March 24, 2015
Take, for example, this sad knockoff pair of Keds (in this case, $5 kids ones from H&M):
All you need to add is some Rit dye(Lara went with fuscia), a plastic bucket, some hot water, rubber gloves, and some kind of stirring implement that you can throw away immediately after.
The result? A deliciously bright pair of happy spring kicks fit for the effervescent 3rd grader in your life:
I love that the nylon thread didn't pick up any of the color - it really makes for a great contrast on the seams.
March 8, 2015
The painting dried just in time for me to submit it to PAFA's juried exhibit - and it was accepted! Today we went to see the show. (I think I need to start working on bigger canvases? Mine seems tiny somehow...)
Oh, and I also remembered to take a shot of the painting next to the setup while I was still working on it:
March 3, 2015
It is most built from IKEA parts, but removing the existing drawer fronts and cutting new ones out of maple plywood and adding nice bar handles (thanks, Nancy!) really gave the whole thing a more expensive vibe. The table top is a really pretty piece of butcher block which I successfully cut by myself with only a power jig saw. It was... probably not the most appropriate tool for the job. But on the plus side I have a really great sense of how to handle that thing well now!
Once I had cut and sanded the plywood to the right dimensions - well, actually about 1/8" smaller to highlight the look of the eased edges more - I super carefully measured and created all the same holes and things that IKEA uses on the obverse side so that I could just attach them with the existing screws and dowels. The main issue was creating a channel for the drawer bottom to fit into. Since I don't have a router, I just used one of the carving heads on my Dremel. The result is wonky but totally functional, and basically invisible since the drawer bottom now covers my not-totally-straight carving job. Here is a closeup of the drawer unit:
(Oh, and a tip - IKEA's website only has the Alex with narrow drawers, but in stores they have the Alex we actually got, with a hanging file system in the bottom.)
February 18, 2015
Go check it out right here!
Thanks so much, Havven!
February 11, 2015
Yeah. That is indeed a picture of all the paint and plaster just falling off that wall in sheets because of an incredibly small amount of unstoppable moisture coming in from who knows where. Finding the source would probably mean having to take apart our entire house, since this is a center wall that is shared with a neighbor who is experiencing none of this on their side.
On the plus side, once all the plaster fell down, we realized that now that the wall was exposed to the air, whatever moisture was being trapped under plaster was simply able to evaporate without causing any more problems. But on the minus side, it looked like a wall where all the plaster had fallen down. Our solution? Cover the wall with something that wasn't airtight and wouldn't actually touch the wall.
First, I put up a few waterproof 1"x3"s (I think they are usually used as outdoor trim):
And over them went a layer of this bamboo wall covering,which comes in 4 by 8 foot sheets with a nylon mesh backing:
Here's a view looking down the stairs:
Problem solved, if I do say so myself!
January 25, 2015
I don't know where these places are, and my brief attempt to Google has led basically nowhere.
But now I am having daydreams of going to Prague, finding these buildings, and taking updates photos to match.
Looking at these, I can almost exactly see my grandfather setting up these shots, adjusting his camera, choosing his frame. It's like a Proustian madeleine, and all my memories of him come flooding back.
January 24, 2015
Check out the horrifying dystopia of this universe: the TV says "Latest News" with a picture of robots with guns on their head shooting at each other:
My favorite thing is the super tiny composition book Lara made for the desk and the wire pen lying next to it:
(To get a sense of the size - the table and chair legs are made out of straws)
January 23, 2015
So it was staple gun, screw driver (for prying mostly), and most importantly fun new fabric to the rescue!
Of course I now realize I failed to capture this in photographic form, but I do love how the graphic black and white really complements the pattern of the radiator cover in this room (you can see a bit of it in the "before" picture).
December 26, 2014
There was a small assist from me on the bag construction front (check out the fun grommets and carabiner that make the strap adjustable):
Lara worked for weeks on this amazing embroidery - everything from design to execution is totally hers:
December 25, 2014
December 11, 2014
This year, for Jake - a scarf with some bite to it:
I used super soft fleece for the body and some felt pieces for the face. Looking sharp, no?
November 22, 2014
Just wanted to share something pretty fun from Jake's class. His amazing kindergarten teachers are pretty inspiring, and they had a whole unit on bees, including visiting beekeepers, studying hives, learning about bee anatomy, etc. The kids got really into it, and Jake absolutely loved it. As the final part of the project, the kids were supposed to write something about bees; Jake make a whole bee book! The book is such a hit that his teachers (and, of course, us as well) quote it - check it out (with accompanying translation, as he totally did this on his own, and so things are spelled as he imagines they should be):
Jake also made this fun little stop motion of a bee getting pollen from a flower and taking it back to its hive (via the awesome app, StopMotion)
He also has a hilarious, many-minutes-long "lecture" explaining Bee anatomy, and demonstrating how bees communicate with dancing. It's hilarious.
October 28, 2014
Black and white charcoal on toned paper:
So far so good, I think, although I clearly need to fit the figure better to the surface... Next time.
* Can I just say that it is wonderful that someone offers continuing ed classes during the day? It would basically be impossible for me to take a evening class. And there are at least two other freelancer or stay at home moms in the class, rocking their brushwork, so I know there are many of us in this boat.
October 26, 2014
Yesterday was a glorious day - one of those breezy, sunny fall days when the sun is still warm enough to satisfyingly heat up the back of your jacket and pants if you stand in one spot long enough.
We made the best of it by going pumpkin picking at Terhune Orchards, which I love for its just-right level of crowdedness. Not so empty that you feel like you're bothering actual working farmers, but not so mobbed that it is basically an outdoor supermarket. Sure, they throw in things like a giant corn maze -
But while you're making your way through, they also ask you to collect the ears of corn for animal feed.
I suspect that the pumpkin patch is really more of a pumpkin drop-off area, since there are not too many actual vines there, but there is nothing like the feeling of lugging a bunch of those bad boys around purposefully on a wagon.
So what did we make out of these?
This morning, we took turns designing, cutting, carving, and shaping, to end up with a motley crew of monsters and victims. Strong plug here for linoleum carving tools for edging the finicky details! Check out the sunlight coming through that chomping one in the back! I don't think the puny light that lights them up at night is going to be nearly as awesome.
Can you guess which one is Jake's and which is Lara's? It's very hard to figure it out...
October 24, 2014
We went with the cool color scheme the kids had worked out (you can see it in the initial plans we talked about here), with Lara getting a purple square and Jake getting a blue one. How did I work out "squares" when neither the walls nor the ceiling in that room are at all plumb? Through a lot of eyeballing, basically. I found that lining things up with the windows made more visual sense than lining them up with the ceiling and walls, and then I fudged a half inch over several feet here and there to make everything connect without too much obvious distortion.
Lara's new loft bed came with the desk and shelves as one unit, but Jake's loft didn't have any built-in storage. So, I whipped up a matching set of square shelves by surrounding a cheapie Kraftmaid cabinet that happened to have almost the exact right dimensions with some lumber. With some stain and matte polyurethane, you honestly would never know that it wasn't part of that bed originally:
Also, look - fairy lights under each loft! For some reason I have been obsessed with having these things around a bed since childhood. I remember really wanting to have twinkle light around my bed even in high school. Why on earth did I not make this rather easily attainable dream come true until now (for someone else!)? No idea. I remember vaguely worrying that they were too frivolous or something. Basically, apparently I was a very silly person.