Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tangling, Moebius and Valentines Day!

So what do tangling, moebius and Valentines Day have in common?

First I started at  I am the Diva's blog to check out her weekly tangling challenges. I'm new to her blog and just came across Weekly Challenge #55. which uses moebius as the central theme.  Then  I followed a few of the links and found this blog post here at Xplore&Xpress That showed me how to make the hearts below and more about the moebius.  So I spent about an hour on Wednesday night making and cutting moebius strips then Thursday took the time to make my Valentine something geek worthy.  This is my practice run.

Picture 218

You really must  try this at home. All you need is some paper, pens, scissors,  something to make things stick (I used double sided tape)  and a bit of curiosity to explore how the heck it works!  I'd tell you all how to do it here but I don't need to because all you need to know is in the 3rd link above.

Then you can make one for the geek in you life.  Or you could do it together.

Just keep tangling! 

Picture 195

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Musings: The Marilyn Monroe Meme

On facebook Marilyn Monroe has been hailed as an example of beauty that counters the love of  the thin model..  I do think she rocks but this blog post here suggests we need something even better to counter society's shackles. Do we want anyone telling us what is beautiful.  Do we want to compare ourselves to each other?  Read the blog post she has some good points.

I think Dar William sings it up in her song Cool as I am 

 "I will not be afraid of women."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sip it Saturday: Shlafly Winter ESB Ale

Winter ESB Ale was smooth, lighter than I expected and fruity.  Not bitter at all even though ESB stands for extra special bitter  Apparently ESB beers aren't supposed to be bitter despite having bitter in the name. Stephen was meh on it but I liked it.

Picture 148

It was nice with my chicken quesadilla for lunch.  Yum.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Foodie Friday: Steak Tacos

 85% local dinner, sometime in 2010 that is!  I planned to post it but never did.  Maybe it can inspire you if you are in a food rut.  Might have to make changes because tomatoes and tomatillos aren't sadly not in season.  Bummer.  Cabbage is still easy to find and maybe some really good jarred salsa would do in a pinch.

Steak Taco's


12 plus ounces of Kansas Grass Fed Angus Flank Steak Cut with the grain. Marinated in lime juice, garlic, and cumin. Then cooked.


Tomatillo Salsa

Local Roasted tomatillos, one ear
local sweet corn, small onion, local purple pepper, salt. This was so good it didn't last for dinner. So I made some Pica Da Gillo to make up for it. 2 Local tomatoes, 2-3 gloves crushed garlic, one ear local sweet corn, one small onion, one local anaheim pepper, salt.


Marinated Red Onions: vinegar, sugar and red pepper flakes or jalapeno for spice.  Cabbage slaw:  cabbage of course, grated carrots, vinegar, salt.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful the light is returning!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tangling Tuesday

Over the holidays I took a long break from knitting, spinning and more. One, I was sick, Bah!  Two, I was having fun with my family. Three, I got distracted with Pinterest where I came across more online information about Zentangles.  I first heard about Zentagles through my local fiber guild.  I wasn't able to go to the meeting where everyone learned about it. I tried to find out more online but my internet and google fu was lacking at the time. I was going to get a starter kit and share  it with a friend but we got busy and didn't pursue it. I even looked on amazon and swear nothing came up when I typed in zentangle.

So while I was recuperating and pinned things on Pinterest I zentangled.  Some of my favorites patterns are: betweed, mooka, cubine, tuscon, and paradox.  I watched these video here from the creators of Zentagles.

On Flickr you can find a lovely gallery of Zentangles.  I have Zentangle inspirational and patterns collected on my Pinterest Board.

An official Zentangle is on a nice piece of drawing paper.  Cut to 3.5 inches square and drawn with a fine ink pen.  Sakuara .25mm pigma pens are recommended and I love them too. Since falling in love with tangling I got myself some pens, a nice journal to explore patterns and some lovely white paper to cut to size.

Here's some of the first tangling I did before I understood the standard process or size.

Picture 134

My tangling journal where I explore new patterns:

Zentangles 002

Some how I came across the basic steps. This is how I understand it.

  • Draw four points in the corners of the card with a pencil.  Then connect those points. Don't fret about the lines they don't have to be straight wibbly-wobbly is good! If you want the design to go to the edges of the card you don't have to do this.
  • Also with your pencil draw what's called a string inside the box you made. Not sure on the rules on this.  I see ones that are done all curvy and some that are several lines all straight too.
  • Then with your fine ink pen fill in section with patterns that please you.  Most of all have fun and don't fret about it. Your string is a guidde but not meant to restrict you.  You can tangle outside of the lines.
  • Then last you can add some shading or not.  It can really make it all pop.

Here are a few of my official tangle squares:

Picture 156

You can see the string lines I created and how I used them and didn't use them.

Picture 157

This was done using a diamond grid and combining lines and the paradox tangle.

Picture 155

This one I followed the string a bit more.

What I most like about Zentangles are the "rules" that help you get started but not so much a "rule" that it blocks your creativity.   Last I leave you with a link to a free pdf download.  You will need to join the website to get it but I'd say it's worth it. Just go here

Picture 154

Tangle! You know you want to. It's like doodling in highschool but better and you don't have to do it to stay awake during a boring lecture.  You an do it because it's fun!

Edited to spell Tuesday correctly and remove my draft notes :P 

Monday, January 23, 2012

About Uberlist No. 2

I want to be more organized and get things done.  I find if I don't make a list and check it twice.  I don't get things done.  Sunday I had big plans.  Instead I spent almost the entire day on blogger exploring what I could do and writing some posts.  This is good because I want to write more and have content for the blog but...you knew I was going to stick my but in there somewhere right?  

I want to get other things done too.  Like the laundry, picking up the house, errands, spend time with the kids and my husband, watch a good movie, knit or spin or something crafty, and get dinner cooked at a reasonable hour.  So I have a basic to do list of sorts.  It helps. 

 It only helps if I use it!  

I didn't use it Sunday.

Enough said.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Apologies

If you follow my blog in a reader.  I'm trying to get the hang of the new format and keep hitting the wrong keys or forgetting to click other things.  I'll get the hang of it eventually. In the meantime please be patient. You might come across an empty post or a post that seems like a repeat to you but in reality I unposted it because I  was trying to schedule the post but didn't.  So there it is.

Sunday Book Review: Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlin narrated by Carol Monda - A very belated posting of this review.  I started writing it over a year ago.  So take the review for what it is.

I picked this audiobook up because of the narrator. At least I thought I did.  I thought Monda had narrated at least one of the books in the Ember Series by Jeanne DuPrau. I was wrong.  If you like to listen to audiobooks and find you really like a certain narrators voice all you need to do is put the narrator in the author field at the library or on amazon you can find other books the narrator has read.  Just make sure you have the right one.

I still liked Monda's reading of  Rise and Shine. Her voice really seemed to fit for the narrator of the story, Bridget or Brightie as her nephew called her. I found the story compelling although at times hard to listen too. It's hard for me when I know someone has made a mistake even if the character in the book was a jerk. I don't want to give too much of the story away. There is some sad parts in the very end. Over all a very real story and one about relatonships: sisters, family, comittment, love, parenting etc.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sip it Saturday: Two Hearted Ale

From the shores of Gallifrey

Two Hearted Ale

Two Hearted Ale, an ale fit for a Time Lord. A two hearted ale for a two hearted  Doctor. The Tenth Doctor is my favorite.  Sadly I did not take notes on this beer.  I know that it was good and I would drink it again. Yes we got it because of the name.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fiber Friday : Wonderful Woolfest 2012

I should have taken pictures of all the pretty shops and lovelies at the Winter Woolfest 2012 in Wamego.  This was the first time I was able to go.  I was either sick or there was something close to a blizzard happening.  Not this time! Even better I had a ride thanks to a member of  Knit Lawrence.  And a few other knitters came along as well, so double the fun.

Picture 142

I got some fiber, merino/targhee roving and some local rambouillet fleece, and a spinner's control card. Later in the afternoon we had some coffee then  we stopped at a thrift store and I got a few more the things.  The brown swing top bottle will be for simple sugar for mixed drinks or herbed vinegars.  The photo frames for a photo of course.  The tin now stores my wire and beading tools so now things fit better in the tin that holds beads and jewelry making findings. 

There were several free classes or demonstrations to choose from.  I got to watch Nikol Lohr from Yarn School make batts again.  I needed some reminders so I know how to use my drum carder.

Picture 079

I also learned how to do a moebius cast on created by Cat Bordi.  So I can knit a moebius cowl for Jade.  She geeks out about the moebius.

All in all a good day.  I recommend going if you have the time.  Woolfest is often the 1st Saturday in January. So keep your eyes peeled on the Wicked Stitch  for details.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday - An Uberlist for 2012

Why Thankful Thursday? It's one of my ideas for this year to write more on my blog and it's on my Uberlist for 2012 to express thanks. What does a to do list have in common with thankfulness? Because doing these things will enrich my life. Anything that enriches my life is something to be thankful for.

1. Enjoy cleaning house for me. I want a cleaner and more organized home. I don't want to resent doing it. It needs doing and it's better to enjoy it than to resent.

2. Be more organized and get stuff done I will say I will get done.

3. Play games with my cool kids.

4. Watch good movies and bad ones too.

5. Walk 3 days a week.

6. Knit a saddled shouldered sweater for Stephen.

7. Get the yoke sweater going for Jade that I will steek! Eeek!

8. Dye fiber and card it on the drum carder. Pick a color scheme. Spin it long draw. Enough to knit a sweater for me! -  I bought a lovely gray fleece.  I'll  dye some of it for the yoke.  

9. Work on long draw spinning. I want to spin soft lofty yarns. - Doing it! 

10. Go on dates with my husband.

11. Visit Wamego with the Fam - we have a coupon for the Wizard of Oz Museum

12. Take walks when it's beautiful outside.

13. Take a camera with me more often to take pictures

14. Dye with my natural dyes, indigo and cochineal.

15. Do some silk scarf dyeing with Jade using Safflower petals.

16. Dye silk scarves inspired by India Flint.

17. Zentangle on some clothes.

17. Make zentangle cards.

18. Get scanner set up in family room. Move printer into garoffice.

19. Set up garoffice so it's easy to put stuff away.

20. Get stuff off old computer and store things virtually and/or on thumb drives.

21. Get something to store thumb drives.

22. Save for Yarn School 2013!

23. Weave or sell the freekin' loom already and save up for the Wolf loom I really want. - Put the loom craigslist but not willing to sell at a loss. 

24. Get the color gamp napkin kit from Halycon or see if Yarn Barn can put one together for me.

25. Get up the nerve to sell my mom's 4H table loom. I can use the money for something fibery cool. - Also on craigslist.  Not takers so far.

26. Make beer for the first time.  - When to a friends house and helped brew and bottle some beer! 

27. Get out more and do stuff.

28. Shelving for the family room on either side of the fire place.

29. Start Blogging again. I have some ideas! 

30. Stephen and I need to get our ducks in a row like if the worst happens and now I take this out of the law. Nothing bad will happen. Nope not going to happen.

31. Start health care savings account. - Done! 

32. Roof on the house.

33. Paint some of the furniture I have around the house to revamp it.

34. New windows. For the whole house but we can start with the kitchen.

35. Read more about Zen practice and set aside specific time for it. - At the first of the year I was doing good.  I will get back to it.  I will. 

36. Attend more events at the UU fellowship in Lawrence.

37. Play piano. Take lessons. Practice. Something!

38. Make amigurumi. I have the urge to make toys again. - Made some toys.  It was fun.

39. Make some picture shelves like these here.

40. Review this list when I get bored.

41. Sew pajamas pants for me and the kids.  - Boy kids are done, girl kids are cut and ready to sew.

42. Sew some aprons - have this idea brewing to use old jeans.

43. Help Jade make jeans skirt. - About halfway done with this.

44. Play more video games with Corbin - at least talk about it lots.

45. Remember to breath.

46. Call and chat with my sister.

47. Keep in touch with family.

48. Go to an unschooling conference.

49. Get a job to pay for it all.

50. Build a time machine so I can do it all. That or find the time turner Hermione used.

51. Remind myself that this list doesn't have to be done this year.

52. Have fun

53. Enjoy life

54. Knit a sweater for Corbin. He said he wants blues.

55. Help Corbin sew some bags.

56. Blog about the uberlist.

57. Dye fiber in colors that work with the sweaters and things I have so I look less like a crazy yarn lady OR stop worrying about it and embrace crazy yarn lady person.

58. Keep going with the budgeting for the most part it's working.

59. Keep using google calender and getting reminders. It helps with number 2.

60. Budget some money so the kids and do some decorating for their rooms. Things like posters etc.

61. Finish painting bedroom doors.

62. Finish bathroom - fix tile - supposed to be on Stephens list.

66. Keep going to swing dancing with Stephen because it's fun.

67. This list doesn't have to end. I can add more to it all year long and cross things off if I decide it's not something that needs doing.

68. Celebrate Summer Solstice this year. I keep saying I want to do that and don't. It would be a nice balance to our Winter Solstice celebration.

69. Return to Uberlist regularly for inspiration. This is on here twice. That's a good thing.

70. Have people over to do more with fiber with others. - Had a Fiber Day at my house in April.   There was six of us.  We are going to do it again.  Yay!  

71. Be thankful. Express thanks.

added after posting

72. Finish working up spiral sweaters and get the pattern written up too so I can sell it!

73.  Get the garden in shape to do some with it this year.  We cut down some trees so we have more sun. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Getting Started Homeschooling

Hey all you folks who come to see what I have been doing with fiber I regret I've been too busy doing stuff with fiber and spending time with my family to blog. Right now, I'm taking the time to post something about homeschooling because I've been getting lots of questions and need a one stop place to send new hoemschoolers. So new homeschoolers in Kansas and those contacting me locally in Lawrence. Here you go! If you knit, spin and like to cook you might like my blog too. Maybe I'll be around more often this year and maybe not.

So first off, If your kids have been in school you will need to formally withdrawal them in writing. If they haven't ever been in school then you don't have to worry about that. So starting reading:)

Homeschooling in Kansas - How to homeschool in Kansas

Join a local list or two:

Lawrence Area Homeschool Network Yahoo List (LAHN) is a secular, inclusive homeschooling group to support families and encourage homeschooling in Lawrence, Kansas and surrounding areas. LAHN values diversity and requests participants to be considerate to all people and faiths. Our common bond is homeschooling. Most of our meetings will be social in nature, although members are encouraged to share their skills through classes, activities or organizing field trips. This list is pretty quiet these but I assure you we are a friendly bunch and even more so in person. We currently meet on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. I started this list and group about 7 years ago. I'm not as active in facilitation stuff as I was. I still got to group twice a week.

Topeka Area Homeschool Network Yahoo List (TAHN) We are a secular inclusive homeschooling group whose main focus is facilitating social activities in the Topeka, Kansas Area. We value tolerance, acceptance and respect for individuals regardless of age, race or religion. We recognize and celebrate diversity. Members use a variety of methods to homeschool their children. We recognize learning happens at all ages in a variety of ways and that there is not one right way to homeschool.

So you've dealt with the legal issues and joined a local group. Now what? First you breath. Then start reading anything you can get your hands on about learning and homeschooling. The more you read about homeschooling the better questions you can ask so you can get the help you are looking for. Watch your kids and observe how they learn.

Some good books to read

My top 5 at least it was about 10 years ago!

Learning all the time -John C. Holt

Child's Work: Taking Children's Choices Seriously - Nancy Wallace (might be out of print)

Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense - David Guterson

Homeschooling Book of Answers - Linda Dobson

Deschooling Our Lives - Matt Hern

Meeting Children’s Unique Learning Needs:

Punished By Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes-Alfie Kohn

In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child's Multiple Intelligences - Thomas Armstrong

Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences-Howard Gardner

Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century - Howard Gardner

Dumbing Us Down: Curriculum of Compulsory Education - John Taylor Gatto

Better Than School: One Family's Declaration of Independence – Nancy Wallace

Christian Unschooling : Growing Your Children in the Freedom of Christ-Teri J. Brown, Elissa M. Wahl

The Unschooling Handbook : How to Use the Whole World As Your Child's Classroom-Mary Griffith

Homeschooling for Excellence-David Colfax, Micki Colfax

And the Skylark Sings with Me-David H. Albert

The Unschooling Handbook : How to Use the Whole World As Your Child's Classroom-Mary Griffith

Homeschooling for Excellence-David Colfax, Micki Colfax

And the Skylark Sings with Me-David H. Albert

Homeschoolers' College Admissions Handbook: Preparing Your 12- to 18-Year-Old for a Smooth Transition-Cafi Cohen, Linda Dobson

The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education-Grace Llewellyn

Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School-Grace Llewellyn

If school was a bad experience you may need some time to deschool. Deschooling gives your time decompress from the stress of school and move to the kind of learning you want to do with your kids. Having kids home full time takes some adjustment if your kids have been in school for a while.

While you deschool don't worry about curriculum. Spend time with your kids and learn about homeschooling.

What kind of homeschooling will you do? Eclectic, classical, school at home, unschooling.

Ann Zeise has a fantastic website to get you started here.

My family unschools. I'm inspired by things found on here and here. You can find other posts I've written about unschooling on my blog as well here.

Let me know if this is helpful and anything else you think I might add. Mostly this is the basics to get you started.

Okay the formatting sucks for the book list - formatting is better.