Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How To Survive a Blizzard


It is December 26th here in Chicago, and we still haven't had any official snow.  My friends in Indianapolis are tweeting pictures of their snow and I'm kind of jealous. And since I still believe winter is coming, and an ounce of prevention is worth....something I can't quite remember....I put together this little guide to surviving a blizzard in style.

Entertainment
In this situation, entertainment is crucial.  Now is not the time to run out to the redbox, you might be stuck inside for a couple of days, and nobody wants those late fees.  Regular old TV can be an option (during the blizzard of 2011 I made it through an entire season of RuPaul's Drag Race on VH1, epic), but at my apartment I don't have cable, and sometimes there is just nothing good on.  Your best bet is streaming.  You probably have netflix instant, but want to sign up for a free trial offer of hulu plus for current seasons (just don't forget to cancel). Another option is to stock up on a dvd of an addictive tv series that is cruelly withheld from streaming, like The Wire or True Blood.  Blizzards are the perfect time to stage your own marathons.

Sustenance
You're going to need food. You don't want to accidentally run out of necessities because probably nobody is delivering. For me I have to make sure I have plenty of milk, chicken, tortillas, olives, pasta, and cheese. I can pretty much get by on that, but you know what your staples are.  Be sure to stock up. You would think now would be a good time to try out a new recipe, but I'd advise against it, because if it turns out badly and you hate it, you'll be out of luck.  I say stick to your favorite comfort foods and you'll get through just fine. Also, when you head to the store, be sure to get toilet paper.  Obviously you won't eat it, but you won't regret it.

Libations
Be sure to have something on hand that will help lend the entire experience a nice hazy dreamlike quality.  For me bailey's and coffee does the trick, but I've also heard good things about hot chocolate with that marshmallow vodka. I like those options because you can warm your hands on the mug while you take the edge off, which is extra pleasant. Wine works too, if you prefer, but I doubt you'll want to crack open a cold beer.

Company
This is a very personal decision. Depending upon how long you expect this to last, and how much effort you plan to put into your personal appearance, you may want company. Being snowed in might be a fun reason for a friend slumber party, it might also be a good excuse for a sleepover with a sexy someone you've been hanging out with ("Oh, ooops, guess you should probably stay...."). You have to decide, are you a lone wolf or a social butterfly? But if you're going to invite someone over, do it quick before the storm starts. And double down on the essentials.

Creativity
Being stuck inside during a blizzard is a great time to get a little crafting done. Do you have some knitting or sewing you have been meaning to finish up? Good, start with that. If you're low on supplies, origami is a good project, since you basically just need paper. How About Orange has some tutorials. Finally, catch up on your correspondence. I find the thing that keeps me from writing a letter most of the time is the lack of something important to say, but now you can talk about the blizzard. Here, let me start you off:
Dear Sally,
You wouldn't believe the crazy blizzard we are having. I can't even walk outside because the snow is up to my kneecaps. How are you? Did your boyfriend's chlamydia ever clear up?
(...and you fill in the rest)

After you've exhausted those options you may need to get a little bit creative with your creativity. Pro tip: practice some crazy makeup look that you are trying to perfect. Look up beauty tutorials on youtube and maybe try giving yourself a smoky eye. You'll probably look like you got punched, but hey, it isn't like you're going anywhere. This is also a good time to figure out how people manage to do nail art.

Actual Necessities
Hopefully your snowed in experience will be more like a fun forced vacation than test of your survival skills, but it never hurts to be actually prepared.  Make sure you have a flashlight with batteries or some candles, just in case the power goes out. Also, try to remember to charge up your phone before the storm, just as a precaution.  If you don't already have an emergency/first aid kit, get yours together here.  And seriously, please don't go outside unless you absolutely have to, and don't try to drive anywhere once the storm has started (these people in Chicago learned this the hard way).  Just settle in and enjoy your cheese, crafts and bountiful supply of toilet paper. You've earned it.

Anything I missed? Let me know.

Monday, December 3, 2012

One Strange Bird

Watch out little ship!

Hey, check it out. I carved that stamp! That's right, this Sunday I spent a leisurely afternoon at One Strange Bird taking their Block Printing (or what I keep calling "stamp carving" because I'm a total rube) workshop, and it was great! After a particularly disastrous incident with block printing last year when I thought I'd use my exacto knife and just sort of "figure it out", I actually learned the proper (and so simple) technique for carving a stamp. And now I think I'm kind of addicted.


My friend Michelle came to the class with me, and carved a geometric design that, when stamped multiple times in a row, made a really cool repeating pattern. It looked great on her stationary and the coordinating envelopes.

The most amazing thing to me about the class was that a good number of ladies in our 16 person group described themselves as "not crafty" or "not artsy" but everyone did so well. They made beautiful prints and cards, and I think about half of us took home supplies to make more. I definitely recommend checking out their classes

And did I mention it was BYOB? Well consider it mentioned.


Here is another design from a girl in our workshop. The lines around the feather aren't part of the original drawing, but really just the result of carving out the area around the stamp. I guess technically you could say they are a "mistake" (if you wanted a perfectly clean print you would just go back and carve deeper) but I think they give the image such a cool handmade vibe, I wouldn't change a thing.

After the class we looked around the shop, a mixture of vintage goodies, handmade stuff, and art supplies, and I picked up a tool for carving more stamps at home. I can't wait to put it to use. Thanks to One Strange Bird for the awesome class. I'll definitely be back soon.