Saturday, January 31, 2009

Little bags

After I closed my bag business, I had tons of fabric left over. I wondered what to do with it, as I'm not one for stashes. I'd rather not have a bunch of stuff sitting around.

Then I read about a sewing guild that distributes little bags to foster children. It's a bag of their own to carry their few possessions around as they get shuffled from home to home. For some reason, I really have a soft spot for foster children, even though I have never even known one. It's all just so sad.

I hope these little bags brighten somebody's day.

Diddy bags

Friday, January 30, 2009

Little sprouts

I did it! I grew something from seeds! My herb garden has sprouted -- all of the plants. They are tiny -- the last one to sprout is nearly invisible to the naked eye.


The oregano needs a close-up to be able to see it at all. It's kind of in the dark spot, one tiny little green dot:


By the way, on an unrelated note, when playing 20 Questions, "oregano" is a word that really makes the other person mad. I guess it's too random.


I started my quilting class Thursday and I think I'm really going to enjoy this. We learned to use our rotary cutters and the importance of preciseness. We will be making pot holders first, then move on to a few place mats and finally a table runner. Here is a pile of fabric for my place mats. I'll be making kitty mats for my cats' dishes. They are piggies when they eat.


I really like the cat fabrics, but I really couldn't figure a reason to use them. This will work out nicely.


I have another garment on my to-do list. It's McCall's 5803, the ruffled sleeveless top. I had already fallen in love with this daisy/Eiffel tower fabric, so I decided that's what I would use. Now I just need some time to sew.



Thursday, January 29, 2009

Not F.A.Q.

Oh, man. What a dorkamabus. I just noticed this has been on my blog as "F.Q.A." instead of "F.A.Q." I have fixed it. Now on with the post...

I see frequently asked questions on other blogs. I guess those blogs have readers and stuff. Nobody asks me any questions, but that won't stop me from providing answers.

1. What kind of sewing machine do you use?
I use a Kenmore 385 something or other, and I love it. I also have a Brother serger that I am not too familiar with. Threading it is scary, so I try to be very nice to it.

sewing room

2. What is your studio like?

My studio is a folding table shoved into a tiny space. I do have a window, and I have plans to have a carpenter that we used before come and build me a compact corner sewing station with hutch. I drew a picture, but, well, good thing I'm not an architect or something. Dimensions and scale are not my forte.

sewing room

sewing roomorganize,sewing room

3. What kind of camera do you use?
I know what you're really asking: "How do you take such crappy pictures?" I use whatever point and shoot piece of junk that's on sale at Costco whenever my previous camera breaks. Right now it's a Panasonic DMC-TZ4. It's got a fabulous all-or-nothing flash that either over or under exposes every picture I take. I cannot do those artsy pictures that focus on particular thing. I just get what it gives me. I'm a terrible photographer.

4. As a New Mexican, do you pronounce "seven" as "saven" and "eleven" and "elaven" (with the "a" as in "apple")?

I do not. I make fun of people who do, though. I have heard outsiders say that New Mexicans have a certain accent. This is very disconcerting to me, as it cannot be a good thing.

5. What crafts do you do, and how did you get started in them?

Most of my life, I could have cared less about arts and/or crafts. Then, weeks before my 30th birthday, I had a sudden hankering to sew. I got everyone to pitch in on a sewing machine and I taught myself. I was immediately obsessed.
I have also studied a bit of fashion design at the Santa Fe Community College. It was just for the learning experience.
I took up knitting a few years ago, again, self-taught. I love knitting. I also learned how to dye and spin yarn, but I'm not as excited about those hobbies.
I am now a quilter, as well. Here is my first quilt, for my mother-in-law:


6. Why should I read your blog?
You shouldn't, probably. It's really not that interesting. I'm really excited that there are a few people who do bother to read it regularly.

7. Your blog is called "Additional Jesus." Are you a religious nut?
No. I am not religious at all. But for some reason the term "the baby Jesus" always gets me giggling. If you want to know where my blog got its name, click here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I've written lately how I'm taking on a whole new outlook on food. I'm eating healthier and cooking more. I'm preparing things from scratch because I think I can save money and also to know what I'm putting into my food. That means fewer preservatives and less-processed food.

One site I've found to be immensely helpful is My favorite thing about it is that you can adjust the serving size and the site computes all the amounts for you. Since I usually just cook for myself due to eating and schedule differences with my husband, this comes in really handy. That way, I don't have to eat the same thing for 4 days straight.

This feature especially came in handy for a Greek dressing recipe from a restaurant that made gallons of the stuff!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Little differences

I had a sloppy spice rack with a wide array of containers/brands. It was nothing I spent much time thinking about, until I found these little jars and labels. Now it looks much nicer, and I can see how much I have of everything. Also, I plan to buy small amounts of spices in the bulk section of the Sunflower Market or Whole Foods from now on, so these are nice and easy to refill.

I discovered how much I am disgusted by curry when I had to transfer it from one container to another. I almost got sick. I had to spray Lysol. I just can't stand the smell, and I think I avoid foods with curry. The smell stuck with me all day, turning my stomach. Coincidentally, it was my friend's birthday and she invited me to an Indian restaurant that same evening. I had already eaten, but I wanted to give her a gift. I had a hard time smelling all that curry in the restaurant.




My herb garden is not coming along so well. No sprouting at all. I guess I'll have to wait until spring and get them started outdoors in the sun.



I've been on a fix-up and clean spree lately. Scrubbing grout, getting ready to steam clean some of the carpet. Like where my cat threw up today and created a horrible stain that won't come out. I cleaned my oven yesterday, too. I tried to vacuum the stairs, but the vacuum overheated on me.


My quilting class starts next week! I'm excited, but I also really want to get started on a personal sewing project. I've been quite inspired by Erica B.'s blog. She sews so much and her clothes look like she shops at a high-end boutique. I figured what I needed to get me going was a specific project, so I bought this pattern and fabric.

It's Vogue 1086


I also finally completed the first sleeve for my Soldier's Sweater. This project is taking me forever to finish. One more sleeve and the front band to go.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Those crazy nutrients

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I am vitamin D deficient. My doctor gave me high-dose, 50,000 IU vitamin D pills to take once a week for 15 weeks.

I was researching some of the symptoms and causes of this deficiency, and most of them didn't apply to me. But the one that caught my eye was "headaches and migraines." I get lots of headaches, and I get them for many reasons. But I realized that since I began taking the prescription vitamin D, I haven't had any headaches at all. I've felt much better in that regard. I still am bound to get tension headaches from my neck problems and hormonal headaches, but one less cause is something to celebrate.

Vitamin D

A magic little green pill

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This one's for you, Mom

My poor mom. She's been trying for years to get me and my brother to eat healthier food. I've resisted every step of the way.

But, now I'm older and more mature, right? And lately I've just been so uninspired by frozen meals and my bland cooking. I've taken it upon myself to learn to cook, which isn't hard at all if you have a recipe. I just don't really have the skills to make up my own.

The result is that I have more interesting choices and I can control what goes into my food. That means less processed junk, even in things that seem like they'd be good for you.

A few things I've been focusing on:

1. (My mom will love this!) Adding flax seeds/ground flax to foods. It has a yummy, nutty taste and only it makes it better for you. It can be as simple as stirring it into humus or sprinkling it onto my bagel with cream cheese.

2. Eating fresh vegetables, not canned.

I'm also ready to start eating some things I've flat-out refused to eat for my entire life.

1. Cucumbers. I've never liked the taste of them. I like the smell, and I want to like them, but I don't. I suddenly feel like maybe I will be able to start liking them, and I'm giving it another shot. This sounds odd, but I did the same thing with watermelon. I hated the taste, but wanted to like it. After years of trying it periodically, I suddenly developed a taste for it.

2. Raisins. Don't know what my problem is with these. Those little boxes of raisins look delicious. I've always refused to eat them. The other day I ate a salad with raisins. I can't say I loved them, but I ate some.

3. Beans. I will only eat green beans, but not other kinds. People don't understand how I live in N.M. and don't eat beans, as New Mexican fare is centered around them. I guess I manage to avoid them -- N.M. food is fattening and I don't eat it all the time anyway. I was thinking I could start with this Bean and Bacon soup my mom used to give us. It was the only way I'd eat beans, but I don't see it at the store anymore.

Things I used to refuse to touch, but now I love:
Hummus. Avocado/guacamole. Nuts.

Today's lunch was a buffalo burger on wheat bun with dijon mustard and greens, served with organic sea salt and olive oil oven-baked fries.

Dinner will be homemade hummus with wheat flatbread and a Greek salad with homemade dressing.

A one-day scarf in just 45 days!

I finally finished my Liesel scarf. The pattern says it can be made in less than a day, but I think this only possible if you are Miriam Tegels, the fastest knitter in the world. I look like a snail next to her. No worries. I think that knitting should be about the pleasure and relaxation, and not about winning some sort of scarf marathon.

The Liesel scarf, pattern available here, is a lovely lace pattern. It looks great with a lighter-colored yarn. I used black, and it's very hard to see the pattern. It's easy to always go for the beautiful, colorful yarns, but all in all, a person often wishes for a simple black scarf when getting ready to leave the house.

knitting, scarvesknitting, scarves

From the original creator, so you can see the pattern better:

knitting, scarves

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A working sink -- no thanks to me!

I wrote in the post below about my dripping kitchen sink. My attempt to fix it was sort of like using a lawnmower to take the thorns off a rose. In the end I had a disassembled and unusable sink.

As usual, we ran to our neighbor, Ronnie. He is trained in plumbing, but he's also a chef who reached quite a high culinary level while training in Europe. Pretty cool, huh?

In the end, I had decided to replace my faucet. My old one was dripping, and I guess that is fixable, but I had already screwed that up, plus the faucet was extremely basic and a decade old. As I tried to remove the old faucet, I came to a step I couldn't get past: a very rusty bolt. Ronnie said that nobody could remove that bolt the normal way; water had gotten in that way and corroded it badly. He had to cut it off. Then he very kindly installed my new faucet. Of course we paid him.

I've never been so happy to be able to wash dishes.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Robyn fixes disassembles the kitchen sink

CHALLENGE: dripping kitchen sink
ROBYN'S SOLUTION: probably just a washer or something in the aerator part on the tip of the faucet. Easy!
HOME DEPOT GUY'S SOLUTION: No, if it's dripping, it's the cartridge. You need to take the cartridge out of the faucet and bring it in so we can find the right one.

Oh, dear. This is a bit more complicated than I thought, but I have the Internet, right? I research the job and find that it's very simple. I also come across a video on how to completely change the faucet. This will come into play later.

Step 1: Take a shower, do your hair and makeup, and put on good clothes and jewelry.

Step 2: Approach the sink and show no fear.


((sink's view -- I think it can smell the fear))


How the hell do you even start? I pry off this top thingy.


I quickly realize that every picture of this project will reveal shameful griminess.

Next: Get tool kit. My husband had a few screwdrivers and hammers lying around. Good thing my dad gave me this trusty tool kit some years ago. I love it and have always taken special care to return all tools to their proper places so they are always there when I need them.


Crap! Where are all the damn tools? I'm sure I can blame this on my husband, who is not organized like I am. Then again, I have never seen him use a tool.


I know I need an Allen wrench, or at least I think that's what these are called. Of course, the size I need is not on here. But I find I have little loose interchangeable parts, and one of them fits.


Next, I need a Philips screwdriver, but naturally, the faucet company would not want to use one that is of average size. Never fear, I have an interchangeable one that fits! Thanks, Dad!


From here, I decide to just keep taking pieces off until I see something that says "cartridge" to me.


At this point, nothing more will budge. I pull and pull and twist and turn. I shred the metal with pliers. I'm not sure what to do. I'm sort of amazed that I made such a mess just to fix a drip. I decide to go to Home Depot and look at cartridges, thinking maybe I can figure something out by seeing what they look like.

