Sunday, May 31, 2009

blog #297 >> Random Happenings...

...and a collection of photos that happened to be on my camera.

Due to my dentist appointment on Friday, I took the day off work and I ended up with another three day weekend. Three days off, three days on, three days off... it's how I wish every week was. In some ways I made much better use of my time this weekend than last. At least it was more relaxing than my last weekend. Overall I got very little accomplished. I watched lots of old Outer Limit episodes on Hulu, drank absurd amounts of tea, sat out in the sun, baked a pie, finished two library books, played the accordion, ran through the sprinkler with the kids and did some housework. I don't have any adventures to report beyond going out my front door, but you never know what that could lead to...
...Anyhow, all I have to show for my weekend are some random photos off my camera, so here they are.

Here are the first strawberries from our garden. They are also the first Oregon berries I've had all year, and I had forgotten how wonderful they really are.

These are the baby peaches on our peach tree in the garden. I'm so excited, it's completely covered in little tiny fuzzy peaches and last year we only had one. I hope it does well.

Here's the rest of the garden. I think the beans will be the next thing to start producing, but who knows. I do know I'll be doing a lot of weeding this week though. And the radishes need separating, and the hyacinths pruning, and some random volunteers need to get moved. I think it will be a gardening kind of week.

This is the strawberry rhubarb pie that I'm eating while I write this.

And this is my tea cup from breakfast. I was trying to take picture of the cool swirly-ness of the cream mixing with the tea. But the photo doesn't do it justice. It was making neat galaxy shapes... I guess I'm easily entertained.

I also finished my book "The Lord of the Flies" this morning while drinking tea. It's a highly pessimistic book about a bunch of kids stuck on an island, in desperate need of a mother. I kept on thinking, this is what Peter Pan could have been like without Wendy. Those kids just needed a mom to say, "Hey, if you don't wear your clothes, you're going to get sunburned." and "If you eat green fruit, you'll get a stomach ache." and "It's not safe to run through the jungle with that pointed stick." and "It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt." and other mom-like phases of the same. Those poor messed up children. I'm afraid it didn't end very well for them.

Anyways last photo...

Here is the perfect comfy reading chair that I almost bought for $10 at a yard sale. Or I should say my sister almost bought it for me with the spare change in her car. But unfortunately I have absolutely no room left for another piece of furniture in my small apartment. I've drug far too many things home already so I'm afraid this little, or not so little, treasure had to stay. Sorry Amy, you can't live vivaciously through me, at least not this time.

Well, now I need to finished the dishes and head off to bed.

Good night!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

blog #296 >> Long Tall Weekend

I ended up having a very nice Memorial Day weekend, not that I ever doubted I would. But it could have been even longer yet. It's amazing how fast it went by. All the different little things I've done have blended together, but I'll try my best to sort them out.

Friday was a remarkable day in that I seemed blessed in everything I did. I was able to get off work early. My library book came in, I got the last parking spot in the lot. And the Clear wireless guy just happened to stop by to ask if I wanted to sign-up... Of course I answered, "YES!" I was going to switch to Clear anyways this weekend, and he had me hooked up in 5 minutes. Now I don't have to sit on top of my desk with the laptop out the window to be online. Later that afternoon, I sat outside in the grass reading for a couple of hours while I watered the garden... and I think I made something amazing for dinner, although I can't seem to remember what it was.

Saturday... what did I do on Saturday? Right, I went grocery shopping and to my folks house. Later we took the Model A out to visit Grandma and went out to dinner. As usual, I forgot the camera.

Sunday, I don't really know what I did... um... I know I sewed up my curtains, and sewed the lining into my skirt. Only I didn't cut out the lining right, and I had to re-sew my skirt on Monday... And I think I put together my cookbook... played the accordion... and ummm.... I think there was some more Model A riding around with my folks, and we visited Grandma again. Oh, and we bought her some new shoes.

Monday, I actually can remember Monday pretty well, but since it was yesterday I suppose that's not very impressive. Monday morning I finished sewing my skirt. Then I went to The Waffle Window on Hawthorn with Dave and Trina. They have amazing wonderful delicious waffles there. I got one with bananas and Nuttella...mmm.... I also forgot the camera here. But this picture truly looks just like it.

Then we went to Jo-Anns and I got three funky little curved needle thingies for cable knitting with my super coupon. After that I headed out to the creek to meet my family for lunch. We had roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. It was a beautiful day yesterday and the weather was perfect.

Later, my parents stopped by my house and my dad helped me hang up my curtains. Actually, he hung them up for me. (Thanks!) I've learned I should never use power tools on my own... or hang things on the walls by myself for that matter. And then I sewed a scarf together until bed...

