Sunday, April 16, 2017

Knife Throwing Basics

Bored in the kitchen?
Looking to scare the neighbors?
Sword swallowing becoming too mundane?
Throw a knife!

**Note: Throw wisely, safely and legally!
Bex and My 17 in '17 are not to be held responsible for any legal repercussions resulting from dangerous or threatening acts related to you beginning this hobby!

In preparation for my knife target project I thought I would give a very quick lesson on how to throw a knife. Take everything I tell you with a grain of salt though-- I'm NOT an expert, and have been doing this less than a year. My wonderful boyfriend is the one who introduced me to this hobby, and I just can't thank him enough! But I definitely have a lot of room for improvement before I go calling myself a "pro". So here is what I know:

Step 1: Pick a knife.

Don't go raiding the kitchen drawer-- those knives are not built for this hobby! Find yourself a good balanced knife designed for throwing. There are also throwing knives that are blade heavy and handle heavy, but the more balanced ones are easier for beginners to learn with.
Step 2: Hold the knife.
Hold your knife either by the blade or handle depending on your personal preferences and where the weight is in the knife. You will want to throw the more weighted end first. Be sure to have a firm but light hold on the knife. Gripping it too tight will throw off your release, and holding it too light might cause you to slip and drop it or release it too early.

Step 3: Angle your throw.
You will probably have to throw a few times to determine the angle needed. The angle on your release will depend on the distance between you and the target and how you are holding your knife. A knife held by the handle will need to turn over at least once in the air to land, However, a knife held by its point will need to turn over at least one and a half times to land.

Step 4: Position yourself.
You will want your weight on your dominant leg. Your non-dominant foot will be in front of you with little to no weight on it. Hold your knife in your dominant hand and raise your arm in front of you so that it's perpendicular to the floor. Bend your elbow so that your knife is back by your head.

Step 5: Throw it!
Move your body and shift your weight from your dominant leg to your non-dominant leg. This creates a forward momentum. While shifting your weight forward, release your arm forward from the elbow, stretching it out straight in front of you. Release the knife when your arm is stretched out straight. Throw your knife as straight out from your body as possible, don't swing your arm across in front of your body -- like with a baseball pitch. Assuming you have the right grip on the knife it should release from your hand easily under the momentum of your body.

Now whether your knife hit the target or not you can pat yourself on the back-- you just threw a knife! Have fun-- and throw with care!

Monday, April 10, 2017

How to Be Fabulously Four-Eyed!

     I'm sitting here googling wood types and figuring out how I'm going to build my knife throwing target for my next project. I'm also checking the shipping information on my latest glasses order. See up until my 20's I was blessed with great eyesight. We all thought I had somehow dodged the family curse of needing glasses. My mother and brother both had to get them as children, but here I was at 25 still sans glasses.
And then...
     Reading started to get tricky. Staring at the computer screen at work all day started to make my head ache. Text on the TV started to get hard to decipher. So into the optometrist I went! And sure enough I had a slight astigmatism and nearsightedness.
     I would love to describe in romantic detail that first pair of glasses. Going on about the color of the ear pieces, or how the frames complemented my auburn hair. But in all honesty I can't remember if my hair was actually auburn at the time. I also can't,  for the life of me, remember what the glasses were like! With the convenience of cheap glasses, and cheap boxed hair dyes, I have been though too many looks over the last decade to remember them all!

     New frames are like a mini makeover. I change them when something in my life changes. I change them when the seasons change. I have the freedom to alter my entire look with just a new pair of glasses. And with prescription glasses available online for the same price as a movie ticket I can change my look over and over again! Here are some tips for my four-eyed sisters when it comes to re-vamping your style with new specs!

#1. Buyer Beware.
Read the reviews before you take the plunge. I just learned this lesson the hard way myself. A store in China had a really great "Buy Two Get One" sale going on with some seriously adorable frames. So I bought a whole bunch of them. The shipping took forever since they were coming all the way from China and got held up in California for over a week. And sadly, once they arrived I began to notice that the prescription was wrong and every single pair I ordered gave me a headache.
So cute and the prettiest aqua color... but boy did my head ache!
This store does have a great return policy, but seeing as it took so long to get them in the first place it just didn't seem worth it to me to have to try to mail them all back to China and wait even longer for replacements so I just threw them out.
Last week I ordered from a store I already know to be reliable and fast and my new glasses should be in the mailbox later today.

#2. Don't Try to Adjust Them Yourself.
I have broken an embarrassing amount of plastic frames in my time. Thinking I could just bend and hold them for a second to get them just right. Or get them ever-so-slightly hot and twist oh-so-gently. In fact, I just broke my favorite pair about two weeks ago doing just that.
Don't risk trying to adjust your plastic frames yourself. Just go into the local eyeglass shop (think VisionWorks or Walmart) and have a professional do it. As long as it's not busy in there they are usually happy to do a quick adjustment for you!

#3. Be Bold!
Just because you have to wear glasses doesn't mean you have to look professional or ordinary. I find that I can go extra bold with my eyeliner since my glasses filter the look a little. And bright colored eye shadow that might look a bit too flashy is suddenly a nice pop of color behind your brow-line frames. And with the prices so cheap there is no reason to not try something fun and out of your comfort zone when it comes to frame styles. Go vintage, or cateye. Try big goofy 80's frames. Get inspired by your favorite four-eyed icons. Try John Lennon round, Sally Jesse Raphael red, or thick Woody Allen black.
Woody Allen. Photo via Filmmakeriq
     On a final note, studies show that people who wear glasses are perceived to be more successful, trustworthy and intelligent. So take these tips, pick up some new specs, and go fool the world into thinking you're smarter than you are--- that's what I'm off to do this week!

Hold my calls, I'm off being successful and smart! Oh sh*t... This isn't my phone.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

How To: Dream Catchers

Howdy folks!
    My gardens are planted and growing, I'm even proud to say that I've even managed to grow a beanstalk in a wine glass! Who does that?! You know who? I do!
    Anyway, now that the planting season is underway it's time to turn to a new project on the list. This time I'm making dream catchers and I would love for you all to follow along and make some too. Some Native Americans believed that dream catchers helped to catch negative dreams while your positive dreams floated through. Hippies, hipsters, and all sorts of other creative folks (myself included) think that they are a fabulous way to spend a craft day and make amazing gifts for loved ones!

So let's make some dream catchers!
Here are the supplies you will need:
  • A hoop. I prefer embroidery hoops, but any hoop will do!
  • Cord. I am using crochet yarn for mine, but hemp cord or embroidery floss work great too.
  • Feather and bead embellishments to add to the dream catcher.
My dear friend, Miranda, was able to help point me in the right direction on how to make these. She was even kind enough to share her fabulous work as well! 
My girl Miranda has got some serious skills!
I will once again be honest, I didn't nail this on my 1st or 2nd try. But after a little practice I think I really fell into a grove and was able to produce some beautiful dream catchers to display around my home!
Don't worry folks, that bone is from a bear not a human :)
How do you decorate your dream catchers? Comment below and let me know!  I love hearing about your projects!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Regrow Healthy Food at Home!

    To round out the March plant projects I thought I would share the one gardening skill I have never failed at-- regrowing plants from food scraps! Now I have a reputation for having a black thumb, but regrowing plants from cooking scraps is something I have always had success with. Being able to regrow veggies from scraps is a great way to save money and keep you enthusiastic about including healthy foods in your diet. These are my top three foods that you can regrow from scraps, and why they are beneficial to your health!

#1. Scallions/Green Onions/Spring Onions:
     These onions are by far the easiest thing to regrow. I usually get two to three months of produce come from my $1 onions. Just cut off the portion you want to use in your cooking and place the bottom bulb in a glass of water. Place your glass in a window and watch it grow! I recommend rinsing out the water daily to keep them fresh and thriving!

     Why you should be eating it: These onions are packed full of vitamin C, vitamin B2 , thiamine, vitamin A, and vitamin K. These vitamins are great for heart health and help to improve your bone density.

#2. Garlic:

     You can start with the whole ball of garlic clove, or just break off a few cloves. I prefer to break off a few cloves and let them sprout individually. Place them in water just like the green onions and soon they will produce green sprouts. Garlic sprouts are more mild in flavor than the clove part. I prefer this since I like to put them raw in salads and sandwiches. I also get quite a few months of regrowth out of my little cups of garlic before I need to start again!

     Why you should be eating it: Penn State research studies show garlic use is connected with a 38% decrease in the risk of heart problems. That alone is enough to want to start adding it to your meals. In lab studies it has also been shown to have direct anti-microbial actions on the same level as many antibiotic drugs.

#3. Ginger:
     Now this one I haven't actually tried yet but I hear it's as easy as it is beautiful! All you need to do is take a piece of fresh ginger that you buy at the grocery store and plant it in a pot of soil. Water it just like you would a house plant and soon you’ll see a pretty green plant sprouting out from the dirt. Once the plant is a decent size you can actually pull it up out of the dirt, chop off a piece of the root to cook with, and then replant it. Any time you need some fresh ginger you can yank it up and do it again!

    Why you should be eating it: Ginger helps with nausea, digestion, pain, and has anti-inflammatory properties. It is also packed with nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, omega-3s, and magnesium.

    Let's not forget that the real joy of these three plants is that they are easy enough for even us black thumb folks to grow! Happy planting everyone!
Bex, Bexercise
Pahrump, NV | | |

Monday, March 20, 2017

Three Sisters Companion Planting

      Ok folks, you're going to have to bear with me on this one. I was going to have a guest blogger to explain the Three Sisters gardening technique but that fell through, so I'm on my own with this one. Fortunately I have been reading a ton of articles and tips so I should know what I'm talking about by now... I hope!
      Before I begin, I have a few amazing updates on my previous projects. My kitchen garden is still holding strong, minus one succulent that I didn't think had much of a chance when I planted it. My pain relief lotion is still my favorite go-to remedy for my aches and pains. Oh. and the most amazing update is that my home girl, Louise, from South Africa finally got the post card I sent to her back in the beginning of this whole adventure!
Adorable, right?! Amazing chick -- check out her blog at

      The three sisters garden is a Native American gardening practice. This type of garden consists of corn, beans and some type of gourd. I will be planting heirloom golden bantam sweet corn, blue lake bush beans, and howden pumpkins in a 4 foot round above ground fabric planter. Those are also the seeds that the lucky winner of my contest will be receiving as well. According to my research, the corn grows tall and straight providing the perfect climbing pole for the beans to grow and climb up. The beans provide nitrogen to the soil, that benefit both the corn and the pumpkins. The pumpkins spread out around the base of the two other plants acting as a weed barrier. Now let's lay this plan out in a few easy to follow steps.

#1. Pick a a section of your garden (preferably at least 4 feet wide) for your three sisters garden layout. As I stated before, I'm using an above ground planter. That is partially because the soil out here is just packed desert dust and partially because of my roommate that can't seem to help but dig enormous holes everywhere she goes. I think she is trying to dig to China. If she makes it there I have requested some steamed buns upon her return.  
There she is... probably looking for her next dig spot!
#2. Sow your corn seeds in a circular pattern, starting in the center of your planter. You will want to space your corn seeds about 10 inches from each other in a ring pattern. Pat down the soil around the seeds and then water the soil. Now there is a little debate as to what step to take next. Many articles state that you should wait until your corn is at least 4 inches tall before planting your beans. However, out here in the desert, it is shown that you can plant both your corn and beans at the same time very successfully. Plants growing at the same time help to attract sufficient pollinators, and the early growing season in the area can help to bring a longer harvest. So I'm going to roll the dice and plant both beans and corn at the same time. Your beans can be planted about 4 to 6 inches apart, rather than the 10 inch spacing of the corn. 

#3. In theory, within a couple of weeks, your corn should be sprouted and somewhere around 6 inches inches tall. This is assuming everything has gone well and you have sewn your seeds correctly. Shortly after your beans should also start sprouting. I am just proud as a peacock to say that a few of my corn and beans have already begun to spring into life!

#4. In 3 to 4 weeks, once your beans and corn are well established, you will plant your gourds. Take your squash or pumpkin seeds and plant them evenly spaced outside your ring of corn and beans. As the pumpkin vine grows, help it along by directing your vines around your garden and into the center of your planter to shade and protect your other plants.

      The wonderful thing about the Three Sisters garden is that you can plant it on any scale. Even if you only have a tiny urban yard you can still have a very productive garden in a relatively small space. If corn and beans aren't your thing, the Three Sisters aren't the only companion plants you can try. I'm offering a new printable companion vegetable guide at the top of the page! Happy gardening, and congrats to Michelle who was the lucky winner of the My 17 in '17 Garden Contest!

Bex , My 17 in '17
Nye County, Nevada | |