Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hello from Art Land!

Hey all you crazy crafters!

It's been a while! I'm still firmly stuck in Art School mode so I haven't been working on any craft tutorials... life's kinda crazy, but awesome. I'm very grateful that I can study the things I love.

If you want to keep an eye on my exploits, feel free to take a gander at my work on And stay tuned: I hope to work on some more craft tuts in the future (any requests?).


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Low-FODMAP Popsicles

For health reasons, I recently started a FODMAP elimination diet. It's done wonders for me, and I don't miss too many of the foods that I used to be able to eat, but I've had a hard time finding any corn syrup- and milk-free popsicles. And that simply will not do.
So I made my own, using a $1 popsicle mold set from Ralphs. I think they rock, so I'm sharing the (general) recipe.
[Any Kind of Fruit] + Lemonade Popsicles
You will need:
  • Fruit (ultimately, you'll need about 1/2 cup of fruit juice and/or pulp)
  • Lemon(s)
  • Sugar
  • Water
My popsicle maker holds about a cup of liquid, total, so that's the measurement I'm using: if yours holds more or less, increase or decrease the recipe proportionally.
  1. Make simple sugar syrup: cook equal amounts of sugar and water (I usually use a half cup of each, but then I have some left over, so it's up to you) until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Dice the fruit, and mash it up well. I use a suribachi and surikogi (mortar and pestle) but you can use a blender or any other method you prefer. The object is to (generally) separate the pulp from the juice. 
  3. Add fruit juice (and pulp, if you want) to a measuring cup: you want about half a cup, maybe a little more, of fruit. 
  4. Add the juice of at least half a lemon (a full lemon works too- it all depends on your lemon preferences) to the measuring cup. 
  5. Add syrup to the measuring cup to bring the liquid amount up to one cup. 
  6. Stir, and taste. The mixture should taste both too sweet and too strong-- it settles as it freezes. Add more lemon, syrup, and/or fruit to taste, but remember that the mixture should have a very strong flavor. 
  7. Freeze.
And there you go. So far, I've tried honeydew, kiwi (make sure not to crush the seeds!), muscat grapes (pictured above), strawberries, and blackberries (all FODMAP-friendly fruit!), and they have all worked very well. Also, recently, I made some with syrup + lime juice + strips of fresh mint.

These are cheap, easy, and healthy, as far as frozen treats go-- and, more importantly, I think they're the yummiest popsicles I've ever had. Give 'em a try!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Color Theory for the Crafter

Color can make or break any artistic project. It doesn't matter if you're painting your house, knitting a scarf, or beading a bracelet-- color is the first thing most people notice, and if the colors you choose "work" for the project, the effect is profoundly positive. If, however, you choose colors that don't "work"-- either they don't work together, or they don't match the project-- they can get in the way of the artistic statement you are trying to make.

I'm not trying to say that every color needs to harmonize perfectly-- trust me, I'm all about using bright and unexpected color combinations-- but I think it's important to understand the way that color works (and, more importantly, the way colors work together) if you want to make the most out of crafting.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy 2102!

Happy New Year!

I've recently finished my first semester as an art major. It's kind of amazing: when I was studying other "academic" disciplines, I'd end the semester without any measurable sort of progress, just a little more knowledge and a massive headache from ten-page final papers.

As an art student, I have learned skills. A few months ago I didn't know what the heck gouache was, exactly, and now I know how to paint with it. I know how to compose groups of objects into pleasing compositions using the "Elements of Design". I went from being curious about charcoal to hating charcoal, and then to finding a use for it and maybe wanting to buy more charcoal sometime in the future. I know how to use artistic materials much, much better than I did before.

I'm looking forward to next semester.

The thing about art school is that I have less time for (and less inclination towards) crafts. I'm too busy being creative in other ways! But maybe I can share some of what I've learned in the art world with the crafting community at large. And maybe I'll share some of my art. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pink Pachyderm Earrings

These are some funky earrings. I usually don't incorporate fiber into my beadwork, but I decided to do something a little different this go-around. And what goes well with copper wire, wool yarn, and seed beads?
Elephants, of course!

I've had these beads for so long, I'm glad I finally made something with them. These earrings are constructed using a lot of copper wire (20 gauge in the centers of the yarn, and holding up the elephants; 24 gauge wrapped around the yarn); hand-dyed bits of wool yarn, glass elephant beads, size 4 swarovski bicones in Topaz (at the top of each earring), and size 11 seed beads scattered throughout.

Saharan Earrings

Goldstone is so incredibly sparkly, I love it. I'd had these beads around for a while, and finally decided to make something out of them-- they're simple, but the swarovski crystals and bits of chain really add a lot to the design, I think.
Let's see... these are made from copper findings and copper chain, tiny size 11 seed beads, goldstone beads, and Swarovski size 4 bicones, in Indian Red (I think). These earrings are Earth-ier and Fire-ier than most of my creations (I am definitely a Water person when it comes to beadwork, and probably to art in general), and the goldstone reminds me of sparkling sand, hence their name.