12.31.2010

Just Add Water….

I’ve been playing around just a little bit with some watercolors.

Here are some Iris .In Japan, the iris is used as a decoration for the “Feast of the Boy” in May.  The upright shape and strong growth are thought to symbolize the ideal of the samurai.

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And in about 30 min, I tried to make a simple plum blossom branch, with magic markers and crayons.

The plum blossom is a symbol of longevity in China. Its delicate bloom emerges in the winter months and signifies life and hope while other plants and trees remain dormant.

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Have a great New Years Eve!!

New Years Eve fireworks (courtesy c r i s at flickr CC)

Featured Etsy Seller

 

The Featured Etsy Seller this month has three Etsy Shops! Whew…

Pruitt Supply This shop has all kinds of supplies for the crafts we need to do. Fat Quarters, fabric, findings etc….

Pruitt Design Which is having a sale and has jewelry and paper/cards and bags.

Pruitt Creations That has handmade fabric items . . . . . custom orders too! . . .  She will accept custom orders and make one just the way you like it! Need an apron for a gift? How about a special zipper pouch in a special fabric?

Agate Hook USD $8.00

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Market Tote with Zipper Coin Purse $ 18.00

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Jelly Roll Quilt  $85.00

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She blogs at Pruitt Creations!

12.30.2010

Create your own New Years Day Decorations

be creatvie

Made you own Holiday Ice Lanterns, very beautiful and different  from ….from Polwig.com

Want to make an Ice Sculpture for your party? You can make this one easy enough, give your gathering a little icy bling from The Inspired Room

Make your party a blast with you own disco ball to drop at the stick of midnight! From Backstichbaby

Get the kids involved in creating and busy with this great tutorial on how to make Flower Fairies from the Magic Onions

 

Have a great time!

12.27.2010

Well a women has the right to change her mind…

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How many times have you bought all of the supplies for a project to knit, and then changed your mind about the yarn, or pattern?

This seems to happen to me all too often. The above was a purchase several years ago. Somewhere along the line I decided I didn’t want to use the pattern I bought. I think it was due to the fact that I detest knitting a sweater in separate pieces and putting it together. I love to knit in the round.

I discovered this after finding my first Elizabeth Zimmerman book, Knitting without Tears! Her techniques and insistence on swatching for your gauge, turned me into a super sweater knitter. Her patterns were the first I could actually wear! Usually I would have to gift my knitted sweater to someone, anyone that was the size the sweater was. And while this had a certain excitement, and drama, I actually wanted a sweater for myself. Elizabeth's in depth explanation of gauge and how to calculate your size, finally made me realize how important gauge was, and what to do with “my gauge”, with her percentage system.  I was off and running, well knitting.  I would urge any knitter to read the above book if you haven’t. Her patterns are bottom up in the round, now I’ve discovered top down, in the round patterns!

 

Searching for a new pattern was a quest, I wanted a bulky sweater top down, knit in the round. In Fall of 2010 I found this pattern from Knitty, Iced cardigan by Carol Feller! I was tripped up with the gauge and “forced” my super bulky yarn onto needles that were much too small for it. Therefore, a terrible knitting experience. I was crawling along (with bulky yarn, no less, which is usually such a fast knit), and not enjoying it at all. Producing a sweater that was so dense it would probably hold water and deflect bullets!

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Before photo, gauge too tight for this yarn, stiff sweater, ugh…

Finally I stopped and looked at it, and tried it on. (one of the benefits of top down knitting, and realized it was stiff and still too big, way big.

A frogging I go.Redeyed_Tree_Frog Plan B, now I’m using a larger needle and knitting a smaller pattern size. For example, my gauge is now 25% larger than the stated gauge, so instead of doing some math myself. I can just look at the sizes, her XS is about 25% smaller than the size I want (at the stated pattern gauge). Hence, I cast on for the XS, and now I’m off and knitting! Of course this doesn’t work every time, but if you are in the average or medium size, this can be a great “cheat” especially when a pattern has lace or cabling etc.… in it.

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After photo, gauge is more relaxed, sweater correct size.

dancing in the rain

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

12.26.2010

Clothespin Toy Soldier Ornament Tutorial

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I was looking for a small gift to give a large number of people. After quite a bit of shopping and thinking I decided to “make” something. I had one ornament that was an angel made out of clothespins. That was the inspiration for this toy solider!

It was easy and fun to make, once I got started I kept adding details, but you could make it very simple and I think it would be a fun project for children.

Materials needed:

Clip clothespins (one for each ornament, I found these at the Dollar Store)

Craft glue (white, I did use a glue gun to attach the ribbon to hang it with)

Pompoms, a small bag of assorted colors or black, seems to run about 99 cents (again Dollar Store)

Acrylic paint (red, black and blue, and gold) and small brushes, I experimented with markers and that worked well also, (this might be a better option for children?)

Toothpicks

Popsicle sticks

Sharpie markers (in black and red)

Sequins (I also picked up a small package of these at the Dollar Store 99 cents

Very small amount of black felt, one sheet is plenty (optional)

Ribbon or thread to use to hang your ornament

1. Take your clip clothespins and take them apart.

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Use your white craft glue and put the two pieces of the pin together with the flat sides facing each other. This forms the head and body of your solider.

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2. Get you paints or markers out and start painting! It is easier to start with the hair and shoes, then move on to the clothes. I choose red for the shirt,and blue for the pants. (I learned this from several sets of soldiers and a lot of smudging of paint)

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You can add a space for the ear when painting the hair if you want, and then add the boots, then let this dry before moving on.

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3. Then I painted the shirt on all of my soldiers then the pants. I used my black sharpie to add the belt, which covers any uneven painting.

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Using your sharpie markers, I made the eyes and mouth.

4. Now get your craft glue and pompoms, I added a big blob of glue on top of each head and stuck the pompom on, hold this for a bit before putting down.

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While you are waiting for these to dry, take your popsicle sticks and cut them a good length for arms. Now you can paint them the same color as your shirt, I then used my sharpie to add the cuff.

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5.Optional step: I took a piece of black felt and cut a very small strip for a band around the pompom hat. About 1/4 of an inch and glued this around the base. I think it made the hat look cute.

6. Take your black sharpie and make an “X” on the front and back of the soldier's shirt.

Now get the white glue and sequins out. Add one to the front of his shirt, and one to his hat.

We can also glue the arms on. I liked the effect of putting them on so he looked like he was walking, one slightly farther out in the front than the other.

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7. I decided to add a thick band of white paint to the tops of the shoes to make it look like fur. I experimented with gluing a piece of yarn on here, but that was hard to do.

I also took a toothpick and dipped it in my gold paint to add a belt buckle, and used the small end of the tooth pick to add small dots on the “x” straps on the front and made three dots up the front of the boots, I also added gold dots on the sleeve trim and the tops of the arms (in the shape of a triangle, for the epaulets)

8. Last step is to add your hanging thread or ribbon. I ended up hot gluing a ribbon to the back of the soldier.

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This one below was done with markers instead of paint. I think if has a “stained or older” look to it.

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Happy Holidays!

12.16.2010

Etsy Wish List

Ice storm here last night, and I’m sitting here with my coffee, and list of things to get done.

Before I start, I’ll share some great Etsy items that I found, enjoy!

cocoon

This is so cute! A knitted cocoon for the baby from 4aSong’sShop

tea cozy

This knitted tea cozy full of mice is adorable from PeriwinkleParksShop

headwarmer

From BitsyBlossoms a knitted head warmer, I especially like the two buttons for size adjustment.

yarn labels 

These personalized yarn labels are great, from MountainStreetArts

needle organizer

And for those  needles you get for Christmas try this knitting needle organizer for interchangeable needles from SarahKincheloe’sshop

Enjoy your shopping!

12.12.2010

Blizzard, spinning and knitting

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The snow is blowing and the schools are already closing.

I have been spinning, almost totally done now with my dark brown BFL, and I have been eyeing the stash to see what I want to spin next.

I’m fully committed to my sweater now, Iced from Knitty. I’m knitting it with Colinette Point Five, I have located a number of people on Ravelry that have some to sell in case I run out. It is a top down sweater, knitted in the round, (well technically from side to side), I’ve just gotten to below the arms.

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Had to go outside and play with the dogs in the snow, Penny rolled and had fun.

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Syd is the speed demon! I couldn’t get a clear photo.

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Keep warm this week!

12.04.2010

Iris and Morning Glories and spun wool too!

 

This sketch is the beginnings of my next painting. Next I add shadows. If you build each color onto the next, (instead of mixing them on your palate) the result will be a translucent painting with a glow about it.

Well that is what I’m attempting anyway, thanks to Theresa at Blueberries, Art and Life, my watercolor mentor!

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3 skeins of wool spun, and I still have more fiber to spin! I have high hopes of having enough for a sweater.

Cold here and I’m ready to get the sweaters out!

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I also have a simple Iris and bamboo painting. In the Sumi-e style. Done in marker. I have to get back to my paints soon.

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In addition to some morning glories, done in marker and crayons.

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Go create!

11.30.2010

Crayola inspired

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A quick sketch of an Amaryllis that I have. I love these flowers, they give us a bit of color when the days are cold and grey.

I did a fast sketch with some Crayola paint brush pens, which I bought on an impulse, thinking they would be good to pack and take (and the price was right). With basic primary colors they are fun, but don’t blend well.

I used a standard office black marker to add some details, and then regular Crayola crayons to add depth to my colors. It was a fun project to play around with.

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11.28.2010

Fiber Momentum

A quick sketch of a tree in my backyard, now minus its leaves.

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Done with a office supply felt tip marker, a fairly fat one.

And finally some fibery progress….

After dithering about after every two rows, I decided to forge ahead on my Iced Sweater from Knitty made with Colinette Point Five. 007

Due to the flash, the colors look pinker than the actual yarn. This is a top down sweater pattern, and after sweating the gauge for a bit. I’ve decided to consider it as a suggestion as to how much “off” I’m going to be, and try to compensate from there.

I have no idea if I’ll have enough yarn to complete the sweater. I have 10 skeins of 50 m each = 500 meters or 546 yds. of Cardinal, (it is fairly bulky, I’m not sure if it is considered super bulky). The recommended needle size on the label is 17 and I’m using a 10 to get close to the gauge needed. This resulted in most of my problems, the knit is turning out to be thick and rather stiff. But I’ve decided to think of it as a warm sweater/coat. I’m searching on EBay and Ravelry for more yarn.  If not, I’m thinking of finding a thick and thin maroon to finish it with. But hopefully I won’t have to go there.

Some spinning has occurred also. I’ve almost spun all of my BFL dark brown up. I just finished plying 2 bobbins, and I’m letting it (and myself) rest tonight. I have two more to ply (hopefully soon). Wishing for enough for a sweater, but I’m estimating approx. 630 yards will result from this pound of fleece.

So I seem to be running short on every project I have going…

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What is on your needles?

11.25.2010

Happy Thanksgiving

knitting_knitted_turkey
What is this turkey knitting?
Strangely enough this picture was shown on The Colbert Report on 12/3/08
I also like the knitted turkey hats! In child or adult size!
knitted-turkey-baby-hat-xl
From    Going Crafty links to the knitted baby tukey hat pattern.see link below that works,
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/jive-turkey-baby-hat, available as a free ravelry download.

Mummble-Jummble2 has a free pattern for a felted knitted turkey with a pilgrim hat.
Knit Fast, Dye Yarn
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

11.24.2010

Featured Etsy Seller

 

Devine Designs Jewelry

Her jewelry is one of a kind and perfect for a gift!

