Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Now You See It. Now You Don't.

The view of my yard yesterday morning:


and this morning:


What a difference a day makes.  If only grass could be grown this quickly! 

Monday, May 16, 2016

I Really Don't Like Refinishing Furniture

Back when money was tight, I refinished quite a few pieces of furniture.  I'd much rather buy new at this point in life, but two pieces dragged me back into paint brush mode recently.  

First, my son's girlfriend was given a piece they liked except for the color.  I saw this as a great opportunity to try out chalk paint!  I've read rave reviews about it for year now.  It's gonna be great, right?  Not for me.  This doesn't look bad from a distance.

Jordan chose this color which I think is called Midight Blue.  I loved, loved, loved it with the first coat.  Unfortunately that first coat did not provide nearly enough coverage.

Close up, it's another story.  It's streaky as hell.  When the third coat still showed streaks, I decided I was going to claim it was supposed to be a shabby chic look. 
Not the solid look I was going for here.
This was Renaissance paint at $36 a quart plus shipping.  I'd ask people to let me know what I did wrong, but my present plan is to never EVER refinish another piece of furniture again.

To top it off, I also used Vax which is an expensive substitute top coat to replace wax or poly.  It may be great for flat surfaces or people who work really fast, but for this bench with all it's nooks and crannies, the speed at which it dried was a negative.  Additionally, any buildup in corners or the slightest drip dried to a milky white finish that stood out like a nasty little zit.

I worked so hard on this piece!  I even painted the inside.  So much work for a just okay end product. 


Fortunately my second project went better.  I stained and poly'd this piece that Brian made to hold all the television paraphernalia.


We both would have preferred buying a finished piece but couldn't find something that had a solid back, tiles, and three open shelves with the bottom shelf being high enough not to interfere with the heating and air conditioning vent. Is that asking too much?  Apparently it is.


The tiles just drop in place.  Since the edges of the tiles weren't covered by grout, I used a black Magic Marker on all four sides so that they would blend in nicely with the dark finish.  The $36 dollar paint was a flop, but the old Magic Marker worked out great.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Home Again

California did not disappoint.  We got to see lots of nature! There is a desert area in Palm Canyon with this tree that appears to be bowing in welcome.


This tree is in the midst of an oasis down in the canyon.


We hiked past the oasis and up the other side of the canyon where we found this guy hiding in the rocks. There were a few smaller lizards near the oasis, but I only saw this one larger one.


Turning from his little perch you get this view.


On another day trip we took the aerial tram up Mount San Jacinto.  8,400 feet up was more hiking than I wanted that day.  The highest I've ever done was Mount Marcy at about 5,400 feet which took me all day to get up and back.  You can hike San Jacinto one way and take the tram the other, though, which I might try sometime.




Of course, I built a cairn.  Two actually.


From hot desert and cool mountains, we moved on to the nice warm California coast to see sea lions on the beach in La Jolla,

Sea lions go for the family bed concept, too.
I love these guys!  They were so playful.



They are like the dogs of the ocean.  I don't know if they were playing, fighting, or mating actually, but those in the water were energetic, noisy, and seemed quite happy.


Some people were swimming with them. 


 Seals are the cats of the ocean--the vast majority were sleeping in the sun when we were there.




This guy posed for me, though.

Is that not the sweetest face?  Good thing they're so fat or people would be stealing they away to take home.


Birds! Lots of birds.  Nesting cormorants were all over the cliffs.


There were gulls, of course, and a few pelicans like this guy who was mid-stretch.  It was possibly a yoga stetch that I would guess might be called "open gullet and hope a fish drops in" pose.


Some birds were apparently tourists as well.  We wanted to go in this store, but it was crowded with these guys.

Kiefer said I should have waited to get a photo of them in their new shades.
Then the flowers.  Way too many to show, so just this one. 


I'll share some pics of the Los Angeles part soon.  You will not believe some of the stars on the Walk of Fame.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Wondering How to Paint the House?


Just in case someone looking for ideas for the outside of the house, I thought I'd share this one from Venice Beach in California.

Here's a closer look for those who need more inspiration.  I am particularly taken with the little creatures holding umbrellas with their trunks.  The multi-legged "eye" creatures are a very close second, though. 


Love that there is a color-coordinated one way sign in front!  This is definitely one way to do house painting.

My house has vinyl siding, but my shed is painted.  I think I might have to get a little artsy this summer.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cairns Happen

I can't leave anything alone.

If you put people and rocks together, cairns happen. 

There's a cool extension on the Zim Smith Trail that leads to Route 9.  For some reason, this part of the trail has great rocks that the rest of the trail is sorely lacking.  I take it as a personal responsibility to build a mini cairn on every visit.  Yes, the best part about this cairn is the big, gorgeous rock on the bottom for which I can take no credit, but I like to think that I have improved upon it.  It's what crafters do, right?


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Happy Easter!

The Easter bunny is as old as dirt.  If I have to wear reading glasses, s/he must need them as well.  Question is whether this bunny is male or female.  Anyone know??  I want proof--opinions only count in politics and other nonsensical things.  With proof, I will add either a nice bow tie or a hair fur ribbon.

Update:  From the Encyclopedia Mythica:  Ostara is the personification of the rising sun. In that capacity she is associated with the spring and is considered a fertility goddess. She is the friend of all children and to amuse them she changed her pet bird into a rabbit. This rabbit brought forth brightly coloured eggs, which the Greek goddess gave to children as gifts. From her name and rites the festival of Easter is derived.

If the bird changed into a rabbit "brought forth" eggs, it must have been a female bird changed to a female rabbit.  Yes!  Yes!  The Easter bunny is a female!!! 


For all those who celebrate Easter for religious or fun reasons, I am wishing you a sunny, happy day!

 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Dragon Wing Scarf



I have been mulling this project for weeks and decided the procrastination had to stop today. I put on my Harry Potter films for inspiration and started drafting a pattern. 



The idea for this, as with my last scarf, came from a knitted scarf pattern.  Unfortunately all you get from a knitting pattern is inspiration in the form of a photo.  I have no knowledge of pattern making--yet another strike against me in this project.  If you want something badly enough, you figure it out!

I drafted a pattern by guess and by luck coming up with this.


It's supposed to look like a dragon wing draped over the shoulder. Hopefully it looks like that to others.  I'm quite happy with how it turned out.

Now, how to keep it in place.  The original pattern had buttons on the shoulder which looked great on the knitted version, but I didn't think buttons would look good on the fabric once it was finished. I decided on the silver pin which is listed as a scarf or kilt pin on Etsy.  I was going to wear the scarf on my trip to California until the pin came in the mail and I saw just how long a four inch pin really is.    No way that was getting through TSA!  I'm glad I got it, though.  It looks great with the scarf.

 


None of the photos are showing the great texture of the fabric.  The "scales" are raised bumps in the fabric.  You can kind of see it more in the photo below.



While it took weeks of mental prepping, it only took one afternoon to make the scarf (or three Harry Potter movies).  As I type this, I am on my fourth movie at the very part where Harry is fighting the Hungarian Horntail dragon.  How fitting!