Welcome to "chuff to bits"! My blog about food, crafting, and other wonderful things! Stay tuned to find out what!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Who are you again?

Well it's been awhile again. I have no good excuse. Life is busy you know. I haven't put much thought into the shop. I'll have to decide what direction I should go in there. Really, I wouldn't even be blogging but I'm currently stuck in a hotel room with bad TV and no internet. I will try to post more over the summer since I often have free time in the summer. I can't tell you what the content might be, your guess is as good as mine. :) Like always though, my life is an interesting adventure and I'll try to take you with.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, April 9, 2012

The birdies are out!

Can you see him?  The cardinal, in the tree, can you see him?  I went to let the dog in, and spotted him watching me from that branch. 

I heard some chirping behind me and turned to see a couple of finches on one of our feeders.

The finches were close enough to get a bunch of great pictures of them, they all kind of looked the same though....so I won't bore you with duplicates.

Back to the cardinal, tiptoeing closer.....

And just about as I was going inside another little bird landed just below the cardinal....clearly I'm going to have to get a bird identification book, because I have no idea what he is.  If you can spot him in the photo he's a little grey birdie with a white belly, just below and to the left of the cardinal.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No! Not Eric! He's one of the good ones!!!

I'm not really one to follow TV shows, especially when they first air.  I just can't manage to watch something at the same time two days in a row.  My schedule just doesn't allow it.  I manage to catch most shows years later, when some channel or another posts endless reruns.

Lately, I work evenings which means I'm home in the morning/early afternoon.  Two channels seem to run hours of CSI, CSI Miami, and CSI New York back to back in the afternoons.  Now normally I wouldn't watch this kind of show, I don't like all the blood and gore.  When I'm relaxing, I like to relax, and close-ups of someone getting their head chopped off aren't relaxing to me.  There was nothing else on though, and I've seen the odd episode, so I turned it on in the background.  I've come to actually like CSI Miami,  some of the characters are endearing,  the lead actor is unintentionally hilarious, and there are very few dark and grimy scenes since the whole thing is set in sunny Miami.

Today I tuned in to catch one of the multiple episodes they were running back to back.  I was half-watching the show, waiting for the end, thinking "just these last few minutes then I'll get ready for work".....when they fatally shot one of the main characters....in the neck. 

Suddenly I'm standing in the middle of the room, yelling at the TV; "NO! NOT ERIC! THEY CAN'T SHOOT ERIC! HE'S ONE OF THE GOOD ONES!"  .....hmmmm......brief lapse in sanity there, I'm sure.  The episode ends, with Eric lying in a pool of his own blood, not moving, eyes wide open ..."To Be Continued..."  I gather up my dirty plate and start towards the kitchen to pack my lunch for work when I hear the opening for the next episode....."There's no way this is the next episode? Right?  They never do that in reruns, right?"

YEEEAAAAHHHHHH!!!!  It's the next episode!

All thoughts of lunch, showering, or changing out of my pj's go straight out the window.  Must. Find. Out. What. Happens. To. Eric. 

Damn CSI.  I won't tell you what happens, you'll have to become consumed with it yourself.  : P  Now I know though, never underestimate the power of a show you don't like, to suck you into it's little world.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Really? That's what you're going with? ...Well...Ok *shrug*

Today, on my drive home from work, I spotted a law office, tucked in among a bunch of other businesses in a small industrial park.

I couldn't get a picture of it, but I did find their website.

That's right dear readers, I shit you not, their business is called "Actual Legal Services".

Now if you're like me, right now you're rolling around on the floor laughing. 

Truth in advertising I guess.

Actual Legal Services.  You know, as opposed to that "Fake Legal Services" place down the road. 

I'll say this for them, that's some pretty brilliant marketing, silly or not.  You'll all remember "Actual Legal Services" the next time you're looking for a lawyer, I'll guarantee it.   

Are they good lawyers? Bad lawyers?  I don't know.  I DO know they have an awesome name.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Share The Love

Not lavender.
Stop me if you've heard this one, I can't remember if I posted it.

I was watching a movie some months ago.  It was a cute, and funny little movie, about a man who inherits a French villa from an uncle. 

There are a few amusing scenes throughout the movie, where the characters who aren't native to France each find a small container of lavender on the windowsill of their room in the villa.  Each one of them moves the lavender, and is consequently visited by a scorpion.  The French housekeeper scolds them for removing the lavender, and the scene plays out again with a different character.

These scenes led me to two revelations completely unrelated to the plot line.

1) There are scorpions in France.

2) Scorpions are repelled by lavender.

This prompted a flurry of googling.  How had it never occurred to me that there are scorpions in France?  Are they really repelled by lavender?  This could be important information should I suddenly win the lottery and travel to France.

I found a number of posts about the validity (or not, as the case may be) of using lavender to repel scorpions. (Mental note: Do NOT go to countries with scorpions.)

Among the scorpion postings, I found something FAR more priceless.  A blog.  More specifically, my discovery started with a post on this blog, about an American's experience with scorpions, having been newly transplanted to France.  Fascinated by the incredible photos, I read the entire post, and at the end, she linked to a couple other posts she'd written.  I followed them to the post where she first meets scorpions, and through her own discovery and testing of lavender.  By the time I'd read through all the scorpion posts, I was intrigued.  I had to find out what happened to her cat, I had to know if her husband was ok, I had to see more of these delicious recipes, I HAD to find out how this story ended.

