Saturday, October 18, 2014

Masterpiece #2: Painted Drop Cloth

Our porch is a tiny patch of cold, bare concrete with three walls, an iron balustrade, and a door. It's cold and unwelcoming and desperately in need of some decor lovin'! Two gorgeous chairs were on sale in the local thrift shop, but that floor! It's a rental, so I couldn't paint/stain/cover the floor with anything permanent, which left me the only option, really, of buying an outdoor rug. $$$$$$$$$ later!!! Er... no. As my mom used to say: "I'm not Rockefeller, I'm the other feller!" Explore other options.

Okay, so I can't install anything, I can't buy anything, perhaps I can make something? As this porch does get rained on (in?) it had to be something weather-resistant, so knitting, crochet, rag rugging, and other readily-crafted ideas were out. Then I discovered painted drop cloths. (I love you, Google!) Merely $14.99 for a canvas drop cloth, 9' x 6' size, at Home Depot. The selection of paints in the reject section were a gallon of pink and a quart of ... um.. reddy-brown stuff. Add a sample of yellow, violet, and red for color mixing, and a quart of white, because you can always use white, and I was ready to paint! Sort of.

The only space I have available is my dining area, so while the drop cloth went through a wash and dry, I hefted the table out the way, laid out a "carpet" of old newspaper, topped that with plastic, and discovered that curious kitties are annoyingly persistent.

Really annoyingly persistent. I'm also really annoyingly stubborn, so I shooed the kitties, sketched in my design, shooed the kitties, positioned the drop cloth, shooed the kitties, painted the outline, chased down the kitties and wiped paint off paws, shooed the kitties.... GAAAAAAAAAAH!

 Kitties 792; Toni 0; and blood-pressure rising, I built a barrier of guaranteed-annoying-to-kitties items. The place looked like a bomb shelter after it's been used and vacated. I traipsed around the house digging out anything I could find that would possibly irritate the cats too much to cross; sheets of paper or plastic, boxes, bags of items, cat beds they don't use much. It worked pretty well, and I was able to get some painting done. One layer per day, allowed to dry overnight.

While my barrier was indeed effective, the cats would circle it like sharks at a baiting station, staring at me with disconcerting intensity. It was like I'd broken some cosmic cat rule and they were waiting for the bolt of lightning to strike me asunder, blow up the barrier, and allow them access to painted-paws heaven!

Fortunately for me, and for them, as mine are the opposable thumbs that keep them in kitty kibble and Fancy Feast, no lightning bolt flashed and my painted rug was completed. Voila! I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. I'm debating whether or not to varnish it to seal the paint, but for now, it's going out on the porch. :)

And yes, you will notice a distinct resemblance to Masterpiece #1!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Masterpiece #1

While in Winchester, VA, I popped into a little shop where they do ceramic painting and such. Not wanting to wait three weeks for my ceramic to be fired (nor pay the postage, to be honest), I opted to do an acrylic painting instead. It would be done in the day and I took it home immediately.

Voila, my masterpiece!

Unfortunately, this photo is the only record I have, taken with my phone on the airport shuttle bus.

Yup, less than 36 hours after making it, I forgot it on the bus!

Is this not public humiliation, you ask? Well, yes, I guess it would be... if I weren't such a scatter brain that this is not an unusual experience. I generally have to almost tie my belongings to myself in order not to forget them. However, the purpose of this post is neither to humiliate myself, nor to brag.


Watch this space!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Luxury Living

You know what they say about finding stuff on the internet, right? Well, here is proof that "they" are not always right. We found this "luxury apartment" online and it has turned out to be luxury indeed. They're beautiful apartments and the folks here are wonderful.

There are six buildings in this apartment complex, our building is only two stories, with a mirror-image upstairs and downstairs apartment; one on each corner and two in the middle. The gently winding pathways to each door are set between lush grass and manicured flower beds. The design is very Southwestern, with stone and stucco-like finishes.

Our apartment building

While the apartments are, obviously, apartments and therefore butt right up to each other, the layout leaves a very spacious impression. It's not hard to imagine you're in a townhouse, rather than an apartment. It is in no way, as the British put it, a pokey little flat!

