Saturday, February 27, 2010

so...what do you do with them?

When friend chat these days turns to my felting wool obsession, after I detail the great end-of-season deals and share how-could-you-not-want-them? hints on felting technique, after the polite (and sometimes enthusiastic--those are my good folk!) nods, I get some version of "and so what do you do with them then?"

Good question. Not really enough to currently justify the quantity I'm working into the stash right now. I'll probably use them for just 5-6 projects in the next couple of months (it's birthday season in the Frandsen family. Plus I have lots of babies I love who are overdue gifts), but don't really want to try to stock the shop with woolens right now.

I keep coming back to 2 things:

(1) I am a miserly hoarder (who is working to quell that inner nasty, inviting friends to use my shears and a grocery bag and dig in)

(2) Now, end of season, really is the time to buy woolens, what with $3 and $2 bag deals and other half-price lovelies. Plus, I feel less guilty about felting and chopping what is sometimes a quite nice sweater, knowing no one wanted it all winter long, and I'm genuinely saving it from the landfill, not swiping off the back of a would-be sweater wearer.

And also this: I really love working with this material. It's thick and soft and warm for winter crafting. Happy fuzzies all around.

My first finished project: a case for my sister's GPS unit.I started with an internal pocket of a thickly felted green cardigan. I cut it out with a flap on both bottom and top, boxed the corners, and turned it inside out. The top flap became the over flap of the finished pouch, and the bottom flap I used to cover the hardware I used as a clasp (recovered from another sweater). One part of it needed to be inserted through a slit in the fabric before being stitched in place, and the flap (later sewn down) covers it nicely, for both aesthetic and practical (protective) purposes. I cut the other pocket for a future use. I needle-felted in a vine-y swirl on the side, added a be-leafed belt loop on the back, and covered the top-flap hardware with a blanket-stitched leaf, cut from a felted green blazer. With the birthday girl's initials.

I tied it all up with another upcycling project, a golden blossomed poppy headband. I added a couple of citrine beads with the black to make it blingy-er, but think I just prefer the black. My holding-the-baby photo:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

yesterday's MRI

that tricky shoulder, before (March 2009)

short version: good!

long version: um, whatever this says

MR UPPER EX JT W/WO CONTRAST MRI OF THE SHOULDER HISTORY: 1-year-old with synovial cell sarcoma of the right shoulder; followup COMPARISON: 1/5/10 TECHNIQUE: An MRI examination of the right shoulder was performed on a 1.5 Tesla scanner using the following sequences: T1-weighted coronal, T1-weighted axial, T2 fat-saturated coronal, proton density fat-saturated coronal, T2 fat-saturated axial, fat-saturated proton density, as well as fat-saturated axial and coronal T1-weighted images pre- and postinjection of intravenous gadolinium based contrast material. FINDINGS: There are postsurgical changes seen in the posterior shoulder and axilla, post excision of the right axillary tumor, without a residual or recurrent mass seen. Following injection of intravenous contrast, there is diminishing enhancement within the surgical bed posterior to the right shoulder, about the latissimus dorsi muscle, infraspinatus muscle, and teres major muscle, compatible with resolving postsurgical changes. Since the prior study, there has been interval development of a focus of contrast enhancement seen in the posterior subcutaneous tissues which has a linear configuration and most likely represents enhancing granulation tissue along the incision site (image 6, series 12); attention to this region on followup exams as warranted. IMPRESSION: Evolving postsurgical changes in the right shoulder, with interval development of probable enhancing granulation tissue along the incision site, but without definite evidence of residual or recurrent tumor.
that tricky shoulder: shark bite!
(it's too cold for me to take the whole shirt off.
We, um, ran out of heating oil, responsible homeowners that we are...)
on the screen: that tricky shoulder, swathed in bandages just post-op

Hey, happy birthday to my sister Camie! So badly this 10-year-old wanted a baby sister to play with (in the family guessing game, I was right with my "girl, with blonde hair and blue eyes," but wrong with my "twins, named Carissa and Marissa") and she's been just as good as I could have imagined. Maybe I'll squeeze out the time tomorrow to post the gifties I made for her :).

Easter dioramas

Rather in love this week with the just-found blog of the beautiful children's boutique Mahar drygoods. Aimed at the 8-12 crowd: Junior Society.

And wanting very much to do Easter dioramas with them.

