Saturday, April 27, 2013

Karen's Play-Doh Lotus

 Karen-lotus-sculpture-3 Karen-lotus-sculpture-2

And a coloring page... this is what we call "Inskyfied" 


Dave fiction: "The Aliens"

My twelve-year-old's latest adventure! 


The Aliens

At 3:00 am, Dave woke up at the sound of zzzzzzzzt zzzzzzzzzt zzzzzzzt. As he walked out of the bed room, he saw that his roof was being sliced open by a laser then suddenly crashed on to the floor.

Then bright lights shined on to the floor.

Okay that's it! He ran up the stairs and got his shotgun. When he got back down the stairs there were two aliens in red and white space suits.

Dave aimed and shot. Boom-bang it didn't even make a dent!

Then the aliens turned and looked at Dave then aimed at him and...

part 1

Dave woke up to find himself in a small white room. He was lying on a flat bed like thing.

When he got up a man-like person walked up and said, "We've been watching you."

"You can speak English!" said Dave.

"Yes, we took you for a mission."

"What mission?"

"My enemies have almost killed all of us-- you are the only one you can save us!"

"How?" said Dave

"Their radars can't pick you up. I want you to go in their ship and put a chip in a computer and then get out as fast as you can. Can you do that?"

"I will try," said Dave.

part 2

Dave was in a space suit and had a black laser gun. His code name was Stringer.

The alien putting Dave in the suit said, "You will go in a 45x rocket pod, which is invisible to radar. The pod will take you a half a mile from their ship. From there you need to get in somehow."

Dave rocketed out of the ship an hour later in the pod. It landed three hours later. Dave got out and walked around then walked north for a hour.

There was a 50 yard high, 200 yard long, 50 yard wide space battleship. Dave saw a door the size of a car open up and a rover came out. Dave quickly ran over and snuck in as the door shut. Four aliens saw him and started shooting at him.

He quickly rolled over to a wall and shot back and killed one, then ran over to a shelf then shot out the side ziit, ziit, ziit, ziit and got them. Then a loud sound came out of what ever and an army came up behind Dave. Then he ran down a stairway and found the computer room. He looked for the red one and then put the chip in then ran for a big red button. He thought was the big door button. He pushed it then the door opened and he ran out for his pod. Then they stared shooting but he ran away.

Dave got in the pod and rocketed away then boooooooommm their ship exploded!!!!!

The End

Monday, April 22, 2013

Lattice Quilt Idea from Home Depot

A display for privacy lattice.  Look at the cool way they arranged the color samples!  
"That should be a quilt pattern" 

It probably is, I just don't know what it's called. 


I tricked Electric Quilt into cooperating with this by making the diagonal "block" two inches square and the plain fabric "sashing" four inches wide  :-) 

It should be pretty easy to make...

HD lattice quilt idea

Monday, January 21, 2013

Crochet Rag Rug

I used fabric strips and a size Q crochet hook, for the "braided rug" look. 

I made one of these many years ago, but it didn't last long.  First time I put it through the washer it came undone in several places.  This time I used only large pieces of leftover fabric and cut them into huge spirals, to minimize joining, and whenever I had to join a new strip, I made sure to overlap by six or eight inches so that it was wound through two complete stitches.  (I'd meant to SEW all the strips together this time for security, but you know about good intentions.  I think this will stay together!!) 

Boy, it goes fast!  It's also hard work!  Wrestling a hook that large requires shoulders, not just fingers!  So I only worked on it a little here and there.  It was still done really fast. 

The pattern is just single crochet all around, with two sc in each of the six points. 

crocheting-size-Q-fabric-rug-2 crocheting-size-Q-fabric-rug-1 crochet-fabric-strips-rug crochet-rug-done

The Round Knit Dishcloth Explained for Non-Knitters Like Me

An expert knitter was making one of these and I expressed admiration, and she wrote down the pattern from memory for me. 

I tried.  I would make one section come out right, and end up with the number of stitches I was supposed to have, about 1/5th of the time.  No fun. 

The internet gave me a bunch of similar patterns, with varying sets of instructions, several of which... I tried. 

I'm obviously the lamest knitter on the planet, that or I just can't count. 

knit-round-dishcloth-1 knit-round-two-1

I finally figured out what I needed was a list of how many stitches I'm supposed to HAVE at a given moment (not how many I'm supposed to remove) on every single row. 

I wrote it out for myself in knitting-kindergartener language and crossed off each row with a pencil as I completed it, and voila!  Success! 

Here's my easy no-fail version for any other baby knitters out there  :-) 

* * *

The Cotton Knit Dishcloth (Written out with numbers)

From a pattern by Marion Torgerson, that I rewrote to make it easier to keep track

worsted weight cotton yarn, size 7 US needles

Cast on 15 stitches

row 1: knit across. (ends with 15 sts on needle)

row 2: k3, yo, k11, leaving 1 st, turn.

row 3: knit across. (ends with 16 sts on needle)

row 4: k3, yo, k11, leaving 2 sts, turn.

row 5: knit across. (ends with 17 sts on needle)

row 6: k3, yo, k11, leaving 3 sts, turn.

row 7: knit across. (ends with 18 sts on needle)

row 8: bind off 3 sts, k2, yo, k8, leaving 4 sts, turn.

row 9: knit across. (ends with 16 sts on needle)

row 10: k3, yo, k8, leaving 5 sts, turn.

row 11: knit across. (ends with 17 sts on needle)

row 12: k3, yo, k8, leaving 6 sts, turn.

row 13: knit across. (ends with 18 sts on needle)

row 14: bind off 3 sts, k2, yo, k5, leaving 7 sts, turn.

row 15: knit across. (ends with 16 sts on needle)

row 16: k3, yo, k5, leaving 8 sts, turn.

row 17: knit across. (ends with 17 sts on needle)

row 18: k3, yo, k5, leaving 9 sts, turn.

row 19: knit across. (ends with 18 sts on needle)

row 20: bind off 3 sts, k across row (ends with 15 sts on needle)

Repeat these 20 rows seven times, draw up the center and sew together.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Scraps from the Free Swap!

At the last free swap, I made a beeline for a lady I knew was a source of fabric.  She passed me the two bags of it that she had brought, and I took them away unopened. 


There is NOTHING more fun than washing and ironing out a whole pile of new fabric. 

Several were a whole yard or two, best suited for sashing or future-grandbaby dresses.  But my favorite part of the deal actually isn't the large pieces.  I like the little scraps and strings the best!  They keep me calm for a long time, washing, sorting, ironing, and arranging in my string box. 

scraps-from-Free-Swap-1211-02 scraps-from-Free-Swap-1211-03 

That one chunk of quilt-shop quality butterfly fabric was easily the coolest piece in the two bags! 

scraps-from-Free-Swap-1211-08 scraps-from-Free-Swap-1211-09 scraps-from-Free-Swap-1211-07scraps-from-Free-Swap-1211-04

See, I have a new ironing board cover!  Isn't it pretty?  Especially compared to the old one which was burned and stained, but still had its picture posted all over on the internet! 


There's my box of scraps, revitalized with fresh stock! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Just a Couple Random Funnies and Quotes

I fried my computer... yes, I knew about that fan on the video card going out... it was making noise and working intermittently, but to-do lists and priorities and motivation being what they are, the fan eventually failed.  The video card overheated and blew up the motherboard.  Capacitors melted.  Chaos reigned.
The computer guys said, "If you're going to fry your motherboard, you might as well do it right!"

I love it when computer guys approve of me.

Anyway with all my drafts on a C: that I haven't bothered to remove from the carnage yet, as well as my recent photos since the last backup, I haven't a lot to say.

How about some nonsense?  I love random quotes.  Here we go.

Being old doesn't seem so old now that I'm old.    (Boy ain't that the truth!!!)

To err is human. To ARR is pirate!

In a perfect world, a man could fix all his relationship issues with WD-40 and duct tape.
(But wait a second, can't he?)


Why do they call it "unwanted fat"? Like anyone really wants it.
Old enough to remember when LOL meant absolutely nothing
Help! I'm making mistakes faster than I can learn from them!
Dealing with people like you only makes me stronger.
Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten.
Disturbingly strange, but ultimately loveable.
I wish I was as thin as I was when I thought I was fat.
Nice piercings! Good luck finding work.
Now my little voices are texting me!
The older I get, the more ridiculous you all seem.
Will Work For Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
The worst things in life are also free.
Am I the only one here without a tattoo or a fish hook in my face?
Do you take me for an idiot? I get that a lot.
I've reached the age where happy hour is a nap
Having a job interferes with my plans for world domination
Am I fired yet?
Don't worry, our staff is accustomed to dumb questions!
Thank you! We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.
Shut up and let me practice my people skills!
I THINK, therefore I'm overqualified to work here.
Talk nerdy to me.
I'm meeting my needs by ignoring your needs.
Tact is for people who aren't witty enough to be sarcastic.
My life is a bizarre combination of chaos and pizza.
It's easier to answer their dumb questions now than to correct their dumb mistakes later! 


Why not? 
My footwear is usually pretty not exciting.  I'm that boring type who will wear comfortable, ugly shoes.

Here's the opposite! 

Andrea wanted to go in Charlotte Russe and try on ridiculous shoes, so I tried some on, too  :-)
The slinky shoes are perfect with the church lady dress, eh? 

At Payless Shoes they had some boots that actually stood out as a possibility.  

Sixty bucks for made you-know-where, and that's a bummer, but I do need them. 
Gone are the days when I used to get a pair of  $200 Land's End boots every couple years, black leather, waterproof-in-the-tanning, Thinsulate and cushioned footbed, made in USA! 
My most recent boots were Timberland, and are still going strong and waterproof, but they do look a bit too biker-chick for me, and are now starting to look old. 
I'd like to have some presentable boots around just in case I suddenly need to go somewhere nice.  So I got them. 

Good luck at the Goodwill, for Karen: 

I was a little jealous!  Those are cute shoes! 
And then next time at the Goodwill, there were some for me...

They are totally ME complete to the topographic maps on the bottom!  They are comfortable!  And they were $10.  Win! 

How I Lost Twenty Pounds Most Recently

Well, it's of interest to me, and "I'm kind of a big deal on my blog!"   :-) 

"Most Recently" because, unfortunately, this is trench warfare.  I'm fighting over ground that was conquered before, and lost. 

Last time was several years ago, when I was excited about Diet Organizer.  That's tracking software that you can enter everything you eat, and it keeps a tally of calories.  It's a really cool program, lets you customize and enter your own foods and your own exercises, and it goes on computer, Palm OS or Windows Mobile. 
Diet + software was a WIN for me because I love any excuse to play with a new program! 
I started entering my foods for a while and was astonished to realize that I was regularly taking in 2100 or 2500 calories a day.  I got it down to 1500 or 1700 calories a day and lost weight steadily, got to a nice weight and was happy. 

I felt good about my victory, figured I could take it from here and stopped using the program. 

What happened next?  BOOM!  Gained it all back on! 
Oh sure, it took a while, but left to myself, my eyeball idea of portion size gradually got bigger, my hazy memory of how long ago it was that I'd last eaten gradually got smaller, and there I was again. 

It's natural to expect weight gain in my setup.  Living in America, yummy food everywhere, isolated in a house out in the woods, it rains a lot, combined with some really bad depression issues!  Which I tend to self-medicate with chocolate.  It's a disaster waiting to happen and I understand that. 

We're working up to the part I'm cautiously excited about! 
Two things happened recently. 

#1, I had a sin issue that actually started to frighten me.  I couldn't let go of a temptation, even when I had decided I WANTED to-- and it got to the point where I obsessed, no longer about the original wrong thought, but about my inability to not obsess! 
I tried the old classic, stop eating.  Funny how taking in nothing but water for a week or so improves your whole outlook. 
No, really.  It clears the mind.  It lightens the spirits.  It brightens the eyes.  Nothing else really changes, but the garbage flakes off.  There's no fireworks, it's rather like waking up, looking around, and brushing all that nightmare nonsense away.  It feels really good. 

#2, I got worried about my digestive system.  That's another thing I tend to hypochondriac about.  I'm falling apart!  If my tummy hurts at all, then my colon probably has at least three bricks in it and I have weeks to live. Don't laugh, I worry about this stuff! 

