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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Art for Dolls

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
Ulla and many others (I'm too tired to look up URLs right now, so if you have a dollhouse post, leave a comment with a link so we can go visiting.) have been posting about dollhouses in the last couple months, which got me thinking about these paintings I did for my mom's dollhouse many years ago. If I remember correctly, the top three are copies of some vintage prints we had around the house. If anyone knows who the artists are I'll give credit where credit is due. I think I used gouache. The tiny frames came from a miniature store, some are wood and some are metal. These are the actual size of the paintings. See my Flickr for enlarged (or, enhugened, as Blaize would say) versions of these tiny paintings.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sorting Folk: Matching Names with Places

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
I used to be able to remember the name of every person I had ever met. Then I worked in retail and things got a bit confusing. But, I was still pretty good at recalling details, such as: relationships (didn't she used to go out with...); jobs (oh, I know her from...); residences (I always see you in front of the house on...)—all trivial information, but, fun to me—it's how my brain works. I get a sense of satisfaction at making connections, secretly hoping that everyone I know will know each other—it's my version of the Kevin Bacon thing.

In the pre-computer years I kept Manila folders on the guys that I thought were cute, mostly surfers. I know, it sounds stalker-ish, but it wasn't, really, it wasn't. ;) I inherited this trait from my father. He once kept a folder on a dead-beat renter who had stiffed him of a couple months rent. One day the FBI knocked on our door asking my father if he knew of this man. My dad whipped out his folder, impressing the FBI representative—they joked about offering him a job.

Isn't there a job where you follow around a politician and whisper in his/her ear telling them what they need to know about the people they are meeting? I'd be good at that job. I mean, I would have been good at that job. Now my brain is mush, some people call it mama-brain. A friend told me that your IQ temporarily lowers while you are pregnant and for sometime afterwards. Is this true? In my case, probably.

Enter the modern computer age. Now it's very easy to keep folders on everyone you know. But, what do you do when you "know" several hundred cyber friends? Listen people, my blogroll* is pushing 250 crafty blogs that I keep up with! I've enjoyed over a thousand email comments and correspondences with my bloggy friends. But, when I'm skimming through my Bloglines it all starts to blur, to become one voice. I hate losing track. I want to remember everything about everyone, remember.

So, it's been taking me several days and I'm not finished yet, but I'm doing some sorting. I'm taking all my blog comments and putting them into folders, electronically, thank goodness. The folders are titled with the name of the person's blog and their first name. This way when Siow Chin leaves a comment I can remember that she came from Little Purl of the Orient. Even though I subscribe to her blog and enjoy reading it, it took me awhile to connect Siow Chin to her blog because her Blogger profile didn't link back to her blog. Now I have a "Purl of the Orient/Siow Chin" folder for her. This makes me happy.

I bet all you Typepad-ers are going to tell me how Typepad does this for you automatically, in which case I may be tempted to switch over. But, for tonight I have you all neatly tucked away in your little electronic folders. Good night sweet cyber friends.


P.S. I do read blogs outside of Bloglines, too—in fact, everyday. But, to keep track of the madness which is 234 blogs, I use the aggregator, then I click on the blogs that I want to read up close and personal.

*Warning: Bloglines and other feed aggregators can be very addictive. If you have a touch of OCD it can be dangerous.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Log Cabin Baby Blankie WIP

Log Cabin Baby Blankie
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
This is a Work in Progress (WIP) for a baby due in December. My friend's only request was rainbow colors. Luckily, I saw the Mason Dixon Knitting book right after buying some of the yarn. I'm using a bit of everything in this project, but the majority of the yarns are Wool-Ease and Encore, both wool acrylic blends, because: I liked the colors; I thought they were pretty soft; they're washable; and they won't break the bank. The other yarns are superwash wools (Cascade 220, Bazic Wool) and a couple of thrifted acrylics because I really wanted the colors. Overall, I think it will be soft and snuggly and very cheerful. Things I learned about myself on this project: I'm not a yarn snob, I'm a color snob; I switch around how I pick up stitches (sometimes I go in through the back of the stitch to leave a ridge); I don't mind inconsistencies; I even make mistakes with garter stitch.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I Yam What I Yam: A Colorful/Colourful WIP Tale

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
Inspired by Yarnstorm's most excellent photo of a English beach cottage interior I decided to crochet a stripy afghan. I love Jane's photos, especially her colours. There's always some coral or pink jumping out of a minty background, or something equally exciting. Jane is so famous for her colours that she even gets bloggy gifts that are inspired by her palette. After examining the photo of the afghan I worked up a couple swatches and decided on a double crochet, working into the spaces instead of the stitches. It might not be exactly the same pattern in Jane's photo, but at least it's similar and very easy, too.

The fun part was trying to find a Yarnstorm-based palette in my stash. My stash is perfect for this kind of project because I'm the queen of the individual skeins. I have three big totes full of single skeins. The majority are thrifted (acrylic and blends, some wool), but some are new (wool). It has just starting to sink into my thick skull that you have to buy six skeins for a toddler dress or twenty skeins for a baby blankie. I had no *idea,* especially about how much people are spending on all this knitting going on—I digress. So, I dug out some of my colors and referred to the photo for her colours. Each row (250 stitches = 8 feet long, 2.4 meters), crocheted lengthwise, brought heightened anticipation of choosing the next color. It was quite fun. I tried to include as many corals and mints as I could. I *heart* picking color combinations. Then, I got lazy and stopped looking at Jane's photo and just worked any ol' way I wanted. I found myself fighting the urge to make a rainbow, but the pull was strong, so I included a bit of the ol' ROYGBP. Next thing you know I had something straight out of the 70s—the ladies at the yarn store made polite grandma jokes. It's not at all the cool, British seaside colour palette I anticipated, but in all honesty it is very me. I am a bit 70s—you know, you can take the kid out of the 70s...

I've failed in the past at trying to emulate someone else's palette.
Remember when I tried to recreate the sophisticated Nordic-inspired colours of Swedish designer Camilla Engman and her Bedfellows? Now that I think about it, in the olden days of yore, I used to make purple and orange bouquets at my first job. Hmmmmmm? I guess I should just stick to my own wild color ways.

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Blogger Sighting

Sitting outside the petting zoo at the County Fair, while nursing my baby, I noticed a man with an earpiece. I wondered if he was taking important calls while visiting the baby donkey. I also noticed a woman, she looked familiar, a bit like an actress. Then, I thought, "I know her from somewhere." Since I'm a blogger of little brain it took me a few minutes to put it all together. She's a BLOGGER! I knew her and her husband from photos online. I called her name and she looked over. Then I had to come up with something to say, because she didn't immediately know me. "I'm Michelle from Green Kitchen." I felt like such a dork saying those words. Anyway, it was nice to meet up with a blogger. We could have talked for hours about all the crafts and such, but I had to catch up with my family. It was nice to meet you Aurora..

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Life as an Anthropologie Catalog (just kidding)

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
What Anthropologie doesn't tell you about all those picturesque photo locals is that there is probably no insulation in that bathroom; or about that a rat turd that fell from the no-sheetrock-having ceiling into the medicine cabinet; or the big-ass beetle that was found floating half dead in the toilet. Someone asked for inside shots of our little cabin so I took a few of the more presentable corners this weekend. Remember, nobody has lived in this house or about eighteen years give or take. It's definitely raw.

Now raw might look good in photos, but do you really want to live in it? I do and I don't. I'd like to keep the cute kitchen sink cabinet, but we are going to tear it out. It's built into the location, meaning it's not a self-contained unit. It's dark and scary and it always has a rat infestation. It came stocked with a bottle of malathion. I'm ready to start anew. We'll have a carpenter friend fashion a new one, using the old sink, to fit the tiny space—think boat galley, but no rats this time.

The bathroom is "as is" for now (3 1/2 ft by 9 1/2 ft). We ripped out an old 60/70s bathtub and will replace is with a scavenged clawfoot . With the two extra clawfoots (the ones without feet) we'll hopefully make an outdoor soaking area. If and when we get the second phase of this project we will rip out the bathroom to make a larger kitchen, maybe ten by twelve, instead of eight by ten. We have this wacky notion of making a separate bath house with water closet. The house would have no toilet—sort of a modern day outhouse situation. In six hundred square feet, I think, you just can't get far enough away from the toilet. I really don't want to cook a next to a toilet. I've done this before—makes for interesting dinner parties.

Could the refrigerator be any cuter? It came with the house and my stove, which we moved from another house I lived in, fits perfectly in the small space. What luck! Of course, the refrigerator freezes things, but we'll worry about that when we live with it. For now it keeps the beer nice and cold.

So the outside painting is almost done and we're really happy with it. We had to look at six or seven color samples before we agreed on one of our original choices, Cottage Red by Benjamin Moore. My brother-in-law has done an excellent job with a challenging situation. Thanks B!

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