Thursday, January 26, 2012

Renovating the game room

I'd love to show you what wonderful craft project I'm working on right now. Well, technically, I could...

...because I do have a shawl on the triloom. I'm trying to variegate 6 different colors of yarn, working from light to dark. But I'm currently stalled on this project, because...

...currently my energy is going toward re-doing my downstairs game room. OUT with the decades old, dirty, stained, and stinky (really really stinky) carpet! This week was large item pick up week for the garbage man, so we ripped it all out this past weekend.

I really wish this photo had been in better focus, but I can't resist putting it up here anyway. I had about half a second to take the shot until Misty decided she didn't want to be thrown away after all. (Yes, we had been trimming the palm trees too. It ended up being quite the pile!)

Anyway, we got the carpet and disintigrating padding up and out, and then I pulled up all the tack board.

And that goes to show that you can find moderately interesting photographs anywhere. Even looking down into the garbage can.

Last night Eric also ripped out part of the ceiling, where we had some old water damage from where the old air conditioner leaked down through the upstairs floor. So I learned how to cut drywall, and we rasped it down until it just fit the spot.

Eric put that back up, while I went around and spackled in all the nail and screw holes, and Shane worked on getting the rest of the padding up from where it was glued to the cement floor.

So, we're almost ready to paint, and will probably do that this coming weekend. The walls will be a light cream, that will end up looking white but be a little warmer in feel. And then we'll put down oak toned laminate flooring.

Busy busy busy!

But not in the craft room.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

365 photography project

One of the things I've been doing has been working on my photographic skills. I've got a ways to go, mind you. To get in some good practice, over the last year I've been posting a picture a day at my personal Facebook. This year though, I'm trying to step it up a notch from posting anything to trying to actually post something decent. (No promises on success, mind you.) So I decided to head over to the 365 Project, where other folks are working on the same thing. I figure I'll tap their brain and get some inspiration. If anyone is interested, it is at:

That is a whole community of folks taking on the challenge of posting a picture every single day for a year. If you're over there too, let me know. I'd love to follow along with your project!

(The picture above was one I took last Saturday. The Ferris Wheel was right in front of my booth during a craft show. This shot is of the guy tweaking it a bit before he opened for business. You should have seen the line halfway down the street all night long!)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Re-Boot! Felt Baby Booties (method 2)

I was going to make a set of felt baby booties yesterday, like I did here: ., I wasn't really paying attention when I was laying out the felt, and I didn't get a good enough over lap on the top of the foot area. When it came time to cut the booties apart and take the resist out, that area kind of drifted apart. So much for one piece baby booties. I was Not Amused.

But, I didn't want to waste the fiber and the effort so far, so I went ahead and pulled the wool out flat and made two small and rather misshapen pieces of flat felt. I intended to set them aside, in case I thought of a future project for them.

But then, I was wandering Pinterest (I'm on there as ), and came across a link to a tutorial for 'Happy Feet' Felt Baby Booties. On a whim, I printed out their pattern, and laid it out on my little sheets of hand made felt.

Oh awesome! They just fit. I cut out the pieces for the baby booties.

Now, I looked at the instructions. Blanket stitch around the edges that would be otherwise unfinished. Blanket stitch? Hand stitching. Ugh. Not my favorite of activities, so it wasn't surprising that I hadn't picked up that stitch before. Luckily, their instructions made it easy.

Now, using the same stitch, I put the toe on the sole.

And then the back piece went on.

Add a ribbon...

...and I got a pair of baby booties out of the project after all! They took several hours longer than the one piece pair would have, but I learned something new and they look rather cute.

So the initial failure is now a resounding success! My lessons learned? Blanket stitch isn't that hard after all. And more importantly, mistakes don't necessarily have to be a stop. Sometimes, they can be a change in route, and the outcome can end up just as good if not better. It just takes looking at the project from a different angle.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Arizona full moon rise into the Belt of Venus

My family and I went hiking in the White Tank Mountains this afternoon/evening. It was a beautiful day for it here in the Phoenix area, and we were coming down off the mountain just after sunset. My sweeties gave me a new telephoto lens for Christmas, and my husband was game enough to lug my tripod along with me. So when I spotted the full moon rising up into the Belt of Venus (, with a saguaro cactus making a classic Arizona desert shot, I had everything I needed to grab the shot. I'm really tickled with it. I couldn't have gotten the clarity with my normal lens. Expect to see more landscape and wild life photography pop up here in the blog over the coming year.

Then tonight I got to looking at one of the shots, and cropped it in like this:

Oooh...I so want to find a way to make this image into a pendant! Maybe I could learn fused glass? Or print it out, and sandwich it between two glass slides? I've seen some neat work done that way. Or.... I must do some research. There has to be a way. Oh! And it would make a spectacular bead tapestry piece! You could light it from behind, and let the moon just glow. I'd have to find several shades of beads to get the color gradation right. And then I could...

Don't you love it when the wheels start to turn?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Picture a Day project: 2011

Over the course of this past year, I've been doing a 'Picture a Day' project over on my personal FaceBook. This started as a way to keep in touch with my daughter as she was away at college, so she could see what was going on at home. It kind of took on a life of its own. Some of the pictures are posted because they're pretty. Some are posted to document what is going on day to day. Some are pretty stupid, snapped at the last moment because I forgot to take one of something interesting. (The dogs are always good for a last minute subject.) But over all, the practice has helped me train my eye to actually look around and see what is going on in the world around me.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to pick one picture from each month, and post them here as kind of a year in review.

January: I was wandering around downtown Phoenix at night, after a friend's graduation. This statue is one of the ones outside of the Herberger Theater.

February: For years now, February has meant Estrella War. Estrella is a large (around 5000 people give or take) week long Medieval historical recreation event that my family enjoys attending. This is my son at sunset, looking at one of the camps along the road.

March: I did my first big order of hand painted silk scarves, and kicked off a whole new line for my Tangible Daydreams shop. This set of scarves went to the singing group Celtica.

April brought lovely weather to the Phoenix area. We started taking regular hikes at the White Tank Mountain regional park. This is a hedgehog cactus that was blooming along one of the trails.

It was still beautiful in May, so this is back at the White Tanks again. This is a cholla cactus, against the setting sun.

June: Road trip! Not all of Arizona is cactus, and it pays to get out and around--especially when it is getting hot down here in the valley. We took 89A from from Flagstaff down through Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona. This is Oak Creek.

July: The SCA (historical recreation) practice had moved to night time, to beat the desert heat. Here is my local group's ballista, aiming at the setting sun, waiting for it to get cool enough to play.

August: My family went to the theater. This is my husband and son, testing out my new hand painted silk ties. The ties ended up being another great addition to the Tangible Daydreams shop.

September: By this time, I was getting good at finding pictures wherever I went. This is simply one of the peacocks that wanders the grounds of my local library. I came out from getting my books, and spotted him posing against the flowers. Quick! Hand off the books to my sweetie, grab the camera out of my pocket, and I've got the shot the instant before he wandered off.

October: And sometimes, you have some advance notice and can get in the right place in the right time. We're back to the historical recreation. This is my consort swearing fealty, after getting the highest award for service that the group can give. He was surprised--but I knew enough to bring the good camera to the event, just in case.

November: Sometimes it pays to look behind you, too. I work at the community college as a model for the drawing classes, and we had set up a costumed pose out under the trees. This bed of flowers was behind us all, away from the direction that everyone was looking. But they were lit up beautifully in the afternoon sun.

December: I don't get snow here in Phoenix. So a field of fluffy white cotton on a blustery grey day is about as close as I get to winter.

I think I'll keep going on this project. I wonder what I'll have for a year in review come this time next year...