Monday, September 24, 2012

End of September Blues...

September's almost over already!  Where it went is anybody's guess -- the following things can only have added to it:

- New Job!  I got a new job in youth services (!), at another library.  This is very exciting to me since it's basically the next step in my professional development, but I'm still getting used to the hours.  It's an exhausting change that has left my head spinning, a little bit! Needless to say, this has been at the forefront of my mind lately, and crafting and blogging have sadly had to take a backseat for the moment.

- Fall Activity Extravaganza!  When not busy being exhausted, I have been throwing myself at autumn with everything I have.  Apple picking, hiking, pumpkin-themed foods... this year I'm determined to do it all! 

Apples!  That I picked myself!  Off of a tree!  And they were all, without exception, somehow amazing.

- Time Spent With Friends is Time Well Spent.  Enough said, but somehow it always seems like too much time passes between spending time with good friends.

In a way, this time of year leaves me feeling down -- summer's over, and that means that winter is on the way. But fall... fall is just the best.  It's my favorite season, my favorite time of year, with my favorite activities and tastes and holidays.  At the same time, it's only a matter of time before fall is over again, and winter comes. That's always in the back of my mind, and it seems to add a sense of melancholy to everything. It's important to just enjoy everything while I can!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up: Long Weekend Love

Happy Labor Day, and happy Monday! This long weekend was a bit of a whirlwind -- it's nice to have a chance to get my head together every once in a while. I'm starting in a new position soon and am very excited about it.  But any new position means new stresses; change itself is stressful, sometimes, even good, awesome change.

The first stop of the weekend was Barnes & Noble for a few hours, where I indulged my magazine-lovin' side with the new Vogue and Games magazine.  I love doing puzzles, it's such a good way to de-stress and take some time to myself to think.  I've also been reading Jillian Larkin's third flapper novel, Diva, which I picked up at the library late last week. This series is so much glamorous YA 1920s fun -- I hope that this one brings things to a fabulous conclusion! 

Yesterday my friends and I took a day trip to Green Lane Park to go hiking.  It was damp and a little rainy, and we found a ton of really interesting mushrooms and fungi -- really productive, and I got a lot of satisfying photos!  Going on mushrooming photo walks is such a good way to find inspiration. I'm really terrible at identifying, but love the huge diversity of shapes and colors that can be found in even just a small area of the woods. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thirty Days of Lists

This September I've decided to try my hand at participating in Thirty Days of Lists, a very cool creative project run by two inspiring bloggy ladies, Amy of Lemon and Raspberry and Kam of Campfire Chic. The basic idea of the 30 Lists project is to complete a list every day during the month of September in whatever format you want -- scrapbook, digitally, in as much or as little time as you'd like!  

I'm a huge lister (fan of lists? list-maker?), and the idea of this project was so enthralling that I just had to sign up. It's so awesome to see all of these interesting, creative people joining together around the simple art of listing and I'm excited to see what everyone comes up with this September. 

I was thinking about doing the project digitally, and still might use Photoshop to play around with my physical lists. Instead, though, I've decided to challenge myself and start with blank index cards.  I have a bunch of paper crafting supplies, and hope to combine these and illustration to make each list and card fun and unique. I'm going to house them in this cute little box that I bought at Staples so that the project seems complete and has a place to live after the month is over :)

I started simple, making a cute insert for the card box out of things from my It's Paper, Dear! August box, which was filled to the brim with super cute paper bits -- I hope to post a full review soon!

If you're interested in listing along, make sure to go check out the project's website, 30 Days of Lists!
How do you use lists in your daily life? Are you joining in on 30 Days of Lists?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hello Monday -- Late 2012 Goals

Hello everyone, and a late hello Monday! It's a bit late in the year to be thinking about goals, but really, is it ever a bad time to think about and re-evaluate?  Lately my life has been feeling a bit muddled and I thought it would be a good idea to take a step back and rethink what I really want to do with my time so that I have a framework for planning accordingly. 

- Write several posts each week on this blog. I really do like writing things for this blog and feel better when I am able to keep up with it. Create more, be honest.

