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1  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Mother's Day / For Mom: A Mini-Bradford Pear Tree o' Pearls! on: May 10, 2008 09:36:38 PM
So, my mother, like me, loves miniature stuff.
I got in the habit years ago of making her these mini beaded trees for gifts, and I try to do a different season each year, and this tree actually started off as a winter tree...but after all the pollen-laden Bradford pears that popped out around here, I thought it fitting it be a spring-themed tree instead.
This one is actually a wee bit bigger than what I normally make in width, somewhere around six inches wide. They're a little time consuming, but fun and easy to make, and I've always had fun experimenting with them, especially the Christmas and Easter ones.
I *still* have so many pearls!! This barely scratched the surface of my excessive supply of them! Cheesy

2  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / "We named the dog Indiana!": Indiana Jones Suit...a la Doxie on: April 16, 2008 01:30:03 PM
I had made this a while back, and since the new flick is a month away (I'm so excited I can't think straight, what with me being the biggest Indy fan ever!), I thought people might enjoy this.

I can't really remember how I made the body suit, but the buttons and zippers are functional, but it all velcros underneath. Doxies are so low to the ground, I reversed the look so it'd be a little more obvious what his costume was.
It's what happens when you have the flu, scrap fabrics, and too much time on your hands. Heh heh.
I do remember how I made the hat - it's a doll hat that started out white and fuzzy and was painted with watered down acrylics and a brown satin ribbon and elastic added.

And yes, he's wearing this to the premiere. Muahah! Poor dog...He's a kind one to put up with all the krap I make him wear.
Bad pics...but enjoy!!

3  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Nymph Feather Wings from recycled materials - (with tute + pics) on: April 06, 2008 10:05:47 PM
I've been trying to bust out my stash lately, and that included the box o' feathers.
I've had a couple of old mardigras-style feather masks for years, and I was tired of storing them, so I ripped the feathers off and reused them, along with other odds and ends feathers I'd acquired over the years from nature, dusters, floral arrangements, flea markets, you name it.

I love the etsy "gigi" wings ( http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=7646700 ), but I can't shell out that sort of money. I used them as a loose inspiration for this project, although I like theirs much better! Heh heh.

Anyways, on to pics!

And for the tute...

You'll need -

2 heavier-weight wire hangers
electrical tape
fine mesh (I used scrap pieces of WireForm aluminum mesh that were rumpled and sort of ripped - I couldn't bear to toss them, and they glue together and to the feathers like a charm)
wire cutters
a lot of hot glue (high temp)
1 yard of 1 inch wide (at least) elastic
scrap fabric to cover rear and elastic armlets

My pictures are kind of krappy, but they give you the idea..
Use about 3/4 of the wire hanger (aka, snip off the hook and swirl parts), bend each to the shap you want for each side. Join edges with electrical tape. Wrap tightly and many times, especially in the center back.
Cover the frame with the mesh, glueing around edges.
Make sleeves for the elastic with the fabric, glue additional fabric around the back of the wings to the edge of the frame.

Make hackles with the feathers with smaller on top, larger on bottom. Be creative! Just don't make the hackles very big. I had about 10 hackles from 2-4 inches wide, 3-5 inches long and it more than covered it.
Make sure you hold aside at least two dozen small, flexible feathers for spot coverage.

Longer, stronger feathers should be used as the tips and will go on first.

Keep glueing! Fill in blank areas and edges with additional, small feathers.

See? it's easy-- hot glue burns aside...Cheesy
Totally worth it, though. I love 'em!
4  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Steampunkin' Memory Box : My recycled magic, let me show you it! on: February 14, 2008 10:35:26 AM
So, my boyfriend is wonderful and very sentimental (which is incredibly sweet). He collects things as reminders and memories in what he calls a 'memory box'. His box currently, though, is a cardboard shoe box.

I couldn't get a custom Scrabble board done in time for Valentine's Day, so I thought I'd make him a new Memory Box to match his bedroom, as well as his general love of Steampunk design and aesthetic.

I thought I'd use a plain, unfinished wood box from Hobby Lobby and a ton of my recycled and random bits and pieces of brass sheeting and fixtures and leather to doll it up for him.
I hope he likes it-- if not, I'm so keeping it, since I've completely fallen in love with it.

The legs are old drawer pulls, the studs are left-over bedazzler studs, the velvet's from the scrap bin.

Hope everyone enjoys - and if there's one thing I learned from this project is that you can pretty much make Steampunk out of things you'd not normally consider. Cheesy
5  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Indiana Jones Swap? Yes. The Hat is Back. on: November 30, 2007 06:47:29 AM
There was a swap for Indiana Jones a little over a year ago, and it's high time to have another! Cheesy

C'mon-- you know you want to...
The new one, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, comes out in May!

6  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / A felt-y Ferret...for fun! on: November 19, 2007 09:43:05 PM
So, my boyfriend is awesome...and loves ferrets.
He can't really have one as a pet anymore, so while he was waiting around for his flight to leave Chicago today, I decided to make him a little coming home present...(also, mainly because I felt bad about not being able to go pick him up at the airport).

It's a life-sized ferret, whose innards are an awful blue wool I have excess amounts of, with two little glass bead eyes and a pink nose..
I broke two needles, and only stabbed myself once, but I think it's a decent first attempt at felting an animal/toy, especially for a 5 hour project.
Mainly, I think it's just funny.

I shall name him Nicodemus...or Bob. Or Sylar!

7  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Adult: Jabba the Hutt (Bring me Solo and the Wookie!) on: October 30, 2007 09:14:44 PM
My pictures are pretty abysmal...but this is my Jabba the Hutt suit -- I thought folks may get a kick out of looking at it.
I've got to put it back on on Saturday, so I may get full-on pictures of the wormy-girth, and hide my legs, like I'm supposed to.

T'was a blast to make, and I had been working on it for a long, long time.
I'm rigging up the tongue to move in the future. Cheesy

And for scale (I swear my head's not that big!):

I look totally goofy, but this costume's fun to wear.
8  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Adult Costume- Futurama, Ahoy: Nibbler! on: October 29, 2007 08:55:36 AM
My boyfriend and I love us some Futurama.
He also does a wicked Nibbler impersonation, and we'd noticed that no one else had ever done this costume. Shame, too, as Nibbler is insanely cute!! Grin
For reference, this is Nibbler:

I had a blast making it, which didn't take as long as one would think, and it was my first official try at a mascot-style head with a more slim-fit to it.
I also was able to get rid of a couple of odds and ends in my fabric boxes and propmaking boxes, like cream-coloured velvet scraps, tons of short-pile black faux fur, random foam pieces, and clear ornament globes.
Also, I seem to like drafting my own patterns these days, so that added to the fun...

He totally digs how the cape flies behind him when he runs.
Heh heh. It's just too funny to see him wearing this!

It's all handmade (literally, by hand. My sewing machine is a piece of junk, and has been for a long time), excluding the base for the shoes, which are recon-ed pink house slippers, and the undershirt which is a slim-fit black shirt.

Yay, Nibblonians!

(next up, he gets the Birthday hat, giant ball o' Dark Matter, and the Lord Nibbler suit to go with this!)
9  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Frank the Rabbit - with tute! on: October 25, 2007 11:37:15 PM
I actually made this last year for Halloween and to wear to wintertime conventions when I wouldn't sweat to death.
Note: when you're wearing fake fur, you will always sweat, no matter the temp.


Anyways, I thought some of you craftsters out there might enjoy a little bit of a tute on a cheap and easy way to make Frank. It takes at least 2 weeks, though, so it's a bit to late for this season, but there's always next year!

Pattern:   Simplicity 3609, View 3 (no tail)

Pattern modifications:
Do not add ears so you have a plain cowl.
Add about 2 inches in inner length to the cowl so it covers your face up to mid-cheek and mid-forehead areas.
Make the legs a little bit longer so they gather at the bottom near the sneakers-- don't add the recommended elastic.
On the wrists, don't add elastic and make a bit longer than recommended.
For the paws

appx. 4 yards dark grey faux fur (medium pile)
appx. 1 yard white monster fur (long pile)/ faux fur
1 15-20 inch long zipper, thread, lots of hot glue
1/8 yard appx. of a vinyl/shiny material for the paw pads
8 to 10 faux bear/lion/other large game animal claws
Chuck Taylor/Chuck-style shoes
Delta Ceramcoat water-based varnish
Acrylic water-based paints in black, ivory, light grey, dark grey
wire mesh/aluminum craft mesh (1 pkg)
3 packs of Model Magic -- http://www.dick-blick.com/items/332/14/33214-3164-1-2ww-m.jpg
1 large pack Hearty air-dry clay -- http://www.hawaiianflowersforever.com/clay.gif
2 pieces of heavy duty elastic
Foam scraps (upholstery foam)
Note: you could likely substitute fur for fleece. It won't look as good, but it's still the same idea.

