Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July is Racing By in Craft Land

Hello out there in craft land. I’ve been busier than a long tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.
And my limited satellite bandwidth makes it hard to blog at all. I’m hoping to switch to something better but the company I am changing to has a 2 month wait for installing the service. Talk about a bad infrastructure out here.
Anyway, my newest project is a crocheted necklace made of flowers with 5 petals.  So far the colors are red, gray, cream and maybe I’ll add light purple.
In pottery I had a burst of creativity and made a bunch of things including little dish shapes for a rain chain, a dragon for my marionette show, a puffy box for storing paint brushes, a twisty vase for knitting needles, 2 marionette heads, 2 fairy doors and some doll faces and shoes. Holy cow I’m going to need to slow down and finish some things. I wanted to go yesterday but I coughed all night. Then I wanted to go today and woke up with a nasty migraine. Part of the slowdown is I have to give the studio staff a chance to fire everything.  There are many students now and piles of stuff to fire.
Also, I am doing embroidery on a denim apron. That is slow going because it makes my hands hurt. I need to start using a thimble (work smart not hard).  I just get lazy about it.
I also got some red bandanna fabric so I could sew an official country blouse, now that I live in the country. I haven’t decided on the pattern though. We shall see.

Now off I go to make all the things. Peace out. 

All the discs for the Rain Chain have been glazed and fired. I just need to assemble it.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Class Update

I'd like to fill up my craft classes in Lucerne Valley, CA, so here is the new information: Make sure you click on the Read More button at the bottom of the paragraph. A few lucky people got to take my Right Angle Weave Earring class for free. If you missed out you can still take it, but it is now $10. a session.
Right now I'm making a waiting list for the Brick Stitch Earrings.

Right Angle Weave Earrings made from Black and Red agate beads and crystal faceted beads. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Crafty Update

When I don't get enough sleep I don't feel like creating anything. We've had high winds which keep me awake at night. I worry about the chicks. If the power goes off the heat lamp will go off. Last night our water pump went off. I think the power blinked and flipped the breaker. But luckily the heat lamp on another circuit stayed on so the chicks were fine today. They are growing so fast! I had to build them a new brooder but did it for under $10 thanks to Pinterest.

I'm at the library so no pics. But when the first rolls around I'll have enough bandwidth to do Blogger at home.

I started a gauge square for knitted socks. The needles were too big so I got smaller needles. So I am ready to go as soon as I have a spare moment. The sock yarn is called Rusty Stripes.  Sock names are weird don't you think?

I've seen some cool home dec ideas on the Dottie Angel blog. I liked her collection of wall knick-nacks and was thinking of hanging up some mirrors when I stepped on the back of a mirror and cracked it. My cat knocked it off a pile of boxes. Naughty kitty. And he scratched me today when he flung himself into my arms. Left a 1 inch gash right through my sweater on my left arm by my elbow. He needs to be an outdoor kitty but there are too many predators out there.

Just today I had to relocate a squirrel. And I think we have feral kitties in one of our old storage buildings. So that is a whole new problem in our yard.

My library time is up in 8 minutes, so I guess I am out of here. Maybe I'll go have a peanut butter milkshake at Cafe 247. And lunch. It's already 3 PM. Bye bye.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Voodoo Doll Made With Cotton Yarn

Yesterday was my busiest craft day in a long while. I went to Fanciwerks from 10 to 5 to meet with local fiber artists. I had planned to work on 3 or 4 projects but then I got into knitting my voodoo doll and I wanted to finish it. It seems like it has been so long since I finished a knitting project. I can't believe I ran out of time! So I didn't quite get the heart in the right place. Today I had to cut it off and re-position it. But I am satisfied now.

The debate rages on as to whether (in the USA) you can buy a craft pattern, make the item and then sell it. I don't think it would be a very nice thing to do, but lately I've been reading about how it won't hold up in court. Especially if you used a different color of yarn, yadda yadda. I don't know, and I wish I could sell these but I won't. But I do have some idea for new dolls based on big head, small body.

A lot of artists are now saying why buy the pattern at all, if your hands are tied as far as selling it? Just another can of worms caused by the Internet.

Yesterday I felt like I was in an awkward position. One of the knitters had made a beautiful sweater from a pattern in a magazine. She offered to copy the  pattern and give it to all of us. She was counting hands to see who wanted it. I said I'll have to pass because of copyright issues. The rest of them said I was incorrect. Well, magazines are copyrighted last I checked, as is the pattern. Whether the designer holds the copyright or the magazine does, I'm sure someone does. Yes, even if it is an old magazine.

None of us like these rules when they are not in our favor. But as a knitwear designer, when I sell a pattern, I would want to protect my rights. And so I want to protect the rights of other artists everywhere.

