I'm Laura. I am a gamer, a bookworm, a knitter, a spinner, a tatter, a seamstress, pierced, tattooed, musical, vehemently geeky and occasionally ineptly artistic. She/her.


How to contact me:

     laura @ cybermenology.com
     Cybermenology Handmade

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Chai Tea

Posted at 03 Feb 2011 07:45:35 PM

You know you're a terrible blogger when you can't think what you last posted.

So! We've been more or less snowed in this week (my car more, D's less) and my back is getting sore from sitting nearly 10 - 12 hours per day in my computer chair. This is one of the hazards of working from home, and then diving straight into WoW once the laptop hibernates. Note to self: purchase vehicle with 4WD before next winter.

The last two weeks have been unbelievably hectic at work, and consequently I chose to do two long and fairly work-intensive projects at home, just to keep things lively. Project #1 was the Great Coaster Project.

I was captivated by the Fabric Coasters group on Flickr, and wanted to make my own. What a great way to use up the fabric stash! The lady at the local quilting shop was a great help in choosing interfacing, too. We chose something which was thick enough to absorb moisture from cups but thin enough that it would lie flat.

I paired them with pretty dark cerulean mugs and a few different types of tea, as presents at the family Christmas party last weekend. I'm pleased that everyone seemed to think they were a neat idea.

Bonus: I have leftover Pomegranate, Chai and Wild Sweet Orange teas! Now, to make some coasters for ourselves...

Also for last weekend I decided to tackle Candied Oranges. I've never made them before, but the picture in this recipe was irresistible and I knew I had to give them a try for the next party.

It's a two week process wherein you soak the thin-sliced oranges in supersaturated sugar syrup, then set them to dry, coat them in sugar and 60% dark chocolate, and inflict them upon the unsuspecting public.

The unsuspecting public didn't seem to mind; I came home with an empty bowl and many compliments.

Next year, I think I'll give blood oranges and grapefruit a try - the former will be pretty, and the latter could be an intriguing sweet and sour combination. Some liked the chocolate, and some would have preferred it without... I'll do both next time.

I have a couple of shawls and a pair of gloves OTN. Every time I go outside in my new winter coat I am reminded that I really ought to get cracking on those gloves; unfortunately they are a construction which has you doing the fingers early on in the process, so I am procrastinating.

I can show you the shawls, though.

This one is lovely to knit, and awful to look at. It's Alpaca with a Twist Fino in the "Blue Jeans" colorway, and it is one of those colorways which looks lovely in the skein and like llama barf when knitted up. I swear there's a pattern in here somewhere!

This is being knit in a very interesting yarn which I acquired from the lovely QuantumTea a few weeks ago at Knit Morning. It's 70% Milk protein, 30% Silk, feels like a dream, knits up nicely but sort of oddly, and I have no idea of how it will block.

(Did somebody say "block your swatch"? Swatch? What swatch?)

It is totally unlike wool when being knit. It doesn't "scrunch in" at all - it's much more like silk in that it mostly just stays where you put it. It definitely has some stretch, so we'll see what it grows up to be!

The pattern is from Heirloom Knitting - right now it's all Cats' Paws. I'm planning on doing a full-on Shetland shawl, with this being the center and later I will bind it off, pick up the sts, do a border which is still in the Excel charting stage, and then knit on an edging.

And now, I need to get out of this desk chair for awhile.

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My spindling fingers are tired

Posted at 26 Jun 2010 11:46:16 AM

It's alright Mollie, I wasn't using that anyway.

Today was a great day in fiber-acquisition land! And some of it I didn't even have to pay for (swaps are the greatest thing since sliced bread, I swear. New toys, and it's all "free")!

First was this amazing 3oz batt of merino and bamboo from Butterfly Girl Designs. I've been coveting this for awhile, and a swap with a lovely Ravelry user got it for me!

And then we have 4oz of not quite as high-grade but still merino from Malinablue, which is all sorts of amazing colors:

Then Dan and I went wandering in Old Town St Charles this afternoon because one of the spice shops up there, Figuero's, is apparently a local source for Sticky Pig BBQ Sauce! (A bonus in itself.) Two blocks down from that shop is Knit and Caboodle, a lovely LYS which used to have some very pretty natural-colored Suri Alpaca :)

In conclusion... I will be ever so slightly busy if I want to have a prayer of getting through all of this ;)

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Christmas in November (or, Look,Ma! I Organized!)

Posted at 21 Nov 2009 11:34:19 PM

This evening the internet kept dropping. We decided to take that as a sign, and went out for dinner. With no place in particular in mind, we explored the Central West End and ended up at Duff's restaurant. It turned out to be a fantastic choice; they had some really great food in the smaller portions that we're trying to look for, and a hole-in-the-wall atmosphere which I happen to love. Later we took a walk down to my new favorite coffee shop - Coffee Cartel - and walked by the St Louis Chess Club.

Once home, we got impatient, and decided to open Christmas presents tonight! Most of them, anyway... there's one each that we're holding back until actual Christmas.

We each got some pretty awesome stuff, if I say so myself. He received a bunch of parts for his car, some shirts & a hat he's been wanting, which seemed to make him pretty happy :-) He got me an awesome loose tea infuser, amazing polarized sunglasses (no more crappy $10 sunglasses!) and A SWIFT. A real swift! No more draping the yarn around my knees and trying to keep it tensioned while winding!

And to keep my promise of moving the desk out of the main living/dining room once my dress was finished (which it has been for at least a month now...), I cleaned out the drawers and organized all of my fabric, bias tape, elastic and what not into my various bins. Once it was empty, we moved it temporarily into the spare bedroom, where I continued the organization to the yarn stash. My very overstuffed underbed container now has room again, and there's actually a method to my madness now!


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Retail therapy

Posted at 11 Nov 2008 05:55:23 PM

Oh my.

How amazing are this person's yarns?


I covet 'Cause I'm a Punk like no tomorrow.

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More crafty A.D.D.

Posted at 04 Nov 2008 10:49:48 AM

Something else I never knew existed: NaKniSwetMo! Similar to NaNoWriMo, its aim is to knit a sweater in the month of November. Given that I can't even knit a scarf in a month, I think I'll be passing this one up ;-)

Had my first sewing class last Saturday. It went well, and was pretty neat. We didn't do much more than cut out the fabric and lining, so hopefully there will be more sharing of tips and tricks in the coming weeks.

Knitting group is tomorrow. Coincidentally, I've also signed up to give blood that afternoon, so Wednesday will be both long and exhausting (and probably won't leave time for my usual post-donation trip to the steakhouse afterwards, either). Coupling that with the fact that the time change is kicking my ass this year, I expect to be very, very tired.

A few words about this Daylight Savings Time: I don't remember being hit this hard by it in previous years. I speculate that it's because in previous years I was already perpetually exhausted by a 2 or 3ish -> 8 or 10ish sleep schedule - it's hard to notice *more* exhaustion, if that makes any sense. But I've had a relatively regular midnight -> 7am schedule for quite awhile, and ever since the time change I'm finding myself tired by 11pm and waking up at 6. Sleeping in 'til the "new" 7 just isn't working well... I toss and turn 'til I finally give in and get up.

(The quest to sleep in is not helped by the fact that cats apparently do not observe DST.)

Made some fairly kickass buckeye "bars" last night from the Kraft Food & Family magazine. I felt bad because lately I've been making all kinds of goodies and then bringing them all into work, so these are just for us. :-)

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Posted at 06 Oct 2008 11:16:19 AM

We're back from our mini-honeymoon!

We left late Friday afternoon, after Dan was home from work, the laundry was done and Liz came by to pick up the dog. Had an easy drive down to the lake, and found the resort without too much trouble.

Mostly we relaxed -- did some shopping on Saturday at the outlet mall for KitchenAid toys and a shiny new handbag for me, played a round of mini golf in which we both lost horribly but him slightly less so than me, ate out a bit, and hung out in our room. I got a manicure & pedicure at the spa, which surprisingly enough has lasted at least 'til today. Another 24 hours or so and it'll win the prize for most persistent manicure I've ever had ;-)

There was a tiny black kitten hanging around the restaurant we chose for dinner on Saturday. Poor little guy seemed to be hated by the staff, and was shy as anything... there wasn't any practical way that we could have rescued him, what with being in a hotel and the long car ride, but I still wish there had been.

We stopped at St James Winery on the way back up for a quick tour and tasting. In addition to grape-derived beverages, they make some really fantastic fruit wines; we picked up an "assortment". *grin*

I got what might loosely be termed a head start on the dog bed project - I'm going to have to rip out most if not all of the seams I did last night, but now I have a better idea of how things are going to have to go together. And I think I may need to pick up a yard or so of some heavier fleece to use for the outer layer... the red that I was planning to use is maybe pillowcase weight at best, and I don't think that just the sherpa wool alone is going to be warm enough for the li'l guy.

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The nerves are setting in

Posted at 04 Sep 2008 10:40:17 AM

With the calendar now showing September, it's starting to sink in: I'm getting married this month.

How very... bizarre.

Purely mundane matters are mostly in hand -- we've got the location, my ring is finished and I picked it up last week, Dan's has been ordered, my dress is hemmed and hanging in the closet, the food is ordered. Invites have been sent and more RSVPs are arriving every day. We'll have to pick up some of the food, plates, etc a day or so before, and with Mom's help we'll make the cakes on Friday. I'm still not convinced that we won't need a chest freezer rather soon after the shindig, because we will have quite a bit of extra food, but I'm not going to stress over it if I don't have to. Everyone'll be over for UFC this Saturday, so we can take care of the officiant's ordination then.

Honestly, I can't think of anything that we haven't taken care of. Is there anything it sounds like I'm forgetting?

Had a good three-day weekend. We picked up a new desk for Dan (at long last!) and it looks fantastic. We had a shot at putting cable into the back bedroom, but were foiled by firestops in every single wall, damnit. We don't have a long enough drill to take care of it ourselves, so it looks like that projects is postponed yet again.

I started work on my bodice, and aside from a hiccup that made it necessary to lengthen the pattern by 2" all 'round, did quite well on it. The mockup fits well, the lining is done, the boning is in and the top layer is cut. I probably could have finished it yesterday, but the 3/8 yard of heavy fusible interfacing specified by the pattern didn't come CLOSE to being enough (aaargh). It's pricey but a good heavy weight, so it looks like another trip to Jackman's fabric will be happening on my lunch break.

Joann's had a spectacular sale on Vogue patterns for Labor Day - everything, even the $20 and $25 patterns, was on sale for $3.99. I raided their bin while waiting for chinese takeout on Friday, and got what -may- be a good lead on a fishtail skirt. Patterns for that sort of skirt are few and far between, and it's driving me up the wall! I want one rather badly to wear with my green corset, and apparently I'm the only one!

Having rather a home-decorating love affair with CB2. I want one of each of these rather badly, and this is amazing. I have Dan's blessing to get one for the bathroom, so now that gives me a rather good head start on the theme it'll be. I'm not quarreling with the dark green paint*, but the square silver towel bars are a) cheap and b) falling off. I'm thinking now of replacing them with fixtures like this - something square and wrought-iron.

*Ok, maybe I quarrel a bit with the sloppy edging at the ceiling. Not enough that I'm willing to fix it just yet, though - if and when are redo the whole room, I'll get up on a ladder.

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Oh, help me.

Posted at 27 Aug 2008 12:11:11 PM

Predictably, having tossed out half a dozen bottles of perfume and mailed off my collection of imps to kirafyre, I'm buying BPAL again.

It starts with "Oh, I really should get a vial of Lady of Shallot! It would be a tragedy if I ran out of the imp and then they discontinued the scent or something!"

So then I go nosing around, looking for the Lady, and I end up with vials of Samhain 2008 and The Witching Time of Night too. Eep. (I suppose if I don't like them I can just start ebaying things...)

BPAL's tricky, because there are some rather prevalent scents that just don't work on me at all (rose, mint) and some that I just flat-out won't wear (dragonsblood, sandalwood). I'm hoping that after the experiment with Samhain 2008 I don't have to add "balsam" to the former list. Normally I'd just buy imps, but with the LEs they either don't offer imps or there isn't time enough to get both an imp and a subsequent vial.

In other news, this afternoon will be my first at the gym. The 4" Project has officially begun - here's hoping there's time enough left.

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Imminent perfume sale/giveaway

Posted at 19 Aug 2008 01:39:32 PM

I did some work on the website. You can edit your own comments again, as well as properly reply to other peoples'. Fixed some bizarre miscellaneous stuff as well.. it's doubtful that anyone will notice most of it.

Random thoughts re: BPAL: I've got vials of more than one fragrance now (I used to wear Morgause, or non-BPAL). Since getting a vial of Zorya (finally!) I've started wearing other things as well... Lady of Shallot specifically, as I love the theme almost as much as I love the fragrance. Am thinking rather definitively about getting a vial or two of it.

Apropos of the limited edition Hallowe'en 2008 scents:
Truly the scent of autumn itself -- damp woods, fir needle, and black patchouli with the gentlest touches of warm pumpkin, clove, nutmeg, allspice, sweet red apple and mullein.

I am thinking that this could either smell AMAZING, or like an ambulatory pumpkin pie strolling through a raver's private forest. Can't decide whether finding out is worth the price of an imp...

Terminal sugar rush. A little goblin's candy bag, upended.

Smushed candy corn, rock candy dust, marshmallow gunk, strawberry goo, spun blue sugar, globs of salt water taffy, and lint.

Oh. My. God. What? I can't even imagine how that must smell. I'm going into insulin shock just reading the description!

Dried orange peels floating in simmering cider, roasted apples, smoldering firewood, chimney smoke, sassafras beer, warm hawthorn wood, and oakmoss.

Hmmmm. I kind of want to try this one, too!

----> Item of Potential Interest:
I am thinking that a Great Sorting-Out of the Perfume Basket on the bathroom sink is in order. It currently holds, at a very rough guess, maybe 30 or so bottles of perfumes. I actually wear the following: Morgause (vial), Zorya (vial), Lady of Shallot (imp), Bess (rarely; imp), Jasmine oil (glass vial w/ roller ball), Vanille (glass vial w/ roller ball). Sometimes I'll use my B&BW body sprays.

8 out of 30, and it's the TINY 8 -- I'm not using any of the space-hogging larger bottles. That's not a terribly good ratio, and it doesn't make for a good explanation of why my crap is eating the bathroom counter alive.

SO. The next time I remember, which may or may not be tonight given that it's T5 night in SSC, I will make a list of all of the perfume that I don't wear. It will be listed here and on LJ. If anyone wants to try anything new, watch this space for updates!

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The definition of "irony."

Posted at 11 Dec 2008 11:59:09 AM

Today, I am: Sunburned.

Today, my perfume is: The Lady of Shalott.

The irony is not lost on me.

Also, I have a sinus headache which is making me want to drive a spike into my head via my nose, the office is FREEZING, and I seem to have left both my sweatshirts at home. Adding insult to injury, Starbucks fucked up my cappucino. Today is starting off badly to say the least.

Re: the sunburn, the weekend at the lake was fun. As promised there was much lying in the lake on floaty things and drinking raspberry Smirnoff Ices. Dan and I stopped by this highly nifty outlet mall on the way back, at which I spent certainly more than I ought on various kitchen toys, a new cherry-red leather wallet and new watch (*squee* for my awesome Fossil cuff watch). Got home, went out to dinner as cooking was out of the question. Fell asleep at 9:30pm.

(Woke up briefly during the thunderstorm and feared for my tomatoes. Holy shit, midwest - what gave rise to thatparticular display of meteorological temper tantrums?)


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