Friday, April 30, 2010

A GIVEAWAY that all the cool kids are signing up for!

Remember how yesterday I mentioned my "stacking" attempt.  It was fun, I'm doing it again today.

Allison is having a GIVEAWAY!  over at her blog

In order to get started on your own stacking, you should head over and comment.  Let her know I sent you!

And if you WIN ,  you have to let me know.   CHECK HERE!

Go. Go. Go now.  I mean it!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Showered, mascara-ed and totally stacked. Oh yea I am.

So today I decided to bust out some style.  I try.  It doesn't happen everyday.  It's my goal to make it happen more often.  I have a style mentor.  Do you?  Her name is Allison Dayton.  She's a jewelry designer and screams "style."  It comes naturally.  It looks effortless.  I have known Allison a LOOOOONG time.  We went to college together and made our mark on Greek Row (we both hail from the Kappa Kappa Gamma house.)  Oh shit, now you know too much.

Allison makes beautiful jewelry.  She gave me a piece as a gift.  Mr. Handsome bought me several pieces for Christmas.  I bought a few more at an open house she had....I would have bought more but I am working on gluttony.  One must know when to restrain themselves.  You can't have it all right away, Jen!  Mellow.

Okay, sorry.  Back to this.  I have always admired Allison's style.  She stacks jewelry like it just jumps onto her wrist or neck without even thinking about it.  I have always loved wearing a lot of bracelets.  When I was in college I had lots of crazy, inexpensive silver bracelets from Mexico.  I wore them ALL, ALL of the time. You could hear me coming from a mile away.  It was my style.

Please go visit her.  You are going to love what she does.  What sucks even more?!  She has a beautiful house, a charming husband, lovely children and get this....she's NICE!  Oh yea, I said it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

There she goes again with the "felt" and now she's talking about rainbow trees? This woman's a loon.

In my own obsessive compulsive way, I find myself heavy in the thoughts of felt.  Felt this, felt that...felt, felt, felt, felt!

Awhile back I ordered some felt online to play with.  Just to get a feel for what sewing with it would be like.  That crazy Martha Stewart had a pattern for a "shopper" type bag that was a free download so I thought that might be a quick, easy way to start.  I am all about the instant gratification.  It's terrible.

Some other breaking news,  I love color.  I obsess about color.  I color coordinate the books on my shelves.  And since the felt I purchased was just plain ol' green I decided it needed some jazzing up.

So I sketched out a tree and started cutting out some leaves.  Traced those little fellers onto the felt with a fabric pencil (I've secretly always wanted to use my fabric pencil but never seemed to find a reason.)

Cut the trunk out of some brown cotton, leaving an allowance so I could fold the edges.

With an Exacto knife, I carefully cut out each of the leaves.  Felt cuts beautifully with an Exacto knife, especially if it's a new blade.  Now I have a bunch of little leaf pieces that I can use for another project.  Lord knows I DON'T THROW ANYTHING AWAY!

Pinned the tree onto the bag and sewed it.  Added some free sewing details to the trunk to give it some character.  Then got busy sewing the leaves.  I placed each piece of fabric from my color spectrum behind the cut outs and sewed them on top.  I'm a pretty good multi-tasker but once I started sewing I stopped photographing.  I struggle with doing both!

TA DA!  The finished product.  It's a rainbow tree.  It turned out great.  Coulda just made a plain green shopper but NO.....had to take it up a notch.  It will be a great book bag for the library books or  a reusable grocery bag.    It will definitely get used.

And btw, Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gaston College + The Felt Loom + Alpaca Batts = 2 Giddy Gals

I have returned.  Back from an amazing trip to Charlotte, North Carolina.  The trip began with an oversold flight which resulted in First class seats to Atlanta and a travel voucher.  So yes, you could say it started out great.

The whole purpose of our trip (my mom and myself) was to learn more about the Felt Loom.  This an amazing machine that does needle felting.  We have one on order and it is due to arrive in May.  This class allowed us to use the machine for several different applications and get a feel for how it works.  It was taught by the Felt Loom creators Lanette Frietag and her charming husband, Don.  We transcended onto  Gaston College and spent the day "playing."

It was so much fun!  At one point I found myself jumping up and down like a little kid, I was so excited.

We started with a wet felting project and used the Felt Loom to pre-felt.  By doing this we could cut down the time it takes to wet felt.  The results were marvelous and took a fraction of the time it normally takes.  We were using alpaca batts and roving to make the examples shown below.  You would not believe how soft they are!

The second project involved needle felting onto silk.  This is where I got silly excited.  Again, fantastic results and so many possibilities.  It makes an already restless mind go wild.  Below you can see the loom.  Lanette and Don invited the darling woman who coordinated our afternoon to join us in making a silk scarf.

Here Lanette is holding up my silk scarf with alpaca felted designs. We thought it could make a very interesting window treatment.

Our final project was to make a felt vest but unfortunately we just ran out of time.  We had so many questions throughout the day that we spent a lot of time chatting.  We did not leave disappointed and cannot wait to get our machine.

Once our website is up and running I will be sure to link you all on over to it.  We are very excited about this new venture in alpaca felt.  Like I said, the possibilities are endless.  Glad you are along for the ride.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's weird, like I am totally forgetting something. Should I be worried?

Hi kids.  Sorry I've been "post-lacking" or "pslacking" as they are calling it.  Just kidding, I made that up!  And, I have registered it.  Totally mine now.  Right.  So anyhoo.....

I have a ton to do because I am heading off on a little adventure with my Mother tomorrow.  Heading to North Carolina for a felt-making class.  This is where we will be introduced to the felt loom that will be arriving in Utah in May.  SO EXCITED.

On my list today, make a card for the daughter of a friend who has been diagnosed with an extremely rare auto-immune disease (Behcet's disease)  She's young and sweet and should not have to deal with this and a card is nothing but it's what I can do for her.  She's lovely and I hope my little card will make her smile.

Oh yea, fairy and umbrella and little bird.  It's quite cute and totally for her and I hope she knows that we are thinking about her.   But weird, there's something hanging over me.  It's heavy and on my mind.

I should be doing real chores, not spending WAY too much time on handmade cards.   But I love making things for people I care about and really, what matters more? Not ironing, God Lord, not ironing.  It's so low on my list it's ridiculous.  However, there is something.  Nagging.  Itchy-like.  Ugh, what could it be?

I've decided what I am taking wardrobe-wise to N. Carolina.  It's hot there, I've got to dig out my "hot" clothes and I am not talking my little black dress.  Work clothes and work shoes.  But in the meantime, I had to fry (sorry cute organic friends who follow an awesome diet that some day I might join in on) some eggrolls for Ladycake's World Language Class.  They are studying Mandarin Chinese ( uh huh!) and this is her joint project.   But still, that crazy feeling that there is a deadline.  A looming deadline, that I may have missed.

But in the meantime, I am wasting tons of time blogging about all of it.  As if you care.  But I know you can help me.  

What am I missing?  Honestly, it's driving me nuts!  It's there, I feel it right there in the background.  It's teasing me.  What the hell, should I have done something today?   I just can't get my head around it!

Hope today wasn't too taxing for any of you.  I'm off to North Carolina.  I'm gonna learn how to make some felt ladies and gentleman.  Watch out, here I come!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Why was the baby ant confused?

We decided to seek Spring.  Head to a lower elevation and find us some Spring, damn it.  A bud, a blade, a nest, SOMETHING.  Found it.  Found it!

He was at the beginning of our journey.  Needed to get his head out on the highway and breathe in some Spring air.  Like a dog in a car, he was loving every minute of it!

You can see the snow on the mountains in the background, but Spring is showing by the river.

See the algae in the river?  So green.

Interesting seed pods.  Ready to bust....really cool looking.

Kids "pretend" fishing.  On a rock, in a river.  Awesome.  So happy.

The answer is.... because all of his uncles were ants.  Get it?  See title and revist.  All of his uncles were ants.  Hilarious.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I've lost that lovin' feelin' (over Spring Break)

Because it did this for most of our Spring Break....

We decided to rise above it and do this....

Get it she's a "gardening snowgirl."  Whatever.  Now the dogs are afraid to go outside because of the big scary snowman.  I believe that I have mentioned both of the dogs weigh well over 100 lbs.  EACH!

After having just about enough outdoor time we headed off and did this.....

Nothin' better than cheap bowling and a beer to solve the Spring Break blues.

Monday, April 5, 2010

An alpaca steps into a mill, goes through the picker and comes out a batt.

