Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Summer Wind, Came Blowing In...

Vegas was a great time. I am, however, glad to be back home. It was really great to see Christine and bond with all of her friends. I felt like one of the gang in minutes, and the weekend ended with trading e-mail addresses and phone numbers to keep in touch. I may not have won any money, but I did win some new fun acquaintances.

I have to hand it to my husband, he sure knows how to impress. I came home to a fully cleaned house including the shelving of the last moving boxes. It is nice to no longer have a box wall to push around from place to place. I am glad to get home and again get to work on my embroidered belt. I also have some major choreography work to do for the April 11th performance at Hot Java in Morgan Hill. I have decided on a song and cannot wait to tackle it. Prop dancing is one of my favorite things because it is very challenging to me. You need to keep enough dance in to still have it be a bellydance, but you also need to seamlessly add a prop to the mix with out it distracting from the dance itself. I am going to devote tomorrow to that, but for now, I want to sew and work on some domestic activities. I am also thinking about making a new black choli for myself once I get the serger figured out for making my skirt and making it. I would love to have both the choli and the skirt for classes on Friday. Here is to hoping for luck getting it all to work!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Viva Las Vegas!

I am realizing today that I leave tomorrow for my trip to fabulous Las Vegas. This trip really crept up on me! I am going for my friend Christine's bachelorette party. It should be a fun filled time with lots of silliness. Don't look for an update as to this weekend's activities though because we all know... what happens in Vegas stays there. I finally has some "girl" moments in my life. Yesterday, after getting my hair done, I went shopping for some last minute additions to my wardrobe for the trip. It was the first time in a long time that I actually enjoyed shopping. I can finally understand now how some women can blow through a ton of money shopping. I know I am coming to this a little late in the game, but it was genuinely fun. I also bought my first pair of "grown-up" heels. I have never been one for heeled shoes seeing as I am a clumsy person, but it was time to take the leap into wearing real women's shoes. They look great and are actually, dare I say it, kind of comfy. It took me over six stores to finally settle on one of the first pairs I tried on early that day. This is also a running theme in my life.

So for today all I really have planned is laundry and getting ready for the trip. I have to return a dress for a smaller size because I was having a bad day shopping when I bought it originally. Today is also Thursday, so it is a tutoring day as well. I hope to listen to the two songs I have narrowed down for the April 11th performance and pick the song I will do. I also will start my memorization of the song today. If there is any time left I will work on more embroidery for that belt. Lots on the plate and so much excitement for the weekend. It already feels like Friday!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring Flowers

I finally got to make that pair of hair flower hairpins for the shop. They are a wonderful medium tone purple gerbera daisy. The color of them actually reminds me of the old lilac trees of my childhood home back in Illinois.

These are a steal for $6 plus shipping. I have some more great silk flowers that will be turned into hairpins in the near future so look for them soon.

Today I am working on more embroidery of that belt. I don't have much time to work on them today though because I am due into the studio early to work on choreography with Ariellah. Hopefully I can update you tomorrow with more fun news.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Baking, Blackwork, and Berries

The English muffin experiments were more successful on Friday. The new recipe worked better for me and also worked well being halved. The other recipe did not work very well when halved to begin with, so trying to force it into success was going to be difficult. This time I think the kneeding went well via the Kitchen Aid, but I still must have added a little too much flour. There were not as many nooks and crannies as I would have liked. I did decide to try cooking them on our large cast iron griddle. I think that this worked out much better than using the small griddle that I used before. I could get more muffins on at one time, and if I had been more patient in allowing the iron to head up evenly, I think the browning would have been even more even than it was. Here they are all lined up:

I also had a wonderful time at Needle in a Haystack for my Blackwork class. It was taught by Lucy Barter of the Royal School of Needlework. I learned a lot, and even though my work from that day does not seem to show it off as well, I stitched for a good four hours. It was a great class, and I recommend any classes taught by Lucy highly. She was delightful. I learned about shading techniques and also tried my hand at working on linen. I have never had the guts to work on an even weave fabric and usually use Adia style cloth in my cross stitch and embroidery projects. I do have to say the results of stitching on cloth is beautiful, but I think I would resort to using a magnifying glass in the future. It is very hard to look at the threads and find the holes between the weave when you are staring at a piece for more than five minutes. I am surprised that I did not lose a contact. This was my humble attempt at the dragonfly design she provided us with:

Here is a close up of the stitches:

On Sunday I decided to celebrate the Spring Equinox by buying some early season strawberries. I got a good deal since there were not that many people at the market due to the overnight rain and morning winds. They smelled so good that I could not pass them up. Now I need to come up with a dessert I can make with them, so they get finished before I leave for the Vegas Trip this Friday. They looked so pretty, I had to take a picture.

On the plate for today is the start of a new, more intense exercise program. After trying on clothes all Saturday and finding that my bottom does not seem to fit into clothing as well any more, I am back to the treadmill. I also want to add in weight training and some yoga. I am going to also try to do this five days a week. I hope that I can keep committed to it. I am also working hard on finishing up the embroideries for that belt. The faux shisha are coming along, and I am dreaming of some other embroidery stitches I now want to add around the belt. I think it is going to be a knock-out when I am finally finished. I also found a great new set of music while at dance class on Friday. I am pretty sure I have my music picked out for the show, but I don't get the cd until Wednesday. I guess I will be choreographing in the airport! :) Well lots to do before this trip, including getting an appointment with my hairdresser. I need to call her.....

Friday, March 20, 2009

On Breadmaking and Boats

You can see some really interesting things when you look out our windows onto the Oakland-Alameda Estuary. Yesterday I saw a pirate style ship sailing along.... well motoring along actually. They were headed up wind and had the sails down, but it still was neat to see motoring along.

It was a nice thing to cheer my otherwise dismal day yesterday. I had a really bad headache the whole day, so not as much work got done as I would have hoped. Also, my attempts to practice with the shirring foot resulted in much frustration as the machine quit gathering the fabric for some reason. I must have had a dial set wrong. I decided to give up and watch some basketball and tried to work on the belt. I did make progress on the belt, installing more faux shisha as well as covering more rings.

Today is starting out much better. I packed up the tutu and other things for Claudia's birthday as well as some pants I took up for my sister. I also have started some English muffin dough that is rising currently. Bread is the newest cooking obsession that I have, and after a great streak of beginner's luck, lately things have not been going so well. I think that I am both adding too much flour as well as over kneading all the doughs in my Kitchen Aid. Today I did things like set timers and refuse to add more flour when it still looked "too sticky." We will have to see what the results are going to be once I get through the first rise. I find making bread to be rather satisfying, even if it does not turn out. My white bread always seems to work from the recipe that I have from my Grandmother on my Dad's side. It always turns out perfect event hough I had to cut it down from the four loaf full recipe. She was feeding a farm, so I can understand that, but with just Dan and I, four loaves is over kill. Sourdough has been a flop as of late, but I am also determined to iron out the wrinkles on that and figure out why my sourdough is not really ever sour. English muffins lately were really dense, and I blame over kneading and too much flour on that one. I will have better data on that after today's batches. I am also trying a new recipe for those to see if this one works better for me.

Laundry is also coming along, and after this posting, I am determined to get that shirring foot working again. So much for getting that skirt done for class tonight, but at least I am not going to let myself give up on learning how to use it this time.

This weekend I am attending a class on blackwork. I am really looking forward to finally learning how to do this technique correctly. Currently, I cheat. With true blackwork, the front and back of the embroidered fabric look the same, so you have to plan your runs and make sure you know where you are going. I have two items in the shop currently that have my attempts at blackwork, but, luckily, you cannot get a peek at the backsides that are not as perfect as the fronts.

Both tins are available for sale in the Etsy shop. Hopefully I can add more designs after I take my class. Oh and those hair flowers, I hope to have them listed now on Monday. Due to the headache they did not get completed. I am working on getting that all in order today as well. So much to do and so little time before bread is done rising and class at Fat Chance is calling.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Machine Woes and Human Training

My surger and I have a love hate relationship with each other. There are days when I totally love it, and it shows me love back by effortlessly producing great work. Yesterday we were not quite seeing eye to eye. I found though, that most of it was my fault. I need to learn to finesse that machine more and force it to do less. It is not the same as my workhorse Singer sewing machine. That machine will take anything I put through it and happily turn out consistent results. I guess I just need more training on the surger and need to spend more quality time practicing on it. Right now I am trying to master the shirring foot for the machine. It is a great attachment that I would totally love to be able to use. I am currently taking more lessons at Fat Chance Bellydance and they want you to wear the standard pieces of American Tribal attire to classes once you hit level two. That is coming up for me this summer, and I want to be prepared with several skirts that would be appropriate. While I already have two 10 yard skirts, I have only made one for myself, and the gathering of 10 yards of fabric into the skirt was rather time consuming. Plus, why do it by hand when I have this fancy machine that should do it for me? The big challenge is finding the right settings on the machine to perfectly gather the two pieces of fabric at an even 2 to 1 ratio. It is also an interesting thing to try to feed fabric into a machine with both hands into different slots. Only one fabric is under the presser foot and the other fabric is passed above through a channel. It is a feat of eye hand coordination to be able to make it all work. I was blaming the machine for a while, but I am starting to realize that this human needs some more training and practice for this to work. Last time I tried this, I decided it was not worth it, and I could finish the skirt faster by doing it all by hand gathering. While it was true, I am starting to realize that if I just put in the time now learning this, I could expand the shop to someday offer skirts for dance in the shop as well.

So, on that note, today is going to be filled with machine practice. As a break, I am going to actually pick up the cross stitch belt while I watch some March Madness games. Hey, just because I am no longer working as an athletic trainer doesn't mean that I lost my love for sports. Besides, I keep saying I am going to work on that belt and seem to never actually pick it up. I am also hoping to make some hair flowers for the shop. Perhaps I will be able to get those made and ready for listing tomorrow. We will see where the machine lessons and March Madness lead me. I still have not found music I like for my performance. I hope that inspiration strikes soon!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thoughts on Domesticity

Yesterday I got the fortune cookie promos finished and sent off to Dirty Ass Soaps for her promo bags for a craft fair. It took me several hours to fold all the cookies up. I sat on the couch and just started throwing them into a finished pile as I was folding. Here was the end result.

Yesterday was an odd day. Dan was home from work again because he was not feeling well, and I was trying to do quiet work around the house and not run the sewing machines to save him from further headaches. I am not used to having to change plans or tip toe around, so I did some things I usually don't let myself do during "working hours". In the spirit of quiet I did some more reading of Jane Brocket's book The Gentle Art of Domesticity. There is a passage that I keep going back to and rereading as I think it sums up why I think my life as a stay-at-home wife is so valuable. This is what she says, and bear with me, it is a long quote:

"Just as many aspects of domesticity are often derided as old-fashoned, quaint or downright useless, so the skills and practicalities associated with it have fallen out of fashion. Despite the efforts of many contemporary knitters, quilters, stitchers, crocheters, crafters and bakers, the fact remains that the gentle arts are frequently regarded as mildly eccentric, touchingly nostalgic and outmoded. Why on earth would anyone prefer to hand-stitch a quilt when you can buy a perfectly good one in a shop? Why knit a pair of socks when they are so easy and cheap to buy these days? Why bake a cake when the store shelves are groaning with ready-made treats?
The answer lies int he not-so-revolutionary idea of seizing the means of production. It's as simple and as complex as that. A modicum of practicality in the domestic space empowers us to make our own choices about what we create and eat, rather than handing over control of our homemaking to profit-making companies. It may sound surprisingly radical, and it is. Embedded in the gentle arts is a slyly subversive streak that encourages free thought, individuality, creative self-expression, imaginative thought processes and not a little self-determinism. All this, and a great deal of pleasure, too."

