Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 31: Hey! I hit over 1000 on my hit counter today!!! and I made soap too!

Tucking in first soap after creation!
I am waiting for my very first batch of soap to come to some sort of similar temp so I can add nasty lye solution to yummy oil and mix! I had planned to do it earlier today...much earlier, but to use a Shutterfly coupon that expired today, I spent almost four hours sitting at the computer going through pictures to have printed. Procrastinating sure bit me big today. Now it is late, and I must finish soap mixing!

Done cleaning up at 10:04.  Just adding the pictures and off to bed. I stood in my kitchen mixing and wondering "how will I know when the batter is at 'TRACE' consistency" and then all of a sudden it just was.  I poured it in the mold (made by my hubby out of scrap hardwood floor planks), tucked it in with plastic wrap and a towel, and kissed it goodnight for the next two days before I can cut it, then put it to rest again for another few weeks.  Not a hobby for the impatient, or at least, not the only hobby for the impatient!

Oils, Water, and Lye, OH MY!

Yes, I will be purchasing goggles before my next batch.

Pouring into the mold made by hubby!  THANKS, ROBERT!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 30: iPad Bag INSIDE!

I finished the liner today, and instead of using the beat up red blanket, I used the even more beat up yellow blanket.  I have another purse that I like with a very light inside liner and it makes it very easy to see inside your purse to find that one thing that you just know is in there.  I added a larger pocket on the side as I am always lugging a journal around and perhaps a book on the next hobby of choice.  It also offers some counter balance to the weight of the iPad on the other side so that when set down on the ground, it doesn't just tip over iPad to the dirt.  I failed with my original set of intended zipper pockets on the inside, but instead ended up with a clear plastic set of pockets that I think I am going to like much more.  It will keep my cell and meds very handy and close to the top of the purse.  I do need to add a little more stitching here and there to keep the parts of the liner tight to the purse in a few key structural areas.  Otherwise, I AM DONE!  Soap tomorrow?  Mayhaps, yes, mayhaps.....

I have to say that I like the edgy look of the yellow stringies that line the top of the plastic pockets, but I may have to add some stuff to keep it from fraying further.  Time will tell on that one!  Tomorrow I will have to put my new bag to work (not going to work, just working for me!).  Toodles!  Almost one month down!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 29: Electronic Roll-up and Old-School Frienship Bracelets

I have problems with my cables and cool electronic gadget cables/converters/do-dads.  Not only do I not seem to have all of my cables together, but I am not always sure what each one is for.  Well, NO MORE!  This is my first go at an electronic pack that I might roll up and put in the bottom of my cool iPad bag.  I currently have my (L-R) headphones, my camera to computer cable,  headphone output to audio system cable, iPod with case separately (really, my camera would be in there with its charger, but I can't easily take a pic of the camera that I am using to take a pic.....), my converter thingy for camera card directly to iPad, the pigtail that would hook my iPad to a projector, and some writing stuff.  I will toy with another version of this over the next few days.  I love the plastic in that I can write on it and label places for each piece and I can see clearly what everything is without pulling it all out.  I don't like the two ply plastic as it is very rigid.  The good thing is that you can clearly see its contents....the bad thing is that you can also clearly see whatever the plastic has picked up due to static electricity (in my case, copious amounts of sewing threads, paper bits, and pet hair).  I will likely do a half sturdy fabric/half plastic version with some pocket size adjustments as well.....maybe some half pockets???  I will also add a tie or closure rather than resorting to binding it with a strip of scrap fabric.

Gadget Roll-Up rolled up!

Sylvia and I are also making our way through a book of friendship bracelet patterns.  So far we have completed the twist, the braid, and the basic knot.  We'll tackle those cool flat ones just like I used to make "back in the day" with all of my friends.  Next thing you know, I will be rolling up the ends of my jeans after pinching them tight to my ankle.  I might need to rat my bangs too.  Wait!  I am now thirty-something and I don't have bangs.  Too bad.  My time has past.  Now it is time to watch my daughter go through the motions of growing up!  What a ride that will be!
Old-School Friendship Bracelets....YEAH, BABY!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 28: Napkin Rings

Orchid, Ivy, and Ribbon.....made today.
I was visiting my grandma for lunch today and my two aunties were there also.  Following lunch, Grandma busts out the bags of crafts and we worked on napkin rings.  This craft actually came from my mother-in-law Sumara and tia-in-law Mara via Christmas gifts several years back. 