I went back to the beginning, and started with her first post.  I ran back and forth to the computer whenever I had the chance.  It was like a beautiful book, played out chapter by chapter.  I felt like I was traveling with her from America to France, like I was experiencing all of their adventures along side them.  I was pulled along by each post. 

Then, I was sitting here one day, and went to click "NEXT" at the top of h er post, and there was no next.  I'd reached the end, of her posts.  At first I was distraught.  I NEEDED to know what happened next. 

I came back again, to reread the last post.  Maybe there was some indication of what happened, what I should turn to next, where she went.  I read through the post one more time, and came to the bottom.....and saw the date.  It had only been posted a few days before!  This was recent!  This story was happening RIGHT NOW! 

I'd gotten so wrapped up in her story, I'd forgotten that it wasn't a book, or a novel, or a history.  This blog was fresh. 

I wrote her a long comment that day on her blog post, relating my story, kind of like I've done here.

Since then, I read all of her posts.  I feel like I know her, though she knows nothing about me.

So today, I send you there, to share the love.  Go read her blog:

French Letters

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Zafu of Enlightenment

I set out today to make a zafu, and a zabuton.  For all you head-scrathers out there (and believe me I know how you feel) a zafu is a round floor pillow used to sit on during meditation.  A zafu lifts your hips above your knees, aligning your pelvis and spine so that your head can rest upon your spine in a straight line.  This means that you can sit for a long time without your back curving painfully, or your head slumping forward.  A zabuton is a larger square pillow or mat, placed below the zafu, that cushions your knees and ankles.  Feel free to google, there are dozens of examples....I'll wait....

Back?  Ok good.

I started with a pattern from this lovely sight HERE, where a wonderful being named Caitlin has posted some easy instructions.  I'm not a sewing genius, and I'm sure I've mentioned my tiny little dressmaker sewing machine before, so you know that if I did it, then it should be no problem for you.

I started with some leftover blue fabric from the wedding.  It's a basic cotton fabric, I read a suggestion to not use a slippery fabric so that you don't slip off the cushion. 

Now, the instructions say that a yard of fabric will make 2 zafus.  So, I cut out two 13.5" circles and a 54" long by 8" wide strip.....hmmm..... last I checked a yard of fabric was 36".....  I cut out two 27" lengths.  I missed the seam allowance when I cut them, so I ended up with a 53" strip.  That's ok right?  The instructions say that there will be extra at the end.... 

Pieces cut out.  Strips being pinned into pleats.

The pleats are marked out.  Every three inches there's a 1 inch pleat.  So measure 3 inches, then 2 seperate inches for the pleat, then 3 inches again..... and so on.

Marks for pleating.

Fold the pleats up, pin them, then IRON them!  Don't skip that step, trust me, just don't.  Then, pin the strip along the outside of your circle.  It's during the pinning that you'll discover that 54" isn't long enough to go around the circle.  My crafting friends advised me of a couple of things you can do to remedy this (assuming you didn't just read my whole post and adjust the length accordingly).  You can re-pin the pleats at a half inch wide instead of an inch, or lengthen the space between pleats.  You could also cut the circles smaller.  Or, you could do what I did....add another chunk of fabric to the long strip.  I think that mine ended up being around 59" long, extra is better than not enough here.

Finally pinned, fed through my tiny sewing machine.
The finished zafu!  Ok, not quite finished, it needs a stuffing.

Deflated zafu.
Now, the traditional stuffing is buckwheat hulls.  I don't have buckwheat hulls.  I thought maybe oatmeal would be a good substitute.  I figured this would be a good point to put a closure on it that would allow me to remove the stuffing if I tried something that didn't work.  So I stole a zipper from a project that just didn't work out, folded the strip ends in, and sewed the zipper on.  Luckily I managed to reopen the zipper from the inside with a finger nail.

Zipper, neatly hidden under a pleat....almost like I planned it that way.
So the oatmeal wasn't quite enough, so I thought birdseed might be an acceptable alternative.  Here it is, full of seed.  A zafu, full of birdseed is VERY heavy.

Zafu being investigated by the dog.
I threw together a zabuton.  (Heh, "threw together")  I sewed two 32" panels of fleece together, and put four 15" by 15" chair pads inside it.  Fleece REALLY sticks to foam chair padding.

Zafu ON a zabuton.
Time to take it for a spin.  Hmmm....turns out that sitting on birdseed is REALLY uncomfortable.  Ok....what now?  I considered keeping it until I could find a more appropriate stuffing, and then I came across a bag full of pillows in our closet.  So naturally I opened one, and stuffed all the stuffing into the zafu.  (Turns out I hate pillow stuffing as much as I hate carpet....ask hubby about that one).  It was still too squishy, so I even stuffed the pillow casing into the centre.  So here's the re-finished zafu: 

He's meditating...about food.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Operatic things

Today, like yesterday, I get to spend an entire 14 hr day listening to opera. For opera aficionados this is probably a dream come true. I've summed up how I feel about it in this lovely comic I created during the 14hrs of opera I was bombarded with yesterday:

posted from Bloggeroid

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