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Friday, March 20, 2015


Sometimes when life gives you a big pile of work, you need a little artistic escape; and so was born the Bird-A-Day.  I'm only on my fourth day, but so far it's been fun.  These are super loose, done in Illustrator, with no expectations and just for fun!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Folk Fest is coming . . .

I had the stupendous opportunity to make the 2015 Alaska Folk Fest poster!  It was TOTALLY nerve-wracking and exciting to make this piece for all the Folk Festers out there.  I wanted the design to reflect springtime in Alaska and the frenetic frenzy that I feel comes with Folk Fest.  It always feels like something big is coming at this time of year - people are everywhere, days are getting long, anticipation for summer is in the air, and it's starting to get warm.  On every corner you'll find musicians collaborating and folks of all sizes dancing up a storm.  The energy is palpable, so I tried to have the poster reflect that sense of energy and excitement with layers of little surprises that remind me of Alaska. I mean, who doesn't like a treasure hunt?!

See if you can find . . . an octopus, fiddlehead ferns, a seiner, waves, beer, rain, trees, birds, whales, northern lights, forget-me-nots, seaweed, mountains, plaid, scales, feathers, and devils club.  Just to name a few ;)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Seeking Snow and Sun

Hike Day in Juneau - still no snow, but sun and wind are whipping us up the mountains instead.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Handmade Holiday Gifts: Jewelry Plates

These little plates are for my sister, I saw the idea for the lace version at top on Pinterest (of course!).
Mine are a bit wobbly, but I kind of like that.

I got the idea for this plate from a local potter who was making these amazing beautiful bowls with topographic maps carved into the bottom.  So gorgeous, I thought it would remind my sis of her favorite mountain and home.
This project took just one evening if you need a quick gift.  I used some Sculpey I had on hand, rolled it out, carved and then baked it.  You can carve it after you bake it if you like.  I did throw some white paint on them to make them look clean.  

Enjoy and Happy Holidays, more holiday ideas coming your way this week, stay tuned!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Arm Knitting on a Plane - Quick Holiday Gifts

Yes, that's me arm knitting on a plane - it can be done!

Ever heard the adage ‘Give a man a knit scarf; he’ll be warm for a day. Teach a man to knit, you’ll be warm forever’? Alright, that isn’t quite accurate, but it does have a ring of truth. If I could only give one gift for the holidays I would teach all my loved ones to knit to keep themselves (and me) warm throughout the season. But the time commitment on a craft like knitting can be daunting, so I put aside that thought until I heard of the newest and goofiest sounding trend in the world of weaving, Arm Knitting.
Arm Knit Scarf with Buttons
It’s not a joke, but you do look silly, because you really use your arms as knitting needles. With wide availability of extra bulky yarns and the two largest knitting needles possible, a scarf can take under an hour to whip up using this method, making a plane ride enough time for anyone to learn and walk away warm. Another body knit, Finger Weaving, is also an easy craft for kids and adults alike. So if the whole fam is hopping a plane for the holidays, pick up a few skeins on the way and get your body knit on. Plus seeing that row of entanglement will be a holiday gift for the rest of us this Christmas.
Finger Weaving turned into a Looped Infinity Scarf 

Arm Knit Infinity Scarf with Buttons

Supplies: Three skeins chunky weight yarn, your two hands
Step 1: Hold three strands of chunky yarn together to make one thick strand and about 2’ along make a slip knot and pop it over your wrist.
Step 2: Cast on 6 total stitches onto your right arm. The original slip knot does count as the first stitch. Casting on is the most difficult step so follow the images here. There are also other options for casting on. I’ve outlined the quick and easy method, but search online for other versions and videos. Make a 4 shape with the tail of the yarn (the end not connected to the skeins) in your left hand. Insert your right hand into the top of the four and cinch the loop down onto your wrist. Repeat this until you have 6 loops on your right wrist. With this easy cast-on method you then must transfer these stitches to your left arm by sliding them over one at a time.
Step 3: Six loops should be on your left arm and the working end (the end connected to the skeins) will be hanging near your left hand. Grab this end with your left hand.
Step 4: Pull the first loop off your left hand with your right hand. Keep holding the working end in your left hand.
Step 5: Pull up a loop of the working yarn through the loop you just pulled off and pop it over your right hand. First knit done! Cinch this down and take the working end in your left hand again. Continue the process of pulling the loops over your left and creating new loops onto your right until all are on your right arm.
Step 6: Reverse the process exactly onto your left arm. Continue until all except 2’ of yarn is knit.
Step 7: Cast off by repeating Step 6 but for each loop on the final row you will pop it over the loop behind itself to bind off the end.
Step 8: Attach large buttons or weave the ends of the scarf together to make a loop.
Now wrap it up or wear it!

