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121  Re: Sewing Tool Roll and Beading Pad to take to my New Job!!! in Completed Projects by Wulf on: March 21, 2010 05:12:40 PM
I forgot to go back and have another look at your beading pad before making my own, so of course I made the piping too small (you're absolutely right about the 1/2" thickness) and then sewed it to the backing first instead of to the velvet, which made it turn down instead of up. And the upholstery velvet I used was a bit too stiff to get a nice crisp edge anyway. I was about to start again when I realized that it was okay after all, because the edges of the whole pad curled up just the right amount to make a lovely dish shape. It looks like it might be the result of clever cutting, but I could never have achieved this if I'd tried!

I still like yours better, but this will be better than a foam meat tray in the meantime. Thanks for the inspiration!

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122  Re: craftalong to, post a project on every completed projects board in craftster in Craftalongs by Wulf on: March 16, 2010 07:41:44 PM
Okay, here's my scrapbook page. As you might expect, there's a story, which I'll mostly relate here rather than in the Scrapbooking board because you guys have shared in the many pages of background to this! Be warned - this goes on a while...

My older (and only) brother Peter died in 1991, and even though that was 18 years ago, I still have a hard time dealing with his absence. For the first ten years at least I really couldn't even talk about him, but it's been getting a bit easier in recent years. After the discussion here the past few weeks I realized if this scrapbooking challenge was going to be about tackling the darker areas of our lives, I had better use it to deal with the big unspeakable thing in mine. The easiest thing was to do a page about us two brothers growing up together, but as I collected photos of us as children, I found a few of Peter as an adult, (only a few, though. Did I give the others away?) and that made me want to represent a memory of him as he was before he died, not as a child. Terrible events often get represented in our memories by specific images, and mine in this case is his motorcycle on fire. (A story best told over a few drinks in a more intimate setting than this.) That led me to thinking of the American artist David Wojnarowicz, who often painted things erupting in flames. (My brother would probably have liked Wojnarowicz's work as much as I do, but they both died of AIDS at about the same time and I never got a chance to share it with him.)

The scrapbook page had been going nowhere, but at least this was something I could tackle, so I made an ATC of the motorcycle on fire:

That kind of led to wondering how David Wojnarowicz would have donescrapbooking, and I decided to tackle the problem head-on and create a page around the image of the burning motorcycle. It started out as kind of "in the style of" but in the end I think it's much more me than Wojnarowicz. I placed a few small photos of us as children around it, and finally only used two of the adult photos. Both are black and white, which gives a certain look to the page. (I sort of wish one had been colour, to break it up a bit more.)

Anyway, that's the long, overdramatized story. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

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123  A non-conventional layout in Scrapbooking: Completed Projects by Wulf on: March 16, 2010 07:02:28 PM

A few of us in the "Post a project on every board" Craftalong have been voicing reservations about scrapbooking. We aren't comfortable with the 'perkiness' of the commercial embellishments and find most of the usual layouts unrepresentative of our own lives. So our leader and den-mother EdelC challenged us to post a scrapbook page that expresses a quirky or uncommon aspect of our lives without using commercial embellishments or preconceived layouts. This is mine.

This is my older brother Peter, who died in 1991. The ideas started with the image of the burning motorcycle (a story that I'm not ready to cast into the Interwebs), which made me think of the artist David Wojnarowicz, who often included burning objects in his paintings. I set out to do a page in Wojnarowicz's style, but of course it turned into something else.

I haven't yet decided how much I like it or whether it really captures the memory it was intended to. I think the background painting would have been better done in watercolour rather than acrylics, because it has a bit too much gloss which I think is distracting. (Not visible in this photo.) There is a space in the lower left that needs a photo. I'm going to have to canvas my family to find one that would fit. The Chinese funeral money at the top is there partly because Wojnarowicz often collaged banknotes into his paintings, partly because the open space needed something to break it up, and partly in respect of the Chinese tradition of burning money to honour the dead.

Comments and suggestions are welcomed.

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124  Re: Steampunk Circus Swap in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: March 03, 2010 06:26:57 PM
I promised I'd upload a sample of Ralph's stationery portfolio lining paper. This alone would make me deeply covetous if I wasn't already clutching it greedily. My Precious!

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125  Re: craftalong to, post a project on every completed projects board in craftster in Craftalongs by Wulf on: March 02, 2010 07:34:59 PM
Boy, is it a relief to find out my life isn't the only one that doesn't fit the "Stepford Wives" template. Why doesn't some clever company produce embellishments and stuff for all the  real things that happen in our families? They'd get bought! And are there really scrapbooking cruises? How ghastly would that be? I'd jump overboard before it ever left the pier!

Here's another "alternative" form of scrapbooking, which is a variation on the boxes that BethieB suggested: personal shrines.

This is one that I made a few years ago, which is a memorial to several friends who used to go to the local Pagan festival with us. All are dead (or in one case, lost to the street), so I created this portable shrine so I could continue take them with me when I go the the fest each year. (This is the first time I've taken a photo of it.)

I'm absolutely up for Edel's Non-Commercial Scrapbooking Challenge. There are a few events/people/places that I ought to document somehow, and maybe this is a good way to start. Let's shake up the Scrapbooking board a little bit!


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126  Re: Steampunk Circus Swap in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: March 02, 2010 06:33:49 PM
Wow, I've already got my package from Ralph in Australia! Only two weeks! And what a package of Steampunky fabulousness it is!

First of all, it all came wrapped in this souvenir Steam Circus carrying bag. (Different design on each side!) A hint of things to come...

And inside, all this!

The book about Professor Storm's Steam Circus and a sample of the inside pages. It starts out great and just gets better as you read through.

The little notebook turns out to be a hand-bound watercolour sketch book. Ralph started it out for me with this great drawing on the flyleaf.

The larger book is a stationery portfolio  Cool. The notepaper sheets are all different and there are several different envelope and bookplate designs (four? five?). The six notecards are quite elaborate, with book pages and different clockwork silhouettes, and the envelopes are also stamped with silhouettes. ( Shocked Oh, I've just taken them out to count and uncovered the fantastic paper the portfolio is lined with. I'll have to post a photo of that -- it's just too great not to share!)  And there's even a lovely Victorian fountain pen that is actually a very practical ballpoint.

But what's in the two separately-wrapped packages?

It's a marvelously complicated watch chain and key fob!! Okay, now I definitely need a suitably wild waistcoat to wear this on!

And there's even a beautiful card, in which Ralph actually wonders if I'll like it and says "a couple of items that look simple actually consumed a large amount of my time and sanity." Simple? Does anything here look simple?

Do I like it? Are you kidding? It's beyond fantastic. Now I know what "spoiled" means!
There is nothing here I won't use with minute-by-minute pleasure, and the Professor Storm book will be a treasured possession to be taken out and shared only with the most deserving people.

Thanks, Ralph, you've made my first swap utterly memorable, and I hope we can partner again so I can return the spoilage.

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127  Re: craftalong to, post a project on every completed projects board in craftster in Craftalongs by Wulf on: February 28, 2010 02:29:56 PM
Wulf--I would love to see that vintage knitted lace...I have the tinest knitting needles from my grandmother and I always wondered what they would be used for...I bet it was used for lace!

The scan makes it seem more like normal knitting, but if you compare to the ruler you begin to see how truly tiny the stitches are.

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128  Re: I <3 Gibbous Altered fashions swap in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by Wulf on: February 26, 2010 07:06:18 PM
Thanks, Ludi, for all the inspirational links. I really like the Lauren Shanley stuff. Which is surprising because it's so crazy colourful, but I can easily see myself wearing something like that. (The post-apocalyptic Goth stuff, not so much.)

That, and the bag of antique lace scraps I found in the storage locker today (why did I ever keep such useless bits of ratty lace?), make me inch even closer to signing up.

You're quite right to stress the need for real sewing, though, Woodland Faerie. It's one thing to make a garment out of torn scraps of decaying material, but much harder to make it hold together for more than one wearing. Theatre costumes often have to look severely worn and just about to fall apart, but a lot of work goes into making them stay exactly the same through many performances.

This seems the perfect place to post a picture of a vest I still love though alas it's too far gone to ever wear again.

The original Levi's vest is one I inherited from my partner and he wore it in the early 60's. (So it was already 20 years old when I got it.) I lined it completely to hold it together, but even that wore through and has had to be patched several times over. This is a good example of real decay as opposed to faux decay! A decade of sun and rain has done its work. Only the ironed-on BMW patch is holding it together now!

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129  Self-sorting (sorta) bin in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General by Wulf on: January 28, 2010 08:43:10 PM
At the shop where I work we just toss loose screws, bolts, nails and other bits and pieces of hardware from the workbenches and the floor into a bucket and, every couple of years when the bucket gets too full, somebody has to dump the whole mess out and sort everything back to where it belongs. When that job fell to me this Spring, I decided there had to be a better solution. So I designed a bin that would help to at least divide things by type to make the final sorting easier. Though built for an industrial situation, it would work equally well in the home craft room for jewellery findings, sewing notions, etc.

It's basically a wooden box with openings on top where you drop things in, drawers opening off the side that they fall into.

Items dropped into each of the six openings fall into separate drawers, which sounds like it would require an intricate series of ramps and tubes, but if when you see it with the front removed you can see the trick is just that each drawer just goes a little further back than the one above it.
Vertical dividers between the openings act as stops for the drawers and prevent items from bouncing into the wrong drawer. I wanted to make the openings as big a target as possible for those handfuls of hardware, so I made each wider at the top like a funnel. And I cut the shape of each as a visual reminder of what to put where.
(This actually works really well - no thinking on the job required!)

By making the drawers shallow and easily accessible from the side, it has the added advantage of making the collected hardware readily available any time. So if you happen to need a washer and don't want to go get one from the bin in the stock room, you can just pull open the appropriate drawer and see if one has been collected in the bin. Much easier than digging through a miscellaneous bucket, and the closed bin keeps out sawdust and debris.

This was built out of pine boards and 4mm plywood, but you could easily build exactly the same thing out of foamcore or even corrugated cardboard. The drawers are just shallow boxes with bases that are a little wider to slide in slots in the front and back walls. If you were making it out of cardboard, you'd probably want to make them rest on narrow strips glued to each side. Just make sure they're parallel and the two sides line up exactly.

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130  No Unreturn'd Love in Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by Wulf on: January 26, 2010 08:24:50 PM

After thinking about by matchbox for a week and spending another week building it, I realized tonight as I was getting ready to photograph it that I have completely missed the point that this is about papercraft. Apart from the box itself, there is no paper in my entry at all! So I post it as a first papercraft shrine attempt and an valuable lesson.

The text on the top of the box is from Walt Whitman:
But now I think there is no unreturn'd love,
The pay is certain one way or another.

When you pick up the box, a red light throbs from under the filigree heart on top.

Inside is a transparent anatomical heart, which continues to beat bright red as you pull out the drawer.

This doesn't really work in photos, so I've included a little video:

The electronics is from a motion-activated Hallowe'en ornament that's been blinking at me from a drawer for several years. I cut away all the extraneous housing around the battery and tiny circuit board and poked the LED up inside the heart. I sculpted the heart in wax and cast it in clear epoxy. (The epoxy I had is several years old and rather yellowed. I wish it had been totally clear.) The metal findings on the top and sides are quite heavy, so that when you pick up the matchbox it feels like it must contain something very solid, not the insubstantial light-filled heart you find inside. (I guess that's the secret.)

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