The following is entirely, 100% hypothetical and not in any way real.
Suppose, for a moment, that upon her death, your grandmother left you all of her inexpensive wall art. Suppose, further, that although your grandmother was not an especially religious woman, she acquired at some point in her life, perhaps as a gift, a piece of sacred art, which (not coincidentally) never appeared on her walls. It would hardly seem fitting to dispose of this piece, because grandmother, but by the same token, it doesn’t seem necessary to preserve this piece in exactly the state in which it never appeared in her home, because yeah. Exactly.
Reusing the piece seems like the best and most obvious solution to this hypothetical dilemma, doesn’t it? Hypothetically?
Anyone with a creative hobby knows that supplies have a strange way of multiplying. One week, one owns 10 colored pencils that one scarcely uses; the next week, one falls madly in love with colored pencils and must have 30 more. Clay tools, tubes of glitter, ergonomically-designed crochet hooks – supplies of almost any kind can get out of control, which then creates the dual problem of storage and access. I, for example, have been storing my colored pencils in a big jar, but that has created two problems: 1) I now own roughly two more pencils than the jar can hold, which is kind of obnoxious; and 2) I hate having to dig around in the jar for 45 seconds every time I switch colors, because I have the patience of a starving tiger. Solution: I crocheted several smaller containers that I can use to sort by colors. Hooray! Sanity and adorable kitten-like behavior reign anew!
What follows is not a pattern per se, only because I don’t know what you need to store, in which sizes, and in what quantities. You can easily make your own storage containers, however, by following these basic steps.
1) Crochet the base of your container in the round without joining rows, amigurumi style.
2) Work in increments of 5, stopping when the base is as large as you need:
MR5 or ch 2, sc 5 times in 2nd st from hook
1. 2sc each (10)
2. (Sc next, 2sc next) x5 (15)
3. (Sc next 2, 2sc next) x5 (20)
4. (Sc next 3, 2sc next) x5 (25)
5. (Sc next 4, 2sc next) x5 (30)
6. (Sc next 5, 2sc next) x5 (35)
7. (Sc next 6, 2sc next) x5 (40)
8. (Sc next 7, 2sc next) x5 (45)
9. (Sc next 8, 2sc next) x5 (50)
Remember to stop when you achieve the size you need! My largest container had a base of 35 stitches, and my smallest had a base of 20.
3) When you achieve the size you want – whether you have a circle of 25 stitches or 55 – you should “snip and flip.” Why do I say that?
As soon as your circle gets any larger than 20 stitches, it will begin to curve downward, like this:
A container with a curved bottom is not going to be terribly stable. A toddler / dog / welterweight hamster / voyeuristic neighbor will practically be able to knock it over just by looking at it. We don’t want that. By flipping the circle over, you will position the curve on the inside of your container, leaving the container free to sit stably on your desk, table, or shelf.
4. After you “snip and flip,” join your yarn. (You can either F/O and join a new strand or undo the last st and join as if changing colors.) Working in TOP LOOPS ONLY (i.e. the loops closest to the ceiling), crochet the first stitch, place your stitch marker, and then finish the row. Keep working in the round without joining rows until the container is as tall as you need it to be.
5. For maximum style, finish the container with a row of contrast edging. I used a crab stitch. You can do a scalloped edge, an HDC edge, or whatever else your heart desires.
After I finished my first container, I proudly filled it with pencils – and then my shoulders fell. I had made the accursed thing too big. It was just going to replicate the problems of my big jar.
If that happens to you, don’t panic! Flip your container inside out and SC a straight line across the center of your base. At the end, Ch 1, and sc back across. Keep going until you achieve somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3rds of the total height of your container, then F/O and leave a long tail.
After you pull the piece right side out again, use the tail to stitch each side to your container. Voila! A container with compartments!
These containers make great stash busters, and they can be joined together or left separate and independent, as best suits the way you use your supplies.
For variation, you can – in addition to changing colors – also change your stitches, alternating rows of sc with rows of DC, as I did with the pale blue container you see here.
Hey, have fun solving your storage problems, and if you make some containers of your own, link up so we can see!
