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71  Re: Sweat Shoppe Swap Round 32 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Ratfinkz on: October 08, 2013 04:02:54 AM
I just realised I never uploaded the rest of my goodies from this round - I am so sorry! Here they are Smiley

My lovely shades of blue pendant:

My beautiful cork necklace - in purple with dragonfly - love it! Smiley

Love the notebooks also - they will be SO useful! I owe an apology though - I appear to have put the bigger one "somewhere safe" I'm sure I will find it - but didn't want to leave getting these up any longer! sorry!
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72  Re: Sweat Shoppe ORNAMENT Swap Round 4 (signups end TODAY!!, send by 11/11) in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by Ratfinkz on: October 08, 2013 03:52:22 AM
I'm sorry to be posting these slightly late! They are not completely finished as I have not varnished them - however I'm leaving the varnish off until people choose them - at which point they can ask for glitter or gloss varnish. Also - if you like one of them but would like something altered - that doesnt involve me starting again - please let me know! I intend to go round the borders of the bells as they look rather plain - but again I will leave that up to you - if you want a border - let me know - and let me know which colour - you can see which colours I have on the other decs! Hope that is all ok. If you end up getting one of these - please let me know your preferences for which you want - I can not promise to give everyone what they want - so it will be done on a first come first served basis. If you give me a list of your preferences for the 8 designs - and let me know if you want two the same - I will do my best!
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73  Sewing Kit - Pic (and text) heavy! in CHALLENGE 91 ENTRIES by Ratfinkz on: October 07, 2013 02:48:38 PM
I am currently in the process of making friends with my sewing machine. My husbands Grandma gave it to me about 5 years ago - I tried for a few days but couldn't get to grips with it. At the beginning of last year I saw a sewing course advertised - so I thought I would go along. I really enjoyed the course - it was 3 lessons of two hour course. I thought I'd continue using it, so it sat in the corner of the living room staring at me, but I got nervous to use it without someone telling me what to do - and of course, the more I put it off - the more scared I got - so it sat forlorn and unloved behind the livingroom door. In August I joined the rodent revolution swap - and decided to get over my fears and have a go on it! I didn't do very well - but as I'd broken the cycle - decided to keep on playing and try to make friends. I've never been good at sewing - at school when we did sewing I was the girl sat in the corner trying for the entire lesson to thread the darn needle! Still - I can be pretty determined when I need to be - and when I saw this challenge I decided it was the perfect opportunity to learn. I didnt have a pin cushion - and have been saying for ages I need one (I did some hand sewing before) so that inspired my choice of what to make - a single pin cushion wouldn't take up a pillow case - so I decided to make a whole hand sewing kit. Anyway - onto the pics I hope you enjoy! Smiley

Firstly - I started with these rather boring pillowcase - I have uploaded a pic of both as they came together - but have actually only used one.

 I decided I had to pretty it up - and decided to do some tie dye - I've been wanting to try some for years. I looked online for patterns and really liked the look of lots of small circles. To get it you have to tie buttons, or some people use grains of rice - all over your fabric - I used string to do so! I DO like the look of it - BUT tying so many buttons on took FOREVER!!!! And all the time I was aware that as my first time tie dying something might go wrong....undoing all of them using a seam ripper took an entire day - tying them on took about 4 days I think (of about 6 hours each day!).

I wanted two contrasting colours and patterns - so decided one would be just straight lines - Purple is my favourite colour and I thought blue would go well with it. This was the scariest stage - the dye was on - and I was petrified that taking the buttons off I would find out it hadn't worked - but I had to leave it to dry overnight rather than taking them off there and then to check!

Yay both methods came out well!

This is the entire set - it consists of a zippered pouch, scissor holder, pin cushion and a needle book.

I started following McCalls pattern M6256, but then went off in a tangent to get the intesting shape rather than it just being a rectangle, I'm quite pleased with how the zipper turned out on this - as it was my first time ever of attaching a zipper to anything.

