AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books


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Two down and what makes three?

Some days you just need to change everything.  And sometimes you remember to document it.  I’m pretty sure my hair was holding me back. Heh.

and

 

And of course if you’ve decided to have a week long mid-life crisis, then haircutting isn’t enough, you need to get a giant new tattoo as well:

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Resolve

I was trying to think of a fitting send off for 2011, but really I wish it would sneak quietly out the back door and be done with.  I can’t really even be bothered to tell it not to let the door hit its ass on the way out.

In 2011 I got better.  I recovered, almost completely, from 2010 and 2009.  I reconnected with some amazing, beautiful old friends who I am so very glad to have back in my life.  I reconnected with my old online community which is no different than sitting down with old friends.  I learned, I changed, I stayed the same, I became more me, I remembered who I was, and who I want to be.  I think I managed to find myself again, or at least the creative center of myself, even if the rest of me seems much changed than who I was even a year ago.  I am glad to be moving forward, looking forward, and carrying on with the people I have around me.

In 2012 I plan to take myself less seriously.  I want to worry less about external pressures and ask less of myself.  I want to write more and laugh more and sing loudly even when I’m out of tune.

I have an extensive list of new projects I want to work on in 2012.  I’m not sure yet which will make the cut and which will fall by the wayside but I am going to strongly commit to one or a few and be dedicated and vigilant in my work on what I do choose.

I will be smarter and more me by the end of the 2012.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask of myself.

I am so grateful for my huge, wonderful family, for my mother and my sisters.  I am so very thankful for my friends and my community.  I wish I had the words and time to tell each of you just how much I love you and how much you mean to me.  I will carry that love in my heart every single day, I will use it to bolster myself against the hard times.  I will do my best to love you all even more, every single day.  I will trust you all and work to to learn to trust myself and my instincts more.  I will try harder to be worthy of the love given back to me.

Here we go!


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cookies and stories

Most importantly I made gluten free peanut butter cookies this past weekend.  Here is the recipe:

1c peanut butter
1c sugar
1tsp vanilla
1 egg

Beat peanut butter and sugar together, then add egg and vanilla.  Roll into walnut-sized balls and place on greased (or parchment papered) cookie sheet and crush in # pattern with fork.  Bake 10(ish) minutes at 350′.  Eat.  Be amazed at how much like a floured cookie this is.

I made many and brought them to work.  No one seemed able to tell that they were any different than any other peanut butter cookie.  I might next time reduce the sugar and add a second egg to see if they can be chewier.  These came out just like I remember the standard Joy of Cooking recipe, just like a PB cookie, but I would like chewier version.  Also I recommend greasing up your hands before rolling the dough balls, as they are sticky wickets.

♦♦♦

I am still reading Deathless.  I don’t ever want it to end.  I feel like I’ve been seriously slowing down on it all week in a subconscious effort to draw out the fairytale as long as possible.  In my head the whole story is animated in paper cut-outs like the cover:

Also it makes me want to dress like a fashionable 1930s revolutionary and decorate my entire house in Russian folk art.

Speaking of folk art: Lubki prints of popular culture stories (I’m not linking to the original source here because it’s in Cyrillic).  I could totally decorate my house in there.  And then lounge around in this skirt.  And people would only think I’m slightly less crazy than they think right now.

♦♦♦

I also saw X-men: First Class this week and loved it.  Think this is an awesome introduction to the universe.  Though I’d recommend the comics over the other movies.  But despite some small casting discrepancies it was pretty well done and very enjoyable for a summer movie.  My triffling story problems with it are endemic to current films and don’t really detract from the movie (characters have instant changes of heart, but who has time for back story and moralizing when there’s explosions to be watched?).  Also Michael Fassbender wears the heck out of some clothes in this movie.  Mmmmhmmm.

Heading to the west coast in a little more than a day for my amazing little sister’s graduation.  Very excited to escape the oppressive middle TN heat right now.  Need to pack a neat capsule wardrobe, both fashionable and urban and for much cooler temps.  It’s kind of exciting.  Also need to finish some web work I promised folks and do a metric ton a job work before I go.


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Housedress extravaganza


This is my old Target housedress that I have worn thin in places.  It’s perfect for lounging and pulling something on fast, but I’ve been wanting a cotton version of it for humid summer Southern days.  I found some ridiculous border print peacock quilting cotton and took a few evenings to pattern out and sew my own version of it.  I finished up all the details of it this past weekend.

And the back:


The cotton is definitely a little stiffer than the original rayon dress, but I think after a couple washings it’ll be just fine.  I’m very pleased with how this turned out.  There may be another one in my future in something cotton but with a softer hand.

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I got amazing a lovely birthday day wishes and gifts from so many of people this weekend.  In lieu of actual content  here’s pictures of a just a few of them:

Handmade table runner and pretty bowl!

Le Creuset cassole dish getting it's first use.

