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61  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Winter Scene on: December 02, 2014 09:07:28 AM
My partner in the Mini 12 Days of Christmas Swap said she enjoyed the snow, and loved blue and white themed holiday decor.

I was playing around with bottle brush trees when it hit me: make a winter scene!

link to DIY bottle brush trees

I dyed the bottle brush trees with alcohol inks...the tiny bottle brush tree is one I made myself from old brush curlers.  Gobs and gobs of Snowtex, gobs and gobs of glitter glue, some sparkly diamond things, and a vintage plastic reindeer...ta-da--a winter scene! Grin

The base is just some box store wood plaque piece that I covered in blue felt.

Thanks for looking!
62  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Cami, the mischievous little niece on: November 25, 2014 06:25:26 AM
I have a six year old great niece that is just full of energy and gets herself in hot water all the time because she is curious, rebellious, creative and stubborn (hmmm...wonder who she takes after?....)...anyway, when she was was about four, I started doodling little images of her and writing down things she said or asked...her little observations of the world...

In the most recent 4x6 Art Swap, hosted by Smmarrt, I took a chance and did three small drawings inspired by Cami's shenanigans...

This first one is called "Juggling Too Many Things":

The second is called "Reach for the Stars":

Both pieces are paper stock glued onto ancient, previous drawn upon paper canvas.  Slapped on a bit of watercolor or distress inks, added my drawings.

The fun part was using an encaustic technique I found on the internet.  You take a small mini quilting iron, a hunk of beeswax, and just start ironing the wax right on top --kinda scary, but you can add or take away until you are happy with the results.  Then, you buff it and buff it with wax paper (or nylons, per alteredmommy), until it is nice and smooth and shiny! Grin

The third one...well, it is a surprise for little Cami, so after Christmas, I will post it!
63  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Snakes on my Door! on: October 28, 2014 05:38:31 PM
I have had a snake wreath pinned for quite some time...but it was not until I found a boat load of rubber snakes at our new dollar tree that I finally got the kick I needed to make it!

Really simple:  one twig wreath, 8-10 rubber snakes, a can of spray paint, some wire or twine--costs about $20.

I added some glow in the dark snakes but they really only last an hour or so...but I like them anyway...

Just in time for this year's Halloween!

64  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Stripes, the Zebra on: October 02, 2014 06:05:13 PM
I really wanted to join the Faux Taxidermy Swap but I was tapped out...so I fake joined it in the craftalongs so that my partner (me) would make one!

May I present Stripes, the Zebra...name inspired by our own kbrison Grin.

The fabric was given to me by lovesclutter in a recent swap as an extra.  The mane is upholstery trim, I think.  He is mounted on a wooden board with about a tube of e6000.  His face is painted on with plain old acrylic paint.

He looks rather large, but he is really a miniature zebra...they are rare, so my partner did a fab job!

Thanks for looking!
65  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Folded Cards with Origami dolls on: October 01, 2014 05:48:46 PM

I use so many note cards in swaps, that I request them as extras whenever I can!  I make a lot of them, but I send them to my partners...it is a vicious cycle, but a much welcomed one!  It forces me to think of new things to do!

I found a sample card in my mom's things.  It was from a friend of hers in the 1970's.  I decided to dig out my stash of handmade and origami papers, and go to town!

The card is folded so that the fronts insert into each other to keep the card closed.  Pretty simple design and pretty clever.  Folding the tiny dolls was a challenge, but I enjoyed making each one unique!

Thanks for looking!
66  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Kirigami Tote Bag on: October 01, 2014 05:34:11 PM

Kirigami is the art of paper folding and cutting in Japan.  I found a tremendous web site that offers free patterns each week.

I enlarged the patterns to fit an 8 inch square with room to sew around the edges. I then cut the pattern out of freezer paper.  I ironed the patterns onto 5 squares of white linen fabric.

I took the squares outside and then sprayed them with indigo dye about four times.  I then rinsed and dried the squares and sewed them into a tote...oh, and I sprayed some plain linen as well to have fabric to make handles1 Grin

The tote is lined with some shibori dyed fabric I made.

tutorial here

Shots of the other sides and the bottom:

Thanks for looking!
67  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Completed Projects / Getting to know Blue... Japanese shibori dyeing on: October 01, 2014 05:01:44 PM
My mom was from Japan, but I grew up in the USA, so I really did not pay much attention to my Japanese heritage until I got way older...now, I can't seem to learn things about Japan fast enough! Grin

What I am really interested in are the traditional arts and crafts...I have done quite a lot of origami (paper folding), made a lot of things from kimono fabrics, and of course, Japanese cooking.  I must admit that I love textiles and love to sew.  What better combo than to make my own fabric for sewing projects?

