Nook, Nook, Nook!

I obviously can’t be left alone to my own devices in an empty dorm with a semi-stocked kitchen and crafting stash. Ever since I got back I have parked myself in the common room, watching CSI marathons and creating. The first night back I made the cake, yesterday I made a cozy for my Nook, and today I made mini donut muffins (a post about those later) and started a new crochet project that I’m really excited about. Having the kitchen and common room to myself for this short period of time has allowed me to get some final creative projects completed before classes start and I no longer have time to do things for fun.

My epic fail of a trip to Michael’s before I came back was with the intention of finding materials to make a case/cozy for the Nook Color I received at Christmas. I was looking online for inspiration for the style, and I certainly found some creative and absolutely adorable ideas, but I ultimately settled on a simple fabric and felt slip case. It took about three hours and a ripped apart and re-sewn seam, but I’m delighted with the final product.

I did have a small bit of white fleece left in my stash, but it wasn’t enough to line the whole cozy. I compromised and only used it on the side which would be touching the screen, so as to provide some extra softness. I’m not too worried about scratching the screen because I have a protector sheet on it, but the extra cushioning gives me some additional peace of mind when I know this will be spending a considerable amount of time in my backpack. For the other piece of lining, I just used some white felt.

In the end I think it was a good idea for only the front to be fleece because, with the added thickness paired with my measurement “skills”, the cozy would not have been big enough. As it is, it’s a tight fit, and I’m hoping that, over time, things will stretch a bit so that I don’t have to fight with it as much as the first couple of times. It’s manageable right now, and at least I know my Nook won’t accidentally be falling or slipping out of its new home.

Oh Look!

And so ends another stay at home. My break here has ended, and I’m getting back to the city to work for a couple days and then begin classes the week after. All I can say is, I’m not sorry to be leaving. Three weeks here is more than enough, but I think I’ll miss certain materialistic things about being home, ie having a couch to lounge on while watching tv, having lots of counter space on which to make messes while baking, sleeping in a queen size bed, being able to have lots of sun coming through ample windows, having a light and airy atmosphere because of the sunlight, and the general cozy feeling I’ve been experiencing here. All in all, I want to get back to school and resume my hectic life, albeit I could do with a little less hectic and a little more calmness, but where’s the fun in that, may I ask? I still have some time before classes are in full swing, but work will keep me busy in the days leading up to it. I look forward to Tuesday when I go back; I haven’t seen those kiddies in five weeks, and I can’t help but think that maybe they miss me? Maybe I’m thinking too highly of myself, but if I miss them, who’s to say they don’t miss me as well.

I took a trip to my local Michael’s today in order to spend a gift card before leaving, but I have to say that I actually had a hard time spending money there. I went with the intention of procuring adorable fabric, fleece, and a matching button, but I was sorely disappointed. I found out that they no longer carry fabric squares or fleece. What kind of craft store is that? On a whim I looked for some Sharpies in assorted pretty colors, but oh look, those were no where to be seen either. I didn’t want a large set for $30, but just a couple of pretty colors sold by themselves. After wandering around for nearly 45 minutes, I ended up with only some new sewing needles in their own little case, two pieces of felt in a gorgeous shade of pink, a shamrock cookie cutter, some shamrock muffin tin liners, and a calendar on clearance for $0.50 (for my parents). It all came to a grand total of $6.35 . . . and I still have $18.65 to spend who knows when, because to the best of my knowledge, the closest Michael’s is up on Columbus Ave in the 90’s, and I’m not spending $4.50 in subway fare to get there and back. I wish they had an online store, but I guess that’s too much to ask, seeing as how they can’t even stock fabric anymore. I must give them some credit for their assortment of stickers though, it was very amusing to look at all of the adorable sets.

But I guess today was at least a minor success. I managed to spend (with the help of a friend) a Panera gift card that had been sitting in my wallet for three or four years. I also found two pairs of flats at Payless; they don’t stand a chance if I wear them outside to walk to work/home/class, but I can wear them inside while I’m at work or in class. There’s no way I would last the day wearing my big heavy boots, so until I get some all-purpose, sturdy as heck, miracle shoes, this is the best solution I have.

While I was packing up my things tonight, I looked at my clarinet case sitting at the foot of my bed, and for the first time since the end of senior year, I opened it and put the two center barrels together. I want to bring it back to school with me and try to play. I realized during my Celtic music course that I really miss it. Band was a part of my life from fifth grade, right through high school, and I can’t believe I just cast it aside once I got to college. Something that meant so much to me shouldn’t have been so easy to let go and to allow to fade away. I don’t want to let this go on any longer; I won’t be playing on a strict, daily schedule, but if I could at least get my clarinet out once I week I think I could get my abilities back soon enough. I probably won’t be playing some of the more extreme pieces I encountered in high school anytime soon, but just to play some scales and simple tunes would be wonderful. I used to get so much enjoyment out of it, and I want a bit of that old part of me back. It won’t be the same, but it will be something, at least.

