Pinterest Love

12.26.2012

Who's feeling lazy and just wants to share some awesome today? Me. That's who.
No I did not see the Hobbit twice the first week it came out. That's absurd. I don't know what you're talking about. I am in NO WAY a Tolkien nerd who has secret fantasies of having a three-way with... Never mind. Here's a pin with a link to some totally uncool and not at all awesome patterns for nerdy Tolkien characters. 

Shut up.

We have a canopy bed that just looks kind of weird with these big empty wooden rails. There not sturdy enough to tie... stuff... to, but maybe I could try the little lights. Or, maybe it would just look tacky. What do you think? Pin here.


Hey look at that, it's a rad crochet blanket that's all completed and everything. You think you're so awesome, with your drive to finish stuff and general motivation towards life and remembering to eat breakfast and cleaning lint traps. Whatever. Pin here, so you too can feel GREAT about your "projects-in-progress" closet.

In other news, I think I might have issues with completing things I start. Like, The Monster. (Oh hey, I remember you!)


There's this weird box on a stick that sits out in front of your house that this person in a uniform visits every day but Sunday and sometimes puts stuff in. Usually that stuff is shrieking discounts at the crappy grocery store on the other side of town and just goes directly into the garbage can without ever making it past the front walkway. But SOMETIMES the box has something special, an envelope with a handwritten address and INSIDE the envelope with the handwritten address is a handwritten note from someone who lives far away but you used to share localized space with. And then you read the note and reverse the process and then the first person visits their box on a stick one day and gets a similar special envelope from you.

So this is a cool way to make the envelope even more special. Pin here.


I have a thing for maps. Obviously. Pin here. (It just goes back here because the original pin went to spam. Sorry! If you have the site link, let me know so I can fix it)

Don't forget that if you want to join the community craft pinboard "Do Something Awesome," you can comment and let me know. Just make sure you give me your pinterest name, cause I'm not a psychic, people.

I'm also starting a community board for all of us who are obsessed with retro and vintage everything: "Retro Vintage Posse!" It's brand new so join up and spread the word. Comment here or email if you'd like to be added as a contributor, and then you can brag about how awesome and important you are. Because we all know that personal importance is measured by how often you pin stuff. Obviously.

Yes I'm feeling snarky this morning. I apologize. My coffee swears it's caffeinated but I think it's lying. I get snarky and angry towards my coffee and then the snark bursts out into a generalized radius of damage when I don't have an appropriate level of caffeine in my system. And by "appropriate," I mean "all of it."


Thank the Fire

12.24.2012



So, where have I been the last 5 months?

It's Christmas Eve and rather than spending it with my family, I am sitting by the grey light of a large window, listening to the rain and reflecting on the strange way this year worked out. It was somehow both expected and unexpected.

My first post of 2012 included the mantra "burn, baby, burn!" and an observation of phoenixes. At the time I intended it as a catalyst for our creativity, to burn with a furnace inside so hot that you must create, get it out of yourself or risk turning yourself to ash. Since then I found myself tossed into a furnace and my life burned to dust, and I realized that sometimes nothing new can be created unless the past growth is destroyed. Like a forest fire. I think sometimes that when we grow, our branches reach for the light in the most direct way possible. Unfortunately, straight up is sometimes not the best route. If all the branches grow straight up, they become crowded and then some die in the shadow, leaving the entire tree stunted. Some of the branches have to take a slower, longer route, and be content with filtered light. It's a more balanced method of living.

I found myself grown like a stunted tree. Some of my branches were reaching desperately for the light, but they could not pull enough from the sun and I started to wither. The inner branches died. My trunk was strong enough that when the fire started, it survived and left me with a core that could grow again.

I left Georgia. I left my family. I left everything that we had built over the last five years. It's true that divorce is akin to death. The grief was crushing, aging me years in a matter of months. I learned, sadly, what friendship really means and who truly cared about me and who didn't. I walked into the middle of the forest and lit a fire. I sat in the middle of it (I had no will or strength to stand) and burned. Flames turned to black smoke, which gave way to ash and I found myself finally able to see the old growth again. All the desperate new branches were destroyed, their thin and weak twigs unable to withstand the fire. But the old trunks were still there, and they now had a tough new armour of fire-hardened bark.

That is the point when you start to grow new branches and you get to decide exactly where they go. It's scary. Exciting yes, but mostly scary. For me, I accepted that my marriage was strong, it just had a couple thick, parasitic branches that hogged all the light and needed to be chopped off and cauterized. The fire did that. What's left is just us, and we're able to start our marriage again. We're lucky, I think. We came close to not surviving the fire.

