Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Did You Know?...

FACT:  In 1882, the Nautical Almanac Office published a job posting to recruit "Computers" - those skilled in Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Astronomy.

Please Remember

Please use my Amazon link (right side of page) when purchasing items through Amazon.  It won't cost you a penny more!  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Hey Mate, A Skate Update

The weather warmed up a bit over the weekend so I headed out on Saturday afternoon to longboard.  I started off by "surfing" around on my hamboard for about an hour.  I wanted to try out some barefoot hamboarding as it's closer to the surf vibe.  But concrete does not equate water when it comes to skin.  So after the hour, I developed a huge regular blister (left in pic) and a comparable blood blister (right in pic)!

When I limped back to my VW Beetle and headed home, I was still in the mood to longboard some more.  But how can you skate when you have giant blisters on a foot?  Well, not to worry!  I fell back on a trick I learned in basic training that ALWAYS works...  duct tape!  Yes, believe it or not, duct tape is great for blisters.  What you do is add several layers directly on top of the blisters.  The end result may not look pretty but, rest assured, you can move around on the blisters with little pain.  And so I headed back out and longboarded for another hour and a half or so. 

Duct tape, put on your socks & shoes, and you can move on no problems...

Now longboarding seems to be the "in" thing.  Ads are popping up in print and tv with longboarders in the plot line.  So what what is a longboard?  Well, basically it's a really long skateboard that you cruise around on instead of doing tricks with (except that some folks do some crazy slides with longboards and technically those are tricks... but anyhow...).

Here is my classic hamboard:

This beast is six and a half feet and weighs about 45 pounds.  The wheels are massive.  However, the board is very sensitive and will spit you over super fast if you step off the center line.  Also, the board turns on a dime and within a VERY short radius.  A truly amazing board.

And here are my two other boards:

The longer of the two boards is a Koastal WaveDancer (custom deck shape) with the company's Revenge trucks.  Great trucks!  Very carvy and surfy feel to the way they ride.  And the black & blue board is a Kahuna Creations Haka Moko Cruiser Pintail.  You can also see a Kahuna Big Stick which you can use to push around on so you never have to use your feet (ok to use but a PAIN when going uphill!!!).  The KC board has Bear Grizzly trucks and they are very sweet.

All three boards ride differently and it depends on what my mood is like for that day of riding or what the terrain is like (more flatland cruising vs. declines, etc).

When I go out, I always wear a helmet and slide gloves.  Slide gloves can be pretty pricey if you buy them but many longboarders just make their own.  Here's my pair made from some hardware gloves and cut up & shoo-gooed cutting board:

They work exceptionally well.  See all those deep scrapes in the cutting board material (and you know how tough cutting boards are)... well, can you imagine what my hands would look like if I didn't wear the gloves?!?!...

Anyhow, it's turning colder mid-week so I'll take a breather until the upcoming weekend or slightly beyond.  Then it's back onto the street.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekly Round Up

  This past week was Dead Week at the college where I teach.  That means this upcoming week is finals week, which in turn means: Blog?  What blog?
* I worked a little on my denim throw/picnic blanket.  Our basement is cold, andmy husband likes quilts and blankets to feel heavy on him, so I started an unconventional throw that should be thick enough to be the bottom layer underneath a picnic blanket—ergo, useful for both winter and summer.

* We canceled our cable.  It’s the slow good-bye, though, as we haven’t received the box to mail the DVR back, and so while we aren’t getting any new shows recorded, we can still work through some of our old backlog.  
* I'm reading  The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah Martin.  I am enjoying it very much and learning heaps :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

An Enchanted Morning

The Magician and I spent the morning at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, checking out an exhibit of Lego sculptures and enjoying the company of my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and their two boys.  I thought you might enjoy some pictures.

The 27 sculptures took Lego artist Sean Kenney eight months to make.  Some of the larger ones have steel armature inside, and they were all sealed when finished.

Here's one of my favorites:

Any guesses how many Legos it took to make the bee?  The answer is at the end of this post.

Our Latest Gardening Experiment

Supposedly you can grow potatoes in just straw.

You're supposed to layer the potatoes, and then they grow out of the sides.  So when a friend decided to get rid of a strange metal clothes hamper.... (at least, that's we we think it was)... The Magician did this:

We did move it outside.  But we might still be rednecks anyway.

It makes me laugh... we are getting further and further away from the sophistication we had planned!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Not-So-Grand Raised Bed

Having done some pricing, we are now leaning more toward.....

Comments?  What's the coolest... oddest... cheapest raised bed you've ever seen?  Has anyone tried using troughs to garden in?  I'm worried that they are going to be awful hot in July....

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quote of the Day

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.
-- Chinese proverb

Today I'm going to remember that I am not in charge of eradicating all the evil in the world.  I'm just in charge in lighting up my little corner, which I'm going to do to the best of my ability.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Zipper Update

My zipper pull broke.  Again.  Last time I fixed it by adding a key ring, but this time there isn’t a big enough hole for anything more than some wire.

Ergo, my frugal fix that does not involve buying a new coat (yet):

The wire is pretty flimsy so I don’t think it’s a permanent fix, but the hole was too small for either a ribbon or thicker wire, and I knew thread wouldn’t last long.  And I really don’t want to mess with taking out the zipper. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gardening to Save Money?

Is gardening really budget-friendly?  I mean, by the time you finish buying all of the stuff you need, do you really come out ahead?

We have two square-foot garden plots, each of them 3' x 4', giving us 24 feet of garden space for vegetables.  We also have a strawberry bed that is probably another 24 square feet.

The first year we put in the garden was 2010, I think.  I'm not sure, because we didn't write anything down.  This is unfortunate, because this would have been when most of the major expenses like soil, material to construct our compost pile, pipes to make the trellis, etc. would have been purchased.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

More Garden Fantasy....

The Magician sent me some links with photos, and he's been talking about a visit to the hardware/garden store....

What do you think, dear readers?  Which is your favorite?  What are your suggestions?  (Click on "no comment" to comment.  Yup-- that's intuitive!)

Photo 1:

Photo 2:
Photo 3:

Photo 4:
Photo 5:
If you click on the photos themselves, they should link back to the websites where The Magician found them.

We'll keep you posted!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Don't throw away..... Old Phone Books!

The best crafting tip ever!  (I can't remember where I saw this--I only wish it was my idea.  If anyone wants to claim it, click on "no comment" in order to leave a comment.)

When you are doing a project that involves lots of gluing, and you need the glue to completely cover the back of whatever you're gluing, use a phone book. When the page gets sticky and messy, turn to a fresh page.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Weekly Round Up

-- The Magician made a pair of regular gloves into his own hard-palmed gloves.  (I don’t know the skateboarder name for them.)  This involved powerful glue, making the office stink, so Thursday morning I spent with the windows open, the heat off, and a hat on my head, trying to work with frozen fingers.  Fortunately, I’m sure I am NEVER an inconvenience to him…..
-- This blog topped 1000 visits!  We’ve been writing since January 30, 2013.
-- I got some great advice on how to design an enclosed, rabbit-proof garden/greenhouse from Jason, the maintenance guy at work.
-- The Magician priced rain barrels.  It’s actually cheaper to sign up for a make-your-own class at the local community college with the supplies included instead of buying them, so we are doing that instead.
-- Lent ended and Easter Octave Eating began.  So I'm eating whatever I want! In consequence, my skin is greasy and breaking out, I’m moody, my sleep is somewhat more erratic, and my memory is on vacation.  The change isn’t dramatic.  But it is noticeable.  And I’m still savoring fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies without regret.  I’m just not going to eat this way indefinitely!
-- We attended the baptism of Simon, the first-born son of our dear friends Andy and Ann.  There was much rejoicing!
-- I auditioned for a play called Chosen.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hamboards Are Awesome!

Seriously, these things are amazing.

I took my Hamboard Classic (Bamboo) out today on some flats and, wow, what a crazy cool surf vibe when riding this thing.  You'd think a skateboard that is over six feet long wouldn't turn well but the Hamboard turns on a dime and has an incredibly small turn radius.  It's very responsive and you have to be careful when stepping off either side of the stringer as the board will pitch you very quickly.  Once you get your foot placement down though, it's very sweet.

However I overdid it today and overworked my calf when pushing.  Icing it now and will give it a few days rest.  Then once it's healed up I'll have J. come out with me sometime and snap some pics.

(and yes... I did "hang ten" several times like in the pic...)

Who Knew?

The Hershey's Kiss got its name from the puckering sound made by the manufacturing equipment as chocolate was dropped on the conveyor belt during the production process.

This post is in honor of The Magician, my beloved, who had some of these waiting for me when I got back from my trip.

The above tidbit is quoted from the book Who Knew? Things You Didn't Know About Things You Know Well by David Hoffman.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter Art

I made two calendar pages on Easter afternoon.  (I was reading Rebooting Work: Transform How You Work in the Age of Entrepreneurship but that seemed too worldly for Easter.)

The sun is for the Son because He has risen!
And I went ahead and did one for May as well.  It's also punful :)
The calendar is at school, so I will add the pages there.

I was reading Art at the Speed of Life by Pam Carriker, and it inspired me to try some mixed-media and layering.  I'm timid, though.  If you look closely at the top image you can see cardboard (the orange triangles, from a box) and purplish dots (paper-punched from a bead catalog).  I also tried to layer my paint more than usual.  I worked on both canvases at once so paint could dry before I applied another layer.  The book is much cooler than these would imply!  I need to give myself permission to fail more.  My "canvases" are discarded cardstock used for putting layer upon layer of medicine bottles in boxes.  They were intercepted on their way to the trash at the factory where my mom works.  They really don't have to be perfect!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


While J. doesn't get it, this is why I enjoy longboarding... because it mimics the feel of a surf session (and no danger of sharks!).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Magician and the Long Board

Robert got his longboard while I was in Chicago.  He has taken it out to play twice.  (Hey. It's still cold out!)

Here is Day 1:
(It had a couple of days to heal.  It was originally much more impressive of a scrape.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Shhh Project Revealed!

Here is a picture of the secret gift at last!  And with it, may I introduce the lovely Madeline…..

To see how I made it, here is the tutorial on Cut Out + Keep.

Also, the couple I gave the Angel Mosaic to welcomed a little boy on Saturday.  I'm looking forward to meeting him! 

Budget Numbers for March

Why is it that every month something comes up?  This month it was taxes, which The Magician just wanted to get over with and go ahead and pay early.

However, we did hit a record amount of passive income: $3.16.  Yup. I think I need to think less about money..... This moving toward financial independence is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

This blog did accumulate more than $10 in affiliate revenue from Amazon, so we will eventually get some income from that.  Thank you to our readers for purchasing through the Amazon portal - we appreciate it!