Thursday, August 28, 2014

Now For Something Different

One of our big crafty efforts around Casa de Omly is a bit different than usual. Our outdoor furniture was looking pretty shabby after only one year outside, so we decided to sand down the splintered and peeling surface and then reseal and stain.

In this action shot, you can see how unevenly weathered the top looked. Also, Salvbard is totally rocking the eye protection.

In addition to the benches, we also have a table that soon looked very naked.

Even the first coat of stain brought it about back to its like-new color.

After two, the results were fairly dramatic.

We aren't quite done, as everything needs to be flipped over and the bottom resealed as well.

Overall though, I am very excited about this project. We will have to take advantage of the last of the warm evenings to be out and enjoying them. Got any good food or drink suggestions for a warm autumn evening?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Vacation Sock Knitting Fail

I was all proud of myself for making sure that the knitting project I brought on vacation was one that had not received a lot of love recently. This is a pair of socks I am knitting from salvbard in a colorway I am not particularly fond of in a yarn I don't even remember (other than we got it at Michael's).

So of course I would run out no where near the toe. Sigh. We tried a Michael's in NJ, but no luck. So clearly I bought new yarn since I didn't bring an extra project with me. Now that we are home we can check again for the colorway, but I suspect that something close to coordinating is the best that is going to happen at this point.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

King of the Beach

Last week I went on a mini-adventure to Pleasure Bay and Castle Island, just a short distance by bus from downtown Boston. I grew up by the ocean, so this really felt like a find, because it was so close and accessible by public transport.

I sat by the water with my feet on the damp sand, letting the tide come in around me as I sketched. There were several after school programs that I had brought their classes in addition to numerous families and individuals.

I did some sketching on index cards. Nothing fancy, but it was good to take the time to slow down. Visiting the ocean is good for that in general as well.

cardstock and sharpie pen

There was one teacher in particular who struck me as king of the beach, leader of all he surveyed. Most of the other teachers were sitting higher up, at the edge of the beach in the shade, but this one was right among his charges by the water. Originally I was just going to draw the landscape without people, but after I was added him, several of the kids soon happened as well.

One of the groups of kids were very interested in what I was doing. Their teachers were nervous that they were harassing me, but they were really fun to interact with. Next thing I knew, I had an impromptu art class sitting around me to whom I handed out index cards and pens/pencils.

I really like the idea of these small pieces of art, because they are achievable and portable. I don't really want to have them hanging around the house though, so I would prefer to give them away. This card is already gifted, but if you would be interested in a future random small piece of art as a postcard, go fill out my postcard form. There are no promises about future topics, media, or frequency, but this is a great opportunity to get fun mail!

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Friday, May 09, 2014

Little Bird Proto-Ornament

Given my general lack of downtime recently, I have been searching for a potato chip like project. Let me introduce my new Tiny Stocking Ornament kit I picked up recently.

The first one I started went really quickly, although it had been so long since I worked on a cross stitch piece that I managed to forget which way to cross my stitches halfway through. Oops! I still need to sew it into a little felt backed stocking, but the stitching is done.

Photo by Catherine Wechsler

I was particularly inspired to work on this one, as we had a very friendly chickadee follow us around when we were out hiking at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. He came right up to us and posed for several minutes before heading off on his day.


Thursday, February 06, 2014

Ruffle Ribbon Scarf

Chiquita recently did something that she has not done in years. She requested a handknit item. She saw one of those ruffle scarves at Michaels and nonchalantly mentioned that she wouldn't mind one of those. You know, like you do when you are a teen.

I don't have a lot of brain these days. (Did I mention that I started taking graduate classes again?) Garter stitch is still within my capabilities though. And so after a day of knitting, we have this selfie:

Yarn:  Red Heart Boutique Ribbons
Yarn Supplier: Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts
Needles: US 9 / 5.5 mm
Pattern: garter stitch, 6 sts wide

This ribbon novelty yarn is weird stuff. I knit every other space. The teen seems happy, although I am not thrilled by how the metallic threads seem to get caught easily.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Crocheted Snowflakes

Happy Boxing Day to those who celebrate. To everyone else, happy Thursday!

Everyone tends to be busy during this winter holiday season, but this last stretch until New Years is a welcome break at least in Academia. I celebrated by taking some time for myself on the couch, crocheting a bunch of snowflakes which I have wanted to do for ages. My mom had gotten me a book of snowflake pattern ideas (two years ago?), but I hadn't managed to get far. I am super glad to have some for my tree now.

Pattern Source: 100 Snowflakes to Crochet by Caitlin Sainio
Yarn: Payette by Loops & Threads in color 07005 (icicle)
Yarn Supplier: Michaels
Hook: F or G hook (which ever was handy at the time)

One of the things that I like best about this book is that it is roughly sorted by complexity. So I feel good about handing it to an adventurous new crocheter to play with. Also the patterns are both written out and charted, so that you can use which ever method makes more sense to your brain. I love that sort of thing!

Some of the patterns were more to my taste than others, but with so many to chose choose from that was not a problem. And it is super easy to modify the patterns into new variations if you like.

#1 Barber

#2 Frost

#3 Stellar omitting long points and adding a rnd of sc

#4 Spring Snow

#5 Nevada omit round 3

Pattern: #5 Nevada 

#7 Droxtal

#9 Narbonnais

#13 Snow Mist

# 14 Sikussak

#16 Arctic Mist

About a dozen was just about right for our little tree. I didn't starch these mostly due to the time frame in which I wanted to get them on the tree. So the patterns done were chosen for approximate size and relatively little floppy/saggy-ness.

Thanks blog folk for visiting again this year. I look forward to the next one with you all. I hope that your coming year is full of opportunities for your creative spirit, people worth surrounding yourself with and just enough challenge that you appreciate your blessings.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Chistmas Bulb Wreath Tutorial

On Friday, Chiquita made a fabulous wreath with the expert guidance of Jasra. It was super simple to do, but came out fabulous. So I figured we could share as a last-minute decorating idea.

First step: bend a wire coat-hanger and untwist the top hook so that you can slide Christmas bulbs on it.

Then add Christmas bulbs on until it is pretty densly full. Then retwist the hook. (Ideally use pliers to get it nice and tight.)

Afterwards you can fine-tune with smaller bulbs glued in to hide bare patches and/or a bow on top. A glue-gun will be needed for the late-addition bulbs, but the bow can be slid over the hook.

Last step: hang it up and enjoy!