Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Review

One word to describe 2011?  How about "insane"?

My husband and I got married.

We went on a mini-moon. 

Our second niece was born.

We went on our Mediterranean Honeymoon.

We packed up everything and moved to Seattle.

And that, in a nutshell was my year. We are still settling in to our new digs (and me into my new job) in Seattle, but I'm so excited for all the new adventures that 2012 will bring!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Crafty Christmas: Bunting for Baby

I have the cutest nieces and nephews in the world.  This is a fact. My newest niece is all of five months old, and since she was born in the chaos of summer, I didn't get a chance to present her with a baby blanket when she first entered the world.  With Christmas coming, I decided to remedy that situation.  Baby H would have her very own blanket. 

Deciding on the style was incredibly easy.  I fell head over heels in love with this blanket from the moment I saw it, thanked my lucky stars that I had a baby (not of my own) to make it for, and filed it under "Hell yes."

I mean, just look at it:

I loved this design for a few reasons.  First, it's a quilt that's not a quilt.  The bunting flags are sewn on top of one big piece of fabric, therefore, there's no piecing to do.  Second, it is so festive and fun.  And finally, it's what those of us who are fabric hoarders like to call a "stash buster."  I am addicted to fat quarters and have so many lying around that all I had to do was decide which ones to use, cut the flags and go.

First I cut my flags (mine were five inches instead of four since the blanket I made was larger than the tutorial's instructions). That was the easy part.  After that I spent about an hour and a half deciding on the proper order of the flags, and I changed my mind right up until they were sewn on there.

I added batting and the back piece, and quilted everything together by following the top line of the bunting rows.

I thought the blanket needed a little bit more personalization.  With an older brother and sister, Baby H is going to have to share a lot of stuff; I wanted her to know this was made just for her.  I embroidered her first (blurred to protect her Internet reputation for posterity) and middle names and a little flower motif that reminded me of a willow tree, and attached it to the back of the quilt.

I found this great quilt binding tutorial from the Old Red Barn Co., and followed it to make my edges.  Having never done a binding like this before, I needed some great instructions, and these are fantastic!

Finally, after spending about four hours hand sewing the binding on the back of the quilt, it was done!  Here's the end result:

The original tutorial uses white thread to sew everything together, but I chose a vibrant green to add pizazz.  I love how this blanket came out--like a daily party in the nursery--and I hope that Mama and Baby H liked it too!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tutorial Twosday: Zip It

So, I'm a little slow catching up with this whole zipper trend that's been going around (maybe it's already over and I'm slow to learn that too?), but today's tutorials are two different takes on zippers, and I love them!

First up, zipper jewelry.  Or, to be specific, a zipper bracelet. 

This looks like a really easy bracelet to make, and it's a perfect use for the zipper in those ratty old jeans that you were going to throw away anyway!  Sporting three or more of these at once would make you look like a real bad ass.  Don't worry, if you don't have zippers laying around, they sell these at the store (maybe even in a few different colors!).

This next tutorial just blows my mind.  Seriously. Ten out of ten for creative use of zippers. 

First you see a zipper with ribbon, then you have a coin purse.  Um, awesome.  I have this project on my to-do list , mostly because I can't quite wrap my brain around how this thing really works.  Still, it looks really cool, and depending on how easy they are to make, may make really cool gifts. These little pouches could even store jewelry when you're traveling!

Happy Crafting!

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Crafty Christmas

Having so much time on my hands prior to Christmas allowed me to put some time and thought into a few handmade gifts for my family. Now that the presents have all been opened, it's time to share my work!

For Daddy Goodlaff (who is notoriously hard to to craft for), I first thought of a hat or a scarf.  Mama Goodlaff suggested that I make him a shirt, but I didn't feel like my sewing skills were quite up to clothing just yet.  Eventually I decided on a manly version of my "Purse-Aid Kit," which is basically just a wallet full of band aids, or, a portable first aid kit. It's perfect for those of us who are a bit of a disaster and need to have supplies readily at hand in case of emergency.

Daddy Goodlaff has a bit of a wild side, so for his quad-riding supplies, I created this vibrant band aid holder:

After I showed off my Ponytail hat, Mama Goodlaff expressed an interest in having one of her own.  I just so happened to have all the supplies on hand, right down to some fun purple buttons (her favorite color), and after a few pattern adjustments, had a knitted hat made just for her:

Sister Goodlaff's homemade gift took me the longest of anything I made this year. She has recently developed a passion for cooking, and last Christmas, when she was hanging out at our house doing some last minute Christmas sewing, we fed her something I was sure she wouldn't like: pork scalloppini in a mustard creme sauce.  Turns out I was wrong--she thought it was awesome.  I decided to make her a cookbook, using the Goodlaffs' favorite recipes.  I combed through hundreds of pages, and eventually decided on about 60 of the best, printed them up, and made it into a book.

I called the book "Sister Says" because on the bottom of every recipe I wrote a comment, story, or tip on how we made the recipe or why the recipe was in there. I was so thrilled with the final product that I almost didn't want to give it away!

I used fancy wrapping paper that I saved from my bridal shower to bind the covers, and pulled the color scheme for my title and divider pages from that.  I bound the book with standard binder rings--that way, you can pull out the recipe that you're working on if you need it close at hand in the kitchen.  I love the way it turned out, and I'm hoping that Sister Goodlaff will also love the recipes that have become our favorites!

I have one more project to show you, but it needs its own post. Much more to come!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An Update

I haven't been a very active blogger lately, and I can promise you that it's not for lack of activity here on my end.  I have actually been very busy crafting for Christmas.  Of course, the problem with Christmas crafting is that I can't share the outcomes until after the presents have been opened.  I've been gluing, knitting, and sewing up a storm--you'll just have to wait until after Christmas to see the results of my hard work!

On a more personal note, it's been a crazy few months.  Mr. Goodlaff and I moved to Seattle from California at the beginning of November.  We agreed that he would work and I would look for jobs once we got here, without either of us really knowing what that really entailed. I can honestly say that neither of us expected the process to be this hard.

After a few weeks of settling in, I began the arduous task of job hunting.  I submitted applications all over the place, not really sure of what I wanted to do or where to start looking.  For weeks I filled my days with job hunting, crafting, and TV reruns.  During week one, I was having fun.  After that I jumped on the self-pity bandwagon and took the long ride to feeling-like-a-loser-ville. I've always assumed that I could never be a housewife because the silence and the lack of stimulus and activity would make me stir-crazy. I have now verified this to be, in fact, the truth.  I felt crazy, and I felt my self-confidence slipping away.

In between the applying and the searching (and the not hearing back), I was pretty lost.  I learned cable channels because of The OC and Grey's Anatomy reruns on SoapNet and Lifetime.  I did a lot of crafts.   Mostly, though, I felt useless. Before my little couch stay-cation, I never realized how much being able to contribute to our household meant to me, and how much of my self-confidence and self-worth was based on my having a job.  Though I told myself it was that I couldn't buy shoes on my own terms with my own money, I realized it was actually my independent streak at the root of all my problems.  Being so completely dependent on someone else--even my husband--was discomforting. Did we do the right thing, I wondered? Was this good timing, or should we have waited?

In the spirit of making lemons out of lemonade, I can tell you that it's been hard, but a good learning experience. These past few months have taught me a lot about myself, and the mister and I have definitely grown up a little bit.
Luckily for me, a few weeks ago an opportunity to work in my previous field came about; I applied, interviewed, and after a few tense days of waiting, found out that I got the job.  I started on Monday, and so far, so good. Getting back into the swing of things has been a little difficult, but all in all, I am really glad to be out in the world amongst people and once again earning my keep. Social interaction is priceless.

Christmas is only a few days away and the family presents have shipped out to their new homes.  Packages are arriving on our doorstep daily, and the Goodlaffs have begun making plans for a lazy Christmas Day. After the presents are opened, I promise to show you all of my projects--I'm pretty proud of them!

Tutorial Twosday: Easy Ornaments

It's only a few days until Christmas, and you may be jonesing for a few last minute projects.  Maybe that's just me? Ah, well...

Here are a few easy DIY ornaments to keep you crafting Christmas straight thorough the weekend.

First up: the Disco Ball Ornament.  Sequins.  Sparkles.  Styrofoam.  Simplicity.  What's not to love?

The awesome thing is, this ornament is super easy to make.  Sequin strands, glue, ribbon and Styrofoam is all you'll need for this sparkly, festive ball.  You could even make them without the ribbon and use a bunch of them in a hurricane vase as a centerpiece.

Our second tutorial proves that going in circles isn't always a bad thing!

