Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP Michael Jackson

Even before my NKOTB obsession or the embarrassing time when the Jon Bon Jovi hung on my bedroom wall, I loved Michael Jackson. I wore my Michael Jackson tee-shirt and would listen to The Girl is Mine over and over again. At my parent's shows, vendors would play the Thriller on loop all day, and I could just sit and watch for hours. I remember begging my sisters to take me to watch it. It scared the hell out of me (I was like 3!), but I still loved it. So, with the sad news of his death today, I thought that I would post this photo (my prized Christmas present) and just say that in whatever happens at death, I hope that some peace and happiness find him.

Bead and Wire... Otherwise Known as What Has Been Consuming My Mind Lately

I have needed a creative outlet lately. All of my old favorites haven't been cutting it lately, so I took some classes at my local JoAnn's: knitting, cake decorating, and jewelry making.

My grandmother taught me how to crochet. I enjoyed it, so I thought that I would love knitting. The class was a nightmare. I haven't been that frustrated with anything in a long time, and the teacher was so over me. Stupid yarn. Stupid needles. I eventually figured out the basic stitch and worked on a scarf, but it just wasn't for me. Here's a photo of my first sad, sad attempt (looks worse when you can pick it up and watch it fall apart!):

Next, I tried cake decorating, which I thought was going to be perfect for me. I love and have a knack for baking cookies. However, I didn't love baking the cakes, and huge pots of icing sitting around my house for days was REALLY not a good idea. I ate more icing than made it onto the cake. So, to save myself from grotesque extra weight, I dropped out of the class. My first cake (coconut with chocolate pudding center and buttercream frosting) went over well, but after all a couple of nights of work, it was disheartening to see it disappear in about 10 minutes. Next.

Finally, I tried a basic jewelry making class. I learned to make a simple bracelet with beads, wire, and a crimp bead. Very simple, but nice. I was completely hooked. Within a month, I had taken classes for necklaces, dangle earrings, and woven beads. My bead stash has grown exponentially, and every other day I have a new idea that requires more learning and different techniques. I love wire jewelry now, but I'm sure it will be something else next week. It is so challenging and fun, but it also relieves stress. I have been teaching my friend Danielle what I’ve learned so far and we've been making different things on our lunch hour. Maybe one of these days I'll even try posting some stuff on Etsy: Anyway, here's a bracelet that I made last week:

It has been exciting to have some new challenges. The creative side of my brain was getting too weak I am happiest when challenged to create and learn new things. I still really want to take a kick boxing class, so watch out.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ze Balcony Garden - Week 2

I've made it a week and haven't lost any of my plants. My biggest concern is how I can water them without flooding out my neighbors below. So far, mostly successful. I also added a few more plants:
  • German Chamomile around the base of my sunflower (now sprouting)
  • Tomato Sprouts (from not eating my produce timely)
  • Loose Leaf Lettuce
Over the weekend, I noticed white flies on the catnip and something eating the leaves of my parsley. After a minor freak out, I did some research on fighting pests. I wanted to go organic, so I went with spraying a soapy mix on the plants. They plants look better and I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Used the rosemary in my weekly soup (Rosemary Scented Lentils and Sausage) and made a caprese salad with the basil. Home grown, fresh herbs are the best way to go.

Here's a photo of the progress after 1 week:
After hearing stories of my neighbor's cat falling off the balcony, I refuse to let the cats out. I get a lot of impatient faces at the window:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why I was hauling dirt up the stairs...

After a wonderful dream about my future, perfect house, I realized that I needed to learn how to garden. So, despite the fact that I only have a balcony, I went out and bought a bunch of containers, herbs, flowers, and vegetables.

I shopped at Lowe's and Home Depot for all the supplies. Overall, it was pretty inexpensive to start. This is what I currently have planted:
  • Marigolds
  • Italian Parsley
  • Sweet Basil
  • Catnip
  • Cilantro
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • German Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sunflower
I'm planning on taking photos of everything at different times so I can see the progress. I am so excited and hoping that I don't kill everything. Here's a photo just after planting: