Monday, January 31, 2011

Christmas: It's Crafty

Let's rewind to Christmas. This year I did a couple of crafty things for people, even though I've always been snooty about the "homemade Christmas" thing (because I'm materialistic of course). Since I have a tendency to document my craftiness on my blog I will tell you about my Christmas crafties.

The first thing was some cookies. Okay, maybe they're not necessarily a craft, but I'm counting them anyway. This year we made cookies for Drew's family and my contribution was a gumdrop cookie (Drewbles made his BCEs*). I became acquainted with these cookies several years ago through my sister-in-law, Sarah, but had never made them myself before now. They were, if I may toot my own horn, rather a hit. So, for you curious folk who didn't get any and for you interested folk who did, here is the recipe, which is courtesy of Sarah's lovely mother.

Cream together 1 c. shortening, 1 c. brown sugar, 1 c. white sugar. Beat in 2 eggs. Sift together 2 c. flour, 1/2 t. salt, 1 t. baking soda, 1 t. baking powder and add in. Stir in 1 c. shredded coconut, 2 c. cut gumdrops and 2 c. oatmeal.
Cook at 350 for 11-15 minutes and then eat until you can eat no more.

I would add that mine didn't need quite all the flour. Also, make sure you buy FRUIT gumdrops and not spice gumdrops. I followed Sarah's lead and just bought fruit slices and had Mr. Graham cut them up for me into manageable smallish pieces.

My second Christmas craft was to make some more magnets, this time featuring the grandkids.
I was going to make a set for both my parents, but the craft store thwarted me and didn't have any in stock for all the many weeks before Christmas. In the end I used ones I had leftover from my England magnets but I only had enough for one set. Maybe one day they will sell the really clear stones again and I can make a nice new set.

My last Christmas craftible took the most time by far, but first, a story. Lo, these many years ago when I was wee tot of 5 or 6, my teacher at church gave us each a gold Christmas spider (along with the cheesy story I forgot soon after). Over the years my Christmas spider became quite infamous among the decorations, and the tree was never complete without it. In 2009 my mama sent it to me here and then, later, plaintively asked me to make her one for next year. I tucked that idea away for this year, and I made a spider for my parents and each of my siblings (and myself of course). Again the craft store thwarted me and I had to make white spiders instead of gold. But in the end, they turned out so cute anyway and I just wanted to hug and squeeze them all. Behold my little fleet (and a cameo from Boston Rob)!
And here is the original.
He's a little wonky these days, but now that I know how to make them, I'm thinking about pulling him apart and remaking him. But then he wouldn't be quite the same, would he? Oh, little Christmas spider, what larks we have had.

And that was Christmas. The crafty part anyway...maybe this whole "homemade Christmas" is okay after all.

*Best Cookies Ever.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday is for Funnies

There's an artist on dA that does some funny things. One funny thing she did recently is this:
It was a big hit and led to some altered versions by others. This is my favorite, for obvious reasons:
Hah! Everything is better with dinosaurs. Unfortunately I can't tell you who did this one, but whoever you are, I tip my hat to you, sir/madam/mademoiselle.

On a completely unrelated note, little Vera has just been a basket case for well over six months now. I thought it was because she picked up not one but two viruses in a pretty short amount of time last spring. And, yeah, that probably didn't help but months later she was still taking a ridiculous amount of time to boot up/shut down/open Firefox/open anything. Finally last week I had a little suspicion that maybe my antivirus software was the culprit. So Friday night it was in with the new (avast) and out with the old (symantec) and Vera has perked right up to her old delightful self. I would say symantec served me well, but remember those two viruses? Anyway, it's nice to see Vera happy again and it's nice to not be waiting half an hour for her to do anything. Huzzah.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011: Let's Be Friends

And now commences the blog post I have been meaning to write for weeks now.

So, 2010 has ended, and now 2011 is here and I can't even believe it. 2001 seems like last week, even though I know it obviously wasn't. Okay, maybe it seems like, five years ago, but not ten. My my my. Anyway, I don't usually get big on resolutions. I tend to make goals whenever they come to me and then follow through from there (or not). This year I made a whole list, and while most of them aren't really interesting/relevant for other people, I do have two categories of goals that I am particularly excited about.

First, I have some art goals. I spent so many of my teenage and college years drawing pencil portraits, but ever since I started drawing my own things my senior year at BYU, that's kind of fallen by the wayside. I've drawn a handful, but they've taken months and months at a time. So one of my goals this year is to do a lot more pencil drawings, even just small ones. I'd like to do one a week but since that is entirely unrealistic, I'm aiming for once a month at least.

Another one of my art goals (leftover from last year) was to start an art blog for me and Drewbles. We finally did it and you can see it here. The design is still in progress but we've been updating it pretty regularly. You can also see one of my other art goals in progress--finishing a drawing of Legolas I started about a year ago (eesh). He's the main reason I haven't done any of my pencil drawings yet.

So, aside from the art goals, I have some book goals also. I feel like I spent 2010 reading either a) books I'd read before or b) reading dumb books that I knew were dumb and read anyway. Not that I don't enjoy a ridiculous book from time to time, but the ratio was a little off last year. This year I plan to read more books that I've never read and to have most of them be good books. I haven't made a final list of books to read or anything, and I have no set number, but here are some books I have already lined up to read during the year:
  • Jude the Obscure (the only big Hardy novel I haven't read)
  • Mansfield Park (the only Austen novel I haven't read)
  • 1984
  • The Bourne Supremacy (I read the first, and have the 2nd and 3rd)
  • Cold Comfort Farm
  • I Capture the Castle
I'm also planning to reread Series of Unfortunate Events with Drewbles in the summer, but that's my only planned repeat. I'm really excited to read some new things! A little while ago I did a little books meme on Facebook and marked off which ones I'd read. I was quite happy with how many of them I'd read, but I hadn't read many of those I'm going to have a much better book diet this year.

In 2011 I have a lot of things that I just want to get done. Lately I've felt like I've been kind of stagnant with things. And of course I'm largely to blame with not using my time as well as I should, but dang it, my favorite hobbies are just time consuming. So I need to be better and prioritize things so that the things I REALLY want to do and get done actually HAPPEN.

I feel pretty good about the year so far. January has been kind of busy with post-holiday stuff and apartment hunting, but I've been sticking to my art goals, and I'm almost done with my last 2010 books so I can start afresh. Huzzah. I've also been noticing that my poor blog has been a little neglected lately. Unfortunately I think it might remain a little neglected, for a little while. If I've got these goals, I can't spend the time blogging about random stuff. I'm definitely not abandoning my blog--I mean, it's been around since 2004, it's not going anywhere--but I just want to focus on taking care of some other things for a little while.

BUT luckily Mr. Graham keeps a good blog with regular updates on our doings so if you like to keep tabs on me, please go hither! But in the meantime you can also find bits and pieces from me here and here. And of course, Facebook. I think I'll always be able to make time for a little status update.