January Challenge Week 1

If 2017 became a year of Make, I want 2018 to continue that theme. You already know I signed up for TAST, and plan to keep myself motivated through weekly WIP posts. Last year was the technical side spent mostly on learning someone else’s pattern rather than creating my own. Know where I am going with this? I want to tap into my own creativity a bit more. I am proud with what I have developed on my own thus far, but let’s stretch it a bit more, eh? So, to do that, I’m doing the January Challenge through 64 Million Artists. Each challenge comes with a Do, Think, and a If You Have More Time suggestion. The Do is the direct challenge. The Think asks you to interpret maybe why you’ve chosen to do what you did. And the If You Have More Time invites you to a further challenge or to spread the fun with others (when I have more time, I’ll list it:). I don’t know if I’ll like it, but I’ll break this down in a weekly post for you to follow along!

Day One: Self Awards

Do: A Technical Achievement Award in Excellence of FreeBSD systems administration – because I work with Boy now and I’m learning FreeBSD so I can haxor my way through the servers.

Think: I picked this because out of a lot of the ideas in my head for 2018, this one is actually a true challenge. I loved programming back as an undergrad but didn’t want to be Boy, stuck in an office pounding away at a keyboard (nor did I enjoy the overt masculinity of my classes). However, he needs some relief at the office so we talked about how I might also (maybe even more so) enjoy sysadmin work. The challenge is that reading technical manuals is sooo not my thing anymore. But how cool would it be to add this to my already rich (albeit stuttered) work history? From pizza to internet to Census Bureau to bank to university professor to elite haxor. Yah!

Day Two: Five Faces

Do: Sasha, Bill, Adam, Tim?, Frownie Face

Think: I chose these faces because I need a reference when I draw and had recently deleted everything on my phone so I only had a few photo options (I was at the candy shop without my laptop). They are related though – I see these guys regularly (and of course Sasha daily, that little sweet thing!). I ran out of time, so Tim looks more like a Mike character we know, and then the last face I didn’t get to. Do I like the pressure of a time clock? Yes and no. I liked how it forced me to sketch but I think I might be more of a 5 Faces in 10 Minutes kind of gal.

Day Three: Blurb It Out

[No Photo]

Do: A group of friends caught in the between years of child and adulthood naively set off to experience the world. Along the way they meet dangers that forever change them and threaten their relationships as well as their lives. As they grow in age and wisdom through the years, the trials of a nation’s war weigh heavily on them but together they keep the candle of hope and peace alight. An emotional read that will touch the souls of every person willing to travel with them!

Think: Last year I did decide to start writing; not because I want to write a book or anything, but because it is yet another creative outlet I wanted to play with. The above blurb is based on that but I did decide to keep it short and similar to a review in style because, well, I don’t have much written! I know everyone is different, but for me personally what attracts me to a story based on blurb is a hint that there is deep character development. Hopefully you see that in my blurb!

Day Four: Castle Creation

Do: A castle built from crafting threads. Let me walk you through it. It sits on a perch surrounded by woods in the middle of the countryside. You drive up a winding hill and are met with a small but four-turetted elegant castle. An attached parking garage (of the same style) sits on the left; its turret functions as a multi-level work room. You’d move through a butler’s pantry into the kitchen. Each multi-storied turret is a bedroom or library or studio. There is an inner fully-landscaped (with trees!) courtyard with a small pool (I haven’t decided if it is a swimming pool or a garden pool). A stone patio sits outback, connecting the outdoor kitchen (behind the garage) all the way to the secret garden (and labyrinth) on the right. This garden has a special central feature – maybe a tomb to one day lie in rest, or a gnarly old beautiful tree (likely both!).

Think: I was not a fan of doing this one because I don’t like making messes unless it is an accidental part of a bigger project. Rather than getting creative (since I had no intention on keeping my castle), I used what was easily accessible and easy to put back. It was fun daydreaming, though, so I guess the exercise was worth it!

If You Have More Time: The homework was simply just to do the castle and if you had more time, to add surroundings. I think by adding the “scenery” of a wooded hillside and a secret labyrinthy style garden, it counts!

Day Five: 100 Years Later

Do: Find a photo I’d include in a time capsule to be opened in 2118, one hundred years from now. I chose a photo of my backyard. Though it is from last year, I see deer regularly back there (often frolicking in the snow which is literally just too stinking cute!).

Think: I chose this because of the secondary question, “what would life be like without it?” and you may gaffaw, but I am not so sure deer will be common here in 100 years (elsewhere, maybe). My backyard looks like I live “in the country” and for this town, I do (*rolls eyes*), but if you were to google map it, you’d see I am surrounded by developments and these aren’t slowing down. Eventually, where will the wild animals live? The ones that don’t adapt well to modern American suburban sprawls? Just think, 100 years ago it was 1918. World War I and the Great Flu Epidemic weren’t just in history books. Cars and planes were just babes. Plastic didn’t exist, people. I mean, do you really think life will be similar to today in 2118? You be cray.

If Your Have More Time: If I had to pick an item to represent 2018 and put in the time capsule, I’d select a tablet that had today’s news articles from all sources pre-loaded, liberal to conservative; mainstream national, obscure local, the whole get-up. I think that while the details between journalists are sometimes up for debate, the overall gist of what gets put in the news says a lot about our world. And in the future, researchers will be able to look back and scour the trends that would allow them to decipher whatever the hell is going on with our current administration and world relations and journalism.

Day Six: Soundtrack Of My Day

Do: Honestly, I rarely listen to music these days. I was hard into the music scene in the 90s (alternative rock mostly, but with some ska and punk thrown in) then I felt like music just took a crap in the 2000s and I stopped caring (so glad it is finally turning around, in my opinion). In grad school I got into solo piano pieces as background music to help occupy my wandering mind while zenning me out of stressful assignments and time-crunches. Then I got into Noisli‘s nature sounds to help get through late nights of creating lectures for class. And then, well, I now appreciate silence and hearing the actual noises of life. I use to be driven mad with my old car when I lost the radio – I couldn’t even do a five minute drive without being super annoyed. Today, I can go hours sometimes without a peep from the station. True story. But, to play along, the soundtrack I would like to hear today is Legend of Zelda’s Breath of the Wild. Unfortunately, Nintendo has let us down by not offering a way to back-up saved data and recently we lost all of our games. Until Nintendo corrects this issue, there is no point starting over because it could just happen again. (Oh! Boy and I did recently attend the Legend of Zelda concert: Symphony of the Goddesses! Loved it!) So instead, the soundtrack will be the music from Psych The Movie, which I am super excited to watch! And the dishwasher, and kitty meows, and sewing machine, Boy’s voice, and that pleasant *pop* you get when you pull thread through fabric in embroidery.

Think: I listen to these types of sounds regularly. My days generally go well – just enough external pressures to get things done without feeling stressed that I don’t have time to work on my own things. Ultimately, this soundtrack reminds me that I feel fortunate to have this privileged lifestyle and I must not take it for granted because one day I am surely to be back in the job market.

Week 1 Thoughts

I really enjoyed the first two challenges, but the other one’s weren’t stimulating for me personally. I am eager to see what next week brings!

TAST: running stitch

You’ve read about my idea for this here, right? Ok! See all completed TAST posts here.

Obviously this hasn’t been turned into bunting yet; I plan to do that all at the end.

Voila! Front and back, for posterity’s sake:)

The “TAST 2018” title and words in black are not running stitch, but everything else is! There are issues with my piece, and I could have corrected them but I decided to not un-do my work so that I can remember these mistakes in the future. You’ll see them if you look close, too, but overall, I am so excited to have this one done! I never ever looked at the running stitch as more than a basic stitch useful for quilting. TAST forced me to study it, and only it (well, with it’s variations like the combo-colonial-knot-ribbon-rose and lacing). This showed me really how versatile it is – I cannot wait to do this with other stitches each week! Thanks, Sharon!!

Threaded, whipped, double threaded and whipped, and beaded examples.

Lacing examples, and examples of thread thickness (single through six strands of floss).

A design (potted flowering cacti) using only running stitch (the ribbon rose adds a colonial knot). When I saw Fat-Quarter’s couching and running stitch, it spoke cacti to me, I dunno why. I really adored my little guys, but then the TAST 2018 background blurred into it and sorta hid the fun. Lesson learned!

Title of the pennant with basic example and number of week.

Ta-da! (If you caught on that I blurred something out, it’s just my initials;)

WIP-TAST-ic Wednesday 1

Howdy Howdy!

Today is the first Work In Progress (WIP) Wednesday where I will share weekly with you what I’ve got going on behind the scenes, so to speak. I will also discuss my Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST) adventure with you, so stick around for a fantastic, WIP-TAST-ic exploration! (Aren’t I clever?;) I may not always have new progress for a WIP to share, but if I play my cards right, there will always be a TAST in progress (with a separate TAST post when each challenge is completed).

First up, my beautiful WIP from Celeste Chalasani’s craftsy Stumpwork: Raised Embroidery Essentials course. I’ve been plugging away at it for a while now, obsessively almost, until I hit a snag with my “aging” eyes. (Sewing with the petite thread for the bee’s wings was too much!) I’ve since purchased a magnifying glass but just had other things on my plate. I do have a goal to finish it soon, though – I am almost done, after all! I am just not one to have a million projects going on at once because that is how I know I would never finish any! I am a one-book, one-video-game, one-(or-three)-sewing-project at a time kind of gal. So, that’s all I got for a WIP today! (Disclaimer: I do have other projects on hiatus, of course! They are just not currently “in progress”, tee hee.)

I am using gaffer’s tape to prevent my threads from getting caught on my wires. It is a really strong but lightly sticky fabric-y masking tape and thus far, it seems to work great for this purpose, though sometimes the wire is stronger than the tape and it needs a gentle reminder to stay put.

The looped threads is a Turkey Work stitch (it does go by other names but I don’t have them handy in my head) – they will get cut and fluffed. I bought an eyebrow brush to do the fluffing and it worked great on my test run.

I am really proud how my satin stitches came out. Less proud that my fabric gave some in the hoop before I realized it, but that is the price you pay when you don’t pay the price for fancy hoops. Woe is me. They are on my list!

Next up, TAST Running Stitch. One of my awesome readers recently linked a fantastic idea for a sampler – thank you, Brenda!!:D The post is at one of my favorite places, here, but I went down the rabbit hole to find the original post and gal: Sheila Iskin at Making a Fairy Tale. I do love bunting, so that’s my plan! Each weekly challenge will get its own pennant, labeled in simple black by title, with a small basic example, and the number of the week. This first one will have TAST 2018 somewhere on there.

You’ll notice I have a lot of extra fabric that is totally not required. Well, I had inherited so much white fabric that I want to use it up quickly, and this one is already cut to a long strip that is almost the right size for my hoop. Serendipitously, I am using the excess as doodle cloth to either actually doodle ideas, or practice before I go. Whoo! My only concern is that I am using my crafting threads rather than my good ones, and I might regret that if this turns out to be something I absolutely adore. Time will tell, eh? For now, it is all about learning and getting better at creativity!

Of course, Sharon Boggon’s own Pintangle as well as Mary Corbet’s NeedlenThread are constant references. I am also using three books: Sharon’s Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting, Margie Bauer’s The Embroiderer’s Handbook (hmm, can’t find a link for her – anyone else can?), and Sue Spargo‘s Creative Stitching. Past (and present!) TAST challengers are also in my inspiration bucket, as well as ye olde google image search. When I post the finale, I will try to link to everything that specifically encouraged me to try something.