30 September 2014

Zipper Roses Again and a few Other Things

Hello Readers!

I've changed my nights and days around again so I'm now creating while most of you are sleeping.  Zippers are still on the radar with more ideas cropping up all the time! That's a good thing... because I still have a ton of zippers to do something with!
So, on with what I've been up to since I was here last. Yes, I know that was not too many days ago! But I keep busy almost everyday and progress is always being made on something!

This is a terrible picture but I think you can get the idea. I've added felt leaves to some of the zipper roses.

I put the veins on the leaves with Tulip Slick fabric paint. The leaves are hot glued to the back of the rose. This one has tiny glass balls glued over the hot glue that seeped through from the back. It looked awful...had to do something with it! Those tiny glass balls are a bit like glitter, just much heavier. They are glass after all.  If you'd like to check out what these glass balls are all about you can order your own here. Or just go see what I'm talking about. While you're at American Science and Surplus check out all the great buys on alternative art supplies they have to offer. I'll warn you though that you WILL spend hours there. First link takes you to the listing for the glass beads (though they are really tiny balls) and the other link will take you to what's new at AS&S. You can figure out how to navigate the site...nothing hard about it.
Not all of the zipper roses will have glass balls because not all of the roses have that ugly hot glue showing through. 
I put an origami butterfly on the surface of each rose. I think the butterflies will eventually get prettied up some. Probably with some dots of fingernail polish or something like that.

I made this junk magnet out of a couple of different zippers, some with the fabric edge left on, some without it. The eyes are rounds of fat yarn wound into a circle with metal disks (from magnetic clips that I tore up for the magnets) filled with copper colored glitter glue, a green tri-bead and a little black plastic holeless bead atop the green bead. His beak is a triangle cut from an aluminum can and his body is the lid off a bean can. The little silver rods on his wings came from the magnetic clips same as the metal disks used for his eyes. The reason I tear up these magnetic clips is because I have a great many of them. 
I will probably make more owl junk magnets using zippers. This one is about three inches across.

I finished the piece of chocolate cake. It looks a bit odd sitting on the shelf in the kitchen. It's truly amazing how real it appears!

I crocheted a sleeve for my water bottle.  I like a lid on my cup to keep cat tongues out of whatever I may have in my cup. I call it a water bottle but it seldom holds water; usually tea or lemonade. I have no clue why cats think they like lemonade when they never get passed that first tiny taste! I'd rather they just didn't have the opportunity for that first tiny taste!  You can see my stack of plastic lunch boxes to the right of the bottle in the picture. Pay no attention to the mess on the other side of the bottle. 

Day before yesterday was my neice's 16th birthday. Her mama asked me to make her a funky hat for the occasion. 

I believe I accomplished the funky part! Allison loves hats and the weirder the better for her! 

I wouldn't wear it but I think she will. She hasn't seen it yet even though it's already two days passed her birthday. I'll have to send it to her.

Here it is on my head. Goofy looking hat, if you ask me. But it isn't up to me to decide if it's goofy or not. It is only up to me to make it so it can be judged good or bad. 
I started out with a pattern for a slouchie beanie hat. That wasn't working out so well so I scrapped the first attempt, changed the yarn completely and made up my own hat as I went along. There is no pattern. I could't make another one just like it if I wanted to.  It took two tries to get that pompom right! Wasted a bunch of that blue yarn....I threw that yarn in my trash can by the painting table but I might still drag it out of there and use it on my next fish picture. Fish pictures take lots of little things...those 2 inch snips of blue yarn would make great seaweeds.

I have been thinking about this basket for days! Trying to figure out how I could pull off a basket with nothing but zippers as the material. Turns out, that can't be done by me.

It all starts off with just an idea, an experiment, if you will. I started off using only the short nylon zippers.

But once the sides starting getting taller, I started using the longer nylon zippers too. They are hot glued together. The zipper teeth are on the inside in this picture.

But I turned it inside out so the zipper teeth are on the outside of the basket and the glued edges are on the inside.

It wasn't the sturdiest of baskets with just zippers as its material.

