Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Total Count:



16 of these bad boys!!! 
That's the most I've done so far!

 I called to tell my mom today how many I did and told her I was out of material so if she wanted them again next year, it meant she was going to have to head to the fabric store and go through the grueling process of cutting the strips. She said she thought this was the last year. My initial reaction was to jump for joy... but then I think I was a little sad. I have made these for the last three years and as much as I hate them and they literally make me angry sometimes when I am doing them, they have become somewhat of a tradition. Perhaps I will take Teenah's advise and sell them on Etsy. LOL

Thanksgiving Weekend

I had five and a half days off for Thanksgiving. My intent was to get a TON of crafting done, however, that didn't happen. I got ZERO crafting done. But it was a fun weekend, none the less.

We kicked it off Tuesday night with VIP Tickets to go see Katy Perry that my AWESOME sister-in-law scored tickets for us. We had seats in a suite that came with free food and get this -- FREE BEER! WOOHOO!!! We had a great time and it was truly the cheapest, most fun date night we have ever had. Only out of pocket cost was the tip we gave the valet guy. Oh, and the gas it cost us to get there, but it was A LOT of fun and much needed!

Thursday was Thanksgiving (obviously!) and was a great day. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it's the one holiday you get together with family, relax, eat, play games, and there's no expectations. It's also my favorite holiday this time of year because it's a low-key holiday for us. It was just the three of us and our three cats. We cooked two birds and a full spread. It was fantastic!

Saturday we went to San Clemente for "Putting on the Glitz". I guess it's an annual event, but it was our first time. They close the streets and the stores are open for browsing and there's Christmas festivities - Caroling, Santa, carriage rides, train rides, hot chocolate, candy canes, etc. It was a good time. Plus San Clemente is one of my favorite places down here. It was one of the first beaches K took me to when I came down to visit her before I moved here. It's beautiful.

We headed down a little early to catch the sunset











One of these, is not like the other! I'd be pissed if my neighbor painted their house that color!!!


Gorgeous. Where the day ends and the night begins!















Sunday began the huge task of Christmas decorating! We go all out for Christmas in our house. It looks like Santa puked Christmas in our house. The first year I lived down here we had some absurd number of five trees in our tiny two bedroom apartment. We don't have that many trees anymore, but it's still a lot of Christmas.

These are new this year. We found them at Walgreens of all places, but I LOVE them.

One of our trees. We still have to put on the ornaments.



OH! I forgot about these little guys. I cant really qualify it as crafting, but I saw a lantern Christmas decoration on Pinterest and we had some lanterns left over from our wedding that I was going to do this with. K didn't really want me to paint the lanterns so they will stay white but putting the balls inside is a cute touch.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Impecible Timing

In my blog about Random Acts of Kindness I mentioned a story about paying the toll for people behind you on a bridge or toll road.

I learned this trick from one of my best elementary school friend's mom. We were driving back from "The City" as us Bay Area folks call it. To those from outside the Bay Area, we were coming back from San Francisco and my friend's mom paid the toll for the person behind us to get back across the bridge.

I was somewhat baffled by what she had done. I am positive I asked some questions about it, although I cant remember the exact dialogue, I know there was one. It was a lesson that stayed with me throughout the years.

The next time I went over the bridge with my family, I told my mom about my friend's mom and asked her to do the same. My mom refused saying that she was positive the toll booth worker would pocket the money. (Back then, it was a whopping $2.) I tell her so what, it's still a kind gesture no matter where the money ends up. Needless to say, I was never able to convince my mom to pay for the car behind us.

Finally, I was old enough to drive and I remember being so excited the first time I was able to pay for the car behind me. I don't do it for any kind of thank you. Often times, you are so far ahead the car doesn't get the opportunity to say thanks. But looking in the review mirror, seeing the car try to give the toll booth worker the money and knowing the confusing conversation that is going between the two of them makes it all worth it. Every now and again you'll get a honk of the horn, the flash of the lights, and on the occasions that they actually catch up with you, you're sure to get a smile and an enthusiastic wave. It's great.

I pay the toll for the people behind me every opportunity I got.

Fast forward a few years... I am well into my 20's at this point and my mom was out from Indiana visiting. My mom, my sister and I had taken a road trip to The City and we were on our way back. My sister was driving and as we got close to the toll booth I said, "OH! Pay for the person behind us!" My mom and sister were both like, "No... why would we do that?" or something like that. I am sure my mom threw out the same suspcious line she used when I was a kid, "The booth worker will just pocket the money."

Shaking my head I'm thinking, "I cant believe these people" as I started digging in my purse to see if I had enough cash on me to do it myself. I did. I passed the cash to the front seat and said, "I'll pay for the car behind us."

We get up to the booth... My sister rolls down her window... puts her hand out the window with the cash in her hand... and before she can say anything, the toll booth guy says, "The car in front of you paid for you."

HA! Can you imagine the satisfaction I felt in that very moment? It was the absolute perfect moment for that Random Act of Kindness to come back to me. It is likely that it wont ever happen again, but I am so OK with that because it happened at the exact moment that it was supposed to happen. It was AWESOME. It was like the satisfaction of tuning non-believers into believers. I have no idea if my mom or sister ever paid for the people behind them after that. I like to think and hope they have, but either way, I was glad they got to see that there is still good in the world and not everyone is as dishonest as they think.

There is one thing that I regret about it. I was so wrapped up in the excitement and gratitude and satisfaction of  what just happened... I forgot to tell my sister to keep it going and Pay it Forward!! I wish she would have still paid for the car behind us, and then they pay for the car behind them, and so on and so on. I'm sure they have had a chain reaction like that.

Next time I go through a toll both, I am going to ask the worker if they've ever seen a Random Act of Kindness chain and if so, how long did it last.

Random Acts of Kindness

I used to consciously make an effort to do a Random Act of Kindness at least once a week. My favorite one to do was when having to pay a toll on a bridge, I would pay for the car behind me.(I have an AWESOME story about this, but that will be for another blog) Other times it was just little things I would try to do on the spot... help a little old lady at the grocery store, buy a friend lunch or a coffee, leave a candy bar for a co-worker. They weren't big, but often... it's the little things that matter the most.

Recently, I have been wanting to get back on the Random Act of Kindness train again. I have felt discouraged though because when I did it in the past, I was making twice as much money as I am now so I had more ways to do things. I really want to get back to doing things, but am struggling with thrifty ideas.


Leaving food for someone is not really feasible unless it's for people you know and you're willing to identify where it came from. I read somewhere that this lady would "doorbell ditch" people and then leave Ding Dongs on their porch. Even if it was comepletely wrapped and in the box, I myself, would feel weird eating it. So that's out.







I could craft things easily, but how do I know what the stranger might like?? I guess if I found a craft on my door I would just smile and be grateful. If it was absolutely hideous, I might pay it forward and just leave it for someone else. Soooo that's an option.





I saw on Pinterest where people wrote messages to newlyweds on rocks and then put them in a vase for them to reflect on through their marriage. I thought it would be pretty easy (and mostly free) to do something similar as a Random Act of Kindness... write inspiring messages on a rock and leave them for people to find.







Another blog I read was that you could do something as simple as sending a friend or family member a nice hand written note. Not a bad idea since most of the stuff that comes for us in the mail these days are bills and junk. It would definitely bring a smile to someone's face to get something special for once.



You can also send a Holiday/Thank You card to the Red Cross that they can give to a soldier.


Mailing Address:
Holiday Mail For Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456





So, this is my inspiration right now. Find ways to do Random Acts of Kindness for next to nothing cost. I challenge you to do the same. Not just because it's the Holidays, but do it every day. Make it a part of your every day life.

Please feel free to share ideas and join in on the fun!

Take what you need and leave the rest behind.
They could use it to write their own inspirational messages.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Justify-er

K took me to work this morning... we got there a little early so we had a few minutes to kill. While sitting there talking with her, I was watching this lady across the parking lot get out of her car and get something out of her trunk... and well, she waved. And so, I waved back.

