Friday, 14 September 2018

Octopus fascinator

What have I been up to lately? Mostly trying to get through the summer with the girls at home. I did whip up these two octopuses for a friend. She had asked me to make her an octopus and I couldn't resist making this from a pattern I found on Ravelry.

My 6 year old kept putting it on her head. I need to make another for her and attach it to a barrette as it would be an adorable fascinator!

Pattern info:
The link in Ravelry takes you to a website where the pattern is written for free.
I followed the written pattern at the bottom, rather than following along with the pictures, mainly because I wanted to be able to print out something relatively short to take with me to things like swimming lessons.

The pattern is simple enough for someone who is comfortable with crochet, especially amigurumi. I did add a row of "*sc2, dec* around" after the pattern has you "*sc3, dec* around" because it seems like it would make the bottom a little less flat. Did it make much of a difference? I don't know. It didn't mess it up, so that's good.

There are small bits missing from the written pattern. It was nothing of note to those who are familiar with crochet, but may be confusing to a beginner.

The pattern calls for 7mm eyes, but I used 6 mm eyes that I did have rather than buying more. I think they work fine. On the lighter colored one, I placed the eyes one row higher than I did in the darker, which I had made first. In the picture instructions it indicates when to place the eyes and states "place a couple rounds above where you're working" I took that to mean 2 rows, but I placed the eyes on the lighter one at 3 rows above where I was working and I like how it looks better.

Would I make these again? Totally! They took about 2 hours each to make and are super cute!

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Weird shit I hear when making in public. Episode 1

My girls are taking martial arts classes. Whenever they have something that I have to take them to, I bring something to work on. This week it was a blanket/throw I'm working on for Thing 1.

I'll admit that it's an unusual blanket:

This is a fleece that Valerie picked out last spring. We felted the cut side of the fleece onto some batting and then it got set aside for a while. I pulled it out recently and am adding a layer of flannel to the back to make it softer to use as a blanket.

At martial arts, I took this out to start hemming the edges. The guy sitting next to me asked: "So what are you doing, knitting an elk?"


I chuckled and explained what I was doing. At one point I commented "it's been washed, but otherwise it's straight from the sheep".
His reply: "So, this is the real thing?"

Uh... Yes... the clue should have been when I said that I had a friend with sheep and this was wool.

It always amazes me how little people know about crafts. When I commented this to my husband, his response was that he was woefully ignorant of crafts that I do and had only picked up things like the difference between knitting and crocheting because he's been around me.

I do realize that this blanket is an odd craft, but I had no knitting needles, so obviously I wasn't knitting. Comments like this make me want to continue to bring my odd projects out into the world to work on so that I can do a little bit toward educating people.

Besides, this fleece is way too dark to be an elk.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Cardboard mock up 2

This time it's our house. To be more specific, it's the main level of our house. I didn't get pictures during the making of it, but here's the finished mock up with the diagram used to cut out the pieces. A couple of the walls are a bit wonky, but I'm OK with that for our first try. I think I didn't take into account the thickness of the cardboard when cutting out pieces.

Thing one and Thing two, proud of our work.

In all, it was an interesting project. It didn't take long to do and really makes our house look small. Now the girls want to do the upper floor.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Cardboard mock-up

One of the projects in the Quarterly maker box curated by Adam Savage is a cardboard model of his maker space. Growing up, cardboard was how he got started in making and he wanted people to have skill with this medium. In the box were laser cut, labeled pieces to be hot glued together.

While originally, I thought that I would take the time to embellish the walls and make it more like his space than would be shown in plain cardboard, but then I realized that it was more important to do this craft with my daughters.

I didn't get any pictures of the pile of pieces before assembly, but here are some pictures of the process.
Of course, being 6 and 9, they seemed to think the best part was the bathroom:
Assembling the bathroom

Once they figured out that some of what we were putting in were display cabinets, they decided to decorate them. Thing one wanted to make sure the people had snacks and games.
Decorating the display cabinet

I believe Thing two drew Toothless.

As soon as we finished and I mentioned making a model of our house, the girls were ready to start measuring.  I now have the pieces cut out, but need to find a chunk of not busy time while the girls are awake to assemble it.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Quarterly maker crate curated by Adam Savage

In November I subscribed to Quarterly. I'll admit it was because Adam Savage was curating a couple boxes for it. I'd been skeptical about boxes like these in the past, but a box that he curated should be decent.

For those who aren't familiar with the Quarterly, you subscribe to get a box every three months (also known as quarterly) based on a theme. The one I signed up for is for makers and is curated by fellow makers and scientists like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye. They also have a Literary box, curated by best selling authors and a Cuisine box curated by chefs. Those seem much less interesting to me.

The box arrived mid December and I was excited to open it!
Here's what it contained:
A cutting mat and grid ruler

A knife for cutting

A dual temp hot glue gun and glue sticks

A bag, pencils, eraser and tape measure

Not pictured are a notebook, a bag containing numbered cardboard pieces and a short stack of cardboard. There were also instructions to start drawing simple items around us to practice drawing and a puzzle to solve to unlock a couple videos related to the box.

I saw that some people were disappointed by what was in this box, especially for the price. I wasn't unhappy. I've taken the notebook and, although I've skipped the included lessons for the moment (I want to get to those soon), I started sketching ideas to sculpt in it. I haven't been sketching out what I've been thinking of sculpting, so ideas get lost. I want that to change. There are pictures of a few of my drawings on my Valdelia Maker FB page

This holiday season was a making-centric one. I received the above, while my daughters each were given a subscription to a maker crate, which so far has been very appropriately assigned for my daughters. More on these crates in future posts!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Self realization

I've been a maker/crafter most of my life. What my craft of choice was at any given time has varied. Early on, it was cross stitch. I painted for a while, using a couple different techniques. I did wood working, weaving, spinning, dyeing, crochet...if it has to do with fiber, you name it, I've done it.

My craft of choice for the last few years has been knitting. I find that to keep my attention, a project has to have some decent level of difficulty. A friend called me a "challenge knitter" a couple years ago. She was right. I loved the challenge of leaning new techniques. Cables? No problem. Beaded lace? Bring it on!

I learned how to spin fiber into yarn. Then I added the challenge of processing the fiber so that it's ready to spin. Then I started from raw, unwashed, fiber and worked on spinning that. Next was spinning from the lock, rather than the prepared fiber. It was all a new challenge. It all became less exciting...less of a fix over time.

I've come to the realization, somewhat with the help of my dear husband, that I'm a challenge maker. I love learning new crafts, new skills. It doesn't really matter what a given craft is, I want to learn it. I just purchased some pewter and a ladle to do some pewter casting. Have I done metal casting before? No. Is that going to stop me? Never!

I think being a challenge crafter is why I'm excited about sculpting these days. Over the years I've been excited about different crafts, mastered (some of) them, done OK in others and moved on. Right now the challenges are sculpting and molding/casting.

Who knows where else making will lead me?

Sunday, 7 January 2018


Back in August, I made a new hat. 

Meet Hamish:

Hamish has accompanied me most places that I've been this winter. Sadly, my daughters aren't old enough yet to be embarrassed by me when I drop them off at school wearing an octopus on my head. Hamish is great for keeping me warm because his tentacles come down lower around my face than most hats do. He does argue a bit with my winter jacket, which has a hood that also wants to take up space around the back of my neck, but he mostly cooperates.

I love that he makes people smile.

In November he went with me to a knitting retreat. The people there loved him! I could hardly get across the room to go out and listen to the wonderful waves on Lake Michigan without people wanting to get his picture. It was like attending with a celebrity!  I did take him for a walk on the beach. He behaved and didn't try to go for a swim. Perhaps he knew the water would be quite cold. It was November in Michigan after all.

He gets lots of attention wherever we go.  A few people have asked if I'm going to make them to sell. I had been telling them no. Then, when I went to donate blood, the nurse who took my information said "Here is my phone number *writes down phone number and name on the paper they always send me home with* call me if you decide to make them to sell. I'd love to wear one, maybe in red and white, to the Red Wings game"
That got me really thinking about making them. I make one for each of my daughters and paid attention to how long it took to make so that I'd know roughly how much I'd have to charge for them to make them worth my time.
Here's Thing One with her octopus which she's named "Fred the abominable octopus"

And here's Thing Two with her octopus, which I think she's also named Fred. Yes, her sweatshirt is on backward. I think it had something to do with her sister's bff teddy bear not liking moose, which is what's on the front of the sweatshirt. She wanted the front two tentacles to be pinned up in curls. Who am I to argue with this cuteness?

Thankfully the woman who designed the pattern for this hat has been kind enough to allow people to sell what they make from the pattern. She asks that we post a link to her Etsy shop. Here's a link Thank you to the Twisted Hatter for the pattern!

Coming soon: Octopuses part two, which will be about ones I'm making to sell.