Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Something Completely Different

I always find myself posting here when I should be doing something else (in this case, printing cover letters, and label sticker things), but anyway...something entirely different. Crochet Cupcakes.

I made this set of four for a Steam Team friend as part of a trade (for wondrous eco-friendly cleaning products! You can check out more info on those at her Blog). They're for her daughter, and I really enjoy the idea that they'll be played with, and fed to teddy bears at tea parties.

They're fun to do, and invent a variety of toppings for. And this brings me to the sort of question of this blog post.

I don't feel particularly comfortable with the idea of selling them in my Etsy shop, because honestly there are about a million free cupcake crochet patterns out there and of course these are loosely based on one of them. And I don't really enjoy the process so much that I want to make a million of them.

But they're just such a happy little thing. Everyone likes cupcakes. I've been pondering a solution to bring happy to the world without simply making and selling them.

So here are my solutions up for consideration, anyone should feel free to comment on them or add suggestions!

First: Offer the pattern for free here. Its a fairly simple pattern, with a few vaguely complicated bits that I still need to fine tune, but really anyone could make a crochet cupcake (assume you know how to crochet hehe)

Second: Offer 'pay it forward' cupcakes now and then in my shop. Pay it forward is the idea that you give someone something for free more or less, and then they do the same for someone else. So for the listing fee and shipping, you would get a cupcake.

Third: Charity cupcakes. Sold now and again with the small proceeds going to a charity of one sort or another. Probably my own local animal shelter or soup kitchen.

Things to consider.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Madcap schemes

I lately haven't felt like I have much to talk about. But just now, in the midst of making another long list of thing on the back of an envelope (I like using envelopes for lists, they are long, they come every day in piles in my mailbox for free, and they're always on my desk) I thought of something to ramble on about, at least for a few paragraphs while I drink my tea before I go to the bank/post office/used book store (hey, its on the way).

Anyone who knows me for more then a few months learns, that I am a sucker for new ideas and schemes. I'm always coming up with something else I'd like to make or do. Were I to write all my project ideas down on a sheet of paper (I do this regularly in small amounts) I could probably easily plan out all my time in creating things for the next few years. I've only recently learned to remind myself that making things actually takes time - I've never been good at time (always late, always saying I can do more in a day then is possible). And I can never wait until I've complete a project before planning the next. Actually I can rarely wait until I start the last project before planning the next.
I have an actual list - tucked into a sketchbook - of things I would LIKE to do. My real to do list doesn't even GET to them because of the things I should do, have to do, get paid to do, have deadlines for, etc.

And I don't really think this is a bad thing. I suspect it frustrates people, I will show a design, be very excited about an idea or plan, and tell people about it, and then not actually do it in any decent amount of time. But all this plotting serves the important purpose of keeping me enthusiastic about life. I thrive on the energy of planning and designing, and that gets me through the actual process of making things which I often fine it hard to stick with. And it gets me through less then amazing jobs that pay the bills but don't necessary inspire a lot of excitement. I just really like having something to be excited about ALL THE TIME. As often as possible, every waking moment.

So, when I start posting designs and concepts here, and pay off never comes, I apologize in advance, just you know - smile and nod and try not to make fun of me.

As a friend once told me "You wouldn't be happy if you didn't have at least your next 10 projects planned."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Building Tiny Robot - Part 2

I should have known better then to say 'over the course of the next week'. Although to be fair I did, actually, do everything pictured here that week, as since then I've been really very busy.

At any rate, here are the basic pieces of the Tiny Robot. Cut brass tubing, and thin sheeted walnut, a watchmakers vial and a few itty bitty gears, I haven't decided which gears to use yet.

The pieces go together like this to form the body of the robot. (Excuse the blurry photo, its hard to hold pieces together with one hand and the SLR with the other and keep both steady as it turns out). The gears and some copper wire will decorate the interior, once everything is positioned and adhered together. As you can see everything needs more sanding at this point, and I'll eventually finish the wood with something, possibly olive oil (although I would apply oil after anything requiring epoxy glue has been already glued). I'm also pondering ways to darken the interior of the brass tube, to show off the vial and gears better.

Bet you were wondering what was going to go inside that vial, weren't you. A squid. A very small one. In order to allow him to squish a bit to fit tightly into the vial, I made the squid out of a questionable substance called "Bake and Bend" by sculpy. I original bought the stuff with an eye for stop motion animation, and used it only once - to make entry wounds for bullet holes (for which I must say, it worked alright in a pinch, but is a little to non-pliable for).

Bake and Bend bakes to a sort of slightly bendable rubbery substance. It also has a curiously chemical smell, and has been doing odd things to the dye on its plastic wrappers in the year its been sitting in a drawer. Its also annoyingly soft and I refrigerated it for a day before sculpting with it, because at this scale, I kept accidentally squishing my work!
He'll be shaded with some acrylic paint, before going into his vial for good.

The head of the robot had been left for later, because how its build really has a great deal to do with how the light bulb on top is lit. And so far, electricity confuses the daylights out of me. But I absolutely refuse to go to all this trouble and NOT have the little guy light up! In part 3, I've no idea what will happen, but probably...electricity. And hopefully very few fires or explosions...