Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fan Art: Team Rocket

More art to share! This time it's from Pokemon. Team Rocket is my favorite:

I was researching some costume ideas, and got sucked into the world of deviant art again! Just like with the Mario art, each artist is listed below their piece with a link to their deviant art page. Enjoy!

Cross stitch!
Missy Tannenbaum, the pattern can be found here.

Burton style
Miss Amu-chan

Life like


A little Zelda-Pokemon combination. I wish they had changed the hair color, but it's still funny.
Of course, they're not even wearing James and Jesse costumes. They're more of the Butch Cassidy style.

Just some fun around the internet. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Movie Update

In April, I gave you a list of movies I wanted to see this summer. It's fall now, so here's the results of my summer movie viewing:

Here's my original list of 11 movies I wanted to see:
  • Something Borrowed
  • Thor
  • Bridesmaids
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  • X-Men: First Class
  • Bad Teacher
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Cowboys Vs. Aliens
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Conan the Barbarian
Here's the updated list. The strike throughs are what I successfully saw. The italics are movies I saw that weren't on the original list.

  • Something Borrowed
  • Thor
  • Bridesmaids
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  • X-Men: First Class
  • Bad Teacher
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Cowboys Vs. Aliens
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Conan the Barbarian
  • Water For Elephants
  • Your Highness
  • Horrible Bosses

I don't know if I still care to see the ones I missed over the summer. It's funny how that happens. I see the trailer and get excited, but when it comes to DVD, I forget to rent it. Then I don't end up watching it until years later. Like Timeline, which I just saw and really liked. It came out in 2003. Where was I then?  Probably wrapped up in high school drama.  

As for the movies I did see, I didn't enjoy them all. From that list I'd only recommend the following:
  • Bridesmaids - it's pretty raunchy at parts, but we were crying from laughter.
  • Thor - upbeat, fun super hero film.
  • X-Men - I love all things X-men, and James McAvoy is amazing in this one.
  • Water For Elephants - loved the actors, the cinematography and the story. It was beautiful. 
  • Harry Potter - I may lack Potter fever, but I still thought it was excellent.

Do you have any recommendations for me from this past summer's movie madness? 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Florida Rosette

My sister and I...and the rest of the internet (pinterest) are really into wreaths right now. A couple weeks ago, before we did the cinnamon wreaths, I helped Lydia work on making this wreath she pinned:
via Dwelling & Telling, who made it from a different internet tutorial
We bought some felt from Hobby Lobby and cut it into circles...

...which we cut into spirals. Check the link below the wreath picture for a full tutorial. 

I think it'd be way pretty cool to use them to make state art. Glued to a colorful canvas maybe?

Texans eat this stuff up. It's probably pretty boring for Coloradans, though.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Even Now and Ever After

I received this two-in-one novel from my mother-in-law a few Christmases ago. I'd never read a Karen Kingsbury novel before, even though she's a pretty popular Christian author.

They were really good.

Even Now had an intriguing plot from the first page. A Christian teenage couple accidentally gets pregnant. Their parents split them up, intending it for their good. The split results in a series of misunderstandings which leave the baby to be raised by her maternal grandparents.

Eighteen years later, the baby's now a college student seeking a way to find her parents and bring them all back together.

Ever After is the sequel, but I can't really tell you anything about it without giving away the first book, except that it's good.

These books take place during the war in Iraq, which brought a lot of emotions to the surface for me. I felt a taste of the fear and concern that people feel for their loved ones overseas. The books also hit me deep in terms of what soldiers experience. When I hear about the work our soldiers are doing, the victories and casualties, I'm far more emotionally moved than I was before.

Kingsbury did an excellent job exploring the areas of conflict that we Americans feel/felt about the war in Afganistan and Iraq.

That's one reason why fiction is so powerful. It can present real life in an fascinating way that leaves an impact. I wouldn't have read them if I knew the story was partially about war, but I was already hooked on the characters before the war came into the plot.

