Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Bee Creative Swaps 30 Day Creativity Challenge

So a little over 4 years ago (what?!) I decided to do a 30 day artist challenge to feel rejuvenated and inspired creatively speaking. I thought trying out this "creative cleanse" would be the perfect way to kick off 2017. I don't know about you, but I stink at New Years resolutions and would rather partake in something that helps me start off my year on a good note rather than something that feels self-deprecating (hello guilty feelings for not getting to my goal weight.) I teamed up with Lizette and we turned it into a fun project for Bee Creative Swaps! There's no swap element with this challenge, but we thought it would be a great way to stay connected to the lovely community we've created. So here it is! The Bee Creative Swaps 30 Day Creativity Challenge...
How It Works: In no particular order, choose one thing from the list each day. The list ranges from quick, simple exercises to longer endeavors like taking a class or visiting a museum. Post a picture of yourself or your project on Instagram with the tag #beecreative30days so we can keep up with everyone! We know things get a little hectic and there might be a day you don’t have time for creative activities which is why we planned a 30 day challenge during a 31 day month.

1. Visit a museum, gallery, or local art festival
2. Watch a documentary about a(n) artist(s)
3. Research an artist
4. Create something handmade and give it to someone
5. Sign up for an art class or workshop
6. Take something from a thrift store and turn it into something new
7. Make a self-portrait
8. Doodle for 10 minutes straight
9. Frame something you have been meaning to frame
10. Draw the dream you had last night
11. Check out an art book at the library
12. Break something. (You have to destroy in order to create!)
13. Make a collage
14. Go to a movie, play, or concert.
15. Make a card for someone you love
16. Make an inspiration board for a future project
17. Draw some chalk art on the sidewalk
18. Make origami
19. Finger paint
20. Illustrate a song that inspires you
21. Find a new art blog or inspiring podcast to subscribe to
22. Share a link to your favorite artists work
23. Create an inspiring workspace in your home
24. Close your eyes and draw for five minutes
25. Draw yourself as a cartoon
26. Take your camera with you on a walk and document the experience
27. Finish a work-in-progress you've had sitting around for a while
28. Listen to a new artist or album. Music can inspire you!
29. Color in a coloring book
30. Purge something to make space for new ideas.

I hope you'll join us and make 2017 your most creative yet!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Handmade Holidays: Miscellaneous Things I Made

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and first few nights of Hanukkah or just a great Sunday. Ours was pretty relaxed as we're not visiting family or anything this year. Today we're on our way to Six Flags because we got a sweet deal for tickets on black Friday. I thought I'd share a few random things I made for various people this year!

A pirate doll for one of my nieces. Ari says the wood grain fabric *doesn't* look like a peg leg, but I say he's dumb.

A table top car rug. This I actually made for the school I work at. They have a giant floor car rug for the late afternoon sort of "recess" period. Something about a bunch of kids crowding around on the floor always seems to end in drama. This one is still big enough to drive toy cars on, but small enough to fit on the table instead!

These are the ornaments I made this year! I always make a handful of ornaments for people around the holidays. It's a great way to make sure I can at least get a little something to everyone. Last year I took glass blowing class and made a bunch of blown glass ornaments and this year I definitely dialed it back a bit, but I still love these kitschy Texas inspired ornaments! The screen printed patterns were purchased from a local shop. I added some leftover batting and felt backing to make them a little more plush. Then I just kinda went crazy with glitter and sequins #noregrets

I made a matching Hanukkah headband and bow tie for my brother and sister in law! I gave them a few other things as well, but this was the only part I handmade.

I didn't get something to *everyone* to I'm still sewing and crafting away for a few folks who have some serious IOUs for 2017. Oh well! Just more to share here.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Handmade Holidays: The Rainbow Quilt

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! Now that most of my gifts have arrived at their destinations, it's safe to start sharing more and more of what I made this year. My rainbow chevron quilt for my niece was absolutely my favorite!

I saw this photo on Pinterest from Cluck Cluck Sew which was the original inspiration for this quilt. My niece is a super vibrant, funny person so a bright, happy quilt only seemed appropriate. Cluck Cluck Sew happens to be the same source of inspiration as my last quilt which is totally random since I just found them both on Pinterest! Her quilts are really beautiful and I keep randomly finding ones I love!

So I started with the chevron inspiration and decided to do a rainbow and then it sort of morphed into something all it's own! Over the last few months I've been using the last of bits yardage to cut into half square triangles to be sort of ready to go. I ended up using pieces from all sorts of leftover projects.

The magical shrinkage of piecing it all together! I had originally intended to make this a twin size quilt for her bed, but it ended up being more a throw blanket size. Sizing appropriately for mattresses is definitely something I'm still working on, but who can say no to extra blankets?

I finished the quilt top just after Thanksgiving and didn't have to buy any fabric for it! I happened to have a purple twin size sheet from when I bought a cheap sheet set at Goodwill to make a toga a while back. I used that as the backing. The only things I needed to buy were the batting, binding fabric, and quilting thread.

I found this rainbow machine quilting thread and love the way it looked with the quilt! It looked especially neat on the solid purple backing although I didn't take a picture of the back. I thought about quilting along with the chevron pattern, but with Christmas getting closer I went with simple straight lines as I was worried about time.

The finished piece! It was a little hard to give this one away. I'm so so so happy with how it came out and kinda tempted to make another one just like it. I just have a bunch of projects and stuff to finish before I could get around to it again. Story of my life.

 More handmade gifts to share coming soon! Happy holidays!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Handmade Holidays: My First Adult Size Quilt

Just before Thanksgiving I finished the first of my handmade Christmas gifts for the year! A quilt! A big one! For my nephew! The last quilt I made was crib size quilt for my niece so I still consider this one a "first" in that it's made for a much bigger bed. I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty friggin' proud of this monster.

Backing up a bit, I first saw the picture below on Pinterest and loved the idea. I've always loved quilts that have different fabrics or blocks in them, but until I am a bit more skilled at piecing and tackling new block styles I figured utilizing a bunch of different fabrics was a good start.


I'm not entirely sure when the ombre idea came into play, but here is my initial planning of the quilt. My measurements were WAYYYYYYY off. It's still definitely giant and will be fine on his bed, but I either totally screwed up my seam allowances or something. If I had to guess, I'd say it's probably closer to 70" x 80" so large enough to cover the bed but not quite bedspread size.

This quilt was a combination of fabrics I already had and wanted to use up, plus a few new ones thrown in as well. I also purchased all the solid blue fabrics. Most of the patterned blue, the backside of the quilt, and the binding fabric I already had.

I know something people can look at their sketch, make stacks of triangles, and then just sew. I am not one of those people. I have to lay everything out and sew row by row or I will get so confused! I know there are a bunch of tricks like making a wall to design your layout on, but the floor works for me for now. Plus holy leg work out! It probably also helps that our pet doesn't live inside our apartment and we don't have children so I have the luxury of laying things all over the floor for periods of time.

At first, sewing was taking a really long time. I've been slowly working on this thing since the summer time. I had a cheap beginner's machine that I'd been doing all my work on and my skill had officially surpassed the machine. Fortunately, I found an awesome deal on a Janome on Craigslist in time for Christmas crafting. I seriously don't know how I would have finished this thing without using an (understandably) expensive quilt finishing service.

 Quilting the whole thing on my new machine took about 2 hours and a lot of tricky maneuvering on my part. I don't remember exactly how long the binding took. I was so stoked on my new machine that I decided to do one of the fancy stitches around the binding instead of just doing an invisible ladder stitch. I still had to ladder stitch the back, but I had fun adding in the extra stars.

 Now that I've made one big quilt, I definitely want to keep making more! It was such a labor of love so I've spent a little time since knocking out a few faster projects. Something about working on one thing for weeks all of the sudden makes it feel crazy to sew 4 quick things in a weekend. I have one more quilt I'd like to get done before Christmas, one to get done before the end of January, and one to get done before the end of March. And of course that's in addition to all the other sewing I want to do. Everything I have planned involves the half square triangle technique. I think after I finish the quilts I have planned, it'll be time to sign up for a quilting class to learn a new technique.

Thanks for peeking! What're you making for the holidays?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

What I Received: Bee Creative Stocking Swap

I received my Stocking Swap items the day before Thanksgiving so I was pretty excited to have them in time to decorate my apartment for Christmas! Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can *finally* bust out all the Christmas and Hanukkah stuff. Okay so here's what I received...

In addition to my stockings, my partner also included a shirt for Ari, an ornament, Mr & Mrs Claus mittens, santa socks, sewing pins, and some extra Christmas themed fabric! Everything was awesome!

In the stockings my partner used some of my favorite colors and even managed to find a way to incorporate a little Hanukkah spirit as my husband and I usually do a Chrismakkah style celebration. 

