Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Two New Accessories

I've addressed the lack of bathroom towels in the bathroom; a bit late, of course, since we've lost a rug from drying off a wet critter.  It is constructed from two earring backs with a cut paper clip bar and a baby face cloth cut to size. 

I've also rebuilt a Nelson ball clock that was made over a year ago from pins, Sculpey clay and paper hands.  All of the balls had "fallen" out, so I reglued them.  It replaces the Sculpey mirror that I constructed that promptly broke.  As always, enjoy them now, for they will probably not last long.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Signs You Might Be Getting Old

Warning!  This post contains sentences that you cannot "unread".  Reader Discretion is Advised.  Louis CK did a stand up routine on being 40, which is spot-on.  Highly recommended viewing.

You may be getting old if:

You use the phrase "Kids today".  A lot.

Living Social or Groupon is targeting you for "Three Laser Toenail-Fungus Treatments" deals. 

You've experienced both a stroke and cancer.  Okay, this one may just apply to me.

You become enraged when commercials make up their own words, like "melty".

Yup, I know what this is...
You can identify every item labeled "Do you know what this is?" on Facebook.

You start thinking about retirement.  A lot.  Like, obsessively.  That may just be a sign that you need a new job, actually.

The thought of going out at night repulses you.

You start inspecting the things that come out of you more closely.

You really do think that all new music sounds like crap. Except for that Carly Rae Jepsen song. And Trouble by Taylor Swift. Okay, sometimes you have the musical taste of an eleven year old.

These sort of things are
getting funnier and funnier
You are never sure if a fart will turn into a pants crap.

You find Maxine cards and Grampa cartoons funny

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The (Cute) Reason My Progress Is Slow

From this, to fixed, to now
no longer lighting up!
I spent the weekend trying to make another Arco lamp to replace the one that I had listed on Etsy, that was sold, that my daughter broke.  I was successful after many, many frustrating hours, and I figured I could salvage the one that she had broken for our dollhouse, which I did.  All was good.  Until two seconds into her playing with the newly fixed Arco, when it was broken again.
This would be great to put into a little book. 
I wish I had one...

Then, I found pages for the Charlotte's Web mini book that I made, resized them, print, cut out and sprayed with clear lacquer, to then discover that Tootie Pie lost all three books.  We retraced her steps from when she last saw them, and I grilled her mercilessly, but they were never produced.  Some day I will find them in with her hairbands, in her sticker collection, in the miniature tub bathing with a Critter, or some other unlikely spot.  My God!  How does she manage?  Who's idea was it to have kids when I'm obviously trying to keep a dollhouse?  I mean, c'mon!

So, another case of one thing created, another thing broken.  Grrr....  So, if you're ever wondering why I cannot produce things more rapidly - why, for instance, it has taken me almost three months to make one chair - consider that a miniaturist is handicapped with a curious child.  It reminds me of a comedian's act by Chad Daniel's “Babies are miracles. Think about it. When they’re born their feet are tiny. Yet, they can somehow step on all your hopes and dreams.”  In fact, Tootie Pie is literally crushing my dream here.  Or, at least, she certainly isn't making it any easier.
The chair (right) and its base (bottom left),
plus a very small Polly Pocket chair that I
modified by painting the base silver

The one success I did have this weekend, besides recreating a lamp unneccessarily, was on my Egg chair.  I have now fashioned the base of the chair from a plastic lollipop stick and a large paper clip.  All that remains is attaching it to the chair, and then waiting for Tootie Pie to either break it or lose it. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Make Your Own Luck - Work Hard, Get Smart

Way to engage your child, Mom.
Those of you who follow my blog know that any time I post about my job, I sound like an old curmedgeon.  I complain about "kids these days" and how they have no fire, no will to learn, no enthusiasm.  And, in the school I teach, this is mostly true.  In my career, I have taught at four different schools, all of them inner city, although the third one is in a nice neighborhood (my own) with a majority of motivated students and involved (often times overly so) parents, although even there around half of parents would rather just have the teacher deal with all issues than actually parent.  The other three were filled with children whose parents really didn't have a clue and mostly did not care.  In my attempt to motivate students, I ask for their parents to sign some homework, and they'll sign papers that their children did no work on.  I've had meetings where parents tell me that their child does their homeworks, and yet they have no evidence of such in their notebooks, nor do they even have anything copied in their homework log that the school provides for them and that I ask everyday for them to take out and copy the homework.  How are such things possible?  It really boils down to the parents just not bothering with their children or their education, and the children exhibit that lack of interest in the classroom.  It is challenging, to say the least. 

