In January, I saw this post over at Geek Crafts (http://geekcrafts.com/15758-geeky-winter-hat-patterns-and-diys/) that leads to a page over at Instructables, and I bookmarked it because I knew my niece and I would need our own TMNT hats. (She's almost five and decided all by herself that she likes TMNT. Me, I like them too, but I'm just looking for an excuse to wear a fun hat. And well, her love for Spider-Man was a seed I planted.)
Obligatory geek picture of moi and my Rafael hat.
I did cheat slightly and I used felt instead of polar fleece I had an awesome gift card to AC Moore and they sell large folded, thick pieces of felt. It sewed very nicely and it wasn't like the thinner, individually sold felt pieces meant for lesser crafting.
I did find a few things about this pattern I will do differently for an adult sized hat:
Make the mask longer and thinner. Sew the eyes onto the mask before sewing the mask onto the hat. Make the ear flap ties longer.
The directions on the page are easy enough, but it took me a little longer than it should have, because I kept going back to re-read the directions, and I still managed to make a few (fixable) mistakes. And it's easy enough to adapt. While working on the TMNT hat tonight, I realized something else. That pattern is very forgiving when it comes to sewing straight lines.
For example: say you're not the world's greatest sewing (I'm raising my hand here), and you don't get the earflap piece sewn to the beanie part completely straight. If your sew line is a little wonky, it's alright because you're going to put that mask on straight and it will actually straddle both the entire earflap piece and the beanie part at the same time. It's going to hide your wonky lines.
My niece's Spider-Man hat.
The Spider-Man hat is just a variation of the TMNT hat. It obviously doesn't have a mask piece, but the eye pieces are sewn on separately. I first sewed the white "lens" to the black felt with my machine, and then I did a series of tiny black hand stitches around the outside of the black to sew it to the red.
For this hat, there's no hiding a wonky sew line if you get it crooked. But the directions/pattern there at Instructables makes this a wildly easy design to change for different characters. I'm thinking I may need an R2-D2 hat and a stormtrooper hat too.
And tomorrow night, I'll have my own Spider-Man hat as well.
I just finished up a lamp I got from a friend of mine. It was actually a trade we made at the end of a yard sale we had in October: one of these lamps from her for a floor/gaming rocker from me, because neither one of them sold.
When she moved into the house she now lives in, it was because the previous owner had passed away in his home after a long illness. His family removed most of his belongings and they said she could do whatever she wanted with the rest. It was some late 70's/80's knick knacks, some coffee cups and some furniture. She had two of these lamps, still with the original large papery shades. She put just about everything up for sale. With my ct being such a spaz in the house, I figured I better get a back-up lamp, because she already knocked one over.
Before: it still had an original price tag on it that read $99.99 from Montgomery Ward.
The brass was very tarnished.
There are 3-4 coats of a textured spray paint that I got from my favorite store (A.C. Moore) that was on clearance.
I had to take the harp off for the new lampshade.
I also used some of the leftover Behr paint from my sewing machine cabinet, and picked up a new lampshade from Target. You almost can't see the lavender, but there's a touch of it on top as well as on the bottom.
I actually figured that she might want me to do this to her remaining lamp, but she said she doesn't like the lamp no matter what is done to it. It's actually a very sturdy, nice lamp, despite still having that oversized, curvy 80's decor body. But then again, I am a child of the 80's so I guess that's why this appeals to me.
Haley is a 19 year old girl with terminal brain cancer. The doctors gave her limited time to live. All she wants are Christmas cards, her family is celebrating Christmas everyday until she passes.
Please reddit do your awesomeness and mail her Christmas cards!
Team Haley 1284 US Hwy 12, #23 Fox Lake, IL 60020
UPDATE::: THANK YOU REDDIT!!!! The community support has been amazing, I am crying as I write this because of the wonderful people here on earth! Here's a news link, the public form is reddit! http://wgntv.com/2014/11/21/community-of-cary-rallies-around-woman-battling-brain-cancer/ Long time lurker, first time poster. I have seen the wonderful things reddit has done, and I hope we can do it again for Haley. She was diagnosed with a massive brain tumor on July 8th, 2013 just days before her 18th birthday. On July 10th she had a craniotomy to remove the tumor. Haley 'celebrated' her 18th Birthday in the hospital on the 12th.
Haley was diagnosed with an aggressive, rare form of brain cancer - Anaplastic Oligodendroglioma Grade 3 - on July 19th. Of the 4,300 brain tumors in kids each year (only 1,250 in kids age 16-19), only 2% are diagnosed as this type of cancer.
She has endured a lot the last 10 months. First was the surgery, then she went thru egg harvesting, another surgery to have a portacath put in, 6 weeks of daily radiation, multiple MRI's and other tests and did 4 of 6 rounds of PCV chemo.
The tumor has spread to Haley's spine and back in her brain. After going back to the hospital to started an aggressive chemo treatment, sadly, the doctors said there was nothing more they can do. Last Friday her mother was given the devastating news that Haley has limited time to live. Haley is her only child. Haley has fought hard and has shown so much wisdom and courage.
Her favorite holiday is Christmas, so today they are putting up their Christmas tree and decorations, and will be celebrating every day until Haley passes.
We are hoping to make Haley's last days the best, and we are asking everyone we know, and reddit, to send her a Christmas card. Store bought, hand made, made by your kids, religious- doesn't' matter. They can be funny, heart felt, anything.
Her address is Team Haley 1284 US Hwy 12, #23 Fox Lake, IL 60020
Just a few days ago, I finished my second piece of furniture: a Domestic Sewing Machine cabinet. I got it in late 2013, when a friend's roommate dropped it off at my house. It lived in the garage until tonight.
This is what it looked like when I got it. The roommate was getting rid of it because it took up a lot of space in the garage and he didn't have time to refinish it like he wanted to. He actually got this from someone who was going to throw it out.
It's mahogany. Once the lid was opened, the polyurethane or clear varnish on it, was flaking off. There may have been water damage at one time, on the top and down the center of the back.
The machine inside was a Domestic Rotary machine, series 153. The piece originated in Cleveland, OH and was built sometime in the 1950's.
I used Behr Marquee in an eggshell finish to paint it. The "outside" (lavender) is Composer's Magic (from the Opulence color line), and the "inside" is Prussian Plum (from the Dynasty color line). Behr advertises the Marquee paints cover in one coat, guaranteed. I didn't find that to be the case, as I needed two coats of each color. However, maybe that's the difference between coverage on drywall and on wood.
Because I wasn't going to keep the machine in place, I measured out the top opening and got some 3/4" thick plywood and a bunch of brackets. I flipped the cabinet upside down, cut the plywood to fit inside the opening (thankfully, this was completely square) and bracketed it in from the bottom. Now, it's solid all the way across. I'm pretty sure I could sit on that part of the cabinet and it would support me!
Yep, that's actually argyle printed Duck Tape on the cabinet. I picked up a couple rolls of it when I worked at AC Moore. I knew I was going to find a way to use it with this project...because really, who doesn't like argyle? It actually is on the top and bottom of the cabinet, on the front, back and sides. I didn't put any on the top front though, because I liked that expanse of lavender when the drawers are closed (see above photo). I actually put 2-3 coats of Minwax clear polyurethane over it, per some advice from my father-in-law. That tape isn't coming off anytime in the near future!
I bribed my friend with supper to help me lug this thing upstairs from the garage to my crafting room. I put the drawers in and the top pieces on after we got it up here. I decided to swap out the original drawer pulls with some new Art Deco inspired glass knobs. I did reuse the original hinges and screws on top though. I used spray primer and paint to redo those. For some reason, the handles didn't like that paint and dried very unevenly. I thought that was odd, because I did them all at the same time and at the same temperature.
Inside the drawers, after they were painted, I sprayed in about 5-6 thin coats of Minwax aerosol clear polyurethane. This was leftover from a previous project (which was also the case of the silver spray paint I used for the hinges). Then they each got an additional two more coats of poly brushed on. I wanted to make sure the inside of the drawers were very well protected.
I realized as I worked on this piece, that with the plywood insert on top, this would make a great little desk for a kid, or even a simple desk for an adult. Or if you worked a little longer with it, you could fit a mirror to it, change the top pieces around, and turn it into a vanity for a girl's bedroom. It's definitely a versatile piece of furniture.
I took my time with this refinishing and I'd wildly proud of how it turned out. There were places I should have gone a little more lightly with the poly, and you can see them if you look closely. But this is a solid piece of furniture that I'll have for a long time.
And finished as of tonight...the Gene Simmons/The Demon garden gnome!
This guy was actually bought on my birthday this year, with money from my father, from an antiques store in Virginia Beach. He's actually a larger version of a gnome I repainted earlier this year. He's just shy of 16" tall, and was a little sunbaked when I found him,
This gnome actually gave me the biggest fits, when it came to getting the paint to dry, because he's made out of some kind of vinyl. Note to self: never use enamel Testor's paint ever again!
For him, I used the Super Sculpey to smooth out where his vest and shirt ended, because he was going to have a pretty significant belt. All of this made him very front heavy. I wanted to use the tool handle he still had in his hand to make him a bass guitar to hold, but because of his front weight, he would have just tipped over with a bass attached to his little gnome body.
After months of painting and getting pissed off, my Peter Criss/The Cat KISS garden gnome is finally finished!!!
I was on Craftster one evening, earlier this year, and I had posted the leprechaun gnome I had repainted, in honor of my mom. Redforkhippie gave me an idea, based on some gnomes she had painted: KISS army gnomes! The creative wheels were set in motion.
I went yardsaling with a friend and her aunt shortly after that. I wasn't able to find any gnomes to buy, but her aunt, Lorna, gave me a gnome she had and no longer wanted. This is actually the second gnome I got for this project, but he was finished first. He is 16" tall.
Lorna had tried repainting him herself but she wasn't happy with the outcome. This little guy was originally a $19.99 gnome from K-Mart, The label was still on the turtle's underside.
I originally wanted mustache-free gnomes, but this guy just begged to be painted as Peter Criss as the Catman.
I used some Super Sculpey to smooth out some areas of his blousey sleeves, and then more to build up his boot tops, gauntlets and the front of his little shirt. After that, I primed him very thoroughly.
My husband didn't seem to understand why I was building up different parts of his clothes. I tried explaining to him the gnomes were not going to be perfect KISS lookalikes,but rather gnomes that wanted to look like KISS, so they were keeping their own little gnome styles but were influenced by KISS. He didn't really get it until I was finished painting them, and he was able to see the finished project.
The metallic silver Testor's paint I bought wasn't drying/curing on the gnomes. The gnomes were clean (this guy is resin), I primed him first...but the silver still wasn't curing. I've even ran an embossing gun over them to speed dry. The silver remained tacky.
So I went online and tried to figure out what's going on. "When paint is not drying on the surface, the most common cause is that the wrong paint was applied. When painting flexible vinyl or rubber, our solvent based enamel will not dry. A water based acrylic paint should be used. Dry time on acrylics is about 15 minutes minutes and enamels are dry to the touch between 30 minutes to 1 hour." what I think really happened was the three coats of clear spray paint dried here over the tacky, uncured enamel paint.
I've been popping in and out of Michael's Arts and Crafts a lot more than usual lately. There's one not too far away from where I work (my favorite store, A.C. Moore, doesn't have a location out that way). And even though I know I have to work on Halloween night, that didn't stop me from picking up a new decoration.
Michael's had plaster skulls and monster heads on sale. I had to have the monster head, because I don't have anything Frankenstein-related yet. I know, it's hard to believe.
Frankie here was painted with both Testor's model car paint (that I bought for another project, the gnomes that are giving me hell) and Folk Art craft paint. I was going for a sickly pale monster green, by combining a flesh color, white and green of the Folk Art paint. When it was all said and done, in the light of my kitchen....er, painting studio...Frankie actually has a bit of a pale, sickly blue tint to him and I really like it (think Tom Savini's make up work on the original "Dawn of the Dead," in 1978.
I'm not a great painter, but I was happy that I was able to get some differences in skin tone. While I was able to create some highlights on the face, I had a hard time creating depth. I wanted him to have bags under his eyes and hollow cheeks. I couldn't get his cheek to be any more gaunt, but I think the eyes have a good start on them. I even made it a point to brush on various shades of green eye shadow under his eyes and on his cheeks to show depth, but I can't get him any thinner.
I did think about clear coating him, kind of the cheap woman's clear glaze, but I decided against it. I've decided I like this kind of chalky finish that he has.
I thought a lot about my paternal grandma while I was working on this project. She passed away about three years ago. I would admit that during the last 13-15 years, I didn't have much to do with her, mostly because of how she treated people and how I didn't like it.
When I was a little kid, she had a corner of the basement that was her own ceramics studio. She even had her own kiln down there and shelves loaded with unpainted ceramics and molds. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world! I still have the peg light Christmas tree she made for my family in 1978, and a couple other small pieces. I used to beg her almost every time I saw her to do some kind of ceramics project with me, but she never would. She always said it was too expensive. I would have loved to sit down there and paint with her.
My boss had a really nice seashell wreath in her house that she made a few years ago. I was amazed by it and I needed to have one for myself.
Here is mine. The materials for it came from AC Moore (for the grape vine wreath), 2 beaches in Norfolk, 2 beaches in Virginia Beach, and 2 shells I had from the Tampa/Clearwater area from several years ago.
Everything is hot glued on. It took a lot of soaking in soapy water and then Lysol to get rid of the stink on these shells. The weird thing is that the items I picked up in Virginia Beach smelled worse than the items I picked up in Norfolk.
two different kinds of sea grass feathers pieces of driftwood various shells (some are mussels) horseshoe crab shells various other crab shells mermaid purses 1 piece of sea glass 1 Corona extra bottle cap a couple of rocks some barnacles
This is my boss's wreath, by the way. She said she loves a good hot glue gun project!
My mom passed away in November last year. She wanted us to wait until we could all be together, in the spring, to spread her ashes (my husband is in the military and his CO wouldn't let him come home before she passed). So we got together in April to take care of her one last time. One of the things we brought back from our trip home was a heavy stone flamingo that belonged to my mom. It was a little rough looking. having spent at least one Iowa winter outside and several Iowa summers baking outside in the heat.
That one winter it sat outdoors for is what helped to break it's neck. Luckily for me, there is some kind of rebar inside the neck, so everything held together in the bed of the truck on the way back here.
I used a Walgreens knock off of Gorilla Glue, which I was very happy with. The Python Glue is actually thinner and less "foamy" than the Gorilla brand. A couple applications inside the crack was enough to secure the break, but it wasn't enough to disguise it.
For that, I needed to make a couple thin clay collars for it from Sculpey. And since it's oven bake clay, I had to breal down and buy an embossing/heat gun to cure it.
Then I did a quick and dirty paint job on it to set my base colors: just a bright pink for the body and a hunter green for the base. I didn't do any detail work with it. It was just two cans of spray paint.
I painted everything else by brush last night with other colors for the details.
I think my mom would approve of this. I had asked her once before if she'd let me fix it for her and she said no at the time. Now, you've got to get right up on it to see where the thickness and smoothness of the neck changes where the clay and the stone come together.
I had this bench for about four months before I started working on it. I've been messing around with it, off and on, since April 2013, and now because of the glory that is a snow day, the bench has been completed....finally. Besides, I need to do something besides shop online...eBay and Amazon can be a dangerous combination!
As a refresher, here is the before picture. Excuse my shadow. It was late in the day when I took this picture and my back was to the west.
I wore out my husband's electric sander. I think this has about 4-5 coats of stain and 2 coats of polyurethane on it.
This is the after picture. I used curtain tiebacks to secure the cushions to the arm supports. I also bought four more to take apart and use as trim to hide the staples in the back cushions (the back of the bench is actually completely open through the wood, so it basically looks the same on the backside).
My friends lovingly this "the toilet," because I actually turned it into a bench with shallow storage space under the cushions. There's a hinged lid in the center of the bench. Originally, there were just batting, springs and horse hair under the original fabric.
There's a handful of things I would have liked to have done differently/better, but this is the first piece of furniture I've ever redone so I'm still pretty proud of it.