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1  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / ONGOING ATC SWAP - NOVEMBER 2014 - Gallery on: November 01, 2014 07:55:49 AM
Post your amazing cards from November here!


Claiming thread
Discussion Thread
2  Craft Swaps / ACTIVE SWAPS WHERE SIGN-UP PERIOD HAS CLOSED / Ongoing ATC SWAP - NOVEMBER 2014 (Signup November 1 - November 30) on: November 01, 2014 07:42:54 AM
ONGOING ATC SWAP - NOVEMBER 2014
An uber-addicting swap that runs all month long!

Welcome fellow Craftsterers!

Welcome to the amazingly addicting, completely irresistible Ongoing ATC Swap! (You know you want to join!)
So, come one, come all!  You, too, can have "envelopes o' fun" in your mailbox!
This is a simple and easy swap, with your level of participation determined entirely by you.  People of all levels of ATC-making are welcome.



Discussion Thread -Questions and discussion can be posted here.  Remember, it's a craftster requirement to post at least once in your swap's discussion area!
 
Swap FAQs -Everything you need to know about swapping.

ATC FAQs -Everything you need to know about ATCs.

POST PICTURES OF YOUR CARDS HERE!



Very basic swap info:
Swap name: Ongoing ATC Swap - NOVEMBER 2014
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: vincentvanbuck
Sign-up date range: November 1 until November 30, 2014
Date to send item by: 2 weeks after you claim
Limited to a certain number of people? (optional): NO
Additional Age requirement? NO
*International shipping is required*
*DC #s are not required, but you will have to resend if the ATC is not received*


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 16 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 18 years old: YES



QUESTIONNAIRE TO ANSWER Please send to vincentvanbuck, and include the words "November ATC Swap--Request to Join" in the email title.

*Name of Swap:  Ongoing ATC Swap - November 2014
*Craftster username:
*Email address:
*Your real name:
*Mailing address including the country (written as it would appear on the envelope):
*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(YES/NO):
*Are you a Friend of Craftster?:
*What is the exact size of an ATC?:
*Do you have access to a camera or scanner so you can post pictures here of what you receive?
(if not, you need to tell anyone who claims you, so that they are able to take pictures before sending):
*Are you aware that if an ATC is lost in the mail, you are required to resend?:
*Have you read the entire swap information for this swap?:
*When sending sent/receive notifications to the swap organizer, there are four juicy pieces of information that must be included about each ATC.  What are they?
(Scroll down in the swap info under this questionnaire to the area "Once you have sent or received a card"; the answer is in red.):


*Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join this swap!  Sign-ups are open all month--YAY!  PM me the above questionnaire to get started, and please wait to be accepted into the swap before making any claims. **Please make sure you are not late or flakey in any of your other swaps, and that you have good communication.** This is a super-uber-amazingly-stupendous swap, So Have Fun!  



HOW THIS SWAP WORKS:

Claims are made throughout the month.  You have two weeks from the time you make a claim to send that claim.

You can make as many (or as few, as little as 1) claims as you want throughout the month as long as you never go over your allowed amount of outstanding claims. (An outstanding claim is a card that has not been received; when that card is received your number of outstanding claims goes down leaving you open to bring it back up to 7 or 10.)

Posting pictures of received ATCs is required for this swap.

CLAIMING

1. Claims are made using the following procedure:

Person A (the swap organizer) will begin the swap by posting a list of themes in this swap thread.
Person B will choose a theme from one of A's themes and make a claim by posting his/her own list (see below for formatting of post).
Person C will make a claim on one of B's themes and post his/her own list.
Person D will make a claim on one of C's themes and post his/her own list etc...
This continues through the end of the month.

2. How many claims can be made by each individual:

The number of claims each person is allowed depends on the following criteria:
*Friends of Craftster: 10 claims
*Those who aren't Friends of Craftster: 7 claims
*First time swappers (whether Friends of Craftster or not): 1 claim.  Once the initial claim has been sent, and its new owner has reported it received, the first time swapper is free to make more claims, either 7 or 10 dependent on being an FOC or not.

3. How to make a claim:

A claim post should include the following information:
1. The theme you are choosing and who youre sending it to.
2. Statistical info about your current swap claims status:
Claims = Claims currently outstanding (ie., the number of cards not yet received by their new owners.) (This number goes down each time a claim is received, and up each time you make a claim.)
Sent = anything currently in the mail.
Received = the cards received by the people to whom you've sent them.
3. Your location.
4. Your personal preferences.
5. Your list of themes


SAMPLE CLAIMS POST:


Quote
I claim GenericFabulosaSwapper for heffalumps/weasels ATC.  