So, here is what I hope is a fairly simple and fun tutorial on how I design and dye my fabrics using shibori techniques.  I am NOT an expert, so this is more my own journey of learning and doing...
1. I used the book, Shibori for Textile Artists, as my inspiration as well as my basic "how to" guide...I also ordered an indigo dye kit on the internet..there are some pretty easy instructions in the box along with everything you need to begin dyeing right away. I have tried Ritz navy dye, but it just does not give the right blue for me...and warning:  indigo dye really stinks...I mean, REALLY stinks...don't let anyone use your bathroom while you are dyeing or they might die from the combined smells!  Wink


You will also need a 5 gallon bucket, a small bucket to hold dyed items, wooden pieces, a pole or pvc pipe, a spoon or stirrer, gloves, and a clothespin for your nose.

2. The dye kit I use makes enough dye to do a lot--like 15 pounds worth of fabric. To give you an idea, I dyed 4 t-shirts, three silk blouses, two silk scarves, six cotton napkins, lace, seven yards of fabric, some beads, and a sweater (fail!) and had to throw the leftovers away after three days.  Indigo dye will keep for about 5 days if you can stand the smell...you must cover the bucket!

So, gather what you want to dye. Natural fibers are best, but the lace I dyed was polyester and did fine:

3. You now need to prepare your items for any designs.  I only wanted patterns on my fabrics so I did several different techniques.  They all have special names but you can learn about those on your own.

I used rubber bands and strings to make different kinds of circles:

This one also has a small marble in the tip.  Let's call it SAMPLE #1.

This one is just rubber bands, SAMPLE #2.

The one on the left, SAMPLE #3, is folded and then placed between two pieces of wood and tied tightly.  The one on the right, SAMPLE #4, is folded and tied all over the place.

This is what I know to mean "shibori"...the fabric is wrapped around a pole, string is wrapped all around, then the fabric is scrunched down, SAMPLE #4:

Put all your prepared good in the box and head to your dyeing station (my pink bath tub!).

You will see that I also left some fabric plain, scrunched some into some plastic netting, and tried tying some into knots.

4. Prepare the dye, following the instructions in the kit or book...indigo dye needs to "bloom"...what this means is that a sort of foam flower will appear when it is ready...it looks as nasty as it smells...my hands and tub turned blue, but the tub is being replaced, and well, blue hands are kinda cool... Grin.

5. Start dipping and dyeing! The dye is reactive to air, so be careful not to splash or cause air bubbles.  When you take your pieces out, they will look green or very light...it takes about 20 minutes for the blue to appear...you can keep dipping until you get the color you want.  I do very light indigo, 1-3 dips, medium indigo, 3-5 dips, very dark indigo, 6-8 dips.  It is a long process, having to wait between dips!

6. Here you will see the various changes happening...it is very exciting!

As you dye, more foam will appear...it can affect your piece and make a pattern.  I like the surprise so I leave it...you can skim it off with your gloved hands if you like.

That's about all there is to it!  For longer pieces, like the pole shibori, I use a wallpaper tray and dip the entire pole in the tray.

Want to see what you get?

Sample #1...the marbles and rubber bands:

Sample #2...rubber bands in two spots:

Sample #3...wooden blocks...if the blocks are heart shaped, you would get heart shaped white areas...this one is really fun!  I got stars that I want to do next...you can get these shapes at most craft stores.  See the upper left hand corner?...you might get some leakage, but, hey, if it is suppose to be perfect, go buy machine made, right?

Sample #4...traditional pole wrapping shibori.  I love this one because it looks like the patterns in sand when waves recede on the beach. You will never get two identical patterns no matter how many times you do this one.  It is a favorite.

Remember the netting one?  Here is how it turned out!  What a surprise!

And, then here is the rest using various scrunched up patterns I made up:

If you have any questions or want to share your own experience in this type of dyeing, fire away!  I had a blast and even though it was a bit of work, I am happy to have these fabrics and to share them with some of my craftster buddies!

Thanks for looking!

oh--I almost forgot!  Bonus:  You can save the string that you used in your projects!  Nice for wrapping packages or using in mixed media art projects, quilting, etc. YAY!
68  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Vintage Lotus Pattern Scarf on: August 23, 2014 05:21:48 PM
I was looking for a sort of Queen Anne's Lace pattern when I came across this pattern in my search.  Of course, I can't find the printed out pattern that I used right now, but it had instructions and a chart.  The chart was very helpful because I sort of got lost in the instructions.  I also believe there are little video clips in the instructions to help you.

I love this scarf!  I tried making it with a lighter weight yarn, but the leaves kept flopping...and the pattern gets lost easily with fluffy or variegated yarns.  The yarn I used is a washable worsted wool in a tonal colorway.  I can't wait for colder weather to wear it.

It is about six feet long so that it can cascade down the front to show off the lotus leaves.

Closeup to show the open lace pattern.

It went pretty fast but you do have to pay attention to where you are making the joins...goofed up several times until I got used to the pattern.

Thanks for looking!
69  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / [CLOSED]Fake Swap Craftalong for Swap Junkies!!! 2014 on: July 25, 2014 07:15:23 AM

SWAP JUNKIES--We Want A Double Rainbow of Goodies!

I am restarting this craftalong because there are just too many swaps that many of us can't join but we want to craft!!!

This is a craftalong for swap junkies.

Do you love swapping?  Do you love getting inspired by swap themes?  Do you maybe get more done with a deadline?


Are you trying to save money? (shipping is pricey!), or maybe you love a theme, but you want to make certain items?  

Whatever your reasons, feel free to join up!
In this craftalong we will be "fake-joining" swaps that are current.  Then we will craft along the parameters of the swap, including send out dates, what needs to be sent, and if extras are allowed or encouraged;  at the end of the swap period we will give ourselves the things we have made!

For example...(fake example)
I want to join the Carnivorous Plant swap, but I don't have a lot of money for shipping this month, and I really want a mug rug embroidered with a plant , so I'm going to fake swap.

I will post in this thread like this:

My name is alwaysinmyroom
I am joining the Carnivorous Plant Swap.
I will make 1 mug rug for this swap
It is due by September 15, 2014.

And now I'm signed up!

I am organizing this fake swap, so I'll keep track of all the participants, and send out reminders when people's swaps are almost due.  When you have finished your item(s), please post here gallery style, so we can all congratulate you!!

Just to be clear, you can sign up here to fake-participate in ANY swap...and I'll let you fake-join up to 5 fake-swaps.

Please, only sign up if you are serious about completing the swaps.  I understand that life happens, but I'll take time every day (or 2 or 3) to update everything, so please don't sign up if you're not going to try, you know?




organized by due dates:




Abbeeroad(and Mr.!)
Terrific Faux Taxidermy Swap due 10/22/14

Quilt Block Swap due 10/20/14

OWS 109 due Dec 31

August 2014 Pinterest due 8/25/14

Quilt Block Swap due 10/20/14

Holiday Edition Handy Quilted Dish Mat Swap  due 8/30/14
Mini 12 days of  Christmas 11/26/14

Fall Ninni Swap due 10/23/14

3-D Bird Swap due 9/10/14

OTT October Holidays Edition due 10/8/14

Cryptid Swap due 11/18/14
I miss that due 12/2/14

Crafted Notecards Swap due 8/15/14

Holiday Edition Handy Quilted Dish Mat Swap  due 8/30/14
Quilt Block Swap due 10/20/14
Fall Ninni Swap due 10/23/14
HP Holiday Craft Swap

Disney Swap due 8/29/14
Quilt Block Swap due 10/20/14

Frugal Living Swap due 9/8/14
Movie/TV swap due 9/20/14
TM Swap 11/3/14

Whimsical Shrine Swap due 8/11/14
Bookmark Swap Rd 3 due 9/14/14

Summer Nerd Games 2014 due 8/23/14
Half a Hoopla 8/25/14
Lexophiles Unite due 9/30/14
Holiday Edition Handy Quilted Dish Mat Swap due 8/30/14

August 2014 Pinterest Swap due 8/20/14

Whimsical Shrine Swap due 8/11/14  
Half a Hoopla 8/25/14
Faux taxidermy Swap due 10/22/14

Holiday Edition Handy Quilted Dish Mat Swap  due 8/30/14
3-D Bird Swap due 9/10/14
3-D Bug Swap

Fall Ninni Swap due 10/23/14

Frugal Living Swap due 9/8/14


Whimsical Shrine Swap due 8/11/14
Frugal Living Swap due 9/8/14
Terrific (faux) taxidermy Swap due 10/22/14

70  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Scarf to use up sock yarn leftovers! on: July 23, 2014 07:22:51 AM
My buddy jemimah posted a scarf she made using this pattern:


I thought it was a great way to use up those pesky little bits of sock yarn left over from last year's sock knitting binge!  I used two solids and one variegated balls.  I just knit randomly until I ran out of the solids...I still have a small bit of the variegated yarn, so I am going to use a different color scheme...more purples next time...so much fun!

I love this pattern!  The scarf is lighweight, can be made longer, wider, etc. The only part I hated was weaving in all the ends from the color changes, but it was worth it!

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