Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Challenge is in the costume... BRING IT ON!!!

I L-O-V-E Halloween! It is my favorite day of the year.  It unravels my creativity like a steam roller pushing tar on a city street filled with holes! Some other years I've been busy and rather completed or bought costumes at the stores but it all depends on the main vibe or idea for that year. I remember one memorable year that I made two superheroes costumes for my girls. Lavagirl (Yes, "Sharkboy & Lavagirl", Taylor Lautners a.k.a. "Jacob" debut movie) and Violet (The Incredibles).  It was just because they looked so much alike at that moment... what can I say, they are my dress up dolls. Both of them turned out super (get it.. superheroes). Lavagirl had this structured overall with a foamy shell over dance clothes, red flame hair and control enhanced forearm cover... excellent. For Violet I made black shinny underwear (Please.. let hope it's not a trend through her life) belt, gloves, mask and over the knee boot-like shoe covers to complete the costume. I loved making every stitch.
After that adventure, we settled years after with store bought from dark goth cheerleaders with a werewolf for a patriarch to cartoon characters like Flapjack and Coraline, also gave me the opportunity (and long lived fantasy) to wear my pointy ears and uniform as a vulkan member of the starship Enterprise. Yes, I'm a Trekkie (I differ with the term Trekker since I have been programmed with it since almost bitrth, Hail Gene Roddenberry!). This year I have to thank comicons and anime for the inspiration and challenges before me. We've been attending those kinds of activities (thanks for the teenager scoff) and I have to tell you the truth, I'm hooked. I'm hooked on the art, the weird stories and conceptions but most of all the way young people put themselves in these super weird but sometimes awesomely intricate costumes.

This year, I proudly announce Hit Girl and Blue Lightning (fictional but possible counterpart).
I know, I know....   Kick Ass is a very violent and bloody movie but it's so "I cannot look away from the action" movie, I just couldn't resist. Plus, it's got Nicholas Cage in it! I love the guy.. he's crazy..  right down my alley.

It's decided so let's get a move on. I did my research on the web and discovered that there are NO MORE HG costumes available, not that I was going to spend $70.00+ dollars in a cheaply made costume. So the experimenting began. It was a little challenging to get some fabric that looked like dark lilac leather and purple plaid but with a little ingenuity and good shopping skills, the bets are on me. I won't give more details on my posts so the next one is going to be the finished project. Just like I used to say to my boss "give me a challenge", there is nothing better and cheaper to boost your self esteem than an enjoyable challenge, lots of enthusiasm and fun. Skills help too. And if it doesn't work out as well... she'll have a new funky set of pajamas.

So.... Bring it on!!!

PS:  If you're wondering, this year I'm recycling my costume. My handy dandy velvety cloak (so I'm veeery comfortable underneath) and of course, pointy ears... again.  I'm the b*%^%ch witch.  Hey! someone has to be the villain.

Leave a comment and tell me what are you planning to be this Halloween. Love to hear ideas and suggestions, the more inexpensive, the better.

Stop by my shop at . There will be some new things very soon and old favorites too.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fabric Infatuation and other crafting illnesses

Periodically we need to step back and look at our big picture and make whatever changes are needed. In the meantime we try to get entertained by looking at other people big picture through reality TV (as if some were) and tend to evaluate ourselves in some other level.  This is my own "Intervention" where I've become "Obsessed" and a "Hoarder" in my own house that's looks like a "Project Runway" and thinking "That's Clever".  We quickly switch to our denial mode and start looking for bigger storage to stash all our "future projects".  It's no coincidence that I call this "Craftingjunkie".  I've designed a 12 step program (in 5 steps) for myself but that's another whole other project.

The problem starts in our childhood with a harmless attempt from our desperate mothers looking for something for us to do in the summer months (or any other needed "me time"). My mother and grandmother taught the way of the hook, and if I was just like my daughter, was the only time I would shut up. Later came the sewing lessons. For a couple of summers, my sister and I, attended class at a neighbors house making wonderful clothes that were not going to be worn more than twice because of an awkward fit and fashion. With practice came longer wear life. I did some more fashions but the sewing stopped in college where other interests arose and I was off the bobbin for good.  I relapsed when I started having children and I saw my mom and grandma crocheting blankets and booties. I was hooked again.

