Friday, January 31, 2014

Studio Space, Craft Room?

I finally realized why most craft spaces displayed on the web are not appealing to me.

I do more than one craft. I not only sew for making clothing, I do embroidery, knitting, photography, quilting, paper crafting, beadwork, and rubber stamping. Very few people want to have space set up that is good for several different things. They need storage and work space for only one type of activity.

How boring.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cricut Flower Shoppe

I have this cart for my Cricut and I kept fighting with it. I'd look up instructions and get something to almost turn out, but I wasn't ever really happy.

I have had an epiphany! The flowers are put onto the cartridge display in pieces sorted into columns. If you start at the top of the column, you will have the center of the flower. Then, you simply cut each pattern down the column and you will have the middle and outer petals of the flower. Last, at the bottom of the column, you have leaves that match the flower.

For an initial test, cut everything at the same size. 2.75" is a good start. after you play with your flowers a bit, you'll find which pieces you want to cut smaller or larger. I like to cut the centers up to two times larger because I like they way they look. 

To roll up the center of the flower, start at the outside of the spiral. Roll around a toothpick or needle to start. I use a paper piercer, because it has a nice handle on it. I don't roll around the paper piercer for long, only an inch or two. I remove it and keep rolling. The ruffled edge can do whatever it wants, but the goal is to keep the smooth edge even, to create a flat piece that will glue down to the tab that's left at the end. The angle of the spiral will cause the petals to fan themselves out. Then allow the spiral to spin loose to be just a smidge larger than the center tab. Don't worry that you aren't gluing down the entire spiral. It won't came apart if you glue enough of the first length that you rolled up to create the center.

Once the glue has dried, I bend the petals out with my fingers, one petal at a time. If I try to do too many or bend too far, they will rip or crush and the center of my flower looks a bit worse for the wear. I've found that warm, barely damp fingers also help. Cheap paper is frustrating to work with.

It is dark in my studio at the moment and a picture will be a fail. When I have sun, I'll add photos.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Studio

The image for this blog heading is my old studio in Virginia. My studio space in Florida doesn't photograph as well. I took over the living and dining room of this house and laid out my studio to have space for paper, computer, sewing, and embroidery. I ended up putting in a space for my grandson to work on his projects. Paper is the northeast corner, embroidery is the southeast corner, sewing is southwest, and reading/grandson space is the northwest corner. He gets the square coffee table and can sit on the floor.
There are five bookcases. There are crates, boxes, and tubs. There is storage under the paper crafting tables and under the cutting table. I have my grandmother's sewing cabinet, my mother's sewing cabinet, and my grandfather's curio cabinet. Storage, as they say, is non-trivial. There are also six tables for workspace, not counting the ironing board.

While ten people could not all work in here at once, there are ten separate work zones. Cutting, sewing, ironing, reading, kid, computer, embroidery, diecuts, paper and stamping/beading. I use lots of local lamps as the living room has no ceiling light. The dining room has the chandelier, that I got Bud to loop up high enough to walk under. Neither window gets a lot of direct sunlight. That's a Good Thing down here. Direct sunlight = hot. 

I put up a folding screen to block access from the butler's pantry and a dog gate to block access from the front hall. There are toxic things in my studio that would kill Jack if she were to get her teeth into them. Jack would not still live Some of them are stored well within her reach. Even my grandson is not allowed in if I am not in here with him.

Even with this incredible workspace, before I quit working, I didn't feel like making stuff very often. Now, I'm getting back to work in a big way. Each day I either make significant progress on a project or I finish something off. With all that, I have only  started my attack on three years of round tuits.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I did the update to Windows 8.1. Actually, I did it some time ago. This caused problems with my Cricut, as the application that I use to run it did not play in the same sandbox at all. I had a $200 Cricut shaped doorstop. But the folks at Provo Craft finally sent out an update and I was back in business. Is 8.1 better than 8.0? Meh. A couple of things that were nifty with a touch screen and a royal whirling pain in the butt with a tablet or mouse got adjusted. The power button got moved, but it still stumped my DSS when I challenged him to prove that he knew his way around the OS.

I've been working with Lightroom 4 a bit. I'm not sure if I like it. I need to dig through Photoshop CS6 and get it fine tuned to the way I'd like it to behave. I'm not too worried about getting that done. I've been working with Photoshop since Photoshop 6. It isn't rocket science.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pinterest Fine Tuning

I looked up a set of directions to sew something on Pinterest. They were OK, but I had to sew two  before I was happy with the construction. I have been sewing long enough to know that directions in commercial patterns aren't often the best way to construct the item. If I were a newbie at sewing, I'd probably have turned out a flop.

Pinterest is great if you already know how. If you are trying to learn, there are going to be a lot of failures.

FWIW, there is no place near Jacksonville where there are classes on bookbinding. Not that I'd trust. There is no miniature store, nor is there a camera place. No doll houses, no photographers. The locals think it is a big city. I know better.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Metallic Rubber Bands

Huh. Metallic or 'pearlized' rubber bands don't have the ability to slide as easily as regular rubber bands do. This means they are not a good choice for patterns that are high tension, like the Small Basketweave. How do I know this? I tried to make a Small Basketweave with three different colors of metallic rubber bands. Before I finished, five rubber bands had broken. And further deponent sayeth not.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Rainbow Looming

Neatness counts. And those diagrams that tell you what order to put rubber bands on in? Make a difference. Even when you think it will matter.

When there are five different rubber bands on a single pin, you need to be able to pull them off in the correct order. You need to be able to find which rubber band needs to be moved next. As soon as you pull on a wrong one, you'll find out what the definition of a problem is. I'm not going to mention how much of a difference this makes when you are digging down through three rubber bands that have been looped on top of those five as part of the process of looping your bands.

To prevent this, you need to pay attention to the order you put your rubber bands on your loom. If you are always changing the order slightly, you'll have problems. Do not put the left side on first for one pattern repeat and then the right side on first for the next pattern repeat. It's gonna get ugly.

Also, you need to keep them on the pin in that order and not allow them to roll and twist about.

Neatness counts. It really does.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Clean Workspace and PhDs

I just cleaned up a pile of oddments on my worktable of projects that I got started working on that did not work out on the first (or even second or third) try. Could I have kept working and turned them into a success? Sure. But they just weren't that important to me to put in that much effort, and therefore, they are now trash.

Am I upset? Not the least. I'm actually quite happy that my work area is a lot cleaner. The more I work in a location, the cleaner that location gets. Seeing my work tables clear off means that I'm using my work tables for actual work. If it isn't a project that I want to complete, it's gone.

I used to use UFO for UnFinished Object and WIP for Work In Progress. PhD, I recently learned, is for a Project half Done.

Snicker. I like the idea of working on my PhDs. Or should that be PshD?

Saving Mr. Banks is a very good movie, BTW. "It should be 'Let us go and fly a kite' but..." Grammar mavens will adore the corrections that P.L.Travers allows to slip past. FWIW, I have a copy of Mary Poppins that was printed in the early 1960's. Hardcover. The original copyright is from 1934. It is dedicated to "MY MOTHER 1875-1928"

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rainbow Tips

Well! I have discovered that needing to buy a second loom is simply an early stage in the addiction. I now own six looms. Yes, that's correct, SIX. Since I own some knock-off looms, I am shopping for more of the Rainbow ones.

On to the tips.

When loom shopping, don't go anywhere near the knock offs, no matter how close to the original they might appear. It isn't worth the aggravation. (Trust me on this, been there, done that.)

Flipping the rubber bands into a figure eight is a bother. I just loop the rubber bands onto the pin that is farther away from me, then turn my hand over and loop them onto the closer pin and get my figure eight much faster.

To avoid bending or breaking hooks, remember to slide the rubber bands to the thicker part of the shaft when doing things that require pulling and tugging.

Rainbow Loom C clips are better than the S clips that are found in off-brand rubber band packs.

The more complex patterns that create wide, dense bracelets use up an astonishing number of rubber bands. Getting extra of black and white is a good idea.

Learn how to attach a button closure. It's worth a few failures.

Expect failures when learning a new pattern. Take your failures apart and try again.

Stretched out rubber bands from failures are fragile and break more easily.

Not all rubber bands from failures will be stretched out and fragile.