Monday, December 29, 2008

Slush and New Wellies

The front is melting sloooooowwwwlllyyyy but it is melting.

The Mini Cooper is still stuck in the slushy mess that was my front yard. So is Linda's car.

But JoAnn and her husband Don came by and took me shopping. I managed to get out to Fred Meyer and buy some new Wellies!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

So Not Dreaming of a White Christmas

As it appears to have manifested in reality.

I had shoveled most of the snow off the front deck last night but to no avail.

My brother gallantly offered to drive over in his 4 wheel megavan and take me to his house for the holiday, but I think it's snowing a little too hard right now - maybe later. In the meantime, I am happy, safe and warm. I've had a lovely breakfast of mushrooms, eggs, saugages, lingonberry jam and tangerines and left-over rum-glazed sweet potatoes (from last night's dinner). I've finished all the little gifties I was making for friends and family.

Jynx wanted to go out but thought better of it when she realized the snow on the deck was higher than she is tall...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stuck in Snow-Homish

Ahhh! I have been so busy making stuff that I haven't had time to attend to this blog! Bad me! Bad me!
I've been snowed in for the past...5 days? 6 days? and anticipate being stuck here until after Christmas. But the good news is I LOVE SNOW! I do! It isn't the cold that bothers me in winter it's the darkness. An evening with snow on the ground is actually light.
Did I ever menton that I love my knitting machine? In the past two days I've made 10 pairs of wristlets for Christmas gifties; they're no where near to being as elegant and delicate as the ones Karin made for me last year, but they will suffice. I had fun using up all the doo-dads of yarns I found at Goodwill this past year. I kept finding single balls of pima cotton/bamboo blends, or pure merino or pure pima cotton or mohair - they probably were the leftovers from sweaters or shawls. Here are some of the not-quite-finished pairs of wrist warmers. Still have to sew the sides together on some of them.

We're catsitting Lily who helped in making the wristwarmers. At least she's pretty sure she helped.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Halloween Pix

Here are some pix from the halls of the Ministry of Magic where a dark angel and I were enjoying the grim festivities.

Welcome to the Office of Dispelling Convexing Conundrums!

Here's the window closest to my office, with its droll-yet-festive black lace valance.

The skeletal sconces and cobwebs added a macabre touch to the halls.

Beautiful Day

I just got back from a convention in downtown Los Angeles. I find LA to be a most ugly, dirty, brash conglomeration of busy-bodies zipping this way and that. By Saturday I realized I needed a day of cool greenery away from the glaring traffic. So I made my way to the Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena. The concierge at the Westin was able to find me a rental car while she printed out great directions to the Huntington and then to LAX.

I got there early - too early for general admittance - but there was a conference on the Arts anbd Crafts movement going on in one of the buildings, so the gardens were already open.

Their new Chinese Garden was delightful. I had read about it in several LA tourist-oriented magazines and pamphlets and knew I just had to have a good long look.

After a lingering stroll through the Chinese garden, I sat in the Japanese garden.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Decor for the Office

Here's an image-heavy tutorial on how to build a Scary Hand Wall Sconce. It's a kind of goofy crafty homage to Jean Cocteau. (Well, sort of.)
You'll need:
Halloween-oriented glove
battery-operated candle
20 pipe cleaners
hot glue gun and glue
4 3" heavy cardboard circles (or heavy cardboard and a waterglass and an exacto knife)
Cotton or Poly batting
needle and thread

First get about 20 pipe cleaners to create the bony structure of a hand. Use three pipe cleaners per finger, three pipe cleaners to create the outline of a palm and a few more pipe cleaners to weave in and out of the palm to give it strength.

Then stuff the fingertips of your scary bony glove with cotton or poly batting and wrap some of the batting around the pipe cleaner fingers as you insert them into the fingers of the glove.

Sew the fingertips of the glove together, overlapping the thumb on top of the other fingers to create a fist which can hold a candle.

Cut out 4 circles of cardboard or two circles of foamcore. These don't have to be circular - they can be oval, which would probably be better - but I didn't have an oval template handy so I used a waterglass as a template. Make them about 3" in diameter (75mm ish).

Cut out a rectangular section in the centers of three of the circles.

Place the three of the cardboard circles inside the stuffed glove. Thread the pipe cleaners from the bottom of the palm frame in through the rectangular cutout in the circles. Hot glue to secure the pipe cleaners to the cardboard.

Sew the edges of the glove at the wrist together around the cardboard circles or hot glue them down to the cardboard.

Hot glue the fourth cardboard circle on top of the glove and other cardboard circles.

You can now attach the scary hand sconce to the wall. I would use that removeable sticky tape stuff that either Scotch Brand or 3M puts out (I can't remember which) so that you don't permanently damage the wall. And instead of putting a candle in the fist, think about using one of those cheap-o kid's Halloween flashlights; just point it back towards the wall.

Here's another something or other to attach to the wall: a small plastic skull with a fake candle hotglued on top. When I was a kid, my stepbrother - a budding paleontologist - found an old skull in the woods. He dripped different colored wax all over the top of the skull and used it as a candleholder. I never went into his room because he kept the skull by his bedside and it scared the bejesus out of me to have that hollow-eyed thing staring at me.(As an adult I keep wondering who would let a teenage boy keep a real human skull in his bedroom? Perhaps it wasn't real, but to a six year old, it was creepy!)

There was a sale at JoAnn's Fabrics yesterday and I found the remnants of a bolt (approx. 3 meters left!) of red skull black lace (for $3.00 a yard! Yeah, baby!) which I'm going to use as a valance over one of the windows in the hall outside my office...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Winged Pumpkins

Mmmmwaaa haa haa haa! My evil plan worked! I have successfully swapped pumpkin and bat genes to create Tiny Winged Pumpkins!

Oh alright, Miss Party Pooper. I swiped the idea from Martha.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Geisha Cover for my Sony Vaio

I have been quite the busy bee lately, after a long funk on non-creativity. When I arrived home from work this afternoon I realized I couldn't keep stashing my tiny Sony Vaio in my pocketbook - sooner or later bits and pieces would break off of it and get lost in my purse. So I made a case cover for it out of a piece of Geisha print canvas I found at Pacific Fabrics a few months ago.
The lining is a piece of garnet-colored velveteen I haphazardly "embroidered" with double needle stitching - well I did have to learn how to do double stitching some time in my life...

I've also been busy stenciling cards with a nifty tree stencil and a sort of embossing pastey stuff. It took me more tries that I care to remember to get the layering of the paste on the stencil right, then I sprinkled glitter on top of the paste and let the whole thing set for an hour.

This summer I planted only two tomato plants since with foot surgery I wouldn't be able to do much digging in the garden (and getting my foot dirty). here are some of their offspring, accompanied by a cool pair of woodpecker scissors I found at Target.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tini's Blackberry Vodka Delight

Usually I make blackberry liqueur in late August/early September, since I figure you can have only so many blackberry pies and make only so much blackberry jam. But this year, after reading Tini's recipe for Blackberry Vodka Delight, I knew I had to try it.

I didn't have enough regular sugar, so I used the box of sugar cubes I had stashed in the pantry for tea parties. Someone had given me a tiny bottle of Stoli blackberry essence vodka recently, so that too went into the batch. Necessity being the mother of invention, etc. etc.

Whoo Hooooooo! Can barely wait the requisite six weeks to taste this!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Official Blackberry Report from Snohomish

Here is your official backyard blackberry picking report for the week of August 18th:

Nope, not quite there. Still need about a week of ripening before these babies are ready to pluck. Time to dust off your recipes for blackberry conserves, pies, cordials and liqueurs.

I still think we're looking at a half-n-half scenario here. I'm going to lighten the load and pick the ripe ones tomorrow morning.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

FaerieWorlds and Florence

Last weekend I drove down to Eugene Oregon to attend FaerieWorlds, a three-day weekend of faery-related festivities. Entire families of faeries attend.

Afterwards, I headed over to Florence which is on the coast to enjoy the beach and sand dunes. Okay, if you want to see great pictures of Florence and the sand dunes, go over to Tini's blog.

I honestly can't say which I enjoyed more - the faeries or the ocean...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Beady Wiry Idiot Cord

I bought a Clover Wonder Knitter yesterday at Hancock's Fabrics in Kirkland so I could fiddle around with wire and make some gewgaws. I didn't have anything special in mind; just wanted to create something a little airier than the densely knotted micro-macrame or tatted stuff I've been pondering lately. This fiddly bit is made of 28 gage brass and a mixture of size 8 and size 11 seed beads.

I think it would be nice to make one chain of this long enough to wrap around a light bulb several times.
It's a sparkly something.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Special Award for Best Use for a Pottery Barn Curtain Panel

I've been working on a costume for the upcoming FaerieWorlds weekend in Eugene. I found a devore velvet curtain panel at Goodwill and splashed some ColorHue dyes on it to create an outer vest for my costume.I'm using two OOP patterns for this: the shirt from the re-enactors' costume and the long vest from the work ensemble:

The shirt is finished. I used a rather slippery georgette and some Chinese frogs for clasps:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Time Traveler

Huh! So that's where he was staying that year! Sheesh! I have been playing "phone" tag with him for over two centuries, the rat bastard!

Speaking of time travelers, earlier this week I went aboard the Nina, a replica of Christopher Columbus's favorite caravel. I was amazed at how steeply she sloped from one end of the deck to the other and how tiny the captain's compartment was. The hold below was used back then for cargo, but nowadays, it serves as bunks for the modern day crew. This replica is exquisite; she measures a little over 60 feet long - that's only 18.288 meters. And the original made three voyages to the New World five hundred years ago! She also survived a hurricane in 1495.

As some of you may know, a portion of my novel-in-progress takes place aboard a caravel and I was very excited to be able to actually feel what it was like to be aboard such a beeeeauuutiful replica of a medieval/renaissance ship.

Caravels were in use from the 13th to 16th centuries.