Monday, August 3, 2009

Contests and Camp

Hey everybody!!! I know its been a while, but there's tons of exciting stuff happening here. I just got back from being a counselor at a Christian Youth Camp. It was amazing, and God really met us there. I just got my new laptop in the mail today, so I will be able to create more video projects since this one hopefully won't crash on me all the time like my old one did. Speaking of video, I made the finals in a youtube contest sponsored by A1 Steak Sauce. Check out the video and vote here!
Also, I think I've finally got everything ready for the grand opening of my etsy store! Look for that soon.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! I hope you all have a great day, and please be careful if you're shooting off fireworks!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Patriotic Concert Series

Hey! For those of you who don't know, I also play the piano. To celebrate the 4th of July, I'm recording a some patriotic songs and posting them in a concert series on youtube! Thus far, all the songs recorded have been from Catherine Rollin's "American Medleys and Variations." Today's pieces are "America the Beautiful" and "A Star-Spangled Fantasy."

Coaster Pattern

As promised, here is a free pattern perfect for the summer! These coasters are great to put under any refreshing summer beverage. In addition, it requires crocheting in a round, so if you haven't done that before this is great practice! This is the same basic technique I use to create my hats and dolls; master this, and you'll be ready to try making a hat when the weather gets colder! Also, try using furry yarn for one of the stripes; it makes these really fun and funky. Remember, all patterns are Copyright 2009, Angela Marshall. You may not use these patterns for commercial purposes without first gaining permission. You may, however, print them out and share them with your friends!

Striped Coaster Pattern

Materials needed: ~1 crochet hook. I used size I, but most sizes will work for this project.
~Two colors of yarn if you want to make a striped coaster. You could also complete the pattern using only one color for a solid look. Try using specialty yarn for one of the stripes

1: Do 3 chain stitches. Connect both ends using a slip stitch. Now you have a small loop.
2: Do 2 chain stitches. Now, using the center of the loop as the foundation for your stitches, do 8 single crochets. Use a slip stitch to join your last stitch to your first. If you are making a striped coaster, change colors now. If you are making a solid coaster, ignore directions that tell you to change colors.
3: Do 2 chain stitches. Going around the circle, put 1 single crochet in every odd numbered stitch, and 2 in every even stitch. Use a slip stitch to join your last stitch to your first. Switch yarn colors.
4: Do 2 chain stitches. Put 1 single crochet in the first stitch and 1 in the second. Put 2 single crochets in the third stitch. Work your way around the circle, continuing this pattern. Every third stitch should receive 2 single crochets. Join your last stitch to your first with a slip stitch and change yarn colors.
5: Do 2 chain stitches. Put 1 single crochet in every odd stitch, and 2 in every even stitch. (This is the same pattern of stitches you used in step 3.) Continue all the way around the circle, alternating between 1 and 2 stitches. Join your last stitch to your first with a slip stitch, completing the circle. Change yarn colors.
6. Do 2 chain stitches. Using the same pattern as step 4, work around the circle. Complete the circle with a chain stitch and change yarn colors.
7. Do 2 chain stitches. Put 1 single crochet in every stitch around the circle. Complete the circle with a slip stitch, and complete the pattern by cutting your yarn and tying a knot so your coaster won’t unravel!
8. Protect your furniture in style this summer!

If you have any problems completing this pattern, email your questions to And, if you finish this project and think it looks terrific, send me some pics! I'd love to see them and possibly post them!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Patterns

Hey! I just wanted to show you some of the cute patterns I'm developing. I'll try to have one ready for tomorrow. These brooches and coasters are the perfect way to use your crochet skills in the summer time, when scarves and hats just aren't a practical accessory! I've also been experimenting with some soft sculpture patterns. If you include some potpourri with the apple's stuffing, it makes your room smell delicious!

Rook and Shadow

Well, due to some unforeseen bank issues I wasn't able to get PayPal set up. So, it looks like I won't be opening my Etsy store tomorrow as I had planned. :( However, I'm taking the time I had planned to spend posting items and working on my novel, Rook and Shadow. The picture is the cover I designed. My friend Whitney (of Generation Gap on Etsy) agreed to model for me. She also chased ducks in the park so I could get a shot of an extended wing. I had hoped to use an actual rook's wing, but every time I get near one they fly away! The ducks, however, were much more hospitable. The picture was taken in a park, although I edited it to give it a more mysterious feel.
All in all, I like the cover. Now I just need to finish the book! When I get a first chapter edited more completely, I'll be sure to post a sneak peak here for you!
Rook and Shadow is a twist on the traditional fairy tales I read and loved as a little girl.
Blessed with beauty at her birth, Princess Sayonra is considered a national treasure. However, she is tired of serving as the court poets' muse. After realizing her parents intend to use her beauty to attract a suitable ruler, rather than training her for the job, Sayonra runs away. Knowing nothing of the real world, Sayonra joins a group of bandits that are determined to overthrow her!
I've been working on this for a long time. Its currently 200 pages long and in its second revision. I plan to self-publish it so I can use my artwork on the cover. I'll keep you posted!
Stay tuned! Since I can't open my store yet I'm going to post some free pattern soon. I'll start with some really cute brooches, a perfect way to accessorize with crochet in the summer without dying of heatstroke. I'll also be posting patterns for some really cute summer coasters. Enjoy your beverages without ruining your furniture!
Remember, all photos and patterns are Copyright 2009, Angela Marshall

