Without too much thought, I DM'd Jeannine on twitter and asked if she'd be interested in doing a swap. Maybe I could make her a cowl in exchange for a drawing/painting? She accepted. I was excited for about 30 seconds. And then I started worrying.
I got the most wonderful gift for my office from my friend Pam of Gingerbread Snowflakes! She made this weaving for me to match my office chair covers. It's perfect!
I still haven't spent one penny
on craft supplies. Believe me, I'm as shocked as you. :) I gave myself $20 worth of wiggle room, but I'm pretty sure I won't use it.
, world's sweetest pattern tester, sent me a pair of the cutest Starling earrings to celebrate my pattern release.
sent out Specky Surprises
for her Second Blog Anniversary. Last year's specky surprise
is *amazing* a makes me smile every day.
This year's specky surprise makes me ridiculously happy, which is why there is a ridiculous number of photos in this post. Thanks, Ester!
I wore three of the adorable dice buttons
today. I don't wear pins nearly enough. It made my tired, old brown shirt feel like a brand new outfit. That's probably something all you girly-girls already know ... the power of accessories.
I got the most wonderful mix of mushrooms from the swap.
Handbags handbags handbags!
I highlight some little-used techniques that I found in the book.
found this Japanese craft book (or maybe it's a magazine?) from 1966. She gave it to Diane
when she was in Portland. Mimi told Diane that she thought that either Diane or I would really love it. Diane sent it to me.
This installment talks about the front and back cover and the diagrams.
OK, these are the most fun things EVER to make. I love making them so much that I had to consciously and diligently promise myself to not make more than five. There are just so many other fun things to do. If I let myself, all I would do until the end of time is make mushrooms.
Well, the third time was the charm. The blue spotted mushroom was my third prototype and it was perfect. I've scrapped the first two prototypes (I tried to retrofit them, but it was a no-go). Now I'm just cranking them out.
A week or so ago I received the sweetest email from Stephanie offering to send me a set of owl hair elastics. I just got them and they are the *cutest* things in the world. I wear my hair braided a lot, and I love having cute little elastics at the top of them next to my ears.
I can't remember the last time I saw the sun. It's been about 3 days of dreary, sunless, deep-freeze around here. The only change yesterday was some snow/slush/rain. boo.
Shannon of Shanny Lee
sent me a wonderful surprise box of goodies the week before Christmas. And, despite the best efforts of UPS and my apartment building's concierge, I got the box in time to enjoy these goodies for the whole holiday vacation.
OK. 2008 took most of my crafty plans, and there weren't all that many to begin with, and threw them in the same hole where America throws it's money*. But I'm not going to let that get me down. Especially when everywhere I look in my apartment, I see the lovely things I've made or my crafty friends have sent me.
Tina Jett from Scatterbox
sent me this amazing hand sewn felt circus tent. Actually, it arrived on the same day as Bethany's package. And they both arrived on the same day as our new router
. It was a red letter day, alright!
Bethany of Bitter Betty
has been a blog friend for years. We've even met in real life
. I recently received the dreamiest of packages from her. She is a magician of packaging and a present-picking-out sage. Every single item in the package is so wonderful and perfect.
This is a mini-me doll I made for my boss' birthday. He totally wears a green shirt that exact color with white pearl buttons and he sports a long black ponytail, too. While he was in a meeting, we set up the cake and mini-me in his office to surprise him when he returned. It was too much fun!
There is nothing like a box of goodies to brighten the week. Angelina
sent me this wonderful selection of fun stuff last week.
After getting the box o' yarny love
from Shannon last weekend, I *had* to do some crocheting. The package contained a wonderful variegated yarn that I really wanted to see as a handbag. There was some major blue-pooling when I was doing the base which I wasn't loving.
Last week I also got some surprise gifts from Andrew, too. [ summary: owl magnets and the most awesome notebook ever ]
was the very first person who asked me to swap. She has a very special place in my heart. And, last week I got a special surprise package from Germany.
Recently I sent a package of goodies
to Diane of Crafty Pod
. One item was a custom-made wristlet. I love making things knowing who they are for. I'm able to put a little extra love into them.
This cute little ninja was made from a pattern in Creepy Cute Crochet
, just like the monkey in a fez
. I made it for another a co-worker's birthday. Instead of making a card* for the ninja, I had everyone write their birthday message on a 2"x3" piece of card stock. Then I taped each one on a pin (the ones with the flat flower heads
on them) and stuck the pin in the ninja.
