Saturday, June 6, 2015

Creative Floodgates Open. A review of the deluge...

So, the creative floodgates have opened. I am beyond jewelry now. Here are all the things I have percolating and are now starting to come to fruition!

Surface Pattern Design

I took a random class on surface pattern design and have now expanded my art interests into creating designs for my own home! Here is my "beach blues" I printed through Spoonflower.

And am finishing up re-upholstering a cute little bistro set. 

I also printed some pillows through Zazzle in a bohemian collection for my bed. I've also been  repainting and refinishing my furniture so it coordinates better and just generally organizing my home.

Kanna Inspire

I did a pilot of an inspiration magazine with an original cast of 16 artists. The enthusiasm from the initial launch was great! I'm working on getting legal ducks in a row to relaunch my inspiration magazine. Here is a proof of the next issue (launch date is still open).

Sticky Note Project Management

Another thing I've been piloting on myself, and select friends and family is converting what I've learned from my day job into a personal task/project management system. In the digital age, I've found there is a nice balance/tension to still using old-fashioned paper. But, not just any paper. I am known at the "sticky note queen" when I'm collaborating with my team at work. I've combined my new surface pattern designing skills and have made a way to manage my own tasks in a pretty and organized way. I still use digital lists, but the paper is more tactile and "in-my-face" so I don't forget as easily.


And hopefully, I will be able to return to the thing that started this whole journey... jewelry! I'm not sure about being able to start up lamp working again, but if I can't do that yet, I will explore polymer and ceramics to round out my skill set and materials.


Last but not least, I've finally conquered knitting! I've been knitting scarves for years and years and years and now have graduated from scarf land (although I still love making scarves). I have decided to keep this piece of creativity as something I do to relax at the end of the day. I will still need a creative outlet if my art business takes off. As I was starting to gain a small amount of traction at one point in my business, I realized that making art would become a responsibility and not a creative outlet. So, I had to find something to stay as joy for the joy of creating - no strings attached and I've decided knitting will stay mostly in that arena.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Designing fabric - new beach themed pillows and fabric

A few years ago when I was coping with chronic migraines I started taking a bunch of different classes. One of the classes was surface pattern design. 

It was a very random side trip in my art journey. I never really had a particular interest or even knowledge that such a thing as surface pattern design existed. It was just kind of a "hm, that's sounds kind of interesting, I'll take it" type of experience. And I truly started from scratch. I didn't have any design or graphic art background that most of the other students had, so some of my early work? Heinous. But, some of it surprisingly good and I'm even starting to revisit some of the ideas. It's been a consistent pattern as I learn anything new such as lamp work, polymer clay, metal clay. I start with really ugly things (but with interesting possibilities) and some surprisingly good stuff. I'll share another post on the surface pattern design journey. 

What I love about surface pattern design is being able to make things I visualize for my home into seamless repeats for pattern and objects. Learning how to create repeats that I can use as backgrounds on my blog? Score! (Yep, I made that bright yellow/green organic plaid on my blog.) Creating my own fabric for use in clothing and pillows. Bonus!


I've searched some of the various third party customization stores and I settled on Zazzle for the level of control I had over the products my designs would be on. I earn a design royalty on each object sold with my design on it. If I promote the product, I can also earn an additional commission.  I've ordered products from Zazzle for my own home and have been very pleased with the results of the pillows (my favorite!) and the wall art and cards. Their service is excellent and the prints have turned out very well. 

Recently, I started decorating my home in a beach/ocean theme. I'm not a huge fan of the ubiquitous motifs (that are everywhere especially once you move to Florida). I decided I wanted to embrace beach living through color. The varied blues and green are what take my breath away about being near the water. 

I got my pillows yesterday and I'm in love! I made four designs in the brighter palette for this effortless boho vibe. 

And to maximize the designs, each pillow has a "bright side" and a "subdued" side. The subdued side is two-toned. Flip the pillows to mix it up.

