Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hat Mania

Yesterday I went through about 650 self-portraits, many with hats, and I realized I haven't made a new hat in a while.  Autumn will be here soon and I'd love to have some new hats to show off.  In fact I'm thinking of giving many of my old hats to the thrift store to provide further motivation to make new ones. Do you have a favorite handmade hat? Is it knitted, crocheted, sewn, woven or what?

A hat made on a knitting loom.

Crocheted tam

Knitted hat and scarf

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Let's Make Self-Portraits

I started a new self-portrait group on Tumblr. I hope others who read this blog will too.  You just start a Tumblr for free, post your daily self-portrait, and then let me know so we can follow each other. Most people use a photo, but there is no reason you couldn't paint or collage or otherwise craft your self portrait. I've been doing self-portraits since 2008 on Flickr, but I'm tired of their limitations.  So this way I can post for free as many photos as I want. What a deal.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Starting a New Doll

I was at home working on dolls but the construction workers were using a tile saw right above me. At least I got my new clown doll listed on Etsy here. Then I packed it up and got a lift to the library where I am loving the peace and quiet. I worked on the latest doll. It doesn't have a personality yet. So far it's just a beige/orange head and body. The witch doll is on hold until I get some black yarn for her hat and hair. Then I should be able to finish her in about an hour.


My friend Carol introduced me to the Minecraft game. Frankly, without the Youtube tutorials on it, I'd be completely lost. Even so I wouldn't exactly say I'm picking it up very fast. But I see it's inspired a lot of knitting and crocheting projects. Everything is composed of square blocks, and those geometrical shapes translate easily into things like knitting, crocheting, quilting, cross-stich and other grids. Probably beadwork as well. I do my best not to sell things based on copyrighted items, but that doesn't mean I can't make gifts for other people based on video games like Minecraft. I'd love to buy the official version of the game, which is about $25, but I'm sure there are tons of other things more critical to spend money on right now, like rent. Also, it would be a big time suck. But for a creative person, it sure is fun to play games that challenge my mind. If you play it on line, it can be a multi-player game too.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Christmas and Crochet Hooks

I think it's already time to start working on Christmas crafts. The dreaded Christmas. I still want to make Halloween stuff. But my mind is trying to come up with Christmas ideas for tutorials. I'd love to think people come to my blog just to hear all about me, but most of the pages that get regular traffic are the ones with tutorials.

I also ran across a page yesterday on making creative coverings for crochet hooks. I've noticed that thicker hooks are easier on my aging hands.  So I think some sort of wrap in felting, polymer clay or cord wrapping will not only make my hooks look unique, but will make it easier for my hands to crochet longer without fatigue.  My boyfriend knows how to make cordage wraps on knife and tool handles so perhaps he will share his methods with me.  It will also keep the crochet hooks from rolling away if I set them on a desk or table. And at the end of the night, if I've loaned out my hooks to students, I'll be able to tell which ones are mine. So I want to try that from now on. Every hook should have it's own pajamas.

Christmas scarf I designed a year or two ago.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gypsy Circus Eclectic Potpourri.

I don't like putting all my eggs in one basket because you never know when a website will up and disappear or the provider will go out of business.  So even though I already have photos on Flickr, Blogger and Photobucket, I thought I'd make a Tumblr Photo Blog Portfolio. I called it Gypsy Circus Eclectic Potpourri. Come have a look if you get a chance.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Top Dead Center

When the humidity became unbearable I went back to the library for 4 hours today. I got a dragon painting done in watercolor on card stock. I'm not sure I like it yet. It needs detailing with a permanent pen when it's completely dry.

I was going to work on my doll but couldn't get in the mood. I'd like to finish it so I can start a new doll. When there are so many crafts to choose from it's so hard to decide which one gets my time. And I seem to run out of energy so quickly these days. Maybe I need to start talking vitamins again. I feel like the stress of life is just draining me dry. Sometimes it's a struggle just to brush my teeth, comb my hair, get dressed and get out the front door. When did this all become so hard?

A Night Out With the Knitters

I was showing someone my witch doll yesterday and how I still needed to make the hair and the hat and maybe a broomstick or a cat.  As I was tucking it away it suddenly dawned on her.  "Oh, you made that from scratch.  I thought you bought it that way and had to finish it." LOL  I guess like a kit. Not only did I make it, I didn't even use a pattern.  I want each doll to be different. I want to flex my creative muscles.

At any rate, I didn't take my reading glasses so sewing the doll was out of the question.  But I was able to work on the knitting as the double pointed needles are fairly large and it's just regular size yarn (worsted weight).

