Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Rock, PAPER, scissors

Hello, Hello!  I hope everyone is having a great day today.  I am :-)

Today, I am ready to mail a package to my dear friend *M* in Holland.  As you know, I love exchanging handwritten letters.  I have had many of my snail mail friends for about four years now.  *M* is one of those friends.  She is so much fun and I wanted to send her something special.

I am all about PAPER!  I love making things out of paper:  envelopes, cards, journals, stationery.  I am not good at making most of those things, but I really enjoy trying to be.  And I am a PAPER HOARDER!  I have soooooo much paper!  Whenever Hobby Lobby has a 50% off sale, I grab at least 4 packs of scrapbooking papers.  I also go to my local art stores and buy lots of Japanese papers.  I'm obsessed!..  Or maybe, I am just a creepy paper hoarder. Ha!  No doubt, I have more paper than I could use in about 3 years' time, if I were working on paper arts constantly and never bought a single sheet of paper during that time.

So in my paper adventures, I decided to try something new.  I decided to try making paper dolls.  I used to make paper dolls for my sister and me, when I was younger and we wanted new dolls. My parents didn't always have money for new toys.  I would use paper that had old school assignments on the back.  I made the girls into bunnies and I created all sorts of wardrobe items for the paper dolls.  I think doing this for my sister and myself all those years is what inspired my love for arts and fashion.  It also taught me to re resourceful and make something out of nothing.

Sorry about that tangent!  For my dear friend *M*, I made some paper dolls.  These are the first ones I have ever made like this.  Lots of adjustments need to be made.

I will give my best ones to *M*.  I will likely give away the others as well. 
I will definitely be making more dolls, so that I can discover the best way to go about making them. 

As for how I made the dolls, I used my Cricut.  My sister gave it to me 7 years ago, but I have only been learning to use it and all its features in the past year.  Each doll has about 90 kabillion small parts to her and I then have to assemble them and embellish them.  Even though I have lots to learn, I love the way these first ones came out.  There are 4-5 more patterns left that I didn't try yet.  I will soon, however.
And then, I made some envelopes.  I love envelopes.  I have made my own envelopes for years.  When I first began snail mailing, I wanted something more original than the envelopes I could find in stores.  I also knew that I had no intention on spending so much money on them.  That's when I started making my own.  I used cardstock and my Cricut to cut out the address labels.

This is the first bunting that I made a few weeks ago.

I made the bunting out of scrapbooking papers.  I made the mini bows by hand and I sewed little beads on to them.

Of course, all this comes with a cute, hand-written note inside of this handmade card that I threw together.  I love making cards, but I wouldn't say that I am very good at it.  I need much more practice!  Considering how much I love paper...and how much paper I've got stacked piles high, I think that some card-making might be in my near future for the holidays!
I felt really embarrassed about sending *M* a bunch of paper.  I love paper, but I am not sure how everyone else in the world feels about it.  LOL.  I decided that I would add in something special.
This summer, my family and I went to Mexico.  I found these adorable little handmade dolls.  I find toys from other countries to be so interesting.  These handmade dolls are so sweet.  I bought them so my Little Darling would have something to play with on the plane ride home.  They are so adorable, I just had to keep some for myself, and I chose to share them with my friend, *M*.  For just a few dollars, my Little Darling got about 15 dolls.   And I think the coin purse speaks for itself :-) 

All of this was so much fun to make.  I hope *M* enjoys everything in her little package.  In the next few weeks, I will be cranking out gifts for friends and their babies.  I look forward to completing some of these projects that I have had on my shelves! It feels so good to have time again to be creative.  It feels even better to have a computer to be able to share these adventures with someone!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hunting For A Bunting

This week has felt really busy.  I think I forgot how involved blogging can be.  I also forgot about the notion that, when you have a craft blog, you are also expected to work on projects and complete them on a regular basis. HA! Well, lucky for me, I have about 20 projects that I have worked on for the past year or so that are near completion.  I just need to get hookin'!

I also discovered that the light in my apartment is horrible!  I may as well be living in the Bat Cave.  With that said, please excuse whatever terrible quality the pictures have for the moment.  It would be great if I could find some photo equipment with the holiday deals that will be coming up.  I am hoping to get some lights for sure!

So, let me get into what I have been working on this week:  Buntings!

I made my first one a few weeks ago.  I made it as part of a package for a snail mail pal.  I will show it to you some other day, as I have just found out that the photo is really terrible.  I really loved making that bunting. It was easy and fun to make.  Of course, I decided to make more "trial runs" and see what I could do.

This is the second bunting I made.  The other day, I mentioned going completely mad over details and trying to incorporate light blues into this color combo. Clearly, I was unable to make that happen, but what I did end up with is much better than what I dreamed possible. Lesson Learned:  Just go with it, and let creativity guide you, rather than being too much of a control freak.

I was really happy with the oranges, pinks, and greens. 
This is for Baby R's package for another snail mail friend.  I Love to write letters and to give gifts this way.  It's such an amazing way to share and connect with people.  To exchange something hand-written and handmade can really make someone's day.  It says, "I thought about you and I chose to give you something more valuable than anything:  My time!  I care about you!"  Or at least, that is the feeling I get whenever I get a letter or package from a pen friend in the mail. 
After feeling happy with these results, I had so many triangles and little things out. Remember, I had this perfectionist melt down, and I made 70-something triangles and bows and found all these little notions... 
So, I figured, why not make one more. I had fun making the other two once I remembered the real purpose behind being creative.  So I took the left over patterned papers and got to work on another.
I have another pen friend, M, who also just recently had a baby girl.  I think there is something in the water because there are precious baby girls being born all over.  Let me just say this:  I seriously Adore making things for little girls.  This is a little simpler than the previous bunting, but I wanted to try different things.  These are all trials for me, as I learn to perfect the skill. Don't get me wrong.  I try to make my trial runs as perfectly close to how things would look after I've gotten a grasp on the skill.

The buntings are made from paper, like most of the ones I've seen.  Just regular scrapbooking papers.  I have this huge box of bows, buttons, flowers, ribbons, and sparklies.  Those were the main source of my embellishments.  I made all the mini bows on the buntings by myself.  I am a tall woman, with big man-hands, so that was a lot of fun. LOL!  No, really, I had a blast making tiny bows.  I made the tops of this particular bunting sparkle with a little pixie dust that I have had in my stash for ages.

I am hoping to get even more creative with the buntings I make.  I have so many more ideas on ways to embellish them and different styles.  To me, these are some big accomplishments because I love learning to make something new.  I hope I can max out on the creativity here.  More importantly, I hope that both Mama S and Mama M enjoy these buntings for their babies. 

Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Method? Or Just Madness?

Good early afternoon to ya!  I am shocked that I am up and functioning so well this morning and I haven't had any coffee. Very shocking!!

I usually do my "work" late at night.  That's how this blog came about actually.  I was working third shift and cranking out projects all night...  I figured I could chronicle those late night creative adventures.  I haven't worked third shift in years, but I guess old habits die hard.  I still feel most alive and creative between the hours of midnight and 3am. 

Last night was no different.  The Hubs was being helpful and grading our Little Darling's school work for the past 6 weeks.  He gave me a chance to... well, essentially, all I did was make myself a little crazy under the premise of "working".

The blanket I showed you in my last post here is actually part of a collection of items for my friend's baby girl.  Another part of it is a bunting.  I am new to making buntings and I really, really, like it!  The hard part for me is coming up with the right color combos.  Baby R has light green walls, so I needed something that would either coordinate with or pop out against that wall color.

For some reason, I was obsessed with greens, blues, and oranges.  Then, I thought I should add some pinks in for good measure.  In the end, I had about 70 little triangles cut out that I kept arranging and rearranging into patterns.  Let me just say that there is nothing more frustrating than wanting something to look a certain way and not being able to accomplish it no matter what..... and so my madness begins!
Eventually, I settled for these colors.  They are, more or less, what I was looking for:  the greens, oranges, pinks.... No light, bright blues though.  Don't even ask me what my obsession with the blue is about!  I couldn't tell you.  At any rate, I found happiness in this pattern.
Then comes the fun part:  choosing the embellishments.  Yes, I know a bunting is essentially a string with some triangle fabrics or papers hanging from it, but that just seems so boring when I make them that way.  Much like the woman who can't imagine making a crochet blanket that doesn't have 20-30 different colors in her granny squares, I just need more.

My problem, the madness, is figuring out how much more.... or even what kind of "more".  I made about 10 mini bows last night, trying to figure out a ribbon color combo and a ribbon style.  I also rummaged through all my random piles, buckets, drawers of odd ends to find little flowers, bows, buttons and other things that could be used for the embellishment of this bunting.

Where does your inspiration come from?  For me, it's almost always my dreams, physical activity, and music.  Mainly my dreams.  I had a dream that I made this adorable bunting with polka dots, blues, oranges, greens, and pinks.  It was embellished perfectly and it was a focal piece in the nursery.  Ok, maybe I am flattering myself a bit.  The maddening part came from having to face the reality that I don't always have the supplies I need to make my dreams come true, so to speak.  I also get annoyed at my skill level.  This will be my second attempt at a bunting ever and I am already contemplating ways to seriously up the ante!

Fortunately for me, my husband beckoned me to bed and I got live to go insane over minute details another day :-)

I will admit that I drove myself a little mad trying to be perfect.  That is when I noticed what was happening.  I was becoming irritable and disappointed, which should never be a symptom of creativity. I had to stop right there and appreciate the true purpose of the project:  To put a smile on Mama S's face and to provide a heartfelt gift for Baby R.  I also needed to really think about WHY I create.  It isn't about outdoing myself, upping the ante, or even to be perfect. It's because I love the feeling of working on making my dreams come true.  I may not have the supplies or skills at this moment, but I love the process, the growth, and the heart that I put in.  I love seeing my efforts grow into a tangible manifestation of my dreams!

Happy HUMP DAY!!!!  Hahahahahaaa!!! 😉

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Field of Lavender

Why HELLO!!!  It's be a long time... No, a Long Time!!

I have my reasons for having taken such a long leave of absence.  Excuses are like assholes, so I will show you mine.  Why not get all close and personal on my first post back?

1-  I worked too much. No time to be creative killed a part of my soul.  Now, I am staying home full time.

2- My laptop BROKE in every way possible, from the hinge to the outlet; from the mother board to being hacked with viruses.  I'm making (this) my first post on my new Baby!  It feels great to be reunited with the tech world!

3-  My art room was a colossal disaster:
 Clearly, I've solved that little problem.  Now, I have Time, a Computer, and a Creative Space!   Who knew there was a recipe for blogging perfection? Now, I know this!  And yea buddy, I just rose up out my chair and did a Happy Dance!  Ha ha ha :-)

So what have I been up to?  This summer was loaded with travels and writing letters to pen pals.  I love snail mail!  My family returned from our last little vacay at Disney World in late September.  I quit my job shortly before we left.  Since then, it's been about developing a new routine and finding all these projects that I have started and not finished over the past three years that I was working too much.

I chose to start with something adorable...

I started this project for a friend back in April. She's a special friend whom I've actually never met in person.  She and I started writing to one another about four years ago.   She has had a sweet, precious baby girl.   My friend loves this color, so I was pretty happy she had a girl. It would have been a little difficult to incorporate lavender into a blanket meant for a boy!  Not impossible, however.  I've got some design skills!

I absolutely love making African Hexies.  They are so beautiful to me.  It's prettier than stripes and, to me, more interesting to look at than granny squares.  The only thing I can't handle is the weird edges!  It makes the end result look like it's unfinished.  A long time ago, I searched for a pattern to fill this in.

I found a pattern online somewhere about three years ago.  As you can see, I haven't added these parts yet, and I don't know what to expect once they are added to the edges. I have never made them before, even though I've had the pattern this whole time. I'm hoping for some magic!
I am not finished with the blanket yet. I have one  full row to add and then all the half hexies.  That's tonight's goal.  I hope within the next few days, I will have a finished blanket with a hat and maybe even a cardigan.  This will be a Christmas gift for sweet Baby R's first Christmas.  I hope she & Mama S like it!

I will post details about supplies and patterns on my next post, when the project is complete.  I'll also give you a small sneak peak into my next project.  It's gift-giving season, so I'm going to be busy, cranking them out!
Have the most lovely of Sundays!