WIP Wednesday – Plus thoughts on commissions

This week’s doll was a request from an old family friend after she saw my most recent crocheted “Little Me” on Facebook. When I asked her to send me a picture of herself that she would like to see in doll form, she said, “You pick one… I would SO cherish your artistic ‘interpretation’ of me.” She’s a very kind, creative, and eccentric woman. She has had several profile pictures on Facebook of her in a Viking-opera singer costume, complete with enormous metal boobs and a horned helmet. When I sent her a picture of the finished doll last night, she was ecstatic. Although this doll was a request from a dear friend and I did not ask to be paid for it, crocheting it made me think a lot about the idea of commission work.  Continue reading

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WIP Wednesday – Perfecting a doll pattern

In less than a week, I whipped out another doll in my quest to perfect a pattern that is more my own creation than someone else’s. I have to say that I am quite happy with how this one turned out. It’s another self-portrait, but I figure that I might as well experiment on interpretations of myself to learn about what I do and don’t like. I made the head bigger, cinched in the waist more (although I am eager to explore different body types), gave more curvature to the back, and got rose-colored embroidery floss for the lips. It’s also a little better at standing on its own because I added 3 pennies per foot. This is in addition to wadded up strips of t-shirt in the legs, which provides more weight than just poly-fill.

For comparison, here is last week’s doll:

Book Review: Pictures at an Exhibition by Sara Houghteling

Mussorgsky wrote [“Pictures at an Exhibition”] for the painter Victor Hartmann, who died young… This is the closest you can ever get to that exhibition. They say all of Hartmann’s paintings have been lost, so there is only the music.

I’ve recently taken to listening to audiobooks on my way to and from work, and a couple weeks ago, I came across 2010’s Pictures at an Exhibition by Sara Houghteling, which was readily available to download from the library (related note: it was very enjoyable to hear it read by Mark Bramhall, who beautifully articulates multiple European accents and French words). Pictures at an Exhibition tells the story of Max Berenzon, a young Jewish Frenchman who desperately wants to work in his family’s prestigious art gallery in the late 1930s, and pines after the lovely assistant, Rose Clément. His father repeatedly denies him the opportunity to become a gallerist, telling him that he does not have “the hunger, the desire to hunt and chase.” Max and his family are certainly cognizant of the Nazis’ war efforts and occupations that are coming ever closer to Paris, and there are a few moments where you see them experience anti-Semitism from fellow Parisians. The war itself is largely glossed over, and before you know it, it’s 1944, and the Berenzons are returning to Paris after hiding in a farmhouse on the French countryside.  Continue reading

I Almost Gave Up My Dreams… Almost.

I read a Mental Floss article a couple months ago about a study that showed that not following one’s calling in life is worse than not having any calling at all. According to the study, “those who do not feel called to any particular vocation report higher levels of work engagement, career commitment, and domain satisfaction and less physical symptoms, psychological distress, and withdrawal intentions than those who have, but cannot pursue, their occupational calling.”

Unfortunately, while the general premise of the study could resonate with a lot of people, it was rather narrow in its scope in that it only looked at how American academics rated their life and job satisfaction along with their physical and emotional well being (and considering how arduous it is to break into academia, I’m not surprised that these types of people would find it especially difficult to not pursue their dream careers). Nevertheless, I think it could be study that could be expanded upon to look at non-academics.

It has been over a year since I posted on this blog. I thought about it a lot and wished that I had some new crocheted doodad to show off, but life happened, as it always does. If I may have a moment of rather personal honesty, I dealt with a lot of emotional hardships that made it difficult for me to make time to crochet things that fall under the “mission” of this blog, let alone write about them. One of these hardships was a miserable job.  Continue reading

Why crochet?

I frequently have moments where non-crafters see one of my crocheted pieces and say, “That’s so cool! Did you knit that?” My own mother talks about how cute my “little knitted things” are. I’ve generally given up on trying to correct people and just try to appreciate the sentiment of admiration. However, there have been occasions when I’ve said, “Actually, it’s crocheted” and the response is often, “Oh ok… What’s the difference between knitting and crochet?”

Before I get to ahead of myself, I must confess right now that I am not a knitter. I learned how to do the basic knit stitch in high school and made a couple unfinished scarves (because I could not figure out how to get the fabric off the needle). Therefore, I apologize in advance if I come off as a little biased towards crochet, but I truly do respect the skill behind both yarncrafts.  Continue reading

Mondrian-inspired scarf

16056954159_62f8e9e9af_z I must confess that, prior to making this scarf, I was pretty ambivalent to Piet Mondrian and De Stijl (the group in which Mondrian was one of the founding members) in general. At a first glance, Mondrian’s signature style– using the primary three colors (red, yellow, and blue) and primary values (white, black, and gray) in patterns of squares, rectangles, and straight lines– appears almost too simplistic. However, as I worked my way through the scarf, I grew to appreciate the purity of the colors and values, the geometry of the shapes, and the vertical and horizontal lines. But before I get to ahead of myself, the questions that must first be asked are: Who was Piet Mondrian, and what is De Stijl?  Continue reading

The Journey to Opening an Etsy Shop


Gimli, Son of Gloin (one part of the 9-piece “Fellowship” set from Lord of the Rings)

Like most creative types, I frequently feel an invisible itch in my fingers that urges me to make something: a hat, a scarf, a journal entry, a toy, a drawing. When the urge strikes, it feels like it will never be satisfied until I create something that fits my vision. And like most creative types, I’ve been like this my entire life. As a kid, I loved to draw and paint pictures of the things around me or in my head: horses, cats, castles, unicorns. My mom often enrolled me in arts and crafts classes during the summers, and it seemed like every Christmas/Easter/birthday, I got craft kits or art supplies. While I ended up getting a BFA and studied primarily printmaking and photography in college, I have grown more fond of the fiber arts in recent years because of their versatility to create more utilitarian objects, and my primary craft is crochet. Don’t get me wrong, I generally love art– I also have a Master’s in Art History and work with art every day between my two jobs– but a painting can’t keep you warm (though, arguably, the money a person can make from its sale might), and I want anything I create to be physically used.  Continue reading