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11  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Watercolor Turtle Petroglyphs on: April 25, 2019 08:55:13 AM
This was my first foray into painting as an adult, and pretty much the last, too!  Grin Sometime I'd like to go back and try the same technique with different images of my own design. These pieces were all given as gifts, as they are directly inspired by some of the the paintings of Hawaiian artist Cindy Conklin. Several years ago, my parents and I visited the Volcano Art Center on the Big Island of Hawaii and saw her series: "Turtle Squares." My mother adores honu (Hawaiian for sea turtle) art, but was unable to swing the (understandably) very high price of the original art pieces (no prints of this series were available until several years later).

For Mother's Day that year, I taught myself through a series of experiments how to reproduce the technique--trial and error, baby!--and presented her with the below set of 4 tiles in her favorite colors. The look on her face when she thought I'd snuck behind her back and spent that kind of money was PRICELESS!  Cheesy Clearly, she thought they were original, which delighted me. I made sure that on the back of all the frames, there is a clear note indicating the origin of the art style/idea and artist's name, should anyone see the pieces and want one. I also produced at least 7 other tiles in different colors, mostly so she could swap out, if she wanted, but they eventually became gifts for other people.

To do these paintings, I first hand-tore heavy textured paper from a notebook I had on hand into rough squares. Then, I spray-coated each with artist fixing spray (left over from a college course on forensic art...). Next, I added a wash of the chosen background colors over each full square using basic artist watercolor paint and a sponge brush and allowed them to dry over night. The following day, I painted the petroglyph turtle outlines first, then traced around them with more paint, and filled in all the blank areas before the outlines could dry. Finally, after another 12 hours of total drying, I added a final coat of finishing spray to seal.

The main project: the 4 tile, framed art piece for my Mother. She chose the 4 colors she wanted (interestingly enough, the exact 4 I had picked for her, although we shuffled the order around a few times before I fixed them to the matting)


Two of the additional paper tiles I made. The light blue one is in a shadow box style frame, so there is about an inch between the art and the glass. My mother picked the frame, which came with the burlap backing, and I affixed the Hawaiian lava chunk and lava tube, as well. The orange one is framed on a plain black mat in a regular black frame, and it sits on my work desk next to a couple other orange things. My grandmother also received one just like this, but her tile was shades of red (her favorite color); it's now with my Uncle since she passed away. My Dad has the final set, which is a double vertical tile set in a single black frame/mat combo, in shades of blues and purples. Smiley


I love these things (they are actually quite a bit brighter in person), and every time I see them, I'm reminded how pleased and surprised she was.  Smiley
12  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Easter / Swirled Easter Eggs with Sharpies! on: April 18, 2019 07:48:39 AM
Last night I had a random crafting bug, and remembered I had 2-3 dozen blown egg shells from a couple years ago that I had never done anything with! A couple web searches for things I could do with items I already had around my house and this won.

I used this tutorial: https://happyhooligans.ca/tie-dye-easter-eggs-sharpies-alcohol/

Even not quite knowing what I was doing yielded very attractive results, and I plan to get more Sharpies today so I can make more colors. Also, I decided to use my Dremel to make a pretty pattern on the one I made for my parents (again, something I bought the diamond dust bits for at least 2 years ago, but never did).

**A couple notes about Dremel-ing egg shells: 1. Wear a mask of some kind; that dust is very breathable; 2. Buy the right bits; the ones from the hardware store will not cut it for this kind of project - the cracked egg that I used for my tests is the result of a normal bit from a couple years ago**



13  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Abnormal Unicorn - Micro Ami! on: April 06, 2019 01:59:03 AM

I made this tiny baby this evening, from a pattern I found on Ravelry. I used size 10 cotton thread and an antique crochet hook, doll-sized buttons for eyes, and pastel threads for his mane and tail. His body has rainbow shiny filaments in the thread, and his hooves and horn have actual golden metal filaments in them, too! The only pattern change I made was to add a muzzle. I thought it made him look more equine. I used a magic loop with 6 single crochets, in 2 rows. Hes for a friend who is liquidating her LuLaRoe business (an online clothing brand). Since sought-after patterns for the brand are referred to as unicorns, I thought this was appropriate. Wink


14  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Micro Narwhal! on: April 06, 2019 01:51:40 AM

Just made this little narwhal tonight on a whim. The pattern was on Ravelry, and the only change I made was using size 10 crochet thread instead of worsted weight yarn. His tusk and belly even have sparkly fibers in them. His eyes are tiny doll buttons left over from other projects. He is going to be a gift for a friend. Ive been doing handmade Christmas ornament swaps with a coworkers mom for two years, and the mom is coming to visit, so I finally get to meet her tomorrow! This little guy is for her. Smiley




15  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Hawaiian Hula Dancer Portrait Art Doll on: April 04, 2019 08:33:48 AM


This was my third cloth art doll (after Severus Snape - my learning doll, and Ted Raimi as Hank from "Lunatics: A Love Story"), and my first female doll, so I had to completely re-design her torso. Also, this happens to be a doll of me! I made her as a present for my mother while I was living in Japan (so around 2009), and she is dressed in a replica of a Hula costume I made for myself, using scraps of leftover fabrics from the project. I have been a Hula dancer since I was 9 years old, and I performed for some of my friends and students while I was in Japan, so I thought this was something my mother would love (she did).



I made her long lei from folded and gathered ribbon, her hei (head decoration) from small fake leaves that were sold for scrapbooking supplies, and her kupei (wrist and ankle ornaments) and smaller lei from small wooden beads that I thought resembled kukui nuts. She is dressed to perform Hula Kahiko, or old-style Hula dancing with chanting and gourd drums. The whole project was spread out over about a month, but I would estimate she took between 15-20 hours, especially since she has individually sewn in and tied strands of hair made from embroidery floss. Her face pattern was also redrawn to resemble me, specifically, and her hands are wired so she can pose. Her joints are all button-articulated. Smiley



And here's the photo of me in the original dance costume:
16  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Bedroom Valances out of Sheets! on: April 03, 2019 01:14:26 PM


While I didn't get good progress pictures as I was assembling the valances themselves, these were made from an extra set of my Mom's sheets that she kept (bought over 20 years ago!) when she bought her bed set, in case she couldn't find curtains that she liked. The interior I cut from foamcore boards, and then we laid those over the sheets and cut around them. We made two for her bedroom windows.

Each shape was wrapped in quilt batting, then fabric, then stapled together. The backs were finished with fabric stapled at the top and then folded over to hide the raw edge, then pinned up along the remaining edges and hot glued in place. Dad mounted them to the wall, but that left some very obvious screws showing on the outside, so I made covered buttons to hide the screws, then glued them over top. The buttons took almost as long as the rest of the project, as my mother refused to tolerate wrinkles! I had to gather each button around the metal form by hand, then holding everything taut, push it into the mold and add the backing while not letting go of anything. I couldn't feel my fingers for a while afterward! The extra buttons are to decorate her bed skirt eventually, but that project is her job. Wink


17  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / AG 18" Doll Dress, Bloomers, and Apron on: April 03, 2019 01:03:36 PM
I have had and loved American Girl dolls since I was a kid and often admired many of the clothes and patterns they had. One of the ladies in my church (we'll call her D) is now bed-bound and unable to sew, although she made doll clothes for years for the AG Kirsten doll she gave to her daughter (who is roughly my age) as a child. That daughter has recently given it to her daughter (around 8 yrs. old), and for Christmas, D asked me if I would make Kirsten's Birthday Dress and Apron for her granddaughter. She even had the original pattern set that Pleasant Company released back in the 90's, with the paper pieces already carefully cut out.

Since they didn't want an exact replica, I used a soft, plain muslin from my stash for the apron and bloomers, and then a nice light cotton I purchased several years ago while living in Japan. My own doll from childhood, Addy, is modelling the finished items. While I won't share it here for the child's privacy, I was delighted to get a picture after Christmas with the doll, all dressed in her new outfit, held by the beaming little girl! Smiley


18  CRAFTING FOR GOOD AND NOT EVIL / Crafty Charitable/Social Causes / Cheery Home Goods for "Crafting Comfort" on: April 03, 2019 12:54:33 PM
While randomly searching the internet for sewing related volunteer opportunities, I found a local group called Crafting Comfort. They do 100% charity sewing projects, using donated sewing space, materials, or grant funds from local foundations.

I was able to leave work early this week and go to one of their working meetings. We sewed home decor items for a region/local battered women's organization and living resource. They apparently have apartments and a school on site for longer terms needs and want to make things homier and more welcoming. We worked on curtains, nap mat pads for the kindergarten, and pillows and pillow covers.

I made 3 pillow covers in about an hour and half! It was a lovely group of ladies (all retired, except for me), and we were very productive! I hope to go again soon.

19  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Retsuko Amigurumi from Netflix's Aggretsuko on: March 15, 2019 12:04:51 PM

Retsuko is a Red Panda from Netflix's anime-inspired cartoon Aggretsuko (she enjoys Death Metal Karaoke to work out her job-related stress...). I made her for a friend at work as part of a surprise craft swap that I organized on the fly. My co-worker loves her! She sits on her desk now.




Retsuko is made entirely from DMC embroidery floss using a US Size 2 hook, and she stands ~3.5 tall, including her ears. I used a free pattern I found on Ravelry, which can also be found here: https://minasscraft.com/en/aggretsuko-amigurumi/.



I spent about 7-8 hours making her, as crocheting with floss always means I drop half as many stitches as I complete! I used toothpicks to reinforce her neck join, and this pattern gave me an opportunity to practice smooth color changes!  I was really very good at it by the end. Smiley
20  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Amigurumi Cubone from Pokemon - Super Tiny! on: March 15, 2019 10:37:40 AM


I've recently found some co-workers who also enjoy art and drawing and crafting of various kinds. I organized a 3-way swap with two friends, and this sweet little guy is one of the results. My co-worker listed Cubone as one of his favorite Pokemon and said he preferred cutesy styles over realistic ones, and wouldn't you know it, I found the perfect pattern. This is from a free pattern I found on Ravelry, also available at this link: http://www.loopteeloops.ca/2017/02/tiny-cubone-crochet-pattern.html.







I used DMC embroidery floss for everything and a US size 2 hook (found at an antique shop several years ago), and since I couldn't find safety eyes this small in the time limit I had, I used appropriately sized/shaped buttons I already had. Cubone is about 1.75" tall. He took me about 4-5 hours total, because of the super tiny size (I always drop so many stitches when working with floss) and the fact that every single piece of shaping is worked individually and then assembled! Every his little stomach is a separate piece... Love the final result though, and my co-worker was reduced to cooing incoherently at his adorableness. Mission accomplished! Wink

Also, this is my first posted project on Craftster! Yay!
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