Monday, January 31, 2011


Muslin is one of my favorite fabrics to froebel around with.  It is very inexpensive, usually not more than  a dollar a yard, and I like to buy a a whole bunch of it and then just do different things with it.    At the moment I am trying to make a cloth journal and I wanted to see what I could do with ink markers.  On the right side I just used different markers and then took wet Qtips and diluted the inks.  On the right side I drew something simple and then also diluted the pink hair with water.  After that, which is not very visible at all on the photograph, I spray painted the area with Pearl Cote Pearl Glaze which only made the cloth a bit firmer but did not do much else.

The 4x6 fabric postcard I made, was only so I could see what would happen if, again, I wrote on a piece of muslin, then glued it over printed paper and spray painted it.  Only the paper took on the silvery shine, but it is not very obvious here.  Made the writing run too, but it's just an experiment anyway.

I was curious what the effect of this paint  would have on
something darker, so I went outside and sprayed it on the cover of  our black Webber kettle.  I am not particularly attached to this thing, so who cares.  I did not even clean it.  But woohoo, even with the dirt on it, it suddenly had a nice dark grayish silvery patina.  We never use it, but it looks a lot more decorative now.  A warning though: it looks just a bit prettier in the photo than in reality.

You may wonder why I bought the darn paint in the first place.  I was thinking of making a mosaic of the shards of a very expensive coffeepot I accidentally cracked.  It was from the Smithsonian shop, so it wasn't exactly cheap, and I wanted to preserve it somehow.  I thought I would put the shards in a thin base of plaster of Paris paste in a frame and then use something to seal it and the very nice, but I believe now, not too knowledgeable young man at Michael's sold me this can, which, by the way, was locked up in a cabinet with an imposing chain and lock hanging from it.  "Because of the huffers", he said and he had to explain that one to me.  I never got past having a few doobies in the sixties.  Anyway, I have the feeling this won't work on my coffeepot project, but I can always get something else;  Michael's is just down the road.

Back to the 4x6, I also experimented with wrapping stones in wire.  This was something new for me and I like it so far.  Then I tied the whole thing up with bits of cord and tried to convey the thought that if we do not use our ink, or in other words, do not express ourselves in writing or in other creative ways, all the words and ideas and thoughts we have will become choked up, tied in knots, bound and unborn,  and never see the light of day.   Which would be sad, because expressing ourselves may help us understand ourselves, and each other, better.

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Citrus Garden

They are about ready to eat and squeeze:  our grapefruits, tangelos, oranges, lemons and tangerines.  We have had many years of drought, and sometimes the trees had very little fruit or just took a year off and were dormant.

This year, however,  after, finally, a good amount of rain,  they are especially abundant and  plump,  And so sweet.

The skins come off so very easily, and the juice runs down our chins.  I love the smell and feeling of lemon juice on my hands.    I often boil all the peels on the stove for a while, with a bit of cinnamon, which makes the house smell great.

How fortunate we are to just step out of the sun room and pick them from our trees...

Ah, just another day in paradise, here in Southern California.

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Who is Venetia?

I have made a beautiful discovery recently: the half hour broadcasts on PBS entitled:

(Click above for her website, biography, and blog.)

Venetia Stanley-Smith

The programs are shiny jewels and many new and wonderful things have been revealed to me looking in on Venetia's life and listening to her thoughts.   The programs are truly an oasis in our ever more spiritually dreary world. I am learning amazingly much from each half hour:  much to ponder and relish  and,  as a New Year's resolution this year,  I decided to take her advice:

"Do not rush, take your time for everything you do".

Apparently these programs have been going on for quite a while, and a kind person on Youtube has pretty much stored all of them on his/her channel, for which I am very, very grateful because it gives me a source for catching up whenever I want and now you can too:

Below, is, I believe, the  earliest program which will give you an idea of the how it feels to take part in Venetia's daily meanderings and musings:

Check for TV broadcasts in your area on this site:
And take advantage of the privilege of little visits to Venetia's home in Kyoto!

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fabric Postcards

Lately I have started to make some fabric and multimedia 4x6 postcards.  There's a lot of activity in that corner of the crafting world, with many sites where you can sign up to do exchanges with other 4x6-ers.  I believe it started after the popularity of the ATCs  -with the 4x6 size allowing a bit more space to work in.
I understand that you can just send them in the mail, without additional protection, as long as you get them hand stamped at the post office (they must really enjoy that...).

Here is the first one I made;  a multilayer one which says: Home is where the heart is.  I planned to exchange that with someone, but when my husband saw it he wanted it.  I know, awww... so sweet!  So I stuck a little photo of him in his college days in the cut out heart.  He looks adorable!

