Friday, December 9, 2011

Ultrasound Day!

This beautiful December day started out, well, beautifully! There was snow on the ground when I woke up, but not enough to make driving impossible. It was just enough to make my backyard look like a scene in a snow globe. My husband drove me to my newest favorite shop - Wealthy Street Bakery - to buy pastries and bread for the weekend. Yum! Then, we headed to my doctor's office for a check-up and an ultrasound. Well, the baby is healthy and growing fast...and, it's a boy!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It'll Be A Tentacular Christmas

My sweet little nephew saw me making a crocheted octopus this Summer, and he decided that he would really like to have it. He also decided that his little brother would like one, too. And, like most little kids, he has a great memory. He asked me in late October if I had finished his and his brother's octopuses. Now, questions like this, coming from adults, tick me off. Coming from my nephew, who adores the toys that I make, it's plain adorable. The octopus I made originally was too cute for me to part with, so I decided to make them their own. And because their birthdays weren't anytime soon, I had to figure out a good time to gift them the toys. Our family draws names for gifts at Christmas, and I had no way of assuring that my husband and I would draw their two names (and we didn't). To give them the octopuses at Christmas would involve leaving out the other kids. I couldn't do that! I made Christmas toys for everyone. Well, the little ones, anyway. The three older kids (too old for toys) are getting hats, which you can never have enough of when you live in Michigan. The little boys are getting octopuses, and the little girls are getting bunny rabbits. (I dyed all but the purple yarn myself.)
So, that's what I've been up to for the past five weeks!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gift Ideas on Sale

The holidays are upon us! They always seem to sneak up on me. I have all of three gifts ready to go, but, at least I have most of the rest planned out. If you're still looking for unique gifts for the special people in your life, check out the one-of-a-kind journals and dolls in my shop. Today through New Year's, use the coupon code HOLIDAY to receive 10% off of your purchase.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Knitted-Look Flowered Headband Pattern (Free)

I was recently commissioned to make a flowered headband to imitate a knitted version. I couldn't find a suitable pattern, so I made one up. My first attempt didn't yield the shape that I wanted - I was going for the shape of the popular calorimetry - and I didn't want to frog it for fear of ruining the yarn. I made a second attempt that was more successful, and I actually took the time to write down what I did. I can't post the pattern for the flower as it's from a book (100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet), but you can use any flower pattern that you want. There is no button on the headband in the pictures because I'm waiting to find out what color the recipient wants. I hope my instructions are clear - I've never written a pattern for anyone else's use.
Finished dimensions: 22”x6” (with overlap for button closure). Size can be adjusted by increasing or reducing the number of rows in the middle.
Materials needed:
-H hook (5.00mm)
-approx. 210 yards (190m, 100g) worsted weight wool (I used Patons Classic Wool)
-yarn needle
-button(s)

Gauge is approximately 21 stitches x 14 rows (alternating fpdc and bpdc rows) to 4"x4"

Ch. 11
Row 1. dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in nxt 7 ch
Row 2. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 7 sts, dc in 3rd ch
Row 3. turn, ch 2, bpdc in nxt 7 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 4. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 3 sts, 2 fpdc in nxt st, fpdc in nxt 3 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 5. turn, ch 2, bpdc across, dc in turning ch
Row 6. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 3 sts, 2 fpdc in each of nxt 2 sts, fpdc in nxt 3 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 7. turn, ch 2, bpdc across, dc in turning ch (all odd rows will follow this pattern until you get to the buttonhole – will be noted as ‘bpdc row’)
Row 8. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 4 sts, 2 fpdc in each of nxt 2 sts, fpdc in nxt 4 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 9. bpdc row
Row 10. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 5 sts, 2 fpdc in each of nxt 2 sts, fpdc in nxt 5 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 11. bpdc row
Row 12. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 6 sts, 2 fpdc in each of nxt 2 sts, fpdc in nxt 6 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 13. bpdc row Row 14. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 7 sts, 2 fpdc in each of nxt 2 sts, fpdc in nxt 7 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 15. bpdc row
Row 16. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 8 sts, 2 fpdc in each of nxt 2 sts, fpdc in nxt 8 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 17. bpdc row
Row 18. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 9 sts, 2 fpdc in each of nxt 2 sts, fpdc in nxt 9 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 19. bpdc row
Row 20. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 10 sts, 2 fpdc in each of nxt 2 sts, fpdc in nxt 10 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 21. bpdc row
Row 22. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 11 sts, 2 fpdc in each of nxt 2 sts, fpdc in nxt 11 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 23. bpdc row
Row 24. fpdc across, dc in turning ch (no increase)
Row 25. bpdc across, dc in turning ch Repeat rows 24 and 25 for a total of 16 rows of no increases (rows 24-39).
Row 40. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 11 sts, fpdc2tog twice, fpdc in nxt 11 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 41. bpdc row
Row 42. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 10 sts, fpdc2tog twice, fpdc in nxt 10 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 43. bpdc row
Row 44. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 9 sts, fpdc2tog twice, fpdc in nxt 9 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 45. bpdc row
Row 46. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 8 sts, fpdc2tog twice, fpdc in nxt 8 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 47. bpdc row
Row 48. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 7 sts, fpdc2tog twice, fpdc in nxt 7 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 49. bpdc row
Row 50. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 6 sts, fpdc2tog twice, fpdc in nxt 6 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 51. bpdc row
Row 52. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 5 sts, fpdc2tog twice, fpdc in nxt 5 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 53. bpdc row
Row 54. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 4 sts, fpdc2tog twice, fpdc in nxt 4 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 55. bpdc row
Row 56. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 3 sts, fpdc2tog twice, fpdc in nxt 3 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 57. bpdc row
Row 58. turn, ch 2, fpdc in nxt 3 sts, fpdc2tog once, fpdc in nxt 3 sts, dc in turning ch
Row 59. bpdc row
Row 60. turn, ch 2, fpdc in each st across, dc in turning ch
Row 61. turn, ch 1, sc in each st across, sc in turning ch
Row 62. turn, ch 1, sc in nxt 2 sts, ch 3 and skip nxt 3 sts, sc in nxt 2 sts, sc in turning ch
Row 63. turn, ch 1, sc in each st and each ch across, sc in turning ch
Finish off.
Block.
Join yarn along edge, sc a border around headband.
Add a button, or two if you want some adjustability to your headband.
Decorate with a crocheted/knitted flower or buttons.

My view on free patterns:  This is just a pattern. If you make anything using it, the finished item is yours to do with as you please. Keep it, sell it, give it away...none of my business. It took me one afternoon to make this pattern, and that work is my little gift to my readers and anyone else who stumbles across this blog. If I didn't want people to use the pattern, I wouldn't share it. =)

EDIT:  Just a note on this pattern... I crochet rather tightly, so your gauge is likely to be different from mine. If you get done with the increase rows, and your headband is wider than you like, frog an increase-row (or two), and work from there. Also, keep track of where your half-way point is...if that length is more than half of what your desired finished length is, don't work as many even rows as the pattern calls for. This pattern is so simple to alter to your preferences. Personally, I wanted a very wide headband in the style of a knitted calorimetry. I made the headband just a little longer than necessary to make it adjustable (two buttons) because I didn't have the head circumference of the recipient. Also, the yarn can make a difference in your gauge. I made three headbands in the same brand/weight of yarn, and each was slightly different in size! So, there is variation even within the same brand of commercial mill-spun yarn. My overall point is this: tweak the pattern as you go to get exactly what you want out of it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cheshire Cat-o-Lantern

My hubby and I carved pumpkins today. I know, a little last-minute, but, we still managed to do it before the holiday. I usually do the average jack-o-lantern face. This year, I chose a more ambitious design. I printed off a screen shot of the Cheshire cat from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland to use as inspiration, and drew it onto my pumpkin. And, I spent the next couple of hours carving. Now, my pumpkin initially had a bit of lean to it, and, after carving away so much of the front...it tips over backward if it isn't propped up! I didn't think it would be a problem before I started carving - I thought it would be cool to see the Cheshire cat's grin bobbing with the wind. No such luck. My hubby's pumpkin turned out really cool, too - it's the grim reaper. Our front porch is definitely a creepy place tonight!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Book to Doodle In

