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1  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Thing-A-Day Feb 2017 Craftalong on: January 17, 2017 04:20:56 PM

(image is a fish care calendar page I drew out as one of my 'things' last February)

Last year Wile E Songdog hosted this craftalong, and since she hasn't been on in a while I'm happy to get it rolling this year!

Thing-A-Day is a special craftalong that only runs during the month of February. Our goal is to do something creative every day and take a picture to share! These projects should take around 30 minutes, although they can be longer or slightly shorter if you want. The rules are very loose as this is a personal challenge and not any kind of competition. Putting work into a longer-term project also counts towards your thing for a day - for instance, last year some of my days were just cutting out triangle pieces for a quilt (which I haven't touched since then, aaaaaa).

Projects can be as diverse as a painting, a snow sculpture, a granny square, a batch of funny-shaped pancakes, arranging your bookshelf by color, or patching your old jeans! Honestly it is up to you what you'd like to count as your "thing" for any given day. Creativity comes in many shades.

If you'd like to participate, make a post where your list will go, and then you can update it with links and/or thumbnail pics throughout the month. I'll have a masterpost of everyone's lists.

Let's brainstorm! I for one desperately need to get back to my quilt that I started one year ago, and I'd also like to do some coloring book pages.
2  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Black & white pet portraits on: December 28, 2016 01:18:59 PM
I painted these three portraits for different family members for Christmas - they are all beloved pets that have passed away in the past year and a half.

Zeke the tiny poodly:

Tiggar the 19 year old tabby:

And Lottie the rescue mutt:

They were all so well received, it made my heart grow 3 sizes that day. <3

Here's all three together -

My technique for these was to edit a photo of them, giving it very high black/white contrast. Then I pencil traced a very rough outline from my computer screen. My skills aren't quite up to freehanding it completely, or at least not without taking a much longer time doing it. I found this method gave me enough of a base drawing to get all the shapes right, while still giving me creative leeway for the paint shading. I only used black acrylic paint in various watered-down states.

It may be hard to see in this picture, but here is my faint pencil tracing for Zeke:

And the finished paintings compared to my edited photos:

This was one of my favorite projects I've done in a long time!
3  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Snowflake sweater stocking on: December 11, 2016 12:07:06 PM
This one went out to edelC in the Christmas stocking swap round 12. It's made almost entirely with wool - merino and cashmere sweaters and variegated sock yarn for the embroidery.

I serged all the sweater pieces together and reinforced a few wonky areas. The snowflakes were all freehanded - I was trying to get as many different designs as I could come up with! Some were more successful than others. Here are some of my favorite bits:

It was a very fun project, and inspiring to work on.
4  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Black bean, butternut, & spinach skillet on: December 08, 2016 09:15:29 AM
This is a fairly quick and easy one-pot meal that I found online here and tweaked to fit what I had on hand. It was pretty tasty and satisfying!

I like when food blogs do the ingredients shot - much easier for me to take in than just a written list, so I'll do both here.

Butternut squash - about half a squash, diced
Onion - one, diced
Jalapeno - one, minced
Garlic - 6 cloves, minced
Black beans - one can, drained
Rotel tomatoes - one can (I had homemade from last year)
Spinach - about 4 oz fresh (more than half of the bag in the picture)
Spices - smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, coriander -  1 teaspoon of the first, 1/4 tsp of the rest
Cheese - grated, for topping

Not pictured - olive oil, salt & pepper

In a large skillet, heat up a couple tablespoons of olive oil and add the onion, squash, jalapeno, and garlic. Add salt and pepper to your taste, and cook until the onions soften (about 5 minutes).

Add the black beans, tomatoes, and spices and cook until the squash is soft (about 10 minutes). There should be enough liquid for it to be bubbling nicely, but if it seems dry then add some water or broth.

The last minute of cooking, add the spinach and stir it in so it wilts.

Serve hot so your cheese topping gets melty. Yum!

5  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Little birdie in the rain - collage painting on: May 13, 2016 09:22:22 AM

blupaisan and I took a collage painting class together - she made this lovely lady while I created this springtime scene.

I found some great handmade papers to use for the branch and foliage that gave me a nice soft texture. And the black parts of the bird are all tissue paper.

The background papers are from an old french book that a local teacher was giving away - I loved the look of yellowed pages. The edges of the canvas are also black tissue paper, kind of like a frame.

Most of what you see is paper layered over a base painting. The paint shows through a bit in places, but it was mostly a guide for where I should lay my colored papers. Here is just the paint layer before I started collaging.

You can see up there a printout of my reference picture - photo of a prothonotary warbler by Paul Jones on flickr.
6  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Wisteria over the garden fence - Collage on: May 04, 2016 06:33:34 PM
I made this as part of a collage painting class last fall! It was a very fun experience. (In fact I took it again this spring with blupaisan - I still need to post that finished project, but seeing as how I'm just now posting this one from October, you might have to wait a bit!)

The flowers are made from painted pages (text and plain), some fancy handmade and tissue paper, and some fabric at the back.

White papers are from an old Shakespeare collection (these are all from The Tempest if I remember correctly), and the dark text I saved from a gift bag years back. This is why I have trouble getting rid of things, because sometimes I'll find a use for one thing in twenty!

I also put some lace down the rails, and up the sides.

Inspired by this image:

Thanks for checking it out!
7  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Moray eel cutie on: May 02, 2016 04:41:21 PM
I made this hoop for the One Tiny Unloved Creature Swap. My partner roler loves moray eels, and even has a cute photo blog of stuffie eels on adventures! So I knew I wanted to create something with that.

I used this photo by Fred Bavendam for reference, and somehow wound up shortening the snout... so I don't know if it looks weird now? But I still like it!

I made tiny french knots for the mottling on the back.

And tiny teeth!

I'm happy I got to stitch this lovely critter for the swap, because I'm sure I would never have thought to do it otherwise.
8  NEWS AND DISCUSSION ABOUT CRAFTSTER / Craftster Itself / I think I lost a lot of my saved PMs on: February 21, 2016 06:11:37 PM
I try to limit my inbox here on Craftster to only current messages, so I move others I want to keep to different labels. I just clicked on my biggest one, to find it completely empty. Ever had this happen? Are they gone for good?
9  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Vermont + Virginia lattice stitching on: February 11, 2016 07:40:53 PM
So I was born in Vermont, and my partner was born in Virginia. My idea for this piece was to match up the two cities by overlaying the state outlines, and mixing the color schemes for each one where they overlap, the way our two lives are now mixed. Is that too much sap?

I learned three different lattice fills, and I gotta say it's pretty fun to watch them take shape as you go! Check out Needle n' Thread - that's where I found the ones I used.

I actually did the stitching almost a full year ago, and I finally got it together to finish the piece by making a pillow that I'll give him for Valentine's Day.

I tried to pull in all the colors from the thread, and used a few things from my scrap stash. I like how it turned out, and hope he does too!

It's just throw pillow sized, 10 by 15 inches. The back is envelope style.

Thanks for checking it out!
10  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Monthly Theme Dotee Gallery - December 2015 on: January 02, 2016 07:50:33 AM

Swap thread: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=442018.0

blue = sent
green = received
purple = sent and received
orange = sending late with communication
strikethrough = feedback given

Acadian Driftwood - cmarion3
blupaisan - Sarasmile
emilywilde - The Raging Sloth
Ludi - Wile E Songdog
DearBluebird - alwaysinmyroom
Wulf - artsycandice
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