Friday, November 19, 2010

it was my first one, it was too small. it didn't fit you at all.

but you wore it just the same. yes, it's knitting-in-time-for-Christmas. I'm actually sitting here and casting on as I type, which will make the journaling slow going... but I garnered insight into a particular knitting situation. Two kids, siblings. I was going to knit a fish and a cupcake, but then the heavenly choir sang and the coin dropped and I remembered... they both love cats. and would probably wear cat hats more readily than a cupcake or a fish. Duh Zara. Cat hats it is. way easier? mayhaps. we'll see.

I love Advent and Christmas. Really. (and yes, there's a but coming)


let's leave but hanging in the air there. like the princess and the tiger, but has more than one ending.
I like to believe in benign endings.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

scarf season

Yes, it's October, and that means it's scarf and sweater season. Sort of. I'm trying to get a jump on my Christmas presents this year, so I'm starting early - as if October is early - with my knitting. Idealy, I'll have two guys scarves, several pair of mittens, and two hats - a fish and a pink frosted cupcake. Ambitious? Maybe a little much. I have several quilts that need to be finished. A baby blanket by February, an aniversary throw by next November, another anniversary quilt by August in two years, and to top it off, quilt a throwish sized Window pane by Easter. And to complicate things, I started a stash buster. Which I prefer working on above all else due to it's ease of construction. And then Halloween is coming! Do I make the Regency dress, or do I hold off and pull from my closet and borrow from others for something else?

And I still need to apply for school. And find a more steady form of employment.

I finished a corded cable scarf in Lion Brand's Wool Ease, Oxford Grey, for a guy in my small group who was very enthusiastic about scarf wearing in winter. I was working on it at a petit bon fire in his back yard, with intentions of giving it to someone else that I'm rather... uhm... More-Fond-Of. But I wasn't even sure if  More-Fond-Of would even wear a scarf. Or that I was happy with the pattern enough to give it to More-Fond-Of. So thrice-cord cabled scarf in Oxford Grey goes to small group fellow for Christmas. Which will probably work out, because I'm also not sure if I want to single out More-Fond-Of with this gift.

I just cast on for More-Fond-Of, also a cabled creation, but with more of an aran bent. It's comprised of sand tracks, which I'm hoping will look more like a braided cord of three strands, and a Tree of Life in the middle. Which I also hope turns out. At least as being obvious what it is. I don't remember the name of the color. It's a heathered denim sort of blue 100% merino wool made by Patton's. I'm hoping the dye lot still exists, because if the Oxford Grey is any indication, I'm going to need a second skein. In any event, I'm cautiously optimistic about this project. And if it turns out that More-Fond-Of isn't a scarf wearing kind of person, I do know several other people that would love a hand knit, 100% merino wool scarf.

And on a side note, I started the binding on the Ocean Waves. One short side is done o_0. Three to go. I keep telling myself how worth it the project will be when [finally] finished.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

a life in miniature

Because this is the kind of absolute geek I am.

The image on the right is the not-exactly-finished version of the final product, which is on the right. The zipper(yes, recycled from a shot pair of blue jeans) is flamingly obvious, unlike what I suspect is a hidden zipper on the origional uniforms. The emblem on the uniform was crafted out of sculpy... this before I got a hold of the Hallmark relased the ship insignias, perfect size for these girls. The lady on the left, a blatant reference to Kathryn Janeway, is the historical and soon to be retired Felicity Merriman, and the little black toes peeking out from the pant hems are her colonial buckle shoes. After all, no self respecting captain would show up on her bridge in a pair of black socks and mary janes. With any luck, I will be able to find or craft a pair of black boots to complete the ensemble, and I'll be sure to order some extras and complete uniforms for the other departments. I did find what were labled as go-go boots on  doll clothier's website, which would serve to outfit someone of Kirk's era, but I would have to do a little more research on that dress before I made one.

BUT WAIT! I hear you say. You- no, not you, so stop worrying. The other one, the even geekier than I am Star Trek fan over there. You say I can't stop with Janeway? What about Dr. Crusher? What about Counselor Troi, Kira Nerys, Be'Elanna Torres, Jadzia Dax, Seven of Nine---?

Ugh. My brain hurts. I could fill the shoes of four of those characters. And for some of them there is the issue of prostetics, and how I would pull the look off without the doll needing major facial reconstruction. I've got my hands full of Colonial, Regency, Civil war, Victorian and '40's era attire patterns. And a pile of Black Watch plaid waiting to be turned into a miniature kilt. I've got the white West Highland terrier... now where am I going to find a tiny set of gillies, a glengary and... bagpipes?

Monday, September 13, 2010

new babies

Am not having one. Now that's out of the way.

I might be the slowest person to admit it, but I'm pretty girly. See most of my wardrobe is pink, I can bake better than Betty Crocker - from scratch, no less - and I love dolls. And doll houses. And all the silly little tinsy tiny things you put in them. So when I saw an American -->  Girl of Today at a church sale, I couldn't pass her up. Even missing her shoes. And especially at - no, I can't tell you how much I paid for her. It was highway robbery. 

How many of these girls do I have, you ask? She makes number six, after Kailey, Molly, Felicity, Kirsten and Samantha. I got started young, what can I say. What could be better?Well, her clothes, for one thing. Mattel, seriously.

Her pants fall off when she is sitting, and that tee shirt covers nothing. Okay, so some things could be better.


And then, to make things even better, an awesome woman I know told me about this website, where another wonderful woman (I am guessing) scanned for what must have been days to make available these wonderful and out of print patterns for the historic American Girl characters, who seem to be dropping like flies. So I did what any other self respecting and thrifty seamstress would do... I downloaded those as fast as I could and made a dress and pinafore for my new girl.
(Worst picture in the world, I know. Camera is fussy). You can't tell from the photo, but the dress is a white background with little violet buds surrounded by even smaller violet polka dots. In case you were wondering, this is Kirsten's birthday dress* and pinafore, which I will be remaking in the appropriate pink check, as soon as I find it.
My new doll, like my car, is nameless. She doesn't have the looks to be Lizzy Bennett or Jane Eyre. Maybe Lexie [Alexandria] MacDonald. Perhaps Meg Murry. In which case, this little girl will need a pair of tortoise shell glasses. In any case, she serves as the perfect model for the clothes I'm making from the aforementioned patterns.

Oh, I forgot Bitty Baby. When the camera isn't acting out.

*If you're interested in making these dresses, and never have before, watch out for the back closures. My grandmother made a trousseau for Samantha, and had to make the first dress she attempted twice, because the dress wouldn't close in the back, it didn't come close. I had to make a placket for the back of this dress because it too would not close in the back, even when I followed the Velcro placement directions.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

creative reuse

No one reads this, do they?

Well, if you are reading, and you're in the Pittsburgh area, and you are bored [don't tell me that never happens], I encourage you to check out two places; Construction Junction and Creative Reuse Pittsburgh, [214 North Lexington Street, Pittsburgh, PA] both fantastic resources for ... well, what ever. "But I'm not creative," you say. "I failed art in school." You know what? I barely passed math in the seventh and ninth grades. Who told you you couldn't?

Climbing down off that soapbox... Many of us are attempting to live green lives, so here's a test of how dedicated to being green you really are. Check out Construction Junction and Creative Reuse Pittsburgh! "What are they?" you ask? Construction Junction is a warehouse full of reclaimed building materials, most all of them donated. "Like what?" Says you? Like:

Pianos, pews, desk chairs, kitchen cabinets, windows, storm doors, screen doors, banisters, door knobs, mortis locks, claw foot bath tubs, lighting fixtures, exterior and interior paint, kitchen sinks... are you starting to get the picture? It's amazingness in several hundred square feet of the most unlikely location in Pittsburgh. I don't have a house to fix up, but I love wandering around and planning my bucket list tree house [Not the kids I will doubtless have someday. Me.]

