Friday, December 26, 2008
I burned a LOT of glue this month; a local boutique has some of my ornaments, hearts, bells, gingerbread boys, snowmen. We'll see how they do. *tries not to bounce in chair, lol*
I have a crafting partner now too; we took our crafts to the boutique together and are looking for more places. *waves hello to you!*
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
...like this fig, or these leaves. I forgot to take pics before I glued the fig together, so I will show you with a leaf. Oh, notice the wire fig-shaped framework? If you are using paper bags for this craft, you need a shaped wire like that for the bigger pieces. Since I am using chipboard (which doesn't flop about once you put glue on it), I had to use a wire right down the midddle, though; chipboard *doesn't* mold itself around wire and the framework showed very dramatically. I was surprised the center wire worked!
Make sure you have mirror images.
Bend the wire just a little to be more "leaf-like" if you wish. (The fig wire was not bent.)
Get out your fancy glue palette. *grin* Notice the lil ball of dried glue near the stem? It made wonderful texture when I was ready to glue the fig.
Spread some on and stick everything together. Line up the edges as best you can.
I think they look like little curtain rods with finials... okay, back to the fig. Now that it is glued together and dried, spread a generous coating of glue on both sides. This is messy; quite honestly, it works best for me if I spread the glue with my fingers. I made use of that lil ball of dried glue to put in some texture lines. Then, while the glue was still wet (it gives the best texture to do this with wet glue), I lit a taper candle and ran the fig through the tip of the flame. It sizzled, it crackled, it burned, it made smoke... and it made soot, oh yeah baby!
A good beginning....
You can stop here; the cardboard underneath will show through those light spots. I chose to keep burning, keep painting with flame and soot, until the fig was truly black from it.
It doesn't show very much, but the fig itself did catch fire and I had to repeatedly shake it back out. This is part and parcel of glue burning. Sometimes the glue catches fire, sometimes the paper bag or chipboard box beneath it catches fire. You can minimize it by being certain that you get a good coating of glue on all edges, but a burnt edge is actually good.
If you are using paper, your ornament may very well droop terribly as you burn the glue. Not to worry--just turn it over and burn the other side. As it starts to droop, flip it again, and repeat until you've burnt the ornament as much as you like.
Be sure you use a tall taper, so you don't automatically have to hunch over to see what you're doing. That way pain lies, lol...
Now it's time to wipe the soot off. I used that most high-tech of inventions: a wadded paper towel. Here, tis easy to see on the leaf.
See the contrast? The leaf is fully wiped off and the fig hasn't been started yet.
Ahhh, there we go, wiped off on both sides.
Next step: cut the wire to size and file the end smooth. I used an inexpensive jewelry file for this, because it was small and easy for me to control.
Bend a loop to be the hook. (The "drawing" is actually some of those wadded and well-used paper towels--YOU know, the high tech soot remover gadget.)
Follow the pics....
Now that the soot is wiped off the hook--and the "stem" is darker from being burnt twice--tis time to paint. The colors I chose were Metallic Amethyst, Metallic Pure Gold, and Metallic Copper. I dabbed them on and then smeared them around with my high tech painting tool, one color at a time at first and then multiple colors at a time, until I liked the way they looked.
Remember to paint the hook too. Notice fancy pants high tech painting tool at upper left. *grin*
Finished! This fig went to the person who inspired it, my friend who owns an antique store called... Fig. *grin*
Saturday, November 29, 2008
This nifty lil gadget measures how long it takes your page to load! It measures by your own modem though, so if you have highspeed, it won't tell you how long dial-up takes to load your page.
Still, tis very cool!
Cath the procrastinator... have to head to the library...
Well. And because y'all don't need to endure my clutter, lol...
But anyhow, I will post the tutorial after I fix the pics.
In the meantime, hope your holiday was wonderful! We shared ours with chosen family and enjoyed it very much. Now to share recipes! *grin*
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I don't honestly know what reality with That House might be. I am besotted despite having watched The Money Pit; the scars from watching the bathtub fall through the floors are not strong enough to scare me away from buying an old house.
Besides, the structural engineer has already told us the floors are sound, lol....
Tonight I am hopeful, more hopeful than I have been. The engineer's report has come in, the termite inspection and basement bid are scheduled, and although we have been flying on blind faith for a while, hoping and praying we could talk the owner into carrying the mortgage himself--which I doubt he really wants to do--tonight it seems like we might have found an agency which thinks like we do.
This has been pretty hard to do, yanno? People at housing agencies find out our income and immediately try to talk us OUT of rehabbing a home, because Gryph qualifies for Habitat for Humanity. We've been steered that way a time or two. The most common reaction I've gotten when I've talked about That House is "WHAT are you doing trying to buy that house?!"
Well, I'll tell you... I'm trying to save a piece of living history. I'm trying to find housing which we can afford. I'm trying to stay in this neighborhood which we love and where we are welcomed. I'm trying to live my deepest values, walk my talk, go green.
You might wonder at that last one; 88 year old houses are not exactly known for being energy efficient. But there's more to going green than mere efficiency. It isn't a matter of saving pennies on the dollar by choosing one insulation over another or by timing your water heater. Going green is about saving the earth.
It doesn't save the earth to bulldoze a home lot out of land which has not been for houses before. It doesn't save the earth to use mondo amounts of new plywood, new vinyl, new insulation, new concrete to build a structure that will outgas formaldehyde and other toxins for several years. It doesn't save the earth to use new construction glues and nails, screws, bolts, washers. It doesn't save the earth to have to put in new streets, pipes and sewers, electric lines, sidewalks, phone lines, cable lines.
Going green is about conservation. It's about using what is already there, rehabbing what can still be saved, valuing what is old and has stood the test of time.
My dream is to live a green life, to love an old house, to recycle, conserve, garden. My dream is roses in the front and a clothesline in the back--the umbrella type, so it doesn't take up too much room and can be brought inside if need be. My dream is asparagus and raspberries at the back fence, so passing neighbors enjoying the treat might decide to grow something also. My dream is drainage made to funnel rainwater into a small pond in the back, thereby saving the basement from shifting again while giving me a chance to grow a small willow tree. My dream is rainbarrels under the downspouts, so that I can water my vegetable garden without being a drain--literally--on the city water supply.
My dream is to take a sadly neglected yard which was once loved and cherished, and turn it into a small piece of paradise, with fruit trees, flowers, herbs, vegetables, berries, a fence so the doglet can run and play *without* a leash for the first time in three years, arbors and trellises, big planters, curving garden beds, a compost pile so that I am not taxing the landfill as much, curbside recycling so I can do my part.
My dream is to take a sadly neglected house which was once loved and cherished, and turn it into a small piece of paradise with shining wood floors, beautifully plastered walls, gleaming woodwork, comfortable furniture, room for us and for us our furbabies, room for our possessions... room for Our Beauty, who herself is 56 years old and will fit into That House as if she were made for it.
We've discovered a Revolutionary War heroine--yes, heroine--named Margaret Cochran Corbin, and we're considering naming That House for her. Margaret seems to fit the spirit of the house, and Corbin means crow... now what could better fit? Margaret Cochran Corbin had a hard life; she was devastatingly wounded during the war; it completely disabled her and she became an alcoholic after. They didn't have rehabilitative therapies back then--or pain meds--and alcohol was probably the only thing that numbed her pain.
That House has been wounded, devastatingly so. I haven't shown you the wall that is so badly bowed out, where the mason shoved it back and forth and made it shake to scare us into hiring him for a complete rebuilding. I haven't shown you the basement--haven;t seen it myself yet, and forgot to give Gryph the camera last time--and I haven't shown you the upstairs, where the last tenant did his most destructive remodeling.
What's different now is that we have rehabilitation for old houses. That House doesn't have to end its days in dissolution, like Margaret Cochran Corbin did. It doesn't have to die young, like she did. There is hope and healing for That House, if only we can find the financing. There is love for That House, if only we can live in her.
Of the other Margarets we found, Maggie Kuhn appeals to me greatly. She founded the Gray Panthers after she was forced to retire at 65, and was quite the social activist for the rest of her life. Margaret Sanger was the mother of modern birth control availability--for me, going green means recognizing that this earth has a serious overpopulation of humans, and needs birth control--and her bravery in the face of overwhelming social disapproval astounds me. There were other Margarets as well... my dream is to somehow commemorate them, maybe with small plaques on the front porch. And the name "Margaret" translates from the original Greek as "mother of pearl" so maybe I could somehow incorporate mother of pearl (or pearls themselves?) into my small memorial.
My dream is live in a house full of character in a neighborhood full of character in a city full of character, a city which values the old, the quirky, the beautiful, the neighborhood, the human connection as much as--or more than!--it values the new, the commonplace, the sterile, the technological.
Mostly my dream is to rescue Margaret, and thereby rescue us.
Friday, November 21, 2008
The second rule is, be sure you sit up straight because if you *ow* get all absorbed in what you're *eeep* doing *aaaack* and you have hunched over side*oof*ways, you will be abruptly brought out of your concentration *EEEP* by a back spasm.
The third rule is, prepare to be hungry for marshmallows. It makes me wonder just what in the HECK they put into marshmallows, since burnt glue smells so much like them.... *huge eyes, with eyebrows into the hairline*
The fourth rule is, don't panic when you catch on fire---er, I mean--when the object in your hand catches on fire! lol!
*primly* We shall not discuss what happened when the dried leaf I was experimenting with burst into roaring flames in my fingertips and WOULD not shake or blow back out..... hey, paper, papery leaf, same diff, right?.... NOT.
Yes, yes, I remain unscathed... except for an occasional twitch now and then...
Guess I'd better take some pics and do a tutorial, eh? Maybe this weekend... today I am celebrating my favorite holiday: payday. Thanksgiving dinner, here I come!!
See ya at the grocery store! *blows kisses*
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I kind of like it this way. *grins*
.........wish those leaves really WERE that purple, lol!
The wind is pretty fierce today and I couldn't stay any longer to take more pics. Maybe tomorrow...
Monday, November 17, 2008
This is the white inside of my flour bag. I just *knew* that paper was good for something! *grin*
Happy birthday, darlin! May it be the start of your best years yet!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Remember what they are? Hint: Aleene's Tacky Glue.
Hint: recycled crafting.I dangled some beads from the single hearts after I cut them from the main piece of floral wire, but the doubled hearts are on one stem which has been twisted at the top to make a hanging loop. The tassels are just crochet thread which matched the paint.
Hint: Simple craft, easy as can be.
Hint: You need ordinary scissors and a candle.
Got an angel in my pocket... Sometimes instead of dangles or ornaments, I make plant pokes. This angel was just a little too big and kept drooping in on itself over the candle flame, so I ended up picking up the candle and "painting" the flame over the whole surface.
Figured it out yet?
They're made from a USED brown paper grocery sack covered in wet glue! Remember? You glue cutouts together with wire down the middle, coat them with Tacky glue, and burn them over the candle flame. They turn absolutely black with soot (it does make some smoke; you might want to open a window), which you wipe off... and voila! antique metal! Then you drybrush, dab, or sponge them with metallic paint or gold-leafing, and there you are!
MY very expensive, fancy paintbrushes were wadded up damp paper towels. *eyebrow waggle* I used three paints, Folk Art Metallics Antique Gold, Metallic Copper and Metallic Amethyst. The ric-rac scarf on the angel, the crochet thread tassels, and the beaded dangles were all made from leftovers and/or scavenged from other projects. One evening's work total, including the time it took to remember how to efficiently use the candle and whether it matters if the glue dries before you burn it (nope).
I haven't had so much fun in an age. *grin*
Ohhh my gosh, let's NOT look down, okay? I cannot safely descend into the darkness, so the basement post will need to wait until I can get up and down the steps.
Moving through the laundry room and kitchen now... remember all those doorways from the dining room?
Here is the hall closet, between the front bedroom and the bathroom. One wonders what it looked like when it was new; surely not like this?
And here is the bathroom. The window has been hidden behind the panel on that back wall. The owner did this remodel/update (presumably in 1981 when he bought the house) but the vinyl flooring is courtesy the last tenant, the one who did the unauthorized remodeling which involved so much destruction.
It took us a while to figure out why the vinyl was missing from this patch of floor on the opposite side of the kitchen, and why there was a 220 outlet there. It was hours before I dredged up from my memories how excited my mother was to buy a freezer that just plugged right in, that didn't need a special outlet... my best guess is that there was once a chest freezer in this corner that was SO HEAVY they couldn't move it to lay the flooring.
Friday, November 14, 2008
The floor is solid oak. The woodwork is original.
This is the view out the back door. The concrete is extensive; dunno whether it was a patio or a driveway originally; it might have also been the foundation for a garage, since many of the houses in the neighborhood have detached garages at the back. What the concrete would be for me? Space for flower pots, stand-alone small greenhouses, a patio table and chairs....
The dining room windows, and the return air vent for the furnace. These windows face south. The top window is diamond-paned "wavy glass" although it looks flat in this pic. I don't know why it was popular back then to make a window that curved in and out.... because they could? lol!
Tis my dearest hope to be able to buy this house! More pics later.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I twisted a length of embroidery floss into a tail and sewed it into the mousie as I put the first two ovals together, then immediately joined the third oval in, starting where the tail joined. The open side is at the top in the pic above, but it didn't stay the top of the mousie. That's the beauty of the oval shape--you can flip it over if it looks better the other way, and no one will ever know that you're not a genius. *grin*
Ready for stuffing.
After the second ear was on, only the whiskers and nose were left. Again, no need to cut the floss. Tis one continuous piece from seam to ear to ear to nose to whiskers.
They always come out a little different. Wonder what this one's listening to?