Friday, May 28, 2010

Create: Envelopes for Coupons

First off, yup, I've changed the layout and color scheme a bit (ahem, totally) since I was messing around with free backgrounds from the Background Fairy.   I am not currently using one because I'm not sure I like being stuck with some other logo up by my name.  We'll see.  I have been wanting to make a banner now I have motivation to work on that.

Second, Monday's post will be on Tuesday.  It's Memorial Day and I believe all the libraries are closed.

Third, do you use coupons?  I do randomly, when I find a great deal and happen to have the coupon with me.  It's really rare that I remember to take the rare coupon I found that I will actually use.  So I decided that I needed something other than my pocket to keep coupons in.  So tadaa!  Enter the coupon envelope book.

I found a fantastic pattern on how to make envelopes on Mirkwood Designs.  I need to remember to check that site more often.  I took old security envelopes I had received in the mail and used them for my little envelopes. 

Before I glued them together, I used codex binding to bind them to pieces of cardboard.  This one was from Koolaid drink pouches.  I'm kind of sad that I won't have any more of that cardboard since I started using reusable drink containers for Daemon's lunches.  Oh well. 

Once the book was in place, I glued them together and tadaa!  A book full of envelopes.

Enjoy your weekend!  And remember those who fought and died for Liberty.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Write: What It Means to be Frugal

Here is the exercise for today:
Think of something that you are frugal about, or something you splurge on. Why do you save/spend money on that item? How often do you use it?

There are piles on the floor,
overflowing from the bins and boxes
they’ve been assigned to.
Random bits, leftovers, things inherited.
From this chaos, my creations are born.
Thrift finds and garage sale surprise
blossom, forming new life
saved from the landfill.
No extra packaging or instructions
come with my new beauties.
Life created wastes nothing.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Inspire: Frugal Fun

Sorry, guys, for the late post.  For those of you who have followed my disaster of a car, you won't be too surprised when I say it broke again.  The transmission is doing the same thing I had it replaced a few months ago for, not going into third gear.  And it's a manual, so it's not like I can try to bypass it.  It's in the shop now, but if they tell me it's going to cost another arm and a leg, I think I will take the car back as is and just use it to scoot about town.  I'm ready to go without a car after all this hassle, I just have to move first.

This weeks theme is Frugality.  It's a pretty big catchword anymore.  Be frugal, do more with less, simplicity, save the environment, etc, etc.  But to me it's something that I've always had to do (since I'm always broke) but I've started taking control of it the past several months. 

I don't care much for conspicuous consumption, and I try really hard not to buy something because I think I need it or want it.  I've limited my craft supplies to buying something I can't make do without.  The same for clothes.  I hit the thrift stores first, then move on to the box stores.  I'm trying to plan out meals and budget things in.  And I'm doing pretty well, and getting some bills paid off!

So are you frugal?  Do you want to be frugal?  What steps do you take?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Create: Moving Inspiration

I found that wonderful song from Monday's post while driving in my car (which is now down again... grr... I hate mechanical things).  Luckily, I had stuck a matchbook notebook in my car and try to constantly keep a pen handy.  My son must have thought I was crazy to be writing and driving at the same time.  Yeah, I know, he was probably right but I forget lyrics immediately after hearing them.

So today's project is that wonderful little notebook!
I always use recycled goods when I make books.  So here I have a stack of recycled paper and a UPS envelope I received.  Cut your paper into the size you want it.  Mine ended up being a four and a half square there abouts.  Once you have your paper, you can measure and cut your cover. 
Here I added a half inch to each side, but that was too big.  I forgot I was halving the pile of paper I had.  Ooops.  Make sure to measure the height of your stack of paper and at it to both sides of your main measurement.  Then add a half inch to one end and take a quarter inch off the other side. 
Put your paper in place, fold over the smaller flap, and staple in place.  The one in my car is actually sewn instead of stapled.  For sewing, take small sections of paper, measure where you want the holes and poke through with a big needle.  Take the first sheet from your poked pile and place on top of your new pile to make sure the holes are the same.  Do the same for your cardboard backing.  Then sew through it. 

Fold the cover over and under the ledge left in the small flap.  Then you are done!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Write: Memories of Music

Here is your task/exercise for the week:  Write about a song that reminds you of something in your past OR write about a memory that has music.

Here is my offering:

The clock tower began its hourly serenade.  The bells hidden beneath the face sang out the first notes of Amazing Grace.  The simple melody raised my head as I searched for the source.  The constant stream of thoughts running through my head paused, ceasing the endless chatter to listen to the bells.

Amazing Grace.  How sweet the sound.

It used to be one of my favorite songs to sing.  It would spill from my lips with joy.  In high school, I had to work hard to keep my throat from closing with tears when singing it for choir.  Now, it fills me with melancholy.

