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Archive for June, 2011

Yarn Bombing!

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Did you know that June 11th, 2011 was International Yarn Bombing Day?  Well it was. For anyone who doesn’t know what  yarn bombing is, it’s basically attaching knitted or crocheted pieces to outdoor items: trees, signs, bike racks, etc. People tend to  think of it as art and/or graffiti.  I decided to bring along my camera and photograph the “bombing.”

Yarn bombed: street sign

I organized my own yarn bombing posse.   The whole thing came together super last minute, so even though I had invited a lot of people only a few were able to attend so last minute.  Also, there was one minor detail that I got wrong with the yarn bombing; the date.  I had read somewhere about International Yarn Bombing Day online and it had said it was the 18th, but when I went to look  more information after the “bombing” I realized we’d bombed a week late.  We decided we didn’t care and the fact that we did it was pretty cool.  Here are some more photos of our yarn bombing.

Yarn Bombed:  street sign.  Is it just me or is this sign kinda sexy?

It was raining when she showed up to start the yarn bombing, but it stopped raining soon after.  We had such a great time!

Yarn bombed: a series of yarn bombed trees

We’re planning to do another yarn bombing next year and are making pieces especially for the event.

Yarn bombed: knitted patchwork

Yarnia donated small swatches of yarn to the yarn bombing.  I put them together and made the piece above.

Yarn bombed: branchy tree

Yarn bombed: Caught in the act.

Yarn bombed: still caught, but no one cares.

Yarn bombed: finished product.

Yarn bombed: fire hydrant and street sign.

If you’d like to see these yarn bombs for yourself and you’re local to Portland, Oregon you can check them out at Tanner Springs Park.

by: jen

Update on Uncamp

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

So we’ve been doing Uncamp for about a week now.  For anyone who didn’t read my first post about Uncamp here’s the link.  Basically, Uncamp is my answer to my son not wanting to attend summer camps anymore and my desire to keep him from playing computer games and actually facilitate additional learning, growing and creating for him.

So far my son is thriving and I’m, in typical fashion the rebellious one. I’ll start with myself.  I think part of the problem is that I haven’t set up the Stay Focused Chrome Extension yet.  I started to set up and my whole computer started running really slow, so I uninstalled it.  I need to get a consultation from my husband about what I need to do to install it and make it run properly with my system.  In the meantime I’ve been finding that I’M the sneaky one!  This was shocking to me.  I’m sneakin’ around looking at various online sources or doing other things that it’s not time for me to be working on.  I’ll look at the schedule and think, “hmmm, that’s what I should do.  I wonder what’s going on on Facebook?”

Photo of my son at the graduation ceremony for his elementary school

My son on the other hand, has really impressed me with how well he’s doing with the program.  I think he really likes knowing there is a plan for the day.  He has the schedule on his bulletin board and is referencing it all the time.  Sometimes he’s reminding me when I’m off task!  This is so backwards..  I’ve never seen him work so hard at so many new skills and be so motivated to help or initiate work around the house.

I’ve been amazed to watch  my son developing these skills:

1. Creative motivation: He is so motivated to try new things that ordinarily he would be resistant to.  Like for example, yesterday he spent 15 minutes making a journal/comic.  It’s about his life, but in a comic form.   Creative, right?  And he’s writing!  I can’t tell you how much this makes me happy.  Sure it’s a comic, but he’s writing!  This was his idea to so extra points for creativity.

2. Housework and home improvement motivation: He’s been initiating chores around the house.  It might be time for him to unload the dishwasher and he’s saying to me, “Hey Mom, why don’t I wipe down the counters too?”  What?  How is this happening?  I’m thrilled of course, but wow!  I didn’t expect this.  He’s offering to do many tasks and really staying motivated to complete them without complaining because he knows these tasks will bring him what he wants, computer/game time.  He’s also been helping me hang shelves, level photos and hang them, etc.  I was the type of kid who was doing simple home improvement projects mostly by myself and learning as I went.  I feel great that he’s also learning home improvement skills and from his mother no less!  This makes me really happy!

3. Deep Concentration on skill-based activities: In the past he might have made a small little video with much encouragement from me and once he finished the 30 minutes or 1 hour video he would have complained that he was bored and that he wanted more game time.  Now he knows the schedule.  He’ll have one hour of video making time before lunch each day and then when it’s time for more project time and he can choose  the project, he’s choosing to make more videos.  He’s spending about 3 hours a day working on filming, editing and uploading videos.  He’s loving it!  He’s never seem so engaged in his creative work before!  I’m so excited to see what new skills he’ll develop this summer!

4. Time management and game management:  This has been the most shocking of all the new skills I see my son developing.  He is rationing his game time very responsibly and it’s something I never discussed with him.  He’s saving time each day so that he and his dad can play Minecraft together at the end of each day.  I noticed at the beginning of the week that he wasn’t spending as much time playing games as he was allotted in the afternoon.  I asked him a couple of days ago, “Are you saving up time for evening to play games with your dad?” He said” Yeah, I like to have some game time with dad at the end of the day so, I’m saving it up.”  Holy crap!  Totally impressive, right?

OK, now back to me and my less impressiveness.  I know that part of the issue is that I am a left handed, right brained, head in the clouds creative type who has somehow managed to get enough time management and organization skills to function in the world.  I was raised by a creative person and had basically no schedule ever, in my life, until I grew up.  I think Uncamp might be the most scheduling I’ve ever tried to impose upon myself.  It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.  I also think I need to rework the schedule a bit because I’m finding that there are times of the day that I don’t wanna, wanna.  There are other times when I think now is a good time for that, but it’s not on my schedule, which brings up another issue.  I am very intuitive, so I tend to be motivated by my mood or a moment.  Trying to do things based on when I’m supposed to do them is really challenging for me.  I think part of my problem is that the schedule needs some tweaking to suit my needs better and part of it is that I need to settle into this new style of managing myself.

The other issue is that I guess I’ve never really tracked how often I’m getting distracted in a day.  I am someone who tends to like a lot of things going on.  I’m happiest when I’m doing a few things at the same time or in close succession. I love to have people over, listen to music, cook, maybe business planning, often all at the same time.  I think everyone has their own processing time, mine tends to be very fast.  I think in my normal life, I might check my email, Facebook, etc up to 5-10 times a day.  Maybe more.  It’s almost like a nervous habit, because when I try not to check I’ll think, “BUT I HAVE TO CHECK MY EMAIL” (or facebook or fill in the blank).  Now that I’m tracking how often I’m losing concentration from what I’m working on, I’m seeing that I get distracted regularly and often!  I had no idea.  I think because I’m pretty good at doing a lot of things at once or within close succession, I hadn’t noticed this before.

I’m working hard at observing my behavior around this project and trying not to judge it. My first thought once I realized that although my son is the juvenile, I am the delinquent, was to make myself a really cool glittery dunce cap.  My second thought was to make the dunce cap and burn it.  My third thought was that I’m trying to stay on track with my schedule and making and burning dunce caps is too much of  a distraction.  Also, making a dunce cap has inherent judgement involved and I’m not judging.  To change a behavior you must acknowledge it and I acknowledge that I’m very distracted by the computer.

OK, so I’m working on setting up the Stay Focused Chrome Extension, revamping my schedule and a few tweaks to my son’s as well so we can both participate in our schedules together, not judging my natural rebelliousness and also trying to calm my inner rebel.  I’ll update you next week on how things are going and if I’ve tamed my inner rebel.

Here’s me at 5, sporting my best rebel girl face.

I’m wondering if anyone have any questions for me about Uncamp? I feel like there is so much more I could say about it, but you know, I’ve gotta stay on task with my schedule so no more time at the moment for writing, but if you ask me a question in the comments section, I promise to get back to you at my allotted computer time and respond to your questions, that is if my inner rebel girl doesn’t sneak online and respond earlier.  OK, I’m cracking myself up here.  Hope you’re all doing well with your summer plans!

by: Jen

Rebel Craft Rumble 2011!

