Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Back in School with so Little Freetime

What was I thinking? I decided to go back to school and in order to transfer to Humboldt State I had to have completed English 1A. I check the school schedule and saw classes started the following week. Everything just fell into place, I love when that happens. I decided to take a few other pre-requisites for my major. I ended up adding 4 classes, 15 units. It is kicking my ass!! Besides the English class, I'm taking botany, soil science with a lab and finally a drawing and composition class.  As the weeks have gone by I've been totally dedicated to school work and slowing I suppose because of the lack of creativity I'm starting to bounce off the walls.

I've finally made it to spring break and thought I was going to have some time to do some blacksmithing and to play with the fiber I have. It's not turning out that way. I have a botany test when I get back Monday  a 5 page English paper to write and a play to read, "The Taming of the Shrew", and to top it off; the extra week off that the English teacher gave us is now being filled up with more work, that I got by email, of joy.
I ordered some new goodies I can't wait to jump in and start playing. I got 1 pound of recycled sari silk yarn, a bag of silk scrap threads and 1 pound of mohair.

I don't know where to begin sometimes. I'm thinking of getting a spinning wheel, oh the things I could make.
 I spent a few hours playing around with different dyes and came up with some really pretty colors. I'm down to just a couple of pounds of wool and I'm beginning to worry about running out, so silly
 I'm beginning to feel guilty about some of my unfinished projects. I started this lampshade last year. When I originally started the lampshade I had the strands much shorter and I didn't like it, so I modified my pattern and ran out of beads. When I placed my order the red beads were back ordered for 5 months. Needless to say when I finally got my order of beads, I had discovered wool and was deeply immersed in learning all that I could. One of these days I will find some time to get back to my lampshade.

The rain has finally stopped and  I somehow managed to get Samantha to chaperon me on an outing. We drove along the river road that runs along the Sacramento river. 
 This is a parking lot a good, five plus feet underwater.  Way off in the distance is the boat ramp.
 I love this picture, it looks like the same bird in 6 different shots, but really I got 6 birds with one shot.  We drove along this pot-holed levee road and came to this small creek that had lots of birds. Every time I managed to pull over and quietly get out of my car this is what would happen.  The birds kept flying away.

I started to walk down the road, at one point I had gone so far ahead trying to sneak up on the wildlife I look behind me to see how far I had to walk back to the car and I see Samantha driving along a couple hundred feet behind me. I had to laugh, I felt like I was 5 years old on my first walk to school with my parent stalking behind me to make sure I was OK.

I managed to get a few good pictures.

 On Sunday I went to a class at the Yolo Wool Mill, given by my friend Meg, on how to dye with natural color. It was amazing the colors you could get. There was a pot of Star Thistle going, they got a pretty sage green color from that, finally an upside to the star thistle.
 The purplish blue on the left is logwood, the brown is tea, a brew made with tea bags, it has to be black tea leaf tips.  The yellow is made with Tarragon.
Check out some of the colors I dyed the mohair, I have a forest green, a violet with alpine blue mix and a red and magenta mix.
Last night I made this cute little pin cushion. I have this habit of seeing something and saying that would be so easy to make, well it wasn't too difficult.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Little Teddy bear

Last night Samantha, my daughter sent me a picture of a little needle felted teddy bear.  I am forever driving Samantha crazy with my, that would be so easy to make all you have to do is......   So check out my little teddy bear, he's only 2 1/2" tall.  He took a small handful of wool and 30 minutes to make.
 Lucy barely opened her eyes when I laid the little bear next to her.

I've been working on a sweater I saw on a blog, It's a really pretty motif wrap jacket. The wrap was so pretty I had to have one for myself. I wrote Mirela an email, and asked if she still had the pattern and could she send me directions, if that wasn't asking too much. A few days later and a couple emails back and forth I have it, the pattern. You can check it out the wrap jacket on her blog, 

Mirela makes some really beautiful stuff. I've been inspired to be daring when it comes to crocheting. I've made lots of scarves and even an afghan, but never an article of clothing. I grabbed a really pretty periwinkle yarn I had in my bag of acrylic yarn, it was the lightest weight yarn I could find in my stash. I made Motif A, four times, pulling out  my work till I was happy with the way it looked. Reading the instructions was so confusing, it was like someone with uncontrollable ADHD wrote them. I finally resorted to studying the diagram. I got both arms done and made four of the large motif when I ran out of yarn, no big deal, I'll just get some more in the morning. I should have known nothing is ever easy. First off, I bought so much yarn last June at several different places, I forgot where I bought this stuff. I started with Michael's, some colors were really close, but not it. I sensed this was not going to end well for me, so I bought a couple skeins of yarn, yeah, ha ha, I know! Don't I have enough wool at home? I'm not a good enough spinner yet to jump into spinning constantly thin yarn for a sweater, not for my first real article of clothing. next I ran by Joann's, there was nothing near the color I was looking for.

When I got home I decided to make lemonade, so to speak. The pieces that I already crocheted will be re-purposed  The sleeves are too small for a hat so I'm making a sachel, I need to make a lining but it looks pretty good for an accidental bag.  
 The motifs that I made might make a nice scarf.

I had to run back to Michael's today to exchange the yarn I bought yesterday. I bought medium weight and I need to get a light weight yarn. So I thought I would give the bamboo blend a try, it's really soft.  The jacket will feel really nice when I'm done.
Now to start again. At least now I have a better idea of what I'm doing.

Friday, December 31, 2010

December came and went too fast

I feel so guilty, I haven't written in so long. I do have good excuses, but I should make more time to keep up with writing.
The moment I got home from San Francisco I was on the go. I was contacted by a business that wanted to show my work for Woodland's 1st Friday Art Walk. Yeah!! I met with Bonnie from Tech-Knuckle Computer Services, to show her my work and talk details. I left a couple pieces and brought the rest home to get them priced. So being the procrastinator that I am, I had a list of things to do. First on my list was to get some business cards, I was kicking myself for not getting this done sooner. Samantha and I headed off to Office Depot to see about getting some business cards made. My daughter was such a big help in designing my cards. With that tasks done, I went home and locked myself in my room and got the tiny details done.

The show went well, unfortunately the turn out was rather small. The lighting of the Christmas tree was going on at the same time and I think it took a lot of people away from the art walk. I did sell a few pieces. I must say it is a relief to finally get my first show done and over with. Now I know what to expect and will be so much more prepared the next time.

During the lull in the Art Show I talked to Bonnie's husband Brad, about voice recognition software. I told him I have so many hobbies that involve my hands that I really can't multitask too much, I told him I would love to be able to work on my projects and write at the same time. Brad told me I could, my computer was new enough that it came with voice recognition software built in. So he gave me instructions on how to find it and set it up.  When I got home I sat down and set everything up for the voice recognition. I did the tutorial and started getting my computer familiar with my voice. I had such grandiose ideas. Let me say, I have been sadly disappointed. When I try and dictate, nothing and I mean nothing is recognised. Not even my string of profanity as I in frustration shut down the program. I have since talked with Brad again and told him of my trouble. He told me it takes time to get the computer to learn your voice, he has suggested that I read a book to my computer, lol, so that is my next little project, when I have time.  

With the art show over I could now get back to the creating. I went to do some blacksmithing. My friend John is having knee surgery and with his recovery, he won't be back in the shop for a quite a while. What a bummer for me.

I ran by Harbor Freight before class, I saw a few things in their ad and couldn't pass up a deal on tools, yes I said tools, not shoes. I managed to stick to my mental list and not go overboard.  This little extra set of hands, I have a feeling will help me out often. I need to attach it to my work bench. I couldn't pass up an anvil, especially when it $2.57, but it too needs to be installed on the bench.  I spent less than $20.00, I got a few pairs of vice grips, but never found the flap disc for my grinder that I orignallly went in there for.
I managed to get lost on my way to class, I hate when streets abruptly stop and then continue a few blocks away. I had to backtrack and arrived late.  I had never seen the shop this full before, we had five people, a regular old crowd, kind of dangerous with everyone holding red hot metal. We managed to all stay safe and burn free.  

