Friday, 29 June 2012

New Uses for Old Things: Paint Chips

Have you ever read Real Simple magazine?  My favorite thing they do is finding new uses for everyday items.  Since I: a) hardly ever throw useful things away and b) think everything is useful, I am always finding ways to reuse some of the old items I have.  I try to upcycle things I've collected, and only after I have held onto them for a while do I throw them away.  (I'm not a hoarder though... I don't amass that much stuff.  I can't watch that show anymore, it just gave me the urge to clean and throw things away.)

ANYWAYS, one collection I have is of paint chips.  I liberated a bunch from Home Depot (they said take as many as I want!) and I used some in the classroom for art.  But now, I have quite a few at home.  So as I was wrapping a present, I had no gift tags.  Since necessity is the mother of invention, I made quick gift tags with some of the paint chips. 

I thought it looked really cute!  I have these shape punches that I use for school, and I punched some shapes out of the chip and voila! gift tags!  I also had some fancy edged scissors, so I cut some rectangles out of the paint chips and they look cute too. 

I love that you can make them in almost any color!  So useful.  I'll probably never buy another gift tag again.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

My New Favorite Salad!

Last week it got really hot here.  Like, stupid hot-- and I mean it  'cause I'm from the South y'all.  As a result, I didn't want to be near anything that produced heat; which would normally be a problem for cooking dinner.  But we decided to have sandwiches and salad, so I experimented and made my new favorite salad.  Because I like y'all so much, I thought I would share it with you for a light summer supper or an awesome healthy lunch.

It's really easy:  rip up some kale and lettuce, add some red pepper, blueberries, sunflower seeds, walnuts and chevre (goat cheese) and toss it together.  Here's the best part, my amazing salad dressing (and its even healthy!)

Stephanie's Honey Mustard Salad Dressing:

1/3 cup of plain yogourt
3 tbsp of grainy dijion mustard
3-4 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar

Put all ingredients in a small jar and shake it!  Serve with the kale salad, and watch your partner who once proclaimed that he didn't like vegetables eat almost the whole bowl.

Speaking of bowls, like my new vintage Pyrex?  We found a stall that sold them at reasonable prices!  So I bought two!  And I use them all the time.  How did I live without them?

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Thrifted: Pennants and Paintings

I was so lucky today!  We went out to my favorite Sunday morning haunts and one of the stall sellers was trying to get rid of her pennants.  I happen to be caught in a moment of obsession with Americana, and I thought that these were too cute to pass up.  She had a lot of baseball and college flags, but these vacation souvenirs were definitely what I wanted.  I wanted to keep it to the Southern states (I am what I am) but I have a soft spot for Las Vegas, so I got that one too. 

At home, we had the perfect spot for it!  There was a blank space above our work area that needed something cool.  And they look great!  I was afraid they would be out of place, but I think they fit well.  I was so excited when I put them up!  They are not the only thing on the wall.  Since the piano was moved, I thought that all the frames looked, well... a little silly.  So I got some long thin shelves and we put some of our favorites doo-dads on them.  Two painting I thrifted are up there too:

That's right!  A two dollar painting (an original nonetheless!) and a 25 cent paint by numbers picture. I loved both of them, and thought that they would look great by our workspace.  I like this wall now.  There's a lot of really interesting things on it like the piece by a Tawahka artisan from Honduras-- but that's another story for another time.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Bassability books: June 2012

I love to read.  I thought that it would be fun to try and review the books I read.  I don't do reading challenges because I read at least 10 books a month.  I like to read every night before bed, and instead of watching movies or TV.  I'm not sure why I like reading as much as I do, it wasn't something my parents did.  In fact, I don't remember books anywhere in the house except my room when I was younger.  I think my mom reads some now, but we have such different taste in books. 

I also don't do the e-reader thing.  There's something about holding onto a book, and turning the pages.  I love the way the books sounds as you turn the page, sounds like progress.  I've tried the e-reader route, but I couldn't stick with it.  I don't know if I will ever be able to give up my paper books.   The picture above are some of  the books that I read this month.  These were my favorites of them all.  Here's what I thought from bottom to top.

*** 3/3 - Couldn't put it down.  I may have taken a day off work to finish it.
** 2/3 - Glad I read it.  Passed the time, probably won't read it again.
* 1/3 - Finished it.  Still don't know why I bothered
0/3 - Didn't finish it.  Life's too short for bad books.

