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1  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Silly Santa White Elephant Swap on: November 25, 2015 07:15:34 PM
Hi! Im considering bringing back the White Elephant/Silly Santa Swap for the holidays. Here is the link to the original round: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=207579.0

It runs similar to the raffle swaps, where finished items are offered up-front...Except once the items are assigned to each person, we steal them from each other, back and forth, and it goes around and around for a set period of time. The actual mailing doesnt happen until the very end.

In the previous swap we swapped highly desirable handcrafted goods, but for fun we could make silly or tacky (but well-made!) items instead, like a standard White Elephant swap.  Smiley I'm open to whatever people want to do. This does not require holiday-specific crafting, and I'm thinking minimum 2 smalls OR 1 medium (crafted, or a valuable art/craft supply, if participants agree to it).

It's a swap that runs best with 10+ participants. Let me know if you're interested!
2  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Needlepoint-covered, toteable notebook on: August 11, 2015 12:00:48 PM
In the first Make-A-Friend Swap, I made this book for my partner, Fabric:

It could be carried like a purse, or it could be a regular journal without the purse-handle too. I drilled holes in the bookboards and put metal scrapbook screw-posts through (see the metal door lock plates? They're functioning as washers...and as tiny frames for international postage stamps, less importantly  Smiley). Then I attached a ready-made purse handle to the two posts (the purse handle was also received in a swap, incidentally). It's a little clumsy for getting the book open and closed, but not difficult, and it helps keep the book secure when traveling.
A small 3-ring binder base is drilled into the spine/base. The book really was made from scratch--I didn't just cover a binder (though that might have been a smarter choice, now that I'm thinking about it  Cheesy).

The brown cover was an adhesive-backed faux suede I found at the hardware store. It's essentially shelf-liner, but it worked great.

What really made this a "large" was a quote on both covers of the book that I did in needlepoint. Here's the first part:

(The tiny steampunk bits at the bottom of this side were not entirely useless -- they camouflage the screwposts to make them look like they're part of the design  Wink)

Here's the 2nd part, on the other side:

Here's what it says in its entirety:
"Be wicked, be brave, be drunk, be reckless, be dissolute, be despotic, be an anarchist, be a suffragette, be anything you like -- but for pity's sake be it to the top of your bent...Live fully, live passionately, live disastrously. Let's live, you and I, as none have ever lived before." - Violet Trefusis, 1918

The purse-handle idea came after I'd finished the book, so unfortunately the needlework pieces are upside down when it is carried like a purse.  Roll Eyes The art nouveau patterns came from old books found on the Antique Pattern Library website.

Here is the inside of it, with the screw-posts that make the book stay shut and hold a purse handle.

The first page is a sheet of scrapbook paper folded to become a carrying pouch for loose materials.

I also decorated a couple of Altoids tins to go with the book, but didn't get photos of those; one was extra small and I attached it to the book to hold the screwposts when they're not in use. The other was full of journaling prompts on little cards. Since the book structure had a 3-ring binder, I included different "refills" like a dream journal and a list-making set that helps bring awareness of the cycles of one's life. Those refill packets were found at a second-hand art supply store, along with the metal 3-ring binder piece, and I hole-punched blank and decorated pages as well.

In retrospect (it's been seven years!  Shocked), there are things I would have done differently, but I still like the idea/concept overall. It was scary to mount the needlework in between bookboards, and then turn those bookboards into a finished book, knowing that it all had to be right on the first try. Tearing things up to start over would have ruined the needlework (which took forever), and there were swap deadlines approaching, so it had to be whatever it was going to be. The fact that it turned out okay was a huge relief!
3  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Fiber Friday, 8 May 2015 on: May 08, 2015 02:48:06 PM
We're due for a Fiber Friday! Here's something I finally finished...Actually I finished it a couple months ago but was too busy with other stuff to post it...

It's 106 yds, a thick-and-thin plied with an all-thin  Cheesy, then I wound some black-and-gold metallic thread around sections that needed more definition. I still have a lot of this Ferndale Fiber roving left, and I'm going to leave all of that thin and single-ply, and this skein can be worked in for an accent row on whatever the finished object becomes.

Please share any pics you have from the last month, there hasn't been a Fiber Friday in quite some time!
4  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Bumble the Abominable Snowman on: January 13, 2015 08:54:28 PM
My first post on this board!


I made this Bumble for Shop the Swap, but then he ended up going to my mom instead.

I didn't follow a pattern, and I goofed up and improvised and experimented so much that he's a little too wonky to try to chart. But that's part of why I like him.  Grin I have the arms going in different directions and they aren't attached symmetrically since that just seems more monster-y. I had a little yarn left so I tried to make Bumble II, but he needed some changes (especially the terrified look on his face!) so I frogged a lot of this one and he's still in-progress:
5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Vintage pinup pattern modified into Bride of Frankenstein on: January 13, 2015 08:25:17 PM
I forgot to post this tea towel I made for a friend in 2013.

This image started its life as Vogart 138, "Pin Up Girl with Powder Puff":

...but my pinup-loving friend also loves Halloween and classic movie monsters, so I wanted to make some modifications.  Smiley I printed out the original image, drew the changes on it, and then punched through the paper with a light-colored gel pen at many intervals so I could follow the dots and then eyeball the details.

6  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Page-a-day calendar full of Craftster ATCs - disappointingly few photos! on: November 19, 2012 04:39:08 PM
Every year I end up embarking on some giant project that has called to me (its not something I seek out, honest), and some years I manage to finish. Since this one is a 2013 calendar, I had to get it done quickly! After having worked on this steadily since July, I have a 365-day calendar full of prints of ATCs (artist trading cards) Craftster artists allowed me to use for the project.

I have made several page-a-day calendars for Craftster swaps over the years, and after each one I swear I will never make another! But somehow, eventually, I come back around to them. I put them together in Microsoft Word (I dont have any fancy desktop publishing software), print 4-6 days on standard size sheets of paper, cut them apart, and assemble them with adhesive or binder rings (after hole-punching all the pages). When I came up with this theme, I knew it would be an insane amount of time and work, but it had to be done. I couldnt pass up the chance to get a bunch of great people involved in an all-Craftster community creation.

It doesnt look like much in the picture, but theres so much work and almost a hundred Craftster artists work represented within it!  Since its primarily other peoples art inside, and I just organized the project, compiled and cleaned up the images, and printed/assembled the pages, all thats really mine to show you is the overall project.  (That's also why I'm posting it here instead of the ATC board.  Smiley) But heres a page with a favorite from my personal ATC collection, created by HappieHina.

I am working on a basic tutorial for making a page-a-day calendar using Microsoft Word and Excel, but so far that tutorial is far too long to be of any use to anyone so I have to revise it extensively. I should be adding it to this thread, with screenshots, before the end of the year. In the meanwhile, here's what the pages look like before I cut them apart (the other artists' cards aren't in my possession, so I didn't want to take the liberty of reposting them):

The first point I need to make in discussing this particular project is that I gained proper permission from everyone, and included (or excluded) attribution according to the artists wishes, as well as I could. I was relieved to find that everyone who granted permission was friendly with no ego issues and many were really excited about the project (I love Craftster people!!  Kiss). Unless someone responded to my request and told me I could use their work for this project, I did not use their ATCs or their posted photos of others' ATCs.

So, the organization of this project was the big task. First, I sent a PM to people from whom Ive received an ATC, asking if I could include these in the calendar, and if they would be open to allowing me to use images of other ATCs theyve made. I probably could have made a 365-day calendar between all of these artists work and my own, but the desire to make this a Craftster-wide project was just too strong so I kept seeking more people to include. I advertised the project in relevant discussion threads to see if there was any interest or big legal considerations I hadnt come up with, and got good feedback there as well. But I knew there were also a lot of people who have made ATCs on Craftster who would probably never see these posts, and many who hadnt been online for quite some time. And so I stalked the ATC board, as well as the galleries for ATC swaps, and PMed a bunch more people.

Since it would be impossible to contact everyone on Craftster who has made ATCs and include that many peoples work in the calendar, I set the guidelines that I would reach out to those who had a) been online within the past 2-3 years, b) no negative swap feedback, and d) at least 1-2 usable images of their ATCs somewhere (later, I had to further narrow it down by only using vertical-format ATCs). Sad to say, that ruled out a lot of people. But when I sent a PM to various people asking permission, well over half of them responded and agreed to let me include their work.

