Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Welcome, Whiskers Odette

Today we go to the animal shelter to pick up our new cat. We chose her on Saturday. I have made a little blankie out of the front of an old cotton sweater that is serged around the edge. I rolled a big paper bag into a basket shape to go in the carrier with the blankie. If she soils the carrier, a good basket won't be ruined.

We went to the animal shelter Saturday. Dave and I were pretty were pretty much in agreement without much discussion. Like minds, I guess.

So we went to the animal shelter today to look at grown up cats. I cried almost the whole time we were there.

We met three cats in the 'get acquainted room' and had a real hard time. Turns out we both felt the most connection with the cat that appeared to be least desirable. But, of course, neither wanted to stick the other with the poor cat. She had poop crusted into her fur and smelled awful.

A girl tuxedo cat. We decided our chances of getting one like Mary Shelley were as good as getting one like Ferm. Zero. She was very dirty with several large poops crusted to her tail and hind quarters. There were some scissor marks where poops had been cut off, and her abdominal hair was curly like it had been washed.

She slept/hunched in the tiny circular litter pan in her cage. When I told her she could have her own basket at our house, the cat care attendant got a clean litter pan for her cage and lined it with a little blankie. I guess they never thought of that.

We sat in the 'get acquainted room' and watched her for a while. She wouldn't approach us, but purred when we petted her, and allowed her stomach to be petted. She was very distressed by the dried poops stuck in her fur, but was unable to lick them out. She attempted to groom other parts, but was too distressed by the poops.

I think she will groom herself better when she is in a place where she feels safer.

So we filled out the paperwork for her.

They couldn't release her to us because they are in Alameda County and don't have access to home owner records here in Santa Clara County. We have to provide documentation that shows we own our home. People who don't own a home need a signature from the landlord or property manager showing that the pet is allowed.

We had to leave her there until today. They were closed Sunday and Monday. We will also find out when her spaying appointment is and we will have to take her back for that. There weren't any spaying slots available for the week. I felt very bad leaving her there.

Her name card said Whiskers, but she was a stray. I think they name all the strays for convenience or to increase desirability.

Monday, January 29, 2007

saddle pad quilts

I made these blocks to applique onto saddle pads. I like to decorate things that I use. Art on objects is more enjoyable to me than art on a wall. More than just walls should be decorated!

I made two for a black saddle pad and two for a white one.

The lighter ones, that I made for a white pad, were a little more work.
The background color I originally chose did not have a great enough contrast with all the petals. I saw this after I sewed in on, so I took it out and replaced it. Before I sewed the new fabric on, I realized that it didn't have enough contrast with the middle petals, so I added the red stripe. Done, Right?

When I took this picture, I realized that one of the top pale green triangles was on wrong side front, so I took it off and turned it over.

I think the lighter one would look fantastic on a grey or bay horse. The dark ones would really set of a good chestnut color. Maybe black or dark brown...

What do you think?

Saturday, January 27, 2007


I finished the placemats for my table. After the chicken ones I made as a gift, I decided I needed new ones myself. There are six of them and they are reversable.

At the same time as I made them, I took lots of pictures of the binding process so that I can make a tutorial some time in the future. No promises. "Some time" is the key.

Take a look at this Valentine sweety made by a good pal of mine. She can be yours, if you bid in time! Perfect on your wall, above your mantel, or in place of the Christmas wreath you haven't taken off the door yet! At least all the other holiday decorations are put away! They are, arent they? Click on the picture for more details.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pack 92 Pinewood Derby

Mr. Brobst and Mr. Wieder ran the races. My auto red eye reduction can sometimes make people look better, but sometimes they just look like a dofferent flavor of deranged. I think that happened to Roger.

Each car was timed on each of the six lanes of track and the computer calculated best times.Everyone watched. There was a class for each scout Den, Tigers, Bobcats, Bears, Webelos I and II, as well as a class for Dad's and the Unlimited Division for other family members and scout's cars from previous years.

That's Jana E. with her finger.

Here are the Drouin famliy cars and trophies. We cleaned up! Joseph's truck has won a trophy three years in a row. See my fabric covered car?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

quote of the day

I am having problems with my photo software. I will figure it out in time. I have so many other things going on.......lots of projects, with real life on top. And lots of other interesting things too.

I present this quote today, first, because of the software problem leaving me temporarily unable to show anything in progress, and second, as evidence of "lots of other interesting things."

It has often and confidently been asserted, that man's origin can never be known: but ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

Charles Darwin
The Descent of Man

Friday, January 19, 2007


Here is a 5th grade essay. Mrs. Maultsby has a class of 5th and 6th grade who are doing work like this, with a few exceptions.

Lessons to Learn, by Joseph Drouin

In life, there are many important lessons that can help you reach your goals, or just plainly help you. Three lessons that are important to me are somewhat from a book in “cheese” or regular form. The first lesson is “If you don’t change, you can become extinct.” Next, “Smell the cheese so you know when it is getting old.” Last, “Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese.” The reasons these lessons were chosen by me will be told later.
“If you don’t change, you can become extinct” was chosen by me because I somewhat do change. There is nothing that will make me extinct as in the form of failing in school. To me, that lesson means, for example, if one fails in school a lot and doesn’t change, his/her life could turn out not the way he/she wanted it to be. There some people who don’t change. This lesson may change some things in life.
“Smell the cheese so you know when it is getting old” means to me that you should check on things. Those things could be toothpaste, shampoo, and other things you need in life. Plus, if something is running out, then, if one checks on it, they are prepared and don’t have to be without it for a time. This lesson may keep things you need with you at all times. This is an important “save it” lesson.
“Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese” was chosen by me because if something is not working out, I just move on. If you sit around waiting, cheese will not grow legs and come to you to be eaten. Nothing will come to you, you must move on. With this lesson, nothing will get old and you will have new things. New cheese smells better than old cheese.
According to these three lessons, you can grow up to be a successful person. If you decide that your life should be easy, then follow these lessons. If you don’t follow these and other important lessons, life can turn out difficult. Life without important things like cars, food, and money is going to be almost impossible. Take my word for it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Isn't she cute?

I didn't make her, I wish I could say I did. My friend Mary made her, but you can only have so many dolls before you have to buy a bigger house or start finding adoptive homes. This little cutie is in the adoptive home lottery on eBay. Click on the picture to go straight to the listing.

click here

Friday, January 12, 2007

Enrico Fermi

This morning at 9:45, we lost our cat Ferm. He had suffered a long illness and was no longer comfortable.

Now every can contains albacore tuna, the doors are always open, and the grass never makes you puke.

Soft fur
Loud purr
Gentle vigilance

Pet your cat today, because you can.

Andinka Project, fabric paint stamping

Yesterday I finished the painting part of my Pinewood Derby car and moved it out of my workspace so I could play with the new Jaquard paints I ordered. I just used plain muslin.

The first thing I tried was painting burlap and pressing the painted part onto the muslin. This is what I tried first with Jones Tones paint. Jones Tones was very disappointing, but I thought it was a bad technique. I had new hope with the Jaquard. It worked very well with Jaquard Lumiere metalic color Burnt Orange.
You can see it in the background here. I used a strip of burlap and spaced the strips apart. Then I used a sponge and dabbed lines and dots in between the stripes. When that was dried, I used a new strip of burlap and painted Lumiere metalic Halo Blue-Gold over the sponge dabbed part. I was happy with this.

The blue part on top of the burlap printed background is made by applying Jaquard Neopaque Blue to a craft foam stamp with a sponge brush and pressing it on. It worked much better than the Jones Tones for this too. The consistancy was better, and there is enough color to make an impression without glooping it on.

Some outlines are painted with Jones Tones 3-D Paint Writer Glitter, Gold Glimmer. I had it, and itcomes in an applicator bottle with a small hole, so it worked well.

On this piece, I used a carft foam stamp with the metalic Burnt Orange and stamped in as before. Then I made second stampings witHout applying new paint. They are pretty faint. So I did it again with Halo Blue-Gold. That's the circle one. When the Halo color is applied in a stamp, there is a halo shimmer shows more.

I made some second and third stampings of this without re-applying paint. They were not as faint as the orange, but the halo shimmer was lost.

The green dots are made with a piece of kitchen sponge.

I used Burnt Orange on a kitchen sponge to test how a background would look if I dabbed it lightly. Interesting, but I think I can find other textures I like better.

The blue swirls are made by painting the Neopaque Blue onto a piece of hard plastic and then pressing the plastic onto the muslin. Mrs. Maulstby liked this when I showed it to her yesterday.

