June 8, 2013

Doing It In Public...

Knitting, that is!

...what did you think I meant?  Get your mind outta the gutter!

Today was Worldwide Knit In Public Day, and we braved the 110 degree heat to take part in the event at The Knit Addiction.  As I had mentioned before, the only things I've knit so far are hexipuffs so I consider myself more of a crocheter than a knitter.  One of these days I hope to add socks to my crafting resume.

There were several of us out on the sidewalk in front of the shop today working on all kinds of different projects: sweaters, socks, blankets, hats, adorable little mice, and even crocheted tacos!  Miss Jellybean was there with me as well, working on bead bracelets.  Trips inside the shop for the air conditioning and the water cooler kept us from melting into the pavement, along with a stop at the ice cream shop across the street.  (Hooray for Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet!)

Oh, by the way - we even yarn-bombed Festus. (Ken Curtis, the actor who played Deputy Festus Haggen in Gunsmoke lived his later years in Clovis - in case you were wondering why there is a random cowboy statue in the middle of Old Town Clovis)

The hexipuffs are still coming along slowly.  Since I'm not really knitting at home recently, I only work on them on my lunch breaks or during long car trips.  I'm focusing more on my miniatures lately.  I was able to find some great supplies at a local bead store, and I'm going to be making several more of those adorable little hurricane lamps that I am currently in love with.  I also found a different style of glass shade, and I'm going to work on making holiday (and everyday) candle centerpieces.

But I do have something new to learn in the world of knitting!  I won one of the doorprizes today.  It's a kit to make a beautiful knitted bracelet with beads.  It will be a challenge, but I think I'm up for it!

June 4, 2013

A Quick Day Trip

Sorry I've been so quiet here the past couple weeks.  I'm getting ready to start a new (yet old) chapter in my life and along with that I had an awesome unexpected guest over the weekend!

I have been hired back into my old job at JCPenney after being laid off 2 months ago.  I left due to corporate restructuring and the elimination of my position, but I guess they just couldn't live without me :)  I'm not exactly sure what my position will consist of, but they are willing to work with me on my hours and I'll be able to be home with Miss Jellybean after she gets out of school.  I'm thinking it's really starting to come together!

James Dean monument, Cholame
But I have a better reason for neglecting my crafting and blogging recently - My cousin came for a surprise visit!  I haven't seen her in 6 years.  We used to spend summers together in Northern Michigan when we were kids.  I miss Michigan so much, but it was so cool to see her out here in California.  It was a super quick trip, so I only got to see her for a day and a half before she headed off to visit Yosemite.  We met up with my mom and took her to a few of our favorite places on the Central Coast - Morro Bay and Montana de Oro.

First, we stopped at the James Dean memorial in Cholame.  (The drive from Fresno to Paso Robles and the Central California Coast takes you through the intersection that was the site of James Dean's fatal crash)

Montana de Oro State Park

Cousins! (and the kiddo!)

Tidepools at Montana de Oro.  Yay!  The tide was actually low enough to explore the tide pools

I have been going to Morro Bay my whole life, and one of the iconic attractions is the Aquarium on the Embarcadero.  Now that I am an adult, I realize that the place is a little dirty and cramped, but I am a really nostalgic and sentimental person so I still love it.  It is a must-go place for us when we are in Morro Bay, at least now while Miss Jellybean is still young.  She loves to check out all the creepy sea life in the tanks, but she especially loves feeding the seals and sea lions..  I can't imaging walking along the Embarcadero and not hearing their obnoxious barking and fin slapping and other funny sea lion sounds.  

Hello, creepy fish...

We finally got one of these guys to climb out on the platform :)

No trip to Morro Bay is complete without a stop at the Shell Shop.  This place is virtually unchanged since I was younger than Miss Jellybean.  She picked out a couple new treasures to add to her seashell jar.

Well, goodbye for now my friends :)  I'm blogging after midnight and I'm sure I'm even less entertaining than usual.  I hope to be back to your regularly scheduled crafting soon, so stay tuned!

