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11  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Raven, raven, raven, free. Raven won't you see for me. on: February 03, 2016 12:49:44 PM
In the one tiny bird swap, my tiny bird became a rather large bird. I think I am forgiven.

I started with a purchased doll body from Dharma Trading. They are very cheap, wired, but the heads are creepy and formless. I added a raven head, chopped off the feet and wired in new ones. I wrapped the legs wit floss and painted the whole thing with a layer of gesso, sanded her, then two coats of black with a sanding between coats. The gesso and the sanding make a really nice finish.

Her hood, wings and tail are two layers of a cobweb printed netting and black silk scraps, machine stitched and trimmed close to the stitching. Then I tacked it onto her. Her dress is just cut out and embellished. Jewel eyes, a bit of fluff and she is ready to go.

She's too big for the swap...so here she is trying to fit into a less than 5" space.

12  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 111 ENTRIES / KIng Kong was Cookie Monster's Great Great Grandpa on: January 10, 2016 10:12:36 AM
Yes, this is a little known fact, "KIng Kong was Cookie Monster's Great Great Grandpa". He wasn't going for the girl, she just got in the way...or he hoped she could bake. I made this for the holidays, and the kids loved it. It didn't last very long, we had to do a contest for who got to eat the plane and the King himself. So these are the best pics I got. BTW, it was very warm here in Connecticut on Christmas day, looked and felt more like early October.

So here he is, eating his way up the Empire State Building, which is sticking out of the clouds.

13  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Glow in the Dark Moon Jellyfish - pic heavy on: January 09, 2016 06:06:46 PM
Last fall we took a family cruise in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. One morning we woke to what at first we thought was rain, but was really thousands of moon jellyfish feeding in this lovely harbor we were moored in. Big ones, little ones, all just floating serenely in the cold water. End of September the sea is probably 40-45 degrees....brrr.
It was simply fascinating.

So in the Dec. Dotee swap, I made my partner (she loves the sea) a moon jellyfish.

Layers of tissue paper over a frame of white florist wire shaped around a plastic bag covered styrofoam ball, some glow in the dark yarn, and lots of mod podge. A bit of fine glitter found it's way in from a Christmas ornament that would not stop shedding. The trailing stingers are ribbon and more glow yarn. I formed the plastic yarn by winding around knitting needles and heating with a heat gun. After cooling, it stayed cool. Same for the little loops on the top.

Very pretty hanging in a window.

14  Category Challenges / Cooking: Challenge Entries / No Fail Fudge - No Holiday Can Happen Without It! on: January 08, 2016 08:34:15 AM

My mom used to make this, straight from the recipe, but I've changed, mangled and modified over the years to my taste. It's addictive and my go to (along with Christmas Crack) for food gifts, party offerings and just plain ruining people's diets.

No Fail Five Minute Fudge
Note: Adjust the ratio of semi-sweet to dark chocolate chips to your taste. I like 1c. dark to 1/2 cup semi-sweet. Just make sure you have 1 ½ c. chips. You can also make this with Nestles semi-sweet chips…but why would you?

2 tbsp. butter (leave out if you want a harder fudge)
2/3 c. undiluted condensed milk (small can)
1 c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
Dash Cayenne Pepper

Heat to boiling over med to low heat. Cook for 5 min. stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add:

2 c. small marshmallows
¾ c. Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
¾ c. Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1 t. vanilla (don't forget this or it will taste like chocolate chips)
½ c. chopped pecans or walnuts (opt.)
Coarse salt to sprinkle on top

Stir, stir, stir until all ingredients are melted. Pour into a 9” square buttered pan. Or line the pan with waxed paper only, it's easier to remove from the pan and cut. Sprinkle coarse salt on top. Cool. Cut and eat. Betcha can't eat just one. Pan that is.
15  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Musical Ornament - with Tut on: December 13, 2015 04:10:51 PM
I recently posted music based ornaments here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=442142.0

Now the tut! These were quite easy and I really am pleased with the results. I've gotten very nice feedback from friends and craftsters.

You can probably make these ornaments from supplies on hand. Using different lace and embellishments will give them a different look. These would make lovely Valentines Day decorations with pink and red lace, 4th of July with red, white and blue bunting rosettes or a wonderful birthday card with someones favorite music or a page from a favorite book.

You will need:
- Sheet music, or scanned and printed copies - copy paper is fine. You could also use old novels, old advertisements, dictionary pages, old newspaper, or hand write a love letter. The music I used was very fragile, very old, so I scanned and printed copies.
- Decorative paper, wrapping paper, or make them with music on both sides. (If the paper is thin, add an additional sheet of copy paper between the layers.)
- Glue - I used spray glue and tacky glue
- Paper cutter or exacto knife
- Scissors
- Hole punch
- Embroidery floss, ribbon, or string
- Lace
- Embellishments buttons, medallions, beads, cut paper circles, painted bottle caps.

The ornaments are 4 inches in diameter. You can make any size, just  make sure that the paper strip is 2 times longer than the widthif you dont, it wont make a complete circle. trust me, I tested it, you can skimp by about inch,  but not much more.
Cut the sheet music to 4 x 8. I like the music running horizontally along the longer edge.

