Art Show

My three photographs, featuring Shelly turtle, Ms. Daisy and Birdbrain, and Clover the Pig, hang among “rawr”ing unicorns, singing jellyfish, and a lot of wacky art and found objects at Little Fish Huge Pond, a funky bar in downtown Sanford.

Above, you will see my three photographs and, below, are my good friend, Adrienne Lee’s, awesome paintings.

The opening night of the show was full of merriment, fat  chihuahuas, a little outrageous dancing, and a variety of hard apple ciders with friends. We had a great time and it was fun to see something I’d made up on the wall of an establishment that was not my own house.

Thanks to the Lee family for providing excellent company, my sister-in-law who was the perfect date for the occasion, and Little Fish Huge Pond for being so full of character and kookiness.

All three photographs are on sale there for the next month or, if you’d like to have your own little pig, turtle, or daisy amigurumi, comment here! I have all three amigurumi available!

 

 

 

News

Lately life has felt a bit too much out of my control and very, super, extra full of things to think about, do, and digest. Every aspect of my life feels a bit topsy-turvy and the spinning is both exciting and disorienting. When my brain feels so muddled, it’s hard to focus in on art projects and, for the past week, all I’ve really been working on are amigurumi custom orders. Not that there hasn’t been fun and personally fulfilling projects in the works. They have just sort of jumbled up into the mix and it’s hard to give myself a moment to process them. So that’s what I’m going to do here.

1. We have recently decided to sell the home we own and that has been a bit overwhelming. Many other personally challenging and inspiring and life-changing things could happen as a result, but maybe nothing will happen as a result and that has been making me a little crazy of late. I decided to put some of those feelings into a big art piece that I started last week, but have not felt up to finishing this week. It was one of the most self-therapeutic art moments I’ve ever had and I’ll definitely be talking about it more when I finish it. It doesn’t look like much yet, but here’s a sneak peek.

2. At the beginning of the year I told myself I would get some sort of work into a gallery type setting and I am happy to say that tomorrow I will have three of my amigurumi photographs on view at Little Fish Huge Pond as part of the Sanford Art Walk. They will be up for a month, but the opening night is tomorrow (Friday, July 27th from 6-9pm). I’ll be there around 6:45.

3. I took a really fun class at a wonderful contemporary craft store in College Park called Artistree Gifts, a shop that may soon carry my amigurumi creations. While sipping wine and enjoying some great company, I learned to make a little dress for my daughter. Now I’d better make another one really quickly before I forget how! I love classes so much.

4. I’m currently crocheting another SCV and a Tardis from Dr. Who. I’m also really excited to mention that I’ve been asked to make some things for this fabulous event headed up by a good college friend.

I feel honored to have been asked to be a part of this Buddy Walk, an event that will “draw families and friends together to celebrate individuals with Down syndrome and remind them that they are supported, valued, and loved.” Learn more on her website here. I’m going to make her a few things featuring the blue and yellow stars of their logo. I plan on definitely making a star keychain and pin and then a surprise or two.

5. In the midst of all of this, my children’s birthdays are quickly approaching and this house of mine is in a constant state of chaos. I have done most of the shopping for the big upcoming bumblebee birthday party and should start getting to work on some of the party crafting asap.

I’ll be posting pictures of the art show, my painting, and especially the amigurumi creations for the Buddy Walk very soon.

Although I’ve been experiencing some uncertainty and anxiety about the future lately, I have found respite in the act of creating – an act that forces me to stay in the moment, only thinking about the past or future as it relates to what I’m currently making, and that has been very therapeutic.

Hope you are feeling centered, harmonious, and peaceful. I’ll be sending those vibes out into the universe as much as possible in the coming months as life sorts itself out a bit. If you have any extra good, calming vibes to spare, throw some this direction, will ya?

Right now, Happy really is Handmade.

 

Christopher Robin (and his silly old bear)

The request for a nine-inch-tall Christopher Robin made me smile. I have fond memories of my mother teaching me about pooh sticks and tiddly poms and Christopher Robin saying, “silly old bear.”  The excitement turned to nervousness when the reality set in that I had to somehow differentiate him as Christopher Robin vs. any other male figure.

I don’t make human figures often and any time I get a request to make one I get nervous. It’s weird. I don’t like painting or drawing portraits, either. In amigurumi world, though, humans pose all sorts of tricky problems. There are lots of ways to make hair, but they are all a little tedious and problematic. Embroider it? Knot it on? Crochet it?

