It’s (Nearly) Desert Bus Time Again

It’s nearly that time of year. When big-hearted nerds the world over gather around phones, laptops and computers to watch more big-hearted nerds do silly things for a week straight to entertain us.

That’s a pretty good description of Desert Bus, but a more accurate one is that it’s the world’s longest running internet-based fundraiser, combining video games and hilarity to raise money for Child’s Play.

Here’s the video you can find on the website.

Every year crafters of all ages, experience, and skills donate prizes for the Loading Ready Run and Desert Bus teams to give away in either live auctions, donation drives or silent auctions. I’ve donated a few times, and I’m donating again this year.

What you see here is a Pokemon Shadow Box, created with layers of white cardstock cut on my Cricut, and backlit with LED light strips. It’s simple, and genius, and awesome. If I do say so myself.

Here’s the very cheeky description I wrote for the prize page that will appear on the Desert Bus website nearer the time.

Prepare to be a-Mew-sed. I’m gonna Raichu a description so filled with awesome puns you won’t Bayleef it. Whether this prize comes up in Omanyte Watch, Zeta Shiftry, Dawn Gardevoir or Abra Flight, you’re going to be stunned by the Beautifly prize I have for you. Just take a Pikachu.

How Charmeleon is this? I know it’s Farfetch’d but this Scrafty trainer combined only sheets of white cardstock and LED strip lights to create this Tentacool framed artwork.

It took an Unown amount of time to create, but I’m no Fletchling. I took some time to Meditite and finally got it Rhydon.

The frame measures 247mm by 247mm, and is 31mm deep. Batteries not included unfortunately. You’ll need six AA ones. The frame has a hook to hang on the Walrein, but it’s thick enough to Butterfree-stand. I’ve included some velcro tabs if you want to affix the battery packs to the back of the frame.

It would be Onix-ceptable for you to ignore it, so don’t be a Slowpoke and place a Bidoof. Shout about it in the Chatot and let everyone know – let’s get a full on bidding Wartortle going.

And if you’ve read my previous Desert Bus blog posts, you’ll know that my good friend Sam also makes prizes for the Craft-Along. This year he’s made full scale replicas of the M8 Avenger and the M77 Paladin from Mass Effect. Because he’s a forking genius! Follow him on Twitter, and tell him I sent you.

Desert Bus For Hope 2021 starts on Friday November 12th this year, so make sure you tune in and see all the fun.

Creator Showcase and a Sale

On Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th August I will be participating in Emily Harvey’s Creator Showcase.

This is a fantastic idea by Emily. She’s created a webpage that literally showcases all the wonderful and creative people who support her on Patreon.

More than one hundred creators are taking part – you can find them all here. Lots of people are going live on various social media doing a whole range of different things.

I’m not going live, but I do have a sale on. From now until the end of Wednesday 11th August you can get 21% off everything in my store by entering the code EHARTS21 at checkout – with no minimum purchase.

Please go and look at the page, click around, join some lives, visit some stores. I can guarantee you’ll make these creator’s day. There are a whole bunch of hashtags you can follow to keep an eye on all the activities

#ehartsshowcase
#ehartscreatorshowcase
#creatorshowcase

And Emily herself will be going live on her Instagram at 6pm on Friday to launch things off.

And don’t forget to go check out my store too. As of 5pm Friday 6th August I’ll have a whole new range of stickers you could use that discount code on.

Stickers, Stickers, and more Stickers

As of Friday August 6th 2021 at 5pm GMT, I will be selling a LOT of stickers in my Etsy store.

There are all kinds of stickers available. They’re printed on matte vinyl sticker paper, and then die cut on a Cricut machine. All of the stickers are approximately 2-3 inches in size.

I have two Pride ranges. Both are currently available in 9 flags, but I’ll do any flag. And as I do new ones I’ll add them to the listings too.

I have some very funky Mario-style mushrooms.

And some absolutely adorable dinosaurs.

