Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Visiting the US and the World!

I saw this map on my friend Sarah's web page today and thought it was pretty cool. You can go to the website and click the states you've visited and it will highlight it on the map below. Clearly, I am a west coast girl - my only trips to the east were in middle school when I went to DC with classmates, and to Boston for a conference a few years ago. I'm looking forward to a trip to NY this year or next, and to exploring the eastern seaboard in the next couple years as well.
(note: while I have driven through New Mexico, I have not "stopped" so I decided I can't count it)

visited 26 states (52%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

I also did a map of the world and the places I've visited. I'm hoping to go to England this summer to visit Collin and Candice and may be we can get a few of the European countries checked off my list! I'd love to see Germany and Austria, and am hoping to spend a day in Ireland as well. But either way, clearly I have to start planning for more world exploration!

visited 10 states (4.44%)
Create your own visited map of The World

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Book Review: The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

I recently started reviewing book for Bethany House in addition to my reviewing for Thomas Nelson. I am especially excited about this because they have a larger selection of fiction novels, which are easier to read while school is in session than Christian Living / Non-Fiction books.

Olivia Keene is the charming and intelligent heroine of "The Silent Governess" by Julie Klassen. She is witty, thoughtful, and independent. The story begins when Olivia, fleeing home for reasons shortly explains, gets caught eavesdropping at a manor house along her route. The family secret she overhears, and the consequences should she reveal what she knows, lead to her appointment of a post at the manor house itself. Because of an injury, she is unable to speak... or is she just pretending? The Lord Bradley, our sullen and conflicted hero, is not sure if Olivia can be trusted, and so keeps a watchful eye upon her as she cares for the two young children in his home. Intrigue, romance, and drama ensue as the story unfolds. Along the way, this charming story gripped me and I found myself reading with excitement and anticipation - talking out loud about different parts as I read "OH, I hope its not.........." and "What if he's .........." - which from experience, I can tell you only happens with books that grip me.

Klassen is a strong writer, who creates fully formed characters from all walks of life and who also has a good grasp of the period of history and manages to educate the reader without the reader feeling as though he or she is being taught. I thoroughly enjoyed this romp through history and even though I have read a number of books that take place in this time period and geography (19th century England), I learned a lot along the way. In the past, I have been cynical about the writing in Christian Fiction and there were few books I enjoyed in this genre. However, this book made me rethink my opinion: first, the Christian message was appropriately woven into the story and did not seem inserted just for the sake of evangelism; and second, the story and characters are well-drawn. I look forward to reading another of Klassen's books in the future!

If you get an opportunity to read this book, I highly recommend it. 5 family secrets out of 5.

* * In the interest of full disclosure: Though I did not receive any financial compensation for this review, I was provided with a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for a review. However, the review is my own opinion and does not reflect that of the publisher, nor is it influenced by the publisher (Bethany House Books). * *

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Visit of 2010

My parents live really close now, so it shouldn't be surprising that they got the honor of the first visit of 2010! This time they arrived on Thursday afternoon and stayed through Saturday afternoon. As usual, we had a really fun visit together! The first night we ventured to Sprinkles in Beverly Hills where we met up with some of my LA friends. Then we got caught up together over dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.

On Friday we headed to one of our favorite LA destinations: Universal Studios. Yes, I've been there a bunch, but its fun every time! (and we got our annual passes for $40!) Afterwards, we went back out to Universal City to see "The Book of Eli" at the theater there.We sat in the balcony, which was great. Finally, we ended up at Panda Inn and really really enjoyed the Chinese food there!

This time we went to the "Animal Actors" show, which was really fun.

I ran into Matt Damon...

And my parents ran into Diego and Dora.

While I was there, I figured maybe I could hook a date with a tall guy!

My dad and I pretending to watch a Dodger game.

Saturday was a day of new adventures.... I had told my parents about The Getty Museum and they enthusiastically agreed that we should check it out. We figured we'd spend about 3 hours there and then head to the beach for a little while (they love getting beach time in) before they went back to Phoenix. We clearly had NO IDEA how extensive and awesome the Getty would be. In fact, it was a really incredible place - we took a tour of the highlights of the museum and it was a fascinating hour long look at medieval, baroque, and rococo era artwork and furnishings. We also toured the gardens, which I loved even in January and can't wait to see in the spring!

One of the clocks from Louis XIV regime -
I loved how they put up damask wall coverings in these rooms.

