Friday, July 24, 2015

Upcycling - Making Floss Bobbins

Shortly before our big move, I decided that I'd like to store my, ever increasing, collection of embroidery floss on the plastic bobbin, like these:

I had gone to visit my Granny and she showed me how she keeps all of her floss wound on them and the organized in a couple of the divided plastic bead boxes.  It looked really neat and I already have a bunch of those bead boxes.  Granny gave me a handful of the bobbins, and I had a few, so I wound all of the ones above.

Before we left the country, I had meant to buy more of them.  I'd priced them, but never made it back to the store to get any.  So far, I have not found them here.  Jeff had pointed out that we can order them, but I just can't see buying something like that and most likely paying more for the shipping than the purchase.

A few days ago, I was poking around on my Pinterest board for Craft Storage and I was particularly looking for ways to upcycle cardboard.  I came across an article about different uses for cereal boxes and one of them was to make the bobbins for embroidery floss.  I've heard of making your own bobbins before, but had never really considered doing it, because I thought they'd be flimsy.

However, I decided to give it a try.

A plastic bobbin, ultra fine tip sharpie, and part of a cereal box:

I traced a bunch of them, to fill up the sheet:

Then I started cutting and trimming away, leaving me with a pile of bobbins:

The other sides of them are quite colorful and random:

The article I saw had talked about how you could trace your bobbin over certain things if you wanted to have set patterns or designs/words/whatever on your bobbins, but I just did my tracing on the backside and got as many as I could out of each piece of the box.

Now to wind one:

They are actually not as flimsy as I had feared - not as sturdy as the plastic ones, but they will certainly work to better store and organize my floss.

The backside of this one ended up being orange:

They are a bit time consuming to cut out, but not too bad - once I got the process streamlined.  I definitely like the idea of upcycling something that would be "trash" into something useful (after it's done holding cereal).  I'm also all for less plastic in our world, so I think this is a win-win.

The only slight concern I have now is how they might hold up to the high humidity we are experiencing here, but so far they seem to be fine.  I haven't noticed any of the warping or dampness like I've seeing in some other paper products.  Maybe it's something in the way they make or treat the paperboard for the cereal boxes.

Next up in the upcycling of cardboard/paperboard will most likely be some organizers for the studio.  I've found several neat ideas, such as cubes, hanging closet organizers, scrapbook paper holders, and drawer/shelf/desktop organizers too.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I'm Melting!

Or at least it feels like it.

Last week we were in the mid-80's with about 65-70% humidity and I thought I was going to die.  Our house doesn't have a/c and, while I fully realize not having it is a "first world problem", I'm just not used to sitting around feeling hot, sticky, and miserable all day.

Today, we are at about 80 degrees...  with 90% humidity.  I've learned some coping strategies for myself (snacking on frozen fruit, taking cool showers, sitting in front of a fan), but I do have a pretty big concern right now.

I've heard mentions here and there about creative things not being able to be done because it's humid.  Such as mold making, resin casting, painting, pasteling, etc.  Pretty much almost everything I'm interested in doing from a model horse standpoint...  Can I still make tack?  Will epoxy still cure?   Even paper, cardstock, etc., for my paper crafting feels...  soft and damp if it is sitting out.  Can I make things with that?

I'm realizing now that I may be severely limited on what I can actually do while we are here and...  well, it has me pretty bummed out at the moment.  There's got to be a way, I know plenty of people here make things.  I'm wondering if a dehumidifier for my studio would help at all.  Maybe I will just have to work around the weather or only during certain times of the year.  I don't know.

Jeff and I are on the fence about buying a portable a/c unit.  It would be nice to have, but the $400-500 price tag for something we may only use a handful of days out of the year is giving us pause.

Does anyone know of any possible artistic concerns for working in a high humidity environment?

Can anyone offer suggestions on how to get around this problem?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I Has Paints!


I bought some new paint today, to start restocking after I couldn't bring any of my paints with me on the move.

They don't have several of the colors that I'm used to, but I think I can make do.

Know what this means?  I can start painting horses again!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Motivation Monday - Don't Wait

Well, I've been in a bit of a slump lately... from both a creative and a blogging standpoint.  I'm hoping to heave myself back out of it in the next day or two.  I was just thinking: what better time for one of my (sporadic) Motivation Monday posts??  I hope everyone has a great, and productive, week!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Copperfox Cob - Long Journey

I'm wondering if perhaps my Copperfox horse had the longest journey of any of them.  He was made in China, shipped to the UK, mailed to the U.S., and then made it through the military mail to Japan. 

This little guy has been around the world!


Back in January, I pledged to be a "Founding Fox" on the Kickstarter for a new model horse company called Copperfox.  I pledged the amount that would get me one of their first plastic models as a perk.  I was pretty sure I wanted the Welsh Cob.  The choices were black or bay and I figured I'd have to go with black, since I love black horses.  Then, when they asked each person to choose their model, they said that a special run color was going to be offered, just for the Founding Foxes.  That color would be a smokey buckskin.  Oooo!  It was hard for me to choose, but I ended up going with the buckskin color for my Cob (after verifying that Welsh Cobs can be buckskin - I was already planning ahead to be able to show him).

Then came the wait.  They had trouble with the factory and had to switch to another one.  Jeff and I had our big move and I worried about my little Cob making his way to us in Japan.  Over the past couple of weeks or so, I've been reading Facebook posts about people in the U.S. getting their Copperfox models and I've been anxiously awaiting mine.  Especially after reading less than ideal reviews about particularly the buckskin color.

A week ago, Jeff called to say he was on his way home from work.  I know he stops to check our mail at the post office on his way home each day and he knows I've been "patiently" waiting...

About ten minutes later, he called again to say, "I've got your Copperfox horse."  Yay!!

When Jeff got home, he looked concerned and the first thing he said was, "I think your horse had a rough trip here..."  The box did look pretty mushed.  (our neighbors had warned us about boxes arriving here beat up, military mail isn't the most careful... but thankfully the contents of this box turned out to be fine!)

(Some people took pictures of their boxes sealed up, sadly I did not.  I had to SEE him!)

I already had an idea of what to expect from the Founding Foxes package, since others have shared the contents of theirs, but it was still neat to see everything that came with him:

A beautiful hand-written Thank You card,

certificates of authenticity,

a Copperfox pin (as a side note, I LOVE the "fox" in the name, logo, etc, of this company.  Red foxes have long been a favorite animal of mine and even my Native American Spirit Guide, so I couldn't be happier about the fox pin),

a model horse magazine,

a Copperfox flyer,

a kit on how to draw a Breyer horse,

And of course, THE Cob.

After reading some stories about how others look, I was almost afraid of what I'd find, but I really don't think he's that bad.

I'm still not 100% he'd be LSQ or competitive, I don't think the dapples are as bad as some others, but they're still not "great"...?

I still think he's neat, he certainly has presence!

I've read where it seems many people are planing to have their buckskin Cobs repainted.

I am torn.

My guy does have a pretty big flaw in the casting itself,

The customizer in me wants to whip out my prep tools and fix him STAT!, then repaint him...
However, even though I LOVE customizing and don't really consider myself an OF collector anymore, I really had my heart set on leaving him OF - hence me doing research on if buckskin was an acceptable color for the breed before choosing this one.  I also chose the buckskin because they said it would only be offered to the Founding Foxes and so that would make him special.  Repainting him would ruin that.

For now, it's back into his wrapping and into his box.  He was welcomed to Japan by two earthquakes the day he arrived, including one that woke us up at 3:30am!  The safest place for him is back in his box for now.

Before packing him away, I decided I wanted one more picture.  I wanted to take a fun shot of him with something... "Japanese" to show where he's living now.  In the moment all I could think of was one of the little bonsai trees that I'm working on.  Model horses are typically dwarfed by trees, but he towers over this one - ha!

My hope is that Copperfox will be able to offer regular run models and that I'll be able to get some of them to repaint.  In the meantime, my well-traveled little Welsh Cob is going to stay just the way he is.  If nothing else, even if he isn't showable, he's still going to be a piece of model horse history and I'm happy that I was able to be a part of it.

I wish Copperfox all the best!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Reading and Gaming

Quick update: I'm still alive!

I've been on another quick hiatus from crafting these past few days.  We have our office and desktop computers set up now and we've actually been playing some games together.  It started over the long holiday weekend and also now in the evenings.  Over the weekend I got a new book to read too and have been doing that during the days when I'd normally be doing studio stuff.  It feels good to be even more settled into our new house, and I'm enjoying my book, but I do need to get back to work in the studio!  I'll probably be done reading the latest adventure in the next day or two and then it'll be back to crafting.  ;)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Moar Stuff!

Today we went and did some traveling around the bigger city about 45 minutes or so away, including our first trip to a big mall that everyone talks about.  We saw a ton of neat stuff in there, including a big 100 yen store...  that everyone talks about.  It is the same chain as the one we've been to before, so they had a lot of the same things, only a bigger selection.

I saw the same two clear stamp sets that I bought before, but they also had a third set that I didn't have yet.  I've got it now too!

It's still amazing to me that these sets are only 100 yen.

All of these stores seen to have at least some paper punches, but this one had a BUNCH of them.  I ended up getting these two:

Another stop we made was at a "Super" version of a home store that we also have in our smaller local city. This store was much bigger and they had a lot of neat plants.  Jeff bought me another little bonsai tree; I fell in love with the blue pot and the beautiful MOSS growing in it, all around the little tree.

So now I have a little collection three bonsai trees.  This newest one is actually larger than the others.

It looks like it also needs some pruning.  I trimmed up my other blue pot tree and it made a world of difference.  The little one in the orange cup needs some attention, as does my new pretty little tree.  They are so neat!

Apologies for the crummy cell phone pictures in my last couple of posts...  Jeff has been tinkering with my laptop, putting in a new hard drive.  It should be all done now.  Hopefully I'll be able to take and upload some "real" pictures again in my next post.  ;)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Small Projects Done

Last night I finished a couple of small projects.

First up was a yellow halter.

Next was a greeting card, featuring a blue lobster.  Why?  I don't know.  haha  No, I've had this really pretty sea life stamp kit I hadn't used yet and it seemed like the thing to do.  Also, the photo prompt for July 1st was Sparkle and the paper I used for the trim is sparkly.  I actually started with that a few days ago and couldn't decide what to actually put on the card.  The deep blue sparkle paper made me think of the ocean, so there we have it!  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - SD to WA

For our last great U.S. road trip before we moved to Japan, we set off on a meandering drive from Rapid City, South Dakota to Seattle, Washington in late May.  Our chariot for this journey was a rental car - a new GMC Yukon.  We traveled with several bags of luggage, our dog, Max, and cat, Tealight or "Grey kitty".  We saw some beautiful and amazing things along the way, including a pair of Sandhill cranes with two chicks!!  I hope you enjoy some of the pictures that we took on that trip.