preparation and procrastination.

that title made me think of a game my sister-in-law suggested we play on a somewhat-awkward road trip home from a right-before-christmas and right-before-my-brother-asked-her-to-marry-him visit to the biltmore estate... the three of us were crammed in the back of the rental car with my parents up front, it was getting somewhat late, and we were all a little car-punchy. so she suggests this game where you take turns thinking up words that end in -ation, going around one by one, until someone can't think of anymore and they're out. then the others go on until there are only two people left to battle it out. well, instead of taking turns, my family of course just starts blurting out any and all we can think of all at the same time... naturally proud of how clever we are at each chance to display our vast vocabularies (we are grammar nerds. all of us. i write this blog in all lowercase letters to try to break the obsessive cycle). well you can imagine that went well until two of us (no names here) shouted out "menstruation" and "masturbation" at the same time.

it's a good thing she married him, or else we'd have to kill her to keep her from telling the crazy stories.

yes, random. i did have grand illusions this week of making a huge update to
the shop, but life has thrown us some unwelcome curve balls recently in the form of some serious family illnesses. plus, looking for jobs and preparing for our two trips... we leave for the wedding (yay!) then come home with two days to unpack and repack and then leave for our week long anniversary trip (yay!). we're celebrating three years in style... six days in paris with a hotel just a quarter of a mile from the eiffel tower. even though we've both been there before, the list keeps getting longer of the things we want to do and see (and the budget shorter and shorter!) but i'm looking forward to a baguette from the patisserie and a cheap bottle of wine for two as we walk the city. just a chance to breathe and hang out with my best friend again will be good too.

on that note, i also plan to eat my body weight in
pain au chocolat and worry later whether or not all the walking from gorgeous sight to gorgeous sight burned it all off.

in the meantime
the shop is still open! drop on by, and if you see something you can't live without, it will be mailed out the minute i'm back from the trip.


optimistic thoughts on a busy day.

"finish each day and be done with it. you have done what you could. some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. tomorrow is a new day. you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense..."

~ralph waldo emerson



the end of summer.

it feels funny to say on september 20th that it's finally feeling like the end of summer, but i think it's mostly about the weather for me. all the elements have been there these past couple days... evenings where you almost need a jacket, mid-days where you don't instantly break into sweat anymore if you actually move around at all while outdoors, hearing the school buses amble to and fro at the same time everyday... and today is just rainy and cool enough to warrant firing up the crock pot to make dinner.

even pontouf is on the lookout, smelling the coming changes on the air.



the tomato bushes are giving out their last summer treasures.


my father in law's garden has provided us so many this summer, i knew these would make way more salsa than we could ever possibly eat on our own. this batch is waiting to be simmered down into my first attempt at homemade spaghetti sauce. lots and lots of chopped up tomatoes, garlic salt, onion flakes, parsley, basil, oregano, and black pepper, and i'll probably add some ground beef after it has cooked down some. maybe if i scrounge a little i can find a bay leaf or two to throw in there. mmm and then i'll serve it over our favorite "healthy" angel hair and with a blob of ricotta (stellar idea i admit to stealing) and how hard can it be, right? we'll see.


all this week i've been trying to use writing in my blog as an incentive to get the errand-ish type things done that i'm avoiding. but of course, i procrastinate and will spend the afternoon finding every productive thing i possibly can to get done to avoid the things i don't want to do. so here i am again, lots of good things finished, but all the really important ones are still at the top of the list! guess i'd better go and just do it...


faster than the speed of light.

what a busy week. or few weeks, i should say, as it seems that the last two of august and first two of september have just raced by us. after the death of our brother in law's father, the news of terminal cancer of matt's aunt, and a heart catheterization and stent placement surgery for matt's dad, we're sort of taking a collective sigh on his side of the family and going on. i'm incredibly happy to say though, that his dad is doing fine and not much worse for the wear other than some strict changes in diet and exercise. i think we all could use that though, and it has lit a tiny but well-needed fire beneath matt and i to lose a little weight and eat a broccoli tree or two.

it's completely surprising to me, but i can honestly say these last few weeks of unemployment have been some of the busiest and most full of the past few years. besides the family health crises and obviously, job searching, we've also been planning and preparing for a trip to ocracoke for my best friend's wedding that i'm forever talking about, helping prep my parents' house to be put on the market, and our anniversary trip that's been approaching so quickly i've barely had time to get excited yet! i can't believe it's already almost october. do you ever get that feeling like the world is whizzing by you in a blur of lights like a music video and you are in the middle standing still? i feel like that when i think about how much i had wanted to accomplish before the trip and the things that i keep thinking i'll get done soon. like going to the gym on a regular basis, finding a new job, cleaning out my house for a big goodwill run, inventory-ing everything i have on hand for my upcoming craft show, and posting a big etsy update for the shop. each day seems to bring more comings and goings and unexpected plans that wipe out some of the attempted plans for the day.

i tried this week to start the special k diet, or "challenge" as they more aptly refer to it, where you can supposedly eat cereal for breakfast and lunch and then a normal dinner and lose 10 pounds in two weeks. so far i've accomplished eating breakfast on top of what i would normally eat all day when i'm not on a diet. routinely eating breakfast = good for me, however, extra cereal calories = no weight loss on the "diet" as yet.

all in all i am very much looking forward to our vacation. it feels very grown up in a sense to think that this will be truly a well-deserved one, as they say. so for now, instead of continuing to write and browse blogs at 1:41 a.m. i think i'll go to bed and dream of that happy time, right before dark, when all the air is pink.