I slept on it. 
Trying to figure out how the heck I could make it into a tote bag instead of a basket by putting handles on it and a clasp of some sort.
Everything I tried didn't make sense to me so I gave up and decided I'd just make a lined basket and call it good!

I knew it was going to need to be stiffened up somehow. That was pretty easy to figure out actually. I smeared a thin layer of caulking all over the inside of the basket and then clipped it to the sides of the empty dog bone box so it would dry in the right position. Drying of that caulking took two weeks when I used it on the fake cake. It took about an hour with this basket.
While the caulking was drying, I sewed the liner by hand. No pattern. I wing all sewing projects and always sew them by hand! 

Once the caulking was dry enough and I was figuring out how to fit the lining correctly, I noticed that the basket still wasn't stiff enough to stand up straight. I had some thin fiberglass rods that I thought would do the trick. I cut them to length, bent them in the right places and then hot glued them to the sides and bottom of the basket. I picked those long fiberglass rods in the dumpster at the electrical supply place in town. They're just thin, 6 foot lengths of white fiberglass. The basket might be a bit sturdier if I'd added a couple more rods. It's too late now though.

Then I fit the liner in, pinned it in place and 

whipped stitched the gray cashmere to the top of the basket.

The liner is ONLY attached at the top edge of the basket. I think I probably should have tried to tack it down at the bottom but I am not a seamstress and that was above my skills.

The basket is about 10 inches tall. 10 inches across at the top and roughly six inches across the bottom. I've torn up over 150 zippers since starting this zipper endeavor. There are approximately 90 zippers of varying lengths in this basket, all of them nylon zippers. I am saving the metal zippers for flowers and other projects.

This is what it looks like upside down. I'm quite pleased with it. Adding the fiberglass rods, which are flexible, helped greatly with it standing up without slouching. 
I still have a few nylon zippers but not enough to make another basket this size. Nylon zippers are pretty easy to come by though so who knows, maybe there will be another basket on this order made sometime in the future. 

The beans just keep getting browner and browner! The first bean picture was taken on the 28th and the other on the 29th.
For those who missed my answer to the question posed in the comments;
Miss Iowa wanted to know what my fascination with the soybean field was all about. She lives in Iowa where soybeans are quite plentiful. Soybeans are quite plentiful in Kansas as well! I'm not really fascinated with the soybean field, it's just there, right outside the front door and I see it every single day! I've lived here for almost 15 years and this is the first year that there have been soybeans planted in that field. We usually get milo or wheat, and then cows in the early winter depending on whether wheat or milo was planted.  Milo produces cows for Fred to play with for a few weeks after harvest. They don't put cows on the harvested wheat. So that's what's going on with the pictures of soybeans. I figured I'd keep track of the progress if for no one but myself. I didn't have regular readers when I started keeping track of the soybeans. I'm just following through till the field is harvested.

Well, that's it for me today.  
Thanks for hanging in there to the end!
Be good to one another!
It matters!

26 September 2014

A Bit of Art, Soybean Update for Mel, September's Envie and Some Chatter

Hello Readers!

Not a lot of art to show you all today. I've been immersed in zippers for days now! That doesn't seem to be slowing down any so expect more zippers in the blog posts yet to come!

First off a funny story about 

this fake piece of cake. 
Which you can clearly see is not finished! I'm calling it half-baked at the moment. 
I left it sitting on the kitchen table overnight. When I got up this morning it was on the floor in the livingroom! I'm assuming Fred dog thought it was a REAL piece of cake and I had left it within reach for him. A midnight snack for the dog? He didn't hurt it any. I'm blaming the dog only because it is a big piece of cake and the cats don't usually steal things off the table. That dog, though, he can't be trusted!
Someone will be getting some cake in the mail! 
How's it made, you ask?  It is two pieces of foam rubber from an old couch cushion, cut into 'cake' shape and then 'frosted' with silicone caulking. The caulking was clear. It took almost two weeks for that caulking to dry completely. The dog didn't get a hold of it while the caulking was drying because I put it inside a cupboard to dry. I didn't want cat hair drying in the caulking. It really does look like a piece of cake! It is a bit top heavy from the caulking but it sits up nicely and doesn't fall over. It is painted with wall paint. I'll give it another coat of brown paint and perhaps some 'decoration' on top with puff paint. I haven't actually decided on the finishing touches just yet.

