Friday, July 28, 2006

SF - Sound

This is what's going around in my work area these days - the news. Not only the news, but the Israeli news in Hebrew, online. And when they go to sleep, it's usually CNN. I'm a long term news addict, but the current situation in the middle east worries me a lot. I don't know if it effects my work much, because I'm already a bit down in the mood department. One thing's for sure, it becomes loud in here sometimes, if they argue (and they do. a lot) and if I answer back.
Don't worry, I don't always watch the news. I sometimes watch my new favorite - the Discovery Science Channel.

And on a lighter note - get ready for the coming up contest!

Another "busy" Friday

It's been a tough week over on this side of the Pacific, so much so that I should probably change this blog's name to "Poo and Politics". No, I don't feel like talking/crying/b*tching about it, but thanks for the offer. I'll just think positive, how about that?

Thinking positive begins with being thrilled that Dawn liked my trade package (hooray!). Much to my relief, I must say. I think I'm going to make one for myself too, maybe with a string to hang as a small bag to take out. What do you think? I also sent her some papers and embroidery floss and pens. I can't wait to see what she makes me... This seriously makes me giddy. Good! (More photos are here. The pattern is from this great Japanese craft book I'm yet to share. I will soon, promise)

Another more cheerful thing is this week's WIP: a pattern I'm trying to figure out for myself. What is this? It's going to be a boxy small cosmetic bag. I'm slowly plotting designing and sewing my new (new? only) gym bag, and every gym bag needs a small cosmetic bag for the sample sized shampoo and body lotion. Right?
So this is the beginning - I knew I wanted something like this, but no pattern. Hmmf.. I know, I'll look at the picture and try to figure out the sewing lines! After constructing the final desired shape from paper, I cut it according to the construction lines of my example bag.
After a few size adjustments (to position the zipper better), I cut a "proper" pattern paper, using a real ruler. Yep. I didn't include the seam allowance in the measurements (I'm still not sure if you measure seam allowance inside or outside the pattern line. Well, in mine - it's outside).
And now I have the fabric all cut and ready to go. I'm still not 100% sure how to construct this, but I'll take many photos so that I can write a tutorial for you if (if-if-if) I am successful.

And don't forget - the first caffinated fibers contest is coming up!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Goodies galore!

It's so boilingly hot in here that I'm amazed I'm even writing. My brain has turned into such a mush that I forgot my keys stuck in the mailbox's keyhole. Yep. For a whole hour. And we're lucky, it's only 84 degrees here (29 Celsius) and it's nice and breezy. Back in the valley we just left, it was 105 degrees (41 Celsius) today, and no air movement at all. See if I'll be moving inland any time soon!
Anyway, off to the goodies. I've just set up my Etsy store right here. Nothing in here yet, but I'm working on posting some items by the end of this week.
Also, I've been lucky to catch Dawbis' Trade Catalog last weekend and have the gracious Dawn agree to trade with me. I'm so excited! I'll show you the main attraction after I know she's got it, but here's a sneak peek.

Also (ahem-ahem! Clearing my throat loudly), next weekend, I'll be celebrating my 100th post, and I intend on celebrating the occasion by having a little contest. Stay tuned, it will be worth it!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

WIP - "Wiping" - Wiped

If you speak a complicated language, in which verbs change according to gender too (like French and Hebrew), you know this kind of exercise: memorizing lists of repetitive sounding words (especially on those nasty irregular verbs that don't follow any rules). So that's how my weekend felt - like a strange grammar exercise:

This is how far I got on Hedra. Pretty neat, isn't it? I finally had to split it and work on the heel gusset of each sock individually, on three DPNs. I'm almost done with it. I can tell you one thing - as great as a dutch heel is for integrating the pattern into the heel - I'm far from being a fan. I HATE picking up those slipped stitches. Maybe I'm just stupid, but something always going wrong.
And these are pieces of cut fabric I'm plotting on screen printing and sewing into small pouches and coin purses. I finally got the zippers I was waiting for, so now the project is go. Hooray! I just hope they come out nice. I came across this more advanced tutorial from Anna that made me very happy (mainly because it is exactly how I planned to improve on this).

"Wiping" or "to wipe" is a common action in the middle east. It refers to the action of taking a slice of pita and loading in with hummus on a plate, literally "wiping" hummus off the plate with the bread. Hummus is what most people "wipe" and there's a variety of pita and other flat breads to do the "wiping" with, but you get the idea, right?I've never been a huge hummus fan, but I'm totally in love with Labneh (or Kefir cheese) which you can also "wipe". I only found Labneh twice in the four years I've been here.
This Friday I went to the scrapbooking store, and popped into the groceries store right next door. They have an interesting mix of hispanic and middle eastern foods. And what do I see in the fridge section? Sigh of joy. I had to bring it home and sample it immidiately with some whole wheat Lavash bread, with Za'atar sprinkled on top and some olive oil. Can you tell how delicious it was?
Addition: I just realized Trader Joe's has Labneh, sold as "Mediterranean Style Yogurt". You should try it. It's a bit less sour, but very yummi nevertheless.

We took Suki to the vet today, for her shots and an examination. Her ear developed a nasty rash she kept scratching, which only made it worse. We suspected it was mange, because the shelter we got her from had an outbreak about a week after we took her home (hey, thanks for the heads up... not!). Poor baby had to wait for the weekend because we couldn't take her during the week.
The clinic is a cheap clinic in Orange county that we got some free treatments with when we adopted her, so a line was to be expected. But WHAT a line! In the clinic's cat section alone we had about ten cats half an hour before closing time. The dog section was about three times that. We spent over four hours waiting for the vet. Can you guess how we felt when we got home?

Friday, July 21, 2006

SF: The Studio Sidekick

This little guy has been with me forever.
His name is Robin Cook (after a frisky former British minister of foreign affairs, don't ask me why, I don't remember). I got him on our first trip to the then new first branch of IKEA in Israel. It was probably 2001. I swear, things look at me sometimes and demand I take them home. He definitely did. How could I resist that quizzical tilt of the head?
He's been with me on my desk at my first serious job, sometimes sitting on my shoulder. He was sitting on the dashboard of my first car. He spent four years in my various cubes, and now, he's sitting on the drawr unit hosting arts and crafts supplies. And he still cheers me up any time I'm down. Isn't that what's it all about?

Why am I not surprised, by the way, that most of our sidekicks seemed to be feline?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Somewhat better

I've been sort of functioning the past few days. I'm moving between being glued to the Israeli TV's online news broadcast and getting out of the house on any excuse to just stop thinking. It's not easy.
But there's some happy news - Ant got hired! He scored a NON entry position in the story department of a major TV studio, and I'm SO proud of him! And he did it all by himself, no vitamin P here at all. Today is his first day. Very exciting, isn't it? Congratulations, my love!
Me? I'm finally getting to draw some, which is almost a shock (hey, I can do THAT?!). I'm seriously hoping this draught is over. It's been very tough.
I'll leave you with this funny photo of Suki we snapped this weekend. Isn't she a gorgeous baby?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What I'd like to do

What I'd like to do, is tell you about crafting, drawing, Suki, my latest trip to the beach, my new Japanese sewing book, cooking.
I'd really like to laugh, bounce around, take nice pictures of delicious yarn and fabric, report on my progress on projects and my advances at the gym. I'd like to make you smile, admire my cat, share my thought. But I can't.
In case you didn't get the news (I know not everyone is the news addict that I am, or an Israeli abroad), Israel now has gotten into Southern Lebanon following a deadly attack on the IDF on the border and the kidnapping of two soldiers. All this while it's still in the Gaza strip, and while Gilad Shalit (a 19 year old soldier) is still the prisoner of Palestinian terrorists for over two weeks.
I don't want to talk politics. I really would love to shove my head deep in the ground and make it all go away. But I can't.
Would you please join me in the hope that both sides will come to their senses before the situation spins completely out of control? That no more innocent lives, on both sides, will be hurt? That the idiots governing both Israel and Palestine will finally realize that there is no other way but peace? That the poor kidnapped kids, the soldiers, be back home soon to their families?

And turn your thoughts and well wishes to India too, who was so badly hit by terrorists too cowardly to even take the "credit" for their own actions.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

For the lack of crafty content

It's been a very lazy weekend. Ant and I are a bit under the weather and sleeping a lot. But I did get my weekly sauna treat at the gym. Ahh... I actually did my Illustration Friday project, which took most of Friday and felt like a difficult school assignment, and even had my WIP Friday materials all cut out. But I seem to be tired like hell all week. I'm a bit ill, and the fact that I got two hard core spinning classes and some other aggressive cardio this probably didn't help. Sigh... Why am I complaining, though? Things are happening in my home country that are worse these days.

To brighten things up - all one needs to do, is get a kitten. Here's the latest laugh:
This evening, Ant and I all of a sudden, hear a strange noise from across the hall. Ant (my hero) went to check it out, only to come out of the bathroom in stitches, holding a very confused Suki. Recently she's adopted the habit of jumping up into the clothes hamper (more accurately, on top of the huge pile of clothes inside of it) and from there get on the sink for a drink of water.
But today we did the laundry.
Just imagining the surprised expression on Suki's face and her confused attempts of getting out of the empty hamper put me in stitches too.

Need more kitty happiness? I've just updated her set on Flickr.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

More adventures in Sewingland

On a previous episode, you've seen me going into more complicated toy sewing projects. Today I'll show you I can sew some useful things too. Yep. Things that can actually serve a purpose and that don't end up on Ant's desk (although he takes them himself. That kid...).
Anyway, it all started with two instigating factors: the fact that I'm broke, and Whip Up's roundup of some cool bags' tutorials. How does A connect with B? It's simple.
It sucks being broke and unemployed (temporarily, I know, no worries) and most of all - in desperate need to craft (any creation of stuff is better than none at all). Especially - to sew. What does a poor crafter do? Looking at stuff she can potentially cannibalize. Like an old and falling apart pair of American Eagle jeans. Remember that piece of c*** I was trying to patch up a billion times? Well, it's a goner. It was unfixable for a very long time, and I never had the hear to toss it (because the dryer in our laundry room doesn't really dry, and who knows what might happen), until I got really desperate and took my sewing scissors to its seams. And what can you make with small patches of uber light denim (I had to cut a lot around the holes)? Pouches!
May I recommend this tutorial? It's excellent! The hedgehog is this little guy. It didn't transfer very clearly (I tried stamping it on with white ink), and I ran out of the embroidery thread by the end (you know, I think I might have inherited it from my mom sometime in my early teens), but it came out nice. I like it a lot.
The back side has a red felt heart on it (see? I learned blanket stitch! Yeepee!), just because. You may recognize the lining fabric from this drool inducing store. The zipper used to be designated to a scrap knitting project. Use what you have, right?
To fix next time? Mark the finished size and shape on the fabric before I begin sewing. Make the size of the lining slightly smaller than the outside. Sew the lining in a few places to the outside so the lining won't be floppy (I tried using interfacing, but it didn't work as well as expected).
Bottom line - fun! I'm contemplating goccoing some fun print on some more denim and making some pouches to sell or swap. What do you think?

And then...

I really broke down fabric-wise. I recently discovered another fabric store in the 'hood, so I went there to get some half yards of some solid colors. But when I got there, I was overly tempted by the huge piles of discount fabric ($2-3/yard, I mean - hello!) and finally got some materials for some bags, and potentially some skirts too. The denim with red lining will be the knot-top triangular bag and the stripy one (love it!) with white lining will be assigned to one of two other patterns. Or maybe both. I'm also going to make a denim A-skirt and potentially (ssh! Don't jinx it!) my favorite skirt from the stripy one too. We shall see. The white/gray fabric and the fruity one are chippies for lining and toy sewing. Honestly, I spent more than I planned to, or can afford, for that matter. But I got enormous yardage, more than I would have if I got the Amy Butlers or Denyse Schmidts I was craving. And yes, I'm super psyched. Can't you tell from the excessive use of (parenthesis)?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Three kitties

And so my sewing adventures continue.
After my last toy sewing adventure, I decided to split the attack. On one front, I'll hand sew a palm sized toy from this book (it actually says "palm sized toys". Guess I should have taken the hint last time...), and machine sew a larger and simpler toy - Hillary's Pointy Kitty.
This is what they looked like after cutting the fabric and some assembly. The pointy kitty is made of the fabric I got on this swap, but I changed the color of the felt stripes. The palm sized kitty is made of one of the (many-many) kitchen towels from IKEA (don't worry, we've got about a hundred for a $1.99...). That one was difficult to deal with, although I like the way it came out. Frying edges? You bet.
So this is how they came out (look for more photos here):

And here is Pointy Kitty (more photos here):

And the third kitty? Who else?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

More online upgrades

... Well... Sort of. Remember this age old mouse pad you've seen in the background of my photos many a time?
well, I looked at it as I was upgrading my Mac, and... What can I say? It was three years old and dirty. Very. Yeak... So I made myself a new one! I cut cardboard into a round cornered square, and glued one of my favorite fabrics to it using fusible tape. Pretty cool, ah?

Don't worry. Suki likes this one too.

And I don't know if you've noticed the new button on the right, but I have a new blog called "I am Making Art". It's an art blog, less personal and about my own life, and it will be kind of the "news" section of my upcoming (slowly. Very slowly.) new portfolio website. Go check it out!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Back online

Just to let you know - the upgrade went well.
Actually, it went very well. True, I was on the verge of fainting when I pressed the "Erase and Install" option (regardless of the fact that I have at least three hard copies of anything even mildly important, on all its versions, I'm still sure I must have forgotten something very-very important), but on the whole, the system was up and running and humming happily to itself in twenty minutes. Very nice. Phew...
The funny thing is, that it doesn't feel much like anything has changed. I see the beach ball rolling significantly less often, I all of a sudden have a dashboard (and no, I was tempted, but I never installed the Yodanator, I was good), but Everything is the same visually. It probably didn't help that I use the same desktop, icon set and all other settings... Hey, I'm a creature of habit. One change at the time, please.
The bottom line - Macs rock. Period.
And I can cross another item on my "digital upgrade" to do list.