Saturday, December 17, 2011
I'm finished with my pre Christmas craft shows and have started on a bunch of new things I wanted to try. This technique is one I've done before but never on this scale. It's a way of felting texture into the knit fabric. I'm tying buttons into the wool before felting using the little elastics that are made for corn rowing hair. After felting I'll remove the buttons. Where the button stretched the fabric tight there will be an unfelted bubble. This is most of the front of an extra large man's sweater so it's going to take me a while. I'm curious about how many buttons I'll end up with in there but not curious enough to sit and count them! The small tumbled stones sold for flower arranging work well too. The bigger ones can be too heavy and end up ripping the material. I've got this idea to do some needle felting between the bubbles to add color. I love to layer techniques like that. The other thing I've been ruminating on for quite a while was how to make round felted cords from sweater wool. I'm tired of crocheting hat ties and the felted cord looks a lot nicer. Woolyfabulous, whose work I love, has a tutorial for sale in her shop, http://www.etsy.com/shop/woollyfabulous?ref=ss_profile. I have a strange attraction to reinventing the wheel so I set out to figure it out for myself. My friends were into wet felting so I had a pretty good idea of what might work and it did. But out of respect for Woollyfabulous, I'm not going to post the details. I'm sure her instructions are great so unless you're into reverse engineering like me, save yourself the effort and buy them!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Are you superstitious? What are the little things you do every day to avert the evil eye without even thinking about it? I'll admit to throwing a pinch of salt over my shoulder when I spill it and always putting the sugar in my coffee before the milk. I once read a post from an artist who always put a penny on the ground in front of her booth to bring good sales. Recently, I bought a dozen styrofoam wig stands to use in my booth. I already had the one that I painted and glued to a pedestal. That's the one used to get pictures for my etsy shop and the plan is to cover and paint the new ones once things slow down in the new year. Loading up for the first show with all these great new hat displays I realized that I now had thirteen of them total and that bothered me but I shrugged it off. My booth looked great. The wig stands brought the designs to life. Unfortunately, it felt like we were having this fair in a ghost town. If tumble weeds had started rolling down the rows it wouldn't have surprised me. Shift ahead two weeks later to my next show in a town that, thanks to our autumn nor'easter, had been without power for over a week. I was not particularly optimistic getting ready for it but I woke up feeling happy that morning. I had accepted that it would work out however it pleased and I was just not going to worry about it. As I was unloading my stuff, the fancy head on the stand unbalanced, hitting the pavement and the pedestal broke in half. I chucked it back in the car and thought," Oh well, that takes care of the thirteen heads problem." This show rocked! I couldn't believe it. Small venue, on a Sunday, first year show right after the storm and sales were great even though attendance was not that heavy. So what do you think? Was the universe giving me a helpful shove when I dropped the thirteenth head? I'm not taking chances. From here on it's twelve or fourteen and up, but never again will I have thirteen heads in my booth.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Feels like I've gotten things done today. I've been working out with my husband and I got my own gym membership today so I can go by myself if he's busy. My car is mostly loaded up for the American Made Craft Show tomorrow in Chester, I've gotten some more time in on the sewing machine and I have a 16" x 20" toy telephone painting started. Could it be that I'm a little nearer to finding a reasonable working balance in my life? Of course, it's always a work in progress. It's funny how things can work out. I've been mulling over how to do a top hat for my Halloween costume - the Mad Hatter, of course! But I wasn't thinking about it when I stopped in the thrift store today. We needed a lamp for the living room since the knob broke off the old one and we've been turning it on with pliers. They finally had one I liked, and then it dawned on me that I could use the lamp shade as the structure for my top hat. Excellent since I was planning to keep using the larger shade from the old lamp and didn't need the new one. I use this lamp shade as a swift when I need to turn a skein of yarn into a ball. The skein sits on the shade. I put the lamp on the floor, unscrew the finial so the shade will turn freely and away I go winding the yarn into a ball. My husband and I love Halloween so, naturally, we produced a kid who isn't into it at all. I kinda let that put a damper on my celebration but this year I've decided to get dressed up and hang out with my friend who lives on Main St. in Newtown. It's a trick or treat hot spot, unlike our house. Nobody comes here at all. I was going to take pictures today but I'm having trouble with the camera battery. These pictures are recent anyway. I'm really pleased with the pendants on this one. They are made of the seams that are leftover from deconstructing the felted sweaters. It pleases me that I keep finding ways to use almost every scrap.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Elderberry jelly is by far everyone's favorite around here and they'll be glad to know that this was a good year. I was much more organized than in previous years and picked berries as they ripened. That meant checking once a week for about a month to get them at their best. When I bought the twenty 12 oz. jars at Goodwill I thought I'd never fill them all but I very nearly did. The big jar is for my friend whose kids will sneak into the kitchen and eat elderberry jelly with a spoon. Who needs bread?
