The Zoo Has Arrived!

You make one stuffed, fleece animal and next thing you know there are a bunch of them.  And the thing is that I can't really blame this on Lily because I enjoyed making  just as much as she enjoyed getting them. 

Meet Lemony Peanut, the Elephant.

Cornelia Mouse.

Hoots the Wise Owl

Penelope Pig

Patches Kitty

Pedro Pup

And Minnie Moose.

These were just so much fun to make and a great way to use up bits of fleece, ribbon and oddball buttons. I planned on making a bunch more of them for a craft fair in the spring but haven't gotten around to it yet.  We'll see if that happens it not.  


Crafts Tables and Freehand Bunnies

Last weekend was the local farmer's market and I had a table there.  I didn't sell a whole lot, but then again I wasn't really prepared for the whole thing since it has been almost two years since I last set up a table anywhere.  The fee was only $5 and I sold $27, so a $22 day.  Not bad.  Not great.  But not bad.  I do plan to set up my table every weekend until the farmer's market is over, so I have plenty of time to work on my table appearance and different items to sell.

I ranged from crocheted hats, scarves and mitts (which I didn't really expect to sell very well since it is summer), to beaded and fimo jewelry.  I had a few felt items out, like coin purses and magnets, as well.  I sold a pink fimo cupcake earring and necklace set, a felt coin purse, a pair of beaded earrings and a pair of fimo pumpkin earrings.  I was pleased.  A friend of mine stopped by and gave me some hints of what else I can do to liven up my table decor.  I stopped at Jo-Ann's and got an earring display.  It only holds one pair, but I want to go back and get the one that holds several pairs when it goes on sale.  I got some muslin to make a tablecloth and a banner to hang behind my table.  This weekend I may not have the banner made, but I have the better tablecloth and I am going to take my dress form to show off some of my hats and scarves.  I might even try to sell one of my costumes. Not sure about that just yet.

While there, Lily saw a cute little stuffed bunny at one of the tables.  It was very cute and only $9, but it was more of a shelf sitter as the bottom was weighted and it was very stiffly stuffed. And I think that I have the pattern around here somewhere.  So instead I sat down and started cutting out pieces of fleece and ended up with the orange bunny pictured here.  Her name is Bungee, which is a smash of Orange and Bunny.  The blue one pictured here I made afterward for my table.  I am very pleased at how well they came out.  And best part of all is that they are completely machine washable.

I started another project for my table, but I haven't quite finished it yet.  It's going to be a message board with little fabric flags and clothes pin painted to match the colors in the fabric scraps and held into an embroidery hoop.  I will take a picture of it later when I get it finished.  I want to work on a few more of these softies but in different varieties.  Lily and I decided on a kitty, a mouse, a bear, and a pig.  I think there was another one, but I can't remember what it was.

I have also been really wanting an embroidery machine but they are so expensive.  After talking with one of the other ladies at the farmer's market, I figured out how to do some small freehand embroidery on my sewing machine.  All I had to do was cover up the feed dogs with the little plastic cover and not drop the presser foot.  That gives me free range to move in what ever direction that I want.  I need to practice more to get my control right, but so far so good.  I can wait to practice more and maybe get something done with it.  I am thinking a tote bag.  Or maybe a coin purse.  I am not sure yet.

Have a good night!


How Do These People Stay in Business...?

Sometimes you wonder how certain companies  manage to stay in business for as long as they do.  Then there are other times that you wonder how it is that a certain business has closed up overnight when they always seemed to be so busy.

Well, I am wondering how it is that my cable company has managed to stay in business for as long as they have.  Now, I am not talking about Comcast or Warner or any of those.  No.  Instead we have a private company out here in the boonies that pipes "cable" to our homes via a contract with DirecTV.  I am not a fan of DirecTV in the first place.  It never seems to work right (i.e.  stations come and go, pixels appear on the screen, it freezes the picture, etc.).   But there isn't a lot of choice out here.  You can have this podunk cable company, DirecTV or Dish Network.

