If you'd like to support this site and all the free things I post- please check out my Don't Eat the Paste Mandala collection coloring book for 9.99 at Amazon.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
However, getting a nasty flu bug twice in 6 weeks wasn't a dream, so now I'm trying to catch up and make the preliminary deadline which is why there hasn't been a printable calendar this year. If you don't mind getting one in January I could do it then.
My kids have been cooking dinner every night while I work on this deadline. My husband is my best cheerleader and he MOSTLY helps keep me on track. Last night though he decided I needed a break and we watched RED 2 together. I adore Helen Mirrin so much, Helen Mirrin with big guns and lots of things going boom is even better.
One thing I haven't mentioned in here is that we've switched to mostly avocado oil for cooking. It handles high heats beautifully and we had been mostly sauteing in it- then we were out of oil and TG was making Tator Tots as part of dinner. Instead of baking them, she decided to fry them. In avocado oil, which I might have been annoyed about because it's a bit more expensive but they tasted so good. She was also careful to only use a little oil. Perfectly crispy, brown and gorgeous with no smokey oil.
Anyway, I'm hooked on the stuff. If you've been thinking about trying it, do. For cooking it's great. But it's also been a life saver for my seriously dry skin in the winter. I keep a little in a small glass bottle and apply it straight from the shower. It just takes a little bit. It's thick and viscous and feels just a little sticky when it goes on, then it absorbs and my skin is loving it. Because it takes so little, it's been more economical than the lotions I was using and works better.
The other big thing in going on is that I ordered some mesophilic yogurt cultures. I've written about yogurt before but always made it using thermophilic methods in the past. So after this deadline- expect a post about making yogurt. The starter batches are currently culturing.
Well, that's it. Back to drawing mandalas for this coloring book.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Still behind on that. But slowly starting to catch. Today though we took a break for Christmas.
If you've lost someone you love very much, you know the holidays can be hard. So for everyone out there who was missing someone this holiday season- I hope your memories bought you more joy than sadness, more laughter than tears and more blessings than pain.
My family spoiled each other. My daughter finger knitted bracelets for all of us. I asked her if she would be willing to do an instructional video later to show how she made them. They are soft and fun.
Everybody except my dad and I got something game related- and the only reason he didn't was because William couldn't find the game he wanted to get him! They all loved them.
The stand out gifts?
My dad and son gave me a pair of Wonder Woman sneakers from Journeys.
My husband got me THIS!
Oh yes. There will be foams in the future. I will do foamy light microwave cakes, then top them with whipped yogurt. I will foam all sorts of things because it's shiny and new and wonderful.
My husband got his gifts early because they were things he needed for work. But last month I was sent a video game to review and he was certain he wouldn't like it, but was willing to try it to give me his opinion as well.
From my Amazon review-
It's like reading a book and being able to put it down after a chapter to get other things done. My son thinks the mini games are too simple and prefers more rpg based games. My daughter likes it for an hour at a time then switches to something with a faster pace and more action.
My husband was the person in my family who was most convinced he probably wasn't going to like it much. Then he started playing. To use that same book comparison- this is the book you stay up all night to read and spend the next day bleary eyed, drinking coffee to come back home and read some more.
I don't recommend it for anyone who has issues with profanities or violence, but he loves it. So Dad and William gave him more of the AC games to try out.
The Amazing Turnip Girl- being the perfect geek got and loved a SuperWhoLock gift set The Geek Studio on Etsy (currently on hiatus until after the New Year). The set includes a laser cut necklace inspired by each show. For Sherlock it's a silhouette of his head inscribed with the words "I believe in Sherlock Holmes", Supernatural it's Rule #1, and a TARDIS for Doctor Who. It also has 4 silicone bracelets, 1 that says SuperWhoLock and the other 3 inspired by the shows and 6 buttons for each show. She was thrilled and showed them off quite happily.
William loves his Threadless shirts. He wants to have as big a collection as mine. He got one with Tesla and Lovecraft on it, and one that's book themed.
Dad was happy with his tool set and happy that I didn't forget the chocolate kiss that's been his traditional gift every year since I was 8. He counts on that great big piece of chocolate.
It's never about the stuff though is it? It's about time with family.
And I love my impossibly geeky, incredibly funny and always interesting bunch of left-handed geeks!
Sunday, December 22, 2013
I love making soft bangles! This pattern was supposed to be posted yesterday because the one on the far left was done day before yesterday. But then I decided it would look good with 2 colors of yarn and my geeky daughter picked the yarn. She decided on Portal blue and orange
So after I finished one, she also decided she needed one with the opposite colorway. Fortunately they are very quick but that's why the pattern is being posted today instead of yesterday. My examples are in Lily Sugar 'n Cream yarn. The bottom is Psychedelic Ombre, the top two (Portal!) are in Hot Orange and Hot Blue.
You will need:
- Worsted weight yarn in one or two colors- a small amount will do.
- Size H hook (5mm)
- yarn needle
Break off, and weave in the ends!
So that's why there hasn't been much for the holidays. I hope you enjoy this gift box! There is a black and white version for people like Libby to color, and a colored version to put together for last minute gifts.
Click on the images for larger versions, print on card stock, cut out, score folds, fold and glue!
Saturday, December 21, 2013
I'm a huge fan of Kenneth Sterling William's work. I posted about him in 2009 here- Pipe Cleaner Master when I got this lovely Wonder Woman figure from him.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
This post brought to you by Duck Brand provided by ShurTech Brands, LLC. All opinions are 100% mine.
Duck the Halls time again! When you find all sorts of creative uses for the fantastic holiday prints from DuckBrand®
Some of my own favorite uses are:
- Stealth gift tags- A great way to keep people guessing, pick a print for each person on your list and label their gifts with just a strip of tape. On Christmas morning, tell them which print is theirs.
- DuckTape® Gift book - a notebook to keep track of sizes, preferences of the people you buy gifts for
- Chains, bows and all sorts of things you can make with paper work great using DuckBrand® tapes as well (and have you seen their fabric tapes?)
- reusuable pouches (tutorial below)
These pouches are super easy to make, inexpensive and can be re-used or be a gift as well. Because DuckBrand® makes so many great prints and colors they are easy to customize.
You will need:
- Sliding zipper sandwich bags
- non-stick scissors
- Duck Tape®!
- optional- hole punch to make hangers for the pouches
To start with, cut off a piece of tape the same width as the bottom of the bag and tape the bottom. If you want to cut off the bottom to make a smaller sized pouch like one for a cash gift- do that first.
Now cover both sides of the bag with tape! I made it a little long, then trimmed it.
Last step is to cut 2 pieces of tape as long as the pouch, and tape the sides so it's all nice and neat. You can also add a small tape tag and punch it with the hole punch for a hanging hole.
I was discussing this with my son, and we talked about other things we could do with the finished pouches. They would be great for kid's wallets for example. DuckTape® comes in so many great prints that it's easy to make these just perfect for anyone on your list.
Follow @TheDuckBrand on Twitter for lots of ideas, tutorials and tips and create your own #DuckTheHalls project and share it on Twitter and Pinterest using the #DuckTheHalls hashtag!
One final quick gift idea- If you get really pinched for time- rolls of Duck Tape® make a fantastic gift. Include a pair of non-stick scissors for crafty friends!
Sunday, December 15, 2013
The small pouch can be used to hold rocks and crystals, or with a smaller chain- used as a gift bag for a ring or piece of jewelry.
You will need:
- size 10 thread
- size 7 or 1.5 mm crochet hook (size 8 if you use Boye hooks)
- tapestry needle big enough to fit the thread
American terminology used throughout.
Chain a length long enough to slip over your neck, or 6 inches long if you are using it for a gift bag instead, sl st back down the length of the chain. Break off leaving ends long enough to weave in. Weave strap through the chain 3 spaces on Round 15, then tie off ends and weave them in.
Friday, December 13, 2013
This post brought to you by FrogTape provided by ShurTech Brands, LLC. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you've ever painted a terracotta pot using tape- you know that the textured surface can make less than perfect lines. But wow. Look at those nice clean lines! You can get those kind of perfect lines on all sorts of surfaces like stucco or cinderblocks using FrogTape Textured Surface.
It takes a couple extra steps, but the end result is so gorgeous and clean.
For this project- you'll need:
- a terracotta pot- I chose a medium sized pot
- a saucer for the pot that will work as a lid
- FrogTape® Textured Surface Tape
- Latex paint- I used a high gloss interior/exterior paint
- a wet cloth
Pick a pot and a saucer that the saucer is the right size to fit into the top of the pot as lid. Base paint both.
I chose a close to TARDIS blue color and a light apricot. I also bought enough extra paint so this summer my daughter can paint her room door (it's a little cold to take it off the hinges and paint it now!) - She'll be using this tape when she paints her door.
Let the latex paint dry for 3 days before taping according to the instructions. Then tape like a present. You'll tape the pot and lid separately.
Now it's time for the part that makes this tape work so good. Take a wet cloth and go over the edges of the tape. That activates the edge sealing. Then use the bottle of edge sealer and scrub over the edges with that. Let it dry and paint with your second color.
Nearly immediately after painting, remove the tape. Let dry.
What I'm doing with this pot is filling it with seeds that I know are reliable here in Anchorage, and including a page of notes about my experiences growing them. First I'll put in a pair of gardening gloves to block the hole at the bottom- then make up individual packets of my favorite seeds. Tie a small garden trowel to the top of the pot with a piece of jute string and it's a perfect gift for a novice gardening friend. So she can use the pot immediately, I'm also putting in some herb seeds.
Follow @FrogTape on Twitter for lots of great #TexturedSurface ideas.- Create your own projects and pin them using the #TexturedSurface hashtag to share them.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The last of the birthstone and birth flower mandalas- December!
December actually has a few options for a birthstone. Blue zircon has been traditional in the USA since the 50s. Turquoise, tanzanite, blue topaz and lapis lazuli are all used as well. Think blue! The flower is narcissus, which you can find all over the place in December as a bulb you can force indoors.
Happy birthday to everyone born in December! Which includes my son who was born on New Year's Eve.
This is part of my Birth Flower/Birthstone series of printable mandalas to color. You can see the rest of the series here-
The Birthstone and Flower series of Mandalas
Click the images for larger versions to print and color-
Small JPG version-
Monday, December 9, 2013
LEGO has this fun part of their site called LEGO Minifigure Family where you can create minifigure versions of you and your family to use as a holiday card.
It's really easy to use. You get to add people and pets one by one, and customize them. Starting by picking out skin tone, then faces- which includes several expressions and some of them have glasses. Next step is hair or hat style. After that, click on torso to pick a shirt, then legs to pick pants. Or if you want play a bit- you can randomize the outfit.
It was a lot of fun picking the outfits, faces etc that best reflect my family. My husband does wear sweater vests, our daughter does wear suits. I'm kind of a hippie so the finge and tie dye work out well for me. My dad dresses plainly, but likes to wear caps and does have a full face of hair. It was so easy to pick the outfits for each one.
It's all very easy to use and after your done you have the option of sharing the finished image, or downloading it.
Minifigures are so nifty, and creating your family in minifigures makes for a memorable, fun greeting. Go try it out!
LEGO Minifigure Family
The reason is because it's kirigami (cut paper designs), origami (folded paper designs) and quilling (coiled paper designs) to create all sorts of gorgeous mandala like designs that can be used for home decoration, on cards or made tiny, as jewelry.
It's a nicely made hardcover book, with tons of projects. Beautifully photographed double page spreads in the beginning show you all the projects. Then the introduction covers tools, techniques and paper types- so if your a complete novice to any of the techniques, you can start just with this book. The introduction covers basics of paper quilling, how to read origami diagrams and how to follow the kirigami instructions.
Each technique is in it's own section, and the projects are all marked by shape- sunbursts, stars or snowflakes.
First is the quilling- these are gorgeous, lacy designs that are diagrammed very well to show how to glue together the components to create filigree shapes. The technique is wonderful and finished pieces are good for jewelry and ornaments.
Origami explains how to make different shapes to work with, starting with cutting a square from a rectangle of paper, then making other shapes. It also shows how the same basic base will look completely different according to the number of sides your base shape has. The bases by themselves are attractive, but then it gets into the projects which develop on those bases for intricate models. Some of those have a lot of folds and are a little bit challenging for me- I'm an experienced paper folder but not an expert.
