things i want to talk about

1.) My hair looked great when I got up this morning. Not different than usual, but it was looking good. I get my hair cut every four weeks. When you keep it short, you have to keep it short, so that means frequent visits to your hairdresser/stylist. It’s my one vanity thing. I don’t get manicures or massages or eyebrow waxes. The guy that cuts my hair doesn’t even wash it anymore. I just plunk down in the chair, he cleans it up, and off I go! About two haircuts ago, I decided I wanted to try something different. Let’s grown it out on the sides instead of cutting my ears out. We tried that for about two months, but it never really settled in. I called it the “Jim Trafficant” (if you don’t know who that is, go look him up). The hair on the sides when straight down, while the hair on top got tall and poofy. It did not work. When I got it cut in January, we went back to my old standby: shorty all around, long on top. It works, so I think we’ll just stick with that for now.

2.) This is the year I keep up with my bookkeeping. I probably say that EVERY YEAR, but this time I mean it. Even though the data entry isn’t that time consuming — especially after I figured out that doing a single receipt per day with the item totals rather than an individual receipt for each transaction — putting it off buries me with unnecessary stress. I can’t remember why I sold a thing in February 2015 when I’m inputting receipts in January 2016. If I keep up with it, things will be fresh in my mind and maybe everything will make more sense. Today is the day I start on my new journey. The first of the month will be DATA ENTRY DAY.

3.) Sewing things! Last year around this time I decided that I would claim sewing as my hobby. Spinning, dyeing, and knitting has gone the way of job, so I needed something that was just for me. I spent the year collecting patterns and modern fabrics, making something now a then, primarily dresses. Around Christmas I picked up a few new sewing pattern books by Japanese designers. I love how simple the clothes are – no zippers, no knits. Just straight forward linen with a button here and there. I’ve made a few dresses so far, mostly “shapeless bag dresses”, as I call them. On Friday I made my first piece that was NOT a shapeless bag dress. It was a boatneck top. The entire time I was working on it, I was convinced it would be too small. I had the pieces on the dressform and it just didn’t seem like it would work. But, as I tend to do with most things, I didn’t let that stop me. When it was all done I put it on. It went on! And it fit! Really well! A surprising success.

4.) Saturday I went shopping with my husband to look at food processors. When we got married six years ago, I got one then at the suggestion of my mother. It wasn’t anything too fancy since I had no idea that I even “needed” it. But now that I’ve been using it regularly, I could say more confidently what I did want. In preparation, I had watched some videos on YouTube and read reviews. In my mind I had settled on a Cuisinart, but when I saw it in person and struggled fruitlessly to remove the bowl from the base and the lid from the bowl, we both decided to consider another option.

cashew butterThat’s when we ran into the Breville Sous Chef. Sleek! Easy to use! A lot more money than the Cuisinart! But I could see this thing sitting on my kitchen counter getting used a lot. So we went over to Bed Bath & Beyond (20% off coupon) to see if they had it. Yes, but just one! “You better keep your hand on that,” husband says. I didn’t think there was going to be any kind of battle over it and they probably had another in the back, but I kept my hand on it just in case. We decided pretty quickly to get it. In addition to the coupon, I also had one of those Visa gift cards floating around in my purse from two Christmases ago, so we used that too. Gift card + coupon = paying half the sticker price. Weee!

Unfortunately I couldn’t use it right away when we got home. Dinner from the night before was still lingering in the kitchen, so after cleaning up, I tested out the new appliance with a batch of hummus. Whoa! It was nice. And all the things I didn’t like about my old processor had suddenly disappeared. Sigh of relief. I also made cashew butter and cracker dough and sliced cheese and sausage. It was very satisfying. The slicing blade has 24 different thickness options!!!! WHAT?! My old processor had ONE. I want to go use it right now.


You may have noticed things here weren’t quite right for a week or two. We are back up, but all my posts from the month of June were obliterated! Sigh. I suppose it’s not too much of a heartbreak, since I only wrote about five entries. Sadly all my wit and humor is gone for good, but the photos are still available, so here is a little recap of the month:

  • The family went on a fishing trip on Lake Erie. I hadn’t been in a boat for many years and it didn’t entirely agree with me. We did catch quite a few fish, so at least it wasn’t totally pointless.

