Wednesday, June 24, 2015

emerald isle

A few summers ago I made this quilt for my brother [which still isn't done done] based on the pattern by Moda Bake shop called Sweet Menagerie.

And before I get too far, this is Harry, my brother's cat. Such a good helper.

For reasons I now don't remember, likely they were using precuts and I had stuff laying around I just wanted to use up, I didn't have a clear idea how much fabric to supplement the project with. I wanted it to be scrappy in the nine patch, calm and orderly over all. But still. No idea. My squares were bigger, so something, again. I have no idea. I kept the left overs in a box. This week I pulled the box and other accumulated bits that had been lost and whatnot and thought about seeing how far I could get with making a top just with what leftovers I had on hand.

This is a Double/Queen size blanket. I have a problem. Or maybe I don't.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

lighting the way

Lanterns. So. Much. Fun.
Except of course, when you have your first event coming up, and you were an obsessively prepared girl scout and you think to yourself  'But wait... how will I see in the dark?'

For after hours there is the obvious flashlight but we all know how hard it is to be digging around for something and not have both hands free. Head lamp you say. Yes, but do you know how easy it is to blind people with those? I made a solar lantern the hard way by galvanizing a solar stake that is light sensitive [on/off depending whether there is light or not] and hot glued the cap to a wide mouth jar band. It now lives in my mother's bathroom window as a nightlight. Not even kidding. My friends and I found premade small mouth solar lantern lights at the craft store that have an on/off switch...  Because when there are small children and tired, stumbly adults about, who wants to leave a line of FLAMING luminaries around your worldly possessions? That's right. No one does.

This still didn't solve the problem of a period appropriate lighting device.

Example A, also known as a barn lantern is period appropriate. It is to my liking and would suit my personal proclivity to knock things over and break them at any moment.

It costs an entire day's pay in my present income bracket before taxes and shipping. That would be a no. It's beautiful, but I need that money for other things right now.

The girl scouts didn't really teach you how to do anything handy, at least, my troop didn't. Maybe that's changed...? In any case. I found another man's blog. He's from Utah, and he made similar lanterns, and had some enlightening photographs on his blog. So I thought. Why not. I'm handy with this sort of thing. 

Let me first preface this with I have little to no idea what I'm actually doing, or rather, I don't really have the tools at my disposal to do things with. This lantern is about 11 1/2" tall. About. There are no cabinetry making specs here. I used a pine 1x4 from Lowes or Home Depot from the nice section, 4' x 1/2' long. The door/back are about 2 inches shorter than the top crest of the lantern. As I have absolutely no idea how to make a candle pan from tin/aluminum sheet, I used a black candle holder from Ikea, and had to cut grooves for it on all sides after the fact so it would fit in the lantern cavity. It fits snugly, so I have no fear of it sliding out or tipping over. It's also black. I suppose if I'd have picked up the brass one with a loop at SalvAl I could have made that work, too.
As you can see from this top picture, there are two horizontal grooves cut out on the door near the cavity of the lantern. I tried to set snipe hinges like the ones in the picture above [and it failed miserably], but mine would have been 18 gauge aluminum wire because again. Money. Working with what I have. However, I messed up the mechanics of the hinge and should have set the loop on the outside of the door, not the inside. I was also in a hurry to get this done.

That said, the lantern has extra holes in it that are covered up by period appropriate leather strap hinges. I have no idea where we got this piece of leather but we had it laying around the house and no one was laying claim to it so I commandeered it for this project. If you have no idea what you're doing, nail the strap/screw the hinge onto the door first. Trust me.
Once the door was on the the little tab nailed in with an OBVIOUSLY APPROPRIATE NAIL, I discovered that the door sticks. I tried to shave off suspected sticky places with my furniture chisels but no luck. There is the addition of a leather tab to help get the door open while I sort that mess out with files and rasp and sandpaper.
The windows voids were cut out with a drill and cleaned up with a chisel and a router, then the rabbet for the window was made with a router and cleaned up with the chisels. I made the stripping for the widows out of what is referred to as 'fill it' strip, but with the humidity in our basement, felt safer nailing it in with brass brads. Most of them split on the ends, but they are stuck in there. One of the panes of glass cracked on me while I was driving nails, so it was back to the store for another custom cut of glass [I had thought of just getting 2x3 picture frames, so it would be easy to replace the glass if it broke, but silly me, I marked the wrong cut lines and then drove the drill into the wrong place without thinking at 9PM after a long day at work...]

The 'tin' lid is actually a piece of 8"x4" chimney flashing, which is deceptive for someone who doesn't know what they are looking for because it's actually 8"x8", but it's folded in half down the middle. I punched it myself with a claw hammer and a set of 'wood carving chisels' from Harbor Freight on a piece of scrap pine. No one is carving wood with those kiddos, believe me, I tried. Get some Flexcuts or something, but for this application, punching aluminum sheet, the "wood carving chisels" were perfect.
The exterior of the lantern was finished with with a homemade mixture of food safe beeswax and mineral oil because again, it's what I had. And also, what I could find at the time.

And then, and then there are those times you walk into the store and suddenly you see...

And you think to yourself 'what?!'
I had this ripped apart and turned into a more, shall we say, appropriate accoutrement in four hours. Four. Hours.
It doesn't have a candle holder and I can't find my pillar candles but details. It's done. I pried the mesh and framing out with a chisel, had glass measured at the hardware store (pried off the top, broke the top, messed up the back up top, made a second back up top) purchased dowel rods, drilled holes in the  (new) lid the same side as the dowel. Drilled matching holes in the interior base of the lantern for the dowels to fit into, as close to the corner as possible. Fit the glass into the door and secured temporarily with leftover strip bits from the mesh (I'll use ripped strips of fill it trim later) fit the pins of the door back in and secured it into the opening. Secured the glass into the frames, slid the dowels into the slots in the base of the lantern and the new lid, nailed down the aluminium cover to the top and cut and fit a new handle out of coat wire, into a hole drilled into the lantern body, not the lid. VoilĂ . 

The lantern on the top would have cost me $65 ish dollars, the one above $40ish? By making them myself I think I saved $75.

Field tests are this weekend!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


yay pockets.

The Victoria and Albert Museum did a great write up about pockets, and as I was reading it, I wondered, but why do the women have a separate pocket and the men don't? My friend's conjecture is that because women were considered property, and buttons were not only a symbol of wealth but also used as money, why would you give money to your property. Women weren't worth it. And with a wage discrepancy of $.75 a woman earns to every $1 a man earns, women still aren't considered worth it.