Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Working With My Hands

Last May, my mother gave me a really neat gift for my birthday. It was something my grandmother had in her kitchen as well as my mother and my sister, hand embroidered dish towels. Mom beautifully wrapped up a package of iron-on patterns with bright colored thread and flower-sack towels for me to create beautiful dish towels for myself.

It sounds like a strange gift, but that's really what I wanted last year. That whole summer I'd be working on my thesis and I knew I would need some sort of creative outlet, something to keep me a little calm. Embroidering seemed like a great solution. I'd have beautiful towels for my kitchen that I created.

Well, I had not done embroidery since I was a little girl. I ended up looking up embroidery blogs online to refresh my memory on certain stitches. Like, all of them. Actually, Join the Revolution is really neat if you're looking to embroider yourself. Stitch School is another neat one to take a gander at if you want.

Some seven months later, I finally finished my first towel. Yes, I was very busy person finishing up a degree and a thesis performance, but I was the slowest stitcher in the history of stitching. And the first towel, well, it's a little rough, clearly my first attempt.

In any case, these last few months, I've been embroidering to my little heart's content and I've finally finished the entire package of patterns.

My stitches got better with each one and I got infinitely faster. It only takes me a few hours to finish one rather than a few weeks.

When I finished, I still had the need to do more so I've moved on to a coffee package of patterns.

What's a girl going to do with so many dish towels? I have no clue. All I know is it keeps my hands busy and my mind focused on a project.

So if for some reason I give you dish towels, you will know why now.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Garden Spells

This past Christmas my parents gifted me with the new Color Nook Book, an e-reader that Barnes and Noble has been promoting. Let me tell you, best. Present. Ever. Really, I took it with me to Europe, read magazines on it and read through some books. I can read samples of books before purchasing them and even share with other Nook readers.

When you're in a B&N with your Nook, you can read books for free for an hour and they also offer discounts in their Starbucks cafes. There are always sales, free downloads, and a ton of helpful suggestions based on your purchases right there on your Nook Book. 

OK. Sales pitch over. All I'm saying is I love this thing. I've taken it with me everywhere and I can actually carry a whole library with me. Awesome.

This past trip to Orlando, I downloaded a book called Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen. 

I'd seen this book pop up in suggested feed online, at the bookstore, and at book aisles in the grocery stores. Pretty much everywhere. When something comes into your path that many times, you figure you've got to give it a try. Verdict: I loved it!

This book takes place in Bascom, North Carolina where we meet two sisters, Claire and Sydney Waverly. These ladies are descendants of a peculiar blood line that posses unique qualities and talents (In case you're concerned, there is no witch craft or wizardry in this book.), 

Most of this family's unique traits spur from their glorious garden. It's as if everything about this family comes from the ground. The soil, the plants, the house, everything reacts to what happens to the family. Among the flowers and herbs that grow rampant in their backyard is a very special apple tree. It is rumored in town that eating the fruit of this tree will help you see the most extraordinary moment in your life. It's up the Waverly family to keep people from knowing their fate before it happens. The tree, however, has a mind of its own and constantly tempts people to find out their future. And no, none of the Waverly women are named "Eve." 

Much akin to the plot line of Practical Magic, one sister embraces her offbeat family tree while the other one resents it. Claire has used her talents to help build a thriving catering business in Bascom. Her thumb is about as green as they come and she has a sense of knowing exactly what to bake and cook using everything from her garden. What's interesting is the specific use behind every herb and edible flower she uses. Each item has a purpose whether it is keeping children thoughtful or helping to see in the dark, reliving good memories or discouraging new interests. 

Sydney, Claire's younger sister, returns to Bascom after a decade of running from her heritage. Her arrival brings a surprise with her five year old daughter, Bay. During her stay with Claire, Sydney finds strengths she never knew and an appreciation for her family roots. Reconnecting with each other pushes the sisters to move on from their fears and embrace destinies they've been avoiding.  Of course there are some love connections made, old ones revisited, and a dash of drama to keep an edge of peaked interest. 

I really liked the characters of this book and their quirky bits. Evanelle, the Waverly sisters' distant cousin, has a need to give people things. She hands out random items to people all the time because she has a sense that they will one day need that particular object. What's weird is people just accept it because it's part of the Waverly weirdness. Do you have folks like that in your town? 

I also loved how descriptive everything was in the book. Most of the detail was focused on the Waverly house and garden, which are key elements to the plot line. Every time I opened the book, I'd be drenched in sunlight and some sweet smelling floral scent on every page. I wish I could grow a garden like the one  the author created. More than that, I wish I could have a heavenly house like the Waverly manor! Old, historic, bright, warm and welcoming. To my imagination, it fits the description of my ideal home. 

