31 October 2010

Happy Halloween

Halloween is huge in America, as seen by the plethora of decorations. Thus, when I think of Halloween, this is what I think of:














(I named the cat Stan after another famous fake cat named Stan)





(cackling, candy-filled books)



Oh, and watch this, because it is so funny it will really make your Halloween happy:

And watch out for creepy almost-black-haired, green-faced witches passing out candy.


30 October 2010

October's Links to Love


Cutesie organic materials

Stop-motion Lite Brite.

Oil painting on people. Ingenious.

Apartment in Paris, untouched for 70 years, holds a treasure. (Lovely decor.)

Ha ha Halloween.

Creepy stair shadows from Martha Stewart (for Halloween).

Hyperrealist painting by Gregor Thielker
(not photographs as you might think).

Hollerado's OK-Go-ish video that was accomplished in one take (if you can believe it):

One-dollar food photos.

Human bookshelf

Fabulous music video:

Eliza pointed out this nifty "all things homemade" website (with those yummy-looking pie pops).

Awesome Baja, California timelapses:

Baja California Timelapses from Mike Flores on Vimeo.

Lace fencing. Gorgeous.

Black walls. Lovely. But would you dare?

Andrew Bird and his electric violin:

The case for handwriting. (I don't believe it, except for the motor skills thing.)

Eric Carle app.

Colorful wall decals that I think don't need to be just for kids.

Well, this is a charming video of the famous Nielson family:

Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, coming out soon. About it.


Conversion stories: from other faiths to Mormonism.

Best beards in Mormon history. Ardis, you crack me up.

No way. A Deseret Alphabet Translator. But what if you want to translate the other way?

Yes, I Love Technology:

Have you heard about SchoolTube? It sounds like a good idea.

Recover deleted files for free! RECUVA!

Hunch: working on a more user-friendly web experience
. Sometimes it's useful for the web to know--like when Amazon can suggest a book to me. Sometimes it seems overboard and we are freaked out at first--like the first time you noticed Google Ads that had to do with the email you were writing. But now I think it's cool, though I have yet to click on one of those ads. But there are also people who are crazy about their online privacy.

Google investing in wind power.

Google translating dead languages.

Identifying fonts and how to make special characters.

Yes! Yes! Yes! You can finally set your GMail to go to the next conversation after deleting, archiving, etc.

Google's security checklist


Unfortunate placements of ads.

PBS's "God in America" series

Light up "sorry" and "thank you" signs for your car
. I think people would find them kind of insulting. I can just imagine people saying, "Oh, that's real cute. He thinks he can pull whatever stunt he wants in traffic because he has that sign."

Frito Lay is leading the way with electric delivery trucks.

Crocodile causes airplane crash.

My first introduction to Cake Wrecks.

Liu Xiaobo wins the Nobel Peace Prize while in prison.

Babywearing in Parliament

Interpreting Facebook portraits. Weird.

Phone calls to newly-announced Nobel Prize winners.

"The Five Worst Meanest Little Girls of All Time" (isn't that title redundant?).

Be careful about keeping warm laptops on your lap (Toasted Skin Syndrome, not to be confused with TSS).

A letter to suicide considerers

Sesame Street Old Spice spoof:

HOBBY: A celebration of Spare-time Recreational Pursuits.

Funny situation with your kid's drawings.

Another "before fame" video: Justin Bieber (I must confess, I still don't know a single song of his):

Oh brother, people couldn't handle the noisiness of Sun Chips bags. They should have looked at it as novel.

A surfing Kelpie at a surfing dog competition. What the?

Awesome Sesame Street Willow Smith parody:

And the original (wow, what a voice at such a young age, though the repetition in this song drives me crazy):

16 things you didn't know about sleep
. (When I was little, I slept in sleep position A. Then I switched to B as I got older, and ever since I injured my meniscus, I have to sleep in C. Weird. I hope I don't go on to D, E, and F.)

Weezer getting older and staying young.

Funny sick notes

A fancy new Las Vegas hotel reflects rays that burn visitors. Oops.

Digitize your handwriting! (I know, I know, I've posted on creating your own font before. But I never thought of it as a way to personalize your emails and such.)

