Favorite Quotes

Therefore do no worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. - Jane Austen

If you don't like something, change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. -Mary Engelbreit

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Christmas Gifts: Cross stitching

I learned how to cross stitch fairly young. I was inspired by my Mother who has cross stitched Christmas stocking for my brother and I. Aside from my AMAZING Christmas stocking, I got turned off from cross stitching due to its high correlation with a country, crafty vibe.

Luckily enough for me, the evolution of geek culture has made its way into the cross stitching world. Below are the pieces I created for my siblings. After the stitching was done, I framed each piece. If you are interested in replicating my cross stitch pieces, check out my pintest page. If you are interested in how to frame cross stitched pieces, check out this link. 

This one's framing did not turn out as nice as the others. Note to self, when framing cross stitch do not buy the type of frame that stuff has to pop into. 

Unexpectedly, the Calvin and Hobbes pieces turned out to be my favorite. On my future to-do list is to make a pair for myself. 

Cross stitch can be cool! Now only if I can finish my husband's Christmas stocking which I started about three years ago....

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Gifts: Alcohol Ink

My blog hiatus is due to the fact that I created the majority of the gifts this year and did not want to spoil any surprises. Christmas has usually been a crafty time for me. For several years I have crafted a different ornament for the Christmas season. I have made wire star ornaments, quilled snowflakes, and cross stitched. Some day I will make another batch of the wire ornaments and quilled ones.

Instead of one long blog post, I will break up my posts for each project. This post contains my alcohol ink experiments. I found out about alcohol ink from an old pinterest pin. If you are interested in using alcohol ink for yourself, I would check out the following links. 

After reading and watching the links I purchased following supplies from Michaels:
  • Small glass bowls
    • Prices can start as low as $1. I bought two different sizes. I looked at the dollar store but I didn't find anything I liked. If you are feeling uncertain, get a couple at the dollar store first and practice on those. 
  • Alcohol Ink
    • My Michaels sells them in three packs for $10 each. I purchased two packs.
  • An ink blending tool
    • Not essential, but it makes it easier to distribute the color more easily if you decide to go with the stamping method 
    • Instead of buying extra stamping pads, go to the felt section, buy white, and cut small pieces at home for yourself. You'll save more the $5 and it will work just the same. 
  • Alcohol Blending Solution
    • Again not essential. The blogs I read stated I could also use distilled alcohol from the medical isle in pharmacy section of a grocery store.  
  • Krylon spray
    • You can find this in the spray pain section. I bought a matte finish and was disappointed with the results. If I do this project again, I will purchase a glossy finish. 
    • Alcohol ink will wash off, hence why the spray is important to protect the surface and maintain the color. 
  • Latex Gloves
    • If you don't cover your hands, you will stain your skin. I accidentally got a small amount on my arm and it took a day to get it off. 
  • Wax Paper and Cardboard
    • Since I worked on my dining room table, I wanted to make sure I kept the surface safe. I put the wax paper down first and then the cardboard on top. 
If you take on this project, my best suggestion is to just play. If you want to stain a large piece, practice on some small pieces first. Watch the videos I posted and then search for a few of your own. I decided to go with a stamping method instead of some of the others out there. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Projects on Hold

I realized that since my drawing class this past summer I have not drawn much besides zentangling. I plan on taking Drawing II from the local community college in the Spring. I don't want to be rusty so I am going to make the effort to at least sketch more often. My drawing instructor suggested selecting objects around the house to practice on and I picked my Horrible Adorable "Walter". Drawing is not my favorite thing but I understand that basic drawing ability is the basis for paining, watercolor, etc so I would like to improve. 

As I have shared I have struggled to find work in my profession (counseling) and have recently taken a seasonal cashier position with Michaels. I am constantly surprised by how much Christmas decorations people are buying. I understand buying crafting supplies for Christmas but decorations?  

I changed up my name tag with some tangles. After meeting a few customers who were interested in zentangle, I now take my CZT business cards to work. 
Last post I shared the zentangled masks I made for Halloween last year. This year I made another though I did not finish it until today unfortunately. It did not turn out as tribal looking as the other two. I didn't like it at first but it is growing on me. 

In progress

Completed project
 I wore my red mask before and wore all black to pass out candy to trick-or-treaters. I knew I wouldn't necessarily scare anyone but I creeped out some kids out by staying completely silent. I of course made exceptions for the tiny children who did appear frightened. 

My Halloween art journal entry

I am still working on the rainbow granny stripe blanket. I made up the design and I think I like how it is turning out. I keep going back and forth between like and dislike. Either way I have gone too far to stop. I believe I need to go 2-3 more times around for it to be a decent lap blanket. 

I was originally going to make blankets as Christmas presents but based on how long this is taking that does not seem feasible. I think I am going to make scarfs instead. I saw a customer yesterday with a beautiful mono-color v-stitch scarf that I feel inspired to emulate. 

This is another current work in progress that will have to go on hold for Christmas gifts. I LOVE this Isaac Mizrahi yarn and knew I need to be engulfed in the form of a blanket. Unfortunately I don't think my original idea for a giant granny square is going to work out. I don't like how the colors are pooling in certain places and it is taking a lot of yarn. Now I am transitioning to making small granny squares and then finding a border color to merry them together. This type of yarn does not come in a solid color which I think is necessary to get the colors to pop. 

Leaving you today with a black tile zentangle. The Sakura white gelly roll pens roll out a lot different than the microns.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tangles and Rainbows

My background check at Michael's came back and I start tomorrow! Hopefully this puts out good energy into the universe and I'll get some calls for interviews for counseling jobs soon.......