Gathering and deciding on the images to use was great fun and also very difficult, especially with those artists who have posted a prolific amount of awesome ATCs, because I had to exclude so many that I really loved. I was juggling a pool of probably 1000 images. In order to get everyone represented, no artist has more than 5 ATCs in the calendar. I used Microsoft OneNote to sort various peoples images into holidays, seasons, and themes, and after these kinds of cards were assigned to their appropriate days or seasons I added cards without these kinds of themes to other days. In this process I also searched for those weird holidays/observances that dont show up on most calendars but which related to the content of an ATC. For example, there is this ATC by Queen of Fools on Talk like a Pirate Day.  Cheesy Not all such days are marked on the calendar, but many have a card that is somehow relevant.

I turned the finished calendar into a PDF file for participants to download. (And for those of you who did download it last month, I made one additional correctionmy apologies to gozerso I can send you the improved PDF if needed.) Because most of the artwork in the calendar is not mine to share, I cannot make that PDF available for public download.

My intention was to print a few for organized or personal swapsLamentably, printing more than 2 of these is not financially reasonable. I found a nice coated color copy paper that works great (Mohawk Pegasus Color Copy, Super Smooth, 24 lb., acid free), but even with the highest quality setting on my home printer the images are justblech. These ATCs deserve better. I had a professional printer print out a copy with the same paper, and it looks incrediblebut it cost almost $40!  Shocked  Cry Though some participants wanted to pay me for printing and shipping, no calendar is worth $40, so I have to rescind on that idea. I should have checked on the price for printing before I even started the project, but then it might have never happened at all.  Undecided

I should mention, the other supply I used in this project is something thats brand-new to me: padding compound. I dont know why it has that name. Its only been mentioned a few times on Craftster, so maybe thats why Id never heard of it before. Plus, Ive never seen it in an art/craft supply store; I bought it at a paper/printing supply store. I had always used PVA glue to glue-bind the pages of my page-a-day calendars, but Im now sold on padding compound instead. Both are expensive, though, so if you have to choose and you have a lot of gluing to do (not just binding the edges of papers together), choose the PVA. If youre binding notepads, thick calendars like this, or little journals, padding compound is better. It looks like white glue but it dries as a clear, dense, rubbery solid without bleeding into the papers margin. So it doesnt warp the paper the way other adhesives do when you spread it along the edge of a stack of paper.

The printed and assembled calendar has a piece of paperboard (cereal box) on the back, which I glued to a patterned bookboard from a mid-century Readers Digest Condensed book. Then on the bottom of that, I affixed some fabric so it would look a little more finished. And now it is complete and headed to its new home!

I did not intend for this project to be a showcase of the best ATCs on Craftster, since Im in no position to judge that kind of thing. Since it is a calendar, having ATCs that are relevant to seasons, holidays, and days was a priority, as well as showing a variety of styles and media (though some kinds of media do not show up well in photos, so that was a limitation). We are a community that values creativity, heart and effort in ATCs most of all, so thats what I wanted to reflect, along with the community itself.

Making an actual published book featuring high-quality images of Craftsterer ATCs, through a service like Blurb.com, would be an awesome thing, but I dont have plans to tackle that project because the legal issues get more complicated. However, if it did get off the ground, I think it would actually cost less than printing these calendars, with much less work!

Bottom line is that the idea had to be brought to life, but its too expensive and time-consuming to do it again (I think Ive said that about many projects Ive taken on Cheesy). Im glad I was able to do it; I just wish it were more affordable to create and share them with the people who contributed. The best thing about it is that several of the artists told me that even though they hadnt created ATCs in quite some time, finding out about this project was inspiring them to start making and trading ATCs again I couldnt ask for a better outcome than that!
7  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) / Altered playing cards (APCs) on: August 27, 2012 10:00:30 PM
Over the past couple years (mainly in wild spurts of activity many months apart) I've finished almost a full deck of altered playing cards. But considering the old saying about "not playing with a full deck", maybe it would be most appropriate if I didn't end up completing the deck.   Grin

If you're interested in making altered playing cards and trading them, the size is still supposed to be 2.5 x 3.5 inches -- I'm told that poker cards are these dimensions, while many other playing cards are not. Some people are fine with other sizes, but unless it's discussed and agreed upon ahead of time, they're expecting to receive a card with standard ATC dimensions.

