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

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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!