My Goal Book is finally done! And it's still January! But there was a reason this particular one took me so long...
Here it is, it's just about as thick as Goal Book 2014 despite being a book of 20-15 (twenty goals of 15 items each, I was playing on the "hindsight is 20/20" idiom, though with better-than-average eyesight...). This is because it's a book of looking back as much as forward, and I re-made ALL of the goal pages I didn't completely accomplish in 2012, 2013, and 2014! I also used the same "plastic" paint because it really held up well, despite being schleped all over the place and tossed willy-nilly in my bag every day.
If you want to hear the story of this weird book, grab a beverage and sit back, it'll be a bit of a read. Otherwise, scroll down for the pictures of the new pages and you can chuckle over my not-so-artistic renderings...
Back in 2012 I had the brilliant (mad) idea to start a book of 50 goals of 50 items each, aiming to get 50% done. It was my "Year of 50/50/50". To this end, I grabbed a spare notebook and labeled the pages and numbered the bits and started using it. It went well, so I did the next year much the same way. Another notebook, filled and numbered... but I noticed a problem. When I went over the allotted pages, I had to either "continue" the section in the back of the book (which I did in 2012) or tape in pages (like I did in 2013):
I didn't love this, so I decided, on top of the mad idea that 2014 would have 100 goals... oh yes, 100! (don't worry, many were very silly), I was going to *make* all the pages and ring-bind them. Okay, so I cheated on a few and used notebook paper, but can you blame me? Below are some of the finished pages, because... I liked them, and I can show you some of the "silly" goals (oddly, the silly goals made the prettiest pages, while the more serious goals, like charity and giving and whatnot, were just boring lists):
Yes, many of you may recognize these pages as blatant copies or variations of Wreck This Journal pages, which is an awesome and fun book and did help me a ton because... 100 goals of 100 things is really, really hard to think up! And even at 50% (which, yes, I managed!) the amount of time if they were all real, serious goals would be ridiculous.
So, enter 2015. Three of my 20 goals are to *finish* 15 goals from each 2012, 2013, and 2014. That could mean doing the last 3 doodles I missed in 2012 or writing the 95 reviews I didn't get to in 2014. Obviously, those goals could be huge (there aren't many "just a few items left" goals, except donating blood - I'm one donation short in 2012, one in 2013, and two in 2014 (stupid colds), so it's not a goal this year, I'm just making up previous years - I should only aim for 5 in the future, not 6!). So the rest of them are goals I'm pretty sure I can easily accomplish. I watched 120 movies and made 220 craft projects last year, so I think my movie and craft goals are in the bag...
For goals from previous years I made pages showing what had been done before (starting the numbering at the right place, etc) and for 2014 that was easy, since I could just copy some of the pages (but then I colored them because that would have been too easy!):
For 2012 and 2013 I had to make up new pages (I did try to use as much "reclaimed" paper as possible, most of these pages are on the backs of scrapbook papers I didn't love, these two are old tossed-out office supplies and magazines). I'm particularly proud of the "books read" library card one!
Now, the new pages (sorry this is so long!):
Big craft projects (there's a little guy holding the needles) and movies (MST3K forever!)
Folded cranes and art projects, though I have a TON of art slots left from previous years!
Letters and New Places... I'm pretty proud of my New Places page!
That was supposed to be "hundred cookies - as in 1,500 - but my hand overrode my brain and put "dozen", though I easily managed the 1,200 cookies from last year, and, indeed, on January 2nd made 120 cookies for a wedding, so off to a crackin' start! Oh, and audiobooks. And I've already listed to three.
Sorry for the blurry pic, but Stamps and Fruit and Veg sticker collection. I really liked doing that, so...
These pages will get prettier as I color them in - swap packages are self-explanatory, and the mandala about a coloring book I got from a co-worker. They're very intricate designs, and as I color them I will color my 15-piece mandala on the page.
Two of the boring list-variety pages, just to give you an idea what they look like. They're all hand-lined and numbered, no computer generation, but the rest are equally boring.
Phew! Sorry that was so long. And after all that, my friend saw my book and asked me to make her one - thankfully, she went for 12 goals of 12 each, which made her pages a lot more fun, actually.
