Thursday, April 29, 2010

Marzipan cupcake experiment

For Easter, I finally tried to make some marzipan animals to top cupcakes. I purchased the pre-made marzipan in the baking aisle at the grocery store and used liquid food coloring to create the colors. Some came out better than others. Below is a turtle:

Bunny heads:

An overhead shot of toadstools, a turtle, and some chocolate-hershey-kiss-boobie cupcakes (after I ran out of marzipan shapes).

And my new cupcake carrier (excitement!):

Personally, I didn't really enjoy working with the marzipan. I forgot to dust my hands with powdered sugar so the marzipan mostly stuck to my fingers, it was hard to get individual pieces (likes ears) to stick to other pieces, and the taste was gross. I guess I am not a huge fan of almond extract. They were a big hit at the barbeque I brought them to, though.

As a side note, has anyone noticed how swollen Val Kilmer has gotten???? I just saw the preview for the SNL skit-that-should-have-stayed-a-skit "movie" MacGruber, and Val Kilmer looks like he has been playing Kathleen Turner in a new bio-pic.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More crafty goodness and gardening (when it was sunny)

In our "backyard" is located a huge fan for our HVAC system, and it does not exactly "go" with our gardening scheme in our very very small yard. Jay got all man-crafty after it was installed and made this trellis-enclosure for it. It is two-sided, sealed, and attached to the fence with just a couple of small screws, in case we need to access it. Then we spent a day de-weeding and covering the ground with white rock. The plants on the outside of the enclosure include some ground cover (creeping jenny), two ornamental kales, geraniums, yellow daisies, and in the green pot is an asparagus fern. In the back corner (far right in the above photo), I planted three different rhizomes, including some larger ferns, and two others that I can't remember at the moment. Hmmm....I remember one is an ornamental tropical-looking leafy plant, and the other starts with A....astiridae? Anyways, it's pink. When they finally emerge, I will put some photos up. It is a little exciting waiting for them to peek out. And yes, gardening can be exciting!

Super-cute ceramic mushrooms for the garden, found at Target.

Close-up of geraniums.


A while ago I bought two pillow-forms at IKEA to cover at a later date. Procrastination set in, as it does with all of my crafty-intentions, and they sat, untouched, for about six months. In a craze of "I am going to finally finish all of my WIPs!", I made two envelope pillow-cases, using the pattern found on Chez Larsson's craft blog. It is one of the easiest pillow cases to sew: straight lines, some light ironing, and ta da!

Of course, as soon as I finished works-in-progress (eggplant, crocheted rag-rug, pillows), I had to start some new ones! A short list of projects I am now working on:
  1. Knit amigurumi lamb
  2. Knit amigurumi tomato (to keep the eggplant company)
  3. Crocheted chevron baby-blanket
  4. Bought a Knit Pick kit to knit flowers/floral motifs
  5. Finally rolled my wool skeins into balls to start the owl sweater from Ravelry, then realized I didn't have the correct size of circular needles
Next post: cupcake experimentation

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


In my last post, I mentioned starting a crocheted rag rug. Well, here it is, all finished! It turned out a little smaller than I had anticipated, but the colors turned out great. The pictures don't really do it justice, so you will either have to see it if you come over or just trust me.

I used a simple circular crochet pattern that has increases each row, keeping it flat. It is the same starting pattern for most amigurumi patterns (row 1: 6sts; row 2: 12sts; row 3: 18sts....etc.). The last three rows, I used a double-thickness of Lion Brand Thick 'n Quick and added a shell pattern.

The dog was occupied with trying to smell underneath the rug. Not sure why....
Also, I finished (yay!) my first knit amigurumi project. I am not a very strong knitter, so I started with an easy pattern: eggplant.

Now, what do I do with a knitted eggplant? Ya got me... There are other veggie patterns in the same book (Amigurumi Knits, by Hansi Singh), but I'm not too excited about knitting another vegetable. I suppose they could sit together in a bowl and look clever. Perhaps I could knit up some insects that could be attacking the veggies....there is also a pattern for ants that would be cute.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Musings and Crafts


As I am no longer pregnant, I am fighting simultaneous urges to:

  • eat as much sushi as I can

  • drink lots of alcohol

  • lose weight (diet)

  • lift heavy items

  • run

  • smoke various herbs

  • sit in front of the irradiator at work

  • clean the bathroom with lots of hazardous chemicals

  • eat unpasteurized cheese, or soft cheeses

Now, most of these urges, taken together, contradict themselves. So I am left feeling like I need to eat sushi and drink wine with dinner, but that is not exactly diet-friendly. It is frustrating, to say the least. I am getting close to the point where Jay and I can start trying again to get pregnant, so I am torn between just trying to enjoy myself, while I can, and being super-healthy and losing those last 3 pounds before getting pregnant again. I will never be a super-skinny person (it took several years to come to terms with this truth), but I still am self-conscious enough to keep my weight under control. I have family members with health issues (diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer), so I need to keep an eye on what I eat and how much exercise I get.