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (which is actually 2 dudes who were writer's assistants sharing the writing in this novel) This story was a combination between Sci-Fi (love it) and Mystery (love it too.)  It wasn't a tough read, for the most part the book was really fun.  Like a Soap Opera in space, but the fun kind like Passions, not the serious kind like General Hospital. The story was about a detective on a space station, who joins forces with a ship captain to solve the mystery of what was killing the station inhabitants.  It was cool how the story flipped back and forth between characters and styles with each chapter.  I guess that was done to combine the two writing styles, and it worked.  If you like Sci-Fi, I think you will like this book.  The only down side, there is no sequel... yet. (***)

Fool by Christopher Moore: This book was an irreverent retelling of King Lear from the point of view of Lear's fool, Pocket.  I think this was a great idea; and even though Shakespeare fans would hate that the bard's work was co-opted, I think the way that Moore wrote this is a great homage to what Billy Shakes did.  There is a lot of inappropriateness in the book; lots of sex and referencing boobs.  Shakespeare's work was for the common people, and the themes and scenes would have been considered tawdry (as the whole acting profession was seen) and so Moore's retelling fits with this tradition.  It would be hard to follow though if you didn't know the story of King Lear, so that would be a must read first. (***)

Bite Me by Christopher Moore: Funny.  And vampires.  And rats.  Moore is good at writing from different point of views.  This story's narrator was a teenage girl obsessed with vampires.  So much that she works for two.  This story has less sex and more crazy vampire animal hybrids.  I really enjoyed it, this was the book that made me pick up Fool. (***)

Mars Life by Ben Bova:  Another Sci Fi, this time by one of my favorite authors ever.  Bova wrote my favorite Sci Fi novel Saturn.  The great thing about Bova is that he is upfront with what he wants his stories to do, the stories are supposed to teach us about ourselves.  It is cool how he references current events like history in his novels.  Its a really interesting idea: what will future people think of our current events?  There will be more evidence and record of what happening now then at any point in history.   My mind is blown. (***)

She's Come Undone by Walter Lamb: In a way, I did like this book, but I had a couple of problems with some of the plot points.  Mainly, the heroine (Dolores) of the book is miserable for most of the book, and often notes that her unhappiness was caused by her fatness.  Now, I think that this is a surface reading of how the author attempted to work thought some complex feelings of guilt and grief with the main character, but I couldn't help but feel attacked (is that the word I'm thinking of?) Everytime some character would reference Dolores' weight, I would pause.  I'm fat, and I'm happy.  Should I be unhappy?  A huge deal was made about the main character's weight, and that is my weight.  They kept referring to her as a "whale," that she found solidarity with the whales... And on and on.  I'm sure that there is some significance to this theme, however I can't get past the negativity of fatness in this book.  Fat girls, proceed with caution on this one. (**)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

What I wore: Can Fat Girls Wear White? Absolutely!

When I was younger (did I just type that??! Am I getting old?) I was told "rules" that I should follow when I bought clothes.  One of these "rules" was that fat girls couldn't wear white pants.

Stupid rule.  So I decided to get some just to show how stupid that rule is.  My fave plus-size clothing store had a sale on their capris (buy one get one free!) so for free I got these white ones.  I LOVE them.  They are comfortable, thick enough that they don't show the world my business, and they look classy.  Such a fun summer look, more girls gotta try it.  I thought that they would be a pain to keep clean, but after one day at school, they still look great.  I wasn't even careful.

Just to stick it to the "rules," I paired this with a tank top.  If you're going to tell the "rules" to stick it do it in style, and go all the way.

::Head to toe::
 Earrings: These from Ten Thousand Villages
Sleeveless shirt: Walmart (on sale for 10 bucks!)
Brooch: Cross Stitched Heart by The Pin Pals, Bought at White Elephant
Pants: Love and Legend
Shoes: Trusty Silver Birks
Watch: Roots Canada

This is third week of Rachele's (at The Nearsighted Owl) Proud of my size link up.  So I'm joining again.  I was so happy to be considered one of her faves from the first two weeks!  If you haven't linked up, please do; its fun and inspiring!  Don't be shy!  What better entry for this week, than breaking the stupid "rules" of fat girl fashion? 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Summer Lovin'

Happy first day of summer!

I thought it would be fitting to start this great season with a rundown of some of the things that are awesome about the summer. I will add to this list every once and a while, so I will call this series: "Seasons of Love."  There is something awesome about every season.  And I love musicals.

What I love about the summer:

 Camping:  I am lucky enough to live in one of the greatest places for camping, Ontario.  If I drive a few hours north, it looks like the picture above.  When we camp, we usually canoe too.  You may not know this about me, but I was a canoe instructor at summer camp for a few years.  I love to canoe.  Can you canoe?  Can you say that three times fast?

