Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sample Rugs, A New Swing Cover & A Band

I made some samples of my Pendleton Rugs to take to some local shops. You really don't get a good idea of how textural these rugs are from photos. They are thick and soft, kitties love these small rugs. As you can see Artemis wanted to lay down on these gems while I was trying to take some photos. These samples are about 12" around and would make nice little cat beds. 

I finally pulled the old cover off the swing in the back yard. The original cover lasted about 5 years before I cleaned it and painted it, it then lasted for about 5 more years before it was completely gone.  I had replaced the cover in June of 2011 with some nice outdoor white fabric.  As you can see the white lasted about 4 years and since it was white it got dirty very fast and looked terrible. I bought some blue outdoor fabric at Mill End last summer but never got around to making the cover. The fabric feels like has been covered in a plastic on one side so I'm hoping that it's waterproof. In one of the last wind storms the top of the swing blew off and bent the metal frame, that forced me to take the cover off and finally pull out the blue fabric to make a new top. I also used a heavier fabric for the sleeves on the underside of the top, the area that the metal frame goes through and holds the top tight. I was unable to get the top really tight because the frame is bent (as you can see from the final photo of the swing..see how it dips down on the right in the back?). Last time I used some cute cotton fabric that quickly disintegrated. I used some upholstery fabric on the long sides and some scrap of the blue fabric on the corners. I pulled my Morse sewing machine out to the yard and stitched up the top for the swing. It was nice sewing outside on a sunny day in February. I used my Morse machine because it's a work horse, this is the machine I found in the dumpster outside a hoarders house that was being cleaned out. I took the machine in for a tune up at Montavilla Sewing, it cost about $100 and I have a new PINK sewing machine. It's a very heavy sewing machine but it is a great machine, I used it to quilt a jean quilt that I made a couple years ago. Anyway....back to the swing...even though the metal frame for the top is bent the swing is now ready for summer. I may have to make new covers for the cushions as the fabric has really faded. But that is a project for another time. 

We went out to the World Famous Kenton Club to see a band that a friend recommended, they are called the "Git Rights Gospel Revue". They are a cross between gospel and punk rock, my husband loved the band so much he "testified" by dancing all night. They are a lot of fun to see, the female vocalist Heather Jo Cahill has an amazing voice, she can bring you to tears when she sings. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

This is what can happen to the light bulb when the cement settles and the water evaporates leaving a space of about 1/2 an inch in the light bulb. The metal base of the light bulb will fall away and lets face it...the screw in end of the light bulb is what really makes people realize it's light bulb once all the glass has been broken away. It's hard to fill the lightbulb once the cement has dried, but you can remove the glass and try to fill in the gaps with cement or grout. A colored grout would look interesting if you wanted to really change the look of the lightbulb. Or you can use a simple grey grout so it looks like there was never an air bubble in the piece. I filled the holes with cement, than let the cement dry for a couple of hours. I then went back and used some sand paper to smooth out where I filled the hole. It looks OK and most people will not even see the flaw. But sometimes it's just best to admit it failed and move on to the next project. Like the flood lightbulb, it's really hard to get all the air bubbles out. I will get these looking fairly smooth but next time I will tap the bottom of the lightbulb a lot more so I can dislodge more of the air bubbles. As for the flood lightbulb, it may be a goner, I will let you know if I come up with a fix. 

I finished the Wonky Star Quilt top. I really like this quilt block it's simple and you can use up a scraps for the star points. I liked fussy cutting the centers with some of fabric that had cute motifs. I used several light color pieces for the background, the light blue is from some of my father in laws shirts. He had about 5 of these light blue shirts that he always wore, he even went and bought 5 new ones just before he passed away. He told me that I should use his old shirts as rags, so I cut them up for a quilt. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

PDX Carpet, Howard Finster & some 

new bags

It's been a very busy week for us. We attended a meeting to discuss the prospects to get some of the PDX carpet that is being removed from the Airport. They are giving away 4 lots of 1000 sq yards (yes that is sq yards which is about 9000 sq feet). We need to write a 3 page letter detailing what we plan to do with the carpet, how we intend to distribute the rug to the community and how we plan on storing the carpet. The prospects will be read by a committee and the person or company that the committee feels will do the best job will get their choice of lots, you can bid on the however many lots you think you can use or distribute. We hope to use the carpet to raise money for the Pittman Addition HydroPark and the North Portland Tool Library. We also want to carpet one of our apartments up on 45th. How cool would that be to live in an apartment that has PDX carpet? 