Dave working on making hearts out of old horseshoes.
John dancing with Dali. You can see the blur of the hammer head coming down on the red hot metal.

John sporting the latest in leather aprons, the one shoulder version, so elegant for day time use in the shop.
It was a little crowded around the forge so I worked on my chair for a while. I have had the hardest time designing this chair. All I knew was I wanted it to have three legs and to have a variety of metals.
I've been working on this chair for several months. When I first started, I stood there for the longest time with all my metal, I didn't know where or how to begin. John does not give directions unless you ask and then it's still not a direction, he give you the chance to figure things out on your own. We had a short chat and I decided that I would start with the frame of the seat. I used a piece of chalk and drew out what shape I wanted the legs to have. I bent the back legs which are channel iron to match each other. What a challenge to get the legs on level, I had all sorts of clamps holding everything together, while I welded everything in place. The front leg is a t-bar, recycled from an old garage door.  
With the legs on, I used a torch to heat up the round stock so I could wrap it around the legs I wrapped the round stock around each leg moving up higher along the chair legs as I went. The seat frame is welded onto piece of re bar that I wrapped around the back legs. I had wanted to go with a seat like a tractor but I don't have access to an English wheel to get get all the curve done so I will settle for slightly formed seat, so far I've cut out the shape with a plasma cutter and have gotten it all cleaned up and shiny. I still have to clean up some more round stock to add to the legs support and I also need to add a foot rest as well as some arm rests. This chair is really helping me clear out a lot of metal out of my stock pile.
The copper pipe that is sitting on the bench close to the left side of the chair will be going across the chair back, just above the back rest which will be made of that sheet of brass you see between the chair legs. I'm not sure how all that will be constructed, so I walk away.  Usually the way it works for me is, when I step back to my chair or my current project I have an idea to move forward. 
I managed to make a few more leaves for my pot rack and this steak turner for my Dad. Christmas was just around the corner and I still had a few presents to make. I am not one to help support the commercialism of Christmas and not being religious this is as into Christmas as I get.

I made a few pairs of these earrings out of scrap electrical wire the electricians left, so they cost me a big fat Nada to make.

My first ring, this too was made from recycled electrical wire. One thing is certain, hand modeling is not in my future.

We had a really wet few days so I stayed inside dyeing wool. I started off dyeing in 4 oz. batches and then decided that I wanted to not only spin a solid color, but I wanted to spin multi colored yarn as well so I increased my dye bath to 5 oz of wool.  My hands ache so bad from pulling wool apart. When I was little I remember my Grandma holding her hands and saying, "my hands hurt so bad", her fingers were bent and gnarled with the signs of rheumatoid arthritis. Oh, how I miss my grandmother!
All my dyed wool hanging up to dry. Magenta, brilliant yellow, kelly green, blazing orange, Sapphire blue, forest green, plum dandy, fire engine red and alpine blue. The house stinks from vinager that I add to the dye baths.
My first attempt at multi colored yarn.
Not too bad.
I have such an incredibly small place to create in that I easily get frustrated. I spend so much time just looking for what I need. So in an attempt to get somewhat organized I made this little tool holder. I also got a multi drawer organizer so I can get my stuff put in a place that I can find.
I have quite a few bobbins of wool spun up I need to put them in hanks and so I can get them washed and ply them.
I wanted to try felting. I did some reading up on the subject and decided to give it a shot. It's not like I don't have any wool to spare.
 I laid out my wool in layers, my top layer I got laid out to slightly resemble the night sky. I had the moon in the lower corner and a cloud (a special cloud that a girlfriend and I saw years ago, do you see the angel waving?) The color spots are stars, because stars are never just white, they always seems to be green, or red or blue.  
My finished felt looks good but if you ask me doesn't resemble the night sky but reminds me more of a cowhide.

