Web Weekend #11

Whew. It’s been another rough one. I’m gearing up for my Grand Re-Opening on Tuesday so I’ve been crazy busy. I’m actually going to open in a few stages. This week, I’ll be debuting jewelry.
I’m still at 363 this week. Weirddd.

Remember you can follow me on Pinterest for nearly-daily flailing and excitement. Now let’s get to the links!

Help! Help! (via Literate Knits)

Things to Buy or Make

Bracelets made from vintage knitting needles (SewNewThings)
It’s dangerous to go without your house key (So Geek Chic)
A Dalek dress. Very yes. (Fashionably Geek)
DIY vintage jewelry wreath. I love the colors. (BlogHer)
Cool rug made from felted balls! (Instructables)
Really amazing coffee table made from a pallet. (Unconsumption)
Bracelets and other jewelry made from glass bottles. (Bottlehood)
A lovely gift for a bride. (Oh Happy Day)
Mini garden inside your house! (Shelterness)
DIY these sculptural coil vases (Shelterness)
Three ideas for upcycling trash into jewelry (Fusion Beads)
Make some cute washcloths from your old towels (Michele Made Me)

Ideas to Use

Do you have a creative kid? DIY is the community for them. (Laughing Squid)
Here’s a whole bunch of free social media icons for your blog. (Shrimp Salad Circus)
How to write enticing Item Descriptions (Etsy Blog)

Awwww. (via Literate Knits)

Food

Whole Orange Chocolate Chip muffins (Thrify & Green)
Chicken a la Oink (haha) (Lost in Transition)
Mouthwatering grilled pineapple (Rantings of an Amateur Chef)
ANZAC biscuits (Shiksa in the Kitchen)
Takeout-style Orange Chicken (35$ a Week Project)
Ice cream sandwiches! (Smitten Kitchen)
Cast-iron Pineapple Upside Down cake (Rantings of an Amateur Chef)
Bruschetta Chicken (Pioneer Woman)

Articles and News

The NYC Department of Records released a huge collection of old photos. (Laughing Squid)
What is CISPA, you ask? Here’s the answer. (Gawker)
Another list of amazing untranslatable words (io9)
LEGO is an awesome company. (GeekMom)
My grocery store pet peeve is crowdedness – either from the other shoppers or from bad store design. What’s yours? (The Kitchn)

You know you're a true fan if you cringe at this scene because you know that Viggo just broke his toe. (via Literate Knits)

Entertainment News

Amazon released a list of the most-highlighted bits on Kindle books. 8 of the top ten are from the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (and Jane Austen provided the other 2)! (The Mary Sue)
io9’s guide to summer Sci-fi and Fantasy tv! (io9)

Art

Double-Exposure portraits by Jon Duenas (via Colossal)
Alex Konahin did this skull with a dip pen! (via Colossal)
I really like this series that Noelle Stevenson’s been doing. (Gingerhaze)

Weekly Greatness:

Samwell Tarly, everyone. (Literate Knits)
Translation is your friend. (Literate Knits)
Pictureless Pins – a text-only way to enjoy Pinterest (Laughing Squid)
Oh, there’s a text-only Instagram, too. (EpicPonyz)

Did you see anything cool around the internet this week? Is there a blog I should be reading? Got an opinion or thought about anything here? Share your own thoughts and links in the comments!  Make sure to follow me (here, there, and everywhere) to get more updates!

What I’ve been up to

Good grief I’ve been so busy lately. Let’s have a look at some of the things I’ve been making and doing in my spare moments!

Let’s start with the least impressive thing. This lovely little bag. It’s 7 by 7 inches, I think. Lined with extremely thin vinyl and sealed with a narrow strip of velcro across the top. If you’ve been around a while, you may remember I actually have a whole set of these in varying sizes. Some of them, including this one, were never finished. I finished it! ;) I’m going to finish the rest of them and list them on Etsy.

SPEAKING OF ETSY, I’m going to reopen my shop! Kako and Marian and I have made a pact to all open/re-open our shops on May first. I’ve been planning to reopen around that time frame and working on new items, so I am every happy to finally have a date set.
Would you like a preview?

The lovely wooden bowl and sushi plate are also new – I got them (and many other similar things) at our local thrift shop. The bowl contains bracelets and necklaces, including two glorious chainmaille watches. The plate is displaying the earrings – and many of which will be in my “5$ or less” category!

Remember a few weeks ago, I announced that I’d won a giveaway at Too Crewel, for an Epic Alphabet embroidery pattern kit by Sublime Stitching? This is it! The kit came with this hoop, a gorgeous pair of embroidery scissors with a leather sleeve, a few skeins of floss, an embroidery needle, and of course, the pattern. I LOVE IT. I decided to do it in stark black floss on this delicately-patterned fabric, and I really like it so far.

Here’s another, more recent, shot of the Epic Alphabet. I am incredibly proud of these two letters. :) This isn’t the first embroidery I’ve ever done, but I’d still call myself a novice, and I can literally see myself improving with every letter. Embroidery is so rewarding – very “instant gratification.” It’s also excellent for those with very little free time – you can pick it up and do a stitch and then go do something else. It takes hardly any time to do one of these letters.

And now for the last photo I’m sharing today – my craft nook. This room used to be our dining room. But the table was always covered with things, and we never manage to eat in there. So we decided to convert it into a craft/hobby room. The table is now devoted to my crafting things. My storage closet is just a few feet away, and it’s super nice to have a dedicated space for my projects.

My last bit of news: although I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, I haven’t stopped cooking! I’ve been taking photos while making fabulous foods. I’ve even cropped/edited some of them! Here’s a short list of what you should expect to find cooking around here in the next few weeks:
– Chicken Marsala
– Dornish Peppers (part of my Game of Thrones menu)
– Honeyed Chicken (more GoT food)
– Lasagna
– Wheat bread
There are many more in the hopper, but these are the ones I’m most excited about!

What have you been making lately?

Media Monday #3

This isn’t relevant to media, but I just wanted to share that I won another giveaway! This time from Button, Button. I chose the Rumpelstiltskin pattern and I’m excited to give it a go.
Also, speaking of giveaways, the Too Crewel one that I won a few weeks ago, an embroidery kit from Sublime Stitching, came in the mail today. It’s awesome and I’ll probably blog about it.

Books

I finished A Feast for Crows this week! There was a really interesting “revealing of information” toward the end, and I’m excited to see things start rolling in that direction. I took a few days off, haha, and started in on A Dance with Dragons. This book is already much more enjoyable, because it’s got Tyrion and Jon Snow! :)

I’m loving PaperBackSwap. I’ve got a huge wish list – seems like everyone else wants to read the books I want, lol. I’ve received several books, though, and they’re all in great shape. Is it bad that I want to hurry through DwD so I can get to these ones? Come join me! Send me a friend request and/or a message, if you like. And please take my old books!

Movies and TV

A great week, this! Just look at the pile of movies I found! :)

Repeaters:
Game of Thrones on HBO (Sunday evening) – This is my #1 priority show, even above Doctor Who. ;)
Grimm on NBC (Friday evening) – this show started out weak but it’s greatly improved. It’s really suspenseful and good.
Last Man Standing on ABC (Tuesday evening) – also improving as it goes.
Once Upon a Time on ABC (Sunday night) – if loving Mr Gold is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Also, loving Eion Bailey! (We’re still behind a little; don’t spoil me!)
Doctor Who plays frequently on BBC America, and if you’re not watching it there’s a deep void in your life. This week’s offerings include Midnight, Turn Left, and The Stolen Earth & Journey’s End.
Best Ink on Oxygen (Tuesday night) – a tattoo artist competition show. It’s pretty similar to the one Spike ran recently. Quite good.
The Big Bang Theory on CBS (Thursday night) – if you don’t know, nothing I say will help. Just watch it.

One-timers:

Fried Green Tomatoes (HBO Family, Thursday wee hours) – really awesome tale of life in the Great Depression, as well as an empowering bit of femininity.
The Shawshank Redemption (AMC, Sunday evening) – Morgan Freeman is all the reason you need to watch this.
Braveheart (AMC, Sunday wee hours) – classic.
McLintock! (AMC, Saturday) – one of John Wayne’s best.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (IFC, Tuesday evening) – do you know where your towel is?
I Am Legend (TNT,  Saturday evening & Sunday afternoon) – these are my favorite zombies. I hope TNT doesn’t butcher it.
Alice in Wonderland (Burton version) (ABCF, Saturday & Sunday evening) – visually stunning, of course, and a really interesting take on the tales of Alice.
The Face on the Milk Carton (ABCF, Sunday morning) – never seen this, but I loved the book series as a kid. If it stinks, it costs me nothing.
Finding Neverland (ABCF, Saturday evening) – Biopic of JM Barrie, creator of Neverland, starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. It’s a beautiful thing.
Gone in 60 Seconds (ABCF, Thursday evening) – one of Nic Cage’s better movies. With the added bonus of the Ninth Doctor as the bad guy!
Dune (BBCA, Sunday wee hours) – I recorded this a long time back and it got deleted before I could finish it. I’ve been waiting for it to come on again. :)
The Tale of Despereaux (The Hub, Saturday evening & Sunday afternoon) – I liked the story, but not a huge fan of the writing style of the book. Giving the movie a try. Missy should like it, anyway.

Now that you know what I’m watching and reading, tell me what you’re turning your rabbit ears toward! What’s worth reading and watching in the world this week?

Web Weekend #10

Double digits! This was one of those weird weeks, where it seemed to fly by but drag on forever at the same time. I have been stocking up for my Grand Reopening at my Etsy shop on May 1 (I’ll be posting more about that later this week), so I spent a lot of time AFK.
I’m at 363 this week – I went way down, but most of those were “haven’t been updated in months” culls. (Speaking of which, does anybody know what happened to Allie Brosh? [No I didn't delete her.])

By the way, it’s Earth day! I hope you all enjoyed a lovely day off, hopefully enjoying our planet. If you’re interested in earning rewards for your green actions, come join me at Recyclebank! It’s easy and free. :) (Disclosure: I get points if you sign up from my referral link.)

Remember you can follow me on Pinterest for nearly-daily flailing and excitement. Now let’s get to the links!

Let's start the week bravely - by Noelle Stevenson (Gingerhaze)

Things to Buy or Make

Upcycle your easter eggs into tealights! (Taylor Made)
4 felt no-sew pendants – great for kids’ jewelry! (Wild Olive)
I really want to get this Knitting Tower for Missy! (Wee Folk Art)
Fairy Ribbon Rings – another thing Missy “needs” (and maybe me too) (Wee Folk Art)
A PDF pattern for that “Day of the Dead Owl” I featured a while back! (threadhead)
DIY colored pencil jewelry! (Design Mom)
Colorful and comfy floor pillow tutorial (Living with Punks)
Scrapbook-paper wall plaques – definitely going to do this. (Life Made Interesting)
Candles inside eggs! So pretty. (Mom’s Crafty Space)
Put laces on your high heels – quite posh, I think. (Craft)
Apples to Oranges sewing kit pattern (Straight Stitch Society)
Gift bows from bags! Of course it’s Martha. (Craft)
Conflict-free diamonds. Wink wink. (Mini-Eco)
Glue gun bandolier, for your most badass crafting adventures. (Craft)
Coffee body scrub. (The Gloss)
Legend of Zelda alphabet cross-stitch. Adding to my To-do list. (Epic Ponyz)

Ideas to Use

A ton of ideas to upcycle plastic bottles! (Under the Table)
Some inspiring spring embroidery floss color collections (Wild Olive)
Tips for embroidering on difficult fabrics (StitchPunk)
Making the most of one acre (From Scratch Club)
Now that Picnik is gone (RIP), try Picmonkey. (Carina’s Craftblog)
Quick infographic about dress cuts/styles (The Gloss)
Thinking of starting a bookblog? (Living Learning and Loving Life)
Photo Composition 101 – I need to study the heck out of this. (Technology for Moms)
Make your home smell delicious with this easy simmer. (A Bit of Bee’s Knees)

This also applies to girls, I think. (via Badder Homes and Gardens)

Food

Dinner guests to impress? Here’s 15 ways to do it. (The Kitchn)
Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream. Yeah, you’re kinda drooling there. (Not Your Momma’s Cookie)
Brown Sugar and Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Maple Glaze. You’re still drooling. (A Spoonful of Sugar)
Homemade Coffee Creamer! (At Home with Kim)
Plum & Thyme Iced Tea – this sounds really fancy and delicious (A Bit of Bee’s Knees)

Articles and News

Dave’s not here, man. But we do have some research about cannabis. (io9)
You needed more creepiness in your sex life? Here it is. (Jezebel)
Nuns may be the only part of the Catholic church who aren’t actively destroying lives, so of course the Vatican had to rebuke them for it. (Jezebel)
Thoughts about blogging business. (Ramble Ramble)
Someone has invented a REAL sonic screwdriver. (The Mary Sue)

Duckie! (via Cute-sturbing)

Entertainment News

A treasure trove of 500 fairy tales has been discovered. Now can we retire Snow White? (io9)
After 4 weeks at the top, the Hunger Games finally gave up the box office crown. (Jezebel)
Fill your Doctor Who cravings with these catchphrases. (Anglophenia)
Game of Thrones drinking game. Go easy or you’ll die of alcohol poisoning. (io9)

Art

A roundup of Calvin and Hobbes mashups (Comics Alliance)
Sketchbooks need more leaves. (By Sketching Backpacker, via Colossal)
Haunting (no pun intended) artwork. (By Charles Santoso)
Finn and Jake amigurumi (By Lucy Ravenscar)

Weekly Greatness:

Doctor Who minifig concepts! Oh please, Lego, make these! (by Fine Clonier, via io9)

Twenty percent cooler! (My Little Brony)

Did you see anything cool around the internet this week? Is there a blog I should be reading? Got an opinion or thought about anything here? Share your own thoughts and links in the comments!  Make sure to follow me (here, there, and everywhere) to get more updates!

Flower Maille: A Tutorial in Chains

When most people think of chainmaille, they probably imagine a knight in shining armor. That’s definitely a great use of rings, and weaving a sheet of maille is a very rewarding task. But did you know there’s more than one way to make it? Hundreds, in fact. And it’s not just for knights. Those simple rings can be used to make beautiful, intricate jewelry. It’s one of my favorite things to make. (And when I re-open my Etsy shop, expect to see lots of it!)

The pattern I’m going to share with you is a variation on Japanese 12-in-2 maille. What that basically means is that each pair of 2 large rings is surrounded by 12 smaller ones. I use a slight variation, mainly to hold the pattern tighter. Please forgive me if the photos are blurry, it’s quite difficult to get a clear picture of such small components.

A Note about Rings

In making maille, the size of your rings is very important. In a pattern with mixed sizes, like this one, the ratio between the inner diameter (ID) and the gauge (thickness) of the wire is crucial. I can, and frequently do, make my own rings, so I can carefully select these properties.
However, for this tutorial, I am using some prepackaged rings that I bought at Walmart. This is partly because it’s the rings I learned with, and partly because it’ll be easy for you readers to match! The packet of rings is in the craft section near the beads, and contains 3 sizes of rings – these two, and a medium size.
If you’d like to make your own rings, or buy different ones, here’s the specs on these rings. The smaller rings have an ID of 3mm, and are 20 gauge. The larger rings are 18 gauge, with an ID of 6mm.

When opening rings, grip it with two pliers, facing you,  and twist – moving one side toward you and one side away. Do not pull the gap apart – TWIST it.
To close, reverse the process, obviously.

Gather Your Materials

For each flower you make, you will need:
14 large rings, opened – 7 pairs
12 small rings, closed
18 small rings, opened – 6 sets of 3

You also need two pair of needle-nose pliers, preferably with smooth gripping surfaces so you do not damage the wire. You will also need extra rings and other findings to finish your piece. You may want a soft surface like a cloth covering your work surface.

Weaving

Begin by selecting one of the large rings, and load all 12 of your small closed rings onto it. Close the large ring.

Select another large ring and carefully thread it through the twelve small rings, being careful not to loop through the first large ring. (That will produce a Mobius ring, which you can use, but that’s not what we’re working on today.)

You now have 2 large rings, back to back, with 12 small rings encircling them.

Select another large ring, and carefully thread it through 2 of the small rings. Repeat with 5 more large rings. You now have a central pair, connected to each single “petal” by a pair of small rings.

Now it’s time to connect the petals to each other. Choose two petals and hold the flower in such a way that you can access them.

Pick up one of your small open rings, and connect the large rings. Add two more small rings to that junction, so you have 3 small rings connecting the two petals.

Repeat the joining process all the way around.

Your final step is doubling the large rings in the petals. Hold your flower steady in your hand, and very carefully thread a large ring through the 8 small rings that surround a petal. Like before, be careful not to loop through the other large ring (unless you’re deliberately making a Mobius). Repeat for all 6 petals.

You have a completed flower!

Using other findings, you can easily make this into an earring. By making several flowers and joining them together in a strip, you can create a bracelet. Add a watch face, and you’ve got a watch! It’s also possible to join many flowers together to make sheets of maille.

It takes approximately 11 minutes for me to construct a flower, not including the time to select, open or close, and lay out the rings (another 5 minutes or so).

That’s all there is to it! Was it easier than you thought it would be? Would you like to see more maille tutorials?

Media Monday #2

Books

I’m still lost in Westeros. Working my way through Feast for Crows (that’s book 4). It’s a bit tough to get through, but don’t let that scare you off. The first three books are one wonder after another, and this lull in the action I’m working on is just the calm before the storm.
In spare moments, I’ve also been reading Luminosity. It’s a “fan fiction,” I guess. It’s a re-write of Twilight, wherein the characters don’t suck! (Come at me, haters.) No really. It’s what Twilight should have been. I’ve always maintained that it was a great idea, badly handled, and this is its redemption. It is full book-length, but worth the time.

I recently joined PaperBackSwap, and I love it. I’ve had a huge box of books stored in my garage – books I didn’t want for one reason or another. I listed them all (over 90!) and I’ve already sent out 13 of them (and have 2 more requests since Saturday). You receive 2 “credits” when you join and list 10 books, and one credit for each book you send out. You pay the postage to mail out your books, but when you “buy” a book with your credits, it’s completely free! I’m really enjoying it. Come join me! Send me a friend request and/or a message, if you like. And please take my old books!

Movies and TV

Another crummy week. There was very little that caught my eye this week. I don’t check every channel, though – so please, if you know of something good, let me know! (Don’t let that pile of repeaters fool you – this week is barren.)

Repeaters:
Full Metal Jousting on History (Sunday evening) – JOUSTING. That is all.
Game of Thrones on HBO (Sunday evening) – of course! I haven’t watched this week’s episode yet, but I will soon!
Grimm on NBC (Friday evening) – this show started out weak but it’s greatly improved.
Last Man Standing on ABC (Tuesday evening) – also improving as it goes.
Once Upon a Time on ABC (Sunday night) – as a Fables junkie, this scratches my itch. We’re a few episodes behind, so no spoilers!
Doctor Who plays frequently on BBC America, and if you’re not watching it there’s a deep void in your life. This week’s offerings include The Silence in the Library pair (bring some Kleenex) and The Unicorn and the Wasp (Agatha Christie!).
Pawn Stars on History (Monday night) – I can’t help it. I love Chumlee. Corey can jump off a bridge though. Also check out American Restoration on Wednesday night.
Best Ink on Oxygen (Tuesday night) – a tattoo artist competition show. It’s pretty similar to the one Spike ran recently. Quite good.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on the Hub (Saturday afternoon) – YES. (I have a preschooler so I do have a legit excuse for this, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it.) This week is the Royal Wedding and season finale.

One-timers:
The Jetsons Movie on HBO Family (Tuesday afternoon) – my childhood! YAY!
LadyHawke on BBCA (Saturday wee hours) – Another YAY!

Contact is airing several times on AMC this week. SPACE. Carl Sagan. That is all. (I ordered this book off PBS, by the way, and it‘s on its way arrived on Tuesday!)
Bend It Like Beckham is a great movie about sports and girls and race and how hot Beckham is, and it’s on HBO a couple times this week.
If you’ve never seen The Boondock Saints, tune in to IFC this week.

Finally, in honor of Earth Day, BBC America is running a marathon of Planet Earth all day on Saturday, so don’t miss it.

Now that you know what I’m watching and reading, tell me what you’re turning your rabbit ears toward! What’s worth reading and watching in the world this week?

Web Weekend #9

Hello again! Hope you’re all having a restful weekend. I’m busy as always but I managed to keep up this week. I’m sitting at 380 subscriptions, which is 11 less than last week, lol. See, I told you that I do unsubscribe every now and then!
Remember you can follow me on Pinterest for nearly-daily flailing and excitement. Now let’s get to the links!

Things to Buy or Make

Gardener’s Apron Fat Quarter Project (Sew Mama Sew)
Display case for rings (Tea Rose Home)
A sew-along for a cute halter top begins here! (Living with Punks)
Custom cross-stitched clock face (Instructables)
“Shining Star” earrings tutorial – I’m thinking of making a seven-pointed variant (Instructables)
Felt flower fairy wands – oh yes these are definitely going to happen (Wee Folk Art)
Envelope-backed pillow – a tutorial for novices (Under the Table and Dreaming)
Earrings made from old maps (Recyclart)
Chain Chomp earrings (CouldBeeYours on Etsy)

Ideas to Use

How to forage for and process nettles for consumption (Punk Domestics)
“Four Keys to Success for New Sellers” (Etsy Blog)
20 edible weeds (Curbly)
8 suggestions for easily greening your life (BlogHer)
Thoughts and suggestions on using a motorless (“reel”) mower. (Marian Dews-Hayes)
How to whistle through your fingers (Art of Manliness)

A lovely collection of teacups. (via Literate Knits)
If this is your image, please let me know - I couldn't find a solid source on it.

Food

Almond Pound Cake (Simple Organized Living)
DIY Queso Fresco (Punk Domestics)
Another cheese DIY: Mozzarella! (Punk Domestics)
Brownie Strawberry Shortcake (Glorious Treats)
Pizza. Grilled. Cheese. OMG. (Blogchef)
Grasshopper Smoothie – no insects involved (Good Girl Gone Green)
Easy Bread Bowls – from leftover dinner rolls (Lifehacker)
Ned Stark Cake Pops – horrifyingly delicious? (GOT: Cast a Large Shadow)
Five meals to serve even the most difficult dinner guest (The Kitchn)
Cheese Gougeres (The Kitchn)
DIY Citrus Salt (Lifehacker)

Articles and News

A rather sad infographic showing biodiversity in our foods. (Savvy Housekeeping)
Does the toxicity of nail polish concern you? Some brands have been mislabeled. (Birchbox)
Here’s a list of certified non-toxic (some even vegan!) lacquer brands, to ease your mind. (Blisstree)
Some thoughts on religion in the family. What are your thoughts? (BlogHer)
Questions about sweeteners. (BlogHer)
Amazing info-graphic/comic about the depths of lakes and oceans. It’s amazing how much we don’t know. (XKCD)
Do you have an opinion on religion and yoga? (Blisstree)
Teen pregnancy rates are super low. (Blisstree)

Outta my way, I'm shoppin'! (via Epic Ponyz)

Entertainment News

You’re invited to the wedding of Princess Cadance and Shining Armor! (EW PopWatch)
Speaking of weddings: Brad and Angelina are engaged now. (EW News Briefs)
This list of ten heartbreaking deaths in Doctor Who should fill your sadness quota for the day. (Anglophenia)
Here’s some information on that ebook price-fixing lawsuit. (Lifehacker)
And here’s some information about CISPA. (Lifehacker)
J.K. Rowling has announced the title and synopsis of her new book! (Anglophenia)
Hell’s Kitchen is renewed for 2 more seasons (after the upcoming summer season). (THR Live Feed)
I Know That Voice – a documentary featuring well-known voice actors – is coming soon! (io9)
Hunger Games on the ALA “Most Challenged Books” list: “proof positive that a book is worth reading.” (Jezebel)
This week in “well, DUH”: Game of Thrones has been renewed for a third season. (THR Live Feed)

Art

This cross-stitch project involves a destroyed dictionary and the lottery numbers. Fascinating. (Lauren Steeper)
A collection of illustrations of how animals form families (via The Mary Sue)
Spice must flow! Giant sandworms on a beach in Belgium (by Marco Casagrande, via io9)

Weekly Greatness:

Captain Yesterday and Clobberella take a break from crimefighting. (Photo by LJinto, via Fashionably Geek)
Just had to share this awesome LOTR-themed nail art. (The Nailasaurus)
Handmade TARDIS chocolate box (by Michelle Quinn, via Uniblog)
Absolutely hilarious caricature of Peeta. (Jojo at Remembered Heroes)

Let's have David with a kitty, like the cherry on top. (via Literate Knits)

Did you see anything cool around the internet this week? Is there a blog I should be reading? Share your own thoughts and links in the comments! Got an opinion or thought about anything here? Make sure to follow me (here, there, and everywhere) to get more updates!

April Birchbox

My second Birchbox is here! If you’d like to learn more or subscribe, click here! I’d be happy to answer any questions you have; just leave a comment. Now let’s get to the goods!

I have to admit to being a little disappointed this month. It felt a little bare, and while the products are all excellent, there wasn’t anything to get excited about. :-( Last month was *awesome* – you can read my reviews of those products here.

First up: Willa Lavender face towelettes. I don’t like one-time-use products because they feel so wasteful, so I’ve never tried anything like these. I liked this one, though, I have to say. The cloths are really soft. They’re a bit small, but big enough to get the job done. They smell nice, and not overbearingly so. The cleansing formula is gentle and refreshing; it’s damp, but not so much that you need to dry off afterwards. These would be just right for a quick cleanup when you can’t get to a bathroom, like on a picnic or at the beach. I’ll be keeping these in my purse for emergencies, but I don’t think I’ll buy any – I’m just fine with a washcloth.

Next up: a sample of a new fragrance by Taylor Swift called Wonderstruck. I don’t know about you, but one of these sample tubes is enough for several wearings for me. I’ll probably use it all up. Wonderstruck is pleasantly flowery. I’ll wear it on days when I’m feeling girly. :) I very well might purchase some of this scent.

This blurry picture is supposed to be showing you a .25 oz tin of J.R. Watkins Lavender Hand and Cuticle Salve. It’s very soft and smells like a handful of lavender. The scent lingers when you put it on, and I keep catching myself sniffing my hand. I felt an immediate difference in the softness of my skin (remember I have horrible dry skin). I already have several similar products, but when they run out, I’ll consider this one.

Another nail polish! This month, it’s Zoya Bevin from the True Spring Collection. I love Zoya polishes – they’re creamy and smooth, incredibly long lasting, and free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP and camphor. I think it’s actually vegan!

This particular color is a light blue-green. I’d describe it as “muted robin’s egg.” It’s a gorgeous color. After I took this picture, I layered mine with some black shatter polish by OPI and it’s really striking. I definitely recommend Zoya polish.

The final item this month is a “lifestyle extra” – Dropps Laundry Detergent. I use similar pod-type things for my dishwasher (and love them!), and I’ve been seeing commercials for this kind of product recently, so I was intrigued to find them in my Birchbox. There were two in the packet – I used one to wash my comforter and one on the sheets. Dropps are eco-friendly, super-convenient, easy to use, and will work in any washer. They’re fragrance and dye free also, which is great for sensitive skin. My linens (well, they’re actually cotton, but you know what I mean) came out quite clean, with no harsh scents. These would be a major help for those who wash at laundromats, or in apartment/dorm laundry rooms – no more lugging heavy bottles or boxes of soap around! I make my own laundry soap, though, and I own my own washer and dryer – so while I won’t be buying any, I’ll still highly recommend them.

That’s all for this month! Before I sign off, I want you to know that all the links in this post (except for the ones labelled “Zoya polishes” and “make my own laundry soap”) goes to Birchbox’s shop. The very first link, as well as this one right here, are my personal referrer links, and if you sign up with Birchbox from that link, I will earn Birchbox points. The Zoya link I pointed out goes to Zoya’s website. If you sign up for a free Zoya account from that link, you’ll receive an instant coupon for a free Zoya polish of your choice, and if you use it, I will get some Share the Love points.

Now that all the full disclosure is done, I bid you adieu. :)

Media Monday

This may or may not become a regular feature. Let me know what you think! This post is more-or-less an introduction to me and my idea here, so the regular feature will be a little different. Let’s discuss this!

Books

I am a voracious reader. I read quickly and I read often. I’m a re-reader also – I prefer to own books so I can read them again and again. I do love libraries, and go to mine often, but I like to be able to pick up a comfortable tome and return to its world. I’ve definitely been known to purchase books after borrowing them from a library.
I’m also a “cover chooser” – if I’ve got money to burn and a bookstore to lurk in (which I don’t anymore since Borders closed), I’ll find something with a cover that appeals to me. This usually doesn’t fail me – that’s how I’ve found several authors that I really like!
I’ve got a Kindle Fire, which is super nice. :) E-books are cheaper. Also I follow a blog that searches out free books and posts them, so I regularly add freebies to my library.

Soon, I’m hoping to post book reviews. :) I’ve been neck-deep in the world of Westeros (that’s A Song of Ice and Fire, or the books that Game of Thrones is based on) for quite a long time now. I’m near the end of the fourth book. The first 3 each got better and better, but I’ve gotta admit that I’m kinda slogging though this one. It’s not a flaw of the book so much as a flaw of epics – there’s always that part in the middle. The calm before the final storm, as it were.
I’m not “reviewing” these books yet because I need to re-read them before I’ll be prepared to do that. There’s just SO MUCH in them. Also I want to be able to go back and find all the foreshadowing. :)

I’m also going to take a page out of my friend Kyra‘s book and try out “Reviews of Books I Wouldn’t Normally Buy.” All those free books I get on my Kindle – some of them are just “hey that sounds cool” but definitely nothing I would have bought. Unknown authors, genres I’m not familiar with, etc. She did this recently, and I really liked it. Usually when you read a book review, the reviewer is a fan of the genre or the author so there’s a bit of bias. Her glowing review had even more impact since she was unfamiliar with it! So I’m gonna try to bring that feature here. I’m thinking a group of mini-reviews (many seem to be shorter works), supplemented by an occasional longer review in its own post.

Movies and TV

I’m a DVR addict. Each week, I scour our favorite channels to see what’s on and what’s good in the coming week. This week is a rather crummy one, not much good coming up.

Just for fun though, here’s a small selection of what I’m recording this week:
Repeaters:
Full Metal Jousting on History (Sunday evening) – JOUSTING. That is all.
Game of Thrones on HBO (Sunday evening) – of course!
Grimm on NBC (Friday evening) – this show started out weak but it’s greatly improved.
Last Man Standing on ABC (Tuesday evening) – also improving as it goes. Interesting to compare to Home Improvement (both starring Tim Allen).
Honorable mention – Once Upon a Time usually is on ABC on Sunday nights, but it doesn’t seem to be playing this week. Also, Doctor Who plays frequently on BBC America.

One-timers:
Ice Princess on ABC Family (Saturday afternoon) – shut up I love this movie.
Legion on FX (Wednesday evening) – Paul Bettany? Yes.
(Usually there are SO MANY movies, but I warned you – this is a crummy week.)

In future editions of this blog, if there are any, I’d like to share mini-reviews of episodes and movies. I’d also love to hear from you guys out there – what you’re watching, what I should think about watching, etc. I want to have conversations here!

Okay so now you know what I’m thinking – share your thoughts with me!

Web Weekend #8

Another week has flown by and here we are again! Happy Easter and Happy Passover to those of you who are celebrating this weekend, and Happy Springtime to all and sundry.
I climbed all the way to 391 subscriptions (where do they all come from?) this week. I actually do unsubscribe when a feed isn’t what I want, but I guess I need to lay off that subscribe button, haha.
Remember you can follow me on Pinterest for nearly-daily flailing and excitement. Now let’s get to the links!

MALFUNCTION (From Gallifreyan/Geek/Squad)

Things to Buy or Make

Tiered tray made from soda bottles! (Unconsumption)
Day of the Dead Owl (Threadhead)
Baroque Jacket (StitchPunk)
Amigurumi HEDGIE – have I mentioned how much I love Hedgehogs (Craft)
Beeswax Flower Mason Jar Candles (Craft)
Hardware store chain link bracelets (Centsational Girl)
Bird’s nest bed (Dornob)
DIY Peonies (Creature Comforts)
Beautiful flower crown (Song and Dance)
DIY Ombre sugar hearts (Erica Obrien)

Ideas to Use

Moss Graffiti – amazing! (Apartment Therapy)
Grapefruit-scented Vinegar for all your cleaning needs (Savvy Housekeeping)
Use Binchotan Coal for pretty filtered water (The Kitchn)
Free Plotbunnies, available for adoption (The Idea Bird)
DIY sinus-clearing shower tablets (Lifehacker)

Another Dalek. Why not. By autogeography on Etsy.

Food

Bootleg Bailey’s – yes please! (Instructables)
Cheddar Bay Biscuit recipe (Instructables)
Dandelion Sorbet omg (Curbly)
Weeknight Chicken Parm (Frugal by Choice)
Gluten-free Crepes (Creature Comforts)
Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake (Shiksa in the Kitchen)
Quick cupcake frosting! (Lifehacker)

Articles and News

How much does a baby really cost? (Savvy Housekeeping)
Let’s have a discussion about race in fantasy worlds. (io9)
What do you think about ghostwriting? And will you ever buy another James Patterson book? (GeekMom)
The 1940 census is now available online! (io9)
What’s worth getting at a dollar store? (Lifehacker)

OHANA. I want to hang this in my house. (from Literate Knits)

Entertainment News

A book about Westeros is coming out in October! (Topless Robot)

Art

Beautiful bookends by Knob Creek Metal Arts (via Colossal)
Gorgeous princess cosplay photos by Ryan Astamendi (via io9)
I love Omocat, and this little sketch of Groose never fails to make me smile. (Omocat)
Amazing Dune paintings by Mark Molnar (MoMarkMagic)
Also amazing: Game of Thrones portraits by Anja Dalisa (via io9)

Weekly Greatness:

Look I won something! Just wanted to brag. :) (Too Crewel)
Relax! Or you will be! Exterminated! (via Topless Robot)
Elijah Wood sitting in the Iron Throne. You’re welcome. (Epic Ponyz)

You know it's true. (from EpicPonyz)

Did you see anything cool around the internet this week? Is there a blog I should be reading? Share your own thoughts and links in the comments! Got an opinion or thought about anything here? Make sure to follow me (here, there, and everywhere) to get more updates!

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