Friday, February 17, 2012


This is what Ico is always watching from the window. There are two of them. They are also obese. I did this mostly to keep them away from the bird feeder because what squirrel can resist corn on the cob? But I have grown pretty attached to them and Ico is in love. Also, it does melt my heart when a fat little squirrel looks me square in the eyes with one little piece of corn in his mouth.
My dad keeps me in supply of corn. My family home is surrounded by fields that we rent out to a farmer in the neighboring valley. He plants a lot of feed corn for his cows so before he harvests it my dad gathers up a bunch of it and stores it in these awesome old metal bins.Sadly I will run out of corn before my next trip home. I can only assume the squirrels have dire consequences in store for me when this day comes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

homemade play dough

My nephew's birthday is coming up so I decided to send him a little homemade play dough kit. I found the containers and the lunch box at the craft store. Everything else I had on hand. There are tons of play dough recipes online and they're all fairly similar so I sort of just picked one at random and it worked out rather well. There were two things I changed. The first was to add an extract to the play dough. I used lemon (it was a close call between lemon, lemonade and strawberry). This isn't necessary but the original scent made me gag while stirring. I also used coloring gels instead of regular food coloring which was a lot easier to work with. A friend had just given me a box of 8 different colors so I didn't even have to mix anything.  Tip: wear gloves when mixing the colors. Once it's in the dough it doesn't come out. But at the beginning of the process it does so you will have rainbow hands. If this is your thing, then disregard this tip.

I whipped up a little drawstring bag to store some googly eyes and mini cookie cutters to use with the dough. I figured the play dough would be fun with some accessories and also, what small child doesn't like to walk around sticking things in bags? 
I want to make this for more children. There is nothing more satisfying than rolling play dough around in your hands. It's texture is different from store bought play dough- it's more velvety and it stretches farther without breaking. Also, cooking it was pretty fun too. It's on the way down south right now. I hope he enjoys it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

new monitors!

The second monitor that Scott gave me a couple months ago finally died. It had a good run, though. Scott bought new ones for himself and then gifted me with his old set. They are fancy and 4 inches larger than my old ones. It makes me feel impressive. It also makes learning after effects a much more enjoyable experience.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

200 Stitches: Don't Stitch While Sick

Here are stitches 13-16. I was sick and thought embroidery would be a delightful thing to do. I was wrong. So very, very wrong. So enjoy seeing what happens when you're trying to learn new stitches and you're not at the top of your game.

#13 Twisted Chain Stitch (did get better once I got going)
#14 Coral Stitch. Oddly enough, when I practiced it as a fill it went quite well.
#15 Scroll Stitch. Nope.

#16 Double chain stitch. The first one went well and then it just went downhill after that.
#17 Crested chain stitch. Terrible.
These 2 were the last I did before I gave up. I could feel myself blurring out on the directions. Needless to say, these are all going on the list of stitches to try again.
But, at least I made it through my first month of stitches. From now on I'll be stitching and posting them in small groups since I'll have to do about 16 a month and I feel that anyone who reads this may be bored to tears with that many posts about stitch exploration.


The other week when we had yet another day of 60 degree weather in January I took a walk around the still new neighborhood and tried some new areas. I happened upon Edgewood which everyone claims is terrible. The part I was in was full of BMWs and renovated Victorian mansions. Also, a super fancy miniature library that's right behind the miniature country club. Sadly I can't check out books since I'm not an Edgewood resident but it's still nice to visit. Here are a few of the gorgeous things I saw on the stroll.

There was a cluster of old churches and synagogues in this area. One was now a police station and another was the Western PA School for the Deaf which was gigantic. 
I had been following signs for a library but the signs were a bit off so I used my phone to get me to the CC Mellor Memorial Library. It was gorgeous. The stairs were marble. This was the stairwell.

Since the library is only for Edgewood and private it relies on donations so there were so many old books that I can only assume were in the parlors of all the old houses. And most seemed to be donated long ago when you still wrote call numbers on the spines. Although the library still uses the card catalog system. That was a treat to find in the backs of the books. This then led me to promptly find the card catalog to peruse.

I continued my walk and came across a house I'm kind of obsessed with now. It was beautiful and I couldn't tell if it was abandoned or not. I also loved that not much had changed since it was built. It still had a driveway that was a half-moon so there were 2 entrances to the street with old brick right beside the modern sidewalk.

The house went further back than I realized. I also couldn't tell if anyone lived here although the sides porches had things on them but it looks like whoever owns it only keeps up the front. The sides were in poor repair and the carriage house looked like it hadn't been painted in ages and had a sagging roof in some spots. I took a photo of that but only had my cell phone with me so they're not the greatest.

carriage house

one side of the driveway
Since it was so nice that day I forgot that it was still winter and the sun was going to be setting soon so I had to book it back to my place before it was dark. I can't wait to head back to this area and most likely peek in on this house again. I'd love to see it with all of the trees in bloom.