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1  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Kitchen Tile! on: November 25, 2015 07:02:43 PM
It's not completely completely done, I'm not moved back into my kitchen, but it's as close as it's going to get for awhile and this is a Nerd Games projects (if you're not part of the Nerd Games, you should be!  It's over on the Miscellaneous Board and a new season is about to start!).  This is the finished tile (because I like the thumbnail to be the pretty picture!):

And this is what it started as:

Never, ever ever tile your countertops, it's the most ridiculous thing ever (we bought the house that way, always intending to get new countertops, but had to save money and other projects, like the basement walls cracking and leaking water, ended up coming first).  Why?  Because caulk shrinks and it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep it clean:

Gross, I know, and I even cleaned it, but even with a toothbrush and cleanser, that stuff is impossible to keep clean.  And there's no rolling out dough, for germ reasons and because it's not a smooth surface.

I had a friend do the demo, and we discovered they just laid the tile over the existing laminate countertop:

I was so happy to see it go!

Once we'd gotten the countertops, it was time to pick the tile...

I thought I liked it, but was questioning myself before I grouted it...

But I think once the white grout was in, I'm good with it. 

I used a wet tile saw to cut about a million little pieces to fill in the edges of the tile sheets and to work around the outlets, it's my new favorite tool!  It took me two weekends and about 15-20 hours to do the tile, I still need to switch out some of the outlets (which were inexplicably off-white, but I'm putting it off because I already shocked myself once) and do a little more caulking, then paint the kitchen (it originally had a boarder at the top, I primed the wall when I took it down but never painted, so the whole kitchen needs it).  I also painted inside the lower cabinets and still need to sort through all my kitchenware and whatnot (I had two angel food cake pans - WHY?!) and put it all back.  So lots of work still left to do, but I'm pretty proud of how far I've already come!
2  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Bellydancing... pirate... zombie? on: November 25, 2015 06:29:39 PM
This year we performed at an event called Shimmy for the Cure, a breast cancer benefit.  Every year we try to be outrageously funny to help offset some of the heartbreaking stories that get told.  Last year we danced to "Gummy Bear", this year it was to a combination of a parody song "We are Pirates" (to the tune of "We Will Rock You") and Jack Sparrow (PotC).

Just two weeks later is the Zombie walk for hunger, so the costume got a second chance!  Most of the good pictures are from the zombie walk (the professional pics from SftC haven't been posted yet), so I'm leading off with that!

I also put this costume together in two days, which included: covering and decorating the bra, making the vest and bustle, and making the hip wrap.  Hat, jewelry, pants and boots were purchased, and while I made the lace shrug, that was awhile ago for a different costume.

This is me not-zombified, the best pic I could find was with my Little Visitor:

And one of the girls took a B&W photo during the performance:

And one more from the zombie walk, chillin' after the walk...

I love it when costumes get multiple uses!  I also wore it with a skirt I'd previously make (black and red) that happened to match to the RenFest and bellydance class on Halloween.  And I've gotten my entire troupe addicted to bustles.  Cheesy
3  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Sally's Dress Afghan (NBC) on: October 09, 2015 07:24:29 PM
For my partner in the Mini 13 Days of Halloween swap!  I did run out of time to do the stitching, I wanted to add some of the designs to the sold colors and add the "stitched together" lines, but... that did not happen.  Still, I'm pretty happy with it, and it's completely reversible and machine washable!

This is her picture of it, because I couldn't get one from far enough away because I wasn't about to lay it on my floor (Australian Shedhound in residence - I did send it through the washer AND dryer before sending!).

Should you like to make one of your own, the pattern I made up to use is here (although I cut the top short because I thought the corner pieces went in too far for "sleeves" and it was already well lapghan size! 

Crocheted all in single crochet with an K hook it ended up about 4' x 5'

I didn't carry any of the yarn between sections, so it got a little... twisted... at times:

(I need a much more comfortable chair to work in , but my printer held all the different skeins of yarn beautifully!  Of course, there was no moving it while I worked on it...)

The key was to twist it clockwise one time, then counter-clockwise the other, and the lines of yarn would twist, and then untwist... theoretically...

Overall I'm pretty happy with it, and even more happy that she seemed to really like it!
4  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / More handspun acrylic! on: September 24, 2015 06:05:21 PM
Okay, okay, after this I swear I will make some wool yarn, I have the fiber, I just... I'm so worried about messing it up!

