Tuesday, May 29, 2007

We build stuff

Dear Shayne,

This past weekend, we built some stuff.

First up, we built some deck furniture from IKEA (that counts as building, right? Right?)

Later on, we "built" margaritas to enjoy out there. (See? We build stuff!)

But in "real" building news... we built a cabinet/bookcase to fill a weird little nook in our kitchen. Unfortunately, I did not take "Before" photos, but, well... it was a stack of milk crates. So just imagine that. (Hint: It was not good.)

This little bugger is hard to photograph. The area where it's built into is sort of a hallway leading out of the kitchen. So I can only take a "from the side" photo of it. Also, I probably should have taken the photos before I filled it up with all of our crap. Well... let's consider these "action shots."

That one is not terrific and makes it look oddly large. This next one is even worse, quality-wise, but it gives you an idea of the odd nook that it's in.

Obviously, the tripod would have been a good friend to me for these photos. Unfortunately, it is now nighttime, so I'm posting what I've got. (Just squint and imagine...)

At any rate, we built some stuff. Yay for getting rid of milk crate stacks!


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Journal ring wrap up

Dear Shayne,

I know I've been quiet lately -- I've been craftin', but I haven't been postin'. There have been several little home improvement projects going on around here, including some work on the craft room/office. I should post photos of that sometime.

In the meantime... here are the rest of the journal pages that I made in the journal ring that I've spoken of. You might want to grab something to drink and get comfy, cause this post is kinda long...

Here are first ones that I made... they're also my favorites. After I finished the entire round, I realized that I would have been perfectly happy just doing variations on this set. But that would have made for a boring blog post, eh?
Journal #2 - left page

On this second page, you can't really tell from this photo but...
Journal #2 - right page

The "S" actually has a tiny little envelope on it. It's got a Scrabble tile inside! (Sorry it's blurry -- scanner.)
Journal #2 - right page detail

Love that.

Next up is another collage that I'm not too sure I like. The owner of this book said that this year was a big year for her of growth and change. I found an old copy of The Little Prince (it was actually in French, so... Le Petit Prince. Oh, I'm so fancy.) at the thrift store (Le Store Thrift? Hrm.) that day, so I decided to use some illustrations from that...
Journal #3 - left page

On that page, I hate the stamps I used to write "ROOTS." That font is awful and I've never liked it. I don't even know where they came from, but I should probably get rid of them. I keep focusing in on that because they look so weird.

My favorite part of that page is the word "GROW." I used a button for the O and it just worked perfectly. Also, I messed up when I stenciled the letters, so I turned that mistake into a "Happy Accident" and made little roots coming off of the letters -- I never free-hand anything, so I was pleasantly surprised when it came out well.

The second page is also from The Little Prince:
Journal #3 - right page

Again, I feel like something is lacking here, although I do like some of the "vignettes" on these pages... for instance, in the lower left hand corner, I like the airplane postage stamp, butterfly charm, cut out definition of "fly," and the words "Fly away." That works for me. In the upper left hand corner, I like the sign language spelling out "F L Y" with the Scrabble tile paper behind it. The rest... could use some help. I'm doing another round of this journal, so perhaps I can fiddle with it some more when it comes my way again.

Are you bored yet? If not, these next two might do it. I had an exciting idea for these, but it kind of... fell flat. I guess that simplicity is okay sometimes (I like a lot of, um... visual clutter... I guess you could say) and perhaps these actually work in a non-clutter-y way. I don't know.

Here they are. The left page:
Journal #4 - left page

And the right:
Journal #4 - left page

Those vintage looking postcards are sweet reproductions I found at the ever-awesome Scrapbook Territory. They even look like vintage postcards on the back. Like, with a canceled stamp and everything -- they're very cool. I attached them with fancy-ass round paper clips so the journal owner could take them out and look at the back. Cause they're that cool.

Here's the final one -- I actually like how this came out. I found these little "face shape" diagrams (you know: round, oval, heart, etc.) that I made into little tags. I cut out envelopes from the dictionary pages that corresponded to those words to put the tags in. Then I glued a little something to the front that matched the shape. Like this:
Journal #5 - left page

You can't really see it here -- but if you click on it and check it out 0n Flickr, you'll see the first is a circle (button), the second is a square (that one's a stretch -- I was going for the square in the middle of the coin. It frames the square that illustrates "square" on the dictionary page) and the third one is for "oval" -- eggs in a nest.

Here's the facing page:
Journal #5 - right page

Again, better seen on Flickr... the first one is a heart (obviously). The second one's a stretch -- I couldn't think of anything off-hand that was diamond shaped, so I went with "diamond looking." You know -- rhinestones. (Oooh -- sparkly!) The final one was a rectangle. I glued that stamp on upside down, but I think I'm okay with it.

On a side note, the backgrounds (the little bitty edge of paper you can barely see peeking out behind the number paper) of these two journal pages takes me forever to do... I use individual letter stamps. I don't know why I'm in love with how that looks. I wish I wasn't, cause it takes so long. But I do think it looks good (also used on this one). So I can't resist its siren call.

