FO Friday: DFTBA yarnbomb in full awesomeness

The yarnbombs went up in downtown Mount Pleasant last week and they look amazing!

DFTBA (my yarn bomb)

Here I am, being super proud of my reminder to everyone to DFTBA. I got really prime placement, too! It’s right on the corner of Main and Broadway, the intersection at the heart of downtown!

2014 Art Walk Central yarnbombs photo 2014artwalkcentralyarnbombs_zps4cfba3f6.jpg

Of course all of the projects look terrific and they really add a neat feel to the area. It’s also neat to see those made by friends of mine, some of which I saw in progress during knitting meetups.

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Even before I had heard that the yarnbombs were up, someone from the Middle Michigan Development Corporation did and tweeted about it! Such a neat way to learn that they were up!

Chalk graffiti piano for Art Walk Central 2014

Art Walk Central is a big deal, though, and includes a lot more than just the yarnbombs. There are a couple of chalk graffiti pianos on downtown streets, and every time I’ve been downtown recently someone has been drawing on and/or playing them. It’s so nice to hear a little music in the air. There’s also a big art competition going on, which I’ll post about more soon when I’ve had a chance to see more of it. If you’re local and haven’t registered to vote yet, do it now!

DFTBA (my yarn bomb)

Meanwhile, Don’t Forget To Be Awesome!

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Farm to Fiber Show

The weekend before last I attended the Farm to Fiber Show at the Anderson and Girls Orchards about a half an hour from here.

Fiber to Farm Show, Anderson & Girls Orchards, Stanton MI 5/10/2014

They had advertised sheep-shearing and fiber demonstrations, but I was not expecting to find an exotic animal petting zoo. Weird! The first thing we noticed were these Prairie Dogs. They were quite obviously trained to expect to be fed (there was one of those food pellet dispenser machines attached to the outside of their pen), but they didn’t seem grossly overweight, so I suppose that’s good.

Fiber to Farm Show, Anderson & Girls Orchards, Stanton MI 5/10/2014

We headed right over to see the sheep-shearing. These sheep were really good about being still/wrangle-able while being shorn, but those who were running around were definitely rambunctious. They had two sets of horns each, which means that they were like Jacob Sheep. Did you know that the state of having multiple horns is termed polycerate? I did not, either. I actually thought these looked like goats at first, but they are in fact sheep. While they were running around I thought of Susan‘s dog Wixer, who I’m sure would have loved to have herded them.

Fiber to Farm Show, Anderson & Girls Orchards, Stanton MI 5/10/2014After the shearing, some kids transported the wool over to these women, who were cleaning and preparing the wool to be sold.

Fiber to Farm Show, Anderson & Girls Orchards, Stanton MI 5/10/2014

This woman was using an old-fashioned wool table, threaded with twine, to tie each fleece into a square bale. Here it is folded up, as she pulls the twine from each side and fastens it.

Fiber to Farm Show, Anderson & Girls Orchards, Stanton MI 5/10/2014

The wool table then unfolds and you have a twine-fastened bale of fleece! Pretty neat.

Fiber to Farm Show, Anderson & Girls Orchards, Stanton MI 5/10/2014

They also had some cute angora rabbits for sale, for any enterprising folks who want to raise and harvest their own angora fiber. (I am sadly somewhat allergic to angora, so that will not be me. Also I think Coraline would rebel at the idea of having a bunny share her territory, probably in with horrific results.)

Fiber to Farm Show, Anderson & Girls Orchards, Stanton MI 5/10/2014

Another of the other types of creatures at the orchard were peacocks. It was, as you can see, a gorgeous clear day, though in the morning the wind made it slightly chilly. These peacocks were crowing like mad!

Fiber to Farm Show, Anderson & Girls Orchards, Stanton MI 5/10/2014

Perhaps they were upset that so many people were wandering through their home? These two were perched above the wallaby enclosure. The wallabies were pretty cute, but there was one who was just laying on the ground looking either sleepy or sick. His fur seemed slightly different, so I thought it might have been the latter, which made me sad. All of these animals being kept in pens for entertainment was a little bit sad, actually. There was also a zebra, a dromedary, a camel, some emus, reindeer, and some other things I’m forgetting. I wonder if they have to spend all winter in a barn?

Fiber to Farm Show, Anderson & Girls Orchards, Stanton MI 5/10/2014The proprietors of the orchard had a bridge on which the goats might tromp, and tromp they did, though there were no trolls that I could see. It was a nice morning, and there were also a bunch of local fiber and supply vendors there (I need to find out if there’s a list available as I didn’t get cards from everyone). Overall, it was surprising, educational, and thought-provoking – who could ask for more from a morning out?

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Free Comic Book Day 2014

Last Saturday was Free Comic Book Day. As per their usual, our local public library had a wide array of programs and activities leading up to and on Saturday. We were pleased to pick up some free comics (well, K mostly – despite my appreciation for them, I’m not a huge reader of comics), take in a few activities, and attend the panel discussion about all things Marvel.

me and an Imperial Spy at FCBD 2014

One of the members of the Great Lakes Garrison 501st Legion, Michigan Chapter, was there for photo ops. It was awesome to see a ton of kids cosplaying and getting their photos taken. There were also a lot of games and activities that we left to kids of appropriate ages.

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

One of the fun things happening was that the library had held a contest for which patrons could create their own superhero poster, and the entries were on display in the Library Annex community room. I snapped a few of my favorites, including Thunder Woman! Look how she rides her thundercloud to water the flowers, with her hair flowing dramatically in the wind. That’s my kind of superhero.

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

Name of superhero: Awesome. What more needs to be said?

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

Bubble Spider Woman likes spiders!

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

SkySea: Jumper of Peace. Bonus points for using fabric to make the cape!

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

The Marvel panel was interesting. It was moderated/hosted by Joe Sommers, a professor from CMU (my alma mater), and the panel was composed of three graduate students from the English Department. Some time ago, Sommers acquired a shield that was used in the filming of the first Captain America movie and had it there to show off and pass around. That was neat, but he was surprisingly reluctant to share any details of how he came to have it, which was a bit of a bummer. It was more of a Q and A rather than a discussion of any specific topic by the panel, and the audience asked a lot of questions about upcoming Marvel movies (or movies they hope will be forthcoming). It was interesting to hear what people are looking forward to and interested in.

I was especially interested when one young audience member brought up the topic of women in comics and comic-based movies. She asked how the panel members felt about the representation of women in comics media and how they thought that women could play a more evenly balanced role. The panel’s answer was pretty much, “support women with your entertainment dollars,” which, while certainly a factor, is not in my opinion going to solve the root problem. Until the pen-holders and dollar-holders include more women, we’re going to continue to see a male-dominated industry. We live in a patriarchy and just buying tickets to see a Wonder Woman movie (if such a thing were ever to even come to be) is not going to solve all our problems. I’d have liked to hear the panel encourage that young woman (and others) to get involved in creating and doing herself, and I hope that there will be some women on the panel in future years.

(Note: you can kind of tell from this photo that one of the panel members is cosplaying as Wolverine, which I thought was great.)

me and Kristin at FCBD 2014

Of course my favorite thing was seeing Aquaman, AKA my pal Kristin, who helped put together the day’s awesomeness. She recently spoke at C2E2 about libraries doing FCBD programming, which you can read all about over at Lisa‘s. All in all, it was a fun day and I’m very glad to have a public library who does so much neat stuff.

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I wanna take you to the dog park, dog park, dog park!

It’s a gorgeous day outside, so we decided to brave the apartment complex dog park (more of a run, really) even though it is super muddy and gross. (Apologies for the not-great photos throughout this post. My phone camera can only do so much with a wriggling puppy.)

Muddy, messy dog run

The minute we let Coraline off the leash, she took off running laps around the area, making sure to run right through the middle of the disgusting, stinky mud pit near the entry gate every time. Bits of mud were flying up everywhere, but it did not seem to bother her in the least. She mercifully did not manage to jump up on either of us.

First dog run visit of the season

There was, of course, all kinds of other fun to be had: poo to be smelled and shooed away from, leaves stuck in the mud to try to pull free, soggy limp sticks to try to shake, and many many spots to mark.

Beautiful sky

It’s so nice out! It feels like a reward for having made it through all the dismal days of winter.

The apartment dog run is a bit of a mess

Even before we got back to our apartment, it was clear that it was bath time.

 

We are not amused

While water is one of our favorite things, we do not like it when it is on our face.

Apres bath

We will put up with a good toweling off after bath, though, when it comes with kisses. Now she is all snuggled up under the exploding TARDIS blanket, happily worn out and ready to nap until dinner time. We are all very much looking forward to being able to go to the future Mount Pleasant Dog Park when it opens later this year!

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movin’ on up

Well! It has once again been ages since I posted, because we’ve been super busy with a million more life changes. I got a new job back in Michigan, in the town of Mount Pleasant, which we have missed greatly since moving away in 2006. Since we had packed up all our furniture and household stuff into a storage pod, we had that delivered to our new apartment, along with the U-Haul full of stuff we had from our time in Indiana. It was, in a word, MORE than we would need or could fit into our new place. However, we had to unload everything to see what would work and what was extraneous, so it was a bit of a process to get it all in order.

living room/furniture central

At first the living room was floor to ceiling furniture, but happily we were able to sell one set of living room furniture (couch, loveseat, armchair) the day after moving everything in, so that cleared up a lot of space. We also had boxes stacked in pretty much every area.

kitchen

dining room/boxville

book box hallway

Because things were so crowded, we had to move things from one area to another repeatedly in order to get it all organized. We were also busy selling off the extra stuff. Hooray for Craigslist and online yard sales! Slowly but slowly, we’ve been able to rehome about half of our furniture and a lot of other small household items we don’t need or have room for. We also sent a lot of our house-maintenance type stuff (lawn mower, snow blower, yard tools, miter saw, etc) to live with Susan for the time being.

After a couple of days, we had a semi-usable living room space!

living room/furniture central

New Craftyton started coming together as well:

New Craftyton coming along

K’s office space got set up pretty quickly so we could stream from the media server on his PC. Priorities!

New Craftyton coming along

Something I’d been wanting to do for awhile was to build a standing desk setup for my PC. I don’t spend tons of time using it for long periods – usually I’m flitting back and forth between it and the cutting table or the sewing machine or the photo-taking setup, so a standing desk makes a lot more sense for me.

To do this, we got a LACK on one of our IKEA runs (we are now the people who make IKEA runs, since we don’t live 3 miles from the store anymore – weird!) and K found a monitor mount on clearance at Target (every time I type monitor, I accidentally type minotaur the first time – I bet in Night Vale they have minotaurs at Target).

monitor mounted!

We haven’t done the proper cable management as of this photo, but the main setup is done!

New Craftyton coming along

We got my thread racks mounted behind the door, so they’re tucked away a bit but still right next to the sewing machine table. I haven’t actually sat down to sew anything yet, but I’ll be ready soon.

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After a couple of weeks and a number of false starts, we finally sold the extra queen bed set that had been taking up a lot of space in the dining room. Huzzah!

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K made another IKEA run and picked up some BILLY bookcases for the hallway. I was a little skeptical of having bookcases in the hallway at first, but after living with boxes stacked in the hallway for a few weeks, I realized that it would be fine. The bookcases aren’t as deep as the boxes were, so it actually feels almost spacious.

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At that point we unloaded all the book boxes (which of course we had moved into the dining room while we put up the bookcases) without much regard for what went where. My goal was really just to empty the boxes so we could break them down and get rid of them!

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We also unfolded some of the wooden collapsible bookcases we already had, and loaded them up with CDs and DVDs.

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Our goal here is to live within our means space-wise, and K has been busy selling extraneous media online. Yay for minimizing! It seems to be a universal truth that you fill up the space you have with stuff, whether you really need it or not, and we had definitely filled up the 1200+ square feet (plus a nearly equal amount of basement) in our Canton house. It feels really freeing to be letting go of things that we’d walk by every day but hardly ever (or never) used. We know we’ll buy a house again someday, but maybe at that time we’ll be able to think more carefully about the things we acquire.

I’ve now finished my first week of work, so of course I’ve been really tired in the evenings and not up for too much unpacking/organizing. But this weekend we started to hang art and photos, which really makes things feel like home. We also sold the last big pieces of furniture, so our dining room table is actually in the dining room. Baby steps.

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We still have more to hang and of course more unpacking to do, but we are getting there.

Overall it’s been a pretty positive experience, despite all the hassle that comes with moving. My only big gripe right now is that we discovered after moving in that smoking is allowed in our building, and we can smell it in the hallways and occasionally in our own apartment. As I’m allergic to tobacco smoke, this is a definite problem. The maintenance service replaced our furnace filter with a stronger, higher quality filter, but it doesn’t seem to be making much of a difference. I fear that we will end up having to move AGAIN into a non-smoking building (of course the management did not mention that there was such a thing until after we’d been moved in for a couple weeks) because I’m not sure what other options they can offer that will eliminate the possibility of smoke coming into our apartment. I’m developing a persistent cough already, though, and I do not want our upholstered furniture and clothing to be all contaminated with secondhand smoke. I especially don’t want us to get cancer! Like all the other hurdles, I’m sure we’ll find a solution to this one, though. We will get there!

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ArtPrize 2011

Last weekend we went to Grand Rapids and checked out a little bit of ArtPrize. There are SO MANY exhibits that we could only see a tiny portion, but what we saw, we liked. These are a few of my favorites.

This one was set up outside the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

ArtPrize 2011

All of these sunflowers are made from recycled plastic bottles. It has that awesome effect you get when you put a ton of the same thing all together in one place.

ArtPrize 2011

ArtPrize 2011

This one was the piece that had the most lasting impact on me.

ArtPrize 2011

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Anne, why is your favorite a bunch of giant dead birds?”

ArtPrize 2011

Well, the answer is in a more careful look, as well as helped by the explanation that went along with the piece. The birds are constructed from scraps of tires collected from along I-94 in Michigan. The artist felt a connection between the environmental impact that the auto industry and our reliance on vehicles has on the state of Michigan, along with the effects we’re now feeling from the collapse of that industry. Plus, dead birds! They’re just creepy in a cool way.

ArtPrize 2011

Finally, this is the third one that I was able to snap.

ArtPrize 2011

These creatures are SO CREEPY. You have (A) human-esque faces on animal bodies, (B) twirly fantasy-type horns that you can just tell are magical, and (C) the uncomfortable feeling of not being able to manipulate things that comes with a lack of digits. All that adds up to a win in my book.

ArtPrize 2011

If you’re able to check out any bit of ArtPrize, I highly recommend it!

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Treasury Tuesday: Shop Local

One of my favorite things about Etsy is that it’s a great way to find local artisans. You can use the Shop Local tool to search for any geographical area, and as long as the shop owner has listed their location, they’ll show up in your results. Here is a treasury of some of the many cool things offered by shops here in Canton and Plymouth.

Local TreasuryWhat a great variety of lovely items! It is so cool that there are so many people creating neat stuff in the area. We are in good company!

For any of you around here who like to DIY and want to share your talents, consider signing up for the first ever CPL Hack Day on November 20. I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do. What would you like to see?

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