I haven't seen my husband in two and a half months. I am living in the Pacific Northwest, thousands of miles in any direction from family and friends. I love the holidays, Christmas, presents, lights, cinnamon and clove coffee and pumpkin cookies. But I don't get any of that this year. At the end of the week I'll load up my car again and start the long drive back to Georgia, and when I get there it'll be the end of a literal and metaphorical journey. I just keep thinking how lucky I am that we survived the fire and can start over.

There isn't a moral to this story. Everyone's situation is different. For me, for my husband and I, we needed to succumb to the Destroyer, let her hurricane of fire burn everything to ash. And in the end, the field of blackened trees is strong and serene in the sun as she turns away, satisfied.


Review: Florabella's Vintage Actions

8.20.2012




{This post is NOT sponsored. This is my honest, unprompted opinion :) }

This post is even longer than usual, so heat up some coffee and snuggle up to the monitor. Also helps if a cat or dog is purring in your lap. The cat, not the dog. That would be a weird dog.

I recently discovered the joys of pre-made photoshop actions. I am by no means a photoshop whiz and I'm pretty lazy when it comes to everything editing, so awesome actions that some awesome person dreamed up are kind of like my ice cream these days (I'm on a diet and it sucks SUPER BAD but I've lost almost 20 pounds in the last 1.5 months, so go me. okay tangent over).

For those of you who don't know, "actions" are just macros that you download and open in photoshop. When you click the button in PS it runs the action and then fairies sneeze magic all over your photo. I wanted one that would render a "vintage" effect for the edits on the Retro Academic photos, but a lot of the free ones I downloaded were kind of disappointing. Then I discovered Florabella, who with the help of her sneezy fairies designs actions, packages them up in neat little packs, and then sells them to wary girls recently jilted by their free-loading, laz-y-boy sitting, beer-swilling Ex-actions that they downloaded in fits of rebellion out of dank and ill-lit alleys of the Internet.

Florabella's fairy-actions appear haloed in glimmering light with promises of beautiful photos at the click of a button, with only the occasional sideways glance and warning that not every photo will be perfect as a sparkly unicorn horn. Maybe unicorn poo. Still sparkly, but also still feces. The fairies giggle like tiny bells.

But like all fairy tales, the salvation of the heroine comes at a price. The Vintage Pack was $39. I definitely chewed my lip over that. It was the cheapest pack on her site, I believe... Some are upwards of $100. Granted, you get a bunch of stuff, but going from downloading for free to forking over real money was kind of scary. But I did it. And here are the results, so you minions don't have to wonder if it's worth it.

SO. Here we go. The pic above (at the top of the post) is the original, edited with Florabella's makeover actions to get rid of my breakout and the results of years of unprotected fornication with the sun. I like the pic as is, but I'm going to run each of the eight actions on it so you can see what they all do. Each action has multiple editable layers, but I left them all as is, at 100% opacity, so you could see them at full strength. The Vintage Pack also comes with some extra add-on actions, like "sunlight," "sheer haze," and "vignette," but I will review those next week-ish.

1.) Vintage Summer: One of the more gentle actions, with a light sepia tone.


2.) Vintage Summer II: Like 1 (go figure) but a pinker tone and sweeter overall.


3.) Vintage Wine: Lighter wash and more contrasty than the others.


4.) Classic Vintage: Neutral, hazy tone.


5.) Vintage Haze: Pearly light haze.

6.) Sweet Vintage: Soft pinkish blush.


7.) Retro Vintage: Darker, smokier sepia tone.



8.) Retro Lollipop: This action is a little different than the others in that it has multiple colored layers than you can isolate or combine to pop different colors. The overall effect can range from wheat-field tones to soft pastels. For this pic I have the teal, violet, and warmth optional layers turned on. I think this is my favorite. :)


I do recommend them, but they definitely do work very differently on different photos. A lot of the pics I tried looked just awful. They also tend to require a lot of fiddling with the layers to get them looking right; these pics were easy (one-click!) because they didn't have a lot of saturation or contrast to begin with. I noticed that the actions tended to really pull yellow, so that was occasionally frustrating to fix in other pics.

So was it worth the money? For me... yes, absolutely, but my wallet is cranky and wants ice cream now (especially since I got the makeover actions at the same time, ouch). I'm LUSTING after Florabella's other actions though, despite my bank account, especially the Classic Workflow, the Luxe II, and the Color & Haze sets. Plus the chick is super nice, and got back to me very quick when I emailed her a question.

Honestly, if you've got time and more patience than me, you could probably come up with something similar to these effects. I will say that I really struggled to get these results on my own, and after having a look at the details of the actions, I NEVER would have figured them out on my own. NEVER.

I also really love the makeover actions. I think I might do a video post showing how those work on one of my pics. Yes? Might be fun. I'll probably ramble inanely, which will provide you with lots of amusement, at my expense.

OH the things I do for you.

If this helped you out, you can thank me by following me here or over at Retro Academic, whose fault it is that I bought these dang things in the first place. I also hang out at Facebook and on Pinterest, so stop by and say hi or just yell at me if it makes your day better. Oh and if you want to contribute to the group craft board on Pinterest, Do Something Awesome, just let me know here and I'll add you! It's an easy way to have a bunch people following your pins. :)

Twitter Rejected Me so I Kicked a Harmless Robot's Feelings.

8.09.2012


Apparently twitter finds me so weird that it can't find one single person out of TWO HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE that might enjoy my digital company. That's "digital" as in "via the internet." Not fingers. Perverts.

I attempted to draw a sad face on my profile pic but it just came out looking like I gave a strawberry popsicle a messy blow job. And who could be sad after that? ASSHOLES, THAT'S WHO. And me. Apparently.

Anyway, I was reading @SarcasticRover's tweets:

Also there was an Arrested Development scrotum pic reference. And then I emailed my husband and asked him if it was okay if I made out with the Mars Rover. 

and I was like "hey I should use twitter more often. Cause if a robot with no consciousness who's busy lasering rocks on Mars can find time to do it, then SO CAN I." But then Twitter was all "hey we don't think anyone will actually like you. So you should just go grab that box of cookies and sit in front of your window and stare out at the bleakness of life while your dogs reject you and your computer plots to give you ERROR 101s all day."

But then I remembered that the Mars Rover is even lonelier and more miserable than I am, and that cheered me up. So thanks for that, @SarcasticRover.

Yeah, if you're feeling like subjecting yourself to my tweets, you can follow me @JamieScissors. Let's prove twitter's algorithm for social compatibility wrong. After all, it's just AI, and nothing which relies on AI will ever be adequate in the biological world. YEAH THAT'S RIGHT I SAID IT, MARS ROVER. Go cry in a crater.

And now I'm on Skynet's hit list. Awesome.

(Skynet probably wouldn't bother sending the T-1000 after me, actually. It'd probably just send the Mars Rover, which can't even manipulate its equipment and hold rocks at the same time. On account of the one arm. HA MASTURBATION INADEQUACY JOKE. I'm feeling much better now. Unlike the population of Mars)

Just kidding Mars Rover. I love Science. And you. I'll have a big hug waiting for you when you get back.


[For those of you who spent 80% of this post distracted by thoughts of strawberry popsicles, here's @SarcasticRover and my significantly less funny but also usually less depressing @JamieScissors. And for those of you who want to make out with Science but somehow missed the big event, you can check out the Seven Minutes of Terror, i.e. the Mars Rover landing, here. It's long but worth it to see a bunch of NASA scientists freak out and hug over trajectories and accelerations. HAHA LOL like I've never done that. God I'm a nerd)

Speaking of nerds, this post is sponsored by Retro Academic. I know the author personally and she's definitely not lonely cause she has two arms, and she is a huge nerd. I think she fantasizes about the Mars Rover. 

Pencil Skirts and Painted Umbrellas!

8.08.2012

I've found a couple awesome posts in blogland recently. This first one is from Cotton & Curls, which is a pretty neat blog that focuses on sewing and "re-fashioning." This post on a super-easy pencil skirt is awesome cause it's very clear and, well, EASY for those of us (me, ahem) who are too lazy for lots of cutting and measuring and pattern nonsense. I am off to get some fabric today to give this a try, so I'll let you know how it goes! Check it out here.


And this second one (which you've seen already if you follow my new blog Retro Academic HINT HINT) is just really cool, and it's from Design for Mankind. I love umbrellas. It's a weird fetish to have, I admit it. But I love them! They make me think of Mary Poppins. And rain, which I also love. I cannot wait to try this but I have no idea where to find a white or light colored umbrella... I assume online somewhere. Ideas anyone?


So yeah, check these out! The man bought me a fancy new sewing machine for my bday (well, fancy for me. I really have no basis for comparison) so I am definitely trying out the pencil skirt one. 

In case you haven't heard me yelling about it, I have a new blog over at Retro Academic where I blog about awesome clothes for hot nerdy smartypants. There's a big ole banner at the top of the right sidebar, which you probably saw already unless you're blind or just super in the BLOG ZONE. Really, it couldn't be more noticeable unless I splashed ugly glitter gifs all over it. Which I did NOT do, cause I'm not an asshole today.

Check it out and follow me there or on Facebook so that I can have FWENDS and feel validated as a human being. Also, Pinterest. I hang out there a lot, with the cool kids. :)



Time for Another Pinterest Roundup!

