Friday, February 29, 2008

Perks to an early alarm

Wednesday was a cold and snowy morning. Especially at 3am. And I couldn't take a nap because I had an appointment with my accountant the next day, and my taxes weren't finished. And I have about 6 freelance and free-work projects going on, so I dug in and turned on the food network to keep me company. I love the Barefoot Contessa's decadent but simple cooking style.

While lounging with my laptop on the couch and listening to Ina in the background, it started snowing great big flakes. You don't see that everyday in Tennessee. And if it weren't for my early wake-up call, I would have missed it!

Here's a pic of my middle sister with a new friend. We love babies in our family! This was a little tiny thing--5 pounds! We grow ours big in our family--my aunt had a couple of 10 and 11 pounders. I'm thinking that with me being 6 feet tall and built like a German Frau, and my fiance (!) being 6'1" and a healthy size, I have no prayer for having a normal sized baby. Oh well. Fat babies are the best!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 5:05 AM :: (1) comments

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What I've been doing at 3am

I'm working the 3am-noon shift at my job until they hire a replacement. In commercial breaks in between hitting the button (think "Lost" and the hatch where they had to push the button every hour or whatever) I've been doing "research" on what to have for dinner and generally what Martha is up to.

Oh, how I love Martha. Yes, I understand that she doesn't come up with all of those brilliant ideas, and I really get a kick out of her semi-awkward interactions with guests on her show (there went my chances for ever making an appearance on said show.) I love when the craft guests have to say "um, no, Martha, actually we have to do this part first."

So far this week I've made delicious Chicken Pot Pie out of The Joy of Cooking, and Honey-Mustard Mini Meatloaves from Everyday Food. Both delicious and nutritious. The pot pie was truly an effort. I had to use post-it notes for each page of the recipe. It went something like this: "for chicken pot pie: pg 103....use 1 batch creamed chicken: pg 466...use Poached chicken recipe: pg 424..for that use bouquet garni: pg 778.)

My kitchen has exactly 6 square feet of counter space. I was balancing things on the stove burners and dirting every dish I had. It took 2 hours, but made 2 small pies, and it was pretty darn good, I must say. Jason says he doesn't like either rosemary or thyme. I say this is preposterous! He also doesn't like oregano and who knows what else. Too darn bad. I cook with spices. He can have his peanut butter and pickle sandwiches if he doesn't like it. Seriously. He's been eating peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. I don't think I'll take his criticism to heart.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:38 AM :: (5) comments

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fun with Registration

So I think I've mentioned that the letterpress is somewhat of a pain. A beautiful pain, but still...

Lessons learned:
1) make darn sure if you're gonna carve a block, it's even and is going to print evenly
2) when you carve your second block, measure what you would like the finished size to be
3) hand set the type and print all 400 cards with text AFTER you print the border
4) it's so much easier to add some spaces to text than to carve a whole new block.

Here is the final product--still not so perfect on the green border. I tried to get even pressure by tightening, adding more packing, more ink, pretty much everything imaginable. I'm a pretty good problem solver, but still, not so even on the ink distribution.

I have such grande plans...and the reality is that I have to work up to good quality work. and PRACTICE. What a novel idea!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 11:22 PM :: (4) comments

Monday, February 18, 2008

It's Official

After a couple months of telling everyone about how I designed my engagement ring.....I was finally officially presented with it on Saturday night! We went to dinner with some of our dearest friends here in Nashville. Jason said "Hey! I have something to say!" and then got down on one knee. I have no idea what else he said, but his voice was shaking. And I was thinking: "Man, I should have taken off this nasty chipped black fingernail polish."

The center stone is a (huge!) aquamarine. Hey! I have really big hands, and a half-carat diamond just would have gotten lost. The side diamonds are from Jason's mom and grandmother's rings. I wanted it to look antique and of course engagement-like. I drew it out a million times and went back to the jeweler several times last fall. I even got to do a little sanding on the wax model she made because it was sitting too high off my hand.

I really love that center stone. It's nice and sparkly. Now I just have to avoid all dangerous activities with it. No painting, printing, or boxing. :)

So you'll be hearing about wedding stuff on this blog I guess. Not overly much, but how can I not show you all the DIY stuff I have planned?

