Friday, April 27, 2007

Better Late Than Never.....Right??

Now that it's practically May, I can finally reveal our big Christmas 2006 project! ha ha We decided to make gifts for the nieces and nephew this year and they turned out great. We've had an ongoing joke that as Aunt and Uncle we'll always be on good terms with the kids. You know, the Aunts and Uncles are always the cool ones, even when the kids get to that age where they find their parents embarassing. We're pretty happy about that. So I made a 70's inspired graphic of Dan's face that said Uncle Dan Rocks and we silkscreened it onto shirts. I usually use oil-based ink for silkscreening, but it smells to high-heaven and it's best to use it in the studio where there's better ventilation and it doesn't matter if you spill some on the table or floor. For this project I bought a water-based ink that is especially for fabric and it was terrific. So nice to have easy clean-up for a change. First, we put chipboard inside the shirt to protect the back in case there's any ink bleed-through and also to provide a smooth surface on which to screen. I had Dan hold the screen in position while I pulled the ink through and then we let the shirts dry overnight. The next day we heat-set them with the iron so that the ink wouldn't fade when washed. It was super quick; more time went into making the graphic. Dan's not happy about it but other people have asked for t-shirts with this graphic and I'm thinking tote-bags would be cute too!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

VA Comes to its Senses

The Department of Veterans Affairs settled a lawsuit in Wisconsin and will finally include the Wiccan pentacle among religious symbols allowed to be displayed on veterans' grave markers. I thought this was pretty ridiculous back when I heard they had to file a law suit in the first place just to resolve it. Seems like a trivial thing for the VA to get persnickety over when we're talking about grave markers for people who willingly chose to fight for their country.

Here's an excerpt from an AP article listed on

The lawsuit argued that the VA's refusal to act on requests to permit the symbol on veterans' grave markers violated Wiccans' constitutional rights of freedom of speech, religion and due process.

The lawsuit also said it made no sense for Wiccan symbols to be banned from grave markers when Wiccan soldiers can list their faith on dog tags, Wiccan organizations are allowed to hold services on military installations, and the Army Chaplains Handbook includes an explanation of the religion.

The list of allowed symbols is here on the VA's web site. More on the widely misunderstood Wicca religion here. Info on the pentacle here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Boy Oh Boynton

You all remember the Boynton characters, right? Sandra Boynton's adorable cartoon characters were all the rage in the 80's, adorning everything from greeting cards to coffee mugs to who-knows-what else. I love the characters but I think it was the wordplay that really got me hooked. She's licensed some of her characters for a promotion with Kohls. They're selling book/cd sets and these adorable plushies! All proceeds "support health and educational opportunities for children nationwide." Unfortunately they didn't make a plushie of the infamous Boynton cat, which was Robin's personal favorite, but they did include the pig, rhino, dog, and chicken. I couldn't resist getting the chicken. It must be the nostalgia factor. And look at the little embroidered signature on the bottom of her foot! So cute. Dan remarked that the chicken kind-of sorta reminded him of a Muppet chicken. Which brought to mind a Muppet chicken sketch in which they sang along to an all-chicken version of In the Mood, which was actually listed as being performed by the Henhouse Five. Not sure if it was from Sesame Street or The Muppet Show but the song by itself, which was actually by Ray Stevens, is hilarious. Anyone else remember it?

Oh my goodness, there's Boynton jewelry, and a penguin song performed by Davy Jones! I'm having flashbacks to adolescence.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Rainy Friday Round-Up

Yes, it's actually raining here in Southern California! Well, what they call "rain" here would more accurately be characterized as a light drizzle in other parts of the country. Whatever you call it though I'm happy about it because I *love* rainy days. Here's a round-up of some things that have come up this week that I just knew you would want to hear about:

-Hook a Sistah Up Alison, friend to crafters everywhere, organizer of BazBiz Boston, crafty gal behind Wonderland Q, has suffered a medical emergency and has no insurance. Etsy and the crafting community have come to her rescue with this awesome Etsy store. All proceeds will go directly to Alison to help with her already mounting medical bills. Donate something to sell in the store if you can or do some Mother's Day shopping!

-Next Big Thing Today is the last day to enter Fred Flare's Next Big Thing contest. We were too busy this year, but maybe if we start planning today, we can get it done in the next 365.

-Stitch 'n Pitch Contest You have until May 31st to enter this one. Craft magazine has teamed up with The National Needle Arts Association for a contest. Entries must be a needle art (knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, needlepoint, or embroidery) and must reflect the theme of baseball.

-Fun OSX Trick Press ctrl-option-cmd-8 to invert the colors on your monitor. It toggles on and off. Is this a useful feature? I don't know, but I've been playing with it all day. Look at photos in your browser after converting too. via

Monday, April 16, 2007

Get Out the Band-Aids®

As much as I love books, and thus might have a hard time cutting one up, (I know Robin is cringing even more than I am right now) I'm dying to try a project like this. I'm sure artist Georgia Russell uses only older books that would have been destined for the landfill anyway. Surely I wouldn't feel bad about cutting up an old college textbook that they wouldn't buy back from me because there was a newer edition available.....right? Aside from the part about destroying to create, I suppose I might also have a bit of a problem with the inherent dangers of using an X-Acto® knife for any length of time. You'd think my years of graphic design work and crafting would have left me with a fair bit of skill with sharp implements, but alas, it just means a higher incident of accidents for a clumsy girl like me. I'm not really allowed to use knives in the kitchen unless carefully supervised and I have yet to cut my own mats for artwork. So, maybe I'll just admire Georgia Russell's work on the internet because additionally I doubt I have the attention span for this type of....oh look, a chicken!

via Fun Forever

Friday, April 13, 2007

Photo on a Rope

Holy Cow, this is the coolest display idea I've seen in awhile. I'm a sucker for anything photo related and especially for new ways to display my photos, so this is right up my alley. I'm envisioning a whole line of these covering a wall! And of course the best part is they are easily changed out as the mood strikes. It's a 43" cable that comes with 8 magnets. (Note to self: order more magnets.) The top of the cable has a loop for hanging and the bottom is weighted to keep it straight. This would be great in my office too for reminder notes, or sketches, or what-have-you.

I'm also digging these photo clips, and this monster pod, which sticks virtually anywhere. These are all from PhotoJojo.

Monday, April 09, 2007

We're Not Edgy

So, apparently, and we had no idea, there are some people who prefer the [gasp] outer edges of food items. Like brownies and Pop-tarts® for example. Robin and I are both completely flabbergasted by this revelation. We thought 99.9% of the population preferred the yummy, gooey, delicious center of certain foods. Like brownies and Pop-tarts® for example! That's why they started cutting the crusts off of sandwiches in the first place, right? All the Idle Hands, spouses included, prefer the middle pieces of brownies. We also barely tolerate the crusts of the Pop-tart® in order to get to the delicious, frosted, sugar-filled center, and feel quite upset if we encounter a Pop-tart® that suffered a glitch in the production process thereby rendering it with too much crust. Center lasagna is better too. I also prefer Uncrustables® to regular peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (Unless it's one of Dan's patented Grilled PBJs of course.) Turns out our Mom is also a middle person, so maybe this explains our preference. Now I'm wondering if it's learned, or genetic. Still waiting to hear from the Queen Mother, aka Grandmom, on her brownie prefs.

I saw the above pictured edges-only brownie pan somewhere (maybe on BoingBoing) and while incredibly clever, I initially thought it was a joke, or a one-off item. Because surely there was no way there could be a market for a pan like this. Who, in their right mind, would want a pan that created only brownie edges? Then Daily Candy sent an email touting Brownie Butts from Mary Louise Butters. The sacrilege! Finally I started asking around, and my friends, let me tell you, I actually know some of these edgy brownie people. [gasp, clutch the pearls]

Edginess is not always across the board however. Our friend Sean prefers the edges of brownies, but is definitely a middle-Pop-tart® person. Our friend Aldo says it's the transition from the crunchy edge to the chewy middle of the brownie that is the best part, and he thinks the edges, the CRUSTS for goodness sake, of the Pop-tart® are the best part! [insert eye roll emoticon here] He says the middle is too sweet on its own. It's true what they say, you learn something new every day.

We're still polling friends and family members so feel free to comment or drop us an email weighing in on this potentially controversial and divisive matter and we'll post the results next week.

Friday, April 06, 2007

It's Better Than a Sharp Stick - Really

Mom is officially retired as of 1:00 pm MST today! We've got a sale going on to celebrate this momentous occasion. Because she worked for various insurance agents for the last 27 years, we're offering a 27% discount on selected items through April 30th. Being a relentless optimist, one of Mom's oft-used sayings has always been "It's better than a sharp stick in the eye!" Hence the name of our promotion. Now we can put her to work crafting more wonderful handmade goodies that we can list on the web site. Well, okay, we can let her have some downtime before we insist she does our bidding. But we know her, she won't want to be idle for long!
Seriously though, we couldn't be happier for her and we're sure she's going to find a million fun things to fill her time.