I love Impressionism and was excited to see this Cezanne among other Impressionist works.

The maze at the base of the gardens.

My mom and I.

My cute parents!

Me and dad

After the Getty, we ended up having just enough time to eat lunch before sending my parents back to Phoenix. We were bummed that we didn't get to relax at the beach at all, but as it was they didn't get home until 11:30! It was a great visit, and hopefully the first of many good ones for 2010!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Roast Chicken!

I love chicken, but even though I have cooked a turkey a few times in the past, I have never cooked a whole chicken. For some reason over break I decided that now was the time - so upon returning to LA, I went into the store and picked one up! I was pretty excited to find out that with my shopper's card whole chickens were 1/2 off, so I got a beautiful little chicken for $3 - yes, THREE DOLLARS!

I got home and looked up instructions in my Better Homes and Garden Cookbook. The instructions were pretty easy, tuck the wings under and tie up the legs, and put it into a roasting pan. Uh oh, one problem - I don't have a roasting pan. So I used a pie pan. Indeed, I did and it worked out OK, but it was a little tough near the end with all the juices.The recipe called for the chicken to be basically rubbed all over with butter, pressed garlic and a mix of spices (I used poultry seasoning, sea salt, and lemon pepper). Oh, and the cookbook suggested that if its not being stuffed, then you can put some onion and celery in the big cavity - so that is what I did. Then just stick it in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours. I also didn't have any twine to tie it up, so I used toothpicks.....

Anyway, here is how it looked before it went into the oven:

And here is how it looked after I took it out of the oven (after I drained out all the liquid to make a gravy):

And here is the delicious dinner that resulted! Roast chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, and fresh green beans!!

Now that I've made this once, I can totally see myself doing it regularly. A rotisserie chicken at the grocery store is $6 and perfectly delicious, but I think that I can make a pretty great one for $3 plus labor. Give it a try, peeps!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Movie Review: The Book of Eli

I come by my love of apocalyptic movies honesty. My parents have seen every apocalyptic movie from Mad Max to 28 Day Later to 2012... and loved them all. (In fact, they would probably be appalled at the list I just wrote and would want me to amend it to include other obscure titles that were before my time.) They are super fans of science fiction. And while I really do love movies that chronicle what people do when the world around them is falling apart, and while that is clearly a genetic condition, I generally prefer the more "action-oriented" versions, e.g. Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012 are notable examples.

Seriously, don't roll your eyes at me, its just true - I like movies that give me just enough of cities being destroyed (or having been destroyed) without the content being too bleak. I do have Positivity as a strength, after all.

Well, my parents are in LA this weekend and mentioned they'd like to go see a movie while we were at Universal City/Studios - and since I love going to movies, and because we get a $7 rebate on Universal parking when you see a movie there, I was IN! They suggested we see "The Book of Eli" and I was game, though a little uneasy. But I don't want to be that girl that only sees comedies, romantic comedies, and action movies, so I agreed.

The Book of Eli takes place 30 years after a nuclear holocaust has decimated the world. The super-strength sun forces everyone to wear shades when outside and chapstick is at a minimum. Hijackers lurk to kill you, take your stuff, and BBQ your body, and the road you are walking on may end mid-bridge. It centers on a man, Denzel Washington, who is traveling west. In his possession is a book - one of the few left in the world. It just so happens that the book is a King James Bible - the only bible left in the world. The man runs into some trouble when encountering the leader of a town, who coincidentally is collecting books in search of..... yes, you are probably guessing it right now.

I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. Its not super fast-paced (though there are some very graphic fight scenes that I closed my eyes through completely), its shot with low color saturation so that while visually striking it is sort of one-note, the characters are somewhat charicatures, and sometimes the clothes people wear (Denzel in particular) don't look quite ratty enough.

Those all being said, I found this movie thought-provoking, entertaining, and encouraging.

Denzel (in interviews) says this movie is not about religion, its about good and evil. I think its about both. It reminded me how vital the ability to read the bible was to the spread of Christianity around the world (and in that way, how vital the printing press was to making the bible accessible). It reminded me how important it is to read the bible regularly, if you believe that it really is a book which should guide your life. It reminded me that in times of great distress, people are anxious for hope and telling them about God helps them. It reminded me that religion can be used to both bless and serve our communities but that it can also be used to control and manipulate the weak and powerless. And it reminded me that there will always be people who desire to manipulate and control the weak and powerless (especially using religion) and that I have to be willing to stand up against them.