I haven't really worried a lot about it since we are usually at work and only really watch TV at night.  Mostly, I worry about the broadband internet connection that is part of our cable service.  We use the internet frequently.  That's how I pay bills and keep in touch with my dad, as well as a variety of other things that we use the internet for.  Unfortunately, about a month ago the cable and internet went out for over 24 hours.  Cable - no big deal, we have DVDs and video games.  Internet - AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!  Can't live without my internet!!!  

For about three weeks the connection was intermittent at best.  We would have to power cycle the modem then unplug the router and plug it back in.  Usually that worked.  Until this past Sunday.  When it died completely.  No amount of power cycling or restarting would fix it.  It was dead.  Much to my dismay.  And that of the Duke Energy.  I had to wait until the next day to pay the bill from work.  It was late, but they didn't say anything thankfully.

I tried calling Podunk cable over and over again on Monday.  No one answered.  I did find out that they were working on the receiver issue with the cable so all of the stations would be back in order soon, but that didn't help the internet issue.  We tried calling the internet company that we knew the connection came from originally.  That phone number re-routed us to Cincinnati Bell.  They didn't know anything about us or the company that we used to have.  They did try to help us as best they could but there was nothing that they could do.  The next day I called Podunk cable again and finally got through to someone.  This is how the conversation went:

Me:  "Hi, we have cable and internet with you and our internet has been out since Sunday."
Podunk guy: "I'm working on it."
Me:  "Oh, Ok, well can you tell me what's wrong with it?"
Podunk guy:  "I don't know.  I'm working on it. Bye."  *click*

Well, after that call, I got fed up, said some choice words to the telephone and called the phone company.  They recently (within the last 6 months or so) came out and installed fiber optics in the neighborhood and I knew that the service was available.  I was just waiting until they were going offer TV, phone and internet as a whole package.  But after that phone call with Podunk cable, I called the phone company and talked to them.  It was a great experience all together.  The lady I spoke with was super nice and apologized to me for the other company's inaction.  She set a technician up for this afternoon.  She told me all about the pricing, explained the bill to me, AND gave me a $29.95 credit on my August bill for trying the internet service.  AND if I don't want the service or am not happy with it - they turn it off for only a $5 charge.  No contracts, nothing. 

The technician was supposed to call between 1pm and 5pm to come out an hour later.  He called at 1:20pm.  I told him that I would be home in about 45 mins.  He was here at 2pm and was SUPER NICE!  He made sure that our connection was good.  And that I didn't have any trouble getting the computer and my table to connect.  Then he shook my hand, told me to have a nice day and left.  It was one of those experiences that you just don't have often.  I am very happy.  I can not wait until they take over the TV service and we can get rid of Podunk cable all together.

Have an great day!


Sunshine and Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake

It has been too long since I last posted anything and I apologize to anyone who actually pays attention to my blog. Life had been difficult and stressful and I needed a major break.

But now, there is CAKE!

It's a beautiful sunny day outside and Hubby is away at his game at the FLGS.  For those of you who don't know what that means, FLGS is short for Friendly Local Game Store, of which we have two in town now.  Lily and I are enjoying a relaxing day at home.  Laundry is going in the washer and in the dryer.  Cupcake has found herself a comfy spot in the kitty house near the back patio door.  Wookie has claimed the patio door itself for his own.  And Ronin is laying in a heap on the living room floor.

 It's amazing how comfortable cats can get.  

We have decided that since tomorrow is Father's Day, a nice, yummy cake is needed for the picnic that we are planning.  I didn't have enough ingredients for some of the cakes that I wanted to make so we settled on a Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake.  And when it's cooled it will have a nice Peanut Butter Crunch Frosting.  YUM!

For the cake, I have this recipe:
1 C softened butter
1 3/4 C white sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C milk
2 1/2 C AP flour
6 tbsp baking cocoa powder (I used Nestle)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate baking chips (either semi-sweet or milk )
2 tbsps flour for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your 13x9 inch baking pan with a non-stick cooking spray.  Sift together in a large mixing bowl flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In another large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time, making sure they are nicely incorporated, then stir in the vanilla.  Beat in the flour mixture, alternating with milk, mixing until just incorporated.  

In a small mixing bowl, mix together the chocolate chips and flour just until the chips are completely dusted with flour.  This keeps them from settling to the bottom of the baking dish when in the oven.  Fold the chips into the batter making sure they get completely mixed through.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, depending on the oven.  Once toothpick comes out clean, pull out and sit on a baking sheet to cool.  

For the frosting:
1/2 C softened butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use honey roasted peanut butter)
3 tsps milk
2 cups powdered sugar
chopped peanuts (peanut topping for ice cream is perfect for this)
Put peanut butter and butter in a bowl and cream together.  Gradually mix in powdered sugar.  Add a little milk if the mixture gets to be too thick.  Beat for 3 minutes until it is nice and smooth.  Frost your cooled cake and top with chopped peanuts to taste.  

 Can't wait to dig in!

Let me know if you make it and what you think!

Have a nice evening.


Weird Dream Theatre

So you have ever had a dream where you wake up and say, "What the hell?!"

Well, I had one of those last night.

So, it starts with Andrew and I in the living room talking with some friends.  It looked like either we were having a game or we were having dinner with our friends.  I heard something and went to the kitchen.  The front door was open.  Not the kind of open enough for something to get in or out, but just ajar slightly.  I don't remember seeing Ronin anywhere though, but that doesn't mean much.  I did, however, see two ducks.    Normal sized, orange-ish white and staring at me.  This didn't really seem odd to me, so I just picked them up and took them back out side.

After the ducks, everything just went haywire.  Next I am scooping up crows and starlings and sending them back outside.  Meanwhile. Andrew and our friends are sitting in the living room talking.  They act like nothing is going on.  After I get rid of the crows and starlings, I head back to the living room and see a small bird house sitting on the dining room table.  Flitting around the bird house are about a dozen teeny tiny birds.  In my mind, I knew that they were Carolina Wrens.  Wrens are not this small.  They were about the size of marbles for the adults and the babies were about the size of an paper dot from a hole punch.  And lo and behold, sitting in front of the bird house, watching the wrens flit around, were a bunch of birds.  It was almost like a little bird outdoor theatre.  About a dozen birds of all different colors were just sitting there, watching the wrens flit around the bird house, which was now covered in cobwebs, though the birds didn't seem to notice these webs.  I didn't see any spiders or anything.  Even if I did, these birds were about fly sized, so they would have been the perfect size.

This is about the time that I am starting to get frustrated because no one else seems to notice the flock of birds crowding around the dining room table.  Once again, I scoop up the birds and toss them out the front door.   None of the birds seemed to care.

Now what in the world could this dream possibly mean?  What I think is that it is probably meaningless as far as anything important.  I did get up horribly early yesterday to go to work.  I think I was just tired.



Back From GENCON!

Our Gen-Con adventure started with the long drive from Btown to Indy.  It wasn't really too bad since that early on a Sunday morning there weren't really many people up and around.  We got to Indy about 9:30AM and found a spot at our normal parking garage.  It was a little sketchy at first since all of the gates were closed, but we soon found that one of the gates for the exit was open.  As long as we were out by 8:30PM we were good.

Figuring out the way to the convention center was easy.  All you had to do was follow all of the people with the badges.  It was kind of funny actually, because as we were walking we were talking about which way to go to get to the Convention Center and then we started to see all of the people grouping up at the street corner.  All of them had backpacks or rolling suitcase things and badges.  All we did was jump in with them and head on the Con.

I didn't really expect there to be such a huge line, but the registration line was really long and wound all the way around the main lobby and into one of the halls.  Thankfully, the line moved really fast.  A lady walked past us wearing a nifty Empire Strikes Back tee.  Andrew commented on her tee and she gave the thumbs up.  A few minutes later she walked back past and said, "Do you guys need two passes?  The other people in my group didn't show up, so you can have these passes if you want."


