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1  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Beachy decorations on: November 25, 2016 09:49:46 AM
My holiday theme this year is "beachy" and I'm looking for ideas.
So far, I have shells, coral, and sand; fishing nets and floats (including clear glass balls tinted on the inside with a mix of white glue and food color); and "beach" umbrellas (paper drink umbrellas).

I'm using white and off whites--including my tree--plus pale blues and greens, all sparked with bits of bright colors.

I finished my annual ornament ( http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=450799.0;all )and I'm looking for some crafty projects to do!

I have tons of supplies in my stash (good thing because there's no good local place to get craft supplies).

Some things that have been sitting around a long time, should be used up before I move, AND I think would work for this theme, but I'm not sure just how:
mirror spray--you know, the stuff you use to make fake mercury glass
metal leaf
fish net pieces
glitter.  LOTS of glitter.
cobalt blue glass Skye vodka bottles
loads of round clear glass ornaments (though globe ornaments aren't usually my thing)
and all the usual supplies found in the workshop/studio/dining room of an avid crafter.

Suggestions?  Pictures?  Links?

I wish I could get driftwood, but there are few rivers here, so not much woods gets out to sea.

here's my coffee table display, to give you an idea of where I'm going:

2  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Jointed puppets on: November 15, 2016 07:04:14 PM
I make a series of ornaments every year as gifts to friends.  This year, I made jointed puppets.

a herd of ponies:

closeup of one:

a blaze of dragons:

and a closeup:

and a pair of polar bears for one special friend:

I printed the patterns on colored cardstock,
laminated to a second sheet of cardstock,
added colorful details with gel pens and crayons(what fun!),
cut out, and
jointed the animals using jewelry head pins.  I used sequins as "washers" to keep the pinheads from pulling through the cardstock, added a some folded scrap cardstock to add a little bulk (compression rings!), made loops in the end of the headpins with round nose jewelry pliers, and pulled them really tight so the legs/wings/tails would stay where you put them even when they're hanging up.

Dragon puppet patterns
and this one, from Craftster!  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=167580.0#axzz2qlzyUwRU
I simplified both by leaving off the legs, and even leaving off one body segment of the 2nd dragon.  I made 37 puppets, with 3-5 joints each.  Thats nearly 150 joints, not counting the ones I messed up and had to redo.  I had blisters in 2 spots from the pliers by the time I'd finished just the first 7 puppets!

horses; I LOVE the picture of the herd:
I didnt realize she offered a pattern, so I made my own from one of her pictures.
They made me think of Native American painted war ponies, so I did a little research (VERY little), and used some NA symbols and some made-up symbols for my ponies.

Polar bear
I used this clipart to make the polar bear (for my polar bear-obsessed friend):
3  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / puppet joints on: November 12, 2016 10:29:11 AM
I'm making jointed paper puppets as holiday ornament/gifts this year. 

I'm having trouble with floppy joints.  I want to be able to pose the puppet, then hang it up and it stays in the same pose.

I've tried thread a couple of ways, but they're too loose.  I don't have tiny brads, and probably can't find them here or order them on time.  Buttons would be too big (the puppets are about 6" tall); the exposed part of the jointing system (such as a button or brad head) should be less than 1/8" or it will overwhelm the design.

I think the problem is that I'm not getting enough tension between the pieces (cut from 2 layers of cardstock glued together).   Is there something to put in the joint between the body parts that would make this work better?  bits of felt?  sequins?  something else simple and elegant?
4  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Steampunk Dragon on: November 10, 2016 12:35:41 PM
I got a lovely hand-sculpted dragon as a prize for my Steampunk Elephant.  He looked  a little naked, so I added a few bits and bobs, including wings.

the dragon before I 'punked him:

see the full story and in-progress pix at
5  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / cheapo machine on: November 02, 2016 09:43:08 PM
I'm looking for a cheap sewing machine that will last at least 2 years.  I'm doing a huge move then, and will get rid of the machine rather than move it.

I've had my beloved Kenmore since 1972, but the reverse lever has broken off, and if I use the stretch stitch, it goes in reverse until I take off the top and wiggle something.  That makes sewing a chore instead of fun.  I can't fix it, took it to a repair place that didn't fix it.  Time to let go.

Recently, I bought the most expensive non-computerized machine at Walmart.  A Singer, about $110.  It lasted about a year, then locked up.  I'm good at fixing machines, but couldn't get this one apart enough to find the problem.  You can't even oil this piece of junk without taking the case apart.  Obviously designed to fail.  quickly.

So, any suggestions?   Huh

6  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Steampunk Elephant on: October 28, 2016 10:16:02 AM
My mini group had a challenge a few months ago, to make a steampunk pet.  I went through my small animals, and the elephant yelled "pick me!"

He became a steam-powered mini elephant, with seating for one:

I'm afraid he's gone on a rampage and is attacking the Eiffel Tower.
7  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Catrina doll on: October 26, 2016 02:32:00 PM
Day of the Dead is pretty Halloweenish, right?

I made a Catrina doll tutorial using a dollar store skeleton for my doll group. 


I do wish I'd ironed the pink satin before making her skirt, though!
8  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / skeleton doll on: October 01, 2016 03:37:06 PM
I want to create a simple tutorial for a Catrina--a female Day of the Dead doll--using a plastic dollar store skeleton.

The group who will be making the dolls has a wide range of abilities; from none to expert.

I'd like to make it no-sew, not too messy, and done in a couple of hours.  Paper mache and clay of any kind are out due to drying/baking problems.. 

Main problem:  Catrinas have curvy bodies, and I'm having trouble figuring out how to do that.   I saw a Catrina tutorial online ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IDa3v6CBrY ) where they made the whole doll by knotting plastic grocery bags.  Clever technique, might be adaptable to the skeletons.

But is there an easier way to get the shape?  Cardboard, tissue, recycled stuff are all good...
Thanks for any suggestions.

Oh, and I need to have the tutorial done for Oct 24, so help SOON, please!
9  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects / Bamboo vase on: June 04, 2016 02:05:52 PM
I didn't use any molds at all for this one.  White low-fire clay, slab construction. 

I coated the whole leather-hard vase with black underglaze, then free-hand carved the bamboo design. 

I used gloss glaze on just the bamboo on the outside so the background is matte charcoal. 
Vase is about 9" tall (and weighs a ton):

10  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects / Butterflies on: June 04, 2016 01:57:36 PM
I had a great kiln opening yesterday.  Next one won't be for a couple of months.

Here's a berry colander using butterflies made with silicone cake decorating molds:

The bottoms, which are much prettier than the plain insides (the berries will star inside, right?)  The butterflies are positioned to act as feet on both the base and colander.
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