The other guideline is that the card's number and suit need to remain visible (uncovered) somewhere on the card (otherwise no one knows it's a playing card!  Smiley). This deck I have is a U.S. Civil War replica deck, which has no numbers. Instead, I've added the number in some other way, either writing, collage numbers, puff-paint, or embroidery.

Two techniques that I had good luck with were these melted crayon backgrounds (link is Youtube slideshow of how it is done), and layers of thin papers with melted beeswax. Beeswax is on pretty much all of these cards. I printed various images on tissue paper and with the beeswax they just melded with the other elements on the card. Because of the coating on the cards, it's easy for glued and melted items to pop off, so it can take some patience, and getting a feel for how much beeswax it takes.

I keep tinkering with some, but here are some of my favorites (all traded unless noted otherwise)...


(still available) (still available)

(still available)

(My late Shelbe-dog!)
(still available)
(Back-story on this one: Dr. MLK, Jr., and the three civil rights workers who were abducted and murdered in the 1960s. As I was starting this card I encountered a poem from the 1920s which said that instead of grieving those who took a stand and died because of it, we ought to grieve the apathy in the masses, still alive and unmoved. The words were put together from photos of 2 separate pinback buttons that people wore during the '60s.)


Now, get yourself a deck of cards (or just a few stray cards), play around with them, and share what you come up with! Here or in a new thread, it's up to you.  Smiley
8  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Making a 2013 page-a-day calendar of Craftster ATCs -- want to be in it? on: July 30, 2012 06:33:40 PM
I've been in the habit of making themed page-a-day calendars for swaps over the years, and it would be awesome to make/have a calendar with 365 days of ATC prints by Craftster people! (and maybe other images of mail art such as inchies, too)

Though I can use a lot of ATCs I've made, I certainly haven't made 365 of them.  I would like to ask your permission to reprint up to 10 of your ATCs (or other awesome mail art) so that a variety of artists can be represented.  Artists' name and screenname would be listed with each image, and if there's a title to the artwork to be found, I would list that, too.

This project is not going to be put up for sale, and I would not be claiming any rights to use your art, name, etc. beyond this one 2013 calendar project. It will stay within the Craftster community. I would, however, like to print out more than one calendar, to offer in Craftster swaps around the end of the year, for swap partners who would appreciate this kind of thing. Or, even better, offer it as a prize for a relevant Craftster.org craft challenge.

Unfortunately I don't think I can afford to send a completed calendar to all the collaborators...though I would really like to!  If I can't, I will at least send you a PDF file of all the pages.

Another idea I'm toying with is creating an actual photo book on Blurb or one of the other self-publishing websites, with art of any Craftster members who wanted to contribute, and then anyone can purchase a copy from that company itself (again, no money coming my way, since this is just a fun crafting project for me, and I would be out no money at all with this option). If you've done something like this before, I'm happy to hear your input/ideas about that, too.

To wrap up, if you are willing to have 1-10 of your mail art pieces included in my 2013 Craftster calendar, please contact me here or by PM. And any thoughts you have on making it a good project, please feel free to share.
9  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Wizard of Oz art yarn -- a lot of yarn = a lot of pictures on: November 16, 2011 05:45:26 PM
At last, my Wizard of Oz yarn. Its gigantic; I don't know what the yardage is, yet, but before I started plying and dividing everything into two separate skeins there was at least 1300y spun up for this project, not including all the yardage of commercial yarns that are also in it.

Details below the many pics. I promise I won't be such a bandwidth hog again for a long time.  Wink

(rainbow i-cord, with the yarn spun from fiber ptarmic wumpus dyed for me.)

(The spiral where the Yellow Brick Road begins is at the bottom)

There are also tufts of orange and red fiber sticking out from the section where they're in the Wizard's chambers, representing the flames

The initial idea struck me in the middle of the night, and the details started flooding in, so it had to be done, whether I wanted to do it or not! The concept was to spin a skein of yarn that followed the course of the Wizard of Oz movie, start to finish, in colors, themes, textures, etc.  So in theory, a very fast yarnie could put the movie on and start working on the starting end of the skein, and whatever is going on in the movie would be reflected in the yarn theyre working with. I cant think of any film that is so easily identified and understood by its color schemes, well enough for most people to recognize. Theres an almost instinctual association with Dorothy when we see blue and white gingham and red sequins, for instance.

