TK here! After some debate and discussion, I made a little adjustment in the theme for my display of Monster High dolls. Instead of going straight for the Edward Gorey/1920s theme, I am making the Monsters a 20's Steampunk/astronomy theme. This is a very exciting prospect for me, since I have long adored the stars. Each of the "ghouls" will be themed to a constellation which will be visible in May, when this year's Comic Con will be held. I even have two new dolls on the way, including my first BOY doll!
Let's meet the girls, shall we?
Hopefully, within the next week, two more dolls will be joining the set, Draculara and Gil Webber, Lagoona's boyfriend. With the addition of Draculara, I would have the core Monster High crew in stock.
Now, I have a sneak peek of the kinds of dresses the girls will appear in at Comic Con. I've done two outfits so far, one based on the constellation Lybra (the scales) and one based on Cygnus (the swan). Lagoona is wearing Lybra (pearls representing purity and integrity, fitting for the scales of justice) and Frankie is wearing Cygnus.
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.-
There’s nothing like a trusty hardwood walking stick when you’re hiking through America’s state and national parks. They are a functional accessory to any hiker’s gear. But they don’t have to be plain wood; you can burn or carve many different designs into them to make a useful and beautiful item. But first, you need to know the what and how of walking sticks.
Choosing your wood, of course, is an integral part of making a walking stick. You need a wood that is hard enough to take a beating, but malleable enough to carve (unless you just plan on wood-burning it, in which case that doesn’t really matter). You don’t want a stick that’s too soft, or it will break under pressure. Conifer woods, like pine and spruce are out of the question. While they may be easier to carve, they will not stand up to the strain of hiking. Extra hardwoods like cherry are also out of the question, for obvious reasons.
From my experience, maple is probably the best wood for this purpose. Norway maple is extremely common in many areas, and it carves well. Sugar maple is also great for carving, though, because of its economic value may not be as easy to come by. Red maple is excellent, but it is scarce. If you’re lucky enough to know a landowner who has a stand, leap at it. It’s great stuff. Some of the best of all is apple wood, but again, because of its economic value, can be difficult to get a hold of. I’ve had some success with poplar and birch wood, but I don’t think it’s quite to the same caliber as maple when it comes to how the carve looks.
Next, you want to find the right tree. You want to avoid trees that are diseased, for obvious reasons. If you can find a sapling that is straight up and down, that’s ideal. You can also cut a branch off of an older tree and use that. As a general rule, it should be at least two inches thick at the top, but you can get away with less. If you decide to remove the stick from a living tree, make sure you harvest responsibly, and use a pruning sealer to protect the tree from infection.
This blog was originally posted 1/31/2016. You can read the original and the comments here:
Today I repost this this blog with an incredibly heavy heart. My sweet cousin Connie was taken from us suddenly yesterday 2/6/2019 very early in the morning. This blog post was an interview with Connie about her job at CareFirst as a hospice nurse.
Allow me to tell you a little about her as I think of her now and will always think of her. Connie was a lot like her mom, my Aunt Barb. My Aunt Barb loved people BIG. Connie did too especially her family. She came from a large family and was always posting pictures of time with her siblings, nieces and nephews on social media. She was a loyal friend who wouldn't leave at the first sign of trouble. I don't think there are enough words to say how beautiful her soul was in this life.
Connie and I reconnected through facebook. We shared our faith in Christ, love of family, and desire to help the underserved. In truth Connie was the more dynamic of the two of us. When I was diagnosed with POTS syndrome and had some bad days Connie said: "You're tough Vel, you have an inner strength and spirit." And sometimes of course, she'd give me a nudge when I was having a bit of a pity party. She made me laugh and tried protect me from people and things she knew wouldn't be good for my health.
I think she always did have an instinct for knowing when people were in pain but it wasn't until she became a nurse that she was really able to use that very powerful instinct. Connie knew the power of life because she faced death as a hospice nurse. She never actually said it but you knew from talking to her that death wasn't the enemy, refusing to value your life, that was the enemy. When we concluded writing the blog below she wrote this: "I was thrilled that you asked Vel. It is so rewarding caring and loving for folks who are going thru this. Remember the fella I saw yesterday? He passed last nite. I was able to show him some love, touch his arms and face and tell him the good Lord was ready for him and it was okay to leave." This is the Connie I'll remember. Always.
