This weekend, or November 18th, 19th and 20th, myself and my house-mates will be opening up our studio for the Eastside Culture Crawl. It’s my first time ever participating (out studio was literally just finished a couple of weeks ago), and I’ve been busy needle felting and putting kits together.
Our studio is located behind our house in the alley, on Pender & Heatley. Head North East of the pirate house on the corner that you see in this google street view and you should find the alleyway. If you’ve reached Hastings, you’ve gone too far north. There are a few studios in the alley, and we’ll have our sandwich board in the alleyway.
At the event, I’ll be there demonstrating how to needle felt, and displaying some of the work that I’ve put together over the past couple of weeks. Along with the kit comes a special barbed needle for felting, a foam pad, fibre, and an instruction manual for how to make a needle-felted mushroom. All of the felt for the mushroom kit was hand-dyed with Kool-Aid!
This series is based on the characters from the stop motion Rudolph series that we all watched growing up!
(Yeti still in progress)
I will also have some knitted items, and greeting cards available for sale too. Hope to see you there!
Dyeing with indigo!
The coolest part about indigo is that the colour changes once the item being dyed is exposed to air (and oxidizes). It starts as a bright green, and then changes to the deep blue indigo shade. It’s like magic. You can’t really see it in these photos unfortunately, I caught it after it had changed.
In other dye projects, I’ve been experimenting with natural dyeing by using jam jars (thanks penny!!) They work if they’re placed in the sun, but my stovetop gets pretty hot so I dyed over the stove. This solution is made up with berries that had gone off. I set out the blackberries and cherries and extracted the juices – and dyed some wool with it.
This wool was over-dyed. It used to be yellow – from a batch of onion skins – but is now this berry colour!
I also finished up a spinning project that I’ve been working on. Made my first hand-spun sweater! It was lots of fun, but it weighs a ton. Turns out I have to start spinning so that it traps more air – and less fiber, making it more “lofty.”
I recently took part in 2 awesome workshops led by 2 lovely individuals. The first was a basketry workshop with Sharon Kalis, who works with the Park Board to collect invasive species – that she then turned in to public art that’s displayed around the city. To make these installations, she invited those interested to learn – to take part in a free workshop. She did a series of these workshops, and I was involved with making basket orbs that will go up near Science World. It was great fun!
Sharon showing us how it’s done:
This one’s mine. He is having a bad hair day and is going on camera in around 15 minutes!
This year, VHS was invited to take part in Siggraph’s Studio – which was a pretty cool experience. Armed with lots of kits, a crew of VHSers taught many to solder (incl. Cory Doctorow!) and I took a stab at teaching people how to needle felt. It was great fun, and really cool to hear that many 3D artists enjoyed the needle felting – and planned on using it to model characters before working on the computer.
Needle felted octopus I made to demo how to needle felt:
Not part of Siggraph – but a cool photo at the convention centre:
I went to Kits Farmer’s Market this Sunday and couldn’t resist the giant bushel of lavender one of the vendors was selling. There were bees swarming all over it, and it smelled so lovely! It was close to the end of the market, and the vendor was kind enough to give me some extra bunches. I ended up with so much of it! So I decided to make lavender oil – and document the process as well.
This recipe will give you an olive oil infused mixture that you can use as a moisturizer, for burns, cuts, or as a perfume. I’m going to dilute mine with water and put it in spray bottles to spray clothes from the line with it. Learn more about how you can use lavender oil here.
What You Will Need:
Step 1: Sterilize your jar by placing it in a pot of boiling water. Set it on a cloth to dry.
Step 2: Pour the olive oil in to your pot and heat.
Step 3: While the oil’s heating, puncture the Vitamin E capsules to excrete the liquid. Pour Vitamin E over lavender buds.
Step 4: Remove olive oil from heat and pour over your lavender. Be careful!! The oil will be bubbling and extremely hot. Be sure to wear oven mitts.
Step 5: Let the mixture cool down until it’s about room temperature.
Step 6: Pour mixture in to your glass jar.
Step 7: Place the covered mixture in a warm spot to season for around 2 weeks. Shake daily.
Step 8: After 2 weeks or so, strain the mixture by covering your jar with cheese cloth, and funnel the oil in to a jar or container.
(These jars are so cool! You can purchase them on Etsy from Sweet Eventide).
Some other Notes about Lavender Oil:
Do not use lavender oil if it’s been grown with pesticides. This recipe is fairly concentrated, so watch for any skin irritation.
I’ve been so busy blogging on other blogs that I’ve neglected my own a bit. I thought I’d do a bit of a round-up of some of the posts that I’ve featured on both Re-Nest and the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire blog (and Craft Magazine!).
Over the past few weeks I’ve found a lot of really great posts on creative lighting solutions, fixing, and DIY decorations. I shared my findings on Re-Nest, and talked a bit about why they were awesome. One of my favourites that I shared was a tutorial from Plastolux on how to fix Eames chairs. I highly recommend checking out this tutorial to learn how to re-construct and repair Eames chairs. I re-blogged about it on Re-Nest here.
While looking for interesting posts and ideas, I also came across blogger Christine Chitnis created a wonderful tutorial on how to cover outdoor pots with fabric. Likely not suitable for outdoors, but would be great in a terrarium to spruce things up a bit! (I also really, really like her blog as well. You should check it out!)
I also really enjoy putting together green moodboards – where I can envision my dream outdoor patio furniture – here’s one that I put together – with images from shops all over the internets. Check out my post here – where you can purchase any of these items.
In other exciting news, I did a call out to yarn enthusiasts in the city interested in yarn bombing in honour of Vancouver Mini Maker Faire – and got our post featured on Craft Magazine! woohoo! It was so much fun, and met so many great, talented people in the process. Check out the full post here.
Now that I’m a little less busy with Maker Faire, I’m looking forward to generating more original content, and blogging about ideas that I come up with while working.
I recently came across Cambria Bold’s post on knowing your DIY limits, and I can’t help but relate to her sentiments. She used expensive fabric to re-upholster a chair that now has more problems than she had started: lumpiness, a sagging front area, and a ripped side. I know exactly the feeling of completing a project, only to realize that the project’s just begun: The amount of upkeep to keep that project together far surpasses how much work it was to put it together in the first place. I completely understand the frustration, and wonder if all of these failed DIY projects result in more wasted materials in the long run than if it were taken to a professional that knew what they were doing. It’s easy to fall in to that cycle and stop trusting your abilities, but I tend to think that these failed DIY attempts are what make the movement so invigorating – and motivate me to keep trying.
This clip is from about a year or so ago, but I read a similar article that he wrote about DIY failures, and it really helped me cope with some of the more challenging projects that I had taken on – and to realize that I wasn’t alone in the feeling. Check out the video below with these words of wisdom from Mark Frauenfelder:
Frauenfelder claims that making mistakes becomes part of your life when you starting DIY’ing.
You should try not to make mistakes on purpose, but you shouldn’t equate mistakes with failure, or punish yourself about them. Basically in school, mistakes = bad grades. So they’re conditioning in the real world that you don’t want to make mistakes because you don’t want to be punished, and therefore avoid risks. So, just accept mistakes as a way to learn, and come up with new, creative ways of doing things.