I noticed after the fasting how light and clean I felt, how relaxed my whole innards were,  and what a nice feeling that was, and I wondered how I could preserve it at long as possible.  I thought maybe I'd try just eating things that were really easy to digest. 

Funny thing is, eating things that are easy to digest is maintainable! 
And even, delightful! 

I also watched a couple of good videos: 

Fat Head, which is the response to Super Size Me.  The film maker didn't appreciate the premise of Super Size Me, so he proves you can lose weight and get healthy by eating only McDonald's, but using your brain about what you order!  He explains how carbs cause fat and how fat and protein gives energy. 

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, which is about juicing, which I'm not doing, but it made a lot of good points and was inspirational. 

Food Matters, from which I picked up only the important detail about its being a good idea to drink water first thing in the morning.  I don't know why this is important, but I accept that it's doing me good to have water as the first through-put. 

So here's the diet: 

I get up in the morning and fill a quart jar with water, and drink it while sitting in front of my computer. 
(Note to self, be sure to Go before leaving the house.  Not long ago I downed four cups of water then my vitamins with carrot juice, then hopped in the car and ran errands for a couple hours without paying any extra attention to where the nearest restroom might be, until suddenly I almost had a Serious Problem.) 

Anyway.  The vitamins.  DH gives me a huge pile of them twice a day which I am expected to swallow.  I'm sure they must be good for me; it's a love / hate relationship.  It boils down to swallowing the vitamins being less unfun than listening to him chew on me about it.  So I swallow the blasted vitamins with carrot juice. 

And then, either leftover vegetables from last night, cold from the fridge, or nut mix.  We get these unsalted, raw pecans, cashews, brazil nuts and raisins, awfully pricey mixture, but there's an awful lot of nutrition in it! 
And then brush my teeth.  That's another important point.  It's good to get in a habit of keeping the teeth clean ALL the time-- except when eating-- and then brush again. 

I tried Fit For Life once, but I really can't handle eating fruit in the morning.  Don't know why.  My system just isn't ready for it and fruit doesn't seem appetizing.  I like to eat fruit for the next meal.  So in the afternoon, I head for the kitchen table, where for lack of anywhere better to put it, all that nice fruit from Costco gets piled.  There's no question of amounts.  Eat all the fruit you like. 
And then brush. 

From Fit For Life I learned that four o'clock is chocolate time.  If despair hits and I can't handle it, I go for the chocolate.  Chocolate is actually health food, y'know, if it's dark, especially the beet-sweetened kind like Endangered Species.  It's got antioxidants and bioflavenoids and whatever.  Chow down without guilt.  Or Coconut Secret bars, which are basically coconut wrapped in chocolate wrapped in foil and you pay accordingly, $3 for a little thing, but whatever.  They're delightful. 

Dinner is meat and veggies. I get a nice big pile on the plate, but it really doesn't take that much of a nice steak, or chicken sausage, or salmon, to feel like good eating.  Cooked carrots, beets, squash, peas, I actually love 'em with salt and butter.  I make sure to cook more than necessary so there'll be leftovers to eat cold the next morning. 

I didn't set out to lose weight, I was worried about my mind and guts, and voila, the rest took care of itself   :-) 

I feel, right now, like I could do this from now on.  I have zero desire to eat the bread products-- I just don't miss them!  Something made with wheat crosses my lips now and again, it's not forbidden or anything.  But I don't miss it.  Even cinnamon rolls don't attract me.  Yuck, I remember how it feels after eating those things! 
I love the cashews, avocadoes, cooked carrots, they're my favorite so why would I need anything else? 

I'm learning, finally, that if the question crosses my mind, "Should I be eating this?"  the answer is No, and then to actually not eat it!  If the question crosses my mind, "Is this going to do me any good or not?"  That it won't, and to not eat it.  I'm doing better at that. 

We'll have to check in later to see if the news is still good but-- that's another mindset I find is gradually changing these days.  I'm much less concerned for the future.  I'm already old enough to see that the future is HERE, and today is not worth ruining with worries about tomorrow. 