How cute is this tree?  I love the multi-colors, but I think that varied green circles, with a few discs of red to mimic garland, would be adorable.  Then again, cutting the circles may prove to be a little tedious.  Looks like it would be totally worth it, though. 

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tutorial Twosday: Christmas Cookies

Do you bake during the holidays? I do.  A lot.  There is nothing better than a house and tummy full of Christmas cookies, but at some point, you have to give them away, otherwise your New Year's Resolution will be to lose all the cookie weight.

Today's tutorials may tempt you into one too many cookies, but that's inevitable, isn't it?

One of my favorite cookies in the whole wide world has to be these Glazed Toffee Bonbons from Betty Crocker.  A few years ago Mama Goodlaff and I were standing in the supermarket check out line, flipping through those Betty Crocker cookie books that they always have right by the packs of gum and the US Weekly.  One of them had so many tasty looking recipes that I couldn't put it down.  I told Mama Goodlaff we (she) should get it and I would make copies of the recipes to take with me.  Three years later, I still have the book--ah, a Mother's love!

Anyway, these were in that book.  Fair warning--they are involved.  These aren't your Tollhouse chocolate chip drop cookies.  First you bake the cookie, then dip them in a glaze, then add the topping, sprinkle with toffee, and drizzle chocolate and vanilla on top. It's a long process.

But, it's oh-so worth it.

See, don't those just look divine? 

And speaking of divine, these next cookies come to us from Divine Baking.  Their Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies are, in fact, divine.  I might even go so far as to say they are heavenly. They also happen to be gluten free, and it's always good to think of our gluten-free friends during the holiday season. 

Sometimes gluten free products can taste a little bit off, but these are right on. Chocolatey, gooey, fantastic.  Try them fresh out of the oven for a truly spiritual experience.

Happy crafting baking!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Decorating with Disney

Last year Mama Goodlaff had about five Christmas trees in the house. While there's always one big tree for family ornaments, the other trees usually have themes: the woodland tree, the Seussical tree, the Americana tree.  This year, Mama Goodlaff decided to do a Disney tree, and given that I have a lot of free time and an overactive imagination, I decided to contribute from afar in the best way I know how: ornament crafts.

I finished these a while ago, but since Mama Goodlaff is an avid (and maybe the only) reader of my blog, I couldn't post this until she had the package in her hands.

First up, the Jingle Mickeys.  We talked about ways to decorate the tree a while back and came up with the idea of using different sized soft pom balls to make little Mickey ornaments. While tooling around in Michael's I came across Jingle bells on sale and decided that if soft poms would work, so would jingle bells.  Thus, jingle Mickey was born, proving once again that with enough hot glue, you can rule the world.

I used the little green bows to cover up the hot mess of hot glue that it took to get the jingle bells to stick together.  Aside from the hot glue burns, it was an easy project!

My second Disney-inspired set of ornaments took a little longer, but I'm madly in love with them. 

I found online Disney clip art for Mickey's shoes, shorts, and glove, printed it out, and traced it onto felt. I couldn't find a picture of Mickey's hat without Mickey's ears getting in the way, so I kinda had to wing it there (I think it worked). After cutting out the felt shapes, I embroidered detail lines on each ornament, cut out a second piece of felt for the backing, sandwiched the hanger loop in between, and glued them together. 

I like all of them, but my favorite one might be the glove...or the shorts.  I'm not sure.  In any case, I think they'll make a lovely addition to Mama Goodlaff's Disney tree!

Do you decorate with themes in mind?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Framed Bauble Wreath

So, I gave one of those projects from Tutorial Twosday a try, and um, it didn't work out so well for me. This turns out that the project was a bit beyond my patience level, and my mock up looked really, really sad. 

It's not a big deal.  I go with the flow.  Instead of sitting there, bashing my head in, trying to shape a tree out of wire, I combined three different projects I'd seen over the last few weeks to create something all my own.

In the end, this wire tree display (a fail on its own):

Plus this burlap-wrapped wreath:

Plus this awesome ornament wreath:

Became the inspiration for my framed bauble-wreath:

Maybe if you're good, I'll show you how I did it!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tutorial Twosday: Little Christmas Gifts

Looking for a cute Christmas gift for your co-workers, acquaintances, and friends? Look no further! Today's tutorials are all about the little Christmas things!

If you know me, you know I'm a fan of a good (or bad) pun, so this little gift is right up my alley.

