Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sunday Gardener papier-mache doll

Just posting a picture of this one because I think she's pretty. She displays a lot of handwork: hand-crocheted lace and hand-worked beading on her blouse, for example, not to mention her sculpted paper-mache head. Her hair is natural golden brown llama wool. Her arms are painted cloth.

All the fabric used in this doll is recycled.

You can see a few more images of this doll at my Etsy shop (see link, above right).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rag Mop

Picture #1: This is a close-up of a rag mop I made using the leftover button and buttonhole plackets, collars, collarbands, yokes and cuffs from the garments I cut up to recycle the fabric for my handmade dolls. Until now I've been throwing many of these cut-off pieces away; they're too small to be worth taking apart properly in order to use the pieces. I felt bad about wasting them, but they were also too small to be used as rags. UNTIL I thought of using them as the rag strips in a wet-mop.

Husband Peter went shopping for me and found a mop handle with a clamp at the end instead of a mop. Though one can also buy the replaceable mop heads, we decided to create our own, using these long, narrow rag strips.

I chose only cotton fabrics, for absorbency, and decided to use two cuffs as the top and bottom that would hold the other strips together (see picture #3--I canNOT get these pictures to appear in the order I want them) as they were just twice the length of the clamp. Having done some minor Internet research on making one's own rag mops, I discovered that 12" is a fairly good length for mop "strings," so I laid a double row of my narrow rag strips along one of the cuffs, making sure they crossed the cuff where they would be sewed on, and stuck out about 12" on either side of the cuff. I didn't want to make this part too thick, since even my strong sewing machine does have its limits--it can handle up to 9 layers of denim, but with some of these rags there were close to that many layers in the seam allowances. Then I laid another cuff piece over the strips and sewed several times down the middle to hold everything together.

Folding the newly-created mop head in half, I inserted it into the opened clamp and screwed it shut. Behold, a rag mop!

Then I decided to go back and loosen the clamp so I could wrap a few extra cuff pieces around the exposed part of the clamp (picture #2). I hate it when the hard part of a mop scrapes the floor while I'm mopping, don't you?

I believe two of these "mop heads" could be used together in the clamp at the same time for a thicker mop, but I haven't tried it yet. The advantage of a mop like this is that you can remove the head and throw it in the washing machine when it is dirty, thus avoiding the perpetually wet, smelly, mildewy and eventually rotting-out problems that can happen with non-removable mop heads. One could also rotate several heads, thus always having a clean one to use--or even designate different mop heads for different parts of the house (one for the kitchen, one for the bathroom, etc.) One could go farther and colour-code the heads (kitchen is warm colours; bathroom is cool colours...) but some might think this is carrying it a bit too far. I'm all for it, myself, and may use colour-coding for my next series of mop heads.

Haven't tried it out yet...but I wanted to get photos of it while it was still new and clean. Kind of like taking pictures of the kids in their fancy clothes BEFORE the pizza party.

Another bluegrass trio picture

I like this one better. It was done with aquarelle (water-colour) crayons and permanent fine-tip marker for the black outlines. By the way--I have prints of this one for sale!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bluegrass musicians in coloured pencil

This is a drawing I finished--if any original artwork can ever be called "finished"--a couple of weeks ago during a drop-in artists' get-together I sometimes participate in. The musicians in this picture played at our Farmers' Market a couple of summers ago; they were "busking," or collecting donations in the violin case on the ground in front of them. I gave them a dollar and asked them to play me a tune, which they did. They told me they were booked to play at a wedding later that day. We haven't seen them at the Market since, but everyone wishes they would come back. I was, however, able to take some photographs, with their permission, and this is one of the results.

Farmer's Market, Spring 2009

The Farmers' Market is now open, and you are all cordially invited to come down, look around, enjoy the ambiance of an open-air market where just about everything sold is either grown or made by those selling, and buy something--you'll almost certainly find at least one item you either want or need.
Be sure you check out Jerry and Shirley Witt's home-canned vegetables, preserves and relishes. Their chow-chow (available in several "hotnesses") is delicious on a peanut-butter sandwich, though they gave me a rather strange look when I told them so. Here you see Shirley arranging her display under the interested eyes of several potential customers.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cold, snowy eastern Tennessee

We've had more snow this winter than in the previous three winters combined. We're enjoying it, though of course things like schools and churches tend to shut down sooner here than in northern Canada where we used to live. There was a time when I considered this laughable, but after hitting the ditch myself a couple of times on invisible ice--and remember, we have LOTS of steep slopes around here--I have become a bit more understanding.

Husband gave me a tip recently on the best way to safely navigate a very steep and twisting driveway in slippery winter conditions: put the car in neutral, then use the brakes to "inch" to the bottom of the hill. He explained that this way, the car will roll more gently and come to a stop faster than if it is in gear. Otherwise, even in low gear, the car will fishtail every time you apply the brakes, which can be disconcerting at best and disastrous at worst if the driveway is both very narrow AND located on the edge of a sheer dropoff, as many driveways are around here. Husband claims he learned this from my father (who never taught it to me, because I didn't learn to drive until long after I left home.)

Try this and see if it helps--I plan to, the next time!