My printer is probably my best friend

imageIf you are a parent then you should know that your printer could possibly be your new BFF.  I am kid you not.  We made these super cool ornaments by printing How About Orange’s templates of red and yellow paper. 

Little Paper GirlsI have also made papercraft dolls, doll houses and even a Scooby Doo once.  It is a simple craft, all you need is some cardstock and a printer and the patience to use an Xacto knife without slicing your fingers off.  Oh and a cutting mat is nice too.  You could always use scissors and embroidery scissors, but I like the cutting mat and knife method, it is more exact and makes cleaner cuts.

Just found a printable build your own #cupcake thing. Awesomeness.There are also lots of printables that you can make like this cupcake set, each piece is separate and you can just create pretty paper cupcakes in seconds, I just cover them with transparent plastic sticky paper, so they last longer.

I also always print on draft mode, so we don’t use too much ink, and I usually print two pages on one and make everything smaller to use less paper, not because I am cheap but because I print out so much stuff, it seems more economical this way.

You can also print on fabric.  Oh yeah, that opens up even more possibilities doesn’t it?

So go ahead, if you don’t already own a printer go out and buy one and if you do, make it work for you.

 

Crafting Resolutions

Happy New Year

I have a few craft related resolutions.  Well I wouldn’t really call them resolutions because, well, resolutions don’t seem to work out so well for me.

So in 2015 I will try to:

  1. Be a better craft blogger.  Because I love documenting the things I make. Instagram is making me lazy, it is faster and easier and I don’t need to sit down and write everything down. And just in case I don’t, why don’t you follow me on instagram.
  2. Try new things.  I want to try steeking and painting and maybe even woodwork.  Whatever I feel like doing I want to do it.
  3. Finish the blankets.  I have two crochet blankets that I started in 2014 and I would love to finish them, mostly because I really want to use them as throws on my bed.
  4. Knit myself a dress.  I am not a short or thin woman, a dress for myself is a huge undertaking but I am pretty sure I can do it.
  5. Learn Hand Lettering.  Hand lettering is soooo pretty, need I say more?

That is it.  I think I can totally do this.  How about you? What are you planning to do in 2015.

How to become an artist? The fake it till you make it method

More coloring. This is fun.I used to think I was not an artist.  I can’t really draw and my color selections are not very bold or brave and I used to inwardly shudder whenever someone told me I was talented.  It was as if being labeled as creative or artistic was too high a bar that scared me.  And then I decided that I really wanted to be an artist. Actually, I just wanted to make art.  I wanted to draw little cartoons and learn to watercolor pretty flowers.  So I decided I would just pretend I were an artist.  I started printing out Mandalas and coloring pages with pretty designs and would color them using my coloring pencils and stick them in my journal.

IMG_5871And then I started looking at drawings of people and practiced.  I realized I have a specific style.  I like drawing cartoons with big heads and little bodies.  If you were a psychoanalyst you would probably be shaking your head at this right now and trying to figure me out.  Hint: I really like Japanese style chibbis and kokeshi dolls so that might explain why my people turn out looking like bobble head dolls, they also look a lot like my crochet dolls.

This is fun.And then I started looking at art classes and techniques online.  It turns out that there is a lot of technique involved in how you color something and if you can do that fairly well you can make pretty things.  That is all.  It reminds me a lot of when I started learning how to crochet, and the AHA moment when I realized that understanding tension and technique means you were 90% there.  It is exactly when you look at two items made using the same pattern but one is done well with even gauge and the other is all over the place.

IMG_5885I even tried lots of zentangle patterns and found them to be cathartic.  I love drawings done only in black, in fact, I only use black pens.  These need no artistry at all, just patience and some googling for ideas.

IMG_5972Finally, today I got myself some supplies to try some new things.  I know the probability of me being the next Monet is pretty slim, but at least I am having fun.  I am also learning that most of the boundaries between myself and the things I want to do are weak and non existent if only I have the courage to try. 

So there you have it, if you really want to be an artist, just pretend you are, just make art and keep showing up and eventually you will be an artist.

