April 2019 Recap

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Like last month, I’ve done some prototype work this April. For a while I’ve wondered about using felt as interfacing in various projects. We’ve already been using my two placemat prototypes for over six months; they seem to be holding well.

This time I started a purse. Here are the fabrics during the color test / fabric selection phase:

Purse Prototype Fabrics

I had two golden ribbons to choose between; if you look carefully, the one on the right has tone-on-tone striping. In the end, I decided on the plainer ribbon. I may have regrets, though…

A major roadblock for this project has been an 8-point applique star. I started that already in March by making a pattern. As this was to be a prototype, I wanted to use up some scraps from my remnants bin. In hindsight that wasn’t a very good decision; I had an inordinate amount of trouble with the star, since I foolishly selected two very slippery, knit-based fabrics: crushed velvet and faux chamois.

I did finish the star eventually, after much cursing and procrastination.

Applique Star WiP Pieced

Now I just can’t decide whether it’s good enough to apply on the purse. I guess that means not.

Well. You win some, you lose some. That’s just the nature of the creative process.

But: Having finished my taxes earlier than usual, I also had ample time to rearrange my workroom. That invariably meant flinging the smaller bookcases around. In addition, I took the opportunity to death clean some of my possessions, and all that lead to restyling my shelves. I made a curtain to hide some of the less than handsome binders and folders:

Bookcase Curtain Finished

The rest of the shelves aren’t quite there yet, but the curtain is looking great, don’t you think? 🙂

Since I moved my desk, my office phone handset was displaced. I made it a tiny end table out of two upcycled oatmeal containers, posterboard and a round tablecloth:

DIY Phone Table Finished

Here’s a secret: the tablecloth is actually one of my SCA veils, naturally well-washed and pressed. (SCA here means Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., i.e., a group of medieval re-enactors.)

In early April, we finally lost the last of the snow and got to enjoy the first leaf buds and flowers, albeit a little late. Spring is my favorite time of the year! 🙂

2019 First Dandelions2

Flowering Pear First Flower

We continue to experiment with new foods due to dietary restrictions. Here’s a dessert that happened to be all vegan: poached pears, roasted & salted cashews and almondmilk vanilla ice cream.

Poached Pears w Pecans

Will I sound too childish if I say OM NOM NOM!?! 🙂

And, of course, at the end of the month we saw Avengers: Endgame. I’m still mulling it over, but it definitely is a one-of-a-kind ending to a one-of-a-kind series of independent but interlinked movies.

Cake Toppers That Look Like Flowers, Embroidery, Geodes and More

Design & Designers, Food & Drink, Thumbs Up

My Modern Met shared some amazing buttercream cake toppers in an article. They are the work of Leslie Vigil, California-based artist and cake maker. And they are. So. Beautiful! All of them!

Among the most interesting to me were these three toppers that include embroidery-like elements:

Instagram Leslie Vigil Cake Collage Embroidery

Leslie Vigil on Instagram; collage by Eppu Jensen.

Her geode cakes would make great treats for theme parties for N.K. Jemisin The Broken Earth trilogy:

Instagram Leslie Vigil Cake Collage Geodes

Leslie Vigil on Instagram; collage by Eppu Jensen.

There are also a few explicitly geeky ones, like this Groot cake:

Instagram Leslie Vigil Groot

Leslie Vigil on Instagram.

Visit the My Modern Met article and Vigil’s Instagram for more – there are so many designs to love! Almost makes me wish I were in California, too. Then again, I’m sure my doctor would be much happier if I were to stay away, far away, from cakes. 🙂

Found via Good Stuff Happened Today on Tumblr.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Short Roundup of Unicorn Crafts

Arts & Crafts, DIY

Last month, I needed an idea for small gifts, so I searched for interesting unicorn crafts. Here’s a short roundup of my favorites.

Unicorn Crafts Collage

Shellie Wilson at Kids Crafts posted a video tutorial for a sleepy unicorn pencil case:

Kids Crafts Shellie Wilson Sleepy Unicorn Pencil Case

Shellie Wilson at Kids Crafts.

So cute – I just want to cuddle it!

Naomi Julia Satake’s mobile was featured at Oh Happy Day:

Oh Happy Day Stained Glass Unicorn

Naomi Julia Satake via Oh Happy Day.

She made a gorgeous hanging unicorn reminiscent of stained glass windows from posterboard and gel filters. Such an elegant DIY.

Kim at Bugaboo City posted a free pattern for three cross-stitch bookmarks, including a unicorn:

Bugaboo City Kim Cross-stitch Bookmarks

Kim at Bugaboo City.

I was impressed by the cardboard trophy head posted at Bespoke Bride:

Bespoke Bride Unicorn Trophy Head

Bespoke Bride.

However, I didn’t quite have enough time to do it, so I ended up going with Nikki’s tutorial:

Tikkido Nicole Unicorn Bookmark

Nicole at Tikkido.

In the end I made two, a unicorn and a lobster:

DIY Bookmarks Lobster Unicorn Collage

I am really intrigued by all of these projects, though, and might get back to one or two later.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Traditional Andean Design Finds New Life in Architectural Details

Colors, Design & Designers, Random Beauty

The city of El Alto in Bolivia, high up in the Andes, is the country’s second largest city and right next to the third largest one, La Paz. Something that El Alto beats its richer neighbor in is unique eye candy right on the building facades.

That’s because an architect, Freddy Mamani Silvestre, is slowly working bright colors into El Alto’s red-brick and concrete scenery.

Wikipedia Mamani Cholet1

via Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Information on Silvestre seems scant in English. A member of the indigenous Aymara, he apparently started working on buildings as a bricklayer. There’s a feature on El Alto in The New York Times in 2013 and in The Washington Post in 2014. He’s referred to in a 2014 BBC News article on president Evo Morales. The Architectural Association, Inc., still has their exhibition info Salones de Eventos from 2015 available online. I also found two articles via the German Wikipedia entry for Silvestri: one in The Architectural Review and the other in Quartz, both from 2015. The best bet at the moment might be the 2017 book El Alto by Silvestre and Peter Granser. For Spanish readers there’s more, including the 2014 book La arquitectura de Freddy Mamani Silvestre.

Quartz Mamani Salon Montecarlo

Salón Montecarlo by Alfredo Zeballos / The Architecture of Freddy Mamani Silvestre. Via Quartz.

Silvestri draws on traditional shapes and colors in his designs. Some of the detailing reminds me of jugend (I believe the phrase art deco is used in the U.S. instead), but Silvestri’s work is clearly not derivative of it.

If the exteriors seem colorful and detailed, just wait until you see the interiors!

Wow! His style has been described as Neo-Andean, new Andean, space-ship architecture or, plainly, kitch. However you may want to describe it, the word colorful will have to be there!

Found via Colossal.

Cross-posted from Co-Geeking.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Faux Fireplace with Tablecloth “Tile” Surround

Fabrics & Materials, Inspiration, Stunt Double

I’m always on the lookout for unusual solutions to decorating problems. The fireplace below certainly applies: despite it’s traditional looks, the reality is very non-traditional.

DSponge Schroors Netherlands Fireplace Sm

It’s from the Drachten, Netherlands, home of Mindy and Theo Schroor. From their description (the mantel is “purely decorative”) it sounds like the fireplace is a faux one built around an electric stove. The tile surround is actually a tablecloth mounted to the wall.

I’ve seen clever faux fireplaces before. In this one, it’s the tablecloth surround that really makes the whole, however: the print displays copies of Dutch artists’ work and details from Delftware ceramics, repeated tile-style, as a lovely nod to the local history. The history nerd in me definitely appreciates the choice!

Found via design*sponge.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

New to Me: The Tempestry Project Knits Climate Data into Textiles

Arts & Crafts, Colors, Geek out!, Stunt Double, This Is Important

Justin and Marissa Connelly co-founded the Tempestry Project with Emily McNeil to save temperature data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Their twist: depicting the data not numerically but as colorful knits.

Etsy Tempestry Project Yarn Medford MA

Tempestry Project on Etsy.

Emily McNeil describes the project:

“One of the ongoing problems inherent in discussions about climate change is the vast scale of the conversation. The Tempestry Project’s goal is to scale this down into something tangible, relatable, accurate, and beautiful.

“The Tempestry Project blends fiber art with temperature data to create a bridge between global climate and our own personal experiences through knitted or crocheted temperature tapestries, or ‘Tempestries.’ Each Tempestry represents the daily high temperature for a given year and location, all using the same yarn colors and temperature ranges.”

 

Etsy Tempestry Project Deception Pass WA

25 years of daily temperature for Deception Pass, WA, ranging from 1948 (top left) to 2016 (bottom right). Tempestry Project on Etsy.

What a great idea – I love the color ranges as pure visuals for one, but it’s also a fascinating way to turn numbers into a tangible item. Not to mention that I love knits!

Now I’m starting to wonder whether we night have similar data for Finland – I might want to make one for the city of my birth then and now.

Visit the Tempestry Project on their website, on Ravelry and on Etsy.

Found via Mary Anne Mohanraj on Twitter.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Online Finds: DIY Medicine Cabinet Hides Behind Wall Art

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Inspiration

What a gorgeous DIY medicine cabinet project! A photo frame functions as the door:

A Beautiful Mess Laura Gummerman Make-A-Hidden-Medicine-Cabinet

Laura Gummerman at A Beautiful Mess.

So clever! And, of course, it’s highly adaptable to any taste.

However trite it may sound, the ingenuity of people never ceases to amaze me. Now I kinda want to make a row of these in our front hall, bathroom, my workroom, etc. and store all sorts of little necessities right where they’re needed… 🙂

For the tutorial and more photos, visit Laura Gummerman at A Beautiful Mess.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

New to Me: Jordan Nassar Embroideries

Arts & Crafts

I’ve been meaning to share this for a while now, but something or other was always supposedly more important or interesting. No more! 🙂

Jordan Nassar creates intricate, painting-like embroideries that mix traditional stitching with a modern approach, color scheme or subject-matter – or all of them.

The way he repeats a simple stitch en masse and creates an image with color (in contrast to varying the stitching) is fascinating:

Jordan Nassar The Arab Apocalypse

The Arab Apocalypse. Jordan Nassar.

Also intriguing are the pieces with rows of traditional symbols that, beneath an unaltered row, are reflected or refracted:

Jordan Nassar Haifa

Haifa. Jordan Nassar.

On his About page, Nassar’s work is described like this:

“Nassar’s work addresses the intersection of craft, language, history, (geo)politics, and technology. Beginning with the intricacies of identity and cultural participation, as a Palestinian- American, Nassar treats traditional craft more as medium than topic, examining subjects such as cultural heritage, ownership, exchange and absorption; emigrant nostalgia for the ‘homeland’ and its generational repercussions; geography, politics, and orientalism; symbology, codes and language systems; superstition and religious belief; post-internet visual language; and representational and geometric abstraction.”

 

I think my favorites are the monochrome pieces that remind me of traditional Finnish textiles like ryijy or käspakka. Of course it helps that his are my favorite color, blue! 🙂

Jordan Nassar Untitled 8 Pointed Stars

Untitled (8 Pointed Stars). Jordan Nassar.

For more, visit Nassar’s web page or follow him on Instagram.

Found via design*sponge.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Happy Halloween!

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY, Inspiration

I’m impressed – and cheered! – by the DIY rainbow pumpkins by Brittany W. Jepsen at The House that Lars Built:

House that Lars Built Rainbow-Pumpkin-Porch-0102

The House that Lars Built; photo by Jane Merritt.

Isn’t the array simply stunning?!

Happy (Rainbow) Halloween!

P.S. An honorable mention goes to Brittany DeMauro at Costume Supercenter for sharing Avengers pumpkin-carving stencils. Avengers assemble!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Paper Rose Wreath Made from Recycled Book Pages

Arts & Crafts, Fabrics & Materials

Brittany Bailey shared a paper rose wreath made from recycled book pages:

Pretty Handy Girl Brittany Bailey Book Page Rose

Brittany Bailey.

Pretty Handy Girl Brittany Bailey Book Page Rose Wreath

Brittany Bailey.

So beautiful, right?

As a booklover and librarian, I’m protective of books in good shape. But as a maker, if a book is beyond saving, I’m glad to see it continue its life as crafts materials. Brittany’s project definitely brings together the best of both worlds. Thank you for sharing!

Visit Pretty Handy Girl for the tutorial.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.