This Post Brought To You By The Letter "B"

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

I took a modern calligraphy class this week and am starting to feel a bit more confident in the craft...a bit. There are certain letters I gravitate towards because they are loopy and fun and flow well for me. The lowercase letter "b" happens to be one of those (p and w are the others :)).

I've been doing a ton of practicing with ink and nib (see messy photo below as evidence) but wanted to try a new medium today, drawing gum! Drawing gum, also known as masking liquid, is a fluid that you use like ink to "mask" certain areas of your work. It goes on very wet but as it dries, it gets a rubber'ey texture and can be painted over with watercolors. Once your paint dries, you rub or peel the drawing gum away and you're left with whatever surface you started on - plain white in my case.



I used Pebeo drying gum but there are a number of other brands available if you search on Amazon or at your local paper or art supply store.


Here are a few tips I learned in my first day of playing with this new supply:

  1. Be patient! It's tempting to want to watercolor over the drawing gum pretty quickly but if it's not completely dry, it makes a mess. Similarly, don't try peeling off the drying gum until your watercolor is dry otherwise the paint will bleed into the places you don't want it to! 
  2. Mess up the writing (or whatever design you're working on)? Never fear - just let it dry, peel it off and start over with a clean slate! No reason to waste your good watercolor paper!
  3. To remove the drawing gum (once everything is dry), very gently rub it with a pencil eraser. That will help ball it up a bit so you can grab and peel it more easily. 

Remember how I said earlier that I had been doing a lot of calligraphy practice lately? This is the reason why my fingernails will be black for the next week: 


Learning new things can sure be messy!! 

ATC With an Identity Crisis

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Is it an ATC? Is it a junk journal? It couldn't decide what it wanted to be so I slapped a label on it and we're just going to call it "art." It does meet the standard ATC size guidelines of 2.5" x 3.5"!


This was made for this month's ATC swap on Craftster. I was partially inspired by my partner's "book" theme and partially inspired by the recent junk journal swap I participated in. It's made from vintage postcards and random piece of paper from my pile-o-junk.



It's bound using coptic stitch binding and bakers twine. I really would like to get some of the fancy waxed linen thread that you're supposed to use for book binding...because I need MORE craft supplies :).


I'm hoping my partner can use this ATC/junk-journal craft for future art or doodling! 

Thank You For Being a Friend, Toucan

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Jake and I are trying to drop a few pounds after some early summer excesses. To stay motivated, we've made a competition out of it - winner gets to pick the location of our next vacation so the stakes are high! He wants to do the Kentucky Bourbon Trail while I am dreaming of a lazy beach vacation - maybe in Key West.

Those Floridian dreams must have been on my mind when I took a mosaic class at Seattle Mosaic Arts last week. I don't know if they have toucans there but from all the episodes of Golden Girls I used to watch, I know they have plenty of light pink and mint green!


I got to do the fun parts of the mosaic - designing, nipping the glass and piecing it all together - while Seattle Mosaic Arts did all the messy cementing and grouting work. The design was inspired by this cute art print that proved to have just the right amount of detail for mosaic'ing.

I plan to hang the final piece on the wall in my office as a pop of sun-inspired color. It should help in the dreary winter months here in Seattle!



Now, here's hoping my new toucan brings me lots of luck in the weight loss battle! I wonder why I'm craving Fruit Loops ;)??

How Big of a Bill Murray Fan Are You?

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

I've been swapping in Craftster's ongoing Artist Trading Card (ATC) exchange this month. Everyone has such inspiring themes to share - it's proving to be great motivation to make messes in my craft room! These are the first couple cards I've made based on my partner's themes of Bill Murray and Foxes. 

If you're an uber-fan, you may recognize this bizarre quote from one of Bill Murray's movies. Any guesses?? Spoiler below :). 


If you guessed What About Bob? you are officially an uber-fan of Bill Murray!! 

I think What About Bob? is one of the most hilarious movies of all time and the dinner scene absolutely kills me, this quote in particular. I'm giggling just typing the words! It's so ridiculous! I mean, of course it's hand-shucked! HA! I thought it would be a fun way represent the Bill Murray theme. 

For the Fox theme, I found a picture of a really cool black line tattoo on Pinterest and drew a similar design on the card. I then filled it in with watercolors to pump up the vibrancy. 



Both cards are done on hot-press watercolor paper - it has a much smoother surface so it's good when you're also using pens or colored pencils in the piece. They are standard ATC size of 2.5" x 3.5".

I'm planning to swap in next month's ATC exchange too. I feel so much better when I'm making things and this is an easy swap to keep my artsy-fartsy side motivated. Plus, I'm getting to start my own collection of ATCs from other crafters! 

A New Found Love for Junk

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

When it comes to anything but craft supplies, I'm a serial thrower-away'er. If it sits on the table for more than a few minutes without finding a permanent home, into the trash it goes! This helps to keep the house clean of clutter but sometimes backfires (like when I throw away stuff we actually need :)).

Well, that's never going to be an issue again because I'm transitioning from a junk tosser to a junk hoarder, thanks to a Junk Journal swap I recently participated in on Craftster. The challenge was to make a blank journal from junk that our partners could fill up however they want!


Junk journals are just what they sound like, journals made from pages of junk!! I stockpiled crap from the mailbox, magazine bins, ephemera collections and scrap piles, made signatures out of them and used coptic binding to make them into a book, of sorts.


Some pages I left as they were for the future owner to embellish as they wish. Others, I painted with gesso or acrylics and decorated with washi tape, burlap, lace and other bits and bobs for my partner to build on however they saw fit. I tried to stick with a red and white theme throughout to bring some symmetry to the otherwise completely random assortment of junk.




I added envelopes and little pockets (like the burlap pocket below) to tuck stuff away in later.


My partner likes ATCs so I put some blank cards throughout the journal that she could alter later.



I used old grocery bags for the cover that I had soaked, crinkled up, dried and then ironed for a junky looking texture. I glued the paper to thin cardboard to make the front, back and spine of the journal. I added a piece of twill tape as another tuck spot and slid in a gessoed bingo card that my partner can decorate as she wishes.


This was such a fun swap and a great excuse to make a HUGE mess in my craft room. And since my craft room is already destroyed, I figure I might as well make a couple more junk journals!! 

No Prob-llama Felt Badge

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Monday, July 4, 2016

I made this little fellow for a recent felt badge swap that I organized on Craftster. My partner likes whimsical animals and llamas just seem full of silliness and whimsy to me!


He's stitched on wool felt with 2 strands of various DMC flosses. The design was inspired by an adorable illustration by Lamai McCartan.


I was also inspired by these adorable guys that I had the chance to meet on a recent visit to Pasado's Safe Haven. Aren't they full of personality?!


Happy 4th of July to anyone celebrating in the states! I'm mostly celebrating having a day off from work :). 

Braidsmaid Shawl

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

I recently made Martina Behm's Braidsmaid shawl for a swap and fell in love with the pattern. It was really fun to knit - just the right balance of ease and interest. It's mostly garter stitch so limited purling is involved. Phew.


I added a full repeat of body pattern I, making the shawl wider and longer...and using up quite a bit more yarn! I like the resulting size though. It's big enough to really curl up in.


The yarn I used a silk blend yarn from Manos del Uruguay. It was a delight to work with!! It has a soft and shiny texture but still feels cozy and warm.


I usually don't like knitting the same pattern more than once (just like I don't watch movies more than once :)) but I think I'd make an exception for this one. I want to make one for myself!

Seattle in a Box

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I recently swapped with a crafty friend from the Netherlands. One of my favorite things about international swapping is learning and sharing more about each other's hometowns so I wanted to include something to represent my Seattle pride!! This little matchbox is what I came up with.


Of course the outside had to have some painted raindrops! The inside is filled with a collection of things that I associate with the city. They are handdrawn doodles with some water color accents.


I hope my swap buddy enjoyed learning a bit more about my hood!

Making My First Dotee Dolls Was a Hoot!

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Have you heard of Dotee dolls? I've seen them on Pinterest and around Craftster but have never made or collected my own, until recently!

Here's a good description of what the dolls are...

A Dotee Doll is a simple handmade cloth doll, usually about 4 to 6 inches in height. It is generally just a simple soft sack body with no arms or legs, and a drawn or embroidered face - but this simple body is your canvas to embellish to the limits of your imagination! 

I participated in a tiny bird swap and my partner is an owl lover and dotee collector so I figured it was a good chance to try my hand at the craft. These little hooters were the result!



I made them both out of linen fabric. I painted designs on them and then added embroidered details for extra texture and interest. The wings are made of wool felt and were sewn to the body with buttons. Little beads were used for final embellishments!



I don't have a single inch of wall space available to start my own dotee collection but I can see why people get addicted to making them! They are fun to put together.

I didn't follow all of the "rules" for making these dolls but I think that's kinda the point - so I'm guessing I won't be ticketed by the dotee police anytime soon :).

Hope 2016 is off to a good start for everyone! 

Driftwood Yarn Bombing

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

We spent the weekend on Vashon Island celebrating my wonderful Mom and Dad (whose birthday happened to fall on Mother's day this year :)).

It was a beautiful weekend so we didn't waste the opportunity to do a bit of beachcombing. My Dad has always been a collector of found objects - beach glass, crooked pieces of drift wood, shiny pebbles - and I know this trait has rubbed off on me because I can't leave the island without a bag full of craggy sea worn twigs!

This is one of the many branches of driftwood I picked up on our walk. It looked like it needed a little sweater so I yarn bombed it!


I used neutral toned yarns that I associate with coastal colors. The yarns are all different weights but I used size 8 needles for all of them.


I knit each small gauge flat and then sewed it around the branch, using a mattress stitch to attach the two ends together. They are nice and snug so they shouldn't move or slip.


I think it kind of looks like an octopus. Can you see it?


This might be the most impractical thing I've ever made. Jake asked me why I was "making leg warmers for a tree" but once the idea was in my head, I couldn't shake it!!

As silly as it is, I kind of like it. I plan to take it to the office as a reminder of two of my favorite hobbies - knitting and beachcombing!!


Happy Mother's day to all of the Moms out there! I hope you had really special days.

And to my Mom and the birthday boy (aka my Dad), I love you both a ton and appreciate everything you've taught me (like how to spot good pieces of driftwood in a pile of logs)!!

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