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1  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Butterfly Hoop, Crayon and Watercolor on: March 29, 2016 07:07:31 PM

So, I made this for the Nerd Games, and it came about because I found some fabric crayons on super-sale at Target.  I'd wanted to try them out, but with the ever-increasing stash in my house, I had put it off.  But since it was on *sale*... well, I had to go for it.

Now, I'd read about these, and on some blogs people said that regular crayons work just as well... but, as I found out, not in the same way.  I could have saved myself the trouble, but of course I tried iron transfering regular crayons, which worked not at all. 

And, to be fair, I wasn't hugely thrilled with the result of the fabric crayons...

This was the crayons on cotton, and I do admit maybe I didn't color in the paper enough.  But the directions also say it works far better on synthetic fabrics...

And it does.  But pressing harder also gets you those chunky bits, which they say to brush away, but, come on - remember trying to "dust off" crayon drawings as a ... well, maybe kid, maybe from last night, no judgement here!.  They stick and then... yeah, splotchy.

So I re-read some of the comments and what most people do (duh!) is color directly on the fabric.  Works a treat!  They heat set and say it will survive washings, but as this is a hoop it's not a huge concern for me.  I've admired crayon tinted work before, and I can't believe I didn't think of that straight away.

Then I thought it was boring with a white background and watercolored it, which is tons more vibrant than the crayon, sooo...

Anyway, it was a neat experiment.  Cheesy
2  Craft Swaps / ACTIVE SWAPS WHERE SIGN-UP PERIOD HAS CLOSED / Three Tiny Movie Things Round 5 (SU Closed, SO 5/11) on: March 23, 2016 04:14:22 PM

Swap name: Three Tiny Movie Things
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: Smeddley
Sign-up date range: March 23-April 4
Date to send item by: May 11 (slightly long so people can get a hold of movies and watch them!)

Links to previous rounds, for reference:

Round one,  Gallery
Round two, Gallery
Round three, Gallery
Round four, Gallery

Limited to a certain number of people? (optional): 24
Restricted to people who all live in the same country? No
Additional Age requirement? No

The fine print...
Swap Organizer himself/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

Details of swap:
Enjoy movies? Than this is the swap for you! We'll be crafting three tiny movie things for our partners, based on a list they will supply of their 5 favorite/most artistically inspiring films! Easy as pie.  Or rather, cake.  I find pie much more difficult!

There's a fairly long crafting time - over a month! I figure people might need that time to find the movies, or, if you're like me and rely on the library to get your movies for free, sometimes there are holds.  If it is impossible for you to rent/borrow the movies on your partner's list, you can request substitute titles (though, if you're like me, it's unlikely the list is actually only 5 movies long, because you couldn't narrow it down).

A tiny thing is anything that fits into the dimension 4" by 4" by 4". It is a small space to work with, but please let your mind wander and feel free to go as crazy as you like!

If you want to participate, information to send to organizer:

Name of swap:
Craftster username:
Email address:
Your real name:
Mailing address including the country:
Would you be willing to ship to an address outside your own country?
Confirm that are at least 16 years old or, if not, that you have moderator approval:

Do you have any allergies?

Do you have any allergens in your home (cats, smoke, etc)?

What sort of crafts do you dabble in?

Any specific crafts you'd like to receive?

Are there any themes that you really dont like?

Colors youd like to receive?
Colors youd prefer not to receive?

Please list you 5 Favorite/Artistically Inspiring/Guilty Pleasure Films here:

Do you have specific ideas or inspirations that would help your partner personalize your piece (Wists, Etsy Favorites, Flickr, etc)?

Anything else youd like your partner to know?


Also, remember to read the Swap Info Guide to find other rules about participating in a swap.


01. smeddley
02. roler
03. Mellius01  
04. puzzled-penguin
05. IsikkahJai
06. Alliekat914
07. DaphadillyArt
08. Helena Puck
09. spikefan
10. fatewineroses

smeddley <=> IsikkahJai
roler <=> DaphadillyArt
Mellius01  <=> fatewineroses
puzzled-penguin <=> Alliekat914
Helena Puck <=> spikefan

3  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Three Tiny Movie Things Round... ? on: March 10, 2016 08:39:33 AM

(Mega Piranha Pouch made for me by stove037 way back in round 3 - I use it to hold my jump drives in my purse!)

Anyone interested in another round? It's been awhile, and I'm always looking to watch some new, interesting movies. I've found a lot of them (especially foreign language films) I really enjoyed that I wouldn't have otherwise probably found!

It's a smallish swap, it will have a fairly long crafting period because you might need to find/watch movies (I get mine from my library, sometimes there's a hold list... I'm one of the few last streaming service hold-outs!).  Your partner will provide a list of at least ten movies they like, and you make three tiny (4" cubed or less) things.
4  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) / 50 Shades of Merph ATC book on: February 28, 2016 02:33:11 PM

Okay, a little bit of background... I'd been watching a bunch of those "Cheap Art Supply Challenge" videos, and wanted to challenge my friend to it (we did it together as mixed media, and it was fun, I highly encourage it!).  But in doing so, I would have to find something I could draw at least a few times the same for comparison.  Enter the ATCs I was doing for Operation Beautiful with little monsters on them!  I picked the easiest to draw monster I'd sketched, and christened him "Merph".

And began digging through my stuff and buying various levels of art supplies I needed (and borrowing quite a few!).  Then I made a cute little book called "Faces of Merph" and showed it to my husband, who said he was surprised I hadn't called it "50 Shades of Merph" and I said that I didn't have 50 but doggone it, now that he mentioned it I had to do it.  Grrrr...

Then the hunt for different art supplies began in earnest, and I realize I DO NOT know how to use some of these supplies, and they're not great, but it was fun playing around with them!

Let's start of on a good foot - colored pencils!  I am actually decent at colored pencils, having the most practice with them (I left off crayons early and even a a young child preferred colored pencils):

Left to right: Prismacolor Pencils, Cra-Z-Art Pencils, Crayola Pencils.
My thoughts: I'm not hugely disappointed in any of them.  Yes, the Cra-Z-Art pencils are much lighter and more pastel, but you can still make pretty art with them and hey, they are dirt cheap.  I ADORE Crayola pencils, I'll be honest, and even though they're not as "good" as Prismacolor, I prefer them for a lot of things (they are harder and hold a point better).  The only disappointment is that the "Big" box of 100 Crayola pencils only has 60 colors.


Upper left: "Color Appeel" (they're like china markers, my friend bought them for me), Upper middle: Crayola, Upper right: Cra-Z-Art, Lower left: Faber Castel Gel, Lower middle: Melted Crayola, Lower right: Melted Cra-Z-Art
My thoughts: Crayola wins this so hands down, and while they are slightly more expensive than Cra-Z-Art, I think it's worth it.  The ridiculously priced FC gel crayons were super annoying, and the Color Appeel ones were meh.  The melted crayon thing was something I'd seen on YouTube, but one thing they don't tell you is the amount of clear wax that spreads from the melted crayon.  Much less in the Crayola than the Cra-Z-Art, but still there, and probably not a method I'll use again.

Markers!  Full disclosure, I am BAD at arting with markers.  Just so we know that.  Not my thing, I've had very little practice, and I know there are issues...

Upper left: Prismacolor, Upper middle: Crayola, Upper right: Copic, Lower left: Sharpie, Lower middle: Cra-Z-Art, Lower right: Copics take 2
My thoughts: First, I did buy smaller Crayola and Cra-Z-Art markers, so filling in was difficult.  That's on me for not getting the bigger markers, but in my defense, I figured the fine line markers would be more useful later.  Also, I didn't have brown sharpie, so... that's a little odd looking.  In general, I'm not a huge fan of markers and the Prismacolors give me horrid headaches.  I can see why people like Copics, and on the right paper (oh, this is going to be a theme!) they are probably the best in the hands of people experience with markers.

