PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for April, 2009

free pattern: basic rose

This basic rose pattern is a perfect introduction to crocheted flowers, and it’s so versatile – make it in any size and colour you like!

vase of crocheted roses

Here are some ideas for use:

  • Use the optional stem pattern below to create a whole vase of roses
  • Stitch a pin to the back of a rose to make a pretty brooch
  • Accessorize a bag by sewing on a couple of roses
  • Sew or glue a small rose to a hair clip or plastic hairband

crocheted rose hairclip

UPDATE: I forgot to mention these would also make a perfect Mother’s Day gift!

Continue to the Basic Rose crochet pattern.

Comments (4)

full show report

I meant to post this yesterday, but I was just too tired to write coherently! The show was a great success – I met loads of lovely people, made some money, and managed to stay awake and reasonably alert through all three wonderful, exhausting days 🙂

planetjune at the spring 09 creativ festival
My table. The orang utan got a lot of attention!

You can’t really see it in the photo, but I did wear the tiny blue rose hair clip. And if you look carefully just in front of my right arm, you may catch a black and white peek at my latest design-in-progress on the table. More on that next week, most likely…

I was tweeting from the show whenever I had a spare minute (so not very often). Being able to communicate any interesting personal news immediately is one of the most appealing things about Twitter, and I loved being able to read the replies on my phone in quiet moments!

My Who’s Who in the Crochet Zoo was a fun talk – I brought along 15 different animals in all shapes, sizes and yarn types, and tried to share some of my knowledge and tips. I had 15-20 attendees and I think they enjoyed it too.

My Crochet a Decorative Rose class on Saturday also had about 15-20 people (I was too busy teaching to count). On Sunday, though, the same class was insanely popular – people were lining up 1/2 hr early to get tickets, and it sold out within minutes! I felt like a crochet rock star! I’m still working on the pattern for the roses, but it’ll be up here in the next day or two, so if you wanted to come to my class but couldn’t get a ticket, check back here soon…

I’ll also be sending out a thank you discount code to everyone who has signed up for my mailing list, so if you’re not on my list yet, you might want to sign up now so you can take advantage of the discount!

Hmm, what else can I tell you about the show? Oh yes, the new business cards! I put out both new designs (Discworld and Guinea Pigs) and the old ‘classic’ style cards, and people took whichever they liked best. It looks like around 50 each of the Discworld and classic cards were taken, and close to 100 of the Guinea Pig cards, so I think going for the cute eye-catching card designs was worth it! I’d like to think that people might pin them to their noticeboard instead of throwing them away as soon as they got home…

planetjune business cards
The old card is top right – see how much more eye-catching the new ones are? (All the info is still there – it’s just printed on the back)

I didn’t really get much of a chance to look around the rest of the show, but my lovely booth neighbours from Upper Canada Quiltworks were demoing and selling a very intriguing looking craft: punchneedle. Ever heard of it? I’ll do a post on it when I’ve had a go – I couldn’t resist buying one to try! It makes a sort of looped embroidery. I can’t wait to try it out; I have loads of design ideas already.

planetjune business cards
It’s a punchneedle!

So, all in all, the show was amazing. As always, the best part of being there was getting to actually interact face to face with people. It was lovely to see some familiar faces from previous shows, and to make new friends! Of course, it’s not all good – you have to wonder at the insensitivity of those people who walked past my table with a look of absolute contempt on their faces because my art/craft is ‘only toys’… Hello?! I hope I’ve never been so cruel to anyone’s face, no matter my opinion of their work! But for each one of that type of person, there were 10, or 20, or 100 people who smiled when they saw my work. And that reaction is just better than anything you can experience online… ♥

Comments (14)

show report – day 1

Just a quick update – day 1 was a success! Pic of the day – can you tell which one is crocheted?

crocheted and live chihuahuas

Awww!

Comments (6)

roses galore

This is my new basic rose that I designed especially for my classes this weekend. I’ll be teaching how to make these at the show (Saturday 3.30pm, Sunday 2.30pm) if you’d like to learn how to make them too. Here’s a vase of worsted weight roses for my table display:

vase of crocheted roses by planetjune

And a rose hairclip I thread crocheted to wear at the show:

The clip is made with the same basic rose pattern, just much, much smaller – that’s a 1.5mm hook!

If you can’t make it to my classes this weekend, I’ll be publishing the pattern here soon too. Sign up for my mailing list if you’d like to know when it’s available.

I won’t be home until Sunday night, so expect my show report early next week. Wish me luck for this weekend!

Comments (9)

a crafters’ paradise: Creativ Festival

I can hardly believe that the Creativ Festival is this weekend! It’s so exciting – crafters who live in or near Ontario, you HAVE to come to the show! It’s being held at the International Centre near Pearson Airport in Mississauga.

For some reason, people seem to have the idea that this is a typical craft show, i.e. people selling their handmade goods. That’s not what this show is about at all! The Creativ Festival is about trend spotting, inspiration, fabulous shopping, new products, industry experts, how-to’s, make ‘n takes, seminars, fashion shows, book signings, exquisite displays, & exciting door prizes! USA Today calls it one of the top “10 great places for a hands-on craft experience” in the whole of North America. Check out the festival brochure to see what’s on offer.

creativ spring 2008
Here’s me at last spring’s show, working on the first arm of my orang utan!

The show begins this Friday, April 24th, and I’ll be there on all 3 days. Please come and introduce yourself; I’d love to meet some of you in person! Here’s my schedule:

Friday 1pm-8pm (except while I’m giving my talk): Come and meet me at booth #152

Friday 2.30pm: Who’s Who in the Crochet Zoo! When a ball of yarn and a crochet hook meet up with a lot of talent and imagination… cute little creatures come to life. Meet crochet designer June Gilbank of PlanetJune.com and her adorable crochet creations. Just the inspiration needed to crochet for the animal lovers in your life!

Saturday 9am-1pm, Sunday 9am-1pm: Come and meet me at booth #152

Saturday 3.30pm, Sunday 2.30pm: Crochet a Decorative Rose June teaches how to crochet a simple decorative rose with endless possibilities. Wear it as a buttonhole or brooch or use it to embellish a bag or wearables.

A bit more festival info: all workshops, demos and seminars are FREE, and the crafts covered include appliqué, beadwork, bear making, brass embossing, card making, crafting, crochet, cross stitch, cutwork, designing, digitizing, embroidery, fabric dyeing, felting, finishing, fitting, framing, goldwork, heirloom sewing, knitting, lace making, long arm stand-up machine quilting, loomwork, machine embroidery, needle tatting, needlepoint, paper crafts, patchwork, pattern alterations, pattern drafting, punch art, quilting (hand & machine), rug hooking, scrapbooking, serging, sewing, shadow work, silk ribbon embroidery, smocking, stamping, stencilling, surface embellishment and more!

See, didn’t I tell you it was a crafter’s paradise? So what are you waiting for, meet me (and my orang utan) and enjoy a craft-filled day at the Creativ Festival this weekend!

Comments (6)

low fat banana muffins

Sweet, moist, fruity and delicious – it’s hard to believe that (apart from 1 egg yolk) there is no fat in these muffins. It’s a good job they’re low fat though – it’s almost impossible to eat just one!

low fat banana muffins

I had some browning bananas lying around the kitchen this week. I didn’t want to waste them, and didn’t want the temptation of fat-filled banana bread in the house, so I invented this recipe by modifying a banana bread recipe. It’s too good not to share with the world, so here’s how I did it.

Note: This recipe makes 18 muffins. You can easily halve the recipe to make 9 muffins by beating the egg and then using half of the beaten egg with half of all the other ingredients. Or make the full batch and freeze some for later (see end of post for defrosting instructions).

Ingredients
4 ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (reduce to 3/4 cup if you don’t have a sweet tooth)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
6 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce

Note: you could switch it up by adding 1/2 cup chocolate chips or your favourite dried fruit, but they don’t need the extra flavour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mash the bananas in a large bowl.
  3. Add the remaining other ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour mixture into greased muffin pans, filling each pan to 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for approx 22 mins (check for doneness with a toothpick)

Notes:

  • Best eaten slightly warm. 10 seconds in the microwave will bring out the banana flavour!
  • You can also freeze them (if there are any left!). Defrost in the microwave for about 30 seconds on full. Yum – instant breakfast.

I hope you’ll be tempted to try my new favourite muffin recipe…

Comments (5)

handmade delights

I have to admit I’ve been a bit slow to appreciate the appeal of buying handmade, mostly because I’m usually guilty of seeing something and thinking “I could make that!” Well, yes, I probably could, given many hours/weeks/months of time, learning a new skill, and investing in new equipment and tools to do it properly… Now I’ve started to actually buy beautiful things that have been individually made by talented people, I can appreciate them for the lovely treat they are, instead of feeling like I have to challenge myself to make everything.

Of course, receiving a handmade gift is even more of a pleasure! I’ve been absolutely spoiled recently by some of my best crafty-blogger friends. Just look at this gorgeous grey-blue shrug that Kari (Crafty Ginger) made for me. It’s so beautifully knitted – a skill I have never picked up – fits me perfectly, and I just love the colour:

knitted shrug by crafty ginger

Kari also spoiled me with lots of other treats too, but they were dispersed before I thought to take a picture. Thank you, Kari – I love everything!

Alice (futuregirl) sent me a huge pile of lovely origami papers to use – I can definitely make good use of those for Folding Trees! But, even better, she sent me a handmade by futuregirl Birdcage Handbag! It is just beautiful. Alice is currently in the process of writing up the patterns for some of her bags, so head over to the futuregirl craft blog soon if you’d like to make one for yourself. In the meantime, take a look at mine:

crocheted handbag by futuregirl
Sorry for the strange angle of this pic – I was trying to show the embroidered birdcage on the front AND the bird fabric lining on the inside!

Thank you, Alice – I shall treasure my bag!

I’ve also been doing a bit of shopping on Etsy and ArtFire. As a buyer, both were easy to use, although if a seller has a store at both venues, I’m choosing ArtFire, because I know the artisan won’t be paying commission fees on my purchase that way! I thought I’d put together a little showcase of things I’ve bought and would recommend if you’re looking for gifts or to treat yourself. In no particular order:

I have been intending to commission a portrait of Maui from ArtFire seller Christy DeKoning for a year, but I was having difficulty selecting the perfect source photos (difficult choice with such a photogenic cat… yes, I know I’m biased!). I’m so glad I finally made my mind up… Christy has painted the most adorable little watercolour for me, and she also e-mailed me a proof and was happy to correct the one little line that originally didn’t look quite like my boy (now it’s perfect). Christy also documented the process on her own blog (update: no longer online) – wow! The result is a beautiful work of art:

original watercolour painting by christy dekoning

This adorable carved wooden chickadee comes from Etsy seller and talented artist Sandra Healy. Sandra has a huge range of over 270 species of wild animals and birds, and she individually carves and paints each one. If you like animals, you really must check out her store. Here’s my darling chickadee:

handmade wooden chickadee by sandra healy

I bought this beautiful polymer clay covered crochet hook from Etsy seller Jenn Edwards, aka The Fanciful Feline. Jenn also sells polymer clay beads and more in her store. Jenn has taken my favourite type of hook (Susan Bates) and added a comfortable smooth handle complete with floating flowers and intricately caned butterflies. It’s my new favourite hook:

handmade crochet hook by the fanciful feline

Lip balm is one of my vices – I never wear lipstick, but you’ll never find me without my trusty lip balm. ArtFire seller Bohemian Rose (update: now Barefoot Hippie) makes handmade soaps and sugar scrubs, and also has a lovely range of deliciously scented lip balms. If you feel in need of a delicious little treat to pamper yourself, check out her store. I picked up her Pele lip balm, which is a yummy fruity pineapple flavour, and a steal at only $5 for two balms (I also chose the Cuticle Balm – much more convenient than a bottle of moisturiser for those emergency dry cuticle situations):

handmade lipbalm by bohemian rose

I hope I’ve inspired you to look into buying handmade items for yourself and your friends and family. You can find beautiful, original, high quality handcrafted merchandise from forums such as ArtFire.com and Etsy.com, and the knowledge that you are directly helping to support the artist/artisan will give you that warm glow that you just don’t get from a trip to the mall. Long live handmade!

Comments (9)

orang behind the scenes

Wow. What a response! Thank you all for your comments – it means so much to me that you like my most personal work to date 🙂

crocheted orang utan by planetjune

Okay, so now you’ve seen the finished product, but I think I need to share a little of the insane amount of effort that went into making my orang utan! I would guess we’re looking at about 100 hours of June time, of which the actual crocheting that you see is less than half of that. Aside from that, highlights include:

  • sculpting the hands and feet from pipe cleaners
  • snapping and unsnapping armature parts to get the skeleton proportions right (literally hours of struggle, one pinched fingertip and one hugely bruised knuckle to show for that)
  • sewing cushioned sleeves to cushion the skeleton and keep them in the right place inside the body
  • the previous 2 heads that went wrong wrong wrong
  • creating a wire base for the head so it wouldn’t sag

Here’s a glimpse into a little bit of the work that you don’t see in the finished orang:

orang utan hand in progress
left: pipe cleaners formed into shape of hand
middle: beginning to crochet over the form
right: finished hand with arm attached

orang utan limbs in progress

left: a finished arm and leg
middle: the spine (this is the plastic segmented poseable armature I used)
right: quilted covers for the armature limbs so he wouldn’t feel too bony

I didn’t take any pics of the inside of the body or head, but that should give you an idea – there’s more than meets the eye to this little guy! But the result is that he is infinitely poseable and feels very realistic, thanks to the weight of the armature and the ‘backbone’ bumps you can just feel when you stroke him.

I’m so flattered that some of you would like a pattern, but, as you can see from the above, this wouldn’t be a crochet pattern – it would be ‘how to make a plush art sculpture (oh yeah, and you’ll need to crochet too)’. And that’s one reason why my orang utan is art, not craft – it’s not something that can be reproduced. So definitely no pattern (sorry!).

But there may be a way you can own a little piece of him, even though you can never make/buy an original: I’m thinking of selling high quality prints of a really good photograph of him. I tweeted the idea yesterday and had some good responses – I still need to investigate the logistics but I think it would be doable.

So now I’d like to ask you: would you buy a print if they were for sale? Would you prefer something more ‘useful’ like a blank notecard or postcard, or an art print that you could frame? Or something else again – I’m open to all ideas. If there’s enough interest I’ll get some printed and put them in the shop.

Comments (27)

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