Monday, December 13, 2010


I made Loretta the Beagle for my coworker and he asked me to also make his beagle Belvedere who sadly passed away earlier this year. His fiancee misses him and wanted a little mascot to drive to work with her. So here he is:

Belvedere, 3/4 view

Belvedere, side view

This is Belvedere himself:

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Here's the next in my series of "Coworkers' Dogs" needle felting: Spock the corgi. This Spock was actually a gift for a friend of mine who does not own him, but has a dog-crush on him and has him on her Facebook profile picture and iPhone wallpaper... Such things happen when people bring their dogs to work every day.

Corgi! 2

Corgi! 3

Me, I want to steal one of the other work corgis, but she never comes to the office anymore. :(

Thursday, November 25, 2010


So a few months ago, there were these tiny black bugs in my house. I'd find them in the morning near the cat food and cat litter, but I couldn't find a source. I keep my house clean, darnit, and I vacuum at least weekly.

One day my friend was over and I started ranting about the bugs. I found one to show her and she identified it as a grain weevil. After checking my pantry items for bugs and not finding anything, I remembered that my cat litter is made of corn... and there was a litter box upstairs that the cats hadn't been using, so I hadn't touched it for a while (just glances to confirm the continuing absence of poop).

Well, let's just say I found where the weevils were coming from.

I made this for the friend!

Grain Weevil

Grain Weevil

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Loretta is another work doggie. She is obsessed with food and getting her belly scratched. I tried to make a little felt Loretta. Her back markings aren't accurate but her dad seems pleased with the results :)

As for me I think it took me way too long for a somewhat amateurish end product. I think I made it a bit too small. I also used a rough core wool with roving laid over top for the first time and found it a bit harder to sculpt. (I was running out of brown roving...) I also didn't have a big enough fabric scrap for her little bandanna so the ends are a bit frayed as I couldn't hem them. It'll be fine as long as it isn't manhandled too much!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Lots of people bring their dogs to work. The bestest dog is my friend's puppy Chula. She's a boxer/American Bulldog mix and she's a sweetheart. Her only flaw is that she loves dogs way more than people so she pays no attention to me if other dogs are around. Anyway I thought I would make her owner a little felt Chula.

Chula is not allowed to play with her mini-me because she would just eat it.

Needle-felted Chula

Friday, November 5, 2010

Still Alive (I'm doing SCIENCE and I'm)

I've been having a busy time and haven't felt relaxed enough to create anything. I added a few stitches to my sampler and that's about it. It would help if there were TV shows on that I wanted to watch... but lately TV is just boring me, so I've been playing video games.

Fable III: unfortunately disappointing even though I avoided having any expectations other than "I liked Fable II, so this should be fun too!"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Community differences

A lesson relearned this weekend is that the crafting community is sorta nicer than the video game community. Crafters will generally be positive and offer constructive criticism, while video game fans are likely to tell you that your video game is the worst game ever and also, you are ugly.

One guy thought I was hot though, so it's all good ;)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Embroidery attempts

So, embroidery is another thing I am trying. I have long intended to teach myself... it... oh god my grammar... anyway, so of course I already have a big stash of embroidery thread and have had it for years. In my defense, I acquired most of it probably almost 20 years ago, so I could make friendship bracelets and cross-stitch at Girl Guide camp, and I used some of it when I did hair-wrapping back when I was 19... oh god, I'm a hoarder. I swear it's restricted to craft supplies, and they are all in tidy boxes or, uh, bags. I think. Um, where was I? (The embroidery floss still looks great after 15-20 years in a plastic bag! it's in a nice kit box now though)

So, I figured I should make some sort of sampler. Here are some stitch practice things.


Satin stitch is always what I sort of wanted to do, like painting with thread, but I never bothered trying to do it properly. This time I did and it's coming out a bit better.


I thought that for subject matter, I could try to embroider my own doodles. They're kind of patterny and I thought they'd be cool done in just black on white. I thought it would be original. I have this perfectionism-related problem doing anything I think has been "done before". I feel like it's some kind of art failure on my part and that someone would also accuse me of theft and unoriginality.


