Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Riders on the Storm

Well, I have a lot to update about, but for now, I will just write a little about our eventful Memorial Day.

Brendan's mom called us Monday around noon and asked us to drive up to Wichita, KS to pick her up (long story). Well, our air conditioner was broke (again) so we wanted to get out of the house, and Wichita is only about a 2 hour drive each way, so we figured "why not?"

So, we ended up heading out to Wichita around 6:00. It had looked a little overcast all day, but hadn't stormed or rained or anything. About 40 minutes in, we stopped at a Dairy Queen off the highway. When we came back out to our car, the sky started to look pretty menacing, but it wasn't raining or storming.

After driving for about 1o minutes more, we saw wall clouds start to form. (If you've never lived in the midwest, "wall cloud" is code for "cloud that a tornado could drop out of at any moment.") So, we turned on a local radio station, and within 5 minutes the radio station was struck by lightning twice. After driving for a few more minutes, it started raining. And then hail. And then raining so hard that we couldn't see more than 10 feet in front of our car. And then bigger hail.

So, at this point, we decided it was time to pull over. Not only could we not see the other cars on the highway, but if a tornado formed, we wouldn't be able to see that either. Luckily, we were right beside an exit, and there was a little gas station there. So, along with about 50 other cars trying to escape the storm, we pulled into the gas station and ran inside. After waiting there for about 30 or 40 minutes, the storm passed (luckily without a tornado ever coming over us), and we met up with Brendan's mom safe and sound (but a little wet from running to the gas station, and me shaking like a madman because I was scared out of my mind).

Here are the pictures I managed to get from my car window before it started raining/hailing (click to enlarge):

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fahrenheit, Fun, & Food

I am happy to report that I am totally enjoying my break. I even stayed strong to not wanting to burn out and turned down a few custom orders. Granted, I felt pretty guilty about it, but I really need this time off. I am also happy to report that I have almost gotten to the point where I am sleeping like a "normal" person. For the past few days my sleep schedule has been from about midnight to 5:30 or 6:00 am. That's the most "normal" sleep I have gotten in three of four years. Yay! More good news: my air conditioner is fixed in the apartment. Up until this past week, I had held strong to just opening the windows and using the fans, despite temperatures being in the low 80's. However, we have officially breached the 90's now, and it's just a little too hot not to have A/C at the peak of the day. The poor cats have been laying around with their tongues practically hanging out of their mouths. Chef has stuck to laying on the linoleum right inside of the front door because it's cooler than the carpet:

(No, it's not an optical illusion. He really is ginormous.)

Brendan and I have been having a nice time together this week. His classes ended on Tuesday, so Monday I went to his school and had lunch with he and his friends, something he had been wanting me to do all year, but it always conflicted with my class schedule. We also went out on a "date." We ate at Eskimo Joe's - a complete Stillwater staple. We then went shopping, and I picked up a new bathing suit since they opened up the pool at our apartment complex this week. I've got to say - it's a lot more revealing than I'm used to, but I tried it on and it made the girls look so hot I just couldn't resist. Hehe.

(Look closely at the right side of this photo, and you can spot some fresh cat nose.)

Yesterday we got up early and headed out to the Farmer's Market. It was *great*, and everything was pretty much the same price or cheaper than the grocery store. Brendan is crazy about fresh vegetables, so he loaded up. They're already about half gone already, hehe. We also bought homemade honey wheat bread handmade with organic flour and local honey. It's some of the best bread I've ever had in my life. All in all, we spent less than $15, got great food, and supported hard-working Oklahomans. I think the Farmer's Market is going to become a staple in our weekly routine.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

When Your Art Starts to Feel Like Work...

I decided that I'm taking a break from sewing.

I never intended for my Etsy shop to be a "job," but that's the way it's making me feel lately. I'm starting to dread sitting down at the sewing machine. I don't ever want sewing to become something that's completely forced - that's how people burn out. My shop will still be open for purchases, and I will be shipping as normal. I just won't be creating or listing anything new for a while.

And, you know, it won't kill me to take a week off from sewing. It's summer vacation, and I feel the extreme urge to sit around and watch tv or go see a movie or go out and hang out with friends I have been neglecting. I'm 21 years old, I shouldn't be hunched over a sewing machine all day and night for my entire summer. Heck, maybe Brendan and I will even go out on a date!

My only plans for the next few days: Six Feet Under marathon! Brendan bought me the entire series this last Christmas. It's definitely a show you want to watch in order, so I'm about to go pop episode #1 into the DVD player. If you've never watched it, check it out! (Ladies, the main character, played by Peter Krause is completely adorable.) It's one of my all-time favorite TV shows...probably tied for first with Freaks and Geeks. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008


First of all, I have no clue where this week has gone!

Brendan's award/program completion ceremony went well. He didn't trip on stage or anything and he got to get together with his family afterwards. We had dinner and Brendan had something like 4 margaritas (which is completely out of character for him). While I was driving us home, he developed what seemed to be a margarita-induced Irish accent. I was laughing so hysterically I nearly had to pull over.

Tomorrow (or later today, technically) is Brendan's cousin's graduation in Tulsa. I'm still debating if I want to go. I tend to get lost in the shuffle of Brendan's family, and I really should stay home and get some work done. This has been an amazingly unproductive week in terms of the shop. Then again, with gas prices so high, it's a very rare that we can justify leaving town. I may need to seize the opportunity to leave city limits for a few hours.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Shopper's Remorse

In the past three days, I have purchased five new tops for myself.


Anyone who knows me well can tell you this is highly abnormal. I have the worst guilt over shopping for myself. After practically breaking down in tears to Brendan the other day about the fact that all of my shirts have holes in them and all of my pants are stained or ripped, he attempted to inform me that clothing is a necessity and not a luxury, and that I need to stop being so hard on myself whenever I buy myself something.

Ok, so this is easier said than done. Sunday I bought two shirts - one for $13.99 and one for $9. Then tonight I bought 3 shirts - two for $14.99 each and one for $7.97. Now it's 4 am, and I'm sitting here thinking about how much money I spent. Go figure.

I will probably end up taking at least 3 of them back after trying them all on about a million times each. (Anyone else do this too?) The only reason I can justify keeping two of them is that I actually have a few events to attend soon that I need to wear clothes that lack holes and stains. Thursday Brendan has an award ceremony at school that he will be getting recognition at, and Friday is Brendan's cousin's high school graduation.

I know what you're probably thinking - you're a seamstress, so make your own clothes! Well, I would probably end up spending just as much on materials than just to go buy something already made at the store. Such is the price of fabric.

In other news, I have been crocheting lately! It's been a long time since I have, but I bought several of those little $1.27 skeins of Peaches and Creme cotton yarn at the store the other day. We needed wash rags, so I could justify the $1.27 to myself, hehe. Since then I have made 4 wash rags and numerous little facial scrubbies. This has been a nice break from sewing, but I really should get back to work today. I got some hemp fabric from Infinite Cosmos Hemp, and I'm just dying to make something!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I am a bit of a statistics nut. I think it stems from working at the Bureau for Social Research last year at my university. I am specifically interested in geographical statistics. I think it's only natural, since region reflects culture, economy, etc. Yes, I am a complete social sciences nerd.

So, I decided to put together some statistics for my shop. I wanted to know what percent of my orders came from each state and which states I still had not had orders from.

Well, here's the verdict:

  • 1 order per state/3% each of total orders: Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Rhode Island, Illinois, South Carolina, North Dakota, Arizona, Alabama, New York, Utah, Idaho
  • 2 orders per state/ 6% each of total orders: Florida, Georgia, Washington, California, Virginia, North Carolina
  • 3 orders per state/ 9% each of total orders: Indiana
  • 4 orders per state/ 12% each of total orders: Pennsylvania

Now, this makes me wonder - what is it about Pennsylvania that makes the most orders come from that state? I really have no idea. However, Indiana coming in at second place is an easy answer - I lived there for 18 years and all of my family and friends are there. :)

I must admit, it saddens me that I have had no orders from Oklahoma. Maybe people can tell I'm not a "real" Okie, and they shun me. (Ok, so that reasoning is a little ridiculous.)

Below is a map of all of the states I have received orders from (highlighted in red). I want to, of course, eventually fill up the entire map.

