Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Iron Pour

Before the flowers are cut back for the season and we all start to carve pumpkins, there is another annual tradition- pouring iron.  Artist and friend, Jerry Simpson, has be talking to me for years about going to one of our fellow artist's iron pours. Nicolas and I had evening free so we decided to trek out to the Curtis Art Center to the baseball out back to create tiles to have iron poured into by the students of the University of Colorado. 

A simple synopsis, the sculpture students need to do an X amount of pours to pass the course. So with funding & $10 per bonded sand mold, the public can come and grab a nail to create a low-relief iron cast, watch the students work the cupolas, do a little performance art than pour the iron into the casts.

Words won't do justice to the experience. So here are pictures.
Nicolas with his finished tile.

 We came without any set design, so I went Picasso with my cast.

They coat the casts with a liquid graphite then torch them. The poor young lady had just accidentally lit her hair on fire.

Students working the cupola..I wish you could see the teacher with Loki horned blast mask.

Students transfer some iron to a boom.

The performance or spinning iron!

The students pour the casts.
My finish piece on display for our Spook-i-tea. It still needs to shave off the edges.

Nicolas's tile came out so AWESOME!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The View of Autumn

Beautiful isn't it? I love the colours that aspen trees give us when the Fall comes around. It is so brief though. At this point, all of the leaves up North have already turned and gone. I was lucky to be down South where this is delayed. The rustle of leaves was so dramatic as we climbed the hill to the family crypt. It was time to put Itchy's urn in its final resting place. Yes, there were tears. I'm still out of comfort without her.

The rest of the day was spent taking down the tent for the season. That's when you really notice the wind. We are over with the tarp burrito we put everything in for the Winter. So we will continue to drive up here until we are done with the shed. I wanted the shed to be done by now but genius here decided to use her knowledge in timber-framing. I used my Japanese saw & chisel to make a large, weather-treated skids. By-hand = time consuming.

I'm super excited about my other project that I completed this month. My niece's third birthday was one that I have been waiting for with great anticipation. The third birthday was the milestone that she would be ready for her first dollhouse. I made a three-year old appropriate, two story, townhouse doll house. If you know me personally you know that I can go above & beyond, I have a hard time restraining myself & get carried away.  This is for a three year-old so I made it pretty simplistic. Maybe I did learn something from architecture school? Function = Form. I sure am glad that still had my miter box so that I could do all those 45 degree cuts and little trims.
We brought it into the house & my sister had placed a little red table next to the window for it. It came with a bunny family named the Bunningtons. My mother found a what-not display on the free-table at her building. It had all these little cubbies filled with doll house toys. I took those apart, cleaned them up to go with the house...and that was the last we heard of her. When she wasn't swinging on her swing or playing with her soccer ball, she was quietly engrossed in her house. My brother-in-law gave me the thumbs up.

Miss you more than wallpaper mucus & The Ultimate glue for doll houses - V

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fall Equinox - The first day of Fall

What a beautiful day it is. Instead of my usual Thursday spent working on a friend's tiny house, today I'm busy around the house preparing for a new season.  I think that too much press is given to Spring Cleaning, why don't we hear more about Fall Cleaning. Without it you end up with a huge mess in the Spring.

Fall cleaning for me involves uprooting the summer plant crop & storing away the pots. Finishing outdoor building projects. Taking down the wall tent in the mountains. Rearranging the house & organizing the garage just so we can get the Halloween decorations when the time comes. Getting the Winter/Spring class schedule out. Then make the Winter hat collection.

This is right on the heels of finishing all of my half-completed hat collection for the Nan Desu Kan convention. I'm glad that I did it but it was a Hat-A-Day Challenge. So I documented it on Facebook, all 49 of them. It all paid off because September 2-4th at the convention, with the excellent salesmanship of Nicolas, 69 of them sold. My Etsy store looks almost vacant now!
I think the funniest day before the convention was the photoshoot. Remember, I was bringing 99 items with me to the convention & most of my images where product shots Nicolas took. The shoot was a multitude of theatrical pieces, therefore we decided not to try to bring outfits to match, the idea was naked except the hat. It came out marvelously.
Ray wearing the Blood Orange tilt hat with class.
Now to flip everything on its ear..or horn. Yup, I'm teaching the soft-sculptured horns workshop after the Denver Post did an article on my technique over a decade ago. I haven't changed my email since then so I still get emails yearly asking if I will teach the class again. It will be on October 22nd at the Art Students League of Denver.  