Talking about the movie afterward with my parents, the whole plot seemed to light up with little foreshadowings and clues that we didn't recognize at the time. Some will disagree with me, but I think it's a smart movie if you are willing to let it rattle around in your brain a bit.

And for those of you who like action movies, occasionally Denzel uses a big, sharp knife to defend himself.

The Book of Eli rates 4 pairs of sunglasses out of 5 from me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2009-10 Holiday Travels (part 2)

In order to make the posts more digestible, I decided to do the holiday travels in two parts... Part 1: Friends around the U.S. and Part 2: Time with Family and Friends in Phoenix.
Dateline: Monday, December 21
I arrived in Phoenix with my hecka-heavy luggage (supplemented by Karen with some presents to replace those which were now irrevocably located in the trunk of my car in Los Angeles - if you recall from part 1) to be promptly picked up by my dad! It's been a while since we've been in the same city when neither of us has any schoolwork to do, so it was nice to just get caught up on life. After running a couple errands, we dropped off my stuff and headed to Lake Havasu to pick up my grama. Its a 4 hour drive to Havasu, but even though I had been sitting in enclosed spaces all day, my dad and I made it a really fun drive! We picked up grama and headed immediately back to Phoenix, arriving just in time for bed (basically).

Note: In the original plan, I was flying to LA on the 20th and then driving to Havasu to pick up Grama and then to Phoenix.

My first week at home was really nice. It was fun to have grama with us - even though sometimes she is kind of forgetful lately. It is her last Christmas in Phoenix, because she is moving back to Washington state in March, so we really were glad to get one more visit with her in Phoenix before she leaves. I was able to do some shopping and come up with some ideas for projects. We put up the tree and enjoyed the outdoor lights which Ben had put up earlier in the month. And we had a great time celebrating the holiday together.

Dateline: Sunday, 27
After taking grama back on Saturday, Sunday was a day of rest. We relaxed after church, I started working on my ipod projects and we just hung out. Later week I had the opportunity to do some work for school, finish the ipod projects, see a couple movies (Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, 2012), and play a lot of games. My favorite Christmas game was "Clue: Office Edition" which is a really fun version of Clue.

One of the highlights of that week was the opportunity to have dinner with the Greenville crew who lives in Phoenix. By then, Erin O'Hara was in Phx, too, so she joined me, Derek Robinson and his wife, Pam, and Lee Thompson for a delicious dinner at Buca Di Beppo. I always enjoy our times together and am so glad that they feel the same, so that its a priority for us to see each other's faces when we're all in town! I keep hoping other GC alum will move to Phx (ahem, this means you, Heather and Jason!) so our little group can grow!

Dateline: Saturday, January 2
After ringing in the New Year with my parents and brother, I headed back to LA. It is always nice to have a day or two to get ready for the school year, and though I wished I had a whole week, those two days were a good opportunity to get back into the "school" state of mind. By the end of the trip, I had too much stuff for even my suitcase and duffel bag combination, so I left a box of stuff at my parents for them to transport over to LA at their next visit (which coincidentally is tomorrow).

I'm so grateful that I live this student life right now. For all the hard work during the school term, it has really given me the opportunity to see my family and friends a lot more often during the breaks. Maybe next year, I'll get to see YOU if I didn't see you on this trip! Lets keep our fingers crossed and hopefully I'll be making more trips like this in 2010~!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2009-10 Holiday Travels (part 1)

Subtitled: Since I have 20 minutes before my next meeting starts and I don't want to do homework, maybe I should blog....

I'm not sure that this single post will encompass the whole trip, and I'll try not to be too detailed, but here's what I can tell you about my almost 4 weeks on the road between Dec 10, 2009 and Jan 2, 2010: It was awesome!!!! Aside from living in a suitcase the whole time and traveling from place to place like a vagabond, it was really really great and I'm so grateful to the Lord for the opportunity. Here's the story.

Dateline: Thursday, December 10th
I left LA in the midst of finals week, but my course work was complete. I had packed for a 10 day trip to colder climates, leaving some Christmas presents ready to transport to Phoenix in the trunk of my car, and forgetting to both run the dishwasher or take out the few days of garbage I had accumulated. But more importantly, I had picked up some new LA Times crossword books and they, along with season 2 of Psych and season 1 of 30 Rock were packed away in my backpack for my entertainment. I laughed my way to St. Louis, watching Psych, and Matt picked me up. I stayed with Matt a couple days and we were able to get caught up and enjoy some shopping and St. Louis night life - as well as the "Wildlights" at the STL Zoo, which was a fun and funny experience. It was great to have a visit with him.