The last piece of muslin I did by making a wash with the Neopaque Blue. It takes a lot less paint than I thought! We can get some good washes and mix colors this way for some interesting effects. I want to try putting a piece of plastic wrap over this while it beigns to dry.

I stamped over it with some Halo Blue-Gold on part of a craft foam stamp,(the circle)and then used a piece of kitchen sponge cut to a shape to dab on those cornery things with Burnt Orange. The paint was applied to the spnge with a foam brush rather than dipped into with the sponge directly. I had paint on my foam brush after applying the orange and the Blue-Gold for stamping, so I dabbed in the little striped rays.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

In Training

Post 165! Wow, it doesnt seem like so many.

For the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby, I was considering building my car in secret and surprising Dave and Joseph, but I changed my mind.

I thought the anticipation and helping biuld my car would be more fun than a surpise. I think I was right, Joseph has been very excited. He has been giving me endless advice on aerodynamics and cosmetics. He was very anxious for me to sketch out my car so Dad could cut it out for me.

I told Dave I could do it myself, could I borrow his miter box and a hammer? These are--if you don't know already- the WRONG TOOLS for the job. But I know, from experience, the best way to get a man to do something for you in a timely fashion is to start to do it by yourself using his tools, and using them wrong. Then they get to save you from yourself and save their tools, and feel manly at the same time, and they do it right away.

Joseph wanted to know what color I would paint my car. But, of course, I can't paint my car, I have to cover it with fabric. I have been working on that, to the embarrassment of the men-folk. You know, of course, that the job of parents of teens is to cause their teen as much embarrassment as possible. I have about a year and a half to go before the teen is officially a teen, but it takes practice so I am in training. Thirteen can be SO unlucky!

I added iridescent glass glitter this morning, one more coat of Modge Podge and I will be ready to sand

For the Andinka project, I ordered three Jaquard fabic paints--one Noepaque and two Lumeire-- from Dharma and a book from Barnes & Noble. I added some Presist water soluble resist to my Dharma order. I dont know it I will use it, but I might and I have been wanting to try it out for a while(like a year!)

I looked at the book, Creating With Paint by Sherrill Kahn, as soon as it came yesterday. Ooo. Very impressive stuff, it didn't seem like it would apply. Oh well, another book added to my meager collection. It was scary, the kind of stuff I could never do, let alone expect from anyone else. After a couple hours mouldering in my brain, I was beginning to think it could inspire me to future projects. Now, in the morning, I feel that if I spend time looking at it, I will become more comfortable with the ideas and style and it could be very usefull.

I should call Sandy and offer to take her to lunch, show her the book, and bounce ideas. It's quite possible that I could also develope some kind of batik workshop for the guild, they have been asking me to do this for a while now but I have begged off, not wanting to get into the whole hot wax-toxic dye thing at the church. Not to mention having to buy more electric fryers and tjantings so several people could do it at once. $$$

Mrs. Maultsby has mentioned she would compesate me for the stuff I buy, but maybe I can negotiate getting some of last years Procion dye in exchange.....................
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Saturday, January 06, 2007

T-shirts(is there really an 'r'?)

I have played more with the shirt paint. I don't like the paint. All the colors I bought have the same value, even though I chose the colors for a wide range of values. I don't think the economy is warranted. I am going to try Jacquard, it is the top line. It comes in larger bottles so there is less loss with the dregs remaining inside that you can't get out.

My brain was spinning in circles all night over this. I am ordering a book from Barnes & Noble with a Christmas gift card. (really, this is and excuse to get something I want anyway).

I looking into silk screening,and it may be very do-able, and definitely fun. Fun is important. and not too expensive. The most expensive part is the squeegees, about $10 each, but for smaller designs, a regular kitchen spatula available from OSH might work.

Fabrics 'n' Fun may have some Jacquard, but they have been closed for inventory all last week. I don't know when they re-open.

Today is our family day, nothing else happens on Saturday beginning at 8:20.

Saddle Pad

I made this saddle pad for Denise for Christmas. It's just a regular State Line pad, but I added the embellishment with cotton fabric and poly pellon batt underneath.It's a modified Lone Star quilt block pattern. I changed the angle of each ray from 45 degrees to 30 degrees so that there would be three rays instead of two when I put it in the corner.

I worked more on the Andinka shirts. I am not happy with what I am getting. The paint is transparent so there is some show through of colors underneath that I don't like. Sometimes you want that, somethimes you don't. I don't want it for these. The paint I am using, Jones Tones, is a good value and is supposed to wash very well, and not to need heat setting. The problem is that the colors I have are all the same VALUE! I didn't buy a lot of color, but I tried to select a range of values. I learned a lot from talking to the people at Dharma, but they had a bit of a misconception of the scope of the project. I can see that, now that I see the limitations of the paint.

I have to find out what the time frame is for this so I can see how much time I have to mess around. I need to do some more research about products and methods. I have little experience with fabric paint and have not wanted to work with it much before so my resources are limited. Hmmm.....

I was awake for hours last night trying to figure out what to do next. Dave has declared Mastercard lockdown after Christmas. I don't know how I can get him to relax and get a grip, Christmas is like that. It doesn't matter how little you spend on it, if you celebrate with gifts, it causes an annual peak in spending. Especially with four December birthdays. I think they did that to Diane, gave her a chintzy birthday because it was December 31st and they had just mega-spent and mega-celebrated with Christmas. Dave said as much to me one year, "We don't have to get her anything big, she just got Christmas gifts." Then there was the year he said "We can just get her a Sears gift card so she can buy something for the boys."

If there were a way buying stuff for the shirts without putting it on the card, it would be OK, but my sources are all on-line and credit card is the usual currency. The other way is to drive around to places nearby. Fabrics 'n' Fun is very close and might have something, or know who would be a good resouce, but they are closed for inventory first week of January. There are probably a number of other places within an hour of the house, (not counting Michaels and Wal*Mart which have garbage for low prices)but I don't know where they are and I don't have the TIME, TIME TIME TIME! to drive around from place to place and look around and drive back to other places. Even if it didn't hurt to do it. Driving hurts the most.

Can you tell I feel stresed?

Friday, January 05, 2007

legumes and tension

I liked the placemats I made for my Mom for Christams, so I decided to make some for myself. They are not done yet. I chose the fabric using my birthday discount and Fabrics 'n' Fun, and got started.I was going along just fine, but my thread kept breaking. I tried changing the needle, but that didn't work. I finally figure out that the Coats and Clark Poly-Cotton would loop wrong around the thread uptake arm if I went too fast.

So them I'm cruising a bit slower when I started to have thread tension problems in the Juki. I messed with it, but it did not help. Finally I had to admit that this happens when there is too much lint under the footplate. I took everything apart and cleaned and oiled it, then got a practice coaster to fix the tension because I had monkeyed with it before, so now I had to un-monkey it. So everything is going smoothly....when I run out of thread and don't have any nore of the right color. Rats.

As Barbi Breen-Gurley once said to me: "Life has things in it."

It has things for other people too. We were having meatballs for dinner, and I quickly 'waved some frozen mixed vegetables to go with them, since I forget until the last minute to even make a vegetable. Mixed vegetables- little pieces of carrot, little pieces of green bean, Lima beans, and corn. I told Joseph that Grandaddy always told us two girls to "eat every bean and pee on our plates" and I wanted him to do the same.
"Really, all of it?"
"Yes, I want you to eat every bean and pee on your plate."
He asked Dave: "Is she serious?"
I must have said it a dozen times. I wanted to explain, but Dave said he had to figure it out for himself. Joseph looked like his goose was cooked before he even knew he had a goose.
I said it a few more times.
He finally got it. He laughed so hard he almost blew the peas out of his nose!

Some of life's things are OK.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Class Project, 5th-6th Grade

I got talked into designing a class fundraising project for Mrs Maultsby's 5th/6th grade class. It wasn't hard, she just acted like I had already volunteered. I went home and checked my forehead for some kind of special mark. It must be invisible, but if so, then how did she see it?

She wanted to make T-shirts with Andinka designs. Maybe stamped or sponge painted? So I pondered it and decided what I wanted to try first, then I called Dharma Trading Company about fabric paint and told them what I was thinking. From their experience, that wouldn't have worked, but I ordered some paints anyway.

Then what I needed to do was get some blank t-shirts to practice on, but I couldn't find the time to do that, so I ended up using some shirts I already had. They have been worn and washed, but for experimental purposes, should be OK.Then I made some stamps out of craft foam, and sketched out some stencils to make and got a new Dremmel bit to cut them with. But before I cut them, I decided to try some background stamping.

