Thursday, July 28, 2011

Almost Ready for the Primetime Emmy Awards Gift Lounge!

As I've hunkered down to finish the up prepping for my participation in the GBK Productions' Gift Lounge, I figured I'd do a fly-by post. Now, I've already posted a pic of the VHS/yarn wristlets here, so I won't do that again. Those are going into the press bags.

Because I couldn't come up with something to make 100 of, I decided to do gift certificates for the celebrity swag bags.

Don't they look fantastic! Loving the work The BeezKneez did on these and the stickers.

There's also a special-made mini-tote that'll be making it's way to Hollywood... I'm hoping that it goes over well. :) It's crocheted primarily out of newspaper bags. The lining has a sparkly shine to it.

As soon as I get a box large enough for everything, it'll be on it's way to sunny California!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Clover Stone Designs & Me

In my line of fun... I mean WORK, I've had the privilege of *meeting* many talented artisans. My involvement with The Artisan Group ("TAG") has taken this to a whole new level. Through TAG, I've met incredible business-minded people who have so much creativity and a genuine interest in sharing that I'm surprised we all haven't exploded from the mass input of combined knowledge yet.

That said, I was extremely fortunate to become friends with Stephi Williams, who is the creative mind behind Clover Stone Designs. By extremely fortunate, I mean, this woman has almost too much talent and creativity for one little person!

I owe her my new website and blog designs. (More to come in a different post about the redesign.) But, I'm also in love with her jewelry. Simple boho-style, perfect for everyday. I'm a simple kind of gal, so I enjoy her offerings all the more.

I'm in love with the color teal. My wedding was teal, ivory and black (we won't discuss how long ago that was). When I saw this piece, I had to have it!

Then, because she knew that military was near and dear to my heart, this military support bracelet was in my package, too!

Now, eventually I'll get out of her something else that I can make for her (she was my guinea pig for an upcycled change purse), but for now, I'll enjoy my wonderful Clover Stone Design pieces. I should also mention that she's getting ready for a big relaunch, so stay tuned!

Shop Clover Stone Designs
See her blog

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Letting Go...

This past weekend my grandmother in Denmark passed away quite suddenly. She was 92, lived a long life and went in her sleep -- exactly how she wanted. I hadn't seen her in over 20 years, cause it's a pretty expensive trip, but I'll always be grateful to her for teaching me to crochet when I was a little girl.

I remember some great times and some not-so-great times. She was a dynamic woman who folk danced and bicycled everywhere til she was around 88 years old. She was as sharp as a tack until the day she died. She passed a little over a year after my grandfather (who was also in his 90's).

I hope that they are at peace, together again and happy.

Love you, Mormor...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Crocheting in Different Mediums (or The 'Neat' Ideas I Get From Nikki)

Contrary to (my friends') popular belief, I cannot crochet in all mediums, nor do I intend to (you'll see why soon enough). I've had one think that I can crochet with dental floss (smiles to Ashley). Now, I probably could, but why? Does anyone really want a spearmint smelling, waxy doily? I have another who will likely run screaming to the hills if I start crocheting tree branches. (Yes, she said tree branches.) I'm good, but I'm not that good!

The best ever comes from Nikki. How she manages to find some of the most disgusting mediums to show me is beyond me. (Ok, fine, she sees them on Regretsy.)

Like this, crocheted and painted gum --

Or this, crocheted from human hair (with fingernails, too) --

So, I've decided that I actually enjoy the laughs I get from Nikki's adventures in Regretsy. She's smart, talented and has a superb sense of humor. Go check out her shop -- 13 Black Cat Designs.

I promise you there's nothing gross there! LOL

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Creativity & VHS Tape

As I'm finishing up the last touches on my Emmy wristlet clutches, I began to ponder whether one is born creative or can it be learned. I felt oh-so-creative after reading some of the comments when Kathryn of Crochet Concupiscence followed up her first blog post on TDD with one about the Emmy wristlets (see it here). Then it got me to thinking. Am I really creative, or did it come with practice?

Part of my brand of creativity comes from a lot of practice, and I dream about designs and stuff. I actually was awakened this morning with the idea for this blog post.

Ok, back to the wristlets. My journey with upcycling VHS tape took a few months. Almost like trying to create a new recipe, it was about trying things, discarding them, then trying again to get that perfect melding of ingredients in the right amount for the right finished product. I looked around the internet to see what others might be doing. I really didn't see anything I was loving, so I designed my own purse. There are no pictures of that purse... on purpose. It's not that the design was horrible, it squeaked like you would not believe! I also didn't think it was as strong as I would have liked.

So, I experimented. First, I decided that the next big fashion thing would be a VHS tape/yarn belt. HA!

The belt

Then I decided to do an evening clutch that was lined - better response to that.

Evening Clutch with Yarn and VHS tape

And so it goes. It's all about trial and error. When I was thinking of what I could do for the press bags at the Emmys, I received great input from my colleagues in The Artisan Group, and decided to do wristlet clutches. These wristlets are a smaller version of the evening clutch and crocheted vinyl cord for the wrist loop. With smaller purse magnets and reclaimed fabric remnants, everything came together quite nicely. I also learned that it's much better to use VHS tape that's shiny on both sides (keeps your fingers cleaner and lends a better sparkle).

The Emmy Wristlet Clutch

So, am I naturally creative, or do I just practice a lot? Now that I've written this, I'm thinking it's a combination of both.

Friday, July 1, 2011

10,000 Hours

Ten thousand hours. Well, what about it?

In Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: The Story of Success, he writes that the number of hours of practice that it takes to become expert in something is 10,000 hours.

I was happy to hear this because I can call myself an expert crochet artisan now. :) After years (and years and years) of 'practice' - making things, ripping them out, re-doing it, ripping it out, etc., I know that I have that 10,000 hours. Now, this doesn't mean that the ultimate goal has been met. In order to continue at a high level of whatever you do, you have to continue practicing.

There are so many pieces of knowledge and insight that Gladwell has written about that are truly out-of-the-box thinking - in this and his other books - that all I can say is - read the books!

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