Monday, February 10, 2014

Secret Valentine's Exchange Gifts

   This year I participated in a Secret Valentine's exchange. It's like a Secret Santa but if you aren't familiar with that, you basically get someone randomly assigned to you and someone else randomly gets you assigned to them. That way you know who you are gifting, but they don't know who's gifting them and you don't know who is gifting you.

   The lady I was assigned to is a member of GodsGirls, which is like Suicide Girls. It's a softcore "nudie" website who primarily focuses on women with alternative style.

   I wasn't sure what to make her at first. But I looked at her Amazon wishlist, I asked the coordinator for the exchange to have her pick out a couple favourite images from her GodsGirls sets, and I came up with three gifts for her.

   The one I like the most is a kitty hat! She had a similar one on her wishlist but it had terribly amazon reviews, so I made her one myself! That way I also got to make it in her favourite colour, mint green. ;D

    I made it using a super simple pattern on ravelry. It's just a big rectangle! So easy! It turned out very cute though, I know sometime in the future I will be making one for myself! I just used Simply Soft yarn.

   I want to start trying out nicer yarns. I am still fairly new to knitting and crocheting, so I didn't want to invest in nicer, more expensive yarn back in September when I learned to crochet. I stopped buying new yarn in December, except when there is a project I started that ran out of yarn and I just have to finish it! I am working on getting the current amount of yarn I have down to half before buying more. But I'm definitely gonna be a bit more choosey then.

   The second gift finally got my light-reactive dyes some more attention. I haven't used them for a while, since before I started this blog at least. They are really awesome, I even included a video about it below because I think people need to check it out. I got the kit that had the three colours they offered when they were pretty much brand new, but I believe now there are a lot more colours to get so I wish I waited a little while. I like the original red, orange, and blue but I would have rather substituted one for black, or purple, etc.

    Here are some photos of the shirt I made for the exchange using my Inkodye. It didn't turn out quite as bright as I thought it would, the dyes are over a year old and that may be why. It may be time to replace them with some new colours, anyways. ;P


    I took one of the images she sent me from her favourite GodsGirls photosets and in photoshop, erased as much of the background distractions as I thought was needed. I pumped up the contrast, vectorized the image, and inverted it to use as a digital negative. I had it printed as a local print shop, which only cost $3. And that print will last pretty much forever, even though I don't think I'll be reusing it any time soon.

    I left the print in the sunlight from my crafting room window pretty much all day, so it turned out as bright as it was going to. I could have done with brighter though. It seems my red dye (the top half of the shirt) has turned to more of a pink. It used to actually come out red. The contrast in these images is turned up a bit because I wanted the design to be clearly visible, I have a photo below that is more representative of what the shirt really looks like.

   The last part of the gift package I sent was a little art print, it was very simple to make but I thought she might like it, I just photoshopped out the background, did a little colour adjusting, added some mosaic pixels and her name on GodsGirls in mint, again! 

   Well, that's the package I sent for my part of the gift exchange. I can't wait to receive mine! I was going to wait to post these until she told me she received them, but I have tracking on her package and I know she got them (just no message yet) and I'm impatient so I'm just posting them now.

   Are you making some sweet, handmade gifts for Valentine's this year? What have you made for the holidays so far? I hope everyone is having a great holiday season!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Long time! I'm still here!

    I have not blogged my last handful of crafting accomplishments, gosh! So slow! Most have been knitting and there's a couple of things I'm not ready to share yet (as they are gifts), but here's two items I am so happy about and proud of!

   I posted these photos to Flickr as well, if you want to follow me there. :P

   The first project, my knit bandana cowl, I started on the 17th and finished a couple days later, but that's just for this attempt. I attempted this same cowl three times until I realized I was reading the instructions wrong and that's why it kept coming out absolutely humongous.

   I am so in love with this cowl and wear it almost every time I go out! It doesn't help that I really don't have a collection of neck warming accessories, but I still just adore it. The pattern is Purl Bee's Bandana Cowl and the yarn is just some cheapo Simply Soft that I picked up at Walmart to use as props for my Christmas kitty portraits.


    Since I began knitting and crocheting, I have not been showing enough love to my first crafting obsession, sewing. But a couple days ago I started (and finished) a new pair of blue jeans. And I am so, so please! Not only are they the best I've made yet, but they were the fastest to work up as well!

    I think the reason these turned out so pleasant to make and lovely to wear is that these are the first pair of jeans I made a muslin for. All the rest I got the size closest to what I wanted from the pattern and worked them down to the size I wanted all on the finished piece. This time I found out exactly the size I wanted to be working with first before I even touched my denim fabric and I am so glad I did!

    This is still Butterick's B5682 pattern in boot cut, which is the only cut and only jean patterns I have tried so far, but I have plans to try out the skinny jeans cut from the same pattern soon. Maybe I'll work on the muslin today. ;)

    There's been a lot of improvement in my homemade jeans since my first pair, but still a few things I could improve. The only things I really messed up on this pair was the butt pockets not being spaced evenly apart and my waistband not being cut long enough, which resulted in some bunching when I sewed it on. I have some a problem with pants not properly holding in my butt-crack and underwear though (TMI? Sorry. :P) so it being a bit tight around the waist is not entirely a bad thing.

   Tomorrow or today I will be shipping out a couple of handmade items I made to participate in a Secret Valentine exchange, so once my recipient receives those you can expect a new blog post!

   Outside of crafting (but still inside my artsier endeavors) I have started taking self portraits again. In November I made it a goal to take one every day of the month. I didn't finish that goal because I ended up feeling very burned out, and it took two months to set up the tripod and load up EOS Utility again, but last week I took my first new one in a while.

   Then a couple days ago I took the ones shared above to show off my creations. Does it say something bad that the only thing I really take photos of anymore is myself? (Well, my cats too, but I don't really put a lot of thought into those shots.) I always veered more towards portraiture but I have been feeling pretty disconnected from people for a while now and that doesn't really fuel the spark I previously had for photographing others, and photography in general actually. I don't really consider any of it a bad thing, I'm pretty introverted and don't have that much of a social drive but it has made my photography a bit more boring. Anyways, that's all I have to share for now!

   I hope everyone is having a wonderful new year!

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