Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Needle Punch is Not a Drink

For my birthday I ordered myself some fancy fibers for needle punch. Both the companies I ordered from are on vacation, so I won't get my present for a while. But I did ferret out my needle punch kit and started finishing a long overdue project of a little girl flying a red kite.  I had some trouble with the hoop. It doesn't fit anymore because the nap of the stitches is puffy.  So I need to get a bigger hoop. So since I couldn't work on that  project, I started a new one w/ a blue dragonfly. I'm a bit mystified that the needle threader that came with the needle punch isn't big enough to go through the needle punch loop. I can still do the stitches without threading it through, but the thread is in my way if I do that. Kind of a design flaw there. I need to find my old threaders because they actually worked.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Clay Doll Faces For Gourds

Welburn Gourd Farm in S. California
Tonight I tried making doll faces on gourds using air dried clay. I have a feeling they will shrink as they dry and need to be glued on to be permanent, but by drying them on the gourds I'm hoping they will at least fit right when I glue them on later. The surface of a gourd is very slick. I did sand it a bit hoping that will help adhesion.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so I won't get to work on the gourds outside much.  I brought two in to work on and made a face for each.

I did buy some paperclay once to try the same thing with, but I don't know where I put it or if it is past it's shelf life. A lot of art is trial and error. I'll let the clay faces dry overnight and see how they look in the morning. I don't know if I should cover them with a damp paper towel or wrap them in plastic so they don't dry too fast. If all else fails, I'll at least still have 2 intact gourds for future experiments.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Gourd Farm Trip

We had an excellent trip to the Welburn Gourd Farm in Fallbrook CA. I got enough gourds to make art dolls so I'll never need an imaginary friend again.
The recent rains left the roads muddy and we could see where some rock slides had been, but all was cleaned up as we drove through. I got a tad car sick with all the winding roads. But that quickly cleared up once I was on solid ground again.
I have a lot of gourd washing to do. The shapes I got will make good dolls, santas, snowmen, and birdhouses.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Little Whittling

I got an impromptu whittling lesson from one of our archers today.  Tom Mahr is 83 and still makes his own bows, knives and equipment.  He hikes over hill and dale shooting arrows.

I told him I was trying to carve roosters from branches. He knew exactly what I meant.  So he showed me some basic whittling techniques. Then he went to his truck and brought back a whittling knife.  It was made in Sweden.  Then he just gives me the knife.  Wow. So now I have no excuse to not learn how to whittle.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Year of the Rabbit

The Asian New Year is in February and it's going to be the Year of the Rabbit. I'm so excited I've already started posting rabbit stuff on my Zazzle*. In fact in the last 3 days I added a lot of new images including a deer tie, a Year of the Rabbit mug, and some beautiful items with pink camellias on them. I hope you will take a look. I love seeing my art on products. I get such a rush from it. I think the deer on the postage stamp is going to look great once it gets through their approval system. Most items get approved right away, but the postage stamps are stricter, for obvious reasons.

My First Doggy Shirt

Today was rough. I had to avoid the chatrooms because everywhere I went someone was yelling Merry Christmas in my face.  So I spent a lot of time on Zazzle posting new items. It took my mind off the insane holiday revelers.  This is my first item for a dog. I'm slowly getting the hang of Zazzle.  Lots of buttons to push.

I also finished a hat on the knitting loom today. I just hope it fits the kid I made it for as I don't actually know her.  I did it as a favor. If it doesn't fit I'll make her another one though.

On this special night may you have the freedom to follow whatever spiritual path you choose without others hitting you over the head with their beliefs.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Two New Blogs

Last night I started two new blogs. One is for art dolls and the other is for crafts that are made from things most people would have thrown away. 

Recycle Reduce Reuse For Artists

Please follow along if those topics interest you. I tend to write more in blogs that have more followers, so if you want more of what you like, make sure you follow the topical blogs of your choice.

I'm glad the "Pineapple Express" storm is over. It really did seem like it could rain pineapples it was so windy. No damage to my place, but the news is showing all kinds of flooded out cars and damaged homes. Mother Nature really beat up the Inland Empire.

We had a beautiful sunset tonight though.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Papercraft Star

Today I got to make an origami style interlocking star that I learned from a book. Someone gave me a Christmas present so I used the leftover gift wrap to make the star. I plan to glue the star to paper, and use it as a greeting card. I think the star could be made from fabric that keeps a crisp edge, like quilter's quality cotton. If made from fabric it would look great on a hat, scarf or the back of a vest, or maybe even a purse. I definitely want to explore the star thing further. It's made from 2" x 2" squares. I'll take photos soon when this rain stops.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Crafts I Love

I just posted a new craft article on Hubpages:

In other news, it was so windy and rainy last night that when I looked out my bedroom window this morning, one of the legs of the patio canopy had jumped a six foot wall. I thought the canopy was a goner for sure.  Only two of the legs had water jug weights tied on, but one had leaked all the water out and I guess the thing took a hop, skip and jump right over the fence.  We got it back into our own yard and weighted it down again.  And it was still raining then and it's still raining now.

So I'm going to heat up some of the ham and beans I cooked a few days ago.

Yesterday I spent a present of cash that I got at the art store. I finally got some gel medium. They don't carry the Golden brand so I got Liquidtex. I also got more bristol board for illumination, some wooden 'canvasses' for pyrography, and a set of wooden nesting dolls to paint.  They had so many things on sale, but the only thing I got on sale was some A.C.E.O. cards that are pre-cut. So how lazy is that?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rainy Day Again

It's been raining, raining, raining. And the weatherman said it's only going to get worse. Someone's cat bashed into our front window. Evidently the cat thought it could come inside out of the rain and maybe didn't see the glass in the darkness and the rain. Soon after the cat came the owner, who scooped him up and nagged him about running outside in the first place.

I was restless today. Our archery meeting was supposed to be today, so I had all this pent up energy.  I read some, worked on my dragon cross-stitch, studied a book on rubber stamping techniques, and posted new images to Zazzle.  Towards evening my boyfriend decided he wanted ice cream. When we walked to Dairy Queen, got our ice cream and then walked home, it wasn't raining. But soon after we sat on the couch, down came the rain again.

I also got a stubborn string of Christmas lights to work. Every time I got ready to chuck them into the trash, they'd work again. By the time I draped them over the door, they'd go out. I was about ready to throw them out of the nearest window when they started to work again.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

1000 ACEO's

I've decided to make 1000 A.C.E.O.'s. It's good to have goals. And I found they are useful for putting on Zazzle on things like greeting cards, stickers, postcards and t-shirts, so even if I never sell one on Etsy it doesn't matter. I've started a Flickr set for my ACEO's, in case anyone wants to see how I'm doing.

My friend just sold five paintings on another art site. I need to ask her which one it is, because I didn't think to bookmark it last night. I have one of her paintings. Before she became better known I bought it at a sale she had. Now her paintings go for $300 and up.

That is one advantage in doing fine art, as opposed to selling crocheted washcloths or tie dyed t-shirts.  A painting can one day jump from being worth $50, to $500 to $5000, where a washcloth will only be worth less and less as it wears out.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thoughts on Art and Artists

I've spent the better part of two hours working on a cross stitch design of a dragon while watching a TV program on the influence of Paris in the world of art. Fascinating show. Sure makes me glad that I took art history in college. It was useful to see how painting, composing, writing,  poetry, theater, and dance were all linked together through the various art movements including modernism, fauvism, cubism, impressionism, and dada. And it was great to see the comradeship between all these artists that hung out together in French cafes and rented studios within blocks of each other and lived in poverty but with great passion.  I feel like I'd be a better artist if I had a network of real life artists to hang out with in cafes and talk into the wee hours about the fine points of art.

Sometimes Etsy makes me sad when there seem to be hardly any artists in the chatrooms.  There are a lot of suppliers and vintage sellers and people that do assembly line style crafts. I get pretty excited when I meet actual artists that paint or draw or sculpt or forge or throw pottery. In fact I joined Etsy because I thought it was a place for artists to sell art.  And it is, but we are outnumbered by everyone else.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Altered Books

In a moment of serendipity at the library yesterday, I not only found an incredible book on Altered Books, It's called Altered Book Collage by Barbara Matthiessen ISBN 1-4027-1410-6. I also found the library sells used hardcover books for .50.  So I was able to pick up 10 books.  Eight will be turned into altered books, one was on Ghost Towns so I'm keeping it, and the other was in an Asian language, so I'm tearing out the pages to use in collages. All these books were meant for the discard pile, and who knows how long they've been sitting in the 'old books for sale' section. I'm guessing the popular books get snapped up right away and others just sit and sit.

I'm going to read all the books first, if I can, just in case.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Harry Potter Crafts and A.C.E.O.'s

I took Monday off to see the Harry Potter movie. I liked it better than the book. I just wish it didn't perpetuate the fear of snakes that is so irrational and prevalent in our society.  No spoilers here, so I'll move on.

As far as Potter knitting and such, I did like the coat/robe that Luna's father is wearing. Not sure if it's knitted or woven or what.  Anyone have an educated guess?

I've been working on a new batch of A.C.E.O.'s for my Etsy shop.  I'll put a few on Zibbet and Efreeme as well. I haven't listed any new A.C.E.O.s in ages, but I was in a painting mood. I made one with a martini glass, and one with some mousies. I am stamping on some of them with my new hand-carved eraser stamps. 

I'm looking forward to the day.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Strange Crafting Accident

Today started out okay. I rolled out of bed and started carving stamps.  Maybe carving stamps before breakfast was a bad idea, because the knife slipped and I gouged my thigh. First time in 30 years I've cut myself carving stamps.  First time ever. That's the last time I carve stamps on a table with slats. The angle was such that the knife cut right down the channel in the table and right into my thigh. If I had used a different table, or turned that table 90 degrees or worn pants or had my skirt pulled down over my knees, this wouldn't have happened.
On the plus side I did get some bird stamps carved that I rather like.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Eraser stamps and Printing With Found Objects

I spent a funderful day carving eraser stamps. To read more about those visit my stamp blog.

I also glued a bunch of odds and ends to foam core scraps to use for printing. I'm going to let them dry overnight just to be sure they are permanently glued on.
I can't wait to use them to make A.C.E.O.'s and cards and gift tags and a hundred other things. Since I was just about to send my holiday cards out and they were in the mail slot, I grabbed them and used my hand carved pine tree stamp to decorate all the envelopes.  So if you get a card from me, you just got a piece of original art as well. After I die it will be worth a fortune.

Now I'm going to visit my friends in the Etsy chatroom.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Printmaking With Found Objects

I just heard from my sewing buddy. She is under the weather so it may be awhile before we work together.

So today I got most of my holiday cards addressed and stamped.
The other day I was at Joann's flipping through a book on printing with found objects. so I decided to do a video on found object printing.  I hit my local under a dollar store and picked up erasers, paper clips, clothes pins, plastic lace placemats and other nifty things for the printing project. I really love printmaking and haven't gotten to do it much in the last 10 years.  So it's about time I did. So right off I did some printing on a get well card for a friend. I'll post the photos here if I can white out her address. I made the envelope too.

Then I worked out the design for the crocheted Special Olympics scarf.  Darn it all, I got it to my editor an hour late and she's gone for the weekend.  So much for getting up at 7 AM and working my butt off till 2 PM.  Sigh. If only the saving and uploading process didn't take so long.

In good news, Youtube has upgraded my account so now I can make 15 minute long videos.  It won't help for my sponsored tutorials, because the biggest file I can send them is 10 minutes.  But it will make vlogging a lot easier. Plus I do non-sponsored tutorials on other crafts, so I can use the 15 minutes.
But it's rather like winning a prize to get upgraded.  I'm not sure what they base it on...number of videos? Number of subscribers? Number of views.  Who knows.  Those crazy logorhythms.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Etsy Shop Updates

I'm happy to say that my grandson was finally born yesterday after sixty hours of labor, and now my brain is back to working again.

I'm knitting two hats on the knitting loom for presents.  I have them by my keyboard so I can work on them whenever my computer is lagging.

I also got two new listings posted on Etsy. One is the blue and gray baby hat I made on the loom, and the other is a snood I crocheted. Then it started to rain so I couldn't take any more photos.  But it feels good to have new stuff listed.

I also made an Etsy sale last night. One of my hooters sold. I'm sending it off to New York. I'm already making some more fluffly little hooter owls.

If any of you are on the fence with purchasing one of my Etsy items, don't wait too long. I'm hoping to have all new stuff in the new year, which means the other items won't be listed again once they expire. Last chance so to speak.  Then my relatives and friends will make out like bandits, because I'm going to start giving it away to make more room in my apartment for new stuff. I don't believe in Etsy sales, so once the items are gone, they are gone.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Still Waiting on Grandson

Would you believe my daughter still hasn't given birth yet? At least not as far as I know.  I called over there about 90 min. ago and no one has called me back yet.

I really can't concentrate on work with this hanging over my head. I was wide awake at 5 AM.  Just waiting for the phone to ring. Waiting to hear that baby and momma are safe and well. Sorry if I've been cranky in Etsy chat. I don't mean to take it out on you guys. My boyfriend says to take it easy and just think positive thoughts. Then again he's never had any children.

To kill time I thought I'd review my youtube tutorial comments.  The nice video I made thanking gearzforgutz for his cool robot creations on etsy got marked as spam by someone. I see lots of Etsians posting about the cool purchases they made and I don't see those marked as spam so what the heck? And can't I say on my Vlogs what I want to say? Sheesh.

Friday I had to remake one of my videos because I had a typo in the title. It's just not easy to remake one frame. I have to re-save the whole deal to my computer, and then put the video up again on youtube. I spelled knitting wrong. How embarrassing. LOL. Let's just say my mind isn't on my work, and won't be until my grandson makes it into the world.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Advent Calendar and Snood

I finished the tutorial for the snood today and got it posted to youtube.  I'm still struggling with the Advent calendar. I worked on videos for over 8 hours today and only got the one finished. On the Advent calendar I still have to sew on 14 of the pockets and add the numbers and the hanger. But I can't neglect the rest of my life.

About 5:30 PM my daughter called from the hospital. She's expecting to have her baby just after midnight on the very day I predicted she'd give birth. I thought she'd be excited about me predicting the birthdate, but she doesn't even remember. I put a star on my calendar on that day and my boyfriend remembers me saying Dec. 3rd would be the big day. Just yesterday I told my daughter I wish I was there, and she said come on up. And I said, "If you go into labor you'll already have a house full of people and no room for me.  She laughed and said it could be a month before the baby comes.  He wasn't due until Dec. 7.  But I told her a few days ago that he'd be showing up in a few days. But now I wish I had gone, even if I had to sleep on the lawn. The problem with trains is you can't grab one at 10 PM at night.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Knitting an Advent Calendar

I just got part one of my knitted advent calendar up on you tube here: I'm working on part two right now, because Advent starts today so I want people to be able to make it A.S.A.P. I've been working on it for over a week. I still have about 12 pockets to knit, then I need to sew all the pockets onto the background. Wheeeee!

It won't take you that long, because you have a tutorial to follow.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Scarf Designs For the Special Olympics Project Coming Soon

I just finished another bacon and egg scarf for a custom order. Today has been a whirl.  I have 3 new videos in the making but I didn't get any of them done today! The advent calendar is taking a long time as it has so many parts.  Twenty four pockets,  plus the background and backing and numbers. Come to think of it, it's still on the porch and it's dark now so I better go bring it back inside.  Sure can't video tape in the dark! Haha.

My editors asked me to come up with two scarf designs for the Special Olympics. I'm honored to be asked and will work on that as soon as I get all my custom orders done.

In other news, my grandson is due any day now, so I'm afraid to make too many commitments. I'm not sure yet if I'll be traveling 300 miles to see him or what exactly. Sometimes new parents need some alone time you know.  They don't necessarily want everyone showing up on their doorstep. As it is my other daughter and grandson will be staying with them as the birthing coach.
I do hope to see him for Christmas or at least New Years. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sca Heatherwyne Craft Fair

I'm back from the Heatherwine merchanting event in LaVerne. Sold quite a few arrows, some beef jerky and other archery related items.

Then I came home, rested a bit, and made some Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats to take to the Paleoplanet meeting in the morning. The recipe is on the Rice Krispy website.

I met another Kumi Himo person and got some more disks from her. That way if I want to teach  a friend or do a class I'll be ready.

From another seamstress I got 2 patterns.  One has Medieval dragons and lions on it for cross stitch or needlepoint.  The other is for blackwork and it an acorn pattern and a celtic knotwork pattern. The designs were inspired by a trip she took to England. She's also tried to find documentation on stick weaving and hasn't had any luck either.

Another woman who was vending has a range near San Diego. She was merchanting with her two daughters. They had all kinds of wool from their sheep and goats as well as some quilted items and hats and scarves.

Then they had the booth where people donating items that were gently used. I got a box full of quilting books for $5.  And I got a bag with 10 crochet hooks, some eyelets, some snaps and an eyelet setting tool for $3. I love bargains! Can you really have too many crochet hooks?

Tomorrow is our Paleoplanet gathering.  It's already rained tonight so I'm hoping the morning is storm free. I want to take my atlatl equipment and my juggling props, neither which will be useful in the rain.

I need to get to bed. Tomorrow is going to be another busy day.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Sold a Scarf, YAY.

I just sold something on Etsy. Yay, it is possible. I sold one of my almost famous bacon and egg scarves.But I won't even have time to look for it until Monday. Because I didn't find out about the sale until after midnight, and I'm leaving at 7 AM to do an SCA event on Sat, and then on Sunday I'll be at the archery workshop in Pasadena, CA and then to visit relatives. With any luck I'll be home by 10 PM and there is no way I'm tearing through boxes of inventory at  that time of night. Plus Sat. night after the SCA event I promised to make Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats for the archery meeting. Super busy weekend.  I'm glad I sold something but the timing is challenging.

Now to bed I go so I can get up early.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Time Management and Arts

My Tweeters and Hooters shop hasn't had any new additions lately so I started working on a new owl baby tonight. This one is a medium gray. I can't wait to add the eyes.

My video 'job' has eaten up bunches of my time so I'm behind on practically everything else. So I decided to limit the videos to four hours per day, because the task really was expanding to fit the time. It's hard to make four videos a week.  Especially if it's a bigger project.  For example if it's a tutorial on knitting a pillow, the videotaping only takes so long, but somewhere in there I actually have to knit, stuff and sew together the entire  pillow. The items don't just magically appear.  Right now I'm making a knitted advent calendar, and I'm barely into making the pockets, so it will have to be a two part video.

Also, I want to have time to make videos that aren't tutorials. I want to make some VLOG videos, and some comedy stuff, and maybe a puppet show. I guess I"m going to have to live with a little less money, because life is about balance. I quickly become frustrated if every motive revolves around money. In hindsite, the tutorials don't pay much if it takes me 20 hours a week to make 4 tutorials. That's barely $5 an hour, and sometimes they take me more than 20 hours a week. The 20 hour mark is the new cap I put on it.
And if the editor doesn't like it, and I have to start over, I make even less money. It was so much simpler when I only had myself to please.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh Holidays, Why Do You Muck With My Schedule So?

Today I got up early to make tutorials and it was too cold on the porch for my hands. I'm going to have to find some way to make tutorials indoors.

I did get started on a snood tutorial. Then I had an idea for a knitted advent calendar so my focus shifted.  Ack! Now I'm doing 10 things at once.

My boyfriend was going to make a turkey today and he just got back from the store. But then he decided to do it tomorrow instead, which is a relief because I don't really have time to go help him or clean the kitchen right now. Because I realized my editor probably has Thursday through Sunday off for the holiday, which means I need to get 4 tutorials in by Wednesday at the latest. It entails making the videos, saving them to my computer, then saving them to youtube, then sending my editor a copy, then she has to upload it to youtube.  All that waiting for uploads takes time. And then somewhere in there the editor has to also send it to the people that send me money. Yay money.

I also needed to get my autumn project up on the zombie nanner gang blog. I'll put a photo of my harvest pillow here for you guys to enjoy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cypress Craft Fair

It's a rainy day in CA. Two rainy days in a row in fact.

Yesterday I found out my friend Doris was doing a craft fair in nearby Cypress, so I went to see her crafts and lend support. I figured with the poor weather the turn-out would be poor.  I was wrong. The place was bustling, most of which was due to the fact that dance performances were going on so of course the parents showed up with their kids in costumes for the show. Rain or shine.

Doris said sales were good. Her son was there helping her with the details.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kumihimo and Beads

I just started a more advanced kumihimo project.  This one has 16 strands. Four of the strands have beads. The tricky part is getting the tube to form without losing the beads on the interior. The colors remind me of ocean waves. I picked out two pendants to hang from it. I haven't decided which one to use yet. We shall see. One is a fused glass square with lines of various colored glass across it.  The other is a collage of items.  I think it's got a key, a ball, some rhinestones and more. 

I didn't even think to get a green pendant to go with the cord I just finished.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Only Present I Need

I think I need to relax and quit worrying about all the things I am behind on. It takes the joy out of life. People expect so much during the holidays. Right now the only thing I'm really hoping and praying for is that my daughter gives birth in the least painful way possible to a healhy baby boy in the next few weeks.  That's all the Christmas, birthday and holiday presents I need right there in a nutshell.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crocheting and Zazzle

I just finished a tutorial on how to crochet around a metal circle. And I have the clips already of tomorrow's tutorial on how to make a mobile. I just ran out of time to link them all together.

Once I got that out of the way I worked on my Japanese Cord Braiding. I'm almost done with one I made in the Caidan colors. I just can't remember WHY I made one in the colors of Caid. What was I going to do with it?

I was hoping to work on my new leather quiver today, but wasn't feeling all that great. Leatherwork isn't the most forgiving medium, so it's not something I want to work on when I'm not feeling 100%.

Tonight I got some new items added to my Zazzle shop. And I'd even give you the link if I wasn't so tired. My Zazzle shop is called PersonalizeMe. I added some new postcard and postage stamp designs.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back From Camping

Did anyone miss me while I was out camping?
I'm back now and ready to share more crafts.
On the camp-out I got out my Japanese cord braiding kit and made some headway on my cord. It's been months since I worked on it so it was challenging figuring out how to start in the middle of the pattern.  But I think I got it squared away.  I want to finish this plain one so I can try some of the beaded ones in the book I bought a month ago.

I also used my knitting loom whenever my hands were warm enough and the light was good enough. I'm almost done with the black and yellow hat from my loom knitting tutorial. Then the below freezing nights got me going on a new knitting project for a loop scarf to cover my neck, ears, and head in the sleeping bag. I'll probably use it for my next tutorial. The only problem is I had to use the yarn I took with me, and I think it's not going to be enough.

I also forgot to take the box of  finished earrings I was planning to sell, so had to start from scratch. I made about 7 pairs.  Then I found out one of the archers was also selling peyote stitch earrings, only hers were $2 a pair.  She sold out of the $2.00 earrings. I sold nothing. So it was pretty much an exercise in futility.

Today I worked on the Japanese cord braiding some more. But mostly I was tired from unpacking the truck and doing the grocery shopping.  I also bruised my thumb pulling out a tent stake, so I had to lay off the crafts for the day. I have two band-aids on my thumb.

Only I could go to a four day archery event and not shoot a single arrow.
I thought I'd downloaded the photos, but then I found out I had my boyfriend's camera. My camera must still be out in the truck. Shows you how tired I am.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I-Cord Hair Ties

I guess I can only put one embedded video per post so here is the 2nd one for hair ties.

Knitting I-cord

My two latest knitting videos are about I-cord. I-cord can be used as ties on hats, belts, packages, and also as a decorative feature on hats and clothing. It's portable and easy and you can stock up on it to have on hand for knitted, crocheted and woven projects. You can use any medium to large double pointed knitting needle or even circular needles, though that's a bit more tedious. You can use worsted weight yarn, novelty yarns, fuzzy yarns, cotton, wool, or whatever looks interesting. Have fun making your faux dreads.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gene Foster Shoot

I'm glad to have some new followers this week. Sometimes I get followers that trickle in, but other times it could be months before anyone new follows. I'm not sure why that is, since I do social networking constantly. But if you just joined, welcome.

For those of you brilliant people that have been following me all along, I haven't forgotten you either. I don't feel so all alone when I see your smiling faces over there in the sidebar.

Today actually feels like autumn in S. California. I'm wearing a sweater in the house.
I am packing for another camping event. So I need to ferret out anything I own with long sleeves. I finally get to use some of those hats I've knitted and crocheted too. Last time I did a really poor job of packing and took mostly shirts and socks and nothing else.  It's a good thing we only stayed one night instead of the two we'd planned.  This campout is 3 nights. I hope I make it. As much as I love the 'concept' of camping, I just can't sleep through the night. Of course last time I went it poured all night and no one slept.  And it never fails, when I unzip the tent at 2 AM, 4 AM, 6 AM and 8 AM I wake my poor boyfriend up too. I'm seriously thinking of buying another tent and sleeping far from him.

I need to decide which projects to take. Last time I took a dozen projects and we only stayed 24 hours so I didn't get to do any of them. HA. Oh wait, I got to make 2 pairs of earrings.

Happy Veteran's Day to all you Vets out there. Thanks for serving. Here's a link to the archery event I'm going to. GENE FOSTER SHOOT

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Working on I-cord

Busy day. I made some I-Cord for two tutorials. The 2nd one is loading to youtube now. That took most of the day. I'm always amazed that it takes so long. Just stringing the bits together can take over an hour. Then an hour to save to my computer, 30 minutes to save to Youtube, 30 minutes to send to the editor. It all adds up with the minutes clicking away. And that doesn't count the time it takes to actually make the item the tutorial is about. I have a new respect for movie directors.

Normally I would have 4 days to finish 4 tutorials, but we are camping again this weekend so I only had two days to do the tutorials, one day to pack for the trip, then off we go.

So tonight I was going to relax in the Etsy chatroom, only there was only one person in the chatroom and they were away.  There was a 'featured seller' chat with about 7 people in it but I never go in those. So I went to the chatroom over at the Steampunk Empire. It was busy, but I didn't know anyone there and had nothing to add, so I only stayed a few minutes.

During a break today I worked on my yellow and black  hat on the knitting loom. I made some good progress on that but I don't think I'll have it done in time for the trip. I'm not sure when I decided to keep it instead of sell it.  My mind seems to make a lot of these decisions without me. It's not like I need another hat, but I really want to show off my new design, and wear it in public.
I saw a baby hat on Etsy that looked like it was made on a knitting loom, but when I asked the seller in chat she said, "I use many techniques."  That's craft lingo for 'I'm not sharing my secrets with you so I'm just going to be really vague." Shrugs.  I wasn't planning to steal her design...I've made hats just like that anyway. I just wanted to bond with another loom knitter.

You can be one of the first people to view my new I-cord tutorial.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Embellished "Gaia's Garden" T-shirt

Photos of the t-shirt I just mentioned. Blogger wouldn't let me post them earlier today so I have my fingers crossed.

Embroidered T-shirt is finally done.

I finished the t-shirt with beadwork, ribbon embroidery, crewel work and freeform embroidery today. I listed it in my new shop on

If you want to make a shop where you can list items for free, click on this link: Right now they'll pay you $5 if you list 20 items as an incentive. Which means I have 19 more items to list. I'm hoping to put some wire wrapped jewelry on there. But I ran out of daylight today so it will have to wait.

Embroidery and Beadwork on a T-shirt

I just posted my first item in my brand new efreeme shop.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Woodcraft Announces 7th Annual Veterans Day Turn for Troops Initiative

Woodcraft Announces 7th Annual Veterans Day Turn for Troops Initiative

I went to the Stanton Woodcraft store and made two pens today to donate to the troops. I'd never done it before but had 4 good teachers there. They kept six lathes turning all day as people with and without experience dropped it to turn a pen or two. They donated all the parts and tools, so without spending a dime out of my own pocket I learned a new skill and met some great people. They will be sending the pens to the troops in a week or two. Each of us put a note with the pens we made to make it more personal to the recipient.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

This Week's Tutorials

Soon I will have 1000 posts on my humble blog. That makes me happy. This is post 888.
I just joined a relatively new craft store site called My name over there is Vespertine. I haven't listed any items yet, but they let you list the first 50 for free. 

This week I made four new tutorials. They include a crocheted snowman pin, part 1 and 2 of an envelope hat knitted on a loom, and a how-to join crocheted granny squares tutorial. I'm not sure how long I can keep up the pace of four per week. Other things I used to do before I started this are falling behind. I'm not even going to do Nanowrimo this year because I just don't have enough hours in the day. For the same reason, I've listed hardly anything in my Etsy shops.

So why all the tutorials? A company is paying me a small stipend to add their links to my tutorials, and that is the only solid income I have right now. A bird in the hand so to speak. If I was making $100 or more a week on Etsy I wouldn't have to do the tutorials.  I'd rather sell art. But I'm glad for an income source and the people there have been super nice to me and appreciate what I do. There again, how often are my craft skills appreciated?  I'd almost do it just for the applause from my editors.

Just click on any of my videos on my blog and they will take you to my youtube account, where you can subscribe if you wish. If you want to comment on the videos, then befriend me on youtube, since I have it set to friend's only. That's because you know how youtube is...lots of haters out there and who needs that.
People comment more responsibly when they know you can remove them from your friend's list.

Enough rambling by me. Go create something epic.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Loom Hat

One of my readers wanted to know how to make a hat on the Knifty Knitter Long Looms. So I designed one yesterday and I really like it.  I used a round loom, but it's still a flat panel, so can be made on any of the KK Looms. The first one I made was baby size. Now I'm working on one in teenager size.  If it turns out I'll make a tutorial today.  I also figured out how to make two tassels at once, which saves time and makes them more even. I have a feeling I'm going to be making a lot of hats like this.

I keep forgetting to buy a doll to 'model' all my hats for photographs, since I don't have a baby handy. Kind of ironic considering 6 of my friends and my daughter are either pregnant or just gave birth. Unfortunately none of them live near me.

Please use my tutorials to make hats for your own personal use and as gifts to family and friends only. I'll be selling them in my Etsy shop, so please resist the urge to make a bunch to sell in your Etsy, Artfire, or wherever shop, craft fair, or local boutique. 

Monday, November 01, 2010

Gotta Love After Halloween Sales

I've found myself needing cheap wigs to display my handmade hats on, but also for youtube videos, especially vlogs, and for the improv comedy I want to get back into. So I was anxiously awaiting the  day after Halloween, when department stores slash their prices on Halloween items.

So now I am the happy owner of half a dozen wigs, some bizarre and amazing false eyelashes, and some tights I will repurpose into gloves.  And since they also put their Halloween t-shirts on sale, I got about 8 t-shirts for $2.50 each. Some didn't even fit me, but I can repurpose those into some awesome halter tops for summer.  And 3 colors of glitter hairspray.

Let's face it, if you are a witch, the best time to stock up on gothy style designs is around Halloween. I got bats, cats, witches, and a shirt that looks like Frankenstein's face.

The one thing I've been looking for since Nov. and never did find was a red wig. Ah well, there is always Ebay.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween My Little Witchlings

We came back early from Queen's Champion Archery. We got pretty soaked camping Friday night. We definitely need a more weatherproof tent. And we weren't making any sales because 80% of the attendees just saw us at an archery event last weekend. So all things considered we came home Sat. night instead of Sunday.

So once again I find myself without Halloween plans.  This is the first year in a long time I haven't done facepainting at Pumpkins on the Pier in Pismo Beach, CA. That's because with all the budget cuts, my job got cut.  They are sticking to volunteers to do all their facepainting at many county events these days.

So I decided to start a new art journal today. I was going to follow Willowing's free art course online, but her first lesson was the same lesson I already saw Suziblu do on youtube a year or so back, maybe two years. I was so disappointed in that, but I'll still do my own thing in a new art journal for November.

The Zombie Nanner Gang is doing a Thanksgiving theme this month with Pilgrims, or gourds, or what have you. So I'll be making 2 Thanksgiving tutorials for that I think. One for knitting and one for crochet. Maybe turkeys. Plus I should do a hard shelled gourd project, before all my gourds rot. I really shouldn't have left them out in the weather, but I have no more space indoors for storing things.

Today is a Sabbat for me and a holy day. Whatever the rest of you do today I hope you have fun. Stay safe, keep away from open flames, and share your treasures.

Friday, October 29, 2010

See You Monday~Happy Halloween!

Between getting ready for an SCA event this weekend, making videos of crochet and knitting projects, and getting ready for Halloween, I've been busier than a long tailed cat in  a room full of rocking chairs.
Cooking, cleaning, scrubbing, packing, and running errands.
Then I find out there is an 80% chance of rain on Saturday.

Since I won't be home on Halloween, I took down most of the porch decorations.  I don't want them walking off before I get home. I was hoping to set them up in our SCA camp but there is no room in the truck for anything excess. That's the problem with vending.  Shop stuff comes first, and the fun stuff I usually take to SCA events has to stay home.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Knitting Loom Flat Panel Tutorial

I just finished a loom knitting tutorial.

It shows how to get started on making a flat panel on a round knitting loom. If you have the KniftyKnitter looms this is the yellow one that is too big for a hat. Perhaps you never knew what to do with it before.

Three of my friends just had baby boys. And my daughter is expecting a boy too. So I need to make baby items. I better get busy.

New Knitting Loom Tutorial

I just finished a loom knitting tutorial.

It shows how to get started on making a flat panel on a round knitting loom. If you have the KniftyKnitter looms this is the yellow one that is too big for a hat. Perhaps you never knew what to do with it before.

Three of my friends just had baby boys. And my daughter is expecting a boy too. So I need to make baby items. I better get busy.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Five New Tutorials

I'm super busy today. I got 3 of my five tutorials finished this week. My first one was just added here: on AllFreeKnitting's new channel. I'm so excited. I'm about to send them a holiday scarf tutorial as well, but I have another foot to knit on it and I can't knit and type at the same time.

I'm enjoying this red/white/green variegated yarn. I've had it in my stash forever and I'm so happy it's going to be something lovely to sell or give to someone special.

My other two tutorials are on a Plarn Rain Hat and a crocheted jingle bell holiday scarf.

If I get the knitting one finished, I want to get on to finishing my pumpkin diorama today.  I'd dying to work on it, but had to get my paid work out of the way first.

I still have no plans for Halloween, but I may be out of town at an SCA event, so we'll see. Does SCA garb count as a Halloween costume if the event is on Halloween?

What are the rest of you doing for Halloween?

It's a bit mentally confusing to be making Christmas tutorials the week before Halloween. I keep having to shift my porch decorations.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Five New Tutorials Coming Out on Knitting and Crocheting and Crafts

My next five tutorials will be:
How to Purl
Quick and Easy Christmas Scarflette
Quick and Easy Crocheted Scarflette
Crocheted Plarn Rainhat
Skeletonized Mermaid Pumpkin Part 2

Hopefully they will be up on my Youtube channel by the weekend. Ambitious I know, since it's already Wed. Time flies when you're having fun.  Plus it's been raining for three days. So it's been a wee bit challenging since I do all my videos outside where the light is better.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Spiral Beadwork and Paleoplanet Meeting

Yesterday was a fantastic day at the archery range. I spent most of it talking to other artists and paleontologists and working on a beaded spiral vessel. One of the women from Beverly Hills wanted to buy the bead project right out of my hand. I tried to explain that it was part of a much bigger project but I could turn it into a brooch if she was serious.

Well she was serious but her husband put his foot down. So I handed her my business card, so who knows.

My friend Roland recently took up loom beading and made some amazing things. I'll post his photo here.
Lawyer by day, beader by night.

Boy using an atlatl to shoot at a cardboard mammoth

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Yay For Craft Days

Yesterday we went to spend the day with some friends to work on craft projects. She has a walking foot sewing machine, so Guy used that to sew up all his bow socks. It's much easier on her industrial machine. 

I worked on a peyote (gourd) stitch necklace.

Then we all helped our friend dye some canvas fabric for a line of backpacks she designed. The dyeing turned out to be quite the project with the four of us sharing in the mixing, stirring, rinsing and washing of about 5 yards of fabric in three colors. The process is too labor intensive to be practically. I have a feeling she'll just buy colored fabric from now on.

While some of us were on dye duty, Guy and our friend were in the kitchen making chicken stir fry, basmati rice, and a cake for dessert.

Then we had a little music jam session with piano, mandolin, ukelele, and drumming on a cast iron wok. That was pretty darn funny. It made me miss my own piano, which is buried somewhere in my living room.

My friend also gave me some camo flannel which I'm thinking would make a cool big-mouthed puppet.
We always have so much fun when we go over there.

I purposely left my camera at home so it wouldn't be a distraction.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Boy oh Boy oh Boy

Artistically speaking, today has been very productive. I finished my tutorial on crocheting a brooch with a doll's face on it. Then once that was uploaded and off to the editor, I made another tutorial on the pumpkin diorama project.  I finished part one of that. I'll load it up to youtube when I'm done using my computer.  The uploads are painfully slow so I can't do anything else while they are doing their thing, or they go even slower. I don't know how this computer can be even slower than my old one but it is. And still no word from the computer guy on when my memory will be ready. I don't want to keep calling him and bugging him, but seriously even if he bought it on Ebay shouldn't he have it by now? I think it's been 3 weeks.

Another one of my friends just had a baby boy.  That makes 2 friends who just had baby boys, and one that is in the hospital giving birth right now, and my daughter due in Dec. Whew, that's a lot of boys. I'm not sure if Chris is having a boy or a girl but she said she'd email us when she got home from the hospital.

I haven't met any of these new babies yet. Two of them might be at the archery range on Sunday, but I have a feeling just the daddies will come and the babies will stay home.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Upcoming Projects

I just gave my blog a make-over. I couldn't decide between autumn or winter so I went with ducks instead.  That's the way my mind works. Scary, isn't it. Well, I never claimed to be a linear thinker.
I took the background photo at Irvine Lake recently where I was painting. Lovely weather for painting outdoors lately.

Some of the projects I have coming up include more designs on the knitting loom, for all you loomers out there. And I want to design an amigurumi snowman so people can learn the basic body form. Once you know the form you can turn the same shape into a bunny, a cat, a panda, or many other animals. I have some white yarn sitting here that will be perfect. But first I have to finish knitting my baby pirate hat in black and white stripes with it.

I am also finishing up some beaded projects. I can't wait to finish some of these things so I can either wear them, gift them or sell them. They don't do much good sitting half finished in boxes.

Oh and I still have to decorate for Halloween. Sounds like I need to get off the magic box and go do some work.

If you don't follow my blog because you are reading the RSS feed somewhere else, please visit the main site and hit the follow button. It's only by your comments that I know what you are all interested in me talking about.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin Diorama Update

My pumpkin was dry from gluing the glitter inside. So I used purple and blue acrylic paints on the exterior. It took 2 coats.

I dyed some cheesecloth in tea and then streaked it with green fabric dye to make it look like tattered fins and fishing nets and seaweed with the light shining through it.

The upper mermaid body will be a small skeleton and the lower part will be a wire armature with cheesecloth tail fins over it.  The wire will make it poseable. I have some greenish blue fun fur that I'll use for mermaid's hair. And I hope I can find some seashells and maybe a starfish to decorate the interior.
I'm not sure what the mermaids will sit on. I could make a papier mache' rock. We'll see.

I picked up a pumpkin light with a cord at Joanne's. I can't wait to get it all assembled.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Carving a Rubbery Faux Pumpkin

My current project involves a fake pumpkin and some glitter. Here's a bit of a sneak peek.

After I get it all together, it will be a diorama with skeletonized mermaids. Right now I'm dyeing some cheesecloth in tea for the mermaid tails. I hope I can find a light for the inside at the hardware store. I melted a hole in the back of the pumpkin for the cord to go through.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Turning a Rubber Pumpkin into a Diorama

I never had much use for fake rubbery pumpkins, but when I saw some uber cool ones at Michael's this morning that were used as dioramas, I decided I had to give it a go. So I'm going to make an underwater scene with mermaids.  So I got the white version so I could paint purple/blue over it easily. The floral consultant said to cut it with a hot knife, so I'm going to use my woodburning tool to cut out the 'sea cave'. This is going to be fun. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 08, 2010

How to Crochet a Circle

Along with my new 'used' computer came a new movie making program called Movie Maker Live. I tried to get my 'How to Crochet a Circle' video in yesterday, but no matter what format I saved it in the file was too big to send to my editor using either or  My video uploaded to youtube just fine and was over 13 minutes long. But I can't get paid unless I can get it to the editor so I was losing my mind. There is definitely a learning curve with such things, and my deadline was choking me.

So I turned to the Internet and Youtube. After a dinner break I thought "What if I just download the old Movie Maker and make it on there." I raced home to try it only to find you can't put that on Windows 7.  Or can you?  Many videos later I found a guy that said you can run Windows Movie Maker 2.6 alongside Movie Maker Live.  Problem solved, or so I thought.  Even saving it on the old program made it to big to upload to my editor. So I gave up for the night.

This morning I realized the only way this was going to fly was if I did it in 2 parts.  So here it to make a Circle Parts One and Two.

As for me, I'm done tutorialing for the night. I just want to kick back and play with my friends.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Child's Tiara

I got some plastic beads today to make a tiara for my niece. She just had a birthday and I wish I'd thought of it sooner, but that's the way life goes sometimes.  I also got some tri beads, a type of plastic bead I used a lot as a child but got away from as I grew up and decided plastic beads were too cheesy. I'm rethinking that idea now because they have their uses in many children and holiday projects.

My boyfriend said he used to use tri beads in fishing on the leaders. So I guess they have their uses in fishing as well.

I also picked up some more storage bins for beads and doodads. Trying to keep my craft addiction under control requires more organizational DNA than I seem to have, but I keep trying.

I organized a bunch of bins in my house yesterday too so I could start working on home dec projects for my other blog.

Monday, October 04, 2010

My New Home Decorating Blog

To celebrate my new  home decorating blog that I've dubbed I'm giving away a pair of my hand beaded earrings to my first ten followers.

They will be sent to the U.S.A address of your choice.

You may request your favorite color of earrings.

To enter, go to the blog, hit the follow button in the right side bar, and leave a comment under the first welcome post.

And by the way, ArtTales already did so and she didn't even know about the give-away, so she wins the first pair if she sends me her address to Woot!

Rain and Murphy's Law

Yesterday and today I was working on some earrings for a friend. And I had to rearrange everything on the patio three days in a row. So now I have a bit of a pinched nerve issue in my left shoulder blade area. I've had those before in that very same spot.

The first time I moved everything was because I woke up to thunder, and ran outside to move all our projects so they wouldn't get wet.  Then it never rained. 

That night the landlord called at bedtime to say he was sending a crew first thing in the morning to cut down a giant tree that overhangs our patio.  Well, wouldn't you know it, the gardeners decided to drag the whole tree through our narrow back yard, so we had to move everything we could out of harms way. 

So on the third day we put a few things back like the canopy, the work table and a few bins. So of course I woke up to rain, so everything I was trying to get out of the rain in the first place got soaked.  Sigh. It's raining right now; the first rain I can remember since last autumn.

I've had to hold off on making videos too. This computer is out of memory. I thought I was going to get another used computer yesterday, but the guy changed the pick up time to today. So hopefully by tomorrow I can finish the two crochet tutorials I was right in the middle of.  One is on how to crochet in a circle, and the other is a crocheted beaded brooch with a face on it.  I hope to make a third one with a necklace.  

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Are Your Photos Having Trouble Loading?

I've been so frustrated that the photo program on Blogger stopped working for me a few days ago. Then this morning I had an idea.  I cleared my cache and my cookies.  Then I restarted Blogger, and now the photo uploader is working again. So if any of you are having the same issue, give it a try. I also had to learn how to clear my cache and cookies on Firefox.  So I found a tutorial for that on youtube. The first set of instructions was exactly right. The second set was off a bit but I figured it out. I think Foxfire must have reconfigured that option a little.

The crocheted doll face brooch I'm making a tutorial for today.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Use Blogger to Help You Meet Deadlines

I made a private blog to keep my to-do lists on. It works out very well. I can always find it. It's easy to edit and check off done items. It's easy to cut and paste any unfinished items to the next day. I can even set up tickler posts to appear months later w/ dr.s appts. and stuff.  I've used it for about 3 weeks now and it works great.  Since I post to blogger daily anyway it's easy to get to. I just wish I'd thought of it years ago.

And today I found out another use for it. You know those random ideas you think up but if you don't write them down, you'll probably forget?  Now I title a post IDEAS and put them all in there. I tag it IDEAS.  Then later, I'll just do a tag search and all my ideas will pop up when I actually have time to work on them. Cool eh?

Farmer's Almanac

Soon my apple head photo will appear on this Farmer's Almanac page. I'm so excited.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Good Reason to Learn to Sew

Blogger is being a putz today and not letting me upload any photos. It's a new week and I'm excited to watch autumn unfold. My friends are getting ready for Great Western War. I wish the SCA hadn't moved it so far away from my house. I used to go every year when it was in the Pomona area. Now it's just further away than my old truck can handle.

One of my friends is moving back east to her old stomping grounds so she had a yard sale. She gave me a bunch of yarn that I can use for charity. By her own admission she's a yarn snob but I'm more than happy to relieve her of any acrylic yarn she didn't want any more. I can always find a use for fiber, no matter the content. I even knit and crochet with plastic bags.

Speaking of which, yesterday I saw a documentary about the boycott against Forever 21.  They were basically running a sweatshop in Southern CA. Their workers were getting paid about $3.00 an hour or .19 for sewing each shirt. So if you sew your own clothes, or fix and remake the clothes you already have, then you know it wasn't made in a sweatshop environment. All the more reason to make your own clothing.

Even though the workers eventually won their lawsuit after 3 years, many of those jobs are now outsourced to sweatshops in other countries, so they won the battle but perhaps lost the war on garment industry greed. When the president of the company lives in Beverly Hills and the workers can't even afford an apartment, there's something wrong.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

SLO Plein Festival 2010

Last week I was up in San Luis Obispo and saw they were planning an En Plein Aire Festival. I couldn't be there for that, but in honor of it, I took my paints to a lake park in Irvine, CA and painted the ducks, geese, and tweety birds that came by. Then I got a treat and I had my camera ready when a flock of Canadian geese dropped by for a visit.

I finished the Plein Aire painting and started an semi-abstract dancer when my ride showed up. Time sure flies when I'm painting. What a beautiful day out and it was so cool in the shade. I didn't even realize how hot the day was until I got in the truck.

Check out the SLO event in the link above.  It is multiple days and locations and also has poetry and lectures set up.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I'm Amused

My new Zazzle icon buttons look like this.

Today I bought some animal crackers. I was in a chatroom and I mentioned to a man who is in China that I was feeding my inner child. Then he asked if I was pregnant. At first I thought he had confused me with my daughter, who is in fact pregnant, but how could he have known that.  Then I realized he didn't realize that 'feeding my inner child' was a metaphor. Something had definitely gotten lost in the translation.

I spent most of the last day and a half making two crochet tutorials. I'm glad to have that out of the way. My old computer isn't helping. It refuses to move things to CD's so I can free up memory to make more videos. It is fighting me tooth and nail. In fact it took over an hour and a half to save my new movie to the computer. Why so long? It used to take 30 minutes. By the time I got my second video in, the editor was long gone for the day. The work week was over.  I won't hear anything now until Monday.

What I really wanted to be doing was playing on Zazzle. Today I figured out how to make categories and add custom icons for each one. That was a lot of fun. I figure if I put in an hour a day on Zazzle, I'll soon have a very nice selection of merchandise.

It's already after midnight. One of my friends is moving back east and tomorrow is a big yard sale at her house. I'm supposed to be there at 7 AM. I don't think I'm going to make it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Zazzling Up a Storm Here

A lot of chatters on Etsy seem to love my creations but don't want to spend $20 or more. So I'm having a blast putting photos of my crafts on buttons and mugs and other things over on Zazzle this morning. So maybe if they can't afford the sock monkey, they can at least afford the photo of my sock monkey on a keychain, right? Or on a postage stamp or hat. I can't wait to see more of my art up on Zazzle. I feel almost famous.

Zazzle Take Two

make custom gifts at Zazzle
I made a Zazzle shop years ago and never did anything with it. Then someone told me tonight that she makes more on Zazzle than Etsy, so I thought I'd take another stab at it. I used to be on Cafe Press but at the time I didn't know how to handle computer graphics that well.  My friend said she gave up on Cafe Press after some changes in their terms of service took some of  the rights away from the artist.  I'm not sure exactly what she means, but I thought I'd try Zazzle again.

So my first item is a Redheel Sock monkey on a greeting card. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shopping in San Luis Obispo

I've been super busy up here in San Luis Obispo. But part of the time I was waiting for other people to give me a lift, so I got to browse quite a few shops in the downtown area.  I bought jewelry supplies and yarn at Beverly's on Higuera. And I thumbed through a lot of craft books at Beverly's and Barnes and Noble.  I got a book on Kumi braiding.  I wish I'd brought my foam disk, but I didn't think to.  So enjoying my new book will have to wait until I get home.

I got a baby cocoon crocheted for a photo shoot. And I got a pair of clear crystal earrings made for my daughter.  The minute I finished them she put them on. They looked so sparkly under the street lights.

I also got a crochet hook tonight. I only brought my size Q and I think I should crochet on the train tomorrow with a smaller hook and make something for the tutorials due by Friday.  One of the tutorials will be a candy corn hat that is half finished at home, and I haven't decided what the 2nd one will be.

Tonight I even caught a movie. I saw Eat, Pray and Love with Julia Roberts.  It just came out and I don't want to spoil it for anyone but during a few of the scenes I got all emotional and teared up.

I was sad to see that Cisco's has gone out of business and is replaced by a new restaurant called the Creeky Tiki.  I'm going to miss those great chef salads from Cisco's. Drat it all.

But on a positive note, there is a new yarn store by the Children's Museum.  I think it's called Nordic. They had some great self-striping yarn.

All in all it was a busy and productive weekend.  Tomorrow afternoon I'll be catching a train home, but before I do I'm doing a belly cast of my daughter's baby bump. That should be both challenging and fun.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

On The Train

The train trip was one of my best ever with spectacular views of the Pacific coastline at sunset with a wall of fog nested on the horizon.

I got half a baby cocoon finished in some pumpkin colored wool from Lion Brand before I ran out of yarn. I'm making is for a photographer to use for baby pictures.

Then I switched to knitting and continued on with a shrug I'm making. There is a lot of time for projects on a 6 hour train ride.

On the last bit of the journey I switched to wire weaving.  I'm making little wire pouches that I haven't debuted in my Etsy shops yet.  I'm looking forward to that.

So many projects, so little time.

Friday, September 17, 2010

And She's Off

This morning I sorted through a bunch of  yarn and knitting projects to figure out what would be most useful on my trip.

Then I did the same thing with beading projects.  I think I have myself organized, and the train leaves in less than 2 hours.

I'll be gone until Tuesday and may or may not be able to blog from San Luis Obispo.  It just depends on if anyone let's me use their computer or if I can find time to rent one in a coffee shop or something. I sure wish I had a laptop, but it would just be one more thing to carry on the train. I already have 2 suitcases, a tote bag, and a purse. Being a traveling artist isn't exactly a light way to go.

I need to figure out which shoes to take and then it's off to the Amtrak station. See you peeps later.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lost Jumbo Needle

I've discombobulated my bedroom looking for a jumbo knitting needle. I've lost my bed completely and still haven't found the needle. I need to take it with me on the train tomorrow. I found one needle with the knitting still on it but I'm baffled as to where the other one went.  I thought I knew exactly where it was.  Isn't that the way it works?

At least I found the key I need tomorrow after searching through three black purses. Maybe I should buy a red purse once in a while.

Anyway I'm beat and haven't even packed my suitcase yet. I'll have to do it tomorrow, since the rest of tonight will be spent trying to find my bed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Making a Squid Video in Two Parts

I spent another whole day on the 'Crochet a Squid' tutorial.  It's got to be the hardest project I ever tried to explain on video. I have 2 1/2 days sunk into it already. And that doesn't count the hour it's going to take to send it to the editor and the hour its going to take to upload both parts to Youtube. And even so there are parts that could have come out better. I just hope the editor doesn't send it back again. I don't think I could take it. I've had to redo so many parts of it already.

I have no control over background noises, so if you listen you can hear my neighbors laughing and tickling each other. You can hear sirens, car horns and the street sweeper going by. And you can hear the Christmas music from the ice cream truck.  (Rolls eyes). And through all that noise I'm trying to concentrate and figure out what to say next without putting my foot in my mouth. It's really easy to make continuity errors when you watch the same video clips too many times, so I hope I got everything in the right order. I hope it's all worth it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Candy Corn Hat and Gourd Water Vessel

Last night I had an idea.  I thought I'd make a candy corn hat, only in the slouchy hat pixie hat style.  So I found some white, yellow and orange yarn and started on that yesterday. I finished the white tip easily enough and then set to work on the orange middle.  I'm thinking of learning the crocheted ribbing I've seen on some TV shows to give the hat a stretchy brim. I've seen it used on socks, but why not on a hat?

Today I worked on the gourd drinking vessel. I finished the looping in the linen thread all the way to the bottom and wove in multiple ends.  I need to figure out if I want straps or a belt loop for carrying it. I like the belt loop idea but I'd need a button closure or something so I can take it off my belt to drink out of it. So far I've tried to keep everything natural, but it looks pretty bland to my clownish tastes. Maybe I'll add a few feathers for decoration.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Crochet an Inexpensive Halloween Bracelet

My new Halloween bracelet tutorial is up.  And I'm going to list the necklace one in a bit too. An original design by crochet designer Fayme Harper.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Beaded Spiral Vessel in Peyote Stitch

Part of being an artist is making things to sell and posting them somewhere people can find them.  I always have a to-do list as long as my arm

But perhaps even more important to me as an artist is learning new skills. I often find myself abandoning my carefully laid out to-do list to wander off and learn something new. Such was the case today when I saw some projects with beads in some of my many books and wanted to take a crack at some of them.  I found a spiral vessel in my Peyote stitch book. I gathered 12 different colors of beads in several types and sizes and set out to learn the new design.

It was a challenge.  The first attempt went off course in so many ways, but I learned enough to see the potential in it.  The second attempt went a lot better, but one of the bead choices was too large and not playing well with it's neighbors.  So I set that aside and started again.  This time I do believe it's going to turn out. This isn't the kind of project that can be finished in a day, and each round will have more and more beads, so this is going to take awhile. But here are some of the beginning photos for you to enjoy. You can click on the photos to see the larger ones.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Gourd Water Bottle Project and Social Networking Tips

With the change in the weather I feel like I have a lot more energy to do things. It was misty and cool today. Our first glimpse of autumn here in S. Cal. So I got to work outside on the patio. I worked on my gourd water bottle. I'm really getting the hang of the looped netting now so I can go about twice as fast as I used to. I'm getting better at weaving in the ends too.And my hands don't get as tired as they did when I was working with wire.

I made an Etsy chatroom today called 'Almost Famous' where we brainstormed free marketing tips. As much as I assume every Etsy seller knows about Flickr, Facebook and Twitter, many still do not know. And even if they know about those, do they know about Tumbler, Digg, Kaboodle, Plurk and other social networking sites? And I still think Youtube is the best way to go to gather a following of art fans. People just love to watch videos, the good, the bad, the weird and the ugly. And if you are clever you can loop all of those together so that Livejournal leads to facebook leads to Twitter, and so on. You can become your own publicity machine.
Hopefully everyone left the room with at least one good idea.  And I got a few more blog and twitter followers too.  So I hope to open that room regularly so people come to expect it.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Copper Wire Looping

My newest project is a piece of birch bark wrapped with the looping method I just learned. I used copper wire and a scallop shell so far. But my hands are still sore from yesterday so I'm going to have to leave it alone for today and do other things while my hands recover.

Maybe I will sew today instead and let the machine do the work. I still have an elephant to finish on the sewing machine.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

And They All Look Just the Same

I first heard this song in the '70's.  There are only two types of motivation. People either run to something or away from it. One of the reasons I'm an artist is because of this song. I didn't want to be one of those cubicle people who 'all look just the same.'

Friday, September 03, 2010

Gourd Water Bottle and Halloween Necklaces

Last night I started a gourd water bottle with the new looping technique I learned. The natural linen looks so good against the natural gourd surface.

I just listed the acid green Halloween necklace and bracelet set I made for a tutorial. Custom orders also available in acid green, orange, black or purple. Just try to get your order in before the end of Sept. so I have time to make it and do a good job before Halloween.

Right now I'm working with some birch bark and wire for some hanging botanical ornaments. The smaller ones can be worn as necklaces, and the larger pieces would look great hanging in a window, on an altar or over the mantle. Or  maybe dangling from a mirror. Anywhere you need a bit of nature and beauty.