Sometimes, I feel the need to mix it up with my journals. I love the clean look of a textured leather cover, but, a pretty floral design is just as welcome. The journal I carry everywhere was the inspiration for this one. The designs on both were inspired by silk embroidery designs from a book I have on 18th century embroidery. Drawing on leather is both a joy and a challenge. There is no room for error and the design has to be properly centered and fill the whole space. I ink the design on the leather before I stitch in the pages to make it easy on myself, and I use a Faber-Castell permanent pen. The design will 'soften' with time and use, giving it more of a tattoo feel.
This journal is filled with mixed-media paper and stitched with waxed Irish linen thread. The signatures are covered with beautiful decorative papers. A leather belt with a brass buckle keeps it closed and the finished measurements are 5.5"x3.75"x1.625" (14cm x 9.5cm x 4cm). No longer available in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Another Octopus

I started out making this cutie for my shop. Then, I realized that I liked it too much to let go of it. So, I decided to keep it for my munchkin...for when he or she joins the outside world.
Like the previous octopus, it was all freeform. I can't bring myself to take the time to write down anything as I go, so, still no pattern. The yarn is dyed with Wilton's food coloring...blue and brown. I made the eyes a little differently, so that they didn't look quite so angry. Jacques just looks like he's contemplating something nasty. I didn't want my kid to be scared of his/her toys.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Extreme Crafting

Well, the rumor mill has been churning at full speed. When we told our immediate family that we were expecting, we also told them that we weren't telling everyone until after I was safely through my first trimester. But, the temptation to gossip was apparently too strong for some of them to resist. I found out this afternoon that people I barely know are fully aware of my delicate condition. So, now that the gossips have stolen my ability to make the joyous announcement on my own time, here I am, telling everyone else before I was really ready to. I'm really not happy that strangers got to hear my good news before most of my FAMILY knew. In fact, I'm pissed. Anyway, I'm busy crafting a little one and trying to refrain from throwing things. ETA is in April.
It's such a little cutie! It kind of waved to us during our first ultrasound.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Finally! A Quilt!

This quilt has been over three years in the making. And, it's finally finished. It was originally intended to be an anniversary present for my husband - our fifth anniversary. We just celebrated our seventh anniversary a couple of weeks ago. Well, it took longer than I had anticipated, but I'm so happy with the results. I still have to wash it - I'm crossing my fingers that that goes well (I'm open to tips on the best way of doing that, if you've got any). In the two years that it took me to hand-quilt this epic project, my cat took every opportunity she found to curl up in it. I have a little bit of de-furring to do, too. The finished size is 82 inches by 83 inches. That's over 6800 square inches...hand-quilted! My only previous quilting experience, when I started this project, was a baby quilt that I tie-quilted.
I chose to create a quilting motif of concentric circles radiating out from a center of two inter-locked hearts...like ripples on the surface of water. Some of the water-soluble ink is still visible on the back (needs a wash). Our bedroom has a West Indies theme, so I chose fabrics that reminded me of our Jamaican honeymoon - the rich colors of the tropical forests and flowers, the blues and greens of the ocean, the brightness of the sun and sand. This quilt is a little better than the honeymoon in one regard, though - no hurricane Ivan!
It wouldn't have been complete without a little love note!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another Seraphina Shawl

I made another Seraphina shawl! I really love this pattern. Not only does it look good, but, after the first few rows, it's the same four rows over and over and over. It's a great couch potato project. I used two balls of Cascade Heritage Silk (have I mentioned that I really like this yarn?) to get a blocked width of 59 inches and depth of about 28 inches. This is going to be a belated birthday present for a friend. I wanted to make her something special for her 18th birthday. And, I think this qualifies. It's the type of accessory that dresses up a t-shirt and still compliments a cocktail dress.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Silk = Love

My niece turned 18 last month, so I wanted to make her something special. I also wanted to avoid anything that might be less-than-cool. Fingerless gloves seemed an obvious choice...not too difficult or time-consuming, but still very chic. To make them even more special, I went to my local, slightly over-priced yarn shop to get nice yarn. I picked up a skein of Cascade Heritage Silk in a deep purple color. I also bought some in silvery gray for another project. This is a truly lovely yarn - the blend of superwash wool and silk is so soft with a beautiful sheen. I was very pleased with how the gloves turned out - soft, with just enough stretch. My niece liked them and I hope they'll keep her little hands warm during those harsh UP winters. This yarn is also great for teenagers because you can basically just rinse it off, press the water out in a towel, and lay flat to dry. Easy peasy. The pattern for the gloves is free, and can be found here. (You have to sign into Lion Brand Yarn's site, but it's free.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Day of Productivity

I sat down at my desk today, plugged in an audio book, and finished up those journals. It felt so good to get something done! They're all sketchbooks; one that is 5.25 inches by 3.75 inches, the other two are 7.25 inches by 5.5 inches. All have 100 sheets of mixed-media paper and are stitched with waxed linen thread (black, yellow or purple). Little leather belts - with brass buckles - keep the books closed. I carry one of the 5.25x3.75 sketchbooks with me everywhere to doodle in.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Crazy Life

I know I've been absent for a while. I just didn't feel like writing. Nor did I feel like sharing. I can't even begin to explain how my life has been turned up-side-down this last month. I'll probably share some details after a while, though. Some things will still be off-limits for this blog. Suffice it to say, life can get ugly, or, it can be beautiful. Don't mix those two things if you can help it. Love the good and forget the rest. I've still managed to get some work done. I'm in the middle of a Doctor Who-inspired dress for myself and a wool/silk shawl for a friend. There are three journals sitting, half-completed, on my desk. I made a pair of fingerless mitts for my niece who is headed off to college in the upper peninsula of Michigan (read: cold). I wanted to make a cute toy for my newest nephew, but, his parents will be bringing him home (all the way from China!) at the end of this month - I'm not sure I'll be able to start and finish anything before then. My husband was clever and kind enough to get my computer up and running after the hard drive took a nose dive. I went to turn it on one morning and it wouldn't even boot-up. Boo! Amazingly, he was able to save all of my important files before replacing the faulty drive. Even without his fabulous techy-skills, he's the best husband a woman could ask for, but, when you figure in all that...Superman! Oh, yeah...my computer is faster now, too!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Garlic Croutons

I was craving these today. Not that I got any...I don't have any bread made up. Boo! I thought that I'd share the recipe, though, in case some one else can enjoy them in my place. =)

Ingredients:
-day-old crusty yeast bread (baguette, French bread, etc.), I like to use home made yeast rolls; one large roll makes enough croutons to top about 6 salads
-two cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
-two to three tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Mince garlic and, in a large bowl, stir it into the olive oil for several minutes. Remove the garlic from the oil and swirl the oil in the bowl to coat the sides. Set aside.

Slice the bread 1/4" thick; cut into bite-sized pieces. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in a preheated, 325 degree oven for 5-8 minutes.

Transfer the toasted bread to the bowl of oil and toss. When the bread is lightly coated with oil, take it back to the baking sheet. Toast an additional 5 or so minutes, or until golden brown.

...nomnomnomnom...

In Process...and NSFW

I haven't been finishing off many projects lately, but I haven't been totally idle. I started six more journals and finished half (so far). The quilt I started years ago, as a gift for my husband, is almost finished. I have another octopus amigurumi well on its way to being finished, half a ball of roving spun up, and an embroidery project started.

The embroidery is, by far, the most interesting project I have going right now. I'd post an in-process picture, but, my photo hosting site doesn't allow naughty language. I'll have to do some clever editing to get it up when it's finished. All I can do, for now, is tell you that it's a naughty word (obviously) surrounded by a pretty, 18th century-style floral scene. One of a series I designed and plan on embroidering. I have some florals that aren't naughty at all, but where's the fun in that? I'm attempting to simulate the techniques of silk embroidery, though I'm just using DMC cotton floss. I've used three plies to do the lettering and border design, and I'm doing the filled areas with two plies and satin stitch. It took me about an hour to do one of the larger flower petals, but the results are so cool!

Totally off-topic, but, I love Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure! I just saw Napoleon throw a gutter-ball and get kicked out of a bowling alley. Classic.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Driven to Distraction

I've been horribly distracted for the last three weeks...well, more so than I usually am. My mother is staying with us, trying to get back on her feet in this terrible economy. Having been mostly without her in my life for the last ten years, the adjustment is a large one.

The worst of it is that I have had little time and less motivation to do the things I find most relaxing and rewarding...crafting, cooking... However, I've been pretty insistent about getting out on the trail with my husband and our rollerblades. I even went out, by myself, for a walk, and ended up jogging...and liking it! If you know me, you know that this is just plain odd behavior. I've lost three pounds so far.

I did manage to get this sketchbook finished, though.

This big sketchbook is about 7.25 inches tall, 5.75 inches wide, and 1.5 inches thick. It's filled with mixed media paper that'll stand up to nearly any medium you'd like to throw at it. I used waxed Irish linen thread to do the stitching as it holds up well to humidity changes and the inevitable wear on exposed stitches. Using suede in the same shade as the thread, I appliqued a crescent moon and star on the cover. I guess it's a little early for Halloween-ish stuff, but it's my favorite holiday and the purple-black combo begged to be well-explored.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Octo-gurumi


I had a ball of hand-dyed wool languishing in my stash that turned into this little guy over the course of a few evenings. I couldn't find a pattern that gave a realistic enough result, so I just made it up as I went along, working off of my sketches and some photographs. His eyes are needle-felted, so he's really soft and cuddly. Now, he just needs a name.

Edit: He has a name! Waterbaby (of Craftster.org) hit upon a great one. The octopus shall be known as Jacques!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Back Home


The hubby and I are settled back in after our fabulous trip to Philadelphia. What a beautiful city! We were only there for a few days, so we tried to pack in as much activity as we could.

A lot of our tour was on foot - the weather was beautiful and it's more convenient for stopping into shops when you see something you have to have. One night, we splurged for the delectable fare of The Pub and Kitchen where we had a culinary experience with the cheeses. Oh.My.Word. The things they do with cheese! We also did a lot of shopping. There are great shopping districts in Philly, and though we didn't make it through them all, I think we hit the highlights. I picked up some cooking tools and comic books (at the Wizard World Comicon...more on that later). I found a great artist supply shop and some handmade paper. My favorite stop, though, was Nangellini's Art Gallery. It's mostly a fiber arts gallery, with beautiful hand knits and art yarns. I bought more than half a kilo of yarn. =) Yay!

Of course, we visited most of the historical sites. It was beyond moving. I have ancestors that were very active in American politics from the very beginnings of this nation, and, to hear their words repeated in a place with such significance to the birth of our country...

The comicon was really cool. We found a pretty rare Doctor Who figure (the Face of Boe), and I bought my first comic books. I'm more of a sci-fi girl than a comic book fan, but, the ones I bought were more political than superhero. Well, I suppose they're a mix of the two. =) The costume contest was great. The MC was hilarious, and his rapport with the judges and the contestants was what really kept the contest from getting boring (it took a long time to get through all of the awesome characters). Seriously, a Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man made out of duct tape (suit had cooling and hydration systems)!?! It was beautifully made. Another pair made Spaceball soldiers' uniforms from garbage cans...the pair with the giant hair pick, combing the desert..."We ain't found sh*t." Beautiful.

It was a great trip, but it's good to be home. I have a garden to finish planting and a cute ami to wrap up (hopefully, I'll be sharing him soon). My mom is going to be staying with us for a while, so I have that going on, too. I'll be a busy bee this Summer for sure!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lace Shrug (in detail)


I picked up this gorgeous yarn while I was visiting Salem, Mass. last Summer. I began several projects with it, just to end up frogging them. The yarn was begging me to find a project worthy of it.

While browsing patterns I came across a few shrugs and boleros that were okay, but were either too heavy for Summer wear, or used too much yarn, or both. It was easy enough to figure out how they were all constructed. A shrug is basically a rectangle that is as wide as you are from shoulder to shoulder, and as deep as the measurement from the nape of your neck down to the top of your bra strap (after blocking!). For me, this was 15" by 10". Then, you edge that rectangle with a row of sc stitches. Add a loop to each of the short ends that will fit around your arms (40 stitches with this yarn and hook, but I could have gotten away with 35 as it did stretch), then add a border that goes around the neckline, under the arms and around the back. Add a border around each arm hole, and, voile, a shrug. It was so easy, I could have cried! Of course, not using a pattern, I somehow ended up with one arm hole being exactly 5 stitches larger than the other. I swear that I counted! It screwed up my border a bit, but, I'm guessing no one will be examining my garment for flaws, and it will go unnoticed by everyone but me. And, I really don't care as it didn't make a difference in how it fits me.