Finger Woven Looped Scarf

Supplies: One skein chunky weight yarn, your two hands
Step 1: On your right hand (you may reverse this onto your left hand if you’d like) hold the end of the yarn between your thumb and index finger with your palm facing you.
Step 2: Bring the working end of the yarn behind your index finger, in front of your middle finger, behind the ring finger, around the pinkie and weave the rest of the way back to the start. Make a small knot securing the yarn.
Step 3: Weave the yarn again as in Step 2.
Step 4: Bend your pinkie finger and pull the bottom loop up and over the finger. Repeat on each finger from left to right.
Step 5 & 6: Repeat Steps 3 & 4 until yarn is completely knit. This will create a large icord (invented long before the other i-electronics). Knot off the end by running the last tail of yarn through the loops on your fingers.
Step 8: Loop this long cord several times and then neatly wrap and tuck the end to create a multi-layered looped scarf. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween makeup for the procraftinator

The Alaska Crafter column is back!  Check it out in its print edition in today's Juneau Empire, or read on for a last minute halloween fix!

Here we are again Juneau, another blustery year gone by and October ushering in the crafter’s most hectic holiday, Halloween. If you’re anything like me you’re aflutter with a mixture of trepidation and excitement brought on by a little thing I like to call procraftination. Yes, the fine art of waiting till the 11th hour to whip together your Halloween costume. I hear you protest, that has never been me! Hah! Even the most dedicated and honed crafter has slipups — some years the Halloween deadline approaches and we all find ourselves sheepishly in the ransacked costume aisle with no supplies, no shipping options and a touch of panic.
Never fear, the Alaska Crafter will help set you back on track! Years of self-inflicted procraftination mean I know every trick of the trade to make it appear as if I did not wait until the last minute to hastily assemble my costume. And this year’s secret weapon . . . makeup.
Makeup can be transformative in a very efficient amount of time, is readily abundant and if you can channel your inner artist a few hours before the big spook night you may just be able to convince your friends and family that you are not a procraftinator, which seems like the best of all possible solutions to never repeat that word again. Ever.
Alaska Crafter’s 6 Steps to Makeup Success
1. Plan: Whether you’re a ghoul, goblin, vixen or vampire, you’ll need a little bit of research to keep you on track. Find an image of your ideal makeup and keep it handy. Map out your makeup beforehand by drawing an outline of your face and the general sketch of the design you’d like to apply on paper first so you have it as a reference.

Check out more after the jump

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Knitting Up a Storm

New items up in the etsy shop!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hair-Beards, Halloween and Fame

This is a long-belated post about my foray into the world of fame via a beard and some beer.
Just to start with a visual . . .

For halloween one year while working at the Alaskan Brewing Co., I came to work dressed as an old man complete with union suit, Elmer Fudd hat and a beard crafted from my own hair. I have to say the hair beard was a winning look and quite easy to put together.  Tutorial to follow ;)

In comes craftbeer.com to the story - the crew at Craft Beer created a contest for the "Beards of the Brewing Industry", and I was submitted (along with a few other locals) to rep Alaskan.  In my bio I wrote  “I want to win to give hope to the scraggly, the patchy, the peach-fuzzed, the thin and under-bearded and the naturally beardless masses of the brewing industry!”, because who better than a woman in a union suit to do exactly that?

Well, did I win?  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

This is what I should have been doing today!!!  But instead I made this . . .
But the Cap'n and I are gearing up for scarf-wearing season with new knits, new designs, new hats and new prod!  Check it out on instagram (tpalaska), pinterest, etsy
use it #tpalaska, #tpgear #alaskacrafter

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday #Craftroom Love

Sometimes I want to be a fashion blogger.  Except with crafts.  But maybe with fashion too. 

Except my fashion pics would all be "Shirt: Fred Meyer's (do you have that? it's a west coast thing kind of like a target but less hip and with more groceries), Pants: Naked Ladies Party, Ring: stolen from mom, Sweater: shopping trip in the real world 3 years ago" 
Hahahah, that's true Alaskan Fashion!

Here you go, Crafshion blogging attempt 1:
Curtains: Target with adjustments, Mirror: Salvation Army Thrift Store, Dress Form: JoAnns, Desk: found on side of road, adapted by Cap'n, Tiny Hat: project I'm working on, Bills: mine I have yet to pay, Receipt bin: Fred Meyers ;)
Clothespins: stolen from my mom, Sewing Machine: Brother EX-660 from Costco (LOVE!), Filing Cabinet: "Vintage" from Alaskan Dames (Local Consignment Shop)- Cap'n still won't forgive me for getting it, Felt pile: gift from my favorite crafting buddy Lucy when she moved, Paper cutter: found on the side of the road with free sign
So, how'd I do? :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Limpets, Pinterest and Instagrid

Limpets live in colonies?  Who knew??
Ok crafty people, if you're like me you're super obsessed with Pinterest (it's like porn for crafters!).  Sorry, that is a tad raunch, but reality people, Pinterest is an ooey gooey craft fest with all the toppings!!  You "pin" to these "boards" all the best images all over the net and soon you're lost in an abyss of handmade hunkiness.

And through no doing of my own, the ole AK Crafter here has been pinned a few times - eek!  FUN!  But in this ever changing world I've been having a hard time posting here (noticed much?).  Between my new full-time gig at the Brewery, the Cap'n and his antics, attempting to stay fit, and of course crafting up projects, I've found next to nil time for actually documenting my progress.  FAIL!  That's when my next love came into play . . .  instagram.

Hello Instagram, you are beautiful and make all my pictures look weird and old-timey and for some reason that is totally addicting . . . almost in a creepy way.  So today while I was drooling over Pinterest I thought, wouldn't it be radtastic (yes I made that word up) if I could take an Instagram pic and somehow it could be pinned magically on my Pinterest, but no, Instagram is only on my phone . . . or is it?!  NOT ANYMORE!!!!

Boom, my Instagrid.  Now at the risk of letting the whole world know I love myself some Settlers with a Rita side . . .

Or that on occasion I wear oversized fake glasses and make duck faces (hey, at least I am wearing TP headgear!)

But, these are the kind of sacrifices I am willing to make so that the world can share in instant crafting!!  Ok, ready?  I'm going to test this . . .
#1 - make awesome crafty thing, or just this once take picture of local friend's awesome art
#2 - Instagram it
#3 - Find it on Instagrid and grab url
#4 - show you!
Don't worry, he looks at everyone that way!  Art by Alana Ballam-Schwan who co-owns Figment Gallery.
#5 - PIN IT! Wait, I have to post it first :)  Also, you can try following me on Pinterest - I've put a link on the sidebar over there :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Creating Rusalka, Opera-To-Go's Production Opens Sat

I wrote this about my most recent set design for Dvorak's Rusalka.  The show opens this Saturday and runs for two weekends.  Find out more info about tickets and such at operatogo.net and please come out and see the show!!

Rusalka's scale model was created using chipboard, foamcore, fabric and wire.
“So it’s a Czech fairy tale, with a lake onstage, three acts, two scene changes, oh, also there will be puppets.”
And with those words from William Todd Hunt, artistic director of Opera To Go, I was signed up for the set design of their latest operatic feat, “Rusalka,” which opens this Saturday evening at Thunder Mountain High School.
Dvorak’s “Rusalka” toys with the same plotline as Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid,” so immediately my mind fluttered to dancing crab puppets, sparkly tridents in pools of water onstage and nasty purple witches leaking ink everywhere. Whoops, too many cartoons as research for me. But just like every craft project I tackle, when creating this set design I had a few basic tricks up my sleeve to keep me steered in the right direction (and away from dancing crabs).

Begin with a Concept
Besides a forest and lake onstage visually, the score for “Rusalka” resonates with magic and mournful moments of lost love and love forsaken. How do you make a lake mournful or trees forsaken? Well if you are director Emily Smith, you breathe life directly into them through otherworldy puppets. Puppets in an opera? Well, you know what comes with great risk . . . so, (spoiler alert) there are puppets in our production to create a world where trees dance (I knew something would dance!) and water is alive, literally. But still, how to make that lake onstage?

Research (aka beg and borrow, just don’t steal)
With any new craft it never hurts to peek at others’ work. Heck, thumbing through the Artists Gallery or Public Market can often get my creative juices rolling enough to strike gold. But gold would not be found in “The Little Mermaid” (as I do not have a budget for gold tridents), nor in real water onstage (Perseverance Theatre already rocked that), so instead we took to the Czech roots of Dvorak’s story to give both the costumes and scenery rich visual research to sift through like intricate fabrics, slatted wood huts, witches and nymphs. But still, what about that lake?

