Saturday, March 29, 2014

Stencilling an octopus onto a t shirt

my drawing of an octopus

I took a drawing I made last night and cut it out into two different layers on cardstock.  I used the camera to take a picture of the drawing, as our copy machine was down.  Then, after using the regular printer to print the drawing onto cardstock, I used an x-acto knife blade to cut out the defining areas on one copy and the entire outline on another.  Using acrylic paint and fabric medium, I brushed the colors on in two steps, allowing the shirt and the stencils to dry a bit in between to make sure there was no bleedover behind the stencil.

The dark blue is a school shirt for Esme.  The light blue shirt is one I bought on clearance and have been wearing to work.  I think they are both going to turn out great :)

I have to heat set them later.
And yes, the tea towels we painted last week turned out pretty good through the wash!

Playing Indian with a hat, loincloth and bow she made herself, and the octopus shirt.  
She took it off after that and wants it to be for school.

On to knitting and maybe some patchwork... there is some cleaning to do yet, and the laundry (hanging up behind her) to sort and fold.

Note:  She woke us up at seven this morning, wearing an eyepatch from her Halloween trick or treat bag and asking to go to the zoo in Memphis for the day.  We knew we were 'in for it' with the energy bouncing right then and there.  It is nice to get a little project done here and there :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

bits no picture

Slowed down a bit the last few days, had the early-bird shift at work, and it didn't leave too much for getting other things done - and Esme was on school break so she wants to play.  Made a tiny embroidery last night, and a dishcloth and a pair of pants for Esme today.  I transplanted the tomato seedlings and put pepper seeds in the pot for the next round.  I saw a lace halter sort of shirt top in a dream the other night and I am wondering how to make it.  I roamed around a discount store after work today to get some ideas for sewing.. saw a skirt there kind of like mine on clearance for 12.00 .. and that was clearance.  I still have poison ivy here and there that came out of nowhere this week. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


 I continued the busy streak today - both with the cleaning, and the other projects.  I started to put a border around this knit bathrug that was never large enough... and it is turning out okay for never having crocheted around a square before.  I'll put a few more rounds of blue on it when Esme is in the bath later, and it will be ready.

I cleaned some more - and then did some plumbing (which will lead to more) cleaning out p-traps in the pedestal sinks.  I discovered they really need to have the drains inside the sinks replaced soon - and that is on our list.  There is a drawer slide in the kitchen drawers that can be repaired, too.  I did the cleaning in the hallway I had set out to do - have a tiny bit more there later after Esme is home.  I am actually going to recruit her for the vanity sink p-trap, and see if she helps.

I also got tired of not finding a pencil among my knitting needles - and all of the short items that get lost in the tall ones etc etc..  So I took two jars which I had originally cleaned off of the vanity cabinet and painted them with some gloss paint which says 'for use on glass only for decorative purposes'  check.  This makes some nice use out of something we already had - and makes them look a lot cleaner than they did before.

Also need to make more dishcloths in the next month or so - have yarn set aside.  I'm using them all over the place.  The empty coffee cans have also become buckets while cleaning... our recycling bin for containers is paying off ;)

Tried sushi for the first time today - 'california roll' with avocado, cucumber and crab.  The pickled ginger 'gari' and wasabi made it extremely good.  This is a new restaurant for our town and has been here nearly a year?  I will probably be back some other time.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Miscellaney and thoughts

The rug Esme wanted for in front of her bed.. it is very small, but at least it is a use.

I made a skirt today, as well - and it was quite nice for cleaning up the house in.  I attacked some parts that had really needed scrubbing in the house, did laundry.. finished this rug and then when it was time to get Esme from the school bus the Kitty goat was missing.  We went out and looked all over the property, the neighbors.. down the road and to the lake.. and we did not find her.  Our small dog crew was missing, too.. which was actually a good sign, as they were likely with her and not leaving her alone out there.  I was a little short with Esme during the initial search - she had hit a girl on the bus as well.  I got some bad news on my student loan and I have to try for some more help there - applying for another program.  We'll see.  It was all looking like just more rain in our tea sort of thing so much I was just wondering what if anything we could do to help with it... not much, make dinner, bathe the little girl and wash her hair, get her ready for bed...  and the dogs brought the goat home to the doorstep six hours after we noticed her missing.  It feels good to have something come back right.  I told each of them they were good dogs, and Sweetie ran around the house upset because she was still wet and she hates to be wet.  The really weird thing I keep thinking is that for several days on a week now that goat has been trying to chew a blue plastic bag that is separated from her tie string by a window - she keeps trying, even though it is on the other side of the window (in the house).  She was doing that at about noon today, still... so one track mind and then suddenly we have no idea where she went *facepalm*...

Tomorrow off, too... hope it is on the good side.

Other things Esme blew me away with today:  'Meteorites are controlled by the Universe.'  ok.. do you know what meteorites are? 'They are big rocks, (that) go from planets and get on them (explosion sign).  yes, they are.. and where do they come from when they go on to the planets? (The universe place... it is BIG, and we are tiny.'  We were eating grilled cheese sandwiches while sitting in her empty kiddie pool in the yard (see above, we usually sit in the back of the truck for 'picnics' but Daddy was out searching the neighboring roads again for the goat) and I pointed to a tiny tiny crumb on my finger.  I said yes, we are smaller than this, and the Universe - the outer space between the planets, is bigger than the sky up there.  We don't even know how big it is, we haven't found out how big it is yet - it goes on and on and on..'  Esme looked up.. and really thought about it.  It was a nice expression to see.

She also told me today was a hard day (when I was telling her it was a hard day for us because of all the work we had done and all of the searching for the goat after that) for HER today - because she had lots of work tests, and C at school tried to copy from her, but their hearts were different numbers on the papers, so C couldn't copy, and she colored hers black because C only likes pink and she wouldn't copy that.  *Ha*

For me: I had a good dream the other night.  I always have this one recurring 'night mare', that there is a math class I am going to get an 'F' in because I can never find it to attend it, but I also can't cancel it.... and I can't even remember where to go or what time until it is always too late.  That night I dreamt the teacher went through my scores and even though they were all bad (and decreasing as they went to zeroes) she said if I brought her lunch from the cafeteria I could get the key to the workroom and do makeup tests as I could get there, over time, and catch up.  That was a simple, but good dream - except I couldn't find the cafeteria... still better than before.  Maybe I'll magically have a sandwich next time I get there ;)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My inventor makes her own fun

 Esme gets super bored on the weekends... but she does make her own fun.  Today it was a 'cake' out of blocks, lego parts and pom pom balls that was to be served up to a dragon after I got home from work - and lots of K'nex inventions.  She was also putting pricetags on her coloring book pages she brought home from Grandma's house.

I'm still working on several blankets, a rug, and small stuffed dogs for her and a birthday party gift for April.  So, she gets the creative energy from somewhere ;)

Other:  She asked me why earth was a small word, but it had five letters which was almost as much as dragon which was a big word - 'earth' vs' dr-aaag-on'.. she meant the syllables...  Right after that she was dipping water into a container, throwing it up in the air, dropping the container and trying to catch the water with both hands.  She said she wished she had three hands.  I was flabbergasted for a moment.. but responded with: 'Yes, many people have wished they had three hands, before.' She said: 'Yea, three would be good, for this.'  She said the birthday party girl would not like a stuffed dog because she only likes princess stuff..I said 'so ... doesn't matter.  she's getting a stuffed dog, because we don't have money to go buy a toy - and you like it, right?'  She agreed... and thinks it is perfect as it is although I said I would change a few things on the next one.  As I finished sewing it she said 'there, right there, perfect, it doesn't need anything else, stop there.'  Ha.

Two days off starting Monday.  Yay!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Vernal Equinox, planting and weaving

Esme has claimed this rug for her room - and at first I was having a hard time continuing with it because it had shrunk so much as I went up - but I saw much worse being displayed as 'designer art' on Pinterest... so I decided to run with it until it was a useful size, then string a wider one across the other direction of the loom.  Since deciding that a week ago, or so, I've made it from the lower green up to where you see.

For the Equinox we planted a few seeds, tomatoes inside, a few more sunflowers outside, and my sweet peas in the garden fence.  Grandma gave us some plants outside, day lilies, hens and chickens and a clump of daffodils - which I planted outside.

The green shawl is really coming along - and is pink and green ready to take on some yellow now.  I pulled out some airy linen like natural fabric from a box and washed it- wondering if I could make a nice summer skirt out of it, although it would be easy to get dirty.  I could practice some fabric painting on that, too - if the tea towel wash test turns out well.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Stencil paint a tea towel with fabric medium and cardstock

 I am using fabric medium, which is a clear fluid meant to be mixed with regular acrylic paints in order to turn them into 'fabric paints'.  You could use straight fabric paints if that is what you have.  Remember to heat set them as directed.

I chose an old tea towel that had been through the wash quite a few times - for practice, and to see how long this fabric medium will wash.  Since I could not find my Xacto knife, I cut a simple botanic border in chunky geometric shapes using a pair of craft scissors.

I painted along the edge of the bottom between the 'leaves' and 'flowers' to create a border stripe and to help to line them up so I could repeat the pattern across the bottom of the towel.

When it dries, I will heat set it and throw it through the wash with something that won't matter if it bleeds through - like garden jeans etc etc.  I really like it, and hope it lasts well.  Wondering if maybe to mix up a second color and make some splotches and dots in a few of the shapes, or to leave it all one color.

a second time around, with a straight piece of paper laid out to create the border diagonally across the corner of a worn teatowel.  Use a good flat brush and place something absorbent behind the towel, like cardboard - or something tough, (as shown) like the top of a Sterilite or Rubbermaid container.  I used the container top because it is easy to wash off and as it is used for fabric storage, doesn't need to be pretty and perfect anyway.

Be creative, Enjoy!

 Esme helping out after she came home from school.

Thanks to Daddy for sweet pictures :) 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

dreaming of sunflowers and more

The truck was fixed yesterday and it looks very good.  We are so glad it is back and grateful for friends and coworkers that helped us out during the waiting... 

No, these aren't sunflowers.  They are the radishes and kale that I planted in the pots in the window late last week.  They are on a good start.  Not pictured are some tomatoes that are also doing well.  The sunflowers were in a dream last night, big seedheads, nodding in the wind in some brush up at the top of the road.  That is a good dream, production and fruitfulness.  I took a twenty cent package of sunflower seed up there where they had been in my dream and poked them in the ground while waiting for Esme's school bus.  We'll see.

Green shawl, started yesterday morning.  It will probably migrate to some yellow and pink soon, as those are other leftover colors I have that are not meant for the bigger striped blanket - and that is getting so heavy it was hard to bring anywhere... thus a second smaller project begins in the time I needed to wait for things yesterday. 

We have two days off - Esme will still be at school but I'll be home. 

Some bad news is that Astro, the stray dog that appeared last fall and 'adopted' us,  is now gone.  A neighbor saw him in a dog fight outside our property the other day, and that was not a good battle.   One thing led to another and he lost.  We have laid him to rest in the valley.  At least he had someone who cared about him for the time he was with us - from cutting the tight collar off of his neck to reminding him that people scratch behind ears, and rub bellies, and feed you every day.  It wasn't much we could do for him - as he was still flighty and a little worried about people - but we did something, and I know that was better than what faced him if we hadn't tried to help him at all.

Friday, March 14, 2014

I am drawn to pattern... perhaps I am a gypsy?

The striped knitted blanket I've been working on since December, and a patchwork quilt that gets a few rows put on it every few months or so... it's about two or three years old now.  Today I may be finally ready to put the yellow diamond/triangle area onto the square part of the quilt.  It has been in progress for the past month or so and finally got to the proper width.

I can say I am drawn to the 'Bohemian' pattern and decorating style.   When I search through home decorating catalogs and websites I always end up saving the things that are full of intricate pattern and color.   It really isn't a surprise.  We live in the middle of the woods with ten dogs, live close to the land all summer and make as much of what we own as I can.  I am always telling Esme we can make that - or do something like that... and she also appreciates how much of the house has been made by 'us'.

Everything I make ends up being so brightly colored, unique and full of pattern and details that sometimes take much longer than anyone else would spend on them..... I get bored with one pattern in something - I start another.. and it all seems to fall together.  My art is like this, as well - intricate pen drawings that curl and squiggle and burst into color here and there...telling stories with animals and flowers and geometries that blend into each other as they move from one side of the page, to another.  Layers on layers of meaning... histories... time and thought encapsulated into craft.

Oh, and I wove more on the rug last night, added several more color bands.  Esme said it would be her rug - as the one she had in her room (that was made on the loom last year) was trashed in the water incident in January.  I had been planning to make a chair cushion cover out of it... but I think it is probably about the right size for her room in front of her bed.

Also, because of the weaving I felt like I was beaten this morning - had forgotten how much my arms and shoulder muscles - and back and hip muscles as well - used to hurt from the sitting upright, balancing the loom and moving the yarn back and forth again and again... it is a workout these muscles aren't used to anymore...

//note for later
Esme is outgrowing everything again.  I need to patch a few pairs of pants that have now become capris (highwater by two inches or more!) and go through the fabric stash to see what is available to make her some more.  measurements 25ch, 22w with 24 inch outer hip-ankle measurement - hemmed pants to 26 inch total length from Simplicity 8717 size 6.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

to do something...

still waiting on the truck to be fixed.. they're buying the parts and will update us.
saw something on printerest and picked this back up that had been put up for a year or so on my desk

window garden I meant to start several days ago before this happened - basil, green onion, spinach greens, radishes, kale and mustard greens... whatever can grow in there can be used in food.... its worth a shot.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Esmes comments on the tree vehicle trauma

Esme asked to go to the park first thing off the bus today.  I told her that would not be possible because a lot had happened while she was at school - a tree had fallen onto our truck and broken it (the windows) and someone had come to take it away to see if it could be fixed.  It happened just after we put her on the school bus this morning and I had not been able to drive to work because of it.  She wanted to see it - I told her she could see the tree and the glass in the driveway, and the tractor - which had a broken front tire now because Mark had used it to get the tree off of the truck.  She said 'oh no - two broken things?  Why is it the thing?'  She really wanted to see the truck and was worried that we had no car, and could not go do the things she wanted.  I told her I could not go to work, either, because of the situation - and that we hoped the man could fix our truck well enough that we could drive it soon, but we did not know what day it would be ready.  She was despairing in a very major way, about maybe to just have a frustration right there.  We were halfway down the driveway now.  I told her we were working on a solution to the problem, but she said that there was no solution, it was unsolveable, because there was no car to drive to go buy a new car and were just stuck, and all was lost.  I repeated again we were working on a solution - making some calls, we had gotten this far to get someone to come get it to be repaired... she was unconvinced.  I asked her if she thought Mom and Dad were smart enough to find a solution to this - didn't we usually work together and figure things out?  She disagreed - 'Nooooo! you cannot solve it -there is no truck to drive to get the things!'  The expression in her voice was priceless...

I said we were going to make dinner, give her a bath and get her ready for school tomorrow and when she was at school we would continue to work on it and maybe figure it out.  Then she began to run down towards the tractor, got there, and she said 'It is gone!'.. yes, the truck is gone.  I told you that.. but she meant the tree was gone from where it was supposed to be.  I pointed across the driveway to the fallen log that was the tree - and she stared at it for a millisecond, then marched right up to the hole she had been looking at - nearly walking over the glass - and prodded around - it is all gone, it is not right, the things are not in the usual places, and it is all not right.  I pointed to the tree again, and she finally looked at it.  For the record she asked to go to the park again after we got into the house and did her homework.  *facepalm* but was extremely good after that - took her bath, ate her dinner, asked for things politely... she was trying really hard to be good (and did say that at least once) to help with the situation by being good.  *impressed*.  She listened to the phone ring from the insurance company and said 'good maybe it is the car man with the fixed on the truck?' but was sad to hear it was not.  She wanted to play a game on Daddy's computer but we said he was doing 'his work' looking at cars we might be able to buy to replace the truck.  She accepted this gracefully.  I was knitting dishcloths during her bath and she said I was doing good work for the house making things we needed and she would be brave and do good work washing her hair.  She did... and that is usually a frustration for her, wanting to do it but not wanting to etc...

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Zen Bean Bags

 And the Indiana Jones hat I made last year for gardening... it fits her now :)

We made 'zen beanbags' today - which was an idea I had a long time ago and made for her but didn't really post much about.  The old ones are kind of gone, and I thought it was time for a new set, and some photographs for the KnitOwl Toys and Crafts book, which I am working on again.   The fabric is something I painted the other day with textile medium and acrylic paint using cardstock as a resist stencil.  The other fabric is an old piece of clothing we have used for several things in the past.

 Stacking beanbags in proportional sizes.
They brought out the little scientist in her, she was comparing weights and measuring distances (with help) and talking about the different sizes meant we needed different amounts, which would be heavier or lighter.  She compared the small one to a strawberry, and the big one was a pancake.  I let her help with sewing up the closure on the smallest one, and she paid good attention to how it was done and the steps.  We used a funnel piece of paper to fill the beans into the two larger ones.

 I also took a coffee can and covered it with construction paper on the outside after thoroughly washing and drying the inside.  We are using it as a goal bucket.  She really really likes the 'stacking game', though.

I made 'bracers of craftiness' last night as Mark is calling them - simple sport yarn wrist cuffs to keep my arms a little warmer.  They kind of match the yellow drawstring pants I've been meaning to make for almost a year and finally got myself to cut out and start.  It really took thirty five minutes to cut it out and get them ready for finishing.  I don't know why I waited so long... really need to just 'get up and do' a bit more... been having trouble with that the past year and especially with the cold this winter.  I've been keeping a notebook again to write down the things I want to do so I actually get myself to work on things when there is time to be used - like the book - and other things as well.

The 'bracers of craftiness', which actually do help keep my hands warmer when I'm working at knitting, sewing and typing.

It was such a nice day out, several of us could barely keep our feet on the ground...
And those are some awfully big rabbits around here, too!

Picking daffodils with Grandma

A bona fide puddlehound.. just kidding, this is Minerva, the catahoula bluetick coonhound cross

and her older sister, Sweetie

a few dried flowers surviving in a shadow with the last of the snow

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Wool Lingerie

I made my own pattern using measurements.  Size 5 knitting needles and Palette wool knitting yarn.   Knit in two pieces and then used a size E crochet hook to do edging reinforcement on the front edges.  Now that I have the sizing down, I could knit the shoulder straps in one piece lengths (instead of two, as shown) and add a closure on the 'next one'.  It took a little more than half of a full ball of Palette.

Mark had dared me to knit wool lingerie, and we've been iced in since the storm, so I tried this.  If I had continued knitting down and around with a circular needle it would have been a very nice tank top.

Very warm wool, and it took maybe about three hours (for me) to knit  I had started it last night and finished sewing up the tails and edges this afternoon.

and I wasn't the only one who wanted to be warm....
He said I should post the picture because he wasn't worried about showing through it like I was ;)

Monday, March 03, 2014

Sledding and Cupcakes

Vanilla cupcakes
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup plus a splash of milk
1 tsp vanilla

Soften butter, cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs, add flour (mixed well with dry bits), alternate with milk, beat well stir in vanilla at the very end.  put in cupcake papers or ice cream cones (and rack) and bake at 375 degrees F for 18 (25) minutes.  Add chocolate chips if wanted, frost with sprinkles if wanted.

Esme says: 'Who turned out the lights?'


Coming back from a crash landing

I don't want to hit at the bottom again!

Here we go

Slow down!

 Minerva puppy is growing up!

and so is Esme :)  She really enjoyed the cupcake cones - they turned out great!

I also updated my medicine bag (dream bag) last night for the first time in a while.  While the snow was falling outside it seemed to be the right time.  I used some mica, turquoise and shells and repaired some of what was already in there and had broken a bit on the shells over the years.  I still am thinking about adding some malachite, as well...

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Simplicity 8717 red and white and black

It is 'red and white and black day' at school tomorrow for Dr. Seuss.  We have black pants but nothing red and white for a shirt.  I bought this fat quarter at a small local business, Mockingbird Threadworks of Huntingdon, TN and hope to just barely squeeze the front facing and both sleeves out of it.  I have had this white striped red fabric for a while and it should do up nicely with the other fabric and still not be 'too' busy. 

The sleeves turned out great, but I had to do more to the bottom than the original pattern had to make it work.  I just didn't have enough width left in either the stripe, the fat quarter or anything else except the 'first villages' red, white and black fabric - which was so busy.  It did end up getting used though, as the back of the front facing and all of the back bottom facing (see last picture).

All four of the catahoula hounds had to get in on the act.
This is my favorite picture in a while!

 She is ready for Cat in the Hat day, tomorrow, at school.

Making the bottom edge match up was the hardest thing I've done in a while.
There was no leeway, as the front edge was already done and I had to use a little origami, tack it, then sew it in place.