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31  UNITED STATES / Montana / Missoula/Bitterroot Craftsters? Are you there? on: October 20, 2013 12:05:14 PM
Hiya!  I've been on craftster for ages, but only in Montana for just over a year. The ManFlesh and I moved here from Portland, Oregon in the autumn of 2012.  We're south of Missoula living in the country; our property borders the National Forest, not a lot of neighbors, not working in the area yet, etc.  We're both moderately introverted so we haven't met a lot of folks.  I would love to meet some creative types, preferably left-leaning & aged 30+, but that's not really a requirement.  I prefer a craft group that's more a bring what you're working on style to the a lesson type.  Anyone?

This shot is from The ManFlesh's 40th Birthday Celebration where his main dudes came out to celebrate for a long weekend. I posted about it here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=423832.0#axzz2iI34eknf

And blogged about it here: http://suddenlytaxidermy.blogspot.com/2013/05/mid-may-montana-mountain-mayhem.html

If you look at my projects here or follow those links to the party info, you will see that fun(ny) and function are my crafting proclivites.  Wink 
32  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / Dog Gate Cozy. Yes, You Read That Correctly (4 pics) on: October 08, 2013 03:30:12 PM

Because we're having to keep our two dogs separated for a bit, we bought and installed a "baby" gate at the top of our stairs so each dog could have a little space to roam around in securely.  But it turns out that it's best if they don't get a chance to stare each other down.  So for a few weeks we had this old blanket thrown over it. It was both awkward to use and messy looking.

I dug around in my stash and found some suitable upholstery material. I don't love it, but I think it works both aesthetically and practically (it's the same colors are as our brindle-y Beastie Grrrlz.

It's essentially a long rectangle, hemmed on all four sides that drapes over the gate so that both sides look finished.  It's secured by four 4" strips of hook & loop tape sewn on the side seams just under the top rail and just over the bottom rail (shown).

This photo shows the material colors the closest to how they look real life, even though you can barely see the hook & loop.  Heck, you can barely see it in real life!

33  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Mountain Bone Yard on: October 07, 2013 03:01:29 PM

I had 5 rigid foam head stones that I made 13 years ago before the interwebs was quite so wonderfully deep and wide and before I had as much experience with making.  I"ve seen so many cool hand-crafted headstones and tutorials on making them that I decided to recon mine.  Here is a before shot with the standard dog photobomb.

I looked at lots of tutes all over the interwebs and kind of combined techniques to go with the tools and supplies I had on hand and what seemed to work for me.  And here are two of the five.

I tried to keep them old and creepy looking, but also with a touch of humor.  That combo is kind of my Halloween M.O.

FYI: when I saw the "noir" setting on The ManFlesh's iPhone camera that came with the iOS7 update, I knew I wanted to take pics of my bone yard with it, so I set aside the 3-4 hours to download and install just for that feature alone.

Finally, a pic w/o filters. We we live in the mountains and in the forest and for the most part our 5 acres slant a little. This is a mostly flat spat that the former owners had placed the birdbath in and had some flower beds bordering. We couldn't quite figure out why until we realized that it's a good spot to see the view of the valley.  Well, it's also the perfect spot for a bone yard because it's flat-ish and we can see if from the house and the driveway.  I repositioned the bench and the bird bath to look more like a grave yard situation.  I have plans to expand and improve this in Halloweens to come!

I've done a more in depth post about the process for the headstones on my blog: http://suddenlytaxidermy.blogspot.com/2013/10/bitterroot-bone-yard.html

I posted here about the way I made installing these quick and easy: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=427713.msg5100180#msg5100180
34  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Hester Prynne (The Scarlet Letter) Dog Costume! (so many pics) on: October 06, 2013 03:36:43 PM

I had made my Betty a pilgrim costume (http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=417134.msg4933793#msg4933793) for Thanksgiving last year and for Halloween this year I gave her a scarlet letter so she can be "Bester Prynne"!  She's not THAT kind of bad girl so the letter A wasn't quite right, but a scarlet B for the Sin of barking did seem right.

Something about her bonnet made her think she could feign deafness; had I known I might have made her a scarlet "FD."  Sigh.

And the little touch that means so much, the big brass buckles on her "boots"!  They actually have a Velcro closure in the back.

She's such a good sport and was rewarded handsomely with delicious treats.

35  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Keeping My Bone Yard Secure on: September 25, 2013 07:22:03 PM

Now that I am a more accomplished maker and have access to the wide world of interwebs, I have been reconning some old foam headstones I made a dozen or so years ago.  Previously I put them out on Halloween night only to avoid thieves and vandals so I had a pretty sketchy "system" for installing them on the lawn.  Now I live OUT of town so I can leave them out and want so since they're going to be so much cooler, so I needed a better way to secure them.  I did a bunch of looking around and decided that the constraints of having them already cut and the hardness of our soil meant that gluing PVC to the back and then sliding that over rebar that's pounded into the ground.

In order to make this easy to do year after year, I wanted the PVC to be uniform across the tombstones, so I used a ledger-sized piece of card stock and a metal ruler to space the PVC and carve some channels for it to sit in to give more surface area for the adhesive.  This PVC is conduit we had left over from a project and probably overkill, but it was already paid for and already grey. I may paint it later so it won't show as much.

Then I got some other PVC from the scrap bin at the hardware store and a couple of T-couplers to make a jig for pounding the rebar into the yard (no lawn here in the forest).  I didn't bother gluing the joints, because they're really snug.

AND it worked!  It makes pounding the rebar into the ground a 1-person job.  I've only done one so far, but when the weather gets a little better I'll do the rest, set up my mini bone yard, and take pics.  WOO!
36  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / Pupcakes for my 3-year old! on: September 08, 2013 04:18:37 PM
My eldest living baby turned 3 the 3rd week of August!  Three is supposed to be the magic number for many kinds of dogs when they are suddenly chill and mature and, dare I say, "sane."  Regardless, I made her some pupcakes to honor her passage into dog womanhood*.

The recipe made about 24 mini cupcakes and one regular-sized cupcake.  I took a plate over to the neighbor dogs to share and I used the big one for when we sang the birthday song to her.  There are 3 puppy-sized dog biscuits as "candles".

After reading several dog cake frosting recipes I winged it my mixing peanut butter with cottage cheese that I'd smashed the curds of and then piped it on to the pupcakes.

I used this recipe from allrecipes.com with some modifications that I listed on my blog:

*She's spayed, so... yeah.
37  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / Two Year Treats! on: September 08, 2013 03:58:35 PM
My youngest just turned two so I made her some special birthday treats!

I made about 18 big ones. The gnome celebrates how she and her sister (mostly she) demolished all the lawn fauna the former owners left at the house, the hydrant honors her urban roots, and the squirrel is because... SQUIRREL!  Bones, because that's what dog treats look like.  Wink

And then I used a couple of wee cutters to make 70-80 tiny treats which are our preferred size so we can reward our girls frequently w/o worrying about their healthy weight.

And here is the birthday girl, Delia, patiently waiting for us to stop singing so she can have her birthday treat already!

I used this recipe (with a few modifications outlined on my blog) from King Arthur flour: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/best-of-breed-dog-biscuits-recipe

I stored anything more than a few days' worth in the fridge, the rest in a plastic food storage bag.
38  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Mummified Woodland Fairy Prisoner Prop (like ya' do) on: September 08, 2013 01:52:57 PM

I'd been wanting to make one of those dollar store, mini skeleton dead fairies ever since I found some dismembered fairy wings in the Goodwill bins a few years ago.  Either I lost those wings or they were packed in the wrong box when we moved and I haven't found them.  Shoot.  Well, I went to the dollar store last November looking for a mini skeleton anyway and instead found one that is 2-3 times the size I was planning on.  I bought it anyway and just recently, finally made my version:

A mummified fairy, trapped in the cage in which it had been held captive by some nefarious being.  That old classic.  Tongue

I took oodles of in-progress shots and wrote a detailed tutorial on my blog.  There are also many more finished project shots including more close-ups and the details on how I only spent $1 to make this!

39  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Is No Place Safe? Sharktopus Pillow Cover! (fewer pics than tentacles) on: July 12, 2013 03:33:05 PM
A friend of mine saw my Varmint Voodoo: Sharktopus Edition and commissioned this Sharktopus pillow cover!  YEY!

Printed directly onto unbleached muslin using the freezer paper method and with the trademark red bead and sequin eye!

A detail of the "frame":

The backside; it's an envelope style closure with one button.

It's surprisingly difficult to find a cotton novelty print that evokes the look of an oceanic blood massacre.  Huh.

The edge trim bit is... wait for it... reflective tape!  You can see a bit of the effect with the flash in this shot. This was a last-minute inspiration and it makes me almost (but not quite) glad that I can't for the life of me find that grey bias binding I made awhile back. 

Thanks for looking and STAY SAFE!
40  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Pet Applique Dish Towel! Thrills and Frills! on: June 21, 2013 11:21:39 AM

A dear friend of mine had 3 things:
1. A birthday
2. A beloved pet
3. A request for a tute on pet silhouette appliques

My response is this dish towel featuring her li'l lady, Lola!

After finding the fabrics for the "cameo" I went to town on the trims.  The yellow rick rack and bias tape are vintage finds, the gingham I made, the pink & gree are from a gift of a big set of rick rack, and the lace was left over from this Halloween costume: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=203393.msg2168339#msg2168339

Here's the whole towel where you can see the rick rack detail on the other hem.

All the trim colors are represented in the flower print of the circle, there are glittery sparkles on the pink of the silhouette.

I took some photos to put together a tutorial; we'll see when I get around to writing it up!
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