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1  Re: Warm Wishes for Yule 54 card and BOS swap in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: December 17, 2014 06:28:01 PM
My package from holistic knitter came today. Not quite jet-propelled like mine was to Wales, but still pretty good for international mail. Probably helped by the added volume of mail at Christmas.

Anyway, she made me three BOS pages on Yule-related plants: holly, mistletoe and ivy. There was also a very cheerful card, and a lovely little wood slice ornament, with a pentagram on one side and "YULE" on the other.

Thanks for this, Lynda. I haven't even had a chance to read through the pages yet, but it looks like great stuff, and I like your drawings!

Merry Yule, everyone!

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2  Re: Dotee Doll Any Holiday Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: December 02, 2014 06:17:12 PM
I love the Ghost of Christmas - very Dickensian!

I just received the MOST WONDERFUL dotee from hazelly. I'd ranted a bit in my questionnaire about wanting something other than the current store-decoration Christmas figures, and she was kind enough to mollify me with this tiny, beautiful Holly King.

Many modern Pagans celebrate Yule with the story of the defeat of the Oak King by the Holly King, who rules through the Winter and Spring until he faces his rival again at the Summer Solstice.

Just look at his beautiful little face, and the red seed bead berries!

I had to take another photo of the holly leaves and lovely red and gold glass bead at the tail, so you can see how tiny it is. This is ridiculously small crocheting!

Thanks, Susan, for this perfect little figure - I couldn't imagine a better start to my dotee collection! (And congratulations for staying well under the size limit - I'm afraid I was less successful at that part. Embarrassed)

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3  Re: WWP 53 Samhain Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: October 24, 2014 06:54:51 PM
I'm recharging some batteries now so I can take photos again. I have given up on loading them from my phone.

Hah! Then I beat you to it! Wink

I received a sweet little package from Badwolf yesterday.

The best part is this set of crocheted offering bowls. I received a couple of crocheted bowls in a previous swap and I love them dearly, so I was thrilled to see these. They're just the right size to use as apple cozies, too. The yarn is very natural and gritty-looking but is really very soft.

Then she made these two Zentangle-ish moon bookmarks, and a beautiful stone (carnelian, maybe?) set with silver (?) wire on a braided hemp cord. It has a great feel to it.

Then there were these great postcards. One of the vintage ones is of Snoqualmie Falls in Washington, which is actually a favourite spot of mine. The nude is an Andrew Wyeth painting that I don't think I've ever seen before. And just look at the tiny emergency sewing kit built in a vintage matchbook!

There were also two chocolate-dipped marshmallows, which I'm afraid didn't last long enough to be photographed Grin, and two brilliant pin-back buttons with photos of real buttons on them. I seem to have misplaced them already, though, so I couldn't include them in the photos. Do you happen to have pics of these beauties, Badwolf? They're too good not to share!

Thanks for all these! I love it when people I've never swapped with before are so good at guessing what I'll like!

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4  Re: The Snarky Housewives Swap GALLERY in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: September 23, 2014 07:12:40 PM
Whoooeee! I just got the most amazing piece of snark art from geekgirl1000100! Please excuse the terrible photos - I know I should wait til tomorrow so I can shoot it in better light, but I'm just to eager to show it off!

I had said that size was a consideration because our house is small and wall space is at a premium, so geekgirl cleverly made it two-sided, so I can enjoy two great pieces in the same space, just by reversing it every now and then.

The first side is a shadowbox, with a tiny martini glass (which you can barely see in this photo) and a bottle of vermouth. Around the frame, on the wonderful top hat paper, are miniature hammers and hatchets. Very appropriate for the text: "Sure, I could be kind and compassionate, but I'm going with cynical and snarky." Underneath are nuts and washers dangling with a miniature ice bucket and bottle.

It's worth a close-up:

The other side is just as great, with this slightly over-excited woman surrounded by treats:

I think my mother had that exact wallpaper in the kitchen when I was about five! The text reads: "I understand the concept of cooking and cleaning, just not as it applies to me."

Thanks, geekgirl, for this absolutely perfect pair! It's already found a coveted piece of wall space in the kitchen.


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5  Re: Fabric Art Journal Pages Swap RD 3 GALLERY in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: August 08, 2014 08:09:51 AM
Yes, October sounds good for me!

So glad you liked you Poe page, Goatgoddess. It was a lot of fun to do. The image of Edgar Allan was printed onto a scrap of sheer fabric. (I used the Freezer Paper method, which worked very well.)

I finally received my final page, from Smmarrt. It was SO worth the wait!

The top of the mushroom is made of a mysterious, silk-like material that turns out to be a used teabag. Who knew! I love the tiny bit of grass fabric forming the stem.

Like her other partners, I also got a bonus selection of fabric pieces, including some lovely sage green linen. Thanks, Susan!

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6  Re: Fabric Art Journal Pages Swap RD 3 GALLERY in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: July 30, 2014 06:03:50 PM
I love both those Four Elements pages; can't pick a favourite between them.

This great page arrived from goatgoddess today!

I can't get a photo to do it justice at all. The stitched highlights on the left side of the tree shine beautifully, and the hand-dyed muslin background has a matte, papery quality that sets off the appliqued tree perfectly. You almost don't notice that the tree trunk is made up of three different fabrics, they blend together so well. But I'll bet it was very tricky to do!

And once again I have to show the back, because it's almost as spectacular.

I love the way the batik pattern looks like tiny handprints, of hobbits or monkeys or something. The other thing that you can't tell from a photo is that the fabric is fused onto both sides of a piece of thin foam, so the page is thick and almost as stiff as cardboard, but still soft. A great idea! What did you use to attach the fabric with, goatgoddess?

Thanks for this great page!

And I'm glad you liked your map page, fancybutch. I looked up the map in the 19th c. Baedeker tourist guide I took it from, and it turns out to be Perugia. In case you ever visit. Wink

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7  Re: Fabric Art Journal Pages Swap RD 3 GALLERY in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: July 27, 2014 08:59:48 AM
Are those tiny bugle beads as leaves on the Winter tree? Brilliant!!!

Here's another shot of the "Dawn Chorus" page, that shows the colours a bit better:

And now I'm worried that fancybutch's envelope hasn't arrived yet. Of all the ones to go wrong. Angry

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8  Diamond Dye Rug Book 1899 in Vintage Craft Projects by Wulf on: July 25, 2014 06:38:28 PM
I bought this lovely little booklet yesterday at a used bookstore (for $2!). It's a catalogue of hooked rug patterns from the Diamond Dye Company in Montreal, dated 1899. The book is in astoundingly good condition for 115 years old - it could be brand new, except that the paper is a bit yellowed.

"The colored plates shown on outside and inside covers and throughout this book are the richest and most novel designs for Rugs and Mats ever placed before the ladies of Canada. The designs for working up are on a special quality of Hessian  manufactured for us in Scotland. These Hessian designs are artistically colored, corresponding with the plates in this book, and are ready for hooking." (Hessian is what we would call burlap today.)

I thought I'd share these great Victorian images. They seem quintessentially Canadian, and not only because of the snowshoes and toboggan designs!

If anyone wants to use one of these designs for a craft project, contact me and I'll send you a higher-quality scan.

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9  Re: Fabric Art Journal Pages Swap RD 3 GALLERY in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: July 23, 2014 08:22:33 AM
One the things to look forward to when I got home after my vacation was a pile of great pages waiting in the Gallery, and I wasn't disappointed! It's mean to pick favourites, but I have to admit I especially love P_E_S_T's work because of the tight, scribbly machine stitching. That is exactly what I'd love to do, but it always comes out looser and sloppier when I do it. Practice, practice, practice. Tongue

The other treat that awaited me at home, of course, was the amazing page that fancybutch sent me. It was only coming from across town, so it got here quickly.

I think I said I love being surprised, and she sure did surprise me! This luxurious rectangle of felt is the thickness of a pancake, and as soft as a puppy. The stitching on the Aida cloth is so fine it almost disappears. I had to take a photo of the back too, as it's completely different from the front:

I hope you were half as pleased with it as I am, Robin. It's a fabulous thing!

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10  Updated Victorian boudoir chair in Interior Decorating: Completed Projects by Wulf on: June 29, 2014 12:08:32 PM

The opera company I work for maintains a warehouse of props and furniture, and just like at home, the amount of incoming stuff exceeded the available space decades ago. So every few years there's a small purge of stuff that is damaged, over-stocked or unlikely to ever be used again.

This spring's discards included this Victorian "slipper" chair, which is a nice piece of 19th c. furniture, but in the 30 years I've been with the company has never once made it onstage. (The problem is that it's about 4 inches shorter than normal - these chairs were meant for ladies in wide skirts to perch on while putting on their shoes and admiring their dainty feet - and is too awkward for performers to sit on onstage.) I've always liked this chair, in spite of the 1980s dusty rose velvet, but it isn't something I'd have in my own home even if I had room for it. But my friend Jaene has just moved into a new apartment and is setting up a second bedroom as her "bellydance cave". If anyone could sit on a chair like this gracefully, it would be a bellydancer, so I claimed it from the give-away pile and re-upholstered it as a house-warming gift.

I like the combination of antique furniture and very contemporary fabric, and when I found this psychedelic print I knew it would be perfect. It was only a cotton broadcloth, though, so not really sturdy enough for upholstery. I got around that problem by quilting it into a backing fabric, which also gave it a bit of added dimensionality.

Reupholstering a piece of antique furniture is a bit like renovating an old house - you never know what you're going to find when you start stripping it down. Sure enough, although the sprung seat had been replaced with the plywood and foam rubber I expected to see in a prop chair, the back still retained its original buttoned horsehair upholstery, buried under a layer of foam. The horsehair fabric was disintegrating, so it had to be removed, but beneath it the stuffing of horsehair and sisal, and even most of the of burlap covering it, was still perfectly sound. (Victorian furniture was often upholstered in woven horsehair fabric, which was extremely durable and easy to care for. But although the horsehair is usually still as glossy and strong as it was 150 years ago, the cotton warp thread it was woven with has a much shorter lifespan and is usually disintegrated to dust.)

I was afraid the frame might be in worse condition than it seemed (sometimes the upholstery is what's actually holding a chair together) but it only needed a bit of glue and clamping for some loose joints and it was good to go. I removed the back padding to tighten up the webbing, but there was no reason to replace either.

Ironically, my job usually involves removing spring from antique furniture and replacing them with foam and plywood (theatrical furniture may look luxuriously padded, but it usually has to be hard enough to stand on), but in this case I had to do the opposite. Only the original springs could give the necessary height to the seat and still make it be comfortable.

First, a layer of webbing has to be stretched across the underside of the seat.

Next, the individual springs are stitched onto the webbing and tied to each other and the frame in a way that locks them together and forms the shape of the seat.

When it's firm enough, a covering of burlap, a layer of firm foam rubber (this would originally have been more horsehair padding), some polyester batting and a final covering of unbleached cotton gives it a proper shape. The back is much easier, as it just needed to have the original button-pockets in the horsehair filled in and covered with a layer of polyester batting.

The last step - and often the easiest - is actually attaching the covering fabric. I like to pin the fabric in place with metal push-pins first (especially when it has a bold pattern like this) until everything is straight, tautly-stretched and even. Only then do I staple it down and trim off the excess.

Finally, and I don't have photos of it - all the stapled edges were covered with double welting that I sewed from the black-and-white checked part of the fabric. The Tim Burton-ish look it added was my favourite part of the chair!

The entire process took about three days. Stripping the old upholstery took at least a day, the webbing and springs most of another, and the final upholstery the remaining day.

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