Thursday, August 26, 2010

Spoonflower swatch giveaway!

Hurry minions! You have from now (noon Aug 26) till tomorrow (noon Aug 27) Go over to spoonflower to get a free swatch (8"x8" or ~17 x 17 cm) of any fabric that's for sale... you can also get a custom printing of a fabric you designed. For example, those of you who have been wanting some berrysprite happy weather fabric, now's your chance! Basically, Spoonflower will waive the normal price of $5 for a swatch, as well as the shipping fee of $1 so that you can get your fabric for free :D I've already gotten my free swatch and donated, here's hoping you'll be able to as well! As expected, the site is experiencing lots of traffic and is therefore a little slow... just be patient and persevere!

Here's the announcement and a link toSpoonflower's website:
FREE SWATCH DAY. Between noon on Thursday, August 26th and noon on Friday, August 27 (EST) you can add a single swatch to your cart free of charge. [Click here.] We hope you'll consider making a donation to Heifer International during checkout.

PS... head over to Melly Kay's blog, cute stew to enter a giveaway with lots of free stuff, including an amigurumi strawberry made by me!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ume pin tutorial

I have another tutorial for you, yay! Its for an ume flower pin (you can also put it on a magnet, hairclip, keychain or use it as an embellishment... its really versatile!) An ume flower is a plum flower, and it's a popular design motif in Japan. These little flowers are SOOOO easy to make; I made the one in the tutorial in less than 5 minutes (not kidding!) Plus, materials are relatively cheap and easy to come by :D (of course you can dress it up by using some silk or similar expensive fabric!) Here's everything you'll need, including instructions to make an ume!

Materials: embroidery floss/ thread; needle and thread; seed or pearl beads; fabric circle (2" or 5 cm); felt circle (3/4" or 15 mm); optional pinback/ magnet, etc; stuffing!

1. Sew a running stitch around the circumference of the fabric circle, about 1/4" or 5 mm away from the edge.
2. Pull thread tightly, stuff before closing.
3. Stitch through edge of ball to close securely.
4. Knot embroidery thread, pull through center of the ball (from back to front).
5. Create "petals" by passing needle through center of ball from back to front, pulling tightly.
6. Thread a needle and pass a bead to the center of the flower.
7. Continue adding beads as desired.
8. The front should be beautiful! But the back has all your knots: cover them by stitching the little felt circle onto your flower. Add a magnet or a pinback if you like!

Make them in a bunch of colors; you can even sew them together in little bunches!

Friday, August 20, 2010

tsumami kanzashi

I'm making good progress on my thesis, and although it is quite dorky of me, when I have a little down time I like to think and dream about what I would like to do next crafting-wise for berrysprite. For example, I really want to design more fabrics, actually write patterns, and maybe even get some acrylic charms or stamps done. I sit and dream about a day when there will be no thesis... and on that day will play video games and crochet and sew and craft until my fingers fall off and my brain turns to jelly!

These are all made by fellow etsians! If you like what you see, etsy usernames correspond to their product pictures above!
1. randomcatgirl; 2. gochemoche; 3. mizusugi; 4. theastarr; 5. aterlierkanawa; 6. alanamalia; 7. randomcatgirl; 8. petalmix; 9. aterlierkanawa; 10. gochemoche; 11. hanamigallery

Sorry if that mental picture scared you... it just sounds so fun! Here is something to make up for it: one of the things I would LOVE to try next is making tsumami kanzashi! It's the Japanese art of folding fabric to form petals and leaves for hair ornaments... wikipedia has a longish article if you're interested, and I know there are tons of youtube video tutorials. Anyway, I love the thought of using bits of fabric (you know I have a ton) to make such beautiful and wearable art! While it'll be a while before I can start learning how to do this, I can always drool over all the lovelies on flickr and especially on etsy! Its (almost) enough to get me to put my nose to the grindstone and finish my thesis :D

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Finishing Amigurumi: Tucking in the Tail

Just a quick tip today; many of you probably already know this, so this short post is really geared towards very very new beginners to crocheting. Also, I'm pretty sure I've instructed people to hide the tail in some of my patterns, so maybe this will help people who have no idea what I'm talking about!

There are two basic types of crochet pieces:
Type 1. Some pieces are left open and then stuffed and sewn onto other pieces. A good example of this kind of piece would be the arms or legs of an amigurumi animal.

Type 2. Some pieces are crocheted all the way closed when they are finished; stuffing occurs while there is still an opening, but the opening is crocheted closed to finish the piece. A good example of this kind of piece would be a ball shape, like in an amigurumi fruit.

No matter which type of crochet piece you are doing, you should be left with a little yarn tail. In crochet pieces that are Type 1, you would use the tail to attach the crochet piece to other crocheted pieces... the tail is like your thread! But once you've finished sewing your pieces together, what are you going to do? For crochet pieces that are Type 2, you usually aren't going to sew your crochet piece onto anything... it's essentially done just the way it is! So what do you do with the tail? If you cut it where you ended your crocheting, your whole crochet piece could unravel.

To finish your amigurumi for both Type 1 and 2 pieces, use your crochet needle or a yarn needle to pull the tail THROUGH your crocheted piece/ amigurumi. Then, at the point where the tail exits the amigurumi again, pull the yarn taut and snip the remaining tail off... the rest of the tail should disappear into the body of your amigurumi!

Here it is in real life:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Unthirsty Plant Sale!

Over the weekend I went to the Halawa Xeroscape Garden Plant sale, which featured lots of plants, cacti, and other succulents that don't require a lot of water... which is great for conserving water during the hot hot summer! I actually had wanted specific plant that I had seen last year, called a "string of pearls" ( I like them because they look like peas), but alas!!! They didn't have any :(

It was still super fun looking at all the catci, and I ended up getting a little leafy succulent and a sea-urchin shell to put him in, for a grand total of $2.50. He is cheering up my bathroom for now... he'll probably move to my room if he doesn't like the bathroom.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

boo... school stuff sucks!

The only thing my camera has been taking pictures of lately is books.... no fun!

old old book.... I had to wear gloves and use a metal spatula to turn the pages.... that's probably the most exciting thing about being a historian (unlike being an anthropologist like Indiana Jones where you get explore temples and get all the girls... ha ha just kidding; I know anthropologists aren't really like Indie!)

I'm sure all of you have agreed with the above statement sometime in your life! Anyway, that's why I've been short on posting this week... and why this post will be kinda nills. I've actually been working on my thesis, like the good graduate student that I am (*snort*). However, due to my [incredible] work ethic, I am now a wee tiny bit closer to finishing my first chapter. And although it's been a really boring month of DAILY trips to the archives and also more recently some really slow writing, I feel quite proud actually :D Anyway, sorry there is nothing more exciting to share for now... hope everyone had a nice week/ and is planning to have a nice weekend!

Monday, August 2, 2010

August Calendar is here!

Sorry for the slight delay; I was waylaid by last minute karaoke, and sweet-tea vodka/lemonade with friends, haha! Since August often marks the beginning of the school season for lots of kiddies (and kiddies at heart) I thought incorporating a school bus in this month's calendar would be appropriate, and hopefully make the prospect of having to return to school a little bit more bearable :D Please visit my flickr or my photobucket to download; enjoy!

Oscar and Scout are off to school in a big yellow school bus. Luckily they are in each others classes... it will be oodles of fun!
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