May 21, 2013

This Little Light of Mine

One of the best things about making dollhouse miniatures is the variety of materials that can be used to make them. As much as I love my polymer clay, I also really enjoy making lamps such as these from beautiful art glass beads, cloisonne beads, and jewelry findings.
On the subject of jewelry supplies, I am very sad to say that my favorite local jewelry suppy store, JewelArt, is going out of business at the end of the month after almost 39 years :( The combination of competition with online suppliers, other local businesses and a deteriorating neighborhood has made it impossible for them to stay in business. JewelArt, you will be missed! I will have to see what the other local stores have to offer- I've never had a reason to check them out before.
I hope the new venues will carry some of what I need, and maybe some new inspiration?  Miniaturists are nothing if not resourceful.  I hold on to so many tiny bits and pieces because I just know they can be used to make something awesome.  And it never fails, as soon as I finally decide to throw something out, I think of the perfect use for it a couple days later.  Hello, my name is Katherine and I'm a Craft Hoarder.

Ok, fess up - what's the most ridiculous craft supply that you hoard?  I know I'm not alone!

By the way, those cute lamps up there are now available for purchase in my miniatures shop on Etsy.

May 14, 2013

Calorie-Free Sweets!

I've been working on miniatures again the past few days.  It seems like "all the cool kids" are making mini food these days!  I see a lot of mini food on charms and other jewelry, and while those are really fun and I've made a few novelty pieces too, true scale miniature artisans always amaze me with their skill!.

Being self-taught, half the fun is in just figuring out a new way to make something look "real".  I look back on some of my earliest mini food and I know I've come a long way, but I'll never be done learning.  Which is why, even though the mini food market is pretty saturated, I'll still keep making mini food.  I love baking with flour and I love baking with clay!

I keep meaning to take photos of in-progress pieces, but I get so "in the zone" that I forget to pick up the camera!  But here are some sweet desserts that I listed in my Etsy Shop today:

Peach Tart, Strawberry Shortcake, and Pecan Pie.  Yum!
One of my other favorite things to make in miniature is kitchenware/pottery.  I love browsing through antique shops or vintage listings online to find inspiration.  A few years ago, I was commissioned to re-create this vintage cookie jar, based on one from an old family kitchen:

Cookie jars are fun to make.  I decided to find another vintage style to make, and I started working on this Dutch Girl yesterday:  (You'll have to excuse the poor photo quality - it was taken with my phone)


The top is removable and the jar is hollow inside.  It turned out to be a little over 1:12 scale, since she stands about 1 1/2" tall.  Sometimes it can be hard work to keep things within the proper scale.  When I finished sculpting the lid, I know she would be just a little too big, but I didn't want to waste that work, so I just finished her.  She could still fit into a larger scale setting, and I think anyone who collects this style of  antique cookie jar would appreciate her as well.  I just need to get some proper photos taken and then I think I'll put her on Etsy!

May 12, 2013

Fords, Fruits, Fiber, Fitness, and Fun!

(or... I really hate having to think up a post title)
It's Mother's Day afternoon, and while The Mr. is manning the grill and Miss Jellybean is out collecting rocks and roly-polys, I thought I'd take a minute to share some pictures from our weekend so far.

We spent our Friday night at the opening night for the Old Town Clovis Farmer's Market.  You can find us there often on Friday nights from May through September.  We love to browse through all the vendor booths and farm fresh produce.  Miss Jellybean loves to join in with all the other kids and dance to the live music.  We always have a great time.  And I just can't resist taking pictures of old cars.  Love these Model A's!

No trip to the Farmer's Market is complete without a stop at my favorite yarn shop, The Knit Addiction.  The Mr. even encouraged me to add to my yarn stash.  Geek Chic yarn rocks!

We didn't buy a whole bunch of veggies this week, but we did get some cucumbers for pickling, cherries and apriums, Dairy Goddess chocolate milk, Smiling Oranges orange juice (the BEST orange juice ever!), Fagundes Santa Fe jack cheese, and hummus and pita from Baba Foods.  Yummy!

