Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cross-stitch Bison

Yesterday I took a day off. My hands have been hurting like crazy, particularly my left one. I can't even turn a doorknob without pain. So I avoided all knitting, dishes, crochet, and heavy typing. My hands feel less stiff today but still painful when I try to grab heavy things like frying pans or bags of  laundry. I did do a bit of cross stitch last night. I worked on my bison. I'm thinking of making  it into a cross stitch picture frame with animals around the border. It would be a good gift for a man who likes to hunt, camp or fish. It's on beige aida cloth. I'm not sure how to turn it into a frame, but I'll figure it out.

I have to take it easy with my hands again today. Tomorrow is our Stitch-n-Bitch so I hope I can do something there.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spiral Necklace

I fell in love with these glass spiral focal beads. Being a hypnotist, I have a thing for spirals. I just listed it in my Etsy shop last night. I know I have a red one somewhere too. I'm not sure if it's on a half finished necklace somewhere. My beads need organizing. I was talking to Matt Nix of Nix creations last night. He has something like 38,000 followers on Twitter. I wish I did. I don't think I have even 1000.  Do you twitter? I think my follow twitter button is over in the side bar if you want to follow me.

I've also been knitting a pixie hat in maize colored yarn with little baby blue and white flowers. I should have that done soon. This Sunday is our stitch-n-bitch in Fountain Valley CA, so if I don't get it finished before then I'll take it to that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sewing and Rain

We knew rain was on the way, so I spent as much time outdoors today as I could. First I got my juggling practice in. Then I started a cross-stitch project that's super portable and took it out to the garage. I'm making a bison. It's little and will be a magnet or something. I want to offer more cross-stitch in my Etsy shops, and big projects aren't practical. They take forever and no one is going to pay for the hours spent making little x's. So the next best thing is little things like bookmarks, pendants, magnets, and so on.

I also worked on my Purple and Black Attack slouch hat in crochet. That's coming along but I just wasn't in the mood for crochet today. My boyfriend is out in the garage sewing on his industrial Mitsubishi machine. He's making bowsocks for bows (archery). It started to sprinkle so we came in for lunch. Now it's raining pretty good and gettting dark, but he just went out to sew again. I might go out too, but in the dark I can't do much. The only good lighting in the garage is the one right over his sewing machine.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Assorted Crafts

Crocheting a slouch hat

Alphabet and Barnyard Sampler

Time to crochet with another color

Heart motif in knitting

Working on a cross stitched cow

Beads beads beads for a beaded collar.

It was a fruitful weekend and I got a lot done. But I also bought myself even more work to do. Here are some photos I took of my current projects. Just to show you how much photographs can vary, those two hats are the same hat, taken outdoors in natural lighting one day apart with the same camera by the same photographer. So remember when you order on line, you can't be too in love with the computer monitor version of what you are buying. Don't be mad at the artist if the hat that looked hot pink on line may be cherry pink, rose pink or fuschia when you get it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Beadwork and Embroidery

This is our fourth rainy day in a row. So I've been focusing on beadwork and embroidery. I've gotten more done on a sampler I've been working on over a year now. Every time I put projects away I forget they exist. Anyway, this one has barnyard animals and the alphabet and flowers and hearts. It's cross stitch embroidery.

I'm also working hard on some beadwok brooches. I got some more super suede yesterday in other colors. Tired of working on green I guess.

And I got the two retro dress patterns that I wish I'd bought when I went shopping a week ago. At least they were still on sale for .99 so no loss there.

What I'm not doing very good at is actually finishing projects to put in my Etsy shops. I must be allergic to finishing things. Sometimes I just don't have the technical skills to finish it. I don't know what to do next.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Beaded Pendants and Brooches

I've decided to make some smaller beaded items so I can finish them faster, get them into my Etsy shop sooner, and of course since I can do them with fewer beads and less time, I can offer them for a lower price. Beadwork is labor intensive, which is why it usually carries a high price tag. It may take 5 minutes to cut out a heart brooch, but 50 hours to sew all the beads onto it and finish it with a cord to hang from. And of course some beads are very pricey.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


At our paleoplanet gathering last Sunday, we knew rain was on the way, but we went anyway and had half a day to work on archery projects. I took my spinning and my beadwork. After about 2 it started to drizzle so most of us headed home.

I'm glad I got to enjoy the outdoors on Sunday because is poured all day Monday. We spent the day slogging around in the rain. We had to go to JoAnn's to get more serger thread for the bow socks. When you are serging all the raw edges of about 40 canvas bow socks, you go through a lot of thread. Then they have to be dyed, sewn together and so forth. We need to have them ready for a craft thing in Feb.

Wool on a drop spindle

A bolo made of cordage and metal nuts.

Learning to shoot a bow

Freeform necklace

Tom doing knapping

Alex making a bow

Friday, January 15, 2010

Working on My Gourd Drum

This is my 700th post to this blog. Amazing. I guess I have more persistance than I thought.
Today I worked on my gourd drum. I had to level the top and the bottom and clean more gunk out of the insides. I still have a ways to go but my hands wore out before my work was finished. Tomorrow is another day. We're expecting a rainstorm, so I wanted to get as much outdoor work done as possible.

I also worked on more spinning with the drop spindle. I need to figure out what to use for bobbins so I can ply 2 strands together.

One of the sellers I know from the Etsy chatroom is 2 sales away from 5,000. Amazing. She sells hand painted yarns and stitch markers.

She said it gets easier after the first 100 sales. I'd sure like to find out if that's true. Ah well, it's almost midnight so I'm off to make my bed, if I can get Rocky the cat to find a new sleeping spot.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gourds Galore

A surprise rain storm crept in on us at 4 AM last night. It was still raining when I got up at 8. Luckily we didn't leave any power tools or recently dyed gourds out on the patio last night. I'm really glad I brought my new gourd doll with the wool hair inside the house. I thought we might drive out to the gourd farm today to hit their sale one more time, but maybe not, if it's going to be a rainy day.

Here are some of the photos I took of Guy's future gourd drums and mini drums and salt cellars. I took these yesterday.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Gourd Doll

I glued the wool hair on my gourd doll today. I barely made enough hair! I'd forgotten how much it takes. I dyed it blond with some lemon tea and onion skins in boiling water with some salt. I was hoping to spin some of the yarn too but only had enough for the hair. I had forgotten I should have finished the doll body, sprayed it with finish and then added the hair. It will be harder this way. But oh well.

Speaking of spinning, I made 2 drop spindles. I haven't given them a test drive yet. I may have to drill a hole for the wire hook at the top. I made a small hole with a bead reamer and glued the wire w/ super glue but I'm not sure it will hold. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sat. is Over

It is so hard to remember what my life was like before the Internet. When I didn't feel the need to check in all the time to see if there was any e-mail, or blogs to check on, or sales to look for, or words to look up. The Internet has become my library, my dictionary, my photo album, my entertainer, my accountant, my banker, and my weather station. It's so hard to just get up and walk away from it. I have 'one more thing' itis, feeling like I have to check one last website for something. Or post one more photo.

Here I find myself after midnight, and I haven't done my daily blog yet. I did take my daily self-portrait but it's still on the memory card. I'm too tired to even plug it in and post it.

I started the day with hat knitting, and in the afternoon I did some hat crocheting. I seem to be stuck in hatland. I just couldn't seem to get up any creative momentum today. I have a vague feeling I should be doing something more important and impressive, but what that might be I don't know. I'm beginning to feel like knitters and crocheters are a dime a dozen on Etsy. And so many are into making hats. Because hats can be made fast enough and with little enough yarn that you might even be able to make a profit if you sold one. (Compared to knitting a sweater or crocheting an afghan).

I like the convenience of knitting and crocheting. It's so much less energy than throwing and firing poetry, or making a soapstone statue. It may even be a form of procrastination that eats up my time so I can't do other forms of art. I do think it's a form of art; I just don't think it gets the respect it deserves.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Jewelry gourds and more gourd ideas.

This afternoon I got to work on some of the gourds we just bought. Lucky for us, there is a shoe repair shop half a block away and he sells leather dye, since I'd used up all the yellow dye on my last drum.

I cut the tops off four jewelry gourds today. I want to make them into necklaces that hold incense or spices. There is a learning curve to that. The first one I cut pretty crooked with the coping saw so I had to get some help. After a few tips I was able to cut the other tops off fairly straight and sand them smooth with a 4 in one file.

And here is a look at the snake gourds I got. I want to turn the v-shaped gourd into a harp. I keep picking projects that are beyond my skill level but how else will I grow as an artist?

Tonight we'll do some wood burning on the gourds as soon as I clear a table.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Crocheted Hat in Rainbow and Black

I'm working on a crocheted hat right now called a "Back and Forth Hat'. It's a stained glass effect with neon colors on the top and black on the sides. I think I have enough neon yarn left to do one more row on the sides to tie it all together. Hats are perfect for using up odd bits of yarn. And hats save me money. I wear them indoors and find I don't have to turn on the heater nearly as often. And of course I wear them outdoors too. You'll rarely see me without a hat. I don't wear them in the shower. Well, sometimes I do wear a shower cap so I guess I DO wear them in the shower. Awards

I am a member of YouSayToo and they are having awards right now. I have a thing for catapults and trebuchets anyway and one of the fun gifts they are giving away is a miniature catapult kit. And you know how I love to make things.
So I thought I'd put my name in the hat and try for their $1000 dream gift. What the heck, it's all for fun anyway. You can enter your blog too. The sign up page is here: . If I had $1000 I'd use it to get another vehicle. My 30 year old truck just isn't worth fixing anymore, and I've had to limit where my work takes me because of it.
I hope my blog brings a lot to the crafts community and encourages people to take time out each day for creativity. I blog almost daily and believe I'm worthy of winning.
Don't forget to enter your own blog.

Monday, January 04, 2010

A Trip to the Farm

We made a day trip out to the Welburn Gourd Farm today. It's about 100 miles each way. But today was their 50% off sale so we couldn't miss it. I got about $60 worth of gourds for $30. I got 2 snake gourds, and some gourds to make bongos and some smaller jewelry gourds. And four egg gourds. My main focus was to get the types of gourds that I didn't already have. When I got them home I made sure to put a label on each one so I wouldn't forget what I'd planned to make out of it.

The weather was gorgeous. The drive is through rolling hills and winding roads. We saw cows, squirrels, horses and a llama. It was good to get out of the city for the day.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Time Line

I thought just for fun I'm make a time line of my arts and crafts experience.

Grades 1-6
Mother taught me how to sew and cook and crochet.

Grades 7-8
Junior High
Classes in Cooking, Sewing, Mixed Media,
Father taught me to Knit

High School
Wheel thrown Pottery
Jewelry Lost Wax Casting

Jr. College
Art History
Fashion Illustration
Oil Painting
Life Drawing
Black and White Photography
Needlecrafts and Fiber Arts

After College
Private lessons in pottery
SCA classes in calligraphy, costuming, silk painting,
beadwork, dyeing, chainmaile, leathercraft

That's just a brief summary and doesn't include things I taught myself like block printing and macrame', gourd art and sculpture.

Salvation Army A Visit at Aunt Sally's

I did a little 'retail therapy' at the thrift store today. Salvation Army in Anaheim expanded into the vacant shop next door and doubled in size.  I scored with some brand new bandanas for .50 each. But my big find was a wooden set of canvas drawers that will be great for sorting craft supplies by color. Wooden frame with canvas drawers for $7.50. I almost bought a rocking horse for my grandson. I would have if I'd seen the red 50% off tag. But by the time I walked back to it, someone had already snagged it. I watched it go out the door. Ah well, maybe next time. If you love it, hang on to it!

Their prices are pretty irrational. The first wooden knife block I found was $21. An old man on the other end was looking at another one. He put it down and left. So I  picked it up to check the price and it was $2.00. Now I can take the steak knives out of the silverware drawer and have more room for table knives. Yes!

This Salvation Army also has tote bags. If you get one for .99 and use it, they take .25 off your purchase each time you use it thereafter.