A Wee Bit o' Turquoise Bracelet

     This past weekend was crazy. I had a conference, and tons of homework to catch up on Sunday night. Of course, this isn't to say I didn't sit down and make something when I was taking breaks. After all, time wasted crafting really isn't really a waste, now is it?


     So, I pulled out the beads from the nooks and crannies and made a bracelet. A couple years ago, my mom and I went on a beading frenzy. This frenzy lasted a year or so, and resulted in stores of beads and wire and findings. Unfortunately, the craze lost its steam before we actually used everything (this happens frequently to many crafters...hence my hoards of random yarns, felt, and embroidery floss). For this reason, we have an entire drawer full of beading notions.


     In case you are wondering how I made it, I'll give a brief summary. I first strung the first three strings of beads, and braided them. I then secured them to the jump rings. Then, as I beaded the consecutive strings, I simply wove it through the braid, following one of the original strings. I did that three times so each portion of the braid had two strands to it. 


     You might be wondering why I didn't just make all six and then braid it (or you might not). I did it this way because braiding it all at once doesn't let the braid lay as flat. This way, it was more manageable to manipulate each strand. 

     I don't think that's very clear... but I hope you get the idea.

     At any rate, this is the final product. I was going to make it all silver, but that was sort of boring. So, last minutely, I wove in the turquoise. It added the finishing touch, if you ask me.

     Feel free to ask any questions if you want to make your own.

     Happy Leap Day! 

Inspiration: Lino Block Prints

     In middle school art, we made linoleum block prints. I really enjoyed it. It's like doodling, except you can mass produce your doodles once you make them, which is kind of fun. 

     Lately, I've been wanting to give it another try; however, I don't have the supplies to do it (linocutter, linoleum block, paint, roller, etc.).

But if I had this...
via DickBlick

I would make print fabric like this...
via HenriKuikens (An adorable ETSY shop)

And adorable robot napkins like this...
via StolenMoments (Yet another classy ETSY shop)

Or a lovely little print like this...
via InkMeUp (Another wonderful shop on ETSY)

     Yup. This pretty much looks like a blast. Not to mention printing my own designs on my favorite fabric (linen) would be a blast. And, how fun would it be to make a lino doodle? It's like taking my art to a whole new level. 

     Plus, look at all these adorable Etsy items! I love it! You should go check out some of these shops. The artistry is impressive. Here are links to the storefronts to which the artworks above belong:


If you don't have the materials to make a lino print either, you should visit these shops, or search "lino print" on Etsy. There are tons of creators out there making these works of art. 

     Also, here are some tutorials I found for lino cutting (you know... for when I get the materials some day). You can go here, and here. Both sites have a slew of carving tutorials. Of course, one is in Spanish. Thank goodness Google Chrome translates web pages... Although the pictures pretty much speak for themselves.

     Have fun making some art! (Or just admiring it... or buying it.)

Save Our Libraries!

Note: The following is a "soapbox" rant about the importance of libraries to society. If you are not interested, you don't have to read on... but if you love libraries too, I encourage you to do so. :O)
New York Public Library (source)
     Over the past year, our municipality, just like so many others, cut funding from the library system. This didn't make sense to me for one reason in particular: we live in Alaska. The winter is seven months long. It's dark. It's cold. People spend a lot of time in doors; and Lord knows it's better to have citizens who spend time indoors reading books, than citizens who spend all their time indoors playing video games... So, why would they cut funding from the library?!

     So, our library, which already had strange hours from a previous budget cut, now only opens five days a week (and during odd hours at that), and has only two thirds of the amount of staff they used to have. Because there are fewer staff, the librarians are grouchy. They were always a little intimidating to me, but now, they are grouchier than they used to be. My guess is it's because they are overworked, but I could be wrong (probably not, though).

     Here's an example of their short temperateness. I was just there this evening, and half an hour before closing time, one of them literally walked over to the light switch and started to turn them on and off. At first, I thought maybe we were experiencing a power outage. Then, the flickering went on for a couple of minutes, and my eyes finally fell upon the stern faced librarian, glaring at the tax payers, willing them--willing me--to vacate the premises. Although she said nothing, I could practically hear her screaming at us to get out so she could go home.

