Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Joys of Cool Ceramic Pottery

Life is good because of:
-really cool ceramic pottery that makes you smile each time you use it
-pumpkin spice anything, whether it be coffee or beer or hand soap

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Crayons Reborn

I haven't blogged in a thousand years... forgive me.

Here's a cool project that I've always wanted to do- make funky crayons from bits and pieces of old crayons! We got new crayons at work to replace the ones that were small and broken and had seen better days. So I took them all home and had some fun with them- returning them, of course, in their newly-formed state of awesomeness!

I did it two different ways. The first time I peeled the paper from the crayons and placed them in silicone muffin trays, which I baked in the oven for about 10 minutes at a temperature I can't remember. It took a while to cool down to the point that I could pop the new crayons out of the molds. I ended up leaving them until the next morning.

In the second technique, I left the paper on the crayons and loaded the crayons, color-coded, into aluminum cans that I had sliced the tops off of. The whole time I kept cursing myself for not buying that set of Ginsu knives back in the day. (In hindsight this whole process was rather scary and was ripe with many opportunities to seriously hurt myself... but I'm okay and unharmed so we'll just move on.) I placed the cans into a pot of water which was brought to a controlled boil. I had to clip all of the cans to each other to prevent them from moving around with the motion of the water. When they were all melted, I un-clipped the cans and quickly poured the mixtures into silicone ice cube trays and more muffin holders. The papers from the outsides of the crayons were easy enough to hold back as I was pouring. Since the molds were room temperature to begin with, these creations dried within 15-20 minutes.

I was happy with the outcome, although I had trouble sleeping that night since I was convinced that I had breathed in too much steam from the stove top cooking technique and overnight, when the moisture in my lungs settled, I was going to have a thin coat of wax covering the interior of my lungs causing me to slowly suffocate. Nice huh?! Hypochondria at its best! Needless to say, that DID NOT happen, further proof that my mind is a powerful tool that can be my friend AND my enemy all at once.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Where the hell is Matt- video game edition

So remember when I posted the amazing viral video of "Where the hell is Matt?" You know the one where the guy (Matt) does the wonderfully dorky dancing throughout 42 countries and it's strung together in a beautifully edited video using sweeping, and inspiring music? You know the one... if not, look into the archives of this blog and prepare to be moved. Do this BEFORE watching the following video, otherwise you will not get the hilarity of this. I don't even play video games and I found this hysterical. (If the video is too large for the screen and part of it gets cut off, link to the original video here.)

Watch more videos of TF2

Life is good because of the creativity of some that sparks the creativity of others... it's a never-ending circle!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Still on a high

It's the day after Barack Obama has officially become our next president and I'm still on a high from all the excitement. His speech was amazing... absolutely inspiring... it made me feel like everything he's been talking about throughout his campaign is actually possible. Most political speeches either make my skin crawl or put me to sleep. His are electrifying. His energy is electrifying. And I believe a lot of people feel this too, which creates an enormous wildfire effect, unlike anything I've ever witnessed. I've never felt so proud of an elected official as I do of him. I've never felt so optimistic for the future of our country as I do now.

Even though I feel old most days, the number of presidents I have memories of is small- possibly since a good number of them did double duty. I was a baby during the Nixon presidency and was a toddler/ pre-schooler during the Ford presidency so I have no memories of those eras. Being a grade-schooler during the Carter presidency, I was too young to truly appreciate him- I do have memories though of defending him against a classmate, exclaiming, "He is NOT just a peanut farmer!" I have a feeling, had I been older, I would have liked him a lot. Compassion is what I think of when I think of Jimmy Carter. Maybe it's the life he continues to lead after his presidency that I'm judging him on, but I've got to admire anyone who builds houses with Habitat for Humanity in their retirement, when they could spend the rest of their days feeling like "I put in my service to this country already" and get away with it. I like him.

Then came Reagan and Bush... for... way... too... long. They came during my formative years, damn them. Could this explain the root of my anxiety and panic attacks? In a most symbolic way, I remember the inauguration of Ronald Reagan being on in the house while I was doing a science fair project experiment. I swear what I'm about to write is absolutely true... the experiment I was doing was measuring the effect of sun and water on plants. I had one plant that I was preparing on my Mom's plant cart which was right next to the back door in the kitchen which received tons of warm afternoon sun. I planned to water this plant and talk to it, knowing it would do well. The other plant I was preparing to stash away in a cardboard box and put in my parent's closet- the darkest place in the house, away from all the light and nutrients it needed to thrive, let alone survive. I felt bad doing this experiment because I knew I was sacrificing the life of the plant, but it was the assignment and I was a good girl who did her homework. Who could predict that this little plant being shoved in the closet to die would be the poetic symbolism to sum up my view, years later, of the presidencies of Reagan and Bush. Maybe this is why Clinton was a long awaited breath of fresh air to me.

Bill Clinton was the first president in my lifetime that I remember being moved by. I believed everything he said and everything he stood for. Despite his "escapades" (for which most people will remember him by) I believed that his heart was in the right place when it came to politics, and he was ultimately a good person. He was a slick politician, that's for sure, but he didn't make me cringe when he spoke- something I was not familiar with in a president before him. I admired his thoughts and ideals, and was generally happy not to have any old Republicans in office anymore.

