Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On the home stretch with Bearik Estrada, and oh so close to done.

This is Bearik in primer tan. This coat of paint revealed every single mistake and imperfection in my bondo work, so I still had a lot of filling and sanding to do.

After blocking in the color I definitely felt like I was on the right track.

After blocking in the color I added highlights and shadows to help give the project definition. Here's Bearik, 99% done and nearly ready for the final application of automotive clear coat.

Close-up of the head with reflective glasses, badge, and "Bearik Estrada" name tag. And attitude. The Grants Pass Police Department is behind the project and graciously donated shoulder patches to help outfit Bearik.

Next week I'll have the final pics of the project with Bearik on his patrol bike. We're in the process of building special trailers for the bikes so that the bears can participate in the 2010 Boatnik Parade: Saturday, May 29th at 8 am. After the parade Bearik will be found patrolling the streets of Grants Pass, Oregon with the other wonderful 2010 BearFest bears.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Thrift Share Monday

It's time for thrift share Monday with Apron Thrift Girl. I haven't been able to participate in recent weeks because the weather has been rather cold and rainy and no one was having any sales. There is a thrift store in town open year-round but they always seem to have the same inventory, most of it dreary junk that no one wants. I just get frustrated when I go in there. Usually only in the dead of winter. Out of desperation. I wait with anticipation for "the season" to begin so I can do some real thrifting.

There was rummage sale sponsored by some local group (Elks? Lions?) at our county building on Saturday. I got there at 8am when the sale opened. There wasn't much. I picked up the following 2 items:The bracelet is well made and I rather like it. For 25 cents I wasn't going to complain. I bought other piece (same price) imagining that I would use it to make a journal cover ala Tracy Moore. I like to dream. I also found a large prescription bottle filled with buttons. They were mostly plastic but there was a large shell button in there that was worth the 25 cents it cost me for the whole bottle.

I left that sale feeling somewhat in a funk. I guess I was expecting more since it was the first sale of the season and my expectations were high. There wasn't much except for all the usual stuff I see trotted out at too many sales: scuffed & dirty tupperware, worn-out sheets, stained t-shirts, archaic technology, water damaged books. Sigh. I'm a veteran thrifter, I know this is how it goes. You can stop at 20 bad sales for every dream sale. And there is no way to know. You have to stop at every one perchance it's one of those epic sales you tell stories about for years to come.

I drove around and saw signs for an estate sale. I followed the signs down a dirt road I've never been on before. The road was rutted and I drove slowly and my spirits began to lift a bit. It was one of those picture-perfect mornings. The sky a deep blue, the temperature comfortable, me driving down an unknown road to some unexplored place. I began to remember why I go to yard sales. I go into neighborhoods I would never otherwise visit, following the promise of great treasure. I get to be outdoors (usually) at the most inviting time of the year weatherwise. I see people I know from the community, I meet all sorts of's the Whole Experience, not just pursuing the acquisition of cheap stuff. It's an adventure. I've scored some great items over the years but I've also met great people, seen some amazing gardens and innovative architecture I wouldn't otherwise have access to. I've spent many a summer morning socializing with sellers as I rummage through their stuff and listen to their stories. Not a bad hobby really.

This was waiting for me at the estate sale at the end of the rutted road:A queen sized linen/cotton blend Pottery Barn duvet cover with matching bedskirt. Good quality and almost new. They were in a box with another really nice duvet cover (king size), 100% cotton, but no tag identifying the brand. $5 for the whole box. Things were looking up. Never mind how much I just convinced myself it was about the adventure. Score!

I headed next to the Catholic church's rummage sale. I've been before in years past and my expectations were low. Until I saw the fabric box:I swore I wasn't going to buy any more fabric before I use up what I already have. I usually don't have a problem ignoring fabric scraps as often the stuff dumped in boxes under tables at sales is cheap quality or weird material or sickeningly cutsey. But these I could not pass up at 25 cents a piece. These are quality fabrics, all with more than a yard left. The scraps in the plastic zip-lock bag (50 cents for the lot) are small squares of various styles in incredible colors (unfortunately the ugliest piece in the whole bag happens to be the one on top in the picture. Sorry!) I'm going to use them to make fabric journal covers.

I went through the mountains of clothes and found this. It's a nice linen shirt, not necessarily my style but I like the way it looks and fits. For 50 cents I figured I'd give it a go.
This next item is odd and I don't quite know what to make of it. Here is the cover:Yes, that says four color-etch prints by Lionel Barrymore. There are 4 small prints tucked inside (3 shown): The prints are very highly colored and have a silvery sheen to them. There is a whole little story about how Lionel painted scenes of the sea when he wasn't being Henry Potter plotting the demise of Bedford Falls. Who knew that he was also a fine artist? These prints are in a folder labeled " presented with the compliments of" some Realty company. Part of a welcome wagon package? The set was a buck and it kept beckoning me back. I often buy odd little things like this. I have a raven's brain. "Shiny and glittering"? Must bring it back to the nest!

Finally, this item I purchased for 25 cents:There is a hand written label on the bottom that says "Old Tin Glaze. Austria. $16". Sure enough, Austria is etched on the back of the piece. It's a bank with no way to open it except the old fashioned way. With a hammer. I have no idea what tin glaze is. I'll have to do some research.

It turned out to be a good weekend. What did y'all find?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Sweater Saga comes to an end?

Well kids, I finished my epic sweater.  All in all, it was a very educational process. I'd never done fair isle knitting before (for those non-knitters out there, that's where you use several different colors of yarn to make a pretty pattern, and to do so you bring one strand of different-colored yarn behind another color.  Also called stranded knitting).  I'd also never steeked anything (sewing a seam into your knit piece, then cutting the shape you want--totally counter-intuitive to a knitter) (see here for story on my first ever steeking).

Steeking in progress

Well, all that went pretty well, then I tried to try on the sweater...and the sleeves were too tight, and too short.  Sigh.  And this is the kind of sweater that you have to undo the whole thing from the top down to undo, and then redo, the sleeves.  And unfortunately, I had just cut a big gash in the top of the sweater, so this puppy is staying whole, no matter what.  So, I improvised, and cast on at the end of the sleeves, lengthened them, then blocked the sweater and tried to stretch them out a bit.  This worked pretty well, except for the small seam in the middle of the cuffs.  But I'm going to say that I meant to do that.  Yeah, it was, um, part of the pattern.  Yeah, that's it.  That's also why, um, the cuffs flare out so much, yeah, part of the pattern (wink).

So then I was supposed to find grommets and install them in the neck V, to hold a nice drawstring.  Well, the grommets didn't go so well, so I said screw it and just fed the drawstring straight through the stitches.  We'll see how that holds up.  By that time I was ready to be done with the #$%!! thing and wear it already.

So now (drumroll), here is the Sweater Saga in its full visual glory:

Insomnia Sweater v. 1.2 (sorry, no pics of v. 1.0) (see here for story behind v. 1.0 and v. 1.2).

Insomnia Sweater v. 1.2 in slow, agonizing throes of death (actually the frogging went pretty quickly, except for those $%$&!!! seams).

My first steeking.  Not as traumatic as one would think.  Although, when those sleeves turned out too small, I almost imploded ("Holy f$%#ing s$%t! WTF am I supposed to do if I need to redo something and I've f#$%!!!ing CUT my STITCHES!!!!").  But everything turned out ok in the end.  Hooray for happy endings.

My finished product (Insomnia v. 2.0).  Note the lovely fair isle detail, and the lack of stupid grommets (yeah, who needs grommets anyway?).  Oh, and that lovely steek.  (For those of you attempting to knit this pattern, I cut maybe four inches off of the original steek length, and still think it's a little risque, or (this one's for you Cece!) prurient.  And the sleeves?  How lovely.  Now hopefully I won't give this away, like I do, for some godforsaken, unexplainable reason, with most of my other projects.

p.s. This one goes out to the Crafty Snarkers, who know all about steeking and grommets from my tipsy Thursday night rants.  We miss you!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Book Alive & Well

The Giggle circle's Happy Book arrived safe and sound and loud and beautiful in southern Oregon. It arrived just in time to enjoy two lovely spring days before moving on. The next leg of its journey will be to CreatureBug in Washington. While I don't envy the wait, I'm a bit jealous of the people who will receive it further down the line -it's really fun to see what others have done.

Our cover is starting to look like a Christmas tree with all the ornamentation attached to it: A page of shiny things:My favorite Shel Silverstein poem (Sick):The sun finally came out. Following the prompt to doodle sunshiney prettiness and soak up sun would have been hard if the book had arrived last week. As of yesterday, I finally remember what the sun looks like:
A collage. The heart is an origami card (hard to tell in this photo):And a page full of stickers. I didn't quite fill it up- I'm sure someone in the giggle circle will be man enough to finish the job :By the time it makes its way halfway through the 27 Gigglers I predict it will need to travel in a large box. The last person on the list? Oy vey! You'll need a forklift by then.

As much as it pained me to do so, I packed up the book last evening and will send it along this morning. Enjoy your time when your copy arrives. A week goes by really fast!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy Has Arrived

I have the book! It is fabulous! What a wonderful thing to have waiting for you in the mailbox after working all day with administrative details (not exactly the stuff that artistic play is born of). I like all the notes from the previous Happies, thank you all! For those of you still waiting for your copy- it's worth the wait.
I'll send it along ASAP if I can ever part with it!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spiral Living Center Skillshare

Today was Spiral Living Center's Skillshare in Selma, Oregon. The skillshares are great community events; volunteer teachers share their knowledge and provide hands on training for inquisitive minds. There are some wonderful, informative classes going on and the best part is - it's all free! Here is a small sampling of what was available today:

Tool Sharpening & Repair workshop
Bike Repair Workshop
Raising Goats WorkshopBeautiful dyed yarn made from goat fiber

Bio Char DemonstrationAnd this adorable wee one making a planter box with grandpaHope to see you all next time!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy Friday!

Kalimiopsis/Siskiyou Wilderness Spring 2010

This Happy Friday thing is almost too easy. Fridays hold inherent happiness for those of us who are 9 to 5 shlubs. Happy Tuesdays would be a lot more challenging for me. Monday workdays seem to go by pretty fast but Tuesdays draggggggggggg on and on and on. For me this last Tuesday really dragged because I was signed up for a class on Tuesday night that I was super excited about: Pencil Me In taught by Karen O’Brien. Karen's mantra is "I want you to learn to love pencils!". She shared invaluable information about watercolor vs. dry pencils; the uses of clear gesso and absorbent ground and how these mediums affect everything from the strength of the paper to the quality of the color rendition. We learned the difference between H pencils and B pencils in practical application-we made sketches with each type using variable pressures and different drawing styles to test out their possibilities.

Not only am I now a big fan of pencils but I'm a clear gesso convert. I never knew about this wonder product. When I go into an art supply store I'm overwhelmed. There is too much to know, too much to buy. Will I use it? Do I need it? Classes can help clarify these things. Working with materials before running out and spending your life savings on things you may never use again is a good thing. The absorbent ground worked well but clear gesso is worth the cost. And it doesn't really cost that much.

Karen is a great teacher. If you ever get an opportunity to take a class with her, do it. It will be time and money well spent. The class was three hours and just flew by. Why is that work goes so slow but the fun stuff just zooms on by?
It has been a cold and rainy spring here but growth prevails! Here is a skunk cabbage in flower.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bearik Estrada is coming along nicely, if a little slower than I would like. The last several days have been devoted to what seems like endless sanding. Here I am under several layers of dust and looking 30 years older.

After several packages of sandpaper, and half a gallon of Bondo, I'm just about ready to paint.

Here's Bearik rockin' his new welded sunglasses! Can't wait to add reflective mylar to the lenses.

With any luck at all I'll have the project painted and assembled in about 10 days. The BearFest Bears will be prowling the streets of Grants Pass, Oregon this summer where they will be on display at various venues. Come Fall the bears will either be auctioned or sold , with proceeds going to Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Scrappy Journal Swap Pages

I finally finished my 11 Remains of the Day journal pages for a page swap sponsored by Gathering Up Bits of the World. I can't wait to receive my set of journal pages made by the others in the swap group.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Another Happy Friday

Thanks to Jamie Ridler I now pay attention to my happiness quotient during the week. I still get grumpy about things but I notice more often than not that my days are mostly good and things are always shifting in different and interesting ways. Learning to roll with the mutable quality of life makes living a lot less stressful. This is easier said than done, but the Happy Book project has worked its subtle ways on me. I pay more attention to the positive and let the negative roll on by. Usually. Sometimes. Well, I try to.

Ah well, happiness is not about perfection. Meanwhile the flowers keep blooming...

This beauty is known by the suggestive name of Pussy Ears (Calochortus tolmiei).This is the flower of the Pitcher Plant/ Darlingtonia (Darlingtonia californica)
And this last little beauty is a Trillium (in the Lily order - I couldn't find the Latin name because there are too many common names! I'm not sure which is which.)
All the flower photos were taken by the ever talented Tree Geek, master of the macro lens and bondo bears and who causes Harley bikes (not bikers!) to quake at the very sight of him.