Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snowshoeing: Festge Park

When you live in Wisconsin, you have to find a way to get through the long, snowy and cold winter season.

One way to enjoy winter and actually look forward to snow is to find an outdoor activity that you can do for free...after the initial purchase is made, of course.

I've wanted to snowboard since I was about 8. But with all the equipment and lift tickets and driving to and from the hill, it becomes a rather expensive and tedious activity for the small slopes that Wisconsin has to offer. Don't get me wrong- if we lived in a mountainous region of the states, I'd be all over it.

But since we don't, snowshoeing has become the drug of choice for these wintery days off that we sometimes share.

Last winter I bought us each snowshoes for Christmas.

We have the Atlas 12 Series snowshoes. "12 series" basically translates to "mountain hiking", which of course we don't do since we don't live in the mountains, but I was in a position where I was able to get these for us and the rule of thumb with snowshoes, as with many other things (to me), is to get the best ones you can afford.

Anyway, if you have questions about snowshoes feel free to ask...working at an outdoor shop means that I can (and will) talk your ear off type your eyes out about this sort of thing. Trust me- I'm jonesing to talk about outside things again. One more month till I start back at 'Baga.

Okay, where was I?
Oh right. I was going to say that today was 37 degrees and sunny...perfect weather to be outside.

And perfect weather to have a snowball fight...
*note: hey look! all that fudge has paid off! you can hardly see them, but i have the slightest bit of hip action going on right now! i think i'm going through that thing that all my friends went through, but i somehow missed, when I was a teenager! The pelvis grew but the hippities did NOT.

Okay, sorry...I was getting a little bit excited about potential pants shopping in the WOMEN'S section for a minute.

Anyway, we didn't have end up having a snowball fight even though conditions called for one, because I had already received a mouthfull of snow during the trip. And by trip I mean fall. Not trip like adventure.

Don't walk backwards with snowshoes on. I know better and I did it anyway. Only to prove that you shouldn't, of course. True story. Oh- and don't jump down the hills pretending that you are in a video game.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Presents

This morning I woke up and thought "Hmm, I can't believe we're in January already...I owe a lot of people reply e-mails and phone calls."

So I got up and started to look for dates that would work for hanging out with friends and I kept staring at the calendar thinking "what the heck day is it?", knowing that it was Tuesday but also knowing that if it was January 4th, I completely forgot to send in my credit card payment. I think I tossed around a few profanities as I ran to the computer to make the payment, wondering how much money I even had in my bank account right now.

That's when I also started to think that I should take photos of some of the things I got for Christmas so I could share on the blog, and it was finally then that I realized that we're still in December.

Some of my faves:
*Pink pajama pants that Joe said "soooo, you might want to return this" as he handed me the gift. What?! Are you kidding me?! Do you even know me anymore, Joe? I've been swooning over these every time I go to Target. It took everything I had not to buy them when I was out Christmas shopping. So they were quite a nice surprise and I've basically lived in them since that day.
*Home Outside. When my mom asked what I wanted for Christmas, I was very adamant that I wanted this book. She already knew that, but I had to be sure that she didn't forget. I've shuffled through it about 12 times from cover to cover and last night I finally started reading it. I highly recommend it. I didn't get to spend much time outside last summer between being sick and the mosquitoes taking over the universe, but this year this book will be at my side 24/7.
 If my mom knows one thing about me, it's that I love weird things like this:
They got it at a flea market, which made me happy.
I'm not sure where I'll put it yet, but I do know that it will be very at home once it's hung.

   I mostly went crazy for the chartreuse handles on these Craftsman pliers, but any new tools are always a welcome addition. We have a lot of tools that were handed down to us and they have seen better days for sure. I'm pretty hard on my stuff, so quality is key.
I try not to be hard on my stuff, but I don't have that motherly niceness that so many women seem to be blessed with. That's fine, I don't really need it for anything since I'm not a mom.
 So yeah- those are a few things that I got.

I also bought a new camera the day after Christmas. It was $80 off and I had a $50 Best Buy gift card, so I took the plunge. It did require some motivation from Joe, though. I wanted to buy the Bose sound dock since it was also on sale. It came down to want vs. need and I hate buying things that I need over things that I want, but I wasn't about to be greedy since it was the day after Christmas and all.

 Anyway, that's all for now. I'm going to go eat more cookies since it is still December and my undoing of the weight gain doesn't start till January.

