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171  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Who Knew The Founding Fathers Were SO HOT!? Patriotic Beefcake Pot Holders on: June 16, 2013 06:11:45 PM
When I found this "new" patriotic pin-up print, I KNEW it was time for some new Hot Dishes!

As if vampire hunting didn't make Abe Lincoln almost too hot.

Who's your country's daddy?  (for those in the US, of course)  George Washington!

Let's not forget the fabled fife and drum corps keeping the beat to my pounding heart. 


172  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Altered Paper Towel Tubes: Independence Day Rocket Antlers! Srsly. on: June 16, 2013 05:45:02 PM
The ManFlesh got me this magnificent ceramic deer head that is sort of faux taxidermy style & instead of antlers has holes so you can make your own!  I call her Mavis.  Yes, her.

I don't normally decorate for Independence Day, but this year we're having house guests (because we moved a bit far from "home" last fall), it was time for a change, and I was inspired by the things I'd been seeing in my pinterest feed.  You know how that goes.

Lately I've been getting even more satisfaction from when I can complete a project using only items from my stashes.  I don't even have much of a paper stash, but I was able to cobble together enough various patterns in close-enough color schemes to pull this off.

I used skewers from the kitchen drawer and paper towel tubes from the fire-started bin along with a white imitation cork from the wine cork stash, too.

I've already started covering some toilet paper tubes to make a small string of firecrackers to hang somewhere, too! 

173  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Dog Cameo Throw Pillows. You know, like you do. on: June 02, 2013 03:28:30 PM
Several months ago we had an epiphany to move an "extra" couch into our bedroom in hopes of luring one or more of our Beastie Grrrlz onto it and off our our bed.  It worked!  With one.  So when we got to re-decorate our master bedroom at our new place, it was time to make new throw pillows for Betty's couch!

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do and I had the lattice print, but wasn't feeling big lattice rectangles here.  Hmmmm.  Then I got the idea to do applique cameo-style silhouettes of my girlies!

I used a regular ol' gimp braid to cover the seam where the oval was appliqued to the pillow front and I covered the seam the gimp made with a covered button I made using the lattice material.  (Delia on the left, Betty on the right)

More pics of the process and recon pillow here: http://suddenlytaxidermy.blogspot.com/2013/04/purple-bedroom-majesty.html
And the whole bedroom redec in progress: http://suddenlytaxidermy.blogspot.com/2013/04/purple-bedroom-majesty.html
174  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Party Planning / Mid-May Montana Mountain Mayhem: The ManFlesh Celebrates 40! Many pics & words on: May 22, 2013 10:42:25 AM
The long story of Mid-May Montana Mountain Madness, a.k.a MV (prounounced "Em Five")

Last autumn we moved from Portland, Oregon where I'd been most of my life and The ManFlesh has been since his mid teens (we're middle-aged now) to outside a small town in Montana.  He turned 40 this spring and we only know a couple people here, so to properly celebrate we needed "The Dudes" to come out for a visit, so I went about making a big production out of it to help tempt them.  And, get this, it worked.  YES!  

We had lived in the city and now we live in the woods on the mountains, so we definitely had to go with a mountain man theme.  I found this PERFECT image via Fab, wished we could have afforded to buy everyone t-shirt (we originally were expecting 7 guests, 5 men, 2 women +us), but we could not so I lifted the image, downloaded a log font and came up with these invitations.  Of course, they'd all be invited via text (like guys do), but we thought a cool looking paper invitation would be a better lure.

I wanted to do favors in a Mountain Man theme, but they needed to be Dude-friendly, fun/funny, inexpensive & moderately quick to make 9 to 11 of each (2 local friends might be joining or initial number of 9 including us).  I reached out to the craftster community via this post with my original ideas and asking for others: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=421340.0#axzz2U236Wumi

What I finally came up with:
Hats with detachable mountain man beards
Beer holsters
Navel Lint brushes (for the guys)
Leather keychains (for the ladies)
All in galvanized buckets (well, "cachepots" from Ikea)
    labeled with magnets using another image borrowed from the same artist as the t-shirts

First I made the hats!  I bought both black and brown costume fur for the beards and camouflage printed polar fleece for the hats.  I had shopped for a pattern all over and not found one with as much contour as I wanted, so I turned a couple of our store-bought hats inside out and made a pattern based on those.  I can see where mine could use some fine-tuning if I keep making them, but they're just fine for mountain man themed favors.  the ladies' beards had hot pink bows!

We ended up with 3 out-of-town guests having to cancel (both ladies and one guy) and our local friends didn't attend any of the festivities at the house, so the much anticipated group shot of the beard hats is just the 5 guys. I hope one of them has a shot of me in mine with the pink bow.  

I'm happy to say that the dudes wore the hats for many activities as it got cool here for their weekend and was told that "the hats saved [them]" on their rafting trip, especially the half-hour of rain/hail they endured on the river.

The construction of the hats left me with a bunch of camo fleece scraps in diamond and triangle shapes.  Once I saw those triangles, I knew I had to make a bunting for the front deck!  So I cut most of the diamonds in half to make more triangles, dug up some plain ol' string and stitched the fleece to the string.

I'm not entirely sure The Dudes noticed the bunting or realized it was an MV specific decoration, but The ManFlesh did and was appropriately appreciative and impressed.  Smiley

Next I whipped up these navel lint brushes based on one I picked up at a holiday bazaar for The ManFlesh.  They're just chenille stems glued into beads. I didn't find plain wood beads that were suitable (I didn't bother going to a bead store), but I did find these fake (and fake-looking) turquoise and bone beads which I thought were western/pioneer/mountain man enough.

The ladies cancelled before I made the key chains, so they didn't happen.  I do have the hardware, though, and a bag of cool leather scraps from a friend who designs furniture for an East Coast furniture company, so...

Next up, beer holsters!  I had originally thought I'd get canteens and make faux suede, fringed covers and had started the search for canteens which was proving difficult to get nine to eleven the same at a good price and preferably not plastic.  Then I happened upon a similar holster in leather, did a bunch of online searching and combined the features of several different sources to make mine... in vinyl to make it both economical and easy to work with.  Added bonus, they could go in the hot tub!  Alas, they did not.

When I presented The ManFlesh with the idea he like it, but said, "what about cocktails?"  Good point, The ManFlesh, good point.  So I saved and cleaned beer bottles, cleaned off the labels, etched everyone's initials into them.  It turned out that with our original cast of characters there were multiple people with the same first initials (2-Js, 2-Ms and 2-Gs).  Luckily, one of the Js goes by JP, so I just did double initials for him.  Another bit of luck was that one each of the Ms and the Gs were male and female, so I just did different fonts for the guys and the ladies.  They all took their bottles with them, so maybe they'll use them for cocktails or even for vases.  You know how dudes are about vases.

You can see where I added a stopper for the bottles for times when one might need to engage in some cornhole or hiking during the consumption of the beverage, but I bought too-delicate of chain and those ended up failing.  The design of the holster needs some work, too, as they are too loose to properly hold bottles if moving around much at all.  The pre-made ones I'd based my designs on held both cans and bottles and mine fit both on the table, but were loose with bottle when worn.  I am determined to make a functioning holster, though!  I purchased some leather crafting tools to make these, so I will continue with prototypes.  There is talk of "MV II Snow Boogaloo," so I can give The Dudes improved models then.

For labels, it seemed appropriate to take advantage of the ferrous quality of the buckets, so I printed them up on card stock and attached a magnet with 2-sided tape.  I borrowed the image, made it a suitable dpi for printing, then added the speech balloon and name using the same fonts for the dudes and ladies as I used on the bottles.  The bear shouting the name crack both The ManFlesh and me right up.  I wasn't expecting The Dudes to consider the labels as favors, but they did and took them home with them!  I bet a few will even stick 'em on their fridges.  I almost wish I'd used better magnets.


Aside from favors and bunting there were a few other party-details:

Of course, or Beastie Grrrlz are good hostesses and members of our crew, so they got camouflage Collar Cozies with safety orange top stitching for the event!

I made Mavis, a ceramic deer head with holes for improvising antlers that is hanging in our living room, a special safety-orange fleece hat and let her wear the prototype beard.

The ManFlesh and I worked together on a cornhole set.

He put it together which was extra cool since woodworking is not one of his hobbies and I have more experience with that kind of thing.  I filled and painted the tops using paint we had on hand ( black & purple, his favorite color), we were able to use handles we'd taken off a screen door at our new house: I just sanded them, then sprayed them with rust inhibitor and spray paint we had (also in purple and black).  And how serendipitous that I had appropriate fabrics in my stash to make the cornbags!  We got lucky and there is just enough room in our shop to set up the game when it is not sunny or warm outside!  It's just a few feet shy of the regulation 27 feet (d'oh!).  We used the directions from ThisOldHouse.com for the boards and some official cornhole site for the bag measurements.  

When we were expecting to host 7 guests + the 2 of us, I realized the towel situation around here was inadequate.  I found a few on sale, but of course I wanted some that would go with our future bathroom decor (I haven't gotten to that bathroom yet) which meant differentiating who's towel was who's could be an issue and Despite what you may have heard, TheMistressT is not a gal who likes to share her towel with just any dude.  So I got the bright idea to make tags!

I made big initials using MSWord and printed them out as patterns that I transferred on to vinyl scraps I had on hand.  Again, multiple people with the same initials, but different sexes so men got "elephant hide" and ladies got "bronze".  Of course, with our final headcount it mattered less and made a less impressive photo with the tags installed on the stack of towels.  I think I have a better solution for our future guest/towel situations, but that will be a while before it's implemented.  It will also be non-specific to the names of the guest and therefore will work no matter who visits.

To help minimize hostess and hosting duties, I went ahead and made labels for the bathroom cabinets so The Dudes would know where to find TP.  No one claimed to have been jilted on the TP, but no one replaced empty rolls or staged a fresh roll when the current one was almost empty, either.  So I can't say if the signs worked or not.  Dudes. [shakes head]  The arrow version is the one as seen while seated.  Ahem.

And since this is probably as close to a house warming party that we'll have, I did a thing that I did for my last house warming party that people seemed to enjoy and also may have saved some embarrassment as to commentary about "when are you going to change that?" if we'd already changed it.  Wink  I printed up some before pics and taped them up so they could see the work we've been doing.

And finally, it seems there are 2 kind of guests to our place; those that easily find it and those that don't.  It's really not hard, but I think that if you're not used to Forest Service- and private, unpaved, mountain roads it may be a bit confusing as to which is a road and which is a long driveway, etc.  So I put up a few signs at key "intersections" to guide them the last half-mile.

There will be many more photos of the festivities in a few days on my blog and probably a few more detailed how-dids of the handmade projects over the next couple of weeks.

PS  Hoo boy. I think I could have made 100 navel lint brushes in the time it took me to do this post!  
175  COOKING / Dessert / Ice Cream Cake for the Elderly with a Sense of Humor on: May 15, 2013 05:11:32 PM
I saw something similar on pinterest and decided to make an ice cream cake version for TheManFlesh's 40th birthday!

It's a box mix white cake with homemade coconut ice cream.  It's a Cuisinart ice cream maker and I used their basic vanilla recipe but used 1.5 tsp coconut extract and .5 tsp vanilla and added shredded coconut for the last few minutes of the churning.

I didn't find that colored gel frosting at the store and was under quite a time crunch, so I used some blue sprinkles I had on hand for the toilet bowl's water.  The time crunch was also why I didn't have time to melt the chocolate to make more realistic turds.  Maybe that's for the best.   Shocked 

The frosting is a lime-flavored whipped cream frosting that I found on pinterest and love (here it is slightly modified):
1.5 cups of powdered sugar whipped with 1 cup of heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form.  Then add the juice of 1.5 limes and whip until desired texture.

The miracles of old time-y fonts and Photoshop made the signs.

If I had allowed more time I would have liked to have come up with some kind of flush handle to give it that final touch.
176  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Bigfoot Slept Here: A Collaboration In Throw Pillow Form on: May 06, 2013 09:30:39 AM
My fantastic friend, Pam, stitched up this Bigfoot Lives Here cross stitch for me!  You may recognize it from her post:

We both thought that I'd frame it and hang it, but then I got the idea to make it a pillow!  She approved and I went to it.

As you can see, I framed it (note the mitered corners) AND pillowed it!  POW!  It is just right for my guest room bed and I think having it on the bed highlights her amazing stitching skills way more than if it were hung on the wall with our other art.

I lined the front with white muslin to keep the cross stitch looking bright and backed with the same faux bois print that I used to make the "frame

177  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / It's Curtains For You, Guest Room! Well, Shades Anyway. on: April 21, 2013 02:28:46 PM
I finally made shades for the guest room windows!  I bought the fabric at Ikea before we moved and had gotten the blackout liner for free from a hotel's remodel where I worked (on the bathtub refinishing crew of two). 

This door with a half-light goes to a second floor balcony that faces SE, so it gets sun first thing in the morning and all day.

This window is partly over the bed and faces NE so gets the sun first thing in the morning, too.

Using this method to open the shades kept me from having to have more  hardware and cording on the door where it would be noisy and probably cumbersome. 

This is some wild fabric for an adult space, but we decided to embrace the ridiculous in the guest room.  Now that lampshade I recovered has some company. http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=422208.0#axzz2R8SCk9ad

A few more details and photos are on my blog: http://suddenlytaxidermy.blogspot.com/2013/04/its-curtains-for-you-guest-room.html
178  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Goodbye Bachelor Duvet Set, Hello Grown-up Bedroom on: April 18, 2013 07:10:29 PM
I spent two (2) weeks redecorating the master bedroom at our new-to-us house in rural Montana.  It's ain't rural in there anymore, I tell ya'.  

Eight+ yards of this Waverly print, about 500 inches of homemade bias strip, 7 snaps, about a spool of thread, and part of a king sheet set went into this as well as about 16-18 hours of cutting, pressing, and sewing (not including shopping, pre-washing and fretting times).

The bias strip is 1.5" wide, folded in half and pressed.  I sewed it into the seams on top of the duvet that are necessary to get a 54" wide fabric to cover a king-sized bed and into the edge seams of both the duvet and the shames.

I did many projects in the room, including making a "wood" beam out of a drywall covered beam:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=422815.0#axzz2Qs53EG9q

The rest of the details and photos are on my blog: http://suddenlytaxidermy.blogspot.com/2013/04/purple-bedroom-majesty.html

179  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Faux Bois: This Time It's Holding Up The Roof on: April 18, 2013 06:56:33 PM
I made this rough-sawn, "wood" beam!

I spent two (2) weeks redecorating our bedroom from top to almost bottom.  One of my favorite project results from that monster project was creating and implementing a faux finish for the drywall covered beam that ran though the room.  

I used supplies & tools from my decorative painter days that I moved with us to Montana and a test quart of paint to make up a rough-sawn faux bois to match the actual exposed wood beam in our living and dining room.  As you can see, I also repainted the ceiling a light, warm grey and the walls a deep, dark purple.

I'll be posting about the duvet set I sewed in a few minutes and will try to remember to come back and post a link in this spot.  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=422817.0#axzz2Qs5bxdyl

The full details of the redecoration of our bedroom are also on my blog: http://suddenlytaxidermy.blogspot.com/2013/04/purple-bedroom-majesty.html
180  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Ridiculous Life-of-the-Party Lampshade Redo on: April 01, 2013 08:45:40 PM

My guest room's bedside lampshade had gotten kind of gross, but my guest room bedside lamp is a sort of odd shape and yet the perfect size for the wee bedside table in there.  I was poking around on pinterest and saw a burlap covered shade, realized I had some fun green burlap and decided this would save my lampshade and myself from shame.

I also had some crazy dingle ball trim in my stash and decided that already-paid-for trumped tasteful, so I just went ahead and added it.  I consulted The ManFlesh and we agreed that life is too short to not be ridiculous and that the result looks like the lamp went to a wildly fun office party and came home with a lampshade on its, uh, head.

Here it is before the trim:

Here it is when it was gross:

I did a step-by-step-that-is-missing-photos-of-some-steps on my blog if you're curious about more details:

PS When I look at the preview of this post it has changed some of my words like an auto-correct would.  Is this an April Fool's joke?
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