How To: Jingle Bell Ornaments for Xmas

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Jingle Bell Wreath Ornaments How To
This is the first year we acquired an Xmas Tree. Finally had space for it in the apartment!
Have Xmas tree. No ornaments. Quickly corrected with this Jingle Bell Ornament tutorial from SatoriDesignForLiving.

I generally found that the 6mm bells needed ~75x 6mm bells per wreath (~40x 9mm bells, ~30x 12mm bells). It's also handy to start with some cord (I used hemp cord), decently sturdy wire that can hold a wreath shape under the weight of the bells (I used 22gauge), some pliers, wire cutters, and a bit of festive ribbon.

  1. Supplies: Pliers, wire cutters, 22ga wire, hemp cord, jingle bells
  2. Supplies: Pliers, wire cutters, 22ga wire, hemp cord, jingle bells
  3. Make loop on one side of wire, wrap end around (trim if needed)
  4. 1. Make loop on one side of wire, wrap end around (trim if needed)
  5. Halfway done stringing bells (~35)
  6. 3. Halfway done stringing bells (~35)
  7. Bells should be about 7 inches tall to make a good-sized wreath (different sized bells may require different lengths
  8. 4. Bells should be about 7 inches tall to make a good-sized wreath (different sized bells may require different lengths)
  9. Use pliers to wrap wire around last 1-2 bells (secure them in place, no shifting!)
  10. 5. Use pliers to wrap wire around last 1-2 bells (secure them in place, no shifting!)
  11. Put end through beginning-loop
  12. 6. Put end through beginning-loop
  13. Bend wire end into a loop, and wrap end around 2-3 times (trim as needed)
  14. 7. Bend wire end into a loop, and wrap end around 2-3 times (trim as needed)
  15. Cut 10.5 inch of cord, fold in half, and tie a knot to secure ends together
  16. 9. Cut 10.5 inch of cord, fold in half, and tie a knot to secure ends together
  17. Basic Jingle Bell Wreath Completed
  18. 11. Basic Jingle Bell Wreath Completed
  19. I like to cut ~5in of decorative ribbon, thread it through the hemp loop/knot (the ugly side), and tie a bow as a final touch.
    12. Can also cut ~6" of ribbon, push through cord-knot, and tie a bow.

Success: Pickled Eggs

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Eggs in Pickled Beet Juice

Neither J nor I are really into beets, despite having pickled them, twice. But J does like eggs soaked in beet juice and pickling brine. This method does not preserve the eggs - they won't be shelf stable, but it shouldn't be too hard for two people to eat a bunch of hard-boiled eggs over a week or two.

J followed this recipe from AllRecipes, and I'd say it worked out pretty well. Would make again.

Pickled Beet Eggs
Eggs in Pickled Beet Juice

Eggs in Pickled Beet Juice

Working Wall Art

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Office Art on the Wall

'Just pulling together some office-appropriate wall art here. I grabbed the You Are Not Your Code quote from a rather interesting post on an approach for providing feedback to newcomers on their words/actions are inappropriate to the new cultural environment. The Nielsen's Heuristics poster is from a Coursera course on interaction design. The bird drawings are from a childhood drawing book of mine, and "no regerts." is pretty much my favorite tattoo from Bad Ink-type reality shows. It exemplifies a sentiment I could use more of in my life.

The calligraphy font is 'October Twilight' and all-caps sans serif is the 'Langdon' typeface.

No Regerts Print You Are Not Your Code - White

Not all experimentations in quotes + typography art are successful. Below are two rejected designs, one for color and the other for lengthiness-font issues. I still like the idea of playing with multiple typefaces in a single print...but maybe a different font is required.

You Are Not Your Code - Black Ada Lovelace Quote Art
These fonts are the same as the first two, but also with 'VTK Flowers' for the floral font and 'Amatic SC' for the scrawly all caps typeface.

Success: Welsh Cakes

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Welch Cakes
I had never had welsh cakes. Fried little cookie-pancakes with raisins. Tasty if you can cook them just right. J found the recipe for these on
Welch Cakes
Welch Cakes

My Academic Uniform

Sunday, November 12, 2017

With the latest move in apartments, comes a slight move in job appearances. In my current posting, the need to differentiate oneself from the students is not as pressing as at other institutions. This is likely both a departmental and an institutional thing, so it's enough to make me find TheProfessorIsIn's post on 'What Not To Wear' far afield and perhaps overly judgmental (my haircut is apparently not de rigeur enough for the humanities, lol).

