Monthly Archives: September 2011

Sunset Challenge, Indiana Dunes

Sunset on Lake Michigan
Sunset on Lake MIchigan, Indiana Dunes

Lynne: This is my first entry in the sunset challenge with photos from the Indiana Dunes. We made it most nights to the Lake at sunset. I took so many pictures that it has taken some time to sort through them. I have to remember the maxim: You can take 100 photos and have them all turn out bad.

I liked this one particularly because it shows the motion of the waves of Lake Michigan. I tried recording the sound of them but the low rumble that resounds in your body does not come through in my recordings. Perhaps you need all your senses, not just hearing, to truly know the dominion of such a body of water in motion.

King Koin

King Koin Bank

I know a lot of people are just wild over King Kong. I have never been a fan, didn’t like the first one, the second, the third and I believe there is another one in the works. That being said, I was delighted when I found a King Koin bank last week at a garage sale.

King Koin Bank

From my brief research, I was able to find that it was made by Jasco around 1977. I was drawn to the plastic and colors. I don’t usually collect banks but this one was too good to pass up and on top of everything else it worked.

King Koin

All you do is put a coin in front of the tent flap and King Kong comes out and snatches it. It doesn’t take batteries to work and all you do is wind it by the clever little clown on the side of the tent.

King Koin

When I look at this amazingly intricate plastic toy, I am again pleased that someone decided to keep this bank from 1977 and pleased that they decided to sell it in 2011 and that I was the one who happened to run across it. This bank is not really rare and it is not particularly valuable but it is a very interesting piece of kitsch and deserves an honored place right next to my Fisher Price lunch box.

Crafty Challenge I—Wooden Spools

Wooden Spools
Wooden Spools

The Crafty Sisters are kicking off our first Crafty Challenge! I came across this box of wooden spools tucked away in the garage (going into my garage is like an archeological dig!), hundreds of them, with all the thread removed. What on earth would I do with a box of wooden spools? Better yet, what would each of us here at the Crafty Sisters do with them? The first Crafty Challenge was born!

Wooden Spools
Wooden Spools

Each of us approach crafting in a different way, and we each have our own favorite medium, so it will be fun to see what each of us does with the same material. There are no rules to this challenge, just use spools! There are no winners or losers, either. This is just creativity and play at its best!

Wooden Spools
Wooden Spools

To divide up the spools, we passed the container around and took a spool with our eyes closed. That way, it’s totally random, and we each have a variety. We’ll post the results on Sunday, October 9th. It will be very interesting to see what we each come up with!


Daily Squiggle

Baby and the steps
There is some magic in the attraction babies have for stairs.

A drawing that is all color pencil. The steps are not part of the original scribble. I added them, because she looked like she wanted to climb something.

I do love this baby. My daughter used to climb the stairs up and down, over and over. I sat on the stairs with her marveling at the concentration she put into it.

Finishing Drywall for Beginners

Loryn: For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on fixing the plaster in my upstairs hallway. You can see more about the project in my previous post. In the past three years, since I started remodeling my house, I’ve gone from a complete beginner at finishing drywall and skimcoating old plaster walls to being pretty proficient. I’ve been w I made a lot of mistakes, and here are a few to avoid!

  • To place paper tape: The trick to applying paper tape without any bubbling is to lay a fairly thick bed of mud under the tape. Then, place the tape and run your knife along it, pressing the tape very firmly into the mud. You’ll remove most of the mud when you do this.
  • Keep your knife at a very sharp angle most of the time when you’re working.
  • When putting topcoats on your seams, it’s much better to use too little mud than too much. You can always put more on, but it’s a pain in the neck to sand away too much.
  • After your first top coat, put on just enough to fill in the dips and voids of the first coat. To get a smooth finish, pull very firmly on the surface, with your knife at the sharp angle.
  • Don’t keep working and working the mud, you’ll just make it even worse and increase the chance that you’ll get some debris in it. It’s better to fill in on the next coat than to botch a passable coat.

  • If you have a wide area that you can’t get smooth, leave narrow ridges, like that pictured above, between knife passes. These are really easy to knock down when dry—just run your knife over them.
  • Expect the process to take more than two topping coats while you’re learning. Continue to fill in small dips until you have the surface fairly flat, and don’t worry about the number of coats you’re putting on. This isn’t the type of job you’ll finish in one day. Instead, work a little bit over several days.
  • If you have bubbles in your drywall, mixing can help. The best way to do this is to mix it with a half inch drill and a mixing paddle, if you have them handy or can borrow them. This can get messy, so do it somewhere like an old back porch. A pro recommended that I mix a little dish soap in, too. I don’t know if it is the mixing or the soap or both, but I have far fewer bubbles now! And speaking of pros:
  • If you have any chance to watch pros at work, take it. I learned more from watching a pro for twenty minutes than I did from many hours of website searching. If you know one who will demonstrate technique for you, all the better!
  • Use specialty cornerbead to help you get good corners. Bead for outside corners is an absolute must for beginners, as it will make your corners look perfect. If you are doing cathedral ceiling, buy special tape for odd angles. I use Strait-Flex tape. It’s pricey, but worth it, as even experienced finishers can have trouble with odd-angled corners. It’s also great for 90 degree inside corners with wide gaps (great if you, like me, are not very good at drywall hanging).
  • Finally, the very best way for a beginner to get good results is to use flat paint. Really! In old houses, with unsquare corners, rough plasterwork, and layers of wallpaper, flat paint is a necessity. It absorbs light instead of bouncing off every dip and flaw. It is not washable like satin or semi-gloss (though it is more washable than people think), but it more than makes it for that in touch-up-ability. You can touch up small areas of flat paint without leaving any sign of the touch up. Just use a mini roller, and you’re done in no time flat.