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11  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Orange Crush on: December 07, 2007 08:14:08 AM
I have been playing around with braiding wire lately.
Originally, I was just trying to get a good weight for making rings;
but then I whipped up these earrings for my Niece Momma for Christmas.

Nevermind my model's existential crisis. (Her fingers aren't loaded.)
The DH commented that my wire work is getting better.
It's still a bit wonky, but the Niece Momma know that I'm a bit wonky, so . . .
What do you think?
12  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / It's the story of a lovely lady . . . on: December 04, 2007 05:15:16 PM

 . . . who happpens to be my mother's twin. (I think my aunt and uncle look very Brady in this picture.) She married her lovely guy 35 years ago and my mom rang recently to remind me to send a card for their anniversary. Like I ever make anything that easy on myself!

I looked online to find that the traditional material for a 35th wedding anniversary is coral. Great, I thought, I'll get some coral beads at the craft store and do a his and hers earring and cufflinks set. Found the beads, but nothing vaguely resembling cuff links findings. Not enough time to have them shipped, either. So I hung onto the beads and waited for inspiration to strike.

It came in the form of a heart shaped glass ornament.

I decoupaged the pictures on the back and very carefully glass glued the beads to the from, with the help of tweezers and a wooden skewer.

And that's my card.
13  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / modern upcycled ornaments on: December 03, 2007 01:00:20 PM
When I saw these I swooned.

The Design Sponge blog entry that this photo is from is here:
It includes a tute.

Then I got to thinking.

I have been bothered by the elusive use for yogurt containers that are not locally recycled. (I checked the recycling board here and the big topic on cans, bottles and plastic containers is pretty can centric. The best solution I found there is to send the yogurt cups off the the worm poop fertilizer- Stonyfield Farms yogurt brigade for reuse as planters. But that requires nonprofit status, a nonresidential mailing address and hundreds of the containers --rather than the dozens I am contending with. I may still try to organize something with the local organic market or my neighborhood assn. but in the meantime . . .)

This is a very rough mock up. The ornament is made from one 32 oz container and is much smaller than the inspiration piece. It is tree scale as opposed to room scale. I think the plastic will endure year to year ornament use in a way that the paper is not meant to.

I am planning to make more and use jump rings where staples go on the paper version. I might paint the printed side of the containers with plastics spray paint. That would produce a cool two-toned effect.

I'll post more when I have a real working version; but I got excited and thought I would share the germ of the idea before I run off the the library to check out more craft books.
14  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / How Sweets I'm Not plastic soldier bowl on: November 30, 2007 09:09:31 AM
This is my first go at a melted army men bowl a la sweets4ever ( you can see hers here https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=187014.230) and, well, I shall try again.

I learned a lot about the shrink factor, melt times and molding techniques out of this trial run. And since the army men (two smallish bags of them) "came with the house," the only cost was to my health  Tongue (I do not love toxic plastic fumes nearly as much as I love photo developer chemical stink or the machinery smell the DH wears home from welding class.)

While I like the irregular shape of the bowl and its small size (I would guess 2 cups -- nothing like a chip bowl), my next attempt will aim for more definition in the men.

Aaaaaaand, I will try to be more patient with the cooling time. I think my eagerness to see the finished product resulted in the foil remnants on the outer surface of the bowl.

Also, I started with the loaded bowl technique and then switched to the flat melt technique (Grieney gives a good explanation of this on p.15 of the original thread, Reply #91) and, in so doing, seem to have scorched a few of the poor sods.

That said my D, DH said the whole thing looked just fine and that he thought the foil was intentional. I am still going to keep at it (Dollar Tree, here I come) but it is great to have some reassurance about a project I have been looking at all day and can no longer see.

Please let me know what you think.

15  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / liquid crystal destruction - cyberpunk jem for the postapocalyptic dance party on: November 21, 2007 04:25:00 PM

Backstory: I am hard on personal handheld digital do-thingers. I have crushed three LCD's in my day.

It sucks to not be able to access the data once the screen goes all parking lot oil spill on you.