I keep coming across natural dye information that suggests using elderberry as a purple dye and last year I boiled up a dye bath from the leftover pulp from jelly making. I made up a test piece and put it by the window to see how it would hold up. Not well. Within a month it was a blah brown. Really, pokeweed dye holds up better and that dulls out too. So my advice is, don't bother with it. Make jelly.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Sponge Bob has his jelly fishing and I have elderberry season. Jelly making! Jelly making! My enthusiasm level is about the same as his. The elderberries nearest my home were decimated by the birds but I can't really blame them after the hot dry summer we've had. Just imagine how good those juicy berries must have tasted to them. My super secret spot (just kidding, it's on a busy road.)is looking wonderful though. The birds there either don't like elderberries or the abundance has overwhelmed them. I've got 7 cups of juice in the fridge from my first pick and most of the bushes still needed a bit more time to ripen. I'll be making the jelly I give as holiday presents but I do want to try a pie this year.
The steps involved in getting that jelly made are a good bit of work. Normally, I hate being hot and sweaty but somehow, when I'm picking berries or boiling jelly, it doesn't bother me. It feels so satisfying to have made something from start to finish. Finding the wild fruit was a treasure hunt, so was the great deal on twenty canning jars from Goodwill. As if tasting divine weren't enough, elderberries are loaded with vitamin C and have been used to boost the immune system for eons. When I give it to my friends and family I do so in the hope that it will help them stay healthy through the winter. Here's a link to the recipe I use: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/elderberry_jelly/ I've been using cider vinegar in place of the lemon juice and it seems to do just fine.
Friday, July 15, 2011
This is the prototype for a hat display that was inspired by my Mom's Swedish Christmas tree candle holder. I made it from glued up layers of cardboard from the big cereal boxes we get at BJ's. I don't think that the cardboard would hold up well enough, plus it was a lot of work considering I'll need at least 25 of them. So I'll be making them from the recycled masonite my husband brings home from the museum. Every time they change an exhibit the old cases get trashed because they don't have room to store and reuse them or they wouldn't be the right size for something else. He's built all sorts of projects around here from the stuff. Anyway, these come apart to stack flat which should make for easy transport.
I taught my last crochet class at a local summer camp today. That's paying for two more 4' adjustable fold up tables. Bit by bit, this booth is coming together!
Saturday, July 9, 2011
For people like me, it's Christmas in July because we're busy making inventory for the fall and holiday craft shows. It's also a time to revise my booth , especially since I keep making new things that need different displays. In my case, everything must fit inside my New Beetle. It looks like a clown car whenever I unload or pack up at a show. People can't believe how much I squeeze in there! It does get a lot easier when I do indoor shows and don't have to bring my tent.
My banner is hand lettered on a piece of recycled canvas from a stash of fabric a tenant left behind in a friend's garage. It would have been quick and easy to order something from Vista Print but this has a lot more personality and I enjoyed the project. Next up I'm trying a couple of ideas for hat stands.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
You've just pulled this awesome felted sweater out of the dryer and you're so excited to make something with it but, oh no, it looks like a piece of fried bacon! Relax. You can fix this. The two yarns used to knit the sweater in the pictures did not shrink at the same rate, the black shrank more than the magenta. It didn't cause a problem in the checked areas because the color is distributed evenly. But in the pinwheel pattern there are long black floats that tightened up and made the fabric pucker. Here's the fix:
On the wrong side, carefully slide the blade of your small scissors under the black floats without catching any of the magenta wool and snip them. Take your time so you don't accidentally cut through the magenta layer. Then give the whole thing a good shot of steam on both sides with a hot iron. Now gently pull and stretch the piece until the pattern looks straight and give it a press. Since the sweater was well felted, snipping the floats hasn't really weakened it. Problem solved! This sweater also came out too fuzzy and a bit linty and it's obscuring the pattern so I'll give it a going over with my trusty clothes shaver.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I'm delivering this painting to the Greene Gallery today. This was really fun! It's the first in a series of larger-than-life vintage toys I'll be doing. I've got a sweet vintage metal box of crayons to paint next, more phones and some Ohio Arts toy teapots after that.