Monday, November 1, 2010

Time for a fresh start

It's time! I can finally reveal to you why this blog has been so quiet lately.
I've picked Absolutely Small up by the roots, shaken it out, and replanted it over here:
Come on over and check it out!
And please update your links and bookmarks accordingly.
This new blog will actually be updated REGULARLY! Like..daily, almost!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Not dead! Just busy!

Sorry for the blog silence lately. I'm working on three huge projects at the moment. Annnnd my family's visiting. So things are nuts.
Just wanted to say I'm still here, everything's good, and I will be back with exciting and good news soon.
'Til next time,

Claire (who is learning new camera tricks!)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Feathery winged JERKS

It's finally turning into fall over here, and
Uh...I've been enjoying these local-ish apples
Where was I? Oh, right, so I've been thinking about schedules and why


Woodpeckers are here, and they're worse than ever. From sunup to sundown, they're here. Watching. Waiting. Pecking. All four sides of our house have hundreds of holes pecked into the siding. It's going to take thousands of dollars to replace the siding they've ruined. Most of them were there when we moved in. The little old lady we bought the house from only had 10% of her hearing left, so she didn't hear the constant jackhammer noise of her house being destroyed by birds.
But I do. It's LOUD. Crazy man with a hammer right next to you loud. These birds are devious. They'll fly away if you walk outside and yell at them. Not so much if you just slam the front door. And then. AND THEN. They fly to a nearby tree, and watch you walk back into the house. Sometimes they shriek indignantly as they fly. Two seconds later, it's
all over again.
I. Hate. Them.
Allegedly, they are endangered. This is the first species I can think of that I would actively try to make more endangered. And I'm an animal loving, simple living, long time vegetarian. Don't give me the "oh, poor things, their natural habitat has been ruined and they have no choice blah blah blah". There are literally thousands of trees as well as hundreds and hundreds of acres of untouched gorgeous wilderness within a two second flight of my little house. I live way out in the country, remember?
Here's the really curious part: they don't seem to be attacking any of our neighbors. They've got wood siding, too. And trees even closer for the hiding and laughing.
That's right. This is PERSONAL. It's not a flock of birds, it's two or three bad apples.
So help me birds, I am going to



Friday, October 1, 2010

Amazingly, this post was not written at 5 in the morning. It's just that bad.

So. I was up yesterday at 5 am, and I decided to write a blog post. I had just eaten a bowl of rice crispies*, and apparently one of the side effects is hearing a little voice in your head that says things like "I AM GOING TO BE SO PRODUCTIVE TODAY! You guys! It's only 5 in the MORNING! I'm going to write a blog post!" Except there are no guys, it's just you and the crispies. And the pugs.
Anyway, the blog post turned out to be a total wash. I was going to complain inform you of my camera woes. At 5 am, this takes a lot of words. Instead, here's the gist: My DSLR died. Claire sad. New camera?? DONE.
I did get a new camera. I've been wanting to try a Canon point and shoot for awhile, so I thought I'd just go for it. And it has taught me that the 'ol Nikon D50 actually was doing all the work, and I am not such a good photographer.
Testing out the new Canon
Oooh, wait. Vivid mode!

Yeah. So I have some work to do. And a DSLR to buy.

*It was the new generic Trader Joe's rice crispies-like stuff. It is really good. Especially at 5 in the morning.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Winners! We Have Winners!

It's time to announce the winners of the Craft Leftovers Giveaway. Random Number Generator has spoken!
Commenters 1, 11, and 4! I'll be contacting you by email shortly.

Thank you everyone for commenting and helping spread the word. I'm sure we'll have more giveaways in the future, so stay tuned.

Michelle, commenter #1, I need your email! You've got 24 hours to claim your zine. Email me! absolutelysmall {{{at}}}

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sketchbook thoughts

A few weekends ago, I found myself strolling through the Kinokuniya Bookstore in Japantown. By chance I picked up a Lotta Jansdotter import that I can't remember the actual name of. It had lots of scans of her sketchbooks, and photos from her life. And it hit me like a lightningbolt. Ah-ha! THAT'S what I'm missing! No, not a huge Japanese following. (Though I wouldn't mind one.) Sketchbooking. Lotta's sketchbook pages were alive with little swatches of fabric and other ephemera. It seemed like not only did it help her work out creative issues, but it also chronicled her life somewhat. But seriously, the fabric bits knocked my socks off. Fabric is important to her. Fabric is important to me, too. Why had I never thought of this before?
Honestly, I've barely touched my sketchbook since this whole pregnancy thing started up.
But this inspired me to try again. Plus, I had a really fun day to capture:

Life's been a creative/headache-y swirl since then, and I haven't kept up with it. But I haven't forgotten it, either. Why are the things that are so good for us (and so enjoyable) sometimes the hardest to do?

So here's my question to you: Do you sketchbook? What about? How often? Are there any sites/books that get you inspired?
Feel free to answer any of those in the comments below. I want to open the discussion! (It's a creative way of avoiding sketchbooking, too!)

Monday, September 27, 2010

What, Me Quilting?

It's 6 am, and I'm ironing.
What is wrong with that sentence? EVERYTHING.

Let me back up. Why am I ironing? There's no point trying to hide it anymore. I was...I was...quilting. Oh, the shame of it! I have strategically avoided everything near quilting for years. It's my mother-in-law's chosen craft, for starters, and I don't want to step on any toes. (Don't I have enough crafts?) There's the problem of straight lines and me being the least perfect match since Sid and Nancy. And the not insignificant fact that I know nothing of quilting.
It all started with a blanket. (doesn't it always?) We had one of those machine knitted blankets on our bed, the kind you can purchase at any Target for 14.99. It's our summer blanket. However, this summer it had become a mess. Something to do with pugs jumping up on it, and jumping off of it, and their little curly crochet hook claws dragging huge holes in it.
It was time for a new summer blanket. Of course, a new knitted one was right out. So was microfleece. (Dan hates the texture.) Regular fleece was a possibility, but I work with fleece all the live long day. I longed for something different.
Enter the idea of the thin quilted blanket. Of course, I wasn't calling it a quilt then. I was still in denial. My thoughts were: I had fabric. I like to use what I've got. Why NOT make a giant quilt? (I'm four and a half months pregnant. This is as much thought as I've put into anything lately.)
Everything went really well for awhile. Hundreds of little squares were carefully cut, and then carefully stitched into long strips. I even used the seam guide things on the sewing machine! And there was ironing. Lots of ironing. I was doing everything right. As far as I knew, anyway.
Things started to go awry when those long strips needed to be attached together. Not a single one lined up with another. Despite the hours of careful, painstaking cutting and piecing, it appeared that every "perfect" square was a slightly different size. Sometimes a very different size. I still don't know how this happened. Clearly, there was to be no reconciliation between me and straight lines.
What could I do but continue? I hate unfinished projects, so I plowed on. Many hours later, the finished quilt top, while hardly perfect, was actually sort of charming. (I have a huge tolerance for imperfection.) But now what?

Stay tuned for part two...the finishing.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall Chickenpants are here!!

Allow me to start by saying holy cow, this baby stuff has really slowed me down! It's taken me much longer to put together this brood of CPs than any other that I can recall. Not that I'm complaining, it's just...whoa. I think I may have to scale back a bit on future broods.

I'll start listing them in the shop officially on Monday, but this time, we're going to try something new. Since there are a whopping 38 new Chickenpants this time around, I'm offering a pre-order. I'll be listing them into the shop little by little, in random order. That's obviously going to take awhile, so why should you have to wait? Plus, some will no doubt be going to shows, so they may not even make it into the shop.

So here's the deal. If someone you see here strikes your fancy, email me (chickenwidget {{{at}}} gmail), and I'll send you a Paypal invoice. (Or set up a reserved Etsy listing, if you prefer.) Whatever makes you feel more secure, and less like we're doing something Chicken-y black market. (We're not! It's just that I haven't figured out an easier way to do this yet.)
All the new Chickenpants are $20 each OR 2 for $35. (plus shipping, of course. $2.60 in the US, $3 to Canada, $4 to Australia.)

So, without any further ado, meet the Fall Chickenpannts for 2010!
(click on any photo to see it larger)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Who wants a copy of Craft Leftovers Monthly?

YOU DO! Or maybe you don't. But it's pretty darn awesome, so I think you do.
I have an article in this month's issue, and Kristin generously sent over multiple copies so I can share the wealth! This month, I have 3 copies to give away. Yay!
This month is all about miniature crafting, something near and dear to my heart. I can just see a bunch of these projects as perfect Chickenpants accessories...or for Blythe!

(photo by CLM, stolen mercilessly by me because hello, still sick!)
More photos and details about this issue can be found here.

So, how do you win a copy of this goodness? Simple! Leave a comment below. Make sure that I have your email so I can contact you if you win. That's it! I'll pick the winners by random number generator on next Wednesday, the 29th.

For extra points, (that is, extra comments + increased chances to win), you can also do any of the following:

1. Blog about the contest! 2 extra comments!
2. Tweet about the contest! 1 extra comment!

To get those points, do one (or more!) of the things mentioned, then come back here and leave an extra comment(s).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Science proves me right, and then kicks me.

Internet, it's a girl! We have a photo to prove it. Which I shall not be posting. Because, ew.
Hooray! Dancing! Let the shopping commence!
But science decided to give me a few swift kicks while I was at the doctor's office, too. No less than three doctors and nurses sang the praises of the TDAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Whooping Cough) vaccine to me. And in the way of these things, they kept insisting it was FATAL to INFANTS if they happened to get it. Whooping cough? Really? Isn't that a victorian disease? NO. IT IS AN EPIDEMIC! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!
I don't usually get worked up by this stuff, but I cowed to the pressure this time. And I got a flu shot for the first time, too. You know, infant mortality and all that.
And less than five hours later came the crushing cold. That I can't take anything good for. (Infant! Mor-ta-li-teeee!)
So, my dears, I shall see you again when the chills and aches subside.


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