April 2010 Archives

Happy Earth Day

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Photo taken at Tybee Island, GA.

As far as what I'm doing on Earth Day, I'm not doing anything much different.  We do as much as we can in our apartment right now.  Though we have plans for even more in the future.  Here are some of the things we do. 


We eat mostly organic and locally produced foods.  Richard makes all of our breads and pasta.  It's sooooo yummy!  He also roasts his own coffee and brews his own organic beer.

We recycle as much as we can.  Any containers we can reuse ourselves we keep.  I have tons to put paint, dyes, and art supplies in.  Everything else goes to the recycling center.


Quite awhile ago, as our paper towel stash was coming to an end, I suggested to my husband that we get some heavy linen to make as reusable paper towels.  Linen is super absorbent and very strong.  I bought some natural upholstery weight linen and cut them to paper towel sizes and kitchen towel sizes.  With my awesome roll hemmer foot I was able to whip them out fast.  We love using them for everything.   


As we started using reusable bags more and more we realized we didn't have enough for groceries and the couple we had were small.  I found a great place online, Reusablebags.com, that has all kinds of green products that are fair trade and part of the sales goes towards the environment.  We bought some hemp/cotton bags.  Hemp is lightweight but stronger than a cotton.  The site also had some great cotton produce bags that we love using.  I screen printed a little design on our bags to make them more fun.  At first we had a habit of forgetting our bags but now it's such a norm.  Most cashiers at stores still have a hard time getting used to someone saying "I don't need a bag."


Off topic:  I ironed some of the plastic bags together today to make a fabric you can make stuff out of.  I hated the feel of it.  It was just so gross to me.  There is something very nice about a woven natural fiber textile.  Plastic bags are horrible, period. 


Our apartment forest as we call it, has taken over part of our living room.  We wish we had a patio for more.  It doesn't help that we've become plant addicted by always getting more seeds and plants to put around the apartment.  We have a lemon, lime, pomegranate, two olive, and a palm tree.  Only the lemon is producing right now because all the trees are still saplings.  Then there are the little plants scattered about, little trees, orchids, ect.  Then we have the planters with seeds in them trying to get stuff to grow.  My attempt at growing cotton has come to an end since my kitties chomp the 3" seedlings to nothing.  And then we have Richard's hobby, his aquaponic's garden.  That houses herbs, tomatoes, and peppers.  It's a pretty awesome.  The link shows older versions of it.  It has a better set up now. 


We really love the green cleaning product line Method.  Just started using the detergent and I have say I'm liking it.  Oh, for drying, dryer balls are the best!  They are also great for felting fabric in the dryer.


When I was working in corporate, I saw they were so wasteful.  When I discovered they were throwing away pieces of sample fabrics because they were no longer in production I rescued them.  I ended up with something like 8 huge boxes of sample fabrics that can be made into tons of pretty things.  Most are fabrics that are over $100 a yard!  My boss's comment was, "You can make stuff out of all that?"  Shocking!  I gave a lot of it away to crafters and saved two bins for myself.  I also managed to save a bunch of packs of cork flooring they were going to toss.  I lined my studio wall in it to make a giant bulletin board out of it.  Many friends and family have done the same.  I keep every little scrap of fabric, paper, or whatever knowing I will use them somehow too.  Yes it does take up room but I know I can use it better than the landfill. 


Recently, the one I'm most excited about, we got ourselves some commuter bikes to use our car even less.  Since we both work from home we hardly use the car.  We got rid of mine awhile ago so we are down to one, soon to none.  We added fenders, racks, and baskets.  I'm currently making our pannier bags.  I figured I could make them how we want them and make them in pretty colors since black is common.  I'll post pictures as I work on them.  I just finished dying the fabric for mine.  Yesterday we rode the 3+ miles to our friend's Earth Day Eve BBQ.  I did okay.  Since Richard road bikes for exercise it's nothing to him.  But I haven't ridden a bike since my freshman year of high school.  I'm a bit out of shape.  We made it there and back fine.  Yes, by the way, we are wearing helmets when we ride. 