Napkin Rings: Made by Mara and Sumara
I keep extra sets in gift tins for the quick gift.
 Sumara and her sister got together prior to the large gathering and made pretty poinsettia napkin rings for the big dinner, and they also made a set of napkin rings for each female of my age group. I was so pumped as I rarely get a handcrafted gift!
Coneflower poof things: made today
Detail: I love the watercolor silk roses!
The day after Christmas that year, I had my hubby take me to Michael's where I cleaned up purchasing clearance garland covered in mini-poinsettia.  I also bought some other floral stuff at amazing discounts.  I then returned to the house and made napkin ring sets for all of my girlfriends.  I also still have sets upon sets myself.  Grandma went out after Christmas last year and got many of the same deals but hadn't finished making the actual napkin rings.  We sat around the table in the kitchen pretending to mock each other and "judging" while we made these fun little things. 

I tied 2 colors with same beaded accent.
Upon returning home this afternoon, my kids Sylvia and Felix (who didn't have school today due to professional development day) hadn't had enough, so I brought down the box labeled "Napkin Ring Supplies" and she went to town.  When I inventoried the stash, I realized that I had bought orchids and strange, poofy, yellow, cornflower looking things but hadn't done anything with them.  VOILA!  Craft for today, finito.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 27: iPad Bag....STILL

I have no claim to fame today....all I added as a button, button hole and bag strap.  This pic is on top of the blanket I intend to use for pockets and liner.  I bought the blanket at IKEA several years ago, and they still sell them now in a variety of colors.  This one has holes in it from being tucked under too far so that it snags on the springs supporting my son's daybed.  LOTS OF HOLES.  I have been sketching little bags that are likely to be all in red since that is what I have in plenty.  I also got my box of soaping supplies a few days ago, and I am anxious to make my first soap batch (so that I can wait for an entire month to see if it is actually something I like to use).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 26: Improvised Recorder Bag

Sylvia comes into my room this morning with her pink recorder and says, "Remember, I need my recorder to start playing in music today."  At which point, I did remember, but realize that she needs a little baggie (long lost from when we actually bought the recorder years back) and probably something to clean it with.  So, to the sewing machine I go, with 15 minutes before the bus leaves, and BEFORE I HAVE HAD ANY COFFEE....with my shreds of plastic from the iPad Bag project, and TADA!  Two minutes later I have a cute little bag, with her name written on it, and a scrap of blanket from the same project to wrap around her recorder to protect it a little, and she stuffed her little oboe swab in there to clean it with.  SHE WAS SO HAPPY!  "Mom, this is WAY cooler than the black bags that the school recorders come with!"  She practically skipped out the door this morning, and I really felt lucky that I have this random set of gifts.  I made her day with scraps, and just a little bit of thought.  My mom, GOD LOVE HER, couldn't have done that and I would have walked out the door with the $5 to get a school recorder with the bag and cleaner.  I would have been happy too.  Now of course, my mom can grow cool things in a dish and show me through the microscope, and she always gave me jars to catch lizards that escaped into her lab area from the greenhouse area on a lower floor, and she calmed me down when I pulled a tail off calmly explaining that that was a normal defense of theirs.  Every mom (or dad) has their own special touch that they put on the lives of children, and this was mine for today.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 25: iPad Bag....pimp my iPad bag, way better than pimp my ride!

It is 10 p.m. now, and although I have fulfilled my actual craft quota for the day, I failed to get photos in to the blog. Sorry, kids! I did actually go to my favorite pottery class tonight for the first time in months. I saved energy all day to try to go, and I WENT! I only threw four small cups, but none of them died, and as long as I stretched between, I could do it with adding too much pain. We will really have the verdict on that one tomorrow.

