Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 8

I got a text yesterday from my friend Lauren who's having the surprise party and she was overwhelmed by choices. I offered my assistance if she needed help getting stuff ready for the party. "Do you want to bake a cake?" she asked. I enthusiastically agreed to help.

We baked the cake in my kitchen so her fiancee would not see it. The plan was to make a space looking cake, space being the theme, with 4 layers and fondant stars and planets. I think making the cake have 4 layers is where we went wrong, or right depending on how you look at it. I only have one rack in my oven and we just barely fit all 4 pans. As they took their deformed shape we got to work on the fondant.

Neither of us have ever made this stuff before but we assumed it couldn't be that hard. We made a 1/3 of the recipe because we really didn't need 3 pounds. We added the correct amount of everything but it was still really sticky, it's not supposed to be sticky. We kept adding powdered sugar and then finally just settled on a lump that seemed to be nearly right. It was not until today that I realized 2/3 of a cup is not 1/3 of 2 pounds, pounds being what I did not pay much attention to. Obviously we needed to have added more powdered sugar because the fondant was still sticky and practically melting in our hands as we made shapes.

When the layers had cooled somewhat we started to layer and frost and layer and frost and layer and frost. Upon setting the last layer on the top the first 3 layers stared to slide to the left! I quickly grabbed some bamboo skewers and stabbed the cake is various places to keep it in place. We finished the frosting, oh did I mention it was some shade between brown and black and blue and green, and set it in the fridge to set or perhaps transform into a beautiful creation? Wishful thinking.

Once everything was put away Lauren went home and I was excited to get back to the pillow cases. I cut out 13 hexagons from paper, cut fabric and sewed it over the paper, and started sewing the hexagons together. They looked really great! I sewed about half of the hexagons together before it was time for bed.

I heard from Walker today, he sent an e-mail and we got to chat in g-mail. He had fun in Zanzabar and he's soon heading to Arusha to begin acclimating to the higher elevation before he climbs Mt Kilimanjaro on Saturday. So exciting! If feel better knowing what his plan is for the next few days.

The space party was fun, the birthday boy was quite surprised and perhaps a little disappointed he wasn't going to a fancy restaurant for dinner. The gag gifts were pretty great, I like to think my knitted poo was the best of the bunch. I had just the right amount of fun and went home with about a half hour to sew some more hexagons together! Yippie!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 7

I did not do a lot of sleeping this weekend as I had hoped. Both Saturday and Sunday I was up by quarter to 8 and almost immediately had to check my e-mail.

Saturday I just sort of flitted around the house in a somewhat listless state. There were a lot of things I wanted to get done but I just couldn't sit down long enough to concentrate. I got a call from Walker's parents asking if I'd like to have dinner with them to share in our worries for Walker's travels. We set the time for 6:00pm. Soon after a friend called and invited me over for movie watching. So the night was planned! That still left the afternoon so my roommate and I headed to REI for some outdoor gear and their biggest sale of the season.

I knew that I was going to buy a sleeping pad and they had a couple on sale I was checking out. After lying on the floor of REI on various sleeping pads I chose the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus a 4 season pad. I also noticed the patagonia thermal underwear on sale and I couldn't resist, I got a top and a bottom. This seemed like a ridiculous purchase since it was about 90+ degrees outside but it will be perfect for my camping trip back home in September.

The rest of the night went as planned. When I got home I checked my mail again, still nothing, but I saw an invite to a surprise party where gag gifts are encouraged. I started roaming around my favorite knitting site, Ravelry, and I came across this. Perfect, knitted poo, I got to work right away.

The next morning I was up at 7:45 again and I finally received a message. It sounded like he was having a good time and was safe, so I took a deep breath and finished knitting the poo.

I did a bit of gardening later on. Watered all the plants and picked a few of the chocolate cherry tomatoes I've been growing that were finally ripe! I was so excited. I also cut a bunch of my basil to turn into pesto later on. It smelled so wonderful I had to put little bunches of it in shot glasses all around the house.

In the evening I was settled enough to do some crafting, I worked on my market bag and while I was doing that I was thinking of pillow cases. I finished the row I was working on and immediately went into designing pillow cases, ironing fabric, measuring and cutting. Time went by very quickly and all of a sudden it was 10:30-time to get ready for bed. I can't wait to get back to it, I think they will look really nice when they're done.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 4

So today is Ride Your Bike to Work Day here in Austin. If it had not been for a lucky string of coincidences I would not have discovered this and all the wonderful things that have followed.

Last night after work I took the bus down to my favorite yarn shop to find yarn colors for some Christmas stockings I've been commissioned to knit. This took all of 5 minutes and I was back at the bus stop heading home. As I sat there baking in the sun (of course I had to wear black jeans today) I saw a flyer for Grackle Fest. I made a note to look into when I get home.

Once I was home again I went to look up Grackle Fest and luckily clicked on this link. This is when I discovered that today, the 21st of May is Ride Your Bike to Work Day and as such free food would be given out. Lucky for me it was Thursday night!

So this morning I rode my bike as usual and stopped by Wheatsville for some free breakfast goodies! It was all really nice and I figured I'd wash it all down with some ice cold tea. Turns out ice cold tea and ice cold coffee look just the same. Again lucky for me, since I do not enjoy coffee, I had only poured about a inch into my little cup. I took a few polite sips before disposing of it. Very enjoyable morning none the less.

I has also read that Chipotle was giving away free burritos if you rode your bike to the downtown location. I called this morning to confirm so I wouldn't ride down there just to look like a fool. With this confirmed I rode down there just before 11 (when the free burritos were scheduled to start) to beat the crowd. It's about 2 miles from my office and relatively light traffic, both on the road and in the restaurant, that was surprising. I ordered as soon as I walked up and mentioned the ride down at which point my burrito was put in a bag and handed right over.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


It has been 2 days since Walker left and honestly it feels as if a lot more time has passed.

I spent the first day moping around. Going over, in my head, the list of things I had planned and not caring much about any of it. I figured I'd give myself one day to sort out my thoughts, figure out where to start, and then progressively get more productive. After a couple of hours had passed doing nothing but sighing every so often I pulled out my current knitting project and worked on that while I watched Mrs. Winterbourne. That quickened the night some, and by 10:30 I was more than ready for bed. I read a bit of my latest book purchase Bonk by Mary Roach (I recently finished Stiff another book by Roach which I found quite fascinating) during which point sleep quickly overtook me.

Yesterday I had watched a series of mini videos for taking care of succulents and I was feeling a bit better. I was especially excited about my plan to head to the hardware/garden store after work to look for mini pots to re-pot all my succulents that seem to be dying. As it turns out the succulents in question were gifted to me last Christmas by Walker so I would be super bummed if they died, especially while he's in Africa. So after work I rode to the hardware store and walked outside to the garden area and scanned over the pots at which time the outdoor attendant asked if I was finding everything alright, yes was my response. He then stood around watching me and I assumed he needed something near where I was standing so I moved and he walked to where I had been and awkwardly moved a large potting vase. From there he went and sat down in a chair much closer to me and facing my exact direction. Feeling a bit uncomfortable I walked to another area to take a look at some succulents and he pretty quickly got up and sat in another location very near me and facing me yet again. I was pretty irritated at this point and since I didn't find what I was looking for I left. I nearly asked if his job was to bore a hole in the back of my head with his eyes, because he was doing quite well.

I was pretty close to Walker's apartment where he had left his mail key so I figured I'd stop by and check the mail. Seemed easy enough but his mailbox has a very tricky lock which I could not, even after about 5 minutes, get into. I felt a little like I was trying to break in so I gave up and went home. Hopefully he can e-mail me the trick to opening it.

Once I got home I decided to trim up my succulents in a way that I figured was my last resort. I took them all out of the pot they were in cut off all the dead leaves and roots and I have them all lying on a shelf out of the sun to let the newly cut areas dry before I re-pot them. I'm crossing my fingers this will work.

Once the succulents were taken care of I decided the craft of the night would be a t-shirt rag rug. I thought it would be a better idea to start a new project than to work on one of the many piling up in my newly organized craft closet. Ha Ha. I dug around for a few t-shirts and got to work. It started out a bit rough with all the tangling going on ( I may have cut the fabric the wrong way because it was stretching out way too much) but I managed that and made some progress on the rug.