But it does look captivating.

My Palm Zire was the last to go. I finally cut the (USB) cord and went to deconstructing it for craftablilities.

This is what I did with the touch screen.

I drilled holes into the wide part of the frame (where the keys were on the device.) and attached a salvaged chain with ready made jump rings.

The beading skills came into play on the closure, pictured below.

I am debuting this piece tonight at a Paul Oakenfold show. I only go to dance clubs once in a blue moon. Luckily, the urge hit just as I came up with the idea for this necklace and my electronic music happy friend hit town for Thanksgiving. So we shall see how it holds up on the dance floor.

p.s.: the colors and composition of the 'spill' change when fingered from the back.

16  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / droppin' the white hot bombs on: November 17, 2007 10:41:07 AM
Pearls are fine and good for going all Chanel with layers of necklaces or for classy understated earposts, but I really wanted some white earrings to compliment the graphic mod dresses I love. So what's a girl to do? it herself, of course!

These are my little bombs --

--what better to evoke the atomic age?

With obligatory goofy action shot for scale.

Lastly, a close up to better show the earwire.

Very simple, yes, but that is what I was going for.

What do you think?

Also, do you think the photos demonstrate the craft well or does one do so better than the others?

17  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / How Old Are You? on: November 15, 2007 08:57:56 AM
A good friend of mine had a birthday party last weekend . . . with a Gumby theme. (This should be a pop culture age calculator.) I could not resist the kitsch and made this salads plate.

Gumby is spinach-avacado dip with bell pepper facial features and egg white-black olive eyes. Pokey is eggplant 'caviar' (full disclosure: this component was store bought. I was thinking of making a mango salsa but folded to the time crunch.) The background is a black bean and corn salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette and multicolored diced bell peppers.

Originally, I wanted to go all the way and make molded salads (think tomato aspic); but the vegan store was closed for Veterans' Day Sunday and we all know I could not very well serve real gelatin to the vegetarian birthday boy.

Lest I forget the whole crafty element here, I freehanded the image on an open pizza box and scored along the lines with my razor knife. Then I cut 1 1/2" strips of cardboard and stood them up in the scored outline, securing with masking tape as I went. Once I had the image outlined in raised cardboard, I pressed aluminum foil into the form and filled the 'serving tray' with the salads.

While my photo is not the best, the dish was a big hit at the party and was photographed by three other people. What I really like about it is that the idea could be adapted endlessly to any shape/characters with any grab/scoop/spoon-able foods (salads, dips, puddings, candies, etc.)

As Gumby says, "Be Flexible!"
18  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Acessorize as You Dress on: October 29, 2007 12:37:09 PM
So I was knocking around my mom's house and had only packed one pair of earrings, which did not quite go with what I was wearing BUT had brought my beading kit to stave off boredom while out in the sticks. This made for a good opportunity to make some custom jewelry for one of my favorite garments. (This is a minidress with zippered slash pockets at the hips.)

Yes, wonky wire work, it is. I am thinking I will redo the ring with another band of little yellow glass beads. Look for more chunky bead and wire-wrapped stone rings to come! I love the chunkiness.
19  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Mojo Jojo and Him on: October 29, 2007 09:15:05 AM
Unfortunately all I have is a party snapshot (our camera was acting up that night) but I was deliriously happy with the Mojo Jojo and Him costumes I pulled together.

(Those who are less familiar with the Powerpuff Girls villians can look at the originals here http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/tv_shows/ppg/index.html in the pull tab labeled "Characters". These are the images I used for reference.)

I have been wanting to be Him for three Halloweens now and finally had the time to put together a costume. Dressing as the tutued tranny devil with a Santa belt, f*** me boots and lobster claws required only that I make the tutus and claws.

For the tutus I turned to this incredibly cheap, flimsy 'tablecloth' from a weird dollar-ish store near us called Amazing Savings. I cut pieces 2-3 times my measurements, doubled them over, stapled them and ran elastic through the resultant tubes to bunch them and then stapled them closed.

