March in Review

Dodge Dart

February seemed like it took forever to get through, but March just whizzed by. Whizzz! I started off with this month being pretty productive, but pooped out about halfway through. My two big excuses – we did have company for a few days and I’ve just been crafty in non-List ways.

So here’s what I did (and didn’t) get done:

1. As far as writing a new knitting pattern goes, I kind of did, but then didn’t put it online because I want to change some stuff in it first. But like I said before, this is actually the thing on the list I’m least focused on, just because I pretty much write new patterns all the time when I knit anyway. For all of the knitting books and magazines I have, I hardly ever knit any patterns out of them. I use them more as reference.

2. I wove two rugs and a scarf, exceeding my goal of two woven things per month. Yay!

3. Got 9 skeins of handspun done (the goal is one skein per week). Yay!

4. I’m counting my Egg series as falling in under the “Create 2 illustrations per week” goal, since they’re little photo shoots I have to set up. Anyway, I’m on Part 11 with Egg, so I’m doing okay with that, I guess.

5. I did make a tiny beaded quilt this month, which counts towards my ‘finish one quilt/make one beaded project’ goals that I have. I’m not overly thrilled by just getting this one quilt done because a) it’s tiny, and b) it’s not an unfinished object – I just whipped it up really quick. However, I guess anything that helps me use up fabric is a plus, and even if I didn’t use a ton of fabric in it, I did use a ton of beads, so I think I more than met the bead goal.

6. I only made 2 stuffed toys this month, the panda bear and the horse, but that’s one over my goal, so yay!

7. I got some more photos enlarged this month. Just a few, though, since I still haven’t figured out how I want to arrange the ones in my living room.

8. I’m post-processing photos left and right, so this goal is silly.

9. I haven’t started on any Blurb book yet, but I have idea for two, one of which would be the Egg book, so since I already have some photos taken, I guess I’m ahead on that count.

10. I used beads in #5.

11. I reupholstered the padded bench in the dining room, got some of my enlarged photos up on the walls, and sewed a wire bin cozy for the bedroom, which incidentally ate up a ton of fabric. Yay!

12. No news on the garden front, although I’ve been taking plenty of pictures of crocuses, although I don’t think that’s actually going to help any of our summer veggies grow.

So I guess I did okay, all things considered. I think the big goal for this next month is making sure I finish a quilt proper. I have a lot of smaller quilt tops that will probably only take me one or two days to get done. I just need to get in the mood to start busting them out. Hopefully the nice weather will encourage me to be more productive (looking back at my big quilt production periods, it seems like I always did the most quilty stuff in the spring or summer, although god knows why). If I can keep on top of the quilt and bead goals, I’ll be happy.

My main non-list goal in the upcoming month is to make a functioning pinhole camera. I’ve got some ideas for photography related things I’ve been turning over in my head, and I think April is going to be the month where I give some of these things a try. There’s something very intriguing to me about looking at the world through different lenses.

February in review

Lonely little bear

Wow, I’ve actually managed to meet my goals for this month, pretty much. It’s kind of surprising that February wound up being more productive than January, since there was a good ten days where I felt like doing nothing. I think the main key to my success for February was in not making 12,000 Pointy Kitties.

So, here’s what I got done:

1. I got the Squoosh pattern posted. This was kind of a gimme, since I had actually did most of the work on it in December, but I was having issues actually laying everything out in the program I was using. Anyway, I got it done. Yay!

2. I wove a scarf and a shawl this month, meeting my goal of 2 woven things a month. I’m really happy with the shawl, since that uses so many different colors and textures of yarn.

3. I spun about 12 different skeins of yarn in the past month. Actually, I did a little more than that, but I haven’t taken photos of everything yet. This month I played a lot with a few different techniques that I hadn’t experimented with before, which was fun.

4. Hey, I actually completed 2 quilts this month! Hooray! Since my goal is to get one quilt per month done, I figure this makes up for my slacking off in January. I’ve realized that I don’t have the motivation yet to finish up the projects I started that involve hand quilting, so for now, I’m just trying to work on completing smaller projects that I can easily machine quilt. I’ve already got the next one picked out that I’m planning on working on.

