Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I've also been checking out doing some more felting. If you are looking for some of the tools I found some through Amazon and put them on the little store I have with them on the page I call Cool Tools. It's amazing the stuff you can find through them these days.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Oh, the other reason I wanted to make sure I posted was I almost forgot to tell you all about the book review I did over at Craft Critique. It is about the Naughty Secretary Club: The Working Girl's Guide to Handmade Jewelry. It is one of the most fun craft books I've seen come out in a long time. I even made some things from it (gasp) and finished them and worn them. See the photo to the left. Next time your at the bookstore just take a look. I'm sure you will be reading some of the anecdotes included.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
My first book really started in the spring but since I finished it in the summer I will count it as such. It was The Bride of Science: Romance, Reason, and Byron's Daughter by Benjamin Woolley. It was a biography of Ada Lovelace the mother of computer programming and the daughter of Lord Byron the poet. She was shaped by her mother’s mathematical personality. She was taken away from her romantic artist father when she was a baby by her mother so his immoral traits would not influence her. Although she was mathematically gifted and created punchcards for calculating Bernouli numbers (basis of what would be become computer programming), she would also become interested in the artistic traits inherited by her father. Her life can be seen as an allegory of the end of the Age of Romance and the start of the Machine Age. There were many things that I related to in her battle of her logical side versus thirst for beauty and art.
My second book was also a non-fiction book and coincidentally involved the history of women. I had read about Cokie Robert’s book Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation and fortunately found it in the library. Although there were parts that made me long for a nap, there were also amazing collections of stories from the early days of our country during the time of the end of George Washington’s presidency up to the election of John Quincy Adams. Our lives today are just too easy but many of the political issues faced today are the same as then especially regarding presidential elections and the amount of mud thrown around. Many of the women in the early days of our government were very active with politics although not always the same as their male counterparts. They were concerned with their husbands and sons careers as well as founding many institutions to help with widows and orphans of which some are still in operation today. They endured many hardships with the loss of children and husbands to diseases wiped out long ago by modern medicines and many died in childbirth.
I finally got into fiction which becomes more of an escape and time passes by so quickly when reading a great book. The book I next read is written by an English professor where I work. The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart by Glen Taylor is an adventurous tale about a colorful West Virginian who changes identities to escape the law several times during his life related to one youthful event. Mr. Taylor has a talent for using historical events and the native language of the past (and probably current) inhabitants of the coal mining region. It has been very well received and is currently one of the “Discover Great New Writes” picks at Barnes and Noble. I loved this book because I grew up in a small Appalachian coal mining town in Ohio not all that far from where this took place. I could imagine the characters portrayed by many of the characters in my own hometown including members of my family.
My final summer read I finished is East of Eden by John Steinbeck. He is one of my favorite authors and I had never read this book although it was sitting on my bookshelf for at least 2 years. I believe this is the ultimate look at good versus evil traits that exist in the human animal. In this story he examines how is it possible that a woman could leave her children and why a brother would turn against his brother and how a person is always good no matter what happens to him. It relies heavily on the book of Genesis for the basis of the story and has a bittersweet ending but I loved it just like all of Steinbeck’s other works.
And that concludes my summer reading program. I rarely get so much read but then again it was only a small portion of what I really wanted to get read such as when I was a young reader and my goal was to read every book in our small town library. I never imagined how many books there would be today just as I never imagined so many craft projects I would want to do. Now am going to get back to those projects although I will still be reading during my lunch.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Also, here is a photo of the nearly completed Trump Tower in downtown Chicago. We were down there last weekend. My photo doesn't nearly show how awesome the weather was. It has been a really cool summer over all this year which makes it great to go just walk around.
And, of course we had to go shopping although it was mostly window shopping and my daughter enjoyed the Lego store. She's not into Legos but since she got to be one of the first kids to go to the first indoor Legoland with her summer camp she does like to to look at the very large creations people come up with. Here she is sitting with a Lego-man outside the store.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Here are a couple of photos from our projects (rings and cutie clippies). You can check out what I had to say about Creativity for Kids Kits in my most recent article. Make sure to leave a comment over there if you like them.
Now back to the pool and summer before it disappears.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Also, I stopped by the 10-minute challenge with TLC's While You Were Out Mark Montano. He is promoting his book Big-Ass Book of Crafts. I've only skimmed the book but it seems like there are some updated Good Houskeeping crafts from the 60's. I'm just glad crafts have become so popular but I'm sure us crazy crafty people would find a way to do it ourselves.
Don't forget to stop by Craft Critique for the latest updates on CHA. I have an article up on the new jewelry pendants I found around the show floor.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Her favor for the show which is shown with the earrings is a Mexican fortune cookie. Click on the photo to get a more detailed look.
Also, don't forget about checking Craft Critique for more detailed updates and also I will have another craft celebrity I met today here on my blog tomorrow. Hint: She has a sewing PBS show.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Although, I couldn't make it the first day I will be there bright and early tomorrow with comfortable shoes on as a member of the press. I will be ambling down the aisles grabbing sneak peaks for Craft Critique. Over the next few days the lucky group of us will be your eyes to what will be coming to your craft stores for the fall. Please make sure to click your way over to Craft Critique to see what we are up to. Also, while you're waiting for updates of the show be sure to also check out the previews that are up from different vendors in the 3 part CHA Sneak Peak Carnival.
Wish me luck. I'm sure my feet will need it!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Even though it is like a mini-vacation in the evening we still have to go to work the next day so we have mostly been catching up on movies and we never get to see movies, especially more adult-themed movies. We chose Panic Room because we both like Jodi Foster and we were both terribly disappointed in this movie. It had a horrible ending and the whole movie was just dark and I mean as in lighting not genre. My husband got to choose a couple, Mr. Woodcock and Superbad. These are basically primal guy humor movies but I ended up liking in the end especially Mr. Woodcock (couldn't they given him some other name, though). Basically it's about a PE teacher from hell and one of his geeky students who comes home 13 years later to find his mom dating said PE teacher. Here's a video clip of one of the funny parts (at least to me):
I picked the last 2 and I chose Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2. I had already seen the first one by myself right after it came out on video but was amazed at the stuff I either missed the first time or didn't remember. I really like Quentin Tarantino movies because they are so far over the top. I found a video of Beatrix (played by Uma Thurman) mixed with Eye of the Tiger from Rocky fame that is not too violent and mostly shows her being trained by a Kung Fu master. Also, after seeing Kung Fu Panda made it more interesting especially in the fight scene below she uses Tiger Crane method of Kung Fu. Plus, I love movies where women are the strong heroines.
Now I'm ready to watch some fluffy, romantic comedy. Got any ideas? I rarely get the chance to see movies so I value the opinions of friends who've enjoyed them already.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I also was busy getting a couple of articles done for Craft Critique. On June 2 my article about the Sulky Universal Storage Box that stores sewing thread was published. Today the article was my experiments with Jacquard's Dye-Na-Flow. This last article took me a while to accomplish as I tried to cover a lot of what this paint can do. Please check them out as well as the many other articles. Craft Critique is producing a lot more articles on oodles of goodies out in the craft world.
Monday, May 19, 2008
These cute, cute, cute creatures are the one-of-a-kind creations from Ana Castellanos. She made these for me and my daughter. These are just a small sampling of what she can create with just a couple of knitting needles. She is currently teaching Spanish classes at Harper College and prior to that she taught at Northern Illinois University.
If you think these are cute, you can catch her display of all her special animals and dolls at the Schaumburg Township Library in Schaumburg, IL. There are 2 display cases in the main lobby but that's not all. She had so many they also filled 2 display cases in the fiction book room. She has a love of specialty yarns that help to create the unique look and also help create their furry appearance. Size of the animals and dolls range from the tiny to larger cuddly creatures. Many are the same pattern but the size changes just by changing the size of the needles. You can catch the display at the library now through the end of June 2008.
Here are close ups of the bear and the little elephant.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Now, I feel inspired to go read Emma. I have it on my bookshelf. I received it as a gift from my mother-in-law soon after my daughter, Emma, was born. It has been so long since I've sat down and read Jane Austen's books and I've never read this one.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Below is a video from my limited still picture camera (and my first attempt at posting to YouTube) that just happens to have a video feature BUT it has no sound so you will have to imagine their song, "Rockin Robin." We really need a camcorder and I want a new digital camera. It was a slightly crafty weekend because my daughter lost her black gloves before the recital so I bought a new pair and they were too big so I had to shorten the fingers. I also had to tack her belt in place so it wouldn't ride up too far. Oh, the joys of costumes.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
There were just too many pieces at the show to even begin to give details of even just some of the works I admired. I love collecting pictures of techniques I would like to try. Here are some of those details:
This detail is from a large quilt by Carol Taylor called Tiptoe Through the Tulips. The base is squares and rectangles and then it's embellished with multiple threads and stitching. I love the swirls.
Now, unfortunately, I cannot find my notes on this next quilt but this detail photo is a very small area of the piece. I was amazed at the wave of buttons - all stars - that spread out through the middle of this quilt. Can you imagine sewing on each of the hundreds of buttons?
Here is an example of another technique that I would love to try - bleach discharging. This quilt named Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire! by Cynthia St. Charles shows the technique, I think, at its best. I also like the beads that have been added to enhance the starburst design.
This is a huge dahlia design and I've lost my notes on this one as well. It was just an amazing piece of an even more amazing quilt. If anyone knows who did this I would love to know. If I'm lucky I will be able to come across this one again and fully credit it. This also is one piece I cannot really tell what the technique was but it seems so geometrically perfect I just love its power.
I'm showing this detail of Open Up! Your Dream Flower by Harumi Asada from Japan. I love paisley patterns as well as the colors of this piece. I couldn't find a site for Harumi but I did find this picture of a quilt using a similar paisley.
The next two pictures are more traditional patterns but are a couple of my favorites. This is a feathered star which was the center part of the quilt Autumn Sky by Gretchen Neal Jackson. This shows 3 feathered stars inside of each other. I have done a feathered star but have not completed it in a quilt yet.
Mariner's compass is another one of my favorites. You might have noticed that a lot of the pieces I have shown has curves in it somewhere . I also like angles which explains the feathered star but the compass pattern has both elements. I really like the triangles (reminds me of distorted flying geese) that circle this compass. The full quilt is called Follow Me by Margaret Curley.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Although I have what looks like a lot of stuff (hardcore scrappers can see I'm just a novice when it comes to what I have) and it looks like I have it organized, I yet to have projects organized especially when it comes to scrapbook pages. So instead of looking like I had no idea of what I was going to do I decided to make cards for my mother-in-law and father-in-law's birthdays. We met them today for lunch to celebrate. Their birthdays are only a couple of days apart and my husband's is on the same day as his mom's. I hope you enjoy the cards.
The first card is for my mother-in-law. I really enjoyed making this card. The message is with stickers and I helped to attach it to the background with spiral paper clips made by The Paper Studio. I also used my Sizzix Big Kick to cut out the flower details and paper buttons. I am quite pleased with this card and my 3-D flower that you can see in the close-up.
The second card was more of a challenge. I didn't have much masculine paper in my small stash but I did have that cute little robot tag that my fellow crafter Martha made for us one night at our Chicago Craft Collective meeting. He was my "guy" inspiration. He actually is holding a heart above his head but I put a speech bubble sticker over it to shout out my birthday wishes. I used stickers also for "Grandpa". I really have a thing for stickers but I never seem to have enough of some. I need to practice stamping more.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
My sister is 17 years older than me (I was adopted but my cousin who wasn't, is 17 years younger than her oldest sibling. There are many brothers and sisters in between, too. Yikes for her mom!)
I lived in Little Rock, AR during both of Bill Clinton's presidential wins and was right in front of the stage when he accepted the second win. That was amazing what with all the press and celebrities but seeing Tony Bennett sing was probably the icing on the cake.
A few years after that I moved to Bloomington, IN and was able to attend a speech by the Dalai Lama. One is never the same after seeing this man in person.
I learned to crochet when I was 5.
Math was my best subject in high school (I even won a math competition) but was so sick of it when I went to college that I majored in Fashion Merchandising. No one can suspect you of being a brainiac when you pursue this major even though it's not quite so easy as it seems. Try threading a 5-thread serger sometime.
I always named my dogs Snoopy when I was a kid. I never missed a Charlie Brown special.
I recently wrote a bunch of limericks for the Chicago Sun-Times "Keep It Wrigley" contest and hope to win a T-shirt for my nephew. They actually put a few of them up on their website so I guess you could say I've been published in a major newspaper. I just hope to win a shirt.
I'll stop at 7. If you feel like sharing then you are tagged as well. Thanks for stopping by today!
I reviewed a new magazine - Craft Stylish: Quick Stuff to Sew. It really is a sweet, new publication with great photos and super projects that are easy to do. Of course, some may look easier than what they are since I didn't try out all the projects. There are a couple of leather objects that would probably be a challenge since I've never worked with leather or even faux leather but the instructions sure make me want to take a stab at it.
The coolest thing about the article was an editor at Taunton Publishing left a comment. I was definitely doing a little happy dance about that one. Surely made my day. I've got some sticky notes marking the projects I want to get going on, but first I have to find some extra time. Too bad one has to sleep.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
The more amazing part of this is the clothes I made for the larger dolls. I crocheted them somewhere around the 8th - 9th grade. I remember doing the Flamenco dress to take to a High School Foreign Language fair at Ohio University. I don't think I made the skirt for any reason in particular. I really liked to make doll clothes when I was young and loved when I could actually crochet them. I've included a few close-ups of the clothes. If you click on the photo you should get a larger view of them. I've kind of gotten motivated to make some clothes for my daughters dolls but I haven't told her. I need to find the time first.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I picked up this cute little book at the library, Easter Crafts by Colleen Van Blaricom. It had no photos but the artwork created by Anita Louise made the instructions easy to follow. Of course, we made plans to make more than we actually did but I let Emma choose the ones she wanted to do the most. Overall this book has great little projects that we didn't get to like making mini-baskets out of an egg carton, a bunny basket made from a milk jug, and a paper bag bunny.
This first project was simply titled A Dozen Easter Chicks. The instructions called for plain white cotton balls that were to be colored with a yellow marker. We decided buying yellow pom-poms was a much easier route to go. My daughter cut out each of the beaks but wasn't interested in getting them all the same size. I think they turned out pretty cute this way and gave each puffy chick their own personality.
The second project we collaborated on was Percival Peacock. Here the book used a real egg that you poke holes in and blow out the insides then wait for it to dry. Luckily, we just went to the local craft store and bought a wooden egg that my daughter painted. Another shortcut we used was to use craft foam for the tail feathers instead of coloring poster board. The downside of the foam is that it is thicker and was tricky to get it feathered out and keep in place while the glue dried.
Friday, March 7, 2008
I took it home with me and worked on it very rarely for many years afterward. When she died I didn't get it out again until I was in the hospital laying in bed after my water broke 5 weeks before my daughter was due. Since I didn't go into labor I got to lay in my hospital bed for 6 days hooked up to an IV waiting. I managed to get a couple of rows completed before they had to move the IV to my right hand making me incapable of continuing.
Since then I've lost my pattern and I think I've used 3 different hook sizes but it is about 1/2 done. I'm making it big just like my mom would have liked. My mom always complained that afghan patterns were not big enough to keep real people covered up. Someday I will get it done, someday...week...month...year...
Thursday, March 6, 2008
This was the second year for the event which is held at my church, Our Redeemers United Methodist Church in Schaumburg, IL. It was founded by Laura Machonis, a member of the church who has MS and turned her hobby into a major fundraising event. They have raised over $26,000. That is absolutely amazing but if you attended you know why. The outpouring of donations from companies, restaurants and individuals all over the Chicago area helped to create an environment of support to the participants. There were 147 silent auction items that ranged from awesome packs of scrapbooking supplies, Chicago Bulls and Storm tickets, toys for the kids and even a Hawaiian vacation (some of the baskets in the photo to the left).
There was plenty of food to eat and free Starbucks coffee. There were 2 tables set up with Stampin Up stamps and ink to use. There was also a tool table with Sizzex die-cuts, cutters and scissors to use.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Unfortunately, I haven't done any crafting in the last two weeks unless you count trying to get the craft area organized and hemming warm sweatpants for my daughter to wear in this freakin' cold weather. It was -5 this morning. We're supposed to get about 6" of snow tomorrow night. Yikes! I just hope it warms up a little.
This photo is from the last big snow right before it melted which helped making the snowman (or bear) a little easier to construct.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Here is a close up of the kitchen towel that I embroidered for my gingerbread pal. I am happy to report that she was very pleased with it - that and a huge Rice Krispie tree treat I sent along with it. The design is from a Tenderberry Stitches pattern pace call Home for Christmas Stitcheries T179.
The tree I made using my Wilton tree shaped pan. I had placed mini candy coated kisses in the pan before pouring in the mixture but I had to press more in by hand when I removed the tree from the pan.