Giant paper flowers

What else is there to say? There was a lot of modpodge involved.

Okay, there is more to say. First, use heavy paper to hold the shape better. Second, it really helps to have a rolling pin-like object (but narrower in diameter) to curl the petals. I made do with paint brush handles, but they taper, and it became awkward. Third, be sure to use differently shaped petals in different flowers (or the same flower). I found myself drawing the same teardrop-type petal repeatedly, without realizing it, and even then had to force myself to try something else. Fourth, the middle of the flower is hard. I think my favorite one is in the top left photographs, where rolled together mini-petals could just tuck between the inner part of the flower. Lastly, the tutorial I read said to use a hot glue gun. I don’t have one and used Mod Podge instead. It worked just fine.

Ack. Priorities.

The list of creative projects I want to do, that are either in progress or not yet started:

  • Rose garden duvet cover (finish)
  • Experimenting with watercolor
  • More doodling with colored pencils and pens
  • RBG cross stitch (finish)
  • Shades of blue and white braided rug (finish)
  • Braided-braided flannel möbius scarf (experiment)
  • Duvet covers for other 3 seasons (summer, fall, winter)
  • Baby quilt gift (way overdue to finish)
  • Decoupage/collage-based images of flowers or other scenes (experiment)
  • Paper or fabric flowers to hang on mobiles (experiment)

Yes, these could take quite some time… especially considering I can’t decide where to start.

Anyway, take this as a list of things you may see popping up here and there as I get going…

Things that go boom

I’ve been reading about how to make soap lately. Lovely, homemade soap with herbs and essential oils. According to one school (the only school?) of thought, there’s simply no way to do it without using lye.

Apparently lye can also explode if you don’t stir it into the water quickly enough and it just pools at the bottom. The instructions didn’t describe how large an explosion it could be for a small batch recipe. Maybe it’s more like a sparkler than a firecracker?

Of course, there were also all the other warnings about safely handling lye and fumes. But I got distracted by the, “stir quickly, or it might explode.” Way to bury the lede.

(Side note: I only recently learned that “lede” is the proper word in this case. I can’t believe I’ve gone more than thirty years believing it was “lead.”)

This brings me to the ethical dilemma of whether to fully inform the household of the risks associated with soap making, or just cross my fingers, or put off soap experiments for the time being. I suspect option three is inevitable.

But never fear, there is still lotion (no lye), and candles (fire! But not at home) to play with.

New year, new look, new plans…

It turns out that starting a business, even a tiny one, is really hard to do while also moving to another state. My elves went on strike.

While they were on strike, it did give me the chance to reconsider what, exactly, I wanted to be doing craft-wise and potentially Etsy-wise.

You may have noticed a slightly new look to the blog. It describes in broad strokes what I’m interested in making…in some ways, it’s much broader and more experimental than before, and in others a lot more clearly focused.

The shop is on hiatus while I figure more of this out and do some R&D and potion-brewing, so the blog will mostly be about things I’m working on, or aspire to work on, someday.

Stay tuned!

Too many ideas!! (with addendum)

I have deep familiarity with analysis paralysis. I had no idea there was a non-information based equivalent when there are SO MANY shiny ideas ping-ponging in your brain leaving little trails of “I should TOTALLY make that.” Even though you KNOW the smart decision is to pick ~4-5 types of things to focus on (each having a little variety in sizes or styles) and see what does or doesn’t do well first.

But SHINY.

But I am ONE person.

But SHINY.

But I have NO STORAGE SPACE.

But SHINY.

This inner dialogue could continue for quite some time. I am at my weakest late at night and think, “well, it couldn’t hurt to make just ONE of these….”

img_0307-1

Speaking of shiny.  My dad and I visited with some dear family friends this weekend, and one of them (Hi Debbie!) gave me some lovely cross-stitch and needlepoint magazines/books that she’s been saving.  It was so thoughtful of her.  And yet–did you see the picture of my head exploding?

I want to make ALL of these.  Plus items that you can’t see, but I found while browsing through the magazines.  Last Christmas, I haunted Etsy looking for 12 Days of Christmas ornaments for my tree, and I couldn’t find any I liked and it just didn’t even occur to me to make them myself.  And now I can.

Except, the point is kind of to make things for OTHER people to buy, not to keep for myself.  Hmm.  I can see that this may be a slight flaw in my business model.

Addendum:  Spending four hours doing laundry to pre-wash, dry, and fold all the fabric has put a tiny dent in my enthusiasm.  This dent is much smaller than the dent caused by the prospect of ironing all of the fabric.

On the other hand, those four hours gave my plenty of time to think of MORE ideas.  It’s a vicious (virtuous?) cycle, clearly.

 

Remember that baby?

I decided to take off a bunch of hats and actually return to that new baby quilt I mentioned a while ago that was under a pile of fabric.  It’s been about 90% finished for several months.  All that’s left is sewing about half of the border binding, a final wash, gift wrapping and popping it in the mail.  Hmm.  Could even take care of it this weekend and get to the mom-to-be-again before the baby arrives.