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Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/devinedesignsjewelry

Blog http://www.devinedesignsjewelry.blogspot.com/

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/DevineDesignsJewelry

Below is from her Bio:

Having always been crafty, and like working with my hands, I have made swimwear and dancer’s costumes in a previous “life”. Creativity runs in my family, as my mother does ceramics and crochets; my uncle is a woodworker. I am a mostly self-taught wire and cold forge metal jewelry artist. I have studied under local artist, Stacy Perry, as well as, learning from books and video tutorials. Other jewelry artists and instructors that I have learned from include, Sharilyn Miller and Lisa Niven Kelly, who are considered among the best wire jewelry artists.
I try to take metal to the extreme; by bending and twisting to create unique designs. I use lots of wire to make twists, coils, and spirals that I add to my work. I strive to form designs that have not been done before, original works of art jewelry. I strive for perfection and high quality.
What you will find here: I only use high quality components in my jewelry such as: sterling silver, high grade Thai silver, pure copper, gemstones and artisan made glass beads.
What you will not find here: I do not mass produce, or use cookie cutter concepts when I create a piece. I do not use cheaply made components.
My goal is to constantly learn new techniques that I can offer the customer and to grow as an artist.
My work has been featured in the gallery pages
of STEP BY STEP WIRE MAGAZINE, Feb/Mar.2010, June-July 2010 *************************************************

11.18.2010

Painting Bamboo

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In an effort to loosen up my paintings and brush strokes I became interested in the ancient Sumi-e Japanese (I have also seen it called Chinese) painting.

Sumi_e roughly translates as ink painting

It is an art form that strives to distill the essence of an object or scene in the fewest possible strokes. A few carefully placed broad strokes that fade off abruptly, a few thin lines and a dot, and a bird is clearly called into being on the paper.

Sumi-e is sometimes confused with calligraphy, because the tools used are the same. Calligraphy is the graceful, artistic representation of written characters, using ink and brush, while sumi-e is painting a scene or object. In the West, sumi-e is often called Chinese Brush Painting, although it has been a major art form in Japan and Korea as well.

To paint with ink requires the use of the Four Treasures. This refers to the must-haves of sumi-e: an ink stone, an ink stick, a brush, and the appropriate kind of paper. The ink stone is a stone with a shallow depression carved into it; it is used to prepare and hold the ink for the painter. The ink stick is a black stick composed of pine soot, bound into a hardened form with resin. It is typically molded in cylinders or rectangles with a lavishly decorated bas relief, such as dragons, on the surface. The reliefs are often painted in gold or other colors, making the utilitarian stick of ink a work of art in itself.

The sumi-e painter creates the ink immediately before beginning the painting, by sprinkling a few drops of water on the stone and then holding the ink stick upright, making circles with the stick on the stone. The end of the ink stick releases some of the soot into the water, making the ink. A skilled sumi-e painter knows how much ink to prepare for the painting he or she has in mind and makes enough, but not too much. Ink is not stored to be used later. Making the ink is a form of moving meditation for the painters, during which they prepare themselves mentally for the painting process.

Brushes used in sumi-e are usually wolf-hair in bamboo - 'wolf hair' can actually be horsehair, boar bristle or other animal hair. The brush's ability to hold and retain a point is critical to a sumi-e painter, since one brush is used to create the widest and thinnest of lines.

Paper is very important; it must be absorbent without being too absorbent. A paper that draws all the ink of out the brush at once will be impossible to work with, yet it must be able to draw up some of the ink, since some strokes depend on the brush lingering to fatten a line. Most watercolor papers are not suitable, since the paint stays mostly on the surface. Rice paper is the most common paper used in sumi-e painting.

The paint strokes out of which most paintings can be made are called the Four Gentlemen; these are the bamboo, the orchid, the plum tree and the chrysanthemum. Sumi-e instructors will insist that these be mastered before you progress.

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Still practicing, deceptively easy looking, watch a master at work.

Field study of horses