Friday, December 4, 2009

the caged bird sings merle haggard.

Listening To: The Carpenters Christmas CD
Excited because: I saw a commercial promising Deathly Hallows footage on the Half Blood Prince DVD. I won't lie; I squealed.

Today, I broke free of my early-winter funk. I put on my one of my favorite outfits*, then looked in the mirror delighted because I was having a good hair day that wouldn't be wasted. I packed my computer, my notes, and my favorite G2 ink pen. I put my dog in her crate with a treat and a toy. Then I bolted. I practically pranced out of the house I was so excited. I put my phone on top of my car and slung the computer in the front seat. Then I cranked up Merle Haggard's "If We Make it Through December" and jetted off to Starbucks to write something I was sure would be amazing. I could feel it. You know how sometimes you can just feel it? I pulled out of my driveway singing along with Merle, ready to fight for my right to sit at my favorite table and crank out the awesome.

It was only when I got to Starbucks, and opened my door, that I remembered ...

I never got my phone off the top of the car.

Moral of the Story: I am an utter, utter, utter moron.

I drove home frantically** and emailed my mom. Then Biscuit and I canvassed the neighborhood trying to find my phone. No luck. Mom emailed me back and said a guy just called her and told her he found it in the road, and put it back together (!), and all was good. The guy's dad lives across the street from me. He found it near my driveway on his way out. So today I am thankful for nice neighbors and phones that are way more durable than I thought!

Sadly, the writing mojo I had developed totally fizzled. The creative part of me is currently MIA. Too much weirdness in November. I think athletes get this way; they have a bad game, suffer a setback, and then have a hard time playing for awhile. That's how my writing is at this moment. But the words are still coming. They're still pulling me through. I'll wrangle something gorgeous out of this mess before it's over. Providing I don't keep leaving personal items on the roof of my car ...

So that was the general trajectory of my day, but I knew all was not lost. Because today is a giveaway day! And the winner is *electronic drum roll* Samantha!

Samantha, email me your mailing address (nat.lloyd[at] and I'll ship a copy of Paperdoll your direction. Thank you guys so much for your comments on that post. I felt all warm and fuzzy reading about all the things you're grateful for, all the cookies you make, and some of the quirky traditions you have. You reminded me to be grateful every day, not just on Thanksgiving, which was something I needed to remember.

Because so many of you are crafty types, I wanted to show you my most recent arts and crafts venture. I should preface this story by saying: 1.) I stink at arts and crafts, therefore 2.) I never attempt them.

My mom and I are hosting a party this weekend, which excites me to no end. It's a small party full of girls we love all to pieces. They were some of the first friends I had in this city and having them all together in one room to hang out and exchange ornaments will be super fun. That's the theme of the party: an ornament exchange. Some people *raises hand* would prefer to go buy an ornament. But my mom is too fabulous for that. The woman is wildly talented and somehow hooks me with her big ideas. She planned on making her ornament. So I decided to make my ornament too. I told mom I wanted to make a gnome (tis' the season). She gave me a book full of felt people ("Wee Felt Folk") and I thought, cool. That looks easy enough. I'll make my gnome while I watch Top Chef. But those little wee people are intense. They are made of way more than just felt. First you have to make the body out of thread and pipe cleaners. In the time it took me to make the gnome's body, I realized this project would be an epic fail. I took a picture so you could laugh too. It sort of reminds me of the symbol in The Blair Witch Project:

Which won't go over well at the party. I could finish the thing, but I'm pretty sure it would have looked like a gremlin anyway. So I scoured the interweb for more ideas. I love bird silhouettes, so I was thinking something birdy. Or something with an owl (aren't owls cute?). That was my only goal: something cute. And, ideally, something that wouldn't terrify small children. Kristin told me felt is great to work with (note: when you visit Kristin's blog, turn up the volume on your computer :). I finally found a super sweet pattern and went with it. The end result was a sweet little bird in a cage. I think you'll be proud of my effort. Get ready for some serious adorable (I put my bird on a pillow to take a picture ... the black and white background isn't part of the puffy ornament):

Not bad, eh? I mean, if I hadn't told you it as a bird in a cage, you might have thought it was a bird in a striped crock-pot. But now that you know, isn't it cute? I found the pattern (which is far superior to my knock-off :) here. I didn't print out the pattern. I just winged it (zing!) and did okay. If I can do it, you can do it. And so can the little kids you baby-sit :) If you're feeling crafty, it's a fun project. Also, a cheap project. My mom already had thread so I was only out sixty cents for the felt. Once you go felt, you'll never go back. Trust.

