Saturday, October 30, 2010

Terry's Earflap Hat

I've been working on a special hat for my husband lately - something that's warm for the predicted cold winter, and something that covers his ears. Which led me to choose the popular ear flap hat style. Here is is, finished:


This took quite a while, because my husband has a head that's larger than average. It was definitely worth the wait, fit perfectly, and he was thrilled with the results.
He did ask me to make it longer in the back, and I offered a solution: I could make a back panel that attaches with buttons or velcro. That way, it could act as a neck gaiter, and be removable when he finds it annoying (like when he's wearing a hooded sweatshirt with it - all that fabric back there will definitely make your neck warm, but would probably bunch up in the back, creating more of a hassle than a benefit.
He hasn't worn it outside yet, but after a couple minutes inside, his head was starting to sweat.
My work here is done. Kinda.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Howling Wolf Carved Pumpkin

I've always wanted to carve a howling wolf into my pumpkin. This year, I decided to finally do it, after I considered and rejected several other pumpkin designs (Among the contenders: Jack Rackham's jolly roger with crossed cutlasses, and a simple, elegant grim reaper). Next year, when we get our own house, I can carve to my heart's content, but living in an apartment has special challenges, namely the lack of space. The wild, roving packs of rabid kids that are native to this area are also an annoyance. They love to steal things, smash things, make noise, etc. I could only imagine what horrible fate will befall my pumpkin when I leave it out on Halloween night while I go to my awesome friend's Halloween party. Oh, well - I guess that's one way to learn impermanence.

Without further ado, here is my fabulous carved pumpkin:

pumpkin carving howling wolf

I hope everyone enjoys a safe and Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Candy Bags (continued)

My neighbor liked the two pumpkin bags so much...she had to "order" a couple. With me, "order" consists of her knocking on my door and asking, "How much would you charge to make a pumpkin candy bag?"

Here are my two newest creations:
pumpkin crochet bag

pumpkin crochet bag

I tried to make the faces different - just so that each child that gets one has a unique gift.

Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Candy Bags

Hello, blog readers!
For this terrific installment, I present to you, my newest creation:



I wanted to make something special for the little boys who live across the hall at my apartment complex. They are well-behaved little munchkins ( 2 and 4 years old, respectively), and I wanted to make something just for them.

To make these bags, I had to alter the Lion Brand pattern, Amigurumi Happy Pumpkin. I think you might have to create an account on the Lion Brand web site to see the pattern, although, looking at the finished results, it's worth it.
I stopped doing the pattern after row 14, and continued as follows:
15 - sc in ea sc around
16 - add in Brown, sc in ea sc around.
17 - ch 2, sc in 2nd st from hk. *ch2, sk1, sc in next st* continue working from * to * around.
18 - sc in next st. *1 sc in ch2 sp, sc in next 2sc* (continue from * to *around). sl st in beg sc. Fasten off.

Sc 90. Weave through loops on pumpkin stem. Tie ends together securely. Make a tassel out of A and B. Attach to cover cord join knot.

There are different ways for making tassels. How do I do it? I start by wrapping the yarn 5 times around the palm of my hand. Hold hand horizontally, with thumb sticking out. start with the yarn end at the bottom of your hand. Wind yarn around your hand 5 times, ending again at the bottom of your hand. Cut end of yarn. Then, cut yarn in half - by cutting through the strands at the bottom of your hand. Do this again with your other color.
Fold your yarn strands in half. Lay your cord on top of the yarn strands, below the folded side. Take the cut ends of the yarn, and pass it through the loop made by the folded side, over the top of the cord. Pull the cut ends tight. Voila! There's your tassel!
I found that the way I make tassels is called a 'fringe tassel.' Here is a video tutorial at YouTube to show you how:

If you prefer a more precise tassel, I found a terrific tutorial at Laughing Purple Goldfish Designs

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy my pumpkins!

Monday, October 18, 2010

How to care for acrylic paintings

I've decided to post on how to care for acrylic paintings, because I've had to offer up a couple of paintings for sale lately, and most people don't know how to properly care for a painting. I was going to write it myself, but I found a terrific guide on eHow on how to care for an acrylic painting, and thought "Why try to reinvent the wheel?"
Of course, professional framing and temperature control may be out of your league, but it is a terrific guide nonetheless!