This week I mostly worked on the rainbow blanket below. I wanted to try out a granny stripe pattern like the ones I've seen all over the place. I wanted to try something slightly different. Each time I finish one rainbow pattern, I turn the blanket and have the next pattern start going in a different direction. I'm not sure if I like it yet but it is at least interesting. It is currently the size of a small rug. I took a pause on the crocheting to weave in the ends. Weaving in ends is boring and made my fingers hurt. I crave to just try a knot and be done with it. I will not do that however because that is what I did with the granny square blanket and after washing it, several of the squares became undone. Live and learn. 

I continued to work on my zentangle pumpkin. I'm really liking the use of the silver sharpie. Michael's is getting rid of all their Fall decorations. Sunday everything was 70% off. I bought three more pumpkins this size for less than the most of one full price pumpkin. I have not decided what I want to do with them yet. Maybe zentangle them as well. It just takes a long time to do one pumpkin. 

For a while I had paint at work for my residents to use. It became too much of a hassle because I did not have a good set up in my office. A bunch of my paint it stored in plastic jewelry cups that if the lid is not tight, air is allowed it. Shocker, teenagers are not the best at making sure the cups are snapped all the way. It was interesting to play with mostly dried out paint. The dark and light purples were dried out into a putty type consistency which I rubbed onto the paper. The magenta color was normal consistency for acrylic paint. 

To get in the Halloween spirit, I will zentangle this mask this week.  

These are the masks I zentangled last year. 

I taught a friend's daughter how to zentangle last year. She tangled the below images for me this past weekend. I bought small frames from Michael's and used black scrapbook paper as a background. More art for my future office. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Moss Stitching

I tried out the moss/granite stitch this week (follow this link for instructions). It takes more time that the other stitches I have tried out lately since it is all single stitches. I found it frustrating to start out and ended up permanently adding a twist in the scarf so it won't lay flat. Once is it is worn I don't think it will be too noticeable.  

I worked on this piece at my community's stitching group last night. Apparently it used to have 8-10 members but it is down to three, four if I am included. I am the youngest person by far but that's ok. One of the members is from Guatemala so I have increased motivation to try to learn Spanish again. 

After washing my completed projects with softener, it all feels soft and comfy. I rewashed the items after again because I am not a fan of the smell. After washing and drying the blanket I had to fix a couple squares that came undone. Luckily it is an easy fix.

Even though last week was mid-October, all the Halloween and fall decorations were 50% off. I bought a small craft pumpkin and have been zentangling on it. I found a metallic sharpie in my art supplies that adds a cool contrast.

I found this AMAZING yarn at Michael's designed by Isaac Mizrahi. It is super bulky and will feel great once it's done.
Unfortunately I ran out of yarn since each skein was only 69 yards. Hopefully I will start working at Michael's soon so I can justify buying more yarn in the near future. 
I started experimenting with the yarn I bought for a rainbow project. It will evolve hopefully over the week.
Another art journal entry 
This funniest thing I have seen all week. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Experimenting with Stitches and Scarfs

After accomplishing several project with granny squares large and small I decided to start experimenting with stitches that I had not tried before. My crochet knowledge is basic but I have learned a lot in the past few weeks from some helpful blogs. Eventually I will want to learn how to read crochet directions but right now I'm getting by without it. I'm enjoying the mindless stitches that don't require counting after the first row. 

Websites I found helpful this week:

I have found a pattern in my creative pursuits. When I am home for an extended period of time, I tend to engage in crocheting or quilting projects. A few summers ago when I was still in school but taking a lighter load, I crocheted my first baby blankets. Last year when I broke my ankle, I quilted two t-shirt blankets and my first first non t-shirt crib quilt. This summer during vacation I made several crocheted baskets. Now that I've been out of work for a month an a half I've created my first granny square crochet blanket, two crocheted baby blankets, and three scarfs. Outside of those times, I can not think of at this time any other long term project that I have undergone. In between this larger projects, I have done other creative things such as the drawing class , working in my art journal, or zentangling. I don't have a background in Art Therapy (yet) but think I am trying to replace the fulfillment I get from work through the larger projects. 

I played with the v-stitch for the first time and found this yarn extremely difficult to work. I crocheted five rows before stopping. This scrap will be probably stored until yarn bomber asks for my contributions. 
Throwback: This is the project which the picture above's yarn is from. I don't remember the yarn being nearly as difficult back then. 
My first experiment with a granny stripe. After doing so many granny squares this was easy. 

I did not get very far before running out of yarn. I love this yarn. I do not remember what is is called but I know it is designed for baby projects. It reminds me of t-shirt yarn but not quite. I hope to eventually find it again to finish it off. 

Throwback: This is the project that the previous two pictures' yarn is from. 
My first scarf. I ran out of yarn so it did not turn out a long as I wanted. I brought another skein today and plan on returning to it this week. I'd like it to be longer and wider. 

This is by far my favorite project of the week. These colors are left over from my granny square blanket and I LOVE the combination. I planned on giving this one away before I fell in love with it and and going to make another one to keep for myself soon. 

After watching my finish by v-stitch scarf, my mother took by to Michael's and brought several projects worth of yarn for me to make for her. I finished this granny stripe one yesterday.

One day after a morning of anxiety and disappoint I felt compelled to work in my art journal. 

Below are several screenshots of things I saw during the week that I found inspiring: