Apr 242017
 

Last summer I tried ice dying some failed fabric with ice from our fridge. It was fun, but the end fabric was paler than I’d have liked, probably because it was previously-dyed and not chemically prepared for dying again. My mistake. I still made use of it in this quilt:

The pinks all over, and the greens and blues in the border sashing (mostly) are that fabric.

Last Friday we had a snowstorm, possibly our last for the season. Every year I have pictures of my stubborn tulips covered in snow. Here is this year’s, from Friday morning:

Only that single red bud so far. It snowed most of the day; heavy, wet, slushy snow that made driving that same old cautionary tale we’ve had all winter. By the end of the day it had stopped snowing and started melting.

I haven’t dyed fabric for a while, so I thought this snow would be a good opportunity. On Saturday morning, I had an early morning errand to run, but I was concerned the warm, sunny day would completely melt all the snow before I got back home, so I quickly ripped off a stretch of PFD (Prepared For Dye) fabric and grabbed some jars of Dharma dye. Outside, I began piece one:


Fabric scrunched onto a cookie cooling rack and covered in wet snow.


Powedered dye sprinkled atop the snow. I put down a layer of purple first almost everywhere, then added a secondary of scarlet red, a couple pops of golden yellow. After that, I saw that the black I’d grabbed had chunks of powder, so instead of breaking it up and sifting it, I dropped a couple of the chunks directly on top. I was hoping for a lot of boldness and interest.


This is how it looked when I got back home. At this time I started piece two.


I’m skipping the before picture (you now know what snow on fabric looks like – you get the idea). At this point the sun was going strong and I had to scavenge in every dark corner of the yard to get enough snow to cover the fabric. This is the powdered dye on top of snow picture. So bright. I used a total bottom layer of golden yellow, then added Chinese red and scarlet red on top. I may have gotten carried away with the reds; you can barely see any yellow left.

Click the link to see the rest, there’s a bunch more and I didn’t want to eat my whole front page with one post.
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Apr 192017
 

I might be the last person ever to get a bread machine, but it always seemed unnecessary before. Not that it’s necessary now, but I finally had enough reasons to go ahead and get it.


The first loaf – almost perfect! A small bit of fall on the corner there.


It is an oatmeal honey white bread and it is great toasted. This is the small size loaf.


Banana walnut loaf. I had a slice of this with coffee on Easter morning and it was perfect. However, I realized that even this small loaf was going to be TOO MUCH for Slick and I to eat ourselves, even over a week. Thus, I sliced up most of it and took it to an Easter art reception – more on that in the previous post.

This is going to be the problem with the bread machine, having so much bread and dough-based items around when using it. It will be quite nice to have this thing do dough kneading work for me, and I’m hoping my coworkers won’t be too upset at all the fattening up I cause by bringing in extras for them to polish off for me.

Apr 182017
 

On Sunday, there was a reception at the CAG for their Easter Art show. Not having a piece in the show and cherishing my weekend workshop time, I wasn’t going to attend. But, a friend sent me a picture of the cake she made for the event (an adorable, giant, bunny shaped confection) and asked that I make an appearance, with a hat. Apparently there was a fancy hat contest, too.
Conveniently, this gave me a place to take most of that banana walnut loaf we wouldn’t be able to eat.

When I left, this is what The Captain was up to. Sunning his belly, stretched out in the doorway. I took the side door so I didn’t disturb this cuteness.


My outfit. It was too sunny to wear a black sweater, but it matched the hat so well and protected me from the sun, so I did it anyway. My hat is a concoction of tulle, feathers, springs, fluff, and a clock face on a tall, velvet bowler.

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My friend’s hat was the largest, most grand thing. If I recall correctly, this is one she made back in her millener days.

The event went as expected. I’m not involved in shows at the CAG anymore, so it was mostly and hour of chatting with a few folks, snacks, and on my way.

Back at home:

Slick is in the edit/re-re-rewrite phase of his his novel, so The Captain took up his customary writing spot, sitting on Slick’s legs so he can’t go anywhere.

Apr 172017
 

Yesterday, I set up a little Easter egg hunt in our backyard for Slick as a bit of weekend fun. I put peanut M&Ms into big plastic eggs and spread them around the yard in the morning while the squirrels were out, everywhere, noisy and frisky. It is springtime, after all. After that, I made us a spot of breakfast, made sure Slick had his coffee, then sprung the activity on him. He was game, thankfully, but as soon as we got outside I knew my plan had gone off the rails.


This was the first egg – very easy to see at the start of our backyard, but when we went out to hunt, it was gone.


The second missing egg. There were more, but I’m only showing you the Before pictures of the ones the squirrels got.


The third squirrel egg. While I was making breakfast, I saw from my kitchen window that this egg had been disturbed, but I assumed the squirrels had merely knocked it down as they went about their frisking.


After I notified Slick that the egg hiding had been tampered with, he began a different type of search and found the first, pink egg over in our neighbors yard. It was bitten on both ends and most of the candy guts remained spilled on the grass. Our guess is that we disturbed the squirrel thief from eating his treasure completely.


The third disturbed egg, also bitten, but also split open. Only one M&M candy remained on the grass.

We never found the orange egg. I hope we’ll come across it one day, to see where it was absconded to by an industrious squirrel.

The egg hunt turned out to be more interesting than expected, so that was fun. Slick’s Easter basket was a tool bag with a red stuffed bunny in it. I figured a tool bag would be more inviting for him to carry around the yard, plus it has much greater reuse potential.

Apr 142017
 


Nora is our craziest cat. She is the biggest, but won’t fight the other cats when she should. I could make a long list of her crazy behaviors, but you get the idea. She also might be our sweetest cat, when she’s alone with people it is nothing but loving and purr. She even has a double purr, where she’s purring with a low and high pitch at the same time. Nora loves the love.

Apr 122017
 

Some schedule density changes have thrown my routines a bit off. Adjustments and fine tuning are needed.

FlyDragon studio is doing a year of art journals shared among the community. You go in, pick up a journal and do a page, then bring it back. Repeat as desired.


The journals are a drawing weight paper with thin card covers. I wanted something more, so I did some paint onto WC paper, then added layers of it and covered in a poured acrylic medium. It is flexible, thick and I cut it to a tipped triangle. The regular thick card cover got covered in silver acrylic – I used about half a little tube to get the right look. Then, it got sealed and I used a heat gun to force some bubble texture into the thicker parts. The triangle covers have circle windows cut out, then smaller circle windows in the regular covers, then another smaller circle through the firts page (which I covered in a copper mica pastel) which shows a hint of the first regualr page (pic below). Weaved string through and around each one, also ran eyelets and string through triangle covers and attached them to the spiral binding.

Damn, that was a lot of explanation. But it was also a lot of stuff done.


The big blue triangles are watercolor on a map of Cheyenne. To echo them, I carved a quick triangle slightly smaller than the big map ones and cut them out a blue pattern paper, then used them on the background, which is multiple really thick layers of a water soluble crayon. I bought those on a whim and they’re huge, creamy, and rich. I feel like I should use them on a poster board or something big. I also painted a fortune and stuck it down, too. I purposely left the borders untaped so they could get messy if it happened, but I don’t think I like how it turned out. Genuine, naturally occurring mess or clean taped off edges. The in between is… eh.


I am so pleased with this page. The background is Pan Pastels, which I don’t like, but I have them, keep being given them and they work well to put a lot of color onto a light weight paper – in a way I can’t achieve with paints if I don’t want to warp the pages to three dimensions. Then I drew the tree silhouettes with a brush marker and used white and light opaque gel pens to make the stars and galaxy.
I like the words. We are star stuff. All of us.


A couple weeks ago, someone else had the journal and had a bit of a fight with one of the button closures. The caretaker let me know about it and I brought it home for a quick and easy repair. While it was with me, I did another page and this is it. The page was not quick – I had fun doodling and got a lot of practice making tiny circles. I think my hand will be better at making them after this.

Apr 062017
 

I’ve been making a number of zip pouches this year.

This is the first. Had some scraps laying about, so I turned them into a wide mouth pouch. This is a side view, with its ample bottom folded.


And open. This is another pouch that would be good for items which require a lot of visibility.


Whilst preparing for a large project of zip pouches, I made this to test out a zipper idea. It failed! That zipper edge is nasty! Anybody want a pigeon zipper pouch? It is about 3.5×5.5″ (9x14cm) or so and I’m going to throw the damned thing away because I cannot stand that failed zipper end. I mean, it is functional, but ugh!


Finally, a better zip pouch project preparation test. After reading a few different “sworn-by” suggestions on how to get the best zip pouch corners, I put them all to the test. After five variations, I found that the way I’d always done it was the best bet. Now I know. I might throw these into the Etsy shop for a very low price, since they were testers. They’re again completely functional, but some of those corners look like hot dogs wearing turtlenecks, if you know what I mean. Still, they’ll hold cards and coins and such.

Coming up soon on the crafty side – the actual large project of zip pouches! Plus, screenprinting! Exciting!

Mar 072017
 

A year ago, I started this project and made almost no progress on it. Since I have a secret project going on right now, I’ll share this one instead.

If you’ve never heard of an ophthalmic migraine, you’re lucky. They are visual accompaniments to migraines, with or without the debilitating headache, sometimes it is merely a bad headache. Like a Charley horse for your eye. They last for around 20-30 minutes, on average and can be quite distracting. They start with a blind spot around the center of your vision, as if you’d looked at the sun or caught a flash of bright light. They grow over the duration, spreading outward in your vision, like a moving frame of visual garbage. The descriptions range from each person, as you can imagine, but the summary is a section of your field of view is replaced with lines, with spikes, of color flashing, moving, wild alternations. Most people regain central vision mostly as the frame grows out, finally with the frame growing completely out of your vision.

Ophthalmic Migraine Quilt test block.

The first time I had one, I was concerned, but since I was already developing a migraine, it made sense that this was part of it. Afterwards, some research confirmed this, I’ve had a number over the past few years and generally know how they are going to go.
But if you have one, you should see your doctor to be safe. At least see your eye doctor to make sure you don’t have some other, very serious, time sensitive issue – like a creature growing in your eyeball that will blind you and then eat your brain.

All that aside, I was playing with some fabric scraps one day and thought it would be interesting to see if I could recreate that visual disturbance of an ophthalmic migraine in fabric. This is the first test block for what I hope I can grow into an Ophthalmic Migraine Quilt. The center and edges are a cream tulle, to represent the mostly okay view you still have while the frame is active. I’m going to call it a frame, go with it. The little, contrasty combinations are right, but they don’t cover the light flashing or movement. Yet. Most of the arbitrary sections seem to cycle around withing their space. I’m going to add translucent sequins and sparkly beads, too. That might help. Maybe I’ll add LEDs and some light strips. Maybe that is too much.

It is difficult to make this visual translation and I’ll enjoy the challenge. Perhaps this will be a spring quilt to make.

Mar 062017
 


I turned those previous fabric confetti pieces into a panel of shag. This will be the side of a zip pouch. It is fun to put your fingers through and to pet the wrong way.

This was the fun project I worked on this weekend. The other project was less fun, since I haven’t gotten it right yet. But I will.

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