Tuesday, 29 April 2008

3 Days of Craft -- Results

At the start of my long weekend challenge, I was seriously super-pumped to craft my crafty butt off for 3 days straight! In reality, what with all the birthdays, gym sessions (only 2 actually), trips to Bunnings, housework and computer games, I probably averaged about 2 1/2 hours a day. I didn't finish everything on the list, but I'm still quite happy with what I did.

First, I finished the big project I've been working on in complete secret for the last few months, and which turns up as "N's present" on my list of things to do. She said she wanted one, so I made her one!:


I designed and stitched it myself. The lower-case alphabet comes from a website, and the traditional uppercase font from a picture of a 19th-century sampler in my Australian Colonial Crafts book (the exact name escapes me right now, but I love flicking through it every now and then). The frame is a semi-crappy one I bought from K-mart. I would have preferred a vintage one, but I didn't have time to trawl through the op shops and possibly not find anything. I framed it with a proper matt board so the stitches don't touch the glass, and sealed it with cloth tape in a matching colour on the back. (Thanks to Boy for helping me with that.) It went down quite well at the party, and there were suggestions I make more. I have an idea for another design that's been percolating away. We'll see!

Next, I finished 'bagbag', my carry bag made from plastic supermarket bags that I cut up into ribbons and crocheted:

re-use, reduce, recycle!

I'm quite pleased with the result. It seems quite sturdy. It's purpose all along was to carry my lunches and snacks to work and it serves this purpose perfectly! The only concern I have is that it doesn't roll up very small and takes up quite a bit of room in my bag. So a bag made with this technique wouldn't serve very well as a 'just in case' shopping bag that you can keep in your handbag all the time. I just found out about fused plastic the other day. You get about 6 to 8 bags, lay them on top of each other and iron them so that they melt together. Then you can cut them, sew them etc just like fabric. I really want to try this!
I feel so environmentally guilty saying this, but I'm a bit unhappy to hear that plastic bags are being phased out. Where are we crafty recyclers going to get them from??

Then (and by this stage it was Sunday night) I finished the Girls Like Mythbusters Too scarf that I began one night long, long ago when I was watching Mythbusters. Thanks to Ravelry, I can tell you it was on the 3rd of March. (Oh when, oh when are they going to get out of Beta mode so I can link directly to my own profile??) Anyhoo, here it is:

So pink and sparkly! *giggles*

I made up the pattern myself. It's based on a scarf I saw a girl wearing on the tram about 2 years ago. Sometimes these things take time to come to me. It just took a piece of cardboard and a bit of patience, and voila!.

Then (or it might have been earlier) I finished a page in my art journal that I started last week:


Yes, it's a Sea Pony. I just decided to do something crazy and naive and compulsive. Sure, it took me a while to actually finish it, but it's all good. The body is a little bigger and the tail more squished up than I planned, but I like him! I liked working with acrylics as well, which I haven't really done before. I can see some similar figures on canvas boards, once I get a bit better with the proportions and details. If I had kids, I'd hang one in their room.

I also made a rustic scone to have with some soup Boy and I made:

I call it a Rustic scone, but that really means I couldn't be bothered cutting out shapes, so I just dump it on a tray, pat it down a bit, and score some lines on it so it's easier to break apart when it's cooked. This one was really yummy!

Oh yeah, you might have noticed that I didn't write the zine or the knitting pattern this weekend. That was because both involved using the computer, and whenever I went even vaguely near it, I ended up compulsively playing a computer game that Boy downloaded. It was one of those really simple yet addictive kids' games where you just have to help the girl find her parents by planting plants and bopping monsters with a spade. It's the most important thing in the world right at that moment. Anyone who games knows what I'm talking about. I really have to get them done though. I hate deadlines!

In conclusion, even though I didn't get everything done this weekend, I'm really happy with what I did do. I dream of having a whole weekend, or even a single day, dedicated completely to crafting. Maybe one day.... *sighs*.....

Monday, 21 April 2008

Weekend jaunt

On Saturday, Boy was working so I had 8 hours to fill in.

