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271  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Book Safes for Vices on: December 07, 2009 10:50:22 PM
So, I wanted to give The ManFlesh's super nice sister and brother-in-law gifts this Christmas, but I don't know them that well and they can buy anything they want, pretty much.  So I was poking around the internet and found for sale a book safe with a flask in it and thought that might do the trick for the brother-in-law.

For the humor of irony, it's a religious book, but not a sacred text. 

Being that the brother-in-law is named John, I was able to find a page with a section title referring to "John's Revelation" and used that to line the bottom of the cavity.

While searching around I came upon the idea of using a book safe to hide chocolate and that's perfect for The ManFlesh's sister who, like their mom, always has some chocolate around.  I wanted to be able to put more than a single bar in there, so it's a bigger book, an "Encyclopedia of Modern Art" of some sort and has this cool cover.

Two cavities in there cut to fit 2 sizes of chocolate bars. 

I made this one first and it was probably a mistake as the thickness of it was a real challenge and maybe with more experience I'd have been able to keep it neater.

These will be the first gifts we've ever given together and I feel honored he'd trust me to make something for his family that's from him, too.   Smiley
272  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / The Cats' Pajamas... on: December 07, 2009 09:39:42 PM
... and by "cats' pajamas" I mean "my mom's pajamas and The ManFlesh's pajamas." I got the idea to make The ManFlesh footie pajamas for Christmas this year after a conversation we had reminiscing about our footie pajama days.  I got lucky and found a pattern for adult footie pajamas: Kwik Sew 3713 (mens)!  After finding the pattern I decided my mom needed a pair, too (Kwik Sew 3712).  There's quite a bit of difference in the sizing on the patterns and there's quite a bit of difference in the sizing of The ManFlesh and my mom, so I got both, but the only other difference is the side the opening buttons/snaps on.

This time of year it's hard to get good lighting around here with the short days and it's REALLY COLD outside right now and I don't want to wear these outside, so... crappy pictures it is!  Sorry.  I hope to get action shots of these jammies' rightful owners on Christmas.

I'm taller and bigger than my mom, so these will be a bit more roomy on her.  They look okay on me, but are a bit less comfy-cozy than I'd like for such a garment.

There are side-seam pockets which I'm pretty sure Mom won't use and The ManFlesh will.

A close-up of the flannel, the ribbing and the cute snaps! 

I chose green binding because I thought white would get dingy and there wasn't a suitable blue (and it was a 35% off all fabric sale) and I think that the green is probably cuter than either of the others would have been anyway!

And a quick pic of The ManFlesh's which are actually purple-purple polar fleece with black ribbing and purple snaps. Purple is his favorite color and there wasn't a good match to the fleece, so I went with the safety of basic black.

He's taller than I so these are pretty baggy on me.  Also I left the elastic waist out of them, because I think he'll prefer the looser fit.

Both pairs have that no-slip fabric on the bottom of the feet, which are lined with the body fabric.  I only very rarely craft for myself, but I think I'll be making a pair of these for me in January if I can!  Thanks for looking!
273  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / He Spilled His Guts (costume accessory) on: November 01, 2009 03:35:17 PM
The ManFlesh and I went to a Zombie Scavenger hunt party last night and I zombified our costumes from last year.  For his, I made these guts.

The works:

Some details:

A finger from my decoration stash and an ear inside the guts to the right of the ringer.

Some of the maggots from my maggot-making spree (http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=324752.msg3749418#msg3749418).

The overall look:

Last years non-zombie version:
274  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Anyone ever sewn with emergency blanket material? on: October 26, 2009 04:26:24 PM
I want to try to sew a blanket for my cat using something like this.

He's 20 year old and will only avoid sitting on my lap ANY time I sit down if it's 100+ degrees outside (therefore 85-90 degrees inside) or if I can park him in a sunbeam.  However, it's October here in the Pacific Northwest and no where near 85 degrees in the house and the sunbeams are few and far between until spring.

(even while sewing he wants on that lap)

The emergency blanket stuff supposedly reflects 80-90% of your body heat back at you. According to the packaging, it's windproof, waterproof and will not crack, mildew or shrink.  I imagine that to mean I can wash and dry it and that sewing it to some fabric won't wreck it, but would love to hear if anyone has experience sewing with it.  Plus it's $1.99 for 84" x 54".  

Last thing: will it work if sandwiched between layers of fabric?  It's not especially cozy and it's crinkly sounding.   I'd like to make it as appealing as possible to the old guy and perhaps muffle the sound a bit.  He's deaf, but I'm not.  
275  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Grubbin' (UPDATED to include link to maggot project) on: October 17, 2009 05:48:55 PM
I decided I needed some maggots for my and The ManFlesh's Halloween costumes and decided to make them with stuff I had on hand.  Once I got started, it was hard to decide exactly how many maggots are enough maggots. Everyone knows you can't have too many maggots, but how many is enough?  I made 175, 173 made it through the 4-step process.  It sounds like a lot of maggots, but it doesn't look like all that many maggots.

These are those that aren't set aside for or integrated into the costumes are for snacking.

Yummmmmm, maggots! Little closer:

Baby beetles for baby humans. Delicious!

Contained in that jar are about 130 maggots.  I really like saying (and typing) "maggots."

MAGGOTS!  White air-dry clay, brown glaze to de-white them/accentuate the segments, paint for the mouth, clear glaze.  

Added maggots to The ManFlesh's Halloween costume!
276  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Domestic Violence Is Ludicrous. on: October 12, 2009 07:01:26 PM
I was really interested in completing this challenge when I saw it back in Sept, but I had a really hard time coming up with something to stitch for domestic violence awareness.  At the time I was also really interested in doing another stitch on the Beatrix Potter toile I'd worked on earlier this spring.  I couldn't see anything in the cute little critters dressed as country gentry that fit.  Then I noticed that these squirrels all running to get on rafts looked a bit like they were rallying against an enemy of some sort.  Hmmmm.  Shortly after I remembered I had some copyright-free images from Dover Publishing of the "War of the Worlds" alien invasion.  Hmmmmm.

My stitch is a metaphorical illustrating the inanity of the powerful attacking the less powerful.

Some details:

The alien invaders.

I used these 2 squirrels in dresses as nurses at the ready to help treat those wounded in battle. Something about the dresses seemed Florence Nightingale to me (which I have no idea if is historically accurate) and it also gave me a way to bring some color to that part of the piece.

I signed this hoping that I might be able to donate it to a fund raising event at some point.

The back to which I'll add some information if I donate the piece. It's stretched over wooden canvas stretchers and I wanted to hide the staples and knots and such.

The side is covered with some single-fold bias tape in black.

The title is stitched on the left side.

I was able to use only supplies I had on hand (part of my New Year's resolution for 2009). It's back stitch, satin stitch, split stitch and french knots.
277  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Admiral Cottonbotham Hates Cancer (NSFW-crass language and fuzzy bunnies) on: October 12, 2009 06:31:43 PM
It seems like all of a sudden I'm surrounded by friends or the family of friends getting cancer.  While no one that I know of in my circle (and my circle's circle) has breast cancer right now it is also true that none of them have the same form of cancer.  I feel hyper aware of all cancers these days and I've had my own "abnormal mammograms" in the last few years. This sums up my complex responses to cancers.


I used satin stitch, long-and-short stitch, french knots, stem stitch (my first time!), and some unnamed stitch.  I was also able to use mostly supplies I already had on hand (except the blue floss and the hoop for display) which includes the thrift store magenta of his sash... which bled and caused me some distress.

I posted a plea for help and advice and through the kind and patient answers I decided to try the bleach pen which I applied with a small paint brush.  It's not perfect as there are spots I couldn't get to, some bleaching of the floss and the black print on the fabric and some discoloration of the fabric.  Also, a mystery brown stain at the outer edge of the bleached area that would not come out with bleach.

