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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Molecular Gastronomy Apron on: August 05, 2012 12:45:45 PM
Just wanted to throw up some quick pictures from a custom apron I did for a friend's birthday. His loving fiancee wanted to give him an apron that reflected his new interest in molecular gastronomy. We brain-stormed a design and I managed to get it done in time despite a week-long cold.

The happy birthday boy!


A close-up:
2  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / "Antiqued" Raspberry Mousse Piano Bench on: July 10, 2012 04:57:24 AM
I want to premise this entry by saying that I am NOT painting this piano bench hot pink. It's actually Behr's "Raspberry Mousse" which is much more purple fuschia than pink. However, my camera appears to be extremely intimidated by this pigment and therefore tried to make it appear a different shade.



I picked up this piano bench a few months ago from the Habitat Restore for $35. There was a lot of scuffing on the top and there's a bit of damage on the underside, but the piece was just too gorgeous to pass up.


After removing the hinges and chains, the bench got a generous coat of primer. I decided not to sand out all the scuffs on the bench top and feet. I thought the battle scars would complement the smooth, intricate details on the legs.


Now, piano bench, step into my office... err... living room. Just get comfortable on that cheap fold-out table. You may be here for a while... (It lived there for several weeks.)


Oh my god, what was I thinking?! Given my hands-on mentality, I decided to HAND PAINT the bench. With a 2" foam brush and a narrow artist's brush to get all the grooves. Oh, what I do for the color I want. Spray paint would have been SO much easier. But no, I had to get my hands dirty and channel my inner perfectionist. (Dumbass.)


Even poor Dizzy seems exhausted after watching me work for a few hours. And this was BEFORE I picked up the narrow brush and started trying to fill in the grooves. I think I got a leg and a half done before I decided to call it a night. Such a labor of love.


Three-ish coats later and it's done! Well, kinda. Now it's time to take a crack at distressing/aging this thing. I had made no previous attempts at this, so I decided to start on the inside (which almost no one will ever see). Just mixed up 3 parts black paint with 1 part water.


Okay, here's my first tip to everyone. If you're going to only try and age the edges and corners, WIPE QUICKLY with a clean cloth. If you hesitate, it will sink into the first layer of paint and create a distinct line.  You should probably wear gloves, but I hate wearing gloves. So I had black fingers by the end of this. It's okay, they didn't fall off.

Also... once you paint/wipe an area, LEAVE IT ALONE. If you try to go back for touch ups, you're just going to pull off your second color and leave very distinct edges. Trust me on this one...


In the middle of this crash course in "How NOT to do an antique/distressed paint job," I kinda panicked and decided to rub the whole surface rather than just along the edges, grooves and corners. This creates an effect similar to the effect you get from painting a second paint color on top of the first and then gently sanding the surface until the first color shows through. At least it's on the inside and no one else will see it.


Anyway, I stayed committed and eventually finished the distressing coat. I had work on it on three different nights (two to finish, one to touch up). Lots of black under my fingernails.


Since I painted/wiped all surfaces rather than just the edges, I had to learn to commit to a direction. Since I used the inside as my 'trial by fire' moment, the lid turned out pretty damn well! It's very reminiscence of wood grain.



Final stage: SEALING! I picked up Rustoleum Clear Gloss to protect my work and really make those nooks and crannies POP. This picture gives you an idea of how much a gloss coating makes (glossed on left, unsprayed on right). The gloss remains tacky for 48-72 hours, so I had to wait to flip it over and do the underside and the other side of the lid.


OH SNAP, people, it's done!!!! After multiple coats of gloss and a lengthy drying/curing period. After putting the hardware on wrong TWICE (different screw lengths at different spots, two different chain lengths). After waiting and waiting for a day when I could pull the thing outside and get pictures. Try to ignore the glare. I was kind of winging it on the photos before it started to rain.


Close up of the top. You can see how the black sunk into imperfections in the corner. LOVE it.


Say "AHHH."


Sexy legs.


The black antiquing really brings out the details.


One more shot.


Thanks for checking this out! Smiley If anyone wants to see the larger pictures, they're available at:
http://awesomesauce-acquisitions.blogspot.com/2012/03/raspberry-mousse-piano-bench.html
3  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 76 ENTRIES / Branch Rack on: July 03, 2012 07:54:17 PM
Let me first credit this idea to anything that came up regarding jewelry displays when I googled "reuse tree branches."

I was trying to find projects that could use up the thick crepe myrtle branches I've had sitting in my yard since the winter. The original idea was to use them as holders/place markers for a friend's upcoming wedding. However, I wasn't satisfied with how they were turning out and scrapped that idea. Still, the branches were so pretty that I couldn't bear to chuck them.


So... I took a nice pretty branch and cut it down make a ~29" long section. No particular reason other than that was the halfway mark for that branch. Then I marked the branch every inch (using my handy dandy quilting grid pad) and centered it along what would be the bottom of the branch.


The idea was to use some old mug hooks I purchased for other crafts but never followed through. My 3-legged fluffball Mojo supervised the whole process... with his back turned to me.


Then I marked my drill with some scotch tape so I wouldn't overdrill the holes for the hooks. A nice thing (that I didn't expect) is that the scotch tape actually squeaks/squeals when you hit it. This gave me both visual and audial cues on when to stop. Which is especially good when you're being eaten alive by mosquitoes.


Then it was time to paint. Mosquitoes got me then, too. I have now learned that they don't care if it's 100 degrees outside. They're still gonna bite me. Viciously.


Once dry (despite being rained on while I went out to eat), I screwed in each hook.


I had realized before this point that I needed 23 hooks and my pack only had 20, but I couldn't be bothered to wait. I'll just add them later.


Then I added some recycled sari silk ribbon from www.darngoodyarn.co m to hold up the final product.


Rather than holding jewelry, I wanted this branch to hold all the crochet circles accumulating on a wall in my bedroom. I've been slowing using up scraps with the intent of assembling a large blanket for my daughter. I have a long way to go, but I like to be able to see them so I can see the color balance as it grows.


Voila, a fancier way of displaying my lack of attention span!


A close up.


Hope you all like it. I know it's nothing super fancy, but the requirement to get outside for this challenge finally pushed me to give this a shot. In the future I'll probably make some painted (solid or striped or something else) and leave others natural, depending on the coloration of the bark.
4  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Sock Monster: Duke of Cucumbarms on: June 28, 2012 08:19:57 PM
So I'm back on the sock monster bandwagon again. I've made about half a dozen in the past, but it had been a while since I tried to assemble one.

This boy had no plan, no pattern. In fact, his sole purpose for existence was to be my first attempt at using a sewing machine rather than hand stitching.

That being said... Meet the Duke of Cucumbarms. He's a Duke, and his arms are made of cucumbers. Nuff said.






5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Cat Stack Embroidery on: April 22, 2012 01:36:48 PM
My Mom's birthday was this month. Ever since I was 15, I've been rescuing pets, mostly cats. We had never been "cat people." But nearly 15 years later, I've adopted 5 cats and she and my dad have adopted 7 (and fostered several others).

Now 65 and about to retire, I think it's time she embrace her "Crazy Cat Lady" status. This gift a nudge in that general direction.



The image I based this on was found in a meandering Google search for "cat stack" or "cat pile." Like I said... meandering.

I did the cats in a simple split stitch using 6 threads of sequential colors of pink-to-purple from whatever brand of embroidery floss I have. The whiskers and noses are just simple back stitch in a single thread of black. I'd love to say the eyes are French knots, but no... I just did a tight "+" using 6 threads.

Close up of the kitties at the bottom of the totem pole.



The frame was a $1 find at the thrift store. Gorgeous, except the back prongs were missing. So rather than tape the back down I decided to turn to my good friend, hot glue, to secure things.



Hope you like it! My mom loves pink (hence the color choices) and cats (obviously) so I think it's a shoe-in.
6  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Toy Box of Holding on: April 13, 2012 09:19:03 PM
I have a kid. A very playful 2 year old. This means I have toys. Lots of toys.

And I have a Rottweiler. A very mouthy 3 year old. This means nothing is safe. Nothing.

Two problems, one simple solution: A TOY BOX!

Third problem: Finding a toy box at a reasonable price that is an acceptable size (not a hope chest but not a shoe box) and decent quality (somewhere between compressed particle board and hardwood).

After a few months of watching my local Habitat for Humanities store, I came across this little chest. It's handmade, which I liked. It's sturdy, which I needed. And it was only $35, which I loved. And the added bonus- It fit in the back of my Echo, so I could get it home without stealing my husband's car!

With cans of primer and paint in hand, I rolled out the tarp and got started. Of course, I was way too excited and forgot to take a "before" picture. Let's just say it's got some rough spots and the paint job was very beat up.


The entire thing was bright blue while the lid was white. It really needed a facelift.



I decided on Rustoleum "Lagoon" in satin finish for the box. I actually start to run out of Lagoon before getting to the lid and bottom (which actually comes out of the box) so I grabbed an old can of Valspar "Black" gloss finish to do those sections. The Lagoon looks very blue in these pictures, but it's actually very teal. Whatever, it looks right in person.



I was horribly impatient about waiting for coats to dry so there were a few minor mishaps. But overall, the box looks great and now all of Tessa's stuffed animals are safe from the nomming jaws of Oz, a.k.a. Bo-Bo.
7  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Axolotl Love on: March 10, 2012 08:40:40 PM
Long time lurker, first time poster.
This axolotl is a bit rough because I made it using cheap felt, but I still love it.



It's based on this image I came across:
http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/113/3/f/axolotl_doodle_i_by_one_flying_fig-d3epuki.png

I hope to make it again on a larger scale with better felt and a thick satin line of black thread to get those crisp lines. Smiley
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