Fun with Perler Beads

Whenever I make it down to SoCal I make a point of visiting all my favorite craft stores. My favorite place in the world is Tall Mouse Crafts, because they have the size of a Michael’s, the selection of a specialty store, and they let me shop wholesale right off the shelves.

But there’s also Shinoda’s, a wholesale floral mart that sells amazing stuff and the cheapest ribbon known to man; My favorite yarn store ever full of knowledgeable people and no outrageous prices, and they’ve got everything out where you can see it so you don’t have to pester anyone to fetch you more of everything you have a passing interest in; and of course, there’s the garment district in L.A. where I can buy designer fabric for NOTHING, in quality I could never get my hands on anywhere else.

The other day I took our duvet cover off the bed to take it to the dry cleaners (I made it out of copper silk dupioni. It’s GORGEOUS, but you can’t wash the sucker normally.) and when I finally got around to taking it, I found it shredded. I think it got stuck in the closet door and ripped to pieces. The thing was five years old after all, it had served its time. So for the past couple of weeks we’ve been sleeping with the ugliest old plaid comforter on the bed. It’s not out of place at all with the light wood and the african souvenirs and the brown pillows. Oh, it looks just great.

It took all the will I had left in my poor beleaguered body not to rip the thing into tiny pieces. I CAN’T STAND not having my house properly decorated the way I want it. I’ve been known to stay up for two days straight after moving in, never resting until everything had a place and looked great. So my beautiful bedroom with a plaid green and burgundy bedspread just made me want to cry.

With our budget as tight as it is, I couldn’t convince Bear to take a trip to the yarn store or Tall Mouse, but you better believe I refused to be talked out of a trip to the fabric mart.

This time I tried a new place in a different part of L.A. and I made out like a bandit. I didn’t go for the silk this time because theirs was overpriced, but I did find a plum fabric that will be beautiful and saved so much money I could buy fabric for curtains in the living room!

So, [deep breath] after all this exposition, my point is that I have a whole lot of work ahead of me, so I thought I’d better clear out my list of projects to show off.

Perler Bead Projects

I’ve been seeing so many cool portraits and things out of perler beads on Craftster, that I decided to try my hand playing around. I started by making a rug for my front door.

Here’s a close up.

Then that project left me with so many left over beads that I made a bunch of bracelet cuffs

And the other side

And a belt. The belt was a little tricky though because I had to smash those beads down flat to get them to fit on the clasp.

And on the crochet front, I made my friend Bottom a present for her new little girl

Here’s a close up of the stitches

And I made myself a cargo bag.

And I made The Good Twin an afghan that I keep forgetting to take pictures of.

Of course it looks really impressive when I list them all together like this, but the truth is that this is pretty much what I’ve worked on so far this year. That rug took me for-flinging-flanging-ever.

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More traveling…

I just got back into town from “the OC.” We had to run down for Bear’s 10 year high school reunion and we brought our new Canadian friends with us. It was great fun and boring and I feel terrible about it all rolled up into one big neurotic ball.

When we lived in New Hampshire I hardly had any friends. I hated probably all but 4 people we met there, and I’m the type that prefers to be alone rather than suffer the company of people I don’t like. So then we split and move off to Modesto where there is absolutely not one soul we can find that fits us. Not even someone that I don’t like, not a soul. Everyone we meet is in their late thirties, with kids, and completely uninterested in a social life. So it was just the two of us for the past year. Thank heavens for the internet.

And then, about a month ago, Bear’s doing some work at the church, and who should stroll up but a cute couple in their 20’s, looking for some help moving in! And what do you know, in all of Modesto they were moving into our apartment complex. Hooray!!

Since then we’ve rarely left them alone. Bear and I are truly lucky that we are honestly best friends and prefer each others company over absolutely anyone else’s, but eventually even filet mignon gets boring. So when we found out that the Girl Canadian would have the same time off as Jared, we invited them to come along so we could show off our old stomping grounds. It was so much fun. The Canadians are great company. Boy Canadian is SO hilarious, he kept me giggling for 5 days, and Girl Canadian is such a sweetheart, she was always checking up on me and my health and making sure I was comfortable. They are fast moving up my list of favorite people.

So then on Saturday night we had to go to the reunion. I got all dolled up wearing the super high stilletos so the gams were shown off in their best light, and slathered on the makeup to play my part of trophy wife. And then I spent the next three hours smiling and nodding and shaking hands and saying nice to meet you as the person’s name went flying right out of my head. I was bored to tears. Bear had a good time, I think. He was voted “Most Changed” and at first we wondered what that could possibly mean. He was All State Football, captain of the wrestling and football teams, student body president. He was freaking Zack Morris in the flesh. But since everyone else there was a drunk in high school and apparently still are, I guess the fact that he has a job and got rid of the anchorman hair is enough to push him over the top.

Bear was actually quite worried about going. Like most former college football players, those muscles have migrated to his belly, and his career isn’t exactly in a place to be proud of yet. But considering that everyone else we met were either just barely graduating from grad school or said they were either “in sales” or “in real estate,” and many were already working on their second marriage, I think he left feeling pretty good about himself.

The only problem with the weekend, and the one that I feel horrible about, is that I ended up standing up my dearest friend The Good Twin. Every time I come down we mean to get together, and there’s always other things pressing in on our time there. The last couple visits we’ve managed to squeeze out an hour or so, but this time, with the reunion and family and our new friends, there was just no time left. So poor TGT was calling and calling and waiting and waiting and did I ever show? Nope. I suck. But that’s something she’s probably known for quite some time.

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6 whole years already

Yesterday was my 6 year wedding anniversary. In some ways I cannot believe that six years of my life have already past and I’m still very close to the situation I was in when I got married. We’re not in school anymore, but we still have no money, our furniture is one step up from milk crates (thanks IKEA!), no kids, future indeterminate.

But in other ways I can’t believe it’s only been six years. I cannot think of a time when my life was not tied to this man. Because I have not an ounce of trust in my nature, I have more than once thought what I would do if Bear died or if something happened that forced me to leave him. And every single time the answer terrifies me. I have no idea. I have no family of my own, and by now I have very few friends that I’d call mine alone, I don’t have a career or even a job that could support me, and my health has me disabled. If Bear ever starts to mistreat me, the fact of the matter is that for at least a little while I’d have to take it. But even in my most pessimistic, cynical imaginings I cannot come up with a scenario where he would. And short of death I know he’d never leave me.

I just happened to find a man that breaks every stereotype. He’s big and muscular and athletic, and the most tenderhearted person I’ve ever known. He kisses the cats as much as I do, cries during commercials, and gets self conscious in public. There is not an ounce of ego in him. He relies on my opinion in all things, most especially my opinion of him. For a time he honestly thought so little of himself that the only way I could pick him up was to draw a complicated logic problem proving that if I thought he was wonderful, and if he thought I was wonderful enough to only associate with wonderful people, then it follows that by my associating with him, he must be wonderful. And it worked. And he got through that rough patch.

He hangs out with his friends only when I have plans. If I’m free, he wants to be with me. He wants to talk to me about his day and hash out everything that happened and every possible course of action. Six years into our marriage there are still nights that we stay up all night just talking.

And he has never once suggested anything short of complete love when he’s asked to work a full day, make dinner, wash the dishes, put away the laundry, make me up a bed on the couch, fetch me pills and drinks, entertain me, help me to the bathroom, shower me and wash my hair, and put me to sleep. Without having sex.

I love him. And tying my life to his has forced me to develop trust I never had before. But he’s earned it so many times over.

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I think I broke my freaking toe.

I was minding my own business, chilling on the computer, when the phone rings. It’s Tami, who works with me at church and is the President of the Young Women’s program while I am the secretary. She’s great. So since I am the secretary and therefore the record keeper, she called to get a phone number, and in my quest to retrieve it, I kick the dang chair I’d left sitting in the middle of the room.

4 hours later it still hurts, I can’t walk on it and I had to cancel the activity tonight.

When Bear and I were first married I ended up breaking the very same toe in a similar way. I kicked a door in a mad rush to the bedroom. But the circumstances were a little different.

When we were very newly newlywed, we still lived in Provo, UT while I finished up school. In Provo nearly everyone is Mormon and nearly everyone attends or works at BYU and therefore nearly everyone is exceedingly pure and sheltered and uncomfortable with the idea of married people doing what married people do.

So one day we’re sitting around our house in our underwear (funny, kind of like I’m doing now. I guess some things never change.) When there is a knock at the door. Bear hollers, “Just a second!” as we run to the bedroom to throw on our clothes. Bear’s cousin, thinking that some garbled phrase bellowed out could only possibly be “Come in!” opens the door right up (it being Provo nobody does anything inconvenient like lock the doors!) and comes on in trailing a whole troop of buddies behind him while I’m half naked streaking to the bedroom so I won’t be seen in my scantily clads.

And in my haste to protect my modesty I kick the doorframe and snap my baby toe like a little flesh-covered twig.

So then I not only had to rush to find something to throw on my body, but I had to deal with the incredible pain, and then deal with my own mortification and that of my guests.

Not my best night.

So at least this time around nobody saw my butt, and as an added bonus, I’m already drugged up!

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Why do you hurt me so internet?

I don’t know how we all lived before the internet came along. It’s funny to think back and realize that as short as five years ago it wasn’t the mainstay it is now. Now I use the internet more than I use the television and telephone combined.

So you think I’d know by now that the internet, while full of valuable information and great resources, is also full of half-truths and wackjobs. This especially seems to be true whenever I look around for info about endometriosis. I’ve found a lot of great articles that help me to get a grip on what I’m fighting with, blogs of other survivors, support groups, etc. But I’ve also found a steady barrage of alarmist propaganda.

I just read one article, on a very professional looking website with a very easy address – two factors that usually help you weed out the crazies (I’m not going to lose much sleep over information I find at a geocities site.), that detailed the dangers of xenoestrogens and how to avoid them. Want to know how you avoid these chemicals that will give you breast cancer and endometriosis? You never touch anything plastic ever again, load up on vitamins to protect yourself, stop using soap and any hygiene products, and only eat organic food.

Or in other words, drop out of society and become a hermit. Because maybe your natural odor smells like roses, but if I stop using soap and deodorant, no one’s coming near me.

As much as the article bugged me with its fearmongering in support of natural progesterone and book sales, it’s probably not wrong. I too find it more than coincidental that all of a sudden endo is everywhere with more people keeling over every day, breast cancer rates rising and girls beginning puberty younger and younger every year. I understand how polluted our planet is becoming and realize that there must be a toll on our bodies. So let’s publish the studies and make manufactures responsible for the products they use, instead of scaring the poor women struggling to live through this disease.

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I have to be functional today….

Bear is now the ward mission leader at church. Which means that he’s in charge of the guys on the bicycles. They’re very nice boys (most of the time) and if you say no thank you they’ll leave you alone (unless they’re aggressive dillweeds), just to clear up any hate out there.

So today they’re coming over for dinner. The missionaries basically go out into the world with only rudimentary means of support, so it’s up to the members of the church to feed them as much as possible. I’ve avoided doing this for the past few years because, 1) We’ve barely been feeding ourselves, 2) We’ve moved so many freaking times we’ve barely felt like we’ve been involved in our wards, and 3) it’s a little hard to play hostess when my uterus is attacking me from the inside out.

Last night I was up until 4 am playing those stupid griddlers, because I had taken an excessively long nap and because I’m a chronic insomniac and usually up at that hour anyway. Come 11 am the phone starts ringing off the hook. It’s Bear calling from work to wake me up and make sure I take lots of pain pills so I don’t scare the poor boys with my grunting and moaning, and by the way, could I take the chicken out of the freezer?

So I’ve been crawling around the house all day, straightening up my clutter in the dining room, and then laying down. Vacuuming the rug, and then laying down. Sweeping the floor, and then laying down. Folding the laundry…etc.

It’s 2:30 and I’m exhausted. And the house is still messy. I haven’t even started the bathrooms yet. But they’re two single 19 year old boys…you think they’d notice?

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This is bad…

This website: griddlers.net is trouble.

I love puzzles, word searches, logic problems, etc. In fact Bear just bought me a huge 500 puzzle book from the grocery store and I finished it in a week. I can’t put the things down.

Years ago I worked for a consulting company where my job was to basically act as backup to a woman who had a stroke and couldn’t type anymore. There was almost never anything to do. So she shared her computer game collection with me. This was all pre-internet, so it consisted of a couple shareware puzzle games from everett kaser (kaser.com)

So when I was at my last stupid office job looking for something to kill time I looked them up again out of nostalgia and found a whole treasure trove of puzzles to keep me from watching the clock. My favorite was called Decartes Enigma. I’ve also heard these called Paint by Number or Griddlers. Oh. My. Gosh. I love these stupid things.

I think it’s because I love the artwork of pixelization. Knitting, crosstitching, even my experiments with perler beads, a lot of the artwork I do involves rendering an image in a series of little squares. So this combines that love, with a logic puzzle. A match made in heaven.

I’ve gone through the Decartes Enigma puzzles about a dozen times, so I googled to see if I could find more for free, and to what should my wondering eyes appear but the most glorious use of internet technology known to man! Over 20,000 griddlers to solve, with more submitted every day! And I can make my own! And they come in color! And they’ve got triddlers which add a new dimension!

So far I’ve been a member for maybe 4 days and I’ve already spent 8 hours on the site. I find myself pacing around the house trying to get comfortable, sitting down at the computer for a change of scene, and all of a sudden it’s 3 hours later and I’m in agony from sitting up for so long. And yet I don’t care.

I know. I’m an unstoppable geek.

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