Friday, 29 August 2008

The Crumpler Bags


The Crumpler Bags, originally uploaded by Kieron.


I'm completely obsessed with Crumpler Bags at the moment. I decided I needed a satchel bag for my trip to Japan. I asked a friend where she got hers, and she recommended this brand. I spent ages surfing their site - aside from the fact there are so many to choose from, the site is really fun to play around with.

And now I understand what the little symbol is I've been seeing on bags everywhere throughout the city. It's a brand, it's a cult and it's a Melbourne design success story!

I must have one! If I had a money tree, I'd buy 20 for all my knitting projects! In reality, it will be really handy for trips to the zoo, and the park and anywhere I'm going to be walking around a lot, basically. I'd like to do a lot more of that when the weather gets warmer.

I want Crumpler!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Sox


After a long time spent ummming and ahhhing, I've finally decided to spend my money on upgrading to a Flickr Pro account. [Link is to my photos.] It was a toss up between that and the bookbinding kit I was drooling at on Etsy last week. It was the promise of three free months that swayed me.

As far as I can tell, you don't actually get much with the Flickr Pro account. Much that I would find useful, anyway. I get access to all of my photos, not just the last 200 (there's currently 262 on there). I can have as many sets as I like, not just 3. This appeals to the organisational side of my personality. Though at the moment it looks like I'll only have about 5, until I start putting photos from trips, etc on there. The other features - like increased upload limit and ability to upload videos - I'll probably never need.

So it was kind of a waste of money.

Oh well.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

My week

I saved up everything until today, basically. I had a pretty stressful week at work and I just came home and crashed out in front of the Olympics every night. Today though, I unpacked my goodies from my trip to Daylesford last weekend. I went on a disgustingly decadent shopping spree amongst all the op shops, antique shops and bookshops I could possibly find. There was yarn, there was fabric, there were dress patterns, there were books and even vintage embroidery transfers that I got in a grab bag. There was so much that I couldn't possibly take photos of it all, so here's a limited selection:

A hand-carved Indian fabric stamp with wool and braid

Yarn, Japanese fabric, dish and odd pencil-holder thingy

These photos were taken by Boy with his whizzy new amazing camera. I think he had fun. He also took lots of photos for me today of my knitted and crocheted accessories I already had on Etsy. I had taken photos of them with my much beloved but frankly fairly old and clunky camera when I first listed them, but I never liked the photos and thought they were preventing me from getting more sales. I gave some of them interesting effects in Piknik as well. Here is one:

Finally, I am introducing my head model, Hedda to my shop. I got her about 2 months ago and I only just got around to using her for anything! Actually, I've been displaying an almost finished scarf around her neck for a while, so she doesn't feel too useless.

I spent a lot of time today tidying the hobby room and putting away all of the stuff I bought on my trip, and also at Lincraft the week before. I wouldn't say I'm back to square one, but things are looking a bit more tidy.

During the week, I did manage to design faces for Monstrous Muriel (final title) and Scary Selby. I stuck them into my art journal, cause I haven't really been using it for anything else, and it's for journalling as well as art, right? So even if it seems too scary to put art in it, I can put journally stuff in it without fear!
Anyway, here is a pic of the pages and the current progess of my scary pair:

Left: Monstrous Muriel; right: Scary Selby.

The legs and body were made in one piece with both toys. With Scary Selby however, I experimented with making a gusset between the legs so I could place them some distance apart. I'm very happy with how it looks. I'm a bit concerned about their heads though. The closing-up part of crochet always looks really hinky, well for me, anyway. I don't know if I should put some hair on them to disguise this, or find some other solution.

I've had 1 1/2 glasses of champagne so far, so I don't really care right now!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Not Dead! Plus Cute Picture


Alpaca, originally uploaded by feathermar.



I returned from my trip to Daylesford on Sunday night, all pooped out from retail therapy! The alpacas at the Bed & Breakfast we stayed at looked much like this, but a lot more grumpy.

When I've settled back in again, I'll unpack my haul of goodies and share them with you!

Monstrous Mirabel is coming along nicely, and I've also started Scary Selby. I don't know why soft toys always have alliterative names, but it's fun making them up.

I can't think of a way to end this post, so.....

Thursday, 14 August 2008

At Last! -- My Zine!

The big reveal...





The Thrifty Crafter is finally here! It has 6 projects, a guide to yarn types, list of resources, and even a recipe. The main emphasis though, is on sharing all the little ideas and tips I've had over the years. With the projects, I've tried to make them into a gateway for expansion into new ideas and variations. Two projects are knitted - all the others need no technical knowledge of knitting or crocheting.
I am pretty happy with this zine, though of course there's alway things I think of to add when it's too late! But you just have to take a deep breath and let your baby go out into the world.

