29 July 2009

Celebrations, Cotton, Cooking, and Catching Up

Last week held an even more important event in my life. If you're finding it hard to imagine what could be more important than Harry Potter, I understand your difficulty. But it's true. Because last week, Jason and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary! [hooray! streamers! confetti!] Goodness, I love that man. He is the very best husband in the whole wide world, and I am one very lucky girl.

But enough mushyness, and onto the making! Looking back, it turned out to be a very creative week for me, which surprises me a bit because I didn't really set out to make anything. Here's a list of the random creative ventures from last week:

1) Jason and I redesigned our apartment. First, we switched our bedroom with our guest room/study/craft space because our multi-purpose room was smaller and quite crowded. Then we went to Ikea--oh how I love Ikea--and got a new rug for our living room and a new duvet cover and new sheets for our bed to make it a little more summery. (After all, the 2nd anniversary is the cotton anniversary... although I'm pretty sure our sheets are mostly bamboo.) Then we got a dresser (see below) for $15.00 at a yard sale and scoured it of all its dirt and dust and spiders, and it is now a very organized storage space for all my fabric. (Don't worry...I made triple sure that all of the spiders were gone before putting away my precious fabric.) Our guest room is now our favorite room in our apartment, and we actually spend time in there happily not tripping over each other.
This would be a great i-spy picture, don't you think? Can you find 2 turtles, a tiger, my teddy bear Night-Night, and at least 25 fish? How bored are you really?

2) As part of our anniversary celebrationing, Jason and I went back to Russell Orchards (where we harvested the strawberries for the jam) and picked blueberries and the most beautiful raspberries I've ever seen.
Although I didn't make anything out of the berries, I greatly enjoyed eating 2 quarts of raspberries in 2 days. Well, I let Jason have a few.

3) I made another loaf and a half of banana bread. (It was identical to the last batch, so I didn't take a picture.)

4) I made a batch of the famous Niki Giberson spaghetti sauce, which is always a creative venture because I have no idea how much of each spice I'm supposed to throw in there. I'm getting better at guessing though, and this batch was quite good with very little altering along the way. (I've found that it helps to add a little salt, which brings out the flavor of the spices.) It seems that whenever I ask my mom for a recipe for a favorite meal, she's very good at telling me what ingredients to use, but when I ask for quantities, she usually says something like, "enough" or "until it's the right color" or "when it tastes good." Even though this can be a little frustrating when I'm trying to curb my homesickness with the exact taste of her home-cooked goodness, it's made me a better, more confident, and more creative cook than I otherwise would have been. Thanks, mom!

5) I'm not sure if this was a July-make or not, but I picked it up from the pottery place in July. This is a plate that I painted to go with my pear fondue plates.
It seems I always have two much fruit to fit in the little serving sections of my fondue pot, and using a bunch of separate bowls is quite inconvenient when you live in a malicious dishwasherless apartment. So I'll use this lovely little dish to supplement the fruit choices without over-supplementing Jason's dirty dishes quota. (Yes, Jason does almost all of our dishes. Have I mentioned that he is the best husband in the world?)

6) I also collected fabric for a few projects to be given as gifts next week when I'm in Jersey. I plan on finishing them up this week and then posting about them after they have been received. Be excited. They're pretty sweet!

And now...finally...I am all caught up with July. [hooray! streamers! confetti!]

28 July 2009

Ravenclaw and July in Review

July has been a crazy month of celebrations, activities, and makes. And as you know, I am once again way behind on posting. Allow me to catch you up...

When we left off, our heroine announced that she was giving out mass amounts of jam and marmalade and that she would be sending out/delivering that jam on July 6th. As it turns out, our heroine tends to over-complicate things and could not simply send out a jar of jam without some special packaging or cutesy hand-written note or something. So that jam and marmalade remains on her cute little jelly table with the best of intentions for sending it out sometime this week if all goes according to plan. Hang in there, preserve winners. Relish the anticipation.