No arms, no legs, not named Bob, but a fascinating motivational speaker:

Powerful speech by abortion survivor:

22 October 2010

Brilliant Professor

I had a brilliant professor (who actually was my thesis advisor) and when I reminisce about her, this is what I think of:

Fast food is not unhealthy and not cheap
Once she gets to 80 and is still alive, she's going to pick up smoking again
Pretty scarves
Hedgehogs in the garden
Why is everything called an "event" recently?
The phrase "sort of" in the most bizarre places
First interview of Toni Morrison

19 October 2010

October Goodies

This is the time of year that I want to eat these:



and these:

(Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. Image from here.)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies are weird. They have 2 rising agents (baking soda and baking powder), and they have a LOT of eggs. That's why they're so puffy and more like muffins than cookies. Anyway, here's the Lion House recipe (warning: this makes a LOT of cookies. Like 75. But you can freeze them for enjoying later.):

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (good luck finding this in Germany, so here's a recipe)
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (again, good luck, but if you're dedicated you can go at a pumpkin)
3/4 cup oil
7 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Mix together, drop onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper on it, bake for 8 minutes at 350° Fahrenheit/175° Celsius.

14 October 2010

Dan in Real Life

Have you seen Dan in Real Life? I really liked seeing Michael, from The Office, in a sweet role (though he could have talked less about himself and found out more about the girl).

And now I've got a new classic line: "You're a MURDERER of LOVE!!!" Man, that girl was good. Watch this:

Plus, I fell in love with Norwegian Sondre Lerche's music. Check out the soundtrack. Here's one song:

13 October 2010


If anyone can find me the sheet music to Victor Borge and Leonid Hambro's duet to Chopin's Minute Waltz for me (which I've posted before, but which I'll post again for your motivation), I will be very, very grateful.

I called the music store and I have done many, many Google searches, without avail. Good luck to you.

05 October 2010


Take pride in your pain; you are stronger than those who have none.
-Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

03 October 2010

Grandma's Umbrella Reincarnated As a Skirt

After my grandma died, I discovered a lovely Van Gogh umbrella in her closet and took it as a keepsake. It was so typically classy of her--it had triangles of Monet's water lily paintings. My grandma--she was a lady who helped me study for spelling bees and who went back to college after all of her kids were older and studied German and Latin, interests we shared. She cleaned her house thoroughly once a week and hosted extended family fast Sunday dinners for many, many years. As a girl of 13, she had walked miles and miles to attend a church some missionaries had invited her to, and after being baptized, she took a train west and found a place to live so she could be among other believers. She married a guy who was often ornery, but she vowed not to let cancer take her life until she'd formed a better relationship with him. She didn't go the modern-day "easy" way out (divorce)--she stuck it out and prayed about it and said she'd made a covenant. How I loved that lady. And so taking her umbrella was my way of saying, "I won't forget you."

I brought the umbrella to Germany and thought of her every time it rained. I was proud to carry it around.

One day a kid at church made fun of it, asking if I'd pulled it from the place where all the old ladies's misplaced umbrellas were. Oh well. He didn't know.

The strong winds that occurred now and again during rainstorms and snowstorms turned the spokes inside out many times until several were broken and limp and the umbrella was looking pretty sad. But I didn't want to let it go because of the regular reminder of my lovely grandma.

And then, I remembered how I'd seen a usable craft made out of an umbrella. So, after cutting the triangles of waterproof material off of the broken spokes and leaving them in a drawer for a long time, I got to work.

First, I went to the fabric store looking for some blue fabric to go with the umbrella fabric. I found some, but then I decided I wasn't a big fan of the blue. So then I found a shimmery silver that seemed to go with the water lilies. But then I found some material that was the right slippery-ness and that was a purple that perfectly pulled the purple out of Monet. So I bought a yard.

At home, I planned the skirt. Making your own pattern isn't really that hard if you are flexible and can take a little more time. As I always say, "I have more time than money [in this case, for a pattern.]"

(I ended up wanting the skirt to be less pencil-y, so I added another purple and another umbrella panel than what is shown here, which threw off the moon, no moon, moon, no moon pattern, but oh well.)

Then I used a paper bag to make a pattern for the purple fabric triangles.

I was glad that the nature of the fabric made for really easy gathering. All I did was use normal thread with the sewing machine set to long, loose stitches, and I was able to gently pull the fabric until it was as wide as I wanted. And I cut out and hemmed an underskirt out of the leftover purple material to avoid translucency. Then I thought hard about where to put everything to sew it all together and made this image for my use (waistband, skirt, underskirt):

After I sewed along that top line, I sewed up the side of the waistband, cut off hanging threads, and decided against hemming the bottom of the skirt one more time.

I wasn't really counting, but I can tell you that it took me between 2-3 hours. And the results: