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1  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Mixed Tape Zippered Pouch on: July 23, 2015 12:18:14 PM
Later this summer I'm taking a few trips to 2 different family reunions.  One on my husband's side of the family over in Illinois, and one on my side of the family, up in New Hampshire.  I decided to try taking along a smash book to chronicle my adventures (and have a small, portable craft to work on).  I'm bad at scrap booking, but I'm hoping that the "just shove it all in" mentality and the portability of the smash book will actually get me to do it.  It's easy to feel like you need a million accessories and supplies, but I like to travel light.  So I made myself a "pencil case" to hold some pencils, pens, washi tape, small scissors, and a few bits of ephemera to add in.  It is 7.5" x 9.5".  Big enough to hold stuff, but not too big to weigh down my purse or carry on bag.

I used a variety of scrap fabrics from my stash to create the tape, which was appliqud to the front by using wonder-under. To create the applique pattern I simply printed out several copies of this clipart image, cut them up, and used them as templates. The screws and the holes in the cassette case were done with various sizes of buttons.  It's a little hard to see in the photos but there are actually tiny little 1/4" buttons in each corner, to represent the screws that hold the cassette case together.  And just for fun, here it is filled with goodies.

2  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Burow-inspired Crochet Rag Rug from Tee Shirt Yarn (spaghetti/fettucini yarn) on: July 23, 2015 08:20:57 AM
I recently organized Round 2 of the One Awesome Harry Potter Thing Swap, and was lucky enough to partner with the fantastic noodle-bug.  While we were chatting about our HP Love, it became apparent that we both desperately want to live in the Burrow, the home of the Weasley family.  The Weasleys are kind, loving, welcoming, and poor.  Mrs. Weasley makes handmade gifts at the holidays, and sends Harry wonderful knitted sweaters, and homemade pies.  I decided that I wanted to give noodle-bug a little bit of the Weasleys loving if threadbare home, and decided to go with a houseware item for the swap.  I settled on a beautiful crocheted rug pattern by ATERGcrochet on Etsy.  

The rug called for tee shirt/zpaghetti/fettucini yarn, which I thought would fun to work with, and work up quickly.  Both of those things turned out to be true.  What didnt work out so well though was finding the yarn easily.  While it seemed to be available at just about every craft store a year or two ago, it has since disappeared entirely from store shelves.  I did some looking around online and found very few sources in the US, but one seller on Etsy called Ganxxet had a decent selection and fair prices.  (The seller was also very helpful and great to work with.  I'd order from her again in a heartbeat.)  Sadly I still couldnt afford to order all the yarn Id need for the rug, so I ended up making some of it.  I made the navy and black yarn from tube jersey that was on sale at Joanns for 50% off.  (Following one of any number of tutorials online for making tee shirt yarn from actual tee shirts. The only difference was that I used a rotary cutter & cutting mat, rather than scissors.)  I bought 2.5 yards of black, and 1 yard of navy, for about $15.  It took most of the morning to slice it up with a rotary cutter, stretch it out, and roll it into balls.  But I was listening to an audio book, so it was a good time.  

The pink & white print yarns came from Ganxxet, and the white is actually a print that includes doodles of wings, lightning bolts, Union jacks, and words.  Here's a close up shot of the print:

After nearly completing it, I decided that while I liked the rug, I wasn't in love with it.  It needed more colors to really feel scrappy.  So I added atouch more color by making more yarn out of a teal and a violet tee shirt that I had laying around, that had been destined for Goodwill.  I really love how much brighter the rug is with the addition of the teal and violet.  You can see how it looked before from this process pic. The overall color scheme was softer before, and now it's definitely brighter.

Here's a detail shot, which shows the magenta & teal stitches:

The entire rug is supposed to be 34 rounds, and measure 4 across, but I didnt get quite that far.  By the time I was on round 17, it was clear that I was nearly out of all my yarns.  It was also becoming *quite* heavy, and I had to ship it to the UK.  So I completed the 18th round, then did 2 more rounds of single crochet to finish the edges.  When I was done it measured 38 across and weighed 5 pounds!  Here it is in its new home, noodle-bugs bay window in her flat in London.

I will say that while I am normally all for recycling/upcycling, I did prefer working with the ready made yarn, and the yarn that I made out of tube jersey, far more than I liked working with the batch I made from actual shirts.  I hated trying to hide the tee shirt seams.  Im really pleased with how it came out, but I would like to try the pattern again some day, completing all 34 rounds.  It's very thick and squishy under your feet, and has a solid weight to it that feels comforting.  
3  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / The Summer of Baby Quilts on: July 20, 2015 12:41:05 PM
Does it seem like some things just happen in waves?  Back in 2009, I had a ton of quilts to make.  I made 5 wedding quilts & a baby quilt that summer.  This summer I suddenly had 4 more baby quilts to make.  Why do these things come in waves? 

This year, since I have a few trips I have to take for family functions, and a hopping Etsy shop to keep running, I don't really have time to drop everything and quilt for a month again.  So I simplified my plans a bit, and managed to put together 4 baby quilts in the last 10 days! 

In order to keep it simple I did strip quilts.  Each one used 1/4 yard of 5 different fabrics for the top, 1/2 yard of coordinating fabric for the binding and 1 1/4 yards of backing, for a total of 3 yards per quilt.  I cut each of the fabrics in the top into a 3.5" strip and a 5.5" strip, and alternated the narrow & fat strips.  They were each quilted with free motion quilting, with cotton machine quilting thread and used cotton & bamboo blend batting.

Sweet As Honey was the first one I completed.  I picked up the fabrics in a bundle from Niche Fabric Studio on Etsy.  She sells kits for rag quilts, but was happy to work with me to build similar kits that would work for my traditional quilting instead.  The fabrics include Bee Sweet Morning and Honey House.  It was quilted in a bright coral, to compliment the bees in the Sweet Morning print, and was backed in the Honey House print.  This one is going to a former student of mine, and his wife, who are expecting their first girl in September.

Isabelle's Garden was the second one I finished, and again came as a bundle from Niche.  The fabrics include Serenade Daylight, Stitchery in Aqua, some Kona solids in violet and aqua, and Heartbeats in Cool for the binding.  It was quilted in a off white, to match the background of the Serenade Daylight print, and was backed in the violet solid with a strip of the Heartbeats thrown in because I didn't have quite enough fabric for the entire back.  This one was just sent off to my best friend and his wife, who just had their second daughter at the end of June.

Fox & the Houndstooth was the third quilt I finished, and the only one made for a boy this summer.  The fabrics include Foxes in grey, Bowties in black, and Eyeglasses in Tan, from Robert Kauffman's Fox & the Houndstooth line.  It was quilted in light grey, to match the background of the Foxes print, and was backed in the Eyeglasses print.  To be honest, this bundle did not come as present, and was the only bundle I didn't see before ordering.  I enjoyed the shops other bundles so much, that I asked for one built around the Fox print, and trusted the shop to pick good coordinates.  I received an awful safety orange (which did NOT match the orange of the foxes), some mustache print (I'm SOOO over the mustache craze), and the red & white chevrons (another trend I'm pretty over).  I ended up moving the orange over to the Elephant quilt you'll see next, ditching the mustaches entirely, and buying the Bowties & Eyeglasses coordinates to redesign the quilt.  I was going to ditch the chevrons too, but found I didn't mind them as much once I added in the bowties & glasses, which has a cute tan & white houndstooth background.  While it was my least favorite bundle, it might be my favorite finished quilt.

Elephant Romp was the final quilt to be done, and was finished yesterday morning.  The fabrics include Elephant Romp, Kitchenette and Floralism in Fresh Grass, along with some Kona solids.  It was quilted in a bright magenta, to compliment the elephant print, and was backed in the lime green print.

Whew!  That was a busy week.  Now that I've got the sewing machine out, I think I'm going to put together a few zippered pouches and maybe a pencil case, before putting it back to bed for a while.  Cheesy
4  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / One Awesome Harry Potter Thing (OAHPT) - Round 2 Gallery on: July 02, 2015 09:24:07 AM
One Awesome Harry Potter Thing (OAHPT) - Round 2 Gallery

Mistress Jennie * ---> noodle-bug
noodle-bug * ---> Mistress Jennie

elliot_anne * ---> jillybeans
jillybeans * ---> elliot_anne

Inselaeffchen ---> seeuudee
seeuudee ---> Inselaeffchen

Audania1 * ---> jenleahlynn
jenleahlynn * ---> Audania1

FiberAlchemist ---> Abbeeroad
Abbeeroad * ---> FiberAlchemist

amc- ---> moriarT
moriarT ---> amc-

StaciRose (swapper has lost access to laptop, and is trying to keep in contact via Facebook; unknown sending date) ---> puzzled-penguin
puzzled-penguin * ---> StaciRose (pics posted by sender)

Megz1027 * ---> chughes225
chughes225 (Sent 7/17) ---> Megz1027 (pics posted by sender)

Status Color Codes
Green = Sent
* = Sent Early
Orange = Sending Late with Communication
Maroon = No Communication, Howlers will be sent!

Purple = Received & Pictures Posted
Blue = Received & Pictures NOT Posted
Kiss = Picture Posted by Sender (THANK YOU!)

Strikeout = Feedback Given
Temporary Negative= per Craftster swap rules
GLOWING RED=NEGATIVE FEEDBACK (please, oh please, no glowy red peeps)

~*Portkey to Original Discussion Thread*~
5  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Hot Chef Charm Bracelet on: June 09, 2015 02:38:57 PM
Final charm bracelet to share today...  If you'll forgive the pun, this one has been on the back burner for months now.  I started collecting the charms last fall, and I've been acquiring them slowly, one at a time.  I got the last charm this week, and finally sat down to put them together.

The charms include: head of garlic, cutting board & knife, fork, steak & asparagus, saut pan, cook book...

...spatula & spoon, pepper mill, empty plate, carrot, wine, cheese grater...

...measuring cup, rolling pin, sausage on fork, and cheese wedge.

The beads are a mix of sandstone and Czech glass in shades of peppery black, flame red, spicy orange, and warm yellow.

6  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / World Travel Charm Bracelet on: June 09, 2015 02:23:31 PM
Next bracelet to share today was a special request. An older friend asked for a custom bracelet to commemorate her world travels.  When I asked which countries she wanted represented, she gave me back a list of 30 countries including Egypt, Morocco, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, China, Laos, Cambodia, Japan, Thailand, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Tanzania, England, India, and Nepal! 

Talk about jealous.  I would love it if I was able to visit half the places she's been. Since I can only fit so many charms on a single bracelet, we narrowed down her list to her all time favorites, which was still 20 charms. They include a train, a lion for Africa, flamenco dancer for Spain, St. Peter's Basilica for Italy & the Vatican, Big Ben for England, an elephant for Thailand, Star of David for Israel...

...the Eiffel Tower for France, Asian dragon, Parthenon for Greece, whirling dervish for Turkey, sampan for China, passport, Great Pyramid for Egypt, coo coo clock for Switzerland...

...the Taj Mahal for India, windmill for the Netherlands, a camel, beer stein for Germany, plane, and Buddha for Laos, Cambodia & Thailand. 

Due to the large number of charms, there are fewer bead pins than I usually use.  They are a mix of Czech glass in shades of warm sand, rich amber, jet black and crystal clear. 

7  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Take Me Out to the Ball Game Charm Bracelet on: June 09, 2015 02:17:55 PM
Second new charm bracelet of the day to share...  Baseball was an unusual theme for me. I've never been very into sports, but so many of the women in my family love it that I wanted to try to work outside my comfort zone.

I was having serious trouble with exactly the right color scheme, and what to fill a couple of the spaces with.  In the end I had to ask my friend David for help.  He is one of those folks who will always help you.  I mean ALWAYS.  The kind that even with their plate is completely full, when you ask for help or advice, they always comes through.  The kind you call Friend with a capital F.  It also helps that he's a raging baseball fan.  Wink  He suggested the inclusion of peanuts, popcorn, and the color scheme of green for the grass and clear or white for the ball.

