all.


So last night I meant to take a bath and clean the house some, and do some laundry, but instead I pretty much just sat around working on Sister X’s present, drinking hot cider, and watching Rosemary’s Baby.  Good pre-Halloween evening.  How did I forget that I get so much pleasure out of making stuff like this??  I have no idea.  This happens all the time, though — I’ll be on fire about a certain project or hobby, then get distracted and go 6-12 months before I remember that I actually loved whatever the original hobby was.  I guess variety is important.  Alternating between leather crafting, quilting, and drawing is kind of fun anyway.  I just get too distracted by things like Skyrim.  Gotta work on that.


You guys, I’ve spent the last day or two planning Christmas presents, and at the moment I am VERY excited about what I’ll be making all you people.  (Well, not all of you.  Just the ones of you who are family members.  Sorry.)  I just put together a template for the thing I’m making Sister X (because I found a tutorial online which linked to a template, but the link was bad so I just made my own – which I think looks better anyway) and I REALLY want to post pictures and tell you about how excited I am about this project.  Buuuut I can’t.  Ugh.  Dammit.

Also I spent last night sewing a couple of presents.  Again, not going to say what they were or who they’re for, but it’s not that big of a deal anyway because they aren’t fancy – they’re just part of the gift.  Nevertheless, I had an absolute blast making them and still wish I could blab about it.

I just bought a gold wholesale membership at Tandy Leather.  Wasn’t going to, as the last time I had one of these I used it about once, but leather is so expensive for heaven’s sake!!  Was browsing the leather selection and decided that even if I buy just one hide, I’d save money with a wholesale membership.  (So that extra paycheck I mentioned?  Whatever doesn’t go to bills will probably be going to leather.  I need to start selling this stuff.  Hmm.  I might make some extra of the Gift for Sister X, depending on how difficult it ends up being.  I’m positive that I could sell those, if they turn out well.)

So anyway, if anyone needs leather LET ME KNOW.  We can go to the leather store together!

Someone please make it 5:00 now, though.  Please.

Racism rant

Not sure what my problem is, but if I share politically/socially controversial things on FB, I start feeling like I’m imposing my beliefs on other people and usually end up either swallowing the guilt or deleting the posts.  If it’s something I think is actually very important, I’ll leave it up, but right now I’m just going to vent here.

The New Yorker just shared this article on their FB page.  It’s about a lesbian couple who are suing a sperm bank for $50,000 because the bank did not give the mother the sperm she had requested.  I can understand being upset about that sort of thing; I would imagine that family health history would play a part in choosing a donor, and this negates that planning.  However, the article details other objections that the parents have to raising a mixed-race child, such as having to go to a black neighborhood to get the kid’s hair cut and worrying about being able to send her to an all-white school.  The article says, “The complaint emphasizes that ‘all of Jennifer’s therapists and experts agree that for her psychological and parental well-being, she must relocate to a racially diverse community with good schools.'”

My thought is — the kid does not care what color her skin is.  If the parents care SO MUCH that they are suing the sperm bank over messing it up, that just tells the poor little girl that she is not good enough, that her parents would love her and want her more if she was white, and that it is inherently better to be white than to be black or mixed.  These are some of the worst messages that parents can communicate to their children, and the fact that they are concerned enough over this to go to court does not even seem to try to mask their racism.

The article notes that because the mom is a lesbian, she has experienced ostracization and she did not want her daughter to have to go through that with her peers.  First, the fact that the daughter is going to grow up with two mothers puts her out of the “norm” anyway.  Second though, and maybe I am nothing but a sheltered white girl myself, but I don’t see how this is even applicable.  Mixed-race people are not fighting for rights the way that homosexual people are.  I agree that neither of these things should be a reason to pass judgment on an individual (the color of your skin is as much your control as the color of your eyes, or your sexual orientation) (actually your sexual orientation is even less your control), but all I can think of is how horrible it would be to discover that your parents had sued a sperm bank because you turned out to be the wrong color.  The article quotes — “Jennifer does not want [her daughter] to feel stigmatized or unrecognized due simply to the circumstances of her birth.”  Seems to me that if the mother didn’t want her daughter to feel these things, that she would accept her fully as her own daughter and not even mention the color of her skin.

Sometimes I suspect that people who have grown up feeling stigmatized are more likely to stigmatize other people.  But again, sheltered white female here.  What do I know.  I just observe.

In no particular order, a list

1. If you do not use your turn signals when driving, it means a) that you are self-centered and not thinking about any of the other drivers out there at all, and b) that you are an idiot because a good chunk of car accidents are caused by OTHER DRIVERS.  I get irrationally upset about this sometimes.  At the moment, I am feeling very calm about the idiotic, self-centered drivers around town so I just wanted to make a note of this.

(But for real, use your turn signals for crying outloud!!  Sometimes I wish I lived somewhere with a subway.)

2. Oh, did I mention that I finished reading Hannah Coulter?  I don’t think I did.  Went to Cafe Coco the other night, but only stayed about an hour – long enough to finish the book but not long enough to get a coffee refill (just as well since I wasn’t sleepy until 11 as it was).  I had neglected to check the weather, as usual, and realized that we had tornado watches and thunderstorm warnings only after a gust of wind knocked a tree limb onto a car parked in front of the coffee shop.  I packed up and left shortly thereafter, not being one who enjoys driving through inclement weather.

But anyway, the book was sooooo so good.  I absolutely LOVED it.  I left it at home or I would type up some of my favorite quotes.  I loved the book for several reasons, but one of the biggest was the picture that Berry paints of a community – of a “membership,” and of belonging to a place and to a people.  It’s so easy these days to isolate yourself from other people, and to not care about the place where you find yourself (physically).  I rent my house, so I don’t really want to put the time and effort forth to really care for it like I would if I owned it.  And I have always been a loner, so it’s second-nature for me to go off by myself instead of interacting with real people.  I tend to read about people in books or on the internet, rather than getting to know them one-on-one.  Which is my fault, and not something that I’m proud of.  I find that it’s actually somewhat difficult to talk with people one-on-one, though, because for whatever reason, people are caught off-guard when you open up to them and try to get them to open up to you.

Anyway.  I need to spend more time reflecting on the book, and I would like to go back and re-read it at some point.  I think I might do Jayber Crow first.  Or I might switch to some Asimov, as I’ve been meaning to do for a couple of years now.  Or, I’ve also been thinking about picking up the book of Nabokov short stories again – or even reading one of his novels.  Should give Pnin another shot.  I might go to Cafe Coco again tonight, as when I try to sit down and read at home I regretfully don’t get very far before I’m distracted by something.  (This is especially true with Ryan being there….)

3. Have been wishing to be back in Windermere with Katie lately.  Since I can’t do that, it makes me want to explore new places in Nashville, or go on a road trip.  (Alas, I’ve been trying to be fiscally responsible lately – after spending $50 at the Southern Festival of Books last weekend…ha….. – which means not going out unless it’s cheap, and not going on any road trips unless they are also cheap.  Plus I don’t have anyone to go on road trips with me anyway, as all my friends are busy… grumble.)

4. Ooh!  I forgot!  There are 5 pay periods this month, so I’ll have an extra pay check!!  I should really go back to forgetting about that, though….  Use it to save up for a new computer or something.  If anyone wants to get rid of a perfectly well-functioning Macbook, let me know.  I’m not getting anything with Windows again.

5. I haven’t seen Stephen in about a year (biggest exaggeration ever, but I enjoy hyperbole), and my indifference for the CMA awards has moved into a personal displeasure at their existence.

6. I need new glasses.  Or new eyes.

7. Have started (finally) brainstorming Christmas present ideas.  This year won’t be as much of a failure as last year – though I think you people liked your gifts last year at least moderately well.  But I’m going back to making stuff this year.  And I would like to be working on that right now, instead of passing the time by writing boring blog entry lists.  Once I’m finished (i.e. run out of things to ramble about), I think I’ll start making a list of supplies that I need (etc).  I’m fairly good at lists.  Or anyway, I enjoy them.  Organization and all.

8. Actually, I think I’ve run out of stuff to ramble about now.

EDIT: Just saw this on FB, and it goes perfectly with point #2. I really would so much love to build a village like this, maybe Pegram area, or Joelton?  Totally do-able. 

still suffering from HCE

Decided my last bloggy was far too whiny.  You people don’t need to be reading that rubbish!