(here we are at the Zoo)

Dateline: Saturday, December 12th
Matt transported me up to Greenville - and in return, that lucky guy got a tour of Greenville College from my old roommate, Heather, and had the opportunity to enjoy my favorite Mexican restaurant with me, Heather, Jason (Heather's beau), TJ, and Erin O'Hara. Yes, he's a pretty lucky guy alright! Before we went out to Mexican food, however, I got a special treat.... a tour of the remodeled Greenville College Fitness Center!! I was really thrilled that I was there the weekend before it opened to the public, so it was all completed! We had a great time together at Rancho Nuevo in Vandalia - all of us ordered Coca Colas because they have the best fountain Coke there!

(A variety of memories from my trip to Greenville -
hopefully you can click it and it will be bigger)

Later that day I got to spend some quality time with the Filby's and then with Liz Hehman (which was a special blessing, since the Hehman's are now headed to Canton, OH and the fair fields of Malone College). The next morning, I attended church at Greenville Free Methodist, my old church there - it was really special to be there with old friends and worship together. I especially enjoyed the message, which perfectly ministered to me. It was Advent season when I was there, and the sermon was about waiting and our attitude in our time of waiting. Very apropos to my life.

That afternoon was a special treat, too - it just so happened that I was in town on the weekend of the Greenville Football Awards Night, or as they are now called, "The Attaways!" How fun to get to see the Walkers (though it was too brief) and to share in the great season that the football team had that year! I followed up the Attaways with a long visit with Sue Groves and then a relaxing evening with Heather. It was really a great visit to Greenville. I wish it had been longer, but I'm grateful for the time I had.

Dateline: Monday, December 14th
Heather transported me back to St. Louis, where we had a great lunch with Matt before saying good-bye. After one final night in the city, I flew out early the next morning to a visit with the Fergasons in San Antonio.

My time with the Fergs was terrific as always. We had a lot of fun making Christmas cookies, Gingerbread Houses (out of graham crackers!), and a variety of other craft projects. We also had a couple Christmas parties complete with movies, presents, and popcorn off the stove. One day was a "girl's day" where Karen, Andilin, and I had a nice lunch and then some shopping together. Now that Andi is getting older, it is so much fun to get to do things together with "just us girls" - it will be even more fun when Brooklin is as old as Andi is now, and Andi is practically in college! That just weirds me out to think of, but its pretty neat, too. The boys are growing like weeds, and Drexel, who is just barely out of being a toddler is as articulate as any little boy I know. Once when he was upset, he was crying in his mom's lap saying, "It just makes me angry" - which I have to admit I thought was the cutest ever.

A special treat was the arrival of Sarah and Myles from faraway Waco! I had not seen them since their wedding in June, and they hadn't seen the Fergasons since the previous Easter (Brooklin having been sick on the weekend of the wedding). It was really fun to get caught up with them and just have them around. I again wished for my ideal neighborhood, which is filled with all my friends from all over the country!

Too soon, this visit was ending... BUT!

Dateline: Sunday, December 20
I was scheduled to leave on Sunday the 20th in the afternoon and fly back to LA; then I would drive from LA to Phoenix the next morning. However, the big storm back east was wreaking havoc with connecting flights and as such I ended up changing my plans. I stayed one more night at the Fergasons (and what a night it was - at one point we were keeping 11 kids!). The highlight might have been the opportunity to play Apples to Apples Junior with 6 kids 11 and under. It was really fun to hear them laughing about the funny word combinations. It also didn't hurt that I ended up winning.... since the game is completely subjective (and judged "blind"), I didn't feel bad about winning.

(a collage of pics from my trip to San Antonio)

But all good things must come to an end, so Monday morning I boarded a direct flight to Phoenix with my 49 pound suitcase supplemented with a $3 duffel bag I picked up at Thrift town, stuffed to the gills. At each leg of the trip, I had more things than I started with, and was incredibly glad for Southwest Airlines and their "bags fly free" policy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Fun! (for movie lovers!)

I think that I tend to have a lot of friends who are movie lovers. And because of that, we know a lot of movie quotes.

So when I saw this clip from this weekend's Saturday Night Live, with Charles Barkley, I was cracking up.

I decided to post it as a little something to start your week off right! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Year.... New Look!

Saturday night I had intended to read a chapter of homework and then maybe watch a movie while recovering from a bad headache.

Instead, I read a post by my friends, Collin and Candice, and when I went to comment on it, I noted that they had updated their background.

I got inspired to figure out my own new look and see if I could figure out how to do it. I used to have a template and I had previously made some adjustments to the HTML (like width of my columns)... so once I put a chosen background from, I had to make all these changes by hand in the HTML to make it look good. Not to mention reformatting the banner to have my pictures and title in it. I'm happy with the finished product, and feel like I'm learning a lot of HTML by trial and error....

So at 10:30, I finally went to bed. I did end up watching a movie on TV, but at this point, I can't even remember which one! LOL. Anyway, here is the new look for 2010!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Friday Fun! (its video time again!)

Well, I had been looking for this video for a long time in my house and just couldn't find it... until yesterday when I was doing a bunch of spring cleaning around my house and happened to locate the DVD in my desk.

Anyway, in spring of 2008, Kathryn and I applied to be a part of the Amazing Race (season 13). We made this really funny (to us) audition tape, but alas we did not get chosen. While our fingers are still crossed that someday one of the producers will pick up our tape, watch it, and say, "WHAT?!? We need these women on the next season!" - it seems unlikely.

So in the interest of "fun friday" and entertaining my loyal readers (that's you...) - here it is. Kathryn and Tiffani's Amazing Race Audition (the extended version).

special note: the actual submitted version did not have the middle spoof, because the whole tape could only be 3 minutes, plus it was much better edited than this version which cuts off at the beginning in a few places. Also, in order to do the credits, I lost a wink at the very end, which is a bummer, because it was funny. Nonetheless... enjoy.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Drawstring Ipod bag

As I mentioned in an earlier post, over Christmas break I decided to get crafty. I wanted to make a small drawstring bag that had an interior pocket, so that I could store my headphones and the little attachment pieces that came with them in a place where they wouldn't get messed up or lost, and that was portable. Initially, I thought about making a little zipper case like I used to have. Then I thought, "you're crazy." So I settled on the drawstring bag and set about making a pattern.

I picked out two really cute fabrics (one was a remnant). The exterior fabric is this really cute black fabric with music notes in rainbow colors. I know - super cutesy - but I thought it was kind of fun, since it was for my music player. The remnant fabric was a yellow calico with a small white pattern. I also purchased some lightweight cotton batting, and a spool of cord which coordinated with the exterior fabric. You need less than 1/2 yard of each of the fabrics for this project.

I used 8 1/2 x 11 paper to make my pattern. Seriously. I'm a goof, but its what I had. I used a straight edge to make sure my pieces were as close to square as possible. I cut the three fabrics first into rectangles that were 6" wide and 11" tall. I also cut two pieces (one each of interior and exterior) into a 6"x 3" rectangle, to use for the pocket.

First, I sewed the two pocket pieces together, just along the long sides and the flipped it right side out and ironed it flat. I stitched along one long end (which would become the top of the pocket), then put it aside. I decided to sew the batting to the interior fabric to make it easier to work with. So next, I sewed the large interior fabric to the batting (right side out), next I pinned the pocket fabric (with interior fabric facing together) about halfway down the long piece of the interior fabric. I stitched along the edges (matching seams) and across the bottoms. Then, I made two vertical seams to create dividers in the pockets.

I folded the interior fabric, right sides together ("hamburger way"), and sewed along each side (leaving the top open and the bottom unsewn). After trimming the fabric, I mitered the corners so that the bag would stand flat (see below) - then trimmed the corners, too.

After flipping it inside out, this is how it looked below. (this will eventually be the interior of the bag). Next I folded the exterior fabric together (right sides facing each other) like I did with the interior, and sewed up the sides, trimming the seams.

I mitered the corners on the exterior fabric as well. Once done, I put the bag together - with right sides facing each other (below). I really pressed it together, to make sure that the bags were as closely fitted as possible before I stitched around the top. Initially, I was really struggling to figure out how to assemble the bag so that there wouldn't be any exposed seams inside the bag. This blog entry really helped me figure it out.
I pinned a 2" gap in the top edges and sewed around the top (trying to match the line where I had previously sewn the batting to the interior (see teal line in above photo). I left the 2" gap at the side seam - had I thought about it, I wouldn't have done it that way, as the seam is weaker so it split a little and needed some triage later.

Anyway, after sewing around the top, I pulled both bags through the hole and then pushed the interior bag into the exterior (see below).

To do the drawstring, I went back to one of the side seams and using a seam ripper I opened a 1/2" gap, 1" from the top of the bag (I chose an inside seam because it looked cuter to have the drawstring on the inside). After marking the top and bottom of the gap, I sewed around the outside of the bag, one row at the bottom mark, one at the top. (Sewing the rows around works as a "stop" so that the side seam won't unravel further) Then, after putting a safety pin in the cord, I pulled it through the drawstring channel and VOILA! See below!

The finished project below. Later I realized that I could put my Nano in one of the pockets and put the camera into the body of the bag. Because its padded, I worry less about dropping it, and seriously, its as cute as a button.

If you were going to make one for yourself, you should make sure that if you have a larger Ipod (i.e. Ipod touch or regular Ipod) that you add vertical inches to the pattern. Additionally, put the Ipod into the bag before you measure and sew the drawstring channel so that you can make sure its above the height of your ipod.

Finally, I liked the drawstring tutorial blog so much that I modified my pattern for one prototype and included a small oval bottom. I decided that ultimately, it was too much work for the small nature of the bag - the oval was like 3" across and so it was really hard to measure the right amount of fabric and to sew it onto the oval. But I think that her pattern is a pretty great one and I could see myself using it for a variety of other little purposes.

My Ipod Nano exploits...

My relationship with my ipod/headphones has oft been complicated by airplane travel. First, after arriving in the UK from Kenya, I left my "travel bag" in the airplane. Contents?: eye mask (gift from a friend), favorite book light ever, Ipod Nano (gift from my parents), headphones. You cannot imagine the sadness when I realized it and tried to get back to the gate only to arrive and be told "nothing was left on the plane, and you cannot search it because its been 'cleared' and 'put away'" Sad. So I invested in another booklight (I had to search on Amazon to find it - I recently left the replacement somewhere in 2009 - if I left it at your house, let me know), I invested in a replacement Nano and repurchased the little attachments that I like to have on the end of my headphones. This fact is particularly important, because they come with a nice little carrying case in which I stored my headphones (and had done so on the old headphones, too).

So anyway, this is becoming a lot longer post than I meant. Nonetheless.... Secondly, I traveled a LOT in 2009. Frequently I would put my headphones (in case) and Nano into the pocket of the seat in front of me when looking for a book or crossword puzzle in my bag. On one of the trips this year, I moved seats between flight legs and suddenly realized that I had left the little headphone case (but not the headphones as I was listening to them at the time) in the seat pocket of the old seat.... only problem? No idea which of the 40 or so seats in that section was mine, and people boarding the plane. I recently looked for the little attachments at Best Buy (where I bought them before) but to no avail. I didn't think about looking online or maybe this story would be headed in a new direction.

Finally, on this most recent trip - the flight to San Antonio in particular, I pulled my headphones (sans case) out of my backpack to find that the one of the little attachement dealies was missing and I could not find it in the pocket of my backpack for the life of me. Not only that, but I noticed that my headphones were starting to stretch out and that the wires were exposed a little bit. I resolved to buy a new set of headphones. The new problem? I'm not willing to spend the $$ on a set of headphones that has a little case (and/or I could not find one for earbuds).

I decided that what I needed to do was MAKE a little drawstring bag with an interior pocket or something like that to hold my Ipod and headphones - and in particular, the little sized pieces that came with the new headphones I bought. So my grama and I headed to my favorite JoAnn Fabrics Superstore (at Desert Ridge Mall, in Phx, Az) to pick out some inexpensive fabric and I settled in to make a pattern and a plan. I love doing crafts, so this was a really fun project.

In the end, I created a prototype (with no pocket) that my brother claimed, a prototype with an oval bottom (with no pocket) that my dad claimed, a replica of the first version which was large enough to hold my mom's regular headphones (with cute pocket and little clip for her ipod shuffle), and finally a version for myself (with cute pocket) with though not intentionally bigger was indeed a bit bigger than I had planned..... so it fits my nano, headphones, and my camera. It actually turned out to be pretty great, the bag is padded, has a divided interior pocket, fits nicely in my backpack or purse. OH, and its really cute. Stay tuned for the next post with my "how I made it". Thanks for listening!