Last saturday a friend called and asked me if I wanted to go to a Howard Finster show. I could not believe it, I love Howard Finster and was surprised that there is a show up for the next couple of months at the Portland Museum of Modern Art. This museum is in the basement of Mississippi Records. They have about 10 Finster pieced on display including a couple of shadow boxes. I understand the shadow boxes are rare pieces as he did not make very many. I have always loved folk environments and fell in love with Finster when I first read about him & his Paradise Garden back in the mid 80's. 

I also received my new bags this week. I upgraded my book bags to a heavy canvas that looks and feels like a much stronger bag. I have a couple of new designs that I'm shopping around. The fish are actual fish that I inked and printed several years ago. I want to print the inside of the fish in different colors. I used the yellow and blue because I was wanted the blend of the yellow and blue for a third color of green on the fish. I'm still testing this image, but so far the reaction has been positive. The hedgehog is an illustration I asked my niece to draw for me. I asked for a hedgehog wearing glasses reading a book in the tub. I think she did a really good job, but when I blew it up I lost some detail. I'm working on cleaning up the image, but I like's really cute. I hope to get some of the hedgehog bags printed this week, just a couple more tweaks to the image (I think the water ripples need to be a little more recognizable). I also start a new job this week, it's just a part time job that will get me out of the house for about 10-12 hours a week. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Concrete Idea

I saw a tutorial several years ago about filling light bulbs with cement. The tutorial uses a long screw put into the in the cement at the end of the lightbulb and screwed the concrete bulbs into a board so you could use the bulbs as a hook. I liked the idea but I wanted to do something else with the finished product. 
First you need to empty the bulbs and there are several tutorial on how to open & empty a light bulb. It's really easy but as always wear protective eye wear and gloves so you do not cut yourself. I then place the bulbs in a paper cup with sand on the bottom and a little on the top so the bulb stays up right and will stay in place when I start to fill then with the cement mixture. I use a ratio of 1 to 1 of play sand and portland cement. I use play sand because it's fairly smooth, thought if you want to go cheap you can use construction sand. I would sift the construction sand through an old wire strainer and get the larger pieces of rock out of the sand. You would be surprised how much a small rock can mess you up when trying to get the cement into the bulb. I find out how much cement I need to mix by first fill the light bulbs with sand and measuring that amount. I always make a little extra cement as not all the cement always makes it into the bulb. I mix the cement to a cake batter constancy. 
I fill a plastic bag with cement and cut a hole in one of the corners, using the bag like a pastry bag and filling the light bulb with cement. Some folks use a funnel but I have had problems with the funnel clogging, but that does not mean you should not try it..maybe I haven't found the perfect funnel yet.  You do have to work quickly because cement hardens. I can make about 4 bulbs at a time before I have problems with clogging of the plastic bag. 
You also have to do some tapping to get all the air bubbles out and get the cement settled into the light bulb. This is where having the light bulb in a bed of sand helps to keep the bulb from breaking. I have broken a couple of bulbs by tapping the bottom with my hand to get air bubbles out. 

Once the bulbs are full I slowly put a piece of rebar into the hole in the light bulb. Cement will come out on the sides but don't worry about it you can clean up at the end. I let the bulbs sit for about a week. Yes this is a long time and I get excited and want to get moving but there is nothing worse then trying to clean the piece or take off the glass only to have the cement crack or fall apart in your hand. All that work for nothing. During the summer time when the weather is warm the water will evaporate more and the cement does harden a little quicker, so you may be able to clean it and break the glass off in about 4 days. 
These are larger bulbs where you can see the cement pouring out the sides. I try to put at least a 4ft piece of rebar in the bulbs. That way you can use them to hold up plants. The light bulb on the left was a flood light bulb. I want to mosaic the top then grout the piece with glow in the dark grout...kind of like this. I have used a product made by Laticrete called Spectorlock Dazzle. I used it on one of my tiki head...the head shinned but it never really glowed in the dark. That was also 5 years ago; so maybe they have improved the product.  
When the piece is dry it's time to clean it up. I usually tap the glass lightly with a hammer in a few places, getting some cracks running through the glass. Wearing gloves you can then pick and pull the glass off the concrete. If you got some cement on the metal threads use a small wire brush to brush it off. If the cement dried and dropped too far into the bulb it may be necessary to mix up some mortar or grout and fill in the gap. This will help keep the metal ring from falling loose.  

A variety of different size light bulbs looks great in a garden. Last year my concrete ideas in my community garden.  I used wire fencing held in place with my concrete ideas on each end. I grew my tomatoes up the fencing.  The concrete idea is a good thing.