Friday, October 02, 2009

Benefit for Prune Belly Syndrome

TinkerAndPo was looking for folks to donate items for a benefit auction for Prune Belly, a devastating illness that kills 20% of infants before they are born and 30% within two years due to kidney problems.

I decided to donate a 5"x7" painting that I'm currently working on. It's a smaller version of one I finished earlier in the month, Mountain Stream.

Mountain Stream

Read about Prune Belly and the benefit at Prune Belly Syndrome. If you can't afford to bid on items in the auction, please consider making a small donation on the site (and be included in some raffles as a result). Every little bit helps.

I've recently donated to diabetes research and pancreatic cancer research but since I'm not always able to donate money to more causes (even if I'd like to), being able to donate an item to auction off is just one way I can help.

This month, I'm also working on getting donations for the American Diabetes Association. My paternal grandmother died from complications due to diabetes and my mother's older sister is suffering from diabetes and the results of having it for so long.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Halloween painting ...

New painting completed from the September class, titled "Welcome Home" ... Everyone's happy to see me come home except one troublemaker! Next month's class is a fall scene, with a pumpkin patch.

Welcome Home

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A few paintings to show off

It's been a couple of months since I last posted but I haven't been slacking off, I guarantee that!

First off, I've been getting ready for the Fall Issue of Crochet Uncut. I've been having trouble accessing the site, along with Salt City Gifts, and the hosting company determined that there were two scripts being run on other accounts that were taking up all the CPU. So they were disabled. A few days later, the same problem came up and they found another script using up all the CPU. Everything was fine for several days, then lo and behold, it happened again. So the hosting company moved my sites to a brand spankin' new server ... Of course, this has put me behind on the Fall issue, but so far so good on the site access.

I've also taken two more classes from Jon McNaughton and finished the paintings - which you can see below. Click on the images to see larger versions on my Flickr gallery.

This painting is called "Hollyhock Path" and while I still can't get the hollyhock stalks right yet (they're too "lush"), I'm still quite happy with it. There was also supposed to be a little girl on the path, but I decided not to put her in on this one.

Hollyhock Path
Acrylic on masonite, 11x14

This next one, I'm not so happy with when it comes to the aspens (too uniform) and the clouds, but I love the mountains, pines, and stream - so I guess it balances out. This one is called "Mountain Stream."

Mountain Stream
Acrylic on masonite, 11x14

This next painting I went out on my own, kinda, using a lesson from Inspirations Vol. Two by Jerry Yarnell. I mixed his directions with my own style and some of Jon McNaughton's techniques and, so far, this is my favorite painting. This painting is called "Resting Wren."

Resting Wren
Acrylic on masonite, 11x14

The class for September is a Halloween scene, October is a pumpkin patch, November is a Christmas scene, and December is a head study. Jon's also hoping to have a 3-day workshop next year on painting figures and I told him that if he did, I'd definitely take the three days off work to take the workshop.

I've been paying about $3.50 per masonite panel at Provo Art & Frame and while that's not a bad price (especially with my discount), it still adds up. I spent about $35 last weekend on ten 11x14 panels so this weekend, I decided to go to Lowes. There I found 4'x8' sheets of masonite and for a $9 cutting fee along with 4 panels, I paid $44 for the following (odd sizes were from scrap left after cutting the main sizes):

Main sizes:
  • 5" x 7" - 48 panels
  • 8" x 10" - 27 panels
  • 11" x 14" - 71 panels
Scrap sizes:
  • 4.5" x 8" - 3 panels
  • 5" x 9" - 4 panels
  • 10" x 11" - 4 panels
  • 10.75" x 11" - 4 panels
  • 11" x 11.25" - 3 panels
  • 3" x 24" scraps
So now I have plenty of panels to do lots of paintings with. I'm planning on using the smaller panels to practice painting flowers on. I figure the small size will let me do one or two flowers without overdoing it. If I had purchased the main panels at the art store, I'd have paid $356 plus tax.

I'll post my progress here as I go and you can also keep an eye on my Flickr gallery to see what's been completed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Getting back into the painting groove

I've been extremely busy lately but finally have a few minutes to post something.

The Summer issue of Crochet Uncut has been published and it is a very nice issue with plenty of patterns and articles. Go check it out!

Last week I took a two day painting class from Jon McNaughton, a local Provo artist. He does a lot of gorgeous landscapes but his religious art is absolutely breathtaking. I've been wanting to get back into painting since I haven't done anything since 1983 unless it was a digital painting or painting on nested dolls.

Anyway, I finished the painting from class and varnished it last night.

Barn With Flowers

Click on the image to see larger versions if you'd like.

As soon as the varnish is dry, this painting will be on its way to my father for Father's Day.

I've started a second painting, same scene, so I can practice more and improve my techniques. I enjoy using acrylics as there are far fewer smells and stuff that can make me ill.

I'd really like to take one of Jon's three-day workshops, but I'd have to take three days vacation in order to do so. Maybe next year?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No spinning for me and flying yarn

I've been asked when I'm going to start spinning to which I answered, "Never!" - not because I don't want to but because I cannot handle another hobby. It's hard enough working a full-time job, doing contract work, publishing an e-zine, crocheting, designing, knitting, and now dying yarn, while trying too keep up with my cross stitching, weaving, pysanky, sewing, and painting nested dolls! Oh, and don't forget finding time to do my artwork ...

Anyway, I was balling up my Mango Madness yarn last night because I didn't like the way it had re-skeined on the swift and wanted to redo it on my warping board. I was trying to keep the yarn loose so it would come out easily and the first skein went very well, no problems. The second skein was doing well, behaving, etc. and I was watching the pretty colors fly by, turning the handle on the ball winder ... fun! However, I was apparently turning too fast and not holding the yarn with enough tension and suddenly I saw a flash go in front of my face and land on the floor. After a moment of shock, I noticed that the ball winder was empty and there on the floor was the half finished ball of yarn! (sigh) So I had to untangle it and start over. This time I made sure that I had more tension on the yarn and it behaved this time.

I also re-skeined the yarn I'd dyed over the weekend. The colors started with a yellow on one end but it ended up too muddy even though I only put a couple drops of black in the dye mix. So, I dumped some red dye in the pot (don't ask how much, I don't know as I just added dye until it looked pretty) and dumped the rest of the skein in the pot.

And this is the result, which my sister named "Lobster Bisque" and has a bit of a burnt orange mixed in where the original icky yellow used to be:


Not too bad for a "ewwwww ... fix it" dye job!

This is using a Knit Picks Bare yarn and it is available for purchase (two skeins available) in my etsy shop along with the two skeins of Mango Madness.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Yarn therapy needed

I think I need some therapy to get over my addiction for learning new things ... like dying yarn.

My first attempt at dying was Skacel Merino Lace, 1375 yards in a gorgeous green. Of course, as I was trying to wind the finished skein into a cake, my swift decided to start sticking which meant that the ball was too tight and I had to re-ball it. Lovely, soft stuff. I'm hoping to design a wrap for it.

Here's the yarn hanging up to dry:


And after being made into a fairly nice cake:


So that was on the 19th and 20th. Over this last weekend, I dyed two skeins of Trekking sock yarn. One was Wool/Nylon while the other was Wool/Bamboo. I put an extra knot on one of the ties so I could tell which one it was and promptly forgot which one it was.

Here is the yarn in the glass pan after I had nuked it:


This is the one I think in the nylon mix:


And the one I think is the bamboo mix:


My sister said they looked like mangos, so I called this colorway "Mango Madness."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Taxes and stuff

Taxes are done! I'd put doing them off until the very last day, partly because I knew that my sister and I would both owe a ton of money and partly because I'd lost most of the W-2s and 1099s. So, on the 14th and 15th, I was frantically going through every pile of mail I could find to no avail. Finally, about 9:50 pm on the 15th, I saw an afghan on a box and picked it up to find all the missing paperwork - Woot! Thankfully, I still had plenty of time to do both of our federal and state returns on

In other news, remember that I'll be on the Getting Loopy podcast on Monday, 4/20. I hope you'll listen in join in the chat!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lime & Violet

I have become addicted to Lime & Violet ... I started at the last episode and am working my way back to the beginning. So far I am to episode 61. I've been downloading each podcast (to save on bandwidth) and listening as I work.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Getting Loopy and other stuff

I'm usually a very mellow individual, not much gets me excited or angry, but every so often something happens that makes me totally giddy. I've been listening to the archived podcasts at Getting Loopy and PM'd Mary Beth on Ravelry telling her that I'd been listening to them at work. While I love my work as a tech writer, it can be pretty tedious at times and having something cool to listen to helps the day go faster. Anyway, MB asked me to be her guest on Getting Loopy on April 20th to talk about Crochet Uncut and whatever else comes up. If I weren't so tired right now, I'd be squeeing.

Besides work, I've been keeping busy with several projects, one of which is continuing to set up my craft room. I still have a lot of stuff in boxes, especially books and haven't yet been able to get my looms and sewing desk in there. Soon my precious ... soon ...

Another project has been rendering the Flamie awards in larger sizes and printing them out for the winners who want them. I had to go buy all new ink cartridges since the ones in the printer had been there since before I'd moved to Utah and had dried up. I figure I can get about 10 awards printed before I have to change cartridges again. The ink isn't easy to find since the printer has been replaced with a newer version and I've only been able to find them at Office Max for about $15 each. Since I need 7 different colors (not including the gloss cartridge), that's $105 for the ink plus the photo paper, cardboard, envelopes, and shipping. I'm only charging $10 per printout, $18 if the person won two awards, so I'm actually losing a bit on this deal but it is totally worth it!

A third project has been updating my art website, Fignations of Imaginment. It's been a very long time since I've added anything to it and I never actually finished the previous revamp. I figured it was time to finish it up and get rid of some old stuff that isn't useful anymore. I'd forgotten that my Bryce preset pages were still there and since the files are now included as default presets in Bryce since version 5.5, the pages need to be deleted from the server. It's not like it hasn't been two years already.

Oh, something else - since I've caught up on the Getting Loopy podcasts, I've started downloading and listening to Lime & Violet and thankfully have 85 episodes to get through. I was able to listen to three of them today and spent too much time laughing and trying to do it without bothering my office mates. I'm totally addicted already.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Mystery Laceweight Shawl CAL

I've joined my first real crochet along at Ravelry, the Mystery Laceweight Shawl CAL '09 by Tracey McCorkle. I'm using the Knit Picks Shadow yarn in Spring Green that I was going to use for the Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery KAL last year but decided against doing until I'm a more accomplished knitter. I meant to keep track of how long each clue takes me but I forgot for the first clue so I'll need to redo it with some scrap yarn to get the time.

Clue 1 was released on 3/1/09 and here is my completed clue for rounds 1 through 4:


Clue 2 was released on 3/8/09 and it took 45 minutes to complete rounds 5 through 7:


I'm hoping to one day be able to design my own shawl and this is excellent practice, plus, I'll have a gorgeous shawl in my favorite color once it is completed!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Crochet Uncut Spring 2009 Issue Released

The Spring 2009 issue of Crochet Uncut has just been published! The issue includes articles dealing with hand/arm health and being an LYS-friendly crocheter, reviews of Tunision Crochet: True Entrelec Diamonds by Angela "ARNie" Grabowski and Crochet Bouquet by Suzann Thompson, two Q&A items on turning chains and twisting yarn, and six patterns ranging from Spring puppets, to an end of winter hat to a Spring scarf and kerchief!

Check out the issue and then queue them up on their Ravelry project pages!

Friday, February 27, 2009

2009 Crochet Award Mesh Images

As promised earlier today, here are the mesh images of the 2009 Crochet Awards "statue" and CLF Logo:

First, here's the CLF Logo, the rendered image and then the mesh image:

And the award statuette:

You can see larger versions in my Flickr photostream in the CLF set.

I've been stalked!!!

And yes, it is a good think in this case .. I got an e-mail that a set of my nested dolls up for sale on etsy had been included in a post on nested dolls at Etsy Stalker ... so cool!


2009 Crochet Awards - Hook the Vote!

The Crochet Liberation Front is hosting their first ever crochet awards, the 'Flamies' and voting is now open. If you crochet (or knit) and would like to vote for your favorite crochet designer, patter, magazine, etc., then please do. The online magazine I publish, Crochet Uncut, is up for best online magazine ... too exciting!

Vote for the 2009 Crochet Awards!!!!

Read about the Awards on the CLF Blog

I also designed the award using 3D items: Victoria 4 and her Fantasy Wrap from, a crochet hook a friend modeled for me since I didn't have Cinema 4D on the computer I was working on, and a ball of yarn I made in Bryce 6. After I made the ball of yarn in Bryce 6, I launched DAZ Studio from inside Bryce, then imported the crochet hook and the ball of yarn into Studio. I posed the figure, placing the hook in her right hand and the ball of yarn in her left hand like scepters. I selected the fantasy wrap to give her a kind of "every crocheter's fantasy" look, short hair (modern woman), and bare feet (tradition). I then closed Studio and the figure was imported into Bryce automatically. I deleted the imported ball of yarn from Studio then resized the original ball of yarn to fit into her hand and placed it back into her left hand. Next, I added a stand under her using cylinders and tori, and added a sphere with a flame texture to the top of the crochet hook. Later, I made a plaque using cubes, with the corners cut out with cylinders, and screws made from a squashed sphere and two cylinders to cut out the indentations. Once the winners are selected, I'll be "engraving" the award and the winner's names on the plaques using terrains that will boolean out the text on the plaque.

I'll also be offering the winners a printed copy of their award for the cost of printing and shipping. Details to be given after the awards ceremony has been completed and I figure out the cost of printing.

Oh, I also made the Flaming Hook of Justice Award and a 3D version of the CLF Logo. I'll post screen caps of the 3D meshes of the awards and the CLF logo as soon as I can.

Go Vote!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I have no whimsy ...

Something's been bothering me for a while but I couldn't figure out what it was and tonight, whilst I was reading some blogs, it hit me - my blog posts are boring! Oh, sure I can inject a bit of humor here and there, but those times are few and far between. It's not that I don't have a sense of humor but it's not one of those that come out at will. It likes to sneak into conversations, drop a small bomb, then quietly leave. If I try to force it, it sulks in the corner and nothing I can do will bring it out.

I can read funny blogs, I can laugh at what I read, but I can't write them myself. I'm hopeless!

Ah well, I'll just have to go drown my sorrows in some Mountain Dew (caffeine free - yes, I drink it for the taste - HA! so there!).

Friday, January 02, 2009

All Moved In ...

We're finally moved in to the new place in Lehi, tons of room to spread out in which creates the black hole of new places to lose stuff in and pile stuff on. We're still surrounded by boxes but I'm trying to at least open several a night and put then in the right room - or the room which the box contains the most stuff for anyway. By the week before moving day, I was just throwing what would fit into boxes although Jessica was trying to be more careful. But that's only because she's the one who'll have to do the most unpacking since I'm working full time and she's not.

Truffles is having a ball tearing around the house, especially after he's had a good BM and scaring the crap out of Kaylee, who keeps getting lost. Since she has cataracts and is going deaf, it's hard for her to figure out where we are at any one specific time. I'll be in the bathroom and see her standing up by the bed trying to find me .. poor baby. When we take her out for walkies, she keeps trying to fly off the far end of the porch instead of going down the stairs. She's not fond of stairs because of her hip dysplasia, but there are only two of them which she can manage without any problem. She's already learned not to run flat out when leaving the house as there is a step down, then a short bit of porch, then snow that is two feet high. First time I took her out, she did a major face plant on the porch. She ran out faster than I could stop her but now she hesitates and carefully jumps down before heading off to the far end where she then tries to jump off it.

The house has a really weird layout with the main bathroom in the middle so you have to go around it on the left to get to the den, kitchen, and master bedroom; or through it on the right to do the same thing ... very easy to get lost so it's no wonder Kaylee gets lost.

Truffles is recovering from an abscessed tooth that burst through his cheek. About a week before we moved, Jess noticed that his cheek was puffy and the day before we moved, we took both Truffles and Kaylee to the vet. The doc gave Truff a shot of antibiotics and said that the tooth would need to come out soon so have to start saving for that. Later that evening, Truffles came into my room, jumped up on the bed and sat down by me on the bed. I looked at him and noticed some watery red stuff dripping from his whiskers ... the abscess had burst right through his cheek. Over the next day, we kept it clean and dry and now it seems to be healing. At least until the next time, but hopefully not before I can afford to get the tooth pulled. Truffles is 14 years old and he's getting quite a few gray hairs in his chocolate coat. He's still extremely active with no obvious health issues besides his teeth so we expect to have him around for a very long time.

And I have to get back to work now ...