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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Winter? Spring? Winter? Spring? Winter?

When I left work last night, around 11pm, it was a beautiful spring night.  So warm I could probably have taken my coat off, and I certainly didn't need the winter boots and scarf I was wearing.  I'd contemplated dumping the hat and mittens out of my work bag, thinking I probably didn't need them anymore this winter.

Now, it's February here, and let me tell you that, normally, in February, it's FREEEEEEZING cold.  It's usually bitter cold, full of snow.  Lots of snow shoveling and "extreme cold" alerts.  So all this warm weather is REALLY strange. 

Not to fear though, this morning I woke up to this:

Luckily, we left our Christmas decorations up......

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How I Feel

This is about how I feel today:

Turn the lights off! It's too bright!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Adventures in Crocheting

I'm not sure it started.  It started small, it may have been because of the scarves.  I like scarves.  They're easy to knit.  Scarves accelerated into a desire to have other warm objects, socks, sweaters.  Why ARE knit sweaters SO expensive? 

Turns out it's because they're a LOT of work.  Who knew? 

Anywho,  I'd been thinking about nice warm blankets.  Speaking of hard, it is HARD to make a blanket by knitting. 

I mentioned it to friends and they tell me that crocheting is easier than knitting.  Easier eh?  Hmmm....this bears looking into....

So, I figure I need to add to my knitting repetoire, and I pick up a knitting book.  Then since they're so close by, I also pick up a crocheting book.  One needle eh?  Fabric as big or small as I'd like it to be?  I can totally do this!

I end up with a number of balls of yarn (like I don't already have yarn) and some crochet hooks, and a whole envelope of other accoutrements that I didn't already have, like stitch counters and markers.

It took a couple of tries before I managed to make a reasonable pattern, and I pulled it apart twice now because I was dropping or picking up stitches accidentally as I went, but here are the fruits of my labour so far:

It's about 3 feet wide right now, and maybe 10" long.  It should make a nice lap blanket, provided I actually have enough yarn for it.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Scripted Interviews

Scripted interviews are probably one of my least favourite things. A panel of people face you from across a table and ask you a number of questions designed to determine your character in 20 mins or less. Often the process involves a scoring system which is then used to choose the most suitable candidate. The questions often involve scenarios. While this process seems to work well for human resources folks, I often wonder what they expect from the answers...

"A customer has received the wrong order and becomes irate. What do you do?"


"An elderly man has a heart attack while waiting in line. What do you do?"


"Aliens steal the cashbox via tractor-beam. What do you do?"


Now I'm sure that for most of these types of questions (the above examples being purely hypothetical), there is a "good" answer and an "accurate" answer. The "good" answer being the one the interviewer is looking for and the "accurate" one being what you would actually do.

Case in point:

"Aliens steal the cashbox via tractorbeam. What do you do?"

Good answer:
"Aquiesce to their demands while pushing the silent alarm button under the counter. Call the manager. Wait for police. Do not disturb crime scene."

Accurate answer:
"Run screaming! Make tinfoil hat so they can't read your mind! Spend rest of life telling newsreporters that you were probed!"

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Crafting Space

Ok, so how about I promise to post "most of the time" instead of every day.  Well, sort of promise, maybe....kinda.

Enjoy some pictures of my crafting space:

Some storage.
Beautiful picturesque view of the driveway.
Work central.
He's "helping".

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ha! Fooled you!

You thought I would post like I said I would, didn't you?


I never do that.

Today I plan to clean....but first, I need to watch Hoarders:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hmmm, how does that happen?

Well, today was apparently a 2 post day.  Hmmm.  How about I try to make tomorow a two post day to make it up to you.

Today we'll try something I saw on another blog.  Type "Unfortunately, ______" into Google, replacing the blank with your name.  Then check out the sentences from the results.  Vastly entertaining.

Tried it with my name, and some of the good answers are:

Unfortunately, Amber, since you are blocked, once you click send that message is gone for good.

Unfortunately, amber is not forever.

Unfortunately, Amber is killed by Blue during his speech on the bond that Blue and the girls of the brothel share.

And, my personal fav:

Unfortunately Amber forcefields do not contain proper ff parameters for silicon.

Friday, January 27, 2012

While I Work

Work is one of those strange things.  If you have an office, like I do, and you're in it daily, you probably decorate it with something.  Maybe one thing, maybe lots of things, inconsequential things, or meaningful things.   Some combination of all of the above maybe?

There are a number of things, on and around my desk, I'd like to show you:

My mousepad and wrist rest.  I heart penguins.

Ceiling cat is watching you.

The candle came with my original office, the pylon was a gift from a friend at a safety training session, and the ball......well.....  there's no explanation for the ball.

My pet fish.  Oh the joys of having an office.

Severed arm on top of a control panel.  You never know when you might need a severed arm.


Shhhh, I'm sleeping!

No, actually I'm at work, but I wish I was sleeping, I'm awfully tired.  Just a couple more hours. 

What's that?  I forgot to post yesterday you say?  That's right, you guessed it, I was sleeping.

I even went to sleep early.  I hate being an insomniac.  It takes so long to fall asleep, and when I wake back up again I exist in this fuzzy area where I'm not quite fully asleep for hours afterwards.

I hope I get more sleep tonight.....after I post something else, of course.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mini Honey Oranges

So these tiny oranges have shown up in our grocery store and I am fascinated by them.  They're so cute, and small, and delicious.

Think small, really really small.  Like oranges that are an inch and a half across.

Aren't they cute?

Everybody needs tiny oranges.  You should go get some.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Some times I wonder how kids these days make it through.  They can't be failed or marked wrong anymore, so they wander around with this smug little self-righteous attitude. 

This isn't just talk.  I see it every day where I work.  I'm amazed that some of these kids managed to get into University. 

Case in point, there's a door at the end of the hallway where I work.  It says "Authorized Personnel, Performers & Staff Only".  It's often locked.  Students try it anyway.  The handle doesn't move.  You'd think that would be enough to cause them to turn around and walk away.  Nope, it's not.  They continue to rattle the handle and pull on the door, they pull on the door hard enough that it comes out a little at the bottom, naturally that spurs them to try harder.  Some of them are strong enough to break the door open that way.  Often they give that up and resort to banging on it, or even kicking it.

Far be it from them to think that perhaps the door is locked because we don't want them in there.

Sometimes the door IS actually unlocked, still they repeat the same process, simply because they don't turn the handle enough to unlatch the door.

The worst offenders? Students who don't want anything behind the door, they just want to use the hall as a convenient cut-through to the Timmies.

I put up this sign almost a year ago:

It doesn't work.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Some Random Things

Every so often.....actually...VERY often....  I'm gonna post some random images.  There's no good reason.  It just takes a LOT of work to come up with a coherent post every day.  So here's some interesting photos:

I think you have to be a part of "Leaf Nation" to get why this is hilarious.
Big guy, tiny bike.  How is that NOT funny.
The reverse.  Big chair, tiny person.  That's me sitting in that chair.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Glitter Crisis!!!

I was going to write today about something completely different, a post I've been working on for quite awhile, years even.....but I got distracted....by glitter.

Now, my being distracted by shiny things is nothing new at all.  However, at this point in time, I'm in the midst of a glitter crisis.  (First world problem, I know).

Anyway, here's the deal.  I have a bunch of snowglobes in my shop.  They take days to complete, literally.  The real problem is that I haven't perfected them yet.  The first few turned out beautiful, gorgeous, and lovely,  then one turned a funny colour.  I wrote about that before, and what it essentially means is that they all take FAR longer now to finish, as I have to be extra careful.  One recently leaked during shipping, and the penguin came loose.  I was horrified by this since I shake the snot out of them to test them.  I researched more adhesives, tested, and came up with one that is miles above the one I'm currently using.  Add a couple more days to the snowglobe process. 

All of this is inconsequential compared to the glitter crisis.  It's by far my biggest challenge so far.

