Thursday, December 15, 2011

String Theory

I have this theory. It involves the complex topography of knotted string and nieces.

Do you remember making friendship bracelets? (I must admit that I still do this.) I'm thinking two of my little nieces have hit the magic age where this would be a great activity for them.  So I've gotten the big packs of assorted perle cottons and an instruction book for each as Christmas gifts. I've also made each of them a bracelet to wear, plus one for a younger sister so she won't feel left out.  The wide one is special free-form one - not sure who's stocking it will end up in.

These are fun to make, and really quite fascinating when you think about the knot structure. There are so many color possibilities I want to try together.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Instar - In Color

I had finished my drawing, Instar, with the black pen and ink work and had called it done.  A friend wanted a print, but in color.  In this version I've added an over-the-top amount of color and pulled out all the iridescent paints too. You should see this baby sparkle.

My husband says it should come with a warning that the viewer might suffer from epileptic seizures upon gazing too long or hard.

In it's glory...
I'm happy to report that at least the intermediate recipient was delighted with the results.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

IF: Mesmerizing

I've been wanting to participate in Illustration Friday back since bicycle (a looong time ago.) I have decided to end my procrastination today.  I'm also ending a long stretch without blogging. Being the last day for this week's word, my entry was rather quickly sketched, but I submit it for your entertainment.

"Mesmerizing." I first thought of a hypnotist, but realized the way to truly mesmerize a kid was by turning on the television.  BTW, these may look like my kids, but they would NEVER be caught watching a show with a purple dinosaur, so these must be somebody else's kids.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Road Trip

I took the girl down on a quick trip to Portland last weekend. Plans had changed unexpectedly, leaving the weekend open to hook up with a group of fellow stitchers.  We carpooled up with a friend from Pendleton, which was nice both from the aspects of companionship and cost.  We also had the benefit of Sue's being raised in Oregon and knowing all the cool spots to visit en route.

We'd always just taken I-84, but Sue showed us an old Highway 30 that runs parallel for part of the trip. Not for those in a hurry, but perfect for those who want to see some nice waterfalls and cool old government sponsored park projects. Some photos for those of you who have never experienced the beauty of the Columbia Gorge:

We got a bit of stitching done. My model stitcher Carol from Seattle was there so I got to see how one of my models was coming along (I'm quite excited about it!) Did a little bit of geocaching and took a visit to the local brew pub. I'm planning a trip with my son next along the same route, except perhaps skipping the pub. ;o)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fourth Instar

A few more sections have been completed, and this piece is almost done. I made a boo-boo in the cobra and will have to doctor it with a bit of white paint. I've left it there for now for entertainment value to the type of person that likes to look for mistakes. I still have the outer side triangles and a few inside spots I want to add to. Five instars is a common number in nature, so watch for its fifth.

This is another sketch I made. I know, it makes no sense, but that has never been a limiting factor for me.  I do so like cephalopods. The title is "Oct-ane."  My friend Cindy is going to show me how to make etchings and I think this sketch will be the basis for that lesson. I'm excited, as I've never made prints that way before.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Third Instar

More progress on this one. Still have quite a ways to go. I need to get a wide format scanner. There is a lip around the perimeter of the glass on this regular size scanner that prevents the art from sitting directly on the glass when I use the 11x14" paper block. I think it leaves a slightly fuzzy out-of-focus look.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Robot Beetle

I needed to make up some samples to help advertise the Stamp Making Class that I am teaching this summer to kids.  I figure the beer bottles and other things I've been recently carving are not really age appropriate.  The younger kids will certainly have a share of different techniques we will practice, but the older kids will get to have even more fun by carving their own stamps.

Draw something, carve it, print it!

So, if you've got bored yet creative kids this summer in the Tri-Cities, you might want to check out the gallery's schedule of kid workshops.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Private Label

This is a bit of an inside joke, and a bad one at that, but I thought the little ratty came out cute so I am sharing him.  We enjoy drinking different beers and have recently started brewing our own.  We like the Belgian Piraat Ale (see the bottom picture), and just bottled our own version from a clone recipe.  My husband and BIL enjoy mispronouncing things and continued to call this the Pee-rat beer.  It's still two months before we can drink it, but as it was time to label these bottles, the mental connection stuck...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Open and Shut Case

I picked up this tiny pattern card "Little Wallet" by Valori Wells when I was in the craft shop last time.  It seemed about the size of something I could tackle.

I had the sewing machine out over the holiday weekend, so I took a few minutes to test it out.
Cute, huh!

Second Instar

I posted a pencil draft of this knot ring a while ago. I did the first round of ink work this weekend.  I'm not sure yet how the remaining areas will be filled in, or even if the four corners will be the same. Final dimensions will be a rectangle of about the width and height of the diamond shape you see. I hadn't drawn any beetles lately and I missed them.  It may be hard to see the two big leaves - one has eggs on it, the other has been chewed.  I'm mulling about themes of circles and cycles.

Other recent ink finishes...I'm planning on adding some color yet still to the serpent.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dancing with the Salts

More geekiness, in part brought on by the trip to LIGO last week.  My son came home Thursday with two friends and a goal of doing a special experiment and presentation for extra credit for their science class.  Their science teacher had introduced Cymatics and showed them this video on You-Tube:

They rigged up a tone generator from the computer and I helped them cable it into the home stereo. We took a trip to Goodwill, where we found a few big speakers that could be cannibalized ($2.17 total - what a deal!) A little wiring and soldering later, we were able to dial up any frequency and crank it up. Earplugs.

It took some fiddling to get a plate system that would work, but the kids eventually ended with a system that worked and the salt did indeed dance. It wasn't anywhere near as elaborate as the video, but they could see patterns and they did change as they ranged the tones.

With this success, then my daughter described the LIGO demo where they had taped a tiny mirror to the plate in a similar setup and shot a laser pointer at it. As the sound changed, the reflected spot on the wall went crazy due to the vibrating plate! We replicated this with great success, although photographing it was less than representative.

These are called Lissajous figures.  Much fun for me, as I got to play the role of technical consultant.  I could also see the lights flickering behind the eyes of the kids.  I hope they are sparked to further explore. Meanwhile, I must go vacuum the living room...and buy another box of salt.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Spent the day as a chaperone on my daughter's AP chemistry class' field trip to the LIGO facility. The facility's mission is to detect gravity waves.  It's a pair of 4km long tubes at right angles with mirrors and laser beams.  You can't see the actual equipment from the outside (just the tubes - below,) but there are lots of cameras and tons of scientific instruments feeding to a control room. They were actually reconfiguring a 2km tube to it's full 4km length, so nothing was operational at the moment.

Although not up and running, the facility has a great hands-on area, where every imaginable demonstration involving waves or gravity was waiting for the many students that cycle through. We had fun with the 30 foot slinky, pendulums galore, interferometers, sound generators, lasers, etc.

This was a special mirror that is being upgraded. It may not look like much, but apparently was the very best available and ran about $150k when originally made.  The coating on these was an amazing iridescent thing.

Another view of removed/demo equipment:

I have no idea how this fits into the grander scheme, but I believe a portion of the money for the real project was siphoned off to build this dalek prototype. My camera angle does not do it justice.

To finish off our tour, we heard a presentation from an MIT physics grad student there who was working on physically implementing a "squeezer" which reduces quantum uncertainty noise.  This is a huge project with collaborators in many parts of the world. Quite impressive, both the young lady and the project.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Barrage Tonight

We've got tickets to see these guys tonight. The group is called Barrage.

They are doing a concert in conjunction with the local high school orchestras. The kids have a clinic/workshop with them all afternoon, then play a little wee bit with them during their concert tonight. The rest of the concert is just Barrage, and the kids have their real full concert tomorrow.

My daughter certainly has the long blond hair ready for Celtic-women-esque prancing about. She's not too far off on the fiddling, either, but she (like me) can't even imagine trying to dance while playing at the same time.  I'm curious what she'll get out of the workshop.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nice Jug

I was getting my growler filled today at the Ice Harbor brewery, since I had to visit their homebrew store anyway.  Some kid (probably just 21) in the parking lot gives me the thumbs up and yells "Nice Jug!"

Good think I wasn't filling two of them, or he might have said, "Nice Jugs!" In which case I would have had to slap him.

He was totally correct- It is a nice jug.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Carved Bottle and Layout

I've been thinking about graphics for the bottle labels for our homebrew.  We drank the first batch without fear of mix-up, but ideally we'd like to make little stickers or something to identify what's inside as we continue to brew.  This is a little bottle stamp I worked on last night.  I"m teaching a kid's class on stamp making this summer at the local art gallery, so it felt good to dust off the tools.  I need to figure out a cheap way to secure or make 18 cutters - the class pack I'd planned on ordering has disappeared from the web store since I submitted my budget request.