The claws got the most kudos and were dumb easy: red felt Elmer's glued to Styrofoam plate cutouts. 

(These were the last thing I made and when I admitted I was not 100% sure what materials I was going to use, my DH said, "We could go to the store and see if they have some red oven mitts." And I had a Craftster crackup; scurried around the house muttering, "Store! Oven Mitts!" tutting and shaking my head.)

I punched holes and used ribbon knotted at its center to both create a hinge for the claw halves and to tie the claws to my wrists. This is a better shot of how they work:

To make my DH into Mojo was a bigger challenge. Starting from the top, then . . .

The turban is the back panel from a very shiny, thick white polyester thrift store shirt stretched over a frame and Sharpied. I made the frame with strips of those dense, crosshatched hard plastic bands which are used to bundle newspapers and cardboard boxes. I have no idea what they are properly called but I love love love them.

Mojo's cape is a ladies dressing gown --also thrifted-- with the pocket and arms removed and their holes stitched shut. I moved the ties from the side seams up to the shoulders.

The tunic is a football jersey (thrifted, yes) turned back-to-front. What you cannot see in the picture is that I removed the sleeves and used some more of those miracle plastic shipping strips to make a more pronounced "V" shape in the garment.

The belt is a thrift store cummerbund turned back-to-front, to which I attached a purple triangle cut from one of the gown sleeves.

Mojo's fur is my proudest point. I found a suede ladies coat (interestingly in my size) at the thrift store which had this natty black faux fur trim. This is where the clouds parted, light shone down on me and trumpets sounded. The trim looked grotty on the coat, but was just what I was looking for for Mojo.

As you may know, fake fur can be pricey and tends to be short and shiny. Not what I was going for. So I removed the trim from the coat
and attached it to the sleeves of a black long sleeved t-shirt (which is worn under the tunic.) The fur on his neck is just wrapped and tucked, scarf style.

Not visable in the picture are the go go boots. As luck would have it, the DH and I have the same shoe size, soooo when I found some cute leather ankle boots with a snakeskin finish and a low chunky heel at the thrift store for $4.99 and I already had the shiny white shirt in my hand I KNEW. I chopped the shirt sleeves and slid them over the boots. A few staples to secure the sleeves to the soles and -presto- go go!

I used the remaining (front) panels from the shirt to make gloves, with the cuffs from the sleeves tacked on facing backwards to give them a nice flare (and perhaps distract from the sloppiest hand stitching ever.) You cannot see these in the snapshot because Mojo took his gloves off to eat Doritos.

The one piece of Mojo's costume I did not make or alter are the pants. In the PPG, one never sees Mojo's legs. I was not going to try to achieve this boots-meet-tunic effect on my DH. So I had him put on a pair of his kung fu pants, which have a great bowed shape to complement the Mojo stance.

All told, I spent $30 at the thrift store for costume components. Fully half of that was for the coat. I figured $15 was not too spendy for the fur. And the coat fits me beautifully. (I ususally have a hard time finding long enough sleeves.)

My question for you Craftsters is this: should I re-trim the coat OR use the outer suede shell to recon into a winter shirt dress?

I am leaning to the latter. I have a half dozen coats as it is (and perhaps a bit of a thrift store 'habit', yes.) And I really cannot see myself wearing one with floral embroidery. But a suede shirt dress could make for a hot January . . .

Either way, I also got a pair of boots in the bargin. And the best part of dressing as cartoon characters is that everything is clean lines and chunky color. No fussy details to trip up the noob costume maker.

20  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Can I Get A Sand Dollar Holler? on: October 17, 2007 10:09:48 PM
Pro'lly not. But, anyhow, I had a little fake sand dollar that came unglued from a post earring. It was pearly and pretty and inspired my to make five pointed sand dollary stars from these real fresh water pearl beads I had. I managed to break the inspiration piece in the process, but I really like the little stars.

Blurry little stars . . .

. . . make a delicate necklace.

Not the tidiest work, but I love the shape and could see adapting it in other projects. What say ye?
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