Monday, November 30, 2009

Kitchen Knives

OK, I promised some pictures of the things that I was working on in the garage, and since projects are always ongoing, I thought that I would post a variety - but then I wrote too much, so if you want to see more visit hangedmandesigns.

As I mentioned in an earlier post I am working on about seven knives right now, four are getting pretty close, and one is almost done.

We’ll talk about that one and its friend.

The original idea was to make a Santuku style kitchen knife. The only steel big enough was a piece of heavy duty Jeep leaf spring that my neighbor two or three houses ago gave to me. So it started as a big thick curved bar of steel.

I thought I should make a little paring knife to go with it, and I still had a piece of O-1 round stock to work with for that one.

With a lot of fire and hammering and a little cleaning up on the belt grinder they made it to this stage.

And then this stage.

And then this stage, ready to quench.

So I quenched, and then things went wrong. I’d hammered and ground the blade to thin on the big knife, and something was a little off on the other. As a result I had a curved paring knife, and a wavy edged Santuku. After some heat on the spine of the paring knife, apparently not enough, I snapped it in half. The big knife took some grinding, and another quench, and isn’t quite the intimidating cleaver that it was before.

The Santuku is the third from the left (it still needed straightening), the paring knife is now a scalpel (top right, next to the dagger).

Now the Santuku carving knife is polished all shiny, and stamped, and has a pretty tulipwood handle, with brass pins. After it is finished, I’ll post a couple more pictures.

And I think that is long enough for now.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Season Kickoff!

I hope everyone enjoyed their thanksgiving, and I hope that those who decide to brave the retailers this weekend come out of the event unscathed!

Adam and I spent thanksgiving a few hours south of Albuquerque, in Las Cruses. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner prepared by Nick and his wife, and had a great time with them, and also my dad and his wife.

If you are not so into the crowds at the mall this time of year, you can buy more meaningful gifts this year on etsy.

Many stores are having sales this weekend. Here is ours:

HUGE BLACK FRIDAY/CYBER MONDAY SALE November 27, 2009- November 30, 2009
Free Worldwide Shipping! (on all orders)
Store wide discounts already taken, some up to 50%!
ACEO's marked down to $7.50 (25% discount)
$5 coupon Toward a future purchase WITH ALL ORDERS PLACED DURING THE SALE :)

These are our current treasuries! Please check them out while they last!

We sell Art, Hand Forged Knives (great gifts for men), Arm Warmers, Baby Items and much much more !
_______________-Happy Holidays-__________________

ALSO, ONLY FOR BLOG READERS WE ARE OFFERING AN ADDITIONAL 15% off! Use promo code "blog" in a convo or in message to seller. This offer is only good for a weekend.

Also, I would love to see everyone else's sales for the weekend! If you are having a sale please post it in the comments, along with a link to your store! I would love to check it out, and I still have some holiday shopping to do.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our other blogs.

Hi! Adam posted an awesome new post on his -gasp- *other* blog. The link is

I have another blog too... it always makes me sad when people only go to that one and don't come to this one, that I spend so much time and energy on.

But.... since you are already here, you can check it out if you want: but this is the blog I really love.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Autumns Birthday Party was sooooo much fun!

I probably should have written this a week ago, but... I didn't.

Autumns birthday was a lot of fun! There was a point when I was worried that if anyone else arrived they would not fit in our house. There was plenty of food, but not too much- which is good- because the food was all so fattening that I didn't want those leftovers in the house!

This is Autumn and grandpa Howard opening a present.

Autumn in captivity while we prepared the house for guests!

Botulism and Bar Fight being silly for Autumn's Amusement.

Autumn opening her VERY FIRST present! Yes, it was wrapped in a Victoria's Secret bag... gotta love derby girls!

mmmm.... cupcake...


oooooh... cupcake sooooooo good.... that is why Autumn has that forlorn look on her face... she knew she could not have her cupcake and eat it too.

Autumn in the morning on her BDAY.

Autumn driving her first car... the Pooh-mobile :)

The party started at about two and autumn went to bed about seven thirty. My friend Francis (who happens to be Mexican) asked when he was on his way "So is this like just a birthday party or a crazy mexican birthday party that goes on for five hours after the birthday girl has gone to bed? "

Yes. It was one of those.

Autumn recieved lots of wonderful preasents. Her toy stash tripled I think.

Thank you to everyone who came! We had an excellent time!

Monday, November 23, 2009

News from the garage

Happy Monday everyone,

Erica gives me a hard time every once and a while about not writing blogs, and for posting them to hangedmandesigns when I do. So here's a relatively long one - at least for me.

Hopefully I will manage to attach some pictures to this one soon, cuz just text is kinda dull. Sorry.

Both the forge and the new lathe are up and running, despite a few hiccups. I'm definately still in the experimental stage on the lathe, especially considering that it was a really cheap one, and I'm using pretty cheap tools as well (my set of 8 cost about 45 dollars, and a quality single tool can frequently cost more than that), hopefully I have some mad sharpening skills :) Sharpness does make a difference, but metal and shape do too, trust me, I make knives.

Anyway, after turning a couple of legs for my daughters table - pictures to come - and the outside of a vase from a 4x4 i ran into some hollowing problems, and balance issues. After solving some of those (and throwing a couple pieces of wood around the room at high speed), I thought I would try something more interesting. I have a couple pieces of saltcedar root, and I threw one on, and roughed out the outside, then since that was working pretty well I put on a piece of purpleheart. Mostly because I've never really liked it, but also because I had a big enough piece to do something with. I even roughed out the circular shape in respect for it being a harder wood - and to reduce waste, since I may someday use some for a knife handle. It turns out that purpleheart is really hard. And I managed to catch the edge of my skew blade a couple times, and jam the faceplate onto the lathe. I've now managed to get it back off, and even have a solution to prevent it from happening again, but it was definitely a pain. I'll move back to the saltcedar tonight, and maybe do a little more sharpening first.

The forge on the other hand, is working pretty well. It heats up pretty fast, and seems a lot more even than my last one, but not quite as hot. The ceramic insulation keeps the heat in very nicely though, and I'll take the consistency. I tried melting some of my scrap together, and its not hot enough for that though. Oh well. Someday I'll get a gas forge. On the plus side, I now have about 7 knives that need cleaning up, and handles, but have gone through the heat treating phase! Which brings me to my next thought....daggers.

Why do I keep making daggers? Sure, I've only finished two, but now I have two more. And every time they are a pain in the ass. trying to get all the grinds to line up by hand on a primitive, 4x36 belt sander is extremely challenging. Nonetheless, I have two new daggers, in O1 tool steel and file steel (maybe W2?) that are ready to work on now. I'm thinking of using the lathe for their handles, since symmetry is more important with daggers. Sigh.

If you are curious, the other five that I'm working on are: a big Kukri (probably my biggest blade yet) and a santoku style kitchen knife (Both from a heavy duty jeep spring), a nice drop point hunter from one of my last chunks of 1095 steel, a scalpel/carving knife (O1), a straight point made from an old file.

I'll write a little more another day about an old (1942) boyscout knife that I cleaned up a little.

OK, back to work everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2009

I Was Featured on another blog!

Way awesome!

You can see my Purple Octopus Print In a lovely collection of purple items! ALSO... the print sold so it has been relisted.

Here is the blog link:

allthingstangled also has an etsy store!

I love this sweater from her store :)
If you click on the picture it will take you to the listing in her store.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Have you seen these?

I have not gone to see a movie in quite a while, but there are two I am very interested in... so interested in that I can't really believe I have not seen them yet.

No great surprise, I really want to see Whip It.

No surprise, because Whip It is a roller derby movie. AWESOME. It was released when I was in Denver for Regionals. I also like Drew Barrymore so I am interested in checking out her directing debut.
...also no surprise, I want to see Coco Before Chanel.

I am pretty excited about this one. Admittedly, I have always preferred Dior (when it was Christian Dior) to Chanel (when it was Coco Chanel) but they were both amazing designers and I like them both, no matter HOW fundamentally different they were. Chanel did so much for women, from being a Fashion designer in what-amazingly-is STILL a men's industry to liberating women's bodies with her designs.
Have you seen either of these movies ?? What did you think?
Also, I wanted to talk etsy for just one second.
Have you ever ALMOST purchased something and then decided not to because you thought the shipping was ridiculous? That has happened to me while shopping for Christmas presents lately. I am still tweaking my shipping here and there, and as a new seller my charges were a bit too high. I still find listings sometimes that have high shipping, and I hope I didn't lose customers over the shipping charges. The funny thing is, if the item cost a dollar fifty more, and the shipping cost a dollar fifty less I would have purchased it. I don't know if that makes sense, but that is how it is. How do you feel about this? Also, this seller has a TON of sales... so I may be wrong. Maybe most people would rather pay the extra in shipping. What do you think? Just things I have started to think about when I list items.

