Friday, June 28, 2013

I'm not the only one that does this, right?

You know when you go to a restaurant and get a sandwich and it comes with one of those sandwich picks? You know the little wooden one that are like a giant toothpick? Yeah, those. Aren't those things great! I don't know why but I have a strange fascination with them. I have several at home ready for crafting purposes.

And of course I have several in the car. Right in the glove box. You know, in case I run into some tiny vampires. The wooden stakes are just the right size. I'm not the only one that does that right? Right?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What Time is it? Adventure Time!

I like to decorate my shoes. It's part of my weird crafty nature. My latest venture into the world of shoe decoration was done at the request of Sweet Pea. She has a favorite TV show - Adventure Time. It's a fun show - I like it too. So, to pay homage to Finn, Jake and all the other characters, I made these:


Monday, June 24, 2013

I Don't Think I Stole It

  I'm sure you know by now that I've been crocheting. It's lots of fun. Well I found a pattern for an 'amulet pouch' that I thought was cute. I don't have a lot of amulets laying around, but it looked like a fun project so I made it:

The challenge once it was done was finding the suitable amulet to put in it. I went rummaging through all my stuff and found this:

The genie ball! My sister and I used to argue and fight over this thing endlessly. We both wanted it. I think it's a piece of some old jewelry we got from my mother who got it from who-knows-where. Somehow I ended up with it. I don't remember how but I'm hoping I didn't steal it from my sister at some point. (I'm sure she'll let me know if she sees it here and says 'hey, so that's where that thing went! If I did, oops, sorry! :)


Friday, June 21, 2013

Bugus Cute-icus

The other day on the deck I ran across the coolest bug ever! And I'm not really a big fan of bugs. They usually have too many legs or too many wings or both. And they often like to fly in your hair, eyes, ears or mouth. And if they aren't doing that, they are dangling on strings in front of you as you try to shower, watch tv or bake. Very disconcerting!

But this particular bug was of the genus/family/species (hey, don't make me go to wikipedia to look up the scientific stuff - you know what I mean!) bugus cute-icus. The same family as ladybugs. This one was gold and black - the royalty of the ladybug family. He was like a tiny royal punch-buggy for a queen. He was very regal and poised, all rounded and gilded and shiny. He let me take his picture. I tried to pick him up, but after trying to pull his clinging feet up for a minute I got all oogied out - I just knew he would stick to me the same way. Even cute bugs are much less cute when they are stuck to your face!

So I settled for a nice photo and then went back to whatever I had been doing.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

For Ninjas Up North - Where It's Cold

So you know I've made quite a few sweaters for the Ugly Doll collection. Well, here is the whole crew - pull-overs, cardigans and ear-cozies:

I think I'm finally finished. Whew! That's a lot of tiny little sweaters. I'm all ready if I ever need to make one for one of those tiny vampires I'm always going on about.

And of course the next logical step after sweaters, was the ninja sweater. You'd think I would have made the ninja sweater for Ninja Batty Shogun, but no. Ninja Batty Shogun is pretty cool and ninjy all by himself. I made the ninja outfit for Picksie. I thought it would be a nice complement to his red eyes. It took me a while to find him for this photo (Ninja's are very good at hiding) but I did eventually find him and here he is.

And of course, for a recent birthday we had to make some Ugly Cakes. Here's a few of them:



Monday, June 17, 2013

The Aloe Is Taking Over

I have an aloe plant in the other room. Usually, other than weekly watering, I ignore it. However, for the last several months I noticed it had rather overgrown its pot. Well, the weather is finally conducive to repotting outside, so I decided it was time to give it more space.

Well, it wasn't waiting. It had apparently decided it was going off on its own. That thing was spilled over the side of the pot and halfway across the table. All green and spiky and looking for space. I managed to wrestle it outside and get it out of the existing pot. Now it's in a new pot and seems very happy. And the 20 or so chunks that fell off are in water, waiting for their own pots. This is the kind of plant I like, ones that like to be ignored.

Anyone want some aloe plants?


Friday, June 14, 2013

Hello Phillip

I had a garden. I no longer have a garden. Too much work. Too many weeds. Weeds won. 'Nuff said.

But I still have pots. Nice big pots on the deck where I occasionally try to plant tasty things. Things that are so tasty that a groundhog will risk life and limb to climb up onto the deck. He will clamber right over to the pots that are directly outside the back door. He will hoist his hefty haunches right up into the pot and sit right in the middle, munching on my lettuce! Munching it as if he has every right to be there! Little hog!

We've named him Phil Clover DeGroundhog. The neighbors know when he's in the pots when they hear me yelling out "Phillip Clover DeGroundhog!".

He's eaten all the spinach, despite the chicken wire around the pots. He's eaten the pea plants down to the ground. He's eaten every sunflower sprout that dared show its head above the dirt.

He even managed to get his grossly oversized groundhog teeth on my lettuce. My lettuce that is surrounded by iron fence pieces AND chicken wire! Apparently he is not only a groundhog, he is also an acrobat capable of leaping and spinning over the fences and landing deftly smack dab in the center of my lettuce. Goodbye sweet lettuce. Who knew that those ponderous, squinting, waddling creatures were so clever - those lumbering little beasties. So now I'm torn between building some sort of lettuce cage out of 2x4s and wire or just letting him have the damn lettuce. I haven't decided yet which option I prefer.

