Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Renate Hiller 'On Handwork'

Craftzine posted this video of Renate Hiller (co-director of the Fiber Craft Studio at the Threefold Educational Center in Chestnut Ridge, NY) talking about the importance of handmade and handwork's relevance to our modern existence. It may be a couple more days before there is a whole lot more going on here as I am in the midst of some kind of awful cold that seems to have migrated almost entirely to my chest and lungs. Highly unpleasant to say the least. All I've managed to do today is a few loads of laundry and crocheting a couple of new acrylic yarn dish scrubbers. I do have information and photos to share regarding rust dying and a few different yellows/golds I have managed with local natural dye plants. I have embedded the video from YouTube below. Regardless of your own spiritual or religious views, the spirals she talks about are unarguably important aspects and symbols of many, many spiritual and religious paths. I agree with what she has to say in this video; at the very least I know I feel much more grounded and, somehow, more human when I have participated in some sort of handwork in any given day.


Friday, September 17, 2010

W00T! I won!

Sorry for no recipe Friday posts the last couple weeks. There hasn't been much recipe-like cooking going on here lately, just throwing some things in the rice cooker or getting out the Foreman Grill for chicken and that's pretty much it. I have plans for some awesome vegan, gluten-free cheesy snack crackers this weekend at some point. 

I just placed an order on CSNstores.com for a laundry drying rack and a digital kitchen scale. Woo! This may not seem very exciting to you, but both of these items have been on my "Wants" list for a very long time and I have been unable to justify actually purchasing them as they weren't really 'necessary'. Well, Heather from Acting Balanced blog came to the rescue with her CSN Stores $45 gift certificate giveaway. She drew my comment as the random winner and I received an electronic certificate in my inbox shortly thereafter with instructions for use. Go to site, fill out delivery and payment info, decide what you want, complete transaction, wait for delivery of items. Super simple. I paid $4.89 total for shipping and both items should arrive by the first week in October at the latest, next week at the soonest. I'm psyched!


Escali Primo Digital Scale in Aruba Blue

That's the color I ordered it in. It's called Aruba Blue and I love it. Bright, cheery, blue but not overly masculine. It was either that or pink and Corey vetoed pink in a hurry. The kitchen scale will allow me to more accurately measure ingredients for baking (weight is always more reliable than volume in baking) and also try out a bunch of awesome recipes from some sweet Aussie blogs I subscribe to. It will also allow me to make soap in the near future. How cool will it be to give people handmade soap for gifts and say that I made it for them? Super cool, I think. I've been curious about making m own soap since high school, but it isn't like playing with oils and lye and water is something parents just can't wait to have their children doing, you know? I'm sure had I asked something could have been arranged, but I never felt like bothering my parents for unnecessary things like that. I was raised in a very frugal family on an extraordinarily tight budget. Being in school band as well as having the privilege of being in the Flint Institute of Music's Jazz Ensemble was pretty awesome and not exactly inexpensive by my family's standards.

I have been wanting a laundry drying rack since I lived in the dorms, but seeing as prices generally start around $15-20 for even a simple wooden one I have put it off hoping to come across one at a thrift store for cheaper. See, I can hang laundry from hangers on the shower rod or draped over the back of chairs and other furniture to dry them without a clothes dryer. It's really a matter of principles than the matter of necessity it was in the dorms and not having enough coins to both wash and dry my clothes. We do have both a washing machine and a dryer, but I would rather air dry for a couple of reasons. The first reason being that clothes last longer if they aren't subjected to the heat and constant motion of a clothes dryer and second that the clothes dryer uses a lot of energy. It's much more economically and environmentally sensible for me to air dry indoors or line dry outside in the sun. Plus when I dry things outside, the sunlight helps get rid of stains and sterilize things.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back to the Buckets



Now that the whirlwind multistate 'vacation' is done and I've recovered from my ill-advised food and sleep decisions from the week's adventures, it is high time to dive back into job hunting and crafting/making.

With regards to job hunting, I have recently applied for multiple positions with the county school system for everything from substitute positions of janitor, teacher, bus and lunchroom monitor to secretarial assistant, full time classroom assistant and assistant choir director. I'd very much like to land that last one but know my chances are probably very slight given that I do not have any classroom certifications yet. I know many people who wouldn't even think about applying to a janitorial position, but you know what? I've done janitorial before and it really is no big deal, much better than cashiering at a store where the meat department neglects to package and wrap items to prevent leakage.  And even though it's in a public school, I don't imagine it would ever be much worse than some of the apartments I had to clean when I did summer janitorial at CMU.

With regards to crafting and making, I now have a homemade drop spindle to make fabric yarns with. Now I can use all of those weird fiber fabric bits I have been collecting and make some pretty yarns. Huzzah! I'm also back to the dyeing with the bucket of walnuts I gathered all fermented nicely after being left to soak for the duration of the entire trip. I got out the crock and did up some yellow onion skin dye last night and earlier last week I did some experiments with marigolds which left me wanting more marigold blossoms. I didn't plant any of those this year so I'll have to hunt some out somewhere I suppose. I also have some red onion skins to play with and have some rusted things going. I'll see about posting pics of them all alter today once they get dyed and dried.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Back from Vacation and a Ceramics Giveaway as well as Sale

We're back from our whirlwind, multi-state vacation. Actually we got in around 3am Tuesday, but I've been too tired to do much besides catch up on laundry, wash dishes and sleep. Although eating a waffle cone gelato and going through the inevitable extended discomfort of taunting not one, but two dietary intolerances shortly before the ride home was definitely a contributing factor to the lethargy and general malaise. We drove over 3k miles in a little over a week and stayed in STL much later than we had planned in order to see a couple of very dear friends for at least a few minutes before we left.

One of this pair of friends has recently started a new shooting blog. If you're at all interested in guns, shooting, self defense, general survival gear or related information then go follow or subscribe to his blog, To Keep and Bear. I know it may not seem like it from most of my posts, but I grew up in a suburban farm setting as well as frequently visiting the very rural family farm up north - nearest neighbor at the time was close to a mile away - and enjoy learning more about firearms, especially in the straight-forward, conversational writing style at To Keep and Bear.

Steph, your earrings should be in the post later this weekend once I get bills straightened out and get to the post office.






I came across a neat little ceramics giveaway of Gene Speicher Pottery from Francesville, Indiana hosted by little Indiana. It's no secret here that I love ceramics and if I could do only one thing for the rest of my life, it would be clay. My apologies to all my music and band friends, but if I had found pottery and ceramics before I did music, I doubt I would have ever been in band. I especially love the look and feel of bare clay in functional vessels and the bowl pictured in the giveaway has a very nice 'glaze-scape' going on. Go enter the giveaway for yourself.

I also came across a nice Clay and Blog sale via Tracy Broom's lovely blog. Very nice work at pretty reasonable prices all in all for the work that goes into them.  Tracy has a Chatham House piece listed in the sale for $65 and another potter whose blog I follow regularly, Hannah McAndrew, has a gorgeous sliptrailed baluster jug there for $232. The jug is way out of my price range, but there are also some very nice bowls and things available for less than $50.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

feel good fluff: "Video Killed the Radio Star" Duke Special

I love everything about this; venue, audience, impromptu-ness of the performance, outfit, song, singer, that it happened on Halloween. The only thing that could possibly make it better would be to see audience members dancing and otherwise enjoying themselves even more. When I listen to music I really enjoy or can immerse myself in, I can't help but stand up or move a lot. I know of a handful of other musicians with this characteristic and I see many instructors attempting to stamp out it of their students because they see it as a performance distraction, but I never paid that much mind to my private instructors. Whole body movement was a dead giveaway visual clue if I was actually playing music in my university ensembles or just playing notes.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

currently in love with: I LEGO MoMA

Rothko’s No. 5/No. 22 was put together by John Wilson - from the article


The Museum of Modern Art recently had some fun recreating iconic art with iconic children's building materials and showed the results on their blog. I love it!

The design collection at MoMA has some great items of cultural significance, including the beloved Lego brick. A while back, Christoph Niemann created a memorable version of iconic New York items in Lego. Niemann also created an illustration for MoMA.org last fall (here’s the blog post). The Lego has grown up quite a bit in the past few decades, and you can even get a Lego version of Fallingwater at the MoMA Design Store.
In that spirit, and as an excuse to spend a little time on a Friday afternoon playing with Legos, we decided to whip up some pieces in MoMA’s collection in Lego form. After spending a few bucks online getting a couple bags of mixed bricks, we went to town. Due to the limitations from the random assortment, some of the highlights of the Collection we would love to have remade (Broadway Boogie Woogie and Vir Heroicus Sublimis, I’m looking at you) couldn’t be constructed.

Read the article here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Beautiful Feed Sacks

from Primrose Design feedsack gallery


Sarai has a wonderful post over at the Colette Patterns blog about feed sacks. I posted some of my paternal great-grandmother's handstitching a little while ago and a lot of what I showed in those posts was made with fabric from feed sacks. Sarai's first paragraph touches on several sentiments I share regarding these textiles and their era of adversity:

"The feedsack dress is one of those objects indelibly linked in our minds to rural life in 1930s America. While I often feel conflicted about the glamorization of this difficult period and place, there is no denying that the feedsack dress represents some of the most uplifting and hopeful aspects of craft: creating something from nothing, and the desire for color and beauty even in the grittiest of circumstances."
Go check out the entire post for more photos and some history and gallery links for your viewing and reading pleasure. Collette patterns is also home to beautiful women's clothing patterns as well as lovely and easy to follow How-To's.
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