New Blog: Laughing Cat

Today marks the end of Peculiar Crochet! Don’t worry, I am not giving up on any of my creative endeavors. Rather, I am moving to a new blog that will have even more cute and creative projects to inspire you, because my mom will have her stuff on it too! We have enjoyed working together as a mother-daughter team for years at various craft bazaars, and now we seek to combine our blogging efforts to bring you a greater variety of craft projects and creative ideas, and of course, lots and lots of unique and adorable dolls! Please visit our new blog, Laughing Cat Creative Enterprises, at laughingcatcreativeenterprises.blogspot.com, and let me know what you think. I will now be blogging under the name Baby Cat.

I have been working on several new projects lately, all of which I have delayed posting because my mom and I were working on getting our new blog set up. You should see knew posts on all of them very shortly.

Jack and Sally Won a Red Ribbon!

The judges’ results are in for the Multnomah County Fair! Jack and Sally won the Second Premium Red Ribbon and my mom also won a prize for her sweet ballerinas! I am so happy for both of us. Check out my mom’s blog to see her post on the fair: click here

Sally and Jack with Their Ribbon

Sally and Jack at the Fair

Unfortunately I didn’t actually get to go to the fair because I am in Eugene, but I heard it was really cool. I wish I could have gone and seen all of the other cool craft projects! Hopefully next year.

The Multnomah County Fair: Please go and vote for your favorite!

Today my mom took two of her beautiful ballerina dolls as well as my Jack and Sally dolls to enter them in the Multnomah County Fair! Please go, see all the cool crafts, and vote for your favorite! My mom has more information on her blog, click here to read more.

Jack and Sally

There, now, that wasn’t so hard…

It took me longer than it should have to get around to it, but once I finally started typing it up, my Sally Doll pattern didn’t take very long at all to prepare. I have only made one of these dolls and I just wrote the pattern as I went, so if anything doesn’t make sense to you that seemed to make sense to me while I was writing it, let me know and I will try to clear things up!

Here is the pattern:

This pattern is no longer available for free. Please see my Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/stores/assunta-cicalese-designs/manage

Or Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaughingCatCreative?ref=search_shop_redirect

I love needle felting!

Last Saturday, my sweetie and I took a needle felting class at the UO Craft Center and we both loved it! For those of you who haven’t read my post on the Glass Sampler class, the Craft Center is a wonderful place where super nice people teach you how to make wonderful things!

Needle felting is a lot of fun and it’s very easy to learn the basics. No one in my class had done it before and everyone’s projects looked amazing!

These are just a couple of practice pieces. I started out forming some red wool into a ball, then decided to turn it into an apple. Then I made a rather hairy looking sandwich (maybe not so amazing) to go with it. In order to make the sandwich less hairy and more appetizing, I will need to pack the wool tighter, but that seems to be more difficult with flat shapes like the sandwich, and easier with rounder shapes, like the apple.

This kitty was my main project for the day. Her name is Princess, and she even has her own royal blue kitty bed! I can’t wait to make more cute things with needle felting. I already have lots of ideas for dolls! Of course, as always I have lots of ideas and not much time to work on them. I’m in the middle of about four projects right now that I hope to be able to show you soon!

Cute Kitty Chocolates for My Birthday!

I had a wonderful weekend in Portland with my family, celebrating my birthday, which is tomorrow. This year, because I am resisting growing up, I felt inclined to celebrate with lots of cute, sparkly things! I love making cupcakes in a bunch of different shapes and I recently got a Hello Kitty mold from the Sanrio store, which I was really excited to try out. Instead of cupcakes, though, I decided to make these Hello Kitty Chocolates with sparkly hair bows. (See? Cute and sparkly.) My mom also made me a really cute Hello Kitty cake, here is the link to it on her blog. The cake and chocolates looked great together! I also got some plain ballet flats and red glitter as part of my birthday shopping trip. I am going to turn them into ruby slippers, which I will post later this week.

Sorry I have been procrastinating on my Sally doll pattern. I really have no excuse, other than it is much more fun to do the project than to try and translate my scribbled notes into something that would make sense to another human being.

Anyway, here are the chocolates, I hope you like them!

I got this mold at the Sanrio store at Clackamas Town Center a couple of weeks ago. It was kind of expensive ($13.95, I believe.) Otherwise, it would have been nice to have more than one because it makes very small batches.

White chocolate for the kitties and dark chocolate for the hairbows. Eventually I got tired of switching back and forth so when I was on the last little bit of chocolate I ended up with a couple white hairbows and a couple darks chocolate kitties.

Red sparkle gel from the Joann Fabrics baking aisle. I was really exited about the idea of sparkly red hairbows for the kitties! (They match the shoes I want to make later this week.)

Food decorating markers from the Safeway’s baking department. I was looking for the kind of icing that comes in a small tube and it meant for writing, but they were all out.

I used the yellow marker for the noses. It showed up pretty well on the white chocolate. Unfortunately, the set did not come with a black pen. I tried using blue for the eyes but it didn’t look right.

It turned out that my mom had some black frosting but no decorating tip small enough to make tiny kitty eyes and whiskers. She suggeste putting some frosting in a dish and using a toothpick to draw on the chocolate with it.

This worked very well for packing little dots of frosting into the eyes. Drawing the lines for the whiskers with it was a little more difficult but it ended up looking fine.

These are what the kitties looked like after I drew in the eyes and whiskerts.

The Sparkle Gel had about the consistency of jelly so I used a butter knife to spread it on the chocolates. It was more difficult to control than the other frosting. A couple of kitties got smeared and ended up looking like they had blood on their faces! (Zombie Kitty chocolates, anyone?)

This is what they finished chocolates look like. I was very happy with the way they turned out overall, but they are almost too much work to eat!

Yes, I had a lot of help, but…

I am so happy with the paperweight I made in the Glass Arts Sampler class that I took this weekend! I also made a fused glass tile, and some beads. The swirls of color are made by putting powdered glass in the clear glass while it is molten and twisting it, then covering it with more glass. The larger splotches of color are made with small flakes of glass, and the bubbles are made by poking the glass with something sharp, then putting more glass over the top to trap the air. I wanted to make it look like water. )I still don’t know how they do those ones with the fish inside.) It works especially well since the paperweight itself ended up in the shape of a bubble!

I took this class at the Craft Center here at UO. This is the first class that I have taken there because my classes usually keep me super busy every term. This term I don’t have a Design Studio class so I have more time and more of a need to do something creative outside of class, so I made a point to try out a couple of classes. I signed up for this one, and a needle felted animals class which will be the weekend after next. I can’t wait!

Glass work and felting are two things that I have wanted to learn for a really long time so I am excited to have finally gotten around to it! Everyone at the Craft Center is super nice and helpful, too. I made this paperweight in the hot shop, which requires working with molten glass in a very hot furnace. The instructors for the class were very patient with me, even when I forgot that you have to constantly keep turning the rod with the molten glass on it, and almost dropped it all! It is hard to remember to keep turning while focusing on not burning yourself and trying to remember what the next step is, but that’s why it takes a lot of practice!

Of course, immediately after seeing my finished paperweight, I want to make another one! That is the problem with art, it is a serious addiction.

Sally and Jack, together at last!

At last, the love of Jack Skellington’s life–or death–has arrived at PeculiarCrochet!

Sally’s pattern was a lot more work than Jack’s because

1) She has curves

2) She has hair

3) She has a dress made up of lots of little different colored pieces of fabric, none of which I could find exact matches for at the fabric store

4) I had to make her at the right proportions to Jack so that they would look right together. I didn’t have to worry about that with him since he was the first.

I have been writing Sally’s pattern down as I made the doll but it is currently disorganized and out-of-order, written in my messy writing in an old high school math notebook. If you give me a few days to make it presentable, you too will soon be able to make your very own Sally doll!

