PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for June, 2009

keeping cool

My craft room/office is upstairs, so it gets pretty hot in summer without the air conditioning on, especially with my big computer purring away generating heat all day. I didn’t want to run the air conditioning in the house all day, every day, when I only use this one room during the daytime, so I bought myself a cheap desk fan. It works really well – I don’t feel sluggish any more, and my concentration has increased dramatically! The only downside is that it’s not pretty. Not at all:

the ugly desk fan

Ugh, that’s really not what I want to look all day – it’s hardly part of my ideal creative ambience! Now, if only there was something I could do to improve the appearance… Hang on – I’m a crafter! I make things! No problemo:

folded paper embellishment by planetjune

I revisited my own teabag folding tutorial, and used some beautiful origami paper from Alice to make a little paper medallion to cover the logo in the centre of the fan. It makes such a difference to the overall appearance. Notice the cool colour palette in the paper design, which adds to the effect of the fan – now just looking at it makes me feel cooler!

folded paper embellished desk fan by planetjune
It’s just a little thing, but it makes me happy πŸ™‚

In case you’d like to make your own paper embellishments, I used two squares of 3″ origami paper which I quartered to make eight 1.5″ squares. This made a medallion of just over 2″ wide. To make a larger medallion, just start with larger paper squares. See my tutorialΒ for the simple instructions – it’s a lot easier than it looks!

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ring-tailed lemur pattern

crocheted ring-tailed lemur by planetjune

It’s taken some time, but my Ring-Tailed Lemur crochet pattern is finally ready and available in the shop. A little info about this pattern and why it’s taken so long to prepare: it’s definitely an intermediate level pattern – not for beginners! Here’s why:

  • There are multiple colour changes in the head. If you need a refresher on how to make neat colour changes in single crochet, see my Colour Changes tutorial.
  • After all the pieces are crocheted, there’s a lot of stitching together to do. See my Joining Amigurumi tutorial for tips on how to stitch pieces together neatly.

If all this sounds daunting, don’t worry! The pattern is 11 pages long, with very detailed step-by-step instructions, and photographs to accompany every step. And, as with all my patterns, you can always e-mail me if you have any queries – I’m always happy to help!

Because I’m feeling generous, I’m offering all this for only $5 – I know we all need a break in this economy, so this is my price break for you πŸ™‚

I hope you’ll enjoy the Ring-Tailed Lemur pattern!

Comments (4)

crochet class: african violets

I’m very happy to announce that I’ll be teaching a class based on my African Violets pattern over at Crochetville in July. This is an online class, so anyone in the world can sign up for it!

crocheted african violets by planetjune

If you’re a crochet beginner, or would just appreciate some extra guidance, this class may be just the thing for you! Provided you know how to make a single crochet stitch (and if you don’t, see my Crochet Basics tutorial to get that sorted out – it’s easy!), I will guide you step by step through everything you need to know to create a beautiful lifesize crocheted African Violet plant and pot. By picking from two two plant sizes, two pot sizes, and two flower patterns, you can create your own custom violets in your favorite shades.

This will be a 2-week class:

  • Week 1 will cover the basics (magic ring, crocheting in the round with and without joining), plus making your soil and pot.
  • Week 2 will cover making your leaves and flowers and assembling your final creation.

By the end of the classes, you’ll be armed with the skill and confidence to tackle all sorts of other crochet projects!

crocheted african violet by planetjune

I’m very excited to have this opportunity to reach out and help crocheters all over the world. If you’d like to sign up to take my class, registration has just opened (although the class doesn’t begin until July 10th).

I hope to see lots of you in class!

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amigurumi tutorial: fastening off

Okay, so you know all the crochet basics, you’ve mastered the magic ring, you know how to change colours and how to join pieces together, you’re even down with the invisible decrease. What more do you need to know to create the perfect amigurumi?

fastening off (crochet, amigurumi) by planetjune

It’s time for one more tutorial to join my Amigurumi Help resource: how to fasten off. I’m going to cover three different methods:

  1. Closing up a piece
  2. Finishing an open edge that will be joined to another piece
  3. Finishing an open edge that will be visible (a neater finish)

You may think you know it all already, but #3 is another piece of magic that I bet you’ll find useful at some point in the future! Look all around the open edge on this piece – there’s no clunky join in sight:

fastening off (crochet, amigurumi) by planetjune

How did I do it? Check it out here: Fastening Off tutorial.

I was just thinking, with all these crochet tutorials I’ve been writing, I almost have the makings of a book! A handy go-to techniques book. Wouldn’t that be a useful addition to your crochet library? Hmmm….

And, on a related note, if there are any more how-to topics you’d like me to cover, just let me know, and I’ll put some more tutorials together. I hope you’ve realised by now that I’m always happy to help and to share my knowledge πŸ™‚

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trinket shelves

I have lots of little ornaments etc and nowhere to put them, so I made some basic shelves to display them. I had some wood cut at the hardware store to fit the space above my computer desk. I sanded and primed the wood:

shelves in progress

Then I spray-painted the shelves this gorgeous greyish purple colour and mounted them on the wall with brackets:

craft room shelves

I just threw some of my trinkets up quickly so I can see how the shelves look. In case you’re wondering, most of the little ornaments are made by me from crochet, origami, needlefelting, polymer clay, sewing, or beading. The rest are artwork, travel souvenirs, and a few other bits and pieces.

I’m really happy with how the shelves turned out – my favourite part was discovering that the wooden chickadee and flying piglet can hang from the brackets. Now I get all the fun of unearthing all my other favourite treasures and rearranging everything!

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happy birthday PlanetJune

Hot on the heels of last week’s Folding Trees blogiversary, it’s now my own blogiversary (it was a total coincidence that both launched at the same time, 2 years apart).

It’s hard to believe another year has gone by so quickly! It’s now three years since I started the PlanetJune blog! Three years ago, I had never designed a crochet pattern; I thought that starting a craft blog was probably a silly idea and that nobody would ever read it – I really just started it as a record for myself of what I was making, and to push myself to keep creating things. I never dreamed it would evolve into the PlanetJune empire of today πŸ™‚

Year in Review

Okay, let’s see the breakdown this year:

PlanetJune year 3 - new patterns (selection)

Patterns: 17 new crochet patterns in the PlanetJune store, plus 4 new free (donationware) patterns

Eyes: Added a line of animal (safety) eyes to the shop

Tutorials: New tutorials on Crochet Basics, Sizing Up (and Down) and the wonderful Invisible Decrease

Folding Trees: Started up Folding Trees with my lovely friend Eve

Book: Wrote a papercraft book, Paper Chains & Garlands (which should be out late summer or early autumn)

And of course, the biggie this year was making the decision at Christmas time to try self-employment and see what happens…

What’s Next?

I have about a million ideas for what to do in the coming year, ranging from small projects (e.g. redesign the website a bit – I think it could be a bit more user-friendly) to more ambitious ideas (e.g. my huge in-progress secret project – c’mon, you didn’t really think I’d leak my idea until it’s ready to go, did you?!).

I think my biggest challenge is going to be prioritizing and deciding which ideas to pursue and which to put on the “maybe, one day…” list. If I’m running this as a real business, I need to try to make good business decisions and balance the risks against the potential opportunities. It’s all a bit scary because of the financial side of things – much as I’d like to do whatever I want to do, creatively, I’m going to have to try to make choices that will help to support me financially.

Hey, where’s the contest?!

I do have a contest planned, but the prizes aren’t ready yet, so I’m going to hold off until they are. Watch this space…

Thank you!

I am so, so grateful to all the wonderful people who I’ve met on this journey so far… To everyone who reads my blog, who leaves a comment, e-mails me, or follows me on Twitter, thank you for your encouragement in this crazy adventure! And of course to everyone who has helped to support me by buying my patterns or sending me donations, I am more grateful than I can say.

Here’s to year 4!
June xxx

Comments (18)

happy birthday Folding Trees

folding trees

Folding Trees, the papercraft site that Eve and I co-founded, is a year old this week! It’s been a great first year; between the two of us, we’ve written over 400 posts, and published tons of paper-crafty inspiration and tutorials.

Here are a few of our most popular tutorials from the year:

folding trees - year 1
clockwise from top left: 1) my Tissue Paper Carnations; 2) Eve’s Kusudama Ball (my updated tutorial here); 3) my Lucky Wishing Stars; 4) Eve’s Balloon Lights

Of course, it’s also through my work on Folding Trees that I got a book deal (yay!). My book, Paper Chains & Garlands, is at the printing stage, and should be released in late summer or early autumn – I’ll keep you posted as I hear more!

If you have any interest in crafting with paper, do check out Folding Trees for a daily dose of projects and inspiration πŸ™‚

Comments (6)

dinosaur crochet patterns are here!

My Brachiosaurus, Stegosaurus and Triceratops crochet patterns are now available to purchase individually or as a value-priced multipack from the PlanetJune shop.

With no colour changes, they work up quickly, and at 9-11″ long and nice and chunky, they would make great children’s toys. Who doesn’t know a little boy or girl who’d be delighted with a set of these to play with?

crocheted brachiosaurus dinosaur by planetjune

crocheted stegosaurus dinosaur by planetjune

crocheted triceratops dinosaur by planetjune

I’ve also been making some changes in the PlanetJune store:

Eyes: Now you can conveniently shop for the perfect eyes for your creations while you’re picking out your patterns, with my range of black animal eyes available in all sizes.

Custom AmiDogs sets: This feature has been requested a lot! Now you can mix and match to create your own AmiDogs set of three patterns for the same price as the standard sets.

New categories: I’ve recategorized my patterns so it’s easier to find what you’re looking for.

Donationware patterns: All the donationware patterns are now available in the shop, so, in future, if you’d like the printable PDF of any of my free patterns, you can send me your donation in the same way as a pattern order, and then download your pattern(s) immediately.

So please feel free to take a look around the shop and see if anything catches your eye!

amigurumi dinosaurs by planetjune

UPDATE: The Dinos have been featured on One Pretty Thing, Carina’s Craftblog and Roman Sock – thanks so much, guys!

Comments (17)

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    June Gilbank

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