Pack Rat is a smooth operator
I dare you, nay, double dog dare you to resist the utter adorability of the little creatures over at Mochimochi. If you can, well then you are made of tougher stuff than I. Blogger/creationatrix Anna sells patterns for her plush buddies (check out the Stackable Cats and the Luv Gun. Genius!), but she has a big heart and she also provides plenty of patterns and tutorials for free. My current craving is for the faux toilet paper. There’s something about the fact that the toilet paper has a face that just gives me the giggles. And even though toilet paper isn’t traditionally considered cute, I have to say that this guy sure is. Talk about squeezable, move over Charmin.
photo copyright Anna @ Mochimochi blog
Pack Rat: That’s what she said
If you’re a crafty crafterson, you probably have some fond memories of Home Ec. Unless you’re like me and had a super uptight Home Ec teacher who was all over your case about your home made pasta noodles. Anyway, time has healed some wounds, and I wish I could go back and do it all over again, this time paying attention to all the skills I missed out on. But, since I can’t, I guess it’ll just pay some visits to Home Ec 101. I’m already all over their granny square tutorial, and I have a weak spot for stain and spot removal tricks, of which there are many. So give yourself a refresher. And who knows, you might learn something new too!
photo copyright: Home Ec 101
Pack Rat‘s grandma flipped her ‘vette.
I’m listening to Nick Swardson’s Party album as I type this, so I apologize for any typos that may be the result of laughing. So, most of you are probably familiar with the old school internet phenomenon, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. If you are not, here is a snippet from the wikipedia entry:
“The religion was founded in 2005 by Bobby Henderson to protest the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to require the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to biological evolution. Because intelligent design implies the existence of an intelligent but not necessarily omnipotent or omniscient designer, some, like Henderson, argued that this designer could be anything imaginable…Henderson parodies the concept of an intelligent designer by professing belief in a supernatural creator called the Flying Spaghetti Monster which resembles spaghetti and meatballs. He furthermore calls for the “Pastafarian” theory of creation to be taught in science classrooms.
People took this idea and ran with it. I, personally, never saw the humor in it. Sure, intelligent design has no place in the classroom, and yes, Henderson made his point, but really people, it’s not that funny. That being said, the blogger at HistoryWeaver has provided a crochet pattern for a delightful, bendable FSM stuffed animal. She also, in Flat Stanley fashion, has her FSM roaming the country. My favorite is the one below of her FSM double fisting two pints of beer. Use her pattern to make your own traveling friend.
(photo by HistoryWeaver)
Pack Rat Magazine is on the bus
Story time. Gather round kiddies, pull up your sit-upons. Once upon a time I was a teenager. And because the rules of teenagerdom say, nay, decree that you will think you are a) way cooler than anyone who has ever existed and b) the most boring person to ever shlump around the Earth’s surface, I went WAY out of my way to separate myself from “the pack.” This included such outside-of-the-box thinking as: wearing blue lipstick; sporting socks on my arms (a la Tank Girl); strolling around in Cat In the Hat stripped tights; etc. Me and my Hot Topic wardrobe were beyond the status quo. And of course, like every person looking to rebel, I was all about dying my hair. I bought a lot of Manic Panic in those days, but was constantly disappointed when after a week’s worth of showers my Technicolor green hair would fade to a sickly green wash, the kind that kids who spent too much time in cholrinated pools had. But lo, some helpful person turned me on to using Kool-Aid as a dye. Oh the joy! The rapture! The color was intense and the effects permanent. Plus, it was a million times cheaper then the real dyes.
To use Kool-Aid as a hair dye required a microwave, a packet of said summertime fun beverage, and a microwave safe dish that you didn’t mind staining some ridiculous colors. You dumped the full packet of Kool-Aid (the various red flavors worked best) into the microwave safe dish, added about a cup of water, and nuked it for about two minutes, or until the liquid began to boil. Then you dipped your hair in while the whole thing was still hot and voila, you were part of the resistance movement. The sucky part was trying to get it all the way up to your roots. You didn’t want to burn your scalp, but you didn’t want your streak of fire-red hair to only go half way up. I scalded my fingers many a time, trying to figure that one out. I still don’t have any good answers.
Now that I am a million years older, I some times miss those dyed streaks of hair (and hair wraps. Remember hair wraps?), thus I was totally stoked when I came across this tutorial from Snowangels on how to use essentially the same technique to color yarn. She uses both the microwave (for single color skeins) and the stove top (for a tie-dyed look) to create vibrant pallets for all her knitting, crocheting, needle point, etc. needs. Just looking at the photos takes me back. And then I remember that being a teenager was as much fun as getting kicked in the crotch. I am glad that now I can get jazzed up about dying yarn instead of all that other crap. You know what else sucked? Cafeteria pizza. I’m just saying.
Pack Rat Magazine likes its sugar with coffee and cream
I was grokking out over Super Naturale today (an online DIY magazine, and producers of Craftivity–40 Projects for the DIY Lifestyle [Collins, Oct. 2006], among other things), and I came across this ultra nerdy, wicked cool crochet project. Called the Sculptural Crochet Primer this tutorial is written by the wonderfully analytical Wunderkammer. Here’s a quick sample of the text:
The primary quality that recommends crochet as three dimensional medium is the fact that crochet stitches are not unlike pixels – discrete units that combine to facet the surface of a form. The size of those stitches, and the number of their neighbors in the rows above and below, determines the shape of the work. As such, your design can be quantified as a pattern and easily shared with others. Aside from certain intangibles – tension of the working yarn principal among them – a piece produced faithfully from a pattern will be identical to the original. If you like, you can think of a crochet pattern as a program for highly individual human fabbers.
How cool is that? I hyperlinked fabbers if–like me–you’re not as smart as Wunderkammer and you need some explanation. But I just love how into crochet this author is, how seriously she/he takes it. It’s not very often that you read a passage on crochet that reads like a textbook and I truly enjoy the fact that someone is taking that much time to write articulately and professional about a subject that’s often dimissed. And double bonus, look how remarkable the finished project is!
Pack Rat Magazine hates the pomp, but we don’t really mind the circumstance.
I came across this Russian blog called elfF houSE the other day that is home to some truly weird images. Maybe some of the pictures might be less bizarre if I spoke the language, but for some of them there can be no good explanation. I did, however, find some pretty cool craft pics there. Check out the crocheted tree project and a felt artist’s sculptures below. I wish I had more info to give you on either subject, but this is all I’ve got. Both projects just seemed too cool to ignore. Hope you feel the same.
Pack Rat Magazine says “Spoon!”
Check it! (said in a Beastie Boys voice) I found this Hamburger Dress created by Colorado based artist Joy Kampia O’Shell in 2005 recently and went completely mooney eyed over it. It’s both fun and beautiful at the same time. Here’s the artist’s statement regarding her work in general:
“Because I enjoy the irony between subject matter and material, I have merged my favorite subject matter (food) with my favorite process (crochet). I love food too much to be satisfied with its transience; therefore I am driven to give it permanence through art. I am a passionate advocate for crochet as an art medium–going beyond its traditional uses and exploring its limitless possibilities. By taking both food and crochet out of their ordinary settings, I hope to challenge the viewer’s preconceived notions of their roles.
And I hope it makes people hungry.”
Pack Rat Magazine has 364 days to train for the Boston Marathon.
Weddings are a funny thing. They start out being about two people sharing their love with their closest family and friends, and then they typically become these monster projects that are more focused grouped then a prime time sitcom. In the attempt to please everyone, sometimes no one is happy. One of the alternatives? Don’t half ass it, embrace the things you love, like this totally Knitted Wedding of Freddie and Ben, devotees of knitting and members of the UK group, Cast Off. Flipping through the gallery photos of their wedding, I’m floored by the amount of labor and love that went into this thing. Everything, absolutely everything is knitted. The wedding dress, the bouquet, the obscenely long train, the bridesmaids’ dresses, the food, the cameras, even the cans tied to the back of their “Just Married” bike. Such an outpouring of effort and community love…you can even hear the needles still clicking away. My absolutely favorite moment is when the happy couple come out of the church, under a battalion of over-sized knitting needles held like swords above their heads. If this idea gets your idea box a-thrumming, check out these starter directions for flowers and food and more and make your own knit wedding (mock or otherwise).
Pack Rat Magazine will make you dance till you can’t dance, can’t dance, can’t dance no more.
Today’s freebie pattern comes from Fable, a funky online boutique that sells crocheted handmade goods. She has a few stylish crochet patterns for free (her bobble hat and bag are both adorable), but my favorite was for the large passion flower, which could adorn roadkill and make it look fancy. Download the free pdf of instructions.
Pack Rat Magazine. Yeah, we said it. Now what?
Here’s a quick tip for all of you crocheters out there. Check out MYpicot. I am by no means a master crocheter, but good gravy after seeing some of their patterns I want to be one. Their stuff is beatiful, like the flowers and butterfly below. They have a library of free patterns as well as patterns and yarn for sale. And, some of their customers have sent them pictures of crochet pieces they have found at thrift stores, and the gurus at MYpicot have been able to recreate the patterns and make them available to the rest of us to follow. Plus, they have a blog. What more could you possible want?