Monday, March 29, 2010

Brand naming....

My "television" free child is no more, I'm sorry to say. It started with Dr. Suess videos on youtube, and then slid into the occasional "elmo's world" DVD, and now we've reached the point where he's watching full length movies with his babysitter three or four nights a week. I confess I have also fallen into the "sit in one spot and watch these flashy lights while I make dinner" trap. It's just SO much easier than trying to cook and keep him from destroying the house at the same time. Plus I'm watching a lot of crap on the computer these days (Hulu, you devil!) while I'm still confined to a chair for relatively long periods of time with a nursing baby, and telling him that he can't watch something while I'm plugged in seems like a huge hypocritical double standard.

This is a rambling way of saying that Ragnarson has solidly joined the media generation, and it just as likely to refer to a "thomas" as he is to refer to it as a "train."

There are a few staples that haven't filtered down yet. So far the Dora/Diego brand hasn't infiltrated our lives, although we've had a couple of near misses. We just received a mess of hand-me-downs from a friend with slightly older children, and the shirt that Ragnarson snatched out of the pile was one featuring a chest sized reproduction of Diego, with his baby jaguar. He was admiring his new duds in the mirror and I asked him "who's that on your shirt."

"It's a tiger!" growl, growl.

"Is there someone else on the shirt too?"

"Uhm...a boy!" jump jump

"Do you know that boy's name?"

"Uhm...YES!" jump jump

"What is his name?"

"Uhm...SHIRT BOY!"

Everytime I pass a television blaring out this pseudo educational blather I will think to myself. "The adventures of SHIRT BOY!"

Ragnar... compromising her principles since 2007.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The making of MEGA-CRAYON....

Ragnarson loves his crayons. Mostly he loves to break them in half, peel the paper off of them and use his finger nail to scrape little bits of crayon off onto the table and floor. OH! and drawing on the walls, yes, let's not forget about drawing on the walls.

When I was little my mother used to melt crayons down in muffin tins and make these really cool, sometimes multi-colored "big" crayons. I don't own a muffin tin however. It's on my "to buy" list, but hasn't made it to the top yet. I remembered someone telling me that they made a mega-crayon by pouring melted crayon into old deodorant containers. A quick google led me to this site which had some really good advice.

Here's all the equipment. Broken up crayons with the paper peeled off. Clean disassembled deodorant containers, a glass measuring cup that you don't mind getting crayon wax all over, mold release spray, and a couple of drinking straws. I should mention that the total project cost (if you count broken up crayons that you have lying around as "free") is about $10 for the mold release spray. I don't know how important this is. I decided it was worth the $10 to not risk having the crayon bind into the container, and I must say it seems to have worked beautifully.
Here are the two color groups of crayons, for the two different containers.
Before melting the crayon wax I sprayed the inside of the containers and the drinking straws with mold release. I specifically didn't spray the little "platformy" part of the deodorant bottle, because I want the crayon to stick to this base. The type of mold release that I bought specifies letting the mold dry before using it. After everything was dry I screwed the platform/base thing back into the container and slipped the drinking straw over the threaded rod. This is something that I wouldn't have thought about, but was suggested by the website above, and I have to say seems like a really good idea. Crayon wax likes to stick to things, apparently.
Then I melted the crayons in a pot of boiling water. If you are one of those people who own a mircrowave, that might be an easier way to melt crayons. This method made the crayons on the bottom melt into soup, and the crayons on top fuse into a solid block that was melting resistant. I had planned on just letting the crayons sit and disturbing them as little as possible so that there might be some swirly pattern left in the "MEGA CRAYON" but I am just not that patient, it turns out. Also I had to keep the water pretty much at a rolling boil. When I did the second batch of crayons I put the lid on the pot and that seemed to help them melt more quickly.
Here is the hot wax in the container, which I promptly and impatiently put into the freezer.
As the wax cooled a bubble appeared, which I could theoretically try to fill with more wax (I did, actually on the second crayon) but by the time I noticed it I had already switched over to the blue green crayons. When the container felt cool I pulled the straw out, and voila! MEGA CRAYON is born.
Ragnarson was very into the big crayon for about 5 minutes. "WHERE is my BIG crayon MOMMA!??" After throughly covering a piece of paper with red scribbles, he realized that he could use the cover of the container to scrape shreds of crayon off onto the floor, which was a huge improvement over using his fingernails.

Project notes: the website where I found the instructions suggested fastening some screws into the base/platform part of the container to secure the crayon. I didn't have any screws lying around and I am an impatient person so I skipped this step, and instead just didn't spray mold release on that part of the container. Ragnarson has already tried to pull the crayon out, so I'll let you know if he succeeds. If he does we can alway screw in some screws and remelt the wax.

My two containers held wildly different amounts of crayon. I had to add more crayons, twice, to melt enough wax for the blue/green crayon, this lead me to believe that the "swirly" effect I was going for would be easier to get by melting smaller amounts of crayon and pouring them in layers.

Fun project, not that time consuming, not that messy. We shall see if Ragnarson continues to enjoy the big crayons.

Ragnar...crafty old lady.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What the....?

Washing deodorant containers Ragnar? You're taking this housewife thing a little too far, don't you think?

Ragnar...I smell a project!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Huge dork.

I swatched the 5-ply, and it was white knuckle exciting.

Click to Mix and Solve

So I made a puzzle out of it.

Ragnar...HUGE DORK.

Friday, March 12, 2010 what pirates knit with

Ever do that thing where you envision some project that will be REALLY cool when it's done, and then jump into it without really thinking and decide halfway through that it's ridiculous and almost give up because you were certifiably crazy to think that it was a good idea in the first place, but then power through because, well, you already started and then finally finally after several YEARS get it all done and feel just pleased as all hell with yourself?


Me too.

That's a pound each of two different colors of FIVE PLY yarn, with different amounts of each color per skein so that in the end there is a graduation of color from end to the other. Oh and, yeah, worsted weight. Thems some skinny singles right there.

Except I just realized that the project isn't really over until I knit something out of it...damn.

Well then here I go again.


Monday, March 01, 2010

Chasing the dragon....

I have a self-diagnosed "addictive" personality and a high "fidget factor," those two qualities combined make me a yarn shop owner's dream customer. New squishy yarn? Funky new pattern? Oh sure, I'm working on about six hundred unfinished projects at the moment, but at last check there was at least one pair of unused needles still in my "organizer" (I'm using quotes there, because really, how much of an organizer can it be if there is nothing in it?).

I was making coffee a few days ago, and I realized that the coffee "addiction" has really gotten out of hand...because? I was making coffee before I went up to the coffee shop to meet some friends for coffee. The brew that I make at home is so far removed from regular old brewed with a filter, drip into a pot coffee that I no longer consider it to be the same substance.

The picture at the beginning of this post shows my "coffee station." First of all, notice that my coffee grinder is of the industrial variety...literally the same thing you would grind your coffee with if you were buying whole bean at the grocery store...this was a present from Manimal...up there in the top ten of the most thoughtful gifts he's ever given me. When he brought it home I was a little takes up a full square foot and a half of counter space after all, but after a couple of months of use I can say unconditionally that I LOVE MY COFFEE GRINDER. Then there is my coffee pot. It's a "moka" pot, or a stove top espresso maker. That is a 12 cup pot, 12 cute little demitasse cups that is. When I drink it, it's two cups. Two beer. This stuff is so thick that you almost have to chew it. If I don't make coffee within an hour of rising, I get a piercing headache that starts in my eyeballs.

Good thing I never took up smoking.

Ragnar...and I am a coffee addict.