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61  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / 2013 Christmas in July Gallery - Opening party July 25th on: June 03, 2013 12:44:20 AM

So the official opening party is July 25th, with send outs July 5th - that way we can all open together hopefully.  In the mean time, feel free to post teasers and the like.  I know I personally am a big fan of teasers Cheesy

Original discussion post here


gotgrey ---> pjr107
pjr107 ---> gotgrey
Onyxnox ---> Thimbles71
Thimbles71 ---> quaggy
quaggy ---> LadybugsAndBumblebees
LadybugsAndBumblebees ---> teapotdnky
teapotdnky ---> P_E_S_T
P_E_S_T ---> Helena Puck
Helena Puck ---> KimmyLynne82
KimmyLynne82 ---> ThriftyLiving4U
ThriftyLiving4U ---> theBrokenButterfly
TheBrokenButterfly ---> babalina58
babalina58 ---> kbrison
kbrison ---> Onyxnox

Late with communication
Contact organizer immediately
Feedback given
62  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / 2013 Christmas in July Swap (S/U May 17-31, send outs July 5th) on: May 17, 2013 03:45:43 AM
2013 Christmas in July Swap

Swap Name: 2013 Christmas in July Swap
Craftster member who is organizing this swap:  Onyxnox
Sign-up date range:  May 17-31, 2013
Date to send item by: July 5, 2013

Limited to a certain number of people? (optional): 24

Restricted to people who all live in the same country? NO
If so, which country? No restrctions

Additional Age requirement?  16+

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 - only this one
- Will recruit a co-organizer or give all details to a Swap Moderator if this swap has more than 25 participants: NO - limiting to 24
- 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:

This is for those of us who are missing/anticipating Christmas, just cant wait for it to come in December, and need a taste of it NOW.

Swappers will be paired up and make each other a Christmas themed package to be sent out in July.  I will set up a Gallery after the send date for those nasty people who like to send teasers (like me), but we shall have an Official Opening Party online on July 25th.  For those who cannot help but open them prior - do so at your own risk - I will have your emails and send you cyber snowballs as punishment.  Yeah - you - those people who never could wait and opened their gifts (and probably their siblings too) early.  You know who you are - and Santa does too!

Decorating the home festively prior to opening packages is up to individual preference, but keep in mind that may make you a target of finger pointing, laughter, and possible lynching by those with less Christmas spirit.  Singing or humming of carols is optional - but again, may make you a target.  However, in keeping with the spirit of the season we are craving, please wrap your packages to give your receiver that special Ooooooooh I get to open a pretty present for me! feeling we all love.

I am also requiring that all participants communicate within the discussion thread, or gallery thread when it is open, once a week please.

Otherwise this is a 4 point swap where 1 point is a small item, 2 points is a medium item, and 3 points is a large item, and at least 2 points of which must be crafted, and at least one item must be medium or larger.

Large/medium/small are as defined in the Swap FAQ:

By Time
-Large = 3 or more hours
-Medium = 2 or more hours
-Small = 2 or less hours

By Size
-Large = A shawl, a shirt, a skirt, a set of jewelry with four to five items, a purse
-Medium = one single necklace or bracelet, a scarf
-Small = Earrings, stickers, wallets, pouches, bookmarks

By Price
-Large = $30 or more
-Medium = $10-$30 dollars
-Small = $10 or less

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


Name of swap - 2013 Christmas in July 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: (YES/NO)


Do you have a Wist, Pinterest, or some other link for swap stalking?

Do you have any allergies?

Do you have any favourites (colours, scents, styles, finishes, themes, etc)?

Do you have any aversions/dislikes (colours, scents, styles, themes, etc)?

List your top 5 Christmas in July wants:
What kind of crafting do you do/want to do for this swap?

Are you interested in swapping extras or not? (it is not a requirement of this swap)

Anything else you would like your partner to know?


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

63  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 86 ENTRIES / Dandy dandelions - Month of Odd Holidays swap on: May 03, 2013 04:14:59 AM
I made this for a recent MOH swap for crazyda79.  It's a wee little hoop and not as impressive as some of the entries I have seen, but I am rather proud of it. 

I had a small oval hoop, which I woodburned to decorate on the outside and added the swap information on the inside.  I took a mottled blue cotton, which I felt looked a bit like a summer sky with wispy clouds, drew the dandelion head and seeds on, and used green a few browns, grays, and ecru thread to embroider it.  I used some layers of white felt to pad it a bit before finishing the back with purple felt.

64  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Notecards/postcards/little cards swap? on: April 21, 2013 09:13:08 PM
I am feeling swapping urges and have no swap right now.

But I was wondering if anyone else is interested in a set for a swap of note cards or something - I think we have had these in the past.  I was thinking of little sets of cards that someone could use for swaps, or to add a little note to small gifts or something.
65  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Would anyone kill me for talking about Christmas now? on: April 21, 2013 09:09:12 PM
OK - the swap is up!

