Friday, December 18, 2009

Crafty Crafty

Ok well I get distracted...I'll try harder. 

Well, holiday craft shows are done. I only did one (as usual) which was the Arcata Holiday Craft Market. I'll call this year's a success. Sales were pretty good... AND I finally connected with the owner of The Rocking Horse and now have bamboo onesies and some kid's T-shirts in the shop. I'm way excited about this, thinking it's a first step to getting all my little Mermaid dresses in there too! 

Ok, now that I have left yet another dayjob (yay!!)... I have plenty of time to work on Mermaid projects around here. My plan for this particular blog is to start posting some more craft projects. I came across my old teaching plans for kids (well, they were for disabled adults, but work for kids), which has tons of neat little projects of all sorts. 

Of course I also have some more crochet patterns, a couple silk painting projects, simple beading... and ideas for more stuff. I'd like to eventually offer supply kits for these projects as well. Woohoo! 

A girl's got to keep busy!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'm still here.

Well, I've been busy ok? sorta. Stupid dayjob tends to take over my life... luckily, only for a few more days and it's back to Mermaid land. 

After TG, I have about 2 weeks until the Arcata Holiday Market at the Community Center 12/12 & 12/13. I'm working on some new wire wrapped jewelry, which I'm excited to play with. Also been fooling with some polymer clay beads. Fun fun.

Oh and I now have some goods in the mall store Schatzi's Hidden Treasures. I had some clothing there last year... so this year I'm back. Not tons of stuff, but ponchos, ladies knit tops, skirts, pants and little girl dresses. I haven't met a little girl yet who doesn't love a mermaid dress.

So anyway... I should be around here more often once stupid dayjob is done. Yippee!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Basic Hat Pattern

Ok, here you go... this is my own pattern for a basic crocheted cap, including adjustments for size and stitch variations. Rock on!  See Crochet Basics for stitch descriptions and abbreviations.

Bohemian Mermaid
Crochet Pattern

Basic Hat

Description: Simple, flexible instructions for a basic cap using any stitch design, sized for anyone in the family.

Materials: Worsted weight yarn, I or J hook.

Pattern: Instructions are for average adult/teen size fitted cap. The base is worked in dc. After working the base as described, any stitch can be used for body. Work is not turned. Change colors as desired.

Start: Ch 4. Sl st into first ch to form loop.

Rnd 1: Ch 3 (counts as 1st dc here and throughout). Work 9 dc into ch4 loop (10dc total). Sl st into 1st dc (3rd ch of ch3).

Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc into same st. Work 2 dc into next st and each st around. Sl st into 1st dc.

Rnd 3: Ch 3, dc into same st and into next st. *Work 2 dc into next st, dc into next st. Repeat from * around. Sl st into 1st dc.

Rnd 4: Ch 3, dc into same st, dc into each of next 2 sts. *Work 2 dc into next st, dc into each of next 2 sts. Repeat from * around. Sl st into 1st dc.

Successive Rnds: Continue as in rnd 4, adding 1 st to the underlined portions for each successive rnd. Work until the underlined number is 4.

**For a child:
1. Work rnds 1 - 4 (rnds 1 - 3 for an infant), or
2. Work as above substituting sc for dc (remember to adjust chs too), or
3. Work as above substituting G hook and sport weight yarn.

** For a larger head:
1. Work until the underlined number is 5, or
2. Work as above using K hook and bulky or doubled worsted weight yarn.
**For a tighter base stitch:
1. Work as above substituting hdc for dc, or
2. Work base using sc instead of dc BUT to maintain the correct size: after each round, work one round of sc without increasing, then return to next rnd as written.

The body of the hat is worked one st to a st (no increases), creating a tube. Work about 5-7 rows of dc for a short cap, 12-15 for a folded brim. Adjust if other sts will be used.

To work hat body in a simple sc (hdc, dc): Ch1(2, 3) and work 1 st into each st around. Sl st to 1st st. Repeat. Many interesting striped patterns can be achieved by alternating colors and stitches by rows.

**To work hat body in any other stitch pattern:
Once the base is complete, count the number of sts in the last round. If you follow the above adult/teen instructions, you should have 60 sts in the last round. Choose a stitch pattern that has repeating sections that go into 60 evenly (ie, a shell st repeats a shell every 6 sts, so 60/6 works out perfectly).
To make adjustments: Divide the # of sts in the rnd by the # of sts in the pattern st. Whatever is left over should be adjusted either in the last rnd of the base or the first rnd of the body.
For example: My body st pat repeats every 8 sts. 60/8 leaves 4 sts too many in my base row. I can either skip 4 sts throughout the last row of the base (spread them out so no one can tell)...OR I can work the first rnd of my pat st by working 2 sts into the same st at 4 points throughout rnd (still, no one can tell).

Crochet Basics: A Handy Reference

Pattern Abbreviations:

Ch: chain

Ch st: chain stitch

Dc: double crochet

Dec: decrease

Dtr: double treble crochet

Hdc: half double crochet

Inc: increase

Lp: loop

Pat: pattern

Prev: previous

RS: right side

Rep: repeat

Rnd: round

Sc: single crochet

Sk: skip

Sl st: slip stitch

Sp: space

St: stitch

Tog: together

Tr: treble crochet

WS: wrong side

Yo: yarn over hook

Crochet Stitches:

Slip Stitch: Insert hook into designated st, yo and draw a loop through work and through loop on hook.

Chain Stitch: Make slip knot and place loop on hook. Yo and pull a loop through loop on hook.

Single Crochet: Insert hook into designated st, yo and draw a loop (2loops on hook). Yo and draw a loop through both loops on hook.

Half Double Crochet: Yo and insert hook into designated st, yo and draw a loop (3 loops on hook). Yo and draw through all 3 loops on hook.

Double Crochet: Yo and insert hook into designated st, yo and draw a loop (3 loops on hook). Yo and draw through 2 loops, yo and draw through last 2 loops on hook.

Treble Crochet: Yo twice and insert hook into designated st, yo and draw a loop (4 loops on hook). Yo and draw through 2 loops at a time until only one loop remains on hook.

Changing Colors:

Work last stitch of color 1 to the point of having last 2 loops on hook. Leaving 2-3" tails, cut color 1 thread and tie color 2 thread close to lps on hook. Pick up color 2, draw final loop of stitch. Continue as directed, working thread ends into sts as you go.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beer Can Hat - Part 2

(Continued from Part 1) See Crochet Basics for stitch descriptions and abbreviations. 

Note: I used tall cans for my sample hat, adjustments for using regular size cans shown in [brackets].

3. Edge the Can Labels

Basically, the cans will be edged just like a granny square. 5 dc into each corner, and 3 dc into each hole along the sides. For those who prefer a written pattern, here you go:

Sl st into corner hole, ch 3 (counts as 1 dc). Work 2 dc into same hole. *Work 3 dc into next hole and each hole across. Work 5 dc into corner hole. Repeat from * around label, ending with 2 dc into starting hole. Sl st into 2nd of ch 2 from beginning. Tie off.

Repeat this for each can label.

4. Join the Labels

This part is a little bit tricky. You will be joining the pieces while holding them back-to-back, one is in Front, one is in Back. The Front label will be worked by inserting your hook from the front, the Back label will be worked by inserting your hook from the back. I find it helpful to hold the Front label a little lower than the Back label while I work.

To join these, we will use a sort of joined sc, hdc, and dc to get an A-line shape to our hat. I can't describe it much better than that, so I'll defer to my written pattern instructions:

A) Starting in the top left corner of Front label, sl st into 3rd of 5 dc. Insert hook into same st, *yo and draw a loop, insert hook into corresponding st of Back label, yo and draw a loop (3 lps on hook), yo and draw a loop through all lps on hook. Insert hook into next st on Front label. Repeat from * across next 5[2] sts (6[3] sts total).

**Yo, insert hook into next Front st and draw a loop, yo, insert hook into corresponding Back st and draw a loop. Yo and draw a loop through all 5 lps on hook. Repeat from ** for next 2[5] sts (3[6] sts total).

Yo, insert hook into next Front st and draw a loop (3 lps on hook), yo and draw a loop through 2 lps on hook. Yo, insert hook into corresponding Back st and draw a loop, yo and draw loop through 2 lps on hook (3 lps on hook). Yo and draw lp through all lps on hook. Repeat from *** across, working last st into 3rd of 5 dc in corner. Tie off.

Repeat from A) until all labels are joined together.

If you want to stop here with the Beer Can Crown, simply sc along the top and bottom edges to finish, covering the yarn ends as you go. Boom, done.

Or, stay tuned for Part 3 finishing the hat top and brim.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Beer Can Hat - Part 1

I'm going to attempt to share with the world my pattern for the coveted Beer Can Hat. Some years ago I started making these and spread them around to many friends and unsuspecting acquaintances. I believe they originated during the 70s cheesy crafts era, which I completely adore.

Many a birthday party have I attended bringing a 6 pack of beer, a skein of yarn, a couple compact tools... and a few hours later, left the host with a special party hat and gift made right before his drunken eyes. Now YOU can be that fascinating craft nerd, amazing your friends at parties. Or just drinking and crocheting at home. 

All told, this project takes me about 2 hrs if I'm really paying attention… up to maybe 3 or 4 hours if there's beer and distraction involved.

Part 1 covers materials & preparing the cans.
Part 2 will cover edging and joining the cans into a Beer Can Crown.
Part 3 will cover adding the top and brim to finish the beer Can Hat.

The Cans:

You will need 5 can labels for one hat. Assuming your cans have two labels on them, front and back, you will need 3 cans (if your cans have only 1 label each, you will need 5 cans). 

Choose cans that have colorful or interesting labels... I have used Kern's, Miller High Life (w/ the girl on the moon), Pabst Blue Ribbon, Harley Davidson Beer, Schlitz Malt Liquor and Guinness. Coors is rather boring, but it's what I had available. Obviously the cans should be relatively clean.

The Other Supplies:

- Yarn - one 3oz skein in a color to match your cans
- Crochet Hook - size H or I
- Utility Scissors
- regular household scissors will work fine
- Paper Hole Punch
- very inexpensive at any office supply or drug store

Note: I used tall cans for my sample hat, adjustments for using regular size cans will be shown in [brackets].
1. Cut the Cans

*Safety Note* Yes, you should be careful while cutting the cans. Jagged edges could scratch or poke you. But once the cans are cut smoothly along the edges, they are not sharp at all. You will not slice up your fingers doing this.

To start cutting the cans, choose an area that won't affect your label (such as the warning/bar code area) and stab through the can with one end of your scissors. 

Continue to cut up the side, and then along the top edge of the can all the way around. Do the same for the other side.

You will have the body of the can minus the top and bottom ends. Cut the two labels apart.


Now cut around the labels, leaving no jagged edges and rounding the corners as you go. The edges should be as straight as possible to keep a rectangular shape. Cut as large a label as you can without showing any of the warnings or small print.

Yes, the labels should be close to the same size and shape, but don't get too finicky about it. Imperfections will be covered by the yarn and will not make much difference in the end.  

2. Punch the Holes

Using the paper hole punch, punch holes into the can labels as shown. The holes should be about 1/4" from the edge. Place one hole at each corner, then a total of 5 [4] holes along the tall sides, 4 holes along the short sides. Space them as evenly as possible, about 1/2" apart.

Again, you probably don't need to get out your ruler here. Eyeballing the placement will be good enough for a lovely result.

Move on to Part 2!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Mendocino Art Center Craft Fair

As predicted, a wonderful time was had in beautiful Mendocino, CA. I asked for a view of the stage and got just that. As usual, my neighbors were fun and talented. I'm considering going back for their holiday show over Thanksgiving weekend. hm, we'll see.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Plans & Schemes

Well I'm heading today to the beautiful town of Mendocino for the Mendocino Art Center Summer Craft Fair. Woo! I love going there. So pretty and the people are so cool. I think I have a couple photos from last year... hm where are they?

