Friday, January 29, 2010

Goodbye to Craft Night (but the blog will endure)

Goodbye to an era! Last night was the official end of our weekly "Craft Night" in it's current inception. We've lost too many members within the past year to keep it going. First Casey bailed out on us and then Andrew (both dead to us) and now it's Luke and Erin's turn. The "dead-to-us" list has grown too large to keep track of anymore. So, it was amazing while it lasted. You were such an interesting and fun group; I'll always hold a place in my heart for all of you and our weekly snark and bacon and wine and gross amounts of delicious food (and the occasional craft) fest. Donna, in deference to Luke's bacon addiction, made bacon brownies as a going away present. For real. You can see the bacon sprinkled on top in the photo if you look closely. The recipe also replaced butter with bacon grease. Doesn't that sound so appealing? The carnivores said it was really good. We'll believe them.Journey on to great things my gypsy friends. To all the rest who are still in the area, please stop by the Barking Dog hacienda any time you want to say hello. The door is always open, as long as Max will let you in. Sorry, he's the deciderer, not me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Floral Globes

A couple of years ago I was given a gift card for my birthday to Barnes & Noble. I had been exclaiming over the book Kaleidoscope: Ideas & Projects to Spark Your Creativity previous to my birthday and my friend thoughtfully purchased a gift card to cover the cost of that book. I got to B&N and had Kaleidoscope in my hand while I wandered around for a bit.

I'll never know for sure if Kaleidoscope would have provided the promised stunning creative revelations because I got really distracted by Floral Origami Globes by Tomoko Fuse. That's the one I ended up purchasing and ran home with. I apologized profusely to my friend for not using the gift card for its intended purpose but she really didn't mind. I never did buy Kaleidoscope.

Here is what Floral Globes has wrought upon my life:The results are gratifying but here's a warning: these are very, very fiddly to make. The origami paper needs to be cut in half (30 times) so you have 60 rectangles. Then they are folded. Then you have to put them together and then interlock them to form the globe. That's when the hair-tearing and crying ensues. Then, after stopping yourself from stomping on it, tearing it to shreds or burning it, bit by bit, in the fireplace, you manage to finagle that last piece in place. The integrity of the whole is amazing when the final piece locks in. It's suddenly a solid little mass where before was chaos and weakness. The result is worth the aggravation.

This book is many variations on a couple of themes but they all end up looking different with creative paper combinations. Tomoko Fuse has some other great books on modular origami. If you like multi-piece origami this is the designer for you. If you want to start off a bit easier try some of the simpler models in Unit Origami or Fabulous Origami Boxes. Not quite so fussy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Fridays!

OK, so it's really Sunday but we'll climb in a time machine and head all the way back to Friday so I can post my happiness to "The Next Chapter Happy Book Mail Around". I received 2 books in the mail that have made me very happy: Eco Books & Good Mail Day. I started working on a cover for a book made from plastic shopping bags:

I've been gathering scrapbook paper, junk mail and other random scraps of paper so I can make the signatures. I can't wait to have my own made-from-scratch journal. Yippee! That's my Eco Book happiness.

Good Mail Day happiness: I received a handmade card in the mail 2 days after I received Good Mail Day.
Conincidental, yes, but I'll take it as a fortuitous sign that I'll be recieving a lot of mail art. Of course I'll be making mail art so, if I have your address there should be some coming your way. Soonish. Thanks Ali! Mail art went from something abstract to something tangible in my mailbox. Now I can't wait to create some.
Last, but not least, on the happiness front:
Bella, who was living at the Rogue Valley Humane Society, went to her new home yesterday. As much as I love the animals there, I'm always so happy to see them go to a real home. The RVHS is a wonderful place with hardworking staff and volunteers and the animals are well cared for but, it isn't the same as living in your own home. When the animals leave forever with a smiling individual or couple or family it makes my day. Goodbye Bella!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another Plushie

Another project from Plush-O-Rama:

This one is called Batty Cat Bubbles. I had fun with free form sewing on the face and I love his dainty wings on the back.

There's one other pattern in Plush-O-Rama called Onimushi that I want to try. I think that may be the only other one I attempt from this book. Since I'm not great at sewing I have to moved by a pattern to put myself through the aggravation of trying to figure it all out. I don't find the bulk of the patterns in Plush-O-Rama inspiring enough to whip out the needles. That's just my take on this book; if you are a plushie lover and a brave stitcher (experienced) you would probably find this book a lot more inviting.

On another craft topic, I received Eco Books by Terry Taylor (Lark publishing) in the mail yesterday. I'm absolutely mad for it. I really want to make books but I've never tried. The projects in this book are based on materials you can pull out of your recycle bin: gift cards, plastic bags, old mouse pads, egg cartons. My brain is spinning with all the possibilities. I can't wait to dive in.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


A couple of years ago I purchased the book Plush-O-Rama by Linda Kopp. It's a book of silly plush toys that you can make for yourself. I fell in love with Gregoire, a design by Rosa Pomar:I didn't have a way to enlarge the pattern at the time so I just copied the one straight from the book. I figured it would be a good experiment and I would make a larger one in the future. I made the creature and after several experiments with the lips I finally got it looking OK.
Nowhere near as cute as Rosa's version but since I'm not much of a sewer, I was happy with it. The mouth forms a pocket and I realized that my MP3 player fits perfectly into his mouth pouch. That makes him useful as well as silly. I have to wrap the earphones around his neck to keep it all together; that's sort of disturbing and not terribly practical. I haven't figured out the best way to deal with that issue -I thought about making a little backpack or front pouch but he's so small that I would have to cram the headphones in. Not a good idea.My sister asked for one for Christmas (yes, this past Christmas, not the coming one). I have a ton of wool pieces I bought at a yard sale and I couldn't decide the best one so I made three of them.The red check is the strongest fabric. I like the blue check the best but the material is disintegrating. The plaid is cute too and seems fairly strong. I need to sew lips and faces on these things. The lips are the biggest issue. They don't really sew on the way it's described in the book. At least I can't figure it out. In the picture from the book the lips look amazing. Mine didn't turn out nearly so well.

The book has some inspiring projects. I think I'll have to try a few more. Stay tuned for Batty Cat Bubbles designed by Amy Proff Lyons. Batty is my favorite one in Plush-O-Rama.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Parsing of Happiness

I feel honored to take part in Jamie Ridler's The Next Chapter: The Happy Book Mail Around. All 105 participants are receiving a copy of The Happy Book for one week. We can make any additions to the book that we desire for the allotted time period, then mail the book to the next person on the list. There are 4 books circulating and I'm proud to be the 5th member of the "Giggle Circle". My book starts out with Pamela in Saskatchewan and then stops in Montana, somewhere unknown, then CA, then to my mailbox in the tiny town of Cave Junction, Oregon. I love the idea of a collaborative process. This is my first foray into this world.

For those of you who know me, you are probably giggling at the idea of me taking part in anything that has the word happy in it. PHTTTT!! I'm not always the crazy skeptic, there are a lot of things that make me happy! When I get the book I'll take pictures of my happiness. Make lists of my joys....I'll prove once and for all that it IS possible to be a happy perfectionist/skeptic. It is.

I'll start now. Here's something that makes me happy-the three miscreants:I post on this blog as Monkey Mind but I used Gemmy Girl when I signed onto The Next Chapter. That's my superhero identity. I have the power to turn invisible and pass through walls. What super power do you desire?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Meet the Creatures

I purchased the book Stray Sock Sewing back in December. Here's what happened:A re-worked version of a "Long Eared Mini Doll" and 2 "Little Red Pigs". Not so red. The pigs are especially fast and fun to make. Check out their little feet:
Making the feet was my favorite part. The secret? Cotton balls!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas for procrastinators

Yes, I know Christmas was a few days ago (or a week...), but hey, when you're visiting relatives and stuffing your face every waking moment, there's hardly time to blog, is there?  So here are some pictures of our Snarky cookie party:

Our lovely, non-traditional, Incense Cedar tree, that we chopped down ourselves, with help from fellow Snarks Cece and Bryon.  As you can see, it has several of the tiny yarn animals adorning it, the latest of which is our Craft of the Week, the alcoholic octopus.

  Apparently, there's this tradition for fans of the Detroit Red Wings to toss octopi onto the ice during games (don't ask me, I don't know why).  Since a relative of one of the Crafty Snarks is a Red Wings fan, I gave him the drunken octopus for Christmas, so he no longer adorns our lovely abode.  However, I better not see him being tossed into any hockey rinks, because that sucker took me hours of painstaking time to craft.

Here are some Snarks Crafting Christmas cookies.  Mmmm...coookies....

Luke made this lovely number, which, as you can clearly see, is a Russian figure skater made of gingerbread.  Here, I think I have a better picture...

There we go.  Isn't she lovely?

And of course, the traditional "AE" cookie, which, um, I'm not really sure what it stands for.  I'll get back to you on that.  But look at the craftsmanship!  Amazing. 

Hope everyone had a great holiday season!  Now settle in for the long winter and stay warm and crafty!

Edit:  The "AE" is for our fellow Crafty Snark Andrew, who is rockin' out in Washington right now, working for Olympic National Park.  Absent in body but not in spirit...we miss you Andrew!