Because Connie is no longer with us, obviously this project is not ongoing however, I hope after reading today's blog all you crocheters, sewists, and knitters will take the time to contact a local hospital, nursing home, hospice, veterans hospital, homeless or battered spouse shelter about donating slippers. Connie would love knowing that this blog created action on behalf of those most vulnerable in our society.
Thank you for bearing with me. Now the blog:
I have the pleasure today of writing about my cousin Connie Kraft who is a hospice nurse. Connie is the cousin closest to me in age. Her mother Barbara is my mother's sister. We grew up in a family centered around visits at holidays, lots of hugs, and the love for my sweet grandmother Iola Riopelle Foreman who passed along the gentle art of knit and crochet. Connie has followed in her mom's footsteps in becoming a nurse caring for those who are underserved. In Connie's case hospice nursing. Connie came to me with a project idea and I knew it was an idea that all of you would appreciate and get behind.
Connie is very loyal to those under her care. She is a professional who worked very, very hard to earn her nursing degree. We're very proud of her accomplishment. She rarely feels that she can impose on me to ask for my assistance so when she asked me to help her I knew it was important. What she wanted seemed so simple... slippers but let me tell you about her passion in her own words. The following is an interview I did with Connie this past week.
Me: How long have you been working at CareFirst Connie?
CEK: 3 wks
Me: What gave you the idea to make slippers for the hospice patients?
CEK: After visiting some of the patients in this cold weather, I felt like it would be a nice gesture to provide them with something that would comfort them
Lyn, I've been caring for "comfort care" patients in the hospital for years as well as my own parents. I took my daddy thru to his passing at home. (Connie's dad James Kraft died at home with the love of his family after working for years in asbestos)
Me: As a nurse dealing with end of life decisions is nothing new to you. Little things mean a lot to your patients don't they? Can you tell us about any thing else you think knitters and crocheters can do for CareFirst? Ease, comfort, warmth, security are all important when creating a garment for patients. I've learned this through making items for friends going through chemo therapy.
CEK: Just a loving touch for these folks or someone to take the time to ask is there anything I can do right now that will make your day better. (*Connie mentioned to me in another conversation how patients families would also appreciate a personal note sent with the slippers)
Me: What else would you say we can make for CareFirst. We talked about shawls, hats, and perhaps lap blankets?
CEK: Yes, that's lovely. We have some lap blankets that are more like quilts. (*we talked about wheelchair shawls also)
Me: We will be making bootie style slippers that come up over the ankle such as these http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php? id=4790&cid=17 http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=6193&cid=17 But YOU will be placing the non-skid to the underside of the booties correct?
CEK: Absolutely, I will do that.
Me: What is the one big thing you would like people to know about hospice care in general.
CEK: It's all about the patient. Their comfort and dignity. We take a holistic approach. We are staffed by RN's, LPN's , social workers and pastoral care. It's important to keep them in their homes. It's helpful if the family is their to tend to the patient. If not we can place them in a nursing home and provide hospice care. We like to control the pain and make sure they are breathing easy. We are not going to fix them. They are only going to get worse and it is up to us to care for the patient and the family.
Me: Thanks Connie for taking the time to do this interview with me. I'm sure my readers will find this a really great way to reach out. Thanks for what you do, especially for those who are in hospice care!
CEK: I was thrilled that you asked Lyn. It is so rewarding caring and loving for folks who are going thru this.
Me: LOVE YOU!
CEK: You are special.
