Spring Semester – Busy Busy

Hello, world.

So… 2 AM, first blog post in 4 months sounds like a good idea. I’m not just staying up for no reason, my classes are all in the afternoon/evening this semester so I end up staying up late when I get home and sleeping in the next day. I’m currently working on stitching a lime cat. Game Over, the used game store I sell my game art at, is having an art show in March during SXSW, so I’ve been preparing tons of items to stock my table.

While the art show is most on my brain on the weekends, the biggest update since October is I accepted a job offer at GM! They are opening a new tech center in Austin and I’m going to start there in June, after I finish my certificate in May. The last day of class is April 29th this year, which is the first time I’ve ever heard of a semester ending in April. Unfortunately I still have finals spanning the next two weeks after that, but hopefully Mark and I will get to take a vacation to San Diego or Santa Monica before I start work.

In other news: pantry cookies are the best things ever. Buy 2 bars of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate, and follow the recipe for the chocolate cookies, except use butterscotch chips instead of chocolate, and pecans instead of walnuts. They are outstanding. I am calling them as such because I wanted cookies and didn’t want to go to the store, so I made them out of random things I had in the pantry. Result = success.

Just to throw in some music news, so that this post covers all four categories of my blog, Mollie and I are playing/singing at the Ukulele Society meeting this week! First time I’ve volunteered to play, so I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve made so many items recently I’m having a hard time picking one to feature here. I think I’ll go with my Neo Cortex stitch that won December’s villain’s cross stitch challenge vote:

Update – 1st Real Semester

Well, it’s been a long time since I last posted, but I guess I feel like nothing as major as surgery or returning to college has happened in the past 3 months. I think I’ll try to post an update at least every month or so, just in case anyone’s interested in my progress.
First, school: Everything’s going well; digital logic is really hard. I’m actually currently studying for an exam on Saturday morning, which is probably how I ended up thinking now would be a great time to make a blog post. Same reason I baked cookies and cooked dinner last night, I think. Apparently procrastination leads to productivity.

Other news, crafts: I’m currently working on a Halloween sampler, which I certainly won’t finish until after Halloween, because I’m also working on a swap gift that’s also due on the 31st (basically like a craft pen pal, pretty cool.) I may post that when I finish it as well.

Ooh, fun news: Mark got us tickets to Comic Con this weekend, which includes the entire cast of Star Trek TNG. I’m pretty upset that my exam is during Patrick Stewart’s Q&A, but I’ll get over it. Just means I need to do even more studying tonight because I won’t want to do it tomorrow when we’re seeing Marina Sirtis and Gates McFadden. Other news that makes me squee… going to see Jukebox the Ghost on Monday, and Regina Spektor the next Monday! (which is Mark and my 12th anniversary since we started dating. We’re coming up on the half of our lives together anniversary… need to plan something special for that. Maybe go to Europe 🙂 Assuming I have a job again at some point in the next two years… haha.) Aaaand final exciting concert-related news, bought tickets this morning to see Guster in January! Apparently it’s Erin’s Favorite Bands week.

Hmm.. other music news: I joined a band! I’m playing trumpet in an all-girl rockabilly/punk/blues band called Danger*Cakes. I’ve played with them in a handful of shows in Austin, San Marcos, and San Antonio. We’re signed (with a distribution deal), and our CD release party is next Friday!

Programming news: I’m learning Python and web app development (outside of my actual classes) and I’m looking forward to making some interactive games. I could just regress and make them in Flash, but I feel like pushing myself to do something new. I also really feel like I need to start working on Java again, now that I’m doing things with classes and objects in C++, it makes me want to dust off my OOP chops.

When I string it all together like that, and think that none of that had happened last time I posted, it makes it seem like a LOT has happened in the past 3 months! How about that.

I’ll leave you with a picture from ACL. Which one… rain day? Chili Peppers? I think Chili Peppers.

Placemats! and Surgery!

In preparation for making a T-shirt quilt or two, I wanted to practice my quilting skills, particularly binding and quilting the layers together. I thought a great way to practice these would be to make a set of quilted placemats!

So far I’ve pieced together the top of one of them:

There will end up being a green, yellow/orange, and red one as well. I think I’m going to finish this one out though before starting piecing the others, just to try everything out.

I STILL haven’t finished the Donkey Kong stitch. I know, I know… I’ve been putting it off. But I have been working instead on a secret project. I’m stitching one of the patterns for a themed cross stitch book that will be coming out in March, and my stitch will be one of the demo photos! I’m actually really excited about this. I’ve always wondered who stitches the samples in those books, now I’ll be one of them!

I’ll elaborate more on the book once it’s de-classified 🙂 Update: see post Year Recap!

In other news, I got my tonsils out a week ago today. It was actually not as bad as I was bracing myself for. Particularly the surgery itself; I am really antsy/panicky when it comes to needles and anesthesia. I used to even get laughing gas at the dentist because I would stress out so much. I went into this one very mentally prepared, and it was no big deal at all. Zen is the way to go.

The hardest part of the recovery was trying to sleep. I propped a bunch of pillows up on my bed so I could sleep sitting up, because it felt really uncomfortable to lie down and I would tend to snore just breathing normally at first. Falling asleep wasn’t the problem — I made myself wake up every 4 hours to take more medicine and drink water because my throat would get too painfully dry if I didn’t. This means for a week straight, I never slept more than 4 hours, and typically I didn’t go back to sleep after taking more medicine until I got drowsy later. If you ever get this done, especially as an adult, they tell you to drink water like crazy, and it’s SO WORTH IT. Even though it hurts to swallow, do it, especially in the zone of the medicine when it doesn’t hurt too bad. I had to pee about every hour, but the throat pain never got unbearable.

Second hardest part was not being able to talk. My voice was so hoarse/just the vibration of speaking hurt so much that I just preferred not to do it. It makes it inconvenient to not be able to use a phone or speak to people, particularly when in public.

Yesterday evening though, I started to feel the scabs sloughing off, which just felt like swallowing little bits of food when I drank. Sorry to be gross, but I feel like documenting it for the sake of anyone who has this done in the future. This I knew was a good sign — almost better! I could even talk for a couple of hours, and I could tell my throat wasn’t as tight as it had been feeling.

I went to bed late as usual, after my 2 am dose, and set my alarm for 6, but when it went off I thought you know what, I don’t think I need it. Either at that point or later on, I realized I could sleep lying down now, so I chunked the extra pillows. And slept until 2 pm.

Needless to say my throat was super dry when I woke up after 12 hours, but I feel 100 times better than I have for the past week. Other than a dull, sore throat pain, I feel back to normal.

My best friends during this process: Mark (my husband), chicken Ramen, and a bag of frozen peas. Best flexible ice pack ever (for the front of my throat). I used that every day I think. I even kept the noodles in my Ramen today. I think I may be on some squishy solid food tomorrow, which is really exciting. I’ve been craving some Shipley’s donuts.

Live, Laugh, Love

Until now, I have had only patterns available on my GameCrafts store. I have decided to stitch some pieces to sell as well, with any free time I have to make them in. For my first one, I’ve designed a custom pattern to fit a frame I purchased with the standard “Live, Laugh, Love” saying beneath three windows. I have been nostalgic for Donkey Kong Country recently, so I’ve planned to have an extra life balloon on the “Live” frame, a goofy Rambi (Rhino) for “Laugh,” and the pair of DK and Diddy for “Love.” The biggest challenge for this one isn’t the pattern, it’s the size! To make it fit the frame with the level of detail I wanted, I am stitching single squares on 28 count evenweave. This will make your head hurt! See my starting stitches, with my thumb for scale:

And the finished balloon:

Update 8/17/12: Finished!!

GameCrafts is on!

After a long week of commuting and classes, I decided to start an Etsy store, GameCrafts! There isn’t much on there yet, just a few cross stitch patterns I created today. It seems to have a fair bit of traffic, over 80 views today, so I’ll just hope that someone interested in buying a pattern will find it. I will also put completed items on there, not just patterns, whenever I have time to make something.

I have also updated the “Crafts” tab on this page with pictures of some of my favorite projects. Check them out!

Here’s an update on school, now that I’m a week in. I ended up adding a discrete math class, so I have had a lot more work to do than I thought I would. Everything’s been easy enough so far; I am learning a lot though. I also think I really want to continue with a Master’s degree. It may be a little early in the game to commit to 2 more years of school, but after talking with my advisor, I think I’ll be able to finish my background courses in a year, which means I either seek employment or continue school, and school sounds pretty good right now. I definitely plan to do well enough in my classes to make an impression, either at Texas State or UT, so here’s to hoping the rest of the program goes as well as the first week has.

In other news, Tasha got a hair cut this week. Exhibit A, and B: