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1  CRAFTSTER CRAFT CHALLENGES / CHALLENGE 110 ENTRIES / Mermaid with, what do you call 'em ..., legs on: November 04, 2015 11:36:10 PM

This year I decided to be a mermaid, but part of my Halloween evening plans included a social skate session, so I wanted to make sure I didn't wear anything that was going to make that difficult/dangerous. I decided on leggings and a short circle skirt which I made the patterns for (after following tutorials explaining how to do so!) and sewed myself - yay! I followed this tutorial for the skirt and this tutorial for the leggings. The fabric for both is a stretch dance fabric that I found at my local big box craft store. It was surprisingly easy to sew; I was sure it was going to be a nightmare!

For the top, I printed out a picture of clamshells and used them to make a freezer paper stencil. I mixed up some light blue and light green fabric paint (I just diluted the colours I had with more white fabric paint) and used sponge brushes to add the blue on the top and green at the bottom. Then I used a brush dipped in both colours to mix them together in the middle of the shells and create a colour gradient look. And then I put silver glitter all over them - yay! Lastly, I made some hair accessories simply by attaching, with E6000, hair pin backings to some shells and starfish I had in my stash.

I'm really happy with my costume; it was super comfortable, I've already worn the skirt out to other parties, and I think the leggings will be a hit at roller derby training ^____^

P.S. Any ideas on how to make the last two photos not sideways? :/
2  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / "But first coffee" tattoo inspired coffee cups on: October 11, 2015 03:44:10 AM
I made these mugs for a friend's birthday present. He's a big fan of coffee and tattoos, so I figured these would be well received ^___^ To make them, I used some plain coloured mugs and Pebeo porcelain pens. And of course a tattoo flash inspired design! After designing the image in Illustrator, I printed it out onto regular paper and cut it out to use as a stencil. I used a pencil to lightly stencil the basic shapes of the design onto the mug.

Then I went over the line work with a black porcelain pen. Getting the lines straight on a curved surface is a little tricky, but slow and steady does the job ^___^ Next I coloured in all the shapes - yay! You can see that my colouring in isn't the best ... the Pebeo porcelain pens don't give the best coverage for large surface areas. That said, they are much much much better than the porcelain paint you get in pots - that stuff is so streaky! It's very strange since they are made by the same company.

After I'd done the colours, I went back to the black pen to thicken some of the line art, write on the words, and add a little bit of vintage tattoo style shading. I won't be allowed to touch a tattoo machine any time soon, but I like the little touch of grunge the speckles added ^___^ The Pebeo pens say that they are dishwasher safe after 72 hours of air drying, but my personal tests have shown that to be untrue. Well, I say personal ... one of my work colleagues put a kitty mug in the dishwasher. Not pretty! So, to hopefully keep these designs in place longer, I baked them in the oven on the lowest setting for a couple of hours. Even so, I included a little mug care sheet in the gift bag which suggested only light hand washing be applied to these babies!

3  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Let's be mermaids papercraft pendant on: October 11, 2015 03:27:41 AM
I made this pendant using a mix of papers from my stash, some light cardboard, and some string.

Basically I cut out 62 circles which are 6.5 cm diameter and glued them onto a pendant shape which is 30cm wide across the top, 31cm long down to the top of the pointy bit, and the edges of the pointy bit are 22cm. On most of the circles I only added glue to the top half, which has allowed the bottom and sides to lift up; I actually really like this effect and think it helps the circles look even more like scales

Once I'd covered the entire pendant in circles, I trimmed the overhanging circles down the sides and top so the lines were straight. And I folded a remaining bit of card in half, glued it together, and then glued it onto the back of the pendant to make a tube that holds the hanging string.

I used my tiny alphabet stamps and black ink to add "let's be mermaids" to one of the scales - I don't have an apostrophe stamp, so I added that in with a felt-tip pen.
4  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Some faux watercolour paintings on: October 11, 2015 03:06:29 AM

I've been having fun playing around with masking fluid and watered down acrylics, since I don't have any actual watercolours. I think I'm going to have to invest in some though because I really like how they turned out ^___^

5  COOKING / Dessert / Sarlacc Cake on: October 11, 2015 02:53:12 AM

I was inspired to make this Sarlacc Cake by Kathleen at Yummy Crumble. However I wanted a gingerbread flavoured cake, so I didn't follow Kathleen's recipe. Instead I used my Anzac Cake recipe but omitted the coconut, vanilla essence, and vinegar and added two teaspoons of ground ginger, and half a teaspoon each of ground cloves and ground nutmeg.