3 claims, 2 sent, 1 received

I live in Massachusetts, USA.  I would prefer not to receive anything violent, political, or religious.  

My themes are:
1)   New Years Baby
2)   Resolutions
3)   Food w/ Faces
4)   Inspiring Quotes
5)   Your Favorite Medium
ONCE YOU HAVE MADE A CLAIM:

1. Send a personal message to the person you have claimed and request their address.
2. You have 2 weeks to complete each card, and have it in the mail to its new owner.  


ONCE YOU HAVE SENT OR RECEIVED A CARD
1. Please PM the organizer when you send or receive a card.
    (It's also good form to notify the person you received from or are sending to.)  
2.  Please include one of these at the title of the message: October ATC Swap--Sent or October ATC Swap--Received
     Be sure to include the month!
3.Be sure and include the following in each pm to the organizer:
  • (1)"send by" date
  • (2)theme
  • (3)sender
  • (4)receiver

For example, you could use this format:
Quote
I sent some ATCs today!  

DUE DEC 16:
MeCraftsterMemberBloop --> YowzaSwapper (fantasmic theme)

DUE DEC 17:
MeCraftsterMemberBloop --> WowwieSwapsper (stupendous theme)
MeCraftsterMemberBloop -->WooHooYeeHawSwapper (yet another fascinating theme)

PLEASE REMEMBER TO INCLUDE THIS IN EVERY PM!!!

This lets the organizer easily access the swap info, so it can be updated.  

POSTING PIX OF ATCs RECEIVED
It is OH so important to post pictures of the amazing cards you receive!  This is the best way in the world to let it be known how special it is that you've received a wonderful treasure of someone else's creativity!  

Please post pictures/scans of your received cards in the swap (or make arrangements with your partner to do so).

FEEDBACK
Positive feedback will be given when all of the cards you sent have been received.   Good communication is always cool!  And be sure and post those pictures in the swap!

ANY QUESTIONS?
If you have any questions please post them in the discussion thread or PM the organizer, vincentvanbuck.  This thread is specifically for claims only.
3  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / ONGOING ATC SWAP - OCTOBER 2014 - Gallery on: September 30, 2014 07:25:17 PM

Check out some of the amazing work done in the September swap!
We have art by Oath Keeper, stillatthetop, Oath Keeper and rockingbearranch



Claiming thread
Discussion Thread
4  Craft Swaps / ACTIVE SWAPS WHERE SIGN-UP PERIOD HAS CLOSED / Ongoing ATC SWAP - OCTOBER 2014 (Signup October 1 - October 31) on: September 30, 2014 06:44:31 PM

Check out some of the amazing work done in the September swap!
We have art by Oath Keeper, stillatthetop, Oath Keeper and rockingbearranch

ONGOING ATC SWAP - OCTOBER 2014
An uber-addicting swap that runs all month long!

Welcome fellow Craftsterers!

Welcome to the amazingly addicting, completely irresistible Ongoing ATC Swap! (You know you want to join!)
So, come one, come all!  You, too, can have "envelopes o' fun" in your mailbox!
This is a simple and easy swap, with your level of participation determined entirely by you.  People of all levels of ATC-making are welcome.



Discussion Thread -Questions and discussion can be posted here.  Remember, it's a craftster requirement to post at least once in your swap's discussion area!
 
Swap FAQs -Everything you need to know about swapping.

ATC FAQs -Everything you need to know about ATCs.

POST PICTURES OF YOUR CARDS HERE!



Very basic swap info:
Swap name: Ongoing ATC Swap - OCTOBER 2014
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: vincentvanbuck
Sign-up date range: October 1 until October 31, 2014
Date to send item by: 2 weeks after you claim
Limited to a certain number of people? (optional): NO
Additional Age requirement? NO
*International shipping is required*
*DC #s are not required, but you will have to resend if the ATC is not received*


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 16 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 18 years old: YES



QUESTIONNAIRE TO ANSWER Please send to vincentvanbuck, and include the words "October ATC Swap--Request to Join" in the email title.

