receiving gifts in the mail

There is something about opening up your mailbox and seeing a package in there that just makes your heart go all a-flutter, you know? Well, truth be told I get excited if I see any piece of mail with my name on it, but maybe that’s just the egoist in me!

Then again, it’s always really annoying too because our mailbox is super small where the opening is 5″ by 6″ and we don’t have a locker for parcels either … so you can imagine how absolutely stuffed it can get with the letters/packages/catalogs/magazines of four people. Sometimes we end up having to go down to the post office because not everything fits.

120326 earrings

A bit back I won a giveaway hosted at Paints and Pans for a wonderful pair of earrings from Nell Belle Designs. And they arrived in a box that fit just perfectly in my mailbox. It was so exciting. Thanks, Natalie and Nell!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

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x-stitch … years in the making

Did I ever mention that I am quite the procrastinator? Well, here’s proof. I finally finished a cross-stitch that I’ve been working on for the past few years. It’s not that big (about 12″x12″) and I really have no good excuse for why it took so long. This cross-stitch saw me graduate high school, graduate college, go off exploring, and start graduate school. Yeah … when I say that this took me a “few years,” what I really mean is 7 and a half years. Oh yes.

120110 xstitch

I received the pattern from a friend for my 16th birthday. We had taken biology together, and for a bug-collecting project, we managed to catch some butterflies. In the process of pinning them to the board, some of the wings fell off and we became the wingless butterfly friends. She gave me the cross-stitch as a reminder of that. We actually haven’t talked in about five years or so and we’ve both just changed so much, but I’m glad that I’ve finally been able to complete her gift.

Kind of bittersweet in a way. The cross-stitch is completed, we’ve lost contact, time has moved on … seems kinda final.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

framed green letters

I finally finished the gift I had blogged about in my last post. Here it is! I know, you’re probably scratching your heads trying to figure out what the heck it’s supposed to be, so I’ll do you the favor and explain.

100314 01 framed

First of all, it’s art, so it’s not meant to do anything but hang on the wall and look pretty. I cut out the letters of my friend’s name in various fonts out of green card stock. Then I randomly jumbled carefully arranged said letters on another piece of green in a lighter shade, stuck it all in a frame, and voila.

Pretty simple and I thought it was rather cute. Whaddaya think?

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

creative space: green letters

My friend’s birthday is coming up, so I’m working on a little present for her. I couldn’t think of anything to get her and since she’ll be moving soon, I didn’t want to get her anything to bulky.

100310 01 green letters

I’m making her a little art piece to hang on her wall. Green card stock, a picture frame, and some funky letters. Hopefully I’ll get it finished tomorrow, but … ya never know.

More creative spaces here at kootoyoo!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

giftness: m&ms in glass

Have I mentioned that I’m a poor college student? Well, I am. I’m also incredibly fond of holidays, gift-giving, and collecting things. I especially like glass, so I hate throwing away glass bottles. Since the nearest recycling center is a decent drive away I figured I’d reuse them like the good eco-friendly person I am (well, I try).

100212 01 bottles

I thoroughly cleaned some clear bottles, filled them with M&Ms, topped them off with some pink fabric, white ribbon, and red knotted cord … and voila. Cheap, easy, and universal – because who can say no to chocolate? I wanted to find the red, white, and pink M&Ms, but the store I went to didn’t have any. It was probably for the best since a few of my friends are being decidedly anti-Valentine’s Day this year.

I don’t see why people gripe so much about it. Is it a commercial holiday? Yes. Do I care? No. Why? Because whenever there’s a chance for people to show how much they appreciate each other (and consume chocolate), it’s all good in my book.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

xmas cards

Christmas is coming up in a week and a half and I have yet to send out Christmas cards … oops! Well I finally got around to making the cards, so that’s progress, right? Now I just need to write out all the cards, make sure the addresses I have are still current, buy stamps, et cetera.

091217 01 stamps

It took me a few trips to Michael’s to figure out what I wanted to do, but I found these letter stamps and they seemed pretty nifty, so I grabbed those (along with a black inkpad) and that was pretty much it. The rest of what I used I had on hand.

091217 02 cards

I ended up with three versions of Christmas cards for this year. I’ve never been fond of giving everyone the same exact card, so I try to make different variations. After stamping each card with “Happy Holidays”, I drew a tree, ornament, or present with a black marker. Then I hot glued a little something for color and dimension. The tree got a blue gem as a star, the ornament a red ribbon, and the present a green bow. Cute, eh?

091217 03 gift

My roommate left today, so I wrapped up the first part of her present and gave it to her. I used the rough draft of my essay (with red marks and all) and tied it with a bow. I go through so much paper in school so I try to recycle the best I can. Anyway, she thought it was hilarious because she recognized it as the essay I had been complaining about. As for other Christmas presents, well they’re proving a bit trickier. I went to the mall the other day and after almost two hours, didn’t buy a single thing. To be honest, I was shopping more for myself, but I kept having trouble finding the right size for things … very disappointing.

Most of my friends have already left for home, but I’m going to be hanging around here for a bit longer to work and do some shopping. Christmas is coming up way too fast.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

baked + gifts + space

Whew. First I must mention that I made cookies again. Lots and lots of oatmeal cookies. I used the same recipe that I had used in this previous post, but I made the cookies a bit smaller and multiplied the recipe by 1.5. Ended up with about 70 cookies, stuffed about 25 per bag, and sent them on their way to studio. The rest stayed home and were promptly devoured.

091022 01 cookies

Then I made rolls. Yay! Don’t have a loaf pan here, so I haven’t been able to make bread again, but I do have a baking sheet so I tried out this recipe and I think they turned out rather yummy. Pretty easy to make too. Next time I’ll probably halve the recipe because this made a lot of rolls (not that my roommate minds).

091022 02 rolls

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 1/2 cup warm water (divided)
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 cups flour

Process:

  • dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water
  • in a separate bowl cream together the sugar and shortening
  • add egg, salt, the yeast mixture (after making sure it blossomed), remaining 2 cups of water, and about 4 cups flour
  • mix until smooth and keep mixing in flour until it turns into a soft dough
  • turn out and knead for about 6-8 minutes
  • place dough in a greased bowl, turn the dough over (to make sure it’s all oiled up), and cover the bowl
  • place the bowl in the refrigerator to rise overnight or for at least 8 hours
  • the next morning, punch the dough down and form rolls (about 36)
  • grease a baking sheet and roll the rolls around on it to cover them in oil (this will allow you to take the rolls apart after they bake together)
  • cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour (until the dough has doubled – the rolls should start squishing together)
  • bake in oven at 400F for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned

091022 03 spiders

I love getting mail! My sister mailed me this cute little spiders thing. It’s currently hanging from a light switch in our hallway. Festive-y, right?

091022 04 simplynu

A while back I won a giveaway from SimplyNu, and I received this delicious piece of handmade Castile soap in the mail. It’s called Daisy Castile and I must say … its scent is heavenly (and the flower shape is too cute). They’re pretty new and their etsy shop has a lovely range of candles, soaps, and stationery. So, a big thanks to SimplyNu! I wish them the best with their store.

091022 05 space

Last but not least, my current creative space. Lots of black, I know. Halloween is next Saturday, can you guess what I’m up to? There’s black tulle, black elastic, black feathers, and some silver and black jewelry. I rather like my costume idea, but since it has yet to be created, I won’t say much now.

Linking over to kootyoo for a whole bunch of creative spaces. And over to Southern Hospitality for recipes! Goodness gracious, this was a long post!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

gifts from ya’ll

I ADORE holidays, even the random ones. A lot of blogs out there are talking about Halloween, but over here, I’m getting ready for the Mid-Autumn Festival aka Moon Festival tomorrow, Saturday, October 3rd. Its date changes every year because it’s calculated on the lunar calendar, but it’s a great cultural holiday that involves the eating of moon cakes, which are delicious. Currently my moon cakes are hanging out in my fridge, just begging to be consumed, but I will resist until Saturday!

The main reason I love holidays is gifting. I love giving gifts, and I love receiving gifts. Just the small things make me happy. This post is about gifts I’ve received recently, from people around the blog world. Giveaways just make everything warm and fuzzy, don’t you agree? Now I just need to make something worthy of being given away to keep the happiness flowing.

091002 01 pure kindness

This beautiful pair of earrings (called “Pure Kindness”) from Jane at She Greets the Day arrived in the mail, really nicely packaged. Jane has a lovely little etsy shop with cute pieces of jewelry that you should check out. It’s always nice to find someone in blogger land who isn’t a mother. No offense to all of you out there, but sometimes I feel weird reading all these posts about children and families.

091002 02 callie cat

Then there was this Callie Cat from Debra at Creative Ramblings. Precious! Currently I have her chilling out on my crafting table, sitting next to my sewing machine, chiding me for not being more productive. I feel bad because Debra spent a fair amount just on the shipping, but I do love the fact that my room now feels more homey because of its new addition.

091002 03 lavender

Last, but not least, Lisa from The Davis Dialogues sent me this bracelet with panels of lavender … on dominoes! Nifty, eh? It’s a nice, chunky bracelet. I’ll probably wear it when I go out tonight.

Oh, and I stopped by Michael’s the other day and bought some snaps, so there starts my October total. First thing on this weekend’s list is grocery shopping, because I am out of food. Seriously out of food, as in I was starving and ended up driving to McDonald’s (the closest food source) to buy dinner. I feel pretty disgusted with myself. But I have moon cakes to look forward to and happy thoughts. Yeah, let’s not think about that essay … or that test … or the real world. But thanks to all of you! Yay Jane, Debra, and Lisa!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

one week later

It’s been one week since my last post. From now on I’ll probably only post about once a week because, well … I really don’t have much to post about. I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. As I mentioned previously, my sister came to town and we did sisterly things, like eat and shop. It was so great to see her again. Good Austin-y restaurants to try: Blue Dahlia (on East 11th), Chuy’s (on Barton Springs), and Woodland (on South Congress). I definitely need to go back to Woodland because their meatloaf sandwich was ridiculously delicious.

090910 01 last fig

We went to the Farmer’s Market at 4th and Guadalupe on Saturday morning, where we tried some very yummy samples and bought figs. I had never had figs that didn’t come in a newton before, so I was completely shocked when I first bit into one. YUM. So sweet … so lovely. The picture is of the very last fig – right before I ate that little piece of heaven.

On Labor Day I went to a friend’s place for a get-together she was having. To thank her, I made her some oatmeal cookies and gave them to her yesterday. They actually turned out really good. I halved this recipe but still ended up with a few over two dozen 2″ cookies. The ingredients list below is for the full recipe, so if you want a smaller batch, just halve it like I did.

090910 02 dough

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I increased this a bit)
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats

Process:

  • mix together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar
  • add the eggs and vanilla to the mix
  • in a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon
  • add the two mixtures together and add the oatmeal
  • form little balls of dough (about 1″ in diameter) onto a cookie sheet
  • bake in oven at 375F for 8-10 minutes

090910 03 bagged

I haven’t had a chance to make those reusable cookie bags, so I just used a plain ol’ ziploc with a piece of ribbon and tucked in a note. I left the cookies on her desk yesterday morning and got a voicemail from her thanking me later on. This is why I love giving cookies – it just makes people happy! And it makes me happy for making others happy! All in all, very happy. I also finally managed to give my friend X her birthday pillows. More happiness!

But … apparently my sister thinks I’m tired all the time because I eat too many simple sugars. Yeah yeah, probably true. I just happen to really like bread, muffins, and cookies. Is that so wrong?

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

lucky me (part 2)

In a previous post I mentioned that I had won two giveaways, and this is the second one! It actually arrived in the mail about a week ago … but it’s been hectic over here! Anyway, it’s this beautiful Green Garden Wallet from Maggie Whitley. She has a lovely collection of wallets and pouches at her etsy shop and the giveaway was hosted by Everything Etsy.

090824 01 wallet

Generally the yellow, green, orange color scheme isn’t really my cup of tea, but the print is very fun and her signature ruffle gives it character. Now I just have to decide what I’m going to keep in it. I think it’ll probably turn into my catchall for coupons and receipts. Hm … I’ll probably have to leave it on my desk and stare at it until I can find a use deserving of it. It also has a magnetic closure, which in my disaster of a purse is a necessary thing.

090824 02 open

On a side note, I’m not sure if I like the black background for photographing things. I have two desks in my room, one black and one white. The white one is my designated crafting desk (on top of which my sewing machine sits proudly!) and the black is generally my laptop/schoolwork desk. I like the classiness of black, but I think in general I’ll stick to the white … or the carpet (’cause that’s the classiest of all).

School starts in two days. AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t feel prepared to start classes again. And those eight o’clock classes are going to be the death of me. I haven’t really had the chance to get into the back-to-school mindset since I’m waiting until the first week of class to buy books in case my professors change their minds, which happens way too often.

The other day a bunch of us rented a boat out on Lake Austin to celebrate a friend’s birthday. It was great fun except for when we had to get rescued by a patrol boat … yeah, that wasn’t so much fun. But otherwise I’ve pretty much been hanging out at the apartment and sleeping. With my new roommate N, I watched the first three Harry Potter movies and now we’re working on the fourth episode of Pride and Prejudice (the six-part BBC series, of course) … we are really cool like that. This summer has been ridiculously hot, so I prefer staying indoors with air conditioning and Mr. Darcy to melting onto the sidewalk any day.

I also haven’t had the chance yet to give X her birthday pillows since she’s in the process of moving into her new place right now and I figured I’d wait a bit until her unpacking craziness calmed down a bit. And then I need to make plans to meet up with former roommates K and S.

I don’t wanna go back to school!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]