Monday, June 23, 2008

2008 Crafty Resolutions - Mid Year Review

Hey folks! I haven't been real active over here for a while because I had to take a little break from the non-beading types of crafts. But I have started to get back into some non-bead crafting.

I've been bitten by the writing bug and now I have the itch to write, write,write. To me, that counts as a craft, as you are creating characters, worlds, and their stories. I've been working on some short fiction mostly, and I'm trying my hand at flash-fictions (less than 1000 words). That has been a real challenge. I'm thinking of entering a contest in August with a piece, but it must be no more than 500 words. Eeek. I'm way to wordy, but I'm determined to do it.

Swap-Bot has gotten me into zine writing though. I've already created a 4 Volume mini-zine series of haiku and 2 issues of The Dog Park, a zine for dogs and the people who love them. I'll be featuring that on my dog blog one of these days. Issue 3 will be coming up later this summer or in the early fall. Currently I'm working on a craft zine for a swap that will focus mostly on beadwork. So I've more than fulfilled that resolution. Yay me!

Crochet still aggravates my shoulder, so that has been slow going. One of my resolutions was to make a mat for my husband's laptop. Still not done with that, I may knit it instead. But I have started on the afghan. I completed one square, but it was not, well, square, so I put it aside as a "swatch" and started a new square. I completed that, but it ended up larger than expected. So I need more practice (gauge, it is my nemesis).

I picked up on knitting again. And now I love it. I totally get it. I can knit and purl with ease. Just don't ask me to do any increases or decreases. I'm just not ready yet, its too painful. But I am in the process of making a knitted washcloth. I plan to make a few more in a lovely variegated green to use to put our living room lamps on (to protect the end tables). Then again. I'm only half way through the first one, and I've been working on it for a month now, so the green ones may be a long way off....

I played with resin a couple months back, before it started to really get hot. Nothing to show you pictures of, I just set some simple buttons in them for practice. Smelly job, you really do need to be in a well ventilated area (we did it out on the patio, can't get much more ventilated). Fairly easy to use, but set much more quickly than I thought it would. My husband used resin to create pen blanks. He does wood turning and makes pens. They turned out okay. Another resolution can be checked off. I won't be playing with it again until fall, as its not way to hot outside here in Arizona.

As for the sewing, that's been on hold. I hope to get to that later this year though, and when I do, I'll post pictures.

Well, that's it for now. I just wanted to get an update on there, since I haven't posted in almost 6 months.

Thank you for joining me under the cactus today! Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008 Crafty Resolutions

Its that time of year again, time for those pesky resolutions. But I'm not talking about losing weight/stopping bad habits/starting good habits types of resolutions. No, those are just way to hard to keep. I'm talking about the truly important resolutions - Crafty Resolutions!

Anyone who reads my beading blog has probably read about my crafty resolutions for 2007 and know that I didn't do so well. But that's okay, I'm cool with that. It has helped me to come up with a better list of goals for 2008. I'm only going to list the general crafting resolutions here. If you want to read some of my beading/jewelry making resolutions, go and check out my Beaded Desert blog (link is off to the right there).

So, here they are, in no particular order. Drum roll please!

Crafty Resolutions for 2008

  • Experiment with resin

  • Crochet mat for husband's laptop

  • Make a good start on that crochet afghan that I bought all the yarn for

  • Create a zine (single edition or more)

  • Finish husband's sleep pants and a another pair for me

Its a pretty short list, but maybe that will make it easier to accomplish most of these. We'll see how I do.

Thank you for joining me under the cactus today! Happy Crafting!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Out of Commission for a Bit

I haven't posted in weeks, but I have a good excuse. I haven't really been working on anything, and that includes writing. I pinched a nerve in my right shoulder in mid-November. This meant resting it, avoiding activities that involve repetitive motion, downing anti-inflammatory drugs, and getting to know my ice packs and heating pad better than I ever wanted to. As fellow crafters I'm sure you know how that went. I was attempting to do things within days of the initial pain. Yes, I'm an idiot who doesn't know how to slow down and listen to my body when its trying to tell me something. So as a result, I'm still trying to rest and therefore not creating much. Its been like being someone with a major addiction to a substance, who suddenly decides to quit cold-turkey. Oh wait, I am someone addicted to a substance (a substance that includes beads, wire, paper, pens, scissors, glue, and weekly visits to craft supply shops)......

So I decided I'd pop in, leave a message to let everyone know I didn't fall off the face of the earth or become buried in an avalanche of yarn, fabric and beads. I've alive and well, and still trying to force myself to just rest. I am getting caught up on a lot of reading though, so I guess its not all bad.

Hope you all have a lovely holiday season. I'm looking forward to the new year and new projects and techniques to try. And I hope to be able to post about a look back at the crafting resolutions I made at the start of this year, see how I've done, and then make new crafting resolutions for 2008.

Thank you for joining me under the cactus today! Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Adventures in ATCs

Come and join me under the Cactus!

Today I wanted to share some of my adventures in making ATCs. I discovered these little gems via Swap-Bot. ATC swaps are pretty popular over there, from beginners to the die-hard experts. There are swaps for every level and every theme imaginable! If you've never made an ATC before, but want to, you should check out some of those swaps. They're a little less intimidating than some of the ATC groups online. I'm also a member of a Beginners ATC group on Flickr. Its a great group of people. We share pictures of our ATCs, have discussions about techniques, products, themes, where our ideas come from, etc. If you have questions or need advice, its a place you can feel free to ask, because you know everyone there still remembers being new to the art and they won't criticize you or put you down.

