Friday, January 30, 2009

Great News For Etsy Toy Makers

Check out this Etsy article: Breaking News: The CPSIA Mandatory Testing & Certification Proposed 1 Year Suspension if you are a toymaker or a maker of children's products. when I was tempted to do a cartoon of Giopetto being taken away in handcuffs as Pinocchio looks on, we've gotten a stay of exectution while the government rethinks their policy on lead testing for products that don't even contain lead, like crocheted toys or unfinished wooden blocks.

Many Etsy artisans had already pulled their product lines because they couldn't afford the testing that was to go into law on Feb. 10, 2009.

Quartzsite, AZ

If nothing gets mucked up between now and 9 PM it looks like I'll be heading to Quartzsite AZ for the weekend after all. Even the weather seems to be cooperating. For those of you who don't know, Quartzsite is a small town that attracts artisans from all over to view their many street vendors that offer gemstones, rocks, minerals, ephemera and antiques.
Here's a photo I took on my last trip there:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Duct Tape Dress Forms

My daughter and I got to work making the dress forms today. We just finished hers. It's going to take considerably longer to do mine because we have a lot more square inches to cover. It took an hour and a half to do hers so I'm guessing 2 hours to do mine. We are off to buy some more duct tape just to make sure we don't run out. This is going to make sewing so much easier. Counting the stuffing, it probably cost about $25 to make. Less if you get the supplies on sale or use those 40% coupons that Michael's and Joann's have in their ads. The book recommends mounting them on an old halogen lamp stand so I'll keep my eyes peeled for one of those at a yard sale.

I've been wanting to make one of these for years. Glad I finally got to do it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Change of Plans

Today I was hoping my daughter and I would make duct tape dressmaker's dummies. But her meeting ran late and then she had shopping to do so it doesn't look like we'll have time. The instructions say it takes 2 hours per person and we still haven't gone to the store to get the stuffing. I'll have to wait until another time when she makes the 300 mile jaunt to my house.
I guess I've been on hold today and didn't work on anything else. First I thought I was going to go with her so I got ready at 9 AM, but then no movies were showing that early so I stayed home. So then I thought she'd be done at 3 and get here at 3:30. But she didn't get out of the theater till 4:30, and then she wanted to go to her favorite bath oils shop. She's not back yet and it's almost 6.

I did get a lot of reading done today at least. I'm trying to read 8 books a month.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I just painted new gypsystones to give away. After they dry a bit I'll put a protective finish on them and sign the back. Last night I thought I'd do a spring theme. Then this morning I thought I'd go with a Valentine theme. But the minute I picked up a paintbrush my subconsious mind had another idea altogether. When I download the photos you'll see what I mean.

I have company today so I figured if any art was going to get done I'd better do it while I was alone. I know some artists like to work in groups, but I get too distracted and end up getting everyone a drink or schmoozing and hours go by and I realize I haven't done a whole lot of art. Art for me anyway is mostly a solitary pursuit. Even so I found I was losing patience about an hour into it so I wrapped up the ones I had started and took a break. I realized I was getting a headache. My eyes aren't as good as they used to be so I need to do detail work in small batches.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Knitting Beading and Painting Oh My

I was cleaning up the living room for my daugther's visit tonight and found a bucket with some dolls I was knitting in it. I was going to make a whole line of them for a book but lost my motivation somewhere along the way.

Today I hoped to work on a handbag now that I have the fabric, but my tail is a draggin'. Sometimes it's hard to step out of the place in my head where I am fantasizing about a cool project, and actually doing the physical work of bringing it to life. I think that is common for artists to live in their heads a lot.

Then my boyfriend's mom called and requested a beaded necklace to hang the angel pendant on that we gave her for Christmas. Oh how I wish I'd taken a photo of it now so I can see the colors for myself. I think I should wait until we go back to Monrovia to see it again in person.