Crafty times continued tonight. I just made some sausage balls, which means I had to touch raw meat. I would rather watch brain surgery on Grey's Anatomy, while someone's ghost comes back to kiss one of the doctors, while some emo-band plays in the background, than touch raw meat. I kept screaming, "It's play-dough! It's play-dough!" Because I thought I might trick myself that way. Didn't work.

Last year, I made sausage balls for a little party my sister had at her house. At some point, while I was flailing my arms about wildly singing a song I wrote called "I would rather watch Nascar than touch raw meat," my nephew (age 5) put down his Transformer, looked at me, and said, "Does that bother you?"

I said, "Yes. It's kind of gross."

Moral of the Story: Never ever ever tell a five year old when something is grossing you out.

Andy smiled. Turned around. Put on his apron. Scooted a chair over to the counter. Stepped onto the chair and pushed back his sleeves. He picked up a big hunk of the sausage and smooshed it really close to my face and said, "Is this what bothers you? The squishy noise?"

I cringed.

He grinned. "Does it bother you when I pull it apart ... like this?"

The kid was like a little mad scientist. I thought he wouldn't stop laughing. The whole ordeal was very entertaining for him.

Andy wasn't here to be my assistant this time around, but Biscuit was. By which I mean: she sat around chewing on her toy and watched. And she wagged her tail the whole time I was screaming about the grossness. I think she's quite excited about tomorrow's party. This is a picture I took yesterday. It looks like she's doing some mad posing in this one. It makes me smile. And it makes me want to pick her up and hug her.
I hope you guys have an incredible weekend! I'm seeing lots of Facebook updates about finals and end of the year projects. Hang in there, people. There is a glorious land where finals don't exist anymore. It is a land overflowing with milk and honey. (And sausage balls. And student loan payments. But still.)

* Which is only fun information if you're a girl and you care about things like that. But my current favorite outfit is: black cardigan, v-neck white top, black scarf, dark jeans tucked into brown suede boots, and this awesome silver leaf cuff I found on sale last year. To add to the cute, my nails are an awesome shade of red called "Mr. Right Now."
** I ordered a caramel brulee latte first. Pretty tasty, but I'm still partial to the macchiato. I like the kick back of coffee a macchiato has at the end. If you don't like as much coffee flavor, I recommend giving the brulee a go.


  1. I am so excited about the DH footage on the new DVD! I was up way later than I should have been last night watching interviews with the cast about the Deathly Hallows movie and other assorted topics. I can't wait until Tuesday.

    Your ornament is so adorable! I really want to try that now. And don't feel bad about the gnome. Most crafty projects don't go perfect the first time. But felt is amazing...One Christmas I would like to decorate a whole tree with handmade felt ornaments. But who knows when that will be? I'm such a slow crafter that I had better start making the ornaments in July if I want a tree-full by Christmas. I made a poodle skirt for Halloween that required nearly 4 yards of baby blue felt, and now I have an abundance of leftovers.
    Thanks for the mention and link to my blog!
    I hope your party goes great this weekend. =)


  2. I am so excited for HP!!! :)
    I'm glad you got your phone back. I have yet to leave something on my car, although one time when I lost my keys, I found them on the hood of my car.
    Ironic. :)
    Your bird is cute! I know how you feel about crafts. My sister is super crafty and I am...not. She makes everything look so easy while it takes me an hour to make something cute. Oh well. I let her do the main thing, while I help and praise her for the gorgeous work! :)
    Have you read the Percy Jackson series?
    It's fantabulous. If you read the Odyssey, then you will appreciate the way Riordan ties all the mythology in. Fun read. " It;s called Percy Jackson and the Last Olympians by Rick Riordan.
    And, I started reading the beginning of the Magicians Elephant, and oh I am so going to buy it. :)
    Have fun at your party! Your dog is the cutest :)

  3. Your birdy looked super cute Natalie! I was cracking up the whole time reading the part about it but it's very cute. Hope it's the hit of the party! ;)

    Have a blessed rest of the weekend!

  4. Kristin, hearing that you approve of my blog is like hearing a comment from one of the greats! Gracias! :)

    Steffanie, I'm glad you feel my pain on crafts. I always go into it with high aspirations and then end up frustrated. :) I saw the trailer for The Last Olympian, and my college roomie has been trying to get me to read the book forever, but I still haven't. I'll snatch it up from the library over Christmas! Thanks for the recommendation.

    Tiffanie, thanks so much for the compliment! Getting the thumbs up from crafty pros is very sweet :) I love your most recent blog entry, btw.

  5. Oh my goodness, I'm glad your phone survived. I once broke one of my fav mugs by setting it on top of the car and then taking off...sadly it did not survive as well as your phone. :) And Biscuit is adorable.

  6. I think my favorite part about this post, aside from cute Biscuit, is the fact that you were listening to the Carpenters...we truly must be kindred spirits!!