The suit is pretty simple. Following the pattern and modifications listed above-- make sure you have a long ribbon or something of the sort off the zipper pull, otherwise going to the restroom is a nightmare.
I ran out of fabric on mine, so I had to cut creatively and ended up with some weird seam lines. Ugh.
Also, when you get to the paws, you're going to applique stitch or glue on the pad fabric.
(Reference pic-- http://www.freewebs.com/darko_one/frank.JPG)
As for the claws, I cut tiny slits in the glove edge, stuck the claw through then affixed it internally with glue.
There are several places to pick these claws up. If you have a Tandy/ Leather Factory store in your town, they have them (www.tandyleather.com). Also, www.vandykestaxidermy.com is a good place to find them.

You can always do what I did and mold and resin-cast your own, but it's more time consuming despite the money savings.

The mask is what takes nearly all of the time-- but it's more of a hurry up and wait sort of thing.

1. Using the wire mesh and your face as a template, carefully mold the mesh to the width and height and general shape you want with the mask and attached ears.
If you're able to, double up on the mesh for strength. Mark out (but don't cut out yet) where you want the mouth, eyes, nose to be-- especially the 'air'holes.

2. Using the Hearty clay, apply a thin layer, working it into the mesh without damaging the frame's shape too much.

3. When the first level of clay is dry and stable, start applying a thick layer of Model Magic, working up the face to create the nose, ears, raised mouth etc.
Leave the eye sockets blank, as well as the mouth under the muzzle overhang. This may take several layers.

4. When you have a good idea of tooth size, use the Hearty clay to mold a small set. Ditto on the eyes. Teeth get painted ivory and aged in the crevases by an apply-and-wipe method of painting.
Eyes are painted a silvery ivory and given extra varnish. I recommend making them about 2 centimeters smaller than the actual sockets-- which is actually easy to do since that's about the shrinkage of the eyes if you sculpt them directly using the socket.

5. When the layers of Model Magic are dry (takes about 12-20 hours depending on thickness), apply a final, smoother coat (using your fingers to smooth) of the Hearty clay. Fingermarks are okay. The face is actually quite textured.
Have fun with it, and don't worry about perfection.

6. When everything's dry, start applying paint. Two coats is best. When it's dry, put on at least one coat of varnish for that weird shine.

7. Using hot glue, glue on eyes to the sockets (they attach to the mesh), and the teeth to the overhang. Glue the mask's inner edge to the cowl edge.
Glue on some scrap elastic and foam for a better fit. I have two elastics- one around my neck coming up diagonally to my forehead, and one around the center of my head. It supports very well.

Visibility isn't great in this costume at all, but it sure scares the krap out of people.

Note: Because you're using air-dry clays, the project is totally easy to work on at home. Also, it makes a very lightweight mask, so there aren't any ear-breakage problems. It will chip, though, and it's heat and cold sensitive even after varnished, so it's not to be handled too roughly.

Hope this helps some one! Cheesy
Happy Halloween!
10  CLOTHING / Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Discussion and Questions / Knee-high Boot mods-- for we wide-calfed women (tutorial, too!) on: October 04, 2007 12:59:13 PM
So, why is it that NOONE has trendy boots with genuinely wide calves?

Yeah, Torrid does, but it's only at certain times of the year and they're ridiculously expensive for horrible quality. And their customer service stinks.
Then, there's Roamans, where the boots are very plain and matronly.
JCrew claims to have a wider calf boot, but it's a joke..and no where near wide.

Anyways, I like wearing boots- not just for my costuming/sci-fi and anime convention going-- but for daily wear in the winter.
I got flippin' sick of not being able to wear cute stuff, and after my last pair of good boots got too small, I got creative.

My calves are 18 1/2" in circumfrence, btw.

It's very easy:
A.) Get a cute pair of boots. Make sure they're comfy and most importantly-- make sure they're unlined, have a distinctive back seam and are made of a stretchy material be it pleather or lightweight leather.

b.) find a coordinating pleather or leather that matches the boots. This'll become the tongue. You'll need enough for a long inverted triangle from your ankle to the top of the boot, with a max width of your calf - current boot's calf size + 2 inches.
This is slipped in and either stitched in or held in via velcro tabs when the boot is finished.

b.) Starting at the top of bottom of the ankle/rigid top of the heel on the shoe, rip out the back seam up to the top of the boot, carefully.

c.) using a hole-punch first, then a grommet gun, put in matching grommets, one per inch.

d.) lace up with ribbon, leather cord, laces, whatever you want. It looks alot better when everything blends.

Not the best shot, but it gives an idea...
( EDIT : Picture link fixed )
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