- Take more pictures, write more, share more life. Looking back at the past few years, I really regret that I have not done enough of any of these things. Let's minimize such regret in the future! My picture-taking has gone up since getting my first DSLR, but I want to get better and capture more. As for writing, this is a "several-fold" goal -- I want to continue working on my middle grade and picture book ideas, and hope to self-publish one of them some day!

- Read more books. Always ends up being on my lists, for excellent reasons.

- Make more tutorials! Start making and sharing printables. I hope to work and improve my illustration and PS skills to make some printable materials or blog stuff some day, and one day illustrate and craft my own picture book.

- Don't base my self worth solely on my day job. This is a tough one, and is something I don't really talk about here. I have been job hunting since finishing graduate school, and as time passes it's tough to keep my spirits up. Work to realize that success might not look like what I expected. And along those lines....

- Follow and continue to develop my passions. Open myself to new experiences, and work to make my own opportunities. Work, work, work :) I'm so grateful for some of the wonderful chances I've had over the past two years, and hope to make the rest of the year as productive as possible!

- Explore more. Take more chances. Get out of the house and travel more. Being down makes me want to stay inside and mope and watch Netflix for hours on end, but for the rest of the year I hope to do just the opposite! Go to new restaurants, new places, and search out new experiences.

I hope to set small goals each week and keep things manageable, accomplish a little bit at a time. No being discouraged, just keep swimming :)

Are there any goals you're currently working toward? How often do you re-evaluate your goals?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up: Carnival!

Fireworks night at the carnival was this weekend! We managed to make it out, at least, for some photos and some carnival food fun times. I'm a little wary of rides because I am prone to motion sickness just standing around, but love the buzzy atmosphere, food, and lights.  It's fun to just go and walk around people watching -- it was crowded, sticky, and very much summertime. 

And funnel cake... well, funnel cake is one of my favorite summertime nostalgic foods!  Every time I have some I wonder if you can make it at home, and a simple google search revealed that yes, it turns out, you really can! I hope to try out at least one of those recipes sometime in the future, and will report back with (hopefully) delicious results!

Humidity does amazing things to my hair.

We didn't manage to stay on-site for the fireworks (I got tired after working at the library yesterday and we're trying to save up money and carnival fun is too spendy for me!), but are lucky enough to live close enough to have a terrific view from one of the fields near the house.  It's great to be able to go home, wait for the earth-shattering kaboom, and run outside like excited kids to see the wonderful show just over the trees. 

What's your favorite thing about summer?  Have you made funnel cake at home?
Do you have a favorite, nostalgic summertime food? 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Share a Book -- Elsa Beskow's Children of the Forest

Happy Thursday! Today I managed to get some writing done, which felt really awesome. I thought I would celebrate by drinking a cup of coffee, taking some photos, and sharing a book here on the blog.

Children of the Forest
, by Elsa Beskow, seems like it should already be on my bookshelves. My coworker over at Darling Petunia found this at the library the other day and was kind enough to share it!

The story is a peek inside the life of a family of forest people, specifically the adventures of four mushroom-hatted children, Tom, Harriet, Sam, and Daisy. We learn about their animal friends, meet their forest-dwelling neighbors, and follow them throughout the year to see what fun they have during the winter, spring, summer, and autumn. It has mushrooms, hedgehogs, and wonderful, detailed nature illustrations -- just about everything I love.

The illustrations in the book are delightful, and I wanted to include a few here!

"Wild strawberries and mushrooms grew by their door and they had all the pots, pans, chairs, beds, tables, knives, forks and spoons they could possibly need. Sheltered under the pine tree branches, they hardly felt the autumn gales and if it rained, the children crept underneath a giant toadstool to keep dry."

"Soon they were in the middle of harvest time and everyone had to do their share. The little brown cupboards in the roots of the pine had to be filled with bottles of berry jam, dried seeds, 
nuts and fruit to last through the winter."

Hedgehog parade!

