December 24, 2008

Two gifts

This elephant is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and it's going to my nephew, Sammy. It was definitely more difficult than the bear or bunny and there was a point where I had a huge, gaping hole in the face that I wasn't sure was going to get remedied - but it turned nicely into a trunk! First time I did seed stitch (for the ears).

My niece, Laura, saw me wearing leg warmers one day and wanted some, so she dug through my knitting bag and pulled out the homespun from which my first bear was made. She asked, "is it too scratchy?" because she once wanted a washcloth made from a ball of wool she found and my response was that it would be too scratchy. She loves "projects," and has quite a memory. She's four, so I adapted the pattern from my own legwarmers and I'll have her pick out some fun buttons for me to sew on as decoration. Please excuse the hideously pink chair.

The cut

Here it is! I like it a lot; my hairdresser, Sara, did an awesome job. She thankfully gave me a baggie for the ponytail, because it would have been real weird if I had walked through the mall swinging that thing around.

December 18, 2008

Long hair...

I'm about to leave the house to run errands and get my hair chopped off for donation! Here are the before pictures of the shaggy mess:

Bride Wars: movie promises to disappoint, just like real weddings

Maybe that's harsh. I don't think so. Weddings are like athletes; no matter how roided-up they are, they'll never achieve perfection - and perfection is what we're going for, so disappointment is inevitable. Not true across the board. Lots of people have weddings that are reasonably priced and actually reflect their own values and personalities.

The fact is, we are supposed to grow up moving through heterosexual relationships until we decide to marry; then we are supposed to spend thousands of dollars on one day and a million details as [probably] young people who really can't afford to do so - even with the help of family. The wedding party is supposed to spend hundreds (which they may or may not have) on formal wear, showers, gifts, etc. Spending money we don't need to or don't have...sound at all like the mortgage crisis? What is it about our culture that drives us to spend at the very top - or beyond - our limits?

I have to disclose that I had a pretty big wedding with all the bells and whistles (except for the garter; there was no garter or creepy peep show). My husband and I were in a unique situation financially and were also lucky to not have any overbearing parties trying to weigh in all the time. Like I said, some people want a big wedding and they can do it the way they want without taking it too seriously. That's why I loved my wedding - I think we had the right mindset about it. I didn't care that Joe's hem fell or that a groomsman lost a button. I never wanted to yell at anyone or correct the way they were doing something. Joe was involved in everything, so I felt like we were a team - not like I was taking on the world by myself, and that everyone would be judging me based on the results. Now I think I could have been more subversive, yes. I could have had my bridesmaids wear black so they wouldn't have buy anything special that they'd never wear again. I think that's the one thing I would change.

So, ok, to the point. I'm not talking about condemning people for following tradition. I'm talking about a system of religion and media that forces women to believe in the myth of . The day they're given away to another man whose name they'll take (again, not condemning - I took my husband's name and am just as susceptible to cultural norms as anyone). The day that other women gab about and judge because it was or will be their turn oneday. This new movie coming out, Bride Wars, is one of a million cases that show weddings as women's work. Throwing a party and being a bitch about it. Like so many things, it pits women against women - only in this case that's not a theory or a possible byproduct, it's literal. Maybe this movie is going to be a great piece of camp that pokes fun at the ridiculousness of - not the traditions themselves, necessarily - but our attitudes about the wedding day. The trailers don't make it appear so. They make it look like another flick about white women's perfect white weddings and we'll probably laugh at it but never relate it to our own lives in a meaningful way.

Whew. I've been feeling a rant coming on that had nothing to do with crafts.

December 17, 2008

Penny's sweater

I couldn't find a dog sweater pattern that I liked. Or rather, that I felt like tackling. This was stupid. Because now I'm trying to write a pattern for something I've never made - an article of clothing. Ok, that's not accurate. I made Joe a hat. Easy to size, right? It's too big. I overcompensated for his giant head. But I've started this sweater and really want to finish it, but in addition to being something I don't know how to size, for some reason I decided this was also a good time to learn how to cable.

This is Penny, wondering what I was thinking.

This is Penny, kind of growling at the sweater as I present it to her. No, I take that back - she lets me lay it on her periodically so I can eyeball where I'm at, so my guess is she was actually growling because I stupidly pointed something sharp in the direction of her head.

