Category: Creative

Would Grandma Approve?

A Collage of Doilies. What would Grandma think if she saw some of her handiwork hanging on the wall!?

red wall, starched

Doilies with the FotoSketcher Emergence filter

Doilies with the FotoSketcher Dots filter

Doilies with the GIMP Stained Glass filter

My previous post about Doilies is at Preserving and Using Grandma’s Doilies.

Do you have any of your Grandma’s  or Grandpa’s treasures displayed in your house?

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Collage.

Post 580

Spare Time Crafting Stories – Knitting

pantyhose craft

My mom was a knitter. She knit in her spare time – but she could knit in ‘unspare’ time too. By that, I mean she was a multitasker long before that term became popular. She could knit and watch TV. She could knit and enjoy the scenery on long road trips. She could knit and have conversations with friends. She probably could have knit and played bridge if Dad had built some sort of card holder for her.

green wool

My children are knitters too. Eldest daughter likes to knit in her spare time. Wander over to her blog, The Good Life List and you will see a photo of this lovely project when it was finished.

pink wool

Middle daughter likes to knit too. She takes her knitting on road trips (like her grandma). Last I heard she couldn’t multitask – she has to watch the progress of each and every stitch very carefully. If she doesn’t, she ‘drops stitches’ which is a knitters term that means a stitch got lost about 6 rows ago.

dog scarf

Youngest daughter knits, though I don’t think she has as much passion for that as she does for making lampwork glass beads (Beadlejuice Beads). The dog is a good model for knitted scarves, but not so good for glass bead necklaces and bracelets.

pantyhose craft
Me? If the love of knitting is passed down from generation to generation, it skipped mine. I don’t remember my mom even trying to teach me to knit. That task, which must have been an incredible challenge, was given to a no nonsense family friend, Norrie. Norrie tried to teach me European knitting and how to make Scottish Shortbread Cakes.

To Norrie’s and my credit, I did knit several sweaters. Bob, in the photo above, is wearing the first one I ever completed. I made it for The Car Guy while we were still dating. Bob has had the sweater on for just over an hour now, and that is the longest it has ever been worn. Enough said.

purple wool needles

knitting http://www.savagechickens.com/Over the years I did knit a few other things, but I can’t claim to enjoy it much. I like to buy wool, though. Sometimes I roll it into balls. Sometimes I even find a pattern and some needles. I might even think about knitting, but that is as far as I usually get!

Have you ever tried knitting? What do you like to do in your spare time?

This week’s WordPress.com photo Challenge is Spare.

Post 543

Our Library, The Alphabet and a Good Crafting Intention

Our ‘Snowbird’ Community has a small Library. The volunteer librarians have developed a book filing system that theoretically allows them to house the largest number of books. The books are sorted by subject, then by size, then alphabetically by author’s name. This means that book cases with shorter paperback books have one more shelf than the taller hard cover book cases.

The problem with this system becomes apparent when the users want to find books by a particular author. Books by Stephen King, for example, can be found in 6 different locations – non-fiction, science fiction, fiction paperback, fiction hard cover, mystery paperback, and mystery hard cover. On any given day, the whim of the volunteer who shelves the book will determine where the book is.  This means that two hard cover copies of a single book will invariably be shelved in two different places.

Now and then, whole shelves of books will simply disappear. I’m assuming there were multiple copies of some books, and they were  donated to another little library. But in a system like this, it would be very time consuming to find duplicates. Suspiciously though, most of the books by my favourite British authors have disappeared…

This library really is an interesting example of how logic and good intentions can have unintended consequences.

Logic is a large drawer, containing some useful instruments, and many more that are superfluous. A wise man will look into it for two purposes, to avail himself of those instruments that are really useful, and to admire the ingenuity with which those that are not so, are assorted and arranged.
– Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon –

 

527-rudolphcorksI can appreciate what can happen to good intentions. Last Christmas I was going to make a whole herd of Cork Rudolphs. Their little bodies and heads would be etched with the ‘alphabet soup‘ of the wine world. Each little ungulate would be a reminder of  those special events when the wine flowed freely.

After many attempts, much oddly bent wire, and a bit of blood letting, a single reindeer was produced. Wine corks firmly resist any attempt to poke wires into them…

YOUR TURN: How do you organize your library? Do you alphabetize anything besides books?

