Geometric Triangle Logbook

If you’re not familiar with Letterboxing it’s about time someone sheds some light on it for you. Here’s what’s up.
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Someone carves a stamp, makes a mini book, and puts them both in a weatherproof box. They then hide it in the forest (or park or public building) and write instructions on how to find it. They post these instructions on Atlas Quest or Letterboxing.org and people like you and me try to find them! When we go letterboxing, we bring our own personal stamp, an inkpad, a pen, and a logbook. If we are successful in finding the hidden letterbox, we’ll stamp our stamp in the letterbox logbook and then stamp the letterbox’s stamp in our own personal logbook. Our logbooks become a collection of awesome stamps that remind us of all the boxes we’ve found and who we found them with! I, personally, have only planted one letterbox, but I have plans to plant many more! Letterboxes are everywhere and many times they are hidden in plain sight! Check out those websites if this interests you and you can get started!
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My first logbook is starting to get full. My friend Ashley from Canada came to visit me here in North Carolina and we found 21 boxes when she was here! We were going crazy! You couldn’t stop us! Can’t stop- won’t stop!

SO it was time I made myself a new logbook. I learned a few things after I made my first one that hopefully I have corrected in this version. But if you’re not interested in the DIY, at least stay for the mathematical Lumpy Space manicure at the end. 😀

YOU’RE GONNA NEED:

3+ sheets of 8.5×11 cardstock. I used all white.
Old magazines or scrapbook paper. (I used my husband’s WIRED magazines. They were beautiful and totally perfect.)
Scissors and/or box-cutter
Ruler
Embroidery floss or 2 feet of fine weight scrap yarn
Tapestry needle (blunt or sharp)
Glue
Packing tape

Start by cutting your cardstock sheets in half (hamburger style). I used a metal ruler and a box-cutter to get nice straight lines! Then fold all your half-sheets in half. Nest each of your pages inside one another like a book. (y’know… cause it’s gonna be a book)
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Set aside one of the pages for your cover. For my cover I made a 1x1x1 inch equilateral triangle out of thin cardboard to use as a template. If you have a paper punch in a perfect triangle shape you should definitely use that, because cutting tiny triangles takes a long time and any way to expedite that is an A+ in my book. I cut my magazine pages in long strips and then traced the triangle shape along the strip and cut out the triangles that way.
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Practice laying out designs and find color schemes you like. I cut a bunch of triangles in colors I like and then just glued them on pseudo-randomly. I picked a page with light grey and white text as my background and then glued my colored triangles on top. It doesn’t have to be perfect either- mine isn’t!
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After you get your cover the way you like, give it a good poor-man lamination job with box tape. This will make it a little more water-resistant and durable.
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Measure 1.5-2 inches from each edge along the fold and mark it with a small pencil dot (so you have 2 dots. See image below). This is where you are gonna poke holes so we can stitch the book together. You could use staples if you want, but I definitely didn’t have a beefy enough stapler for this job. After you mark every page so they line up, you’re gonna poke holes on the dots. I used my box cutter and just swiveled it around to make a semi-decent hole. If you have a tiny hole puncher that can reach, I recommend that. You could also use a needle and a hammer, but that just screams ‘terrible idea’.geologbook-4After your holes are punched and lined up, begin threading on the inside of the book. I like to tie a knot about 3 inches from the end of the string leaving a nice tail for when I tie it off. Sew through all pages to the outside cover, carry the string along the spine and down through the second set of holes back to the inside. Do this 2 more times ending on the inside. Cut your thread so your tails are the same length and then knot it in the center and trim excess.photoimage_1  After you tie those off, you’re all finished! Feel free to embellish and personalize to your heart’s desire!
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And don’t forget to match your manicure to your art projects whenever possible!geologbook-10This shade of purple is perfect for whenever I’m channelling Lumpy Space Princess!geologbook-2Believe it or not, I just cut tiny little stars out of magazine paper and stuck them on with clear coat. And before you ask, YES. It is tiring being this cool 😉

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Spinning Roving into Yarn

Last August I had the awesome opportunity to teach a photography class at the Great Basin Fiber Arts Fair. My students were awesome and my class was really successful! To reward myself for my efforts I did a little shopping 😀

One of my favorite things to buy at fiber festivals is mini braids of roving. I love testing out colorways and working with different fibers and dyers. The mini braids spin up quickly and are a low-commitment, low-risk spinning fix. (What risk? haha, mostly just the risk that your ply explodes and you did all that work for a tangled web of regret, that’s all)

I treated myself to two mini braids (among other things) from a local dyer, Sugarhouse Woolworks, and was so excited to start spinning them!

