Halloween Fun with Glow in the Dark Hot Glue

I visited Daiso the other day, and ran into  Glow in the Dark hot glue! I’d never seen this before and this sparked a lot of ideas…mostly halloween themed. I’ve used the hot glue more like sculpture and not as an adhesive.

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For only $1.50….I couldn’t say no.

 

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I started out playing with handwriting…This “BOOO” required several passes…I also made a little ghost with eyes made with marker. To the right a little spider and….

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A spiderweb! Making this was quite relaxing. Watching all the spiders in my little garden paid off!

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I also ventured into some jewerly making.

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The day after I spent some time making more “BOoo!”s and another little ghost.

 

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I really liked how this one turned out…

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And I also went “freestyle” and made this “Mike Wasowski” looking monster…

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And here it is! They glow in the dark quite well…My husband has a black light flashlight that helped enhance the effect. The glow in the dark “particles” can be see quite clearly…so think less”Glow in the dark stick” and more “Glow in the dark sprinkles”.

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I’ve decorated some of our wedding photographs with these…

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And now I can’t wait to show these off at a party!

 

-L.C.

DIY Chesire Cat costume accessories (Crochet)

Its that time of the year again, where I scramble at the last minute to make a Halloween costume!

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This year I’m planning on dressing up as the Cheshire Cat, in the style of the 1951  Alice in Wonderland Disney movie. The Cheshire cat and I go a long way, and if you’ve read this blog long enough you might recall it was once called “We’re all mad here”….a Cheshire Cat quote!

This year I decided to crochet the accessories for my costume, and get the rest of my costume as clothes I’m actually going to wear later. I love dressing in purple, so this is a win-win for my closet!

Here’s what I’ve made up until now:

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Cat Ears : I will start by saying I was super disappointed by most of the cat ears I saw in stores and online, so this was the first element I knew I’d crochet.

I was lucky to quickly find an easy & free pattern on Ravelry for chesire cat ears. The pattern is called “Chesire Cat Headband” and it was designed by  KandJdolls.blogspot.com. What an easy pattern!  My favorite thing about these is the hair band is striped and the ears fold easily. I may make this again in black if I ever need a black cat costume.

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Cat Tail: You can’t be a Cheshire Cat without a tail! Unless you pretend youre a cheshire cat in the middle of a disappearing act and your tail is invisible. Seriously, I considered this because the tail was a tough one. I was super close to buying one of those furry tails they sell at Spencers and Hot topic, but I really wanted the tail to perfectly match the ears, so I made one.

ENTER, furries! I found a GREAT tutorial to make your own furry tail. The tutorial is called “DIY Fox Tail Tutorial” and it was made by Jennifer at “iSaveAtoZ”. The only downsides are that it requires a lot of time and yarn. Since I’m low on free time this week I opted to braid my yarn. I followed one of the tips from the tutorial above and used a clean pet brush to make the end of the tail. Its soooo soft and fluffy. Seriously, if you have the time and need a tail try the tutorial. I may even go Cheshire Cat 2.0 next year just so I can make a proper tail.

I used about 12 strands of yarn, which originally looped around my waist and went all the way down to my knees.  Note! The length of the finished braid will be about 2/3 of the length of yarn you cut, so allow for some shrinkage.  Since I wasn’t very wary of this, I ended up with a shorter braid than I wanted and had to tie it to the back loop of my pants. My original plan was to split the braid halfway and tie it around my waist.

Still, Im quite happy with how this one turned out….considering it was mostly improvised!

Cat…Collar?

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Finally….a peter pan colllar! Yes, we’re mixing up fairy tales up in here!

I realized that the tail and the ears were not enough and I needed to tie my outfit together with one last matched accessory.

So in the middle of the night I made this super easy peter pan collar and alternated the double crochet rows with my chesire car colors. The pattern is called “Crochet Peter Pan Collar” and was designed by Mel Paton. The button is light purple, but if I can I’ll replace it with something more….WILD!

These were all quite easy to make…but my costume isnt finished. Im going to test out some chesire cat makeup and even a chesire cat at home manicure. : D

Are you dressing up this week? Any crafty plans for your costume? Id love to hear from you, dear readers!

Love,

L.C.

P.S. – Oh and in case you are wondering….the top is from Jc Penney online and the pants are a Gloria Vanderbilt thrift shop find!

