May 16, 2016

Bougainvillea Bower

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I just love how these bowers of bougainvillea blossom all over the city!

May 13, 2016

Pet Pictures

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 This is our little Mochi cat all worn out sleeping with her head resting on my drying mat! Not where I like her to lay, but too cute not to snap a picture.
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 Peanut always looks guilty when we take her picture.
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 Mochi, you don't fit in that basket, silly kitty!
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 Mochi decided to nap in my lettuce pot.
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We went to the groomer to get Peanut a trim and she got shaved instead. Poor naked puppy!

May 11, 2016

Noodles in the Making

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 I pass this noodle marker on the way back and forth to the eye hospital. Sometimes I just stop and watch because seeing those noodles being bounced and stretched and twisted before being dropped in hot water is just so interesting. I've never seen a woman flipping noodles. My guess is that long arms are an important requirement.
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In the States, what is called lo mein is a derivative of la mian which is literally "spicy noodles" and absolutely nothing like lo mein in the US. La mian is often eaten as breakfast here and usually has a topping of pickled vegetables or greens. So good. I could eat a bowl right now.

May 3, 2016

Kitchen Sketching




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April 21, 2016

A Crocheted Hottie

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Well, according to my sources, a "hottie" is the British term for a hot water bottle cozy and it's much less of a mouthful to say. I didn't use a pattern, though. I just crocheted a long enough piece to wrap around the bottle, sewed the three sides and added a top bit to fold over for buttons.

After my foundation row, I just skipped four stitches, made four stitches in one space, chained one, and continued to the end. For the next row, I worked four chains into each space. I think maybe it needs a crocheted flower though, but it does serve it's purpose to keep the hot water bottle from being too hot against my skin.

April 20, 2016

Beehive Cowl

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This cowl was made because I had one skein of this yarn and I wanted to use it up so much. It wasn't really enough for a lot of projects so I settled on a cowl. Unfortunately, I do not remember what needles I used or how many stitches I cast on. But, all I did was alternate between knitting and purling going about five rows each before switching.

It worked great, but I like my cowls much looser than this one turned out. I wish I had written down how many stitches I cast on, because I think adding another 15-25 would be perfect for me. Although, I'd probably need two balls of yarn. So, this cowl will be gifted. This was a terrific mindless knit though.

Ravelry Page.

April 19, 2016

Tablet Cozy

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This is the Tablet Cozy by Kristin Nicholas. It's actually a free pattern on Ravelry. I used some Peace Fleece Yarn I had in my stash. I didn't have a whole lot of colors to choose from and these three were the only ones I had that I thought I could make work together. However, I'm really happy with how it turned out. It also works great for keeping my tablet protected. I do have a silicone cover for it which helps. This just adds some screen protection when I have it in my bag.

The painting in the background is a work in progress. It's upside down and was inspired by the lotus blossoms in bloom at Green Lake. But, I can't quite figure out where to go with it next. In the meantime, it makes a great background for showcasing knitting.

Kristin Nicholas makes all kinds of amazing knitting patterns, in particular, colorwork. If you are interested in knitting colorwork, check out her books. She has two different books on color knitting. And, most recently, she has a book called Crafting a Colorful Home. This book has all kinds of craft patterns including knitting, crochet, painting, and others. But, best of all, it includes pictures of her colorful home.

One of my favorite things about Kristin Nicholas is that she dabbles in and excels in multiple crafts. I also love playing with multiple crafts, learning new crafts, and I have a huge list of things I'd like to learn to do. Kristin Nicholas is the kind of crafter I aspire to be. If you love color and crafting, you will love her books and blog as much as I love this pattern of hers.

Ravelry Page.

April 14, 2016

Homemade Stencils

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 Saving cardboard food boxes to use in craft projects saves money and you can do so much with them. One thing I use them for is homemade stencils.
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 If you have paper punches, they make stencils so easy to make. And, the punch-outs can be used as masks, too!
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Making your own stencils opens up a whole new world of crafting fun. They don't last as long as actual stencils, but you can reuse them several times.

April 13, 2016

Crochet Cane Cozy

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 I used my cane quite a bit while in the US. I knew I was going to take it with me and I wanted to dress it up a bit so I put together this cane cozy. I had so many complete strangers comment on it or even ask if they could take a picture of it which surprised me.

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 I made the main part with simple single crochet rows. I did two rows of each color before switching. To figure out how many stitches to use, I wrapped it around the bottom of the cane which was the widest point and made sure it fit fairly loosely since I knew I would have to sew up the edges and weave in the ends. I used the ends to sew up the edge which, in retrospect, I think it would be better to weave in the ends and then sew the edge with a single color.

Once I had a long, rectangular piece, I used slip stitch to make a green vine from the bottom to the top. I also added a top piece to go over the top of the cane handle both to hold it in place and to add a bit of padding to the handle. After I had the vine finished, I added crocheted flowers.
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Then, I sewed the edge closed. My cane comes apart in the middle which made it possible to slide the cozy on easily. I could not get it over the rubber tip without taking the cane apart. If you have a cane that does not come apart, you might need to make it wider. Additionally, I used some scrap thread to pull the bottom tight above the rubber tip. This keeps it from being slippery and keeps it a little cleaner.

Hope that helps if you're wanting to make one of your own. You could also yarn bomb walkers or even wheelchairs. One caveat, if you need to be able to wash it frequently, I think I would recommend using some snaps or buttons to make it easier to go on and come off for cleaning.

April 12, 2016

Would You...Could You...On a Train?


I came across this photo recently and decided to post it. This is a hat I was knitting two years ago on the train ride between Tianjin and Beijing. Their was a little tray that pulled out that was perfect.

Knitting is always packed when we travel and usually more than one project comes with. Circular needles are also good travel companions since they don't roll away sending you crawling through the bus or boat or train or plane or whatever mode of travel you are on.

The drink is a Vitamin C lemonade we get here. It also comes in grapefruit flavor which I also like. No pictures of the train. I did get a picture, but there were people in it and they didn't look happy about being photographed so I'm leaving it off.

Anyway, I just thought this was a fun photo. On our next school trip, I shall try to remember to have pictures taken of my knitting in different places...just for fun.

April 11, 2016

Teapot

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 I save trash. Well, maybe not trash trash, but stuff most people would throw away. Cardboard box... don't throw that away! I can use it to make ATCs or pattern templates or stencils. Plastic lids become paint palettes. Cough drops and mint tins are used to store other items. And the wire from spiral notebooks? You never know what you can use that for. I go through quite a few notebooks in the course of a year, so I always have some extra notebook wires around.

It came in handy when I found this cute teapot in the market for Y10. That's about $1.50. It didn't have a handle though so I made one with some spiral notebook wire. Quick, easy, inexpensive and it's a really cute teapot. I should go make some tea.

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April 10, 2016

Watercolor Cherry Trees

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This was a watercolor painting I did after going to the Kunming Zoo to see the cherry blossoms in the spring. I also used the end of a paintbrush to making the leaf/petal feel to the painting. I think I'd like to play with this style of painting a little more.

April 4, 2016

Zakka Pincushion

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 Isn't this pincushion cute? You can never have enough pincushions. I need to make a bunch more because I should have multiple pincushions in every room. It would totally be safer for everyone.
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 The pattern was from Zakka Style which is such a cute book. I bought it used several years ago from someone returning to the US. I haven't made anything else from it, yet, but there are several other projects I have my eyes on.
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Don't you love those bright colors?

April 2, 2016

Sea Art Quilt

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 I thought I'd already posted about my sea art quilt, but I couldn't find the post, so I must not have. I absolutely loved working on this piece. I used thread to crochet the circles.
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 I made up the quote since I couldn't find one I liked. It says, "Even one little fish swimming in a vast ocean can make waves." Quite often, I've been accused of swimming against the tide because I tend to do things a little differently.
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 I added quite a bit of different stitches and threads and beads on this art piece. The whole thing was layered linen and a batik piece although I used a homespun cotton check piece for the borders and backing because it was the only piece of fabric I had that wold remotely work. However, I ended up really liking it.
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It also has five little silver fish beads with one swimming against all the others.

April 1, 2016

25 Creative Things to Do in April

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1. Go to a thrift store and look for wool sweaters to felt, interesting fabrics in clothes, old sewing patterns to use in an art journal, or other items to use creatively.

2. Buy an unusual and inexpensive color of nail polish or eye shadow to try out.

3. Try a new ethnic recipe that strikes your fancy.

4. Sketch those vegetables before you cut them up for dinner. Same goes for fruit.

5. Draw 12 circles on a blank piece of paper. Now add facial features to them.

6. Take your coffee or tea outside and enjoy your surroundings.

7. Bring some flowers inside to sketch.

8. Try a new knitting/crochet/embroidery stitch out.

9. Take a second look at your trash. I use bottle caps to paint circles, cut bottles in half for paint cups, glue yarn scraps into my art journal, collage with fabric scraps, use can tabs to hang canvas boards, and use teabags in fiber art. What can you use your trash for?