     Although these things about the local library annoy me, the thing is, I still love it. It's a government funded facility full of free stuff! They have books. Don't like books? They have movies! Don't like movies? They have music! They have everything a broke monetarily conscientious member of society would want. I mean, seriously, who doesn't like getting things for free? There isn't a single human being on earth who doesn't. If you don't, check if you have a bellybutton (because you are probably an alien).

     Here's my point. The budget cut tale isn't confined to my state alone. In fact, many other places are too taking budget cuts, and the library systems are often the first to suffer the blows. This cannot happen! Libraries were a place of my childhood. There are four places I remember going to frequently before the age of five: preschool, church, the zoo, and the library. I know I am not alone in treasuring childhood memories set in cavernous, book filled spaces. Don't let these memories be robbed from future generations.

     Also, "digital libraries" can never replace the charm of a brick and mortar library. Although physical libraries may seem outdated, and perhaps archaic, the printed word should never be completely absent from its place in society. There is something magical about holding a musty book in your hands, and smelling the aged paper as you turn the pages. Let's not deny it. Having a real book in hand is a totally different experience than reading from a cold, mechanized e-reader or tablet...

    It's kind of like when Steinbeck talks about men who drive tractors (soulless creatures), as opposed to men who work the land via beast of burden, or other natural modes (still quite full of soul, and well connected with nature)--I feel that books play a major part in making humanity what it is today.

     So, despite the grouchy librarians, and off hours, I still adore my local library--and wouldn't want future generations to miss out on such an important establishment in society. My conclusion? Forget saving the pandas or the whales. Save your local library instead.

Home Made Equals: WIN

Home grown raspberries of red and gold,

Put in a hand thrown, hand glazed bowl (made by me, of course)...

Sounds like a win to me.

Can you tell I'm desperately waiting for summer?

Doodles: Hair!

     What do I do when I'm home sick? I doodle of course!

     Lately, I've been inspired by hair. Especially these drawings here and here; and these photos here and here. So, although I'm feeling rather crappy, I sat down and drew some hair. I have to say, I'm quite pleased with the results. I really like drawing all the lines. Making these was a natural process. I didn't think where to put the lines, I just went with the flow of things. It was actually pretty relaxing. 
Here is a hair bow bun. I wish my hair would do this, but it doesn't hold very well.
It's just too heavy and slippery.

And, here is my favorite: a messy bun. I thoroughly enjoyed drawing this one, and it turned out so pretty!

     Thanks for looking, and don't get sick. It sucks. Trust me, I know.

The Game Plan for Lent 2012

   
     Often times, lent is a time when people choose to give something up. Ice cream, junk food, soda, TV, Facebook (I did that last year), and a plethora of other things. Giving up something is great. After all, lent is 40 days, which is the amount of time Jesus was tempted in the desert by Satan. So, in that metaphorical sense, giving something up is a great idea, and there is nothing wrong with that.

     After observing lent for quite a few years, I myself have found giving things up isn't really that symbolic to me. Sure, giving up Facebook, chocolate and ice cream was challenging, but it wasn't really that hard. I mean, I didn't really have to put in any extra effort not to do those things... Know what I mean?

     So this year, I'm going to do something different. I'm going to add something to my day--every day--for 40 days. I've decided to set aside time every day to read my Bible.

     I realize a lot of people have this worked into their daily routines already, and I really do admire that. For me, I've usually read the Bible in spurts (which is pretty bad, really). Just as an example, every New Year I resolve to read the Bible every day. This usually lasts until late January and then I put it off a day, then another day, then another, and then *poof* the resolve is gone. But this time, I'm going to do it. I'm making it a personal challenge for myself, and by golly, it's going to get done.

     I know this will take a lot more effort for me than giving up soda, candy, or the like--but that's why it means so much more to me.

     To everyone else, good luck with this year's lent season. It does start tomorrow. Just so you all know (though I'm sure you do)...

     God bless!

Doodle: Chalkzilla

     I was organizing my digital "folders" of photos (photos which I have in copious abundance), and found these photos of the giant chalk doodle my sister and I made last summer. This made me smile and cry all at once. Smile because that was an especially fun doodle to construct, and cry because I haven't seen the black part of the driveway, or green grass for the matter, in over six months. You can cry for me too. Winter still has a couple months to go up here. 


     My sister came up with the idea to make a giant driveway sketch, and she also came up with the idea to do a Godzilla scene (I wanted to make one of a giant Pac-Man game). She told me if I wanted to post this, I had to credit her--which I suppose is the right thing to do anyway, even though these are photos I took.

     This doodle took us four hours to make. We used every single color in our giant box of Crayola sidewalk chalk. Don't scoff, art snobs. Crayola still has its merits.

     By the time we were done, our knees were grey from the black top, and our backs would only straighten about as much as Quasimodo's. But, it was totally worth it. As we were drawing it, people would stop their cars to take a look, and people walking their dogs would do a double take for further examination.

     It could just be me, but I rather like it when people gawk at my work. Getting recognition for any attempt to be artsy is very gratifying. Know what I mean?


     And, just so you know, the bullets being shot from the helicopter are being deflected by his bullet proof skin. No worries. Chalkzilla will live to attack yet another driveway.

     But not ours. 2012 will be the year for Pac-Man.

A New Look

     The blog has a new look! What do you think? I'm usually not a pinkish sort of person, but I rather like the combination. We are starting to look like a "real" blog now. :O)

     I've been changing things around constantly since I started Click, Clack, Clunk a month ago. I think I'm satisfied enough with this look for it to stay for a while longer than its predecessors. And for those of you who are curious, I did this all by myself on my trusty Photoshop Elements. I will never pay for someone to design my blog for me... especially when I know I can do most of it by myself.

     Enjoy the rest of your Presidents' Day! (And good luck going back to work/school/"insert name for daily torture here.")

Moose-terious Stranger

     Living way up north makes me happy. Tremendously happy, in fact. Not only do I live in a tiny town nestled amidst scads of towering mountains--I also get to see scads of wild life! For example, just the other day, I was looking out my window to see this little "moose-terious" fella. Yup. A moose, right in our neighbor's front yard, nibbling on some vegetation.

   
     I never used to appreciate these little intricacies of life up yonder, until recently. I suppose with change on the horizon, I've realized how much I'll miss it up here. How much I'll miss home. How much I'll miss the little things, like seeing moose in my front yard. I can only imagine how sad I will be to end up somewhere where people get excited about squirrel sightings.

     SQUIRREL! OH MY GOSH! GET YOUR CAMERA! SHARE IT ON FACEBOOK! CALL GRANDMA! MY TWITTER FANS ARE GONNA LOVE THIS!!! (don't get too close... it can sense fear.)

     Yeah. That's going to make me sad. No doubt about it. I tear up just imagining it.


     Of course, I probably won't miss the six month long winters... or the icy roads... or the sub-zero temperatures. If nothing else, I will have some respite from those things--but I don't think that will make up for everything I will miss.

     In fact, I know it won't.

 Why did the moose cross the road?

To get to the other side! (Sorry, but I just couldn't resist.)

Series Sunday: Christian Chick-Lit (Part I)

    As a Christian, I have enjoyed many a series penned by authors of my faith. Reason being, I enjoy being able to read books with my guard down for any "sketchy" scenes or material. Plus, these series were just plain fun to read. I like to think of them as chick flicks in novel format. This list, in particular, features protagonists who are extremely sarcastic, with plenty of human quirks we all can probably relate to.

1. The Maya Davis Series by Erynn Mangum
via Amazon
     The Maya Davis series is about (guess who?) Maya Davis--a girl with an English degree who works as a barista at a coffee shop called Cool Beans (cute, huh?). Maya is basically happy with her job, family, and single status, until her roommate starts dating her high school sweetheart. This series charts Maya's life as she works through her struggles and eventually finds happiness (with God's help, of course).

2. The Lauren Holbrook Series by Erynn Mangum


     This series, which is loosely based on Jane Austen's Emma is about Laurie Halbrook--a professional photographer and amateur matchmaker. Told in first person narrative form, Laurie is extremely sarcastic and clever, which makes the books very enjoyable. The books follow her in her triumphs and follies as she meddles with other people's lives, and eventually finds a match of her own. Characteristic of Erynn Mangum's books, Laurie is a chocoholic and caffeine addict--and extremely so at that.

3. A Charmed Life Series by Jenny B. Jones


     I was actually introduced to this series when I won the first book in a giveaway from Susie Magazine. And, just a small aside, if you are a teenage Christian girl, you may want to look into getting a subscription. Anyway, this series features a wannabe journalist named Bella--a girl who has lived a "charmed life" as the series title suggests. Bella Kirkwood is the daughter of a plastic surgeon who spent most of her life in New York. After her parents get a divorce, Bella is forced to move to a rural town in Oklahoma with her mom to live with her new step family. The books chronicle Bella's adjustments to life in the "boonies" and also as she steps into the shoes of the town's "detective," or investigative journalist. 

     
     All of these series made me literally laugh out loud on multiple occasions, which is a rare thing for me. Hopefully, you will enjoy them as well. 

     If you enjoyed this, be sure to tune back in in two weeks for part II of my Christian Chick-Lit list! That's right, Series Sunday will be taking a one week break. Don't cry too hard though. You can use the time to start reading one of these books!

P.S. 
Do you have any Christian Chick-Lit suggestions? I would love to get recommendations. 

Tutorial: Making Your Own Blog Background


     So, I've been blogging for over a month now, and have been sprucing up the aesthetic portions of it as I go. It really has been quite the learning experience--and I've really enjoyed it.

     Until recently, my blog has just had a white background. I liked the clean look, but this weekend I decided to try to switch things up a bit and add a blog background. I basically hate all the presets on the Blogger interface, so I made my own on Photoshop Elements 6.0 (as with my other Blogger tutorials, which can be seen here and here). To be honest, I'm not sure if I like having a background as opposed to having the blank white space, but it's still handy to be able to make your own.

     It really was a simple, simple one to make. I did spend quite a bit of time fiddling with just the right dimensions, but I eventually found it. So, I'll save you the time, and give you the dimensions I used. Of course, I would encourage you to experiment to your heart's content. What worked for me won't necessarily work for you, and obviously whatever I say isn't a hard and fast rule. I'm only a beginner myself, after all.

     Anyway, here's how you can make your very own background.
1. Create a blank file in Elements with dimensions of 750 pixels wide by 667 pixels tall.

2. Modify the background to your liking. Save as a JPEG, PGN, or GIF. Be sure it is under 300KB in size, or Blogger will NOT allow you to use it.


Here's what mine ended up looking like. Just a solid background with some "stitch" brushes I downloaded online. (I can't remember where... sorry.) You could also make your own brushes. I've done that in the past and it is very easy to do as well. Perhaps I'll make a tutorial for that at some point as well? 
(Making brushes is handy for watermarking your images... just a random aside.)

3. Then, go to the Template menu on the Dashboard, and click "Customize." Then, go to the Background tab, and click on the "Background Image" button.


From there, select "Upload Image," and find your background to upload it.

4. Depending on your image, you may want to un-check the "Scroll with page" option. This makes it so your background remains stationary and the body of your text scrolls up and down independently.

     And, you are done. Super easy as promised, but hopefully having the dimensions provided helped a little.  Best of luck!

Tutorial: Origami Bangles

How do you turn ugly Walmart bangles from this...

...to this?

It's super easy, and I'm going to show you how!

Supplies:
  • cheapo bangles from Walmart, Forever 21, or the like
  • Mod Podge
  • pretty paper (I used double sided origami papers)
  • scissors
     And, about the glue stick in the picture... I didn't actually end up using it. It's one of those things where when you are setting up, it seems like a great idea, but in practice, it turns out to be a failure. It happens. That's life. :0)

First, gather your materials.

Then, cut up your pretty papers into tiny, semi-uniform strips. I think mine were a little over
1/8 of an inch.


 Now, you wrap, wrap, wrap! What I did to secure the ends was put a dab of Mod Podge on the end, and then I held it against the bangle for a few seconds until it stuck. Then, I wrapped until I reached the end of the paper, and secured the other end in the same way. 

Then, switch colors or patterns and continue until you make your way full circle. Easy, peasy.

When you are done, they will look like this...

And this.

Once you are finished admiring your work, apply a coat of Mod Podge all over the bangles and set them to dry on freezer paper (or wax paper) so that they won't stick to the drying surface.

     There you go! An easy project to wear. And, when people compliment you on them, you can say, "Gee, thanks. I made it myself." And then (even better), you can smile to yourself as they gape at you in awe. 

     Happy long weekend, everyone!

Doodles: A Place In Between

     These are probably my favorite doodles--ever. They took longer than most doodles, so maybe they are actually full-fledged drawings? Either way, I just love how they turned out, and I hope you do too. :0)

 This is a lamp post, standing alone in the rising sun--reflecting it's dimming light upon the surrounding snow.
It was inspired by the lamp post in The Magician's Nephew and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I simply love how something so simple as a collection of lines can add so much depth to the picture.


This is a land where the sun is forever in limbo between sunrise and sunset.
And running through this land is a single cobblestone path, edged by a line of oh so perfect trees.
When one walks down this path, they are not stressed, they cannot be worried, 
and all of their cares are gently blown away by the serenity of solitude.


     Isn't it funny how looking at images brings about a story? Even if that story isn't completely realized initially, the story is always there. I suppose it just goes to show how the beings of art and language are so very intertwined. 

Valentine's Day Goodies

     Happy (almost) Valentine's Day, everyone! Here are a few nifty Valentiney things. Enjoy!

Aren't these cute? Visit the ModCloth Blog to see the tutorial.
via ModCloth

Isn't this picture simply surreal? It looks so tranquil... and pink, of course.
via EllenZee

I don't really like hard boiled eggs, but this is pretty neat.
I wonder if it works for mere mortals...
via 9Gag

It's raining hearts!
source unknown (sorry)

Here is some cute heart ivy from Color Me Katie. Too bad they don't grow like this naturally...
   
And, last (though certainly not least), here are some delicious looking "Oreo" cookies from Create Loves.
Visit for a recipe, and a look at a super fun blog!
via Create Loves

And for those of you who observe S.A.D. day (single awareness day)...

Have a good V-day tomorrow!

Series Sunday: Of the Furry Sort

     Ever since the day I picked up Redwall from my elementary school library's dusty shelves, I have been hooked on books about animals. I'm not sure what to call this genre other than anthromorphic fantasy, although, I'm almost positive that isn't the right title. At any rate, Redwall was my first time reading a "big" book (meaning over 300 pages), and because of that I will always remember it fondly. Yes, I'm a book nerd, and I know it.

     All of the following series are definite YA's. However, the first one especially is still enjoyable for older audiences. The last two are probably best suited for younger readers. Enjoy...

1. The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques


     As I mentioned above, the Redwall books hold a special place in my book loving heart. Really, who could read about little mice, rabbits, moles, and squirrels living in such a tranquil place as Redwall Abbey and not feel at peace with the world? And then, when the evil stoats, weasels, and rats come to attack, how can one help but feel nervous for the well being of the peaceful (rodent) folk of the Abbey? I will admit, the story lines can be somewhat redundant from book to book--the Abbey is attacked by some form of less than savory rodent, the humble Abbey folk manage to fend for themselves using staves, kitchen utensils, and other household items, and then everyone lives happily ever after until the next onslaught of evil drops by. Also, the Long Patrol Hares assist in nearly every book as well; and also the Guossom shrews. Even so, the books each feature adorably brave little heroes and heroines, and good always wins--and that combination makes every book of the series as appealing as the last.
   
     Although they are all wonderful books, my favorites are Triss, Redwall, Martin the Warrior, and Mariel of Redwall.

2. The Guardians of Ga' Hoole by Kathryn Lasky


     I first read these books in the fifth grade. I only read books 1-8, although there are apparently 15 total now. Really, the series could be only six books long--and really, that was probably the original intent. The Guardians of Ga' Hoole series follows a band of young owls in their journey to the legendary tree of Ga' Hoole, as well as their struggles against the villainous "Pure Ones"--a group of barn owl supremacists. As silly as it sounds, the series was very engaging (at least, when I was in fifth grade). I still have fond memories of reading these in elementary school.


3. Warriors by Erin Hunter


   The Warriors series follows the journey of a once domestic cat called Firepaw during his life in the Thunder Clan--a clan of wild cats. Let me tell you, I hate cats in real life, but these books were very entertaining. The plot is quite twisted, and yet comes together so nicely in the end. I never thought there would be a time when I could say I liked cats, but while I read these books, I did rather like them. Erin Hunter did write two more spin-off series based on the Warriors books; however, I only read the first six which comprise the "First Prophecy." I would recommend these books for younger readers, although they are probably still enjoyable for older readers who enjoy books such as Redwall.


     I hope you found that informative. Perhaps you can pick some of these up on your next trip to the library. :0)

     Don't forget to check in next week for even more of Series Sunday! (Next week, I'll be giving a list of some of my favorite chick-lit series.)

Doodles: Little Family

     Sometimes, I doodle in class, because sometimes class is boring. It's simple reasoning--really. This is a set of doodles from a while back, but they really are cute. They live in my AP Statistics notes, and they are actually happy there (glad someone can be). Let me introduce you to them.

 This is Henry, the older brother. He's a quiet one, but not aloof or snobby in any way. 
Just reflective.

 This is Lexi, the middle child. She's bright and cheerful, and always ready to make new friends.

 This is Dad, the dad. He needs to shave.

This is Mom, and that is Lilly, the youngest child. She is a little shy, so she doesn't show her whole face. 
Mom is kind of her security blanket, so they are (almost) always together.
 Oh, and Mom is just a little tired (as all moms are).

And this is Chewy, the family dog. Simply because, no family is complete without a dog
(or in my family's case, three).

     So, that is the little family living in my AP Statistics notes. Cute, huh? 

Tutorial: Lollipop Earrings

     This year, my school had a board game themed spirit week, and for one of the days, I had to dress up in Candyland fashion. I didn't really have anything that was "Candyland-ish", so I decided to make some things to compliment the theme. After much pondering over what I could make, I finally decided to make some lollipop earrings so I could be Princess Lolly or Queen Frostine or the like. Of course, school got cancelled because of slightly adverse road conditions (we're talking perpetual ice-rink conditions)... so I never got to wear them. Still, I thought they were neat, so I'm sharing them with you.


     I made the earrings with ribbon rosettes and some basic wire-working techniques. Nothing too hard really. In fact, nothing hard at all. Ready to see how?

Supplies
  • Earring wires
  • 2 six inch lengths of ribbon
  • Glue gun
  • Wire (a medium thickness/gauge)
  1. Gather your supplies (it's a no brainer, really). Tie knots at the end of the ribbons, twist the wire into candy sticks, and also twist the loop at the end of the earring post 90 degrees so you can glue it down flat later on.
  2. Begin twisting and wrapping the ribbon around the knot, securing with tiny dots of hot glue as you go. But don't burn yourself on molten hot glue... or the tip of the glue gun. Yeah, sad. I know. But I've done it before, and thought I'd spare you the agony.
  3. Once the lollipop rosette is the size you want it to be, bring the end to the back of the rosette and glue it down. You should probably trim off the extra ribbon too.
  4. Now, glue your wire "stick" onto the back of the rosette.
  5. Right on top of the stick, glue the ear wire.
  6. It should look like the picture with the earring post perpendicular to the rosette.
  7. Glue the other piece of extra ribbon on top of the stick and post.
  8. And, you are done! Gaze in awe of the little wearable confection you just made. :0)

     See? Easy, right? This project only took me around 20 minutes, and that was with taking pictures and scrounging around the house for a ribbon that suited my liking. You could omit the stick too, and just make cute little rosette earrings.

     If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment.