Friday, March 30, 2012

The Fun Of Fiber

This morning, at a quarter to ten, my mother and I set off on a wild adventure of fiber arts and money spending. Actually, money spending wasn't our main goal. We were, I believe, not going to buy anything. 


The DFW Fiber Fest began this morning. It runs until Sunday. Thinking that it would possibly not be so crowded the first morning. I don't really remember why we thought that, but we did. 

We strolled around, looking in all the booths, twirling handmade drop spindles in our fingers, brushing the soft rovings, and wondering if this expensive skein of yarn would make a nice scarf. 

I came across a couple of things I liked. Since I'm really mainly interesting in spinning my own yarn and then knitting it (I don't know why, but I'm sort of reluctant to knit with somebody else's hand-spun yarn), I was seeking more roving and drop spindles. 

I found a lot of gorgeous drop spindles. Most of them were way too expensive, and if they weren't too expensive, they weren't well made. But, I found one seller with beautiful drop spindles that were well made and priced at only $25. Also, the whorls of a few of them were made in the shape of a flower, the petals of which make excellent notches so your yarn doesn't slide around while you're spinning. I promptly bought one.
But before I did, I bought four ounces of the most beautiful roving in the world. Soft, I think the sign said merino, and gorgeous colors. Mostly sky blue, with streaks of dark pink and light green. You can't tell too well in the picture, because I'm a horrible photographer, but it's beautiful. 
As soon as I got home (well, after I ate lunch, finished school, and took a power nap), I spun some roving up on my new drop spindle. I love them both so much. I'm really good at making insanely thin yarn, but once it's plied, it'll be amazing. I'm thinking of doing some lace knitting. I've never done lace knitting before. I look forward to the challenge. 

My Mom also got three ounces each of some nice wool, some grey-and-white and plain white which she may dye. 

I'm such a fiberaholic. 

Monday, March 26, 2012


They just posted the first preview for the new series of Doctor Who on Doctor Who BBC! Oh my gosh! It's so exciting!

If anybody else is as excited as I am, the world just got 100% happier. It's awesome! I cannot wait until fall!

Whew, this looks good!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Good-bye Amelia, hello...?

We all know that the much loved companions Amy and Rory will be leaving Doctor Who this coming season. Steven Moffat has hinted that it will be heartbreaking. I can't honestly say I'm looking forward to their departure.

But, as it always is with human nature, I can't wait for the new companion. Just a few days ago they put on Doctor Who BBC the news that Jenna-Louise Coleman will be taking on the role as companion. But that's pretty much all.

But she looks promising, and I can only hope that Moffat will create another great character. After all, with the man who thought up the Eleventh Doctor, Amy, Rory, and River Song, how could you go wrong?

I live in anticipation for the new series, the first half of which airs this autumn. It's going to be fantastic.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games

Having just seen the Hunger Games movie, it seems a good time to finally write my thoughts on the first book in the trilogy.

I read it back in December. It probably took me about five days to read, and would have taken less, had I not put it down once I started it. Which would have been wholly possibly, if I hadn't been in one of the last weeks of school before the holidays and "working hard".

Thrilling, suspenseful, nerve-wracking, romantic. This book has it all. Collins is a good writer, and has created a very good book. Though not one of my all time favorites, it was definitely worth the time I spent reading it.

Twelve districts in the place that was once North America, kept in line by the stylish and rich Capitol. To keep the districts' memories fresh of the war that destroyed their lives, the Capitol has, for nearly three-quarters of a century, ordered participation in the Hunger Games. One boy and girl tribute from each district, locked in an arena and forced to fight to the death. The one tribute alive at the end is sent back to their district with riches and the promise of a future life free from the Games.

Protagonist Katniss Everdeen is, naturally, sent into the arena with, from her own district, Peeta Mellark, and twenty-two other tributes. Surprisingly, the book is not as gory as one would expect. Four out of five stars.

You should also really, really, really watch the movie. The movie is great.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Molasses Ginger Cookies

Everybody who knows me also knows that I very rarely have anything to do with the kitchen. In fact, apart from lunch and breakfast, I try to avoid cooking altogether.