The exhibition hall was jammed with vendors.  It was so cool to be there again.  The last time we went was in 2008.  So keeping that in mind I was looking for some specific vendors.  First off the T-Shirt place.  I could see it.  It was huge.  I wanted a Stargate hoodie.  Either SG-1 or Atlantis.  One that zips.  But, unfortunately, they didn't have any.  Not one.  In fact, the only Stargate stuff that they had was one tee.  It was nice, but I already have a tee and I didn't really want another.  So instead I asked for Adventure Time or Regular Show for Lily.  No luck there either.  All of the kids stuff went on the first day, they said.  Oh well.

With no hoodie in hand, we continued on our adventure.  Rounding the corner of the T-shirt booth, we ran into Finn the Human.  That required a fist pump.

Andrew found a copy of GURPS Black Ops for $10.  For a new copy, that was a good deal, so we snagged it.  Since it was on his list.  Lucky him.

Keeping an eye out for the Evil Hat Games booth or the IRP booth, we wandered around taking a look at everything.  We had to stop at the OSR booth so he could ogle the copies of Fight On! Magazine.  When they started up the mag, his artwork was on the front cover.  So, he peeked through the compilation book of the magazine issues looking for his artwork.  The guys greeted us and he introduced himself as Doc Rotwang.  And, lo and behold, the guy at the booth says, "Hey, someone was here looking for you.  I think he left a message on the whiteboard."

This was our first contact with someone that he knew from the RPG boards.  While we stood there talking with him, a couple walked up that Andrew knew from his Google+ circles.  This continued to happen throughout the entire time.  Everyone recognized his pink tie.  

Steampunk was the name of the game around the Exhibitor Hall.  Almost everyone that wasn't selling Anime or game books, was selling some sort of Steampunk stuff.  And there was so much that I wanted, but just one hat was $95 at one booth.  Had I had an extra $100 for a hat, I would have.  They were so cool.  There was a lot of Steampunk jewelry and watches and the like.  Those started at like $50 each.  Still too high for me.  I did see some cool costumes that gave me some ideas for my own stuff though.  I wanted to take pictures of a few of the women that were all dressed up, but I couldn't get into a position that I could.  Most of them were vendors and were far too busy selling stuff.  
The Dungeons and Dragons booth looked like a dungeon.  It was really neat.  I wanted to head in to get some pictures, but you had to stand in a line to get in and you were allowed to take pictures of only a few things.  So I stood outside and snapped some photos of Drizzt and his cat and Lloth.  There were a couple of really cool looking Drow chicks that I wanted to snap a shot of, but I heard them tell another guy that they weren't allowed to have photos outside of the booth and that they had to pay for those shots.  I thought that was a little silly, but whatever.  Wizards of the Coast does whatever they want and if they want to charge for the Drow chicks, then I guess they will.

We stopped by the Troll Lords booth and met Steven Chenault.  That was neat to talk to him.  We gave him lots of kudos for his work on the game since it is our go to fantasy game.  I love it cause it's quick and easy.  While we were there, we met a guy named Jason Vey.  I think that Andrew knows him from the boards.  We may also have one of his books.  I can't remember.  We did buy his new book, Amazing Adventures.  It's a Pulp Era book for the Siege Engine system for Castles and Crusades.  I do loves me some Pulp Era gaming.  So we picked that up.  Have to support our friends and our favorite games.  

There were some cool looking Steampunk-y statues of what looked like battling submarines.  I had to snap a shot of those just cause they were really nifty.  I don't even remember what booth they were at.  

After a while, we found the IRP booth and discovered that they were all sold out of Diaspora.  Andrew was bummed, but it wasn't the end of the world.  Evil hat wasn't there, so we couldn't hit them up for it.  They had a bunch of other games, but nothing that we really wanted.  So on we went.  

Cubicle 7 was there, the makers of the Doctor Who RPG.  I wanted to get the GM screen from them, but I learned that the David Tennant one was out of print and they were all sold out of the new one.  They had a box of the supplements for the Aliens, but the guy there was so busy talking to someone that I couldn't get to ask him how much it was.  There was also a nifty looking Doctor Who Card Game that they were demoing, but there were so many people crowded around watching that I couldn't figure out what was going on.  I was frustrated.  So we left.  

Just behind the Cubicle 7 booth was the Doctor Who North America booth.  

Here was my chance to get the sonic screwdriver that I wanted.  But - no go.  I found the fourth doctor's and the eleventh doctor's, but no tenth's.  They had a lot of neat stuff.  Reprints of all of the older books, DVDs, copies of the SG-1 and Atlantis novels.  Tons of toys.  Nothing that I was really interested in.  I did see an Amy Pond DS cover.  It was kind of pricey though.  $23 for the cover and a stylus that looked like a screwdriver.  That was neat, but I didn't really want to spring for booth.  Had the stylus been alone and been cheaper, then maybe.  There was a guy dressed as Peter Davison's doctor and a girl dressed as Matt Smith's doctor.  I snapped a shot of the Peter Davison guy but he turned away as I took the photo.  I was very impressed with his costume.  It looks just like the one that Peter Davison wore.  

The Dalek was awesome.  It spoke and said, "EXTERMINATE!"  and a few other phrases, but I didn't hear the other ones.  I think that Lily would love to have seen this Dalek.  She really loves Doctor Who and would have just gone crazy at the Doctor Who booth.  It was so busy though, so that would have killed her fun really quick.  The TARDIS was great, too!  The best part about the TARDIS was that the other side was open and was a display case for their merchandise.  That would be amazing in the house with toys on it.  

I discovered that the Reaper guys weren't there.  I was very disappointed that they weren't there.  I had my heart set on a new mini.  I really wanted one of the Chronoscope figures to paint.  I don't know when I would have gotten around to painting it, but I still wanted one.  Lily was ok with not getting a mini, though.  But, I can always hit up our local game store and have them order what I want.  That's a good thing.  Gotta keep our Friendly Local Game Store in business.  

We stopped by met Johnathon Tweet and Robin Laws.  They have some new games with a system called Gumshoe.  It gives the player more opportunity for investigation without much of a chance of failure.  At least I think that's what they said.  I got rather confused for a moment listening to them talk.  It was loud around there.  They have some new games out, Trail of Cthulu and Ashen Stars, as well as a few others.  They all sounded cool.  We didn't pick up anything.  Once again, our FLGS can order it for us and they though that was a good idea.  Anyhow, we had to head back to the Triple Ace Games booth and get the stuff that we had there.  They have a new game called Leagues of Adventure.  It's a Steampunk Pulp Adventure game.  It looked really cool.  They also have a game called All for One which is a Musketeers game where said Musketeers fight demons and the church.  But there are no female characters in the main game.  So, we got the supplement that allows for female characters.  I look forward to playing these games.  

About this time, I was getting tired and somewhat frustrated that not only could I not find anything that I wanted, I couldn't find anything for Lily.  There was a surprising lack of Adventure Time stuff.  There were a lot of Finns walking around, but no merchandise.  If there had been anything it probably all sold in the first day, like the tees.  We did head back to the Steve Jackson Games booth so I could at least get Pirate FLUXX.  She loves FLUXX.  They had little smiling flowers from Looney Labs at the booth, too.  I got one of those for Lily.  It's just the kind of thing that she would love.  They had some really fun TARDIS stuff at the Steve Jackson booth, too.  There was a stuffed TARDIS and a stuffed Dalek.  Both of them made noise, though.  And she's not really much up on things that make noise.  They also had a nifty tin TARDIS lunchbox, which was a good price at $13.  I just didn't really feel the need to get it.  

So far all I had for Lily was a flower from Looney Labs.  I had to find something else.  Well, I didn't really need to find something else, but I wanted to find something else.  So we went on the hunt for a booth that I had seen earlier that had a ton of pink sparkly things, Paradise Rose Shop.  I got her a really fun felt back pin/hair clip.  And I got a pretty cupcake ring for her teacher from first grade.  I didn't see any cupcake earrings for Lily or anything.  There was a nice cupcake necklace, but it was about the same size as the ring and I thought for her that would be a little too large.  