Very open layout

Our unit is the last one on the ground floor, you can see it is the last pathway leading into our door on the right of the above photo, before the pathway curves around behind the building towards the parking area.

Our front entry

Here is our front door, and you can just make out Trix watching me through the window on the right. Due to a long list of rules and regulations, the cats are not allowed outside, so I give them a "breath of fresh air" every morning by opening the window for them. They get to smell all the smells and watch all the fun, but not go outside. Invisible in these photos is the mosquito mesh that screens each window. It is sufficient to keep them inside, but I do not trust it to withstand a concerted effort, so I never leave the windows open when I'm not home. I don't forget to close it either, thanks to a small post it note on the door!

Fascinated by Cat TV!

The cats find this an excellent solution, especially when a bird or lizard comes past. Then they become totally fascinated by Cat TV. It's really funny when they go into "hunting" mode. I've learned to only open the sash halfway, so that when they jump up to catch the bird/lizard/bug, they "catch" the window glass and not the mesh!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cornflour Made from Wheat.

For all those who suffer the trials and tribulations of sourcing gluten-free food, I am sorry to add to your woes. Behold, and gnash your teeth! Or gasp in disbelief, whichever works for you. I did the "gasp, wtF??" version myself...

Now, is it just me, or is expecting cornflour to be made from corn just unreasonable?

Have you discovered any previously-safe GF food now frankensteined?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Miss Bossy Patterns Selection

Well, I'm STILL stuck on my February Challenge: Pants, and it's time to get my March Challenge on the board. Does anybody else see anything wrong with this picture? Gaaaaaaaaaaah!

Anyway, March is Miss Bossy Patterns. We have to choose three patterns from our pattern stash and post for folks to choose which one we are to make. Posting a photo of the suggested fabric is an optional extra. We can use tissue patterns, or books or magazines. I have an astounding selection of BurdaStyle magazines for somebody who can't sew, so it's about time I went for one of them. LOL.

In true Toni style, however, I've gone with a slight twist. Yeah!

Below, please find my pattern selections.

Option 1: The BurdaStyle Folded Yoke Blouse 10/2012
If you have a look at the web page here and scroll down to the bottom under "Completed Projects" you will see a couple of very nice examples in a printed version. The white version in the magazine is lovely, but I especially like Maska's version, and think Merche's is pretty too. I shall shorten the sleeves, it will be more useful to me that way. I'm also considering something different with the buttons, but haven't decided yet. 

Option 2: The BurdaStyle Wrapped Blouse 04/2013
The web page is here for your viewing pleasure. No changes in mind, this is just so pretty as it is.

Option 3: McCall's M6354
While I have the tissue copy of this pattern, for ease of reference of viewers, I found McCall's online page here for your perusal. Now on this one, I'd like to add sleeves, but I don't know if the style would support it. I'm hoping to wear this blouse to work, so sleeves is a must. Our office had the polar vortex LONG before it made it Stateside! 

As you can see, I'm all about tops this month. It's something I'm sorely lacking in my wardrobe, so I've decided to focus on creating a larger selection this year. 

Now, here's my twist. 

Instead of finding fabric to match each pattern, I'm planning to use one particular fabric for whichever pattern wins. Purchased from Nancy's Notions, but Nancy is uncooperative enough to not have it on her website any more, requiring me to do the entire photograph-download-cut-and-paste thing (are you reading this Nancy? Very unhelpful of you!) to get it up here for you, my dear voters. 

And here it is. Isn't it glorious?

(Nancy, you're forgiven - your fabrics are such fun, I can't stay mad at you at all!) Grin!

There is a lot of blue in my wardrobe and a fair amount of red. I have a couple of green items and a smidgeon of yellow. Lots for mix-and-match versatility. I originally thought I'd make this fabric into a dress, but I have a dozen dresses hanging unused in my closet, so I figured that would be a total waste. At least I will get to wear this several times over in a top or tunic.

So, what's it to be folks? What will I be wearing come end March?

Boss me to make the free polls