Look at the tag! It says: "We WHISK you you a merry KISS-mas."  I love it! While there's no tutorial for this on the linked site, this is a super easy project to do.  Grab whisks from the dollar store, a few bags of kisses, a spool of ribbon, and some clear gift wrap.  Print up the tags, shove the kisses in between the whisk spokes, wrap, ribbon, and done.  So easy, so cute, and really inexpensive!

Everyone knows a few Scrooges, and you probably have a few Grinches in your life.  Using Spearmint Tic-Tacs and a cute printable, you can make your own batch of Grinch pills!

The box says: "Feeling kinda grouchy? Holiday spirit can't be found? Just try these little "Grinch" pills.  They're the best medicine around. Whether eating a whole handful, or munching one or two, these tasty little "pills" take the "Grinch" right out of you!"

Awesome, right?  So much fun, and so easy, too!

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tutorial Twosday: Christmas Inspiration

Every year Mama Goodlaff, Sister Goodlaff, and I would go to a local craft fair on the day after Thanksgiving to get "inspiration."  This means that if we saw something we liked, we'd examine it closely, decide if we could make it ourselves, and if so, we'd head to the craft store to buy all the required parts to make it at home for less than half the cost and twice the fun.

I didn't make it to the craft show this year, but luckily for me, Pinterest is my online, year-round craft fair. Here's what inspires me to head to the craft store in preparation for the Christmas season.

First up, Noel wall art:

Take ordinary MDF letters and make them extraordinary with a little bit of paint and hot glue.  I really love the placement of the "O," because it adds this great sense of whimsy to the whole piece

I am madly in love with this next project.  I'm certain I have everything but the frame I need to make it, so I may take a stab at it soon!

I love it.  I really do.  Wire, ornaments, a frame, and done.  Come to think of it, you don't necessarily need a frame to pull this off.  I think if you were in a really small apartment, this could be a great substitute for a Christmas tree.

Happy Crafting!

Monday, November 28, 2011


With certain leftovers, it's all about transformation. Got mashed potatoes? Leave those puppies alone. They are already perfect. Turkey? Change it up.

The last thing I wanted to do with our Thanksgiving leftovers was make soup or Turkey pot pie. And I love leftover turkey sandwiches like nobody's business, but given the amount of leftover turkey and the fact that I didn't want to be sandwiches for the next two weeks straight, the Goodlaffs had to come up with some new ways to talk turkey.

Here are two ways we mixed it up, turning our leftovers into exiting new meals.

This first one comes from Food Network. Normally Sandra Lee drives me batty, but she demoed this recipe on one of Food Network's T-day specials last year, and I knew I had to try it. This is the second year in a row that we've done these Scallion Pancakes with Crispy Turkey and Cranberry Hoisin Sauce, and they just might be my favorite leftover remodel, ever.

Here's the recipe, courtesy of Food Network:

Scallion Pancakes with Crispy Turkey and Cranberry Hoisin Sauce

  • 1 (8-count) package refrigerator biscuits (recommended: Pillsbury Grands)
  • 8 scallions, sliced, some reserved for garnish
  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 1 cup canola oil plus 2 tablespoons
  • 4 cups leftover cooked turkey, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce, divided
  • 1 cup julienned cucumber



Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Remove the biscuits from the tube. Flatten out each one slightly. Place 1 teaspoon of sliced scallion into the center of the biscuit and drizzle with 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil. Wrap the edges of the biscuit around the scallions and roll into a ball. Repeat with remaining biscuits. On a clean, floured work surface, roll out each biscuit ball into a round about 1/8-inch thick.

Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add a rolled out pancake and fry until crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Once cooked, place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining pancakes and canola oil.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium heat. Add the turkey and soy sauce and cook until heated through. Turn off the heat and add the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil.

In a mini-food processor, combine the cranberry sauce and 1/2 cup hoisin sauce and blend until smooth.

To assemble: Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the remaining hoisin sauce onto a scallion pancake. Top with some cucumber, scallions, and some of the cooked turkey. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the cranberry-hoisin sauce. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Eat those and then tell me they're not the best things ever. I would recommend extra scallions on top, and because I tend to like the sauce a bit more fruity, I would add a bit more cranberry sauce to the hoisin mixture too.

The second leftover remodel? Buffalo Turkey Sloppy Joes.

Rachael Ray has this insanely good recipe for wingless buffalo chicken pizza.  I could eat a whole one by myself if my husband wouldn't look on in disapproval.  How about that pizza on a bun? Okay!

We didn't follow any recipe for this, we just decided to wing it (heh).  Here's my best guess at what we did:

Buffalo Turkey Sloppy Joes
  • About 1 1/2-2 cups of chopped turkey (most of ours was dark meat, and we both agreed white meat would have been a little better. Then again, neither of us are big fans of dark meat.)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2-ish tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • Hot sauce to preferred level of spiciness, 2 or more tablespoons (it's buffalo sauce, after all)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • Hamburger buns
Take the turkey, tomato sauce, butter, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce and add to skillet.  Mix it up. Heat turkey through and add blue cheese crumbles (how much depends on how much cheese you like).  Stir to combine.  Add about two thirds of your green onions to the mixture.  Remove from heat.

Crumble some blue cheese on the inside of your hamburger bun and broil until the cheese is melty and bun is crisp.  Add more green onions on top of cheese.  Pile mixture on bun and devour. Wear your napkin as a bib.

You could probably chop up some celery and add it to the mixture.  It might add a nice bit of crunch and fit in with the whole hot wings theme. 

Do you have any leftover turkey recipes to share with me? I'm taking suggestions...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Of Thanks

Being that it's Thanksgiving (and this is what you do), I thought I'd take a moment out of this crazy turkey-cooking day to note what I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for new opportunities and adventures; for new places.  I'm thankful for old friends and for the new ones I know I'll meet soon. 

I'm thankful that I can knit things to keep myself warm in the winter.

I'm thankful that my goldfish are miraculously still alive even though I left them outside in the car overnight in freezing cold temperatures when we were moving up here.

I'm thankful that we found a couch that would fit in the elevator, and that we now have a dining room table to sit at.  I'm also thankful that our building has storage units.

I'm thankful for my family, immediate and extended.  We aren't normal, but whose family is?

I'm incredibly thankful for my husband, who is a wonderful, patient man who, for whatever reason, chooses to put up with me.

Finally, I'm thankful for the bird in the oven, the potatoes on the stove, and the cool whip in the fridge. Oh--and the green beans.  I'm thankful for the green beans...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tutorial Twosday: Nesting

This weekend, Mr. Goodlaff and I solved the long-standing problem of having no dining room table, and just in time for Thanksgiving. Last night we sat down to dinner at our new table and as we set our plates down on the table top, we realized we are in need of place mats.  It's fun moving to a new place and figuring out what you need and how to make it your own. 

In that spirit, I offer two tutorials for those of us that need or want to feather our nests:

First up, this Measuring Spoon and Cup Organizer tutorial.  I don't know about you, but I hate having to dig around in a drawer to find the measuring tool I'm looking for.  This clever girl took paint sticks and made them amazing:

If I could put screws in our cabinets without it coming out of our security deposit, I totally would. 

I know it's a little late for this second one, but I'm gonna share it anyway. 

 Looking for some last minute Thanksgiving decor?  Look no further:

How smart is this?  She took amber glass bottles, made vinyl letters, added wheat and came up with awesome Thanksgiving decor.  Instead of the vinyl, you could easily trace letters and paint them instead.

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fighting Frostbite

I've lived in the Pacific Northwest for all of two weeks now, and my vast experience has proven that it's cold here in winter.  People wear fleece. People wear scarves. And people wear hats. All the time. Every time we go out, it seems that I'm the only one without proper head wear.  I tried to fake it for a few days by wearing one of those ear warmer headbands, but it just wasn't working. Apparently I have an odd-shaped head and the pathetic little scrap of fabric I chose to keep me warm kept slipping off my ears.  My ears were freezing, and I realized I was going to have to become one of the sensible hat-wearing Seattleites.

Don't get me wrong, I love this weather.  Nothing makes me happier than rain and winter and wearing sweaters, jackets, and scarves.  Problem is, I have a love/hate relationship with hats.  I love hats.  Hats can be so classy and chic (love!), but they never fit my huge head (hate). Beanies fit (yay!), but because my default hairstyle is a bun or a ponytail, to wear a beanie I have to wear my hair down (boo!).

A few years ago I discovered the perfect solution, and I've been meaning to knit this hat for a while now.  The prospect of permanently frostbitten ears spurred me to get on it sooner rather than later. Check it out:

Wait for it...

A beanie to keep my head and ears warm that also allows me to wear a ponytail!  I love it so much that I'm knitting another one in brown, and may have to make one in every color.  No more sacrificing ponytails for warm ears. 

