Whimsical Tidings!

Ahoy there Internet Lubbers!

I can’t believe it’s Thursday! Wait, is it Thursday where you are? Maybe I accidentally jumped into the future. Nonetheless, I wanted to bring you a few newsical notes from the desk of moi. So here I am and here you are and here we go…

  • Last week I stitched up a bra in just under 9 hours. It’s a doozy of a bra and while attending the class I definitely drank the “sew your own bra, love your boobs” kool-aid. I of course, continue to love my boobs, but I am not so sure I want to start sewing bras all the time. You never know what the future may hold! I could grow a third boob and then I would definitely need a specially made bra. At least I have the skills to handle that triboob situation. Soon though, you will see a bra sewing-stravaganza in an issue of Ye Olde Periodical (for which I am gainfully employed) and it will be authored by moi.

    Hooray for fun!

    Hooray for fun!

  • A few weeks ago I made this bad ass card. It’s rather fancy wouldn’t you say? I’ve been thinking of posting a tutorial on how to make it. Might you like to know the secrets of my card making ways?
  • This week I have been obsessing over WhimseyBox! It’s a crafts by mail subscription service. Once per month I will receive a box with a complete craft inside. I will of course immediately plunder the contents, revel in all the glory and love the crap out of my creation. Why? Because if there’s nothing I love more than crafting it’s mystery crafting. Want to join in on the fun? Normally boxes cost $15 per month, but if you click here you can get a box for only $5 (and to be perfectly honest I will get a free box if you sign up, however you qualify for this same offer as soon as you sign up, so if we keep the crafting chain going we’ll all have free crafty boxes and giant crafting parties [wow this is a long parenthetical add on]).
  • Secrets, secrets! I have been working on so many secret projects lately I can’t stand it! I want to show you all of them and reveal my world of craftiness. Alas, of you fine few readers out there these gifts are for 12% of you, so you’ll just have to wait.
  • Do you know of Alie and Georgia? They are super-duperly fantastic gal pals from California! Here are the ways in which they are fantastic:
    Alie and Georgia! (Photo courtesy of Cooking Channel, click this photo to see more Cooking Channel).

    Alie and Georgia! (Photo courtesy of Cooking Channel, click to see more Cooking Channel).

    They invent fancy-ass cocktails for your mouth to love.
    They podcast from a pillow/blanket fort.
    They wear the cutest dresses ever.
    They are friends with fabulous people like Hannah Hart (of My Drunk Kitchen) and Mamrie Hart (of You Deserve a Drink).
    They have a brand new show about traveling, drinking and being BFFs! We should have a viewing party, what do you say? I’ll bring the liquor cabinet, you bring the ice!

So that’s that!

Now you know what’s been rattling around the treasure chest I call a skull. I must leave you for my MLM (Maniacal Ladies in Masks) meeting. Are you a member? I might never know! If you are wink thrice at me then offer me a cup of loathing punch. If it is I behind the mask I will respond by drinking the punch in one gulp and belching the maniacal alphabet.

Toodle Loo Darlings!

XOXO,

Henny Penny

 

 

Craft Room Antics

How do you do Internet?

I am quite well. This week I spent an entire day cleaning and reorganizing my craft room. I also entered a cross-country bobsled race, but I have months to train for that.

My crafty haven had evolved into a hazardous area requiring hard hat, steel-toed boots, and pudding popsicles (because there’s always room for Jell-o). Hester (RIP) had been so easily frightened that in June I set up a spot downstairs for crafting. Each visit to the craft room during this period required me to don a shrubbery disguise so as not to interrupt the nesting of Groucho, Harpo, and Flo-Jo. As such, the craft room became a derelict spot and several squatters took up residence. When the squatters found my secret stash of Icelandic wool, things got ugly. I didn’t smuggle that wool legally through customs just to have it soiled by ne’er do wells looking to play cat’s cradle while singing show tunes.

With a vengeful vacuum and several hours of podcasts I took the craft room back. It was slow going and the space still feels a little crowded, but the room belongs to me once again. Enjoy this photo collage I created just for you:

All the colors on the walls are named after foods, boysenberry, celery, pumpkin spice, and hot cocoa. The yellow table in the center doesn’t match at all, but I love it, so for now it stays.

Cleaning up helped me realize that there are so many organization projects I would love to complete. For instance I could make box covers that match the wall colors, or hang a clothes line and string up my knick-knacks of inspiration. One thing’s for sure, I don’t need to go to the craft store any time soon. I have enough stuff to complete 100s of crafts. Perhaps I should host stash busting parties and charge my friends and loved ones admission to make something sublime.

Ah ha! I think I’ve hit upon an excellent get rich quick scheme. Assuming by rich I mean $7 and by quick I mean in several months.

All this talk of organization has really been exhausting. I better power up with fro-yo. To the bobsled!

So long for now, keep your chin up, don’t eat your weight in spam…etc…

Sincerestly,

Henny Penny

Crafting for Good and Not Evil

Good tidings to you my favorite rascals!

Today I bring you news of many exciting happenings and even a mundane event as well. First off, the chicks have flown the coop. As they became fluffy little birdies we named the surviving three Groucho, Harpo, and Flo-Jo. Today the last two took to the sky with only the slightest lack of ease. It’s really a terrific tale. You see, Mr. McCluckin’ was tending to his daily ablutions at about 6 am this morning, when he heard cries of bird distress coming from the back patio. He raced downstairs to discover Tom, the neighborhood tom cat and ne’er do well, stalking our little friends. Harpo had attempted flight and landed on the patio stairs. The little bird was fine but not quite ready to become cat breakfast. Mr. McCluckin’ rallied the wee dog troops and sent them out to bark the cat away. Up on the windowsill Hester and Flo-Jo were tweeting with concern, but in a flash Tom ran off. Then of course, our wee dogs turned their attention to Harpo but all they wanted was to sniff to chirping fledgling. Luckily, Harpo took this as a sign that he should attempt flight immediately, and he did in a most spectacular fashion. With the immediate danger gone, Mr. McCluckin’ returned upstairs and popped into the craft room to discover which chick was left. Flo-Jo gave him a very serious stare down before flying away. And so ends our tale of windowsill pals… it would seem I have my craft room back.

Onto more crafty topics! I received news that Fancy Tiger is hosting an event to assist the displaced families from the recent wildfires nearby. The sew-a-thon will be this Sunday July 8, from noon to 5 pm. I am hoping to finagle my way out of work early to make it down. Inspired by a need to help, a local father and son created a monster sewing pattern and are putting it to excellent use. The dolls will be donated to families in need of a little comforting. Oh, and did I mention, the monsters are super cute. You can learn more about the happenings by visiting the Fancy Tiger event page. They need plenty of helpers, meaning even if you don’t know how to sew you can still help out.

Additionally, Sew News magazine has just announced Operation Comfort Doll in their August/September issue. Essentially, this is another way to put your sewing skills to charitable use. The little lady dolls will be given to victims of domestic abuse. The pattern is super easy and would be a fine way to learn sewing basics. I’m thinking of putting together a sewing rally offering friends and family booze, snacks, and companionship as they assist in the creation of a doll or two. If you’re interested and want to get started download the pattern from the Sew News website and fire up the sewing machine.

Lastly, in mundane news, I had eggs for breakfast.

There you have it! I really love the idea of sewing for people in need. Most likely this stems from my very practical roots. I want my projects to be useful and enjoyed by the recipients. I am always trying to think up new ways to enhance my life through crafting. Of course, there is always an argument that art enhances everything, but I find that while I brainstorm ideas of arty goodness, the practical projects are the ones finished fastest. For now I am going to stick with the idea of sewing for good and not evil.

I’m off to a tiddlywinks championship; there’s a third grader named Jimmy that can’t be beat. Perhaps this is how I will make my first million.

End transmission,

Henny Penny

Junelillium Falcons

Yodel-lady-hoo to you!

All things are coming up Henny Penny this week. Here are just a few of the spectacular happenings of the past few days:

1) Hester the Nester’s eggs hatched revealing wolverines with beaks. The little chicks are a bit weird looking, but as a non-bird expert I would say they are progressing nicely.

2) Mr. McCluckin’ downloaded Kings Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella, a game that was very near and dear to my heart as a wee lass. I have played quite nearly through the entire game and it’s spectacular. That said those witches in the skull cave better look out! I am coming in, and I’m not leaving without your shared eyeball.

3) Cupcakes! Today I walked/took the bus to work to honor Bike to Work Day. After I completed 4 miles of walking I decided I deserved something sweet. Luckily Cake Crumbs was open and willing to assist. Red velvet used to mean nothing to me and now I can’t live without it.

4) I’ve successfully taught the dogs how to bark in French.

5) Version 2.0 of the index card wallet is taking Mr. McCluckin’s notations to the next level. You might recall the “Hipster PDA” from an April post; well I took the same design and improved it for my ever-lovin’-McCluckin’. I upgraded the closure from sew-on-snaps to Velcro, and I stenciled a design of The Dude and Walter on the outside. My only complaint is that I made the pen loop a little too big this time, but last time it was just a wee bit too small. I suppose my third pen loop will be just right if we follow Goldilock’s law.

BOULDERDOME 2012 went swimmingly. As a special surprise we attended the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s production of Richard III. The acting was superb, the theater delightful, but the costumes were just weird. Some characters wore very traditional Elizabethan dress and others wore weird outfits that were both modern and retro. For instance two of the characters were wearing scouting uniforms while Richard wore leather pants and jackets with mandarin collars. Ultimately, I found the costume choice distracting. Had the director chosen a theme for the clothing and stuck with it, I really feel it would have been at least 34% better. One a side note, while in Boulder I decided to purchase a new owl-adorned wallet; it is sublime.

Alright I’m off to my usual daredevil tricks. Hope you find your other shoe. Have you checked the nearest office supply store?

Tally-ho!

Henny Penny

Surprise Bunting!

Howdy-do Looky-loos and Enemies,

So glad to see you again. This weekend I set up camp on the couch and put my fingers to work on a bunting. A lady friend was out of town, you might know her as Selma Hayek from a previous post, and had a birthday coming up. I personally love surprises and therefore assume all people love surprises (especially those including BRAND NEW CARS and lifetime supplies of cheese whiz). I had Saturday off and spent much of it watching Sherlock, which might I say is fan-freaking-tastic, but you probably already knew that. During my viewing I made a wee bunting to adorn my lady friend’s door.

Apparently that damnable Sherlock was too intriguing as I managed to only complete the Happy Birth portion of Happy Birthday. It was 11 pm when I finally threw in the towel. I had pretty much decided to give up and either hang what I had (hopefully confusing the neighbors into thinking there was a new baby) or finish it up later in the week and save it for another occasion. Needless to say that night held many frustrating dreams of masked men trimming paper and wearing capes of double-sided tape.

When I awoke the next morning to discover it was a complete banner hosting all the letters of Happy Birthday I was quite surprised. Was it elves? Perhaps my dogs learned how to craft overnight? It was in fact Mr. McCluckin! He woke up early and made the day which decidedly put a new and exciting spin on our day.

After he dropped me at work he popped by Selma Hayek’s home and put up her banner. All of this skulduggery and sneaksmanship was wasted when later that evening I decided I wanted to pop by just to see the bunting and low and behold Selma Hayek had just arrived home and spotted us.

Regardless of our less-than-sleuthy-ways Selma was pleased and surprised and aging all at once. We were thrilled with her reaction and perhaps now that Mr. McCluckin’ has delved into crafting we can begin a bunting assembly line for all the upcoming events in our life.

That’s all for now chums, thanks for popping by. I must venture out into the world to seek my fortune (and groceries).

Tally ho!

Henny Penny

Flow Chart-a-thon

Salutations Webernauts,

I am absolutely certain that you have been wondering what I’ve been doing all week. Well the answer to that question has three parts:

1) Working for the man

2) Participating in several chili dog eating contests

3) Playing with Mr. McCluckin’s new iPad

He has this app that allows you to draw fantastic flow charts for all of your multi-step situations in life. The app, iDesk, has a free version and a more than free version. I am sort of in love. I have added my favorite flow chart for you to enjoy.

Whelp, I’m off to slumberville, where the men are all ponies and the women have 7 eyes.

Have a lovely eve!

Henny Penny

Crafty Nuggets

Aloha Scallywags!

Ever since the Maker Faire I’ve had inspiration coming out of my wazoo. Which has created several awkward moments in public restrooms. Nonetheless my brain has been in over-drive with new ideas for my crafteria. So many in fact I haven’t had time to create any of them.

I recorded these ideas in my phone and kept up the pace of tearing tickets or walking wee dogs, as my life has required much of both lately.  While reality was holding me captive my list of inspiring ideas was growing longer and longer. I sat down to give it a look and had a moment of panic. There’s just something about lists that I find daunting. I often feel the need to complete items in order. As I read from one idea to another I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the ideas I’ve never accomplished. I have been making lists of craft ideas for years and while some things have been brought to life, others just sit gathering dust, often overlooked.

So this week I decided I needed a new approach to creative crafty time. I want to pull an idea out of a hat and just go. Zoom into the fast lane of crafty goodness and create something unique and exciting. Lists are bogging me down. In this car metaphor the list is creating one toll station after another on my highway of hot glue and embroidery floss. I just want one thing to focus on, not 20, and I don’t want to feel bad about projects left undone. I want a system where all the projects not yet completed are little nuggets of joy waiting on the horizon.

I looked all around my craft room trying to come up with some new form of inspiration organization. I considered covering a wall in cork and pinning up ideas and plans, but then all the undone crafts would be on display just as they would in a list. While I still may cover a wall in cork just to pin some of my favorite things to, I don’t want a wall of unfinished projects. Then I realized I needed to keep my ideas categorized by size and a general theory on how long they will take to complete.

Now if you were to ask Mr. McCluckin’ about my abilities to estimate time and its passing in relation to my doing something, he would tell you I’m the worst. For instance we were recently expecting friends for dinner at 6:30. At 5:15 I told him I would be back with plenty of time after driving to a not-so-nearby mall during rush hour, shopping for 2 items, then popping into a craft store for a few last minute necessities. Assuming I wasn’t distracted by anything shiny or tea-flavored on the way, I would still have had at least 40 minutes of drive time, leaving all of 35 minutes for shopping with blinders on. Nonetheless I arrived home at 7 pm with a whole bunch of stuff I hadn’t planned to buy.  Then we all spent the first half-hour of our dining time talking about my asshat-like lateness.

Considering this, I have realized that this new organization system might be a good way to work on my time-required estimation skills. We’ll call this my new Estimated Time of Craft-pletion, or ETC, program. I grabbed a few tins and started writing up craft ideas on wee slips of paper. Organizing them into ETC piles wasn’t the easiest job, but it got done. I found that if anything needed a checklist for me to envision it, it wasn’t a small project. Soon enough I had 2 tins of projects, one for small and one for medium. I also had a handful of grande project ideas that needed a place to live. After a visit to the thrift shop these big ideas had a ginormous stein to call home.

It’s so exciting to have my ideas resting, just waiting for me to pull one out and go to town. I have a wee trolley filled with short projects that will take up to 4 hours. Next in line is my medium ETC ideas taking up lodging in a school house; these projects should take no more than 2 days. Then there are the super projects that will take anything more than 2 days.

Want a sampling of my ideas? Perhaps you can vote on my ability to sort out the time needed for completion? You know, judge my ETC skills.

Small projects include: Altoid tin shrine (subject matter: my wee dogs as saints), food color bubble dyeing of 3×5 note cards, and loteria bunting.

Medium projects: 3D picture/shadowbox commemorating various trips, pop culture icon phrenology embroidery, and fabric records that can be used as hot pads.

Grande projects: a quilt for our king sized bed, creating a Mystery Mansion-esque game for personal use, and Yeti vs. Sasquatch puppets.

So what do you think? Are my ETC skills kicking ass and taking names? Maybe. Nonetheless, it’s so freeing to jot down an idea and toss it into a tin/stein where I know it’s safe and will wait for me to come claim it.

For now I am off to the weasel races. I’ve got a hot tip on a ferret named Lonely Sal in the 3rd.

Cheerios,

Henny Penny

Framing Myself

Wowza!

The hen house has been a hotbed of activity of late good readers. First off there was the Ravioli Festivalo! Mr. McCluckin’ and a few of our semi-famous friends made 270 cheese raviolis all in one night. Then over the course of a week the mister and I made 158 pork-lamb-beef-and-love meatballs, 3+ gallons of marinara, 47 turkey-not-dry-at-all meaballs, and 38 vegan raviolis filled with marshmallow peeps. It was hectic and meaty, not to mention sticky as all get out. Luckily the Festivalo was a hit with just a wee bit of the in-laws showing off their crazy eyes. No one was hurt in the making and no dogs escaped the house, so I call it a success. Oh and there was a cake! A red velvet number from Saveur, it was simply divine and I am quite sad to not have a photo.

Since then I have been on a tear to get ready for the upcoming trip to San Francisco. Plus I have had this insatiable desire to read. It started in March when I waded through that Olympic sized pool of illness, the downtime that ensued really encouraged page turning. Then my obsession careened into April and it would seem May is holding the same promise. Since March 1st I have read 16 books and several magazines, not to mention the nutritional panels on all my cleaning products.

It’s a wonder I’ve found time for any crafting, but you see I did make time for a little something this week. For a year of more I have been considering all the necklaces that love jumbling into one giant mess on my dresser. This week I put a stop to the tyranny of knots with a handy-dandy jewelry organizer. Basically I took an old frame that I swiped from Grimace’s love lair. Then I sanitized it, painted it plum, installed a wire backing, and laced pretty buttons onto the front.

