Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Want That - Felted Cat Beds

Oh look, it's another new monthly feature slipping in just before January ends.  I Want That will feature things I want.  Pretty self-explanatory, yes?

This month I'm talking about felted cat beds.  I don't own any (yet), but I think Mako and Fig might really like one.  They both have serious burrowing tendencies, so I think they'd enjoy the enclosed space.

There are a ton of different shapes and sizes and colors available, so feel free to look around for yourselves.  But here are my favorites from around Etsy:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Books - The Fault In Our Stars

I need to go back to reading.  I used to consume books at an alarming rate, but I can't tell you the last time I actually read an entire book.  We listen to a lot of audio books at work - and that is great - but I miss sitting down with a book (or kindle) and absorbing the written word.  So I decided that I would read at least one singular book per month and write an entry about it.  A very tiny goal.  And goals are good.

But we listened to The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and it was just too good for me to not mention it here.   It's about a Hazel, a teen girl with cancer, and a boy she meets at a cancer support group.  This is the most basic summary possible.  If you want a real summary you can go read it on Amazon; I am a notoriously bad summary-giver.  What I can tell you, though, is how it made me feel.  To me, this book felt like dying.  Yes, it is in many ways about dying.  But that's not what I mean.  This book made me have a crushed-in-the-chest feeling.  This book made me feel the unfairness of the world.  It wasn't just a good story, it left me feeling changed.  That's the kind of book this is.

I see some reviews saying that it is too childish and that the characters are annoying.  I disagree.  Just because it is about teens who act like teens does not mean it is childish.  And have you met teens?  They're annoying sometimes.  A lot of times.  That doesn't mean the characters are bad or that it is poorly written, that just means they are real.  And some other reviewers say that it is too sad and emotionally manipulative.  Yes, it is sad.  Soul-crushingly sad.  But so is life sometimes.  That doesn't mean it's a bad book, that just means it is real.

I find that a lot of times when people say a book is bad, what they really mean is that the book is too heavy.  And I guess that's their business.  If you only read in order to escape to happier places, that's on you.  But it doesn't make serious books bad, it just means they aren't for you.  And this book isn't entirely serious.  There are funny, lighthearted parts in the midst of all this - again, just like life.  So if you want a book good enough to make you remember that you are alive and have feelings, this might be the book for you.  If' you're looking for a cheerful escape from reality, probably go read something else.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Candle - January

I have a lot of candles and wax melter.  I have this problem where I just love them and then I buy them and then I never burn them.  So I'm going to make a point of actually using some of the candles I have stockpiled over the years.  And I'm going to cycle them out monthly so I don't get sick of them and so I have an excuse to buy some new ones after a while.  Because let's face it - you can never have too many candles.

January's candle is Moso Bamboo by Voluspa.  It has sort of a Chrsistmas kind of smell to me, but not so much so that I don't want to burn it now that Christmas is over.  It smells, as I believe I said when I bought it, like childhood and happiness.  What more could you ask for from a candle?  I also really like the tin.  I'm a sucker for pretty packaging.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Photo An Hour - January

I used to love doing A Day In My Life In Photos on Livejournal - or at least I loved it in theory.  In actuality I'd lose momentum halfway through the day and end up with a lot of useless nonsense photos of the morning.  But I recently started following The Dainty Squid, and she does this thing where she takes one photo an hour for a day each month.  Doesn't that sound a lot more reasonable?  So I'm going to shamelessly steal her idea and also try to do one Photo An Hour post per month.  Here's my January 6th, 2013.

10:00 am: I am woken up by about a million hungry cats.  And by a million I mean four, but that's close enough when you're dealing with cats.

11:00 am: I break out my new light box to transfer a sketch on to watercolor paper.  It works really well - super exciting stuff.

12:00 pm: I start making a shopping/meal planning list in preparation for our grocery shopping trip.  Grocery shopping is the worst, but a list makes it slightly less terrible.

1:00 pm: I sort out photos for my Life Lately post.

2:00 pm: we stop at Wawa for some gas.  I lead an exciting life.

3:00 pm: At the pet store we see these adorable quails.  Aren't the just the cutest things?  Maybe I would like to raise quails instead of chickens...

4:00 pm: Fresh veggies at the grocery store.

5:00 pm: We put the groceries away and reward ourselves with some Netflix while we eat leftover pizza.  I'm living the dream over here.

6:00 pm: I take down the Christmas decorations.  It is easily one of the most depressing tasks in the world.

7:00 pm: I start painting the sketch I traced earlier in the day.

8:00 pm: Finish writing the Life Lately post I started earlier.

9:00 pm: Time for a little World of Warcraft on my embarrassingly old monitor.

10:00 pm: Chips and dip with Chris while we watch more Netflix.

11:00 pm: I end the day the same way I began it - with cats in my face.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Orange Clove Cream Filled Chocolates

Orange clove is one of my favorite flavor combinations.  So I decided to try my hand at being a confectioner and whipped up some orange clove cream filled chocolates for Christmas.  Reviews were mostly good - I personally thought they were awesome.  Unfortunately I was just winging it, so I don't have a formal recipe.  But I can tell you the ingredients:
  • powdered sugar
  • orange juice
  • orange peels
  • cloves
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pretty straightforward, right?  I mostly just mixed everything together (except the chocolate) until it looked and tasted good.  Then I bought a candy mold and followed the directions (coat with melted chocolate, chill, fill with cream, chill, cover with chocolate, chill).  It was easy, but very time consuming.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Honey dripping, paler skin

I found this song on Spotify by accident when I was looking for A Heavy Abacus , but I am really glad I did.  I am in love with it.  It paints such a great picture.  I can FEEL the summer when I hear this song - and summer is a thing I'd really like to feel right now.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Life Lately - 01/21/13

Row 1: The first shirtain prototype (it's a shirt made out of a curtain) and the side panel of my now-defunct computer.
Row 2: A typical day of healthy food for work and the A Memory of Light audiobook.
Row 3: Frozen yogurt and wine - two of my favorite refreshments.
Row 4: Some snakes and clams from That Pet Place.
Row 5: A mantis shrimp and the Chris's stereo on the way home from That Pet Place.
Row 6: Little Fig approves of my new computer purchases and Steve installs them.
Row 7: Mako cuddles with Fig and The Mutz.  He's a cuddly guy.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Art - Week 02

Here's my second finished art piece of the year.  I like to paint tiny little watercolor paintings while I am on my computer.  I get bored really easy and it gives me something to do.  I often jot down a line from a song or a quote or something on the back of them.  This one says "you can tell anybody".  So I guess that'll be the title?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Working on it

Okay, so I got a new computer.  It's quiet and fast and beautiful.  Unfortunately, there were some problems with the installation of my old hard drives and I'm not going to be able to get my stuff off of them for a few more days.  So I still can't access my files.  So you're still going to have to bear with me for a little while.  But there will be posts again sometime soon.  I hope.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Just a head's up - my computer is on the fritz.  So I am unable to access all the files I had ready to go for blog entries.  So hopefully I will have a new computer by next week sometime and I can resume updates.  Until then, know that I'm not just slacking off.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday Tunes - Pangur Ban

I recently saw The Secret of Kells for the first time - I'm a bit behind the times, I know.  I really enjoyed it; the animation style was so different and refreshing.  I loved the characters and the setting and the overall atmosphere.  And this song, of course.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Life Lately - 01/07/13

It's been a while since my last Life Lately post.  A lot has happened, but very little of it was important.  So here's a glimpse into my not-very-exciting life lately.

Row 1: Tried my hand at making some flower arrangements at work and ate adorable strawberry Santas from the farmers market.
Row 2: Cut down a Christmas tree at Plow Farms and ordered a lot of packages.
Row 3: Indulged quite a bit...
Row 4: Got a new Kindle to replace the one that was stolen and ate a ton of terrible food.
Row 5: It snowed several times and I finally got in the Christmas spirit and decorated the tree.
Row 6: We had a beautiful white Christmas and made homemade gifts for our friends.
Row 7: There was an amazing food spread at Kim & Dustin's New Years Eve party.
Row 8: This is just about all I remember of New Year's Eve.
Row 9: We finally used our awesome copper KitchenAid mixer and I reactivated my World of Warcraft account.
Row 10: A love note from my husband and a lot of cats in my bed.