Saturday, January 25, 2014

Building a mini-studio

I don't know how, but this month feels like it's slipping through my fingers.  I take that back, I DO know how, it's because I'm working on a new book.  The beginning part of any new book is so much fun, getting to plan and sketch and design and SHOP!  The more I think about it, the more I'm surprised that MORE time hasn't gotten away from me. LOL!!

I decided that I needed a photography light box for this book.  I didn't want to have to be at the whim of nature (ie: cold, gray, dark January days) to get good shots of my work.  Luckily my BFF Pinterest came to my rescue with several great pins to help me out (like THIS and THIS!).

You might notice that I didn't bother sewing the muslin, I just taped it onto the pvc pipe with some masking tape.  Have I mentioned how much I am in LOVE with pvc pipe right now?  Ever since I bought a pair of ratcheting pipe cutters (is it really a pair?  I'm using scissor rules on this one...) I have searched out projects I can make from pvc pipe.  I am so smitten!!!

I think that I was able to put my mini-photography studio together in about an hour.  I was able to repurpose some lamps that we already had, so my cost for this project was less than $20.

I've just about nailed down everything that's going into the book at this point.  It's a collection of crochet handbags, and the instructions on a new way to line them that is so simple and fast!  I am so excited about this one!!!  I don't have a release date yet, but I'll let you know when I've got more information.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Soap Challenge: Smaug's Heart Taiwan Swirl!

It's soap challenge time again!  This month, the challenge (put on by Great Cakes Soapworks!) was the Taiwan Swirl.  It's a deceptively simple looking swirl that produces absolutely gorgeous results.

I decided to make my soap this month with my normal recipe (plus some shea butter to make it feel luxurious!), and Dragon's Blood fragrance oil.  The fragrance is an earthy combination of cedarwood, orange and patchouli essential oils and smells a little like the inside of a health food store to me.  LOL!

Dragons make me think of The Hobbit and the glorious dragon Smaug.  I wanted to create a soap that would evoke some of that awesome imagery from Tolkien's book (and the latest movie, I'll be honest).

I used three colors in my swirl: Sunshine, Orange and Cherry (all Celestial Colors).   I decided to attempt to create flames, since the way that the swirl curled across the top of the soap it would appear like the flames would be shooting out from Smaug's mouth as he breathed fire.  

The swirl is done through the top of the soap, so since I made mine in a loaf mold I needed to cut the soap vertically into large pieces, and then cut those chunks in half horizontally.

This is my finished soap.  I'm really pleased with the results.  I think I was able to create the flame look exactly as I had hoped in the top of the soap, and I'm equally pleased with how the center cuts created totally different but still beautifully swirled bars.

I'm calling this batch Smaug's Heart.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Inkle Loom

I got an inkle loom for Christmas!!  Actually, I got the parts to make a loom out of PVC pipe, which made me so happy because A) it was fun to put together and B) it was cheap, cheap, cheap!  
**For those of you that might not be first century weaving scholars, inkle means "ribbon" or "strap" and refers to narrow bands of warp-faced fabric that are woven on a small, portable loom.  Normal weaving (to make fabric) is done on large floor looms which are not portable and can take up a lot of space.

My loom makes about eight feet of finished trim.  I've got a cute pink checkerboard pattern warped on it right now.  I'm still new at it, so it takes me a couple of hours to get it warped, and then it will take me another couple of hours to weave it.

These are some of my first bands.  I made them with regular inkle weaving, using heddle strings to create the shed.

These are my card weaving bands.  I have fallen in love with card weaving!  It's faster than regular weaving (for me) and the results are so beautiful.

I've used some of the finished trim as drawstrings for some muslin bags that I made, and I also have made some of the woven trim into headbands.  It makes great headbands!  They remind me of the non-slip headbands that I used to buy, back when I was running.

Did you guys get any fun new toys this holiday season?!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Argyle Day!

Did you know that today was National Argyle Day?  Did you even know that we had a National Argyle Day?  Me either.  But in case you would like to celebrate it with a little crochet, I've got a book that would be perfect for you!

It's available exclusively HERE in the Amazon Kindle Store!  (Don't have a Kindle?  No worries!  You can download the FREE Kindle software for your computer, tablet, smart phone, and other awesome tech devices!)

It's also National Bubble Bath Day, and National English Toffee Day.

So today as you relax in a bubble bath, crocheting an argyle scarf, and munching on english toffee, you are doing your part to support our country!  Consider yourself a patriot!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Years, Dynamos!

Howdy Dynamos!  Happy 2014!

I've had such a hectic week.  Between Jake's messed up ankle, and Mims's holiday vacation schedule, and an unpleasant bout of food poisoning, I have been doing good just to get up in the morning!  But today Mims went back to school, and Jake's napping on the couch, and I'm finally feeling normal again.

We had to make a trip out to the feed store today to get the chickens more food, and while we were there we thought, "Hey, let's get a bale of straw for the coop!"  LOL!!! As a city girl, I didn't fully comprehend how large a bale of straw actually was.  They weigh a hundred pounds, y'all!!!
(I get to use the contraction y'all because 1. I own and wear cowboy boots and 2. I had a legitimate reason for being in a feed store.  That practically makes me a country girl, and as such, I am allowed to use country slang. LOL!)
So we decided to leave with our little 25 pound sack of chicken feed, and go back for the straw when we can borrow my dad's truck. And Jake's ankle isn't broken.  The chickens like their wood shavings, so it wasn't a big deal, but we're planning to expand their run and it would have been nice to have the straw ready to go.

On our way home we stopped by the library to drop off some of the books Mims read over her vacation.  I used it as an opportunity to shoot some pictures of the yarn bombing that a group from Knots of Love did in early December.

I love that they put hats and scarves on the statues of the children playing in the pond!!  I admire the brave soul that mucked through the pond water to get out to them, that pond is so nasty.

I'm glad that the city has decided to leave is up for all of us to enjoy.  I think it makes the park look so festive and friendly.  

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