Sunday, September 6, 2009

Garden Makeover - Part 1

raised garden bed

So, finally after much hemming and hawing and investigating and considering, I decided to go ahead and try to make raised garden beds.

That's instead of 1) keeping the unruly garden as is. and 2) purchasing the beds or a kit.

Supposedly cedar will last 5+ years, and it seems it's the most common material besides composite. I couldn't find anything affordable in terms 2-inch width planks, so I went ahead with 1-inch wide.

I got two 12-ft boards and had one cut in half and the other cut in 4ths. (Thanks to my brother for giving me the wood, already cut, for my birthday). So the beds will be 3 ft by 6. I've only made one so far, but now that the garden makeover has started, I really want to go ahead and do more. I'm thinking three would be good.

raised garden bed

I sort of followed some directions I found online, and more or less just built a wooden frame. I used wood screws, some (pine?) wood blocks for reinforcement. Tools included the power drill. Oh yeah, and the level. I'm so prone to do things haphazardly but I figured it's better to start it out level than deal with a slope down the road.

raised garden bed

I bought 2 bags of 3-cu ft of garden soil and 2 bags of 40 lb top soil and a big cube of sphagnum moss (which was not at all the texture I expected). I also lined the bed with newspaper and included some compost and other additives. I have a general idea of the cost of the materials for all this... and it's not cheap... though certainly less expensive than purchasing the beds ready made. I had been putting this off for a while now, so I figured I'd just go with it.

This was all very labor intensive so I'm very achy now, but still want to do more ASAP.

The other thing about the garden makeover is the idea to do twice as well, with half as much. That should be my general life goal... maybe? At any rate, I "disassembled" an entire half of the garden, took away the landscaping timbers, weeded, gathered up what mulch was left. I transplanted a bunch of carrots out of the retired garden area and into the mostly full-of soil-and goodies raised bed. I hope they'll do OK. We shall see.

And then I planted grass seed in that space. For some reason planting grass seems like some overly important deal to me. I'm not sure why. But I'm hoping it grows! I didn't have any hay to put on top... but I followed the directions on the bag, used lawn fertilizer and watered it.

I'm looking forward to the garden being smaller, more manageable, more attractive and hopefully the raised beds will make watering easier and more efficient (that's supposed to be one of their advantages).

Now I'm thinking I should have taken a "before" photo to show off the "after" when this makeover is complete. Let me just say the garden had really gone wrong in so many ways, this has to be a vast improvement.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bizarre Market! & Referring to a Donkey

Bizarre Market!

The 2nd Annual Jonny Z Festival + Bizarre Market is this Sat., August 8th.

200 Block of Shields Ave.
(Between Grove & Hanover)

I'm planning to attend/vend and will have some repeat odds and ends, including Cats in Space, Seed Packet Notebooks and other stuff, pretty much just like last year.

Art 180's current events page has more details.

In other project news, I recently made a sculpy figurine of an angel donkey for a friend at work whose friend's donkey had passed away.

Unpainted it was weird and fleshy:

sculpy angel donkey (naked)

Then painted, it was cuter:

sculpy angel donkey

sculpy angel donkey

sculpy angel donkey

I had to use a photograph (generic internet donkey) as a reference. It got me thinking about needing "references" in that way. Not that I'm great at drawing cats, but somehow cats have become semi-embedded in my consciousness, anatomy-wise, and I don't HAVE to have a reference to avoid absolutely ridiculous results. Whereas, even though in my mind, I totally know what a horse or a mouse looks like, if I try to draw one without a visual reference, it will just be goofy as all get out.

It would be fun, maybe, to draw a series of things using references vs. not using references, and see how off I am. I actually sort of like the silly result vs. the serious, but I know it's laughable.

I'm wondering what affects the mind to the point that something is memorized visually and you know what it looks like, yet can't get it out of your head and onto paper properly. And what switches that to something which can be translated outwardly... just practice, or time, or staring a lot at things?

Maybe I should have been a kid who traced things more. I never really traced anything.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Where Are You, #733?

The other week I watched the 1000 Journals movie (now available on Netflix). I remember when I heard the book had come out and the film existed, but then I totally forgot about it.