2013 Christmas in July Swap is ON!  Sign ups here

I was thinking of advent calenders last year, but when I was thinking of a swap for it, it was too late in the year last year to make it happen.

I am thinking about it again - specifically, I was thinking of either a swap for a whole advent calender, with a long swap period so that people could make a really cool one for each other, and have it sent it out late summer/fall so that people get it in plenty of time to fill it for the holidays.

Or have a series where we craft parts of one and send to each other to make up a total of one calender (for example, I was thinking that if there wasn't a swap I was going to make altered tins and turn my fridge into an advent calender).

Or we could swap advent calender fillers for those who have them already, or want to make their own calender.

Please don't kill me for bringing up Christmas in April!

We could also do a Christmas in July or something too (again - don't kill!!!!)
66  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Decorate Me Swap - accessories/jewelry swap? on: April 05, 2013 07:26:37 AM
Anyone interested in doing this kind of swap - I was thinking something quick, like everyone making their parner one medium item, no extras unless both partners agree to it amongst themselves.  I was thinking we could do things like earrings, broaches, painted or embroidered scarves, bracelets, pendants, necklaces, hairpins or clips, ties, rings, ID tags for work, etc.  

We could do it like the pendant swap where people could choose to swap to and receive from multiple partners, or just make it a simple one partner one - but I think shipping should be low as the items would be small or light.

Anyone interested?
67  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 85 ENTRIES / Etched metal cover mini book charm/pendents on: April 04, 2013 04:15:34 PM
I have been making mini books in various forms for the past year, and this is probably one of my favourites.  When I posted the first edition of this, some Craftster members expressed an interest in a tutorial, so I have been working on one for a bit.  This was going to be posted on my blog, when this challenge came up, so I am going to post it here instead, as my first ever challenge entry.

I hope it makes sense, and you all like it - but warning, it is seriously picture ZAFTIG.

This tute was made when I made my Rapunzel minibook, for the Month of Odd Holidays swap recently.

Here is the first metal covered one I made recently, in a smaller size for a pendant.

For the metal etched cover and hinges
  • sheet copper or brass, 22-24 gauge
    pure copper or brass decorative hinges
    metal cutters/shears
    fine steel wool, or fine grit sand paper
    metal file
    rubbing alcohol
    Ferric chloride acid
    Sharpie marker, black
    Staz On or Ranger Archival ink, black
    or toner printed images on PnP paper, or presentation/brochure paper
    heat tool with transfer point (if using the toner printed images)
    silicone sheet (like for lining cookie sheets for baking)
    duct tape
    cotton pads, paper towels, scrap cotton fabric, newspaper
    disposable gloves
    shallow plastic trays (like a dollar store food container)
    baking soda
    patina solution
    Renaissance Wax
    Safety glasses
    nylon hammer
    steel block

This can be pretty messy, and you are dealing with sharp metal bits, and acid, so wear gloves, safety glasses, and protect your work surface with paper or plastic bags.

Take your sheet metal and measure out the size of your covers with the ruler, marking with the Sharpie, and cut out at least two with the metal shears.

Cut wings of the decorative hinge off of the hinge portion with the shears (the book will be too thick to effectively use this hinge).

Cutting the metal may cause a but of curving/distortion of the metal, so flatten it out gently, using the nylon hammer on the steel block.

Using the shears, snip off the corners, and blunt down any sharp edges, and burrs with the metal file.

Using the steel wool, or fine sandpaper (I prefer the steel wool), smooth out the edges further, and finely sand the surfaces to remove the finish, and give it slight tooth for the image to adhere to.

Here you can see the difference between a sanded piece (left) and the prefinished brass (right).

Soak a cotton pad with alcohol and clean the metal pieces to remove finger prints and any debris, allow to dry

There are many ways to transfer an image onto the metal for etching.  You can print toner images onto presentation/brochure paper, or PnP paper (for making etched circuit boards), and apply them with heat to the metal, and remove the backing paper (I use the silicone cooking sheet, and my bench block to protect my work surface when I do this).  The tower image on the cover of the book was an illustration for Rapunzel by A. H. Watson.  I copied, and re-sized the image onto PnP paper, and heat transferred it onto the metal as per the instructions.  Remember that when you print and then apply, that the image should be printed in the reverse of what you want the end result to be.  The hinges were stamped, and the back cover was a combination of Sharpie marker drawing, PnP transfer of the words, and stampings.  Whatever is covered by ink/toner will be unetched.  Be careful not to handle the surface of the piece when applying the image, as your finger prints could prevent a good transfer or image stamping.

