Monthly Archives: September 2011

It’s like this…

The loot… be jealous, be oh, so, jealous!

I’m still stumped as far as what to write in response to my day spent at the Craft Gossip blog meet up. It was only a few hours long but I left with my brain full of big, craft lovin’ smiles (and a couple of bags STUFFED with free crafty goodies to play with). With so much bounty you would think I could easily pluck one single thing to talk about… or 5, but I’m lost, with nothing.

I’ve been able to pinpoint my problem. I do believe I’m overwhelmed with creative possibility. Not a single thing we played with at the event or what I brought home with my afterwards has anything to do with spinning or knitting. I’m never one to shy away from a new project, but I typically keep to my comfort areas. It’s not that I’m afraid of branching out, it’s just that I don’t have room in my house or my head to do much more.
Or so I thought.
The meet up started with a go around with introductions from each of the ladies as well as a bit about what they create and what is the strangest thing they have ever used for crafting (anyone remember my poodle hair experiment that ended with frustration and failure?). I think we had the entire craft world covered. There were people who sewed, jewelry makers, quilters, scrapbookers (that’s not a word…. work with me), gourd artists and so on. One lady as even used a salmon as a stamp… I’m not sure what that makes her. As I sat there and listened the wheels in my head started turning. Thoughts of “Oooooh, I should look into that” or “Oh yeah, quilting, I should finish my quilt” and “I wonder how hard it is to actually make something out of a gourd” scrolled across my mind about as fast as the wine emptied from our glasses during lunch.
I knew I was in trouble. When I start thinking like this, it is usually a sign that I’m about to bottom out from too much creativity. If you don’t think it’s possible, then I can’t explain it to you. For those of you who have stood in the middle of their crafting room, starting at potential project after project, but couldn’t even begin to pick one out, then you know what I’m talking about. It’s that feeling you get when your rational side begins to battle with your creative mind. One side wants you to use all of the crayons in the box and the other side tells you that you don’t have enough time for more than 2 crayons. Neither side wins and you’re left exhausted.
And disappointed.
As I said earlier, we left the event with 2 bags FULL of crafty goodies. There were cross stitch projects, scrapbooking supplies, stamps, jewelry making goodies, stickers, plush patterns, markers and the list goes on and on. As I unpacked my bag before leaving, I could feel my heart rate go up. The pitch of my voice went up right along with it. We all giggled, squeeled, skipped across the room holding tightly to our new favorite thing in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD.
It was like Christmas where you are the prized, only child.
But better.
I skipped right out of there, already planning 43 different projects for when I got home. I was going to start scrapbooking again… or maybe I was going to make a shadow box with the scrapbook supplies… or maybe greeting cards… or maybe promotional materials for WoolyHands… or maybe I was just going to put it on my shelf like a trophy and lovingly look through them once a month like a family photo album… or maybe…
You see the problem. I really could do a million things, but I can’t land on just one. It’s not just the scrapbook supplies. It’s all of it. I went through the bags tonight and pulled out project after project to start and was left with a pile at least a foot high.
So you see, I’m overwhelmed with crafty possibilities. There are worse things to be overwhelmed with, you’ve never heard of someone in a mental ward because she couldn’t decide on which rubber stamp to playwith first, but still, overwhelmed is overwhelmed.
Hopefully my brain will begin to compartmentalize some of the creative inspiration gained in Little Rock at the meet up and I’ll be able to unpack things one at a time and unveil them here for you to “oooooh” and “aaaah” over, but until then, I’ll be over on the floor of my craft room, sorting through project after project…
after project.
And this is me… before realizing I was in over my head:

I’m warning you…

… this is addictive.

I promised some people I would post my pumpkin.sausage.mushroom soup recipe. I’m not sure where this recipe came from. I saw a version of it on a forum board a couple of years ago and I’ve adapted it slightly, but I can’t claim the original idea.
1 lb breakfast sausage (I love hot, but sage and even regular works fine)
1/2 c. onion – chopped
1 clove garlic – minced
1-2 cups mushrooms (or more, I like more)
1 can 100% pumpkin
4 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 c. heavy cream
Brown sausage in a large stock pot – drain fat if needed
add onion and garlic, cook for about one minute
add mushrooms and italian seasoning, cook until onions, garlic and mushrooms are cooked down add pumpkin and chicken broth
bring to a simmer and cook at a simmer for 20 minutes
add cream and heat through (a couple of minutes)
salt and pepper to taste
If you live in the NWArkansas area, serve this with Martha Harps rolls, if not, do what you want. This soup doesn’t discriminate against any kind of bread. The soup also tastes quite amazing with some Cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese on the side.
Serve this to your loved ones… to your friends… heck, I bet it would even get you a raise, so go ahead and invite the boss over.
You can thank me later.

The password is… procrastination

After spending 30 minutes writing and rewriting tonight’s blog post about my trip to Little Rock last Saturday and the Craft Gossip Blog meet up, I’ve given up and changed courses. It’s not that I have nothing to write about, quite the opposite actually, it’s just that I’m having trouble doing my homework. I’ll write the following post in an attempt to at least be somewhat productive with my procrastination.

I spend all day coming up with creative solutions to everyday problems and when I get home, my brain is empty.
Thankfully no one is grading me on this homework and the most brilliant blog post will come to me (hopefully sometime tomorrow).
As usual, I’ve been thinking. I’ve had a terrible time trying to balance my day job with my night job. In a match up of performing arts event management vs. fiber arts, who do you think wins? My first instinct is to say the former. I depend on that job to keep my brain on its toes, to pay my bills, to advance me to a world of happy, professional bliss. It’s easy to devote my time and energy on something like that. However, when I get home, my wool, spinning wheels and knitting needles taunt me. The names they call me when I’m not looking are enough to be sent to the corner for. My every growing fiber stash is just that, ever growing, never shrinking. It looms over me casting a shadow on what is just a shell of my formerly crafty self. Perhaps it is all of those things that leave the fiber arts in the winners circle.
I’ve felt it taking a bit out of me. I’m not as friendly in the evening when I’m not playing with wool. I get crabby, short and uninteresting. I need to make time to balance the two out once again. Everyone with a professional day job probably experiences the difficulties in leaving your work at work. It’s impossible to do these days. Our brains are functioning at a million miles a minute (I blame the internet on that – information is just a click away, so productivity and reactions to problems are expected to mirror that) and it’s all too easy to answer email after email in the evening when you should be detoxing and unwinding. You certainly aren’t doing a service to your professional colleagues by never resetting and you certainly aren’t doing one for yourself.
So, how do I begin to balance the two out again? As I said above, I’m having trouble with one homework assignment, so I’m not even going to pretend that “scheduled crafty time” is the solution. It has to come in the form of inspiration, but not in the form of time suck. For example – a walk through a local art gallery or botanical garden = inspiration; 3 hours spent browsing Pinterest for new Christmas craft ideas = time suck. Both are fun, both have different results for me.
Okay, okay, so maybe I will assign myself a homework project – I’ll go find some inspiration this week. All I need is a breath of fresh air to reset myself. I know my coworkers and my fiber stash will thank me.
Balance is not that far out of reach.

General news for a general type of Friday

Before I get into this post, I have to tell you a story. When I created my blog banner (the one you see above), I was quite proud. It was clean, classy, and perfect for my blog.

Then the sadness came.
Last night, I saw a not very good blog about nail polish (don’t you judge me, for the first time ever I haven’t been biting my nails and this girl is obsessed with pretty nails) with an almost identical banner. The font was different, but dang it.
Okay, now on to more important things. My sister and I are heading to The Rock (Little Rock, AR for those not up with the lingo) for a Craft Gossip meet up. We’ll get to hang out with some craft bloggers, play with crafts, eat some lunch and perhaps even drink some wine. We’ll also be leaving the event with a schwag bag FULL o’ goodies to play with later. How did we get so lucky? Well, we know some peeps. The one requirement for this day of fun is that I blog about it upon my return to the real world.
Yup, that’s it.
I have to write about it. I’m never really short for words, so this will be a piece of cake.
After the gathering of brilliantly creative minds, my sister and I will be heading out to do a bit of shopping in our state’s capital before eating Indian food and heading home. I have to say, that isn’t a terrible way to spend a Saturday.
In other news, I’m still working on designing my own tomorrow. After spending the past few years feeling less than perfect I’ve finally found a doctor who will listen to me. After 30 minutes in his office, I left with an almost diagnosis, a prescription and hole in my arm from filling up 4 vials of blood for testing. I immediately cut caffeine out of my day (I’m not sure how people get off hard drugs because that was the PITS) and I’m left less tired and without daily headaches than I was before. Eureka! I’m feeling 100 times better already. Also, my insulin levels appear to be out of whack and probably have been since I was 15 or so. Yay. Medicine has been helping that and guys, I haven’t felt this good since college.
I’m ready to face whatever tomorrow has in store for me with a new, not so tired or blah feeling me! Bring it!

Of a lighthearted nature

10 years ago I marched in my first UT football game pre-game show. While this video isn’t the best quality (and some girl keeps trying to sing and talk and mess up the moment) it still made me cry a bit. I felt like I was going to pass out that day when we flooded out onto the field at pre-game.


Dare I say it… the path less traveled?

Sticking your toe in the lake and testing the waters can be a very scary thing. I’ve been very hesitant to take a leap of faith for the past few years which is very unlike me. However, I’m quite lucky that my braver, gutsier self seems to be visiting more and more as of late. I had one of those strange realizations that just came out of nowhere yesterday while getting a manicure (exactly 25 minutes before the stomach bug of doom consumed the rest of my evening – I’ll get back to how that might be connected to the topic in a moment).

A couple of months into my first semester of college, I decided that the University of Texas was not a good fit at all. 50% of the reason I chose to attend UT was to march in the Longhorn Band. When my dreams were crushed that late August evening with the realization that my name was not on the final cut list, I was left with nothing more to do but practice the heck out of my bassoon and make the best grades I made the entire time I attended college. Good for the brain and GPA, terrible for the soul. I was so unhappy that I packed up the car and went home to go to a branch of UT closer to things more familiar. While that doesn’t sound crazy, the idea of it was completely scary. I didn’t know anyone in the music department at the new school. I didn’t even think I wanted to graduate with the degrees they offered in Music. However, home I went. Something pulled me there.
During the 3 months I was at that school, I managed to make terrible grades, wait tables 40+ hours a week, stay out WAY too late almost every night, start to fall out of love with my then boyfriend, and lead the UT-Arlington cymbal line to a 1st place victory at PASIC (for you percussionists out there, you know that’s kind of a big deal).
It was JUST what I needed at that point in my life. All of those things above (some cooler than others) started to form an arrow pointing me back to Austin. I began to value attending a school that inspired me to get better grades. I left a relationship that was sucking the tears right out of me. I also regained the confidence in my ability to crash 2, huge metal plates together, while marching, and doing it well. My time spent in the unknown played a huge part in forming who I am today.
The quick and dirty end to that story is that I went back to UT-Austin, successfully auditioned for the Longhorn Band, ended up being a section leader before graduation, and had a BALL. Some grades upon my return were great (the music ones, that is, and really that was all that mattered in my head) and some were not. My soul was happy, I finally valued where I was, and the Erin I am today started to peek out from behind my youthful ways.
I could go on and on about what my return to Austin did for me, but that wasn’t the point of this post. The point was that doing something unfamiliar and a bit scary was 100 times better than staying put. Sure, I ended up back where I started, but I was on a different path. Currently, I feel as though I’m being presented with some scary and unfamiliar paths and when this story popped into my head yesterday, it was a complete “a-hah!” moment for me. This is no different than then. Sure, walking down the unknown path might mean I’ll run through some brambles and pot holes along the way, but somewhere down that path is greatness… wouldn’t it be worth checking out?
And now back to that stomach bug – it’s quite possible that my completelyunabletodealwithstresslately self created the stomach bug that led to some champion porcelain God worshiping… but that just means it’s important to me, right?
See, I told you I’d get back to that stomach bug 🙂