Friday, April 29, 2011

Dee Doodles

Hi good people!

I have been having the busiest of busy weeks. But isn't everyone? I'll be glad when the semester winds down.

Because I can't get time to crochet like I want... which means that when I crochet I like to finish what I'm making quickly and get a bit obsessive ;)...I've been sneaking in doodling time.

And what do I doodle? Profiles with afros, of course!

Here are a few quick snaps of my sketchbook:

I'm going to start making some cards with these. Maybe I'll make a few ATCs (artist trading cards) to swap.

The drawings are a good way to focus on something that doesn't cause stress and I use them as a sort of visual diary. I use the repetitive patterns and various shading techniques to express my moods and to calm my mind. The net is full of people who draw great Mandelas and Zentangles for similar reasons. (Just do a flickr search and you will have lots of eye candy.) My drawings mash up those forms with my own doodling inclinations.

As far back as I can remember I've been a doodler. I used to get in trouble with my mom because I would take a blue pen and draw patterns on the backs of my hands on the way to middle school. In classes, I would draw little paisleys in the corners of my notes. Teachers always thought I wasn't paying attention. But when asked questions, it was clear that I was. The doodles actually helped me focus.

I used to be hesitant to call my drawings doodles. Sure, the ones in my 9th grade notebook margins were doodles but these drawings and the others that I've done in the hundreds in the numerous sketch books lying around here, didn't seem to be doodles given how much time, planning and effort went into their execution. Doodle seemed to trivialize them. But then I got over myself. I was resisting the word doodle because I thought that by calling my art that I was somehow failing at being a "serious" artist. A doodle seemed like a failure or at best an immature effort. It was only after realizing that accepting my doodles as such freed me up from the harsh critic in my head that told me I was not a good artist and that my art was no good, that I fully embraced the word doodle.

A doodle is a drawing done with whimsy. A drawing that plays with forms, ideas and may pop up on an untraditional surface. When I doodle the point is in making the drawing itself. It's all about the process. My pen works almost as fast as my mind and I don't bother to figure out what it will be until somewhere along the way. I am often surprised at how cohesive the doodles turned out to be. But the great thing is, because I do not go into making a doodle with the expectation it will be great, whatever it becomes is good enough. And for a Type A like me, letting go of control like this is a wonderful thing. Trust me.

Do you doodle?

I'm hoping to be back to more frequent blogging (I have lots of things to share) at the end of the month when the semester is all done. We'll see if little H will let me get in some craft time!

Peas and Carrots,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lattice Stitch Summer Scarf: What do you think?

I have been so busy! It's the end of the semester and I've been swamped. Coming back from maternity leave has been a doozy. But in two weeks I get a life back... and I get my crafting back! Go me!

But I have been working on a few things in the wee hours of the morning when I can't do work -work.

I always like to have Summer accessories that are more for show than for warmth or anything. And I decided to make myself a scarf after finding some really thin, soft mixed fiber yarn at Big Lots of all places. (For a buck, too!)

Here's what I've come up with thus far:

The scarf is crocheted in a variation of the lattice stitch, which is just really a series of double crochets and knot stitches. See here for the regular version of the stitch. There are quite a few other sites that show the stitch, which just seems to be the generic name for the open weave double crochets. I haven't come across one that makes it a netting like I do with this scarf.

Here's the thing though, I don't like it. I mean I love it ...when it's hanging on a doorknob. But on, it's just blah. My darling hubb said it was because it's holloween orange and I wear black 90% of the time. But I don't think that's it. (Plus I think the orange is a nice, vibrant color. Phew for the hubb! lol)

I think it's missing something. What do you think? Should I embelish it somehow? Maybe some beads? A  button?

The scarf is really lightweight and can't support too many extras, but I feel like I need something. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance for the ideas. And I really miss being on the blog and looking at everyone else's more regularly. Here's to wishing for May 11th!

Peas and Carrots,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Scrappy Paper Mache Picture Frame

Hi Good People,
I've had a busy week as usual. I needed to make a personalized gift ---for 8 people!!!
I was at Hobby Lobby and these Paper Mache picture frames were on sale for about a dollar each. I have a whole bottle of ModPodge that I used once in 6 months and thought --Ding Ding Ding!
I later found some wood frames at the Christmas Tree Shop that I like better for the Thank You gifts I'm making but these frames were great for decoupage. 
 For this project, here's what I used:
Tissue Paper
White Paint
Mod Podge or other decoupage medium
Foam Brush and paint brush
First thing's first.  I used my fingernail to pry the frame apart. The top of the frame,  where you insert the picture, is just a thin slit.  Decoupage is messy and I've glued plenty of things shut that I hadn't intended before. So, this time I decided to work smarter and not harder!

I painted the frame (front and back) matte white.
You don't have to do this step if you are using opaque paper. I used a few sheet of tissue paper that  came in a pack at Hobby Lobby.

Make Life Easy Tip: When applying decoupage, have a few tools with various edges handy for smoothing, tucking and pushing the paper. Fingers work on big objects but I like these inexpensive wooden clay-work tools you can get at the craft store.

I tore up three sheets of the tissue paper in random jagged tears. I made sure to mix the pieces up.  I then painted the frame with ModPodge in a pretty thick layer and applied the paper all around the frame, making sure that the corners were smooth.

After the front of the frame dried, I glued a piece of the paper in the inside to cover up the writing.

Once it dried totally, I glued the edges of the frame back together using  a sticky paper glue.                   I put the finished, dry to touch frame under a stack of heavy books (a dictionary and a couple of hardbacks) and let it dry overnight.

And VIOLA! A decorative picture frame that looked really good on it's own without a picture. 

It also looked good with a photo in it! (Whew, because that was what I was going for!)

I'm pretty proud of my spur of the moment craftiness and I  can see myself making these as a part of the thank you gifts that I'm still trying to put together.

In other news, I'm working on a doll. A doll with a  fan theme -- is that what you call it when you base a craft off of a popular show? See, I'm a novice at such things. But I got the idea while watching and just had to give it a try. I'm sure she'll appear here soon. Wish me luck.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Help Me Out: Thank You Gift Ideas

Photo Credit

I'll admit it. I'm horrible about sending thank you cards and notes. I'm quick to give a thank you call and send a thank you email, but the old school in the mail type of note seems to be beyond my power.

To be honest, sending any personal mail causes me to become terribly ineffecient and forgetful. It's an odd, annoying quirk that I really want to change.

I don't know why. I go to the post office frequently to conduct business, but I suck at sending my personal mail. I have a stack of wedding announcements, birthday cards and Christmas cards (two years running!) unsent in a file. I facebook friends excited about the neckwarmer I've made them and NEVER send it. I lose addresses and feel like a weirdo when I ask for addresses again.

But, I want to show quite a few people in my life that I really appreciate all of the support that they've given my family from afar. Their kind calls, emails and PLENTY OF PACKAGES through the mail, have been so helpful since Baby H arrived. I kept saying I was going to send out thank you cards right after she was born, almost 7 months ago!  but haven't.

I have to stop putting it off or she'll be a year old before I say thanks. I need to send a Thank You note and crafty type gift to friends and relatives that live all over the US. But I'm not sure what to send.


Here's what I'm thinking:

Ideally the gift will be easy to replicate and not cost to much to make for at least 10 people. A lot, I know. But they each deserve something special.

So far, the only things I know that each thank you gift will include are photos of Baby H. I have a ton of her first photos that I never mailed out and we're taking her to pose for her new ones this weekend. So each package will get two photos - newborn and 6+ months. Most of the people receiving them will have seen these pictures online but I want to send them hard copies.

I've found a lot of ideas of how to make a nice card online, but not enough ideas about what sorts of gifts to make to go with them. 

I'd like each gift to also include something that the recipient can use. But I'm stomped as to what that might be. All of the recipients are women but besides that and having a love for yours truly in common, they have varied tastes. I am pretty good with a glue gun, you know I crochet, I have every scrapbooking pen, marker or paint imaginable and I'm not afraid to try new things -- so any good idea might be doable if it isn't to costly. I'd like to be able to make and send them by the 5th of May.

Alright here's the quick rundown of what I want to send:
1. Two baby photos
2. Thank You Card
3. Usable Crafty Gift -- what sort unknown

What do you think? Know any good sites to peruse?

I anxiously await your suggestions,

Monday, April 4, 2011

Crochet Time: Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

Apparently I got the scheduler wrong, so this post appears a day late.

Here's today's prompt:
Write about your typical crafting time. When it is that you are likely to craft – alone or in more social environments, when watching TV or whilst taking bus journeys. What items do you like to surround yourself with whilst you twirl your hook like a majorette’s baton or work those needles like a skilled set of samurai swords. Do you always have snacks to hand, or are you a strictly ‘no crumbs near my yarn!’ kind of knitter.

When do I hook? Ha! Anytime and anywhere. I find these days that I often have something on my hook sitting on the couch or the floor with me when I'm playing with Baby H. I even take projects in the car with me when my husband is the driver and we go anywhere that may take more than two minutes to get to.

But, admittedly. this anywhere and anytime approach isn't yielding fast or wonderful results. I can't work on dolls this way. The pieces are too small and the crocheting too precise. I can only crochet up scarves and other quick, easy working projects. I miss the challenge of more precise work.

Ideally, when I crochet, I take a seat on our big comfy red couch and lay out all of the tools I need - yarn, hooks, needles, stitch counters, etc - all around me and take over the coffee table. The tv is on something deliciously mindless and I can concentrate on what I'm doing.

Once a week or so I get time to crochet and craft this way and I always cherish that time. Much like I've cherished this week of blogging. I've subscribed to new blogs I've found and read plenty of others. I've seen some wonderful yarn work and been inspired to do more with my own.

Thanks a million good people.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Crochet Aspirations - Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011

We've made it to Day 6! On Ravelry lots of people are discussing what a blog week dedicated to Knitting and Crochet really means. As a blogger, who loves the medium but hasn't always been able to post as frequently and as substantively as I would like, this week gives me the opportunity to be in community with bloggers and most importantly, the prompts take some of the post pressure off. In my everyday life, I give students short writing assignments all the time because I know that sitting down and taking the time to reflect on experiences, thoughts and readings is essential to both learning new content and understanding our ideas. This exercise of posting daily for the week is allowing me to do that for my blog and my craft. I totally love it.

So, without further ado, today's prompt: Eskimmi asks,
Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make bu can admire the result of those that have.

There are a lot of things that I still need to learn about crocheting. And I wish I had time to learn them all. I love clicking through the internet and seeing the wonderful finished projects that people post. I am most awe-inspired by the garments that crocheters make.

How do you do it? It takes such a long time to make anything. Clothes seem like an endless pursuit. In particular, I would love to have the time and patience to make something like this:

Go see it at

Fatima at is a serious designer and crocheter. Her pattern hacks, like the Doily to Dress hack above are down right wonderful. How did she take a doily symbol chart and make a totally wearable, beautiful dress? And still have time to eat and live? How long does it take to get proficient at making these types of heirloom worthy garments?

Because I work full time in a career that requires I bring a lot of work home with me and I have a little baby and a husband to share what free time I have, I craft in the few moments each day when something doesn't need my attention. I know lots of you most have the same schedule. So how do you do it?

And, let's be honest, since clothes take soo long to make, I worry about getting bored making them. While I wouldn't consider myself a fast-food crocheter (my dolls all take considerable time), I don't know if I could devote weeks and months to one project. I still have an afghan to finish from this time last year. Who knows when I'll get back to it.

I keep telling myself that one day, I'm going to make myself a lacy cardigan. Maybe this summer?

Any tips, tricks, helpful websites or books that would help me learn how to speed up my crochet clothes making skills?


Friday, April 1, 2011

Haiku: Knitting and Crochet Blog Day 5

It's April Fool's Day and I'm uber busy but I wanted to make sure I posted today. The prompt for today says do something different. So here we go:

Crochet fun, good times
this is a haiku that rhymes
Crochet fun, good times

You gotta love poetry. 
Until tomorrow,
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