30.3.12

Critters and a Clubman

Holy crow! Is it Friday already? The last couple of weeks have just flown by. Mostly I was just hanging out in the apartment being whingey and sneezy with the flu, but the last week has been kind of been a whirlwind. First of all, the classroom sessions for volunteering at Wild ARC were this weekend; zoonotic diseases, small mammal care and baby bird care. Even though I had already read through the manual a few times, it still felt like information overload because, well, it's just so much information. We also had a loan of our friend's car so I wouldn't have to take the really long, annoying, two hour bus ride, so of course we ran a few other errands as well. The main thing though, was car shopping.

We've been planning to buy a car for awhile now, but this was the first time we actually went to any dealerships. And then we bought a car! We lucked into a great deal too - a tricked out 2008 Mini Cooper Clubman for less than a brand new Toyota. I love it! We both always loved the Minis but assumed they were way out of our price range. (Because, BMW, hello!) And this thing doesn't have a scratch on it. It has oodles of warranty left, hardly any kilometres on it, was never in an accident, has all kinds of added-on fancy stuff (like a dual sun roof), and has only lived in BC's lovely temperate climate. It's pretty much a case of "owned by a little old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays". The Clubman is so much cooler than a regular Mini too. It's a wee bit bigger, with more room in the cargo area for hauling crap around, awesome "barn doors" on the rear instead of a pull-up hatch, and a super-awesome-wicked-cool "Clubdoor" - a miniature suicide door like you see in old gangster movies, which is totally more fun than it sounds. On this particular car it's an extra side door to make it easier for passengers in the rear seat to get in and out. And it looks cool. Not gonna lie, it may have been one of the deciding factors for me.

Photo from Automatic Car Hire

This of course isn't my car. It is my favorite colour though - British Racing Green. And yes, the name is half the appeal. I think I'd get a black roof though. And maybe some racing stripes on the front. Then again, another option is having Union Jack decals on the rear view mirrors and roof which would be a bit clashy-clashy with the sexy green. Also, perhaps I should wait before picking out my next car, like, until it's actually time to buy a new car.

And...I've been looking for a job. One that I actually want to do, I mean. I completely redid my resume and perfected my cover letter writing skills. And now we play the waiting game.

So yeah. I've been busy.

21.3.12

OMG Michonne!

Photo from Nerd Reactor

So there I was, enjoying the season finale of The Walking Dead - lovin' the Daryl, lovin' the gore, and lovin' the (possibly unintended but still very cool) homage to Night of the Living Dead - when there it was, the moment I've been waiting for ever since the series premiere aired...the thwack of steel slicing through undead flesh. Ladies and gentlemen, Michonne has entered the building.

17.3.12

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Zombie Leprechaun
Zombie Leprechaun drawing from Believe It Tour

I think every holiday needs a zombie mascot. After all, nothing says festive like the living dead. (Ok, when you catch a leprechaun you get three wishes, right? So what happens when you catch a zombie leprechaun?)

Zombie Leprechaun
I see you!

16.3.12

Friday Feathers: Starlings VS Falcon

I first saw this video on Birdchick, which is a really cool, down to earth birding blog. I've since watched a couple episodes of the BBC One Earthflight documentary series (which this clip is from) and, holy crow, there are even more amazing shots than this. That being said, this is still pretty awesome. Starling murmurations are one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring things I've ever seen. And, of course, Peregrine Falcons are awesome.

14.3.12

Badass Falcons and Stitchy Swaps

After a couple of false starts and a few carefully chosen curse words I've finally made some progress on my rock n' roll falcon. (Click through for pattern.) I decided to stitch him up as a Peregrine Falcon because I like their colouring. And really, if any falcon was going to throw devil horns, they would. They're totally badass.

Rock n' Roll Falcon WIP

I chose to do the outline in a bluish-gray, so I guess I cheated a little bit because their backs and upper wings are that colour, but of course you only see his underside in my drawing. I have lots of detail stitching left to do on his face and body, and I need to redo his talons. I also want to add a tassel to the glove, and probably some other details. I'm going to be busy little stitcher.

Rock n' Roll Falcon WIP

And in other busy stitchy news, I signed up for Wild Olive's Stitch Swap! (Here's the Flickr group for it.) I'm stoked but kinda freaked out at the same time. It's only requires a 4" hoop, which totally seemed wee and cute at first, but now it seems very big and scary. I was also super excited when I saw my partner's "likes" list because I like the same things. Easy, right? Wrong! I can't decide what to stitch! I'm probably just overthinking the whole thing though, and I'll probably end up going with the very first design I picked out.


13.3.12

Volunteering at Wild ARC!

Wild ARC roadsign

I'm volunteering at the BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre and I'm sooooo excited! Well actually, so far I've only gone to an orientation session, but that's the first step. Next comes three workshops in animal husbandry (Animal Health, Mammal Care and Baby Bird Care), and I'll be taking those in a couple weeks. Then I'll be allowed to actually get my hands dirty (literally) at a Spit 'n' Polish Training shift. That's a whole bunch of cleaning and organizing. And then I have to do a few Animal Care Training Shifts before I'm finally set loose amongst the critters. I'm already nervous about being responsible for all those little lives, but yeah, totally excited. The volunteers are only allowed to take care of small birds and mammals, like squirrels and raccoons, so I won't be around any raptors, deer, otters and whatnot. It seems like most of the duties of a typical shift are cleaning, but feeding baby birds with syringes and bottle feeding raccoons seems to be pretty common duties too. (Baby raccoons need to be burped! How cute is that?) I'm mostly excited about feeding the baby birds of course. Bet no one saw that coming. (Wink wink!)

12.3.12

Macramé Monday!

macrame tag on a basket

This is the basket that I keep all my macramé how-to books in. (Why yes, that is a vintage macramé owl kit behind it!) I decided to spiffy it up a bit with a new label....a new, macramé label.

Ok, so the tag itself isn't macraméd, but I still dig it. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I'm quite pleased with myself! This is the first macramé thing I've made since my weird obsession began. I made lots of macramé jewellery when I was in my early 20s, but at the time I didn't know that macramé was just a bunch of different knots. So what do you think?

macrame tag on a basket

Six of those eight sentences had the word macramé in it. Oh wait, now it's seven out of ten.

9.3.12

Friday Feathers: Decorah Eagles

Welcome to my new weekly feature! I realized that there's a lot of birdie-feathery stuff I'd like to share on here, both of the real and crafty variety, so I figured I might as well schedule it. As you might have gathered from previous posts, I'm quite a bit enamoured with birds. It's a relatively new obsession, but it encompasses pretty much everything about birds and, of course, feathers.

For my first official Friday Feathers post I wanted to share my latest internet obsession with you - the Decorah Eagles, a mated pair of Bald Eagles who are the stars of a live web cam feed on Ustream. The camera is in a fantastic position - it's just like you were standing on the edge of the nest! It's also infrared so you can watch at night! Right now Mom and Dad Eagle are taking care of three eggs, which are expected to hatch between March 23 & 25. They take turns on the nest, guarding and brooding the eggs, which is much more entertaining than it sounds. But, if you just want to watch the highlights, there are lots of videos on YouTube.

This video has some great close ups of both parents. Mom is the one sitting on the nest at the beginning, while Dad is perched on the branch. It's a beautiful sunny day and the camera pans around so you can see the view from their tree. Mom joins Dad on the branches after awhile, preens for a bit, then the both of them have a conversation.


Some of my favorite highlights are Dad bringing food to Mom (which I was lucky enough to catch live), small birds annoying Dad, Mom covered in snowMom eating a squirrel (with extreme close-ups), and from last year, both parents feeding the chicks together.

And then there's this video!

8.3.12

The Walking Daryl

So as of today, I'm finally caught up on The Walking Daryl, er, I mean The Walking Dead. I don't have cable so I have to use other means to watch TV (cough cough) and I just kept putting it off. There are some pretty good moments, a few "ugh" moments, and lots of very convenient-to-the-plot moments. Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mine when I watched them but I'm not exactly thrilled with the second half of this season. It needs more Daryl and less whinging. Or maybe I should stop whinging.

5.3.12

DIY Embroidery Floss Storage & Organization

DIY embroidery floss storage & organization

What I needed in a storage system:
  • skeins should be in numerical order
  • colors should be easy to see at a glance
  • floss should be protected from dust and dirt
  • putting floss away should be quick and easy
  • adding new skeins should be simple
  • system should be compact and able to store on a shelf
  • it should be relatively cheap
  • all of the above without being complicated

There are lots of awesome ways to organize embroidery floss, and I've tried most of them. None really worked for me though, and the biggest problem was having to choose between sorting them by colour numbers or by colour families. I wanted to have my skeins in numerical order to quickly and easily find colours needed for a pattern, and I wanted to be able to see all of the colours together without too much hassle. Basically, I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. I briefly considered leaving them lined up on the dining table before I realized that we'd have nowhere to play board games. Or eat. This is why I need a craft room.

sorting embroidery floss

Supplies:
* Coke bottle box * card stock * scissors (or paper cutter) * glue * snack bags *

Step 1: Organize your stash. I sorted my floss by number, putting each one into a snack bag. I love tedious tasks so this was fun for me. (And no, I'm not being sarcastic.) In this picture you can see the key rings from my last method of storage which organized the floss by colour families. Also, in the top right hand corner you can see the DMC Colour Charts and conversion tables. Those are super useful to have, so I put them in my pattern binder.