One of the women was working on embroidery over a silkscreened background print, and it was so beautiful.  It made me miss embroidery. Must get back to that soon. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Swimming and BBQ

I went to visit some creative friends. We got to go swimming.  I felt so relaxed afterwards.  I did get to work on my knitting a bit. I'm still knitting the jester hat. Then we had an amazing dinner with hamburgers, grilled corn, a zucchini casserole cooked in a dutch over, and some home made guacamole. Once again I took my juggling equipment and didn't juggle. It's still too hot and muggy.  The pool was as warm as bath water. I was so sleepy by 10 PM that it was a good thing I wasn't driving home.

Let's Make A Bow For Archery

Today was bow making day at Arroyo Seco and it was great to be out in nature. I stalked a squirrel and hopefully I got some good photos. I'll find out tomorrow when I find my camera. He didn't see me walk right up behind him and somehow I managed to take 3 photos before he spotted me in his peripheral vision and shot off like a rocket. Hope he doesn't need therapy. I wouldn't want him going nuts.
Getting ready to make board bows.

Gabriella finishes her first long bow.

Guy explaining how to make bows.

Splinters happen. Carry tweezers.

We had four new bow makers, all young women. Gabriella was also there and finished the bow she started 2 months ago. It came out lighter than she expected so it looks like she'll have to make a new bow. But it looks great and will make someone else the perfect bow. Ken and Barbara and little Jack couldn't make it.  Barbara is about to have a baby any day now, and going into labor 2 hours from home isn't really a risk they wanted to take. With any luck we'll get to see the new baby at the next meeting in a month, and if not then, maybe the following month.

Guy was busy every minute helping someone make a bowstring or string a bow or helping with the tillering. Busy busy busy.

I started knitting a jester hat. I only had brown with me, so I didn't get very far.  I didn't want to use too much brown because brown is just not a merry color.

Lizard sunning itself on the rocks.

I didn't take my juggling equipment because I thought it would be too hot.  Turns out it was just fine in the deep shade and I could have at least gotten 30 minutes of practice in. It's past my bedtime so I'll finish this tomorrow.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Watercolor for a Hot Summer Day

I think on a hot day, it's nice to watch watercolor tutorials. I like to read Tiffanny's art blog. And that's where I found a link to her tutorials.

This is part one. If you get through it click on part 2 over on Youtube.

And this one is just plain fun to watch:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Taking My Medicine

I've decided I can be bitter and blue and melancholy about the mess my life has become. Or I can laugh.  Laugh at life, and myself, and my serious pouty face. My mother used to say , "You look just like an old bullfrog." I mean, in the worst of times life is pretty ridiculous. We get all caught up in dramas and we miss out on the simple beauty in life. I thought I had it bad until I talked to a guy on line last night.  He may be going to jail.  He can't pay child support. He can't see his kids because they are in another state.  His wife was such a bad mother the state gave custody of the two kids to their grandparents.  The grandparents have a six figure income.  So now the guy may well go to jail because he has no job and can't pay child support, can't see his kids.  Lost his wife because she cheated on him and dumped him.

So in hind site, my life could be worse. My kids are grown and raising healthy children. They are happily married as far as I know. I'm not on my way to jail.  I don't even have living grandparents to put the screws to me. I'm coping. I'm doing what I can to fix my life. I'm counting my blessings. And I'm laughing. I'm going to crochet a new jester hat.  I'm going to put on silly make-up. And I'm going to dance and juggle and make jokes and get more humor into my life. I am going to be the bright moment in somebody's day. Even if I die tomorrow I'm going to put a smile on someone's face before I go. Because laughter is the best medicine.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Library Day

I've decided library days are a pretty good idea. I thought I'd get bored but I relish the chance to pick out a big clean table and sprawl.  The time just flies by.

So yesterday I escaped the heat at the library. After doing some reading, I went back to the kid's area because that room has the best light and the best work table. And today I was almost the only one in the area. I discovered the cartoon drawing books and I was in heaven. In fact once I got the arms sewn on the witch doll, I spent the rest of the time looking through the drawing books and came home with 5 or 6 of them.

So today I got some drawing done. If I live long enough, someday I'll be good at drawing. I just know it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Arrows Delivered

Sunday was archery practice on a day far too hot for my liking. But we got to deliver some beautiful arrows.

Arrows the color of fire on a day that feels like fire.

Jack and Guy share stories.

Getting new arrows makes people smile.

