Sarcastra

Sarcastra

The lovely and quirky author of this site.

Aug 142017
 

Lunch Hour Paintings
Ever since I discovered the existence of pangolins (through an art museum) I have loved them. They’re as incredible as armored dinosaurs. They are REALLY had to paint though, not because of technique, but because of reference images. If you do an image search, you’ll see that about half the photos of pangolins depict their horrendous abuse, poaching, hunting, and worse. Hard to look at.

Lunch Hour Paintings
This dog is having a relaxing time with his new record.

Only two paintings to share from last week. I have other projects taking time, but they are not in a state ready for sharing.

Aug 072017
 

Lunch hour painting
Thinking about fish and space. The two work together. Space is where the really big, rare, idea-fish live.

Lunch hour painting
Sure, you can summon a cat spirit; easy with some cat nip and sacrificial moths, but they give terrible advice, lick the flavor off your Doritos and shed spirit fur everywhere. You just can’t sticky-roller that stuff away. The purrs are otherworldly, though.

Lunch hour painting
A bit random, I’ve been thinking about how to make large numbers of small poppets. This came about when it was time to paint. Two of the white rabbits are suspicious of the black cat in their safe rainbow area.

Lunch hour painting
The Bone Raven, one of the magical creatures in the graveyard. He’s not awake often.

Lunch hour painting
Wanted to paint a squirrel doing something human and as a human, I definitely wait impatiently on Amazon deliveries. Once I thought it, I had to paint it since squirrels are so fast and jumpy.

Aug 032017
 

Recall how I said I’d be working on the latest quilt over the weekend to get it done?
Remember when I explained that I had enough fabric to last decades?

Yeah.

When I went to bed on Friday night, I had the perfect vision of a zip pouch made of a fabric, the print of the fabric was a bit grunky, the background was a deep, sweet red. The zipper on the pouch was black. I was enamoured.

So, instead of doing what I said I would, I spent the weekend making this fabric design.

The red I wanted doesn’t exist in Kona cotton, so I took three yards the darkest hot pink that does exist and overdyed it with cherry red. It took a lot of time, but the color was perfect. Meanwhile, I drew the design, scanned, printed, exposed screens and mixed up printing inks.
Making fabric
It took another day to get the printing done, there was a lot of mess. It is excellent! Just what I envisioned.

Making fabric
This is the first layer alone, in a silver-glitter white combo.

Used my handmade fabric to make a pencil case.
Then, using my max-visibility zip pouch method (calling it a pattern seems wrong, since it can be made in any size instead of a limited pattern) I made a zip pouch from my new fabric. It is EXACTLY like I saw it and wanted it.

Used my handmade fabric to make a pencil case.
The start tab has a cheeky eyelet for hanging.

Used my handmade fabric to make a pencil case.
The interior lining is a thick, silver glitter star print.

Now I have in my possession the precise thing I saw in my head. I don’t think I can appropriately convey how happy, satisfied, and generally blissed-out this makes me. I swear I get a warm feeling in my chest when I see it and hold it. As well, I have somewhere to corral my drawing pencils for my latest drawing sketchbook. To maximize chances of success, I made two in one go; the second is listed in my Etsy shop, if this is somehow your dream, too.

After all that, I did finish the quilt; although, it is awaiting the final de-lint and de-thread session before photography.

Aaaah. Excellent.

Jul 312017
 

Collection of paintings from last week.

Lunch hour painting
Blue milk cap (lactarius indigo) mushroom and field mouse, above its burrow. I’d wondered about unusual blues in nature and discovered this mushroom, which is edible but its taste varies greatly.

Lunch hour painting
Attracted by the pancake breakfast, a mutant giant slug incidentally destroys the Depot Plaza, bringing a halt to many CFD activities and breaking the record for slowest destruction of a building. I was inspired y this giant snail meme:
Snail meme
… which I found hilarious.

Lunch hour painting
Reindeer, somewhat out of place in this part of the graveyard.

Lunch hour painting
What I saw on the shower door this morning. The condensation formed a leaf on a stem and a tiny mushroom floating above it. Was pleased to observe shapes in the droplets. They were crisp and distinct.