After knitting, I went to Burning House and worked on my marionettes and my rain chain. I had a lovely talk with some of the people there about hypnosis and metaphysics. And I got four of my pots back that had been fired last week. So a productive day all around.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Ceramic Rain Chain

Today I started a new project I've wanted to do for awhile. It's called a rain chain and I learned about them on Pinterest. I'm making little dishes out of my white paper clay. Then they will be sorted by size and linked together with beads and chains to make a rain chain that goes from my eves to the ground. Considering the wind out here I think I'll sink it into a bucket of cement in the ground. I've never made anything like this before. I'm excited.

I'll take them to pottery class tomorrow and make some more.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Knitting in Lucerne Valley, CA

 Spring has arrived at my home in Lucerne Valley. In spite of the chickens trying to eat these daffodils when they first sprouted, they've managed to bloom.

Moonrise in Lucerne Valley CA
 I'm enjoying the perfect weather before the blasting heat of summer arrives. We have a very short spring here. And it is still winter according to the calendar. I bought a red pear tree to plant as well as 2 olive trees. The olive trees are different varieties and will cross-pollinate each other. The label promises more and better fruit if you do it that way.

I think this photo will be a good reference for a future painting.

The sunsets here are often spectacular.

Northern Lights Cowl folded in half.
 A nice knitted cowl to stave off the cold.  With much of the U.S. still covered in snow, I'm sure someone out there needs this so it is going in my Etsy shop.

Pretty cowl (neck scarf loop) to keep the chill off.
 The cowl in it's normal width.  Hand knitted in acrylic yarn. The name of the yarn is Northern Lights.
A view of Lucerne Valley, CA at sunset.

The view from my front yard.
I hope some of the Joshua trees bloom this year but I don't see any buds yet. They have huge white flowers.  They don't bloom every year and we didn't get much rain this year.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Making a Gelatin Printing Plate

I just poured my first Gelli plate for printmaking. The directions should have been simple, but there is a discrepancy between how many packets of gelatin to add to the mix. It says '7 1 oz packets' but the whole box weighs 1 oz and has 4 packets. So as per the directions I have to let it set overnight. I wanted it to be twice as thick so I will double the recipe next time. I don't have enough glycerin right now to do another batch. I made my best guess and we'll see how it turns out. Also, the new clear acrylic frame I'm using as a mold wasn't really flat on top when I opened it. It was slightly convex. So I hope it all comes out. I think that is why I've been procrastinating. The instructions are a bit ambiguous.

Friday, February 06, 2015

One Inch Square (Inchie) Art

Today I figured I was well enough to get back to the business of being an artist. I was dying to get started on several projects. The first one is making an Inchie Art Embroidery Piece. I'm doing my best to stick to a natural color scheme (white, brown, tan, muted tones). So I pre-washed and ironed some thin muslin. Part of this I dyed in a coffee bath. Part of it I left natural and hung to dry. Then I ironed it and drew a grid of 1" squares on it.  If this was going to be my final piece, I would just embroider every square. But since I rarely do things the easy way, I'm going to cut out and hem each piece, so in reality, only some of the squares will have embroidery or embellishments on them. The rest of the squares will be part of the seam allowances. This muslin was very thin so I doubled it to make a better foundation for the embroidery.

My first square is a little brown sheep. The second one is a bit of pink ribbon. The third one is a button sunflower. Some of the squares will be set on the diagonal, and some will be horizontal.

My kitten thought it was playtime and he really interfered with me getting much done.  Then we both took a nap.  The coffee dyed fabric should be dry now so I'll go bring that in and iron it.

Ready for embroidery and embellishing.

One inch grid on muslin.
Brown sheep with button head. I tried to hold the button on with French knots but it just popped right off.
I think I can do better.

Button sunflower, brown sheep, and pink ribbon.  I'm looking for just the right thing to put on the ribbon inchie.

Button sunflower on the diagonal.

The 2nd project is a primitive doll or prim. That was why I bought the coffee in the first place. So I also threw the doll's face into the boiling coffee.  She's hanging out on the line too.
Polly Pyewacket before coffee bath.
After being boiled in coffee. I thought it would be much darker. I may have to bake it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My View On Multiple Projects For Knitters & Crocheters

Multiple Projects

When I am in my pottery workshop it is impractical to make just one pot from start to finish.
If I throw a pot today, it will be wet for at least a week. It has to be covered in plastic and dried slowly so it doesn't crack. Then it has to be trimmed, then left to dry, then fired, then glazed, then fired again at least once. The whole process might take a month or more. So during the rest of the workshop I’m not just going to sit there twiddling my thumbs. I’m going to throw another pot.

