Monday, July 26, 2010


I have decided to instigate a non-specifically periodic craft challenge. I'm calling it the ??? Dollar Craft Challenge. Every once in a while I will go down to my dollar store and pick up a certain number of things that I will challenge my readers (if there still are any) to do something creative with. There is no prize. There is no time frame. But if you want to participate (and I'll pimp the hell out of this, on the off chance complete strangers are interested) post your results in comments, with instructions if you feel they are necessary. Link to a photo (I'm not sure you can put one directly into comments) if you have one. And bask in the knowledge that you are showing off your creativity.

Here are the rules

1. You have to use all of the items.
2. You may substitute for something SIMILAR if your dollar store doesn't have the same exact components. (String or yarn for the hemp cord in this one, for example.)
3. You may use what you have on hand only if you are using things you have on hand for many or all projects. Paints are okay, for example, as is thread and small amounts of stabilizing fabric. But you cannot pull fabric from your stash and use the components as minor parts of a larger project.
4. You can pull the components apart (the fake flowers in this one, for instance) and even alter them, so long as we can tell that you used the components.

If there is a good enough response, in the future I might even do these for prizes.

Here are the components for this first challenge, a Three Dollar Craft Challenge:

A pair of polyester (or cotton if your dollar store has more class than mine) dinner napkins
A fake (they ain't silk at the dollar store) flower
Hemp cord

Here's a picture of the components I picked up over the weekend:


Good luck, and let's have a whole heap o'fun with this!

Grousing Because I Can

The law prohibiting texting while driving is one of those “duh” laws that ought not to require a law. Really, how stupid do you have to be to do something that requires you to use both hands while you are driving a car, which also requires BOTH HANDS? (No, not just if it’s a stick shift. You need a hand free for emergencies like if you start to drift, or if you need to signal a turn or a slowdown, or just if you need to use the steering wheel. A couple of seconds with one hand off the wheel to change the radio station is probably not a big deal but to text? Seriously? Wow, some folks really do have far too high an opinion of their own abilities than they ought.

That said, what is less self-evident is that you shouldn’t text while walking. Case in point: This morning a man who was absorbed in typing who-knows-what walked past me on Oak, jostling my arm and not noticing it. That didn’t bother me although it did make me stare at him in some amazement that he hadn’t noticed. I’m not microscopic. I’m not even svelte. But, anyway, I then saw him walk out into traffic because whatever he was typing was apparently more important than noticing if there was a Max train barreling down on him. It wasn’t barreling so close that I got to witness the gore of a Max-ident up close, but the train tooted at him from a half a block away. He didn’t look up. But the car that was closer and had to slam on its brakes to avoid him got his attention. He sort of handwaved an apology and returned to his texting. I lost sight of him after that but am keeping my ears open for news of Darwin at work in Portland.

And lest anyone think I am all curmudgeon all the time, let me sing the praises of my little air conditioner. While it is true that the mild climate we enjoy in Portland seems to make an air conditioner wasteful and completely unnecessary, I have to say it’s made me uncommonly happy on days when the temperature goes over 90. It might be cooling the smallest room in the house, but that room is really comfortable. There’s just one oddity. You know how a window air conditioner drips condensation? Usually that goes out the window and either evaporates before it hits the ground or it waters a little tiny patch of pavement. Well, there are bars on my window. That made it really easy to install the unit, because I have a piece of furniture JUST the right height to fit it into the window frame up to the screen. But guess where that condensation is now dripping? I finally figure out that I needed to put a pail under the unit. But that is a minor inconvenience next to the lovely cool afternoon I had Sunday!

Now if only my neighbors weren’t setting off fireworks every night I’d be happy. WTF, people? The Fourth of July was on the FOURTH! Today is the twenty-sixth. Did you really buy enough fireworks to last twenty two EXTRA days? (Probably thirty extra once all is said and done.) I just don’t understand it.