Am reminding myself now that if I don’t like something about my life, I need to just buckle down and change.  It’s that simple.  Some questions have difficult answers, but this is not one of them, and yet I try to make it more complicated than it is because I am lazy.  I like to conveniently forget that I have full responsibility for myself and my actions, and for how much I take of the world — and how much I give back.

AND SO.  I am going to clean my house today.  I thrive in a clean, orderly, neat house.  I also need to get out of the house and go read more.  Not only will this help me to appreciate my home more than I do when I laze around playing Skyrim in my PJs all day, but it will also get me out of my nice little comfortable rut where I pet cats and don’t do laundry.  I’ve nearly finished Hannah Coulter (which I recommend that EVERYone read – it is amazing and has made me cry now at least twice), but I have so so sooo many more books to be reading.  The Southern Festival of Books was this weekend, and Stephen and I went; he spent most of his time at a lecture, but I want to slowly peruse all of the booths and be able to take my time.  It was a really lovely day – overcast and grey but sprinkling only every now and then.  The only thing that could have made it more perfect was an outdoor cafe and some flowers.

So that said, in addition to cleaning up, I might hit up a coffee shop after work to do some reading.  If nothing else comes up, I’m going to plan on that.

The (oh so real) dangers of Hyper-Cerebral Electrosis

Was perusing some Darwin Awards and came across this list of signs that your head might be about to explode.  Thought I would post it for my friends who think too much, eat too much sugar, and all that stuff.

How to Tell if Your Head’s About To Explode

Although HCE is very rare, it can kill. Dr. Martinenko says that being aware of the condition can greatly improve your odds of surviving it. A yes answer to any three of the following seven questions could mean that you have HCE:

1. Does your head sometimes ache when you think too hard? Head pain can indicate overloaded brain circuits.

2. Do you ever hear a faint ringing or humming sound in your ears? It could be the sound of electrical activity in the skull cavity.

3. Do you sometimes find yourself unable to get a thought out of your head? This is a sign of too much electrical activity in the cerebral cortex.

4. Do you spend more than five hours a day reading, balancing your checkbook, or other thoughtful activity? A common symptom of HCE is a tendency to over-use the brain.

5. When you get angry or frustrated, do you feel pressure in your temples? Friends of people who died of HCE say the victims often complained of head pressure in times of strong emotion.

6. Do you overeat ice cream, doughnuts and other sweets? A craving for sugar is typical of people with too much electrical pressure in the cranium.

7. Do you tend to analyze yourself too much? HCE sufferers are often introspective, over-reflective of their lives.

Source: http://darwinawards.com/legends/legends1999-10.html


So here’s the final product. It’s red velvet cake with a peppermint glaze. I wondered about that combination, since cream cheese frosting is practically essential to a red velvet cake. But…I didn’t have cream cheese and wasn’t sure how that would do in a glaze anyway, so since red velvet is basically just chocolate cake, I figured peppermint ought to go. And it does!


brainstorming skull cakes

Making a dessert to take to a friend’s house tomorrow, and am debating which skull cake pan I want to use.  Here’s what I have.

Nordic Ware Halloween Mini Skull Cakelet Pan #williamssonoma

Am thinking of making the little ones.  In red velvet.  Though, it actually might be fun to do both, especially since I only have one of the mini skull pans, and they only make 6 at a time.  Hmmmm.

Preliminarily, (why is that not a word?) am thinking of doing some kind of glaze on the outside.  Last time I tried to make a skull cake (using the big pan), I made some fondant which did NOT turn out very well.  I actually still have a picture, because I thought it looked fairly creepy despite not being anything close to what I was aiming for.  (Also the cake was super dry because I filled the pans too full – so if I make it again it’ll be smaller than this.)


(I know, it’s extremely ugly.)

So…..red velvet cake, maybe a lavender glaze (because I love lavender), and some sprinkles or some such.  Need to go to Publix for some of this.  Will post picture if they turn out.  Might bake the cakes tonight and then decorate tomorrow?  Hm.  Well, anyway.  Was just getting some ideas out.


These pans are amazing.  Turns out that glaze is waaaay easier than fondant.