Hey 2012, what’s up?

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(Source: Nerd Boyfriend)

So. Do I have your attention now?

No? How about now??

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(Source: Who Is Matt Smith? )

Well, now that sexy men have gotten your attention, Dear Internet, I’ll get to my post. Which doesn’t actually have a whole lot to do with those images. Sexy as they are. . . Though, to be fair, I should probably even things out with some sexy woman action too. Just to be fair.

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(Source: Karen Gillan’s InStyle photoshoot

It’s a new year, and everyone’s getting all revved up about making resolutions and turning over a new leaf. Cause, you know, an arbitrary date management cycle has recommenced? Usually my resolution is that I won’t make any resolutions, cause it’s kind of a sham and hooey and they never get kept cause nobody ever makes really realistic goals for themselves. And then there are the tears and recriminations and apathy, and why start that vicious cycle when I only just jumped off the last one? Not that I’m a cynic or anything. But this year, something’s different. I’m at the cusp of making some changes in my life, and it just so happens that I want to start these changes now, at the turn of a new year. New Year’s Resolutions Bandwagon, you are being jumped upon by me, finally.

Grouped into a few areas, here are my goals for this new year:
1) Manage Money Like an Adult, dumbface
– don’t use the credit card as a crutch, if you can’t afford it, don’t go for it
– pay off the little bit of debt I’ve accumulated
– start actually saving money
– develop a proper budget

I’m planning on finally moving out sometime this year, so I really think I should buckle down and become an adult about money. Like now.

2) Get Healthy.
– start the process to diagnose a potential health issue I’ve been dealing with for the past six months
– develop a regular exercise schedule
– plan on changing some food habits, develop a healthy diet plan (where “diet” = the food I eat, not fad self-denial/starvation plan. Cause that shit won’t work for me)
– hike more. Lots more. And try to be more active in general

As I say above, I’ve been having some minor health issues since I finally got a job last spring. I guess the release of all the pent up stress of the two years previous messed up my system even more than I’d thought. And, having spoken with my doctor briefly about what’s going on, she agreed that we should definitely do some (wheeee. . .) testing and get to the bottom of things. And part of the treatment for the condition I might have developed include diet changes and increased activity. Which I wanted to do anyway. So. Win-win?

Now, what does this mean about my baking obsession?? Well, I’ll probably not change a whole lot, cause the things I bake, I bake them for other people. I’ll just have to pretty much not eat most things. And, I’ll probably start playing with new recipes, to test substitution options, and test the Healthy Baking Waters. But let me reassure you all now, there will still be pounds of butter. Cause, sorry margarine enthusiasts, it’s just better.

3) Make Decisions About Things That Have Been Pissing Me Off (finally)
– specifically, decide what I’m going to do about my choir issues. So there will be much research on choirs going on in the next few months
– find a decent paying Sunday choir gig, if possible. Cause I’m sick and tired of feeling like my opinion is invalid because I’m just-a-volunteer
– think about singing lessons, when I have more money at my disposal

4) Plan the Next Step, Career-wise
– start résumé revisions, cover letter writing, etc. well ahead of my contract ending
– start trolling job listings and job boards soonish
– think about where I really want to end up, and how each job I do apply to will help me achieve my goals in my career

5) Take the Time to Art
– use some of my cherished me-time to go back to sketching and painting
– play with new media, and mixing medias
– work on getting my technique back up to snuff, cause I’m feeling a bit rusty
– think about art classes, when I have some income to burn
– play with my craft obsessions and see how far I can push them into my art. Specifically, work on developing my own knitting patterns

During my vacation after Christmas, I worked on my first actual art project in YEARS. A friend of mine, with whom I have been lamenting letting our passion for our arts go in the name of practicality, challenged me to make something for her for Christmas. Well, being one effing-super-busy lady, I couldn’t do it in time for Christmas, so it became a post-Christmas project. And it felt good to be painting again. No, let me rephrase: it felt GREAT!! I’m about half done, so there’s more to do, but I’ve been putting off working on it a little because I don’t want it to be over. I guess I’m starting to realize just how big a whole I’d dug out of my heart when I decided to give all this up. So it’s time to start patching up that gaping hole, I guess.

I wish I could say I know it’ll all work out great. But I’m a confirmed pessimist and I’m not naive. But I can say right now that I am going to put everything into this, which is something I’ve avoided almost my whole life, and that’s both daunting and exhilarating. There are things at stake now!! I guess this is what it feels like to not be depressed? If so, I think I like it!!

I just read a great article about the physiological issues that might be at play in problems with maintaining weight loss. A lot of which makes good sense to me, especially since I watched my mom go through the whole crash-diet-massive-weight-loss-then-incremental-weight-gain thing my whole life. And I guess I could be discouraged since I’m likely to have to work hard at maintaining any weight loss I do accomplish, but it’s really nice to know that at least part of my overweight-ness can potentially be attributable to forces not entirely under my control. It’s kind of freeing, really. I’m also looking at the Mediterranean diet as inspiration for my new food resolutions.

Well. Anyroad, I think I’ve yammered long enough about this. Time to get back to work, Dear Internet!!

Any new resolutions this year for you, Dear Internet??

Knitpocalypse

Sooooooooo. . . First off, don’t blame me for the lateness of this blog post, as I did warn you! I’m so busy right now that 6 hours of sleep at a time is an amazing luxury . . . And I still have 8 knitting projects and one embroidery project for Christmas presents, as well as the boatloads of cookies I’m going to be baking next week. And the decorating, and the parties, and the singing, and the sing-along messiah, a crazy-packed weekend coming up, and the fact that I’m going to be at work until next Wednesday. AND ANOTHER DOCTOR WHO MARATHON!!!!!!! Not that I’m excited or anything. . . Though, I finished and packed all my presents bound for Calgary (for the boyfriend’s family) yesterday – just in time to ship them off on the last day that Canada Post will guarantee arrival by Christmas. And I didn’t even have to wait in line! It was surreal.

I just had a full day of software training at work today (so. bored.), and I’m running off to see my fearless leader for our present exchange dinner (at Elle M’a Dit – Alsatian cuisine!!). And I also have a treat to make for the post-service wine and cheese tomorrow. That I’d forgotten about until yesterday. Oops. . . I’m soooooo busy!!

So I can’t go swimming until Thursday, mope. Since a bout with the flu a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been pretty terrible about regular workouts. Though, that’s offset by the roughly 5 pounds I lost because of the flu. Which I somehow haven’t gained right back. . .

In the YAY column of life – my concert this past weekend went amazingly well!! Though, coming off the major adrenalin surge I got from that isn’t fun. Headaches and exhaustion and lethargy, oh my! Also awesome are
The sunrises recently – they’ve been so spectacular I haven’t been able to resent being up early enough to see them. Wish I had photos to share, but I was so awestruck I missed my photo opportunity window two days running. . . I do have a couple photos of the spectacular moon the last couple of days though:

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Maybe it’s the excess X-mas spirit I’ve gotten from singing a concert of Christmas carols (and Britten’s Ceremony of Carols!!!), maybe it’s hormones, maybe it’s finding someone whose awesome nerdiness rivals even my own, but damn but have I been feeling chipper. Exhausted and chipper, weird combination. Maybe it’s the fact that for the first time in two years I’ve been able to be genuinely happy without stress or excessive pressure on my shoulders. Maybe this is what real happiness feels like. Though, it’d be sad if I can’t recognize pure, unadulterated happiness, wouldn’t it?

Screw it, no introspection for me today. Life is good! It probably won’t stay that way for long, but dammit I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!

And seriously – I’m ridiculously excited about my upcoming Doctor Who-a-thon this Friday: awesome show, awesome awesome people to hang out with, awesome Whovian crafts (can’t wait!!), awesome Whovian snacks!!!! This week is going by soooooooooo slowly. . . If only I had a better TARDIS than this one:

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(made by me!)

It would definitely come in handy right about now. . .

And now, back to some knitting. How busy are you this month, Dear Internet?

(and, reading this back to myself, I’m noticing that sleeplessness really doesn’t help in elocution. Sorry about the jumping from topic to topic. . . Maybe I’ll be more lucid after the craziness of Christmas has passed? Not that I was very lucid to begin with. . .)

The posts that never come. . .

Okay. . . So much for resolutions like “I _will_ write at least one blog post a week!!” or “I need to finish talking about my bleep-ing Newfoundland trip!” or “I should sleep more!!!”

This “gainful employment” thing kinda sucks, aside from the money, the doing something awesome with my days instead of being eff-ing bored All. The. Time., the meeting new and awesome people, the money, and gaining useful experience for my CV. Did I mention the money? Cause two years of almost total unemployment paired with me still wanting some kind of life left me with one sad credit card statement. So money coming in is both very confusing and awesome. Confusing since it’s weird to see the bank statement increase bi-weekly. Though that does get sucked into the credit card pretty quickly.

And Christmas is coming.

Which leads me to a raft of excuses for why I’ll probably be AWOL for most of the rest of the year. See, I’m going to try to actually _do_ stuff in the next couple of months, along with working 5 days a week, singing Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, knitting a stupid number of X-mas presents, going to the gym 4-5 times a week, and baking the usual ridiculous number of cookies. Plus several birthday treats for the several birthdays coming up, and finally making good on a couple of presents the boyfriend and I gave a couple of years ago. Heh, you heard right – a _couple_ of years ago. . .

We’re so awesome. . .

And, oh yes, I almost forgot Hallowe’en. Because 1. I’m actually trying to make a costume for the first time in years (I don’t know if you remember how old I am, but it’s pretty ridiculous, since I’m not 7 anymore. Not that there’s anything wrong with other people who dress up who aren’t 7, _I_ just feel ridiculous), 2. It’s my Mom’s birthday and I have a new recipe I want to make for her (it involves potatoes. My mom _loves_ potatoes in an unholy way), 3. I have to carve a ridiculous pumpkin (I might not _have_ to, technically. But this is me, and if I can be truly ridiculous, I can’t help but be even more ridiculous than that), and 4. There’s not enough time this weekend to come close to finishing everything I need to do. . . Unless I don’t sleep of course. . .

If only that were a feasible option.

In addition to making myself waaaaaayyyyyy too busy, I’m also in a kind of not awesome place, emotionally. Which is part of why I’m filling my days too full, so I don’t have time to think about things. I’ve talked about the problems I’ve been having with my choir before, so I won’t belabor that point. But it’s getting to the point where sometime in the near future I’m going to have to make a decision. And I don’t want to. I don’t want to have to leave a choir I’ve been a part of since I was 6. I don’t want to have to be the one to tell my church’s priest exactly what’s wrong and why I’m leaving the Sunday choir. I don’t want to be the one to tell my choir director why the choir isn’t as good as it could, no _should_ be (i.e. Her. . .). I’ve been talking about this off and on for the last few years, enough so that the boyfriend is probably a little fed up with me. But there’s a reason I’ve put off looking for another choir, that I’ve put off telling the people who need to know what they need to know, that I’ve remained (increasingly) frustrated about the situation I find myself in. One reason is the convenience of it – the church is literally 2 minutes away from my parents’ house. Which won’t always be the case, if I can keep up this fully employed thing and move out next year. But more problematic is the emotional attachment. I’ve sung at this place for more than two decades, my grandparents are buried in the cemetery on the church grounds, I know and care for a lot of people in the parish, it’s my Dad’s church, I’m friends with a significant number of members of the choir. And this is all tangled up together in a big jumble of emotion that pretty much paralyses me. I’m in a kind of straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back kind of situation, and yet I can’t let myself do anything about it. Why should it be me that leaves? Why does it have to be me??

And after some gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair I came to a realization: for now, the good outweighs the bad. Just barely, but still. I’ve always been one to put friendship above my own needs, and why should I change that now? There are plenty of points at which I can reevaluate the situation, other times I can think about this.

In the meantime, I’m going to be looking at possible options. . .

Back to work! Any tough decisions on your plate, Dear Internet?

Yet another last-minute insane Katie project. . . Brought to you by – Insomnia!

Hey there!

This post, as previously indicated, will not be about food. Or music. Instead, I will show you some pictures of my most recent insane project spurred on by sleeplessness. Wheeee. . .

sewing it up, using the "whatever thin papper I had around" transfer methodthe finished purse. sorry no precess shots - too busy making the damn thing

close up of finished embroiderywith stitched border

the "bead" I made from a bunch of semi-precious stone I had lying aroundthe bead on the bag

ironing the patch in preparationpinning it into place

sewing!close-up of the finished product

the clutch! and it hold a fair amount of stuff

I needed something to put all my stuffs into at the super-shnazzy wedding I attended this past weekend. So last week, I made and embroidered a bag. I cannot justify this insanity, but I did end up with a super-awesome clutch! I used the fabric from the dress I’m going to be making, and lined it in scraps from the dress I had made for the super-shnazzy wedding. I embroidered a patch with Aimee Ray’s Circle of Mermaids pattern, which I fell in love with on Feeling Stitchy, which is a great resource for those wanting to get into/look for inspiration in/find like-minded sewists who love embroidery and other stitchery arts. I’m sorry you can’t really tell what the colour of the main fabric is from these photos – it’s an almost electric teal, and really gorgeous.

I guess I should also show you that super awesome dress I had made for said shnazzy wedding.

Here’s the inspiration dress (I found photos on my desktop! how organized am I. . .)

see Dear Golden Vintage's Etsy page for more beautiful clothing

so gorgeous!

It was so gorgeous, that I had to have it – but it was a size small, and I am not a size small. . . So I found a dressmaker who could recreate the gorgeousness. And here’s the version she made for me:

sorry about the burry :(me and the boyfriend, looking like a total nerd. so cute :)

You’ll notice, Dear Internet, that I went with a much darker titanium-silver fabric. I think I works better than the pale silver would have, with my hair and skin tone. Also, I couldn’t find a fabric that matched the original. And hey, I fell in love with the fabric I found, so it all worked out in the end.

I also made the jewelry that went with the dress – I used a bunch of different shades of dark pearls (5 strands for 20$ at the best bead store on Queen Street!) that played off the dark silk tones in the fabric. Learning to string pearls was a bit of a learning curve, let me tell you. . .

Here’s a close up of me and the boyfriend, you can see the jewelry better in this one

jewelry close-up!

It was a beautiful ceremony, in a beautiful venue. The food was astounding, and we had loads of fun dancing the night away. Not to mention the copious quantities of alcohol.

Now I get to look forward to making my own dress (we’ll see how that goes. . .) for the next wedding I’m attending this year. As well as a second attempt at that Circle of mermaids pattern. . . soooo many ideas of where to go with that one. . . I can’t wait to go raid the sewing store for more embroidery floss 😉

What are you looking forward to, Dear Internet?

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On a more unpleasant note – I’ve spent most of the afternoon in pretty excruciating pain, which has luckily subsided into the only occasional stabby badness. You might or might not be able to tell from these photos, but I have a lovely skin condition that, until I got a new dermatologist a few years ago, had me basically in chronic pain territory.

So strapless dresses, v-necks, deep scoop necks, etc. all make me a bit leery, cause it’s not to fun to have people staring at your chest (possibly disgusted). It’s taken me a while to accept these damn scars (a product of sun damage from not one, but count them two! reeeeeeeeeaaaaaallllllyyyyyy bad sunburns growing up, and a bout of bad skin in teenage land, thanks to dad’s genetic code) and I generally now prefer to keep them covered to protect them, but I’m happy that I’m at least starting to push myself outside my comfort zone and show some more skin every so often. The only problem being that they occasionally flare up with painy and I have to get more injections. Which equals a half a day of total badness.

So, if you please, when I have more pictures that may show my scars, just don’t stare at them unnecessarily, I’ll be able to tell 😉