This is a birthday card I made for a coworker.
All I could think about when I was making this blanket was the Neopolitan Coconut
candies I would get as a child at the Pick-A-Mix
station at the grocery store. They are heaven! I also liked the Jelly Nougats
which look totally gross to me now. Anyway, crocheting this blanket made me CRAVE candy.
The blanket is made of worsted weight cotton and is alternating rows of single and double crochet. The single crochet gives some structure to the blanket and the double crochet makes it cuddly.
The top and bottom edge have an edging of *dc ch dc ch dc* all in one stitch and then a sc on either side. The right and left edges are just single crochet.
Here is a more evidence of my "little problem" in regard to ornaments. When Crafty McGee
posted that she had a couple left over ornaments to trade
, I JUMPED on it. Breathlessly.
For my part of the trade, I made her the tie-dyed jellyfish above. I have a stash of tie-dyed felt that I finally cut into for this little guy.
The jellyfish seems to be the most popular of the Supercute Sea Creatures, which is a little bit of a surprise to me. I would have thought it would be the octopus.
I also made her a purple fish with a sequin eye stripe. I thought the silver sequins would look good paired with Christmas lights, But now that I think about it, these little guys might be on her light-less tree
... in which case the sequins will bring a little bling to the mix. :)
I can't wait to get my little tree from Crafty McGee. I think it's uber brilliant that she put the eyelet for hanging in the middle of the treetop star.
With some help from Kari
(whose mom and sister used to own a cross stitch shop) and one last trip to the craft store, I have now become the proud owner of ALL of the colors of DMC floss.
A calm has settled over the craft table*. I now know that I can find the perfect color of floss for any craft project ... and if I can't, then it just doesn't exist. Crafting with confidence, that's my motto.*I'm only half joking. :)
* * * * * *
UPDATE: The Starling Handbag
crochet pattern for the purse above is now available on the free downloads page. Yay!
* * * * * *
I made this handbag for a previous co-worker. She noticed that I made myself a handbag, and saw me crocheting all the time, so she asked if I'd make her one, too. She took me out to lunch a million-and-one times in exchange - which was fine with me. :)
As you can see, I based the stripe and dash pattern on the fabric I chose as a lining. I love the blues in the fabric. I just happened to have just enough teal yarn left over from another project to use for this handbag. Yay for stash-using.
I have a thing for stripes in a big way. It's totally accidental. I never think about it, I'm just drawn to them. Years ago a friend pointed out that over half the shirts hanging in my closet had horizontal stripes on them ... I'd never noticed.
I didn't make a label for this handbag because I never told Barb about my craft blog. In fact, I never told anyone at that job about it. Is that weird? Do any of you not-tell certain people about your craft-blog-self?
Here is a little extra bit for my swap with Frizz
. Thanks again, Frizz
, for such a great swap! :)
This tiny squirrel and giant acorn come from this Japanese craft book, ISBN 4834755894. It's full of the cutest little creatures. I was glad I had a reason to finally make one of them. You can barely see it in the photo, because I blew out the white, but there is white center stitching on the squirrel's cute buck teeth. The tail swirl wasn't easy to cut out, but it's so freakin' cute! Each of the arms on this guy are about the size of a lentil. I actually lost an arm in all the crafting hubbub and had to cut out another tiny appendage. Thank goodness for my crafting fingernail scissors. :)
Andrew was just snapping away during the squirrel photo shoot and caught this portrait of the back of my head. This is what my hair looks like 98% of the time. My favorite hair sticks are black, child-sized chopsticks I bought at Pearl River
in New York. They were 10 sets for $3.
See how teeny the squirrel is? Actually, this photo is a little misleading, because I have a monstrously huge head. :)
This handbag, for Bethany of Bitter Betty
, started as a dream. I awoke one morning with the image of a cream and black striped bag floating in my head. It'd been months
since I decided to make her a handbag, and I'd been waiting for the perfect inspiration.
Two of my commission purses
will have paisley embellishments on the outside. I figured I should do a practice run and make a patch for the Red Button Tree Patch Swap
at the same time.
The paisley is about 2" by 1" on black acrylic felt. It makes me happy just to look at it. It's so bright and cute. It came out 110% better than I thought it would.