I could not have come up with a better explanation myself. I have always felt like a rebel of sorts when I get to introduce myself to others as a housewife. People often wonder what it is I do all day and how do I keep myself fulfilled and happy. I find that my life is more fulfilling now than it ever was when I was working in the high impact athletic training field, and it is also more enjoyable to me than teaching, although I do still love teaching. (Hence the 826 Valencia tutoring I do.) I also like the notion of subversiveness that Jane Brocket talks about. I am bucking the system by not trying to "have it all," and I am perfectly fine with that. In many ways, I have found more freedom and creativity by working in the home and running a home based business than I ever did in a more traditional work place. My jam from now on is coming from my kitchen, and I am trying to buy less and hand make more. Thanks Jane for making me feel more comfortable,confident, and valuable in my choice to be a home business based Domestic Artist.

On that note, I made a leather thimble for myself last night. It turned out really well. Leave it to Threads magazine to come up with a this great tutorial Today I plan on making myself a new skirt if I can get the shearing foot to work on the surger. The last time I tried this it did not work so well, but that was also right before I found out one of the parts on the machine had broken. Today I will give it another try. Also, I am going to work on that cross stitch belt some more now that I have a trusty leather thimble. I also have to find music and start the choreography for my April 11th show. More on that when it gets close

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tea and Cookies with Jam

Today is delightfully cloudy and misty. I call them Seattle days because they really remind me of the times I have spent up there. It was the perfect day for some tea with work. I had to take a picture of the tea pot on its stand. I know that it did not come through well in the picture, but the steam rising up from the spout was fun to watch and very beautiful. Today I am still working on the fortune cookie promos. There are so many of them, and seeing as I am doing over 200, it is taking a long time. At most I have only done around 150, so this is a big step forward. I hope it pays off.

I have been thoroughly enjoying reading The Gentle Art of Domesticity and have found it quite inspiring. It has also helped me feel even more grounded in my decision to remain a stay at home wife with a small home business. This weekend I made orange marmalade because I was so inspired with the idea of being a domestic artist.

Dan helped out with some of the stirring in the two day process and serves as a hand model in this picture. I was trying to cook up the jam using the natural pectin of the oranges. On day two, I chickened out a bit. I thought about it and decided that I probably took too much pith off the fruit for natural pectin alone, so I used some Sure Jell to make sure that it was a solid jelly instead of runny. For my first canning project, I think it went really well. All my jars sealed with only having to reprocess two cans. I am pretty sure they did not have the right amount of head room for an easy seal. I also found that the recipes in my 1964 edition of the Ball Blue Book are way bigger than they say they are. The original recipe said this would yield 7 half pints. I ended up with 12.

I hope that we can get through all this in time for next year. I am sure that my Dad will want some when my parents come to visit. Who knows, perhaps it will turn into some hostess gifts as well. I just need to make sure that it is jelled and not liquid before I give any away. The remainder of the jelly that I had left in the pan has really jelled up in the fridge, but the jars still seem pretty liquid. Time will tell. Well, the cookies are calling my name. I need to get them off in the mail tomorrow to meet the deadline. Time for some gluing action!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Fog Has Returned

The fog has once again returned to the Bay Area, and I could not be happier. I am not sure what it is about the fog here, but I love it. It is a thick fog that stays high most days, but sometimes envelops the entire landscape so you cannot even see out the window. Today was a high cloud type of fog, and it also had a fresh sea smell today. Love it!

