Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The goodie bags came in a pack of 2 dozen for only a couple dollars at Target. I made the gift tags myself and tied them on with satin ribbon and a jingle bell for flair.
Monday, November 2, 2009
I finished reading The Gathering Storm this weekend, possibly due to the fact that I had nothing better to do on Halloween. Once I started reading this I did have a hard time putting it down and only the Harry Potter-esque thickness of the tome kept me from finishing it 24 hours after bringing it home.
Brandon Sanderson did a wonderful job of keeping the story feeling like Robert Jordan's work. His interpretation of the characters, places and storyline fit in exactly with how I expected things to be and I was able to immerse myself in the story without any distraction of being aware that someone other than Robert Jordan had penned the words.
However, Brandon Sanderson did make use of one technique that I felt worked well coming from him that would not have felt right if it had come from Robert Jordan - now and again he would revisit places and events from the earlier volumes. In a way it felt like a tribute to Robert Jordan's work but also served the purpose of coming full circle and building up towards the impending goosebump-enducing ending to the epic.
I loved how the story ended; after it just seemed to get darker and darker, finally there is a ray of hope shining through that makes me look forward to what will happen next. However, it's making me think that in contrast the second book of the final trilogy should end up with an Empire Strikes Back type of cliffhanger ending to lead into the final book. But I'm going to have to wait to find out!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I decided to read this book because I enjoyed Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and Brandon Sanderson will be writing the final installment since Robert Jordan passed away before finishing the last book. I thought it would be best to familiarize myself with Brandon Sanderson's work prior to the release of the next Wheel of Time novel.
I like to rank books by how I read them. I either a) love them and can't put them down, b) enjoy them but find it a little tedious to get through them, c) stop reading them and never finish them, or d) never start reading them in the first place because they don't appeal to me at all. To my delight, Elantris was an "a"-category book.
It's not a book I would read again right away, but it was a very enjoyable one-volume fantasy story that had the epic feel I enjoy. As the story went along I found myself expecting and predicting how the plot would turn out in the end quite easily, but this did not take away from the enjoyment of reading it through. There were enough surprises thrown in as well to make things interesting.
It's hard not to compare his writing to Robert Jordan's even though this was his first novel, but I felt like Brandon Sanderson dealt with plot better than characters, but he did a great job of tidying up the ending of the story and not letting it come to abruptly. Fortunately Robert Jordan has already established the characters in the Wheel of Time series very well, and what is needed for the final trilogy is plot development and a tidy, climactic ending. After reading Elantris I am really looking forward to The Gathering Storm.
Friday, July 3, 2009
I just finished this painting today. It's sort of like a willow tree on the edge of a little green river with a forest on the opposite bank. I liked the pink accent color against the greens so I added some flowers.
We raided Ulduar last night, wiping for three hours while trying to kill Thorim on Hard Mode. This allowed for a lot of downtime so I set up my little easle in front of my second monitor and painted while raiding.
You can actually see the forest background better in this picture. I thought it looked awesome before I painted a tree on top of it, but I had to put some sort of object in the painting. It's actually really easy to paint trees like this. I start with a solid green background and let it dry. Then feather in some black around the edges on top, then mix some green and black and slop on some vertical lines like trees. Before it completely dries, add in lighter shades of green to create depth (highlights) to define individual tree trunks. I used a similar process when I did that purple Night Elf forest painting a while ago.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Apps that are useful for staying up-to-date:
TweetDeck (FREE) - Excellent Twitter interface.
WootWatch (FREE) - Check what's up for sale on the Woot sites.
Facebook (FREE) - A simple Facebook interface.
Apps that can make you look smart:
Tipulicious (FREE) - Calculate tips and split bills.
Dictionary (FREE) - Includes a thesaurus and dictionary.
Keeper (FREE) - Track passwords in one place under one PIN.
Shazam (FREE) - Identify songs you hear.
Apps to help you get ahead (especially fashion designers!):
Fasio Network (FREE) - View the latest collections of top designers.
TouchCloset (FREE) - Catalog your clothes and accessories.
Units (FREE) - Quick measurement conversions.
Lose It! (FREE) - Weight loss goal and calorie intake tracker.
Apps that you will get a kick out of:
SmackTalk ($.99) - Instantly make people laugh.
EggShaker (FREE) - Not quite the same as the real thing.
Lightsaber (FREE) - Turns your iPhone into a lightsaber.
StickWars Lite (FREE) - The best free iPhone game ever.
BubbleWrap (FREE) - You know you want to pop bubbles.
Fluid (FREE) - It looks and acts like water when you touch it.
Monday, June 29, 2009
1. Trace the design onto a piece of tagboard or cardstock to make a stencil. Label one side "right" and one side "left" so I can make sure it will be mirrored exactly on the left and right sleeves.
2. Test the paint on scrap pieces of the purple satin fabric to make sure it bonds well and looks good. Also test the design to figure out which colors to use and how to add depth with highlights and lowlights.
3. Pin the design stencil onto one sleeve and paint on the design. After it dries (if paint got on the stencil), flip the stencil and do the other sleeve.
The lower half of the robe is closer to completion now too. The side seams are finished, including adding a zipper. I am currently working on the bottom hem. I am sewing yellow double-fold bias tape along the bottom hem to give it the gold border at the bottom. The added stiffness should also make the hem less flowing so it is more like a robe than a skirt. Once this is done I should be able to paint the designs on at the same time (and via the same process) as the designs on the sleeves.
Once the sleeves and skirt are complete I will probably start focusing on the side panels or finish the top. I may save the top for last because I could decide to skip some of the back details and opt for a cloak instead.
Friday, June 26, 2009
My push pins that I made a while ago out of glass marble rocks and scrapbook paper have made themselves useful at work. I often have notes and Post-Its all over my desk so it has been helpful to use tacks to paste notes on the wall and clear up desk space.
I've had this little box for a long time and I think it has gone through at least four different color schemes by now. I decided to bring it to work and fill it with stacks of Post-It Notes, headphones, glass wipes... all sort of things that had been hiding behind my monitors. Now they are out of sight but still within reach when I need them!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I began the purple-and-gold priest costume about a year and a half ago, but projects for my own wedding began to consume my crafting hours. Moving also meant that I had to redefine my crafting space and I have a hard time spreading out and working on large sewing projects in our condo because there isn't a lot of space. I don't like leaving my stuff in my husband's way when I am in the middle of a project.
After BlizzCon last year I also decided that I want to take an easier approach to the designs on the priest robes and paint them on with fabric paint instead of sewing on applique. It should be a lot less time-consuming and still look great. It's a costume after all, not a couture dress.
Here are some shots of the construction when I was working on the costume in my old apartment. I have the top and skirt cut out and pieced together. I created a pattern for the collar but it will need a lot of reinforcing to get it to stick up correctly. I think I will attach it to the top via snaps instead of sewing it in.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I haven't had a lot of time to work on crafts over the last week but I did manage to do a little painting. I'm not sure that I am done with this one or not, but here's what it looks like so far! I feel like I need something on the top, but I'm not feeling inspired right now. Perhaps I will come back to it later. I like the color combination of aqua and red though.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
So I had this huge tube of metallic silver paint and wondered how it would look as a background color. I slapped some on, then grabbed some eggplant color and it sort of grew organically from there. I love this color combination.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
This is where science fiction meets... plushies! I love these collectible little critters! Their big eyes just say "zomg, aren't I cute?" and the variety of colors means you could be sure to find one that would look right at home at your place. There are so many unique aliens with different personalities and names, some with three eyes, two heads, or even with their tongue hanging out.
They come from all over the Universe and even distant Galaxies. They are all strange and one of a kind. But, most importantly, they are all looking for a good home! These little Aliens are all orphans and are up for Adoption at the Adopt an Alien Agency. For a small adoption fee you can bring one of these sweet little aliens into your home. Adopt your Alien Today! http://www.adoptanalien.etsy.com/
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I ran out of mounted canvases so this was painted using acryllics on canvas paper. Mary Blair's artwork served as inspiration (it was an easy transition from Eyvind Earle since both painted Disney animation concept art). I really like the combination of orange and aqua blue, so after starting with an aqua-colored background I decided that had to be sky, so why not have a blossoming orange tree? I also felt that the clouds in the sky were a little lonely without a few white doves frolicking in the breeze.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
I received a request from a friend to do a tree painting for her using the elements she liked from my previous tree paintings. So this is what I came up with based off of the following criteria she presented me with:
- whimsical like the Eyvind Earle trees
- mysterious (not obvious) background
- light-colored background but not too light
- "green is good"
Having learned a lesson from my last painting, I started this one by painting the background. I liked how subtle vertical stripes fading into the background color can look like trees in a fog, so I started with fat green vertical stripes blending into a yellow background and then painted over them with another layer of yellow.