Cut a strip of decorative paper the same size. Glue the music to the decorative paper, music on one side, decorative print on the other. I used spray glue to get a good bond. Distress the edges if you like.

Score the paper across the short width at inch intervals. I used a scoring board, but you could fold by hand. Then fold the paper like a paper fan.

Locate the middle of the folded paper and punch holes through the center. Try to punch in the exact center so your ends meet up. Thread floss through the holes and tie securely.

Fan out the paper with each side making a half circle. Run a bead of tacky glue down the edges where they meet and clamp together until dry.

While the glue is drying, take a piece of lace and paint it with slightly diluted gold craft paint. Painting the lace makes it a bit stiffer, but that actually makes the ornament sturdier.  If the lace is not gathered, use about a 14 to 16 piece. If it is already gathered, use about 8.  Let the lace dry.

Once everything is dry, sew the ends of the lace together and gather into a rosette. You can attach to the center of the ornament by sewing through the paper. Then sew a button or other embellishment to the center. Add tacky glue under the lace or button if it seems a bit loose.

Punch a hole in the ornament at the edge where you glued two sides together and thread a length of floss through and tie. Lovely.
16  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Musical holiday ornaments - now with link to tut on: December 12, 2015 02:54:33 PM
I like to send my kids and grandkids ornaments for Christmas. We don't really exchange gifts anymore, I just send fudge, Christmas crack, chex mix, pajamas (family tradition, everyone needs new pjs for Christmas morning!) and an ornament. But the selections this year were just not making me happy. Too commercial or too ordinary. So I made a few. These are for the grownups in the family. And it's been so warm here in Connecticut, it's not even feeling like Christmas.

They are 4" in diameter, Chirstmas music glued to a stiffer patterned backing with 1/2 inch fan folds. I distressed the paper before and after folding. I painted some lace gold, gathered it and added button embellishments. Simple and sweet. See tut here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=442162.0

17  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Old Man Forest protecting the woods on: December 08, 2015 07:29:21 AM
In the recent November Dotee swap the theme was color. My partner mentioned earth tones...yum! So meet Old Man Forest.

His innards are a recycled toilet paper roll. His face is a prototype soft sculpture that didn't quite work for the original project. I painted his face and added red crystal eyes. He grew a beard of moss green/brown roving. I had this very strange brown/black fabric that I quilted and covered the base, leaving extra at the top and bottom to turn into roots and branches. The branches are wrapped around good old pipe cleaners.

Then a bit of embellishing with yarn, beads, mushrooms and more moss.

18  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Branching out - Spirit Dolls on: November 22, 2015 01:00:43 PM
More spirit dolls. They are growing, getting bigger. I made new faces to accommodate the larger size. A bit more earth mother. I use polymer clay and then finish with a glimmer finish made of clear shoe polish and cheap, dollar store eye shadow. I can mix and blend colors to get the look I want.

I donate them to a holiday fair to benefit our church and it's fun to watch how they reach out and grab someone. Each doll speaks to someone special.

19  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Zoologie Baby Quilt! Wild and Wonderful on: November 03, 2015 02:19:52 PM
I bought this Robert Kaufman Urban Zoologie jelly roll from Craftsy to make a baby quilt for my niece's baby. I simply fell in love with it. I added a red polka dot as the main fabric and went to town.

I kept it simple, creating 12 inch/3 strip blocks with the birds as the center block. The fabrics were so busy, I didn't want to make them any smaller or lose the wonderful birds. I did a simple "stitch in the ditch" around each square, then hand tied the center of each square with red floss. It's so warm and cozy I don't want to send it off.

I made some bibs and a crinkly block with the bits left over.

I has taken me 3 months, due to other fun things to do like vacation and work and the outdoors. But here is the finished product.

20  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Day of the Dead Skull Gourds on: November 03, 2015 05:56:40 AM
I grew birdhouse gourds one summer and have had several rattling around my basement for years. They take up space and roll all over! I have used them one by one for crafts, but the last 5 were just annoying me.

So, with a few layers of paint, a cup hook or three, and a saw (for the bowls) I transformed them into......Day of the Dead Skulls! Few people recognized them as gourds with the paint and hanging them upside down.

I sketched the faces in pencil, then painted the bright colors. The first two gourds I outlined in black paint, but with Halloween approaching, I used Sharpies on the last one and it worked just great! Much faster and easier. We will see what it looks like next year. I find that sharpies can bleed over time. For the full effect see http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=441356.0

Here's a shot of the naked gourds. Lovely with their mold spots and variations.

Here's one after several coats of paint. I should have done a base sealer coat of shellac, but I do like the slight discolorations coming through the white paint. Makes them a bit creepier.

These are the bowls after a coat or two of shellac. They show the lovely patterns the curing process left. The insides are also coated with several coats of shellac. Caution: Always wear a face mask when sawing or sanding with gourds. The dust is not good for you.

See http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=441356.0 for more on the costume.
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