Friday, December 21, 2007
Our local beach has some wickedly good beachcombing some days. When the tides get really exaggerated for a while, low tide will frequently drop to 1 or 2 feet below sea level. The trick is to get a very low tide occurring during the daylight hours, and then you're all set. I've found a couple of complete clam shells while I've been here, which has been terribly exciting.
I've been wanting to replace the drying, crackly animal's natural/muscular hinge with something more permanently flexible on dry land. This is my first experiment, so it remains to be seen how well it holds up: I made the hinge from some heavy copper wire (salvaged from a mirror that it framed) and used superglue to attach it. This one is a gift for a special friend that appreciates found objects and this kind of recycling/experimentation with nature. Fingers crossed that she likes it! (and that it holds up okay!)
I also decided to line the interior with purple velvet, so now it is like a pretty cushioned box:
... oh, and what's this inside? well, that's something for next time ...
We leave tomorrow morning, on a 6:30 am flight to LAX. After a 3 hour stay at the LAX Grand Airport Waiting Area, we hop on Mexicana Air and we're off! I couldn't sort out why my tummy was upset this morning. True, our hosts KEPT FILLING my little cup with Shoju last night - jeez, guys, I'm a lightweight - and true I ate some new things (kimchi, anyone?), but it didn't seem right.
After dropping off three packages this am (one of which included this guy. Perhaps I'll get a better, full-body shot of him in his new home when he arrives. Does anyone get the joke?), I think I've sorted it out: this is kind of an intense break. Money's tight, but I'm flying up to Seattle in January, that's got me watching my budget very closely. I applied to a program that I very VERY much want to get into, and I'm terribly nervous (sent my application off today). I'm flying to Mexico (big excitement, but also worried about, for example, hiking in the jungle on my awful old beat-up knees). And finally, I have exams when I get back, so I will have to study while abroad and of course, I always get terribly worked up about exams. I also feel awful about leaving the kitty for so long. We've never left her this long before. We're wracked with guilt.
I took a deep breath and told myself I had to let go of some of these worries and I feel a little better. Still, there's a lot to do today before we're ready to go (the house is still messy and we haven't packed a thing!) so I'd better run. Apparently, there's an internet cafe down the street, so I am writing a couple more surprise-ruining posts (don't look, E!) now that I can just post quickly tomorrow morning and then perhaps from Mexico.
take care, everyone! Have a safe and happy holiday and we'll be back in the new year!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
So yes. here it is. My tribute to Jenny Gordy's inspiring jumpers. I bought this 100% wool navy suiting fabric for a song at fabric.com, laundered it thrice (on hot water, oh the abuse!) to shrink/full it as much as I figured it would, thereby giving me a washable wool to work with, not to mention its lovely nubby organic texture. The yoke is self-lined, but the body (as I've sensitive skin and am prone to the "itchies") is lined with soft microfiber T shirt knit in a pale celadon that nearly matches the embroidery.
So, in short, I have a comfy-cozy pull on jumper that feels like something I want to sleep in. It looks darling with flats, I think, but I chose the wool so that, with thick tights, a long-sleeved henley, and some boots, I could don it in January for teaching days.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I think it will look fabulous with some of the bright sailor/preppy styles that are popping up in stores now.
Here's how I did it (for those that might be curious):
the center of the rose is an ornament from an old dress that I bought at a garage sale to rip apart and use its components separately. It was missing some rhinestones, so I replaced them by supergluing pearls into the empty holes.
Then, I ripped apart the poinsetta and painted the petals a pale pink with darker reddish edges, using very watered-down acrylic paint. After the petals had dried, I arranged them and stitched them together, one at a time, adding the ornament at the center. I tucked many of the edges under to create a curled "rose petal" look, using a touch of superglue to affix the curled tips.
For the little flowers, I cut flower shapes out of a bit of fulled grey cashmere. I brushed both sides of the cutout with a mixture of water and tacky glue, allowing each side to dry before moving on. I then mixed some acrylic matte medium with some copper metallic pigment to make a shiny "copper paint," and polka-dotted the flowers. I stitched and gathered the cutouts to give them shape, then made a center with a brass head pin and a freshwater pearl. I put a bit of tacky glue on the front before pushing the pin through flush to the fabric, then put glue on the back and turned them all upside down to dry. I left the long ends of the brass pins sticking out the back, and covered them in superglue and stuck them in between the petals of the rose, letting it sit and dry.
For the lace, I used a bit of antique lace that I received from a friend's mother about 16 years ago. I painted it with watered-down acrylics in a deep amber yellow colour (over paper towels, so that all the excess moisture could be absorbed). When dry, I added the little bits of ivory lace, stitching them down. I then stitched the lace to the back of the flower and added the hair comb.
time consuming (many steps), but fairly simple!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Part of trying to enjoy this all-too-short and all-too-busy break has been forcibly slowing myself down and indulging in some fun little crafting for myself - accessories stuff, mostly. I have been consciously and purposefully engaged in rediscovering one of my best skills: my ability to make a thorough mess of a room. The living room is covered in neat tupperware storage boxes, their contents of beads, thread, lace, paint, glue, brushes, tools, etc. strewn everywhere. How liberating to stop cleaning and enjoy dirtying the place up for a change! And how nice to treat myself to some of my crafting.
This has been something I've wanted to do since late summer. I finally found one at Antiques Alley yesterday and snapped it up (along with these white elbow-length leather gloves!) I know, I know, I'm a terrible nerd, but this makes me laugh ridiculously, and I plan to pin it neatly to a cardigan for my first day of teaching next quarter, just to see if my students notice. The embroidery is quite small - I sturdied the back by stitching it around a nickel - so they'll have to squint.