Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I stumbled upon an entry about Coraline the Movie in Heather McDougal's wonderful blog, Cabinet of Wonders. I read Neil Gaiman's blog almost everyday and I can't believe I didn't visit the Coraline site until I read Heather's blog entry. The stop-motion movie is completely handmade and the publicity campaign is just brilliant. The Coraline crew sent boxes to their favorite bloggers and mind you, these are not ordinary boxes, but unique handmade boxes full of treasures. I'd give an arm and a leg for a Coraline box. Not only that, someone wrote to Neil saying that she passed by an abandoned building with walls usually full of graffiti but one morning, the wall was covered with metal keys. Upon closer inspection, she discovered that the metal keys are Coraline keys. The head of the key is a button with "" etched on it. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
coraline key
Photo from Neil's blog, from Bibliogrrrl's Flickr page

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Bit Rusty

Crochet was thought to have evolved from finger lacing (or "finger crochet") made during ancient times. Although crochet's history is muddled, one can't argue how popular it has become. Every century introduced new techniques, methods and materials and today, crochet is still one of the most practiced handcrafts.

I mentioned in an earlier post that crochet is one of my favorite things to do, however, my muscle memory leaned towards the adage "use it or lose it." I totally forgot my crochet basics, so I had to consult a lot of sources (Youtube has plenty of tutorials) to refresh my memory on how to start over, and my Reader's Digest needlecraft book taught me the basic and more advanced stitches. I made some coasters as practice and we actually use them. The threads I used are absorbent and more importantly, the colors don't run. The threads are from Anchor and Coats.

colored ones coasterriffico

They look like little cogs, don't they? Hmn...that'll be a good next project.

Crafting Away

High school for me was a a total blur -- I don't even know how I survived since what I remember the most is looking out the wooden jalousie windows into the rolling hills beside my school building and daydreaming. Until Home Ec time. Every year, Home Ec has a certain theme or craft that we have to study. I hated most sewing topics and I would even fake an illness to go to the clinic just to avoid cross-stitching for 40 minutes. My mom, a talented all-around homemaker, would do all the cross-stitching and dressmaking for me. But what I totally loved about Home Ec were crocheting and knitting. I used to sit at home and crochet useless stuff like doilies and coasters which we didn't use. My knitting project was a 2-color zippered pouch bag with heart designs and I totally loved making it. I knitted sporadically after college, making projects like my brother's hockey leg warmers that I never finished. I've had big and small crochet hooks; metal and wooden knitting needles; skeins of multi-colored yarns and threads but I never really did get around to making a major project.

Early this year, my office allowed me to work at home and this presented a great opportunity for me to take up hobbies again. As always, I gravitated to crocheting and knitting. Unfortunately, years of working in an office do nothing to hone your crafty skills so I had to look for a way to re-learn how to cast-on, do cute stitches and even to properly hold a hook or a pair of needles. A great book found its way to my hands (thanks to Booksale, my favorite 2nd-hand bookstore} and it's the Reader's Digest Complete Guide To Needlework. Surprisingly, I have learned to appreciate sewing thanks to this book, but I still do hate cross-stitching. Needless to say that this book single-handedly sparked my own internal crafts revolution and is fueled by all the wonderful art and craft projects I see on the web.

Needlework book

First Off

I love making things. A friend asked me one day why I make certain things when it's readily available in the shops. That got me thinking real hard -- why indeed? Because I love the feeling of handling raw materials and fashioning something beautiful/edible/useful from a seeming pile of new or old junk. I love the feeling of accomplishing and admiring something by me and by other people) that may or may not be perfect.