April 29, 2013
All winter, people have been coming up on my porch and making fun of me for not yet cleaning up my pumpkins.
Remember these pumpkins Claire and her friends carved last year, with portraits of their Walkerville Collegiate teachers on them? Okay, so old collapsed pumpkins are gross and yes, I should have cleaned them up but look, I was going to do it the other day when I raked last year’s fallen leaves off the front garden (what? WHAT?). But look at this. They totally got better with age, you guys.
They remind me of the apple-head doll my little brother made when we were kids, which had raw wires for hands sticking out of its crudely stitched calico dress, white lines of Liquid Paper accenting its unholy eye sockets, and a horrifying shock of cotton batting hair atop its shriveled head. I used to lie on the living room couch late into the night as a teenager, watching rock videos alone in the dark and feeling slightly terrified of its malevolent, rotten-fruit gaze burning into me from its stand over the fireplace. Yup, scared of a folk-art doll, that’s me.
This one’s just a cavernous face-hole with a still-fabulous hairdo.
Yes, they are still there. Shut up.
Posted by jodi on April 29, 2013 at 9.59pm
February 16, 2013
Got a little stack of coptic bindings to sew up while I watch the Barça match this afternoon.
Posted by jodi on February 16, 2013 at 1.54pm
February 14, 2013
Step 1: obtain an old letterpress type tray. Try to find one of the empty ones used for type too big to fit in the Job Case, because a) the larger type it housed was likely wood, so there’s probably less poisonous crud all over your tray, and b) it’s less work if you don’t have to take out the slats. If you’re like me you have more than 40 of these drawers sitting empty in the attic with all that other crap you’re never likely to use. Otherwise you might need to scrounge one from somewhere, but take my advice and don’t go to an antique dealer because these things are way more common than you’d think based on the prices people charge for them (see above re: more than 40 in my attic).
Step 2: wash the tray. Wash it really, really well, with your gloves on, then wash the gloves and your hands. Type is gross and poisonous and lead poisoning is unpleasant and I cannot stress hand washing enough. Also if your tray had lead type in it, make sure it is very clean before you let the cat play in it.
Step 3: let it dry. Making a fort out of it while it dries is optional, but fun!
IT IS SO FUN WHAT THIS IS MY FUN FACE OKAY
Step 4: measure the inside of the tray and cut a piece of foamcore to fit snugly. You’re going to wrap a piece of fabric around the foamcore before you attach it inside the tray, so how much smaller you make your insert will depend on the thickness of the fabric you’ve chosen; I used a very thin muslin, so my foamcore was barely more than a millimetre smaller than the space it was filling.
Step 5: cut your fabric to a bit larger than the foamcore and wrap it around like you would stretch a canvas, starting with the centre point of each side and moving outwards. Slide rustproof straight pins into the side of the foamcore to secure (carefully; if you don’t put the pins straight in, they can shoot out of the foamcore on a diagonal and go right into your finger). Fold the corners in one side at a time, as smoothly as you can, keeping in mind that, unlike stretching canvas, this only has to look good from the front. And pin, pin, pin.
If you can’t be bothered with the pins you can always use glue or tape instead. I wasn’t entirely sold on the fabric I chose (FUN FACT: there is not a single piece of fabric in my studio that is a solid colour or does not clash with pretty much everything). My tray needs to be reversible so it can be opened up again later, after the bedroom has been painted, to change the backing fabric to something that matches better. For the time being I’ve used a scrap piece of muslin that I printed with woodblocks (including a weird one from grad school with my face on it).
Step 6: fit the foamcore into the tray. If you’re sure that, unlike me, you won’t be opening it up to change the fabric any time soon, you can use some glue or double sided tape to secure the back. Mine is only attached by the hooks that hold the jewellery, so the foamcore bows out a little bit in the centre. I also wanted to keep my tray in good shape in case I ever need to put it back in the studio. You know, for holding wood type.
Step 7: it’s a good idea to draw a full sized layout on paper, and lay some of your jewellery out on it, to plan your hook placement. I didn’t do that. But you should. Then, mark out on the fabric where you want your hooks to go and use a sharp awl to make your holes. The bottom of the type tray is quite hard, so you’ll need to be sure you drive the awl into it a bit to get a hole started. Pivot the awl in a small circle to widen the hole in the fabric so that it doesn’t get caught and twisted up in the threads of the hooks you’re about to screw through it.
Step 8: put in your hooks. I used these little cornice hooks with a 90° bend for hanging necklaces, and added a row of eyehooks along the bottom for dangly earrings. Screw them in as far as they will go into the tray without the tips poking out the back, unless you are never going to move this tray ever, in which case maybe you’re not so worried about scratching up the wall.
Step 10: screw in a couple of eyehooks straight down into whichever side you’ve chosen for the top. Use those to hang the tray on your wall, then fill it up with jewellery. And you’re done!
Now sit back and marvel at why on Earth you’re still hanging onto all of those heavy long necklaces you haven’t worn since the 1990s.
Posted by jodi on February 14, 2013 at 5.45pm
February 6, 2013
Comes with a sweet ass trophy.
Posted by jodi on February 6, 2013 at 4.51pm
November 3, 2012
They make portraits of their teachers with spirit animals and various inside jokes and the whole time they are doing so you can hear them in the kitchen doing impressions of said teachers.
Posted by jodi on November 3, 2012 at 9.42am
October 15, 2012
Here’s the base for the Chandler & Price paper shear, all freshly painted with charcoal coloured hammered-texture rust paint. It’s so lovely I’m eyeing anything and everything in the house now, looking for more things to put this paint on. I think it would look great on our kitchen appliances, and possibly also the bathroom fixtures. And the Adana hand press, OBVIOUSLY. My spinning wheel? Hmm, perhaps not.
The chopper is now ready to be reassembled and put into use, finally. Too bad we forgot to take photos of the disassembling process. There are a few parts I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before, and the prospect of making a mistake putting together a tool that has the power to cut off one’s arm is rather an exciting one, eh?
Posted by jodi on October 15, 2012 at 8.56pm
July 8, 2012
Today I put my name and number on my derby helmet, finally, with two colours of adhesive-backed vinyl.
The blue is 3M Scotchlite, which my dad gave me so that I can cover my bicycle frame with it and make it glow at night. So my helmet numbers will glow in flash photos (theoretically). Here’s a photo taken with flash in our dark basement:
Posted by jodi on July 8, 2012 at 3.12pm
February 5, 2012
This little project has been on the “never gets started” list for a while, a bottle of mineral oil purchased for the purpose sitting on the kitchen chest of drawers for months, perhaps a year now. I finally got around to it today after attending a memorial service yesterday for an old SCA friend of ours (and one-time housemate of mine). Linda loved to collect and surround herself with natural materials like stone and wood, and she and I used to make garbage-picking rounds together (anyone else from London Ontario remember the glorious pickings of Spring and Fall Cleanup Week, back when there was still a designated time for throwing large items to the curb?) looking for old wooden boxes, bowls and crates. I came home thinking it was about time I cleaned up this bread tray she gave me 18 years or so ago, that we’ve all but destroyed by running it through the dishwasher. In summertime this tray sees a lot of use, as we tend to eat the lazy sorts of suppers that involve pita bread or a nice rye loaf and cold things (hummus platter, roasted red peppers, pickled eggplant) on the front porch.
It’s super easy: just melt some beeswax in a jar, mix in the mineral oil, let it cool and rub it on your stuff. Then wait a bit and rub it off!
Linda’s tray and all of our wooden tools all oiled up. At least one of those spoons I’ve had for 20 years and never oiled, and after a sit overnight and a good buffing, it’s lovely and shiny again. The tray needed a bit more time to soak up the oil, but its glow is coming back as well. Don’t worry, we won’t put it in the dishwasher again.
Posted by jodi on February 5, 2012 at 8.08pm
August 12, 2011
If you know me at all then you’ll know just how wacky this is right here: I went to Pennsic for fifteen days and did not bring along any knitting or sewing projects. I KNOW! Okay, that little orange sock with the two broken bamboo needles was in my satchel, but that was for in the car only (okay, also for waiting in line at Herald’s Point that one time and also for during a class Peter and I attended on making mustards, because those times are Idle Hands Times which are in no way the same as Projects Times, right?). Also I did not bring anything to read other than the WFTDA rule book (ugh. . . does there really need to be an entire section on Blocking With The Head detailing all the ways in which it is not okay to block with the head at all, when it could just say “Blocking With The Head: DON’T”?).
So, what did I bring to occupy my time, most of which is spent in camp since I’m too lazy to go anywhere and do anything at Pennsic? Drawings. Lots and lots of drawings, of which I worked on a good few, one in particular which may finally be about to turn the corner from AWFUL to FINISHED. I’m not going to show you those yet, because they’re still awful. But here’s the other thing I worked on: two of the drawings were stapled onto plywood boards so that they can be worked with multiple layers of wet drawing materials and still remain flat. One of those boards was the back side of a block from that ill-fated larger-than-life self portrait I started way back in my first semester of graduate school. Because drawing is a solitary activity for me and one cannot spend one’s entire vacation sitting inside the tent drawing while one’s friends are outside having social times, I also brought along a set of knives so that I could flip the drawing over and cut on the block while chilling around the camp dining room with my House Redhair homies.
This 24 x 36″ block has been cut into and printed quite a few times, and at the moment consists of a section of a figure completely covered with thin chatter lines, with rougher chatter marks in the background. I’m cutting away all but a grid of 1″ circles, so that what little will remain of the existing image can be printed as polka-dots on fabric.
The wood is the cheapest, most difficult to cut plywood you can get, either pine or fir, because that’s all I could afford in my first year of grad school. Now I dream of Shina and buy birch, which is still hard to cut but not nearly as split-tastic as the pine. But because I can’t waste old work, I’m dulling my blades on this old block one last time, taking the wood right down to the middle layer so it’ll print nice and clean (hah! like I ever print anything cleanly).
These are going to be some janky-assed polka dots.
Posted by jodi on August 12, 2011 at 7.26am
April 10, 2011
Spring is here and it’s time to clear away all of the dead house plants that didn’t make it through the dim winter on the dining room windowsill (so long dead avocado tree; I’m sorry I didn’t eat you sooner, dried up basil!). Now that the gardening efforts will be concentrated outdoors (we have an entire backyard to overhaul before June), here’s a way to have a little bit of lower maintenance greenery in the house. I used tips from these tutorials at Life Hacker and Boing Boing, but didn’t follow either to the letter; moss isn’t likely to up and die on you if you don’t do things just right.
What you’ll need:
-glass jars with lids. I used a gallon pickle jar that my friend Jenn gave me (and painted the lid flat black), and a smaller storage jar with a sealer lid that I picked up at Value Village.
-soil (optional, actually, but if your jar is tall, like my pickle jar, soil will help to bring up the height of your moss garden without having to use as many rocks).
-charcoal-activated water (again, probably optional but I figured it couldn’t hurt. I broke open a Brita filter and mixed a bit of the charcoal grains with water; they didn’t really mix in but I’m sure it’ll all work out).
-one of the tutorials I looked at suggested Spanish moss, which I didn’t use because I didn’t have any. It’s another way to get some depth if you don’t want to use soil.
-plastic dinosaurs, gnomes, lego toys, ceramic figurines, plastic flowers, fish tank decorations or whatever other doo dads and frippery you want to include.
-chopsticks for placing items if the mouth of your container is too small to get your hand into.
-moss! I brought a bit of moss back with me from my visit to Georgia in February, even though the varieties probably aren’t any different than what grows here. If you want to bring home some moss from a trip, it will survive in a Ziploc bag for a good long while; mine sat around for a month before I got around to planting it. Otherwise, go out and find yourself some moss and gently peel up just a small amount (don’t go decimating a single population!) with some of the dirt attached to the bottom. I supplemented my Georgia moss with two different kinds I found in my backyard, one low and clumpy and one more luxurious and long. I also had a bit of lichen covered tree bark that I picked up in Georgia (RUH-ROH, lichen in a mossarium, I’m already DOING IT WRONG). We’ll see how that fares in there, as I’m not sure it wants to be as moist as the moss does. I don’t recommend going out and collecting lichens in the wild unless you find a piece of bark already lying on the sidewalk off the tree like I did; lichen colonies can take a hundred years to establish themselves and that’s not something I really want to go messing with.
To assemble the mossarium:
Fill the bottom of your jar with rocks or soil or Spanish moss. Sprinkle in a small amount of your charcoal activated water if you’re using that, or regular water. You don’t want it to be TOO wet or the glass will just fog up. Then place your decorative rocks and the larger of your doo dads: in my large jar I used one large-ish rock and a statue of a bowling friar, which I placed before planting the moss, but in the smaller jar I just placed the rocks and then waited to decorate it until after the moss was planted.
Now break off small sections of your moss and place them on and around the rocks, using the chopsticks to wedge the moss into any smaller spaces. You don’t have to carpet the whole thing, as the moss will spread on its own, but if you’re impatient you might like to fill up a lot of the gaps between the rocks right away. I placed most of my moss directly on the soil around the base of the rocks and shoved a bit into the narrow spaces between the rocks and the glass, then put a few clumps right on top of the rocks just to see how they’ll fare there. Then put in any of your smaller decorations. If they’re lightweight like my little plastic dinosaurs you’ll want to press them down into the moss bed a bit so they’re secure.
Place your mossarium in a location where it’s protected from direct sunlight and wait for your moss to grow! You won’t have to water it very often but when you do, just take the lid off the jar and sprinkle in a few tablespoons of water. If the glass becomes foggy just open the lid for an hour or two to let the steam off (but don’t forget to put the lid back on; your mossarium wants to stay moist).
Posted by jodi on April 10, 2011 at 9.38am