And I'm still busy with zippers! 
Thanks to those of you who gave me ideas of what to do with these things! 
Suggestions included:
hair accessories
The brown basket won't hold too many more! I need to finish that brown basket and the other brown basket and the two yellow baskets. Maybe I'll drag out the paint and do that this afternoon. I don't really have to drag out the paint...you can see paint bottles sitting on the table in the picture above! But I might have to drag out some different colors. 
Anyway, zippers and paint are in my future! My very near future!!!

And just for Mel.....A soybean update!



Not much difference other than the shadows and the clouds in the sky. 
I did some research on soybeans this morning. Soybeans have been genetically modified since the late 90's. This was news to me! They are used in hundreds of products, from livestock feed to plastics. We eat them raw, cooked, made into oil and made into soy milk. And let's not forget soy sauce. They are used in the production of cosmetics, foodstuffs, and plastics, among other things that I can't remember at the moment! They are very useful plants. 
There are many different varieties of soybeans that are used for different applications. 
Harvesting happens with a combine with a special head attachment according to my research. I'm hoping to be awake when the harvesting commences. I'd like to get some pictures of it going on! 
I'm also anxious to see if the farmer puts cattle on the field after harvest. I'm not sure that cows eat the plants off the field. They may just plow it all under for the nitrogen in the plants. We'll just have to wait and see what happens! All I'm doing here is guessing at what might occur.

My partner got her envelope for September so I can now show it to you all.

I took a presentation folder (you all saw those a few posts back when I was cutting them apart to make room for them on a shelf in the cutting room), painted it with acrylics and then proceeded to add collage elements from junk mail, magazines and what have you. There are some stickers on there also. I used four different tapes....the peace sign packing tape, yellow duct tape, the pink plaid 'locker' tape (it's wider than packing tape, but the same stuff) and some lined tape that I have no idea what it was originally produced for. 

I crocheted a little green heart out of polyester cording, cut a heart the same size in the folder and then sewed the crocheted heart into the hole with orange embroidery thread.

Inside there are some pockets to hold ATC blanks, rolo blanks, inchie strips and envelopes folded out of magazine paper. I also included a couple of origami butterflies, some postcard blanks and some bigger sizes of blank cardstock. All the blanks except the postcards and the rolo blanks were cut from the same cardstock as the presentation folders are made from. The heart on the inside of the folder is watercolor paper painted with fingernail polish. You all saw them sometime back as well.

I also made my partner a little notebook that fit in the folder. It was made with the same cardstock, covered with painted newspaper. The paper inside the pamphlet stitched notebook is green graph paper.

This was a fun project to do. It is completely different than what I had started out to do for my September partner, but I'm happy with the result and she was too!

That's it for me today!
Be good to one another!
It matters!

22 September 2014

Zippers, Baskets and a Little Purse

Hello Readers!

I had intended to do another soybean field update but I forgot to take pictures before the sun went down. It would be futile to do it now as it is 11 p.m. and all you'd see is black. Had I gone out there about an hour ago to take the picture, even though it was dark then as well, we may have gotten a deer in the flash. Fred dog was out there barking his fool head off about something in the field. He hates deer so I'm thinking that was what his problem was. He hates the stray cat that is hanging around too, so it may have been a cat instead of a deer. I mostly ignore that dog's barking because almost every single time I go to see what he is on about, there is nothing there that I can see!  Not every time, but most! The other night he was standing on the porch, going off big time so I went to see if there was anything out there he should be barking about. There was a coyote under the pear trees at the south end of the house. Fred was on the front porch when I went out. He promptly went down the stairs and chased the coyote across the highway. I hollered and hollered at that dog to get his ass off that highway and in the house. That was wasted energy. That fool dog came home when he was good and ready! He could care less that I worried about him for half an hour when he was on the other side of the highway, still barking at that coyote. We will have coyote visitors until all the fallen pears are gone. I can't believe those coyotes are eating those pears to begin with! The pear crop was crap this year! Pears all misshapen and hard as rocks!

So anyway, there will be no update on the soybean field in this post. I will try to remember to take a picture tomorrow when the sun is still shining!