I photographed each major stage with the intent to put together a photo showcasing the process. I chose to navajo ply my singles to keep the colors together. Check it out! (Before, during, and after)
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Hand-Carved Squid Stamp

Today I’m gonna break down my process for stamp-making! (I know, right??!!1)
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When I was growing up my mom did a lot of stamping. She bought and sold stamps for a living. When I was younger I loved using her stamps to create new and exciting card designs. My interest dwindled when I realized I was at the mercy of the stamp manufacturer’s decisions as far as designs go. I always hoped the new catalogs would have the kind of stamps that I wanted to use and collect. But more often than not, there wasn’t anything that I absolutely had to have.

Fast forward about 8 years…. to the day I realized I could carve my own stamps>> 😀

CARVING A STAMP

You’re gonna need:

A Linoleum Cutter. Mine is Speedball brand.
Stamp Carving Rubber. Again, Speedball.
A Pencil
Tracing Paper
A Cutting Mat/Board
A Totally Rad Drawing!

STEP 1:
Draw or find a design you can trace with pencil. I usually do this step with tracing paper, but this time I used regular printer paper and it worked just fine. The tracing paper is better though because it allows the graphite from the drawing to transfer to the rubber more easily. I drew a squid.
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STEP 2:
Once you have your design the way you like, flip it onto your clean, dry rubber slab and rub the backside of the transfer paper completely to transfer your image (in reverse!) to the rubber.
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STEP 3:
With the smallest gouge (carving stabber), carefully outline your design getting as close to the pencil lines as possible. Using a gentle scooping method with a steady hand gives me the best results. Before you begin this step, its a good idea to decide if you’ll be carving out the lines or the spaces. For my design, if I carve the lines, I’ll end up with a dark, inked up squid body. If I carve the spaces, I’ll have a perfect outline of a squid that I can color in if I want. For this demonstration I’ll be carving the lines, but for most of the stamps I make (like logos and shapes) I usually carve the spaces and I leave the lines. This would make my stamp look more like my pencil drawing.0SquidStamp-3STEP 4:
After your design is outlined, switch to a larger gouge and begin carving a thicker border around the edge. This is also a good time to carve out large spaces. Feel free to switch between different sizes of gouges in order to comfortably carve at your own pace. There’s really no right or wrong way to carve a stamp. I definitely don’t recommend carving toward yourself or your fingers though cause the gouges are sharp and could stab you. Pain is no fun. Do avoid.0SquidStamp-4STEP 5:
Using an art knife or exact-o blade, cut out your stamp (on a cutting mat) leaving a generous border. If you go too closely to the edges of your stamp and it has lots of long delicate portions, it could easily break!0SquidStamp-5STEP 6:
When you are satisfied with your carving job, ink it up and test it out! This is the best way to tell if you missed any spots. If all looks good, marvel in your awesomeness. You did it! As with most things, practice is your best friend. The more you work at it, the better you’ll get.0SquidStamp-6Now you have an awesome stamp you can use for just about anything! Make your dear sweet Canadian friend a beautiful, hand-carved, hand-stamped, one-of-a-kind birthday card. Stamp your future (or present) offspring’s onesies and tees. Create a weatherproof box and a logbook and embed your stamp in a letterbox hidden in the wild!! Or just collect your cute stamps and smile at them when you see them and know you made something completely unique and wonderful <3

Oh, and I learned how to make an animated gif (which is apparently pronounced JIF) today so I could impress you with a speedy time-lapse! Do enjoy 😀SquidCarvex. tab

Doily Dream Catcher

Last summer I had the opportunity to learn how to make dream catchers.  Along with my plants, I also have a huge love for dream catchers, so learning how to make them was a huge deal for me.  But the way the group planned on making them was not the way I wanted to make mine.  They were just tying doilies to hoops, not actually using the dreamcatcher stitch.