One of the projects from the zine was actually this...

Farmyard Pencil Cups

...which I finished about 3 weeks ago and didn't get around to taking a photo of. When I was scouting around for projects to put in the zine I thought, heck, why not? Yes, I have actually made most of the projects in the zine myself! One I'm still only half way through...
I'm sure you'll find a lot more projects appearing in the Works In Progress section my sidebar as I find them in the back of the cupboard!

When I got sick of working on the zine, I started experimenting with making some knitted and crocheted flowers:


I quite like how some of them are turning out. They're a good zombie craft that I don't have to concentrate on while I'm watching the Olympics (more on that later!). Most of them involve knitting a piece only 4 to 8 stitches wide. So I taught myself to knit backwards so I don't have to turn the knitting every five seconds. That sounds really wanky, doesn't it? But actually it was quite hard and I still feel like I'm 5 years old and learning to knit all over again. My tension is all hinky and the first one turned out more like a parallelogram than a rectangle. I don't know if it's actually faster than turning on each row, but it's less annoying - and that's important! It's fun working with different colours and combinations of crochet and knitting. I'm sure I'll fill the whole tin soon.

I've also been regularly stopping by the Softies for Mirabel Auction for a good drool. After umming and aahing and agonising, I decided to abandon the sewn option for now and just go ahead with a softie in a format I know better and can find the supplies for more easily. Plus you can't really sit on the couch in front of the Olympics with a sewing machine on your lap!
(Actually..... no?)
So I started Monstrous Mirabel (working title) earlier tonight:


I'm going to make her a little more symmetrical and socially normalised than my earlier monsters, and hopefully even 'cute'. I have even committed to getting out the sewing needle and sewing some arms on, and perhaps even some ears! I do have a curved needle that I haven't used yet, and hopefully that'll make it easier.

Oh, and by the way, the Olympics: I've decided that, screw it, I still love it! I had a little cry when Liesel got her gold, and I don't care if they show nothing but Australians - I want to see 'em!

I'm off tomorrow to go to Daylesford for 2 days, where I shall variously be enjoying massaging, a facial, spa soaking, thrift-shopping, gallery-looking and hopefully cocktail drinking! My shoulders are all tensed up in anticipation! I hope everyone has a good weekend. See you!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Craft Magazine: 08...

... arrived in my letterbox last night! I was up late last night reading it. This issue's feature is weaving. Something I'd never thought of before, but you never know! Considering it came with a free cardboard loom. How cool is that?
(I couldn 't find a picture of the exact issue on Flickr so this stack of crafty goodness will have to do.)


Craft Con '08, originally uploaded by Peptogirl Industries.

I finished my craft zine last night. Finally! I've also been making some knitted and crocheted flowers for no particular reason.

Full report tonight.

P.S. Brrrrr! How about that cold?

Friday, 8 August 2008

Dreaming

This morning I was so inspired by the pale sunshine on the trees as I was walking to work that I wrote a haiku. My first one in about 4 years. I want to write more as I find it a very relaxing and spiritual experience.

Then when I was (illicitly) browsing Etsy a little while later, I came across this Mini Book of Haiku. This got me all fired up for bookbinding as well as haiku! The method of folding the binding papers and enclosing the printed pages within them is absolutely gorgeous. How special the poems must be to be enfolded within such beautiful patterned Japanese paper.

Then I saw that the same seller is offering kits on making your own! Well, that was just too much for me. I haven't clicked the "Add To Cart' button - yet - but my head is swimming with beautiful papers and smooth waxed twine and ribbon and words.

And I have 5 hours to go until I finish work! *sighs*

Thursday, 7 August 2008

You Might Be A Monster


You Might Be A Monster & Other Stories I Made Up, originally uploaded by Yumfactory.

I am really, seriously hanging out for the weekend. First, I'm gonna sleep in. I've been sleeping pretty badly all week. I've been too pooped to do any craft. I keep having nightmares about human rights abuses in China, people being accidentally but violently blinded (by their own babies), and being chased by a Russian mafia car dealing ring and having to hide naked in a shower with some people I barely know. Don't ask. Perhaps I should channel all of this into some really cathartic art. I've been enjoying working with the acrylics lately.

Which reminds me, I haven't yet told you-all about the amazing haul I got from Art 'n' Craft Riot a few weeks ago. I've been so busy I haven't even had time to look in the bag.
So the next thing I'm going to do (after I sleep in) is look in the bag and take some photos and do some exciting crafty things with my stash. Then I'll finish my Craft Zine. That might take me all weekend, actually!

I really want to make the badge/brooch display/wallhanging thingy that I designed a while back. I have so many now that I'd like to collect them and put them somewhere I can see them. I had thought about knitting it, but I think I might make it from fabric, because A: it will be quicker and B: I need a reason to set up my sewing machine! So maybe I will do that this weekend too.

Sorry this post has been a bit depressing, but I'm not very good at not being too hard on myself when I'm too tired or sick to do anything. Er, if that made sense...

I'll leave you on a more positive note:
The Softies for Mirabel auction is going off! The first round made over $300, and there are still at least 10 rounds to go. There's still time to submit a softie as well. I've got my eye on the ultra-cute owl in the current round! Wooo!

Monday, 4 August 2008

Something a bit different...

Normally, I don't go off the topic of crafting very much. But there's an issue that's been growing in my mind for the last few weeks, and in a few days’ time, I won’t be able to ignore it any longer. The Olympics are coming.

Now, I don’t like sport. I hate it. (Other than tennis, but that’s my own eccentric little hiccup.) Except for the Olympics. In the past, I had an unbridled enthusiasm for it. You might even call it a mania. It didn’t matter if it was the first round of the Handball or an elimination kayak race, I was totally there. In 2000, when I worked in a call centre, my shifts coincidentally left me with 8 free days of 24-hour Olympic madness. I would sit up until 2 or 3am watching the telecast. I would get up the next morning, switch on the TV, and watch it all again. Roy and H.G.’s wrap-up show The Dream provided me with my only link to normal human interaction. I did concede to have lunch with a friend at one point though, but I insisted on going to a foodcourt where I knew a TV would be on, and travelling by a route where I knew the telecast would be on display in shop windows. After the Olympics finished, I bought The Dream on video and watched it over and over until the tape died.

In 2004, I had more work commitments; my mania expressed itself in eating nothing but souvlakis for 16 days. This is true. I lived on my own, so I could get away with it. It didn’t matter if it was Molvania vs. Kraplachastan in the initial round of the Graeco-Roman wrestling, or if it was an Australian actually winning a gold medal in a sport other than swimming, and missing the first half because the broadcaster didn’t realise what was happening until it was almost too late. For 16 days, once every four years, I believed. I was a na├»ve and trusting devotee to the Olympic dream. Everyone is invited, everyone gets a go, everyone has an equal chance. Or do they?

I’m sure just about everyone has heard about the controversy in the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Games. China was only allowed to bid for the Games because it promised to make improvements to the human rights situation in that country. Many people think it hasn’t kept this promise. Tibet isn’t free, millions of people are being summarily evicted to make way for dams and sports stadiums, Buddhist monks are being attacked, people are having their kidneys stolen while they meditate (if you believe that). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also the undetectable drugs, swimsuits which are more machine than garment, lung-damaging pollution, propaganda and restrictions on journalists, political positioning, histrionic withdrawals as athletes injure their little toe, and just today, there has been a suspected terrorist attack against the Chinese police.

The commercial television coverage just gets worse and worse every time. I don’t know how much more I can take of Bruce McAvaney verbally masturbating over some Aussie swimmer who came seventh in the qualifiers. And let’s face it, the opening ceremonies are pretty crap. (Except for Athens. That was brilliant.) I had a quick look at the state of TeeVee for this Friday night - Channel Ten are putting on Star Wars Episode 1. Whoever would want to watch that has already seen it. And SBS are giving it a go with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. At least that’s relevant! I however, have RSVP’ed to a friend’s birthday dinner, and it would be rude to pull out, wouldn’t it? Thankfully the Opening Ceremony is being repeated on Saturday morning. Saved by the blanket repeat! Phew!

I have to admit, I did start to get excited about this Olympics, and imagined myself plonked on the couch for a straight fortnight glued to the box (Boy withstanding), but then I started to feel bad about it. Is it wrong of me to watch it on TV when there are people wrongly imprisoned, tortured and beaten? I’m torn. How should I feel? It would sicken me to hear the slick banter about our Aussie’s chances in the pool, and what a shame Kieren and Cathy aren’t still around.

I think I’ll watch SBS’s ‘complementary broadcast’ (which I’m sure is just the leftovers of what Channel Seven doesn’t want). But at least we won’t be subjected to gushing descriptions of Australia’s valiant struggle to stay in the first round of the Softball. I might get to see other countries and hear balanced commentary. I might get to hear real sports journalists, who take the efforts of developing nations seriously. (Remember Eric ‘the Eel’? I feel so bad now!) Or I might even turn the TV off for a bit.

The Beijing Olympics:

Days to go: 4
Days to go until it’s finished: 20

And just to keep things craft-related, here is a site with Olympic Crafts!

Friday, 1 August 2008

Oh dear....

.... Lincraft are having a huge sale on fabric and yarn....and Boy is working all day tomorrow so there's no-one to stop me!

*wheezes*

I do have my gift vouchers that I got for my birthday still though. And I still have time to dust off my sewing machine and make some Softies for Mirabel.

That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!