04 December 2011

Kirby Crochet.

I've been working on my super-secret-mission project again, which is bound to someday shortly become my not-so-secret-mission project....
I was playing the original Kirby's Dreamland on my Gameboy the other day and decided that Kirby would be wonderful to crochet.  I started planning everything out yesterday, and finished all of the crocheting and finishing work today.  Here is the Kirby's Dreamland-inspired crochet piece:

I did this one a little differently than I've done in the past.  Before, I've noticed that my gauge isn't perfectly square.  I would plan everything out on graph paper and be extremely disappointed when the finished result was a super tall and skinny version of what I had drawn (such as Donkey Kong).  This time, I measured my gauge in advance.  It turns out that I have 15 stitches and 12 rows for every 4"x4" square.  Then, I used excel to plot out my design by changing the row and column heights to match my gauge.  This way, I could compensate for the non-square gauge by being able to see what the actual finished piece would look like in advance.  So nice!  I'll have to devote an entire post to the process of this one day.

Good thing I was once obsessed with collecting yarn before, which means that I pretty much always have the right colors I need for crocheting these 8-bit  designs.

I want to try and make sure that I have very recognizable games, but yet that they are still a little bit out of context, in that I don't exactly want to replicate a scene exactly.  That way, I feel like there's at least a little bit of artisticness going into it rather than precise alikeness?  Not to say I don't love perfect scenes down to the pixel, but for this particular project I want the characters and games almost somewhat extracted from their environment. 

Ideas for the next one? 

26 November 2011

Soda Can Embossing Tutorial

Pinterest has solidified in me the notion that people out there are extraordinarily talented.  If you're like me, you can queue things up on your boards that one day you need to do until you realize there just isn't enough time in the world for it all.  So, I've been trying to focus on starting and completing projects all the way (which is much harder for me than it sounds).  

Therefore, when I find really awesome, quick craft projects I can do entirely, I jump at the chance.  This particular project--Soda Can Embossing--is ridiculously easy!  You just need an empty aluminum soda can, a ballpoint pen, sandpaper / sanding block, and cardboard.  Soda cans are perfect for embossing because the aluminum is so thin, it holds a nice shape, and you don't have to buy extra materials.

One thing I love about the idea of embossing soda cans is how versatile this craft is.  You could use them for Christmas ornaments, gift tags, bookmarks, notes, scrapbooking embellishments, etc.  

Depending on how intricate your design is, this project can be done in under an hour.  I love that.  I'm planning on getting my whole family in on the idea of making some fun ornaments this year by embossing soda cans.  

Want to emboss your own aluminum cans?


19 November 2011

Collecting Things.

There's something so comforting about collecting things.  I've gone through phases of collection items.  I used to collect rocks when I was a kid, and I had a hand-painted, smelly egg carton to put them in.  Then I started a key collection of old, useless, rusty keys.  Soon I switched to buying skeins and skeins of yarn of all kinds:  Fluffy, fuzzy, furry, stringy, barf-colored variegated, neon pink, scintillating green.  It was a disease.

Then there's my obsession with all things paper.  I keep every note I've ever been written, and I have this thing about writing notes to people and never actually giving it to them.  I also just love types, weights, colors, and textures of paper.

But my new collection obsession is fabric. The problem I have now is that I've been slowly buying more and more without actually using it up.  I have visions for them all, but with all of my schoolwork and work work, I have to keep pushing it off until I get some free time.  I keep all of my newest fabric piles in a stack on my desk so I can smile at them while I'm doing homework late into the night.  Somehow something silly and small like this just helps make doing all of the hard stuff that much nicer.  There's just something about the aesthetics and personality and imperfections about making stuff for yourself or for others that makes this world unarguably better.  And that's why I love collecting things.

Collecting anything is soothing and such a commonly-shared human trait.  It's when you collect something too specific and odd that gets you into trouble.  A hair from every girl you've ever dated?  That's weird.  Probably anything that is from the body is a little different to collect.  Not that I'm saying you shouldn't collect spleens if that's your thing....Do what you need to do, I think.  This is venturing into some weird territory, now.

Anyway,  I bought these lovely new fabrics recently:

And these ones:

A lot of them are connoted with particular people because I have them in mind when I'm shopping for fabrics and thinking of presents I'll eventually get to making when I have the time.

And I used a small plastic storage tote to store my fabrics, which works out so nicely.  I'm kind of loving the look of them all together.  Plus, seeing them all like this makes me realize that I need to slow down on the purchasing.  At least I don't really care about clothes or anything else.  This and N64 games lately dominate the spending habits of late. 

What do you collect?  

30 October 2011

Reupholstery Tutorial: Part II.

This weekend I was finally able to finish up that office chair reupholstery project that I started last week.  It's kind of made me want to reupholster every piece of furniture in my house.
Here is the second part of the reuphosltery tutorial which includes redoing the seat cushion and finishing up all of the chair's details.  In case you missed it, the first tutorial is here. 

Let's get started!

23 October 2011

Reupholstery Tutorial: Part I.

When I was 13 or so, I picked out an office chair with wheels for my brand new desk.  It was a bold aqua color.  At least, I think this color is aqua...Whenever there is some combination of blue and green, I don't ever know how to define it.  I mean, I know a handful of terms that define a mixture of the two colors: cerulean, teal, turquoise, blue-green, green-blue, aquamarine, aqua, seafoam, etc. But, I'm lost when it comes to the actual concentration of blue and green in each of these colors.  Is this just me?  I think we need a scale like the one in all science books for wave sizes (infrared, radio, x-ray...).
Regardless of its actual color, this chair has gotten pretty dirty.  And, since I painted my room "Avocado", it's a blaring clash of colors.  So, I decided to reupholster it.  There are some great reupholstery (or upholstery, I think it's just common to add the prefix re- in front if it's not the first upholstery for this object) tutorials out there including these ones: here and here.  Every furniture item is going to be constructed differently, so all you can really do is take the essential ideas and apply them to your own!
Here is my own reupholstery tutorial for an office chair!  Enjoy!

17 October 2011

Train Activities.

My train ride to school is almost exactly 1 hour long.  Each way.  I used to just fall asleep, but it was the sort of sleep where your head slowly droops down until that point where the neck muscles finally just give up, then your head snaps up violently and somehow you'll manage to fall asleep again within milliseconds only to repeat this process again for the next ten minutes.
Save sleep, I really feel like I need to do something for the 10 hours a week I'm on Trax.  Something resembling productivity.  Of course, I can't be too productive, say as to read my fluids textbook or start on homework assignments, because that would just make too way much sense.   Instead, I need to:
  • Play through my old gameboy games?  Am I too old to enjoy Pokemon again?
  • Write a book featuring train people.  I'm convinced they're a separate, yet closely related species.
  • Crochet or knit something small enough that doesn't invade space. 
  • Listen to as many wonderful podcasts as I can squeeze in.
  • Compose a song purely from my head without hearing any of it until completed.  (Before you get any notions about this...I'll tell you now that it will sound awful and I am okay with that.)
  • Write down and illustrate all of the things I want to take apart and the things I want to invent.  

So far I've accomplished two of these.  The podcasts, and the knitting one...
I kept seeing images of children frolicking and wanting to see my knitting projects, but then when I'm leaning over to show them, the train screeches to a halt and my knitting needles gorily poke them in the eyes.  I bought circular needles to relieve myself of this unlikely, but very real image.  I also needed a place to hold my yarn other than my lap so that I can pull it out from the center without it rolling and bouncing everywhere.
And I found a solution that makes me ridiculously happy.

Yarn.  In a shoebox.

Knitting.  From a shoebox!

That's right!  I'm using a shoebox.  It makes perfect sense, really.
I cut the slit on the side of the lid so that I can easily pull the yarn in and out of the shoebox.  
Also, this shoebox is the same one that I was proposed to with.  I know, it's ridiculous.  But I'm in love.  With all of it.

16 October 2011

Donkey Kong Crochet.

I'm going to knit/crochet entire screenshots of old 8-bit or 16-bit games.

I started with probably my favorite one...Donkey Kong.  I think I love Donkey Kong even more now that I've seen the movie The King of Kong:  A Fistful of Quarters.

It's made out of Tunisian (or Afghan) crochet.  I wish I could do this stuff on the train to school, but it requires at least 4 skeins of yarn at a time and using an 18 inch double-ended crochet hook.  I kind of like to be as small as I can manage on the train so that people don't hate me for taking up their space. 

Here is a list of some other games I've thought of doing:
  • Secret of Monkey Island
  • Pac-Man
  • Space Invaders
  • Mario 
  • Joust
  • Defender
  • Root Beer Tap
  • Excitebike
  • Dragon's Lair
  • Centipede
  • Frogger
  • Dig Dug
  • Asteroids
  • Tetris
Tell me any that I've missed.  The more pixelated the game is, the better.  Also, the more awesome the game is, the better!  I need around 8 of these huge panels in total for my secret mission project.  I just like to call it a secret mission project so that I can feel like a secret agent.

15 October 2011

Introductory Piecing.

I recently went purchasing (as we now call "shopping with a purpose") at an admittedly adorable store in Gardner Village: Pine Needles.  It's a fabric, quilting, and embroidery store and it was setup in such a way that it felt like every nook and cranny you looked in you'd find more piles and baskets of fabric.  I kind of felt like hugging every piece of fabric in there.  Somehow, I managed to only buy half of the store and frankly, I'm pretty surprised that I've never heard of this place before for fabrics.  Any ideas?  I've only been to large chain retailers before like Hobby Lobby and Joann, so I don't exactly have the widest range of experience here, but this place was unbelievable. 

With the help of Google and lovely internet bloggers who post free tutorials, I decided to learn a little bit of quilting and piecing and paper piecing techniques and freezer paper techniques.  About 15 youtube videos later, I decided to go for a simple geometric design (I love engineering paper for this stuff).  The plan was to measure out the pieces directly onto the fabric, until I arrived at an SAS (side-angle-side) problem.  And for those of you who remember your Laws of cosines from trigonometry, good for you.  I know I could have looked it up on google, but since I had already done a bunch of right triangle trig, and it's Fall Break, and it's just 5 pieces for a simple block, I got lazy and just cut pieces out of paper and pinned them onto my fabric. 

So, I picked the fabrics out for a good friend of mine whom I am making a project for.  My first experience with piecing turned out not to be a huge disaster. 

All in all, life is good.