Yesterday was exceptionally busy, so I did not have any time to write. Between trying to work on promos and going into the city to tutor at 826 Valencia there was not much time. I also was invited out to lunch by my husband. It was a nice cafe style lunch at a little French bistro in South Park. It was rather romantic. In an attempt to get a ton of work on the promos done, I set up a work station in front of the television, so that after dinner viewing would still be possible.

I just do not trust myself to sit on the white couch and use permanent inks. I stamped my little heart out both on Wednesday and Thursday. I also worked on cutting all my wires and ribbon. Sadly I figured out late last night, read 1 am, that I do not have enough ribbon. *sigh* So, I need to make a run to the craft store today. I foresee my goal of mailing these out today slipping to tomorrow.

I also replanted all the new herbs into the window box. I love how it looks now, so lush and green.

So now I can just go to the window to get most fresh herbs. The only thing I use often that I do not have is cilantro. It just does not work out very well in the window. I also have a tomato finally growing in the Aerogarden. Sadly, though I am going to have to do some pruning. I put it off as long as possible, but the plant is dangerously growing into the light.

On the plate for today, Laundry! Yep, Friday=Laundry day. I also want to finish up all the promo cookies. I will try to pile them all up on a table or something and take one big group show. I also have lessons at Fat Chance this evening. Dan and I also are planning on working on orange marmalade part one tonight. Hopefully that all goes well. I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tutu Time

I finished up the tutu yesterday. It was a really fun project, and I am rather pleased with how it turned out. I look all over the web for different tutu tutorials (I love that phrase)and found that I really liked the one made by Plumtickled. I decided that Claudia is old enough to not untie all the tulle and she is also old enough to use an elastic banded one with out incident. Hopefully my judgments were all sound. I ended up picking up two rolls of 6" tulle for this project, one in pink and one in purple, because those are Claudia's favorite colors. She seemed to wear them a lot when I was out in Delaware to visit. I also found a great matching ribbon in the sale bin for a pretty bow on the back. I cannot wait to pack it up and send it off to the birthday girl. Here are some pictures of the finished piece.

I hope the future ballerina enjoys her first tutu. I also hope her parents don't kill me for it! :)

For today, I want to take things a bit easy. I have lots of promos to make and send out by the end of the week, so it looks like I have a date with some felt and a circle cutter. I hope to get my usual fortune cookies made and out the door by Friday. My goal is 350, but I will be happy with 200. I just hope I have a box somewhere that they will all fit in.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Terrific Tuesday

Yesterday was more productive than I thought it was going to go. As soon as I had finished up my "rah-rah" posting yesterday about all that I was going to accomplish, Erik wrote to ask if I wanted to get lunch. I, of course, can never turn down the opportunity to get lunch with someone. I figure he will be back to work again soon, and my fun lunch dates will go away again. I quickly went down to the gym and got my two miles in and then got ready for the day. We went out for a really nice burger in Emeryville. I was worried about getting the tutu materials and the housewares run done, but Erik came though. We went to the craft store and got me the tutu materials. I worked on that yesterday, and I am close to completing that today.

I ended up doing the housewares run today. I also treated myself to some of the herb plants that I am missing from the great scorched earth war against the fungus from a few months ago. I have the plants currently in quarantine to prevent any white flies or anything getting into the good plants. I learned my lesson on bringing in new plants with out treating them for issues first. Here they are after a good dosage of fungicide and pest soap.

I purchased mint, oregano, thyme, and a dill plant to join the sage, parsley, and chives in the box. The basil is doing well, but I need to take off some leaves that are not looking so hot. Hopefully that will also make the plants grow better with bigger leaves as well. I have really enjoyed this small box gardening, and it is always nice to go to the window and just cut what I need when I need it rather than having to buy it. I hope to plant the new plants into the box tomorrow.

