Friday, November 26, 2010

more holiday ornaments…

… for my not so secret project!

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felt hearts with crystal beads

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felted bird

all part of this….

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You can’t tell from the pictures, but there’s only 1 more ornament to go!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

my not so secret ornament project

For those of you who have just joined me, welcome! It’s nice to have you here. (though I do have a slight confession… as my reader numbers increase, I feel a little intimidated at moments when I stare at the blank page before starting to write… but don’t worry, I’m the chatty type, so it’s only for a moment!)

That said, here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

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Making ornaments! Of course, I had to start with my standard, crane in the bottle… but you may not be able to tell from the not so fantabulous photo… but this is a mini ornament (about 2 inches max with a 2 cm crane). Ironically, it’s actually easier to make the mini crane ornaments because it’s SOOOO very much easier getting the crane inside the bottle!

Next up, mittens!

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I made this from felt and buttons (obviously) and it is about 3 inches in size.

Hmmm… just noticing that the background table cloth actually looks pretty festive when paired with holiday ornaments… odd! It’s actually a very summery madras style fabric. Who knew?

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Let’s face it, no holiday season would be complete without a Grinch! My husband actually made this one from a round wooden piece that he glued the string then image onto. Finished it up by coating the image with diamond glaze.

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Another ornament made by Paul. Little did he know when he married me that he’d become such an avid crafter himself! Secret fact about this ornament: cardboard backdrop comes from beer case!

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Final ornament, I swear. At least for now.

Why am I making all these ornaments? They’re for a super secret, 12 days of Christmas project—which I guess isn’t so secret anymore is it? Me and my big mouth…. we’ve never been very good at secrets!

The rest of the project to be unveiled at a later date….

Last, but not least, for those of you who made it to the end of the page, past all the photos and text… and weren’t in the know: I’m hosting a giveaway that’s ending soon. Here’s the post with all the giveaway information

block printed table linens—take one

So I’m about to enter into my first crafty partnership. The project? Making table linens with a friend.

We’re going to make napkins, place mats and table runners, using my paisley design block print.

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Normally, I think, you’re supposed to use a glass surface (so that it’s smooth and non-porous) to roll out your ink, but since I don’t have one… I used Bristol board on my table top!

I used speedball water based inks and I’m just waiting for the block print to dry, so that I can heat set it, wash it, and see how it stands up over time!

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So what do you think? Would it make it a nice napkin? Place mat?

Monday, November 22, 2010

guest blogger at Campfire Chic

I while back (way back in Oct), Kam from Campfire Chic encouraged her readers to get out there and start writing guest blog posts. I thought her points made a lot of sense, so I decided to give it a go!

So without further ado: my very first guest blog post, a star origami garland tutorial is up at her site.

To add more excitement to mix... she's hosting a giveaway to go with it! Go check it out!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

dear internet

In case you haven't noticed, we've been on a bit of a break lately. It's not you, it's me, I swear...

I'm busy binge reading but I promise to return soon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

being a guest at a wedding, post wedding experience

It’s been busy over here in Marya-land. My cousin-in-law got married this past weekend, so we were fully immersed in wedding festivities.

We made our very own wedding card (yes, we, together, 50/50):

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In an effort to really be present during the event, I left the camera at home (because let’s face it, if you’re busy taking pictures you tend to not be actually participating in the moment as much). But I had to share this one picture of the 2 of us, all dolled up, taken with my iPhone (you can dress me up, take my camera away, but don’t you dare ask me to leave my favourite toy at home!)

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As my very dapper looking husband pointed out, it was very different to be a wedding guest after we’d gone through the process ourselves. Really. Different.

Just before our wedding, I went to other weddings with an eye towards the things they’d done (you know, scoping out what I wanted for our own big day), and this time, well, as I watched the day from the outside in, I found myself nostalgic about our own big day.  I actually found myself a lot more weepy than I’ve ever been before. And filled with love for my husband and the adventures we’ve been through together since then.

We grew so much as a couple through the process and it was a rite of passage that I may not have needed (I don’t think that marriage is required for a commitment), but one that am thankful for nonetheless.  And I’m glad that being a guest at someone else’s wedding helped to remind me of that and to put my own experiences into perspective.

And to my cousins-in-law… best wishes for a life full of joy, love and laughter!

etsy treasury love

Yay, a Montreal based etsy treasury featuring a version of  my double happiness cranes!

treasury

Friday, November 12, 2010

simple origami butterfly video tutorial

I made a video! Woo hoo! Check it out and let me know what you think.

simple origami butterfly for crafting

They’re super simple to make (I use 2x3” paper) and can be used in scrapbooking, card making, and bookmarks:

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It was actually easier than I thought it’d be, but there are some glitches with the video because of editing… but it’s ok… I’m still learning!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

5 confessions of a messy crafter

A recent podcast about being your more authentic self on the web from SisterDiane’s CraftyPod Podcast, got me to thinking about the ways that we represent ourselves online or more specifically the ways that I represent myself online.

Aside from discussing wedding planning woes or political rants, I think that I try  to keep my posts positive on this blog. To be fair, part of the reason for my reticence to go into the more negative sides of my daily life or crafting world has less to do with wanting to maintain a professional persona on the web and more to do with being aware of how certain members of my husband’s family would feel about discussions about the more private elements of my life.

And while I’m sure that the podcast wasn’t advocating for full emotional disclosure on our blogs, I can definitely identify with the issues that arise from the fact that so many blogs can end up making us feel like the blogger in question’s life is productive and perfect in ways that our own will never be.

I read these blogs and I end up wondering, “how the hell do they find the time to do it all?” And I think the answer is, that they don’t show the stress or breakdowns, or inside the craft room or office.

So without further ado, let me draw back the curtain:

1. This is my craft room on an average day (sometimes it looks worse)!

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Yeah, my husband wasn’t joking when he made the comment about the craft bomb, aka Hurricanus Craftis, in his guest post about the perils of a crafty partner. To add to the offense, I haven’t mopped the floor in ages and it only gets swept when my husband ventures bravely forth to do so. (He spoils me… or just can’t stand my slovenly ways—either way, it’s win-win for me)!

2. I have a 10 foot list of things to do, but in reality I may only complete a few of those intended projects. Case in point: wedding scrapbook. 7 pages is enough to get a sense of the day, isn’t it?

3. I can be a real cranky bitch if you interrupt me when I’m in the midst of crafting. Yup. And don’t even try to talk to me when I’m focused on a craft project, I will literally ignore you unless I want to take a break, which of course wreaks havoc on my marriage, my communications with my brother, and my friendship/social life!

4. I never really read instructions all the way through. And when I knit, I never check gauge. Never. Ever. I’m a teacher who never listens completely to instructions and even though I know it makes a difference, just can’t be bothered!

5. I rarely make things for others. That’s right. I’m selfish. But I’m working on it and admitting it is half the battle, isn’t it? Right?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

thanksgiving garland of gratitude (to adapt for other holidays)?

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While the Canadian Thanksgiving is long past, I like this idea of creating a festive fall garland of things we’re grateful for, courtesy of a guest post by SimplyModernMom on the blog, MartaWrites (click on last link to go directly to the tutorial).

Thinking of ways I could adapt this to be more appropriate for Yule time. Maybe more red and green? Holly instead of maple?

Monday, November 8, 2010

meditations on fall hibernations

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I’m not sure if it’s just because it’s fall and things are starting to get colder, but I’ve been feeling very introspective lately. Hell, correction. I know it’s because it’s fall. This is a yearly ritual for me. I start getting colder and so I start turning inwards.

I don’t go out as much, I bundle up and read more. I watch more movies. The big difference is that this year, I’m doing a lot more crafting than I used to do while watching said movies. From origami stars (I’ve folded WAY too many of them now) to crocheting

In between all of this hibernation, I’ve taken up meditating. I’ve meant to do this for years, but now I’m actually doing it EVERY morning. Craziness. But here’s the thing… you’d think that all this meditation would make me more Zen, but it’s not. Not at all!

My only hope is that, with more time, my Zen-like self will emerge (and that my cat will learn that I’m not her personal jungle gym while doing said meditation).

It’s funny… in an amongst all this meditation, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m far too scattered and need to narrow down my focus on to one or five goals. I’ve purged my google reader down so that I’m not overwhelmed by a list of things to do and try anymore (you know, so that that craft list isn’t so large that I never actually do anything). I’ve started blogging less, which is ironic because I’m actually full of thoughts right now but lack the desire to carve out the time to finesse my ideas into sentences that make sense!

All my meditations have lead me to the conclusion that I need to stand back and re-assess what my goals are for this space, for crafting, for what I want to do about having an etsy business vs in person craft fairs. Because for all that blogland tends to represent the crafting world in a positive light full of productivity and creation, I just don’t have enough hours in the day to get it all done.

And I’m ok with that. But in the meantime, I need to figure out what projects I do want to complete and which I don’t. Which are investments that reward me and that pay off (literally and spiritually). I’m not a niche artisan, nor do I want to be, but I do recognize that if I want to grow a crafty business, I need to focus my energies a bit more in order to create a business that prospers. But at this point, as I enter hibernation mode, I find myself wondering if this is really what I want anymore. Do I want to have a handmade business or do I just want to craft for the sake of crafting? Am I selling items in order to justify my crafting expenses, or am I doing it so that I can share the ideas? What motivates me when it comes to art?

I’m not sure that I know the answers to these questions right now. I guess it’s back to the meditation mat for me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

some of what i’m working on at the moment

Random updates from my world to yours.

I’m currently in love with this song:

I have too many craft projects on the go and none of them are particularly quick projects!

Here are a few I have on the go:

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Crochet leaves on a chained vine. It’s for a necklace but we’ll see how it turns out. I may use it instead as curtain drawback ties.

More crochet in progress:

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A crochet sweater. I’ve never made a sweater before, so this is a huge endeavour for me! I’m on row 14 of the first 30 rows…. and then the next 100 or something rows! Sad smile

And life wouldn’t be complete without a little origami:

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What do you think of my mini origami wine glass thing-a-ma-jigs? I’m actually making the stars for a top secret project but thought I’d steal one to try the idea out. I think it’s cute and if you make them small enough they’re pretty sturdy (though a bit more challenging to fold). Would rainbow star origami wine thingies work for you?

The rest will remain a secret… hey a girl needs some secrets after all.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

share the blog love: my very own blog button!

Kam from Campfire Chic has been on fire lately with all her helpful better blogging tips and I decided to take her good advice and run with it!

So without further ado, I introduce you to my latest blog improvement: my very own blog button:

Lotus Tree Crafts
It took me WAY too long to figure out how to do it, but it shouldn't have because it was a very simple template. (Turns out that when I was copying it from word, blogger was adding extra " " to my html... once I realized that, it worked like a charm)!

So if you want your very own blog button to spread the blog love, visit Kam here and steal her code...

the perils of a crafty partner

When Paul Before Swine was invited to guest blog here at lotus tree crafts, there was only one topic apropos and prevalent for my attention beyond all others: the perils of a crafty partner.

For the record, I fully support The Misses and all her crafty endeavours.  But being in a relationship with a crafter is not all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.  In fact, I would argue it requires just as much patience and diligence as the art of crafting itself. 

For those of you already in such committed relationship, you know what I’m talking about.  But for you na├»ve folk considering or on the verge of a relationship with a crafter, heed the following warnings…

1. “I spent more than I should” is a common phrase used by the crafter, who is usually not the financially conscious one of the relationship.  This further compounds the problem, because do you have any idea how much crafting hardware and supplies cost?

I do now.  Because you can’t use the same ink for stamping as you do for block printing, you can’t use the same sewing needles for cotton as you do for denim, and you can’t use the same scissors for paper as you do for fabric.  They’re scissors – they cut – why must they be specialized?

And she says golf is an expensive hobby…

2. The Craft Bomb.  As the crafter’s partner, you are also most likely the neater of the relationship.  Yet despite the presence of a craft room – and I highly suggest you get one – your kitchen table, your coffee table, and yes even your bed can go from prim and proper to dishevelled and run amok in the blink of an eye. 

This is commonly known as The Craft Bomb; or, in scientific terminology, Hurricanus Craftis.  It usually occurs when the crafter begins a new project; its effects linger for the entirety of the project since the crafter is unable to clean up hardware, supplies, or rogue off-cuts at any time during the process.

3.  Honesty versus Sugar-coating is a fine line on which you must balance.  Be it in regards to fabric, quality, hand-made versus home-made, or such and such, the crafter is an insecure species.  And one ill-advised comment and you are likely to get a knitting needle across the head. 

Always begin your opinion with “it’s nice”.  Always.  Even if that painting looks like a bunch of monkeys flung colors onto a canvas.  If you have something negative to say, DON’T.  Instead, make suggestions beginning with “it’s nice, but…” 

For example:
Crafter: “What do you this of the scarf I’m knitting you?”
You: “It’s nice, but maybe pink isn’t the best color for a guy.”
Crafter: “Well, what if I make it in green apple martini?”
You: “It’s nice, but maybe black will go better with my winter coat.”

4. High risk, low reward.  Despite all your patience and all your diligence, despite all the stress and all the sacrifices, despite helping to pick out fabrics and colors, despite being the waiter refilling the glass of vino and the masseuse easing the aching back, and despite all pitfalls mentioned above, who gets ALL the credit and thanks? 

Not you, that’s for sure.  No, you’re the Robin to the Batman, the Watson to the Sherlock, the “oh you too, I guess” to the crafter’s “thank you so much, it’s beautiful!”

In the end, as the crafter’s second fiddle you will get just about as much recognition as that leftover pink craft fallout on the floor (which you will probably end up vacuuming).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

paper flower gift decoration

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I like this idea, courtesy of bystephanielynn.  I’ve seen it before, but I liked the added element of the letter and leaves that make it look that much more polished!

Monday, November 1, 2010

post halloween shenanigans

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Halloween is over. I can stop baking cookies, tarts, and sewing trick or treat bags. Whatever will I do now? No worries, as the malls have already started to remind me… Christmas is coming!

Now I just need to figure out… how crazy am I going to go with the Yule time crafting? And what projects will I create this year? What are you doing? Got any good ideas you care to share? Looking for some inspiration over here.

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