A range of different words to express yourself with. Each word is available in a bright rainbow or a pastel one. I’m open to suggestions for more words/phrases too.

Some whales, and only two unicorns. I’m not sure how I managed to restrain myself to two. I will most definitely be adding more later down the line.

And here are the last four stickers. Very adorable. And featuring some fan art from Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Minecraft.

As well as individual die cut stickers, I will also have a few sets for sale.

You can get those adorable Mario mushrooms in a set, and also as a set of smaller one inch stickers. You can get the dinosaurs as a set. And the fourth set is ONLY available as a set – my beautiful pastel Junebugs set.

What do you think? Which is your favourite?

I’ve been posting about these all over my Twitter, my Instagram, and my new Tiktok. I’m also going to be posting a giveaway for these stickers tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that.

Please come and check out my sticker launch on August 6th – I’ve put a tonne of work into this and I’m very excited and nervous 🙂

The End of Tutorial Tuesdays

One of the things I tried to do last year was to do art tutorials every Tuesday.

I did quite a few, and I blogged most of them.  There are a few that I never got around to blogging though. 

Like this adorable dragon/dino by LifeInABujo.

This cute little cat that I can’t find a source for.  I’m gonna try and use less images that I can’t source from now on. 

This gem by Ahninniah.

And two unicorns by Draw So Cutie on YouTube. 

I love that channel.  I have a few dozen lined up to do.

Which is one of the reasons that although Tutorial Tuesdays is over, I’m still going to be doing Tutorial “Tuesdays”.  I like doing tutorials, I’m just not going to limit myself to doing them on Tuesdays. 

I’ve already done a few this year.  Hopefully that’ll be a blog post in a few days. 

More Diamond Painting Stickers

Remember when I wrote about those Super Mario diamond painting stickers?  I admitted that I had a lot more sets on my wishlist, and that I may have ordered a set of monster ones.

Those monsters have arrived!  And they are adorable.

They came as one sheet, but I cut them apart to make them easier.  They also came with a tiny little sticker version.

They came with the usual tray, stylus, and wax.  And with a lot of very pretty colour diamonds. 

These, like the Super Mario ones, don’t have a DMC number on them.  Bigger kits use DMC numbers on their diamonds.  DMC is a brand of embroidery thread – and by using the DMC numbers you can use the same diamonds with other kits, and know that it’s always going to be the same colour.

These diamonds are pretty, but I won’t be able to use them with another kit.  I won’t even be able to mix them with the diamonds from the Super Mario set, because the shades are a little off. 

I do still save all the diamonds left over from these kits.  I talk more about storing DMC numbered ones in a longer diamond painting blog post that I haven’t written yet.  Ones that aren’t numbered are stored a little differently, but while the kit is still active I store them in these little tubs.  These are also mentioned in the longer blog post. 

One of the fun points of these stickers is that you can complete a project without it taking a gazillion years, and without using up the whole kit.  So, if I don’t finish all the Super Mario stickers, do I keep the diamonds in the little tubs?  Am I going to finish the stickers any time soon?  Does that mean I put the monster diamonds in new tubs? 

I probably won’t finish all those either.  So am I going to end up with more and more little tubs as I buy and don’t finish more sticker kits? 

This has been bugging me for a few weeks.  I couldn’t come up with an acceptable answer. 

It still bugs me a little, but there is one fairly obvious solution.  The stickers all have really simple designs.  It’s not exactly impossible to do it without the colour key.  If a monster has three shades of green, then I just grab three shades of green from my box of diamonds. 

I should just put all of these diamonds with the rest of the non-numbered diamonds.  Matching colours if possible – for example all the blacks are black.  And then if I want to make a sticker in the future I can just ignore the colour key and wing it. 

Will I actually do that?  Maybe.

In the meantime, monster diamond painting stickers.

The diamonds on these aren’t spaced in a nice grid pattern.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  There are a few larger kits you can get that don’t have a grid pattern.  Ones that just have the main object as diamonds, and not the whole background.  Like this cat and unicorn that I’ve done before. 