10. Rummage through your closet for worn-out clothing or clothes you don't wear. Cut them up and sew them into something new: a bag, a quilt, a chair cushion, a pot holder.

11. Dip your fingers in paint and spread it on the paper. Enjoy the texture.

12. Try a new flavor of coffee or tea.

13. Try a scarf in your hair, don your biggest earrings and most swirl-worthy skirt and be a gypsy for a day.

14. Paint a mini canvas and doodle on it with correction fluid.

15. Draw a dozen different hearts on a page and decorate each differently.

16. Next time you're using a broom or vacuum or just washing dishes, try singing loudly while you do the task. Enjoy it.

17. Wear two colors together that you normally wouldn't: red and yellow, purple and teal, pink and green, orange and pink, orange and green. Unless you're like me and regularly wear these colors together in which case, try experimenting with a monotone look.

18. Get out the graph paper and experiment with color patterns for knitting, cross-stitch, or quilting.

19. Paint a flower using only your fingers.

20. Paint or color with the youngest person around.

21. Make your own stencils out of cereal boxes.

22. Draw or doodle your favorite poem.

23. Write a short story.

24. Write or draw with your non-dominant hand.

25. Create a character out of collaged torn paper scraps.

March 31, 2016

Spring Flowers in Kunming

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March 30, 2016

Local Wildlife


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 On a recent walk in a nearby park, we were able to capture some shots of local wildlife. This little guy seemed perfectly content to hang upside down for a bit.
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 Geese? I think they must be although I didn't realize geese were sometimes white. I thought that was just a duck. Except for the weird head knot thing.
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I've no idea what this fellow is, but he is so pretty among the cherry blossoms, isn't he?

March 25, 2016

Granny Stripe Afghan


 Lucy of Attic 24 has a terrific tutorial for a Granny Stripe Afghan. I worked on this afghan last year and when I came back from the States, I was looking at it and just really felt that it wasn't moving along as quickly as I felt it should. So, I draped it over the bed and I had puddles of afghan on both sides. It would have been huge on a king-size bed and we have a full-size. No wonder it was taking so long!

Ripping out what I had already done because the yarn I'm using is acrylic and tangles easily. I would not recommend this, but I cut it in half. Yep, took out my scissors and chopped it down the middle. Then, I stitched up the sides as best I could and called it done. It works great as a couch cover that I don't care if the cat or dog sleeps on.

Now, however, I want to make another afghan. This next one's going to be a bit smaller than the last one though.

Ravelry page.

March 24, 2016

Pleasant Words

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One of my favorite cross-stitch pieces at home.

March 22, 2016

Dragon Screen in Beihai Park

 These pictures are of the dragon screen in Beihai Park, but I've also seen the one in the Forbidden City. There are others as well. I find them fascinating both for their historical and cultural value as well as their aesthetics.
 Historically, it is said that the Chinese people descended from the dragon or the emperor and that there were nine sons of the dragon. These screens each depict nine dragons. Incidentally, these nine dragons are represented differently and are used in different ways. The crying dragon is found atop bells and the musical dragon on musical instruments, for instance. There is even a turtle-like dragon that is said to like carrying heavy things and these are often placed under tombstones as if they were carrying them on their backs.

Also, the Chinese dragons are more snake-like in body than their western counterparts. These dragons are said to have parts of multiple animals such as the antlers of a deer and the head of a horse or the scales of a carp. Supposedly when the dragon descended from heaven he was very promiscuous and had many mates which resulted in passing down multiple forms to his children.
 Chinese dragons are also said to have dwelt in the water and to have had control of water, floods, rains, and storms. And the small ball most Chinese dragons are depicted with are said to be flaming pearls representative of wisdom and power.
But, most fascinating to me at least is the detail and color in these screens which are made up of many tiny tiles. The work and craftsmanship as well as eye for detail is amazing. They almost look as if they could come to life at any moment.


March 18, 2016

Paperclay

 Rubber stamps and mini cookie cutters make terrific tools for using with Paperclay.
 Paper clips inserted through the top of cut-outs make great loops for pendants or charms. After these dried, I painted them with watercolors. Somewhere, I have pictures.

Paperclay really dries out your skin, so I kept a damp cloth nearby. It was really easy to work with and I was very happy with the results.