Thursday, December 31, 2015

Peek in my Art Journal: Link-up #8

This week I have four pages to share.  Unfortunately, I used my phone for the pictures, thus they are super blurry.  Boo for phones with crappy cameras.

First, I completed the Fortune Favors the Bold page.  I filled in the background with different tangles and tried to make the bottom look like peacock feathers.  I wanted it to feel bolder towards the bottom of the page.  I think I achieved that.
 My second page was inspired by a Journal52 prompt.  The prompt was "Just add a Dinosaur  think of a time when having a sense  of humor was important, or something that really makes you laugh – maybe a comic strip or a joke you’ve seen somewhere in a book or magazine or newspaper or online."  I immediately thought of the Was Not Was song "Walk the Dinosaur," so I copied the lyrics to the song for the background and then pasted a cool picture of a dinosaur fighting a crocodile on top.  I like it!
 My third page is a quote page.  The quote, "Forever - is composed of Nows," is from an Emily Dickinson poem which was featured in the book Paper Towns.  I have been wanting to try a flower background, so that's what I did here.  I decided to color the letters and leave the flowers in black and white.  I'm still not sure if I am happy with that.  I might end up adding more color at a later date.
 That last page showed me that I need more practice with my lettering, especially my bubble cursive lettering, so I decided to practice.  My fourth page is not complete, but it is a practice of some lettering.  I need a lot of practice with this still.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tuesday Tips and Tricks: New Year's Goals

Most of us have heard the following quote:

...but I really like plans and goals.  They give me a purpose, something to reach and work for.  Every year I make goals for different areas of my life and I post them on my blogs for everyone to see.  I work all year on those goals: some I achieve and some I do not.

The past two years I have not met any of my crafty goals.  I believe that there are three reasons for not reaching my goals: 
1. They are not specific.
2. They are not attainable.
3. There is no plan to achieve the goal.

For example, one of my goals for 2014 and 2015 was "Start an Etsy store."  It sounds like a great goal.  Lots of people have done it before me.  It should be easy.  Unfortunately, the goal is not specific and has no plan attached.  I need to answer a lot of questions and do a lot of planning before I can actually start an Etsy store.  For one thing, I need stock to sell.

Another goal of mine was to complete a sweater, an afghan, and a skull shawl while also completing all the other projects that I pick up throughout a year.  That goal is unattainable for me, and I know it.

It's funny... at work I set attainable and specific goals using the SMART goal formula.  

S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant
T = Time-bound

Going through the 5 parts of a SMART goal forces you to create a plan to help you achieve the goal.  This year I will be using the SMART goal formula when setting my New Year's goals.

Here are my goals for 2016:
1.  Each month, choose three projects to focus on: one personal, one gift, one to sell
I do not have to complete the three projects in one month.  I just want to focus on three specific projects each month.  Hopefully this will help me to build up stock for a future Etsy store or future craft fairs while also allowing me to gift handmade items throughout the year.  I am also hoping this will help me finish some projects instead of just continually starting new projects.

2.  Each month, choose one project from my Pinterest boards
When I am choosing the projects I want to focus on each month, I will consult my Pinterest boards.  I have been collecting ideas for gifts, for myself, and for items to sell for years now.  Now it is time to follow through with some of those plans.

3.  Each week, stick to my blogging schedule: Tuesday Tips and Tricks, Thursday Peek in my Art Journal, Friday FO
I have been following this schedule for a little while now and I like it.  It is not too much and it gives me opportunities to build community and share my crafty experiences.

4.  Teach a crochet class
I am working on the Craft Yarn Council Crochet Instructor Program and have been student teaching.  I am now looking forward to putting my new knowledge into practice.  I plan to approach my local yarn store about teaching a beginning crochet class.  If that does not work out, I will approach other local organizations and groups.  I want to teach.

5.  Send all birthday gifts on time
I have a very bad habit... I am almost always late with birthday gifts, like months late.  This year I want everyone to receive their gifts on time, hopefully with something handmade included.  

My word for the year is... Achieve.  I will achieve all the goals :)

Have you made goals for 2016?  Have you made SMART goals?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Holidays!

