26 December, 2009

And we're back!

That was a fantastic winter break. Kenny and I escaped from everything. We were housesitting for friends in Asheville, followed by a very brief but restful stay at another friend's in Cashiers. Highlights from the first house included the Snowpocalypse, lots of hanging out with best friends and lots of drinking delicious winter drinks (hot toddies, hot "Irish tea"-- a new invention, hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and homemade whipped cream), playing board games, going to the Grove Park Inn to see the gingerbread house competition, and seeing Avatar very late at night. Highlights from the second house included having our official cake tasting (my favorite, no surprise: carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Kenny's favorite: chocolate cake with raspberry filling and raspberry frosting), going on walks with two borrowed dogs, and watching TONS of How I Met Your Mother. (Hilarious).

So now it's time to go back to Brasstown and resume my position at the Folk School. It's officially the second half of my stint there, and I'm looking forward to a really focused three months of being a good host, working efficiently, and getting my projects done. Oh, and taking classes, of course. I'm hoping January will the be the month of torch work (hellooo, glass beads!) but we'll see how the registration gods are feeling. It may be a full couple of months, and maybe not.

The best part about this coming week is that it's WINTER DANCE WEEK!! And Kenny is here as a student and gets to do everything with me. Plus, I get to train a new Host, and settle into the big room. Bring on the second--and better, I'm sure-- half!r

16 December, 2009

In praise of an audiobook

Every once in awhile I take advantage of a super sale over at Audible.com, and at some point in the summer I apparently downloaded, then proceeded to forget all about this book:

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
This week Kisha, Jenna and I are working relatively short and easy days. Hello, 11am-4pm, could I ask for better sleeping in time? It's sooo nice. Anyway, when I'm not "working" I've been trotting around Brasstown listening to A Girl Named Zippy. It's great. Seriously. Excellent. I'm not going to pretend to be a literary critic, but here are some things I liked about it:

1. It's narrated by the author. She knows what she's talking about.
2. It's a kid's point of view, and somehow, maybe because it's somewhat autobiographical, it's just so well-written and poignant and hilariously kid-like. In the best kind of way.
3. It's long. What better than a long book/movie/drive/meal that you already like? Why not make it last as long as possible?
4. It's stand-alone entertaining. I never felt that familiar twinge of "I could be doing two things at once right now" that I usually feel while, I don't know, watching Hulu. This book sucked me in and made me content to just listen.
5. Did I mention hilarious? But also sad sometimes?
6. I hesitate to make comparisons when the one thing can completely be it's own, but she sort of reminds me of David Sedaris in that self-effacing matter of fact way of storytelling.

Anyway, it was way worth my $however-much-I-paid-for it, and if you have a long drive or just some free time coming up, I highly recommend A Girl Named Zippy. I'm sure the actual book is great, too. I'm off to see what else this author has narrated. Go, audio books!

11 December, 2009

Another project in the Done pile

I finished my quilt from the weekend class!

It still has some stitching to go before it's done, plus it needs loops on the back so I can hang it, and not thumbtack it to the wall.


Too sleepy for words. How 'bout some pictures?

Here are some things I made this week. First, a series of small snowflakes, all under 3" across:

Then, some medium-sized snowflakes, about 6" across:

And then I made some complicated masterpieces. Which for some reason, I kept trying to rush through. This was such a stressful week and I was just coming out of the weekend class which is nothing but rushrushrush, so my soldering is sucky and my cutting is just off enough to make problems. Even so, I love them:
(actually, this one wasn't complicated.)

(This is my absolute favorite piece! I love it. Love it love it love it.)


And then, of course, some jewelry.

The little snowflakes plus the earrings and pendant will be for sale in my Etsy shop tomorrow!

07 December, 2009

Look what I learned today!

Piecing out my 1st project

This morning we learned how to score and break glass. Then we learned how to foil the pieces and solder them together. And folks, that's basically all there is to stained glass! It reminds me of the wooden shapes the kids at my Montessori school like to play with. You basically cut them out, do the edges, and then get all kaleidoscopy on 'em, arranging them every which way until you find something you like. The snowflake is a little harder, since you have open spaces in the middle and it's hard to make the piece stable without bulking it up too much.

Here is my finished snowflake, all washed and hung on the wall:

Finished snowflake

06 December, 2009

Unintentional menu hilarity

Unintentional menu hilarity
It's the little things that make my day.

This is the best one yet. Lettus. Chadder cheese. Tortilli chips. And to top it off, cookies with Walmuts. MMMmm!

Only a weekend + a week...

That's all we have left here at JCCFS until Xmas break. We were just gone for two weeks, though! Crazy. So I have a weekend plus a week, and for the weekend class I took a whirlwind tour through the land of quilting. There were only 5 ladies in my class including myself, and we each went in a totally different direction when given the class' topic: Winter Trees. One did classic Xmas tree quilt blocks, one did a very country-themed "Folk Art tree," and two did more like a forest silhouette, but in very different ways. I didn't arrive with any preconceived ideas, so I went straight for the book that I drool over every time I'm in that studio doing setup. I flipped through it until I found a tree-like idea that I thought I could riff on, and dove in. It turned out to be half hand-quilting, half machine quilting. The former, of course, takes way more time. Since I had limited access to the sewing machine, I went ahead and did all the machine sewing and quilting that I needed to and will finish the hand work... um, at some point. (The last thing I needed was another unfinished project, but it shouldn't take too long. A good move for the leaves, and a few episodes of something for the binding.)

Anyway, since it's not yet done, I won't reveal the entire piece. Here are some details, hints, and peeks:
Original inspiration
(the image above is from the book. Not my work!)

Closeup of the inner circle

Leaves pinned down, border acheived

The book I adore; borders being added
(as usual, click to make 'em bigger.)

04 December, 2009

It's growing... it's groooowinnnng!

Inch by freaking inch, it grows. Behold: my English Paper Piecing project.

Only scraps from the quilting classes used... well, until last week when I was in Brooklyn and it was raining and I stumbled into fibernotion and their charm packs got the best of me. So, only a little money has been spent on this project. The goal: adult-sized quilt. The laptop: included for scale.

[Speaking of scale, I'm really pleased that I only came away from Thanksgiving with about 2.5 pounds added to my frame, considering I ate almost that much bacon and chocolate. It seems to be solely in my midsection, unfortunately. Bring on the moderation! And the salads! And the dancing!]

I'm on Flickr a lot.

Jessica K.. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr