Check-In: Feb. 25

What I’m working on – I posted my weird squidy design yesterday. This week I also made something a little “prettier.” (I mean, pretty is subjective. I happen to think spooky ocean critters are beautiful in their own special way.)

0225

I’m also working on maybe getting a freebie up on the blog next week. Nothing big, just a little somethin’.

What I’m reading – I finished The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up this week. I’m not one for self-help in general, but I am fired up about KonMari-ing the house. My husband is working most of Sunday, so I’ll probably spend the whole day on Step One: Get All Of These Clothes Out Of My House.

I’ve started two other books, Unseemly Science and Wicked Temper. Unseemly Science is the sequel to a book I read for our book club. So far I think I like it better than the first book. It moves a little bit more quickly and I care more about the main conflict. Wicked Temper I just started today and I’m not very far in, but I like the style so far.

What I’m watching – Tonight, I watched the first episode of Michael Pollan’s “Cooked” documentary series. It was fine. Fairly interesting. I’ve watched a lot of food+culture shows (Holla atcha girl, Anthony Bourdain.) so I don’t think Pollan was imparting anything terribly revelatory. To me anyway.

But. He spent a lot of time with some guys who were making barbecue. Specifically Eastern Carolina style barbecue. And, I swear this is the truth, it made me cry a little. I was watching a man chop up slow-cooked, vinegary pig meat… and I got seriously choked up. I don’t know if I’m particularly emotionally fragile today and I just didn’t realize it or maybe I’m feeling some sort of genetic nostalgia.

My mom’s family is from East North Carolina. Carolina-style barbecue is something I only ever got when we’d go to Grandma’s. I didn’t really appreciate it all that much as a kid. The first time I had it I was baffled. I’ve lived in Mississippi my whole life. Barbecue is ribs covered in sweet red sauce — not tangy pulled pork. (And then there was the Christmas at Grandma’s where we all got a stomach bug and the first thing I threw up was that vinegary barbecue. It put me off the stuff for years.) But now, I love it. I don’t know if my palate has matured or if I recognize the specialness of it now or if something in my DNA has finally awakened to the barbecue of my mother and my mother’s mother and my mother’s mother’s mother… but I am all about it.

So maybe my little barbecue breakdown was a combination of  general temporary oversensitivity, genetic memory and the fact that I really, really like Carolina-style barbecue. Who knows. Hopefully the next episode doesn’t cover braised beef tips. I may lose it all together.

Squids and starfish and narwhals, oh my.

Today I finished up something different for the shop. After a few weeks of flowers and polka dots (which, don’t get me wrong, I love), I decided I needed to do something a little weird. And tentacle-ly.

0223

I’m not sure how wide the audience for these is, but I had fun putting them together. The images are all seventeenth-, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century zoological engravings. And also some wild guesses (lookin’ at you, big eared mermaid).

 

Check-In: Feb. 18

What I’m working on – Well, between the ground hog and the 70 degree days we’ve had, it’s obvious Spring is coming. I have mixed feelings. I like Spring. It’s invigorating. I’m excited that we’re in a house now and not an apartment, so I can have a garden. But Spring doesn’t last long before turning into Summer and I just sit around being hot and miserable.

Oh well, I’ll worry about Summer in a couple months. This week, I was moved to make some Easter designs. Easter follows the first day of Spring pretty closely this year. Better get a jump on those eggs.

0218_2

What I’m playing – I’ve been playing a LOT of Banished. It’s a city-building strategy game and the “plot” (really just a premise, there’s no story at all) is that you’ve got a small group of people banished to the wilderness and you’ve got to help them survive. This kind of game is pretty great if you’re a control freak like me.  Ever feel like things are getting out of hand in real life? Start ordering a bunch of little digital people to gather wood and build houses. Manage their resources through the winter. Make them build little farms and raise little chickens. It’s extremely satisfying. It’s a good way to kill a couple hours but walk away feeling like you accomplished something.

What I’m reading – After two months on the hold list at the library, I finally have this bad boy in my possession:

0218_1.jpg

Oh yes. I am so ready to throw all of my stuff away.

I’ve seen a whole lot of people jumping on that KonMari train and I’ve decided I need it in my life. The husband and I moved out of our apartment and into a (rental) house this past July. I thought I was purging SO much stuff. Yet… as I unpacked, it started to feel like we had even less room. (And in some cases that was very much true. Our kitchen is surprisingly tiny.) I’ve started to feel a lot of anxiety about how much stuff we have. I kind of feel like I can’t really enjoy the things I have that I love because there’s so much other stuff choking it out. And you know, we’re grown ups now. I’d like to investing in NICE things. Real furniture. Window treatments. Art for the walls. But I have to clear the junk first.

I’m already halfway through the book, and yeah… a lot of it is a little kooky woo-woo. Thanking your stuff before tossing it out, holding things and waiting for the joy… and there’s that whole bit about how hard your socks work. But I think that might be the best method for me. I hang on to so much stuff because I get so weirdly sentimental about things. Maybe if I just took the time to kind of ceremoniously “let go” rather than just tossing it out, I can clear up those weird emotional attachments. We’ll see. I’ve still got to finish reading (I’m taking lots of notes) and then I’ll clear some time in my schedule to get to work.

Coming This March: The obligatory KonMari Step One “pile of clothes” blog post!

Check-In: Feb. 11

What I’m working on – Nothing new in the shop this week. But, I have been overhauling some old listings. This whole thing has been a learning experience, so now that I’ve gotten some things figured out, I’m revisiting the old stuff. Then I’ll hit the ground running with the new stuff. The main thing I’ve been doing is expanding my packs.

This one is a personal favorite:

0211

I’m going up from my previous minimum of 12 designs per pack to at least 20. The shop already looks a little more robust. I’m pretty happy with it.

What I’m reading – I was right. Once The Martian hit its stride, it really picks up. I can’t tell you how much I love emergency science — a bunch of nerds rolling their sleeves up and getting stuff done. Oh, and then there’s the part where everything works and the day is saved and everyone at Mission Control celebrates. I kind of want to be an admin assistant at Johnson Space Center just so I can be around in case they need help celebrating something.

Anyway. The book. I’ll probably finish it tonight. Maybe we’ll rent the movie this weekend.

What I’m listening toThe Memory Palace. Storytelling meets history and they always make me want to cry, even if they’re relatively happy stories.There’s something about Nate DiMeo’s voice that puts a knot in my throat. The one about human cannonballs made me cry in my car on the way home from work once. I don’t know. Stop looking at me like that.

 

Laissez les pancakes rouler

I’ve done a lot of Mardi Gras-ing. I’ve probably collected enough beads, cups and doubloons to create a second, slightly smaller trash island in the Pacific. I marched in smaller Mississippi parades when I was in the high school band. I’ve had a few two-day Fat Tuesday adventures in New Orleans.

0209_1

(My last New Orleans Mardi Gras in 2010. I tagged along with the Krewe of Ste. Anne and a whole bunch of people who are way cooler than me for the march from the Bywater to the French Quarter.)

These past few years, however, my husband and I have taken to celebrating a kind of IHOP sponsored Shrove Tuesday rather than Mardi Gras. Mostly because it doesn’t involve standing in the cold for hours or walking for miles. And also you get to eat pancakes.

0209_2

We’ll probably do the parade thing again one year. But for now… mmmm. Pancakes.