Hatching Free Range Ideas

Archive for the ‘Make something’ Category

Cocktail booklet

In Celebration, cocktails, Make something on August 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm

I wanted to put all of my new favorite cocktail recipes in a downloadable booklet. Yes, I did it for you, but I did it for me too.

Here they are. One day they will also have photos. Maybe I’ll take them in the places where I make them?

And maybe you’ll send me yours. Photos and favorite cocktail recipes.

cocktail booklet 1


I don’t always do what Mark Bittman says.

In Let's eat, Make something, Uncategorized on May 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I’ve told you about growing artichokes, right? That artichokes don’t really like South Texas. That they went into the garden last year and I babied them throughout the hot and dry August, watering even though they didn’t produce a single artichoke. That I babied them through the weird winter, hoping, hoping. That I finally, carefully uncovered them under the mulch to find the core of the plant, only to have another frost that nipped their leaves enough so I feared I’d lost them. That finally in the warm Spring, I composted their roots and watered. And each day, I’d go out and see ladybugs covering their leaves in March and April. Then in May, the ladybugs were replaced by stink bugs, madly making more stink bugs. I thumped them off and generally made their lives a bit chaotic. There are still so many, it’s not funny, all clustered together on the buds and in the dark spaces between the leaves and the stalks. Creepy! But that’s not the Mark Bittman part yet.

I have been collecting the artichoke buds for about a week now, cutting each one when I think that if I leave it any longer, it will open and become inedible. I had about 10 in the refrigerator, ready for last night’s dinner. So I went looking for a way to cook them that wasn’t a simple steam or saute. And I found a Mark Bittman video.

Baby artichokes braised with grape tomatoes, whole garlic cloves and oil-cured olives. He said eat with a half a loaf of crusty bread. He said eat for lunch. We had them for dinner, with nothing more than a half a loaf of crusty bread. Man, oh man!!!! Clean them up, cut in half and brown in olive oil. Dump in the rest of the stuff, add about 1/2 cup of water and put the lid on and walk away. 25 minutes later. Man, oh MAN!!!!

I’m going to try this same method will full grown artichokes and we’ll pull off and eat the leaves rather than eating them whole like the babies.

P.S., I don’t think he grew his.

Back to hammering on metal

In Make something on April 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I went to a short class two weeks ago taught by Katie Holland from Bling is my thing. It was a great new beginning and it made me clean up the mess that is my studio space and go from working big (3-4 feet) back to small (1-2 inches).


Copper square and button bracelet

Copper square and button bracelet

broken jewelry neck piece

broken jewelry neck piece

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s some of the metal stuff that I’m working on. The first (and most finished piece) is the result of the workshop. The rest came after it. And there are 4-5 additional and unfinished pieces that are in progress on my workbench. Does it make you want to beat on some metal too???

You have to see it! Invisible Bicycle Helmet

In Make something on March 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm

It’s an invisible bicycle helmet but it’s also about Girl Power and innovation. I’d like to describe it ’cause I see what it’s based on but it will be more interesting if you watch the video to see it emerge.

Immediate solid-wood built-in bookshelves

In Make something on February 12, 2013 at 10:26 pm

We’re turning the guest room into a library. I’m so excited about getting a bunch of books into one place rather than sorted and scattered all over the house, I can hardly stand it!

I watched Eric (hubby) stand back and stare at the wall for several hours over the week. Then he bought lumber (Douglas fir ’cause we like the color and the really straight, tight vertical grain), exactly the right amount. Then Saturday he cut the slots in the shelves and the uprights and Sunday this is what happened.

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Fish Trap Chandelier

In Make something on January 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm

fish trap chandelier

I love it when the stuff that’s gathering dust waiting for the right application finally comes together. All it takes is the right framework. I found the fish trap at Junkology in New Braunfels, Texas. I think it’s a lovely, graceful form but I didn’t know that when I bought it. I just knew that it was $8 but if I got it with the metal milk crate, I could have both for $25.

I bought it for a friend who also collects crap waiting for the right application and he’s especially enamored of rusty wire and metal things. So this is made for him. And I’m learning that what I really want to do once I put pieces of stuff together is to light them up. It’s like adding glitter to a birthday card, you know? Makes the crayola seem somewhat magical.

I’m going to make him say he loves it before releasing it ’cause, well, ’cause I love it and can find another home if he can’t.

TEDx San Antonio and Collaborative Sketchnoting

In Make something, Sketchnoting, TEDx San Antonio, Visual Thinking on October 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

TEDx San Antonio was great. That part was expected. The Sketchnote boards were interesting in that the old “I can’t draw!!! Really. I can’t draw,” seemed to get in the way of large scale contributions. There were 300 attendees. However, there wasn’t a lot of time during breaks and lunch as technology had caused some issues with the schedule. One of the speakers, a very funny comic named Molly Banks, remarked that this was the first ever EDx, as the T was obviously missing.

