Category Archives: Creativity

On the Bright Side…


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Wow, another nail post.  I just wanted to document my latest attempt with the technique I used for my last mani design at, Dark Side of the Moon.  I should also state that I found it on Pinterest, but you can go directly to Beauty Tutorials, Ombre Stain Nails.  I should first state that the reason for my all-too-quick change up of colors is that I experienced major chipping yesterday and the first time, I did manage an excellent repair, the next day other nails chipped and they were BIG pieces of chipped off nail color.  So, this could be because of the Seche Vite, I’m not convinced that it was because of it alone.  If you remember, Seche Vite goes on very thick; BUT this was the first time it happened since I got the product, over a month ago.  It could be a combination of SV and layered nail color, or maybe that I combined lacquer and enamel together.

I had the idea to use a dark brown cream for the base, with orange and dark green colors dabbed into it.  I hated how it came out, except for me thumbs, which are longer than the rest of my nails.  With this post I will also update on the “how many coats can I put on before Seche Vite stops working” question.

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So, I started off with a favorite base coat, then used Kleancolor Nail Lacquer, Dark Brown #52 (Above, second from left).  In the bottle, this looks dark brown, but on my nail, looked really dark, almost black.  I love how this goes on very smooth.  After my nail color was totally dry, I snipped another piece of my make up sponge and swiped on two colors, Kleancolor Nail Lacquer, Metallic Orange #160 (Above, left middle), and Wet n Wild Fastdry, SaGreena the Teenage Witch, #226C (Above, right middle)… then a third color, which I never do, but it blended nice with the green color and that was Wet n Wild Fastdry, Teal of Fortune. #228C (Above, second from right).  This last one was a glitter polish.  Okay, so on the whole I did not like this last finished product; though more because of my lack of skill and not the colors, themselves.  As you can see, I left my thumbs as is because I loved how they came out.

I was gonna leave it, I was gonna leave it……..

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Two nails on the right show off the matt finish of the Sinful Colors, Leather Loose and the two nails on the left have the Seche Vite top coat.

But no. The itch to change it was too much.  I resolved to just cover this up with one color and leave it.  I used two coats of Wet n Wild Fastdry, Gray’s Anatomy, #237C, only on my last four digits.  I really love how this stuff looks in the bottle.  It’s a real almost sick green/gray with pink pearlized look.  I really really like it, but alas, it did not coordinate well with my thumbs.  I dared take another color, Sinful Colors, Leather Loose, #1331.  This worked out very well and what I really like about this polish is that it dries to a matt finish, which I love, yet I don’t feel right if I don’t add a top coat.. and when you do, all these reddish brown sparklies emerge and gives it a whole new finished, sparkly look which was complete with yet another coat of Seche Vite.  So let’s recap on just how much polish I have on my nails right now:

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This is the finished look and you can see that I left the thumb’s design alone from the prior mani with brown, orange and green.

  1. Seche Clear as base coat
  2. Kleancolor Nail Lacquer, Dark Brown #52
  3. (not a whole coat) dabbed on colors on upper half of nails: Kleancolor Nail Lacquer, Metallic Orange #160, Wet n Wild Fastdry, SaGreena the Teenage Witch, #226C, Wet n Wild Fastdry, Teal of Fortune. #228C
  4. Seche Vite
  5. Wet n Wild Fastdry, Gray’s Anatomy, #237C on last four digits only.
  6. Sinful Colors, Leather Loose, #1331 on last four digits only.
  7. Seche Vite

So, that’s roughly seven coats of nail polish and Seche Vite STILL dried to a nice mirror smooth, hard shell in just a couple of minutes.  That’s pretty impressive and so now you can see why I freakishly love this stuff and will always find a way to get it.

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In the foreground, we have the photo taken with a flash to show off the subtleties of these polishes. On left, Sinful Colors, Leather Loose, showing off the reddish brown sparkles, and the Wet n Wild, Gray’s Anatomy.

