Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Best. Stick. Ever.

Just ask Koko...

At the dog park near my house in a carpet of fall leaves.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin 2011

Here is this year's pumpkin carving effort. I was going for a happy smiling pumpkin, but it came out on the creepy side. Just as well for Halloween! Sorry for the quality of the pictures - these are cell photos.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today's Artistic Inspiration

Too much fun! Joe Hill's pavement art.
See much more here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ghost Blue

I've had these patio chairs for very many years. I've moved them. Twice. They were a little worn - the original Hunter Green paint was chalky - and it was time for a refresh. After mulling over the myriad colors in which Krylon spray paint is available, I settled on what they call "Blue Ocean Breeze". But I call it Ghost Blue. I love the color on these chairs. It makes me happy. And, they will go with the colors I'm going to paint the house without being too, you know, matchy matchy.

The table, which is what Hunter Green looks like, will also get a new paint job just as soon as the strawberries finish fruiting. The trouble is that a few of the stringers grew through the table, so a fresh coat of Hunter Green will have to wait until those strawberries are eaten.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunflower Light

sunflowers caught by the morning sun. cell phone pictures.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Text 'AID' to 27722 to Help Save a Life


The United Nations estimates that a 1.5 million Somalis are displaced within the country and more than 100,000 of them have fled to Mogadishu in the last months due to the crisis. Hospitals in Mogadishu have been overwhelmed with new arrivals. The US government estimates that some 30,000 children have died in southern Somalia in the last 90 days due to famine and drought.
(left) Halima Hassan holds her severely malnourished son Abdulrahman Abshir, 7 months, at the Banadir hospital on August 14, 2011 in Mogadishu, Somalia.  
(All photos by John Moore/Getty Images)
This link is a list of organizations working in the area. Please give. http://www.interaction.org/crisis-list/interaction-members-respond-drought-crisis-horn-africa

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bucket o' Spuds

 Last year, I planted red potatoes in the garden. We did not this year, but we have had several volunteers* and decided to leave them grow. We have four or five robust plants. Unfortunately, since we didn't actually plant them, they have come up in some not-necessarily-convenient locations. With the garden in full bloom, one can get a bit tired of having to step over the giant potato plant that happen to come up in the path. After the umpteenth time, my lack of patience gets the best of me and I pull them up. This picture is the bucket o' taters I reaped from one (yup one!) of the plants. The big one in the middle is probably over 4" long.

*I'm guessing the volunteers are from tiny taters I missed when digging out the potatoes last year. They got spread around when we turned the soil and added compost this spring.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hiking the Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge from a Cape Horn overlook. 
Went hiking the other day. While it was an ok hike, it was actually sort of a strange and not one I would necessarily recommend. With so many stunning places to tramp around in the gorge, there are tons better. But, we tried it and now we know...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

More Bounty From The Garden

Well, the-world's-greatest-neighbors and I are just tickled pink at the produce the garden patch is pumping out this year. And to think it looked like this just a few months ago! Now it's bursting at the seams. Here are a few pics of the lovelies I have eaten this past week.

I do love me some artichoke! The most perfect vehicle for warm garlic butter. This is the first one of the season (more are on the way) and a right good size. Yum.

These were the main ingredients for a lovely cold zucchini soup I made. Wonderful onions, heaps of fresh mint and a zuke that measured in at 14"! We have had several of these monsters already and needed to come up with something - besides zucchini bread... - to not let them go to waste. With a little creativity you can use a mess o' zukes to make this soup. Very tasty and perfect on a hot summer day.

And last in this little photo tour is the sweet corn that we just started to harvest this week. I was so excited, I peeled it and started eating it while literally still standing in the garden. Couldn't resist! As delicious and juicy as it looks. Pretty thrilled that the corn matured properly this year as it was less-than-stellar last year.

I currently have red potatoes, eggplant and beans in the fridge waiting for my next culinary adventure.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Raspberry Sorbet Fail

Heap o' raspberries.
I'm thinking the cuby part
isn't supposed to be sitting
directly on the base.
It's been a bumper year for raspberries at Le Jardin du Curly Girl. Koko and I have been eating as much as we can right from the bushes and I've been harvesting the rest. This week I decided to try making sorbet. I borrowed an old ice cream maker from the-best-neighbor-in-the-world since I didn't have one and just learned that you need one to make sorbet. TBNITW had never used it as it was handed down to her and had been since sitting in her basement. I even found the user manual online, read up on what I needed and I thought I was good to go.
I love this juicer! It's from my mother's
house and goes perfectly with the
color I painted my kitchen.
I don't even know why I have paper cups
in the house, but I'm glad I do.
I went out and picked a heap o' raspberries, juiced an orange (ok, it was a Cutie, but since I only need a couple of tablespoons it would more than suffice), zested a lemon and combined all the prepped ingredients in the freezer bowl of the maker. I then layered the ice and salt in the maker to the top like the instructions said. Turned it on and zippo, immediately realizing that there was some major piece of the ice cream maker that was missing. I think it needs the blender bottom part between the base and the maker cube. TBNITW wasn't home and wouldn't be for the rest of the day. What's a Curly Girl to do? I broke out the paper cups I happened to have in the house and the bamboo skewers I happened to have in the house and (hopefully) rescued my failed sorbet by making popsicles. It'd be a damn shame waste of a quart of lovely, fresh-off-the-vine, organic raspberries if they don't work out. We'll see in a few hours...  Next up: Raspberry Buttermilk Cake!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Today's Reality Check: Starvation in Somalia

"Two-year-old, Aden Salaad, looks up toward his mother, unseen, as she bathes him in a tub at a Doctors Without Borders hospital, where Aden is receiving treatment for malnutrition, in Dagahaley Camp, outside Dadaab, Kenya, Monday, July 11, 2011. U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres said Sunday that drought-ridden Somalia is the "worst humanitarian disaster" in the world, after meeting with refugees who endured unspeakable hardship to reach the world's largest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya."
(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Here are some organizations you can donate to (clickable):
Doctors Without Borders
The Kenya Red Cross
The World Food Program

Friday, July 1, 2011

I've Been Waiting All Year For This

This photo was taken moments after they were picked from the backyard
and seconds before they were eaten for my breakfast. Ah, summer.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easy Peasy (Matching) Coasters

Yeah, I'm one of those people who still uses coasters. I have a lot of wood furniture and water rings make me sad. Here's a simple, fast, crafty-type project to make matching (or not) coasters.

I recently (ok it was last year and I'm just now getting around to this project) renovated the little sunroom in my house. The floor needed to be leveled and because of the space between the floor and the bottom of the door, I needed to use peel-and-stick tile. There's lots of nice looking options out there and most people think what I used is real tile! With projects like this, you always have left over bits of tile from going around doorways and such. I thought it would be cute to make coasters for the sunroom from the stuff I would just end up throwing out.

What you need: bits of tile, scissors, pencil, sandpaper and cork coaster rounds from the craft store. I happen to have a tin snips and used that to cut the circles apart, but that's not necessary.

Trace out the cork rounds on the back of the tile and cut the circles apart. Cut out the circles as smoothy as possible with the scissors. This tile cuts pretty easily. I found cutting just inside the drawn circle was the best fit. Once cut out, peel the backing paper off and carefully place the cork round and smooosh it down.
This is when I went back and trimmed any little edges that needed it.  I decided not to just peel the backing and place the cork first, then cut it out because this can be a bit sticky and it's easier to chew up the edge of the cork this way. Next, I used the sand paper to smooth out the edge. I found using an across and downward (towards the cork) motion best as it kept the sand paper from pulling up the paper layer of the tile.
Next, go pour yourself a cocktail and place it on your new coaster. Enjoy.
That's it. Easy peasy! All four (including picture taking) took maybe 20 minutes. The tile I had/used is a bit thicker because the tiles were 18". I'm guessing 12" tiles might be thinner. Any tile could be used. Mix and match! Go crazy!

That was Crafting Corner with Judi for today!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Catastrophe So Immense

I can't. Wrap. My brain. Around. It.
If you haven't yet seen these before-and-after shots,
this may clarify the enormity of the devastation.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Today's Reality Check: We've Only Come So Far

Words on the face of a protester commemorating International Women's Day in Mexico City read: "For being a woman, I am hit, I am raped, I am killed."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Beautiful Glass in my Home

These are a couple of the glass pieces I have in my home. These photos do not do them justice. Both pictures were taken on winter-in-Portland less-than-sunshiny days.
The top photo is a lovely housewarming-gift mobile from Leah Pellegrini (her Etsy shop is here). I have it hanging from the archway between the living and dining rooms where is catches light from both sets of windows (and no one is in danger of bumping into it).
The lower picture is a fun stained glass banner made by Megan Klepp of Ta-Dah (her Etsy shop is here). While in a perfect world I'd have the perfect in-a-window spot for it, I don't. It currently resides on a wall in my sunroom (I got it specifically for the sunroom). Because it is fairly opaque glass, the wonderful colors aren't lost without the light coming through.
I'm so happy that I know both these delightful ladies and can see these beautiful works of art everyday!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring's On The Way

 A sure sign of spring at my house is planning for the garden. Last year was the first year that Karen and Chip - the world's greatest neighbors - and I planted this plot. It's my side yard and a fairly big area for people who don't really know a whole lot about gardening. We planted lots (post about it here) by guess and by golly, and we did OK, but not great. This was partly because of our never-ending cold and wet spring last year and partly because we didn't properly amend the soil before planting. Some things didn't grow, some grew weird and others did just fine through no fault of our own. We learned a lot. This year, we're using the whole plot, are planting less crops but more of what we liked, and have figured better placement for things (Karen's a great one for planning out everything). AND, last Saturday - when I was playing hooky from the opening day of the Saturday Market - we had 4 yards of a compost and sand (the soil is very clay-y) mix dumped in the driveway and the three of us spent four hours wheelbarrowing it from the drive and digging it into the soil. I'm still tired! We are very excited to get started. In the next couple of weeks we will begin plotting it out and planting the earlier crops. 
The twiggy things in the back corner are raspberry canes that are already starting to bud out. Since last year, I've also built and installed the two rainbarrels and put in the composter. Almost looks like a real garden!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Prong Setting

Being a self-taught metalsmith means that a lot of what I do is trial and error. Unfortunately mostly error! When I do try something new, I often make silly mistakes that a teacher would (hopefully) warn me against. My latest "learning experience" was one of those little mistakes: I tried a prong setting with a tiny little 3mm (did I mention it was small?) cubic zirconia. I eventually succeeded, but the dents in the wall from throwing tools illustrates why you should learn this technique with something a bit larger. The frustration level got pretty high while trying to solder the prong wires in a tiny space, hold the bitty CZ while trying to place it, and set the prongs on the little stone (did I mention it was small?). When will I ever learn to think these things through just a bit before I start off on these adventures?

That said, this cute, little (did I mention it was small?) Sweet Heart Necklace is now available in my Etsy shop.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Delft Clay Casting

Inspired by my friend Shannon's (rubygirl) sand casting, and wanting to try something new, I bought myself a delft clay casting kit. While it has some different properties, the process is similar. I spent some time watching how-to videos on youtube - and was therefore an expert! The kit came with written instructions and possibly the worse instructional DVD I've ever seen. I was ready to go! Below are pictures of my first successful casting. This after a couple of "learning moment" attempts (fortunately you can just melt those down). The actual process goes very quickly so there's a large portion of instant gratification, a big positive for those of us lacking a large portion of patience. I can see why Shannon loves this technique and I can't wait to do more.
The clay, instructions and a small
crucible for melting metal.
The mold together. This is just
after I've poured the silver.
The mold pieces separated. You can barely
see any metal peeking through. A beginner's
mistake: I almost didn't use enough silver.

Here I've turned over the top of the mold
and you can see the casting and the burned
clay in the bottom.

The shell I used as a model with the casting.

Removed from the mold. This shell casting
is almost a full ounce of silver!