This week, the WordPress Photo Challenge is Alphabet

Post 527

How to Make Tree Branch Hooks

woodworking tree branch frame

After I had made three Stacked Wood Christmas Trees, I had a large pile of discarded branches that were too big for the chipper and too small to make more stacked trees. Though some of the “V” shaped sections would have made excellent sling shots, I settled on the more mundane project of making tree branch hooks.

The Car Guy searched his stash of things he might need some day, and found some wood that I could use to make a frame. I chose to make one with an interior dimension of 8 by 20 inches (20.32 by 50.8 cm). Once the wood pieces were cut, we used a T-square to make the corners square, and an air gun nailer to quickly assemble the frame. (The Car Guy insisted on the T-square, because the way I was going at it, the frame was going to be really lopsided…)

I selected tree branches that had forks of about 45 degrees. Then I used a chop saw to cut  the branches into 8 inch (20.32 cm) long sections. I tried to vary the position of the hooks so that they would be at random heights in the frame.

Once I had the hooks all laid out in the frame, we used the air gun nailer to secure them in place at both the top and the bottom.

woodworking tree branch frame

We attached nail hangers on the back – one near each end – to keep the frame level on the wall.

I was really pleased with the finished Framed Tree Branch Hooks. The project may not actually be very practical, but it is pleasingly rustic, and is a nice reminder of the types of trees we grow here at The Red House.

I have one more wood project on the go – a twig chair. I had high hopes of making all sorts of twig things, but the chop saw is a seriously spooky tool that I’m getting less fond of as the days go by…

What power tool do you enjoy using? What do you shy away from using?

Post 504

How to Build a Stacked Wood Christmas Tree

We saw Stacked Wood Christmas Trees at The Cross Roads Collective in Invermere, British Columbia. The Car Guy said, “We could make one of those, you know”, and I thought, “Sure we could, but will we?”

Many months later, we made our first trees. This is a project, though, that actually took many years to come together. This is why, and here are the instructions:

1. I married a man who keeps everything.

2. We bought a cabin with copper pipe plumbing that ran under the open underbelly of the cabin. The pipes sometimes froze and split if we had hard frosts after we turned the water on for the season. The Car Guy changed out the pipes for flexible plastic tubing that didn’t burst as easily. He brought the copper pipes home, because he might need them some day.

4. The Red House needed a new deck. The Car Guy built one, and salvaged any good wood, because he might need it some day.

5. A heavy snowfall broke many branches off the trees around The Red House. The Car Guy and I piled all the wood up in various locations on our property – because we might need it some day.

Salvaged deck lumber

6. Some day eventually arrived.  The Car Guy used the salvaged deck lumber to build the X shaped bases for the Stacked Wood Christmas Trees.

Salvaged copper pipe

7. He cut 4 feet (1.2 meters) off one of the 3/4 inch (1.9 centimeter) pieces of copper tubing.  Then he drilled a hole in the center of his X-shaped base, and stuck one end of the copper tubing into the hole.

Drilled hole

8. Then The Car Guy taught me how to use the electric chop saw. I went to work cutting the long broken branches from the trees into shorter pieces. (The longest was 3.5 feet (1.1 meters).) When I had them cut up into the right lengths, The Car Guy drilled a hole in the middle of each branch with his drill press. (The Car Guy has an excellent selection of tools that he buys because he might need them some day.)

Stacking branches onto the pipe

9. I laid out the branches in the order I wanted to stack them, then ‘threaded’ them onto the copper pipe.

Stacked wood Christmas Tree

Ta Da! The completed Stacked Wood Christmas Tree.

I also made a star for the top. I cut 5 pieces of branch, equal lengths and laid them out in a 5 pointed star shape.  The Car Guy used his air gun nailer to tack them together, then we nailed it to the top  branch.

Measure twice and cut once – there’s no board stretcher in the tool kit.
– Author Unknown –

The words ‘Hoarded Ordinaries’ came to mind when I watched The Car Guy drag this and that out from here and there until he finally had all the components to make these trees.

What sort of things do you or your spouse ‘hoard’ and what unanticipated use did you finally make from the stash?

