review: Perspective in Action

Perspective in Action

Perspective in Action: Creative exercises for depicting spatial representation from the Renaissance to the Digital Age by David Chelsea

Do you remember sitting in a school hallway drawing lockers to learn how to capture perspective? I can totally recall the big brown drawing surface balanced on my knees and the quiet concentration of a class of middle graders focused on something that seemed like a Very Important Life Skill. This book takes a practical approach and uses sequential art (it looks like a comic book/graphic novel) to take the reader step by step. Many of the panels show not just what’s being drawn but the artist or artist’s hand as well, giving a really easy to follow demonstration of the technique being described. It even has a chapter on motion perspective, so you can draw your own animated gif!

full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books

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review: Big Dreams, Small Garden

Big Dreams, Small Garden

Big Dreams, Small Garden: A Guide to creating something extraordinary in your ordinary space by Marianne Willburn

A small garden is not really the challenge I’m facing these days (my issue is how to turn our huge lawn into a big garden) but there is a lot of great info here that applies regardless of your space. Much of this book is devoted to the part of gardening that happens before you actually do any gardening: planning. There is much encouragement for letting go of preconceived notions and using other gardens as inspiration, as well as finding creative ways to achieve goals like creating privacy, growing food, and many others. Willburn’s friendly, conspiratorial tone invites the reader to connect with the ideas and images – just as Willburn tells us “why garden porn is good,” the photos here provide inspiration and ideas for the reader’s own space. This book is fun to read as well as informational.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Van Buren District Library through the MeLCat interlibrary loan system

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how many star points do you have?

Back when, Twitter had stars to indicate favorites/likes/what-have-you, and folks used to refer to them as star points. Gotta get them star points!

Star Points Sweater for Blythe

This is another super quick to make sweater for Blythe. I just can’t get over how quickly it goes with fingering weight yarn!

Shoot over to Ravelry, Craftsy, Etsy, and LoveKnitting to grab this pattern.

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review: Japanese Paper Embroidery

Japanese Paper Embroidery

Japanese Paper Embroidery by Atsumi, Minako Chiba & Mari Kamio

This book offers ideas and inspiration for embroidery on paper (and cardstock, etc) in the form of cards, ornaments, folders, notebooks, frame-able art, and more. The first half of the book consists of color photographs showing the many projects and the second half, the motifs. The motif templates include some basic stitch instruction (the Olympus 25 embroidery thread color number, the number of threads, and type of stitch used) along with (if applicable) instructions for assembling the item. The feel of the whole book is sweet and will be familiar to fans of Japanese culture. The designs include abstract designs as well as letters and numbers, creatures and items from nature, and an assortment of other types of cute things.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Kalamazoo Public Library through the MeLCat interlibrary loan system

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Blythe is a Bookworm Swap

The latest Blythe swap theme was Blythe is a Bookworm. What a perfect theme for me! I had a lot in common with my partner, also a librarian, and also a fan of Harry Potter and lots of other reading things. Here’s a peek at what I sent:

I made some dresses and a sweater for Kate’s Blythes:

dress for Blythe is a Bookworm Swap

dress for Blythe is a Bookworm Swap

dress for Blythe is a Bookworm Swap

Doesn’t this sweater seem like something Molly Weasley would wear? #goals

Gryffindor Long Cable Cardigan for Blythe

And I made the tiniest cross stitch ever, on 28 count fabric.

Tiny cross stitch pillow

Amiibo figure for scale (figure is 2″ high).

Tiny cross stitch pillow

I’m still shaking my head at my hubris taking on a project on this tiny scale. I now own a magnifier, though, so that should be useful for future miniature crafts. And I’m so pleased with how it turned out, so it was super worth it.

AND, here’s what I received!

Blythe is a Bookworm Swap - goodies recieved from Kate

Thanks so much, Kate! This was such a fun swap!

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review: Pen to Thread

Pen To Thread

Pen to Thread: 750 hand-drawn embroidery designs to inspire your stitches by Sarah Watson

Watson, an illustrator and designer, has collected her favorite motifs to create using embroidery. Also included are instructions for getting started and basic embroidery techniques, illustrated with both color photographs and hand-drawn diagrams. These introductory and instructional sections are robust and well put-together and will be an asset for anyone learning (or improving their skills in) embroidery regardless of whether the motifs are to their taste. The motifs are grouped into categories: made in the USA, food, craft room, tools of the trade, school days, in the kitchen, in the garden, around the house, fun!, the great outdoors, by the sea, animals, plants, frames & borders, and alphabets. With more than 750 designs included, a wide variety of subject matter is covered. I know I often find myself wishing for a specific motif when working on a craft project, and I love to have so much variety in one source. Each set of color photographs of completed motifs is followed by one of black and white outlines for those designs and others not pictured in color. Specific instruction for each motif is not included – it is up to the reader to look at a design and determine which stitch is used where and in what order, and for the designs not pictured in color, up to the reader to make that part up themselves. The style of these motifs is sweet and not fussy. Includes a CD.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Kent District Library through the MeLCat interlibrary loan system

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Venus was her name

via GIPHY

or maybe

via GIPHY

Badass women will always be my fave, and I designed a sweater to give Blythe the ability to advertise her own eff yeah feminism (I would SO wear this if I was patient enough to make it in my size!).

Get this for your own Blythe on Ravelry, Etsy, LoveKnitting, and Craftsy.

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review: Cut Flower Garden

Cut Flower Garden

Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, harvest & arrange stunning seasonal blooms by Erin Benzakein with Julie Chai, photographs by Michele M. Waite

I have not done much with cut flowers. I love growing flowers in the garden, but I’ve usually just left them where they grow rather than cutting them to come inside. I do enjoy cut flowers in the house, though, so I’d like to be able to grow enough to have them inside without denuding the garden. This book starts from scratch with information about testing your soil and designing your garden. It then moves in to work by season, starting with spring including tasks, things that bloom in that season, and projects (mostly arrangements). For me, the best use of this book is as a guide to what blooms when and what combinations will look nice. I definitely want to keep adding things to our gardens so that we have blooms throughout the seasons and this will help me make a list of future additions.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Van Buren District Library through the MeLCat interlibrary loan system

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new pattern! calling all Blythe cat ladies

Or cat dudes! Do you love cats? Or maybe even just the cute cats of the internet?

Cat Sweater for Blythe

This sweater is so easy to knit up – it’s super quick with the fingering weight yarn and the stranded cat motif is charted to make working it a snap. It’s designed to fit Blythe but may fit other dolls with similar bodies.

Get your paws on this pattern on Ravelry, Etsy, LoveKnitting, and Craftsy.

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Art Walk Central 2017!

Art Walk Central 2017 opens today! My piece is on display at Veterans Memorial Library in downtown Mount Pleasant – you can check it out in the main corridor outside the study rooms.

Her Home Apothecary quilt

It’s called Her Home Apothecary and is an art quilt (my favorite medium) combining traditional quilt piecing techniques with applique and freehand embroidery. The theme, broadly and as usual, is feminism. I’m trying to get better at the promotion side of things, I have a scheduled consultation with Yeah Local, who will try and get my internet game into the future and not the other way around. So here’s my request to you to check it out and, if you like it, vote for it! Register to vote online (requires in-person activation at ArtReach or the CMU Art Gallery) or in person at a variety of local venues. My code is AWC42. I’ll be at the Art Battle and Artist Meet and Greet tonight, August 3rd, so say hi if you see me! And thanks to the library for hosting my piece!

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