Polycrafter’s crafting corner

My husband and I moved to a new apartment earlier this year, and one of our goals was to get a dedicated craft/work room for us to share. After a lot of organizing, purging and reorganizing we’ve come to a neatly organized craft room that can fit everything we both need to work happily.

Polycrafters craft room

The first thing we realized was needed was some vertical storage for in progress projects and supplies. We found a neat shelf on sale at Home Depot (left on the pic below) that has proved very sturdy and easy to assemble.  For the side of the shelf I whipped together a little cover that helps keep things visually organized and also helps cover the late sun glare .

Desk

For my desk I have a simple Ikea student desk. The bottom of the large drawer is falling apart and the top is scratched to oblivion, which makes working on messy stuff easier. On this same desk I have a paper filing mini shelf, where I put all my stationary,stickers and pending bills. I hope to upgrade this desk soon, but for now I’m happy with it.

Detail of craft wall

The high light of my side of my side of the craft room is of course, THE GIANT WALL OF ART. On the wall I stare at most often I have pieces from Seattle-based artists I admire like Stasia Burrington, ENFU, and Justin Hillgrove. There are also a few things I worked on that, while not on par with some of the other art there, definitely motivates me to keep trying and continue improving.

Cute Grit, Yotsuba and Russel Wilson

And that’s my side of the craft room!  What’s your creative space like?

Zodiac Fuzzy Poster – Complete!

I first shared this poster while it was in progress, about a year ago. I’m happy to report it is now finished and adorning our craft room wall. While I don’t follow astrology predictions, I do enjoy learning about the signs, the constellations behind them and what patterns are observed for each sign.

Fuzzy Zodiac Poster

I used fine tip permanent markers for most of the poster, but for larger sections like the border I used the markers that came with the poster. They are not as high quality, but they were very effective for getting large chunks of work done.

I am particularly fond of the trees in this poster. The marker ink layered up nicely and created unexpected bark effects on the tree trunks. A similar effect happened on the earth globe, where marker layers created an “ocean current” look.

For those interested in making their own: I found this at the kids art section of Bartell’s drug store. I suggest checking your nearest “all in one” drug store to see if you find one similar. If you do, please share!  I think I may need another one soon, this is very addicting.😀

-L.C.

DIY Tshirt headbands & accessories

I’ve been experimenting with new materials a lot lately and one of them is T-shirt yarn! T-shirt yarn is basically a long strip of t-shirt fabric that can be used as a heavy weight yarn for any craft.

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Last year when I started my venture into designing for Darby Smart, I picked several skeins of T-shirt yarn to play with. I racked my brain for a while on how to use them, and recently came up with several fun ideas: bracelets, necklaces and my favorite…. headbands!

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Tshirt yarn will make chunky and lasting accessories, and if you make your own T-shirt yarn you can easily start a whole collection of color coordinated accessories. This material is also perfect for exercise headbands as they will absorb sweat and are very easy to care for.

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To create any of these, just follow these guidelines. This is the example for a chunky headband, but the instructions are the same for necklaces or bracelets.

  1. Find some tshirt yarn and a large crochet hook :
    1. I used an I size crochet hook, try out some different hooks to find your perfect fit. Usually, the bigger the hook, the looser the stitches will be.
    2. To make your own tshirt yarn check out this tutorial. You can also buy the one I used here.
  2. Start a crochet chain and keep going until the chain is long enough to go around your head comfortably.
    1. For basic crochet tutorials, check YouTube
  3. Slip stitch the beginning of the chain to the end
  4. (Optional) Start a new row over your chain in whatever stitch you prefer. I wanted a dense head band so I made a row of half double crochet.
  5. Try on the headband  as you crochet it, that way if its too tight or too lose you can start from the top quickly.
  6. Once you’re happy with the fit and size of your accessory, cut the end of the yarn and fasten off.

And tah-dah! You’ve got your new t-shirt yarn accessory.

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I took my very patriotic headband to yoga class and it worked like a charm! It kept stray hairs and sweat off my face. It fell off once during a forward fold towards the end of class, but its quite comfortable now so I wouldn’t tighten it any more than it is.  The best thing is, you can hand wash these or throw them in the washing machine, like you would any t-shirt.

I hope you can try this out, let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks!

L.C.

P.S. – This isn’t a sponsored post, but I did get the tshirt yarn compliments of Darby Smart.