When I decided to stay at home it slowly creep up on me. There is always the costumes for school activities and the quick fixes of hand me downs. That passes as normal use of fabric stash. Then the crocheting began in the parking lot while waiting for them to get out of school. Then the waiting in the tutoring, volleyball, ballet, tennis. The activities changed but never the waiting. It was not my fault, it was there, so portable, so systematic, so meditative, so many wonderful colors of crochet thread. I had to have them. And it wasn't only crochet. No. I was clever. I switched from crochet to knitting. It's like entering a zen like state of mind. A couple of minutes into knitting and my shoulders and jaw began to relax. BETTER than Xanax. But like a good junkie, I needed a little more kick.  I discovered felting. That was like graduating to crack.  I loved felting but natural wool is difficult to get here in the caribbean. I've been importing wool and made my mom bring me wool instead of travel souvenirs. Then came the needle felting. Needles, crochet thread, yarn, hooks and fabric were beginning to take up space in my not so big house. Lying to my husband when he caught me with newly bought yarn and thread. Stashing and hiding fabric around the house. I needed help.

To get well from these ailments I had to face the fact that I needed help and take action, but it has to be done slowly and carefully not to trigger the awful shopping therapy withdrawal. For my "Fabric Infatuation" I started to take count and samples of all the stashes and categorize them in index card. That way I see what I have and stick to projects with those fabrics specifically. My deep feelings of "Yarn Yearning" are contained because I haven't done any knitting in a while, but I have them in ziplock bags by type and all in a giant Ziplock bag (no, I'm not anal retentive). Part of my recovery is to visit them and and have a session of "Feeling the Felt Therapy", hand felting until I felt better, no pun intended. The "Frustration Release by Felt" is closely related to the feeling the felt but works in emergencies with the felting needle. There is nothing better than stabbing when you're angry. That didn't came out right. But trust me, if you're careful is better than boxing. The crochet has been more persistent with commissioned items here and there and always looking for cute thing to try. When I thought I was out, they pull me back in.... I can say I'm still "Hooked on the Hook". It is difficult to kick this habit since it was the first thing I learned. But when I really decided to stop the insanity and concentrate and produce more was when I got me the ultimate vice. A new computerized 80 stitch sewing machine... on sale!!!!. The sprocket in my heart went boom, I'm in love. Of course, my youngest daughter jumped on the opportunity to inherited my old one. There is always a black fluffy hairy sheep in the family. Now I'm continuing the cycle once more teaching her to sew properly. They learned to crochet first.. I see the pattern emerging (get it pattern?) so history repeats itself. I guess these are illnesses that I don't mind passing on.

Let me know what you think. Leave a comment or tell me how I can help you with your crafting emergency.   :)

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

WARNING: needle felting can be hazardous to your health.

In this month of February inevitably, love is all around us. It would sound a little bit weird (if not lonely) to say that I just found a new craft to love. If you have read my blog you know that I have a love-hate relationship with felting. I love the finished product but I hate the self inflicting pain that comes with handling and bashing of hot, scalding material. I decided to take my relationship with felting to the next level. So, like a terrified teenager that asks a date to the prom, I got the courage to order my first needle felting kit. It felt like Christmas morning when I opened the package. 5 colors of roving wool (new term to learn, makes me feel like a pro), roving material, 4 different needles and a generous size foam to stab. I was so ready. I had my handmade felt ready to poke. I started to place the wool in a freestyle manner and get the feel for the stabbing. Repetitive stabbing... like entering "The Zone".  Stabby McStab Stab was my mantra. Is this IT? I asked myself. It's so easy! The finished product was a mismatch of colors that resembled an abstract painting. Just like McDonald's.. I'm Loving it!  How many more things can I do with this? I ventured myself in the vast ocean of tutorials that is Youtube and learned the proper way to needle felt. Not being too far from the actual technique, I continued snooping when I saw this beautiful figure of a creature that resembled one of the "Dark Crystal" puppets.  OMG! (as a celestial choir sounded in my ear) Soft sculpting! I fell deeply in love.....  I'm sorry my dear husband but I'm having an affair with.... needles and wool.

As I developed my relationship with my new love, I'm starting to see that is like any other relationship... filled with highs and lows, periods of elation, beauty, love and well, pain. Physical pain. The beginning was just like the eHarmony commercials, observing and excited on how could I mold it as I wished to hopefully see my desired results. Suddenly I felt a sharp pain on my index finger. How could my beloved craft backfire me like this? It hurts like being cheated. I didn't have a bleeding heart but a bleeding finger. How could this be possible? Well, accidents happen. The next stabbing came in the form of an electric current through my spine. "I'm clumsy" I thought. Then, another, I was starting to sweat. Now my thumb and index finger are throbbing. Stop! This is not for the freestyle felter. I took a deep breath and payed attention at what I was doing. Too much excitement on the first date.

I learned a painful lesson. I was behaving like an overly infatuated lover, I had to take it easy. I put it aside until the next day when my finger wouldn't hurt but eagerly waiting for the next phone call.. I mean felting session. Now I know that felting can be a dangerous craft if careless, I know that we can do beautiful things together if we take it a step at a time and most importantly get some protection (say whaaaat??) for my fingers. In the meantime I'm adding variety to our relationship, I'm going to order myself more colors of roving wool.   Definitively....    Love is in the air.

If you want to see amazing soft sculpting in fabric, take a look at the work of artist Lisa Lichtenfels. It will blow your mind.

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Please leave a comment and subscribe. I'd love to hear from you....   ouch! Stabbed again.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I.V. lines are not for knitting

The shopping absurdity of December is starting to make me think of what the holidays are all about, family. No, I didn't take that from a Hallmark card. For me shopping is like going hunting, challenging and full of gratification (when you get stuff at more than half price yey!). But this year was different. The month began with a lot of planning, presents and decorating... until that december night (screeching halt!). Early in December I sent the proper evaluations to Santa to start running the operation, you know, put a good word to the jolly fluffy guy and start with the celebrations. This year,  I evoked the Martha in me, thinking of trying my luck making cookies to share with my girls teachers. All the Christmas cheer was literally starting to get into my skin. I started the celebrations by going on a date with my hubby to a concert. Before dropping the girls at their grandma's I felt a sharp sting on my right buttock (love the word.. butt-ocks). "What an angry mosquito" I thought. Little that I knew I was soon be visiting the hospital with a giant infection that looked like a third buttock (butt-oks butt-ocks  ;D). There I was, with my butt in the air and with every passing moment, losing my Christmas spirit and my dignity as well. I could have asked my husband to bring my knitting ammunition since I was going to spend some time there, but I passed because I was hooked on antibiotics intravenously. I must have been really sick. I may not be hyperactive, but in that bed, my mind really was,  plus the medication.. I was in hyperdrive. I saw shapes coming out of my curtain patterns, and little bunnies from the holes in the ceiling panels. Then my attention shifted to the clear liquid bag and the little plastic tubes filled with liquid, transparent and crystal like. They were my curvy icicles. They had the same width and flexibility as yarn. Could it be knitted? Could I be so bored to think that IT could be knitted? We'll see.

My stay at Chateu Saint Francis (San Francisco Hospital) wasn't long enough to get into my nerves but I was anxious to get back to normal. So I thought. I had my little own hospital in my house, 6 more days of IV antibiotics and my own hanging pole plus a hole in my butt cheek that made me wrap in plastic every time I wanted to take a shower. When the 6 days were over and the needle was taken out I felt like cuffs were taken off. YES. I was free! I could Knit!!! The male nurse that came every day to fill my prescription gave me a weird look when I asked if I could keep the tubes. OK???? he said, not asking for what I wanted it for.  That's a very intelligent man.

I thought that if I filled the tubes with water, they would stay a bit stiffer and could do some kind of stitch or knot that would resemble a weave. Sometimes our ideas look great in our dreamy little heads but when taken into action could be a disaster. I took a small towel just in case I messed up... that was the smartest thing that came out of this clinical boredom. I tested knot after knot and every time I was being showered with my intentions. None of it landed on the towel (thanks a lot Murphy's law). Nope, this one is for "craftfail". It looked like a mess of tubes with no use for it what so ever (again with the "it's a good idea but...). I thought of filling it with colored water and maybe glitter but I lost all confidence. I let it go.

I continued my merry holiday taking it easy because I still have an open wound, which is getting smaller by the day (yey me!!). I'm sure I'll be up and literally running within the next couple of weeks (thanks to the yearly promise of getting in shape and lose a couple of pounds). I've already pimped out my workspace so all I have left is to be like NIKE and just DO IT. I'll do take better care of myself, I'll do keep thing running smoothly, I'll do prepare myself for the unexpected. We think that we're indestructible... Hey!  I still don't know what bit me but it was sure smaller than me and the bacteria was... well you know. But I take this as an opportunity to see ourselves and our families and work together when an emergency shows up. Gratitude, appreciation and pride are traits that have to be acknowledged every day... not to be discovered at a moment of need. I'm immensely grateful to my husband for all his care (BTW.. he's an excellent nurse), proud of my children who worked together (without bickering... that I know of) and I appreciate much, much more all the people that helped me and wished me well. We can accomplish a lot of thing with love and dedication and what we cannot do, we just put it aside, let our frustration go and keep doing what we were doing.... just like knitting IV lines... they are not meant to be knitted.