*Name of Swap:  Ongoing ATC Swap - October 2014
*Craftster username:
*Email address:
*Your real name:
*Mailing address including the country (written as it would appear on the envelope):
*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(YES/NO):
*Are you a Friend of Craftster?:
*What is the exact size of an ATC?:
*Do you have access to a camera or scanner so you can post pictures here of what you receive?
(if not, you need to tell anyone who claims you, so that they are able to take pictures before sending):
*Are you aware that if an ATC is lost in the mail, you are required to resend?:
*Have you read the entire swap information for this swap?:
*When sending sent/receive notifications to the swap organizer, there are four juicy pieces of information that must be included about each ATC.  What are they?
(Scroll down in the swap info under this questionnaire to the area "Once you have sent or received a card"; the answer is in red.):


*Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join this swap!  Sign-ups are open all month--YAY!  PM me the above questionnaire to get started, and please wait to be accepted into the swap before making any claims. **Please make sure you are not late or flakey in any of your other swaps, and that you have good communication.** This is a super-uber-amazingly-stupendous swap, So Have Fun!   



HOW THIS SWAP WORKS:

Claims are made throughout the month.  You have two weeks from the time you make a claim to send that claim.

You can make as many (or as few, as little as 1) claims as you want throughout the month as long as you never go over your allowed amount of outstanding claims. (An outstanding claim is a card that has not been received; when that card is received your number of outstanding claims goes down leaving you open to bring it back up to 7 or 10.)

Posting pictures of received ATCs is required for this swap.

CLAIMING

1. Claims are made using the following procedure:

Person A (the swap organizer) will begin the swap by posting a list of themes in this swap thread.
Person B will choose a theme from one of A's themes and make a claim by posting his/her own list (see below for formatting of post).
Person C will make a claim on one of B's themes and post his/her own list.
Person D will make a claim on one of C's themes and post his/her own list etc...
This continues through the end of the month.

2. How many claims can be made by each individual:

The number of claims each person is allowed depends on the following criteria:
*Friends of Craftster: 10 claims
*Those who aren't Friends of Craftster: 7 claims
*First time swappers (whether Friends of Craftster or not): 1 claim.  Once the initial claim has been sent, and its new owner has reported it received, the first time swapper is free to make more claims, either 7 or 10 dependent on being an FOC or not.

3. How to make a claim:

A claim post should include the following information:
1. The theme you are choosing and who you’re sending it to.
2. Statistical info about your current swap claims status:
Claims = Claims currently outstanding (ie., the number of cards not yet received by their new owners.) (This number goes down each time a claim is received, and up each time you make a claim.)
Sent = anything currently in the mail.
Received = the cards received by the people to whom you've sent them.
3. Your location.
4. Your personal preferences.
5. Your list of themes


SAMPLE CLAIMS POST:


Quote
I claim GenericFabulosaSwapper for heffalumps/weasels ATC. 

3 claims, 2 sent, 1 received

I live in Massachusetts, USA.  I would prefer not to receive anything violent, political, or religious.   

My themes are:
1)   New Years Baby
2)   Resolutions
3)   Food w/ Faces
4)   Inspiring Quotes
5)   Your Favorite Medium
ONCE YOU HAVE MADE A CLAIM:

1. Send a personal message to the person you have claimed and request their address.
2. You have 2 weeks to complete each card, and have it in the mail to its new owner. 


ONCE YOU HAVE SENT OR RECEIVED A CARD
1. Please PM the organizer when you send or receive a card.
    (It's also good form to notify the person you received from or are sending to.) 
2.  Please include one of these at the title of the message: October ATC Swap--Sent or October ATC Swap--Received
     Be sure to include the month!
3.Be sure and include the following in each pm to the organizer:
  • (1)"send by" date
  • (2)theme
  • (3)sender
  • (4)receiver

For example, you could use this format:
Quote
I sent some ATCs today!   

DUE DEC 16:
MeCraftsterMemberBloop --> YowzaSwapper (fantasmic theme)

DUE DEC 17:
MeCraftsterMemberBloop --> WowwieSwapsper (stupendous theme)
MeCraftsterMemberBloop -->WooHooYeeHawSwapper (yet another fascinating theme)

PLEASE REMEMBER TO INCLUDE THIS IN EVERY PM!!!

This lets the organizer easily access the swap info, so it can be updated.   

POSTING PIX OF ATCs RECEIVED
It is OH so important to post pictures of the amazing cards you receive!  This is the best way in the world to let it be known how special it is that you've received a wonderful treasure of someone else's creativity!   

