Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Solstice Hike

A somewhat wet and very windy hike to the top of a mountain on the Solstice. Only a couple of other hardy souls were out enjoying a winter walk.

The monument at the top has some great nature-themed art:

A kind of crazy-looking solstice potpie I made :)

                                                         Happy return to the light!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Krampus Sweater

I noticed that the movie "Krampus" just came out. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it will be true to the actual Krampus (and if you want to see what goes on in countries where the Krampus is a real cultural thing, have a look at this terrifying Krampuslauf video on Youtube). I'll reserve judgement until after I see the movie, however, because you never know. It did remind me of a funny story in my own life from a couple of years ago. A good friend of mine got me this awesome holiday Krampus sweater from Shredders:

I wore it out a couple of times, once to a hipster bakery in the neighborhood to look at buche de noel cakes, where I thought the sweater would be appreciated, but instead, I received uncomprehending glares from the bearded, bespeckled millenial cashier. The funny part, though, came on Christmas Eve. Now, most of my family would not appreciate me showing up in a sweater with a devil on it at Christmas. However, there is one little corner of the family that tolerates such behavior and is even interested in it. I was scheduled to have dinner with my husband at this family's house. I decided, hey, good time to wear the sweater! Off we went. Well, I was under the impression that it would just be the four of us at dinner. Instead, when we arrived, I saw an unfamiliar car, and heard different voices coming from the house.  Craaaaaap.  I hesitated on the step. Great, I am about to bust into the house wearing a lurid Christmas devil sweater and I have no idea who is in there. C'mon, my husband said, why even have the sweater if you aren't gonna wear it? Well, we do have some super-uptight people in the family who already think I'm a nutbar and I could just picture the scene that was about to ensue...

We went in. It turned out to be some friends of the family. Not a word was said about the sweater the whole time we were there. Not a single word. Hahahaha!!!

Looking around the internet I see that there are a ton of Krampus sweaters/Tshirts out there now. Maybe my sweater will be better appreciated this year. Gruss von Krampus!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Save Those Pumpkin Stems!

Hey there, do you still have your jack o lanterns sitting around from Halloween? If you do, save those pumpkin stems! If you save them, you can use them in other projects and displays, like I show above. I took a ball of twine and stuck a dried pumpkin stem in it for a clever, autumnal display. It's easy to save stems, and they dry out really well. I have a couple that I have had for years. Just cut off all of the fleshy pumpkin stuff from around the stems, lay them out on a towel and just let them dry naturally on your kitchen counter for a few days. If you get any mold on the bottom or have a bit of pumpkin skin left on your stem you will be able to just peel it off after a couple of days.

You can even make fabric pumpkins like these,


and use your real pumpkin stems on them. Check out Craft Buds for a great tutorial on making fabric pumpkins like the ones above.

Monday, September 14, 2015

What To Do With An Old Suitcase

I was cleaning out under my bed and I found an old 60s suitcase that was empty (I have numerous other ones that are full of books. clothes and craft supplies---they make great storage bins). I went to unzip the suitcase and it immediately broke. I'm not the kind of person who likes repairing zippers so I figured the case was a lost cause.

But wait:

I remembered seeing suitcases turned into cat beds on Etsy--so that is exactly what I did! I removed the flap and the broken zipper entirely, put a towel in the bottom of it topped with some paper (irresistible to the average feline) and lo and behold, it was almost instantly colonized by Tiger Baby.

The suitcase pet beds I have seen on Etsy are usually made with the addition of furniture legs to lift it off the floor. I briefly thought about doing that---but Tiger Baby is elderly now and I feel like she might have a hard time getting into it. So on the floor it stays. She looks so cosy :)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Of Cat Piss and Leather Boots...

"It wasn't me!"

Cats. I love them. I have three of them. However, when I was rooting through my shoe closet recently (admittedly a horrible, disorganized mess), I reached for my favorite pair of knee high leather boots and noticed that they were...wet. WTF? I thought, confusedly.

Then the smell hit. Greeaaaat. Someone, and I am 99 percent sure it wasn't my hubs, had peed on my favorite leather boots. I took several deep breaths, my eyes closed, struggling for calm. Could the feline culprit have peed on one of my pairs of Converse, easily laundered? Sure, they could  have, but they didn't. They peed on one of the few pairs of leather footwear that I bought at full price and have treasured over the years. Cats.

After I regained my senses, I combed the internet for remedies and emailed a friend. And this is what I ended up doing:  I mixed together about a cup of hydrogen peroxide with a few tablespoons of  baking soda and sponged the mix onto the boots. I left it for about an hour, then, with a little water, sponged the mixture off again. After drying the boots I buried them in a big bag of cat litter and left them for three days. I used Feline Pine.

Did it work? Well, the boots will never be the same---they got a little stiff from the hydrogen peroxide/water treatments, but I rubbed them with neatsfoot oil and they regained most of their suppleness. As for the smell, I am pretty sure that it is mostly gone. I've been sniffing them periodically and that terrible cat piss smell is gone. There is a hint of something but that could be from wet leather. So, while not a complete cure-all, the remedy got the boots back to wearability.
I. of course, have to insert a disclaimer here: if you try this, I cannot guarantee that it will work for you or that your shoes won't be ruined somehow. Results may vary, as they say. But, if your cat peed on your leather shoes, well, you are at the end of your rope anyways, no? It's worth a try.

What did I learn from this? That cats are jerks. No, no, they are wonderful animals, I love my cats very much :)   However, boots are now stored up on a high shelf in the closet.  And, this incident helped me to completely clean out my closet and organize everything in there. So there is your silver, furry lining!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Global Drying

This is a repost of one of my posts from a couple of years ago---since we have been having 100 degree days again, and I have been doing all of my laundry drying outside, I thought I'd republish this collection of global laundry drying pics :)

Global Drying......
voxtheory  Chinatown, San Francisco
My last post on drying laundry led me to have a look around at some of the ways people who don't have yards dry their laundry without a dryer. In many cases, people don't have a choice about whether or not to use their dryers----they simply don't have one. So have a look at this global dry-fest!

flyingsuitcase  Venice, Italy
 runran  Rajasthan,  India
gurms   Hong Kong

austinevan     Paris, in the winter!
Wonderlane  Guadalajara, Mexico
Lyndi&Jason  Singapore

nerdcoregirl   Vietnam
fletcherjcm  Tokyo, Japan
jgmarcelino   Korea

 edkohler  Croatia
Rachel Strohm  Ghana

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I Lost My Mind When I Fell To Earth...

No, I haven't been in outer space lately (though I dearly wish I could see Pluto's ice mountains in person!)---but I have been in another dimension....The Oregon Country Fair.

I spotted this critter on the path, what a wacky costume!

This gnome couple were very charming :)

My favorites by far this year were the Shiva-people:

This is one of the main things I love about the Fair---the random, artistic processions. I also love the larger-scale public art. There was a lot of that in the new area they opened up this year:

A giant humming bird made with recycled plastic bottles filled with colored water---and it glows at night!

Temple Borealis---so lovely, and I saw a wedding in it during the Fair!

The roof of Temple Borealis---stained glass constellations.

This wild sculpture seemed to be made of packing tape. It glowed different colors at night.

The "NU" area contained many of these Buddhist prayer cylinders that seem to have been fashioned out of recycled steel drums:

These fabric chakra posters were beautiful in the day, but at night they were even more spectacular as different lights shone on them to highlight different parts:

There was a stage in the Nu Area where they were putting on fairy tale plays---I missed it this year, maybe next year I'll get to see some:

These charming sailboats lit up during the evening:

Another beautiful Fair, come and gone :)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Ridiculously Easy Washi Tape Bracelet

Japanese washi tape is everywhere and there are so many amazing variations to choose from. I was looking for a dark mori type design with which to make a bracelet, and came across this great black floral tape here (she has lots of other great designs as well). I thought it turned out pretty well and it really couldn't be simpler.

First, find some washi tape you like. Then, pick up a bracelet blank. I used a brass one here, but there are other metals to choose from. Just search 'bracelet blanks' on Etsy and you will come up with multiple choices.

I did not want a shiny, new-looking bracelet blank for this project, so I turned to Pinterest and came up with the following recipe to age metal:

 ////Fill a glass quart container half full of vinegar and add 1tsp salt. Place metal items in mixture and leave overnight.////

This treatment gave me the mellow aged brass color I was looking for. After removing the bracelet from the treatment and thoroughly drying it,  I cut a piece of washi tape to fit it and, using a bone folder (which are made of plastic these days) I gently burnished down the tape onto the bracelet. Waaaalaaa! At this point you could put a sealer over the tape for further protection, but I just left it as is. Simple!

Speaking of dark mori, I am in the process of creating my first ever zine, a "Dark Mori Primer". Hopefully I will be done with it before the end of summer, at which point I will offer it for sale :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Salad Cat

This is what happens at my house when you leave a container of salad on the counter.

And he has to tell me about it, too :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Magic Carousel Mini Tour!

I have always loved carousels. For one thing, they are one of the few carnival rides I can actually ride. The Yoyo and the Ferris Wheel are the others. I tried the Hammer once and ended up getting off the ride and projectile vomiting in front of the line of people waiting to get on. Then I had to sit in the grass for half an hour. Not one of my finer moments.

Another reason I love carousels is the great old-fashioned look of them. I tend to be antiquarian in my tastes.

The final reason is Ray Bradbury's book "Something Wicked This Way Comes". A carousel figures highly in that story, although admittedly in a somewhat sinister way. I read that book as a kid and it has always stuck with me.

So when I heard there were a couple of carousels in the general area, I had to seek them out. A friend and I went to the Albany Carousel Museum first. This carousel is in various stages of being finished and it has the most enchanting figures:

People have paid thousands of dollars each to sponsor figures and volunteers carve and paint them. Because individuals are inspiring the various figures, there are some incredibly interesting variations:

For the full list of the amazing animals, see here.

A volunteer puts some finishing paint touches on a horse:

We found out that the way the figures get their final high shine is that they ultimately go to an auto body shop for a couple of coats of clear, hard exterior finish.

While the Albany Carousel Museum is really amazing, there are no rides to ride yet and we wanted to ride! So we traveled a few more miles to the Salem Riverfront Carousel and got to do a ride there.

I rode Snickerdoodle,

who appropriately had a cat on her back:

 a covered wagon ride!

An awesome squirrel on the back of Blackberry the Deer, one of the new figures they were finishing.

We finished off our experience with bags of pink cotton candy. I really have to say that I am extremely happy that carousels are still being made and appreciated. It's a bit of magic I would hate to see fade away. Luckily lots of other people seem to have a connection to carousels as well. I can tell you that if I had the means to sponsor a figure it would either be a mammoth (because I am obsessed with them!), or one of my cats, probably Tiger Baby. 

Do you like carousels? What figure would you have made if you could?