Archive for the 'Craft' Category

Bad at Finishing

This has been a slow year for me, creatively, with lots of stalled projects and unfinished business. Today, though, I am showing off two things just completed, and only with the help of others!

One year ago I saw my Aunt Lois, who came to Salt Lake City for my dad’s memorial service. I don’t get to see Lois very often, but when I do, I am always impressed by the way her engineering mind interprets and deconstructs art. She has taught me many new skills over the years.

Lois, like many women in our family, cannot bear to have idle hands, so she brought with her the ingredients and tools for assembling these soft, 3D fabric magic cubes. I flipped for them, and marveled at how she figured it out. I later looked up a model, so that I could understand it more fully. Instructions for building one made from wooden blocks can be found here. She gave me an assembled cube with bright fabrics pinned to the foam blocks, and all I had to do was stitch up the seams.  I am embarrassed at how long it took me to finish, but my kid and all visitors are delighted with the finished product! Thanks Aunt Lois!

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Two years ago, I went into a tiny yarn shop in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. It was near closing time and I rushed to choose the best yarn in the place. I bought an expensive skein of Tilli Thomas Flurries named Chocolate Cherry, a supersoft deep brown merino with bright cherry red beads, with the intention of making a purse. I visited a fabric shop in Panama City Beach and purchased a red-on-crimson koi print for lining and a chocolate brown zipper. I knitted a rectangle, coaxed all the beads to the knit side, watched a youtube video on making lined wallets, sewed the zipper to the lining (incorrectly), and …. stopped. There is sat, in the quilt shop plastic bag for two years. My mind could not fathom what I’d done wrong or how to fix it.

A few days ago I showed it to my new friend Daniela, who knew how to fix it, and was willing to pick out the stitches for me. I took the dog for a walk, had an epiphany about how it should have been sewn, and came home to a completed purse!

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Finally, here is a new embroidered purse my mom made for me! Perfectly timed, too, since I just wore out my everyday purse while camping. It’s still unfinished; my mom only secured one end of the strap, so that I could adjust it to my size and sew it in. I’ll finish in the next day or two, because I need it!

Watercolor Beads and a Twisted Stringer

Here are the beads I made last week with Debby. First she taught me to make “watercolor” beads, where I start by melting a white core, and then “paint” on top with various transparent colored rods.

Next she taught me to pull a stringer (the twisty coral/turquoise strip in the foreground). Then I made a transparent, pale aqua bead and melted that stringer onto (and into) it.

Actually, Debby made two of the beads pictured, but I’m rather proud of myself that it isn’t immediately obvious which ones :D

 

Shiny Black Glass Beads

I’ve had a few lessons on making lampwork beads, something I’ve been wanting to learn for years and years. This small handful represents two sessions of progress. The first week I made a bunch of smallish plain black beads and the polka dotted ones. The second week I made the fancy flower ones. I’ve labeled the two made by my teacher, Debby Weaver, so you can see what I was going for on those flowers.

Debby taught me using black glass because it is visibly obvious how molten the glass is, whereas some of the other colors take more experience to work with. A few of my polka dotted beads cracked clean in half in the kiln because of temperature irregularities before I put them in there.

I really wish I had the space and money to take this up as a real hobby. I love doing it, and I feel like I’m pretty good at it, considering that I made that black/periwinkle/mint polka dot bead in the center on Day One! I wish Debby weren’t going back home to Maryland next month!

Paint Your Own Mugs

A few weekends ago I went to Honest Works for Paint Your Own Pottery Day. I squirted out a bit of every teal, turquoise, aqua, and green that they had and made a stripey mug and a dotty mug.

The Boogedy painted his tile very quickly, and I had to really rush to get my two mugs finished before he broke anything in the studio while horsing around with his friends. I love the insides of these mugs!

I attempted a maker’s mark on the bottom with my initials and a snail.

Afterward, I took a deep breath and took the Boogedy and his friend S. to the dog beach to relax and swim. These boys crack me up!

 

 

Stripey Monster Redux (and a Pretty Sweet Trade)

Kelly and Adam made me this gorgeous two-piece nut bowl set. I requested it as a special piece after I saw this pistachio dish and wanted something handmade.

Kelly offered up a trade, so I knit this Stripey Monster Mama and Baby set for her boys.

The true colors are closer to red-violet and a peacock teal. The pattern is by Rebecca Danger, and you can see the set I made nearly 2 years ago for the Boogedy Here.

Here are the Boogedy and his friends S. and S. at the pottery studio!

Handmade Presents for ME!

Months and months ago I participated in on of those Handmade Pay it Forward gift exchange dealies on Facebook. I sent Sunshine a baby chick hat for her tiny daughter.

This weekend I received some handmade goodness in the mail from her!! Check out these cute and super strong refrigerator magnets.

My favorite is cake.

