He's just hanging out, waiting for me to finish up gaming.

Awhile back I joined International Geek Girl Pen Pals (you don't have to be a girl to join, by the way) to try the whole pen pal thing. I've never actually had one as a kid, so better late than never.

Anyway, for September I was paired up with someone so, after some delays, we exchanged addresses to send each other something geeky. I spent a little bit of the afternoon decorating the box I'm sending with some gaming (video and tabletop) pictures. Even if they're not perfect, I had a lot of fun. Hopefully my pen pal enjoys the surprise inside!

It's been a pretty lazy day. Two naps, not a whole lot running around or doing anything, but that doesn't mean I can't make time to grill some food. Eventually it will be too cold to grill, so I have to get as much in as I can.

Despite it being fall, the days just keep getting warmer. The warm weather makes the strolls on lunch pretty nice.

Spent my lunch hour walking all over downtown, enjoying the weather.

The weather is getting a little cooler but not too bad, which means there are plenty of great fall strolls to be had.

One of the Artprize installations near my work features stealthy kitties in the bushes. And in a tree next to it as well.

I will say that Artprize really does bring a lot of people downtown. Normally this area is pretty sparse during the week, except at lunch.

We took a morning stroll around downtown Grand Rapids, checking out the Artprize entries. There are certainly less giant sculptures all over this year as compared to previous years.

Hooray for birthdays! I celebrated my birthday in Animal Crossing...
...then we did some hiking at Siedman's Park. The weather was pretty mild all day, so it was an excellent day to be out and about.

Today was a day filled with virtual cake as well as real cake. In my book, that's a good day.

Adafruit has a tiny, adorable microcontroller, Gemma. I ordered one as soon as it was available and it finally arrived today, as well as some neopixels.
After some issues getting my Windows machine to run the drivers (Windows 7 is very angry about non-digitally signed drivers), I was finally up and running with a few neopixels daisy chained, rotating colors.

I have one project lined up for the little gemma, but at such a cheap price I'm really looking forward to integrating more into other things.

It was overcast most of the day and rainy at lunch, so I took and umbrella and headed over to the Blue Bridge to see additional Artprize exhibits and to get out of the office. Not a bad way to spend the lunch hour.

I took a stroll around downtown Grand Rapids, since the weather was pretty nice and all my usual haunts are filled with people due to Artprize. While I was walking around, I came across a lightpole that was yarn bombed.
 A little further down Division, I came across another...
...and another. Pretty soon all the trees and fixtures were yarn-bombed, including part of an Artprize sign.

Apparently this is an Artprize entry. I am amused.

But he behaved pretty well, given the circumstances.

Now I'm just hungry....

I had intended to start baking earlier in the day, but instead I sat around playing animal crossing and looking outside at the rain....
Eventually, at around 7pm or so, I started baking some chocolate twinkies and granola. I even whipped up a lemon bars batch and was going to start in on some chocolate chip cookies, but Chris reminded me it was probably a little late to get too far into binge baking.

So, just a few things this evening. Maybe if the weather is still cold this week I'll bake a few other things.

Chris was making Chili tonight and discovered we were out of chili seasoning. So I looked online to see if we had the ingredients to make our own and voila, we did. I found a handy recipe on allrecipes and got to mixing. Chris thinks the seasoning might be sort of mild, but we'll see. If so, we'll know to adjust for future mixes.

Took a walk through the skywalk today and saw several Artprize installations going up. There are lots of interesting things through the hallway between the Amway Grand and Devos Hall.

New Artprize installations (center) are going up right next to old ones (vertical panel on the building). It's going to be an interesting few weeks in downtown Grand Rapids.

While I was walking back to work from an appointment, I stumbled across a fancy pasta shop - The Local Epicurean. Admittedly, I don't walk up and down Division often, they may have been there for awhile, but given that the chocolate bar is in the process of being set up, I'm inclined to think they're new to this spot.

Regardless, the whole shop had a ton of fancy flavored pasta, cheeses, oils, and sauces. You can even custom order fresh pasta. That's something I'd love to do sometime.

I picked up a few bags of pasta to make dinner tonight and it was delicious!

I picked up a few books today at the library to sharpen my crafting skills. More to learn the basics. I kind of wing it on a lot of things and I know I could do things more efficiently and cleaner if I knew the technique.

Tried to connect to the Nintendo Zone today on lunch at one of the downtown hotels with no success. The lobby was pretty, though.

Now that the indoor portion of the Downtown Market is open, we swung by to check things out. The building is a pretty nice setup, although the way they want traffic to flow feels a little awkward. Maybe it was due to everyone meandering every which way.

Anyway, there are a lot of cute stands inside, mostly selling ingredients to cook food, although there is some prepared food as well. I can see stopping in there when it gets colder since it's almost right next door to my work.

Now that we're back from up north and I have a little more time, I wanted to finish working on the Doctor Who pillow I'd started earlier.
The original Tardis didn't come out so well, but it was an excellent learning opportunity.
I learned pretty quickly that the original setting I had were crappy but I didn't have to use a blanket stitch. I could still use the zig-zag stitch and not bunch things up (setting information below).
I soon started to get the hang of it, and while things are perfect, they're a lot better than Tardis #1.
Anyway, here's a slideshow of all of the steps, plus materials and measurements.
  • Find an image to trace...


  • trace!


    once traced, then cut out and get ready to iron...

  • Ironing


    with an iron, fuse the Heat n Bond Lite to the fabric

  • cut everything out


    once cool, cut out the shapes

  • Lay everything out


    to ensure it looks good and all the small pieces fit

  • Iron On


    remove paper backing and iron onto fabric

  • Fuse-N Tear


    once all pieces are ironed on, cool, flip over, and iron on Fuse-N Tear stabilizer

  • Applique in progress


    stitching all of the different pieces down

  • laying everything out one last time


    just to ensure everything still looks ok

  • pin the pillow


    pin the two pieces of fabric together, wrong side out

  • Tardis side


    Tardis side of the pillow

  • upclose Tardis


  • Dalek side


    Dalek side of the pillow

  • up close Dalek


Materials used:

Measurements & Sewing Machine Settings:

  • 14.5" x 14.5" pillow fabric
  • 3" tall Dalek & Tardis 
  • Applique pieces placed 3" from the edges of the fabric
  • zig-zag stitch set to stitch width of 3.0 and stitch length of 0.2 for edges
  • zig-zag stitch set to stitch width of 2.0 and stitch length of 0.2 for smaller detail pieces (like eggs on the Dalek skirt)

It's been a few years since we've been to Saugatuck Dunes State Park. In fact, I didn't even remember we'd been there before.

I wanted to take advantage of the fact that most people are in school or at work, so we drove out to the dunes to do a little hiking.
We hiked out to Lake Michigan and enjoyed the sun and sound of the waves for awhile. It was very relaxing, although I do regret not bringing something larger than a hoodie to hide from the sun with.
There were even a handful of shells washed up on the beach, which were fun to collect and reminded me of visiting my grandparents in Florida.