Did you get anything awesome for the holidays?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Right Now

It's Christmas Eve!
I have to admit that Christmas is not my favorite holiday, but this year has been easier than the last 5 or 6. Maybe it's because it doesn't really feel like Christmas...I've heard a lot of people say that lately. I don't know why it doesn't seem like Christmas for us- Joe thinks it's because we don't have a Christmas tree.
I tried to convince him that we should just buy a cool house plant but he didn't go for it.
Oh well, I'll get him next time.

Right now I'm:

+Ready for bed.
+Wasting some time.
+Desperate for a vacation.
+Cuddling with my favorite kitty.
+Realizing she's not a kitty anymore...
+Listening to music on my new headphones.
+Enjoying my fluffy snowflake pillow from Target.
+Thinking that we need some flannel sheets for the bed.
+Feeling the fudge that we made in my thighs and my bum.
+Anticipating the pineapple upside down cake we made tonight.
+Knowing that I will have to do massive amounts of lunges pretty soon.
+Missing my Grandparents and wishing I could see them open presents again.

Oh- one other thing is that I'm loving Joe's new haircut, but I couldn't fit that in the tree. So I'm putting it under the tree. Because it was basically a gift for me...I have been begging him to get a "real" haircut for well over 5 years now. You know- one that you get at a hair cut place. He finally did it yesterday and surprised me. I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't totally giddy over it. He has always just shaved with head but recently I got him to let it grow a little bit but then it just got CRAZY. To the point where I would run the other way when I saw him at work. I couldn't have all those ladies know that I was married to a chia pet! Haha, just kidding. I  hardly ever see him at work so I don't run away.

Anyway, I know that he'll blush and ask me to take this off my blog when he reads this.
But I'm not going to.

Okay, that's all. Have a wonderful Christmas! See you soon.

Monday, December 20, 2010

5 Days Till Santa Comes

Last year was the first time that Joe and I had a real Christmas tree.
It was a lot of fun picking one out and cutting it down...
 But not so much fun that I wanted to have one again this year.

I don't know, they are pretty and all, but we don't have kids or visitors and they are kind of expensive. And if I'm going to spend like $40 on a tree that's only going to be up for a month, then I should just go buy a new houseplant instead.

And anyway, stringing the lights is a bitch.

And pulling an 18 pound cat off the thing sounds like even more of a bitch.

Okay, so he might weigh more like 15 pounds now, but whatever.

Speaking of him, he's being a pain in the ass right now...trying to pull the buttons off the stockings. But that's okay...I love my orange boy kitty.
I'll just ignore him and keep doing what I'm doing...listening to grooveshark through my headphones.

My randomized grooveshark playlist:
1. The Shins- Wincing the Night Away
2. The Cramps- You Got Good Taste
3. Sonic Youth- Peace Attack
4. Die Antwoord- Enter the Ninja
5. Boys Noize- Shine Shine

Don't ask me when I started listening to the Shins...I don't really consider myself a Shins fan. But I do like select songs. 

I pretty much like anything that I can get down to. I love dancing so if it's dancable and not annoying, then I like it. And I like music, so if it has good guitars or bass or drum or saxaphone or anything solos, I dig.

Okay so Joe just told me to look on the back deck and it seems that we suddenly have like 5" of snow that has fallen in just a few hours, so I'm going to go shovel.

I wish I got an allowance like I did when I lived at my parents because then I would buy this.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I am just stopping by to show you this sweet little deer piece that I got at World Market.

Cute, isn't it? I haven't hung it yet, although I do know where I'm going to put it.

I think it's part of their holiday line but I plan on keeping it up all year.

Today I retiled the area under the kitchen sink.

We're supposed to make fudge at some point this afternoon as well. We've never made fudge but I read that the key is to make sure it gets hot enough and not to over-stir once you add the chocolate.

In that case, it looks like I will be making it rather than the two of us, because Joe has a serious stirring obsession. It. Makes. Me. Crazy.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

*Update: fudge was a success. I measured all the ingredients out and Joe pretty much made the rest. I did have to stop him from stirring too much, though. Haha.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I have nothing new to share so I'm just here to type whatever comes to mind.

