Friday, June 30, 2006

Felted Beads!

I made some felt beads a couple nights ago and I wanted to share my pics. It is a quick little project and I think I may be able to incorporate them with my lampworked beads (once I get better at making both! LOL).

Monday, June 26, 2006

Illustration Friday {Rain}

Living in the Lower Mainland of BC, I've come to accept that it can rain a lot. Just to give you an idea: last January we had 26 days of unrelenting rain. We saw nothing but grey showers, streaky rain and then some light drizzle. If you want rain, we've got every variety. It got to the point where I wasn't sure if we were living on land or under the sea. Some days I'd be waiting for the bus in a torrential downpour and wonder if I'd start to see fish swim by. My friend, Wendy, used to draw these silly fish all the time, and it would make me chuckle to think of seeing one of those pass by. I thought it would be even funnier to see the reactions of serious business people if that actually happened!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Shrunken Sweater Therapy

This project was not something I planned or even wanted to do…it began as a therapy project to help me deal with a sweater that was accidentally shrunk in the laundry. Currently I am still working on it and this unplanned project has become quite enjoyable. For anyone who has a shrunken sweater or just something old that you want to bring back to life, here are some ideas - I don't think any of them are all that original, but as part of my therapy, I must share them with you.

Like most projects, there is a story that goes along with it. I don't normally write such long blogs and it may seem silly for me to use up so much space for a sweater...but if you've ever had a comforting sweater like this, perhaps you can relate. So, if you are only interested in my entry for the eco-project contest then please scroll past the next 2 paragraphs...

This sad sweater story began the day I carelessly left my cozy angora hoodie on the floor next to a random pile of laundry. Since it is always my husbands chore to do the wash, he assumed it was part of the pile and simply added my wooly sweater to the mix of coloured laundry. A completely understandable assumption to make, and the biggest laundry mistake of my life. So, needless to say the sweater was history…He brought the sweater up from the dryer about 3 sizes smaller than it's original. I couldn't hide my shock and disappointment when I saw it. I am embarrassed to say I actually had to leave the room and shed a couple tears for my most favourite sweater. My husband felt terrible, even though it wasn't his fault - but I think my dramatic reaction was enough to make anyone feel bad. After this childish tantrum was out of my system I buried the fluff of grey in the back of my closet because I just couldn't bare to look at it. I couldn't even bring myself to let the sweater go to goodwill - even though I know it would be a wonderful fit for a child. I had far too much attachment to this wonderful piece of soft lovliness - how could I let that go?

A couple weeks ago the contest for eco-projects on Craftsanity was announced and I thought about my lost sweater. Now that the initial grieving process had run it's course, I decided to retrieve this sweater out of the depths of my closet and do something with it. Originally I wanted to just make a fluffy cushion out of it and put it on our bed so I could cozy up anytime I missed wearing the sweater. I thought I'd just spend a couple evenings putting it together and then post a picture for the contest. But as I held my breath and started cutting up the fibre, a whole new realm of possibilities began to unfold - and it is still in progress today! Please join me on my journey to revive my broken sweater. Here are some ideas that I've started on this week and if you like where it's headed, come back in the coming weeks to see how I progress!

The project ~

First of all, before I did any cutting, I sent my little sweater back to the washing machine to make sure it was completely felted and ready to sew. Yes, this was difficult, but I took a moment to remember my good friend before hitting the hot/cold wash cycle. When it came out, and dried, I started cutting the sleeves off first, then the hood.

At this point, I discovered that I could still wear the torso piece as a vest!

Then I found that if I wanted to, I could convert the sleeves into fingerless gloves - (simply cut a couple holes for the thumbs and cut at the desired length) I had thought about embroidering some fun designs on these new gloves or knitting up Mrs. Beeton by Brenda Dayne to tuck under those sleeves for a fun removable sleeve.

But, I was still thinking about the pillow I wanted to make, so I decided to cut up the sleeves after all. I also used my husbands old plaid shirt to make up where the sweater was short. I'm sure there are many crafty people out there who would make something much more pleasing out of the materials, but I have limited sewing skills, so here it is - still in progress. I'm going to add buttons on the side to keep it closed and I'm also going to embroider some sort of flower design on it.

