11 December 2008

December is always so busy...

Well, one day into my new job, and already a snow day. The past week or so has been so hectic and crazy, and this slight respite has been nice so far. Slept in until ten or so, stayed in bed studying for my huge final tonight until one, got up, puttered around for a while, and now here I am, wrapped in a blanket at my kitchen table, enjoying my cheese danish and nursing my coffee. I feel like a slug, but a refreshed slug, so it's okay... Sort of.

To be fair about it, after the past few weeks, I did need the extra sleep. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself so I don't feel so useless. I've had concert after concert, all but one requiring knowledge of very difficult literature, including Stravinsky, Tavner, and Menotti. And, it hasn't all been vocal stuff, which for me comes the easiest of all the musical things I do. I've also been celloing and french-horning in these concerts as well. In between performances, I've had my last two papers, one which I finished to great success and a decent grade on both the paper and the presentation, and the other which is still in progress, due by Monday.


Remember how I mentioned that I was looking forward to getting all those library books off my kitchen table? Well, as soon as I was able to remove them, new books just took their place, the only thing changing being the topic (from the Korean War to China around the turn of the century), and the addition of Christmas decorations to the few free spots left. Also, as if I'm not busy enough with out it, I have started a new job, which is going to be forty or so days of absolute madness (amazingly fun madness, but madness none the less).

Given the circumstances, I'm surprised that I was able to get so much done on the crafty front recently.


First up was this Polka Dotted Crochet Stocking, the pattern which I snagged from Ravelry. If you aren't a ravelry member, you can grab the pattern here (it's in the bar on the side under Christmas Patterns). It was a fairly quick and easy pattern: just simple hexagons in the round, a skill I have mastered after spending so much time on my (still unfinished) flower afghan.

I did run into some problems while I was piecing the whole thing together, since there is no piecing schematic. There's only a picture and the instructions to "follow it" even though it only shows the stocking from one side. So that made it a little more difficult than it should have been. Eventually I was able to figure it all out, the only place that was a big problem was the toe, as you can see from the bump on the top of the foot part.

However, the rest of the pattern was so quick and easy that that little snag has not stopped me from giving it another shot. I'm halfway through my next one, and after a good deal of pondering and sketching, I think I have solved the toe issue. If it works, I'm going to try and draw up a piecing guide to add onto the ravelry page.


In addition to the two stockings, I've also finished the basket weave scarf I had been working on (no photos, since the colors don't want to cooperate with my camera in the scarce winter light), and started three new ones. The first, which is pictured below is in Moda Dea's Tweedle Dee in Cinnamon Twist. The pattern is the My So Called Scarf, which I got a link to ages ago from the old Yarnstorm blog (the new one is here). Progress on this one is rather slow going... the pattern is very tough on my wrists, and when combined with all the celloing I've been doing lately, my poor tendons simply can't handle more than 5 or six rows at a time. I've upped needle sizes several times now, and it just doesn't seem to help. So, I've just accepted the fact that it simply won't be finished by Christmas, and will probably end up as an addition to my own obscenely large scarf collection. I just wish I had chosen a colorway which looked better on me.


In addition to the My So Called Scarf, I've also begun two others, the Athenian Scarf in Vanna's Choice Sapphire, and the One Row Handspun Scarf, which I am not doing in handspun yarn, but rather Tweedle Dee in Indigo Run.

I aim to have these two done as Christmas gifts, but I suppose we will see. Once this final is over, and this paper is handed in, I suppose I will have all the time in the world to sit on the couch in front of the Christmas tree and finish them after work, so it seems likely, in theory anyway.

Speaking of the final and the paper, I should probably return to studying. So, I'll leave you now with a preview of our Christmas decorations, which I hope to share tomorrow as part of Photo Friday. We take our Christmas decorating pretty seriously here, so hopefully my photography will do it justice.


-l.c.

01 December 2008

Prototyping

After a weekend full of holiday goodness, including the successful creation of Pumpkin Pies from scratch using the innards of those pumpkins I butchered around Halloween, I have begun other projects. While a full report on the pumpkin pie experience will arrive eventually (likely when I make them again, since my camera died half way through this last time), I have since dived head first back into life, pre-Christmas. With that comes the very last of my academic pressures: One paper presentation, and one last paper to write; the frenzy of holiday shopping/creating; and in the midst of it all, I'm set to begin a new temporary job soon for about two months.