Dark Side of the Moon…


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Yep, haven’t been here in a while, then TWO posts within 24 hours.  You never know what’s going to happen over here.  I’m totally unpredictable even to myself.  Anyway, I just have to post about a new-to-me nail polish brand, an AMAZING new product I’m using, and my current mani.  Maybe I can name this “Purple Haze” or “Dark Side of the Moon?”  Opinions and any suggestions are most welcome.  Please leave me a comment because I’d really like to document this design with the colors I used here.

DSCN3443Now on to this new-to-me amazing product I’m using, Seche Vite.  It’s very popular out there, but a little hard for me to find in my area despite having quite a bit of beauty supply places around my area.  Seche Vite is a quick drying top coat that is a must have for those who love to layer on the polish for intricate designs.  I mean this stuff dries into a hard, smooth shell in a matter of literally minutes.  My nails have ridges, so the surface of two or three coats of nail polish still have that ridge imprint.  One coat of Seche Vite, albeit goes on pretty thick, eliminates the ridge look and creates a mirror smooth finish, and I freaking LOVE that~!  I’ve not pushed the envelop yet to see how many coats I can get on, but so far, I’ve put it on over three full coats of nail polish and it gets pretty hard in that time.  I can go to the bathroom (pretty big consideration) and not worry about wrecking my mani while in there.   Usually, I have to put on two, three or more coats of just top coat to get this same effect.  The smell of it reminds me of something else.  It harkens me back to the old days of hanging around my dad while he worked on house renovation stuff and repair work.  Varnish?  Shellac?  Not sure what, I’m definitely making my dad smell this bottle to solve the mystery.  BTW, this little bottle cost me $7.99 in the Northeast Coast area of the United States and I’m glad I did buy it.  You have to understand that I’m a $1.99 kinda girl, so this little bottle is THE most expensive polish I have in my storage box of nail polish.  The highest I ever went was for something like $2.98 or a little higher for high end stuff on clearance, so……

My girlfriend told me about Seche Vite MONTHS ago and I did purchase Seche Clear, which doesn’t do the same thing, but is also good and I use it for either a top or base coat. It’s taken me this long to finally get the right stuff but now it will be a staple in my collection.

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Now I simply must talk about the pink and purple polishes in the above pic.  The brand is called “Ruby Kisses” and these bottles say “HD” on the label, which I am thinking it means showing dimension.  The pink one is “Pink Blinged Out” and is beautiful and does show dimension; but the purple one, which is called, “Bold and the Beautiful”, while IS beautiful, is VERY dark and almost looks black under normal lighting.  The pic above was snapped with a flash and this color was a total surprise to me; and in the sun, it’s more of a really dark Indigo.  The most amazing thing about these is the coverage.  You only need one coat for total, and I mean TOTAL coverage.  My thumbnails are much longer than my other ones so I did need more polish for those, but still only needed one coat.  What I also love is the unique tops.  See the holes in the covers?  These babies were hung onto racks.  I want to say racks but I’m almost sure that was not what they were.  You know, they were more like those long hooks that cosmetics are hung on to.  In thought it was cool.  Drumroll for the price………………  $1.98.

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For for this mani, I used a base coat, then the “Bold and the Beautiful” as my base color.  After that was dry, I took a makeup sponge and swiped on Confetti in “Blue Bombshell” and the  “Pink Blinged Out” right next to each other and proceeded to just dab my fingernail at the top, pink color at the tip and blue underneath.  The very dark base color made it hard for the other colors to show through and so I needed to reapply a couple of times.  I never did get the opaqueness I desired, but I’m very happy with the results I got which were very subtle color changes in regular light, which were more apparent in sunlight.  Also, I made sure the tips were solidly colored.

I think the next nail post I’ll do will be on the blogs and You tube nail channels I follow, so keep an eye out for that.

 

September 30, 2013, edited to add:

So, I just decided to name this mani “Dark Side of the Moon” and will use this label on my notes.  Not for any reason, but that it just hit me.  Nobody really knows what’s on the dark side of the moon, and now I know.

Cooking: Keep It Interesting


I love watching Hell’s Kitchen and Master Chef.  If I catch another cooking show like Lydia’s Kitchen, I’ll watch that, too. I’ve become an ingredient snob.  The only olive oil I will use is of the “first cold pressing” and I must see the sediment floating around in the oil.  It’s a MUST~!  That is where all the flavor is.  I love to eat tuna steak, shark steak, and swordfish, you know, that fish meat that makes you feel like you’re eating something.

New olive oil, just pressed. It has a dense co...

New olive oil, just pressed. It has a dense colour at first; later, it clarifies by decantation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love what great ingredients can do to a dish!  I’m a true Italian in the cooking arena. Creative cooking is so much a part of me that it makes my whole body sing.  “Like Water For Chocolate” is one of my favorite movies.  The connection Maria has with the ingredients and the food she makes is phenomenal and inspiring. That’s how I feel when I’m cooking, like my whole self is going into it. I’ve got to chuckle because sometimes my experimentation is not appreciated and sometimes for good reason.  DH hates mushrooms.  He can’t get out of his mind that they are fungi.  My dad’s neighbor in PA is from the old country and knows how to forage for mushrooms.  He dries them and gives to my dad, and he in turn gives me some.  What a different taste.  Another item that once you’ve had the real thing, you can’t go back to canned.  Canned mushrooms are so bland and scuzzy I don’t buy them anymore.

Herbs.  Fresh all the way.  I used to have a pretty nice herb garden up until last year… until my landlord’s son pulled everything out because he wanted to make his girlfriend happy and give her a flower garden.  Don’t mind the fact that his father gave me permission years ago to plant there, AND that same December they broke up… but I won’t go there.  I got over it and we ironed things out.  Still, I miss the rosemary and English and French lavender bushes.  I miss my lemon thyme and greek oregano.  I miss my basil and spearmint.  I managed to fit quite a bit in my little plot of clayish earth.  This past year or so, I’ve splurged on saffron and two years ago, whole vanilla beans.  Once I started grinding up my own spices, I started blending them for my cooking.

Myristica fragrans Nutmeg. The picture was tak...

Myristica fragrans Nutmeg. The picture was taken in Zanzibar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once you taste fresh nutmeg, mace, allspice, cinnamon, etc., you can’t go back to the pre-ground up kind.  Mace.  I thank my friend Pauline for turning me onto that one!  She gifted me with some fresh whole nutmeg nuts, so I had the luxury of trying out fresh mace, and I will not soon forget that.  See that reddish web-like stuff around the pit? Thats mace.  Smell that?  Ah~!  I use nutmeg (sometimes mace) on chicken in the oven.  I discovered that when I stopped cooking with salt and needed to find other substitutes.  Now, while I do use salt, I use much less than recommended in recipes.  Oh, and I love using course sea salt.

I’ve always been one to experiment in the kitchen, and now I’m adding home canning, and pickling into the mix.  I have my mind set to try out homemade dairy products like making butter, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and utilizing whey and whatever else, oh, cream.  There are plenty of tutorials on the net with loads of pictures and that’s right up my alley.

Oh.  so the reason for this post.  This past year, I’ve had to pretty much give up on quality ingredients for my cooking.  Or rather, I don’t cook much at all.  So what I’d like to do here is tell you how I am getting by on pretty much nothing fresh.  I hate it, but I keep telling myself that it’s temporary until things start looking up around here.  My pep talk pretty much consists of me telling myself that it could be worse and that others have it much harder than we do.  It’s temporary.

My basic goal is to cook everything in one pan.  First cook whatever meat, chicken, beef, whatever.  Then remove the cooked meat and use those juices as a base for sautéing veggies.  I don’t like to cook veggies too long.  I prefer my veggies to have bright colors to them.  Also, if you recook them another day, they won’t be totally overcooked and mushy.  After the veggies are done, I quickly throw the meat back in and whatever extras and serve when everything is hot.  You can imagine my glee when I found a recipe online for a one pot pasta dish.

Pasta.  Pasta can be healthy and it can be filling.  My favorite experiments are with left over veggies and pasta, Pasta Primavera.  There is no set-in-stone recipe; but the key, I think, is to have at least one veggie going in there that is not a left over.  The cool thing about primavera is that you and use any veggie you want.  Another thing that I strive to do as much as I can is “One Pot Meals.”  Just found one recipe on Pinterest and it blew my mind to put dry pasta in with all the ingredients into one pot, cover, cook, and VOILA, it’s a meal 20 minutes or so later… and all the water is used, no draining. Pasta, Tomatoes, Veggies Recipe link.

As it stands now, we buy frozen veggies.  Not fresh, but much better than canned.  In addition to the excessive salt content of can, those veggies are mushy and I hate that.  I only tolerate canned corn and peas for their texture.  What can I say?  We don’t eat as nearly healthy enough as we should.  It’s temporary.  I throw out nothing.  I make use of left overs within the week.  Actually, I love repurposing leftovers and creating another different meal from them.  Left over broccoli? Broccoli and egg omelet the next morning or for lunch.  Stale bread?  Don’t throw it out!  Make french toast or bread crumbs.  Two or three bowls of fragmented veggies hanging out in the fridge?  Do I see beans in there?  Throw it all together for a primavera dish tonight, or add a bit of tomato sauce and make a nice side dish.  Do you have garlic that’s not looking so plump anymore, or onions in the same predicament?  Chop up those babies and stick them in a sandwich bag and into the freezer they go.  What I like to do with garlic is mix it up with butter in the food processor with some basil, if I have it, and whip up some delicious garlic butter.  Add some olive oil and you have a nice spread.  Some milk that’s approaching the questionable point?  Throw it in a blender with some ice and a packet of hot chocolate mix for a quick summer’s chocolate treat for the kids (or yourself).  Add a teaspoon or more of instant coffee and make it a mocha.

Okay, I guess that’s enough to boggle your mind with today.  These are just some things I like to do to keep things interesting and useable on a limited budget.  Once you try out some ideas, you’d be surprised at how easy it is to just think up something new, delightful and unique to your own refrigerator and cupboards.  Next time maybe I’ll talk about how easy it is to make your own pita chips and roti.  Oh, and easy slushy-type drinks.

Daily Prompt~


Daily Prompt:  Opposite Day

If you normally write non-fiction, post a photo. If you normally post images, write fiction. If you normally write fiction, write a poem. If you normally write poetry, draw a picture.

Soo,  I’m not sure what I write.  I can write a pretty mean fiction, but I’ve not done so in quite a long time… Same goes for poetry.  Okay, so this daily prompt presents a good opportunity to post some pictures of the wire wrapped pendants I have made.  It will always bother me that I took pictures without first polishing off my fingerprints from the stones.

Oh, as a last minute addition, I’ve included a painted tee shirt I made for my son to wear to school on Halloween.  This was kind of last minute as he didn’t want to participate the whole time, leading up to the day, then of COURSE the night before, he changes his mind…. SuperMOM to the rescue and he LOVED it~!  Such is the rewards for being a mom.

While I’ll not be drawing the pictures, I have created what is inside the pictures:

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Smooth Move


Okay… Here’s something I might regret posting about, but for me it’s a new discovery I’m sure to exploit.  I have the reputation in the family of being the “weird” one.  This post will either prove that right, or prove me a genius.

So last week, I was confined to the house by a series of torrential storms and found myself going crazy, HUNGRY for something to snack on and there was nothing, nada in the house.  As I rummaged through all the places I store food I came upon a can of crushed pineapple.  Aaah, I thought to myself.  Suddenly I had remembered a Weight Watcher’s snack/dessert my mom used to make.  It was a pack of single serving chocolate powdered Alba skim milk and the serving measurement of crushed pineapple, mixed up and put into the freezer for a delightful dessert for only one serving of fruit and one of milk.

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I am not on that diet and did not remember serving sizes and nor did I care to.  All I had was a can of fruit and an envelop of regular powdered milk.  I pulled out a mixing bowl and dumped the envelop of milk in there, then added the whole can of pineapple and 2 TSPS. of baking cocoa.  Stirred it up and found it too liquid-y.  What to do, what to do?  The light bulb goes on and I added, get ready for the kicker, 2 TBS. sugar-free orange Metamucil.  You read that right.  I was looking for something to absorb all that juice and was not disappointed.  Spread the mixture on top of a piece of aluminum foil, wrapped it up and put in the freezer.  I love orange/chocolate flavor… and this was SO good that it was all I could do to stop myself from eating the whole thing before it hit the freezer.  Well, let me just say there was an unexpected benefit from eating this snack.  Do I really have to say?  TMI?  Let’s just say I was one happy camper the next morning!

Over the weekend, Father’s Day weekend, I told my family about my recipe and I got gawks, comments and laughs.  My family’s like that; but I’m damn proud of myself!  So happy to invent a great tasting, low calorie snack that won’t penalize you for indulging.  So what’s your reaction to this slightly different recipe?

FYI about the recipes below.  I’ve not personally made any of these, though will try them at some point.

Dearly Departed Daily Prompt


First let me make the question:  Is participating in the Daily Prompt cheating?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for them.  The words come easier when there is a stated goal… But.  Is just answering the question being too lazy to come up with something on my own?  So today, I’m going to forgo the Daily Prompt because I really can’t bring myself to write my own eulogy as it would soon turn into a shameless love fest and I’m not up to it right now…… So what to write.

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I’ve not written about my knitting for a while, so maybe that would be good to do today.  As posted previously, I am aching to start the Shipwreck, in Knitty’s Spring 09 issue.  It’s a circular shawl with seaweed, shells and ocean spray all in one pattern.  I love how this flows and I have the perfect yarn,  Knit Pick’s Palette Yarn in Marine Heather colorway.

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See the beautiful beads?  Love the effect they make of reflective droplets of ocean water.  Definitely want to do beads.  Probably would need hundreds of them, if not thousands… well, maybe not THAT.  Yeah, check the pattern, doof.  Oops, I need to cough up 5000 beads.  I’m not kidding.  See the beautiful beads?  Love the effect they make of reflective droplets of ocean water.  Definitely want to do beads.  Probably would need hundreds of them, if not thousands… well, maybe not THAT.  Yeah, check the pattern, doof.  Oops, I need to cough up 5000 Czech glass seed beads size 8/0; beads.  I’m not kidding.

Oh well, getting on to my last FO.  I’ve been working on this, off and on, since Oct. 30, 2011.  I can’t believe I let almost a whole year go by after putting it down for the summer.  Never put stuff down, except maybe a blanket…. grrr… not even an afghan, which I have one that is still floundering since it was started, OMG, January 2008~!

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This is the Tappan Zee Cardigan.  I just threw it on, unblocked, to take this pic.  While I am really happy to finish it and happy with how it came out, looking at this pic, I’m definitely not happy with the yoke.  I’m not happy that I only have these bulky crew neck tops to wear it with.  I’m considering doing something… it’s the “S” word that nobody really wants to talk about.  I’m wondering about steeking the tops of the shoulders and short sleeves to somewhat shorten the yoke, then allow me to attach long sleeves, then either wear this with a camisole type top or closing the front to make a pullover.  I’m sure I can do either thing and I do have two more skeins of Valley Yarn’s Prescott which I would LOVE to feel on the bare skin of my arms and shoulders… This stuff is SO soft, but unfortunately is discontinued yarn.  Oh geez.  Just realized that before I can close up the front of this, I’ll have to take out and reknit the five stitch garter bands on both sides of the front…. eeeeek~!  Oh well… I’d do it for that fine 100% alpaca softness.

Another quickie project (and last-minute or no reason) is what I call “Neck of Zebra,” a long black and white striped cowl which can be worn long or short.  100% Cotton gives this a feeling-really-good soft feel.  Dotted throughout are gigantic puffs of cotton.  I used US sized 11 needles just because of these puffs and I probably should’ve used larger, except the skinny parts of this yarn are really skinning.  All in all a really nice effect.

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K-Cup Problem Solved


Because I’m an Egg (Electronic Gadget Groupie), I have this urge to have the biggest and the baddest of devices out there.  I own Apple products, most beloved of them is my ipad.  When it comes to coffee, however, my most preferred brewing method is the old tyme way, perked.  I still believe there is nothing better out there than a perked-on-the-stove cup of coffee, timed just right.  I collected every pot my mother owned, from an electric Farberware 12 cupper, to her Pyrex 12 and 4 cupper.  Loved the Pyrex because it’s made of tempered glass and you can actually watch the water turn into coffee.  Totally amazing.  I used these pieces for 10 years and then, one by one, they started breaking down and in the case of the Pyrex, I broke the stem, where the basket sits on, while washing it in the sink… Yes, I am our own dishwasher.  I was crestfallen.  So this was right around the time that the Kuerig brewing system came into my life.  It was such a novelty that I had to have it.  I waited for Christmas and told myself that was my gift… or no.  I purchased it in April and told myself it was a birthday gift (June)… yeah, that’s the ticket.  Let me just say now that this was the worst possible decision I could make.