I’ve always avoided non-grid ones because they just look messy to me.  But with stickers this small, I don’t think it matters. 

They still look super cute.

I tested the not-following-the-colour-key option with this little green one. Obviously, you need to make sure that whatever diamond you’re using still fits with the background colour.

So yeah, using any colour works. But I still have not commited to the mixing different sets of diamonds together. We’ll see if that ever happens.

And yes, I do already have another set of stickers on the way.

Bargello

One of my Christmas traditions is to watch Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas.  This is a seasonal TV show on Channel 4 here in the UK, presented by the queen of craft, Kirstie Allsopp.  In each episode she hosts a contest, and lots of other crafty goodness. 

During last year’s season, there was a lady in the stocking contest who did Bargello and it instantly piqued my curiosity. 

It was cute, and simple, and so of course I had to try.  And my first step to trying anything new is to take to the internet.  I need to know two things.  Firstly, what does Wikipedia say about Bargello.  Secondly, what does Pinterest say?

Well the first one is easy.  According to Wikipedia:

Bargello is a type of needlework embroidery consisting of upright flat stitches laid in a mathematical pattern to create motifs. 

Simple!  There are a few more pertinent pieces I took from the Wikipedia page.

  • Traditionally, Bargello was stitched in wool on canvas.
  • In traditional pieces all stitches are vertical with stitches going over two or more threads.
  • Traditional designs are very colourful. 
  • The patterns are naturally geometric. 

It also says that “Bargello is considered particularly challenging, as it requires very precise counting of squares for the mathematical pattern.” 

I can skip a little of that complexity, by using patterns that already exist.  Which leads me to Pinterest. 

Pinterest found me a lot of very pretty images. 

There is so many colours and ideas on there.  So much to pick and choose from.  But to start with I selected a fairly simple motif. 

As for materials, that was easy.  You need yarn, stiff canvas, and a needle.  I have all of those. 

I split up some of the yarn into the different colours. 

And I started in the middle of the canvas, with purple. 

It felt a little too sparse, so I went over it again.

That’s better.  Nice and thick.  Full coverage, with the stitches well defined. 

And when you add the other colours, it looks even better. 

Repeating that motif wasn’t too bad.

Being lazy and choosing not to switch colours on the next row makes it a little difficult.  You can see here that that I used the rest of the pink yarn section that I was using.  And then I didn’t finish the pink on the second row because it was complicated. 

You can also see that I switched a lot between colours.  I have no idea why I did that.  It was partly that it wasn’t as easy to work out where to stitch as I assumed.  I really should have listened to Wikipedia. 

But I did end up with a very pretty looking piece. 

It needed finishing off, so I whipped around the edges with black.

This was a little hard to do with so many threads in each little hole.  So for the second piece – did you notice I had two squares of plastic canvas? – I did the black border first.

For this one I did a simpler pattern, with fewer colours.  But I still think it looks freaking awesome.

Both pieces are very cool.

I have many thoughts. 

To make the yarn look less sparse I ended up using two threads, which made it look fuller but also made it very very bulky. 

Because I was using a single skein of yarn, the lengths of thread that I was using were quite short – especially once I’d doubled it.  So I had a lot of ends to weave in.  Of course, I cheat with most of them and hold them flat against the canvas while I stitch so that they’re secured that way.  With those, and with the ones that I had to actually sew in, there was more bulk.

These were done with whatever stiff canvas I found in my stash, so I was limited in size. 

I enjoyed the process and I definitely want to do more, but I’m going to make some changes.  I bought some plastic canvas, with a higher count – that means there are more holes per inch, and the holes are smaller.  So you don’t need several threads to make it look full.

I’m also planning on using embroidery thread.  Partly because of the smaller holes and partly because that way I can use longer sections of thread and get more per section.  Plus, a wider variety of colours.

I will do more Bargello, and I will blog about it again.  One day.  I’ll make sure to link back to this block when I do. 

Washi Tape Tower

I love washi tape.  I do some art using it.  And I collect a lot of it.  I’ve tried various ways of storing it, and at the moment they’re all just randomly in a box. 

And then YouTube recommended this video to me.

It looked simple enough, and pretty cute, so I gave it a go. 

All I needed was some bamboo skewers, and some wooden clothes pegs.  Nice and cheap. 

The other tool that I needed was a hot glue gun.  I have a hot glue gun, and plenty of glue sticks.  It’s not my go-to choice for adhering stuff.  I make a lot of mess with it.  As you’re about to see.

The tutorial in the video was very clear and easy to follow.  Pretty soon I had a stand.  Wonky looking, and covered in excess hot glue, but everything I make is a little bit wonky. 

The important thing is that it works.

It doesn’t look so bad when the tapes are on it. 

So far it’s survived.  The smaller black and silver snowflakes tape on the left end of the top row keeps sliding through, but the rest of it stays in place perfectly fine.

I’m not sure if I’ll make another one.  I do have plenty of tapes left to display.  I don’t have a lot of desk space right now.  Maybe one day in the future.

And maybe when that day comes I’ll have more control over my glue gun and won’t end up with a massive pile of excess glue.

Bad Blogger – Time for a Change?

It has been a month since I posted a blog, and there’s a very good reason for that.

I am a bad blogger.

I mean, there are actually quite a few factors that go into it. It isn’t just procrastination. There are mental, emotional, pandemical, and many-other-ical reasons. But there is also a procrastination element to it. And that’s mostly because I detest the WordPress interface.

It’s slow, and awkward. I can be typing and I’ll be five sentences ahead before the first word appears on the screen.

I have considered moving to a different site many times. With all the adverts on YouTube for Wix and SquareSpace, there’s definitely interest. But I have so many posts and pages on here, and I know it’d involve a lot of work.

The biggest thing holding me back is the domain name. I pay WordPress so that my blog can be CraftedByColette.com rather than craftedbycolette837.wordpress.com (although I think you can type that in and it’ll still take you to the right place).

If I move to Wix or SquareSpace, do I lose my domain name? Will I have to copy and paste all my blog posts?

If anyone has any experience with them – or any other blog hosting site – please let me know.

In the meantime I am trying to get some blogs up. I have more than a dozen projects that are ready to be written up and posted – including a bunch of Christmas posts that never went up. I’m still trying to decide if I should post them late, or save them for this Christmas. Again, let me know what you think.

Happy Mar10 Day

I do have a blog post in the works about diamond painting and my history with it. But since it’s Mario Day I’m gonna show you these adorable stickers.

For the uninitiated, Mario Day is March 10. Mar10. See. And the Mario in question is Mario the plumber from the Nintendo Super Mario games. I grew up with a NES and a SNES. When I think of video games I think of Mario.

I did a quick piece of art. A funky little mushroom dude.

But I also have these diamond painting stickers that I got from AliExpress a few months ago.

The set cost me a grand total of £3.41, and comes with all these different stickers.

The pattern and the glue peels off the backing paper nicely, and you can stick them wherever you like.

The kit also comes with some instructions, the usual tools, and all the diamonds you need.

And the patterns are just like normal diamond painting. A colourful grid with the squares coded.

I have no idea where I’m going to stick them, but I think I’m addicted. They’re really quick to do and satisfy that diamond painting urge without dedicating hours at a time.

I have a few (lots) more sets on my wishlist, and I may have ordered a set of monster ones.

Sam’s Paint-a-long Part 2

A few months ago my good friend SamBeAwesome did a paint-a-long which led to me producing these two awesome birdies.

Well she’s doing another one.

The girl can work miracles with Crayola markers. I’ve been slowly doing a series of Crayola blog posts inspirired by here, but don’t expect anything as astonishing as what she can do. I mean, look at these:

Join us for the paint-a-long on March 14th on her Twitch channel, and see her perform magic live.