Please post pictures/scans of your received cards in the swap (or make arrangements with your partner to do so).

FEEDBACK
Positive feedback will be given when all of the cards you sent have been received.   Good communication is always cool!  And be sure and post those pictures in the swap!

ANY QUESTIONS?
If you have any questions please post them in the discussion thread or PM the organizer, vincentvanbuckThis thread is specifically for claims only.
5  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Easy Slow Cooker Paleo(-ish) Ribs on: July 03, 2014 06:15:25 PM


This is a recipe my personal trainer shared with me a few years back.  I only started experimenting with crockpot cooking a month ago, so I didn't think to try making it until now.  Since the recipe is currently just sitting in my inbox, I wanted to type up a page for it so I could add pics and get it on my Pinterest board.

Ingredients: (I made some alterations based on what I had on hand, which may make it a little less Paleo-appropriate)



  • 2 - 3 lbs. beef short ribs
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil (original recipe calls for coconut oil)
  • 1 15 oz. can plain tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (original recipe calls for 4 whole dried dates)
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed

Step 1:



Season short ribs.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat, and brown ribs on both sides (2 - 3 mins per side).  The goal is just to get some nice color on the meat, since it'll get cooked through in the slow cooker.



Step 2:



Place short ribs, tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, raisins (or dates) and smashed garlic in crock pot.  Cover and cook on low for 4 - 6 hours.

Step 3:



Et voilà!  Dinner is served -- pretty easy, huh?  (I'll admit, it's certainly not the most appetizing-looking dish, sitting in the crockpot like that.  But like Anne Burrell always says, "Brown food tastes good!")  As an added bonus, you can take that pan you browned the ribs in, put it back on the stove and use a little white wine to de-glaze the pan.  Now you have a yummy flavor booster to help you quick sauté some baby spinach/kale -- season with salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, and some red pepper flakes, and you've got a delicious and very quick side dish!
6  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) / February & March 2014 ATCs (pic heavy) on: March 22, 2014 06:48:06 PM
I've been busy with the Ongoing ATC Swap the last couple of months, and since I'm very proud of many of the cards I made this round, I wanted to take the time to give them their own thread.



This first one depicts a scene from the Japanese folktale "Kaguya-hime" (also known as "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter").  The image is based on illustrations from the "World Masterpiece Fantasy" series edition -- kind of like the Japanese version of Golden Books (i.e., every Japanese I know under the age of 30 had them as a kid).



Also with a Japanese theme is this origami card.  The front of the card has origami paper glued on, and an origami crane design has been cut out of the center.  The cut-out actually goes all the way through, but I put a black card behind it to help the image stand out in the photo.



This is a Word Puzzle theme card -- the first letter of each mini-picture spells out the mystery seven-letter word.  One can pull up the flap to get a peak of the answer.  Which is...



Along a similar vein is this Harry Potter-themed card featuring a portrait of the Fat Lady (this is before I added the  cut-out window panels):



Looks like some Gryffindors are trying to sneak out past curfew!  (As soon as I saw that book of HP stamps at the post office, I envisioned this project in my head.)



The next card was for a "Hello Kitty as...." theme.  I found an inspiration image on the recipient's Pinterest of a Dia de los Muertos-style Hello Kitty.



I also did a couple of needle-felted cards, both with a spring theme:





And now, on to my favorites.  Wink

blupaisan made an amazing Valentine's Day present for her daughter, which featured (as one of MANY elements) a Richard Scarry aspect.  This immediately took me back to memories of my childhood: whenever my grandmother would come to visit us, the first thing my brother and I would do is sit down with her in the big recliner and have her read the same Richard Scarry book to us.  I went on to make an ATC for blupaisan featuring a scene of my grandmother reading to us, with all of us represented as Scarry characters.  (I'm Lowly Worm!  Cheesy)



I did a couple of yaoi-themed cards based on images from the recipient's Pinterest:



 
to change your image viewing settings please click here

Last but not least is this Figure Study themed card.



In some ways, it is my very favorite of the whole batch.  I have never been very strong at drawing, and when I first joined the ATC Swaps, I refused to freehand cards, instead tracing or using other mediums to do cards, because I feared that the recipients would be disappointed if they received a free-handed card from me.  But over time, I have been slowly building up my confidence in my drawing, and I feel like I've come a long way.  To think that I've gotten to the point where I can do black-and-white cards (in other words, I can't rely on color, etc. to "cover up" my drawing) is a big deal for me.  In fact, the only cards in this post that were traced were the two yaoi ones, and the origami crane (for the sake of achieving straight lines).  I am looking forward to continue improving my drawing skills in the coming months, especially once summer starts.

Thanks for looking!
7  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / My Loyal Mutant: The Tree Octopus Guardian on: March 11, 2014 08:25:57 PM


Last month, I participated in the inaugural Loyal Mutant Swap, in which we were given an ingredient/part list by our partner, and tasked with incorporating two (or more) items from the list into a heretofore undiscovered "mutant".  My partner Annchen had a lot of delicate and "pretty" elements on her list, which allowed me to craft what I consider to be a "pretty" mutant.



The items I chose to incorporate from my partner's list were:

  • tentacles
  • buttons
  • lace knitting
  • shawls
  • pinecones
  • yarn
  • owls

My partner is a HUGE yarnie, and while she did not list any colors on her ingredient list, my investigation of her Pinterest revealed that she definitely seems to favor the color purple, so I used that as my inspiration for the color palette.  Similar to my previous doll (the Zombie Mermaid), I created a yarn "wig" by cutting out a teardrop-shaped piece of felt and hot glueing yarn strands of various length.  It was a little more challenging this time, though, since the yarn was thinner and I was trying to go for a "prettier" look.  I had to double over a lot of the yarn strands and do a lot of layering in order to get the hair to not look so flat.



By far, my favorite element was the tentacles.  I quickly traced out vague tentacles shapes on the fabric, sewed them right sides together and turned them inside out.  After stuffing them with polyfill, I hot glued them together to my store-bought cloth doll base (which I just cut the legs off of).  Since I didn't create a pattern/template for the tentacles, they ended up having wildly different sizes, so next time I'll remedy that.  I absolutely loved the effect of the different buttons as suction cups on the tentacles.



Even after I finished crafting, I did not exactly know what she "was", but our knowledgeable Organizer quickly identified a genetic similarity to the (in)famous Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.  It was ultimately determined that she serves as a kind of Guardian Forest Spirit, hence her being dubbed the "Tree Octopus Guardian".

I have to say, I would have *never* imagined myself making dolls before joining Craftster.  But now, I've had the opportunity to make them for two different swaps, and they are some of my favorite projects I've worked on!  I love how swaps have a way of pushing me into experimenting with mediums, techniques, materials and inspirations that I would never have gravitated towards on my own.
8  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Four Elements Hoop 1/4 - Fire on: January 12, 2014 12:42:59 PM
I am basically brand-new to embroidery (outside of cross-stitch).  For my research project in the Harry Potter Craftalong, I am crafting four hooplas to represent the traditional Western four elements (earth, air, fire, water). My goal is to research and implement some of the most basic stitches and techniques, and I specifically want to try out some different techniques on each hoop.  There is so much talent on this board, and so I am posting this piece specifically in the hopes that I can get feedback and advice on how to improve my work.

Originally, I fretted a little over what to do for the composition of each hoop.  I knew I wanted to have a pattern of some kind to follow, but did not want to pay for professional ones, nor did I feel up to the challenge of designing my own for my first work.  The idea of using the Chinese/Japanese character for each element seemed like a good choice, since it would hold significance for me but be very straightforward as a compositional element.  In order to get a pattern, I typed up the character in my word processor, and found a font that had a little more shape to it.  After printing each one out in the size that best fit my hoop, I used my window as a light box to trace the pattern using a white transfer pencil.  I outlined the pattern of this "fire" character with a split stitch using 3 strands of embroidery floss (which meant I always had to divide it 2-and-1 -- I'm thinking that 4 would've been better), and then filled in the whole thing with two strands of satin stitch.  All of these techniques were brand new to me.

Project Picture:



I would love your feedback on the following questions:



1) I'm using a set of variegated threads for all four hoops.  On this one, I started out the satin stitch from the middle of the top, and then you'll see the "split" where I went down the left "leg" of the character.  After working on this for a while, I became concerned that the variegation wasn't showing up enough in the thread (when I cut out a length of thread from the skein, split it up into 3 sets of 2 stands and used them one right after the other, the same color pattern repeated 3 times in a row).  So, for the right leg, instead of keeping the 2 strands of floss running the same direction, when I separated them, I would put the opposite ends together, making the variegation a lot more random instead of gradual.  I used that same technique on the two triangles at the sides as well.  Which style of variegation do you think ends up looking better, gradual or random?



2) Doing the satin stitch, there are several spots where I came up through (or even outside) my split stitch outline, which looked quite sloppy.  Do you think I should use something other than split stitch to outline my pattern if I'm filling in with satin, or do I just need to be more fastidious about coming up inside the outline?

3) Also, as I was reading online about satin stitch, some websites said that you need to carry the thread all the way around on the back side, and others advised to just come up right next to the hole where you exited.  I ended up using the first technique, even though I felt like I was wasting a ton of thread, since I was afraid of coming through my holes if I didn't.  Which technique do you recommend?



Thank you so much for taking the time to look and comment!
9  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / woodland-themed Christmas stocking on: December 15, 2013 09:04:22 PM
I made this for my partner in Round 9 of the Christmas Stocking Swap.  It is the swap item I am most proud of to date, so I hope she likes it.  Smiley



Since my partner had a lot of natural elements posted to her Pinterest, I chose a Woodlands theme for the stocking.  The appliqus are made of everyday craft felt sheets, and needle-felted onto a slightly higher-quality felt that was cut from a bolt.  Originally, I wanted it to be more of a "Winter Woodlands" theme, but I felt that the white felt was too bright and clashed with the other colors, so I opted to sew on clear and white opaque beads to connote the idea of snow.  Although they look a little dull in the photo, they add a nice touch of sparkle in person.  I didn't take a picture of the back, but it features my partner's name cut out in red felt letters, with an "in-line" of beads sewn down the centers of the letters.  It kinda ended up looking like marquee letters a little.   Tongue
10  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Zombie Mermaid on: October 26, 2013 06:02:43 AM
This is quite a step-up from the previous project I posted on this board!  I recently participated in the Creepy Cute Stuffie Swap, and my partner said she liked creepy mermaids, so I decided to craft her a zombie mermaid.



Initially, I tried to draft a pattern for the entire thing by hand, but having never even made a doll before, that was a bit beyond my skill set.  Thankfully, I found a $3 blank stuffed doll form at Joanns, which even had the bonus of being that perfect zombie un-dead gray!  So I chopped off the legs, and used that for the upper body.  With a good base for the torso, I was then able to draft a decently-shaped pattern for the tail.



Two pieces of black felt, machine-sewn together and stuffed with poly fill from the bottom up as I went along.  I intentionally cut the top of the tail a little wider than the waist of the doll, and after the torso was glued into the tail, I hot glued the over-wide edges of the tail to the backside to create the effect of her wider hips and narrower waist.  The tailbones were all painted on with white fabric paint -- which I did not realize had a velveteen effect, so when I used a blow dryer on the paint to speed up the drying, the paint actually started to bubble up.  It was a happy accident, though, as I think it adds some interesting texture.



I figured that crafting her chest would be difficult, so I went with the requisite mermaid shell-bra, hot-glued on.  My friends and I had a good laugh over her Madonna-esque cones.  The face and scratches were all painted on using black and white fabric paint, and a Tim Holtz brand red distress paint for paper crafting (which I figured would be more subtle, and I think it was.  It actually comes in a dauber, so I had to daub it onto a paper plate to be able to get some on my brush).  I wish I had taken a little more care into how I had applied the scratches (they look more like pus sores than wounds to me, but I guess that works too).  Her little cameo was purchased at Joann -- I was hoping to make a skull one, but based on the time I had and supplies I was able to find, this ended up being the best option.  So, it is the mermaid's treasure, recovered from a shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean.



My absolute favorite part of the doll, however, is her ridiculously-long hair.  I had already figured I would end up using yarn for the hair, but when I saw this one at the craft store, I knew it would be perfect.  The black, white and gray colors say "zombie" to me, and it was all knotted in weird places, which really helped to add a lot of volume.  Originally, I was just going to start gluing long strands of yarn to the top of her head, but my best friend wisely advised me to create a base for a wig, using a teardrop-shaped piece of black felt.  That way, I could more easily create a part, instead of having hair hanging down in the doll's face, and it worked really well.  I still managed to almost permanently lose the use of a couple fingers to the hot glue gun... but, y'know.  Crafting problems.



She is even a little bit blinged-out, with a jeweled fishbone stuck in her hair.  Wink
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