The next one I made is the Thanksgiving one for which
I used a cross stitched cornucopia I made long ago.

I fused that with double stick fusible web  (I love that stuff) to the burlap and did some hand stitching and embroidery.  I was going to send it to my friend Randy, but my husband confiscated it as well.

Then,  saddened by the current anti-Islamic sentiments, which I find disturbing and Unamerican,  I made this one for my cardiologist who is Muslim and who once saved my life.  It is called "Many Religions - One Heart"   I typed that on a 8.5x11 sheet of muslin, which I had fused to the plastic side of freezer paper to give it the substance needed to run it  through my printer.  When you cut out the printed words you want, and remove the paper (comes off easy and leaves a sticky residue)  with a protective cover sheet of paper (otherwise the ink runs) you can iron it on most paper or fabric surfaces, but don't move the iron too much then the ink will run.

 And finally  here's one I made specifically for my husband to reflect  how much we love music and our life together, here in Socal, near the ocean, where every day is "just another day in paradise".

These last two are covered with used dryer sheets, ironed on, to give it a gauzy finish, and I cut out holes over the group of international stamps to show the various people on them more clearly.

So far I have yet to join an exchange group.  It is important that you have a bunch ready when you sign up so that you can  participate without others having to wait for you to finish one first, I was told.  Personally I would send them in a protective envelope, but that's just me and only based on how our mail arrives here sometimes, quite a bit in tatters or not at all.

These cards can be as versatile a project as you would like,  and some people make absolutely gorgeous cards.  Try it, it's fun!

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~

Monday, January 24, 2011

On Photography

Certainly not as erudite, evocative, and eloquent (I just go ape over alliteration and am helplessly hyperbolic) as the book by Susan Sontag (hard to believe she has died already), but I have a few thoughts on this "craft".  I like to take photographs or those by others, and froebel them up beyond recognition.  (Pssst: you can do this too on Photobucket, for free!).  So after I posted my little crochet experiment I ran the photo through "the bucket", and here is the result.  I have a little cheap Canon camera with a sputtering battery, but here is the result,  Just for fun:

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~

Sunday, January 23, 2011

BETWEEN THE FOLDS and in stitches...

Last night we watched a movie on PBS (Independent Lens) called "Between the Folds" - Made by Vanessa Gould.

Don't you dare miss it if you haven't seen it yet.  It is all about very advanced Origami creations, transcending Paper Folding 101, and involving most of the sciences, and the scientists and artists  who make  these truly amazing shapes out of ONE sheet of paper, without cutting.  One of them, Dr. Erik Demaine,  said that the proteins in our genes are folded in  intricate ways as well.  And that folding paper can lead to more than a pleasant artifact.  It may help us understand even better our genetic structures.  Yeh, I know; you have to see the film!

At the same time that we are watching, I am crocheting something.  Starting with a long chain as you do with crochet, and then coming back with a double crochet in each chain stitch, which ends up in a thin, straight,  ladder-like  structure.  Then with another color, I decided to add a lot of double crochets in each ladder opening (2 sets of three double crochets, with a 2 loop separation  at the top between them) so in total 6 dc in each of the ladder openings on one side so far.  This is a lot, and also,  the aqua knobby yarn is thinner than the black smooth yarn.  Anyhoo, after a while, I noted that the whole structure started to spiral, much like the double helix of our genes.  Which made me wonder  if the proteins, like my lots of black stitches in one blue stitch, might fold up from a large flat surface area into a bunched up clump, becoming a much denser mass where they attach themselves.   Like my 6 black stitches in one aqua one?  Would the proteins then, because of, say,  "overloading"  the initial "ladder", force  it to twist... like my ladder is doing?  Anyone?

That's how my mind works when doing simple crafts and watching an inspiring movie.  I must get a copy of it: it is only $20.00.

The film was over in a flash - we were left with our mouths open.  And Dr. Erik, whom, I believe he wrote his thesis when he was 20  and still looks like he's about 18,   is quite a "wunderkind" and renaissance man at MIT,  with his own website:

Don't ever think that juggling isn't serious business.

And hey,  he's actually almost thirty and we have the same birthday!
Although I am close to 40 years "earlier" than he is.

So, here's my little project.  It actually works better as a photograph.

The aqua yarn not yet loaded with black looks pretty straight.  And even though I am crocheting on only one side of the aqua, it looks like I am going around it, but I am not; it's MAAA-gic!

I really didn't meant to start out with a (little big) bang theory in froebelland... but there you have it: everything is basically science, innit?

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~