Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Thoughts

During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.  (Luke1:40)

One of the many aspects that make this beautiful is what comes before it.  Mary is just found out that she is pregnant with the Messiah.  She has the looming problem of what her finance Joseph is going to think, plus she is expecting a baby!  But she immediately heads out to help someone who needs her instead of dwelling on her own troubles.  It's a moving example of charity and trust in God.

Maybe I should try to see who else needs help rather than focusing on myself during my own times of tumult.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

This week I.....

... yelled "Surprise" at my Grandma's 90th birthday party.

... went to the International Quilt Museum with my mom

... did some utility sewing with Mom.  Here she is fixing the hem on some thrift store shorts for her grand-daughter

... started the 2014-2015 school year.  As much as I talk about retirement, I had a lot of fun this week.  This is good, since I've probably got at least another 12 years to go...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

First Swimming Lesson

Myth: If you don't start swimming when you're really little, then you're out of luck.
Myth: You can only take swimming lessons during the summer.

Everyone should learn to swim.  It's a safety issue, plus not knowing makes you uneasy at events that are supposed to be fun like boating and pool parties.  (Even adults can learn, and private lessons are available.)  

And to show you how much fun it can be, I present my lovely niece Arwen at her very first swimming lesson!

Yes, she did good enough to get a sucker!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Font Foundations

When Matthew Carter, font-creator extraordinaire, starts on a new font, he begins with


and then


followed by



Carter's fonts include Tahoma, Verdana, and Georgia.  (The last is the font of most of this post.)

~ From Just My Type: A Book about Fonts by Simon Garfield, pages 68 and 289.

Giveaway from CraftGossip

I just found out that that I won a giveaway on CraftGossip!

I'm getting two pairs of scissors (Can you ever have enough scissors?) and two books.  One book is ribbons and the other on hand-made books.  I was just longing to win this one, so I'm really jazzed!  As I told Stef from CraftGossip, "It's serendipitous because I got a big box of ribbon from someone a few years ago and I've kept it without knowing what to do with it, plus I am planning to churn out some books and journals with the piles of used computer paper that I've been accumulating at work.  Craft fair seasons is coming, after all...."

Here's the link if you want to admire my goodies:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

Since my last update....
.... family reunion in Grand Island
Playing Kuub

.... I've spent lots and lots of time getting ready for school.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tutorial: Braided T-Shirt Yarn Purse

What can you do with old T-shirts? You can upcycle them into a purse!  I went for a youthful color combo, but you could easily make your purse or clutch in just your favorite colors or perhaps to match your best refashioned outfit.

 This one is a little more sedate. 

I made this purse almost entirely while carpooling, which was part of the point of the project.  I'm only going to do something boring and repetitive whilst unavoidably stuck in a car with nothing else to do.  This is a way to make that time useful since I get carsick when I read.

1. Cut long strips of T-shirt material about an inch or an inch and a half wide.  Make them as long as you can. 

How many T-shirts do you need?  It's hard to say because I used a lot of the parts with words that I can't use for other projects instead of whole T-shirts.  Probably 5-8?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

40th Birthday Party Pics

Clearly, my nephew is ready to party!
Why, yes, my husband put ALL FORTY candles in that ice cream!

Lots of fun and friends!  Thanks to my dear husband for throwing this very special party for me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Poetry Jam

Remember that Gratitude Jar I showed you how to make from an unwanted glass jar?

Turn it into the structure for a poem!

My students have a massive writing project due at the end of the year.  Before they turn it in, I have them flipped through it and highlight their favorite words or phrases.  The idea is to find things that sound really good that they are proud of writing. The students take turns saying their words or phrases out loud in a kind of "jam session," which is random, quirky, and fun. It's like a spontaneous poem.

The student write their words and phrases on circular bits of cardstock that I provided.  Some add illustrations or doodles.

Next I compile the quotes into some kind of unusual book format.  So far, I have been able to design all of the books in such a way that the students' contributions can be rearranged into any order you want.  This also represents the class -- they're the content; I am the structure.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Papier Mache Pedestal

This piece was very, very custom.

Aunt Amy's daughter gave her a solar light.  Auntie A knew just where she wanted to put it, but it wasn't quite tall enough to peek over the edge of the window sill.  Plus she announced that she didn't have any of my art.  So I made a pedestal for it.   But Auntie A. is just so hip and cool and up for anything that I decided to do something a little different....

I'm not going to write a tutorial because who else wants to use papier mache to turn a plastic cup and some cardstock into a faux stem for a solar light?  Not many people, I'm guessing......

So here's a pictorial summary instead.

I made the papier mache out of just white tissue paper (used for wrapping presents) and white glue.   It worked about the same as more complicated recipes with sawdust and chalk, although I suspect the final result wasn't as strong..

Acrylic paint watered down and mixed.

Decorating it was obviously great fun and very messy.
(Ever notice how often "great fun" and "very messy" go together?)
Since it is different on every side, (and since I'm really jazzed about it!), here are some more shots:

Now here was how I planned it to be used:

But I ended up making it a little warped.  Accidentally!  And Aunt Amy discovered that it actually worked better this way.  Anyone who knows either of us is not surprised by this turn of events!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

But I Thought 40-Year Olds Were OLD!?

Yes, that would be 40 candles stuck in ice cream.  100% gluten free!
Thanks to everyone who came and who sent their best wishes!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Getting ready

... for a party tomorrow!

Oh, and school.  That's starting soon, I recently discovered....

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Did You Know? Trivia about Chanel No. 5

I found some interesting tidbits about the perfume Chanel No. 5 in a biography of the designer.  It was created by Ernest Beaux, a Russian émigré and the ex-czar's official perfumer.

... Beaux was just then experimenting with using synthetic compound to enhance various natural mixtures.... Chanel found perfumes of the day, extracted from violets, roses, and orange blossoms and put up in extravagant bottles, banal.  She told Beaux she wanted everything in the perfume -- a scent that would invoke the femininity of a woman.  Beaux's genius was then to add synthetic chemical components to enhance the natural scents and stabilize the perfume so that the scent lingered on the skin -- unlike the natural scents.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Faux Painting = Snazzy Bookshelves

Let's start with the AFTER:

Aunty M. has lots of class and style.  Her bookshelves didn’t.

So she found just the perfect contact paper to put in the back of the bookshelves to add that subtle pop of sophistication.  Unfortunately, it was $25 a roll.  She had six bookshelves.  Do the math.  Not cool.

So we decided to do some faux painting.

We picked colors somewhat different than the original contact paper to better match her current décor.  We had four colors.

She has this super-fun book called Faux Finish Secrets by Brian Santos and it had lots of options.  Time to play!  She primed and painted eight large pieces of cardboard, four with one base coat and four with the other.