Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Surprise - Blue Crayon Swap Items

I got a nice surprise in the mail today.  As some of you know I participated in a Crayon Swap recently (where everything is made with a main color in mind).  I had wanted items made for me to be blue, my favorite color.  Things happened and I wasn't going to get a package, but I did send one to someone (an angel gift - where you give without receiving because you want to).  My surprise was that I got an angel package of my own from someone else in the Crayon Swap.  She sent me this cotton scarf that has beads in it, a skein of the same yarn, a small package of the same beads, and a fun set of tissues.  
What a great surprise!  I love it!  Thank you!
It was such a nice day out today that I sat in a chair and worked on some birthday knitting for my oldest son.  He wants a sackbot for his birthday.  A sackbot is a version of a sackboy from the game Little Big Planet 2.  I'm using Lily's Sugar'n Cream cotton yarn in a variegated brown color, because it seemed to have a wood feel to it (color wise).  I plan on inserting cardboard inside of it so that it appears more blocky.

ATCs - 3rd set

I decided to have some fun experimenting with different animal themes on some artist trading cards (ATCs).  The background was one of the pre-cut ATC papers that a friend had sent me.  The flowers seemed to say "bee" to me.  But I couldn't just make a regular bee, it had to have some of my abstract design in it.  I wasn't sure about it, but my husband liked it.
Hide & Seek
Continuing with the animal theme, I made this giraffe.  There was someone who last year was trying to collect at least 1000 new giraffe pieces of art (via images sent to her by other people).  I had sent two basic drawings to her.   I thought about that challenge when making this card.  The card seems very child like to me.  Its not one of my favorites, but it is fun.
Fetal Elephant
After working on this for a little while, I started to see an elephant in it.  So I added to the elephant where I thought that it needed more detail.  My husband saw a seahorse instead.  Because its abstract, each person will see something different and that it how its suppose to be.
For this card I wanted to try to make a different kind of floral pattern but I wanted to use some of the basic design elements that I had used before.

P.S.  These cards have sent me over my goal of making 365 items this year!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Video of My Artist Trading Cards

Red Crayon Swap

Back in March I hosted a Crayon Swap in ravelry.  Everyone picked out a color that they wanted the items in their package to be.  I put those names on those crayon colors and then drew out crayons and matched them up with partners.  I was matched with someone who wanted red items.  Everyone had to make at least 4 items with the following in mind: a card, an accessory, something knit/crochet/woven, and something made from a recycled item.  I kind of went overboard, lol.  In the end when it was time to mail off the package, my partner went MIA.  So I got to keep all of these items.
I bought a small red clipboard and a red box to mail everything in.
The inventory card in the envelope has red cable knit on the front of it.
I had packed the felt fortune cookies in the Hershey bag.
On the far right is a little experiment that I did.  It is a hanging sculptural piece that has plastic bottle rings in the center of each circle.  You can also see the crochet soda tab flower pin among the soda tab bracelets.
The hot pads use the same 3 skeins of cotton yarn, but I reversed the placement of the two outer colors.
I prefer the darker red on the outside of the petals vs the inside.
One of my signature items is the juice pouch purse.  It has a ribbon handle and a zipper closure.
I've made a few of these crochet egg hot pads over time.  I used 2 strands of cotton yarn for it.
I found the pattern for this hot pad at Michael's craft store.  It is one of the free patterns on the paper pads that are scattered around the yarn section.  I used up 2.5 skeins of cotton yarn making these 2 floral hot pads.  It is an easy pattern that looks really great.
After reading this blog post, I was inspired to make these paint chip bookmarks.  The tone-on-tone one uses stickers and the other is drawn on with a black pen.  These would also make great gift tags.
This friendship bracelet was made from embroidery floss.
It was made using a cardboard circle.  You cut 17 notches in it and a hole in the center.  You then fold 8 threads in half, and pull the folded half through the center hole.  Next knot the folded part and divide the threads (16 of them) and place them into 16 of the 17 notches.  Then you count 3 threads from the empty notch (clockwise) and move it to the empty notch.  Repeat this and that is how the bracelet is made.  When you have the length that you want (remove threads from cardboard), you divide the threads in half (8 and 8) and braid them and knot them.  Very easy.
This fabric postcard was made using fabric selvages (the non-fraying sides).  While sewing it I accidental pressed something and made a bunch of As across it.  Thats how I learned that my sewing machine can sew letters.  Then I stitched the word "RED" across another part of the postcard.  
Then I found a poem about the color red on the internet and wrote it on the back of the postcard.
One night we ordered Chinese take-out for dinner, and my fortune cookie said something about the color red.  That inspired me to make over 40 eco-fi felt fortune cookies for this swap.  Each one has a fact about the color red inside of it.
This sturdy gift bag uses about 6 large Hershey bar wrappers and red duct tape.  I made one like it about 8 years ago and it has held up really well over the years.  Here is my video tutorial on how to make one.
For this garland I just crochet 2 rows around some plastic bottle rings.  I joined them together with the crochet ends.
This scrubbie was made by doubling this pattern.   The crochet soda tab bracelets were made using this pattern.
Here are the video tutorials on how to make the crochet soda tab bracelet and the X style soda tab bracelet.
This is a toadstool pincushion was made from eco-fi felt and a plastic bottle cap.  Here is the website where I learned how to make it.  I like to make the circle for the top a little larger than what the directions say.

