This week

Here’s a summary of this week’s highlights:

  • I had a fit of jealousy (well-contained, at least) over a yarn collection. And I learned I really love heather gray yarn and other neutral colors. Imagine pairing it with a neon pink trim for an ultra-trendy baby blanket…
  • Car shopping is the worst.
  • Using a slightly-not-navy yarn, I’m crocheting a basket to replace a hold-everything box in our black Expedit bookcase. Pretty soon I’ll run out of the blue yarn, so I plan to make it a colorblock basket and make the top half (or two-thirds ((is that hyphenated?)) ) cream or orange or something. Suggestions?
  • Thursday night I hosted a Mary Kay party. It was almost like I had real friends! Plus, my living room got clean(er).
  • While Evan is out on a date with his grandpa, June and I are chilling in the play area. I brought my crochet basket to work on because I’m that person now.
  • I was digging through my stack of past projects – many incomplete – and found the birth announcement I started designing for June. It is incredible, and I’m going to work on it a little more next week. Should I make it solid text on a watercolor background, or watercolor text on a solid background? Or watercolor on watercolor? I’m not sure I’m that skilled yet.
  • Oh yeah, and I made a bunch of cookies. I shared some so I’m positive I didn’t eat them all.

A brief update on feelings

Feelings are dumb.

This week we’ve started looking for a replacement car, since my sweet-but-ugly Suzuki was totaled in November. I went with Jarom to a dealer on Tuesday. We liked the car we drove, but the dealer wasn’t willing to negotiate price, which was disappointing. On the way home the following feelings happened:

Sad. I really wanted that car!
Grouchy. Car dealer, you are dumb.
Frustrated. I hate car shopping. Jarom is now in charge of finding me a car.
Overwhelmed. Last year our car died and our baby died. Why can’t our lives be full of good things? Why do crappy things happen to us?
Bitter. It sucks that Christian died! It sucks a lot! It’s so stupid!
Sad. My baby died. It’s so sad.
Despair. I just want to eat cookies and cry instead of making dinner. But I also don’t want to be lumpy-shaped and my clothes don’t fit and it’s just not fair that Christian died AND I gained a bunch of weight.

It was not a fun drive home. Yeah, I cried. No, it wasn’t really about the car. Thankfully, Jarom is patient and understanding and nice – and he knows when I just want to be left alone with my misery. Eventually I came out of it (though I didn’t end up eating cookies or making dinner), and stopped having those feelings.

Because feelings are dumb.

Orange chocolate chip cookies

This is one of my all-time favorite cookies. It’s so good that I even wrote down the day I first made them on my one-line calendar. I have yet to make these for someone without them asking for the recipe. So, because I’m feeling nice today, here it is:

Orange chocolate chip cookies

1 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange extract
1 Tbsp orange zest (about 2 oranges’ worth)
3¼ c flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla, orange extract, and orange zest. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Gradually add to dough. Mx in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded spoonful onto cookie sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes, until bottom edges are barely browned.

Of course, you can cook them more if you prefer crunchier cookies. I use a cookie scoop (I’m not sure of the size) and end up with about 4 dozen delicious cookies.


Recipe via Cooking Classy

The Sorting Hat

I can’t be the only one who does this, right?

Jarom and I love to play Sorting Hat – which is, to figure out which Hogwarts house our friends and family would be sorted into. It’s best if you make an initial sorting when you first meet someone and then revisit your guess once you’ve gotten to know them better.

Recently I started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to Evan at bedtime. June was jealous so I’m also reading it to her, separately. Today I’m working on a crochet project while I watch the first Harry Potter movie.

My own assessment of myself is that I’d be in Ravenclaw. On days when I feel blah, I tell Jarom I’d definitely be in Hufflepuff, but he says I’m clever enough to be Ravenclaw. And good company there with Luna, right?

Where do you put yourself? Do you agree that I’d be Ravenclaw?

This week

Here’s a summary of this week’s highlights:

  • This actually happened last week after I posted: I broke my toe. It hurt a lot.
  • I rearranged our living room so there’s a cozy corner for me to huddle in and be a hermit. With a book. Perfection!
  • I read two books, The Edwardian Lady (about Edith Holden, the author/illustrator of the gorgeous book The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady) and Say You’re One of Them, a collection of short stories. Depressing short stories.
  • The baby announcements got finished. And after I blogged about closing my Etsy shop, I went ahead and reopened it
  • Remember the cheesecake I made? Opinion reversed. I would absolutely make it again, I’d just do it a day or two ahead of time. After the cheesecake had been in the fridge overnight it was divine.
  • We had dinner with a friend from high school. It was delicious and entertaining and so nice to be out of the house, having a conversation with grownups.
  • One morning June woke up with her hair all matted and tangled. I told her it looked crazy, and Evan jumped in, “Well, June, I think your hair is beautiful.” He’s such a nice brother (sometimes)!
  • Ender got a bath and a haircut. He smells amazing.

Why I closed my Etsy shop

Painting wasn’t fun.

Also, I’m still (maybe always will be?) in that beginner-ish stage where nothing comes out looking like I wanted it to, and is instead many levels below the amount of awesome I imagined. So I felt dumb trying to ask people to give me money for what I viewed as mediocre work.

I designed Christmas cards for a friend. I finished up a baby keepsake I’d been meaning to do for another friend. I’m in the process of doing baby announcements for my newest nephew.

These projects have all been gifts. I don’t want to charge people – especially friends and family! – for amateur stuff.

I haven’t looked at Etsy in months; when I do, it’s so disheartening to see work I consider to be inferior even to my designs. And perhaps more disheartening to see work I adore and can only dream of doing.


I have a few ideas.

Most of the quotes I’ve designed in the past for use in my shop are not in a style I actually like. It’s what I’m capable of, but I’d never put it up in my house. To be fair, part of that is because I don’t typically like quotes on my walls. Even with that said, though, designing stuff that I dislike and that I perceive as being mediocre quality was just not fun. Kind of miserable, in fact. So I’ve been browsing Etsy and Pinterest again to get a feel for what I would be willing to frame and display in my house. And maybe I’ll start trying something like that.

I also really enjoy, in theory, doing custom announcements and invitations. The problem there is figuring out what’s a fair price for my time. And finding customers who are willing to pay that. And then working with clients in a professional manner – I’d much rather say, “Here’s a sketch of a layout. What do you think?” than create multiple polished samples to present as options. Psh. So much work.

Maybe once I finish my reading challenges, I’ll open up shop again.

My current favorites

Activity: napping. Also spending more time reading and playing with Evan and June.
Food I can cook at home: stroganoff.
Song: Peponi by The Piano Guys.
Snack: smokehouse almonds or those super crunchy oats and honey granola bars.
Hobby: rearranging furniture.
Movie/tv show: loved The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. And I’ve been watching The IT Crowd and What Not to Wear on Netflix.
Goal: declutter. If we kept only half of what we currently own (excluding books), I’d be happy.
Thing Evan does: play nicely with June for hours.
Thing June does: “read” books out loud to herself from memory.
Thing Jarom does: essentially wait on me while I’m inconvenienced by a broken toe.
Future event: a Hillery family reunion this summer in Pajaro Dunes, where Jarom and I went to a high school retreat and later returned for our honeymoon.

What do you love right now?