30 September 2008

my very first swap!

soap & oddsox had been swapping for some time, & trying to get the rest of the dragonflies to join them on swapbot. i had many excuses valid reasons why i ignored them; but eventually they found a swap i could not refuse: international chocolates!! i signed up immediately, only to have the swap get cancelled a week later. luckily for me i was able to purchase a bar of imported chocolate to calm my by then frantic craving.

i decided to search for another swap, & found hallowe'en whimsy jar. i had no idea what that was, but as love hallowe'en, i figured it was worth trying. for starters i had to follow the rules of the swap: must be black, orange, purple, & white colors only, a hallowe'en theme, fit into a baby food jar (larger was allowed), & things your partner would like. next i had to find out what a whimsy jar was, & head over to my swap partner's profile to see the sort of things she's into.

she seemed sweet, but i got a tad nervous when i saw her tastes were vastly different from mine. it took some serious planning, but i think i managed to get as near what she liked, whilst not straying too far from what i like to make it no longer an enjoyable experience. kwim? i'm going to send it to her this week - i hope she likes it.

this is the lid & gift tag. i love the image on the lid, i just hope it isn't too ghoulish for her. i was going to encircle the image with orange beads, but that increased the spooky factor, so i went with all-over glitter instead.

here are the guts of the jar. from my research i learned that you're supposed to stuff the jar with bits & bobs, according to the theme. her profile said that she liked dotee dolls, altered matchboxes, rubber stamps, & scrapbooking. she also has a young child. for her child, i stuffed in some spider spinners, & a jack 'o' lantern clicker. i know thehobbit is going to poke through my jar when whomever is creating mine sends it; so i thought if her child is the same, i'd include a few things for him.

this was my first dotee doll, & soap had to explain what they were, & how they needed to be done. at first i thought um ooookay; but once i began creating it, i could see how people could get hooked on them except the beaded tails. i don't get why they have them. this one is wearing a cat costume, & carrying a trick-or-treat bucket.

& here she is with her bewhiskered mask removed! i know it's tacky to love all over your own creation, but i just love the mask. sue me. i had intended on the bucket being removable as well, but um, i sort of forgot.

this is a shot of the little package unwrapped. i shrunk vintage hallowe'en postcards, & printed them onto card stock. because they show additional colors, i wrapped them in black & white. i don't know how strict the color rules are, & i didn't want to mess up my first time out. i figure she can use them scrapbooking, or in matchboxes. of course thehobbit saw them, so i had to print more for his borrowers' house.

this last one is the interior of the matchbox shrine. i'm sorry for the glare, i hadn't known it was there until i uploaded the photo. if you cannot see it clearly, the image is a vintage ouija board. i'm not very good at paper crafts, so the matchbox is quite plain. lastly there is a pumpkin gnomie. this is the first time i'm showing my wooden gnomies to the blog world! normally their cloaks are in forest colors, they are stained instead of painted, & they have no faces; but it was fun to do one differently for a change. oh, & the stitching on this one is wretched - i apologize stranger lady swap person! by the time i got to the gnomie i'd had a leeetle too much coffee. & tea. & possibly another coffee. instead of breakfast.


so that is the story of my very first swap. it was loads of fun to do, & a great way to work my creative muscles. i'm glad i stopped ignoring soap & oddsox, & joined the world of swapping. soap is in charge of 2 swaps that i've joined: waldorf pocket trinkets, & fiber arts mushrooms. time to get out my wool felt & roving!

a certain short person is swearing he is unto the very brink of starvation, so i must be off. i could babble all day; it feels fabulous to be crafting again; but i'm sure the authorities would prefer i feed my hobbity boy. i hope you get to create something today.


p.s. happy rosh hashana! currently thehobbit is singing "i've got a rash on my shana" over & over. just for you. you're welcome ;-)

** edited to add :: i hope i did not imply that there was anything wrong with my swap partner's taste. i only meant ours differ: her style seems more mainstream & sweet, whilst i prefer my hallowe'en to be more dark & witchy. that's all. **