Getting the right proportions are also really important, but hard to judge as you go. Are the legs a bit too long? The arms a bit too skinny? Plus, you have the debate about how cartoony vs. realistic to make the person. Should it actually have fingers? Should the legs start fat and get skinnier or the other way around?

Then you have to try and get it to stand on it’s own….or should it sit? Make a neck or don’t bother? Should clothes be part of the  body or separate from the body? How the heck am I supposed to make a V-neck??

I took a deep breath, stared at lots of pictures and made several to-scale drawings. By the end of the project, I had really learned a lot. Most of all, I learned to trust that I have finally gotten to the point where I can really make just about anything I set my mind to making!

I sat down one evening with the goal to get the right shaped head. That way, I could judge every other piece against the head size. I went to bed that night with a head – a head I was sure was all wrong. This was going to be impossible. How could I make him actually look like Christopher Robin? How can I impart youth into a crocheted person?

The next morning I thought, if starting with the head wasn’t going to work for me, then I’d start with the feet and build up from there. I worked on one shoe and, when I was finished with the shoe I found myself surprised and delighted by the result! From nothing, I ended up with this cute little loafer! I could have just made it bigger and Margot could have worn it! Then I thought, if I could do the shoe, then I can do the sock to go in it. Before I knew it, I had a sock! It was easy enough to stick a leg inside that sock and some shorts on top and I realized, I can do this! Why hadn’t I trusted that I would make this work? Why can’t I remember that I always make it work in the end? I was also glad for the extra practice making clothing that looks like it’s being worn (the sleeves go over the arms, the shorts go over the legs, etc.)

Even once I had the entire body finished, including that darn collar, I still looked at the smile-less head staring at me and worried. He still didn’t look like Christopher Robin. I actually had to tell myself to just go for it. Start some hair, increase when it feels right and decrease when it needs to be a little smaller. Before I knew it, this little boy had a full head of hair and had been transformed from Charlie Brown into Christopher Robin! It’s hard to stare at a blank head and imagine that it can turn into a cute little boy, but it just did. It sort of shocked me this time, I’ll be honest. The hair swoop was the definite crowning achievement.

Then came the final test. I stood him up (my heart pounding a bit faster than it should be considering we’re talking about amigurumi not, like, heart surgery). He stood! Without propping! Oh, happy day.

And, hopefully a happy birthday to a little girl turning three. I hope it’s something she cherishes, even if just for that day. It feels good to complete a project, proud of the result, but it feels especially good when you know the finished product has a good home to go to.

He also needed a little something, so I decided to make him a tiny Winnie-the-Pooh. He just didn’t seem to be complete without his Pooh-bear.

Final, and maybe most important note about this project, this Christopher Robin picture shows him standing in front of a watercolor painting I did years ago. I’ve been wanting to paint and create other mixed media backgrounds for my amigurumi creations for a long time, but just haven’t had the time or mindset to really go for it. I also wasn’t sure that they would look very good. At the last minute, before packaging up Christopher Robin, I remembered that picture of the forest I had painted and thought I’d use that as the Hundred Acre Wood. I am really excited by the result! I know that it will probably be a while before I can realistically commit to making my own photo backgrounds, but I now know that I definitely want to.

 

 

 

Happy Handmade Hearts: Part Two, What To Do?

Now that you’ve crocheted a dozen of your own Happy Handmade Hearts with this pattern or have collected a dozen ordering little crocheted buddies from me, here are a few ideas for what to do with them!

Share the love!  

Stick one  inside a tin full of tea. I like Republic of Tea’s Ginger Peach. Tie a heart around a jar full of candy. Sour Patch Kids, preferably. Decorate the neck of a vase. I wish mine were holding handpicked daisies. (Make that vase using this tutorial!)

 

Tie your heart onto a gift box or tag.

Make pretty groupings of them and sew or glue them together with a buttton on top. Weave in the ends or use them as added decoration.

Wear your heart on your…hair? Take a simple dollar store barette and hot glue the heart right on!

Keep your Happy Heart close to your happy heart. 

Take a premade chain necklace (I used a Blue Moon Beads 18 inch metal necklace) and find the middle point. With two little jewelry-making pliers, open the two middle chains. Hook the left side of the crocheted heart onto one of the open split rings and close it up again. Repeat on the right side and you have a Happy Heart necklace!

Now, don’t let those Happy Handmade Hearts go to waste! I’d love to know how you have used yours! Pictures or comments would be awesome!