So a few days back I mentioned something cool was coming.....and then life took over and 3 days went by and I was all "oh no, I left them hanging and again, I have failed. I've let THEM down!"  Now I know you are a forgiving group and actually weren't hanging on the edge of you seat, or maybe you were?  I tend to hold people to stuff and am easily disappointed, so now I'm just projecting.  But back to the cool stuff.  Ready?

Last week, my Mother and I ventured out on a little field trip.  Off to the edges of a county I rarely explore.  We were off to see a mill.  A what?  A mill.  A what?  Okay, let me explain.  A mill is a place where raw fiber (in this case, alpaca) is processed.  This mill processes the raw fiber into yarn.  Lovely yarn.  We are not here for the yarn.

This was the first machine we met, it spins the processed fiber into strands that are then woven with another strand to make yarn.  It is one of the last steps in the process however it was an interesting place to start.

The operator of this mill was making a "chunky and funky" yarn on this pass and you can see it here.  Not particularly even and quite lovely.

Here we are seeing one of the first processes, once the fiber has been washed.  This is "The Picker."  I know what you are all saying, "Oh there's a kid in my kid's preschool that is called The Picker."  This takes this gnarly mess of fiber and removes dirt, vegetation, you name it that didn't come out in the wash.       
It is shocking how the fiber comes out.

Can you believe how fluffy it's become?!  Now through the comb.  This prepares the fiber to head to the carder.

Meet the carder.  This one is is awesome and big. 

Here you are seeing "a web."  This web is rolled onto itself to make a batt.  The batt is what we came to see.  We are here for batts.

Here are the finished product batts.  They are soft and fluffy and scrumptious.  These are alpaca batts.  They will become alpaca felt.  What?  Alpaca felt.  Did you say alpaca felt?  Oh yes I did.  

Stay tuned for more info.  I told you it was exciting.  Told ya.  Told ya!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hippity Hoppity Hippity Hoppity, Easter's on it's way. Oh Shoot, it's here and I've done nothing!

It's Easter tomorrow and I've done nothing.  The little bees claim to believe in the Easter bunny and I am failing them.  I have the stuff but just haven't gotten around to assembling baskets and eggs and blah, blah, blah.  I did make an AWESOME casserole for brunch the Gramma and Grampa Bee.  Soooooo, that's somethin'!

The dying went well.  I had enough glasses to hold all of the dyes.  Don't drink that, it's not for drinking. And yes, we went with the brown eggs.

Ladycakes is totally old enough to take charge of these projects.  I get them set up but she takes it from there.  It allows me to photograph and sit back as the quiet observer.  It's quite fun that way.  They figured out the math on how many eggs each had to dye.  They took it slow and waited until the egg was done to "perfection."  It was nice not hearing my voice telling them what to do and how to do it.  I'm notorious for that.

And look what they come up with.  Lovely.  All on their own, photographed by moi'.  No barking, no "you should do it this way."  None of that.  And btw, brown eggs do dye "richly."  I'll do it again.  Guess what' s on the menu this week?

Egg Salad.

Happy Easter, friends.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This is not how I intend to celebrate Easter!

This happened today. THIS!  Really?  Enough already.  Q actually said, "I THOUGHT it was SPRING?" And, uh yes, he wore shorts to school.  The boy thinks he can fool Mother Nature. It's not spring.  It's winter.  I plowed 10 inches of snow off the driveway today.  And, I am bitter.  I thought Easter was about new, kicky sandals, springy skirts, pretty pastel colors (aside from all of it's "religious" stuff.)  How do you have an Easter egg hunt in THIS?

I mean really!  You are NOT going to see any little spring birdie birds bathing their little feathers in that bad boy.  No Sir.

We are going to dye some eggs.  Trying brown because there is a rumor circulating that they really give off a "rich" color.  Plus that's what we eat and I had them in the fridge.  Although I am considering just hucking them out into the snow and encouraging the little bees to "just go for it."  It will make the hunt last longer that's for sure.

And while I'm at it, for April.  My One Small Change is right here.

carbon neutral coupons and shopping with

This is awesome, I found it clicking here and then clicking there and then clicking again.  Find it yourself and join in.

Some cool stuff to show tomorrow.  Tune in.......

Thanks Carol@ Songberries