I was trying to avoid using any team-specific color combinations, so his idea was great.  Since I usually try to add in a 3rd color or a neutral tone, I added a sandy tan for the diamond.  I also found some awesome acrylic ball beads.  I generally only use Czech glass or crystal beads, but they were so perfect that I just couldn't pass them up. 

After a lot of frustration I'm really happy with how it came out in the end.  And I'm glad for the reminder that when you're at your wit's end, you can always turn to a friend for help.

8  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / California Dreaming Charm Bracelet on: June 09, 2015 02:08:37 PM
While I was working as a costume shop manager in Kentucky for the last several years, I got to know a wonderful dance professor named Lisa.  She always seems to be more full of energy and fantastic stories than anyone else.  I've often joked that she is my Fairy Godmother of Fun, swooping in to pull me out of my everyday routine, into an adventure at a moments notice. While Lisa adored her students in KY as much as I did mine, she longed to return to the home of her heart, California.  After a few years of looking, she found a new position teaching there, and is moving away this month.  While I'm thrilled for her, I'm also going to miss her terribly.  Her going away clearly called for a charm bracelet designed just for her and her dream of a new adventure in California.

I started with the idea of the dream of California as part of the American consciousness.  The idea that anyone can start anew there, can find their best self in this golden state of sunshine and promise.  And yes, the Mamas and the Papas did come to mind.  The idea of longing for the sun and warmth of California on a cloudy day.

The charms include a map of California, a dreamcatcher, disks that say "dream", shells, a surfboard, sun tan lotion and a palm tree from the beach, peace signs, grapes and a wine glass, a film canister, the bear and star from the state flag, a sandal, and of course the sun.

The beads are a mix of Czech glass and semi precious stones in shades of ocean blue, azure sky, plum wine, sand, and golden sunshine.  Since Cali has always had it's share of the hippy vibe, I included aquamarine which is thought to help connect you to your spiritual being, dragon veins agate to heighten creativity and protect against bad dreams, and purple jade to attract love to your life.  I can't wait to send it to her once she moves in a few weeks. 

9  Craft Swaps / ACTIVE SWAPS WHERE SIGN-UP PERIOD HAS CLOSED / One Awesome Harry Potter Thing R2 (OAHPT) (SU CLOSED;SO July 13) on: June 02, 2015 09:23:29 AM
~*Gallery of Awesome!*~

Swap name: OAHPT aka One Awesome Harry Potter Thing
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: Mistress Jennie
Craftster member who is co-organizing this swap:
Sign-up date range: June 2-13, 2015
Date to send item by: July 13, 2015

Limited to a certain number of people? no
Restricted to people who all live in the same country? no

Swap Organizer 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

~*This swap will be for ONE Awesome Harry Potter Thing (OAHPT).
~*OAHPTs can be ANY size in dimensions.
~*OAHPTs should be LARGE/EXTRA-LARGE in terms of crafting time/cost requirements.
~*We only send the ONE item.  No extras.
~*For this round, you are welcome to IYP (invite your partner), but are not required to.  Any folks who decide to IYP must sign up together.  If you don't have a partner, I will partner you with another single swapper based on allergies, shipping preferences and compatibility.
~*Please be sure to read this entire post thoroughly in order to find the password to sign up.  Folks who do not include the password will be directed to reread this post!

A little about IYPs (Thank you previous IYP organizers for fab description! Kiss)
In this swap, you can contact anyone and ask them to be your partner. It's almost like a personal swap, but with a group, and a killer gallery! You will have to sign up with your partner. That is, you must contact your potential partner via pm and you both must mutually agree to be partnered together. Once you have a partner, each of you must pm me with your information, and after doing all the necessary double checking, I will post you both together as participants and add this swap to your "In progress" feedback.

If you want to participate, but don't have anyone who you want to ask to be your partner, you'll be put on a list of "Magical Brethren Searching for Perfect Partners" in the next post, so people can choose from Craftsters that are interested.

It is a little scary to ask someone to be your partner. Some people may have someone else already in mind, or they may not have the time or funds to participate right now, or they may just not be interested. We need to remember to be nice if we feel we need to refuse someone, and to not take it personally if someone else turns us down.

In order to sign up, fill out the below questionnaire and send to organizer.
(Remember to send your info to the organizer via Private Message (PM) and not to reply with it here)

Name of swap: OAHPT - Round 2
Craftster username:
Email address:
Your real name:
Mailing address including the country (as it should appear for shipping please):
Confirm that are at least 16 years old or, if not, that you have moderator approval (yes/no):

Please indicate one of the options below, by deleting the one that does NOT apply to you:
-I have a OAHPT partner, and their name is:
-I am signing up without a partner, and will let Mistress Jennie partner me

What are you favorite crafts to make?
What kind of crafts would you like to receive?
Any special wishes? (no guarantees)

Do you have any allergies?
Do you/people in your household smoke?
Do you have pets or any other potential allergens in your home?

Who/What is your favorite HP...
Magical Creature?
Magical Item?
Magical Shop?

Do you have a Pinterest or Etsy favorites list?

What is the password?

Anything else you would like to add?

Remember to read the Swap Info Guide and Swap FAQs before participating in a swap.

Note about Personal Messages (PMs) to Organizer: Please label PMs to organizer with title of "OAHPT" or "OAHPT Round 2".

Note about Communication: For a wonderful swap experience, communication is the key.  Please keep in touch with your partner.  Further, it would be nice if you would post in this thread at least once a week (you could just stop in for a quick hello.....or if on holiday or will be without internet access or anything of the such, just post a message....it gives your partner and organizer warm fuzzy feelings to know you are still around).  The password for this swap is "Fortuna Major".

Notes about Sending, Receiving, and Feedback
  • SENDING: Take pictures of your items before you send.  When sending, you must use a Tracking Number# (or for overseas shipping you need to photograph that receipt). Keep your receipt until your partner receives.  PM organizer and partner when you send.
  • RECEIVING: PM organizer and partner when you receive.  Take pictures of received items. (Please take quality pictures, like ones you would take of your work.)  Post pictures in gallery in a timely manner. Taking time to post good pictures shows your partner how much your appreciated their work.
  • FEEDBACK: Given when a package is received (verified through PM or DC#) Detailed feedback will be given.  Examples: Sent Early or Lack of Communication: No PMs of Sending/Receiving.
10  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Egyptian Adventure Charm Bracelet on: May 26, 2015 12:28:55 PM
Last month the fantastically talented pottermouth created a beautiful Heart of Darkness Trunk. (Sadly she doesn't seem to have shared it on Craftster, so I'm linking to her blog post.) She and I had a fun discussion about the romance of travel to exotic locales in the late 19th  & early 20th centuries. 

While her project took her to darkest Africa, I longed for the glamour of Egypt in the teens and 20's.  With Howard Carter's uncovering Tutankamen's tomb in 1922, came a craze for all things Egyptian in home decor, fashion, beauty, and Hollywood, which produced pictures like The Mummy.

When I create a new bracelet design, I usually start with the charms, but this time I created the bead pins first.  I went with the colors and stones found most often in Egyptian jewelry; shimmering golds, bright turquoise, rich carnelian and beautiful lapis lazuli.  When I found the gorgeous iridescent Czech glass scarab beetles, I knew I had to include them too.

The result is an eclectic mix of semi-precious stones and glass beads.  I love how the richness of the red-orange carnelian plays off the bright cobalt blue of the lapis, and how the turquoise ties the stones to the black AB Czech glass beads.

After I had these assembled I moved on to the charms.  I wanted to capture that early 'Tutmania' feel, and so included Tut himself, ankhs, Cleopatra, a croc from the Nile, pyramids, palm tree, Horus, a few Pharaohs, sphinx, Isis, a camel, and the Eye of Horus.

All in all, I'm really happy with how this piece came out.  Except for the fact that I'm totally jonesing to watch The Mummy with Brendan Fraser.  I wonder if I can talk DH into that for tonight....  Grin

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