 

 

The Happy Handmade Heart

I am so excited because I am finally posting my first free crochet pattern for the Happy Handmade Heart which comes with all my packages:If you bought something a long time ago, I hadn’t started putting hearts on my packages yet, so please don’t feel shortchanged. I just hadn’t thought of it yet! 

In this post I’ll share my heart pattern. Next time, I’ll show you a couple ways you can use your own crocheted hearts, either the ones you make using this pattern or the one you received from me!

The Happy Handmade Heart 

(I typically use cotton yarn and my hook of choice is a D 2.25mm, but any hook with appropriately sized yarn will work just fine…it will just affect the size and texture)

Leaving a little extra-long tail or not depending on the use of the heart. I leave extra so I can tie the two ends around the package. If you just want to weave both ends in, don’t worry with an extra-long tail. If you want to wrap the heart around a big box, use an extra long tail!:

Row 1: Magic circle with 6 sts or my preferred method Ch 2, 6 sc in first ch

Row 2: 5dc in next st, 2sc in next st, 1tc in next st, 2sc in next st, 5dc in next st, ss into last st in circle.

Finishing off: After the ss, expand the loop on the hook.

Put your hook through the center of the heart (the first ch of the ch 2 in row 1)and hook the loop.

Pull the loop through to the back

Holding the loop in one hand, cut your yarn so it is equal length with the tail and pull the the cut yarn end through the loop. Pull really tightly to secure.

You’re finished! You might just want to fiddle with the heart a bit to make the perfect shape.

There you have it! My own version of the small, crocheted heart. In my next post, I will show you several ways to put your Happy Handmade Hearts to good use with these:

Hope you all have a Happy Heart this Friday afternoon! Enjoy!

 

 

 

Happy Handmade News

What’s new with Happy Handmade? Here’s what!

1. A custom Christopher Robin doll

2. My amigurumi photographs on display for a month at Little Fish Huge Pond, starting July 27th for this show:3. My first Tophatter Auction along with fellow Central Florida Etsians team members! Have you ever taken part in a Tophatter auction as a buyer or seller? It will be interesting to see how it goes. Check out the items for sale here.

4. Another home art project which will hopefully turn into a mini tutorial later this week or early next.

5. A big, bumblebee themed bash celebrating my birthday baby and buddy in early September. I have lots of projects in the works for that event. You can see some of the bumblebee themed plans that I’ve horded on this Pinterest board. Jho and I already worked on these little guys:

which is appropriate, as I have been a busy bee!

Have a Happy week!

 

Happy Fourth of July!

Here are the completed Starcraft Marine and SCV I’ve been talking about for a while. I based them from this screenshot taken while my husband played the game.And Here’s my version!Crocheting notes on these two:

  • I used thin, mercerized cotton for the first time because I really loved the sheen and the colors…for some reason it is really hard to find good gray yarn in stores. I was nervous about how thin the yarn was so I used a smaller hook than usual, but it turned out great and has been hard to readjust to my thicker, usual cotton yarn.
  • I love how the wire loop coming off the SCV came out! I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it and thought at first that I would crochet it. Then I thought I would just use a thick wire. Then I sat down with the wire and the yarn and just starting wrapping the yarn around the wire and it looked great, so I stuck with that!
  • My favorite part of either one was that gold part on the helmet that took me a while to figure out how to do. Once I figured it out I was really pleased with how easy it was and how nice it looked!
  • The SCV came out big, a little bigger than I’d meant it to be. I usually don’t work with hard angles and back and forth rows (I almost always work in spiral rounds), but it felt good to make those difficult shapes. I had planned to write up the pattern for both, but I might just do the Marine. The SCV had so many crazy crocheting tricks that I’m just not sure I know how to communicate on paper. I wrote the pattern for me, so hopefully I can recreate it.
  • In case you were wondering about other Starcraft creations, check out my Creations page for a Probe and this post about my Banelings.
I probably should have crocheted an eagle or maybe a donkey and an elephant…it is an election year, after all, but Starcraft characters will have to do. Have a Happy Fourth and maybe a delicious looking All-American Shooter found here:
All-American Shooter

To achive the “layered” effect of this patriotic pleaser, place a cherry on the inside edge of the shot glass and slowly pour the curacao and then the vodka over said cherry. This will keep the liquors separate and makes for a nice garnish.
  1. 1/2 Part Grenadine
  2. 1 Part Blue Curacao
  3. 1 Part Vodka
Layer in a shot glass and enjoy!
Bottoms Up!