Friday, March 13, 2009

Random Friday

Today at work, I had to pack up my office because our department is switching floors. The last time I moved offices was 3-4 years ago (and I had a lot of stuff then), so I have several boxes of stuff that's making the move. I finally opened one of the boxes that moved with me the last time -- and has acted as a trust-worthy footrest on a daily basis -- today. In the entire box, I found one file folder of information that needed to be kept.
The most annoying thing I discovered was 3 mugs and 1 ziploc bag full of loose change. I hate carrying around loose change and never even try to have exact change when paying in cash, so it accumulates like crazy. I think the 3 mugs were moved into my current office during the last move, so they're moving once again. Some time next week, I need to go to a CoinStar machine and redeem the change for a gift card.

I know that I have an issue with loose change, but I really didn't think I'd find more of it today because I took ~$75 worth of change to the CoinStar just a few months ago! I truly thought all of it was out of my life. Ugh.
Twin Trees Afghan
At home, I'm working on my first knitted afghan. It's an Aran Twist tree design and the picture looks wonderful. My afghan is going to be winter white. I'm not sure if I like the green one (called sage). It's getting a little tricky keeping track of where I am in each of the design features because all of the designs are repeats at different lines. (Does that make sense?) Right now, I've mapped out how the lines correspond to each other on a piece of paper and have that, along with the design instructions, laid out beside me when knitting. For a split second, I thought about typing up a table in Excel, but then I caught myself. I can't let Excel creep into my personal life at this stage in the game!

I'm alternating knitting with embroidering a set of tea towels for a swap. They are turning out so nicely. It's going to be incredibly difficult to ship these guys away because they would be so sweet in my kitchen.

This weekend in Chicago, it's a mad St. Patrick's Day celebration. The river gets dyed green, there's the South Side parade in Beverly, and I think there's probably a tamer parade downtown. I'm going to skip the festivities and work away at all of the projects that I keep starting around the house. I'd also love to go for a long walk if the weather cooperates.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Eat Down the Fridge and Craft Down the Stash

This morning, I ran across an article talking about Kim O'Donnel's (has food blog in The Washington Post) week-long challenge to Eat Down the Fridge. Perfect timing, since that was one of my March goals. Basically, it's an effort to quit buying so much stuff from the grocery store and use what you already have stored in your freezer/refrigerator/pantry.

I'd embarked on this exercise last week after receiving my massive Burger's Smokehouse order and realizing that the amount of food in storage is a bit ridiculous for one person who works outside the home. It would be different if I had a family and/or ate all my meals at home.

There's a lot of good stuff housed in my apartment . . . it just needs some assembling. This winter, I fell into the trap of buying quite a bit of ready-made or near-ready-made meals from the store for no good reason, other than laziness.

After one week, my supplies are down a bit, but there's lots more to go, so I'm continuing on this quest for the near future. One of the reasons this is possible is that I do buy lunch Mon-Fri. Someday, I'd love to get in the habit of bringing my lunch more often -- I even have tons of cute bento supplies to keep it fun! -- but I will have to find a way to wake up earlier before this happens.

In a similar vein, I am also ready to Craft Down the Stash. Over the past year, I've amassed a good supply of craft supplies for tons of different projects. This is the year that those projects need to get made. There's enough variety in the stash that it will be difficult (but not impossible!) for me to make an argument for buying much more stuff this year. I think the exceptions will be for finishing items (buttons, backing, frames) or if there's some new amazing thing that is revealed over the year that I simply can not live without.

I believe we'll see a lot of this type of projects in 2009 because of the horrible economy. In my life, I don't need to make changes because of the economy (yet), but I do like the idea of simplification and using what I have rather than buying more . . . even though this philosophy will not stimulate the economy. Ugh - what a dilemma we've all created over the past 8-10 years.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mini Digital Camera

Over lunch today, I stopped by Walgreen's to pick up a bubble mailer and bought this little tiny digital camera (mine's pink, but couldn't readily find a pink image). It's unbelievably small and lightweight. It really is a key chain.

I purchased it mainly for the cute factor and the fact that it was $10. I didn't have high expectations with regard to picture quality, but figured that it would do for quick shots and I'd rather lose (or break) this by toting it around in my bag than my "real" digital camera.

Software installation was quick and easy. After taking a couple test shots, photo upload was a breeze. As you'll see below, picture quality is ok, not great.

In this pic, the color is distorted. I don't know why -- guessing lighting issues. It's taken in my office on a white desk. The objects are little shoe-shaped erasers in bold colors. I LOVE these erasers. My sister gave hundreds of them to me for Christmas last year, so all girls I know and/or swap with ends up with shoe erasers. They are so cute!

This is an extreme close-up of some french-beaded flowers that sit on my office desk. The color is accurate and the detail is pretty good. This also gives me the opportunity to rave about french-beaded flowers. I have no idea how I became hooked on them, but I love them. I only buy vintage ones -- preferably made in France and in a china setting -- but do wish to learn how to do this beading at some point in my life. I've also been extremely fortunate over the past year with craft swap partners. One two different occasions, I've received beaded flowers/gifts in swap packages because they noted my interests.