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cinderella Doll

In addition to making hats and other accessories, I also love to do soft sculpture. I'm not sure if I'll offer dolls in my store yet because it takes me a really long time to make one, so I would have to charge quite a bit to make it worthwhile. Also, once I've finished a doll, it feels more like a friend than a craft, and I have a hard time parting with them. So far, I've only given them to close friends on very special occasions.
Last year I worked as a costumer at my college with my friend Whitney. (She also has a blog "A glimpse at my world," an etsy store "GenerationGap," and a web show on youtube called "Whitney Sews" (I thought of the name:) ) The school performed Cinderella, which meant we had 94 costumes to make! And, due to the nature of the play, many of those were ballgowns!
Fortunately, we had some help. Several of the school administrators helped us design and create many of the costumes. I'm not sure what we would have done without Dallas and Dr. Hall! To thank Dallas, I made her a doll wearing the dress she designed for the queen. She loved it and proceeded to play with it during the breaks we had backstage. I thought you might enjoy seeing this creation, so here she is.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ribbon Dolls

Today, rather than debuting a new pattern, I would like to show you an old craft that is making a comeback in Canada. My Aunt Cindy sent me a kit for Christmas, but I only finished it this past week, after she showed me several beautiful dolls her friend Linda made.
First, let me tell you it is hard to capture the charm of this art form in a photograph. You really have to see it in person to get how cute it is. Fortunately, this is a relatively easy project.
Ribbon dolls seem to have hit their peak in the 1920s and 1930s. Basically, you cover paper dolls with ribbon and frame them. A simple idea that also happens to be a lot of fun! (I really wish I had taken pictures of Linda's dolls. They were fantastic! She buys vintage paper dolls on Ebay and creates her own patterns to dress them.)
To make this doll I gathered pieces of ribbon to create a ruffle then glued them onto a triangular piece of cardboard to make the skirt. The blouse is done on a separate piece of paper attached to the head, then all the pieces are glued together. As soon as I have time, I plan to try this project with a photograph instead of a paper doll, just to mix things up a little. I'll keep you posted!

The Broom of Destruction!!!!

I hope everyone had a good weekend! Every Sunday I plan to post a devotional or some encouragement from God’s Word. Right now I am going through the Bible chronologically, focusing on the books I haven’t really read before.

I’m just beginning the Major Prophets. Reading prophecy usually leaves me with more questions than answers, but I also find it strangely uplifting.
Today’s scripture caught my attention at first for its unusual metaphor.

Isaiah 14:23 (NIV) ““I will turn her into a place for owls and into swampland; I will sweep her with the broom of destruction,” declares the LORD Almighty.”

Isn’t that a fantastic phrase? “The broom of destruction…” It really makes me want to write some strange science fiction book or really deep metaphorical song so I can use that as a title for more than a blog post. (If I do, I’ll be sure to post it for you.) God is speaking here through the prophet Isaiah about the judgment he plans to bring against Babylon. Amusing analogy aside, this verse also spoke to me about the nature of God.

God is so powerful! Think about the sorts of things you usually sweep with a broom. Dust. Dirt. Small pesky particles that have somehow found their way onto your floor. And that is what the mighty nation of Babylon was to God. He views His enemies as nothing more than specks of dust. Understand, when I talk about enemies, I’m not talking about the person who stole your parking spot or your annoying classmate or coworker. The Babylonians had carried God’s chosen people into captivity (God let this happen as a consequence of Israel’s idolatry). Babylon actively worked against God. Their kings were filled with pride. The Babylonian empire spanned most of the known world; there really isn’t a good modern day comparison.

But to God, they were dust. Ready to be swept up with the broom of destruction. Remember that the next time a spiritual obstacle seems insurmountable.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Widow's Peak Cap

Hello, everyone!
I have returned from the Great White North (aka Canada) and plan to post pics soon. I have set July 1, 2009, as the opening date for my store on etsy. Meanwhile, I have been hard at work creating new crochet designs. I will post pictures and explanations as I photograph them. The design I'm focusing this post on is the Widow's Peak Cap. It was inspired by the way some people's hair forms an upside down "V" on their foreheads, although I like to wear the peak to the side to create an asymmetrical look. (Eddie Munster's hairline is a slight exaggeration of this phenomenon, but you get the idea.) I'm really excited about this hat design; I wish it were winter so I could wear it right now! I'm tempted to try, but it was 104 today, so I think I'll just have to wait. I made the prototype for this hat on the drive back from Canada. It was hot then too, as our air conditioner was broken. I look forward to opening my store on the first! In the meantime, I am also creating some how to crochet videos and free patterns, so you can practice your crochet skills. If I didn't have to pay for my yarn addiction, I wouldn't charge anything in the first place. But seriously, I spent $50 on yarn the last time I was at Hobby Lobby! Until next time, keep crafting!

PS, the widow's peak cap is Copyright 2009 by Angela Marshall

Saturday, May 30, 2009

First Post

This is my first post, so I'm not quite sure how this works yet. My etsy store, "PianoForteDesigns," will be opening soon, so look for me there! I opened this blog so I could more fully explain my art and myself. I am a college student from Oklahoma. I'll be a Junior next year, but I still haven't decided on a major. I've been creating art for as long as I can remember in the forms of crafts and songs, so opening a store is an exciting prospect for me. I've been playing the piano since I was ten, so that inspired my store's name and the name of this blog. For those of you who don't have music training, let me explain the musical-nerdiness behind this name. Dynamics, in the realm of music, tell how loudly or softly to play. Piano is the dynamic marking for soft and Forte means play loudly. Also, my instrument, the piano, was originally called the pianoforte because it could play both soft and loud, something similar instruments had been unable to accomplish.
Well, that's a little bit about me, my instrument, and my art.