Friday, April 29, 2011

Create: A Cloth for the Nose

It seems I'm always sick this year.  When I'm not sick, I'm still dealing with a runny nose.  I get so tired of my nose getting all red and sore, not to mention how many tissues I throw away!  So, I did some research.  Supposedly, it is the wood pulp in tissues that irritates your nose, not just how many times you rub it.  Yet another reason to make cloth tissues.

I always thought it was pretty gross to blow your nose in a cloth and then tuck it back into your pocket.  However, that's kind of what I do with my regular, disposable tissues.  When I'm on the road or not near a trash can, it gets tucked back in my pocket.  Now that I have a washing machine at home, I don't have to worry about having snot rags piling up before I go to the laundry mat.  Now all I need is to make a bag to throw them in.

I used an old bed sheet to make my new tissues.  It had been hanging around in my fabric stash for years.  I had used a bit of it for another project.  It was nice to be able to use it again.  The sheet was very thin and soft so it makes great tissues/handkerchiefs.  To make the pattern, I unfolded a Kleenex and traced around it on a scrap file folder.

I used pretty much the same technique for these as I did my cloth napkins.  These ones are just smaller and I did the corners differently.  I folded over an edge, ironed, then folded it over again.

Instead of mitering the corners, I folded one edge, then folded the other on top of that.  It made the corners a little bulky, and my sewing machine a bit sulky, but I thought it worked pretty well. 

Now I just have to make sure I don't throw them away when I use them!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Extra! Extra! Kickstarter & a Vending Machine

Hurrah, it's an extra post!

I'd just like to let all of you know about our new project for Ames  For our 2011 annual project, we are going to make an art vending machine.  We'll buy an old vending machine, fancy it up, and fill it with local artists and crafters.  Their projects, not their bodies.  For a few bucks or twenty bucks, you can take home a piece of local art you might not have found any where else.

How can you help?

If you pledge just a few dollars ($1, $5, $25, etc), you'll help make this happen and get a pretty snazzy gift from Ames  Check out all the benefits to donating on our Kickstarter page.  All the details about pledging are there too.

Help us out and bring the Art Vend Machine to life!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Write: A Battle

A pocket full of tissues,
a handful of cough drops,
I am armed and ready.
The pillows are fluffed,
the blankets cozy,
I am prepared for battle.
Down a  glass of orange juice,
swallow a few ibuprofen,
I will win this one yet.

Write: A Battle

A pocket full of tissues,
a handful of cough drops,
I am armed and ready.
The pillows are fluffed,
the blankets cozy,
I am prepared for battle.
Down a  glass of orange juice,
swallow a few ibprofin,
I will win this one yet.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Inspire: Eh, Sick Day

Sorry for the late post, but it's yet another day where I am sick.  I really dislike being sick but it keeps cropping up more and more.  Sometimes I just want to rip my nose off so I don't have to worry about sinus problems anymore.  But then I'd look like Michael Jackson. ;)

So today is going to be a bit sidetracked.  I could post about how to get things done on sick days, but when I'm sick, I don't feel like doing anything.  I could say, on sick days, rest up so you can come back energized and ready to go - but I always have recovery time after I'm sick.  I could say, wah!  I'm sick!  But you've already been reading that. :)

Instead, I think I'll take this week to think about how to deal with ever present sickness.  I'll see if I need to step back from some projects to make sure I have enough energy to deal with them all. 

Hope your Monday is better than mine!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Create: Picking Up The Trash

I typically have a long wait every night for my vanpool ride.  The area of town where I work is mostly business, but for some reason, there is trash everywhere.  Not so much around my building, but on Wednesday I found a ripped open bag of buns sitting in the driveway across the street where I wait.  Seriously.  Half the buns were still in the bag, the rest were scattered over the pavement.  I picked it up and took it inside one of the offices and asked if they could throw it away.

I've picked up pieces here and there when I had space in my bag or happened to have an extra bag with me.  But I don't have room for all the slimy dirty trash littering the earth.  So I made myself a bag. :)  (My friend tells me I have enough bags... I don't believe her.)

I've had these place mats hanging around my house for years now.  I thought I would use them for making napkins or something like that, but they just sat in my stash.  I didn't want to ruin them!  Now that I could actually use place mats, I cut one of them up for my bag...  Maybe I do have too many bags.

I based my pattern on a paper lunch sack type of bag and added a nifty handle idea I saw on Daisy Janie.  I cut up an old file folder rescued from the work trash can as my template so I can make more. 

1 - Cut out two pieces of for the body of the bag.  Mine are just a little smaller than a file folder.  The white in the image above was a lining in my place mat. 

2 - Fold over and iron the top edge of each bag to hem it.  Sew to keep your opening from fraying.

3 - Put the fabric right sides together and sew along three edges. 

4 - Fold a corner so that the sewn lines sit on top of each other. (Sorry, no picture) This should make a triangle at each corner.  Sew perpendicular to your previous line about an inch away from the corner.  This will give you a triangle and a flat bottom.  Repeat with the other side.

5 - Turn the bag rightside out and iron creases where the triangles end.  You are making 'pleats' for the bag to follow when it stands up and folds.  You want it to look like a small paper lunch bag. Press your bag flat, fold in thirds the long way, iron, and roll up.

6 - Cut out a 3 inch wide strip for a handle.  It can be however long you want it to be long enough to go around your rolled up bag when folded in half.  Mine ended up being thirteen inches because that was the width of my place mat.

7 - Fold strip in half the long way with rightside in and sew down the strip.  Turn rightside out, iron, and sew on each side.

8 - Anchor your strip on the inside of your bag on the center third.  Sew over the strips to anchor them in place.

9 - Cut another strip of fabric, this time half of what your longer strip was (See the Daisy Janie tutorial for better details.  I just coasted by the seat of my pants).  Repeat step 7 and 8 but anchor on the other side.

10 - Roll up the bag again with the longer handle surrounding the bag and being tucked under the shorter one.  Tadaa!  You have a bag!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Write: Today We Are Warriors

Today we are warriors,
healers, advocates
for our Mother.
Today we make words
into action, showing
a community, a planet
love and honor.
Today we are warriors
though the rest of the year
may find us sleeping.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Inspire: Our Blue Boat Home

Sun, my sail and moon, my rudder
As I ply the starry sea
Leaning over the edge in wonder
Casting questions into the deep
Drifting here with my ship's companions
All we kindred pilgrim souls
Making our way by the lights of the heavens
In our beautiful blue boat home
 -- Peter Mayer

Friday is Earth Day!  That wonderful day started by hippies in an effort to make people more aware of how fragile our huge planet is.  On this one day, people can try to do something for the planet even if they do nothing else the rest of the year.  I’m not advocating that, but even a small change can add up to a huge change. 

My son’s old school had one of the greatest programs I’ve seen.  On Earth Day, or near it, they would all go walk out to a different park in the city and pick up trash.  They would pick it up on the way and then scour the park for more of it.  They would have bags and bags of trash when they were done.  I went with them last year and it made me smile to see kids being grossed out and upset with all the trash that was thrown away.  I hope some of them remember what they said and saw the next time they are in a position to litter.

The theme this year for Earth Day is A Billion Acts of Green.  I learned about the UU Ministry for the Earth this Sunday, and their theme for the year is Sacred Waters.  Both groups want to encourage people to make small changes in their lives to benefit the earth.  The Ministry for the Earth wants people to make a commitment to the earth for forty days in ways that will help our water ways. 

I was quite happy to note that many of the things on the list of what I could do to make a small action I am already doing.

What are you doing for the earth?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Create: A Faerie at the Ball

I needed wings for the faerie ball I went to last week, and I didn't have a single pair.  I had been lusting over a pair I saw at the Renn Faire last year but I hadn't found a place that sold them for a price I could afford, and I figured there must be a way to make them....

I figured it out!  Well, at least my version.  With a little bit of hot glue (my new favorite crafty tool), wire, and duct tape, I made my own version of these spiffy wings.

They are made from fake pheasant feathers, smaller feathers, and plastic evergreen branches.  All gotten at half off at Hobby Lobby.

They took me several hours to make, but that was due to a couple false starts and a need to redo the straps a couple of times. 

I started off with just thick elastic as my straps, but they rolled and pinched under my arms and I did not like it.  I wanted these to be very comfortable.  So then I tried lengthening the the back so the straps didn't circle in on each other and they still rolled.  I ended up cutting out pieces of fabric and backing them with smaller straps of felt.   They were wider than the elastic and with just having elastic at the top and bottom, they stayed in place very well.

I got several wonderful comments about my wings and I'm very happy with the way they turned out.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Write: Miles Away

The miles stretch out,
rolling hills and winding rivers,
the tree line
crisscrossing the fields.
There's a different feel,
a different vibe,
in the land where the only store
is a town over.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Inspire: Travelling a New Road

I got out of my own way this weekend and it led me down an interesting path.  A Pagan group was going to hold the 2nd annual Faerie Ball about an hour away from where I live.  I had been on the fence about going, it was a long distance and my normal travel distance is half an hour.  The group leader and I haven't always seen eye to eye.  But a friend was going to be the DJ and I thought it might be a good time to come out of my solitary shell.  So I was thinking about going.

Then my friend asked me to be a backup DJ for her.  She was going to have surgery on Thursday and wasn't sure if she would be well enough to make it.  I bit the bullet and said yes.  And, as those sorts of things are bound to go, I found myself heading off to Redfield to DJ all by my lonesome.  Have I ever been a DJ before?  No.  A song from Rockula kept running through my head:

"Are you the DJ? No, I'm the vampire."

The drive down there was fantastic.  My vansharing days have affected me horribly, however, and I kept wanting to watch the scenery rather than the road.  There were hills and an old abandoned school, fields and plastic moose, all sorts of things you see in rural, small town country.  I'm not saying that I live in a big town, but drives like this make me remember what else there is to offer outside of paved streets and neon signs.  

I managed to write a few poems while I was there behind the speakers.  I wasn't a very good DJ, I couldn't fix the speakers (they sounded blown), and the group only danced to one song, but they certainly gave me enough to think about.  The song was a slow one and the couples were out on the floor.  You could tell they cared about each other.  

I've got a lot of fodder for new stories and poems.  I hope your weekend was just as good!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Create: Stuffs for a Stuffed Mini-zine

I decided to make my new old cookbook the subject of a stuffed mini-book swap I am participating in. I'm excited about this book because I've never made one and it is such an interesting thing.  There are little pockets to tuck things into.  Here are a couple of the tutorials that I'm looking at to make my book.

So what do I think of when I think of stuffing a book about cookbooks?  A recipe card!
The size of the book will be 3x3 since it uses a sheet of 12x12 paper.  This recipe card, with a copy of the book's recipes is 3x5.  I'm not sure if it will be too big for what is supposed to stick out of the book, but it's my book and I can make it the way I want to, right? 

I took the published page and added it to the back of the recipe card.  It looks a little plain, but I like it.

I also made a bookmark and forgot to take pictures.  I think I might make a mini zine on how either substitutions or meat cuts.  The other will probably be what the mini-book is about.

It looks like all the tutorials are just pretty things bound in neat form, but I always feel like I need to make zines into actual books with stories and such.  I feel weird making it just pretty pictures - unless I were to collage it, then I guess it would be okay.  But to me it's not about being an art book, it's about being a book.

I'm hoping to be able to work on it more during lunch today!

Have you ever made one of mini-books?  How do you view zines - art or story?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Noumenia! A New Month

I hope you all like the new background of the blog.  I'm still messing about with it and I still need to add pages, but I drew a blank on what the pages should be.  It's a work in progress.

I have been working on some of the things from last month.  I always seem to get into a funk, but I believe I am on the way up and out of this one.  Things are still hectic and chaotic as usual, but I am happier about it.

I have posted on The Gods and I and the majority of what was in my normal monthly updates will be over there.

I'm still fluctuating in what I want this blog to be.  I've felt I've been floundering, at a loss, not entirely sure where I was going.  That probably wasn't helped by all the copywriting/blogging blogs I read.  They all say that there should be a purpose in what you do or how to approach things and none of it seems to apply to this blog.  I haven't had a main goal in this site.

But I'd like to say that is changing.  I made a few changes last month and this month will see a few more.  This blog was started as a way of keeping me accountable to myself.  Now it serves as a way to inspire me in my work.  It gives me writing prompts and project ideas.  It lets me share joys I come across that inspire me.  This month I will try to explain how all these things connect with my life and my writing.

I hope you enjoy and let me know what you like and dislike.

Have a great month!

Write: The Early Morning Blahs

Who invented mornings?
The quick wake up
before the sun has risen
Deadlines and due dates,
meetings before sleep
is wiped from the eyes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Inspire: Cooking from the Past

I'm going through a vintage phase, in case you hadn't noticed previously.  And I'm a terrible book hoarder.  Book sales are my weakness.  But what is even worse than sales are piles of free books.  I haven't figured out why, but my local library has a shelf of free books next to the door.  In another room they have books to sell.  I think they are all donated by various community members.  But why this free book shelf?  Are they books they can't get rid of any other way?

I thought so, but I have found a few beauties that I would have paid for.  I would have paid quite a bit for the one I recently found.

A Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book binder in fantastic condition.  I'm pretty sure it's from 1951 to judge by the copyright dates.  How freaking awesome is that? 

The binder even has a plastic thingie in between the rings that says Patent Pending.  I think it was supposed to help the pages turn? 

The pages and dividers all seem to be in pretty good shape.  Some of the dividers are fraying at the tabs from use, but they are in no danger of falling apart.  The pictures of food make me laugh and go eww at teh same time, but it's full of interesting information.  There are multiple pages of how to identify and cook different cuts of meat.  There is a page that tells you how to cook spaghetti noodles.  The recipes all seem to be no nonsense things and several recipes are on each page.

I'm over the moon with this find.  I want to use it, and I think I will use the homemade noodle recipe, but I don't want to run the risk of ruining it with a spill. 

Do you have a favorite cook book or regular book find?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Create: Ah, Accomplishment

I've cleared off a couple things from my To Do list this week.  Of course, there are a couple more things added to it... but at least some of it is gone!

I'm quite happy to show off my new bag - sewn and embroidered by me.  I took a pattern from Burda Style and modified it to fit what I actually wanted it to do.  I made the front flap longer, got rid of the buckle (which I might add in later), and changed it so that the flap went over the whole bag not just the front part.  I also got rid of the recessed zipper so that my bag just opens up.  And I changed the straps.  I'm quite happy with the way it turned out.

However, this bag has not been on my To Do list for very long.  A bag has, so I'm glad I finally got this finished.

Something on my list for longer, however, is a repurposed hardback book.  I tore out the guts of a free book I got at the library and added in my own paper.  I'm really happy with how the process went.  I expected it to be hard for some reason, but it was just as simple as my normal book binding techniques.  I found a great new tutorial online that shows the sewing well and a tutorial for making the book.

 The cover of the book.  It is The Return of Adam Smith by George Montgomery.
 The guts of the book.
 New blank pages!
My new notebook.

I hope you have a great weekend!