Problems abound.  The first and foremost, is that these cups are possibly the most expensive choice one could make when you think that decent coffee grinds to perk coffee cost roughly $6.-$8 or$10.00 per pound and a box of 12 or 18 k-cups just went up to $13.00.  You are able to perk a lot more coffee than the, at most, 18 single 6 oz. cups from the Kuerig.  Don’t get me wrong the convenience and the maintenance of the Kuerig machine is unbeatable in my opinion, after years of hand washing all parts of my coffee pots, sometimes multiple times per day… BUT it comes at a pretty hefty price.  A price I didn’t want to pay.  I believe the standard they are using per cup is the inflated Starbucks-type cup that runs, cheapest $2.00?, I’m guessing as it’s been a while since I’ve been there.  A pound of whole beans cost what, around $8.00?   I’d say that you could get more than four cups of coffee from that.   Anyhoo… As luck would have it, just as I literally had this machine packed up in its box and ready to be put into the basement, my darling DH comes home with like 3 boxes of k-cup coffee from the grocer.  “They were on sale,” he happily stated.  Okay.  Now I am confused.  This is the most fugal, yet obviously the most generous man I know, who went out and of his own volition, purchased more than one box of not particularly great, yet expensive coffee.  Oh well, I’m not going to complain, I thought.  So I proceeded to unpack the machine, saying goodbye to the extra counter space I just created, and made us two cups of coffee.  Since then it’s hit me that DH, who can’t boil water by himself, loves the Kuerig because he can make himself a cup of coffee in the morning without waiting for me to get up to do it…. YEAH.

Okay, so it’s been running like this.  We get the k-cups when they are on sale and I have a Melitta cone filter thing-a-ma-jig for grinds and boiled water.  My other problem with the k-cups is that most of the coffee flavored choices brew up too weak for my taste; and so, I’m limited to only getting bold coffee.  Recently, and getting to the crux of my post, my sister gifted me with a bunch of k-cups from a sampler she bought and of the flavors she didn’t like… and I’m not going to say no to free k-cups.  I got a bunch of Gingerbread and Golden French Toast flavors that smell great, but didn’t taste so great.  So, I got an idea.  I cut open the tops and emptied two cups of grinds into my Melitta filter, poured boiled water and waited for my coffee.  It was terrific!

So another big problem with these cups is the recycling, repurpose, reusing potential… 000, zero.  That is, up until now.  It’s only one way, but cool.  I refilled my cups with grinds, covered it with slip of aluminum foil and sealed it with masking tape.  Voila a k-cup ready to go.  I know that this type of recycling is not exactly a new idea, I’ve seen it around on the net, but using the grinds that would have normally made a weak cup of coffee and blending it with stronger grinds, with a different brewing system, just about made my day.  On second thought, you can also do this to used cups.  All you’d need to make sure to do is line up the hole on the bottom with the needle inside the cup basket in the machine.  I think the only draw back with this is that the filter on the inside might be ripped if you’re not careful when filling and manipulating it.

I digress….

The cup on the left is emptied and the cup on the right is upside down, showing that there is no hole, the cup in the middle is refilled with aluminum foil on top and sealed with masking tape.

I REALLY digressed posting the photo above, but I’ll get it right some day.  My idea was to show you the k-cups in three stages:  The top taken off and grinds vacated, the middle is a repurposed k-cup ready for use, and on the right one just showing that there was no hole on the bottom.  I thought it was important at the time… ugh.  I used Dunkin Donuts Dark and I must say it made an excellent cup of coffee.