As my supplies get delivered I've been spending steamy afternoons infront of the hat steamer making felt hats. I met a dear lady that was selling her 92 year-old mother's hat block collection. I now have eleven MEN'S hat blocks. Some of them are for gi-normous head sizes so I'm searching for larger crown blocks. My evenings though are spent infront of a hot-glue gun making kanzashi (Japanese fabric flowers).

I hope to share all the new creations with you soon.  Cheers, Victoria


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Atleast its not a heart, lungs or liver..

Olin my mechanic told me over the phone this morning with the diagnosis of my truck.  My latest trip to the shop was last night. While driving home, right when I passed one of the houses I would be tearing down this summer, my truck overheated.  I have never been in a vehicle that overheated before so it was a major shock. Yes, it does steam. When I lifted the hood, whoa the coolant was gone. So I walked a block for more coolant. When I started the refreshed truck, a drizzle started from behind the radiator.  If you know vehicles, the water pump had a crack which meant the petroleum had degraded the timing belt. The water pump crack wasn't the only crack, the radiator also had a crack. So that also needs to be replaced with all the tubes.

A lot of work right? If that was only the work that I had done. Nope, this is the fourth time I took it into the shop this month.  It started with my clutch slipping so that needed to be retooled. Then I decided to get the belts replaced, the clutch cylinder & slave cylinder was another trip.  Two days I brought it back because it was difficult to start & found the clutch switch was wobbly. I was told not to worry because it is a 20 year old truck & like Olin said, its just parts- not a heart.

I suspect this is connected to eggs. The chicken kind. Nicolas brought home a dozen eggs. He likes to remove the broken ones & replace them with unbroken from other crates.  So there were three larger eggs in the box. Last thursday I cracked open those three for breakfast. All of the eggs had double yokes! At the sametime- Prince died.  Coincidence or just a newly ovulating hen?

The superstition behind double-yolks are both good & bad. Some say that it is a good luck sign, others a sign of death.  I agree that it is both. Prince died in the morning, in the afternoon I passed another board exam.  I received a handsome paycheck, my truck goes sour.  That's two eggs down. Now for the third egg- I just got the results that I failed last weeks board exam, please let the good luck egg rain down NOW!

I'm using all of my will-power to remain calm..Its supposed to snow again today, so I'll stand outside underneath the cherry blossoms for a moment of Zen until the first flake drops.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Count your blessings...

because I have so many this past week.  I was immobilized with stress. What if I don't pass the FIRST of my board exams? Will I be able to take the other exams or will I be saturated with doubt? Will I get my work done in time for my deadline when there is not enough information to complete it? Will I ever be contacted by the construction company I interned for about being rehired?
  • I did pass my first board exam, the Programming, Practice & Planning (otherwise called the PPP). It took me until 10:30pm to look at the results because of fear that my depression would bring on a languor that would prevent anything getting done that day. That's the positive, the negative is that I have TWO exams in April. Yeesh!
  • I got part of my work done. The ALTA survey didn't have enough information bordering on two counties so it went back to the surveyor. I sent off my first invoice, soo happy!
  • I did get contacted by the construction company & will be signing my new hire paperwork later this week. I'm blessed. I want to work part-time because of my very full life. They wanted to work on a part-time schedule with me. My first day will be Monday.
We had time this week to actually DO something.  That something was Dink, Denver Independent Comic & Art Expo.  It was the first year at the Sherman Center, a very beautiful location, & it was packed with artists. Wonderful! Nicolas & I wished we had brought a lot more money because we would of bought comics from all of the artists.  We picked up a lot of cards & I will definitely buy the art of Heather Mahler.
All have online comics so I will keep up with them there.

What else happened this week? Eostre or Easter happened to whichever you prefer. Our attempt at creating a new tradition was shattered by the weather. We had a blizzard this week so we didn't go to the mountains to set up our homestead tent for the season & have a grand barbecue. The lunar cycle had this Easter practically a month early. So while I had a confusing memory that last Easter was pleasant, I did recognize that Easter is the Sunday AFTER the Spring Solstice- which was early this year darn it.  Instead I was going to make an egg braid just the way my Mum did as a child using the eggs my niece dyed. I was very excited to do this since it would be the first thing we baked in our new oven. I didn't put much thought into this. The yeast was too old & the dough didn't rise. So we bought bread & had the eggs on the side.
Uncle Nic loves his egg.
Our friend Brighid came over & while Nicolas braided her hair for a date, I made blueberry mead.  Simply the best day all week.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

How I made it through last week...

I do not know.  I thought I might break the couch from sitting in it for so long reading. Then I lost two pounds even why I was sitting there because food took time out of my study schedule.  After all that I don't think I did well on my board exam. 

The trip to Prometrics was terrifying. I told Nicolas that if I was there after 8:45 I wouldn't be allowed to sit for the exam. He thought I had to be there by 9. So we burnt rubber & I got there by 8:40. I blew my nose & lost my nose ring. Gone! Then while I was getting wanded a woman was ejected for cheating.  I was not in a good mind when I sat down at my testing station.  Then the NCARB puts out an accurate break down of what is going to be on the exams by percentages. I studied a month to those percentages, what was supposed to be 29% contract documents & construction cost estimating turned out to be 85%. I was so pissed off while I was taking the exam. Each time I answered a question and the next one popped up my mind exploded "another one!!"  Luckily I caught a flaw in my vignette 2 minutes before the timer ran out. 

After the exam all I wanted to do was go to a bar & drink green beer on St. Patty's Day.  So Nicolas took me to my in laws.  Oh well, they're lovely people & helped us move the new oven up the stairs.  NEW OVEN! The old one has been broken since last March. Finally I found the one that I wanted at the ReStore, a nice Frigidaire.

The next day we went to the first day of the Robots Revolution exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. First day & the tech was repairing some of the robots.  It was all interactive but if you want to test an exhibit will hold up, put it infront of a pack of 6 year olds.  Luckily we went before the kids came in so we could have the robots to ourselves. 
Nicolas working the stair climbing robot.
We looked like astronauts in our big boots and ski pants. Colorado is the only state that I've lived in that you will be in shorts one day & then parkas the next.  Nicolas topped off his space suit with a helmet.
After that we picked up Lauri Lynnxe Murphy & headed over to the Denver Home Show to see the highlight of the show- the Tiny House Village.  It was like a terrible gauntlet of vinyl windows & asphalt shingles to get to the village but man, were there a lot of tiny homes.  Ohm Sweet Home, Simblissity, Tiny Homes by Darla...Lauri has written all about it on her blog.

The next day was back to the studying. I met up with my fellow testers of the ARE ASAP Challenge for our next TWO exams we are going to be taking this month.  The CDS: Construction Documents and Services (which I was tested on this last exam!!) and the Schematic Design.  The Schematic Design is the longest exam, 6 hours, with no studying.  Its the one exam that you prove you can do a design, which is in fact just space planning of an interior office & then a two story building.  I woke up last night sleeping with the Kaplan book so I'm going to go back to the library so that won't happen again.

Sunday was the best day in a long time.  I got to decorate Easter eggs with my niece.  My sister prepped my dining room table like we were going to field dress a deer just to be ready for a 2 1/2 year with dyes.  We tried to get her to let the eggs soak in one colour, but that was not happening. She held the wire holder with the egg with determination & dipped it around every dye. You know what? They came out great! We described them her dinosaur eggs. Then to keep her occupied while the eggs dried I dumped a zen garden that my mother-in-law gave me into two bowls & she played the afternoon away in my living room sandbox talking to Keylow about lipbalm.  Now I know that Keylow loves the taste of lipbalm.

Back to studying.  Miss you more than chill time & Nexflix- V

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

March is here...

and the most exciting part of the past week is that I had my March hare photographed:)

Its that time of the year that if I want to be part of some summer festivals, the applications are out. That means time to take good photos and update the Etsy site.  I have none of the professional gear because honestly, cameras are not my medium. Never fear! I have a friend that has a table top studio & was willing to let me try it out.  I brought by three pieces with different difficulties in photographing & they turned out marvelously.
Electric Bunny fascinator was chosen because of the metallic highlights.
The black mini tricorn was chosen because black on gun metal burn-out velvet is hard to photograph.
I made this the night before just to see how detailed we could get with sinamay, crinoline & tulle.
I am definitely getting a table top studio! On Ebay they come with the collapsible booth, two lights and a table top tripod. I was just happy to see that a mannequin head fits inside.

With the photos taken, I was able to upload the images to Dropbox for my classes and submit examples to a convention.  Job done.

Now about the frustration that is construction. A days work was destroyed by the last screw going into a girder beam split it right down the middle. I called it a day.

Other than that, my board exam is next week on St. Patty's Day! My pedometer hasn't moved a step since I was able to download the Architect's Handbook for Professional Practice off Overdrive. Taking that large of a book & reading it off of a tablet is torture! I had plans to read four chapters one day, then after reading 100 pages out of a chapter I check to see how many pages in that chapter...260! I am getting various options for determining project costs and project deliveries refreshed in my head but the sheer volume of the Schiff-Hardin lectures are 3 hrs per sitting.  I was going to do just 4 hours of studying a day- that is turning into 8. Man I hope this all sticks!

I might not be writing next week if all I do is study....wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Where are my people at...

I need their support.

It's not easy being "one of those people."  A person that takes it all on. Fascinated with everything. Working off of both hemispheres, both right and left brained. Its a term that I don't like to use because it has classified us in simple overreaching dichotomies because none of us our truly right or left brained. Though experience has shown me that people react to what I do in terms of the hemispheres, and honestly, it hasn't been all good reactions.

That experience has shown me that I should be observant & wait for the right time when I think the person I'm talking with is ready to hear about my adventures.  This is especially true in the office. Number one way to get a bad review is to be open in the office. It's not about being crass, its about painting an image of yourself as being too involved in life outside that your not committing 100% to company. 

Example- this past week. It was my final week as an intern for a general contractor.  I made sure that I was available & adaptable to any projects they had for me. Never did I mention all that I was doing in the outside that wasn't architecture & construction. When I had my final review I brought up all the other ways that I could of been utilized & opportunities for that in the future. They agreed & are writing up an offer for a position in their company.

Next example- a half hour after my final review, I had an interview with the director of the Art Students League of Denver. She had contacted me when they took on some of the course load from Emily Griffith Opportunity School. Emily Griffith is now called a Technical College, as an accredited college, they must have a certain amount of the graduating students getting jobs from their education to keep those courses. So they had to cut seamstress & millinery courses from their curriculum. They did have the comprehension that a department with so much history it shouldn't be just thrown away. That's where I come in, ASLD agreed to take on the courses that would keep in line with their artistic mission, but where were they going to find a millinery instructor? Guess who's name came up! I was quite nervous because the only hats that I had on hand were my small, whimsical pieces. Plus I explained that my goal was never to teach it was to create sculpture that by chance you can put it on your head. That must of been enough because with a handshake I was emailed instructions on submitting my course work for the Summer semester. I'm still walking through the clouds. How can I be studying my brains out to take my architect registration exams & out of left field the dream job comes along?

Which leads to my next example- an email message was waiting for me the when I got home.  What pays is the work I do for a surveyor. The message was that my deadline was moved up six days & the ILC was due tomorrow...oh, & here's the project. Drafting ILCs is receiving the point information from a total station, using algorithms to plot those points, then using the plat information I draw up what is exactly on the site just using the legal description, measurements & stand-off points from the field.  Hemisphere switch from an hour ago?

