Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Easy Peasy Fall Napkins

Easy Peasy Fall Napkins

Some years ago, we started using cloth napkins and it has just stuck. We also use regular ol' paper napkins too, but I like to use the cloth ones when we sit at the dinner table together. They get a regular workout, so replacement gets necessary. And it's nice to add some new color and patterns. 



My husband spotted packs of coordinated fat quarters in the clearance bin at the local JoAnn. At 12" x 18", they are the perfect size for napkins. All they needed was some edging. 



My machine has a good selection of decorative stitches, so I figured why not mix it up a little on the edges. 



I used the same color thread on them all to "unify" the set. 



Happy Autumn!!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Weekly Randomness for Friday, June 5, 2015


And after a brief hiatus... 


The business of summer is already heating up, even if the weather isn't (what's with that, anyway?!). 

News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

Weekly Shits n' Giggles

Weekend Aims
  • A wee bit o'fishin', and hoping it doesn't storm. 
  • More than a wee bit o'workin' in the garden, yet. Lookin' good though!





Monday, May 18, 2015

Magnet Monday: DC in Bloom

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, May 18, 2015
"Washington DC", 3-D cast resin, circa 2010



The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC is over now, but our cherry tree is just getting started. 



Family on a high school trip to DC picked this up for us. We have them well trained. 


Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Weekly Randomness for Friday, May 15, 2015


Nora says: A man a plan a canal Panama

Every date between 5-10-15 and 5-19-15 is a palindrome!*


News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

Weekly Shits n' Giggles
  • Despite being a professional intestinal researcher (seriously), I couldn't find anyone in our lab interested (but it's so stylish!)
  • Want
  • Almost literally shit. I actually dropped my cell phone into the toilet... I was way overdue for an upgrade (still using an S2, but it looks practically new, so how could I not keep using it?). Fortunately the S5 is water-resistant. Unfortunately, there's an app on there driving some adware that means now I get random texts for lunch invitations. Decline, no?
  • My Pinteresting Randomness

Weekend Aims
  • Southeast Wisconsin Master Gardeners annual plant sale - get 'em while they're hot! My neighbor and I have our wagons at the ready, and husbands prepared to go buy us coffee - perfect! 
  • Dinner and a concert. When I was young, this could mean gyros and the Romantics in Madison, or brats and Kenny Rogers at the state fair. Now it means classical-pops and fine French dining. Same thing
  • Family time - somebody's graduating from FVTC!! 

*Or as we used to say in college, Pat's Tap (thanks for that one - you know who you are!!)


Friday, May 8, 2015

Weekly Randomness for Friday, May 8, 2015


News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

Weekly Shits n' Giggles

Weekend Aims
  • Wedding Saturday - Catholic mass in Spanish, and then a party (but I repeat myself...)
  • Mother's Day: was hoping to take Mom to visit the Anderson Gardens but the weather is going to be uncooperative. Sigh... 
  • More yard work (a.k.a. yard yoga). 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Weekly Randomness for Friday, May 1, 2015




News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

Weekly Shits n' Giggles


Weekend Aims
  • Finally warm enough for some serious yard work and 
  • A decent cookout!
  • Hopefully dust off the bicycles even!! 
  • Birding season is here in the midwest flyway - warbler walks in Grant Park start Sunday. 




Monday, April 27, 2015

Magnet Monday: Tubac

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, April 27, 2015
"Tubac, AZ", Native American wedding vase, hand-painted ceramic, circa 2004



The wedding vase has a long tradition among many tribes. The shape is pretty similar: two spouts symbolizing the two people sharing vows, and the one handle uniting them together. Designs vary by tribe and Pueblo. Tradition holds that the groom's family makes the vessel and offers it as a gift to the bride. 


We picked this magnet up on my first visit to Arizona and my first chance to meet my now-husband's parents. You could argue that the design comes from the Sonoran desert around where the groom's parents live, and that it was made near the groom's parents home. Almost tradition. 


Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Weekly Randomness for Friday, April 24, 2015


News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.
  • As if cephalopods weren't cool enough. 
  • Diversity is a major reason I choose to work in academia. It's about more than being able to wear masculine shoes though: let's try for equal pay and opportunity as well. 
  • We are so not ready for this technology. Not practically. Not ethically. Not any way. Not any how. Maybe someday, but it ain't today. 

Weekly Shits n' Giggles

Weekend Aims
  • More Earth Day activities: showing of Our Water about the Great Lakes, another clean-up
  • Phase 1 of rehabbing the Garden of Shame on the east side of our house (if it's not raining): an early start on ripping out the heinous and all-devouring groundcover*. 
  • Trying to fix the "NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID" issue on my computers. WTF Chrome?!

*A pox upon you Bishop's Weed - stay away from my peonies! Not to be confused with the squill - they can spread as much as they want...





Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Does it matter if they go together?

I realized while at the clinic this week for x-rays on my hip that the "pajama bottom" scrubs actually coordinated with my outfit. Well, the part of the outfit that I didn't have to change. 


I'm not sure if that says more about the scrubs buyers at the clinic or the drab neutral nature of my wardrobe. Where I see "flexible" could be interpreted as non-committal. 

Not my first X-ray. First X-ray on this hip. X-ray techs are not supposed to say anything about the images because they are not considered qualified to evaluate them. Perfectly personable fellow; says "I hope everything goes well for you" to me on my way out. WTF is that supposed to mean?!? He didn't know he was X-raying a professional researcher (seriously) with a background in biomedical research (yes, still seriously), who's now going to go research whatever there is to know about what you can diagnose from an X-ray. 

"Have a nice day" would have been better. 

Saving grace: I only had to wait about 2 hours for results. That's almost magic. Then again, quick results can sometimes mean there's something wrong. Really wrong. So. 

It's official I have osteoarthritis in my hip. I'm no spring chicken, but a little young for this. Not the end of my world, and what I suspected. Ready for the challenge. I'll have to change out the coordinating scrubs for my big-girl panties and make some serious commitments to fitness. And I could weigh less. And I will hope this isn't a sign that arthritis will be my shroud of aging. 

Aging is not for sissies. 




Monday, April 20, 2015

Magnet Monday: So Hoppy It's Earth Day...

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, April 20, 2015
"BioSphere 2", wire frame, glass seed beads, enameled pin, circa 2012





In honor of Earth Day, April 22. Although it feels a bit like Earth Week (which is great!) - so many goings on both last weekend and this coming weekend. We did our part last weekend, recycling all the crap we purged from the basement. Goodwill for the electronics and GP, Half-Price Books for the books & DVDs, some bits to our friend who works at a metal scrap yard. Some things still ended up dumped, but at least that was the smallest pile. 

Some of you may know my hub & I were married on Earth Day. Our first date was on Earth Day, not intentionally, but when we decided to get married, and did the math to figure out our first date, it became very intentional to marry on the same day. 


We picked up this magnet at BioSphere 2, just north of Tucson, Arizona. The original intention of the facility was very ambitious, and arguably successful. Or not. It's still used for research, and open for tours, both of which satisfy the geek in me. The coolest thing I learned there: without the stress of wind, trees don't grow strong enough to stand straight up. 

Full disclosure: there were no magnets that had BioSphere on them. We cobbled together our own from a magnet and a pin. No frogs were harmed in the creation of this magnet. 





Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Weekly Randomness for Friday, April 17, 2015



We had some much-needed rain last week accompanied by some sky-theatrics. I'd forgotten just how loud thunder can get. Word to the wise: it really is next to impossible to get struck by lightning inside your house, even if the lightning-thunder was close enough to shake the toilet you're sitting on. Just sayin'... 


News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

Weekly Shits n' Giggles

Weekend Aims
  • Time to get serious about cleaning out the garage...  
  • Also time to bring the patio garden containers out and set up the deck furniture. 
  • Pizza & a Movie: Game of Thrones binge (okay, not really a movie...)
  • Tickets to the Brewers game on Sunday! Okay, okay, so they're not doing so hot (yet?). But tickets that come with 300 Club & parking passes are not to be refused - should be a fun time. Plus, we all get bobble-heads :)



Monday, April 6, 2015

Magnet Monday: Go Bucky Go!!

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, April 6, 2015
"Monument Circle, Indianapolis", magnet-backed vinyl relief, circa 2007




In honor of the Wisconsin Badgers!! No small thing to defeat the Wildcats, and the first tournie championship game appearance in 74 years. 

GO BUCKY GO!!! 

I attended a small scientific conference in Indy in 2007, and took a few hours one afternoon to explore the downtown. Indy at the time was less than 3hrs drive from my home then in Lexington, Kentucky, and it seemed silly to pick up a magnet at what did not seem like a true "travel" destination. Fate must have known I would need it someday! 



Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Weekly Randomness for Friday, April 3, 2015

Last week snow, this week loungin' outside on the patio.... ah.... Spring in Wisconsin!

News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up (but was it real...).

Weekly Shits n' Giggles: A Recap of the Week's More Outrageous April Fools 

Weekend Aims
  • Family time - always good! 
  • Cooking for family time: Maple-Glazed Ham, Asparagus-Lemon Risotto, Mashed Sweets, and Lavender Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze to finish. 


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cinnamon Flakes Birch

Cinnamon Flakes Birch
(Betula chinensis)

WINTER UPDATE
The little birch has been a trooper through this winter. If you look closely, the branches are drawn in closer together, as if it's huddling together. Protection against wind? Reduce water loss??? Compare to the photo of the leafless tree last fall and tell me what you think. 



Look!! It's a Brrrrrrrrrr-ch!!  

I hope the branches spread out again once it warms up...
___________________________________________________

Our little birch has really grown this season! Here's what it looked like when we brought it home in May


And now here in the fall, with just a few leaves left: 


Admittedly, the second photo is from a slightly different angle, but comparing the height of the tree against the window in October vs. May, and keeping in mind that the tree in May gets some height from still being in the nursery pot, I think it's doubled in size. To me that says we picked the right spot for it. 

It's growing so sturdy we were able to take away the bamboo support stake. The bark is living up to its name as well. Love it love it!





You are not imagining it if you think you've seen some of this before...  Part of this post was originally featured on my "In the Garden" page.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Magnet Monday: Keepin' It Simple

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, March 30, 2015
"cheese", magnet-backed vinyl, circa 2005?





A number of years ago, sets of words on magnets became all the rage. They were like the mature version of the magnet letters we all played with as kids. Themed sets were common; I think this one came in a food oriented set.  

In those pre-iPod/iPad days, keeping the kids occupied on long drives was more of a challenge. We picked up a magnetic "book" for playing with word magnets in the car, and found us adults playing with them when the kids were sleeping. Simpler times. 


Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Weekly Randomness for Friday, March 27, 2015

It snowed last night here next to the lake. Our foxy neighbor was out too. You can't tell from this photo that this is our back patio. This fox regularly trots right up to our back porch on its way into the backyard on its way into the ravine behind our house. Sure wish it did a better job of scarfing up the ground squirrels and the rabbits... (big prints are Nora, little prints are the fox)

News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

Weekly Shits n' Giggles
  • Because I've recently discovered that I love popcorn.  
  • I'm intrigued... mixer? Maybe with champagne?? (that might defeat the whole non-alcoholic-healthy-for-you aspect though...). Love the recipe note: Because of the fermentation process, it is best to open the lid and release some of the gas that accumulates. (unless you want ginger beer splatter on the inside of your fridge... duh!).
  • My Pinteresting Randomness

Weekend Aims
  • Popcorn trials! 
  • Home & Garden Show - they sell Bloody Mary's at the bar (what else do you need for checking out landscaping rock and new curtains?!). There's a garden metal artist out of Appleton, WI that always has neat stuff; we have several pieces and try to pick up something new each spring. 


Monday, March 23, 2015

Magnet Monday: It's finally SPRING!

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, March 23, 2015
"Untitled", Russian matryoshka doll, handpainted wood, circa 2011





It's no secret I'm desperate for some color in the gardens, and this seemed so spring-like*. This is the ugly time of year, when winter is worn out, any snow remaining is dirty, and nothing is greening up yet. We did find a few daffodil pips peeping through the leaves on the garden beds, but it's still way too early for any blooms... sigh... 

A gift from those globe-trotting family folks again. They spent a bit of time in Croatia and Turkey and thought this made a good addition to our collection. 


*I know that those are strawberries, and they won't actually be around until June, which is almost summer, but the colors are so cheerful... sigh...

And yes, I'm posting this entirely in defiance of the snow today... neener neener!!


Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Weekly Randomness for Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy Spring!!


News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

Weekly Shits n' Giggles

Weekend Aims
  • Da dump (remember the toilet removal...)
  • Fun with concrete (and finally the toilet will be a distant memory)
  • State taxes. Ugh! 



Monday, March 16, 2015

Magnet Monday: Boston go Bragh

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, March 16, 2015
"Believe in Boston", green shamrock on white, rubberized plastic, circa 2013


Because tomorrow is St. Paddy's Day, and because Boston is much in the news these days. I prefer to focus on the perseverance and recovery of those affected by the events two years ago rather than trying to understand what motivates someone to do something so horrifying.   

This magnet was picked up at an airport on a lay-over during a trip out east. Simple as toast & beans. 



Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Weekly Randomness for Friday March 13, 2015


News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

Weekly Shits n' Giggles

Weekend Aims
  • More plumbing... 
  • A full backyard de-doodle. I think there may even be a few green things trying to pip out. 
  • Catching up on my R programming course - first programming assignment is due!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Magnet Monday: Dancing in the Sunshine

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, March 9, 2015
"Seville", flamenco dancing shoe, 3D resin, circa 2010



Finally some decent weather, something that looks like sunshine. And dance passionately to celebrate.  

Our globe-trotting family picked this up on their last trip through Spain. After a few weeks in Italy, they took a spin through Spain for a change of pace. Distance-wise, it would be like us driving through Minnesota. Not really the same... 

It's one of my faves in its wee shoe-ness... 




Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Weekly Randomness for Friday, March 6, 2015


News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

Weekly Shits n' Giggles

Weekend Aims
  • Sushi dinner: check! 
  • Potluck game night: check!
  • Tearing out the old toilet in the basement: gack... 


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Polenta Cakes

Polenta Cakes

One of the things I enjoy so much about polenta is how the same concoction takes on different textures. Fresh polenta is rich, creamy comfort food at its best. But if you let it set awhile, it gels up in a very easy non-sticky kind of way. Totally lending itself to putting into shapes. 


It starts out looking a lot like bird food. Or something we would mix into the horse feed. Completely inedible. But liquid, fats, and time will make it better than merely edible. 


It takes shapes so well - I made little individual bundt-shaped servings - great for a dinner party. 



I have some Pampered Chef shaped bread loaf pans to try out next and make some slices of star-shaped or flower-shaped slabs of creamy corny goodness...

Stay tuned!!


Monday, March 2, 2015

Magnet Monday: This Sun Is Sunny and Possibly Funny

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, March 2, 2015
"Untitled", ceramic sun, Talavera-style paint, circa 2011



In honor of Dr. Seuss Day, a colorful sun. Today is his birthday; celebrate with reading a few of your favorite books, which you can do if they are Seuss books. Or a few pages of whatever your favorite book may be.

Magnet purchased in Arizona for us when we sent the kids out to see grandparents. Not a bad trade. 



Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Magnet Monday: Tropical Dreams

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, February 23, 2015
"Hawaii", Hula dancer and musician, 3D resin, circa 1998


Because somewhere it is still warm outside.  

An acquaintance of mine visiting family in Hawaii picked this up for me a number of years ago. Her mother was spending a few post-retirement years teaching elementary school, and she went to visit. As magnets go, they don't get much cheesier than this. 


Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.



Friday, February 20, 2015

Weekly Randomness for Friday, February 20, 2015


News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

Weekly Shits n' Giggles

Weekend Aims
  • Still tax time...
  • Someone we know is turning 18 - it's a dinner date!
  • As part of tax time, it's also time to organize our file cabinets (yes, you can actually hear the hubbie sighing from all the way over there...)
Not to mention thawing out... What is it with this cold?!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Linen Closet: Hanky for February 18, 2015

Another piece in the Hanky Project. 


In keeping with the theme of the last hanky that also had appliqued details. 


Impressive handwork. 


I don't know that I would have the patience for it. But we have so many more distractions, such as TV, Pinterest, blogging... (wait a minute...)


Monday, February 16, 2015

Magnet Monday: Gecko Gecko

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, February 16, 2015
"Untitled", enameled metal, circa 2011


A friend of ours recently decided to make some radical changes in her life (love can do that), one of which involves relocating to an exotic Polynesian island sporting palm trees and volcanos (seriously). For her, relocating means a beach front home, and geckos galore. One particularly large gecko has a predictable dumping ground, from the rafters. She hasn't named him. Yet.   

This gecko is based on the petroglyphs in the American Southwest, which makes sense that we found it in Arizona on one of our trips there. In Native American lore, lizards indicate transformation, dreams, and renewal. I think our friend on her island would agree. 


Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Weekly Randomness for Friday, February 13, 2015


News that made me stop what I was doing to look it up.

Weekly Shits n' Giggles

Weekend Aims
  • Guess what boys & girls?! It's TAX TIME!!!  
  • I started a specialization course in Data Science, starting to learn my way round using Git and GitHub (part work related, part perpetual student syndrome)...
  • Cleaning target: master bedroom (have you seen the dust behind the bed?! gack!!! )

Monday, February 9, 2015

Service, Interrupted

UPDATED: I am pleasantly impressed to say that the service guys were very capable. Polite and efficient even. The one guy who initially arrived had a "whao dude!" moment after checking out the tree and did call in back-up, but they had everything repaired and service up in about two hours on the Monday after. 

It's a relief to be able to say something nice, which is actually a sad statement about our expectations of service calls. It's also the other side of the damn-skippy-I-pay-enough-every-month coin. 

At any rate: well done chaps. 

_____________________________________________________________

We've been offline. Actually, we still are. I'm posting this out here during my lunchtime at "the day-job"... 

It's a drawback associated with large, old, largely dead trees. 



This one fell in the ravine behind our house. Thankfully it fell in the only way it could without damaging anything around it. Except for our internet/phone/TV service. I would guess the raccoon that was living up in it is also not happy about the free circus ride. 


Well... there's yer PROBLEM!!

Boy, the teenagers were not amused. Although without XBOX, we Wii-ed. Which was actually a lot of fun. 

Quick fix? I hope so...  I would really like to walk away from this feeling good about giving so much of our money to our service provider every month...



Rather than feeling, oh, I dunno, so unsupported. Disconnected even...


Monday, February 2, 2015

Magnet Monday: Underground

Cheesy Refrigerator Magnet for Monday, February 2, 2015
"Kartchner Caverns State Park", Enamel on metal, 3D sproingy bat, circa 2009

In honor or Groundhog Day, an homage to another subterrainian denizen. Kartchner Caverns has been meticulously managed to ensure the long-term health of the underground ecosystem. Entry is through a series of air locks because the only open-air entrance is large enough only for the bats. 

This is one of my favorite magnets. The 3D aspect with the bat out on a sproingy spring is great fun :)  



video

Experimenting with video. The focus fade out at the end was an artistic choice made by the HD camera on my phone... not sure why...

We visited the caverns on a family trip; would love to visit again. 


Kartchner Caverns, Arizona State Parks 




Magnet Monday features a selection from our semi-vast and ever growing collection of cheesy refrigerator magnets. Without doubt the perfect souvenir. Only slightly less cheesy than collecting snow globes but maybe a lot easier to smuggle in your bra. If need be. Which I hope it never is. Unless it's really worth it.