I got involved with 1000journals, back in the old days when I was joining all sorts of random and to-be-stalled projects on Those were the days when I was first getting an inkling how the internet could lead you in all these directions, and possibly even result in inspiration to do and make things in "real life."

I like seeing how one idea, site, fad... ends up morphing into so many other things. Now there's the 1001 Journals Project, which is apparently an offshoot made of personal journals of a possibly infinite number, going out in much the same way the 1000 Journals did.

* * *

So, part of a big question of the film was: what has happened to all of the 1000 journals besides the ones that someguy has received back or tracked down?

And I, in particular, wonder Where are You, #733?

Here's #733

1000 journals # 733

For some reason I was on a mermaid kick at the time.

Journal #733 was one that I received in 2002, after it first traveled to Texas and I think France. I'm feeling some nostalgia and weirdness thinking back to those days. I had the book and some friends added some great one-of-a-kind stuff to it and then I think I got antsy and pestery for a bit, and then I sent it on.

Last seen in Hollywood, and the last tracking entry states "it was stolen in the spirit of..."

* * *

And... NEW, in Patches-approved linkage:
Babushka Jewellery Design recently posted a cute Kitsy kitsy post on cat related items, and included us.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

マットサイエンティスト  Maddosaienteisuto

A month or so ago I got a note from someone at etsy, saying the Japanese magazine Mono was asking for high res photos of some of my freakish animals. I sent on the goods and heard nothing until I got an email showing me pdfs of the published version.

Lots of etsy folk are included in the issue, as well as other online shops with mostly bizarro stuff.

It's Mono Magazine, issue 6/2/2009, (the translation "thing magazine" or "stuff magazine" works here as far as I can gather).

blurb from mono magazine
And here's my blurb, from page 72.

I was especially having trouble translating the long katakana word that was included, マットサイエンティスト, because I'm pretty bad with long katakana words, and easily give up because my brain just can't handle it. I was thinking it said something about "design taste", because I was reading "dosaien teisuto" out of it, but I knew that wasn't actually making any sense based on the characters. And also I'm not sure of the proper romanization with some little characters added to others.

So I emailed K-chan and here's her translation (she also she told me she bought 2 copies and will send me one, which is super cool):

The body is a spider, and the head is a cow(ox?).
Here comes an eccentric monster, which is probably
created by a mad scientist.

So, yeah, マットサイエンティスト  Maddosaienteisuto = Mad Scientist. I guess I'm honored to essentially be referred to as a Mad Scientist in a Japanese magazine of which K says: "It's a very popular magazine, especially with men."

Now that I might get some Japanese customers to my etsy shop, I really ought to do some shopkeeping: lots of my stuff has expired and I've been totally neglecting everything. I haven't made a flipbook in months, (not sure I feel like doing it at all, production-wise) and am realizing more and more I'm liking the conceptual part a lot more than the labor-intensive part. What to do, what to do...?

* * *

In other news, related to mad scientists, or more like one furry mad genius....

Patches totally taught herself how to turn the knob on her automatic feeder. This is the feeder that actually came (off eBay) missing the part (dome over the timer) which now I realize was very valuable. I kept noticing the time was off, and was thinking the battery was being funky, but then one day I heard the knob gear turning (it's rather loud - click click click) and I went down there and there she was----turning it! I've been wondering how hard she thought this over (for months?) before figuring it out, and if at one point something happened and she was like "Aha! Now I get it." It's a little frightening.

This is like living with the rats of Nimh.

After one low-quality failed attempt to secure the situation with a rubber band and shoddy plastic basket, I got out the real tools (including the power drill, and it was serious business).

something I rigged up because my cat's too smart

Materials/techniques include: half a plastic Christmas ornament thingy, drilled holes, eye screw (clipped and bent), wire, a washer.

I hope this holds up. If she gets into it now, she's getting nominated for some kind of cat intelligence prize.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Just Flowers

The poppies are already gone.

lily of the valley
Lilies of the Valley (and Lilacs) always remind me of my grandmother.

johnny jump up

Johnny Jump Up


I think this is Dianthus.

coral bells

Coral Bells?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

not quite volubly fervous

Patches kneads her friend.
(video above)

So, for bookclub we're reading The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien. It's apparently somehow connected to Lost, and was part of Desmond's hatch library.

