Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Grow my pretties!

There are seedlings in my mini planter!  My mint is growing!  I seriously did a squeal of joy when I saw that, and baby talked the little things as I was watering them.  My red pepper plant is also looking perkier since I brought it inside.  The LED light is working!  Now let's hope that my watering is enough, too.

In other news, I went to a needlecraft group today at a library in a nearby town.  I was invited last Saturday by a woman at a Farmer's Market since she saw my knitting tattoo.  She told me to bring an apple and a chopstick, and she was going to show me how to spin yarn.  I almost did a backflip right there, because learning to spin yarn was something I really wanted to do.  So, today I went, and she gave me some roving.  Here are the results:


The yarn result isn't pretty, but it was fun!  I never thought of using an apple and a chopstick to make a drop spindle.  The woman gave me some more roving to play with, so I'll be goofing around with that.  I'm thinking of getting a nice spindle now.

I'm also looking at getting a new bike helmet.  My current one is made for sport riding, and is a pretty blue, but I want something more interesting and unique.  Yakkay makes some pretty helmets with covers to make them look like hats, but they are $120 each.  The ones I am really liking are by Nutcase.   My favorite designs are Star Bright, Daisy Stripe, and Sunburst.  Once I figure out how much money I'll have left after my next rent payment, I'll be placing my order.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Self Sufficiency and taking care of our environment

This is one of the books I've read recently.  I read Alas, Babylon in my high school Sci Fi class in my senior year, and I've been going back and reading some books from that time again.  Set in the 1950's during the tensions between the US and Russia, Alas, Babylon takes a look into the life of the town Fort Repose after a nuclear war.  It goes through the hardships and successes of survival in a post nuclear war world.  I love this book, and it easily ranks as one of my top favorites.

As I was reading, I started thinking more about our society and our lives.  We are so dependent on luxuries of technology and life that were nuclear war or any other disaster to happen on that scale (zombie apocalypse anyone?), that it would be a huge blow.  Pat Frank, the author of Alas, Babylon, touches on these topics.  One character's life is totally based around money, and when he finds out that it's useless in a post-apocalyptic world he can't live with that idea, so he commits suicide.  Little things we take for granted like coffee, electricity, and even salt, become such luxuries in Fort Repose.  We can go to stores and buy as much coffee and salt as we need, and we have electricity available anytime, so we don't really think "what would happen if this were gone?"  Sure, we've dealt with power outages (I remember the Northeast blackout), but to deal with it being gone for an indefinite amount of time?  I don't know how some people would cope.

A few days after I finished the book, I was watching National Geographic and there were shows on about different apocalyptic scenarios that could happen to humans.  Topics ranged from the Earth slowing down its spin, running out of oil, and population overgrowth.  The first topic is out there, but the other two are real threats.  We use so much oil based products and processes in out lives, and the population is expanding at an exponential rate.  These are real threats to our world.  The shows talked about what could happen after certain amounts of time passed.  As I watched these, and thinking about the novel, I came to one conclusion:

Wow, we're fucked.

Okay, that's probably an overstatement, but still, it's scary!  I didn't stay scared for long, however.  The book made me realize that I should work on some skills to be able to survive on my own in events like war, and the shows made me realize that I need to work on how much I impact the environment.  How can I lessen my impact from things like overpopulation and destroying our resources, and also be more self sufficient?  Why, being green and developing more self sufficiency skills of course!  One of my first ideas for being more green was to buy this:


A bike!  I got it for $40 at a garage sale, and it came with two baskets, two horns, a chain and lock, and a tire pump.  After getting it fixed at a bike shop, I have a new mode of transportation and exercise!  I can use it for short shopping trips instead of wasting gas in my car.  I still have to drive almost 30 miles every weekday to go to work, but it's a start.

Next, I worked on both self sufficiency and being green.  I started a container garden!


Okay, it's just a Sweet Red Bell pepper plant right now, but it's a start.  I haven't had that much luck in the green thumb department in the past, but I hope to change that.  I've got a container to plant small carrots, a kit for growing zinnias, and I have a "tater pot" mini pot with mint planted.  I had to move the pepper plant inside to my craft room and give it an artificial lamp since I don't get enough sun on my balcony, but that's okay.  I want to be able to learn how to garden and grow my own food and to contribute less to buying goods that had to be transported to me by burning fossil fuels.

There are other little things I'm doing, too.  I'm slowly changing all of the bulbs in my apartment to CFLs and turning lights off when I don't need them.  I also bought some ingredients to make homemade cleaning products that are better for us and the environment.  More of my groceries will be certified organic, and I am going to try to prepare more of my meals at home and eat out less.  It's all little things I'm starting with at first, but it will add up.

Besides, knowing how to survive and live more efficiently would be a big help in the zombie apocalypse.


Bring it on.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sew good!