This is my off-cuts of red, yellow and orange - I started it eons ago (before I'd actually completely finished the blue!) and it's only 14 yards, but I still think it's pretty cool to go to that level of recycling!

Recap of the process (because I want Nerd Games community points!):

Starting will a ball of the leftover ends of yarn...

Cut into bits...

Deconstruct using two dog slicker brushes...

Make fluff....

And spin into yarn!  Yarn from yarn, it's like fiber inception.
5  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Ood you be so kind to give blood? (with pattern) on: August 31, 2015 04:53:21 PM
Ood Blood Drop Squeezy...


Make a regular Bob the Blood Drop body...

Size F Hook
Worsted Weight Yarn

Round 1: SC 4 in magic Ring (or, ch 2 and sc 4 in second ch from hook).  Join {sl st to first SC, ch1}
Round 2: SC in each st, join (4)
Round 3: *SC in first st, 2 SC in next st* repeat from *, join (6)
Round 4: *SC in first st, 2 SC in next st* repeat from *, join (9)
Round 5: *SC in first st, 2 SC in next st* repeat from * to last st, sc in last st, join  (13)
Round 6: SC in each st, join (13)
Round 7: *SC in first two st, 2 SC in next st* repeat from * to last st, sc in last st, join (17)
Round 8: SC in each st, join (17)
Round 9: *SC in first two st, 2 SC in next st* repeat from * to last 2 st, sc in last 2 st, join (22)
Round 10: SC in each st, join (22)
Round 11: *SC in first st, 2 SC in next st* repeat from *, join (33)
Rounds 12-20: SC in each st, join (33)
Rounds 21-23: *SC in first st, SC 2tog* repeat from *, join
(stuff-as-you-go decreases)
Round 24: SC 2tog
(Cram as much stuffing as you can in as youre closing him up, remember, hes there to be squeezed so he needs to be fairly firm.)
Fasten off.

Then, if you can find yarn the same color but lighter weight (or want to use a different color, anyway) use that, otherwise, I split about 30' of 4-ply yarn down to 2-ply...

...not the most fun, and, yes, I could have split 15' and used both halves, but I'd already crocheted the mouth parts with the full yarn, cut it, and found it to be too bulky!

Using a size C hook (2.75 mm)

Ch 12, turn, 2 sc in each ch
Ch 18, turn, 2 sc in each ch.  Sl St in top of original chain
Ch 24, turn, 2 sc in each ch.  Sl st in top of original chain
Ch 24, turn, 2 sc in each ch.  Sl st in top of original chain
Ch 18, turn, 2 sc in each ch.  Sl St in top of original chain
Ch 12, turn, 2 sc in each ch
Fasten off

You should have six spirals in three different lengths.

Sew to body between the eyes.

I really liked him just like that, but to make sure it wasn't mistaken for Cthulhu, I decided to add the Ood sphere.  This is optional, and you might have a better orb pattern - mine looked a little too much like a balloon...

Using crochet cotton and a size 6 steel hook,

rnd 1: 6 sc in mr
rnd 2: sc, inc (9)
rnd 3: sc, sc, inc (12)
rnd 4: sc around
rnd 5: sc, sc, inc (16)
rnd 6: sc around
rnd 7: sc, sc dec (12)
rnd 8: sc around
rnd 9: sc, sc, dec (9)
rnd 10: sc, dec (6)

fasten off, leaving long tail.  Ch 15 starting from base of sphere.

It looks... unfortunate, yes.  Sew end of ch under Ood mouth, and sew sphere to Ood body.

And, finally, that completes my suite of Dr Who inspired blood drop squeezies!  Phew!  I'm sure you're happy to see the last of them!
6  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / D&D Campaign: The Fandom Menace on: July 31, 2015 05:16:50 PM

So, last weekend was my first time running a D&D campaign, and I admit I may have gone a weeeeeee bit overboard.  Special thanks to my hubby for naming the campaign, which was a lot of puns and takes on movies and books and various things.  I think, all told, with the dialogue and everything, that about 17 different worlds/fandoms were represented (Sam and Max Hit the Road was just a single throw-away line: "It's a shelf full of Snuckey's Crap").