I'm thinking candy clays, like the dough for peanut butter balls and cream cheese mints.
+ pastel paper
+ gumballs.
And pretty boxes, of course.
Would I even be able to find 2 sizes of gumballs?
Do you think that is what their bunnies & chicks are made of?
I'm going to have to find a co-conspirator or two...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

That baby

is getting crazier by the day. Tonight's bath was eye-wideningly splashy and OH the wrestle I had to re-clothe that child! He's such a daddy's boy lately, squirming to stay in his arms and avoid me. I came home from pottery to find them both puttering about among the bikes in the basement. Nathan was adjusting the wheel of the bike he was about to take out, and Reuben was intently flipping the quick release on another wheel. They looked up at me with the same expression. Those boys of mine!

Yesterday he ran his first photography session, in his favorite place, under the computer desk, where he will sit (no, make that wander and scoot and push printer buttons and peek up at me with so-suspicious glee) for a surprisingly long time (like maybe 10 minutes) while I "work" at the computer. Push the button. Again. Repeat. Again.

The resulting 20 frames showed a lot of
but I did think this was rather beautiful.

another bit of lovin'

I made the very wee red-and-white paper cut cards for my family last year, but Ay! forgot to use them. During the inbetweens of my Valentine's Day USACF Official's Clinic training Sunday I detailed why I loved my most beloved ones on those tiny bits and these kind-of-splurgy-but-so-delightful black apple valentines. And stitched a little wool twig for my best honey, an I'm-sticking-with-you-and-so-lucky-to-be-so reminder. I squealed with pleasure when Nathan brought in the latest good offering from my best knitting gal Holly: "Washcloths aren't just for doing the dishes. They're also for sending our Valentine wishes." So spoiled.And look at this good love corner of my finally-hung miniature shelf, featuring an acorn heart from Becci (yup, there's a wee silver hedgehog in there).I do love Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

happy love day

I cannot find my camera--I suspect it was stashed by small fingers--so won't show you any new projects this morning, but a photo of the pink-and-red handmade love that came my way from my mom. She sends packages for all holidays, with treats and a homemade delight. I'm a lucky, lucky girl: both to receive all of these and to learn early how much love is poured into a handmade gift and to want to continue that tradition. Though I have loved and benefited from the rediscovery of craft in the last decade, the Frandsen/Anderson women have never stopped.

In other Valentine's Day news, we participated in a progressive dinner our church sponsored last night. I rather loved it. I remember my parents doing those when I was little. Was that a 70s thing? Have you done progressive dinners before? I think it would be really fun to organize with a group of friends, split into lots of mini courses.

Lastly: my love gift to my husband today is to spend the day travelling to and attending a cycling official's clinic. I'm making his myth of cycling as a family hobby come true and starting to work PCA and MABRA races this spring.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I am just about to sleep next to


My feelings about happiness have changed dramatically in the last year, and recent reads have my little head & heart gears very busy (specifically Eric Weiner's The Geography of Bliss and Richard Powers' Generosity: an Enhancement). But nothing has convinced me that joy is the natural and intended state more than seeing this little guy's eagerness to be happy and the overwhelming of my senses each time I curl up around his firm little self in our familiar nursing posture. Really blissed out.

I try to focus and be a "craft blog", but really, folks, as far as my creation in the last couple of years goes: this is my best piece of work.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

me & you Valentines

I love incorporating my children's work into mine: showcasing their creativity in a more finished piece.Our Valentine-making party was sabotaged by "snowmaggedon", and became a much-smaller, walkers-only affair. It was actually quite nice, as we were able to all sit around one table and the Goates girls actually finished their Valentines (our hostessing usually happily distracts us). Mailing them has been delayed, unfortunately, but I blame the continuing snow days and their delightful time-freezing.
Reuben worked his first (purposeful) marker experience with Valentine colors (look at that growing hair! So long away from purposeful poison!), and I mounted them. Each reads, on reverse: Lucky, lucky, lucky you! You're loved by Valerie and Reuben, too!
[I know, too many exclamation points in that paragraph for credibility. But love! and no more chemo! Deserving, those.]Audrey was a factory, filling our mantle with a wide variety.