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Last Wednesday night was the Rebel Craft Rumble, hosted by Scrap.  In case you aren’t familiar with what the Rebel Craft Rumble is all about, think Iron Chef with crafts.  Like Iron Chef, competitors have specific items that they must work with and then they compete side by side to see who will become the winner or in this case the “Craft Master.”  Sister Diane was the champion last year so I was excited to see what sort of “craft muscle” the other contestants would bring to this year’s competition.   Alyssa Kail did a great job as “The Ringleader of Reuse.”   Richard and I were asked to be judges along with Julie Sabatier, from Destination DIY and Lindsey Newkirk, from Junk to Funk and oh, what fun we had!  The contestants were amazing!  There was Bridget Benton, Miss Demeanor, Sister Diane, Aurora Owen and Chelsea Badding.  The last two contestants I wasn’t familiar with, but they were great crafters and totally entertaining.

There were a few different bouts: such as detailing and tricking out a chair from a thrift store.  In the next round they made puppets.   Chelsea created superior puppets, but Aurora did voices and named her puppets in an excited 5 year old kinda way so she totally won that leg of the competition.


Photo by Mike Harper

Aurora had a huge fan club at the event.  Even, Isaac B. Watson from I Heart Art was getting in on her fan club by waving a huge sign that said, “show us your cleavage.”  If you know Isaac you know how funny and out of character holding a sign like that is for him.

Photo by Mike Harper

One of the many fun elements of this event were the bribes that contestants brought for the judges.  Here you can see Richard and Julie fighting over who will get the hand altered “Hans Solo” created by Aurora.  I’m pretty sure Richard was screaming something like, “I’ll cut a bitch for Hans Solo!”  But that’s what happens when you go to a rumble.  Things can get pretty ugly.

Photo by mike Harper

Another cool element of the Rebel Craft Rumble  was that contestants could have secret weapons.  Miss Demeanor had caution tape, which she used to weave a chair.  She also did sexy, yet almost threatening dance moves that were totally entertaining.  Check out the picture above and you’ll see what I mean.

Photo by Mike Harper

Here you can see Isaac in “jail” again.  Throughout the night many people spent time in jail.  Sometimes for running around and acting like a nut, as in Isaac’s case, others were jailed for not bringing the craft cop a beer or other acts of “doing nothing,” but no one spent as much time in jail as Isaac.  He was so rowdy.  Screaming and waving signs to Sister Diane that said things like, “Marry me!”  It was pretty awesome!

Photo by Mike Harper

I think this guy was jailed for doing nothing.

Photo by Mike Harper

As the night began we were legit judges as you can see in the photo below.  We were carefully thinking it through and weighing out our options.  But we kept getting drinks from contestants and from the audience, after awhile it became more and more challenging to judge people based on their projects.  The bribes, booze and entertainment of each contestant began to weigh more heavily.

Photo by Mike Harper

Here’s a link to a quick iphone video of a drink that was delivered to me.  Diane didn’t purchase this drink it was purchased by an audience member on Diane’s behalf.  I couldn’t get a good photo of it because it had been written on all the way around the cup, so a video seemed like the best idea.    Notice in the photo below the water has barely been touched but the beer cups are getting stacked up in the middle of the table.  We are also being presented with the whiskey shots at this time.

Photo by Mike Harper

Here are Bridget and Diane competing in the chandelier redux portion of the evening.  Bridget’s hot glue gun died, but Sister D was kind enough to share hers.

Photo by Mike Harper

Crafters came and competed hard!  After a few black eyes and copious amounts of hot glue Sister Diane came out victorious once again.  It’s hard to beat divine crafting.  Even the Chinook Book sign couldn’t handle the intensity of the rumble.  Look at it, trying to fall down for mercy and crying for it’s mama.

Photo by Mike Harper

All in all this is one of the most fun events I’ve been to in some time.  I highly recommend it to anyone who likes crafts, supports reuse, is a fan of friendly competition or really anyone who likes affordable fun!


by: jen