Art & Craft

I Am Foxy Fixed!

Sometime towards the end of last year, I decided that I had outgrown my fauxdori, a Travelers Notebook from dokipaper on etsy.  This notebook served me well, no question, but I lost the money clip that I had on the cover, and it left a really dark mark.  I also wanted a pen loop, and I was tired of my notebooks overhanging the leather.  Since I had definitely decided to move on, the question became, to size up or stay the course?

Staying the course meant, obviously, that I would continue to use the traditional traveler’s notebook sized inserts, which are an odd size, 4.33 x 8.25″, and that would be just fine, since I have the Midori Monthly Calendar insert, and the grid insert for my attempts at a bullet journal.  While I love the Midori paper, I think it’s Tomoe River, I hate that the weeks start on Monday.  Of course, there are inserts to buy on etsy, both printed and printable, but the May Designs notebooks caught my eye, and they’re 5 x 8.  So, I decided to size up to Cahier size, which would give me room for Moleskine notebooks as well, at 5 x 8.25.

Then, what notebook?  Chic Sparrow? Foxy Fix, Keelindori? I joined a bunch of Facebook groups, and lurked.  Watched videos of flip throughs, and decided that Foxy Fix was the place for me.  I made this decision probably in the first week of December.  And, wouldn’t you know, the Foxy Fix store shut down for a month, to expand and update their business model.  Great.  Do I wait, or do I switch my plan? So, in the meantime, I bought a used Chic Sparrow, a Mr. Darcy that houses my hobonichi.  Huh, I just scrolled back and realized that I had never taken a photo of it.  Drat.  Oh well – the Mr. Darcy leather is really stiff, and feels like butter.  I immediately loved it, but I also scratched it, pretty significantly within five minutes.  While it is really beautiful leather, I didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to carry one with me everyday.  There’s a difference between leather becoming used and loved, and another with unsightly gouges in it.  So, I started looking at other Chic Sparrow leathers, and investigating Chic Sparrow – and I guess, if you look deep enough into the rather obsessive planner community on Facebook, you’ll find scandal.  Apparently the Chic Sparrow woman misappropriated someone else’s art.  I read through all of the backlash, and I think it was probably an honest mistake.   I probably would buy a Chic Sparrow from one of her orphan sales, because I love a good sale,  but, I was put off by it enough that I switched back to wanting a scandal free Foxy.  Foxy’s only “scandal” it seems is slow production and turn around time, and a store that’s only open for minutes a day.

What?  The store is only open for a few minutes a day?  The big difference between Foxy Fix and Chic Sparrow is that Foxy Fix allows for customization – stitching, different pockets, embossing, spine reinforcement, etc.  Chic Sparrow does embossing, but stitching, pockets, the rest of it, are standard.  So, Foxy Fix naturally takes longer to ship than a Chic Sparrow.  Now that I have both, I really don’t see any difference in quality – its just a matter of how much control you want over your finished product.  Foxy Fix also has an option for a “wide” version of each size.  A compact version will hold about four notebooks, a wide, six or more.  But, because of the customization, and the desire to keep turn around time to between 5-10 (although, I think they may have upped it to 10-20 days), Foxy Fix limits the number of customized orders, and when they hit their limit, they shut down.  They do sometimes have notebook sets that are in stock – but you can’t customize them at all.

So, I twiddled my thumbs and waited for Foxy to get back online, I think it was the first week of January.  Of course, as soon as they did, the site crashed, and they sold out within minutes.  As an apology gesture I guess, they put up a sale of mystery misfits Foxy’s – notebooks that had small flaws, or they couldn’t sell for whatever reason.  I managed to get in on the sale, and picked a cahier sized wide – and I figured, I’ll probably be happy with whatever I get as long as it’s not purple.

And then, I got a purple one.  I really dislike purple.  I’m good with a pinky violet, or magenta (although not in leather ), but straight up grape ape purple is not for me.

This was the first one:

I also didn’t want to go with the one strap on a wide, and as you can see this is just a single strap.  And this is Foxy’s Moccasin leather – it’s sooo soooo soft, but it’s very very floppy, with almost no structure.  A lot of people got Moccasin in the mystery sale, and I think it’s because they don’t sell them like this anymore – if you get a Moccasin notebook, it automatically comes with a reinforced spine – an extra piece of leather sewn up the back for more structure.  Anyway, I sold this on Facebook in about five seconds for the price I bought it for, which was about 1/2 of what it normally costs since it was a mystery.

So, then I had to decide if I was going to deal with the store being only open at 11 a.m., until they sold out.  I decided I had waited this long, I might as well continue to wait, and about a week after it initially opened, on 1/16, I managed to get into the store, and place my order for a wide Rowena, with side stitching and pockets, no embossing.  I figured as long as it wasn’t personalized, if I hated it, I could always sell it.

Then, the next round of waiting took over.  The turn around time was 5-10 business days.  1/16 was a holiday, so I decided to just chill, and when it came, it came.  But, then I got a shipping notice on the 25th, and I was ecstatic – it’s coming, it’s coming!  But, it wasn’t – not according to USPS – even though I had paid for two day shipping, it sat in preshipment for days.  I kept refreshing my USPS shipping notice, checking my email for updates, etc., and I was making myself crazy.  I felt torn about contact Foxy, because based on the FB page, I knew that everyone, everyday is like, where’s my Foxy, until I finally contacted Foxy Fix’s customer service.  My experience with Foxy Fix was  . . . internet age I guess.  I emailed them on a Saturday, and by Monday afternoon, I still hadn’t gotten an answer.  So, I posted on the FB page.  Within seconds, I got a response that the customer service woman was checking on my order, and waiting for a text back from their shipping department.  I figured, she’s waiting for a text, I’ll hear something in an hour or so, or whatever, and then nothing.  So, I posted on FB again, and nothing.  And then I emailed, and got a response back the same day.  My order had been lost, they were remaking it and shipping it the same day, and as soon as she had a shipping confirmation number, she’d send it to me.  She also gave me a 10 percent discount code for my next purchase.  And, because I obviously hadn’t gotten my 2 day shipping, she refunding the entire shipping amount.  Then, I got nothing, and I waited.   Then, the next day, I got an email from shipping that my dashboard order had been cancelled because they were out of them, and again, I got another 10 percent discount code.   But, I didn’t get any shipping notice, or status on the actual order.  So, I emailed again, a bit huffy this time I think, and I got an email saying that the notebook had shipped out yesterday, and here’s your tracking number.  By that time, the notebook had already arrived in Philadelphia, and it would be on my doorstep the next day.  Yeah! So, it was a bummer that I missed out on the dashboard, but eh.  And, here she is – Rowena, Foxy Fix’s No. 7 in wide:

