Beautiful, Useful, Geeky Crafts

I’m knee-deep in this giant “tapestry” (actually a needlepoint or maybe a needlepaint). It’s a stained-glass scene from Zelda. I found the pattern on Sprite Stitch a while back and couldn’t resist it. Its on teeny tiny Aida cloth, contains almost 100 colors, and is 158 x 237 (stitches). It’s not huge in physical dimensions, but that’s a lotttt of stitches. It’s turning out really well, although I did encounter a problem over the weekend.

I’m a firm believer in the quote “have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Google tells me that William Morris is the originator of that quote, but no matter who said it, the idea rings true. I do not believe in crafting for crafting’s sake, but I do believe in making the objects in my home both beautiful and useful. One problem I face in my home is that there really isn’t a lot of geeky stuff (aka, stuff that I enjoy looking at and find beautiful), so I feel like it doesn’t reflect myself very well. I’m working on that. I have a running list of projects I’m itching to make (and I am always pinning more).

I also have some strictly useful things I’d like to make, but there’s no reason they can’t be beautiful too! I am hoping to start making a large dent in all these to-dos soon. πŸ™‚

How’s your to-do list looking?

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Sneak Peeks

You may or may not know this, but my husband and I love renaissance faires. We both grew up a stone’s throw from one of the best: The Texas Renaissance Festival. We miss it a lot now that we live way up here in New York, but we console ourselves with Sterling Renaissance Faire. It’s not as big as TRF, but we had a TON of fun last year. It was the perfect size to see everything, and the shows by the Bless the Mark players were absolutely amazing. We are obviously planning to attend again this year (possibly more than once).

I shared that bit of trivia with you to introduce the stuff I’ve been working on and thinking about the last couple weeks. We’re planning to dress up in costume this year!

The last time we attended TRF, we got our “family crest” researched. This shape here is a water bouget, the central figure for the heraldry of our last name.

I embroidered this with DMC Ecru on some plain off-white fabric. I’m going to make a tunic for Jonathan and applique this onto it. I’m fairly happy with how this turned out, although I definitely feel it could be better.

We haven’t yet gotten the fabrics or patterns for any of the clothes (except for some off-white cotton gauze), but I’m planning on a deep blue for Jonathan’s tunic.

He’s also going to be armored up. His “character,” such as it is, is basically a hedge knight – non-landed, non-nobility, knighted-for-valor sort of thing.

Here you can see a six-rails wide strip of European 4-in-1 maille. We’ve been tag-teaming on this one. We’ve done about half each, at this point. I think he’s wanting to finish it himself, which is probably good since I’ve got lots of sewing to do.

This is the length of the piece. If I hold one end at my shoulder, it reaches to the floor. It’s 6-wide at one end and 4 at the other because of how Jonathan’s weaving it.

It’s going to be a shirt of mail, eventually. This long strip will hang over one shoulder. When this piece is all evened up, we’re going to start on the center part, forming the neckline and the torso. I have no idea yet how we’ll do the shoulders/sleeves. Cross that bridge when I get to it.

I’m fairly sure now that this is approximately what I’m going to make for our little fairy girl. She already has a fantastic pair of wings (which we bought at TRF in 2009). I need to sit down and have a good look at a pattern for this shirt. πŸ™‚ Don’t you just love how it criss-crosses in the back? Even without sparkly pink wings (because she will inevitably want them off), Charlotte will still look like a little fairy. (Photo from this post at Colette Moscrop.)

No, I haven’t mentioned what I’m going to wear, because … I don’t know. I kinda want my costume to tie in with Jonathan’s, but I’m not sure how. I’d also really love to make a Female Link costume, or a character from Game of Thrones (n0t sure who, though). Sigh.

There are things going on here aside from costuming. Not very much crafting, I’m afraid. Soooo busy. My garden is looking absolutely lovely. My house is a complete pigsty. LOL. I took a bit of a break from reading (unintentionally), but I’m still working on Dance with Dragons. Loving it! The books continue to pour in (and out) from Paperback Swap. I have a HUGE stack of new books. πŸ™‚

I may be teaching a crafting tutorial at an FRG event in July. Well, I said I would, anyway. I just have to figure out what I’d like to teach! I’d love to do chainmaille, but it’d be difficult because of the “needing a million pairs of pliers” issue. So I’m leaning toward embroidery. What do you think?

We attended a Sesame Street event earlier this week! It was pretty great. I’ve got photos of it up on my facebook (sorry, random internet people, but they’re private). I made a daisy chain while we were waiting for the doors to open.

I always have hundreds of planned projects, but one that I am REALLY hoping to start on soon is this!

I’ve been jonesing after this baby for months now. There are a zillion colors in it, but I have quite a few colors already so I think I’ll finally print out the pattern, assess what I have, and make a start (and a list of colors to obtain). I even have a scroll frame now, which should make it easier to do! The pattern for this lovely thing can be found at this Sprite Stitch thread.

That’s all I can think of to share right now. πŸ™‚ See you in a few days with my Web roundup. In the meantime, let’s chat! What are you working on?

What I’ve been up to

Good grief I’ve been so busy lately. Let’s have a look at some of the things I’ve been making and doing in my spare moments!

Let’s start with the least impressive thing. This lovely little bag. It’s 7 by 7 inches, I think. Lined with extremely thin vinyl and sealed with a narrow strip of velcro across the top. If you’ve been around a while, you may remember I actually have a whole set of these in varying sizes. Some of them, including this one, were never finished. I finished it! πŸ˜‰ I’m going to finish the rest of them and list them on Etsy.

SPEAKING OF ETSY, I’m going to reopen my shop! Kako and Marian and I have made a pact to all open/re-open our shops on May first. I’ve been planning to reopen around that time frame and working on new items, so I am every happy to finally have a date set.
Would you like a preview?

The lovely wooden bowl and sushi plate are also new – I got them (and many other similar things) at our local thrift shop. The bowl contains bracelets and necklaces, including two glorious chainmaille watches. The plate is displaying the earrings – and many of which will be in my “5$ or less” category!

Remember a few weeks ago, I announced that I’d won a giveaway at Too Crewel, for an Epic Alphabet embroidery pattern kit by Sublime Stitching? This is it! The kit came with this hoop, a gorgeous pair of embroidery scissors with a leather sleeve, a few skeins of floss, an embroidery needle, and of course, the pattern. I LOVE IT. I decided to do it in stark black floss on this delicately-patterned fabric, and I really like it so far.

Here’s another, more recent, shot of the Epic Alphabet. I am incredibly proud of these two letters. πŸ™‚ This isn’t the first embroidery I’ve ever done, but I’d still call myself a novice, and I can literally see myself improving with every letter. Embroidery is so rewarding – very “instant gratification.” It’s also excellent for those with very little free time – you can pick it up and do a stitch and then go do something else. It takes hardly any time to do one of these letters.

And now for the last photo I’m sharing today – my craft nook. This room used to be our dining room. But the table was always covered with things, and we never manage to eat in there. So we decided to convert it into a craft/hobby room. The table is now devoted to my crafting things. My storage closet is just a few feet away, and it’s super nice to have a dedicated space for my projects.

My last bit of news: although I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, I haven’t stopped cooking! I’ve been taking photos while making fabulous foods. I’ve even cropped/edited some of them! Here’s a short list of what you should expect to find cooking around here in the next few weeks:
– Chicken Marsala
– Dornish Peppers (part of my Game of Thrones menu)
– Honeyed Chicken (more GoT food)
– Lasagna
– Wheat bread
There are many more in the hopper, but these are the ones I’m most excited about!

What have you been making lately?