1. Touch the painting as little as possible. The oils and dirt on your hands can make the paint deteriorate. Wash your hands before handling the painting, and wear cotton gloves when you have to touch it.
2. Handle the painting carefully. Take off accessories like rings or bracelets so you don't nick or tear the canvas. Carry the painting by holding it on its opposite sides with both hands. Don't carry it flat on top of your open palms.
3. Have the painting professionally framed with a glass front. This is not a job you should attempt to do yourself. The glass will help protect it from dust, dirt and moisture.
4. Store or display the painting in a place that is below room temperature. The top film on acrylic paint is already soft; keeping the painting at room temperature will further soften it. Install a thermostat in the room where the canvas is kept and monitor it daily.
5. Hang the painting where it will be best preserved. Don't place a painting over a fireplace mantel: The soot and heat can damage it. Even in non-wood fireplaces, you have the problem of a chimney conducting drafts and dampness into the room.
6. Keep the painting away from sources of heat, ultraviolet light, direct sunlight, dust, dampness and humidity. These elements can hasten the natural aging process of the paint and cause damage like prematurely faded colors or cracks.
7. Have a professional hang the painting. This means either placing a loop on either side of the top of the frame and suspending it with wire, or securing a wire to the back of the painting with a screw on either side. Don't hang the picture on a nail, because as the canvas weakens with age, the nail can push its way into it and dent the surface.
8. Periodically check the frame's hardware. Are the screws or wires loose? Is the frame coming unglued? Is the glass shifting within the frame? It's better to check and catch a loose wire than to come home and find a ripped painting because the glass front broke when it fell to the floor.

How to Care for Acrylic Paintings on

When I give an acrylic painting as a gift, I usually keep it simple:
1. Don't put the painting in a hot or humid place - the humidity can cause the paint to warp; the heat can make it soft and pliable, and more prone to damage.
2. Don't put it in a really cold place - the paint can crack.
3. Don't put it in direct sunlight - the paint will fade
4. If you need to clean it, use a dry cloth - again, dampness can degrade the paint.
5. Handle the painting carefully, touch it as little as possible...and wash your hands before you touch it, as skin oils attract dirt and dust, as well as accelerate the aging process of the paint.

Take good care of your acrylic paintings!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Crochet Edging for Blue Jeans - Revisited

Remember when I said that I would post a picture when the edging was sewn onto the blue jeans? Well, here ya go:

This is me, wearing the jeans. Sweet!

When I wore them, I got several compliments - "boy, I wish I could crochet!" and " Did you do that yourself?! Cool!" among others.

I want to give a shout-out to my awesome friend Bert, who sewed on the edging for me: I couldn't have done it without you! Thanks!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Buddha Necklace

I fell in love with the idea of this necklace when I seen the pattern - so I saved it for later use. I tend to break jewelry, so it is quite obvious, with little inspection, that I choose much of my jewelry for durability in addition to simplicity. Occasionally, I'll make a concession to "Oh, pretty!", and make something that exists to be beautiful and nothing more. I guess that this is one of those times.


I found the pendant and beads at Michael's Arts and Crafts, and bought it with my birthday money (sent by my awesome grandmas!) in September. The hole in the pendant is so small that it seems only wire or fishing line can get through it, which made me think of this pattern. I chose these particular beads because the color resembles jade, and they are a nice contrast to the black and dark gray Buddha pendant. The hemp cord just seemed to fit the color scheme and rustic theme of the necklace itself.
Here is the original pattern at CrochetMe. The pattern doesn't include a pendant - I just took my theme and ran with it.

Okay, I have to say it: "Look! I made a pretty!"

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Buddha Cross Stitch Pattern

I was looking around on the internet for a simple, FREE Buddha cross-stitch pattern to do, as a form of mindful meditation. Mindful meditation must be expensive these days, because I looked high and low and couldn't find a simple pattern. Not only could I not find a simple pattern, but I was unable to find a Buddha cross stitch that I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg for. So - I decided to fill this niche. I found a few drawings and pictures of statues, and started to play around and be creative with them. This is the result:

This image is, of course, altered, so as to fit the frames of my blog - I do that with most, if not all of the images that I post here, to offer you, the blog reader, a more pleasant viewing experience. Here is the URL for the original, at Photobucket.

I hope you enjoy this creation - it was fun to make! I have yet to cross-stitch it, but that will be another entry for another day. If YOU find this and cross-stitch it, feel free to link to my blog - I would love to see your finished product!
A Note - if you wish to post this image elsewhere, make sure to give credit where credit is due: attribute it to me! In the spirit of the Dharma, I have decided to make this pattern free; use this anywhere and for whatever purpose you like.
I may, in the future, add color and charge a fee for the colored pattern. But for now...enjoy it as it is.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." ~Buddha

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Crochet Edging for Blue Jeans

When I picked up a pair of jeans at Old Navy, I didn't realize that the size tag had (S) on it - meaning "short". When I got them home and put them on, I realized my mistake...but I really didn't feel like taking them back so soon after buying them.

