Saturday, July 31, 2010

Creating Aruba in a Necklace

Barnacles, Bubbles & Pearls in a Fisherman's Net

First of all, I have never been there, but I loved seeing photos of the clean white sandy beaches and the beautiful greenish tint to the coastal waters of Aruba. Now that the sweater has been finished, and I am eagerly waiting for the weather to get cooler so I can wear it, I am faced with how to companion it. Challenged with redesigning my wardrobe, I look into the closets and drawers and see nothing! It seemed a natural turn that because one of the knit-a-long requirements (that I imposed on myself as well as everyone else), is that the knit creation have embellishment. Well, sometimes a piece of art just needs to be kept simple. SO, I decided to be complete with the knitting. However, not quite satisfied, I took a notion to accessorize with a necklace. Never having been one to hesitate doing something because I never tried it before, I jumped in fully committed. Although I have experimented at beading simple strings of jewelry, as just about everyone else has, I have never done something encrusted with beads. The necklace became like a project I have seen in Belle Armoire, a beautiful magazine for bead crafters. This necklace has been daunting. Just a jewelry dabbler, I have to learn, or create ways, to put this together that has had me researching throughout the process.

The inspiration concept that was my beginning point was that of a fisherman's net. Using some old corks saved form a celebration deeming champagne, I cut the corks in two, shaped them into beads and drilling holes. Then, I knit a net of silver metallic crochet cord. and attached the cork "floats." I attached the ends of the silver net to a chain, and began the process of encrusting the piece with barnacles of seed beads, shell palettes, irregular pearls, and silver and glass beads.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The End. ...Or is it?

"SMILE" the final challenge.

The Bootcamp has been fun. I have not had the support of actually accomplishing it along with the others, as I discovered it a few days after it had started, and I had to wait a few more days to get my thoughts together. Working along by myself has been interesting because it is only a contract with myself, after all, and it has been my choice whether or not I finish. I have certainly planned to, in spite of delays of all sorts. What I have noticed is that there is a strong connection with Spirit, and the desire to move forward prevails and each day accomplished has motivated me to do the next. Now, I am seeing each day as things accomplished rather than things I have not done. Each day has a bit of creative excitement that keeps the connection thriving, in directions other than just the challenge for that day. So, even with the delays that were encountered, I find that I have created and finished several more projects in addition to the challenges, and I don't feel the least bit guilty about those delays. After all, creativity is where one finds it, and it is in the moment.
And I am smiling! Look at all the things I have created. So what if it took me over a month instead of 13 days? If I had been doing just photography as the other mostly did, it would have been 13 days. However, I was knitting, cooking, sewing, making jewelry, taking photos, blogging, and designing more, more, more in addition to housework and business "to-dos." So, how am I coming along? I am, really I am. It's just that I am doing so many things. I get inspired frequently now by the really great stuff that comes my way. It may be a photo I see, or some profound words, or a bit on the news, or the Bootcamp pages, or someone else's blog. Lately there are so many creative inspirations flying at me from all directions. It makes me feel like I am about to start a race and here I am at the starting line waiting for the shot to signal me to dash forward into yet another exciting creation.

Creativity Bootcamp Day 12

Creativity Bootcamp Day 12

The days challenge is the theme "SMOOTH"

So what is smooth? Something like a smoothie?

Smoothies are so simple and so delicious and refreshing on a hot summer day. Our temps have been close to 100 F on both sides this past week. So this tall cool one really hit the spot. First, I cut up fruit into small chunks so that they puree in the blender easily. I like to use ripe bananas as the foundation and add other fruit to this. For each person, I take 1/2 frozen banana, and a handful of other fruits. This one has yummy ripe peach slices added in, but strawberries, blueberries, and other fruits are great too. I add about 1/2 cup of juice (not too sweet as this is already very sweet, I used Gojiberry this time, but like apple cider too), and perhaps a few ice cubes and blend on high speed, sometimes adding a little bit of water if its too thick.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Creativity Bootcamp Day 11

Creativity Bootcamp Day 11


I knew exactly what I would do the moment I read this challenge word. It took a few days to put together, but part of the hush was that I had to do this without the hubby's knowing. Silly really, but I have recycled a pair of old flannel lounge pants and also an old cotton T-shirt. The pants were shredded apart at the center back seam, and beyond any repair short of placing a giant patch up the back.

I cut the legs off his freshly washed pants and cut them into strips along with the
shirt, and then tied the strips together to create strippon yarn.

Knitted up loosely on large needles, and a fast project, this deep cowl is soft and warm.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Aruba is Done!

The Aruba Beach sweater is now off the needles! Done! Although the original plans were to embellish the sweater with beads, I like it as is. So, plans have changed, and I am currently thinking of designs for a necklace to wear with it. I also see this with a long tan tunic top, a short or long tube skirt, tights or leggings, and boots (not the nylon undergarment and white jeans). ...Stylin'!

This creation is the result of a knit-a-long conceived on Ravelry's Jane Thornley group. We were asked to come up with a summer travel destination, and re-create it in a project. Thinking beaches, I found an image of the beautiful white sand and greenish-blue waters of Aruba. I used Jane's Scotian Meadow Wrap pattern as a starting
point, and then switched stitching and turned a ragged rectangle into a sweater with long sleeves.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

...On Clearing Clutter

I know I am not the only person to have this problem. I have a lot of clutter. ...Now I feel like I am in an AA meeting, and it is pretty much the same thing. I know my method of handling my stuff is like an addiction. I know I am going to take it in hand and change, and it may not be the easiest thing I have ever done. Why have I come to this public announcement? ...Because maybe it will help someone else, and knowing that I have outed myself will help keep me on track.

In the past three days, I have discovered something I want to share. I discovered Louise Hay on YouTube. I have been feeling overwhelmed lately. Anyway, her series of ten videos on You Can Heal You Life. I am big on body awareness, and her videos made me feel better. Right from the first "I love you!" on Day 1, I felt lighter and freer. Day 2 was amazing. I felt so good that I set ten tasks that I wanted to do that day just because I love myself. The tasks I chose were things that have been hanging over me for a long time. They ranged from clearing off a comfy chair in my office, to taking care of sticky note actions (that have been on the face of my pc for the past week), to fun things like taking time to knit. I got eight of the ten done, and that was great because I got several other things done that had just popped up. On Day 3, I listed the two remaining tasks and added 8 more. ...And guess what? I did eight out of ten and the two remaining were the same two! They both had to do with clutter.

For a long time, I have been agonizing over piles of clutter. My results were not that surprising to me, but what is there to be done about this dilemma? I have had a mix of fun and work,…Very light on the work. I have read books, watched the TV shows, and challenged myself before, and I know there is a solution! So, I asked myself: "How can I look at this in a different way?" When I look at the clutter task at hand, I feel lost, and it seems overwhelming when I look at it, just too much.

Here is what I have come up with in terms of each of the reasons that come up as I ask this:
  • I don’t know where to put it ...Have a plan in mind before beginning. Example: I bought several plastic file boxes at the dollar store for saving old tax papers, which went into the attic.
  • There is so much to sort! ...Don’t mix things in the first place (I have a tendency to put stuff on top of other stuff)
  • How do I sort all this? ...Have a container for tossing out, one for saving what I think is mostly there, and make piles of the rest.
  • Where do I begin? ...If the mess is contained, as in a box, remove the box to an organized place (as in bedroom floor) and attack it there. It won’t be amplified by surrounding mess, and each sort will look like a neat stack. Then, each neat stack can be dealt with appropriately, and this is how you are to think of it. …Not “I am going to get rid of it all.” This implies an all or nothing approach that is defeating from the beginning

Here are a few other thoughts I have had that I believe to be helpful:

  1. Take before and after photos so that I can relish the positive change!
  2. Give myself the “I love me” talk before, during, and after the task
  3. Have a solid benefit in mind of what each task will provide before beginning, as well as the “after” image in mind, and remind myself of it as I work.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Creativity Bootcamp Day 10

Creativity Bootcamp Day 10

"Full Bodied"
Definition: robust, concentrated, fruity, full-flavored, heady, heavy, lusty, mellow, potent,strong, well-matured,redolent, rich

Does this speak something yummy? Something like the most delectable blueberries I found at the store. So, I know what I will do today! They just called out to be a pie!

Well, pie was made and eaten! Sorry no pie photo, unless you want to see our purple tongues.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Creativity Bootcamp Day 8 ...again

Creativity Bootcamp Day 8

So, finally back on track and only a few challenges away from completion. Day 8's challenge is "ornament." Struggling with not enough knowledge (I just dabble at jewelry making), I did a bit of research on what others have used for stringing, and it's still a hard decision to make. I am aiming for something with no shape of its own. The LBS recommends fine nylon. I just don't like nylon. Back in the 60-70's when everyone was stringing beads, we had something called tiger tail and it always broke. However, there was not that much available back then. I tried other stuff like nylon, but hated the results of everything I used. Now, here I am again, faced with the same issue, but now there are a gazillion products out there that promise perfect results. Sure. However, I have great hopes for the Power Pro string I bought. I am learning new tricks with my creation. Dabbler that I am, this excites me. I want results that look high quality and professional.In the meantime, I just did these danglers, while I figure out the others.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Creativity Bootcamp Day 9 ....Grumble, grumble.....


OK, I have gotten behind with the bootcamp big time! Well, I have not been totally off track though. With preparation for the Fourth of July and long weekend and everyone home 24/7, I had my hands full. Life is like that and we just do the best we can. Being a rather practical person, I like to make moments count and I just can't do something because it is something to do. Tomorrow(?), I will tackle Day 8 (ornament) , the jewelry stringing issue head on, and intend to be back knocking out projects and getting to the finish line with the bootcamp. ...After all, it's only a few more days! I have come too far to quit now! However, there is one thing that requires my attention today, and that is making a cake for 30 people. It's my mother's birthday, and I am taking cake to the senior center she has been going to for a few hours each weekday for nearly two years now.

I make my cakes from scratch. Always have. Its not that hard to do, and the end result is so worth it.
This one is Boston Cream Pie. ...and guess what?!!! Bootcamp Day 9's challenge is "Drizzle." That certainly sounds like chocolate glaze topping on the cake! I plan to cut the cupcakes in half and spread a filling, replace the top and add chocolate glaze. Here is the recipe I followed. It's a petty good one, but I think the cakes are a little too dense. The one thing that really made me crazy was the way measurements were listed. I like to see a list of ingredients that tells me ALL I need of one thing. This had the ingredients broken up between the cake, filling and glaze, but had no separations that made me think about that. I also like to see separate sections for each part, not listed as the next step. Anyway, they are done now, and ready to go to the center for devouring. Thank goodness!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Creativity Bootcamp Day 8

Creativity Bootcamp Day 8

An obvious solution for the "ornament" challenge is jewelry! This is almost too easy, as I have been thinking on a new pair of earrings for a few weeks now. It almost feels like cheating, as I didn't have to wrack my brain over what I could do. However, it makes up for Day 7's challenge that took me a few days to figure out before it came in like a lightning bolt. Sometimes though, even a simple thing can take on aspects of complexity. Dabbler that I am, I have tried using carpet thread for a few past projects that I wanted to dangle and have freedom of movement. After a few wears, the thread has stretched. so, I made a quick stop at the nearby bead store to make inquiries about what I ought to use to get this limp noodley result. What I was told was to use a nylon thread. It looks just like that nasty stuff that they used to sew into garments and the ends would poke out mercilessly attacking any skin within reach. I already tried some of that stuff years ago. It doesn't hold up well against wear, breaking easily. So, I am paused, once again looking for a solution.

In the meantime, I have been working on the Aruba sweater. The front is finished now.