Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

This week I…

… didn’t take a lot of pictures!
… started a furniture re-finishing class through Southeast Community College.  Love it already!  I’m working on a piano bench from Aunt Earlene.  I took it apart and am working on stripped off the scratched varnish.
... let my husband cut my hair.  Yes, we are still married!  It helps that he just cut the back.
… arranged an interview with a reporter to help publicize the Upcycled Art Show.  Here’s a press release from SCC website.
… volunteered at the World’s Best Thrift Shop Ever.
… decided to go in with one of the other thrift shop workers and rent a booth at the Blessed Sacrament Bazaar on May 31.  Locals, please mark your calendars!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Flying High! The Strategic Air and Space Museum

On Saturday my sister Chrissy organized a family trip to what is now apparently called the Strategic Air and Space Museum.  We always called it SAC - Strategic Air Command - because one of its duties was to always keep a plane in the air, 24/7, as part of the Cold War vigilance.  Dad thought they shouldn't have stopped doing that. 

Now there is a museum there with two hangers full of planes, a planetarium, and some space stuff.  We saw bombers, stuff from a Nebraska astronaut, a Russian MIG, and the engine from a plane that goes 3 times the speed of sound.

Hanging out with family.
More photos after the jump...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Business Cards: Labeling Myself

We're working on business cards to take to the art show so I can publicize the blog and generally just make connections with people.

I'm trying to describe what I do/am in a unique and fun way.....  I'm thinking about making a long list and then scattering it in the background of the card like a watermark.  (That last sentence made sense in my head. Possibly nowhere else!)

All-Around Creative Person
Subcreator (Hello, Tolkien fans!)

Some of then wouldn't work, for obvious reasons.  But that's why it is called brainstorming.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Upcycling Art Show: April 5-19th

Here's a link to the art show that I'm in.  It's my very first one!

It will be at the Beatrice Public Library in Beatrice, Nebraska.  Right now I'm showing 20 pieces andI didn't buy a single thing to put them together.

Here are some of my favorites....

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

This week I......
.... hung out with Kirsten and Elizabeth for some much-needed girl time....
.... and then had even more girls-and-craft-time with one of my Busy Hands Afternoons.  I didn't manage to get any photos, but we had lots of variety: Marcia made jewelry, Ann filed bills, Gen sorted coins, Elizabeth worked on a garland, and Katie put a puzzle together.
.... got a nice pile of stuff from the Best Thrift Store in the World.  Here's some of it.
Soon to be upcycled into fun stuff!
 ... celebrated Maddie's 1st birthday!

... finished up projects (and photographing said projects) for the art show.  Almost there! 
... spent almost all day cleaning up the studio--between needing to put away my haul from the thrift store and cleaning up after multiple projects in multiple rooms, it took awhile!

Next week I'll post pics of some of my art from recycled materials 
that you haven't seen yet.  
Have a good weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Art Show Prep Continues....

I almost glued my fingers to the tube of super glue...
Time to stop and do something else!  

I now have 20 items on deck to take to the art show; we'll see if the organizer likes all of them or not.

Life Hacks Extravaganza!

Here's a link with 89 life hacks!  (My personal favorite is the one with the clothes pin.)  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring Break Has Sprung!

I'm spending it getting ready for the art show next month.  I'm happiest when I have paint under my nails!  Photos and tutorials to come!

Quotable: Gardening

According to Charles Moore in The Poetics of Gardens, the layout of paths reflects cultural characteristics.

The path of Islam are straight and narrow, leading directly into the heart of paradise.  Those of Versailles are equally single-minded but climax in the bedchamber of the Sun King.  The goose-foot patterns of seventeenth-and eighteenth-century French hunting park tell of the headlong flight of the stag, while English parks may be patterned on the winding tracks of the devious fox.  Rococo gardens cut passes into the curlicued rhythms of courtly frivolity, and Japanese gardens have, for centuries, deployed precarious stepping-stoned with such artful irregularity that the placement of each geta-constrained foot must become a conscious, exquisitely shaped act.

Monday, March 17, 2014

DIY Draft Blocker

Here's one of my projects from last week, designed to keep out the chill.  It's not glamorous by any means, but there was so much cold air coming in I had to do something.