K: Did she just wave?
Me: Yep
K: Do you know her?
Me: Nope
K: Huh.....
Me: Maybe she thought I was staring.
K: Oh, maybe
Me: There's a difference between staring and watching. I was watching.
K: Hahaha You can justify anything! You could justify your way out of a paperbag! Instead of "the negotiator" you're "the justify-er".

LMAO!!! Oh, how right she is!!!


When she said the negotiator, the "Priceline negotiator" jingle went into my head... all day at work, I have replayed this story in my head and every time I sing, "Priceline Justify-er". Clearly, the priceline part doesn't really make sense with justify-er, but let me justify why we can make it work.

Priceline.com gets the best prices on hotels and travel accommodations, right? Well, why not have a website - called www.pricelinejustify-er.com. People are always needing to justify things they do or things they say... They could come to "Price-line just-i-fy-er" in search of the best justification that I could provide for them.

Trust me, I would be good at this. I have years of experience and was trained by the best - my mom. K even said that it can be exhausting when my mom and I both get going on something. Hahaha. Thanks, Mom... for giving me the skill of justification!

Much love,
The Justify-er

Monday, November 14, 2011

Scrubbies

Scrubbies - Oh how I hate thou.

Every year, I crochet beloved Scrubbies for my mom's Christmas Craft Sale at her church. She says they sell like hot cakes to all the little old ladies. (Ssshhh, we wont tell her that she qualifies as one of those little old ladies she so fondly refers to.) Supposedly, they sell so fast she can barely get them out on the table before they're all sold. They're a hot ticket item.

The first year she asked me to make them, K and I had just started dating. Imagine my embarrassment when I told her I was "crocheting scrubbies". I am certain her first thought was, "How old is this chick?" and her second thought, which is what her response was, "What the hell is a scrubbie?"

This seems to be the general response from those in my generation. The only way I know how to explain it is they are like homemade SOS pads. I guess. I dont really understand them either, I just make them.

They are kind of a pain to make. The material you make them with is netting bought at the fabric store - by the yard. In order to crochet these little boogers, they have to be cut into 1-2 inch strips. WAY too much work for me, so that's where my one stipulation comes in - "I will make them for you, Mom, but you have to cut the netting." aaaand, it's a deal.

Last year my mom sent me 4 neatly cut and rolled balls of netting. I couldn't have possibly done all four balls in one year, so I promised her that I would hold on to what I didn't use and use it for my supply the following year.

Now... it's the following year. I have a little purple left, a whole roll of red left, and a whole roll of green left. I have been putting off doing them for over a month. Every day telling myself, I'll start them tomorrow. Tomorrow never came... but then, Episode 17 of Lost happened and instead of finding a dull knife, I got out the scrubbie material and started crocheting.

Here's how I make mine:

Chain (CH) 4, connect to make a circle with Single Stitch (SS) in first Ch
Ch 3 (counting as your first Double Crochet), Double Crochet (DC) 15 into circle (16 total - it's a tight fit) connect the first and last DC with a SS.
Ch 3, DC twice in each DC space in the ring below (32 DC total), connect first and last DC with SS
 Tie off.

Repeat the above directions.

Connect the two messy, netty circles with a Single Crochet around the edges.

I typically make them all one color
I despise making these little boogers. The material is difficult to work with. When I crochet with yarn, there becomes a flow... a rhythm that you get into. The needle flows smoothly in and out of the loops. Not with these little boogers.It's constantly getting tangled and you cant be too rough with it because if you do, you'll tear it and it will break.

The material is also rough so after making a few of them, my fingers begin look red and swollen and feel raw. This adds to my anger and frustration as the needle refuses to smoothly flow through the difficult material.

They're timely. I timed myself last night and one scrubbie takes me almost 45 minutes to complete from beginning to end. And that doesn't count all the times I throw a small tantrum and have to put it down while I allow myself a moment to breathe and count to ten. 

Lastly, I especially don't care for doing these little boogers, because after all that pain and suffering I go through to make them, I don't take a step back and think, "Oh, but they're so cute." Because they're not. And even if they were, I would always think in the back of my mind, "They're so cute... and someone is going to ruin the cuteness by cleaning their dirty dishes with it." So I guess when looking at it like that, it might be better that they're not cute.

BUT, for as much disdain I feel towards these little boogers, I have 100 times that amount of love for my mom and I know that making these makes her happy and that's all that really matters. So, I will continue to make these every season until my generation becomes little old ladies and no one knows what the hell they are.

If I make two a day from now until the 28th, I will have made about 30. That's totally doable and twice the amount I have made in years past. Stay tuned for a final count update!

Lost

We are on a very strict budget this month so crafting and cheffing new recipes have been at a stand still. What do I do with my time on the weekends if I don't have new projects to try, the weather is bad, and I am on a tight budget? I usually feel rather "lost" and end up parked in front of the TV.

TV choices this weekend were terrible. Just so you have an idea of how bad it was, I spent most of Saturday watching Pitbulls and Parolees as I did miscellaneous tasks around the house.

I spent Saturday evening playing games with K... that was fun, of course. I LOVE games... but after the games, there still wasn't anything on TV. We have Netflix and we always talk about streaming old TV shows that we've never seen and we decided tonight was the night to start streaming.

Brace yourselves -- Neither one of us has ever seen Lost, but have always heard the rave throughout the years. Why not start with Lost? Perfect.


 25 episodes later, I don't know that I am really a fan. This could be for one of many reasons:

  1. I'm not a huge fan of Sci-Fi and Lost seems to have a bit of a Sci-Fi aspect to it that I have to buy into to believe. 
  2. It kind of grosses me out. They're dirty... not to mention every time someone kisses I think, "They haven't brushed their teeth in days, weeks, months!!" K says they have toothpaste from the luggage on the plane. Well, they might have some now, but they're eventually going to run out. 
  3. They had a baby on the show. It's been, idk how many episodes, and they still haven't named the kid.  On character called it Turnip-head. That's the closest to a name it's gotten.
  4. The dramatic music is incredibly cheesy, which for me, takes away from the quality of the show.
  5. 25 episodes in a row was overkill.
I think it's most likely #5. I was done watching around episode 16. By done, I meant, I had just had enough for the weekend. I needed a break. By episode 20 or 21, K was trying to convince me to keep going so we could get through Season 1. She says, "Only 2 more hours." I sat in silence, but apparently the look on my face hinting to the conversation I was having with myself in my head spoke volumes.

The conversation with myself went like this, "Two hours? Two hours isn't that bad, but I don't think I can do it! Wait, it's MORE than two hours. Each episode is about 42 minutes. (This is the one perk to streaming them - no commercials so the episodes aren't a full hour.) We have at least four more episodes, that's 168 minutes which is actually almost THREE more hours. I cant do it. No."

And I didn't really do it. I fell asleep on the couch while K finished Season 1. Now the dilemma is: Do I give up entirely and just tell her to watch without me? Or do I try and catch up and watch 100 more episodes of a show I am not really sure I love? I LOVE Grey's Anatomy, but I don't even think that I could have stomached that much Grey's in one sitting.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

1st Christmas Craft of the Year

I saw this pin on Pinterest and thought in the day and age of the Words with Friends craze, this could be cute, but it would definitely need some dressing up.



Here's my version of dressing up.

All I did to dress them up was to put color to the ribbon, and as you can see, I tied little bows on Barbara's.

Simply hot glue the letters together. The glue will ooze out on the front and back of the tiles when you put them together, but don't fret. When it dries, it's super easy to just pick off and it cleans right up.

They're kind of fragile. I dropped a few while assembling them and they just snapped right apart, so I thought a little reinforcement might help.

Here's what I did to add reinforcement.

I just added a little ribbon on the back. It gives more support to the tiles and dresses up the ornament even more.

I am planning on using these as the gift tags for their actual presents. Hopefully, actually people will keep them and hang them on their tree!

Obviously there's a lot more you can do with these to dress them up. I may do that as I do the rest of them. I only have about 40 more to make!

The biggest challenge is going to be finding enough Scrabble games to complete all of them. Watch out thrift stores and garage sales, I'll be coming for your Scrabble games!