As my last side note, I want to draw your attention to Michael Bobblehead.  I love the show The Office and scored this guy, brand new, in mint condition, for two bucks at the Cranford Townwide Garage Sale last month.  On the down side, I had also scored the Dwight Schrute Bobblehead supposedly in the same condition; but when I got it home, the neck was broken…. Oh the AGONY~!  I love the Dwight character more than the Micheal (sorry Michael), oh well.  Maybe I can fix it?  Not sure, this is a BOBBLE head for goodness sakes!  Anyway, Michael served his purpose while enjoying a cup of coffee.

Did I mention olives?  I’ll be posting about them after Thanksgiving as they are still cooking in their tightly packed jars in the whole left side of the bottom of my fridge….

Weird Nailz


Just had to share this, my most recent nail design success (and there have not been that many).   Many designs are hard for me to do, but I seem to have some luck with bi-tonal and stripes made with those special nail art polishes.  The weird thing about this pic is that it doesn’t show the true color.  To photograph my hand, I need to use a flash to get the sharpest picture and this messes up the colors sometimes.  The dark dreary day doesn’t help much either….  heh.

To the right is a close up.  I love how this looks and the main reason I’m posting is that I’m sure this is the most successful I’ve managed to date, and that is including color choices.

The pic below shows the polishes I used for the design above.  You can get a little bit better idea of the true colors.

List them left to right:  Kiss Nail Art Paint- Black, Art Deco- Purple Blue Glitter, Wet n Wild Megalast in Wet Cement #201C, and my favorite Wet n Wild Fastdry in Gray’s Anatomy #237C.  A pearlized effect.  Look at it from one angle and it’s pink, tilt it at a slightly different angle and it’s greenish.  Not at all like the pic above, eh?  I love WnW’s Megalast.  Megalast sports a “ManiCurve” Pro brush… fancy schmancy!  Seriously, I love this brush and most Megalast colors are thick and I like that.  I go for maximum coverage and hate when I have to do 3-plus coats just to achieve that look.

I have an artist’s brush, size 000 (that’s zero, zero, zero).  I know some use these brushes with nail polish, but I prefer to only use them with acrylic paints to make designs, then when totally dry, I’ll seal it with clear polish.  Oh, secured a nail stencil stamping kit (with video) for $3.00 at a local yard sale a couple of weeks ago… woo hoo~!  When I get up the nerve to try that out, I’ll be updating here to let ya’ll know how it went.  You know, it still never ceases to amaze me that not only do I have nails, but I have LONG nails.  Not so long that they render me non-functional, but pretty impressive given my lifelong history of not having any nails to speak of, being a compulsive nail biter, I bit them way past the nail bed… so my nails get kind of wonky as they grow.

Funny thing this year, I’m craving grays,blue-grays, and just about all grays.  I’ve not found anything in my price range, however, to push me over the edge and take the plunge.  I’m usually drawn to blues, purples, reds and like greens, teals, oh, and this summer even oranges.  Check out a couple of pics below on the way out.

Weak and ugly feathering technique below.  But you know what they say, “nobody will know.”  Eventually, I want to use real feathers.  So many crazy things out there since my last foray into the world of nail designs.

Platelet Day With a Side of Yarn


Someone tell me what the heck is the point of fat free Half-n-Half?  For some reason, I need to see that creamy brown color to my coffee in the morning.  DH means well, but fat free just doesn’t cut it.  I seem to be using more of this stuff because the color is not there… no taste, either.  Sigh.

Well, on to today’s post which will just be a blurb.  I’m in a hurry and I do not have photoshop and I’m not sure which program out there will flip the photo so that ya’ll can read the card, but it says that I have my platelet donation appointment today.  I’m pretty excited because it’s been over a year since I last did this and it feels great to get back into the swing of things.  A little worried that my hemoglobin will be low because I’m not eating red meat a lot, but DH has been a blood donor like forever and he eats red meat even less than I do.  This morning will have scrambled eggs for breakfast and swiss cheese if we have any.  These eggs are fresh out of the hens and ducks, though I think the duck eggs are eaten.  Gotta be better than those that are mass produced.  We get them from my dad’s neighbor in PA.  Same guy that searches the woods for mushrooms.  He’s from an East European country, but I forget which one, and this guy has kept his traditions.  Amazing.  I’m not dead yet, so I feel comfortable saying that he knows what he’s doing.  The mushrooms have a really earthy taste… so different from the farmed ones.  I can’t eat a lot of fermented or fungus-y stuff; but every once in a while, I either saute them or make a soup.  The spouse skeeves (spell checker is no help) mushrooms, so all the more for me.

