Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

letting me down

Its been a frustrating week around here and although none of my problems are life-threatening (or even really bad) they sure have managed to bring my mood down. There has been a lot of drama round these parts lately (other people have real problems i wish I could fix)– its about time things started looking up for everyone.

Culprit #1: UPS
Im pretty sure they have lost a box** on its way to me that was fairly precious. Its insured and technically replaceable but after the emotional rollercoaster im not sure im ready to invest in another attempt.
**Update: They found the box but the contents are severely damaged. I imagine that might be why they “lost” it. There are sheared bolts so some serious dropping must have been involved….

Culprit #2: Stanford’s ******* Coach
He has been disrespectful and just plain not nice.

Culprit #3: The Internet
I just want to buy a pair of shoes! I know im picky but there is the whole internet out there-why cant i find what i want in my size?

Winter Welding (and other projects)

My dad and I have been busy around the house (and especially the garage). I did a little work on my welded shoe rack doing final welds on the non-corner joints and grinding all the welds down (my welding is less than perfect). The next step is to weld on tabs to hold the shelves up and then make the shelves. Alas that will be left for yet another day.

We also had some fun with the welding torch and some glass rod and tubing. more on that when i can take some acceptable photos. All i have to say is molten glass is pretty neat stuff.

After the earthquake my parents had last August (only a 4.4 but they were less than 3 miles from the epicenter) it became clear that some earthquake-proofing was going to be necessary. I managed to putty down a shelf of antique glass bottles which were just waiting to go flying and I convinced my dad to strap a few pieces of furniture to the walls. The cabinets still need latching but it was a good start.

I had asked my dad for a subscription to Craft for xmas and the story of him acquiring one involves him visiting the actual OReilly headquarters only to find multiple confused people who informed him that he could just order a subscription online. The fact that my dad, the engineer, could probably build a computer but is incapable (or really just uncomfortable) navigating the internet is totally hilarious. Somehow Make volume 8 came out of the deal though and I imagine that he made a few peoples day over at OReilly.

Finally, over at Curbly I was selected as a finalist for the Curbly Christmas wishlist and if I win I get $200 of rad crafting books from Amazon. They are deciding the winner by votes in the comments so if you feel like heading over there drop a vote in for “List to start a craft library by” (thats me!). (You will need a curbly account but its free) I asked for some good stuff like Denyse Schmidt’s quilting book, Jenny Hart’s embroidery book and all four of the Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries.

Avocados grow on trees! and other news from Hawaii

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lava!, originally uploaded by abmatic.

At last! i have uploaded photos from my Hawaii trip. You can see the full set of photos (ok, actually I tried to pare it down as much as i could) here, a condensed set here and a few favorites are below. We saw lava flowing into the sea, white, black and green (olivine!) beaches and sea turtles. We ate grass fed Hawaiian beef, tropical fruits and shave ice with fresh coconut and drank large quantities of kona coffee. The first day we had lunch with Phoebe in Waikiki and the next three days we stayed with Ingrid who was visiting at HVO in Volcano National Park. Then we spent two days sitting on the beach and two days sitting around on our porch looking out over the ocean. It was warm and wonderful and in strong contrast to the 30knt winds and 40 degree temps in chicago right now (where i am sitting in the airport– almost home!) and thats not even cold for Chicago…

anyway on to the photos

Green Sand Beach
Green Sand Beach

Punaluu as a storm was coming in. This beach was 100% shattered basalt and entirely black.

Sea Turtles! There were a bunch of them hanging out at Punaluu
Sea Turtle


Waipio Valley
waipio valley

Sunset from the porch
view from the porch

Make your own Cardboard Spurs

So I was invited to a halloween party this past weekend with a western theme (is a theme even allowed at halloween?) for which I had little to work with in the way of costume items. What is a girl to do? Make her own cardboard accessories obviously! This set of photos on Flickr explains how you can make your own pair of cardboard spurs so you can be ready for whatever halloween throws at you. There isnt much complicated about it but you will need some way to cut cardboard, a tapestry needle and some yarn or string.

I would love to say that the spurs won “best use of cardboard” at the party but it’s hard when your up against someone dressed as an outhouse….

Jeans, resurrected

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DSCN2508.JPG, originally uploaded by abmatic.

I get very attached to my jeans but there comes a time when wearing them out of the house is a dangerous enterprise (for the jeans). Since I dont want my beloved pants to actually die I have been stratigically re-inforcing all the weak points I can find to prevent tears and gaping holes from forming. I have two pairs I have been working to save and so far its been pretty sucessfull. Above you can see the patches I’ve added to pair #1. They are right-side out below.

There are 4 main weak points that seem to deveolp in all my pairs.
1. Left side pocket area develops a hole in the corner from my cell phone
2. Back center belt loop is badly worn and sometimes tears all the way off. It must chafe on something, maybe my backpack. Have you ever tried to wear pants with a belt when the back belt loop is missing? It’s rather disastrous if you actually need the belt.
3. Right hand pocket area sometimes develops hole from my chapstick
4. Knee area cloth wears thin and tears

weak point 2 with repair:

weak point 4 with repair:

I have broken down and bouthgt a new pair but I love the old ones so much that I’m determined to keep them going…. at least for now.

Homeade Belt

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DSCN2507.JPG, originally uploaded by abmatic.

On a trip this summer a friend of mine had some problems with descending pants and was dreadfully in need of a belt. I dont want to name names here but since the lady in question is vegan i thought a homeade belt would be a good solution (no leather involved). I dont think she reads this page (does anyone?) but i do risk ruining the surprise.

Its been done before and it is in no way ingenious but here Ive gone and done it again. The belt is plain canvas on one side and printed fabrics on the other. I used a variety of scraps to get the full length and put colored fabrics on both sides at the end where the belt folds back after the buckle. If i did it again i might consider using some iron on adhesive to add more stiffness and keep the layers tidy during sewing. Other than that it was quite simple to do, its quick and I like the finished result very much.

Now I only need to get over my procrastination of going to the post office….

From the side:

Several people have commented on the cat appearing in lots of photos. In realitiy its far more difficult to frame a photo in my apartment without the cat in it. What can I say, he is a total ham.

Stage 1: Apollo comes in to investigate what is so captivating to me

Stage 2: where Apollo usually sits on top of the item of interest

Stage 3: he usually begins rolling in, clawing or trying to play with the item as in the photos of the Clapotis

The Clap

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DSCN2469.JPG, originally uploaded by abmatic.

I finally finished the Claptois! I think I started it in February so its been a while…. Its made with much heavier yarn than most people are using but I am enjoying wearing it instead of a jacket. I used 6-ply merino in burgundy from

Apollo seems to really enjoy this one. The chewier the yarn the better as far as he is concerned.


i love rainbow canvas

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DSCN2457.JPG, originally uploaded by abmatic.

This is what $10 will buy you in rainbow canvas when Ikea finally decides to sell it all off…

And all rolled up:



Nick discovered this recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (p 306). It feeds 12-16 people! Below is a description of how the dish is to be served.

The host starts the proceeding as usual by spearing out the beef and lacing it on a platter. The he finds a sausage, and after that a big piece of pork. Finally, to wild acclaim he brings out a chicken.

It’s t-3 days until judgement day….

one year later

Its one year to the day since I moved back to California…


now (in all its messy glory)