I tried stamping with burlap to get a visual texture, but the burlap held the paint too much and you can't get it off onto the shirt.

I tried the craft foam stamps and got very unsatisfacory results. The stamps were not porous and didn't get enough paint onto the fabric which was very absorbant and needed a lot. I tried loading the stamps with more paint, but it oozed over the edge and made the stamped edges blobby without getting enough on the fabric. You can see this indistinct blobby mess in the green spirals on the orange t-shirt. Yes, those were supposed to be spirals.

I tried sponges next, but the sponge soaks up too much paint and won't let it go when you try to stamp the shirt.The triangles stamped on the blue sweatshirt are done with the craft foam stamps. See the design on your upper left? That's the craft foam stamps.
The background on the orange shirt is green heat puff paint, but it was very hard to get it hot enough to heat puff. I need to look into the cost of a heat gun.

Then I got a sponge with a scrubber on one side, and that works better. The scrubber holds enough paint and then lets it go more easily onto the shirt. I used it to add more white paint to the side of the sweatshirt with all the paint. I think it still needs more. This worked well for getting an interesting background visual texture but impractical for the Andinka desings.

So I went back to my original idea. I cut the design out of sticky label paper and stuck it onto the fabric, then dabbed the paint on with the scrubber sponge. That was difficult to get a good enough cover for crisp edges. I tried one of those paint brush sponge things and got better results. That's good becuase you can get them at Harbor Freight Tools for a good price. You can see the paint 'brush' laying on the orange t-shirt.This olive green piece is about 10 inches. I cut it off of another t-shirt. The spiral designs with white paint are sticky labels dabbed over with a sponge and peeled off.

The top purple design on the orange t-shirt is done the same way. I peeled the sticky paper off before the paint dried because I was afraid the paint would work like glue to adhere it to the shirt. That peeling thing was difficult and messy!

I don't like it because of the mess and the rough margins around the edge. so I masked new edges with masking tape, but I dont like the results. What I DID like was putting the purple over the green puff paint. The texture was great.

Next, I tried cutting out the design so that the design was a hole and the background was masked by the sticky paper. I cut the edge the exact shape I wanted. I applied this to the orange shirt and used the sponge brush to paint the purple on. I liked this much better because the design is the positive rather than the negative. The peeling off part was still messy. Did it have to be messy?

So, I stuck a sticky label to the green piece of shirt and painted over it with purple, then let it dry. It was a little tricky to get off, but possible, and not messy! Yeah!

So then I played with gold glitter paint on the orange shirt. The data has been gathered and it sits in my brain awaiting correlation.

Monday, January 01, 2007

I made these

Here is a picture of the Christmas ppresent placemats I made for my mom. I couldn't post them before Christmas because she might see.

When I was there in Sparks at Thanksgiving, I noticed that the placemats she was using were some that I had made a very long time ago. It was kind of embarrasing because the work I can do now is so much better. They are quirky and cute, and I still like them, but the workmanship showed inexperience. Which is OK. But they were getting worn.

So I made new ones. She collects chickens, so I bought chicken fabric and made six. They are reversable.

I thought I had fabric for the binding and I cut binding, but it wasn't enough. So I went back to Fabrics 'n' Fun and bought a bigger piece of different print. When I cut it, it was still not enough. So three of them are bound with one red print and the other three are bound in a different red print.

The Cub Scout Pinewood Derby is comming up on Jan 13th. This is the last Pinewood Derby before our Webelos II steps up to Boy Scouts. Dave and Joe were busy last night making the cars they will race. They start with kits that include a regulation size block of wood and four nail-on wheels. They are each making a car, Dave will race his in the Dad'd division. There is an Unlimited division that Mom's and siblings can race in. Joe was trying to talk me into making a car for that. He was positive they could still get me a kit at the next Den meeting, which is tonight. I don't know if they really can. I know I can get one at the Scout Shop in San Jose and I might sneek down there and get one and make my car in secret and then just unveil it to them on the 13th. Surprise!

It can remain a secret because neither one reads my blog. The only person who would read my blog and blab will think about it and suffer a change of heart because if the blabbing happens, it will be acknowledgement that they acually read my blog. And that wouldn't do.