Kirigami is my favorite section. It explains how to fold the paper to cut 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 sided shapes then shows a bunch of gorgeous snowflakes, stars and sunbursts to cut. There is something so satisfying about opening out a square of folded, cut paper to see the delicate snowflake appear.
I absolutely recommend this book- it's one of my favorite books of 2013!
Amazon.com affiliate links don't affect your cost, and provide extra income to me personally, which helps support this site.
I received a complimentary copy of this book to review, I received no other compensation, and my review is my honest opinion of the book. You can read more about my review policy here.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Here's a coloring page for you all. I hope you enjoy it!
Click on the images for larger versions to print and color.
Small JPG version:
Sunday, December 1, 2013
I'm pretty envious right now of people who are in warm places for Christmas. It's snowy and gorgeous here, but bitter cold. Click on the images below for a larger version to print and color.
Small JPG version:
Friday, November 29, 2013
I hope you enjoy this printable slide box! The box will fit 3 Ghirardelli squares and this one is decorated to look like a present. I like these both as table decorations and as stocking stuffers.
Click on the image for the larger version, print on card stock, cut out, score folds, fold and glue! You can buy the blank template to decorate yourself with an instant download at my Etsy store.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
A bunch of people on FB have been doing a daily gratitude all month. I didn't join in that, but there are so many things that I'm so grateful for- so here's a short list of both big and small things.
1. My family- first, always. My husband and I have been together nearly 18 years and more in love every day. His thoughtfulness, care and strength of character still take my breath away. My children- William and the Amazing Turnip Girl are inspirations, joy and they are two of the sweetest, most generous people it's ever been my honor to know. My dad and his unflinching honesty- I'm glad he's reasonably healthy and just as contrary and stubborn as ever. The ones who are gone- my Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Uncle and Kim- gone, but not gone, just on the other side.
2. My friends! This year has been full of wonderful moments with friends- it's impossible to encapsulate that in a short way, but I'm so thankful for all of them.
3. Every single one of you. The regular readers, the ones who stop in occasionally and the new readers. The ones who write to me, leave comments, link back to this blog, or like my page on FB. When I started this blog, I thought that if I got a few hundred hits a month, it would be enough. You all have made this such a joy!
The smaller things: (because people are ALWAYS the big thing)
1. The opportunities! My Duck Tape, the sponsors who give me supplies to create and help support this blog financially and Dover giving me the chance to do coloring books!!
2. My husband getting out of the toxic job atmosphere he was in, and getting a job with a company who truly appreciates him. He's so happy, working less hours and in a job he truly believes in.
3. That gorgeous summer, with the wonderful crops and TG learning to make jam. Her jellies absolutely deserve a place on this list. Because YUM!
The last year has been busy. This month started with me trying to make a deadline after my computer died, and for the first week after I finished it, there was a de-stress period where I caught up on reading and other things. Then last week I got sick with the flu. Sorry for the lack of posts this month. I'm going to try to do better for December and have a couple crochet projects and a some new candy boxes lined up now plus a review of one of the best paper books I've read this year and some great knitting and cookbook reviews.
I hope you all are having a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
So here are two of the finished designs for you to color. I hope you enjoy them.
Click on the images for larger versions, print/color!
Small JPG version:
Friday, November 22, 2013
One of my readers wrote me recently lamenting the fact that so many Christmas things were snowy, cold, frozen scenes. She lives in Australia and has never seen a snowy Christmas in her life. Of course, here in Alaska, Christmas means cold, dark, snow, ice and icicles everywhere. So I never even thought about the fact the seasons are switched down south.
So I asked some of my friends who live in Australia, and they told me all about having cold prawns for dinner, going swimming with friends and family or going to the beach. About having cold cuts and lollies and unless it's unseasonably cold- never ever considering heating up the kitchen for a turkey dinner.
Personally- I think cold prawns are ALWAYS a good idea, so they will be part of our Christmas dinner this year.
Anyway, for her, and for anyone else enjoying a sunny Christmas, I hope you enjoy this printable box.
Click on the image, print on card stock, cut out, score folds, fold and glue. There will be a coloring page later.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
This post brought to you by Carton Smart. All opinions are 100% mine.