Stitching detail, simple, I know, but I am proud anyway.
I will put up photos tomorrow of my iPad bag progress....I now have put stiff interfacing in the base, and I have hand sewn a polka dotted frame around the iPad pocket. I will admit it doesn't seem like a lot of progress, but I have also been sketching out my liner and pocket construction and I might even be ready to cut that out tomorrow.

Hard to stick with pin cushion =)
I also used scraps and a spool from a used up machine thread to make a pin first one despite the project being a really handy and quick use of scraps. I just took some of the blanket scraps from my bag project, rolled them into a ball, wrapped around the top of the spool and sewed it on tight cinching the upping up around the spool end. I then did the same with a scrap of the cool Bombay fabric as well and glued some ribbon around the middle of the spool to finish it off. I thought i could wrap my tape measure around the spool, put magnets on the other end and put it on my new magnet board. I finished it up this afternoon and tried to stick some little pins in it....then I realized that ten million layers of wadded up blanket is REALLY hard to stick with a pin. So much for my first pin cushion, and i GLUED LOTS. I don't think there is any way to retrieve the spool for another try.

I think I will still stick it on my board to hold my tape measure as a reminder to keep working to improve shortcomings in my ideas, art, life. Plus, sometimes, I could use it to take out frustration.....forceful stabbing with pins may indeed have its time and place.

Pictures, tomorrow, I promise.

As added Wednesday, January 26, 11:00 a.m.
I might have to rethink the flap....hmmmm.

Framed plastic pocket....I love dots for some reason!
 I stuffed the bag this time for photos, and I think it makes it easier to see the form and detail.  I still have no strap, no liner, and no pockets inside, but there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 24: iPad Bag Improvements

I did a lot today, too much, yes.  I went to IKEA today for some small juice cups, some ideas of how to deal with my baking sheet cabinet, and magnet canisters with metal board (seen in pic too).  I spent the better part of the afternoon resting between trips up and down stairs to take the crafty contents of the dining room table and move it back into a real work space.  Then after dinner, I turned to my craft for the day as I suddenly realized that I wanted to go to bed, and hadn't even thought about it.  Pictured here is my cool bag, sporting the last bit of its flap binding completed by hand.  I am still sans liner, strap, pockets, and surface stitching of any sort.
I did get the plastic pocket sewn to hold my iPad to the outside of the purse underneath the flap.  To my complete surprise, the touchpad still works even under the thick plastic.  It is hard to see in the photo, but it is cool.  My bag can hold my iPad with alarm clock app on the side of my nightstand when I sleep, I can strap it to the back of my seat for longer trips in the car so the kids can watch a movie.....the ultimate on-the-go toy just became more GOOOOOOO!  Now if I only had some "GOOOOOOO." I am looking forward to learning more as I go on this project and finding clever ways to keep all of my electronic goodies organized and on-hand......but don't swipe my idea.....or at least give credit where credit is due=)

The fabric really is cool, isn't it?

Goodnight for today!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 23: iPad Bag

This is  my pleat and gather...oooh, ahhh.
I have never sewn anything without a pattern.....I take that back.  I have never sewn anything NOT SQUARE without a pattern.  I have been thinking for days now about a bag that would be my new, artsy, retired yet not appearing as tired as I really am, "go to" bag that would hold my iPad in it too.  There are some more additions that are called for, for sure, but here is where we are tonight.
What it does have:
*Fabric from Bombay, brought back from the travels of my too-cool-for-words-sister-in-law.  I have been holding on to it for every since it really has to be the right project for such cool fabric.  You know I am right.
*The padding (which you can clearly see in yesterday's blog pic before I turned it right side out) was from pieces of recycled blanket that was eaten by my old washer and dryer, but I hadn't realized that I didn't throw out until I cleaned out my linen closet (as per Motivated Moms project on Friday).
*It has some non-square design...i.e. pleats/gathers on the side that will allow for me to stuff it with everything under the sun (but still weighing under 10 pounds as per the request of the spine doctors).  The pattern, which I sort of made (I cut and pinned together) was made out of the pillow case I splattered with coffee and india ink painting), will allow me to do this again if it actually turns out okay.
*The flap has binding on it, with....wait for it.....hand sewing (both my gram and friend Kristin will beam with joy, I usually do the sloppy fold over and sew for that stuff) with leftover fabric from the last time I did mono-printing.