All the schools I taught in had a large number of immigrants.  My students have hailed from South and Central America, the Carribean islands including black, Latino, and Guyanese populations, China, Burma, Tibet, Bangladesh, Pakistan and from Eastern Europe.  If I were to generalize, I would say that the black and Guyanese islanders, Puerto Ricans, Asian and Eastern European parents tend to be involved, and in the case of Jamaican mothers, frighteningly so.  Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.  There have always been children who want to learn.  These are the students that encouraged me to become a teacher in the first place.  These lovely children will do everything you ask of them, and come to you for extra help.  I have students like this now.  And two of them, both girls, one Tibetan and the other Russian, are moving up in the world. 

I'd listen to her if she were my momma.
(I know, it's Tyler Perry, but you get my drift)

My school is "leveled", meaning that better students are in the lower numbered classes and poor students are in the higher numbered classes.  When you get a coverage, and the class is a "6" class, you're in for 45 minutes of pure hell.  When you get a coverage for a "1" class, you can expect easy money.  And when you get a gym coverage, you'll need to schedule an appointment with a therapist who specializes in post traumatic stress disorder.

Last year, as a new teacher to the building, I taught classes "4", "5" and "6".  The "5" class was a nightmare.  This year, having one year seniority, I teach a "2", "3" and "4" class.  The two girls that are moving up are from my "2" class, and they are so good, that I am trying to move them to the "1" class.  I would hate to see them go, but it is for their benefit and they can receive a better education in a "1" class.  Notice that I said they are good, not smart.  I wouldn't say that they're not smart, but intelligence-wise they are both just normal girls.  I have other students whom I would say are smarter.  But, as I always expound, brains are not a ticket to success.  Work is.  And, boy, do these girls work.

A teacher who currently has the "1" class stopped both girls in the hall and told them he is trying to recruit them.  Later, as they don't really know this teacher and may have been confused and even a bit intimidated by this conversation, I assured them that this is good news, because the "1" class is honors and is preparing for the Regents exam.  Another student overheard me, and said, "Honors?  Lucky!".  I told him that luck had nothing to do with it.

Whatever happens, I wish these two beautiful girls all the best.  But I needn't worry; no matter where life takes them, they will succeed, no luck involved.

Friday, February 22, 2013

FINALLY Figured Out Egg Chair Upholstery

Wearing a new coat FINALLY
Remember me?
I am sure that everyone is wondering, how's that Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair coming along?  The one that was teased back almost three months ago?  The one that is number three the Undersized Urbanite To-Do List on the right margin?  Anyone?  Well, whether or not you've been wondering, I'm going to tell you what happened.  It has been driving me nuts!  I have struggled trying to upholster it.  The super stylish chair is curved, hence its appeal, and fabric just won't curve.  I have new-found respect for these designers as they had to overcome issues I would never have foreseen.  How they cover these rounded chairs without having to pintuck the fabric thirty thirteen bajillion times is beyond me.  I tried a piece of felt, because felt stretches more than regular fabric; nuh-uh.  I didn't even have to worry about seams because the fabric would stretch over the flatter surfaces and bunch together in the more rounded parts.  It didn't look good and this project was going nowhere.  Until, one day in A.C. Moore, I found a small package of wool roving.  I had taken a felting class at Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria, Queens, around two years ago, and all sorts of cool projects were envisioned, but not (yet) realized.  I also took a class in raising chickens at the same park, fell in love with Bantam chickens, and even researched chicken diapers, which is another (yet) unrealized dream, but that is another story.  So, back to the roving, it occured to me that the this would be the best solution, creating a seamless covering, and in stylish wool to boot!
My second choice was
the darker blue
Light blue didn't work
 out - too stringy?