They're great books. I recommend them!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rufio Wails

He doesn't like being left alone in a bathroom. Being the good parents that we are, we laughed and video-ed him.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hammock to Blanket

Last week Lydia and I went to my grandma's to check out some stuff she was giving away. I picked up several things, including this hammock from Honduras that my grandfather got for her when he went there on a trip several years ago.

I know from experience what it's like to get a hammock in a Latin American country and never use it. I have one from Nicaragua that's in a closet until I find a place to hang it...whenever that is. That one is netted though, so it wouldn't work for what I did with the Honduran hammock, which I'll show you right now!

This is a no-sew project!

First, I cut the strings off the ends.
Grandma said she didn't care if I turned it into a throw. In fact, I think she suggested that I do it. 

Each big loop looked like this:
I unravelled it, which gave me two medium loops. 

I separated each medium loop into two smaller loops and tied knots in the smaller loops:

I did that along the whole hammock on both sides and ended up with a cute Honduran throw. 
I hope you like the coffee table leg in the corner of this picture. 

The end.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dominion Travel Case

I know most of you are thinking, "It must be a pain for you to drag all those Dominion expansion sets around when you play at other people's houses." You're right. It is a pain.

However, seeing that necessity is the mother of invention,... bro-in-law Kevin came up with this ingenious method of transporting/storing multiple Dominion sets.

Check it out: three-ring, zip-up binder briefcase full of plastic card-holder pages. The cards are organized first by expansion set, then alphabetically. Here's a page from Intrigue:

At the front of the briefcase is this pencil pouch (which I literally used in fourth grade), that holds all the little trinkets, like victory and treasure tokens. 
Those toothbrush travel cases contain tokens. Kevin's full of inventions. 

Voila: a convenient carrying case that currently holds four Dominion sets. Perfect for taking to the park to play on a blanket, in the car on a road trip, or just to a friend's house. 

I kind of want one now.

Update: We made a new box for our cards and the DIY can be found here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cinnamon Wreath

Last week I saw a cinnamon stick wreath somewhere on the internet, so Lydia and I decided to attempt to make them. Cinnamon sticks are pretty pricey, so we bought brooms from Publix for $4.00 each. 

First thing we did was clip off the wires and unravel the brooms. 

Then we broke them into six-inch pieces. 
 It was pretty messy, and we nearly suffocated from the cinnamon fumes. 

Also, my hands and forearms were really itchy afterwards, so I had to scrub them down really well before starting the next step. 

We cut rings out of stiff felt and started gluing the sticks with a hot glue gun. 

Lyd's mother-in-law gave her craft stuff, including small decorative pine cones, which we used to adorn the centers of our wreaths. We tried to decorate them so they can be used during Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Here's Lydia's final product:

Here's my final product:

We had enough cinnamon sticks to make four wreaths, but I only have pictures of these two. And let me tell you - these babies are fragrant! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Food Loves: Kettle Chips

Last weekend Zane and I discovered these chips. They were bogo at Publix.
Amazing! We ate a whole bag in two days (with the help of some friends Friday night). 

Then we went back and bought two more bags. We love them that much. 
And they're all-natural!

They'll rock your world! I'm a potato chip connoisseur (not really, kind of), so I know. Everyone we have forced to try them has liked them too! 

We also bought some other flavors, which are good, but sweet onion currently reigns the flavor kingdom. Yum!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

M. Balsamina

Momordica Balsamina is what has been plotting to destroy my azalea bushes. I love my azaleas. I hate invasive vines. See, they've been creeping into our garden for some time, and we'd been saying, "We should get those vines off so they don't destroy the azaleas." 

I didn't get fully motivated until I saw this out the window one day:
At first, I was all like, "What's that orange thing." After a closer look, I was more like, "AH!!!! Aliens!!!" Is that not the creepiest thing you've ever seen? It gets worse - inside are bright red gooey eggs...I mean seeds. It's seriously a plant right out of Pandora. 