But Wednesday night, I went on the computer and found a completely vegan recipe for molasses ginger cookies and set out to make them for my brother David's birthday, which was actually in late December, but we've always celebrated it around St Patrick's Day.

These cookies have no artificial things in them like egg substitutes or soy milk, although it does call for vegan buttery spread. I used sunflower oil.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp ginger powder
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup water 
1/4 - 1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup melted vegan buttery spread (or sunflower or canola oil) 
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

As it always is in recipes, the first thing you have to do is preheat the oven to 375 degrees. I didn't actually do this, because my mom was making bread and had the oven on at 350 degrees already. But unless your mom is making bread and has the oven on at 350 degrees already, you should preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Now you're supposed to soften your vegan buttery spread. I didn't do this, either, because as I said, I used sunflower oil, which had no need of being melted. 

Then, you get a big mixing bowl. Not too big, but big enough to hold all the dry ingredients (plus the wet ingredients, because you eventually add them all together. spoilers!) : flour, sugar, ginger powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder/soda. Put all of the dry ingredients (if you're too stupid to go back and read the list, you're too stupid to make these cookies) in the big, but not too big, mixing bowl. Stir them up until you can't see any individual ingredients; just a load of powdery stuff. 

In another bowl that's lots smaller, mix together the rest of the ingredients. These are the wet ingredients. Grating a tablespoon of ginger is not difficult. It just takes a fair amount of ginger. A tablespoon, roughly. The molasses and oil will not mix, nor will the water and oil mix. DO NOT DESPAIR! Just pour the whole lot of it into the bowl that's big enough to hold the wet and the dry ingredients. 

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. You may have to add a couple of teaspoons of water in order for the dough to mix up well enough.

It will look like chocolate once it's all stirred up. It does not, as you will find out when you inevitably taste the stuff that looks like chocolate, taste like chocolate. It tastes as the ingredients would suggest. There is no chocolate in the list of ingredients. Don't be fooled by the beautiful chocolate-brown dough. 

The recipe says that you can freeze the dough for half an hour. i didn't do that, because it also said you didn't have to freeze the dough for half an hour. I just rolled it into twenty-four beautiful little balls, each of which was rolled in a bowl of sugar and placed on a single greased cookie sheet. The recipe says it makes twenty. Maybe i made mine too small. But that doesn't matter. However big or small you make them, you will get the equivalent of 20 cookies. 

Without turning the oven down, leave the cookies in the oven for eight to ten minutes. Or nine minutes. Whichever of the two. I had to bake them for an extra two or three minutes before they were finished. You may have to do the same. 

I slid my perfect cookies onto one of those things that's all those lines of metal. Cooling racks, I think. I waited fifteen minutes, give or take, before eating four. 

Well, I didn't eat four. Four people ate one each. They were delicious. 

I gave the rest to David the next morning. He thought they were delicious, too. 

I'm such a good cook. 

Recipe courtesy of Healthy. Happy. Life. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rose's Big Mistake

The USS Genius was built from plywood and bent nails, and lots of blue paint. The blue paint was of the Crayola Washable variety, and naturally didn't last very long in the fish-infested oceans the ship was destined to sail. Or rather, destined to not sail.
The Genius was kept on land until Captain Anna Lowery of the International Novelist Committee for the Chocoholics (or INCC, as everybody in the universe called it) and Sidekick Rose Dougherty of the International Idiots Committee for Cupcake-lovers (or IICC, as everybody in the universe called it) boarded the ship that they had built together and slid it off the dock where it was resting. It was four hours before they remembered to untie the ship from the dock. By then, the blue paint had already started to peel off the plywood, and the non-watertight ship had begun to let drops of water through the sides.
Finally, the ship began to sail off towards the middle of the ocean, and Sidekick Dougherty let up all the flags, which were rectangular and had TARDISes painted on them.
(Rose had wanted to name the ship The Tardis, but Anna found The Genius to be more appropriate. Rose had offered the compromise of naming it The Geniuses, but Anna argued that there was only one genius on the two-crew ship.)
They sailed for a whole day before they noticed the water leaking through the very un-sturdy walls of the boat. It was Sidekick Dougherty who had first noticed the water in her cabin.
She lit a candle and walked through the ship to the Captain's Cabin, and knocked on the sheet that served as a door. She made no noise, hammering on the curtain, but she did succeed in lighting the sheet on fire, which served as a much better alarm clock anyway.
Captain Lowery dumped a bucket of water on the blazing fabric, and then shouted at the Sidekick for several minutes.
Finally, Rose managed to report what she had discovered about the water leak.
Anna frowned.
"I think you were hallucinating, Sidekick," she said. "Now go and get me another door. And put out that candle, before you drop it and burn the ship down."
Actually, if Rose dropped the candle, it would not burn the ship down. It would blow the ship up, because Rose had thought it necessary to hide several barrels of gunpowder and fireworks in the ship.
Rose blew out the candle and dropped it on the ground.
Unfortunately, the candle was a trick candle, similar to the ones put on birthday cakes, and after a second, it relit and blew the ship to smithereens. And nobody ever found out, because Rose and Anna were in the middle of the ocean, and nobody even noticed the explosion.

NOTE: Rose isn't really as stupid as I make her seem. She is more a fictional character with the name of my best friend. Sort of.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

llama face!

The morning we left for Big Bend National Park this past December, my sister Elizabeth's fiancé, Chris Joseph, gave me and my mother three, big black bags full of llama wool.

In February or so, we skirted a bag of the wool, and a few days later, I started spinning some. I plied it, washed it, and started knitting it. I didn't spin very much, probably about ten yards when it was plied, but it made a little 3x4 swatch.

I haven't blocked it yet, so the edges are all curling up, but once it's blocked, it'll lie straight in a little rectangle. It is SO soft and beautiful. I can't wait to make something more impressive than a swatch!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The New Chicks

Due to a chicken hawk, we lost three of our chicken flock in the past year. We recently got six more tiny, week-old chicks, and we are all in love with them.

We got two breeds. Americaunas and Orpingtons. The Americaunas are brown, black, and red, and the Orpingtons are buff.

This is a little Americauna, falling asleep in the palm of my hand. We all love her. She's one of the nicest out of the six, so far, anyway, and she will fall asleep anywhere.
here are all six of them. The lighter of the three brown and black ones is the star of the previous photo. The yellow ones that look like the classic Easter chicks are the Orpingtons. 
These are the grown-up hens, the big birds our chicks are fated to become. Actually, I like the way chickens look when they're fully grown. But they are sure a lot more annoying once they learn what the word food means... 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Benny and Omar

Eoin Colfer's first book was better than many author's first books, though it's impossible to say that he hasn't vastly improved.

Benny and Omar recounts the adventures of Benny Shaw, an Irish boy, who unwillingly moves to Tunisia with his family. Determined to hate everyone and everything in Tunisia, the last thing Benny is expecting is friendship with a local orphan, Omar, who learned his very limited English watching pirated TV shows.

Through a series of strange and complicated circumstances, Benny and Omar come away from the book with quite a few semi-legal achievements under their battered belts.

It was a hilariously delightful book, though at times I was confused by the plot. If I were to try and write this book, it would be much, much worse. One and a half thumbs up.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Joke of the Month- March

Murphy and O'Reilly, two Irish gents, are walking through a forest, and they come upon a very, very, very deep well. They are curious as to how deep the well is, and to measure it, they decide to throw a stick down and count how long it takes for the stick to hit the bottom.
They take a log and throw it into the well, and begin to count. A minute later, a goat runs up and jumps in the well. They naturally consider this strange, but continue counting regardless of the weirdness of a goat jumping down a miles-deep well.
After a little while, a farmer comes up to them and says, "I'm missing a goat! Have you seen one?"
They reply, "Well, a few minutes ago, a goat came along and jumped into this well."
"Oh," said the farmer. "Well, it can't have been one of mine. Mine were all tied to logs."

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Down Day

I just came from the TV room, where I was watching The Emperor's New Groove with two of my sisters and my mother. Before that, I had been in my bed, 1/4 sulking, 3/4 sleeping. I was sulking because I overslept today, and was in a rush to get my 750 words done before mass. I've been getting up at six o'clock every morning for the past week, and today, I slept in till 8:10. That left thirty minutes to write and make myself presentable. Let's just say that frantic and miserable tears were shed. When my schedule is disrupted by my own fault, the rest of my day is often affected by the horrors of disruption.

After mass, I struggled through breakfast without bursting into tears (I don't know why I was still so upset. I was probably tired) and disappeared to my bed for a little while, and then I watched The Emperor's New Groove, which brings us up to speed.

Now, I'm sitting in a comfy chair wrapped in my bathrobe and faux fur blanket. I'm very comfortable and I don't want to move for as long as possible.

I haven't blogged in a while, and a lot has happened.

Well, not really.

I got my novel printed out, and have spent the last half a week reading it and doing a little bit of editing. I'm loving it, to borrow McDonald's catchphrase. It's 313 pages, which is a happy prime. Another little thing I learned during my spring break.

A number is happy when, if you repeat the following steps enough times, you get one. Take the number 313, for example. Break down the digits, so you have 3, 1, and 3. Square each of these numbers. 9, 1, and 9. Add them together. 9+1+9=19. Repeat. 1+81=82. 64+4=68. 36+64=100. 1+0+0=1. And there you have it. A happy number. If it goes continuously in a loop, it's a unhappy number, or a sad number. If your happy number is a prime number, it's a happy prime. :)

My sister Elizabeth's friend from Bolivia, Princess Carmen, came Friday night. She leaves on Thursday. She's a very happy person to have around.

I don't ever want to get up because I'm so warm and comfortable. And sleepy....

Sunday, March 4, 2012


The gripping story of Airman only took me a few days to read. Eoin Colfer has stunned us again.

Colfer's character Conor Broekhart was born flying. Literally. And so, what else would he want to do? On his home on Great Saltee, Conor pursues his flying dreams. His teacher and fellow scientist Victor Vigny shares this dream, and together the two build plans for a heavier than air flying machine.

At least, until Vigny is killed and Conor blamed for the murder. Conor is sent to prison on Little Saltee, where he stays for two years, until he escapes.

But there are still loose ends to be tied off. His family believes him of murdering the King and Victor Vigny, while the real murderer acts as a friend. Conor has to fly home to his family and tell them the truth of the matter.

I would have dismissed it as a scientific book about airplanes, had it not been by Eoin Colfer, and had the reviews not been good. I'm glad I read it, and I now know a bit more about flying machines.

So Many Successes

If any of you are familiar with my all-time favorite writing site, you'll know that there's a long, long list of web badges you can get, if you work hard enough. I'm a big fan of these badges. So far, I have eight. Not bad for only a sixty-three day streak!

First, the egg. The way every 750words writer starts. This badge is free. 0 day streak.

Then, after three days of writing, you become a Turkey. 

Another two days and you're a bow-tie sporting Penguin. If the Doctor were a bird, he would be this lovely little 5-day-streak penguin.

And then, another week and you're a Flamingo. Five more days and you're standing on one leg in some exotic zoo, with ten days of writing behind you.

Unfortunately, you have to wait twenty more days until you get your next badge. But, if you hold out long enough, you've got a beautiful Albatross on your stats page.

That's the furthest I've gotten in terms of streaks. Another forty days, and I'm a Phoenix. But I can wait.

And then there's the other category of badges, the ones you get for completing little tricks, and voluntary accomplishments.

First, you get your lovely Turquoise Horse with Pink Eyeshadow. This is for completing the one-month challenge, which is pretty much the same thing as getting your Albatross badge.

Then, for writing your words illegibly-through-all-the-thousands-of-typos because you only took ten minutes to write 750 words, you get a little Cheetah. I like the Cheetah.

You also get a hamster for writing without getting distracted for ten days, and I should have that my now, but I don't. So I'll just move on to my final badge.

The Inspired Writer. This sort of comes with the one-month challenge, because by completing the one-month challenge, you get little cups of coffee, which you can then trade in to write a little scribble of thanks to the creator of the site.

My Badges. I'm so proud of myself. And I can't wait to get more.

Classic human behavior, eh?