I used a pattern from this book
. It's full of great designs and I'm happy I finally had a chance to use one.
I have two more paisleys traced and ready to stitch, but I feel like I need to make some significant progress on my big projects before I make more patches. Maybe when I need a break, I'll pick them up. My self-imposed mail date for the patch swap is November 10th, so I still have some time.
Werner the Squirrel and his traveling companion Klaus the Acorn have arrived at their new home in New York City! They now live with Marci
Werner ("verner") is named after the German director Werner Herzog
. Werner Herzog is so cool that even Henry Rollins (from the punk band Black Flag) thinks he's the shit. Henry has a show on IFC. Henry was recently interviewed on Nerve
NERVE: I read recently that one of the people you most wanted to interview was Werner Herzog. Did you get to?
HENRY: I did. He's going to be on the show. It was so cool. He said stuff I'm using now as rhetoric. I said, "As far as Hollywood is concerned, you're kind of an outsider." He just nodded his head and said, [In a German accent] "No. They are the outsiders." Thank you! New tattoo, please! We talked about when he was shot recently. He was doing an interview and someone shot him. [In a German accent] "Yes, but it was a small bullet in the abdomen; it did not perforate the intestine. I finished the interview. It was not a serious bullet." And I'm like, "You know, Werner, there's a lot of people out there, myself included, who think every bullet is a pretty fucking serious bullet!" So he goes into this long story about all the times he's been shot at, and what a rush it is for a guy his age to have someone attempt to kill him and be unsuccessful. I would follow that man anywhere.
I'm not sure why he gets shot at so much, since, from what I can tell, he is a sweet, warm, intelligent, and thoughtful person, but we should all be thankful that no one has been a half-decent shot because Werner makes *incredible* movies.
And then there's Klaus the Acorn, whom Marci christened "Angry Acorn." He's named after the actor Klaus Kinski
. Werner and Klaus go way back - all the way to their teens. Their collaboration is quite a crazy story
. This page of quotes
from them kind of sums it all up.
The starting point for Werner is a pattern in Palm-sized Stuffies ISBN 4834722449
. I altered the tail so I could attach the marabou feathers and I designed a whole new head. This is the third head I made. The first two were rejected by quality control (a.k.a. Andrew). One head was accused of looking like an walrus! I used the same dark brown embossed felt as I did for Wim
Klaus was created in a free-style frenzy of felt. The big bulbous top is a little much (it's almost as big as the bottom part), but once I noticed the eerie resemblance to the real Klaus' vaguely swollen head and mop of unruly blond hair
, I realized it was meant to be.
Wim is named after the excellent German director Wim Wenders
("vim venders"). Then name Wim is short of Wilhelm ("vilhelm"). Wim, the deer, now lives with Isa
in Germany. Isa's post about getting the package
is very sweet.
Wim was made from a pattern in Palm-sized Stuffies ISBN 4834722449
. He is supposed to be made of fabric with seam allowances, but I'm addicted to hand-sewing felt right now so I made some alterations. It was mostly an easy transition, but the one thing that absolutely freaked me out is putting on his ears. It isn't explicit in the instructions (or maybe it is if you read Japanese), but you can see it in the pictures: you must cut slits in the felt head of the deer and insert the ears into his head. After spending lots of time sewing his head, which wasn't easy, I had to CUT SLITS into it. This process took days. First I made the ears and pinned them on the head. As I sewed the rest of the deer I would look at the head, reposition the ears, look at it some more. I wanted to make sure they were where I wanted them to be. Normally, if I sew something up and it's wrong, I just rip out the seam and re-sew it. But I can't un-cut a slit. Luckily, I did it right the first time.
The brown felt is embossed with a swirly stamped-leather type of design. I'd been waiting for the right project to use it. I'm amazed at how wonderful it makes Wim look. His eyelashes are a starburst sequin with some of the "bursts" cut off. Then the rest of the eye is a felt circle, dark blue small sequin, and a pearl bead.
I made a little photo album for the Isa's swap package. The picture above was taken in the backyard of Independence Hall
which is featured on the back of the $100 bill. It's run by the National Park Service. Luckily, I came prepared with scissors to trim the grass because it was so tall it hid half of Wim. I was fully prepared to be tackled by guards for destruction of federal property when I started cutting the lawn.