5. I didn’t go anywhere near as crazy with the toys this month as I did in January, but I still managed to crank out my set of 3 Lost-themed plushies. I love them. I gather them around me when I’m watching Lost, because I’m that much of a geek (and also, because Lost is awesome this year!).

6. I got a ton of photos enlarged a few days ago. My first attempt at mounting them on foamcore failed miserably since I used the wrong kind of glue (they got all warped and icky), but after Sulafaye extolled the wonders of spray adhesive to me, I picked some of that up and did a test run yesterday.

DSC_9560

I mounted one of the photos that I printed out on metallized paper onto fabric-covered foamcore using the spray adhesive and stuck it up on a wall. I figure if it’s still up there in a few days and doesn’t look weird, I’ll go ahead and start getting the photo enlargements mounted. I’m excited because I got some of my HDR photography printed out, and also some of the photos I took of radio telescopes in West Virginia printed out. Those are going in my living room. 🙂

7. I am currently post-processing the heck out of photos right now, probably to a ridiculous extent.

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I do so much of this that I’m not even trying to count how many I’ve done.

8. I managed to use a lot of beads this month, to the point where I think I’ve more than made up for bead-free January. I used them as the stars in my Little Red Boat quilt, and also in 3 different handspun skeins of yarn.

9. I sewed up some new curtains for my craft room, completing the “make one thing for the house” goal.

I still haven’t worked on making a book using Blurb. I’m thinking about just making a small book (I think a softcover 7″ x 7″ is the smallest and least expensive that you can make) that just has yarn photos in it or something, just to kind of start getting used to the Blurb software.

It’s still cold and crappy here, so I haven’t done anything regarding the garden yet, either. Although I do need to place an order for fertilizer sometime in the next few days – we have a coupon that we need to use before the 5th, so that’s kind of a priority.

The only thing I really didn’t do that was on my list is the whole “make 2 illustrations a week” thing. I think what’s happening is that I’ve become accustomed to using my sketchbook as a place where I jot down or draw little pictures of things I would like to make, but not so much with the whole actually using it to sketch stuff. I bought some tiny canvases the other day that I want to try painting on. Really, I’m just far more comfortable and confident using a camera rather than a pencil or paintbrush or something. I think I just have to accept that whatever I paint or draw or whatever is probably going to suck, and that I can produce things I like more using other media, but it’s a valuable creative exercise. Or something like that.

Overall, I’m really pleased with what I was able to get done in February. I feel like I’m learning a ton of new stuff (especially regarding photography and photo manipulation). It’s also nice to revisit skills that I had forgotten I had enjoyed, like quilting. I hope I’m motivated to get even more things done as the weather warms up. I’m looking forward to the first day I can use the craft room and have the windows open, and watch the breeze moving around my new curtains. That’ll be nice. 🙂

January in review

cotton2wv2005

I blame it on the carbon monoxide scare.

About a week ago, I woke up to the carbon monoxide detector in the house absolutely screaming at me – and of course, since it happens to be located right next to the bed, it scared the crap out of me. After evacuating the animals, reading the manual (which wasn’t really a help, unfortunately), replacing the batteries, and then realizing that our other carbon monoxide detector wasn’t going off, I realized that I wasn’t in danger of impending death. The whole thing was actually pretty funny once I realized that the carbon monoxide level in the house was not 217 ppm, but it seems like I’ve been a little off ever since then.

Of course, I’m just blaming something else for my own lack of motivation to finish up my January goals last week. I could just as easily blame the fact that the sewing machine was in the shop for a week. But the honest truth is that I can be both extremely focused on something and easily distracted by something else. This past week I’ve been playing mainly with photography – both with the HDR and with sorting through old photos that we’ve taken. I’m still extremely into this right now, at the expense of everything else I’ve been wanting to get done.

So here’s what I didn’t get done –

1. Write one new knitting pattern. Well, I kind of did this. I have a knitting pattern written and I wanted to make it available for free in January, but that didn’t get done. Basically, the pdf is about 90% complete, I just need to get it tidied up.