Other than canoeing, I love just chilling in nature.  I'm not the sportiest person, so camping for me is mostly sitting by the lake, reading and drinking beer.  For exercise, I keep the cooler on the other side of our campsite; that way I have to get up to get another.  

Picnics:  I love making a meal specifically to eat outside.  You have to be creative when making an outdoor meal.  What would make it easier is having a set like this.  Isn't this the cutest?  I couldn't buy it though. D said we would have to eat out for every meal this summer to justify the 80 dollar price tag.  Sadface.

There are so many things I love about the summer!  Can't do them in one post, so stay tuned!
What are some things you love about the summer?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Have you ever...

...Seen a history geek's pencil collection?

I was a history and women's studies major in university.  As a result, I love text books and inside history jokes. 

I got these pencils from another history geek friend.  They are in Latin, that very useful language with which most history and classics student are familiar.   They translate to:

noli me vexare!- Vex me not!
flocci non facio!-I do not care!
ecce! euge!- Look! There!
multus sanguis fluit!- Much blood flows!

Yep.  They are pretty angry pencils. 

Have you hugged a historian today?

Not ragging on D

Its hard not to feel a little judged on the internet.

I feel that my last post may have given some folks the wrong impression of D.  Maybe this blog gives the wrong impression of D, I don't know, I'm not a blog interpreter.  What I do know is that D is a great dude.  Someone I'm happy to have around.  So I wanted to share some of the great things D does, and the awesomeness he adds to my life.  In this post, I will not be ragging on D.

1.  D gives the best back scratches.  I'm not sure he even likes scratching my back.  But if I want one, he has his hands out ready to go.  A friend wanted to by me a back scratched, you know those green plastic jobs that you get for a buck?  D said, "what for?  I scratch her back."  And he totally does.  He commits to doing a good job.  I've never had a second-rate back scratch from this guy.

2. D supports my schemes.  Every once and a while, I have these "get rich quick" and "carpe diem" schemes.  Haphazard plans to make money, or try something unreasonable.  I wanted to start playing shows every weekend, that way I wouldn't have to work in a conventional office job (that I was terrible at).  So that year for my birthday, D bought me a new amp for my guitar.  I wanted a piano, so D found a used one, and made arrangements for it to be moved.  I wanted to become and exterminator knowing full well that I was allergic to Pyrethren.  D went and bought Benedryl and calamine lotion.  I wanted to learn how to skateboard, roller derby, hang glide, get a weird piercing, new tattoo etc... D would just roll his eyes and make preparations to help me feel better when these schemes did or didn't work out.  He's the one that is prepared for the fallout of living with me.

3. D supports my dreams.  I wanted to go to teacher's college.  He helped me make it financially possible.  He supported me when my classmates were racist idiots. When I was tired, he tried to make dinner, and didn't ask me to do anything that year.  He saw that the jobs I kept taking weren't for me, and that this would change things for me.  And he was right.

4.  D does the laundry.

5.  D doesn't think that my disabilities are a burden.  While I was being tested for MS, brain tumors and other maladies, he worried, but didn't shy away from research and finding ways to make me feel more comfortable.  He bugs me to take my medications.  Makes me go to the doctor's office, even though I hate it.  Fights with me about follow-up appointments and getting my tests done.  Things that most people would rather ignore, D puts in my face so that I will do something about it.

6.  D supports my political stuff.  I love a good protest.  Even if he is not in full agreement with me politically, he will talk to me, try to understand my point of view.  He has learned about feminism, socialism, anti-racism and imperialism so that he can understand where I'm coming from.  He will come with me to events, and hold my signs while I argue with people.  Make me feel better after wards when I'm upset about people "not getting it" or saying rude things to me.

7. D lets me play my guitar at 3am if song inspiration hits.

8.  D calls himself the "straight man" to me, like he's some humorless foil to my comedy.  He's not, he has a wicked tongue, and a great sense of humor.  Sometimes he get some zingers in that leave me breathless.

9.  D lets me write blog posts about him.  Good and bad.  

That's a small part of the D I know.  He's not perfect.  Neither am I.  So we suit each other well. 

Monday, 18 June 2012

How I Owned a Dog for 3 Days

(I think that I have cooled down enough to write about what happened a little over a week ago.  I was very upset with D, and so he may look kinda bad in this post.  We have talked about it, and he is totally cool with looking like a jerk.  He said he felt like a jerk.  So here it is.)

A little over a eek ago, we got a dog.  This wasn't a spur of the moment thing; we ad talked about it for a while.  I wanted a dog really badly, and since Shiloh died, this seemed like a good time.  Our place felt kind of empty.  A pet would warm it up again.