Here is what I'm playing with right now...stay tuned for excellent updates!

And let's not forget about the hood. How about a cute little modern bonnet for a baby? I'm about to attach some simple felt flowers along the bottom to hide the hacked up seam (I've photoshoped them in for you to see what I'm talking about). It is so soft and it just needs a button to complete this little project. So easy!

I feel much better now that my sweater has a new life now. Thanks to Jennifer of Craftsanity for offering this contest - you helped me face the sadness of losing my favourite sweater and I'm so happy that I've been able to give it new life!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Illustration Friday {Dance}

This is my first submission to Illustration Friday and I'm really excited to have found this community to share my weekend doodles.

The topic "dance" immediately brought me back to my childhood and my love for anything ballet. When I was really young I chose a ballerina wallpaper to decorate my bedroom. It was a repeated pattern of pastel rendered dancers in yellow and blue tutus - the type of design that came to life if you stared at it long enough and would eventually morph into some other abstract image. I always dreamed that these dancers were in another dimension where everything was soft and bubbly and all my toy animals would come to life there - just like in the nutcracker. I'm also going to share a secret with you…my favourite teddy polar bear, which I named Snowball, played the cello when no one was watching. He'd serenade the ballerinas and all the little toy critters came out of my closet to watch them. It is a comforting and happy image for me to draw and makes me realize how much I miss my loyal friend, Snowball.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sweedish Berries - and other imitation flavours

Before I get into crafty craftiness I want to take a moment and share with everyone my top 5 favourite candies :). Yes, I know I am at that age where the metabolism is rebelling and refuses to move faster than a turtle, but every once in awhile I have to break down and enjoy a little peice of heavenly imitation flavour and sugar. So, here we go:

5.) Skittles - a rainbow of empty calories and I love every flavour!
4.) Red Licorice - preferably "Nibs" but really, any brand will do...oh, except for that shoe string crap that tastes all plasticy. Bleh!
3.) Big Feet - whenever we go to Costco I have to fight the urge to buy an entire box of these delicous treats. I could probably devour the whole thing in a couple days - although that would be really gross and I'm sure I'd get really ill.
2.) JuJubes - of course the red and orange are the best. Usually the black ones end up at the end of the bag, along with a few lingering yellows. That's just cuz they're icky.
1.) Oh tasty tasty Sweedish Berries - How could I resist perfection!? I'm tempted to make a necklace out of them. What a great idea, huh?

Getting through this list I do realize that I have a weakness for red food colouring. There is something so irresistable about them - Wouldn't you agree? (I think I need to stop talking about candy now...)

...And onto other acheivements - ahem! I got really excited about a handbag tutorial I found on whip up and promptly ravaged my meagre stash of fabrics to find something I could use to make this. My stitching artist was so determined to get this project started I just couldn't stop her, no matter how unappealing the fabric choices were. The final selection was left over cream/white canvas (it was actually painters drop sheet material) for the outside and some left over Amy Butler Ginger fabric that I've been using on everything lately (total overkill!). So, off I went and made this cute little bag and you know what? It was really easy! I was so surprised - thinking I'd be in tears within an hour. But wow, I actually made something that works.

The only problem is that I really do not like the fabric I put together. But to make myself feel better, I keep saying I didn't spend any extra $$ for the project. And I should consider this a trial run so I can go out and get the fabric I really like and make it again even better!

Check it out! (You will notice that the bag does need a button to keep it closed...that is in progress. I'm not too sure where to find the perfect vintage button yet. But it must be BIG and it must be different. Perhaps a trip to value village will present the opportunity sometime soon...)

One last comment - have you heard of Illustration Friday? I just discovered it last week through one of my many delightful podcasts and I think this is the ticket to get me drawing again. So, stay tuned because by the end of the week I may actually post a drawing! Gasp! I know - what a shock. An artist who...draws!? I certainly can't promise you that it will be any kind of masterpiece, but it just might be mediocre. Watch out!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bring on the Beads!