Hair Chalking: Freaking out your parents without the committment

So you’re probably looking at this picture of me with blue streaks in my hair saying “What the heck, that’s not a crochet project!” True, but I do consider it a craft project because of what I used to dye it with. As you may have guessed from the title of this post, it’s chalk. And, Mom, in case you are concerned, it will supposedly wash out. Best of all, it colors even dark hair without bleach! The one drawback it it’s messy (although it does clean up easily) so it’s a good thing I decided to do this right before I planned on cleaning the bathroom anyway.

I’ve always kind of wanted blue hair, possibly because my favorite comic book character that I made up as a kid had blue hair. Hers was natural, though, because she was from Pluto.

Anyway, I’ve always kind of wanted blue hair but have never wanted to deal with the time commitment that goes along with maintaining dyed hair. Also, now that I’m considered by law to be an adult, and therefore have to do things like go to work and pretend that I’m not secretly a Princess from Pluto, I have to be able to look professional when the need arises.

If any potential employers read my blog, all I have to say in my own defense is that while I am doing silly things like putting chalk in my hair, making crocheted dolls of Tim Burton characters (Sally is still in progress, by the way), and ranting about chenille stem vs. pipecleaner terminology, at least I am not drinking copious amounts of alcohol and taking embarrassing Facebook pictures, which I believe are the first thing everyone always checks for. Plus, assuming this washes out like it’s supposed to, there is little danger of me showing up to work with blue hair.

I have noticed that this is turning into a rant, so I will just give you the address for the video that gave me this idea and let you go about your business. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ly4GhDia4k

The girl who made the video is named Kandee Johnson, she also does a lot of cool makeup videos and is just adorable.

Well, that’s all for now. With any luck I may have an actual crochet project to show you once Spring Break rolls around. We’ll see.

Update on what I have been up to since this term started.

You’ve probably already noticed how terrible I am about keeping up with my blog while I am going to school. This does not mean that I’m not doing crafty things in between all the homework and projects, only that it takes me about 10 times longer to get anything done. I take that as an accurate estimate, because when I don’t have school, it takes me a week at most to make a doll, and only a couple of days if I am determined and don’t have any other obligations. When I am at school, it might take me all term (10 weeks, not including finals) to finish one. This is why in the past 6 weeks, I have not posted a single new project. If I were a reader, I think I would find that frustrating.

So, instead of waiting until I have finished something, I thought I’d try giving you an update of what I have managed to get done over the past few weeks.

First off, here is a completed project that isn’t knit or crocheted, but turned out rather well:
For Valentine’s day, I made my boyfriend a plateful of these cute, heart-shaped red-velvet cupcakes. This is only about half the batch; I should have believed the recipe when it said it made 48 servings!

http://recipes.slides.kaboose.com/263-valentine-s-day-desserts/4

I made these cute little guys for a few close friends:

I made them from a kit I got at Joann’s, but you could just as easily recreate them with a few glitter pompoms, some googly eyes, a couple thin sheets of foam, and some white pipe cleaners, or chenille stems, if you prefer. When I was really little, my Mom always called them pipe cleaners, then I was told that they are called chenille stems now. I guess it’s not politically correct to associate crafting with smoking a pipe. Recently I asked a lady at Joann’s for chenille stems and she had no idea what the heck I was talking about, she asked another lady who said “Oh, you mean pipe cleaners!” so I don’t really know what name they are going by these days. Anyway, the feet are heart-shaped foam cutouts glued to the pompoms. The hearts on top of their antennae are cut out of a sheet of glittery foam.

Other updates:

-I’m working on the “Sitio Stockings” from Vampire Knits, because even though I haven’t been feeling too vampiric lately, there are some really cool patterns in that book. Plus, there’s enough of a chance I will want them when I am feeling vampiric in the future.

-I started working on a Sally doll from Nightmare before Christmas since Winter Break. She is all done except for the patchwork on her dress. Right now I’ve just made her a plain dress as a base for the patchwork. It shouldn’t take very long to add that, but we’ll see when I have time to work on it. I will also have a detailed pattern for you once she’s done.

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