Tuesday, September 28, 2010

“There is still no cure for the common birthday.”

(Quote by John Glenn)

I don't know about the rest of you but I LOVE my birthday. While a part of me is saddened that I'm getting another year older, the rest of me rejoices that I have something to celebrate. I'm older, wiser, happier, and still enjoying life. I also feel that it's important to celebrate myself and give myself gifts (not in a selfish way, more of a self-supportive way). This usually means that most of September and sometimes into October, it's birthday month. I still have a couple days to go until I officially hit the late 20s (goodness, just writing that makes me shiver!) but the celebration has already been in full swing.

This past weekend we went birthday camping with friends, our longest camping trip thus far (2 nights!). We just got our new CRV a couple of months ago, as well as the 6 person tent that attaches to it, and we were eager to use it. It's much larger than our old tent--we could even fit our queen air mattress. The weather was perfect-crisp, cool, and sunny. Hubby got me a new electric blanket for my birthday and gave it to me early but we didn't even need it at night. And my favorite dog came along too! Evgeni (or Evi for short, after Evgeni Malkin) belongs to a friend and he is a husky/chow chow mix. The sweetest, slowest dog in the world who now has doggie Alzheimer's. I want a dog just like him. He even spent a night in our tent just because I love him so much. In the pic, he's giving me a nice big kiss after I took him for a walk.

We're recuperating from all the hiking we did (and our failed attempts at geocaching...we are so bad at it, we found NONE) in anticipation of a crazy birthday weekend. There will be dinner out with family and friends, my aunt's annual church auction, and most important, my gifts to myself! I do something for myself each year and this one is no exception. I booked four glass making workshops (which I mentioned in an early blog post) for the fall, one of which is this weekend. It's the first one and I can't wait to make a new creation.

My other gift to myself is my first tattoo. I have long pondered what I wanted and where I wanted it, knowing that if nothing ever felt right, I just wouldn't get one. Well, this weekend I will be getting a permanent henna (mehndi) tattoo on my upper left ribs (I know, ouch for my first tattoo. Go big or go home!). I'm sure after it's complete I will be regretting the busy weekend I have planned. But that seems to be how I roll...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"You can get inspiration..."

"...from absolutely anything." ~Carol Armstrong, Quilter & Author

I thought I'd share a little project/prototype that suddenly popped into my head a couple of weeks ago and wouldn't go away until I made one! My inspiration came from the tools I'm surrounded by at work and home, as well as this nifty watch by Swatch. I saw an article over the summer about the Swatch founder Nicholas Hayek passing away and someone had uploaded a variety of Swatch watches that they remembered from the '90s. I was never into them as a kid (even though I loved watches and clocks) but something about this one stuck with me.

After a few weeks of this watch popping into my brain, I knew I wanted to customize it and make it my own. I'd get it out of my system AND have a brand new watch. Sometime ago I had purchased a watch face at Joann's, intending on making some type of band for it out of jewelry but luckily I hadn't done anything with it yet.

Sometimes I sketch out my ideas and figure out the best way to piece it together with measurements and all (I took a CADD class once and I can't NOT draw without showing proper measurements), but this time I just put stuff together. And I enjoyed it. Immensely.

I can't say it turned out very...neat. My threads are quite messy and Prototype #1 was worn two or three times before I switched the closures and you now see photos of Prototype #2. I knew I didn't want just a single band, like the Swatch watch. I wanted multiples, to look a little messy like I actually use this or just threw it together, with a few buttons thrown in. I selected three pieces, all cut to the same length (roughly a little bigger than my wrist, minus the watch face spacing) and immediately realized that they were too wide for the watch face. No matter. I squished one through to see if it would suitably fit and worse case, I'll trim the sides just a tad there. I laid the pieces across my wrist to see how I wanted them to crisscross and knew I needed to sew them with a diamond shape. Again, messy threads but I joined two pieces in an X first and then added the third middle piece on top. I also realized while sewing the third piece on that I definitely wouldn't be able to fit the bulky middle onto the watch face now. Luckily, the last piece I added on could slide through the watch face slits and since it was connected to the other two pieces, they would lay flat on my wrist under the watch face. Voila!

Now I needed to figure out how to keep it closed. I erroneously thought that when I bought the watch face, it had come with a clasp set meant for a watch band. No such luck. I was feeling far too impatient (and excited!) to put it aside until the next day (even though it was already midnight--I was so excited with it that I wanted to finish and wear it the next day). Instead, I scrounged around for a random assortment of buttons. That would be a perfect way to secure my measuring tape watch, I thought.

Well, I wasn't thinking logically (I did mention that I hadn't sketched it, I'm just flowing by the seat of my pants). Of the three buttons I chose, only one was smaller than the width of the tape measure. I sewed all three on and went to cut the button holes, only to discover that two wouldn't fit through the holes because they were bigger than the measuring tape width. Duh. But working the Preservation lab gave me a good idea and I attached wax string to wrap around the buttons and allow for tightening. Thus, Prototype #1 was born.

I wore it the next several days and knew I had to change the buttons. The button that fit well was perfect. It was clear, it fit the measuring tape look better, and didn't look too messy. The other buttons were colors that didn't jive with the bright yellow tape (I had brass and green, I think) and the string would unwind or I'd find myself fiddling with it constantly.

I finally fixed it a couple of days ago. Removing the larger buttons, I added two small, clear buttons that slid easily into the button holes I had previously made. The material of the tape is perfectly suited as a watch band because even though I haven't sewn the edges of the button holes, it hasn't torn. And it's waterproof and doesn't get really dirty! It's perfect! Next time I'll just make sure that the watch face slits match the width of my measuring tape. Now on to the next crazy idea...