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Archive for February, 2010

poison dart frog crochet pattern

Remember my polymer clay frog from a couple of weeks ago? I decided to follow my own suggestion and remake it in crochet. As with the clay version, this is the ‘Blue Jeans’ colour morph of the Strawberry Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates pumilio), with a distinctive red body and blue legs:

poison dart frog amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

This adorable tiny tropical frog from the jungles of Central and South America is only about 1″ long in real life, but the crocheted version is poison-free and a much more manageable size (about 6.5″ long).

poison dart frog amigurumi crochet pattern by planetjune

Here she is with her inspiration, my original FIMO sculpture – there’s quite a size difference!

poison dart frogs (polymer clay and crochet) by planetjune

And, just for fun, I thought you might be interested to see my original notebook sketch I made after watching the Amphibians episode of David Attenborough’s Life, which set this whole thing into motion! A little glimpse into my process:

poison dart frog sketch by planetjune

If you’d like to make your own tropical froggy, the Poison Dart Frog amigurumi crochet pattern is now available in the PlanetJune shop. I hope you like her!

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yarn ho!

I’m fortunate to live only an hour’s drive away from the Bernat/Patons Yarn Factory Outlet store (in Listowel, ON). Twice a year, they have a massive sale, and it’s winter sale time again! Last winter, I went to the same sale, had an amazing time and bought a boatload of yarn.Β This year, it was a totally different experience for me: since becoming self-employed, my attitude to spending has changed. I’ve always been careful with money, but these days I rarely buy anything! As I walked around the store filled with amazing bargains, all I could think was “do I really need that?” and “24 balls of Patons Grace for $48 – I can’t spend $48 on yarn I don’t need!”

Yarn Factory Outlet
Just noticed that this photo makes it look like a fabric store with a bit of yarn! In every other direction, the store is floor to ceiling yarn πŸ™‚

Everyone else in the store was literally filling black garbage bags with yarn! They probably make sweaters and afghans and other bulky items. My typical crocheted item takes less than 1 skein of yarn, so how could I justify that kind of buying? One lady stepped away from her bag of goodies for a moment (to pick up some more yarn), so I took the opportunity to snap this photo as evidence:

bin bag full of yarn
No, that’s not rubbish – it’s a bin bag full of yarn!

I was actually prepared to leave empty-handed, and then I saw the bin filled with mill ends of novelty yarns and other oddments, priced at 20c/oz. That’s practically free! I combed through the entire bin (and it was a big bin!) and managed to find some treaures. I ended up with 21 balls of various yarns for around $8:

bin bag full of yarn
My meagre haul

I also picked up this handy pair of snips with a cap that will be perfect to keep safely in an on-the-go project bag:

snips with cap

So, even though I didn’t really take advantage of the sale, I don’t feel too bad – I’m actually quite proud that I only spent $10!

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free pattern: amigurumi balloons

What better way to celebrate than with a bunch of balloons? Made in pastels like these, they’d be perfect for baby shower decorations or for Easter. Made in bolder colours, they’d brighten any occasion!

Amigurumi Balloons crochet pattern by planetjune

(I certainly want to celebrate after being involved in a minor car crash yesterday: it could have been so much worse, but luckily nobody was injured. I wasn’t at fault, so my insurance premiums won’t be affected; I just need to take the car in to be fixed soon.)

Round Amigurumi Balloon crochet pattern by planetjune Long Amigurumi Balloon crochet pattern by planetjune

I’ve created 2 different amigurumi balloon patterns for you: the standard round balloon, and the extra-fun long balloon. Each balloon only take a few minutes to crochet, so you can whip up a bunch in no time!

The balloons pattern is free for you to use. If you’d like to thank me with a donation, you’ll get a handy printable PDF version of the pattern as a thank you πŸ™‚

Enjoy!

Go to Amigurumi Balloons pattern >>

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post-deadline goals

Now I’m over my deadline, I finally have time to make a dent in the huge to-do list of ideas I’ve amassed over the past few months while I’ve been too busy to work on any of them. I have 4 projects on the go already, but ‘reorganise craft room/office’ has to be the most important (if boring) of them all.

I’m posting this now in the hope that I’ll finally be able to show you pics of my craft room next week (something I’ve been planning for a long time but it’s always too embarrassingly disorganised to photograph). I hope you’ll forgive a little mess – it’s a working room and I have a lot of craft supplies, so it’s just not possible to ever get it completely tidy!

crocheted orangutan and tissue paper flowers by planetjune

For now, here’s a little sneak peek of the top of the cubbies that sit on one of my desks. One of the nicest things about making pretty things is getting to look at them: here’s my orang utan and my tissue paper carnations. In a crazy ‘night before the deadline’ moment, I decided my orang utan looked a little hungry and freeform crocheted a little amigurumi banana for him (that’s not weird, is it?!). I think he looks much happier now – what do you think?

Comments (14)

photo studio for craft tutorials

Yesterday on Twitter I let slip that I had just turned in the manuscript for my new book! I’m so excited – I’ve been wanting to write this book for a long time and I’ve finally had the chance. I’ll share details of the book itself closer to publication – there’s still a long process of editing and printing to go through before it’ll hit the shelves.

This is the big secret project I’ve been alluding to for months, and the reason why I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like to for a long time – so now I have some catching up to do! I’ve been making lists of things I’d like to do ‘when I finish the book’ – new patterns, new products for the shop, and a lot of improvements I’d like to make to the website. And my craft room/office is in serious need of organisation…

As I’m the photographer as well as the author of my book, I had to develop some novel methods for taking print-quality photos with only two hands at my disposal! I thought I’d share the method I came up with for taking step-by-step photos that include my hands – you’ll see the benefit of this when I next make a tutorial, as the pictures should be much improved with this new setup.

(By the way, in case you’re wondering how I took this shot of myself at work, I used a 2nd camera on a 2nd tripod with a 10-second self-timer!)

tutorial photography setup by planetjune

A: White bristol board used as a seamless backdrop

B: 2 very bright lamps aimed at the backdrop to make it as white as possible in the photos

C: 2 less bright lamps aimed at my hands (one on each side of the camera) to light them without shadows

D: This is where the camera is pointing – at my hands

E: My DSLR camera on a tripod, angled so that I can comfortably look through the viewfinder as I sit

F: (Out of shot) Remote detonator control for my camera so that I can operate it with my toe when I have the perfect shot set up

I bought the remote control on eBay and it’s literally changed my photo-taking life. I’ve always had to take my tutorial photos by setting up the shot, moving my right hand to press the shutter release while keeping my left hand hand still, then scrambling to get my right hand back into position before the 10-second timer ran down and the picture was taken… Now I can just press the remote button with my toe (minimal dexterity required) at the appropriate time and I don’t need to use the camera’s timer at all. Huge, huge improvement.

Of course, this isn’t the only way, or even the best way, to light for this kind of photography, but it works for me and only cost me 2 cheap IKEA work lamps, 2 clip-on spotlights, and a sheet of bristol board, all of which I already had from my light box (shown below, click through if you’d like details of that too):

lightbox setup by planetjune

So, when you see the clear and helpful pictures in my new book, you’ll know exactly how I managed to take them – I hope this hasn’t ruined the magic! But seriously, if you make tutorials, I hope this little glimpse into my lighting setup has been helpful πŸ™‚

Comments (14)

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    June Gilbank

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