Sunday, June 24, 2012


Orpheum Bell at The Ark, Ann Arbor, June 23, 2012
Survived my surgery just fine, but recovery is slow. I overdid last night; we had a babysitter lined up and I had purchased concert tickets for us to enjoy (E's birthday gift), but E was worried it would be too much for me. He even suggested he could scalp (!) the tickets outside the venue, which is when I took action and said I'd hang in there for the show.

The band is fronted by a friend of his, another Russian expat, although this one came to the States when he was about 9. You can hear the music they play at their website, Orpheum Bell. I'd describe it as The Civil Wars with 3 times the members, fronted by Tom Waits, and heavily caffeinated ;) Several of the members played more than one instrument, and those varied wildly - from violin to banjo to spoons, accordion to harp to trumpet - we laughed every time someone brought out a new instrument to was comical, but awesome.
More Than A Puddle
Studio Calico bg paper and journaling label,
various pp from My Mind's Eye and Echo Park
Hambly rub-on, Tim Holtz filmstrip, old transparency
MM glitter letter stickers
Back to my usual programming ;) This page is a recent favorite of mine. It was a challenge in one of Ali Edward's books (this one, I think...I have them all), using triangles of patterned paper to mimic a quilt. I didn't notice the large rectangle I created through the middle of the layout until I glued everything down and stood back. Pretty cool, huh? This page records a flood of water over a nearby road that was the deepest I'd ever seen. I used Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's rain stencil to tie some of the papers together.

Easter Sunday, all supplies by Authentique, Blissful collection
I had these Authentique papers pulled for another LO, only to realize they were not at. all. what I was looking for. They worked perfectly with Easter Sunday photos from inside our church. All of the embellishments are Authentique, as well. From a sketch in Memory Maker's Quick and Easy Scrapbook Pages.
Easter Bubbles - Basic Grey Plumeria papers
This is straight-up Becky Higgins sketch work. My friend Kelly, whose house I scrap at every other Friday or so, has the Best of Becky Higgins' Sketches, and I borrowed it while there. She couldn't believe how much it was selling for on Amazon - I had heard upwards of $200, but the most recent listing shows $54.50 for a used copy, $95 for new (!!!). I don't really regret not buying this when it first came out (I was too busy collecting Ali Edwards' books) as it's taken me a while to "allow" myself to play with BH sketches - they seem to need more advance planning (photo sizes, placement, etc.) and I'm more of a spur of the moment, play with 4" x 6" photos kind of scrapper.

It's taken me a long time to allow myself to *crop* photos, but these had plenty of empty space (grass, mostly) that gave me the freedom to cut many of them down to the 3" x 4" size the sketch showed. Overall, I'm happy with this - although I have the opposite problem of my Good Friday LO...*no* "extra notes, LOL. Well, I finished this near midnight at Kelly's, and decided "done is better than perfect." Oh, and I got to use the Plumeria papers I bought recently. Using recent purchases always makes me happy :)

One last photo - my Kool Aid dyed yarn. I've decided to name this colorway "Morning Glory," because it reminds me of the ones that grow near my front porch.
I'm pretty sure 110 yards will make me a French press cover - this is not the pattern I'm using; mine is from a UK magazine, uses sport weight yarn like what I dyed, and features a little lip for the spout. Adorable! You'll just have to wait until I have a finished project photo to show you.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Yarn and DIY

I have been in a bit of a DIY mood lately, starting with cleaning out the garage to make room for bikes -- Tess started riding a friend's bike after a sleepover, and E went the next weekend to get her one (via Craigslist). We have a wooden bench by our inside door in the garage that had piled up over a 2-year period with junk emptied out from the car, most of which turned out to be pure garbage. Took some old riding cars down to basement storage (Ben hasn't ridden on them since his friend across the street moved away) :( and lined up my bike, Tess's, and Ben's in a sort of fashion that lets us get by and into the house. Which is, you know, useful.

This sad freebie table was next to the bench, and also piled with junk. I picked it up curbside and meant to paint it a while ago...clearly that did not happen. Until now!
Curbside freebie. Score!

First, I washed it up with TSP, then sanded it, then rubbed in a bit of Murphy's Oil Soap (man, I love the smell of that stuff. E, however, does not. Also, paint makes him wheeze. Thus...*I*get to pick the colors).
Krylon's Ivy Green
Before I could spray paint it, I had to apply a coat of Kilz primer (the dirt was still showing through the green, even after cleaning & sanding). Waited for that to dry and went to town with the green! I have to work on my spray painting skills...there are a lot of drips down the sides. The top is nice and smooth, though. Right now it's in my dining room, holding plants. Next up? A metal, tiered plant holder I picked up curbside around the same time (different curb). This one is going to take a bit more time & elbow grease:

Steel wool: check. Rustoleum: check. Now...what color?
Piles of cashmere goodness. Mmm...
Went thrifting after a doctor's appointment (no surgery, not yet...couple more weeks...just a consultation) and scored a men's XL (!) cashmere (!!) sweater for $2.50. Despite warnings online to practice unraveling a *bulky* sweater first, I went to town on the seams of this with my surgical seam ripper (see below) and worked hard to find a good long thread to pull.
Finally using the surgical seam ripper I bought at a sewing show 15 years ago!
So far I have many small balls of crinkly cashmere "yarn ramen" that I have to connect together and rinse (sweater has that old-man/thrift store smell, despite the dry cleaning tag still on, I need to relax those crinkles). I'm hoping I can spit-join the pieces to get decent yardage. Even after finding a good thread for the back of the sweater, the yarn is fine enough (and I wasa bit too eager with the seam ripper!) that every once in a while it would break. I have a lot of small yardage to join up.

Another craft that has been intriguing me lately is dyeing my own yarn. I have 2 skeins of Knit Pick's Bare yarn in sport weight that I bought years ago up north (Alpena) at a yarn shop. They had taken off the tags and marked it as their own (!) and I was disappointed to discover (later) she was selling yarn this way. I really thought the skeins were from her own sheep (the store owner had her own sheep, and certainly marketed the KP yarn as if it were her own). I had the store wind the skeins into center-pull balls, but then put them away for a while.

I rolled out roughly 100+ yards this way:
Turns out the banisters upstairs are a bit more than a yard apart. Handy! 

I found several online tutorials for Kool-Aid dyeing (this one has awesome color combos) and unsweetened (important!) Kool-Aid, 5/$1 (see? cheap) and went to town this morning.
Solar dyeing...with Kool-Aid

We'll see how this looks later. I mixed 3 packets of Ice Blue Raspberry (I hear it's a weak color, and I wanted a good medium blue) and threw in half of a dissolved Grape packet to deepen the blue a bit. The Lemon Lime makes a good, bright green, so I just used one packet of that to 8 oz. warm water.

Hoping the blue dye wasn't too hot when I added it to the yarn! Don't want a half-felted skein.

I didn't like the way the yarn was laying in the jars, so I switched the green a blue to plastic ziplocks...the jar in the middle has a bit of yarn in pure Grape (purple). We'll see later how the yarn soaks up and blends the different dyes. Should be interesting! Next up: pink and orange, one of my favorite color combos.

I am all about the crafts & DIY this summer...Our first project, once both kids are done with school, is to sort & clean up their rooms and hold a garage sale later this summer. Ben has a hard time letting go of things, but I'm hoping if I set it up as a friendly competition between the kids (they keep the money from selling their own things...which means some serious organizing and tagging before our sale), it might help Ben let go of a few toys. He's informed me several times he is "done" with Cars stuff (sniff!)...a full 2 years ahead of when Tess told me she was done with princesses and the colors pink and purple. Sigh. They grow up so fast...