If you're a "matchy-matchy" type of person, just order two of the same pillow. 

Spoonflower Fabric

In addition to pillows, I got two yards of the fabric through Spoonflower. The colors in the fabric pop a little more than on the Zazzle pillows. I'm going repaint and reupholster some bistro chairs with this fabric. Can't wait to get moving on that project!

I really, really love the pillows I ordered through Zazzle and fabric through Spoonflower. I've been very happy with the quality and service of both companies.

If you are digging the fabrics or pillows, order yours through the above links! I earn commissions on each sale. 

If you want to design your own, both have "create your own" options on each. I have been very happy with their service and can happily recommend them to others.

Monday, May 11, 2015

More Knitting

More knitting. I can't seem to stop. I'm currently super obsessed with Cascade Casablanca yarn. (I have been liking the discounts at I'm a color-a-holic and I love, love, love the way the colors graduate from one to the next. 

This scarf is knit as a wide scarf or wrap in the fern lace pattern using the Casablanca discontinued color of neutrals (tan, brown, cream, gray, offwhite, and black).

Monday, April 6, 2015

Learning how to knit - I encourage Continental style

Here is a list of videos I recommend to help you get start with knitting:

Long Tail Cast On

Very Pink Knits. I love her videos, I usually start with her series when learning something, but I like watching multiple videos to find the subtleties that will work for me. This video is great for long tail cast on with a slip knot. I think it's a wonderful beginner way to learn how to do long tail cast on.

Another version with the slip knot start: Long Tail Cast On

This is closest to the way I do it. I like how slow she is in showing how to do a long-tail cast on. Long Tail Cast On

Learning how to knit - Continental Style

Continental and English style knitting are two methods of how you hold the yarn while knitting. I learned English and was encouraged to switch to Continental because my hands would hurt with the English style. I'm very glad I made the switch. Continental is overall more efficient (i.e. faster) because you move your hands less. You can get very fast with the English style, but your hands still move a wee bit more. However, as is pointed out in the last video, it's good to know both styles of knitting to help when you have repetitive motion stress/injury. Being able to switch it up gives your hands and arms a rest. 

This is one is good with beginner continental.... but how she pulls the stitch through is good for beginner but very inefficient in the long run. However, I like how she teaches this because it's how I've noticed beginners tend to work when learning Continental.

When you get comfortable with the beginner, here is the version that helps you refine your continental knitting. This is the video I used to help me when I switched from English to Continental. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Knitting OCD

Ever since I knitted three of these neck warmers for my lovely friend from New Zealand, I've been a knitting fool. 

Oh, yes. I've gone off the deep end. Below is the pile of things I've knit since then. Three blankets (one already given away) loads of scarves and cowls, three capes (two given away).

I'm particularly fond of the three very colorful pieces in the front. The one on the far left took two weeks of serious OCD knitting. I made a second one in a different color way and that was already given away. The middle one took about a month with a more intricate lace pattern. And the one on the right, I just love it's rainbow color transitions in the fern pattern. I did that  in three evenings of OCD knitting.

It's been so bad, I haven't even wanted to stop long enough to write these posts. I've composed them in my head... but I can't break my fingers off the needles. But, here I am. Finally trying to make some time to start blogging again. 

I'm going to have to start selling my stash of snuggly cowls and scarves to support my habit. See stash below. Oh yes. I have fallen in love with several expensive brands. Sunday Knits, Malabrigo, Cascade Ultra Pima. I have learned, if I'm going to spend so much time with these yarns, I want them to feel good, and I want to enjoy feeling and looking at them. I went back to knitting with craft store yarn for a one of the six projects I have started, and I'm not just feeling inspired. I'll try to get going again. It is teaching me useful techniques. 

Latest arrival of delicious Cascade Ultra Pima to be knit into a decorative baby blanket. Oh, the sheen on this cotton is sublime! Will probably make another one in the Cascade Super Wash for daily use.

                       Stop! .....