Saturday, June 29, 2013

Matched, Crossed, Reached

This evening, while knitting on a scarf that will take me forever, I finished listening to the Matched book series by Ally Condie. Yes, it is most definitely young adult literature. Yes, it is most definitely cheesy. Yes, the story could have been written in fewer words.
It has some interesting themes and patterns that make these books particularly interesting and moderately thought provoking.

1.) Color (let the covers be a clue, they come through in the writing over and over again.)
2.) Choice
3.) Expression
4.) Classic pieces of art, literature, poetry and music
5.) Health
6.) Home
7.) Currency, Value

  These books were clearly planned as a three part series and I think they would be very fun to read with a group of young people (or people who are young at heart) and explore some of the paths that these reoccurring ideas open up.

Call me weird but I wish the love story had been left out.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie- Crafter Edition

My situation yesterday brought to mind the children's story If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. The whole story is about how if you give a mouse a cookie it will lead to him asking for a lot more things and ultimately start the cycle all over again.
Well, if a crafter makes a table, she's going to need some coasters to sit on top of it. Once she makes some coaster's she's going to need an ice cold drink to test it out. 
On one side they are a wonky log cabin made of scraps from our wedding quilt. 
On the other side I paper pieced an "N" to go with my "N" wall and "N" pillow.

Once a crafter has an ice cold drink, she's going to need to sit on her couch to drink it. Once she sits on her couch to enjoy the drink, she's going to realize it would be nice to have another pillow to go on her couch....

and so it begins again. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Finish it Up Friday- The Table

 I have just finished the cotton bale table!
 I love it! It's everything I hoped it could turn out to be! I'm so glad I found out about gun bluing and that Mary was willing to tutor me in wood staining and finishing!
Here it is in it's new home! I'm not sure how long the chairs/split couch will last like this but I like the way this arrangement frames the table. I couldn't bring myself to stick it in the corner! One more bonus to a couch made of chairs! For more details regarding the "process" for the table, see my blog post here.

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts' Finish it Up Friday!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

System for Shirts

I shared last night about how I went to Costco yesterday. One of my Costco items is the 6 pack of Kirkland brand undershirts. They stand up to Luke's wear and tear and he seems to like them. I get a new 6 pack every summer and I was trying to figure out how to mark them so I'd know which generation the shirts were. I couldn't do letters or numbers because eventually 1 or A would become B. I needed a system that would cycle with the shirts. Finally I came up with dots!

One dot means newest. Each time I get new shirts I add a dot to all of them. I leave the best looking three dots for messy jobs and cut the others into dust cloths/glasses cleaners/whiteboard erasers for get the idea.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

A Botanic Monday

As y'all know I've been doing lots of galavanting about lately. I knoooow I've got to get to my blogging, email, snail mail and returning of phone calls. I thank you all for your patience. In an attempt to keep you all semi caught up on my adventures, today I went with Aunt Audrie, Chris and Nancy to the Denver Botanical Gardens! It was beautiful and fascinating!

I've only got a list of about 50 plants I just have to have in my yard now. They've got a really fun "edible garden" section that I took some fun tidbits away from.

Creative tomato caging!

This bonsai made me think of Jabba the Hutt, and the window way just shouted "make me into a quilt!"

On the roof of the parking structure is the neatest exploring garden for kiddos! They had all kinds of places for playing and activities as well as exploration labs set up along the path!