And one of my posts on Hubpages got a comment about the Gypsystones I give away. It's been a couple of years since I made any, so now I feel like painting some more. Which is a good reason not to delete any blog you start, because you never know when you might want to pick it up again later. And search engines give preference to blogs that have been around a few years, so I'm glad I kept my Gypsystone blog.
I was cleaning up the living room for my daugther's visit tonight and found a bucket with some dolls I was knitting in it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Yay for Yard Sales

Having had such poor luck with thrift stores, I was determined to go to yard sales today. One problem. It rained yesterday and I when I drove around the neighborhood I didn't see a single yard sale. So I went grocery shopping and went home.

Later in the day I went to the fabric store and saw a garage/estate sale sign on a pole. Turns out the fabric store didn't open until noon, so I went to the garage sale. I'm glad I did. Turned out the lady used to make purses and I picked up 6 plastic bags of upholstery scraps for a mere $5. I also got a bunch of tools like wire cutters and even a saw for .50 each. Wow. I can't wait to look at my new found treasures.

Then I went to the fabric store and got some glover's needles for sewing leather. I wanted bigger ones, but that was all they had so I'm sure I'll put them to good use. I also got some long doll needles designed to go through the thickness of a stuffed doll. I got some glittery gold ribbon to use to hang pendants from and some green fabric with tiny yellow paisleys and some yellow fabric with little feathers in various colors. I'm glad crafts were there to take my mind off of my problems today.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Stormy Southern CA

My cat loves my tassels. He keeps stealing them when I leave the room. They keep mysteriously appearing back on the couch, sometimes with him laying in the middle of them.

Today I worked on my bird wood carving, my wood block prints, and my knitted papaya hat. And I also took some cool photos of today's storm. And I added some more pages to my art journal and made a paper pocket to go in it.

I want to go to yard sales tomorrow. Hopefully the weather hasn't put a damper on that idea.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Making tassels

It's a rainy day in southern California. I didn't really feel like weaving today. But then I remembered I also needed to make tassels for the woven hipband so I decided I was in the mood to do that.

Making tassels goes a lot quicker when you use 3 strands of yarn at a time. So if I wrap the yarn 25 times around the cardboard, that's actually 150 strands in one tassel. Because each wrap makes 2 strands. Two strands times 25 wraps times equals 50 ends. And each wrap has 3 kinds of yarn so that's 150.

Or to put it another way. One wrap around the cardboard equals 6 individual ends once you cut the tassel across the bottom. So 6x25=150. Sometimes doing things is easier than explaining them.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Be a Cool Cat Not a Copy Cat

Ranting in my art journal.

The World of Art

Photo caption: Two ladies were walking their kids.

I've gone back over some of my recent posts and added photos.
I needed to balance the mental with the physical so I went out and tackled an overgrown vine in the garden this morning. Nothing like taking your aggressions out on sprawling jasmine, thorny roses, and tangled lantana vines.

I've been watching some PBS shows on India and Iran. I must say I love all those saturated colors. It's nice to see countries that aren't afraid of color. Plenty of peacock blue, tangerine, fire engine red and saffron. I love the minarets, the mosques, the mosaics, the calligraphy. The USA is such a new country we don't have those rich treasures of ancient architecture.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What's Happened to Thrift Stores?

After getting a fashion makeover book at the library I decided to take their suggestion and swing by the Goodwill on the way home to look for funky fashions to repurpose.