More markers and pens!

Upper left: Sharpie on Yupo paper, Upper middle:: highlighters, Upper right: Felt-tipped pen, Lower left: Felt-tipped pen as pointalism, Lower middle: Cra-Z-Art Markers as Watercolors, Lower left: Watercolor markers
My thoughts: On my giddy aunt, using markers as watercolors is BRILLIANT.  Thank you, Youtube!  Yes, just scribble a cheap marker on a tile or acrylic block, then use water and paint like watercolor!  So cool, and the colors blend beautifully.  Seriously, do it.  Also, Yupo paper is bizarre, but cool (and still no brown sharpie).  Highlighters are a good addition to your marker repertoire.  Pointalism is fiddly, but kind of fun.

Super Cheap supplies!

This is a $2 set from Michael's.  It's... frankly, awful.  Really, really bad.  That actually doesn't mean you can't do something decent with it, AS LONG as you don't use that paper.  It's tissue-paper thin.  Worse than typing paper.  This is where we came to the conclusion (though we'd really rather known it) that you can work around not having the priciest supplies, as long as you had decent (and appropriate!) paper.  Don't use watercolor paper for a marker drawing, and cardstock is horrible for watercolor.  That sort of thing.  And I kinda like the mid-range supplies the best, for one important reason: variety.  I mentioned I'm not a great artist, and color blending isn't my thing.  But in a $5 tray of Artist's Loft watercolors, there is every color I'd want - unlike the $30 tray of Winsor-Newton which had something like 12 colors I should be able to blend, but doesn't have pink and I can't, for the life of me, properly blend a pink.  Grrr.  Anyway, on to the mixed media challenge:

Upper left: Super cheap (sans crayon!) on better paper, Upper right: All the Super Cheap on Super Cheap paper, Lower left: Mid-range, Lower Right: Expensive
My thoughts: the super cheap was, indeed, super-cheap.  The watercolors were chalky and hard to work with, and the pencils had little color.  The expensive supplies were lovely to work with, and they are better in a lot of ways - except the fact that, to get all the bits, it would break the bank.  If I were a serious artist, yes, I'd invest.  But I think the mid-range is pretty darn good!

"Mid-range" supplies: Strathmore paper, Artist's Loft watercolor, Crayola colored pencils and markers.
"Expensive" supplies: Arches Aquarelle watercolor paper, Grumbacher watercolors, Prismacolor colored pencils, and Copic markers.

Watercolors, Gelato, and Gouache

Upper left: Cra-Z-Art, Upper middle: Artist's Loft, Upper right: Winsor-Newton, Bottom left: Gouache, bottom right: Gelatto
My thoughts: I'm sorry, Winsor-Newton, you are amazing watercolors, I let you down.  You are great to work with, but I need about 20 more shades.  Artist's Loft, I love you.  You are pretty cheap and decent and I can work with that.  Cra-Z-Art, um... it's not you, it's me...  Gouache is a fun paint, a cross between acrylic and watercolor, I think?  I don't really see why you'd need it, but this was another cheapish Artist's Loft set and it's fun.  Gelato sticks are, I think made for using on stamps?  But they're water soluble, so I thought I'd use them for this and I rather liked it (it was a lot like using watercolor crayons).  Speaking of...


Upper left: Gel pens, Upper middle: Oil pastels, Upper right: Super Cheap Oil pastels (from the $2 kit), Lower left: Watecolor crayons, Lower middle: Chalk, Lower Right: Soft Pastels
My thoughts: Wow, I don't know how to use either oil or soft pastels.  And super-cheap is still super-awful.  The $1 sidewalk chalk pack turned out better than I thought it would!  And I ADORE gel pens, though it's hard to fill in with them.

Watercolor pencils:

Left to right: Derwent, Fantasia, Creativecolor
My thoughts: I don't know how much the Fantasia set cost, it was gifted to me (I really should have bought some Crayola watercolor pencils, but I'm already hip-deep in art supplies here!).  I think most of the difference was in my impatience and getting tired of doing these... (these were some of the last ones I did).  

Digital art (full disclosure: these were done by my husband on his drawing tablet!)

He made me do 50 different Merphs, so he had to help.  He's a much better artist than I and did these on his Waicom tablet thingee using I think Manga Studio?  I'm at a bad effects in Photoshop for Livejournal icons level as far as digital art goes, so....

Alcohol inks and dry erase:

These are prints of photos, because the alcohol ink page was larger and the dry erase board is in the stairwell of my office.  Oh yes, I inflict my bad art on my coworkers to inform them of things like Shark Week, the Pluto Fly-By, and Merph's thoughts on our unseasonably warm weather.


Left: Regular Acrylics, Right: Fluid Acrylics
My thoughts: Man, a lot of my cheapie acrylics are really too thick, and I'm not as good at these as I thought.  Fluid acrylics are awesome, though everything was drying super-fast and I didn't pick the best paper (I know, I know!) to put enough water down.  They are more translucent, though.

Various and sundry (look, I had to think up 50!)

Upper left: faux slide, Upper right: Coffee, Lower left: pencil, Lower right: pen on an envelope.
My thoughts: I love making faux slides, it's fun!  Coffee painting is harder than I thought by the effect is fun.  Pencils and pens are, predictably, perfectly fine.  The paper the pen one was drawn on was actually the inside of a security envelope, which actually spawned a whole other project... that old "Face of Merph" cover won't go to waste!

Then I cut out all the pages out of old scrapbook paper and slipped the ATCs inside, using rings to bind it.

And if you made it this far, you deserve a cookie!  It was a fun experiment, but I need a Merph-cation for at least a week...  Cheesy

Ahem... eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed there were only 49 in the original post.  I think I was trying to protect my self-respect by forgetting about the... oil painting.  Now, oil painting is different than other painting, and I know I don't know how to do it.  I also know I didn't have the stuff to clean my brushes so just used one cheap throw-away brush.  I've watched videos and I love the *idea* of oil painting, but I seriously need some instruction.  So, yeah, you were warned....

Oil painting Merph... (poor Merph)...

5  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / T-Shirt Hobo style bag on: February 22, 2016 05:24:34 PM

My friend asked me to make her a bag out of a T-shirt from an event the local chapter of the CAF (Commemorative Air Force) had, and I heavily borrowed from the most awesome shopping bag tutorial ever to make it.

The changes I made:
I lengthened the straps, so it would go over the shoulder.
I didn't do the folded in edges.
And I did corner folds in the bottom so it had a flat bottom.
Added a closure mechanism.

My favorite part is the little airplane button and loop closure:

It's not perfect, and there are things I'd do differently next time (including NEVER working with t-shirt material without a stabilizer again - I was in a hurry, didn't have any) but she seemed happy with it!
6  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / Box Braid Tug Toys on: February 22, 2016 05:16:17 PM

We recently adopted a much larger dog after losing our beloved 17-year old, 25 pound Blue Heeler mix, and while people scoff when I say that a 50 pound dog is big, it really is to us!  And a big dog needs bigger, tougher toys, because she loves to TUG.  I knew what I wanted to get, but couldn't find a decent-sized one anywhere.  DIY to the rescue!

I followed this tutorial that I found, and they really are very simple!  Fiddly, and time consuming, but simple enough once you get the pattern down.

I made them with three different size strips, 2" on the one with the loop, 3" and the recommended 4".  Unfortunately, she tends to grab the loop end of the loop, so I'm working on a design that has loops on both ends because my hands are sore from trying to grip the knots.  I think I have an idea that will work, I just need some longer pieces of fleece (these were scraps that were given to me, so it was a free project, even!).
7  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Goal Book: 2016 on: January 07, 2016 05:04:51 PM
I'm so tickled someone else is jumping on the goal book bandwagon!  goktrose posted one here if you need some more inspiration... it's not too late to make one!  And it doesn't have to be fancy, my first two didn't even have doodles, they were just pages in a spiral-bound notebook, 50 goals of 50 items each.

