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11  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / fabric stashbuster blanket on: January 06, 2009 08:10:19 PM
I made a dent in my gigantic fabric stash by making this blanket for my love.  I meant to give it to him for the holidays, but I ended up just finishing it today  Roll Eyes  I still need to sew up/weave in the random ends where the fabric strips are joined.

I just cut yards and yards of thrifted fabric (bought on the cheap!) into strips of an average of 2 1/2 inches in width, then joined them at the ends.  I knitted them on huge needles: size 35 (19 mm).  The knitting is moderately loose.  It's super warm, though, and it ended up being queen size.  Its recipient loves it so much that he keeps showing it off to everyone he sees, and he's curled up under it right now.

This is a closeup of the knitting:

One of our puppies wanted in on the picture-taking action.  He's actually a good way to gauge the size of the stripes; he's about 4 pounds so he's pretty small.

This is a view from above.  It's on our queen bed.  The yellow stripe, as well as the top two (dark blue and light blue with clouds) are all jersey bedsheets that were either torn or too worn to use as sheets anymore. 

I like how it came out, but it took sooo long.  I promise that I won't be attempting something on this scale again anytime soon!
12  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Gingerbread bonanza...warning: lots of pics! on: January 06, 2009 06:57:29 PM
This year, we made a million cookies for different gatherings...my favorite was our (huge) batch of gingerbread people!  I veganized and doubled a pretty generic recipe for the cookies (added more ginger and cinnamon, but cut down on the cloves) and made icing out of powdered sugar and Meyer lemon juice, colored with liquid food coloring (though any juice would probably work).  We used little zip-top bags to pipe the icing.  We also melted some chocolate and used little sprinkles and cake decorating things leftover from the holidays.  I decorated these with my fantastic fiance, as well as three other family members.  Some of the cookies ended up more demented than others, but they were all devoured!

I love my gingerbread people:

We brought a bunch of "normal" ones to a holiday party.  That's pretty much where the normalcy ended.

I did these.  When else can my cookies wear hotpants?

This is one man that my fiance decorated; he named him after a rapper (sarcastically), but I forgot which one...so here's our gunshot gingerbread:

Another of my fiance's.  He also did a bunch of non-demented ones  Tongue

His little sister showed her artistic genius and made this Mario!!

My fiance and I made this pirate.  I messed up his eye patch but decided it wasn't worth it to wipe off all of the icing.

This is my punk rocker.  I wish we had made more of these little guys (there were only three).

These have 6-packs (which was inspired by an awesome post by our fellow craftster, thehazelwood!!  Cheesy).  They looked kind of naked with only little nipples, so we gave them speedos too.

Here's a bathing beauty to go with the speedo guys.

This is an abstract star-person:

We made a sumo wrestler and a guy with his arm in a sling:

And finally, this is the tie-dye gingerbread man that I decorated to use up some of our leftover icing!  It was SO shiny because of all of the icing.  Unfortunately, I could not get a sharper picture because by the time I realized this one was blurry, we had eaten it.  It was delicious!  Cheesy

13  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Incandescent fish: my throwback to high school on: October 02, 2008 04:10:37 PM

I found a watercolor I did way back in high school (I've gone through college and I'm working on my second degree now, mind you), and it was all rolled up and then smashed by things and well...it's not in the prettiest condition, but I love it anyhow.  It reminds me of how much better I've become at drawing (I slacked on the shading for this one), and it's just a nice little throwback.

Here's a closeup:

Here's the whole thing (it's in front of a window, so pardon the random shadows.  it's also not that washed out in real life, although it is faded.)  It's about 20x30 or something random like that, but I folded it and put it into a 16x20 frame.

It's watercolor and ink.  The watercolors were just those cheapy Crayola ones (that's why they're so faded), and I didn't want to get rid of the folds.  I just put it into a poster frame to protect it last week  Roll Eyes  Maybe eventually I'll press it or iron it...right now, I'm good.

As far as the subject goes, the teacher used to come up with the most random pairings.  This assignment's was: fish and lightbulbs.  Like those go together, right?

Hope you like!
14  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / I love you, scratchboard :o) on: September 25, 2008 10:28:22 AM
Note:  if this post is in the wrong forum, I'm sorry!

So I found a little kit that came with a 4x6 scratchboard and one of those scratchboard tools (that probably have a name and I'm just too inexperienced with this medium to know it)  Tongue The kit was to scratch out this lame, lame sailboat.  It was on clearance, though, so I bought it.  I opened it, promptly ditched the pattern, and set to work.  I had saved a really cute postage stamp from a letter.  It had a little guy holding a giant heart and running across a field. 

I sketched a variation of that little guy (only mine is making the "I love you" sign), and transferred it to my clayboard by rubbing the back of the sketch with pencil and then placing that side on the board.  I pressed lightly on the side I'd drawn on, and once the whole thing was transferred I threw away the sketch.  And scratched.  And scratched.  I like any craft that involves a little bit of destruction  Grin 

That's all that was planned on this.  The rest, I kind of made up as I went along.  I was able to achieve some really cool textures that I don't think translate well to pictures.  I realize that scratchboards are usually used for realism, but I'm not a conformist like that...this was just more my style.  I really enjoyed this medium, and I am definitely going to refine my technique.  This was fun, though, and a really welcome diversion from studying!

With flash:

Here's one without flash.  It made the india ink look a crazy sienna color, but hey...I think you can kind of see more of the definition.  Oh, and these pics are taken without any fixative so you can ignore the weird scuffs on the ink:
15  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / X-Men, Super Special Edition (now with reference pics) on: May 26, 2008 07:04:16 PM
My fiance painted this, so this post is on his behalf Smiley

Our friends J and E got married this month, and they received a painting from me (https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=242610.msg2676902#msg2676902) and a painting from my fiance! 

The groom, J, couldn't get his groom cake made with a specific comic book cover as the image on top.  All the bakery could do was screen an image onto the icing, and he didn't want that...so they scrapped the idea and he was pretty down about the whole thing.  In steps my fiance, who loves comics and painting, and he meshed a comic cover (the one where Scott Summers and Jean Gray get married) and one of our friends' engagement pictures to come up with this:

On three sides of the canvas, he made it look as if there are pages.

On the left side of the canvas, he painted in giant silver "staples".

He presented it to J in true comic book fashion, with a "bag and board".  The board was posterboard, and the bag was a gift bag from the craft store. 

When J was given this painting, he loved it so much that he cried!  Cheesy

16  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Blue October on: May 09, 2008 02:36:14 PM
My roommate and I used to go to every Blue October show possible in college (good times!)  ...We went with some friends on a roadtrip to New Orleans one weekend and 1) saw the band for under a dollar and 2) snapped some amazing pictures as we were in the front row!

She took a picture of Justin, and I was so impressed by the coolness of the composition/lighting that I used it as a guideline for this awesome work:

It's all in oil pastel.  (lots and lots of oil pastel, on a 16x24" stretched canvas.)  I had to mess with the neck of the guitar so that it'd look right, but generally all the frets and such are where they should be...artistic license, you know?  Tongue  My forays into realism are rare, and I really love this one.  Note:  in real life, his hands don't look as weird as they do in the pic.  They do look a little weird, however, because she took the picture as he was playing hard.  Anyways, enough talk!  Hope you like it!
17  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / bagels! on: May 05, 2008 03:56:19 PM
We love to make new things.  Our latest endeavor was bagels and bagel-related toppings.  We did the works with these guys: lots of risings, a hot-water bath, and egg washes.  They were baked with cornmeal as the nonstick agent.

This batch was made with bread flour, and we experimented with different toppings.  Some had sesame seeds, some had onion pieces, some were sea salt and some were just plain.  All had an egg wash to make them shiny.

This batch was made with whole-wheat flour.  They did have an egg wash, but they didn't get shiny.  Also, they're not burnt...the flash did something weird with the colors.  Some were topped with cinnamon sugar, and some were topped with honey wheat germ.

This photo compares the relative sizes of the two batches. 

The bread flour bagels came out super poufy, and the wheat ones were super dense.  Both types were delicous in their own right, but I prefered the bread flour ones.  They were more tender on the inside.  The wheat bagels were chewy throughout, which was not a bad thing.  Perhaps next time we'll use a 50:50 ratio of the flours and see what happens?  The bagels toasted beautifully, and we shared them with our loved ones.  The bagels were enjoyed with cream cheese/lox/jelly/peanut butter and banana/all sorts of lovely things.  What we had left over we used to make lunchtime sammiches.  Yum!  Oh, and did I mention that they made the house smell WONDERFUL?  Because that's probably the best thing about these bagels!

(Oh, and a sidenote:  the recipe came from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads, which is an amazing book to have in the kitchen.)
18  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Swing Life Away on: April 26, 2008 08:52:19 PM
I'm a bridesmaid in my best friend's wedding, and her birthday is coming up 2 weeks before the wedding...I didn't want to buy her something material (she has been receiving tons of gifts already), so what's a craftster to do?

...Paint something!  This is my giant mixed media experiment (it's 36x24", on canvas, with acrylic, fabric, paper, silk ribbon, and glass beads.)  It's my interpretation of their song, "Swing Life Away" by Rise Against. 

This is the detail of the middle of the painting.  It's a fabric heart, pasted into place with acrylic gloss gel medium (heavy weight).  I then sewed silver ribbon around it in a running stitch (and broke a tapestry needle in the process, boo), then laced a gold ribbon through the resulting stitches. 

More details:

a dove.  There's tiny glass beads all over the dove, and silver paint for highlights.  It's really really reflective.  Think disco ball, but classier.  Smiley  The blue behind it is transparency gel mixed with cerulean acrylic, and applied with a palette knife over text I ripped out of a book celebrating great first lines from great books.  There are lines from Dr. Seuss, Oscar Wilde, JD Salinger, and I could go on forever.

First lines from amazing books that I love. 

The whole thing is varnished with three coats of clear kamar varnish, and the sides of the canvas are covered in silk ribbon.  I gave it to her, and she loved it so much that she cried.  Yay.
19  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / picturesque puppies at the park on: March 24, 2008 06:49:32 PM
I was taking random pictures while we were walking our two puppies at the park, and these came out really great.  I'm always experimenting with new angles and perspectives.  The weather and wind were definitely working in my favor, and everything is skewed towards the blue end of the spectrum slightly. 

First puppy at the park:

Second puppy (he's doing a superhero pose):

Let me know if you have comments or (constructive) criticism!
20  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / my take on the t-shirt rug on: March 18, 2008 06:02:15 PM
I know some of you crafty people have made t-shirt rugs (I was particularly inspired by this post: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=227335.0), but this is my take.

One of my favorite things to do is cut up old clothes and reconstruct them into something new...the destruction is really satisfying!

Armed with a gigantic Q hook and a bunch of old, soft t-shirts that hadn't yet been assigned to other projects (and the great pattern for "Beth's Little Star Afghan"), I made this:

Pardon my foot and skirt.  It serves as a little rug for my puppies to nap on if they want, and it keeps my feet warm when I'm picking out clothes in the morning!  The pattern was easy to follow and it took a few tries, but I was able to whip this up relatively quickly.  The gaps are meant to be there, and the whole thing is done in double crochet so its size increases fast!  If I were to change anything about it, I'd have enough t-shirts to make whole stripes, instead of randomly transitioning between colors in the middle of a point.  (Hope that makes sense.)  Anyhow, enough talking!  Hope you all enjoy! 
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