I am also working on my sourdough bread experiments today. After some great beginner's luck, I have hit quite a bumpy road with this baking. I first started out with the Joy of Cooking and her recommendation of making a starter with commercial yeast. That worked for the first couple of time until my starter collapsed due to a war with the very strong natural yeast we have in the Bay Area. I started a natural starter, a rather scary process for me, and then used the Cook's Magazine recipe for sourdough. I had really consistent results for bread with their recipe, but I ended up with loaves that tasted more like white bread than sourdough. I am now working on a little booklet Dan found on the internet, but I seem to have my technique off, so the loaves taste a bit better, when they actually bake up. Today I am working on just going back to rustic hand formed loaves and will work on the bread more before trying to put it into pans again.

So for the rest of the day my goals are the tutu and more work on the belt. I also want to work on some of the gimp graphics I started last night for a new on line project to be launched soon. I will fill in the details when that is all finished up. Housecleaning is also something I would love to accomplish, but it may be a bonus for today and pushed off for something to do tomorrow. Remember I am trying to be more realistic with these goals.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hoping for A Productive Week

Now that the newness of the big tv has worn off a bit, and I mean just a bit, I am trying to get down to work this week. I really want to be productive. I am going to shut off the tv for more hours of the day and crank up the music. This has worked in the past for making me more productive, and I hope it works again. This weekend ended up being a little less productive, but I got in some good relaxation time and some good ideas floating through my brain.

Today, I am going to head down to they gym and get my two mile jog in, and I need to. The Vegas trip is coming up, and I know I will have to wear a bathing suit. Any last minute pound shedding will be wanted. I am then going to get ready to go out of the house and head to BART. Then I am off to the craft store for some tulle and to Target to pick up some new herb plants for the window box. Then I am going to come home, get lunch, and work on my sister's pants hemming and Claudia's birthday present. I want to get all those projects done today, no excuses. Then I am going to work on learning some gimp and work on cutting wires for more fortune cookies promotions. Those are the goals for today. I am trying to make things more realistic so I actually accomplish them, and I think this is pretty realistic. I am also hoping to work on some belt items while on BART. That is just bonus though. Well perhaps I will have pictures of Claudia's gift up tomorrow. We will see if the goals are actually met.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday?! Really?!

I am not quite sure where this week went. There were lots of things to do, and some of them were accomplished. Today is a laundry Friday as well as work on the belt day. Here are a few pictures of some of the designs. One is a flower and the other is an elephant that does not have the shisha yet.

I am planning on working on some sewing machine covers this weekend as well as learning to use Gimp better. I have dance at Fat Chance tonight as well. I guess there is not too much to report, so a short and sweet entry today. More on Monday. I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Today is one of those interesting days that we seem to get here in Oakland where it goes from being rainy and awful looking to a beautiful blue and fluffy cloud filled sky with the sun shining. Then it will turn cloudy and nasty again. The best part about all this is being able to watch it though our huge windows that overlook Alameda and the bay. The rain will come up over the hills on the peninsula and swallow them up. Then it comes across the bay as a gigantic grey colored curtain and swallows up the island. Finally, the rain will hit the windows and fill the courtyard.

Yesterday was filled with hand work on the belt as well as watching the American Experience series "Eyes on the Prize." It is an amazing series, and I have learned so much from it. I have no pictures of the belt pieces yet because they are still rather rough. Hopefully tomorrow will bring them. I am also debating what I want to do about today's jog. I am having some pain in my ankles, so I may just resort to the bike today instead of a treadmill. These kinds of things were why I ended up being a goalkeeper in soccer instead of a field player. I have just too many odd aches and pains. Today I really need to clean up the house. I am going to turn off the TV, and I am going to turn up the music and clean like a mad woman!I guess that is all the musings for today. Short and sweet, but still a lot to actually do. Pictures tomorrow? I will try my best!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Late Entry

I always try to post in the morning, and I find that it helps me set up what I am going to do for the day and reflect on what I did the day before. Yesterday was rather successful. I ended up on the treadmill and ran/walked a total of 2 miles. I was rather proud of myself. I know the pace was not that fast, but I still did it. I also got the banana bread made and the cookies made as well. Here is one of the sets of cookies fresh out of the oven:

I am late today with the posting because I received a call from my friend Erik to go out to lunch. I of course accepted seeing as it is always nice to have a person to talk with over lunch. It is pouring rain today, so it was also a very welcome thing to get out of the house. Erik also took me over to another hardware store to see if they had canning jars. Leave it to ACE to have exactly what I needed at lower prices than the internet. I bought two of the three flats of half pint jars. I cannot wait to get some oranges and start the marmalade process. Perhaps this weekend it will be clear enough to get out to the farmer's market and get some oranges.

Today, I am doing more hand work on that belt as well as trying to get to some house cleaning. I am currently watching some of the PBS series "Eyes on the Prize" that I taped a few weeks ago. I have always wanted to get to watch this, and now I have some time to do so. It is very interesting to watch, but also rather heartbreaking. Well hopefully I can get some things done on the belt, so I can photograph it for you all. Now, I am off for some sewing and television watching.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Unmotivated Monday

So I am totally unmotivated today. I think I am going to blame it on the new arrival into the household, our new tv. It is a large tv and it is like a small movie theater screen in our small apartment. I love it, but it takes the motivation to do things right out of me. I suppose the numerous messes left behind by our new bundle of joy are not helping matters either. The apartment is kind of hard to navigate, and the new boxes to the box piles are a bit disappointing since we were getting so close to being "box free." Needless to say, I took the opportunity to take the weekend off and do things like lazing around and watching the big tv. (Do you see a trend yet?) I did also do some good and productive things. I finished off the special order last week, which took a load off my shoulders. Now I am just going though my normal anxiety of wondering if the pieces I made are going to fit correctly. I measured many times and cut once, so hopefully Norm's steadfast advice will come though again.

I did do some productive things over the time since my last entry. On Wednesday, I spent the day with a friend. I meant to get the sewing totally finished on that day, but it was great to see Erik and hang out. Being over at his place is always an adventure, and I am never sure what projects we will end up doing, but they are always fun. This time, hydroponics. I think he was inspired by my window and Aerogarden the last time he was over and wants in on some of the home gardening fun. He, though, admitted that he is not good at remembering to water plants, so hydroponics seemed like the logical conclusion for his engineering mind. Engineers, you gotta love them! We, read he with my moral support, also built a soil moisture detector. It was amazing to watch him just put it together out of his imagination and a little internet help.

Thursday was my usual try to get things done in the morning with tutoring in the afternoon. I ended up getting all the cutting and a bit of sewing on the custom order done that day. Friday was the frantic, "This needs to get out the mail TODAY!" sewing session. I am proud to say that it got finished. I just wished my need for pressure to get anything accomplished habit would change. I guess I have always been a pressure person, so it may be a long time coming. I also went to Fat Chance for dance on Friday night instead of Tuesday. I just did not feel up to going on Tuesday, and it was nice to have the option of going on another night if I wanted to go but not on the particular night I was used to going. Options are great.

Today, I am hoping to get myself off the couch after writing this and into the gym. We will see how this works out. Big tv is pretty neat and also may be lonely if I leave the apartment. I also wanted to get a ton of baking done. Hopefully I can get some banana bread going after jogging and some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies accomplished today. English muffins may have to wait for tomorrow. I also want to get my sister's pants hemmed and Claudia's birthday present planned and the list of items needed for it written out. Once all that is done, I am going to settle in for some tv viewing and some hand sewing on that cross stitch belt that I mentioned months ago. Yes, it got put down again and forgotten. I would really like to get the embroidery done on that and get the belt finished this week if at all possible. The weather, being like it is, will actually help, since I find my best hand sewing occurs on rainy days. This week is supposed to be all rain. Pictures of baked goods to come tomorrow. Till then, I plan to stay dry and cozy with a cup of tea. Off to the gym for me now though!