Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Photography - One Liner Inspirations

Here is a collection of 35mm photos I took during a trip to the local park in early Autumn. I was inspired to write a few one liners (unedited thoughts that popped into my brain) while analyzing these photos. It's nice to recall warmer days during a cold snowfall. 

She taps her paint brush against the water bowl,
colors splatter a paper sky

 Skinny stick stalkers saunter through the green, slicing stems and flower heads relentlessly.

 Rickety crack on the bridge's back, goes the toes of leaves across the wooden track.

Bark neck blistered green, she bled leaves on the pavement.

 Wrinkled necks stiff and tight, unable to breathe, the poison seeps, decadent decay.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Botched Photo Interpretations # 6

What story can be conjured from this image?
(A draft for a short story I wrote based on this 110mm photo I took during my visit to Governors Island in NYC.)

It was two days after your 8th birthday. The sky was purple-bruised and cloud-clogged, foreboding of rain. Your mother took you to the carnival just two hours before it was slated to close. The tickets were discounted; five bucks for two entries. It was enough to buy happiness, to forget the eviction notice taped to the apartment door the previous day. You hadn’t known that at the time though; you just wanted cotton candy sticky fingers and cheap thrills.    

The game stalls were mostly empty of visitors as you wondered between them, lollipop sticks and popcorn crunching beneath your shoes. The prizes were packed tightly together on shelves, the counters strung with white and green Christmas lights, and the signs peeling yellow paint. It was a cheap escape to your mother. For you, it was everything you had ever wanted, and that’s what mattered.    

Go ahead,” your mother whispered, watching you shutter with barely contained excitement. “Have fun!

And so you did; she watched you throw soft balls at wooden bowling pins to win a stuffed animal. You had missed every time, your aim poor. The clerk was sympathetic and gifted you a sugar stick for your efforts. 

You went against her in a Ring Toss game, having successfully flung 2 rings on the slim necks of glass bottles, she none. However, you hadn’t known she purposely lost because this was your birthday celebration. You were supposed to obtain 1st place.

Your mother quietly watched the stack of bills diminish from her wallet while you rode Tilt-O-World, the Ferris Wheel, and the Grand Slide. You quickly devoured the funnel cake she bought you, unmindful of future stomach aches. It was your first time eating the sweet confection.  

Afterward, she grabbed your sugar powdered fingers and steered you toward the exit just as the carousal clerk called for last entries before shutting down the ride. You pulled at her sleeve, begging for one more ride, just one more, please.  

Your mother really wanted to say no. She had to go grocery shopping with a fifteen dollar budget, borrow money from her sister to pay for the antibiotics for the infection in your ear, sew the hole closed in your jacket before school on Monday, wash the dirty laundry piling up by the sofa, take the garbage out while avoiding the landlord-

She relented to your request.

You hastily shoved your remaining dollar bills in the clerk’s hand and ran for the carousal, unmindful of your mother’s scowl. You circled the decorative horses, analyzing each one in deep thought. She had never seen you so attentive. She guessed choosing a horse fit to your tastes was a serious affair.

After a few minutes, you chose a black mare with a pink saddle lined in blue glitter, its hair curled with brown and white highlights. You hefted yourself onto the saddle, gripping the gold bar attached to the horse’s neck. The clerk pushed a button and the music stuttered, dragged until it stabilized into an upbeat tune. That's when it started to rain.

Your mother wanted to stop the ride, and just when she was about to complain to the clerk, she halted upon seeing you come around. Despite your wet clothes hanging like wrinkled skin, you appeared regal, your back straight and chin confidently lifted, eyes alight with determination. The rain had not dampened your spirit, but imbued in you a heightened sense of imagination. Your mother could see it clearly. You were not her child in that moment, you were a leader heading into battle during a nasty wet storm, the remainder of the varnished horses your most trusted soldiers. They would follow you anywhere, act without question, bleed until you won the battle.

Sighing heavily, your mother sat on the bench directly across from the carousal, allowing the rain to soak her completely. She didn't have the heart to spoil your fun, to strip you of the happiness you seemed hard pressed to let go of for these past two hours. Her eyes landed lovingly on you, her smile slippery and wet. If you'd only knew how much of a solider she was willing to be in your sudden army. No eviction notices, no late bills, no angry landlords would stop her from giving you what you desired.

She wanted you to have everything, even if that meant she would end up with nothing.

Monday, December 1, 2014

DIY Crafting: Mini Holiday Note Cards

Ready for the holidays? I've been ready since the Summer! I really love Christmas and the idea of gift giving.

During the Thanksgiving break, I decided to work on a quick set of mini holiday note cards. I have a tradition every year of giving out handmade cards to my penpals and friends.

Materials: Specialty card stock paper (I used a color palette of gold, silver, and white. Any card stock will do though.). 2 scallop-edged hole punchers (2 different sizes), 1 heart hole puncher, 1 mini double rectangle hole puncher, red ribbon, and a bone folder.  

I decided on a set of 8 note cards. I first hole punched all the pieces I would need for assemblage:
16 scallop-edged shapes (8 small/8 large), and 8 hearts. I also hand cut 8 note cards at 3x4.5 inches each and folded them in half.  

 Then I used the double rectangle hole puncher on the small scallop-edged shapes. I looped the red ribbon through these holes and tied it once into a bow. If you tie it twice, it will be more difficult to hot glue the heart on top of the ribbon. Tying the ribbon once will keep the bow loose and flat on the paper.

Next, I hot glued the hearts onto the ribbons. I used PVA glue to attach the small scalloped shapes to the large scalloped shapes, then affixed the completed pieces to the note cards. I let them dry under a heavy object to keep the paper flat. 

Here is the end result! Aren't they adorable? Perfect to tuck into a small gift or Christmas stocking.

I hope you're all doing well! Cheers!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Mini Weaving Loom

On my hunt for a new craft to experiment with, I stumbled upon Beckarahn's handmade shop on Etsy. This shop is filled with miniature handmade weaving items. As soon as I spotted the mini weaving loom, I knew I had to have it. It was my first time using one, and I felt it a good introduction to weaving on a smaller scale.

With the purchase came a small loom, needle, beater comb, and instructions. The instructions were easy to follow and after creating a few, I quickly got the hang of it.

As you can see, I got a little carried away. They're so attractive to look at, I couldn't help myself.

I experimented with different kinds of yarn (bulky yarns don't work well for this, thinner yarns however, are great!). The size is ideal for creating coasters, or sewing the weaved squares together to make some kind of patterned blanket. There are endless possibilities with these little creations. It makes a great gift for a child too! 

I also think the process of weaving is meditative; a stress reliever to busy the brain when things get too tough. There's always something therapeutic in repetitive movement, don't you think so? 

Happy crafting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

35mm Photography - Governors Island

During the summer months in New York City, Governers Island is open to the public. It's an island right by the city that used to be a military base, with views of Staten Island, New Jersey, and Brooklyn. Now converted into a park, the island hosts festivals, craft fairs, and bike riding. I actually went the last week before it closed.
During my trip, I decided to rent a bike to explore all parts of the island quicker. It's great to get a bike first thing in the morning since the afternoons have more people populating the pathways. More bike paths have been incorporated this year though. Most of the buildings are unused. If they are in use, its usually for gallery exhibits, handmade shops, and food vendors.
This section is located near the newer areas just opened this year. They have small clusters of flower patches you can walk (but not bike) through. It's also near a new baseball field and viewing areas of the waterfront.
I found this while exploring a courtyard. I'm not exactly sure who this was dedicated to, but I thought it was interesting. It reminded me of a crime scene, especially since this was in a sectioned off area.
I really loved these red chairs! They're very striking. They're ideal for a nice sit down amongst friends during a lazy afternoon. That particular afternoon was lovely; a cloudless sky, a gentle breeze, and a good camera to capture it all. I look forward to visiting it again next year.   

Monday, October 20, 2014

Narrow Oriental Coptic Stitch Book - Part 2

Part 1 - Hard Book Covers - Here
Part 2 - Pages & Sewing
After creating the book covers, I started work on the spine. I like my book spines to have some color, so I went with gold. I cut these page dividers just a bit larger than the actual page size. I used a bone folder to fold them cleanly in half (these dividers are about 8x2 inches each). Then I used a corner punch for the edges.

I usually create book page templates so I can reuse the page size in the future. I also use the template to mark where the hole placements should be. I lay this template over every signature (8 signatures in this case) and poke holes using my awl.

Then I sew the signatures together.
For the covers, I sewed them to the pages using the Japanese bookbinding method. When sewing pages together, I used the coptic stitch method. Afterwards, I combine the excess thread into braids and add beads to the ends for design purposes.
Here is the final product. This book has 128 tan and white blank pages combined (including front and back).
Here is the inside of the book. I think the book cloth on the inside is a nice touch!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Soft Doll Needle Wallets

Materials used:
- Fabric (quilt fabric, denim, home decor, to name a few)
- Felt
- Embroidery Floss
- Buttons

I created these cute little guys some time ago. It was my first time experimenting with a wallet type format, so there was a lot of trial and error. I wanted to create a small wallet where I could store needles, pins, a small pair of scissors, and even a little loop of thread.

The final size of these wallets came to be 3.5x4 inches (7 inches wide when opened). I created a 4x7 inch rectangular pattern (I like to use Bristol paper for my patterns. I find thin paper difficult to use, especially when they get flimsy when I try to trace with them). These are primarily soft covered wallets.

Each doll wallet has four felt pages for attaching pins and needles. I also added pockets to store other smaller materials and tools. The pockets were tricky to sew on the machine, especially since I had to align the bottom of the wallet with the top of the pocket.

I hand sewed each face, which was a lot of fun. I used a book called Stitch Sampler by Lucinda Ganderton (book has been added to the Book Resource tab on this blog) to experiment with different hand stitches. I think the faces came out pretty cute!

I now have a box full of wallets that I made, but I'm not quite sure what to do with them. They were originally made for a craft show, but I was unable to attend the event. I feel it odd to add them to my shop since I primarily sell handmade books.

If anyone would like one, I'd be willing to trade or sell them. Maybe I can even do a giveaway!

On that note, happy crafting!