I have to say, I took my good old time opening it – I was really worried I’d have that seem feeling of meh that I did when I opened the grape ape one. But, no, this one was totally perfect – meet Rowena:

Here she is next to my old, faithful faux dori. Rowena is a sturdy, thick leather, that has a wax coating, and a slight sheen to it.  Every piece is different, and some are more shiny than others.  I’d say mine is mildly shiny.  Here’s the inside:

As you can see, it’s about 3x as thick as my original, it has secretarial pockets on both sides, and it is significantly wider than my original.  You can’t see it too clearly, but the inside of the notebook does not quite feel like traditional leather, and there was some chatter on the Facebook group that maybe this wasn’t real leather.  Believe me, it’s real leather – it smells like leather, it feels like leather – it feels like they just skinned it off the cow, frankly.  And, apparently, the explanation is that the hide is actually much thicker, and it’s cut against the grain, in half, to make it thinner, and appropriate for making stuff like notebooks and other leather goods.  This cutting against the grain is what causes that fabric like feel to the inside.  I love it.  And, I love the stitching on the reinforced spine.

Here are my May Design Books, that I’ve been waiting and waiting to use since the failed purple notebook:

Of course, after I bought them, and was excited to use them, I read on some forum somewhere that they’re not fountain pen friendly.  So, I did a little experiment:

This is the backside of a written on calendar page.  The fountain pen definitely has the most ghosting, but it doesn’t smear, and it doesn’t absorb right into the page making ink blobs or anything like that.  I’m ok with a bit of ghosting – it’s just a calendar.  And, I do love my fountain pen.

Since, I didn’t get my Foxy Fix dashboard, I made a few of my own.  Instead of laminating, I used a 12 x 12 scrapbook page, and with my Fuse Tool, I traced around a May book, leaving about an 3/4′ between the pockets.  So, my pockets are toploading, and I can switch out the paper.

Of course, one always has to be my sentencing guidelines.  Very exciting, I know.

And the other is just decorative, and it houses the notebooks I printed from AnniePlansPrintables on Etsy – there’s a Happy Mail Tracker, an Address Book, and an Online Purchase Tracker:

The only problem is – now that I have all of these little notebooks, what do I need my bullet journal for – each collection in my bullet journal now has it’s own notebook, and my to do lists are now in my May Designs Daily Planner book, that polka dot book above.  I guess I’ll figure it out as I go, because I’m not taking it out – the notebook will totally deflate without the bullet journal.

Which brings me back around to the beginning -should I have resized?  This notebook is really a doorstop.  I love love love it, but it takes up most of my purse, and I really had all of the information I needed in less notebooks before.

I’ll continue to ponder this dilemma as I see how things work out.  Back to the traditional size?  Or sized up, but in a compact not a wide?

Why can’t I just enjoy what I have before I start thinking about what’s next?

Sigh.

Anyway, should you buy a Fox Fix?  The product is awesome, really – but you’ll have to wait.  And wait.  First, there’s the struggle of hitting the website at exactly the right time.  I’ve seen people on Facebook fail day after day after day.  And, if you succeed, the turn around time is 10-20 days.  So, between attempting to purchase and receiving your notebook, expect about a month.  If you can wait, it’s worth it.

If you just can’t wait, and if you can get past the idea that Chic Sparrow copied someone’s drawing, and put it on a notebook, then buy a Chic Sparrow; she f’d up. I do really respect artist’s work, and copyrights, but I’m just kind of willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she f-d up, and wouldn’t do it again.  Maybe I’m just rationalizing, because I think I probably would buy from her, since I really do love my Mr. Darcy, and would love to try a different leather from her.  I don’t know.  Her product is lovely, her business might just not be what you want it to be.

If you have any questions about any of this, I’d be happy to answer them!  I love talking about my notebook!

 

Tempest Tossed

On one hand, I feel like I should be running down to the airport, with my signs and my fist in the air;  not only is it the right thing to do, but I know that I would feel energized, and hopeful, and frankly, American.  But, the bottomline is, this President just doesn’t give two shits.  He doesn’t even give one.  Instead of saying, I hear you, he points fingers, and signs more executive orders, and with every day, gets closer to crowning himself king.

But, I go to my crafting to escape, and if you’re actually here, this place is an escape too – because you can find politics anywhere you look on the web, doesn’t have to be here.  So, if you’re curious, and you want to know the process, not the product, here it is.

I downloaded an image of the statue of liberty.  I cut it out, and stuck it to my paper with repositionable tape.  The first time, I watercolored, and inked around the statue.  Then, I pulled the mask up, and voila! An outline of the Statue of Liberty.

After I botched the first try, I used this as a draft to figure out where the writing was going to be.  If I had to do it again, and I guess I could do it again, since I splotched up the f in “lift” by sticking my wrist in the wet ink when I went back to cross my t’s – uch!  Muffed up right at the last second, when I was just about to call it done.  But, if I were going to do it again, I’d probably go back to the watercolor, and skip that purple ink – it just didn’t blend well, even with my Tim Holz blending pads.  And, then, after I hung my statement on the wall, where at least I care about it, I moved on to my new watercolor stamps.

I don’t know about you, but in between being horrified by the nightly news and my social media feed, I mindlessly watched CHA video after CHA video, or Creativation as they’re calling it now.  It’s a trade show, it wants to suck me into buying things, and I’m good with that.  New paper! New dies! New stamps! oh my!  The biggest time suck was the Blitsy swag giveaway.  Blitsy filmed 3 days worth of mini segments at a dozen or so booths.  At the end of every segment, they gave you a secret word, which was access to a giant swag giveaway.  I think it was during one of those videos that I discovered Art Impressions Stamps, well at least the watercolor stamps, because their line of strange heavy set lady stamps are a little bizarre to me, but there’s something for everyone I guess.

The watercolor stamps are watercolor painting cheaters.  You stamp the image with watercolor marker, or whatever water soluble product you have, and then you add some color, pull out more color with a wet brush, and you too can look like a watercolor master.  Well, close.  Well, closer than I would have without the stamp.

Because I was just experimenting, I bought the cheapest set on Blitsy, the mini- barn set, which I think was just about $9.  The bigger sets run between $17-and $20, at full price.

As you can see the set comes with three unmounted cling stamps that are just basic outlines of the images – the barn, the tree, and the fence.  Huh, I guess I should have taken a before photo, but no matter.  Trust me, you can do this! The image looks like the outline on the top of the packaging.  Because I have one package of Tombow Markers that’s missing the brown marker, I stamped in black, and then used my set of Koi watercolors to color in the barn, and the trees.  If you have a good assortment of watercolor markers, you can just add more color to the stamp.  You really don’t need to get out your watercolors at all if you really want to keep it simple.  Anyway,  I stamped the barn first, and then I masked it, so I wouldn’t stamp over the barn with the trees.  There’s a good video of how to do this on the  Art Impressions youtube channel.  Art Impressions uses a masking paper, which has a sticky substance on the back.  I just used repositionable tape, just like I did the Statue of Liberty.  So, you stamp the barn on scrap paper, and cut out around the barn any place you don’t want the stamp to show – so that the trees are in the background.  Then you position the scrap barn over the good barn, and peel it away when you’re done stamping the trees.  Or if you want to start with a tree, you can stamp the tree, create a mask for the tree, stamp the barn, and then create a mask for the barn, and then stamp the background trees.  The idea is, start with the image that’s closest in the foreground, and work your way back.  If anyone wants to see photos of how I did this, just leave me a message in the

And, of course, since I’m getting read for InCoWriMo2017, I turned them into easel cards:

Basically, these cards stick up like an easel – there’s a foam stopper covered with patterned paper that you wedge the card behind, but the card can also be folded flat to go in an envelope.  Of all of the Crafter’s Companion card tutorials, this is by far the easiest one.  You just take a sheet of 5 1/2 x 11 paper, fold it in half, and then fold a gatefold on one end, then you tape a 5 1/2/ x 5 1/2 square on that gatefold flap.  Apply foam, done.

Of course, I forgot that my ink was going to explode on the watercolor paper – should have just just lettered in the card stock.  Oh well.

Now that I know I really love these stamps, I ordered another set that has a flower stamp, it’s a mailbox with a bird and some foliage.  I definitely have ideas about combining the two sets.  I originally thought the flowers came with the barn based on the packaging, but they don’t.  You have to be careful when you buy these stamps to make sure of what’s actually included – sometimes you get more than you thought you were getting (there’s one set that has a barn on a cliff, and the set also comes with a lighthouse), or less (mostly foliage and flowers – there’s a separate foliage set, flower set, and tree set, but some of the projects do come with flowers).  And, of course, there are new sets coming out that debuted at CHA, although to me, they pretty much look like the old sets, although I think some of them have critters now, like a bunny or a squirrel or something like that.  They also have this pretty cool die that’s coming out- it’s a 3d frame, with an easel, so you can stand up your watercolor masterpieces.

So, that’s all for now.  Next, I’ll share my latest nonpolitical obsession, to fountain or not to fountain, that’s the question.

 

InCoWriMo 2017 – I’m In!

Big commitment, that International Correspondence Writing Month (InCoWriMo)!  28 days, 28 letters.   Am I in?

I’ve mulled it over.  I considered my failed participation in the League of Extraordinary Pen Pals, how I began writing to a group of people – probably 10 or so – and every, single one of them fell by the wayside.  My fault or theirs?  It doesn’t really matter – I didn’t do anything to follow up with the people who had stopped writing to me.  And, on my end, well, it was a confluence of things – I lost my original traveler’s notebook, my Wendori, which was a sweet burgundy leather that I made myself, and loved dearly.  My letter log, my letters, my stamps, my addresses, were all in there.  But, that’s just an excuse really – I could have gone back to the club’s database and found the addresses again.  Who I owed, who was behind with me, that was a different question.  Then, my father died.  I decided that was a good time to sort through who I needed to write to, and I proceeded to write at least 7 “I’m sorry I haven’t written, this is what happened”  letters and by the time I had related the story of my father dying in Mexico, getting his body back, and his truly ugly fiesta coffin, that looked like it would play cruiseship music if you opened the lid, seven or so times, I never wanted to write another letter again.  So, I didn’t.  And, in the end, only one person sent me a FB message, and was like, what’s up? and honestly, I just couldn’t explain.  It was like by writing that letter, I had written the last chapter with everyone.

And, that was two years ago, and I really would like to exchange mail with pen friends again – I’m getting really good at addressing envelopes, and I have none to write, nor send.  So, I’ve decided, I can do this – I’m in.  Here’s my plan.  Right now, I’m making cards and envelopes.  There’s no way I can sustain that – that’s old Wendy crazy pants who is setting herself up for failure.  Those cards and envelopes will go to the people who I either already know (hey Mindy – you’re getting a letter!!), or who I’ve actually committed to exchanging letters with (a handful of people I met on instagram).  When that is exhausted (probably the first 10), I’m going to switch to the box of notecards I already have sitting on my desk, because I liked the box, and because they were on sale at Papersource awhile back.  And, you know – I don’t need much of an excuse to buy another box of cool cards.  And, I’m going to write them when I get in, first thing in the morning by randomly selecting people from the InCoWriMo website.  Joe works 7-3, and since my job is flexible, I work 7-3 as well – but no one is actually in until 9.  So, over coffee and the hum of my space heater (since the thermostat for my office is at the end of the hall and if it’s turned up too high, those at that end are roasted – so I rely on a space heater), I’ll write short, happy mail letters.

Good plan, right?  At least it’s not March, it’s a short month, right?

So, to make my cards, I pulled out my Crafter’s Companion Ultimate Tool:

I got sucked into this big, plastic pink thing on HSN craft day – watching Sarah Davies and her British accent score and fold with this thing was mesmerizing, and I had to have one.  Did I really have to have one?  Let’s see, the pink thing opens up into these table top surfaces.  On one side, top right, you have fold lines for 12 x 12 paper, and 8 1/2 x 11.  If you turn the board one way, scrapbook paper, the other U.S. Letter.  There are scorelines for gatefold cards, half fold cards, and tri fold cards.  However, if you were to attempt to just look at the board, and make a card without reading the instructions first, that would be impossible.  The instructions are like a rosetta stone, and this board is totally worthless without out it.  Don’t lose the instructions!  The instructions give you the basic folds/score lines for those basic cards, however, if you want to get any more complicated, and “take it to the next level” as Sarah says, then you have to watch the accompanying DVD, and then the supplemental DVD you can get on HSN.  Sarah moves really fast, and for each card, I really had to watch the videos a couple of times.  For a more experienced card maker, maybe that wouldn’t be the case, but . . . in any event, I ended up making myself plain white cardstock templates, with detailed instructions about what size paper to start with, where to rest the paper – on the handle, or the other side, which line to use, etc.

But, I had a day off, as our heater was broken and I had to wait for the oil guy to come, so I had time to watch the videos, and they were certainly better than watching the evening news these days.  The problem with this machine is that it can’t really be used as a traditional score board.  For instance, if you see a card or project on line, and it has instructions that say, score at the 1/2 inch, 5/8’s and 2 inch – you can’t do that, because the board doesn’t have any measurements; that’s supposed to be the point — she’s done the measuring for you.  But, that means you have to do her projects, or take her basic card “to the next level” on your own.

The other work surface areas are an envelope maker, an envelope box, an embossing board, and box maker.  And, the board that has the arches and butterflies – you emboss the shapes, and then you cut bits of them out for either popouts or windows.The envelope side is supplemented by another product she sells, the enveloboxer, which is another pink piece of plastic that fits on top of the board, specific for envelopes with a gusset and boxes, and then she has a few other pink boards for other embossing tricks.  Again, to use her envelope maker, you need to use her measurements – and the measurements in the instructions do not necessarily match the measurements on her website.  So, I like to use my WRMK envelope maker – the only problem with this is that anything that starts with paper over 10 x 10 isn’t going to fit on the board, so you can’t complete the scoreline.  WRMK has solved this problem with their new envelope maker, that’s also a box maker and a bow maker, by adding a pull out section.

So, did I really need need need this pink plastic thing?  I like it.  It’s helpful, and I can imagine if I were still doing some book binding, and folding signatures, this board is perfect for that – you’ll always find the center, and the with the edges against the handle, you’ll always get a perfect fold.

And, here’s what I made:

This is called a step card.  Sarah has four different ways to change this up on the DVD, but I figured knowing one way for now is enough.  And, these are my WRMK CKMY stamps, with my handlettering.  I really like how the stamps turned out.  I’m not the biggest fan of the flower that I showed you before, but I love the typewriter, and I love this one.  And, with the Misti Stamp Tool, it’s really easy to position the stamps, and to put some kind of greeting on the paper that’s in the typewriter.  This cards stand up, but they can also open up, and I’ll write my letter inside.

Then, I made an explosion card –

This one flips up, and an origami folded letter pops open.  I figure I’ll fold the letter after I write it – its probably a little cumbersome to write it after.  Sarah says these cards are perfect for announcements and invitations.

I have a few more types of cards to make, but they’re easel cards, and I have a watercolor stamp coming that I want to try out, that’s being delivered today, so I’ll work on them this weekend.  So, I switched to envelopes –

This is the WRMK envelope maker:

On the bottom is a chart – you find the size envelope you want to make, and the board gives you the measurements.  Fiskars has an envelope board coming out that is a twist dial like thing – you dial up your paper size, and it spits out what size envelope you get, and vice versa.  Lot’s of bells and whistles and moving parts – this one is pretty simple.  The board also tells you where to line your paper up against the stop edge – in this case, I was making a 6 x 6 1/2 inch envie, so I needed a 10 x 10 piece of paper, which I placed the corner at I think 4 3/4.  Then, it’s easy peasy.  You position your bone folder against the edge of the nob, and score the groove that’s in the board.  Then, you turn the paper 90 degrees, lining the scoreline up with the blue thingy that’s sticking out, and you make another score.  You also punch the top, giving you the notch you need to make your envies without having to cut out what would be darts I guess if you tried to smoosh it together without cutting.  The Martha Stewart Board is similar, but she has a triangular piece of plastic that sits in the corner of her score board, and you score against the diagonal.  The thing I don’t like is that it doesn’t have the notcher.

So, here are my envelopes:

and:

Voila!  Ready to be addressed.  I haven’t figured out the size envelope I need for the exploding card, I was done for the night.  but, I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

By the way, the craft paper is Tim Holtz, and it’s really great for cards and envelopes – really sturdy!  I’m sorry that I’m at the end of my stash.

And, that’s the plan!  Have a great weekend!

 

 

Yarn Along – First Finish of the Year

Hello everyone!  Hope you started your year off on a knitting high note – it’s always good to wrap up the old, start something new, and plan the next thing, and so on . . .

My holdover from last year became my first finish of the year – behold, Braid Hills from Kate Davies:

After finishing the knitting, I was really kicking myself for not having read the pattern all the way through before I started.  In the photos, Kate is wearing the sweater with buttons, but on closer inspections, the buttons are decorative, and this thing is closed with snaps.  Apparently, the original pattern was written with buttonholes, but people found that the buttons caused gaps, I think because of the weight and pull of the cable.  So, she rewrote the pattern for a ribbon lining and snaps.  Uch.

So, here’s my ribbon, which I handsewed to the button (er snap) band. I made the mistake of sewing one on the other side as well, so when I close it, you can see the ribbon just a little bit.  I debated ripping it out, and resewing the snaps straight to the sweater, but, eh, it’s fine.

Then, I had to decide if I was going to bother with the decorative buttons, and opted to forego the buttons.  I have a lot of button down cardigans, so this is a little different look, and I think the buttons, at least the one’s I experimented with, detracted from the pretty cable.  So far, I’d say 2017, knitwise, is off to a good start.

Next!  Another Kate Davies, this time from the Inspired By Islay Club.  This is Ooa –

Ooa is knit in Kate Davies’ yarn, Buachaille, which is a little bit too expensive to make something this large. With the club, you do get a 10% discount on all things Kate, and hopefully, the perfect sized project will be revealed to try it out.  So, I’m using Cascade 220 Sport:

Before yesterday, I would have been totally singing Cascade 220’s praises.  When I worked at Rosie’s, I always recommended Cascade 220 worsted for first time knitters, as it didn’t split, and was always dependable.  This yarn . . . there’s no nice way to put it, ok, there is a nice way to put it, but I choose not to – the cream skeins are so f-d up they are nearly impossible to wind on a swift with a ballwinder.  The first two skeins were manageable – I kind of hand wound them to start off, and they eventually untangled.  Not the third skein.  The third skein broke my ballwinder.  Yes, it broke my ballwinder.  I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to hand wind it it’s so tangled.  Sigh.

But, here’s the beginning:

The bright photo shows my first cast on – yes, there was a first, and then a second, and then a third . . . the first was gauge challenged – way too small.  That’s what you get when you say, yep, I’ve got gauge after knitting five rows.  The second turned into a moebius – oopsy.  And the other photo is the third cast on – with size 6 needles.  I think US 5’s would make the perfect fabric, and if I had been willing to go for cast on 4, I would have switched to a five and knit a bigger size.  But, I stuck with the 6’s, and I’m pretty much at the armpit –

Now, I just have to wait for my new ball winder to arrive tomorrow, and I’ll be back in business.

Now onto future business – near future, next week actually.  Next week starts the Ambah MKAL, Hale – Bopp.  I’ve never knit an Ambah pattern, but I do admire them – especially knit up in the Miss Babs booth every year at Sheep and Wool.  This MKAL is a shawl that calls for three skeins of sock yarn – a dark, a light, and a speckle.  The speckle is optional, but Ambah used a speckle, and you’ve gotta love a good speckle, so I’m all about the speckle.  The MKAL is a partnership with Sunshine Yarns, which kitted up combos of yummo colorways.  I was infatuated with one of them, a plum, grey, speckle combo, but even though I hit the shop web page as the yarns were loading up on the screen, and even though I managed to get the one I wanted in my shopping cart, but the time I filled out my shipping address, it had vanished – I’ve never had an online shopping experience where something can actually disappear from your cart, and frankly, that sucks.  But, thems the breaks.  So, I did a stash dive, and came up with an iron blue skein of yarn that I bought while we were in London – so I played around with a few combinations with Hedgehog sock as the speckle:

I bought the top combo, but then had anxiety – I didn’t think the cream was quite right, not enough blue. So, I trolled Ravelry, looked at a few finished projects that used that colorway, and realized that I was correct in my anxiety, and I returned the first skein, for the second combo. I’m feeling much more confident.  So, that MKAL starts next Thursday night.  I probably won’t be done Ooa, but it’ll probably be a good time to take a break – hopefully, I’ll be in between sleeves.  I hate sleeves.

On the reading front, I finished The Nix (the beginning was much better than the ending), and now I’m reading Michael Chabon’s, Moonglow.

I’m not very far in, but so far I’m enjoying it.  More to report next time!

Anyone, knit on everyone, and take care!

Happy Handwriting Day!

Had you asked me in 6th Grade if I would ever find myself wishing anyone a happy handwriting day, I would have not doubled over in laughter, I would have stared with incredulity.  Handwriting and happy in the same sentence, in an exclamation of joy and good wishes?  Not possible.  Not possible, at all.  The only thing more torturous than handwriting practice, to me, was the monthly reaping for the kickball team.  Yes, I was always last – or perhaps second to last, and therein a debate ensued between the competing captains about who was a worse kickballer, me or my friend.  True, handwriting was less painful than that, but not by much.

But now, handwriting finds me in my happy place, in my craftroom, with my inks, and my pens, and my stamps, and my watercolors, and when I get a letter right, I’m tickled, and when I get one wrong, I’m ok with it – practice practice.  So, I’ve taken this childhood near malady, rife with slop, angst, twisted wrists, and visual word vomit, and kicked it’s ass.  Take that, Mrs. Singer and you’re dreaded red pen, that would circle every malformed r, or s or q.

Right now, I’m just following along with the #showmeyourdrills challenge on Instagram, practicing full quotes with the #literaryletteringchallenge, and watching some classes on #Skillshare.  Here are a few of my literary quotes:

One thing I’ve learned is that for any particular job, you need the right tools, and I do not have the right tools.  I’ve been using crappy paper, and it shows.   The splotches and puddles are not because I’m not using my pen right (although, since I don’t have a teacher hovering over my shoulder with a red pain, I can’t be exactly sure I’m using my pen right), but because regular old computer paper, and low quality cardstock may as well be a paper towel in how it absorbs the ink.  And, while watercolor is fine with absorbtion, since I have the bumpy kind (hot press? cold press?  I always get them confused), my nib gets caught in the bumps, and that causes a leak, or an extra lump of ink.  So, right now, I’m looking at my ink messes as design elements, but I do intend to get myself a nice pad of Rhodia paper, the paper most sites recommend.

This last quote I wrote over scrap paper that I used to test out my new WRMK CMYK stamps.  They’re pretty neat.  There are four layers of each stamp, and each one is stamped with a corresponding color to get the old timey printer quality of CMYK printing.  They actually look better photographed than they do in person, but I’m pretty happy with how they turned out.  The tool underneath is a Misti Stamp Tool.  The tool is like the WRMK Precision Stamp Press – you place your paper on the bottom grid, and place your stamp where you want it to go.  When you put the lid down, the stamp sticks to it, and when you pull the lid back, you apply your ink, press it down, and stamp – voila! your stamp will always be in the same place.  So you can do some mass production stamping – for those holiday cards.  Or, you can stamp the same stamp twice for those times you don’t get a good impression.  And, you can use these layering stamps.  If you youtube the tool, a lot of useful tutorials will come up.  The only thing I don’t like about this nifty tool is that it comes with a New Testament Bible quote across the top, and I don’t know why that’s necessary.  But, since I use mostly clear stamps, there’s a foam insert you put in anyway, and it covers the quote.  Had I noticed the Bible quote before I put it on my Hanukkah list, I probably wouldn’t have put it on my list.  But, it’s a really useful tool, and it came in handy this weekend when I was stamping 3 x 4 project life cards.

So, what do I intend to do with my newfound handwriting love?  Continue to practice, surely.  But, I’m thinking of doing InCoWrMo , International Correspondence Writing Month, which is February, and involves sending correspondence every single day during the month of February.  I don’t think I can actually do that.  But, I think I probably could do it during the week, if I prepare.  I’m still mulling it around.  To commit, or not commit, so say ye word of the year?

Stay tuned!

Doing the Drills – Handlettering Practice

Two days in, and I’m good to go with my commitments!  I’ve journaled in my Techo 2 days in a row, and I’ve worked on my handlettering every day for a big fat week!

Here’s where I was, doodling with my Sharpie at my desk, waiting for the work bell to ring:

And, then I practiced.  I wrote words repeatedly:

I did drills:

I dabbled with some watercolor:

And, I tinkered with the Instagram challenge, #literaryletteringchallenges.  I love quotes.  When I was in high school, I kept a book of quotes – it was kind of  a smashbook of quotes.  Some were neatly printed in block print, some were typed, some were in my friend’s crazy handwriting, as she would often borrow the book, add to it.  I think she must have ended up with it, or else I’d have it.  I can’t believe I would have thrown it away.  The literary lettering challenge is a bit above my skill level – it’s a lot of work to slowly draw all of those letters.  Writers are never brief, are they?  Although, I’ve recently become intrigued with something called Flash Fiction, micro short stories, tiny little nuggets of character, language and strangely, space in minutia.  What I mean is brevity can be quite expansive.

