Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

July 31, 2012

Flora and Florigami

I'll be perfectly honest, I suck at origami and kirigami.  I tried, believe me, but it's very hard for me to figure out how to fold paper based upon an illustration.  I can't tell what direction the arrows are really indicating at all.  As a result, I don't know how to make pretty paper swans or lovely cut snowflakes. If it is just one or two folds, I'm fine but the real complex designs elude my abilities.

A couple weeks ago I happened past a little yard sale in town and got a couple of $1 movies, and this tiny Florigami kit for .50.  Let's face it, I may be a failure at the fine art of paper folding and cutting, but I cannot resist sparkly paper.  Even if they never get used for their folding/cutting purpose, I can always use the paper for something.

Inside I found pretty papers, instruction book and a pair of wee scissors, which really don't work so I tossed them.  The instructions introduced a very basic and easy folding technique.  All I had to do was look at the pattern in the book and draw it onto my folded triangle paper, and cut.

I'm very pleased with the results!

But I'm still scared to try anything more complex.

My yard continues to surprise me with the beautiful flowers! I don't remember these last year at all, but then again this time last year I was so busy unpacking and setting up the house during all of July that I guess I never noticed!

Sadly the birds got to the berries before I could pick a few.

I wonder how long it took this snail to climb up the tree and out to this leaf?  We have a lot of snails around in the yard, and some are even stuck on the side of the house.  I don't mind them.

Queen Anne's Lace about to open

And already opened.


Pokeberry bush came back! I didn't think it would after last year's storm damage.

July 29, 2012

Flowers at Mom's

My parents were avid gardeners and I enjoyed fresh vegetables all summer long when I was growing up.  Mom loved her flower gardens too.  But sadly, she is unable to tend to the beds the way she used to, so only a few continue to bloom each year.  I know, I know, "why don't you go over there and do them?"  Well, as I have discussed throughout the years, I am not a fan of yardwork or gardening.  If you want to kill a plant, give it to me and I'll kill it good.  The other day she asked me to plant something for her and after grumbling, I did it, only to find out a day or so later that I'd screwed up even that simple task and the plant was dying, so she had to pull it out and put it back in the pot.  

What still remain are these gorgeous purple balloon flowers.

And the hydrangea bush I gave her when I was 9, in the spring of 1974.

The moon looked cool in the blue sky the morning I was over at her house.

July 28, 2012

Weekend Social

This Saturday's Weekend Social topic is:  Kitchen Duty.

Veggie Pizza

Served cold!

2 packages of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, unrolled side by side on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 375* for 10 minutes. Let cool on the cookie tray.

Whip together
2 packages low fat cream cheese (leave out on counter till soft prior to use)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp dill
1 TBSP dry ranch dressing mix (Hidden Valley Ranch)

Evenly spread whipped cheese ingredients on top of cool crust.  I find it's also much easier to cut the crust and cheese into serving size pieces prior to topping it with vegetables.  

Top with raw veggies of your choice!  I use chopped scallions (aka green onions), chopped red peppers, chopped black olives, diced tomatoes, small, raw broccoli florets.

Sprinkle shredded chedder cheese on top of veggies.  

July 27, 2012

Oh the Cruel Irony

It really sucks to be a jewelry fanatic, but allergic to metal.  Even hypoallergenic metal makes me break out.  Surgical steel.  Silver.  I don't wear gold.  A couple of years ago, I spent days changing all my earring hooks to plastic ones.

One of the jewelry casualties is my collection of sparkly bracelets that I purchased in the early and mid 00s when they were super popular at gift shops, in sets of 3.  I wore them every day to work, coordinating the different colours to match my tops and necklaces.  I remember the turning point being my trip to Victoria in 2007.  I was wearing my jewelry and started getting itchy.  My earlobes were driving me crazy and I had an itchy, red raised rope of a welt around my wrist where the bracelets were.   This was the same trip when I  also developed solar urticaria (basically an allergy to the sun).  After I got back to Washington, I laid off the jewelry for a couple of weeks and then put them on again.  Well, the earrings were taken out on the way to work and the bracelets shortly thereafter.  I don't wear jewelry much anymore, unfortunately.  It's gotten to the point where I've had to coat the back of any metal pendant with clear nail polish and it still doesn't work all the time.  