I made cinnamon cookies for the tentacles and jaws, but they puffed up a lot so if I was to make this again I'd choose a different recipe. A Madeleine tray is recommended by Kathleen for shaping the jaws of the Sarlacc, but I don't have one and didn't think I could really justify buying one. Instead, I used aluminium foil to create two shapes that looked kinda like the head of a spoon turned upside down. I laid a sheet of paper baking over these molds and then shaped the cookie batter over them. It turned out pretty well! I had to cut off some of the biscuit because it was a little too tall for the cake, but I need biscuit crumbs so they didn't go to waste ^___^

Once everything was cooked, I mixed up some cinnamon chocolate icing and put it in the hole of the cake and around the edges of the hole. The icing ensures the Sarlacc tentacles and jaws don't move around too much once you place them in! I used some of the excess biscuits to make into crumbs and spread them over the icing to resemble sand. I added the remainder of the icing into the Sarlacc's mouth where it works to hold the jaw even more firmly in place, and also kinda resembles a maw.
6  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Darth Vader Coffee Cup Cosy on: October 11, 2015 02:35:01 AM
I made coffee cup cosy for my best friend for her birthday; she was born on International Star Wars Day and, appropriately, loves Star Wars! ~___^ To make your own,  you'll need black yarn (I used a 8 ply DK weight), a 4mm hook, a tapestry needle, and some cotton threads in grey, red, and blue.

First, chain 52 stitches then check that this is going to be long enough by wrapping your chain around your cup; the ends should touch without having to stretch too much. Join the ends of your chain with a slip stitch, single stitch in each chain, and then slip stitch and chain one to start the next row. I did 15 rows of single stitches, but if your hands are bigger you might need more!

Once you've made your cosy as tall as you'd like it to be, fasten off and weave in the ends. Then you can do your cross-stitch! It's really easy to cross-stitch on single stitch crochet because the edges of the stitches make little indentations similar to aida cloth. Once I'd finished my cross-stitching, I decided the inside of the cosy looked a little messy so I used black thread to sew in a lining of black felt. You can't even see the stitches from the outside, and the inside looks lovely and neat ^____^

7  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / New paracord handles for my skating bag on: May 06, 2015 07:45:34 PM

I brought a big bag from the opshop to lug all my skating gear around in, but it looks like I lugged a little too hard, and the handles started to stretch and fray. The rest of the bag was still functional, so I decided to replace the faux leather handles with something stronger. I brought two packets of 5.4m long black paracord from the craft shop, and made new handles using a knot called the Solomon Bar.

Here's what it looked like before - yuck!

I've been using it for a few weeks now, and it's holding up really well!

8  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Phases of the moon necklace on: May 06, 2015 07:36:01 PM

I made this necklace to go with a witchy outfit fashion shoot. The moon beads are made from black polymer clay which I shaped into thick circles, pierced with a needle, and (after baking) painted with silver acrylic paint.

When the moon beads were dry, I threaded them onto tiger tail and added a random assortment of clear and white seed beads to cover up the rest of the tiger tail. Then all I had to do was add a clasp and it was done ^___^
9  COOKING / Dessert / TV Cake on: May 06, 2015 07:29:13 PM

I made this TV cake for my friend's birthday party and, in typical Lisa fashion, only finished it ten minutes before I had to leave to attend said party! Thus, poorly lit photos.

I used a 23cm square cake tin, and a double quantity of my ANZAC cake recipe. The icing is light blue and made from unsalted butter, icing sugar, water, and of course some blue food colouring ^___^ The test pattern on the TV is made from sour stripes, the bunny ears, legs, and speaker grill are Pocky, the coloured buttons are M&Ms, and the big dials are Rolos ^____^

It was delicious and a big hit with all the party guests ^____^
10  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Morticia and Gomez clay dolls on: May 06, 2015 07:17:45 PM

I made these clay dolls for my friend's birthday present; her party theme was cult cinema characters and as she and her boyfriend were going as Morticia and Gomez I thought it would be appropriate! ^____^

The dolls have a wire "skeleton" inside them to help them stay together and I made them from white clay which I painted after baking. The only part that isn't clay is Morticia's long hair, which is cardboard. I originally wasn't going to make her hair, but I changed my mind later on. If I wasn't so indecisive I would have made it from clay as well! I used acrylic paints and gave them a coat of matt spray varnish to hopefully prevent them from flaking or staining. They are a bit bumpier than I really wanted (and even though I felt like I spent ages smoothing them), but I'm still happy with them ^___^
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