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1  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / "Disorderly"/Rainbow Hoop (and girl hoop) on: Today at 08:43:46 AM

I made this hoop for Kwality570 in the IYP swap, based off a quote on her pinterest.  My idea was that I'd slap all sorts of stuff on it from my stash, in the spirit of the quote, in all the colors of the rainbow.  It was embarrassingly easy to find everything I needed...  The fabric squares are leftover from the enormous rainbow skirts I made a few years back, and the buttons and beads are all from my enormous collections!  The yarn bits all came out of my "tail ends" bowl, an idea I got from a friend who would cut all the leftover bits off of her projects and instead of throwing them away, put them in a bowl for display.  I started doing the same thing, and have found a lot of uses for those little leftover bits!  And, of course, the cross-stitch floss was the easiest part!

The quote took some doing.  I was working on two hoops at the same time (see girl hoop:

which was also part of same swap)

...and had initially started using my alphabet stamps to try to stamp the other saying on some fabric.  While it does work, and my ink was waterproof and all that good stuff, it looked a little messy and not perfect and I really didn't think I could handle this long of a quote!  So... I took the plunge, and ironed the fabric to a piece of freezer paper, and sent it through my printer.

IT WORKED!  Wonderfully, in fact.  I will be doing more of that (of course, now that I say that, the next one will jam up and destroy my printer, I'm sure!).

I was happy as a clam, and then I started stitching...

...and started hating it.  Really hating it.  I sent a picture to Cryssoleil, who encouraged me to keep going.  I was nervous, because... I knew it would take a lot of time, and if I still didn't like it... but she's an artist, and I trusted her opinion, so I kept going.  The next day's worth of work had it looking better:

And I showed it to more people, who also reacted favorably, so I kept at it!  The next marathon of Xena episodes got me this far:

And by then I was starting to like it, and was happy, and it was hard to stop on the next day with so little left to do but... I had been staying up WAY to late on work nights, so I forced myself to put it down.

And it did take some hours the next day to finish up all the bits and do the back, so I'm glad I didn't try to stay up!  In the end, I'm really happy with how it turned out!  I love working on these kind of "mindless" stitching hoops, it's very relaxing... after I get over the "I'm going to hate this" phase, because they always start out messy.

This also served as a completed project for the Winter Nerd Battles, an awesome craftalong hosted by the equally awesome LovelyMiss that you should all join (on Team Textbook, naturally!).
2  CRAFTSTER CRAFT CHALLENGES / CHALLENGE 105 ENTRIES / UPDATED: He will eat your SOUL... er, brains, er... cookies? on: December 06, 2014 06:29:12 PM
I had plans.  Big plans.  Awesome plans.  Unrealistic plans, as it turns out.

First, I wanted to use some super-ugly lamps I'd gotten at an auction... I hadn't bought them, but they were part of a lot a friend of my friend bought for $1 and I took them because... well, they're hideous.  They're terrifying precious-moment/pride-and-prejudice like girl statues on very ugly lamp bases.  We thought we'd turn them into "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" lamps, and maybe some day we will.  I was completely crushed when I found out it didn't qualify... until I saw this... or rather, it saw me... or didn't see me... or... just see for yourself:

(posted with the receipt to show what it cost AND when I bought it!)

Super-creepy extreme close-up!

So.  My plans.

Picture an adorable pigtailed girl with patch-pocked overalls and freckles.  A bit smarmy for some, but definitely an upgrade from the soul-eating abomination that was eyeless boy.  The figure is very light, and because of that I thought it was a wood carving, especially with the uneven surface.

It was not.

My plan was to sand off most of the hair, shape the head, use either doll hair or yarn hair and make little pigtails and give her freckles and pink cheeks and... can you see it?  In your head?  The admittedly very precious-moments-like cuteness?


I bought some air-dry clay to fix the broken bits, namely the cavernous abysses that were the eyes and the missing ear:

This would later prove to be a waste of $6, because... well, I'll get to that.  Cryssoleil, we will need to have a power-art night and just use up that tub of clay sometime soon!  

Anyway, I stated to try to sand off the hair and.... it's not wood, but a lightweight clay of some sort.  I moved to a chisel, and...


I was not deterred! A little E-6000 to the rescue and I was slapping clay on it to smooth the head, add eyes and fix the ear.  Sadly, I do not have pictures of this part because this is where things started to go downhill, and frankly, I figured I wasn't even going to finish the thing at this point.