Oh look! I’m using this entry as a means to procrastinate. I’m no where near done packing, and I leave at 8:30am. . . . It’s not even worth it to sleep now. I can sleep in the car, and that way I’ll hopefully avoid the sick to my stomach feeling I’ve lately been getting on buses when I travel. I’ll pop in my ear buds, listen to some good music, and sleep the hours away, like I *should* be doing right now. Instead, I’m blogging and watching the first season of Merlin–not a bad alternative, but not the best thing to be doing at the moment.

Involuntary Thoreau Break

Uh, yeah . . . okay. . . . I really think certain features of my dorm suite need to be altered, for instance, thicker walls would be nice, or even having the gaps between certain “walls” and the ceiling being filled in. Please, I’m begging you! I’ll pay for it to happen, just make it happen! I DON’T need to be hearing these conversations in the middle of my Thoreau reading; it’s hard enough to concentrate in complete silence, so the addition of these “conversations” is just not working for me. I really wish I could find earplugs that actually worked.

Okay, well, on to happier news. I made a really yummy macaroni and cheese tonight. Well, actually, it was rotini and cheese because I don’t have any macaroni at the moment. I like using rotini just fine though, so I might not even bother getting macaroni in the future. I don’t have the slightest clue how much cheese I put in this thing . . . but it was a lot. There was shredded cheddar cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, small curd cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, plus some sour cream and a small amount of butter/flour roux with milk. I basically tried to use up all my cheeses from my last mac and cheese attempt, and I mostly did. I also had ground beef defrosted in the fridge that I needed to use, so I browned that up and tossed it in to add something else to the mix. A dash of salt and pepper completed the gooey mix, and a sprinkle of Parmesan completed the pan.

I baked it in the oven at 375 for a little over half an hour, and when I went out to check on it, it was sizzling . . . perhaps I should have drained the ground beef better, since the leftover grease was reacting with the insane amounts of gooey cheese. I took it out and let it rest on top of the stove, where it continued to sizzle. . . .

Since this wasn’t my actual dinner for the night, I only sampled a couple bites, but from what I tasted I’m a fan of this “throw random amounts in a bowl all willy nilly” approach. I don’t think it would always work, but in this instance it was a big success. There is a greater cheese to rotini ratio than my previous attempt, which is very important to me as a mac and cheese fan. I just hope I can replicate this result when I next try my hand at it.

In other baking news, my spooky ghosty cake was a hit at Folk Group on Monday night. We managed to eat most of it, which was good, since I hadn’t even cut into it yet (even though I made it Friday night) and I didn’t want it to just sit and become stale. All that remains of the little ghosty is a small bit of his little ghosty head, which was supposed to be eaten by my roommate and her boyfriend, but for some reason wasn’t.

In crafting news, I NEED to finish knitting up a scarf I started this summer. It’s starting to get really cold here, and this scarf is promising to be super warm and comfy once it’s finished. I just need to dig up that pattern to remember how to do it.

The Last Bit of Crafting I Did

I haven’t crafted anything since August. How sad. School and work have gotten in the way lately, but that was to be expected. While I had some free time last month, I was able to crochet an adorable shamrock garland for my window and sew a felt tree wall hanging for my door. I’m absolutely in love with the original crafter’s felt products, so I couldn’t resist making something else for myself. During the summer last year, I made a pillow with her basic tree motif (minus the Amy Butler fabric I’m in LOVE with), and I thought this wall hanging was another adorable way to incorporate the tree.

Also, CELTIC THUNDER AT RADIO CITY TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!! SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!

The End of the Summer

Classes officially start tomorrow, meaning I don’t know how much crafting will get done during this semester. I do know, however, that with my Celtic Thunder concerts less than a month away, that there will certainly be posts chronicling those adventures, starting with my reactions to seeing them on QVC this Wednesday. I’m also going to try to bake up a storm on Sundays, so hopefully I’ll be able to post roughly once a week, although that may be stretching it a tad bit. In any event, I’m sad to be losing what crafting time I had this summer, because I’m sure as soon as my schedule becomes endlessly hectic, I’m going to get the urge to make something to relieve the stress (and to procrastinate). Oh well. But this semester should be a blast, so I’m not as sad as I might be if I wasn’t looking forward to two of my four classes (let’s face it, my two lit courses are just going to kill me no matter how hard I try or how on top of my assignments I stay, so what’s to look forward to with those). I wish I had an amigurumi to post about tonight, but the past few days have been rather busy–a nice preview of what is to come. Once I finally get the remainder of my kitchen things in the mail, I’m planning on making cinnamon rolls and muffins, so that’s something else to look forward to.