Post 501

How to Make Origami Kusudama Flower Balls

Origami –  how difficult is it? Fold a piece of paper to form a peak, and you have a mountain fold. Fold it the opposite direction, and you have a valley fold. Make a couple of folds, then open them up a bit and squash them, and you have – tada – a squash fold.

Its just mountains and valleys…. How hard could it be?
– Unknown –

My youngest daughter has been making origami Kusudama flower balls. I asked her to teach me how.

We started with a trip to a Hobby Lobby to buy a package of 12 inch by 12 inch patterned paper, a stick of super sticky glue (double sided clear tape or a glue gun would work too), and some  long paper clips.

I would have bought a paper cutter if I didn’t already have one, because each sheet of 12 inch paper had to be cut into four 6 inch by 6 inch squares. If I had wanted smaller flowers, I could have cut the paper into smaller squares. For the project I had in mind, I needed to make 24 flowers. 5 petals per flower. 120 squares of paper.

black white

There are many websites and YouTube videos (see one link above) that explain how to fold each flower petal, but I’ll fast forward through that rather tedious process so I can display the flowers themselves. The photo above shows some of the petals in various stages of being joined to create a finished flower (which is the one in the centre of the photo.)

black and white

In the photo above, I’m almost finished one half of a Kusudama Ball. Six flowers form half a ball. I used the paper clips to hold the glued sections together until the glue dried.

black white

Once the half ball was finished, I attached it to a thick piece of black cardboard and mounted it in a frame.

I could have joined two half balls and made a full ball to hang from the ceiling.

The boredom of making 120 petals was relieved somewhat by the variety of papers I chose. If they had all been one colour, or solid colours, I might have abandoned the project!

I don’t suppose any of you have some half finished projects that were simply too boring to finish?!

I was going to start an origami business but was afraid it would fold.
– Unknown –

Those pics are paper-view…
– storm avoider –

Post 494

 

Finding Sea Glass at British Columbia Beaches

Brown and White Sea Glass – I found these tumbled and weathered pieces of glass on beaches in and around Vancouver, BC, Canada. They were originally brown and white bottles that were discarded twenty or so years ago. Green glass is also fairly common.

Other colours of glass are not that easy to find, but if you have a rock tumbler, you can make your own weathered looking glass: Making Tumbled Glass.

If you would like to learn more about sea glass, click on this link: Sea Glass Journal.

 

This weeks WordPress Challenge is Weathered.

Antelope Street Cabin in LEGO

Our cabin, along with 305 other residences in Hidden Valley Alberta, was destroyed in the flood of June 2013. All that is left of it is rubble, but we have many wonderful memories and hundreds of photos taken by our family – the Antelope Street Photographers. I chose the name Antelope Street because that was the street where our cabin was. It was a gravel road that branched off the main drive. At that intersection it was a broad thoroughfare lined with grand old poplar trees and pretty little houses. By the time it got down to where our house was, however, it had narrowed somewhat. Past our place, it rambled on a bit further, then turned into a path that wandered down to the river. I can’t begin to count how many times we all walked that road, either westward to the privacy and serenity of the river or eastward to join family and the community. The spirit of the cabin lives on in the LEGO world, thanks to the thoughtful creativity of my youngest daughter! She has not only recreated the building,  she has captured the essence of the forest and of each of the five people who are our immediate family. Meet the people: On the far left is our Youngest Daughter. With her nurses scrubs and hairless hairstyle (she survived chemo, but her hair didn’t) she was, and always will be the go-to gal for all our owies. Next to her is The Car Guy. Master of the BBQ,  he has a hot dog ready to grill. In the doorway of the cabin is our Eldest Daughter. With a Chef’s hat and a measuring cup in hand, she is the Queen of the Kitchen. The light haired lady is Me – note that my legs are shorter than any of the rest of the family. My wheelbarrow is nearby. To the far right is our Middle Daughter. Her long hair is in a pony tail and she has a cup of cabin coffee in her hand. She knows what fuels some members of this group in the morning! The trim color of the cabin was a beautiful blue. The main entry into the cabin was a sliding patio door. Surrounding the cabin were huge old poplar trees – many with bare broken branches where the Canada Geese landed  in the spring. A few brightly coloured LEGO bricks and simple minifigures have captured the essence of this special  place in a way that all the photos never could. Thanks so much J!