On Friday I went on a road trip with Ma. We went yard saling along Highway 36 for the Highway 36 Treasure Hunt. One of my finds of the day was a boot box full of vintage zippers. Most of them had metal teeth...the good kind.

And looking at the picture, it appears most of the ones showing have plastic teeth. Doesn't matter...metal or plastic, they're both quite useful for using as art fodder.

I spent an hour or so watching Dr. Pol on NatGeo and tearing up zippers!
There's something very therapeutic about tearing things up.....

The pickle jar in that picture with the zippers holds my mark making tools for when I'm painting newspapers. I had a bigger jar full of mark making tools and it disappeared on weekend when I was at my son's house. I think Ma tossed it in the trash not knowing just what it was.

I should be showing the next picture before this one. I started out making roses out of the zipper parts. And on a break, while talking to my sister on the phone, I searched google images for things to do with old zippers. I saw a dragonfly made from zippers and needle felting. I gave it shot. Mine looks little like a dragonfly and more like a deformed flower! I slapped a magnet on the back of this one and now have two fishes and an owl in the works using the same technique. There was no tutorial to go along with the dragonfly...I just winged it. I'll show you the fishes and the owl in the next post.

I've made lots more roses than these five since I took pictures.  The more you make of these cute little roses, the better they start looking and the faster they get made! I did look at a tutorial for these, but didn't follow it to the letter. And I didn't save it to my Favorites so finding it again may be a problem. That pile of zipper parts I showed you all earlier will be turned into zipper roses. Not sure what I'll do with all those zipper flowers, but some of them will have a magnet slapped on the backside and called good!  The others? I've no clue! Any suggestions?

I made this little bag to carry my phone around in when I don't have any pockets. Having no pockets seems to happen more often than not. I was tired of having to hunt it down when I was in another room of the house whenever it would ring. Walking far is not one of my strengths so having the phone close by is a good idea. The green part is a pocket on the outside of the bag. I started off making the entire bag out of that green cord but it was a pain in the butt to crochet. The cord kept twisting around itself and every foot or so I'd have to untwist it to keep crocheting.  I keep my headphones in the pocket.

And of course, I'm still on a roll with basket making. This one is yellow poly rope with thick yarn crochet. My sister wasn't too crazy about this one. She said it might be the colors that put her off! I work with what I have! The yarn was a find at the yard sales on Friday. I paid 10 cents a skein for all the yarn I brought home. Most of it was specialty yarn, like eyelash yarn, furry yarn, things of that nature. Not all were full skeins. I had a plastic grocery sack full. I lost count at 27 when Ma asked me a question. I gave them $3.50 for the entire bag. The yarn this basket is crocheted with is soft as it can be and quite thick as well. I made this basket in a couple of hours from start to finish. It started out to be the size of the red basket I showed you all in the last post with the cat in it. It started curling up around the edge so it was time to start the sides before it was actually big enough to put handles on and call it a tote bag. It's just a basket...about 9 inches across and 6 or 7 inches tall.

And I have 4 more polyrope coiled baskets in line for painting. I made the yellow ones yesterday.  Painting them makes them sturdier. I do like the bright yellow, but the brown ones will take a longer beating before they fall apart. The yellow ones will get a coat or two of paint soon.

This is the poly rope used in making the baskets. I'm still untangling that giant hank of yellow rope. Another hour or so and I'll have some more smaller hanks of it sitting in this pile.  I'm showing it to you just because I thought it was a cool picture!

That's it for me today!
Still can't show you the envelope I sent to my September partner as she hasn't gotten it yet. Maybe next post!

Be good to one another!
It matters!

19 September 2014

More Baskets, An Update on Soybeans and A Couple in the 'Pond'

Hello Readers!

Art endeavors are going slow these days. As usual, I have many irons in the fire but here in the last few days, nothing much in the art department is getting done. 
I've been working on my September partner's envie surprise for the past few days and I can't show it to you just yet cause, 1). I'm not quite done with it just yet and 2). You all can't see it before she does! So next post, maybe the one after, you all will get the lowdown on that surprise.

I have been busy with more baskets though. Not gungho busy, but slow and steady busy. 