And, yep, that all pretty much sums up my weekend!  Sewing and eating.  Oh I also read a book, The Painted Boy by Charles de Lint, which I’d highly recommend but only if you’re already into YA magic realism already.  Had a great Friday night birthday party at the Family Wash, missed everyone who wasn’t there, most especially my family.  More house pictures and birthday pictures just as soon as everything is all unpacked at home (that’s soon, I swear it is).


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I said I do it and I’ve at least started!

Last night I did the test run on Simplicity 2258.  We’ll call this a wearable muslin.  The initial pattern size I cut ran really big.  This is about 2 sizes too large on me, but the elastic waist band makes it work okay.  The fabric was probably too stiff for this pattern, although maybe it would have been fine if the pattern had been sized correctly from the beginning.  That said I’ll probably wear this, at least until I find better black fabric for it.  I LOVE this pattern.  It went together in two hours from cutting through finishing.  The pockets are crazy easy, well sized and go in very easily.  I’m excited to try this again in different fabrics.

Here it is with my awesome new thrift store boots:

And the pocket detail:

And while I had the black canvas out, I made a new apron for table waiting shifts at the restaurant:

Hoping to cut out the brown version of the skirt this weekend and start on some of the refashions I need to get finished.

Momentum!  I has it!  Can I keep it going?

Bonus – recent search terms used to find my blog:

sunlight deficit
almost monday gif
sewing room before and afters
bedroom with grey walls
how to find a safety deposit box full of money and passports
april is not the cruelest month
wombat in sweater


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The sewing year begins…now! Go!

Because I firmly believe the year starts on April 1 (everything is subjective, right?) I’ve made some resolutions.  Including blogging here once a week about sewing and sewing related things. Yes, really, I’m gonna do it.  I’m settled in enough at the new house that I have good sewing space and I need to get going on it!  (No new house pictures yet, still waiting until there isn’t a stack of boxes in the living room.)

Today I bought these boots, in my size for $9 at the Goodwill on Berry Rd.  But what does one wear with such boots (besides the obvious skinny jeans or leggings)?  Conveniently I’ve started cutting out these patterns:

I think the Lisette will be view B (in grey canvas and hopefully a cool print fabric that I just haven’t discovered yet) and I’m already starting on 2258, view C (but without the waist tie in black canvas, brown stretch twill and some dark stretch denim).  Which means boots are now practical for summer if we have enough cute skirts, right?

I also have two dress refashions in the works.  Hopefully one will work for a wedding I’m attending in a couple weeks and the other will just be a cute summer dress.  I remembered to take before pictures, so surely I can remember to blog about them when I’m done.  I plan on making the view E Lisette top in a couple prints too, hopefully including one in this fabric.  It’s my goal not to buy any new clothes this summer and make or refashion everything I wear, preferably using my fairly substantial stash of fabric.  Is everyone else excited about spring sewing?


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Honey, I’m home!

Haha!  I was just looking at that picture of the living room of my new apartment in my last post.  “What a nice room,” I thought.  Is does not look like that now.  Right now it looks like some sort of mad bomber set off a device filled with card board boxes and crafts supplies.  I haven’t even looked in the (surely tidy) closet which Shan so generously unpacked and hung all my clothes in.  Thus this morning I dressed in the only known clean pair of work pants (washed on Friday and left all weekend crushed in the bottom of a laundry basket, luckily I had the foresight to borrow an ironing board from my landlord yesterday to make curtains) and sweater despite the crazy warm temps here, I knew where the sweaters were (it’s a light a weight one as I could find).

A big, giant thank you to the men who hauled all my furniture up the stairs and did not break or damage anything.  Everything is in the place and ready to go, except, well I have only a lone office chair to sit it, which has been moving between the sewing table and the computer desk all weekend.  I think when I finally get around to having a couch it will be the most exciting thing ever.  Or, you know, even a single chair that doesn’t roll.

Here is my Amazon wish list, it is lofty and full of exciting home things I need (psst, my birthday is in 67 days!) or just want (there’s a lot of wanting going on).  I’m hoping to spend the next couple weeks scouring thrift and antique stores to find a drop leaf table for the kitchen and a couple chairs for in there.  And shelves, or something for shelf use. And anything else I see that I might need. It’s weird I feel like I have a relatively minimalist kitchen set up (at least as minimalist as it can be for someone who likes to cook) and yet I’m still surprised by house much stuff one needs even for a small household. I have purchased hundreds and hundreds of dollars of things in the past few weeks and still there’s more (always more).  I can barely comprehend how much stuff it takes to set up a new household for one person.  I totally understand the origin of wedding registries now. It’s just craziness.  Anyway, if you won the lottery this weekend, feel free to get on Amazon and buy me that couch.  In the meantime I’m contemplating how I can build one from the boxes, boxes everywhere (and not a place to sit) and few throw pillows.

Here is the picture I posted on FB yesterday of the kitchen:

I meant to take one this morning of the sea of  unpacking misery, but alas, did not remember too (although I did take out the trash!).  Here’s hoping I can make today a short work day and start making a dent in the mess, yeah?