Tuesday, August 30, 2011

my mess, your mess, my mess, your mess, MY mess. YOUR mess.

Just because we're crafty [and perhaps cluttered...?] doesn't mean we're slobs!

I stumbled on this, and it made me laugh. My closet and my sock drawer and my desk are nightmares to behold - I covered this problem in yesterday's post. Mostly though, my problem is effective storage. It also got me thinking about ways I can effectively clean up the  clutter without feeling like I spent the whole day dealing with it. That just sounds like a drag - 'dealing with it'. I've got other things to be dealing with - 40 minutes of cardio a day, homework, cooking, work, kitteh-attention-time. Who has time to deal?

But I'm making an effort, right? I did a web search for a monthly chore chart. A great place to start - I'm ADD and forget to include things on my list.  I found this one over at moneycrashers.com. Unfortunately for me, there isn't an Adam [or a Josh or a Desmond or a Max...] to go through the bills and check the smoke detectors and kill spiders, but the bills are fairly infrequent and I don't care so much about the spiders. [But I do hate after-cooking-clean-up.]

 The thought also occurred to me, since I do a fair amount of living in my car, that I ought to include that on my cleaning list - shaking out the floor mats, vacuuming in there, dusting off the dash. Maybe start leaving the church bulletin in the basket at the back to recycle instead of dropping it in the passenger seat and throwing it out weeks later? Baby steps. I think we'll just start with the chore chart.

Did we mention I'm ADD? 

via Shelterpop.com, in the storage and cleaning department.
If you have messy: Closets
Chances are you are: Nostalgic -- perhaps a bit too much.
Sam Gossling, author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You notes the connection between old items and our ties to their past. If you've got an out-of-control closet, it doesn't mean you're a pig -- chances are, you're trying to hold on to past events and people through those small mementos.
How to change it: Letting go can be hard. Don't put pressure on yourself to empty out the closet during a quick cleaning session. Instead, take some time to go through the items and identify what justifies keeping in a special place and what you can part with.

If you have a messy: Desk
Chances are you are: Creative. [ha! we crafty people knew this, we just needed someone with a high tone degree to tell our loved ones it's okay!?]
"Messiness is related to creativity because it tends to juxtapose things that don't normally go together." says Columbia University Business School professor Eric Abrahamson, over on Penelope Trunk's site.
How to change it: In the same article, Illinois-based career coach Kelly Crescenti suggests setting up a filing system and then spending the last 15 minutes of every day organizing your piles and clutter into that system.

Monday, August 29, 2011

not yet dead

School - aka graduate studies - began last Monday, and despite a towering To-Do list and a whopping 4 day migraine, I'm still here. Still kicking. Still twitching at the sight of craftiness that I say, "Oh, geeze, I could do that!", and realizing I haven't got the time to cook, much less be crafty. Even the teeniest little bit.

So, what have I learned this week?

1. My mother is, I suspect, actually Wonder Woman. No kidding this time. I don't know how she managed, but she did, and she always managed to look put together, and make tasty food, and get to work on time despite the daily shenanigans of her children. I fail on all counts, and I don't have kids. I have regressed to eating Ramen simply because it's... simple. Add hot water. Poof. No thinking required.

2. If we could figure out food replicators, the world just might be a better place. Or at least, people wouldn't be hungry.

3. A shuttle bus to one part of the city is not the answer.

4. I've changed my mind about menu planning; how does this work again, and how do i get started?

I also discovered a need to apologize anytime someone comes to the hobbit hole. My work table is a disaster of scraps of paper, novels and bits of fabric and computer nonsense. The desk is equally as bad, but that's because the shelves on the bookcase all fell down, and a massive cleanup has yet to be wholly completed. This is not a mancave with science experiments growing in drinking glasses. It's clean, it's just disorganized... okay, there's cat hair on everything. But besides that, clean. There just happens to be a hamper of unfolded laundry in the middle of the sitting area. All this serves to remind me that I've accomplished nothing thus far today. Grr.

Friday, August 12, 2011

pushing daisies

I can't believe this didn't make it on here.

The windup: A couple summers ago, when I was less overworked, and there was more than one quilt show in the summer to attend locally, and my car was cooperating, I went to the Meadville Quilt show and the Westminster (Erie) quilt show. And as a thank you for coming, they both handed out English Paper Piece kits, complete with little bits of fabric. It was an advertisement for a die-cut paper piece company. And since I went to two shows, I got two packets.

Uhh, yes, they are laid out on the grass. Outside. I didn't think I was going to like EPP-  it seemed way too tedious to sit there and stitch those tinsy pieces together, but having done it, I think it's the only thing I would have made, if I'd lived 150 years ago. It's actually been really relaxing. I can take it on the bus and work on it while I'm waiting for someone or thing to start. I'm modeling it after a quilt that my paternal Grandmother owns. It was actually a gift from someone else, not anything anyone in the family made, but all the quilts my grandmother owns were spoken for long before I arrived on the scene.Getting the EPP packets nudged me into making a copy. It's not an exact copy - the origional has flowers with red centers and mix-match petals, solid electric blue sashing and plain white background. Mine will be sashed in a low density sage green calico, with (obviously) coordinated flowers and white print background. I just kept an eye on the remnant bin and grabbed what ever I saw there, so there are four different patterns. A lot of the daisies are made of scrapped fabrics from other projects. In a way, it's a time capsule of almost every project I've made to date. It's also something I made with my mom. She would baste the hexagons to the paper and I'd stitch them together.


Mystery quilt! I can't say much about it. The person to whom this is being gifted may in fact read my blog before I give it to them. Can't take any chances, can we? But I did want to put it out there, before it's done. I suppose it qualifies more as a coverlette than a quilt since there is no batting. Did we mention The Cheap? I was sorely grieved - one of the Big Boxes was running a massive sale on batting, but due to entire lack of funds, I had to pass up the sale. Sorely. Grieved. I could have picked up the batting for three separate projects at the cost for one, but alas. I'm not a violent person, but I kind of want to punch someone.

Anyway, here's a picture. I sewed together large 9 Patches, stacked them, and cut through the middle, then had fun rotating the sashed squares. I hope they like it. The back is a flannel paisley, which will stick to clothing with any kind of nap. Oh well. Obviously it's on the hoop now. It's a signature project, so I'm quilting around the blocks with autographs, and then some of the squares with out as well, to keep everything balanced.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Little Black Book [Cover]

Thursday night, and the Moogie and I are being decided homebodies. Well, Moo is always a home body, little bugger jumps at her own shadow. Perfect Hobbit Hole dweller, never goes on any adventures or does anything unexpected. I on the other hand...

I made progress with the patio! There were cardboard boxes left over from moving out there, and I knew there was brick paving, I just didn't know how much of it was covered with verge. So I hacked it back with my bare hands, and I rearranged some plant pots to help define the space... and then my legs started to itch. 12 mosquito bites on my left calf, all centered close to the knee. I scurried indoors pretty quickly. The nice part about pushing back the verge was I uncovered some pretty awesome soil chock full of earthworms, so I was able to do a little plant re-potting on the cheap. We love the cheap [not to be confused with The Cheat] right now since our lovely friends at PPS have apparently decided it's a great idea not to hand out any money to some of it's employees until the middle of September. How the school board would like to work for five weeks, not get paid for the duration AND THEN get to wait two weeks or move before being compensated, I'm not sure. They probably wouldn't like it. Just a guess. So it's living on The Cheap.

Made a Little Black Book [Cover] for my Address book this evening while educating myself on how, exactly, the Federation met up with the Borg in the first place. LBB[C] is exactly what I've been mumbling about making for a long time - it has pockets (four total) for stamps (and maybe postcards), a pen pocket in the back, and a strap to keep it closed. I wish I could say I had a plan making this, but I mostly made it up while Riker ran around a Borg Cube with Data and LaForge. I was going to use the ever classic B/W French Toile for the whole project, but I messed up on the cutting dimensions. Too small to use. Plan B: make the whole thing black. Except for the pockets.

what has it got in it's pocketses?

I think my favorite thing about this is the cuppycake fabric. I found it in a scrap box, and the three pieces looked like they wanted to be pockets layered over one another.They weren't very big pieces - all about as wide as the strip across the bottom, so it took a little fussing to get them layered such that the lot of them were spread out as efficiently as possible. The address book itself was a gift from a big when I rushed a sorority. She included the names of all the sisters inside, and their phone numbers. I love that it's a mini ring binder. Being a huge fan of planned redundancy, I back up my iPod and cell phone when I think of it. And now, after I've gone hunting for an address, I don't have very far to look for stamps. Success!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

tie it up tuesday

why tie-it-up-Tuesday? Because tomorrow is Wrap-it-up-Wednesday - last day of PPS Summer Dreamers!

 Today was our gallery crawl. I'm not sure what exactly happened, but somehow we missed the whole walk-around and look at everyone's stuff memo. But we did. A few of my student's parents came, which was nice.

Here are a few of the ceramic things which came in at the VERY last minute:
Shaving cream + glaze!

I'd really like a lesson on how to arrange pictures on this blog in a more compact fashion that doesn't leave a few football field's worth of space between them, so if  you have any pointers on that, I'd love to hear it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

make-it-monday glue batik tee-shirt tutorial

In the continuing list of art project to do with elementary students (or anyone crafty who would get a kick out of it), I bring...
Elmer's glue Batik!

WARNING!! *this project requires two separate drying times, plus the additional use of either a dryer for a full cycle or an iron if using Tempra paint and the fabric painting medium*

a white tee shirt in the painter's size

acrylic paint in cyan, magenta and yellow (these colors mix beautifully for secondary shades of greens and purples)
tempra paint in cyan, magenta and yellow AND
fabric painting medium

thin foamcore or an empty cereal box
black permanent marker

optional equipment... or use all of them for some really neat effects
paint brushes
spray bottle
plastic grocery bag
medium-and-tempra premixed in squirt bottles (i didn't use this much, not even 1/4 of the bottle)

if you're not quite pressed for time...have the participant draw out a design on a piece of paper board or thin foam core - the paper board could be the back of a cereal box, what ever is handy. Remember, simple and big is usually best - intricate designs will be harder to accomplish with white Elmer's glue and will take more time.

Once the final design is settled on, go over the pencil lines with the black permanent marker. 
Slide the paperboard design side up in between the front and back of shirt, making sure the tag is facing you if the front is what you want to paint. Center as needed.
tee shirt design (far too complicated) with the dried, applied glue and bag-stuffed tee shirt
Have the participant go over the design - visible through the front of the tee shirt - with the white glue. It will soak in and spread, so try to drag blobs of glue along with the tip of the glue applicator to achieve lines and filled in places. 

if you are pressed for time... go nuts a la Jackson Pollak with the white glue. Or try for an Australian aboriginal design of concentric dot circles and swirls. Or just be creative.

set the tee shirt aside with the paperboard still inserted inside for the glue to dry. This takes a few hours. After the glue is dry, haul out the paint! This is where the plastic grocery bag comes in - if your paper inside the shirt isn't large enough to fill the inside, a plastic bag will fill enough of the shirt cavity that the paint design will not bleed through the back of the shirt. Acrylic won't need to be mixed, but the Termpra will need to be mixed with the medium as per the directions on the bottle.
Paint can be applied with brushed, sprayed on with a spray bottle, pounced on with sponges, flicked on with a toothbrush, what ever.While painting, make sure any area that was decorated with glue is covered over and/or around with paint - otherwise the design won't be visible. Experiment with wetting the fabric slightly with clean water and painting with a dampened paint brush (with paint on it, of course) this will make the colors blend together. A dry tee shirt and a 'dry' (a not dampened brush with paint on it) will create a different look. 

When finished painting,  set the shirt aside with the bag/paperboard still inside. This takes a few hours, and is especially dependent on how much paint made it onto the shirt, how thick the paint is, etc.

Once the shirt is completely dry, remove the plastic bag/paper board. For acrylic paint, run through the wash - this will dissolve the white glue and cause the design to appear white.

For the tempra/medium method, follow the directions to set the paint. Our medium required that we either iron the shirt (putting a piece of clean, blank paper between the shirt and the iron)for five to ten minutes on high heat, or running the shirt through the dryer for a minimum of 40 minutes on high heat. Only after these steps are the shirts safe to toss in the wash to dissolve the glue.
...teh kitteh comes in for a closer look
I completed the glue and paint aspect of the project in the space of nine hours - this was setting up, applying the glue, the time I spent in a meeting after work and driving home with glued shirt in the back seat of my car, cooking dinner, walking around the block, playing with the cat, etc., eating dinner and then a chunk of epic paint time in the evening. In short, I could have been more efficient, and gotten it done a leeeettle faster. I did let the paint dry over night, then threw my tee in the dryer while I made breakfast and coffee and checked my email and showered, etc., the following morning. I was rushed, so I soaked it in a bucket of warm water and dish soap, and scrubbed at the glue spots with my fingers to encourage them to peel off faster.