The roving came packaged in two-color packs and they were all so lovely I had a hard time choosing, but in the end I went with Pastel Blue/Blueberry.  I tried the lighter blue first, and it all came apart when I placed it into the boiling water.  I think the wool was too "stringy" because I didn't pull it apart enough before covering the chair.  So, the darker wool was up next, and this time I broke up smaller pieces and I ladled the water onto the piece so that the roving wouldn't fall off in the pot.  Then, I relived the Socrates Park sensual fun stroking the warm, wet wool in the soapy water, and voilà.  I may have finally done it.  It's too thick in some places, overly thin in others, but compared with my fourteen other attempts at upholstering this bad boy, it is by far the best looking.  Now, on to the next challenge: the base, and I can turn another to-do into a ta-da.  Little by little, I'm figuring things out.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stop Being Brutes


Who could hold up to this scrutiny?  Says Mantel,
"It may be that the whole phenomenon of monarchy
is irrational, but that doesn’t mean... we should
behave like spectators at Bedlam. Cheerful curiosity can
easily become cruelty... We don’t cut off the
 heads of royal ladies these days, but we do
sacrifice them, and we did memorably drive one to
destruction a scant generation ago..."
There was an uproar in the United Kingdom recently over the comments of Hilary Mantel, apparently a well-known English author, describing Dutchess Kate as "devoid of personality" and "without the risk of the emergence of character."  In fact, I'm sure the lovely Kate does indeed have a personality, but, in today's culture, as a public figure, it's always best to not show it.  And then, of course, she is criticized for not having a personality.  So, she can't win.

There was a time when journalists withheld information regarding public figure's personal lives.  Martin Luther King, whom I hold up as an example to my daughter when teaching her that the right and moral path is always more difficult than the easy, amoral path, had extramarital affairs, and the press was made aware of this fact.  Apparently J. Edgar Hoover taped these encounters and leaked the story to reporters, and Mrs. King!  But, this revelation was not made public until 1989 in an autobiography of one of MLK's associates.  In any case, I think the journalists of the day exercised restraint, and rightly focused on more news-worthy stories than the sex life of a hero.

Today, we would surely not only know about this personal indiscretion, we'd probably be able to watch the video tapes, and his mistresses would have their own reality television shows and designer handbag lines.  Just ask David Petraeus if the media shows as much compunction about airing private matters as they once did.  Just because people respond to such stories and the news outlet gets "buzz" doesn't mean that the public has the right to know.  Sex sells, we get it.  So do guns, alcohol, violence, drugs, cigarettes and the gross.  That doesn't mean that everyone's job is to satiate these lowly instincts.

I see every day the results of this crass, hateful influence.  My students are engorged with the basest forms of behavior possible at their age.  It is truly shocking how skewed their priorities are and how sad it is to realize that they aren't allowed innocence.  They swear, they show no respect to elders, their peers, authority, or themselves.  They don't value education, character, their surroundings or themselves.  Where is innocence these days? 

I am trying to raise a daughter in this environment.  It will be hard for her to navigate this small-minded world.  It is always easier to fight injustice with guns than with kindness.  It will always be more fun to play violent video games than to study.   It will be difficult for her to not feel the pressure to sext, hard for her to trust that, although she will be judged by others by her appearance, it does not matter what those haters say.  I find myself hoping that she is an outcast, since most of her peers will have fallen prey to corrupt influences.  I hope she will find like-minded friends with a future.

Which takes me back to Hilary Mantel.  In the end, I think she is mostly correct in her take of the princess.  It isn't an indictment of her, it takes aim at the press and the public, and how curiosity can easily become cruelty.  She knows the history of the royals, and I think she understands that they once put forth a pre-rehearsed facade, leading Britons by example, but now their entire lives are fair game for scrutiny.  "I'm not asking for censorship.", she says, "I'm not asking for pious humbug or smarmy reverence. I am asking us to back off and not be brutes."

Saturday, February 16, 2013

This Week's Project: Save the Tooth

It turns out that it's lucky I finished my "scene" two days early, because I had an action-packed Valentine's Day!  It was full of red, I spent it with my beloved Tootie Pie and it had a surprise.  And, it was the worst Valentine's Day I've experienced.  The red was blood, and the surprise was that Tootie Pie knocked out her two front teeth, one of which was her permanent tooth that hadn't even come completely down.  I was absolutely naseous at the news.  We went to the emergency clinic, and were told we needed a pediatric dentist, so back in the car, only to wait for him to come back from lunch.  Then, he too, told us we'd need even more of a specialist: an oral surgeon, who of course was not in, but would be after a short wait.  Tootie Pie was anesthesized and had two more teeth removed in order to affix braces to save her secondary tooth.  Poor girl! 

