the best-laid plans

We had such glorious schemes for October.  OH, we had such plans.

 

While we do our level best not to go falling off the Cliff of Seasonal Crazy into the Bottomless Pit of Holiday Madness, we do write ourselves one giant free pass with respect to fall.  Fall, generally, and October, specifically.   I don’t know what Jenn’s excuse for it is, honestly, but I maintain my right to revel is grounded in the fact that I spent the first decade-plus of my life in a Land Without Seasons, and the next decade or so in a place where autumn was that one week where everything got yellow and then boom, naked trees.  The novelty of deciduous trees suddenly putting on a show of slow emergence of a riotous rainbow of colors while the air gradually tempers your transition from warm-weather tank tops to warm and wooly toques – well, let’s just say it’s still a good long ways from wearing off.

 

So the game plan was this:  instead of toning down our enthusiasm for the season, we were going to embrace it with wild abandon.  A veritable orgy of all things Autumn, wallowing in the novelty of trading garden clogs for fall boots (all the better for crunching leaves underfoot in!) and abandoning sun-soaked tomatoes and outdoor living for all things cinnamon-pumpkin-apple-cider-cake-and-carbs and indoor comforts.

 

Wanna see how far I got?

cakeyah

One. Naked. Cake.

 

In my defense, it’s at least a pumpkin spice cake. And it had potential.  Needed a few more repetitions to perfect before posting, but you could see the promise.  (Side note:  yes, you do indeed want to know me in the real world.  I will feed you cake prototypes until you resent my very existence, and you will love every minute of it.)

 

And then.  THE OVEN.

 

Two weeks ago, my oven went rogue.  I don’t mean it just stopped heating evenly, or the timer went weird, or a stove element burned out.  I mean that my stove and oven, that faithful center of my hearth and home, WENT ON THE ATTACK.  In a nutshell, one quiet Monday night mid-casserole, my oven decided to super-heat itself, cranking out all the power it possibly could, frying its own circuits and overriding its own ability to be turned on or off.  After some truly high-quality slapstick action, including standing on my own kitchen counter trying to decide if I should call 911 before or after I use a broomstick to unplug the burning beast, I developed enough sense to investigate my fuse box.

 

Eureka!  911 call averted.

 

The stove and oven, however, remain dead.  And, things being what they are, it’s gonna be a little while before they get replaced.

 

On the bright side, I’m off the hook for hosting Thanksgiving.  And hey, bonus, now I have a place to store all those doornails.

 

For right now, instead of cooking and crafting, I’m cobbling together a pretty effective model for survival, including borrowing indulgent family members’ kitchens, extensive use of slow cookers, and suddenly being super glad I opted to buy the waffle iron with the reversible griddle plates.  I don’t mind admitting that while I’m pretty good in a kitchen, I am a total incompetent with things like effective batch cooking and appropriate use of convenience foods.  Once I figure out how this all works, I hope to come out of it with a lot more spare time and maybe even a few new recipes in hand.

 

But for the moment, a whole lot of things are on hold.  Including leaf-crunching, apple-picking, cider-swilling, and finessing that stupid pumpkin cake up there.

 

Oh, and as for my partner in crime  blog?  Well.  She still has a working kitchen, and keeps taunting me with pins and pictures of things she’s working on or that we should totally consider making.  Don’t think I didn’t consider throwing myself and this blog at her mercy and begging her to just take it all over for a few weeks while I get my feet back under me.  But, at the risk of being vague and secretive-yet-smugly-in-the-loop, I happen to know that she’s currently working on one HELL of a DIY project, and it’s even more time consuming and profoundly-preoccupying than my own kitchen sitch.

 

So, best-laid plans have done what best-laid plans usually do, and  we’re both taking a minute to recalibrate, catch our respective breaths, and get those pesky ducks back in a row.  It won’t be long –  real-world considerations be damned, we won’t be able to resist fall for long.

ROSEBUD

I’m pretty sure that the number one sign of being a fully-fledged and committed grown-up is not, in fact, paying bills, or having a dentist, or knowing the name of your drycleaner.

It’s wreaths on the door.

Hear me out: when I was a kid, my mom’s need to have a seasonally-appropriate wreath just seemed weird. Christmas, I could accept, but who cares what a door wears the rest of the year?

Now, though…maybe it’s a pride of ownership thing; maybe it’s because my quirky house has two front doors, so it looks doubly-naked when the holidays are over and my super-glittery front door festivities get boxed up for the year. All I know is that my doors just look forlorn and unfinished all spring and summer long.

The thing is, there’s a huge gulf between conceding that what I really want is a non-Christmas wreath or two to tide me over til December comes back again and actually liking wreaths in general. Silk flowers? Fake birds? Sculpted confections of wired ribbon?

Have we met?

When we started talking about making plaster flowers, I thought I had the ideal solution – yarn-wrap a foam wreath form, and festoon it with tiny little plastered pieces of perfection. Simple color scheme and contrasting textures, all brought together in one playful nod to nature. Boom!

Foam wreaths were easy to find, and about $3 each. Yarn, I had in spades, and this was a great way to use up lumpy left-over grass-green acrylic yarn I would never find another a purpose for. I dressed those puppies up weeks ago, and left them to age while they awaited their finishing floral touches.

nekkid

Eh. We all saw how that plaster thing turned out, right? Not so much boom, whole lotta bust. Wreaths? Consigned to the Island of Mis-fired Projects, for good as far as I was concerned.

Tonight, I was working on another project entirely, involving felt flowers. I bought the materials for this other project rather haphazardly, and, since I had never actually made felt flowers before, had conscientiously bought a few extra sheets of craft felt to experiment with.

supply

Turns out, I can TOTALLY knock felt flowers out of the park, which explains why “make a few test ones first,” in the course of some absent-minded crafting to the dulcet tones of season finales on TV, turned into “holy crap, where did all these ridiculous little fabric plants come from?”

Extra flowers…sad abandoned wreath forms. Surplus test flowers…sad, neglected, abandoned rings of yarny goodness, desperate to bedeck bland, spiritless, front doors. Felt flowers just lyin’ around, doin’ nothin’, and…

OH HEY THERE, BRIGHT IDEA. WELCOME TO THE PARTY.

test

profile

Any time anyone wants to congratulate me on unintentionally buying scrap felt pieces in the same colors as my house, by all means, feel free.

insitu

Total wreath cost: basically $3. Everything else – yarn, felt, random old lace scrap, the quilting pins that are holding the flowers on because Hot Glue And I Do Not Get Along – came from shopping my own supplies.

Since I have two front doors and a roommate who frequently gets left out of some of my wackier projects and plans, I handed wreath #2 and a stack of felt to her and told her to go wild. Last I checked, she eyeball deep in little finished flowers, and still making more. I’m a little frightened of what she might produce, but don’t blame her for over-producing the flowers; they’re easy and error-proof enough to be wildly addictive. That, however, is a post for another day.

Priorities, yo

So we had this genius idea:  we will totally launch the new blog at the beginning of the new year!  1/1/2014: it’s gonna be big.  BEST. RESOLUTION. EVER.

Like most of the known world, our resolutions have been less than optimally kept.

Here’s how it worked in our heads:  we’ll do a countdown!  We have all of December for preparation! And then on 1/1, we go big with the actual content! GO TIME FOR AWESOMENESS.  BECAUSE WE ARE AWESOME.  THAT’S HOW IT WORKS, RIGHT?

Here’s how it panned out:  December was for the holidays, and more holidays, and oh god why are there all these holidays.  Also, for some of us, December got sneak-attack spent surviving without running water while Santa brought us first a collapsed sewer line and then a sewer line replacement.  (That would be me, and my 100+ year old house, and it’s 100+ year old sewer.  Nothing says “festive” like spending the gross domestic product of a third world nation just to keep from living like you’re in a third world nation!)

And then, January first hit.  And oh, were we ready.  We had projects to post, projects to wrap up, and exciting new projects to start!

But also, we had all those infernal holidays to recover from, reentry into the normal non-gingerbread-and-eggnog world to manage, and pesky day jobs to return to.  More importantly, we had brand new shiny 2014s to plan, and for some of us, that meant spending a week making the world’s most comprehensive Excel-based budget for the year.  (That would be Jenn.  She’s amazing like that.  My budget is more like vague intentions haphazardly recorded on post-its and and smudged with whiskey.)

So, short story long, things will happen, just as soon as the fate of the financial world is settled, and the shiny newness of all the new year’s prospects fade to a warm, welcoming glow, and I finish very important things which I are assure you are terribly important no matter how much they resemble binge-knitting sweaters while watching reruns on tv.

Stick around.  We promise, cocktails will be served in the lounge soon.