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April 29, 2012

In between school assignments I have been planning out my vacation, and working once more on my travel emergency kit.  Or rather, my disaster-prevention travel kit.  If you've ever been on a cruise ship and discovered you needed one of these things, you are either out $10 for one item or SOL.

I should probably use generic terms for some of the items, but sometimes it's easier to use a brand instead of trying to remember whether Diphenhydramine is for your stomach or your allergies.  (I'm not always good with big words.)  Bonine is a motion sickness pill favored by crew members of a rather lurchy voyage my husband went on a few years ago.  The stabilizers on the cruise ship were broken! Bonine does not make me sleepy the way Dramamine does.  Tums may be replaced  by Titralac, depending on how I end up packing things.  I tried to organize my list so gels and pills were together, in the hopes that I could neatly condense the packing, in, say, a pill organizer, rather than a bunch of little bottles.

The bold letters are things I shouldn't have to replace or check to see if they need replacing.  I did not include things like makeup as I was trying to not to be gender specific.  I have condensed all my makeup to one little travel bag, so I can just grab THAT and go.  (Let me tell you, it's hard to throw out $75 worth of makeup, even if it is 3 years old and you've only used it twice.  But you feel so much better after you do.)

Now I have to figure out how to pack everything.  I found a nice little plastic container at the Dollar Tree that's technically meant for food, but since you can't use it in the microwave or dishwasher it seemed rather wasted.  The Dollar Tree is awesome for some of this stuff, particularly the bandaids and topical ointments.  I even found an interesting little strip of cloth filled with polymer beads that supposedly keep cool when thoroughly moistened, which you tied around your neck. I figured it was worth trying at least once.  They also have little tiny roller brushes about the size of your hand which function perfectly well and are easy to pack.

Yes, this is the way my mind works these days.  I think I have control issues.  But I do like saving the day.
April 20, 2012

I would not have shaped
the room this way.
Our unused guest room (well, except by me as a study) is a small, awkward, WEIRD little room.  It's got cathedral ceilings, a weird angled wall that was obviously put that way because otherwise the wall would run into the window, and a big open space above the closet.

This was the inspiration for the colors
(no horizontal lines, though). 
I've managed to fit a lot in it, naturally.  I found some awesome tall bookshelves that are roughly a foot square and have extra shelves - perfect for holding all the paperbacks.  They fit nicely into odd places that a full sized shelf wouldn't go.  We have a twin bed in there, Cargo style, with a matching chest of drawers and a half bookshelf.  There's also my vintage record player cabinet, and a nightstand and media rack made by Grandpa Leitner.  We painted the walls a sage green, and the curtains at the two windows are tan.

For some reason, the room's theme just screamed 'adventure' to me.  I'm not even sure if that's the right word, but I'm trying very hard to meet those needs.  I'm still trying to figure that out. I want it to be unlike the rest of the house (or maybe the rest of the house more like it).  It's a place to go to escape, to imagine, to relax and think about all the awesome books and National Geographic Magazines you ever read, and the exotic and wonderful places you want to someday visit.  It's a place to dream your best dreams that have nothing to do with your everyday life.  It doesn't matter if you do them or not, it's enough to just think about them.

This is actually the 'after' photo, added to this post later.
We turned the bed against the wall and I'm forcing it into a daybed.  Eventually there will be lots of pillows, hopefully with rich, exotic looking fabrics.  I have a pretty Moroccan lantern sitting on top of one of the shelves.  I pulled my most adventurous books out, and put them on top of the chest of drawers between two bookends that form a tall ship.  I have a collage picture frame that I filled with our most exciting pictures, flamingos and giraffes, me at the helm, Brian next to a Pyramid, etc.  On the wall over the bed I have a tapestry map of Middle Earth, and plan to hang on either side of that the framed map of Hogwarts and an antique map of the northern Virginia area where we live.  The stuffed animals, clownfish, tigers, polar bears, etc, have congregated in here.  Also floating in here is the ottoman Brian and I made.  I still need to draw the map on the cover for it.

Today I bought some beautifully rich upholstery fabric in a greenish/brownish tone (called Flagship Sage) and simply tucked it in around the comforter.  I love it.  I gasp every time I see it.  And it was half off!  I've been grabbing cheap pillows whenever I find them, and have a similar fabric to this one, only in red, that I will use to recover them.

But what else?  It needs an elephant, somehow, somewhere.  I need to do SOMETHING to the curtains to make them look more exciting.  I'd love to be able to put stuff up in the spot above the closet, but since that requires a full size ladder to reach, I'd have to plan carefully.  A parasol would be awesome, and maybe a travel trunk.  I'll likely display my Steampunk library in here if I ever get it done.  I do need a clock in here still, and maybe a small lantern.  Maybe I can find something at Novica?  Or World Market?

Adventure is just around the corner, and to the front of the house.
April 19, 2012

I love this crochet pattern, I can finish it in two evenings, or maybe 6 hours.

This one is for intended for my pending niece, so I thought I'd get all decorative on it.  I tried to include decorations that were soft and (hopefully) won't pull off easily.  I suppose I should test that beforehand . . .

The yarn is Simply Caron's bamboo yarn.  It's SOOO very soft, and I love the color.  my main complaint is that it unravels easily and you struggle to get all the tiny threads onto the hook at times.  I found the pattern for the flowers here, and while I'm still mastering the magic loop (I get confused because I'm left handed, and I feel like I'm doing it backwards), I pull the beginning thread when I'm done, and pop! flower!  I tried out various yarn widths and the thinner ones worked the best.  The ribbon will get lots of adjusting, or maybe even removed.  That's up to my sister!  

April 12, 2012

My mother told me about a recipe she tried using just a box of cake mix and a 12 oz can of soda. Creativity sparked, and I decided to try it out with my microwave cake recipe and see what happened. Turned out exactly like the previous recipe! Here it is:

Microwave Soda Cake

2 TBSP flour
1.5 TBSP sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 TBSP soda or diet soda of your choice.

Mix together and microwave for 1 minute. Surprise! Cake!

I used Fanta Strawberry soda, which explains the pinkness. If I get strawberries I might try cutting one up and adding it to the mix. I saw suggestions of using cream soda and am all about trying that next. Don't forget to sprinkle chocolate chips as frosting as soon as you take it out!

Update: If you want a moister cake, add 3 tbsps instead of 2, and microwave for 1 minute and 15-20 seconds.
April 7, 2012

Here's a link to my Steampunk Clockwork doll stop-motion animation.