Friday, September 30, 2011

"A new toy ? what joy" says Mr Ric Rac

So, what is the difference between Bookface and the blog? Well for me Bookface is faster, which is why if you were visiting last night you would have seen my updates about a new toy.

(Obviously this is not the new toy, it's Beet. I just don't feel right blogging without a photo. Did you know Beet took 13 heads to get right ? hmmm shouldn't this be getting easier?)

It hasn't happened in a while , that consuming feeling of a new project. Even though it totally dements me, I love it. I love the ideas that fire off other ideas- and I love it when, for me, the story of the new person becomes clear. That is the AHA moment. Of course chances of me becoming a little obsessed are quite high too and housework (so often ignored) will simply not be seen, children may get snapped at when they ask me to drive them to town and foods masquerading as meals will become even less gourmet than normal. If you were in the land of bookface last night you would also know that I am having trouble with the her legs - I mean really? legs ! OK so the head may be on its almost 30th incarnation but I am happy oh so happy with it...and from then on I usually expect plain softie-sailing , but no...I was ambushed by the legs.....So here I am stuck in the land of legs when the gorgeous teeny clothing is calling...It was a night of softie-legs dancing through my brain and half untold snippets of stories and props and crazy ideas that had me tossing and turning for hours. I dreamt of teeny softie crutches and little plush pushbikes (that's almost a recurring dream it appears so often).

Really I just wanted to pop in and say sorry I am too busy to take photos and upload and blog and explain - and breaking news might appear on Bookface if your keeping up-but I guess I kind of did anyway.

See you on the other side of the damn legs.

(oh and now I'm worried when I show you the new toy, you'll all be looking at the legs, like when someone has an unusual facial feature and you can't stop looking at it even though you are pretending you aren't. You are all going to be doing that to the legs and , all that angst for a couple of stumps.....).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

opinions again

Once again my friend Baxter has made it to the front of the queue. If you haven't met Baxter , you might want to pop up there under the header and read his story.

This afternoon (after a trip to the dentist) I am finally going to decide what, if anything, Baxter should wear when he becomes a pattern. I kind of like him in his natural hedgehog state but maybe that's a bit too simple?

The floofy hat and apron ? the tuxedo bib ? something else entirely?Got an opinion, please weigh in, cast your vote, have your say - lest it be another 12 months before the poor man sees the light of day.

maybe, just maybe I am a little bit too attached to my hairy little friend and I am over thinking things (as usual).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fruck out

A friend had a baby
So I am making a quilt
I know I know - I totally fruck myself out too.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dead posh

OK, folks I have the biggest scratchiest pair of cranky undies on right now. You guys know the busy beyond busy thing I have going on with concert - well, the body has revolted. I have fluid behind one of my ear drums and its a bit like being drunk (without the alcohol). I am a bit off balance and a bit nauseous and a whole lot cranky.
If I sit perfectly still, its fine...which you would think is manageable wouldn't you ? except I don't think I have sat perfectly still since about 1988...I'm not good at still.
So here is where we are folks...everything is half finished, half started , half arsed and half cocked.

But just so you know I love you ...I took the photo again minus the half eaten apple.

man, this could be a design blog.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Animal X-ray wings (A tutorial of sorts)

Our school concert is a mammoth affair and it takes over our performing and visual arts programme for a whole term. Each child works on his or her own costume and props. Part of my role is to help the art teachers design costumes or props that the kids can recreate. One act this year required wings - no problem ! However the wings had to be able to be hidden for part of the act and then we wanted a bit of a POW ! moment as the wings far so good until we were told the wings had to close again.
We played around with a huge variety of materials for this and spent ages working with dismembered umbrellas, the umbrella idea was great but we could get the wings to retract...
Eventually the laced X-ray wing was born. This wing is based on a fan design and I have to let you know that the genius of the X-rays was the art teachers idea.

Obviously I am not going to post the kids from school here, so here is Mr baggy-pants standing in. He is considerably larger than the kids these were made for but they are a kind of one-size-fits-all thing.

We started by joining X-rays together (sourced from the local vet and hospital) into a long rectangle which we cut diagonally. Each wing needs four but you could do more. The X-rays here are taped together but the kids used a hot glue gun.

We then framed each triangle back and front with bamboo strips (from an old window blind). Again this was done with hot glue.

Once dry we drilled a small through the bamboo at the pint of each triangle (actually I did this bit , we don't let the kids loose with the power tools)

We then put the four triangles together by placing a button between each one and wiring them. We used buttons because we had them but the effect here is really one of a washer. We need to separate the bamboo triangles enough so the don't catch on each other when they open and close. You could use cardboard or metal washers here instead.

Close off the loop and repeat for the other wing.

Into each wing, about halfway along, we drilled three holes. When laced up this creates the opening and closing mechanism. if you want your wings to close completely (as in only be as wide as one section , completely folding over each other) then you need your holes close together. The problem with that is , when open the triangles will tend to turn and you will get a "windmill' effect as each of the triangles angles open.

We then laced the wings together, tying off the plastic string at the beginning and end. We overlapped the wings, only the width of the bamboo.

To finish we simply wired the two loops together and added some elastic which is worn around the shoulders. The kids also covered the wire in black fabric so it didn't show against their black costumes. They also cut a design into the end of their wings. To open and close the kids simply grab them and raise their arms.

Back-lit on the stage we think they are going to look spectacular.

You know there would be a thousand ways to vary this. I think they would look good with the bamboo painted black as well and black string .

The kids have LOVED working on this project. For a start they loved the X-rays and had a ball trying to figure out what all the bones were, especially on the animal X-rays, they got to use hot glue guns and wire cutters - always a blast and they made something that actually works. We loved it because for the most part the kids could all the work , the only cost was glue gun sticks and the kids really enjoyed themselves.

Just for the record I wasted so many hours trying to figure out the configuration of that lacing method- I knew in theory that it would work but I just couldn't make it happen for the longest time so I decided I would make a tutorial and save the next librarian-come-concert-helper from the headache.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Coming out

4:59 Friday afternoon.
Pyjamas : On
Kettle: Boiled
Family: Out
Sewing machine: Ready

My "inner Nanna" is out !

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In case you are thinking of guitar lessons...

So "the band" are off playing an all-ages gig this afternoon and it is sigh of relief. An all ages gig means that the Mr Ric Rac and I (and all the other parents) don't need to be there to supervise.

Whilst a good parent would never dream of denying her child the wonderful opportunities and experiences that being in a band offers, it must be said that I would be happier if I didn't have to share all those experiences.

Of course I am always as supportive as I can be from the greatest distance possible whilst still maintaining supervision. Under strict orders to go nowhere near the stage, the parents tend to hang in an uncomfortable cluster by the bar. The bar is sticky, as is every other horizontal surface in the place. The floor ? I try not to look but I know it is there because I can usually feel it vibrating.

After the first hour or so as we watch the support bands support we all resign ourselves to the fact that even if we put out lips right into each others ears and yell, we cannot possible hear each other. I usually read all the band posters and mentally correct the grammar and spelling. we text each other comments about what is happening on stage and have a polite shandy.

As the evening wears on, the patrons get drunker and the skirts get shorter. There is a whole world of weird parenting in the observance of drunk girls with their push-up "personalities" at the fore, ogling the 15 and 16 yr olds.

Once the band has played their set, they usually have a juice or two and kick back to watch the other bands (it doesn't matter that it is WAAAY past my bedtime, I have definately turned back into a pumpkin and my whole body and brain is vibrating- nope it is band etiqette to stay and watch the others bands, after all , they got you the gig).

Of course by now I can't even hear the music or tell the difference between one mop of hair and another as the crowd is thick and I am trying to keep my eyes on all four boys at the same time. The polite shandy has kicked in, my eyes are watering and I am clenching the lady muscles to the point of no return. I may or may not try and stare down the bouncer in the hope that he will kick us all out. The polite shandy way back at the start of the night is always a mistake - be warned. There is no horror like the horror of a sober 42yr old visitng a night club toilet in the wee hours of the morning.

Trust me on this and buy them a chess set.