Overall, I suppose it was a pretty memorable weekend, despite the fact that I've forgotten most of it.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

blog #295 >> Tweenbots

I can tell, I'm not going to get anything done today.
I found this on Trina's links and thought it was wonderful.
See more at

Robot/People art by Kacie Kinzer at ITP

In New York, we are very occupied with getting from one place to another. I wondered: could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself? To answer these questions, I built robots.

Tweenbots are human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal.

Given their extreme vulnerability, the vastness of city space, the dangers posed by traffic, suspicion of terrorism, and the possibility that no one would be interested in helping a lost little robot, I initially conceived the Tweenbots as disposable creatures which were more likely to struggle and die in the city than to reach their destination. Because I built them with minimal technology, I had no way of tracking the Tweenbot’s progress, and so I set out on the first test with a video camera hidden in my purse. I placed the Tweenbot down on the sidewalk, and walked far enough away that I would not be observed as the Tweenbot––a smiling 10-inch tall cardboard missionary––bumped along towards his inevitable fate.

The results were unexpected. Over the course of the following months, throughout numerous missions, the Tweenbots were successful in rolling from their start point to their far-away destination assisted only by strangers. Every time the robot got caught under a park bench, ground futilely against a curb, or became trapped in a pothole, some passerby would always rescue it and send it toward its goal. Never once was a Tweenbot lost or damaged. Often, people would ignore the instructions to aim the Tweenbot in the “right” direction, if that direction meant sending the robot into a perilous situation. One man turned the robot back in the direction from which it had just come, saying out loud to the Tweenbot, "You can’t go that way, it’s toward the road.”

The Tweenbot’s unexpected presence in the city created an unfolding narrative that spoke not simply to the vastness of city space and to the journey of a human-assisted robot, but also to the power of a simple technological object to create a complex network powered by human intelligence and asynchronous interactions. But of more interest to me was the fact that this ad-hoc crowdsourcing was driven primarily by human empathy for an anthropomorphized object. The journey the Tweenbots take each time they are released in the city becomes a story of people's willingness to engage with a creature that mirrors human characteristics of vulnerability, of being lost, and of having intention without the means of achieving its goal alone. As each encounter with a helpful pedestrian takes the robot one step closer to attaining its destination, the significance of our random discoveries and individual actions accumulates into a story about a vast space made small by an even smaller robot.

for a sneak peek at more robots (coming soon) look here.

send a BLANK email to tweenbotinfo[at] for updates about future bot missions.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

blog #293 >> Awkward Family Photos

They're umm... really, really awkward.
See more here at
Oh yes! They're not MY family photos, it's a website of funny family photos.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

blog #292 >> Steampunk

...or old fashioned technology.
I was trying to explain why I was wearing two watches the other day, and I found I was doing a really poor job of it. I'd say, "It's steampunk!" and people would say, "What's that?" ummm... it's kinda like taking something old and making it new... well no, not like that at all. It's like taking something new and making it look old, but with gears and shiny things and stuff. And not like original old, more Victorian old, steam car era old, or 20's old, or 40's old. It's like tearing apart a typewriter and turning it into a keyboard.
...alright I'm still not explaining it very well.
Here's the definition from Urban Dictionary.
"What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner."

Anyways... here are some steampunky examples.
I found this beautiful laptop here.
It makes me want to remake Lappy in 40's radio style.

And here are some more examples of technology that has been converted to look steampunk.

Steampunk bluetooth: found here.

Steampunk keyboard: instructions on how to make your own here.

Steampunk mouse: with burning coal furnace found here.

Steampunk glasses: found here.

And this random page of steampunk things.

Here is my steampunk bracelet.
I bought this watch years ago, but when I went to get it repaired, the first thing out of the jeweler's mouth was, "Does this have any sentimental value?" Well no, I just bought it because I thought it was pretty. It ended up being rusted through and at over $200 to fix it, I decided not to repair it. But it is still a lovely watch and I wanted to wear it somehow. It was really annoying to wear a watch with the wrong time. So I decided to turn it into a bracelet. All I did to convert it into a steampunk watch, was to turn around the face so that the gears showed and then close it back up. Now I can wear it without confusing myself about what time it is. Only I still need to know the time, so I wear it with my regular watch.

See more steampunk jewelry here.


blog #291 >> Springy Sprouts

After all of our rain, these past few sunny days have really made things start popping up in the garden. I had to replant a row of lettuce that drowned, and dug a little ditch to catch the rain water, but besides all that, I think it's going to do really well. One thing for sure is, it's going to be a great year for strawberries.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

blog #290 >> Fairyland Fabrics

I'm always impressed with the amount of fabulous fabrics Etsy has to offer. It was really hard to pick just a few to feature today, so I may need to do more Etsy fabric posts in the future.

