Monday, December 28, 2009

Hey! Book Giveaway Contest on My Other Blog!

Hello! Today is the first anniversary of my micro-macrame blog and I am giving away a copy of my book Micro-Macrame:30 Beaded Designs for Jewelry Using Crystals and Cords to the lucky winner who best describes what it is they like so much about micro-macrame...So click on this link to get over to the micro-macrame blog and leave your answer in the comments field there (not in the Annika's Atelier blog comments here). The winner will be announced this Friday, January 1, 2010! What a great way to start the new year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Long Time No See...

Okay, okay, I have been gone a long long time. I've been quite busy with other things like: finding a new place to live, moving house, teaching classes, the Swine Flu, traveling to Oslo, Paris and Kiel annnnd sorting out my new place and looking for a job. I suppose you'd like to see pictures of at least some of these excuses. Like maybe Paris and Germany.

Obligatory Eifel Tower group shot. Tini, Clare and I weren't taking any of this seriously.

The Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. For some reason, I kept returing to this place, first with one group of friends, then again with another.

Hanging with Val at Versailles.

Dinner with friends old and new.

Tini's turkey, in Daenischenhagen in Deutschland. The poor bird barely fit in the oven. It was magificent, but that's not surprising, since Tini is an excellent cook.

Me learning to spin. It's all Tini's fault; she made me do it. Now I am addicted to spinning.

King Tut! Who knew we'd find the King Tut exhibition in Hamburg?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lucky Find

Linda and I visited the local Goodwill this afternoon and she spotted a lovely costume for me.
It must have been either a stage costume or perhaps the original owner had lost weight and had to give it away. It is missing a few pearls and Swarovski rhinestone spacers at the neckline of the bodice which are pretty easy to replace. Also, I need to create some sort of chemise to cover the underarm area or continue to go au naturel and astound the neighbors. I donned the wig (which doesn't match period-wise) just to hide my own ragged haircut (world's worst haircut inflicted on me about a month ago which is growing out. Slowwwwwllllyyy.)
Anyhoo, the costume cost a whopping $60.00! Luckily, I already had a standard corset which works underneath.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back from the Bead Bazaar

This past weekend I had a booth at the North West Bead Society's Annual Bead Bazaar, which was held in the Lynnwood Convention Center. I sold quite a lot of books and micro-macrame kits for making my infamous owl earrings and kitschy baroque bracelets. Both days I knotted kitschy baroque bracelets and answered questions about cords, crystal beads, the history of macrame, and where I found the gnarly wire tree on the display table where all the owls were perched.
Many people stopped by to gawk and talk about my jewelry because they hadn't ever seen macrame done on such a tiny scale before. It was great fun to be there in the midst of so many talented jewelry artists but today, I am exhausted!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sand Animation

The following video is from Ukraine's Got Talent. Sand animation artist Kseniya Simonova won for her two pieces on that competition.

Her work is so powerful and heart-breaking.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hairless Spud Update

I have been following the slowwww progress of Spud the hedgehog's recovery on the St. Tiggywinkle's Wildlife Hospital website. He came to them completely bald covered with scabs due to some undetermined skin disease, poor little critter. He was barely recognizable as a proper hedgehog.

But with regular warm baths which he seemed to enjoy readily, daily massages with aloe vera, good quality dog food and several bouts of medication Spud has improved to a point where he is regrowing his spines.
Yeah, baby! Catch his update here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Burda, Burn Tests and Fancy Scribbles

Had a good rummage through the calligraphy pile last night and came up with a couple of samples of stuff I did a while back. This one was for the halls at work for Halloween last year. When I left Microsoft at the beginning of summer, it was still up in one of the halls.

This next piece is a test for a class I took a few years ago. The words came to me in a meditation so I duly scribed them in a sort of blackletter hand.

Now for something completely non sequitur:

I did a burn test on that steel blue/grey raw silk mix I'm making the Marci Tilton V8600 jacket out of and it definitely is part silk, but I'm not sure what else...rat hair? Bamboo shoots? Cotton candy? I dunno.

I have also been meaning to make something from this lovely Burda magazine from 1965. Details to follow in a later post.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

PNWA Summer Conference

No sight of that wicked canny feline Super Bob, but I just got back from the PNWA Writers Conference where Were-Dolphins and Bionic Shrimp made an appearance, at least in the minds of a few writers who attended wayyy too many Urban Fantasy, Sci Fi and Steampunk-oriented workshops.
There was a book signing one evening, and like most book signings practically no one came due to the late hour in which it was held - after a dinner banquet with Joe Finder as the guest speaker. Most of the conference attendees headed straight home after the dinner and who can blame them? They were tired after a long day of sitting in on talks about the publishing world. When I finally found the table where my pile of books had been heaped up in a corner I saw that my name card had been hastily slapped together - they had scratched a very wiggly Annika deGroot in Sharpie on the back of one of Terry Brooks' printed name cards. So I told fellow authors that I was Terry's alter ego (hey - we both have white hair and write about elves...) May be next year they'll hold the booksigning party before the banquet in that hour+ lull between the last workshop and the start of the banquet. One hour is plenty time to saunter over to your favorite author's table, strike up a conversation and get a book ot two signed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Aspen Choker Tutorial

The tutorial for the Aspen Choker featured on the cover of Micro-Macramé: 30 Beaded Designs for Jewelry Using Crystals and Cords is now available online. It features a supply list, step-by-step instructions and lots of color photographs to help you learn how to create this modular choker. Let me know what you think of this lesson; I am actively seeking feedback!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Super Bob

Last Monday at around 7 p.m. I heard a crash on my front porch so I went out to investigate and there was Super Bob the local bobcat. Lest you think he's quite the cutie, be aware that he is three times larger than my biggest house cat, Gato

(Oh, I didn't name Gato Gato, which I think is a dumb name for a cat; he came to me with that monicker thanks to his previous owner who wanted him put down because she had to move. I call him "Otto" and sometimes "Gelato" and yet other times "Gateau" because he does look a bit like a cake to me...}
Anyhoo, Super Bob is a menace to suburbia. He had just treed my cat Jynx and was about to climb up that tree to get her when I chased him off with a broom. Yes, bobcats will eat domestic cats, the little cannibals!
The very next day I called the state wildlife folks and they referred me to a trapper in Snohomish - don't worry - the trap he brought out is a catch and release trap and that's exactly what will happen to Super Bob - he'll be caught and released out in the true wild somewhere far far away. Having seen Super Bob up close and in person, I think the trap is a tad too tiny for his giant hulking frame. So the trapper has ordered a bigger cage from Minnesota. In the meantime, Zena, the neighbor's-dog-who-thinks-she-lives-at-my-house rolled the trap over and ate all the sardines that were meant for Super Bob. So the trapper moved the cage to a different locale and staked it to the ground.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Chirimen Hoard

The chirimen from Fabric Tales in Japan arrived the other day. For poly chirimen it is very very nice! I couldn't help myself - I had to get some chirimen piping, bias tape and extra fabric for perhaps another Hong Kong vest or Joplin Pullover...

Now all I have to do is create a pattern by doing a rub off of the chirimen jacket and grading it up to my size.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Flying Fox Bat Babies Video

I am a big fan of Bat Conservation and Merlin Tuttle.
The name of the video sounds like they're into eating baby bats, but it's just a bad title, so ignore it. This is really a short video of how a dedicated group of folks Down Under are caring for baby flying foxes. The flying fox is a fruit bat found in Australia, Indonesia and that part of the tropical world.

Lacemakers of Puget Sound

Last week I went down to Kent to attend a meeting of the Lacemakers of Puget Sound. Lacemakers of Puget Sound is a charter chapter of the International Old Lacers. Amazing work and amazing ladies! There were some ladies working on tatted pieces, but I was blown away by the intricacy of the bobbin laces being produced and how many fancy bobbins everyone owned!

Here are several yards of delicate black silk bobbin lace in creation.

Another lady was working on a two-color piece; you can see the pattern she's using on the right side of the photo.

Here is a lovely lady with a handmade lace neckpiece.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Author! Author!

Bead&Button Magazine has published a short review of my Micro-Macrame book in their August 2009 edition.

Me so happy! To quote their esteemed reviewer, "Under the influence of a handful of talented fiber artists such as Annika deGroot, macrame has come a long way since the '60s..."

Ahhh, I used to dream of being a talented fiber artist and now I am one!

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Older-Than-God Commercials Reel

I was prompted last week to upload the demo reel of the commercials and video/film projects I worked on in the late 80's and early 90's. A "reel" is a compilation of commercials (also known as "spots") and other shortish projects worked on that show the capabilities of a particular filmmaker. This one runs a bit over 9 minutes - enjoy it if you can...Actually, the pieces I am most proud of are the ones I edited. Skip past the director and producer segments and go straight for the gold in the editor's section.

Hmmm... it's missing some of my best stuff... must shovel out the hovel and find the other reel...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chirimen Jacket

The other day I found a gorgeous chirimen jacket at a consignment shop. Although it was a P for Petite and I am an E for Enormous, I bought it to study the details and hopefully recreate it in a larger size. It is fully reversible with a lightweight black nylon shell and has welt pockets (both inside and out).

But what really interested me was the padded collar; it is padded because it has a rain hood inside! Look at the beautiful delicate zipper pull - I almost didn't see it.

At Fabric Tales there are some lovely offerings of rayon and polyester chirimen fabrics.
In case you are unfamiliar with chirimen, it is that uniquely textured crepe from Japan that comes in either silk, rayon or polyester. Polyester chirimen is washable but doesn't have quite the fine silky feel as the silk or rayon versions. The rayon and silk versions are usually in shorter widths like 25-27 inches (63-70 cm), but the polys are usually 43-45 inches wide (110-114cm).
I can't decide between this polyester fabric Floral Snow Rings on Charcoal which is here

or the Ume Blossoms fabric which is here.

The truth is I wish I could order one already made from the designers. But I have looked all over the web and cannot find this jacket in their offerings for this year...and I've had no luck on eBay either.

As a side note, check out the patterned fabric cords on the Fabric Tales site...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

St. John's Day, 2004

June 24th is St. John's Day and often you can find St. John's Wort blooming around here at this time of year. 5 years ago, it was on this day that my mother, Dr. Sybil G. deGroot passed away. She was 78 years old.

My mom was one of the most remarkable people you could ever meet; in her youth she had been a Rockette at the Radio City Music Hall, later she became the first woman in the U.S. to hold a Doctorate in Engineering Psychology (which is also known as Human Factors and Ergonomics).

To try to sum up her brilliant life and career in just a few sentences seems so inadequate and trite. After 5 years I still can't find the words. Even what I wrote in my book isn't enough:

"Those who knew her will agree, my mother led a most remarkable life. Highly intellectual and only sometimes circumspect about it, she was a curious blend of scientist and social butterfly. Her eyes flashed sage green whether engaged in scholarly pursuit or dancing a fandango on the neighbor's coffee table. I will always miss her."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm Thrilled!

My book just received a lovely review from Crafty Pod!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Beaded Buddha Embroidery

Happy Solstice to one and all!

I picked up Sherry Serafini and Heidi Kummli's The Art of Bead Embroidery: Techniques, Designs & Inspirations book the other day because I have long admired their artwork. Here's my first attempt at following one of their designs; I'm not going to make a bracelet out of it but rather use it as a centerpiece for a micro-macrame neckpiece.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Elf Slippers - A Must Have!

Who can resist nice warm felted wool elf slippers? I can't. I had to have them - I ordered a pair in purple from mommayaya on etsy. I think they will look quite lovely with my teal-colored fingernails, don't you?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Autographed by Author

I've been going into every bookstore I pass and rummaging around in the craft section until I find a copy of my book. I then take the book(s) to Customer Service and ask them if I can autograph my own book, do they have a pen I can use and can they slap an "autographed by author" sticker on the book's front. Usually the customer service rep is thrilled to do so.

I was perusing the Onion and came upon the following stat:

Hmmm...this has given me some ideas for dedications...hmmm...I think I'd change the last one to: For the itteh bitteh kitteh committee...

Friday, May 22, 2009

I See a Pattern Here...

A few years ago everyone was gaga for the Retro Butterick '52 pattern B4790. At a rummage sale recently I found the updated 60's/70's version of that wraparound dress.

But then I'm easily smitten by anything simple and unusual, like this mother/daughter combo of a wraparound...

They kind of remind me of something Isabel Toledo would have designed. Speaking of the unusual, I came across a charming pair of Russian ladies patterns from the 50's...

There were no fitting suggestions or fabric requirements on the back of the pattern envelope or even a separate printed sheet of instructions - what information there was was on the pattern tissue. Our Russian sisters simply had to make do.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Criss-Cross Blouse

Months ago I read Ann Smith's review of a delightful blouse on Pattern Review and knew I had to make that blouse! Tracking down the Japanese pattern book it came from was a bit of a task, but one happy day it arrived in the post and I was set! I transferred the pattern to butcher paper and took the whole shebang over to Kinko's and had them enlarge it 135%. C'est tout. I did nothing else to the pattern because I figured I would just make a muslin of sorts and see how well it fit as is with no alterations. The fabric I chose was a rich red poly chiffon with a directional black sheen. I bound the edges with bias strips of the poly chiffon and placed a few tiny buttonholes down the front placket.

The way the fabric drapes in a criss-cross on the back was exquisite, but the front still looked frumpy. Nevertheless I wore it to high tea at the Empress Hotel with my dear friend JoAnn in Victoria last November, having nothing better to put on. Oh, poor, poor me.

Hmmm, must redraft the front....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

PR Weekend in Portland

I am still recovering. Met and got reacquainted with so many talented wonderful ladies that I am still twirly-minded. Deepika and I had the great good luck to have lunch with Pati Palmer of Palmer/Pletsch fame on Friday and she was most gracious and kind. She gave a most instructive lecture on blouse fitting problems, tailored jackets and fitting pants (trousers to youse cats in Europa). I kept mumbling "Aha! That's the exact point I should have done what she's showing instead of what I actually did!" Pati has revived my fitting courage and I am going to attempt a jacket before too long. I wanted to sign up for some of her classes this summer but it appears they are already sold out and I won't be able to attend her November classes because I'll be in Paris with the European PR Weekend crowd.
Anyway, here's one photo Diane E took of Roseana and yours truly.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Amazon Ratings

Today I popped on to Amazon to check the rating of my book just for fun and found that I was right behind Kenneth King! The Kenneth King! Yeah, baby!
Ratings fluctuate by the hour; luckily I've been holding fairly steady in the 8,000 to 10,000 range for the past few days.

I hate to be a pest, but if any of my friends who haven't posted reviews of my "Opus-in-Ink" could do so on Amazon, I'd be very very grateful. The publishers at St. Martin's would also be grateful. In fact, the entire Universe at large would be grateful. The only person I can think of who probably couldn't be bothered to be grateful would be Rob MacGregor, my theatre pal who now resides in Istanbul (for reasons perhaps unmentionable)...