As a side note to that side note: when using individual letter stamps to "randomly" stamp, you have to be verrrry careful about inadvertently spelling things. Put down an F, then a U, then a... whoops! Don't use that C there!

Here is the Worst Photo Ever of the tags inside (taken on the floor of my cube at work -- I realized I had not taken photos just as I was about to mail this out):
Journal #5 - tags (front)

Do you see the face shapes now? Do you see them? Huh? Huh? Do you? Do you?

(Meanwhile, I can't figure out my own face shape, even after studying these lovely gals. Perhaps I need someone else to choose for me...)

Oh, wait... here is the actual Worst Photo Ever. Of the backs of those tags:
Journal #5 - tags (back)

That photo is so bad I shouldn't even post it. I got a new camera last week and I'm still working out the kinks. Sorry about that.

The journal that came back to me was mighty fabulous. You can view all of the pages from it here (on craftster). As I mentioned, I signed up for a second round, so it will be going back out in another week or so to get more stuff added to it.

Whew! Sorry for the long post. (Are you still reading?) Here's hopin' I can get back on the Blog Wagon and post more frequently again soon. What's happening in your crafty world these days?


Monday, May 14, 2007

A Present for Me

Dear Kelly,

Saturday I shared a booth with fellow DC Craft Mafia member Erica Burns at a market in Baltimore. I forked over the first twenty five clams I made to her for this awesome PINK necklace:

Sadly, I wasn't wearing pink that day and had to wait to wear my present to me.


Better Pictures

Dear Kelly,

I've finally taken better pictures of my stuff from Art & Soul. All can be seen on my Flickr.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Quick n' Easy!

Dear Shayne,

After devoting months to these armwarmers that I can't even wear until winter, I felt like I needed a little quick n' easy project that I could wear right away.

So I whipped up these babies:
Army green fingerless mitts

They were a bit of an experiment, as I added thumbs to the pattern I used to make these mitts. They came out all right. I'll probably make more soon, as it's always chilly where I work and they're good for typing.

I've already worn them a few times (and spilled beer on 'em) so that's why they already have the "well loved" look in this photo. Whoops.

Miraculously, I caught the glass of beer I dropped before it hit the ground -- perhaps these fingerless gloves are actually magical. Yeah!


Monday, May 07, 2007

Monday at Art & Soul

Dear Kelly,

Layers on Canvas with Misty Mawn was hard for me. There was a lot of slopping paint at random and I'm just not good at random. I did learn many interesting techniques for acrylic paint, how to do gel medium transfers, and about a wonderful pencil that makes perfect shadows when you apply water. We painted four canvases - one I hate, two I find mediocre, and one I'm in love with. One out of four isn't too bad, huh?


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sunday at Art & Soul

Dear Kelly,

Today was not such a great day. I didn't even take pictures of my unfinished project. The class was Soda Pop Icons with Michael DeMeng. I took the class for the wrong reasons, I couldn't figure out any outcome that would really be my style, I was distracted by some funny business going on at home, and then there were the vultures. There are some vultures in every class at these types of events. They live for free supplies and ephemera, bits and pieces. As soon as an instructor even hints that a pile of whatever is for the students use, they swoop down and start grabbing whatever they can get. The purpose of the class was to build tiny shrines with a soda can as the base and build upon the structure with found objects. Mr. DeMeng emptied out boxes of junk to cover a six-foot table. Because I don't swoop, by the time I got up to the table there was really nothing left worth using. Some screws and buttons. There was nothing left for me, but it was just as well, since my distraction grew as the day went on...I'll just have to be pushier in the future.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Saturday at Art & Soul

Dear Kelly,

Today was Coptic Assemblage with Geraldine Newfry. I knew that the book would have Coptic binding, but I didn't know it was freaking SIX NEEDLE Coptic binding. There's also a Cornell-style box in the back. The box pieces glued together surprisingly easily. The binding was hard and tiring, though. And no one got to the point of decorating their covers, let alone creating an assemblage in the box. I really should have added more signatures to fill up the space meant for the pages - you can see in the pictures of the spine that the signatures are stretched apart. Still, I'm pretty happy with how mine turned out and I do intend to finish it. More pictures on my Flickr.


Baby quilt: finished!

Dear Shayne,

Quilts, quilts, everywhere! I love your quilted cuff -- it's great! I especially like the kitty whiskers. You'll have to post better photos when you get home so I can see more of the details. Meanwhile, I've got a quilt of my own to show off today...

The baby quilt that I talked about in this post and this post (I'm boring, aren't I?) is finally finished! Yay!
Finished baby quilt!

Oh, I really am boring, because I talked about the backing fabric for the quilt in this post. I really loved that fabric, but it's the second fabric that I bought for the back of this quilt and I was waffling over which one to use. They both looked great. Back and forth, back and forth.

In the end, I went with the original fabric that I had picked:
Finished baby quilt!
(This photo doesn't really show the true colors [that green is more of a lime color in person], but you get the idea.)

I decided to use this fabric for three reasons:

1. I made this quilt with the baby's mom in mind and she loves all things mod. This fabric was way more mod that the other.

2. I am afraid that the front of this quilt is going to be way too wild for her. As much as I try to make quilts that take the recipient's tastes into account, I always end up making crazy, patchwork-y, Kelly-style quilts. I just can't help it. So if she hates the front, at least I know she'll love the back.

3. In the end, I knew that I could use that Amy Butler fabric for another project at some point, but this fabric was not really "me" (I didn't buy it for myself, after all) and I wasn't sure what I could/would use it for later. So why not use it for this project right here?

Here's a final shot which shows one corner of the quilt flipped over to show the back, stripe-y binding, and front. The back fabric color is a bit more true in this one:
Finished baby quilt!

By the way, this was quilted by the lovely and talented souls at New Pieces in Berkeley CA -- they have a terrific fabric selection and they do amazing work. If you're ever in the area, you've got to check out their shop. Mmm... fabric.

Yay for finishing quilts!!


PS -- I wrote the above entry this morning, but we just got back from delivering the quilt. They absolutely loved it. And that backing fabric was a total hit! YAY!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Friday at Art & Soul

Dear Kelly,

Today I took "Wrist Quilts" with Keely Barham. I am super duper in love with the bracelet I made!


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thursday at Art & Soul (Plus Bonus Wednesday)

Dear Kelly,

My drive to southern Virginia was uneventful...only five minutes of rain, I didn't hit anything and nothing fell off my car. A monumental day of driving for me. My friend Lesley and I (met her down here) stayed here in September 2005 and I'd forgotten how beautiful this hotel is...the Embassy Suites in Hampton, VA. Everything is done in rich jewel tones, all sorts of gorgeous patterns on different chairs and bearable abstract art on the walls. I wouldn't even know where to start taking pictures. I did get a shot of the one ugly thing in the room...the lamp between the beds.

On Thursday, I took "Carved, Bound & Wired" with Doris Arndt and made this awesome book. My binding has a few extra hidden stitches where I got confused, but overall I'm quite happy with it.

The colors don't really come out that great on my camera phone. I may take pictures of everything again with the good camera when I get home.


Journal ring: Part I

Dear Shayne,

People are starting to receive their books back from the journal ring that I participated in on craftster. That means... I can start to post what I made! YAY! (I've been working on these pages for months -- it's been a bummer not to post.)

This swap ring was inspired by the book Alphabetica -- the underlying theme for all of these journals is letters and numbers. I posted photos of my own journal here waaaay back in February.

I'm not overly pleased with these first ones. I really liked the idea of weaving the dictionary pages together for the background, but once I got that out there, I didn't know where else to go with it. This journal had the phrase "It's not trash -- it's ephemera!" stamped on the front page, so I went with that idea:
Journal page #1 - left

The more trash/ephemera I gathered, the more it reminded me of a bird's nest, so I tried to tie that in some with the little nest cut out from the dictionary I was using (you can see it in the photo above -- in the dark red circle).
Journal page #1 - right

That tiny envelope has a good story -- I was going to cut that from a dictionary page. When I opened the dictionary, a receipt fell out. Perfect! Envelope fodder! I think it was from 1982, which I especially loved -- sitting in that book for 25 years, just waiting to become a tiny little envelope.

In the end, I felt like this spread was a bit "unfocused." Sometimes collages work for me and sometimes... yeah.

But here's a good story about the making of these pages: as I was cutting strips from the dictionary, I realized that one of the pages had the word "swastika" and had an accompanying illustration. I know the origins of the swastika were noble and good, but it's really come to be associated with something not-so-good. Like, in a strong way. In a sort of, "What the ----?!" way, if you were to see it as part of an otherwise benign collage. So I thought to myself, "Self, you don't want that thing showing... just be sure that the swastika side gets glued down to the page." No problem, right?

Of course you know that I just had to glue that woven page with the swastika sitting there, up and out, facing the world. Great. I ended up hiding it behind the F95 deli tag (taken from butcher that night) with a button glued on top of it for good measure. Whee. Adventures in collage!

I hope that Art and Soul is going well -- can't wait to see what you're making!


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Color, Shadow & Ghosties

Dear Kelly,

My new purple lip gloss makes me happy!

This is the shadow made by my little house and the tree in my front yard.

I'd like to make a stencil from this, without the miniblinds wand.

And this is a lousy picture of my table space at the Big Art Show:

The show was held at the Rock and Roll Hotel in NorthEast DC. Apparently, the place is haunted: http://thehill.com/cover-stories/waking-the-dead-2007-03-28.html. Spooky.

I'm off to Art & Soul tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, I'll have internet access and can post what I've made each day.