According to her biography, she is often called the Beatrix Potter of Sweden -- I can certainly see why! Her life story seems very interesting and inspiring, particularly her involvement with the Swedish women's movement and education. I would love to read a biography, and hope to have a chance to pick up and enjoy more of her picture books sometime.

Are you a fan of Elsa Beskow? Do you have a favorite classic picture book?
Be sure to share with me below!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Adventure Time SDCC Fan Experience Wrap-up!

If you follow my Twitter, you might know that a month or so ago I was lucky enough to be asked to send some of my needle felted Adventure Time fan art to be a part of the Adventure Time Experience fan gallery at the New Children’s Museum during San Diego Comic Con. It was such an exciting experience for me to have my felties in any kind of gallery setting -- I was flattered to be included alongside so many talented folks, celebrating such a mathematical show. 

Also exciting was finding the above picture of my stuff in the exhibit in the write up on one of my favorite comics blogs, Comics Alliance! Probably this represents my fifteen milliseconds of fame.

A couple days ago my art made it home safely, and I was happy to find that they had sent the gallery labels for each set of work back to me with my artwork!  I love the illustration on these, it's so cute and whimsical. Hot Dog Princess also approves.  

AND THEN!  A few days later, I found a mysterious package in the mail with a big Adventure Time label on the front. What in the what! Inside was this totally awesome Finn tote bag, a Jake necklace, a keychain, and the bossest thank you note ever!  

A hero of art! Why yes thank you. And all in rhyme!  What a super surprise -- it was a pleasure just to be included in the exhibit. I've already worn the necklace to work a few times.  Because I'm totally an adult and professional. Yes.

The Cartoon Network really went above and beyond here, I want to thank them for really providing such a terrific fan experience for me!  I can't wait for the next fan art whim to inspire me... maybe finally make that Lady Rainicorn... 

Aaaaadventure Time!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekend Craftiness

Weekend greetings! Now that I am in the process of reconsidering and revitalizing this blog, I thought it might be good to do some kind of weekly craft post or posts, showing either my own work or interesting bits and bobs from around the internet.

My newest felted creature, the fellow pictured below, is my largest felting attempt yet!  He's so large that it has been difficult to take pictures of him using my normal photography set up.  I managed to capture only a few, including these two:

I love making large projects, but they're quite time consuming! A needle felting project of this size generally takes more than 8 hours to finish, depending on the scale -- larger ones take several days of work to look "finished," or for the fibers to bind together and look "felted."  This dinosaur was made by wrapping fiber around a wire armature and the legs are semi-posable.

This guy doesn't have a name yet, so if anyone has any suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Needle Felted Tree

Happy Wednesday, gentle readers! 

I am in love with tiny landscapes lately, and decided to try creating my own using needle felting supplies. I'm aiming to make some terrariums one day, but since I had a few of these small terra cotta planters left over from another project, this seemed like a good alternative.

There's something very calming about looking at tiny landscapes, for me -- terrariums, bonsai, and so on -- whether they're real, or crafted.  It's a joy, I think, to bring a tiny piece of nature into our lives and homes, and really make it a personal experience!

Monday, May 7, 2012

No Mail Day Tutorial: Little Egg Doll

Little Egg Doll 
(an easy needle felting tutorial)

Welcome to my first needle felting tutorial! This little doll is inspired by both Russian matryoshka nesting dolls, and also by Japanese daruma. Make a cute orange friend, or experiment and have fun creating your own design with different colors and shapes!

Felting needles or a felting tool
Foam block or mat

Polyester fiberfill, about a handful
Wool roving in dark orange, light orange, light pink, and black, less than 1/4 oz. each

I usually get my wool roving from HiFiber Kits!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Birds and birds and birds!

Welcome back to blogging, Another No Mail Day!

My main craft these days has been needle felting, and Spring has been pretty inspiring! I've tried out several styles of bird, and experimented with wire legs; they've turned out pretty well, for a first try and wire work. Once I get more into the blogging habit, I hope to create a few tutorials on making some simple felted friends for everyone to try out -- I hope to make this website a good place for people to find answers to their common questions about the craft in a fun, simple, creative way!

Anyway, on to the birds!