I did learn a little lesson about dye transfer, though. I made the mistake of wearing this before I washed it, and the combination of sweat, deodorant and fiber dye left me with funny-looking armpits. Like the time I went to an Aerosmith concert in Chicago and wore a pair of new jeans. It was much hotter than I had expected it to be, so I stopped and bought a skirt. When I went to change, my legs were blue! Luckily, a bit of soap saved me from too much embarrassment (on both occasions).

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More Than 50 Projects in 2011

Since I started another list, I left off all of the old completed projects. I even shelved some of the ideas that hadn't been brought to life. I change my mind a lot. What sounds like great fun on one day can quickly lose its luster. Anyway, when you include finished objects from the previous list, I hit 50 as of this morning. Yay!!!

1. Spin silk/bamboo/merino roving
2. Green Day Heart Grenade Embroidery
3. Political Embroidery
4. Octopus Embroidery
5. Decorate Light Switch/Cover for Bedroom
6. Corduroy Pencil Case
7. Peace Embroidery
8. Atlas Shrugged Embroidery
9. Batik Quilt
10. Water Spirit Doll
11. Steampunk Elf
12. 'Gibbous' Dress
13. Grilling Apron for DH
14. Corduroy Skirt
15. Victorian Corset
16. 'Gibbous' Top Hat
17. Vest
18. Tenth Doctor Doll
19. Fabric Cuff Bracelet
20. Mini Journal Pendant
21. Green Fairy Doll
22. Inked Leather Sketchbook
23. Rag Quilt for the Kitty
24-28. Small Leather Journals for Shop
29. Ribbed Headband (crochet)
30-33. Scrappy Yarn Hats
34-35. Journal Pendants
36-38. Journal Keychains
39. Steampunk Magpie Necklace
40. Spin 'pink toffee' roving
41. Spin 'coffee and cream' roving
42. Large Leather Sketchbook
43-45. TARDIS Journals
46. Artist Book for the DH
47. Spin Variegated Blue Roving
48. Spin 'Coffee' roving
49. Lil gets a new look
50. Alter Dress (so it actually fits)
51. Travel Journal for MIL


52. Crochet Market Bag
53. Stencil Over Stain on Gray Tee
54. Lace Bolero

55. Leather Bookmarks

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Doctor Who?

Sadly, I was asking that question just a few months ago. My mom was saying how much she loved the show and I had no idea what she was talking about. Considering what a huge sci-fi geek I am, I can't believe I didn't hear of it sooner. I caught an episode on the BBC America (one with David Tennant), and I was instantly hooked. I love the Doctor!

I'm really intrigued by the character of River Song (like most of the rest of you fans) and, being a bookbinder, also by that journal of hers. I didn't want to recreate the journal exactly... I wanted to make it in my own style. I love making leather journals with a soft, wrap-style cover...it really lets the paper shine, and you are always aware of the block of pages, rather than just the cover. I've made a few pieces of free-motion, machine-quilted fabric (for various applications), and I figured it should work just as well for a book cover as a strip of leather does. It does. Though, fabric covers offer their own unique challenges. I'll be expanding on this concept in the very near future. But, what's simpler than stitching in straight lines? You'd be surprised. Maybe it's fitting that my lines are a bit wibbly-wobbly.

I found the most perfect fabric for the lining...it's like a view from inside the TARDIS! I had a few other ideas, but couldn't find the right fabrics to pull them off.

This is probably the biggest journal I have ever made at 8 inches tall, 6 wide and 2 deep. I stuffed it full of paper. =)

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Elf Rhianon



Oh, my...where do I start? This doll had been in-progress for about six months as a I pieced together her clothes. It's a bit of a relief to be finished with her.

Her costume took shape around the jacket. It's cut from fabric that I pieced together from vintage lace, silk, satin and chiffon. The fabric is covered with a pebble motif in free-motion machine embroidery. Cut to have tails, like an antique tuxedo, the fitted jacket is trimmed in more vintage lace.

The leather belt laces up the back through brass rings that are stamped with a floral design. The belt pouch is fully functional, closing with a mother-of-pearl button, and cut from the edge of the leather hide to preserve natural texture.

The dress that Rhianon wears under the jacket was created using the draping method. The bodice is constructed mainly of silk and lace; the full-circle skirt is wool tweed in a herringbone pattern, trimmed in vintage laces. She wears eyelet lace bloomers under the skirt.

Her little leather slippers match her belt and pouch and are laced with linen thread.

I dyed the wool for her hair to match her eyes. She stands 17.75 inches (45 cm) tall and has pose-able arms, legs and fingers.

I lost track of how many hours I worked on her, but I remember that the shoes took an entire afternoon. I always remember the shoes. Those tricky little things with no margin for error. It has to fit perfectly or it will just fall off. =P So frustrating, but SO rewarding!

On another note: I have a cute little crochet shrug to block and photograph and share. =)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Saving Grays


My favorite long-sleeved tee was ruined, recently, in a cooking incident. Boo! It got splashed by a bit of grease and the stain really stood out. Of course, it didn't help that it was positioned over my chest.

I'm getting better about wearing an apron, now. I decided to disguise the spot with a stencil. (Liked it so much I did the back, too.) This doodle had been hiding in my sketchbook, unloved for weeks, until it found a purpose in saving my gray tee. There are six flowers because that's my lucky number.




This is such an easy fix for clothes that have been made unwearable by little spots or stains. Once you have your design, transfer it onto freezer paper (paper backed with a bit of plastic) and use a craft blade to cut it out. My shirt was a cotton-modal blend, so I wasn't sure how much heat it could take...I set my iron to low and pressed the freezer paper stencil to my shirt...go over the little edges until they're well sealed to the fabric. Slide some cardboard into the garment to prevent the paint from seeping through to the other side. Mix your paint (if you're using acrylic with fabric medium) or not (if you're using paint just for fabrics), then dab it over your stencil with a sponge...dab, don't wipe...wiping can cause your paint to squish under the edges of your stencil. When the paint is dry, peel off the stencil. (If you used acrylic paint with fabric medium, use your iron to heat-set the paint.) Wash garment as usual. Wear. =)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Something Old Gets Something New

Lilwen was originally a brunette. But, turquoise hair is cooler. =)

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Pink and Fuzzy


I had just over an ounce of this wool-mohair blend from my order from Sheep Shed Studio. It was hiding in my white mill ends. =)

I dyed it with Wilton's food coloring, and even though it turned out nothing like what I was hoping for, I like the color it decided to be. Unfortunately, it got a little felty during the dye job. Now, usually the mohair blends from SSS are something like 10-15% mohair. This was more like 50/50. It was like spinning hair through some sections of the roving...I'm thinking I should have just pre-drafted without splitting the roving to get things to come out more evenly blended. It has a really interesting halo, though. And, boy, is it silky! It spun up thick and thin because of my felting issues and I ended up with about 89 yards of sport weight (average). Not sure what I'll do with this yarn...it would be gorgeous as doll hair, though, it would make for a super-cuddly amigurumi, too.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Destash Necklace


I've been trying to reduce the clutter in our house. What does that have to do with this necklace? you might be wondering. Well, I was looking at my craft room the other day, thinking that I had a ton of supplies for crafts that I rarely do anymore. Wouldn't it be nice to try to reduce my stash by making items that I'd actually use. I used up a lot of my charms and chains on this piece. Nowhere near all of them, but, a significant dent in the bunch, none the less.

I used washers, nuts, fossils, shells, pearls, gears, keys, crystals, beads, brass stampings, a locket, a cameo, and anything else that caught my eye. The theme of this necklace is light and dark...hence, the color separation. I have a feeling it will be a perpetual work-in-progress as I change the charms around and add new ones.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Veggies!


The blueberry and raspberry bushes that I ordered came in the other day! Yay! But, it's a bit early to plant anything. We had snow just a few days back! Now I'm really getting impatient for the warm weather to show up. The seeds we planted are starting to sprout, and I'm having to cut back the seedlings. I didn't expect some of my old seeds to be so prolific, but I'm definitely not disappointed that they all seem to be sprouting.

So, I'll go back to studying my cookbooks until I can do more with my garden, in the sincere hope that I'll know what to do with my bounty by time it arrives. =)