Friday, March 31, 2006

Haircut! (after)

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement! I couldn't get the pictures uploaded yesterday, but here they are.


And after!
I took off 7 inches!
You get blurry pics *warning*

Hey, you look different! What happened?
Willow is really a clown ;o)

Unrelated spring pictures

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Preparing for the haircut...

No haircut yet, don't let the picture below fool you.

Tomorrow is the day... Well, I wanted to go something like Amelie, but I don't think I can pull it off. It is appealing though, in that it even looks great when she pulls it up off her neck. I'm really not sure I have the face for it. :o(

This was me almost 10 years ago (graduation), even shorter.
I'm not sure I can pull that off again, either.

I'll probably just ask for an even bob a few inches below the chin, something that is cut to turn under. The shorter my hair gets, the more of a wave shows up in it -- and that in itself can be hard to get to 'behave.'

Wish me luck!

Somebunny says 'Hi!'

I'm making more bunnies! Here is the first one.

I also made a post over at Sew? I Knit! about the bag project. Thanks Chris!

I'm off the post office, and lots of other errands... we got a later start today than usual.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I'm cheating on my knitting project...

It was a pretty day today, blue sky, light wind.

The redbud is filling out, and giving lots more pretty purple

The picture of Sally with her nose to the computer.
That is a picture of Willow from my flickr account.

The brown and blue worsted-weight sock.

Mild : Copying the Master <--Netfunny joke
Spicy : Slightly Used Taser for Sale <--Netfunny joke

The girls were meowing for a good three hours straight this morning -- no idea why.

I've been knitting, but not on the purple socks. I've almost finished one of the brown-and-blue striped worsted socks (started when I was sick last week) I worked on it while we watched 'Get Shorty.'

I have lots more bunnies to sew~!

Sneaky Fabric Peek

Monday, March 27, 2006

I Need a Haircut (before)

I seriously, SERIOUSLY, need a haircut
This is about four months of procrastination. I need to look into some of the treatments I used to use as well... it just won't behave lately.

If you have any reccommendations -- I'd be glad to hear them!
Juicy tidbit: At summer camp, my nickname was 'Cousin It'... I was going through that hair hanging over the eyes phase at the time. Usually I have it tied back now.

Willow has a twin! Of course they aren't identical, (and I think he's a boy) but I was amazed ;o) Willow also has that white line down one side of her nose.

The laundry bags are almost done. I have the bottom and the snap-ties to finish on the second one, then I can set them both up on the dolly and take a picture ;o) J said they were really neat, and he might even use them... I hope this is the first step to having a more organized house.

I'm being a girl - I want to make this skirt, but without the bow. I don't like the quality of WM's clothes. Without driving to Jackson, it is about all the choice there is. Instead, I'll go to a thrift shop or make what I want. This skirt lines itself - which I thought was very cool. It will take me months to duplicate it though :o( no quick project for me.

After two girly things in one post, if you knew me better, your jaw would have hit the floor ;o) I was such a tomboy growing up. I scared a lot of people when I wore a dress to school the week of graduation!

I'm excited, two bunny swaps in the making!

What a rabbit! : Hop Skip Jump's Honey rabbit. Her apron matches her ears.. and I love the daisy fabric on her arms!

I have to get back to work now, we have articles to edit and cupboards to hang, doorframes to varnish and bags to sew. Hope you are having a great day! (haircut is due for thursday, there will be an 'after'... if I'm lucky)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sunday garden hop

at photobucket

Recent crafty stuff
Project Spectrum: red and pink bunnies!
close-up of face on pink bunny

Making more bunnies -- was going to do the bags today but J wants to go out and dig up part of our garden, plant lettuce, spinach, that sort of stuff. Bunnies like these would like that, hmm? So, we are off. Looks like Chris had a fun (and colorful) day yesterday too ;o)

I really freaked out Sally-cat today, I showed her the big picture of Willow in my flickr account... and she was puzzled and worried for a good couple of minutes. She finally figured out that it wasn't a cat -- but still didn't know what exactly it was... ;o) Got a picture of her with her nose against the screen, but it will have to be posted at work tomorrow (where Opera isn't the only browser available)

I tried the sewing-machine on the bunny on the right -- any better? Is it worse? That is usually the part that takes me forever to handsew.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Jackson trip, I fell off the bandwagon!