August is looking a little lean on the festival schedule for me... I might get back to the Mendo coast for Casparfest. We'll see, but I have a few other irons in the fire of course.

I still have goods for sale at Schatzi's Hidden Treasures in the mall. I'll be beefing up my display when I get back next week. If you haven't checked it out you should. Pretty neat importy store full of interesting stuff.

I also need to get my web site updated, duh. How long have I been saying that? Well I got a new camera last fall and now have some much better pics I can put up. I still want to get some sort of photo shoot lined up with models, as in real people. And I'll be going back online selling on the wonderful Possibly some ebay stuff as well... but there have been lots of weird things going on there so who knows.

Oh and I'm starting to get the itch for non-dyeing crafts. I do other things too you know, or I did before I started my little biz. I'm thinking it's about time to start making my own beads. I did a couple semesters of glassblowing in college... with the big furnaces and all. Loved it and I always wanted to learn the smaller scale stuff so I could make beads. Well my dear friend Kevin happens to teach classes at the Fire Arts Center in Arcata. So I can certainly hook this up. Oh I need some handblown bead jewelry in my booth. Yessss!

But for today, I'm on the road. See ya!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

4th of July in Mt. Shasta

I think this time I'll skip the commentary and just post some photos. Such a beautiful town!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Benbow, Fairfax and Tiny Mermaid Dresses

Hey do I have time for this right now? Hm, if I make another cup of coffee, sure... mmm. ok.

Well lagging still on my reports. However I have photos! woo! The Benb
ow show was nice as usual. That is, the Mateel Arts & Music Festival. Perfect weather, good attendance from what I could tell. Although Stu pointed out there is usually a time when it's elbow to elbow and we didn't see it get that crowded. Still lots of folks. We were across from the Holistic Hooping booth which was fun to watch all weekend...

Two little bummers, ok 3. 1) Stu was a freakin grump. Note to self, leave him home next time and take a girl. 2) and I haven't dwelled on this at all really, but one of my nicest pieces was stolen. It was a bummer, but I hate giving that sort of thing much energy so that's the end of that. 3) I managed to get poison oak, which finally cleared up a few days ago (that's 3 weeks of pure torture my friends).

Haha. Still my favorite show... I mean look at our view out the back of the booth. Hello.

So next was my little trip to Fairfax, down in Marin Cty. I stopped over at my friend Shannon's new house on the way, which was lovely. Then up at the crack of dawn to set up at the show. Thank gawd for GPS is all I can say. This is The Bay Area and as close to City as I can handle I think. Whew.

Well the town is cute as a button, very cool and eco-groovy. The fair was held in this beautiful wooded park with two stages, food, crafts, and a flea market area which I didn't actually get to see. Saturday there was a big parade and I had a great view.

My booth neighbors were fun too... two old Italian guys with cigars and about a ton of bird houses, each one different. They are obviously local favorites here. Super nice guys... father & son it turned out.

I ended up doing quite well, sales wise. The only hard part of the show was the parking. Yikes. Literally half of the town is a no parking zone, no designated vendor parking. That part was so difficult I might not go back. Of course my whole weekend was soured a bit by the fresh poison oak situation. We'll see how I feel next year... overall a really nice festival.

So now I'm up to my elbows in little dresses preparing for the big 3-day 4th of July hootinany in Mt. Shasta. This year it take place thurs, fri, sat. So I'm leaving after work wed. Whew. I was a bit late in reserving a campground in Castle Craggs which is like 20 min out of town... but got a spot instead at the KOA practically right downtown. My first koa stay, but it should be super convenient and with nice showers. aaaaaahh showers.

I plan on hitting the Goat's Head Tavern (I'm pretty sure I got the name right) again, which Stu and I found last year to be off the hook awesome. Great fresh food and a bunch of micros on tap. Also gonna bring stuff to cook over my campfire. Going solo this year, but I'm ready for some quiet time. The show should be rockin and I'll be seeing my friend Doug the Whale Guy.

