Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olymic Crafting: Team USA Stretch Bracelets

Last night, I looked around at all of the clutter that surrounds me in my tiny apartment, and got fed up. I ended up staying awake until 4 o'clock in the morning; moving light furniture, cleaning out boxes that hadn't been unpacked since we moved a year ago, and throwing away scraps of things that I had been keeping "just in case." Let me tell you, there has only been one time that I've been thankful that I hung on to something so I could use it in another project. Most of the time, I never do use the scraps. All those scraps do is take up space and keep me from finding things that I actually have plans for.

Anyway, I'm sure you know what I mean! I can't be the only person who feels that way from time to time.

While I was organizing, I found some blister packs of beads that a friend had given me a long time ago. (And I do mean a long time ago.... At least 4 years ago!) Beading was probably the first hobby I took up, and I've been doing it since I was about 8 years old. I don't do a lot of the fancy projects that you'll find in Bead and Button, but I do like stringing some beads onto elastic and calling it a day. It's the kind of instant-gratification project that's just perfect for any schedule.

One of the blister packs was this pretty pearlescent glass bead assortment:


I knew I wanted to make something for the Olympic Games, so I took inventory of the rest of my beads to see what I could make. Originally, I wanted to use the 5 colors in the Olympic rings, but I just didn't have the right colors for it. Looking again, I decided that I should focus on supporting Team USA, so I made some stretch bracelets using the red, white, and dark blue pearlescent beads.

This isn't a great picture of them, but when you take pictures in an artificially lit room they don't always look very good. I made two different styles of bracelet: two in red, white, and blue, changing colors frequently, and three done in blocks of red, white, and blue.

Want to participate in the fun? Here's the details for my bracelets so you can make your own.


  • Seed beads in red, white, and blue ( The bead size is, unfortunately, not labeled, but my best guess is that that they might be around 8/0)
  • Stretch Magic bead and jewelry cord, 1mm in diameter, 5 meter spool.
  • Scissors

Since the shape of the bead is not consistent, the amount of beads needed per bracelet for me varied between 72 and 81 beads (I have a 6-inch wrist, and don't like my bracelets to have a lot of slack.) Each blister supposedly contains 5 grams of beads, and I still have enough beads for another bracelet, so you won't need a large packet of beads for this project.


  • Cut about 12 inches of stretchy cord from the spool. If needed, knot one end of the cord so that the beads won't fall off while you string them.
  • For the alternating color bracelet, string beads in red, white, blue, red, white, blue, etc., until you have reached the desired length for your wrist.
  • For the color block bracelet, take your wrist measurement and divide by 3. This will give you an idea of how many inches each color needs to be. For instance, my measurement of 6 inches divided by 3 tells me that I need to string just slightly over 2 inches of each color in order to get something that will fit comfortably on my wrist.
  • Once you have enough beads on the cord to fit appropriately on your wrist, tie the ends of the cord together in a double knot (or more knots if you wish), trim the ends, and wear proudly!
Go Team USA! I'll be on vacation until Tuesday and even though I'll have internet access, I might not be able to post until I get back. I have another Olympic-themed jewelry craft idea, so hopefully I can get that posted soon after I get back!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dungeons of Dredmor

Dungeons of Dredmor is a dungeon crawler by Gaslamp Games. The appearance of the game reminds me of 90s-era Square Enix, when they were making such memorable games as Chrono Trigger (yes, I know they were called just Square back then.)

The way you play is similar to NetHack, by which I mean you explore the dungeon floors, loot chests, and fight monsters - but be careful! Those monsters can kill you.

Of course, there is always the option to turn off perma-death so you can reload your character and continue on your merry way.

The above picture shows the male character you can create, but there is also a female version with fiery Merida-like hair (and giant eyebrows, just like the male version.) When naming them, it's best not to give them a name that you might get attached to, because s/he will die. A lot. Even with perma-death turned off, it can be frustrating.

Dungeons of Dredmor doesn't have classes, per se, but they do offer 39 skills, of which you can choose 7 for your character. Mark likes to create combinations that synergize well with each other. I like to click the random button and get to hackin'-and -slashin'.

While I love this game as a quick time-filler, for some reason it really eats up the resources on our computers to boot it up. Why does a pixelated sprite need so many resources? Regardless, once it's running then it's fine, but I found that aspect to be somewhat annoying.

Mark originally bought this game for himself, but I hijacked it from him during work because I was bored. He bought it on Steam while the Summer Sale was going on, but unfortunately the sale ended on the 22nd. The good news is that the game is only $5.00 regularly, and for an additional $2.49 you can get Dungeons of Dredmor and its expansion, Relm of the Diggle Gods. This is why I love indie games - you can't beat those prices.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

That One Guy

Surely I'm not the only one who has experienced this? The one guy who, when you see that you two are scheduled for the same shift, makes you groan to yourself. He (or she) probably doesn't ruin your life, or even your day, but that brief period at work is less enjoyable just because that person is around.