One door leads to the garage and the other to sun porch.   You wouldn't think there would be much of a draft, but I felt it every time I head down the stairs.
I'm not posting detailed instructions, but I'm guessing photos will work just fine.  It was nice to not need to iron a sewing project for a change!

 I actually put in "normal" stuffing--fabric scraps, mostly from deconstructing men's shirts from the thrift store--but I only got photos of the odd stuff.  I also had gobs of denim bits like waistbands, hems, and zippers from the jeans I deconstructed to make the denim blanket.

The end has a rubber band in case I change my mind and decide to fill it with the traditional rice instead.

A quick, easy project with a serger that should make our house a little more comfy. 
Now, here's to spring!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

This week I....

... joined my sisters at Aunty M's Birthday Tea.  Homemade scones, darling little sandwhiches, and oh, the desserts.  I'm pretty much speechless. 

My niece Arwen at her first grown-up tea party. 
I was so proud that she was so well-behaved!

This is just a really nice photo of my beloved husband… who, unbeknownst to him, was making a perfectly vile dinner.  His goal was sweet potatoes that were supposed to resemble pasta and didn’t.  Today while he was trying to choke down the leftovers, I reminded them that the ingredients were compost-able.

Speaking of compost, that’s why our back porch looks like this:

We’re making a sturdy compost pile.  Yes, I know.  Everyone who is anyone makes them out of pallets.  But Belovedest saw concrete block ones on campus at the state ag college and so this is what he wants to do.  I surprised him by finding this lot for free on Craigslist and persuading my carpool buddy with the pick-up truck to retrieve a load before Belovedest got home.   He was surprised!  (My husband, that is. The guy I carpool with has long ago concluded that I am crazy.)   We’re going to have to chip off some concrete, but that will become gravel in the trench beneath the block wall.  There’s at least $200 worth of free brick there, minus paying Jason the Carpool Guy for hauling and helping.  We’ll see how thrilled I am about it after I spend time chipping away at these so that they’ll lie flat…. It's about all I can do since I discovered much to my dismay while trying to help that I can't actually lift one.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

About &....

The ampersand (i.e. &) is a combination of the letters E and T, which spell the Latin word "et," meaning “and.”

I suppose most people knew this, but I didn't.  It all comes of impulsively grabbing a random book off of the artsy section of the library....

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

DIY Laundry Detergent

Today I put our homemade laundry to the ultimate test: My Workout Clothes.

I'm happy to report success!  The T-shirt and sports bra no longer smell like... like... well, you know.

Our source for the recipe was the wilds of the Internet, plus advice from Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World.

1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda
1 grated bar of Fels Naptha soap.  (1st grate, then use a blender.)

Instructions: Mix.  2 tablespoons per load.

Yup.  That's it.

Monday, March 10, 2014

"She's Always Got Her Nose in a Book"

Yup, Mom, nothing's changed much!

Here's what I've been reading lately.

100 Unforgettable Dresses
by Hal Rubenstein
207 pages
Where else are you going to find Lady Gaga and Jacqueline Kennedy in the same book?  The author gives the behind-the-scenes info about each dress and includes dresses from many different eras.  Gorgeous photos, fun and flippant commentary, and insider knowledge about the fashion industry.  A great coffee table book with substance for anyone interested in fashion, gossip, clothing history, or design.

Retro Revamp: Funky Projects from Handbags to Housewares
by Jennifer Knapp
123 pages, 39 projects of widely variety difficulty
I enjoyed this book.  It’s got great energy and fun tone.  The aesthetic is a bit kooky and not every project has photographs, though, so it’s not for everybody.  I want to note it here so I can check it out again when I have time to make the ribbon clutch, although I might adapt the pattern to magazine strips….

Making Glorious Gifts from Your Garden
by Marie Browning
127 pages
Detailed information about herbs (and a few flowers), including preserving, crafting, eating, decorating with, and even packaging.  She's got everything from room sprays and bath oils to cleaners, garlands, decorated soaps, greeting cards, and facial scrubs.  For me, there were too many extras to buy like various oils, orris root, etc., but she is detailed and knows what she is doing.  I like the idea of simmering lavender or other herbs in hot water to add fragrance to a room or a bath.

Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World
by Kelly Coyne & Erik Knutzen
310 pages
I don't usually put a book up here until I'm done with it, but I'm hooked... making your own soap, tooth powder, mead, vegetable stock... We've already successfully made laundry detergent and I want to try microgreens, making our own peppermints, and growing sweet potatoes as edible houseplants.  Stay tuned....

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Thoughts: Lent

For many of my Christian readers, Lent has begun.

I was thinking at church this morning that I really don't like hearing about sin and repentance.  But then, the question I should ask is not whether such topics are pleasant, but whether the information is true.  And since it is true that I sin and need to repent and reform, then I should be glad for this season of penance. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

The last two weeks I...

... went on a brief silent retreat.  It was a lovely three days!
.... worked on my current papier mache project.
... Went with Aunty M to see some Japanese fashion and eat crepes.  Always a good time!
.... Made some garden plans.

 He wants wavy lines and flowers.

I want straight lines and vegetables.

He wins, though, because as my mother pointed out (who generally thinks every idea my husband has is wonderful, but they are both usually right), it's easier to keep a wavy-line garden looking neat.  Straight and tidy plans show neglect much more quickly.

Mr. Precision sketched out the backyard layout on graph paper, neatly to scale, of course, and then we popped it inside one of those plastic paper protectors and used (and re-used) a white board erasable marker.

We're going to order from a heritage seed catalog so that we can try collecting seeds for next year.

What have you been up to lately?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Quotables: On Gardening

For a garden to be more than the color or form or variety -- for it to inspire and move you -- it must contain three elements that fulfill ancient, primitive human needs: shelter, trails and lookouts, not a garden rooms, paths and views.  These words are removed from the natural world.  They do not speak directly to the feelings you might have when, having hiked all day along a high, exposed ridge trail, you come, as dusk falls, upon a ravine where a knot of trees offers shelter for the night.  When you find such a place you feel good and warm and safe.  Trails produce many emotions, a sense of expectation and a sense of direction.  A lookout brings a sense of power and exhilaration.  This is how primitive people saw nature and how modern people experience nature and even gardens, whether they know it or not.
-- a quote from Harland Hand, as quoted in Garden Paths: Inspiring Designs and Practical Projects by Gordon Hayward

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tea from our Tea Tree

The Magician can make anything grow.

Aunt Monica gave us a tea tree.  It was, as she put it, "sulking" in an east-facing window, as her house is sadly lacking in the south-facing window department.   The Magician found a spot for it in the kitchen and now it is producing:

He plucks the leaves, dries them, and makes tea.  One plant isn't enough to supply all his tea-drinking needs.  (He's into TAi Chi right now. That seems to require lots of tea.)  But it helps!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

In Box for Msgr. P

My beloved spiritual director requested that I keep an eye-out for inbox trays.

I found some at work that were so ugly the secretary said I could just have them.

But I couldn't give them to dear Msgr. P looking so ugly!  So I tackled one of those projects that only looks easy....

It’s pretty basic: book pages affixed with white glue and water, then sealed with ModPodge.   However, there were lots of uneven surfaces and corners and angles….  The photo essay continues after the jump if you are curious…

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tutorial: DIY Denim Blanket From Old Blue Jeans

Here’s the challenge with piecing together bits of scrap fabric to make something new….
The above photo means being precise and matching up all kinds of corners.  I’m not precise, and the corners didn’t match up.  Although I did have a lot of fun making it with Elizabeth (and quilting it with Carla), I vowed never again.

This, on the other hand, is even more time consuming than cutting out all of those 4 inch squares:
This one isn’t mine.  I’m not THAT crazy!  (And it's actually just a pillow.)

My solution is this:

Because you only have to be precise in cutting one side of each piece, it goes much faster.  Because each strip is all the same height, sewing them all together goes much faster.  It's a great first project for someone with a new serger.

Here’s how to do one yourself.

You will need:
  • 10-12 pairs of blue jeans.
  • Sharp scissors
  • A serger