And poor Mom.  Phone calls were flying back and forth between my Assistant Principals, my union rep (our dental plan is provided by our union), the Welfare Fund (that's the name of our union-provided benefits - we're not on welfare!), her primary care physician, the pharmacy, husband, in-laws, parents, sister, teacher, school nurse, and some random guy who thought he was calling a doctor and refused to take my word for it that I am NOT a doctor.  "But, this is the number they gave me".  Dude!  I don't have the patience for this today!!!  Stop calling me!  ARGHHH!
There are full, pillowy lips, and
there is THIS, which is a bit

Tootie Pie is slowly returning to her normal self.  My second school break vacation plans are destroyed, but I am thankful that she was not more seriously injured.  In the midst of all of this, I made another sale. I have doubled my sales!   So, things could be worse.  Hopefully they won't become so, though.

** EDITOR'S NOTE: There is a silver lining to the losing of the tooth:  she now has ungnawed fingernails.  You can't bite your nails if you don't have teeth!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Day Scene, or Spring Break

How thoughtful!  How romantic!
Oh, my, and wine!  Nice!

Since they're underaged, they can't
handle their alcohol
But, young people + booze = heavy
Here is my February holiday scene for Mini Aesthetics's contest.  This was thrown together extremely randomly and without much forethought.  Tootie Pie was helping, so she added a shopping basket full of fruit, a campfire, and a old fashioned desk, which had to be surreptiously taken out for the photos to be taken. 
This sequence shows a young couple, and I do mean young, on a date.  It may be an open air room in a Carribean locale, since out the clerestory window there are jumping dolphins.  In the first picture, our young man is showering the young woman with flowers, candy on a platter and a teddy bear.  In the second photo, the gentleman is pouring her some wine.  And in the third, she has abandoned the glass and is chugging her second bottle, having trashed the first on the floor.  The young man is either showing off doing pushups, or he tripped on the rug.  The candy is on the arm of the chair, within easy reach.  The cat has knocked over the vase.  And, in the final in the series, well, it's dark, but it seems that things have spiraled completely out of control.
So, that's my romantic Valentine's Day scene.  Pretty amateurish, but it is my first one.  They can only get better from here.  At least, I hope.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Capiz Shell Chandelier Electrified

We have a full scale version in our basement
that my husband calls "the jellyfish".  I can
kind of see the resemblance in this mini version!
It may not seem like a huge deal to you, but I have electrified the chandelier.  I immediately took a picture, because the soldered connections keep breaking and if I have it lighted now, it may be the last time that happens.  I have to now adjust the wires and make it all beautiful, but it is working.  If you only knew how frustrating that was!  Like most things in my dollhouse, it will probably be ephemeral.

I'm hoping to have a Valentine's Day scene set up in time for Mini Aesthetics's contest.  I decided on Valentine's as my holiday because I only decided today and I have nothing for President's Day, Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year, or any other February holidays on hand.  It's a full week of work, so I cannot make any promises, and if I do complete it, I'm sure it will be half-assed.  But, I want to do it, full-, half-, or even one-twelvth-assed.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Spider Plant - Another Idea Borrowed and Modified

Less severe spider plant
My Billy Idol
There is a whole world of mini tutorials out there in other languages.  Somehow or other, I ended up spotting a different technique for making a spider plant.  You may recall that my original attempt at spider plants were made from plastic, and rather than curling downwards, they stick straight up like Einstein's hair, which is really unfortunate because I used the head vase to plant it in.  So, it looks more like a punk rocker than a spider plant in a Wiinblad vase.  craftland minis und anderes set me on a new path.  There was another blogger that went hog wild with masking tape and wire, and I took one look at it and thought, cool, but, no.  Too hard.  Craftland's seemed just right.

Craftland has a document that I copied the image from and pasted into Word, but then, after doing a bit of Google translating, I realized I was supposed to print the PDF front to back, so that the leaf design would show on both sides.  Never mind, I just painted the back of my printout, and saved paper as well, since I printed a few other goodies on one sheet.  I cut it out, glued it, shaped it, and Presto!  A new plant.  Oh, and even the camera cooperated allowing my to take these photos.  Thank you, Craftland and camera.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Blizzard Tale

Trying to get air
A cross between sledding an
As far as blizzards go, this one could not have been better timed.  Well, it could have happened on a Tuesday morning and gotten me out of work, but since we already had four days during SuperStorm Sandy, that wasn't going happen.  So, the blizzard of 2013 had the good sense to start late Friday evening, snow all night, and allow children and parents to wake to a healthy dose of snow on a crystal clear morning.  Great day to go sledding, thought everyone.  The park in my neighborhood was literally mobbed with sledders.  The main sledding hill was a complete free-for-all, with crashes, hit and runs, pile ups, and typical New York craziness.  There were more sledders heading down the slope that leads from the park to the street, with the iron fence preventing the winter revelers from sliding into the boulevard.  It was fun.  We planned to meet a friend from school there, and ran into two other friends.  We spent close to four hours on the slopes.  In between, we explored the awesome igloo that someone expertly built, made snow castles with our beach pails and shovels, and made snow angels.  I'm wiped.

 I am old enough to remember the Blizzard of '78.  I remember the news coverage of motorists stranded on the freeway.  I walked to the grocery store with my father and saw an antennae sticking out of the snow; we were treading over a buried car.  And I'll never forget the plowed piles of snow by the local church on which we dreamed of playing King of the Mountain.  At the time, they seemed ten feet tall and perhaps they really were.  Snow brings out the kid in all of us, though.  I saw three full grown people pigpile face down onto a toboggan today.  Spirits were high even if the temperature wasn't.  It was a good day.  It was a good blizzard.

Pillows Done, Camera Kaput

You can also see the owl, uh, bookends?
statues? thingies...
I think I just took my last photos on this, our third digital camera.  This one died the same way the first did, by the mechanism that ejects and retracts the lens breaking.  The second camera drowned in an overturned canoe.  My Mommy instincts kicked in and I was turned around and had my hands on Tootie Pie before we hit the water.  We were rescued by a good Samaritan in a motor boat, left the canoe with the river patrol to fish out, and went for a ride on an inner tube behind our saviour's boat while Tootie Pie ate his chips.  And, we had bought the warranty, so we got a new camera free.  So, it turned out great for everyone, except Canon.

An Eames chair pillow on an Eames chair.
This should be my full-sized living room!
So, it may be a while before I post any more pictures.  I am working on quite a few things simultaneously, but tonight I finished the linens.  The colors don't really work in the master bedroom, so I put the more blue  pillows in the living room.  I will probably have to try printing fabric again soon, since the rug I was so proudly hailing has sustained water damage. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Printed Rugs Are Not WaterProof


In the first picture, you will see the bathtub filled with water and undies on the floor.  Tootie Pie was playing with the dollhouse alone, and I love when that happens.  I guess I didn't even notice her filling the tub.  A Critter took a bath. 

Since I haven't made any bath towels, Tootie Pie pulled up the kitchen rug and wrapped the dripping wet Critter in it.  Then she talked about smearing:  "It's smearing because it's wet, right, Mom?".  That got my attention.  See second picture.
One step forward, two steps back.  Maybe I'll Scotch Guard my next printed rug.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tutorial: Easy Miniature Books

My little books

Even then, I could tell he was age-inappropriate
for the Daughter Sunshine, but they were
all I had "to scale".  My God, she is still wearing
a onesie, and he is exhibiting male pattern
baldness.  Ew!
In my first dollhouse, made by my parents, I made a few small books by sewing paper into a light cardboard cover.  I hand wrote a back story of the Sunshine Family daughter and Dr. Doolittle, the residents of the home, similiar to Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls, where we find out what happened to the wife and the husband before they met.  When I went back to my mini masterpiece, to continue the story arc, I had found that my youngest sister had written something akin to the following with less than a quarter of the book pages with text:
Painstakingly printed and bound, to be
"personalized" with a magic marker.  Is it
any wonder that I sometimes mistakenly call
her by my little sister's name?
Dr. Dolittle and Sunshine daughter got married and had children.  

So that put the brakes on my mini book idea.  Until now.  I made mini composition notebooks that were immediately vandalized by Tootie Pie.  I think she thought she was "partcipating", which she was, in a five-year old "helpful" way.  But, now, I got this idea from a website, that I believe was in another language.  I pretty much stole the idea, but, since I no longer remember where I saw it first**, plus I think it was in another language, I am posting my own version here. 

  • A glue bound (not stapled) catalog
  • A carpet cutter or other razor
  • A printer
  • Gloss Enamel Spray Sealer (optional)
  • Straight Edge (optional)

Cutting the mini books with a carpet knife
Choose the width of your book by measuring from the spine of the catalog.  With your straight edge and razor, cut a strip along the bound edge of the catalog.  Then, cut this narrow strip into small lengths for your books. 