28 September 2008

did i mention i'd be away?

i meant to tell you we'd be off camping all week, but apparently i forgot. i'm sorry if my unusual lack of blogging had you wondering if all was well.
we went with a group, up the coast to my favorite local campground. i wouldn't say it was one of the best times i'd had camping; i shall spare you; but there were enough lovely moments to have made the week quite enjoyable. i mean really - would you just look at those adorable, little, filthy toes!
i love being so close to the ocean: the smell & feel of the air, the wildlife, the adventures to be had, & the sounds. hearing the waves crashing through the night is one of my favorite sounds. it's so soothing & magical, & vastly better than listening to giant raccoons stealing the cookies i'd stored in a bin, then weighted down with a gallon of water.
thehobbit is in his element when camping. he was out of sorts the first 2 days of the trip, but he got through it, & found his groove. lucky for him, because manlyman & i were considering leaving him out the next night, tied to a bag of cookies.

i love this photo! watching thehobbit & his 2 best friends walking along the shore, all quiet & serene, & deep in conversation had been a moment to cherish. there aren't 2 kids in the world more suited for him than minipaper & minisoap. he has other friends i think are simply lovely, but these 2 are meant for thehobbit. they are sweet & just as odd & so good to him, & he loves them deeply.

as much as i love camping, i am happy to be home. we've just been too busy these last few weeks, & i need to take care of things around here. the house & the farm are showing serious signs of neglect, & if i don't dye my hair soon, you shall find me wearing a hat, & whimpering in a dusty corner. not to mention that i need to get all the october homeschooling things taken care of. i know none of that sounds as relaxing as camping; & it isn't; but if i don't get my home back in order there's just no way i can relax. i don't do well living in chaos.
& on that note, i'm off. i hope you have a lovely day.

21 September 2008

what a glorious day!

photo :: property of m.b.

i'm sorry i've not been around much of late; with so much going on, i find i cannot get online to blog as much as i like. i miss all of you! have you been miserable without me? no need to answer, that was rhetorical.
today was the reason for much of my absence - it was the annual r&s peace event, in celebration of international day of peace. this was our 3rd year attending, & 2nd as a part of the event itself. once again thehobbit & i came away immensely inspired. if i wasn't mind-bogglingly exhausted, i would write a description of the day that would leave you weeping at the beauty of my words. as it is, i'm finding it's taking all my concentration to say more than 'hi. today was pretty.'
unfortunately dr. jane was not able to join us this year. i would be lying if i said it was just as amazing without her. don't get me wrong please - it was spectacular & beautiful - it just was not the same. the day lacked her special mojo. i am sure i've said this before: if you ever have an opportunity to hear her speak, please do!

we walked proudly in the giant peace dove parade, & even more proudly showed our project to the public. this year our display was on switching to waste-free lunch kits. everyone brought extra lunch kits & containers to display; filled with thehobbit's wooden play food :-) we sold some market bags that we'd sewn last year, & i sold the last of my drink sling stock (with a percentage going to our r&s group.)

i think we made a lot of people think seriously about making the switch themselves. the biggest eye-opener was the information we had on plastic drink bottles. chris jordan has a piece that shows 2 million used bottles; the number of bottles used in the u.s. every 5 minutes! we had a copy of that to see, as well as a bottle filled a quarter of the way with sand. on it was a tag explaining why: imagine a plastic bottle filled 1/4 way up with oil. that is how much oil it takes to make one plastic drink bottle! (national geographic) having the bottle with the sand inside really illustrated how ridiculous & wasteful that is.
the score of our day; aside from inspiring others to stop creating needless garbage; was getting reusable bags & to-goware to create coupon codes for us! it was a great feeling to be able to hand out coupons all day. the coupons are one-use per person, & for a limited time, so hurry! oh. did i forget to tell you that i'm sharing the codes with you as well? happy shopping, & happy peace day :-)

how to use the codes: go to the websites, poke around & fill your cart. when you've finished go to check out, & type the codes into the coupon/gift card section - you know all of this, i'm sure. here are your codes:

for 20% at reusable bags = fecd29

for 10% at to-goware = ROOTS

you need to enter them as i've written them here, or the codes won't work. enjoy!!!