Arts and crafts that I currently do regularly:
  • Knitting
  • Crocheting
  • Drawing
  • Cross Stitching

Arts and crafts that I had tried, some which I go back to sometimes:
  • Perler beads
  • Hemp jewelry making
  • Bead jewelry making
  • Pottery
  • Painting (Watercolor, oil, and acrylic)
  • Quilting (I was little, so I didn't do much with this haha.)
  • Decoupage
  • Sewing (7th grade Home Ec.)
  • Writing

I love crafting and art.  I've been drawing since I was able to put crayon to paper.  Some of these things I only tried for a bit, maybe in a class.  Knitting and crocheting are so much a part of my life now that I got a tattoo to show that, and I have plans to have tattoos of my other crafting hobbies, like drawing.  Making things is one of the things in life that make me so happy, and I know I'll be crafting and doing art until the day I die.  Recently, I decided to return to a craft I did in middle school, and I hope that this becomes a big part of my life like knitting, crocheting, and drawing did.

I'm returning to sewing!  Seeing things that people make with sewing made me want to give it a shot again.  I bought a book called S.E.W.: Sew Everything Workshop.  Last night I spent my time curled up on my couch reading the first couple chapters and browsing through the patterns.  Today I went out with a list of supplies for my sewing kit, and also the list of antique stores to visit (I love antique stores!)  At the third store I went to, I came across this:


A sewing machine!  A WORKING sewing machine!  I gasped when I saw it.  I wasn't planning on buying a sewing machine yet since I hadn't done my research and reviews yet, but I couldn't resist.  There was no price tag on it, but the cashier told me it would be $38.06 with the tax.  I was ecstatic!  After I lugged the machine in its case to my car (that sucker was HEAVY), I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics to create my sewing kit.  I got the basics in the list of things to get listed in the book (a lot of which I got in the color pink).  My favorite part about my kit is the case I got for it.


OWLS!  Cute little owls!  I love owls.  There was one case left, a smaller one, with this design.  The book recommended getting a case big enough for the 2"x18" sewing ruler, but I didn't care.  OWLS!  And look at the cute little leaves!  Here's a closeup of the fabric.


I'm seriously so giddy right now and excited to get started on my journey with sewing.  I would've started tonight, but there is one thing I need to do first; clean the sewing machine.  Seriously, this thing smells musty from probably sitting in somone's basement for awhile.  Especially the case.  Right now I'm doing research on what to do to clean this machine without ruining anything.  I also downloaded the manual for the machine so I can read through it and make sure I know the parts and what they do.  Once my machine is ready, I'll be trying it out and practicing with it before starting my first project, which I have yet to decide what it will be.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mmmm...


Just a drawing I made of one of my favorite things; tea.  I love tea.  Every morning at work I make a cup of some black tea with whatever flavor of creamer I currently have.  Lately I've been drinking Vanilla flavored black tea with International Delight's Irish Creme creamer.  It's so tasty, and I look forward to my tea in the morning as I'm doing work. 

This is the first loose tea I'm drinking.  Loose tea is put into an infuser and left to brew in the cup or teapot until it's ready.  Normal infusers are simple metal balls, or little containers that hang in the mug.  My infuser, however, is a rubber ducky with the little basket below it.


Isn't it so cute?!  It floats around my mug as it's brewing.  My mom bought me it from a bird store for Christmas, and I love it.  Looks like I'll be having a lot of loose tea in my future.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Coming of the Martians

I've been browsing blogs with pictures of girls with awesome tattoos.  Seeing all the beautiful artwork makes me so anxious for my next piece.  The drawing is a War of the Worlds themed tattoo that uses the tripod design from the 2005 Spielberg movie.  It also incorporates themes from the book, such as a comet representing the cylinders falling down to earth (the only thing I didn't like about the 2005 movie was the "oh, they've been buried underground for thousands of years" idea), and the ironclad ship, HMS Thunderchild, fighting a tripod.  There will also be the red weed coming down from my shoulder into the drawing.

I'm SO tempted to bump up my tattoo appointment!  Arrrgh!  Patience!  Patience is so hard sometimes...  I just finished reading H. G. Well's In The Days of the Comet, and am now reading The Invisible Man.  Reading his works is making me even more excited for my tattoo.

March 19th needs to come faster!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Knit on!

I love knitting and crocheting.  Absolutely love them.  I started knitting when I was a senior in high school, and crocheting my junior year of college.  I love them so much, I even got a tattoo of a ball of yarn with knitting needles and a crochet hook on my right arm.  I drew up the design myself.

This picture was taken over a year ago.  Hey, you can see my natural hair color!