So, what is on my mind of late? It is all about the beads, baby! I have so many new interests since January, but I have to say I have found beadmaking to be the most fascinating. It's like a cool science experiment watching the glass transform in the flame and I'm mesmorized by the lava-like movement. Many would say it is tedious and boring - but I suppose I'm all about waiting and patiently watching creation unfold. After all why would I get into animation if I didn't like repetition? Or knitting for that matter. Stitch after stitch and eventually it changes from a string of yarn into something useful. After 3 hours of practicing on Saturday, these are the best 2 beads of the day.

And what should I do with all these beads? Well, that is just another creative adventure for me to dive into. I'm becoming more and more drawn to textiles and I really don't have a lot, but I'm really enjoying the process of finding new ways to incorporate beads. For example, here is a little bus pass holder I designed for myself. It is pretty handy and very simple and my first attempt so don't look too hard at the stitching - I do have plans to improve that with embroidery.

Last but not least, yet another set of baby shoes. There are so many babies being born these days, I don't think there is any end to this knitting. All I have to say is - Don't drink the water people!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Well, it has been such a busy couple of months, but I am still trying to keep my nervous hands busy. I'm having this problem where if I don't get a minimum quota of personal creative time in a day, I become an outright bit--..nasty person! Seriously - I am completely obsessed and I'm falling apart at the seams. My poor husband - I don't know how he puts up with my stomping and gnashing of teeth while I make dinner and then clean up, and then try to make some sort of lunch for the next day. All this huffing and mumbling and the sourest look on my face that I'm sure will freeze up that way if I'm not careful. Where does this come from? And why now?

I've been listening to sooo many podcasts lately (which I'm sure has a lot to do with it). My absolute favourite right now is craftsanity which was created by a very clever woman in Grand Rapids Michigan. Every week she interviews a different artist/crafter and asks super interesting and challenging questions. It has got to be the most inspiring podcast I've found so far. After I've listened to these interviews, I become more aware of my hunger to be creative. I am also revealing to myself just how deeply I am obsessed with the fibre arts. I now have dreams of quiting my job, dropping out of society for awhile to travel around and then settling down in some small town Canada where I can have a studio and live the very simple creative life. Somehow, with enough courage and perseverance, we will get there! I am determined!

But these changes do happen in a very subtle way...LOL. Baby steps, right? I've been working with my good artsy friends to see if we can't all make some handmade "stuff" for the Christmas craft shows. I had never even thought of a craft show as a means to test out products - but what an excellent way to experiment. I'm not putting any pressure on myself - I just want to create some kind of handmade product line and try to sell it. What the heck! Let's just see how it goes. Here are a couple things I created over the weekend.

Little sweater ornaments...the idea is still in progress. But I like where it is heading.

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Also, I made yet another fabric book. I'm still trying to figure out the perfect pattern. I'm not too happy with the trim, but I'll keep trying. I really like the way they are turning out though. I'm learning a lot about colour combinations and what I like and don't like in fabric coordinating. It's simple, but I really enjoy the process.

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And I have been bit by the embroidery bug. I have discover crewel embroidery and when I was at the library last week I picked up 2 books on the basics. I don't have any sort of crewel supplies, but I'll keep with regular left over cross stitch embroidery just to play around.

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I don't have much of a fabric stash. But I pulled together a few of my favourites to admire the beauty of colour and design. I have become a huge fan of Amy Butler and I'm dying to order one of her handbag patterns and some more fabric.

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Oh, and before I go...I have to share with you what's on my needles right now. Yes, that's right folks, I have been bold enough to try making another pair of socks. Not to worry, I did make sure I have the correct amount of yarn and even better, they are self striping. How fun is that? Talk about magical. You just start knitting and voila! The design appears before your eyes - no batteries required!

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Alrighty friends. Thats all for now. I really wish I had more time to actually fix the template of my blog. That will come..eventually. I have so many ideas; I just need time and patience to deal with One more thing to make me angry.