Categotry Archives: crafts

Journal posts for CaySwann Crafts

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Welcome to 2014, the Year of "CREATE"

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At New Year’s in 2012, I felt drawn to use the word “DANCE” as my theme for the year. When January 2013 rolled around, I chose the word “FOCUS” with some measure of nervousness about what that might mean.

New Year’s Eve, 12/31/2013 — I suddenly knew exactly my theme for 2014 = CREATE.

I’m certain that *Create* will mean many things throughout 2014. But one application comes to mind first: MAKE THINGS. I love to make things. I love to see colors and ingredients coalesce into something new just because I put my hands to them.

Right before the holiday weeks wrapped up, I managed to finish one commission languishing on my workbench and prep some new floral hair clips as Christmas Gifts for my family. Yesterday, New Year’s Day, I went back to the workbench and finished some additional commissions waiting for my attention.

My niece not only snatched this up for Christmas,
but had the chance to wear it to a wedding several days later

I cannot show you photos of the commissions created on January 1 because they haven’t been seen by the recipient yet. *grin*

But here’s my posts from Twitter, summing up the #CREATE experience on days 1 and 2.

  • — #CREATE day1: Fixed 1, Created 4 floral hair clips. Supplementary: Uploaded 3 sets of floral hair clip photos from Dec & day1 #crafty
  • — #CREATE day2: Create 4 small hair clip bases; Spun wool on my drop spindle. Supplementary: Backed up 1K+ media files; processed 19 videos

I’ve found myself making the distinction between actually creating new things versus some of the supportive tasks around my crafty and creative projects. Just thinking about the flowers I finished in December made me want to upload the photos. Thinking about the flowers I finished on New Year’s Day made me want to process those photos, too. This morning, I set my personal computer to backup everything on my personal phone while I diligently worked on my work computer. Backing up the photos helped me find (and remember!) the videos on my phone, which then I had to figure out how to import to my iPod and then troubleshoot when they wouldn’t import properly. (Turns out there’s a new step in iTunes for creating the iPod version of the file, but I digress.)

Over my lunch break, I hand-sewed several small flower clip bases. And while enjoying dinner with my sister and a close friend, I was able to relax and *create* more wool yarn on my drop spindle. Even now, as I write this post, there are eight videos left that need to convert before I can finish syncing my iPod. I now have an hour’s worth of material broken down into 1-5 minute snippets that I can review and study when I’m away from my computer. I just love some of those management tasks that support my creativity!

I have no guarantee I will actually manage to *create* something every day of the year. But it is definitely a focus for me, and I hope to be able to share some of that success with you here. I hope that we can share inspirations with one another.

What do you see happening in your 2014?

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Little Crafts Here and There

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Part of my experience for 2012 included selecting a “theme word” to motivate and excite me for the year. It replaced the notion of a New Year’s Resolution, and yet it still had some of the impact that Resolutions often do. In 2012, I selected DANCE as my theme word, and it was a very successful theme. I started my advanced classes in January 2012, and ramped up my skills and techniques through my regular dance schedule and “Summer Camp” for 10-Saturdays over the summer.

This year, the word FOCUS has become my major theme: Focusing on what matters most; focusing on primary passions and pursuits; reducing clutter to focus my possessions; hand-selecting which crafts I should truly focus on over the year.

Now, most evenings I jot down some quick notes on how I had some success with my primary focus activities. I’ve narrowed the categories in my life to Family, Dance/Fitness, and Crafts, with some subcategories that relate to these three major pursuits. Last week, in an effort to do something crafty and yet support pursuits in fitness, I sewed a little bag quickly one evening.

Little Bag

The fabric was scrap material left over from sewing part of the Boyo’s Halloween costume, a nice linen/rayon blend. It’s hard to tell in this photo, but the button is a perlescent green that I found in my spare buttons basket.

Three stretch bands, to remind myself to keep limber and gain strength
Total time to complete bag: approximately 45 minutes

My exercise stretch-bands live in this bag now, and the bag lives in my laptop backpack where I keep the power cord. This reminds me to stretch and work my arms and shoulders, every time I setup and put away my laptop. For someone who works on computers all day, this is quite important!

My crafty to-do list is quite long, but it pleases me greatly to sometimes do the small, simple crafts to make me feel successful and inspired.

Do you have little tasks you could be working on? Something quick to complete and add to the “Finished Objects” list?

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Wrapping Up a Crafty Year

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Wrapping Up a Crafty Year

I sat down to post a collection of images and thoughts but I found a draft post in my blog folder. So, a short digression first.

Some Small Project Details

I made a small purse with an across-the-shoulder strap, quite some time ago, that I wear every day at work to carry my iPod and a small wallet/coinpurse. It is the smallest module of “My Purse” when I just need to quickly go somewhere. It’s really more like a large wallet than a small purse. The lining finally wore out so I just ripped and cut it and threw it away.

But ever since I made the bag, the shoulder strap was braided from yarn that was too thin, so the strap always cut into my shoulder. And because it was too thin, it also wore out too quickly. The thin braid would snap, I would tie it back together, and the strap got shorter and shorter and shorter.

At my last week of work in the office, it snapped again and it was too short to wear comfortably “at my hip” (now realistically, it was riding almost at my elbow). I’d been meaning to rebraid some chunky (softer) yarns, but I’d been brainstorming about the main problem for some time: yarn wears out and the straps break. I purchased some coated wire that people use to hang frames on the wall, intending to run the wire down the center of a four-strand braid.

The whole purse First shot of the new strap, showing the steel core

The first picture I posted on twitter didn’t really show off the tricks of this fix, and I thought some of you might appreciate the details.

Close-up of the 4-strand spiral braided strap.
I also love the embroidery I did on the original purse.

A Look at the Past Year

As I flipped through the photos from 2012, I had to smile at all the things I’ve worked on this year.

I continued to make floral hair clips for the Dance Haflas.

Hafla Preparation in March 2012 Hafla in August 2012

Hafla in November 2012

I completed several floral commissions.

Commissions for a performer at Renn Faire Commission for a Set of Bridesmaids

I created business cards for my Store and my crafty items.

Large business cards Small business cards

I learned a new skill (inkle weaving)….

First two pieces, for me and my Sweetie

A new skill which sort of snowballed for a while…

 A few highlights from my weaving in October and November

And then started painting for the holidays….

Images from hand-painted stationery, gifts to family

All in all, I would call this a successful year.

I hope you all have a very successful 2013. Happy New Year’s!

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