We caught all these fish!

  • We helped run a Medieval Festival at the Christ Episcopal Church in Warren, OH. Rich and I stayed on site all weekend in our spectacular pavilion.

Ready for Medieval Festival tomorrow! #campout

  • To get ready for Woolfest I spent several days with my new drumcarder, a heap of multicolored fibers, and a marathon of superhero movies.

Carding with Captain America.

  • The new batts came out really great – thicker and more evenly carded.


New batts

  • Rich and I went to Woolfest at the end of the month. It was really fun and I wore one of my new dresses. Summer of dresses is happening!

Here I am at Woolfest. #fibershow

  • We walked around the beautiful Farmpark before the show started on Saturday and took a few pictures including this one of Rich in the arbor tunnel.


crazy sprout lady*

Not sure where it all began. I think it goes back to my desire to graze. And my obsession with watching and poking at things. And my desperate need to grow something edible. And the fact that Jimmy Johns stopped putting sprouts on their sandwiches. And my desire to try new things that are actually old things. And my love of collecting kitchen gadgets.

Last November, after reading through several 70s era health cookbooks from my mom’s extensive collection, I decided to give sprouting a try. Every book suggested beginning with mung beans. I wasn’t so sure about that as my only experience with mung beans had been a scene from The Office.

Michael Scott: “Okay. Ryan, you told Toby that Creed has a distinct old man smell?”
Creed: “I know exactly what he’s talking about. I sprout mung beans on a damp paper towel in my desk drawer. Very nutritious, but they smell like death.”

Even though I was somewhat hesitant, I decided to give it a go anyway. The first batch went smoothly. With nothing but a mason jar, a bit of cheese cloth, and a rubber band — and regular rinsing and draining — I had a nice batch of bean sprouts several days later. It was fun! I got to watch something grow! No dirt required! But I didn’t know what to do with them, so we just ate them raw and put some on a salad. Oh, and they didn’t smell bad at all.

sproutsSprouting mung beans. November 4, 2012

Skip over several months in the winter while the passage of time flew by in hyper speed and I forgot how fun sprouting could be… It’s April! Two weeks ago I found my enthusiasm renewed and I started another batch of mung beans. Misreading the instructions that said to distribute 2 tablespoons soaked beans among several jars, I put 3 tablespoons each (two didn’t seem like enough) in two jars. FYI, as they started to grow, I had to bring in a third jar. I ended up with a good amount of bean sprouts and I didn’t want to just leave them to rot, so I made a fancy stir-fry. The bulk of it was carrots and green beans, and I did the sprouts separately in just a bit of soy sauce. Overall it was awesome! I was so proud of myself.

Fresh mung bean sprouts lightly stir fried.Stir-fried mung bean sprouts. April 7, 2013

This success gave me just enough encouragement to move on to something a bit more challenging: alfalfa sprouts. I had bought some seeds when I first got the beans, but wanted to wait until I was a little more experienced. Apparently I determined I was ready. I used the same jar/cheese cloth method, although I noticed there were seeds that didn’t sprout. It seemed like it took a while for them to start growing, but once they did, it went pretty quick. They filled the jar! And then we happily ate them on cheeseburgers.

The beginnings of alfalfa sprouts.April 11, 2013

Alfalfa sprouts: a continuing storyApril 14, 2013

The end of the road for these sprouts.April 15, 2013

After getting a feel for it and wanting more, I went hunting online for equipment, books, resources and found plenty. One really great website I came across is Sprout People. They have great product reviews, tons of things to sprout, and informative videos. I watched many of them before I embarked on the alfalfa. I ordered a few items and now eagerly await their arrival. More on that in the future.

* as determined by Ana Brito ^.~


Last week I took a photo of myself using my new found friend, Instagram. It was just a shot of the “morning hair” that resides on top of my head. I found it quite amusing, so I decided to take a picture of my hair each day following. I don’t know what it looks like until I take the picture, since we don’t have a mirror over the bathroom sink. It’s like one of those artsy “photo-a-day” projects.