Pictures still not loading here with Opera, so this is at flickr:

Oh No! -- Sally got ideas from Jeanne's cat!

Cool link : Tea Chef <--free sample of gunpowder tea this month.

I fell off the bandwagon with 'Use what you Have'... it was bound to happen ;o) :o( We went to Jackson, TN today and had a luxury day. J stocked up on LOTS of 'pulp sci-fi mags', while I bought several yards of Asian-themed fabric, some fat quarters, and three boxes of Anna's Swedish cookies - which I love! Chocolate Mint is my all-time favourite, Almond Cinnamon and Cappucino were too good to pass up.

Now I have to go clean a bit, dishes, laundry, scare kitties with vaccuum etc etc. It's a trade-off, so tomorrow I can focus on making ---
  1. (Two) laundry bags, very simple, with snap-loop tops, to hang from the dolly in our laundry room. I have some white canvas leftover in the front-room that would be perfect for this.
  2. A messenger bag out of this fabric. The outside will be white with black and red flowers (very Marimekko-inspired) and the inside will be a traditional Asian patchwork print.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Reminiscing with Whip-Up's toy link

Whip Up has a nice post up today about much-loved childhood toys. When I was about four, I had a doll. A little baby doll with a pink and white gingham dress. One night, before we went to bed, my sister grabbed my doll and tore its head off. I think she thought it would go back on (it was plastic), but nobody could get it back on. I cried so hard. I was four, but I remember it clearly.

My parents made my sister, who was eleven, give me one of her stuffed animals, a little plush dog with long ears. Over the next six or seven years, I think 'Tina' ended up looking a lot like the rabbit in Whip-Up's post. Her nose and eyes were replaced, eventually, with buttons. Her paws, neck and ears were mended again and again. She got lost a lot - my parents always found her. I think there came a time I thought she was a little creepy... like Chucky... and she went up on a shelf. She is still on that shelf in my parent's house. I feel just a little sad when I think about it.

I feel a little better, but not much... but I'm going to get ready for work. I did knit a little on a sock yesterday, out of brown worsted yarn. I didn't have the courage to go back to the purple yarn for another round. Watching lots of X-files while you are sick can't be good for you, can it?

Link: Mollychicken has a cute bunny posted in a travel bag.

This at Etsy is tempting me... but I still have a purple sock to go!
This bag is giving me ideas for the one I still need to make.

KnitOwl in Progress
I'm going to try for two goals today:
1. Finish the red bunny that was posted a few days ago... he is so close.
2. A paperback book pocket/cover, because my bookmark came in the mail. **cute owl**
I made it, but it is about 1/8" too small to fit my book! **sigh** So, it is now a 'sewing clutch', because those things that I used to carry in my totebag fit nicely here! It even has room for an unfinished bunny or owl to be taken along. The one thing that wouldn't fit was my new pincushion, so I made a tiny fish pincushion to attach inside ;o)

Sorry about the flickr links, but Blogger isn't cooperating with uploads from Opera

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Zakka, and turkeys

What, did I miss turkeys?... okay sleepy...

Cool 'zakka' stuff I saw today:

Yes Willow, you did ;o) But they didn't miss you!

Saw these on the way to work,
the 'guys' were being protective of their hens,
they didn't like the smell of cat coming from the truck ;o)

I might not last on this 'Use what you have' thing... :o( I have so far, but I want a 'nice' fabric for the bag, and some variety for the toymaking as well. But - online shipping is $$$, and Jackson (the nearest non-Walmart fabric source) is so far away.... an hour drive is far away for our work schedule :o( If only I could spew out onto fabric the multitude of designs in my head - then I'd be on a roll. Too bad, I don't have my screenprinting supplies from college either!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Quinoa, flowers and washing-machine pitfall

Quinoa from bottom-left clockwise
Uncooked, Cooked, J's meal with tomatoes, red peppers and onions
Click to enlarge

A blurry Willowpede checks out our spider mums on the table.

KnitOwl in progress

Washing-Machine Pitfall
This morning, I got up at 7 am. I thought I had a dentist appointment at 8... turns out it is in May, not March. Wow... what a time lag between appointments! J wasn't getting up yet, so I was sitting in the dining room (with the flowers) sewing a few little projects. Then, I heard this 'sound' coming from the washer and dryer (on the other side of the room)... and I immediately began LMAO. What happened next, made me laugh uncontrollably.

Here is Sally, two feet balanced on the edge of each appliance. She is slowly but surely losing her grip (the washer machine has one foot missing) as the machines move further and further apart... and the gap between her feet gets wider and wider. Being metal, there is nothing for her to get a grip on. Then, like a contortionist going into a small place, I see her disappear into the gap , body first, legs next.. as she is meowing in protest. Aren't cats supposed to be graceful?

My crude depiction of the event
created in the GIMP

This all happens before I can get up to catch her, and she is standing down at the bottom, in the gap, looking up at me. 'Meow?' she asks... 'Translation: Did you see that, why are you laughing at me, and please get me out of here!' She wasn't hurt in the least, just feeling very undignified. It was even worse because she knew I was laughing at her - and it 'wasn't funny.'

Monday, March 20, 2006

Pink Owl (and how-to)

He's not perfect, but here he is!
and pink for Project Spectrum!
Is he an owl, or a pink Viking owl?

And also with my other projects from this weekend.

Here is my pattern, for your personal use.
click to enlarge

You will need:

Cotton, felt and embroidery thread in matching colours.
felt and embroidery thread in contrasting color, for beak.
Dry beans or poly pellets
Scissors, needle & thread, a marking pen, all that jazz.

Cut out the owl shape on the fold of a piece of cloth, or flip over and trace to make a symmetrical figure. Cut two.

Cut one of the 'face and tummy-patch' out of a contrasting or matching piece of felt, (or add a seam allowance if using cotton). applique stitch felt or cotton patch onto the front piece of the owl. This is easier to do before you sew the two halves together.

Add a beak, eyes and feather-stitching to the patch, if you wish, before applying it to the owl front.

If making pocket - sew top of pocket to a cotton backing (so the top is enclosed and no raw edges show) Fold pocket so that cotton is facing owl back and felt is facing out. Applique down to the owl back.

Put owl front and back with right-sides together. Sew all the way around, leaving only a 1" gap in one of the sides. Turn right-side out and stuff. You can put some dry beans or poly pellets in his bottom, before you sew him up, to help him stand up. Use a ladder stitch to sew the opening shut nicely.

Now bounce him around and annoy people, or let him sit on your computer ;o)
I am such a kid sometimes!

Outside Link: I love these bird bags I found on Crafting Japanese!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Now to get back to sewing...

I gave in to a bit of cute owl stuff today:

I had five little 'owls' cut out last night and was working on making one of them into a snap-pouch. I'll probably work up a second pincushion too, just because I have lots of old buttons ;o) I'm looking through all the great stuff on backtack and trying to get more ideas.

Yet another reason backtack is so appealing to me today:
I'm going to have to sit down sometime this week or next weekend and make a messenger-type bag for myself as well.

This tutorial looks like a winner.

The handle on my daily bag (back right corner of desk) is coming apart (it is woven, so there is no repairing it really). This is the bag with great pockets inside to keep things separate, with an open top and a very 'non-purse' feel about it. It transports my knitting and sewing projects, as well as pincushion, scissors, needlecase, threads, measuring tape, etc.. in those handy pockets.

Ugh note : I opened a can of salmon today and found the whole spinal cord and lots of long thin bones inside. J says this is the norm (even though he is vegan, he says he has seen it before) My mom's brand of canned salmon NEVER had such things in it... Ugh! Nope girls - you don't get this, just plain canned tuna for you. I can't trust you to pick through your food before gulping.

OTOH: wasabi powder, lemon juice, olive oil and black pepper make this very good once the bones are gone.

It is 2 pm(my time) and I really should get back to some work ;o) We have hummus and crackers to make later on, and maybe mutant banana bread. That means three cleanings of the food processor though.. yikes!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Stunt Woman

By only the grace of God I just survived putting my head through a glass window, without a single cut. I tripped over J's laptop cord on my way to the sewing machine. I caught myself on the little sewing machine table, but the forward momentum sent me right up against the window... I'm still not sure how we are just picking up pieces and vacuuming -- instead of on the way to the hospital.

I'm really glad neither of the kittens was under the table when all the glass fell! They love to sit there and look out that very window.

**shivers a little still**

Saturday ramblings

Food: We walked down to our local health food store today. It is a strange and wonderful oasis of uncommon food in this little town. We are very glad to have found it. ;o)

Recipes I Like
Quinoa, except remove the pine nuts and add a can of diced tomatoes - preferably heavily seasoned with rosemary, basil and oregano. Fresh rosemary is GREAT in this. Garlic is good too.

Sweet Potatoes with lime <-- I have to make this next week, I am really having a craving.

Here is a recipe for those piroshki, although I'll need to do some work to convert this to vegan... veganlunchbox didn't have a specific recipe for them.

J also picked up four spider mums at the florist down the street -- they are very pretty and fragrant. He picked them up a few times in Fargo, and was missing them. They are a nice thing to have on the table, onc in a while. I'm not sure how long they will last around the girls. Sally already told me they smell 'bad' while Willow just thinks they are odd and the vase is very wet to stick her paw into. They both loved attacking the tissue paper though ;o)

My Neighbor Totoro came in the mail from Netflix -- We've been waiting for this for a while ;o) J is making two batches of pizza and we'll sit down to watch the movie with it.

I have to clean some, and Willow is mugging me badly, wanting to play. She brought a piece of cloth tied to yarn to me and put it in my lap. This is a new trick and I like it ;o) Much better than her 'wake you up me-yowling at six-am when I am bored' trick!

Sewing: Sitting down to a few projects, realized I'd lost my pincushion, and made one of these, as seen on Whip Up. Also found this pincushion while looking for the link ;o)

Friday, March 17, 2006

White Elephants!

New pattern I am prototyping (2 versions)

This guy qualifies for the Use what I Have thread Simple Sparrow started (and Chris pointed me to!) All of his materials were already in my 'stash' of sewing materials. There is a flowered (four-legged) version coming too, but it is a bit more complicated to prototype.

I had squirreled away a ziploc bag, full of 'beads I'll use someday.' They used to be in a green ceramic bowl, but now I have cats and it is broken ;o) :o{ So - why let them sit at the bottom of my sewing box, when they can add so much?

I put Madeleine up in the shop, finally... I had to get a good picture of her back that did not include a Sally-cat ;o)

The more softies I make, the better, I think, my sewing is getting. The handsewing is getting quicker, and I like working out the puzzle of the new patterns as well.

Speaking of patterns: Wee Wonderfuls had a beautiful fox the other day at her site! She is a real cutie ;o) I wish the fox that has been sighted around here at work was this cute! We are a little worried he might get in the fence and get after the kittens!!! :o(

Two great cooking links :
  • Vegan Lunchbox
  • Cooking for Engineers (via Yarnstorm blog Thanks Chris!

    I'm thinking of making a few of those 'Russian piroshkas', from Vegan Lunchbox, tonight -- except on a grander dinner-size scale.

    oh, and btw, Happy St.Patrick's Day! If you didn't listen to NPR this morning, you missed beautiful Irish Harp music ;o)
  • Thursday, March 16, 2006

    Kittens and Redbud

    A 'redbud' tree.
    This bit of colour is for Chris, with all her recent snow.

    These kittens belong to a 'half-feral' cat at our office.

    She has had them 'out on parade' recently, and we held one of the orange ones last night. She didn't get upset -- she's gotten to the point where she wants someone else to look after them once in a while ;o)

    Crafts: I'm putting the red paint on the back of the wooden bowl, and making a 'blank doll' for the shop, which will have hair, but otherwise will be just the muslin body. She will be an alteration on the pattern I drew for 'Angie.' Tonight, I am sewing a white muslin elephant as well as the doll body. I'm not sure whether to paint, embroider, bead, or just leave the elephant plain (with eyes and a tail, at least)... I have to sew his ears on and he is ready for one of the above treatments.

    Knitting: I hope the first purple sock will get finshed this weekend -- there is just so much going on, it is in my bag and has been stalled since last Saturday.

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    'Madeleine' in black and red

    I finished and signed her this morning. Here is 'Madeleine.'
    She has a sort of 'Moulin Rouge' thing going on, you think?
    I'm not sure how it happened, but the red is for Project Spectrum!

    The dress and boots are not sewn on. The dress is crocheted, as all of my small knitting needles were occupied during this time.

    And, although this wasn't a great picture, it has Sally 'supervising' in the background ;o)

    My desk just gets messier and messier as time goes on ;o)

    Links to pictures of 'Madeleine' in progress :
  • Pre-paint
  • Post-paint
  • Monday, March 13, 2006

    Red with Pictures! *gasp*

    The enamel-painted bowl I was talking about ;o)
    It was originally a 'weave-look' print, found at a thrift store.
    Instead of bamboo, I just let the brush take me where it 'willed,' and these designs came out. I still need to paint the back red too.

    'Angie', based on the idea of a more vintage doll pattern. I drew the pattern for her on Saturday morning after viewing a.lee's doll skin online. Her red dress took me almost as long as she did! Angie is hanging out at KnitOwl and friends now.

    Sunday, March 12, 2006

    Red for Project Spectrum

    Sally and Willow are in play mode. I need to go bake biscuits and call my best friend from junior high to wish her a Happy Birthday.

    The red bowl has its third coat on it, and then I can paint the black designs on it. I am currently sewing a red felt jumper for the 'vintage' doll pattern I drew Saturday morning. She has red-striped legs, orange wool yarn hair, and silk thread for her eyes and mouth (from a box of vintage thread and lace I got earlier this year). I was attempting a 'Raggedy-Ann' look, but I think she actually looks more like someone I worked with in Fargo. On the doll's signature I gave her my coworker's name - 'Angie' - I think she would take it as a compliment, she is a really cool person ;o)

    The doll is 16" tall sretched out, and 10" seated. That is bigger than the other lady doll from last week! I still need to sew that doll's arms and legs on. Why haven't I done that already???

    The red jumper has a little applique bird in white felt. I drew one in the GIMP, but for some reason, Opera (J's internet broiwser on the old computer) doesn't want to post pictures at all through Blogger :o( But, at least it is easier to use than Lynx (which is also a choice) ;o)

    So to keep my post from being entirely boring ;o)

    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    Saturday in Progress

    No pictures today :o( My home internet isn't working yet on the new hard-drive... I think we forgot to download the proper driver at work :o( (I have wireless there, wired at home) I'm working on J's old computer. It does connect to the Internet, but doesn't have the ability to work with the camera.

    I am making progress with several projects ;o)

    The first purple sock is at the toe decreases. I am going back to the every-other pattern from the heel for the toe. I think it will reinforce it there too..?

    I went out to our local thrift store and picked up two nice large pieces of fabric. One is linen, and I think the other is 100% cotton. Another lady was there before me (I should have been up earlier!) and scored all the print fabric! I was a little jealous, but mostly scolding myself for not getting there until 10 am.

