Brats and iPhone Photo of the Week

Happy Memorial Day! I hope that everyone had a chance to relax and enjoy the freedom that so many have fought to protect.

I made my contribution to the World's Largest Brat Fest today. Other than that, the weekend was full of sun and relaxation.

The iPhone photo of the week is actually the picture of the capitol and State Street. I went the farmers' market Saturday morning. Let's see, I got some flowers, bread, scones, rhubarb and lettuce.

With the rhubarb, I made made my first rhubarb and strawberry pie. I used the recipe from the back of the tapioca box. This is one case where you should measure. I didn't; well, I did, but then I poured what was left in the box into the bowl as well. I ended up with a yummy rhubarb-strawberry-gel pie.


Hand-dyed cardigan


There were a lot of water colored and hand painted cardigans in the stores this past spring, which inspired me to create my own. I made this cardigan a couple of months ago, and the photos have been hanging out on my flickr page. Somehow, I just never got around to writing the post to accompany the pictures. I'm going to be getting out the dyes again this weekend, so I thought I would tell you about my first project.
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I started with a cream-colored cardigan from Loft . I put a board covered with a trash bag inside to keep the color from transfering from one side to another. Once I had decided that I wanted to try a hand-dyed effect on the sweater, I searched Dick Blick for some kind of paint or dye. I found Dye-Na-Flow, which is a paint made to simulate dye. I played with numerous techniques. First, I tried applying the paint to the dry cardigan. This produced very dark colors but the lines were very sharp. You can see this in the second big blotch from the left. To soften the effect, I poured water on the painted splotches and used the brush to spread it out. I also poured salt over the top. I read to use salt when browsing for dye techniques. I think that it helped to control the bleeding if I applied too much water.
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I hung the cardigan up to dry. This is how it looked after my first painting. I like it but decided to try wetting it first and then applying the paint to see how that worked. It was a lot less controled and much lighter in color Once I was satisifed and let the paint set overnight, I washed the cardigan in woolight until the water was clear instead of pink.
Since that first wash, I have just washed it on cold with other colored clothing.
I dryed the cardigan with a pink towel in case the pink dye rubbed off.


My plants

I'm becoming a plant lady. It's kinda like a cat lady but without the smell and hairballs. I have several plants that I really do care about - a pothos plant my mom gave me when I started college, a tropical plant that I got shortly after I moved to WI and nearly killed.

The real trick is finding a pot that goes well with the character of the plant. Here are a couple of my plants. I recently repotted the Wandering Jew plant into the yellow pot from Anthropology. I knocked the plant off the little table and broke the pot. Then, I realized why it hadn't seem to grow; it was so root-bound that the only dirt that fell on the carpet was the top layer!


BLady's Flowered Sandals

Today's post comes from BLady who has been doing her own craft projects lately. When she sent me the pictures of these shoe clips she made and attached to a pair of sandals she got last year, I wanted to go out and make a pair for myself.

When BLady, Megs and I were in Dallas shopping a couple of weeks ago, BLady kept commenting on all of the sandals with floral embellishments. She was right - there are a lot of shoes like that out there right now.


To make these, I first cut squares from organza, five for each flower, and pinned them together. I cut the squares into circles because cutting them together made them more uniform in size.

shoe-clips-002Then, I carefully singed the edges with a lighter. This took a little practice to make sure that I didn't melt too far. I layered them just a little off center of each other and sort of alternated left/right. I stitched them together in the middle and added three crystals. Then I just added the shoe clips. I found that attaching the clips a little off to one side makes the flowers line up with the shoe better.

If you don't have a pair of sandals hanging out in the bottom of your closet, you could get one of these pairs.


Bike Ride


Yesterday, I went for my first bike ride of the summer. There are bike trails everywhere in this part of WI, and everyone rides bikes during the warm months. After a couple of WI winters, I understand the need to be out of doors every chance you can.

So, I strapped on my helmet, turned on the Map My Ride app on my phone, and headed out the door. I returned home 16 miles later with a rather sore rear end.

On my ride, I saw chipmunks and birds. I saw some other critter cross the trail at one point, but it was too far away to make out what it was. There are several ponds (tanks for folks back home) along the trail, and the flowers were in bloom. Overall, it was a nice relaxing ride.

Bike rides are a perfect time to just think. No music, no TV, no magazine, no book, no computer. Just the critters and the trees and grasses and moving your legs up and down. While thinking, I decided that I'd like to try adding an animation to the blog to celebrate this first bike ride of 2010.

I know the image above is not moving. I got the .gif to be animated using the tutorial at Creative Tech, but I can't the file uploaded to Blogger, Flickr, Photobucket, or Picasa as an animation, much less get it over to the blog. I'll continue to try, but now I need to go to the gym.


iPhone photo of the week

I spent a good portion of this past week in Norfolk, VA for work. Wednesday afternoon, I had the chance to enjoy the weather, which had finally turned nice. When we got to VA, it was rainy and cooler than WI. This picture comes from the park near Nauticus and the USS Wisconsin, the battleship which fired the first shot in the Gulf war, according to one of my traveling companions. I also verified that here, if you want to know about the Wisconsin.

Thank you, Camera Bag, for the fisheye effect. The effect helped the sailing ship stand out from the building behind it.


Happy Mother's Day!

I love you BLady! Thank you for all the support, advice and love that you've given me to get me to where I am today. I'm a little sad that the place is WI so I can't see you today.

Mothers day

In the card I sent you, I admitted that you were right all these years - fixing your bed just makes your day better. Here are some other things that I've learned from you:
  • It is nicer to come home to a clean house after a vacation
  • How to sew
  • 'Dry clean only' is often just a suggestion
  • How to hold a spoon 'like you mean it' when cooking
  • To read all the instructions on a recipe before just dumping ingredients into the mixer (sorry about the old mixer, but you got a Kitchenaid out of it)
Okay, so that's just a short list of everything that you've taught me. For everything I've listed above and all the things that I haven't, thank you.


New bedroom

I have had the same duvet since I graduated from college. It's from Ikea, and I love it, even with the bleach spots.

My headboard is really three hollow-core doors that I painted pink before applying a crinkle paint technique. The pink is a funny story - little Bro worked at Ace Hardware and brought me some returned paint. It took a little doctoring with other leftover paint, but I ended up with my doors. Previously, they served as a room divider. Now, my apartment is too small to need a divider.

I'm realizing now that my bed set is really a story in itself. The throw pillows matched my living room curtains until one stormy night when the rain came in and I washed the curtains, which faded a bit. BLady made the pillows and the curtains for me from $1/yard fabric from Walmart. I bought all the fabric they had in this print without any plans to make anything. It's nice how these things work out.

My bed is handmade as well. My parents made it for me before I moved to my college apartment. It is a platform bed based on an Ikea model. But, I'm pretty sure mine is a lot more sturdy because it's made with lumber and steel, and much more precious to me for all the hard work.

Now that I've given you the history of where I sleep every night, I'm going to add that I'm ready to change it up. The bleach spots bother me a bit sometimes and my coverlet is starting to get holes in it (the ravages of sunlight and time?).

I spotted this quilt over the weekend while shopping with BLady and Megs:

Then, today when I was catching up on blogs on Google Reader, I spotted this:

If I go with the gray quilt, I'll still need a duvet cover for my down comforter. I can't survive with that during the long WI winter. But, I'll probably make one myself, especially with these easy instructions at Craftzine.


Senior pictures

This is my cousin - isn't she cute? She is graduating from high school one month from today. I took these pictures back during my vacation at Christmas. It was so cold and windy, but you can only tell looking at her by the red nose. There were a couple of pictures with red fingers, too.

I'm so glad that I got to take these senior pictures. I took her brother's senior pictures, too, back before I moved to WI. It did take a bit of planning and standing out on a cold December day to get the pictures, but it was worth it.

To W - have a great last month of high school. Enjoy your summer, and good luck with everything. Love you and see you in a month!

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Whitney (165)

iPhone photo of the week

I met these ducks and turtles in Northpark Mall in Dallas this weekend while shopping with Megs and BLady. That's right, I got to spend most of the last week in Dallas culminating in a weekend with the family sans little brother.

The ducks and turtles live in a fountain in the family area of Northpark, which is probably the best mall I've ever been to. In addition to live critters, there is real art - an Andy Warhol painting, sculptures, photographs. The mall itself is pretty austere - wide walkways with white bricks and a lot of natural light.

Northpark is also home to one of my favorite shops - Paper Source! Although I left with store without any new purchases, I am brimming with new ideas.