If you love snow globes, like I do, you know that the most important part about a good snowglobe is the glitter "hang time".  Snowglobe show should hang for awhile before it gracefully floats to the bottom.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had stumbled on the PERFECT snowglobe snow:

Here it is, the elusive perfect snowglobe glitter.  I had no idea at the time what sort of problem this would cause.  When I ran out of glitter, I went back and bought a HUGE tub of glitter, assuming that one glitter is as good as another.  Turns out that's REALLY wrong.  I didn't float gracefully AT ALL!  It just plunked itself down on the bottom of the glass and stayed there.  "Ok, more glycerine" I thought.  Glycerine usually helps the glitter be more floaty.  Nope, no dice.  How tragic.  You can't have a snowglobe where the glitter doesn't float, it's just completely pointless!
This meant another trip to the craft store.  The problem, clearly was that I'd bought a different brand of glitter.  I'll just buy the same brand.  So I did.  Here's the original glitter, on the right, with the new tube on the left.  Same brand "Sulyn Industries".

Same brand, slightly different label, but should be the same glitter right???


It's completely different!
How can that be, why doesn't my glitter float?!? OH the FRUSTRATION!

Here's the original glitter, what's left of it.

Here's the new glitter.  Deceptively similar.

Need a closer look?

Here ya go, the original on the right, with the new glitter on the left.  See the difference?  Such a tiny little difference in glitter makes a HUGE difference to my little world of snowglobes.

This glitter problem spawned a widescale search for glitter, the perfect glitter.  I pulled out an old container of glitter, still the same problem.  I tried microbeads in two different sizes, but they were too heavy to float. 

I e-mailed the original glitter company.   I can only imagine why they didn't e-mail me back: "This crazy woman is complaining about the shape of the glitter she bought!"

I started to pull my hair out.

Today, THIS happened:

Yep, that's me in the midst of testing 7 different kinds of glitter against each other, the result of 4 different trips to the craft store, and hours of pacing through the craft store and shaking tiny vials of glitter while I scrutinize them.  Dragging each home,  mixing it with varying amounts of water and glycerine, and shaking the snot out of them.  It turns out that champagne glasses give you room to shake them without pouring glitter on your floor......oh the things I never wanted to know.  I still have no perfect glitter, but here are my findings, in case you were curious.  From right to left in the above picture:

Martha Stewart's iridescent glitter.  It mostly looks like shiny water from a distance.  It clumps together when you add glycerine.

Martha Stewart's tinsel glitter.  Interesting floating going on here, but snow just doesn't look like that.  I'm not sure I can get over it.

Martha Stewart's coarse crystal glitter.  By far the best contender, great float time, but looks like cloudy water when shaken.  Bonus, no clumping

Tulip's iridescent fabric glitter....well hey, at least it's waterproof.

The IMPOSTER glitter!

Martha Stewarts white glitter.
Tub o' useless clumpy glitter.

Here's the lineup again in case you missed it.

Countless others were discounted in the store, on the spot.  I guess I'm destined to roam Michael's on an endless quest to find the perfect glitter.

Listen, if you see it, I'm begging you to mail me some.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's Coooooold Out There! ....sometimes....

I'm writing rather early today because I work from 4pm to midnight tonight.  Ick.  Yep.  Not really looking forward to that at all.  It also contributes to my total inability to manage my weight (up OR down) since working nights means eating an extra meal.  I'm totally incapable of sleeping during the day so, while hubby blissfully dreams the morning away, (it's 9am here) I'm already up with my coffee, planning out my day.

It's cold outside, but not as cold as it should be.  It's January right now, and pretty much wherever you are in Canada, in January it should be COLD.  Not just "cold" but bone-numbing cold.  Freeze the water on your eyeballs cold.  It's not really all that cold here right now.  Now, I'm not saying I WANT my eyeballs to freeze, but there's also a surprising lack of snow.  For instance, check out this picture from February of last year that was in THIS post:

Now compare it to today, which is maybe an average of all the snow we've gotten so far this year:

I apparently don't take very good photos at 9am .....(mental note).   The dog and the black thing from the previous photo (it's a compost bin) are in the upper right corner.  The dog is behind one of the blurry parts....... Sigh....  I need a coffee.

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