These bracelets need to be seen, dammit!  They are so pretty!!  I had an extra styrafoam cone left from the button tree project, so I painted black glitter paint on it, which took 2 days to dry.  Then I started stacking the bracelets onto the cone.  I was going to use glue to adhere them, but I just didn't want to permanently commit them to the cone (in the off chance I can use the bracelets again), so I used pins instead.

My craft assistants.  "Mama seems to have it under control...time for a nap!"

And here's the finished product.  I ended up restringing the top 5 bracelets to make them smaller to fit.  But it was missing something.  What to do for the top?

I posted the above picture on Facebook and mentioned my need to put something on the top.  Once again, one of my friends came through with the brilliant, and unbelievably OBVIOUS suggestion of using a big marble!  This just goes to show you how I sometimes can't see the forest for the trees, but other people can.

So I dug into my marble collection to see what would look good.  After a lot of 'nahs', I found one that was the right size, and kind of represented the jewels of the bracelets.  I glued it in place and then surrounded it with multi-coloured rhinestones.  Another win!

July 23, 2012

Being Silly, Paintballs & A Blast from the Past

I've been seeing these cute finger doodles on Pinterest so I did one on my own fingers.  It's supposed to be me and Russell with our arms around each other.  (In reality he's a lot taller than me). 

I was looking for something in my many still-packed craft boxes and came across this tackle box. There was a time when all my craft supplies fit into it.  Beads, needles, thread, pencils, erasers....this would have been late 1988/early 1989, before I moved to San Francisco.  There's not much in it now, but I hang onto it for posterity.

I laughed when I found this little punky guy inside the tackle box.  I made it out of Fimo clay over at Holly's rental cottage in Pocasset, back in the spring of 1989.  It sure took me back to another time in my life, that's for sure!  Back when my world began to completely revolve around the Grateful Dead and moving west.  I was soooo young...just 24.

I ended up breaking out the paints again this particular day, even though I finally got them neatly put away, because of another craft project I wanted to try, which was dripping paints inside of clear glass ball ornaments, which I just happened to have.

I decided to start with the metallic paints first, but they were really gloppy and I knew I'd never get them to drip and mix in their current state.

I chose to use pink, purple and aqua, and mixed them with enough water to make them drippy.
Using a paintbrush, I dripped the paints inside, then shook the ball rapidly to spread it around.  It took awhile to apply and spread the paint all around the ball.

Since all the colours started to pool and mix together at the bottom, I made sure to keep tipping the ball upside down, and in fact, that's the way I chose to dry it.  First I let it sit upside down to drain on top of paper towels, then I brought it outside to let the sun and wind dry it out.

Some of the paint separated as it dried, but it's still a cool effect.

I'd found my crafting beach glass (bought in Michaels, not found on the beach) and pebbles, and I made a beach-theme ornament too, also using sand and some of the shells Barit brought me back from Sanibel Island.

It also happened to be Pride Weekend, so I dripped rainbow paints inside another ball and shook it around.  These paints proved more problematic because too much mixing can yield an ugly grey/brown colour.

It was drained the same way, upside down on paper towels, then placed outside to dry.

Sadly, while these balls came out really cool the first day, I notice that, over time, the paint is either chipping or pulling away from the surface on the inside, leaving small holes.  I will have to figure out a better way to do this.

It's amazing how many craft supplies I've unearthed....all the stuff I bought, in the off chance that someday I'd have the time to use them.  I forgot all about the sack of large and small smooth rocks and pebbles, purchased lord knows how long ago.  This small bowl was also awaiting use so I made a little candle holder out of all of it.

Finally, my mom unearthed this from her cedar chest.  I had no idea she'd saved it!  This is my very first embroidery project, made when I was still very little.  It was very hard and I hated doing it.  I was forced to finish it and I did so, under protest.  Age '7' was added before it was completed, hence the off-center and badly stitched '8'.  This really was too ambitious a project for a 7 year old and my mom even commented  that, upon seeing it now, she doesn't know why she chose such a complex design for me to do.