Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Video in "The Office" Contest

I entered this video in a contest sponsored by NBC's "The Office" and I've been chosen as one of the finalists!  I made all the sets and popsicle stick puppets from scratch - it took me 3 days to make and film everything.  If you like it, please vote for it here!  You don't have to join or anything, just click on the "vote for this entry" button.  But hurry, the deadline to vote is Thursday May 1st at 3pm Pacific, 6pm Eastern!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Blue Jean Windsock

My second entry for "Ugliest Craft I've Ever Made"! In case you're curious, the first entry was the Ugly Blanket I knitted last year.

I decided to make this windsock because we've been having a problem with birds flying into our sliding glass patio door. After we moved in last summer, I put out feeders in the backyard. I had a ground feeder with mixed seed, a hanging feeder with sunflower seed, a hanging finch feeder with thistle seed, and a hummingbird feeder. Originally I had all the feeders at the edge of the patio but when I discovered that some of the doves were flying into the glass I moved everything except the hummingbird feeder out into the yard. Unfortunately that didn't solve the problem so I got rid of the feeders that the doves could use (the ground feeder and the hanging sunflower seed feeder). However that hasn't completely stopped them - they still show up every day and pick at the seeds dropped from the thistle feeder!

So instead of trying to keep the doves out of the yard I thought I'd try to keep them from approaching the glass by hanging a windsock in front of it. I've had little luck finding windsocks locally (not fashionable anymore, I guess) and even if they were available I doubt that cheap nylon would last long with the strong Arizona winds. My grandmother has made windsocks out of old blue jeans before so I thought that would be my best bet.

Project Name: Blue Jean Windsock
Time Taken to Finish: 2 hours
Materials Used:
-old pair of blue jeans
-matching thread
-plastic cylinder 3-4 inches tall, about same circumference as the upper thigh of one leg of the jeans (maybe an empty bleach bottle or 2-liter soda bottle with the top and bottom removed)
-1/4" metal eyelets
-reflective decorations
-fishing line
-fishing snap swivel
Special Tools Used:
-sewing machine
-eyelet tool
What I Did:
-Cut one leg of the jeans off, perpendicular to the outside hem and as close to the crotch as possible.
-Drilled 4 holes in the plastic cylinder for the eyelets (didn't put them in yet).
-Placed the cylinder inside the jeans leg, folded the fabric over the plastic cylinder, and then hemmed the cylinder inside the jeans.
-Cut holes in the jeans to correspond with the eyelet holes in the cylinder. Attached eyelets.
-Cut the rest of the leg into ~1" strips, stopping about 2 inches away from the hemmed-in plastic cylinder.
-Sewed reflective decorations onto every other strip and in the space between the bottom of the cylinder and the top of the strips.
-Tied one end of 4 lengths of fishing line into each eyelet and attached the other ends to the fishing snap swivel.
-Tied a longer length of fishing line to the other end of the snap swivel. Put a hook in the patio ceiling and hung up the windsock.
What I Liked About the Project: It was easy and will hopefully save some birds.
What I Didn't Like About the Project: Not the prettiest thing to look at, but it's in my backyard so no one's going to see it!

A hummingbird visiting my feeder

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Charcoal Scarf, Home Library, and "The Office"

I've been busy lately but not doing a whole lot of crafting.  I finally managed to finish a charcoal scarf my mom requested:

It's just a basic garter stitch scarf, knit with double-stranded Lion Brand Homespun yarn on size 13 needles (the color is "Edwardian").  My mom has asked that I knit 3 more as gifts and she's even offered to pay me for them (*gasp* my first commission!).

I have also been working on our spare room, aka "the junk room" as evident in this photo:

About 70% of the junk is boxes of books and about 9/10ths of those books are mine (I have a book problem).  We would really like this room to be a library as well as a guest bedroom.  We've found some bookshelves at IKEA but it's going to be a pain to get them here from the Phoenix store.  The boxes containing the shelves are too big to fit in my truck so we'll have to rent a trailer (buying them online is out of the question - the shipping charges are more than the price of the shelves!).

With the way the room is now there would be no where to put them!  So unfortunately I have to clean it out before we can buy anything.  My first task was to drag out all the books and sort them by genre.  I made a lot of piles in our hall:

There were so many books that I decided it would be a good idea to catalog them.  To make it easier, I signed up with an online home library website called GuruLib.  I picked them over other similar websites because they're free and they have a cool feature that lets you scan in UPC codes with a webcam.  The UPC feature was really helpful though it only works on newer books and it requires a high-quality webcam.  So far I've added 642 books to my online library and I still have more to do!

The other thing that's been eating up my time is this website:  It's an online game created by NBC to promote their show, "The Office."  You play as an employee of the online company Dunder Mifflin Infinity (DMI) and you do different tasks (usually related to that week's episode) to earn fake money.  The DMI employees are divided up into different teams called "branches."  Each branch is based in a real town and is led by another employee who is called the Regional Manager. 

Well, I recently got elected as the Regional Manager of the Ypsilanti, Michigan branch.  Consequently I've been spending a lot of time on fulfilling my managerial duties.  I'm probably taking my job too seriously (Kevin thinks so) but I can't help it when I know that other people are relying on me.  Here's me with a shirt and mug with our branch logo on it:

It's not all work though.  I've been having a lot of fun getting to know the other employees - we all love "The Office" so it's fun to geek out about it!  If you're interested in joining please drop me a line.  I'd love to have you in our branch!

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