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11  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Wire Wrap Bear Tooth Necklace on: November 11, 2013 02:28:41 AM
One of my coworkers knows I do crafty stuff.  He saw the coyote tooth necklace I wear (I didn't make it, as it's carved and drilled), and asked me if I could drill his bear tooth.
I told him I really don't drill, since there's too much of a risk of shattering the piece, but I could wire wrap if he wanted.  Ted really perked up and brought me his bear tooth the next day. 


It ended up being only gold toned wire, since I couldn't seem to find ANY real gold wire in town and only had silver on hand.  It turned out really well, and I didn't have to up charge for the high price of real gold. 

I'm kind of bummed out that I didn't take a picture of it in my hand or next to something for size reference.  The widest part was about the span of my thumb, and it was over an inch long.  Like the first two joints of my index finger.

It's a pretty solid piece now.  He'd really have to do something to it to loose it.


I got kind of fancy there too on the loop for the leather.  I went with some buckskin lace I had in this lovely shade of brown.  It doesn't have a clasp, since it is for a guy who just wanted it as a tie on. 


Normally, I'd soak it in some hydrogen peroxide prior to wrapping to end up cleaning the gunk, but Ted wanted the natural patina.  Honestly, it works with the lace color. 


He was really thrilled to get it back, and paid me a lot more than the price I quoted him.  Plus he gave me a cigar box!  (I LOVE wooden boxes!)  I'm glad he liked it so much.  Next time he gets a bear, it sounds like I'll be busy again.  I told him claws come out well too, and not to snap the root off the tooth, since it looks even cooler with the whole thing. 

It's SO much fun to work with hunters! 
12  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Patchwork Fur Scrap Pillow on: November 11, 2013 02:03:54 AM
This has a really sweet story. 
One of my close friends has a nephew with Autism.  His name is Andrew, and he has a really sad story right now.  Hopefully he will be moving up from Missouri to Alaska to live with his aunt and uncle this winter! 
 
At any rate, the young man really could use a pick-me-up.  He is very sensitive to sensory things due to his Autism, so I figured his very own Soft would be something amazing for him. 

 
to change your image viewing settings please click here
*Marked as mature, since it is real fur. 
I have amassed a bunch of fur scraps over the past couple of years from some of the AK Native craft fairs where the fur sewers offer bags of their small scraps for sale.  There is a good variety of different furs, but they are all odd shapes and sizes. 

This time I used a size 5 glover's needle and Silamide waxed beading thread for the stitching.  It worked really well.
The fur involved is rex rabbit, coyote, fox (arctic, blue, red), bobcat (including a little tail I ended up leaving loose in the middle as something 3d to play with and flip the tip a little for fun), wolf, beaver, and mink. 

I decided to do something totally funky, so I made it a patchwork pillow, keeping as close to the piece shapes as I could.  Sewing fur is kind of difficult, since it only goes one way and the stitcher has to be mindful of this when planning the layout. 

It's not a perfect square, but I really didn't want it to be.  It is backed with some very plush brown velour, and has a "tribal" style wolf paw print beaded piece on the back. 
 

*This one isn't getting mature marked, it's the velour back with some attached bead work.   

The beading is two-drop peyote, with size 15 delicas.  I used the back half of a necklace pouch pattern I got from a local bead artist who teaches this technique as a class down at Alaska Bead Company in Anchorage. 
The dark beads are actually a shimmery dark green, but it looks more brown or black in the photo.  Quite beautiful in person against the brown.

It's a little crooked on the back since I didn't think to use a hoop to hold it perfectly centered; however, I really liked the way it looks like the wolf stepped on the pillow. 



Andrew really likes it - he sent me a nice thank you email.  Apparently he has carried it EVERYWHERE with him since it arrived.   Grin
13  UNITED STATES / Alaska / Fairbanks Area Needleworkers: on: August 20, 2013 12:15:13 AM
North Star Needlework Guild!

I had no idea something like this existed until the fair this year.  The Guild meets on the third Monday of each month, and has a lot of fun.  They offer classes for different techniques given by members, and encourage people to do little classes for others if they have experience and want to share.   
They also do a yearly needlework retreat, Christmas party with swap, are a big part of the needlework and craft area of the Tanana Valley State Fair, and are a lot of fun to chat with.  Members are of all ages, and very welcoming. 


I just went for the first time tonight and had a blast!  They recommended you bring a little something, doesn't even have to be needlework to play with during the meeting, and also to feel free to bring a bigger project to show off.  You can get tips and techniques from some master needleworkers too.  I can't get over how much fun it was to attend!!


It's neat to get to know other local people with similar interests.  I they said you can come to a few meetings before choosing to join and pay dues.  I can't remember how much it is for a year, but I know it wasn't super expensive, and I'm totally paying next time.

I know it's sort of a long shot to post up here, but if anyone is new (or old) to Fairbanks and even mildly interested in any aspect of needlework - cross stitch, embroidery, crewl, candlewicking, tatting, etc etc etc  - it's worth checking out.   Grin

They have a group on yahoo groups, and on Facebook if you look up the name. 
14  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Janome 4030PR Review on: June 07, 2013 03:07:23 AM
Brand: Janome

Model: DC4030PR  (Same as a DC4030, but I guess they donated some of the profits for boobie cancer, so it has more pink in the decorative graphics than the regular one.)

Year:  Not certain, I bought it in 2013, but it was the floor model at the store.

Cost:  They started at $800something, but seem to have dropped in price this year to mid $500s.  I hit a Memorial Day sale that was fantastic, on top of an open stock and floor model discount, so I think I paid around $300. 

How long have you had the machine?  A week so far.

Is it a basic sewing machine, serger, or embroidery machine?  Basic sewing, but computerized functions.

What are your favorite features?  The computerized functions.  Seriously.  You. Can't. Screw. It. Up.  I remember using my Mom's Singer, you nearly needed a manual every time you wanted to use one of the fancy stitches- everything had to match and be adjusted just right or it would get totally screwed up. 
This one is SO easy.  Pick a stitch, make sure your foot selection matches the letter that is written on the stitch button, and go. 

I like the needle threader, it works very well, and the whole machine is a dream to thread.  I also like the drop in bobbin, and ease of threading. 

Feed dogs are really easy to drop and raise too.  It came with an absolute ton of feet too. 

It's not hard to figure out how to use it, and the manual it came with is pretty decent.  I like how lightweight it is for carrying to classes or group sewing gatherings. 

What are some of the unique features it has?  I haven't seen this on many other machines-  you don't HAVE to use a foot control.  It has a stop/go button.  It's magical.  So easy if you are like me and don't have an optimal sewing table/area to use- plus your foot doesn't get tired!
The bobbin winder is an independent motor. 
Automatic buttonholes!!!!!  Drop your button in the button foot, select the type of hole you want, and let it do its thing.  Boom.  Buttonhole.  It is super easy to adjust stitches, size, length etc.
The tension of the presser foot can be adjusted for lighter materials too.

How well does it run?  Really well.  I even tried the roller foot (purchased separately) and leather needle on some light to mid-weight leather.  It works SO well.  The machine just ate it right up, (meant in a good way- no jams, no slowing down), and the seam was lovely.
I haven't run it for hours and hours yet, that will be this weekend.  Smiley  I'll update as I use it.

Has it ever broken or needed maintenance you couldn't do yourself?  I got it at a local dealer that is super trustworthy. (I work with a family member of the owner.)  So I do trust them when they say this model is really solid.  It seems like it will be easy to access the machine for adjustments and things.  Plus they said something about a bring it in to be fixed type warranty for the first year, and their servicing is very affordable.

What are your least favorite features?
I'm really not into the color pink, even if it is for a good cause.  I wish the hard cover it came with locked on rather that just rested.  I wish it was a little longer for quilting and stuff, but that would take away the portability and ease of storage.     

I am not sure if I would have paid the full price, or even the $500 something price though.  For $300, I think it was a steal of a deal.  I'm kind of thrifty though. 

Would you recommend this machine to a friend?  I recommended it to my Mother!  Cheesy  I told her she would enjoy using something like this so much more than her current machine.
15  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Garbage Bag Quilt- Freebie Score! Now With Pics! on: May 13, 2013 11:04:03 PM
It's the most wonderful time of the year:  College Graduation!  Ah yes, the time when students move out of their apartments and dorm rooms, only to realize they have too much to take with them.  Time for totally awesome finds!


This year my seriously awesome find is a tie.  A New In Box boot dryer (silent variety and fully functional), and a quilt I found in a garbage bag.  I didn't expect much more than a store bought quilt at first, but when I pulled it out I was amazed.

I found a lap quilt made with some really gorgeous batik fabric, and another lovely ocean creature print.  The bad part- there are bars of black totally non-matching flannel run between segments of the quilt.  Whomever sewed it didn't even add any interfacing, so the flannel (obviously) started to pull away at all of the seams.  There are two tiny places where not enough seam allowance was left on the regular cotton, but that is fixable.   I was stunned how beautiful it looked once I washed it too!  

Taking a closer look- it appears the entire piece could really use a nice boarder, and the backing will need to be enlarged, as the front was sewn under anywhere between 3 and 4 inches when the back was attached.  

On the cool side of things, the person(or people) who made it got creative.  Rather than batting, it is lined with a piece of polar fleece.  Neat idea for a quilt up here!  

My hypothesis about the quilt:
1.  Someone didn't fully realize all of the work involved after finding a pretty fabric they liked.  Towards the end of working on it, they just wanted to be done so they slapped it together the way I found it, ended up getting sick of it as the flannel pulled out at the seams and dumped it.  
2.  Same start of someone getting in over their head either work-wise or time-wise, and ditched a half sewn quilt as a bag of fabric.  A second person picked it up, figured on the flannel and slapped it together as their first quilt ever.  



So I think I'll try and find some complementary fabric to add a boarder.  I think I might do away with the strips between panel sets, since I think it breaks up the beauty of the fabric patterns too much.  I have seen some at a few local fabric places that have both similar colors and carry the ocean theme very well.  Thoughts... ideas....

I want to do something about the back fabric to enlarge it.  Do you think a boarder on the back would look odd?  Maybe if I got fancy and ended up making it something different like satin or velvet?  

Or should I cut it in half and add a different color fabric shot through the middle as a spacer?            


I may keep the idea of polar fleece as the batting, I can keep the original bit and end up getting some clearance stuff to add in.  It gets so cold that the extra warmth is nice up here.


Before pictures forthcoming, I'm having issues with photos at the moment...   Angry

ETA- Here are some pictures of the original state

Whole quilt- don't mind the blur, I was standing on my trash can to get it all in one shot.


 



Both sides for a closer look at the fabric.


The back.


Some of the damage up close. 
There were also three blocks that had pulled at the seams that needed attention. 
16  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 86 ENTRIES / Pagan Pouch with Ingredients on: May 05, 2013 02:10:50 PM
This was one of the items I sent to my partner, hawkeyes_girl in the WWP 43 - All Around the Maypole - Beltane Swap  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=422292.0#axzz2PZFPb175



One of her wishes was for certain spells with the intentions of inner peace, protection, and healing.  I'm kind of a different type of pagan, so I don't really write spells (it's more free form with me), however; I do use tools with intent- like rocks with certain traits, colors, and/or ritual scented oils.   

All of the little pouches plus the explanation fit into the big pouch.  The mini pouches contained little helpful things that could be used for each of her spells.  Each color represented each objective too.  Black for protection, green for healing, and blue for peace.  They were tied with bits of white leather, as that can be more interchangeable and neutral. 
I also decanted samples of some of my favorite ritual oils that I have had good luck with for each objective.  (Not of my making, but gave her the name of where they came from, as well as their description of each.) 




The big pouch itself was made from some deer leather of two different colors.  My partner's favorite colors were ocean tones, so I chose the blue for the main part of the bag, and green for the draw strings.  The green drawstrings were either white or natural colored at first, but I got into my boyfriend's leather dyes so I could have some green lacing, as it's getting hard to find deer laces in a variety of colors now.

I wanted to try something a little different style-wise, so I started with a round bottom piece and stitched the blue around in a wrap style.  I like making my pouches from scraps, to help ensure none of the animal parts I use are wasted, so the seam along the front is purposely a diagonal. 
It worked well with a pouch in general, as it gave it a round bottom with a neck that narrowed ever so slightly for the drawstrings to work. 



I hemmed the neck of the bag, and added stone (and copper) beads that held the same traits as the kits inside.  There are also three copper jingles above the seam, as bells or jingly things are meant to keep bad luck or negative energy away. 



Along the seam are attached decorations of things my partner loves.  Smiley 
Two beaded dragonflies made of crystals.  One is green, the other is blue.  They are flying at different angles, but both up the seam of the bag to channel positive energy towards the hands of the user.  Again, blue and green are my partner's colors. 


The middle beaded object is a triquerta.  This is one of her specific symbols.  It is a celtic knot style triangle with a circle through the middle of the points.  I found directions on a blog that happened to be in Hungarian.  http://ekszermania.blogger.hu/2011/11/25/triquetra-medal  Through the help of google translate, and some most excellent graphics, I figured out how to make it! 

The triquerta is made of size 11 delicas, and size 15 seed beads of the same color (Miyuki brand).  It is a variation of circular peyote stitch.  Really, REALLY fun to make! 




Finally, I kept the drawstrings long, just in case she wants to tie them in a loop to hang around her ritual space.  The ends of the drawstrings are capped with copper dangles, again for the spiritual properties of copper, and the jingle noise they create. 

I also made sure to leave the bag, and each of the little inner spell pouches out in the full moon's light that night to give everything a positive cleansing and charge before the final box up to ship in the morning. 



Finally my story behind the project:
I really wanted to make something totally custom for my partner.  I started planning and gathering materials right after signups.  I had some great ideas too.  The following week was my birthday, and I ended up getting a cold that knocked me on my butt so badly I couldn't even make beading go correctly!
I ended up crafting the entire swap in less than a week.  It was a lot of fun, but I hope I never have to get that close to a deadline again. 
As I made the bag, it fought me the whole way.  I started putting things together backwards...  The drawstrings didn't want to fall correctly.  I did everything shy of drawing blood with the glover's needle (really, REALLY hurts.  They are special needles designed to cut through leather, so they are triangular with a super sharp point and slicing sides near the tip). 
Finally it all came together, and everything got more and more inspiring for the finishing touches.  The beaded hem wasn't exactly planned, and I wasn't entirely sure where I would add the finishing elements of dragonflies and triquerta until then. 

Sometimes, the most amazing things come from a challenge.  It's totally worth rising to it and coming up with something special.  Cheesy

Here's a link to my partner's gallery shots of the pouch (and the rest of the swap package): http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=423051.msg5028570#msg5028570


Thanks for looking- I had a blast making everything.  I love working with blues and greens, so this was an extra refreshing craft project set for me.   Grin
17  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / May Pole Pen! on: May 01, 2013 02:14:39 AM
As part of the WWP 43 All Around the May Pole swap http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=422292.0#axzz2PZFPb175, I made my partner, hawkeyes_girl a May Pole Beaded Pen.








Circular peyote stitch, size 11 delicas on a G2 pen.  The ribbon is attached with a super thin bit of copper wire salvaged from a scrap length of heavy duty grounding wire.

The pattern is seamless, and the first pen wrap pattern I designed myself!  I wanted something sort of random, so it would look like a real May Pole after people enjoyed their time ducking and weaving around it with the ribbons.  So it's more realistic than colorful diamonds. 
Word to the wise- don't even bother trying to design something when sick or taking cold pills.  I couldn't seem to figure out a way to make it work until I felt better, then it all fell together so quickly!! 

Greens and blues, like ocean tones, were my partner's favorite colors so I kept with the theme on the pen.  I really like the way it turned out, and so did she! 
 
18  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Green Dragonfly on: April 30, 2013 12:59:33 AM


Beaded green dragonfly!  Mostly Delica size 11's peyote stitch wings, peyote wrap on the body large bead.  Crystal beads for tail and eyes. 

Inspired during the hunt for inspiration for the Beltane All Around the May Pole swap.  Based off the pattern for the one on this blog:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_zZ9sSDwBL_k/TA-pk9d0K1I/AAAAAAAAAUI/pAcf9zbbx4Q/s1600/beaded-dragonfly.jpg
Purple one is NOT mine.  It's the picture that made me really want to make a little beaded dragonfly.

However, Fairbanks is seriously devoid of most crystal beads and what not at the moment. 
I didn't end up having enough time to make this one for my swap partner, and I like dragonflies, so I ended up making one for kicks.

It would have been way faster if I didn't have to wrap the body bead.  I've never actually done a free form wrap on an odd shaped item before, so it was a learning experience; particularly since the bead was small, smooth and hard to hold on to.  It came out fairly well. 

The instructions were actually fairly decent once I got used to them, but they are in Korean I think.  Thank goodness for fantastic illustrations.

Next I really want to make a blue one.
19  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Discussion and Questions / Smallest Size Seed Bead? on: March 19, 2013 10:55:48 PM
After coming across a bunch of imported antique Venetian seed beads and stashing them over time, I think I have enough color variation to really play with them.

I was curious how many other people have made a project with some of the super small sizes.  So what is the smallest seed bead you have ever used for a stringing project? 

I have one pack of 22 or 24s that I want to try out, mostly the rest are 15, 18, 20.  The project I really want to start is going to use some of the antique 18s and hanks of modern Czech 15s.   
20  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Beaded Triangle Boxes on: February 07, 2013 01:21:43 AM
I had a couple of fairly involved projects lately.  My Mom's birthday was February 4th, and my work partner, Betty, had her birthday on the 6th.  Both of them love purple, so I ended up stitching two (slightly) different triangle boxes. 

I made one for my Mom first, since I had to mail it out in advance.  Unfortunately she decided to change her plans, so even though it arrived on her birthday, she wasn't home.  It looks like she will get home in the morning (the 7th) so I'll get her reaction soon.


The feet and lid pull are amethyst cut with little facets.  It is peyote stitched size 11 delica beads.  The pictures came out fairly well color-wise. 


Lid Top.


Inside, plus soda tab for size.


Open Box!




Yes, my apartment is small and I have a ton of stuff on my shelf. 


I showed Betty my Mom's box before mailing it and she adored it.  What she didn't know was that I had already started one for her!  Wink  She was thrilled to bits when she opened it!  The lid wasn't quite done, so I only wrapped the body of the box and let her open it on her birthday.  She laughed when I explained I needed to steal it back to do the last 6 rows on the lid, but didn't mind.  I finished the lid tonight and rewrapped the whole thing!


Betty's box has slightly different colored beads, these pictures came out kind of crappy.  I'm not really sure why.  I think my boyfriend used up the camera batteries taking pictures of the bunny.
Her box includes darker purples, one is translucent and the other metallic.  The gold is darker than the gold I used on my Mom's, and the light bead is a gold lined. 


I tweaked the picture a little, and the true color is sort of between this one and the prior photo.


Picture failure, but the pattern is really cool.  Pretend it isn't blurry anymore.


Slightly different pattern on the inside hem of the lid than what I did on my Mom's.


Betty's box taught me some lessons.  I need some of that fray resistant line when using the translucent beads.  The brighter purple thrashed my Silamide, so I had to keep restarting threads (UGH!) and going back if the beads started gapping from a broken line in the middle of the pattern- ie more starts and stops (ARGH!!!).

Not bad for my first couple of boxes.  Until now I stuck to regular cylindrical peyote pouches and pen sleeves.  If only I could find time to make something to keep!
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