The author created delicious recipes for Claire to make and I have no clue how plausible it is to make them, but I'm willing to try! Doesn't an almond butter and ginger jelly sandwich sound divine? Or lilac jelly and lavender cookies? No details in how they're made, but she included in the back of the book a list of the purposes for herb and flower. It's a romantic idea to eat whatever I grow in my bountiful garden until I'm reminded that bugs and lizards lurk in my backyard. I'm hoping maturity and old age will help me become more of a nature lover. For now I buy my veggies and herbs at Wal-Mart. 

It may not be the most thought provoking plot line, but it's a light summer read, perfect for kind of weather we're having right now. The story is sweet and if you have a sister, cousin, or friend you're close with, it's a nice reminder of how wonderful those family connections are. Grab a glass of tea, head for your back yard, and soak up the sweet story of Garden Spells


Professional Auditioner

I keep telling people I'm currently on the hunt for a job when really I should tell them I am a professional auditioner. I travel to auditions, do my "thang," and wait. Yesterday I auditioned for Disney Live and had an absolute ball! The audition was very fun and the room was full of positive, hopeful energy. I love that.

Everything went well! Got to the end and they had me do some extra stuff because they had me in for a specific part in a new show they're producing. I was thrilled to do anything they asked and I really hope to hear from them. This new show is a national tour and then they have another three international tours for next year, too. I've done my best and now all I have to do is wait. 

There's another audition in town tomorrow, two more in May and a partridge in a pear tree. Oh wait, wrong song. Anyway, I keep getting interrupted while I'm typing this. Both fur children are in my room and demanding my attention. Honey Kitty keeps yelling at me and Piper keeps whining when I touch Honey. Goodness, you'd think I'd been out of town or something! 

And while I was out of town, I read this fantastic book! It's called Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. I'd tell you more about it, bbbbuuutttt I'm going to write a post on it for my new page, What's On My Shelf!

What's On My Shelf is a new page I'd been sitting on for a while. I'm always reading and wanting to share my amazing finds with people. What better way to do it than by blogging about them? If you need a new book, try this page! If you want something different than your usual taste, try this page! If you keep clicking on the last two links, they'll take you to the same spot, this page.

In other words, visit it, leave me suggestions, tell me if you liked the book and why. I'm open to all suggestions and I will always need something to quench my thirst for more stories. And on that note, I'd better get to editing my next post. Happy, happy Saturday to one and all! Enjoy the sunshine!  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I was just here...right?

Back in Orlando and it feels like I never left! Got a cute little Mazda to run around in, I feel so cool! I mentioned to the enterprise lady that I was here to get a job and she upgraded my powder puff blue economy car so I'd look good for my "interview."

Let me tell you folks, 4:00 a.m. is way too early for any reasonable human being to get up. Especially if they went to bed at midnight the night before. Yeesh. I looked like death this morning, but I'm so excited to be back in this sunshine state.

I honestly didn't have anything huge to share, just wanted to brag on my little rental. I'm so hip! Aaaannnddd I also wanted to try out this blogger app for my phone. Testing, testing. One. Two. Yep, it works. OK! Cross your fingers for tomorrow, I need some good vibes!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Going Back

Headed back to Orlando in a couple of days for another audition. Yahoo for a 6:50 a.m flight....oh, mama. Well, it's a short trip this time around, just enough time to get in and get done what needs to get done.

Speaking of traveling, Mom and I are looking into traveling to the hill country this month for the ongoing wedding venue hunt. Hurrah! This should be pretty fun, the two of us driving around, trying to follow the GPS. We experimented with this yesterday and after a few frantic freak outs, we made it to our destination unharmed.

Somehow I've managed to discover a few new venues here in Dallas. Dang, and I thought I culled through them all. In any case, I'm feeling voracious in this hunt to discover a place for these nuptials. We're getting close to the first of our possible nuptial dates. Ah! I have to find a venue!!

Really, I only tend to flail about in panic when I realize how fast my planning time is running out. It's like the thesis, so much to do and only so much time. Everything will get done that needs to and there's no need to stress. I'm very much looking forward to this exciting celebration, a lifetime of happiness with my Pyro Man!

All I have to do is plan it out. Yep. Just plan. Within my budget.

On another note, happy birthday to my dear friend, Karley! I hope she has a fantastic day! She's out touring the US in a Disney Live production--I'm so proud of her!

Happy Wednesday to all--I've got to run around like a chicken with it's head cut off. You know, typical day.
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