I searched for a while trying to find a rescue/ adoption that would work for us.  We didn't want a puppy.  We wanted a pet who knew the ropes.  After an adjustment period would be a part of our household. 

And we found him.

He was a 3 year old pug that needed a new home soon.  He owners were moving, and he needed to find a new home.  I didn't make any plans; I asked D if he wanted to meet the dog.  He said yes.  So we set up a time to meet him.

So we went to his current home, and talked to the owner, got some information about the dog and played with him for about an hour.  His name was Wrinkles.  He was a doofus.  And I loved it.  While we were talking to the owner, he started playing with my purse.  Then he put his head in it and laid there.  It was the funniest thing I've ever seen a dog do.  He was so excited to meet us.  D ad I agreed that we would take him.  But not right then, we would get the house ready for him and pick him up in 4 days.

Plenty of time for D to change his mind.

But he didn't.

So I got rid of my piano, so that there would be some more room for Wrinkles and his things.  I bought food, a brush, and leash, some toys, allergy solution for me, a harness, treats, and other dog-needs.  I was ready for the pup.

Finally the weekend came, and we picked up Wrinkles.  He was a little stressed at first.  This was to be expected.  He was also really excited.  We took him for a ride in the car.  He LOVES the car.

Because he's a pug, he sounded a bit asthmatic when he got excited.  It wasn't something that bothered me.  It also wasn't a surprise.  When we met him, he made this sound.  However, once he calmed down, he stopped.

Wrinkles is a little willful, but not anymore than I am.  So we got along swimmingly.  He listened to me. I walked him.  I fed him.  I gave him attention.  And I thought everything was awesome.

I was wrong.

D hated having this dog around.  Wrinkles' sounds made him anxious.  3 days after we got him, D said the dog had to go.  I was against this.  So he made the arrangements.

And we had to give Wrinkles back.  While he returned the pup, I said in the car and cried.  I was heart-broken.  I really wanted this dog, and he felt like a friend.  I felt like we were abandoning a friend.   I am still convinced that I would have given Wrinkles a happy home.

I still count him as my dog.  Even if it was only for 3 days.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

He's a funny dude, my daddy.  He's also not a sappy kind of guy.  So I wanted to post a little about this guy, and his, let's say, quirky personality.

1. We used to hang out on Wednesday night's to watch Dawson's Creek together on the WB.  If I missed a night, my dad would tell me what happened so that I could be caught up for the next week.  I think he secretly hated if I asked him questions while he was watching.  We also used to watch cooking shows together.  I think that's where I decided that I wanted to learn how to cook.  While I was living at home, I told my parents that I couldn't cook, that way I wouldn't have to make dinner.  I only looked like I didn't know what I was doing. 

When my dad found out I could cook, he rolled his eyes and laughed to himself. 

He got the last laugh though.  Since then, when we go home for dinner, my dad always makes me cook something.  On Thanksgiving he invited us over and said he was going to try cooking a duck. 

He meant I was going to try cooking a duck.  And I cooked it. 

My dad would say, "Come on over for a Barbecue, Steph." And when we got there he would hand us the food and say that the barbecue was outside.  He usually said he would be out to check on us later.

2. While driving home to NC for Christmas one year, we developed an inside joke.  Nickleback (or some band's) song  "Arms Wide Open" was a hit then.  I hated and still do hate this song.  However, without fail, every time we entered a new radio station's area, that song was on.  This happened like 7 times in a row.  It was maddening.  And the more annoyed I got, the funnier it was to my dad.  About a month later, my dad called my house to leave me a message.  The whole message was, "Pumpkin, listen:.." and that song played.  Not for a minute.  He LEFT THE WHOLE SONG ON MY MACHINE. 

3. Every time we take a picture together, it looks like this:

A friend said about this picture, "this person looks afraid of you."  I replied, "that's my dad."  She laughed.  He does this in pictures often. 

No, he didn't blink, he refused to open his eyes.  Just being difficult.  He hates pictures.  On my birthday, he asked "why there were so many cameras out ? Is the Pope here?" 

4. My dad is a jokester: one year, I broke my leg, and at that point my dad thought it was a good idea to get me a bike.  To motivate me to get better faster.  Yep.

So if people ever ask me where I get my weirdness from, it is without a doubt, from my father.  My mom's, she's pretty normal.  And patient.  I guess you'd have to be dealing with the two of us.

My dad's my buddy.  We have the same sense of humor, the same smile, and the same nose.  We even have the same beefy arms, and hyper-extended knees. And we both look good in afros. 