Anyway, it started out with sketches and bits of ideas all scribbled over note paper:

Rough sketches that would become the maps.  I made large maps of:

The Hovitos Caves in the Cliffs of Mild Lunacy
Lava tunnels in the Mount of Minor Misfortune
Not at all spooky rock cave
Shipwreck of the Grey Pearl
The Smoldering Swamp
Bridge over the River Why
The Bog of Lingering Wiffiness
Forest paths in the Unsurewood Forest
Caves of Lagamorpha
Ruins of Castle Bacilius Anthracis

This is the City of Ankh-Morchicken, slightly rumpled because this is after we played and came home and it was slightly rolled:

(And, yes, I hand-colored the printouts with crayons...)

I also tried to make the traps and challenges relevant to the fandoms as much as possible, in the Hovitos Caves there was, indeed, a rolling boulder and arrows shooting out of the walls, but my favorite was probably The Smoldering Swamp, which had three main dangers: ROENS (Rodents of Entirely Normal Size), Smoke Puffs, and Molasses Sand (which would make you lose your shoes, but not much else, since you sank at 1/4" per hour).  I probably spent as much time writing down story lines and making villains as I did on the artsy part!

In the forest, the lava caves, and the Hovitos caves, I did not reveal the maps all at once - I cut them into pieces and made them choose a direction before I added to the map:

While I had mini-versions all numbered and referenced and whatnot:

Overall, it went well, and there was one vote to continue the adventures at ChickenBlisters and ChickenAle, but the majority opted for the fairy tale kingdom past the impenetrable brambles in the Unsurewood Forest.  So maybe some day I'll be asked to lead again... (we have many games going in the group, what we play usually depends who is available)
7  Calls for Swap Angels / Swap Angel Archive / Garden/Outdoor Swap Angel - FOUND on: July 17, 2015 05:51:20 AM
We, sadly, had a package go missing on a trans-Atlantic passage, and one of our lovely swappers, bronzfrog, needs an angel!  US shipping, 3 point swap with a requirement of a medium or large (so a large, or a medium and a small).  Here's part of bronzfrog's questionnaire:

Describe your outdoor space/style   overgrown  ):
Favorite garden critters (real)? Frogs toads  lady bugs  butterflies
Favorite mythical garden creatures?  fairies
Favorite plants/flowers/trees? mushrooms, iris, tomatoes, pansy  watermelon

Please list at least 5 outdoor/garden things you'd like ("anything off my pinterest board" can be one of the items!)
1.  Fairy garden
2. Wind chime
3. Lady bug house
4. Garden signs
5. See pinterest under wishful thinking and garden outdoor  ideas

Please PM me if interested!
8  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / With an Untangled Skein - Yarn Organization (many pics) on: July 12, 2015 04:22:05 PM
Let's start with the pretty picture!

This is what I've been working towards, and while I could skip to the end... I'm going to start with my failures - well, not failures, but just things that didn't work for me.  Your mileage may vary, and to be honest, my other ideas were a LOT cheaper.  I ended up spending over 6x as much to organize my auction steal of a deal than I spent on the actual cotton. 

First off, I got one big bag of crochet cotton for $4 at a local junk auction.  It had some unopened balls, but also a few almost used balls.  And here's where I had to wonder - why such GIANT, SPACE-HOGGING cores?!  Okay, it keeps the cotton from developing a bend, whatever, space is at a PREMIUM in my craft room because, well, I have too much stuff.  So to keep my score, I though, at least for the part-used ones, I needed to condense.

So I started off just rolling the small balls on an improvised nostepinne (a pen) and that worked fairly well, if being time-consuming.  Later I would find that they did tend to come unraveled a bit when tossed into a bag, but that could be because it's the first time I ever hand-wound yarn like that (I have rolled them into balls, but I have a yarn winder for my regular yarn - its core was almost a big as the crochet cotton, though, so that was useless).

I put a rolled paper core inside, because unlike the fluffier, regular yarn, this did not smoosh in to fill the void.

Then I thought, well, what about using cross stitch bobbins?  Maybe I could even make giant ones... somewhere on the internet I'd seen that...

Then I went back to the auction, and got one box for $2 and the other box given to me...

That... was going to be WAY too much to wind by hand.  New thought!  What if I would them onto spools?  Like thread?  Heck, half of it isn't much thicker than quilting thread, anyway!  Why oh why did I throw out my old plastic spools?  Not that I'd have had enough, but still...  Hey, I can make some!

Here's the process:

1. Cut open, then down a toilet paper tube (I went with 2")
2. Roll tube fairly tightly, but leaving an open space in the middle (more on that later!)
3. Completed tubes
4. Cut circles for ends.  One side will need a hole in the center.
(not shown - glue circles to ends of tubes)
5. Tape a bobbin to the open end of the spool.  This is necessary on my machine because the spindle for the bobbin sticks up through the bobbin, and I needed room for that nub.  Your machine may be different.
6. Place on sewing machine, and spin away!
7. Completed spools, MUCH smaller than the originals (behind).

I was happy!  Sure, making the spools wasn't easy, but it was free, and it was working!  At first I had used some super-think cardboard from the back of a pad of paper for the ends, but it was incredibly difficult to cut and... I went to some thinner stuff.

That turned out to not be a great idea.  This one was in my bag and I think the edge got caught and flexed and ripped.  It may also be the glue I used (E6000) or that I didn't get enough pressure on them as I was gluing them.  Either way, sadness.  But then!  Inspiration!

Well, my first idea was to buy spools, but none were big enough.  Then I thought... I'll make them!  All I need is a dowel and some wooden circles with holes in them, yes?  Then I could... I don't know, find some way to spin them... tape TWO bobbins together?  Make a machine they'd sit in with wheels to spin them?  Something!

*Lightbulb Moment*

Or a drill... if I... but would it work?  Could it work?  Yes, yes it could!

1. The bits - a dowel and two wooden toy wheels
2. Assembled!
3. Mark the INNER edge of one side of the spool (you could use a pencil, but I just held my nail there)
4. Place a cardboard disk at that point (cut to the size of the wheel) - see the nub sticking out?
5. Put that in your drill and tighten
6. Place drill in lap (I'm sitting cross-legged on the floor and it's on my knee) - we'll get to what to do with the yarn later...
7. DRILL!  My right hand is powering the drill and the left is gently guiding the thread.  You might think this would stretch or stress the yarn too much, but it's actually wrapped on there fairly loosely... which makes the next steps very delicate...
8. Remove from drill
9. CAREFULLY remove cardboard disk.  DO NOT SQUEEZE the spool in the thread area, it will SMOOSH and come off the end.
10. Pop the other wheel on the end!

You may want to glue the wheels on, I found most fit pretty tightly (some I had to use a hammer on) and I also figured this would mean I could reuse them... you know, in a hundred years when I work through all of this...

This method isn't without some issues... drills do not stop cold the minute you let off the trigger, so some tangles are going to happen...

Common problems include - tangles when feeding, the thread getting between the disk and the drill, the thread getting into the back part of the chuck, massive mishaps when the entire last chunk of the thread comes off at once.

Sooooooo... what is the best way to feed the yarn?

If, like some of mine, it's wrapped around the outside of a core, a toilet paper stand works well...

...until it doesn't.  There was a snag and it yanked the holder over and smashed it into the back of my hand (remember, drills don't stop fast!) and left an enormous bruise.  Half the back of my hand is black and blue.  But it does work, if you're careful.  For the others, I just tossed them in a box and let them rattle around.  They'd usually settle down and feed smoothly for awhile, then rattle around a bit more, then settle down.  That really worked quite brilliantly.

I did also make some tiny spools, because... well, tiny!

Here's the pile of empty cardboard tubes:

I think, even flattened and smashed into a box to take out for recycling, they take up MORE room than the finished spools!

And, the finished cart:

The bottom is the ones that are still wrapped, I didn't wind those because... well, they're brand new (why oh why do I have 6 things of size 30 purple crochet cotton?!  I found it in my bin - I also spooled up several skeins I had - what on earth was I thinking?  What was I going to do with it?).  The top is the stuff that came out of my "crocheted snowflakes" bin.  I might spool up those white ones some day, but I'd already packed up when I remembered that bin and added it.  And I'd need more giant wheels for those.

There you have it!  It took a lot of trial and error, some injuries, and a lot of work, but I'm pretty darn happy with it!
9  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Bullshark on: July 12, 2015 09:40:25 AM
It's the last of Shark Week, and I promise, the last Shark Art for awhile!

10  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Toilet Paper Roll Pressed Flower Book on: July 09, 2015 04:47:29 PM
I don't remember when I first saw it, but the urge to make a book out of TP rolls was just overwhelming... and when I signed up for the Garden/Outdoor swap, the idea of turning it into a book for pressed flowers gave me the chance to finally make something coherent out of the rolls I'd been saving and haphazardly painting.

And a picture of the tab - I cut up a scrapbook page that had 2" x 2" picture pockets and used Washi tape to secure them to the tags.

(Four leaf clover given to me by a friend at work who has an uncanny talent at finding them!)
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