The yarn is great - a deep forest green tweed. Very distinguished for a hunting dog (even one who did not protect me one iota from the guy who came into our house to steal our ipods while we were home). You can just barely see the cables - but I like the way they're coming out and think they really make it look more professional. You know, like it was done by machine.

Doesn't everyone love tiny things?

Tiny knitted sweaters and stockings! The patterns are from, of course, Last Minute Knitted Gifts, but I modified them a bit. I think they're supposed to be ornaments, but it would be cute to frame a set in a shadowbox. I love these for many reasons - one of which is that they aren't specifically Christmas, they're just wintery, and you still need winter cheer when the holidays are over.

Striping sock yarn is fabulous, except you have to wind little bits of the skein to get to the right part of the pattern so the front and back of the sweater is the same. The stocking pattern was an excellent way to learn how to turn a heel and someday soon I'll be making socks for myself. It's cold in MN.

These don't actually match, but they're close. The sweater was made out a scrap - love that! The stocking is what I'll making my own socks from. Yikes, ending a sentence with a preposition...oh, well.

These are my favorite - made from this really old-fashioned, rough, heather wool. Mini Paul Bunyon wears these as he reads in front of the fire.

The good stuff

These are the most elegant pieces I have. They are all sterling and mix glass beads with crystals.

One of my favorites, on me. Lots of different blue crystals and tiny sterling rings that slide over small sections of the bracelet.

Another of my favorites, on me. Pearls with smoke crystals.

More bracelets

These beads really are opaque baby-blue. I think this bracelet is awesome and can't believe it hasn't sold in the SEVERAL years since I made it. It took forever to make and I just want someone to love it. It's funny that I've made all these things and never wear jewelry. Almost never. On special occasions I have some things I've made.

These are memory wire bracelets that wrap around the wrist. I sold one at the Dodge show and I hope it's being enjoyed.

Now we're into reds/purples/blacks. I love red. It's spicy.

There's a few here for the Red Hat ladies.

Can't go wrong with black.

Bracelets galore

Ok, so these aren't the greatest pictures, but I wanted to post my current stock so if anyone out there wanted more details or to purchase anything, they'd be able to see what I have.

A couple in the oranges. I love orange and crave it in my life, which is weird, I know, but there you have it. I love to eat all kinds of orange food. Great meals can be made from grilled cheese, carrots, and bar-b-que chips. The one with the boot charm is hessonite stone cubes.

I love lampwork beads. They're the quirky ones on the double-stranded bracelet that look like they have pimples.

I do a lot in blues. I guess it is, as they say, a peaceful color.

More blues. Most of my jewelry is made of glass beads and base metal. I generally try to note if the case is otherwise.

And still more blues. The top one is sterling and the middle one includes some stones (the large, rectangular beads).

December 13, 2008

Dodge Nature Center Craft Show

The show went very well. I wasn't able to be there more than the one day, but that was nice. Sold a few dreamcatchers but mostly jewelry, which is mostly what I had, so there you go.

There was a lot of cool stuff there; cute screen printed t-shirts for kids, wrist cuffs made from old belts, customized pillows filled with lavender, felted sweaters cut up and sewn into stockings and sister sold some ornaments and hopefully she'll give me few even though we don't have a tree this year.

Unfortunately, I didn't bring a camera, but am still planning on taking pics of more of my stuff to post here.

December 1, 2008

My first knitting pattern!

Woo hoo! So I wrote a pattern for a stuffed owl because I couldn't find one I liked. Also, I was bored. Luckily, it turned out well the first time. I've learned a lot of patience with knitting, but I still don't check the gauge or tear things out or redo things. It's terrible, I know, but I have a strong aversion to wasting time in certain areas of life. This is one of them. Applying to jobs is another. I realize the time I may spend redoing knitting or applying to jobs I will never get really isn't a waste, it's good practice and I know that. But unfortunately for me,I just can't get my stubborn heart to feel it.

So you don't see the pattern here because I've submitted it to Knitty for review for their Spring magazine. I think I'll hear in a couple of weeks. If it's not accepted, I'll post it here, but either way it'll be free to view when it goes live.

