Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

So despite yesterday's post about how much I was working the last few weeks, I did manage to squeeze in a good deal of fun. I saw my friends several times. I participated in a city-organized treasure hunt (so much fun!). I visited with my mom. And I celebrated my birthday!

I made it thirty-one years before having to work on my birthday. I consider this quite an accomplishment. Every other year, I either didn't have work (I didn't start working until I was eighteen), or I took the time off to embrace the celebration of the day. This year, I worked four hours of my birthday. Had I been working for anyone other than myself, I'd probably be immensely bitter for rather unjust reasons, but as it is, I'm more amazed with myself that I managed to make it to my thirties without working a birthday before. Plus, I have a new goal: another thirty years of no-work birthday!

I had a wonderful birthday, and it continues this weekend. What, you don't celebrate a birthday week? If you don't, you're gypping yourself. A week of celebration is the way to go. Cody doesn't ever seem to feel the need for a birthday week (weird, right?), but he's kind enough to indulge me. He, and my family, also spoiled me on my birthday.

Here are my three favorite gifts, in no particular order:

1. Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

I've never read a single Stephen King novel. I've never wanted to. I tried to read one when I was a teenager, and it didn't appeal to me and I've had no desire to give him another try.

Even so, I recognize that he's a writer of much talent. Either that, or he's had an amazing marketing strategy, but even the best marketing campaign can't continue to sell crappy books forever, can they?

I thought it'd be interesting to see what he had to say on the subject of writing. I also thought it would be more of a how-to book. I was completely wrong on that account, but I'm greatly enjoying it.

And yes, I can see that King has a knack for writing. I've winced, I've laughed, I've cringed and groaned at his tales, and I'm only on page fifty something. It makes me want to try his Dark Tower series, but I'll have to think about it a little.

2. For some reason, in the last several months, I've become obsessed with owning a glass button jar. I don't sew. I don't knit. I don't need to replace any buttons on any shirts. But I really like a button jar.

Not just any jar would do. I wanted one large enough to stick my hand down in. My mom has a great button jar, though I believe hers is plastic. I can fit my hand down inside, and all the buttons running through my fingers feel really neat. I wanted that experience from my own buttons.

Cody and I looked at an antique fair and found several button jars full of buttons, but I didn't want one that was full. Where would all my buttons go? Plus, the asking price was a little steep.

Cody found me this lovely jar for my birthday. It is taller than my hand is long, and my fist easily fits through the opening. I love it. I was working the other day with it on my desk, and I was overcome with the desire to hug it. I think it's happy with me, too.

I, however, seriously overestimated the number of buttons I've collected in the last twelve years. I've been stuffing all the free buttons that come with shirts and pants into a plastic bag with a few other sewing odds and ends like travel sewing kits and safety pins.

When I opened the button jar, I immediately ran to get the plastic bag, then poured all my buttons into the jar. What you see at the bottom of this jar, not even covering the entire bottom in a layer of buttons, is my vast collection. I'm now on a quest to find button jars full of buttons to fill my jar. Even with a few inches of buttons, I think it'll make a very attractive bookend, don't you?

3. Succulents!

I have been searching for several years to find something I can keep alive on my sun-baked porch. Most plants will survive happily from November until May, and then the intense summer heat kills them off faster than I can keep (or remember) to water them.

My hopes now rest in these four beauties. My parents found these three tiny succulents for me for my birthday, and they look sturdy and willing to tolerate a little watering irregularity. The cactus, a friend got for me, and if I can't keep that little guy alive, perhaps I should just have a rock garden filled with silk plants.

One of my plans this weekend is to get some proper succulent soil, then make some sort of attractive arrangement for my new babies in a pot we recently got as a wedding present.

I've seen a lot of great examples online of creative succulent and rock arrangements that make me think that even as an amateur gardener, I can make something magical with little rocks and my succulents. If I do manage something stunning (or at least not something you'd point a finger at and laugh), I'll post a picture here.

4. (I know I said this was going to be a list of only my top three, but...) When Harry Potter Lego comes out on the 29th, I've already got a game with my name on it waiting for me, and I can guarantee you that it's going to be another favorite present.


TikiBird said...

You definitely need some more buttons. LOL!

Succulents are so awesome. Even if you break them while replanting (which I do all the time), you can just stick the bits in the soil and hopefully they'll start new plants.

My newly planted succulents always look terrible for a couple weeks, and then they flourish. May you have photograph-ready pottings!

Julie said...

Hi. I just found your blog, and just have to say that now you are making me seriously WANT a button jar! I never knew they existed till now! Gonna check them out!!!

Rebecca Chastain said...

TikiBird, I have some grand plans for those little succulents, and then I look at my rather small pot and realize I probably don't need to draw out my arrangement before I plant...

I hope they don't crumble on me. If I do, maybe I could do a before and after picture to show how well they've recovered.

Julie, You've caught the button jar mania, I see. LOL I think I associate the button jar with my childhood and "helping" my mom with her sewing projects, but part of me just likes the idea of all those tiny colorful buttons sitting on my shelf with my books. If you decide to get your own, check out antique stores or antique fairs—there's almost always a jar or two full of old buttons. I plan on finding some now to add to my pathetic few buttons.

I also love your site! If I can keep these succulents alive, I'll be getting more, and I'll be sure to drop by your blog to check out the possibilities (I had no idea there were such pretty flowering ones like the header baby sun roses!).