It was playing when we walked out of the funeral home.  After settling the arrangements with the director, we paused for a moment and in the silence, the speakers softly offered us the song.  It wasn't the best version, but it sticks with me.  I remember my mother saying it was what her great aunt, her favorite, used to sing to all the children in her lap. 

The clock tower, that same one, was playing it the night my sister died.  As my mom went outside, watching the ambulance pull away, the bells caroled out with grace that filled the night.  Maybe it was a sign that the baby was going to be watched over, that she wouldn't be alone.  It should fill me with happiness, but there is only sadness when I hear the sweet song saying that something lost has been found.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Extra! Noumenia Goals

Yup yup, I'm several days late with this post.  My goal last month of keeping up with rituals didn't work very well, as you can tell.  Saturday was Noumenia, the day on which you can see the first sliver of the waxing crescent moon.  For Hellenistic Pagans, it's part of three days of ritual. 

I reminded myself every day of that week that Noumenia was coming up, but once it was upon me, I mostly forgot.  In my defense, I spent most of my time out at the mural working on getting it finished.  Saturday I went directly from the mural to help out with my cousin's high school graduation.  Neither of which really gave time for thought.

I did manage to offer a quick prayer Saturday night, including a cry for help for the Gulf oil spill.  I don't normally ask for anything, but this seemed appropriate.  I have also started a morning ritual at work.  Before my first cup of tea, I pray to the God/Goddess/Elements to be present in the now.  Before breakfast, I pray to the Olympians, Hestia, and the Chthonic Persephone/Hades. 

This month I think I will focus again on following rituals and evolving my daily practice.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Inspire: Memories and Music

Sorry for the late post, guys, I was up way late last finishing up the mural.  And I didn't feel good this morning, so I stayed home.  I'm only in front of a computer because I had to come to town anyway.  :) 

I heard a wonderful song on the radio the other day and wrote down a couple lyrics... which I left at home.  I will have to edit this post tomorrow to add in the song, if I can find it in the wonders of the interwebs with the lyrics.  The song was about how our memories can be connected to music.  I know that there are several songs that call up a specific image, feeling, or memory. 

What songs call up memories in your mind?

Edit:  The song is Drinking Games, from Library Voices.
"There she goes again
mixing melody with a memory
she's got a song for everything
everywhere she's ever been, everyone she's pleased."

I found a video of it!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Create: Naruto Headband Pattern

My son loves Naruto.  And he is always talking about wanting to save money to buy a Hidden Village of Sound headband.  I like Naruto, if you can space out the annoying voices...  There are many reasons I want to learn Japanese, unsubbed anime is one of them.  I made my son a cloth/cardboard/tinfoil headband for xmas but it ended up not holding together as well as I thought.  So I decided that this week I was going to crochet him one.

The music note isn't exactly like it is in the show, but it's close enough for me.
The pattern is pretty simple, only the note is a bit tricky.  Here it is for all you anime geeks. :)  Enjoy!

Naruto Sound Village Headband:
G Hook
Acrylic yarn

Row 1:  Chain 120, chain one and turn.
Rows 2 - 6:  sc in each chain, chain one and turn
Row 7: sc in each sc across, fasten off, weave ends.

Row 1:  Chain 18, chain one and turn
Row 2:  sc in each chain across, chain one and turn
Rows 3-6:  sc in each sc across, chain one and turn
Row 7:  sc in each sc across.  Sc around the whole piece putting three sc in each corner.  Fasten off and leave a long tail for assembly.

In each corner of the plaque, use black yarn and a needle to make small x's to represent the connectors.  There should be three to a side, now that I look at the actual plaque.

Sound Symbol:
With a magic circle, sc 8.  Join together and chain twelve.  Turn and ss in second chain from hook, sc, dc, sc, ss, fasten off, leave a long tail for assembly.

Place the sound symbol in the middle of the plaque. Use the long tail to sew the symbol onto the plaque.  Attach the plaque to the center of the headband and use the tail to sew into place.

Tadaa!  You are done.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Write: The Geek Form of Writing

As I stated, I am a geek and a gamer.  My life was ruled by online roleplaying games for awhile.  Not the pretty WoW ones where there are pictures, but ones that were completely text.  One of those games was based off of a series of books by Laurell K. Hamilton, the Anita Blake books.  Vampires and werewolves and zombies, oh my!  I went through my old emails when I thought of Inspiration: Geek, and found a background story I wrote for my favorite character that I made for the Anita Blake Mush (Multi-User Shared Hallucination, text based RPG).

After rereading this background, I've realized that it would make a good idea for a story itself.  Change things a little bit and either focus on before she became a vamp - just do a piratey Bahamas story - or make my own vamp world.  So you might be hearing more from lovely Sophie.

I put it up on Scribd as it is a couple pages long.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Inspire: Geeking It Up

I am a geek, no doubt about it, and I have no problem saying and showing it.  For Mother's Day, my son decided that in his obsession with trading card games he would get me a pack of Bleach cards.  Bleach is an anime series.  I was quite happy with this set of cards.  Of course, my friend also took him to get me some very nifty earrings.  I am very lucky that I have always found friends who share my particular breed of geek, or at least have complimentary areas. 