Now, I mostly use a collage technique for my ATCs. I haven't really ventured into paints or drawings much, yet. But I'd like to do more of that.

So now you may be asking your computer screen "Just what is an ATC?" Excellent question. An ATC is an Artist Trading Card. And no, its not a card with a picture of an artist on the front and a list of their galleries and training on the back. Although, I supposed you could do that if you were so inclined. Basically, an ATC is a miniature piece of art that showcases the artist's work. ATCs have one rule, they must be 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches, about the size of a playing card or your average sports trading card. Other than the size rule, pretty much anything goes. You can use any media that strikes your fancy. Most people as a rule will use a card stock base (or a playing card), to give it some structure. Beyond that, you never know what you might find. Many artists do use more traditional methods such as paint or pen/ink drawings. But you'll also see collage and scrapbooking-like techniques, wire, beads, polymer clay, fabric/felt/fibers, paper, metal, plastic, recycled materials, leather, etc. The choice is yours, whatever inspires you.
If you want to find out more about ATCs and see some really wonderful work, check out the links below:
Art in Your Pocket (The Artist Trading Card Forums)
Artist Trading Cards
ATCs on Wikipedia
ATC Beginners Flickr Group
Art Junction

"Show and Tell" time.

I'm going to share some pictures of some ATCs I've made that I'm rather proud of. I'm still pretty green at this, so they're less than perfect, but that's part of the process right?

This first shot is one of my most recent projects. The Flickr group I'm part of has monthly themed swaps that members can participate in if they want to. This last one that I joined in on was to make ATCs with a Cake or Cupcake theme to it. Oddly enough, most of us went with Cupcakes. I don't know why, but I just find that very interesting, it says something about us. Not sure what exactly, but something.

Anywho, here are my cupcake ATCs that I sent to my partner:
One is a lemon cupcake (my partner's username has to do with lemons, I couldn't resist), and the other is a cherry cupcake. The lemon one is done all with paper (and glitter glue) and the cherry one is a paper background but the cupcake itself is made from felt and decorated with beads (for the sprinkles) and a button (to be a cherry).

And these were my clock ATCs:

One of My Cross-Stitch ATCs (this was for a partner who loves tea, its shaped like a tea-bag):

These were for a Myriorama Swap. Basically, we all had a template that we used. Then we could kind of do our own thing, but the fun part is that all the sets you received would then be able to be laid out together to create an endless, never-ending, constantly changing landscape. It was a fun challenge to make. I went with a Candy Land theme for the first set, a desert landscape for the second set (I took liberties and didn't match the colors of the template, but my lines still lined up...), and puppies in the park theme for the third set.

I used colored pencil on cardstock to create all three sets.

One of my favorites was the Dog ATCs (and I received some cute ones from my partners, but I didn't take pictures of them yet):

My main theme was "Don't Shop, Adopt!"

One of my earliest ATC attempts (and I think it may have actually been my very first) was for a swap with a Shapes Theme. This first one was for Circles, and I love the Neapolitan one:

And this one was fun, I gave it the title of "Gumballs"

And last but not least, my attempts at Polymer Clay ATCS:

Do you make ATCs and want to share your work? Know of more great sites to see or learn about ATCs? Leave me a comment with your blog, Flickr site, or website and I'll stop by!

Well, that just about wraps things up for this post. I have a pile of 2.5"x3.5" base cards just calling for me to create with them. And who am I to ignore a call like that?! If you want to see some of my other feeble attempts with ATCs, check out my Flickr Swaps Set.

Thanks for joining me under the cactus today! Happy Crafting!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Keep Watching This Blog!

I'm in the process of writing up two new posts but they're not quite ready yet. Still gathering pictures of everything and a list of links. But before the end of this month I will have put up a post about ATCs (and my sorry attempts) as well as a post about knitting (since its a craft that is taking over the world these days). So keep your eyes peeled (just don't get too close to the cactus though, spines in the eye are not a fun thing) and soon those two posts will be up. Really, I'm serious, they will. No, I'm not pulling your leg, I will post both of those this month. Honest.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Welcome to Crafting Under a Cactus!

Welcome friends!

I decided to start this blog as an offshoot of my Beaded Desert blog. I've been diving into other crafty lands in addition to beading, and I wanted a place to talk about that and showcase my handiwork. But Beaded Desert is about beadwork and jewelry making. I didn't want to clutter it with ATCs and knitting attempts. I also wanted to have only beading links there. So I decided to start a second blog just for my general crafting, and a place to put all my craft site links that really have nothing to do with beading.

On this blog I'll be talking about my adventures in crafting. I'm learning to knit and crochet, and to sew. I'm looking into needle felting. I've been dabbling in making ATCs and other forms of altered art. I'm also exploring other paper crafts like bookmarks and notecards. I'm not a very good scrapbooker, so you won't be seeing any of that though. All of those adventures I will share with you here, on this wonderful new blog. So keep checking back and join me for all the fun.

You can view some of my crafty work on my Flickr page:
Beaded Desert's Photos

I have three sets, Swaps (which is mostly crafts), Beaded Jewelry, and Dog & Cat Jewelry. And I also have shots of the pups and kitties on there, of course.

Thanks for joining me under the cactus today! Happy Crafting!