Monday, May 14, 2012

Psst! I'm over here!

The blog has moved to now.
Come on over and join in the chickeny goodness!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Change the topic!

I'm embarking on a new batch of Chickenpants, so I have a feeling I won't be able to update the blog for a bit. So, to clear the decks, something bouncy and upbeat:

No? Okay, how about this:

Enjoy. See you in a bit.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Absmall Update - Pug Kokeshi

Okay, I have to type this really fast and there is no time to edit so bear with me:
Pug Kokeshi
Cut and pasted from the Etsy description:
"I am one surly pug with nothing to say to you.
I'm still trying to figure out what to say about this piece. But some sort of explanation would really defeat the purpose, wouldn't it? Not to mention it would probably only make the pug surlier.

Anyway, some details: This piece mixes lots of hand stitching with lots of machine stitching. And lots of loose dangly threads hanging everywhere. The letters are adhered with, of all things, puff paint. Remember puff paint? And those horrible sweatshirts your grandma made you with kittens plastered to them, ringed by puffy plastic? Yeah, that's the stuff.
Oh, and this pug kokeshi sports little bat wings, ripped from an old book.

It's made from cotton, leather, wool, vintage paper bat wings, buttons, felt, all sorts of threads, and LOVE. Okay, not love. More like crabbyness."

Now. The last fabric painting I posted on Etsy received abysmal views, sending me into a spiral of despair, defiance, blah blah blah blah. And yet, I continue to make these things, despite how they may be received. Or not received.

Olive has been going through a barnacle phase, meaning she is only happy-ish when she is clinging to a parent. (Usually me.) This makes working on anything very difficult. She has a particular hatred of me using the computer, so I have to type this REALLY fast while she is napping. Hey, did I mention how she is not so good at napping? And how I might get 45 minutes TOTAL, all day, if I am lucky? YEAH.

So, the work continues at a snail's pace, and I am really not comfortable with that. But I'm trying to be.

Hoping to post more soon.
Chicken pecks and pug licks to you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New thing.

I just finished the most intricate, time consuming thing I've ever made. I feel a great sense of WHOOOOSH. I don't know how else to describe it. Anyway:
Chickenpants Bakery fabric painting

I've been working on this piece for a few months now. A little bit here, a little bit there. A little bit every day. I am SO relived that it is finally done. I have two other (non-Chickenpants) pieces in progress.

The thing is, I've been feeling really creatively stymied for a long time. I've been needing a new creative challenge. I've been feeling that proverbial pull towards the NEXT THING, whatever that may be. There have been fits. There have been starts. (And lots of stops.) And then I stumbled onto this fabric collage/painting thing idea. Holy cow, it's totally taken over my creative brain. I haven't been this excited about what I've been making since I first started working on the Chickenpants.

I don't even know what to call what I'm making. Fabric collages? Fabric paintings? Is this already a thing? I have been exercising a LOT of self control and deliberately NOT googling these terms. I'm sure there are already a lot of talented people doing this. I didn't want to be intimidated by what other, more established artists who know what the heck they're doing. Instead, I'm making myself breathe and figure this out on my own. It has been wonderful. (And I don't know how much longer I can go without googling fabric collage.)

I have too much to say about all this. Time to go process thoughts into something useful.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Phone blogging


Can it be done? Experiment!
Truncated text, clumsy typing. Clearly this is the future.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Working on some new stuff...

Nobody intends to take a break from their craftyblog, it just HAPPENS. Or at least that's what happens to me.
Anyway, while I haven't been managing to blog, I did manage to make some stuff. Like this:
[caption id="attachment_3458" align="aligncenter" width="620" caption="Willy Nilly Fabric Painting by Claire Chambers"]Willy Nilly Fabric Painting[/caption]
I think of it as a fabric painting. Or is it collage? Or applique? I don't know. It was really fun to make, and I am really, really excited to make more. (In fact, I've got a more complex one in the works right now.)
I've had this Willy Nilly character kicking around my mind for awhile now, and fabric seemed the right way to get him out. I'm looking forward to making more images of him. And his friends. (Stella and Crackity Jones. Yes.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Crafting With Cat Hair Giveaway - Winner!

We have a winner!

Commenter #4, Anna - step right up! I'll be emailing you in a minute so I can mail you your book.

