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1  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Artiste Floss from Hobby Lobby on: October 27, 2011 02:55:43 PM
I found a 36 pack of Hobby Lobby Artiste 6-strand floss.  Normally I splurge on DMC but they had this pack of lovely ombres and I thought for $6 it might be worth a try... and am fully aware that you get what you pay for.

Two lengths in and I'm finding that it's got this weird, sticky feeling, and is really fuzzy and might not be mercerized.  Still, it's stitching okay.  But I'm wondering whether it will be colorfast.

Has anyone completed a project with this floss and if so, what did you think?  Did it stand up to washing okay?

Here is the item in question: http://shop.hobbylobby.com/store/item.aspx?ItemId=186536
2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / My tribute to bad customer service on: October 14, 2011 02:11:25 PM
A couple days ago, somebody got called out on Regretsy.  Instead of a little chuckle, this one had me rolling at work.

Basically, a seller indicated to the buyer that a printed item was of one size and did not indicate that it was approximate.  Therefore to fit the intended purposes of the buyer, the item had to be cut down.  Due to this, the buyer gave neutral feedback.  Then, the seller basically went apeshit, demanding that the feedback be changed, screaming about everything from how it wasn't a big deal to how the seller knew where the buyer worked, culminating in a threatened lawsuit (HAHAHA).  What's even better is that she had complained in her own Etsy feedback about other people's poor customer service.

The whole exchange is posted in all of its glory here: http://www.regretsy.com/2011/10/13/how-to-respond-to-neutral-feedback-and-keep-a-customer-for-life/

Naturally, this epic battle deserved to be glorified forever in cross-stitch.  I present to you my work in progress:

And it's still a WIP because I'm pretty sure there can't be enough sequins.
The alphabet is one from http://patternmakercharts.blogspot.com/, good luck finding it because I have no idea where it came from beyond that.
3  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / Pet T-Shirt from Human (Repurposed) - With Link to Photo Tute! on: January 25, 2010 08:45:00 PM
Sorry for the exhaustingly long title.

Here is the link to my Flickr account, where the photo tutorial will reside until I get its permanent home on my blog.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mnordyke/sets/72157623285909818/ <~~ here is the photo tute.

I had an old thermal shirt that I wasn't using anymore, mainly due to the fact that I had cut the sleeves off and jokingly put it on my dog before.  She was looking a little too warm in her cozy polarfleece hoodie, but I felt bad sending her to play outside while it's still pretty brisk (she's an indoor dog).  The solution?  A nice midweight t-shirt.

(she was being rather uncooperative during the photo shoot, as you will see if you click the above link)

There is minimal cutting and shaping involved in this project.  All you need are basic sewing skills, pins, a seam ripper (to start the armhole opening), scissors, and a shirt.  I rate it a "very easy" project for anyone who has sewn, really, anything at all.
4  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Strapless top for my Pullip! - new outfit pictures added! on: November 08, 2009 09:24:51 PM
I made a strapless top for my Pullip.

I also made her jeans Smiley
I have already posted the knitting pattern for the top.  It uses size 1 US knitting needles and size 10 crochet thread.  The top fastens in the back with snaps, so there is no circular knitting.
Here is the link the pattern on my blog: http://mnordyke.blogspot.com/2009/10/introductory-post-pssh.html
More patterns - knitting and crochet - to come!

I plan on posting the sewing pattern for her pants on my blog as well, once I can get access to a scanner and once I get permission from the Puchi Collective, where I got the original pattern.

C&C welcome!!

5  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Making casts of doll feet for heat-resistant "legs" for shoes on: October 05, 2009 12:36:21 AM
That title makes no sense.  Here's what I'm wanting to do, and after much debate I figured this would fare better here than on the dolls/toys board.

I am hoping to get a Pullip doll for my birthday.  Problem is, these dolls only come with one pair of shoes, and as I want to dress her (why else would anyone want a doll at age 24? LOL), I want lots and LOTS of shoes.  Made from polymer clay, because it's easy, has a ton of pre-mixed colors, etc.  All the benefits of polymer clay.

Problem is, my doll won't like going into the oven.  At all.  And I'm wondering how I can make a fake, heat-resistant "leg" molded from a cast of the doll's actual leg that I can then form the shoes to and bake (and if they don't come off, I can break them off the fake leg instead of leaving them glued to her real leg).  Some ideas I've played around with are: latex rubber for a cast of the leg (problems: I don't know where to get this, and I don't know if it will stick to or stain her leg [made of ABS plastic]) and plaster or some other "pour-able" substance, although I'm not sure what kind of heat plastic can take or if it will hold up in a small shape like a doll leg.  I could use another piece of clay, although I'm not entirely sure that pushing her leg into it would work, then baking it, then putting more polymer clay to make a positive impression, then rebaking, then having the fake leg to rebake again.  I'm hoping to get something "re-bakeable" so that I don't have to remake a new fake leg every time I make a new pair of shoes.  How many times can a piece of clay be re-baked, if discoloring isn't an issue?  Is it okay to use one brand of polymer clay for the piece to be rebaked repeatedly, and then Sculpey to make the shoes?

