Life in the Slow Lane

I’ve been taking time to relax, put my feet up, and work on my shawl. It’s working up really quickly and fits Bane’s “things with wings” theme, so I’m hoping to get it finished in time to post for the craft-along. The original pattern is sparkly butterflies, but in black they look more like moths. I’ll do my best to finish it up and get some nice pictures by month’s end.

To keep me company as I crochet, I’ve been watching Slow TV on Netflix. I worked my way through their “sheep to sweater” world record attempt and it was very pleasant to watch and crochet to, plus I learned a bit about Norway and its knitting history. I especially liked the bit about feminist “hen knitting,” which seems like such a grandmother to pussy hats and saucy cross stitching that are so big right now.

My kids have gotten into the Slow TV, too. They get way too into TV and YouTube sometimes, and this time instead of just taking their devices away I had them watch nature documentaries. That went really well, actually. The kids got really into them.

When I put on Slow TV, though, they got really annoyed. What was this boring crap?

By the end they’d all grabbed yarn from my stash and were crocheting chains like champs. Yes, they tried to knit but couldn’t get it, so they switched to crochet. I’m not prejudiced, I like them both. 😉 I’m just thrilled they want to do something quiet and useful for a change. Enough boring TV and they might even learn to turn those chains around and start a second row.

Craft Along with GIY: Utensil Holders

I’ve been following Bane’s Craft Alongs over at Goth It Yourself but this is the first one I’ve done myself. August’s theme is Food and Beverage, which lines up nicely with a project I’d been meaning to figure out anyway.

I hope I’m linking it up right:

 

giy.jpg
Visit GIY to join the fun

For long and boring reasons I keep my utensils in holders instead of a drawer, and I’ve been thinking about new ones for a while. All my available options seemed boring and sad, so I cooked up an idea of my own.

Supplies: three cheap bamboo utensil containers, fine grit sandpaper, burgundy craft paint, several pieces of pretty scrapbooking paper, Mod Podge, a paint brush and an X-acto knife. Plus a couple paper towels, a plastic garbage bag to protect my table and an old magazine (used as a pad for my X-acto knifework).

Process:

I sanded the containers lightly and wiped them clean with a damp paper towel, then used one side as a template to cut my paper to size. Then I painted the insides with two coats of the burgundy craft paint.

I let that dry thoroughly while I watched Crimson Peak–so good!*–and then I Mod Podged the insides of each container for a little extra durability. Then I used Mod Podge to carefully stick the paper on the outsides of the containers and coated the whole outside of each with a thin layer of Mod Podge. I should have maybe pressed the paper on longer first, because I got a bit of crinkling at this stage. I suck at decoupage.

After a long break for dinner and family time I coated the containers inside and out with one more layer of Mod Podge inside and out and let them dry thoroughly overnight. I definitely need more DIY practice but this was easy and fun and I’m pretty happy with my new silverware holders.

*Don’t worry, I wasn’t watching Crimson Peak with kids around. They were on an epic park/duck pond trip with Mr. Robot.

Here are some close-ups of the paper. As usual I was torn between goth for me and non-goth for Mr. Robot and somehow landed at vaguely vintage:

 

Bat and Butterfly: Keeping House with Non-Goths

I’ve been revamping our bathroom. It’s slow going because I’m fitting it around a bunch of other obligations, but it’s happening. Piece by piece, our bathroom plan is taking shape.

Mr. Robot is not goth. He loves and accepts me enough that if I really really needed to paint our walls black and perch gargoyles everywhere he would support me, but he wouldn’t really enjoy it. We compromise–some things are lighter than I’d like, some things are darker than he’d like, and on some things (taxidermy and fantasy/horror landscapes) we agree.

mysterious marshAs for the bathroom, we’ve agreed for ages that it looked boring and a bit shabby, and a few months ago I discovered that fantasy shower curtains exist and my plan began to take shape. I was tempted by the graveyard scenes and spooky woodland scenes, but that was too much for Robot and the kids, so we settled on a green “mysterious marsh.”

Putting that up inspired us to finally replace our faucet (very old and starting to fall apart) and finally buy a proper soap dispenser and a few other odds and ends. Mr. Robot and I usually agree when it comes to vintage looks, so I’m aiming for a cross between Plantation style (bright colors and dark accents) and “old farmhouse” style. Lucky for us, oiled bronze and antique touches seem popular right now so stuff we both liked was easy to find.

The next, and biggest, step was the painting. I finally found a Saturdafaucety to paint the walls “Simply Seafoam” green and one of these days I’ll get the doors painted “Churchill Hotel Vanilla.” We don’t have the time or money to replace the worn floor or ivory-and-blue countertop, so we picked the paint to work with those.

One of these days I’ll probably get a new light fixture and maybe some matching towel racks, and I already have a plan for decorating the walls. I want to put up some vintage black-and-white photos, with black frames and mattes to look like antique scrapbook pages. I was searching the internet for vintage photos to buy and then realized how silly it is to buy photos when I already have a bunch of antique photos of my actual ancestors I should use. I’m excited to get it done, but I won’t have time to start for at least a week. I’ll be sure to update with the final results.

The paint color changes with the light and my camera had a hard time deciding how to capture that shade. The bat was my touch–vynil sticker on the mirror–and the butterfly was Mr. Robot’s choice. I’m actually the one who bought it, years ago on a whim, and I didn’t know he even cared about it. As soon as the walls were dry, though, he was eager to get it back up where it’s always been. Now the butterfly and the bat are friends.

Day 17: Clothing I Have Made

I tweaked the challenge. I was supposed to show you clothing I’ve altered but I couldn’t think of a single thing. I’m just such a lazy and terrible tailor that the only thing I’ve altered in the last year is my kids’ taekwondo pants. (They’re all so very, very short.) So sure, here’s a picture of that, but I’m also showing the sweater and shawl I crocheted from scratch. My youngest is home with a cold today, so she kindly agreed to be my model between sneezes. I might have to steal her shawl-as-headscarf idea.

Day 12: My Most Complimented Jewelry

I get a lot of compliments on my unique wedding ring, which is nice but also awkward bering2cause it’s not my real wedding ring. That ring on my pinkie is my actual wedding ring. It just doesn’t fit my ring finger anymore because I’ve gotten fatter over the years. The cool swirly ring is a cheap thing I got at an occult shop ages ago. I started wearing it as a temporary “wedding ring” until I could get my real one resized, but I like it so much it’s just sort of stayed there for years now.

It’s getting kind of banged up and I wish I could find a similar design in actual precious metals, but so far I’ve had no luck and I’m not rich enough yet to order a custom version of this, so I might just keep this one forever.

Fun fact: Mr. Robot doesn’t wear his original ring anymore either. He used to have really nice tungsten ring but he lost it years ago doing yardwork. He even rented a metal detector to find it but never could; either we have buried treasure in our back yard or some lucky bird has the shiniest nest decoration ever. Now he wears a much cheaper ring he got in a Bryce Canyon gift shop.

My ring is definitely number one, but I thought I might include the runners up in the “most complimented jewelry” contest: the real rutelian beetle I got at a summer festival (I also have a spiny spider necklace) and my upcycled necklaces made by a local artist.

 

Day 11: Jewelry my Grandmother Gave Me

All my grandparents are long dead and I only have memories of one. Grandma Edith, my mother’s mother, died when I was 9 and my mother actually gave me this jewelry set to remember her by.

You’ll notice the earrings are old clip-on style; my grandmother never had her ears pierced and regretted the damage clip-on earrings did to her earlobes, so she made both her daughters get their ears properly pierced. My mother was so scared of the needles she put off her piercing until her late teens, but she never regretted it. Decades later she pierced her second holes herself on a whim. And she made sure all four of her daughters got their ears pierced as well.

Some of us ran with it way farther than she meant us to, with several piercings and tattoos apiece. My grandmother would be rolling in her grave if she knew what her hatred of clip-ons has wrought.