Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Making More Stuff

Here are some more things I've been making:This one is for my df Karen (out of her own beads.) Now I did add some of my own, but the beautiful blue ones came from her. (I would like everyone to disregard the ray-gun in the background. It was a gift to my son from my sister and it just won't go away. Note to D.J., this was the best dollar you ever could have spent. It is perfect for cowboys, robots and superheroes.)

I made this bracelet and earring combo too:

This one also for Karen. Like it?

Lastly, this one is a gift for my niece:
I really like how the stones and crystals contrast. The big grey ceramic hearts were a find too! You can't really tell from the picture, but I found some nice gunmetal toned findings for this one too. It is really sweet. I've been doing a lot of "test wearing" of it to make sure it isn't pokey. Riiight.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Not for the kids!

Okay, lets talk about grown-up stuff here, that is, some TV shows that I heart, but that are SO not for kids.

1. Coupling. Coupling was a series that was put out by the BBC for four seasons. You can get them on DVD. It was about the relationships that developed between a girl, a guy, his ex, her ex, his best friend and her best friend. It was not Friends. But it is very, very funny. Laugh out loud and roll on the floor funny. Worth watching after the kids are in bed. There's no excessive skin, so if they wander out to see what's so funny, you won't be embarrassed by the shot on the television when you put it on hold.

2. Torchwood. Torchwood is a spin off of Dr. Who (Yes, I am a geek) but there is actually very little interplay between the two series. Most of the show is actually relatively tame, but there is some guy-on-guy kissing from time to time, and naturally, the other type as well. The series is heavily sci-fi, but there is a lot of interesting interplay between the characters that makes it worth watching even if the plot seems a little... far fetched. Watch after the kids are in bed, but some episodes might be okay for the older kids to watch. Little nudity, but kissing (sometimes suggested more) between all genders, including alien (if you consider that a gender.)

3. TrueBlood. TrueBlood is an HBO series based on the Sookie Stackhouse books written by Charlaine Harris. I've read the books, and didn't hold high hopes for the TV series to be as good. It is. I still question the casting of Anna Paquin as Sookie, mainly because in the book she's supposed to be prettier, but she is a solid actress, and sells the part, so this is only a minor quibble. The male actors are drool-worthy (pant, pant) especially Sam Trammell, who plays Sookie's boss, Sam. Watch when the kids are out of the house. Loads of nudity and everything that goes with it. Very R-rated.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Favorite Thing of the Week - Clipboards

Okay, call me nerdy, but clipboards have so made our homeschool easier, neater, and more portable. I think we have something like 20 clipboards or so scattered around the house. We use them for drawing outside, eating on in the living room, and hanging up artwork.

You may not aware of the fact that there are a number of different kinds of clipboards on the market today. Along with the basic pressboard model equipped with the large metal clip, other boards are designed for use in specific situations and provide functions other than holding paper in a secure position. Here are a few examples of clipboard types:

- The dry erase clipboard - very cool! (and can be printed with sport courts for planning too)
- The storage clipboard - to keep your stuff handy
- Timer and calculator clipboards - to see how long you've been working and help with the math
- Recycled aluminum clipboard - shiny!
- Lapdesk clipboard - easy to use in the car

Three is using a clipboard system for her homework this year. I take worksheets from her math, grammar, reading, and science, and clip them to her clipboard. She then just works her way through them, and the work is done.

Here are some really neat ways you can use clipboards:
Hang your art with a custom clipboard
As a photo hanger
To hold the end of the bracelet as you make it
Six other ways to use clipboards
Holding your map while you drive

And some crafts using a clipboard:
Make an altered clipboard
A circuit board clipboard
Stamped Clipboard

Here are some AMAZING altered clipboards

Friday, January 8, 2010

Potato Soup

The good thing about soup in the winter is that it is warming on a cold day. It is a great meal for anyone who doesn't want to spend a lot on food, and it is also a great meal for anyone who likes to eat good food.

Originally this meal came from the Everyday Cheapskate, but I've modified it just a little to suit our family.

Quick, Easy and Fabulous Potato Soup

3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups milk

1 can creamed corn

Place potatoes and water in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, sauté chopped onion in the butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, thyme, rosemary and pepper. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add corn and potatoes with hot water. Heat through and serve hot. Serves: 7.

Cheap and yummy!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Favorite Thing of the Week - Bamboo Yarn

Let me say this, bamboo yarn is amazingly soft. Incredibly soft. Microfiber soft. It is perfect for babies, or for my son, for whom I'm knitting a bamboo yarn scarf, or for that matter for me. I adore the way it feels, and the nubbly texture it has when knitted up. It has a soft drape that can't be matched in a lot of other yarns either.


  • Bamboo is a renewable resource.
  • Bamboo can be harvested without killing the plant, and it only takes a few months before the plant is ready to be harvested again. That makes it an environmentally friendly choice.
  • Bamboo yarn, when not mixed with unnatural fibers, is biodegradable.
  • Bamboo yarn is often dyed with more natural dyes that are safer for the environment.
  • Bamboo fabric is naturally antibacterial.
  • Bamboo also has ultra-violet protective properties.
  • Fabric knitted with bamboo is quite breathable and cool and has great drape.
  • Bamboo has a good luster, similar to mercerized cotton.
  • Bamboo is strong, flexible, and can be softer than silk when spun into yarn.

Potential Bamboo Negatives

  • Bamboo yarn loses strength when it is wet and swells considerably in water.
  • The yarn may not be very cohesive. Some brands split much more than others.
  • Bamboo needs to be hand-washed, so it isn't a great choice for things that need to be washed frequently.
Here are some places you can find bamboo yarn:
Classic Elite Bam-Boo
Rowan Bamboo
Plymouth Yarn - Royal Bamboo
Bernat Bamboo

Now to get back to the needles!