Off to shoot arrows.
Need to order arrows?  You can reach Guy at Greenman Archery. Remember they are all made by hand starting with a bare shaft, so allow plenty of time before your big event. Don't wait until you are down to five arrows.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Vintage Dress

My family dropped by to take me out to breakfast so I took more photos.  I lent my daughter my rhinestone setter because she was about to buy a Bedazzler. Her vintage dress is adorable.  She'd love for me or someone to sew her some more. I wish I'd get done moving already so I could start sewing again. 

Time With Family

We took my grandson to the library today and it sure was a lot more fun than going alone. He made a beeline to the computers. He's about 3 years old and he knew how to open the Disney site and get to the kid's games. The library closes early on Fridays though.

Then we went to the park and he met a little Asian boy that had 3 trucks and was happy to share (sorta).
It turned into a game of catch me if you can and he just couldn't keep up with the older kid.

It was nice to have a day off.  After the park we ate at Outback Steak House which was fabulous.

I decided to give the giant squid I crocheted for a Youtube tutorial to my grandson.  It sat around in my Etsy shop for awhile. I thought it was time for a new home.   He's sleeping with it at a motel tonight and I hope he enjoys playing with it in the car for the rest of their journey.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Heatwave Continues

I managed to spend most of the day yesterday at the Haskett Library in Anaheim CA.  It has great air-conditioning. I finished a vampire book, checked out more books, had an unhealthy lunch in their snack room, and worked on my witch doll. It made my day when a teenaged boy walked by and said, "Cool doll."

I can't hide at the library today though. I'm expecting my second oldest daughter and my first oldest grandson.

Side chignon for a hot day.

Happy I'm getting out of the heat.

End of summer self portrait.

I sewed the eyes on the wrong side of the doll.

The witch doll and her witchy maker.

Thursday, August 09, 2012


The heatwave and my current living situation has left me uninspired. I'm sure the people in the Inland Empire have it even worse. I don't miss living in Riverside, not at all. I don't miss the smog either. I do miss going to college there though.  Go Tigers! The heatwave is supposed to continue through Friday. I hope I can beg a ride to the library today. If so, I'll take my doll box and enjoy the comfort of library air conditioning for a few hours. I have a witch doll to finish.

I just joined a site called 'Copious' as well. Or view my profile on Copious. It uses social networking to help you market your items to people on your Facebook stream.  I haven't listed anything there yet; just exploring. Whatever you are doing today, stay cool. Make sure your pets have plenty of water they can't tip over and lots of shade they can reach no matter how they are tethered. And I'll go try to find my motivation.

This is the SCA device I am working on.  Only I want the stars to be purple and I haven't decided what color background I want.

Monday, August 06, 2012

String Keeper for Traditional Archery

This morning I am studying how to make a string keeper for archery. For those of you who don't do traditional archery, a bowstring kind of hangs on your bow when you are not using it and they tend to either get buried in the storage sleeve called a bow sock or they fall off and get tangled in your gear, or even worse, they get lost.  A string keeper is a handy little device that is like a cuff that goes over the tip of the bow, a string that gets threaded through the loop on the bowstring, and then a slider that snugs everything up neat and tidy. I have plenty of scrap leather so we'll see how it goes today. Usually they are made out of leather and maybe a bone or antler button, but I've seen one made out of beads. If I get one made today I'll post photos.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Designing a Witch Doll From Scratch

On a whim I started making a witch doll. That reminded me of Halloween and I suddenly realized that it's not too early to be finishing Halloween stuff to list in online shops.  Starting now I have one month to make the item, promote it everywhere and one month to have it listed so I have a chance to sell it to someone and ship it to them before Halloween.  Crafters have to think way ahead and I never quite get the hang of that.

Knit Ripple Stitches

I am still struggling with my knitting ripples book.  Yesterday I thought I'd about had it mastered, when I realized I'd dropped a stitch at some point. Today my hands are two tired to knit but I'd like to have a go at it again soon.

Crochet Techniques: Circle Into a Square

I am going to try this for my new granny square vest, maybe as the back of it. Do you know how to turn a crocheted circle into a square? I think it would break up the squares I already made and add more interest to the garment.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Fashion Collages

I will craft today. I will I will I will.  I've been working on some fashion collages for new tutorials. I have a bunch of photos to trim first, then glue down on the appropriate pages. There are so many themes it's bogging me down a bit, but oh so much fun. Unfortunately the pages are too big for my scanner so I'll have to figure out some way to take photos of them without flash glare. Challenges challenges.

Happy crafting.