Spring wire tree

I actually finished making this in March of last year, but didn’t get around to taking pictures of it until almost summer. By then it didn’t make sense to post about spring, which is why I waited to post it now.

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The entire thing stands a little under 8 inches tall.

I followed the basic idea from this tutorial. (The page no longer exists, which is why I’m linking to the Wayback Machine archive.)

I used an entire 20 gram bag of 11/0 seed beads for this tree. Cheap seed beads work well for this kind of project, because it doesn’t matter if the sizes aren’t uniform. Since most of the beads were so narrow, I ended up using 6 beads instead of 5 beads for many of the blossoms, to make them look fuller.

After twisting the wires somewhat randomly, I decided to aim for a peach tree look, so that’s how I distributed the blossoms on the branches. The hardest part was deciding how to assemble the branches, for a natural-looking tree form. Simply twisting all the stems together would result in a funny looking bouquet. I held the branches next to each other to see which ones looked better together, before twisting them.

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I secured the tree and rocks in the pot (it’s actually a 2.5″ diameter ramekin) with hot glue, as was shown in this tutorial.

I didn’t time how long this took me to make, but I’m sure I spent over 20 hours on twisting the wires alone.

A few days after completing it, I discovered a ladybug on my tree!

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My second kumihimo bracelet

I decided to make a second kumihimo bracelet with blue and silver beads. Many years ago I would have preferred this color combination over the other one, but my tastes have evolved. I now think having them both be silver-lined makes the colors blend together in one shiny mess.

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Then I found other kumihimo patterns and decided to try the wider spiral. I think it works better with these colors because they are farther apart so there is more contrast. This bracelet looks better from a distance.

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This time I used a disk template from CraftDesignOnline.com and glued it onto a cardboard circle. Having evenly spaced slots made it easier to work with.

I cut each string to 15″. I don’t remember if I put 36 beads on each strand. I ended up using all but the last ones. The beaded portion of the braid is 5 3/8″ long, but the entire braid is 6″ long including the end caps. (This information probably isn’t useful to you unless you also have 5.5″ wrists.)

I have a correction to state about the desired length of the bracelet. The length of the bracelet alone does not determine its size. The width also matters. To illustrate, if you had two identical lengths of string and strung large beads on one and small beads on the other, the one with the larger beads would result in a smaller bracelet than the one with the small beads. That’s because the “inner circumference” of the bracelet determines the size. Since the larger beads take up more space than the smaller ones, they reduce the inner circumference of the bracelet. Here’s a diagram that I painstakingly made, to show this. Pay attention to the purple dashed line.

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From this, we know that having a 7 inch long braid does not guarantee it’ll fit a 7-inch wrist, because the width of one of these kumihimo braids with beads is 7.5 mm.

After my first experience with gluing the end caps on, I knew to cut off more of the cord so that it will all be hidden inside the end caps. I did a better job this time.

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I had actually made this bracelet about a year ago, and had this draft saved for months before finally posting it now. I have since made more elaborate kumihimo, which I will show in posts to come.

Knit hat with swirls

One reason I knit is to challenge myself. I come up with my own patterns and every project I do utilizes a number of new skills. This time I was overly ambitious. It was my first time making a hat, knitting in the round (with circular and double pointed needles), doing k2,p2 ribbing, and stranded colorwork.

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I started this project almost two years ago, and didn’t touch it again until I finished it over Thanksgiving break last year. I ran into several setbacks along the way, so what you see in the photo here is actually my fifth attempt (not counting all the failed cast ons when I ran out of yarn, and the starts when I forgot to properly join the ends when knitting the the round and it ended up loose and sloppy. Including those might have made it 30, but I didn’t count.) I eventually figured out that when doing long tail cast on, the strand in back uses twice as much yarn as the one in front.

I don’t think I prefer one over the other, but there are certain advantages of circular needles over double pointed needles. One is that you don’t have to worry about your work sliding off the ends of the needle. Casting on is also more straightforward with circular needles. I started the hat with double pointed needles because my circular needles were too long. I switched to circular needles after adding the second color, because the fabric had gotten thicker and was threatening to slide off. I still had to pull the extra length of cable out between two stitches, and adjust it as I went along.

When I first attempted k2,p2 ribbing months earlier, it looked messed up, so I scrapped that idea. This time, I kept at it and realized that it always looks messed up for the first three rows or so, and then it starts to look like k2,p2 ribbing.

