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Posts Tagged ‘being crafty’

While it wasn’t always encouraged or a skill or talent that was prized by my immigrant family, I actually come from a family of artistic and crafty people. (I had the stereotypical immigrant parents that wanted me to achieve that Asian model minority myth and become a doctor, engineer or lawyer.) I wasn’t allowed to take art classes even though I really wanted to. So instead, I taught myself to sew and craft. I even made my own dresses and jewelry in high school. I loved those things so much better than calculus, which I sucked at, btw.

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In my recent trip back home to visit my dad, I taught him how to use a digital camera and how to get his photos onto his computer and Flickr. My dad has finally caught on and has begun to photograph and upload all his wonderful crafty and green thumb creations.

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My dad is a master gardener and manages to grow things in Texas that normally don’t grow in those climates. At one point he even had his own mini bamboo forest and harvested delicate bamboo shoots, which were so tasty and yummy. They taste 1000 times sweeter, better and more tender than any bamboo shoots you buy at your local Asian grocer. One of his gifts is the ability to grow super “magic” trees. Right now, he has a Frankenstein citrus tree that bears and abundance of 4 different fruits: Asian pommelo, tangerines, oranges (a super sweet Southeast Asian variety that has green skin, orange fruit) and lemon.

He also grows a myriad of other things, including veggies, other fruits and ornamental plants like gourds and bonsai. My dad also has a bougainvillea plant that has 4-5 different colors of flowers.

One of my dad’s other passions is growing gourds, both edible and ornamental. He mostly grows ornamental gourds though and throughout the years, he’s been making various gourd crafts! He paints, carves, polishes and grows them all himself. In recent years, he’s entered in Texas Gourd Festivals and has won an award each time!

Below are some photos from my dad’s Flickr:

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Aubrey just sent me a link to a cool article on a power-generating Charkha!!

photo is from the gizmodo.com article

Thus, with this charkha, you can make yarn AND generate electricity AND help the environment at the same time!

According to the article, “about two hours of spinning would be enough to run a custom LED light source for six to seven more hours, significantly extending the amount of time families can work. Using LEDs will also help families avoid kerosene lamps, which drastically reduce air quality inside the home when they are used.”

How crafty and cool is that?!?

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A couple of weeks ago, I decided to participate in small craft fair held as a fundraiser at a Japanese Buddhist temple. According to the organizer, this was the first time they opened it up to vendors not part of the temple. I’m used to, and like small craft fairs because I rarely have that much inventory for a large one. Plus, the preparations for large craft fairs are tremendous. I was prepared for small, but not for teeny-tiny. There were only 3.5 vendors. The 0.5 vendor was a guy who was waaaay underpricing pottery but he wasn’t even there…his friend sold it for him. This was also the smallest Buddhist temple I have ever been to or seen.

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All the people there — vendors and attendees alike — were all very nice, but the people in attendance were not crafty-artsy type shoppers and weren’t really buying. Basically, the majority of them probably don’t go to craft and art fairs at all. They were mostly there to enjoy the Taiko performances. Futhermore, I don’t think some of them were prepared to pay fair value for quality handmade items (partly probably not really realizing the hours of work that goes into one project too, because the reality is that in the global economy, most people are used to overseas cheap factory labor.) Anyway, at least I made some money, albeit dismal.

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The highlight of the fair was the drumming and Chia, who came out to hang out with me. She had never sat behind a booth at a fair. I invited her to put some of her knitting on my table. Chia managed to sell a mohair shawl that she knit to a slightly eccentric Chinese woman.

For this fair (or rather, small gathering), I painted and upcycled another thrift-find angora sweater into a couple of new Hippie Chicks. I really cute and cool Taiko drummer named Susie bought 2 of the fatter chicks. In fact, the ones she bought were the ones I submitted to Sweater Surgery.
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Ok, I know I’m lame, but I’m finally getting around to posting my contributions to the Sweater Surgery book. (Disclaimer: I purposefully blurred out the instructional text because of copyright issues. Besides, that way, you can go buy the book. 🙂 Or, if you’re interested, I’d be willing to teach any one of these projects at your shop or party. I also teach knitting and dyeing.)

