Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I was featured...

Sally on Etsy has included my aqua recycled-yarn coasters in this lovely treasury. Isn't it nice? Click on the picture to be taken to the treasury on Etsy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fall is Here

Fall is finally visible here in Texas...a bit later than in the Midwest, where I used to live. The fall colors here aren't as obvious and amazing as they were back in Indiana, but you know what? Instead of being bone-chillingly cold and rainy, it's delightfully warm, breezy, and sunny. So I have no complaints whatsoever.

My two children and I went on a walk this morning, and I remembered to take my camera.

Right around the corner from our house...

Perfectly imperfect.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Of coasters and things

For a while, I put aside my plastic bag crochet projects, and worked with recycled yarns instead. I've made a few of these coasters--they're quick and easy and make me smile. :) If you would like the pattern, I'll probably be listing it in my Etsy supply shop before too long.

This red coaster reminds me of poinsettias.

I made these in sets of four and listed them in my Etsy shop. I'll have to make another set of red ones to keep for myself, because they match our couch perfectly.

Currently underway: I've pulled out the plastic bags again, and am crocheting a colorful coin purse. I think I'll be making a few of these. I'll post some pictures next week.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Roses in November

I'm new to south Texas; I've only been here a year. So the gorgeous weather in October and November is still a novelty to me. I'm delighted to see roses blooming in November. The other day, I walked through a rose garden in a park downtown and took a few pictures.

I love the glow of the sunlight through the petals.

Brilliant blue skies...

And more blue skies. This one makes me smile inside.
Moving south has changed not only my eating habits (I love me some Tex-Mex) but my artistic sensibilities as well. I used to avoid bold colors, but now I'm finding myself drawn to them. It must be the sunshine.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I need a new bag!

For the past couple of years, I've been using this plarn tote as my every day bag. Everywhere I go, it goes.

It's held up well, but at this point, I think I'm ready for a new bag. Something bigger, and with longer straps; and while I did add a lining with a pocket to this one, I need more pockets. Lots of pockets.

I have a few bags in progress right now, and I'm not sure yet which one will be my new every day bag. Maybe it will be this one. This one is quite a bit bigger than the one I'm using now.

I've finished the bag and handles since I took this picture, but I still need to add a lining. With pockets. Lots of pockets. I think I'm going to try doing a zippered pocket, too, for the first time.

Once it's done, I'll load my things into it and see how I feel about it. I might decide to go with something even bigger. If so, this one will go into my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Favorite Spot to Craft

Once a week or so, I have a few hours of free time to spend in downtown Houston. I usually head to my favorite spot in Hermann Park, where I read, think, and crochet with plarn. Yesterday, I thought to take my camera.

This is my favorite spot. I sit in the cool shade and enjoy the breeze coming off the water. In the background is the Texas Medical Center.

The view from my spot. There are usually a few paddleboats on the pond, but the day was winding down by the time I took this picture.

These guys (and a few seagulls, and squirrels, and turtles) keep me company while I work.

Here's the project I was working on yesterday. I think this is going to be a new diaper bag. My last one (also crocheted from plarn) wore out from several years of heavy use. I didn't toss it, though--I unraveled it and used the good sections of plarn to finish another project. Plarn is really easy to unravel and re-use.

Do you have a favorite spot to work on your craft?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

China's Plastic Bag Ban

Since I craft with plastic bags, I think about them a lot. I follow with interest when local and national governments discuss the possibility of taxing or even banning plastic bags. Somehow, though, I didn't realize until just this afternoon that China banned the flimsy variety of plastic bags almost two years ago. Banned them completely--their manufacture, sale, and distribution.

In July of 2009, some people held a forum in Beijing to discuss the effects of the plastic bag ban's first year. Here's a link to the transcript of that forum discussion.

China's Bag Ban, One Year Later

Sounds like in spite of spotty enforcement, the ban had been quite successful at reducing plastic waste.
"Our survey, conducted over more than a year, found that the number of plastic bags in garbage has reduced by over 10%. Beijing produces over 20,000 tonnes of garbage a day, with 10% -- about 2,000 tonnes of that – being plastic bags. A 10% reduction means 200 tonnes less garbage."

I'm not saying that I advocate a complete ban on plastic bags. But I do think that a tax on plastic bags--or requiring stores to charge for them--makes good economic and environmental sense. Even five cents a bag would be enough to motivate a lot of people to remember those reusable bags they already have sitting at home.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Houston Chronicle

I don't accumulate many plastic bags myself, as I generally shop with reusable bags (they're so much nicer, anyway). So in order to make my plastic bag crochet projects, I gather used plastic bags from family, friends, and strangers (via Freecycle).

I'm given a lot of newspaper bags. I believe they're from the Houston Chronicle. Apparently, the Houston Chronicle is delivered in a different color bag every day--many soft shades of gray, green, blue, mauve, and more. I've accumulated quite a stash of these bags. Check it out.

The photos don't really do the colors justice. I think it's my cheapo camera. Still, aren't these colors great?

My favorites are the greys. I love grey. I've been a big fan of grey for the last fifteen years. (And yes, I spell grey with an "e" even when my spell-checker argues with me.)

I spend way too much time looking through these bags and coming up with the best color combinations for my next projects (and not enough time actually getting to work).

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Help for Haiti

In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Etsy sellers are banding together to help. They are donating items to the shop above, "Hearts for Haiti," which is donating all proceeds to earthquake relief in Haiti. Purchase anything from this Etsy shop and the money you spend (minus the unavoidable Etsy and Paypal fees) will be going directly to a worthy cause. Plus you get a neat handmade item. :)

I think this shop is such a great opportunity for those of us who don't have cash to donate, but do have vintage or handmade items that we can contribute.

I'll be donating these cards:

They seemed appropriate, given the heart theme.

Update, 1/20

I just learned that the "Hearts for Haiti" shop isn't the only one donating proceeds to earthquake relief--the "Craft Hope" shop is donating proceeds as well.

Between the two shops, over $16,000 [EDIT, 1/25: make that $44,000] has been raised to provide medical care for Haitians, and that number is rising rapidly.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Mixed Feelings

I just finished this bag--yes, finished it! I am very good at starting projects, not so good at finishing them. But this one is done and listed on my Etsy shop. As I look at it, I have mixed feelings. Part of me loves the bold colors--the white, blue, and yellow plastic bags just went so nicely together--but the other part of me thinks that it's way too bright, and that my usual favorites (neutrals) are better.

This is only the second time I've lined a tote. Since I never do things exactly the same way twice, I made a few changes this way around. The top corners of the pockets are reinforced more strongly this time, and one pocket has a flap. Maybe next time I'll do a zippered pocket.

If you're not yet familiar with what I do--I work exclusively with recycled materials. The exterior of this one is crocheted with about 75 plastic bags donated by friends and Freecyclers (yay Freecyle!). The lovely soft gray lining fabric once covered the walls of a sound booth which has since been demolished. The handle and hardware came from an old purse I found at Goodwill (the body of the purse was stained and unusable).

I just finished ripping apart this bag. I used it heavily for a while, but it's just too small to be useful to me any more, and too worn to sell or give away. Besides, I was never happy with the handles. So I'm going to re-use the plarn to make a new handbag. I can't wait to get started--that big ball of lovely neutral beige and brown is just calling my name. :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

White Plarn in Progress, Part 3

Almost done! Just needs a lining, a magnetic snap, and a big black button. I've been putting off the lining because I anticipate that it will be tricky to get a nice fit. Maybe I'll get to it today. I also need to find the vintage black button that I'd picked out of my mother's button box--it seems to have vanished on me. Maybe I'll just have to order another vintage button from Etsy. I'm trying to stay away from Etsy, however, as I could spend hours "supply shopping"; yesterday I spent waaaayy too long browsing vintage zippers. Oops!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Plarn Coin Purse

I made this little coin purse the other day. Plarn is a very time-consuming material to work with, since you have to make the plarn before you can even get started--it's akin to carding and spinning your own wool, rather than picking up a skein at the local yarn shop. But this coin purse, being small, yielded quick gratification; though it did take me a while to make the lining, as I'd never made a zippered lining before. Now that I've figured out the logistics, I look forward to making more. :)