Hermit Season (aka Winter) is Coming

It’s November 1st  and although it was up in the 70s last weekend, colder temps are on their way…eventually.  With the chill comes the start of the holiday season which leads into my director time for dinner theater which really just means Im about to be a hermit until spring. It’s not something that I ever intended to happen, but upon reflection it happens every year so why not embrace it? Figured I’d use the season to kick off a reading challenge. I’m really excited (restarting one From a few years ago) We’ll see how many I can go through. I’m starting with number 23: a book more than 100 years old. I started Frankenstein a week ago or so, so I guess that book will get grandfathered in to this tally. I’ll note any audiobooks I listen to as well but will strive to make the ‘official count’ only with books I read.

Hermit season I embrace you – It. Is. ON!

Until next time
~ Q

The List (book / audiobook)

  1. A book with more than 500 pages
  2. A classic romance
  3. A book that became a movie
  4. A book published this year
  5. A book with a number in the title
  6. A book written by someone under 30
  7. A book with nonhuman characters
  8. A funny book
  9. A book by a female author
  10. A mystery or a thriller
  11. A book with a one-word title
  12. A book of short stories
  13. A book set in a different country
  14. A nonfiction book
  15. A popular author’s first book
  16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet
  17. A book a friend recommended
  18. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book
  19. A book based on a true story
  20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list
  21. A book your mom loves
  22. A book that scares you
  23. A book more than 100 years old
  24. A book based entirely on it’s cover
  25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
  26. A memoir
  27. A book you can finish in a day
  28. A book with antonyms in the title
  29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
  30. A book that came out the year you were born
  31. A book with bad reviews
  32. A trilogy
  33. A book from your childhood
  34. A book with a love triangle
  35. A book set in the future
  36. A book set in high school
  37. A book with a color in the title
  38. A book that made you cry
  39. A book with magic
  40. A graphic novel
  41. A book by an author you’ve never read before
  42. A book that you own but have never read
  43. A book that takes place in your hometown
  44. A book that was originally written in a different language: The Prague Cemetery
  45. A book set during Christmas
  46. A book written by an author with your same initials
  47. A play
  48. A banned book
  49. A book based on or turned into a TV show
  50. A book you started but never finished

Basement Remodeling

The walls have pine boards on the bottom 3 feet and drywall above that. Why? If it floods again we wont have to redrywall, just replace a few boards. My parents are brilliant.

The walls have pine boards on the bottom 3 feet and drywall above that. Why? If it floods again we wont have to redrywall, just replace a few boards. My parents are brilliant.

The basement finishing project has been ‘on’ for months now. Team awesome (myself, my mother and father) have been working on it sporadically and things are coming along. There still is a lot of stuff to do, but when I look back on photos of where it was when I bought the house and moved in, well it reminds me just how lucky I am to have such selfless workers in the form of my family to help me with the gigantic project. (We’re effectively doubling the usable square feet of the house by finishing the basement).

When I bought my house in June the basement was completely unfinished. It had been victim of lack-of-electricity based flooding and had to be gutted by the previous owners. They never did quite get it refinished after that. We’ve had to stud out the basement, board and drywall everything (sans mudding at this point), and now we’re working on adding a suspended ceiling. We’ve done most of the work ourselves, but we did call in professionals for a handful of elements. BedroomAlthough we know wood working basics (we built a 1 1/2 story garage in our backyard with a work force of mom, dad, and kids aged 16, 13 and 10 – which is, of course, why we’re team awesome) we weren’t well versed in plumbing, electric or stair building specialties.

The latest project is getting the drop ceiling installed so the electrician can come back and finish the lighting. After months of little light in the basement, I'm sure it will seem like a lit-up stadium once it's finished.

The latest project is getting the drop ceiling installed so the electrician can come back and finish the lighting. After months of little light in the basement, I’m sure it will seem like a lit-up stadium once it’s finished.

There have been countless nights and weekends of diving in to an aspect of the project, running across some issue, and putting our heads together to find the solution. The motto for my mom and I (or something we say at least once a week, if not once a day) is “we’ll figure it out”. Between you-tube and online forums there isn’t much we haven’t been able to do. (I use ‘we’ generously. My mom is the one who figures out the more technical things and then just tells me what to do. I have learned many processes via this method. Anyone need help shortening a door? I can now help you with that.)

At first it was all so, technical, getting the structure in place. But now, now we’re getting to the fun part: decorating. However with decorating comes trips to crazytown.

For instance: here are a couple of poorly lit shots of the bathroom:Bathroom

Now on the left (the color with the ‘x’) is what I picked originally. I painted bits of the bathroom months ago to see what I thought of the color. This photo doesn’t show the actual color all that well, but it never felt quite right. So yesterday we got the color on the right. Such a huge difference right? It might be stuff like this that makes people say women are crazy. However, crazy or not, I now have all of the grays picked for the basement. Gray, in my opinion, is a tough color to get right, so I’m very happy to have that hurdle done with. Now all we need to do is mud and I can get the top half of all the rooms painted!

Until next time
~ Q

Pinspired Project: ‘Fancy’ Mason Jars

Although you can find this project most anywhere these days I followed the particulars (almost) from the Thirty Handmade Days blog for creating a fancy mason jar. (Also called redneck wine glasses and many other things.) While I was shopping about for the materials I decided I didn’t want to do a mason jar, mainly because 1: I didn’t have a particular need for an elevated mason jar and 2: the glass tones of the mason jars and candlesticks didn’t match. The clashing really urked me so I decided to use a simple clear jar instead.Glass I found a super cute and simple one at Hobby Lobby and set to work.

