Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Closer Look At An Interesting Kit

Today I took a closer look at the cross-stitch kit that a friend sent me for my birthday.

Jeff and I both thought it was interesting that there were Russian words on the cover.  I did tell him that I see a ton of cross-stitch pins on Pinterest that have the caption written in Russian.

I asked my friend today where she had bought it; I thought maybe she had mail ordered it.  She said she bought it at Hobby Lobby.  Interesting!

After I opened the bag it was in, I  looked closer at the back cover.

Yep, it was produced by a company in Moscow, Russia.  That's pretty cool!

One interesting thing I saw on the contents list is that the fabric is 16 count.  That really threw me off, I hadn't heard of 16 before.  I think I've only seen: 14, 18, 22, and 28.  Also one piece of 11 count in an old kit.  I can't recall coming across 16 count though.

The chart is in color, that's nice.

 Another thing that intrigued me on the supply list was that it says "wolen and acrylic yarn".  I was expecting to see "floss" on the supply list.  Nope.  Sure enough, this is very fine yarn!

I'm even more excited about this kit now.  It is different from anything I've ever done before and should be good for a new cross-stitching adventure.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Perfect Ending

Yesterday, right at the end of the awesome day that I had, it got even better.

When Jeff came home he had a pile of mail and he said, "It's all for you!  You got ALL the mail." He was acting grumpy since he's expecting some things too.  It wasn't all for me, he got a bank statement...  haha

Here's my birthday goodies:

Apoxie Sculpt!

Micro beads!

I knew those were coming, but this was a surprise!  A gorgeous cross-stitch kit from a friend back in South Dakota.  

I love it!!

If I ever finish my Arabian cross-stitch these two would make a nice pair.  ;)

Yay for birthday loot!  Arrr!
(my birthday is also International Talk Like A Pirate Day..  so I had to throw that in there)

Today... Rocked!

Last night I declared to Jeff:  "I want to spend all day tomorrow in my craft room and not come out until lunch, if you come home, and dinner if you don't."  I made good on that declaration, only leaving the studio to eat, make tea, and go to the bathroom, haha.  Now the sun is setting and it's time for me to share the day's adventures and creations.

I started off the day thinking I "should" make Christmas cards.  I'd like to send handmade cards this year and I'd also like to try and sell some of them here.  In the course of digging through my (bajillion) stamps, the Christmas ones weren't really speaking to me - at all.

Recently I noticed that on Etsy, they have a category for Artist Trading Cards.  That made me realize that it's been a looong time since I found out about those and made any.  They were fun and I've always meant to make more.  In fact, I have a few of the paper craft storage drawers holding blank ATCs and small scraps to use on them.

So here's what I worked on today, a pile of Artist Trading cards, with horses on them - of course.

I had everything I needed: coffee,


and some good music.

One valuable thing I had learned when I was in the stamping club was that stamping off the edges of the paper can achieve some beautiful results.  I guess I've always been a color-inside-the-lines or stamp-inside-the-borders kind of person, for that to be a surprise and something new.  Today I used the heck out of that idea.  There were horses galloping on and off the paper everywhere.

Time to color some horses!

At some point, this happened.

I got tired of digging and digging through the tattered box that the colored pencils have always lived in, so I dumped them on the floor.

I started thinking, how could I make them easier to use?  It always takes me way too long to find the colors I want with the way I've always done it (fishing through the box).  My head was filled with great ideas: I could put them into cups or jars, or... Oh!  I could make a holder for them, with compartments for each group of colors.  That would be fun, I should do that ---

About the time I was thinking that's what I would do, I reined myself in, reminding myself that I already had a project going on at that very moment.  I grabbed a couple of empty pencil boxes and tossed them in, loosely divided by colors.  At least  this way I can SEE them better.

Proud of myself for not charging off on an A.D.D. fueled pencil organizing crusade, I returned to coloring.

Here are the three ATCs that I finished today.  I liked the combination of a simple, happy statement, paired with a colorful herd of horses.  They were fun to make.

I stamped horses on several others and have some ideas for how to finish them, but that will be another day.

One organizational task that's been sorely needed is to deal with my ribbon and, now, washi tape.  I hadn't really bought or used washi tape before, but it is everywhere over here and usually much cheaper than in the States, so I've started picking up a few rolls here and there.  My usual ribbon storage has been to throw all of the spools in a drawer and then have to dig around to see what I have or find such-and-such color.  Something has to change, especially since I plan to start using a lot more of it in tack making and doing costumes too.

I gathered all the ribbon that I have, to see what I needed to store.

I went to my Craft Storage board on Pinterest; I knew I'd seen and saved some neat ribbon and washi tape storage ideas on there for just such an occasion.

I ended up liking this one, about how to make a washi tape holder from a cardboard box, and I used it as a starting point.  I decided to use the box that my newest bookshelf came in; it was deep enough and tall enough to hold all of my ribbon and tape, with room to grow.

Of course whenever there's a cardboard box, a cat tends to appear.

She "helped" during much of the construction, trying to get in the box at various stages and playing with the shreds of cardboard and paper that were produced.

Here's the holder that I made, with the first dowel on.  I still have to place the rest.  I think this is where I'll put it.  It's a good fit in this spot, it won't block the shelves and is close to my desk.

A closer look at the first row.  I'm thinking this box may be big enough to hold my ribbon, washi tape, and leather lace spools too.  That would be really cool.  I'm going to work on installing the rest of the dowels soon.

Next up was to try out a quick test of a photo show setup.  I think this was the best picture of the batch.  I still have lighting and footing issues to work out.  Please ignore the fact that my "model" is a partially prepped body...

I pulled out a micro mini to test out the setup.  I think it will work for them too, once I fine tune the lighting.

And last up, a couple of random fun pictures.  A doughnut place in the mall is getting into the Halloween spirit, including selling cream puffs in these funny monster boxes.  I saved the one that we had gotten over the weekend and I could't resist having a little bit of fun with it.

Run away!

Hmmm, that horse doesn't actually look too concerned...  how about this one?

Haha, yeah, I'm strange.  But it's fun.

Today rocked.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Motivation Monday - Be A Happy Tree

It's a new week, I've already had a productive, kick butt Monday over here.  I hope you kick butt on your Monday, and your week, too - however you define "kicking butt".  ;)

First up, a couple pieces of wisdom from Bob Ross:

(For lots more Bob Ross wisdom, about art - and life, check out this link that I found: Zen of Bob Ross on Tumblr)

Those last two are ones that I really need to try to remember.  

Setbacks are very hard on me, even crippling.  AlsoI spend a lot of time thinking I'm bad at everything (including riding and most artistic things).  However, I'm certainly not satisfied being "bad at everything", I'm constantly trying to learn more, so I suppose there's hope!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Moar Stuff

Yeah...  I have more stuff...

Yesterday, Jeff and I went on a bit of a shopping trip and ended up going to the (magical) 100 yen store for some things he wanted.  I always find stuff I want there too.  I've been trying to get a few things here, a few things there, so as not to buy all the things/spend all the money at one time.  I figured I'd go ahead and share my new finds, since that's a thing I've been doing...  This post is actually a combination of things I picked up last week while out with friends, and yesterday with Jeff.

The first two I had actually picked up last week. The "embosser" I thought was interesting for paper crafting, but the compass cutter has me really excited!  Perhaps I'm sheltered, but I never knew there was such a thing.

I had to open it up right away and try it, it was pretty cool.  I bought it for paper, but I'd imagine it would work on (thin) leather too.

Also in the cutting stuff department, yesterday I picked up a rotary cutter (something I have heard of, but have never used) and a pair of "Smiley Face" sewing scissors - to replace my apparently DULL little scissors I'd tried to use in my recent video.  The store had several pairs of scissors and even a few of these type to choose from, but I liked these because of the smiley face...  and because they came with a case for the blades.

Another "embosser" set.  There are 3 or 4 different ones at the store.  I had the animal one (on the right), but next I added the flower set to my collection.

A while back I came to the realization that I just have too many crafty interests.  I had thought that I should get down to one or two and just focus on them.  I pretty much decided that it would be model horses and paper crafts.  I think I'm going to try and market my paper crafts over here and model horse things online.  As much as I'd love to do only model horse stuff, I might have trouble marketing it over here.  ;)  I have some loose plans to see about starting up some interest in model horses here, but we'll see how it goes...

In the meantime, I also now have some beautiful new papers for making cards, tags, bookmarks, etc.  I think these papers are meant for origami; they are all square.  I'm attracted to things with intricate patterns and nature-inspired themes and you certainly can't beat the price: 80 cents USD for (in most of these packs) 100 pieces of paper.  

"Old paper", various patterns to look like old letters and so on.  I've seen a lot of neat paper crafts featuring such patterns and I certainly like this idea rather than trying to tear up/cut up an actual old letter!  (something I'd never do, by the way...)

Wood grain patterned paper.  I was excited to find these.

Gingham patterned paper in a few different colors.  Not necessarily my thing, as far as a pattern, but I thought it would be neat for a lot of country-themed items.

I was thinking it would be neat to find some paper that looked "Japanese", that's when these papers stopped me in my tracks.  I grabbed two packs of them - and if I see them again, I'll grab more.  What I'm not sure the picture captured was the delicate metallic gold border around each individual leaf.  While I can't see much of what else is in there, just based on the top piece: this paper is beautiful.

It reminded me of the handmade paper pack that I got during an early trip to the 100 yen store.

Another exciting and accidental find was what I think will make for a great footing for mini scale photo showing, and maybe even one day, performance showing.  It should at least be a lovely base to build footing or a scene on anyhow.  It is a "cloth sticker".  It has just enough texture, I thought it might look okay as small scale mowed grass.  I snapped a quick picture to show it off here:

I think it will look good with micro mini scale horses (maybe even better as it seems the texture is actually finer than I thought).  I didn't have a micro handy though.

I also grabbed one that is off white color; I think it might look good as arena sand.

Lastly, a couple of new critters from the figure store where I've been finding little horses and dogs.

Check out this little cutie!

He will need a bit of surgery to remove the loop and tag from his back in order for him to be a prop dog, but I thought he was adorable.

It looks like he's playing keep away with a boomerang.  Why a boomerang?  I don't know.  It seems that the answer to anything whacky that we see here is: "Japan".

(a funny side note, C.C. Lemon is actually a drink that Jeff has discovered here and he really likes it.  He thought it was funny that I found a little pup with their tag)

Last up we have...  well, this is kind of disturbing.

I saw all of the pieces in the little bag and thought it was a "build a rat" kit.  That's why I got it.

Unfortunately this appears to actually be some sort of a factory oops.  The feet seem to have been left out when the body halves were put together.  The tail also doesn't seem to clip into where the tail is supposed to go.  So this is the best I could do for assembly, without tools:

She needs a little help in the surgery department too.  She is way too big to be a prop (or is she... giant sewer rat??  haha) but I thought she was cute and she looked like she could use some help.  ;)  I suppose she could be a mouse or a rat, but I'm going with rat, since I like them the most.

At some point I'm going to have to sit down with some tools, epoxy, and paint to spruce up my little critter finds.  I have a few others now too, but more about them at another time.