my youtube video of the bacon covered turkey

This is my first video of any sort. The audio is terrible, I sound quite lispy, maybe we can figure out how to make it better next time, but for now I’m blaming my cheap camera. Let me know what you think. I know, it’s probably too long. But I am pretty narcissistic, which is funny since I really don’t like watching myself on video, but it’s okay as long as most of me is not in the picture.

you should still bring your own bag to the store

don't laugh at my lumpy fused plastic bag project

Today as I was looking over my shelves of unfinished projects to figure out what to do, I found these plastic bags stuffed into a King Tut shopping bag (as in, from our trip to see Tut at the Franklin institute a few years ago.  Still trying to figure out what to make out of that bag too).  A few years ago I was going nuts over plastic bags and trying to find various ways to make them into other things, while at the same time other people were doing the same.  I tried fusing plastic bags so many times and just couldn’t get the hang of it, but I did learn that I had more success with the thicker, more plasticized bags, and saved a few, apparently.  So I decided to see if I could achieve some plastic fusing success today.  I could not open the window, since it is below freezing today, so you can all blame the plasticizers for the part of my senile dementia that can’t be explained by the bonk on the head when I was a teenager…but that’s another story…

supplies
I used paper grocery bags to sandwich the plastic between whilst ironing.

 

 

 

cut off the handles
and the seam at the bottom

 

 

last, cut it open up the side for one layer of plastic

I had a really big piece of plastic from a bag a coat came in.  I split that and laid it flat and started arranging the smaller bags on it.

kitties love to help with these kinds of projects
test on a small piece of handle

 

Partway through the ironing on process. Some paper stuck to the plastic.
I put a hole in the big piece with the iron, and patched it with the piece of handle

 

The paper grocery bag worked out well, still, the plastic was hard to be consistent with.  It would get too hot and the paper would stick, especially where the red dye/paint was on the outside of the bag.  If I were to do it again I would maybe put the red toward the inside.

I set my iron a little hotter than medium.  If you used thinner paper you would definitely need to use a lower setting. You have to fiddle with it to get the right setting and the right amount of ironing action.

 

Now I need to figure out a completed project made of this plastic sheet.  It might just become a plastic sheet to carry in the car for those times you want something plastic to sit on or cover the seat with.  I don’t want to make too big a deal about the plastic bag tarp.  It’s plastic bags.


‘nother snow day project

a pile of t-shirts that I couldn't throw away became this patchwork blanket today

A very quick and dirty job on this blanket of miscellaneous t-shirts here.  The edges are all raw and the seams are exposed.  I did back most of them with another piece of t-shirt.  The Dead Kennedys shirt was showing a lot of signs of wear~

reinforcing around the holes by stitching the front of the shirt to the back

There is some bleach damage to the shirt, but if you look at the white part that is flaking off and away you might see my zigzag stitches.  It is not a beautiful sewing job, but it makes the resulting fabric/blanket a lot more substantial and obviously, less likely to rip apart immediately.

I did feel a bit of a twinge when I snipped into the Butthole Surfers shirt.  I know it doesn’t mean that I am not a punk rock girl anymore, I mean, really, I just listened to Hairway to Steven this morning while sewing this thing, but I couldn’t help but think of one of the TAs in my department in college.  I was trying to make a pair of jester/elf/curly toed slippers out of felt, and she went to look for a book with directions on how to make shoes.  She got this look on her face and said something about how you reach a point when you think you are no longer a hippie and get rid of things then someone needs to borrow your handmade shoe patterns .  She may have made that crazy mistake but I will NEVER give up my handmade shoe or anything else patterns.  Well, I don’t know, those Workbaskets from the ’70s are pretty awful, like almost not even kitschy awful.  The Ayds ads are funny though.  Oh, whatever.  I should not be attached to a t-shirt, neither for itself nor for what it represents.

Stay tuned, it still hasn’t quit snowing yet and who knows what project I will decide to work on tomorrow!

snowdrifts and snakeskin

Everything looks nice covered with a blanket of snow. Well, except maybe that vinyl tube lawn chair.

Already this winter has given us more snow than we’ve really been accustomed to.  Last year we had a lot of heavy snows and we usually have some snow every winter but not like this.  Today we’re getting snow from what I think is the fourth significant storm already this season and it’s just January 10!

how many bushes were there anyway?

So obviously I can’t get out of here for a few days.  If you have not seen my driveway, allow me to simply say that it is responsible for many a tale of woe, mostly when in it’s icy glacial snow or post-snow state.  I will not be posting pictures of the devilish driveway because the last time I walked down there to check on the condition of the driving surface I slipped on the scary part so you will just have to take my word for it for the time being.

I decided to get to work on an art project. I have been waiting for the chance to get to work on that snakeskin, so here are some pictures of how far I got with it today.

trying to get the scales off

The dry snakeskin was shedding it’s scales.  I found that the easiest way to get them off was to just pass it over my thumb while rubbing them off with my finger.

scales
glue and leather to back the skin with

I had some concerns about the leather, mostly that the grain on the non-smooth side would give me problems, but I definitely wanted the smooth side of the leather out so I decided to go for it and hope for the best.

allowing the two halves to dry to the 'tacky' stage required for contact cement

So I put a thin layer of contact cement on both halves, the back of the snakeskin and the inner suede grain of the leather.  The leather was just a scrap I got out of the bin at Earth Guild.

smoothing the snakeskin onto the leather
waiting for the glue to dry

The problem is that I don’t think I have any grommets or snaps to finish the piece.  It may have to wait until after the snow melts!

