Saturday, November 28, 2015


I had a room that needed a little something along the lines of a chandelier to hang in it. I ended up making a mobile to hang from the light fixture:

Materials:  paperboard, paper, paint, wire. Tools:  pencil, scissors, paintbrush, needlenose pliers. The ball in the middle is a sheet of paper that I crumpled, wet, and kneaded...basically a large spitball. I left the edges of the paperboard rough and didn't try hard to evenly space the circles.

The mobile's shape is based on a mobile that my grandma had at her house; hers was black and red, and smaller. The form is also vaguely (and inaccurately) atomic, which ties in with my physics background.  The mobile catches the light from the high windows well.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Some pictures

A few projects from the past, while brushing up on my photography skills for the future.

Detail of a picture frame corner, made of thin plywood, copper-coated strapping, and a copper screw:

Linen with pattern tracings for toddler pants:

The footrest under my desk:

Leg of my desk/table, leftover paint over rough wood; I like the texture a lot:

The camera focused on the suitcase in the background,,,it is Samsonite, and if the key is lost they will send you a new one for free.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Here come the holidays

Finally, the urge to start crafting Christmas gifts and decorations and food strikes...just before the holiday season starts.

One year I made an Advent calendar by listing people and objects from the Christmas story in the book of Luke, along with some of the titles of Jesus, on index cards. I then did a sort of scavenger hunt around the house and at a salvage/surplus store, looking for a small object to represent each one.  Some of these things are heavily improvised--Fourth of July sparklers to represent frankincense--but we do have a tiny bottle with a tiny bit of real myrrh. The objects are kept in a bag made from a scrap of red and green fabric. So we have a family tradition of going through the cards and pulling out the objects, even though we frequently fall several days behind.

I am planning on sewing doll clothes from some vintage pink satin (part of a ball gown) that was given to me.

We have a fireplace that is set into a wall of brick, with no mantel. I've been thinking about what I could hang up there. Once upon a time we had an outdoor vine wreath that a bird had built a nest into, but it disappeared during the last move. Probably I should just put up something that we can put our Advent calendar objects on.

I usually make a large batch of kettle corn (caramel popcorn) to give to family. With babies around, I rarely bake cookies. Sometimes my husband does cookie baking with the kids.

My Christmas card list is very short. Once or twice, I made cards by carving a potato stamp, and stamping the design onto paper.

I've been trying to make a Christmas ornament each year for each child, that they can take with them when they grow up and move out. One year I used salt dough, which didn't hold up well in either use or storage.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Something for the first aid kit...

...Butterfly bandages, for clean, simple cuts and splits that are not too deep or too long. They can even be made yourself, from surgical tape. We have at times paid up to six hundred dollars to have a doctor put in a stitch or two, when one of these would have been enough to do the trick.

The article lays out the caveats well, so go read them there--particularly the last paragraph, which lists signs of infection to watch for--before trying this at home. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Grace notes

Yesterday I picked a few fallen birch twigs from the yard to put in a vase.

Today I spent some time going around with a damp rag. It makes a remarkable difference in a home when the barely perceptible dust and little handprints are taken care of.

On Monday, "Rake leaves while the sun shines" turned out to be wise; the weather changed to thunderstorms in the afternoon.

I've almost gotten a handle on this baby's rhythm: he has his days and nights straight, but the one longer nap that he takes each day moves around in a precessional sort of way. Maybe he's on a 26-hour day.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Little things

I've only got one major project (sewing, and non-urgent) going at the moment, and have been feeling a bit adrift. But there are always little things that can be done to improve a home. In my case, things like scrubbing old tape residue off doors, fishing dust elephants out from under the fridge with a stick (even with a new condenser fan, it still freezes everything...sometimes), and carefully scraping paint splotches off the woodwork.

I also moved the piano keyboard into our "school" room. It's black, and so is its stand, and they fit in better there, color-wise. Also, the radio is in there, and sometimes I like to try to play along with the broadcast music. This leaves a hole in the living room furnishings, but that spot is much brighter now without the mass of black. I am thinking of getting a chair to put there. My handmade couch is more of a daybed than a sitting couch.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

God's infinitely large sleeves, and the things He pulls out of them

I wore out my hairbrush...I've had it for I don't know how many years. I had a few dollars set aside for a new hairbrush, but I put them into the offering plate last Sunday. The next day, a brand-new, free hairbrush showed up, under highly improbable and suspiciously Providential circumstances. The other thing is that the new hairbrush has nylon bristles, which is apparently exactly the kind I need with my hair grown out long. When my hair was shorter and much more shampooed, nylon bristles put too much static electricity into my hair, so I avoided that kind of brush. But now, it is working very well for me, and much better than my old hairbrush.


Lately, my husband has been simmering things like pine needles, sliced ginger and apples on the stove, for the wonderful aromas...simple and inexpensive.