Friday, November 29, 2013

Photo Friday: The Golden Gate

It figures that the one man-made structure that I find the most interesting is also the one man-made structure that my husband wants nothing to do with. I was in awe of the mile-long bridges when we went on our mis-adventure around the North Carolina islands -- while my husband was white-knuckling it until we got to the ferry.

To be fair, his fear isn't unfounded. Given our aging infrastructure and the number of collapsing bridges, it makes sense to have a healthy sense of fear when traversing crumbling concrete over large bodies of water. But that doesn't stop me from loving this modern-day miracle.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pinterest Fail: Super Simple Dress, Try 2.

Here's another gem that has been biding its time in my blog folder. Something I tried out sometime in April!

I'm too stubborn to admit when I need to walk away. I majorly failed the first time I tried this. But I also got the wrong fabric. Maybe, just maybe, things would be different if I tried again, this time with a lightweight fabric.

So I repeated the same process: sew up the top edges, sew up the sides roughly 3/4 of the way up. I decided this time to take what I learned from my dress pattern experience and make a sash instead of sewing in elastic, but more on that later.

The result? Eh. Definitely an improvement. But the dress looked weird and frumpy on me, even after I tied the sash on. I think my problem is that I have very wide hips, so this "straight down" sewing will not do me any favors, even when the waist is cinched.

So I cut off about 4" of fabric and turned it into a shirt. Which I really like. I might save it for when I'm pregnant (as the sash tends to ride up, giving me an empire waist, which does not look good on people with a long torso), but I'm happy that I tried again. It's still not the simple dress I was going for, but at least I didn't fail (too) horribly.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Photo Friday: San Francisco

San Francisco is as different from Boston as any city in America could be. But, man, I loved this city. And if I ever had to move to California, I'd hope I'd live in San Francisco.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Super-Easy Guacamole

I have an obsession with avocados. And, much like bananas, I get some weird kick out of being able to purchase them in New England, no matter what time of year. Welcome to the modern age.

This right here is quite possibly the easiest guacamole recipe ever. You'll need:
hot sauce

Peel and pit about 2 or 3 ripe (or even slightly over-ripe) avocados. Peeling avocados is as simple as cutting them in half (and by "cutting them in half" I mean "sticking the knife in until you hit the pit and working your way around the pit), and either using your thumb to peel of the peel, or scooping it out with a spoon. Pitting them is as simple as sticking the knife into the pit and twisting it out.

Place them into a bowl and mush them up with a fork. When the consistency is that of a paste, add lime juice and hot sauce until you get your desired taste. I added a whole lime's worth of juice as well as a good two or three tablespoons of hot sauce, I also like my guacamole incredibly tangy and sharp.

And there you have it. Guacamole sans artificial coloring isn't much to look at, but it's delicious (and good for you, too!) When you're ready, you can try adding chopped up onions, jalapeƱos, cilantro, and/or tomatoes. You can even add a little Greek yogurt for a creamier taste.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Writer's Wednesday: So Close!

Greetings from the tail end of NaNoWriMo.  It hasn't been an easy month, but somehow I've managed to get at least 1000 words in every day (last year I signaled each successful day with stars; this year, hearts).  I'm a smidge under 39,000 words total, which means, with any luck, I'll actually make the 50,000 word count goal as set by NaNoWriMo.

Much like my half marathon, I wanted to give up, say, 100 times already. I still want to give up, but I'm only 9 days away -- the final stretch!  It feels good to have such a huge chunk of my book written, but I recognized this is very much the beginning.

I'll see everyone in December!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Photo Friday: Musee Mecanique

While I had a notebook filled with various things I wanted to see in San Francisco, my husband had one: the Mechanical Museum. The museum hosted arcade games of all shapes and sizes, from the very beginning of the industrial revolution to the present day. It's not every day you see the original rock 'em sock 'em robots next to Pac Man.

We had lunch afterwards, surrounded by seagulls that would put the ones in Nemo to shame. They would do some serious acrobatics just to get a piece of bread.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

DIY Envelopes

Here is a project I meant to post last July. I think it's safe to say the summer was absolutely nutty, which resulted in this falling by the wayside. Enjoy!

I pride myself on gifting (it's one of the many things I have in common with my in-laws). That being said, I tend to get into the habit of buying presents early, only to find other presents that would work as well. This puts me in the poor house, but hey -- look at the smile on that friend's face!

Take, for example, my husband's birthday. My husband had created a huge wishlist on Amazon, filled with textbooks on sustainable energy for a house. I went in cognito and purchased his textbooks from a new Amazon account (since we share one) back in April, when our house hunting had just begun. I figured -- hey, what a great present! Even if we don't end up getting a house this year, it'll be nice to say they are off his wish list!

And then May hit. And not one, but two of our absolute favorite comedians announced that they were coming to Boston in the summer, and their tickets were going on sale now.

So, I naturally did what any budget-conscious person does: bought a set of tickets for each comedian, post haste.

Since I essentially doubled the amount of money spent for my husband's birthday, I decided to save a whole 5 cents and make my own envelope for the tickets.

This turned out to be way easier than I imagined. All I needed was card stock, a ruler, a pencil, scissors, and scrapbooking tape.

First, I measured the length and width of the tickets. I added about an inch to the width and 1.5" to the length. This was a rough addition -- I added or subtracted a little so I'd end up with two nice round numbers. On the card stock, I measured and marked the width. Using the ruler, I drew a straight line one each mark the length of the tickets plus ~1.5". I marked where each line ended, and drew an additional line with the exact same measurement. I finished up by drawing two straight lines: one that connected the midway marks and one that connected the end points.

I then drew out an equilateral triangle on the bottom half, with the two points meeting at the beginning and midway marks, for each side of the rectangle.

I then drew somewhat of a right triangle on the rectangle (where the 90* point faces away from the rectangle). If you're feeling up to it, you can erase the point and round the corners out by hand.

And now: you cut it out. If done correctly, you get something that resembles a very fat rocketship.

The rest is just folding and taping. Using the ruler, fold against every straight line. Fold the triangles and the midway point up against the ruler, creating a nice, sharp, even fold.

I decided to first fold the smaller triangles after I folded the midway point, just to make sure that everything would fall into place. This is a step you can skip completely if you're not neurotic like me. Instead, fold the triangles toward the rectangle with the rectangle still not fully folded. Lay a clean strip on each side of the triangle along the outside (read: patterned side) of the card stock. With a pink and an index finger keeping each triangle in place, fold the rectangle at the midway point and press the newly-made envelope for a couple minutes. Placing it under a heavy book works as well.

And there you have it! You just made a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind envelope.

You can close it using scrapbooking tape as well, but I decided to seal it with a piece of tape, cut out into the shape of a heart. You can also seal it with a square of washi tape, old-school wax…the possibilities really are endless.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Photo Friday: Pier 39

And in this photographic journey, we have finally made it to the Pacific Coast! We got into San Francisco just in time for the Gay Pride celebration. Granted, this meant hotel rooms were more expensive, but it was worth it to enjoy the Gay Pride parade in San Francisco. But first, we enjoyed the wonderful coastline.

Pier 39 is a sight to see. From the views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge to the Sea Lions by the Fisherman's Wharf, it was definitely worth the wait!

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