But first, I need a hamburger. I think I deserve one, and the Flying Star will do just nicely. I enjoy most of my burger, then get up to get a drink refill. By the time I return, my table has been cleared. They kindly replace my meal.

I go to Home Depot and realize that cartridges vary widely and this trip is of no help. Suddenly, replacing the entire faucet seems so much easier. I mean, ours is a decade old and very basic. Maybe it would spruce up our kitchen a bit. You know what else would spruce it up? A new $220 black sink. One thing at a time.

And, dang! Did you realize kitchen faucets are really expensive? The one I picked was $120, and that was on the cheap end.


Now, I've got to get involved with the area under the sink. I clear out all the stuff and am appalled by the filth. Why don't I ever think to clean under there? I guess because there are better things to do.


Spray-spray, wipe-wipe.

There! Good as new! This will come in handy later when we are trying to lie down in there. Or Mark did, anyway. The idea of rust chips falling in my eyes and mouth didn't appeal much to me.


So, I watch a video and figure out how to disconnect the water source and the hot/cold tubes. That's easy. But my sink is not like the ones in the pictures and videos online. It's held on not by two bolts to the sides of the pipes, but apparently by one bolt that connects the spray hose and is located within centimeters of the hot/cold pipes, which are not rubbery at this area, but copper and don't want to make way for the wrench. I did buy a basin wrench, which helped in the space. I get it where I want it, but I can't budge it. So I get my not-so-handy-but-stronger-than-me husband and show him what bolt I'm going for and he gets under there and tries with all his might. He yells like those big guys at the gym when they are putting all their might into something. Then he complains he hurt his voice. But it's rusty and will not budge.


By this point, I had already gotten off the metal plate of the faucet, but not the part underneath. I discovered this nasty mess, though I'm starting to believe it's plumber's putty and not that I'm a disgusting, filthy, non-cleaning pig. If there's one thing I do clean it's my kitchen.


So that's what I'm left with. A gross, disassembled kitchen sink. My husband has already gone running to Ronnie, the neighbor who is a plumber, but he wasn't home. I hope he can come and help us very soon.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Photosynthesis, baby, photosynthesis

I have decided to plant an indoor herb garden. I have been cooking more, and I thought it would be nice to just grab a leaf or two when I need something rather than going to the store and buying a package that has way too much of whatever I need.

The thing is, I have never grown anything from seeds before. I planted them and placed them in my kitchen windows, behind the sink. I hope that in the mornings, they will get lots of sun, but I don't really see much of mornings with my sleep schedule, so I can't be sure.


I also decided to replant a few other house plants so they will have fresh soil. I tend to neglect my plants a little. Suddenly, I remembered a plant I had stuck on top of the kitchen cabinets when I painted months ago. It's the long droopy one in the middle below. I felt so sorry for it. Actually, I felt like the time my brother had a hamster named Tiny Elvis and he forgot about it. He had put its cage in a back room because it was noisy at night. One afternoon, we were snacking in the kitchen and he looked up with big eyes and said, "OH NO! Tiny Elvis!!!" We ran into the back room, expecting the worst. Tiny Elvis had busted out. Oh my God. It makes me sick to think of him suffering in there -- and it was not my fault. He was my brother's pet and I had no idea he was being neglected. I still dream that he is living in a palace inside the walls of that house. OK, actually, that house was torn down. Anyway, never saw him again. I guess a plant is a little different, but I still see them as having feelings. I can never discard a plant until it's completely dead. One green leaf, and it stays.



I have been really busy lately, but I can't really say what I've been doing. I haven't been sewing much. I have been knitting, but not completing much. I'm almost done with my Liesel scarf, which is taking an eternity despite the pattern saying it can be completed in less than a day. I'm still working on my Soldier's Sweater from "Runway Knits." I'm halfway done with sleeve No. 1. Then I do sleeve 2 and sew them on. Then I just have to knit a band all the way around the front and neck. I'll be glad to get that one done.

Here is something nobody else will appreciate. A tin of buttons. When I was a kid, my mom had a jar of buttons in the sewing room, and I loved it. So I had a jar of buttons when I grew up. I save all the extra buttons that come with clothes. The other day, I put them in this tin. Now they are even more appealing to me. I can see and touch them better.



I found out I am extremely vitamin D deficient. My doctor gave me super strength vitamin D pills to take once a week for 15 weeks. I can't understand how a fair-skinned person living in one of the sunniest places on earth can become vitamin D deficient. I need to get outside more, but it's cold, and so when I do I'm pretty much completely covered except for the face. Waiting impatiently for spring.


I got myself this handy and cute little key ring crochet hook from 5elementknitr on Etsy. You know, you take your knitting with you some place and then drop a stitch and don't have a crochet hook to fix it. NIGHTMARE. But with this, you'll always have one on hand.

Crochet hook


I wish I could find a way to learn about photography -- just enough to take decent pictures for my blog. I'm afraid that any class I find will expect me to have some fancy expensive camera. I'd just like to know how to work better with my not-so-fancy camera. My pictures are badly framed and lighted. My camera seems to have two options: no flash or extremely bright flash. Any ideas?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Watch Miss America -- you know you want to

Guess what? I know Miss New Mexico. She's a really sweet and beautiful woman named Christina Olmi. Guess what else? Being Miss New Mexico means you get to compete in Miss America! And Miss America is this month.

Christina Olmi, Miss New Mexico 2008

Tune in to see her compete and to root for her on Sunday, Jan. 24 on TLC (I think).

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Who's an almost-birthday girl? Me!

You see, I want this item for my birthday, and I am hoping that someone in my family sees this gigantic hint and buys it for me.

It's a butter crock -- a magical way to keep your butter out of the fridge, and therefore soft and spreadable at all times. And this is the cutest one I can find.

Butter crock

It's available at sierraclayart on I used the shop's photo.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

So close, yet so far

I have finished my Bittersweet Teak Gauntlets from "Boutique Knits." They would be perfect IF I JUST HAD TWO LEFT HANDS.

That's right. I am truly a complete dumbass. I spent all this time knitting them, and forgot to consider that the instructions for the right hand would be reversed. How this never crossed my mind until I was attaching the second band is beyond me. It was one of those moments where go into a complete panic and want to cry, but can't because you're so far beyond that that crying is impossible.

Usually, I am so upset over a big mistake that it takes a day or two to feel like I can come back to it and do something about it. This time, I sucked it up very quickly and decided that the only option is to order more yarn and make two right hands. Then I will give one pair away as a gift to someone. I am not looking forward to starting all over, but otherwise this entire pair is worthless.

And I suppose that if I were born with two left hands, I couldn't write very well and people would look at me funny.

Well, here is one of the finished ones, and I love how it came out:


And with its all-too-identical mate:



I realized that my solution above was also quite stupid. Someone pointed out that perhaps I could just rip my second mitt and redo it. I then realized that I would only have to go down to the start of the colorwork, because that's where the instructions change. I did that and am on my way to finishing them.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Goodbye, Christmas

Today I collected all the Christmas decorations and put them in one place for easier packing. This excludes the tree and the village. It makes Mark very sad because he loves Christmas very, very much. This looks like Christmas death and mayhem, which makes me laugh evil-y. Bwa-ha-ha, Mark. Christmas is gone ... GONE!


I spent hours and hours in the garage (with a space heater) trying to pack and carefully arrange the Christmas boxes. We had cleared out some stuff, like an old bed, that had been in the back of the garage with that stuff, but somehow everything had sort of spread out to take over the space. I moved lots of boxes around. Mark eventually helped, but he keeps saying he's working on a story for work. I think it looks more like he's watching football, but what-evs. Just gives me a chance to sneak some of his hideous holiday faves into the trash bin.


Sometimes it's hard to get things done on the computer when I have to contend with this:


She also tries her darnedest to lick my hands and face and drools all over the keyboard. As a matter of fact, I just had to get a tissue and sop up the drool puddles on the "i" and "n" keys.