1. I spent my entire camera fund on items that were not a camera, as seen in the photo above.
2. I stole Joe's winter hat that I bought him last week. I like hats with stripes and I like men's hats more than women's hats because they fit my head better. Joe thinks I bought it for myself. He compared it to the time I bought him a Dremel for our anniversary.
3. I recently started using this product again which is one reason why I have no camera money left. I went about 5 months without it and I'm very happy to have it again, even though it cost me more money than I spend on shampoo and conditioner over the span of 3 years.
4. Speaking of shampoo and conditioner, today I decided that I am going to grow my hair out. This is about the 217th time I've decided this since chopping it off a few years ago. That's not an exaggeration- we'll see if I can get past 2". If I don't do it now, I will have to wait till next winter because a hat is absolutely necessary to get through the inevitable mullet stage. 
5. I haven't gone to a thrift store in over a month. This may be a record...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow Day

I am supposed to be at work right now, but we had a snow day! They closed the facility and nobody had to work. Yes! I love not having to work at night...I was scheduled till 9 p.m. so I was pretty excited to hear the words on the weather hotline.
Joe has spent about 3 hours shoveling the driveway so far. The photo above was taken during his first adventure. I'm usually all about helping, but he broke one of our shovels so now we only have one left AND the other thing is that he owes me. I don't remember what he owes me for, but I do remember telling him that he owes me multiple times the other day. OH wait, I remember now. It's because I've spent like 5 or 6 hours writing & addressing Christmas cards and I haven't asked him to write any of them. 30 down, 10 or so to go. I told him I would help shovel, but he said "no". I didn't argue. Plus, it's not like we aren't going to get another 80" this winter.

So since I didn't shovel, I worked on my potting room. Remember this? Yeah, that's what it looked like when we moved in. Gross, right? After a bit of paint and some hardcore scraping, it's coming along. It's still far from finished, though. I haven't done anything in there since spring. So I decided to go in there today and make some headway. Before I could get any work done, I had to clean a few things up...

The dirt was frozen in the pots so I just left it all in there when I brought them in for the winter. And then the cats found it. Oh, kitty cats, I love you.
Since we don't have a shed, this room is housing our outdoor furniture. The pile of wood is from the basement project we're doing. My stencil wall hasn't progressed much since I worked on it in the early spring, but that's okay.
I collected plant containers all summer long. Okay, my mom collected them for me too. I didn't get too much planting done this year. I hope to have a huge plant sale in the spring, but we'll see if I get to kind of depends on if I finish my room in time and if I can afford a grow light or two. Fingers crossed.
Above is the view out the door that leads to the back yard. I rarely use this door, but hope to install French doors someday, which I'm sure will get heavy use. I'm part French so I figure it's my duty...But if I'm not able to afford them, than at least a floor to ceiling window. I really love looking at the backyard, but the ranch windows that we have are all so high and the yard isn't really framed the way I wish that it was. One day...everything is eventual.
My mom gave me this pine shelf for the room. After cleaning up a bit, I moved it to this corner and set our outdoor pots on it, along with some of our other outside things. The only way I can seem to get organized is if I'm able to make it look pretty. Yeah, it takes like 10 times longer to do, but it's so worth it.

See what I mean about the high windows? These are the highest ones in the house- I can't even see out them- but I'm thankful that they are there because otherwise there wouldn't be any light in the room. PS- by now you've probably noticed that there is no trim, but I am going to be putting it up this winter. I'm using old barn wood that I'll cut to fit.

And finally...the right side of the room, as neat an organized as it's ever been. Aaah, it feels so good to have it look like this. It's like I live in a magazine! Kind of. I got the pod chair on Craigslist last winter (I have 2 of them now...) and I think it's perfect for this room. Or at least it will be when I actually hang out in here. The long table is my future potting bench. My mom built it for me last winter when she was here. Yeah...I know, my parents rock. Without them we wouldn't have the living room painted, the guest room painted, the basement wouldn't be in operation-remodel stage, our fallen trees wouldn't be firewood (although my dad is giving me a chainsaw soon and I can't wait!),  oh- this room wouldn't have white walls, etc. etc. etc. I could go on and on. Our parents help us with projects A LOT.

Did you do any projects this weekend? 

Yesterday I listened to music all day long and played my bass guitar for a couple hours. Those two things go hand in hand and I am trying to avoid full-on addiction, but we'll see how I do. I just get so sucked into it all and I could go and go. I suppose that's not a bad thing...except that when I get sucked into things and then suddenly don't have time to do them (working full time & life stuff) I get really. really. cranky. Big time.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Blog Names, Etc.