As far as the holiday creating goes, I've begun working on my very first original pattern. Not the most complicated thing, admittedly... just a coffee cup cozy that I hope to use as an "eco-friendly stocking stuffer". But simplicity aside, this is a big step for me towards my identity as a skilled crocheter. I've never designed a pattern before that I planned to perfect and, hopefully, share with others.


My first prototype came out alright. Not exactly what I was aiming for. It looks cute, but it was too bulky, and I need to tweak the seaming mechanism, possibly by creating it in the round next time instead of as one flat piece to be seamed together later. The flat piece thing did make the embroidery a lot easier. However, the embroidery itself is a problem too.


Again, it looks super cute. However, the inside? A bloody, bulky mess. Not sure what to do about that... I'm thinking the embroidery is going to have to be axed and I'll have to embellish it some other way.



Back to the drawing board, I suppose!

-l.c.

27 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!



Wishing all a happy, healthy, and turkey-filled holiday!

-l.c.

23 November 2008

A Little Comfort Food

Well, the Korean Conflict paper is finished and handed in. 17 pages worth of information on why the U.S. chose to commit troops to fighting. I'm really not at all happy with the last section, or my conclusion, but it really is the best was able to do. If I had only started a few days earlier, and worked a little harder, I may have had the extra time to proofread and revise it to the point where I could be happy with it. But, hindsight is twenty-twenty, and it's not like I waited until the very last minute to do this thing, so I'm not going to let myself feel too bad. On the bright side, I can finally return these books to the library, and stop having them hog all the space on our kitchen table.


In the midst of paper writing, I did end up a little stressed as the due date crept closer, so I made myself some comfort food. I had found this Chinese Cookbook on the bargain book rack at Borders a few weeks ago for like, five dollars. It had some nice stuff in it, so I grabbed it. Luckily for me, it had pretty good instructions for making Congee, which is exactly the kind of comfort food that I was looking for during the writing process.


Congee is, basically a rice porridge. You boil the rice in massive amounts of water until the rice begins to break up and the starches thicken. It's traditionally served for breakfast, and while I was there in the summer of '07, I had it a few times. It's not exactly a complicated thing to make, but I really like to start with directions before I experiment with recipes, no matter how simple or straight forward they may be. I must admit, that my version did not exactly come out as well as what I had in China, but I think it came out pretty well for a first shot. I used beef broth instead of the recommended chicken broth, or the more traditional plain water, and I threw some straw mushrooms in there as well.


It ended up being a great mid-day comfort snack. It was gooey, warm and satisfying: perfect for the weather around here lately, which has been below freezing.

I did, in my 10 minute sporadic breaks from writing (so I could keep my sanity throughout the process), make something: a prototype of a coffee cup cozy I've been planning for a while. I really waste more paper and cardboard in my coffee shop purchases than I care to think about, so I wanted to make myself a cute reusable cozy to replace the cardboard things they give you. At least that will cut down on some of my waste. In the end, this first attempt didn't quite turn out the way I was envisioning it, mainly because of my methods, so, it's time to return to the drawing board. I'll post here about it once I get around to editing the photos.

But first, I've got some other things to take care of, including:
  • A concert.
  • Multiple rehearsals.
  • About 300+ note cards to finish and memorize about... well, ALL of U.S. History.
  • One last paper, this one 20 pages on the changing tides of Chinese culture and identity from the decline of the Qing dynasty to the May Fourth Movement of 1919.


  • While I run around like a chicken with my head cut off, seeing everything in the context of history writing, it doesn't exactly help to be surrounded by the animals, who, by the way, are still spending most of their time sleeping, usually on each other, or even on themselves. In the tradition of Mel Brooks, "It's good to be the cat," huh?*


    -l.c.


    *see Brooks, Mel. History of the World Pt. 1. Line: "It's good to be the King!"

    13 November 2008

    15 pages down, 35 to go.

    Well now. I felt accomplished until I tallied up that page count for the title there. All week long I've been holed up in a far corner of the library, or in a far (well not really so far... my house is teeny) corner of my house, just working, and reading, and writing, and working some more.

    First on the agenda was a smallish research paper on a topic of my choosing in England during either the Tudor or the Stuart dynasties. I decided to take a look at the Spanish match, specifically the trip that Charles (at the time Prince of Wales, later the headless king), and the Duke of Buckingham took to Madrid, unannounced and in disguise to secure the Spanish Infanta's hand in marriage for Charles. It seemed to me from everything I've learned before that it's a pretty specific event, and that boiling it down to a smallish paper wouldn't be too much of a problem. It's not an often researched or talked about thing, so I figured doing my own research and coming to my own conclusions in the scope of 10-15 pages wouldn't be that big of a deal.