Okay, so making a box is not the most outstanding thing in the world, I've made a lot of origami boxes and cut up plenty of others to re-purpose them, but this is my first designed and cut with my new Silhouette! I got it in Christmas and it was just in time to make tags and boxes for the 12 Days of Birth-mas for my hubby (long story about Christmas presents that shipped late). Anyway, one of the things I got him was a set of "Three Packs of Cards", but they didn't have individual boxes.
I fired up the Cameo and downloaded a "card box" from the store...
*insert sad trombone noise*
Not even close to the right size/shape. It did come in handy later for "Nine Rolls of Smarties" (the American version, not the chocolate UK/Canada type), so it wasn't a complete loss, but it wasn't helping me with my cards!
So I drew up one. And learned a LOT... mostly about how hard it is to draw in the program... though maybe it was because I kept trying to use AutoCAD commands... Anyway, a lot fo YouTube videos later, and I had this:
Now, those boxes were just cut out of some scrap paper in a hurry (drawing that up took waaaaaaay longer than I'd like to admit, and it would have been tons faster to trace and hand-cut three boxes, but... it was an accomplishment!) but now I have the pattern and can make playing card/ATC card boxes at will! Wheeeeee!
Here is a picture of some of the other stuff I did for the Twelve Days of Birth-Mas, including the tags I cut with the Cameo (love cutting text, so much easier than the Cricut!) and some other boxes (some made by hand, others cut with my new toy!):
(that tile is my ridiculous kitchen counter, not the floor, just so you know...)
This also fulfills a Winter Nerd Games prompt, since I finally did something I've always wanted to try! You should check out the Nerd Games if you're not playing, it's just fun inspiration...
So I *finally* made myself a wallet. I've needed one for over a year now, and while I did a lot of shopping around, I couldn't find any I loved or that worked for the cards I had. This one is not perfect, but I learned a lot. Made from three fat quarters of batik fabric (lots of waste for mess-ups as I figured out how to put it together) cut on the bias to make it stretchy to accommodate the shear stupid number of cards (I really hate the loyalty/discount card craze).
For the record, this is a picture of my old (I think it's something ridiculous like 15 years old) wallet:
The new one is missing a window picture area, so no picture of my dog... I might need to figure that out. I also should have done the edging around the outside as one continuous strip... as a quilter I don't really know how I messed that up! I could also have made the sleeves a little shorter, and instead of different fabric pieces I could have easily just folded a piece in half and done the top-stitching (though having different colors on the inside is kind of neat!). And I should have included some interfacing on the outside, but I was worried about it folding. As it is, it folds beautifully and while I still don't have a snap on it, it's staying closed. The best part is that it works for all the cards I have! I will probably re-make it at some point and apply what I learned, but for now I'm interested it see how it holds up.
This also fulfills a Winter Nerd Games prompt, since I finally did something I've always wanted to try! You should check out the Nerd Games if you're not playing, it's just fun inspiration...
A while back, a coworker showed me a pattern on the internet and asked wistfully if I could make it for her. It was a teeny-tiny dragon that fit in the palm of your hand! It was both knitting and crochet, and the summary looked easy enough. I said I could... so she bought it, and then I started trying to make it. It wasn't... hard, per se, but very, very fiddly. As with most little things! But I love the way he turned out! I'm glad he's done, though, because it was quite the project...
He also served as a completed project for the Winter Nerd Battles, an awesome craftalong hosted by the equally awesome LovelyMiss that you should all join (on Team Textbook, naturally!).
I made this hoop for Kwality570 in the IYP swap, based off a quote on her pinterest. My idea was that I'd slap all sorts of stuff on it from my stash, in the spirit of the quote, in all the colors of the rainbow. It was embarrassingly easy to find everything I needed... The fabric squares are leftover from the enormous rainbow skirts I made a few years back, and the buttons and beads are all from my enormous collections! The yarn bits all came out of my "tail ends" bowl, an idea I got from a friend who would cut all the leftover bits off of her projects and instead of throwing them away, put them in a bowl for display. I started doing the same thing, and have found a lot of uses for those little leftover bits! And, of course, the cross-stitch floss was the easiest part!
The quote took some doing. I was working on two hoops at the same time (see girl hoop:
which was also part of same swap)
...and had initially started using my alphabet stamps to try to stamp the other saying on some fabric. While it does work, and my ink was waterproof and all that good stuff, it looked a little messy and not perfect and I really didn't think I could handle this long of a quote! So... I took the plunge, and ironed the fabric to a piece of freezer paper, and sent it through my printer.
IT WORKED! Wonderfully, in fact. I will be doing more of that (of course, now that I say that, the next one will jam up and destroy my printer, I'm sure!).
I was happy as a clam, and then I started stitching...
...and started hating it. Really hating it. I sent a picture to Cryssoleil, who encouraged me to keep going. I was nervous, because... I knew it would take a lot of time, and if I still didn't like it... but she's an artist, and I trusted her opinion, so I kept going. The next day's worth of work had it looking better:
And I showed it to more people, who also reacted favorably, so I kept at it! The next marathon of Xena episodes got me this far:
And by then I was starting to like it, and was happy, and it was hard to stop on the next day with so little left to do but... I had been staying up WAY to late on work nights, so I forced myself to put it down.
And it did take some hours the next day to finish up all the bits and do the back, so I'm glad I didn't try to stay up! In the end, I'm really happy with how it turned out! I love working on these kind of "mindless" stitching hoops, it's very relaxing... after I get over the "I'm going to hate this" phase, because they always start out messy.
This also served as a completed project for the Winter Nerd Battles, an awesome craftalong hosted by the equally awesome LovelyMiss that you should all join (on Team Textbook, naturally!).
I had plans. Big plans. Awesome plans. Unrealistic plans, as it turns out.
First, I wanted to use some super-ugly lamps I'd gotten at an auction... I hadn't bought them, but they were part of a lot a friend of my friend bought for $1 and I took them because... well, they're hideous. They're terrifying precious-moment/pride-and-prejudice like girl statues on very ugly lamp bases. We thought we'd turn them into "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" lamps, and maybe some day we will. I was completely crushed when I found out it didn't qualify... until I saw this... or rather, it saw me... or didn't see me... or... just see for yourself:
(posted with the receipt to show what it cost AND when I bought it!)
Super-creepy extreme close-up!
So. My plans.
Picture an adorable pigtailed girl with patch-pocked overalls and freckles. A bit smarmy for some, but definitely an upgrade from the soul-eating abomination that was eyeless boy. The figure is very light, and because of that I thought it was a wood carving, especially with the uneven surface.
It was not.
My plan was to sand off most of the hair, shape the head, use either doll hair or yarn hair and make little pigtails and give her freckles and pink cheeks and... can you see it? In your head? The admittedly very precious-moments-like cuteness?
I bought some air-dry clay to fix the broken bits, namely the cavernous abysses that were the eyes and the missing ear:
This would later prove to be a waste of $6, because... well, I'll get to that. Cryssoleil, we will need to have a power-art night and just use up that tub of clay sometime soon!
Anyway, I stated to try to sand off the hair and.... it's not wood, but a lightweight clay of some sort. I moved to a chisel, and...
I was not deterred! A little E-6000 to the rescue and I was slapping clay on it to smooth the head, add eyes and fix the ear. Sadly, I do not have pictures of this part because this is where things started to go downhill, and frankly, I figured I wasn't even going to finish the thing at this point.
The clay dried and shrank and cracked. Yay!
I started to make a wig that would fit over the head, crocheting a cap and attaching strands of yarn.
I also tried to paint the face. Turns out that improving the color only helped a little, the mottled surface of the piece just did not read "cute". It wasn't working. I got frustrated. There were many paints on my desk. My inner horror freak took over.
I started smearing browns and greys and blacks and greens and reds and... I broke off the ear I'd made (which had looked quite nice, that part really did work) and gouged more bits out of the head and...
It's horrific now, too, but intentionally so? Does that make it better? I don't know.
Have some more pictures while you mull that over:
I can has brains now?
Eh, not super-thrilled with the "brains" of the zombie, but...
Thanks for bearing with me and reading this far, I know I get long-winded...
He was staring at me from the desk all day and it was driving me crazy. So I thought I'd give him one last shot. I re-glued on the ear I'd made, smoothed out his head a bit, and put on some new paint, but admittedly, my heart wasn't as in it as it could have been... I was looking forward to the next step I had in mind!
I was going to them smash him into little pieces and do a funky art box thing with him...
Any last words? Mwahahahahaha!
But sadly, he didn't shatter. He just kinda mushed. I eventually broke off a few pieces, but... it wasn't what I had in mind (picture a Picasso-esque piece with a rearranged face!).
Farewell, stupid boy sculpture. You were a complete disaster, a horrible experiment, a complete waste of a dollar (unless my heartache and pain has amused anyone reading it, in which case, it's all good). You've also made me doubt my worth as a crafter because, I admit it, you bested me. That might be small consolation since you're sitting in a garbage can with your face smooshed in and your legs broken off, but hey.
What on earth is an Okapi, you ask? From Wikipedia: The okapi, also known as the forest giraffe or zebra giraffe, is a giraffid artiodactyl mammal native to the Ituri Rainforest, located in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Although the okapi bears striped markings reminiscent of zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe. The okapi and the giraffe are the only living members of the family Giraffidae.
Now, there are not a ton of Okapi patterns out there, but my partner in the Cryptid Swap really wanted an Okapi (no, it's not a cryptid, but it was considered one for a very long time - they thought taxidermists had cobbled together a make-believe animal from various bits). So I had to make an Okapi.
There are a few very cartoon-okapi patterns, but I wanted something more realistic. Enter... the giraffe pattern. I found this one on Ravelry, but it was a LOT of seams and I hate seams so I tried to work it in the round. I translated the pattern (the two halves were worked independently, so one had to be flipped) and in theory it should have worked? But it didn't. The legs did, but the lower body was weird (I ended up sewing in some tucks and pleats which were still less noticeable than my seams would be) and I did end up needing a seam down the back.
And don't even mention the color changes! Since I was working in the round, for the rump stripes I didn't want to carry the yarn that much so each time I broke off the brown and attached the white/black, then broke those off and attached more brown. At least with a stuffed animal all that is hidden very nicely in the back!
I shortened the neck (I should have thickened it, too, but... time and all) and completely winged the ears. The head I had to pull out and re-do because I forgot the white cheeks, which was a great deal of fun to do... O.o
This is an in-progess picture:
Overall, though? I'm really proud of him. It was a time crunch, and he was HUGE (I did not realize how big he was going to be when I started, but he stood well over a foot tall... this is a reoccurring theme in my projects, I just don't ever seen to grasp what I'm getting myself into. When there are almost 150 rows in a pattern, it's not small!), and I had to pull out a lot, but it was worth it. More pictures, just because:
He also, convincingly, served to fulfill a prompt for the Fall Nerd Battles! If you haven't checked out the Nerd Battles, you should! This session is almost over, but the Winter Nerd Battles should be starting soon and you totally want to join Team Textbook for all things nerdy and awesome!
When you organize a swap, how do you pick a send-out day? I mean, you usually have a rough idea of the crafting time* in terms of weeks, but how do you pick what day is the actual last day?
Obviously, people can always send early, but I try to put the send-out day as a convenient day. I've also seen some people mention paydays, but that's harder to gauge - though I assume most people paid bi-monthly are the 1st and 15th, or near-abouts, those paid every two weeks are going to fluctuate.
Saturday and Sunday are obviously not good choices, as most post offices are closed on Sunday and an increasing number are on Saturday.
Mondays I dislike because the post office tends to be busy with businesses and people catching up from over the weekend.
Tuesday and Wednesday are my favorites.
Thursday and Friday (especially Friday) make me feel like "why not give one more weekend to work on it?"
*Added bonus question: what do you use as a rough guide for crafting time? I've been going with a combination of gut feeling, guessing, and asking the people who are participating, but if there's a guide people use (like, min two weeks for a small, add one week per point added, etc) I'd love to hear it!
As a joke, I texted a picture of this movie to a friend who shares my love of cheesy movies. He's also a keen airplane enthusiast and pilot, so when he saw it he said he had to get it. Well, I bought it for his birthday, and the weekend it came had a brilliant idea - I had to make him a dinosaur and a plane to "play" along with the movie! Even though I only had 2 days (and other projects to finish!) I just knew I could do it. Could it have been better? Sure, but I couldn't let this opportunity pass me by!
The dinosaur was made using this pattern: http://duchessgala.blogspot.de/2014/07/godzilla-kun.html with a few changes (I didn't do the top of the head as a separate piece, and didn't have time for the scales or the tummy piece, and I did the teeth as felt). It's a great pattern and I'd use it again in a heartbeat!