Friday, May 31, 2013

April Showers Bring May Flowers

I love these big fluffy flowers. I'm not actually sure what kinds they are, fuschias? Camellias?  No thanks to my parents' black thumbs, these few bushes have managed to survive in their backyard.  I thought that they might be better admired inside the house, so I plucked a few blooms and put them into a vase.



I love the bright blue marbles against the soft colors of the flowers.


So fluffy and pastel and feathery, ahh..


I love that color splash effect, so pretty!

Haha, funny story: when my parents came home my mom asked who had brought over the flowers, and when I told them I just picked some flowers from the backyard, my dad asked when I learned flower arranging.

I do actually have a quick tip for flower arranging; use a rubber band to secure the stems after arranging the flowers in your hand.  It'll keep the flowers from settling out of the bouquet when you set them into the vase.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Cuddliest Viking

This is about the unrelenting brutality of harvesting carrots..*

Actually, if you haven't heard, today's the day that the Pintester Movement reveals all the awesome crafts that people have been working on since Sonja revealed the challenge a week and a half ago.  See everyone's efforts over at the Pintester!

I'm afraid that there is no source tutorial for this as it first turned up on Reddit and has been floating around Pinterest since then.  As it is, I managed to wing it myself as well.

I've been wanting to make this for forever, but I've always held off because (a) I probably don't need a viking hat with a beard (b) knotting all those individual strands of hair is a royal pain in the ass (c) if people make requests for these, they never pay enough, and finally, (d) I've never really found a good yarn to use for the beard that won't scratch your face.  Well, regarding (d), let's say I've never found a good cheap yarn to use.

I used some Red Heart Super Saver for the hat portion, but more importantly, I used Red Heart With Love for the beard.  It's one of their newer products, some kind of premium acrylic that comes out really soft.

Apologies for the horrible picture, it's apparently very difficult for me to take a self-timer picture.

I tried to make my most fearsome barbarian face, did it work?  Hey, at least it's better than the weird pirate face I made in every single other picture, haha.

I kind of wish I had a cool morningstar or sword or something to wield in this picture.  Oh and please ignore my silly out-of-character animal print t-shirt.  I didn't have anything appropriately Viking to wear.

So that's it.  That's my thick and luscious beards that two dwarves would be proud of.  Now, should I just wear it in public randomly and freak people out?

*Also, an appropriately timed Viking reference in Questionable Content.

Anyone else want to join in on the crafting fun? It's awfully satisfying to finish a project that you've been wanting to make!  Post a comment if you finish a craft, I'd love to see!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Apple Pull Apart Bread

This is a great apple pie alternative.  Sometimes I feel like having delicious cinnamon bun-type bread desserts rather than flaky pie crust.  We used this recipe from Baked by Rachel since we actually were looking for something besides pie to make with all of our apples.


I'm still trying out compressed photos, and so far I'm only seeing real quality loss in heavily shadowed areas, so I think I will probably stick with the smaller picture files.  Hopefully, this will make the blog much faster to load.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pretty Macarons

You know, I feel like I'm kind of a slacker when it comes to trying out trends. I forget, but Malcolm Gladwell outlined in The Tipping Point the cycle of how people join trends.  There are the people who start the trend, the early joiners who popularize the trend, then basically the rest of the bandwagon.  I'm pretty much always in the bandwagon, at least in relation to the rest of the internet community.  Maybe I'm still in the early wave of trend setters when it comes to the general population, though.

Anyways, the point of all that was that I got some macarons.  Macarons are the delightful chewy little French confections and macaroons are crunchy coconutty lumps.  Know the difference!

I was fairly reluctant to jump on this particular bandwagon since I can't really stomach the $2 a piece (or greater!) price tag for ONE. Yes, one cookie.  This is like the gourmet cupcake thing all over again, right?  Anyways, my mom bought these two for me at a shop in Irvine/Diamond Jamboree I think.

The teal one is Passionfruit and the orange one is mango.  Oh, be still my heart.  Teal and lilikoi together? Two of my favorite things.

I thought they were really tasty, and I'm kind of excited to hone my baking skills so that I can try to make my own at home.



By the way, I'm trying to decide if I can use compressed jpeg images here on the blog to speed up the loading of each page.  Can you tell which photo is 300KB and which is 9.5MB?  I don't think that I can see a difference in quality. :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fake-torial: Split Rings

So, remember my key necklace?  I believe I promised that I would show you how lazy cheap people (like me) make charm necklaces.  As mentioned, I got some split rings, but I didn't really think it through.  I didn't realize that split rings require special pliers to get them open so that you can get your charm on.  I live far from the craft store, so it's not easy to make a quick jaunt down there for every little thing (plus I don't want to buy more tools that I'll only use once).  If you're going to be attaching lots of charms or just generally using many split rings, then by all means, use split ring pliers.  They're definitely easier, I'm sure.

Putting a single charm onto a necklace? Then let's dive right in:


1. (World's Tiniest Proposal?) Get your split ring and find where the ends of the ring are
2. Use a pair of fingernail clippers (I have a pair that I don't use because I somehow have several) and carefully "clip" between one of the ends and the ring so that the end lifts up away from the ring slightly.
3. Carefully wedge a flat tool underneath the lifted edge while still opening the ring with the clippers.
4. Wedge the tool further under so that the ring opens up more.  It has to be far enough away from the very end so that a charm can be slipped on.
Add your charm and slide it all the way around until it locks in to the middle of the ring, just like putting a key on a key ring.


Maybe this was slightly harder, especially if your fine motor skills aren't up to snuff, but it was cheaper, right?

Who's with me on this?  Anyone else grappled with split rings before?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pretty Japanese Candies

I don't know what it is about the Japanese, but they somehow manage to come up with the cutest things!  These are some cute little sugar candies that my coworker brought back from Japan.  I think they look like little viruses! (I guess it's just the biologist in me.)  And they come in this cute little rice paper package that is flecked with little gold foil bits, I love it!


Meanwhile, I've been traveling, so I'm hoping to share some photos from that soon!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I've jumped on the bandwagon for...

...Audiobooks! AKA Books on tape! Actually it's more like books on CD these days, but I just wanted to rave about how great I think they are. 

I basically never understood these when I was younger and saw all these at the library.  I love reading books, and I love the experience of reading a book (yeah, I know, I'm one of those.)  But I have since then changed my tune.

I get motion sickness if I try too hard to focus on something while I'm riding in a car even though I used to be able to read whole novels in the back seat.  These days, long car trips are pretty boring without a book, so it's either music for several hours or try to take a nap.

But! I checked out audiobooks after my aunt suggested that it was really nice for commuting in the mornings.  I got Terry Pratchett's Small Gods for a recent trip (a friend often quotes it), and it was amazing! I was able to load up all the content onto my iPod and then put it into one big playlist.  You can also check out the CDs from the library and play them in the CD deck in your car if you have one and want to share your book with your driving partner :)

I'm totally hooked on Discworld novels now, I hope my local library has more of them! You should check them out too :)