It was about that time, that we decided that we were done.  It was 2 pm and we were hungry.  We headed out and went to Circle Centre mall across the road and had lunch at Johnny Rockets.  It was good.  We stopped in the Claire's there in the mall.  I found some Monster High stuff for her there since I didn't find anything at the con.  We stopped at Toys R Us and Joann's on the way home.  Found her a few things at Toys R Us - socks, a wristlet and a Neptuna light up room doo-dad.  

When we got back home to get Lily from Grandma and Grandpa's, she got her stuff and she was happy.  The bat went on the front of her dresser and is hanging from a fancy spider web piece of material.  Her teacher loved the cupcake ring and she took the wristlet to school today.  

All in all - it was a good time.  I am going to hope that we can save up for next year.  I would definitely like to head back up there.  I look forward to it.  And maybe, just maybe, Lily will go with us.  


Going to GENCON!

It has been at least two years since we last went to Gen-Con.  The last time we traveled up to Indy for the craziness, Lily was still in her stroller.  This year, however, Andrew and I are going alone.  Lily has decided to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's and play with the new kittens.  Oh my, those kittens are adorable!

I have a small list of things that I would like to find this year.  We have to be very budget conscious, so no spending $110 at the Chessex booth this time around.

Reaper Miniatures - I do want to hit up the Reaper booth and get a new mini.  I haven't painted anything in a while, but I still love getting minis.  Lily wants to paint one as well, though she wouldn't be able to do a lot of the small detail work.  She gets too impatient too easily.  I did see that they had some really cute mouse warriors on their website that she might like.  There's a cool Steampunk Witch mini from their Chronoscope line, as well as a Time Chaser guy and a Mad Scientist girl.  And of course their fantastic Sophie figures.  I have a cool t-shirt with Sophie on it and a tote bag from Reaper with the signatures of all of the artists.   I am nerd.  I am comfortable with that.

Doctor Who - I need to find the 10th Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver.  I have wanted one for a long time and would love to find one up there.  The last time that we went, they had one, but I talked myself out of it.  And I have kicked myself ever since.  This year, however, I hope to find one.  I don't want the 11th Doctor's, I want the 10th Doctor's.  I am a bit of a David Tennant snob.  Just a bit.

Stargate - I would like to get a Stargate hoodie.  Either Atlantis or SG-1.  Either one is fine.  I have a great Doctor Who one that I got the last time, but it doesn't zip.  I would like one that zips.

RPG Stuff - A GM screen for the Doctor Who Role-Playing game would be awesome, as well as any of the supplements.  10th Doctor only though.  I am kinda particular to David Tennant.  =o)  If Troll Lords has anything good, that would be nice.  Otherwise, we have tons of game stuff so we really don't need anything.  Granted I don't need any of the DW stuff either, but if I find it....

Lily Stuff - She would like a stuffed Lady Rainacorn or a stuffed Ice King from Adventure Time.  Maybe a Regular Show T-shirt, though I don't know about that one.  She probably wouldn't wear it a lot since she doesn't wear her Adventure Time T-shirt now because someone at school said something about it being a 'killing show'.   She also wants a Cthulu necklace.  For some strange reason she loves Cthulu.  She knows nothing about the stories or anything.  I think that the only reason that she likes Cthulu is because she has a stuffed one from Toy Vault that we gave to her when she was a baby.  For a while, she didn't like it, but lately she's been rather attached to it.  We were hoping to locate some Monster High things there, but from what I have been told, there really isn't anything.  Maybe we will get lucky.

Andrew is looking for a game called Diaspora.  So for that has really been the only game item that he's shown interest in.  Our bookshelves are completely packed with stuff.  We don't really need anything else.  But the game does sound cool and it is a FATE system game.  We like FATE.  I would also like to find a copy of Pirate FLUX.  We love FLUX.  Lily even likes to play with us sometimes.  I think she likes Martian FLUX the best.  I like Zombie FLUX myself.

I even painted my nails for the fun of it!