I started embroidering this:

A little while later I was browsing around some embroidery blogs and found this post on Mary Corbet's Needle and Thread (which is a cool site, lots of tutorial videos): Blackwork Fish

She doodled a patterny fish and embroidered it in blackwork... It's stunningly intricate and beautiful.
I now feel guilty of psychic unoriginality :(
maybe I should embroider it in just BLUE on white... that's totally different, right? And it keeps the feel of the pen doodle :)

Monday, October 18, 2010


When my crafty sister started doing some quilting last winter, I was reminded of how interested I'd been in it back in college. I even "made" a "quilt" for a pattern and surface class (it was a knotted quilt, and the binding was attached with, uh, masking tape). I had pieced the whole thing by hand, which at the time I thought was admirable but now I have no patience. Anyway, I copied her again and took a "my first quilt" class. It turned out pretty nice!

First quilt

I bought myself a sewing machine and made a few more things. I like bags. I have to learn to put in zippers though.

First bag

Tote bag

For years I had intended to make myself some cushion covers. I finally got around to making one.

Patchwork cushion

Bonus picture of my cat enjoying the quilt.

Lucy in my first quilt

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Adventures in cute

My sister Andrea taught me to needle-felt last year. I made a few woolen balls for the cats to play with and a couple of "pom-poms" for baby hats but left it at that. After finding Softies Central I wanted to make more cute things, so I ordered a book on making needle-felted adorable animals.

Once the book arrived I flipped through it and proceeded to ignore basically everything it said and all the projects inside and made this cat. It was unexpectedly popular on my Facebook page so it gets its own post!

Needle-felted cat

Needle-felted cat

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ceramics revisited

After I finished college, I realized that I wasn't really cut out for life as a professional artist at the time. I had no entrepreneurial spirit or confidence and didn't want to teach. I rerouted myself into the computer graphics field and am now quite happy helping to make art for video games. I miss making pots, though. Any time I go to a craft show I go glare at the typical pots and tell myself I could do better, or at least not make such boring stuff.

Anyway, after failing to find a home here that would allow for any sort of studio space, I looked around and signed up at the Irvine Fine Arts center for a pottery class. I was impressed with the facility, the teacher and the level of work being done by a lot of the people there... but the studio hours were terrible. Open studio time was only on weekdays before 5 pm, Saturdays from 9:30 to 3:30, and nothing Sundays. So... for me, basically only Saturday. It is highly difficult to try to make production pottery with one day a week in which to do it. I'd go in, throw a bunch of pots, wrap them up carefully in plastic, and return a week later to find them either too moist (so I had to sit around and wait for them to harden before I could attach handles or whatnot without squashing them) or too dry (ruined...). And, though the studio hours were probably aimed at O.C. housewives who have nothing to do before 5 pm on weekdays, somehow it was pretty busy on Saturdays so half the time I'd show up and literally not find any space on a work table or at a wheel and I'd just have to go home. I couldn't handle that so I didn't sign up again.

I'm still sad about that. I'm sure there are places in L.A. where I could rent space or something but I don't have the level of motivation that would inspire me to be able to drive at least an hour back and forth on a weeknight to make some pots. I would just be too tired. My current plan is to somehow get rich then buy a house with a studio :P

While I was at the Irvine Fine Arts center I decided to focus on mugs because I had never made more than a couple in art school and never felt like they were successful. A good mug is not a simple thing, but it has to look simple. To me, it has to be comfortable and friendly and look like it wants to be held. It has to fit well in the hand. It can't be too narrow or too wide The handle can't be too thin or too small. It has to relate to the shape of the mug and it can't hurt your fingers. Anyway, here are some of the mugs I made during my little study of form. (Gas-fired stoneware isn't my usual thing, but I had to use studio clay and glazes)

Stoneware mug

Stoneware mug

Stoneware mug

Stoneware mug
don't worry, I ground the little kiln shelf bits there off the foot after taking this picture

Stoneware mug

Friday, October 8, 2010

Knitting roundup

I think I learned some basic knitting at summer camp when I was a wee Girl Guide. I know I knitted a few cat toys when I first got my Lucy-cat in college, but didn't move beyond that until my sister Andrea started knitting cooler stuff and I thought I should copy her or something. I am a very slow knitter, and I now live in southern California where I have no need for warm  hats or scarves, so I don't do much knitting. I can whip up a nice baby hat now and then though.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jewelry roundup

After my post-college decision to learn computer graphics, I didn't really do anything crafty, aside from an intro to jewelry class I took at a Toronto college. For a few years I guess I restricted myself to trying to learn to draw/use Photoshop/use Maya.

Once I was comfortably employed in game development, at some point I decided that my wardrobe needed to start including accessories, and I went to the mall to look for jewelry. Everything was crap and I hated it. I decided I'd just make my own because I had a stash of hoarded beads from my youth. And so I did.

I haven't made much jewelry in a year or two, aside from a few pairs of earrings. I seem to lack inspiration, I want to move beyond wirework, and I'm quite happy to buy other people's handmade jewelry from Etsy (while I would probably not buy someone else's cushion or handsewn bag, figuring I should make those myself). Still I might go to the local bead show next weekend because most of my beads are too small and I want chunkier jewelry ;)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Early Years: Ceramics

I did a lot of crafting before college - probably more than I have since - but I don't think I have any pictures of that stuff, or any of the stuff. Actually, that's not true. I've got a heap of marbled paper somewhere and I'm sure I kept a painted silk scarf or two. Nevertheless, I  have no photos so I'll talk about my first love: pottery.

When I was about 8 years old, I remember visiting some arts center with my mom and seeing someone making pottery on a wheel. I was completely taken with the idea and from then on, every single summer I took ceramics classes in the hope that I would be taught how to use a pottery wheel. I never was; we'd make coil pots or little sculptures or whatever, and I was endlessly disappointed.

In high school, the art class had pottery wheels, and I signed up for after-school ceramics because the brochure SAID we'd learn to use the wheel. On the first day the teacher said he wasn't going to teach us how to use the wheel because it was too hard. We made coil pots and mugs out of slabs.

In CEGEP (this is a Quebec post-secondary school thing, see here for an explanation) I enrolled in the Fine Arts program and knew that my school had a ceramics program. When the time came to choose classes, I found out that ceramics was qualified as a "creative art" whereas I was in "fine arts" so I couldn't take ceramics as one of my focus classes, nor could I take it as a complementary because it wasn't "opposite" enough. I was not allowed to take it at all. This was getting ridiculous.

Fortunately at this point I was 16 years old so was no longer restricted to kids' arts programs, and my mother signed me up for an adult community education ceramics program. WHEELTHROWING, specifically. I finally learned to use the dang wheel, and back at school I talked to the ceramics teacher who allowed me to use the facilities even though I wasn't in any of the classes. I liked making pots. It never got any more complex than that, so when I went on to actual real art school for college, I didn't do so well in my ceramics classes because I just liked making stuff, but wasn't really motivated to become a super production potter, or to make some artistic statement, or to put in as many hours as my teacher would have liked... He never liked me very much, and I never did very well.

We got a new teacher in my last semester and she was awesome, and enthusiastic and supportive about everyone's work. Strangely this caused me to enjoy my work more and put more effort into it, and I made some pretty nice stuff, if I do say so myself. I still have some of it. I also made a lot of crap, because I was still kind of lazy and preferred to spend my free time playing video games, but... now I work in video game development, so everything turned out well, I guess?

Anyway, here are some pictures of my older ceramic pieces... all from my last semester in college. They're all earthenware with maiolica glaze.

My favourite piece. It's got a bit of fake ash glaze on it as well as the maiolica.

One of the first successful pieces, and the first with these patterns.
I think I'd read that it was never acceptable to paint stars on pottery.
I made this cream and sugar set during a guest artist workshop. I still use the sugarbowl.

Jill started a blog?

I have always been dabbling to one depth or another in some kind of crafty thing. After spending most of last winter and spring in a video game haze (thanks, Bioware!) I've been trying to be more creative in my time off again... at least until Dragon Age 2 comes out.

I've been visiting a ton of pretty and inspiring crafty blogs by people who seem to be just regular folks like me. I thought maybe if I had my own blog, my crafts would suddenly start to be as charming and effortless as those other people's things! That's the way things work, right? Osmosis?

Anyway, when I'm not, er, at work, I'll post some pictures of things I've done or am currently working on.