That was finished at 2 AM- when I got up later that morning, the report was in that I was one of the 18,330 applicants for the Astronaut candidacy. Why did I apply to be one of the 14 new astronauts for the 3 upcoming mission? Because I can, I'm qualified.  Briefly, I studied Astrophysics before going into Architecture & the love of space travel is still in my core. I just transferred my love of remote, adaptable living into tiny homes. 

So why do I need the support of my people? I don't need the discouragement to do less or not to explore my opportunities. I crave for the security of a structured life but this is my path. I'm not trying to go against the stream. I have put my canoe in the river & am going the way the current pulls me.

I took a snap shot of a typical day. I was drawn to make an Easter bonnet for my submission to the Artist Alley in the Nan Desu Kan convention in September. Here is the office manager Soi inspecting the feather whiskers.

Almost done, the monocle needs securing. All this was done while listening to the Schiff-Hardin lectures review all the articles of the B101 Owner-Architect contract...which took hours.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Chocolate Valentine

It was that week that most of us avoid, the Valentine week.  I have no complaints because by avoiding everything Valentine a few years ago I met my husband. Ha!

This week didn't even really feel like a romantic one with so much going on.  I will give you a short break down since I have a full day of reading a 200 page Kaplan PPP exam review textbook a head of me.  Lets start with the stupidity that is Victoria.  I joined a workout challenge to do 30 days of cardio classes in 35 days. Somehow this week pulled a muscle from between my shoulder blades up through my neck.  Thus having my evening hours with my back laid up moaning. Dumb. The positive side is that I got four teardrop fascinator bases covered in fabric. Which leads to the next task, updating my Etsy site.  I'm planning on submitting to Summer fairs & festivals so an Etsy site can be used as a portfolio. Nothing really fabulous is up there NOW, but I do have 14 hats in various stages of completion that will make a good little shop. If anyone is interested in being a head model or has a table top photo studio I can borrow, talk to me.

Thursday night was the opening of the Chocolate exhibit at the Museum of Nature & Science. Call it a couples' night since we met up with our friends Skip & Juliet at the museum. We had a cup of Chestnut Mocha in the lobby beforehand to curb any cravings. That seemed to be unnecessary since the exhibit wasn't so exciting. The exciting part seemed to be when I had an tiff with the sweet counter clerk. They were selling Pate du Fruit & I said that I didn't think that it was spelt correctly, that it should be Pate du Fui. Her response was that the chef lived in France so he spelled it correctly, my response was ditto. In the end we are both correct since its spelt both ways. Whatever. Its just another moment that I showed I'm turning into my mother.  The photo opportunities in the exhibit were good at least.

You can't tell but I'm sitting on a large chocolate truffle.  Yes I was in flapper clothes since we were going to the Great Gatsby dance party afterwards.

Nicolas loved the chocolate cornucopia.
Friday night we got adorned in our finest flapper wear again to go to an Ominious Vintage Valentine night. First we went to the Ice Cube Gallery to see the Ridiculous-ness show. Really good abstract/found art sculpture & paintings. By the end of the evening my feet were killing me! Don't trust rhinestone heels. Tony, the smallest man in Denver, had to help me out at one point.
By Saturday night I was getting tired. After I morning long test prep session I was mentally set for alot of reading but we had one more event to go to- Brigid's Deadpool party. We haven't seen the movie yet so no spoilers. What we did do was a lot of games.  Once someone knows that you play board games you are welcome in with open arms.  The newest game that I learned that evening was mini Epic Galaxy which was graciously explained to me by Seth, a game designer himself.

Well that's the short of it. Off to do some studying.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Measure once...

measure on & on & on.  What a reality that I live in that I spend most of my time measuring.  At my internship I spend my days measuring every square foot & linear foot of construction drawings to look in minute detail if the architect & the engineer have designed it appropriately so I can calculate how much a project is going to cost.  There are wonderful computer programs like Onscreen Takeoff or Bluebeam that can quickly scale & measure for me BUT the construction service company I work for doesn't have that technology. So I wield an architects scale, constructulator & a pad of paper.

After I'm done writing today I will switch to an engineer's scale & work on my contract work for a local surveyor laying out his ILCs. Another process that would be simplified if I had any of the Civil Engineering programs. Since it hasn't been that time consuming I haven't made the splurge for a new computer with new programs. Instead I'm using the ol' math equations to convert the total station surveys to CAD plots (simply put I've made my own app in Excel).  Remember I said not time consuming (yet).

Outside the doors of my lab I work on tiny houses. Recently its been cutting all the furniture grade plywood to make the stair/cabinet for the Mayday Experiment.  Its a more realistic adaptation of a design Lauri Lynnxe Murphy found on imgur.
It's been a real mind switch to go from measuring entire buildings to these little stairs. Talk about measure twice cut once. I won't write more about that project when Lauri writes so well about it on her blog.

Back in the home lab I have so much to do I'm happy that I take exercise classes to get me out of the house. I got the Arco Lamp repaired & in the living room. My friends poke fun of my desire to obtain certain pieces of designer furniture. I fell in love with the Arco when I saw it at the MoMA but not willing to pay the $2995 ticket. My beautiful friend Melissa remembered my drooling & gave me hers! This changes the living room wonderfully.
Let me know if anyone in the Denver area is interested in the old lamp.

The workshop is coming along. In between snow storms I've been building a new worktable. It would be so much simpler if our HOA allowed me to attach to the walls of the garage. Since we can't that means more measuring to make everything movable & collapsible - tiny house skills at work.  Once that's done I can get some serious work done on the Mead Brewing Station & the Mobile Tea Cart...

The lab was flipped on its ear this week with an introduction & an opportunity to teach millinery.  More to come on that when I get the details worked out. In short, my free minutes have been laying out a path for a better web presence for my hats. The fourteen hats in various stages of construction need to be finished & photographed. (A new concept of mine to photograph the hats BEFORE I sell them.) Then I need to do something about this janky ol' blog design....

The last measuring this week is the scary kind- body measurements. Nicolas & I enrolled in his company's health program hosted by Prevent. The management of Prevent decided for some reason to have people that eat together not be on same paths for some reason? Nicolas & I are in separate teams for the next 16 weeks of the program. His kit arrived first. The usual introductory book, meal log, tape measure, etc. The spooky part is the scale that came with it. Every morning you weigh yourself & IT SENDS YOUR WEIGH VIA WIFI TO PREVENT. I'm all about accountability but I don't like the grey area of my health being electronically monitored by a company connected to my health insurance. Oh week 5 we receive our pedometers that have the tracking too.  So when my scale arrived this week I wrote down my starting measurements, turned off my 'bugg-out' reaction so that I could mentally get over all my apprehensions & step on that scale. 

How do you measure life?

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Time is running out...

...for fun!  Last year I was wait listed for the American Institute of Architects ARE ASAP Challenge, a Biggest Loser like challenge for board exams.  The objective to take (& pass) all seven board exams in one year. (The registration board gives you four years so you don't lose your mind.) Off hand this past week I checked in with the coordinator to see if they were doing the challenge again this year & she informed me that I had a slot!  I am not gunho to take these exams but I can't pass up the coaching & support from other candidates. So starting February, goodbye free time - hello NCARB.

The last days of January was a weekend of meeting with my friends &; fitting in some handy work. First on Saturday I met with the girls at the library to make some jewelry.  Libraries are not just for books anymore. Denver Public Library produces a series called Fresh Life full of groups, classes & events. This week we went to the Hampden Branch to make Washer Necklaces. There was quite a turn out so we did have to patiently wait through loud hammering to use the metal stamps. The supplies were very basic: a bead chain, washers, jump ring, bead post, bead, pliers & sharpies.
 The stamps themselves don't seem hard to obtain since they were in last weeks JoAnn's ad. Here's the tutorial if you'd like to do this at home.
There's so much you can do with metal. I think someday I might try using my alcohol inks to try this:
After leaving the library we went to a local haunt, oddly enough for Aurora is the English Tea Cup. They do serve tea, but its quite americana. They do have a grocery though that can be fun. Here we are having tea with Her Majesty.
Sunday's class occurred with persistent pestering. Allyn's Fabrics has finally moved to a new location after sixty years in Cherry Creek. Not much has changed though. Still crammed to the ceilings, employees constantly busy giving individual service to customers & the only place in Denver you can buy real millinery supplies.  The current owner is the daughter of the original so she's been making hats since she was seven. A bounty of knowledge & will tell you some of it if she's got a spare moment.  In a dying art form, I hate to see masters not sharing some of their knowledge. So for YEARS I've been pestering her to teach classes. When I went in this week to get more corset looping for a series of berets I'm making, I almost exploded to hear that she had a class last weekend. It was just a fascinator class so a beginners class but I wasn't contacted.  I didn't pout or cry but I guess she could sense my disappointment because she offered to let me attend a private class this Sunday.  A class that I'm glad I didn't have to miss, it was a practice class with the ladies of her Model A Club before she teaches at their convention this summer.  Model A = 1928 - 1931 = JAZZ AGE!! When I'm not looking at images of architecture I'm looking at Art Deco for the inner flapper.

It would be an entire separate blog to tell about what I learned. In short it was tackling horsehair derby hats (think those horrid Easter bonnets from the '70s), removing the crowns to intracept more horsehair to create cloches that would ride down around the ears. 
The art is correctly ironing horsehair to do your bidding. If you iron in you get a curve, if you iron out it flattens. Pull it remains thin, Push it widens. We had lots of catalog images from National Bella Hess.
If you are looking for a style of the late '20s, your going to be wearing a helmet, so the '30s are more attractive. 

We also learned plenty of trim techniques like making leaves using french belting & cloques.  I already have an idea of what I'm going to make with some organza & appliques.
After studying for my exams though!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

All that I have learned...

could fill a library (if I could recall it all).  Though as the old adage goes, the more I learn the less I know.  I continue try to fill in the gaps. Sometimes feeling like old Sisyphus constantly pushing that rock up the hill.  To try to stay in tune, up-to-date & relevant just so I can move forward with my life.  A year ago we had a household discussion that if I was going to be truly independent I needed to get more experience in construction management. I wanted to simply get a low-level job with a general contractor & work my way up. Unfortunately with all my years of experience in architecture & engineering, my job search was more like job wishing. I needed some connections with a foot in the door, so I went back to school.  I definitely didn't need another degree though I could of easily transferred my university credits & received an associate degree. I decided on a certificate that I could achieve in two semesters, though the speed shocked the college, I reached my goal.  As of this December I received a Certificate of Architectural Contracts & Materials from Arapahoe Community College.  I'm interning with a General Contractor, which is a little slow paced for me but I'm trying not to complain & learn from what tasks they put on my desk. On the side, I'm contracting with a surveying firm.  More books in my library of learning so to speak.

The real excitement is what I can now do that I'm out of night school. I am now a thrall with the Fjellborg Vikings. I met the leader Lodin at a European festival when we struck up a conversation about medieval carpentry & long houses.  The Fjellborg are not an SCA group but a historical reenactment group true to Viking history from the time of Danelaw in England circa 1000.  I am now apprenticing with Lodin to learn medieval carpentry.  His house has a full carpentry shop, sewing shop, brewing vault, museum & a blacksmithing shed out back.  I had some serious things that I wanted to learn but I have to start from the beginning with him.  Which the beginning means bone carving- a VERY smelly craft. I walk around a medieval workshop looking like X-Files with face mask so I don't inhale any of the bone dust.

This past Saturday we had Tom in town coming from Grand Junction visiting his son. Therefore we had a Bronze making workshop.  Tom knows a lot about PMC (precious metal clay) & brought every tool he owns for us to use.  One stipulation would be that we needed to make something the size of a silver dollar because he didn't bring his kiln with him.  It was a lot of fun just chatting around the work table making amulets & drinking horn tips. Edvin had brought a bottle of his home brewed spiced mead that we sipped while working.
The PMC requires a lot of re moistening because it forms cracks while you work.  That leads to placing it on a hot plate to dry so that you can fire it.  Tom brought map gas torches so that amulets could get fired, filed & polished that day.  Here is what a good firing looks like.
Not every ones came out in one solid piece so when I decided to go big & make a cloak pin, Tom took it back over the mountains to fire in his kiln.  Fingers crossed.

Tonight I go to round two of 3D Printing using SketchUp.  A free class offered at the Denver Public Library. Our tax dollars pay for two 3D printers at the iDealLab in the Central Library.  You can print however much that you want just as long as its using SketchUp.  The main printer uses open source so hence working in SketchUp.  I'm going because I want to see if I can make hat blocks using 3D printing.  An ancient trade using modern technology. Fascinating to myself & the techs that are assisting me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Happy Birthday Nicolas!

As a child you had one stupendous day for your birthday.  As an adult it seems to last two weeks, simply because it is hard to celebrate all with your friends on the same day.  My trophy husband turned 35 this past week & his birthday lasted 3 days. 

First we went to dinner with his parents & then to see Quentin Tarintino's new film The Hateful 8.  I have been eagerly awaiting to see it because my friend was out of town in Telluride for 6 months working on it.  I couldn't make it to his gold showing so it was an opportunity to see it with family at least.  It was a great film. We got strange stares from the rest of the audience when his name came on the screen & we cheered. Not the regular routine for a Tuesday movie night  in a suburban theater.

The second day of celebrating was supposed to be a big affair but it was ruined by the US Postal Service.  How long does it take to get a card to someone in your own city these days? Apparently a week is not enough time.  I have been dutifully reducing my belongings as part of my new year's resolution so I decided to send out all of my 3D invites for his birthday gathering. I started to worry when I hadn't received a single RSVP by Monday.  So Nicolas started calling everyone & found out only one had actually received the card on Tuesday.  We did continue on & did have some friends turn up to Comrades Brewing Company for Geeks who Drink trivia night. Nicolas does love a themed party so we ran with the geek theme & decided Soviet scientist.  Through the years I've accumulated Soviet uniforms for every season...& I don't truly know why.  We did have outfits to wear. The staff loved it but the rest of the kids at the bar didn't get it. Alas most of them were born after the Cold War & didn't grasp the true AWESOMENESS of the my Iron Curtain chique. 

I quickly made laboratory treats when I got home from work.  If you haven't checked out online cooking shows, do this one: Nerdy Nummies.  Rosanna Pansino does little Marthaesque cooking lessons but with eminent scientists cooking alongside her.  My oven has been out of commission for awhile now so we decided to just top Valentine's Day cupcakes with shaped Starbursts and strawberry jelly to make RED BLOOD CELL CUPCAKES.
Then we decided to get super dorky & make geeky jello shots.  I had unused petri dishes (don't ask), the only other thing I needed was 'jello', vodka & gummies to make PETRI DISH JELLO SHOTS.
My disappointment came when we played Geeks who Drink.  I was expecting to awe them with my awesome bank of useless knowledge. Alas most of the questions didn't have anything to do with geekiness, they were about pop culture. An entire round where they played sound clips of introductions to tv shows where the character did a monologue. We were to name the Character that did the speech?! Not a round to be won by someone that hasn't watched tv in 21 years. Nicolas did enjoy his flight of beer though.  I told him that it looked like the drinking competition for Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The rest of the evening was rocking with Nicolas's friends at the Milk night club. Nicolas had a fabulous time as you can see.
So much so that he had finally woken up by the time I got off of work the next day.  He was quietly folding laundry & just wanted a good hamburger then run some errands on the Birthday day itself.  Other people's birthdays are so fun much more fun then my own.  Of years creating huge celebrations for myself its nice to do whatever the other person really wants to do for their day so they don't have to do it themselves.  Happy Birthday Handsome!