Bacteria Fun Time

So what does a microbiologist do when they miss their bacteria?  They grow some!!!! No I'm not making a lab in my basement, I'm making Kombucha.  I love the stuff, maybe its because I'm a microbiologist and all those happy bacteria make me happy or maybe because it just taste good.  Since no one sells it Leavenworth I would have to drive to KC to get it at 3.95 a bottle I wasn't going to "stock up" on it.  I followed a recipe on growing my own SCOBY from a bottle of the "plain" stuff.  Its not hard.  Don't buy the "clear" ones, or the "enlightened" flavored ones.  I got a bottle of plain old GT's and dumped the whole thing in.  It took a long while to get it growing, 4 weeks about.  I'm sure in that time I could have ordered one already grown and gotten a big batch already to go.  But I'm a freakin' microbiologist damn it, I'm growing it my damn self!

After 4 weeks of growing it up, I transferred it to a fresh round of tea, and let it go for about a week.  Then transferred that to pint lidded jars with a bit of fresh flavored tea, and let that go at room temp for a few days.  Then into the fridge.  In the mean time the SCOBY was growing again.  And then I repeated the process.  This time I tried some juice for the second fermentation.  I haven't tried those yet but they look good.  Round three is hanging out in my office (it stays quite warm up here so until winter hits hard this is the bacti lab too).


I have lost my mind

Its true, its a good thing I'm going back to work next week (hopefully).  On one hand I'm finding it not so bad to have no pressing matters at hand and to try my hand at random projects, but on the other my brain is bored.  So bored I got a book on learning Excel.  I've never been great at it, so I figured I should be better at it.  Plus everything is in crazy places now since the 2010 update.  Its been good learning.  The other thing I've jumped into is QUILTING!  I know I know.  I guess I've always kinda wanted to do it and a very good opportunity has arisen here in Leavenworth.  Our new quilt shop, Meadows Quilting and Sewing is doing a Quilt block a month thing.  I buy the first block for 5 bucks, if I finish the block (it comes with the fabric and the pattern instructions) in a month I bring it back and show them, and get the next block for free.  This goes on and on for 9 months and then we put it all together.  I'm giving it a go.  To get ready, and since the only quilts I ever made were hand sewn ones for my dolls I picked up a book.

I made this.

Hey nice feet.  This was picture I tried to take when I found out my phone had died.  

 Half way there

All pieced together


Its not the best, but for a first try I'm not going to complain.  I might make a full sized one.  It wasn't exactly fun, but was satisfying.  



I did it again! I slacked off.  I have no good excuse, seeing as I'm doing jack and squat.  So lets see what stuff I've been up to since last month.

Started using the Bullet Journal system to keep myself bust and actually keep on task, so I wasn't just spending my whole day cruising the internet and eating frosting. I actually started it on August 1, but I've kept up with it and really enjoy it.  I highly recommend it, if you're like me and still like to write things down.

Met some awesome folks at the InGear Career group, which is a military spouses network.

Got a call from a company which I had applied to before we had even moved.  This time they were looking for someone in their QC department.  Set up an interview with them.  Also set up an interview with KU on the same day (this would later be the first of two double header interview days I've done)

Went to a job fair and got picked up by a great recruiter, who found me a great job opportunity with one of the worlds largest suppliers of scientific good.

Learned how to weave on my Rigid Heddle Loom, that I got for christmas like 2 years ago.  I bought the Craftsy class.  So far, I really like the classes I've purchased.  I will buy more.

Went to St. Louis to see a friend- for like 24 hours.

Sooooo those 2 interviews, both went great but both made me wonder would I even want those jobs.  We'll get back to that.

Got an interview with the lab supply company.  It went great.  Then they dragged their feet.  And dragged and dragged.  The worst part was that they told my recruiter "I was still the number one choice" but they kept interview people because they didn't want to hire me.  Finally fate stepped in.  Slowly I realized that sometimes you don't get the job you want, but the job you need.

In the mean time I had another interview with a drug trial company, but it was awwwwwwaaaay too far away from not enough money and a jerk boss.  This was my second 2 interview day.  I would be gone all day and in the end it paid off.

On Friday I was offered and accept the job QA/QC technician job with a small probiotics company in downtown Kansas City.  I will learn a bunch of new things, and keep a bunch of guys in-line.  I guess culturing kombucha in your spare bedroom is a good thing to talk about in an interview.

Went to see the King Tut exhibit at Union Station, it was beautiful.

Celebrated our 10 year anniversary.  I got Ross a new Benchmade pocket knife (his Kershaw didn't had a clip and had gone through the wash a number of time which caused the rubber cover to come off).  He got me a boxed set of Doctor Who figures, all 11 of them.  They're stupidly cute and each have their own sonic screwdrivers.

We had dinner at a lovely Restaurant called BlueStem.  It has a James Beard Award (at first I worried a bit, I didn't want to go to the restaurant that Sepia had lost to, but they aren't in the same area so its okay) The food was lovely!

Got myself a library card after not having on since I left Clarksville.  The library is great here.

Have boldly decided to try my hand at quilting.  I know I'm crazy.  I picked up a book at the library and am making a small squares quilt.  This is conjunction with our local quilt shops $5 quilt project.  You buy the fabric for the first block for $5 and then in you finish it and return the next month with it, you get the block for free.  So on and so on for 9 months.  They'll be offering a quilting package at the end to purchase, where they put it all together for you and quilt it their nifty long arm machine.  I see this as a way to burn up some of my randomly stashed fabric and get some sewing done without making another ill-fitting item.

On sunday I finished a phone call to my parents and put my phone down.  When I went to snap a picture of my quilt block lay out (yep modern technology folks) the screen was black.  Nothing could bring it back.  The phone was till there, Siri still asked if I needed her and the vibrate still worked.  So I had to get a new phone, just weeks before the 5s goes on mega sale and 6 comes out.  Screw you! So now I have an iPhone 5s and its so shinny and skinny.  I tried plugging my old 4s to see if it had figured itself out and its toast.  I think the battery cooked something inside, it was a refurbished replacement anyway.

So there! Thats basically all the news that fit to print.

St. Louis

As seen in Down Town Lawrence home of KU

Finished Weaving

Business Claire

Dung Beetle I drew at lunch after we went to the King Tut exhibit 

Finished Shawl

Hub's gift

Tiny David!!!


The Weekly Claire: Officially Bored Edition

Officially, I'm bored.  Bored out of my skull.  Studying for the GRE makes me wonder who the sadistic bastards are who write that cluster-fuck of a test (SERIOUSLY! You don't need to know that shit to get a masters in early childhood development and the math and science I need for a science MS is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.  So why is there a shit tastic blanket test that seem to only be able to test my ability to do 10th grade math and unfuck their poorly worded questions.  Maybe its really just testing my skills at understanding my PI)

I can only knit so much before my butt goes numb or my wrist cries UNCLE.  So I've trying to find other fun things to do.  While getting ready on Tuesday, I was going to go to Yoga, I noticed that one of the artist I follow on Tumblr had spent the night at the Great Wolf Lodge and had hidden a drawing here....... 

The Elk at Cabelas.  SO I busted by butt down there and well it was gone.  I don't know if someone had already found the picture of if the grumpy staff and found it and thrown it away.  I was there at 9:30am and he left it about 8! It was still fun.  I went to Target and also walked around the Cabelas. 

On Wednesday I went to Olathe and the K-state extension.  Which is AN AMAZING building.  I talked the Microbiologist there and I might have a few part time jobs.  The key there is MIGHT.  In a few months.  They asked me what I wanted to do, I just wanted to yell "SCIENCE".  We'll see.  

I made kinda gross French Macarons.  My next batch will be better I hope.  I will also fill them with something other than Buttercream.  

I AM GROOT!  I kinda love Groot so I drew him on the white board in the kitchen. 

These bloomed! They have a slight fragrance and they're so lovely.  They're over a foot and half tall and stick straight up, I thought they were fake.  


Easy Dinner- Pork Chops

I love to cook, but I really don't want it to take too long.  Dinner doesn't take long to eat, I don't want to put too much work into it.  Most of my cooking doesn't come from recipes, it comes from techniques.  I never "learned" to cook, it was just something I grew up doing, the idea of not "knowing" how to cook is beyond me.  Roasting and broiling are two of my favorite techniques and when you're lucky enough (like I am right now) to have double ovens I've been doing a lot of it.  I just walk away, make a salad and pull out dinner.

 PORK CHOPS! So these are from The Local Pig, and have been brined but nice thick chops with some fat on them will do nicely. 

Arrange on the broiling pan, we cheat and put foil in the pan so that clean up is faster. 

Season!  This is a sage and savory rub from a great book, which I cannot remember the name of right now.  Dump a bunch on there, drizzle a little olive oil on then get rub all around.  I normally wear a latex glove so my hands stay clean.

BROIL!  Yes thats it, set the oven to broil, stick them on the top rack and enjoy the crispy goodness.

Roast some asparagus  and potatoes (or seen here sweet potatoes).

Make a salad, and in about 30 minutes you've got dinner and you didn't do very much work.  


The Weekly Claire: A Month of Kansas's Edition

This morning we woke up to RAIN!  There was a fantastic rumbly-bumbly thunderstorm, with big rain drops and such.  I was most welcome.  A few weeks ago the pump in the pond up and stopped working.  I did all I could do and then contacted the landlord, turns out the thing was still under warranty so they replaced it.  Funny thing is that pump was WAAAAY more pump than was needed for this little pond and it hadn't working really well for sometime so the lovely babbling brook turned it a fire hose of water shooting EVERYWHERE!  It took me a few days, a lot of rocks and some foil to contain all the rushing water into suitable waterfall again.  In the mean time we lost a lot of water and I wasn't about to pay for it, so I just waited for it to fall from the sky.  Now fish and friends (fish is the remaining orange goldfish, friends are the twin medium size green fish, the large black with a orange collar and the fry) are extra happy with a full up pond.   

I started my Kombucha, I'm growing a scoby from a bottle of original plain kombucha so it'll take a little longer than usual.  I named it Scooby the scoby.  Though in its current appearance I should call it Lawrence, of arabia.  

Happy rain fall! It wasn't a big storm system but it had no intentions of going anywhere, it just lingered over us for a good 4 hours.  Woot for free water.

We went to Dean and Deluca, and I was not impressed.  It was all things I had already seen, eaten, made or could get cheeper somewhere else.  They are an institution but they've gotta do better.

Finally, my x-wing.  Just chilling in my craft closet while it waits for a desk.  I didn't get the job at KU, which I figured but it took me emailing them 3 times to find this out.  Even though I interviewed, made my references jump up and down to get letters of recommendation to them over a weekend (mind you I had to do this, not them they didn't ask me to ask for them until 5:28 on a friday and then needed them on MONDAY) they didn't have the where with all to call and say I didn't get the job.  They were just going to let the start date slip by.  SUPER CLASSY


Necessary Crafty Pants

So I got a new desk, its new at all in fact its reaaaaallllly old.  Its great, tons of drawers, smaller than my old computer desk and wildly more useful but it wasn't made of computers.  It was killing my elbows since I like a put my arms on the desk and push my screen back away from me.  When you've a prescription has high as mine you like to keep that focusing distance out a little.  So one afternoon I busted out this.  

Its super comfy, with flannel on one side and pretty quilting cotton on the other.  It doubles as a wrist rest too, but mostly for my bony ass elbows.  (I have rather pointy bony elbows, ask anyone I've accidentally jabbed with one)

Make two big long rectangles, and sew them together, clip those corners so they make nice corners when its stuffed.

I needed the cotton to be a little longer so I just sewed two pieces together, I own a lot of fat quarters. 

See, nice corners. 

Seriously I've had that bag of Clusterstuff hanging around since like 2007, its now been used up. 


Sew it together all nice with a needle and thread or just sew that bitch up on the machine.  I recommend the machine.  

BOOM! Happy elbows.