Thursday, September 30, 2010

Origami Penguin in Plaid from the new book-Origami World By Didier Boursin

1. I love origami
2. The first few tries at new origami project make my head hurt
3. This penguin from the new book Origami World was so worth it!

Really, it's true. I don't know about you but you see the lovely photo of the finished little bit of folded paper goodness so you know it can be done, and you know the author and the publisher are accomplished in their field so that the directions are not lying to you! So it has to be operator error. Kind of like when some piece of electronics isn't behaving and 9 times out of 10 it's not behaving because you haven't plugged it in or turned it on or clicked the "OK" button.

If you have been there too, you know what I mean.

I decided to include with my adorable plaid penguin his "peeps" that he evolved from. They are some very worn bits of recycled copy paper that there are parts of that the paper is worn completely through. I should point out this was a level 3 (the hardest) in the book, I had to start with a hard project but hey....

In the end the wonderful photos and directions synced with my brain and I had a cute plaid penguin. My goal was to make a whole little flock of them in different sizes for a Christmas decoration. I have a feeling I will "fly" through making his brothers and sisters, ironic since penguins can't fly :)

If you like super cute origami and pretty origami paper (this book includes 112 pieces) I bet you will like:
Origami World: 40 Fun Paper-Folding Projects
Didier Boursin

From North Light Books

Monday, September 27, 2010

Too Hot Crafty Blogger Links

This is the thermometer outside my window, It isn't totally accurate but it sure feels that way!
Stay cool inside and do some crafty blog surfing!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a charming pattern for knitting a shrug, a tutorial on how to make a felted covered bangle, an inside peek (or peck) of some wonderful bird art from the book 1,000 Artisan Textiles and a chance to win a poster by Masha D'yans and a copy of 1,000 Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies and Cakes.

Mixed Media Artist
To add a bit more interest to your collage or altered book page, try slicing up an image!

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Madge has a big new full time job! Read all about it!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
See how I am spinning...uh crocheting a spider web skirt inspired by The Crochet Dude's new book- Crochet It. Love It. Wear It! and read a fun interview with master of the hook himself Drew Emborsky!

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Don't let the rotten egg smell or safety concerns keep you from discovering the wonderful burnished effects you can create on thin metal sheet with liver of sulfur.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi plays with a 3D paper sample to create this new card set.

Aileen's Musings
"Don't be afraid to live out loud" is Aileen's motto! She demonstrates this with her front door redesign; stop by and see her boldly painted front door!

About Family Crafts
Enjoy some family time together and make some apple crafts. A perfect Autumn activity!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Crochet Spider Web Skirt Inspired by some designs by The Crochet Dude's New Book- Crochet It. Love It. Wear It!

The Crochet Dude has got style! His new book Crochet It. Love It. Wear It! is packed full of wonderful designs that I want to wear! And also has the fabulous side effect of getting my personal creative juices flowing. That is what you see above. In the picture you will see the back of Crochet It. Love It. Wear It! and it shows you the two pieces that combined in my brain to give me the idea of crocheting a spider web skirt. The super cute pink dress is styled over a petticoat and the green long skirt had a wonderful open drape that made me think of a spider web. You can see my start on the skirt over the petticoat I plan to wear it over. I promise to post the way I did it soon!

But as a special treat today the Crochet Dude took a moment to answer a few questions and I get the pleasure of sharing his answers with you! Read on.....

1. What does your workspace/ design space look like?

"I love my studio more than I can say in words. When I was looking for a home to buy in Houston one of the criteria was to finally have a proper workspace where I could run my design studio. The house I found has a converted 1 car garage that overlooks the back yard that I have turned into my perfect workplace. My desk is set up so I can look out into the backyard and it feels like I'm out in the country even though I'm only a few miles from downtown Houston!"

2. Do you save your mistakes/ or designs you don't love right away -or ditch them?

"Most of the oopsies are discovered in the swatching phase of designing, and I have kept them all through the years. I go back to the swatch box and rummage through it when i am in need of some tactile inspiration. And Miss Chandler (one of my cats) likes to dive in every once in a while and haul out a swatch to claim. Her fave so far is a fluorescent green swatch made from mason twine."

3. What's on your "next to try" list?

"I really want to try melding crochet with other crafts and get all experimental with it. I have come up with some exciting stuff recently and I can't wait to release it in 2011."

5. Do you ever work with recycled materials?

"Some yarns that are on the market right now are made from recycled material. I think my fave right now is the Lion Brand Recycled Cotton which is made from t-shirt findings. The projects I've made with it feel great, just like your favorite t-shirt!!"

6. What music do you listen to when designing?
"If I'm on deadline I need music that will motivate me to keep going. The soundtrack to Run Lola Run really does the trick. When I'm not under too much pressure I listen to mainly pop music. Something with a beat that you could dance to."

7. How long does a design take you to create?
"A man's sweater can take me up to 3 days, a ladies sweater about 2 days. Accessories such as bags get a bit trickier and I often find myself spending a week on one project."

8. How do you organize your supplies?
"They're not organized. My hooks are in a hook case (shameless plug, I use my hook case from The Crochet Dude(r) line of products)."

9. What books/magazines do you read?
"I love House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Living, and I love the random catalogs that arrive (anything from LLBean to Skymall). I'm in a book club so I find myself reading books that I wouldn't normally choose and I like that. "

10. How would you describe your personal style?

"I hope that my style is perceived as simple and easy to wear. I don't try to try too hard, ya know? I want the crafter's experience to be fun and enjoyable from beginning to end. Let me do the hard part and figure it all out, you just relax with your project and enjoy yourself."

11. How do you determine what a design is going to be made with?

"During the swatching phase I discover very quickly if my first choice of yarn is going to work. I'm open to using anything, but as a designer I have to be careful that the yarn I choose is readily available. Yarns trend and are discontinued on a regular basis. I like to use yarns that have been around and are staples in the yarn industry."

12. Do you have a collection of anything?

"I really don't have a collection now that I think about it. Hmm, is that normal?"

13. And the all important question (from Ravelry) what is your favorite swear word?

"Oh hamburgers!"

Thanks Drew for sharing!
If you Love the "Dude" as much as me and want to make some of his fab crochet designs grab yourself a copy of his latest book with Leisure Arts:
Crochet It. Love It. Wear It! The Ultimate Collection for Every Occasion
Drew Emborsky

"Just for the ladies, Drew Emborsky, aka The Crochet Dude , has created 13 cutting-edge fashions in luxurious crochet. Fashion-conscious women are always searching for the perfect Little Black Dress, and Drew has one, plus an incredible selection of other must-have wardrobe pieces. Designs include a party dress, cabled and ruffled cardigans, flirty skirts, a vest, trendy tops including a baby doll style, an asymmetrical long coat, an opera jacket, and a keyhole scarf. The designs are crocheted using a variety of beautiful yarns; the majority are made with sumptuous, organic/natural yarns in worsted or sport weight and are highly textured with enticing post stitches.

For exciting new garments you'll adore, crochet these designs by Drew Emborsky - world-famous The Crochet Dude(r)! Drew created these patterns with plenty of figure-flattering shape and texture. Make a cardigan vest, party dress, or pencil skirt that will accentuate your curves. Let a chic red coat take you out for a night on the town. There's even and ultra-feminine Little Black Dress that you simply must have! And don't forget the graceful openwork skirt to wear over your best skinny pants. Sweet details and sophisticated styling are yours to enjoy with each garment as you crochet, wear, and love it! (added by author)"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monster eyeballs from ping pong balls inspired by the new book- Me Make Monster!

