Friday, December 21, 2012

New knit FOs - a couple of scarves

Confession - these are no longer "new" FOs...but I haven't posted them yet, so this is a catch up.  I'm knitting cowls and scarves compulsively lately - so much obsessing on my mind that my hands need to keep busy. I've been squishing a lot of bits of journaling, reading, crafting, holiday stuff into the cracks of my overburdened schedule in fact.

But as of today, I'm on holiday - too bad I have a million things to take care of and still some work work to do, but I am happy that I'll have the next couple of weeks away from an office or a commute and that's a fact!

First up in the catch up is my "Seattle Summer" scarf - this was a single ball of thick and thin cotton blend that I picked up at a cute little LYS in Seattle on Teen Wonder's birthday in September. Now, in December, this scarf isn't holding up to the chill, but I really like the crisscross of the thick parts. What was the yarn called, you say? Well, if I hadn't lost the ball band I would be in a position to say. but alas, that is not the case.

Okay - next up is a frilly scarf that I knit for Mr. Wonderful's mom, aka Awesome MIL. She handed me a ball of this novelty yarn (Red Heart Sashay) and explained how you knit into the edge of the lacy ribbon - it was a bit tricky, but a pretty quick knit and fun results.

Then I went to the craft store and picked up a couple more colorways and some other novelty scarf yarns too - so I'll share those after Christmas since some of them are being gifted.

Linking to a couple of Friday linky parties -

Of course!
And also TGIFF!

HO! HO! HO!  Have a great holiday!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

some sewing: electronics cases for Teen Wonder and me

Since I haven't been posting regularly, I actually have a little backlog of little projects that I want to share. First up today? My iPad cover. I got an iPad for my birthday, and of course needed something to protect it when I carry it around - just a simple little envelope cover with this cute Japanese doll fabric and lined with flannel. 

Around the same time (well, two weeks later), Teen Wonder got a Kindle Fire for her birthday - so of course I'd already figured out how to make a nice cover for a tablet and just needed to go down in size a bit.  I also made a little zippy pouch for her to carry her charging cord. I should make one of those for my iPad too!
Below is what is on my sewing table at the moment - so far, it's a jelly roll race with mostly Kaffe Fassett strips. I have a plan for the entire quiilt as a large bed size, but this is as far as I've gotten so far:

Linking up to Sara's party...

And also to TGIFF at Quokka

And if you are reading this, maybe you'll go over to the Vintaj Design Challenge and vote for my pendant - it's #6! You can also see the details in my previous post

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Twinkling Lights" design challenge - please vote!

I entered my penant into this online competition on the Vintaj Blog - winner is determined by blog reader votes. It is entry #6 - please check it out and cast a vote!  There are several lovely designs there, but I hope you will vote for mine of course.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Adventures in jewelry making

 When you don't blog for a long time, stuff happens. hopefully.  That is, if you are extremely busy and you only have so many hours in a day, you'd probably spend your extra couple of hours each week working on something craftsy rather than blogging about how you have no time to work on anything craftsy, right?  Well, that's been my MO for the past, oh, I'd say at least 5 months - since I took on some additional work responsibilities, moved Teen Wonder to college, and started a new school year with Wild Thing.

But I have done a few things while I've been  not hanging out in blogland.I've loaded photos for a couple of posts so I can just do some blogging on the fly while I'm traveling this week.

Today's post includes some jewelry pieces I've worked on over the past few months, starting with my most recent - the "Elegant Twinkling Lights" pendant. You'll see this pendant one more time this week because I designed this for a little online contest at the Vintaj blog and I'll ask you all to go vote for my piece!
This piece is made with natural brass pieces from the Vintaj line combined with crystal facet beads in sort of a shimmery greenish topaz hue. I'm really happy with how it turned out!

Next up some "scrabble tile" pendants.

I bought these tile pendant "kits" on probably a year ago (?). I've been trying to go through my craft stash and work with the impulse buys I've made and either make them into things or give them away. These are cute, but I guess the scrabble tile thing is a bit passe. Oh well, they make cute little gifts and accent pieces to wear. I glued bales to the backs of all of these, but have only added a chain to a few. Gave one to my mom and one to Teen Wonder, and kept two for myself (below)

Fall Leaves - made with Japanese paper from the Diaso store (love that place!)

This sugar tile was cut from my biochemical pathways poster

These next two are copper enamel with my butane torch, plus some stamping. I have some additional enamel pieces that I haven't turned into jewelry yet. It's a good way to get out of my head and play for an hour or so in the garage!

The red disc in the second pendant is the same size as the purple disc in the one above - both were made with old pennies.

I hope everyone has a great week! Tomorrow I'll post a link for my twinkling pendant and ask you all to vote for my design (if you like it). I'm off to Switzerland tonight for the week.

Friday, October 5, 2012

(almost) instant gratification...