DIY Embroidery Wall Art (Darby Smart design + Promo Code)

I’m very excited to share that an embroidery design I worked on last year was just launched as an Embroidery Wall Art idea on darbysmart.com! You can follow along the instructions there and purchase any materials you are missing. I really love some of the fabrics they used in the examples.

Embroidery Wall Art

This was a fun project for me to make and it’s still hanging happily in my craft room. The quote I chose was a motivational saying I love: “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me!” I glance at it every day and remember that nothing gets done just by thinking about it. In the works of the inimitable Tim Gunn: “Make it work!” .

I used a blank canvas wrapped in geode fabric while Darby Smart followed the steps using an embroidery hoop & canvas, so you can see there are so many possibilities. Just hang fabric somewhere and get embroiderin’.

Let me know if you make some & happy crafting!

L.C.

For the next seven days (so ending on June 30) you can also use my promo code to get 25% anything on the shop. The code is ozdqyy25 and expires on June 30.

Mapping Puerto Rico’s slavery districts in 1872

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Update 3/13/15 : Welcome to visitors coming from the Puerto Rico Historic Building Drawings Society! Feedback is most definitely welcome so feel free to leave a comment if you have additional information on this topic. Together, there is much we can learn about our island!

Actualizado 13/3/15: Bienvenidos vistantes dirigidos aquí por el “Puerto Rico Historic Building Drawings Society”. Con gusto acepto comentarios con correciones sobre el tema. Juntos podemos aprender mucho sobre nuestra isla!

“El Registro Central de Esclavos” (Slave Schedule ) of 1872 is, in my mind, the most valuable document for researching slavery in Puerto Rico. The census was created after the Ley Moret (1870) was passed, which gave many slaves their freedom. Slavery was abolished in Puerto Rico in 1873,one year after this census, making this the last “official” glimpse at our puertorican slave ancestors. To my knowledge, this is the only Puerto Rico slave census available online.

I’ve had a hard time visualizing what the census districts looked like, so I mapped out the districts mentioned in the census. Noticeably absent is District 3, which covers either the northwestern or northeastern portion of the island.

Census data for Loiza, in the northeast, is not available. (Updated 3/13/15, with thanks to Hector) Loiza was one of the largest slave ports in the island . Loiza had a high population of slaves and still an important part of afro-caribbean culture. At lot of my family members come from Loiza, so not having it in the census is one of the greatest disappointments I’ve encountered in my research.

Many of Puerto Ricos 78 municipalities were established after 1872, so several towns are not mentioned explicitly. Its safe to assume that many of these towns are covered in the census, but appear as a neighborhood of an older town. If you’re researching a town in Puerto Rico, don’t feel discouraged if you don’t find it at first glance. Read the town’s history online and find if it was previously under another municipality’s jurisdiction. Such is the case with Canovanas, the town I’m from. Before 1976 it was a neighborhood of Loiza, which is still there, but now comprises of much less land.

Feel free to download the map, use in your research, and modify it if necessary. Let me know if you find any errors and do tell me if you find this helpful.

Thanks and happy searching!

Credits & Reference:

Credit for map goes to Alessandro Cai and a blank map can be found here.

Ancestry.com. Puerto Rico, Registro Central de Esclavos, 1872 [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, 2011.

Registro Central de Esclavos, 1872 (Slave Schedules). Microfilm T1121, 8 rolls. ARC ID: 1476161. Records of the Spanish Governors of Puerto Rico, Record Group 186. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

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El Registro Central de Esclavos de 1872 es, en mi opinión,  el documento más valioso para investigar la esclavitud en Puerto Rico. El censo fue hecho luego de la Ley Moret (1870), que le dio la libertad a muchos esclavos. La esclavitud fue abolida en 1873, un año luego de este censo, lo que hace este documento el último vistazo a nuestros ancestros esclavos en Puerto Rico. A mi conocer, este es el único censo de esclavos que está disponible en línea.

He tenido dificultad visualizando los distritos mencionados en el censo, así que diseñe un mapa con los distritos mencionados en el censo. Notablemente ausente está el Distrito 3, que contiene datos del área noroeste o el área noreste de la isla.

Para Loiza, en el noreste, no hay información. (Actualizado 13/3/15, Gracias Hector!) )Loiza fue uno de los puertos de esclavos más grandes Loiza tenian una alta concentracion de esclavos y todavía es una parte importante de la culture afro caribeña. Muchos de mis ancestros vienen de Loiza. No tener a Loiza en el censo es uno de las decepciones más grandes que he tenido durante mi investigación.

Muchos de los 78 municipios de Puerto Rico fueron establecidos luego del 1872, así que muchos de estos no están mencionados explícitamente. Se puede asumir que muchos de estos municipios aparecen en el censo, como barrios de otro municipio más antiguo. Si está investigando un pueblo en Puerto Rico, no se sienta descorazonado si no lo ve a primera vista. Lea la historia del pueblo y averigüe si era antes parte de otro municipio. Este es el caso de Canóvanas, el pueblo de donde soy. Antes del 1976 era un vecindario de Loiza, que todavía existe pero es mucho más pequeña.

Siéntase en libertad de bajar el mapa, usarlo en su investigación y modificarlo si necesario. Déjeme saber si encuentra error alguno y me cuenta si encuentra esto útil.

¡Gracias y éxito en su búsqueda!

Crédito & Referencia

Mapa de Alessandro Cai , mapa en blanco

Ancestry.com. Puerto Rico, Registro Central de Esclavos, 1872 [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, 2011.

Registro Central de Esclavos, 1872 (Slave Schedules). Microfilm T1121, 8 rolls. ARC ID: 1476161. Records of the Spanish Governors of Puerto Rico, Record Group 186. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

The rewards of teaching

Last month I taught my very first in person crochet class.  Speaking in public has been something I’ve enjoyed in school and work, but I’ve never really considered myself a teacher. I still feel fluttery and excited when I think that I actually transmitted something I know to other people.

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I spent an afternoon teaching people of all ages how to do a chain, a single stich and a double stich. Most of the students caught on quickly and I was very surprised at how even the very young students understood the basics concepts of crochet. While I was teaching my mind went back to my grandmother, who first taught me how to make a chain. I saw her this past weekend and I’m happy to report she’s still teaching friends how to crochet. Go Abuelita!

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It was truly a day where I ventured into an unknown place and came back a happier and more confident person.  Best of all? I received several skeins of yarn as a thank you for my participation and I even won a door prize skein of yarn. These babies will keep my busy during the fall season while I crochet blankets and scarves.

Do you consider yourself a teacher? Let me know in the comments!

Peace out,

L.C.

P.S.  Many thanks to Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames for making this opportunity possible, specially to Lorraine! If you’re in the Seattle area and need a craft store with folks knowledgeable in a variety of areas, I can’t recommend this place enough.

Thanks as well to Lion Brand yarn, who donated many of the materials for the event.

In Progress: Coloring Embroidery

I found this sweet pair of embroidered sea creatures at the thriftshop some months ago. They were looking very bare so I’ve started coloring them with fine point Sharpies (that we bought for our wedding guestbook). Its such a fun, slow paced activity I like to leave it for Sunday afternoons and lazy days.

WP_20141012_006The seahorses are next, which I’m planning on coloring purple…my favorite color for my favorite sea creature! I loved seahorses so much as a child I once wrote an essay for Spanish class explaining how I’d like to be a seahorse so I would never have shower! Ah, the logic of a 7 year old.🙂

-L.C.

Video Roundup: Grace Hopper Conference 2014 speakers

This week (but really, this whole fall) my geeky side is jumping for joy since I finally get to go to the Grace Hopper Conference/Celebration . This event focuses on women in technology (students, faculty, industry, etc) and is a three day marathon of awesome talks, training and networking opportunities.

I’m not familiar with several of the speakers so I thought I’d learn a little bit about them before hand. Too often I attend talks where it turns out I don’t like or simply can’t follow the speakers presentation style. This also helps me get a background understanding of what the speaker is all about and what I can expect from their session at GHC.

I’d like to share this collection of YouTube links where you can check out some of his years GHC speakers:

  • Yoky Matsuoka (VP of Technology, Nest)
  • Elizabeth Churchill (Director of Human Computer Interaction, ebay)
  • Lorrie Faith Cranor (Director of the Carnegie Mellon Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory)
  • Bonnie Ross ( GM, 343 Industries)
  • Linda Northrop (Chief Scientist, SEI)
  • Rayid Ghani (Research Director, University of Chicago)
  • Jo Miller (CEO, Women’s Leadership Conference)
  • Denise Brosseau (Coach/Consultant , Thought Leadership Lab)

I’m excited to visit a new place, meet a bunch of awesome people and geek out like there’s no tomorrow. Phoenix, here I come!

Will you be at GHC this year or have you attended in the past? Let me know in the comments!

-L.C.