I went to the National Gallery and saw the Black in Fashion exhibition. Radically cool. The earliest pieces in the collection were from the early 19th century, when black was only worn for mourning, through to the 1980s when it was used by Japanese designers as an antidote to prevailing fashions. I would have liked to have found out more about earlier times, but I guess the exhibition was limited by what items it could get a hold of. It had a really cool soundtrack featuring Ladytron, Depeche Mode and a lounge-y cover of Soundgarden among others that I can't remember. It left me thinking, whoever designed this exhibition needs to do more! I'm coveting the catalogue; hopefully it'll go on sale when the exhibition finishes. Then again, it was a good enough exhibition that I might fork out.

I also went to MagNation and bought my first ever issue of frankie magazine. I felt so cool and rockin'! It has so many giveaways and came with a free art poster. (Which looks suspiciously like something I've seen on Etsy. In a good way). I'm really enjoying it. I might subscribe.

I also started working on a new zine for a swap on Swap-Bot. It's one that I'd thought of and wrote a few notes for a while back. It's a sort-of autobiographical account of my struggles with being a wage slave, the bizarre jobs that I've had and how I came to be where I am today. I don't know if anyone else will find it interesting, but they'll just have to suffer in their jocks, won't they? It's due on 1st May, and I'm pretty sure I'll have it done with the extra time I'll have on Friday. (Public holidays, yyeeeeessssss!)

New obsession time:
Also, I've decided that I want a Wunderkammer, or Cabinet of Curiosities. I really don't know how, or why, or where I'm going to put it. But I really want one.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

The rumours of my death....

Ok, I won't lie to you. I haven't been beavering away industriously in the time since I last posted. Not at crafting, anyway! Just about every night for the last 2 months, my routine has been this: Go Home. Get changed. Drive to gym. Work my ass. Drive home. Collapse on couch. Grunt. Maybe work on something really simple and mindless. Go to bed.
My fitness level has gone up from near the bottom of 'Fair' to near the top of 'Average' on their incomprehensible yet whizzy chart. Yay!!

I'll keep it quite short cause I'm not really in the mood for blogging, but here I find myself. I started working on a new kokeshi doll, but things kinda petered out when it came to the part where I had to cut some felt decorations for the body. For some reason, I just couldn't be bothered getting out the scissors. Oh well. One day, I'm sure.

I made some zines for swaps on Swap-bot. I had a lot of fun making these, though I got a bit behind on the send-by dates and had to slog a bit. The first one is Randomnosity. The theme is randomness. There are experiments, activities, articles, stories and poetry. There are instructions on how to make your own dice out of origami. All hand-drawn by me. It took quite a bit of work, and I hope it makes sense! The second one was to be about a recurring theme in my life. I wrote it about a blue ute that I often see driving recklessly around Melbourne. It's a spine-chilling tale of fear and paranoia. And road rage.

I can't decide which one I'm more proud of actually. (*head swells*)

Available in the shop now!

I keep getting creative urges at work, which is great, except I'm supposed to be working! I've set up a little dinosaur diorama in my potted plant (which I've named Jeremy) and I always have my ideas notebook on hand, just in case. Last week, I was waiting for a batch to process on the scanner. A fine-liner pen had appeared there recently. There was an almost-full book of sticky notes. What else was I to do? I doodled some characters that have been swimming around in my head for a while onto the bright pink sticky notes. I snuck them into my bag, took them home, and incorporated them into a collage in my art journal. The full-page photo came out really blurry, so I'll only subject you to the detail:

It's on a background of discarded envelopes that I also stole from work. I coloured over them in pencil, then stuck on the doodles and random bits of ephemera floating around on my crafting desk. I also did a sketch of a cat in gold texta, airbrushed a couple of shapes and globbed some liquid paper on there as well for good measure.

Then, on the weekend I bought some stuff at the supermarket and I always forget to bring my enviro-bags, and I ended up with 6 plastic bags. Six! I was so environmentally ashamed! So I decided to revive an idea I had a few years ago to make a bag out of plastic bags! (I know, everyone and his canary has had that idea since then, but I don't care.) I read about the technique of cutting up a bag to get a continuous strip in a book a few years ago. I got out a crochet hook and did it:

It's been my 'brain-dead gym-junkie zombie' project for the last week or so, so it's coming along well!

I toyed with setting some goals to do with my craft and my shop, e.g. to have 50 items listed, to make so many amigurumi, etc. But time and motivation factors are very low at the moment. Oh well, what are you gonna do?

Oh, I nearly forgot. I'm working on a top-secret project that can't be revealed under any circumstances, under pain of death! It's a moderately big one, intricate and hopefully well executed. If it works out I'll be really excited about it. Just a few more days...