Back to School-ish

Ah, it’s that time of year again – when my Facebook feed is flooded with back to school photos, in a parade of endless backpacks and tight ponytails. Aside from the shock I felt when my one crafty Karate Kid niece appeared as a GASP cheerleader in my lead story, it’s all the same old same old. And, while I’m not packing any peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or hovering over any kids at the bus stop, I too feel that change of seasons, as I slowly emerge from my heat induced, airconditioner addicted stupor, and feel those creative juices start to pump.

My pumping creative juices, however, sound like “thunk a thunk a” as opposed to a gently flowing river – creating havoc and mess wherever I go.

This weekend, I hit the paints – or the paints hit me, as even as I type this, I have acrylic paint on my nails that I can’t get off.

I made this face on a long ago prepped canvas –

She’s looking a little Elvis, but that’s ok – I enjoyed her. And that’s the point. To be honest, not only is my Facebook feed overloaded with back to school, it’s also filled with a lot of “bad” art – art from the heart though, and everyone is so filled with happiness in their creations that I’m happy to see lopsided eyes, neckless tilted heads, cartoon noses – all that good stuff – because it’s stuff that looks like my stuff, so I know my fellow crafter gets me, and why it’s ok to revel in making stuff you’ll never sell, or never gift, or may never even leave your craft room. Because it’s fun, and relaxing, and art isn’t reserved just for the talented or the professional or the art student.

While creating Elvisina, I spilled some blue paint – just craft paint from Target, no big deal, but I didn’t want to waste it. So, I had some gessoed cardboard, and made blue and purple girls –

I feel like this should be the underpainting, and I shouldn’t be so lazy, and I should keep practicing, and add another layer of paint . . . we’ll see. The truth is I am a lazy crafter when it comes to painting or sculpting or dollmaking, I make one thing, get it out of my system, and then move on to the next thing, never getting very good or skilled at anything. For instance, the doll bug is biting again – and if I had just stuck with it back when I was originally struck with the must make dolls jolt, I’d probably be a pretty good dollmaker by now. But, as it is, with no practice, and no improving upon the last project, I’m theoretically back at the beginning, and when I get my doll stuff out this week, it will be like reinventing the wheel. But that’s ok, I’m a process girl anyway.

So, Elvisina joins the crew of stuff that doesn’t leave the craft room, and I will continue to plot my next trick.

I have a crocheted jewelry class lined up, which has lead me down a paper bead hole , I’m all about paperclay and cloth bodies again (at least in my head), and I’ve been revisting my Misty Mawn classes (they’re only supposed to be around for a year after purchase, but she always leaves them up longer). I also really really wanted to make these crocheted stones but I cannot find one usable stone in my backyard. I scavenged my mother’s backyard on Saturday, and every stone I found was really a rock, a rock which looked like doo doo according to my mother, so that didn’t quite work out. Maybe it’s a good thing – TOO MANY PROJECTS!

Although maybe I could walk the dogs, and perhaps lift from stones from my neighbors . . . shhh!

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Thread Art Project Done!

And, she’s done!

I thought there was a gigantic possibility that I was going to mess it all up once I tried to color her in, but I think it went ok.

So, what to do with her. I could cut her out, bind her, and hang her on the wall. Or, I could make her part of a tote bag. Decisions decisions. I have a minute (my clients always refer to time as “like a minute” – how long did you wait for the detective to come in? Lke a minute (2 days). How long were you in the store? Like a minute (a half hour) to think about it because I had to order textile medium to seal the color. So, while I wait for the finishing magic to arrive, I’ll think on it. I’m leaning towards turning her into a decorative pillow – round, with piping. I’ve never made piping, or applied it, so that could be an adventure.

And, for my next project, I’m thinking Frida Kahlo, since my doll was a big fail. I’m thinking that I’ll stitch her, but then, instead of stitching the flowers, I may do some ribbon embroidery -I think that might be pretty cool. We’ll see.  Maybe I’ll do her as a doll.  I have a few minutes to think on it.

In the meantime, here’s a gratiutous pic of Olive – look at that face!!!

Craftsy on Steroids – Binge or Bust

In the beginning of October, Craftsy ran a $10/all you can watch for the month of October promotion.  I didn’t get an email about it, and I didn’t see an ad for it, but someone posted about it in the Crafty Gemini Facebook group, and I ran, tripping to jump on that Craftsy train.  I’m thinking that it wasn’t very highly publicized because it’s some kind of a test or experiment for a subscription model business plan a la Netflix.  And, I would be all over that deal if it was every month.  Because Brave Girls – the ultimate Netflix of art/craft videos – no way, Craftsy – hell yeah!

So, I strapped in for the month of October, got out my knitting needles – because if you’re going to watch crafting, you might was well do crafting – came up with a game plan, and went to watching.  My plan, oddly, was essentially to watch all of the classes I wouldn’t actually pay for.  You’d think I’d start with my wish list – but, my wish list are classes that I’d pretty much agree to pay for as stand alones.  So rather than start there, I went for things I was interested in, but wouldn’t have thought to take. So, I started with knitting.

Never pay for a knitting class?  But you’re a knitter, you say, puzzled.  But, the things is, as far as techniques go, if I need to learn something to start or finish a project, I’m an experienced enough knitter that I can watch a youtube video, and pretty much figure it out.  I certainly don’t need to take any of the beginner knitter classes, or project classes like my first hat or socks or sweaters.  So, I narrowed it down to classes that couldn’t be learned on youtube, design classes.  For a run down of the knitting classes I took, and what I thought of them, pop back in on Wednesday when I chit chat about knitting.

Today, I’m going to focus on the class I took when I had exhausted my knitting options.  After knitting, I moved on to sewing.  I didn’t start with sewing for two reasons – one, I’m not sure what happens to these classes at the end of the month, and two,  when I take sewing or quilting classes, I pretty much do the projects with the instructor and that’s not so good for binge watching.  Here’s what I mean about the uncertainty of these classes – Craftsy classes are normal lifetime access.  The $10 deal was all you can watch in October.  In theory, I could have started the first lesson of every single class on the site, and added them to my library.  And, that surely couldn’t have been what they meant with the $10 deal (of course, if i had read the deal all the way through before I clicked on the Buy button, I’d know the answer to this question – I was just too excited!).  I’m assuming that whatever I “bought” in October is going to expire at the end of the month.  So, for that reason, I’m watching the entire class (unless it’s simply not what I thought it was going to be) all the way through before I start another class.  So, watching a project class all the way through to the end, then watching another one, etc., I may not be able to go back and watch them when I’m actually sewing the project.

So, again, the first class I clicked on was a class that I wasn’t sure I’d actually end up making a project, something I had an interest in because it’s interesting, and something I probably wouldn’t have even thought to buy – Thread Art with Lola Jenkins.


Can  I just say this – SO  MUCH   FUN!  First, Lola is a character, and she’s really very encouraging with her repeated emphasis on there being no mistakes.  She starts off the class with a brief introduction of herself, in which she shares that after suffering through some of her own health problems, she then lost her husband.  To cope, she bought a sewing machine, and taught herself how to make her own brand of thread art.  See, here’s the way I like how art and healing can be incorporated in an online medium – her art saved her – she shared that with us, and then taught us her techniques.  That’s it.  No faux unlicensed therapy, no you are enough, no martyrdom – just get to work, and maybe you’ll feel better like me.  Or maybe you’ll just make something you love.

