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.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Crochet Tutorials for Halloween and My Gourd Water Bottle

Today I made not one, but two crochet tutorial videos. Unfortunately the company I made them for is also closed on Friday until next week for the holiday, so I can't post them until they get back to their desks. I never had to wait for someone to approve my videos before. This is going to take some getting used to. Anyway, one is for a Halloween bracelet and the other is for a Halloween necklace. I'll post the link here once they give me the go ahead.

After I had that wrapped up I finally got to work on my weaving using a technique called 'looping'. I cleaned out a bottle sized gourd, and got the guts out. It's going to be a water bottle. I'm covering the surface with linen 'looping', which will make it look artistic, and give it a grip for when it's full of water.  Gourds are natural insulators and will keep water cool while hiking. But they are also light weight which makes them perfect vessels for hauling along on archery quests. I think this is the first time I tried to make a water bottle.  My friends already made theirs long ago.

Weaving With Birch Bark

Today was very long and complicated. I spent part of it sorting arrow shafts by weight and spine. I thought I did a good job but I won't know for sure until tomorrow.

I really wanted to work on the looped weaving technique I learned yesterday, but other pressing matters interfered.  But when I get up in the morning, I hope to get busy on it. I need to find what the author calls a mold to do the looping over, and I'm going to try to use some of the birch bark Tom gave me. I think I need to soak it in water first, shape it, let it dry and then do the looping over it. We'll see. I have the book it's true, but I find it still takes some trial and error to get it all to work together.

I also want to get some exotic wood to make hair forks out of. I'm not an accomplished wood carver but hope springs eternal.