How to Make a DIY Frame Loom


After testing out my weaving skills on a simple frame/lap loom made from a picture frame (see it here!), I have taken things to the next level by putting together a larger loom. Initially I looked online for a lap loom kit to purchase, but they were all super expensive! So I went down to the hardware store and for $9.80 I made my own. It may not be the prettiest thing, but it will do the job better than the picture frame.

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CULT: Black Box #9


My October Black Box just arrived and was a complete surprise this month as there doesn’t seem to be any information online about what to expect – up to this point there have been previews and posts on the website about the black boxes, but this month there was nothing. In fact, there is still nothing on the website about the October black box at all… the website seems to be sliding a bit in general. The Magazine section boasts “Seven fashionable posts every day” but in actuality hasn’t been updated since July 31st. They also seem to have removed reference to the Black Box entirely, and are focusing on nail art kits by artists off Instagram. To find any of the recent Black Boxes you have to look under the “Lips” category, which doesn’t even make sense.

And that brings me to the box itself… they really phoned this one in, you guys. Included in the box was 2 polishes, Hollywood Bowl, a silver glitter top coat and Los Feliz, a deep magenta which would be great except I already got this polish in the America’s Sweetheart box back in February. Also included was a CULT “Turn Me On” lipstick in MUSE – which was featured in the Be My Muse box in June, and the same purple hairbands from the Purple Please box from May. The best thing about this box was the HURRAW! Lip Balm, but unfortunately I already bought this exact flavour earlier this year! It was a pretty big bummer to get a box that was obviously filled with things they had left around the warehouse, and not with something fun and Halloween themed. Geez. The paper was orange, why not get some spooky nail decals or print a card up for a Halloween nail design tutorial?

After 9 months of Black Boxes and quite a bit of money spent, I’m throwing in the towel on the subscription. I would still buy polishes from the site and I still love the fact that they are cruelty free, I just don’t think I need to buy $30 worth of nail polish every month.. especially if they are products I already have, ya know? Anyone else get the October Black Box and find themselves disappointed?

ETA: I Found the name of the box on my invoice, “On The Edge” and googling it turned up a page on the Cult website. Here it is!

Book Review: Hard Choices

hardchoicesRead for: My general interest in Hilldog


I’ll start this off by saying I’m not American. Nor do I really care about American politics beyond the fact that sometimes what they do has repercussions for my country (Canader, eh?), but I have always been intrigued by Hillary. She has really broken into the boys club that is American politics and policy makers, and has worked hard to bring otherwise ignored issues like women’s rights into the foreground. For this, I think Hillary is great. Do I think this memoir was great? Not particularly, but we can probably blame that on the fact that I wasn’t sure what to expect. I realize when a politician writes a memoir it’s going to be about politics and not their personal lives, which I appreciate in Hillary’s case because we are all sick of mocking her private and personal struggles, oui? But I didn’t realize just how much about politics it would be. The memoir basically covers Hilldog’s defeat during the 2008 presidential run and how, instead of returning to New York as she had anticipated, her rival Obama invited her to be his Secretary of State. She accepted and became the first former First Lady to become Secretary of State, and only the 3rd woman in history to hold the position. She was preceded by Condoleezza Rice, who was also the first African American woman to hold the position. Interestingly, Madeliene Albright, who was the first woman to be Secretary of State, was nominated by Bill Clinton. Those progressive Clintons!

Hillary is a very educated, intelligent and patriotic woman, all of which is very obvious in this memoir which largely outlines her experiences during her term as Secretary of State. I’m very interested in Hillary’s stance on empowering women everywhere, whether it be closing the wage gap, or encouraging access to education for girls. I was hoping for more of this topic in Hard Choices, but Hillary covered a very, very wide range of topics instead, including women’s rights, but also about a bazillion other world issues. These are all intriguing topics in their own right, and Hillary’s knowledge of the world and all minor and major issues within it is certainly expansive, but… come on… it was at times pretty friggin’ boring. It was also incredibly RAH RAH AMERICAH and I can’t necessarily take joy in reading about the various things America has done in/to our world. Sorry Hilldog!! That being said, I still find Hillary fascinating and I would fully support her during her potential run for President in 2016. A WOMAN FOR PRESIDENT DOOOO IT. It’s time! Unfortunately I am up north in Harperville (sigh) and don’t get a say in Hillary for President.

Book Review: Cyteen (#1-3)

CyteenRead for: FemSciFiFans August ’14 Group Selection

Rating: 4/5

This is my first experience with Cherryh, and while I can see why people describe her work as “dry”, I did enjoy this trilogy. Ariane Emory is the crazy smart female protagonist, though we only just get to know her when she dies and then we learn all about Ariane from the beginning again as her clone is groomed into the “new” Ariane. It’s an interesting concept, creating a type of immortality for Ariane in having her live her life over and over again in one form or another. The “new” Ariane does have some differences from her predecessor, though her guardians have tried their damnedest to replicate Ariane’s life by controlling the environment of the new Ariane and attempting to recreate the same events that the first Ariane experienced so the second Ariane will develop into the same person, or as close to as possible. Whoosh.

This was a very subtle feminist science fiction in that the message of feminism wasn’t obvious in any way, you had to look for it and interpret it yourself. The things about this novel that made it “feminist” to me were that Ariane was a strong political figure, and also that her gender was never mentioned as a negative or a draw back in any way. In fact, gender in general wasn’t presented in any specific way; the characters were all equal (both in terms of gender and in sexuality) and that was just the way life was. No controversy over Ariane being a woman who held a tremendous amount of power, and no disparaging comments or anything of the sort related to being female. I found this a very appealing concept. As for Ariane as a character, I thought she was strongly developed and very intelligent – which obviously threatened others but not because she was a smart woman, rather just because she was a smart and also dangerous human being. The treatment of Justin’s same sex relationship was also interesting, the controversy not being that he was partnered with a man but that he was partnered with someone who was considered to be a lower class that he was. I thought it was great that the same sex relationship was included without being forced and without becoming an element in the spotlight. The story revolved around the relationship in a way that made it feel natural, and I prefer when same sex relationships are presented this way rather than in a HEY HEY LOOK AT THIS type of way.

The ending I found pretty ambiguous. Things just sort of ended… I learned after the fact that Cherryh returned to Cyteen 20 years later and wrote a fourth installment, which is on my to-read pile. I’m very curious to see how she went back and explained (or didn’t!) the things that were left unsaid. Overall a great science fiction story on cloning and human ethics.

Learning to Weave


It’s getting cooler around here, which means less time in the garden and more time curled up in a blanket on the couch. I still have some knitting projects to finish (like the 3 year cabled lake sweater) but I also thought I would learn something new this year. I’ve decided to try out weaving. I almost bought a loom the other day but instead thought it made more sense to see if I even liked weaving before making any big purchases… using an old picture frame I put together a table/frame loom and whipped up a practice piece.


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Making Apple Butter Takes Forever


So we had a lot of apples this year. We could have had so many more, even, but I cut myself off at 28 jars of apple sauce, 12 jars of candied-pickled apple slices and an apple pie. And we still had 10 lbs of mcintosh apples hanging around from our own two trees… one of the only apple recipes left over to try in our new canning book Canning for a New Generation (amazing, btw) was for spiced apple butter. So what the hey, I gave it a shot!


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