    Woah. Was I mistaken.

    I was correct in the assumption that there is not a great volume of work done on the subject, and that primary documents (James' and Charles' letters to each other specifically) would be easy to obtain. What I was wrong about was the scope of the topic. What little work is out there is incredibly detailed and massively comprehensive, and the affair itself turned out to far more complex than I had originally though. What followed was a week's worth of distressed pulling of hair as I tried to boil hundreds and hundreds of pages of information down to 10-15 pages, without leaving out anything important, while still utilizing primary sources, and finding something original to say about the matter.


    When I returned home from the library at 10 last night, my vision swimming from the constant switches from book to computer screen, my head pounding, hands chapped and stiff from the cold, short a conclusion, and with only 12 hours before it had to be turned in, I was ready to scream. But then, I saw the understated little Amazon.com box sitting in the middle of the kitchen table. Could it be? I dropped my backpack and armful of books, and ran to check.

    It was! My name was neatly printed on the address label, so it could only be one thing: Alicia Paulson's (of Posie Gets Cozy fame) brand new book, Stitched in Time. I tore at the box like a kid at Christmas, and couldn't help but grin as I pulled it out. I had pre-ordered it a week ago. My very first craft book that wasn't found in the garage of a family member. The first craft book I went out of my way to pre-order.

    Alicia's blog has always been so inspiring, and her skills with color have always left me speechless, so I was eager to have a good page through and see what sort of wonders were contained. But, I still had some paper left to write. So I sat the book right in front of me as visual motivation, dragged my shit out of my bags and got to work. In no time, I was finished and I quickly opened Stitched in Time to soak in all the pretty pictures.


    I must say that the book is everything I expected, and then some. Amazing ideas, beautiful photography, and wonderful writing. I already have three or four projects that I've bookmarked to be made as soon as I'm done with the whole... school thing... for the semester. The Memory match game is a brilliant idea, and timely since I have several family friends expecting in the next few months. Also, I'm going to have to keep my eye out in thrift stores for some great sweaters for the felted-sweater bag (though it defeats the memory-keeping part of the project, I don't really wear wool because of the itch factor, so I have no sweaters of my own that could "accidentally" end up felted). And the friend chandelier is a great solution to my problem of picture frames crowding all the flat, usable surface I have in my room. Even though I currently have no time to make anything in it, I get such joy just looking through it thanks to the beautiful photography (there's a photo of her puppy Clover in there that is amazingly squeal-worthy, btw).

    For now, it will have to wait, however. I've got two more papers awaiting my attention, including a 15-20 page analysis of why the U.S. got involved in the Korean Conflict, and another 15-20 page cultural history of the Chinese New Culture Movement. But at least one of them is finished and turned in.


    And as a bonus, Starbucks is using their holiday cups, and serving Peppermint Mochas again, one of which I briefly enjoyed while proofreading my paper this morning. And we all know how I feel about the holiday cups and Peppermint Mochas. I'm sure in the next few weeks you'll all get to read my annual ode of love to them.

    Well, back to the books.

    -l.c.

    07 November 2008

    Week-Long Whirlwind

    Wow, what a week! So much happening, so much yet to do!

    Lets start with last Friday, HALLOWEEN! It was always my favorite holiday as a kid, so it felt kind of weird to be the one handing out the candy this year. My mother and my brother had rehearsal, and my dad doesn't much care for the holiday, so I was elected to stay home and man the door. Of course I made sure the Almond Joys and the Kit-Kats were on the top of the pile, since I don't like them and if they were left at the end of the night, they'd be of no use to me. Sly, isn't it?


    After the costumed visitors stopped coming, I was forced to face the reality that is grad school, and the three huge papers I have coming due, so I've been running running running all week, taking a brief break just to share my pumpkin carving experience with you, and to... well, eat, sleep, and shower.

    Clearly the resident pets don't have the same problems as I, since they spent most of the weeks sleeping, often on each other.


    Oh, well I did forget some time I took off. After all, it was the PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION!! It's been such a wild ride these past weeks and months, that I most certainly wouldn't have missed that for the world.

