Saturday, November 30, 2019

Alcohol Inks!

Although I like the print on these shoes I really don't like wearing shoes with so much white on them. No matter where I put my eyes I am distracted by all that white flashing around on my feet. To avoid crashing into things while walking inattentively...

... I did some research, asked some friends about shoe painting, and decided to try alcohol inks. Joann's was kind enough to have a set of teal alcohol ink pens on sale for half off.

Everything painted on the shoes was done with the same pen--different surfaces took the color in different ways, as you can see. I even painted the shoelaces. I'm not quite happy with the rubber sole parts, but I'll keep adding another layer of ink until it looks a bit better. In the meantime, I'll just walk faster and tell myself that the streaks will never be noticed by a passing rider on a galloping horse (actually a possibility in New Mexico, where cowboys abound). 

Now I still have all those ink pens. And I see on Pinterest that DIY alcohol inks are a thing, so I could expand beyond shades of teal without breaking the bank. What will get painted next? Wine glasses? Ceramic tiles? Who knows?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Knitting Hats for the Homeless

It gets cold here in the high desert during the winter time. Our local library sets up a Christmas tree every year, asking the community to decorate it with hats, scarves, and mittens for those who would appreciate a gift of warmth. The library staff gathers up the donations and makes sure everything gets to local organizations serving those without homes, those who need some help, and those who are fleeing north to find a better life. 

I started knitting these hats back in the summer. Sometimes I bought the yarn, and sometimes friends donated yarn. The simplicity of the pattern (Barley Hat from Tin Can Knits, available for free and including sizes for baby through adult) meant that I could knit through news programs, Congressional hearings, and the digital audio books that are another service of our library. I like the idea of being productive during otherwise idle time.

I have quite a bit of yarn left over, so I think I'll just get a head start on next year's donations. Here are the hats that I am putting under the tree today.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Handsome Henry

Not really a kitten any more...

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Las Cruces Community Receives Recognition

For its efforts in aiding and assisting asylum seekers who have come to the U.S., the City of Las Cruces was recognized Monday, Aug. 19, 2019 as one of 13 real-life heroes on World Humanitarian Day.

In the previous post on this blog (, I said that I was proud of our community for its response to the humanitarian crisis here in the Borderlands. Others are noticing the kindness of our friends and neighbors, too. Check out this story.

Las Cruces Named as One of 13 Heroes on World Humanitarian Day for Helping Asylum-Seekers

Sunday, April 28, 2019

A Crisis in the Borderlands and a Response That Makes Me Proud

Over the past two weeks the Border Patrol has dropped off more than 2000 asylum seekers here in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and more are arriving every day. Our community's response has been pretty incredible. These weary folks have been given food, shelter, fresh sets of clothes and shoes, a place to bathe, and a safe place to rest until the next part of their journey begins. Las Crucens are donating food, toiletries, money, and time to help out. Today we met some people who are raffling off art to raise money to help local churches and organizations with expenses.
You can buy some tickets to help our community's humanitarian response, even if you live far from this crisis in the borderlands. Please share this story with everyone who might help. 

Raven Art Studio, 300 N. Main Street

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter

I tried my hand at natural-dyed Easter eggs, and these are my first  attempts. While not exactly perfect, they do please me. Here are the steps:

1. Take eggs, warm from the nest. 

2. Rinse them off, then poke holes in each end and blow gently to get the insides out.

3. Wrap them tightly in old pantyhose with tiny leaves and flowers pressed up against their sides. 

4. Simmer the wrapped eggs in a pan filled with onion skins and water. I'm going to use some of this onion skin dye to color some handspun yarn. Such a rich color!

For some much clearer directions and some stunning examples, please visit the Made By Barb blog post, Easter Eggs Printed With Botanicals.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Frugality Can Be Oddly Satisfying: A Confession

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do, or
Do without

That slogan has always been my mantra. I grew up thinking that it was a New England saying, but just found this information: [The saying was] coined by the War Advertising Council during World War II to promote the dual need to conserve scarce resources and to help keep prices down by not generating excess demand.

Whatever the source, the sentiment has always made sense to my frugal New England soul. I hope you can understand that because I am about to tell you... 

I made covers for old potholders today. 

Yep, that seems odd even to me. But it was also strangely satisfying to take those raggedy old things and make them into something much better while using bits of fabric from the scrap bag. 

I first spent some time researching what materials I would need to make new potholders but decided that if I did make new ones, I would still have the old ones to throw out and I am all about reducing waste these days. 

You'll suspect that my life is a quiet one, but I keep peeking in the potholder drawer now, admiring my handiwork and feeling quite delighted.  So that's my confession. You can fix up your old potholders, too. Just don't tell anyone who gave you the idea. 

Old, raggedy, discolored

Joyful colors from the scrapbag--the potholders now match a quilt, a dress, a lampshade, and some curtains

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sweaters for Refugee Babies

These sweaters, hats, and mittens will go to the Salaam Cultural Museum in Seattle, Washington to start their journey to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. I wish for warmth and safety for the little children who will wear them. 

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