So, I kept them...and one day, I got an AWESOME would it be if I were to make crochet edging, and sew it onto the bottoms? It would look pretty cool, and it would more than likely show off my crafting skills.

For months, the idea went nowhere. I couldn't find a pattern for edging that I liked, I couldn't decide on a color to do the edging in, and I don't have a sewing machine - so I really have no means of sewing them on when/if I did actually jump on this project.

This past Sunday, my neighbor gave me two boxes of yarn (about the size of produce boxes...not big, but it sure is a lot of yarn). In it, I found a terrific variegated yarn that renewed my interest in the 'Blue Jean Edging' project. I searched in my books, and, lo and behold, I found an edging pattern that fit my idea of what my jeans should look like. So, I measured the jeans and got crackin'.

I did have a few problems with edging...namely, that I make WAY TOO MUCH for my project. I really don't know how that happened. I measured on the inside, and then measured my beginning chain exactly. Both of them ended up too long; the first one by about 2", and the second one a more manageable 1". I had to hand sew and cut the first one, because it was way too long for me to hide along the inside seam of the jeans. The second one was much more manageable...although it will take a once-over with a yarn needle and matching yarn to secure it.
Anyway, here it is, pinned and ready to be sewn together:
jeans crochet edging trim
I mentioned on FB that I was doing this project, and didn't have a sewing machine. Within minutes, two friends offered their sewing machines for me to be able to finish my project. How sweet! Don't I have the best friends EVER? YAY!
The next picture of these will likely be a picture of me wearing the finished product!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A glimpse of what is to come...Oct 2010

I've decided that the first post per month should be a "What is to come" post, cataloging my goals and future projects. I know that I jumped the gun and already posted this month; I was just so excited about my drawing that I had to post it right away...I just blame it on "artistic temperament".
Please note that the numbers don't indicate that any one project is more important than another, or is in an organized queue of any sort. That's just not how I roll. :D

In the works:
1. House-warming gifts for Meg and Jessica
2. Gift for Mika
3. Gift for Jeff (my brother-in-law)
4. Granny square blanket
5. Skull and crossbones crochet purse
5. More "hand tools" drawings

My to-do list:
1. Pumpkin Amigurumis
2. Crocheted Autumn leaves
3. Earflap hat for Terry
4. Crochet socks
5. Frog Amigurumi
6. Birth announcement for niece

Random Ideas: (I'm taking from my last 'Glimpse' post - I love some of these ideas, and fully intend on making good on them!)
1. Hammer cozy
2. Small BBQ cozy (our apartment thinks that Charcoal BBQ's are the devil, so I'd like to crochet a cozy to make it more covert)
3. Random street art, to get my 'Crochet Valkyrie' blog up and running again
4. Cross-stitch Buddhism stuff - 4 Noble truths, 5 precepts, 8 fold path
5. Havamal samplers
6. More sushi sets, to sell on Etsy, or wherever I feel like it.
7. Do a felting project!

If there is anything that you'd like to see here, feel free to leave a comment.

There is something terrific that has recently happened in my family, and which may influence my artwork in the future: my long-lost half-brother has found us! He was a surrogate birth, in what was intended to be an anonymous adoption. Well - he found us, and is thrilled that he has a whole other family...and siblings his age!

It's great, feeling the "big sister pride" again. Not that I'd lost it - but this certainly shoves it into the spotlight!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tools - A Still Life Series #1

I was watching an episode of American Chopper: Season 2 on Netflix yesterday, and got a great idea: tools would make terrific still life subjects!
To be a still life subject:

1. You have to be an inanimate object
2. (I guess there's only one rule to being a good still life subject. Moving on.)

Here's my first subject: A pair of NAPA pliers:


I was really excited to watch this drawing progress. Tools and machinery aren't my strong suit, and in the beginning in the year, I proposed that I hone my poor skills in this area. Only, if you're not great at something and you know it, you tend to shy away from doing it - so, unfortunately, my "focus" had been dropped for most of the year.
As with the fishing lure series, I was thinking of making this a set of drawings (probably 5), with matching frames; the emphasis being to (hopefully) sell them on etsy, if I ever do get my store off the ground.
Definitely going to be in the series? A screwdriver, ratchet, and possibly a few drill bits. I'll have to take my husband to the garage for him to show me what he *thinks* would be a good tool to draw.

Stay tuned for #2 - or whatever other wacky idea manages to stick in my brain!