February 25, 2010

Sheep and Art Journaling Experimentation

As I mentioned earlier I made some sheep coats for my cousin Julia. I think they came out nice. Hopefully they will fit her sheep properly. So my sheep is modeling them below before they are shipped to Baltimore. :) I have so much to mail to people so this will finally get me to the post office. I always fail at regular mail. (Click photo for larger image.)

Then tonight I figured I try out my art journal finally. My journal is made up of an old poetry book from an antique store. I used gesso to cover the page. The medium I chose was water color pencils and a prisma marker for the outline. Now this is only the second time I have ever used watercolors and the last time was just with the little cheap set from Job Lot, so don't be too hard on me. =) It's really rough but I like it. It is Zeus of course. I looked up and he was the first inspiration in view. I'm happy with my first page. It was a fun experiment. I really can't wait to continue it. (Click photo for larger image.)

Now to finish up the cleaning I was doing. Two very special guests are going to be here tomorrow so I don't want to look like a slob.

February 21, 2010

The finished product

Well as you remember from this post I was making a top secret gift for someone awesome. Well it was finished and delivered. He was happy with it and so was I. His brand new beer cozy now keeps his home brews cold and his hand warm and dry. It was personalized with an inside joke ("Who the hell is Bruce?")  but that's a story that's too long to tell and it's not for me to share. =) The words were added using needle felting. The great part is that it was my own pattern so I can now make more to sell in my store. I'll get going on that soon. Below is a mediocre photo of it. I forget to get a better one when I gave it to him. Oh well.

When I visited CO last year I went to see my uncle and my two cousins. Well it turns out Julia is a knitter and we thoroughly bonded in this way. We discovered the sheep pattern and quickly fell in love. A yarn store visit was in order and we made sheep together. I've been planning on making coats for a while and finally got my butt in gear. I knit some sheep coats for my cousin to coordinate with this pattern, though I think they may be too small. If they are I'll fit them to my sheep and remake some for her.   They are so quick to knit so it won't be an issue to make new ones for her if the measurements are off. Below I added a picture of my sheep to show how tiny they are.

In other crafting news my friend Val and I are doing an art trade. I just can't wait to felt the swatch so I can start knitting. It's going to be pretty cute. She requested a squid like mine but in golden yellow with greenish blue buttons. My camera squid is below and the swatch and buttons found are next. In return I will get a handmade cute crop top that she will upcycle for me. I'm so excited. I love receiving creative things. =) If she ever opens an online store I'll be sure to share it here.

Happy creating!

February 19, 2010

Valentine's Day weekend

(Published a little late because I was procrastinating on photos. Enjoy!)

In preparation of the amazing weekend to be had, I made a montrous amount of cookies. I was afraid to count how many till I was done, and it was rightly so. I ended up making 13 dozen adorable heart shaped cookies with royal icing. They were chocolate sugar cookies. The recipe can be found here. I brought 3 dozen to work and the rest were eaten at the lovely party I attended this past weekend. I did the minimum amount of water in the icing but I should have added it more slowly so I would use less and make it easier to draw with. I highly recommend the recipe though. The icing is way more pink than this looks.

I recently went to an antique store and found awesome V-day cards which I failed to bring to my Valentine. Oh well. He did get Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cookies. He's been sick lately too so we don't need to jinx him with these kick ass cards. I love the Curiosities store in Providence. They have such cute and random things there. You can click to enlarge them since I didn't get a chance to crop them. =) They are the front and back of each.

Saturday I met up with my Valentine in Hartford and we headed to Bruce and Jess's house in Oxford. They are lucky enough to rent a house on a beautiful farm in Oxford. This just moved in and it was their housewarming party. We had a cozy party with about 30 people of our Forest Folk Tribe. They all are really great people and our parties are always the best. We had great lasagna, cupcakes, rib roast, peirogies, cookies, quiche, bacon, and alcohol. =) We never are left hungry or thirsty at these events.

Something hilarious happened at about 6am. I was innocently tiptoeing to the bathroom on an important pee mission. It was pitch black in the living room and I was relying on shadows. Well shadows failed me because my toes met up with a dark box with a few bottles on top of it. My silent trip wasn't silent for long. The bottles fell right into a ceramic jug announcing me. I scared the crap out of sleeping innocent bystanders along with myself. Thankfully I made it to the bathroom in time. Sorry to Nici for the Charley Horse you endured afterwards.

The next day we all had breakfast and lounged around. Then Bruce fired up the tractor and we went for a beautiful winter hay ride. There were pheasant and hawk sightings. It was weird seeing the campground we party on all covered in a blanket of snow. It was so peaceful and quiet. I can't wait to return to our site in May. On the way back to the house we stopped and visited sheep with their lambs and pigs of all sizes. Finally back at the house we had a choice of homemade beef or chicken soup. A perfect ending to the weekend. (Again they are thumbnailed.  Hover over the photo for a description. Just click to see a medium sized version or go to my flickr page for the largest.)

I couldn't have had a better weekend anywhere else. For now I'll relax here in hartford ill it's back to derby practice and work. Life is good.

February 3, 2010

A new adventure in creating

Today I went on a quick adventure. I have a plan for a gift for someone and today I had to test the method. But first I had to locate a book I've been wanting for a long time. I had a borders coupon in my e-mail I could take advantage of so I reserved it at Garden City and ran over. It will help me out in my own designing adventures. It's called "Knit & Purl: 250 Stitches to knit". I'm pretty excited about using it. Along with that book, I bought some yarn today (Paton's Merino and some Caron Simply Soft). One for another baby sweater and four others for felting. The haul of the day below.

But on to the actual adventure of the day. I got to make use of the yarn I bought for felting. I've only felted once before but I had the luxury of a washing machine I didn't have to pay $1.25 for so it was less annoying. I don't want to get halfway done and have the machine stop. Plus it's a waste of money for a small project. I researched online and found a great video: How to felt without a washing machine. You can just use your hands but why do that when you can use a plunger?! I immediately went to Job Lot down the road and picked up a $2 plunger and a bucket. I only have to pay once for these.  =) And I have to say it went rather well.

I started with a swatch that was roughly 5" x 5".

And put it through the process. I used the hottest water my tub will give me and added a bit of dish detergent. In between agitation I shocked it a few times with cold water.

After about 45 min of felting I came out with a swatch that was now 5" x 4". It shrunk from top to bottom the most. It doesn't really shrink as much width-wise.

All in all it was a success and I plan on using this method for the project I will be creating. I highly recommend this method, especially to fellow coin-op washing machine saps and even to just save water. Now to start knitting my gift since I know this works. =)