This hat was based on the one shown in the Learn to Knit Fair Isle videos by VeryPink Knits, but I wanted to come up with my own stranded colorwork pattern. It’s actually pretty straightforward; just make your design on a grid. Each square corresponds to a stitch. The problem I ran into was getting it to fit with the total number stitches, when repeated. (K2,p2 requires a multiple of 4.) It hadn’t occurred to me that I could do a decrease and reduce the number of stitches to an odd number. I ended up making a different design, which is the swirl that you see now.

Since I wasn’t following a pattern and didn’t bother with gauge, I made it harder for myself. At first, I thought 84 stitches would be big enough for me, but it wasn’t, so I took it apart and tried 108 stitches, which ended up far too large. This was after I had knit several rows of ribbing. That’s why gauge is important!

A lot of knit hats look longer than they are wide. The length isn’t so much a problem, since you can always fold up the extra. I was more concerned about the width, because I wanted my hat to feel comfortable when worn. I figured if it was too wide, I could make the rest shorter so it would be stopped by my head before it could cover my eyes. I settled at 100 stitches, but I think 96 stitches would have been fine. I now wish I had made it 3 rows longer, since I like having my ears completely covered.

Here’s a note on measurement. (Pardon my weird drawings.)

It’s common to see instructions for measuring the circumference of the head like this: Going by that measurement would yield a hat that ends up too tight, because most people wear a knit hat like this:
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I haven’t decided what to make for my next project, but now that I’ve done stranded colorwork, I’d like to tackle intarsia.

Updated Britelites Color Review

Back in 2015 I posted a review of Britelites Temporary Hair Color, after trying one color. Thanks to Sara Rose, creator of Britelites, I was able to try all the colors in January of 2016. I took pictures of the colors in my hair shortly after, and finally had the time to post them now.

Here’s how the colors look on my dark hair. All photos were shot immediately after the product was applied, with no additional touching or treatment. The colors were not enhanced with post-processing.

Starting with the Vivids

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Hover over the thumbnail for color name. Click for larger image.

The colors that showed up the brightest were Rose Red, Orange, Gold, Turquoise, and Blue. Indigo is not as intense. Green and Purple are subtle. Purple is more of a tint.

Now on to the Pastels

pastelsThe Pastels are recommended for lighter hair colors. (I am aware that a new color Peach Quartz has since been added, but I don’t have that one, hence no photo.)

As you can see, they are visible on my dark hair. Whether or not you like the results depends on the look you want. Mint doesn’t work for me, but I love how Lilac looks on my hair.

Other Remarks

  • I was able to learn more about how to apply Britelites from watching Sara’s videos. One problem that I mentioned in my first review was that the color would disappear after I used my fingers to work the pigment through my hair. Then I watched this video, and noticed that she doesn’t touch where she applied the color, so it stayed bright. In the application video, you can see that she uses her fingers just to smooth out any chunks.
  • Colors can be layered and blended, as shown in this video. Somehow, Turquoise looks more green than blue on my hair, but I applied it over Blue to get the desired color. The same can be done for wearing a Pastel color over a brighter color.
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Turquoise applied over Blue

  • It’s not uncommon for little flakes of product to fall during application, and they can stain. (I still have some blue spots on my carpet, but it’s old, so that’s okay.) For easier clean up, I recommend applying it over a non-porous surface.
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Flakes of Britelites that I collected after an application.

  • I had mentioned in my previous review that the strong spike lavender smell bothered me. According to Sara, (as of December 2015) they’ve reformulated it and “no longer use lavender fragrance but we still do use small amount of Bulgarian lavender essential oil.” There still was a bit of the smell, but it wasn’t as strong as before, so it’s less bothersome.

How does it compare to hair chalk?
After using both Britelites and hair chalk, these are my impressions. Britelites gives a nice shiny color that lasts longer. Hair chalk looks matte. I think of hair chalk like a dry shampoo. I haven’t had it dry out my hair, possibly because my hair is naturally oily. That might be why Britelites tends to cause my hair to clump after a few hours. Results may vary from individual to individual.

These two photos were taken on the same day. One immediately after application, and the other seven hours later. I avoided touching both areas during the time. Britelites Rose Red is on the left and hair chalk is on the right. I did not seal the hair chalk with hairspray. It’s possible that the color would have lasted longer had I done so.

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Immediately after application.

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Seven hours later. Some of the hair chalk has fallen out, resulting in a faded appearance. Britelites color is still nice and strong. However, the hair is a bit more clumped.

In the end, it boils down to the kind of look you want, how each product works with your hair type, and how much money you’re willing to spend. The ease of application for both is about the same, if you skip the hairspray step for hair chalk. I do like that Britelites is made to be used on its own, without requiring other products. Keep in mind that they are both temporary hair color, hence the color will transfer when touched.

Conclusion
When I first tried Britelites, I really wanted to like it, so I was disappointed when the Purple wasn’t as vivid as I hoped it would be. After trying some other colors, I am happy to say that I would buy this product again. My favorite colors are Rose Red, Blue, and Lilac.

Disclaimer: I received the product for free but all opinions are my own. I am not making money from this review or affiliate links.

Why I haven’t been posting, and some words on copyright

I haven’t been posting here and I might not again until the end of the year. In addition to my job, I am taking classes for my career, so that’s eating up my free time. That said, I am not going to abandon this site, as I have many plans for future posts.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting pictures of my original designs over the past year. I haven’t had as much time to make jewelry, but the main reason is that I fear that someone will copy my designs. I really don’t want my images ending up on a bookmarking site (like Pinterest or We Heart It) because they can spread like crazy afterward and end up in the wrong hands. Some say it’s free advertising, and I might take advantage of that someday if I actually launch my business, but not now. People often use those sites as an image bank and, instead of crediting the original source, they put Pinterest as the image credit. Unfortunately, results from Pinterest often appear in image search results before the original source.

Over a year ago, I started writing a lengthy post about copyright in relation to craft tutorials, but that’s currently on hold. However, something happened recently that prompted me to revisit the topic.

A few weeks ago I discovered that someone used one of my images on her website without my permission. She uploaded a smaller version to her site, and linked to mine. Although in the back of my mind I knew it would happen sooner or later, I was shocked to see my photo on another site. I am not happy about that because I do not want my images appearing on other websites. As the copyright holder, that’s entirely in my right.

Wait, isn’t everything that’s available for free on the Internet in the public domain?
Not necessarily. Given the duration of copyrights, there are actually very few recently created works that are in the public domain. See this chart for more information on copyright expiration. Just because something has been shared over and over again online and you don’t know where it first came from, does not mean it is in the public domain.

Most online content is in fact copyrighted, even if there isn’t a notice. Starting from January 1, 1978, all original creative works are under copyright protection as soon as they’re fixed in a tangible form. After the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988, a copyright notice is not necessary for works created after March 1, 1989 to be protected by copyright, although it would certainly help in a copyright infringement case because the infringer cannot claim to be unaware that the material was copyrighted. Although registering a copyright is optional for your work to be copyrighted, it is required if you wish to take legal action.

Maybe I hadn’t made it obvious enough. I didn’t want to look possessive by placing a giant watermark on my images. I only put “quirkyintrovert” on them so people can find the source if it does end up on another site. After all, it’s not going to stop people who are really intent on stealing from doing so.

I only had a copyright notice on my About page, so I added another one in a sidebar widget. It contains a link to a more detailed copyright notice, because it appears that many people don’t understand the meaning of “all rights reserved.” Unfortunately, it won’t be readily visible on a mobile device, so I might just have to go through and add a notice to all my posts.

She gave you credit, so what’s the problem?
Giving credit only means you didn’t plagiarize. I’ve been guilty of it too, when I didn’t know better. After I did know better, I began to only post links to sites with photos that inspired me, rather than posting the photo on my site. I’ve also removed images that weren’t mine from my old posts, and only linked to them instead. I started with the ones I could remember, and am working through the rest.

There are plenty of bloggers who state you’re welcome to use one photo without asking, as long as you link to their site and give them credit. In fact, there are many images on the Web that have a Creative Commons license. However, if there is no mention of those, it’s safer to assume you will need permission. The copyright holder could sue you without any warning, and if you’re found guilty of copyright infringement, you will have to pay them, even after you’ve taken their image down. (Read about this blogger’s experience here.) Even if you’re an educator, you might still need permission depending on how you’ll present the materials to your students. Here’s a handy interactive tool on permission exemptions for instructors.

Most importantly, (and this has nothing to do with the law), please be respectful of the ownership that creators have over their work. These people put time and effort into creating something, and additional time and effort to share it on the Web. It’s so easy to download a photo and distribute it without thinking about where it came from. The attitude of “anything on the Internet is free for me to use” needs to change. Just because you can see an image and easily download it, doesn’t mean it’s right for you to take it.

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After this happened, I’m less inclined to share my original creative work publicly online. Maybe not until I have started my business and registered my copyrights.

Were you aware of these things about copyright law? Have you ever had your work used without your permission? What did you do about it?