Saturday, November 30, 2013

Weekly Round Up

This week I...

... hung out with Marcia at Crescent Moon coffee shop and listened to some poetry
 … enjoyed having the Daileys over for a pleasant Sunday afternoon chat about creativity, sub-creation, invention, and discovery.  I created "Dreamville" which the Magician turned into an airplane.    These two photos some things up nicely.

A good time was had by all!
 … did some work on my painted shoes, since I already had painting stuff out while working on the lamp stand.

... spent time with family for Thanksgiving.  Here, Dad teaches my niece Arwen to play solitaire.
 (In real life she isn't that blurry!)

... watched the odometer on the Honda hit 100,000 miles on the drive back from helping Dave and Sarah move into their beautiful new home.  (And then dusted off the dashboard!)

... per my brother-in-law Micah's advice, I downloaded a trial version of BackBlaze, an on-line (and therefore off-site) back-up system.  It only backs up files like photos, Word documents, videos, etc, not applications, but on my really old machine I have 19,697 files that meet its criteria.  So far it has taken about 24 hours of my computer being on continuously to get about 10,000 files downloaded.  Happily I can still use my computer while this is going on.  Anyway, apparently upload speed is always much, much slower than download speed.  I will let you, my loyal readers, know how the system works and if I decide to spend $5 a month for the service.  As Micah pointed out, whatever disaster claims your computer would probably claim your back-up external drive, too, so having your data in a cloud is more than just being able to access it from multiple computers.
... counted my blessings, not least of which has been getting to spend lots of time with my beloved, as we are both off from work the second half of this week.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Just My Type

One the advantages of being comfortable with my nerdom is that I freely pick up books like Just My Type: A Book about Fonts by Simon Garfield.

It is a strange book that combines opinionated musing on the effects of particular fonts, bits of history, some outrageous puns, and odd stories.  There's lots of stuff on cities picking different fonts for street signs and labeling public transportation.  I have to say, it has made me notice once far more than I otherwise would have.

Here are some random bits of information that I am pulling out, mostly so that I have them someplace I can get back to them.

There is actually a tongue-in-cheek movement to ban Comic Sans (pages 17-18).

In 2007 a woman named Vicki Walker from New Zealand was fired for sending e-mail in ALL CAPS.  She later won her lawsuit, claiming that had been unfair, and was awarded $17,000 (22-24).

Even though fonts can be time-consuming and therefore expensive to design, it has proven difficult to establish intellectual property rights over them (225).  If lettering is your passion, you might not want to make it a career….

"It is believed Gutenberg cast almost 300 different letterforms for his two-volume 1,282-page Bible of 1454-55." Only 48 copies of Gutenberg Bibles to survive, and very few of them are complete (28-31).

Finished! Lamp Stand Part Two

Here's where things stood with my lamp stand at the end of my previous post about making it from a dresser drawer:
I'd wanted to replace this:

And here it is all finished!
The trip from here to there starting with priming:
(I also primed some boxes that I use to keep clothes organized.)  Happily, we had primer left over from painting the garage.

I had a tough time deciding how to decorate the door.... flourishes? decoupage?  collage?  It took me a couple of days of thinking, but I  finally settled on stripes.  I taped up the door.  I had to think backwards--wherever there was blue tape, there would be white, and whatever was left white would be covered in blue paint... 

I used a gold Sharpie pen paint for the gold stripes. The black tape is "artists' tape" and it didn't work all that hot, but then, I didn't use it for its intended purpose.
The blue paint was left over from painting the ceiling and it had glaze in it.  Therefore, on the advice of my painting expert and carpool buddy Jason, I lightly score the tape with my exacto knife before pulling it off.

I free-handed the center flourish, and then had to add more flourishes to disguise the fact that it wasn't quite centered!
You can see my practice attempts on the scrap cardstock.  I was most worried about this step but I'm really pleased with how it came out.
 Next I had to touch up the stripes with the paint pen.  You can see a "before" and "after" below:
Finally, I screwed the hinge back in place....

... and put it on my dressing room table.  Viola!  I'm delighted with the final result.  It really helps pull the room together, and it will give me a great place to tuck away less-than-sightly items..

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.
~ Doctor Who

So what might happen if you or I took some detours today?

Weekly Round Up

This week I....
... had to listen to my beloved tell me the temperatures in Key West, FL (80 degrees) and Quito, Ecuador (67 degrees) because the cold has come.  It's below freezing here, and my half-Croatia husband is remembering his Mediterranean bloodlines and wondering why we still live here....

... confirmed that what I tell my students is true: You have to follow the directions!
This is me looking sheepish:

This is him announcing who is going to clean the burnt weirdness off of the inside of the microwave:

(Sorry, Rachel, I will do better next time!)

Thanksgiving Break Begins Today...

And for that I am thankful!

The big debate: be productive or rest, relax, and unwind?
(I suppose the correct answer is: both!)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Weekly Round-Up

This week I....

... had dessert with my brother from California and his lovely girlfriend Maria.
... took Grandma to church.
... continued to waffle about buying a Mac. (Any suggestions?)
... primed stuff for my next project.....
... didn't take a lot of photos!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Art Hanging by a Thread

Aren't these pieces from Gabriel Dawe beautiful?  I love the simplicity.  It's just thread.

Here's his website if you are interested. I found him on page 72 of the only book about art from recycled materials in our local university: Raw+Material=Art by Tristan Manco.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Breaking-the-Rules Skirt (in an Afternoon)

I didn’t actually make this in afternoon, but I easily could have.

However, there are consequences for breaking the rules!

Here’s how I did it. First, I love my Country Cute Skirt because it has all the convenience of pants (mainly pockets) and all the comfort of a skirt (easy to move and sit in).  So I decided to make another one with fabric donated by my dear friend, Jen S. from her Grandmother’s unwanted fabric stash.

The capris were low-riders from the thrift store.  They looked super cute on me (if I do say so myself, which I obviously just did!) but whenever I wear low-riders, I keep tugging them up to my waist where they feel more comfy, and then they aren’t comfy elsewhere.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Who Knew?

When the name Alan Smithee is credited as a film's director it means that the real director has disavowed the project and does not want his or her real name to be used.

 That is a lot of work to not want credit for because  you think someone else botched it!

The above tidbit is quoted from the book Who Knew? Things You Didn't Know About Things You Know Well by David Hoffman page 105

Monday, November 18, 2013

Additional Shelves: Power Tools Are Not Always Fun

This was much more work than I thought it would be!  Using only left over and repurposed materials added to the challenge.

But the result is more efficient use of space.
Here's the before:

 And here's the after:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I wasn't wandering around the blog-o-sphere looking for stuff to re-post.

I was waiting by the phone for someone to call so I could interview her so I could meet my deadline on a freelance writing project.

So far, no call.

But whilst meandering around the Internet and casting dark looks at the phone I found this:

The source blog is called Skruben.  No kidding. Click here for the original post.

Has anyone tried this?

Does anyone want to lend me a 2 liter plastic bottle so I can try this?  (I promise to get back to you about how it works.) 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Weekly Round-Up

This week I....

.... worked on my nephew/godson's supposed Christmas gift, a handmade and original book.  I have serious doubts about getting it done in time....
Lie to me.  Tell me this looks like a vole!

... measured the backyard to plan our huge garden!
... volunteered at the craft booth at the parish bazaar.  I learned that items for wrapping other items (gift bags, gift card wrappers) sold quite well.  There were also some fun stuffed animals that went.  I could try designing goofy stuffed dolls--that might be fun.  Crafting is not all that lucrative, so I'm not going to make stuff that isn't fun to make unless I can do it in front of the TV.

... sweet-talked My Beloved into cutting up leftover paneling from the basement project for, you guessed, more shelves.  (I would do it myself but the circular saw is too heavy for me to both lift and control.)
... priced Macs.  As in, the computers.  Now I'm trying to if I want one badly enough to spend that much money on it.  The actual computer isn't that expensive, but there would be a lot of software to buy since I need voice recognition software and I have art projects in mind that will require Photoshop, plus the ergonomic keyboard, a back-up system, a DVD player/burner, etc...  In fact, my husband noted that a Mac would probably cost more than we could get for our smaller car.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Art Via.... Cleaning?

Ok, I'm not saying this is going to inspire me to consider scrubbing the kitchen floor to be art, but this is pretty cool.

This artist makes art, not by adding, but by removing.  Dirt and grime, that is.

It's an important concept, though: sometimes art = removing. 

Check out his website for more, especially if you can read German!

I discovered him via the book Raw+Material=Art which I've been enjoying flipping through.  It has an international flair to it, and I'm definitely seeing some larger-than-life art.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


It is extraordinary how extraordinary the ordinary person is.

-- George F. Will

I think this is one reason selfish people are boring.  They haven’t figured this out yet.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Life Hack #7: Remembering to....

This is a bracelet made by my rock-hound Grandpa (rest in peace, kindly man) around a milk jug.

It's supposed to help me remember to make my medicine in the morning because the medicine comes in a green box.

It's working more than not having it there would work....  I'm still pretty forgetful, though.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekly Round-Up

This week I ...
... got to enjoy the simple things, like putting together a puzzle with my husband.

... went to two craft fairs.  Marcia is interesting in selling at craft fairs, and so we thought we'd go check them out.  Here we are at St. Mark's....

... and at my alma mater, St. John's.  I met the mother of one of my students (always a pleasure, mostly because my students are awesome), and she told me that a single-day fee for a spot at the local farmer's market is only $37.  That was MUCH more reasonable than I thought it would be, plus I hadn't realized that you don't have to commit for the whole summer.... hmmm....

Do Something Impossible

 Go to the Impossibottle website and be inspired to try something impossible!  The ideas are all based on the original works of Harry Eng.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Library Trip ~or~ Evidence of Eclectic-ness

A recent trip to the library netted the following:

2. Ngaio Marsh's Vintage Murder

3.  Jan Karon's A Light in the Window

4.  Just My Type: A Book about Fonts by Simon Garfield

6. Sherri Haab's Jewelry Upcycled!

If there are any that my readers are curious about, just let me know in the comments and I will write a review.  (I really liked #5, so if you are thinking about getting it, head over to the reviews page for my assessment.)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Puzzle Painting Tutorial

This was such fun!  I am definitely going to do more of these.

This baby shower gift was for a cousin's wife who has had a difficult pregnancy, and has endured MONTHS of bedrest in a hospital room with one window that looks out on a brick wall.  Since that doesn't leave a lot of decorate the nursery time, I made this.

Part of the idea is of connections and of using materials in the way they were intended, but with a big twist.  A single puzzle piece usually communicates nothing.  But together, in context, it has meaning.

Pictures and a tutorial after the jump.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pile of Sweaters => Sweater Top

This is what I did with my weekend....

I took this pile of sweaters

 Loved the color of this too-big one:
Next up: Cutting and sewing

I remembered to serge the arm hole before sewing up the sides, which was a good thing.  This will keep them from unraveling.
Then I cut the bottom half to size.
Note the wavy seam on the waist.  I need to figure out how to do thick knits in the serger because that is what usually happens.  It's still wearable, but not quite what I had in mine.

Here's the finished look.  I was going to add more of the burgundy sweater to the bottom so it would be long enough to teach in.  But I like it better short.  I'm going to call it a top and not a dress....

I'm pretty pleased, overall.  But I've got to figure out how to seam knits on the serger problem before I make another one.

Update: My friend Carla explained that a more gathered stitch will help.  If you have a Baby Lock brand serger, this means "push the level all the way to the 2 at the top."