    Project Spectrum
    I did find a plain wooden bowl there that is going to get new life with red enamel and maybe some black bamboo painted on it. The first coat of red is drying now, and it looks promising!

    Also, an odd find that I love -- a 1950 book of French Prose! For a quarter! **happy sigh**

    I have to finish putting the arms and legs on the tall lady doll. I'm not sure what to do after that -- there are several other softie sketches I want to bring to reality, but I've made so many recently! I'm not sure what to do next.

    Friday, March 10, 2006

    What a Day!

    Apparently with our huge storm yesterday, we weren't the only ones... Memphis had a tornado :o( We finally did get our power back on at about 6 pm, and our network (of which three servers were hit by lightning!) back just before 8 pm. We run 16 websites from here - so it was quite a scramble!

    Today, I walked around Paris dropping off bills (it isn't far to any of the main buildings), and knitted on my purple sock as I walked. You should have seen people crank their necks as they drove by ;o)

    On to the pictures! My old machine has a new hard-drive in it, and I was able to pull pictures off of the camera today.

    They are multiplying!

    This is just before Sally bit Willow's ear for leaning on her!

    Willow isn't quite sure what to make of these new felt friends

    We pulled this turtle out of the road today near Huntingdon, TN. I put him in a field near the road and told him to stay there! ;o)

    And, the girls are busy patrolling our office, (the messy place featured) making sure any bugs, leaves or bits of stray electrical tape are thoroughly investigated and pounced upon. They sound like little elephants running around here!

    Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    Knitting Content, you say?

    Getting there!

    Doll dress
    with crochet edging

    Believe it or not, but knitting does go on here ;o) I often don't believe it myself!

    My computer is going in for a hard-drive re-imaging, so these might be the last pictures for the week (maybe not... not sure!) I'll be borrowing another computer for work, but it won't have the camera driver on it.

    Even more varnishing to do today, and we were just up on our office roof cleaning out gutters and sawing branches. What a week this has been! J has me quizzing him on his Japanese phrases, and I have to dig into the hiragana book -- as I have been avoiding it while trying to get toys ready for the shop.

    Last night, something happened that was quite eerie at the time. I was in our duplex's kitchen, chopping potatoes, and started hearing this noise outside, in the shared back entry. We don't currently have neighbors, and there is an outside door that I would have heard open if anyone came from outside.

    I stopped chopping. The noise stopped. I started chopping, the noise returned. Willow sat up on her hind-legs in the kitchen chair and 'prarie-dogged,' trying to figure out what was going on. This alerted me that she, too, was hearing the noise. A moment later, 'someone' started turning the doorknob on the other side -- I was scared!

    It turned out to be our landlord, who had been painting in the soon-to-be-rented apartment next door, and had heard me chopping. It was quite loud, I do admit! -- a metal knife on a glass plate. He had thought it was someone tapping on the outside entryway door, or maybe even something in the basement. We both scared each other quite well ;o)

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    So much to do today...

    two outdoors photos (large format, click to enlarge)

    Willow fell asleep like this just after we got home last night. More doll work this morning. Time to make food, finish a Python program and varnish more at the garage.

    Monday, March 06, 2006


    Salamander has been studying her hiragana too hard. ;o)

    Ten things I wandered upon today:
    1. Owl with a bonnet on [Wee Wonderful's flickr]
    2. Animals in people-clothes [Wee Wonderful's flicker]
    3. felted bunnies
    4. Little Birds blog
    5. Knitted Kitty at Squirrel's Worlds blog
    6. Mosaic hints and tips (I have some saved dish shards in a drawer at home)
    7. il Bloggo blog
    8. fat felt lamb
    9. A primitive lion at While She Naps
    10. Japanese craft stuff at Wee Wonderfuls

    This is my engraving kit from college. I really want to get some copper and start some more botanical engravings. The copper shown is my first engraving. I keep it near my kit to remember how the process felt those first few times. I was playing with texture this past week on the top-right linoleum. It really isn't turning out to be anything more than that. *sigh*