Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried something new.

Albert Einstein

Wee Castle & Knights Play Set

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in Blog, Crochet, Feature | 0 comments

A couple of years ago, I saw this great wooden castle dollhouse type thing at Michaels in the same area where they carry the wooden dollhouse kits that I used for the spooky dollhouse and Ophelia’s fairy cottage. I immediately wanted to get one for Lex since it was like a dollhouse but for boys. :) It cost $20, which I thought was a bit pricey, but with a 40% off coupon, it wasn’t too bad. I started working on it and meant to get it done in time to give to Lex for Christmas 2012, but that did not happen.

On one of my regular trips to the thrift store down the road, I found another one just like it for only $7, so you know I snatched that baby up. It was mostly unpainted still, but it had been painted a bit. It just needed a facelift. I figured since I already had one, I would paint the other and put it in the upcoming silent auction that our province is having our next event this weekend. Plus I could finish Lex’s castle at the same time. I am so happy with how it came out. I almost don’t want to give it away!

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I also made some cork knights to protect the castle. The pattern for them can be found here. Here’s a closeup.

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To create the effect of bricks, I painted the whole thing black, inside and out, and then used a sponge cut into small rectangles and dipped into gray paint to paint each one. Protip: start with the windows and doors and then do the rest, working from the top down.

Now let’s look inside.

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I decoupaged some scraps of mulberry paper onto the walls. I thought it would be easier than trying to paint each room without getting anything on the floors or ceilings. Looking back, I’m not sure that it was easier. Either way would have been tricky, especially in the rooms with stairs. The stairs make everything difficult.

I like using the mulberry paper because the Mod Podge soaks through it easily and it doesn’t bubble and wrinkle like thicker paper. Plus the overlapping doesn’t look bad because it’s kind of hidden by the texture. It also looks really cool.

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The castle comes with a little box that fits into one of the rooms which is very handy for storing the soldiers when it’s time to pack up.

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Lex’s castle, unfortunately, is still in pieces, but I have made some progress. I really want to get it done soon because he keeps referring to this one as his castle.

This wee castle with its knights will be in the Southern Shores silent auction this Saturday at Newcomers, so if you’re in the Bay Area, please come and maybe place a bid. :)

 

 

 

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My First Scroll in the West

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Blog, Feature, SCA | 2 comments

In the SCA, when someone receives an important award, they are usually given a scroll. What we call a scroll is usually a piece of paper with a description of the award written in medieval calligraphy by hand and decorated with medieval illumination. Just Google “SCA scroll” and you’ll see what I mean. I started learning how to do calligraphy and illumination back in Arkansas, and I did one scroll that I turned in to be handed out. It was pretty simple, but the Celtic knots were fun to do.

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I’d been wanting to do something more ornate, but I wasn’t sure where to start. Our new group, Southern Shores, has a monthly Art & Shop Night, which we started attending. At one of those nights, I didn’t have a project, and the lady who hosts the Art & Shop Night, Eliska, asked if I’d like to help with a scroll on whose illumination she was about to start on. I gladly agreed. She chose the motif and began tracing it out, and I finished the tracing and then painted it with liquid watercolors and gouache. The calligraphy was already there and is not mine. I was really nervous that I would ruin it or the recipient would hate it, but I’m really happy with the end result (and hope the recipient is, too!).

First West Scroll

 

Detail Illuminated Letter

 

Detail Flower Illumination

 

Detail Coat of Arms

Eliska is a Laurel in calligraphy, and she gave me advice on choosing colors and how to do the whitework details. Almost all the art was traced using a light box with a few free handed details added, specifically under the coat of arms.

Eliska was very encouraging and said I did a great job. She also got me added to the College of Scribes, so I can start getting scroll assignments. Then she helped me find a medieval example of something I’d like to do for my next one and even got me set up with some supplies. Thanks, Eliska! :)

I have always enjoyed doing art– painting, drawing, etc.– but I couldn’t always think of things to draw or paint. Or I’d be frustrated that I couldn’t draw as well as I’d like to, so I just wouldn’t do it. With illumination, there’s no shame in tracing (it was commonly done in the Middle Ages), and there are plenty of historical examples and a wide variety of subject matter to choose from. I’m looking forward to improving my workmanship and hopefully, eventually, getting to level of the amazing scribes whose work I’ve seen in the SCA so far.

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I’m Back!

Posted by on Mar 23, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Sorry about my sudden abandonment of my little blog here. For some reason, I haven’t felt like writing much. I regret not keeping up with my posts because, I’ve noticed, this blog really keeps me focused. I guess it sort of keeps me accountable, which helps me to stay on track and achieve my goals. I am sure that if I hadn’t been blogging about it, then I wouldn’t have been able to lose the weight I lost. Speaking of which, I am sad to say that I slipped up and let it all come back. :( But that’s a story for another post.

During my absence from my blog, I have been staying busy. The biggest thing that has happened is that we moved from Arkansas all the way to California. San Jose, to be exact. My husband got a job offer that was too good to pass up, so we picked up everything and moved. We’ve been here for 4 months now, and are settling in quite nicely. We really love it here. The weather is amazing, there is such wide a variety of cultures blending together, the people are super friendly, and there are always things to do.

Another big change is that I have gone from working full time to becoming a stay-at-home-mom, which is challenging and great at the same time. I love being able to spend more time with Lex when he’s still little and to get to teach him new things. Another plus is that I have a bit more time for my many, many craft projects. Still, it’s been an adjustment, and we’re still figuring it out.

We have also been staying active with the SCA, both in Arkansas and here in San Jose. Our new group is the Province of Southern Shores, which was one of the first provinces created in the SCA. It’s exciting to be in the area where the SCA was founded. Every now and then we hear, “Oh, he was at the very first backyard party that started the SCA.” Crazy sauce. Our new group has welcomed us with open arms, and we’ve already made some new friends. I’m eager to share some of the things we’ve made and are still working on.

I am making a commitment to post at least once a week (hopefully more) from now on. Thank you, readers, for bearing with me. I can’t wait to share some new projects with you!

 

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Crochet Happenings, Part 1

Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Crochet, Feature | 5 comments

I’ve been doing a LOT of amigurumi (Japanese for crocheted stuffed toy) lately and realized that I haven’t been sharing all of my little projects with you all. So I’d like to make up for that now.

I’ve been in the process of creating some new patterns that I’ll be putting in my online store (coming soon!). Here’s my first attempt at America’s favorite star ship captain, Captain James T. Kirk:

 

Crochet Capt. Kirk

 

Capt. Kirk close-up

 

I’m not 100% happy with how he turned out. I’d like for him to be a little less lanky and a bit more muscular. I made some adjustments when I made his best friend and first office, Mr. Spock:

 

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I’m really pleased with how Spock came out. It was my first time wiring a doll so that it would be pose-able, and it was really easy thanks to this tutorial. I’ve been writing the patterns for my Star Trek guys as I go along. I’m planning on doing the whole crew, so stay tuned. :)

 

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I took this photo when setting up for the Museum of Discovery’s annual TinkerFest here in Little Rock. I was one of the Makers there and taught kids how to crochet (more or less) and got to show them what kinds of cool stuff they can make with it. In my area we also had a spinner with a spinning wheel and a knitter who makes really awesome knitted stuffed things, including a giant squid she’d made for her husband. I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture. It was really great!

Also pictured are a Weeping Angel inspired by Doctor Who and C-3PO. I got the pattern for C-3PO here. I’ve since added some little red and blue wires to his middle. The Weeping Angel pattern can be found on Ravelry here. I modified it a little by embroidering the hair and adding a headband to make it look more like the ones in the show. Here’s a closer look:

 

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 Don’t blink!

Next up is a little elephant I made for my mom for Mother’s Day.

 

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I found this pattern on Ravelry after a co-worker commissioned one for a graduation gift. And since it was right around Mother’s Day, I thought it would make the perfect gift for my mom since she loves elephants. For hers, I added three hearts for her three daughters, one of which had a smaller one attached to represent Lex and me.

 

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There are even more things I’ve done in the last few months, but I’ll leave it at this for now.

I’ve surprised myself by not getting sick of crocheting already. I’ll usually get tired of doing the same kind of craft over and over, but I think making little stuffed animals keeps it fun. Plus, since they’re small, they work up really quickly and you get that feeling of instant gratification.

 

 

 

 

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