Here's a picture of him when he was still post-winter slim:

On the plus side, he doesn't seem to like tomato plants. I planted several and so far they are untouched. He also does not like oregano or chives. However he is a big fan of birdseed!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Roasted Starling

We've had quite an influx of baby birds lately. With the bird feeder on the deck, we often get them visiting. It's quite comical to see the babies - as big as the adults - fluttering their wings and holding their beaks open for Mom or Dad to drop some seeds into.

It all started with the mourning doves. At first we didn't realize they were babies - we just noticed that they were all rumpled looking - they didn't have smooth feathers like the adults. We call them the rumple doves. We finally noticed the adults were feeding them. Another cool thing about the rumple doves was that they didn't seem afraid of us at all. I could go out on the deck and get within 2 feet of them and they didn't get concerned. I got some nice photos:

Shortly thereafter we had a scattering of baby starlings on the garage roof. They were nesting in the vent on the side of the house and when they decided it was time to leave the nest they were all over the roof. It was actually pretty sad - I came home one day and there were a few of them in the sun on the hot garage roof, no doubt roasting. I know at least one died and ended up in the gutter. Another ended up out back in the blackberry bushes - his mother kept running in with bugs and worms so I think that one made out OK.

And just this morning there were several baby house sparrows being fed by their dad and several baby grackles. I'm still waiting for the baby cardinals. I expect they will be next.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Bugmuda Triangle

So, while all the backsplashing was going on I had the power cut to the kitchen outlets. For many years we've had a night light in the kitchen - one of those that automatically goes on when it gets dark. And for many years we've had a small pile of insects under said nightlight.

I cleaned them up of course, but there was always another one - some poor little buggy that tried to get friendly with the light and roasted himself. Bugs aren't particularly bright.

But Sunday morning I was in the kitchen. The power to the outlet was still off and the nightlight wasn't even plugged in. And yet, there was still a tiny little insect on the counter under the outlet - all six legs sticking straight up.

To think, all these years I thought it was the nightlight! And come to find out there is a tiny bermuda triangle right there on my counter. An insect graveyard. A cursed-for-insects twilight zone. Who knew?


Friday, June 7, 2013

Splish Splash Backsplash

I'm back. It's only been a month and a half. Stop complaining.

Moving on . . .

The backsplash is done. Almost a year ago I bought the tile, then for the last month 2 months 3 months OK! OK! For the last 6 months at least I've had the tiles laid out, marked for cutting, ready to go. For 6 months I've been trying to ignore my carefully laid out tiles. It wasn't too hard because they were out of the way for the most part. But the kitchen wall wouldn't stop nagging me. I tore the old backsplash linoleum off the walls 8 months ago and it wouldn't let me forget that it was still sitting there, all ragged and naked and pathetic.

So last weekend I finally broke out the wet saw, fired it up and in a single very wet, hot, noisy weekend, I cut all the tiles. The cat really enjoyed it - all her favorites - noise, water, heat. Ok, so the cat cowered in the basement while I worked. Come to think of it, the entire family was pretty scarce that day. But anyway, the cutting was done. Which meant the tiles were now not only laid out like they had been for the last 6 months, but now they were laid out in the middle of the floor - yes, the middle. Right in the way. So now I had no choice but to finish the job.

So, this past weekend I got to work. Saturday was a long day of mixing mastic, slathering it on the wall, on the tiles and on myself, sticking tiles and tile bits into the sludge, cutting and re-cutting tiles that weren't quite the right size and cleaning up my many, many, many messes. There was a little bit of cursing, some lost snacks, some takeout (we can't very well cook or prepare anything in the kitchen when it's covered in plastic, toxic dust, sludgy gunk and bits of tile!). But finally it was done.

Then Sunday was another long day of mixing grout, slathering it on the tiles and myself and trying not to stick myself to things. And of course the grout involved lots and lots and lots of wiping the tiles and wiping them and wiping them and wiping them.

And then, once the tiles were done it was hour after hour after hour of cleaning. Cleaning up grout and bits of mastic, plastic and dust and grime and slime. Cleaning the saw and the buckets and the tools and clothes and the floor and the counters. The cleaning up took longer than the actual work.

But overall it was very successful. There was only one 'oh crap!' moment where I realized my measurements were slightly off and I had to quickly reposition some stuff. And only a few minor things that will drive me crazy for the rest of the life of the kitchen - a slightly uneven edge on one side, a couple of missing bits in one spot and a few tiles that stick out a bit farther than the rest. But even though it's not perfect, it's done. And that's all that counts! And besides, once we get the microwave, coffee maker, bread machine, breadbox, toaster oven and other assorted crap back in place, you won't be able to see any of it anyway.  And by doing it myself I saved $600-$1000 bucks. Not a bad deal for a weekend of work.

And I even managed to fit in a few bikes rides, some meals, grocery shopping, snuggling, plant re-potting and a bit of sleeping.

I'm exhausted!