amandajocrafts

December 17, 2012

On a Crafty Weekend!

Filed under: On Creating. — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — amandajocrafts @ 11:36 am

I got my craft on this weekend!

First, after a stalled-out Etsy shop (slow times happen to me at the weirdest times!), I got two orders in two days! The first was a pair of fingerless gloves, which are always fun to make.

The other was for a custom kitten! Not just any kitten though–there’s a bit of a story behind this one. Apparently, there is (or was) an online game called “Glitch.” The developers are taking the game down, and someone was interested in having a crocheted version of the cat character from this game, called “Heli Kitteh.” They showed me a screen shot from the game of the kitten, and I got to work! The recipient loved it, and I already got another order for it!

Also, I can’t post pics yet because I also did this craft for some relatives who have not received it yet (don’t want to spoil the surprise!) but I did 10 gifts for everyone at my office, AND baked cookies for them! Due to a miscommunication with the notes on my cookie recipe, I misjudged how many cookies the recipe would make, and instead of getting 160, like I expected, I got 260 cookies! (Needless to say, there are a LOT in the freezer now!) All of that took up most of the weekend, but it was certainly worth it–I love my workplace and everybody I work with, so I was more than happy to share the joy!

Finally, I wrapped all the finace’s gifts! He has a nice little pile under our tree now :).

Have you been crafty this weekend?

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December 13, 2012

On DIY Mania…Post-Christmas.

Let’s all just start by admitting that Pinterest is addictive.

Helpful, yes. Interesting, yes. A fantastic way to share things with my best friends regarding style, wedding, and clothing ideas, even though they’re states away? Yes.

However, it also awakens a (not so latent) need to always be creative. I want to make everything. And so the DIY Pinterest board began.

Since it’s Christmastime and I certainly won’t have the time for myself before the big day comes along (let’s ignore the fact that I go back to school in January, and therefore probably won’t have time after Christmas, anyway), I have a little list of DIY projects for myself once the new year begins. (And side note, 2013, really? Where has the time gone? In my head, when I calculate years that have passed, I still always assume it’s 2000 for some reason. 2013 just sounds strange…like we’re all in a sci-fi movie….which is making me want to watch Firefly…getting off track now, I know.)

So, here’s my DIY list for the new year:

Crochet Hook Holder

This really does not look that hard, although there was no attached tutorial in the pin I found. I have a sewing machine, seems like you buy some material, a little lace, and go to town! (Ask me if I feel this way when I actually attempt it. My sewing machine and I do not always see eye-to-eye.)

Knitted Lace Socks

(Pattern here.)

I have had these on my pinboard…well…just about since I got a Pinterest account. I actually took a step forward and bought the yarn for them the last time I was at Michael’s, but with the push to add items in my Etsy shop for Christmas, I just haven’t gotten around to working on something for myself. (In that respect, my scarf hat is still right where it was when I last blogged about it, as well. I know…it’s going to be spring before I get my act together. The fiance keeps telling me I have to actually do something for myself for a change. Gotta get around to that :))

Canvas Shoes

These just look really cool. Another Etsy blogger, the awesome Vivid Please, supplied a tutorial for these awhile back, and darned if I just haven’t gotten around to it. I will in the new year, I swear!

Mason Jar Herb Garden

 

I’d like to do a variation on this. My fiance and I get a lot of tea in the really pretty tins you see at Trader Joe’s and Giant Eagle Market District, and I won’t let him just throw the tins away because they’re so cute! (Yes, I have a cute clutter problem.) I think this would be a great way to reuse them, and a great alternative to having them sitting on a table somewhere, because we are just out of room!

Well, that’s my list for now :). I’m trying to keep it manageable so I’ll actually get to it! If you want to check out everything else I’ve been thinking of, come on over to my Pinterest DIY board.

Do you have any DIY lined up?

October 26, 2012

On Hooded Scarf Update #2.

Filed under: On Creating. — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — amandajocrafts @ 11:52 am

I’ve made a lot more progress on the hooded scarf since the last update, but I still have a bit to go!

I only have one or two more go-rounds with the pattern (which is 16 rows) before I can finish up that second pocket. Then, it’s (theoretically) easy breezy from there on our–it’s just the hood part!

I’d better get cracking, though, and not let all my big Etsy ideas keep me from working on this–the weather isn’t going to stay nice for long!

(Of you’re looking for the original post with the pattern for the hooded scarf, check it out here!)

September 24, 2012

On Granny Squares.

Filed under: On Crocheting. — Tags: , , , , , , , — amandajocrafts @ 10:44 am

I have a LOT of yarn.

My mom used to knit and crochet a lot in the years before I came along. After I grew old enough and wanted to know what the boxes and boxes of yarn were doing in our closet, she taught me. She also kindly offered all the yarn in those boxes to my project whims. (Mothers are so darn selfless!) Of course, then I was the one in possession of all these possibilities.

I remember, so clearly, dragging the heavy metal stepstool from the laundry room up the stairs to the hall closet. The folding doors would squeak delightfully as I pushed them open on either side. I would, so carefully, open the step stool, because it made a sharp snap when it locked into place, and my mom had always made it clear that my fingers would not be happy if they were in the proximity of the snap. I’d climb up the three steps and, with my short, chubby kid fingers, inch the box off the top shelf, holding it in the crook of my neck and shoulder while I eased my way back off the stool. I’d look inside, knowing just what I’d find in there because, of course, my mom had marked in Sharpie on the outside what colors, and just how many, were kept inside.

Last year, when I started my Etsy shop, I bought even more yarn. And then, when I moved out of my parents’ house to pretend to be a grown-up, I brought some of her yarn with me. It hung out in a lot of eco-friendly bags until my fiance encouraged me to purchase a wooden storage bench with some lovely baskets (I think he was just getting sick of all the bags in the corner).

I think, at the time, I felt as though I needed as much yarn as possible, “just in case.” Then, my Etsy shop didn’t have quite the direction and continuity as it does now; I was not sure what the next item would be, so I felt as though I just had no clue what I needed. However, I now have a clear vision, and it does not include all this extra yarn! (Especially when I bought out a certain brand a Michael’s a month ago for those teddy bears I’ve been making. They do not fit in the baskets with everything else in there.)

So, I pondered what to do with this yarn. I didn’t want to store it somewhere, because then I would forget about it. I didn’t have the heart to fill my parents’ hall closet back up with it again. Then, I stumbled across the fascinating “granny square.”

You would think, being a hard-core yarner, yarn-artist, and general yarn-a-holic, that I would have a lot more experience with a granny square. (Really, my only “contact” with them was when I was just starting out crocheting and found some of my mom’s old, leftover granny squares. She taught me how to connect them, and my American Girl Dolls had a nice little blanket.) Granny squares are the perfect way to utilize this “homeless” yarn!

I wasted no time in looking up how to create them, and even less time in coming up with my own, slightly varied, version of the traditional granny square. I tried a couple out, and decided this would be the perfect project to do on the bus on my way to work.

Putting thought into action, I assumed–with a slight delight–that this might cause some interest on an otherwise morning-dulled bus. Maybe I can hand out some business cards, I thought to myself. This could be great shop publicity. People can see me in action!

I was wrong. No one even looked twice! It actually harkened back to some even odder behavior by myself, where, right after moving, I put all my crochet animals in bags and took them to the park and beach to photograph them. (I have since changed my photos on Etsy, but some of my fourth and fifth Etsy pictures do still have examples, like my octopus here.) Although I didn’t mean to draw attention to myself, I thought that at least a couple people would wonder what the heck this girl in a sundress was doing with bags of crochet animals slung over her shoulder. Nope.

At any rate, I’m still really excited about these granny squares. I have quickly mastered their efficiency and can knock them out relatively fast (a little over one per twenty-minute bus ride). I’m looking forward to having enough to connect them into a really fun, colorful young boy’s blanket! I’ll let you know when it makes it onto Etsy. 🙂

August 27, 2012

On Craft vs. Art.

Filed under: On Creating. — Tags: , , , — amandajocrafts @ 12:22 pm

In undergraduate, I minored in Studio Art. From the beginning, this was my “fun” minor; I already had a major in English and another minor in Computer Science as a “just in case,” so art was because I had the time and opportunity. It was an wonderful chance to use supplies and machinery that I right assumed I would never have the means to use again, at least, not without a studio fee or a millionaire’s salary.

During this time, I got involved in printmaking. What a magical discipline of the arts–it is a blend of severe discipline and throw-your-hands-up willy nilly. I could–and will–have an entire post on the beauty of this art, and its origins for me, at another time.

Suffice it to say, for my final project to complete my minor, I wanted to incorporate my new favorite art, lithography, with knitting, something I truly enjoyed doing. At that time, I, surprisingly, had to fight for my right to knit art. According to my professor, knitting was craft, not art, and I could not complete a craft project for an art minor. I had to find a way to make knitting art.

I did, by creating a family tree, both satisfying myself and my professor. However, I still was not satisfied with knitting, as a definition, being craft and not art. Was I really to believe this was less of an art than fingerpainting, or twenty-first century smudging on canvas, or works that have three paint strokes down a seventy-inch wide canvas? Wasn’t knitting hundreds of hours of fine, concetrated work, often tasking every reserve of patience and discipline you possess? Why, since it finished functional, could it no longer be considered art? Why, if I could sell it, did it downgrade to craft? Painters and drawers sell their work, and they are “doing art.”

Where is this line drawn?

Moreover, why is “craft” something less? It was spoken about in our classroom like it wasn’t worthy of being included in galleries, or treated as seriously as art, or something to cherish. Isn’t craft a seller putting their all into a piece to make a livelihood? What’s more deserving than that?

For me, two years later, I still don’t have the answer. I still feel slightly slighted and indignant of behalf of fellow sellers. I would love to know your views.

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