Here are the first six days.

morninghair collection

You can follow my progress via Instagram (gwenebrown) or Twitter (@gwenerin).

year in review: part 1

Last year I did a photographic review of the year’s happenings. I can be weirdly nostalgic about certain things, so I wouldn’t mind the excuse to look through photos from the year gone by. Plus Flickr has a nice calendar function that makes it too easy to pass up the opportunity. I will try to select the two best photos for each month. One will be fiber-related and one will not be, when possible.


three bags full

cookie jar


festival booth

sun cat



wool room 01


sophisticuffs with buttons

stitch markers


GLFS Booth



poplar wool picker

stuffed peppers

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming tomorrow!

a dash of holiday spirit

We finally put our Christmas tree up last night. And I tossed a fun vintage cloth on the table. Rich found a wreath in the box with the tree, so I put that on the table too. We usually don’t wait this late, but I just haven’t been feeling much enthusiasm for the season. My cookies are progressively getting weirder and less appetizing. Plus I’ve now got myself a full strength cold. Olive seems to like sitting under the tree, so at least someone is enjoying it.

christmas tree

dining table



election day, making batts, getting organized

For some reason I feel obligated to mention the obvious: today is Election Day. I am so glad that the ads will finally shut up! And whatever happens, we just have to move forward. I live in Ohio, which is a big deal apparently. We live in a smallish town, so I am not expecting outrageous lines, but I may bring a knitting project just in case. In the end it feels somewhat futile, as Husband and I will cancel each other out with our votes.

Once I get that taken care of this morning, I fully intend to spend the day MAKING BATTS. Back in June I spent two days just cranking through my stash of odds and ends. When I brought the batts to Woolfest I didn’t think anyone would be too interested, but over the past few months, they’ve sold! Also, I pulled out a few to do another sample skein (since someone bought the first one right away). Now I just have a handful left, so I want to work on a new batch for IKS.

june batts

This event has also given me clarity on my lack of organization. As I was making my list of things to do for Indie Knit & Spin, each item just ended up in a non-chronological jumble. And every morning I look at my list (or don’t) and still waste a great deal of time trying to decide what to do. I need more structure if I am to get more done. I’ve been working from home since February and it’s been fun, but with the year coming to an end, it’s a good time to reevaluate and restructure.

While at Target yesterday I picked up a few things to help me get things in order. I got a few of those wall mount file boxes for “things to deal with” and “things to file” or something. I have file boxes, but I apparently I need an interim spot for those items since I do not file them right away. The most exciting thing was this dry-erase calendar. Now I can get more exact with planning each task and keeping on track for an upcoming event. I’ll have to move a few things around to make a place to hang this up, but it’s going to be awesome! Because I say so.

sunday confessions 08/05

Guess what? I’m not here!

I wrote this post before I left for vacation. Thanks to my new calender plug-in, I can schedule posts! And even though there is internet access on site, why on earth would I want to bother with it? You’ll survive while I’m gone.

I’m afraid you’ll forget about me while I’m gone. And so I’m hoping that by leaving a few posts during my hiatus will help you remember that you should come here and read my blog. Don’t you want to see pictures from my weird geeky vacation??

I constantly contradict myself. (See above confessions).

sunday confessions 07/22

It’s been a very busy week both for work and other activities. We’re getting ready for camping and I’m getting ready for a show that is the weekend after we get home. Plus I am not sleeping very well. I hope my vacation is actually something of a vacation.

I ate two Jimmy Johns sandwiches in one day. On Wednesday I met a friend there for lunch and I knew that I wouldn’t feel like cooking dinner, so I decided to get a sandwich for Rich to eat later. But since I thought I may be a little hungry by then, I got one for me too. Every time I eat one I think, “I could eat another right now.”

I like power tools. Especially sanders. I like using a power sander. And I want my own drill.

Sometimes I wish I’d taken woodshop in high school. Except that I am incredibly clumsy and would have cut off my fingers. Not to mention I’d never be able to make anything usable because I am the most inexact person ever. Even tape measures can’t help me. If it was a something with legs, it would wobble. If it was supposed to have a flat surface, it would not be level. You get the picture.

That’s all you get.