Happy New Year!!!! 2010
Arthur C. Clarke was wrong.... this is nothing like Space Odyssey:2010
I wish that every one has a great year filled with love, health, happiness, work and lots quality time to spend with our friends and family. Hug, dance, work, sing, give and be thankful.

Pilar Gonzalez

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You say Tomato.. I say tomato... What the hell? It's spelled the same!

Some say "toe-MAY-toe", others say "toe-MAH-toe", either way you're never sure if it's a fruit or a vegetable... you just eat it. That happens also with people. Some are very practical and others thrive for functionality. And I, as a person that doesn't like confrontations or imbalance (ohhh Libra) do my best to please everyone. This brings me to my favorite project "fun with fruit"(cheesy title...get it?).
I was looking through books at Borders when I found this one that had only crochet food. From fruits and vegetables to junk food, anything you can think of. Then I saw one of my favorites food groups: PopTarts. I still buy them for my girls (yeahhh right) and they haven't changed a bit. The only one that has, thanks to them, is my waistline. Flipping further, one of my daughters saw her favorite: Sushi. Right there I discovered my next project. I read along and hurried home to start right away. They turned out super nice. But then, my functional side said: "Now... they are good for....? Nothing? I won't believe that! So I started brainstorming and figured that the PopTart would do a nice iPod cover... that one was easy. Minor alterations were needed and soon the first PopTart was being used by my daughter. Go figure. But then I took a long look at the sushi. It turned out beautifully; I had a blast making them; my daughter loved them but since I didn't like sushi I didn't know what to do about it.  The only thing I knew was that my daughter wanted them. That's when I had to put my foot down. I'm creating items for my Etsy store (Yes it's OPEN... Yeahhh!) and she wants everything. I felt so used.

But something funny happened days later when I go to my favorite metaphysical store GAIA* to get some crystals for my crochet crystal bags (Listing # 34102206 , # 34099824). I proudly showed my friend Tere, the owner, all the things I've done and the ones that I'm working on. She gave me compliments one after another until I took out the sushi. "Ohhh it's sooo cute " she said, great, but the next thing that she said would floor me. "What's it for?" she asked. I went blank. I started to look around the place and around my body looking for places to put it. Then my transparent being opened my mouth- "I'm not sure, but I had a blast making them and I don't even like sushi" I said with a smile.

Probably, I looked like a weirdo, but I truly had fun doing them, and when you create things you love doing, they become impregnated with great positive vibrations. I know somebody will love them (Thanks Mellissa : sushi)  as much as I (and my sushi less daughter) do. That's the secret about my work. No matter if it's a functional PopTart lover (Thanks Jill) or a slice of crochet pizza that hangs over your desk, there's plenty of love to go around.

FYI: To•ma•to is a pulpy fruit that is typically eaten as a vegetable. They must be Libra.

Shameless plugs: Yey! My Etsy store is now OPEN! Go to Craftingjunkie store Thanks to all the people that have shopped, stopped  and looked for supporting this craftingjunkie. Stop by frequently because new and old favorites item will be added shortly.

Also, my Apple Green Tarot card bag have been featured in the Treasury Tuesday Elite Eight blog from C and O productions. Read the blog at:   Thanks a lot Olivia!

*And my favorite Metaphysical store : Gaia... movimiento positivo : Ave. Hostos #432, San Juan, PR. 00918 Tel: 787-405-2971 email:

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

I felt it........ and it felt good.

Ohhhh yes... I felt it, my knitting! I finally reached the culmination to my felting experiment. After being frustrated by a lack of real wool (and very expensive) in this island of mine, I gathered the wool I bought at a Michael's store on a trip to Miami. Yes, I brought in my suitcase skeins of wool. I had to. After I "felt" so stupid when I didn't purchase any wool in Delani (Alaska), this was the closest I was going to get to nice real wool. I thought I'd give fate a chance. So, I started knitting away a nice 8"x 6" piece, nothing fancy, just knits and purls. It was a paradox by itself, I was knitting anxiously but at the same time trying to keep my knitting loose. The only difference was that I was using a smaller needle (just one size) which I thought wouldn't make much of a deal. Nicely knitted, casted off and felting time is here.

