My Crocheting Pillow

Hi!  I have a GREAT TIP for you!  Yes, it’s a baby pillow used for raising up the baby while feeding or just holding baby so your arms don’t fall off!  My daughter has one.  BUT…….

I use it while crocheting and it’s wonderful!  My “therapy” pillow…don’t know how I lived without it :)  I got it at a baby consignment shop called, “Once Upon A Child” (they have stores all over the US) and it’s actually never been used .  Mine is by Boppy and has three little bears on it and a zipper so I can wash the cover.  Yes, it was a beautiful soft cream color but I guess I had blue in the wash because now it has a blue tinge to it.  It gives my arms and hands support so I can relax and it makes me sit up straighter so my back feels better, allowing me to crochet for hours and hours!

I think anyone who knits or does any needlework or hand crafts would really benefit from this wonderful pillow!

I LOVE my crochet pillow and as you can see, it fits perfectly in my chair even with my legs crossed!!

Image

Donna

Leave a comment

Filed under Crafts, Crochet, Uncategorized

Jake’s “Art Truck”

Hi!  I want to introduce you to my awesome husband (I call him Jake), who is also a Professional Alaskan Artist and works as the Radiology Supervisor in a medical center.  Some of you already know what a great guy he is and a fabulous painter, but for those who don’t, please go to his website www.kurtjacobson.com  You can also find his work locally at Arctic Rose Gallery, 423 W 5th Ave, Anchorage.  If you want to follow him and his painting projects go to his facebook here.  It’s fascinating and he shares his talent and loves to hear from people.

Jake’s second home is at Blaine’s Art Supply“, which is a really GREAT art supply store in Anchorage, Alaska, and has wonderful products and demos & classes.  Most of my favorite fiberart books are from there!  I took a “Silk Painting Class” (which I absolutely loved!) and I discovered TAP (Transfer Art Paper), where you iron photos or paint onto TAP and then iron it onto fabric, wood, tile, glass, etc.  And this year I found Golden Gel for my decoupage and I’m so grateful because I can’t use Mod Podge (make me sick).

One of the fun summer classes is a “Spray Paint Class”.  One year our friends, Don and Cindy, offered their old truck for the project.  It turned out just so cool!  So…I quickly donated Jake’s old grey truck for the next year!  Catherine came all the way up from Oregon to teach the class and paint it.  Thank you Catherine   Jake’s old truck got a facelift that you wouldn’t believe!  Check out the GOLD RIMS!!  Jake is so in LOVE with his “Art Truck” and he drives his “new ride” all over Alaska :)

Jake's Art Truck

Jake’s Art Truck

It looks like a “hippie” truck!!

When we’re in it we feel like we’ve gone back to the 60′s and 70′s!  Our kids love it.   But we get such weird looks and gestures from people and I have to remind myself why…cause we’re traveling in Jake’s “Art Truck”, of course!  Overall most have been positive!  So if you are in Alaska and see his truck please say hi!  Don’t be scared, it’s just Jake :)

Donna

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me, Alaskan Life, Art, Uncategorized

What do I do with my Scraps?

Hi!  I have a lot of fabric! And I really mean A LOT! So what do I do with my fabric scraps? I LOCKER HOOK my scraps into functional and awesome things that I can use or give as gifts :)  I also crochet with my scraps (that’s another subject).

What in the world is LOCKER HOOKING, you say?

It is a long forgotten art, an “old rug hooking technique” thought to have originated in England in the early 1900′s.  There’s very little documented history about it. Locker hooking uses a locker hook, which looks like a 6.5 inch long steel metal crochet hook with a LARGE needle ‘eye’ on the other end (to thread the yarn through).  Also used, is latch hook rug canvas, yarn, and fabric strips (or thick yarn or wool roving).

A locker hook

Locker Hook

Inserting Locker Hook into Square

Inserting Locker Hook into First Square

The locker hook needle ‘eye’ is threaded with yarn and from the top of the canvas the hook is pushed through a square (with one hand), and from below the canvas a fabric strip is wrapped around the hook part (with other hand) and pulled back up through the same square to the top of the canvas again, making a fabric loop.  Keeping the loop on your locker hook, you continue to pull up fabric loops until you have about 10 loops on the locker hook.  Then...the locker hook and yarn are pulled through ALL the loops, thus  “locking the loops in place”.…. And that is it!

 What do you use the scraps for, you say? 

Well, you can locker hook all kinds of awesome things like rugs, wall hangings, blankets, clothing, baskets, bags & purses, pillows, lots of home decor, personal accessories, and much more!  Anything your imagination can dream of!  In 1999, I wrote and self-published a book entitled, Locker Hooking With Fabric Strips, which has tons of examples and ideas, along with teaching you how to locker hook.  Right now I’m updating the book and one of my 2014 goals is to get it out there as an ebook THIS YEAR!

Locker Hooking With Fabric Strips Book

Locker Hooking With Fabric Strips Book

Where are my scraps, you say? 

Let me show you a few out of the book that are very easy to do, have instructions, and you can do them too!

Locker Hooked Patchwork Quilt Block Rug

Locker Hooked Patchwork Quilt Block Rug

Locker Hooked Frame

Locker Hooked Frame

Locker Hooked Rag Rug

Locker Hooked Rag Rug

More locker hooking to come :)  In the mean time, available is my Beginning Locker Hooking Kit with an instructional booklet, canvas, steel locker hook, steel tapestry needle, and “Mug Rug” Pattern.  All you need is the yarn and fabric!  Oh, and you can purchase just the book if you want :)  For more information and shopping go to my website www.lockerhooking.com  :)

Donna

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Crafts, Locker Hooking, Rug Hooking

Pretty Glazed Balls

Hi!  OK, my 2014 New Years Resolution has started!  My goal is to get back into blogging again!  I spend so much time on my facebook pages that I have neglected blogging and I’m sorry about that!  I’m going to try to keep you posted with my current projects, experiences, and thoughts :)

Right before Christmas I suddenly got this idea to decorate hanging glass balls.  I’ve actually wanted to do this for the last two summers for the tourists, cutting and painting “Alaskana stuff” on them.  They’re so pretty and can be hung all year round.  What nice little gifts they make!  A long time ago, my sister gave me a friendship ball (painted glass) which hangs in my living room and I think of her every time I look at it :)

GlazedBalls-Facebook Photo

I’ve been having soooo much fun making them and selling them at Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center (where I work).  I either use clear glass or plastic ornament balls.  I got mine at Michael’s Arts & Crafts store (use your coupon!).  I cut small pieces of paper or fabric and paste them on using a small sponge paint brush and Mod Podge.  WOW!  I’d forgotten how much that glue stunk!!  But I kept on and after three days of horrible headaches, I took a break, and when I went back and got headaches again, and I realized it was the Mod Podge.  What a huge bummer!!!  I switched over to “Golden Gel Medium”, which is a lot more expensive but I don’t get headaches and so it’s worth spending more :)

Before-Glaze Balls-cropped

On the drying rack and three more coats to go!

Let them dry between coats.  I used “Golden thick Gel (Matt)” on the ones in the photos but found that it was just too thick.  I really love and recommend the “Golden Regular Gel (Gloss) Medium” because it’s a thinner and shinier coat!  I think it’s the best!

After-Side View Glazed Balls-sm

Finished glazed balls and in the store! The hanging balls are made with fabric and the balls in the bowl are Alaskan paper.

Interesting…I found that when I put them on a green Christmas tree that the lighter ones stood out so I need to make more of those.

GlazedBall-one-name

One of my favorites!

Wishing you much love for 2014 and lots of fun projects!

Donna

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me, Alaskan Life, Art, Craft Tutorials, Crafts, DIY-I Made, Uncategorized

Finally Friday Paint & Stitch

Hi!  We just recently wrapped up our Finally Friday Paint & Stitch Get-togethers!  Jake and I have been hosting these gatherings all winter long and now will take a summer break and come back in October.  Every month, on the 2nd & 4th Friday evenings, people from the community who share common painting & stitching interests gathered at the Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center, downtown 5th Ave, Anchorage, Alaska.  It’s a beautiful Art Gallery and so cozy in the back where we meet.  Thank you Jana for letting us get together there!  So Jake’s (Kurt) the painter and I”m the stitcher.

Our First Gathering

Our First Gathering

It’s been a lot of hard work but soooo much fun and rewarding!  Almost every gathering we’ve had different people come and join us along with a small core group that formed.  We also have a potluck and that has been really nice because we start at 6pm and many come straight from work and we all share our goodies together while unwinding from the hectic week.  We all share our talents too and I’ve learned so much and made friends.

Jan Instructing

I saw painters who started as beginners become experienced and awesome painters!  I saw crocheters who began to knit!  I saw friendships develop and blossom!  I’ve known some of the people for a long time but got to know them better.  The buzz was always “what are we going to bring to eat and work on this week?”  I saw the excitement each time we all came together, excited to share and learn.  I have a hard time around people (I fake it pretty good) but everyone made each other comfortable and was accepting of each other.   Even though we were all different ages, we were like one big family!  It was so wonderful to experience that! I love each one of them.