ooh! a soundtrack.

so you know you've got a great friend when you meet her for coffee and when you think it's been about 3 hours or so, you check your phone and it has been FIVE hours. granted, she's getting married in about 2 weeks and we don't get to hang out very often so we had lots to catch up on. i think that's the best part of having the same best friend for about 13 years (or basically longer than either of us can remember) that just when i started to worry that we were falling out of touch or maybe don't have that much in common anymore, we got the chance to spend some real time together and she reminds me how amazing our friendship is. i love picking up right where you left off no matter how much time and lack of checking up on each other has passed.

as i've mentioned a couple times before before (i'm so excited about them!) she also commissioned me to make custom necklaces for her bridesmaids, mom, mother in law to be, and other ladies involved in her ceremony... eleven necklaces total! we spent an afternoon trolling the bead store, picking out elements, and putting it together into something that she's really happy with.


and if you've visited me here in the past week or so, you may have noticed something a little new... a soundtrack! i discovered this great website thanks to reading this great blog and added one right away. it used to play as soon as you opened the page, but i got some great feedback that the immediate play thing makes it a little tricky to accomplish sneaky blog reading while at work... and in the spirit of taking a minute to one's self to keep sane at work i changed it. now you just click on the specific song you want, or the play button at the top. it's lots of fun and very easy to set up, i highly recommend getting one if you like to blog!


some simple sewing.

yet again, i find myself happy to be writing more frequently after an unintended absence. this blog for me is a little like working out... it somehow gets bumped down on my list of priorities until i forget that it's refreshing and i really enjoy it, and end up making another little vow-to-self to try to do it more often. i'm always glad when i do.

i'm really bad about taking "before" shots for comparing to the "after" when i'm done with a project, especially when it comes to sewing experiments and making little alterations to clothes i already have. so i made a point of taking a few pictures now that i have a little pile going of things i want to alter, and here is one i've actually gotten done so far (probably because it's the most simple).

before: my plain-jane cotton a-line gingham skirt that i've nearly worn to death, and a slightly wonky and ill-fitting but cute printed tee.


after: an appliqued skirt with pintuck-ish ruffles at the bottom (that surprisingly made it flare out a little more!).


cute, but knowing me, i'll probably never wear it again now. i'm so finicky with clothes. a lot of clothes i have are fairly old and run-down, so i get bored with them and want to do something to spruce them up. so i do, and end up not liking the item anymore because it looks like something a kindergartner would wear (or vaguely like a poodle skirt, in this case). truth be told, i really just need stacy and clinton to come rescue me. i'm pretty certain they'd laugh, throw everything in the trash, force me to start all over, and i would love it. when it comes to fashion, i've never had the cash for what one would call "investment" pieces (if it costs more than $25 bucks and didn't come with a sale sticker on the tag, i don't own it), and i've fallen into the perpetual i'll-wait-and-get-"real"-clothes-when-i-lose-30-pounds trap (which unfortunately only works if you do, in fact, lose 30 pounds).

fashion. so tricky.

i also have highly optimistic plans for changing this otherwise cute brown dress because the chest of it is about 4 sizes larger than the dress itself:


i'm hoping to change the neckline into a gathered halter of some sort, as inspired by this banana republic ad:


we'll see how (if) that one works out! it's late, and i think it must be time for some sleep. note to self, i need to buy some brown thread before i can work on re-making the brown dress... and maybe i'll try adding a ruffle at the bottom like that too...


movin' on up...

i lost my job and it's been an interesting few weeks. it's been really nice to have some free time at home to get things done that badly needed to be done, such as dishes and grocery shopping, and to be able to meet matt at work for lunch and go for coffee with my best friend who is planning her wedding, and things like that. but it's also been not so great. looking for jobs. interviews. that awful worthless feeling when matt leaves for work and i know i don't have a reason to have to get up. tight budgeting and trying to make things stretch just a little further.

so i've been distracting myself with a new desk that we were given from someone who was moving and was going to throw it away. i couldn't believe it! it's an incredibly cool desk, and i feel so much more official already!

old desk in my little crafting corner (on a clean and organized day, obviously!):

and... the new desk!
the biggest thing i'm so excited about is all the extra tabletop space! this means no more piling a stamping project on top of a jewelry project to make room to work on a sewing project. for a long time i had hoped i could eventually have room to set up little "stations" for different types of projects so that i could just slide seamlessly from one to the other as inspiration struck, rather than having to take out and put away each tool each time i used them because of lack of space. one full evening of matt taking it apart, moving the pieces to our house, and putting it all back together and i have a fantastic new crafting space!
bead drawers- bought at the hardware store, decoupaged in pretty paper, and then i dymo-ed the contents of each little drawer. the striped wooden planter holds stringing materials and craft wire, and the little polka dot suitcase- scraps of ribbon and trim.
my favorite is this little shelf... a new addition for $10 bucks from target's back to school sale. the four little boxes are from the dollar store, and it sits high enough that i can slide projects in progress (say that 10 times fast!) right underneath to sit tight until i come back to finish them.

i've also been hard at work making a little army of beaded star ornaments to keep getting ready for my upcoming show in november. then there's all the planning, getting inventory together and listed out so i can keep track of it, packaging, and mapping out the display! there's so much to think of, i know i'll end up forgetting something. as long as i don't stay up until 3 am the night before waiting for the sealant on handmade coasters to dry so that i could package them, i think it will be all good. i found this really straightforward and helpful article on craft shows that i think i'll be using to help me make a master to-do list. and here's where to find more information about the show!


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