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7 Aug

A new movement for a brillant graphic concept, sartalics, or italics that lean the opposite direction and mean that the speaker/writer is being sarcastic. brilliant!


String DNA

5 Aug

Simple, elegant data visualization turned into art in your browser: String DNA. Go experiment.

Chalking it Up

4 Aug

Two recent blog posts reminded me how much I liked to draw with chalk in my grandparent’s driveway. My own driveway was a bit steep, but Grandpa always had a good chalk supply for us cousins. First, The Improvised Life had a great post on chalk welcome mats and Kolams (amazing Indian chalk drawings). Then, Design Sponge interviewed  Dana Tanamachi, an artist who works in chalk. Amazing stuff.


7 Jul

I just (re)watched the last 20 minutes of the Glee finale. The New Directions winning performance is a wonderful monument to being constantly pushed down and rising above with grace. Worth a watch.

Crocheted Ring

28 Jun

This lovely pattern was shared on the Etsy Knitters Team by Mette: Crazy Ruffle Ring. It’s a big, bold ring without the hard edges of metal and glass.


DIY Shrinky Dinks » Curbly

31 May

Between havings teacher-parents and loving shrinky dinks, this post greatly appealed to me:

Driftwood & Seashell Windchime

3 May

This project has been a big pain from day 1. Driftwood proved difficult to drill, the shells took a long time to drill, and the hemp string resisted my crochet hook. I started by cutting driftwood into appropriate lengths to create a rectangle, then drilled holes 1-2 inches apart through each piece. I had a difficult time connecting the four pieces to make a rectangle. I tried wood glue (didn’t stick). I tried wrapping string to lash them together (needed more arms). I tried to drill and screw them together (driftwood is uneven and wierd). I tried to nail them (driftwood is too hard and round). I finally drilled one stick, and put a nail through the hole and roughly nailed it into the second. This held long enough to lash the two together.

Driftwood base for windchime closeup on driftwood base for windchime

It took me weeks to get through all of this mess; then I didn’t have enough shells. I finally got to the beach and was sunburned for my trouble (despite bathing in sunscreen). A several days later I was rudely awakened by a scary noise in my apartment which turned out to be the cat, who had decided to investigate my bag of shells. She got her head stuck in the handle and went thrashing about the house, spewing and breaking shells as she went. Fortunately, she didn’t break too many and I was able to salvage most.

Some shells come with convenient small holes created by Mother Nature. For the rest of the shells, I drilled holes at their base using a tile bit. Next, I threaded hemp string through the holes drilled in the driftwood and used a simple crochet stitch to add interest, stringing shells as I went.

stringing shells with hemp yarnI also crocheted two long strings, crisscrossed them under the driftwood structure, and used them to hang the wind-chime. The final product:

finished wind-chimefinished wind-chime 2

I’m not crazy with the finished product. I think there is a good idea at the root here, but it needs to be more dense with shells. A big improvement would be to add more lines of shells lengthwise down the middle. Also, simply starting smaller and making longer, more dramatic threads of shells would be more elegant. Crossing the driftwood, rather than making a rectangle might also be a direction with which to experiment. I previously wrote about a wind-chime made entirely of shells, but I do love the look of driftwood, and despite its difficulties, I will continue to experiment with it. I would love to hear about other’s experiments in working with natural materials!

Maps to Baskets from Sierra Magazine

27 Apr

I adore old maps. I hate to see them made obsolete by GPS, but here’s a great way to reuse your old maps and turn them into cool little baskets: Repurpose – May/June 2011 – Sierra Magazine – Sierra Club.

Crochet Yarnbombing

22 Apr

This fabulous Doilies in Razor Wire project is an interesting take on yarnbombing and a very powerful statement.

Thanks to the ever-fabulous Improvised Life facebook page for this link.

Antique Pattern Library

15 Mar

The Antique Pattern Library is an amazing resource of old needlework, crochet, knitting, and other craft patterns that are in the public domain. The patterns have been scanned and are available for pdf download. Another great resource is Google Books. Simply search for free books under your craft of choice. Many of the options will have copyrights from the late 1800s to early 1900s.

Thanks to Mette on the Etsy Knitting Team for the link.

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