On another, but only slightly related, point: I am cutting my hair off! Yes, I am finally going back to how I used to keep my hair, and cutting it off. I had my hair short (pixie-ish) since I was about 16, then grew it out for my wedding, at age 26. I cut my hair pretty short in grad school a year ago, and have been trying to grow it out since then. It is a short bob now, but it makes me feel old and like I should be driving a volvo and wearing those stupid Croc shoes. So I made an appointment, and I will be cutting it down to a manageable, cute short cut. By Easter, it should back to its normal shortness.


On a crafty-green note, I spent some time last weekend recycling old t-shirts and cotton fabric I wasn't using. I cut them into long strips, then crocheted them using single-crochet into a flat circle. I used Lion Brand Thick'n Quick to do the outer two layers, but I am not quite finished yet. This picture (below) shows the beginnings:

This upcoming weekend we plan on doing some gardening and eating more sushi. Next weekend (Easter weekend), I have three days off, so I will be getting my hair cut, going to a friends party, and then relaxing for a couple of days. I reallllly need to get out and not think about pregnancies and relax with friends and drink some recreational alcohol. It will be so nice to socialize and be myself (not my work-self) with people I actually like.


Tonight (Thursday) is TV night, or one of the few nights that there is something good on NBC. The Office, 30 Rock, and (on Lifetime, which I normally never watch) Project Runway. I love The Office for the sweet office romance (who doesn't like sexual tension at work??? I don't know how I would get through the day without it!), 30 Rock for Tina Fey's Liz Lemon (who is weirdly similar to myself), and Project Runway for the lack of drama and real talent. If you aren't watching any of these, then you are really missing out.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gardening, crafts, and dog (not in that order)

The surviving tulips. Our dog likes to lie in the sun, and I happened to plant these bulbs in one of his favorite areas, in the hopes that, once they started to grow he wouldn't lie there anymore. I was wrong. the ones to the far right (which I tried to crop out) are pretty flat and pitiful. Most of them have done well, though.

I am not sure what this plant is....I have vague recollections from Plant Taxonomy class that the overlapping leaves are in the Iridae family. So it must be related to Irises. Anyways, it is red, the hummingbirds go ape-shit for them, and they grow like crazy. Jay and I have to rip them out of the ground every year, otherwise they take over our entire, very small, patio area.

My favorite plant right now. It is a coral-bark japanese maple. The leaves are coming in right now, so it looks great in the little red pot we found at Green Acres Nursery (off of Folsom Blvd.), which is also one of my favorite nurseries.

Wallace. He is giving me one of his "looks," which he does when he doesn't really like what I am doing. He still doesn't understand posing for the camera, and I haven't figured out a command for that one yet. He may still be pissed about the shock-collar we had to get him. We have really lame f'ing neighbors with nothing better to do than complain to our condo's board if he barks more than twice, during the middle of the day. Really. I hate our neighbors, if you couldn't tell. Not all of them. They know who they are.

In crafting news (news? sure.), while I was recovering from the miscarriage and "scraping" (shudder), I sat on the couch and made little woodland creatures. I used the Sculpey clay that bakes in the oven, and I think they turned out pretty cute.

Two little owls. Super cute.

In the front-left, I have a gnome-like guy I was working on. I haven't finished painting him yet, and I am not sure if I am happy with him. The hat was all wrong, and something about the proportions are off. The guy in the front-right is a fox. I am still painting him too, and he is turning out pretty cute. I made an amigurumi fox (from a pattern from, and I will post that later. It is in the baby-box for when that eventually happens.

Mushrooms. These turned out frickin' awesome. So these are the Before picture, and below, you can see them in all of their Glittery Glory. I forgot how fun glitter was.

These still need some cleaning, and I am going to get the canned air to do that later.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Getting back to "Normal"

Two weeks since the miscarriage, and I am think I am handling things pretty well. It was really tough the first 4-5 days, and the first day back to work was awful. But time does heal all wounds, and having hobbies to keep my mind (and hands) occupied helps a lot.

The toughest part: losing the weight I gained during those first 11 weeks. I had only gained about 5 pounds, but they seem to want to stay! I quit eating the high-fat stuff I had bought during bouts of intense cravings, but the weight loss has been really slow. I would like to be down to about 124lbs (I am about 130 now) before I get pregnant again. My skin is also recovering from the hormone part that I am not looking forward to during the next pregnancy.

So on the cheerier side: new crafting. While recovering from the "procedure," I spent my time making little glitter mushrooms and teeny owls. I will include the pics in the next post. I am also ripping up old fabrics/torn clothes to crochet a rag rug.