Since my washing machine is not connected to hot water, I decided to, again, put my HGTV & DIY knowledge to a test. I remembered watching a show where a girl that was felting using hot soapy water, a heavy duty ziplock bag, a bamboo placemat and lots of brute force. Luckily, I had one of those placemats stored in one of my cupboard (for a nice place setting emergency) which I cut more or less to size and wrapped the piece inside like a tasty burrito. Added the soapy hot water and started the abuse... I mean, agitation. I hit, I rolled, I scrubbed and I felt it...... I felt the pain in my arms and burn in my palms. Took it out of the bag to take a peak with slow results. D@#&n it! It said on the label: GREAT FOR FELTING... not fast felting. So, I sat comfortably on my seat and like Ghandi, started a non violent demonstration. After much violent acts, I started rubbing it. It was strange.. soothingly strange.
Being a child of instant gratification I wanted to see faster results. After all the rubbing, rinsing and pleading with it I wasn't going to wait until it dried. Nooooo. I thought, if heat makes the fibers flare and get all tangled and needs agitation then, why not... Why not put it in the dryer. It's going to shrink anyways. So, with my blessing, I put it inside the pocket of one of my husband's trousers. And in silence I waited for the storm.To my surprise, the piece came out the dryer (and the trousers) soft and felted. OMG! I did it. Like Grissom (CSI) would've done, I inspected the sucker out. It almost blocked the light and was thick and super soft. Now comes the second part of the experiment.  What should I do with it?

Something will come up. I was told that I could cut it just like a fabric. So I took the sharpest scissors I had and cut a small edge of it. It still looked as a knitted piece. I continued cutting hoping it wouldn't disintegrate in my hands. I kept it simple. I was going to stitch it nicely and make a pretty small, very small purse.
I secured the edges with blanket stitch and fastened a dorset button for closure. As always, it is never enough, so I tested further more with a little bit of embroidery. Yes, I kick a couple of stitches here and there. I "felt" like they where supposed to be there.

Voila! I gave birth again and it didn't hurt a bit.


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Saturday, August 29, 2009

My favorite time of the year isn't Christmas anymore..

Some people are elated when spring have sprung. Some can't wait for a tasty Thanksgiving dinner. Some start planning for the next summer vacation as soon as they come back and put some aloe on their sunburns. Not me. My favorite time of the year is when school starts. I don't mind waking up at 5:00 am, running frantic around the house looking for missing shoes or homework (sometimes both), getting stuck in morning traffic or even last minute supply shopping (when they remember, usually 5 minutes before the store closes). Not me. I celebrate the first day of school, but I shouldn't start Mom's Happy Hour too early. That's the time when stay at home moms (or dads) have therapy time. You can watch your favorite show while folding the laundry or even not turning on the tv at all and just enjoy the silence. Sweet silence.

This summer has been very busy, didn't go anywhere. Had a graduation in May, recuperation and preparation for out of town guests in June and entertaining those guests in July. But before school started I managed to redecorate a teenagers bathroom (with thing I made, watch for my next post!) and transform a "catch all" room into a classy teenagers bedroom, all of it with a recession budget. The need to separate sibling was imperative. By the time school started, she had her bedroom and I needed a vacation. I am very proud of what I did. Finally I could put to use all those home decorating programs I religiously watch and at the same time save some money.

Now, I can enjoy a bird chirping filled morning producing cool craft project and on my graphic design business. By the time I have to pick up the kids at school is like a bucket of ice water splashed on my head. Me time is over. Snacks/check, homework/check, after school sports/ohhh boy check, dinner/ahhhggg check, showers and being on bed by 9:00 pm/Thank God! check. I dvr my shows (Project runway.. a must) because by the first half hour I'm in lalaland on a deep sleep. But you know... I like the structure. I feel like I'm accomplishing more in the morning than any other time of the day. Me time is invaluable time. Once I evaluated the idea about home schooling because I spent more time doing homework with them, but that would result in 0 time for me. And if mamma ain't happy, somebody's gotta pay. And in this economy... that's not gonna happen.

This brings me to a new and exciting venture. I will soon announce my grand opening of my new etsy store.
I have a couple of great needs. The need to be creative and the need to produce money. You will see more reviews of items I've made and currently on sale on So if you want to try make them.. please be my guest. I love sharing information and tips from other crafters. Long live school days!

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