I love Tetra Pak cartons. They stack well in my pantry, they crush into less space than cans take, and they are made mostly from paper that was sourced in a renewable way. They keep food as fresh and shelf stable with less packaging and it's rectangular packaging so it fits better in square shelves! Be Carton Smart, and check out all the foods available in Tetra Paks.
They sent me Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Simply Stock- and reading the ingredient list, it is just chicken stock- made from chicken and vegetables just they way I do it. Unsalted is my preference because I can salt to taste.
Pacific Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree- pure pumpkin, tasty. I didn't cook with it this time, but have used it in the past. My favorite use is a small amount of pumpkin butter using a bit of apple juice, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon and cooked down to a thick paste. (grilled pumpkin butter cream cheese sandwiches!)
And Pacific Foods Organic Jellied Cranberry Sauce- this is my favorite pre-made cranberry sauce, more impressively, it's the ONLY cranberry sauce not made from scratch that my husband will eat. He loves my homemade cranberry sauce, and likes his daughter's cranberry jelly but finds most canned sauces gross. This one? He likes it. The texture isn't a gelatin like smoothness, it feels and tastes like homemade.
I used the stock in my mom's stuffing recipe, then served it with thick deli cuts of turkey and cranberry sauce. The first holiday dinner I made for my husband back when we were dating, he told me "Stuffing is my favorite!" so I made stuffing. He was baffled watching me because he didn't tell me that stuffing in his house growing up came from a box! Then he took a bite. Since then, my mom's recipe for stuffing is his favorite food in the world.
You will need:
5 cups dry bread cubes
1 lb sausage- turkey is fine, I prefer links chopped into small pieces
1 green apple- medium sized or large or 2 small (school boy) apples
1 large onion
4 stalks of celery
2 tbs of butter
1 Tetra Pak Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Simply Stock
1 Tbs each dried sage and parsley
Dice the apple, onion and celery and brown the sausage in a large skillet. When the sausage is browned, add the butter in the skillet and add the onion, celery and apple. Cook until the onion is translucent. Pour in the stock. Stir in the seasonings. Put the bread cubes in a large pan or bowl, and mix in the stock/sausage mixture. Toss it well, then cover it. The steam will moisten the bread cubes and it's ready to bake or stuff a bird. Tetra Paks are so easy to open and can be reclosed to put in the fridge!
Cranberry sauce tip- leftover cranberry sauce mixed with cream cheese makes the best spread in the world for leftover turkey sandwiches! Yum.
Follow #CartonSmart on Pinterest for ideas and information.
Tweet @CartonSmart with #CartonSmart to share your own favorite recipes and ideas
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Small JPG version:
Today's Homemade Holiday 101's spotlight is about setting up a soapmaking kitchen AND has a great giveaway for a beginning soapmaking set from Brambleberry. Also! Soap Crafting (link to my review) is marked down considerably in Kindle format. Short version? If you have an interest in making gorgeous cold process soap and love color, this is a book you'll want.
Amazon links are affiliate links and help pay for this site and my book addiction.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
I'll be doing an update soon about what's been going on the last couple of weeks. But first, a brand new printable box and information about a great promotion from Workman Publishing.
They are having a sweepstakes, and you get a prize just for entering. The prize is your choice of one of 4 e-books. 3 are cookbooks, and one is a knitting/crochet book. Sign up for their newsletter and you're entered. It's that easy. You can sign up here- Homemade Holiday 101. Check out the blog for the cutest knit penguin pattern around while you're there. Also they will be having fantastic deals on some of their great books for the holidays.
I'm not being paid to promote this or anything like that, but I'm a big fan of Storey and Workman books. They are great guides to self-sufficiency, cooking and crafting.
The grand prize? A Nexus tablet with some great e-books preloaded. (I'll be reviewing one of them soon!) and 5 runner ups will win a 25 dollar gift card to the online bookseller of their choice.
About the box-
It snowed. October broke all kinds of heat records for Alaska, then all the sudden, with very little warning, temps dropped and it's all white, snowy and frosty outside. Posting a snowflake of some sort shortly after the first snow is getting to be kind of a tradition here. I hope you enjoy it. Click the image for a larger version- print on cardstock, cut out, score folds, fold and glue!
Amazon.com affiliate links help pay for this site, and my book addiction.