Online Finds: Abstract Art with Cooking Oil and Food Coloring

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY

Allison at Dream a Little Bigger came up with an ingenious way to make abstract art – with cooking oil and gel food colors:

Dream a Little Bigger Allison Food Color Art WiP

Allison at Dream a Little Bigger

Her point was to use something she already had. Can you believe the resist patterns were done with canola oil?

Dream a Little Bigger Allison Food Color Art

Allison at Dream a Little Bigger

Very nice! Apparently the colors change a little as the paper dries, but it looks so vibrant either way. I wonder whether you might be able to do wrapping paper with this technique?

Visit Allison’s tutorial at Dream a Little Bigger for more photos and a how-to.

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

Online Finds: Poikkeustilapolkka – Polka in Quarantine

After Hours, Bits in Spaaace!

During the covid-19 pandemic, many people in my social bubble have turned not just to handcrafts but to video projects as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen a wide spread of projects and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s an example.

Polokkarit is a 25-year-old folk dance ensemble based in Oulu, Finland. They recorded a polka performance that respects physical distancing recommendations.

(P.S. Beware of one blurred-out NSWF moment – I’m kinda flabbergasted that they left it in.)

Poikkeustilapolkka – Polka in Quarantine by Polokkarit Kansantanssiryhmä on YouTube

They tell a bit about their polka video on YouTube:

“At the moment most of the world is in lockdown mode, but the Finnish folk dance group Polokkarit has found a way to combine dancing and social distancing. Ever since Finland introduced official COVID-19 restrictions, weekly video calls have gathered the group together to practice, keep in touch and socialize. These sessions resulted in an idea of ‘Polka in Quarantine’, a video piece for celebrating International Dance Day with the aim to help ease the group’s yearning for dancing together and at the same time brighten the day of people all around the world.

“The whole production of ‘Polka in Quarantine’ was carried out remotely. The piece introduces the variety of Finnish polka steps in the characteristically cheerful Polokkarit style while offering the dancers’ national costumes a long-awaited outing as well. The video features 29 Polokkarit dancers altogether, scattered to different parts of the country due to the pandemic. Despite the physical distance, this video piece brings the dancers together, thanks to Finnish polka. As well as demonstrating a variety of traditional Finnish polka steps, ‘Polka in Quarantine’ also gives the viewer a unique chance to take a peek into Finnish homes.”

Love it! It’s also nice to see glimpses of familiar places in the background.

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

Intricate Knitting Pattern Based on Pictish Artwork

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers, Fabrics & Materials

Many people in my social bubble have turned to handcrafts during the covid-19 pandemic as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen such a wide spread of projects and patterns and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s an example.

This intricate knitting pattern for a scarf by Lucy Hague is based on Pictish artwork. In Hague’s words, it “explores the relationship between key patterns and spirals – slowly morphing from one to the other, and then back again.”

Twitter Lucy Hague Kirriemuir

Lucy Hague at Twitter

Ravelry Lucy Hague Kirriemuir Closeup

Lucy Hague at Ravelry

Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous? The knitted surface can replicate curvilinear shapes well, and the purled background literally lifts up the pattern. Excellent design work!

The color is wonderful, too; it reminds me of the blues and greys in northern skies and waters. 🙂

Find the pattern at Ravelry.

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

Quilling Artist Sena Runa: Update

Arts & Crafts, Colors, Design & Designers

I’ve shared quilling artis Sena Runa’s work before, but that was five years ago. (Yikes! Where does time go?) It’s high time to do an update.

Since I last posted, Runa has moved to Lisbon, Portugal. She also published a book, Quilling Art, and a second one, Quilling: 20 Beautiful Designs, will be out this summer. Congrats on both!

Like before, I’m only posting three of my favorites, but Runa is so productive it really is difficult to pick only from among her recent work.

World map (selection):

Facebook Sena Runa World Map

Sena Runa: World Map

Tardis – naturally, bigger on the inside!

Etsy Sena Runa Tardis

Sena Runa: Tardis

Welsh Dragon:

Instagram Sena Runa Welsh Dragon

Sena Runa: Welsh Dragon

Which one’s your favorite? I think I prefer the Tardis. 🙂

See her Instagram and Facebook accounts or Etsy shop for more!

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

Letter Tiles Make a DIY Floor Better

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

While browsing my inspiration binders for solutions for another problem, I rediscovered this nifty floor treatment from ReadyMade magazine June/July 2010:

ReadyMade June-July 2010 p88

Robin Reimer; photo by Kritsada Panichgul. ReadyMade magazine, June-July 2010, p. 88

As a word nerd, I especially appreciate repurposing letter tiles for this project (likely from Scrabble). Right outside an exterior door may not be the best place for wood tiles, though, but I suppose thorough finishing would take care of that.

The only problem if I were doing this kind of a project might be the urge to arrange specific words here and there and getting carried away with it! LOL! 🙂 😀

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

New to Me: Mermaid Skeleton Print Fabric

Design & Designers, Fabrics & Materials

I was looking for something quite different when this print fabric caught my eye: skeleton mermaids. (Skeletal mermaids? Mermaid skeletons? Mer-letons??)

JoAnn Novelty Mermaid Skeleton Print

I see one playing a panflute, another a harmonica, yet one more a guitar; some are wearing sombreros or crowns on their heads. What?!? LOL! 😀

Sadly, the vendor doesn’t describe it in any more detail than “novelty cotton”. I wonder whether it might be a Day of the Dead print? It’s fun, nevertheless.

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

Otters and Other Critters Take Over Tea Bag Designs

Design & Designers, Food & Drink

The Japanese tea company Ocean Tea Bag has taken tea bag design to a whole new level. Their models include intricate animal shapes from hammerheads, giant squids and cephalopods to turtles, kitties and red pandas. My favorite is this cute otter…

Ocean Tea Bag Otter in Cup

Ocean Tea Bag

…although the frogs are a close second:

Ocean Tea Bag Frogs

Ocean Tea Bag

But here’s the question: would you want to use up such gorgeous tea bags?

Found via Colossal.

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

New to Me: Constellations on a Jack-o’-Lantern

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Inspiration

Husband and I do Halloween in a very minimal way in our house: usually we only carve a pumpkin, light candles and get ready for trick-or-treaters. Despite not growing up with Halloween, I love seeing what creative decorations and tips other people have shared.

Earlier in the month I was going through some of my notes and found this photo of a gorgeous Jack-o-‘lantern carved with constellations:

Martha Stewart Magazine Oct 2017 p107

Martha Stewart Magazine, October 2017, p. 107

It’s from the October 2017 issue of Martha Stewart Magazine. Apparently they used a LED light string and pushed into each hole an individual light as a star. No wonder they’re so bright. Very nice!

Happy Halloween to those celebrating!

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

April 2019 Recap

Newsletters

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.