Then came the dark years. George Bush Jr. There's no need to say anything about this man other than I was embarrassed to call him my leader. Using the symbolism of the plants from my science experiment, we were back in the closet being deprived of air and light and goodness.

And then came January 20th 2009. The day the clouds lifted and the angels sang. The day unicorns frolicked and rainbows glistened. The day I was proud once more to be an American. Barack Obama has given me hope. Whatever he does in office, it can be no worse than the last eight years we've endured. The other day, Newsday had a quote:

Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk.
Dr. King walked so Barack Obama could run.
Obama ran so we could all fly.

That quote says it all. I feel like we CAN all fly now. My hope is that all of this excitement and energy that the majority of Americans feel right now remains with us. May it be what we can use to create the change we all want... the change we all need. We all are responsible for creating this new life we so desperately desire. Having Barack Obama as our president is the start. He is the leader, but together, we ALL have the wings to fly.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

So it's 2009! New year, new promises to myself.

Last night, Christian and I started writing out our own personalized reading lists for 2009. His goal is to read one book a week, mine is one book every two weeks. I'm going to try to stick to this concept as much as I can throughout the year... some of the titles or the order of the books may change, and indeed I may run off track a few times, but overall I believe I can do this! My list consists of both books I own and ones I'll borrow from the library, but all of them are titles I have been meaning to read.

It's part of my unfinished business theme for 2009. In February, I plan to participate in an online community challenge called Thing a Day, where the theme for me will again be unfinished business. I'll do something everyday that I've been meaning to do and putting off for one reason or another. The focus on that month will be creativity. I'm still working on the details. If this is successful, I may extend it to another month after that. I hope to keep track of my successes and failures, my trials and tribulations, via this blog, or my journals. Maybe by the end of the year I'll have enough material to bind it together in a make shift book!

I've always loved reading books with personal essay-type writings about sticking to a challenge and how it effected the writer. There's tons of them out there and I know I've only read a small handful, but the concept has always intrigued me. Two that come to mind: Eat, Pray, Love: one woman's search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert; and Give it Up: my year of learning to live better with less by Mary Carlomagno.

One of the books on my reading list this year is a book about writing personal essays, so maybe this whole thing will come around, full circle, and there will indeed be a tangible end result for myself and my efforts this year. If not, the knowledge that I did even half of what I have planned is enough for me to consider it a success!

To kick things off, last night I made a "craft-recipe" of sorts that I've wanted to do for a while. A few weeks ago I had even gone out and gotten all the necessary ingredients in an effort to just do it. So last night, I finally did it!

I made winter potpourri!

So there you have it... 2009 is here! And to continue the theme for this blog: life is good because of new challenges and fresh starts... and having people in your life that can join you for the journey! Happy New Year everybody!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A worthy cause

So, I did something the other day that, although was sort of sad, made me feel really good. I donated my wedding dress to a great foundation called Brides Against Breast Cancer. This group accepts donations of dresses and various wedding accessories from individuals, as well as retail and wholesale boutiques, and sells it to the public at discounted prices. A quote from their webpage:

"Brides Against Breast CancerTM" gown sales continue to be important fund-raising events for Making Memories. Our more than 32 yearly shows provide brides-to-be with an opportunity to find their dream gown (at an incredible savings) while making wishes and dreams come true for women and men who are losing their fight against breast cancer.

The worldwide support of designers, manufacturers, bridal shops and individuals (who donate a most treasured possession) make possible our Nationwide Tour of Gowns sales. The proceeds from these events help bring a moment of joy into world of someone for whom a cure is too late.

This foundation basically grants wishes, just like the Make a Wish Foundation, to those with terminal breast cancer. After reading some of the stories of the people who have been granted wishes, there's no doubt in my mind that this was the right thing to do.

My gown was beautiful and has many treasured memories attached to it, but truth be told, it's a material item. The memories are not in the fabric, but in my mind and heart.

Hopefully, this dress will bring joy to the woman who purchases it for her wedding day and ultimate peace to the man or woman suffering from cancer who benefits from it's sale by having their wish granted. My heart goes out to them all.

...Life is good because there are people in the world that care for complete strangers and inspire us all to do the same. And because in the midst of pain, sometimes you can see hope and feel at peace.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Unique pieces of art

Christian just sent me an email with the following message:

Last year, two Russian artists, Leonid Tishkov and Boris Bendikov, created an "illuminating" art show by creating large light sculptures of a quarter moon, and suggesting, somewhat tongue in cheek, that these could become one's "personal moons," to bring home and place where ever one needed one.

Check out their site by clicking here.

I absolutely love images of the moon. The power it has over me is amazingly strong... I just can't get enough of it in artwork, photography, poetry, and in real life. Take a long look at some of these images and see if it doesn't do the same for you too.

Life is good because of artists who can envision something grand and convey what's in their heart to someone they don't know and probably will never meet.