8.05.2012

AHHHH I love Pinterest posts!!! But you'll have to visit Retro Academic to see this one. ;)

And now I dangle the carrot, I mean the cute retro cupcake girl:


Go here to see the roundup at Retro Academic, or go straight to Pinterest here if you want to see aaaaalllll the pins. More coming soon!

30 Percent

6.27.2012

Go that way, Horse.

Yesterday I mentioned that one of my current projects is to lose weight and get my strength back. This is a hard post for me to write, but I need to make a major change and I'm betting a lot of you do, too. [This post is even more verbose than normal, so impatient readers can just skip to the last couple paragraphs.]

For the majority of my life I was thin. Very thin, but also pretty strong cause I was active. Mainly I rode horses, but I also did lots of other outdoorsy stuff, like hiking and climbing. I also went to the gym sometimes cause I liked the weight-training machines, although I hated the cardio equipment cause they're so mind-numbingly boring. I did some yoga and jogged on the beach.

My diet was pretty spotty back then. I ate out a lot, which is generally terrible for you, but I also tended to gorge on vegetables (a holdover from when I was a vegetarian teenager) and other healthy stuff. I ate a metric fuckton of calories on a daily basis, because I was so active I needed those calories to feed my metabolism and keep the weight on.

After I graduated from college I enlisted in the military, and shortly got injured in a training accident. I didn't realize at the time how badly I was hurt, but it eventually became apparent that I was permanently disabled to the degree of 30 percent. This was a hard pill for me to swallow, because I had programmed my brain to always be looking for physical activity.


I'm fortunate that my physical problems aren't obvious. Most people can't tell there's anything wrong with me, but as soon as I try to jump back into the fray my body says, "Um, no."

So how does this translate to my current situation? Since I had always been active I didn't understand that I could not eat the same way I had before I was injured. The seemingly obvious "Hey, Jamie, you might want to watch what you eat now that you sit on your ass all day" simply did not occur to me.

In a matter of months I ballooned. I swelled. My clothes stopped fitting. My self-esteem took a nasty blow, since I perceived myself as being totally obese after gaining 30 pounds; it's all relative, you know, even your weight. But every time I tried to work it off, my injuries just laughed in my face.

I got frustrated. I admit it: I gave up. I stopped caring what I ate, and I just let myself go.

I've lost and gained some pounds here and there. My injuries are still a gigantic pain in my ribcage, but I've mostly gotten used to it. I weigh 170 pounds (I'm 5'7"). At my healthiest I am about 130, give or take, depending on muscle mass. According to the CDC's weight chart, I'm overweight.

Maybe if I stand in front of this fat tree I'll  magically look less fat! You know, by comparison! Or something.

I'm sick of it. I'm tired of feeling fat. I'm tired of being tired all the time. I hate having a closet full of awesome clothes that don't fit me, and I'm tired of buying dresses just because I hate the way my jeans squeeze my stomach. I'm tired of avoiding mirrors and cringing at pictures.

I do however love my fat boobs, but I'll kiss them goodbye cause I'd rather be thin than have diabetes, heart problems, and increased risk of cancer. I'm already struggling with infertility, which is a common side effect of obesity. I want my sex drive back. I want my life back.

We all have reasons why we're not in shape. We're too busy, hurting too much, our meds are too uncooperative, we can't afford it, etc., etc. I refuse to let my reason make up my mind for me. It's going to hurt. A lot. But pain always passes, and if I don't suffer now I'm going to just keep getting fatter and eventually die before my time. I'm not making excuses any more.

So how about it? I'm thinking about doing a "get healthy" thing here on the blog, like maybe a weekly link party, so you can join in. I'll post very embarrassing progress pictures of myself to help keep us motivated, whether it's to lose weight, gain strength, get limber, or train for a marathon (the man's goal!). Don't say, "why not?" because you'll just come up with excuses. You have to start somewhere, so start now!

Let me know what you think. Leave a comment here, or on Facebook!

Inspiration Friday Taking a Timeout Thursday

And Then She Infected Everyone. Damn her

6.26.2012


One of my friends calls this my psychotic housewife face. I call it my "Hey, you can totally see my stripey bra through my shirt!" face.

I was sick with the giraffe flu and then my grandmother died, and then my dog ate a can of nails and my husband's car broke down so I had to drive him everywhere, but then I blew a tire and was stranded on the side of the road, and a very nice man who turned out to be a psycho gave me a ride and then when I finally escaped, the police sequestered me for evidence but then my giraffe flu flared up and I got to see what the CDC's holding cells look like.

They're quite comfy, actually. Like a Sheraton, but with less Ebola.