No spinning done yesterday.  I think I needed a rest since I spent the last few days spinning almost constantly, between daily tasks and whole nights.  In my former post, I said that the singles seem hard.  However, the possibility exists that once plied, the twist will relax and the yarn will feel softer.  Also, if it ply is not overly twisted, the finished yarn will be softer.  Do I have that right?  I’ll soon see because my bobbin is almost full, though I don’t see myself having the time to spin today because of my appointment.   WHICH brings me the idea that I can spend some time before my appointment at All About Ewe since it’s just two-three blocks away from there… woo hoo!  Missed going yesterday because of church commitments, but will be sure to get there today.  What I love about her website is that there is a page that lists her stock.  Very handy if you need something in particular, but that’s not to say that people don’t just mosey on over there.  It’s a very nicely put together store and very spacious as compared to a lot of other shops that I’ve been to.  Very nice situation, off street parking which is pretty convenient.

Okay, better get going I’m getting hungry and that means my day is starting with an nice eggs and toast breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day, you know!

Alpaca Project


Okay so after a whole day, I think I want to reference my first post on the subject:  here and here.

Spent a bit of time a lot of time yesterday spinning the reddish-brown alpaca fluff.  I’ve not gotten a proper comb yet, but been using this plastic pocket comb to flick the tips of the fleece that are stuck together.  It seems to be working out, but I’d love to properly comb this stuff out.  Oh, and why are only the tips stuck together?  If anyone knows, I’d really appreciate a comment to let me know.  Since I spun a lot of it, I’m going to keep going like this so that it’s all done the same way.  Not sure how much I’ll get, but I don’t really want to devote a lot of fleece to it, and I was thinking about doing a Navajo 3-ply.  This means I need to really stuff a lot of singles onto the one bobbin.  The texture is coarse and I’m thinking it could be because I didn’t comb it properly and that the fibers could have been lined up a lot better than I’ve been getting them.

I wasn’t going to say, but if you haven’t got a clue, I’m not a pro at this.  Big disclosure, right?  But you know, when I decided to do this, I decided to go on a journey, and part of that is committing to exploration.  I’ve never spun up alpaca and thought that I’d really love to try it.  In it’s natural state, the fiber is undyed, and not very bright or colorful.  I find that I do like the natural coloring and with working with this natural fiber, I find that I’m not distracted by ooogling and ahing at beautiful colors flying through my fingers.  I can concentrate more on the fiber itself and how it’s interacting with itself, my fingers, and the spinning wheel.

The most amazing thing is watching the loose, fluffy fibers attracting to each other to form an effortless twist and single strand of yarn.  They seem to almost magnetically seek each other out and twist into each other to form the single.  When I let it get pulled through my fingers, the strand is made smooth. When I let the twist travel into the draft zone, the natural twist forms a bit of a fuzzy halo around the strand.  Interesting.  The staple is not as long as other fibers I’ve worked with, so the twist seems tighter, or maybe that is how I’m working.  I’ve tried to slow down the wheel, but I don’t believe I’m getting a more relaxed strand.   Honestly, I can’t wait to “whack” this stuff.  I’ve never really done that before, but this time, I’m going to wash the finished hank and I’ve heard of people whacking a wet hank on the floor or somewhere and it’s supposed to “set the twist?”  Whatever.  I’ll ask someone.  The one thing that I’ve learned with spinning is to just relax and see what comes from your actions.  One time I made yarn that was way under twisted after plying.  It was so relaxed that it got me nervous.  The easy fix to that was to simply put it back onto the wheel and go another round of plying, but I did not unply it first.  All I did was run it through again, and it just twisted it a little bit more and that made a world of difference.

Okay, so the title of this post will also be what I am calling this Spinning Journey of mine.  “The Alpaca Project”

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