Once the life advice was dispensed, Lola moved on to teaching her seven step process to creating thread art pieces.  She made it look so easy, that at the end of the class, I stopped watching Craftsy, and started actually crafting.  In the class, Lola works through The Girl with the Pearl Earring.  Someone in the forum posted a Modigliani, and asked what Lola thought, and she said, perfect.  So, since I’m more inspired by Modigliani, I went with that –

Unfortunately, I don’t have any light, semi-solids in my stash.  I either have solids, or patterns, not so much with the batiks or the motled solids.  But, I did find this fat quarter in one of my mystery boxes, and while yellow isn’t my favorite color, I think it’s ok for this project.  There are some mistakes – oh well, it makes it less Modigliani, and a little more me. That’s ok. After stitching out the girl in the hat, it was time to fill in the background.

For the border, I went with one of three background fillers that are discussed in the class, the Lola’s wiggle – basically, hatching with wiggles. Perfect for those of us who don’t sew so straight.

Then, for the background, I went with my own version of pebbles – meaning, I did my best, but it’s a little messy. But, I still think it looks ok.  Tonight, during the Eagles/Giants game, I’ll move on to the next step – adding colored pencil.

Anyone looking to take this class to learn free motion quilting, you’ll get the flavor of it, but it’s not a full blown class on free motion stitching – she really doesn’t talk about how to set up your machine for free motion work, or how to move your fabric, or how to keep your stitches even, and that’s ok.  She’s self-taught, and free motion is one of those things you really learn by practicing.  I did binge watch one of Leah Day’s free motion classes – and of course, she’s an excellent source for free motion technique.  So, I’m not sure how I would have done with this stitching had I not watched Leah’s class first, but I still think that Lola makes everything look so easy, that anyone could get started.  And, as you can see from the number of projects posted on the class platform, a lot of people were inspired to try what was  probably a new medium for them.

So, I highly recommend this class !  Even if my project doesn’t work out so good in the end, I enjoyed watching Lola create, and I had fun making my own thread art – at least up to this point.  We’ll see how coloring and football goes tonight!

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Frida Fail

Ok, so I know that the real Frida Kahlo did have a bit of a shadow, perhaps a bit of mustache, however, on my little Frida, it looks more like an ingrown hair problem.  As I predicted, the muslin I used was too thin for this project, and you can see the backside stitching pretty clearly through the front of the fabric.  I really think that had I doubled the fabric, used a canvas rather than a muslin, or perhaps used some cotton batting, this wouldn’t have happened.

So, as you can see, her hair is lying next to her, and I’ve let her sit overnight, to mull over whether she deserves hair, or whether she will be operated on, to remove her stuffing as a donation to the next Frida.

This poor little Frida probably has a small window of reprieve because of current weather conditions.  No operations will take place in this humidity.  My craftroom is so hot that I nearly sat in my underwear last night finishing her up.  Which leads me to my Third Lesson Learned with this doll, it’s only fun . . . when it’s fun.  I was really miserable sweating over my sewing machine last night.  I wasn’t rushing or anything to get her done, but I was suffering.  And, there’s no suffering in doll making.  The heat should break this weekend, so by then I’ll probably have a new plan.

Which may not involve clay – since it’s probably baking in it’s packaging in the oven that is my craftroom.

And, in other news, Brave Girls University did open it’s doors yesterday, and it’s packed packed packed with classrooms.  Of course, being it’s first day of launch, there are things that look a little wonky, broken links, and 404 misdirect pages where there should be classrooms, but these are all kinks that I have no doubt that will be worked out.  I was particularly impressed that, following the site crashing within minutes of opening, they had another, bigger server, waiting in the wings ready to go fifteen minutes later.   There is some content that hasn’t been uploaded yet, but there’s plenty to get you started.  Of course, with my limited craft budget, I started assessing the value immediately – and this is personal value – to me – my personal assessment of whether or not I want to spend $25/month on this particular subscription service.

My initial thoughts – the “university” is organized into four categories of classes (with some overlapping) – Melody Ross classes (the Dean of the University), Soul Work, Art and DIY.  I have little to no interest in Melody Ross’s classes, and very little interest in most of the Soul Work, which is why I was never interested in the original Brave Girls Club, that lacked the Art Class/DIY category independent of the “soul” work.    I do not believe in online therapy from untrained, unlicensed practitioners.  No judgment here – you like these kinds of classes, great! It’s just not something I’m interested in.  And, who knows, maybe I’ll try to have more of an open mind about it, and stick my toes in something to see what’s going on, but I don’t think so – there’s too much in the Art and DIY categories to keep me busy.

