Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Peacock from "Little Birds"

On Wednesday I received two extraordinary books in the mail. They are each deserving of their own posts so I'll start with the one that I spent my whole weekend with:I ordered this book from Amazon. There were no reviews at the time but I was compelled to order it anyway. I'm so glad I did. It's diverse collection of sewing projects: mobiles and embroidery and quilts and softies and ornaments and wreaths, oh my! It's published by Stash Books and compiled by Susanne Woods.

There are quite a few different designers that contributed patterns but the projects have a kindred style to them- modern and colorful but with a folksy twist. My only issue with the book as a whole is that there aren't any guidelines about project difficulty. If you are an absolute beginner at sewing, this probably isn't the book for you. That being said, I'm not exactly the world's greatest seamstress but I did manage to make this:This is the Fancy Peacock designed by Amy Adams. This was the project I was drawn to first (although I've marked off a total of six projects from the book I want to try).
I'll admit that had I some construction issues. I didn't really understand how to make the beak. The instructions say to use their photo as a guide but, since I'm a low intermediate (advanced beginner?) sewer, even on my best days, I didn't really understand what I was looking at or how to make it happen. Oh well. I also reversed the front and back pieces for the tail but that was totally my fault. The instructions were very clear on how all the piecing should go. Adams warns that the body needs to be heavier than normal to counterbalance the weight of the tail but for mine, even with a rock in his belly, the tail is still pulling over the whole piece. I stuffed a hair tie under his butt to hold him up for the pictures. I'm trying to figure out some kind of nest I can make for him to keep him upright. Do male peacocks sit on a nest?

I found the tail to be somewhat unwieldy all around, it was hard to space and sew the pieces so they fanned out properly and I had to tack it in different spots to keep it from flopping every which way. Still, I'm thrilled with the results and I just adore my little birdie. Next go round I'm going to try a few things differently that I think will help - stiffer cardboard for the tail for one. I also may make the tail slightly smaller. And I'm going to stuff the body so he's a lot heavier. Maybe some lead shot?

I really enjoyed making this and I can't recommend this book highly enough. If you like to sew this is a book you would enjoy having in your collection.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Kusudama & the Plague

I managed to complete another Kusudama last evening: This model is from Tomoko Fuse's book " Kusudama Origami". That title is somewhat confusing as kusudama and origami are two different things. Here is an explanation lifted from Wiki: "The kusudama is important in origami particularly as a precursor to the modular origami genre. It is often confused with modular origami, but is not such because the units are strung or pasted together, instead of folded together as most modular construction are made."
There. That should clear it all up for you. Actually, it's pretty simple: Kusu - glued, origami - never glued. For those of you dying to rush out and make this model, it's called Clustered Flower and joined using the Latern assembly method. I plan to try more dynamic paper in my future attempts. For this practice run I used standard 4" origami paper.
I had lots of time to finish this model last night because I couldn't mow my field of weeds. I started mowing and then saw this:The Pacific tree frog. There is a plague in my yard. As I was mowing they were hopping away in every direction. I started inching along with my push mower and finally just gave up. They can have the damn lawn.
They are pretty dang cute. They are hiding all over the yard, not only in the lawn: Sigh. I'm not going to kill frogs to have a manicured lawn. Hopefully they'll eat the bugs in my veggie garden. And there's a very fat and happy robin hanging around. So it goes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More Kusudama

Here is a sneak peek at the next round of Kusudama that I'm attempting.There aren't nearly as many pieces to fold as some of the other models I've made so I should have a complete one soon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thrift Share Monday

It's time for Thrift Share Monday hosted by Apron Thrift Girl. And I'm glad it's Monday - the Saturday yard sales wiped me out. We went to about 15 sales and (unfortunately) only two were worth the time. I think a lot of people running yard sales around here have mistaken their beat up card tables set up in their yard for an antique store. I want to let sellers in southern Oregon in on a little secret-just because something is old doesn't mean it's automatically worth a lot of money. If you're wondering why late in the afternoon on the second day of your sale you've barely sold anything it's because your prices are TOO HIGH. Yes, those clip-on Christmas birds from the 50s are worth more than 25 cents but only if they are in GOOD condition. I realize condition is open to interpretation but when parts are falling off, the paint is peeling and pieces are missing that is not generally considered good condition. And sellers, please stop trying to pass off 10 year old technology as something more than a doorstop. I know you paid a lot for it all those years ago but here's another secret - it's not worth anything anymore. And please don't dump it off at the local thrift center when you can't sell it because they can't sell it either.
OK, I'm done now. Just a wee bit frustrated. I found this little lovely in a free bin:We didn't know what it was but we took it home to ID it. It's a farrier knife from Heller Bros Co, Newark. These were made without patents before 1902 (we think) and we can't find the patent so it's pretty old.
We went to a sale where they were pretty much giving it all away. There were clothes that fit Kelly in their rather generous free bin:All those jeans will be good for work clothes. They were selling other things for prices so cheap that even I (cheapskate that I am) was embarrassed. I picked up this embossing tool:

There were various other items thrown in and also embossing powder. I haven't used one of these before but I've heard of them so I thought I'd give it a whirl. All for $1. I found this nice mosaic plate for 25 cents:It seems like something that would come from Pottery Barn but it wasn't marked in any way so I have no idea. Definitely newer, made in China in the last 5 years or so. I love the colors. I also scored this lamp:For 50 cents. It was so cheap that I was actually confused. It works, it's clean and well made, all the parts are there. When I saw the price on this lamp I began to wonder if this was in fact the seller's stuff or if it really belonged to someone else, like the owner of the house who is away on vacation. They seemed like really nice folks so I didn't dwell on it but it did flit through my mind.
We ended up at one other really amazing sale. There was a sub-division with many sales going on. Kelly picked up some guy stuff here and there but I was still empty handed after the 6th house. We then passed a sale where 2 couples were shouting out "everything 25 cents". They had boxes and boxes of all kinds of books and pottery and odd stuff like this embroidered bird:

Someone had some mad skills. There was a much bigger piece with jungle animals all over it and I'm kicking myself for leaving it there. After all, it was only 25 cents. But sometimes I'm an idiot. I also found these intriguing buttons:
And this absolutely silly but lovable fish plate which I just had to have:
This is something called 1000 faces china, made in Japan:We bought this one by accident. I thought Kelly wanted it and he thought I wanted it so it ended up in the pile unquestioned. I'm happy about it as I rather like it. You can see the faces in the center rings.
Lastly, there was a set of four Santa mugs. I don't usually buy Christmas stuff but these were cute and I'll use them for holly vases when the season calls for it.
Please post your own thrifting adventure over at Apron Thrift Girl. I want to know what treasures you found this weekend.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bacon for President!

We knew this day would come...
....but it doesn't make it any easier. Love you Oregonians!

Canoes aren't for the faint of heart. Took the old girl for a swim in Horsetooth Reservoir. All was placidly peaceful and sublimely tranquil, until the jetboats and jetskis started making wake. Boy howdy, I hope them large mouth bass enjoyed my chimichanga from last night.
6 months ago, I didn't even know (or care) what a soffit vent was. While I was not initially too thrilled about needing to install them, any excuse to buy a reciprocating saw works for me. My home-owning to-do list now revolves around what can be accomplished with my new toy. Paint the bathroom? No problem! Wash the windows? You got it! Get the neighbor's cat out of the tree? Yes, please! No project is too complex for a man packing this kinda heat, baby.Parrots are for Somalian pirates, I keep a jittery mutt on my shoulder, straight up burl-manly. Careful, he's been know to lick faces without warning.

"Uh, hey BigTimber...this is a CRAFT blog, remember?"
What the hey now...(looking around the room for something crafty)... HOMEBREW! Our craft brewing potentail has increased with the purchase of 4 additional carboys. Currently, brews in the works are Cherry Brown Ale, Orange Wine, Cherry Mead, Pineapple Wine, and Lavender Mead. As always, recipes are much consulted, but little followed. Some smell...tangy? It's an acquired taste.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Another Happy Friday

What made you happy this week? Please share with us on Jamie Ridler's blog The Next Chapter: The Happy Book Mail Around. For me, it was getting my craft room cleaned out (again). I'm giving away a bunch of craft books - check 'em out and let me know if you are interested in any of them. I love being able to pass along things I'm no longer using (or will never use but just had to have at the moment). When I can get honest with myself about what I'm truly intereseted in it makes it easier to let the clutter go. But my clutter can be someone else's treasure. So I like to keep passing things along.

I've been making Kusudama for awhile now:I really like making these for gifts but I wanted to add a little color and style to them:I'm still playing around with different designs. I haven't found a style I like yet but I'm sketching out new designs to try. This is a big step for me as I'm so not process oriented. I usually jump right to result and then am disappointed when it isn't "perfect". I get frustrated because I haven't taken the time to learn the possibilities of the medium. So, then, I just drop that craft and try something else, hoping to achieve that artsy perfection on the first go. And on into infiinity.... So, I'm working on changing this behavior. Not easy for a leopard to change its spots, but I'm hoping not impossible.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Books ! Books ! Books!

My craft room is drowning. I need to make space, clear the air, get rid of some of the stuff. I went through all my arty crafty books and, as much as it pains me, it is time to part company and send these babies on to less neglectful homes. If you are interested in owning any of the following titles please email me (Monkey Mind under Cast of Characters there on the right) or leave a comment and I'll get back to you. All I ask is the cost of shipping. You don't need to take all of them, just the ones you want. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have about them:

Creative Scrapbooking by Melody Lord - gone
History of Art by HW Janson
The Art of Bev Doolittle by Elise Maclay- gone
Brush Your Cares Away by Jack Bailey
Great Kitchens by Whitaker, Mahoney, Jordan
The Victorian Book of Potions and Perfumes by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell
Jewelry from Nature by Cathy Yow
Glorious Greetings by Kate Twelvetrees
Simple Gifts by Garden Way Publishing
Painting & Drawing from Photographs by Ursula Kaiser- gone
The Art of Rubber Stamping by Suze Weinberg
Creative Rug Hooking Anne D Mather
Watercolor Workbook by Bud Biggs & Lois Marshall
Let's Sew by Nancy Zieman -gone
This Book Will Change Your Life by Benrik
Kaleidoscope by Elizabeth Keely Wilson
Lettering & Alphabets by J Albert Cavanaugh
Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Lusser Rico
Victorian Decoupage How to Book by Michelle Lovric
Paint Effects Master Class by Sacha Cohen
They are all in good to great condition and have lived nestled away in a smoke free environment.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Garden Flowers

I so wish this was my garden at home:But it's not. It's the garden where I work. People are paid to plant and weed and water this garden- unlike the forlorn flower garden at home. Does anyone know what any of the purple flowers are? The yellow ones in the first picture are California poppies and the pink flowers in the third picture are some other kind of poppy. But I can't name a one of the three purple flowers pictured.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Proof that the Utah sun can make a man crazy*

*Re-enacting scenes from the Lion King with my darling terrier.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Summer is not my favorite season. Too much heat makes me tired and grumpy. There are some perks though:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Birthday Cubicle

It is a tradition around my workplace to go a little wild with surprise birthday decor in the workspace of the birthday victim. Usually the decorating occurs when the victim steps away from their desk on their birthday day (or on Friday for weekend birthdays). Since I took off on Friday and my actual birthday was Saturday I thought I was safe from the decorating frenzy this year. Not so. This is what greeted me when I go to work this morning: Normally the conspirators wait until the victim is on break or lunch and very quickly put up all the birthday decorations in a 10 to 20 minute window before they get caught. This method doesn't allow for much excess since time is the mitigating factor. You can only blow up so many balloons and hang so many streamers in 15 minutes- even with the whole department pitching in. Because I was off on Friday, they had all the time in the world. That'll teach me to take any days off around my birthday. I crawled underneath the streamers for a photo op:Here is a close up of what I'm holding in the above picture:One of my fellow workers left these morels on my desk. Beautiful, delicious morels and so many of them. Can't wait for dinner tonight! Another co-worker made, from scratch, Strawberry Shortcake. It was divine.

My birthday has carried on a bit more than usual this year; normally it's one day and it's over. I had a party on Saturday and a celebration today. Lucky me!
This octopus is a gift from another co-worker. This wasn't a birthday present but I wanted to share. I love the colors!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bearfest Wild Bunch

Our very own Treegeek has been recording his blood, sweat and tears in the making of Bearik Estrada. Bearik is part of the Grants Pass Bearfest 2010 where local artists were commissioned to create a sculpture using a fiberglass bear and a Harley motorcycle. Treegeek's bear is currently on view in downtown Grants Pass:Here is a sampling of the some of the other Bearfest 2010 sculptures on display:

The Bearinator:
Ooga Booga:
Iron Bear:
Miss Rosie Rogue:
Snarley Davidson:

Notice the tatoo on this one's tooth. The bears will be available for viewing this summer. Stop on by!