Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Embellishing the Van Gogh Bathroom

As I have mentioned before, I have a small rustic bathroom designed around a Van Gogh shower curtain from Cafe Press. Over the Christmas holidays I had a special morning out with my son for some leisurely shopping and lunch. Along the way, I picked up a used copy of Van Gogh's Van Goghs from our much-beloved local bookstore, Coas Books.

I've been carefully removing prints from the book. After painting and refurbishing old picture frames and putting everything together, I had 14 new pictures to hang in the tiny bathroom. I also moved in a couple of larger prints from other parts of the house and got some help with the ladder work from my ever-obliging husband.

How much art can a tiny space hold? See what you think of the results. I've already spotted some space for a few more pictures...

The reflected shower curtain makes it hard to show this print of Cafe Terrace

The shower curtain that started it all

Detail: Postcard from my friend, Helen; and Vince Mints container from my sister

To the left of the sink...

... and to the right of the sink

Mexican metal bird hanger displaying necklaces--almost all made my sister

View in the mirror

Monday, November 26, 2018

A Sunny Fall Day in and Around Las Cruces

The day starts with a walk and a hello from the neighbor's horses. 

Next up, a visit to The Prado in Las Cruces,  a traveling outdoor exhibit of 92 photographically reproduced masterpieces from Spain's Prado Museum. Here is Fra Angelico's Virgin of the Pomegranate (c. 1426).

The paintings were displayed in the downtown plaza. 

Las Cruces has tried in many ways to make its new central plaza a welcoming destination. The fountain doubles as a splash pad for children in the summer. On this fall day it was nice to rest on a bench and watch the changing displays of water. 

The Las Cruces Christmas tree is located here. 

There is also a concert stage, sheltered from the desert sun. 

Looking back at the exhibit from across the plaza.

The food trucks were cooking up something that smelled delicious. And it wouldn't be southern New Mexico without a vendor selling red chiles from the recent harvest. 

The Organ Mountains overlook the city and the surrounding Mesilla Valley.

Day's end at a farm just down the road and around the corner from our adobe house.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

I'm Living in the Land of Cotton

This is happening just across the road from our house. 

It's kind of hard to see in the left background, but the newly-picked cotton is compressed into huge bales for transport to the cotton gin. There were a dozen bales harvested from this big field. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

In the Alchemist's Kitchen

Collecting materials for natural dyes to dye spun and unspun wool: Acorns, black walnuts, onion skins, dried hollyhock flowers, wild mushrooms, prickly pear fruit

Making dye baths: Pomegranate and red cabbage

Getting ready to make some colors! Will they be wonderful, or will they be Disappointing Beige? Who knows? Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 29, 2018

From Sheep to Shawl

I've had my spinning wheel for almost 45 years now, but haven't done any spinning for a while. I also have a lovely fleece that's been waiting for me to work with it. So...

First I dyed some of the fleece. I used a crockpot and did three different pots of dyes, using regular red and yellow grocery store food coloring, vinegar, and water. One pot was for red, the second was yellow, and the third a mixture of the two colors for orange. Here are the yellow and orange batches after being carded and piled into baskets. 

I also discovered a bag of blue wool from the same fleece that I had previously acid dyed. Starting with the red dye batch (which turned out pink), I carded some of that, then blended and carded some of it with orange, then carded pure orange, then blended and carded some orange with yellow, then carded pure yellow, then blended and carded yellow with the blue, and then carded up the rest of the blue. That sounds confusing even to me. 

I ended up with these six yarn colors: Pink, pink/orange, orange, orange/yellow, yellow, yellow/blue, and blue. Here is everything all spun up and ready for knitting.

Using my current favorite pattern called Easy Peazy Shawlette, I used most of the yarn to knit this small shawl, which will be the perfect size when we finally get some cooler weather. In this photo it has been washed and pinned while damp to the bed for blocking. Just out of the frame, an invisible Henry the cat is waiting to snuggle up on the damp shawl for a nap. 

Here is a close up shot so that you can see some of the color variations. Henry liked the pink part best and spent a couple of hours sleeping on it and helping it to dry.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

I Made a New Bag

I found a photo on good old Pinterest for a "Japanese sling bag." It looked like a pretty simple project, so with the photo in front of me I made a pattern from a paper bag.

Using leftover fabric from pillow covers and a lampshade that I made, plus a deconstructed floral print Ralph Lauren shirt from the thrift store, this is what I made.

It's roomy and it's reversible. You can see by the wrinkled fabric that it gets a lot of use.

You loop one handle through the other to carry it. Next time I make one, I'll make the long handle a bit longer so that it could actually go over my shoulder. 

If you search "boho sling bag" or "Japanese sling bag" on Pinterest, you will see lots of variations.