Im not a big Oz-o-phile, but I studied the movie intensively for about a month (including its cultural impact, which interests me more than the film itself), and with a large, sturdy paper I created a notebook of colors, patterns, scene progressions, and ideas for possible add-ins and yarns/fibers to use.
When I knew what I wanted to do with each section, I drew a map of the layout of the yarn so I could work on different sections as I saw fit and connect them later on in the right order.

Then came the process of gathering the materials from near and far. Dyed batts that Ravelry members were destashing. Angelina fiber for the ruby slippers, but firestar fiber for the Emerald City, to have the right kind of sparkle for each. Pink tulle for Glindas skirt. Curly, golden locks for the Cowardly Lion. Raffia to serve as the Scarecrows straw. Metallic gray fiber for the Tin Man (the best answer to this need, after an extensive search, was mulberry silk). Lots and lots of carding, thanks to the LYS welcoming me to hang out and drum-card the days away. The carding was my favorite part of everything. I made yellow bricks for the Yellow Brick Road by just chopping apart a new block of yellow Sculpey and poking a hole through the middle of each chunk.  Smiley There are so many tiny details; most don't show up in the photos.

The big challenge was what to do for Munchkinland, since theres such a hodgepodge of color and activity in those scenes. I was pretty happy with the batts I carded for that section, but had to add a lot of things after my initial spinning.

Some scenes and characters became represented by buttons and beads from my stash; i.e., there are 3 pink buttons for the dancers in The Lullaby League, followed by an orange button, a green button, and a blue button for the Lollipop Guild. The marvelous amydice crocheted some elements for me in the OTT Wizard of Oz swap:

Some early ideas which didnt end up happening: a brown fun-fur yarn to represent Toto, metallic wire star garland representing Glindas crown, and a tiny death proclamation from the Munchkinland coroner. There simply wasnt enough room to include every idea I had without it becoming extremely cluttered, and I was out of money to invest any more in the project.

Then there were the many, many hours with my drop spindle. Some of the components, in their early stages:
This Pigeonroof Studio fiber became the base for Kansas:
This  fiber from Funky Carolina became the Scarecrow (upper right in the following picture).

I spun several sections during Tour de Fleece, but had trouble deciding on all the little details that my mind hasnt been up for during the past months (Should I add this to the yarn? How? Do I ply? N-ply? Auto-wrap? None of the above? Is there too much yardage for this section, as compared to the other sections? How should I join these two yarns? Did I forget something? Is there a nicer finishing method than this?). There was so much yarn I realized I needed to split it into 2 separate skeins. My closet shelves were full of toilet paper roll bobbins with all these disparate elements of the yarn, for a loooong while.

In this process I became entirely burnt out on spinning, sadly. Its been a rough year (okay, more than one year, but for varying reasons) and in the past couple months Ive lost all interest in crafting and creative expression. But I knew I had to finish this handspun; its just taking up space and useless otherwise. So on a few better days/nights, I finally powered through the rest of it and can say it is done.  I gave up on the joins and ended up just connecting separate yarns with loose overhand knots in some places; whoever ends up with the yarn can undo them and weave in the ends. It would be better if it werent finished so hastily, but its the best I could bring to it at this point.
I dont think Ive ever been so glad to be done with something Ive made. I swear that I will never again try to be ambitious with my spinning (heh, I say that now, but let's see what I say in another 6 months  Roll Eyes). This kind of thing has to be a labor of love, and if you dont get a lot of enjoyment out of the process then it is not worthwhile, considering how much time, thought and money go into the creating. Further, when I stopped feeling it with this project, but kept working at it anyway, it ceased to be a thing of beauty.  Undecided At least now the "childbirth" of the whole thing is over with, and I finished instead of giving up altogether.  Smiley

One more shot of the whole thing...

10  California / California: North / Dixon, CA: Lambtown Fiber/Craft Festival, October 1 on: July 24, 2011 07:16:58 PM
I'm not affiliated, but I just found out about it and had to share.  Grin

All kinds of classes/workshops, booths, vendors, demonstrations, competitions and fiber animals.

Held at The Dixon May Fair Grounds, 655 South 1st St., Dixon, CA, on Saturday, October 1, 2011, from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.

Link for info: http://www.lambtown.com/info.html
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