I've also been working on the layout of a new bigger Celtic piece. I've got this round border penciled in. I think I will ink it before I go too much further, as all this pencil is very smudgy. I'm not too sure I like the two giant petals at the top and bottom, but small ones were in the way of the triangles I'd laid out in the background. Round borders are fun but much more tedious, since you have to draft the grid before you can draft the knot.  Oh well. I'm sure you'll see more of this later.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Paint

In light of yesterday's success in reviving an older abandoned piece, I tried "fixing" another today.  This one just didn't have a good color balance - too many close shades near each other.  I mainly just strengthened some colors and shifted a few on the color wheel a notch. It looks better, but it's still not my favorite.  I seem to run into trouble whenever I use a true red in a piece along with a pinkish red.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mandala Make-over

This is a mandala I found half-painted in one of my folders. I had set it aside, as I really hadn't liked where it was going.  It was weakly colored and really just didn't speak to me. I've been working on it the last few days and (for better or worse) finished it out, darkening up and changing a lot of the colors. There is only so much that you can do with watercolors before you get mud and there is no real going back, only forward.

At least I can move it into the finished stack, where it will again wait an indefinite amount of time before something happens.


Good Morning

Have a cup of caffeinated sunshine.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Things Done and Left Undone

Spring Break has drawn to a close and the reality can now be tallied. One always goes into a holiday week with great thoughts of getting some of those little things done.  We had the whole family home this week and did enjoy some good time together, and because we just stayed at home we're hoping everyone is rested up.

Taxes - I've got a few more days, right?
Framing/finishing - deadline for photos of the new stitching stuff for the online show is today. Today!?!
Beer - we've been planning to start a batch of Belgian brewing.
Beer bread - and I was going to bake bread with the spent grain.
Etsy - was going to load in all of the excess/unsold merch from the psychic fair.
Newsletter - part of getting ready for that online show.

Psychic Fair booth - it was a great weekend
Potatoes and onions - planted
Dandelions and other uninvited herbaceous pests - greatly reduced in numbers
Stitching - models are stitched
On-line needlework show booth - loaded, except for photos as mentioned above.
Sushi - made some
Music - made some
Knitting - knit some

Kids went back to school this morning, starting a fresh quarter. (I don't know how, but my son actually woke up before the alarm - he had been sleeping in past 1pm each day.)  Husband is back at work.  Dog looks a little forlorn with the nearly empty house. All the regular chores stand waiting their due: the laundry, dishes, scrubbing and vacuuming. And thus begins another cycle.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Didn't mean to be cruel and show only the backs of the recently framed pieces.
Here are two by Hannah. You will recognize (likely) Frederick the Literate, by Charles Wysocki.  I forget who designed the sampler one. She's currently about half way through a tiger picture called Blue Eyes, one of those photo-realistic solidly stitched types.

And you have already seen these fronts, I just had to get them presentable for the Nashville Show. Just Rosy on top (charts at the printer now) and the Oatmeal Quaker (already available) below.

The last three items on the bed are a set of new releases. I'm not sure when I will be leaking photos of them. It's such a strategy game that I don't fully understand.  Share now & get people excited? Make them wait so there is something new at the actual show they haven't seen?

I hadn't posted up all of my Christmas finishes yet, so here are some more pictures.  I knit this hat for my sister -it's shown here modeled by my brother. It was by far the best received hand-knitted gift I've ever given.

Close your eyes for the next picture if you are embarrassed at the thought of animals procreating in the wild. This was the hat my brother got to keep for himself.

Boring ol' socks for my hubby:
Fingerless mitts for my friend, who might appear to be suffering from jaundice, but is not. Also, the computer insists of putting the photo upside down, regardless of the fact I flipped it and saved.

Ah, it feels good to empty the camera.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's a Wrap

I wanted something besides another cup of tea this afternoon, so I made up a glass of this stuff - Lo-Han-Kuo Beverage.  We call it "Not Tea," with references to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  You can find it at any Asian grocery.  As I prepared my cup and boiled the water, I found myself terribly amused at the amount of wrapping involved.

Let us peel back the layers to get to the product...
  • Outer plastic wrap
  • cardboard box containing
  • twelve smaller cardboard boxes each containing
  • a plastic bag which holds
  • waxed paper which unfolds to reveal
  • ta da: two little cubes that look like bullion cubes.
I think they really missed the mark by not having an additional layer of plastic wrap on the twelve tiny boxes. Seriously, moisture or dust or anything could have contaminated the product.