I am taking a week-long break from blogging for the holiday season, but I will be back next week with more tips and tricks and other crafty goodness. 

I wish you all a happy and peaceful season and leave you with my new favorite nerdiness :)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Peek in my Art Journal: Link-up #7

This week, I have two pages to share.  The first page is a collage page.  I have an envelope in the back of my art journal where I save leaflets, receipts, and scraps of paper that I think might be useful for a collage some day.  I made this collage with pieces of a shopping list, scraps from a magazine page used in a different collage page, a plastic flower I found, a scrap of a Tibetan prayer flag, seat cards from a wedding, a business card that I found in a library book, and some raffle tickets.  I really like how it turned out.
 The second page is a work in progress.  I started with some curvy lines, then added the lettering.  Now I am beginning to add color and background patterns.  So far I think it looks great and I am excited to see how it ends up.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday Tips and Tricks: Quick Holiday Gifts

If you are anything like me, you often find yourself running around last minute trying to make/put together gifts for family and friends.  Whether it's a birthday, Christmas, or some other gift-giving occasion, I always seem to run out of time... so I like to have some quick and easy gifts I can turn to and make in a pinch.

Fingerless Mitts are a great, speedy gift.  Two patterns that I love are Danyel Pink Designs' Crochet Wrist Warmers...

...and Daphne Bekiari's V-Stitch Fingerless Gloves.
One is crocheted flat and seamed; the other is crocheted in the round.  Both are quick and easy and make great last-minute gifts.

Cowls, or infinity scarves, are another great last-minute gift.  Just choose your favorite stitch pattern, crochet or knit a flat strip, then seam it up.  Or you can knit or crochet in the round.  One of my favorite gift cowls is Jane Richmond's Marian Cowl.
I've already knit 5 of these cowls and I don't plan to stop.  Big needles and bulky yarn make it a quick and easy knit.

Earwarmers are another great gift.  I really like the Valentine Romance Headband.
It is a quick, easy crochet project and is easily jazzed up with some bling.  I found these crystals in the jewelry department of the craft store, but you could also crochet some flowers or motifs, add pretty buttons... the options are endless.

Well, I better get back to making my last minute gifts.  Hopefully I have inspired you to pull out your hook or your needles and get some gifts together.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

FO: Flying Spaghetti Monster Hat

Hook: G
Yarn:  Acrylic

I made this hat for a friend who loves the FSM.
The pattern was easy to follow and even included a diagram of where to place all the different parts.  I really enjoyed making this hat and especially enjoyed my friend's reaction when he first saw the hat.  He loved it!  I would definitely make this hat again.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Peek in my Art Journal: Link-up #6

I had this great idea to create letters from the tangle Mak-Rah-Mee.
This is my first attempt, L.
 Diva Challenge #245:  Hollibaugh
I really like this one.
 This page was inspired by Hollibaugh, but I think it is more like Quib.
 Diva Challenge #246:  Morf Tree

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tuesday Tips and Tricks: Temperature Scarf

With a new year approaching, I am already thinking of interesting projects to start, so when I saw a recent post by Underground Crafter about her temperature scarf, I was enthralled.  I immediately did a quick search of FOs on Ravelry.  Just look at some of the beautiful results that I found:
The temperature scarf is a project that involves knitting or crocheting one row or motif every day based on the low/high temperatures.  By the end of the year, you have a unique project that records a year of weather history.  Knitters and crocheters have interpreted this idea in so many ways: cowls, hats, blankets, etc.  It is amazing to me how the random color combinations work so well together.

If you are thinking about starting a project like this, Marie from Underground Crafter offers some great tips:

*Choose your project carefully.  Different project and stitch combinations should be considered carefully to make sure they go well together.

*Choose yarns with similar care instructions.  She even suggests choosing yarns from the same company because the colors tend to go together better.

*Create a color key.  Once you decide on a project and yarn colors, create a key of which yarn colors correspond with which temperature ranges.  

Most importantly, Marie reminds us to not give up.  While it may be overwhelming to crochet/knit one row every day, it might be easier to complete 30 rows at the end of each month.

Have you ever tried a temperature project?
Will you try one this year?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Peek in My Art Journal: Link up #5

This first page was created in response to a prompt from a book that I borrowed through Amazon Prime, Mindful Mandalas by Dawn Summerall.  The symbols and colors used are supposed to inspire confidence.  It turned out a little wonky, but overall I like it.
This page was inspired by Wheel of Fortune.  I don't usually watch Wheel but recently ended up watching an episode.  The very first puzzle was "Witches casting spells," and I was immediately inspired to create this page.  I did a Google image search as inspiration and started sketching.  I used my new favorite pen, Pentel Finito X-tra fine point, to complete the image.
This last page was inspired by this week's Supernatural episode(I love that show!!).  Again I used my Pentel Finito pen for this page.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Peek in My Art Journal: Link-up #4

 After a few weeks away, I have decided to rename my link-up because I don't really have a sketchbook; what I have is more of an art journal.

This week, I have two pages to share, although one is much more successful than the other.  "Morning Breath" is a page that includes collage, journaling, lettering and paint.  First I collaged the page with a blue-green magazine page and a page from an old book.  I then journaled on top of the collage.  Next I drew the letters and painted around them, leaving the collage exposed in the lettering.  I tried to paint a sunrise to fit with the theme of the page.  I am happy with this page.  My hasty and blurry picture does not do it justice.
The next page was less successful but I may add more to it later.  For this page I took on two different Zentangle challenges:  The Diva's Challenge #240 and That's New to Me Challenge #42.  The Diva challenged us to tangle on a leaf, and Suzy challenged us to use tangles beginning with the letter P, especially tangles by Sayanitka Ray.  Here is my ZIA on a leaf with Pots and Pans and Pufff.
As you can see, the ink in Pufff rubbed off the leaf when I glued it into my journal.  I think that the leaf was not dry enough.  I will definitely have to experiment more with this idea.

What have you been creating this week?  Share a page from your sketchbook or art journal.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tips and Tricks Tuesday: Sizing a Crochet Hat

This summer, I crocheted a lot of hats.  It got me thinking about an accurate way to size a hat.  Usually I try things on a lot when I am crocheting, but my head is not always a good reference point.  This summer I was crocheting for babies and men, so I needed a different way to measure the size.  I had to use math.

Technically, a hat is a circle, and the outer boundary of the circle, or circumference, should fit around the person's head.  So the question was:  how can I calculate what the circumference of my finished hat will be?

The answer is to use the formula for calculating circumference: diameter(π). 
 Knowing that π = 3.14, we can use this formula to figure out what diameter is needed to get the necessary circumference.  First, I needed to measure the head.  I cut a string and measured where I wanted the brim of the hat to sit on the person's head.  When I measured that string, I knew what the circumference of the completed hat needed to be.  I then plugged it into the formula.
Circumference = 39.5 cm
39.5cm = diameter(3.14)
12.5796cm = diameter
Remembering that most yarns will stretch a little, I crocheted my initial circle to a little less than the actual measurement and then continued with my hat.  I used this same method to size some baby hats after mommy sent me some head measurements.  This simple math trick can help you easily size crochet hats for anyone.

Have you ever used this trick to help size a crochet hat?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Peek in My Sketchbook - Link-up #3

This week I created two pages in my sketchbook/art journal.  The first page was experimenting with some zentangles.  I tried a couple of audio zentangle meditations from ha! designs and then I added a little Betweed in the corner.
I made the second page to commemorate my time at the Oregon Country Fair this summer.  I started by collaging with parts of the program from the festival.  I added a chair and painted yellow to represent light shining down on it because we had a funny encounter with a chair under a spotlight this year.  I also added some phrases/events I want to remember and highlighted with yellow paint.
I'm happy with both of my pages this week, although I do think that I misunderstood the directions in one of the audio meditations.  Oh well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Peek in My Sketchbook - Link-Up #2

This week, I created three new pages.  For the first page, I collaged with some pages from an old book first.  Then I outlined some words/phrases that I liked.  I went back through the page and outlined a few more words/phrases to help the words flow together a little better.  Then I drew an image around those words.  I used my Chartpak Admarkers.  It's more like using paint than markers.  I definitely still have a lot to learn about how to use these markers effectively, but I am having a lot of fun experimenting with them.
 My second page also involves a little collage.  This page is to commemorate a wedding I attended this summer.   Two of my good friends got married.  Their wedding is featured on the Bummed Bride blog.  They chose a handfasting ceremony where their hands were bound together with a cord as they said their vows.  I wanted to represent this in my page, so I found a picture of two people holding hands in a magazine and glued it down on my page.  Then I sewed embroidery thread around the hands to simulate the handfasting ceremony.  The background for this page is an info sheet about handfasting and the seating cards for me and my husband.  I outlined the description of the colors used in the cords, added some green and purple paint and drew in some details that remind me of their wedding.  I am really happy with this page.
 This final image is a little bit blurry, unfortunately.  This page was created in response to the Diva's challenge for last week:  Use c and s curves.  I chose to use c curves and tried this fun idea that I found on the challenge's inspiration Pinterest board.  I colored using crayons, which was super fun.  I pulled out all the blue and green crayons in my box and used them in random order.  So many pretty colors.
What have you been creating this week?

Friday, August 21, 2015

FO: Sock Monkey

Pattern:  Sock Monkey
Hook:  F
Yarn:  Random Acrylic
Modifications:  I didn't do all the color changes.  I also did not add any facial features because I felt that the yarn coloring was busy enough without more clutter.  I did not put plastic in the ears.
Rating:  I really like this pattern and would definitely make it again.  It was easy and fun to crochet.
I paired this sock monkey with a baby bear hat and gave them both as a gift to a coworker of my husband who recently had a baby girl.  They loved the gift.
I love his adorable little ears.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Peek in My Sketchbook - Linkup #1

This is the page that I have been working on this week.  I chose a Stephen King quote, "Quiet people have the loudest minds," and wrote it in bubble letters in my sketchbook.  Then I outlined the letters to make them stand out more.  I added a background design based on the tangle Popcloud.  Finally I added color to emphasize the word 'loudest.'  I really like this page and had a lot of fun creating it.

I have always enjoyed getting a glimpse into other people's sketchbooks, art journals, doodle pads, etc. and I hope that you enjoy this glimpse into mine.   I would love to see all the arty fun that you are having, so I have decided to make this a link-up.  Please add the site-specific URL of your blog or image to the link-up below.  Make sure you link back here in your post and grab a button if you want.  Have fun visiting the links below and don't forget to leave comments and feedback.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Peek in My Sketchbook: Things are Funny

The Diva's challenge this week is to use tangles that represent all things natural and organic.  I chose Mumsy as the focal point of my ZIA and surrounded it with Pendrills and Pokeleaf.  All three are new tangles for me.  I am pretty happy with how it turned out.
 Diva Challenge 226:
This ZIA is for the challenge from two weeks ago.  The challenge was simplicity.
 Finally here is a recent page I added to my sketchbook:  Things are funny.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

WIP Wednesday #7: Writing a Pattern

A couple of years ago, I created my own Dobby pattern.  I took notes as I worked, so I could write the pattern up someday.  Well, this week the inspiration finally hit me to start working on that pattern.  I started crocheting a new Dobby this week, using some leftover yarn.
I can already tell that there are some problems with my notes, some things that I need to change.  It's definitely a work in progress, but some day I hope to have a publishable pattern.  I would like to finish my first draft of the pattern by the end of June and then start some testing.  It's a new adventure for me :)

What are you working on this week?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Playing Catch-up: Diva Challenges 218, 219 and 220

The Diva Challenge this week is to use the tangle All Boxed Up.  I loved all the variations that the tangle creator, Alice Hendon, demonstrated on her blog, so I tried a bunch of them.  I really love the different patterns that simple lines can create.  This was a really fun tangle to draw.  Very meditative.
Last week's challenge was all about straight lines.  This was very challenging for me.  At times, I hated this art piece.  I do like the end product.  I used Bilt, Cabana, Jambalee, Mary Hill, and Phroz.
The week before that the challenge was to tangle white on black.  I got creative and tried a crayon scratching.  White crayon covered with black acrylic paint.  Then I scratched out some AHH and Zinger.
I really enjoy the Diva's weekly challenge and I am going to try to keep up with it every week.  I love the meditative feeling I get when I draw tangles.