From left to right, top to bottom:

Japanese Jack and the Beanstalk
brought to us by: From Japan with Love

Japanese Cute Little Red Riding Hood and Flower
by: Karaku Style

Heather Ross' Mendocino Collection
from: Fabric Worm

Japanese Snow White
straight from: This and That from Japan

Heather Ross Mendocino, Mermaids in Aqua
presented by: Pink Panda Fabrics

Alexander Henry, Petite Granville in Pink
by: Pink Panda Fabrics

The last three are...
Heather Ross Frog Prince Far, Far Away
courtesy of: Spice Berry Cottage


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

blog #289 >> I've won!

I'm so happy to have been honored with this wonderful award!
Perhaps more people read my blog than I realize...
Anyhow, I'd like to thank Miss. Mary from Lolly-Tots for bestowing me with this prize, and now I shall pass it on.

The Long Thread

The Small Object


Geninne's Art Blog

Experiencing Food in Portland

Inside a Black Apple

See more prize winning blogs here!


Monday, May 11, 2009

blog #288 >> Nebraska's No. 1 Polka Band

a drum roll please.......
Czech Records is proud to present....
and his orchestra
Nebraska's No. 1 Polka Band!

I've been listening to this one all night and it's fabulous! Lots of accordion solos and it's even got some singing. This might even be better than Lawrence Welk's Polka for Polka Lovers.
Thanks Bud!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

blog #287 >> Lemon Stuff

For those of you requesting this recipe, here it is!
The lemon bars came from with some alterations.
The candied lemon peel came from Better Homes and Gardens.
And the tart was my clever, but not clever enough combination of the two.

Lemon Bars

2 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup soft butter

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tea. baking powder
1/4 cup flour
3/4 to 1 cup fresh lemon juice
(3-5 lemons depending on their size)
2 T. lemon zest
(or however much 1 or 2 lemons will make, depending on taste.)

Preheat oven to 315 degrees F. Mix flour and powdered sugar together, add butter. Press into pan. Prick with fork. Bake at 315 degrees for 15-18 minutes until crust is slightly brown... a little tiny bit golden. You're gonna bake it some more so don't over do it.
Now make the filling. Mix eggs, sugar, baking powder, flour, lemon juice, and zest. Pour on top of crust. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. DON'T FORGET THIS! Bake for 20 minutes. You might want to tent them with foil if they're getting too brown. Let cool completely and dust with powdered sugar. Eat and enjoy.

Candied Lemon

Thinly slice one lemon.
Boil in 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar for 15-20 minutes.
(I boiled mine for about 45 minutes.)
Let dry on parchment.
(To speed things up I baked mine in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes and decreased the temperature to "warming" and left them in there for about an hour.)
You can also dip them in sugar just before serving.
(Basically these are really easy and there's no wrong way to make them.)

My poor tart... I'm sorry I ruined you.
It was good in theory... Since I was short a 9x13 pan, I thought I'd try out my tart pan, which worked marvelously for lemon bars. And then I thought instead of sprinkling the top of it with powdered sugar, I'd layout some mint leaves and candied lemon slices and encase them with the leftover simple syrup from the candied lemons... Well that part worked alright, and looked beautiful, but soon I realized that even though the simple syrup was cooling off, it wasn't thickening like I thought it would. In hindsight I should have added some corn starch before pouring it on top to ensure it would thicken... but I didn't think of that. Normally my simple syrup gets pretty thick on it's own. But I think the lemon juice made it thinner than usual. Whatever the case, I did my best to get it to thicken after I had poured it. I tried sprinkling extra sugar on top, but it just soaked it up. And the only other thing I could think of to fix it, was to throw it back in the oven and try to cook down the syrup some more... Well, I carefully took it off the plate and placed back onto the pan. Then, back in the oven it went. Previously the lemon custard layer had protected the crust from the simple syrup layer. But when it was back in the oven, it all melted together and soaked into the crust making it soggy. Then it broke apart when I tried putting it back on the plate... At least it tastes good.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

blog #286 >> Ring around the Noodle

Today I made this fancy Noodle Ring with Mushroom Sauce. It turned out very good. However, I'm a purist. I like ice cream and pie, but not together. It was the same with this. I liked the noodle ring, and the sauce, but I would have preferred the mushroom sauce on plain noodles and the noodle ring on it's own. But besides that it was really keen.

I got the recipe from Curly Wurly, who posted an article from an old Better Homes and Gardens about "11 Glamorous foods with the smooth, tempting flavor only Evaporated Milk can give." Yes, what food is more glamorous than evaporated milk?

Anyhow, I did switch up the recipe a bit. I substituted bacon for frankfurters... well because bacon is better. I also left out the pimento olives... which I don't keep in my fridge. And I also made a half recipe because it was new and because my jello mold wasn't as big as the one they called for. Oh, and I also used one giant portobello mushroom for the sauce which turned out phenomenal. It's kinda like beef stroganoff, but with mushrooms. mmmm....