This swap was such a nice way to wind down the year with swaps. Now it's time to start busting out some Christmas crafting and hope I make it to January alive. Lizette and I will probably be posting info on 2017 swaps soon and, in the meantime, check out the full Stocking Swap album on the Bee Creative Facebook page here!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

What I Made: Bee Creative Stocking Swap

Creating this swap was a challenge for me. My partner had so many great points of inspiration for her family stockings from Alice in Wonderland to Breaking Bad that I just didn't know which one to go with. My swap partner told me that her and her partner's favorite animal was fox so I eventually decided to go with that. 

I tried something different with swap and used a quilting pattern. I took a single block from THIS quilt pattern that I purchased and turned it into a stocking. I'll be able to reuse the pattern later to make a quilt for one of my friends who is doing a woodland creatures theme for her nursery. While I've used garment patterns before, this was my first time following a pre-made piecing pattern!

The blue fox was before I realized I forgot the forehead piece

Before fixing the forehead of the blue fox

My partner was vegan and lived in England so I went to the local vegan specialty store to try and find some fun vegan things that were in distribution in England so my partner could try some rare treats.

This is my box all packed up and ready to go
I really love the pattern I used! It's by Elizabeth Hartman and you can check it out here. Plus I love how easy it would be to use up a bunch of scrappy pieces for it. It took a while for inspiration to strike this time around, but I'm really happy with what I sent to partner.

To see all the stockings that were sent in the Stocking Swap, check out the Bee Creative Swaps Facebook page here!

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Simple Wishlist

November has been a hard month for a lot of people. Let's be honest, this election was no fun. I've been pretty bummed and focusing on work, finding activist events and groups to join up with, and trying to catch up with life in general. I had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday, spent some time snuggling with a bunny, received my stocking from the Bee Creative Swaps Stocking Swaps, and am just generally feeling a tiny bit better about facing the world. 

In honor of Black Friday and a few current issues weighing heavy on my mind, I put together a little holiday shopping wishlist from Etsy sellers some of which are just items I love and some are items I love that also benefit a great cause.

This is an item I've loved for literally YEARS and have never purchased it. I'll probably continue to covet it for a while. (source)
This is just amazing (source)

I shared some of Chunchitos items on my Frida themed Etsy seller's posts, but I can't help but also love this bag! (source)

Fun fact: I can't help but love things with uteruses on them. I can't help it. Even better, proceeds from this this little kit benefit Planned Parenthood. (source)

I love this bag! I ordered one pretty much as soon as I found it and all proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood (source)

I love this pin for many reasons, but partially because it makes me think of Hamilton. $7 from each sale goes to the Souther Poverty Law Centre (source)

There's a lot of Standing Rock charity merchandise available, but I love this simple necklace (source)

Had to end things on a light note and this print is amazing (source)

This weekend I'll be sharing my Bee Creating Stocking Swap sent and received items. Happy Friday and be kind to yourselves <3 div="">

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Stuff I Made: Halloween

I meant to post this *on* Halloween, but I was too busy have spooky good fun to get on a computer. It is my favorite holiday after all! As I posted about a few weeks ago, this year I went as Flame Princess from Adventure Time and I made my costume from start to finish this year! In previous years I've maybe modified an existing costume or got creative about putting something together, but this was the first year I made it all from scratch.

 I made the dress out of a modified Washi Dress pattern. I'm not quite up to the level of making a pattern all by myself, but I'm still pretty proud of how I manipulated this dresses into something different. I've made this pattern before which you can see here and here.

To make her jewels, I used to some soft modeling clay for the one on her chest and then just painted the one on her forehead. I could've gotten really into it with face painting and full body paint and what not, but I just stuck with painting the jewel. I didn't feel like spray painting myself completely orange.

The finished product! Ta-da! I'm pretty happy with it and Im probably going to find an excuse to dress up as her again in the future! I could definitely get more involved with hair and painting my skin and all of that, but maybe I'll save that kind of endeavor for a convention or costume contest or something more than just a night out with friends.

It took about two days and about $20 to make altogether. By comparison, my husbands costume cost $60, but was handled with just a few clicks on Amazon. In battle of time vs money, I have a tendency to go with things that take way too long. I ended up wearing it out twice and probably could've squeezed in a third night of dressing up, but I was feeling sick. My favorite part about making my own costume is that my dress is comfortable, fits like normal clothing, and I can just keep it in the back of my closet for future events or costume parties. I don't think that's so easily done with other costumes.

Is it bad that I'm already started to wonder what I'll dress up as next year? Fortunately, the Texas Ren Fest is this weekend so my craftiness has something to occupy itself with for a bit longer. It's Roman Bacchanal weekend so I have a toga to make! What have you been making lately?