Any suggestions?  I have searched as best as I can, although it's 2 AM and I'm running out of common sense for search terms.  Thanks in advance!
6  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / Fleece hoodie for a larger dog on: March 26, 2009 09:37:36 PM
I have seen so many cute hoodies for small dogs that it's making me crazy with jealousy.  So I decided that it was time to make a hoodie for my 70 pound lab mix.  I wanted a an additional one with spring weather-appropriate fabric, so I'm going to make another one out of t-shirt knit over the weekend.  I'll post pictures here when I'm done with that one, too!

On with the pictures!

It fits her strange, deep-chested body shape really well.  The stretch in the fleece is essential for this.

I think the leg holes were a little too big, but I like the way the hood falls when she sits.

Just for fun!

Let me know what you think!  If anyone wants a tutorial, let me know and I'll take pictures when I make the second one and post instructions.
7  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / "Peasant" top for my dog (4 pictures) on: March 26, 2009 09:30:24 PM
I had this really pretty floral print fabric that I used back in high school for pajama pants.  I've only had scraps left, and I decided that was time to dress my dog.  The answer?  A breezy, spring-appropriate peasant top.  For my dog.

I'm pretty sure my boyfriend thinks I'm certifiably insane.  The thing I'm most excited about is the fact that I didn't use a pattern, and I've never seen another top like this.  Hooray!

Posing for the camera

The zipper is what is causing the ripple on the back.  I don't mind so much, but next time I'm going to use a separating zipper.  My friend says this is her "I'm going to do something disgusting to your carpet while you sleep" look, but she wagged her tail when I picked it up to put it on her, then sat and waited for me to do it.  I figured if she hated it, she would have tucked tail and run.

Standing.  A bit awkward here, but it fits pretty loosely and the fabric drapes well.

A close-up of the (unintentionally) square neckline.

Tell me what you think!  I know it was kind of rigged, but now that I have the basic idea of how to do it, I might make her another one.
You are also welcome to tell me that I'm out of my mind for making a peasant blouse for my dog.  LOL
8  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Black Swan Earrings with wire-wrapped loop tute (Img heavy) on: October 26, 2008 01:55:28 PM

I made these earrings last night (and finished at about 3 AM).  In case anyone is interested, instructions on how to make them follow!

Also, pardon the lack of photographic creativity.  As I said, it was 3 AM, and my giant camera (and sleeping boyfriend) isn't so good for taking quick pictures.

Materials needed:
2 x 3.5" length 4mm "curb"-style chain, silver
2 x fish-hook or leverback earwires, silver
40 2" silver headpins (22 gauge is better; whatever is at your local craft store will probably work fine)
2 x 8mm corrugated silver metal beads
2 x 6/0 silver metallic seed beads
BLACK glass beads:
  10 x 6mm faceted round
  8 x 6mm faceted bicone
  6 x 4mm faceted round
CLEAR glass beads:
  6 x 6x4mm faceted rondelle
  8 x 6mm faceted round

Tools needed:
Super fine chain nose pliers (for reference below, mine have black handles)
Chain nose pliers, regular sized
Round-nose pliers (mine are purple)
Angled wire-cutters (you cannot use the ones inside pliers; they will not be able to get close enough to the bead) - mine are blue

Using the wire-wrapped loop technique (discussed below), make the charms and attach as you go in the following order:
Headpin 1 (attach to the bottom link of chain): 1 seed bead, 1 metal bead, attach and make the loop.

The rest of the headpin charms will be attached on each side of the chain.  The table below shows how I did this, with each column corresponding to the right and left side of the links.
You will want to start from the bottom and work your way up; the table shows the finished piece (so start at the bottom of the table for best results).  This is an image file, because I am HTML challenged.

MAKING A WIRE-WRAPPED LOOP (and attaching it to something before completion)
1.  String your bead(s) onto the headpin.  Grasp the headpin with regular chain-nose-pliers about 2-3mm from the bead.  I use the very tips of my wider chain-nose pliers to do this; this gets me about 3 wraps.  It doesn't matter what you use - just try to get enough for at least 2 wraps, and make sure the bend is a consistent distance from the bead on every charm.

2.  Using your round-nose pliers, grip the bend.  My round-nose pliers are asymmetrical (one side is a little larger).  I use this to my advantage by having the smaller side under the loop, and using the larger side to wrap the wire around (this will be clearer in a couple of steps).  Ensure that the bead forms as close to a 90 degree angle as possible to the line of the pliers, as below (mine is a bit off to the left, as I am holding the pliers at arm's length to take a picture with the other hand).  This will keep your loop from getting funky by keeping the wire on the same, flat plane.

3.  Gripping the wire tightly with your fingers, swing it around to make a "question-mark" shaped bend in the wire.  Again, you can see here what I'm talking about: the larger side of my round-nose pliers is the side that I'm shaping the wire around.  Ensure that you pull this tightly; it should wrap around the pliers with no space between.

4.  Flip your pliers upside down, so that you now have one side on the top of the "question-mark" and the side you wrapped the wire around inside the loop.  Push the wire against the slope of the pliers so that it's a tight fit; if you let the loop slip closer to the tips of the pliers, the shape of the loop will not be round.

5.  Finish bringing the wire around to complete the loop.  Sorry this is so out of focus, but I think the general idea is clear.

6.  Your loop may be off-center; I usually have to compensate for this.  Grab the loop close to the bend with your super fine chain nose pliers, and...

7.  Center it.

8.  Here, you will want to make sure that there's enough room to slide on the chain.  This is the departure from the rule that you want everything to be flat and on the same plane.  Grab your super fine pliers and open this just a tiny bit.  Where the two pieces of wire touch at the bottom of the loop, spread them apart just a little.  Mine needs to be opened.

9.  Slide the loop onto whatever it needs to be attached to.  IF YOU SKIP THIS STEP you will have to use a jump-ring, as once the loop is "wrapped" you cannot open it any longer.  However, if you are using fine-gauge wire or trying to make something extra secure, you can see the obvious advantage of a wrapped loop (not to mention it looks much nicer!).

10.  Hold the loop securely.  Don't squash the chain.  Hold it with the super fine pliers between the long end of the wire and the chain.  Just... look at the picture!  LOL

11.  Begin wrapping the wire around the "stem" we left in the first step.  Last chance to check your positioning!
Grab close to the end of the headpin, squeeze both hands fairly tightly, and wrap a full time around the stem.  Use your super fine pliers to guide the loop - it should be flush against them, or your "coil" will be sloppy and angled.

Wrap again, until you are one headpin-width away from the bead.  This comes with practice.

12.  If needed, squeeze your wraps together to make them look tight and neat.

13.  Using your angled cutters, clip as close in there as you can get.

14.  This is why we left the extra headpin-width of space after the last wrap.  Use your super fine pliers to tuck the remaining end down into that space (this takes some practice; just get it as tight as you can).  I don't know how I do this; I kind of "rotate and squeeze" to finish coiling the piece down, then I squeeze extra hard to secure that little end.

15.  Lather, rinse, and repeat to make my earrings or whatever you want.  These took me forever - each one of the 40 charms has a wire-wrapped loop!

I know that my technique isn't perfect, but I'm hoping that since I'm still a beginner, my instructions can be helpful to other beginners.  This is the first project where I have extensively used wrapped loops.  Please feel free to leave constructive criticism!
9  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Does hemalyke (man-made hematite) tarnish? on: October 02, 2008 09:36:01 AM
I have found this on firemountaingems.com and really like it (since they don't carry hematite, and gemmall carries it but I have to spend $20 on their site and can just buy hemalyke on firemountain and get more wholesale credit).

Has anyone used it?  What is the texture/weight similar to?  I'm wanting something at least as heavy as glass, with no plastic-looking lines from the mold; also, it CANNOT tarnish, period.  Does anyone know if it does?
10  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / First set of jewelry from my new hobby/addiction/whatever (image heavy) on: September 30, 2008 10:53:32 AM
So I've recently gotten really really into beading lately (like $400 into it), and while I really enjoy the hobby, I think I might enjoy it a bit /too/ much.  Here's a few pictures of the first set of projects I've completed.  I have named them all in my head after the person I had in mind while I designed them, though some of the recipients might change now that I have decided to list them for sale on my facebook page.

Elizabeth (not for, but made from beads commandeered by, a girl of the same name)
Rhondonite beads with cut sections of chain; about 60" long, meant to be worn doubled

Selena (for my stepsister)
Assorted glass beads and sterling silver spacers/clasp - from a couple of other craftster posts, I will link when I have more time

Beth (who rejected these earrings)
Green shell and Swarovski crystals

Megan (named after myself - the one set I ended up keeping for me)
FWP and black seed beads

No name (not glamorous enough to deserve one)
Seed beads in black and scarlet, the colors of my school

Eustolia (who would kill me for not calling her by "Sam")
Pink FWP and Swarovski crystals with sterling silver findings

Suzanne (after my other stepsister)
Amber glass and gold foil seed beads

Ravenna (who loved this set!)
Jasper and agate beads on eyepins

Ice Cubes (stupid name, but I lied... I kept this experimental set for myself as well)
Clear glass with blue accents, silver metallic glass seed beads

Jennifer (after my sister-in-law)
Simulated turquoise, which is much prettier in person, amber glass and gold seed beads
Yes I recycled (from another project's leftovers)

Mae (after the middle name of my grandmother, for whom the necklace was made)
Clear glass and mint glass beads with silver metallic seed beads - also recycled from another project

Joycelyn (after my aunt, who will not be receiving this since I have discovered her favorite color is green)
Shell and Swarovski with sterling findings

Any comments, suggestions, etc. are welcome.  I have put these for sale on my facebook so please be as brutally honest as possible, seeing as I don't want to sell something that is ugly... and sometimes, my taste is questionable.  Also the beauty of beading is that these beads and findings can pretty easily be recycled, albeit I may have to sacrifice some stringing material.
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