A Trip to the Desert

Spring Break has come and gone! We had a fantastic time in Tucson, Arizona. After the dust settles, I may even have a chance to write about it! Stay tuned…

Marching Forth

Remember the post I did about puzzle rings?

Well, my husband and daughter surprised me with a wonderful birthday present: a new puzzle ring!

There are five bands on this one. (Five bands to signify the marching forth into my 5th decade?)
Two of the bands are rose gold. (To signify me?)
Two of the bands are white gold. (To signify my husband?)
One band of yellow gold. (To signify Claire?)

Yes, yes, yes, and yes!

So, I welcome 40 on March 4th. I march forth into my fifth decade.

Bring it on!

99-months Old!


When Claire was little, I’d take a picture of her on the 30th of every month. February nearly put me over the edge.

“Do I take her picture on the 28th? Or the 1st? Do I factor in every leap year into her true age? Oh, screw it. I can’t wait to switch to counting her age in years!” I’d mutter to myself.

As she got older, I stopped counting her age in months. She wanted me to take a picture of her outfit today, and I was reminded that February doesn’t have a 30.

So, just for old time’s sake…

She’s 99 months old today!

(Almost. Silly February…)

So, he’s still sleeping on my lap…

“No. No, I’m NOT ready to wake up yet, Commoner,” huffed Lord Henry Quillington Rasmussen.


Some Wednesdays…

Some Wednesdays, the schedule is a smoldering mess, one chaotic monster lumbering after another, stomping on villagers in its wake.

Some Wednesdays, the schedule is a thing of beauty, delicate dancers twirling partners in a perfect choreography known only to the gods.

I never know what to expect, which is why I have a pitchfork in my trunk.

Happy Birthday, Lord Henry Quillington Rasmussen!

At just over a pound, our Birthday Boy isn’t just a hedgehog, he’s a hedgePIGGY!

Happy 1st Birthday, Lord Henry Quillington Rasmussen!

Valentine’s Day is Looming…Literally

Yes, it’s true. Claire has her Valentines done. So soon?

It’s worse than you think…We worked on Valentines over Christmas Break! What? She’s hooked! (Again, literally…the puns are just flowing today!) …and what better time to do it than when you have NO homework AND time to play with something new!

Claire LOVES making bracelets.

Here’s what we did this year for Claire’s Valentines.

I ordered packs of Red, Black, and White bands online. In bulk, they’re REALLY inexpensive. Claire made each bracelet, and I said I’d help her with the tags, which are just strips of pink construction paper and Sharpie.

We stapled the tags on each one.

Find the middle of the circle…

…and pinch to make a heart. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Claire and Our Baby Hedgehog in Watercolor

Click photos to see more detail.

Here is my latest project! I love how it turned out. How were we instructed to do it?

Find a photo you love.

Wave a wand* to make it Black & White.

Say a spell* to get it into line form.

Draw what you see.

I don’t have a picture of the masked stage, but imagine all the parts you want left “white” covered up with latex mask.

Then, in class today, we wet the paper and poured on the different colors I wanted to use.

I love it!

*Technology is magic.

Some Fridays…

Some Fridays sneak up on me.

Oh, really? It’s Friday? Weird.

Other Fridays greet us as we lazily stroll across the threshold.

We saw you, but we weren’t in any hurry.

Today, it’s like we had to chew the duct-tape restraints off our wrists, kick open the trunk lid, and then tuck & roll from the moving vehicle, landing in a disheveled heap on the side of the road.


Solving the Puzzle Ring

“Fish Lips and X-Marks-The-Spot,” I told Claire when I showed her the treasure in my hands.

Fish Lips and X-Marks-The-Spot?


I’ve started wearing my Puzzle Ring again, and I love it. I have more than one Puzzle Ring, and the one I’ve donned most recently was procured at a Renaissance Faire almost 20 years ago. It’s held up over the years, partially because it was hidden away in a box of treasures until my fancy struck.

I felt the niggling feeling of change tickling me, so I got out my Puzzle Ring. Claire was happy to see a treasure from my past, and I was happy to share it with her.

It’s been many years since I’ve put it together, and I’m not going to lie. I was worried. Would I remember the twists and turns? Would I be left with a jumbled mess, the pieces taunting me with their process, the specific turns that must follow, one behind the other, and the order precise? Maybe I should just slip it out of the box and directly on my finger, while being careful not to jostle it? (I had, after all, carefully stored it together, thinking a day may come in the future when I’d let the secret of the Puzzle Ring slip from my grasp.)

I knew I could always do a search online to solve it, but could I do it from memory?

“Fish Lips and X-Marks-The-Spot,” popped into my head immediately, but I slipped it on my finger without disturbing the bands. I wasn’t ready to try it. I’d try to solve it after admiring it in its current state.

It wasn’t long before the suspense got to me. By that point, I’d worn it for hours, but I felt like a fraud. Only those who can put a Puzzle Ring together should wear one. Could I still do it, after all these years? I took a deep breath, slipped it off my finger, and dropped it into my hand.

As you can see, the rings slip apart, but never disconnect. The delicate bands interlock. You can pick up each band, and doing so makes the others hang in tiny, twisted mobiles.

Could I do it?

Although my fingers shook slightly, my former training did not disappoint.

“Fish Lips and X-Marks-The-Spot.”

Here’s what to do when presented with the jumbled mess of a 4-band Puzzle Ring. (Pro Tip: Almost all 4 Band Puzzle Rings go together the same way. I’m not trained in the arts of the 6-or-more band Puzzle Rings, but I’d love to try someday!)

Fish Lips

The Fish Lips are the bands that create the outer border of the ring. On this particular one, they are not only on the bottom of the ring, but they wrap around to be on top as well. That’s what make Puzzle Rings charming; the pieces intertwine.

First Step: Find the Fish Lips, and get the bands to rest flat against each other.


Second Step: X-Marks-The-Spot

This part is the trickiest. While holding on to the Fish Lips, examine the other two bands. You’ll notice one has a notch in the middle. This is where the other band rests on it. They form an X. Fit these bands together carefully, trapping the other bands, as seen here:

Third Step: Trap the Fish Lips in the X and flip them apart.

You may have to wiggle the bands around to get them to do this. You may have to release the Fish Lips and try again. Whatever you do, don’t force anything. It’s designed to fit together in a way that is simple.

(There’s a lesson here about how Simple isn’t always Easy, but I digress…)

Fold the Fish Lips In

Fourth Step: Fold the Fish Lips In

Spin each band so that you can tuck the Fish Lip under the X. Some rings have pronounced dimples in the bands, and you can tell which one needs to go in first and lay under the rest. Some are trickier. (Honestly, it’s hard to tell on my ring which one goes in first.) Don’t force the pieces. When it’s right, they’ll fall in easily. If it’s not right, it won’t. Just wiggle one out and wiggle the other in until it does.