How to make your own Midori (Fauxdori) Traveler’s Notebook

Fauxdori

I can’t remember how I discovered the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, but it was on a YouTube video that I saw the notebook and fell in love with the concept.  Basically it is a leather cover, with elastic bands that will hold on to your notebooks that can be removed when you are done with them.  In September of 2013 I discovered bullet journal-ling and it was the best thing ever.  I used that notebook for everything.  I kept notes for patterns, wishlists, meal plans and everything you can imagine.  My problem wasn’t with the system but with the notebook I was using, it was quite large and it was bulky in my bags.  It also got boring after a while.

InsertCoversThis is why I love the Midori system.  I didn’t buy an original because it seemed too expensive and I wasn’t sure if I would want to commit to it or not.  I also knew it would take ages for it to arrive by mail, so I decided to make my own.  There are lots of great tutorials out there, I watched 5 or 6 of them.  (Just google DIY Fauxdori) and made 3 before this one and realized I had a winner.  The cover is made using two pieces of faux leather.  I did order real leather but it will take a month before it gets here and since the covers can be easily removed, it will be easy to just switch it out.  It is also perfect for crafters because you can have a notebook for each craft or even print out knitting paper to use it to chart knitting patterns, the options are truly endless.

ReadingChallengeInsertI also made my own inserts.  Ray has tons of super great ones you can print for yourself.  DIYFish has great ones too on her Etsy shop and on her blog.  I didn’t make my fauxdori using the exact size as the MTN, I made it so I could fold an A4 sheet in half lengthwise and cut so I would have two notebooks, one for me and the other one is a short one that I give to my daughter for her Fauxdori, yes I made her a tiny one just for her.  This way is less wasteful and easier to cut, print and saddle stitch together.  I also got a grid paper notebook, the kind that has the pages glued together at the top and print on the pages to use less ink.  I have a blank one for my bullet journal.  The one above is for my 2015 reading challenge.  Last year I aimed for 52 books on GoodReads and managed to read more, this year I found the PopSugar challenge that gives you different categories of books, which makes it more interesting, so I made an insert just for that, with the first page as the challenge and the rest of the pages as review pages.

ReadingChallengeInsertInsideI also added a gratitude journal, a couple of months ago I started adding a gratitude page in my bullet journal, it was just a page at the beginning of the month where I would write what I was grateful for on that day, this is easy and also a healthy reminded of the good things in life even if they are small.

GratitudeJournalInsertCover

GratitudeJournalInsertAnd of course a calendar, I figured this would make more sense than having the calendar inside the bullet journal since I would be changing the bullet journal notebook when it was full, this way my entire year is in the same place.

CalendarInsertHere it is all full of my inserts, there is also one that is just for doodling and journal-ling.  I made two bookmarks by braiding some yarn and adding beads at the end and looping it around the top of the middle elastic.  It just makes finding the pages I want fast access to easier.

FauxdoriWithInserts

And of course I needed a place to store unused notebooks.  This one is cute but I need a bigger one, so I am patiently waiting for all the cereal to be eaten so I can use the box.

FauxdoriMagazineBoxIt took a couple of weeks until I figured out the best way to make this system work for me, so if you are going to try it out, give it some time.  I also made the first one using just one layer of faux leather and interfacing and some fabric, the fabric kept fraying, then I tried it without the interfacing or fabric and it was too flimsy,  my next try was gluing it to craft foam, which was great, but it kept getting indented and dirty really quick.  Experiment and try different things. 

Learning to beleive in yourself

Gradient hat

A few days ago I came across two blog posts; How to Believe in yourself and Stripy Suit. The first one gives you tips on how to believe in yourself and in the second one she talks about how far she has come in learning Sewing.  While they might seem like two very different topics they really aren’t.  For many crafters/knitters/crocheters/whatever you like doing the biggest hurdle is believing in yourself and believing yourself.  Second guessing your color choices, pattern choices, stitch count or whatever just hurts whatever you are doing.

