Many Mini Aliens

Every year since 2009 I’ve assigned myself a yearly challenge, or six.  This year I forgot all about it until about a month ago, when I decided to do a Half-Yearly challenge starting in June instead. Since the challenge I ended up choosing is crafty, I’m writing about it here as well as on my personal blog.

I came up with a few options, then couldn’t narrow it down further.  So I posted on Facebook, Twitter, Ravelry and Reddit asking my friends to pick a number between 1 and 4.  They didn’t know what they were choosing for (something I do quite often), but the options I had written down were:

1) Write a blog post every day.
2) Turn a cloud into a drawing every day.
3) Knit a mini alien a day.
4) Make an origami something a day.

As the votes came in, I realised that making 1 mini alien a day for half a year would result in more than 180 mini aliens.  That’s a LOT.  They sell really well when I do school fairs, but that is still practically an invasion of mini aliens.  So I decided that if that option should win, then I’d make 2 a week instead.

When the voting ended, option 4 had 3 votes, options 1 and 2 both had 5 votes, and option 3 won with a massive 11 votes. So, with the plan to make 2 mini aliens a week, I drew up a page in my bullet journal to keep track of them.  Which is when I realised that the start of June is not the start of the 2nd half of the year.  Bit of a brain blip there.  So I’m doing a Slightly-More-Than-Half-Yearly Challenge instead, and will be making 62 of these adorable little guys…

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Making Things, Then Making Them Tiny

As discussed before, when I do origami pieces I have a tendency to repeat the same piece over and over again.  Like these sonobe cubes.

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And when I’ve made seven hundred zillion of something, I like to see if I can make as small a version as possible.

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The cube on the bottom of this pile is made from 12×12″ craft paper (which was kinda difficult because I only have card stock which is hard to origami with.)

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The next cube is using standard 6×6″ origami paper.  The cube on top of that uses a quarter of that paper, so 3×3″.  The next one is a quarter of that, and so on.

Except… that the final teeny tiny square presented an issue.

These are the paper sizes for the first 4 cubes…

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As you can see, each time I’m using a quarter of the previous size.  Which means that the 5th cube should be made with 0.75×0.75″ paper.

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That is very, very small.  Folding the sonobe units themselves wasn’t too bad. But putting the cube together proved impossible for my big chunky fingers.

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So I gave up on that size, but I didn’t want to give up altogether.  I was convinced I could get a smaller cube than the one using 1.5×1.5″ paper.

Up til now I’d been folding the paper in half both ways, and cutting the paper into quarters…

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To get a size between 1.5″ and 0.75″ I had to fold the paper in half, then fold that half in half to create a 3/4 line.  Then fold up into a triangle to make a square, before cutting the shape out.

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Which left me with a 1.125×1.125″ square.  Which was nicely tiny, but a lot easier to work with.

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So this is the range of sizes I ended up using…

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And this is how small the smallest cube is.

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(I have been very confusing and given paper sizes in inches, and then measured the cubes with a cm ruler.  Sorry about that.)

Here are all the smaller cubes…

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…and the large cube all on it’s own because it wouldn’t fit with the others.

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And finally, here they are all with the size paper they were made from.

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So yeah.  Making something, then making it as small as possible.  I’m almost certain that someone out there has made one smaller. Someone with tinier fingers than I, or the ability to use tools to do their origami.  My best friend does origami too, and I’m sure he’s probably done one smaller.  I’ll do some research about that and get back to you.

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Art Journal, cont.

Back in November I mentioned my burgeoning 2D art skills, and the Monthly Notebook group on Reddit.

Since then I’ve done a lot more art, and I’m going to share some of my drawings with you in a few days.  But first, I wanted to share these Imgur albums with you.

The first is the completed “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost” notebook.  All 166 pages of work that I’m proud of, and work that I’d rather pretend never happened.

That book was 166 A4 pages and took me four months to complete.  While I was working on that book I was fairly sure that I was doing a lot of rainbows, and a lot of unicorns.  But when I’d finished the book and I was flipping through it at New Year I did a count, and there wasn’t nearly as many as I’d thought.  So for January I decided that I needed a book that was entirely unicorns and/or rainbows.

It’s only a small book, but every single one of the 38 pages has either a unicorn or a rainbow.  Most pages have both.

I’ve been enjoying my foray into the art world.  I’ve found myself reaching for a sketchbook more than anything else these days.  A lot of the pieces in these journals I plan on scanning or replicating, some for display and some for sale.

 

When Craftiness Meets Nerdiness

Now that I’ve gotten over my initial issues with polymer clay, and done a bit more experimenting, I had a specific project in mind that I wanted to do.  I’m a nerd.  I have not hidden this fact.  I am working on some nerdy products for the store.  I am a nerd.

One of my nerdy tendencies is Dungeons & Dragons. I haven’t been playing it for more than a couple of years, but I love it and I love my current character, Arimorel.  When you’re making a character one of the things that they get is a randomised trinket from a list in the Players Manual.  I ended up with “a multicoloured stone disk” and I knew right away that I wanted to find an actual multicoloured stone disk as a prop.

I searched a lot on eBay and places for something that might do, but nothing seemed quite right.  And then I realised that I could use one of my crafts to make it.  And so I did.

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I rolled small balls of each colour and flattened them roughly.

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I stacked them, and smushed them, and cut the result in half.

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I stacked and smushed and cut and repeat until I had something semi-resembling stone, but with all the colours still in.

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Then I cut out the shape I wanted and baked it.

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I threaded it on some cord, tied a sliding knot and voila!  Craftiness meets nerdiness.

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Venturing Into Watercolour Art

For my birthday a few weeks ago my best friend bought me this lovely set of watercolour pencils…

…which was extremely exciting for me. As previously mentioned in my art journal blog, I’ve been getting more and more into 2D art. I’ve been doing lots of sketching and drawing and getting these pencils was the inspiration I needed to take the next step.

Pinterest, of course, was an invaluable source of ideas. One particular image had been lurking in my “make me!” folder for months.

So, after a quick trip into town to buy a pad of watercolour paper I had a go. I started by drawing the outline.

I was worried that it didn’t look like what it was supposed to be, but everyone I showed it to knew what it was.

Next step was to add some colour. I didn’t go with the blue from the Pinterest post but with one of my favourite colours.

I was really nervous for the next step. I didn’t want to mess it up. Adding too much water or not enough could ruin it – or so I assumed. I didn’t (and still don’t) have much knowledge of practice with watercolours, pencil or otherwise.

So I went slowly and gently, and I’m really happy with what came out.

That particular page went into my art journal, but I’m tempted to do another piece for my wall.