Sunday, October 15, 2017

Flowers and earrings and not much else.

Not much has been going on.
The fires and other disasters have been pretty depressing.



Nothing exciting happening at work, except that it's still hot.

Today it was 90 degrees.

It's disgusting.

All the flowers around the office are blooming.






There's been a mosquito problem at the office for awhile.

I got bitten again this week, about 10 times on my knees, even through my jeans!

I now have mosquito repellent on my desk.



I didn't do any drawing or any work on the cars for two weeks.

There is a car club meeting on Saturday the 21st, and the interior of the green car is still in shambles!



I did make a pair of earrings early last week. (I got the idea from an online catalog.)

It was supposed to be some pearls and gold beads, in order descending in size.

I gathered some beads together but I didn't have enough faux pearls.






I did have some clear acrylic beads that were the right size.





Here is what I ended up with.


Very fab!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Solder and silicone bakeware

This week I went to Michael's for the first time in a long time, and they had a sale on bakeware.

One thing I have noticed is silicone molds for baking are really popular.

They come in all kinds of shapes nowadays.

I don't bake, but I like to melt things in them.

They are good for up to 400 degrees, which can handle candy, baked Fimo clay, and even solder.




The silicone molds I like best, are the ones used for fondant or candy.

I picked up these two molds.




The big one was about $7.

The small one is for laying a pattern on top of cupcakes. It was 2.99!


The more obvious thing would be to press Fimo clay into the molds, but I'm not into clay right now.

Right away I had to try melting solder into it.


My soldering iron had a lot of built-up melted plastic from making Sparkle balls last winter.

It left a syrupy residue on the mold, but after a while I think it will wear away.


As usual, the solder wanted to go everywhere but where I wanted.

I thought of using this copper tape to hold the liquid metal in one place.



The copper tape is supposed to help you place solder around something like a glass pendant.

You kind of wrap it like a picture frame around a piece of glass. Then melt solder onto it.


But all the times I've used the copper tape in that way, the solder peels away.

(I used flux, too...)


Here, I made a loop of copper tape around one of the patterns on the big mold:





Using the copper tape had a better effect at restraining the solder.


This is a different attempt:




Here is the flip side of that one:



You can see the syrupy plastic residue that was coming off the soldering iron from a previous project.



In the end, all of the artifacts I made were still too blobby to actually hang on a chain or as earrings.



They feel more like lead fishing weights.

Part of the problem is that the solder is not getting hot enough with the soldering iron.

It tends to build up, drop by drop, instead of spreading in a thin layer.

I am still too nervous to use a torch...

Monday, October 2, 2017

Dreams

I have been thinking a lot about my mom lately, which is better than shutting it out of my mind.

I think by avoiding thinking about my mom's passing, I was blocking a lot of other things from my mind, too...



Over the weekend I made a few things in my sketchbook.

I drew a face (that I copied from a fashion magazine ) in water soluble crayon, then put an ink wash over it.



I was very happy with the result.

Anything is better than nothing!


I also made some collages in my sketchbook about some dreams I had.

I had a dream I went to Disneyland.
My new shoes made my feet hurt, so I took them off and left them by the entrance.
I walked halfway around the park and regretted leaving my shoes where I couldn't see them.
I went back to get them and found many, many pairs of shoes, all belonging to me.
There was one pair of ugly brown work shoes, and I ordered them to be thrown away.
My co-worker said, "but they're still good."
I realized it was wrong to throw them away, so I gave those shoes to her.


I made a collage about shoes.

Mostly I used pictures of work shoes from a catalog.




In the middle of that, I put some brown shoes.


I covered everything with a little black paint, because that was how I was feeling.




I mixed the black paint with matte medium to thin it a little, but I used too much black paint!




Everything turned into a muddled blob.


I had another dream that my mom was dancing at a church festival.

She used to like to dance, but my dad couldn't dance, so they never went out much.


I found a picture of random 50's people dancing in an old magazine, and made a collage based on that.


First for a background, I laid out strips of paper with different text on it:





I had some translucent paper from Daiso:




I used strips of that to add a little color on top of the text:



The picture of the dancers was discolored so I used colors in the tracing paper to go with that.




Saturday, September 30, 2017

Alive!

This morning I got up and checked on the tiny fish in my vase/fishbowl.

They were alive and eagerly swimming around!





Using properly conditioned water really makes a difference.


I gave them a little flake of food, because it's doubtful enough bugs will fall in there.




Maybe later today I will take the vase apart again and take it to the office.



This week I also started working in my new sketchbook / journal.





The last two years, I had been using a 9 x 12 sized sketchbook, which was the biggest size that I could easily carry around.

Lately I have not been bringing my sketchbook around with me, so I went back to 11 x 14.

I like the bigger size better.


I slopped some paint around.