A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching.
– Swami Sivananda –

Have you ever built a diorama and if so, what part of the great big world were you trying to capture?

Post 463

How to Make Boot Puppies

boot puppies

Recycle old rubber boots by making them into these adorable puppies!

Rubber boot puppies or dogs

How cool would it be to have a few of these in your yard! Here are my thoughts on how to do this!

Instructions:

I haven’t been able to find any instructions on the internet for how to make these puppies, but this is what I surmise from the photo:
– you need 7 boots – 4 are used for the legs, one for the back and tail, one for the lower jaw and neck, and one for the upper jar/head and ears.
– you would use a pair of heavy cutting shears to split the legs of the boots as needed.
– maybe you would use a bolt to hold the upper jaw to the lower one.
– perhaps you would fill the legs with sand to keep them from falling over.

What a happy way to remember the not so happy activity of slogging through the mud in our flooded cabins!

Post 442

Story of a Bunny Pattern

My mom was a knitter and a sewer. (In retrospect, Seamstress looks better than sewer. Sewer suddenly looks like a place of waste management). One of her earliest projects (after I was born) was a stuffed bunny that I called ‘Baboo’.

sewing

I don’t get it – how could I have ‘Come from a pattern’?

The pattern in this photo is the one she used over mpffmp years ago. The bunny in this photo is Baboo 2. Baboo 1 was a much more interesting creature.  The first time Baboo 1 was washed, one of his ears shrank much more than the other one did. For the rest of his life, his short ear stood up at attention, and his long ear flopped down over his eye.

When Baboo 1 was about 20 years old, I carefully unstuffed him and gave him a good bath in preparation for his introduction to my first child. Once he was dry, I popped him and his stuffing into a paper bag and set him on a shelf in my mom’s laundry room. When I went to retrieve Baboo 1, he was gone. Someone must have seen the old bag of grungy stuffing and threw it out, not realizing that Baboo 1 was in there too.

I made a new Baboo, but he was never right. I used felt for his eyes, but I should have embroidered them. His ears were both the same length, and even when I stitched one down so it would flop, it just wasn’t the same.

I’m glad I still have the pattern. I think I am old enough now to make Baboo again, only this time I will do all the right things wrong, and all the wrong things right. Baboo 3 will be as imperfectly perfect as Baboo 1!

For more photos from this WordPress Challenge, go to Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

Post 399

Home – The LEGO Businessman and the Oranges

December found us far from Home, though at a place we are learning to call home – our Snowbird place in Arizona. The gathering of the clan at Christmas was a smaller event than usual and Christmas morning was a quiet affair. At least it was until a stranger appeared in my Christmas stocking. He said he was just a Businessman, but there was something about his bowler hat that hinted he had a secret agenda.

We decided to spy on him! Armed with only our cameras and our wits, we syrupti… serrepti… surreptitiously followed him around for the next few days. Here is what we found:

oranges

Businessman spent a lot of time investigating a bowl of oranges.  On the surface, it all seemed innocent enough…

half oranges

But apparently there was one bad one in the bunch. Businessman coldly bisected it and skewered it with a cocktail fork.

walking

Later that day, we found him up on the roof of the house with the stalk of another orange in his hand. We heard him whisper, “This is one body they are never going to find.”

navigation

Businessman’s behaviour was unsettling, so we quickly juiced the rest of the oranges and hoped he would leave. And leave he did. With only a cursory glance at the GPS and a stare that told us we should forget we had ever seen him…

riding

he left in as mysterious a manner as he had arrived.

confetti

Days later, we read that a Businessman had lost his life in an unfortunate accident involving a paper shredder. It happened in Orange County, Florida.

_________________________

The photos for this story were the result of a challenge. Each of us had to photograph the Businessman – no one else could see the result until all the photos were taken.

Of all modern notions, the worst is this: that domesticity is dull. Inside the home, they say, is dead decorum and routine; outside is adventure and variety. But the truth is that the home is the only place of liberty, the only spot on earth where a man can alter arrangements suddenly, make an experiment or indulge in a whim. The home is not the one tame place in a world of adventure; it is the one wild place in a world of rules and set tasks.

– G.K. Chesterton –

Post 383

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