Next, I added in the grass in several layers of shades of green but decided that the grass really should be the foreground, so after painting on the tree silhouette I repainted a lot more grass over the bottom of the tree. The nice thing about grass is you can keep adding on as many layers as you want and it keeps giving the illusion of more and more depth.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
When it comes to trend-setting fashion, fringe clearly stands out. This Etsy designer takes scarves to the future by offering a variety of neck-warming fashions that are sure to turn heads. I love these fashion-forward cowls, scarves and shrugs - they come in a variety of styles and colors and could be easily dressed up or dressed down.
This is what I call soft and warm, attractive and functional, wearable art!
The items in my shop are hand-crocheted, knit, sewn, and/or embroidered with care. My creations are original designs I create and they include scarves, cowls, capelets, shrugs, shawls, lariats, ensembles and so much more. Expect an occasional surprise among the items I create. There are many types of styles in my shop. From dramatic couture fashion to urban prairie and lots of styles in between. I always create these items with the idea that they will give their owners a divine self-confidence just by wearing them. - Dennice from fringe
Monday, April 27, 2009
LovingLeeCrafted was one of the first Etsy sellers that I added to my favorites because of these whimsical fairy doors. I think it would be a lot of fun to turn a backyard garden into a mystical fairyland by adding doors and miniature fairy furniture among plants and stones so they look almost like they grew there.
The paint job and details on these doors is what makes these stand out as a work of art. Lisa also sells paintings and other wooden pieces like buttons (which would be a gorgeous natural accent to a piece of clothing or a purse or even rustic home decor), but where her painting and woodwork comes together is where you can see that real magic happens!
Imagination and love, two most important ingredients in any craft. I believe I capture both in everything I create. I use a variety of techniques from carving, painting, wood burning, crocheting…the list goes on and on. I try to make every item fun, friendly and decorative. Most recently I’ve indulged in the art of making fairy doors. I spent many years as a youngster reading and dreaming of the faerie folk but then grew up. I missed the mischievous, innocent, honorable people. I invited the fey into my life and it has improved immensely so I'm offering the same opportunity to you! Many of the fey folk will bring with them luck, good wishes and a happy helping hand. Provide them with a door into the mortal world. Keep a look out, I’m always creating something new and exciting and most importantly, something I can be proud of. - Lisa
pictures by LovingLeeCrafted
Sunday, April 26, 2009
After ironing the layers together, I trimmed the edges then decided to make a little pencil pouch out of the "fabric" I had created.
You can't tell from the picture because I shot it from its good angle, but the pouch is totally lopsided because I failed to make a pattern first or do any measuring first. It's ugly but functional! I only used half of the plastic so I might make something else later too. This took 6 plastic bags from my hoard under the kitchen sink. It's better than having them all end up in a landfill!
Friday, April 24, 2009
She makes modern clothing with a unique, eye-catching twist. It's like adding a touch of costume to your every-day clothes in a trendy way that doesn't overstep the "wierd" line. I could totally see myself wearing one of these tank tops with a pair of jeans.
The Gothic couture wrap caught my eye, and I love that it's pictured with a simple white tank top, letting the potential buyer realize that this could be worn not just as a cover-up with a strapless gown on a special occasion, but for a trip to the mall or a night out to dinner with friends. This piece was definately a "heart-worthy" Etsy find.
"I design and sew all types of clothing from bridal wear to couture, and unique tanks!" - Laura Ann
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The enchanting forest home of the Night Elves was the first area of Azeroth that I encountered when I began playing World of Warcraft.
This painting has been sitting on my easle for over a week now. Today I managed to finally add the last touches and get it to a finished state. I'm not completely happy with it but it was fun to paint on two different canvases and I think it at looks pretty good from a distance at least.
I painted this using acryllics on primed canvas with an in-game screenshot for reference.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
DotandLine is today's featured Etsy shop. Gone are the days of boring white lamp shades! These graphic prints will turn a boring necessessity into a fabulous feature of any room, and whether your style is modern, rustic, traditional, retro, or totally unique, if you can't find it already in their shop, a custom lampshade is sure to be the right choice for your space.
Here's what Annie from DotandLine has to say about her company:
Hello from Dot&Line Home Accessories. We are a small but growing company! My name is Annie Bierma and I am the owner/founder. I have my degree in Theatre Lighting Design and now find my joy in designing pieces that allow you to add your own story to a room.
As a company, we do our best create pieces inspired by nature, vintage materials and light itself. We try to keep our designs as "green" as possible, reusing materials and lamp bases as much as possible. Using hand printed and vintage fabrics also keeps our footprint small and results in one of a kind, handmade items you can't find anywhere else.
In addition to making pieces inspired but us directly, we also enjoy collaboration with individuals to create something that is uniquely "them". This guarantees that our clients get exactly what they want and need for their space and nothing makes us happier!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
RedHarp is a seller I know personally so she gets to be first! Not only is she skilled with a sewing machine, but she is also quite crafty - she once showed me that it is possible create a lightsaber out of plumbing parts and without the need for power tools.
RedHarp's Etsy Shop contains a variety of items including colorful fabric shopper bags and purses in many different fun themes, and of course you shouldn't go without the handy purse organizers! Her bags are great catch-alls for shoppers and convention-goers and the fun prints just scream personality and uniqueness. She doesn't mass-produce these so you can be sure a lot of love and careful work went into each one.
I know some of you love the beauty of the English countryside so you should definately check out her photography.
She also offers clever glass photo pendants that should satisfy both Steampunk fans and the SCA. These are made by attaching a tiny photography behind a glass stone so the glass magnifies the photo (similar to the [Push Pins] I made a few days ago). In particular think the pendants that have pictures of circuit boards are fabulous idea!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Decorating the first group of pillowboxes was so much fun last night that I continued the project today and tried some different colors and styles. Mother's Day is coming up (my mom loves purple!) as well as several birthdays in our family. If I don't plan a gift ahead of time, there's always the last-minute gift card and if I already have these little boxes decorated, they would be a great way to quickly wrap up a gift card (with room to spare for a handful of candy!).
Friday, April 17, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Bunnies and eggs are for kids! I decided to stick with a spring floral theme for these Easter cards. Pastels and bright colors helped bring Spring to the cloudy gray rainy Sunday.
Friday, April 10, 2009
My sister asked me to make this for her, I hope it is what she had in mind! It's a black and white damask cotton bag with a hot pink ribbon drawstring.
I found this blank plastic toy at the San Diego Comic-Con last summer and decided I would jump on the "draw on a blank toy" bandwagon. It took me a while to figure out what to do on this one. The shape is interesting and the top piece is actually seperate from the base. I originally thought I would paint on it with acryllics but I decided to try out the Sharpies.
I drew my inspiration from my level 28 druid in the World of Warcraft. After shifting into kitty form I left my character on the screen and started doodling away on this blank canvas.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
A friend of mine hosted a crafting party today and showed us how to make these adorable cards using Stampin' Up! paper products and scrapbooking tools.
Crafting parties are a great way to spend time with friends and by having a project pre-designed and ready to go, everyone was able to participate equally regardless of artistic ability and we all went home with two practical creations.
Friday, March 27, 2009
I painted a couple smaller 8x10 pictures to try out some different techniques and ideas. The smaller canvases are inexpensive and great for a beginner like myself. I could even paint over them and reuse the canvas later.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
This is actually my first purse, and I had to hand-sew it due to my current lack of a working sewing machine. A couple things I would have done differently in hindsight would be to add a little pocket inside on the lining, and perhaps try to extend the lining up and add a zipper so it can be completely closed.
Monday, March 16, 2009
I started painting the background and just layered on the green then mixed in some black and came in from the edges with strokes to look like grass or vines.
After getting the background the way I wanted it and letting it dry, I found a picture of an Eyvind Earle painting online and basically tried to copy it without getting as detailed. His lines are too painstakingly perfect for my patience so I took a more impressionistic approach and focused more on getting the idea of the shadows and highlights conveyed. I like how it starts with a silhouette but adds the contrasting white highlights to give the tree some depth. A lot of amateur artists are doing the black tree silhouette-on-a-colored background thing right now. It's easy and can look great in a modern room. I will probably hang this painting in my bedroom.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
This was a white kitchen towel I had found at Target for $1. It's very simple and basic, but looks much better with some appliqué and embroidery. It is completely hand-sewn because my sewing machines are both misbehaving.
I started by drawing the design on some scratch paper, then I traced over the leaves on velum and created a template for five or six different leaf shapes that I then used to trace onto some green linen that I already had. Prior to cutting the linen I ironed on lightweight interfacing to the back of the fabric. Lastly I penciled the design onto the towel, stitched the main vine then contined one leaf at a time until finished.
Lastly, I used some of the same green linen as well as some old felt scraps and fiber fill that I had sitting around, and a button leftover from a quilting project to create this little emery. I actually did need a place to stick all of my "in use" needles. I have a drawer for assorted needles from sewing machine needles to embroidery needles but I usually have two or three that are currently in use for hand-sewing projects and they typically end up getting mixed in with my pins or stuck in the fabric of my ironing board.