This is what happens when your ping pong ball eyeballs get into a staring contest with your yoga ball eyeball. And let's not even get into what happened with the bowling ball eyeballs. I was positively tickled as I flipped through the new book Me Make Monster: A Mish-Mash of Monstercraft. It is filled with the silliest and cutest creatures made from all sorts of materials. With Halloween only a few short weeks away I am in full decorating (and crafting) mode for the occasion. Eyeballs still play a huge part in my theme this year. So when I saw this page I knew what my first project was going to be.
I rounded up a handful of ping pong balls, a bit of faux fur and some black felt.
I used the "O" in my die cut alphabet to cut circles for the eyes and hot glued them on along with the faux fur "eyebrows"
They were ready for their closeup here. Like making monsters and creatures too? Then I bet you will have a lot of fun with:

Me Make Monster: A Mish-Mash of Monstercraft


Jenny Harada

From the publisher North Light Books:

"They hide in your closet. They lurk under the bed. They tickle your feet and devour your pillows. They’re monsters only a mother could love.

In Me Make Monster, Jenny Harada presents a hoard of funky monster projects so ugly they’re cute. Bring to life your own fantastic brood as you follow step-by-step instructions to create a true mish mash of monsterdom—everything from plush huggable beasties and a furry pillow cover to a fanged fiendish trinket box and google-eyed dice. Whatever kind of monster may tickle your fancy (or your feet) you’ll find one of his breed to spawn and love.

Discover within the pages:

  • Step-by-step instructions to make 18 fantastic creatures
  • Monsters made from all different types of material—from fun fur to plywood to junk mail
  • Variation beasties for even more impish inspiration
  • A history of monsters and information on each monster’s fanciful personality

So get out your glue, dust off the sewing machine, hide your valuables and channel your inner Frankenstein!

About the Author

Jenny Harada's work has been exhibited in many plush shows and galleries across the country, and she has been featured in many magazines, including Hi-Fructose, Clutter and Adorn. She's also been showcased on a variety of Web sites, including Daily Candy, Pink Pedicure, Softies Central Blog,,, and more."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Los Angeles Piece of the World Trade Center

I thought I'd share this photo today. It is of a piece of the World Trade Center here in Los Angeles. I had an amazing view of New York City from my dorm room in Brooklyn and without a doubt the World Trade Center was an amazing part of it.

About Family Crafts
Did you know that September is National Sewing Month? Sherri has some fun and simple ways you can celebrate with the entire family.
Aileen's Musings
This week Aileen offers you her gouache painted sunflower tutorial using a black and white photograph she took of her harvested sunflowers.
Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has some great samples working with paper that has a white core.
Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
At Craftside this week there are tutorials on how to purl stitch with beads, embellish a softie with a heart, a recipe for a stop chewing spray for dogs, and how to eliminate a side seam on a pants pattern.
Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy asks about your creative muse and shares some information about hers.
Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Many artists and crafters find it helpful to set goals for their art but do so in different ways. How about you? Do you have any goals or methods for improving in your art?
Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Confidence is sexy. Madge muses about the power of embracing uniquely wonderful you.
Mixed Media Artist
What did you name your business? Cyndi is betting that there's a good story behind it!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Recycled Sweater Shrug with "Bite Me" Embroidery inspired by the luscious book Vampire Knits by Genevieve Miller

Yup, you read the title right! We here at Sweater Surgery have another fun sweater recycling design, this time inspired by the book Vampire Knits: Projects to Keep You Knitting from Twilight to Dawn. It is filled with wonderfully designed knitting projects full of great details that had me running to my sweater stash to see what I could make first, because I just had to have something right away!
I love shrugs and with it almost cool enough to wear one here in SoCal making one seemed like a great place to start. You can't go wrong with black so this giant black sweater with fabulously long sleeves (my favorite for being able to pull down over my always cold hands) and great big turtleneck was perfect for a little sweater surgery.
I was in luck in that the sleeves came apart with just a few snips of the thread that held it together and I cut the body of the sweater off the turtleneck without cutting into the knit stitches of the turtleneck thus preventing it from unraveling.
Then I cut the turtleneck open along its seam. I then sewed a button over a snap to make my new closure.
In Vampire Knits they give you patterns for fonts that you can duplicate stitch but I was in the mood for a bit more of a rough look and I was working with a ribbed sweater so I thought I'd go with just a quick down and dirty embroidery with a silver metallic Kreinik thread #8. And I do have a fondness for this phrase that seemed rather vampire appropriate (I did the cross stitch of it from the Subversive Cross Stitch book :)

Side note, I just made the "happy face" and used the closed parenthesis often does that happen??

Well there are tons more details in Vampire Knits that I can't wait to incorporate in my recycling and knitting projects! If you're more the type that likes to work straight from a pattern I bet you will love making the designs in this book too!
Vampire Knits: Projects to Keep You Knitting from Twilight to Dawn
Genevieve Miller

"Product Description from Potter Craft

Surrender to the allure of knits inspired by the immortals we all love to fear. If you adore Twilight, True Blood, or The Vampire Diaries, this collection of 28 imaginative and beautiful projects is sure to captivate.

• Black capes are so 1897, instead get stylish with the dead sexy Sidhe Shrug.
• Unleash your inner shapeshifter with the Werewolf Hat.
• Keep warm while holding hands with your vampire by wearing these Bellisima Mittens.
• Around humans? Use the Blood Bottle Cozies to disguise your beverage.

Whether you are wandering the Carpathian Mountains or the bayous of Louisiana, these smoldering projects—for knitters of all levels—will keep you well protected, no matter what you attract.

About the Author

GENEVIEVE MILLER was inspired to design her own patterns after reading Twilight. She is the mother of three and luckily married to a guy who doesn't mind the house being taken over by a giant yarn stash. She lives in Pasadena, California. "

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A bit of sewing restyling inspired by the pretty book-Sew Serendipity by Kay Whitt

Do you ever get a book that you think every page is so pretty you want to jump in? That's what I was thinking as I flipped through the pages of Sew Serendipity: Fresh and Pretty Designs to Make and Wear by Kay Whitt.
The details of the designs and the styling oh and the fabric....oh all of it is so pretty! The book comes with full patterns but I generally just take scissors to things and put them back a bit different. Such is the case here. Let me tell you this garment's history.
It started with some shirt that had this great overall buckle hardware. I am sure it was probably really short (for me at least). So I hacked off (well again I took my seam ripper to it) and separated the cool top with the hardware. I then sewed a simple "A" line dress and stitched the two together. Sorta cute and I did wear it like this above picture but I felt it still needed something. Sew Serendipity to the rescue! This great criss cross tie design was perfect!

So I cut some ties off of another garment I wasn't wearing, opened up the side seams and restitched them with the ties in place. There are a whole bunch more really great details in Sew Serendipity I plan on incorporating into some of my upcoming restyling projects.

More about Sew Serendipity: Fresh and Pretty Designs to Make and Wear from the publisher, Krause Publications:

"Lay it out, cut it out, sew it up, put it on!

Kay Whitt of Serendipity Studios proves that all you need to re-make your wardrobe are a few key things: Great fabric, easy-to-make patterns, a handful of simple skills, and your own personal sense of style!

Use Sew Serendipity to create a fresh, new look.

  • Included in the book are tissue pattern inserts for the skirt, tunic/dress and jacket—each with 6 variations detailed in the book. 3 basic patterns x 6 variations=18 ways to show off your skills and style!
  • Kay provides the master instructions for each basic garment, and individual instruction for each unique look. Once you master the basics, changing it up is a snap!
  • Each clothing pattern is graded in seven sizes (bust: 32-44; waist: 24-36; hips: 34-46) from XXS to XXL. Use the “Custom Fitting” section of this book to learn how to measure yourself and adjust the patterns to get the best possible fit!
  • Check out the “Tools of the Trade” and “Sewing Techniques” sections for an overview of tools and skills you’ll need to make the clothes in this book.
  • Embellish your designs to match your style, whether you’re feeling the need for classic, tailored elegance, or you’re in the mood for a little ruffled whimsy. Kay’s simple embellishments make it a breeze to adapt your design to the look you want.

With Sew Serendipity, you’ll find out how to lay out the pattern pieces, cut them out and sew them up. All you have to do is put them on and strut your stuff!

About the Author

A licensed designer for McCall's and regular exhibitor at spring and fall Quilt Markets as Serendipity Studio, Kay Whitt has been designing and selling patterns for the past 10 years. "
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