Then came the madness of 2014, which was 100 goals of 100 items each.  That was just silliness, as were many, many, MANY of the goals (how could they not be?).  In 2015 I paired it down, went with 15 goals of 15 items each, with an eye to finishing up a lot of 2012, 2013, and 2014's goals.  This year, I'm back to the tried and true 50/50/50 (50 goals of 50 items aiming for 50% success).

Yup, it's pink and blue again, and for one reason.  Those two are some very weird paint I got somewhere, it's "Paint for Plastic", but it really should by called "Paint into Plastic", because it turns what you paint into something that genuinely feels plastic.  I think that's why the covers have held up as well as they have, despite being hauled everywhere all year long.  A lot of the same goals are back (I have a rather extensive list of them here) and a few new ones.  I've also been going back and "revising" some of the goals from years past because they are no longer achievable - I had a swimming goal, but we no longer belong to a gym with a pool, so I changed that to my "Pumpkin All The Things" challenge - posting a pumpkin/pumpkin spice item a day from Oct 1 to Thanksgiving, which I easily accomplished.  Because, remember, there are no rules but the ones you make, and by golly, some day I will 100% complete 2012!

It's also a very large book again, as it has sections for 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.  Phew!

So, a selection of my new pages... (they aren't all this fancy, trust me, I get tired and some are just lined paper. I need to start on 2017's now...)

Blood donations!  I will color in the test tubes red for each donation, though I'm still behind on 2014's (I was dreadfully ill for two full months last year, ARGH!).

50 dozen cookies - a dead easy goal (I'm the D&D group's cookie baker, so for example, last weekend I made about 9 dozen cookies!).  The page, however, had to be re-done because I hadn't measured properly.  I also picked the ingredients from memory.  I... may bake too many cookies...

Oh, this page!  And, indeed, oh, this goal.  I am not good at crosswords.  Sudoku, yes.  Word searches, fine.  Crosswords?  No.  Almost all of them have celebrity names and I'm horrible at those.  And they really stretch it sometimes... I just had a puzzle that had the word "oner" for something unique.  REALLY?

Yeah, I need a break sometimes, but it's hard, especially since the lives on the app and the computer for Candy Crush Soda Saga are not the same, so you can play twice as much!

Mail!  Who doesn't love mail?  One year I'm going to get myself in line for LetWriMo, but it always sneaks up on me after the holidays.

There once was a girl on a roll
She made a book out of her goal
It kept her on track
And she could look back
On where she'd poured her heart and soul

(Okay, it's not the best, but it was on the fly and wheeeeeee!  I can check off one!)

Nerd Game projects!  If you don't Nerd Game, it's not too late to start!.

Our library has a service where you can download songs, and it's my goal to listen to at least 50 new songs this year.  Yes, old favorites are good, but I love finding new things!

Oh, spider solitaire, my favorite computer-based, mindless time-wasting game (2 suit only, thank you, I can't deal with the 4 suit).

Stamps collected.  This is actually pretty hard, because not a lot of people send letters anymore.  Which is why I need to get on board with LetWriMo, maybe I'd get some back (though that only somewhat works even with Christmas cards!).

So, there you go.  Another year, another goal book.  They say writing your goals down makes them more concrete, and will motivate you more, and I can say, going on my fifth year, that it really does.  Yes, I do have some silly goals (because at 2,500 goals, even aiming realistically for 1,250, some do have to be silly!) but there are some serious ones, as well.  And it can make things a lot more fun, even buying fruits and vegetables (so few vegg have stickers on them... I broke those two goals up in 2014 and am still trying to complete my 100 sticker goal!).

Thanks for looking, and if you made it this far, I think you should be allowed to tick a "book read" goal off... Cheesy
8  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Kitchen Tile! on: November 25, 2015 07:02:43 PM
It's not completely completely done, I'm not moved back into my kitchen, but it's as close as it's going to get for awhile and this is a Nerd Games projects (if you're not part of the Nerd Games, you should be!  It's over on the Miscellaneous Board and a new season is about to start!).  This is the finished tile (because I like the thumbnail to be the pretty picture!):

And this is what it started as:

Never, ever ever tile your countertops, it's the most ridiculous thing ever (we bought the house that way, always intending to get new countertops, but had to save money and other projects, like the basement walls cracking and leaking water, ended up coming first).  Why?  Because caulk shrinks and it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep it clean:

Gross, I know, and I even cleaned it, but even with a toothbrush and cleanser, that stuff is impossible to keep clean.  And there's no rolling out dough, for germ reasons and because it's not a smooth surface.

I had a friend do the demo, and we discovered they just laid the tile over the existing laminate countertop:

I was so happy to see it go!

Once we'd gotten the countertops, it was time to pick the tile...

I thought I liked it, but was questioning myself before I grouted it...

But I think once the white grout was in, I'm good with it. 

I used a wet tile saw to cut about a million little pieces to fill in the edges of the tile sheets and to work around the outlets, it's my new favorite tool!  It took me two weekends and about 15-20 hours to do the tile, I still need to switch out some of the outlets (which were inexplicably off-white, but I'm putting it off because I already shocked myself once) and do a little more caulking, then paint the kitchen (it originally had a boarder at the top, I primed the wall when I took it down but never painted, so the whole kitchen needs it).  I also painted inside the lower cabinets and still need to sort through all my kitchenware and whatnot (I had two angel food cake pans - WHY?!) and put it all back.  So lots of work still left to do, but I'm pretty proud of how far I've already come!
9  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Bellydancing... pirate... zombie? on: November 25, 2015 06:29:39 PM
This year we performed at an event called Shimmy for the Cure, a breast cancer benefit.  Every year we try to be outrageously funny to help offset some of the heartbreaking stories that get told.  Last year we danced to "Gummy Bear", this year it was to a combination of a parody song "We are Pirates" (to the tune of "We Will Rock You") and Jack Sparrow (PotC).

Just two weeks later is the Zombie walk for hunger, so the costume got a second chance!  Most of the good pictures are from the zombie walk (the professional pics from SftC haven't been posted yet), so I'm leading off with that!

I also put this costume together in two days, which included: covering and decorating the bra, making the vest and bustle, and making the hip wrap.  Hat, jewelry, pants and boots were purchased, and while I made the lace shrug, that was awhile ago for a different costume.

This is me not-zombified, the best pic I could find was with my Little Visitor:

And one of the girls took a B&W photo during the performance:

And one more from the zombie walk, chillin' after the walk...

I love it when costumes get multiple uses!  I also wore it with a skirt I'd previously make (black and red) that happened to match to the RenFest and bellydance class on Halloween.  And I've gotten my entire troupe addicted to bustles.  Cheesy
10  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Sally's Dress Afghan (NBC) on: October 09, 2015 07:24:29 PM
For my partner in the Mini 13 Days of Halloween swap!  I did run out of time to do the stitching, I wanted to add some of the designs to the sold colors and add the "stitched together" lines, but... that did not happen.  Still, I'm pretty happy with it, and it's completely reversible and machine washable!

This is her picture of it, because I couldn't get one from far enough away because I wasn't about to lay it on my floor (Australian Shedhound in residence - I did send it through the washer AND dryer before sending!).

Should you like to make one of your own, the pattern I made up to use is here (although I cut the top short because I thought the corner pieces went in too far for "sleeves" and it was already well lapghan size! 

Crocheted all in single crochet with an K hook it ended up about 4' x 5'

I didn't carry any of the yarn between sections, so it got a little... twisted... at times:

(I need a much more comfortable chair to work in , but my printer held all the different skeins of yarn beautifully!  Of course, there was no moving it while I worked on it...)

The key was to twist it clockwise one time, then counter-clockwise the other, and the lines of yarn would twist, and then untwist... theoretically...

Overall I'm pretty happy with it, and even more happy that she seemed to really like it!
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