November 29, 2008

Craftstravaganza weekend has turned into craftstravaganza three weeks

Well, the weekend was fun and exhausting. Of course, I was in high anxiety mode being away from home - and knowing that the daughter of one of our fellow crafters was the sick the day before we got there. Ish. Major panic was avoided and everything was fine!

The place was pretty amazing...hugesaurus apartment with a full kitchen, large living room, big dining room table, three bedrooms, and two full baths. There were ten beds and a sofa-bed. This apartment was the upstairs of the building, while downstairs was a scrapbook store and a large classroom with twelve work tables for the renters of the apartment to use (plus another bathroom). Giant.

I made forty-two cards, a mini stocking, and a mini sweater in those two and a half days. The goal was to get a few things done for the craft show/fundraiser at my niece's school and some cards to just have on hand for random occasions. So I did that - but I also sparked this freakish marathon of crafting that has lasted through this week after the craft weekend. It's feel like it's been much longer...I can't stop doing stuff. Anything and everything I can do will be sold at this show. The jewelry I already had but need to re-tag. I also already had the matted "mini pics." I think I'm done making cards, but you never know. Then there's the dreamcatchers, sets of wine charms, and knitted ornaments that I'm trying to get a reasonable stock of - plus the bookmarks I haven't even started. I've been working on new packaging and displays and I need to inventory and price everything. I feel like I have a million things happening! Have I mentioned I'm applying for jobs and working part time, too?

Not complaining for one second about it, because even though I feel like I never get anything done I do enjoy making all of this stuff. And I'm probably kidding myself, but hoping to make a little money when the show finally comes in a couple weeks. No doubt I'll keep myself frantic until then.

In other news, Joe and I put up the xmas lights today, but I think I'm getting a cold. Boo. I'm glad I can listen to xmas music now without feeling guilty. I'm tired and this entry is boring, huh? Well, it happens.

November 14, 2008

Scrapbooking weekend is coming up!

I'm going up to the Brainerd area next Thursday for a scrapbooking weekend - although I think I won't actually scrapbook so much as make a huge stockpile of cards for every occasion. I'm excited! I love making cards because I get a product so much faster than with a scrapbook. It still surprises me that I muster the patience to do things like knitting or drawing, because traditionally I like to have a product in, oh, ten to twenty minutes.

Most of the cards will be for my own use, I think, but some may be sold. I'm pumped to be with a bunch of other women so we can use each other's stamps and punches and whatnot. My sister invited me, but I'll also know a couple of her friends.

I'll probably bring knitting, too, depending on how much paper crafting stuff I end up packing. Can you imagine? Thirteen women packing clothes, toiletries, and food for three days - plus bags, boxes, and totes of craft materials.

If only we could all make a living crafting. Difficult economy and all, it's sometimes tempting to try...

November 9, 2008

Pen Mosaics

These are a little weird. A dog and a peacock started me on this series, and here it continues. The style really came from a former co-worker, Mychal, whose form was much more admirable than mine. They combine a lot of influences; henna design, Scandinavian textile, pop culture relics, and the spirituality in nature.

Crayon Woman

I'm not much of a sketch artist, but this one works for me.


Speaking of brief forays, these came from the one in oil pastels; Space Baobab and Lion.


These came out of my brief foray into oil painting. The red-winged black bird is an homage to my great-grandma, who would point them out on walks by the Minnehaha Creek. The dog is a portrait of my Penny, whose face I could never hope to get right.

Dream catchers

The mother-of-pearl bird may migrate to another dream catcher - don't know if I like it on this one.

Felted Pumpkin

This is my first attempt at felting, which I had to do by hand in the sink. The pattern came from

Two more bears

Again from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, these are for Baby Mogush and Baby Beakman (the parents don't know about this blog, so the surprise won't be ruined). As you can see, switching the yarn and needle size can make a big difference.

November 7, 2008

Brody's kitty

The cat happened when I was trying to make a bear with the round bunny head and then make the ears separately to sew on afterward - the ears I made ended up as triangles, so the bear ended up as a kitty! Add whiskers and tail; voila.

Harper's bunny

The bunny's head probably turned out the best out of all my animals because you close it as a sphere instead of making a cone that becomes ears after sinching as for the bear.

Leisl's bear

From Last Minute Gifts, this is the first bear I made in a series of what turned out to be a baby-filled year.

November 6, 2008


Egret Effects is going to be my crafting blog. Yay!