Showing posts from 2011

A Tale of Sourdough

Hello! Before I went to Las Vegas for our Christmas family trip, I used this book to try out a sourdough starter recipe. I coddled this starter for several (eight!!!!) days, following the directions as best I could. The starter bubbled and smelled very sour - I was hopeful!

Finally the day came to make the dough. The directions said to take it out of the refrigerator (where it was in a "firm dough" stage), break it up into six pieces (no more or less :)  ) and mix it up with the dough ingredients.

After a rise, a rest in the garage overnight and another rise the next day, they looked like the above picture.

And then I baked them. They looked beautiful!

I only cut myself three times with the bread knife as it slipped over the hard crust. It looked pretty in the middle. Rather heavy, like it didn't really rise that much. And, bummer, not really sour! :(

Still, it made a wonderful soup bowl. And I'll just have to try, try again...

My Desk

Really? It's been more than two weeks?

It feels like a hundred years since I've had any time to myself. I don't mean that I haven't had alone-time; I've just not had any days without commitments - family in hospitals, family dying (Brian's grandpa - very expected), funerals, finals, grading, last-minute Etsy orders, lots of visits to the post office, making presents for family members, work potlucks (being at three different branches means three potlucks to participate in) and family vacation.

This year, Brian and I took the kids to Las Vegas for Christmas. Instead of presents, we do family trips or outings. We only have the kids for every other weekend and there is never enough time to play with their presents so we decided to start giving memories instead of things. Two years ago we did Disneyland. Last year, we went ice-skating with hot chocolate afterwards. This year we went to Vegas to watch the Condors lose to the Wranglers. It was FUN! The Vegas crowd i…

Kusudama Flower Ball

I learned how to make these flowers after seeing the eight billion tutorials (here's the BEST one) put out last year but was reminded about them when I saw a fellow Etsian featured in People magazine for her kusudama flower ornaments. Part of me hates when something becomes popular because I worry the value of the object lessens. Here is a lesson for me: do what you find beautiful. Again and again, if you want.

Here's how my desk looks after working this weekend. I don't even have the finished products on it!

December Pine Tree Folded Book Pattern

My favorite thing about this month's free pattern is its versatility. Pine trees are appropriate for so many themes and times of the year. If you want, apply star charms to the tops of these trees for Christmas decorations! Ink the top part of the tree green and the trunks brown. Leave it naked for a subtle look. (That's me... subtle.)
Click on the below image to make it big and print out the pattern for yourself! I'd love to hear from people who've tried it and see their results!

Kern Canyon in the Fall

It's been very gray here in Bako for the past several days. We didn't let that get us down this weekend as we decided to go to the river together as a family and shoot things with beebee guns. Actually, the boys shot things. I looked for rocks. Did I spell beebee right?

The river was really low and quiet. It wasn't that rushing torrential flood that we had most of the summer and was a welcome sight. I always get worried about losing my kids to the waters. This time the rocks were so far out of the water that we could nearly walk across in some spots. Still, with it cloudy, you never know if a sudden rain is going to change everything and kill your entire family in the process. Yes, I think thoughts like that.

I found the neatest looking rocks. At first I thought it was a white-spotted red sock, but then I noticed that all the rocks had those polka dots on them. The granite is just really weird in this part of the river. I'll take pictures of the polka-dotted rocks an…

Quick Peek into December

Here's a teaser look at next month's freebie tutorial... :)

Flower Brooches

Using the same shapes I wrote about in yesterday's tutorial, you can also make these brooches.

I used about 21 circles for these brooches. Fold them all up into the single basic shape. I received an email from a friend today and she said it is called a preliminary base. I am taking her word for it because she is much more learned than I when it comes to origami. I don't know the words, I just fold. 

Holding one shape closed, put a bead of hot glue along one folded edge.

Put a second shape on top of the first one. Then glue the rest in the same manner. 

After you've glued as many together as you like - I did 21 for the pink buttoned one - glue the ends together to make a hemisphere. 

I have a badge maker that I bought last year to make badges for my Etsy shop (a goal for 2012?). Using that, I covered several badges with kraft paper and glued the hemisphere to the badge. Then I glued a button that matched the paper to cover the hole.

A word of caution: beware of putti…

Paper Ball Ornaments - Tutorial

I've been up to many lovely things lately. Since I figured out how to make these paper balls, I've been obsessive about trying all sizes and styles of circles. The other day at the library, I used their large balloon die-cut to make big circles. That's what I used to make that huge paper ball in the above picture. It's about 7 inches (18cm) across and would make a very nice pumpkin-like decoration for a Thanksgiving table or Halloween next year...

Here's how you make them:


Paper (I used map paper from an old encyclopedia - it has a feel like glassine)
Circle punch (I made several different sizes of circles for different-sized balls)
String or ribbon to hang (if desired)
Hot glue and glue gun

about an hour or so for your first one. Less on all the subsequent ones.

The toughest part of this craft is the folding of the circles into the base shape. Once you get it down, it's soothing to make these while listening to a good book on CD in bed, eating …

Trading and Bartering

I am a big fan of bartering. There are times when handmade objects are worth more than money and they feel better when you trade for them. I am making this book for my friend, Julie, in return for the beautiful cake she made me last week for my son. I've learned how to make prettier letters (lower case) that wouldn't be hard to translate into a whole alphabet. Hmmm....