11-23-2012 Beautiful Paintings   Joni and BlueHands

We even shared things that we made, like I bought a beautiful pair of earrings from Cathe!  And Nicole brought handmade felted soap!  Jan and Joni bought some of Jake’s paintings and Angie showed her cute crocheted baby onesie & hat sets along with her Angry Bird hats she sold at Christmas.  We all watched Sarah work on her darling crocheted mushroom until she completed it.  Funny, I never did really complete anything because I always got side tracked looking at everyone else’s projects:)

Angie and Nija Turtles                Sarah

The last Friday the stitchers convinced me to show them how to locker hook and before I knew it I had a FULL class!  I honestly wasn’t prepared for a class….thought it was just going to be a demo!  But everyone, having stitching experience whether it was knitting, crochet, tatting, felting, weaving, embroidery, jewelry, sewing, and etc. all caught on fast.  It was a great class and I am so proud of them:)

locker hooking gathering

I know we are going to miss our Friday gatherings but it always seems that when spring & summer come we all are out doing other things.  In Alaska we take advantage of the good weather!  But we will all come together again in October and share more projects, fun, food, laughter, and friendships.   Hope everyone has a great summer and Jake and I can’t wait to see you in October!

Jake Painting

Donna

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me, Alaskan Life, Art, Crafts, Crochet, Locker Hooking, Uncategorized

Our Hurricane

Hi!  About a week ago we had a HUGE storm, in Anchorage, Alaska!  Up where I live it was recorded up to 100-130 mi. an hour winds and hurricane rain.  They had just started working on our road and had closed it off (for a month!) so I had to take another road which is dark, narrow, windy, and scary during the day time let alone the night!  I was working downtown in the Gallery that night and I found myself driving home in the dark, during a  hurricane.  Each time a wind gust pushed my car I wondered if I was going over!  But the biggest problem was the poor visibility because the rain was so fierce!  It was pounding so hard on my windshield and my wipers were full blast, and I could hardly see the narrow road!  I remember thinking, I may go over the cliff and there is nothing I can do about it!  I was pretty shaken up by the time I reached home and I sure was glad to be there!  When I got out of my car I was literally shaking!  Soon after (during the news), we lost power but got it back the next day.  We were fortunate because most people around us lost their power for about a week.  Many of our friends went without power for well over a week.  We lost our TV and internet for five long days :)

It howled all night long and shook our house, and the next day I looked out my kitchen window and this is what I saw…….

Fallen tree from my window

Photo taken through my screen window

The Tip of the Fallen Tree

The tip of the fallen tree

This is a BIG thick, tall healthy tree that fell!  That tree was right next to our bedroom, next to our heads!  My first thought was “I hope it didn’t fall on the neighbor’s shed!  We would be in big trouble”  It didn’t.  I went outside and took this photo showing how close it actually was to our house….

Fallen tree next to our house

Fallen tree next to our house & truck

I had just recently watched the coverage of Hurricane Issac off Florida and New Orleans and I could now identify somewhat with those who go through hurricanes!  I have an absolute love and fascination of the wind and of storms, but this one was just too close to home!

Click here for more photos of our  hurricane.

Donna

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me, Alaskan Life, Uncategorized

Crocheted Dream Catchers

Hi!  Oh my gosh!!  I’ve been having Soooo MUCH FUN making crocheted beaded dream catchers and learning all about the history!  I love crocheting and I love dream catchers!  I thought I’d see if they sell at my Etsy Shop, Alaska HomeCrafters Emporium, or maybe a tourist at Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center might find them as fascinating as I do.  When I moved up to Alaska someone gave me a dream catcher to keep the good dreams coming and the bad dreams trapped in the web.  I still have it!  I think everyone should have one :)

Dream catchers are arts and crafts of the Native American people.  Traditionally dream catchers were made from willow branches bent into rings  or oval shapes and sinew for the web.  Feathers decorate infants and children’s dream catchers, but all dream catchers are embellished with totem animals, beads, and small stones.  (I love to embellish!)  The ring is believed to represent wisdom, strength, and unity.

One legend tells of an elderly spiritual leader who had a vision of Iktomi, the great trickster and searcher of wisdom.  He appeared in the form of a spider and spoke to him.  As he spoke, the spider picked up the elder’s willow ring and began to spin a web.  He spoke about the cycle of life and and many lessons.  The ring represents the cycle of life, for as we come into life as infants and grow into adults, as elderly adults we must be taken care of as infants, thus completing the cycle of life.

When the spider finished, he had spun a web inside the ring and told him that when the dream catcher is hung above ones bed, good dreams will float through the web’s holes and down the strings of beads and feathers,  placing good dreams into your head while one sleeps.  Bad dreams are caught in the web and tangle up in the web & beads and stones and with the first rays of daylight, they evaporate and disappear.  Pretty awesome don’t you think!

Wishing you good dreams and peaceful sleep.

Donna

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me, Alaskan Life, Art, Crafts, DIY-I Made, Uncategorized