So that brings us to the second week in July (6th-12th). As some of you may know, the week after that week held a very special event in my life: the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. So July's second and third weeks' makes were made in preparation for the show: a wand, a wand bag, and a gnargle necklace. (Note: the scarf was a present from Jason for my 23rd birthday.)
If you were in the Wheaton Order of the Phoenix, you know that I already had a very sweet vine-wood wand with a copper dragon heartstring core and a custom leather handle that I made back in those glory days of corporate nerd-dom. Unfortunately, sometime in my travels from Wheaton to Jersey 2 years ago, my wand suffered a Ron's-first-wand-like fate with a tragic snap. The copper core tried to hold it together, but in the end, the damage was irreparable. Unable to cope with the loss and immediate replacement of my wand, I have been wandless these past two years, which is probably why my life has been so lacking in magic. But with the new movie coming out, I thought it was time. So I found a nicely shaped stick which was a good weight and length and set out to make a new wand. This one is pine, so it is a little sturdier. I whittled it up and left it with a rough finish (partly by choice and partly because I didn't have any sandpaper). Then I stained it and wrapped the handle with some blue yarn that used to belong to my grandmother, which could only make the magic stronger. Although it is nowhere near as flashy as my first wand, and although the new feel, weight, and unicorn hair core have taken some getting used to, I am very happy to no longer be as defenseless as an average muggle. *blex*

The wand bag is a simple drawstring bag I made from some spare fabric. It proved much more convenient than always having my wand in hand (like I did at the last movie premier). I went to that one with Hannah, and we both dressed up like Hogwarts students (in my old high school uniforms). My outfit made a reappearance for HPatHBP, but without my dad's blue and silver striped tie, I needed something a little extra and decided to craft a gnargle necklace out of a few strands of beads I got at a yard sale and a cork from an old bottle of wine. The necklace was very effective. The gnargles kept their distance that whole night as I shepherded youth group kids through a very crowded movie theater into the early hours of the morning.

(Sidenote: The movie itself did not disappoint. I've seen it twice so far, and although a lot was left out about horcruxes and Voldemort's history, the movie was well-done and an enjoyable experience, and I think they'll make up for the missing parts in the next two movies. HPatDH is being done in two installments, which I'm sure will illicit even more nerdyness and dressing up and HP makes in 2010 and 2011. Consider yourself warned.)

03 July 2009

And the winner is...

For the holiday weekend, I am heading up to New Hampshire to hang out with some friends. Jason is staying behind and joining us on Sunday. I feel bad abandoning him, but he has a large exegesis paper to work on, and I'm leaving him with this week's make:a fresh loaf of banana bread (made from the recipe in the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook) and some chicken tortilla soup I made earlier. (I'll post the recipe for that at some point. It's a good one.) So I'm off to New Hampshire, knowing my husband will not starve in my absence.

And now to the moment you've all been waiting for. Drum roll please....and the winner is...
Everyone!! If you commented on my Strawberry Fields Forever post, you will soon be receiving a jar of strawberry jam and/or strawberry lemon marmalade. Let me know what your preference is, and I'll send it out right away. (I believe I have all of your addresses, or I live in your building.) Congrats to all the winners, and happy 3rd of July!

02 July 2009


Last week, I was invited to a craft night at a new friend's apartment. (Well, technically we met about a year ago, but being that I was m.i.a. from seminary community last year, I think it's safe to say she's a new friend.) (Sidenote: you should check out her blog. I love love love it!!) So a bunch of woman came and hung out and worked on various projects: card-making, scrapbooking, knitting, breastfeeding...and I felted a little friend for the owl that wasn't part of the HP club. Do you remember him from my Pigwidgeon post? I've decided to name him Charlie 'cause he's just so cute. But back to last week's make...So I went to craft night, and it was so much fun getting together with other woman and talking and laughing and eating and crafting all sorts of different creations together. I brought my needle-felting stuff and Charlie (to help me explain what I was doing). And this is the little owl who emerged that night:His name is Amadeus...'cause he's kinda funny looking. (Sorry if there are any Amadeuses reading this.) I think I need to make his eyes bigger, and that would make a difference. I liked him when I was finished...with his little tuft and his umpire belly. But then I brought him to my office to bring a little cheer, and I set him and Charlie on top of my printer and...
...well, Charlie looks a little suspicious of his beady-eyed friend. And I can't blame him. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my needles to work, so the edit will have to wait. Until then, I'll just have to let them get acquainted and see what happens.

On another note, I'll be posting the results for the Jam/Marmalade Giveaway tomorrow (July 3rd) morning. So if you haven't commented yet, and you want a chance to win, leave me a comment on the Strawberry Fields Forever post. Good luck, everybody!