It's now 10 January (okay, it's not anymore, but it was when I originally started writing this) and I am on the post-holiday comedown. I decided that I might write something down while I wait for the clock to tick over to 9am so I can call the real estate because last night EJ discovered that our hot water system is leaking rapidly. So that's fun.
I recently made the mistake of recalling how much I enjoy playing the Sims, and so I got EJ to install the Sims 2 for me, and as a result I have been stuck to the computer screen for obscene amounts of time. So far I've recreated my family, my parents' house, our unit, myself and EJ, and various fantastical families, plus murdered two people just because one of my sims wanted to see a ghost. Oh, the good life. No, really I'm ashamed of myself.
However, I've partially made up for that by going through the house and giving it a good spring clean. Who cares if it's summer? The only room that I have left to do is the spare/sewing/craft/junk room, which I am kind of scared to do. Nonetheless, it will happen. Eventually. And then I'll actually be able to do stuff. Imagine that. Being able to reach the sewing machine without moving ten things our of the way first. Pff.
I hope everyone had a beautiful xmas. Ours was nice, albeit a bit rushed. EJ worked until 5:30 on xmas eve, so I got everything ready and then we went down to my Mum & Dad's straight after he finished. It's a two hour trip, but we had fun. After dinner we got to drive around Sussex and look at the xmas lights, which I've always loved to do. And then it was bedtime to see what Santa would bring us!
Some of the best prezzies I received included a new mobile phone and the Common Sense Cookery Book from my darling EJ, a standalone mixer and a small gas BBQ from my parents, and gorgeous peacock feather earrings in a photo jewellery box from my sister. Oh and a bejewelled hanging peacock from my Mum, absolutely amazing. I've been flipping through the Common Sense Cookery Book ever since I got it, and for new year's I made some delicious cupcakes with cream cheese icing from the recipes inside, and used my new silicone cupcake holders, too. They worked really well, although I learnt that it's better to put them in a cupcake tray rather than sitting them on a baking tray, because while they both work, the concentrated heat on the base of the cupcakes in the tray means that they cook quicker on the bottom.
As I posted before, I handmade a few things for xmas. One of those things was my cake-pop bouquets:
They were a real hit with everybody I gave them to - my grandparents, my Dad, EJ's family, and some friends. However, disaster struck when, amid the sugary spoils of xmas, my family failed to munch them up straight away. They ended up actually opening them to eat at my brother's birthday on 4 January, two weeks after I made them. What greeted their eager lips? Mould! Ugh. I was so upset. I know it's not my fault that they put off eating them, but they have to throw them all away! :( At least EJ's family and one of my grandmas ate them quicker, and the ones I was waiting to give to my friends I've tossed out and will remake when I know I'll see them soon. So be warned - 1. refrigerate your cake pops to keep them longer, and 2. don't be afraid to pig out - they're yummy and now you have an excuse to make sure you eat them up quickly. Oh, and 3. gluten-free cakes have a shorter shelf-life than gluten-full ones. Damn celiacs.
Anyway, other handmade prezzies were this tres awesome guitar bag for my sister, and this neat little chequebook holder I gave to my Dad.
The guitar bag was inspired by one I saw on the Threadbanger forum, but I can't find it now. The zebra scratchplate is a little pouch as well. I heart the buttons for the volume, etc, controls. The chequebook cover was inspired by crazy mom quilts' tutorial, but after I made one I realised I had to rethink it a bit - apparently Australian chequebooks are different to American ones. I used the American one to put the tix to Tim Minchin in which I gave to My brother and his girlfriend, so don't worry, the failed chequebook holder venture didn't go to waste.
The DIY processes for both the guitar bag and the AU chequebook cover are easy enough to figure out, but for those who might like to follow a tutorial, I will post one for each of these after I finish this post. I'll include a jpg and photoshop template for the guitar bag, too. And I guess I can make one for the chequebook cover as well. I need to make some more now, word has spread. Maybe I should make some for my etsy store? If I decide to do that I should probably ask crazy mom quilts' permission. :)
The last DIY gifts that I made were some adorable apple and banana warmers (I was going to include a picture but I forgot to buy an apple and banana to put inside, so I'll post one later. I sent a set to my buddy Kylee and I'm waiting to give the other set to my Mum for her birthday later this month. She always brings along a piece of fruit in her handbag when she goes on a trip, so now she can rest assured that her apple and/or banana is protected from the little bumps and bruises that are inherent in handbag transportation (damn keys...). I found this delightful idea on One Pretty Thing. I altered knitting patterns from the vegan lunch box for crochet, omitted the leaves and used beautiful bamboo yarn I got on special from Spotlight. I've just asked permission from the vegan lunch box to see if she minds me posting my crochet patterns, and if she approves then I'll post those in the near future, too. As is, you can click the links to find the knitting patterns for her banana cozy, apple cozy, and orange cozy.
What else? Happy new year! We had a nice quiet NY party at the home of one of EJ's friends. The only thing that upset me was that while I only drank about 3/4 of a bottle of bubbly over the course of about... five hours, intermitting it with healthy healthy water, and I still woke up with a rotten hangover! Lucky Paul and Matt put together my favourite morning-after cure: bbq bacon and eggs, plus hash browns. Mmm...
And with new year comes new year's resolutions. What have you promised for 2009? I've got my same old resolution to lose weight, but I like to leave that one fuzzy at the edges, i.e. don't define how much weight, so that I don't have to feel so bad about it when I fail. However, I made another resolution, one which I am going to endeavour to actually stick to: I resolve to write at least 12 000 words of Pearl, my novella that I have been working on since mid 2006. That's only 1000 words each month, so I reckon I can do it. I mean, I WILL do it.
I also want to write a good short story to put into Tide magazine when I do 3rd year editing in spring this year. Really looking forward to that. And since this semester I'm not taking any writing subjects, it should be even easier to make myself work on those stories.
In other news, I will be joining my sister and my friend Michael and going to see Delta Goodrem tomorrow at 8 in Sydney. I am SO excited. I've planned out my outfit for it - a peasant skirt that I made right after I got my sewing machine xmas a year ago (I linked to the page I used to make it in my last post), an awesome bohemian vest like the one she wore while singing 'I feel the earth move' at her last concert, and a golden dress top. I can't wait!! She's so beautiful!
[EDIT: It was awesome! Here's a little pic of the event, I know we wouldn't get any good ones but it was such a good time!]
And as if seeing Delta tomorrow is not enough, we are lucky enough to have gotten seats to Tim Minchin in Wollongong in April, too! If you don't know who Tim Minchin is, you don't know what comedy is. He is the funniest man alive, and that takes a lot for me to say because I love a lot of comedians (Adam Hills, you know there's a special place in my heart for you, too). Look him up on youtube, look him up on www.timminchin.com, then be jealous of our front-and-centre tickets. Hallelujah!
Something else that I've been working on of late is the Educational Resources 4 U website. ER4U is my brother's business, and a family operation. It's official domain is www.er4u.com.au, however since I have just made the site via trial and error, I still haven't figured out how to attach the domain to the site that I've made. Still, check it out and tell me what you think. Also, if you know how to attach the domain to the actual site, let me know!
I finally made one of the many projects that I have on an ongoing list in my diary - a full circle skirt.
Originally I was going to make it with culottes (free pattern from Burdastyle) for the lining, but then I realised that I didn't have nearly enough of my plain teal cotton jersey for that, so I just made an underskirt out of two squares. The beautiful soft aqua tulle I actually found at an op-shop. Even though it doesn't really suit my... ahem, voluptuous body, I am still really proud of it because I made it myself, no patterns involved. I won't explain the process since I don't believe that anyone really wants to know, but I'm still happy. :)
A new project I'm planning on is to make a teatowel apron. Every year without fail my Dad's family gives EJ and I teatowels for xmas. I don't have a problem with it, they're lovely, but I am running out of space in our teatowel drawer. And I've been thinking that I should really make a new apron because the one I've got is a mundane $4 job from Woolworths, and when I've put it in the wash I just have to risk getting splattered. So I'm going to combine these into a teatowel apron! Hooray. Now just wait and see how long it takes me to actually make it. :)
Well, I've actually run out of things to say. It's amazing. I suppose it had to happen eventually. Now I'm off to make some replacement cupcakes for the victims of my cake-pop disaster. Toodloo!