But still tons to do before I go... onward!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Festivals in Full Swing Baby!

Yep another hopping spring turning into a busy summer... along with my new day job (sigh) I'm super busy right now. Loving it.

Of course, the big one coming up is the awesome Mateel Arts & Music Festival next weekend June 6-7 in Benbow. Our biggest and most fun local event, I would say. Tons of music and performances on 4 stages, over 100 high quality craft booths, a big kid's area and a beautiful location. Just lots of smiling folks and a super fun time. I'm SO happy to return this year, after my little hospital vacation last year. Yes... this is a much better year by far.

I've been a little behind on my postings here... um let's see... I'll briefly recap my festivals so far.

After the local Spring Fever Festival, which was fun as usual... I headed up to Gold Beach, OR for the Art & Wine Festival. A lovely little show near the beach with wine tasting and nice quality crafts. Not a huge money maker for the crafts vendors I think... but the beach camping, gorgeous area and friendly folks (and wine!) make it worth while for me. I have a great time there. This time around I was happy to meet two lovely ladies from the Moose Cr
eek Bath & Body who are now carrying a nice selection of my hand dyed clothing (Hi to Alice & Haley!!). If you find yourself in the area, you need to check out the Gold Rush Historical Cultural Arts & Health Center where they are located (right on 101). It's a beautifully made-over school building, really gorgeous and worth stopping for.

Last weekend Stu and Panda and I headed for Lakeport for their Memorial Day Crafts Fair held right on Clear Lake. Again, the location is 50% of the draw for me (this was the view from our camp site). Just a nice mellow weekend on the lake, perfect weather and margaritas at sunset. Lovely. This year we were joined by my dear friend Caroline and it was great to catch up with her.

Ok enough chitchat... I have some serious work to do. Oh did I mention my new hemp and bamboo wraps?? SO super excited to get these out! Visit me at Benbow for more new goodies, like wonderful rayon gauze flowy jackets... wooo!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring Fever in Eureka

I know I have the fever, so do you! First local craft show of the season... woo!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival Report

Hey that was fun! I know that's what I always say... but really. A great festival, (nearly) perfect weather, gorgeous location, nice quality crafts & music and very well organized event. The show folks came by VERY regularly to see if we solo vendors needed breaks or food. That alone was quite impressive. We even got food vouchers, very nice.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many art friends I saw there. Always fun to catch up with my peeps. And Stu joined me on Sunday so I got a couple smooches too.

The van ran great, no problems there whatsoever. I did have one minor adventure during setup. Gale force winds were a-blowin when I arrived. Most other vendors chose to wait to set up in the morning... oh but I was sure I could do it. Once my booth is up it's very heavy, I never have wind troubles. So I stubbornly insisted on trying to set up my tent, as I watched my neighbor's tear right through the top. She and another neighbor held my frame as I tied tubs and racks to each corner... and the thing STILL moved along the ground. After a half hour of this, I said I could take it from there and relieved the troops. But I really couldn't. lol. A few minutes after my kind helpers left the scene, my friend Doug The Whale Guy and team 2 came over saying "can we help you take all this down?" I guess it was obvious to everyone but me that it just wasn't possible. Sigh. So I piled everything in my spot for the morning. (That's the stage tent in the background totally collapsed, they had to remove it the next day!)

Luckily the rest of the weekend was pretty mild. Here's a photo of some colorful kites flying over these guys playing jazz. Lovely.

They also had this cool wooden boat contest. There were teams who had an hour (I think) and set materials (including a sheet of plastic and duct tape) to built a little boat on site. I ran over to see them go into the bay, and saw one sink which was pretty exciting. They left them on the shore afterwards, so that night after some margaritas and calimari, we got to take a closer look. A couple even had time to paint theirs.

But Bekki, you may be asking, how were sales? Huh. Well some folks said they did great. But most of us agreed the crowd was pretty thin and not buying much. I heard tales of shows being down overall so far and some are being cancelled altogether. Bah... every year it's something. Last year it was gas, this year 'the economy'. Whatever. Sometimes you do well, sometimes not so well. Some folks have money to spend, some don't. All we can do is keep working, right?

And have fun. That doesn't hurt either.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Shows Baby!

Oh man... do I really have to say how excited I am that show season is starting? Nah. It's understood.

My first show this year will be the Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival down near Santa Rosa. Last year, as some may recall, this was also my first show scheduled and I was equally excited to go. However, it also turned out to be my first New Van breakdown, one of many in a string of unfortunate events. So I am feeling um... hm... a little nervous at the memory of being stranded in Willits. But I'm also feeling it will be a small milestone. If all goes smoothly, I will see it as a sign of a better year to come.

Anyway, I came across this video of the festival so I thought I'd share. Seafood, boat parade, pet parade, kite flying, wooden boat contest, music, and crafts of course.

Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival

Friday, February 06, 2009

Quick Recycled Notebook

This is the first in a series of How-To articles I'm working on. I have a billion little projects in my head and I thought it would be fun to start posting them here. A girl's got to keep busy…

The other night I was brainstorming some of these projects, itching to make some lists, but couldn't find a clean notebook (I swear I have a green one that's practically new argh). After tearing up the house a little bit, I decided to just make one. I wasn't fussy so it took me about 10 minutes.
Maybe I should number the steps, huh? Ok...

1. Prepare the Paper.
I have acquired a good stack of reusable paper under my printer, as you have I'm sure. You can use full sheets or cut them in half. I personally had lots of 3/4 and 1/2 sheets from printing mailing labels for my ebay stuff, so I used those. I didn’t worry about them being the same size or cut straight, but you could use a paper cutter to even them out. Make a stack of paper thin enough for your stapler to go through. Face them all the same way (sounds obvious, but I missed a few in my fervor).

2. Add a Cover. Making the cover out of something a little heavier will help the notebook last longer. I used some misprinted card stock for my cover. If you don't have any, you could use an old phone book or catalog cover. Even slightly heavier paper with an interesting design (like an old poster) would be fine. Again, just make sure the stapler can go through it. Cut 2 pieces of your cover material slightly larger than your paper.

3. Staple the Binding. Stack your paper between the covers like a sandwich and line them up evenly on one edge to be your binding. Staple through all the layers. Mine was a bit too thick, so I stapled on both sides and covered the edge with clear packing tape to protect myself from the staple ends.

That's it! I'm happy with how it turned out… and how quickly. I felt great satisfaction in using those odd pieces of paper. Probably too much, I'm like that.

The photo also shows a sketchbook I made in college using more involved methods. Still it was really easy and completely recycled. I was broke and just wanted it to last through the semester, but it lasted for years!

In the close-up, you can see I took small stacks of paper (from a ream I'd had forever, those were pre-computer days) folded in half and stitched them at the crease with a needle and thread. Then I took all the little sewn stacks and hot glued them to a strip of felt in the binding. The cover is cardboard that I decoupaged with grocery ads. To make it a little nicer, I glued the front/back pages to the inside covers. Pretty fancy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Score on the Christmas Gifts for Me!!

Hey I did pretty well with my Christmas scores this year. Luckily, I got to ask for what I need... so it worked out well.

Ok so first on my New Year agenda is to get my biz records in order. Stu got me Quickbooks for Christmas. Yay! I have used it at a couple jobs in the past, but now I'm learning all the ins and outs. I'm going to use the inventory tracking... so (theoretically anyway) after a show I will type in each item that sold and be able to see updated inventory levels. That will make quick supply orders so much easier. Rather than unloading the whole van and d
oing a physical inv each time, or trying to do it at a show. Argh. Lots of other neato features, and it cost less than I thought.

Oooh I also got a few gift cards from Mom... one I used to buy 3 new craft books. Heehee I get all giggly looking at them. I guess it's been a while since I added to my (awesome) craft library. I decided I needed some specific beading and jewelry making books. I want to start making more interesting stone pendants, so I got two books on wire work and one on bead weaving. Oh man... I can't wait to order some wire and get to work. My hands hurt just thinking about it.