October 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Some of the books in my pile this month include the following:

Reading Pile October 2020

From the left: Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro, Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter and Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine.

Husband and I also just recently got to watching two shows with very different tones and from pretty much the opposite ends of the earth: Outlander (accidental time travel from post-WWII England to Scotland in the 1700s) and The Brokenwood Mysteries (murder mysteries in a small town in modern-day New Zealand). We’re enjoying both so far, especially the latter.

Any stories you’ve gotten a kick out of lately?

Native American Cosplay of Captain America

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!, Stunt Double

Casey (otherwise known as hot.glue.burns on Instagram) made a Native American variant of Captain America’s costume for the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con. And the cosplay is both inventive and gorgeous!

Poster Cosplay in America has copied & pasted some of Casey’s thoughts:

“I originally brainstormed this costume in late 2015, but I really started rolling on production this last year, once I committed to this years SDCC… My main goal was to make a Native American variant of a fan-favorite character. I was immediately drawn to Captain America because of everything he symbolizes as basically the poster boy of a nation. To me it was the perfect parallel. And once I visualized the red and white bone breastplate on my abdomen, I knew this was something I had to see through.

“A lot of old school leather work with the awl! The majority of the armor was made from a base of 6mm EVA foam with 3 oz deer hide glued over it. The pieces were then stitched together with sinew or leather lace. Using this technique allowed me to form curves and build the necessary bulk of the armor pieces while also getting the suede textures I was looking for. And a whole lot of beading!”

Found via Good Stuff Happened Today on Tumblr.

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Announcement: Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy Is Closing

Ahem Ahem!

After a lot of thinking, I’ve come to a decision: I will close down Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy on Wednesday October 14, 2020.

The absolute last day to order anything via Etsy is, therefore, Tuesday October 13, 2020!

On Tuesday October 13, 2020, I will turn the shop off at 9 p.m. EST.

2020 Oct PGH Collage

I’ll only turn my Etsy shop back on briefly on Wednesday the 14th to mark orders as sent through the Etsy interface, so that you can track your orders.

Unfortunately, as much as I’d love to be able to offer a going out of business sale of some kind, I cannot since Massachusetts regulations are too strict for me to comply with.

I will keep the Playfully Grownup social media accounts (Twitter and Tumblr) at least for a while and continue to blog here, but less often. I will likely also continue sharing photos on my Flickr account.

As sad it is to end something longstanding, I feel good about my decision, and am looking forward to new challenges.

Custom Bookcases with Carvings for a LotR Collection

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers, Geek out!, Room of Awesome

Now this is a treasure, preciouss! A Finland-based company built these amazing custom bookcases for a collection of figurines and other materials from the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

FB Puustikki LotR Bookcases

Jukka Alasaari Photography via Puustikki on Facebook

Many (if not all?) of the bookcases also have carved crowns. Here’s the Rohan one:

FB Puustikki LotR Bookcases Rohan

Jukka Alasaari Photography via Puustikki on Facebook

There are also metal shields that function as handles. Behold Smaug:

FB Puustikki LotR Bookcases Dragon

Jukka Alasaari Photography via Puustikki on Facebook

 

Puustikki talk about their project a bit on Facebook:

“Finally we’re able to publish photos of these custom made, epic showcases for LOTR and Hobbit figurine collection. Probably the biggest collection in Finland and now it’s also displayed in showcases it deserves! This whole thing is 100% handmade out of solid oak and we wanted to use glass doors to maximize visibility into the cases. Each one of the showcases has distinct features to corresponding races/nations; carvings on the top and a custom made steel handle.

“Height of these wooden marvels is 250cm, so they barely fit into a regular house! [sic]”

Puustikki is run by carpenter Jarkko Pilvinen and jeweler Juho Manninen. The makers pull their inspiration from history and historical fantasy. At this writing, their online store includes drinking horns, a picnic table and benches, beds, dragon pegboards, runed coasters, and jewelry, among others.

My goodness! Astounding, aren’t they? Stylistically, a lot of their other wares are not our style at all, but as a maker myself, I really admire and appreciate the consideration and effort that went into all of their designs.

Check out the Puustikki website or Instagram for more.

Images by Jukka Alasaari Photography via Puustikki on Facebook

Cross-posted from Co-Geeking.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

September 2020 Recap

Ahem Ahem!, Newsletters

This month, in addition some smaller projects, I custom-made two new table runners, designed to be either used alone or layered with each other.

Two New Table Runners in Fall Colors

I’m in general not big on seasonal decor, but these I think are nicely fall-ish. Since the stripy runner has dark green, burgundy red and gold as well as brown and orange, it’s also usable at Christmas time – versatility is even better.

After a lot of thinking, I’ve come to a decision: I will close down Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy on Wednesday October 14, 2020. You may remember that last month I was wrestling with the timing. It’s now decided, and, as sad it is to end something longstanding, I feel good about my decision.

The absolute last day to order anything via Etsy is, therefore, Tuesday October 13, 2020!

I will turn the shop off on Tuesday the 13th, at 9 p.m. EST, and only turn it back on briefly on Wednesday to mark orders as sent through the Etsy interface so you can track your orders.

Unfortunately, as much as I’d love to be able to offer a going out of business sale of some kind, I cannot since Massachusetts regulations are too strict for me to comply with.

I will keep the Playfully Grownup social media accounts (Twitter and Tumblr) at least for a while and continue to blog here, but less often. I will likely also continue sharing photos on my Flickr account.

At the home front, we’ve had a bit of a covid-19 scare. I developed mild symptoms during one weekend. Fortunately, I was able to get tested that same day and results the day after. (Negative!)

The downside to my corona scare was having to re-schedule both my dentist’s and flu shot appointments. The next open ones were almost a month away (oddly both on the same day despite being by very different providers and in opposite directions). The good thing, however, is that people are actually taking advantage of the flu clinic. A sincere Thank You!

The Massachusetts covid-19 numbers seem to have started downwards (the graph plotting new confirmed cases for the past month peaked on Sept 08), so we’re probably just past the consequences of July and August summer gatherings. Unfortunately, despite that, hospital admissions, ICU cases and intubations are all up, including admissions at our local hospital.

I find it stressful, but have come to grips with the fact that I can’t change the behavior of others, only mine (which I have). To spare myself some grief, I’ve limited my news intake and doom scrolling, and am concentrating on other projects.

For instance, I finished my basket-weaving project: I made 8 bins out of recycled brown paper bags.

Baskets from Recycled Brown Paper Done

They look quite handsome even if I say so myself, certainly for a first try. I also whitewaxed a wooden bowl and painted a step stool.

I also started painting a basket and rearranging a couple of rooms, but haven’t finished yet due to busy. Some days are like a death by a thousand papercuts, but I manage. At least the library just announced they’re moving into phase three of reopening, with many, many more curbside pickup hours than before!

The weather has definitely turned more fall-ish, even though some day temps still rise to summery readings. And there are still flowers! Just one reason to love wild flowers – they’re adapted to the local seasons.

Unknown Pink Flower Plant

We don’t know what this plant is, but it probably came to our yard as a transplant thanks to some birds or ground critters. It’s pretty whatever it is.

Husband and I also had an absolutely wonderful family event (and I’m not talking about myself): we had CHIPMUNK BABIES!!!

Our resident chipmunk (whom we named Chipper and headcanoned to be female) is a mother! Chipper herself is missing from this photo, but we saw her earlier returning to the hole and the three babies with her cheeks full.

Chippers Three Babies2

And later I was able to snap a few photos of Chipper herding her brood:

Chipper and Baby

We absolutely did not know Chipper was female. At best it was a guess on the basis of how careful she was whenever she was about to leave her hole. Mostly, though, it was a fervent hope amidst the trashfire of 2020 that was based on her maybe perhaps if-we’re-very-lucky and I-could-be-wrong-but-doesn’t-she-look-a-little-thicker-round-the-middle because it-would-be-so-fabulous-during-this-awful-year.

Babies would explain the change in her behavior we observed late this summer, too. The kids are all gone now, and even Chipper seems to have abandoned her hole. (Chipmunks do rotate their territories every few years, so this seems normal.)

Never did I ever, EVER think I’d end up living anywhere where this was a possible life event! And it certainly couldn’t have come at a better time.

Hope you and yours are well. Please continue to be considerate. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Stay safe. ❤

Print Photos on Paint Chips for an Ombre Effect

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY

What a neat, clever idea: print your photos on paint chips for an ombre effect.

Do It Yourself Spring 2003 p10

Do It Yourself magazine, spring 2003, p. 10

I found this in the Do It Yourself magazine, spring 2003 issue, p. 10.

They are really handsome on a white wall in a white frame, aren’t they? Plus, the paper is free. That’s always a bonus. 🙂

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Letting Go of Fabric Scraps

Fabrics & Materials

During the covid-19 pandemic, many people in my social bubble have turned not just to handcrafts but other home projects. Here are some thoughts inspired by attempts to clean up my fabric scrap bins.

Sorting Fabric Scraps

The older I get, the oftener does it happen that visual clutter bothers me. Even though I’ve managed to fit my fabric scraps neatly into bins in the past, there are too many, and the sheer amount is adding to the corona stress.

Letting go, however, is hard: besides reminders of projects made, for me there is pleasure that comes from simply the act of making, plus, afterwards, from wearing or using or giving the thing, and even later from remembering all those pleasures.

Then, of course, the fabrics are beautiful in their own combinations of colors and patterns. And an otherwise insignificant piece could be just the thing I am looking for for some future project.

I’ve found a few solutions that help me – to some extent. 🙂

1) Fold all scraps, even small ones, neatly into the same dimensions (e.g. folded-napkin-sized) so that ragged edges and smaller pieces of the same fabric are contained on the inside. It drastically reduces space needed vs. a jumbled-up collection. If they’re in a box, it’s not hard to lift each bundle out of the way when looking for something else; if on a shelf —->

2) Arrange folded fabric by color. They look really pretty that way.

3) Make the very special ones into a usable item to see every day. Sadly, not a fast solution if that’s what’s called for.

4) Frame several of the special fabrics and arrange a set of them on the wall. We did this with Husband’s high school drama t-shirts that weren’t in wearable condition anymore.

5) Divide scraps into “def keep for now” and “maybe” piles. Move “maybe” somewhere else (e.g. into the “things to donate” area). If in a given time period I haven’t missed them, it’s a sign to let go. Alas, not a fast solution either.

6) Just plunge in and throw some out. This I find the most difficult. I’ve discovered, though, that I can cheat myself into doing it if I take e.g. the ones in the worst condition (or the oldest, my least favorite colors or whatever) and throwing out “only” this one and keep the rest. The next time, I take another most undesireable or useless batch and get rid of “only” them. The problem with this approach is it requires consistency and time.

Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear your solutions!

September 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Some of the books in my pile this month include the following:

Reading Pile September 2020

From left to right: The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow, They Do It with Mirrors plus Three Blind Mice and Other Stories by Agatha Christie, Annihilation Aria by Michael R. Underwood, Thorn by Intisar Khanani and, finally, A Matter of Oaths by Helen. S. Wright.

In other fiction-related news, I also just found out that, according to The Hollywood Reporter, another screen adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion is in the works. How delightful! I like the 1995 version directed by Roger Mitchell, but it has a few weaknesses it would be lovely to see treated differently. This will be exciting – I hope the adaptation will come through!

What of special interest have you read or seen lately? Do share!

Multicolor Accent on a Slanted Ceiling

Before & After, Design & Designers, Room of Awesome

This nursery is largely white on white, but the ceiling has what looks like a multicolor wallpaper accent applied only onto the slanted portion, which makes it very interesting and unusual:

DSponge Rose Praino Nursery2

YDC Design / Rose Praino, photo by Alexey Gold-Dvoryadkin. Found via design*sponge

Below is a view that shows the before and afters:

DSponge Rose Praino Nursery1

YDC Design / Rose Praino, photo by Alexey Gold-Dvoryadkin. Found via design*sponge

The space was designed by Rose Praino of YDC Design as part of a house renovation. What a creative way of introducing color without letting it overwhelm the space or bring the airy ceiling down. Lovely!

Found via design*sponge.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.