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.

March 2019 Recap

Newsletters

Since finishing my tax paperwork early (yay!) I’ve spent a lot of March working on various prototypes.

For one, after searching for an 8-point star pattern in vain, I tried making one myself. Getting the proportions how I wanted while retaining the symmetry turned out to be more challenging than I thought.

8-Point Star5

While this particular project is still ongoing, I also started on a storage bag one. I’ve got one potentially usable detail down and am still working on the rest. In contrast to previous years when I was still doing battle with paperwork at this time, it’s been lovely to be able to sew!

Inspired by Nikki’s tutorial at Tikkido, I made two bookmarks as gifts: a unicorn and a lobster. The images I found with an online search. The unicorn’s tail is made from cotton yarn and floss, the lobster’s antennae from wool yarn.

DIY Bookmark Unicorn

DIY Bookmark Lobster in Book

I don’t own a laminating machine, so I used a couple of layers of clear packing tape.

March started with an odd stop in the progress of spring. February had seemed to bring us an early spring with fine weather, but then we got several dumps of snow in succession. The last big one came on March 10th, and seems indeed to have been the last one.

Hopefully Last Snowfall

Husband and I took a short spring break trip to southern Ohio to see friends. I loved how much further along spring was there!

Spring Flowers in S Ohio

Unfortunately, I also got sick during the trip and have spent ten days (and counting) nursing a very stubborn cold.

Sick in Munchkin Terms

I hope that’ll be it for the rest of the year. At least it gave me the chance to read.

How was your March?

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.

Ribbon Ornaments from Leftover Crafts Supplies

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY, Fabrics & Materials

I have a problem: as long as they are in good shape, I’m unable to throw away pieces of ribbon, however short. As long as there aren’t that many, though, they’re easy to store. But when you’ve been sitting on a stash for a while, suddenly (err– nope, not so suddenly, he hee) they’re EVERYWHERE.

This year has become the latter. So, I did some crafts! Ribbon ends that are too short for anything else, combined with other bits and bobs, make wonderful small ornaments. Since I had a variety ribbons etc. in various lenghts and amounts, I tried a few different types.

First, I adapted the ribbon hair bow tutorial by Camille Gabel at Growing up Gabel into bow decorations. For a test piece, I combined fuchsia, burgundy red, pale pink and white, plus a random peach-colored remnant.

Ribbon Ornament Test Piece Finished

That worked really nicely! I didn’t have enough of ribbons in more colors, though, so I cheated and added a few short pieces of fabric.

Ribbon Ornament Project More Colors Cut

Ribbon Ornaments Finished

The fabric edges do ravel, which might be a problem when hanging the ornaments on the tree or taking them off. I tried snipping the ravelled threads off as well as I could. We’ll just have to see how they fare long term.

I also tried making a tree-shaped ornament out of short green bits of ribbon and a stick (like this one made by Melissa Lennig). When I started, though, it was raining buckets and I didn’t at all feel like popping into the woods to pick up a stick and wait for it to dry. Instead, I decided to try a q-tip with one end snipped off. How bad can it be, I thought.

Mini Tree Ornament Collage

For the record, a q-tip is way too small for this project. It was too short and slippery and difficult to handle or try to tie the ribbons on. Phew! I only had the patience for one. The basic idea is neat, though, and works just fine, so I might make more with actual sticks at some point.

Mini Tree Ornament Finished

While rooting around in my cabinet for supplies, I came across a pile of ornaments I started some years ago but never finished. I filled clean silvery candy wrappers with rolled-up paper, glued them shut and added a hanging loop out of cotton yarn. Here they are almost finished:

Candy Wrapper Ornaments Assembled

Finally, I made a minimalist, tiny white-on-white wreath with a gold-embellished bow.

White Mini Wreath on Mirror

You’ll never guess what it’s made out of – used plastic packaging strapping! I glued two lengths into a circle, then glued the circles together and added a bow. The bow came pre-tied; I saved it from a store-bought gift packaging and merely added a gold-colored twist tie at the back.

White Mini Wreath Collage

White Mini Wreath Finished

It was really satisfying to take a bunch of waste material or remnants and turn them into something useful. In fact, we used them all in our Christmas decor this year: the mini wreath hangs on the front hall mirror and all of the ornaments in our little tree.

2018 Rainbow Tree Collage

With the rainbow-colored paper chains I made years ago, our tree is very colorful indeed!

What are your favorite Christmas projects that involve recycling or upcycling?

New to Me: Made of Sundays

Design & Designers

Made of Sundays is a new-to-me design studio focusing on creative wall graphics – decals, posters and stickers – based in Helsinki, Finland.

I have to confess their style isn’t quite to my liking in general; I’ve never been big on polka dots, sprinkles, or triangle or dot patterns, for example. However, this door hug decal is incredibly cute!

Made of Sundays Door Hug Decal Bathroom

Made of Sundays.

 

Ok, I confess that I like the green-to-blue rain drops, too. 🙂

Made of Sundays Gradient Rain Drops Blue Green

Made of Sundays.

 

I guess I’m more of a fan of their style than I thought! 😀

Visit Made of Sundays for more!

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.

Online Finds: TP Roll Ghost Halloween Craft

Arts & Crafts, DIY

Being a Finn, I don’t typically decorate for Halloween. These über-cute ghost tea light holders might make me change my mind, though:

The Craft Train Kate Ghosts-hero-2

Kate at The Craft Train.

Aren’t they adorable! And made from very simple materials – repurposed toilet paper rolls, white paint and a black marker. Visit Kate at The Craft Train for the whole project.

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

Quilting-Like Upholstery Tacking on Cabinet Doors

Design & Designers, Inspiration

What a fascinating take on upholstery tacking: the doors of a free-standing dining room cabinet are tacked in an elaborate pattern on what looks like leather.

Desire to Inspire Toronto Interior Design Group Quilted Cabinet Doors

Toronto Interior Design Group, found via Desire to Inspire; cropped.

The leather is clearly set over some sort of puffy filling held down with the tacks. It quite reminds me of quilting.

Found via Desire to Inspire.

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