Sunday, November 4, 2012

Original bunny and bear canvas art shoes finally done!

I finally got up the gumption to finish my illustrated shoes. I'm really sad that these are a bit too big for me... I'll be happy to keep them if they don't sell. I am pretty attached to the bunny and the super bright carrots that turned out surprisingly well. Check out the listing at:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy - how I'm helping

I am so heartbroken every time I see new updates and especially fatalities on the news from Hurricane Sandy. I've been puzzling over the last few days how best I can help. I finally decided to make apple crochet charms, the symbol for new york, and donate the profits to Red Cross. I made this apple today and I'm pretty happy with it. I might get green ribbon to go with the 'apple' theme more, but I really like the tiffany blue too. I am keeping my fingers cross for everyone on the East Coast who all have a very long recovery ahead.
Check them out at:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fresh Perspective: Starting anew on etsy

Well it's been a little bit since I've posted. I started a new shop called ABunnyandBear on etsy. Sadly I decided to give up on my jewelry venture, the competition is just way too rough, I wasn't getting any traffic. On the upside, I sold something the third day my new shop was open yay! I think I'm going to focus more on drawing, I'm all crocheted out for a while.

Monday, October 1, 2012

What markers, pens, paints do not fade from canvas shoes

I've always wanted to do a fantastic drawing on canvas shoes to be able to walk around and show off my hot digits. I definitely get the urge to doodle when I see toms or vans with awesome drawings and illustrations on them. Sadly, I've always had the fear of seeing my work slowly leak down the shoe and end up in a horrible mess if I step in a puddle. What if the marker smeared? Would these shoes be unwashable?? I took up the cause of trying a variety of different markers, pens, paints and finishes to answer this question: what mediums fade when used to draw on canvas shoes when washed?

You can see the exact results for each medium after washing below but here's the summary:

- Sharpie markers - YES stood up really well, did not smear when putting all purpose sealant on

- Gel pens - faded if left alone, looks good with sealant.
- Staedtler finelines - no, washed out and smeared. Boo
- Copic markers - Yes but some colors smeared when putting sealant on.
- Prismacolor markers - YES did not fade, did not smear
- Liquitex acrylic paints - YES - may need a sealant if you want a shiny smooth finish.


You can see the pictures for the exact results for each medium after washing below but here's the summary:

- Sharpie markers - YES stood up really well, did not smear when putting sealant on, some may change color when sealant is put on (dark blue turned purple for me)
- Staedtler finelines - no, washed out and smeared. Boo
- Copic markers - Yes but some colors smeared when putting sealant on.
- Prismacolor markers - YES did not fade, did not smear
- Liquitext acrylic paints - YES - may need a sealant if you want a shiny smooth finish, light colors may fade a bit

I used a black and light colored canvas strip to draw on with a variety of markers and  acrylic paints. The right side of each strip has all purpose craft sealant painted over it.

The sealant gives it shiny finish as you can see (bottom)

Here is the list of exactly what I used:

- metallic sharpie in red gold
- metallic sharpie in gold
- metallic sharpie in silver

- gelly roller in white
- sigma gel roller in white

white acrylic paint strip with the following markers drawn on top:
-- black sharpie
-- black copic marker

-- silver sharpie paint pen
-- purple sharpie
-- pink fat sharpie
-- blue copic marker
-- orange copic marker
- yellow acrylic paint on white

- yellow acrylic paint by itself.

- sharpie in purple
- sharpie in green
- sharpie in blue
- sharpie in black
- fat sharpie in pink

- staedtler marker in blue
- staedtler marker in orange

- copic fineliner in black
- copic marker in yellow
- copic in red
- copic in black
- copic in purple
- copic in blue
- copic in orange
- copic in green

- prismacolor marker in grey
- prismacolor in dark grey
- prismacolor in tan

After washing.................................I washed the two strips in hot water with tide detergent, scrubbed with good vigor 


here are the results for the black strip.

As you can see the metallic sharpie paint markers stood up really well!

The white gel pens... not well at all.

The white acrylic background fadeda bit without the sealant - this may be a thickness issue I suspect this would be better if I had painted more layers. The markers on the white painted strip all seem a little faded to me, the sharpie changed color from blue to purple with sealant. I definitely think acrylic paints need a sealant.

Here's the white strip after washing.

The sharpies stood up surprisingly well again. Once again the blue got a purple-ish cast.

The second group with staedtler markers were obliterated. They smeared when I put the sealant on too - definitely no on those.

The copic markers stood up quite well also but did smear a bit when putting sealant on as you can see with the red line on the right.

The prismacolors stood up well and did not smear with sealant. Sweet!

Well there you go, good luck all!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sun dial ring

A little while ago I posted about a little crochet/wire spiral I made - here is the finished product yay! I call it the sun dial ring. It has a kind of tribal-ish, I-could-be-seen-on-a-celebrity feeling doesn't it? Haha. I'm excited about the shop again.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How I treated my cat's infected abscess and avoided a huge vet bill

My kitty, Hermes, is a little numbnut. He is chubby, cute, friendly to people but loves to hiss at the first sign of any other animal. He also loves to escape the house and get into fights. His first abscess was a few weeks ago and it cost us $200 at the vet YIKES. The vet had to put him under and also 'reversed' the general anesthesia which cost $100 alone - not going that vet again.

He gets abscesses on his back near his tail - this means he was attacked while running away. I'm sure running away from a fight he picked himself. Special. My friend who is a farmer suggested a well tried remedy he uses for his animals - plantain weed. My mom has actually pointed this plant out to me often saying it has healing properties and I decided to give it a try to avoid another whopper vet bill for something that just needs to drain.

This is the plant. I bet you've seen it growing in the cracks of sidewalks before and never paid it any heed - I certainly never did. I got a handful from my farmer friend's property and went home to make a nice poultice out of it. I took three or four leaves, rolled them up and mashed them with the butt of a knife (a pestel and mortar will work better if you have one). If you can get your animal to tolerate a wad of plant on their skin with a bandage on top, that's best but my cat immediately began licking the area. So instead I mashed the leaves, squeezed some juice out and dabbed a small brush in the juice and brushed it on the area. I did this two or three times a day and on the third day the abscess ruptured and a nice amount of pus drained out. Another good idea is to  gently clean the area daily with 50/50 hydrogen peroxide in water. This may hurt on an open cut so be gentle. This is Hermes on day 4 of treatment:

There are actually two scabbed areas - on in the middle of the bald area and one at the lower right. These are the spots that the abscess came to a head and ruptured, much like a pimple. While gross, this is what you want! An ancient greek medical phrase, 'ubi pus evacuo' or 'when there is pus, evacuate it' meaning that pus has to drain for things to heal. This area was a firm red lump and now it's a fuzzy healing patch. He doesn't even mind much when I touch it now.

Well, I wish you luck with your own pets and I hope you try this alternative to a big vet bill for a simple abscess. This remedy is only for simple abscesses that have not caused full body infections. If you animal is acting sick, not eating , sleeping or hiding more than usual - go to the vet!

Good luck :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

New direction - children's drawing

My husband insists I'm wasting my drawing talent and I watched a video about how hard it is to sell jewelry on etsy, I'm changing it up. The two characters will be Bunny and Bear, which is what my husband and I call each other

Sun discs - new crochet theme

I bought an absolutely lovely ball of super fine ecru thread and I've been making a few items with them. I started making these 'sun discs' which have wire inside to keep them stiff. I wonder if people will be off put by the idea of a crochet fibre ring? It's been washed and survived well, dries well. Hope it's popular :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Thrift store scores

Somehow discovering I can unwind sweaters into veritable mountains of yarn has turned me into a thrift store sweater fiend. I've been to maybe a dozen thrift stores in the month or so to find sweaters with the glorious double arrow seams that mean I can rip them up into a long continuous skein (Great tutorial on how to do this here: I've tried to limit myself only to natural fibres, especially silk, cashmere and fine wools and cottons but I still managed to find plenty to fit this bill!

I am currently ripping up a great cyan blue wool/angora sweater with good progress. I've gotten three fat skeins out of it from just the arms!. Does this change my desire to buy expensive new yarn? Sadly, no but hopefully I'll be distracted enough not to do it for a while!
 Liz Claiborne sweater
Great color
Three skeins from just the arms! Wowza!

The hanging sweaters above are ones that were meant to be cut up for yarn but I actually like how some of them look on me. Oh the conundrum! Especially the one on top - it's a camel colored 100% cashmere sweater.. maybe I'll spare that one...

You can see a neon green Ralph Lauren cotton sweater peeking out - that one is definitely meant for a super mod afghan I think. Some of these sweaters have ultra fine yarn, finer than a typical lace weight and I'm not sure how ripping them up will go. I've chosen ones that have very little to no felting or pilling so hopefully the yarn doesn't fall apart. To be continued!


I've been saving plastic bags like a crazy hoarder and I've finally gotten around to making plarn (plastic yarn, recycled bag yarn). I want to make an organic looking, maybe tribal looking bowl. The plarn ended up being a much smaller gauge than I had anticipated (aka way more work...booo). I'm working next on bowl with a five-pointed base, we'll see how it goes!

Afghans color work

I started making this afghan a few months ago and veerry quickly ran out of yarn. I kind of made up a way to do the color work with the arrow design, twisting the threads together on each stitch to make sure they weren't just floating in the back. I just ordered a bunch more cream yarn hopefully it'll be finished soon

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bobbles and Baubles - Trial and Error in Crochet

More little crochet balls woohoo! I've been using a vintage ball of thread and other embroidery thread to make some colorblock earrings. I've been having issues trying to make a seamless transition from one color to another because the threads are often different in width. The two middle balls below were made with thread split in half and I think they look much smoother. I really don't like the outer two that have bumps in the transition. Well. Live and learn.

I used this lesson for my new earrings up on etsy :)

New earrings

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Inspirations: The Incas

I recently read 'Turn Right at Machu Picchu' by Mark Adams, a journalist for Adventure magazine who retraced the steps of the most famous explorer of that site, Hiram Bingham (Indiana Jones is thought to be loosely based on him). The descriptions of the precisely cut, titanic sized stones of the Inca sites filled my mind with images of brightly colored textures and designs. Even in Idaho I noticed an alpaca farm about a mile from my house! They're so dang cute!

Inca design seems to be less featured in fashion than, say, Navajo or Aztec, here's a fantastic example - it looks almost european in the face but the patterns are clearly unique. 

I love native design but it does always bring up the ethical dilemma of using traditional patterns from a culture that is not my own and whether that is disrespectful or plagiarism. Personally, I think the more ethnic patterns are featured in fashion the more support native handicrafts will be supported - who doesn't want a real Navajo blanket after seeing these Pendleton for opening ceremony shorts!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Big Box Orchid Score!

I live pretty close to a Lowe's an I go there maybe once a month to check out the clearance plants. Though the big box stores don't tend to have high quality orchid in terms of root systems sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes it's worth the 5$ if you get a month of flowers and the plant still dies. So I was doing my usual routine when I found this GREAT Oncidium (Onc. 'Howard's Dream') for $12! It has like 12 pseudobulbs on it, most of them 6 inches high, only slightly wrinkled. The roots looked dry but ok, not growing profusely though. Yay orchids :)

Orvieto lace - amazing antique laces

I've been looking into crochet lace - it seems I am determined to make myself go blind by crocheting and being fascinated by microscopic things. The ladies of the Orvieto school of lace in italy have perfected this amazing style characterized by TINY thread, stylized patterns and 3D 'bumps' that are ironed into the fabric with textured irons. Here's a wonderful example:
Beautiful example of the ironed 3D elements

I can't imagine how small the crochet hooks they used were O.O

Monday, August 27, 2012

Helmut lang crochet thingie

I saw this great helmut lang top and I am completely in love with the texture. I think the bobbles are beads but I wanted to reproduce the texture in crochet. Here's a half-organized attempt from today:

A day in the life of a medical student

I wrote this HILARIOUS story about a young lady who was in labor and didn't realize she was even pregnant. Oh california, how you confirm the stereotypes. Take a read of my rough draft. I hope to submit this to a publication but no idea where it should go. This story is 100% true.

here is an exerpt, please see link for full story:

A young woman was lying in bed with her boyfriend and an older woman, possibly the boyfriend’s mother. She was fair with a shock of maraschino red hair with brunette roots cut like Betty Paige. And really, really pregnant. Her torso was like an isosceles triangle (like your arithmetic teacher always told you - as wide as it is tall).  She looked vaguely but not exceedingly perplexed. As the hubbub of preparations began around her and the fetal heart monitor starting ticking at a happy 140, our attending doctor announced, “You’re pregnant.” This was met with very a minimal ripple of perceivable reaction. The soon-to-be-mom seemed to chew over the idea for a moment and said, “I’m pregnant?! So that's what that was … Is it a boy or a girl?”.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Photo shoot 1

I don't claim to know anything about photography but trying to get my husband to take pictures of me is a whole 'nother level of coordination. I have new earrings on my Etsy site and here are some of the great photos that didn't make it on and the process:

Does Hermes want to help?

Too blurry for the etsy site but cool nonetheless!