This concludes the interview. We rarely conclude anything without telling each other how important they are to us :)
So do you want to help? Its a fantastic opportunity to reach out to someone who needs just a touch of love. I'm not going to ask you to sign up or anything because I know some of you, like me, would just prefer to donate quietly without a lot of pressure or fanfare. So here's what we'd like Boot style slippers that come up OVER the ankle in worsted, chunky, or bulky weight easy care acrylic or soft washable wool yarn. From a smoke free home. The yarns should NOT be scratchy on those fragile feet. Remember things like "Red Heart TLC" or Simply soft are lovely but very slippery so please just use a non-scratchy yarn. ie: Vanna's Choice, Caron One Pound, Lion Brand Pound of Love in the worsted weight. For Bulky weight Wool Ease thick and Quick or Red heart Grande. If you have a question about the "scratch" factor you can check out http://www.knitting-warehouse.com/ One of my favorite places to buy yarns. Next to each yarn there is a "Scratch Scale" that shows how each yarn feels next to the skin. I also love the http://www.yarnfactoryoutlet.com/e-tent
Patterns? Yes I have a list here of tried, tested, and proved patterns.
Remember these are for both men and women sometimes just adding an extra round our two will add enough length.
http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/seniors.html Bev has made sure all of these patterns work for use with the elderly and with those who are ill.
Thank you for taking the time to read about this project. Please join me in helping give a little comfort. Include a card for the families in your package. It will mean the world to them at this time!
You know that feeling of happiness when you see something beautiful and it makes you take a sharp breath in? That’s what happened to me when I saw the Caron x Pantone yarn palette for the Pantone color of the year “Living Coral”. It was like potential just opened up to me.
The color coral is one of my favorite colors. In clothing and in home decor it makes a statement but if “Living Coral” isn’t your thing maybe you should check out the Caron x Pantone yarn braids. While it’s not as though the whole gradient yarn thing is new, Caron yarns kicked it up a notch with the Caron x Pantone color play tool. The Caron x Pantone Rainbow Chip Color Play Cowl (Crocheted) is a fun way to test out the tool. Instructions can be found in this video: https://www.yarnspirations.com/yarn/retail-exclusive-yarns/caron-x-pantone/caron-x-pantone-educational-centre
Caron developed a lookbook (though I prefer the old issuu style lookbook) for these great yarn braids. Mix and match the colors as you please with FREE patterns. For more free patterns using the Caron x Pantone yarns follow this link to the Crochet Crowd’s collection of free patterns. You’ll love the selection.
Michaels Stores are the exclusive distributors of Caron x Pantone yarns. You can see these exciting colors in person! (right now on sale online!) Or use the color play tool and buy directly from Yarnspirations. (example: the color block crochet cowl) The amount of yarn in each color bundle of color is small, as one can probably tell from the photos.
If you are a charity knitter/crocheter like I am you might want to use up your stash or buy colors that blend in larger amounts, you might try snapping up paint chip samples from your local paint store. My daughter and I thought we might try that ourselves! Using some free paint chip samples we thought it might be fun to try some color blending based on color families.
It’s a fantastic way to make the ordinary into something extraordinary as a gift for charity or a gift for a friend. All the colors found in nature can be found on the shelves of any yarn shop… get creative with your blends!
Scarves, hats, mittens, baby blankets. Add a little spice… Have fun!
Now I turn the blog over to T.k Wilson for her ideas!
Anyone who knows me well knows I adore color. When I wear dull colored clothes, I feel like I have to have something bright on with them. Socks, jewelry, something. Looking into the Caron x Pantone yarns and getting the paint chip cards reminded me of my love for color and how much I enjoy picking out colors for projects.
Color blending is one of my favorite techniques too. I love doing it especially with doll clothes. You have no idea how much a few subtle changes can make or break a piece. Using the wrong thing in the wrong spot spells disaster!
Because a lot of my doll clothes are built around specific characters, or what I see as the doll’s “personality” color choices are very important. The idea behind Caron x Pantone is actually pretty brilliant for all kinds of crafting goodness. For instance, I can see the yarns used for stuffed animals and amigurumi dolls with ease, and the idea of color matching will work brilliantly with making doll clothes.
Our love for color has actually brought my mom and I closer together in our crafting lives. One or the other of us will have an idea for a color scheme and run and tell the other, it’s great fun!
I do folk-art style of wood carving. My particular specialties are small gnome figures, and walking sticks carved with faces in them. I don’t recall why I started carving gnomes, or walking sticks, for that matter, but my style has some old roots.
American folk carving has its roots and in Scandinavian flat-plane carving. As you can guess, the technique originated in Scandinavia. In flat-plane carving, as the name suggests, the image is made by carving flat planes, or surfaces in the wood. Very little rounding or sanding is used, and tool-marks are usually left on, giving it a rustic appearance. It was brought to the united states by Scandinavian immigrants, and has enjoyed popularity ever since.
Carving, even simple flat-plane carving takes a bit of talent. You have to think about things in three dimensions. You also have to have the right tools for it, as well. I have a set of chisels given to me by my Grandfather. You have to spend a little cash in order to get a decent set of carving knives and chisels. But that’s not to say I don’t use electric tools. You can buy some pretty good electric carving tools that can make your work go a lot easier.
The materials are also essential. The type of wood you use will either help or hinder your carving efforts. Don’t use a very hard wood, like cherry or oak, or you’ll just be wasting time and effort. I’ve tried using pine wood with some success, but it chips very badly, so I wouldn’t suggest it to a beginner. It’s a good wood if you plan on using power tools. Probably the best woods to use are maple and basswood. Maple is hard, but not too hard. It can make a very fine carving, and it’s good for walking sticks as well as figurines. Basswood is a lot softer, but it doesn’t chip like pine. It’s probably the best wood for beginners.
Hey, Everyone! T.K. here with a small preview of what I'm doing to prepare for my comic-con engagements in 2019! My first one isn't until April, but time flies fast, so I'm prepping now.
My mother has always loved a bit of the Gothic. She grew up reading Sherlock Holmes and Edgar Allen Poe and watching Monster Movie Matinee. Her love of that Gothic-Lite rubbed off on me a little, along with my own fascination with the fantastic, to create the crazy, whimsical person you see before you. A vivid childhood memory I have is seeing, right before I went up to bed some Saturday nights the delightfully freaky intro to "Masterpiece Mystery", featuring the work of illustrator Edward Gorey.
I recall being scared by the intro; but not the "bad", nightmare inducing scary, but the good kind of scared, the little thrills that kids seek out. Of course, it stuck in my mind for good. The work of Edward Gorey, with his his irreverent reverence for the spooky, the defanging of monsters while keeping their danger has inspired a new idea for my comic con table.
My idea? Take Mattel's Monster High dolls and transform them into Edward's Gothic flapper girls! These monster mavens will appear in a special corner at my table, all waiting for the show to begin. I will have a few of them in stock including Frankie Stein (daughter of Adam, Victor Frankenstein's monster), Lagoona Blue (daughter of a sea monster), and Clawdeen Wolf (daughter of the Wolf Man).
One more monster I will be doing is Cleo De Nile, the daughter of one of my favorite movie monsters, the Mummy. But I'll be treating her a bit different then the "Gorey Girls". When I watched the Mummy (the original from 1932), I was fascinated by the powerful Imhotep and his "tale of love, and crime, and death." And oddly enough, Cleo bears a bit of resemblance to Zita Johann, the woman who played Helen/Princess Ankesenamun.
Inspired by The Mummy, I will be transforming Cleo into a flapper with homages to Zita's beautiful costumes from the movie. Since Egyptian style costumes were quite popular in the Flapper era, it wouldn't have been too out of the ordinary. I'm really excited about this idea, I love historical costumes.
This is only the first entry into my Countdown to Comic Con, stay tuned for more sneak peeks and ideas from all of us at Tabitha's Mountain Rhapsody!
Out of the Parc Designs is back with this week with a special issue on Christmas stockings. Christmas stockings are a special tradition in my family. My sisters and I each had our own special stocking to hang for Christmas. While some traditional crafts have come Christmas stockings have remained a favorite among fiber artists.
Today I was looking through a McCall's Needlework and Crafts magazine printed in 1977. I was amazed at the variation in Christmas stocking patterns! From Stockings made with felt to those sewn from recycled fabrics (what we call upcycling now). Photos below. (McCall's Needlework and Crafts, Christmas Make It issue 1977.) Basically anyone who has the want to, these days, can make a Christmas stocking! Very cool.
Upcycling/recycling is still such a cool way to use up materials, but it is also a meaningful way include a favorite yarn, shirt, sweater or blanket. (Maybe something special from a loved one?) The sewing talent skipped a generation in my family. My daughter is an amazing self-taught seamstress. She's taught me a little about sewing fabrics ect. Upcycling is one of my daughter's favorite things to do :)
Let us look at some simple, fairly quick upcycling ideas.
For knitters and crocheters Christmas Stockings have long been a treasured gift. I really love making the Christmas stocking because it means I'm giving something that will be used for generations to come (I hope) Stockings can be made from just about any yarn and even leftover yarn balls. Christmas stockings can be a good gift to charities for foster children or churches. I'm going to discipline myself to just a few basic, free patterns that can be embellished at will. (we do love to embellish)
Christmas stockings can also be made on a loom. There are several styles of round loom to choose from. I would recommend that you investigate www.loomahat.com/ for product reviews on looms and tools. As a bonus there are many patterns and how to videos on YouTube for making your own loomed Christmas stocking!
If you don't sew, knit, crochet, or loom try these fantastic no-sew ideas at Fleece Fun! There's a printable pattern and ideas for embellishment. A photo tutorial so you can't go wrong makes this a great idea even for those of us who do knit, crochet or sew!
Maybe it's a little late for SOME of these ideas this year but next year there is plenty of time to make a Christmas stocking for a loved one or to gift to a charitable cause.
Every year, a craft fair benefiting our local soup kitchen is held at Davis Elementary. Vendors come from all over the area to market their wares to the patrons. My brother and I are also there, camped out and selling our various items. I can’t wait to show off what I’ve made!
First off, I want to give a shout out to Amy Smart at Diary of a Quilter for her easy Fat Quarter tote pattern and Cats on the Homestead for her drawstring backpack pattern. These two patterns make up a good deal of my inventory, using cute patterned fabric for the outer layer. My favorites are usually character patterns. This time, I’ve got My Little Pony, Disney, Avengers, Batman, Doctor Who, and more. These are usually big sellers at all my events.
On the used toy front, I have a variety of vintage and modern My Little Ponies for sale. I have an original Rainbow Dash that I bought specifically because I’ve been asked on several occasions “Do you have Rainbow Dash?” Yes, I do, but I only have one! My Little Ponies have been my biggest sellers so far, and I’m super happy to see people enjoying these old treasures.
On the more practical side, I will have a selection of housewares and warm headbands for all ages made by myself and my mother. Special at this sale will be a hot cocoa set with coasters and a set of salad spoons, perfect for a newlywed gift, first apartment, college student (Just add ramen!), and other special occasions.
I hope you can all come and check it out! It’s a great sale, with lots of great people who come to support our local businesses. Malone comes together to make it work, and I’m so proud to be a part of the effort.
Good morning, good reader. I’m Ian Wilson, here to talk about the right tools for the right job. In this case, pyrography. Now, some of you are probably thinking “what is pyrography?” It comes from a Greek word that means “drawing (or writing) with fire” and that’s essentially what it is. Basically, what I do as a pyrographer is take a piece of hot metal and draw on wood (or leather) with it. It sounds dangerous, but it’s actually a pretty safe artform.
So the question is, what does one need to become a pyrographer? Well, the obvious thing you need is some amount of artistic talent. If you’re good at drawing or calligraphy, then I would say give pyrography a try. The next you’ll need is some wood. I’ll get into what types of wood are best another time. Ideally, you want an unfinished piece of wood that is relatively smooth, with few imperfections. And of course, you need a pyrography tool.
There are a great variety of pyrography tools, but they generally have a short wire that plugs into a normal wall socket, and have interchangeable tips, which you can screw into the end. Each tip has a different purpose and will make a different type of mark. I would strongly suggest that you buy a pyrography tool in person at a craft store rather than online. The best tools are usually temperature controlled; my first pyrography tool didn’t come with temperature controls, but I made do, and it worked out OK, but my work would’ve looked better if I had temperature control. For softer, more delicate woods, use a lower temperature. Usually, the tool will come with some instructions on how hot to make it, but you really just need to experiment with it to find what best works for you.