Design Project project

I’d like to work on a good old fashioned design project.  I have been doing a lot of semi-mindless knitting, soap making is not exactly a visual art, and Christmas is coming.

I have a couple of ideas for this Design Project project and would like your opinion about what you would like to see worked up here on my blog.

I have created a poll with a few ideas, mostly to see if I could figure out how to create a poll, so here goes.  If it makes no sense, then you know I did it wrong.

 

more stuff around the premises…

cute little broccoli
leaves are almost gone
tulip poplar leaves are gone, baby, gone, but these trees still look pretty

Well, it’s supposed to snow, and there were, in fact, a few teeny icy bits falling here, but I don’t know if it’s legally snowing yet.

the neighbor's pasture and ridgeline as seen through my crape myrtle

If we get a measurable amount of snow, I will be surprised, and then I’ll take pictures.

Halloween shenanigans

Meat Head

So, by now you’ve probably figured out that shenanigans factor prominently in my lifestyle. What can I say?  I demand a high level of stimulation from the world.  The latest bit was our Halloween party last Friday.   I acquired this styrofoam head from a vegan friend of ours with the intention of using it as a meat delivery device.  I like the irony of that, although the donor may not.  Sorry!  I think it looks awesome for a first attempt though.  The eyes are made of a radish which I cut in half, shaved a bit of the skin off for this lovely bloodshot effect, cut holes in which I inserted olives to be the iris/pupil.  The Meat Head idea is shamelessly taken from Makezine’s Halloween issue from a few years ago (what?  it’s there for me to copy!) and the eye-dea I got from the great one’s (that would be Martha Stewart to you) Halloween book, although hers were frozen in ice cubes for libations.

vaguely heart shaped cheese spread glob

I was also trying to get all fancy with the cheese there. I clearly need a better understanding of cheese sculpting to make my next chili powder covered organ look more realistic.  Still, not a bad shape in all.  There is that aortically shaped protuberance there, although it is probably in the wrong place.  What?  I never had to take anatomy, and I sort of molded it on a whim anyway.

Unfortunately I don’t feel I can post more pictures of the actual shenanigans since I did not get everyone’s consent.  I wish I got a picture of the punchbowl with the lovely dry ice fog, but alas, it was not to be.  Next year perhaps.

some interesting soap making occurences

So, today we made a batch of soap with coffee added to it to be an exfoliant.  I got the coffee from a prospective customer who is opening a coffee shop nearby. It is espresso ground, so it’s very fine.

I completed the soapmaking process with today’s batch.  It was starting to get thick, and I was a little afraid that the soap would seize once I put all those coffee grounds in there.  And at first it was clumpy.  Then I got out the stick blender and started to work it all in and one second it was this sticky stiff mass and all of a sudden it became totally liquid again.  I am thinking it has something to do with the coffee grounds changing the ph of the soap.  Anyway, it got super hot, I actually was seeing steam rising from the soap.  I dunked the hot pot of soap double boiler style into a pot with cold water, and stirred it and blended it until it started to cool down enough to think maybe it will turn into a solid mass of soap…and we poured it up.   I will keep checking on it and noting if it does go into gel phase or something.  Unfortunately we were not able to get any pictures of the weird chemical reaction though.

Another soap making situation occurred in the batch of lavender soap I made a few weeks ago.  It is not cured yet, but sometimes I wash my hands with a soap even if it’s not cured just to see what the qualities of the soap are shaping up to be like.  It’s probably not the best habit, but really all that happens is my hands will be dried out for a few hours.  Anyway, I discovered with the lavender that there is a limit to how much beeswax should be in a soap.  It makes it just a little bit harder to lather with, it still works but I would say it has great potential for using where kids wash their hands a lot, as it is hard and probably won’t get all soggy.  I am still learning so much about this with all the oils and herbal/food type additives.

post script on the lavender….at fully cured stage it lathers beautifully and is really a nice soap, so I think I jumped to conclude that the weak lather was from the beeswax.  most likely it was just not completely saponified.

Autumn flowers medley

october 2010

It is really beautiful here right now and I’ve been taking some pictures of flowers and plants around the place again.  I notice that most of them are blue/purple.  I think these flowers look more blue in real life.  I don’t know what they are, but they’re all over the place around here.

ironweed
black walnuts

We didn’t get a lot of black walnuts this year but I got enough to stain all my wooden display boxes at least.

tiny sedges
a larger sedge that is a lot like papyrus

I really like the sedges. They are aesthetically pleasing to me, especially this big variety which I like to use inside the house instead of  ‘flowers’.  They have the typical ‘sedges have edges’ triangular shape to the stem, and I can really see how people got the idea to make paper from papyrus whenever I handle them.   This is a shot of the top of the plant.

tiny toadstool
this guy was so tiny. Do you think he would like the tiny toadstool?

I think this frog was only about a 1/2 inch long. I was trying to get some good closeups of some ironweed flowers, Paz (kitty) was trying to get my attention and I heard a strange chirp.  Needless to say I wondered how the cat made that noise until I saw the tiny frog jump onto this leaf.

yellowroot

I brought home some yellowroot plants.


If you know what this plant is, please educate me!