Not Martha

up to

testing:
L’Oreal Sublime Glow for fair skin tones. I had read a lot about how self tanners smell, but this wasn’t too bad. I smelled faintly of beef jerky, which yes, ew, but I was expecting worse. After two days I have some color that doesn’t look fake on my very pale skin.

playing:
Knytt, which is completely addicting. Also, I seem to be stuck somewhere underground.

reading:
The latest Blueprint magazine

wishing:
for a really good camera, sigh

buying:
3×3 magnetic strips for the kitchen.

· comments [15] · 07-16-2007 · categories:up to ·

the perfect thing

I’d been looking for a Tubtrug for a while, I just didn’t know it.

Exhibit A: When Scott and I planted some bushes in front of our house the instruction sheet that came with them said to dig a hole and mix that soil with some planting soil and fertilizer. We dug the hole and quickly figured out we had nothing in which we could mix a few cubic feet of soil with other stuff. (The laundry basket lined with garbage bags? An old moving box?) We settled for layering soil and fertilizer, I hope that is not going to kill our plants.

Exhibit B: I regularly trim back ivy and blackberry that grows through our fence. When collecting this I usually put the leafy waste into a paper shopping bag which fills up too quickly, or into a large yard waste tote which refuses to stay open. Frustrating.

After encountering the above I read about Tubtrugs at both Da*xiang and Cool Tools. I went back to the nursery where we bought our shrubs today and bought myself a shiny extra-large one in red. Here it is on our deck:

I love it already. It’s flexible enough that you can pull both handles together and carry it like a tote, a feature that also allows you to pour things from it. It’s strong and keeps it’s shape and, obviously, to wash it you can just spray it with a hose.

The Tubtrug website has a bunch of uses: laundry basket, ice bucket for a picnic, washing your car, and for potting plants (you can pinch it and pour soil into pots). It comes in 14 bright colors and 5 sizes, including a wide but shallow one. The smallest size works just like a bucket, only one you can tote around. The medium and large size are great for recycling containers or laundry. The larger sizes can be used to mix batches of plaster or cement — if it hardens you can pull it out (think: silicone bakeware) and the tub is fine. I’m really pleased, this is one of those simple things that will be able to do so many useful things.

· comments [13] · 07-13-2007 · categories:the home ·

links: seattle

It was 98 here yesterday! Most days I’m slightly embarrassed that the “lower level” of our house is a finished basement, but yesterday it was like having a treasure cave of cold that also has a couch and a television in it. Also, the New York Times ran a story about basements as primary living spaces, and it starts with profiling some homeowners here in Seattle — The Basement Steps Out Into the Light.

The Amateur Gourmet on places to eat on the Olympic Peninsula.

To keep in mind: Second Use, via Da*xiang.

South Seattle Blows Shit Up, yup, that is what it’s like on the fourth in our neighborhood. I was really glad to own a hose this year, I was convinced our house was going to burn down last time.

· comments [6] · 07-12-2007 · categories:seattle ·

I’m knitting a sweater: two miracles and a beginning

Miracle #1: I made a new swatch using smaller needles and I got gauge for the pattern! This takes some guess work out of choosing which size to make. A few people including Bonne Marie Burns (thank you Bonne Marie!) left comments suggesting I try smaller needles and I don’t know why I didn’t do that first, before I did a whole lot of math. I’m now using size #4 and #5 circulars to make the sweater.

Miracle #2: The knitting shop exchanged some circular needles. I first bought Crystal Palace circulars in #5 and #6 (the pattern calls for two size needles). The size 5 were sticking at the rotating joint. I phoned the store to see if anybody else had reported this trouble as I couldn’t find anyone online having it, and they said they would exchange them, so I threw in the request to exchange the as-of-yet unused size 6 while I was at it. And they agreed! They even checked to be sure my new pairs were working correctly before I left.

Ok, those weren’t miracles so much as exaggerations of small happy things.

Next came testing out casting on. The pattern calls for both 2×2 rib and 3×1 rib, which creates an odd number of cast on stitches for the back (the first piece I’ll be doing). Tubular cast on, which I’m using, calls for starting with half the number of stitches. When you’re casting on odd number you add one, then half that number. You deal with the extra stitch at, uh, some point. I figured that in my pattern at the point that I switch from 3×1 rib to 2×2 rib I have one stitch to deal with, one stitch that won’t allow me to just do a 2×2 tubular cast on all the way across. I did a test swatch and found that if I just added a third knit cast on stitch at the at point it would work out fine:

When I did the swatch I completely forgot to deal with the very last knit stitch I’m supposed to knit into from the bottom (as explained in this tutorial, picture #7). It doesn’t seem to be unravelling so I called it a solution to the extra stitch.

I went ahead and cast on using the #4 needles:

I have not clipped out the initial stitches yet, I’m sort of afraid I’ll stretch out the hem prematurely.

· comments [8] · 07-11-2007 · categories:knitting ·

links: tech stuff

Listeningtowords, free lectures from around the web.

FlickrBlockrs, funny.

How About Orange suggests Picnik online photo editing software. Also, free fonts from Eduardo Recife.

Emergency wind-up flashlight with cell phone charger, for that pile of stuff I’m going to need to start stockpiling after reading this.

Digital Cameras: The Top 10 Things You Need to Know

Belkin PocketTop, it looks perfect for that laptop I do not own.

How many is a few? at Ask Metafilter.

Text flipper via ƃuıʇunɥ looɔ.

Swoon Amazon to sell movies via Tivo!

· comments [7] · 07-11-2007 · categories:technology ·

links: shopping and beauty

This t-shirt into a shopping bag entry for Fashion Icubator’s Reusable Bag Contest is fabulouly simple.

Beauty Addict on a cult tanning favorite – Famous Dave’s Moisture Tan. Via Faking Good Breeding.

Cool Hunting on Lori Nix. Years back I went to an opening for Lori Nix, she was kind enough to stand and make small talk with us. Her work was killer. Oh boy do I wish I had had the money for one of her works back then.

Great moments in package design at Hairy Alien. This exact same thing has occured to me.

I love this IRL Tetris! via AT:NY.

· comments [1] · 07-10-2007 · categories:beauty · shopping ·

links: food

What spices to use, via Swissmiss.

How to pour ketchup, with diagrams. Via The Morning News.

Easy chocolate cupcakes at Baking Bites.

Iced coffee, ah the wonders of cold-brewed coffee, at the NYTimes.

Oh boy, The Chocolate Shop here in Seattle sounds good. At Voracious.

Strawberry dumplings with poppy seeds, at Delicious Days.

Cream puffs with strawberry semifreddo, mmm. At Cook & Eat.

Nigella’s pea, mint and avacado salad, so good, via The Year of Living Gorgeously, one author of which served it to me on a stunning roof deck.

Do you want to be a supertaster? at Slate.

Inside the bombe, impressive watermelon ice cream on Justjenn’s Flickr.

Oh Smitten Kitchen, how did you know that I wanted a recipe for Ratatouille straight from the movie?!

· comments [7] · 07-10-2007 · categories:food ·

bring it, cats

This weekend we tackled the case of The State Of Our Planting Beds vs. The Neighborhood Cats. In my previous post seeking advice to keep cats from pooping in my garden it seemed that the winner was to lay down chicken wire which the cats cannot dig through, and therefore they will go elsewhere to do their kitty business. This creates a hassle for people who like to plant a bunch of stuff in their garden, as you have to cut a hole in the chicken wire to plant anything, but we are not big on lawn care and I figure we’ll plant some lavender and a few more shrubs and call it landscaping*.

At first I was not so big on the chicken wire because it sounded like a difficult, scratchy job, so I looked into getting cocoa shell mulch. We took a trip up to Sky Nursery in north Seattle, which had been recommended by a few people. They carry Blommer cocoa mulch, which they told us was washed several times to remove the theobromine (the part that is bad for dogs). (Looking online right now, I’m not finding much saying that Blommer cocoa mulch is safe for dogs.) We priced out cocoa mulch and hazelnut shells for the nearly 200 square feet we need, and at a depth of 3 inches, which is what we’d need to discourage weeds from growing, the price was way more than the value we place on having a nice front garden. So, we went back to chicken wire.

We needed to fight weeds as well as cats but enough mulch to fight weeds would only give cats something to dig into, so we decided to use landscaping fabric as well. We did three layers: landscaping fabric, then chicken wire held down by garden staples, then a single layer of medium bark chips (which look too big to be fun digging material). Right now you can see glints of chicken wire through the bark chips, but from the sidewalk it doesn’t look too bad. For now that will do, I’ve had enough of yard work.

Our very cool neighbors are also battling the cats, and they are saving up for hazelnut shell mulch (they have two dogs, and are understandably unwilling to take chances on cocoa shell mulch). I’ll report back on what works.

* You might ask: If I’m not going to be planting much why should I care if cats poop in my planting bed? Two reasons: there are lots of the damn cats, and the front yard is a Southern exposure. Cat poop + sunshiny heat = stench that makes you feel really sorry for the poor mailman who comes by just around 1 p.m.

· comments [25] · 07-9-2007 · categories:the home ·

stop, thief!

I have nearly recovered from having my wallet stolen. Surprisingly credit card companies and banks seem all setup to handle this. It took me seconds to cancel one card and have one with a new number on it’s way to me. By comparison the time I needed a print out of a seven month old statement from my bank threw everybody I contacted into chaos, you would have thought I asked to convert all my currency into donuts or something. I couldn’t get it done on the phone so I ended up going to a branch and talking to a teller who needed to call over a manager, and then having to use the extra special phones, (I still think of them as the war phones) to talk to an extra special customer service person. Even then it took three weeks to reach me and I swear is was printed on a dot matrix.

And I want to say a huge thanks to everybody who left sympathy comments yesterday, it helped tremendously.

So, I’ve gathered together some things you want to do if your wallet is stolen. Do these things fast, do them right away. The moment somebody spends some of your money things get much more complicated.
[Read more →]

· comments [34] · 07-4-2007 · categories:mumbling ·

losing it in Renton

Gah, it appears my wallet was lost (stolen) yesterday. (Probably stolen, though that possibility makes my skin crawl because whoever stole it was very, very close to me as I barely took the purse from my shoulder while I was in that grocery store.) So, please excuse me while I spend the day replacing cards, looking into getting a new drivers license and having a quiet hissy fit why-me freak out.

I’m consulting past questions on Ask Metafilter and other places, but if anybody has any advice for things I might not think of to do in the situation of having all my small but important pieces of plastic stolen, I’d be grateful to hear it.

· comments [45] · 07-3-2007 · categories:mumbling ·

up to

drooling over:
The Great Book of Chocolate by the very charming David Lebovitz

putting down in the planting beds:
chicken wire and free used coffee grounds from Starbucks, both are attempts to discourage the neighborhood cats from coming around

eating:
Lakerol pastilles

listening:
The Wee Free Men

paging through:
the lastest Blueprint magazine

· comments [11] · 07-2-2007 · categories:up to ·