The new baby’s big sister LOVES giraffes, or at least went through a giraffe phase, so the blanket has some on one side, and elephants on the other (mixed in with assorted shapes and patterns).  I’m told that big sis is campaigning for baby’s middle name to be “toast” or “door” or “window.” Any of the three would be acceptable. A couple of 6 and 7 year olds I know are advocating “flower power water shower,” “shimmy fizzle pop fizz” and “cocoa pop.”

I started a quilt for big sister, too, thinking it wasn’t fair for the new baby to get all the gifts and attention, but, well, that’s just not going to happen anytime soon… I’m going to hell on my path of good intentions.

I have to admit, a tiny bit (say, 5%?) of my motivation for finishing it is my dire need for storage space and the mental relief of getting items OUT OF MY APARTMENT.  The other 95% is entirely love.

Now my challenge is another friend who just announced her first pregnancy.  Problem:  she’s a better crafter than me.  And she has a long-arm quilting machine.  And more storage space.  What’s a long-distance Fake Auntie to do?  (FYI, we’re calling the baby Office Supply, as the first description of his/her size was “a post-it note with arms and legs.”)

Is there a statute of limitations on 9th grade geometry?

Last night I started making fabric templates.  Of course, I could have bought them online, but after poking around the internet thought, “Heck no, I’m not spending $20 for a glorified ruler!”  I already have the basics of quilting paraphernalia as far as rulers and mats go with angles marked and such, so I shouldn’t need to buy another just to make shapes that aren’t squares or rectangles.  I definitely refuse to buy a compass or a protractor.

I went to a Quaker school for high school, and have very distinct memories of my 9th grade geometry teacher, Kaye.  (In my experience, Quaker schools don’t go for the whole “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or “Ms.” Last Name for teachers/administrators–first names, all the way.  It was such a transition from a very proper English-modeled primary school.  I think I spent months trying to avoid addressing teachers directly.)  I really liked the math problems that had these seemingly abstract piles of shapes with only some of the angles filled in, and you had to figure out the rest of them based on all the rules about “side angle side,” the Pythagorean theorem, and so forth.

hexagonmessedupYou’d think that drawing a hexagon–on graph paper, no less–to use as a fabric-cutting template would be easy.  Well, apparently I forgot stuff.  Because I did end up with a hexagon. It just wasn’t symmetrical in all directions–which is problematic, when you want to cut a million of them and sew them together like a honeycomb.

equilateral

So I tried again this morning, this time actually using the rulers marked with angles that I have and being a bit more meticulous about hypotenuses.  Turns out, when I thought I was being clever about adding a seam allowance, I was also messing up the proportions of the shape on some sides.  This time around, I went old school:  One equilateral triangle, traced six times next to itself.  Success!  I wonder if some Mod Podge would help thicken the paper and make it easier to trace on fabric?

Project Frankenstein, Part 1

(I know, I know, Frankenstein wasn’t the monster.)

I decided to make a semi-random/irregular patchwork throw pillow cover out of the scraps from my roses and green quilt (still in pieces and progress).

Just for fun, my rule is that I can only use the true “scraps”: the odds and ends left from cutting the squares and rectangles from the original yardage. I have a fair amount of some fabrics left, enough for a “real” project, so those are off limits. I don’t have any zippers, so I’ll be figuring out how to close the cover with buttons, without making it lumpy and uncomfortable, and without making buttonholes. (I just don’t like making those.)

With those ground rules, here’s most of what I have to work with (minus the striped fabric), some of which has been ironed already:

These ironed out pieces that I’ve started pinning will be one side. I’ll make a piece of fabric big enough to cut what I want out of it–probably on the diagonal, just to be interesting. The green “limes” fabric wasn’t quite wide enough, so I inserted a bit of what I’m calling the green and white “feathers” pattern.

In case you’re interested, the pattern of the pink fabric is called “quatrefoil,” I’m guessing due to the bastardization of the French spelling for “four leaves” (quatre feuille) but I could be wrong.

I’ll repeat the process for side two, but try to include more pink for contrast. I think that side will also have a flap or something that tucks over the pillow opening and fastens inside the cover. I guess that means buttons either on the flap or on the inside of side one. Hmmm.

To be continued…

When you don’t know what to do

My hands itch. I want to make something. But not something I’ve already started. Something NEW. Maybe not even something I’ve made before. It’s driving me bananas, because I don’t know what IT is.

It’s times like these that I want a craft laboratory. Someplace stocked with odds and ends that might be useful someday, a day like today that’s made for experimenting.

Or at least has a really big table so I can see all my projects in their entirety at the same time. Which really would be ginormous, considering one is a king-sized quilt. But as long as I’m wishing, the tabletop would also be treated so I could iron on it and use a rotary cutter without damaging it.

But I digress.

What I will not be making today: I had this idea of making gravity blankets for Etsy, but as it turns out they fail the Venn diagram test.

Apparently a gazillion people already recognized an arbitrage opportunity when the original company stupidly priced its (ugly) product at hundreds of dollars.

Hmmm. Maybe something with all the scraps from other projects… we’ll call this Project Frankenstein for now.