The lining of the bag

Needle book which includes room for needles, safety pins, and I put a couple of safety pins in to hold some thread. This was my own pattern. The inner pages have both interfacing to keep them sturdy and felt inside them - the idea of the felt was to stop needles showing on the back of the page - and am glad to say it works nicely Smiley

The pin cushion was also my own pattern. I wanted it to be deep so I could push pins right the way in so they dont get knocked out while they are in the bag -but the bottoms do not poke out of the bottom so therefore I'm not going to prick myself if I put my hand in to get something out.

Lastly is the scissor case - this was from the same pattern as the bag - but this time I followed all of the pattern:

And finally a shot of the whole kit again on the other pillow from the pair as a "this to that" picture!

Anyway - I hope you like! One day I will enter a challenge without writing an essay alongside it! Sorry!!!!
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74  Re: Sweat Shoppe Swap Round 32 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Ratfinkz on: September 20, 2013 04:11:09 PM
Here is my beautiful leaf wash cloth - which is going to be renamed a 'flannel' - wool is what comes from sheep, which is what I thought this was - but I may be wrong! Still love it whatever it is made from Smiley
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75  Re: Sweat Shoppe Swap Round 32 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Ratfinkz on: September 20, 2013 12:00:38 PM
The first thing that I received was Ninaprettyballerina's neo geo necklace which is very lovely thank you.

Unfortunately I really struggled to get the colour right in the photograph - so have played a bit with Photoshop and this is the closest I can get - in reality it is an even lighter lilac colour - I am ALWAYS happy to receive anything purple! Cheesy

I have also received Eiseldora's wonderful wash cloth - again in purple YAY!!!! However it is upstairs at the moment - and due to pain levels I am unable to go and get it. My husband is currently shopping - but when he gets back I'll ask him to bring it down for me - and will photograph it.

I do have rather a weird question to ask about it though - I'd always assumed they were for washing the dishes - as that is what we call wash cloths over here - HOWEVER it is too pretty to be used on mucky old dishes so is it ok to use it as a flannel (for washing myself with) and is that, infact, what they are for?!
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76  Re: Rodent Revolution 5 Gallery -Sendout 09/16/2013 in The Swap Gallery by Ratfinkz on: September 20, 2013 11:28:10 AM
There are some great things here - some are nearly as good as my parcel!!!! (still feeling VERY spoiled!!!)

am loving the chinchilla picture - wish I could draw / paint / do anything arty!

As for the little fleece Gerbil tunnel  - that is awesome and SO cute!!!!

Sorry but I am going to put a few more photo's in - cos I didn't put enough photos in my first post *sarcasm* but thought you'd like to see my new cage layout using Trekky's wonderful hammocks / bed! Had to totally rearrange the cage as I hadn't left room for the hammocks - as I only have three atm - and ill health prevents me from keeping on top of a big cage (as it is my husband has to do the clean out's sometimes - and he isn't into the rats - he's a star!) it is a littler cage than I am used to having - but the girls are more than happy in it (and it's not small enough to be too small for them!)

The whole cage so you can see where I've fitted everything in. The upturned pink (bleurgh!) basket has got bedding underneath - it is a form of enrichment for them to figure out how to get at it

Blackie / Blackster (different name depending on the day lol!) on top of the tunnel hammock - while they've been inside - I didn't think it would make an interesting picture to show the tunnel with a lump!

Blackie and Lola in the 'bed' together!!! I actually put this in last night and had a nervous breakdown when I came down this morning as they had tried to pull it into their sputnik (the black and purple thing in bottom left corner - and had chewed through it - it was strewn across the floor and looked ruined - and I hadn't got a pic even! Luckily when I got it out it was still the bed shape - just with a few holes - so that was a relief! These are the first lot who have not chewed hammocks up - so was a major shock to see they'd got this one! Am hoping now they know it doesn't fit in the sputnik they may leave it alone - and indeed they haven't tried to eat it at all today!

Nony (I could NOT think of a name for her so my partner decided she would be Nony - as in A Nony Mouse! Yes - I know she's a rat - but it stuck!) and Lola in the corner hammock

Lastly, this is a picture of my rat that died during the swap (Scruffy) and the pose she was SO often in (as she is pink eyed she had even worse vision than most rats who don't have great vision-so she would stick her head in the air and sway from side to side in order to use her other senses to see where she was - ie smell, whiskers and to be able to see slightly)- hopefully you can see although it is a weird angle shot of her - why the rat on the front of the handmade journal reminded me of her!

Thank you so much again Trekky - you went way overboard with the spoiling (not that I'm complaining!) and just hope you enjoy your parcel as much as I am mine!

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77  Re: Rodent Revolution 5 Gallery -Sendout 09/16/2013 in The Swap Gallery by Ratfinkz on: September 14, 2013 05:19:12 PM
Woot I get to be the first to post in the Gallery Smiley

Warning - extreme spoilage = many pictures!!!

Before I post any pictures though - I have to apologise - the parcel from Trekky is going to set the bar very very high! I was spoiled SO much - even my partner commented on it and called it "one of my best swap parcels to date"! The best thing about the whole swap though - is that I feel I have made a great friend in my partner!

So - Friday afternoon there was a knock on the door - and a parcelforce man stood there with a MASSIVE box in his hand - I was trying to keep our Springer in the house - and he handed me the parcel - then, when both hands were full he asked me to sign for it! That was fun!!!

This is what I saw when I opened the box:

When I was allocated Trekky as a partner - I noticed she was Scottish - and had sent Tablet to previous partners (Tablet is a rather delicious Scottish treat - think very sweet fudge!) well, my Nanny June, who was my hero - and who died last year, used to live in Scotland - and I spent many a happy holiday with here while I was growing up. She moved to England about 10 years before she died - but her heart was always in Scotland. Anyhow - as a child holidaying there - I loved the local sweets - and knew the taste of tablet would bring back many memories for me, of happy childhood days and a very missed Nanny June, so asked if she could possibly send me some - to which she agreed. Imagine my surprise when I found all of this scottish confectionary in my box - it made me cry, there was so much stuff there that was so familiar - and brought back so many memories! The best thing? I'm on a diet atm - so it will last me for a LONG time!!! (I will be having a small amount of things each day - as am allowed 300 calories worth of treats) - Trekky, I can't tell you how much this meant to me - thank you SO much! There were also nibbles for my rats - which made me laugh! When I first went shopping for Trekky and her GP's - I bought them a seed thing - then got home reread the questionnaire and realised the GP's do not eat them - so I gave it to my rats - she sent me the exact same thing I had bought - saying a friend gave me to them but the GP's dont eat them - so I thought your rats might like them - well they certainly do - they enjoyed the one that was meant for the GP's! LAstly were a couple of Ratatouille Pin badges Smiley

And as if that wasn't enough - I got all these wonderful handmade goodies - I dont know where she found time to do it all!

First a winter set for me - some fingerless mitts, a beautiful cowl, and a wonderful hat - that actually fits me - (I have a huge head!)

Then - all these wonderful sleeping places for my girls - a corner  hammock, a hanging 'tube' hammock - and a wonderful bed - which I think they are going to adore (they much prefer sleeping 'on' things to sleeping 'in' things

After that came a handmade journal / notebook / scrapbook - which also made me cry. Trekky didn't do it on purpose (I asked her!) but the rat reminds me so much of Scruffy (she had red eyes and couldnt see properly so always had her head up scannino side trying to work out what was near her - where she wanted to go etc - also, the thread is multicoloured - which immediately made me think of "Rainbow Bridge" Scruffy was the rat I lost during this swap - and up until receiving that book I had been unable to cry for her - so it was good to finally have a good cleansing cry and start to move on.

Then - these beautiful notelets - most of them will be sent to people - BUT I am most definitely keeping one to put in a frame! They are too amazing to send them ALL off!

A close up of the cards:

Lastly were some recycled rat tunnels - which I am going to let them play with during free range time! They came with a note saying "yes I DID wear these trousers" which slightly surprised me - as my first thought on seeing them was - "Wow - I want a pair like them!"

