Friday, April 17, 2009

Yay for awesome kitty moms

A few days ago I received this awesome award from Duni of LovelyPurses and it's too sweet not to share.

Though there are many wonderful kitty moms out there in the blogosphere who deserve this award, I want to specifically give it to Luxor's kitty mom, who has been extra-especially wonderful for the ever-awesome Lux and all of his difficult v-e-t visits.

I also want to pas it along to the super-talented BeadedTail, the animal charity and art minded Mishkat, and the wonderful-at-story-telling (and photo-taking) mom of Anghus Mhor.

My apologies to all the awesome kitty moms I've missed--but I'm sure this award will be headed your way soon!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Yes, the stains came out

So many of you were so kind in your comments on my grumpy tomato sauce post it made me feel bad--I was hoping to make you all laugh! Ah well, I guess it's fitting since I certainly wasn't laughing when it happened ;)

Anyway, thank you all for your kind concerns. All the stains came out, and I've had better luck with my meals (knock on wood) since.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Attack of the grumpy tomato sauce

I got home from work/school yesterday around 7 p.m., tired and hungry. All I wanted to do was collapse on the couch with a nice bowl of pasta and watch some Seinfeld re-runs. So I shuffled into the kitchen and got the water boiling, pulled out my pasta, a bowl, some spices, and some pasta sauce.

We get our pasta sauce from CostCo, so it comes in these shrink-wrapped sets of three glass jars together. Usually it's a piece of cake to open, only last night I kept jabbing and ripping at the plastic and it wouldn't give. Finally I stabbed it with a pencil stub and it conceded my victory, yielding its three jars. Ha! I grabbed one, and went to open it...and then noticed it's pressure button was already popped, and there was mold along the side. Ick. Into the trash.

So I went back for another one--roasted garlic. Mm, my fave. My stomach grumbled. I twisted the lid. Nothing. Okay, no big deal, just whack it along the side of the lid a few times, that always does the trick.

Nope, nothing again. So I banged it on the floor, albeit gently. Still nothing. So I grabbed my heaviest kitchen tool, and tattooed every millimeter of the lid's rim. (I don't usually do this because it makes it hard to reclose it tightly, but my pasta had already cooked by this time and was cooling in its colander, so I decided to break my own rules. (I know, what a rebel. you can just imagine me in big reflective sunglasses now right?)

Not that it did any good. By this time, my hand was cramping up, and I was cursing. The cats took one look at my face, and all immediately found places to hide--far, far away. So, feeling embarrassed, I put on my jacket. The next door neighbor is super nice, and I knew he could help me.

Except he'd apparently just left. Sigh.

Back inside, I considered giving up. My stomach growled in protest. My tongue anticipated that yummy roasted garlicky goodness. I was determined--gender stereotypes be damned, I WOULD open this %$@#!& jar. I decided to give the floor tapping another try--and it worked! Hurray!

Only then I discovered that it had exploded a fine mist of tomato spray on my favorite dove-grey pants in the process. Knowing how tomato stains set, I put the jar aside for a moment to strip off my pants and rinse the stain, then hit it with some stain remover.

At this point, my stomach was about to stage a mutiny. I could hear it whispering to my liver and kidneys. I knew all hell would break loose if I didn't return to my food a.s.a.p. So, looking like a pants-less idiot (though fortunately not even the cats were around to see me, since they were still in hiding), I got back to the kitchen, dumped a fourth of the jar into a pot with some olive oil, added my favorite fake cheese (I'm allergic to dairy), and then poured it over my pasta as soon as it was faintly hot-ish.

I walked into the living room, set down my bowl, and turned on the T.V. At last. Seinfeld was on, my dinner was ready, I could finally relax. I sat down.

And my bowl flipped over, dumping half my lovely, warm, perfect-sauce-coated pasta onto my cat-fur covered backpack, favorite fuzzy blanket, couch, and floor.

Next time I think I'll go for a pb&j.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Going greener--anyone have tips?

With Earth Day coming up, I'm betting a lot of people, like me, are musing about what they do that's green and what could maybe be a bit greener.

For example, the hubster and I have changed all the lightbulbs in our house (with the exception of two bathroom faxtures that simply can't be changed) to compact fluorescents, we recycle, and we drive a car with really good gas mileage (40 to the gallon), but I know we could do more. My next goal is to get a far larger percentage of the produce we eat from local farmers.

In my handmade shop I also try to be green by using all repurposed materials for shipping, but there I'm not as satisfied with my results. I haven't found any eco-friendly ways to make prints, for example, or any of the other stuff I make. I see so much cool eco-art on etsy and it makes me sad to realize that none of my actual materials are terribly green. So I was wondering if any of you all have any pointers on ways to make the kind of art/crafts I make any greener?

And if anyone wants tips on safe, effective, and professional ways to reuse shipping materials I'm happy to share--just say the word! (My biggest tip is to invest in a custom stamp with your logo on it that you can stamp on the outside of all your packages that says why you reuse materials--the stamp makes it clear you are a thoughtful professional and helps offset any thoughts that you're just being careless. For example, I came up with this little rhyme for my stamp:
"My packaging, unlike what's inside
May not look so pleasing to the eyes
But it's because I reuse all I can
To protect both your order and the land")

Sunday, April 5, 2009

If I had any pregnant friends...

...I'd probably buy them this pretty stroller blanket that's on sale at TwoZanyZebras (this month's featured EtsyBlogger). 

She also has an amusing sense of humor on her blog--I think this entry is my fave.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The dissertation post

Usually I don't volunteer much info about my dissertation project; I tend to view it kind of like an unpleasant health condition: not something you want to blather on about to people unless they really want (or need) to know. But since one of my readers expressed some curiosity about it, I decided to go ahead and post a brief description. So, if you're curious what I do when I'm not drawing/crafting, working on etsy giveaways, playing with my kitties or being snide on my blog, feel free to read on. If you're not curious, however, I absolutely totally and completely don't blame you--unless you're not curious and looking for a free sleep aid--in that case, this might be just what you need ;)

I'm doing my dissertation on a study of writing center practices (for those unfamiliar with writing centers: they are common in universities and colleges, and are usually staffed by students willing and able to help their peers revise their writing. They don't provide editing "services"--in other words, you can't drop off a paper to have it fixed--but rather peer tutoring with the goal of helping clients get the personalized attention that can help them continue to improve their writing skills, regardless of their current skill level. For example, at my writing center I work with everyone from first time college students who are very uncomfortable with writing to people writing their dissertations).

Specifically, I'm investigating the practice of reading aloud in writing center sessions--usually most sessions start with the client, or occasionally tutor, reading the client's paper (or letter, or poem, etc.) aloud. However, there hasn't been much discussion in the field as to just why this is done and what the effect is of doing this. Writing center directors argue over the effects, and preferred practices, and so on, but no-one has really done any specific investigations into what is actually going on as a result of the reading aloud.

That's where my study comes in: I'm recording tutoring sessions under three different conditions--one where clients reads their own writing aloud, one where tutors read clients' writing aloud, and one where tutors read clients' writing aloud while using a method called "interpretive reading" to (hopefully) help writers see where their intents are being clearly communicated and where they aren't.

By doing this, I hope to be able to discuss some of the questions writing center directors care about, like how we help writers increase their audience awareness, take control of their own writing, and generally continue to develop as writers.

Ok, that's it--no more dis talk, unless someone asks another direct question. And if you're still reading this far despite having no interest in education or writing, pleasant dreams ;)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Forgive me?

I've been terribly neglectful of the PurrPrints blog lately, and all the people who have been kind enough to leave me comments. I didn't think I had anything to say because I haven't been doing much with my cat art recently--all my creativity has been going to two places: my dissertation (I've officially begun my study--blare of trumpets, please!), and the new content and design over at EtsyGiveaways. However, it suddenly dawned on me (about 5 minutes ago, actually) that there was no reason not to share those little tidbits though--especially the EtsyGiveaways one.

I'd be delighted to know what you all think of the new design and content--either in comparison to the old one, if you've already been there, or just first impressions if you haven't been there before.

Oh and for those of you with shops on ArtFire or other places outside Etsy you might be interested to know that we're now taking any independent handmade giveaways at EtsyGiveaways, which I'm also very excited about (there are so many beautiful ArtFire and Dawanda shops I've seen).

So anyway, sorry about my absence--I can't promise I'll be back to every-other-day posting again soon because my dissertation study is keeping me extremely busy right now, but I'm still reading and enjoying all of your blogs and I really appreciate your comments on mine!