December 31, 2010

Creamery Bridge

This is the last Vermont covered bridge that I saw on my vacation.  I do have a long list of others that I will need to see when the time comes to go and visit my in-laws again.

The Creamery Bridge is located in Brattleboro, VT.  The bridge is 80 feet in length and the only surviving wooden covered bridge in Brattleboro.  I learned that flooding has wiped out a good amount of the covered bridges in Vermont, so many of them covered bridges are no longer used for traffic, but are preserved as historical landmarks.  So here is the last covered bridge I will be posting about for a while.

December 30, 2010

What to Accomplish in 2011?

There are millions of things I want to try, do, buy, accomplish for next year.  How do I narrow them all down?  I guess I am going to shoot for a few small realistic goals.

Memorabilia/crafts for my kids:
-I want to do something with my children's silhouettes.
-I made a quilt for my older son, I would like to try one for my younger son.
-Need to make a crayon roll up and chalk cloth placemat for my younger son.  My older son got both for Christmas this year, shooting for this to be a birthday present for the younger one.

-I want to finish up the ABC photo letter project for both my kiddos.
-I want to do at least one handprint/footprint craft involving both of my kiddos.

Something for me:
-I want to do one woodworking project that is something I haven't done in the past.
-I want to start a stockpile of pens...they seem to be selling as fast as we make them, so I would like to build up small stockpile.


-I would like to complete a painting to be hung somewhere in my home.
-I would also like to take a series of photos and frame them somewhere in my home.

I think this list will be a great kick off point to get me going through the start of the year.  I am sure that I will add much more, but everyone needs a starting off point, including me!

December 29, 2010

The Snow is Melting my Heart

pLiving in Houston snow is a scarce occurrence, so when we traveled to Vermont I was curious how my children would react to the snow.  Last year the baby was too little to react and my older son freaked out when the one snowfall happened in Houston.  Neither child enjoyed the bundling up and the slightly overheating before heading out into the cold and snow.  Once we got outside and they touched the snow, rode down the hill on sleds and the older one even got out and had the pleasure of riding on a snowmobile with myself and then his Grandpa...snow was more than okay in their book.  My older son keeps asking to go out and play in the snow and it is melting my heart that my son, a native born warm blooded Texan, enjoys the snow so much!

December 27, 2010

McWilliam Bridge

While on a drive to let the kids get in a nap, my MIL stopped to show me another covered bridge.  This one is the McWilliam Bridge located right next to the Grafton Cheese Company in Grafton, Vermont.  This one if a very small foot bridge.  These photographs were done in black and white due to the very bleak conditions for weather.  What do you expect?  It's the middle of winter.  As I am typing this a Nor'easter is currently rolling in and hoping I can get this to save in time for an auto post, since I know I will be losing internet connection tonight. 


December 26, 2010

Scott Bridge in Color

I went out on Christmas Eve because the weather was just perfect!  Nice and sunny, no wind and 29 degrees.  I decided to take some more photos of Scott Bridge because it was close and I knew with the sun out I could actually get some great photos in color.  Here they are.

December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.  

I hope you all have a very happy, memorable and peaceful day filled with the joy and laughter of children.  

December 23, 2010

Scott Bridge

I am officially on Christmas vacation and have busted out the camera.  Expect me to show off quite a few photos while on vacation, because it's a little difficult to craft of the road, especially while trying to keep two kids from tearing up their grandparents home.  Today while coming back from town, I made my MIL pull over so I could take some photos of a covered bridge.  It's what Vermont is known for...that and maple syrup.  I will be getting my fill of maple syrup soon...but I don't think I could ever get my fill of seeing old covered bridges.

So, here are my photos showing off Scott Bridge in southern Vermont.  The bridge is 277 feet long and was built in 1870.  All of these photos were originally taken in color, but with as cloudy and bleak of a day it was, it looked as if I had shot these in black and white.  So, I just edited out what little color there was.

December 22, 2010

Chalkboard Place Mat

When I was at the Houston Quilt Show this year, I came across chalk cloth.  This was the first time I had seen it and the guy who sold it to me told me tons of uses for it.  So the use I decided to try out first was a chalkboard place mat.

I picked out some cute boy fabric for the back of the place mat and some bias tape to trim it out with.  It turned out alright (the chalk cloth was a little difficult to sew through, my poor machine sounded like it was going to explode!).  I figured something was missing I decided to make a small bag to put the chalk in and attached it with a grommet and some leftover bias tape.  Now, the best part and complete happy accident, the outside of the bag that houses the chalk, can be used as an eraser!  Also, since it is removable, it can easily be washed.  How I love happy accidents!

I plan on making one of these for my other son, when he gets a little older.  Now, since I have figured out how to do this project, the next time I do it I will have to make a tutorial.  It should be easier the second time around since I made plenty of mistakes the first time.

December 21, 2010

Snowman: Part 2

Yesterday I showed you how awesome the snowman body turned out and today I am going to show you how I did the hat and how it all came together.  The hat was made out of purple heart.  Over time the wood will darken to be very beautiful purple.

This is what I started with.  I cut off a section of this block of purple heart and mounted it on the lathe and rounded it out.

The next step is one that neither my husband or I had tried.  We needed to mount a chuck that would hold a drill bit on it so we could drill out the center of the purple heart.  This needed to be done, because that is where the hat will sit on top of the snowman's head.

My husband was even nice enough to snap a picture of me doing this.  He was out there to check out the action while I was doing the drilling.

This is what it looks like after the drilling was complete.  Now, a trick that my hubby taught me, to accurately gauge how deep the drill bit was going, he told me to put some masking tape on the drill bit so I knew exactly when to stop.

I then turned the shape of the hat and sanded it down and finished the bottom section of the hat.  After that, I parted the hat off the lathe.

After I parted off the hat, I had to create a tenon in the leftover wood on the chuck, then I fitted the hat on the tenon so I could sand and finish the top of the hat.

The finished purple heart hat for my snowman.

I glued the hat onto the tenon on the snowman, even though it was a perfect fit, just to make sure that it wouldn't come back off.  Now, the finished snowman!

And me with my snowman, to give everyone a good idea of the size.  Don't I just look lovely after working in the garage?  I am sporting my best Vanna pose too!

Now, the debate begins with, do I paint on eyes, nose, mouth and buttons?  I don't think the snowman needs it, but my hubby thinks it does.  I will have to make that call tomorrow.

December 20, 2010

Snowman: Part 1

My husband found a cool tutorial in his Woodturning Design magazine and asked me if I would make the snowman for his parents...because he is so nice and awesome like that!  He could have made it himself, but he let me get some relaxing time in the garage, away from the kiddos.

The first part of the snowman that I made was the body.  My husband picked up a block of maple to make it out of.

I then had to turn it until it was round.  I then marked it with where the body of my snowman was going to be located.

I had part the wood down to the diameter that I wanted each section to be.

I then turned each section into the body of my snowman.  I made him not quite as fat as I wanted, but that had to do with my poor reading skills and not the tutorial that I was following.  Oh well, it was still coming along great!

I then sanded down, finished the body and created the tenon at the top of the snowman.

I then parted the snowman off of the lathe and ta dah!, the body of my snowman is complete.

Stay tuned for tomorrow to see how I made the hat of the snowman and how it looks all put together.

December 18, 2010

Creative Exercises

One of the things I loved about college was all the creative exercises we were given.  Now I will admit I didn't like every single one that we did, but some of the ones I initially hated the most were the ones that inspired me to push myself further than I thought I could go.  Now, I have been out of college for quite a while now and that led me to purchase a book to give me some ideas to get me going when I have hit a rut. 

Creative Sparks by Jim Krause

This is small book with a big impact.  First it's pages are very visually interesting, lots of color, different design styles which appeals to me a lot.  This book is filled with an abundance of advice for anyone thinking about or currently in the visual communications field as well as lots of creative exercises to get the juices flowing.  You can adapt many of the exercises to work for you, your style or medium.  I wouldn't just recommend this book for a visual artist, but I can understand many of the principles in this book being used by crafters, photographers and anyone who considers themselves to be in a creative field.  I mean, who doesn't want a little inspiration when you have hit that wall and don't know what to do next?

This book actually helped inspire me to create this blog, as well as other bloggers.  I actually took a photo of the page that hit me like a ton of bricks.  I wanted to invest in me, my creativity and further my knowledge of how to create in various mediums.  I am publicly making that commitment to myself.  This blog is to show off what I am doing as well as hold myself accountable, because I would honestly like to post at least 4 blogs per week.  That is pushing me to either post something I am working on, something that inspires me, something I want to try, etc.

December 17, 2010

Photo Ornament

I was at my local Archiver's store a few days ago and stumbled across a great, cheap and easy gift to make.  They had Umbra Fotoball Ornaments, so I picked up three at $3.99 each.  I won't be posting a link for them online since they are not online at Archiver's online store and everywhere else I found them they were more than $7.

These are the items needed to complete this, plus a pair of scissors and some glue.

First I pulled apart the ornament, which releases from the bottom.  I then pulled out the photos that came with the ornament and it gave me a rough estimate of the size I needed to cut my photos.

I then dry fit my photos and kept trimming just a hair at a time until I got it to fit just right.

Once I got the first photo perfect, I just laid that on top of the other photos I needed to cut and then all I had to do was use cut around the edges and had a photo with a perfect fit.  I also made sure that I had washed and dried my hands thoroughly before handling the photos, so they wouldn't be full of fingerprints.  (If you use a non moisturizing soap it will keep your fingers oil free for a short period of time)  

Once all the cutting was done, I placed my photos where I wanted them and slid the bottom back after putting just a small bit of glue to keep it from coming apart in shipping.  Then I was done!  Three Christmas presents for under $14 and only about 20 minutes of my time.

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