Located in Construction Junction's attic is Creative Reuse Pittsburgh. Currently open Wednesdays from 12-5 or by appointment, CRP takes donations of any kind, like paperclips, lab equipment, picture frames, sample carpet and fabric swatches and books from decorators, binder clips, papers - wall, drawing, specialty, small quantities of paint, leather in several colors, treatments and sizes that can be purchassed by the pound, and many things in quantity that would otherwise go to a landfill and take hundreds or thousands of years to decompose. What did I find there? Several 100% cotton swatches from a designer in a stellar theme with stars and moons and planets that I will turn into nauseating baby blanket adorableness. And the thread to sew them together with.

Don't go there if you don't actually like being green. I won't say don't go there if you don't like to be creative. It's impossible to see something there and not visualize it repurposed. Say, for example, in your own tree house... with a Craftsman door... and a 1950's wall sconse over your favorite chair situated between the mahogany built-ins [yeah, I said mahogany built-ins, 30 linear feet of them] We're grown up. That doesn't mean we have to stop imagining.

Monday, July 19, 2010

art and the 1st grade... and other things

My part time job this summer is teaching art to first graders who are in summer school. It's a hook to try to keep them interested in coming day after day. Some of these kids probably aren't getting half of what we talk about, but they seem to be enjoying themselves, and in the long run, I'd rather be a positive art experience than the person that ruined it for them. Today we played with tempra paint and mixed colors together. Some kids had some pretty impressive colors mixed together, some went along kicking and screaming until they folded their papers in half, wailing that they had "made a mistake" and wanted a new paper and I unfolded their page and showed them the mirror images they created... and they were hooked. We painted pictures of bananas, oranges and eggplant - not something you would think of a 1st grader painting, but considering that circles closer to the size of grapes are currently beyond their motor skill level, we went for eggplant, fine examples of aubergine. Now I'm drooling - I had eggplant in garlic sauce for lunch and it was amazing.

I'm listening to Pandora on my iPod right now, and there are bits and pieces of music playing, then silence, then a phrase, then silence. I feel like I'm listening for music. There will be moments of clarity, when I can hear it and I think, you know, this sounds beautiful/moving/etc and I think in that moment that I : get it, can see the bigger picture, etc : and then the [proverbial] music stops and I'm left in the silence, wondering. Waiting. Looking around and thinking why did it go away? Why have I lost it? Is it going to come back? I think to myself, what if I had heard more of the phrase earlier in my life, would I have taken the path I did, made the decisions I did? There are some things I simply couldn't have known were coming, and other things I should have seen coming, and made preparations for.

I'm where I am now. The only thing I can change is the direction I am going, and not think of it as back tracking or correcting mistakes. What about the things I did? Would I have not done them? Visit Europe? Taken that internship? Signed up for Wood Furniture? Taken the job that made me move away from home? Section hiked the Appalachian Trail? No, I'm glad I did these things. But sometimes I can't help thinking I could have been a lot more organized about life. But I was not thinking forward. I was not looking at the road ahead, and the bend coming, but at the rock formation to the left, the clouds sailing above, the pasture, the forest, the things on the side of the road, not necessarily distractions, but things that certainly had me completely captivated.

I'm like the kid that was sent to summer school. That got held back in Kindergarten because I needed time to "get the play out" - mature emotionally. Gain life experience. But I pray to God that when it comes time to retire, I have the ability to do so, because I've ... not wasted time, none of this time was wastecd in trying to find a stable career, but it sure feels like that sometimes.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Purple is charming

I've said nothing about the purple charm quilt. Good heavens.

Now, I realize this isn't the best picture because it doesn't completely fill the frame, but it's the best I've got at the moment, and there's no where for me to lay it out and get a better picture at the moment...

So the story behind this is as follows. One fine day in May [I'm guessing, though it could have been April] 2007 I got a letter in the mail with fabric. What could be better than that? Free fabric in the mail. It just showed up, and I didn't ask for it or buy it, fabulous! Accompanying it was a letter indicating that it was a chain letter, send so may letters out with fabric squares thus and such a size, blah, you know the rest. So I obligingly went and bought the most unusual material I could find [try finding unusual fabric in purple. I dare you.] But I succeeded, and you can see several of the fabrics I bought in these close ups... The purple with the cranes was imported from Australia. I also supplied the purple leopard print, and the '30's reproduction purple-and-yellow flowers. In the third picture, is the Celtic knot fabric and very obvious quilt square and scissors motif. I bought enough to send the 7 people, and to put some in my own quilt.
Strafford, Missouri... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Roy, Utah
Part of the charm of this kind of project is that you don't know what you are going to get. Life is like that sometimes. No, all the time. You don't know what will show up, and sometimes what comes isn't the nicest, the prettest, the finest. The decision to make then is what to do with the time, materials and resources given to us. Someone I sent fabric to returned my squares, along with two fat quarters, apologizing that she was doing so, and hoping that her offering would be enough. I personally never would have picked purple for this project but tha'ts what was specified, so that there would be some color harmony. And I never would have thought of picking out some of the fabric I got, especially that flaming yellow from Missouri.

Austintown, Ohio.
Represented in this quilt are about 20 fabrics from Western Pennsylvania, and material from lovely people in Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado and Utah... and probably someplace else, which I am forgetting. At some point, I would like to take a road trip with the quilt, and visit all the places fabric came from. And who knows, maybe someone who participated in this chain letter will see me holding this thing as my picture is being taken and stop and say, "Oh! I recognise that!" And we'll have a lovely chat about quilting and sewing. That would be lovely.


And now for the real reason I keep this blog...
Let's start with Lent. Which is a far bigger deal in the Anglican church than the Methodist. At least the one I was going to.

I was a pysanke making fool this year, thanks in part to the generosity of space at church, where I would hang out between work and choir practice and make eggs. Also the generosity of a farmer in the town I grew up in, who handed me about 4 dozen fresh eggs over the course of 40 days for free because I was making art out of them, and they thought that was pretty cool [I gave them some decorated eggs as a thank you]. I actually had a few that I was able to sell. Maybe next year I'll have a better marketing campaign or something... right. Anyway, here's a small sampling of some of the eggs that I did this year, drying after being varnished. I used Krylon, one of their clear glossy coats with UV protection. It isn't sitting in front of me, so I'm not completely sure what it is. But there you have it. I'll have to retake pictures of the eggs I still have, since most of them were too close, and my camera doesn't have a zoom feature, alas. I would like to do more exploring the Pacific Northwest style, since it seemed to translate well into the wax resist medium. I have some traditional Ukranian designs(there, in the top corner is one with acorns, and the stars are pretty traditional as well), but with out more practice, I know I'll never truly get the hang of it. Very popular were the eggs I did showing scenes from "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". There was a young fellow being baptised on Easter, and I made an egg for him of Peter fighting Fenris Ulf. He has two younger sisters... so I thought, oh, let's have a little fun with this, so they are on there as well, as Lucy and Susan...

442 days

well, this is what you get when you forget your password. Lets see if I can bring things up to speed in 500 words or less...
-Was hired by an acting company as an actor to do social issues drama in schools this time last year. My contract has long since expired, thanks to the lagging economy. But they were an awesome company to work for, and I got to combine three loves: working with kids, acting and traveling. And I got paid. Not a bad first real job.
-Started - hah, I say started as if it was last week, when I've been going there since the day I moved - attending Church of the Ascension, with a large community of active artists, both professional and ametuer in attendance. My only gripe is we get together once a year to celebrate this.

okay, so I think that sums things up. Oh, and I want to go back to school for my teacher's certificate in music. Rather than try to cram 9,739 things into one post, I'm going ot break this massive update into several smaller ones.