so - you ask - what's with the first photo? well pierce brosnan & his wife were the hosts of the event since dr. jane couldn't be. one of the things the host does is walk to all the r&s tables, look at the projects, & talk with the kids. here is mr. brosnan after paper dazed him with her beauty. he was so enamoured that it was all he could do to make it through the rest of the day. i wasn't at the table to witness this, but she assures me that's how it happened.

there is so much more to tell you about the day, but there is a couch & blanket calling to me. i hope your day was one of peace as well. oh! tomorrow is the first day of autumn! blessed be!!

16 September 2008

a fairytale like no other

that's the tag line for the film penelope . i knew i just had to see it when first i saw its trailer - it simply looked like my kind of movie. rubelin loaned it to me yesterday, so i finally got my chance. & oh my one & only reader?... it so was my kind of movie. it was as if it had been created just for me. in fact that sounds like a wonderful idea - a studio that releases only films i would like! are you listening hollywood??

i was surprised when rubelin told me the film was child-friendly. it was a happy surprise, because it meant i didn't have to wait until thehobbit went to bed to view it. at first thehobbit rolled his eyes, & pulled the 10yo 'tude. i ignored him because a) i knew it was a ruse, & 2) i didn't want to miss any of my pretty movie. about 20 minutes in he gave up the 'tude, & got lost in the film along with his mama. so ha!

the film truly was beautiful. i love when they create costumes & sets that have no specific when to them. does that make sense? people usually say these films look timeless, but i'm not sure if that's accurate. perhaps classic? oh i don't know; my brain is cloudy with pestilence, & a lack of french fries.

that's all for today. when not moaning about my pestilence, i've been getting ready for this sunday's day of peace event. that means i have neither sewing, nor crafting to share.

go rent penelope!


15 September 2008

something wicked this way comes

i find myself unable to describe how amazing the show was. the performers, the costumes, the set: all of it beyond words.

yesterday i gave thehobbit one of the playbills for his very own - the one in which he'd already circled his favorite performers.

this was the scene at the breakfast table this morning. you can just see his test sheet up at the top/left - he wanted the perfect shade of green: she's sort of apple, but not all the way. i need more green pencils. she isn't grass either. why isn't there an elphaba pencil? (dramatic sigh.)

if you can see this production, you really should. we could because a friend arranged a group discount. if not for that, we would not have been able to afford it. that bit; being with friends; made things even more special. we sat with two families, ran into others in the lobby, & waved at still others from our seats. all the shorties in their fancies!

i'm off to pretend that i a) haven't the pestilence, and 2) have cake. i hope you have a wonderful night.


14 September 2008

there were pirate hippies

i forgot to update you on the progress of the t-shirts. i say progress, because in true kat-fashion, they are still not completed.

we paid very little for the shirts: manlyman's was on a rack at the pharmacy, & thehobbit's & mine were from the thrift shop. there were black t-shirts galore at the thrift shop, but few with no graphics - happily we eventually found what we needed.


so... first you'll need to tie rubber bands onto your shirts in your chosen pattern. we opted for stripes that stop a third of the way down. fill a container (that you do not use for cooking) with bleach & water; 50/50. you needn't use much bleach/water for this - perhaps 3 inches deep.

dip your shirts in; do only one at a time; as deep as you want the color to change. if you want the entire shirt altered, wear gloves so you can retrieve it. you should see the change from black to brownish quite quickly. when you do, pull it out, and immediately hose it down. oh. i forgot to say that you should do this outside, on concrete. i imagine that in the tub with the shower ready should work too.

that's my shirt on the right. i like the way it came out, but i had hoped for thicker stripes. next time i'll add more bands for each stripe. manlyman's didn't work at all. i think there was too much fabric, so the bleach water didn't get all the way through. i also accidentally tipped his upside down, causing the liquid to run into the black below. we all thought it looked cool regardless - by we i mean everyone else who saw it. i am still a tad bummed it wasn't what i'd planned.

