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I should like such a hat…

Every now and again I get a friend who commissions me to make them a hat, or five. Whenever they do, I have a simple knit beanie pattern that I like to default to. I’ve made it several times over now, and I love the versatility it gives me with color and yarn.

This hat in particular is a trade for a service provided by a friend. She asked for a hat done in blues and purples, with a little pompom on top. I borrowed the pompom method from the Jayne Hat pattern, and defaulted to Ellen’s knit cap pattern for the hat itself. The yarn for the body of the hat is Vanna’s Choice Solid in Sapphire, Lavender, and Navy, and the deep purple on the brim is Paton’s 100% wool. Because I used both real wool and acrylic in this hat, the brim pulls a little differently than the main body of the cap, but I think it’ll look cute on my friend when she gets it.

Blue and Purple Striped Hat with Pompom

Here’s hoping she likes it!

Valentines Day Cards

Though I do not often celebrate Valentines Day myself (I think it’s a bit odd to honor a saint who was martyred by beheading with candies and sappy romance movies), I still like the excuse to make something simple and fun to share with friends.

This year, I decided I would “borrow” (in true gypsy fashion!) an idea that was used by a friend of mine in the past. A few years ago, she made all of her friends (yours truly included) a little puzzle with a valentines day saying on it. She used a blank cardboard puzzle that can be purchased at any craft store, and decorated it with construction paper hearts, glitter, and markers. She then divided the pieces to each puzzle into three or four envelopes, and sent them out to us one at a time. Thus, we recieved a couple puzzle pieces a day every day leading up to valentines day, and got the final piece on the holiday itself.

I thought this was a lovely way to show your friends you care, and decided to try the same concept myself, but with cheaper materials. As alas, like all gypsies, I am but a poor wanderer.

That being said, I started with some construction paper, glue, pens, and the glories of images printed off the internet, and ended up with this:

Completed card with puzzle pieces.

I created the card by gluing three layers of construction paper together, so that it would be thick enough to form a decent backing for the puzzle, should the recipient choose to glue it on to the card. I also made sure I cut out a handy shape inside the card to give the person an idea of what they’d be assembling:

Inside of the card with puzzle pieces.

I then separated out the pieces into three envelopes, and mailed them over the holiday. The first had the card and one puzzle piece, and the second and third each held half of the remaining puzzle pieces. So yesterday, everyone had all the pieces they needed to start working:

Valentines Puzzle!

And with a little patience, they’d end up with a fun little valentine to keep:

Reassembled Valentines Puzzle!

I did a different valentine saying for each friend, and it was a lot of fun looking online to find interesting photos to use for them. My favorite was one I did (and sadly didn’t get a picture of) that had Daleks and the saying “You’re Dalek-table!” Yes, I’m a bit of a nerd. But it was cute!

Happy Belated Valentines/Singles Awareness Day everyone!

Dorm Room Feng Shui Part II

Last Thursday I wrote about my beginning of a project to create better feng shui in my dorm room. Over the course of the weekend I spent a good amount of time working on my celtic knotwork poster, and am proud to say that I have finished it and mounted it on my wall. I am fairly pleased with how it turned out, and now feel like my room is ever so slightly more lived in.

When I last left off I had finished the color and outline for the center knot. Upon picking up the work again, I first mixed myself a shade of silvery gray that I was content with, and filled in the the crescents:

Silvery Gray painted in the crescents.

Once I had that done, I left it alone for a couple days. I toyed with the idea of filling in the negative space for a while, as I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to spend a great deal of time filling in the small spaces with a tiny brush. Finally, I decided I’d just have to bite the bullet and pain them in, if only to remove as much white space from the room as possible. So I mixed myself a jar of a deep blue and set to work:

Filling in the fiddly bits.

After a good two hours or so of working on filling in all the minuscule spaces (and believe me, there are a lot of them!) with an exceptionally tiny brush to be sure my lines were as clean as possible, I grabbed a larger brush and set to work on the brackground:

Initial fill in of the background.

Now, at this point I was nearly sure I was done. I was all set to wait for it to dry so I could hang it on the wall. But the more I looked at it the more I realized there was something important missing…

Added stars to the background.

Stars! Of course! I’d created this lovely night sky and left it completely blank. Silly me. So I cleaned that impossibly small brush and used it to create little pinpoints of light all over the background. This being done I felt it was less like looking at a picture and a bit more like looking out a window. Granted, I’ve never seen the moon look quite like this, but I feel I’m allowed some artistic license.

Finally, I realized that the one thing that was still missing was an outline on the crescents to tie them in to the rest of the knotwork. Yes, I thought they looked fine on their own, but I also knew that there was a silver sharpie in the possession of a friend that I could borrow, and so I once again set to work:

Outlined the crescents.

There! Finally finished! Once it was dry I went to put it up, only to realize that all of the water I used had bowed the cardboard outward, making it impossible to mount successfully. Never fear though, as I quickly whipped out every heavy book in the room (and yes, as an art history major, I’ve quite a few) and within a day or so I had a lovely flat piece of work ready to be put up for my viewing pleasure:

A much calmer space.

So there you have it! My finished tribute to the concept of dorm room feng shui. Perhaps one day I’ll come up with a real name for it, but for the moment I’m content just to have filled part of my wall space with a little less white, and a lot more color.

And don’t mind Jack’s expression. I’m sure he loves it just as much as Yoda does.

Dorm Room Feng Shui

A few nights ago I found myself staring at the walls of my new room, which are unfortunately painted a clinical white. Looking around my small living space I realized that the walls feel far too barren to make the place truly habitable, and decided I would have to get some art to put up on them. Sadly, all of my posters and various portable art works are miles away, and I, having renewed my poor college student status after a prolonged haitus, have virtually no funds to use for decorations.

So of course I grabbed a piece of leftover cardboard salvaged from a previous resident, and began to contemplate ways in which to create a slightly less barren looking landscape on my walls. After a short conversation with a friend of mine about the concept of dorm room feng shui, I decided that whatever I did would need to inspire peace, happiness, and creativity. And so, after a bit of browsing around the web, I came up with a celtic knotwork patten that recreates the triple moon goddess symbol I’m most fond of.

I started by printing out the design patterns I wanted to recreate, and used a ruler to measure out three even sections of my piece of cardboard. I then used pencil to redraw the images I’d chosen onto the cardboard, only much larger than their computer printed versions:

Pencil Outlines

Once I was satisfied with the outline, I grabbed a set of tempra paints and several brushes, and set to work filling it in:

The outline with the center portion colored in.

After I’d gotten my colors on the center knotwork, I used a set of sharpies and various markers to outline the piece, so that the final result would look cleaner and more defined:

Center knotwork colored and outlined.

It was at that point that I realized I didn’t have the color I wanted for the crescents, and would have to mix up something. Unfortuantely, I also ran out of time to finish and had to leave it sit for a while. I have been continually working on it when I can this week, and plan to finish it this weekend when I’ve a bit more free time.

I’m also considering painting in the background a deep blue or black, so that there isn’t any white negative space left. Because goddess knows I’ve got plenty of that here already. So until then, I leave you with one final closeup of what I’ve done so far:

Closeup of the center knot.

Come back this weekend to see the finished result! Same bat time, same bat channel…

I realize it’s been a bit too long since my last update, but unfortunately Life got in the way and jealously took away all the time I had for crafting!

Not to worry though, as I’m now back in the swing of things and crafting my way through this new year.

And what’s even better, the Yarn Gods have smiled upon their humble servant and delivered unto me two skeins of this, the Missing Color:

Wool Ease Thick n' Quick Butterscotch

Which means that after many months of searching for just the right color, the answer to my prayers came in the form of the Lion Brand section at a Joann’s Superstore. The moment I saw it I knew I had to buy at least a couple skeins, as I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by. So happily, I left the store that day with much more than I came in for, finding myself one step closer to completing the project which I so yearned for.

And less than twenty four hours later, I had indeed completed that project of projects:

The Jayne Hat

Oh yes. I am now the proud owner and wearer of the infamous Jayne Hat. Loved and laughed at by Firefly fans everywhere. The pattern is simple enough to do, and (thanks to the lovely Heather Hill) free for you to use, as long as you don’t intend to sell or profit off the end result. And why would you? Why would anyone sell such a glorious hat when they can instead declare themselves to the world as a person who loves ridiculous hats, and just plain ole ain’t afraid of anything!

Or at least that’s what I like to believe.

Pretty cunning, don'tcha think?

On the first night of this new year as I sat awake and staring at the wall, I got the itch to make something crafty. As I pondered my options, I thought through all the unfinished knitting projects currently sitting in my baskets. I thought of the couple kits I’ve got that were scavenged from clearance sales over the last year that I still have yet to open. But mostly, I thought of the random bits and pieces sitting in my craft drawers and what could be made from them.

And then I remembered that I still had all the necessary supplies to make a few dream catchers. So I pulled out some leather, semi-precious stone chips, artificial sinew (yes, you really can buy this at Michaels), a metal ring, and a couple silver jewelry pendants that I’d been waiting to find the perfect project for. I then sat down and turned on a few episodes of Bones to watch while I worked, and after about 3 hours of fiddling I produced the following:

Silver Wolf Dream Catcher

The blue stone chips are Blue Jade, which is said to help focus and calm in meditation. The shiny black chips are hematite, which is said to help reduce stress and encourage positive energies. Rather than hang feathers off the bottom (mostly because I didn’t have any little connectors to secure them to the sinew), I hung small silver brooms with little celtic knotwork charms. The pendant in the center is a wolf’s head that I found on a trip to the jewelry district in LA.

Overall I’m happy with the way it turned out, and considering making another one. Though on the next one I make I will have to add more webbing, as I wasn’t incredibly happy with the size of the opening in the center. And we’ll see if I use quite so many stone chips again, as they were kind of a pain to get onto the sinew.

Happy New Year!

Here’s hoping that you all spent New Years Eve with friends and family who made it a wonderful night, and helped you begin this new year with some joyous memories.

My resolution for the new year? To stop letting past events dictate my actions and to be more creative and crafty than ever before!

And to start 2010 off right, I give you the baking madness that was my New Years Eve day:

All three of these tasted fantastic, even if the peanut butter popcorn did come out a little overdone. The only other problem I had was that the recipe for the cheesecake layer on the brownies made too much cheesecake, so it didn’t quite swirl.

But in the end it didn’t matter much, because there is no such thing as “too much cheesecake”.

Happy 2010 everyone! May it be filled with happiness and joy, and be your best year yet!