Thursday, August 27, 2015

Drawing Challenges

My mom and I were talking about the difference between how I approach weaving and a lot of other random crafty skills I've explored over the years. I'm interested in the process of weaving, not just as tool to finish a project. Most of my crafting is about making a specific item, not playing with a technique. It's gotten me thinking about what other skills I feel the same way about. Plush toy making and drawing are probably my two other skills that I enjoy the process of as much as I enjoy the end product.

I've been pushing myself to draw more. My Instagram feed is full of random sketches lately and I've been scanning in rough ideas to turn into digital drawings too. I'm wondering if I'd benefit from doing a drawing challenge. So to that effect, here are some of the drawing challenges that I'm interested in. Most of these are over, but that wouldn't stop me from following along with them as if they were going on now.

15 Day Drawing Challenge from Wit & WhistleThis is a short drawing challenge from Wit & Whistle with some good drawing prompts. Also I love Amanda's drawings that go along with it.

30-Day Art Challenge from Up Up And AwayThe 30-Day Art Challenge from Up Up And Away is a nice list for a 30-day month to keep you inspired and on task.

31-Day Drawing Challenge from CraftsyCraftsy is this month running a 31-Day Drawing Challenge, complete with prizes. It's not too late to jump in, if you're interested (deadline for the contest is September 1, 2015).

52-Weeks of Drawings from The Paper MamaIf you're looking for something a little more long term, the Paper Mama's 52 Weeks of Drawings look like a fun series of prompts, and less intimidating than 365-Day challenges.

Using drawing prompts can be a great way to push yourself and your skills. I love the idea from Wit & Whistle's challenge that it's not about making great art, but rather just making it. Not everything is going to be perfect or even something you like, but drawing is a skill you have to keep working on. And maybe you'll do something that surprises you.

All of the images in this post belong to their respective, linked sites.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Braided Doormat

Braided Door Mat | Red Circle Crafts

I immediately fell in love with this doormat on Martha Stewart. I usually avoid Martha Stewart projects because the tutorials are ridiculously difficult to follow. Never enough photos of the things you actually need to see and the writing is bare bones and often vague. The worst is that the tutorial looks fine until you actually start in on it and realize you're missing some very important steps.

So as usual, I was sitting on the floor in front of my computer trying to follow the tutorial and move 100 ft of rope around me and getting more and more frustrated about it all. J usually just stays out of my way. I may or may not get snippy when someone tries to help me with something I'm sure I can figure out myself. But he just pulls out his encyclopedia of knots book* (he's such a boy scout) and asks if any of these knots look like the one I'm trying to make. With much clearer instructions to making an Ocean Plait Knot (yes, that's what that is, thanks, Martha, for not explaining that), the project became much simpler. Still tedious though. How can managing 100 ft of rope into one knot not be tedious?

Braided Door Mat | Red Circle Crafts

Some tips:

If you want your mat to be the same size as Martha's (33" x 20") make sure you use 165-ft of 1/2" rope. I had 100-ft of 1/4" rope on hand so I used that, but it came out significantly smaller than I'd hoped. It's still a serviceable size, but I didn't tighten it down as much as maybe I should have, either.

Try to straighten out any kinks in the rope from being tightly wound before you start your knot.

I used a piece of cardboard as a shuttle so that I wasn't pulling all 100-ft of rope through each weave. (A shuttle is a fancy way of saying I wound the rope around a long and skinny piece of cardboard.)

Start your knot in the actual middle of the rope. It means you only have to deal with half the rope at a time for weaving it through.

Braided Door Mat | Red Circle Crafts

For glue, I used E6000 in all of the places where the rope crosses itself so that it will stay more secure even with some foot traffic (after I was completely done of course).

Braided Door Mat | Red Circle Crafts

*The Encyclopedia of Knots is an Amazon Affiliate link. If you decide this is a book you need (and it is really cool) and purchase it through this link, I make a few cents. So thanks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cactus Craze

I've been sick lately. And it completely sucks. I've been sitting in bed crafting, but photographing or even, god forbid, going outside for better light, sounds horrible. More projects coming soon when I'm feeling back to 100%. Almost there now, I hope.

I actually remember thinking that the cactus fad was going to fade quickly and trying to ignore the influx of weird cactus art and DIYs floating around the internet. I'm a little concerned that it's still here, but I'm actually starting to get on board with it. The idea of having odd cactus things in my home actually makes me laugh now instead of groan. Maybe it's the design equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome? Or maybe I'm becoming a crazy cactus lady.

Some fun, crafty, cactus projects that make me smile.

DIY Cactus Pillow from Everything EmilyThis cactus pillow DIY from Everything Emily is fun and quirky. I love when 3-D objects have some cartoonishness to them, like this.

Mini Cactus Pinatas from Oh Happy DayI love pinatas. I seriously go a little crazy, in a good way, about them. These mini cactus pinatas from Oh Happy Day are kind of the best.

DIy Faux Stained Glass Bottles from A Beautiful MessThese cactus Faux-Stained Glass Bottles from A Beautiful Mess are unlike any other DIYs I've seen around. I didn't even know you could buy glass paints at the art store. Definitely something new to try.

Cactus Pin Cushions from Plan BPin cushion cacti are pretty brilliant. This pin cushion tutorial from Plan B looks fairly simple. It is in Spanish, but that's what google translate is for, right?

All of the photos in this post belong to their respective and linked sites.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Weaving Progress Report

Weaving | Red Circle Crafts

You may recall that I made my first loom almost a year ago. Since then I've been weaving for friends and family. And slowly covering a wall with the ones I keep for myself.

This summer I made a second loom, larger and the weft closer together. It means I can create more precise patterns, but it takes so much longer to weave something the same size. So I may need to create heddle rods and leashes (like these). I feel like I'm still so new to this whole thing, but it's incredibly soothing to spend my evenings weaving and decompressing. Keeps my hands busy, but attention to spare for J while he's making dinner.

Weaving | Red Circle Crafts

Weaving | Red Circle Crafts

Some of the weavings I've made recently include some adorably small ones, and a necklace I'm quite fond of. I think my next weavings will be a set of coasters.

Weaving | Red Circle Crafts