In case you ever wondered what the inside of a Goodwill dressing room looks like  :-)
No idea where I could ever wear that dress, but I bought it anyway!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Beach Rocks with Colored Pencil

smooth black and grey pebbles from beachwhite pebble with a little drawing

I picked up some smooth little rocks at the beach, with the nifty idea of coloring on them with colored pencil.  Wouldn't that be pretty?  It didn't work out as lovely as I had imagined, because I'm not much of an artist. 

Then Karen found the rocks and colored pencils where I'd left them...

smooth beach rock with a white water lily and silver decoration smooth black rock from beach with clover and ladybug drawn with colored pencil smooth beach rocks with trees and creek landscape, and floating yellow water lilies

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Titanium Cookware

This year all the health nuts have titanium cookware, apparently.  

eggs and toast cooking in cast iron frying pan 

I did love my cast iron!  It's so well seasoned I hardly ever wash it, only wipe with a paper towel.  Cast iron makes things taste delicious.  Here's a photo of my wonderful breakfast, which I took just for joy of my cast iron pan before I was told I couldn't use it any more.  Why can't I use it any more? 

I went to the doctor, for the first time I can remember.  I don't really like the whole medical subject, it gives me the creeps.  I do the best I can, of course; I watch these videos that tell me what to eat, and I try, because I want to live as long as possible.  But I don't want to know the science and I don't want to hear the bad news.  Better to continue in happy ignorance as long as possible. 

Thanks be to God, there was no bad news.  My test results were all in the middle of normal, except for two results that were out of range:  I had too much "good cholesterol", which made the doctor shake her head and say, "Well, I guess that means you'll never have a heart attack."  And I had too much iron in the blood. 

Cooking with cast iron is good for you because it provides dietary iron, but there can be too much of a good thing (and I have always scraped at it very enthusiastically with the spatula while cooking). 

So I didn't resist the titanium thing too much. 

woll nowo titanium pan 2 

MADE IN GERMANY.  For $100 it had better be magnificent... and it is! 

It's not lightweight.  It's titanium coating over a base of solid aluminum, and is even heavier than the cast iron.   (I've taken note of instances in movies where people use cast iron frypans as weapons.  My favorites are Samwise in LOTR, Marian in Raiders of the Lost Ark (that was so cute), and Martin in Grosse Point Blank.  This pan would be an even more effective conking instrument!)

I've never had a pan that heats up this evenly, or is so beautifully non-stick. 

The most surprising thing was when I saw the edges of the eggs waving back and forth-- they had cooked and then lifted away from the pan, and the edges were blowing in the breeze created by the heat coming from beneath them!  "Well, I never!" 


Baby Chickens

Another batch of chicks with their proud mother hen! 

six black australorp chicks with the mother hen in the straw baby chickens with their mother boys picking up fluffy baby chickens fluffy baby chicks drinking water out of a shriveled rind

Black Australorp chick held up in a hand

Sometimes I wish I had wiiiiings... so I could flyyyy awayyyy...
Sometimes hands are better! 

Baby chick with Mother under shadow of the leaves in the forest

In the warm sunshine... life is good  :-) 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yes, I'm Alive

How about that!  I haven't posted in my blog since June! 
warm kitty basking in the sunshine
Let's have some miscellaneous.  Starting off with warm and silky...
Dave-cat-Magformers-3 Dave-cat-Magformers-7
The world's most tolerant kitty.  Look at the kitty gloves!   

antique-shopping ice cream scoop and strainer
Found in an antique shop: a scoop with metal gears that won't fail six months after buying, and a strainer with the holes only in the bottom, for draining something into a container.  
chevron-dishrag knit
Cotton dishrag x playing =
model train in candy section toy train in candy section
How fiendish can a candy section get?  We stand there and watch the choo-choo train while the sugar communicates with our bloodstream.  Nice.  The word "organic" in the sign means there's better things to eat far over toward the right of the photo, but unfortunately the train is here. 
how Rome parallels the United States how Rome compares to United States
And political commentary!  I found this in a homeschool textbook.  Just cross out Rome and write United States, and isn't this basically what happened? 
Here's me carrying a bouncy inflatable rolling play thingie (no idea what to call it).  The photographer titles this photo, "Thought Bubble."