Tag Archives: New Mexico

Fail Boat Redemption

8 Nov

I’m not a giver-upper, so I tried again to recreate the really cool project idea I discovered in New Mexico.  This time I made a bowl out of wool & mohair, which I then felted.

felted bowl, before stiffening

Felting is a fancy word for “the thing that happens when you put wool in the washing machine” – yes, that’s right.  Shrinking.  I’m not usually a fan of felting, but I wanted to give it a whirl.  I washed this bad boy in hot water (in the washing machine) a few times, then dried it in the drier.  I forgot to take a picture of what it looked like before the felting.  It looked like a bowl, only floppy, okay?  Okay.  Next step: stiffening.

We all remember what happened last time I tried to stiffen something, so this time I consulted the interwebs and made my own stiffening mixture, which included corn starch, water, and sugar.

like gravy, only sweeter!

I dunked my bowl in the mixture and set it out to dry on a bowl form, just as the interwebs instructed me to do.

what's that in the background? sprouts AND a plarn scrubbie? gosh, isn't THAT a coincidence?

It did not work at all.

Plan B: I painted on some store bought stiffening goop leftover from the Fail Boat Project and ended up with this:

Not too shabby!  I’m still not convinced that felting or stiffening are *good* ideas, but in this case, at least they didn’t suck.  })i({

Free Pattern Friday: Fail.

22 Oct

During my fantabulous Chibication in New Mexico, I convinced my darling Chibi to take me to a Hobby Lobby.  I really wanted there to be model trains and die-cast miniatures inside, but instead I found these:


a cool thing in New Mexico? Really?
Wait, what? TWO cool things in New Mexico? …weird…

My first thought (other than, OMG, why are those two pictures such different sizes?) was, I can totally make those!  Hooray! They look easy enough, right?  Wrong.  Blarg.  The official pattern for my attempt is this:

1: make a rectangle of double crochets 6×30 stitches.

2: sc in the…er… round around the rectangle 5 times and FO.

3: give up now.  this is the best it’s ever going to look.

SO, the important part of this project is the stiffening.  I was too lazy to make my own stiffening mixture, so I ended up with a bottle of generic store-bought stiffener, which instructed me to paint it on the item I wanted to stiffen.  Well, that part went okay, I guess.  I used a foam paint brush, and if you look closely you can see that the foam pulled up tiny strands of yarn along the way, giving the whole tray a rather matted, wet dog sort of look.  Awesome.

It kind of looks like a fail boat, no?

Next I was to shape my little black tray along a form (which I had even planned for, as my pattern makes a tray exactly the same size as the long end of a Cheerios box) and let it dry.  Okay.  Here’s what.  When the directions tell you to put a layer of waxed paper down over your cereal box to prevent sticking, DO NOT feel guilty about using a disposable product.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.  Unless, that is, you want to spend some quality time picking tiny bits of cardboard off the bottom of your tray (You’d think I would have learned this particular lesson after the rag rug incident.  *sigh*).  I even tried the old color-it-in-with-Sharpie-when-no-one’s-looking trick.  Still a Fail.  For some reason, cereal box cardboard gets shiny when you Sharpie it.  You can’t see it in the picture, but there are actually several spots of tiny, shiny Cheerio box sticking to the bottom of my tray.

It doesn't look so bad once you fill it up with something, I guess...

But, since I was determined to salvage this little tray (read: my dignity), I couldn’t just throw it away!  I ended up stashing it in the back of a utensils drawer to collect bottle caps (which I’m saving for another project, of course).  So there you go.  I never said it was going to be a *good* free pattern, did I?  })i({

New Mexico is filled with Crazy!

18 Oct

Hi, friends!  Sorry about the missing blog posts these past few days… apparently recovering from a Chibication is rather dramatic.  ANYWHO.

After a two week stint visiting my sister, I’ve decided that New Mexico is filled with Crazy, and here’s why:

1. They sell these in their stores.  (Oh yeah, that’s blown glass fowl.  I’ll give you a dollar if you display this in your home.)


blown glass Crazy

2. They think this is good advertising:


creepy & crazy at the Harley store (and no, it wasn’t a Halloween decoration)

3. I had to convince Chibi that we should not let this little guy hang out on her back porch:


crazy, possibly lethal spidery friend

4. They think passive voice makes for effective signage:


your butt would have been kicked by me if I'd have been there when you ordered this sign. Crazy AND Gross.

(IMPORTANT NOTE:  I’m not a Baptist hater… There’s no wrong way to get to God.  Just please, PLEASE get someone to proofread your sign before you post it in front of your church!)

And finally, they sell angora bamboo yarn for two bucks a skein!


Holy Good Deal, Batman!


And that’s why, friends, I’m glad to be back in sane (see what I did there?) Washington, DC, where a gallon of milk costs six dollars, it takes an hour to drive two miles, and your rent is twice that of your New Mexican neighbor’s mortgage.   Ahhh, welcome home, me!  })i({



I Blame…er…the Altitude?

10 Oct


Things I’ve learned so far on my Chibication:

1. I can’t drink in New Mexico.  I mean, I CAN, but for some reason I morph into a snotty, weepy puddle on my sister’s couch.  Whoops.  Also, apparently part of Chibication involves the Chibis taking turns melting down.  Spending some time with your sister is very therapeutic.  So is Lucky Duck wine, by the way.  It has a purple duck on the bottle.

2. For some reason I am a master bread baker in New Mexico.  Is it the altitude difference? (Can I blame my sudden lack of alcohol tolerance on said altitude difference?)  Have I just finally perfected my bready skills?  Is there something about New Mexico yeast that makes it yeastier than DC yeast? Is there some sort of rift in the space-time continuum here?  Have I finally found the perfect mix of flours? I don’t know.  All I know is that I baked the bread of my life this week.  Rock.

3. There are three museums in Clovis, NM.  There are also three Sonics.  Due to the time change on my trip here, my three o’clock alarm* went off twice on the day I arrived.  Coincidence?  I think not.

4.  They make pop tarts filled with ham and cheese here.  OMG.  I may or may not have called Husband at one in the morning to tell him how awesome ham and cheese pop tarts are.  Sorry, Husband.  They’re SO DELICIOUS.  I couldn’t not tell you.

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

picture this, in pop tart form. double yum.

5. WalMart in New Mexico is just as evil as WalMart everywhere else.  There’s nowhere else to go unless you drive two hours to the Target in Roswell, which quite possibly makes New Mexican WalMarts MORE evil than regular WalMarts.  I really, really don’t like WalMart.  Darn you and your darn convenience, WalMart!  Where else can I get an oil change, a haircut, a green chile, and velcro?

Well, there are six days left of Chibication 2010, and apparently at least one of those days involves cupcakes.  I’ll keep you posted.  Hehe… see what I did there?  I’m so tricksy.    Hooray, Chibication!  })i({


*Three o’clock pm is my favorite time of the day, and I have an alarm set on my phone for that time.  When it goes off, I take a moment.  I highly recommend a Three o’clock alarm.  Or a seven fifteen alarm.  Whatever time you like, actually.  But a random alarm in the middle of the day is a great reminder to slow down, live in the moment, and smile.  Take a moment.  It’s therapeutic.

Pet Chickens Are the Coolest!

1 Sep

Last week some friends of ours generously offered to show us their pet chickens (Shout out to Dennis & Holly… thanks, guys)!  Raising my own chickens is in my top five list of “Things To Do As Soon As I’m Legally Allowed,” so of course John & I stopped over!  Check this out:

They had 9 chickens (I think… I was totally distracted by the awesomeness to pay much attention to counting) in their fenced-in back yard, complete with one little lady who needed to be fed by hand due to a beak abnormality:

I got to hold this sweet, sweet lady bird, and she was darling!  I also let the chickens peck some seeds right out of my hand (to see if it would hurt… it doesn’t), but I forgot to tell the boys to take pictures of this, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Anyway, here’s why you should raise your own chickens:

1. Chickens make surprisingly good pets.  Dennis & Holly’s pretty girls were very open to being held & pet, and followed us all around the yard.  They were quite social!  Several websites mention training your chickens (a few even discuss litter training!), and the behavior analyst in me is excited about this one!  …Yes, some day I’ll be famous for having the World’s First Chickens Who Clean Out Their Own Coop…  just you wait!

2. If you buy organic eggs, raising chickens will save you money.  You can buy peeps for only a few dollars online, and some sites will even vaccinate them for you (a must, considering the egg drama that’s been taking place recently) for a small extra fee (the cheapest I found was $2.50 plus another dollar for vaccines, but I didn’t really look that hard).  If you’re buying organic eggs at upwards of $4 a dozen, keep that chicken for 12 egg-laying days & it’s paid for itself.

3. Chickens don’t take up a lot of space. You don’t need a huge farm a-la Dorothy Gale to raise chickens.  Actually, you don’t even need a small farm; chickens can live in your back yard!  The standards are about 4 sq. ft per chicken in the coop and about 10 sq ft. in the run (the outside area you’ll need).  So, in an average back yard you could keep 2 or 3 chickens quite comfortably without turning your lovely grass into a desert.  If you’ve got limited space, just get a portable coop, aka a Chicken Tractor.  That way, when one area of your yard starts to look like New Mexico, just wheel the coop to another area & voila!  Problem solved!

4. You get fresh eggs every day. Yes, that’s right.  Once chickens reach maturity (at about six months of age), they’ll start laying an egg every day, just for you.  YUM. And just a reminder, folks – you don’t need a rooster to get those lovely ladies to lay!

5. Raising chickens is a step toward self-sustainability. In case you have to implement your Zombie Plan, having a few chickens around probably isn’t the worst idea… just grab yourself a rooster & you’ve now got your own personal supply of fresh eggs, fresh meat, uber-awesome fertilizer, & feathers.  I’ve heard tell that befriending your chickens may prevent you from eating them later, but I’m thinking in Zombie Plan Reality it wouldn’t be a problem (eat the chicken or starve to death… your choice, yo).

Anyway, I am completely smitten with chickens, and if you’re interested, here are a few websites with lots of cool chickeny goodness:

My Pet Chicken

Bird Hobbyist

Sustainable Living with Chickens

Enjoy!  And remember… guessing for the penny contest ends on Friday, so e-mail me or post a comment while you’ve got time!  I’ll announce the winner on Saturday!  })i({