Archive for November, 2010

* honeycomb inspiration

Posted on November 28th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Art, Inspiration.


I’m working on an art installation of sorts to cover a giant blank wall in our living room.  The kernel of the idea came from this paper honeycomb window display at Assemble Gallery and Studio.

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This is from a while ago.  I’d taken the picture and kind of had it in the back of my mind.  The next little push was from the cover project from the book Quilt It With Wool.

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I like the common color scheme, but with the addition of texture.

Then it was hexagons in the honey color scheme everywhere:

header for the Purl Bee

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Anthropologie window displays (picture by Calamity Kim)

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more more more more more more

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* good morning

Posted on November 27th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Wants.


Drinking coffee from a recent find at an estate sale: a set of 10 of these cuties for cheap.

coffeecup

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* climbing rope doormat

Posted on November 24th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.


Mark has been doing more crafting than I have lately.  He just finished this doormat woven from one of his decommissioned rock climbing ropes.

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He followed these detailed instructions.  There was definitely still a lot of trial and error, though.  It’s been more or less done for a while now, but getting the tension even throughout so that it lies flat took a long time.  Mark’s verdict: “not worth the effort” but I think it’s pretty neat.

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* chicken cam

Posted on November 21st, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens, Home and Garden.


Mark has seemed skeptical about getting the chickens, so imagine my surprise when he decided on, like, day 2 of chicken ownership that he wanted to build a chicken cam.  One of his friends has a wireless baby monitor camera with IR, remote control, and web streaming, which gave him the idea.  Mark ordered it (the one we got is from Foscam) and it’s now mounted in the chicken coop.  It is pretty hilarious to watch.  The chickens are curious about it and will look directly into it, then sometimes peck it!  We also just watched the evening tussle for the best perch spot.  Apparently the middle is preferred, and tonight Hester won.  Here they are all asleep.

sleepychickens

This is the IR in total darkness.  I’d read somewhere that chickens can see in the IR range, so I was worried that peeking at them would wake them up, but so far they haven’t seemed to care.  We only turn on the IR LEDs when we’re watching them, then we turn them off.

Here’s the daytime view in the nesting box, where Lester is currently giving herself a bath:

nestbox

AND you can watch the cam feed on the iPhone with the Foscam Surveillance Pro app!  How ridiculous is that?

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* chicken resources

Posted on November 20th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens, Crafty Links, Crafty Review, Home and Garden.


So far so good with the chickens.  Mark built them a perch, and we got a little fence so they can have the run of the whole back yard.  Hester and Sue are still skittish about getting picked up.  After they roost, they seem to calm down a lot though, so I’ve been picking them up when I shut them up for the night.  I feel a little bit bad that I don’t wake up early enough for them.  They’re always waiting for me in the morning and scramble over each other for the food like they’re starving.  It’s funny watching them eat, especially various kitchen scraps.  They kind of test it and think about it and decide whether it’s better or worse than what they were eating 10 seconds before.  Sue at least seems to like to eat slugs, too, yay!  I’d heard that the Seattle slugs were not tasty to chickens.

To prepare for getting my chickens, I did the usual internetting, but I also took a class and read some books.

Internet:

Class:

I took City Chickens 101 from Seattle Tilth.  It was shorter than I had hoped it would be, but the instructor (whose name I unfortunately don’t remember) stayed afterward as long as we still had questions.  He was a really great teacher.  He tried to present information that was evidence- and science-based.  For example, he cited a lot of work done at agricultural schools, and he had a surprisingly good knowledge of chicken genetics.  Favorite bit of advice: chicken behavior can only be understood by knowing about chicken evolution.  He also recommended getting cheap hens by grifting children whose parents aren’t around at the 4H fair. Haha.

I also got some advice from the farmer I bought the chickens from.  He was really nice and spent a lot of time helping me, both on the phone and at his farm.  I knew he would be good to buy from when he gave me the third degree over the phone about why I wanted them and what I was planning on feeding them.  He also refused to sell me just 1 or 2 since he thought they would be unhappy (I believe he actually said a single chicken would “die of sadness”).  He also gave me a 3 page advice sheet with his tips.

Books:

I checked out pretty much every chicken book they had at the library.  None of them really stand out, but I learned different things from the different books.

I got Keeping Pet Chickens for Christmas last year and it’s a nice short, basic introduction.  It was really good for just getting an idea for what I was in for.

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I also got Keeping Chickens with Ashley English.  It’s pretty and easy to read, but with enough detail to be useful.

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Oh dear, I see she has a Keeping Bees book coming out March 2011.  I hope I don’t get any ideas….

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* critter plaques

Posted on November 19th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Art.


Mark got these funny animal portrait prints by Berkley Illustration at a craft fair last year.  We’ve been trying to figure out the best way to put them up.  We were looking for oval frames at Michaels this weekend and came up with the idea of decoupaging them on wood plaques (99 cents!).

portraits

Mark did everything.  He stained the wood, Mod-Podged the picture on, then creased around the edge to make a cutting guide.  He used an X-acto knife to cut close around the edges, then shellacked the whole thing with another layer of Mod Podge.  They’re pretty hilarious.

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* fancy nut butter cups

Posted on November 18th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Martha.


I made these amped up peanut butter cups for a lab treat.  I started with this recipe from Martha Stewart.  While at the grocery store getting supplies, I found these little packets of various nut butters (peanut, almond, and hazelnut, in plain, chocolate, honey, and maple variations), so I got a selection of those too.  Instead of using paper cups, I used a set of chocolate molds that I bought from Martha by Mail waaaay back when.  I don’t think I’ve ever used them until last night, haha.

buttercups

They’re astonishingly simple to make.  I melted the chocolate (Valrhona dark and milk chocolate medallions that I found in bulk at Whole Foods) in a metal bowl over hot water.  Spoon a little bit into the bottom of each mold, and coat the walls.  The dark chocolate flowed really smoothly and I just had to tilt the molds to swirl it up the sides.  The milk chocolate was stiffer, for some reason, and I had to use a little butter knife to help encourage the chocolate evenly up the sides.  It’s worth making sure the walls are thoroughly coated since I made a few too thin and they broke during unmolding.

Once they’ve set up (10 minutes in the fridge), I piped the nut butters in.  The Martha filling recipe is way too sweet, in my opinion.  I had to cut it with more peanut butter.  The texture was also too stiff, but that could have been because I used the fresh ground peanuts stuff instead of normal jarred peanut butter.  Adding a little more butter softened it up.  I also added salt.  The little packets were perfect for this step since you just tear off a corner and squeeze it directly in as is.  Spoon more chocolate over the filling, tap to even out, then into the freezer to set up.  I didn’t have enough level surface area in the freezer, so I tried a few of them in the fridge, and I really recommend the freezer.  They contracted more so they unmolded better, and the filling solidified a bit, which helped with the structural stability where I had thin walls.

I’m really happy with them.  They look rather professional, if I do say so myself, and they are super delicious.

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* meet the chickens

Posted on November 13th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens, Home and Garden.


So I finally got my chickens.  I found them on Craig’s list.  Some egg farmer on Bainbridge Island was reducing his flock.  They’re 9 weeks old, so they’re still cute and tiny and they cheep, but they’re not chicks any more so don’t need a lot of work.  I wanted a mix, so I got one buff Orpington,

sue

one barred Plymouth Rock,

hester

and a Golden Buff of some variety (Hisex brown I think).

lester

The Golden Buff is supposed to be the champion egg-layer of the bunch, and was advertised as having “top genetics” which, being the good geneticist that I am, meant I had to get one.  I got the barred Rock because I think they’re such a pretty breed.  And I got the buff Orpington because I asked the farmer who would be friendly.

Back when I was first agitating for chickens, I kept bugging Mark to name his hypothetical chicken.  I knew I had him when he finally came up with “Lester” after a few weeks of badgering.  Lester was our mortgage broker’s name.  The farmer kept telling us about the superior feed conversion of the Golden Buff, which seems like something a mortgage broker would care about, so she’s Lester.  We named the barred Rock Hester, which seems suitably old fashioned.  The buff Orpington pecked me, making her mean, and I’ve been watching a lot of Glee lately, so her name is Sue Sylvester.  (Actually, it was her sister who pecked me, so we traded her out for a different specimen, but the name stuck just the same.)

So far Lester is the friendliest.  She’s very soft and lets me pet her without too much drama.  Sue will also submit to being picked up.  Hester squawks bloody murder and runs away from me when I try to grab her, so I need to work on her a little more.  She’s the bravest one, though: came out of the coop first, found the food first, ventured into the nesting boxes first.

The Chup is scared of them, even though their combined weight is probably 1/5 of his.  Haha.  He won’t even go near the coop.

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* be calm

Posted on November 9th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Cross Stitch/Embroidery.


Lab has been kicking my ass lately.  A couple weekends ago I needed a little breather, so I went out to a show with a friend from lab.  One of the bands was fun. (the other was Steel Train, and they’re both awesome).  They have a great song called Be Calm that they played for encore.  It’s a reminder I could frequently use, especially in the midst of all the deadlines.  Sampler time!

Since I already cross stitched one lab-advice-related sampler, I embroidered this one in backstitch.

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It’s 100 pt helvetica bold, that I set to “outline” and printed onto freezer paper-backed fabric from a thrifted pillowcase.  Kind of a merger of influences between the helvetica embroidery kit that’s been making the rounds, doecdoe‘s oeuvre (e.g.), the printed fabrics in the Patchwork + Quilted Gifts book, and the ubiquitous embroidery-hoops-with-fabric wall displays.

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* I’ll take 30

Posted on November 8th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Paper Crafts, Wants.


Impulse buy of the day: a handful of tiny calendars (like these medium ones but without the sticky back).  I have grand visions of letterpress holiday cards/calendars.

2011_calendar_medium

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craftlog is under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license. That means that you are all welcome to take and repost my photos, replicate my projects, remix my ideas, whatever you want as long as you give attribution (a link is fine) and it's noncommercial. Thanks!