DIY embroidery floss storage & organization

Step 2: Reinforce the box. Glue card stock to the ends and bottom. I used a Coke bottle box because it had those dandy partitions and a carrying handle. It's also the perfect height!

DIY embroidery floss storage & organization

Step 3: Cover the sides of the box with decorative paper. (Unless you're a big fan of Coke I guess.) Fabric would be fun too. Maybe even with a stitched label or design! Next time...

DIY embroidery floss storage & organization

Step 4: Cover the handle. I folded the paper over the top, eyeballed where the hole should be and cut it out, then trimmed the sides and glued it down.

DIY embroidery floss storage & organization

And it's done! Ta da!

DIY embroidery floss storage & organization

Now you get to fill it up with your bags of flossy goodness! This one box holds all of my Anchor brand floss, which I separated by groups of numbers: 000s, 100s, 200s, and on through the 1000s. (I have way more DMC floss than Anchor. I'll probably need three or four boxes for them.). I made sure to keep the ends with the number label at the top so it can be easily located. Then I labelled the slots by putting number stickers at the top of the handle: 0 is for numbers below 100, 1 is for the 100s, 2 is for the 200s, and so on.  Some groups were bigger then others so I combined those into one slot. You can see in the picture how one slot is labelled with both 0 and 3. Another has 8, 9 and 10.

This is great compromise between sorting by numbers or colours. If I need number 404, I just have a poke through the 400s. It's super easy to take them all out if need be, find the one I want, and then pop the rest back in. No worries about keeping them in an exact numerical order. If I need a dark brown, I just have to look! The colors are all visible and it's easy to pull out any likely suspects to get a closer look. And again, just pop them back into the right slot.


And
, you can forget all about the numbers and just separate them by colours if that's how you prefer to sort your floss.


DIY embroidery floss storage & organization

See? Pretty colors!

I'd love to see how you organize your embroidery floss! Everybody has a different system that suits their needs, and pictures of floss and other supplies are always fun to look at. And if you were searching for a new system and are inspired by mine, I'd love to see your version!

Macramé Monday!

I just love these plant hangers. Especially Warts, 'cause it has warts!

Plant Hangers - Step One 1978
From Step One. Copyright 1978 by Step One, Color Craft Publishing

3.3.12

Thinking Outside the Hoop

cross stitch starfish mounted on a beach rock
Starfish pattern from Issue 242 Cross Stitcher magazine
Colors used were DMC 550, 552, and DMC Pearlescent Effects E211

It's a paperweight! Or, it could simply be a pretty piece of art for a shelf. Either way, it's a different way to display your embroidery. Tying a small bit of stitched fabric onto a rock like this is actually something I've done before in an embroidery course I took many years ago. I can't for the life of me remember if it was my idea or someone else's though. Nothing came up in a Google search either.

The original starfish pattern used shades of coral, but I chose to make mine purple like the ones found around here. I also used one strand of metallic thread mixed with my three strands of regular cotton to give it a bit of a wet looking shine. This also had a added bonus of giving it more dimension and making it look "bumpier" like a real starfish. I had originally intended to trim the thread that I used to tie it onto the rock, but I liked the look of the long ends.

cross stitch starfish mounted on a beach rock
Starfish pattern from Issue 242 Cross Stitcher magazine
Colors used were DMC 550, 552, and DMC Pearlescent Effects E211

Have you ever experimented with different ways to use or display your crafts?

1.3.12

Cats are totally the drag queens of the animal kingdom

Damn near lol'd myself right off the chair when I read this!

photo from I Can Has Cheeseburger, illustration by Teresa Burns Parkhurst

Pop Tarts and Lovecraft and cross stitch! Oh my!

Eating before bed gives me nightmares. Eating a lot before bed gives me a lot of nightmares, and I found that out the hard way earlier this week. I was feeling snackish one night, so I ate two chocolate Pop Tarts. Then an entire bag of popcorn smothered in melted butter and salt & vinegar spice. And then four more chocolate Pop Tarts. (Yup, you added that up right. Six chocolate Pop Tarts.) It all definitely falls into the it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time category. So, of course, I had oodles of weird nightmares and woke up a bunch of times throughout the night. Also, it probably didn't help that I read a few stories by H. P. Lovecraft before I went to sleep. I'm reasonably sure that Cthulhu didn't actually make an appearance though. Of course, that would have been down right cheery compared to some of the creepy silliness that my brain came up with.

And how awesome is this cross stitched sampler anyway?

Cthulhu sampler
Cthulhu cross stitch sampler by Disobedient Child