Create a prototype
As crafters, we know how to make a pattern for a hat or scarf -- first you start with a process of guesses and trial and error. But how many times can you fill a pool with water onstage and chalk it up to “trial and error” if it goes wrong. Not a good plan. So instead we take a page from our architect friends by creating a miniature model to exact scale (just like they do for a new building). Except of course we use cardboard, foamcore, illustration board, metal, wood and whatever is lying about the craft room. This is the stage when playing really begins. Like, what about a vertical lake made of fabric? Risky perhaps, or maybe just the right kind of risky for an opera with puppets?

Click here for the jump . . .

Thursday, December 22, 2011

News Trees and Snowflake Stars - 3 days till the big day!!

That's right!  It's time for the yearly holiday crafts creation!! Here are a few links to years past:
News Trees are a simple bit of decoration you can do!

Once again, it is time for us at the Capital City Weekly to give a little gift back to the fine folks of Southeast Alaska in the form of some DIY decorations.

In years past we’ve tackled topics such as wreaths, ornaments, coasters, bunting and gift-wrap, so this year it is finally time to get down to the nitty gritty of a holiday crafted tree. Unless you’re reading this story online, you are holding in your hot little hands the key to making a fun holiday tree, or a forest of them for that matter. As an added bonus we’ll also include a pattern for an easy snowflake star to keep your holidays bright and white.
Pattern for a news tree layer


Tools: A CCW, a dowel, tape, a foam base, extra decorating tools (like glitter).
Directions: Place the dowel into your foam base — this will be the tree trunk from which you will build. Cut circles of CCW graduating in size from small to large. You may use a decorative scissors for a fancy edge or create your own wavy edge.
Cut a pie wedge piece out of each circle (see illustration). Starting with the largest circles, bring the two edges of the pie wedge together to create a cone shape. Tape the underside to secure the cone shape. Slide the cone over the dowel trunk and repeat this process placing the larger cones at the bottom and gradually getting smaller.
You now have a news tree. Use dots of glue and glitter to create a snow or ornament effect on your tree. With an entire CCW, you have enough to make a forest of winter wonderland d├ęcor.

Tools: Square paper (you can use the CCW for this project too), scissors, glue or tape.

Directions: With two folds and three cuts you can build some lovely 3D snowflake stars. Take a square piece of paper and fold it in half to create a triangle. Then fold it in half again for a smaller triangle. Now cut along the three lines according to the illustration. Unfold the paper and you will have some triangle-shaped cuts.

click here for the original article in full and completion to snowflake stars . . .

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Seaside Yarns- a new knit shop and pattern!!

Check out this new spot downtown and the pattern for this fabulous cozy cowl:
From the moment you walk into Seaside Yarns, a cozy warmth washes over you, and it’s not just from the hanks of wool roving and skeins of yarn bursting out of every corner. Friendly shop owner, Melissa Highfill, has been peddling yarns, roving, tools of the trade and more out of her small bright shop in the downtown Wharf building since May of this year.

Just five short years ago Highfill looked up a YouTube video on knitting and was literally hooked. Since then her love for knitting, spinning and dyeing yarns has led her to find a community of crafters to share with. Catering to both locals and tourists, Seaside Yarns offers hand-dyed yarns (have you ever seen A Treehugger’s Wife yarns at a local craft fair? That’s her as well!), fair trade products and locally made crafts aimed at giving a lift to the small business-owner as well as working with a variety of budgets. And according to Highfill, there is room for more.

“There are so many kinds of yarn out there,” she said. “One local yarn shop cannot have everything.”
Seaside fills a spot alongside at least four local shops that carry yarn here in Juneau.
 Hang around at Seaside for a minute and suddenly you’re surrounded by women coming to wind a ball, grab one more skein to finish a project, or shop a bit while the kids play in their very own playzone equipped with kiddy kitchenette. And as knitting picks up in this town you may be apt see a few men picking up some fodder for holiday gifts as well (I know my husband has).

Seaside also offers a variety of classes like Hat 101, Fingerless Mitts, Magic Loop and Socks taught by Crochet and knitwear designer Amy O’Neill Houck. Or swing in for the free Saturday knit and crochet group from 2-5 p.m., or spinning on Fridays – it’s BYOS (Bring Your Own Spindle). Find out more about classes at the shop or on their group Ravelry page, friends of Seaside Yarns at Ravlery.com.
Here Highfill shares a pattern for a perfectly giftable infinity cowl.

Click here for the rest of the pattern and article . . .