Monday, November 16, 2009

PRODUCT REVIEW: New Prismacolor markers!

To start off I will say, I LOVE PRISMACOLOR.

A LOT. I always have a full set of pencils, and as you can tell, I have HUNDREDS of markers.

Prismacolor colored pencils are very waxy making them superior to any others because they color more evenly and are easier to blend. Prismacolor markers are amazing because they can be mixed and blended in a way that is unmatched by any other brand. A few years ago I purchased some new watercolors and I specifically remembering looking for prismacolor watercolor paint because I really trust prismacolor for fine art and illustration supplies. At the time, and to my disappointment I was unable to find them. I just searched online and learned that they DO sell them. (Note to self: add prismacolor watercolor set to my Christmas list) I also have looked for the chalk that the Savannah College of Art and Design uses for its annual sidewalk art fair in Forsyth park. When I lived out there I would participate by saying that I was interested in going to SCAD---which was true, but I could hardly afford to go there, especially after my time at FIDM. I have never seen such vivid colors in sidewalk chalk. They may be a really large version of a soft pastel. I am not sure.

SO, my love for prismacolor runs deep, and I was very excited when I was contacted to review their new line of markers. Prismacolor® Premier Fine, Brush & Chisel Tip Illustration Markers

At first glance these really looked like Michron pens, and ARE similar.

I decided to try them on two different types of paper. I started with a standard sketch paper, and I liked them. I was not in love, but they were nice. They sketch evenly, which is always important. The precision tip markers wrote well. The chisel tip, which is similar to a calligraphy pen allowed me to change the width of my line with a slight pivot of the tip. The brush tip really truly lovely even on sketch paper, which absorbs the ink faster than marker paper which I tried next. When I was working with them on sketch paper, I was not SURE that I would make the switch from Michron pens, as they were similar.

When I tried these pens on marker paper, it was very very clear that the people at prismacolor REALLY know what they are doing.

The precision tip pens write so smoothly without bleeding... and I was amazed when I was sketching these flats (those are the technical illustrations in the sketch above) that they dried quickly enough that I did not have to worry about smudging them when I moved on to the next line. EVERY TIME I go over my flats with a michron pen I smudge at least one line. If you can not buy an entire set I definitely think the 08 03 005 and the brush tips are MUST haves.

When I touched that brush tip pen to the paper it was LOVE. They are so free and fun to use, they actually made my heart jump the first time I used them. I loved being able to change the width of the line by simply applying more pressure to the pen. They are a great way to add a little whimsy to your illustrations!

The chisel tip is not really my thing. I will probably replace the black when the one I have is used dry, but I do not enjoy drawing in this way. I think many people will find themselves loving either the brush tip or the chisel tip, depending on how they like to draw. I do not dislike this pen by any fault of the pen- it does exactly as it says it does by making it easy to change the thickness of your line with a slight twist of the tip, but I draw in a looser manner, and do not have the discipline or skill to properly work with this pen. I think people who draw in a tight controlled manner, or with a lighter hand than I do will really enjoy this pen.

ALL of these markers have amazingly vibrant colors that seem to pop off the page and come to life! I highly recommend these pens, as well as every other Prismacolor product I have used as an artist and fashion designer.

Below you can read more information about these markers. The below information was provided by Prismacolor.

Prismacolor® Premier Fine, Brush & Chisel Tip Illustration Markers Bring Art to Life

Prismacolor gives artists more tools to help bring their creativity to life. Art students and professors, fashion and interior designers, graphic designers and sequential art illustrators will celebrate Prismacolor’s Premier Illustration markers’ exceptional quality and vibrant colors.
  • Fine – Premier Fine tip marker is ideal for creating crisp lines and detail work, such as quick sketching, outlining and adding texture
  • Brush - Premier Brush tip marker combines the control, flexibility and signature detail of a paint brush with the unique qualities of vibrant ink to create thick, thin or varied lines
  • Chisel - Premier Chisel features a tip style that allows for varying line and stroke widths
  • Color - All tip styles of the Premier Illustration markers are available in black, red, blue, green, orange, purple, brown and sepia
  • Nontoxic, Lightfast, Acid Free, Archival Quality - Maintain vibrant color over time and prevent artwork from deteriorating over time due to the effects of aging
  • No Bleed Through - Results may vary based on paper characteristics
  • Buy – Prismacolor Premier markers are available at most art stores and national retailers including Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Dick Blick, Office Depot and A.C. Moore
  • Price - Suggested retail price ranges from under $3 for a single marker to about $20 for an 8-count set
Go to or contact Niky Roberts for more, 314-552-6721

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Update


It is Friday again, and I am so EXCITED for the upcoming weekend! My lovely daughter is turning 1 on Saturday! We are having a party, probably a fairly small party because it seems like no one is in town. I spent last night making 4 different types of cupcakes. We will have "funfetti" cupcakes, chocolate fudge cupcakes with chocolate frosting, yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting and marble cupcakes. I also made 2 pans of chicken enchiladas and one pan of cheese enchiladas, a pan of rice and a pan of mac n cheese which are in the freezer until Saturday. We will also have black beans, fried popcorn chicken, brown sugar veggies, salad, guacamole, salsa, chips... and we will pick up some soda and beer tomorrow. Since we are a derby household it will probably be PBR.

Last weekend I ran my first munecas practice as co-captain/captain, and I would say it went really well. People seemed to feel like it was a good practice, and for the first time in a long time I was sore after practice, and I think that is mostly due to the awesome off skates things Muffin showed us.

WFTDA (woman's flat track derby association) nationals are this weekend. They will surely be on at autumns party and we will be watching games after practice on Sunday.

In other news... I have been itching for some AWESOME, unique, beautiful fabric. I have scoured etsy and the web, but I just am not sure what I want, and am still really spoiled from my time in LA. It is hard for me to spend a lot of money on fabric after being able to buy it wholesale in the fashion district.

Also, early next week I will be sharing a product review of some new prismacolor markers that I was lucky enough to get some samples of. I will also be featuring etsy stores next week that I bought autumn birthday gifts from.

Have a great weekend everyone :)



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My new Sewing machine---is AWESOME---

I am sick again. It seems like I am always sick. I keep getting this cold that starts with a heinous ear ache, moves on to my throat and lungs and ends with me hacking out some lovely lung butter.

SO, I haven't put up a post about my new sewing machine yet. Probably because I am too busy sewing to take the time to write anything about it.

This is my machine:

And you may read more about it here. It is nothing fancy, but I love it.

It is SOOOO much nicer than my old machine, which I now know was in much worse shape than I thought it was in. I have made several really silly comments since I got it like "WOW, The pressure foot pulls the fabric STRAIGHT through!"

This sewing machine is computerized and has an automatic button stitch. It also has---GASP--- a zipper foot. It is amazing how much easier it is to sew a zipper with a zipper foot!

I lost my zipper foot on my old machine several moves (across state lines) ago and since it took me a long time to even realize how important it is to IRON while sewing, I didn't think it was that major to sew zippers with a regular sewing machine foot.

---I actually on the deans list at FIDM in spite of ignorance about sewing machines. I was always able to produce a decent outcome. Now I know how hard I was making things---

Any given item takes a fraction of the time to sew on my new machine vs. my old machine, and even the fancy stitches are easy to use.

I am so glad I finally replaced my machine. Another thing I have said several times since I got this new machine is "Adam, you know all of those times you said we could replace my sewing machine? I should have taken you up on that offer much sooner. "

Monday, November 9, 2009

I probably should not encourage this:

Or this:

and most definitely not this:

BUT SHE IS SOOOOO CUTE I CAN'T HELP IT! (and yes that is a girl even though she is wearing blue) I guess I should stop wondering how she became so spoiled!

Also, Adam finally got the Lathe he ordered, and he is very excited about that.

And I made this dress for Autumns birthday. It also has matching bloomers. I am selling them in my store, too.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Friday everyone!

Well, it is Friday again, which is wonderful. These weekends come and go so fast now.

It seems like a good day for an update.

First off, after about a year of being deficient in the skating rink department the rink formerly known as Roller King is being re-opened as Roller Skate World. Albuquerque has A HUGE bingo facility. To not have a roller rink would truly be a travesty. The newly renovated roller rink is having its grand opening tonight, and Duke City Derby is planning to be highly visible and out in force tonight! I can't wait. Part of the reason I started playing roller derby is because I really LOVE to roller skate.

Also, I got the blood tests back from the doctor and everything a came back normal! It is devastating. I know that I am working harder than ever before to lose this extra baby weight and I find it impossible to believe that there is not something wrong that is causing me to retain this weight. Unfortunately this means whatever is wrong is not an easy find, or fix. In the mean time I can't really exercise more than I am during the actual derby season (we are having our off season right now) so I will have to reduce my caloric intake again, which seems ridiculous to me because we have a very healthy diet, but is the only thing I can think to do. I will also start recording my meals again. I have a follow-up appointment with the doctor in December.

I am thinking about joining weight watchers and I am also thinking about starting a fitness blog.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

TUTORIAL: How to turn a baby shirt in to a dress!

I am finally getting around to typing up this tutorial! I think it is a great one, it is oh so easy AND it will help you get more mileage out of your baby clothes.

As My baby gets older, and bigger it seems lime many of her little onesies and other outfits are not getting too tight, just too short. Making my favorite baby body suits into dresses is a great way to end up with some ADORABLE outfits and save some money!

start by cutting the bottom off of your body suit. If you want more of a baby doll style dress cut it off higher, and if you want a longer torso cut it lower. This is a body suit that I bought from the dollar store and put a computer print out iron-on transfer on. Autumn wore it many times and now it is not long enough.

Find a fabric that you like and determine how long you want the dress to be. add 1 1/2" . 1" seam allowance at the bottom and 1/2" seam allowance at the top. I eyeballed mine, and you can do it that way too. When the fabric is folded in half use the entire width of the fabric (or half-width, technically) cut the fold of the fabric off. Sew up each side of the fabric, those are your side seams. Press the side seams open, and iron and sew your hem (this should take 1" off the bottom of the dress of your skirt.)

***TIP*** if you don't have many options for local fabric shopping and don't want to wait for something to be shipped to you, you are probably going to Jo-Anne's. If this is true, check for coupons, there are usually coupons available online if you do a google search, or you may be able to find them in your Sunday paper.

Next, sew a basting stitch over the top of the skirt of the dress (turn your straight stitch up to 5) and pull one thread to create the sirring for the skirt. If you pull the thread that comes from the spool, not from the bobbin, or the string on the top of your fabric when you are sewing, it will be easier to slide the shirring down the skirt. Either way, pull the same thread until the shirring is adequate or you will break your thread.

match the side seam of your skirt and the top and distribute the shirring evenly.

Use a Zig Zag stitch and a medium stitch width to attach the skirt to the top.

Iron the little dress and voila! You just up cycled that onesie your baby outgrew!

I used the bottom part of the onesie and some extra fabric to make this matching headband. If you make an empire style dress you can also put elastic in the top of the bottom half of the baby body suit to make a matching diaper cover.

I am really happy with the results of this dress, and the possibilities for variations are endless!

We went out to a few places that afternoon and we got SO many compliments. Besides, she is at the age where she grows up, not out, so I think as she gets too tall it will make a cute baby doll top!

Also, this project took hardly any time, which is great. I made it before I replaced my night mare of a sewing machine and the whole thing, including cutting and making the headband took less than an hour.

Hope you enjoy, and have an excuse to make one. You can always make one out of a new onesie and monogram it our use some steam-a-seam to put a cute animal on it. That would be a really fun hand-made baby shower gift!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Costumes and preview for CAUSTIC THREADS !

Halloween was fun, and stressful. We had two parties to go to, and relatively little time... and after a while the costumes can get a little uncomfortable.

Adam was the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland

I was Little Bo Peep... and am very happy with how my costume turned out. I started it at about 1:00 on Halloween and had it completed in time to go out- that required making 5 pieces from scratch! ( I also make my own patterns) I DID get a new sewing machine. More on that later.

and Autumn was my adorable little lamb!

also, I am going to start another etsy store called Caustic Threads. I already have the shop, but it is empty and there has been no activity in it yet. This is going to be one of my first items. This picture kinda sucks but it is a t-shirt that has been altered into a small halter top and it has a crow and heart fabric applique.

I have a lot more work to do before I get it up and running, but here is a little sneak peak :)

I am also going to start moving some of my Acrylic and Steel merchandise over there, things like purses.