Okay (since I know you want them). I'll give you another hair shot.
Delicious. Wish you could run your hands over that fine thatch. 'Tis mama bliss. Maybe baby, too.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


*Friend Becci made some lovely items, felting old sweaters.
*I tripped my little self (and child/ren) into every thrift store in my 3-town shopping area (when passing by) in search of wool. Good times.
*Self found 43 wool items to hot wash and dry and felt. Self is not exaggerating the number, but it is not quite as crazy as it sounds because of winter-end 1/2 price and $1 and $3/bag sorts of thrifty clearance sales (go find them)
*Okay, that is still crazy.
*Much fun because they really do felt and feel rather nice until
*there was static and lint and piles of wool everywhere and it took me a whole movie to cut up 2 red blazers (so many Sag Harbor size 10s out there!), even without picking seams, just slicing, and I felt a little bit sick about that large pile.

Tomorrow, I'll just buy some more bins.

I do have a couple of wool projects in the works, but am feeling very cheery about the poppies we made from the polyester linings of all of those wool suit parts.
One sentence tutorial: Cut random-sized and margined circles from a couple of tones of red lining fabric, melt the edges a bit over a candle flame, stack them in alternating shades and decreasing sizes, then stitch them with a fine needle, black thread, and a pile of seed beads.
Lovely hair clips.

We were all (Friday morning group crafting grows!) loving them on felted rings. Big bling has never been lighter and softer. Even Audrey wore hers (mine!) for hours, because she couldn't even feel it.Everyone who has come to my house this weekend made a couple, too.Next-door neighbor's purple variety. So many options in Valerie's upcycle pile!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

so good

My nephew Drake, age 9, fasted for "endangered species, especially the rhinoceros" last month.

(Our church has a tradition of fasting one day a month , donating money saved--though usually more--to the needy and often dedicating the day to concentrated prayer for a particular person or situation).

child sew

I was entranced by this post:

Amanda Soule set aside a machine for her sons to just free sew, a nice simple & sturdy one she doesn't need to worry about, and their results are fantastic so far. My girls each have a small machine, but they're toys, really, and I kind of think they're harder to use than mine.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

planning a sparkling year

Last year, I bought a handdrawn planner from An Artful Agenda (raising funds last year for the Portland tool library, which I mention not because it's particularly a pet cause, but because I wish we had a tool library in our community. So perfect). Anyway, I loved using it. It was little and green and cute and I got a kick out of all of the little drawings on each page. My mom seems to have a hard time every year finding just the right planner, so I thought it would be a peachy idea to have her kids & grandkids draw one for her for my Christmas gift to her. It was a great idea and they are just tickling all of us (more wanted copies to use themselves) to pieces with their peachiness. And clever drawings: look at Zander's dinosaur there!Technical notes: I sent the family templates for the weekly and monthly pages, that they could choose to trace or just print out multiple copies and fill in, as well as margin and style guidelines to keep the planner easy to use (like "Sunday-Wednesday on the left side, Thursday-Saturday on the right, month name at the top of the page"), and had my family draw their pages on one side of a good ol' 8 1/2 x 11. This was a bit awkward in production, because to make them into a neat little double-sided booklet, I had to cut-and-tape them together in mock-ups that could not be automatically fed through a copier, so I had to do the copying myself. I chose Staples for the printing and binding, mostly because I didn't have a lot of choices, especially in the self-serve+full-serve combination I wanted. I like to support local businesses in my little Pennsylvania town, but ours do mostly commercial work and were dubious about my enterprise when approached. So big box it was.

A couple of details: our family had fake names when we vacationed because we thought we were really funny that way. We were the Farkles: Flo, Fabian, Fanny, Flossie, Freddy...(someone fill in the rest? It's been awhile...)
A wee watercolor I did for the covers with my favorite little poem.
Isn't it strange some people make
you feel so tired inside?
Your thoughts begin to shrivel up
like leaves all brown and dried.
But when you're with some other ones
it's stranger still to find
your thoughts as thick as fireflies,
All Shiny in Your Mind.

A good goal in planning your year, methinks: surround yourself with sparkly people.

Side story: Just a month late. Sigh. Typically me, late, though I really do usually hit the Christmas target. My excuse this year is that my beloved USPS failed me. I couldn't find my brother Justin's family packet, though mailed in early December. My short-term memory has been alarmingly defunct lately, and I was sure it had arrived and I just put it "somewhere special." I finally begged them to draw me another, which they kindly did, and then, both arrived on the same day. Even crazier: postmarked exactly 1 month apart: December 9th & January 9th. I was mightily relieved. If I had to choose between the faithfulness of those two friends, post office and memory, I would go ahead and choose the ol' brain. Even if I know our time together might be limited...