I've always got multiple projects going at one time.  Here's the list of what I'm working, including the one I'll be casting on soon:


  • Ravenclaw scarf.  I'm using Caron Simply Soft.  I've made a Gryffindor Scarf (didn't know about stockinette stitch and curling at the time) and a Slytherin Scarf (which is HUUUUUUUGE!)  I need more scarves and was on a HP kick at the time.
  • Plain socks using Christmas sock yarn.  I am using the "Choice of Options Socks" pattern I found on Ravelry.  This is most likely getting put on hold because of the next project listed (I need the needles!)
  • Slytherin Socks.  For Christmas I told one of my friends I would knit her something.  As I was listing off the options she immediately said "socks!"  She didn't care about the others, haha.  I love knitting socks.  She fell in love with a pattern for Slytherin Socks, so that's what she's getting!  The pattern is "Slytherin Pride Socks" by Ann Kingstone, and they can be found and bought on Ravelry.  I've got two other Harry Potter sock patterns from this person waiting to be made.
  • Cupcake Scarf.  I got a book called "Twinkie Chan's Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies" for Christmas.  The patterns in here are ADORABLE!  I decided to start with the cupcake scarf, because I liked the pink colored yarn recommended.  Homespun is a pain in the ass to crochet with, but once you get the hang of it it's fun.

I was going to post WIP pictures of the projects, but I'm slightly lazy tonight.  Oh well, time to go knit some more!

Oh, and I'm Nerdfins on Ravelry. :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I shouldn't own nice things...

For Christmas this year I got a KitchenAid stand mixer.  Oh sure, I got other things, but this one was the best.  I was confused about the big package on my side of the tree since I didn't ask for anything large.  When I unwrapped it, I gasped and almost hugged the box.  Finally!  I can do lots of baking and cooking in my apartment like an ADULT!  I can cook Alton Brown recipes!  Make cupcakes!  Bread!  FOOD!  I would be the talk of the office when I brought in delicious baked goods.

Last night I finally got the mixer up to my second floor apartment (laziness and snow prevented me from bringing it up the first night I got back).  Doing so was no easy task since I'm a weakling.  Carrying it out to my car when I packed it for the journey home was easy since I only had to go down three steps in the garage.  "Hey, this isn't too bad" I thought.  But when I pulled it out of my car to make the journey up the steps to my apartment I realized "well shit, this isn't going to be easy."  I had to stop at each landing, and was thankful KitchenAid seemed to realized that people like me are going to be carry this and put cut out handles in the box.  At the top of the stairs, I gasped for breath.  There was a sense of accomplishment flowing through me as I celebrated my victory over the stairs.  The box, however, got pushed across the floor after that.

Unpacking the mixer was an adventure unto itself.  Carefully slicing the tape with my boxcutter, I opened the box and gazed on the glorious white surface of my beautiful new appliance.  There was a stupid grin on my face as I lifted out the little instruction booklet and mail-in for a cooking magazine.  Then, I put my hands around the head of the mixer and started to lift it out of the package.

It got stuck.  The Styrofoam protection got stuck as I slid the mixer up.  My genius plan was to hold one of the flaps of the box between my legs and lift the mixer again.  It still got stuck, and the flap dug into my thighs through my jeans.  After about 5 minutes of this, I was almost ready to just slice the box open (being tired makes you want to kill things much sooner).  Luckily for the box's life, the mixer finally came loose.

I placed the mixer on the counter and admired its beauty.  My parents had the sense of mind to get me the mixer where the bowl lifts up and down instead of the head of the mixer, since my cabinets are low.  I didn't even know if it would fit underneath at all.  It did, and I immediately sent a picture to my parents, gushing about my lovely new appliance.  I then took out and looked at the two extra attachments that came with the mixer.  As I put them in the bowl to keep them stored until I figured out a better place for them, my parents texted me back. 

My mom asked "Did you turn it on to see if it worked?"

"Hold on.  I'll do that now," I replied back.  I plugged the mixer in, turned the switch to "off/reset" to get it ready, and then turned it on to the lowest speed.

CLANG!  WIRRRRRRR!

Remember those attachments?  Yeah, I forgot to take them out of the bowl.  The whisk started spinning, got stuck on one of the attachments, and stopped.  I quickly switched the mixer off, and managed to lower the bowl and get the other attachments out.  When I turned the mixer on again it worked just fine, but there was a smell from it.  Panicking, I texted my mom, who reassured me that the smell was just from running it for the first time, and not my dumbassery.  I could just imagine her laughing her ass off at my stupidness.

It's a good thing KitchenAid stand mixers are BAMFs, because it probably wouldn't survive me otherwise.

Monday, January 3, 2011

PINK!

Quick sketch of me and my awesome hair.  Which I need to touch it up.  The roots are showing again.

Age is just a number

My parents texted me yesterday.  They saw a grandma with a white and purple mohawk.  They immediately thought "hey, that's Nerdfins in 60 years."

Awesome.