So that about covers my month of December. One other memorable thing happened, I have gotten back in contact with some really important people from my past, people that I thought I would never talk to again, It's been really wonderful to reconnect and I look forward to building on friendships that were started years ago.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More of San Francisco

I've done a great job procrastinating, if you need any tips on avoiding things just ask, I can keep you busy not doing what your suppose to for hours, days even.

I took a walk through Golden Gate Park on Friday afternoon.

I was walking along this jogging trail and I came across this vault bar. Ha ha, if you know me your laughing about this point, I am an accident waiting to happen, my name should be Grace. So I come to this and think, I can do that, no problem. I'm in great shape. So I step on up to the bar like I'm a cowboy and I adjust myself before my big try, I give a little jump, Christ sake, I barely get my legs over the bar, I hit my hip and I stumble to my feet, I look around, did anyone see that miserable attempt to jump over the vault bar. No, shesh, I'm gonna have to give that another try, maybe that was just my bad side. So I give a little jump, this time going the opposite direction, nope, that was defiantly my bad side. I had visions of messing up my back so I resisted the urge to prove that I could do this. I walked away.

 Thanks to the rain on Saturday I was kept inside forced to write for much of the day. I was so pleased with how much I got done. So what, that I hadn't showered, I didn't even get out of my pajamas, I just sat on the couch and plugged away at the task at hand.  I did take a few breaks.
 A picture from the kitchen window. In between storms.
 Another picture from the kitchen window. It was raining and these three little birds were enjoying the rain. I love that I caught the middle bird shaking himself.
 The sun trying to breakthrough the grey clouds.
 Sunday afternoon Lucy and I went for a walk at Baker Beach

 An American Bulldog meets an English Bulldog, good thing they both speak English. I love the smile on his face.
I took over a dozen pictures trying to get a shot of the wave as it curled over just before it broke into a frothy white foam.

 This little crow allowed me to get pretty close.
 It was just letting me know, it knew right where I was.
Do you think animals enjoy their surrounding? Is this crow just checking out the ocean and the sun sinking lower in the sky?

 This afternoon on my walk with Lucy we started right down the block. There is this trail that leads to the sand dunes it branches off one path leads down to the beach and the other path leads up to Sutro Park.
 Here on the corner is this scary house, the lights are never on, I don't every remember it being painted, well now the fence has been pushed down in a couple spots, along the remain fence is a variety of bright graffiti. The house has even been tagged. Now the reason that I mention this is once it gets dark I won't step foot on this trail. There's something spooky down there now. See I'm just not the kind of girl that is scared by being out in the wild. I hike 10, 20 even 30 miles out to the middle of nowhere without a second thought, but you ask me to step 100 feet down a dark trail in San Francisco with a dog, hell freaking NO! you can't make me.
 Here's looking up towards the spooky house.
 When I was a kid, these sand dunes had no ice plants growing on them. My brother and I would run down the hill and jump off the top dune and roll down the sand. We spent hours playing in this spot. Now it gives me the creeps.
Inside the spooky backyard, looks likes someone was living back in the trees. There is so much trash littered around this backyard. I feel bad for these people, they've tried fixing the fence and it keeps getting kicked in.

 The Cliff House off in the distance, that's Marin in the background.
 What's a blog without a picture of Lucy. Lucy had a birthday last week, 9 years old.
Trying to get a picture and Lucy comes up, as if she's asking what cha looking at?

 Jelly fish, looks like a silicon implant.

 Surfers and Snowy Plover

Sand dollar

From the look of the hole at the top of this huge tractor tire it looks like it fell off a ship, Yeah yeah, I know ships don't use tires, but as a bumper. 

 Sun setting
I like that I somehow caught this dog owner throwing a ball for his dog, do you see the blur of the dog racing to retrieve the ball?

 I can almost hear the sigh of the sun as it sets and the applause of us watching the sun put on this beautiful display, one last gift for the day.