There's a brand new Goodwill on Beach and Lincoln in Anaheim. I've been in there maybe five times, was shocked at their ridiculous prices, and have only bought a handful of items. I'm sorry, but I'm not paying $8.00 for a used skirt when I can get one on sale new for that price at some of the local department stores. A threadbare skirt with only a few wearings in it just isn't worth that much money. I did buy a new condition heavy men's sweater for $7.99 to wear on my trip to AZ. It's not a bad price for a new durable sweater.
If I want to make a dress from 5 or 6 used sweaters, that makes sense if they are .50each. It doesn't make sense if they are $8.00 each. Now granted I'm not hurting for clothes. Thrift stores used to be the only place people on low incomes could keep their kids in clothing and shoes on their feet. I don't know where those who have fallen on hard times shop now, but it sure isn't Goodwill. Used to if I went into a thrift store it would be full of people with full shopping carts, about six deep in line at the register. There was no one in line at that Goodwill today. One guy was applying for a job and one lady was talking to a clerk. No one was buying anything. I've even recognized merchandise from the .99 store at thrift stores with $2.99 price tags on them.

The way to go now is yard sales and if you can find it, an old fashioned swap meet that actually sells used items from households. Also, estate sales. Look for places with 'don't wanters'. They don't want their possessions anymore. They are moving or someone has passed on and they need to get the house empty. Or go back on Sunday just before dark and see what is left at the curb.

The local Salvation Army is a bit better. At least they have frequent sales. Even so I think their jeans were about $9. a pair. Too rich for my blood. If I drive by and they have a 50% off everything sale I might stop. Goodwill did have a sign that said 50% off green tags. Unfortunately the only thing I found with green tags was a bin full of transparent rolls of tape near the register. Who are they kidding?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Carving Basswood & Making an Art Journal

I figured out how I can actually succeed at my goal of reading 100 books this year. Don't turn the TV on. Or if my bf turns it on turn it off the minute he leaves for work. I've not only gotten tons of reading done, I'm getting a lot more art finished.

Today I worked on my little basswood bird. I did manage to nick myself for the first time, partly because the bird is getting so small now it's hard to hold. Must find remedy for that. But it is starting to look more like a bird and less like a blob.

I finished my hypnosis embroidery. Now I need to block, mat and frame it. Now I'm working on a Da Vinci quote, "Impatience is the mother of stupidity." I got most of the illuminated "I" done.

I also decided to go with the monthly art journal I mentioned earlier. I found one of those blank books on my bookshelf. Only the first 5 pages had been written on so I cut those out, which was easy because it's spiral bound, and got started on it right away. I'm getting a late start on it. The month is nearly over. I should keep my eyes open for a book to use for February too. This is a 'chronicle my life' type of journal so it will have writing and art in it.

Blank books and art journaling

I'm teetering on this journal thing:
Do I want to make an art journal each month in 2009? Or will it just be yet another project I can't keep up with. Sounds like a cool idea. I bought a bunch of blank books at used bookstores if I can ferret one out for this project. You know how people give friends those blank books to write their dreams in or to use as a diary and they are too posh to use so they just sit there until they get given away to a used bookstore? I'm telling you, that's where they end up and you can snap them up for a song.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wood Block Prints

Tonight I tried to carve a wooden block to make a wood block print. I think it will turn out okay but I was getting frustrated and I don't know where my printing ink is so I decided to give it a rest for the night. There are some great block printing artists on Etsy and while I'm more experienced with carving eraser stamps, I've wanted to give the wooden prints a try for a long time.

I also worked on my weaving this morning. I can probably finish the weaving part of it in one more session.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pasadena Bead Show

Today I got dropped off at the Pasadena Bead and Craft Show and got to spend some time with artist I also met a lady that makes fantastic macrame' and woven necklaces. I said to her I bet that necklace is $1000, and she said, "No, it's $1200." Well, I believe it. The thread is so tiny and the necklace is like a collar with fringe. She said it took over a year to make.

I didn't buy much as I don't really need anything right now until I sell some of the things I already made. I bought 2 tiny hands and a skeletonized metal coated leaf. One of the bead vendors has a new store about 5 miles from my house, so I'll go there when I need beads and have a much better selection than he could have in his booth at the show.

When I was in the restroom the person in the stall next to me sounded like she was wearing a jingly belly dancing costume. But when I came out it wasn't a costume, but she was wearing a charm bracelet made of those stretched copper pennies like you get in those machines in tourist areas. So now I'd like to start buying those pennies and saving them up for my own charm bracelet. I think they have them in some of the restaurants down the street. I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled. I used to buy those for my kids, but who knows if they ever did anything special with them.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

wood carving, embroidery and crochet

Today I worked on my wood carving. My boyfriend provided me with a better carving knife and things started to go a lot better. I have the basic bird roughed out but you can't really tell it's a bird yet. I keep reminding myself I'm just a beginner and it's a learning curve.

I crocheted a purple neck scarf yesterday and I want to run some purple ribbon through it. I'll probably add a button closure.

Someone invited me to add my embroidery photo to this Flickr pool: If you want to meet other crafters that do the same category of craft that you do, there is probably a flickr group for it. I'm in a lot of groups on Flickr.

Tomorrow I'm still hoping to go to the bead fair in Pasadena CA. I'm still getting over my cold though and didn't sleep much last night.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Crochet Scarf Wood Nymph

First thing this morning I got the new scarf listed on Etsy. It would be so nice to make a sale after my long dry spell. I've already started working on a new purple neck scarflette this morning while I was waiting for my computer to reboot. It's in Vanna's Choice yarn, the one called Purple Mist. I'm just loving it so far.
This is my chatroom on Etsy.
I'll be sitting in it for a while as I work on this scarf. The other room I was in was just a zoo and I was having trouble following the conversations. If you ever want to make a chatroom with me just let me know. It would be nice to build more of a community.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Warm Day in the Park

I just made myself sit down and weave in all the ends on my leaf scarf. Weaving in ends is always the most tedious part for me. I finished it just as it started to get dark so I guess I'll take photos tomorrow so I can get it listed in my Etsy shop.

Today I went to a nearby park and worked on my embroidery. Then I designed 3 brooches, except I still have to sew the pinbacks on. First I have to remember where I put them. Maybe that's why they are called 'findings' because I am always trying to find them.

Last night I was working on beaded spiders. I really like my new design.
I'm making a give away box, which is a box filled with things I've made that I will keep with me when I travel to either do trades with other artists or use as gifts when appropriate. I thought it would be fun to let someone pick something out of the box.

I also want to start wearing a pin traders vest. On one side I'll have pins I made that I want to trade, and on the other side I'll have pins I got in trade.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Heal Yourself to Heal the World

I have to remind myself constantly to love myself. I think that's why I watch videos like this over and over again. When I was at Michael's today (the one I used to work at) I saw all traces of the bossy class organizer who blocked my success at every turn was finally gone. I don't know if she retired, got fired, or dropped dead of meanness, but the thought came into my head that if I couldn't teach at Michael's anymore, I should go the way of many artists on Etsy and Youtube and start my own online courses. Even if only one person signed up, I'd feel like a success. It would beat the self-imposed hermitland I live in now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Beaded Spider

Last night I made a cute little beaded spider out of seed beads, bugle beads, a focal bead and wire and gave it to my boyfriend for his 50th birthday. I found some more bugle beads just now in one of my old bead boxes and can't wait to try some different color combinations. I used 26 guage wire and I really need to use 24 so it will hold its shape better.

I think one of these spiders would look great on a steampunk inspired hat. Victorians were crazy about spider jewelry. I saw a great spider marcasite ring once at an antique mall and I wish I would have bought it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Works in Progress

Sometimes I get motivated by videotaping things I'm in the middle of making. It keeps them fresh in my mind so they don't fall between the cracks. Unfortunately sometimes I spend more time on line than I actually spent on finishing projects. Bad Piggle.

I hope to get most of these things done before the end of January. Not the cross stitch stocking though; that doesn't need to be done until next Christmas. I have a huge number of things started. This video barely scratches the surface.

Making Paper Beads

Today I'm working on a necklace made from paper bead triangles. This is truly the poor man's craft. All you need is leftover giftwrap or magazine pages, a glue stick or glue, and some kind of protective finish like Modpodge or white glue thinned with water or acrylic glazing medium or clear acrylic spray. I use a bamboo skewer to roll mine, but you can also do it with just your fingers. If you already do crafts like scrapbooking you probably have all those on hand anyway. Homeschoolers, this would be a good craft for your kids too, ages 7 and up maybe.

I know one artist on Etsy that even makes purses with these. To add variety you can add other round beads between each rolled bead. Here's your chance to incorporate those polymer or bread dough or rose beads you've made.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weaving, books and hummingbirds

I finally sat still long enough to take some photos of my weaving experiments. An experienced weaver would probably laugh their head off at these, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. I'm experimenting with different types of fibers and tensions.

I got a woodcarving book from the library so I need to find my tools for that. It has some simple beginner's projects I can tackle.

And I got a book on making handbags that has some awesome ideas in it.

I'm almost well enough to get back into the swing of things. Today really helped. It was warm outside so I sat on the patio and read for a few hours, and the heat helped thaw out my head cold. I saw a hummingbird today so I went ahead and filled up the hummingbird feeder. The adjoining apt. used to have one, but they moved recently and I just now realized the feeder in their yard was gone. I didn't see the bird again today, but it takes them a few days to get used to a new object being in their territory. I'm sure they'll find it soon enough.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More books

I've had to take it slow today because of this cold. Last night I got to weave for a few hours. That was fun.

I went to the library today and did some drawing and worked on my cross-stitch. But I was tired so came back home sooner than I'd planned just to get some rest. The library was crowded. There were hardly any spaces left in the parking lot. I just went to the library so I won't have any shortage of books to read any time soon. I signed up for the book Twilight and I'm #69 on the waiting list. I fared a bit better with Inkheart. I think I'm #1 on that list.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Weaving & Woodcarving

I started working on the board loom tonight. I've noticed the fabric is getting narrower and narrower. The local library didn't have any books on weaving so I'm going to look for some internet sites to see if I can get some help.

I got 8 books at the library. One of them is the sequel to the book I made the sweater from. It has more interesting sweaters with cabling as well as more hats and scarves.

I got two books on woodcarving that I'm looking forward to working from. I have some wooden eggs that I used to paint on, and one book has some carved wooden eggs. It never occurred to me to carve on the eggs so I'm looking forwards to giving that a try.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Board Loom is Ready to Go

I got the rustic board loom primed and painted today. I started to wind the yarn on it when I got the yarn into a hopeless tangled mess. So for now it's leaning against the wall because after an hour of trying to untangle that blob I'd had enough for one night. I can't wait to actually use the loom. But I seem to be catching a head cold and concentration isn't happening tonight.

Besides, my boyfriend needs the living room to chop feathers. He has 12 dozen arrows to make and that's 3 feathers per arrow. That's 432 feathers. Wowsa! They are going to be beautiful though.

We also had an earthquake tonight. That kept me on my toes.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Design Your Own Fabric

One thing I want to do this year is design original fabrics and order then from Spoonflower. So I was delighted to see this new video by Spoonflower that was just posted.

Men Are From Mars When it Comes to Crafting Too

Today I was under the weather and didn't get much done. Plus my bf came home early from his vacation and having him here unexpectedly kind of blew my schedule to bits. We have so little workspace we keep tripping over each other to get things done. It's not just getting in each others physical way, but we don't agree on how things should be built. He's constantly asking me, "Why are you doing it that way, here's a better way." Then his way doesn't work at all because he doesn't really comprehend what I'm trying to do in the first place. You could ask us each to make the same square pillow and our working methods are so different that even if we came up with the same end results we wouldn't have a thing in common with the way we got from A to B. At one point today we both got so frustrated he went and sat alone in his room for an hour while I sat on the couch.