It was really fun making all of these red items.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Simple Birthday Goodie Bags

The end of birthday season is almost here.  One of the birthdays is for my oldest son whose party is next weekend.  He is having a laser tag party.  He requested that his goodie bags be simple black felt ones.  No painting or anything on them.  To help know whose bag is whose, I added some red and blue felt tags to the ribbon handles (added before the bag was sewn).  Red and blue are the colors of the two teams at the laser tag place.  I'll paint on the names of everyone who I know will be at the party, and then I'll bring a sharpie to write the names of kids who come but did not rsvp.  Right now I know 6 of the 9 kids will be there.  I'm so glad that he wanted a simple bag this year.  It makes getting ready for his party so much easier.  Now I just need to knit a sack bot for him (a robot sack boy from the game Little Big Planet 2).  I found some cotton yarn that looks kind of like woodgrain.  It is the one thing other than the goodie bags that he asked me to make for his birthday.
The felt is eco-fi felt, which is made from 100% post consumer recycled plastic bottles.
Instead of using a die cut of a tag this year, I just cut out some rectangles and cut a slit on one side of the felt tags.

Artist Trading Cards - 2nd Set

Floral Snow
I drew all of these artist trading cards yesterday on the paper that I watercolor painted on.  To achieve a certain look on some of them, I sprinkled salt on the paper while it was still wet with paint.  When dry, then I scraped the salt off.  Its been fun to experiment on these 2.5" x 3.5" pieces of paper.  My husband wants me to keep it up.  Maybe I can get him to make a few to.  I love his character doodles.  You can see some of his characters here.  Its also been fun naming them.  Some I won't trade.  Thoughts of how to display them (framed) are dancing through my mind.
Releasing Steam 
And the Darkness Comes
Solar Flares
Do Snails Dream of...?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Artist Trading Cards - First 5

Katniss & the Hanging Tree
This week I received 2 envelopes full of precut ATCs  in the mail from a friend.  ATC stands for artist trading card.  They are around 3.5" x 2.5" which is about the size of a baseball trading card.  There are various groups of people who make them and trade them with each other.  The one pictured above was my first one.  I had just finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy and needed to release some of what I was feeling.  This little piece of paper helped me to do just that.  I just started doodling with a size 005 black pen, and this is what it turned into.
Wisps of Summer
Then I moved onto this card.  This is a slight variation of an image that I drew ages ago, one that I want to make a tattoo out of.  I've been tweaking the image in my head for several years.
Wings of Fire
Then I broke out the watercolor paper and paints and did some experimenting.  I haven't done any watercolor painting for 5 years, so it was nice to do a mini refresher.  I let my 4 year old sprinkle salt on the wet paint.  He loved watching what it did to the painting.  While painting, he told me that I am a good artist because I am a good painter.  So sweet (especially since I was just painting a plain background).  Then when I was drawing the picture below he said that I am a good artist because I'm a good drawer.  Melts my heart.
Starfish Glory
After the paint had dried, I cut 2 of the 3 pages that I painted into 3.5" x 2.5" cards and drew on them with a size 01 pen.  I really like the gradation of color from the watercolor paints.  It really adds to the image.
Sending Messages to Space
I started doing a certain type of doodling with black ink in high school (maybe even earlier than that).  It has slowly evolved from just swirls to having more of a nature feel to it.  Its all very organic and not planned out.  Sometimes I'll have something in mind and see if I can keep with that theme, but I still let the image develop and grow the way that it wants to.

It feels good to be doodling again.  It reminds me that I am more than just a crafter.  It reminds me that, like my son said, I am an artist.