This just might be the best knitting pattern ever.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tutorial Twosday: Inspiring Initials

I've actually had a chance to test both of today's projects, and I have to tell you that although I was initially doubtful of how they'd turn out, both of these tutorials were really easy to follow and had fantastic results.

First up, these DIY Monogram Mugs:

I just loved the way these looked when I first stumbled across them.  The mugs were so cute and really seemed to be forgiving to those of us who can't manage to color inside the lines.  The best part is that this project can be really, really inexpensive. 

I found a few plain white mugs at Goodwill for about .99 cents a piece.  The hardest part of the whole project was that I had to go to a few different stores to find the proper paint pen, and the tutorial calls for transfer paper, which I couldn't find.  The cheaper alternative is to rub graphite pencil all over the back of what you're tracing and let the pencil do all the work when you trace over it.  While I liked the block lettering, the English Major in me decided on something a little bit fancier, and I ended up with this:

You could easily make a few of these for holiday or hostess gifts, or completely overhaul your mug collection by mixing and matching mug styles, colors, or designs.

The next tutorial is something I stumbled across before my wedding, and I completely fell in love with it.  In fact, I ended up making some of these bags for my bridesmaids to hold all their goodies!

Canvas bag, plus paint, plus doily equals magic.  The project was really easy, and I ended up customizing it further by using different paint colors to suit each bridesmaid's personality.  Also, if you want the exact doily used in the original tutorial, get Wilton brand doilies (I found mine at Joann's).

Here's how mine turned out:

I loved these so much that I eventually made one for myself and one for Mama Goodlaff. I use mine all the time at our local farmer's market, and I've heard tell that Sister Goodlaff loves hers too!

Happy crafting!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Red Letter (Sorting) Day

If I never see another cardboard box in my life, it will be too soon.  I suppose it's too bad then that our "dining room" is overrun with empty, flattened cardboard boxes. Yesterday I took the opportunity to make lemonade out of these cardboard lemons, and made a really awesome mail sorter for our new, still disastrously unpacked home.  (It's called avoidance crafting.)

The best thing is that, due to my overabundance of craft supplies, I didn't have to buy one single thing for this.  I had everything on hand.  I rock like that.

A few weeks ago I saw this mail organizer tutorial from Choose to Thrive and stored it in my little crafty brain under "things to do with a cardboard box."

Given our current space challenges, and the fact that we needed an efficient mail sorting system, I decided to give it a whirl.  The project template and size were too large for the space that I had available, so I used the basic project idea and decided to wing it. 

First, I needed a cardboard box.  Thankfully, I had one (or 3,000).  I won't give you a play-by-play, but suffice it to say that over several hours, a cardboard box went from this:

To this:

It's not perfect because I didn't follow the old adage to measure twice and cut once.  As a crafter, I tend to be really impatient and therefore very tolerant of imperfections. Things will be crooked--so what? I made it out of cardboard, so I can't really expect much.

I covered it in fabric that I had laying around, added a few labels, a bow, and voila!  Organizer:

For being made of cardboard, I think it works pretty well. Doesn't look too shabby either.  All in all, a success!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Couch vs Elevator

One of the challenges of moving in to a new place is finding a way to make your old stuff fit into your new space.  The Goodlaffs moved from a 1600 square foot townhouse in the country to a 925-ish square foot city apartment.  Space is limited, and we have a lot of crap. 

We also had no couch.

Let me set the scene for you: one week ago, the Goodlaff army of movers (Mr. GL and I, FIL and SMIL Goodlaff) was frantically unloading our lovely little Uhaul. After several hours, we had finally found it--the indication that we had reached the back of our moving van--the couch.  As I walked back to the elevator from dropping another stack of boxes into our apartment, I peeked out one of the top floor windows to see Mr. Goodlaff and his dad (FIL) walking away from the building, couch in hand.  Um.  Wrong way, guys.  Then I saw them set it down next to the Uhaul. 

This was not good.

Apparently one of the--let's say "quirks"--with our new building is that the elevator is tiny.  And the stairwell had an un-navigable corner. And there's no freight elevator. All of these things added up to us not being able to even get the chance to try to fit our couch into our current apartment.

So, no couch.  No big deal, right? We'd go couch hunting on the weekend, and everyone would be happy.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Boxes, Boxes Everywhere

After a week of packing, frantic cleaning, moving what felt like millions of boxes, and schlepping all of our belongings up to our fourth floor apartment, we are finally moved in to our new home.  It's a lot smaller than our last place, which means we have to figure out what stays and what goes (or how much it costs for a storage facility).  Our couch wouldn't fit in the elevator or up any of the stairwells, so that means we have a little bit of couch-hunting to do this weekend. I have bruises everywhere from tangles with various boxes and furniture items.

Still, city life has its perks.  We walked to the grocery store last night to get the makings for dinner.  And, if I look past all of the boxes still piled up in our living room, I can see a pretty awesome view of the Puget Sound. 

The move itself was awful, but I'm thinking that things are looking up from here...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's the Middle that Counts...

"You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place, I told him, like you'll not only miss the people you love but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be this way ever again." Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

Yesterday was my last day of work.  (I'm still trying to process this latest development.)  It's something I've known was coming--at times prayed vehemently for--but now that it's over, I'm a little bit shocked, and a little bit overwhelmed.

First, let me say this: I've loved my job.  The person I was when when I started was so different from the person I've become, and in over four years, I've matured and grown through opportunities that I never thought I'd have.  Four and a half years.  Four and a half years--for someone in their twenties, that long is practically a lifetime. I've spent more time working there than I did in college, in high school. So to say I'm conflicted is a massive understatement.

I am really looking forward to this new life adventure.  The prospect of everything new is tantalizing and thrilling. But I'm leaving a really, really good thing. My co-workers are more than colleagues, they are friends.  Fierce, fierce friends.  My work is (was) challenging, exciting, and meaningful. I can look back and see my thumbprint on so many things and think proudly: I did that.  That was me.

We had a going away party yesterday.  There was cake and soda and a lot of hugs and well-wishing, and amongst all the "good luck"s, I realized that I have been incredibly fortunate to have been a part of such an amazing team.  People say that government workers are soulless, apathetic slackers.  Are there people there just to collect a paycheck?  Sure.  But my experience has proven that most people aren't. These people are dedicated public servants working towards better.  Better schools, better policies, better communities, better elections. 

Next Monday, I will be in a Uhaul instead of at my desk.  Really, I'm not so sad about missing a Monday morning as I am about never being able to work with these incredible colleagues again. That I will never get to turn around and chat with A, swap books with E, or catch hell from G is a little devastating right now. 

Beginnings are often scary, endings are often sad, but it’s the middle that counts. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tutorial Twosday: Just Treats

Fall is the best season.  The world turns my favorite colors of orange, red, and yellow. Skittering leaves--brittle and dry--scoot across the pavement.  Cheerful orange pumpkins, spiced apple cider, cloyingly sweet candy corn.  After the brutal heat of Summer, the first chill of Fall is a breath of fresh, cool air. 

Maybe I'm biased.  I hate hot weather, so pulling a sweater out of the closet is a reason to rejoice.  My Birthday is in October.  Halloween is an opportunity to overload on sugar and don a costume (I may be in my twenties, but I still love to play dress-up).  And who doesn't love mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and Thanksgiving leftovers?

With Halloween just around the corner, today's Tutorials are treats, not tricks.  Here are a few recipes sure to please the sugar-craving hoards.

First up, Caramel Apple Cupcakes.

Alright, take a look at that and tell me your mouth isn't watering. This cupcake gets seriously high marks for presentation because it really does look like a caramel apple. But wait, it gets better. The cupcake has a cream cheese filling. 

This recipe looks absolutely fantastic, albeit involved.  You make the cupcake, the filling, and the caramel.  I can tell you, this is not one of those things I would make for just anyone;  if I ever make these for you, it means that I like you enough to completely trash my kitchen in the baking process.

Presentation is key for our next Treat as well. It requires special equipment, but it's so worth it. Candy Corn Cheesecake.

I love candy corn so much that I usually end up making myself sick because I've eaten too many of those little triangle goodies. Imagine my surprise on stumbling across this lovely little creation. Candy Corn Cheesecake.  Hot damn.

You need a special Wilton cake pan and some food coloring, but the recipe itself is quite easy: a few batches of no-bake cheesecake mix and you are a potluck rock star.  Depending on how the cake pan functions, I would probably go with a real cheesecake recipe, but to each their own. 

The Goodlaffs will be moving on Halloween, so these lovely treats aren't in the cards for us this year.  You can bet they'll be making an appearance in the future, though.  Maybe a Christmas Candy Corn Cheesecake is in order?