In oil painting, a painting may be too wet to do anything else that day. It must be left to dry another week or so. In the meantime, I will start another painting. In a week or two I may have a dozen paintings in various stages of being finished. Sometimes I won’t know what to do next. Or I might have a commission to finish. Or a birthday deadline. Or maybe that painting just wasn't working out to begin with and needs to be painted over. Or I may not have the skill level to finish it at this time.
But for some reason when it comes to knitting and crocheting, the artist often feels they must finish one thing at a time from start to finish. They punish themselves by not allowing themselves to start anything new. Often their current project begins to bore them and grinds to a halt. Or they can’t go on because they broke or lost a needle or a hook.  Or the project has so many mistakes they can’t bear to pick it up again. Or maybe they realize they didn't charge enough and have lost their motivation. Or they don’t have the skills yet to finish.

No matter the reason it is always good to have another project on stand-by. I like to keep one mindless project I can grab if I am going to be stuck at an auto mechanic or a doctor’s office or a train ride. I switch off between knitting and crocheting because each uses different muscles and my hands don’t get so many repetitive injuries. I like to keep a hard project handy so I can improve my skills and not get stuck in a rut. And I like to keep something super fun handy, like crocheting teddy bears, so that when I just want to relax and have fun that’s my go-to project. And I have seasonal projects going, like hearts for Valentine’s Day or potholders for wedding presents. And now I’ve learned the hard way to always have a prayer shawl in the works long before its needed. Oh, and a charity project. I think I’d kill my creativity if I stuck to one thing from beginning to end. I’d go bonkers! I’m not saying you should start 100 projects and not finish anything.  I’m saying it is not unreasonable to have 5 or 6 going at any one time. 

I had to stop working on this because my cat always used to pounce me and then we lost the cat so it made me too sad to work on it. I just started working on it again this week.

My current favorite project is this Hitchhiker Scarf from Ravelry

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Crocheted Magenta Hat

It is rare that I start and finish a project in the same day, much less the same evening.  But I just whipped up a magenta hat.  It started as a beanie, then wanted to be a slouch cap, but that didn't really happen so now it's a rather long beanie. I rather like the way it came out, or maybe I'm just tired and delusional!  It is now just past midnight so I think I'll wrap things up and go to bed.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Overcoming Creative Block

First, you immediately stop doing anything creative. If possible do something the complete opposite of whatever has you blocked. Since a lot of creativity is mental, it might be helpful to take up something physical. Perhaps a daily walk, or going bowling with friends or taking your tennis racket out of mothballs. 

If you have health issues that are causing you pain, that can also kill your creativity, so deal with those if possible. 

If you are grieving, making things can be an escape, but if you escape too much you aren't dealing with the thing causing you the grief. Allow yourself to experience that fully so you can perhaps gain some balance. Repressing things isn't healthy in the long run. 

Focus on any beauty you can find around you: The sunrise, the local zoo, photos on Pinterest or Flickr, your favorite happy movie. 

I find writing in a journal helpful. You can backtrack to when you first felt like you were losing your mojo. Was it when someone died? Was it when you felt like you weren't selling enough on Etsy? Was it when you gave up something you loved to focus on something that would sell? If you can figure out what went wrong, you can fix it. Sometimes it is just the doldrums, and this too shall pass. 

Also I find if I clean a table completely off, or clean my sewing area or clean my kitchen, I suddenly find myself ready to create something new in that space. Clutter can freeze up all your creative energy. Sweep out any corners with dead energy. I hope something I said helps.

Lastly, be kind to yourself. You are not a robot or a sweatshop. If you had a lot of deadlines before Christmas or a custom order, you probably have burn-out and should rest and do simple things that make you happy. Don't rush it. Sooner or later your creativity will come rushing back.
Hobby Lobby in Victorville, CA 

Monday, January 05, 2015

Crochet Projects on the Hook

Good morning. Since I don't want my new Mood Afghan 2015 project to take over my entire craft blog, I've made it it's very own page. Just click on the link.

I'm also working on the project I've come to think of as the Accidental Hat.  It was supposed to be a circular afghan.  But it was sitting next to my desk yelling at me "I want to be a hat." So guess what? Now I'm making it into a tam or a slouch cap or something. We'll see.

The Accidental Hat by Fayme Harper ©2015

Thursday, January 01, 2015

New Projects For a New Year

Some of my New Year's rituals have ended. Without a TV and with limited bandwidth, I no longer watch 'the ball drop' nor can I watch the Rose Parade. Those were pretty passive things to do anyway. Instead I decided to get started on my new free form crocheted afghan. I'll be doing a different color each day for a year. Then I'm going to start my brand new line of resin distressed jewelry, talismans, prayer boxes, amulets and pocket shrines.