On a funny note:  I shoved my kitties in my front basket to see if they would ride.  Tabitha wasn't going to have it but Matilda did awesome.  I rode her down the apartment hallways and took her for like a two minute ride up the side street.  She was a little shook more from bumps but didn't try to get out.  When I brought her back home she was at the door begging to get out of the apartment.  I will make her a commuter kitty!  I'm thinking I might start a blog for Matilda, too, lol. 


Well, anyways, Happy Earth Day everyone!




Poppies and Daydreams

I've been quilt addicted lately.  I recently joined the local Quilt Guild.  It's a huge group that is amazingly organized with the nicest ladies ever who are amazing quilters.  I entered this quilt in the upcoming quilt show, Common Threads Quilt Show, which is put on by the local group.  This past week at the meeting I showed if off and was happy to hear good things from the other members.  The group is mostly traditional quilters so they enjoyed seeing an art quilt up.  There is nothing wrong with traditional, I started there, but I like having fun with a quilt.    


I actually had a project for the Wichita Weavers Guild that inspired the making of this quilt.  We were to make something fiber related from a cocktail.  I had picked some yellow/orange drink.  When I realized the colors were coordinating with our living room I used that as inspiration as well.  I really love how this quilt came out.  The name of the quilt is the title of this entry.


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I was laying out fabrics to figure what I wanted to do.


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I painted the main background fabric with dye.  It's a cotton sateen fabric; I really love how this fabric absorbs dye.  I also put some pieces of cotton string in some dye to soak then laid them across the fabric.  After washing and drying, I added some gold spray paint splatters on it.  The borders are made up of silk and linen fabrics.  The poppy flowers are made up of cotton, silk chiffon, and silk charmeuse fabrics that have been naturally dyed with onion skins and osage orange.  The poppies were free motioned down with circles.  I left the petals raw edged so they would fray a little.  After putting the whole quilt together I hand beaded the centers of the poppies with brown glass seed beads and Swarovski crystal.

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The back comprises of some scrap fabrics that matched.  The orange fabric was hand dyed cotton sateen.  The brown fabric is Kona cotton and the small turquoise piece is silk.  I just wanted to add some fun on the back.  After assembling the quilt layers I free motion quilted the grass and stems in green colors, which you can really see on the chocolate background.




Pretty Easter Eggs


Happy Easter everyone!  It's been a while since I last blogged.  Just been a bit hectic lately.  Anyways, yesterday while Richard made breakfast, I decided to decorate the last of our eggs.  Since we still wanted to eat the actual eggs, I blew them out so we could cook with them and I would have the shell to decorate. 


Blowing out the yolk is really easy.  Poke a hole on the top and bottom of the egg.  Take a toothpick and poke the inside to break up the yolk.  This makes it easier to blow out.  Put your mouth on the top hole and blow into the egg over a bowl to catch the yolk.  Once all out, put water in another bowl and suck in some water.  Shake the water around then blow back out.  Rinse the outside and dry.  Now it's ready to decorate. 


I love this way for the eggs because you can save them pretty much forever, or until you break them.  I accidentally dropped one, oops. 


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I dyed all the eggs a base coat.  It didn't come out even but I liked that.


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I liked more muted colors so mine are the brown, red, and turquoise.  Richard wanted an eclectic green egg.  Sticks out a bit, lol. 


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Here are the four eggs that survived to be all pretty for Easter.  Richard's egg was scuffed up with some steel wool then blasted with some silver spray paint and then some gold and silver foil added randomly to it.

The turquoise egg was hand painted with acrylic.  It was supposed to be off white but the paint picked up some of the dye and turned it a light turquoise.  I still like how it came out.  One side has some flowers and the other side has a birdy.

The red/gold egg was scuffed with steel wool then gold paint was rubbed all over it. 

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Finally the last and my favorite egg.  I took an exacto knife and scratched out the design on the egg.  The white scratch design really pops against the dark brown.  I just love it.  Here are some details of it.

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