Tuesday, September 30, 2008

World Card Making Day - This Saturday!

The first Saturday of October marks World Card Making Day. That day this year is this coming Saturday, October 4, 2008. In recognition of this day, I've compiled a few urls to help you celebrate.

I plan on making a couple of cards this weekend for christmas or maybe a 'just because' card. (I haven't decided yet). I'll post some of the cards that I make here... so look for them soon (in a couple of weeks). In the meantime, enjoy spending time with your crafting friends, make some cards, and make someone's day by giving them a homemade card.

While you're at it, you can make envelopes too. Below is a link for Envelope Glue (maybe it'll taste better than the normal envelopes).

Official World Card Making Day website.

Envelope Glue Recipe

Card Making Crafts

Pop-up Lotus Card

Joann's Fabrics Card Making Projects

Michaels Card Making Projects

Simple Pop-up Cards

Monday, September 29, 2008

Simple Knitting Loom Scarf

With Christmas time only a couple of months away, what better time to start making your homemade gifts whether it be for Christmas or for birthday, or just because.

This is a simple project that will be well appreciated during the cold winter months. The pattern is from the Knifty Knitters Assorted Looms book. I'm using the long pink loom for this scarf & will am holding 2 yarns thru out the project. You can also make the scarf by holding only one yarn. 2 yarns gives a thicker, warmer scarf, whereas the 1 yarn is a nice light scarf.

First start by tying down the yarn to the holding peg onto the side of the knitting loom. Leave a nice long tail (maybe 12 to 18 inches) to crochet the beginning of the scarf off (it just looks cleaner that way).

Next, cast on, starting by skipping the first pairless peg and going back and forth till you reach the desired width of the scarf (Remember that this is stretched out a bit as it is). Cast onto an even number of pegs.

Next is the tricky part, turning. Once you've reached the desired width you will turn. You're going to follow the zig-zag pattern from the previous cast on. This means that the turning peg will only have one cast on. This will be true each time you turn.

Pull over the bottom cast on, above the peg on each peg with 2 cast ons. (And you're knitting, isn't it great?) Once you've pulled over all the pegs, turn and cast on again, then knit again. You'll repeat this til you've reached the desired length for the scarf.

Once you've reached the length, you're ready to finish off the scarf and clean up the ends. Here you'll need a crochet hook, use one possibly a bit bigger than the yarn recommendation, or be prepared to crochet somewhat loose.

First you should crochet off from the loom. To do this, you'll unhook the yarn in the first peg and put it on the crochet hook. Next, remove the yarn on the next peg, and place it onto the crochet hook, and pull it thru the first loop in the crochet hook. Continue thru til you're at the end, then cut the yarn and pull the tail thru the last loop on the crochet hook.

For the tail that was left in the beginning you're going to use a single crochet along the edge. First pull a part of the tail thru the first loop (nearest the tail). Then, single crochet along the end.
Here's one that I finished a couple of weeks ago.

That's it. Enjoy your scarf, or enjoy giving your scarf away. :-)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chuck is on Monday 8/7c on NBC

Chuck will start it's second season this Monday on NBC at 8/7c.

It'll conflict with The Sarah Connor Chronicles... good thing you can watch either show on hulu.com. :-)

More on that on a later post.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Baby Fish

Hi all,

This morning, I went to feed my fish and I saw a baby platy swimming around. It's all very surprising that this guy survived the big tank of predators. But it did. This baby was up against

  • 5 tiger barbs,

  • 2 cory doras,

  • 1 plecostamus,

  • 4 danios,

  • 1 neon (the lonely neon was what was left of about 2 dozen that we had),

  • 1 clown loach,

  • 1 platy (we had half a dozen of these guys) and

  • 6 black skirt tetras.

Because all but the tiger barbs are classified as community fish, I'm almost certain the tiger barbs are the culprits of not only the neons, but this lone baby's brothers and sisters. Then again, these babies are so tiny, the other fish could have eaten them too. Grrr! I've gotta do something about that.

Anyway, I'm still excited to see this baby fish swimming around. :-) Once I'm able to get a decent picture of him/her I'll update this post.

Update: Here s/he is!

Update: 10-5-08

It's a girl. :-) I just looked today, and it looks like the bottom fin fans out, which means that the baby platy is a female. Oh, and by the way, she's alive. :-) She's actually getting braver, in that she's coming out of the plants and into the open a little more now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Museum Day: This Saturday!

This Saturday, September 27th is Museum Day. Museum Day is an event that is sponsored by the Smithsonian allows free general admission to hundreds of museums and cultural venues nationwide.
Check it out in this website. You can find info on which museums are participating and fill up the admissions card for your free admission. :-) We plan on going to Chabot Space and Science Center this Saturday.

Update [Sept. 28, 2008]:
We spent the evening yesterday at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, CA. A lot of the exhibits were too kid based for us to really enjoy, but there was still quite a few to see. Our favorite exhibit was a show in their planetarium called Search for Life. The experience was just amazing, the visuals almost felt 3D on the curved screen. The next best exhibits were the telescopes. They were set up around 4:00 pm and 7:30 pm for daytime and nighttime viewing respectively. During the daytime viewing, we were able to see Venus and the sun (thru special filters). During the nighttime viewing we saw Jupiter and several of it's moons, a star cluster (M-15) that was 30,000 light years away, and a nebular ring (explained as the death a star). We also learned about a telescope maker's workshop that sounded really interesting (they meet every Friday evening).

All in all, it was a great way to spend a Saturday evening... and the price was definitely right. :-) It's also reignited my interest in the universe and all of it's glory. I think I'll be saving up for a telescope soon. :-)

All in all, it was a fun way to spend a Saturday evening.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fleece Rope Dog Toys

These are great toys for fetching and for tug o' waring and for spending good quality time with your faithful friend. I usually make several of these every couple of months for my dogs and for my friend's dogs. They can also be great gifts to a new dog owner or to your favorite dogs. They love playing with these inexpensive and super simple to make dog toys.

The basic construction of this toy are strips of fleece fabric, braided, then knotted on both ends. I usually pick thru the remnants bin at Joann's Fabrics for the fleece. It works out great because you get the fabric for very cheap (discounted from regular prices) and the length you get is usually about right. Watch out for good storewide sales at Joann's as the deal can be even sweeter (I recently bought a bunch of fabric from the remnants bin at an additional 70% off the already discounted price... I love those kind of deals). The only downside to this is that the selection is not always the best. Luckily, our dogs aren't too picky. :-)

To make the rope toy, you would first start out by cutting the fleece into strips of about 4" wide. I usually cut it from selvage to selvage with a rotary fabric cutter but you can use scissors too. I, then cut the strips into halves or thirds lengthwise depending on the size of rope toy I'm making. Halves make nice long rope toys.

You'll need three strips of varying colors to make a rope toy. Take those three strips and make a knot about 3"- 6" from one of the ends.

On the following step, you'll either need someone to hold the knotted end of the strips or you can do what I do and just use a clamp to clamp it down. You'll next, want to braid the strips to the end. For strong chewers, braid it somewhat tight. For lighter chewers, a looser braid will do. Once near the end, make another knot like before, leaving a 3" - 6" tail. Once that's done, the toy is complete. For looks, you can cut the tails into smaller strips. Be creative with these. Try to tie several ropes together or try adding a tennis ball in the mix. Let me know your experiences in these. :-)

As with any other dog toys, please supervise how your dog plays with these toys. If your dog likes to eat things whole and your noticing he/she trying to swallow these ropes whole, you'll want to remove the toy from the dog and make sure he plays with it only under supervision. Have him/her fetch or play tug o' war. He'll love the interaction with his favorite buddy as much as he'll love his new toy. I hope your dog enjoys his new toys. :-)

Heroes Premieres Tonight on NBC

Just a quick reminder. Season 3 of Heroes will premiere tonight (September 22), 8/7c on NBC.

This is going to be a 3 hour event. The first hour is supposed to be a behind the scenes, countdown to the premiere episode. Then, the next 2 hours is the actual premiere.

Hoping for a better season than last, and still really excited for this new season. :-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Shabu Shabu Time!

