Thursday, October 29, 2015

Game of the Cthulhu

Latest project: some [non-regulation] cornhole boards that turned out way better than I'd hoped. My honey sketched the cthulhu outlines on the primed pieces, and I did the painting. Still need to seal them with several coats of heavy-duty polyurethane, but they will get some good use as the weather cools.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


I'm helping with props for Plaza Theatre Company's production of Shrek the Musical, and these are yummy s'nothers props. Squrrel gizzards and mulch, mmmmm....  Paper mache crackers, actual for-real mulch (baked at 400 degrees first to kill any living bits) and balloons.

*Edit to add that these worked great in the show!*

Saturday, December 13, 2014

He's a mean one

If you saw my previous post, you know our family tradition at Christmas is to eschew traditional stuff. But I love holiday lights. My honey does not. This year, at the new house, we compromised. I painted a Grinch on plywood, honey attached him to a stake and bought a ground light for him. We put one string of tube lights up on the house, and let the Grinch attempt to make off with them. I love the result!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Non-traditional has become our tradition

It has become our family's Christmas tradition to do things non-traditionally. For instance, we have a ficus tree that has turquoise garland, clear lights and non-Christmas ornaments in it that stands in the living room year-round. In December, we move it to a more gifts-friendly location near an outlet and plug in the lights. I add a 'skirt' I made from a funky blue-and-black bohemian circle skirt I found at Goodwill, and it thus becomes our holiday tree.

We moved into a bigger house a few months ago, and I suggested to the family that we might have room for a 'more traditional' Christmas tree, but the idea was met with absolute rejection. "The ficus IS our tradition now, mom," my son argued.

Anyway, I probably ought to explain the picture in this post, huh?  Since pre-made stockings are almost always more 'traditional' than we prefer, I make our own. This year's stockings are pictured above, hanging on our as-festive-as-we-get mantle. No names, just custom fabrics for each person.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Keep calm and manah manah

Significant life upheaval since my last post means my creative energies are usually channeled into other areas, but I do occasionally NEED to get something out of my head and bring it to fruition. This is one of those things. I attended a 'Keeping Your Cool' seminar at work yesterday (I'm a social worker), which dealt with staying level-headed and calm in the most stressful situations. At the end of the class, the instructor handed out a blank KEEP CALM 'poster' for us to fill in and hang in our offices. I immediately knew how I needed to complete mine. After work, I came home and improved on it. And now I am sharing it with you. :) I'll be turning this into real a poster to hang in my office.

Much love to Jim Henson and The Muppet Show!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Afghan Envy Complete!

What happens when a project consumes you, AND your brain insists that 3:30 or 4:00 am is a great time to kick on and stress about the day? You have lots of quiet time in which to crochet lots of colorful hexagons and sew them together.  This project took just a little more than a month to complete, from start to finish.

You can see my start, and the pattern I put together based on photos from another source, in my previous post.

The finished afghan consists of 72 hexagons: eight each of eight main colors, and two each of four alternate colors. Since I'm a photographer and graphic artist, when it came time to plan the color layout, I naturally turned to photographs and photoshop, rather than a physical layout.  I photographed one hexagon of each color, using the dots in the viewfinder of my camera as a placement guide, so all the hexies were roughly the same size and orientation in the photographs. Used a piece of foam core as a background and photographed in the shade outside. Imported the pics into photoshop, selected out the hexagons, duplicated the layers the appropriate number of times, and digitally planned the layout.  Below is a pic of the layout in progress.

After I was happy with the arrangement, I exported the JPG and sent it to my phone. Instead of numbering hexagons, I just referred to my picture so I knew which color hexagon to grab next when I was assembling.

I used a reverse mattress stitch with medium gray yarn to sew the hexies together. Some of those stitches are visible on the back, but for the most part they disappear. I was very careful about weaving in all ends, so the back is nearly as pretty as the front.  The edging is a single crochet picot stitch (*sc in hexagon, chain 2, sc in 2nd chain from hook*, repeat in next stitch) in the same color as the hexagon.

I've already given this afghan away, but it turned out so well that I've got four hexies complete for another one. :)  This one will be for ME!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Afghan envy

Recently I pinned this utterly gorgeous afghan by CoCo Rose to my Crochet board on Pinterest.  I want one, I want one, I want one!!! 

The pin proved to be quite popular, and one Pinterester asked for the pattern.  Since I didn't make the afghan, I didn't have the pattern, and it turns out the original artist got the pattern from a book (details at the CoCo Rose link).  But I got to looking at the pictures and thought... "You know, that looks easy enough to figure out." So I did. 

It's a basic granny hexagon pattern, except the fourth round is v-stitches (dc, ch1, dc), rather than 3-stitch clusters (3dc). Please note that the pattern below is NOT the pattern from the book--it's my own kludge-up, based on pictures of hexagons made from the pattern in the book. Not the same thing.  The basic color palette and progression is blatantly copied from and inspired by CoCo Rose's afghan, though. Obvioulsy. :)

I used a size I/5.5mm hook, and my hexies are a smidge over seven inches from straight edge to straight edge, and eight inches in diameter at the corners.  All with Red Heart Super Saver worsted weight.  Here's a nice big pic of one of the hexies, followed by a very... um... non-professional-quality pattern in American terms.  Eight hexies made, 56 more to go.

Chain 4, join with slip stitch to form loop.

Round 1 (yellow in pic): Chain 2 (counts as first dc), dc in loop ch1, *2dc, ch1* five times for a total of six 'spokes.' Join to top of 1st dc. Fasten off.

Round 2 (pink in pic): Join new color at any chain space, ch2 (counts as first dc), 2dc in same chain space, ch1.  *3dc in next chain space, ch1* five times for a total of six clusters. Join to top of 1st dc. Fasten off.

Round 3 (green in pic): Join new color at any chain space.  Ch2 (counts as first dc), 2dc, ch1, 3dc in same chain space. Ch1. *3dc, ch1, 3dc, ch1* in each of the five remaining chain spaces. Join to top of 1st dc. Fasten off.  Your hexagon shape should now be obvious, with six distinct 'corner spaces' and six 'middle' spaces.

Round 4 (v-stitches in light aqua in pic): Join new color at any 'middle' chain space. Ch3 (counts as first dc and ch1), dc in same chain space.  In next chain space (first hex corner), dc, ch1, dc, ch1, dc, ch1, dc.   In next chain space (which will be a 'middle') dc, ch1, dc. Continue around, working each corner as before and each middle as before. Join to top of 1st dc (2nd starting chain). Fasten off. 

Round 5 (aqua dcs in pic):  Join new color at any 'middle' v-stitch chain space from Round 4. Ch2 (counts as first dc), 2dc in same chain space.  1dc in next stitch (where the v's come together, NOT a chain space). 2dc in next chain space. The next chain space should be a corner. Dc, ch1, dc in the corner chain space. **2dc in next chain space; 1dc in next stitch (where the v's come together, NOT a chain space), 3dc in chain space of middle v-stitch. 1dc in next stitch (where the v's come together, NOT a chain space). 2dc in next chain space.** (total of 9 dc on one straight edge between **, not including corners) Dc, ch1, dc in corner space. Continue in the same fashion around. Join to top of 1st dc. Fasten off.

Round 6 (dark aqua in pic):  Join new color at any stitch along a straight edge. Ch2 (counts as first dc). Dc in next stitch, and in each stitch until you reach the corner space. As before, *dc, ch1, dc* in the corner space. Dc in next stitch and in each of the next 10 stitches (total of 11 dc on one straight edge, not including corners). Continue in the same fashion around. Join to top of 1st dc. Fasten off.