It was a great visit with lots of great learning and exploration on my part. Of course I finished my city trip of with a big haul from Costco!
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WiP Wednesday- Cotton Bale Table and Ducky Scarf

When I went to Olton in February, Uncle Doc hunted down an awesome 5 lb cotton bale! After I looked at it for a while I realized there was no way I could break it open. Rather, I concluded it should be a table. When conferencing with my friends regarding the matter, this is what I came up with.
I decided that this would be my birthday project.
I picked up an 18 inch wide board (and asked them to cut it in 18 inch pieces) some threaded rod (two 36" pieces cut in half), 4 carriage bolts, 4 cap nuts, 8 washers, 8 coarse thread hex nuts, 4 coupling nuts.
Once home, Luke drilled four holes two inches in from each corner.
I assembled the hardware first to make sure everything would work before putting the finishes on the wood and metal.  Starting from the top, I put the carriage bolts through the board and tightened them each in place with a hex nut and a washer.
 The carriage bolts are square on the top making them snug in the holes. Luke used a hammer to make it snug with the wood. This gave it a nesting place so that any time I put the table together or take it apart things will fit right.
Then join the carriage bolts with the threaded rods using the coupling bolts.
 Then I put the cotton bale in between the rods upside down. Place the next board on the rods and use the last four washers and hex nuts to secure it.
 Cap nuts go on the end of the threaded rods acting as feet for the table. 
 Here it is all together. 
Here you can see how it's raised from the ground. 
Today's adventure was aging the metal. I wanted the metal to be dark like the wrapping of the bale.  After surfing the web for metal aging and darkening techniques I finally came across the idea of using Gun Blue which I understand is used to maintain or darken the finish on guns. After an adventure to a local gun store I came home with greaser (to prep the metal) and Super Blue a cold Gun Blue (in contrast to those that require torching.)
A good coat of de-greaser and the metal responded to the blue in milliseconds!
Here's the before and after! Way cool huh?!
On the knitting needles right now is my third attempt at this Oregon Ducks, Linen Stitch, Scarf.
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Fleeciest Surprise!

This is Uncle Doc. 
Uncle Doc is a major supporter of my grand adventure into the spinning realm. While at Deer Camp in Texas he has come to know a sheep rancher. He appealed to said sheep rancher to obtain a sheep fleece for me to spin! Here he is showing me the surprise he had.
Here is is in all it's fresh off the sheep glory! Doc says he thinks it was one who dodged the first shearing which explained the pungent fragrance. Which explained why it stayed in a bag in a box until it was shipped up to The Shepherds Mill in Philipsburg, Kansas. 

Finishing Touches- Mariner's Compass

Well you all remember back in February when we went to Dallas and dropped off that fabulous blue and white Mariner's Compass quilt top with Kathy Bradbury of Bear Paw Machine Quilters? Well she was busy, busy, BUSY working on that quilt! Not so busy that she didn't have time to send me updates on the quilt! It's like she knew what a special quilt it is to all of us, and she treated it with the same care! (Seriously folks, Kathy rocks.) Here are some of the machine quilting "in-progress" shots.
 The markings for the white block quilting. You can see where she included extra batting so the design would really show and it'd give more of a trapunto look.

 Seriously it was better than watching my plants grow!
After this quilt had been on her machine for !!!3 weeks!!! it was time for Valerie to go pick it up! Kathy even got pictures of that!

She was ecstatic to have it and even put it on their bed un trimmed and un bound.

The timing was seriously perfect because Valerie and Matt were coming to visit us the next weekend! It was our job to get the quilt trimmed and bound so that we could take it to Olten and finish binding it with Aunt Lois and Aunt Maggie!
Val was experiencing frustration binding the "special quilt" so she worked on another quilt I needed to bind while I got to binding theirs!
I got about half of the binding done during that weekend, but then it was off to the races with other visitors and trips so everything was more or less on pause until Valerie and I met Aunt Lois, Doc, and Aunt Maggie in Olton, TX. It was great family time, and the perfect chance for four Harper women (Uncle Doc calls our specific Harper Girl traits the "H1 gene") to finish up the last steps on this quilt.
Of course, Jolly Quilter's were in order!
As was LOTS of visiting! 
and maaaaaybe some sewing.

Especially some celebrating when it was ALL finished! 
L-R: Aunt Lois, Me, Aunt Maggie, Valerie
Stay tuned for the big reveal!
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