I started thinking that even though I've always been a geek and therefore see the geekiness in the world around me, 'geek' is no longer a bad word.  In face, it has turned from being a label of social outcasts into mainstream.  At least, this is my geeky view.

Comic books are blockbuster movies, nerds are hit TV shows (and I'm not talking Beauty and the Geek, although I admit I did watch a season of that), and computer games are in.  We are raising our children in an era where it's cool to go home and play online.  Geek no longer seems to refer only to a person with few social skills well-versed in a type of subculture activity like card games, computers, science, anime, or roleplaying (another of my areas).  Now it seems as though the term encompasses anything that someone is deeply into.

So what do you geek?  What random thing sets you apart and makes you awesome?  How do you deal with that thing that isn't shared by everyone?  Have you ever been an outcast?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Create: Heat Pads

Hello, all!  Happy Friday!

I'm always confused on what to get my mother for Mother's Day.  I like to make stuff, but it's hard to know what to make your mom.  And I have the sneakng suspicion that she doesn't actually use what I make her...  I'm working on a mesh hat, think snood, for her that she said she wanted this year, but I am about to run out of the yarn I was working with.  So I decided to make her a couple microwavable heat pads to either replace or go with her gift.  I'm also going to hit the thrift stores today or tomorrow.  I'm also making her a lunch/dinner which is going to be fantastic.  Or at least it is to me, I hope she and the rest of the family enjoy it.

Here are the heat pads.  You can find tutorials on how to make them online, like the one here.  I previously made one for myself for work when my neck was seriously cramping up.  I can't use them at home because I don't have a microwave.
I made two sizes so that they can be used for different purposes.  The apple fabric (I love that fabric) is actually taken from a set of curtains she never got around to finishing and I saved.  The apple fabric is an outer cover.  The inner bag is made from an old sheet and is full of rice.  I like to stitch a couple spots in the bag so that evens the rice out a bit.
Have a happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Write: What is a Mother?

Today's exercise is to, as usual, take ten minutes and write about what motherhood means to you.  Not just, what does being a mother mean to 'me,' but what does a mother do, or what does Mother mean?

Here is my take on being a mother...

No one can tell you how to be a mother.  For, as everyone jokes, children have no instruction manuals.  Mother Nature delivers the wonderful new life and expects that you will figure it out.  Books are filled with advice.  TV shows abound with what-went-wrong and troubled children.  But only one person can tell you how to be a mom.  And that is your child.

Only a child can tell you what will light a face up with excitement.  Only a child can pick what makes a face glow with a smile.  And a child can show you what makes tears fall or fists flail.  Only a child can be a teacher to the person who is supposed to teach them.

Those fleeting moments of pure joy when a child randomly smiles and the world stops or when laughter chimes like the most holy of bells, those are the rewards for a mother.  The entire focus of a mother is not just to raise well adjusted children, but to nurture memories full of joy that last a life time.  A mother should make something that can be shared.

Mothers tend to forget, between dishes and laundry, what impact they have.  Every smile, every frown, every grounding and reward, affects history.  Each mother is creating a path that shows not only her child what it means to be an adult, but her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  For the paths started today will be handed down through the children, the children she hasn't met yet.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Extra! April Stash Bust

Well, well, the end of April came up and bit me.  I think that might be the quickest a month has moved, and that's saying something.  Time has been absolutely blowing by.  I haven't made too many things, but I made more than the previous month!  Here's a look at some of my projects.  Some might show up later as tutorials.

This pencil/pen holder is made out of frozen juice containers that I've been hoarding and yarn.  I had to make one for my son after this, but lower, so he could sort his change out.

This is a small bag with yarn scraps for the birds.  Made out of an old potato bag and filled with the scraps left over from sewing and yarn projects.

And, of course, my travel drive out of old pants, my flower of recycled envelopes, and candle 'lanterns' of old glass jars.

Happy crafting!

Inspire: Look to your Mother

I hope you all had a great May Day weekend!  Did you catch any door knockers and kiss them? 

This weekend is Mother's Day.  This holiday is when we typically thank our mothers for all the hard work they put forth in raising us.  But it didn't start out that way.  Mother's Day in the US was a day for women to gather for peace.  Julia Ward Howe wrote a Mother's Day Proclamation that I believe all women, mothers or otherwise, should read.

I love this part:
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
 In these confusing times, it is good that we have a time of year to evaluate our relationships with our parents and parental figures.  All too often we overlook the good our parents do because we expect it.  We could have been raised differently, for good or ill, and maybe we don't like our parents.  But there are still women out there who have given us birth, not only our physical bodies, but to our spirit, our creativity, and our minds.
What did you learn from your mother?  How will you celebrate?