*What it doesn't have: Lining (I don't even know where to start, I just know I need it), some sort of strappy device for the shoulder, pockets LOTS OF POCKETS, and a plastic pocket for my iPad......more pics to come!  Be jealous.....very very jealous!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 22: Making Plastic Bags Last Longer?

I always feel bad when I throw out a plastic bag, but the reality is that most plastic grocery bags don't last long before getting holes, and then they really do have to go, or do they?  I took a bunch of plastics, cut them into strips, and took a crochet hook to them toward making a larger reusable bag.....lots of time later and more than 15 bags used, this is all I have to post!

Seriously, I did do lots of other stuff today!  I finished a four way Pokemon battle with hubby and kids, started working on teaching the kids to make friendship bracelets (we did twists and braids out of the book today) and I started working on a project that will get more light here only when done....any guesses?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 21: Helping Hands Pockets

I had two failed projects today before turning to helping hands at 8:30pm.  I worked on making beach glass in my jewelery tumbler but the sand I had on hand was silica for pottery and is too fine I think.  It was in the tumbler for about 5 hours with barely taking off the sharp edges.  I will keep going on that idea when I buy more salt and manage to dig a handful of sand out of the kids' sandbox which is frozen under the glacial pass that is packed snow in the back yard.  I also made a lovely ring today out of some half round 12 g wire, but I over heated it because I didn't have it lined up well, and the whole thing went brittle either I really goofed up, or it wasn't really argentium as advertised.  I did finish every shred of laundry in the house today, and ended up with a pile of orphaned gloves.  I have been thinking more and more about pottery in the last few days, and have made a little goal to clean up the studio and make SOMETHING/ANYTHING on the wheel this weekend.  In that line of thought, I decided to act on the frequent dream that my pottery apron would grow more pockets.  I always wish I had one more tool right at my fingertips or that I didn't have to sort through my tool box to find my wonderful selection of ribs when I know I use each one for a specific purpose.  My orphaned gloves became helping hands pockets on my work apron, and I love them!  I think I will add more, esp. on the leg flaps as those pockets will sit right over my thighs while throwing.  Mental note: do not put needle tool in any of these pockets! 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 20: Today was a rough day.....sorry....Paper Beads and Gift Card Pottery Tools

Today was rough.  My physical therapist called me "lumpy" today, and proceeded to work out all of the most painful knots.  I did get one major thing accomplished today:  I SWITCHED BANKS!  I have been a TCF girl since college, but they have a funny way of taking our extra payments and putting them towards paying FUTURE interest rather than paying toward the principal.  In this era of automatic pay and online banking, it is rather rough to change banks at all.  Now that hubby will be changing jobs, we gave the new employer a new bank account to do their auto deposits......and we will phase out TCF little by little over the next month and then sever all ties.  To commemorate this occasion, I made paper beads and little paper cut-outs from my old business account checks.  It is less than glamorous, but I will find private justice in making a new bank deposit while wearing a lovely set of stretchy bracelets made from ex-TCF checks.  I suspect that when I ever actually pay off my mortgage, I will make paper beads out of it instead of shredding it!  I can just have a set of anti-debt jewelery....very fashionable in this day and age!