Now I can retire the ugly bottle opener and ridiculous knife sharpener that I had been using to hold up the Boogedy’s artwork!

Also, she sent this adorable garland that says “Frosty”.

I wish I had had time to take it to the beach and model it there! But here I am in front of my neighbor’s house, with their garden composed of vegetation that is considered “houseplants” in most of the country!

Also, Sunshine was kind enough to send me a jar of Mentholatum, which must not be popular in the south, because no one here carries it. A few weeks ago I had the worst cold, and all I could find was nasty ol’ Vicks!

Sunshine, this was such an awesome box to receive. Thank you so much for making me these gorgeous presents!

Xmas lights

Our little Island Pine tree is getting weighed down with cool ornaments this year. This abundance of decoration is thanks to presents from my mom and sis; homemade garlands of popcorn and tinfoil and paper chains; late-night shopping at Kmart without Zach; and a few great thrift store finds. Here is one of my favorite spots:

These lit-up bikes made my night

Lights strung between the masts of a beautiful ship in the harbor during the Lighted Boat Parade.

And a really good dad, getting creative on paper-chain-making night:

Pandora in the background, playing the four christmas songs I was able to sit through before turning it to the Arrogant Worms station.

Holiday Wrap Up

In our neighborhood there is a great big sand box where you can take lessons in sand sculpture. The artists who run it usually have something amazing in progress (see their Gallery here), as well as amatuer works. Just before xmas, they were working on an 8-foot tall sculpture of the ghosts of christmas, when vandals smashed the faces and left their beer bottles. A few sad days went by with just an etched notice that no more sculpting would occur. Then, one day, there appeared a life-sized sand Grinch, drumming his fingers and hating the Whos.  Very funny.

The Grinch is gone now, and last week I saw them working with a little girl who was probably 9 or 10, and I snapped a picture of their finished fantasy castle, which I think is adorable.

We ate at Pepe’s Cafe, a local institution since 1909, and look what was on the menu! My dad’s favorite. My mother likes to tell me how the military men have a less appetizing name for it.

We had tea, hot and sour soup, and green curry.

Oh yeah, here are the stockings I made for the boys. I left our felt stockings in Salt Lake City, thinking I’d be back there at xmas, so I knitted these up and let Zach and the Boogedy choose which they wanted. The little fellow chose green and orange with beads (“mine fravorite!”). They’re resting atop a beautiful “Shoo-fly” quilt made by my mom.

Auntie Marian’s present of spelling puzzle cards was a BIG hit.

As was this fun playmat from Grandma.

He bought himself a “Pyew Pyew” with his xmas money from Grandma Gipson. We had to tell him not to lick the suction cup bullets while the thing is loaded. Man, the things that make a mom cringe, that a little boy would never, ever think of. This picture shows how big he’s looking.

Advent Calendar

I decided to get excited about xmas this year. Often we try to travel, but that’s not in the cards this year (plus I don’t want to go somewhere cold and have to replace a wardrobe that I got rid of when I left Utah).

I subscribe to the wonderful newsletter from kids craft weekly, and inside the last issue was this beautiful idea: an origami advent calendar. I made 24 cups, here’s a closeup:

And this is where they are displayed in our kitchen.

Today we met the Boogedy at school with the December 1 cup. He was SOOOO excited. Inside was a tag that said “Pick out a Christmas tree!” He carried that cup and tag all the way to the nursery and picked a fluffy little island pine in a pot.

Here are the other tags I have made, with events and crafts and fun things to do. On days when I’m just not feeling the urge to do ANY of these things, the Boogedy will get a little square of deep dark chocolate, a real treat around here. Luckily, Key West is brimming with holiday events, many of them family friendly and inexpensive.

Many of these special ideas came from the newsletter. Do you have any other easy, cheap ideas for me to include?

Sugar Skulls and Homesickness

My son received the most wonderful package in the mail yesterday! Three homemade sugar skulls made by his Auntie Noemi in Salt Lake City, along with lots of tubes of brightly colored frosting and foil strips.

(Mosca thought this package smelled delicious). The Boogedy could barely wait for his dad to get home from running an errand to work on “frostume” his sugar skulls! We set out some paper on the kitchen floor.

He frosted the top, added feathers and foil, then some glue for good measure, then more foil and feathers, then more “frostume”.

Then, he turned the whole thing over and started squeezing frosting into the bowl of the skull! Zach and I were a little more reserved.

I almost cried with homesickness, as I remembered doing this activity each year with Zach’s brothers and sisters and their kids (many of whom are teenagers now). I imagined how much fun the Boogedy would be having with his cousins, running up and down the stairs and scaring the crap out of me that he’d fall off the parts with no railings. And there would be Mexican hot chocolate, too!

Thank you so much, Noemi…I miss my family! I can’t imagine a better October present.


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