It wasn't too hard to figure out what kind of vine it was. All I did was search "invasive vine orange fruit Florida." 

First I found this: 

Once I had the official plant name, I searched "Momordique Balsamine" to find the Wikipedia page. Everything I found was pretty positive about the vine, but I know better. I don't care if Thomas Jefferson planted it in his garden, those vines were trying to ruin my azaleas. 

After seeing several more orange pods. I decided it couldn't wait any longer. Monday after work, I threw on my gardening gloves and tore all those vines out. I went gangster and called them names I can't write here. Just kidding. Kind of. They were even wrapped around our AC unit thing that we paid 1K for last summer. If there was a time for name-calling, this was it. 

As I worked, Rufio played nearby, collecting as many dried leaves in his fur as he possibly could. He was overdue for a bath anyways. 

Unfortunately, I think the vines have rooted themselves pretty well. As I was stuffing them in the bag, I heard a distant voice say, "You haven't seen the last of me..." I thought it was the wind, but now I'm sure it was all those little red seeds that had already buried themselves before I could get to them. 

Just like any superhero, my job is never done. 

If I had a dollar for every dream I've had about weed pulling/weed extermination, I'd have enough money to hire someone to pull them for me. It's torturing my life, even my subconscious.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Anne of Green Gables

Every fall in the last few years, I've felt nostalgic about the first fall that Zane and I were married. Something about that season of life was wonderful, and it buried wonderful memories deep in my heart. I remember cool weather, cooking with the windows open, decorating our little apartment with autumn color, long walks with Zane, and reading Anne of Green Gables.

Fall and Anne are now fused together in my nostalgic memory.

I haven't written about classics yet, because I figure everyone has read them. But then again, I didn't read L.M. Mongomery's sweet Anne series until three years ago.

I totally recommend them. Anne is sweet and funny. She'll steal your heart. Montgomery's other characters are vibrant and loveable. The series is a lot like Mitford, focused on characters more than plot.

If you haven't read Anne of Green Gables and the subsequent books of the series, I totally recommend them. They'll make your heart light.

There are film versions, which I love too. However, they're pretty different. I love them both as separate ways of telling a story. The books are much more detailed and have so many more quirky adventures of sweet Anne and friends.

In fact, I want to read them again to celebrate the coming of fall!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pressure to Procreate

When I think I'm out of the woods with infertility struggles, I have to think again. Lately I've been working through maternal pressure. I can't distinguish if it's internal or external, but something is telling me I have to be a mother...and soon.

It dawned on me the other day that no one has ever told me it's okay for women to not have kids.

In fact, I've often heard the opposite message growing up in the church. Christians are supposed to have kids and plenty of them. I've read articles and heard sermons about it. Quiverfull is a good example, though extreme, of the pressure that can be placed on Christian families.

Sometimes I hear from others (and tell myself), "You're still young; don't worry about having kids now." But that implies there's a deadline. Soon I won't be so young, and I'll be expected to move forward with family expansion.

And if I absolutely cannot conceive, just think of all those kids that need loving families. Adopt! There's no excuse to not be a mom!!

I grew up feeling bad for people who never had kids. I thought the worst thing that could happen to me was dying without descendants. Now, I choose to not think about it. Is the desire to be a parent innate or learned? That's just the ol' nature vs. nurture debate.

At any rate, it affects my daily life.

There is no end in sight for the pain I regularly feel about not having kids. If I could somehow be okay within my heart, I'd still feel pressure from the outside. Somewhere in the future is a message waiting to pounce, "it's time to stop playing and start procreating."

So, how do I deal with this?

What does God tell me? He loves kids, but there's no actual command to have kids in the Bible (because I don't count Genesis 1:28, which was given to the only two people on earth at the time). Even if there was a command, I'm technically exempt due to infertility. God opens and closes the womb, right? If He wants me to have 'em, then open away!

What does God tell me? Delight in Him. Don't be anxious.

I'm obviously still on my journey to find out where I fit in this crazy world as Christian married woman without hope of easily acquiring children. We may decide to adopt or seek fertility treatment, but not to avoid societal/cultural pressure.

Every so often I see a little one hugging his/her mom's legs, and I think, "Dang it. I want that." There's no end to the pain. But that's part of living on earth, isn't it? Trials, trials, trials.

P.S. A friend of mine learned that we were infertile and responded, "Oh, I didn't know you guys were trying to have kids. Some couples don't want kids" with a shrug. I wanted to hug her and say, "Thank you for implying it's okay to not have kids!!!!" She's the only Christian I've ever heard talk like that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Enjoying Mario Art

I've been thinking about drawing more Mario Bros. art for my own enjoyment and home decor. While researching characters to draw, I found these lovely pieces of art that I have to share with you. I love the alternate perspective these artists bring to my and millions' beloved video game. 

Below each picture is a link to the artist's deviant art account or webpage. Enjoy!


Jose Emroca Flores


via - artist Mike Puncekar
Megan Lara
Agent Melon

(Peach with fellow female nintendo characters Samus and Zelda.) 

So much fun!!!! These are so detailed compared to my minimalist drawings. I just love the different perspectives. It makes my imagination run wild!  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lady in Waiting

Another non-fiction book! I first read this book in college, and it really changed my life. As a little girl, my biggest goal in life was to be married. I got married at a pretty young age, but even that was after years of pining and fearing it would never happen.

I know I'm not the only woman like that.

Lady in Waiting is based on the book of Ruth in the Bible. There are several different character traits of Ruth that Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones unpack in their how-to-be-a-single-woman manual.

One of my favorites is the "Lady of Diligence." Ruth didn't sit around doing nothing until her husband came along. She worked in the fields and helped support her mother in law. I was motivated by that chapter to use my single-woman availability to minister to others in a way I couldn't do if I was married.

There are several other great points of encouragement in this book. I totally recommend it to young single women, especially if you're dying to be married.

Kendall and Jones validate our fears and desires, give a fresh perspective of the single life, and motivate and encourage single women to live in a way that's pleasing to God in this time of waiting.

I've also read reviews from women who have been married for decades, who read this book and were encouraged in new ways. Because of that, I plan on reading it again to see how the content relates to my life now as a married college grad.

I have a copy if anyone wants to borrow it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My 9/11 Story

This is an excerpt of my diary entry on 9/11/2001:
Today was a day that will be marked in history books. America was attacked. It’s hard for me to even comprehend the reality of it all. It doesn’t seem real.  
I walked into my 3rd period class, History, at around 9:30am. The radio was on, and as I walked in my friend shushed me and said, “The World Trade Center was hit by kamikaze planes.” I was very confused, but listened, not really comprehending the man on the radio. I was thinking about how I hadn’t done my Spanish homework.  
I got my Spanish book out and proceeded to finish my homework. The television showed a clear picture of our president addressing the crowd. He was talking about the attacked, but I worked on my work.  
Then the news flipped to New York City. I stopped my Spanish. There were the twin towers, with thick black smoke rising from the black-topped buildings. It was spreading out and we could see huge holes in the side of the buildings. 
“Breaking News” was that there had been a reported fire in the Pentagon, in DC. It started to seem more real, but also more like a movie to me. 
On the left side of the screen were the twin towers giving off smoke still...they were zoomed in. Suddenly from the tower on the left (apparently the eastern one) came tons of light brown smoke filling the air and then slowly the tower collapsed.  
We couldn’t believe of the twin towers collapsed!  
As we watched the split screen again, the second tower did the same as the first, filling the streets again with dust, it collapsed. Later they showed view of the streets after the collapsing and it looked like a war zone. 
I can’t even’s unreal. 

As I've grown and matured throughout the last decade, remembering this day is more heartbreaking than unreal. I think of all those families who lost their loved ones, and my heart aches. Thank you to all the police officers, fire fighters, the military heros who lay their lives on the line for our safety and freedom.