Now - I can't leave this post without any action shots - so here is a few of them enjoying the bed and the trouser tunnel - I am too much of a mess atm to model the winter set - but I will do tomorrow hopefully!

I really can not thank you enough Trekky - you have been an AMAZING partner! There is only one thing I am upset about with the parcel - I am unable to match your wonderfulness - so now got extreme swap anxiety! (That is a joke btw - well the being upset bit is)

Thanks also to Gerbilgal for organising (I was so caught up in the wonderfulness of my partner - I nearly forgot to thank you - sorry! Also, thank you so much for the lovely email you sent me at the beginning of the swap - that meant so much to me!)
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78  Re: special sparkly sketchbook in CHALLENGE 90 ENTRIES by Ratfinkz on: September 09, 2013 10:42:56 AM
Hi, for some reason I can not view these pics - copying posted link brings me to an error page. Are you able to alter your post and instead of just the link copy and paste the ones that are like this [img] pic link[/ img]

I am on my kindle though so if other people can see them then ignore me! Xxx
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79  Fairy House and a Sob Story! in CHALLENGE 90 ENTRIES by Ratfinkz on: September 07, 2013 07:35:29 AM
As I was walking in my Garden this morning - I discovered a fairy house. It was hidden under a hedge - she had taken so much effort in making it - I decided I just HAD to share it here - after all, beauty should be shared yes?

I do think the fairy has been ingenious - she made the chimney out of twigs found under the hedge - although as they were so tiny they didnt stand up too well - there is still a hole in the middle for the smoke to come out of - so it does work. The door to her house she has made from a leaf, and the handle is a slice of an acorn. She has also enchanted a mouse and a hedgehog to make them shrink so she can have some pets for company - fairies are very rare in this part of the world.

A couple of detail shots (which show up all the bits I got paint where I didnt want paint - my only excuse is it is SO tiny, still kind of gutted by them - with how many times I tried to sort it all - and how many hours I spent on it!!!!! Am actually really disappointed having seen the close up pics there is more paint in places it shouldn't be than I had noticed - and the varnish has blurred some of the detail!

The green on the side of the stem of the toadstool was put on deliberately - to look like grass.

The pond is made from tiny beads, then painted blue, and varnished with glitter varnish.  The pebbles are from our garden, everything else is painted Daz.

And the promised sob story! I have always wanted a fairy house - so when I saw this challenge I thought it was the perfect time to make one. I have never been good with polymer clay - and certainly not painting tiny things - also our oven isnt working so I can't bake anything. So - with all this in mind, I went to my local craft store - and bought some coloured airdry clay. I then spent about 6 hours trying to make a tiny house with all the tiny elements - because things were so tiny - the clay kept drying as I was making things - which was a nightmare. Anyhow - I finally got it how I loved it - and left it overnight to dry - the next day it had dried - but as it had dried - the colours had gone really dull - so I decided I WOULD have to paint it anyway - 2 days and about 12 hours later - I was satisfied with it. I put it to the side of the table to dry - and tidied up my craft space - which was full of sewijng, fabric, clay, etc etc etc after I'd cleared up - it was time to varnish it. But wait - where had it gone? Well - it was lying outside in bits...my naughty Springer Spaniel had stolen it and decided to play with it - it is the first time she'd EVER stolen an ornament - it's normally stuffed toys or socks! Well - I sulked for about 5 minutes and then thought - Gah I better try again! ( I REALLY wanted a fairy house!) The night before I had bought some Daz (which is airdry clay but uncoloured) to make something for a swap I am involved in. So - as I would have to colour it whichever clay I used - I decided to use the Daz and then paint it. Luckily it was quicker to make this time as I knew what techniques I needed to use. again I left it over night to dry - and then took another 2 days and 12+ hours to paint - I kept getting colours in the wrong place - eg while painting the spots - I would get a bit of white on the red roof - while sorting that out - I would get red on a spot - and on aond on and on - eventually I just had to accept that it would not be completely perfect - I'm away for the weekend - and wanted to post it before I went - last night I was still putting varnish on at midnight!!!!  They say everything happens for a reason - and I reckon they are right in this case - I am much happier with the second house than I was the first!

Anyway - think I've chatted long enough - so will leave this with one last comment - which is that I had made my first a long time before the fairy house on here already was posted - and the second was made - just not coloured and was almost an exact clone of the first - so despite there being some similarities (Roses, toadstool etc) I honestly did not see that until mine had been done.

two final photos; one to show you the size (although you'll have to forgive the mess of my craft mat!) and a shot of the initial one before it got destroyed - and I'm off out the door to go help at a dog show for the weekend!

(I prefer the chimney on this one - but that is all - the white spots of the toadstool are made from the top of pins - and the stones, as in the second one - are from our garden)
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80  Stripey Sock Monsters - Hand Sewn - pic heavy in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by Ratfinkz on: August 12, 2013 06:27:06 PM
Hello! What does Craftster mean to me? It means a LOT of things - which I have tried to represent in this challenge.

Firstly and mainly Craftster means learning and improving skills and techniques, challenge yourself to get ever better, looking at a project and thinking 'I've never done this - but I'll darn well give it a go!" or if starting from scratch to think 'that's something i've always wanted to do - so I'll jolly well do it"

With that in mind on my recent honey moon (beginning of July) I saw a kit for a sock monkey, and having wanted to learn how to make one for ages - I decided to give it a go. This was the result

Having made him I wasn't at all happy with him - I'd followed the instructions completely - but along the way found things I personally would do differently.

A large part of Craftster for me is also swaps - the majority of my posts will be found there - I love crafting for others and making new friends. Because I knew I could improve on the first monkey - and learn as I went on, but knowing I would not perservere in making them unless there was a purpose to them - I decided to join up to the Sweat Shoppe Swap and make a further six to send out - of course I'd do them as best as I could - and hopefully they would be liked by their recipients - but I also would gain a massive amount from it - by having time to perfect them!

So - here is the first I did with my own pattern - he is a lot bigger than my kit one and whilst I was pleased with him - I saw many improvements that could be made for my next one - the main part I did not like were his ears, or how scruffy it looked where he'd been sewn together - also his tail was not great, I liked it being thinner than the original - but I went TOO thin! and then there is the one leg being longer than the other......

Monkey number three had improvements on his ears and tail - but I couldnt work out what to do to make the sewing on of the piece neater (his ears look much closer to being the same size IRL!) I still wasn't 100% happy with the ears - but the good news is that whilst I was sewing him - I had a brainwave - why not make a hem on the parts of his limbs that will attach to his body - that way the will not be all the straggly ends where i'd cut the sock - I have no idea why I didn't think of it sooner! DUH! BUT his legs are at least the same size!!!

Finally monkey number four was sewn today - with the limbs hemmed as worked out last night - and he is definitely my best by far - he is the main 'entry' to the competition as he is a culmination of what I said earlier I liked about Craftster, challenge, learning, and improving - I much prefer the neatness of his limbs, his ears were done in a totally different way - I used different buttons for his eyes! I know I need to do his mouth again - but it was 12:30am my partner has to be up at 4:30 and was waiting up with me - so I was kind of hurried - I doubt I'll be able to get them up tomorrow hence doing it now (where it is now 2am - am posting in the dark sat in bed with my OH snoring!)

hmm sorry about weird colour - the others show much better colour!

his eyes are the same colours - stupid flash - this shows that a bit better

Another part of Craftster to me is the internationality (is that a word - it is now!) with so much war, hate and prejudice in the world it is amazing to find a corner where there is none - everybody is treated differently - no matter where they live or where they come from! There's not many places like that anymore Sad With that in mind I decided to make all my monkeys different - both in colour and in features - they are all individuals just like we all are - but they are friends with each other and accept each other for who they are - as this picture shows:

So yes - I think that about sums up what Craftster means to me!


(I do have some work in progress shots - but I think this is image heavy enough! I might make a tutorial at some stage if anyone is interested)
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