Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wily Wednesdays - Hat for the Hero of Canton

Nothing new this week, so I'm posting an old little crochet project I remembered while going through the craft closet over the weekend. I do love geeky crafting, and I can't wait to reveal my next project (which, sadly, is only in my head at this point).

And yes, for all you diehards out there, Jayne Cobb's hat should be knitted instead of crocheted, but thankfully I don't care about losing geek cred.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wily Wednesdays - Funky Clay Bottle

This week I ventured into polymer clay again. When I was crafting last Yule, I loved sculpting clay around glass bulbs for tree ornaments, so I wanted to try it out with a vase or bottle. Here's what happened:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wily Wednesdays - Treasure Chest

Okay, I've got to own up to something. I have a guilty pleasure (addiction?) for geeky Perler Bead creations. This silly medium lends itself too well to pixel art, and I can't help indulging in some nostalgic Nintendo crafts. I made little Hylian shield, and then I realized it needed a container, so I set out to build a proper treasure chest. What ensued involved a bit more time and beads than I had originally planned, but I'm glad I put in the extra effort.

Here's what the individual pieces look like. For the right-angle edges, I really wasn't thinking, otherwise I would have alternated the beads in a jagged fashion so they locked together on the sides. Oh well, noted for future projects. To create the domed top piece, I only ironed one side and bent it into the proper shape while the plastic was still hot. I had no idea how well that was going to work, but it came out better than expected. Next, I lined each of the pieces with blue felt.

When I was ready to assemble the pieces, I toyed with the idea of sealing them with heat, either using the iron (which is a tad awkward) or a heat gun (which could easily and quickly ruin the box if I messed up). Threading it together with embroidery floss seemed like a pretty good idea, and with Kai's insistence, I went that route instead of using heat or glue. I even sewed on the hinges, because...why not?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jonesing to get back to school

As I mentioned in June, I'll soon be attending the Lake Washington Institute of Technology to work on a year-long program in environmental horticulture. The best time to start the program is during the fall quarter, obviously, but that didn't quite work out with my schedule. I got the idea just a little too late this year, and I'd already planned my trip back to Ohio in the fall, among other things. C'est la vie. So I'll start winter quarter in the beginning of January, and in the meantime, I'll at least try to keep up with the academic side of the fall quarter so I'm not too behind.

Last Wednesday I had the opportunity to sit in on a day's worth of classes to get a feel for what it was like. Actually, the timing worked out pretty well, as they'd just taken their midterm exams and were beginning the second half of the quarter that day. Class started at 7 a.m., and yeah, it felt weird waking up that early. Even when I did college the first time around, I never had a class earlier than 8 a.m., so it should be interesting to see how well I can pull this off on a regular basis. I was fine for one day, but I really made an effort to wear myself out the night before (productive evening at the gym) and get to bed at a reasonable hour. There is another option available for a 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. class, which runs from Monday to Thursday instead of Tuesday to Friday, but it wouldn't work as well with my job.

I walked in to a blessedly small class (I think there were about 20 students), with small groups of students sitting around tables. It was nice to see the diversity of ages and backgrounds -- people have come in from all walks of life. I realize that's probably the norm for community college, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. One group of women welcomed me to their table and gave me a briefing on what they've been doing in the quarter so far. 

The first part of the day covered plant ID. The students' daily homework includes going through a list of five to ten plants and recording information about them to review during the next day of class. The instructor had samples of each of the plants on every table, and we examined and talked about them (scientific name, common name, type of plant, characteristics, pruning, landscape usage, etc.). There's a lot to learn here, but I like the approach, and it breaks things down into manageable chunks. It's a little intimidating to think of a long list of scientific names and traits to commit to memory, but after seeing how they go through the material, I feel better about it -- and excited enough to give myself some homework over the weekend!

After doing that for an hour or so, we went out to the greenhouse for some hands-on practice: re-potting plants, pruning, watering, and filling containers with the proper density of soil. Then we came back in for the botany lecture (and it was great to realize how much I remembered from over a decade ago). The class ended with another outside lesson on all the factors that go into giving plants the right amount of water.

So that was Wednesday's class in a nutshell. I loved seeing what a typical day looked like, and it was nice to chat with other students about their experience so far. I'm still kinda bummed that I didn't get the chance to start the program fall quarter, but oh well. I do plan to sit in on another class (or possibly more, if the instructor will let me), so that's something to look forward to. All in all, I just want to get my hands dirty already!