I started adding content to the boards during the talks so that the drawings would feel less empty, less lonely. That said, there were brave souls who added bits. EVERYTHING that was added was GRAND!!!

Most people looked at the boards as if they were in a gallery. Have to taught people too well not to draw on walls? Which makes me wonder, is the assumption that collaborative sketchnoting is possible false? Or is it true? And what would make sketchnoting into a comfortable conversational medium?

What do you think? Would you draw on a public space? Maybe spray paint cans would have made it more palatable but I think Trinity University would have been pretty nervous about that.

Here are the boards. What would keep you from adding your own stuff? I’d like to make this work. Will it?


P.S., there are a few boards missing as two of the speakers took theirs home. I wonder if they will draw on them?

More Useful Life of Things — What makes for good junk?

In Big Fun!, Celebration, design, Garden, How we learn and think, Make something on April 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm

You know how you have stuff sitting around your house that’s not quite junk ’cause you might just have a use for it? And it sits around, sometimes for years until one day the magic happens. Then you don’t have to feel like a guilty hoarder any more because all of that rat holing was justified, ’cause LOOK WHAT I JUST MADE!!!!!

It all seems to make sense at one time. For us, the garden and parties supply a lot of the impetus. First, the garden junk. I bought four bowling pins at a junk store about 3 years ago ’cause they were a dollar and bowling pins are just cool. They found their way to a corner under the house. A year ago, when we were first putting in the garden, a friend had some shoe rods that were too good to throw away. She kept them for me. When I saw them, I concurred. I brought them home and put them in a corner of the garden shed.

This year the two neglected items came together. Who knew that that bowling pins had a hole in the bottom? I widened the hole using Dad’s bit brace and pounded a shoe rod into the bottom. Then we pounded the entire thing into the ground. They are now my new ¬†hose bumpers. And since I have bowling pins in the garden, now adding the bowling ball made sense.

The other coming together was much more rapid. We found cast iron stork legs at the flea market for pretty much nothing. We had a broken ostrich shell which was too good to throw away, even when broken. Ta-da! A Tim Burton Style scarecrow.

Now the party-driven needs.

About 5-7 years ago a round glass patio table that we had for about 12 years met its useful end as a table. Cyrus, our 60 pound dog, leapt on it, collapsing it in a hail of tempered glass. No one was hurt. We put the table ring onto the might be useful someday too big to get in the garbage can pile. Time passed. Actually, quite a bit of time. We moved it around and looked at it but it never found a useful purpose.

This year is Eric’s 60th and we celebrated All Fool’s Eve as clowns are a favorite theme. The celebration required decorations. A happy coincidence that the blue rope lights bought for another purpose fit exactly into the groove of the table ring wrapped twice round. There was a need for a hole filler to fill the middle of what was now a blue lit hole.

I pulled out the canvas scraps that Mom had given me about 9 years ago. One fit. Now Harry stands above the gate to the yard. Although Harry first honored Eric’s birthday, he’s a permanent (or semi-permanent fixture.

What do you think the UPS drivers think when they drive up?

Oh wait, they’ve already seen the scare crow and bowling pins.

What would YOU do for $5?

In Big Fun!, Celebration, design, drawings, Images, Make something, marketing, social media on March 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Do you know about fiverr.com? It’s one of the great values of being connected to the web, of staying current with what’s out there and what’s happening. It’s also one of the benefits of having a brother who stays out there and stays current since he’s the one who told me about it.

Fiverr.com has a list of things that people will do in exchange for $5. The commerce system is built in so that you choose the offering you want and pay through fiverr. They manage the rest. There are micro-products and services from around the world. A cute kid will record a video of himself delivering your bad news, ’cause as he says, it’s easier to accept when it’s delivered by a cute kid. People will create colorful QR codes. They’ll build web intros. All for $5.

Fiverr may be one of the last great values. For example, I found someone who was willing to create an original cartoon image from a photo. . . for $5.

Here’s the photo

Yes, it’s a rare thing, in and of itself.

And here’s the cartoon.

And here are two things that the cartoon has become.

All for $5!!!!

What would you buy for $5? I warn you, you can get lost for a long time on the site. And it’s dangerous! I just published the post and clicked the link to make sure it worked. When I got to the fiverr site, someone had posted an offer on the front page for two pieces of ¬†felt breakfast toast.

I DIDN’T KNOW THAT I NEEDED THEM. But they’re on their way to me right now. Sigh.

Circus mini-saga

In Big Fun!, Make something on October 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Do you know mini-sagas? They’re 50-word stories that have a full plot. I forgot about them until last night, when we watched the PBS documentary, Circus.

Here’s one of my first:


The circus train paroled me early. When the clowns found me, they claimed me as family, trading my prison stripes for a red-nosed disguise. My small, canon-perfect body shot across the crowd two nights in a row.


I leave in muffled darkness, eardrums shattered, sneaking away in oversized shoes.

You have one to share?