So I googled the stitch and made mine like an actual dream catcher – obviously because I have to be a little bit better than everyone else 😉
Here’s the one I made last summer, but I’ll be making another to show you step by step how it’s done.

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The Materials: The stuff you’re gonna need to make this awesome dream catcher.

Processed with VSCOcamStep One: You’re going to tie the string to the top of the hoop while simultaneously making a loop for the dreamcatcher to hang from.  I like to put that knot where the hoop was welded together so that part doesn’t show.Processed with VSCOcamStep Two: Now we start the dream catcher stitch, which is really easy, you just wrap the string up and under the hoop then in between the knot and where you just wrapped around the hoop.  It should look something like this:Processed with VSCOcamAnd heres a two stitches done loosely so you can see how they look next to each other:Processed with VSCOcamNow you just keep going!  Don’t forget to tighten the stitches or else the whole thing will be really loose and not as nice.  I like to do mine about an inch apart, just to have more stitches, but you can make them as close or as far as you want.Processed with VSCOcamStep Three: Once when you’ve gone all the way around – don’t forget to put another stitch right by the knot! – you start to tie them to the previous stitches.Processed with VSCOcamThen you just keep going around and around.  Keeping the stitches as tight as possible.Processed with VSCOcamStep Four: You can embellish the dream catcher with a little bead just by threading the bead on and pushing it all the way up the the previous stitch and the continuing just like normal.  And when you get back to the bead after going around, you simply get to choose which side of the bead the stitch will go on.  It wont really matter.Processed with VSCOcamStep Five: Once when you’ve gotten far enough to fit the doily, start to attach it by threading the string through the middle of the scallop and then doing a normal stitch.  It’s just like the bead, but you do it over and over instead of just once.  And if you have more stitches than scallops on the doily, then even it out by just doing a stitch on the next one without threading through the doily. (For an example, look at the second picture on step six – right where the scissors are pointing.)

Processed with VSCOcamStep Six: After completing the last stitch, tie it off with a simple knot.Processed with VSCOcamI typically like to hide mine in the back so that you don’t really see it, and I also knot it again in the back.Processed with VSCOcamStep Seven: Now it’s time to tie on the strings for the feathers to hang off of.  I just do a simple slip knot so that I have two ends to work with, and I usually make them longer in the center and shorter on the sides.

Processed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcamStep Eight: This is the part where I wish I had more beads to help put the feathers on, but I just hot glued the string onto the feathers.  (To put the feathers on with beads, just put a dot of hot glue on the end of the feather and stick it into the bead while sticking the string through the other end of the bead.) To help make it look a little better, I wrapped the string around the end of the feather, putting a dot of glue on the end of the string and at the end of the feather. Processed with VSCOcamThe finished results should look a little something like this this…  You can’t really see the white feathers that great, just because my sheets and my wall were white.  But I swear they are there!

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So that’s it!  That’s how to make a doily dream catcher!  I have a couple hanging in my room and I absolutely love them!

*All supplies can be found in you local craft store.

x. bren

Dye Yarn with KoolAid!

Once upon a time I was at my favorite aunt’s house for knit night. I forgot to bring something to knit so I went stash diving in her yarn cottage and found this winner.
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I felt bad for the frightening ball of yarn because deep down I knew it never wanted to be so grotesque.

My aunt reassured me that it would knit up into some cute baby socks. I decided to go ahead and cast on and see what kind of sorcery I could perform with it.
Unfortunately, no matter how I knit this poor, disgusting yarn, it refused to look pretty.

I sprayed it with bleach and waited with billowing anticipation as absolutely nothing happened. (I still don’t know how this is even possible)

So I began researching overdye methods on the interwebs and struck gold. There’s an entire site dedicated to dying yarn with household products complete with formulas, tips, and SO MUCH MORE. Do check it out. It’s my new homepage.

So I did what every self-respecting adult does, and I bought myself a pile of KoolAid packets. Obviously. And I documented the whole thing for you.

So uh… let’s get started.

