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.