13 December 2012

a holiday

Christmas is coming, and I am going to take a little holiday (of indefinite length) from my blog.  But I would be happy to hear from you by email or otherwise!  I will be acquiring a used sewing machine soon, so I hope to post some patterns when I return.

Meanwhile, I came across this article, which I recommend, should you want something to read and consider:  What You Should (and Shouldn't) Say to Someone Who has Lost a Baby from Naturally Knocked Up.

On a lighter note, I have made this apple crisp recipe from About.com at least three times in the last month, and it is delicious.

20 November 2012

every word, the dark ages version

I've had an Amazon Kindle for a bit over a year now.  (Perhaps sometime when I'm less busy I'll explain why I like it as much as I do.)  My grandmother, who has had one even longer, introduced me to a free game called Every Word, in which the goal is to spell as many words as possible, using the letters of some other, longer word.  If you have a Kindle, I recommend it.  Just remember that sera is really a word (the plural of serum).

If you don't have a Kindle, though, or want to play a simple word game in situations when obviously doing something on a Kindle would be inappropriate, here is the dark ages version.  All you need is a piece of paper and a pencil or pen (or use the margins of your class notes, but pretend that I didn't say that).

Choose a somewhat long word or name, say, appendix.  Make a list of all the three-letter words (not names or abbreviations) that you can from the letters of that word, a second list of four-letter words, a third of five-letter words, and so forth..  For instance, from appendix, you can obviously get pen, end, and pend, but you can also re-arrange the letters to make pie, axed, pined, and napped.  When you run out of words, start over with a new word.

I have had a lot of fun with this recently, especially from Constantine and persuasion (35 three-, 62 four-, 47 five-, 15 six-, 2 seven-, and 1 eight-letter word before I got bored).

26 October 2012

I am still alive

Seven days has turned into seven weeks.  I've not forgotten that I have a blog, but I've kept putting off writing until sometime when I'm not so busy.  That never happens.  We had a lovely wedding and a lovely honeymoon and then packed things up and flew off to Europe.  I've been taking two classes, working part-time as a nanny, keeping house, re-reading The Lord of the Rings, and meanwhile having three colds in a row.  It's been busy, tiring, and difficult, but still an adventure and a fairly good one at that.  And now everything is changing again.  For reasons that are unclear to us, I'm suddenly losing my job and, with it, our housing.  So now we have six weeks to find other housing that we can afford.  Am I crazy for trying to do NaNoWriMo?

08 September 2012


I was planning to post pictures of the wedding stationery and bulletins that I made and my garter pattern, but somehow that did not happen and I am getting married in five hours so I have more important things to do.  I'll be back in a week...

25 August 2012

four sewing tips

I am presently sewing my wedding dress and have come up with a few tips to share.

1.  Lay out slippery fabric on a mattress.  Spread out one layer of fabric at a time, putting pins through each one straight into the mattress to keep it from wrinkling; then spread the pattern on top in the same way.  Trace around the pattern with a pen or wheel and cut the fabric later, or just cut (carefully) along the pattern.

2.  Keep track of pieces cut with check-boxes on each pattern piece.  When you've cut one piece, check off one box.  Then keep track of the pieces with a note pinned onto each one.

3.  Mark seam allowances with masking tape on the sewing machine plate.  If you have, say, a quarter-inch foot but need a five-eighths inch seam, measure five-eighths inch from the needle on the plate and mark it with a piece of masking tape.

4.  Baste your hems.  Instead of measuring, say, a quarter inch and ironing it over twice, baste a line half an inch from the raw edge.  Press it down and tuck the raw edge into the fold.  Or baste a line a quarter inch from the raw edge, press it down, and fold and press it again.  Generally, baste halfway up the seam (here, a quarter inch) when the raw edge is wider than the rest of the fabric, such as at the bottom of a skirt; otherwise, baste all the way up the seam (here, half an inch).

Please share your sewing tips!

18 August 2012

welcome to strawberry cottage!

At last, the new name and new blog header are here.  A new button will come eventually.  How does it look?

15 August 2012

yes, I would ask the same question

On top of the building, a large, flaking plywood sign spelled out PATS' in handpainted letters....
     'Do you think it's owned by someone named Pats?  Or is there more than one Pat?'
     Horace had stopped at the door.  Pulling it open, he stepped to the side and smiled.  'Mr. Cyrus, I wouldn't have thought that you would be one to notice -- or care about -- an apostrophe.'
     Cyrus glared at him.
     'Right.  Well, there are two Pats,' Horace said.  'And this place belongs to both of them.'

(N. D. Wilson, Ashtown Burials:  The Dragon's Tooth.)

In case I don't get a chance to write a longer review, let me just say that The Dragon's Tooth is a lot of fun.  Cyrus and Antigone, ages twelve and thirteen, are two ideosyncratically ordinary children (the kind of ordinary children who go to the state fair and usually get motion-sick), living with their elder brother in an old motel in Wisconsin, with a barely-holding-together car and a diet consisting mainly of waffles, when a guest nicknamed Billy Bones shows up.  They are thrown into a wild adventure involving a secret society and an evil scientist trying to take over the world.  And echoes of Treasure Island.  And somewhat immortal persons.  And fantastic mutant animals and ancient relics.  It's a lot of fun.  You should read it, so you'll be ready when the sequel, The Drowned Vault, is released in about four weeks.

13 August 2012

a little vase

Each letter shows a plant with its meaning in the Victorian language of flowers:

Nightshade -- truth.
ster -- variety.
ak -- hospitality.
ugwort -- happiness.
vy -- friendship.

Happy belated birthday, Naomi!

10 August 2012

city with foundations

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went....  For he looked for the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God....  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth....  Now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.  (Hebrews 11.8,10,13,16 KJV)

06 August 2012

in my heart

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart) 

(E. E. Cummings, 'i carry your heart with me'.)

31 July 2012

the third annual summer cleaning song

Re-organised tea cupboard, 2010
Some of my friends will likely recall the cleaning-themed songs that I sent them the last two summers; I will post those here eventually.  For now, here is this summer's song, which I wrote when I should have been cleaning. 

I've Got to Clean  (to the tune of 'I've Got a Dream' from Tangled)

    In my fridge, it’s rather scary;
    I think there’s moulding dairy;
my pantry and my shelves are not the neatest.
    but despite the crumbs and dust,
    and that little spot of rust,
someday my housework will be most completest.

26 July 2012

black & tan

For those of my readers (do I have readers anymore?) who are looking for something more interesting, the book Black and Tan by Douglas Wilson is currently available to download for free, here.  In this book, Wilson argues that the American Civil War was the wrong way to end slavery in the United States and led to modern disregard for the Constitution.  This book makes it quite clear that Wilson, contrary to popular opinion, is by no means a racist, and that all the people screaming about racism are, in their zeal to pick fights, either too sidetracked to see or too fainthearted to face the real isms that drive his thought (hint: two of them start with 'Calvin' and 'postmillenial').  Although I would differ with Wilson on some (or many) theological points, I've always enjoyed his writing style.  So if you want a bit of interesting and controversial writing to make you think, download this book while it's still free.

[Update 6/8/12:  I see that the free download is no longer available.]

25 July 2012

a profound meditation upon toast and tea

I am so fond of tea that I could write a whole dissertation on its virtues.  (Boswell.)

It is an unalterable conviction of mine that toast was made to be dipped into tea.  Yet I do not speak of all kinds of toast: dry toast was made to adorn salads, limp toast, to feed chickens, and white toast, to stuff pincushions.   No, a good piece of toast must be made with good, brown bread, toasted until the edges are just black, and then spread liberally with butter.  Nor is it all kinds of tea that I laud, for black tea afflicts the soul with wakefulness and camomile, with sleep, and fruit tea brings to mind jam.  No good piece of toast should be insulted with jam.  Put jam on white toast, to cover its wretched poverty, but let butter be the only adornment of the toast of brown bread.  For such toast, the king of all lesser toast, is required the queen of teas, which is mint.

I have heard it said that with the gift of mint the Victorians were wont to indicate either protection from illness or warmth of feeling.  That is healthful, no one would deny; but that it is congenial can be tasted properly only with toast.  To have crumbs on the bottom and a skim of butter on top is the glory of a cup of mint tea.  This tea must, of course, be made first, before the toast is made, lest the toast become limp with waiting.  Then it must be drunk, and the toasted dipped therein eaten, in utmost serenity and meditation.  What, indeed, is the good of tea if one does not take pleasure in it?  The sages of old were rebuked for tithing their mint and neglecting justice; but I would rebuke whoever makes tea and does it the injustice of neglecting to taste it.  Among all material pleasures, tea is supreme because it costs so little, takes so little trouble, and brings so much happiness; and not happiness only, but also a moment of reflection in which to enjoy the crisp of the toast, the richness of the butter, and the calm of mint which is the nectar of the gods.

23 July 2012

18 July 2012

two little grid-drawings

A calendar dedicated to the Landquist girls, who have made similar drawings:

The alphabet through P:

alphabet soup

16 July 2012

address tricks, part 1

Imagine that I have a text document of addresses in blocks.  Instead, I want a spreadsheet with five columns:  Name, Street Address, City, State, and Zip Code.  If I  have only three addresses, I can retype them.  But what if I  have three hundred?  Or three thousand?

10 July 2012

everyone likes change, especially quarters and dimes...

Life is changing.  After three years at this college, I will leave campus for what is colloquially called 'the real world' in seven weeks.  After two years in Singapore and twenty in the midwestern United States, I will leave this country for Europe in two and a half months.  And after twenty-two years as a Sandquist, I will leave my family for the most intelligent, handsome, and altogether delightful young man in the history of the world (biased, you say?  I don't know what you mean) in one month, twenty-eight days, twenty-two hours, and fourteen minutes.

With so much change in my life, it seems a good time for this blog to have its own changes.  Don't worry:  It will not disappear.  It will not even move from this URL.  I am getting rather tired, however, of this blog's narrow subject and would like to post about other things.  So readers can expect to see posts on many arts, not only calligraphy and paper art, but also domestic arts (sewing, crocheting, cooking, baking), organisation, literature, perhaps music, and others.  To fit these changes, the blog will also have a new design (some links may be broken as I re-organise) and a new name.

Any thoughts?  New name suggestions are welcome.

01 July 2012


I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need,
the wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
the Word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

(Attributed to St. Patrick, transl. C. F. Alexander, 'St. Patrick's Breastplate'.)

13 May 2012

an ancient Greek manuscript?

An hour old isn't quite ancient yet.  I wrote this letter in Koine Greek for my New Testament Greek class.  Let's pretend that any mistakes were intentional, to make it look more authentic.  Fellow Hellenists, leave a comment if you can read any of it!

06 May 2012


Another project from Christmas:

Sleep in heavenly peace.  (Joseph Mohr, trans. J. F. Young, 'Silent Night'.)

28 April 2012

magical muffins

I return at last!  I made this recipe card as a Christmas gift for my mother and had it laminated in my college's print shop.  The muffins really are delicious.

08 January 2012

is this calligraphy, or knot?

As usual, I have been quite busy of late, but here are some knot-drawings from classes last semester.

Some of the first, rather messy attempts (click to enlarge):

Mostly I have been decorating index cards:

Note the fish (upper right) and the mouse.

The beginnings of the butterfly.  (See below.)

Eventually I decided to try larger numbers of interlocking rings; the first few were freehand, with varying success.

With the aid of a compass, perfection:

Until I tried nine rings.

Finally, a few more butterflies.