Saturday morning started early.  The Mr. signed up to run a 5K with a group of friends.  The race was an obstacle course based on the show Wipeout. Costumes were encouraged, and his team decided to dress up like superheroes.  They won first place in the group costume contest.  Don't they look great?  Miss Jellybean was most excited about throwing water balloons at daddy and Mr. Chad (the assistant director from her preschool).  Running is really not my "thing" but this whole race looked like fun and I would have loved to do it as well.  (Although I'm glad I didn't sign up for it because all day yesterday I was fighting bad allergies/cold/sore throat...something)

In the past year, The Mr. and I have both worked on getting healthier.  We both lost over 60 lbs (although I have fallen off the wagon a bit and have gained back about 15 since the holidays).  I need to work on getting back on track, but the hubs has been very committed, and I just want to say that I am super proud of him!

I had hoped to have more time for crafting this weekend, since my Etsy shops are looking bare and my head is full of new ideas, but I wouldn't change a thing because I had a great time with my little family and friends.  :)  On a side note, I really don't know how all you mommy bloggers do it!  I've had to come back and work on this post about half a dozen times and it's taken me almost 3 hours to post it!  I really hope to be able to keep up with this blogging thing, as well as crafting, and work, and keeping things running here at home.  I may be married to Superman, but Superwoman I am not!

May 7, 2013

Do You Hexipuff?

Last year, one of my New Year's resolutions was to learn to knit.  I have been crocheting since I was 12, but I've always wanted to learn to knit.  Then I found the project I just had to make: The Beekeeper's Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits  (http://tinyowlknits.wordpress.com/)  Just look at how beautiful this is!
(photo by Tiny Owl Knits)

I did fulfill my resolution - I learned how to make hexipuffs!  They are still the only thing I've attempted to knit, but that's ok, since I'll be working on this project for a while.  This project is supposed to take a year, since you need to make between 350-400 "hexipuffs" to complete the quilt.  I think I'm on the 3-4 year plan, since my 1 year and 4 months total is somewhere around 165.

Here is a look at some of my own hexipuffery:

It's such a cool project!  Each puff takes me about 30-40 minutes to make, so I work on them on my breaks, in waiting rooms, or when I'm a passenger on long trips.  

All this hexipuffing got me thinking... (it was bound to happen)
Hexipuffs in clay!  Why not?  It would be fun to wear a little hexipuff charm on a necklace or a bracelet.  Last night, I started playing with my Sculpey, trying to figure out the best way to make a knit design in the clay.  It's a work in progress at the moment, but here's a peek:

Happy Hexipuffing!

May 3, 2013

Life Changes

It's been about a month since I was laid off from my job of nearly 8 years at JCPenney.  For a creature of habit such as myself, it has been an interesting ride so far.  In the midst of all the craziness of job hunting, I realized that maybe it was time to rethink a few things.  Miss Jellybean starts Kindergarten in the fall.  Time is moving too fast.  There's not a whole lot of family time left at the end of the day.  Maybe I can find a way that I can spend more time at home with her.  We're still working on that possibility.

Step 1 - I reopened my Etsy shop.  It's not going to pay any bills at this point, but I am most happy when I am making things.  Miss Jellybean loves to sit at her own craft table next to me and work on her own projects.  
Step 2 - Figure out the job situation.  I did manage to find a temp job and I'm very thankful for that.  But the commute is long, the hours are long, and I don't know that it's the right fit for our family.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the possibility of going back to JCPenney in a part time position that I could work just during the morning hours while Miss Jellybean is in school, leaving the afternoons open for crafting and mommy-daughter time.

It all remains to be seen.

So, what is this blog going to be?  Not a just mommy blog, not just a business page, not just a collection of rants and ramblings.  We are all more that just the sum of our parts, and I don't see a reason to limit this page to one facet of who I am.  So, I think what you will find here is some craftiness, some mommy moments, and a whole lot of real life.  I hope you stick around.