Tonight we had Shabu Shabu (meaning swish swish) for dinner. Shabu Shabu is a Japanese fondue of interactive cooking where the diner would cook their own food by dipping the food in a boiling pot of broth and swishing it around. Here's what was cooking.
  • Thinly sliced New York Steaks
  • Peeled shrimp
  • Bok Choi
  • Chinese Napa Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Baby corn (from a can)
  • Chicken broth
  • Water (to cut in the chicken broth... plenty of flavor to go around)
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Dumpling dipping sauce
  • Ginger sesame sauce

We've tried some of the following in the past:

  • Thinly Sliced Ribeye Steak : very good, no complaints here.
  • Snow peas : turns out we don't like them very much.
  • Carrots : sinks and it's hard to grab once it does
  • Regular Cabbage : turned out a bit too thick

What we plan to try in the future:

  • Asparagus
  • Green beans
  • Red Snapper or some other kind of fish

**Tip: Freeze the meat most of the way thru if you're cutting thinly with a knife, it makes it much easier. If you're using a meat slicer, freeze it all the way, it seems to work even better that way. If you have a butcher near you, you can probably ask him to slice it paper thin for you.

Here's a picture of the veggies cooking away in the pot.

What we usually do is, we make one person in charge of putting the veggies in, and she will put it in pretty much by the handful depending on what's in the pot. This way, the veggies become more communal, anyone can just pick and grab whatever is in the pot. As for the meats, everyone has access to them and just pick and cook their own as they please.

Shabu shabu has become one of our favorite things to eat. It's not only healthy and quick, it's also really fun and fun to say. Anyway, enjoy playing with your food. :-)

[Update. 3.23.2009] - We had shabu shabu again over the weekend and with red snapper on sale for $2.99/lb, we decided to give that a shot in the shabu shabu pot. It cooked up quite excellent. The fish came out kinda bland, but once dipped in sauce (hot dumpling sauce was what I was using for the night) it was outstanding.

[Update. 8.24.2009] - We tried another new item that proved to be a success. Thin slices of pork loin. Delicious! Along with thinly sliced rib eye and shrimp. The rib eye was a bit of a splurge, but really, even one steak lasts a long while when thinly sliced.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Talk Like A Pirate Day

Friday, September 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. We decided to celebrate it a week early, and made it a part of our weekend adventure. To celebrate we watched all three Pirates of the Carribean movies, and enjoyed good comfort foods like golden nuggets (chicken nuggets), fish and chips, flavored popcorn, and Parrot Bay Sunrises (coconut rum, orange juice, and cranberry juice) while wearing little pirate eye patchs. (note: we didn't cover our eye during the movies, that would just be silly. ) ;-) It was great fun. Almost can't wait til next Talk like a Pirate Day, Aye! I be catchin' up on me pirate talk til then... Arr! (hehe... definitely gotta work on that).

It's nice to celebrate those silly "holidays" once in a while. So, I hope you get to enjoy a good talk like a pirate day even if you don't celebrate it on September 19th.

Updated[9/22/08]: Founds some new links that might be helpful next year.

Talk like a pirate translator


Make a treasure map

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remolding Soap

[Updated: I finally got around to trying out this project. Please visit "the experience".]

I've recently found a website that is easily becoming one of my favorite sites. Tipnut.com published this cool new tip a couple of days ago.


If you ever wondered what to do with all your hotel soaps from travels. This is the tip for you. She shaves down all of those small sample soaps adds a little water for moisture and a little oatmeal, and basically remolds it into new bars of soap. I use to travel a couple of times a month for work and racked up a bunch of those little soaps that I intended to donate to a local women's shelter but never got around to do. I think I'm gonna take a couple of those soaps to try this out and finally take the rest to that local shelter. :-) Thanks for the idea tipnut.

Once I try it out, I'll post the results here. If you give it a shot, please let me know your experiences. :-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Free Starbucks Coffee recipe E-book

Okay, so this isn't exactly crafty but neither is my tv lineup... right? Anyway, I saw this roll by about a week or so ago on my google Reader. It's interesting enough to share, and can save us a whole lot of money. :-) Plus it gives us the ability to substitute things so they're not like 1000 calories a drink. Anyway, enjoy the e-book. You can download it in the following link.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Marshmallow Shooter (automatic)

Hi again,

As promised, this is what I did this weekend. Well, actually, it took me about 20 minutes to do (including going to the store), but gave me much more fun. :-)
I got the plans from an instructables website... which is one of the best websites for a DIY'er.