To protect the metal on the edges and the back from being accidentally etched, cover with a layer of Sharpie marker

Place a long piece of duct tape (long enough to dip the middle into the bottom of the tray without touching it, and overhang your plastic tray edges), and lay it on your work surface, sticky side up.  Place the metal pieces on the middle of the strip of tape, image sides up.

Carefully pour a shallow layer of acid into a plastic tray.  Lift the duct tape up by the short edges, invert, and gently dip into the tray, so that the metal pieces are all submerged in the acid, but not touching the bottom of the tray.  Adhere the edges of the tape to the tray edge to hold in place.  Allow to sit in the solution until the pieces are etched to your satisfaction.  A new solution can etch in about 30 minutes.  The acid can be reused, but used solution will take longer to etch the metal.

In another tray, place a thick layer of baking soda.  In another tray, a solution of water and baking soda.  I eyeball this, but the solution has enough baking soda that the soda no longer dissolves.  I just want something that will help neutralize the acid and clean the metal a bit.

After the etch is as deep as you want it (you can feel with gloved fingers, and see it as well), gently remove the pieces from the acid, remove from the tape backing, and place them into the baking soda.  This will neutralize the acid (you will see bubbling when this happens).

Then dip it into the water/baking soda solution and use your fingers to rub the solution gently on the piece to neutralize further and clean off some of the toner/ink.

This will not remove all the ink/toner, so take a cotton pad soaked with acetone, and clean the metal pieces with this.

It does a great job removing any remaining black off the metal, especially in nooks and crannies

Here are your freshly etched, and cleaned, metal pieces

This is all well and good, but they don't seem all that impressive, right?  They look much better with some patina to highlight the etching.  I prefer using a patina solution to age the metal.  You could also use paint, or glazes like Vintaj glazes, or even a layers of ink - just experiment to see what you like.

Anyways, I like Jax, and would pour a small amount into a container, and immerse my pieces in it until they become dark.

Gently sand off some of the patina to highlight the etched pieces until you are satisfied with the appearance.

Rub on some Renaissance Wax all over the surfaces of the metal pieces to preserve and seal the patina.  After letting it sit a couple of minutes, buff gently with a cotton cloth.  It helps to preserve, and also has a nice sheen as well.

For the embossed leather spine

(I took this off a tute I made for embossing leather on my blog)

  • embossing and die cutting machine and platform (like a Cuttlebug, or Big Shot)
    embossing folder
    water in a mister
    leather pieces (not suede)
    small eyelets
    eyelet setting tool
    steel block
    metal pliers
    metal jump rings
    punches for metal/leather
    rivet setting tool or rivetting hammer
    rivets, and decorative brads

Cut a small piece of leather and lightly spritz a light amount of water on the raw side. 

Smooth the water out to evenly moisten the leather piece

Place the leather in between an embossing folder

Make a sandwich with the embossing machine platforms, as directed by the manufacturer of your particular embossing/diecutting machine.  Run it through the machine until the leather is sandwiched in between the rollers of the machine. 

Leave it there for several hours.  I left it while I slept.  Then remove from the machine, and embossing folder.

The leather will be deeply embossed, but still damp.  Allow to dry.

Cut a small piece of leather slightly longer than the length of the book covers, wide enough to allow for the thickness of your pages, and overlapping the front and back covers, with enough space in the middle to set an eyelet.  You may need to lay out your cover pieces with the leather to figure this out.

To make the cover

Using a small metal punch (I used a 1.8mm one), punch two holes through the hinge pieces where you want to set the rivets.  Lay out your pieces of leather and metal to the configuration of the book, as you want it.  I sandwich the leather between the metal pieces for greater hold/security. 

Use a fine tip sharpie, or light coloured marker to mark the holes of the hinge piece on the leather, so you can punch holes to correspond through the leather.  Repeat with the leather pieces and the cover.  Note, if you have a longer decorative hinge, like on the second book, you may want to gently bend the hinge pieces with pliers for a closer fit to the actual metal cover, and then mark and punch the aligning holes in the leather and covers - it just looks nicer.

Now you should have holes that align through all three pieces.

Rivet the pieces together

If you find that the ends of the leather are a bit too loose and messy looking, especially if the hinge piece doesn't cover the corners, then punch small holes in the corners of the leather, through the cover underneath, and place more rivets or brads through them to hold the corners down.  I like a the brads for something a bit different from the rivets.

Punch a hole in the centre, approximately an eighth of an inch from the top of the piece of leather, and set an eyelet in that hole.  Using the pliers, open a jumpring and run it through the eyelet, and close it.

To make the pages for the book

  • Cardstock, decorative paper
    paper scissors
    exacto blade
    bone folder
    scoring board
    decorative stamps - or whatever you want to decorate the pages with
    fine sharp needle
    fine thread
    binder clamps
    glue (my go to here is Beacon 527 - but you probably can use craft glue)

Measure paper so that it is lightly smaller than the height of the covers, and slightly smaller than double the width of the covers.  Cut several pieces.  Don't worry about being super precise at this point, as you may need to trim them later.