Anyone else notice a trend from regions where you get the most orders? Do share!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Story for Some Change

After visiting Amanda's blog the other day, I decide I wanted one of those super-cool music playlists too. So, I made one. Then, while I was at it, I figured I may as well change my blog template. So, I did that too. :)

Speaking of Amanda's playlist, the song that popped up was "Jane Fonda" by Mickey Avalon. This made me think of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' concert Brendan and I went to last year. Gnarles Barkeley was supposed to be opening for them, but the concert got rescheduled due to a snowstorm. So, when they played the rescheduled concert, they brought Mickey Avalon with them to open. Long story short, old Mickey was not such a hit in Oklahoma City. There was hardcore booing after every song. I have to admit, I may have participated in part of it. He came off as a complete amateur, had really terrible dancers with him that appeared to be 15 years old and had their girly bits hanging all over the place, and sang a song which included the lyrics "my **** is bigger than jesus" (edited to keep this blog family-friendly) to an audience in the middle of the bible belt. When the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage, they weren't too happy about the booing going on after Mickey's song. In short, John Frusciante gave Oklahoma City a stern talking to and was later reported saying that they would not be coming back to Oklahoma for a long time. This makes me pretty sad since they're my all-time favorite band, but hey, at least I got to witness some history. :)

And that's my random story for the week.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lazy and Rejected

Sometimes I think I am a lazy crafter. I mean, I certainly don't feel lazy, but if I think about it too much, I start to believe that I am. For instance, I see some other people who seem to create a clothing item every day. I just can't do that. I have to spread it out over several days or I crash and burn. Part of this may be due to the fact that I am a pretty slow sew-er. Whenever I sew a seam, I have to kind of slide my chair back from my desk, cock my head, and look at it for a minute. Granted, this probably sound pretty comical, but it's to ensure that I haven't done something completely absent-minded, like I tend to do.

A few days ago I put in a bid for the first time ever on an Alchemy request on Etsy. It got denied, and it made me feel like complete crap. I know that it shouldn't have, but it did. I'm thinking that I probably won't being putting in bids again in Alchemy since I obviously can't handle simple rejection like a grown woman.

Speaking of rejection, I got a letter in the mail on Friday getting rejected from a scholarship I applied for. Oh yay. The form for the scholarship had very little criteria to fill out. Basically, they asked you your GPA and household income. The form said that scholarship decisions would be based upon these two things. GPA's of 3.5 and higher would be considered first as well as "financial need." Well, I guess since I have a GPA of 3.466 and *almost* have gotten to the point where our household doesn't live below the Poverty Line any more, it means that I don't take school seriously and that I have plenty of money. I like how the letter says, "I encourage you to pursue additional financing options available through our Office of Student Financial Services." For those of you haven't been to college lately, this means "I will point you in the direction of banks that will provide you with student loans which you will be paying off for 15 years after you graduate."

Sorry to be such a complainer, my friends. Morale is low today.

Edited to add: What I neglected to mention in my self-pity laden entry is that, in case you were wondering, Brendan and I and the rest of his family were not affected by the tornados that came through Oklahoma this weekend that left six people dead and 150 people injured across the state. For that, I am extremely grateful.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ring Ring

Well, it's hard to go back to blogging about every day things after my previous post, but I feel that I need to express some hardcore gratitude.

A few weeks a go I entered a giveaway on Amanda's blog, and I won! I got to pick any ring I wanted from Allu Ring! Well, I spoke with Lori, the artist, and asked her if I could get a ring similar to this one, but with a few modifications. She was incredibly kind and indulged me. A few days later, it was in my mailbox!

This ring really is incredibly gorgeous, and the construction is a lot sturdier than some other rings that I have purchased. I definitely have a new favorite place to buy rings now. Thanks, Lori! :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Burma Cyclone Relief

After hearing about the cyclone that hit Burma, and watching the death toll rise to 100,000 lives, my heart sank. In an effort to help those who were able to survive, 100 percent of all jewelry sales in my shop (minus shipping) will go to relief for the victims of the cyclone that hit Burma. I will be donating to, who will send the money directly to the Burmese monks, since the Burmese government can not be trusted to handle donations with integrity.

"The cyclone that ripped through Burma left tens of thousands dead and a million homeless--a natural disaster made much worse by the failure of the military junta to warn or evacuate its people.

Now, the government has slowed the urgent process of providing humanitarian relief--so Avaaz is raising funds for the International Burmese Monks Organization, which will transmit funds directly to monasteries in affected areas.

In many of the worst-hit areas, the monasteries are the only source of shelter and food for Burma's poorest people. They have been on the front lines of the aid effort since the storm struck. Other forms of aid could be delayed, diverted or manipulated by the Burmese government--but the monks are the most trusted and reliable institution in the country."

If any of you are donating to the cause through your shop, or know of any shops that are, please let me know. I will be keeping a running list here for people to check in with.

I know times are rough economically here in the US, so any money you can put toward the cause is honorable.