The clay dried and shrank and cracked.  Yay!

I started to make a wig that would fit over the head, crocheting a cap and attaching strands of yarn.

I also tried to paint the face.  Turns out that improving the color only helped a little, the mottled surface of the piece just did not read "cute".  It wasn't working.  I got frustrated.  There were many paints on my desk.  My inner horror freak took over.

I started smearing browns and greys and blacks and greens and reds and... I broke off the ear I'd made (which had looked quite nice, that part really did work) and gouged more bits out of the head and...

It's horrific now, too, but intentionally so?  Does that make it better?  I don't know.

Have some more pictures while you mull that over:

I can has brains now?

Eh, not super-thrilled with the "brains" of the zombie, but...

Thanks for bearing with me and reading this far, I know I get long-winded...  Cheesy


He was staring at me from the desk all day and it was driving me crazy.  So I thought I'd give him one last shot.  I re-glued on the ear I'd made, smoothed out his head a bit, and put on some new paint, but admittedly, my heart wasn't as in it as it could have been... I was looking forward to the next step I had in mind!

I was going to them smash him into little pieces and do a funky art box thing with him...

Any last words?  Mwahahahahaha!

But sadly, he didn't shatter.  He just kinda mushed.  I eventually broke off a few pieces, but... it wasn't what I had in mind (picture a Picasso-esque piece with a rearranged face!).

Farewell, stupid boy sculpture.  You were a complete disaster, a horrible experiment, a complete waste of a dollar (unless my heartache and pain has amused anyone reading it, in which case, it's all good).  You've also made me doubt my worth as a crafter because, I admit it, you bested me.  That might be small consolation since you're sitting in a garbage can with your face smooshed in and your legs broken off, but hey.

*le sigh*
3  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Knitted Okapi on: November 20, 2014 05:32:27 PM

What on earth is an Okapi, you ask?  From Wikipedia: The okapi, also known as the forest giraffe or zebra giraffe, is a giraffid artiodactyl mammal native to the Ituri Rainforest, located in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Although the okapi bears striped markings reminiscent of zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe. The okapi and the giraffe are the only living members of the family Giraffidae.

Now, there are not a ton of Okapi patterns out there, but my partner in the Cryptid Swap really wanted an Okapi (no, it's not a cryptid, but it was considered one for a very long time - they thought taxidermists had cobbled together a make-believe animal from various bits).  So I had to make an Okapi.

There are a few very cartoon-okapi patterns, but I wanted something more realistic.  Enter... the giraffe pattern.  I found this one on Ravelry, but it was a LOT of seams and I hate seams so I tried to work it in the round.  I translated the pattern (the two halves were worked independently, so one had to be flipped) and in theory it should have worked?  But it didn't.  The legs did, but the lower body was weird (I ended up sewing in some tucks and pleats which were still less noticeable than my seams would be) and I did end up needing a seam down the back.

And don't even mention the color changes!  Since I was working in the round, for the rump stripes I didn't want to carry the yarn that much so each time I broke off the brown and attached the white/black, then broke those off and attached more brown.  At least with a stuffed animal all that is hidden very nicely in the back!

I shortened the neck (I should have thickened it, too, but... time and all) and completely winged the ears.  The head I had to pull out and re-do because I forgot the white cheeks, which was a great deal of fun to do...  O.o

This is an in-progess picture:

Overall, though?  I'm really proud of him.  It was a time crunch, and he was HUGE (I did not realize how big he was going to be when I started, but he stood well over a foot tall... this is a reoccurring theme in my projects, I just don't ever seen to grasp what I'm getting myself into.  When there are almost 150 rows in a pattern, it's not small!), and I had to pull out a lot, but it was worth it.  More pictures, just because:

He also, convincingly, served to fulfill a prompt for the Fall Nerd Battles!  If you haven't checked out the Nerd Battles, you should!  This session is almost over, but the Winter Nerd Battles should be starting soon and you totally want to join Team Textbook for all things nerdy and awesome!  Wink
4  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Talk About The Swap Process / Picking a Send-Out Day on: November 16, 2014 08:21:06 AM
When you organize a swap, how do you pick a send-out day?  I mean, you usually have a rough idea of the crafting time* in terms of weeks, but how do you pick what day is the actual last day?

Obviously, people can always send early, but I try to put the send-out day as a convenient day.  I've also seen some people mention paydays, but that's harder to gauge - though I assume most people paid bi-monthly are the 1st and 15th, or near-abouts, those paid every two weeks are going to fluctuate.

Saturday and Sunday are obviously not good choices, as most post offices are closed on Sunday and an increasing number are on Saturday.

Mondays I dislike because the post office tends to be busy with businesses and people catching up from over the weekend.

Tuesday and Wednesday are my favorites.

Thursday and Friday (especially Friday) make me feel like "why not give one more weekend to work on it?" 

*Added bonus question: what do you use as a rough guide for crafting time?  I've been going with a combination of gut feeling, guessing, and asking the people who are participating, but if there's a guide people use (like, min two weeks for a small, add one week per point added, etc) I'd love to hear it!
5  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Cryptid Swap Gallery! on: November 12, 2014 05:37:40 PM
Show us your cryptids!

(Wolpertinger head by burstofpanties)

link to the original post

Sent and Received
Late with communication
Please contact me
Negative feedback

Smeddley (organizer) <=> gotgrey
whenindoubtsew <=> Ludi
rantyhippie <=> MommyTheMaid
suereal <=> jennythor
craftADDchick <=> artsycandice
rockingbearranch<=>The Raging Sloth

6  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Warbirds - Dino and Plane play set! on: October 28, 2014 04:16:18 PM
As a joke, I texted a picture of this movie to a friend who shares my love of cheesy movies.  He's also a keen airplane enthusiast and pilot, so when he saw it he said he had to get it.  Well, I bought it for his birthday, and the weekend it came had a brilliant idea - I had to make him a dinosaur and a plane to "play" along with the movie!  Even though I only had 2 days (and other projects to finish!) I just knew I could do it.  Could it have been better?  Sure, but I couldn't let this opportunity pass me by!

The dinosaur was made using this pattern: http://duchessgala.blogspot.de/2014/07/godzilla-kun.html with a few changes (I didn't do the top of the head as a separate piece, and didn't have time for the scales or the tummy piece, and I did the teeth as felt).  It's a great pattern and I'd use it again in a heartbeat!

The plane was mostly this pattern: http://thecraftfrog.com/2012/07/27/ermplane-named-big-jet/ without the windshield and face, and with a propeller (I just winged that...) instead of the engines.  Good shape on that plane pattern, I really liked it.

He was thrilled with his present, I just wish I'd had more time (don't we all...)

(I did make him promise to loan me the movie after they'd watched it, though! I'm very, very curious...)

Also, part of Fall Nerd Battles!  If you don't know what that is, check it out!  It's so much fun, and is inspiring to boot!
7  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Knitted Monster on: October 28, 2014 03:51:44 PM
Adapted from The Bog Book of Knitted Monsters to have one giant eye, as requested by my friend.

Also, part of Fall Nerd Battles!  If you don't know what that is, check it out!  It's so much fun, and is inspiring to boot!

His left leg is there, it's all black.  I was going to make him all out of variegated yarn, but it started making a pattern and the decreases were going to ruin that, so... I went with the lopsided, mis-matched look!
8  Craft Swaps / ACTIVE SWAPS WHERE SIGN-UP PERIOD HAS CLOSED / Cryptid Swap - SU CLOSED, SO 11/18 on: October 09, 2014 05:17:46 PM

(Wolpertinger head by burstofpanties)

Suggested by the clever Ludi, being organized by the not-so-clever me, I present: The Cryptid Swap!  


Swap name: Cryptid Swap
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: Smeddley
Sign-up date range: 10/09/14-10/24/14
Date to send item by: 11/18/14
Limited to a certain number of people? (optional): No
Restricted to people who all live in the same country? No
Additional Age requirement? No


Who doesn't like mythical beasts?  Whether your tastes run to the noble unicorn, the cute pegasus, or the terrifying Kraken, there's a cryptid for you!  

This will be a THREE POINT swap, and it has to have a Medium or Large item (so, basically, a Large or a Medium and a Small).  To give you an idea of what sizes are:

By Time/Price/Physical size
-Large = 3 or more hours/$30 or more/A shawl, a shirt, a skirt, a set of jewelry with four to five items, a purse
-Medium = 2 or more hours/$10-$30 dollars/one single necklace or bracelet, a scarf
-Small = 2 or less hours/$10 or less/Earrings, stickers, wallets, pouches, bookmarks

No one likes to be flaked on, so if you aren't sure if you can do this swap, PLEASE DON'T SIGN UP.  If you know you will be late or unable to complete the swap please let me know ASAP.

Communication is a must. Everyone is required to post on the thread at least once a week to let me know they are still involved with the swap. If you do not post up it will be noted in your feedback. If you are going on vacation or will be away from the internet just let me know.

Delivery Confirmation is required within the U.S., please send tracking number to both your partner and organizer when you send. Please keep you mailing receipt if you are sending internationally.  PM both your Partner and your team organizer when you send and receive.

Please post pictures of what you receive. Your partner worked hard on it and we would all love to see it! If you cannot post up please let your partner know as soon as you know. Make sure you take pictures of everything you send just in case.
*Although posting pictures is not a requirement to receive positive feedback.*


Swap Organizer himself/herself meets these conditions:
- Has fully read the Swap Info Guide: YES
- Has successfully completed two swaps as a participant: YES
- Is not organizing more than three swaps right now: YES
- Will recruit a co-organizer or give all details to a Swap Moderator if this swap has more than 25 participants: YES
- Is at least 18 years old: YES

Swap Organizer will check each participant to make sure they meet these conditions:
- Has been a member for at least one month: YES
- Has posted at least 15 times: YES
- Has completed one swap successfully before signing up for multiple swaps at a time: YES
- Is not currently signed up for more than five swaps: YES
- Does not have any negative feedback: YES
- Participant has agreed that he/she is at least 16 years old: YES
- If within the US, understands that Delivery Confirmation number is required for this swap: YES
- If outside the US, understands that a mailing receipt copy is required for this swap: YES


Name of swap:
Craftster username:
Email address:
Your real name:
Mailing address including the country:
Would you be willing to ship to an address outside your own country?
Confirm that are at least 16 years old or, if not, that you have moderator approval:

Allergens in your house:

What are your favorite crafts to make?
What kind of crafts would you like to receive?
Anything you really DON'T want to receive? (i.e. animal products, religious, adult", items you already have):
Favorite colors:
Least favorite colors:
Favorite patterns:
Least favorite patterns:

Please list at least 5 cryptids (and, if you'd like, tell your partner a little about what you like about them!  More is okay!  For help, here's a handy, though probably not all-encompassing, list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cryptids)

Are you interested in extras/spoiling?

Do you have a pinterest or other website that you would like to show your partner? Please list the links here:

What is your... (list only what you would like to receive, add any you'd like to receive if I've forgotten about them!)
Shirt size:
Skirt size (waist and length):
Shoe size:
Hat size:
preferred bracelet length?
preferred necklace length?
preferred bag/tote/purse size? (small, medium, large)

Is there anything else you would like your partner or the organizer to know?  


Also, remember to read the Swap Info Guide to find other rules about participating in a swap.

1. Smeddley (organizer)
2. whenindoubtsew
3. Ludi
4. rantyhippie
5. gotgrey
6. MommyTheMaid
7. suereal
8. craftADDchick
9. rockingbearranch
10. jennythor
11. The Raging Sloth
12. artsycandice


Smeddley (organizer) <=> gotgrey
whenindoubtsew <=> Ludi
rantyhippie <=> MommyTheMaid
suereal <=> jennythor
craftADDchick <=> artsycandice
rockingbearranch <=>The Raging Sloth

9  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Five little houses on: October 05, 2014 05:06:34 PM
This piece served two purposes - one, P_E_S_T had little clay houses on her Pinterest, for the IYP swap, but also, a prompt on the Fall Nerd Battles* was multiples of 5, so I knew I had to make 5 little houses and display them... somehow.

I ended up making a little matchbox frame from some cardboard and painting a simple backdrop.  I added a little hanging string and voila!

I was a simple, fun project.  I need to make more!  Cheesy

*If you haven't heard of the Nerd Battles, you should check it out.  It's a totally fun little competition (sort of) that really inspires you with the prompts!
10  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Bird Button Hoop on: October 05, 2014 05:01:45 PM
I've done a lot of button/bead random embroidery hoops, but this time I decided to try to shape it into something for P_E_S_T in the IYP swap (since she had similar things on her Pinterest!).  It's really tough Tetris-ing all the buttons in to make them fit!  But I'm pretty happy with how it turned out:

I originally did the outline with a running stitch (over tissue paper that had the design traced on it) but it wasn't nearly dark enough, so I went over it with a chain stitch.

I also toyed with the idea of adding dark buttons to the branch, but it would have just ended up as a row of buttons, because it's just too narrow.  I guess I could have used beads... I dunno.  I'm definitely going to do more of these!
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