  My real re-use of material today came from old gift cards to Caribou and Starbucks.  YES, even though I can make a really tasty cup of coffee with milk and chai flavor at home, it is still my vice to overpay and have them do it on occasion.  As a former teacher, my favorite teacher gift were these coffee cards.  They are small, consumable, and they make my day whenever I use them.  Then when the balance is zero, and they ask me if I would like them to toss it for me, I shout "NO" and then insist on having it back.  I then pocket them or stick them somewhere without marking whether or not they have money left on them.  This is not smart.  I then have a pile of these cards, and when I actually want to use one to make a tool or something, I hesitate since I am never really sure whether I am cutting up a cup of yummy coffee.  So today I got coffee at Caribou to celebrate the start of my anti-TCF movement and to console me from the mercy game I lost at PT AND to further console me for living in the frozen-sub-zero-freeze-moisture-in-your-nose-while-it-is-STILL-breathing state of Minnesota.  I then decided while there to check all the gift cards in my purse and find out which ones were empty.  I then decided to write TOOL on them, so I could tell them apart.  I did the same swinging by Starbucks on the way home (not to get coffee, but to confirm that the TWO cards I had on me were both empty).  I was pumped to find that I still had one card with money on it which I used to get my coffee today, and I had THREE cards that were soon to be cut into pottery ribs that I will try out the second I decide to hop on the wheel again.  The "stem" tool is to make little stems for ice cream cups that I like.  It has two sides: one for a more rounded detail and the other for the same general idea, but with more angular details.  I used a heavy duty hole punch to make a texture rib to drag along slabs or to detail thrown pots.  The last rib is one that I haven't tried before and I hope will work.  I cut various sections to achieve two different detailed rim designs on thrown pots.  I will take pics when I use them.  I should find some other uses for these cards....I know I have more of them.  Little did my former students know how much I love the gift cards....first and foremost, the thought is the best, then the actually product COFFEE, then the warm pick-me up that lasts all day long, then the pottery tool that I can use in my creative process....maybe even to make a coffee cup with special details that I give to them when they graduate to take to college.  I miss my students a lot even though it is right for me to be here doing this right now.  I don't stay still well, and teaching was very intense temptation to do things for kids even if the body couldn't keep up.  So I exchange my conducting baton and my teaching hat for a 365 project and a blog.....I still love my coffee though, so thanks, bandies!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 19: Dye Job, Pillow Case Pick-Me-Up

Not a whole lot of actual finished jobs today, but some half started ideas.  Since coffee dye was a little bit gross, and not really blotchy enough to not just look more dingy than they already were, I tried a packed of blue dye that I had around for some other project?????  I honestly don't remember buying it at all, and there it was in the back of my drawer with the fabric paints.  I have three other colors too!  My friend Kristin calmly read the directions on the back while I put on apron, gloves and respirator.....and 10 napkins and jars and tupperware filled with scrunched up yucky dingy napkins later, I have some actually lovely napkins.  What ever will I stamp or embroider to the corners?  I might even go back and dye over the coffee dye job from the other day and see if I can't get a little closer to something I would willingly wipe my mouth on.....

I also took the pillow case (with coffee dye on it, to cover up the yucky sleep stains.....bleh) and painted on it with black india ink and gave color accents with very watered down fabrick paint.  I don't know if I am wild enough with these results to paint the same idea on more of the fabric or if I will just use this pillow case as my test case for different painting or dye jobs....every hobby has to have its guinea pig.  Maybe, if it is lucky, it will eventually grown into a purse or fabric journal cover or something....for now, I am just going to throw it in the wash and see what happens to the colors then!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 18: File Folder Notepad Covers, my old standby....

I had physical therapy today, which does seem to be going better, but after running a couple of errands and grocery shopping too (not to mention bringing in the fruits of the errands and putting them all away)....well, I didn't have much energy/drive/motivation/ability to do much else.  I did use patterned file folders this time around which is actually very nice.  I cut down on the amount of paper used at all, and still the product looks finished and cute.  I did only 5x7 sizes today, and I used every last scrap for the projects....including the tape backs for flowers, the scrap file folder pieces for Cricut cutouts, etc....Not glamorous or new, but some days are like that.  Creativity has discipline days just like any other daily activity.  It takes discipline not to use "sick days" when you are just sick of takes discipline to go through emails when you know they are only full of things that people need you to takes discipline to practice your scales when all you want to do is play your fun takes discipline to create when all you want to do is spend all day in bed sleeping.  It was especially cold today in Minnesota as well, and the cold always get into my every always reflects life, right?  So blah days can yield somewhat blah art too....I have been sitting on some really decent ideas for a few days now, so when they get done rattling around in my noggin, then I will throw them out here for sharing.  Until then, notebook covers!  You know you love 'em!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 17: Sock Monkey Embellishments and Napkins

Jerri Sock Monkey got a lovely new tummy pocket to carry around whatever needs to be carried (it will probably hold my cell phone at night as it hangs out on the night stand lamp) and paper bead earrings and necklace.  Now she is just chillin' out from a hard day at home with the two kids on a non-school day Monday =)