That One Guy is might be someone who always has a problem that no one could ever understand and there's no solution to it, so don't even try to be rational because she doesn't want to hear it. Or That One Guy might be the rude person who keeps making jokes at the expense of others and doesn't realize he is the only one laughing. That One Guy might even be a sort of "holier than thou" kind of guy: the only one who knows how to do anything around here and is always "doing you a favor."

Yeah. Being rude to me is really doing me a favor.

Fortunately for me, this is the kind of guy I can forget pretty easily between shifts. I couldn't at first, as my husband will tell you, but eventually I got to where I could get over him like I get over colds: with lots of rest and relaxation. (Occasionally a stiff drink was needed in the beginning also.)

Tonight was my last night of work for good - or at least until well after the baby is born. It was a pretty ordinary night, save the fact that I had to work with That One Guy. But you know what? I don't have to do that ever again. And that, my friends, is awesome.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Letter to the Baby, part 2

Dear Baby,

Last night at work was really painful. I don't know how much was you and how much was me pushing myself to get my walk done, but let's both take it easy tonight, okay?

You want to see The Dark Knight Rises tomorrow afternoon? Maybe have a piece of pizza? I think that sounds like fun.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Eisley in St. Louis

On July12th, my husband and I jumped in the car to head to a dumpy little bar in Saint Louis to watch one of my favorite bands, Eisley.

What I love most about this group is their sound. It's a very whimsical, unique sound that you won't find in mainstream music. What's also unique about this group is a sort of Carter-family-esque appeal...yes, all of the musicians are related to each other. In fact, they're brother and sisters, with the bassist being the odd cousin out. Because the girls are sisters and singers, they have an incredible blend that is tough to match by other popular music groups out right now. It's incredible how much their albums sound just like their real sound. No boxes necessary. I adore that about them.

Most of their set consisted of songs from their third album, The Valley, sprinkled in with a few selections from their first album (Room Noises) and the new EP Deep Space. The third album is definitely my favorite album yet, so I was ecstatic to hear all of my favorite songs.

The only bad thing about the show was that part of the sound board started to cut in and out, which meant that there were times that you couldn't hear Sherri (far right) or Stacy (middle) singing at all. Not good when they are the lead singers. Like I said, the bar was definitely not in the best shape, so I imagine if the venue is patching the ceiling with plastic tarps, they probably can't afford to put any money in the sound board either. It obviously aggravated Sherri, who was acting as the front woman, and honestly it should have. When you work so hard on a concert and then the vocals don't work, that is unacceptable. At the same time I think she was just going to be unhappy anyway, as she made borderline rude comments throughout the concert directed at both the venue and the audience.  I think she meant to be funny, but instead the jokes fell flat.

I would definitely see them again if they happen to tour near me. I still love their sound - even when it's cutting out, even when some of them are short on sleep - and I hope that I do get to hear them live again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Appointment at 25 Weeks

Yesterday was my monthly doctor's appointment. I'll have one more in August and then I start going every two weeks - crazy! It's only a matter of time before we meet our baby boy!

This appointment included another ultrasound because they couldn't get clear enough pictures of profile, heart, and hands at the anatomy scan last month. Also, they needed to check on the position of the placenta, which was covering part of my cervix when they checked it last month. (This is known as placenta previa.) Thankfully, it is well out of the way now!

Otherwise everything still looks healthy. Baby's stomach and bladder were full, and his little heart was ticking away at 152. I still can't always feel him kicking or punching, but I was assured that I will feel more as he gets stronger. I was relieved to see that his head was buried in my hip at the appointment. So he does know how to get into delivery position!...roughly.

I rewarded him with pizza after the appointment.

I'm actually kind of dreading my next appointment. Before I meet with my doctor, I need to eat these:
The text reads:
Consume all jelly beans within 5 minutes. Write down the time you started eating the jelly beans. Go to the laboratory and have your blood drawn one hour after you started eating the jelly beans.

I have to...get my blood drawn...AGAIN?

Monday, July 9, 2012

They ARE Ants

The town where we lived before was infested with ants. I don't mean that there were a few ant hills here and there, I mean literally infested.

We found an ant mound outside of our rental that was larger than a hubcap.

My husband's office, which was tiled, had an ant mound developing...inside! On tile! How is that even possible?!

I'm not convinced that the town wasn't resting on top of a giant ant colony. Everyone had ant problems.