I didn't follow the plans exactly, however, because I bought the wrong size pvc pipe (3' instead of 4'). So, I improvised. Here's the part list for mine.
  • 1/2" PVC tee (quantity: 2)
  • 1/2" PVC cap (quantity: 2)
  • 1/2" PVC elbow (quantity: 2)
  • 1/2" PVC pipe - 3" length (quantity: 3)
  • 1/2" PVC pipe - 5" length (quantity: 1) (handle)
  • 1/2" PVC pipe - 8" length (quantity: 2) (barrel and hopper)
  • 1/2" PVC pipe - 6" length (quantity: 1) (mouthpiece)
  • cotton ball, and tape (for design, etc)
  • mini marshmallows (ammo)
I cleaned out the mouthpiece first... you know, the typical soap and water thing. Here's the way its laid out.

The cotton ball is put in the 3" piece next to the handle, and it's so the air is directed straight thru to the barrel. I also add in a piece of tape so I'm sure nothing goes that way.
Anyway, put the pieces all together and you're ready to put ammo in and shoot. :-)
First remove the cap that's on the hopper. (top cap)

Load that baby up. :-) I've heard others line the inside of the pvc pipes with cornstarch for less stickage, but I didn't have that problem. I just gently rolled the ones that didn't quite fit, and they dropped in perfectly. I only tried it with about 8 marshmallows, but it was clear that you can easily load much more.

Now blow in the mouthpiece, and watch all (or at least most) of the marshmallows fly. :-) It's just great, and what distance.

Beware that it might cause a mess, and I don't think a lot of marshmallows are good for dogs, so only allow them to digest a minimum amount. I'm planning on making about 4 more of these to have a full out "war" with my friends. Should be fun.

Have a great time making the shooters, and enjoy them. Best of all, it's pretty cheap for the amount of fun you get from it. (2 guns cost me ~$3 a piece + ammo).

Exciting TV Line Up this Week

Hi all,

Hope you're enjoying your weekend. :-) I've got a nice weekend project post coming up (probably tonight) but for now, I want to share with you this weeks TV line up. (I'm sure it's incomplete but it's gonna be great).

FRINGE (Tuesday Sept 9 8/7c on Fox)
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Monday, Sept 8 8/7c on Fox)
Hole in the Wall (Thursday, Sept 11, 8/7c Preview Sunday, Sept 7, 8/7c on Fox)
Kitchen Nightmares (Thursday, Sept 11, 9/8c on Fox)

Have a good day.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cuddly Pom Kit

A few weeks ago, I saw this cute kit at the nearby craft store called a Cuddly Pom Kit. I couldn't resist getting one and giving it a whirl. Well, it's been left untouched for weeks until I stumbled upon it last night, so I decided to try it out today.
It was rather intimidating at first with all of the little pom poms (for each toe). That was a whole lot of glueing. I first tried to use the white school glue that is pictured. Well, a note to anyone that is going to try this... it didn't seem to work so well. It was taking forever to dry which is probably why it didn't stick to well (I kept peeking to see if it was dry). So, I pulled out the trusty glue gun, and ta-da.... I had to work fast but it turned out okay. (Sure, it didn't turn out exactly like the picture, but the pom poms were also different proportions than those on the in the picture... I can use that as an excuse, right?)

If you're curious, they also have this kit in other animals. I've seen a monkey, a dog, panda and penguin. All are super cute. I'd like to give this a shot without the kit sometime.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bones on Tomorrow night!

Just a reminder. Bones is on tomorrow, Sept. 3rd 8/7 central on Fox. :-) So excited. :-)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day! - Ribbon Bookmarks

Happy Labor Day! Hope you all had an excellent day off. Earlier in the year, I found a post on WikiHow on how to make ribbon bookmarks. Thru the summer, I've made several for gifts to my bookworm friends. Now that I've also learned to bind my own books, I plan to give it to friends as a gift set. :-) (more on the book binding in a later post).

Check out the WikiHow post, the poster did a really great job in showing the step by step instructions to create these awesome bookmarks.