    Now, it's no secret that I'm a democrat. I've supported Obama from the very beginning, so I am totally thrilled with the outcome of the election. My whole family has been a fan of him for a long time, though my Mom was originally leaning Hillary. My brother volunteered for his campaign, and even my father, who has never in his life cared enough to vote got involved because he felt so strongly about the kind of change this country needs.

    Now, of course, he didn't vote. That would really compromise his position as an apathetic. But he got involved! He was in charge of keeping our yard sign booby-trapped with dog doo so it wouldn't get vandalized or stolen, and he did so with steadfast diligence (we live in a relatively republican area, and I am sad to say that there is a history of less-than-respectful behavior concerning signs and people that support the opposite candidate. It's happened to our yard signs a number of times).


    So Tuesday night, with celebratory rum shots all ready for my father and I, my mom with her scotch, and my brother with nothing but a soda (under 21!) we waited with baited breath for the results.


    And I must say that the results could not have been more inspiring for me. Maybe I'll now have the inspiration to get these papers finished!

    -l.c.

    02 November 2008

    Where I Butcher Some Pumpkins

    Welcome to the fall addition of "Tales from the Kitchen!"

    I got a bug up my ass the other day that I wanted to bake homemade pumpkin pie to being to my families' houses on Thanksgiving this year. Or at least one side of them, since my aunt has a monopoly on the pumpkin pie market for the other side. Which is great, because I'll at least get to chow down on one amazing pie if I manage to screw this up.

    But anyway, so to start, I had to make some pumpkin slurry.

    Actually, let's call it Pumpkin puree, like the Pioneer Woman (who's tutorial I used for this, and can be found here). Pumpkin slurry sounds like some sort of chemical spill.

    I started with three medium to smallish pumpkins, all set to meet their doom.

    The carving process completely negated all the precautionary measures I took against tendonitis in the past few weeks, while making me feel kind of like some sort of butcher in a horror movie. The huge knife paired with the absolutely spooky lighting my kitchen took on as the sky grew overcast and the sun went down made it perfect for Halloween. Even if it did gain me some odd looks from my family when they walked in.

    "Why is it lit like a mad scientist's lab in here?" they would ask.

    "My hands are too pumpkiny to hit the overhead light," I would answer. And with that, they'd raise an eyebrow and walk out. Without hitting the switch for me, might I add. So considerate.


    Since the light was staying spooky, I figured I'd take a Halloween butcher photo.


    As I got farther into the process, and as my wrist tendons began plotting their revenge, I remembered exactly how slimy and messy pumpkins can be. I hadn't carved one since... well, probably since before high school. That squish between my fingers and the deliciously nutty smell brought back all sorts of wonderful memories from childhood.


    Between the scraping and the carving, by the time I got everything done and ready to pop into the oven, about three hours had passed. At this point my mom walked in and asked, "So, what happened to the 'Oh, I've got to spend all night studying. I've got so much to do!' thing?"

    I just kind of shrugged. It was, admittedly, taking much longer than I expected. However, I kind of didn't care. The pumpkin smell and the joy of getting my hands all gooky like a toddler playing in the mud was just too much for the academic side of my life to spoil.


    But, three hours later, I finally got there. Add about half an hour, and the pumpkin came out of the oven all golden, browned, and delicious. Add another hour and a half where I want to throw our Magic Bullet against the wall, about half a pumpkin never making it to the mashing/blending process due to the rude interruption of my stomach, and I ended up with about 12 cups of wonderful pumpkin bliss.

    That should be enough for a couple pies. I hope anyway, because I don't think my wrists will ever let me do that again.


    Also, I was left with a wonderful bowl full of pumpkin guts.


    The slimy mass was just beckoning me to dig in.


    So I did.


    And I loved every second.

    And that, my friends is the story of why I ended up in double wrist braces for a week, with only some pumpkin puree and some seeds to show for it.


    -l.c.

    31 October 2008

    Happy Halloween!


    Have a Happy Halloween!!

    And stay tuned for Tales from the Kitchen later this weekend, where I attempt to bake some pumpkins!


    -l.c.

    26 October 2008

    Autumn Livin'


    I have always loved autumn, and I didn't realize how much I missed it until about a week ago. We had one perfect fall day. The air was crisp, and clean. The sun was warm, and there was a fresh breeze zipping through. It was that perfect temperature where it's just chilly enough for a great big sweater and a cute little scarf but not yet coat weather. It was like a GAP commercial come to life... only without the GAP clothes. At one point in the mid-afternoon, the sun was hitting the trees just right, and the leaves looked like they were glowing. By that point in the day, I had simply had enough of research and work, so I decided to go for a walk with my camera.


    It was the most relaxing half an hour I've had in a while. I just strolled around outside, taking some photos, enjoying the season that didn't seem to exist for the last few years. The weather in Pittsburgh had always seemed to just jump straight from summer into winter. I'd be wearing sandals and tank tops one day, then seemingly over night that blistering wind would kick up, and by the next morning I was dragging out my winter jackets and turning on the heat.


    Towards the end of my walk, as I made my way back towards the house and back towards stacks of library books and photocopied articles on the Korean War among other topics, I stopped by one of the apple trees we have in our yard. We have two, both planted the year my brother was born, a gift from a family friend. One was a little older than the other when they went in, and that became my tree, while the younger one became my brother's. My brother's tree was really young when the area got decimated by an extraordinarily large caterpillar population, and that stunted it's growth a little, so it's just starting to bear fruit now, about eighteen years later. My tree has been producing apples for a few years now, but we've never been diligent enough with the anti-bug substance of choice to get edible apples. So don't look at this photo too close, lest you see the little eaten away parts. Next year we'll try harder. Really. It'll happen.


    My little walk refreshed me just enough to keep plugging away with everything that's on my plate at the moment. I've got three major research projects in the works at the moment, and I'm relatively behind where I had hoped to be by this point on all of them. Between work, and class, and rehearsals for all sorts of things, my life is rather busy. Taking 20 minute breaks here and there to knit a little, cook a meal for myself, go buy the dog a new toy (The lamb below she seems to have decided is her baby. She won't go anywhere without it since I bought it for her), or work on stuff for here is all that's keeping my wits about me. With any luck I'll be able to stay sane enough to get everything done in the next few weeks!


    -l.c.

    17 October 2008

    15 October 2008

    Oh, the weekend...

    Columbus Day Weekend has come and gone, and it has been my most eventful one to date. Some of that may be because, all through school, both high school and my undergrad, I never had Columbus day off. Why? Beats me, since it is a national holiday and all. But it doesn't really matter. What matters is that this year I was able to take a full day off of everything. And, as if that wasn't wonderful enough, that came on top of an eventful weekend.

    Saturday, my family and I spent the day up at Woodbury Commons, a huge, ritzy factory outlet mall in New York. It’s a place we've known about for years, and have always wanted to go to, but just never quite got around to it. Beautiful buildings, on a beautiful day, combined with beautiful and bountiful shopping opportunities. What could be better?


    Well, as it turns out, the novelty of shopping in a place that houses couture designers wears off quickly once you realize that no, you can't afford that Fendi purse on your grad student budget, and that no, no matter how much you wish and hope, those Jimmy Choos will never be in your closet because they cost more than your entire wardrobe put together. I went with some money I had socked away so that I could buy myself one, really nice, name brand thing. I left with most of that money, a jersey wrap dress from GAP for 50% off, a two dollar silicone egg poacher that I really only bought because of its immense cute factor, and a GorillaPod tripod, the one purchase of the day I wouldn't have been able to get at The OBF Mall right around the corner (found that at Eddie Bauer, of all places). Oh well, at least I still have that money socked away. I've had my eye on a vintage coat on Etsy for a while now (the link for which I will not share until I make up my mind, because I'm selfish like that). Maybe I'll spend the money on that. As if I need more coats.


    My brother, on the other hand, had far better luck than I. Brooks Brothers was having a huge sidewalk sale. Now, I wonder sometimes if the two of us are actually related, since my brother is financially savvy and because of that, he can afford that stuff every once and a while. Jealousy? Thy name is Lunaticraft. It's alright though, I console myself by repeating the mantra that in a year he'll have massive student loans, just like I do. In fact, he'll probably have even more, since the schools he's looking at give squat in financial aid... Although, he will bear the brunt of the debt in designer clothes, so it might be worth it.


    Sunday, I did some politically oriented stuff, which I'm not going to really get into, because I know I'll end up turning this into a soapbox on which I will undoubtedly stand. And the thing about me standing on soapboxes? I have a terrible sense of balance, and it can be dangerous. Plus, nobody cares about the local politics of OBF anyway. What matters is that I enjoyed myself.

    Then came glorious Monday. Words I never thought would come out of my mouth or my fingers onto a page. A day filled with relaxation, some scattered cleaning, watching of old Gilmore Girls episodes (the Dean vs. Jess ones are the best), and decorating for Halloween with my mom. But, I'll save photos of that for Friday.