I haven't checked up on any of the interpretation, because I was too busy looking up words. Either words I'd never heard of, or words that I could guess the gist of but have never seen in print. Somewhere I have a little notebook where I would write down words to look up, but I never kept up with it. Maybe it's time to restart.

acatalectic - complete, not catalectic (metrically incomplete).

banjaxed - Broken or unusable, usually by result of violent damage.

bulbul - Persian songbird

by the hokey (a petty oath, or asservation) an exclamation of surprise or marvel.

cerebration - activity of the mental processes; thinking.

desideratum - something necessary, highly desirable.

embrasure - 1. (in fortification) an opening, as a loophole or crenel, through which missiles may be discharged. 2. Architecture. a splayed enlargement of a door or window toward the inner face of a wall. 3. Dentistry. the space between adjacent teeth.

extirpate - 1. to remove or destroy totally; do away with; exterminate. 2. to pull up by or as if by the roots; root up: to extirpate an unwanted hair.

gawm - someone who is a simpleton. (slang)

helical - pertaining to or having the form of a helix; spiral.

inimical - 1. adverse in tendency or effect; unfavorable; harmful: a climate inimical to health 2. unfriendly; hostile: a cold, inimical gaze.

invidious - calculated to create ill will or resentment or give offense; hateful: invidious remarks.

noli-me-tangere - don't touch me.

sempiternal - everlasting, eternal

sub rosa
- confidentally

takes me to the fair - (I didn't find an actual definition of this) but I think it's "fairly" obvious what it means.

(most definitions courtesy of

Maybe I need join wordie, though I don't know yet how it works.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Our spring weekend

garlic stalk!

This weekend I ventured out to check on the garden, did some tidying up (=2 garbage bags of leaves). The garlic I planted in the fall is well on its way... supposedly it will be ready in June.


Daffodils are out of course, and there are plenty of hidden things under the leaves, getting ready to sprout up.


I found a dead black bird and buried it.


Patches was enjoying the fresh air with the window open.

Despite my previous decision not to bother this time (based on the last two years of failures) I again have over purchased seed packs and started some things indoors. This year I'm trying some seeds planted in egg cartons. We'll see how the seedlings fare. I'll try to do some photographic documentation as well.

* * *

In non-gardeny news, I went out today and did some embroidery while lounging out of doors. Nearly finished Jack and the Beanstalk. I'd really like to get this to be a habit long enough to finish the "project."

The time and weather are throwing me for a loop. I'm trying to use it to my advantage to get some stuff done. Did some cleaning: mopped the floor, vacuumed, organized a little, put some things up for sale, added to some goodwill bags, made split pea soup.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Flip book debut

I finished the Catnip Cupid flip book. Just in time for Valentine's Day, I'd say. I really need to make some sort of calendar to keep up with thematic flip book possibilities. I consider my Mary Jane flip book to be Anti-Valentine's Day, which may end up being a more popular holiday in the long run. Besides that, I have the two Father's Day themed books. I think sticking with cats, robots and cavemen may end up being quite lucrative, as they rarely go out of style.

Next up I should start thinking about Easter, Mother's Day, maybe something more obscure or foreign... suggestions welcome.

In addition to finishing the book, I made a little Flash movie out of it. I'm not sure if I'm done yet, I'll plan to post it nearer to Valentine's Day once I decide whether or not to let Patches make a cameo appearance. I managed to do some motion tweening, but didn't figure out the motion path part yet. A lot of the tutorials I've watched are just sort of floating around in my head: sometimes it's difficult to remember how to do things without any hands-on experience. So here's to more hands-on experience. I just need to devote more time to these things.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

catnip cupid flying off the back burner


I've been thinking about something to make. Maybe a new flip book with a Valentine/cat theme? All I've thought of so far is a cat cupid who shoots catnip arrows.

I've been procrastinating a lot lately and not updating this blog (obviously). I don't have a good excuse. Maybe I need some peer pressure to get back to business?

I got a new paper cutter I have yet to take out of the box. I think this week is looking promising to try out the new goods, as I will be doing another flip book side-by-side-Saturday at the Visual Arts Center.

Last month I attended a fabric swap at fleur fabrics and also the crafter's anonymous craft swap. I got rid of a lot of stuff in exchange for some choice goodies.

Time to start putting the choice goodies to use.