Other things you’ll need are leather grafting gloves. Now, you won’t need them to be very thick, like welding gloves; you’ll just need a little extra layer of protection. The handle of the tool is always shielded so you’re not likely to get yourself burned, but just in case, it’s best to wear the gloves. If you’re working indoors, I would recommend some kind of ventilation, like a window fan, to blow the smoke away. Otherwise, the smoke will get in your eyes, and you won’t be able to see what you’re doing. If you’re not working near a fan or a window, I would recommend wearing safety goggles. They’ll keep the smoke out of your eyes so you can keep working. And never leave your pyrography tool unattended while the power is turned on! Make sure it has had time to cool before leaving your workspace.
Pyrography is a relatively simple, fun art, and I would recommend anyone with moderate to skilled drawing talent try their hand at it.
We're so glad you could join us here on the blog site for our big debut!! I'm Lyn and I'm proprietress. For 3 years this blog was my sole domain. I wrote most of the blogs, shared my life's work and my enthusiasm. You'll still find my archives here and you will also find links to Out of the Parc's Portfolio Page. However, now that my adult kids and I have formed an artists group, the readers that come to this blog will get a triple dose of thoughts on charity work, introductions to our fav. artists, thoughts on our various crafts and I'm sure plenty of smiles! Welcome to our home and life's passion! (it's bound to get a little crazy... strap in)
This past weekend we had our second craft show as an artist group. The Snow Angel Craft Fair is put on my Holy Family Catholic School in Malone, NY. I thought we would each share our thoughts on this particular fair with an eye towards December's craft fair and the Malone Comic Con.
First up T.k. Wilson of Laterose Doll Clothes and Doll Repair Abby:
At Holy Family School’s Snow Angel craft fair, I never know what’s going to sell. It all depends on the mood of the people coming in that day. For instance, I’ve offered Barbie clothes at every craft fair I’ve ever done. I’ve sold maybe one or two in that time. This year, the Barbie clothes were my biggest sellers! I unloaded about four total outfits and one refurbished Barbie doll. Another big seller at this time were my repaired My Little Ponies. I had a small collection of McDonald’s My Little Ponies… They all sold! I’ll have to buy more before my next event. Now, finding them, there’s the rub! That was pretty surprising. What also surprised me were the people looking for more unique items. At my last Comic Con, I met a gal looking for items related to Avengers superheroines and this time I ran into a lady looking for Items related to Dreamwork’s Trolls. I said to myself: “Trolls?! Well, that’s new.” You can’t lay your hands very easily on either one, so I’ll be seeing about offering my customers these very unique, specialty items in the future. I hope to have as good, or better success at my next event, the Winter Wonderland craft show at Davis Elementary on December 8th 2018!
Next Ian Thomas Wilson, who shares his latest crafts through Tabitha's Mountain Rhapsody Family Artists:I had been preparing for the Snow Angel Craft Fair for a while. Most of my time was spent wood-burning amusing signage. Hunting and fishing are a big deal in this area, so I made some hunting cabin signs out of scrap lumber. I also made one that was halloween themed, in preparation for Comic Con, but that didn’t sell at Comic Con, but I thought I’d give it another shot. It paid off. The halloween sign was the first thing I sold. Surprisingly, none of the other signs sold. I also had made wood buttons, which I expected would sell, and they did. But one of my favorite crafts to make are ornately carved walking sticks. I had only sold two of them up to this point, but I continued making more, if only for the love of doing it. One of them finally sold at Snow Angel. I was elated. I’m not going to make too many more, as those tend to require a particular audience, but at least I know there are people still interested.
I, Lyn Bennett Wilson, share my work through both Tabitha's Mountain Rhapsody Family Artists and Out of the Parc Designs (please remember to use the "c" at the end of Parc, not a "k" that's someone else).
I was behind the scenes for most of the craft fair. Due to my health I cannot always attend the fairs in person. Those days of prep for a sale are exciting and a skosh unnerving. As T.k. and Ian wrote previously, we never know what will sell. I learned that I shouldn't take myself so SERIOUSLY. LOL Craft fairs are absolutely big business in this area and our main route to our customers. We appreciate every penny they spend. While I'm still learning to "go with the flow" I realize that as I am true to myself and my art, customers will find me. This brings me great happiness. ❤️ ❤️
Click the button to see my portfolio!
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.