Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Catching Up

Hello all.  It has been quite a while since I wrote a serious post, and I am sorry for that.  I have been running around the last few weeks and it has been hard enough just crafting, without writing about it.  First off, I spent a weekend at my sister's for her baby shower.  The whole family is very excited for her son's arrival, so a lot of my crafting has been baby-centric for the last few months.  My mother came for a visit after that, and we played tourists for the week, visiting art museums in Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, and of course the beach.  Then came Thanksgiving which ate a week of my life so easily, and finally, John's parents came to visit at the beginning of December.  While all the visits and trips were exciting and fun, the near month of hosting or being away was exhausting, and I feel like like the ground is finally under my feet again and I have space to share what I've been up to.

I've completed two paintings, this abstract one, and one of the San Diego skyline at night.  I haven't been satisfied with the photos of the skyline paintings that I have been able to take, but I do have these two detail shots:

I am really happy with both paintings, and hope to list them both on my etsy shop when I can get some better photos.

I have also been enjoying making baby clothes.
This cute cardigan.
And this onesie.  The great thing about baby clothes is that they are so quick to make that I finish one and can move onto the next quickly.

I also make a paper mache box and painted it to look like a Super Mario cube.
I expect that we will be using this as our ring box for the wedding because the companion cube is too big to really put in a pocket.

Well, now you are pretty much caught up on my recent crafts.  What have you been up to since I last posted?  Any big Christmas crafts?

Friday, December 13, 2013


John and I are heading to a tree trimming party this weekend, so I made this ornament.

It was fun to make and I think I'll make some more for other people.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Exploring My New Neighborhood

The first comment I got on facebook about our moves was Albert Einstein's quote, "The only thing you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library."  The first thing that John and I do when we move to a new state is get a new licence, the second thing I do is go get a library card.
Now I have all three.
Well, I found the library and it is spectacular.  It is the Central Library branch for San Diego and it just opened at the end of September.  It has nine floors, and with the exception of two floors that house a charter school, all of them have books!
You can see the library dome here on the far left.
The dome on the top of the library is 143 feet in diameter and made of 1,500 aluminum panels.  It shades a reading room on the 8th floor (with a series of bright turquoise furniture in it that has to be custom) and from the ninth floor, the center of which is open to the dome and sky, you can hear the panels sing.  The wind moves through them in a way that makes it seem like the whole building is trying to speak to you.
With the exception of the ninth floor the library is, as all libraries should be, very quiet.  In fact, walking the fourth floor was the first time since we moved to San Diego that I have experienced true silence.  I think I will be going there at least once a week for the silence if nothing else.
Beyond its structural significance, this library is very welcoming.  Unlike some other urban libraries I have frequented there is a feeling intention to learn.  This may just be the difference between a city where people go to the library to keep warm and one where it is sunny and beautiful every day.
Something else that I thought was clever about this library is that it has a dedicated teen space.  Now I don't mean a YA department, but a space where teens can go, read, spend time together, and feel like the space is theirs.  They even have a sign.
The view of the Coronado Bridge and what I think is one of the Laguna Mountains (correct me if you know I am wrong) is pretty spectacular from the upper levels.  I think I took these pictures from the 7th and 9th floors, respectively.

The library is right on the trolley line and located near the convention center and Petco Park.  To learn more about the building and verify my facts, check out the Central Library website.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

New House Organization

As our new home is considerably smaller than our last place, it is really important to keep things tidy.  To be successful in this task, I made myself a dry erase board will all my daily and weekly tasks.

I used a large picture frame, glued some fabric down on the cardboard backer and then added a calendar template I made from paint samples and a couple of lists.
I separated my cleaning tasks into daily and weekly and then assigned a weekly task to each day of the week.  I find that just having these lists up makes me more conscious of clutter and helps me to keep our apartment tidy.
What do you do to keep up with your daily tasks?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Companion Cube Ring Box

So the wedding plans move forward.  Now that we are eight months out it is actually reasonable for me to do all the planning and crafting I have been doing all along.  My most recent wedding related craft is a box for our rings.  As you may have suspected from previous posts (see Christmas Decorations) John and I are a bit geeky.  We love video games, comic books, science fiction and fantasy in print and on the screen, and of course, tabletop games of all types.
When it came to creating something special to hold our wedding rings, I turned to our geekiness for inspiration.  John loves the Portal games and I had a good bit of fun playing the first game before getting a bit overwhelmed by the motion (I have some trouble with queasiness).  I love the dialogue and the characters in both games.  The AI are especially amusing.  Anyway, what better geeky icon that is shaped like a box than the companion cube.  You know, this guy:
Anyway, after a bit of fussing with little pieces of wood, I got a bit frustrated.  Looking around for alternatives, I decided to go the Sculpey route.
 I got this little ceramic box at a Michaels and proceeded to cover it with Sculpey.
 I then scraped the engraved lines in the sides of the box that don't join.
 Then came adding the sculptural elements of the box.  I found using a template and eyeing it from there to work well.
 Once the piece was completely built, I baked it and started to apply the acrylic paint.
 I took breaks to let the box dry between sections.
 Once it was painted I sealed it with a clear spray coat.  While it doesn't have a perfect finish, I love the idea of our rings living inside it for a while.
I still have to make a little bag for the rings, but there is our companion cube ring box.  We probably won't have the heart to incinerate it when we are done with it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Benefit for Gracelyn

This is my niece, Gracelyn:
Photo credit is not mine.
Gracelyn is ten years old and she love to read.  She is a beautiful young woman with a contagious smile.  Gracelyn has cystic fibrosis.  When I first met her, she was six years old and like most children of that age she was excited to share her daily life with me.  She asked me to come sit with her as she used her vest.  I was amazed at how happy she seemed wearing the vest, using her nebulizer, and watching SpongeBob.  I couldn't even hear the show but she was excited to explain to me what was going on.  She has a really positive attitude.
The time has come and Gracelyn needs a lung transplant.  This means that she will need to be within two hours of the Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.  Her parents, her sister and brother, and she will be making the move down at the end of this month.  This is the time when they need our support.
This Sunday there will be a benefit lunch for Gracelyn at Marino's in Fridley, MN.  There you can enjoy good food, good company, and a craft fair and silent auction to help support her family.  I made a crib quilt for the occasion, so head over there and make a bid.
If you are not able to make it to Minnesota (I know it is a long haul for a lot of us) you can also add your support through GoFundMe or you can give at any Wells Fargo under the name Gracelyn VanGorden Fund.
If you want to read more about Gracelyn or watch the spot on local news that was recently aired about her situation, here are a few links.

Please keep Gracelyn and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Drawing Challenge Part 6

This 30 day challenge was a really great way to stay inspired to draw every day.  Having a prompt made me go outside my comfort zone and draw things I hadn't drawn before.  This post represents the last 5 days of the challenge.  I hope you have enjoyed seeing the work I have produced during this challenge.

Day 26, something I don't like.  Wasps, enough said.
 Day 27, someone I love. John, that is all.
 Day 28, I felt like drawing a squirrel.
 Day 29, a place I want to go.  Glasgow City Chambers, representing the area of Scotland my Grandfather came from.
 And day 30, a banner congratulating myself for completing the thirty days,
and reminding me to keep drawing.
Now that I have shared all thirty days of drawing with you, my posts should return to normal crafty projects, but before I am done, which drawing was your favorite?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Drawing Challenge Part 5

The fifth week I definitely felt like I had a routine for my drawings.  After each day I would look at the next day's prompt and just keep it in mind as I went about my daily life.
Day 21 is something I want, a juicer.  And I chose a nice one to draw, the Hurom Slow Juicer Model HU-100S.

 Day 22 is something I miss, the island from the kitchen in our apartment in Newark.  Although living in Newark, NJ wasn't the best place overall, I do miss the counter space I had in the kitchen.
 I got all weird about day 23, something I need. Because I feel like anything I say I need reveals just how spoiled I am, never having lived outside the United States.  So I chose water.  Everyone needs water, right?
 Day 24 was a couple I saw at the laundromat.  I didn't draw them until I got home, so they have the same facial structure as any face I try to draw from memory.
 Day 25 is scenery, specifically Multnomah Falls in Oregon.  I went there once with my family and was struck by the magnitude of it.

I should post my next and last drawing installment Thursday. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Drawing Challenge, Part 4

I had a really great time doing this week of drawings.  I got to choose subjects that were really interesting for me to draw and things I had been trying to figure out in my head how to draw a lot recently.  So with no further ado:

Day 16 was inspiration and since I had been looking at the huge (and I mean for the east coast in an apartment complex) trees in our neighborhood recently and trying to figure out how to draw or paint them, I went for the tree I can see out my window.
 Day 17 was my favorite plant, one of my tomato plants.  I got the composition off so it is mostly the pot, but you get the idea.
 Day 18 was just a doodle.  As you can see I kind of let it get out of control and it covered the whole page.  It was actually slightly too big for the scanner bed, so about a half inch is missing off the bottom.  I like the bottles in the bottom left and on the right above the cloud, so I think I may be drawing more bottles in the future.
 Day 19 was something new.  I took a long time figuring out what that meant, a new object, or something I haven't drawn before?  I went for something I have never drawn before.
Day 20 was something orange and my favorite orange thing is carrots.  I love carrots!
  I am having a great time with this.  I am currently in my last week of drawings so expect this all to wrap up in the next two posts. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Drawing Challenge Part 3

   For your viewing pleasure, the next five days of the challenge.

Day 11 is a turning point in my life, and I chose moving back to Ohio from Connecticut after graduating from college.  It was a quick decision that really affected my life from that point on.

Day 12 is my most recent accomplishment, a dress I had just finished making.
 Day 13 was a comic.  I think the intention was a comic strip, but I went another direction.
 Day 14 was my favorite of this week.  It was my favorite fairy tale and I chose The Golden Goose from Grimm's.  I chose to illustrate the princess who had never laughed having a good chuckle.
 Day 15 was a family portrait and I went with a theoretical future family.  Myself and John of course in our little house with our beagle.  I wanted to draw in the style of a children's family portrait with the boxy house and the tree in the front yard.
Day 15 marks halfway through the challenge and halfway through these posts.  I hope you are enjoying them.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

30 Day Drawing Challenge part 2

Here is the next week of drawings.

Meg Murray from A Wrinkle in Time.  I really identified with this character growing up and always felt that here description was very much the way I saw myself.  I gave her early nineties glasses because that is when I first read the book and so she has always looked like this in my mind.
 Day seven was illustrate your favorite word, which is a weird assignment because I love language.  I don't really have a favorite word, but this one works.
 My favorite animated character has to be Superman and I chose to draw him the way he was drawn in The New Batman/Superman Adventures, that started to air when I was eleven.  It was a half hour show with two stories, one about Batman and one about Superman.  It was one of my favorite Saturday morning treats.
My favorite television show ended up being a bit of a silly choice.  I chose The Great British Spelling Bee, because I had been recently inspired by it.  In retrospect it should have been Doctor Who.
 And day ten was favorite candy.  This is vegan chocolate covered nougat from Desiderio Chocolates on etsy.  You should try it, it's amazing.