I had plans to use light-colored sewing thread to add a bit of color to the fruit at the bottom of the piece, like I did on his ear, but after the whole bleeding incident and recovery (and the resulting imperfections) I couldn't bring myself to work on it any more than mounting it in the hoop.  I didn't finish off the back as planned either.  I was SO loving his little dandy jacket with all the metallic details, but now he's just sort of disappointing.

The fabric was another scene from the same Beatrix Potter toile I used on my Fuck Cancer piece this spring. http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=303150.0  This is what Admiral Cottonbotham looked like before.

278  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Gag Gift Commission (NSFW) on: October 09, 2009 07:37:26 PM
Several years ago a friend of mine's cat got ocular herpes which is in the same family as chicken pox, shingles and oral & genital herpes. This friend's sister gave him and the cat LOTS of grief about it, calling into question the cat's moral character.

You can see the scar on the lower right edge of her right eye.

Well, turns out this same sister contracted ocular herpes herself over the summer!  And my friend only found out through their mom.  Seems it's a very common virus, but turn about is fair play and he's been getting even on behalf of his cat.  Part of that is this birthday present which he commissioned from me.

He gave me the parameters of "penis shape, obvious chancre, and the phrase "I survived herpes. One day at a time."  I suggested making the "I" and eye.  Because she's not going to like it- like it and it's not the kind of statement one displays AND I don't like to think my work, even the simple, crude work, will be just thrown away, I made it into a lavender sachet.  That way she can throw it in a drawer and forget about it.
279  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Helped by craftsters and giving it back: Floss bleeding. on: October 04, 2009 05:01:53 PM
Friday I had a tragic incidence of floss bleeding and posted in this forum asking for help (http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=323166.0). Some AWESOME craftsters (you know who you are) offered patient advice and well wishes.  I decided to try the bleach pen solution and bought one on Saturday night, planning on trying to on Sunday or Monday.  Luckily, before I went at my project I remembered that my white cotton fabric had black print on it.  I did a test swatch with two methods offered up by the lovely and talented kittykill and then one I thought up after remembering about the print.

Test swatch with the offending vintage floss:

The test swatch after trying the 3 methods:

Left: Apply with bleach pen, using q-tip to pick up smudges. Cleaned up the magenta stain, but made short work of the black print and spread it a bit. The floss wicked it up and faded quite a bit.
Middle: Apply to moistened q-tip to dilute the bleach a little. Cleaned up the magenta stain, bleached the black, but not as much as full strength bleach. also less damage to the floss.
Right: Apply with paint brush to try to keep it on the white part of the fabric. Cleaned up the magenta stain and had the least effect on the black and the floss. Took a few more applications.

All methods would work just fine on all-white fabric. I chose the process on the right for the project and as it has less black print in the effected area, it worked pretty well. I'll "repair" the bleached black areas with black thread or floss. There were some areas that were too small to get to and they'll remain a bit pink. I'm still going to enter it in the Good Cause Challenge, because I'm pleased with how most of the rest of it turned out and until the tragedy of bleeding floss I enjoyed doing it.  After that, I'm not sure what I'll do with it as I wouldn't feel right donating or giving it as a gift.

When the date to post comes, I'll put a link in here.

Hope someone found this helpful or a good starting point to find an even better solution should you be struck.
280  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / HELP! I hope to fix where floss as bled onto the fabric! on: October 02, 2009 07:25:30 PM
ACK!  Help!  I wanted to get the visible pencil marks off my fabric after finishing (mostly) the embroidery I've been working on for the Good Cause Challenge and a bright magenta floss (a vintage skein I picked up at the thrift store, probably Coats & Clark) bled onto the white cotton fabric!  

It's really upset me as I've put hours into this and was pretty pleased with the results - AND I don't want to do it again and certainly won't have time even if I did.   Cry  I've never, ever had floss bleed regardless of brand or color, but I also haven't stitched that much. I do have a small collection of vintage pillowcases that I launder in cold water with all my other whites and have never had a problem, even though I bleach a smidge every time I wash my whites.

Anyway, my first instinct is to use one of those laundry detergent pens I've seen advertised.  Anyone have any suggestions or advice?
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