When I was doing more drawing, I used to fill a 60 page sketchbook in about a month and a half!

The previous two sketchbooks took me about 6 months to fill, each one...


Sometimes if the paper isn't good, too thick or too thin, it can be a little discouraging.

I like the paper in this new one, I'm sure I will get it filled a lot faster.

(Blame it on the paper)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

fishbowl part 2

The other day I got up early to take a picture of the sunrise.

There had been a brush fire, so it was a very dramatic sunrise.



I found that one of the dogs had taken one of my sketchbooks outside.

After many months, I had finally filled it up and put it aside.

Unfortunately, I left it on the floor by their bed! Must have had something tasty on it.




As an appetizer they also had a piece of fiberglass insulation from the old car I had dismantled.

It wasn't anything too important.




It reminds me I haven't done hardly any drawing, or any repairs to my cars.




I bought some small glass pebbles/gravel at Walmart to put in my vase/fishbowl.




I sorted out some of the light colored-pebbles.




The remainder was the darker and translucent glass pebbles:






This sized pebble was better for holding down the aquarium plants at the bottom.





I was more careful with the water I put into the vase.

I used a mixture of pond water, water from my aquarium, water that had been in a watering can for days, and bottled water.



New aquariums need to develop a biological balance.

This can take 1 month or more, before you can safely add fish.

Using the old aquarium water and pond water speeds up the process.


I was being hasty by dumping the little mosquito fish into the vase with tap water the other day.


I added two more of the little fish today.



If they last 24 hours I think I can safely try bringing the vase to the office.

I'm hoping the fish experiment works.

We already have a problem with mosquitoes at the office because of all the plants.

I wouldn't want to bring in a new breeding place for them!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Using a vase as a fishbowl and a planter

The other day I was at IKEA buying a chest of drawers, to match the dresser I got a few weeks ago.

(I put that together last weekend.)

IKEA had lucky bamboo in a tube for $2

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90105781/

I thought it would be interesting to put in a vase by my desk at work.



I put it in a vase with glass marbles, very similar to this picture:



After staring at it for two or three days, I began to daydream.

I looked at ideas online for a fishbowl with plants growing out of it.

After doing some research, I was discouraged about the fish part.

But I still wanted to put something together!


At home I had this big 1 gallon-sized glass vase.

It had been used for potpourri, and also for holding fake fruit.


Here, I tried to put some water and really big marbles in it.


I found a not-so dirty plastic plant tray, that fit the top of the vase exactly.


I used my handy heat tool to melt a large hole in the center, where the plants will go.



I also made many smaller holes for air, because if I do put a fish in there, it needs air.

I used a heat tool because poking that kind of plastic with a knife makes it crack.



I used the top of a big juice bottle to make a holder to keep the plants from falling in the water.






I gathered some bits of houseplants that I think will live with only water.

Here are some plants now in the juice bottle top,  the plant tray resting on the vase:



I wrapped their roots with some burlap to keep them from further wandering around.




( I happened to have brown burlap that looked really good and matched the roots.)


Here is what I ended up with:


The plants I used were from around the house.
Peace Lily, Pothos, Arrowhead Plant, Hedera Ivy, a little curly fern.

The long streamers are from a potted Oregano.
They didn't have much root on them, so I don't know how it will do in a vase.

Horsetail grass that looks like bamboo.
I didn't leave any room for my lucky bamboo (it's still at work)

Here is a close-up of the inside.


I did end up putting in a tiny fish, one that didn't cost anything.
The city requires us to put Mosquito Fish in our pond.

They are like guppies, but without any color, and very durable.
It is in the upper right of the picture.

At home, besides the koi pond, I also have a 55 gallon aquarium with different fish and living plants, and I put a few sprigs of those plants in the bottom of the jar.


One thing I will change is the marbles in the bottom.

I tried river rocks from the garden, too, but everything I found around the house was too big.


Edit: Never seen a fish keel over and die so quickly.




It was either the raw tap water, not enough air holes, or something else like a chemical.

Monday, September 18, 2017

K-pod holder from a cardboard box

Our new pastor at the church office bought us a Keurig machine a few weeks ago.


On Sunday at work, things were slow.

I decided to do something about the Keurig pods floating around.


I saw an idea on Pinterest that turned a cereal box into a K-pod holder.

I found a good sturdy box and a box cutter.




I measured out the K-pods just by eyesight.



The holes were a little off center, the first time.




Ideally I would have turned the box inside out, to trace the holes, but taking the box apart to do that would have ruined the box.


I turned the box over and measured out the pods again.




The hole was traced from the bottom of the cup.


When I cut out the holes, the pods fit perfectly snug!






I made a keyhole shaped hole in the back, which would hold the pushpins to hang it.





Here is the end result, hanging outside the cupboard, (a little out of focus.)