But at least I got the rustic loom put together. Tomorrow I will prime it and paint it, then after it dries I can weave on it.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


After seeing that low cost loom project on Threadbanger, I found myself at a hardware store buying a 6' long 2x6 board to use for a loom and 18 screws to use for a loom. I think I will put a polyurethane stain finish on it, if I can find the container of stain and if it's still good. I want to sand it smooth first so it doesn't snag the fabric I'm weaving. So for $10 I will make myself a rustic loom. Can't beat that. I want to make an inkle loom some day and I'm sure it will cost more than that and be more complicated to build. I don't have any scrap silk fabric laying around so I'm not sure what I'll use. I do have some leftover fabric from a gypsy skirt that I already made a belt out of. And another pink skirt that is so threadbare I may as well tear it into strips.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Weaving Scraps

I would love to try this weaving tutorial of a rustic loom.
Ever have blotchy fabric laying around that is perfectly good except for that tiny spot where the ink ran or there is a flaw or the stamp didn't come out quite right or the silkscreen missed a spot? Cut them into strips and weave them into belts or scarves using this tutorial.


The two pens I used for these are Bic Mark It Fine Point Permanent Marker and Sharpie Ultra Fine Point Permanent Marker. I traced around a bowl to get the circle shape. I want to make some more today.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Tribal Belly Dance Yarn Hair Falls

Both of my daughter's gave me birthday money which I promptly spent at Joann's while their yarn is still 25% off and their McCall's patterns were still $1.99. I keep telling myself I'm going to stop buying yarn any minute now. But now that I'm making hair falls out of yarn for belly dancing I can't seem to stop looking for the right textures to make the little suckers out of. My cats of course think I'm making very deluxe cat toys. When I have time I'll put a pair of them in my hair so you can see what the heck I'm talking about.

Which reminds me I still need to dance today. All I've done is a handful of stretches. I'm very stiff after cleaning house all day Friday and painting the town red all day Sat. for my birthday.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

My daughter and son in law are here celebrating my birthday with me. It's like show and tell where we can share the crafts we are making and talk about all our projects.

We went to see Benjamin Button which is a movie that really makes you think.
Then we cruised around Downtown Disney. I wanted to go to Sephora to look for eye-liner. But there is no way I'm spending over $10 a piece on any make-up. That's crazy talk. I'll wait for a coupon and get make-up at Right Aid or Walgreen's. Sephora had some glittery eyeliner I liked but it was $18.99 a tube. For that I can paint on a line and touch glitter to it for less than .25.

My legs were getting pretty tired and it was getting cold after dark, so we went back to my house and had meatloaf and baked potatoes and pumpkin pie. One of my better birthdays I must say.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Today I did a sock monkey make-over swapping out button eyes for felt eyes so I can give the monkey to my grandson who is about 3 months old. I'm also giving him a stuffed owl and an amigurumi elephant I made. His nursery has a jungle theme so I thought the animals would fit right in, though technically I don't know if jungles have owls. I think owls live in forests.

I'm giving my younger daughter some hand painted glass vases. To save on postage I'm sending all the presents home with my older daughter, who will be visiting shortly. I probably saved $30 that way.

I have cleaning to do before my guests arrive so I better get back out there.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Attn: Daily Bloggers

I live in Anaheim CA where it never snows so imagine my surprise when I saw a snowman on a neighbor's lawn. Haha.

If you do a daily blog you might like to sign up for and join up with other daily bloggers.

My craft 'to do' list is here:
Knit Sleeve
Make a glamor photo area
Sew in ends on leaf scarf and flower scarf
Make yarn box for my daughter
Finish Knifty Knitter Scarf
Wrap New Year's Day gifts

That should keep me busy. Plus I have to drop off a truck for servicing, clean the house for company, and then go out to dinner for sushi. I don't usually eat sushi but they have plenty of other things I love like green tea ice cream, tempura, crepes, and about 8 kinds of shrimp.