Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hallowe'en costume and crafts

I'm a bit behind the times, but here's what I did and made for Hallowe'en.

Shoddy nail art! I'm pretty happy with how the right hand turned out, given that I'm right-handed and used the easy ones on my left hand.

The first pumpkin I have carved in years! I carved it the Friday before Hallowe'en, then forgot about it until Hallowe'en night, by which time it had gone too soft to lift the lid off and light a candle inside for full effect. Woops.

Cupcakes! The recipe is from the Moosewood recipe book, with added almond and raspberries, the icing is vanilla buttercream, and I bought the toppers in Fallon and Byrne. This was my first time using food colouring in a good many years, and I added to much to the red, but this had the result of making it look like viscera while not tasting or feeling any different. Accidental success!

I dressed up as Harry Potter! I couldn't find a red and yellow tie, so I got a red one and wound a yellow ribbon around it. I got green contacts, which had a fairly narrow gap for the iris, obscuring my vision, and borrowed a pair of my mother's old glasses, which blurred my vision even without the contacts, so really I think the fact that I didn't drop or break anything is a success story.

I used rigid collodion for the scars, after becoming smitten with this tutorial. Because I did it in a rush, and the scars I was applying were rather fine, it didn't turn out quite as well, but I was happy enough. I used lip-liner to draw the scar on the back of my hand, and concealer for the lightning bolt. Apart from the shine, which I couldn't fully take away with powder foundation, they looked quite good.

I should probably end this with "and on to Christmas knitting!" but I have most of my Christmas knitting done, actually. Not to brag or anything. Just saying.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Octobirthday presents.

Like... presents for birthdays happening in October, not eight birthdays, or a birthday shared by eight people. You know a joke is hilarious when you have to explain it.

K-9! He doesn't quite balance, but he is supported by his associated on the shelf of things I have made for my boyfriend. Remember the time Giles was in Doctor Who? That was a good episode, even if Giles was not employed to best use. I used this pattern and Cygnet Chunky.

A neckwarmer for my friend Steph, who has emigrated to what will soon be the frozen wasteland of upstate New York. I used this pattern, casting on 49 rather than 63 stitches, and with an extra repeat, so it can be snug and long enough to meet the brim of a hat. It's a simple pattern, but I like it a good deal. I'd also been dying for a chance to use the yarn (Debbie Bliss Paloma) and it's so soft and squishy and lovely. I am selfish in what I choose to make and use, but I also hand-make things with love, so I feel I net at "neutral" in my gift-giving consideration.

I know I always say "Maybe I will make one of these for myself!" but the way it sits and the length my hair was when I made it put me in mind of Sheik from Ocarina of Time, who has a place in my heart, and Hallowe'en is coming... so maybe I will make one of these for myself!

My little brother loved the bobble hat I made him last year, so much that it disintegrated. I made him this replacement for his birthday on Thursday. (He also loved the Enterprise.) The pattern is Bobblehead Ray, which is about the nicest simple bobble hat pattern I've found.

More to follow, as October is disproprtionately full of birthdays.

Myself and a friend have started a knitting and crochet group in the asylum seekers' centre where we volunteer, so I am scouring Ravelry for projects interesting enough to stick with, but simple enough for beginners. Exciting times!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Forward progress

or "Self-indulgent internal chatter."

I gave up art as a Leaving Cert subject in March or so of 2008 (because grades are just terribly important and I wasn't going to get an A1, good job seventeen-year-old brain), and after a five-year hiatus full of intentions, I finally started making another concerted effort at drawing about two and a half months ago. I've been drawing nearly every day since then. Even within that length of time, it's encouraging to look at the attempts from the start of my sketchbook compared with now, and it fills me with optimism that in a few months I'll look at something I was happy with today and think it just precious that I thought that was any good, because I'll have improved so much by then.

So here are some early and recent drawings! I want to try to justify the early ones by pointing out what's wrong with them, but surely the fact that the later ones are better indicates I can see some of what was wrong with them, and shut up brain.

25/7/'13: The first face in my sketchbook, Bifur from the Hobbit. (Reference.) About the same standard as I had when I was fifteen or sixteen.

15/9/'13: Sylar/Zachary Quinto. (I've started watching Heroes - Season 1 is excellent, and Season 2 is nowhere near as slick but still entertaining, and I love a good villain.) This probably bears more resemblance to the original than anything I've drawn so far. (Reference.) 

30/7/'13: John Watson/Martin Freeman. Face number five in the book, still trying to work out how heads are shaped, and how to get the eyes to look in the direction I want them to. (I can't find the picture I used as a reference, but it's fair to say there's only the vaguest of resemblance. Also, the ratio of screencaps/stills to fanart yielded by Googling "John Watson BBC" is approximately 1:1. Good for you, fanartists.)

19/9/'13: Also John Watson/Martin Freeman! Still doesn't look like him, but it looks like it could be a person this time. (Reference.)

I've maybe been cheating by drawing almost solely men's faces, as I find the harder lines easier to draw. Next: women's and children's faces! I don't have an end goal with this, I'd just like be to able to draw and have the end result look like the subject.

Monday, September 16, 2013

And to boldly go where no-one has gone before.

My brother doesn't like sci-fi so much as he likes spaceships, but he really likes spaceships. There aren't a great many patterns going on Ravelry, but the Enterprise is good and iconic, so it seemed appropriate for his upcoming birthday.

God damn, but I can't stand sewing components together. And embroidery. I'm going to steer clear of toys for a while.

Fiddly finishing aside, the pattern is quite straightforward and takes no time to make. I used Cygnet DK acrylic, mostly.

I've started watching Star Trek: The Original Series (I like how the fandom hivemind all knows what you mean when you say TOS, even thought it was never called that, because that would be silly). The most endlessly charming thing is that fact that the backgrounds, props and costumes are so visibly handmade. It sounds like I'm trying to be snarky, but it's incredibly endearing to be able to see the work that went into it. Differently enjoyable is the fact that stage-fighting hadn't been invented yet. And while it's a cliché, the vision and ambition of the show is so hopeful. There's a scene a few episodes into season one where they're looking down on a planet identical to Earth, and the continents are laid out incorrectly, because it was made before there were any pictures of Earth from space. Also fun fact!: Spock was meant to be half-Martian, but Roddenberry thought that if the show were successful, man might walk on Mars during its run. I can't think of anything else at the moment that's as full of quiet optimism and wonder, or maybe I'm watching the wrong shows.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bare necessities bag

When I leave the house, my bag almost invariably contains

  • my planner
  • the book I'm reading
  • a sketchbook
  • a current knitting project
  • my phone
  • my wallet
  • my coin-purse, because my wallet doesn't have space for coins
  • a water bottle
  • my pencil case
Optional extras include
  • my journal
  • a notebook for writing projects
  • my 'miscellaneous' notebook
  • camera
  • another knitting project in case I don't feel like working on the first one
  • my sewing kit
  • specific items I need that day

This could be construed as me having a terrible aversion to not having something to do, which is true, but it becomes even more uncomfortably irrational given that I usually cycle into town, so I can't say that those things are to occupy me on the bus in. I'm usually cycling to either meet someone or go to work, as well, so once there it would be impolite to start reading or writing. So in practise, I cycle into town, a large bag containing the weight of a small child in paper hanging off my handlebars just in case, then I cycle home, where I can use any of it.

I like small bags because they force me not to damage my back for no reason. Usually in pattern backgrounds this is where the "so I made one to suit my exact needs" comes in, but I made one for someone else, because I like the idea of it, but I need all that paraphernalia.

This bag was made using a 9mm crochet hook with Hoooked Zpagetti. (I'm a brat when it comes to other people's presents - I select yarn I want to use, then decide something to make with it.) The fabric is a bit difficult to work, but it's very quick to make, an easy beginner's project, and doesn't have seams, which I consider a bonus in anything.