There were a few tricks I learned as I went along. First off I thought a staple gun would hold all the mesh in place, nope, it took about a pint of hot glue and a final addition of masking tape to cover the rough edges and really firm the screen up. Secondly I first tried a heavy floral wire to attach the buttons but all that did was mess up the mesh and cause droopy button syndrome. Through a bit of trial and error I found that regular jewelry wire tied in knots with a crimp bead tossed into the mix held steady and didn’t ask too much of the screen it gripped. Lastly, if you want to paint the frame, by all means pain it BEFORE installing the screen, it will save you a mess and a great deal of time.

Now all my beloved jewels hang proudly in the corner of my boudoir. Come admire them sometime if you like, I’m sure we’re bound to host some form of Festivalo again.

I’m off to play tiddlywinks with the pooches. Do have a lovely day, I simply insist.

Cheers,

Henny Penny

The Fanciest Tiger of All

Good Midday Chums!

Yesterday I couldn’t help but notice that the Snowpocalypse was receding; so I popped out to see the new digs Fancy Tiger Crafts just moved into. First off, you should know that Fancy Tiger is easily one of my very favorite craft shoppes in Denver. They embrace local artists, stock up on funky fabrics, host super fun classes, and have every type of roving you could ever need. Until about a month ago they were located at Ellsworth and Broadway, now they are located a little less than a block up at 59 Broadway. The new space is HUGE in comparison to their former spot.

Now their fabric collection is easily 3 times larger, meaning there’s even more fun imports from Japan and awesome prints from Lizzy House. There are so many fun choices now I just want to take a fabric shower!

Plus there’s a whole wall of yarns, including some from Knit Collage that are simply scrumptious; so glittery and beautiful. In the past I have really felt that their collection was very knit-centric but yesterday I couldn’t help but notice all the crochet additions. My very favorite of these additions were the clay adorned hooks with fun decorations such as mustaches, petite Darth Vaders, little woodland creatures, and the obligatory balls of yarn. As best I could tell these were locally made but none of my pictures turned out (sorry internet friends).

Ooh and their felting materials are so lovely! No longer stashed upstairs, the roving has the run of a wall. All in all I would say the new space truly encourages some crafty consumerism. Project ideas abound, including some wool felted pieces that I long to turn into slippers or hats or tiny woolen monsters.

Best of all their class space has doubled. They now have 2 classrooms that are very well sized with chalkboard paint up on the walls and lovely sewing stations just waiting to teach you a new skill.

I know what you’re thinking, is Henny Penny on the Fancy Tiger take? Well no, I am just so happy to see the business growing. Whenever I’m in a craft rut I pop into the shop just to get inspired. Nowadays the place is practically humming with inspiring vibes. This Friday they are hosting their grand re-opening, if you are in Denver perhaps you should consider popping in, I know I am planning a visit.

Keep up the good internet surfing work!

Henny Penny

 

Craft Envy

Ahoy Friends and Cult Members!

I have been working on a few long term projects this week that aren’t very fun to look at right now (just imagine piles of fabric, steaming irons, and pins galore). As such I planned to attend the Rocky Mountain Sew Expo today and bring you information about all things rocky, sewish, and mountainful. Then the sky opened it’s giant mouth and belched 12 inches of snow over night and there’s no end in sight. With the snowpocalypse on my doorstep I’ve realized that the Hen-mobile, with it’s at best 5 inches of clearance, is probably not up to the task of getting me to the expo. This may be for the best as some of the classes offered at the expo include: pay $55 to make a sugar plum fairy ornament, turn that boring sweatshirt into a hot mess, and how to create a doll’s straw hat for just $40! It would seem that this expo is lacking the flavor of Indie crafts I personally love.

Nonetheless I was determined to triumph! So I went window shopping at the internet craft mall and thought I would share some items I am exceptionally envying. I wish these amazing creations were in my home so that I might look upon them daily and delight in their splendiferousness! Now you may enjoy them too:

Igolochkoy is the secret code name for the punch-needling I have been experimenting with for the past few years. My creations have been meager in comparison to this fabulousness I saw over at erinf115’s Etsy shop.

Not only does the Moveable Type Truck simply inspire me by it’s mere existence, it makes me want to try letterpress printing. Then I remember I have too many crafts waiting for me up in the craft coop and I am forced to move on to other lofty goals (such as putting away the laundry). Irregardless, look at the delightful posters that were created within the truck’s metal walls recently:

And last but not least, I stumbled upon this post over on Junkculture regarding the art of Alex Gross. Isn’t it magnificent? I have always loved vintage sepia images and now they are even more stupendous! Who knew superheros were hiding in old photos, other than Alex Gross? Bravo I say!

Well that’s all for now! Hope you have a delightful day despite the snowpocalypse.

Toodle-loo,

Henny Penny