I'm having a hard time rising from the couch this morning. The sun is shining and I don't get to enjoy mornings by myself much anymore because of new work schedule. Not that I don't like mornings with Joe on my days off. But my favored routine is to get up at 6:00 with Joe to make coffee and say goodbye (today that didn't happen- i am way behind on sleep, but i did get up at 7:00) and then sit on the couch with my coffee, cereal, pandora and blogs. This usually goes on for about 2-3 hours. Okay, I admit- it goes on for 3 hours more often than 2. I really enjoy the sun that comes through the windows first thing and I am so comforted by my music and my favorite blogs and the birds outside that it's hard to leave it all to face the day. I get cozy in my thoughts and don't like to break them.


I did get some Christmas cards written out- I'm really enjoying it this year. It's nice to have a blank card rather than a predetermined box of 25 repeated sayings that I'd just sign our names under, although I have been using all of my coffee and lunch breaks at work to get them done. Writing individual notes takes a long time, but is very gratifying for me.

The little notebook in the images above is my new "5 Good Things" journal. In an effort to be more satisfied and positive from day to day, I write down 5 good things that happened to me since I woke up that morning before I go to bed. I chose a cute, small journal for it because it makes me smile when I look at it and also because each page is the perfect size for 5 bullet-pointed sentences. I would highly recommend doing this, it has really helped me a lot. I have been doing other things to help my mood and attitude as well, but this is cheap and easy and requires very little time. It's amazing how habitual being positive and happy becomes with a little practice.


Now, onto new blog names! I would love it if you would take a second to vote in the poll that I have posted in the toolbar to the right. I will say that I am partial to one over the others, but I keep going back and forth.

What they mean:
1. My Grey Tornado: It's hard to put this into words, but it makes so much sense in my own mind. Basically it translates to how I feel about my brain...kind of feels all over the place, but not in a bad way. I think I think about a lot of things...
2. She Hearts Thrift: I have to be honest, this is my least favorite one and probably isn't in the running at this point, but we'll see. 
3. Any Color the Sky Can Be: This is my new answer when people ask me what my favorite color is. I have realized this to be true on my long drives to and from work. The sky always looks so pretty and is so calming to me no matter what the color is. The name also defines our home, I think- all of our wall colors seem to depict hues that the sky takes on.
4. Daydream Laboratory- The lab being my house and the daydreams being what I bring to the lab. I think and think and think about our home and my surroundings and dream up lots of ideas and can never seem to stop, so it seems like a good fit. Usually when I get called on in a meeting and have no idea what the question was it's because I was trying to decide what color rug I need for the guest room or where I should try finding a container for our coffee.

So that's that. Don't forget to vote before you leave!

*update: i have narrowed it down to "any color the sky can be" and "daydream laboratory". i think the first one will win, but they are still both being considered.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Aren't these houses from World Market the cutest? I'm thinking about making some of my own since they are a bit out of my budget and they are the type of crafty thing I can really get down with. Paper cutting & assembling. Well, cardboard cutting if you want to get technical, but for the sake of this post, paper cutting.
This morning I realized that I totally missed my 5 year blogiversary by about a week. I can't believe I've been at this for 5 years! When I first started the blog, it was so I could have a place to archive photos of the journals & various paper goods I made. This was right before the paper cutting craze swept through...I didn't even know what paper cutting WAS.

Operation Paper Cut had a 2 part meaning. At the time, I felt like the majority of my minutes were spent cutting paper for journals. Quite an operation. And when I cut this paper for the journals, I also cut my fingers and hands with paper. So often that I've actually become immune to paper cuts and they are no longer the WORST things in the world and they don't even really hurt or bother me anymore. Weird how that works, right?

But now the blog focus has totally changed, and although I will always be in love with my original OPC, I can't help but to feel that it's time for a name change. I'll post the 3 or 4 names I've been going back and forth on when I get home from work today. I'd love if you would vote for your favorite! Okay, for now I have to throw my clothes in the dryer and finish getting ready for work. I still haven't convinced myself that starting at 6:30 a.m. is an okay thing, although I'm totally good with 7:00. Dang it.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Handmade Christmas Cards

When I try to come up with a block print design, it never works. Ever. Joe kept hassling me to get the Christmas cards done, but every time I sat down I ended up hating what ended up on paper. Until today, when I was trying to do other stuff and of course that's when inspiration struck. Never fails.


The bird with the word bubble didn't turn out, which was fine because I see birds everywhere and frankly I didn't want a bird on the card. I don't really like traditional Christmas images and I can't draw for shit, so of course I wanted something designy. So this morning I was thinking about the mirrored tree from my last post and knew exactly what I wanted to do. Simple, graphic and bold- exactly what I'd set out for in the first place (without realizing it at the time).

So I sat down, drew it out & then carved it. Super simple and just what I wanted. Next up was the test print, but first I had to wash my inked palate & tools. I am notorious for leaving my printing tools to dry before finally getting around to washing them. Don't ask me why. I enjoy cleaning up before starting a new art thing and I hate cleaning up at the end, so I just go with it the backwardness. 

Whenever I do a test print, I always under-ink. I don't know why, I just do. Maybe it's because then the real thing is even more satisfying. Who knows. I ended up carving the trunk on a separate piece, which was partially because I carved the design too close to the edge of the rubber. It ended up being okay because then it gave Joe something to do- he printed the stems trunks while I did the trees. Oh. He did do one tree...but thankfully only one because he was too slow (sorry, Joe) and our house is on the dry side, which is not favorable for doing this sort of thing.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use pink ink because I got aqua colored envelopes and pink & aqua is a favorite combination of mine. I am happy with the way they turned out. We printed 24 and ended up with 20 that passed the erin inspection. All about the quality control...drives Joe nuts...but I'm not about to send somebody a sad tree. It would be one thing if I was giving these to people I didn't like- then they'd get the screw ups. But I'm not, so those ones will be cut up & used in my new journal for 2011. More on that later. Anyway, I need to get 25 more envelopes & cards for a second run. Together we have 41 people on our to-send list. Hopefully run #2 has the same success ratio as #1, otherwise we're in trouble. Actually, no, it has to be even better. Looks like somebody might get a screw up after all. I'll have to look back on 2010 and think about who's deserving of the golden ticket.
Side note: I stopped at Target before work yesterday for you know what. If you don't know what, read my last post. I got Joe to say that we could get two more without him knowing that he was agreeing to anything. That's usually the preferred method. Otherwise, if I can't get him to agree and it's something I will lose sleep over if I don't have (within reason, obviously), I introduce 2 or 3 beers to him and then casually bring things in from the car. Works like a charm. Sometimes I keep things in the car for like a month until the time is right. But this only happens about one or two times a year. I don't do it often. Only when it's necessary.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Winter has officially arrived here in South Central Wisconsin. We woke up to about 4 inches of snow this morning and the house looks so pretty! It's so much brighter inside- usually our house is somewhat dim, so this is a much welcomed sight. I've been waiting to see what the grey walls would look like since we (and by we I mean my mom) painted just after the snow went away last spring, and I can say that they look just like I had imagined they would.

I started decorating for winter & Christmas last night. I get pretty bummed around the holidays, and it's amazing how much these silvery shimmery decorations have helped my mood!

The mirror tree is from Target and the wire glitter trees are $1 each at Walgreens. I got one last year and wished I had bought more, so I was happy to see them again this year. I treated myself to shopping therapy last night because I had extra money on my paycheck for the first time in months and months. So I spent it at a department store rather than a thrift shop since I don't get to do that much. I asked Joe if he would buy me the big tree and the small tree from Target, too. We'll see if he does. They are quite lovely.

The white shelf is the television console that I made. I'm hoping to show the full reveal soon, but haven't been able to finish it yet. I do love it, though- it has really opened up our narrow living room and it's nice to have the television at eye level rather than up higher like it was before. You'll see what I mean soon.

As you can see, Clem isn't in the greatest mood today. But then again- he never really is. He bitches a lot. I guess it's not that he isn't in a good mood...he's just particular and is rather vocal when he's not happy. But today he isn't happy because I locked him in the basement so I could sleep this morning. And because Joe shot him with the Nerf gun. Don't worry- it doesn't hurt just stops him from being a dick to Moonshadow.

Anyway, the pillow in the photo is from Target, too. It's super plush and comfy and I got the a white & icy blue one as well. The prices were pretty good- $25 for a 24x24 pillow and $20 for the 18x18. The mirrored tree was $15 I think? They are out of stock on the Target website. I think I should go before work today and scoop them up before they are gone for good...

Speaking for work, I have to get ready for that. See you soon!