OVERDYING HIDEOUS YARN

STEP 1: Make sure your yarn is wool. Mine was 30% polyester and 70% wool and it worked!
STEP 1.5: Decide how much yarn you’d like to dye to determine how many packets of KoolAid you’ll need.

1 packet of KoolAid will dye approximately 10 grams of yarn.
My 50 gram ball made about 3 mini 16 gram skeins so I used 2 packets per mini skein. (So according to math, an entire 50 gram ball should use 5 packets)
Using less dye per skein will typically yield lighter results.
More dye per skein will typically yield darker (more saturated) results.
Each packet of KoolAid will need to be dissolved in 8oz (1 cup) of water.

STEP 2: If your yarn is in a ball, wind it into a skein. (Not required, but probably helps your dye absorb more evenly) I wrapped my yarn around two legs of a chair and tied it off at each end to keep it neat. (Definitely tie off your yarn in at least 2 places so you don’t end up with a wet ball of knots. Unless you’re into that sort of thing…) This is also the time where you’ll need to decide how much you’ll be dying. I just guessed and ended up with 16 grams.
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STEP 3: Soak your yarn for at least an hour. Then, gently squeeze out the excess water and place your wet yarn in a microwave-safe bowl.
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STEP 4: Prepare your dye bath by mixing your KoolAid in water. Remember, the ratio is 1 packet of KoolAid to 1 cup of water to 10 grams of yarn. For my first skein (16 grams) I mixed 1 packet of Grape and 1 packet of Black Cherry and dissolved them into 2 cups of water. I intentionally had slightly more dye to my yarn ratio because the yarn was already brightly colored so I thought this would help cover the color better.KoolaidOverdyeYarn-5STEP 5: Pour your dyebath solution over your yarn being careful not to splash since KoolAid could stain stuff and ruin your clothes possibly. Make sure the yarn is completely submerged in the dye. Cover your bowl with a paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes. (Careful! It will be piping hot!)
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STEP 6: Let your cooked yarn cool for 10  minutes. If the water still has dye in it, microwave again for another 2 minutes and let cool for 10 minutes. Repeat this cooking and cooling cycle until your water is clear and your yarn has soaked up the dye. (Mine only needed to be cooked twice. If it isn’t soaking up the dye, you might have the wrong kind of yarn. Definitely don’t do it more than like 3 or 4 times cause that could be hazardous..?)
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STEP 7: Once your yarn has cooled off, rinse in cold water, gently squeeze excess water, and hang or lay out on a towel to dry. Don’t dry it in the sun though. The sun could reverse the dying effect or, more likely, animals will eat your delicious yarn. (not a proven method to lure animals)

STEP 8: After your yarn is fully dry, marvel in your awesome skills and give it a nice sniff. Viola! Feel free to experiment with different colors and yarns. www.dyeyouryarn.com is an incredible resource that has images of all the colors that you can get by using KoolAid, Egg dye, and food coloring! Definitely give it a look-see if that’s your sort of thing!
KoolaidOverdyeYarn-13My first skein turned out way better than I ever expected it could. However, the dye job wasn’t perfect. I think because I had my skein twisted up, the dye couldn’t penetrate each strand evenly. Fortunately though, I think it still turned out awesome. It looks handpainted! Another thing to watch for, is your ties. Make sure when you tie off your skein, you don’t tie it too tight or it could restrict those sections from being dyed.
KoolaidOverdyeYarn-14After all the fun I had with my first skein, I decided to give it another go with Hawaiian Punch and Orange. My results were dramatically different!!

Pre-cook:KoolaidOverdyeYarn-10Postcook:
KoolaidOverdyeYarn-11The dyebath turned milky! The vibrant red had mostly soaked up but it left a cool milky-looking broth. I microwaved it once more after this image and it soaked up the remaining color, but was still cloudy. I rinsed it and dried it just the same. It probably has to do with whatever is in either of the KoolAid packets I used.

Here was my end result!
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Can you believe these gorgeous skeins came from this clown-barf yarn?? So awesome.
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As for what I’ll end up doing with the yarns, I’ll probably find a project I can use them both in! Here’s what they look like twisted together:
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<3 And that’s how you make a mountain out of a molehill. KoolAid for the win.

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