Book Cover

The instructions are just for the Twiggy Headband (page 63)…it’s the rainbow colored one. The other two headbands are featured in the book’s Gallery section on page 131 and do not include instructions.
Twiggy Snow & Ski

Nine-to-Five was also flashed in a quick 1-second clip on DIY Network’s “Uncommon Threads.” Originally, my friends and I were also supposed to demo this project, but the producers realized that they didn’t have enough time, so we just worked on Shelly.
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Everyone loves the Hippie Chicks! I came up with the idea when I was experimenting with dyeing a recycled angora sweater. I love the way the publisher styled Opal and Sunshine. Recently, I sold both of them to a very cute and enthusiastic Taiko drummer named Susie.
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Violet Flower was such a labor-intensive project. Well all of the featured projects are, but this one takes the cake with the size ratio. This is made from a recycled, upcycled sweater sleeve that I felted. Then I dip-dyed it (not as easy as it seems because you have to hold it to get saturation and try to control the colors to make sure that it seemed more fluid), hand-stitched the purse and the lining and did the embroidery edges. Each petal is also individually laid out and sewn. The center of the flower also is the closure.
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Shelly has an extra cameo on page 14, and has her own Gallery photo on page 127. I had posted about Shelly before and my experiences on Uncommon Threads in September 2006 (Geez, has it been that long?)
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These two hats (page 130) are featured in the Gallery section as well and do not have any accompanying instructions. Gwlana was originally intended to be an artsy-ish woven bowl, but then Zona commented that it could be cute as a kid’s hat — and I agree! Cosmopolitan is made from cut pieces of a felted wool sweater. I used the texture of the sweater fabric to create interest in the hat.
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After months of not spinning, I restarted again, albeit very sporatically, after an invite to Jerry and Debbie’s home for some spinning. I had some crappy stuff that I was spinning just to get rid of it, but I really got bored of it, so Zona gave me some of her hand-dyed silk hankies to spin!
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It’s my first time spinning silk and I’m really enjoying it! The concept of pulling the layers and strands of fibers from the hanky is a little strange since I’ve only pulled from commercial rovings and rolags that I combed. The downside is that the cap of my spool popped off, so I have to glue it back before I can resume.
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My artist sister came to visit yesterday. We bond over many things and are close in age, however sadly, she does not knit, spin or is crafty in the way I am crafty. 😉
She’s a wonderful artist though and has designed and laid out many logos and publishing things for me though.

When she arrived, I submitted her to a facial, complete with a mud mask. She’s a virgin when it comes to facials. Her mask matches her dress so well, doesn’t it?
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Sweater Surgery is a book that is due to be released in May 2008. Guess who has some projects that will be featured in the book??

Yep. Me! The author, Stefanie, was looking for some ideas a while back, and I submitted several ideas, including Shelly. Stefanie said she remembered Shelly from our episode appearance on Uncommon Threads. Yay! I don’t recall how many projects I ended up submitting — probably around 6-7. I would’ve come up with more, but it was kind of a last minute thing. Anyhow, I think 2-3 of my projects were selected for the book, but I can’t be sure exactly how many made it all the way through until I see it. Who knows? Maybe they did some last-minute editing. I sure don’t want to get disappointed though, like with Magknits.

Oh, if you’re intererested in making your own Shelly, you can get instructions here. A viewer recently emailed me about making a bunch of mini-Shellys for her grandchildren for the Holidays.

The book image from Amazon.

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Since I forgot to photograph the Hunter’s Orange hat that made for Linh’s husband, she took some for me. It turns out that Nick’s head is huge. I had already made it big, but apparently I erred.

Being a hunter who grew up in a village in Arkansas, I guess I half-expected that I’d get a photo of Nick posing. However, this photo really makes me cringe and uncomfortable, no matter how much I love Linh and Nick. That’s one large hunting arrow — too big for this former 10+ year vegetarian who still has problems eating some meat.

On a lighter note, my sister and her friends were sweet enough to model the reversible headbands they had bought from me. Thanks!!

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