How-to fancy up a journal…

Gadora has happily been off-line lately. Out of the country, actually. Just returned from Istanbul, not Constantinople*, where I spent a splendid week with the family.

Beforehand I’d hurried through the packing, sure to include only the most essential wardrobe elements: slouchy Frye boots, sensible-but-saucy walking shoes,  2 leggings, lots of lightweight sweaters and tops for layering and a Harajuku Lovers cross-shoulder bag. I was certain to buy a mess of stuff at the famous Grand Bazaar. On the quickie layover in Chicago, where I caught up with a dear friend, I remembered I’d neglected to pack a journal. I wouldn’t survive the 10 1/2 hour journey across the Atlantic with Sudoku alone! After perusing a few shoppes in bustling Geneva, Gadora decided to make her own.

Notebook ~ Before

It would boast no lines. I’d be doodling in it, after all. We found it at the local Walgreens, but it was lacking any style. My friend had a recent style-guide with a suitable cover, and allowed me to commandeer it for the project. Tape, I’ll need tape. And scissors. Easy enough, though she’d just moved into her new digs.

The Supplies...

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Harnessing rain for a greater good…

Had this convo with a coworker yesterday: her In-Laws are on their way. We think. And while their arrival date is uncertain, it is clear when they do get here… they WILL do laundry. And LOTS of it. She had last years’ water bill to prove the family’s conviction towards doing loads of laundry… on the month they visited, her water bill spiked well-above reasonable human consumption. 50,000 gallons to be exact.

Last night, Austin’s skies threatened a downpour. I waited. Gadora is reminded of a neighborhood house I toured recently whose owner ripped out the grass in favor of indigenous and non-needy plants. She’d built this tank in her backyard that kind of made me jealous. That woman can collect some water. She would be happy, I was sure. Thought I’d touch on rain harvesting. A product of a heated ecosystem in central Florida that allowed the skies to open up quite regularly in the summers, I love the rain. And when rain happens in Texas, I can do nothing but rejoice.

Government Canyon State Natural Area

“Rainwater harvesting is one of the world’s oldest water supply methods and it is currently enjoying a revival in popularity,” starts “Rain has long been valued as a superior quality water because it is soft, free of sodium and chemicals, and is excellent for landscape use. Collecting rain also reduces flooding and can help utilities reduce peak demands during summer months.”

This “harvesting system provides 100 gallons of rainwater storage within an 8-foot vertical planted frame. Below right is the concept featured at the 2009 Interior Design Show in Toronto…..sure beats the typical barrel collection method!”

CISTA Rainwater Harvesting

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Glass Bottle Walls…

Two weeks ago Gadora, along with fellow BVers, spent an afternoon at East Austin’s KIPP school for a well-coordinated Service Day. Our first assignment: pack and number, then organize each of the more than 75 boxes in the Middle School’s library—effectively dividing the collection in half. The High School would soon have their new space. After lunch, and an emotional chant from the Middle schoolers, we set out to help finish up the rain garden and surrounding grounds. The final task: shovel a mound of recycled glass mulch into the walk-ways and flower beds. Sparkling and bright, it felt good to find a purposeful new use for beer bottles. We’ve been collecting our own, the BFF and I, as North Austin doesn’t take them at the curb.

Glass mulch in Soul of the Garden

At days end, I texted the BFF that we HAD to HAVE glass mulch in our yard! Surely it’s expensive I imagined, it’s soooo beautiful, and someone with deep pockets must have donated the mound to KIPP. Right? A little research and the BFF discovered Austin gives the stuff away. The possibilities are endless…

Charles McClure's glass garden.

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Twig jewelry display on Apartment Therapy.

With her finger on Austin’s creative pulse, fellow blogger Adrienne Breaux posted Gadora’s twigs on Apartment Therapy. Titled, A Fresh Take on Branch Jewelry Displays she goes on to say, “Draping lovely baubles on a branch from the backyard isn’t a new idea… If you have been wondering how to make it more sleek rather than DIY, we’ve got the how-to tips from Austin’s creative maven Gadora Wilder.” Awwww.

Sr. Pajaro to the rescue…

Sandwiched between two sunny 50º days, it snowed and snowed in Austin yesterday and was a happy and unexpected surprise. Gadora met it with mixed emotions. Receiving both wildly good news and very sad news—both in the same day—I charged yesterday embracing endings, ready for new beginnings. Whew! Early on I finished a few watercolors and nestled in the living room for a brief respite. Dragging out a package of felting supplies and roving that a knitting-fiend, errr friend gave me over the weekend, Gadora wanted to take a stab at felting and see how quickly something good would come.

Meet Sr. Pajaro.

Without the first clue how to felt a creature, I read the rudimentary instructions and reviewed my earlier posting about collecting cat hair. (So?) At post’s end I linked to Brookelynn’s Craftzine how-to-felt post, which suggests viewing her how-to-felt video. I watched. And I made. First the legs: a simple left-over piece of copper wire was bent into legs…

Frog legs. No!

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