Am I doing it right? Does it look good? Should I even be doing this?  This is ugly! Should I frog it? It looks wrong.  So many things that go through my mind while I am sitting in my favorite spot on the couch and knitting.  It robs me of the happiness and peacefulness of knitting.  Some days I just can’t seem to believe in myself, or trust myself to know what I am doing.  It is also hard when you know that you are knitting a garment or a piece that will be worn in public and will be judged by others.

One of the things I struggle with in life and not just in my crafting, is how will it be judged? Will people laugh at me because I am wearing a rainbow scarf?  I know that there are others out there with the self confidence to wear whatever they like and not care, I am not one of those people, even though I try to pretend I am.  I come from a family that have no problem saying things like “Oh my God, you have gained so much weight you look so bad” or “those stripes make you look wide and big”  I am not a super model, but having to hear things like that made me quite conscious of avoiding them. 

I am not saying that I always feel this way about the things I make, sometimes I can see something take shape in my mind before I even buy the yarn and I am 100% happy while making it and even happier when it becomes a finished object.  I have found that usually these are the things that I make because I really want to.

You have to remember why you craft, for me, I craft because it brings me peace.  Then I should do it anyway, not because of the FO.  I have also learned to frog as early as possible.  There is nothing wrong with starting something and realizing you dislike it.  Sometimes the yarn is wrong for the project or the colors just don’t work together as well as you thought they might.  You don’t have to finish every project you start, but instead of leaving them as half finished or on the needles, just go ahead frog it and reclaim the yarn.  It is always harder to frog the longer time you have invested in it.

Go ahead and try things you like, even if no one else will.  Yes even that striped cardigan you have been dying to knit.  The worst thing that you will hate it and you can then frog it and use the yarn for something else, which means more knitting time, which is what you actually like.

When people talk negatively about what you make, learn to filter out constructive criticism from plain old meanness.  Sometimes and experienced knitter or crocheter can point out a mistake that you could really learn from and that is ok.  Or even a non knitter might give you fashion pointers.  But if someone is mean, just say “thank you for your input, but I spent a lot of time and money making this and I love it”  or whatever it is that might make you feel more comfortable.  Learn to stand up for yourself and your crafts.  I never know if I should be offended or not when people tell me that something I made is just like a store brought one.  I usually want  to punch them and tell them, I spent all of my free time for weeks knitting this using hand painted yarn and you are comparing it to a cardigan made with acrylic yarn in a factory in China?  But then I realize they don’t get it, and that I do it for myself.

We all love getting acknowledged for the things we do, but crafting is a personal thing, many people just won’t get it. And that’s ok, but that should never make you doubt yourself.  Trust yourself for making the right decisions like knowing when to stop and when to keep going.  If you are a beginner, accept that it will take time to build your skill-set and the ability to intrinsically know what you should do.  It is ok, after all, you are amazing for being able to make something with your own hands.

Doll Clothes

Doll clothes seem like the most fun thing to make right now.  My mom got the 6 yo an 18 inch doll and some outfits and it feels only proper to make some more. I found some of the coolest ideas for full outfits on Pinterest.

Each image is clickable and will directly take you to the page

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I love everything about this one, the tights are just perfect.

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This reminds me of Martha Stuart, I have no idea why.

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I also love the idea of knitting and sewing.

7bd5cec5ca155fea8a121acb4fd39958This dress is my favorite of the bunch.

 

Now, excuse me while I continue falling down the rabbit whole of wanting to make doll clothes.

Reading, crafting and experimenting in the kitchen

I have been wanting to try making meringues since forever. Yesterday, on a whim I whipped up a batch. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be but they weren't as good as I wanted them to be either.
I think I needed to bake them at a lower temperature. I will definitely be trying them again. I have very fond memories of my mother's baked Alaska. It was the most wonderful dessert ever. Soft white peaks of meringue streaked with dark brown, covering ice cold ice cream. I will make one soon.
I want to make something, just not sure what yet.
 
I have also been reading. I finished the Fairyland seriesby Catherynne Valente, or at least the first three books which are available because I read somewhere that the series will eventually include a total of 5 book.
I am totally in love with the series, imagine Alice in wonderland, meets Narnia with a 12 year old girl as a protagonist, and more. The themes in the three books so far are perfect for little girls aged 10 to a 100.