Okay so really, I just got swamped after I finished my thesis (hey, that means I'm a master now. CALL ME MASTER, MINIONS) and have been busy sort of reorganizing my life while I wait to get into a PhD program. My happy little not-so-secret lair here on the blog got sidelined. BUT! Changes are happening, and they are awesome! Here they are:

  • 1. Retro Academic! This is my shop that I actually started a couple years ago but never launched. It specializes in clothes that have retro influence but that are slightly more appropriate for school, work, or your mother-in-law's house than some other popular brands out there. Think longer lengths, tweed, pleated skirts and oxfords. Basically, all the clothes I love but can never find anywhere! Stay tuned for updates!!! 

  • 2. Get (back) in shape. I'll write more about this later, but for now suffice to say I need to lose about 45 pounds and get some strength back (are those belly rolls in that pic up there? WHY YES. YES THEY ARE.). Hang around if you want to hear about my progress!

  • 3. I am focusing on my writing. I've been writing academic stuff for so long that I haven't worked on my fiction at all, so I'm bringing it back front-and-center. The last month or so I have been deep in a writerly hole of my own making, churning out chapter after chapter of drivel. Well, I'm told it's not drivel, but it definitely needs some (a lot of) work, imo.

  • 4. AND of course, Scissors and Steam! I haven't quite worked out the extent of the changes here yet. Since this blog is a reflection of my life, it will probably be less focused on crafty stuff than before, and a little more on the stuff in the fancy bullets above. But not to worry minions! DON'T PANIC. (that was a Douglas Adams reference, for those of you who are not gigantic nerds) Crafts and projects still exist, I'll still write about them, they just probably won't be my main focus, for now. 
WOW I've missed all of you. Thank you for still being here. I hope you hang around and see what's coming. Like balls, but with more choice in the matter.

Huh. That was sweet. And then I made a testicle joke. Yep, I'm definitely back.

disclaimer: My grandmother is not dead. Well, one of them at least. My dog has not eaten a single nail lately. My husband is totally self-sufficient and could build a car out of a hot wheel, hope, and a car. I was not kidnapped. I have not encountered any police lately, except the one I yelled at for being incompetent. I'm a fucking hypochondriac, so I think I do have the giraffe flu, even though I just made it up. I'm a fucking hypochondriac, so HELL NO I have never been to the CDC. I'm sorry, Sheraton. Please don't sue me.

Please Restrain Your Cannibalistic Baby

4.05.2012

A totally accurate portrayal of me as a dazed kitten and my thesis as a cannibalistic human toddler.  
So yeah I'm still here. I finished my thesis and now I am formatting. I've decided that instead of following the 45 pages of formatting requirements, I'm just going to cast a voodoo circle and sacrifice a chicken. Should have the same result. Oh calm down. I'm kidding.

Mostly.

Anyway, I have an absolutely nerd-tastic post on the way for you that involves a wooden sword and looking nonchalant in front of banjo playing hillbillies, and then possibly hiding behind the sacrificial altar at a 200 year old church. Okay so it was probably just a cement picnic table, but sacrificial altar is way more exciting than potato chip platter. It's pretty spectacular in that way that only happens when planets align in the perfect shape of a semi-crushed can of Mountain Dew Code Red after it's been passed around at a WoW convention. Yes that's a real thing, Science says so.

Nerd.

I am really not an asshole, I promise

3.31.2012

Stolen from Views from the Couch

The above picture has nothing to do with this post. It's just awesome. If you are offended, then you should come on over and have a drink with me. I fucking love people who are easily offended. (see what I did there? hahaha yeah, I totally laugh at my own stupid jokes)

Actually this is a bloggy housekeeping/I'm a moron post. You may have noticed that I'm a huge asshole about replying to comments. That's why I have the disclaimer about how we're secretly best friends on my comment form. 

But actually I do reply to a lot of comments, it's just so long after the fact that I know no one knows about the replies but me and the hard-core minions who hang around for days and days to see if I replied. Those are level 4 minions, which I think technically qualifies them as henchmen. 

Anyway, I finally realized that if I just reply to the goddamn email notification then you guys get the reply directly. I AM A FUCKING IDIOT. 

So my new policy is to just reply to comments by email. So if you expect a reply, make sure your email is hooked up to your profile. Just don't be surprised if it takes me awhile or possibly never. I love all your comments and wish I could reply to all of them, but I'm just not that awesome. I need a lot more alcohol in my system before I can be that productive.

Ha, you think I'm joking. How cute. :)






Liquid Gold

3.30.2012

Orange blossom honey, sourwood, and gallberry



You know how every few months there seems to be a new health fad? Acai. Pomegranate. Algae. Oil expressed from the leaves of a plant that only grows on Mars. Stuff like that. It's almost always expensive and almost always promises to infuse you with the power of a thousand burning suns.* (*results not typical)

I am of the mind that natural stuff may or may not be good for you. It really depends on what that particular food item is. Just because it comes out of the ground (or the sky, or the sea, or the teat of a mermaid) doesn't mean it's going to save your life.

I'm not going to tell you that honey will save your life. Although, if you find yourself with a grievous, infected, seriously gross wound and the antibacterial properties of honey happen to save your life, I won't argue. Or if you have a horrific cold or allergies and honey spares you the pain, that's nice too. You know what, here's a list of everything The Mayo Clinic says honey is good for: burns, diabetes, herpes, hypertension, plaque/gingivitis, and wound healing. Go here for the full article and a list of traditional uses of honey. And here's another article on all the stuff honey is thought to be good for, which may or may not be proven, from Wikipedia.


I used to hate honey. But, I had only had the stuff that comes in the bears, from the grocery store. Did you know that most grocery store honey is not really honey? It's just sweet nectar, no pollen or any of the other stuff that makes honey good for you. No wonder it tastes like crap... it's basically just sugar syrup.

Beekeeping is apparently a big deal in the South. Not long after I moved here, I tried local, raw honey. And angels sang, and the gods nodded with approval. Liquid gold, ambrosia... My god, if you've never had raw local honey, you are depriving yourself of one of the delights of life on Earth. And all the different varieties... it's as changeable as grapes and wine.


So, yes. I am in love with honey. It's makes me happy. It tastes like sensuality, like the sweet fruits of the bee's hard labor, like the essence of blooming flowers in the lazy summer heat. It tastes like life. 

Raw honey is unpasteurized. Pasteurization (when honey is heated to sanitize it) makes it "safe," but it destroys all of the good bits. Also, did you know honey never expires? It solidifies, but doesn't ever go bad. Oh and don't give raw honey to babies under a year old.

All this honey you are seeing in the pictures is the product of a moment of weakness as I browsed the online offerings of a local Georgia beekeeper, Blue Ridge Honey Company. This was frankly a bit expensive but worth every penny, and I feel like I got way more than my money's worth. Here's what I got:
  • Wildflower, with the comb. This honey is delightful, not too sweet, a very light and classic tasting honey. The comb is edible, but it's wax so I don't recommend it unless you want to be picking wax out of your teeth. I like the comb in the jar cause the little bits that break off give it a bit of texture.
  • Tupelo. This is a Southern varietal that is highly sought after. Personally, it's not my favorite, but it does have a uniquely sweet flavor that I can see why people love.
  • Sourwood. This one's darker, quite rich but not overpowering. One of my favorites! You can see in the closeups that it has an almost rose tint to it. Really beautiful!
  • Orange Blossom. Waaaaay too sweet for me to eat plain, but it's good in tea and coffee.
  • Gallberry. Another classic-tasting honey, medium amber, light and sweet.
  • Purple Starthistle. A beautiful honey, with an unusual, complex, mildly sweet flavor.
  • Blackberry. My absolute FAVORITE. This stuff I could eat by the spoonful! Like the starthistle, it's unusual and complex, but this one has an almost otherworldly quality to it that I just can't define. Of all of these, this is the one I reach for first, but I don't like to use it with anything that will overpower the taste, because it's so good. I am seriously considering buying a jug of this stuff, because I know I'll always want more. Try it, you won't regret it!
Sourwood, slightly rose. Gallberry, classic amber. Orange Blossom, very light yellow.
I should say that this post is in no way sponsored by Blue Ridge Honey Company or anyone else. I was just so impressed with the quality, prices, and with their range that I feel comfortable recommending them. Shipping is a bit expensive, but honey is pretty heavy stuff. All their honey is raw and minimally processed, so you know you're getting good, healthy honey. 

My favorite ways to eat honey are either on a grapefruit, or topping plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (I like Fage brand). And my favorite non-food use for honey is as a hair mask. Mix 1 part honey to 6 parts water, apply to hair, wrap your head up in plastic wrap, and leave it on as long as you can stand. Preferably at least an hour. I usually leave it on for two before rinsing. Makes your hair unbelievably soft, and the results actually last! Supposedly water causes honey to release minimal amounts of peroxide, which may lighten your hair, but I've never noticed that.

So? What do you think? Do you like honey? What varieties do you like?


Air Traffic Controllers Are Much Happier Now

3.28.2012

Remember when I did this post and I reassured you that you did not mistakenly drop acid in your morning mojito, I mean coffee? Well, once again, you have not accidentally ingested anything.

Me before a moment of psychosis. Hair is healthy and brownish, with a red henna sheen:

No, I'm not a space alien. Why do you ask?
Go put some sunglasses on.

Step one: Have a normal, unassuming, non-ominous morning. Step two: Get ready for shower. Step three: Spy an old bleach kit hiding under the sink. Step four: Call husband at work, crying because your hair is toxic-runoff orange:

Is that a smirk? What the hell??

It took FOUR bleach processes to get my hair to a shade that wouldn't signal an airplane. By some miracle, my hair stayed healthy! Actually, not a miracle. I soaked my hair in coconut oil every time I bleached it; smeared the bleach right over the oil. I only left the bleach on for 10-15 minutes each time, and I waited at least a week between processes. Plus my hair was super healthy to begin with. But seriously, I never EVER thought I'd get rid of the henna orange. HOWEVER:

Me minutes after realizing I no longer looked like something the EPA would quarantine
I used Elumen, which is some kind of German sorcery. Sorcery the consistency of jello. It's kind of hard to find and it's meant for salons, but HOLY CRAP is this stuff awesome!!! It's non-damaging; it uses magnets or magic or something to color your hair. I could not be happier. Actually, I believe the word is relieved.

Okay here's a less freaky picture:

I am actually naturally blonde, but as I've gotten older it's darkened to a lightish brown. I've dyed my hair pretty much every color, including the colors that come with names like blue lake 40. No I have no idea if that's a real color. Sounds good though, right?

So, tonight I'm picking a winner for the giveaway! Are you all excited??? I hope so, cause I'm pretty stoked. And, make sure you check out Jacquie at Life Lived Gracefully, cause she's gonna have a pretty awesome giveaway in the next few days! And I do mean awesome. But she swore me to secrecy, so I can't tell you unless you profess your love for me in eight languages. Those are my conditions. They are non-negotiable.

Je t'aime!

The Monster and the Ladies (a crafty fairytale)

3.26.2012


Time for an update on the Monster, and for you to meet some awesome women! But first off, tomorrow is the LAST DAY you can enter the anniversary Craft Pack Giveaway. So be sure to check out that post to enter!

I've made four more stripes since the last granny stripe update. That's not too bad considering that I'm so stressed over school that I feel like my eyeballs are going to explode all over my mountain of research. The crochet is just kind of just going, nothing spectacular, no frogging and very little swearing. I don't work on it every day. But, I do think about it every day. Mostly cause it sits on the floor next to the couch and stares at me all judgmental-like when I'm not working on it.

A lot of you have asked for patterns for the granny stripe. I used this pattern from Attic24. It's the best one I found. I didn't figure it out right away though; I had to make a bunch of test squares before I really got it. Trial and error. Here's a closeup. I think you can really see the judgment in the stitches: 

So, I want you to meet some smart, creative women that I am incredibly lucky to know in real life! This isn't a sponsor post; I just love these girls and want you to get to know them too!

This is Jacquie, of A Life Lived Gracefully. I've known her for almost twenty years, and she has been an endless inspiration to me. She's far more creative and artistic than I am, so go check out her blog. She talks about her knitting, sewing, cooking, and her life, which includes an ongoing battle with fibromyalgia. She's tough and she's crafty. Check her out!
This is Jessica of Philomath Momma. I introduced her here awhile ago, in this post. Her writing is so artistic and poetic; she's one of those very rare people who can really make you feel. She's a philomath and a momma, and under that is flowing river of mysticism. If you want to think deep thoughts and ruminate on the nature of life and love, visit her!

If you're a regular reader then you already know I'm a weirdo. But did you know we travel in packs? Well we do! Here's another one, and I'll let her introduce herself: "Hi! I'm Amberly, and I have weird thoughts. I blog about them, since others might also have weird thoughts (please, God, I hope so). I also include food, gardening, and my cats! Join me and my crazy (sometimes fun) ramblings!" Her blog is called Amberly Has Thoughts, and it's still pretty new so go check it out and cheer her on. Her latest post was a discussion about some naughty fun, so yeah, Enjoy!

Be sure to visit these three ladies! I vouch for both their craziness and their awesomeness. And don't forget about the giveaway, there's only one day left!



Books Are Brain Food, part the First.

3.24.2012



I'm a bibliophile. Straight-up, hard core. I love the way a book feels in your hands, its weight, the texture of the cover and of the paper, and the sound the pages make, like rustling birds. I love the way ink rests on top of a page, and how if you look very closely you can see the tiny ridges where the letters meet the paper. That close, paragraphs start to look like terrain maps. I love indexes, footnotes, and author's notes. I love authors who break the rules and I love authors who are clearly more intelligent than I am. I love books, I love the Word.

I didn't really plan on blogging about my book fetish, but hey if you've read this far rather than simply closing me then maybe you're interested. Or maybe this is just hiding the porn you've got in the other tab until whoever leaves the room. Or maybe you're holding out hope that this post will turn into a tutorial for how to make thimbles or something. In that case, it's at the very end. After all the stuff about books.

The video above is about Shakespeare & Company, and I hijacked it from Her Library Adventures, which has turned into one of my favorite blogs. I love everything about this video! So Inspiring. It's in Paris, so yeah. Automatic +85. Cozy bohemian bookstore, +20. Gorgeous girl with skin like an angel's butt, +10. Loves aspiring writers enough to employ AND house them, +400034235jsfd92. That's a whole lot, for those of you not versed in the integers of Awesome.

Stay tuned for Part the Second, wherein I talk about the tomes of spiritual glitteryness and of trashy awesomeness that have severely impacted my brain. In a good way. Cause they're books.

And in my mind, books can do no wrong.

Oh shit, I forgot about the thimble tutorial. Sorry. My bad.

Also, I have got to stop mentioning porn in this blog. You would not believe some of the searches that are bringing people here. I'd tell you, but it's like herpes. If I say it out loud, it'll just spread.

Okay a clue then. A puzzle! Yay! I love puzzles! WOOO! Here you go: Granny stripe.

Yeah. Eww.

Wow I managed to turn a post about the beauty of books into a guess-the-fetish game. I AM SUPER TALENTED.

I should've stopped writing 17 sentences ago. I apologize. Also, because there are apparently endless ways to follow now, if you need one more besides all the ones up there, I'm now also on Hellocotton. It's pretty awesome,  AND I WAS FEATURED ON THEIR FRONT PAGE two days ago but I didn't get a screencap cause I'm an asshole, so you'll just have to take my word for it! But I haven't decided yet if it's better than Bloglovin'. What do you guys think?

So yeah. Follow me so I can sleep at night. Also, if you're here for some porn, you are bound to be disappointed.

Probably. You never know.


The Pink Storm Cave

3.23.2012

Crappy iPhone pic.
Watson is a giant wuss. He's neurotic and paranoid in general, so when something truly traumatic goes down he turns into a quivering, cowering ball of whine.

Enter an afternoon thunderstorm. "OH DEAR GOD HELP US WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE," says Watson.

So the man, given his unfailingly sweet and brilliant nature, figured Watson might like a cave to hide in. He puts up one of the camping tents in our room, climbs in, and all three dogs immediately jump inside to hide from the thunder. "It can't get us in here, guys," whispers Watson.

Molly makes the softest pillow.

And everything is made all better. Plus the tent is pink, and when everything is bathed in pink light, storms are 30% less terrifying. It's true, Science proved it.


Change, Stress, and Broken Dishes (and a Printable!)

3.21.2012

Hmm. What's going on around here? 

Those of you who are super-observant may have noticed a change to the blog! Yep. It got a fancy-pants makeover courtesy of Natalie of Fifth of August Designs. She did a great job so if you need to slap some awesome on your blog, she is the gal to talk to!

Change is the theme for me these days. I'm hovering on the brink of graduation, my brains all soupy-milkshake-mush sloshing around inside my skull from the endless hours of reading and writing writing writing. Dare I say it? I'm aaaaaaalmost done with the thesis. I'm writing the apex of my argument right now, then the conclusion, then mash it all together into a cohesive whole, then formatting (uuuugggggghhhhhhhh that's gonna suck some serious melons), then submit, then defend. Then.... graduate? Then... change.

Change is in the wind! And I'm so excited to go on to the next phase. I've got stuffs in the pipeline of course, but who knows what exactly will happen? 

In honor of Change (transmutation, shift, distortion, metamorphosis, argh... the thesaurus and I are a bit too chummy these days) I made up this pretty little printable for you! You know, while I was procrastinating. Open it up in its own window and it *should* print 7" x 5," card-sized. If you want a bigger version just let me know. 

One nice thing about writing my thesis is I hardly ever have to actually go to school. Alas, tomorrow I have to go stare at the tops of some undergraduate heads while they sit, hunched and sweating, over their midterm. Let's hope no one cries this time. Ha. Who am I kidding? I love it when they cry. Joking!!! Or am I? Hmmm.

Oh stop it. I'm actually very nice. I even smile a lot and console the terrified ones. So what if I'm the one who scared them? I'm nice, damnit. 

I think I need to break something. Do you ever feel like all you need is to just smash the absolute shit out of some innocent piece of pretty crockery? 

Enjoy the print. I'm sure there will be more. In fact, I'm betting the quantity of stuff I make for you is directly proportional to the degree of stress I am under. So yeah, there'll be more.

I'm gonna go "drop" a glass.




Cure for the Common Monday!
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