Jul 282017
 

The Captain, napping.
The Captain is the cutest napper. I love it when cats put their heads on pillows. Not only because I am amused by animals doing human things, but also because I feel, in some modest fashion, that something I did made a cat have a more comfortable life.

Jul 272017
 

Last Sunday I cleared out the center of our living room to lay out and pin the latest quilt.
Latest quilt
The upper right corner had direct sunlight on it and somehow the color vanished in the pic. That corner looks gray for some reason, but I assure you it is not.
It fit with just enough room for me to get around it. This picture shows it pinned, edges trimmed, about to be folded up and taken downstairs for quilting, which I finished last night. Now I only have to bind it and the rest is wash, dry, photograph.

This quilt is also a first for me. I usually piece my backings together from multiple pieces of fabric. This one with so many pieces on the front didn’t feel right do that for, so I (dah, dah, DAH!!) ordered a piece of backing fabric! Woot! This fabric is 108″ wide and made for this very purpose, especially for folks who quilt on a longarm machine – those big, room-eating monsters that allow you the possibility of quilting a king size in an hour. I don’t have one those, but I wanted to have a single piece on the back. This was a conflict to decide for me for a few reasons:
1. I have plenty of fabric. I likely have enough fabric to keep me stocked for the next 25-30 years, seriously. I could absolutely use some of that fabric to piece a back instead of buying more fabric.
2. One solid piece of fabric at that size calls out to me for a purposeful quilting design on it, since that is the only visual interest such a piece will have. This quilt front, however; does absolutely NOT support some free design dedicated to a back. The front is boxy, piece-y and demands quilting that furthers its composition, and deserves it.
3. After some fun, but significant expenditures this year, I am really trying NOT to spend money on things I don’t need. I don’t NEED this fabric.

Those are the biggies, but I did it anyway. In hindsight, I still think it was the right choice. And now I’m even more excited to do a wholecloth quilt one day. The back, being solid black with my quilting in black, looks enticing in a way only monochrome texture can. Yes, despite my love of color (passion?) I do like monochrome. I like the visual fabric interest in all its forms, I suppose. All black patchwork makes my heart race a bit.

Anyway, the backing piece goes down first and I’d started taping it down, but the masking tape I’d grabbed was one of the super-delicate painting tapes I bought so it wouldn’t rip up my watercolor paper. I chose it because I assumed it would still be sticky enough, but it seems their claims of gentle stick were true. Who knew, truth in advertising!?! Anyhow, I went back downstairs, grabbed the regular cheapo, crap masking tape and by the time I came back up, Friday was having a spree. She was taking running slides at the backing fabric, diving underneath it and looking around the new world there – same as cats do when you’re making a bed. I had to take a picture.

Friday on the quilt backing
By this time she’d somehow managed to get it accidentally flat again and laid on top of it to catch her breath. Silly cat.

That went well, after Friday and Oz lost interest with my yelling at them, and now the quilting is done, as mentioned. I will likely get the binding done this weekend and should have photos up next week. As for naming, there is word that fits this quilt very well, but I cannot bring it to mind. My second biggest problem with having a decent vocabulary is that I cannot always find the explicit one I want – similar to my trouble finding the perfect item in an overcrowded workshop!

Jul 252017
 

I’m posting this lunch hour painting out of order today so that all the locals who visit the blog can enjoy the visual while it is relevant.
Lunch hour painting
Attracted by the pancake breakfast, a mutant giant slug incidentally destroys the Depot Plaza, bringing a halt to many CFD activities and breaking the record for slowest destruction of a building.

Jul 252017
 

Lunch hour painting
Friday is our most independent and adventurous cat. The world is a grand fun time for her.

Lunch hour painting
Pine martens are adorable, scary creatures! I love these guys. This is one of my favorites.

Lunch hour painting
Mice, celebrating pizza. As one should.

Lunch hour painting
Thinking about existentialism.

I seem to be doing four paintings a week at work. One day always gets away from me. Last couple weeks are caught up now.

Jul 242017
 

Three weeks have passed? Dammit! I am going to have to share these weekly or I’ll never keep up.
Lunch hour painting
Testing out some small paper samples with identical paintings. This is a six-spotted burnet, a day-flying moth with vivid red spots against black wings. I like the Legion Stonehenge paper on the right better.

Lunch hour painting
This didn’t turn out well. I was done with lines and just starting watercolor when something at work got a lot of drama and I had to click buttons and reassure people. It went horribly awry (nothing to do with me) and I only had a few minutes to slap some color on and shove everything into the file cabinet. Oh well. They can’t all be good.

Lunch hour painting
This one was inspired by my echinacea plant that has only one bloom now. I like how that flower turned out; will probably make a badge from it.

Lunch hour painting
Heavy heart, fast painting.

More soon.

Jul 212017
 

The Captain, sunning his belly.
Evening summer sun to be enjoyed.

The Captain, sunning his belly.
That drowsy look up and the tiny peek of fangs. He kills me with cuteness. I die!

See how his foot is against the door? This door has a slight tendency to drift closed. Not much, but if I halfway close it the drift often takes it to almost touching the frame by the time I look at it again. There is a magnet stopper on the wall that holds it completely open; however, this day I was about to shut the door and saw The Captain headed towards it. I thought I’d give him a few minutes in the sun and left it halfway open. I often find the door about six inches open and a cat inside the space, enjoying the view for a bit. Apparently this time he didn’t want to be crowded, he wanted to stretch out in the sun, so he pushed it all the way open and left his foot there to keep it from drifting towards him. I don’t think he knows about the magnet stopper – or, maybe he does. He is a clever cat. Maybe he was so engrossed in the sun enjoyment that he couldn’t be bothered to move his foot once the door stopped.

Jul 202017
 

Not a lot of progress lately, mostly because this quilt is taking forever. The struggle is partly because I didn’t have a clear idea of what it was going to be or look like when I started, so there was a lot of time spent staring and thinking, but the bigger part of time is because the damn thing is big. The flimsy (top) is finished which puts this at halfway done.
Finished flimsy.
At 60″ x 100″ it is taking up a lot of my workspace. I prefer smaller items, for many reasons, but sometimes things need to be big and I let them. I hope to get it actually quilted this weekend, but that is probably a vain hope. Merely basting the layers together is going to require moving furniture out of the living room for layout space.

We’ll see. I am eager to work on other things.

Jul 182017
 

Bombus ternarius (AKA orange-belted bumblebee, or red-banded bumblebee) are bees common in Cheyenne, despite our harsh weather. They are single season (colony) bees, so a colony thrives in our hot summer and the new queen(s) hibernates through the winter. They are ground dwellers, so I’m sure that helps here.
Bombus Ternarius on echinacea.
This worker was on my single echinacea plant shortly after I found the other plants eaten. Should I say that? I mean, the remains of the asters told the tale, but the seedlings were gone, so I couldn’t have found them. They were conspicuous in their absence and I concluded what had happened to them. I could be wrong. They could have been abducted my aliens.

Anyway.

Some success has been had! One bee, one flower – good start.

Jul 172017
 

We still have two baby bunnies living in our yard. They are almost done looking like young bunnies and more like rabbits. The chances of them being around for very long are slim, so I’m enjoying them while I can.
Baby bunny
Bunny 1.

Baby bunny
Bunny 2. I can be sure they are different since they were out at the same time.


And finally, a short video of Bunny 1 eating in the yard, before the mailman comes up the walk.
Same video on YouTube.

The bunnies have thwarted my gardening efforts in the backyard. They’ve eaten all the little seedlings I planted and gnawed half the asters down to nubs. Fortunately, the echinacea is tall enough that they’re not bothering it (or they don’t like it) so I still have something to show for all that dirt and sweat.

Jul 132017
 

Echinacea blooming
Now the echinacea has a proper bloom.
The original plant had two promising buds. The second, lower and smaller one was bitten off, I saw this morning. Ambitious bunny? Busy squirrel? I will never know since our security cameras don’t cover the plant area. Will have to arrange for a flora and fauna cam.

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