One of these days I will be able to say, "All the polyrope is used~!" I can't however say that today as there is still a boatload of it to do something with! Two more yellow baskets made! There is actually another yellow basket made too but I made it late last night and haven't taken pictures of it yet. It looks pretty much like one of those in the picture except it isn't quite as deep and it is oval shaped.
You all saw the spotted blue basket last post. It still looks the same as the last time! Not sure if it's done yet or not. The yellow ones are NOT done though.

I painted both of the newest yellow baskets with brown wall paint.

And didn't get any farther done with those yet. I'm thinking Halloween baskets for these. We'll see what happens with I drag out the paint brushes and get started again on these! 

I wanted to point out my Bee Gees lunchbox. The basket in the top picture is sitting on the lunchbox. In that box is where I keep my hot glue gun and extra glue sticks. Lunch boxes make excellent storage containers! They're roomy, durable and they have a nice handle for carrying! If you come across one at a yard sale or a thrift store, don't hesitate to buy it! Last count, I had about a dozen lunch boxes. Some of them are collectors's items, like the Bee Gees lunchbox, but to me, they're more useful holding things than just sitting on a shelf collecting dust! I already have plenty of things that sit around collecting dust!

Update on soybeans......
the whole field is now turning brown. I'm still not sure just when they'll harvest this field, nor what machinery will be used. I'm assuming they will go out there with a combine but I don't really know! I'll keep my eyes peeled and take pictures of that process if I'm awake when it occurs. This picture was taken on 16th of September.

And when I woke up early on the 17th, this is what I saw looking out over the soybean field. That fog was beautiful that morning!

I had  visitors on Wednesday. My daughter in law and her four boys came to see me. Her dad was along for the trip as well. He was their the chauffeur as the kids had some bad luck with their vehicles early in the week. Son's car started leaking oil like mad and Lue's van just wouldn't start! So they are without wheels for a bit. The kids had to go to the eye doctor for new glasses--all four of them wear glasses--and Gramps was the only driver available with a vehicle to get them to Hays to see the eye doctor. 

As is usually the case when the kids come to visit, the boys traipsed all over the property, looking at all kinds of things. Out front of the privacy fence is an old fish pond that my sons and I put in some years ago. Putting that pond in is one of my favorite memories! My two boys were in their early, early 20s--before either of them were married. I had been whining about getting the hole dug to drop the octagon bathtub into and the boys showed up with a big bottle of rum, some Coca-Cola and two shovels at 1 o'clock in the morning, saying they were ready to dig! We got so sloshed on that rum and coke, out there under the yard light, digging and giggling like school girls. I didn't do much digging that night but I drank enough rum and coke to get a tad sloshed. I traded a wheelbarrow full of limestone rocks for that fiberglass octagon bathtub. 
That pond is still out there but it hasn't actually had water in it for about five years, maybe longer. It isn't visible from the highway as you're driving by the place but it looks a bit out of place when you're standing beside it cause it is empty except for a little water when it rains. It won't hold water now because apparently fiberglass bathtubs aren't meant to last forever! We have some holes and cracks that will not let the water remain.
One of the things the pond is good for now is collecting bugs. Lots and lots of bugs. And where there are bugs, there are spiders to eat those bugs! And in case you all aren't aware..... I LOVE BUGS!
The grandboys were doing their thing and came across a giant spider in the pond. I didn't have the phone on me at the time so I didn't get a picture of the female wolf spider with a grasshopper in an embrace. She had one leg wrapped firmly around that grasshopper that was almost as big as she was. 
I wouldn't let the kids kill the spider. I don't have a problem with spiders. Spiders are very useful creatures and if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone as well. Both of my daughters-in-law are deathly afraid of spiders. Lue wasn't getting anywhere near the pond with that gorgeous wolf spider in it! The grandboys and I just laughed at her.  Not mean laughing, just teasing her. She expects it! As does my other DIL. No mercy for scaredy cats when it comes to spiders! Especially little spiders! Come on, Girls! They're just little spiders! 

OK, these two weren't so little ..... This is the male wolf spider who wasn't in the pond when the boys found the female. He had about a two inch leg span.

She is a LOT bigger than the male. 

I tried to put my finger there beside the female but I need both hands to take a picture with that phone. The crickets are about an inch and a quarter; maybe an inch and a half long. That gives you some idea of her size. Somewhere around 3, maybe 3 and a half inches. I've no clue where her grasshopper got off to. I came back out to the pond after the kids had left and the spider was only in the company of crickets, dead grasshoppers and big black beetles with pinchers (that one doesn't want to mess with! They bite! And it hurts like the dickens!!!) I really wish she had had an egg sac with her! Wolf spiders do not weave webs. They carry their egg sacs on their backs and when the eggs hatch, they carry dozens of baby spiders on their backs until the babies are able to survive on their own. It's the wrong time of the year for baby wolf spiders though! Wolf spiders do bite and it is a very painful bite but wolf spiders are not aggressive. You have to really piss that spider off by being mean to it before it will resort to biting. 

Today I am going on a treasure hunt with Ma. Here in NW Kansas there is what is called the Highway 36 Treasure Hunt each September. It's a whole bunch of yard sales all along Highway 36 through Kansas for three days. This year, it is this weekend, beginning on Friday. That's today! We will be driving Highway 36 when we go to Smith Center later this morning. Ma needs a couple new struts for the lid on the back of her pickup truck. She says Smith Center is the only place to get them. So wish me luck on finding some great bargains along the way! 

It is going to be a long day! I got up a couple hours ago at 2:30 a.m. I'll be ready to crash come this early this evening. I was asleep by 6pm last night. That would explain why I was wide awake at 2:30 this morning. Yesterday it was 1:30 am when I woke up. I can thank Fred dog for my early awakening yesterday.
Fred isn't doing so hot these days. The last couple of days his front legs have been giving him as much trouble as his back legs. Poor old thing is having a time getting from one spot to another. I've doped him up on Bendadryl and aspirin trying to keep him from acting like a puppy. Dang fool critter can hardly walk some days yet he still wants to chase that softball. I won't throw the ball for him when he's not moving too well, but that doesn't stop others from being sweet talked by that dog. 

Time for me to get busy and accomplish something before the sun comes up!
Thanks for hanging around till the end!
Be good to one another!
It matters!!!

16 September 2014

Four Days and Nothing Much to Show

Hello Readers!

Just a quick post today. I'm supposed to be getting dressed to go to town. It's almost noon and I'm still in my pajamas. Not that I had anywhere to go until I decided a trip to the grocery store was in order. I've been awake since about 1 a.m. I would have loved to have gone to town when I first got up but there are two problems with that wish. 1). There isn't a thing open in my town at 1 a.m. and 2). There wasn't anyone awake to take my hide to town at 1 a.m. So I worked on baskets and played mahjongg most of the night. I also did the dishes which will please Ma to no end! That means she won't be doing them. Yes, I know it sounds weird that my Mother does my dishes for me but it is a great help to me and I thank her profusely for all that does for me. The least of which is hauling my ass to town when the need arises!

I truly don't have much to show you all this time. 
No pictures to show of the hours spent tearing up 50 little plastic tubes I got in the mail the other day. Those are destined for experimentation. I'll show you all what happens with those when something of consequence does happen. All I did to them thus far is tear them apart to separate their components and I used a bit of one tube to make a component for the next fish picture. 

I finished the big red basket.
No picture of just it. I sat it on the bed while I went to find the phone to take its picture and Miss Lola Cat decided it would make a fantastic bed for her!

She refused to get out of the basket even when I turned it on its side!  Notice I put another few rows on it and added some handles.

I have done nothing but make baskets since I was here last.

These are both the same basket. I painted the yellow rope with white wall paint and then painted the outside of the blue one with craft paint. 

This one got a coat of wall paint as well then another white coat on the inside and a coat of purple wall paint on the outside. This one will get a few more dots of red and possibly orange or green before I call it done.

I'm working on a secret project at the moment. Ok, at the moment I am NOT actually working on it, but it is in the works as we speak. Actually it's in the bathroom closet, away from the cats and that fool dog, drying so I can finish it and get it where it needs to go!

I gotta go get dressed!

Be good to one another!
It matters!