4 days a week I am wearing Keds, chinos, a dressy tank, and a cardigan. The fifth day I throw in a skirt or dress and nicer shoes. Or toss it all out the window and wear dark wash jeans and a blazer. This process has the benefit of maximizing the amount of time I can spend on sleeping and minimizing the time spent on decision making. I literally have 5 of the same tank top, in 4 different colors.

As an undergrad it was jeans and t-shirts, as a graduate student it was jeans and slightly nicer t-shirts/blouses, at the next post it was chinos and cardigans. Now is more of the same, but with slightly nicer tops and the occasional blazer thrown in for extra gravitas.

Why am I such a BodenUSA fangirl? (1) They have a very generous, 365-day free return/exchange policy. This makes online shopping waaaaay better. And (2) colors, prints, creative details, and quality! I also turn to J. Crew Factory as I can try stuff in store, and then wait for a good online clearance/sale. I don't purchase clothing that's mostly man-made materials, and these two places, combined with LandsEnd, typically have a decent collection of natural materials.

Also, I now live nowhere near any good clothing stores, so the Internet is where my clothing comes from. Some notes on how I scour the Internetz for well-fitting, solid quality attire:
  • Pants: LandsEnd Women's Mid Rise Chino Straight Leg Pants are the best priced for solid chinos (and shorts for the summer), if you wait for a 35-40% off sale. They often hit clearance for less than $30. LandsEnd chinos also come in custom inseam lengths, so if you're someone who needs the extremes of the 26-34" inseams, these are the best! I own 4 pair, plus 3 pair chino shorts.

    LandsEnd will occasionally have printed chinos as well, but BodenUSA pretty much always has some version of their printed Richmond Pants on clearance or coupon code sale (or better yet, BOTH clearance and coupon code). Boden's Richmond tall-size has a 32.5" inseam, which is respectable.
  • Skirts: I don't wear skirts/dresses often, but J. Crew Factory pencil skirt in double-serge wool or a Boden modern pencil skirt or Boden tunic with leggings and ankle booties are my go-to. The end-of-season sales/clearance can be pretty great for these.
  • Cardigans: LandsEnd does supima cotton cardigans in tall-sizes, so you don't have to always roll up the sleeves. I also like Boden's machine-washable cashmere cardigans or their printed sweaters, when that style is available.
  • Blazers: Boden's tweed blazers go on significant clearance at the end of winter ($80!). J. Crew Factory's Schoolboy Blazer is also a nice option for a simpler wool (or linen) look. Fit is most important with blazers, and these are the two that have a decent fit for me right off the rack.
  • Tops: I pretty much just browse Boden's long-sleeved tops looking for a good clearance/sale. The quality on their t-shirts is nice, and they often have decorative t-shirts, or comfy knit blouses that look a step-up from the t-shirt category. It's always good to have a couple stripey shirts, and Boden is great for the colorful Breton as well.
  • Sleeveless: In the summer, I found these Drapey tank tops with silky hem from J. Crew Factory and promptly bought 5 of them when they went on sale. They have a higher-neck, so I can bend over at my computer without flashing the audience. They're a relaxed fit, which is forgiving. And there's little details like the center seam, silk trim, and keyhole back that make it look a bit dressier than a standard ribbed tank. J. Crew Factory also has similar styles with a ruffle, or eyelet trim instead.
  • Shoes: A generic ballet flat or, my preference, Ked's Women Crashback Leather Fashion Sneaker. Sometimes Amazon is cheaper, sometimes DSW. I'm on my second pair, as the cognac color pretty much goes with everything and the shoe works in all seasons except winter. For winter I'll probably return to my La Canadienne boots from the interview days, or just wear a pair of snow boots for commuting.
  • Sock Liners: Hue Sock Liners are the best non-saggy sock liners I've found. You can usually get 4 pair for less than $10 on eBay, which is great, because the tiny sockies get lost all the damn time.

Success: Peach Cobbler

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Peach Cobbler
An oldie, but a goodie this a peach version of the old stand-by, usually done as nectarine cobbler from Epicurious. Peaches instead of nectarines, and dropped the lemon juice, still came out swimmingly. The buttermilk biscuit top is perfectly under sweet to compliment the jam-like consistency of the condensed peach juice.

Peach Cobbler
Peach Cobbler
Peach Cobbler

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