That place taught us a lot of things; namely, don't live in a town infested with ants. (Also, look for black mold before you move into a rental home, not after.) Our new place, though considerably smaller, is a gazillion times better than where we came from. However, I do still find a few pest problems at my job. It's like a constant reminder of where I came from and what to avoid in the future.

This bit of black stuff is not dirt on the sidewalk. It is also not mold growing on the concrete. That black spot is made up of hundreds of ants. No lie. If I had recorded it, you would see that it was wriggling and squirming...gross. I can't imagine how much money they are going to have to spend to make sure this mess doesn't end up inside a residence hall. I'm just glad this sort of thing isn't happening outside of my apartment.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Time My Husband Saved My Sanity

This is my vacuum cleaner. It's a Hoover u6630-900 that's only a year old.

And for a long time, I hated it.

I didn't hate it for the same reasons as the reviews on did. My switches and belts are all still working, so I assume Hoover realized that they were making poor accessories and finally started installing quality products. No, my problem, which is going to be my problem until I no longer have my adorable mini lop rabbits, is clogged hoses.

Since May, I'd been at my wit's end trying to get the darn thing to suck up the fur balls and tiny bits of food that the rabbits insisted on leaving behind. It wasn't happening. No matter how many passes I made, it would not suck them up. Do you realize what that means? It means that for over a month, I couldn't effectively vacuum my apartment. Gross!

Earlier this week, I pulled it out and tried to clean the hose that attached to the body one more time. Once again, it was absolutely clear. I realized my filter was disgusting, so I looked online and found out that the one I had installed was washable, so I washed it out and let it dry for over 24 hours. The vacuum was still leaving bits behind. I mentioned it again to Mark and told him what all I had done to try to fix it myself. He fiddled around with it for a bit and eventually found the other hose...the one that I never knew about.

See, as much as I like to tinker around with things and figure out how they work, my husband is just better at it. I think it's because he doesn't fly into a rage when things aren't working the way that he thinks they should.... Not that I do that.

(I totally do that.)

So anyway, if you lean back the entire vacuum, you'll see another hose close to the bristles. It's not the same as the hose that detaches from the body, but it's still sort of like a hose. Anyway, ours was way clogged. Like, gross clogged. Like, we had to use my knitting needles to punch holes in the dust in order to break it up enough for it to be sucked in or spit out. Ew.

Once he got that area cleaned out, the vacuum worked fantastically...about as good as it did when my parents gave it to us. It's so nice for things to be actually cleaned again, and I'm glad that it didn't cost us a brand new vacuum to get there.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Firsts of Lasts

Growing up is about a lot of firsts. First job, first love, first house, and so many other things that make us feel more like adults. But there are also a lot of lasts that come with those firsts...last semester of college, last night at home before moving in to your own place, last day at that crappy job....

Some of them are sad, but a lot of them are reasons to celebrate. In many instances, we can't have those firsts without going through the lasts too. When we first moved up here so my husband could go to grad school, I was terrified. It was a long way from home, and a long way from family and friends. While the city we live in is beautiful and has so many opportunities, I'm still longing for the day when we can move closer to our hometown.

I've already had a few lasts in my job. Without revealing too much of what I do (because, ew, creeps) my job is essentially that of a college security guard. A lot of my co-workers are either undergrads who are looking to join the military or public safety, or retired people looking for a low stress job for some extra spending money. My position in life is sort of unique compared to all of the other people I am working with. Anyway, there are three areas that I can work in my job: sporting events, concert events, and the dreaded ResLife. Once basketball season ended, I didn't realize that I wouldn't be working another sporting event because I always assumed I would have to work football games until I delivered the baby in October. However, after talking with my husband and a few other people, I'm starting to think that being outside and on my feet from 6:00 am until whenever the game ended was not ideal and would probably send me into labor early. One area down.

I finished my last concert event yesterday morning (which was just three hours after my overnight shift I might add.) I'm a little sad not to be working this anymore, because it was a great opportunity to get paid for watching musicals and other performances. Unfortunately, the performance hall did not contact us about working events this month. I actually think they're trying to phase us out, since they recently installed automatic locks on all of the doors in the building (one of our jobs was to lock up after the patrons had gone home) and most of what else we do can be done by their usher program. So yesterday, I did my last walk-through of the performance hall. I thought I would be nostalgic, but really, I was too tired for that.

I still have a few weeks left of ResLife, just walking around the campus at night and making sure the doors are locked, but I'll be done with that on July 25th. While this job has been good to me, allowing a lot of flexibility in my work schedule and paying slightly better than minimum wage, I'm ready to leave this behind, because it means I'm one step closer to a lot of exciting firsts.