Happy Father's Day, Daddy! 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Proud of my Size Link-Up, What I wore: Date Night and 100 posts

Whoa, triple whammie post.  There is a lot to do this post, so let get right to it!

Proud of my Size Link Up:


This is my first link-up ever!  I'm really happy that I'm doing this link-up to help start a revolution of body acceptance!   You may have read my about my last bout with low self-esteem, (that led to the writing of the Fat Girl Army Manifesta).  Rachele at The Nearsighted Owl started this link up and I HAD to join in.  I missed the first one, but I was determined to get in on this week.

What I like best about this idea, is that its a celebration!   The Proud of My Size Link-Up is for all bodies, which is totally my jam.  The rules for joining are posted on Rachele's blog, so scamper over if you want to join in on the fun. 


What I Wore: Date Night


D and I had a little date night.  Things have been strained between us because he made me get rid of my pug (more on that to come), and I was very upset.  On the bright side, we had some great talks about where we were going and what we wanted.  It was good to reassess our goals, so we can move forward.  I'm still sad about my doggie, but I'm starting to forgive him.  I'm good like that.

Since we were tired, both physically and emotionally, from this week, we went out for dinner.  I got to pick, so we had pancakes, then we went for a walk.  Our city is built on two levels (not unlike Portland) and so we walked along the top of the escarpment, which we locals call "The Mountain."  I wore a black tank top (take THAT rude lady from last week) and struted my stuff.  It was beautiful outside.

::Head to Toe::

Black Tank Top: Addition Elle
Jeans: Winners
Silver Birkenstocks: From here
New Purse: Winners

I love my new purse.  Besides being a delicious yellow color, its strap is long enough to go across my body, and there is tons of space in it.  Its leather, so it should last me for the season at the very least.  But I have been wearing it everywhere.  I can't usually wear yellow, it makes me look so sallow, so I'm glad that I can have this bag for that pop of color.  


Looks Like We Made It: 100 Posts

Lastly, did you know that this was my 100th post?  I'm fairly proud of having stuck with this blog for that long.  I had an old blog for years, but then stopped for a while.  When I tried to start up again, I was always too tired, or busy, or I didn't think I had anything interesting to say.  I'm starting to see this little blog as a chronicle of my doings and interests.  As a place to make silly jokes, tell funny stories, and reference 80s music.  Now that I'm moved in and settled, I can't wait to see what the next 100 posts bring.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Tutorial: Punny Dad's Day Cards

I don't know about you, but I can never find the perfect gift.  That's why I started making things.  I can make exactly what I want to give as a gift.  And this year, I wanted to give my dad a pun.  (Stay with me here...)

I love making cards, and since I usually get my dad a coin for his collection, or a gift card, I always need a card to put it in.  My father and I have the same sense of humor, so who better to write a card that he would enjoy?

I wanted to make something that was cute, but had my personality. So I made these origami shirt cards.  They are pretty fast, and cute.  And you can personalize them with puns (if you so desire.)

So here is a tutorial, step-by-step folding to create your own pun-backdrop.

First, cut your paper to a rectangle measuring 14cm x 7cm

Fold in half lengthwise to crease the paper down the center.  Open it flat again.

Fold the edges of the rectangle in towards the center crease.

Do this for the other side.

Now you should have a thinner rectangle.  Fold in the corners of one side like in the picture:

And fold over the point.  Crease these fold well, as they help you with the valley fold coming up.

Open the folds again. If it is not creased well, fold it again so that the crease is well-folded.

This is the trickiest part; pinch the corners of each side so that  they meet.

Then flatten out that section.  These are the sleeves.

Turn over to the front side.  Fold up a 1 cm flap from the bottom on the right side.  Turn over to the back side again.

Fold in one corner of the bottom of the shirt and fold on a diagonal to the sleeves. 

Repeat for the other edge of the bottom.  This will be the collar, so its not important that they meet in the middle.

Next, you are going to fold it in half.   Bend the whole thing in half and adjust so that the collar is above the "shoulders" of the shirt.

Then crease it well.

Voila!  An Origami shirt!

You can do all sorts of things with these to make little gifts.  I made a little plaque using some leftover matte from a framing shop:

I turned another one into a magnet by attaching some magnetic strip to the back:

Or you can make a card with a terrific pun on it:

I love a good pun. I know what you are thinking; "But Steph, won't your dad see his card before you give it to him?  Wouldn't that spoil the surprise?"

Not really.  My dad couldn't find the internet if you drew him a map.  I asked him to shut down my computer once, and he unplugged it from the wall.

Enjoy!  If you make one, link up so I can see!