Bonus: this weekend Encore is showing 80s movies! Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Risky Business, etc....perfect for a cloudy weekend with nothing to do.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Starting Over

This is a difficult entry to write. Over the past two days, my life has been turned a little upside-down, but Jay and I are coping and will try again as soon as it is safe. Maybe this entry will help someone else cope with a miscarriage.

Wednesday night I experienced some spotting. All of my pregnancy books said it was normal, as long as I wasn't having any pain or cramping. Physically, I felt completely fine, so I wasn't worried. Thursday morning there was still a little blood, and it didn't seem to be tapering off. Before work, I called the Kaiser advice nurse. She asked some questions, said it could just be normal light bleeding, and left a message for my doctor's office to call me back. They might be able to fit me in for an ultrasound.

I went to work as normal. After a couple of hours, I received a phone call from a nurse at my OBGyn, and she said (from what I described the blood looked like: dark) it sounded normal, and to keep an eye on it. I felt much better about the whole thing, and went on with my day. I had lunch with my husband (he works in the same building), and felt fine.

At about 1pm I went to the bathroom and found a lot of blood on my underwear. It wasn't dark this time, it was bright red. I cleaned myself up and immediately called the nurse at my OBGyn. The machine picked up and I left a message for them to call me back as soon as possible. I was freaking out a little. I went back to work to finish up what I had been working on, then returned to the bathroom to see what was going on. More blood, and a weird, achy feeling in my abdomen and pit of my stomach. I couldn't tell if I was just having anxiety or if I was having a miscarriage. Trying to keep myself together, I tried calling the nurse again, but to only get the answering machine. It must be lunch time. I called Jay. Through tears, I told him I needed to go to the doctor's, and now. He said he would drive me. I called my lead and told her I was leaving.

Finally, at the OBGyn, I was seen by a nurse. My normal doctor wasn't in, so they would try to fit me in with a different doctor. The nurse said it was likely I was having a miscarriage, but they would get an ultrasound to make sure. My heart sank and I tried not to cry again. They brought Jay into the room while I waited for the doctor. She put the probe in for the ultrasound, and moved it around. The uterus still had a fetus in it, but the fetus was just floating around, with no heartbeat. She measured it as 8.5 weeks. I was supposed to be at almost 11 weeks along. It was dead, and had been for about 2 weeks. My body didn't realize it, and was still showing pregnancy symptoms.

The doctor said I could wait a few weeks for my body to push out the fetus and tissue, which could be accompanied with painful cramps and lots of bleeding. Or I could be admitted to the hospital to have it removed (D & C). Or they could perform the D & C in the doctor's office in a couple of hours, with local anesthetic. I said I wanted it removed, and as soon as possible. I couldn't bear the thought of having to pass it myself and see it. And who knows when it would work?? while driving somewhere???

She left the room to see about an appointment. When she came back, she said the soonest appointment for a hospital admittance was a week away. Or, they could get me in tomorrow morning, Friday, to perform it in the office. I took the Friday appointment. She loaded me with prescriptions for pain pills and miso-something (to get my uterus to start contracting). Jay and I made phone calls to get off of work, and then went by the grocery store to get dinner, wine, and maxi-pads. Fun night.

We watched In the Heat of the Night and drank wine. It seemed to help a little. I read every miscarriage-related section of my pregnancy books. They all say it is normal, most women experience one in their lives, the next pregnancy will be fine, etc...

The D & C. Warning: kinda graphic description:
I think most women are put under for these procedures, which I highly recommend. I was given vicoden in the morning, then a local anesthetic. It was still an awful procedure. The doctor was really nice, but she gave me way too much information right before the procedure. Such as: "I am going to scrap out your uterus, but there is a risk that I could puncture it, and then it might also puncture your bowels." WHAT?!?!?! At this point my legs were already in the stirrups and I was woozy from the vicoden and nervous from seeing the weird vacuum next to the bed. The lidocain made my legs shake uncontrollably, and it was all I could do to hold them steady during the procedure. I didn't want to bump the doctor while she had sharp instruments in my uterus. And the vacuum. I imagine this is what an abortion would feel like, and all I could think was "I am so glad I never had to have one." It would be awful. No one should ever judge a woman who has had one, if this is what she had to go through. It is a horrible feeling when they vacuum you out. Yes, you can feel it. And the noise is terrible. The doctor warned me about it, but it was still something out of a horror movie. At least I couldn't see anything. And it was quick.
Afterwards, I was given an ultrasound to make sure all of the tissue was removed. They brought Jay in (thank god I told them he could stay in the waiting room....I don't think he could have handled it), and he helped me clean up and get dressed.

So now: I am recovering and have the weekend to relax and get my head straight. Work sent flowers on Friday, which was a nice surprise. I think I will work on the garden this weekend, if the weather holds out. The purple tulips I planted have bloomed, and the japanese maple needs to be moved.

I was really upset on Thursday, but I am coming to terms with it. It will be hard to have to tell people who knew I was pregnant that I miscarried, but at least I was still in the first trimester. And next time, we are waiting until 12 weeks to tell people I am pregnant. I don't need to go through that again.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Big News!

Yes, I am pregnant! This ultrasound (baby is the greyish blob inside of the dark black blob on the left side) was taken about 2 weeks ago, so I am almost 10 weeks along.

I will post more as I go along, things are okay right now. This is my first pregnancy, so everything is very new and weird, but my first trimester symptoms are not too bad. I heard they can be awful, but mine are mostly mood related. Skin is in awful shape, moods are all over the place, I sleep all the time, I'm hungry every hour, peeing all the time, and more headaches. It reminds me of puberty all over again. NOT what I had expected, but, oh well.

Oh, and TONS of unsolicited advice from "well-wishers." Mom told me to just say "go fuck yourself," to the offenders, but that could get me in trouble at work. So I have been taking a bathroom break when I need to get away.

And my allotted one cup of coffee in the morning has been a huge help. I may crack if I had to give up all caffeine, on top of the alcohol, soft cheeses, and sushi I can't have.

A bit of advice for those who find out they are pregnant, and are somewhat anti-social, like myself. Keep it to yourself for as long as you can. I know it is hard (which is why we let spill the beans so early), but it would have saved me some sanity at work.

Basic info:
Due Date: end of September, like the 25th.
Sex: not known yet, but I will post it when we find out in May
Names: will figure that out as we go. And don't make that face when you find out. I hate that other people (strangers, even!) insist on knowing what you will name the kid, then they (of course) hate the name you have thought about for months and make that awful face like I just farted two inches from their nose. It's not your kid, leave me alone.

Okay, getting moody, must go eat again.

Bedroom Remodel

Before pictures:
Our room was painted a blah, ugly, dirty off-white. I scrubbed the walls, then painted EVERYTHING with primer before we started. It looked tons better even with just the primer.

During the remodel:
We used Glidden paint, in Soft Sage and Dove White for the trim. We used Cafe Mocha for the closet.

After pictures:
Behold! Our finished room (except carpet and repainted ceiling...please ignore those for now):
Closet is from IKEA, furniture is MALM from IKEA, and most of the accessories are either Target or IKEA. We will be doing the nursery (wink!) in the same green color.

The husband and dog.

The closet: which is one of my favorite parts.


Witness me in my uber-nerdy outfit! Since I don't ski/snowboard/or hang out in the snow very often, I just have a snow bib I found in the kids' section at Sears and a boys' waterproof jacket. What is the point of buying expensive, trendy stuff if you only wear it once or twice a year? Anyhows, I kept plenty warm and dry. Jay got a little moist and bruised, but we had a blast. As you can see, the weather was perfect. This was the day right before a big storm came through.

I really liked this picture of Jay. He looks like one of those jack-ass skiing jocks from an 80's movie....
Yes! I could stay upright the entire ride down! We even mastered the chair lift (after only one extremely embarrassing fall when the operator had to stop the lift so I could move my fat ass)!
I do, however, snowboard in a weird, squatting, position. Oh well.

I think Jay was very tired here. He fell on his ass a lot.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It has been a long time since I have updated this blog, but I promise to try to write at least every other week for now on. I have some big news that I will write about in the next post, and the remaining posts will follow along my new journey.

In other news:

The husband and I attempted to learn how to snowboard in January, which was a blast. We rented equipment at Sugar Bowl and even took the introductory classes with Rick-the-snow-boarder-dude. We fell (not as much as I anticipated, however), acquired lots of bruises, and ended the day with a much-deserved cocktail. All together, a great day. I will post photos soon of our ridiculousness.

We just finished remodeling our bedroom (except for the flooring). Our home is a condo in the Sacramento area, which, for a long time, was a rental. So you could imagine how much work the place needs. Most of the large and expensive items have been replaced/repaired, such as the windows, the water heater, the dishwasher, and the entire HVAC system. The main bathroom has had everything replaced and repainted, except for the bathtub and bathtub fixtures. It is still on the to-do list.
So in the bedroom: We repainted the walls (light green), the baseboards, trim and door (dove white), the closet (light mocha), and installed a new IKEA organizer for the interior of the closet. All of the bedroom furniture was replaced with the MALM series, in a birch finish, and we hung new photos and art work. Again, I will post photos in the next post. I still need to get off my lazy butt and download them.

Blurg! the way, NetFlix has all of the previous 30 Rock seasons on instant watch.....awesomeo!!!!