the craftiest of surprises

My sister sent me a text asking, “What are the ‘pads of paper’ that you have on the customs page of this package you sent me?” I hadn’t wanted to ruin the surprise, but when customs get involved, customs go out the window, you know what I mean? Maybe not. I babble.

After finishing a fun joint crafts venture over the holidays, my sister had lamented to me that they just didn’t have good craft-supply stores in Berlin. Shortly after she left SoCal to head back to Europe, I started stockpiling some goodies for her.

While I am tooting my own horn a bit here, I’m also mentioning this as a suggestion for anyone who needs a gift for the crafter in his or her life. It is, after all, National Craft Month.

There was a crazy sticker sale at Michael’s, as well as cheap cute ones from Target, not to mention great deals on pads of paper. Since there are usually 2/3 sheets of each pattern, I delicately ripped out a page or two of each to send her, and kept the remainder for myself. And there was a handy container on sale to keep it all, well, contained… since my sis is short on space in her apartment. (Photos courtesy of my well-traveled sister.)

Craft Care Package 1

Final tally included tons of scrap-booking paper in varying shades, patterns, and weights, stickers and embellishments – like different glittery alphabet sets, flowers, animals, self-adhering rhinestones and pearls – and a set of glitter glue pens (can’t live without them!). Now she can make all the cards and picture frames and collages she wants!

Craft Care Package 2

 

Point is, if anyone is looking for something to get me this National Craft Month, or looking for some project starters of their own, see above!

 

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Crocheting – not just for old ladies

One of my favorite hobbies is crocheting. I learned how to do it from my surrogate grandma, my neighbor Millie. I started off as most new crocheters, making granny squares into afghans. I perfected that art and even completed a few – including one for my mom and one for my sis last year for the holidays. (Complete with cat hair, like most of my projects.)

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Here’s my sister’s, in its natural surroundings:

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The great thing about crocheting is it’s perfect for multitasking while you’re watching TV or listening to music. Recently, I’ve joined a group of knitters and crocheters at work, so it also makes for great socializing! These ladies (and a couple of gentlemen) knit and crochet for a cause, so all the blankets, scarves, and hats we make are donated to people with cancer, soldiers overseas, veterans, and others who are in need. It’s nice to feel like I’m putting my skills to good use. And I’m getting pretty good at making hats! (My first one ever, below.)

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If you’re a knitter/crocheter, and are interested in donating some of your goods, contact me and I’ll refer you to some people in need.

Also, if you have any cool patterns you can recommend to me, I’d love to check them out. The great thing about meeting these ladies at work was they taught me how to read a pattern, whereas I’d only learned by sight before. A whole new world was opened up!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, surrounded by loved ones – whether or not you’re attached to a significant other.

If you need a last-minute card idea, there’s nothing wrong with simple. It’s amazing how quickly and easily you can transform card stock, scrapbook paper, and tissue paper with a little glitter, glue and scissors. Take it to the next level with some markers, crayons, or colored pencils. Whatever you have around the house!

I used all differing shades of pinks and reds, without fear of clashing colors. I think they turned out pretty cute! Let’s hope my parents think so, as they should be receiving them today 🙂

(Pardon the lighting, it was pretty dark when I took the pix.)

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Shades of Perry

Here are two more 8″x10″ acrylic paintings of Perry. The first was a thank-you gift for a coworker, and it’s Perry as his number one fan. This painting was unique in that it’s one of the few where the design wraps around the edges of the painting as well. (As opposed to a solid colored background.) Unfortunately, those pictures were blurry, so I’ll have to sneak into his office to take more. Yes, it’s hanging in his office! 🙂

The second is Perry the Practicepus, a gift for another coworker who is endlessly entertained by Dr. Doofenshmirtz having a practice dummy of Perry made from a painted log, tennis racket and tennis balls, rubber gloves, twigs, and an orange cone tied around its head with a piece of string. This, too, is hanging up in the office. Makes me proud 🙂

Birthday Paintings

Below are two paintings I made for birthdays. The first was for a dear friend of mine, and the second was commissioned by another friend for his husband. He actually did the design, I just transcribed it in paint. 😉

Both are acrylics on 8×10″ canvas. (And I’ve included the evolution photos of Donald. And please pardon the glare on Mickey.)

So, I’ve been painting…

I’ve been painting a lot lately, but it’s left me with little time to talk about the painting I’m doing. I’ve done some more Phineas and Ferb characters, and even a few commissioned pieces. (Thanks to those of you who saw my autographed paintings and inquired about getting one of your own. It was quite touching, and humbling!)

Below are my latest pieces. I know I promised crafting diversity on this blog, and more of it will come, but when I’m in a phase, there’s no telling how long it’ll last. Don’t even get me started on all the Pinterest projects I’ve logged away and have been waiting to make. Acrylics are just ruling these days!

Below is “Something that doesn’t exist” and Bobblehead Perry from Phineas and Ferb. They’re both 8×10″ canvases.

I have been taking more progress pictures though. You can see how many tries it takes for me to settle on a shade of green for Swampy 😉 Me, a perfectionist? Nonsense.

Swampy, if you don’t recognize him, is the star of the highly addictive game “Where’s My Water?” Don’t say I didn’t warn you. He was commissioned by someone who saw my other paintings and wanted one of his own. I was thrilled to make it! (He, too, is on an 8×10″ canvas.)

I’ll post some more later on!

Anything but clothing…

I went to a cleverly themed party the other night called an ‘Anything But Clothing’ party. Now, many of you may have heard of these, but apparently I missed out on a lot in college. The premise of the party is like a costume party – but you make your outfit from something that can’t be considered clothing. The examples the host gave were a friend of his who once made a skirt out of gatorade labels, and the ever classic duct tape outfits.

I was excited for the challenge, and had a bunch of ideas. Of course, I had to can a few of them for logistical reasons (too hot, too noisy, too restrictive), but I came up with the idea to make an outfit out of shopping bags. I have a ton of paper bags from various stores, and though the details were sketchy when I started, I had an image of a nice long skirt (and I don’t care what anyone said, I was wearing real clothes underneath…), and the top was TBD.

To fashion the skirt, I took a long piece of duct tape, and started sticking strips from the shopping bags on them starting from the same top line. I made three layers, and taped them all together for maximum coverage. For the top, I was inspired by the multitudes of Gap shopping bags I had lying around (I didn’t realize I was seemingly collecting them), and the idea for a halter top using the drawstring from one of the bags. I didn’t measure anything, I just tried to make it long enough that it would cover me and fit over the skirt.

So, yeah! I think it came out pretty cute! (It was also incredibly hot and sticky under the duct taped parts and the plastic top, but I saw that coming. That’s why you get the picture early on in the evening!)

Have you designed any super creative costumes from stuff rather than fabric? I’d love to hear about it!