    Unfortunately not everything on Monday ended up being wonderful... one horrifying revelation accompanied the relaxing and the decorating: I ate a whole stick of butter. By myself. Now, before you judge, it's not like I sat there snacking away at a stick of butter like it was a popsicle or something. It was unintentional, and went unrealized until I reached in to grab more for toast. The stick was gone. Between putting it on top of things, and adding it to my cooking, I managed to consume a whole stick by myself. If that's not a sign that my eating habits need to change, then I don't know what is. My body did exact its revenge in the form of incredibly bizarre dreams.


    No, it doesn't involve 'Salka in a silly getup. That one's not a dream. So, the funniest real dream, and the one I will share, involves me being back in high school without changing age. Always great dream territory, isn't it? So anyway, Nick Stokes from CSI (not George Eads, the actor who plays him, but rather the character of Nick Stokes complete with Crime Scene Vest and Kit), was teaching my class Social Studies (not history, but social studies, even though the actual topic being covered is history), and he was explaining the evolution of the Parliamentary system of England all wrong. So I'm sitting in my seat (the same seat I sat in during 9th grade when we watched the news as the Twin Towers fell) getting more and more frustrated. The rage is building with every wrong fact and inaccurate metaphor or comparison, and I can feel the corrections bubbling in my throat, but I can't speak up for some reason. Finally, everything boils over. I leap out of my seat, my degree in History (which in real life I do not yet have) magically appearing in my hands, and shout in my also magically acquired British accent, "NO! You're WRONG! Stick with the dead bodies and Texan accents, you f***wit!" Then, the classroom door bursts open and the principal rushes into the classroom. He just happens to be Henry VIII, who then shouts, "Off with her head!" ala the Queen of Hearts, and proceeds to swallow me whole like a boa constrictor. So he's sitting there in this classroom, now looking like Jabba the Hut (although by the time he died, the real Henry VIII kind of looked like that anyway), with all my classmates, and the "teacher" staring at him. That's when I woke up.

    So, needless to say, from now on I'm definitely monitoring my butter intake.

    -l.c.

    09 October 2008

    Adventures with Wire


    Well, now that I'm a working woman, I had to totally re-do my wardrobe (Goodbye first three paychecks! I'll miss you!). It freaks me out just a little bit that I'll never be able to wear jeans all day again, and that what was "dressed up" only a few months ago (nice fashionable top, jeans, heels) is now inappropriate for everything but a night at the bar. Which, for the curious, for me was my 21st birthday in May, and not one night since.

    I should probably do something about that lack of social life thing, but right now, I've been too busy with school, work, papers, and... updating my wardrobe so I'm not the girl who's talked about for dressing inappropriately.


    As I hung up the new clothes that emptied my bank account (since when do two, not nearly top-of-the-line button up shirts cost $80? It's criminal, I tell you.), I realized that I have no jewelry to go with any of it. Specifically necklaces. For years, I wore the same necklace every single day because it was a gift from my then-boyfriend. But, now that that's over, I have the freedom of wearing what I want around my neck. However, I had nothing.


    So, I dug out all my old jewelry making supplies and my old bead stash and got to work. Since my bank account is drained, I promised myself that I wouldn't go buy any new beads or supplies until all the old ones I possibly could use were gone. So I settled down in front of the boob-tube (T.V.) and got to work. In the end I came out with five new necklaces, all with hand made clasps, as you can see above.

    It was definitely a process as I re-learned to manipulate wire, make symmetric loops, measure chain properly... Two of the finished products actually need to be fixed, since I forgot to actually, well, measure. Both hang down past where is decent, so I'm going to have to go in and trim the chain. But, all in all, I'm pretty happy.

    If you've noticed, I have been doing some tweaking of the blog layout. Not too much, since I only really have the time at night when I'm having trouble sleeping. I have a few things planned for the next few months, including profiles of some of my favorite items and the stories behind them (Hey, I'm a history major. Things and back story are simply what I do). Also, some book reviews that I promised way back at the beginning of the year and never quite got around to, and the continuance of 50projects in 2008. I'm still determined to meet that goal, but seeing as it's already October and I'm only up to... maybe 4, if that, I'll really have to kick it into gear. Also, I have a number of online tutorials that I plan to try out, and I want to give a review of them on here as well.


    I'm excited about these plans, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can actually pull them off!

    -l.c.