this last shirt is thehobbit's, & it is by far the best one. i wish i'd taken photos of them dry & on, but at least these aren't from clipart!

i was surprised by the brown - was i the only person who thought it would lighten to gray? - but i like it. i definitely prefer this method to traditional tie dye; it was quick, & there is no risk of fading. i'm curious to see what other colors will bleach to.


we wore them to homeschool day at disneyland, & received a great many compliments (i never managed to get the skulls on.) we shall need to wear them again on friday for the trip to the county fair, so i have a few more days to finish them.

go reverse-dye something you scurvy knave!


12 September 2008

mrs. kat's wild ride

this has been one of those wild weeks, filled with events & outings; that seemed to be over before it began. how does time mess with our minds that way?

let's ignore the freakish amount of errands & chores i managed, & focus only on the fun! we held our wednesday night mama craft on tuesday this week, & had a formal tea party in honor of soap's birthday. as usual it was a lovely evening - i just adore those mamas. i dare not admit how much food i ate. no, seriously.


the whole of wednesday was spent at disneyland for not back to school day. what fun!! i don't know what the official tally was, but there sure were a lot of us; there is little that compares to being surrounded by that many homeschoolers. we met up briefly with friends through the day, but spent the bulk with the papers & soaps. the best part of the day; aside from friends; was that there was hardly anyone else there. we rarely had to wait to get on any ride, & when we did, it was ever so briefly. i'm sure disney prefers it crowded, but not i.

there was a shorty book club, & an r&s meeting in there as well. i am one very tired mama. bone-wearily so. i should go to bed early tonight to rest, & yet i cannot. why kat? why can you not go to bed early tonight? more to-dos needing to be to-done? more homeschool things needing your attention? what? what?

no dear reader, no early night, no things of any kind needing my attention. instead i shall be spending the evening thusly...

oooh yes! my menfolk & i shall be dressing in our fancies, & going to the theatre! & not a cutesy play at a community theatre, put on by children actors mind you. i'm so excited i feel a little vomity. on that note, i'm off!

07 September 2008

yo ho, yo ho, a quiet day for me!

we are having a quiet day together, my hobbity boy & i. this morning; whilst listening to peter pan; we built a pirate ship.

i know i gush about jim dale, but once you've heard him tell a story, you will understand why. he is simply a master. his performance of peter pan is no exception.

thehobbit did most of the work on the ship, leaving me in charge of the sails. which i glued on upside-down. by the time we realized this, the masts were already glued into the deck of the ship. my only job, & i got it wrong. i blame mr. dale for distracting me.

here is the completed ship, the black shadow. ignore the upside down masts if you will. posing with the much-feared vessel is its giant captain; able to walk on water, & ready to sail the ocean brown.

pirate month is turning out to be more fun than even i thought it would. after helping with farm chores, thehobbit & i read the parts of a ship in the handbook.

in need of some me time, i set forth the royal mama decree that it was blog break time, & thehobbit needed to find something to do without me for a bit. usually this results in him having absolutely nothing to do, blah, blah, whining, blah. but thanks to the morning of piratey things, he's happily sitting across from me, drawing a detailed version of the black shadow -similar to the drawings in the handbook. i asked if he was going to label everything as in the book, to which he replied: i am not going to answer you, because i know you are writing about this on your blog.



what have we here? a hobbit & his little buddy? the necklace was inspired by the nature necklaces blogged about here. those of you who have been reading for a time, know that i do not crochet well. i prefer to knit, which i also do not do well, but which i suck less at than crocheting.

tinker looked over the pattern, & taught me what to do - & paper has been helping me with tips & suggestions. if you followed the link to the original, you'll see i changed things quite a bit. personally i prefer hers, but i don't want to be a thief. kwim?

initially i wanted to create a version of her necklace that would hold a dinkie gnomie, but it didn't turn out as cute as i'd hoped. i wanted a little face to stick out of the top, & none of my gnomies; dinkie or otherwise; have faces.

thinking about my other gnomies, led me to thinking about the wooden pieces waiting to be turned into bigger gnomies. thehobbit nicked one last month, & drew a face & clothing on it - & that is what you see in the photo above. isn't it cute? i don't do faces on my little guys, so i am toying with an idea. tell me what you think please.

a kit! each kit could come with one already crocheted necklace, & one stained (& beeswaxed) figure - undecorated. i would include instructions (perhaps a story?) & tips, but leave the rest to whomever is the recipient of the kit. thoughts? suggestions?


thanks for the visit! (fyi: i just peeked, & he is labeling the parts of the ship. oh the cleverness of me.)


03 September 2008

the most beautiful scarf

that ever there was!!!!

here we have thehobbit wearing said scarf - one that he crocheted with no help from me. not that i would have been of any use; seeing as i have no talent with a hook.

professor threadbare auntie paper taught the shorties the basics of crochet earlier this summer, then set them the task of crocheting a scarf before winter. he gave up quickly, as (like his mama) he wants to be instantly amazing at things. i thought for sure he wouldn't pick up the hook again, but lo & behold dear reader... he did indeed.


i think it's fantastic that my generation is taking up what could be called the lost arts. i don't know what it was like elsewhere, but where i grew up it just wasn't done. girls were busy being raised to be just as good as boys. mind you, i am woman, hear me roar & all that - but i think my childhood friends & i could have done with a little cooking, mending, laundry, etc lessons along the way. i may, or may not have been an adult when i learned to do those things. not that i'm admitting to anything.

as i said, i think it's wonderful to see women my age all over the place with hooks, needles, hoops, & the like. even more wonderful is seeing them with their daughters doing the same. i saw one little girl at a park who was knitting faster than any of my friends are able! but...

even more fantabulistic (real word) is seeing the sons sewing, knitting, embroidering, & (bragging again) crocheting. not only have we come so far that we are teaching little girls to create wonders for themselves & friends, but BOYS! oooh she's serious when she digs out the uppercase letters!

imagine a world where not only is it ok for girls to love sports & trucks, but a world where it is ok for boys to love sewing & cooking. where we no longer stick labels upon them: girls are quiet, & love pink & dolls; boys are loud & love blue & sports. well world look out because my boy is quiet, & loves black & faeries! dare label that, & you'll have me to answer to. judging from things i've been reading all over blogland (example) he's not the only one.


so yeah. um. i'm proud.


01 September 2008

ahoy matey!

the black belfry set sail today, in search of buried coffee treasure! sadly we arrived back at port with no coffee treasure; buried or otherwise; but there's always tomorrow. we meant to get some on the way home, but we forgot. & yes i did run out of soy cream again. please stop laughing at me, i haven't had coffee lo these 3 days, & it's left me a tad prone to tears.

on a happier note: thehobbit is thrilled that pirate month is finally here. seeing the giant basket of piratey things that he hasn't been allowed to poke through, has been driving him mad. heehee. he's already received owl post from hogwarts (defense against the dark arts: wizard pirate hunting activities,) & tomorrow he'll find a kit to build a pirate ship. homeschooling is such fun!

i need to make the menfolk & myself some piratey tshirts. it's tradition locally for homeschoolers to wear tie dye shirts at large gatherings. this month we'll be at the not back to school day at disneyland, & the l.a. county fair. since both events shall also include pirate activities, we've been searching for a way to incorporate tie dye & pirates. it hasn't been easy, but i finally figured it out.
i'm going to buy black tshirts (a cute one for mama,) bleach, & white flannel. then we'll tie our shirts, & dunk them in diluted bleach. once we get them to a dark gray, we shall rinse out the bleach, & untie the shirts. after washing them in the machine, i'm going to stitch a flannel skull & crossbones on the front of each. i hope it works! if it does, i'll post photos of the process.
that's it for tonight. we had the poms over today for a bbq, & as utterly lovely as it was, i'm worn to a nub.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...