2. Finish a quilt. My lame excuse for not doing this is that the one I picked to finish needs a bit of hand quilting done, and I’ve gone completely off hand quilting since I started it. Oh, and, of course, there’s the whole “sewing machine in the shop” thing, which didn’t really spur me on to finish hand-quilting the quilt, since I needed the machine to sew on the binding.

3. Make one beaded something. I need to use up my damn beads, and I have no excuse for not doing this.

Here’s what I did get done:

1. I made 3 woven pieces of fabric/scarves this month, one over my goal. Yay! Weaving is fun, easy, and mindless. I just need to give myself a kick in the ass more to actually get the loom warped. I kind of want to have something on the loom at all times.

2. I kept up with and exceeded my handspun goal. This one seems like it’s going to be really easy for me to continue to do, since at the very least, I can always spin a really fat single-ply. Also, I’ve been doing more navaho plying, which is something I was never really comfortable with before.

3. My (altered) goal was to produce two artsy sketches or paintings or something a week. I haven’t quite done that, but I’m still putting this in the success column, because I use my sketchbook all the time. Mainly, it’s to sketch out ideas for things I want to sew or make, but there’s some more fanciful/cartoony things in there, too. So I figure if I’m making it a habit to use the sketch book, that may translate into something better in the future.

4. Make one sewn toy or pillow. Um, yeah. This is where I kicked ass this month, and really, is another part of the reason I didn’t get the quilt or beading done. I made something like 12 million Pointy Kitties, and a few other extraneous things. I had not really done much dimensional sewing before, and I’m pretty inspired to start making up my own patterns (like the little polar bear I made).

5. Get one photo enlarged a month. Well, I certainly did this, but to be totally honest, after a few days, my photos glued to fabric covered foamcore idea really looked wonky. The glue made the photos look all wiggly. So, I’m going to try again this month, and just use double sided tape to adhere the photos to the fabric.

6. Produce one post-processed photo a week. Yeah, don’t think I need to worry about that.

fernwv2005

Seriously, I do so much post-processing of photos that it’s kind of silly to have this be on the list.

7. Make one thing for the house. Done. Kitty bed.

Nothing really going on with the garden yet, so I don’t really have anything to say about that. Haven’t started on the Blurb book yet, but I’m thinking about just doing a book of vacation photos for my first one.

Additionally, I learned something not on the list! I made some felted fabric, which was something entirely new to me, but very fun. So, yay!

So, for February, I hope to make up for my slacking in the quilt/bead area. I’m not going to stress out too much right now about needing to get a knitting pattern a month done, because frankly, I’m okay with taking a wee break from knitting. I mainly just want to start going through the mass accumulation of yarn in my house, and weaving eats through it a lot more quickly than knitting.

Welcome!

Hi! Here’s the new blog, all spiffed up and ready to go. You can check out the About and Rules pages above to check out what, exactly, I’m trying to do here, but here’s the uber short version – I like doing crafty things. I’m easily distracted. This blog is intended to be a big motivator to focus my attention on doing the craft things I like to do.

So, I’m going to try to keep this blog strictly about my crafty goals, what craft stuff I’ve accomplished, and maybe a little bit about crafty generalness (like the craft room photo down-post). All of the political rants, YouTube goodness, and Archer Farms taste-testing will go on at my regular blog, Yarnzombie, which will continue to have the same content as before. So there will be some overlap in postings from one to the other. Basically, Craft! Bang! Boom! is going to be more of a catalog of FOs (hopefully) and Yarnzombie is where I’m going to go to bitch about the weaving project I’m working on that I screwed the warp up to and had to rewarp in order to get anything on the loom that’s workable. Not that I’m bitter.

Anyway, to kick things off, here’s a shot of my sewing area, semi-organized, but with lots of kickin’ dorm room attitude, because even though I’m 31, I will always, always, always, decorate like I’m 19 (or younger).

Craft area in progress

Cheers, and here’s to a Crafty New Year!