So, are the Art and DIY classes enough to justify my $25?  I think so.  But, I think I need to approach these videos like real classes as opposed to binge watching a la Netflix.  I easily could binge-watch my way through all of the content in a month.  But, what’s the point of that?

Well, you say, you did just that during your month at CraftDaily, right?  Yes, correct – but those classes sucked.  There, I said it.  They were dated, poorly filmed, lacked accompanying PDFs and patterns, and much could be found for free in affiliate sites.

I think there is a real quality to the content at BGU.   For instance, the class I was pulled into first was Katie Kendrick’s Layered Impressions (which by the way, is not in the Art Category, but  in the Soul Work group, so I guess I’m dipping my toes).


Katie’s class was originally a four week workshop, that I think cost $100.  While I owned Katie’s book, Layered Impressions, and I’m a big fan of her work, that was over my general bright line price test for taking an online class.  Now, you can buy the DVD of the class for $100 through her website, or you can pay $25/month on Brave Girls and work through it there.  The difference between the original live class, and this class, I’m guessing since I didn’t take the original, is that there is no method of sharing on Brave Girls – no class forums, no private Facebook groups, no online photo gallery of student work, no teacher interaction other than access to teacher’s email for questions.  Without this compenent – the interaction with teachers and other classmates – it makes it hard to work through the material like a class.  Pacing is harder, doing the work without imput is not as fun, and making friends with other online art junkies is not happening.  So, can I commit to doing the work in a solitary fashion?  Watch the videos, do the exercises, and not move on until I’ve gotten the point of the lesson?

Well, I did try last night.  I watched the intro video, and the first exercise (using your nondominant hand to loosely create faces on telephone book pages – who has a telephone book????? – and then coloring in the face), and stopped.  Did not go on to the next lesson, did not charge ahead.  I didn’t do the exercise, because I was mid-Frida, but I’m going to try to do it before I move on.

And, if I stick to the plan, and treat class like class, and not like a movie, I should be good, and the content on the site should work for my $25/month.   Even if I just watch the Katie Kendrick class for the month of September, I’ll still be saving $75 off the cost of the original class.   But, I can see the non-interactive nature of the platform making it hard treat the site as “university” rather than a video repository.  Without this sharing component, I feel like I’m missing something on the site – did I miss a tab that I should have clicked on?  I’ve always gotten so much out of seeing other people’s work, and it’s such a big part of the learning experience.  There is a Facebook page – but it’s a business page, not a sharing group kind of page.  But we’ll see.

The bottomline – based on my initial thoughts and less than 24 hrs of tooling around the site – is that this site is a huge accomplishment for it’s founders.  I can’t imagine how hard it was to convince 80+ teachers to contribute their stand-alone content to this site.  I have no idea what their business plan is, and how everyone is getting compensated, but as far as the trickle down to the subscriber – it’s an awesome value, $25 a month is a steal if you’re treating the class like class and not like bingewatching the Walking Dead.  The only thing, as I mentioned, that I’m slightly disappointed about, is the lack of the ability to interact with other students taking the same class.

So, we’ll see how it goes.  And, I can definitely work on the Katie Kendrick exercise in an air conditioned corner of my house – no need to bake my faces in the craftroom.

Now, to rustle up a phone book!

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Right Now

20140125-114532.jpgRight now, it’s really cold.  Like -5 cold.  Like it’s snowing again, on top of the 12 inches we already got, and it’s worthless because it’s not going to lead to a snow day, cold.

It’s only leading to more cold.

Ok, you get it, it’s cold.

So, of course, cold=wool=knitting, and my Follow Your Arrow KAL has lead to another shawl – 3 out of 32.  I don’t know why, I just thought it would be fun.


So, here’s an update on the first one I cast on – the Madeleinetosh Pashmina – this is Clue 1b and Clue 2a:



I love this one.  Of the three, it’s the most traditional, and that’s ok – who knows where it’s going to go.  But, what I love is the yarn – its so squishy and soft.  Just what I wanted!

And, now for the rejects – the stepsisters to the Pashmina.

First, the Zauberball.  This is Clue 1a, 2b –



I have it on a 24 length needle, so this is the best I can do photowise without my stitches falling off the end.  It’s a little crazy, but I think once it’s thrown around my neck, it will look pretty cool.

And then, after I finished the Pashmina and the Zauberball in plenty of time for Monday’s clue, I became intrigued with the idea of the short row wedges on the traditional pi shawl shaped lace.  So, I cast on – what the heck, right?  I had already knit more than half of the first clue when I took it off the needles, and I hadn’t ripped it out, so it was all ready to go –


clue1b2b2Again, the needles are too short to get a really good shot of where this one is going – but, actually, I don’t know where it’s going – the short row wedges kind of spout off the circular beginning like a wing. But, that’s why I cast on – because it’s all so intriguing.  And, if it ends up fugly, I can always gift it.  My mom always loves my cast offs.

And what’s up with the quilting?  I’m still chugging along on my Penny Sampler – a little slower, because the precise piecing, for me at least, takes a lot of time.  I spend a lot of time lining up the seam with my piss poor bifocal, and then I spend a little bit of time – not as much as I used to certainly – ripping seams and trying to get all of the points to match.  I got a notice from The Intrepid Thread that my Gypsy Wife BOM shipped, which made me happy, since I didn’t expect it until sometime in February, but it also made me a little anxious – I thought I’d be further along in my Penny Sampler.  Have to pick up the pace!

ribbonblockHere’s one of two half square triangle heavy blocks – the ribbon block.  It’s almost done – I just have to finish sewing the four patches together, and I’ll get that done today.  The other, the snowflake block, I finished a few weeks ago, and I think I already posted a photo.  And, I finished up the spruce tree block – I need a little work with my flying geese blocks – they’re a bit wonky, but oh well.


My goal is to finish the precise piecing section this weekend, and it’s a doable goal.  I don’t have any large blocks left – on 6 inch blocks, so if I would stop blogging and messing around on the internet, and get going, they would get done.

What isn’t getting done is my daily challenge pages over at the Lilypad.  I just don’t feel like sitting in front of the computer when I just feel like making stuff.  So, here are the pages I made on the snow day –

This is the watercolor photo technique –


The Pimp my Quickpage –

qpchallengeScrap a Recent Photo –


Combine Two Templates –

LaundryManAnd there you have it – I’ve only done 12 of 25.  I think tonight, after Joe goes to work I’m going to try to crank out a few pages.  I mean, what happens if I don’t get them done? Nothing.  I just don’t get my $20 coupon, and a chance at a Polly spot, the creative team for the store.  But, ssssh, I’ll tell you a secret – I don’t want to be a Polly.  I just don’t have the time to make that kind of commitment to such a busy store.  If I were a Polly, there wouldn’t be any knitting, quilting or art making.  And, that’s just not what I want.  I’m leaning farther and farther away from sitting in front of a computer.  You may have noticed that I haven’t posted any Project Life spreads in awhile, and that’s because I haven’t made any.  The last PL spread I made got a GSO – and why?  Because it was really intricate, complicated, and detailed – it looked great, but it took so much time.  So, now I’m thinking I might go back to the Becky Higgins PL philosophy – keep it simple.  Put the photos in the pockets, throw in some journal cards, call it done.  And, I’m thinking the easiest way to do that may be to go paper.  I don’t know.  HSN ran a PL show this week, and I was hoping they would have a good deal – which they did, but I think the kit is ugly.  I wish I had gotten my bright idea to go paper when they were featuring the Just Add Color bundle, but I didn’t and it’s gone.  Although I did enter a giveaway on someone’s blog to win one, so if I win, that will seal the deal.

So, I don’t want to sit in front of the computer – I just want to make stuff.  Tactile, touchable stuff.  So, I’m making mail art –

Photo Jan 09, 9 47 36 PM (1)

Photo Jan 09, 9 47 36 PM

Mindy finally received my first mail art project, after we had the scare that it had gotten lost in the post.  It’s hard to tell from the photos, but it was pretty big – I had painted the girl on brown craft paper, and then I cut her out to put on the paper bag, and she turned out bigger than I had intended.  I’ve sent off two more creations – just a cardboard postcard painted on one of my curtain inserts, and a crazy gift bag with gelli printed deli paper.  Drat, I just realized I didn’t photograph the bag – oh well, hope it doesn’t get lost!

And Misty Mawn’s class, Full Circle started.  I started our first assignment, the mandala, but this is only the first layer – I’m still going to add paint –


So many projects!

Too bad this snow we’re getting today isn’t going to lead to a snow day.

But on the other hand, it’s not going to lead to a fourth shawl either.

Have a great weekend!

29 Faces – Face 21

Well, it’s the 29th day of March, and I’m only at Face 21.  Doesn’t look like I’m going to make it – oh well.  Face 21 took me what seemed like hours – there are so many layers of paint on this face, and I have no idea where they went, she still looks pretty flat to me.  I’ll get it, though.  I feel like I’m getting closer to the secret.  When Misty lays down her dark colors, and then blends them in with her whites, she gets depth.  I get white.

It’ll come, though.



And what happened to little clay face?  She’s at the little clay face triage –

So, I’ve got her legs on, as you can see.  And, I made her a skirt.  But, I’m not happy with the skirt – it’s really lopside, and delicate.  I think I’m going to papier mache a new one.  And, she needs to be grunged up.  I’ve got some beer bottle caps that are going to make their way on to her, and she may get some rusty hardware from the basement, but I’m not sure.  She’s slowly coming together though.  I thought she would be able to stand up on those corks, but that’s not to be.  She may get a base.  She may join the other dolls on the wall.  Which would defeat the purpose of a hoop skirt, I guess.

Something to think about.


29 Faces – Expressive Figure Sketches (with faces, of course – 18, 19 and 20)

More Open Studio homework – expressive figure drawing.  These were done with charcoal, pretty quickly – I just tried to go with the flow, not for perfect.


Both were inspired by photos I saw on Pinterest.

And now, back to paperclay – here’s my face – painted –

I may go back in and slim down that crazy eyeliner.  Or not, I don’t know.  She’s not supposed to look real.  I’m not sure what I’m doing about her hair – I didn’t really give her much of a head to attach any hair, but she is a knob, after all.  I’m thinking she may get some kind of a hat – a found object kind of hat.  We’ll see.  The project got a bit derailed today because I cleaned all of the windows in the sun room – a two hour, messy messy job, and I just didn’t feel like constructing her afterwards.

Maybe tomorrow.


29 Faces – 16 & 17

Not quite caught up, but I’m working on it!

The office closed early – yeah! – due to a busted air conditioner – boo! Rumor has it that it’s going to take between 4-6 weeks to get the thing up and running again – double boo! Triple ugh! I’m actually glad I’m going to the prison Tuesday.

Anyway, Lemon and I spent some quality time in the ol’ backyard, and I did some sketching –

This is with my new Inktense pencils – I thought I bought black and white, but I bought sepia and white. Oops. I’m definitely going to go back and get the black.

And this one is charcoal and a white Conte crayon and white pan pastel –

She’s a bit googly eyed, but I like her.

29 Faces – Face 14

I told you I was going there – Paper Clay!


Is it just me, or does that actually look like a face?

Honestly, I’ve never sculpted anything in my life.

Well, I think there was some kind of papier mache puppet in 6th grade.

But, I think this is the first thing that counts.

I’m pretty pleased with myself.