Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Flower Friday

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I wanted to show off some of the great early spring flowers that are popping up southern Oregon.

The single white flower that appears twice- that's a Fawn Lily.

The other white flowers with the purple flowers in the background are white Shooting Stars Dodecatheon pulchellum (photo by TreeGeek). The purple ones are....wait for it...purple Shooting Stars! Betcha didn't know that.

The yellow flowers are Oregon Grape. I had no idea that Oregon Grape was so odiferous, in a pleasant way. I kept catching whiff of it while I was taking photos. There were an astounding number of bees and wasps crawling all over this plant. I took a few snaps and moved on. I didn't want to disturb the feeding frenzy.

The purple and pink fuzzy flowers are Pulsatilla (aka Pasque flower). The wiki article says these are toxic but I have herbalist friends that use a tincture of this plant for anxiety. You don't need much for it to work but no one should mess around with toxic plants unless they are under the supervision of a trained herbalist.

The two fields of flowers are Indian Warrior Pedicularis densiflora (both photos by TreeGeek). Someone was telling me that Pedicularis plants are in high demand. Apparently they help with spasm-type pain. I'm not sure exactly how they are prepared for medicinal use. They may look familiar to those of you who know Indian Paintbrush - they are very similar in appearance.

What's blooming in your area? Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bearik Estrada in progress

I'm taking a break from the fumes of fiberglass resin and bondo to post my progress on Bearik Estrada. After cutting limbs and resetting the jaw I reinforced the legs and arms with wire mesh covered with aluminum foil. The foil allows me to fiberglass over the modified parts without wasting too much resin. 

I the built the mouth, teeth and nose out of A+B epoxy putty. This stuff dries to a rock hard finnish in about two hours-great stuff! I worked from a couple of quick sketches I did from CHiPs episodes on Hulu.

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After the A+B putty was dry I began adding texture using automobile body filler. Working fast I used pieces of straw to add the texture.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Spent a long weekend in Arcata, CA. I love all the colors and the funkiness of the town. This mural was in Eureka. Beware the Kraken!A great new thrift store in Arcata. Very cheap.An odd mural on the Humboldt State University campus. Compelling, but odd.

This place is also in Eureka. It's a new restaurant/bar opening on May 1st. I wonder if the inside looks similar?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Quilt Man Hath Cometh

Every quilt begins with a dream.
If you buy one from a popular catalog, that dream began with a starving paraplegic child in Indonesia. I hope those toddler tears help you feel cozy at night.

That was just it, if an orphan with a 50 year old jerry-rigged diesel powered sewing machine could make a quilt, why couldn't I?

So this quilted tangent began in the fall of 2008. What happened in the ensuing years, you ask? Oh buddy, just you wait!
Some folks tell ya you need rulers, rotary cutters and an actual recipe for the quilt, one that is followed. Let me tell you, this ain't true!**Actually, you should follow the quilt recipe, please read below.
The quilting I do is the quilting that would be done if Che Guevara and Pancho Villa had a love child that was born an old lady wearing bandoleros filled with Singer needles. No pins, no thimbles, and no regrets.

Another enjoyable night of quilting under the influence
Quilting after imbibing a delicious libation is always a good idea, because your seams seem straighter when you're seeing double!

Things I learned from quilting:
  • Don't be afraid to fall into an abyss of patchwork
  • Keep things straight and measure if you get a chance (no seriously, this is a good idea)
  • The adage "measure twice and cut once" is actually true, sorry Pancho!
  • Substituting is okay of you are a teacher, but substituting quality fabric with the low dollar bargain bin remnant stuff, or corduroy/denim for linen, or a Budweiser & a machete for a pattern and a quilting class is not okay. Keep it real, quilt like a gangsta.
Okay, so after many months of work, the topside patchwork was finished. All done right? I have finished quilting, no? Well, quilting is actually a type of bedding composed of several layers generally combined using the technique of quilting.
Wait, hold up. Several layers? Yes, this includes a batting and a backing.
That took more time.
I chose a monster piece of black batting that did not have to be pieced together in the middle (the final dimensions of my quilt are 110"x 124").
I chose a flannel backing and a reserved and modest border so that if we had easily-nauseated guests over, we could flip the old girl over and they would not puke at the sight of my patchwork.

So, like an enormous fabric BLT, I had the layers of my quilt ready to go. I found a nice lady on the internet with a fancy machine to piece them all together (Quilt them).
But my dreams were dashed.....crest fallen, hopes ravaged, life over, it was time to burn my quilt in the street and ride a train to Barstow and oblivion. I was told that my gorgeous fabric sandwich was "un-quiltable".

Dear God, they'll never find my quilt or my body.

The problem was, it was too un-square, with lines all over the board. She thought it would be like quilting a square mile of bubble wrap in zero gravity...not possible.

Well, let me tell ya, a second opinion is worth a million bucks. I found another nice lady with an even bigger quilting machine and she said she could easily get it done. Sharon at Old Town Quilting in Fort Collins, CO is a master of quilting. She was able to take my rough-shod first ever quilt and work small "darts" into it. A dart is a small acute triangle folded in order to gather areas where extra fabric exists and quilt over them , helping the end product to conform to a square (sorry, Che!)
Sharon decided a meandering pattern would be most forgiving given the bare-back nature of my work. I had originally wanted a leafy pattern due to my infatuation with vegetation, but I took her advice, realizing that my quilt was lucky just to be quilted.
Another option would have been a "tie-type" quilt, where instead of sewing the layers together, a small portion of thread is used periodically to fasten them together. Old Man Brandy said that is how the Kansas ancestors made quilts, but that is just not my style. Like an extra large, hey, garçon, I said EXTRA large...really, that is as big as they come? Okay. So a true quilt is like a BLT with a thousand tiny staples in it, not a single toothpick stuck in each half. I cringed at the thought of one yarny tie thread holding my whole mess together. Any price was acceptable, I needed that damn quilting!

So it has been a long and sometimes frustrating and agonizing journey. But, it was all worth it.Quilt #2 is in the works, and don't tell anyone, but I bought some rulers and a rotary cutter and a 12 pack.

Monday, March 15, 2010

More Creatures

These are gifts. I wanted to document them because I will never see them again. I've made several of these things previously and didn't take any pictures. What was I thinking? I often wonder if the recipients truly like these things or do they see them a cheesy craft project? Or both? I have mixed feelings on the matter. They are fun to make but I hate to give people things that are really just bad crafts. I'm afraid these may be the macrame and crocheted poodles of the new millenium.I need to stop reading Homemade Hilarity and Handmade Gone Wrong- I lose all sense of perspective.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Another Happy Friday

Welcome to the latest edition of Happy Friday! I finally, finally started on my Remains of the Day (ROD) journal. And I love it! The idea is to use up all the ephemera and scrap of every day life (and leftovers from craft projects) and create pages from these “remains”. The pages go through several rounds of sewing before being bound into the cover. I’ve been working away for a couple of hours every evening, sewing together bits and pieces on the pages. It’s a very relaxing and engaging process and, while you do need a sewing machine, you don't need any great sewing skills. As long as you can find the on switch, wind the bobbin and thread the needle, you're good to go.It seems like the completed pages are piling up quickly but when I looked over the other night at the pages still to go, I was surprised there are still so many waiting in queue. I have a feeling that I’ve made too many pages anyway. I think I have enough for two journals. Or enough for one journal and the page swap being sponsored by one of our class members. I can’t wait to receive pages from other RODers.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Meet the Crew

Here are my various sock creatures with a few felt and wool ones mixed in. I've shown some of these critters on previous posts, but I wanted to show the whole gang together. Here is a list of books that the patterns were adapted from:
Stupid Sock Creatures
Plush O Rama
Stray Sock Sewing
The white one in the middle is a very rough adaptation of Martha Stewart's stuffed dog doll from one of her Holiday crafts magazines. I was recovering from surgery when I made that one. It looks not so much like the original - it's a Percocet interpretation.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy Friday!

Welcome to another round of The Happy Book Mail Around. Please join us and post your happy for the week.

I'm currently putting a backing on my first (cheater's)quilt. The top part of the quilt was purchased at a yard sale for one dollar. The seller had scads of beautiful fabric for a dollar per bag. She was obviously over her fabric habit. This was mixed in with the random yards of material: One dollar. Who was I to argue? All the hard work was done (what did I know?). Those of you who have ever quilted will understand that a quilt top does not a quilt make. There are a lot more steps that follow to make a usable item of it. Batting, backing, sewing and then sewing some more. But the whole project is going well and I'm pleased with the results so far. I'll post a picture when it's complete.