Next, find or scan a dust jacket cover.  I used Charlotte's Web and a redesign of The Wizard of Oz.  Resize the image to the dimensions of your book.  Print and spray with the sealer.  Cut out and glue the jacket to the outside of your book.  Enjoy!

Of course, the inside of the book is not very interesting, but I'm not sure if Calico Critters can read anyway, so it's all good.  Thank you, random website in Finnish or Turkish.

** Okay, thanks to web browser history, I determined that I stole this idea from a Turkish website.  Thank you, Küçük Şeyler

While I Plot My Career Change

Matt Groening got it right
I am sure I will surprise no one when I tell you that I am one of the burdgeoning ranks of disillusioned teachers.  There always were unhappy teachers, as this is a tough, next to impossible, job, but the disenchanted sector is now at epidemic levels.  Teaching has changed since I started only ten years ago.  When I was a new teacher, No Child Left Behind had just passed and had not trickled down to any meaningful extent to those in the trenches.  However, now that it has, teaching is less fun, and I am confident that learning is less interesting as well, if the number of disengaged faces I see every day is any indication.  I documented some of the fun, in-depth projects I used to do, back in the day, but no longer can.  Many teachers are looking for something else; I am one.

In the meantime, after the all important tests, which are coming up, we do, sometimes, get to do different things than just prep, prep, prep.  And so, I have something to look forward to professionally.  My school has culminating projects based on a theme, that is divided amongst the the five different "academies" that my school is made up of (it's a giant school, so rather than have children running wildly around the whole school, we divided things up, so different individuals should only be running wildly in a portion of the building).  In any case, this year's competition's theme is "Cities of the World", and my academy's city is New Orleans.  Not my first choice, certainly, but I can find an angle.

Something along the lines of this

So, I am currently planning a lesson to be given in June.  Ah, June, the finest month to teach.  A time of weddings, warmth, fresh air, kids going nuts, and teachers just hoping no one gets seriously hurt while they look forward to the summer break.  During this magical month, I will teach "Wrought Iron Geometry", which will involve very little geometry, and a whole lot of mini making.  I figure we can make a small "French Quarter" facade, and focus on the balconies.  I am thinking of making some examples from polymer clay by printing out a template, and having the students just lay the clay over the paper.  Cooking will be done at home, because, back in my enthusiastic days, during the Mesopotamian Math project, I created a wicked smell when I burnt the Cuneiform clay tablets the children made in a scavenged toaster oven.  There were actual flames coming from the polymer clay.  This was the first time there were flames and horrible smells emenating my classroom, but, sadly, not the last (a lighting fixture burst into flames in my room last year, and I would guess that the lingering chemical stench was a toxic PCB gas).  As a backdrop to the Sculpey railings and French Quarter facades, I envision a large railing pattern that will be traced on the wall using my projector.  Like I need one more reason to look forward to June!  Now I have to go scavenge some cardboard, and resist the temptation to start buying brazing rods and dreaming up stair railings and getting completely off track on the Undersized Urbanite competition.  Hurray!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Where's My Chair? And Call of the Small's? Where's Hers?

Did I miss it?  Mini*Aesthetics got an email regarding her DWR champagne cork chair.  I didn't get an email.  Call of the Small, did you?

And, I don't see my chair, nor that of Call of the Small, on the entry page, either.  What gives?  I didn't expect to win, certainly, but I did expect some sort of "Participant" recognition.  Am I missing something, DWR?  I want to see my chair on the DWR page, so I can brag that I have a design that is currently on the DWR website!  C'mon!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sometimes, We Just Play

Pass the Skittles, please.
We have many highly domesticated woodland creatures residing in our dollhouse.  Sometimes we witness their daily activities, which usually involves finding beds for all of them (the tub and couch and all larger chairs are used, and still we need a carriage and Mother must stand).  Today, however, they were eating a Skittle dinner.  I also had to do some quick thinking when Tootie Pie found a "Made in China" sticker on one such critter, and asked a pointed question about why it said that when it was from Santa.  I said that perhaps he has Chinese suppliers.  How does one explain such things?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Small Technical Issue and Insight Into How My Brain Works

Since people are commenting more on my posts, I'd like to make a formal announcement that I cannot reply to comments.  I am working out a way to fix this, but have not come up with a working solution yet.  Any advice would be appreciated.  When I click on "reply", the link shows "javascript;", which means that something should be happening, but isn't.  It may be a cookie issue.  It may be a template issue.  I have no idea, but I am trying, trying to work it out.**

Also, I cannot figure out a way to show comments after the post.  There is code to do so, but you must insert it between the <blogger> tags, which my template does not seem to have.  I have been working on this, as well.

Admittedly, he is very hard to see,
but Mr. Cartwright is in the circular
window atop the rocket, looking
decidedly browner than most
astronauts of the time.
I do wish I could reply to your comments.  I want to!  I just can't.  Please understand why I may appear aloof or disinterested, which I am not.  I love blogging and I love my followers!  I am just something of a machine-destroying Luddite.  Which, of course, I can tie into to minis! See, a while back, I ordered an old "Famous Inventors Series" Cartwright loom, which came packaged with literature about this great inventor, as well as a bust of Cartwright himself.  Don't you wish that there was still a market for such educational toys today?   In the literature, it mentioned how this powerloom was not met with great joy by the weavers of the day, who would go on to protest the technology by burning the new mills that used it to the ground.  They thought it would destroy jobs, since the new looms required less workers to produce cloth.  Those people were called Luddites, after Ned Ludd, a youth who had allegedly smashed two stocking frames 30 years earlier (thank you, Wikipedia).  I ordered the loom to create mini tapestries.  But to date, the most useful item proved to be the bust, which I encased in an old ornament bubble pack, painted a sort of light brown color (to match my students' general skin tone, in a vague attempt to affirm their identity, and not at all to address the fact that all astronauts in the 1960's were exclusively white men), and used as an astronaut in my classroom's 1960's rocket ship

If ever I figure out how to reply to comments on my blog, expect a deluge of responses.  I apologize for my lack of technical expertise.  But, you got a good history lesson out of it, at least, right?

** EDITOR'S NOTE: I solved it.  I am using IE, and that is the problem (insert Microsoft joke here).  I can reply on chrome.  Problem "solved"

Only One Complete Project This Week

I added some 3D elements on this.
 Not the best work, but not bad.
The orange dot in between the 2
smaller knobs is supposed to be
an LED light, but it just looks like
a flaw.  There's actually a yellow
one underneath it, to prove it is
First off, I want to thank Jazzi for the mention in her fabulous blog.  When a blog hero of mine mentions me in a post, well...it's an honor.  That, or I just bothered her enough in the link party.  Hey, whatever works, right?  Happy 50th, Jazzi!

This week I finished my wood cased radio.  I hesitate to mention my inspiration for fear that a) you'll compare (unfavorably) mine to hers and b) that she will not want to be credited (negatively) for my shoddy reproduction, but thank you Kris for the tutorial.  I failed to plan for the width of the wood in my measurements, so I "fixed" that by merely sanding down the corners.  The reason I did that is because it takes sooooo loooong to make these minis.  From the cutting of the stacked cardstock, to the gluing, to the waiting for the glue to dry, to the printing of the image, to the spraying and again waiting for it to dry, to the sanding of the edges of the bits of stacked cardstock, which then unglues the glue on the stack, requiring regluing and rewaiting, and on and on...I've been working on this little thing for a month.  And it only takes Tootie Pie about 10 seconds to crush it or lose it. 

So, enjoy it now.  It won't last.

Meant to be 50% cooler,
until one bead broke

I am also working on electrifying some lamps.  My lamps are not going to be plugged into outlets (that would require pre-wiring and foresight, which I lack completely), so they will be battery powered.  The 1.8 mm LED lights that I ordered seemed small enough to fit through the, eh, let's say a generous 2 mm opening, were sadly mounted on a 2.5 mm plastic base, which was itself on top of a 3 mm wide spread of wiring.  The instructions said to sand the plastic and bend the wires if it was too big.  I broke the first one right off.  Plan B was to sand a bigger hole in the beads, and I broke a bead.  So, after much trial, error and swearing, Smiley banging head against the wallI sanded the bead openings down using less force but much, much more time, and sanded the edges of the bulb down just enough to squeeze in. 

The wiring is in progress now.  My old nemesis, the soldering iron, waits to torment me next.
Evil lurks in the corner of this photo.  It is
the horrible, gasp, a soldering iron.  Screech, screech,
screech, screech violin Psycho music.

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