This past weekend, I was asked a question that I confess I have been asked before: What can you do to facilitate a rotating art collection? Put another way, what can you do if you’re indecisive, and you can’t figure out what you want to hang above your buffet? Even more pressing, what if your mother drops in once a week with very little notice, and she faints at the sight of nudes, which are the only thing you would hang on the wall, if given the choice?
The answer, of course, depends upon the size of the art you are displaying, but here’s one great answer: You still plant a nail in the wall, but instead of hanging a canvas, you hang a plate stand.
What’s a plate stand? It’s this doohickey, which is also commonly referred to as a tabletop stand and a tabletop easel.
The advantage of hanging this, instead of a simple nail, is that the plate stand creates a “floor” for your artwork, rather than a “ceiling.” Let’s look at this problem from another angle: If I change out an 8×10 for a 5×7, I will almost certainly want the top of each piece to be at a different height. The 5×7, after all, will have an awkward gap between the bottom of the canvas and – say – the light switch. Hanging the plate stand means that I don’t have to create a new hole in my wall if I decide to change my art every day, or even every hour. This plate stand might cost you $5-$7, but it will save you serious time in nailing, re-nailing, and spackling.
Here, for example, are two canvases, one portrait, and one landscape, one 9×11, one 8×10. Both look equally good, as does a 5×7.
I can’t guarantee that this will solve all of your problems, since mothers can be maelstroms unto themselves, but this is a start. Ladies and gentlemen, start rotating!
Okay so my quest to do two per week is failing, much like my quest for the Holy Grail. Or the world’s perfect taco. SO. Two per week starting NEXT week. This I so swear! Or something. I’m going to go have a taco.
This week the challenge is to do black and white. It was our group challenge this week on Artistcellar, so I figured.. two birds.. one nuclear bomb… you know. You can ROCK IT.
Here have a couple of close ups:
And a picture in its natural habitat, i.e., on the shelf above my couch, hanging out with a Minecraft witch and Princess Bubblegum:
Here’s this week’s video. Short and sweet.
My list of challenges is dwindling, so, if you’ve got a challenge for me, I’d love to hear it!
I don’t know about you, but I watch So You Think You Can Dance faithfully. In honor of this week’s finale – say it with me, just like Cat Deeley: finale – I decided to draw #58 from our list of 100 Things to Draw When You’re Bored: a dancing hippo.
I’m pretty sure that hippo would be told to shut its face.
Next up this week is #22, “My Secret Addiction,” which is that I SNIFF THE STAZ-ON. I know we’re not supposed to! I know it fries our brains! I can’t help myself! It smells amazing!
If you don’t know what Staz-On is, that’s probably better. (Okay, it’s ink. And it doesn’t smudge. And you shouldn’t smell it.)
A couple of months back, I bought a cute pin cushion bracelet with a metal base. Unfortunately, it wasn’t too long before I knocked it against a doorjamb, snapping off the top like a crisp orange carrot. All attempts to glue Humpty Dumpty back together again ended in heartbreak, so I decided to make – and share – a pattern for a “wakey, wakey, eggs & bakey” pin cushion bracelet that absolutely, positively WILL NOT BREAK. Or break your heart!
Sunny yolk yellow
Optional but highly recommended: Pale red / pink (for bacon fat)
A baby food jar lid, the lid from a jar of salsa, even a circle cut from chipboard – anything hard and circular that will fit inside the egg and form a barrier to protect your wrist from getting poked by a needle or pin (ouch!)
Red thread (or heck, black thread, which is what I used because I don’t have any red in the house)
A snap to serve as the bracelet closure*
*You can also do a button closure, but I’ll leave it to you to work out the method
The egg portion of the bracelet is worked in the round without joining rows, amigurumi style.
In YELLOW: MR5 or sc 2, 5sc in 2nd st from hook
1. 2sc each (10)
2. (Sc next, 2sc next) x5 (15)
3. (Sc next 2, 2sc next) x5 (20)
4. (Sc next 3, 2sc next) x5 (25)
5-6. Sc around for 2 rows, changing color to WHITE on last st of Row 6 (25 for 2 rows)
7. FLO: Sc around (25)
8. (Sc next 4, 2sc next) x5 (30)
9. (Sc next 5, 2sc next) x5 (35)
10. (Sc next 6, 2sc next) x5 (40)
11. Sc next 6, HDC next 8, sc next 4, DC next 17, HDC next, sc next 3, sl st last (40)
12. BLO: Sc around (40)
** STOP: Stuff yolk. Insert barrier, then continue with Row 13.**
13. (Sc next 6, sc2tog) x5 (35)
14. (Sc next 5, sc2tog) x5 (30)
15. (Sc next 4, sc2tog) x5 (25)
16. (Sc next 3, sc2tog) x5 (20)
17. (Sc next 2, sc2tog) x5 (15)
18. (Sc next, sc2tog) x5 (10)
19. F/O, leaving tail
Weave tail through remaining 10 stitches, then pull tight.
Join RED yarn to (any) open loop on Row 11 of Fried Egg (i.e. the edge of the egg).
Sc next 5 in red.
1. Ch 1, sc next 5.
Repeat Row 1 at least 19 more times – or simply repeat Row 1, without counting rows, checking the strap against the width of your own wrist. When you have achieved the proper size for your wrist, F/O and weave in ends.
Using your needle and thread, sew half of your snap to the underside of the egg, and the other half to the bacon strap. Be sure you are sewing the snaps on in the correct positions so they will indeed fit together when you’re finished.
So far, so cute – but what really makes the bracelet is a bit of surface crocehting.
To do this:
Start at the very end of the bacon strip.
Hold your pale red / pink yarn underneath the strip.
Insert your hook from above and pull the yarn up.
Insert your hook in the next stitch, pull the yarn up through the strap, then pull it through the loop that’s on the hook, just like a slip stitch.
Keep going – and feel free to make your line weave back and forth, just like real bacon fat.
I recommend doing this three times, but it’s your bacon; you can do what you like!
A few years back, 7Gypsies released a line of “Artist Printer’s Trays” that held 9 Artist Trading Cards. They were super cool, but at $25-$30 a pop, it was difficult to justify buying 217 of them, which is a minimally exaggerated version of the number I wanted to own.
On a trip to Michaels recently, I discovered that if you don’t mind having a cheap balsa-wood imitation of this tray, you can get it for under $10 – and if you have a coupon, it’s almost like you’re stealing. Once you have it, of course, you can then customize it to fit the decor in your room, the collection of cards you want to display, the banana pepper shake you had with dinner – whatever!
I decided to fill this one with nine ATCs by one single phenomenally talented artist, a woman named Carolyn who enjoys a lot of the same geeky things I enjoy, like Farscape, Stargate: Atlantis, and Star Trek. What I love about the harlequin pattern I painted on the tray is that from across the room, when I’m sitting on the futon and the light is right, the shadowbox looks dimensional, as if the white boxes were popping out and the black boxes were receding.
My inner 12-year-old will never get tired of typing that.
Greetings! This week it’s time to break out the colored pencils, chalk, pastels, graphite, charcoal, and whatever other dry mediums you have in your arsenal. Like an overcooked chicken breast, keep it dry. I used Golden’s pastel ground to prime my canvas (with a bit of acrylic mixed in to give it color) and then went to town with colored pencils and PanPastels.
I actually started this canvas two weeks ago with the intention of turning it into a sketch journal with toned pages (which I will still do… not that I’ll have time to sketch in the next two months, so NO RUSH, RIGHT!?!?) for following along with SketchDailies on Twitter.
Fun little freaks.
PanPastels are great to use with stencils (and the whole reason I bought them). They go on smooth and easy!
Just be sure to hit it with fixative.
They’re staring at you!
The thing I really like about colored pencil is the control, such a contrast from last week’s watercolor painting.
I’ll be back with another video/canvas on Sunday! Two a week if it kills me! xo!
In keeping with my “no guilt free patterns” line of thinking, I’m not even going to apologize for missing last week (okay I totally am.. sorry about that!). Last time I gave you a ‘zombies rock’ mini, this week it’s all about the brains.
Look, I actually stitched this one, and it is TINY when you use 18-count Aida. On 14-count it measures about 1.25 inches, so still pretty wee. But it works up super quick!