Thursday, December 27, 2007

Winter wonderland

It snowed on Christmas morning! All was peaceful, beautiful. We had a good holiday. Hannah was a delight as always. She's been busy with her toys--feeding her dolls, changing their diapers, putting them to bed. I've been knitting on my Dad's sweater--made very enjoyable by a Christmas gift--Knitwits interchangeable needles! It's amazing the progress I've made with these new needles. I guess I just needed a little bit of color to look at while I was knitting--didn't need to be in the yarn, in the needles will do!
I've also done a little bit of spinning on my Loop batts and plied the yarn this morning. I think I'll make some fingerless gloves for cold morning typing--but I'm not going to cast on until I've finished my Dad's sweater.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, Grandma Helen!

We celebrated Grandma Helen’s 95th yesterday with a big meal at our house. I went through her old cook books and found recipes to make a meal—(and with a nod to my good friend Liz) this was the menu:

Beef Stroganoff from the Cowbelles cookbook (c. 1957)

Butter Layer Rolls (Grandma Helen’s recipe)

Wild Rice (given to us by Uncle Andy last Christmas)

Carrots Supreme (my great aunt Lucille Clarke’s recipe)

Green Beans (weight watchers recipe, c. 2007)


Julia made rum balls, tried to make Grandma's almond sugar cookies, but I sent her the wrong recipe (I found the right one later), and brought a gi-normous coconut cake.

It was all very good. We had 20 guests—so it maxed out all of our pots, pans, dishes, etc and was a great and chaotic time with several spilled glasses of water (one of wine), one bloody nose (16-month-old William who slipped and fell and hit his face square on the floor, but was up running around again soon), lots of laughter, and some tears.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lessons learned

My daughter Hannah has skills; skills that I like to encourage and support.
Like her Mommy and Daddy, she likes to make things and work on projects. She's been decorating book marks for everyone in our family. And she's great with scissors.

Maybe a little too great.

Here's a silk scarf I've been adding a picot edging to for a Christmas present.

I made the mistake of leaving my scissors and this project within her reach. We're both really lucky that she didn't get hurt. And it didn't take me too long to realize that.

Maybe I'll make it into a teeny scarf for Hannah to have when she's a little older. And when she has kids of her own, I'll tell her about the day that both mommy and baby cried when mommy learned the hard way to keep her beading projects out of the way.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Drawing Little Star

Michelle Mach of Beading Daily asked me to write up instructions for this ornament, Little Star, for beading daily. She'll be posting it soon to the blog and as a free project.
In the project, I give permission to copy and use the pattern, but I thought some people might like to draw their own and might want to know how I did it.

The concept is very similar to drawing a heart that I posted about earlier this year.

Paper and pencils
I use archival quality paper because I have a lot on hand, and I like the way it stands up to all the abuse of poking it with needles, folding, stuffing it in my bead case, etc., when I bead, but any printer paper will work. I like to draw with high quality colored pencils like Prismacolor because they have more pigment and less wax than other brands, making it easier to draw--but that's just my preference--use what you have on hand.

Here are the colors I choose for the star, a drawing pencil, and an eraser on top of the paper.

I start by drawing an oval roughly the size of the ornament, then sketching out a star. I wanted my star to be a bit alive--like it has arms and legs and a head, and it is jumping around for joy.

I erased some lines and went over them again until I had a general shape that pleased me.

Then I darkened the lines with the pencil to create a nice outline.

With yellow, I started filling in the star using consistent hash lines and varying the strength of the mark (lighter near the center, darker near the outline).

I changed to a darker yellow and started working on the colors outside of the star.

I started layering orange and red.

Each time I changed colors, I overlap them--that creates layers of colors, adding depth and mixing the colors so that there are many more colors in the piece than the colors I originally chose for the ornament.

I worked on the center a little more--leaving an area in the center that is white.

By concentrating the intensity of value on the outline, I'm creating a sense of depth and form that will be important in the beaded piece. In addition to creating a contrast between light and dark, I'm also gradating from yellow to red using all the analogous colors (colors that are in the same hue family) in between.

Now my cartoon is ready to cut out and stitch to cloth for beading.

When you use colored pencils to draw the image, the color will transfer to your thread as you bead. It hasn't caused me any problems even when using transparent beads.

I'd love to see your stars--send me a jpeg at amyclarkemoore AT frii DOT com and let me know if it is okay to post it on my blog.