Paper Ball

Look what you can make with a bunch of paper circles while you watch three different Shakespearean plays! I've seen Phiona Richards at Rare Notions use these shapes to make jewelry. After the amount of time and effort it took me to make this ball, I'm leaving the rest of the making up to HER. I see why it's worth buying some things!

November Free Pattern

Happy November to you all. Here is a tutorial for all you book folders out there for an acorn. I hope you enjoy making it. It was a lot of fun (and hard work) to put it together.

Hopefully this will get easier over time! I have to keep relearning things!

We Have a 14-year old in the Family

This past weekend, Brian's eldest son turned fourteen. I have been around this kid for nearly seven years and it's been an interesting time. We're still getting to know each other and sometimes don't know what to make of the other. He's sooooo into sports and I could be happier scratching out my eyes than listening to endless rehashes of past sporting events. Still, I wanted him to have a happy birthday. A friend of mine from the library traded me a book for her mom (oops - I need to finish that!!!!) in exchange for the cake. I definitely came out the winner...

Here's the birthday boy in all his silliness. He looks a lot like Brian when he was fourteen. Except for the eyes - he has his mother's eyes. (ooh, how Harry Potter!)

Here's the rest of the crew. Kenneth was keeping a steady eye on that cake. He wanted to eat one of the decorations very badly.

Sneak Peek for November

Here's a little peek at what is in store for all you book folders in the next few days... I finished folding up the prototype this morning and it turned out better than I'd hoped! Now I just need to fuss the pattern up and it will be ready to post... (December's is in the works, too!)

Here's another sample of my crocheted stones. I am trying very hard to allow myself to use the types of rocks we have here in Bakersfield and not seek only for the smooth, flat river stones I've seen others use for this craft. The rocks here are rough and crystalline. They are also mostly browns in color. Isn't it hard to see how you slavishly copy others because that is "the right way to do something" and fail to do it either the way you have at hand or allow yourself to do it the way that is "you"?

With that thought I asked myself why I was copying crochet patterns at all - why I was insisting on doing uniform rows or rounds. I prefer asymmetrical and freef…

Free Tutorial Coming!

Don't fret - I haven't forgotten doing a free pattern for folded books this month. I just haven't been able to finish it yet to take a picture to give to you. Puh-ray for the Heather... to get her act together.

In other news, I've been taking it easy in the evenings by working on crochet therapy. Here are a couple of lovelies that I've finished. The blue one is going off to a very sweet little girl who keeps taking her momma's rock for now...

Happy November!

October went out of my life very quietly. I was not feeling well for a couple of days and slept as much as I could. Alas! No art was finished!

Still, the Eddys celebrated Halloween for the first time in their own neighborhood and we enjoyed watching the parade of trick-or-treaters all evening. Last year we weren't home for some reason and Kiff still didn't understand the concept of it all. The other two kids were a little old for trick-or-treating so we didn't encourage it for them - we'd had a church function where we let them gorge on candy.

This year Kiff DID understand all the hoopla. For the last week, he's been asking how many more days until Halloween. He's been learning the days of the week and it's been fun to watch him do the weekday song and add in his own bits. Anyway, here are the Eddys celebrating in the ways they do best:

Brian has a fog machine and a ton of glycerine he got for free at work. He made his own fog juice and played with it all ev…

Once Upon a Time There Was a King

Donations at the library are funny. When a new rabidly-awaited title comes out there are HUGE waiting lists for the very small number of copies we have in our system (we're poor - don't ask). After the requests have all been filled or canceled due to people buying their own copies, we start getting those best-sellers as donations. First they trickle in and are madly added to the collection to fill holds. Then a few more come in and we use them to replace the too-soon dead copies we have. Then we get in millions.

This happened with John Grisham's The King of Torts. A few years ago we began noticing that we were getting several copies of this book in donations.  Just when you thought you'd gotten rid of the three or five just put on the table, another dozen would show up. We were starting to send them to Goodwill and then my co-worker began piling them secretly in my office. I was out on the reference desk one day when I came back to my office to find a stack of sevente…

Latest Work

Tonight I was able to get in touch with an old friend of mine from college. It was great to talk to him about art and find out what he's been up to. One of the things I remember most from my experience in art school was that something like 90% of all art school graduates never do anything with their art.

I like to think that art, while not a full-time vocation for me, is a way of life instead. Everything I do seems to be done through the filter of beauty, simplicity and truth (I hope). It's very close to my testimony of God, too, I guess. I'm lucky I have talents that make me so darn happy and can make others' happy,too.

Good to hear from you Paul and I can't wait to see your work soon!

It Depends on Your Perspective

I'm working on a few pieces for a company who is putting together an online boutique of sorts. They originally asked for three different patterns. I worked on them all last week and took quick and dirty pictures of them to send for their approval. Their responses were great. They liked the top of this one and the front of another one.

When I looked at the top of which they spoke, I saw their point. I guess it all depends on perspective!!!

My Bedside

This is what it looks like right by my bed. I usually take over Brian's dresser because it's closest to my bed. He's good about it and never complains. I need to remember that when I see his socks out in the living room each night.


Heads up! I'm turning off comments on my blog!

It's been a growing sensation for a while now, but I'm feeling a little too exposed to the world with everything and need a bit more privacy. Blogging will continue, but if you need to talk to me, please email me. At least the whole world won't see what you have to say - just us two. It will be cozy, just you and me.

This is all the result of a lot of in-depth soul-searching and reflection. Hopefully, I will be able to focus more on ... I don't know, but I'm hoping it's good, whatever it is...