I can’t believe it’s halfway through April already! I still have WAY too many things left on my to-do list– I’ll really have to scramble to finish them by May… But here’s a sneak-peak at some of the stuff I have accomplished this month for my comic:

Sink Sketches - Islanders - ©Dalliann 2014

I’ve been thumbnailing future pages and these are some of the refined sketches from those exercises. They feature more of the island characters (who I am so excited to introduce!). A few more pages featuring solely Miri and Ramón and then you’ll get to meet Chea, Fe, Julio, Lino, and the rest of the Sa’Ilia bunch. I’m getting kind of tired of drawing Miri’s loopy pigtails so maybe that’s why I’m so jazzed about shifting focus to other cast members, soon. ~_^

I’m aiming for ten weeks of buffer pages and plan to resume Sink’s update schedule on Thursday, May 1st. Won’t be too much longer now. :D

~Dalliann

I’ve been playing catch-up with several really big projects since the beginning of this year and I need to finish them before I can focus on anything else– so I’ve decided not to host an LGC challenge for April.

Some of the things I’m working on are new pages for Sink (I’m aiming to start posting again by the end of this month), a few illustration collections for my art licensing firm, graphics for my website overhaul (coming soon– yay!), getting caught up on back-logged emails, planting my veggie garden, and a couple projects I’m shopping around to publishers. Why do all the busiest months contain 30 days or less? ~_^

So please excuse this lapse in the challenges– they will resume in May with a theme I’m really excited about (and hopefully you will be, too). In the meantime, I plan to post some WIPs throughout April and, hopefully, I’ll have a few finished pieces to share by the end of the month. ^_^

~Dalliann

P.S. I have future challenge themes planned out until July– but I haven’t prepared anything past then. If there’s a type of challenge you’d like to see here, please leave your suggestions in the comments– I’d love some fresh ideas! Thanks! :)

I was beginning to worry that I wouldn’t be able to finish this project in time; I have been sick all month– first with a nasty flu bug and now with a persistent cold– and it’s had me moving at snail’s pace. But I’m finally done and I’m so happy with the results!

Patchwork Purse - ©Dalliann 2014

I’ve always had a fondness for crazy-quilt creations (likely because my mom and her mother were both patchwork geniuses) but I’ve never even attempted one myself; they just seemed so daunting. However, this month’s challenge was all about using up stuff you already have on hand and I have a LOT of fabric scraps– so I decided to give it a go.

My first attempt sucked. Oh, it sucked so bad! I couldn’t get the pieces to lie flat and by the time I’d assembled five or so scraps, it was beginning to look like a bowl. So I went online, found a good video tutorial, and went in a completely different direction with my project. The method explained in the below video is kind of cheating (you’re sewing all the pieces onto a fabric base) and not at all the way my mom does it– but I was short on time and patience so ‘easy and fast’ won out. Someday I’ll learn the traditional method for crazy-quilting– until then, this’ll do nicely. :)

I wanted to use my re-discovered beads but I couldn’t find my beading needles anywhere and it would have been breaking the rules to buy more, so I opted instead for embroidery. Although I totally enjoy needlework, I tend to use only a few basic, boring stitch-types; but I really wanted this bag to have a Bohemian aesthetic so I pulled out my embroidery how-to books and tried to give each patch its own distinct look. It was actually tougher than I thought it’d be; I’m totally OCD about symmetry in my work so it was really hard to come up with ‘random-looking’ designs. How do you plan random? ~_^

Patchwork Purse - Stitching Detail - ©Dalliann 2014

The last hold-up in the project was trying to figure out how to attach the straps. I found lots of potential hardware to do the trick– but only ONE of each item. I’d already pushed myself with the random embroidery– I NEEDED symmetry in the handle attachments! Just when I was about to give up and sew the straps directly to the purse (so not what I wanted), I found a pair of alligator clips with D-rings– perfection! Yay!

This has been my favorite challenge piece so far. I’m thrilled with the way it turned out and I can’t wait to try more crazy-quilt projects! I’m also going to make a point of trying to use materials I already have on hand in future crafting– it was so satisfying to make a little dent in the fabric stash!

What about you? Anybody else participate in this month’s challenge? What sorts of odds-and-ends did you use? Was it difficult to stick to the ‘no new purchases’ rule? If you created anything for this month’s theme, please link your work in the comments– I’d love to see! :)

~Dalliann

LGC March 2014 Challenge - ©Dalliann 2014

For this month’s challenge, complete a project using only materials you already have on hand. Whatever creative pursuits you dabble in, you’ve probably amassed a sizeable stash of crafting supplies– and, if you’re anything like me, your hoard continues to grow ten times faster than you can think of things to do with it. If all that rings true, this month’s challenge presents a great opportunity to dig into your collection, get reacquainted with your treasures, and create something beautiful with them! The only rule is that you can’t buy anything new!

Here are a few ideas that I liked, utilizing materials that most crafters already own:

Fork Jewelry – If you have a pair of pliers and some mis-matched flatware lying around, check out this tutorial! Great design ideas!

Hardcover Book Purse – I have seen these purses sell in stores for $50 and up but you can make your own for almost nothing. This tutorial calls for a purse handle kit but try creating a handle from fabric, jewelry findings, crochet thread, or whatever other materials you already have in your stash…

Bird Feeders – Here are six tutorials for creating bird feeders using materials you likely have around your house. Perfect project for Spring (if it ever arrives!).

I haven’t quite decided what I’m making for this challenge but I do think it will involve beading. I’ve been organizing my craft room and came across a huge box of beads that I don’t even remember buying (first sign that you have a crafting addiction?) and now I’m itching to do something with them. Maybe bead embroidery… I also have a big stack of itty-bitty cloth scraps that are virtually useless given their size but I just can’t seem to throw them out– so I’m going to push myself to utilize them in some way. Patchwork, perhaps? Whatever the project turns out to be, I’ll post my results later this month.

What about you? What sort of supplies do you collect? What are you going to make out of them? If you participate, please link your work in the comments section– I’d love to see what you create! :D

~Dalliann

Was everyone else’s February as jam-packed as mine? I’m just barely making this month’s challenge deadline; I actually had my project finished two weeks ago but I couldn’t find the time to photograph it… ^^’

Anyway, I decided to try monogram embroidery. The first step of this was designing the monogram. I’m a mutt of Celtic, Scandinavian, and American Indian origins but the heritage I identify with most is definitely my Danish roots; it’s where my surname, Lauritsen, comes from and I’ve always loved Viking mythology and art. With this in mind, I wanted to create an ‘L’ with some Nordic flare and incorporate a tree into the design, as Lauritsen is derived from Laurel. These were my initial sketches:

Monogram Sketches - ©Dalliann 2014

The bottom sketch was actually an accident because I was trying to design a vine pattern but it started to look more like an ‘H’– however, this was an awesome mistake because my Danish family’s original name was Haahr. My great-great-grandfather came to the States with his three brothers and (for reasons unknown to us) once they landed, each brother adopted a completely different surname and they all went their separate ways. I really liked the idea of paying tribute to both my family’s names so I cleaned up the third sketch and vectored it:

Lauritsen-Haahr Monogram - ©Dalliann 2014

But what to make with it? Well, I’m a big fan of chunky Bohemian belts and I’ve been wanting to make some new outfits for Spring so I thought this would be a good time to test out a design idea I’ve been pondering. I really wanted to make a 100% suede belt but my scraps were really thick to sew through so I opted instead for kangaroo leather; it’s much thinner and the color is a beautiful rusty brown. I used metallic silver thread and a leather punch to embroider the monograms and I finished the edges with regular cotton thread in a blanket stitch. I would have loved to make the whole thing out of leather but none of my scraps were long enough and I was pretty tired of stitching by that point– so I used denim and let my machine take care of the sewing…

Belt 1 - ©Dalliann 2014

I’m really happy with the way the embroidery turned out but I’m not crazy about how stiff the denim feels. I will definitely be experimenting more with belt-making but I think I’ll try doing jointed segments with the next one so it falls more naturally and doesn’t feel like cardboard around my hips…

Belt 2 - ©Dalliann 2014

Did you create any monogram or emblem designs for this month’s challenge? If so, please link your work in the comments! I’d love to see your designs! ^_^

New challenge tomorrow!

~Dalliann

P.S. I meant to post this a couple weeks ago but never got around to it. The day before Valentine’s Day, at about 11:00 PM, my brother called with a very last minute request– he needed me to create a stencil for his girlfriend’s present. She’s a huge zombie fan so he had gathered supplies for a ‘zombie apocalypse’ kit and managed to procure the coolest box I’ve ever seen– an OD-green army crate for grenades (it even has a caution warning stamped on the inside!). It looked like something out of Indiana Jones! ^_^

I spent two hours cutting out the design with an exacto knife and my wrists were aching by the time I was done– but look at the results! Totally worth it! :D

Zombie Box ©Dalliann 2014

And, yes, his girlfriend loved it (though I have a feeling it’s because he packed that box full of her favorite candy and a bunch of funny zombie gear). :)

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