I haven't been blogging lately. I've been squishing a little knitting in here or there (with mistakes, grrr) and I took another class at the bead shop here in Alameda (Bead Inspirations).  Last time I blogged, it was about the torch enamel class I took. This time it was a cold metalwork class - texturing, punching, stamping, riveting, coloring and patinas, that sort of thing. It was fun! There is a commercial line of brass blanks and ornamental findings and charms called "Vintaj" that is pretty addictive - this workshop featured those products heavily. But I wanted to learn about stamping, riveting and different metals or patinas mostly. I've had some design ideas in my head to combine enamel, metalsmithing, and beading for some simple jewelry designs - but mostly it's a good escape for a few hours to go somewhere where you've paid good money to have fun and learn something! Personal time for me has been in short order lately.

Here are the things I worked on at the class:
This pendant was actually the result of poor punching alignment on my first square blank - I was determined to make something of it! The blank was textured with a riveting hammer, and the peridot beads I did little wire wraps to attach to extra holes. I polished the blank under the flower spray piece just a bit to make the spray and beads pop a little.  It's very small and detailed, but I like it and have worn it this week.
A little book was our first project in the workshop - both the front and back covers are textured and hammered, and I stamped "SOAR" after choosing to put a bird on it (heh). My first attempt at stamping, so my "S" took 2 tries and you can see the stutter close up. I used sharpie for a faux patina - scrubbed off a bit. I need to put some pages inside and string it on a cord - maybe a little care package gift for Teen Wonder?

Next to a penny so you can see the small scale...

And these wee owls riveted to a little rectangular blank. I'm not sure they will stay. I have to complain a little about how the Vintaj rivets are too large for the Vintaj product holes - so you have to ream them out with an exacto knife - they were so thin - you can see they got hammered out from under the rivet, so I don't know if this piece will stay together yet. 
I got out all my old beads, findings, charms and tools too. What a crazy mess!  I spent one evening while obsessing thinking about stuff at work and being insomniac, sorting through it all and organizing it. It's amazing to me how sorting through materials can result in some fun matchings and discoveries in a short period of time!

First, I wanted to try my stamping idea with a little enamel piece I made in our new workshop (I have TWO crafting areas now!!).
A STAR is born:
Stamped on a basic washer from the hardware store and wire wrapped to hang from the chain, along with a tiny star bead (I'm practicing wire wrapping, which I've never really done before. Maybe a class for that would be useful.
When it is worn, the charms layer more like this...
I wanted to turn my little torch enamel pairs from the class into earrings too.

Cute!  And more ambitious wire wrapping - but Mr. Wonderful commented that he liked the wire work totally unsolicited - he said it really added a nice detail. He's so nice to me and almost always says the right thing without any prompting. Amazing.

Then I got to the pile of pieces of beadwork that had been damaged or broken and hadn't seen the light of day for years - so with a new confidence in bead crimping and stringing technique that may have been partly based in reality of new mad skills and partly fueled by a glass of wine, I restrung these beautiful dark blue-purplish beads that match above earrings nicely (and they've been in the bead stash for at least 12 years!)

And repaired this lariat style necklace (??10 years gone? 9?8?) - not a total re-string, just one of the lariat ends had come unstrung...

Lastly I got brave enough to select a strong beading wire and restring the pearls that Mr. Wonderful gave me as a wedding gift - I wore them at our wedding and many many times after. Then one day one of the double strings broke and I was too afraid to keep wearing them with a single string. They are so pretty and it's nice to have them back.

I have some other little projects that I need to photograph and post too - as well as a bunch of pix from my blackberry that I took in Basel early spring of a yarn bomb project there. Totally cool! since I'm not producing much lately by way of impressive projects, at least I'll have those pix to post soon. These public knitting projects are so fascinating - I had read about several before, but stumbled on the one in Basel completely randomly and by accident!

I will see if it's not too late to link up with Sarah's Whoop Whoop! Friday party and the TGIFF linky - I just haven't been in blog-land lately and I miss reading and looking at everyone's creativity  Don't you hate when life gets in the way of your craftiness? (sigh)\

Friday, September 14, 2012

Torch enamel - fun with fire!

Three weeks ago, I took a class at my local bead shop (Bead Inspirations). I haven't done any beading projects for quite a long time, but I love making jewelry. It's just another great craft that I don't have enough time for. But I have a pendant from Lisbon that is copper enamel with these great details including what looks like fused wire - almost a cloisonné. I should take a photo and amend this post later but right now I'm writing from a hotel room in Olympia WA. It is move-in weekend for Teen Wonder and today is her birthday. I have some work work to do too, but we are going in to Seattle  for fun this afternoon as per her birthday request.

But I digress...

