Monday, May 16, 2011

I finally made a scarf-less TARDIS hat!

I finally got this OySpaceMan (just) Hat done since a customer requested one. To make it more lightweight and breathable for summer, i did the windows in organic cotton. It's whiter than the beige acrylic in the hat + scarf + pocket combo. This makes it either recycled (blue) or organic (white). What do you think? Is it ecogeek or what?
Check it out here!

Get your favorite here!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Look What I Made: Photo collages at Photovisi

My Handmade Forest's Web page at the Nature Conservancy allows me to add photo albums, so I have one full of the customer purchases that donated trees. Today I discovered that the album limit is 10 photos and needed a workaround. After a quick Web search I learned that none of my applications have an easy collage tool, so I followed a link to

An easy web tool for collages
Wow, what a great tool! The site first leads you to gallery of pre-made layouts, few of which were appealing to me. But, when you choose one, you can change a ton of stuff. Background, number of photos, layering order, size, rotation, cropping, add text, cool fonts, and more. You can download your collage or save it in an account. The final image has a small watermark in the bottom right corner, which you can use to spread the good news, or easily crop out later by leaving enough white space around your collage. I went into Powerpoint and added my banner, which I could have done on Photovisi, but I needed to play with it more. Here's my final product.

Customer appreciation photos on Etsy
I added it as the customer appreciation photo you can add to your feedback on Etsy. Hopefully this will encourage them to to visit the forest's page and sign the guest book. Also, I want to let them know how much I want to make this forest happen!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Finished my OySpaceMan hat & scarf combo

I finished my original hat and scarf combo design inspired by everyone's favorite time traveling doctor. It's in my Etsy shop and I'm also donating one to Penguicon. Next, I'll draw up the pattern and sell it, too, in my shop for space man fans.

A scarf was a must for this hat, since it adds to the tribute, but I didn't want it to be too similar to that icon. Instead, it's designed to look like a time machine with the lights on. I used a raised stitch pattern to create the effect of the wood paneling. There's a pocket at the end of the scarf, and I swear it's bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside.

For my first prototype, I used a blended yarn with some yarn from recycled bottles, but it was too satiny and new. Next, I ordered a yarn made from 100% recycled denim fabric remnants. It has the right weathered look. The search for a perfect button led me to this steampunk button on eBay. It's a perfect tribute to our time traveler's fob watch. Finally, I named it after my favorite line, "Oy, space man!"

I added my trademark tree charm inside the crown of the hat to denote the tree donated for every item, then set up my photography studio!

New photography studio set-up
When I read Handmadeology's tutorial on studio-quality photos I knew I had to try it out on my new design. I had a white table, which helped a lot. Between that, using the rule of thirds to compose my shots, and learning to adjust the ISO and aperture, it all worked so well that none of these photos are even edited! What do you think?

Studio quality photo tutorial over at Handmadeology

Handmadeology posted a wonderful tutorial on creating professional-grade product photos. Check it out.


This tutorial's tip about tracing paper on the window is a key improvement for me.


So is the tin foil reflector and it's sly, multipurpose tripod.


And by the way, that floor and table are worthy of a mortal sin.


I'm off to photograph my OySpaceMan hat with this technique. I'll post the results here.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Awesome idea: Secret agent printing technique

Craftzine borrowed some hackery spirit from its Makezine cousin to report this printer cartridge hack that allows you to print secret messages in lemon juice! The message is revealed by ironing the paper or spritzing it with iodine.

Can't you see this as an interactive effect on your coloring book pages? By the way, this video has a really nice production value.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Current Project: Hexagon Blanket

Here's what I'm working on knit/crochet wise now. It's this Hexagon Blanket, using this pattern slightly modified. I'm making it Queen sized = it's gonna take forever (350 hexagons!).

Look what I made!: Bella's Mittens

This ain't half bad for my first completed knitting project, eh?

Bella's mittens on Ravelry with Caron Simply Soft Eco yarn

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Keyboard Cat!

Thanks to Andrea of Paper Sparrow, I spent my day making a Keyboard Cat papercraft instead of doing something less productive (i.e. anything else). He was not as difficult as I feared despite having practically no instructions. Last year I made the Ceiling Cat and put him on mother's bedroom ceiling when she wasn't around. It scared the poop out of her! I kind of want to fill the whole apartment with papercraft cat goodness. Look at him go:

Keyboard Cat Papercraft from Jill Watt on Vimeo.

Finally Finished!

I started this fox last summer, but he was left headless until last night because I didn't have any eyes for him. I think he turned out looking more like a giraffe than a fox. I think he needs an embroidered nose. Patterns from xmoonbloom

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Let's just say I made the mistake of eating 2.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Amazing new looks on Etsy!

Look at this amazing stuff from Etsy that Dapper Dean put together. This is has your style written all over it!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Current Projects: Constructing my Style

This week I've been making good progress on the Indie Business course lesson on constructing a style. I was really surprised that I want to stick to luxury knits. Here are the style themes I'm going for. I am going to work on some products now.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Look What I Made: Trial Run With the Gouache Paints

I did a quick sketch of this so I would be able to see if I could actually paint. What do you think? I think it works! I did another and colored it with pastels. I put the pika on the stone wall reaching up for some branches in that one. The sketch itself was better, but the coloring just looks like crayon to me. I like the combo of Sharpie and paint here. I'll have to buy some ultra fine tip sharpies.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dance!: I discovered a sample

I've wanted to share music with you so many times since we started this blog that I can't hold it in any longer and am initiating a new post category. I shall call it "Dance!" as a tribute to Shaytard's exercise regime by way of Napoleon Dynamite.
I discovered a sample.
O.K., now listen to the track Mondegreen on Yeasayer's new album and, 180 degrees from that, Tone-Lōc's Funky Cold Medina. As soon as the Yeasayer song started I found myself singing and rockin' out to Funky Cold Medina so hard, I had to check. You must confirm this for me! Listen to the intro to each, and as soon as you hear the drum riff, switch to the other. Go back and forth.

Two significant things here.
One, I was right. Ha! Our musical brains strike again. All that grey matter in my skull full of "What're you gonna pick?" jingles is indeed thriving and pulsating. Spuds McKenzie won't leave my dog alone with that Medina thang. Called it!
Two, this is not just a sampled riff, I swear it's a sampled track. The two sound friggin' exact-o-mundo identical.  

O.K., discuss.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Look what I made: Knitting needles

What you need to make knitting needles for about a quarter each!

I whipped up some home-made knitting needles today for 35 cents each. You know they tend to cost $5-15, so this is a big deal! I saw a video with the idea, and we had all the supplies on our MakeScene so it took me 5 minutes! I got two needles out of one dowel. I had 1/4" dowels for size 10-10.5 needles. Now I'm off to buy dowels in other sizes!

Look what I made: Onion confit

Meijer clearanced a rack of onions so I bought 10 lb. for confit. $2.00! Aren't you sorry you left?

New goal: Puppet workshop in 2013

Photos: The Old Trout Puppet Workshop

Why the hell did we just spend two months together and not make a new puppet video? Not wanting to come up with a plot is not a good reason. Making things requires doing the hard work parts. Let that be a note to self.  

Photos: The Banff Center, The Old Trout Puppet Workshop

No hard work, no puppet dreams.
And of course, no fun. Just to remind us how much fun we have when we do the hard work, go watch our puppet videos again!

New goal: puppet workshop in 2013.            
I bring this up because I'd like to make a proposition.  After we reach our goal of becoming financially stable by 2013, let's take the Banff Puppet Theater Intensive in 2013. It's "a two-week exploration into the creative art of puppet theatre" presented by The Banff Centre, The Old Trout Puppet Workshop, and the Calgary Animated Objects Society.

Photos: The Banff Center, The Old Trout Puppet Workshop

The Old Trouts.
The Old Trout Puppet Workshop is where Jim Henson would be teaching today if he were still alive. "The Old Trouts are a company founded on the collaborative nature of devised, ensemble-based creation, they build their shows through a process of consensus, which shall be the thesis of this workshop." They did Feist's Honey Honey video and do local and touring shows. Here are some examples.

Until then, we can contribute to the Old Trouts:
In the meantime, we can be a part of Ignorance, their current collaborative project. It's right up my nature-loving alley: "a puppet documentary about the blissful prehistoric origins of humanity, and how our brains evolved into the hideous bliss-sucking parasites they are today." You join their wordpress blog and from there submit anything you can create or think of. They will draw from all the bits to create the show on the spot later this year. They're calling it a whole new way of doing theater.

New goal: Indie wealthy in 2013

Register at
I'm taking a page from the neoconservative book to coin a new phrase for trust fund babies: indie wealthy. Let's face it, it's what we all want to be. Meanwhile, we come to regard wealth by our own definitions.

New goal: Indie wealthy by 2013.
I know, financial stability sounds so dull. But that's just on the outside; it also allows you to shape your own career, schedule and more. Since I'm hoping to start a family this millenium, with at least some fully diploid children, perhaps it's a good idea to secure some financial, psychological, and lifestyle stability. I mean, perhaps. What do you think? How shall we define this goal?

Step one: make a plan.
Are you ready for our Indie Business 3.0 online course to begin tomorrow? I have so many ideas I want to streamline into a cohesive group of products. Plus, reading through the student introductions, I suspect we'll have many more ideas during the course from all the inspiration they'll give us. Since the course's teachers are not financial experts, let's keep in mind what else we need in order to develop our plan for becoming indie wealthy.

What you do to yourself before your wreck yourself?

Monday, February 21, 2011

You Wore WHAT?: Presidents' Day 2011

I knew you would just love to see the outfit I was just lounging around in on Presidents' Day. Can you believe I put this together with so little thought!?

Target boyfriend tee, but you'll find it in the women's section.

Just My Size available at Walmart.

Tim Gunn wants you to put a sweatsuit alternative in your wardrobe essentials? Go with an inside-out sweatshirt. It's really trending right now.

Baby Fat
It's imitation designer Baby Phat by cheese! Doesn't it look authentic? 
Psst! Guess what! I wasn't wearing any makeup! Save on blush by getting the Asian alcohol gene and squeezing all the wine out of the bag in the box. I know, right!?

O, Happy Day, Lincoln!

Look what I made: Snow Angels. a.k. Winter's Over?

The snow had nearly all melted by yesterday morning. By 8 PM there was another 6 inches! We swept off the car and shoveled the driveway. Then I dared Lorna to make a snow angel. I made one too!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Current Knit: Big Herringbone Cowl

1, 2

Supplies: Alpacas are cozy as fresh, hot bread!

To inaugurate this momentous occasion of my first post to you, I'm going to post the most recent thing to excite me on Etsy. Alpacas! Oh, you know you can't look a them and not want to cuddle up tout de suite! 
What isn't on Etsy?
Etsy's diversity never fails to amaze me. Last week I found heirloom morning glory seeds for flowers whose petals looked like silk sea anemones and seeds for paint-black radishes, and this week I found alpaca yarn hand spun by the alpacas' keepers. As the locavore joke goes, it even tells you the names of the animals sheared for that very skein. Best of all, you get a card from the animals. Jill, these are blue-ribbon alpacas! Their closet doors must be plastered in them, just like yours were from swim meets. Do you think I should switch all my items over to luxury yarn? On mother nature's other hand, there also upcycled yarns. At first these seem suspiciously like unraveled Goodwill sweaters. Ooh ooh! UNRavelry! But over 200 yards of WW 100% cashmere for a mere Alex Hamilton? NOW I understand! The best stuff from this window shopping spree is over in my future shop's faves.