The better part of my day was spent entertaining the kids, but I did manage a cup of coffee this morning, and decided to try taking my dingy white stained napkins and staining them darker and more intentionally in a boiling pot of coffee.  I then took a lyno block and carved "N" in it for Neddermeyer, stamped the monogram on each one, and set the paint by using a steamy hot iron.  Ta-da!  Artfully stained napkins guaranteed to hide the stains of a family of four!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 16: Sock Monkey Mania

I didn't get much of my own craft time today, but we did have sock monkey mania for the children!  Check it out!  Sylvia did much of her own machine and hand stitching, and Felix made lots of his own color choices, and stuffed his own monkey.  I will save further comments about my own sock monkey until it has been fully accessorized!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 15: Blog Blahs

I am afraid that I have the blog blahs today.  I did craft much of the day, but I didn't feel inspired with anything new or innovative.  I helped my kids work on their own sock monkeys this morning, I took a nap in the early afternoon, and then, I went to babysit friends' kids so they could attend a company party.  After all kids were asleep and the Steelers were safely done with their game, I did some more paper beads and finished off some pendants made with scrap paper.  The pendants were mentioned several days ago when I was using diamond glaze to stick paper flowers onto a glass bowl.  The pendants are glass tiles with decorative paper on them.  The paper is covered with the glaze to seal it from skin oils and moisture.  They are nice, and easy to make.  The only down side for me is the cost of each glass tile at The Bead Monkey.  I have found that I prefer the square or rectangular shapes even though I can get the glass pebble kind in a number of sizes for about $3 for an entire bag of clear round ones.  The square ones range in price, but average about $1 each.  With paper beads, I just kept working to get faster, more size and shape variety, and I got a few different looks using scrap paper instead of magazine leftovers.  I will be more interesting tomorrow, I hope!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 14: Total Waste or Using Waste in Haste? You decide!

Today was a full day.  I spent some time with a friend, helping out, and just resting there so I didn't have to be alone at home today.  I think it is funny how we, as people, find it pretty easy to extend a helping hand to those we love and even to those we don't know in charity, but it seems nearly impossible to ask for help when it is needed...even if it is little help, like company, or spirit, or crock pot meal, or a ride, or an errand, or whatever.  When Robert and I lived in Pittsburgh, before moving back here to Minnesota, we lived near his aunt and uncle.  They were wonderful people who I still miss very often.  When they needed to move a headboard from the upstairs bedroom to the basement (it was heavy, and had to be taken out the window, lowered by a rope, and brought in through the bottom entrance), they called us, and we helped.  When we moved into our first house, they came (along with Robert's parents from halfway around the world) to help us move, and paint most of the rooms in our new home.  None of us thought anything of it, and it was more fun to do it all together than to strip wallpaper or install flooring alone.  At any rate, we commonly agree that it takes a village to raise children, but we don't extend the same relationships toward remaining healthy and happy and joy-filled adults too.  I think we should, and I am personally going to work on asking for help more and spending what energy I have investing in my friends and family.

Now that that is off of my brain, onto crafting for the day.  I started this little project about 9:00, as I was finishing up going through some crafting magazines and catalogs that I had saved.  I like to take these sorts of things, cut out pictures of great ideas or projects, and then I glue them into "idea" books that I look through later when I get stumped with creativity.  I then recycle the magazines and don't give the rejected ideas another thought.  Today, I took a pre-Christmas advertisement from Archiver's and cut the booklet into strips (the whole thing was cut easily into as stack using my running cutter thing....a Fiskars product, I think) and I then had a quick pile of all the same size strips.  They made quick and colorful paper beads.  I will make more here and there, and then string a collection of them together.  I made some straight strips which just made logs that weren't very interesting, but the triangular strips were cool.  I am sure there are other variations which could add interest as well.  I sealed them with diamond glaze around little toothpicks.  Easy, but now my fingers are caked with diamond glaze as well.  Now tonight, before I go to bed, I am going to flip through my idea books and see if I can't get some fresh inspiration for tomorrow's project.

So, paper waste or hastily used waste?  Cute and quick.....but still fitting in a little time for just me in this joy-filled day.