Shops donating to Burma Cyclone relief:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Stop and Smell the Roses

Recently I ordered some dried lavender, roses, chamomile, and calendula from a fellow Etsy seller. Well, when I got them, they all smelled so amazing that I immediately got inspired to make sachets. I love the way they turned out, and they've made my sewing room smell amazing. Plus, at only $3.50 each, they'd make a great cost-effective gift! Yay for that! I definitely know the trials of trying to give thoughtful gifts on a tiny budget - it is no easy feat.

I also whipped up another little patchwork wallet/pouch yesterday. I love "autumn" colors, and I don't think they ever go out of season, even in spring. I tend to incorporate them year-round.

I really need to get myself in gear and get some skirts finished up, but I keep getting distracted by other things I want to make. Crossing my fingers that I stop procrastinating and finish 'em up this weekend. :)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Mother's Day?

I definitely didn't get done all that I had hoped to get done this weekend. My plan was to finish up 2 different skirts that I have been working on, get them photographed, and listed in the shop. Well, none of that happened. I ended up cleaning my apartment and making my mom something for mother's day instead.

I had the hardest time trying to decide what to make for her. She really is hard to shop for or make things for. She's not really one of those people that likes super specific things. I mean, it's not like I can say "mom is crazy for yellow, daisies, kittens, and anything French, so I can find her something with one of those themes." I ended up making her one of my patchwork wallets/pouches from some of my favorite fabric remnants that I had lying around.

I need to get it mailed out to her tomorrow so it can get to Indiana by Mother's Day. Now I have to figure out what we can get for Brendan's mom - eep! At least she just lives across town, so I've got the entire week to figure it out. :)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Made in the USA

In a time of such economic struggle for a country that is so flawed, but remains so beloved to me, I have been putting a lot more effort in to buying products made in the United States. Though it is virtually impossible for every single product I buy to be made in the US, I am putting in my best effort. For example: if I am at the store and debating between two fabrics that I like equally, I check the label. Is one made (or at least printed) in the United States? If so, I purchase that one over one made elsewhere.

I have also been buying handmade in the United States whenever possible (thanks, Etsy!). I see so many things I love on Etsy, but they're made overseas. I think to myself - is there an alternative to this that I can buy that is made by someone from my own country? The answer is almost always "yes." Of course, this is definitely not to say that there is anything wrong with buying handmade things from overseas. I have just made a promise to myself that in my personal life, I'm going to try to buy things made in the United States whenever possible, and I encourage others to try to do the same when they can. I know that buying things made in the US often means spending more money and that times are already hard.

Another idea to help keep money invested in my local economy is to start shopping at the local Farmer's Market whenever possible. During the school year, my classes interfered with the one that they held here on Wednesdays. However, it is now summer time (for us college kids), and I am free to head on over there every week! This week will be my first week to go, and I'm so excited. I was looking at their website, and there are so many neat things to buy there. For example: buffalo meat! Yes, buffalo meat! I have never had it before, but Brendan says it's amazing. It also has about 1/4 of the fat of beef, or so I understand. Besides being excited about buffalo meat, it's strawberry season! Man, there's really few things better than garden-grown fresh strawberries.

The thing that got me thinking of all of this is the arrival of our economic stimulus check next week. Unfortunately, most of the money has to go toward putting deposits down on our new apartment, utilities, etc for our upcoming move. I'm sure that most people are going to be using it to pay off their piled-up bills, so how much it will actually "stimulate" the economy is yet to be seen. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things will start looking up soon for this beloved country of mine.

Buffalo photo courtesy of Lonesome Prairie Bison - Morrison, OK

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Tuesday night my love and I went to the store to buy beer and ice cream (I had just taken my last final, so we got treats, hehe). When we got to the store, I grabbed a cart because we needed cat food too, which I didn't feel like hauling to the other side of the store on my shoulder or something when we went to get said ice cream and beer. Well, the fold-out part in the front of the cart was stuck, so I kind of slid my hand down the side of it to pull it down. Apparently my well-meaning man didn't see that I had placed my hand there, and slammed his fist down on it to get it to go down. I could see him starting to do it, so I went to pull my hand away, but my middle finger got stuck and smashed...hard. It took some skin off and now I have a big, swollen middle finger. This has made sewing pretty uncomfortable, but still do-able, so I am relieved and grateful that it's not broken.

In celebration of being done with school for the semester, I put all of my jewelry and hand-appliqued T's on sale in my shop. I also still have one dress left, which I marked way down - $29 is a steal!

I've got lots of things in the works that I hope to get listed in my shop over the weekend or the beginning of next week. :)

Some Inspiration