Anyway, here’s my first challenge – Emily Dickinson’s Hope is a Thing with Feathers –

I penciled this first, and finished it up with a Tombow Fudensuke hard brush tip pen.  Unlike the large Tombow brush pen we all know from our local art stores, the fudensuke is a fine point, that is really sensitive to the light upstroke, hard downstroke.  The above was just made with up and down motion, not the more familiar faux calligraphy, where you kind of color in the down strokes.  I love this new pen.  I’m not the neatest colorer – and I really appreciate being able to make that downstroke with one motion, much neater for me.

The next day was Paul Coehlo.  I decided to use my dip pen for this one, and I made the mistake of using my sumo ink on my low quality watercolor paper –

Eh, you live and you learn.  All was not lost.  I just put a piece of vellum over top, and traced my pencil sketch.

I can definitely see the progress I’ve made in just one week. A lot of practice, and I’ve really been slurping up Skillshare, with my 99 cents for three months. There are a number of handlettering/calligraphy classes to choose from, and while they’re pretty basic, I’ve had plenty of a ha moments. I’m definitely getting my buck’s worth.  I’m definitely having problems with consistency – in attempting to bounce my letters, I’m not always using the same letter form each time.  And my loops aren’t quite the same size.  But, I’m working on it, and will continue to do so – because I’m committed!

Hope everyone’s New Year is off to a good start.  The Rose Bowl wasn’t so good last night, but it’s just a game, gotta keep things in perspective.  Right.

Yarning Along- A Crochet Catch Up and the Fresh Stitches Ami Club

I know, I know, I was all smug about really truly posting yesterday, but I figured that if I waited a day, I could link up with Small Things yarn along – rationalization will get me every time!  If you are popping in from the Yarn Along, and want to read about knitting catch up and the new Kate Davies club, click here.

But, now, crochet!

So my knitting bud KnittyD, she of the knit hippo, who doesn’t want to learn how to crochet, ordered a crochet kit.  And guess who she asked to do her crochet bidding?  You got it, crochet hippo girl.  Eh, ok – I love me a good amigurumi!

How cute, right?  Who wouldn’t want to spend their hygge evenings crocheting a Bumble??  By the way, I’m all about the hygge and the hygeligg after reading this article in The Times.  I feel secretly Nordic in my soul, actually, as if what I’ve known all along is finally going mainstream.  I’m sure it’ll be wrecked now.  Darn that secret sharing!

Anyway, you can get kits like these – Rudolph, Star Wars, and Marvel Avengers at your local BJ’s – I picked up a Star Wars kit – and now, of course, I’m going to have to make a memorial Princess Leia  – damn 2016, really.  Soooooooo ready for 2017!

Let’s forget 2016 and take another look at Bumble and Rudolph –

I had a lot of trouble with the felt that came with the kit – a stingy stingy little square – and of course, I didn’t have any felt in my stash, so this is actually quilt batting.  It got the job done, so it’s all good.

Anyway, Bumble and Rudolph put me in the ami spirit, so I went off to the Fresh Stitches website to poke around, and discovered that she has a new club as well, the Ami-club.  A few years ago, I was in the first iteration of the ami club – every month you got a pattern, yarn, and a goodie, like stitch markers or tiny scissors.  I have to admit, I didn’t love it.  I ended up tossing most of the kits aside, not motivated to make a leaf, or a snowflake, or a maybe a fish, and I eventually cancelled my subscription.  This time around, the club is completely digital.  Each month you get a pattern, a few e-guides (this month we received a guide to traveling with crochet, a guide to crochet hooks, and a guide to charity crochet), access to a club forum, a crochet-a-long, and a swap.  For I think $6/month I was in – no worrying about not liking the pattern, or the yarn that came with the kit – if I don’t like the pattern of the month, there’s still plenty to do for my $6.  Unlike the Kate Davies club, to which its forum calls Ravelry home, Fresh Stitches is trying to move her base from Ravelry to the Ami-Club Forum hosted on her own website.  I’d say there’s a bit of resistance – the Ravelry forum is still much more active than the club forum.  I’m not sure what she’s going to do to about it – the Ravelry forum is pretty much self-sufficient, organizing it’s own swaps and cal’s.  I think she’s going to have to release some really special club exclusive patterns and sales if she wants to put a nail in the ravelry forum.  But you know, I have no idea what her business model is – maybe she wants the Ravelry forum to keep on keeping on, and selling her larger patterns through Ravelry.  Maybe her business plan accounts for both bases.  I really don’t know.  But, I do know that I’d like to see more activity in the forum, and more people participating in the events.  For instance, the first swap was an easy one, a holiday card.  I made this:

The card pops open, and there’s a hanging circle in there stamped with Cheers and a message.  I mailed it last week with my own holiday cards, and I know that the card was delivered because it has tracking on it, and no one has even gone on the forum and thanked me.  It’s a handmade, crocheted card!  Now, I don’t make cards to get a thank you – that’s not my meaning.  My meaning is that if this were a truly active community, there’d be tons of cards and thank you’s posted.

And, while I loved the first pattern, Bentley bear:

I don’t know if this was the super special thing you wanted to get the club started with.  But, again, what do I know?

The bottom line is I really like the concept – I loved the bear, I like the new forums, I like the organized swaps – everything – I just hope more people get on board once the holiday season is over.

So, that’s the crochet in my world right now.  Once I finish the Kate Davies cardigan, I’m going to spill out my Lotus Moon Tiles , figure out what yarn I need to get moving, and well, get moving.

On the reading front, I’m reading The Nix:

I love this novel.  Its about a failed novelist, bored college professor, who is addicted to a game that is essentially World of Warcraft, as he’s sucked back into his own life when his mother, who abandoned him at 11, suddenly becomes national news when she commits an act of political protest, sort of.  Anyway, the novel moves in time, and the characters are really richly drawn.  The chapters are not stand alones, but are short stories in a sense – I read this book a chapter at a time, and when each chapter is done, I feel really fulfilled – like a just ate a piece of really good chocolate.  Anyway, that’s what I’m reading now, and I highly recommend it.  Hope it doesn’t have a crap ending, like this year.  Buh bye 2016.

Thanks for stopping by!

This and That Before 2017 – A Knitting Catch Up and The Inspired by Islay Club

I’d say “my it’s been a long time,” but that’s how this blog has gone for years, I suppose.  I’ve picked a word for 2017, and I’ll talk about that later this week (yep, really, I will!), but an element of my word is consistency, so I’m going to come up with a plan for being more consistent here in this little space of mine.  Perhaps I’ll sit down on Sunday and write a bunch of short posts I schedule to publish throughout the week, or maybe I’ll commit (hint hint) to blogging twice a week.  I’m not sure yet, I’m still figuring it all out, but I do know that I don’t want to ditch the whole thing, so I’ll come up with something.

So, this week I’m going to do a series of catch up posts, just a little this and that before the new year.  First up, knitting!

In my knitting world, I finished the gigantic sweater I knit for my husband (a sweater for a 6’4″ guy is necessarily going to be gigantic, so I knew what I was getting into, but it still didn’t make it any less of a, cough, cough, slog – miles and miles of stockinette.  I’d show you a photo, but I haven’t actually taken a picture of it yet – which is strange, because he’s already worn it a couple of times, and it is his favorite of the three sweaters I’ve knit for him.  And, that, in and of itself, was a lesson learning thing.  The first two sweaters I knit for him were lovely – last year’s sweater was Guston in Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter, and a few years before that, Brooklyn Tweed’s Cobblestone, in Katmandu Aran.  Both sweaters, two me, were fab – texture and tweedy yarn.  Joe, however, really doesn’t like anything that isn’t structured, and he likes a smooth yarn, rather than a tweed.  So, this year, I let him pick the pattern (sort of, he described what he wanted, and I found it), and I let him pick the yarn.  And, now he has his fitted neck, saddle shoulder, ribbed sweater that he always wanted, Churchmouse Yarn’s Saddle Shoulder Pullover.  This pattern was frankly ridiculously expensive, but it got the job done.  My one problem was that rather than the instructions being in inches (like knit until armhole is x inches), it was knit 97 rows, or whatever.  This was done intentionally, as there’s a whole section on getting gauge, including row gauge, as well as how to add length here and there, to get a better fit.  I’m just not all that concerned with row gauge, and I like my instructions in inches.  Because I’m a lazy counter, I had to do some fudging sewing the saddle and the sleeve into place, because I didn’t have quite the same number of rows where they were supposed to be, but you would never know from looking at it, and all is good.

On the selfish knitting front, you may remember this:

This is Islay, from I think Gudrun Johnson.  I abandoned Islay because I a. ran out of yarn, and had to order more and b. it was time to knit giganto husband sweater.  When I picked it up again, I didn’t remember where I was, and of course, I hadn’t written it down.  I couldn’t figure it out, didn’t love it, decided to part ways with it, and knit something else.  So, I decided I wanted to knit this with my precious Miss Babs, Baby Cocktails’ Dirty Martini:

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You would think this would be an easy color to find a contrast – grey, maybe.  But, I tried at least a half a dozen colors, yes, I actually swatched, and hated them all.  Meh.  So, I abandoned that idea (although I still want to knit this cardigan), and waited for something to come to me.

And, what came to me, ironically enough, was the Inspired by Islay Club from Kate Davies.  Back to the Hebrides!  I signed up for the club around Thanksgiving, but the first pattern didn’t come out until the second week in December.  I couldn’t wait, and I cast on Kate’s Braid Hills, not part of the club, but still a Hebredian inspiration:

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Perfect right?  So, here’s mine, just about the same place I ripped out the other Islay:

Anyway, no offense to the first Islay, but I’m so much happier with this version of my Miss Babs.  And, this is actually a pretty good representation of the color, as opposed to the grayer photo above – it’s a really beautiful, vibrant blue green.

I have long been a Kate Davies fan.  I’ve knit Paper Dolls, and her owls sweater, and I’ve admired her yokes and her haps.  I even have a fan girl photo:

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That’s Kate and I in 2009 when she visited Philadelphia.  Of course, I look at that photo, and I see how thin I was, and think, “oh my, how did I get from there to here,” but that’s a post for another day.

Digression over.  Of course, now I’m midknit while the Inspired by Islay patterns roll out – 12 patterns over 12 weeks, and 12 newsletters filled with the most gorgeous photos of Scotland, and little history lessons to accompany each pattern.  The patterns come out on Wednesday, the newsletter on Fridays.  The newsletters also include Kate’s husband Tom’s whiskey reviews and recommendations.  Not only am I inspired to knit Islay inspired patterns, I am totally inspired to visit Scotland, and stay in a caravan and stare out over the lochs, and climb the foothills in my Islay inspired socks.  Not only do you get the 12 patterns and 12 newsletters for $36, you also get a discount code for Kate’s yarn, Buachaille.  So, for $3 a pattern, free whiskey advice and dream inspiring photos, and a coupon for  Scottish yarn, it is completely worth it.  There’s also a nice Ravelry group as well, but you can join the group without joining the club.

The first Inspired by Islay pattern is Kate’s wedding cardigan, Finlaggen:

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I think this is the pattern that I’ll order my Buachaille for – although I’m going to wait for all 12 patterns to come out before I decide.  I love the heart shaped cables, the shawl collar, and the ribbed waistline.  I’m thinking I’ll forego the pockets though.  So, this might just be the Winter of Islay, which shall hopefully not be my winter of discontent.  In any event, if you are at all a Kate Davies fan, you should definitely check out the club – it’s a bargain, it’s delightful, and it’s inspiring.

Tomorrow, a crochet catch up, and another club!

Yarning Along – It’s All Over But the Neckline

When last we left the cardigan, I was still mad at it.

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Darn you sweater for making me run out of yarn and lose my place in the chart.  Oh, and make mistakes, that made me rip out, and back and . . . whatever, I’m mad at you, into the closet you go.  I’m seriously considering ripping the whole thing out and making the sweater I originally planned to make, Dirty Martini, but Baby Cocktails.

And then I made the mitts.  But, still mad at the cardigan, I was looking to be distracted, and you know, email can do that to you.  I received an email from my LYS, suggesting I knit this, Boardwalk by Heidi Kirrmaier, from Wool People 3.

And, I said, thanks LYS, I think I will knit that.  Of course, LYS also suggested I go to said store and plunk down big bucks on Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft, but I said no thanks to that.  Maybe this is sacrilege, but I hate Loft – I’ve attempted to use it twice, and both times the twist was so weak it broke – again and again.  So, instead, I went right back to the fingering weight, Davidson’s yarn that I used for my mitts, and cast on – and one week later, I have this:

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I just love those little cap sleeves.  The true color is a bit more purple than above, but I’m in my office, and I’m not going to get a shot of the true color.  I just have to finish up the mitered neck placate and block it up, and it’ll be done!  And, we finally have the perfect weather for it.

On the reading front, I just finished Bill Clegg’s Did You Ever Have a Family?

 

When this book was long listed for the National Book Award and the Man Booker Prize last year I poo poo’d it – why on earth would I ever want to read something so incredibly depressing?  The premise is that a woman loses her family in a house fire on the eve of her daughter’s wedding.  Not a spoiler – it’s the springboard for this really lovely meditation on what it means to have a family, about love, and loyalty, choices, and legacy.  It’s about forgiveness and connections, compassion and humanity.  I really enjoyed it; it’s not often a novel can move me to tears, but this one did, and in a wholly genuine way, unlike last year’s other manipulative tearjerker, A Little Life.

And now, I’m reading Bruce Springsteen’s “heart-stopping, pants-dropping, race-riot-creating, oddball-hating, soul-shaking, love and fear making, heartbreaking” autobiography, and so far, which is not so far, just a couple of chapters, it’s just like going to one of his concerts – he brings you into his stories, mesmerizes you, and leaves you wanting more.  Some sentences read like pure poetry, others kind of go clankety clank, but it’s all very real, just like he is.

So, that’s it for this week!  Knit on and knit well, my friends!

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It’s All Over But the Zapping – Eclectic Beaded Crochet Jewelry

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I signed up for Robin Dudley-Howes Eclectic Beaded Crochet Jewelry months ago during an early bird special.  At the time, I had just – and I mean just, I think I got the email about this class maybe a day after I watched the other one – watched a beaded crochet video on Creativebug, but I had problems with it, and while I became intrigued with the technique, I wasn’t inspired.  The woman who taught the class did not know how to crochet – which is fine, I guess – do what works for you.  But, it was very hard for me to watch her hold the hook wrong, and pull the cord through incorrectly as well.  I hate to use the words “wrong” and “incorrect” when it comes to craft – I’m a believer in doing what works best for you, but for me, at least, it was painful to watch, mostly because she was doing it a harder way than the technically correct way, and I felt she was sending her students down the wrong path.  If you were taking the class, and wanted to actually learn how to crochet, you probably could get away with doing the weird chain stitch she was doing, but you wouldn’t be able to build on it – that would be the only stitch in your toolbox.  Someone actually posted something about it in the comments, and the Creativebug staff did jump in and say, this is not the traditional crochet method.  But, in any event, I didn’t mean for this to be a negative review of the Creativebug class, I just wanted to give a thumbs up to the Robin Dudlley-Howes class, hosted on Jeanne Oliver’s ning, which I had been anxiously awaiting, hoping it would be the class that the Creativebug one was not.  And, I was not disappointed!

The class consists of two wrap projects (one that’s a simple bracelet, and one that could either be worn as a multi-wrap bracelet or a necklace) from start to finish, as well as some extras, adding chain to your bracelet, creating a tassel, and sculpting charms from Apoxie Sculpt.  What makes this class special are primarily two things.  First, Robin teaches you how to do what she calls a bridge over the larger beads, and second, she has a really effective, three part method of securing her closures, which thankfully does not involve Super Glue.

This is the bridge –

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The top bead is the method she teaches in class, the bottom bead is my variation.  I’m not going to tell you how to do it, and reveal her secret sauce, but for an experienced crocheter, it’s easy peasy, for an ok crocheter like me it was easy, and for an inexperienced crocheter who is just learning to chain, it would take a bit of practice, and be a bit fiddly, but no more than actually what it would take to learn to chain.  Anyway, this element is such a nice touch in the finished piece – it just makes it look more polished, as you no longer have the cord showing while it’s awkwardly stretched over a large bead.  And because she films the whole process of crocheting the wrap, this technique is repeated enough times you don’t have to keep replaying the video, or slow the video down, or remember the exact tic of the video where to watch it, it’s going to come up again and again, which is great for learning.

The beads, by the way, are part of a custom made kit I bought from Robin through her Etsy shop.  This is the kit I received:

 

I told Robin the color family I was interested in (pink) and that I loved butterflies.  And here is my kit, with two butterflies!  I really appreciated the fact that she was able to go through her stash and find something that was exactly what I was looking for.  Perfect.  This kit also included the recommended hook, a Size 6 metal hook, as well as some C-Lon cord.  Mine was hot pink.  I wasn’t so into that, but you never know, I might use it.  Along with the beads and the hook, there was also a little packet of crimp beads, head pins for dangle making, and toggle closures.

How much nicer is this selection than my paper beads!  I’m so over the paper beads, now – spoiled.  I don’t think I can go back.

Anyway, after watching the videos, I got to sorting my beads:

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And arranging them how I wanted them on the cord.

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In the class, Robin doesn’t use a bead board, but (and that’s not to say she should, obviously, I just like it) she goes through her thought process in picking her beads, and how she strings them on her cord.  As she’s creating the longer wrap, there’s not a lot of skipping over steps just because they’re repetitive, and you see her crochet the entire thing over the course of several videos.  I found this really helpful; sometimes when I’m watching a speeded up video I’m disappointed – it may be boring to the teacher, having done it 50 billion times, but it’s new to me.  So, I appreciated that the whole process was there.

Then I had a choice, string up my pretty beads, and start crocheting, or wait because I didn’t have the final, necessary tool to wrap up the three part closure process, the ThreadZapper II.   Of course I couldn’t wait, and I whipped up my wrap bracelet:

At the beginning and end of the wrap, I used a vintage pearl bracelet, just by opening up the jump rings and splitting it in two.  So, I already had a ready made large jump ring on one end, and a clasp on the other.  The buttons are from my own stash, as was the Eiffel Tower charm, but the rest is from the kit.

I thought about using this rhinestone piece as a closure, but I really wanted the rhinestone bling in this one, so I used it.  You can’t see them so well in this photo, but there are these super cute pink, rhinestone rhondelles (next to the Eiffel Tower) in there too – love them.

And the butterfly!

I love it, but can’t wear it yet – not until the closure is complete.  I’ve completed steps one and two of the process, and now I just need the ThreadZapper.  Most videos that involve creating a loop, or securing a thread, or ending a bracelet like this, or perhaps a ladder bracelet like the one I posted about earlier in the week, use SuperGlue, or some kind of glue.  This does not work for me – not only do a make a mess, and end up glueing my fingers together, but it just seems to get stiff and brittle on the cord without actually securing it.  I’m not a fan of the glue, so I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my ThreadZapper.

Of course, I’m already planning my next bracelet!  This time, I’m going to do a button closure, with that big brass button with the pink stone in the middle (photo of the kit).  There are plenty of beads left to string up at least one, maybe two more bracelets, and I have plenty of head pins in my stash to make more pearl dangles.  And, I may have ordered some beads from Etsy as well.  Yeah, I did.

Of course.

Basic CMYK

 

 

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