Thank you to everyone who entered. It just so happens that there's an Absolutely Small giveaway happening over on Funky Finds RIGHT NOW. Hop on over there and leave a comment to be entered to win a Chickenpants gift set.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Crafty Book Review and Giveaway- Crafting With Cat Hair by Kaori Tsutaya

****PLEASE NOTE: The contest has been won! Hooray! No more comments on this post, please. :) ****

Want to win a copy of this lovely book? Read on!
[caption id="attachment_3443" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="Crafting With Cat Hair"][/caption]
In the States, cat hair is generally regarded as pesky garbage, something we just want to get rid of. That's why I did a double take when Quirk Books contacted me about reviewing one of their latest offerings, Crafting With Cat Hair. The what now?
This was something too delightfully odd to pass up. Crafting With Cat hair was originally printed in Japan back in 2009. It's written by Kaori Tsutaya, and translated by Amy Hirschman.
But! Alas, I have no cats. What I do have are two pugs who shed like they're trying to make life size replicas of themselves. Clearly, they want to get crafty.
Do these crafts work with pug hair? Inquiring minds need to know!

The book is adorable. It's a nice square format with lovely thick glossy pages. It even smells like Japan! (Okay, it smells like books from Japan. Of which I have several. Japan itself smells like rain, concrete, cigarettes and cute, at least in my memory of being there. But I digress.)
Packed into the 90+ pages are: lots of really cute photos, multiple tip pages on crafting with cat hair and living with cats, and 10 projects. Most of the projects fall into the needle felting category.

So, onto the projects! I decided to try my hand at making a portrait. I've done some needle felting in my day, so I was up to the challenge. Plus, I was a little peeved at one of the pugs for some recent bad behavior. Let the stabbing commence!
felting pug hair
And so, I stabbed the pug hair. And stabbed. And stabbed. And stabbed. Pug hair began to spread everywhere. More stabbing. More trying to compress pug hair into a shape. Ergh. Stab stab stab.
Okay. So it turns out that pug hair is FUNDAMENTALLY different than cat hair. Like everything else that is pug, it is STUBBORN. And I simply couldn't get it to felt. Ooops. Well, I tried.
There you have it. You can felt with cat hair, and (I have heard) bunny hair, but pug hair simply won't cooperate. Typical!
felting with pug hair
So! Crafty people! How would you like a copy of this lovely book? Leave me a comment below, and I will pick a winner by random Thursday the 20th.

*Want extra chances to win? Okay, we can do that.
Leave another comment if you do any of the following:
Link to this on Twitter
Link to this on Facebook
Link to this on your blog
Link to this anywhere else!

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon:

Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Good stuff.

A few things making me smile lately:

A reader sent in a photo of the toy quilt she made with my tutorial. (Hi, Jenny!) Yay!

James Kochalka perfectly captures the inner struggle of the artist-about-the-internet, yet again:
Oh good grief, do I know where he's coming from.

Speaking of great comics, check out this one by Gemma Correll:
the seal of approval

Monday, October 3, 2011

Crafty Book Review - Microcrafts - Tiny Treasures to Make and Share

The good people of Quirk Books contacted me, asking if I would like to review Microcrafts, one of their latest crafty books.
A book devoted to making itty bitty crafts? Oh yes, I would.
Microcrafts - Tiny Treasures to Make and Share features 25 projects by 17 different authors. (For ease of looking it up, it is compiled by Margaret McGuire, Alicia Kachmar, and Katie Hatz.) In other words, there is a wide variety to the projects. Everything from tiny bird feeders to hang on tiny trees to baby monsters to tuck into little spaces. Sewing, paper crafts and model making are just a few of the techniques you'll encounter. Many of the projects feature ideas for spin off projects. All the directions are clearly laid out, and a few of the projects even offer template downloads. The book itself is hardcover with lovely glossy pages, all beautifully laid out.
Tiny Ribbons from Microcrafts
(photo from the book, by Steve Belkowitz)

But what does one DO with all of these tiny things? The authors thought of that, and include a bunch of ideas for how to use these cuties in the back of the book. There are also nicely illustrated sewing techniques, tips on making tiny patterns, and all sorts of resource information.
Microcrafts deer heads
(another photo from the book, again by Steve Belkowitz)

Picking out a project to sample was tricky. (The tiny candy charms? The perfect mini books? Oh man, the little taxidermedied deer heads...) I settled on the little owls. My baby owl went together without a hitch:
Owl from Microcrafts
She's only 1.5" tall! (That's 3.8 cm!) Perfect for tucking into a card or onto a gift to make it even more special. (Bonus: this guy went together FAST, and all with scraps. Nice!)
I'm inspired to try out more of the projects from this book.
Bottom line, if you enjoy tiny things and the making of them, by all means pick up this book. Oh look, here it is on Amazon:

Microcrafts - Tiny Treasures to Make and Share by Margaret McGuire, Alicia Kachmar, Katie Hatz and Friends

Why yes, I AM that shameless.


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