I get the emails from Bead Inspirations regularly even though I haven't been such a regular customer. I haven't ever taking a beading class or metalsmithing either, so even the stuff I've done in the past has all been self taught.  I have always wanted to take a proper class to learn wire-wrapping the right way and expand my skills. A pair of nice earrin gs is such great instant gratification, you know? But last month a different kind of class caught my eye - Torch Enamel! Cool! I did copper enamel as a child at church camp. The craft lady was Hazel, and she was awesome! We did all sorts of things that probably a summer camp couldn't do anymore due to insurance and liability issues. Like using a kiln to fire copper enamel (Hazel did that part for full disclosure, at least most of the time). I didn't
know anything about using a butane torch to fire copper enamel.

The class was terrific! We used pennies as blanks and jumped right into it with thorough but minimal lecture to learn. Very hands on.
Copper enamel class
Cool huh?

I'm attempting to post this using my iPad. First time, and I had to figure out how to get any photos on here. There is probably an easier way, but hopefully I can do this once in awhile for a short post with not too many pix!
And I'm also going to attempt linking to Sarah's Whoop Whoop! Friday party

Saturday, September 8, 2012

T-shirt quilt finish! (finally...)

At long last, I have finished Teen Wonder's T-shirt quilt!
A few weeks ago I was ready to have a nervous breakdown over this thing - It's long so it can cover her dorm bed...and I had a heck of a time basting it. bleh.

But here it is in all it's glory! I'm happy with how it turned out, and Teen Wonder loves it.
The shirts in this quilt were collected over many years.  

The backing is the Polka Dot extra wide backing fabric from Moda - I like it, and it looks great; however, it was less substantial feeling than regular quilting cotton. Maybe partially because I pre-washed it which is a step I do or don't do for the backing depending on whether the front fabrics were pre-washed.  I did a very simple organic (i.e. not marked or straight) "straight" line quilting at 2-4" apart running up the length of the quilt. I mainly want it to hold together and I didn't leave any negative space for fancy quilting (not that I know how to do fancy quilting!). Plus I like that the minimalist approach doesn't distract from the random T-shirt themes and motifs.

Teen Wonder takes off tomorrow with her dad to drive up to Portland. I'll fly up Thursday and move her into her dorm in Olympia next Saturday.

I'm excited for her, but it's starting to dawn on me all the little ways we will miss her here.

I'm linking up to some of the Friday finish parties - it's been quite awhile since I've posted. Busy times for me lately! Please follow these links to find more awesome projects posted by talented people:

Whoop it up with Sarah!

TGIFF is hosted at Quokka Quilts this week!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Marimekko tablecloth

We have a Crate and Barrel Outlet store nearby in Berkeley. I don't get over there very often, but it is fun to go for many reasons. A couple of times I've bought really nice fabric there and used it for projects.  They usually have yardage of Marimekko designs, and I usually love love them...

Like the huge bulletin board/wall in our kitchen:

This nook area looks WAY different today, but I don't have time at the moment to take a new photo.  We love having a whole wall to pin things onto!
(btw: I used a tutorial here for a fabric covered large homasote bulletin board)

I used a similar fabric to cover my ironing board last year. I had picked up a few yards of each not knowing what I'd do with them, but they were ?? I don't remember, but less than $5 a yard I think.

More recently I did the same thing, but I had a specific project in mind - a new table cloth.
Now, this is exactly the kind of project I had in mind when I got my serger for a birthday present a couple of years ago. I figured I could whip out new tablecloths and napkins like crazy with a rolled edge stitching.
 And I serged the edges of the seams to prevent any unraveling since we wash our tablecloths a lot.

I was making placemats with the scraps, but I made a mistake and had to abandon that project for now.  Between kid stuff and a HUGE increase in my job responsibilities added to travel to 3 cities in the past 3 weeks...well. Let's just say that I took photos of this table cloth at least 3 weeks ago. And I don't have any other finishes lately, or much activity in the craft corner.

I did find a bunch of photos on my Blackberry of a yarn bomb project that I saw last time I was in Basel (late June) - I will download and post some here after my vacation this week. It's pretty cool.

I hope everyone is having a great summer! I will try to hook up at some linky parties, at least Sarah's Whoop! Whoop! Fridays

And also TGIFF! (where there is also a little giveaway!)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Last minute Whoopursepalooza!

Last minute entry to the Purse Palooza! (button on your right!)

I made a cute little framed clutch using U-Handbag's Fortune Cookie pattern (and frame).
cookie clutch closed
The fabric is matching the piece I used for my messenger bag makeover posted last week.  It's from the Laura Gunn Lantern Bloom collection. I love this fabric!  The lining is a bit of Denyse Schmidt to coordinate.
cookie clutch open

I didn't enter the messenger bag in the Purse Palooza because strictly speaking, I did not make the bag - I just gave it a lovely facelift. But I will say that the Palooza inspired me to make some bags in the past couple of months, so even though winning a contest is always a longshot with so many talented people out there - this event was quite effective!

cookie clutch with messenger

I will also link up with the fabulous Friday linky parties, as usual:
Whoop! Whoop! with Sarah 
And TGIFF over at Quilt Matters

Show-off Friday with Elizabeth at Pieceful life