I very carefully spread the glue onto the edge of the candlestick and let it set for a moment. (I had actually read the glue instructions, perhaps a first for me.) Then I centered the stick on the glass as best I could and let it set. After a couple hours I decided I was going to hit the sack. The glue had said to let the glue to dry for twenty-four hours, for some reason after two I figured it would be a good idea to add weight to the glass. Just to make sure that there was pressure on it. I grabbed my two biggest books (Art & Architecture book on Rome and my Visual History of Graphic Design). I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and heard a crash. I returned to the living room to find the books on the floor and this on the table. BrokenGlass

Yep, I did not take into account that these things were still GLASS and therefore highly breakable. We didn’t really have glass around growing up knowing we wouldn’t have any glasses left. Perhaps that makes me forget that it isn’t an indestructible material. As you can see I forced this project to fail. It probably would have been just fine if I had left it, but no. I had to go and put those heavy books on them. Oh well, in hind sight I didn’t really need an elevated jar anyway. However of the two pieces I wish the candlestick would have broken, it was a super cute jar. I may need to replace it…and get a second candlestick because having just one seems weird.

Pinspired Project: Easter Center Piece

Center Piece ThumbIf you have somehow not heard of pinterest, or even if you have,you should know it is an extremely dangerous website. I have waaaaay to many pins (both liked and on boards). Many of them are arts and craftsy and I decided to start trying some out. This week’s project? A center piece just in time for Easter. The nice thing about this project is that it uses 2/3 a box of peeps, because one can only eat so many peeps. However it also used almost an entire bag of jelly beans which are really addictive and yummy. But since I’m trying to be healthier, it’s good most of the bag was used as well. Project Supplies


  • two vases (one wider than the other so they can stack inside one another)
  • 3 stems of daisies
  • 8 bunny peeps
  • 1 bag of jelly beans (I used the all reds starburst ones)


  • Clean vases
  • put water for flowers in skinny vase
  • place skinny vase inside the wide vase
  • fill outer vase with jelly beans (I didn’t want my bunnies standing too much higher then the outer vase so I didn’t use the entire bag)
  • place bunnies on top of jelly beans
  • place flowers in skinny vase and voila.

I decided to use a monochromatic color scheme of various reds, but as you can see from the pinspiring post here you can really do whatever you want. This project really was as easy as it appeared on pinterest, thumbs up.

Until next time.
~ Q

Center Piece

And at the stroke of midnight…[Daily Prompt]

I was somewhere I never would have imagined. I rang in the new year with quite a random group of people. I had planned to do something with my friend and her husband. However what we were going to do was up for debate. Would we hangout at my place or go to Des Moines and partake in one of the bigger parties?

We ended up going over to a guy’s house we had known in high school. Also in attendance were a couple buddies of mine from high school and college and the first guys wife. We rang in the New Year playing board and card games (even got my friend’s husband to play a couple games of cribbage). After the games were done we somehow got onto youtube and started watching lots of random stuff. That meant that at the stroke of midnight we were watching ‘Twilight: A Bad Lip Reading’. I’m not sure what that means for my new year, but I’m excited to find out! As we passed around the bottle of Moscato I couldn’t imagine planning a better way to bring in the New Year for myself, sometimes randomness works out, that’s certainly my MO.

Thanks DP for asking!

Craft Time: Stuffed Animal

I have a nephew, who at the end of the month will celebrate his birthday. Like many kids he is a major fan of Yo Gabba Gabba. So I was trolling through Target and found a tee shirt for him. Hopefully he’ll like it, we’ll see. Anyway I was trying to decide if I should get something else for him (lets face it, clothes aren’t necessarily the most exciting thing for a kid to get). Then Tuesday after I get home from the gym I am struck with an ‘awesome’ idea. I’ll make him a stuffed animal that wouldn’t be that out of place in Gabba Land. (Because going home and deciding to make a stuffed animal is an impulse everyone has.) It didn’t help that I had all the materials I needed in the house, perhaps if I didn’t have them I wouldn’t have stayed up past midnight working on the project. As a side note it didn’t help that I also had a scary movie on (Scream 2) while I was working. Whenever I watch a scary movie (even if I’m re-watching) I need to watch something not scary (usually a kids movie) to replace what was in my short term memory.

Anyway I grabbed a couple old tee shirt scraps and felt and got to sewing. By the end of the second movie (perhaps I was not the most effect because I don’t think I was entirely effective as I could have been) I had the pieces sewn together (save for the front to the back). I did have the presence of mind to hold off finishing the piece until the next day. Wednesday I got up bright and early and tossed in a load of laundry. I meant to get ready for the day after that but instead I finished sewing the animal together and fought with it to get it flipped right-side out. Before I know it I’m stuffing the little creature. All of a sudden I notice that the washing machine is done and I’ve been working on the project for an hour. Safe to say when I arrived to work yesterday I was simply put together, but at least the animal was all stuffed! Then last night I finished with the hand sewing at the bottom (left open so I could stuff the animal) and presto birthday present complete!

I’m not entirely sure why I felt the need to A) do the project or B) rush through it. The festivities wont be until the end of the month, but at least now it is done. I don’t know if I succeeded in creating a Gabba-esque creature but hopefully he’ll like it. And hopefully I’m not mocked by my sisters’ too much for my delusions. Whatever, it was fun and an interesting exercise in sewing. I haven’t made a creature before. If I make another (some day) I think I’ll exclude the tail…or make it more of a ball (like a rabbit’s tale) so it’s easier to snuggle. Also this stuffed animal got bigger than I originally intended, from ear/horn to foot it’s about 16″ tall. It might be 2/3 to 1/2 the size of my nephew, so it definitely could scare him. Hopefully it goes over well though. Until next time~Q