Monday, 31 March 2008

What I Did at Easter

Yeah, I know, I'm a bit late on this one. I've been busy, OK?

Here we go...
I was so happy with the first mouse I made, that I tried it again with Maus II:

ze front

ze back

The embellishments are orange wool instead of red, but basically he's the same. I'm not quite as happy with the overall shape, but meh, he's good enough.
I also finished the zine I've been making. It was quite the epic production. All will be revealed when I can get some proper paper to print it out!

Also, I've been obsessed with kokeshi dolls at the moment. These are Japanese dolls traditionally made of wood, with a rounded head and cylindrical body. The bodies are painted with either floral or striped designs. One of their distinguishing features is that they have no arms and legs. Kokeshi dolls were probably originally used as massagers in the hot springs area of Japan from which they originate. Other theories include that they were teething toys for babies, or that they were sentimental keepsakes for parents who had been forced to sell or abandon their babies. Kokeshis seem to be the source of quite deep sentiment - artisans name each doll and sign it on the base.

Ok, essay mode off now.

It got me to thinking though. Firstly, they're so cute!!!
Secondly, they have no arms and legs! Perfect! The one thing that was putting me off churning out hundreds of amigurumi was sewing all those bloody arms and legs on!
Thirdly, they're embellished with cute little flowers etc on their bodies. This appeals to my need to sew buttons and sequins on stuff right now.

Kokeshi are me! It's a revelation!

My first Kokeshi. Her name is Chihiro.
Here's the top of her head with her hair clip.
Here is her base; I embroidered my signature here.

At first I was disturbed by the fact that she had no hair. Then I got over it. Also, her head is almost freakishly large. But, you know what? Who cares! I love her! I'm really quite proud of her.
I've started a second one, which has a flower theme. I love her too!

Monday, 24 March 2008

The Zucchini of Hard Knocks

I've been working on a few things lately, namely:

* a new zine on randomness
* a couple of amigurumi
* something I can't name.

I haven't had a chance to take photos of anything in good light, so I'll leave you hanging with this:

The Zucchini of Hard Knocks, originally uploaded by apartmentcat.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

I'm just giving them away!

Last night I made Mouse:

I made him as a going-away/thank you gift for a the guy who's been training me at work. His cat is a major part of his life, so I thought I'd make him a cat toy. I started out using the pattern from the book I bought on Sunday, but I didn't really get it, so I just made it up. It turned out so much better than I expected. I was going to make the eyes out of felt and add whiskers, but I really like the simple, embroidered effect of the face. I almost regretted giving it away, but I'm trying to be a vaguely good person. (Sure, Sparky's birthday present is 4 months late, but she will get it eventually!)
It took a much shorter time to make than I thought it would (about 2 hours). I might make a few more for the shop, put bells in them, something like that.

That gave me enough time to work on Frankenstein's Toyster for a bit. His body is all finished, and I just need to make his head now.

Right now I have to finish my next zine though!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Cool yet hot yet dorky yet hip

Today I went to the Stitches and Craft Show. I was expecting it to be staid and boring. I was expecting to see endless quilts and embroideries of puppies and teddy bears. I was expecting to feel way too young and frustrated. In some ways, it was just like that. In other ways, it was GREAT! You just need to be discriminating and walk straight past the stalls you're not interested in without lingering. For me, that was the quilting and the beading, to some extent.

I did spend an indecent amount of money, and picked up some pretty cool stuff. Viz -

One of the first stalls we came across was a stamp craft one. I haven't been into stamping so much before, but recently I've seen some stamps with amazing images in magazines and online. I throught they'd be really hard to get hold of in Australia, as so much is. I was proven wrong though! I got some from that stall and also a couple further on:

Rubber stamps - fashion ladies, trees, Venus face, etc ; grab bag of ribbons, etc.

I also bought some ribbons and a $5 bag of random goodies (I love the grab bag!) from a pretty plain-looking stall a bit further on. It had some good bargains though! I needed some ribbons for a scarf I've had in the back of my cupboard for a few years now that I really should finish. Hopefully this will provide the impetus.

I then nearly had a multiple orgasm at the oriental bead stall, where I purchased these:

beads and pendants

I love all kinds of Chinese and Japanese styled items, and I really had to hold myself back from buying half the stall! In the end I just got a pair of lantern-shaped beads to make into earrings, and some larger ones to make into pendants. I'm just thinking something very simple with a black silk or velvet ribbon. The silver ones are very similar to a pair of earrings I lost last year, so I was very excited to see those! I'm sure I have some findings somewhere....

Then I ran out of money. Well, technically I had more in the bank, but I'd already been to the ATM once, and it was just getting ridiculous. So I spent the rest of the time collecting flyers and business cards. Some of them are pictured below.

Various paper thingys

Also pictured is the one and only book that I bought. It was a bit expensive, but I had to have it! If you've read Knitorama or Crochetorama by Rachel Mathews (I have Crochetorama out from the library at the moment!), it's by the completely insane Japanese chick that models some of her designs. Hey, I like completely insane Japaneseness! Her name is Annie Obaachan. The amigurumi in this are so adorable, and made in many different styles to give you a thorough grounding of the craft. It also has a section on designing your own, which is fantastic! Not all designers are generous enough to do that.
I got some free mags too, about papercraft, working with wooden items and a wedding one (*gag*, but it might have some good ideas).

There was one section of the show which I need to mention. It was like all the hip, young, cool crafters were all collected together in one place. There was a huge, amazing, garden-themed display on one side with retro clothes, knitted vegetables, bird stuffies, etc. It even had real, live bunnies! It was so cute! And on the other side, like a line-up was a counter with about 6 crafters showing their stuff. Some of them had Etsy shops, and I felt like I was in company at last! I spent some time chatting with two women from Audrey & Maude who do retro sewing patterns incorporating embroidery and other embellishments. The fabric they were using was wonderfully kitschy, and they told me it was from a shop in Melbourne called Amitie. The woman who runs it was there, but she was being hogged the whole time I was there, so I just grabbed her business card. I HAVE to go to this shop. Soon.

The best part of that section though, was that I ran into Hollabee there! It was great to see a familiar face from the Etsy seller's meetup. She had even been asked to do some demonstrations by Creative Living (or is it Living Creatively?). It's really wonderful to see people on Etsy doing so well.

I certainly have a lot to go on with now! When I got home, I was torn between doing crochet and doing papercraft, so I went to the gym instead. Heh. While I was working off my excitement there, I was still having ideas! I had one which involved buying cheap-arse frames from Ikea or similar, and decorating them with paint and 3-D embellishments using a hot glue gun, etc. I could use them for framing cross stitch, etc.

Phew! I need a rest!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Game On!!!

If you're into computer games, retro stuff and fun, and have at least 4 hours to spare, go to the GAME ON exhibition at ACMI. It's truly amazing. It was like the last 15 years never happened for me. Bliss!
Plus, it's cool and dark in there. 37 degrees outside. Need I say more?

The early arcade games have also given me some ideas for digital art, and maybe even some fair-aisle patterns. I've got brightly-coloured squares floating through my head at the moment. Things with little crosses on them are featuring heavily as well. So far I only have the books from the library to show for it. Every new idea starts with a trip to the library for me. Hopefully I'll have the energy to have something more to show for it soon. Wage-slave issues are are starting to piss me off again. :[

I've written a love poem:

My Boyfriend

My boyfriend has a computer. I love him!
My boyfriend has a colour printer. I love him!
My boyfriend has a scanner with photocopy emulation. I love him!
My boyfriend has a laminator. I love him!
My boyfriend has a dimo labeller. I love him!
My boyfriend has a long arm stapler. I love him!
My boyfriend has a guillotine cutter. I love him!
My boyfriend bought a graphics tablet last weekend. I love him so much!

More when weather sanity returns.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

New but not new


I've put a couple of knitted projects on my shop that I've just had lying around for ages (it's self-sabotage central in the hobby room!). They are:

Skinny Tubular Scarf ; Moss Stitch Baby Tunic

I'm quite proud of both of these, the baby tunic especially. I designed it myself. I'm thinking of making a few more - I could do an Elizabeth Zimmermann and make them bigger by using thicker wool. When it cools down a bit...

Monday, 3 March 2008

Writing my guts out

I've been so busy the last few weeks that I haven't had time to post. It's taken me a while to finish anything anyway, so there hasn't been anything to see. I made some random poetry postcards for a swap which I won't go into right now (I'm not really happy with them). But finally I can show you my new obsession! (Which I'm starting to get over now anyway, but anyway...)

I've been interested in zines for a while, and recently I've spent an indecent amount of money on them (supporting independent artists and that stuff), and finally got up the guts to go to Sticky when it was actually open. (I don't know what I was afraid of, the woman there was really friendly and I didn't feel too dorky.) Now, I've finally bit the bullet and made one of my own! Two actually. They were both made for swaps on Swap-bot. I was having trouble coming up with a topic (they can be about anything - that's scary!), so I figured they could provide me with the ideas I needed to start off. The first one was 'zine your festival', and I came up with this:

It's much bigger and more colourful and more 'printed' than was required, but it was a combination of not reading the instructions properly and getting a bit excited. I spent hours in the library researching (my favourite kind of geekery) and attended the festival and took my own photos. If you're gonna do something, you may as well do it right, right?
So far in return I've gotten this one:

Which is completely amazing! It's well-drawn, informative and funny. And it came with accessories! I love it so much!

The second one I made was to be a hand-drawn mini zine about any topic you like (*gulps*). But then I got inspiration while I was in the library researching the first one:

It's called 'Where Am I? Who Am I?' (the library; and a librarian???). It's equal parts immature angst, anarchist anti-wage-slave rant and random acts of kindness story. I also started making another zine, based on a recurring theme in my life. I've done a mock-up of the text and layout. Now I just have to draw the damned thing! I bought a nice fabric-covered folder with a black ribbon tie to keep my zines in. And I put it away cause I'm sick of them now.

I've gone back to my roots for now. Kickin' it old skool. I put away the Sharpie and got out my crochet hook again. I'm making a scarf that I've had in mind for a long time. I saw a girl on the tram wearing a crocheted scarf with long drop-stitch type inserts between the rows of crochet, and I wanted to try and imitate it. After a false start where I realised that the long bits weren't attached at the back, I got the hang of it.

The scarf watching one of my favourite shows with me.

Because of what show I was watching when I started it, as well as the extreme femininity of the sparkly pink wool, I had to call it the 'Girls Like Mythbusters Too' Scarf.

Tired now.