I hope if you're reading this, you're not someone I should have called by phone to tell in person. Sorry! I'm having a hard time talking because of my horrible cough. I made several calls yesterday, but I think my phone-answering karma is coming back to bite me because no one answered their phones!

So that was my weekend. Here's to a week of health and calm!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 7:10 AM :: (13) comments

Friday, February 15, 2008


I have had 2 separate flu viruses in one week's time. Today I'm still dealing with head-cold symptoms, but no fever and no achy-headache, burning alive feeling. I felt so horrible about missing work so much in one week, but what to do? My co-workers complain if I come to work sick, but they complain if I'm not there to do the work either. Hey! You can't have it both ways! Sheesh! As if I'm really loving being sick.

Anyway. I'm looking forward to a weekend of printing my recipe cards. Thanks to my printing guru Shona--I think I finally have the plate even and ready to print.

I hope everyone had a lovely V-DAY!!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 7:51 AM :: (4) comments

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fun with Friends

Shona is about to drown in my pile 'o strips!!

Girls Gone Crafty
Volume II happened last Saturday. This time we packed up and headed to Jenn's for some deelish veggie chili and some nosy house-looking. I love to see how everyone does up their little corner of the world.

Jenn's place was very neat and tidy, but in an artistic way. It made me feel like I should throw all my stuff away and start from scratch. She has the same Stendig Calendar as I do, but hers really pops up against the greeny-yellow cheery kitchen.

Here is my latest work in progress--all these blocks are about 24 inches each--I'm trying to make a quilt for my bed and seriously de-stash my fabric shelves. I went through my overgrown scrap basket and separated it into "relates to brown" and "relates to black". These blocks are brown's relatives. It only took 2 hours to make 2 of these! Not too bad...except for all the time I spent cutting before I could get to this point.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 10:23 PM :: (4) comments

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Where to begin.

This week was both a whirlwind and the longest week ever.

I've had tons of freelance work--all very exciting stuff. I'm working on a video piece for a book publisher that could not be more up my alley--it's the perfect project for my skill set. When it's public and on the internet I'll show you. Then came SuperFat Tuesday---the busiest day we've had at work in a really long time. It's so sad about all the stormy weather, but apparently, it passed over my house. I say "apparently" because I wouldn't know. I was dead to the world by that time with the stomach flu. I know you've all been there, but holy mackerel, I wanted TO DIE. The rest of the week was spent trying to catch up on nutrients and life.

No time for blogging. This week WILL be better. I do check my sitemeter, and I know you are all out there--and I feel so bad when I can't get around to post. I know some of my cousins and friends back home in Missouri check in on me, and I hate that I can't post everyday. This whole early a.m. workout thing is really cramping my style. ANYWAY! On to craft projects!

Here's a sneak peak of what I've been printing on my press. I'm going to space out a couple of blog posts of the last weekend's events just for the sake of keeping things organized. And because I'm a tease!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:43 PM :: (0) comments

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Here's how it works

Check that out! I had some terrible luck last weekend, which I've now realized was due to an uneven linoleum block. Blast!! All that carving, and the center never gets inked up.

I have plans to print recipe cards. With a nice scalloped border carved by me. We'll see.

The biggest thing I've learned on my press so far is that it's a freakin' pain in the backside! I thought all there was too it was to pack all the type, blah blah blah. But then there's the issue of registration, ink color, getting the paper stuck to the rollers with ink all over it, and all that crap. Yeah. Not the easy walk in the park I imagined it all to be.

But then again, it wouldn't be my type of project if it weren't a pain in the backside.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 11:38 PM :: (3) comments

Friday, February 01, 2008

My baby's new baby

Jason and I embarked on a very serious adventure last week. Well, basically, I picked out the car, and he bought it! It's a Honda Fit and we La-La-La-Love it! Neither one of us has ever had a new car (and it's kind of against my ideas of a financially responsible life) but the 2007's of this car are the SAME PRICE as the 2008's!!

It's truly an amazing car. All the seats fold down so flat that we can get up to 7feet 10 inches of length in there through the hatch back. IKEA (and art shows) here we come!! We said "goodbye" to Patti--his grandmother's Buick, but "hellooooo-Bert"!

Oh, and did I mention the 35miles per gallon? yeah. That's serious gas saving on a non-hybrid car budget.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 4:06 PM :: (1) comments