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1  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 48 ENTRIES / Wire Folding Ball Toy from Paperclips on: March 01, 2010 12:16:05 PM
Hi all!

This is a version of one of those cool flip-folding wire balls that change into a flower or planet, or tube-like shape. The first time I saw one of these was when my sister's elementary class visited NYC and one of the chaperones had bought her one, possibly from a street vendor. I have since seen them in toy stores and craft fairs.

The idea came to me in a chance sort of way. As often happens, I googled "wire ball folding bead toy" in a fleeting moment of curiosity. I finally learned it was once marketed by Natural Wonders stores as a "Heaven's Orb" and I also found a few pictures of the normal-sized one. I also learned that Natural Wonders sold a smaller "Heaven's Pendant" and that was what got me thinking, "Hmmm.... Little Tiny Challenge... Cousin's Birthday coming up.... Where are those pliers....?"

So I am so excited to show you this!
Modeled by my preschooler:

I used #10 paperclips (the small ones). The main ring structures are made from whole clips and the 'petals' are half paperclips. I used some brass wire to attach the two halves.


I didn't figure out that I should have pre-bent the wires until I did the second half of it... and I'm not a jewelry maker so it's a little sloppy. But I am really happy with it, and that is what matters!



Before it was done it looked like a ball of barbed wire but I tucked in the wire ends  and it is now relatively safe even for my toddler and preschooler to fight over... um... I mean share and play with.

As for a tutorial: I figured someone must have already deposited something somewhere in the vast font of all knowledge (aka the web), so I googled in a more obsessive manner and finally discovered a whole bunch of video tutorials online. They are generally instructions for larger ones, some quite beautiful. The proper term seems to be "Wire Mandala." Here's a rather nice video example: http://www.equinenow.com/video-num-4254527.htm.

Thanks for looking! Can't wait to see what you all did!
-Jenn.

2  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 47 ENTRIES / Rice Bag for busy moms ("choice special - great for sushi rice") on: February 02, 2010 07:49:31 AM
Hi friends,

This is my first challenge! I used the Rice Bag idea: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=269188.0. Not original, but I have been lurking for about 4 years so I do feel accomplished to have finally taken part in a challenge!

The bag:


My own process featured a lot of experimentation to figure out what to do. I decided to avoid the whole fused plastic thing because I have 2 young-uns at home with me - didn't want them to get any ideas about experimenting with plastic bags and irons or anything.  Wink Fused plastic projects look so cool though and I will do that someday! I started off crocheting plarn made from Uno's takeout bags but it started coming out too bulky for stacking with the other ten totes we bring to the store.

My oldest modeling my crochet in progress (this idea was "bagged"  Tongue sorry...):


So the rice bag was the solution for me. I tried using the plarn to stitch the bag together but the holes made by the big needle just ripped the bag. The original rice bags were made out some kind of laminated plasticky paper. Perhaps with a more fabric-like rice bag I could stitch it with the plarn in the future.

The outside of the bag was nifty enough for me (dig the Chinglish and photo of rice plants) and shows off how much rice we eat Cheesy It folds up and stores with the rest of our reusable bags, easily wipes clean, and doesn't have doodads that would fall off. Our bags get a lot of rough use!

To make it, I cut up two 20-lb. bags following the shape of an existing reusable tote. I zigzagged all the pieces right-sides together. I turned the bag and boxed & x-ed the handles on with straight stitches. Handles are just long scraps folded over and straight-stitched. This one took probably an hour to make. Hard to keep track because I worked on it off and on starting in the afternoon and ending after dinner. The next one will be quicker (and neater) now that I've figured out how it would go together.

Everyone here is so crafty - I'm not worthy!! Looking forward to seeing all the ideas!
3  NEWS AND DISCUSSION ABOUT CRAFTSTER / Introduce Yourself / artsy MedfordMA mama on: September 14, 2007 01:04:14 PM
Hi there,

I just joined last week but have visited before. There are so many awesome creations and ideas here... This site is addictive! I'm a stay at home mom with a 2yo. I love to draw/paint and used to play with stuff like hot glue and exacto knives before I had to worry about childproofing! Some day my little girl will be ready to handle sharp objects and chemicals and I'll haul everything out of the attic. Hopefully craftster will still be here, too! Anyway it's naptime (glory be) so here I am Grin.

Looking forward to contributing. Thanks for such a great site!
 Cheesy
Jenn.
4  UNITED STATES / Massachusetts / First show a bust... any advice from Boston area veterans? on: September 11, 2007 12:09:29 PM
Hi there,

Any advice or encouragement welcome on this as my husband and I are pretty discouraged after our first show this weekend.  Cry

For background: we designed wooden stools, coat hook racks and bookends that he made in our basement and I decorated with my illustrations. We thought we had priced things decently ($30-35 for the hooks, $60 for the stools, $30 for the bookends, a $7 crayon holder as our cheapie item). If you're interested you can see a few pix here: http://jcdillustration.servehttp.com. More about the festival (Medford Arts Festival) at www.medfordarts.org/MAF2007.

I guess I'm very very new to the craft world but I didn't quite expect that our first show would turn out so poorly. We sold one crayon holder. The festival was Saturday which anyone who was in the area knows was miserably hot. Otherwise it should have been perfect - an Arts Festival with live music, free kids activities and free italian ice and snacks from Trader Joe's.

So we're pretty much blaming the weather but now we have all this stuff we didn't sell. Luckily it's before Christmas gift season but we are a little wary and don't want to jump into anything now that we don't know much about. We also hope not to throw good money (and time) after bad.

We are thinking that any affordable (fee under $100) show/venue that attracts families and grandparents would be ideal. There should be a lot of those within a 45 minute drive of Boston, right? A well-attended school or church holiday fair would be awesome as it would even support a good cause. We just really don't know where to start.

So... If anyone has a beat on something that we could look into that would really help us out. Or even just some honest advice on our product and pricing. I'll try to put more pix of the product up later tonight (the website has mostly the illustrations) I promise I won't get all defensive on you. Wink.

Thanks so much in advance. This seems like such a suppportive community (started in Somerville, no less) and I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Jenn.
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