Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Flops of the week!

And this week has been a dozy for flops for me.

I've been wanting a chain maille necklace for years now. I really wanted to make one (whatever possessed me?!), and this was the week for it! I had some wire in my jewelery kit, I wound it around a dowel, hubs cut it into jump rings for me, and I started following the instructions.

Somewhere along the way, it all went horribly wrong. I have about one inch done. After an hour (methinks this is not a good use of my time, and we aren't counting the time to make the rings in that time either). And the one inch I DO have is ugly. I am not sure if the wire is the wrong size, the diameter is the wrong size, or if I made an error in the pattern. What I have learned is, this is a case where I should support my fellow artisans on Esty. Yup. Some things I am simply not meant to do, and I should let this one go.

My other flop of the week isn't truly a "flop", it just didn't have the desired outcome I was hoping for. I saw glass etched shampoo bottles on Craftgawker a few months back (perhaps I should just block that site? nahhh, I get WAY too many wonderful ideas!), and thought I would love to do that for myself. My husband does not understand why I would need to move the shampoo from a perfectly serviceable plastic bottle to a glass one (because the prettiness of the glass bottle makes my heart sing when I see it isn't an adequate answer?).

I got the glass etching cream, contact paper, and a glass bottle. Spent two hours with a scalpel cutting out the pattern (why go half-way?). Since you likely cannot make it out from the picture, the top is a female face with wavy hair and a frosted area to write on, the bottom area is a large lily pad and flower.

Once I finished up, I thought that the red shampoo I had would really make the etching pop. Nope, not so much. Not at all.

I am wondering now if I could use stamping ink on the frosted area's to stain it to make it stand out more. I have some older votive's (Glade votive's, heh...I reuse them in other holders that I don't want the holder to get wax all over) that I can "experiment" on before I try it on that. But it bums me out a bit.

Plus, my fingers are red from filling the bottle with the shampoo. Wonder how long that is gonna last? Good times....good times.

Food Waste

Watching the Early Show. The average American Family has $1,300 in thrown away food every year. I am shocked and appalled. Stunned, actually. The family that they were spotlighting had half of a grass-fed cow that they were throwing away. That is appalling to me.

Food waste. *breathe, must breathe* On the one hand, I do get it. We buy things and we get busy. We eat out. Food goes bad. Truly, I mentally do get it. But emotionally, I do not get it. I simply don't.

If I get food, I deal with it. This means packaging it to freeze, or to store. This means checking dates, looking at what is in the refrigerator from time to time, adjusting meal plans to get rid of what is close to spoiling. If something is "heading over", I cook with it, encourage members of my family to eat it, bake with it, or feed it to the dogs, ducks or other animals (in my mind, if it is consumed, it is not wasted).

Case in point, I was given a partial case of tomato's on Sunday. On Monday, I was busy to my gills with things and couldn't deal with it. On Tuesday, I spent a bulk of the day, skinning the tomato's, stewing them for hours, and then preparing them in three containers to freeze, letting them cool on the counter, and then freezing them. I also used the skins of the tomato's to shine my pennies for my table (double use, no waste). This wasn't "convenient" for me, nor part of my planned week, but it was a windfall, a blessing, so I dealt with it.

I don't comprehend the American mindset of throwing out food. I don't grasp it. If there is leftover food, save it for another meal. Feed the scraps to the dog and then feed them less dogfood at night (and for the record, no, our dogs are NOT fat, I watch their weight closely). If there is A LOT of leftovers, freeze some and make a second meal out of it later in the month.

Pities sake, if for nothing else, you will save yourself money.

Getting off my soap box now.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cut Books


I am a book lover. Truly, I am. Huge reader, supporter of the library (I am there on a bi-weekly basis, they know my face), and here I am cutting up books?

Yes, but this is ART!

This is my third book that I have cut up. It is AA Milne's, "When we were Children". I chose it because it had so many wonderful illustrations. There weren't many Winnie the Pooh pictures (which is what most of us associate with AA Milne), but the other illustrations are fantastic.

After doing the cutting, I went a step farther, and hand colored many of them.
I also used foam glue dots to give support to the cuttings and give the book more depth (something more visible in person than in the photo). Next, glued down each page (this is the 'not fun, very tedious' part of the process). Lastly, covering the open front cover with plastic covering so the cuttings don't get destroyed. The cuttings are so easily torn, and when the books are handled, people try to touch everything, so the plastic is important to protect the cuttings.

It is an enjoyable process. Fun to do while watching television and chilling at home. Picking and choosing which picture is important and which one's are not.
A great use for nursery books that children have outgrown, or a topic book with pictures for a gift for Christmas. Good places to look for inexpensive books are Goodwill and second hand stores (I got mine at a library resale shop, so even in cutting up the books, I was supporting my local library!).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Making wool acorns

On craftgawker again (man, I REALLY need to avoid that gives me idea after idea after idea....). The cutest little wool acorns. Awwhh.

First thing I needed to do was find acorns. Not as easy as it sounds, turns out. Took my son to fencing one night, and *angels singing* oak trees in the parking lot. There I am, in the dark with a flashlight, picking up acorn caps. Oh the lengths we crafters go to.

Next step was finding wool roving. Off to the quilt store (my favorite place!). Must refuse to look at fabric. Do I need a needle punch? Not really. Do I need a needle mat? No. Stick with just the wool roving.

After that, must complete other unfinished craft projects. heh. This is the harder part. Finish up the jackets (DONE!). Finish up cutting the books (DONE!). No, I still haven't glued those or put the covers on it, so they haven't made it to the blog, but the cutting is done.

Now I can start on new projects! Hooray! I spent the evening making the wool balls, meaning about an hour rolling wool in water and soap. Pruney fingers. Then they had to dry overnight. This morning, I did the fun part of matching wool balls to acorn caps, each cap being a different size and depth and each ball being different. I used hot glue to attach them.

Aren't they the cutest thing ever?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tabletop water garden

I have several ponds in my yard. This is the first year I am trying to overwinter some of the plants (oh please make it thru winter!). They are hiding in the garage, and don't seem all that happy.

I was on Craftgawker the other day, and found the blog "in words and pictures" with a lovely picture of a tabletop water garden. Made me start thinking of my own plants just lingering in the garage.

My first thought was, running down to the craft store for a large, clear, glass bowl for the garden. My next was, why not use my hurricane lamp for candles for it?

I put it together this morning (nothing like gathering plants and dirt and gravel while in my jammies at 8 in the morning! heh Crafting triumphs practicality on some days!). I like how it turned out. I still want a larger bowl, something large enough to put a few fish into, but it can wait for a few weeks.

A little nature indoors! Ignore the dust in the picture. Obviously, crafting is more important to me that dusting as well!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My last remade jacket

I like how this one turned out. The black trim adds a lot to the look, placed along the zipper and the cuff. I also added a "mini overall" clips to the sleeves to gather them in a little. The sides are gathered in with vest buckles.

This jacket was purchased for me a few years back, size 14. I've lost some weight and it swims on me now. But with these few changes, and the soft fabric, the buckles really work to make it more fitted.

Later, when I can get some help from my mother, I would like to take out those side buckles and replace them with a triple row of buckles, as well as adding some decorative buttons on the sleeve or shoulders. Not sure...

And here is the before so you can see the changes.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My second jacket

This is a beautiful jacket. Fully lined, multiple princess seams in the front and back. The workmanship on it is excellent. Just a bit....boring.

I added velvet ribbon to the collar, cuffs and pockets. I changed out all the buttons (whoo-whee, that single center button was EXPENSIVE, but worth it). Stitching on all that ribbon was tedious, but adds a lot to the jacket.

It isn't flashy or overly "romantic", but now has a dash of old-world charm to it. Toss a frothy blouse underneath it, and you have a lovely outfit.

Here is the before of the jacket. Perfectly serviceable, if a bit dull.

Remaking Jacket--Steampunk it up!

I found a jacket I love in a catalog. For $89.99. Oh no, I don't think so!! I looked on the internet for other jackets on eBay and Esty...not happening. What to do, what to do?

Then it hit me, used shops, find a coat and remake it myself! I am handy (well, I like to think so!) and I have ideas.

I found two blazers at the Digg (a local second hand store), for five dollars each. I am super excited to get started on my second blazer, maybe later tonight.

I went to JoAnns and bought some trim braiding, some different buttons, and organza. Added some ruffles to the front and back, added the trim, added the buttons. I LOVE how it has turned out.

A plain, jane jacket is now turned into a romantic, creative jacket. So lovely.

The BEFORE is below.