Using the scoring board and bone folder, score down the centre of each page

Decorate the pages at will - here I stamped them and hand-wrote on them.  You could print directly on the pages before cutting them, or use toner transfer images, etc.  Decoupaged images can become tacky though and the pages sometimes can stick together.  Also keep in mind that you may need to trim the edges of the pages later, so try to keep the image centred on the pages.

The second set of pages were done with toner transferred images, which were printed with a laser printer.

cut another piece of cardstock to be the inside lining cover of the book.  Wrap that around the pages.  You will ultimately want it to be slightly larger than the finished inside pages, but slightly smaller than the outer cover.

Fold the inside pages together in the order you want them, and use the needle and thread to hand bind them together.  There are many sites on the internet that give good instructions on how to sew journals and books that are helpful with this.  I used fine Nymo, a beading thread, that was treated with Thread Heaven to help keep it slick and prevent fraying, and a fine beading needle - I have lots of both.

After they are sewn together, fit in the inside cover, and the entire lot of cardstock pages and cover inside the metal cover, and adjust the cardstock pieces, and trim to fit.  Give the pages a finished look by inking the edges.

I swear to you, we are almost done!

Now glue your inside pages to the inside of the cardstock cover with a thin layer of glue.  Then apply a thin layer of glue to the outside of the cardstock cover, but not the spine, and attach that to the inside of the metal covers.  Clamp with binder clamps to to set and dry.

Yes, it is labour intensive, with lots of little steps - but the end result is uber-cute.  At least I think so.

I hope that those of you who were interested in making these find this helpful, and the rest of you now want to to try it.  Most of all, I hope that these instructions are actually helpful - please let me know if anything needs clarification!
68  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Madness and Curiosity and what they have wrought... on: March 12, 2013 01:13:38 AM

I have had a strong desire to make something Alice in Wonderland related for awhile now, and there has been no Alice swaps, so I finally made a couple of things for myself.

I have been playing with different methods of image transfer for etching, and this was the newest experiment.  Using brochure/glossy presentation paper instead of the much more expensive toner transfer sheets for circuit board etching, which I mentioned here on my blog.  It does work and I am much happier spending $17 for 250 pieces of paper, rather than $25 for 10. 

Anyways, from my experimentation, came these two brass plaques, which I wanted to make, with leather thongs, into wrap bracelets.  I had some failures, but primarily because my current acid bath is getting weaker from being used so much, and the etch was not as deep as I wanted, so I had to play with the time an item is left in the bath.  I etched little charms for them as well, but they are larger than I think they should be, especially as they were an afterthought, using some circles I had punched for another project.  They were made with stamped images, so I think I will play with some images done with the brochure paper image transfer technique instead. 

The leather thong is cut triple the circumference of my wrist, and I used copper findings.  I gently curved the brass plaques to fit more comfortably.  To hightlight the lettering, I patinaed the plaques, then sanded, and buffed with Renaissance Wax.

I love Alice in Wonderland, and both these quotes seem to fit my life (at least my work life) far to well sometimes.  I am liking them however and am glad to make a little something for myself, at least as a prototype.  Working on refining some details.

I have some more details of what I did on my blog.

More on Madness

More on Curiosity
69  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / OK, 'fess up - is it a fellow Crafster doing this? Yarn bombing in the news... on: March 04, 2013 07:07:36 PM
I saw this in the paper tonight on the front page of one of the sections in the paper, with a nice big pic of the cute little crocheted hearts.  Looks like someone is leaving a little bit of crocheted love in their neighbourhood.  Makes me think of the art abandonment swap we did last year, and I know at least one other member of that swap lives in the same city as me, and possibly in that area...  I know that there are several Craftsters who live in the same city too - so 'fess up!  I'm dying to know!

70  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Kofi's cuff - a Christmas present for my niece on: January 10, 2013 07:56:00 PM
I had this idea for a cuff for our niece for Christmas and it was one of the last items I made, finishing it maybe a day or two before Christmas.  DH did not appreciate the setting of the rivets in the middle of the night  Grin

I had a different design in mind, with textured washers, but the device I was using to punch the holes for the rivets seized, so I had to come up with an alternative, and ended up punch out some smaller circles and etching them to fill out the pattern.

I made a hand cut brass heart and etched it, and made that the focal of the bracelet.  I riveted the different components onto a piece of leather I cut into a 1 and a half inch wide cuff, and added two sets of snaps on as a closure.  I waited so long to make it because I needed to know her wrist size, but she was out of town at the time, so I made it so that it could fit two size choices.  I really hope she liked it.

Here is a bit more posted about it on my blog, with some more pics.

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