Monthly Archives: November 2006

My favorite things…


I have been incommunicado lately – unfortunately, I used to do a lot of posting from school, and our firewall is getting meaner and meaner. They have even blocked – my last means of checking my e-mail from school. Mean administrators!

First, I have to say that I really did plan to participate in NaNoWriMo this November. I was really getting into it. My first attempt was an adolescent novel geared around crafty girls – I don’t want to give too much away, because I may still use that! Then, I decided that the idea was too contrived. I just couldn’t see the characters yet.

So, I changed the plot to 180 days in the life of an ESOL teacher – pretty original, huh? I wrote about 4 chapters, but think that it is boring. Stephen King, in his brilliant book, On Writing, says that people love to read about other people’s jobs, but I doubt that anyone would be as tickled by myself as I am…. Just ask my students.

I finally have come to the decision that writing a novel in 30 days is yet another distraction from the myriad of projects I have already started – hell, I can hardly commit to 30 days of blogging! At the moment, I am teaching school as well as making crafts – I’m behind on orders – procrastination is apparently my middle name! I think I should stick with what I have in front of me for the moment.

I finally received the shrine frames I have made for me in China. They look fine, except for one little problem: about 1/5th of them have broken glass panes. In the future, I will order them without glass, or have the glass shipped separately. I have already made 4 shrines with the new frames, and am ironing out the kinks. I think that it was a good idea to order them – I just sold two Blue Dog shrines for $60 each.

I have also been cooking a lot – mainly, I was on a cupcake kick. After two weeks on the frozen entree diet I found in a Good Housekeeping magazine at the doctor’s office, I lost 5 pounds. Then, I promptly decided to experiment with chili and chocolate recipes to test on the faculty for Hispanic Heritage Month. The cupcake craze was augmented by a date with my husband to the Taste of Atlanta event where I sampled the wonderful Coca Cola cupcakes made by a local cafe.

When I visited the cafe a week later, I found that I had just missed their business hours, which end at 4:00 pm. The only thing to do after that was to find a recipe on the internet and make the cupcakes myself. I ordered a copy of Cupcakes! from the Cake Mix Doctor. I really prefer to work with cake mixes – less measuring involved!

The good news is that I made awesome cupcakes – both my chili and chocolate cupcakes and my coca cola cupcakes were big hits. I was less successful with my cajeta cupcakes (cajeta is Mexican caramel, usually made from goat’s milk) – the icing was too sticky and the pecans I bought were too old. I just made the yummiest lemon curd cake that was gone in two days…

The bad news is that I have probably gained all of my weight back! I was doing such a good job on my diet: preparing my breakfast cereal and eating it at school (our students all get free breakfast served in the classroom, so I eat when they eat), actually eating salad with my lunch and my dinner, and I had an awesome time picking out my frozen entrees. I am a big fan of the new Kashi dinners, the Ethnic Gourmet, and especially of Amy’s Organic. I am so easily derailed! I must get back on the wagon.

Change the subject: I am now into recycling t-shirts. I bought a copy of Adorn magazine at my local bookstore, and there was an article on making things out of t-shirts. I had already had my eye on a project in Kathy Cano Murillo’s newest book, Art de la Soul, where you make a patch quilt from them. But the books I saw spotlighted had clothing made out of t-shirts that had been cut up and sewn and tied back together.

I went to Barnes and Noble last weekend and looked for the poncho pattern – I’m sorry, but most of the other items are, well, too form fitting for me. I was just dying to make the poncho, which is cut from two different t-shirts, with a fringe made from the remnants of the t-shirts. I copied the directions and also drew copies of the diagrams and made my practice poncho last weekend. I wore it to school on Monday and did not get big guffaws from anyone, so I assume it was not inappropriate…

I have since ordered the book, called Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt, and made another poncho with tie-dyed t-shirts I had been hoarding for a while. It looks great! You can still see the stitching, although I spent a LOT of time hand stitching with small stitches, but that’s okay! I plan on wearing it on Monday – can’t wait to make more things from the book.

I have recently been hooked on podcasts – I am making my way through all of the podcasts of Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me! – a fabulous show. Podcasts are awesome – I can listen to them while cooking, crafting, or cleaning. I also can download them to my I-Pod NaNo and listen to them while driving to work. My other favorite is Crafty Pod – Sister Diane rocks! My particular favorite episodes are the ones about glue (yes, glue) and about The Sampler. I am proud to say that I am linked on her current entry!

I think I am going to sign off for now – my husband and I went to see The Prestige, which I thought was awesome. Very Edgar Allen Poe. I cannot say more because I don’t want to give up any clues. Go see it yourself!