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Friday, April 22, 2011

Have a Froggy Day!

Ribbit - maybe I'll get a pattern together for these to share the froggy footed love!
In the meantime enjoy a green day!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Crafter's Ergonomics

I love my new craft room. Paint on the walls, organization in the closet, every tool within a fingertip's reach - it is like living in a dream. So what happened to the crafter who suddenly got everything she always wanted? Like a childhood chocolate-factory fantasy, she lived happily ever after. But then a pain in her wrist started to develop, accompanied by a tweak in her back and a slightly pinched nerve somewhere in between. It seems that all those years of crafting over the coffee table, stitching on the floor, and using the bed as a cutting surface (don't ask) added up to pain in all parts. So she learned a new word: ergonomics.
From the US Gov's OSHA website on ergonomics

Ergonomics is an applied science "concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely," according to Merriam-Webster.

For a craft room there couldn't be a better plan than efficiency and safety in design. Crafters of all kinds create in small spaces meant for other activities (you know, scrapbooking at the kitchen table between meals) and according to the U.S. Department of Labor, ergonomic risk factors are found in exactly those kinds of spaces in jobs, or crafts, that require repetitive movement, fine hand-work, constant pushing and pulling, and most importantly "prolonged awkward postures." Sounds like my entire sewing experience. Though I can't go back and undo the years of cramped coffee-table sewing I endured, I can embrace ergonomics for the future and create a more friendly stitching station while encouraging others to do so too.

The first step in assessing your ergonomic situation is to sit at your sewing station as you would when stitching, stitch a few lines if you have to, and then take a look at your position. Are your shoulders raised, your wrists bent or forearms resting on the sharp corner of the table, your legs jammed as you push the pedal? These common awkward postures are often caused by a chair that is too short or too high. The goal is to create a supportive environment that keeps your body in a near-neutral position where knee, elbow and seat angle are around 90 degrees, shoulders are down and wrists and neck are elongated, not bent. Adjustable chairs, wrist pads, foot lifts and even adjustable height sewing tables are all tricky ways of getting your station to fit you perfectly.

Next, take a look at the other activities you perform while sewing. Does your hand get sore from scissors, or your neck tire from bending over to squint at a skipped stitch? Think about investing in more ergonomic spring-back and bent shears that require less force on your part. They even have electric scissors these days for just this kind of thing. Do you squint from lack of light or lack of sight? Whatever the issue, address it with a light or magnifying glass and hopefully you'll assist both your neck and eyes at the same time.

All activities you perform as a crafter have some potential for repetitiveness built-in, but that doesn't mean that every time you string a bead on a wire your fingers are doomed. The most important weapon in your arsenal against awkward pain is taking breaks and switching activities. Which means more crafts for you! So start crafting with awareness now and you might just live craftily ever after.

Find more information about ergonomics and your sewing environment at the US Government's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Alaska Folk Festival Preview: Poster Art

Poster art by Bill Hudson from the 17th Alaska Folk Festival
The streets are abuzz with the final countdown to Alaska Folk Festival number 37. Who can wait for balloon animals in the lobby, meeting long lost friends, dancing in the aisles and of course the musical styling of generations of folks from near and far. Take a closer look and you'll find out what begins the buzz: one singly crafted sheet of paper hanging plainly in a window. The poster.
Another Bill Hudson original Folk Fest poster.

 Artists and crafters have lent their creativity over the years to these brief but meaningful masterpieces. From drawing and painting a silk-screened poster to digitally rendering, scanning and printing, the processes of creation have changed dramatically over the years since Folk Fest began, but the heart of the artist has been ever-present. Taking a look back over the cadre of Folk Fest posters, one former Alaskan stands out as the most prolific: artist Bill Hudson.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


So, I have been taking this photography course at UAS - it's just intro to digital photography, but I bought this NIKON D-5000 sweet camera last year with biz money as a tax write-off and haven't really used it to it's full potential (like at all).  Anyhow, I have learned SO Much!  It was a bit expensive, but for me totally worth it.

Mostly now I know what all the little buttons do- but the buttons are super- important!  Homework this week included a self-portrait (that actually says something about yourself, not just a "I flipped the camera around and took a shot and somehow it turned out making me look really hot" kind of photo, which in my day I was infamous for). 

So, here goes world.  my self portrait.
Hahahahahahh- doesn't it make you laugh?  I hope so!

And now you're really gonna love this.  A portrait session with the Cap'n produced a few gems- 
oooh, are you even ready?
That's right, forget whales baby, he's gonna be the next face of Alaskan TV stardom!!
And one more selfy, which has a little sampling of our new house wall color- yup.  
It's def a love it or hate it- anyhow, those pics will be coming soon I SWEAR!  
But life is busy sometimes you know?