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1  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / a necklace of beads and bone on: February 18, 2012 02:20:19 PM
I made this one for the Terri Windling benefit auction a few months back (and was pleased to see it fetch a decent donation, too!)

Auction description: Necklace strung with many and varied beads and snake vertebrae in fall or perhaps desert sunset colors (depending on how you choose to see these things.)  Approximately 21" with off-center hand-made copper clasp, plus pendant bottle.  The beads include several stones (amber, tiger eye, and something red that looks a bit like pressed rose petals), glass, metal, and wood.  The pendant includes a slice of antler as a stop, and a corked bottle for you to fill with your own wishes or dreams.  
2  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / patchwork scrap paper journal (stupidly img-heavy) on: February 18, 2012 02:00:44 PM
This one's for me!  Made to take to the awesome Viable Paradise writing workshop last October.

*wool & linen scrap patchwork with fancy machine zig-zag stitch
*antler button & handmade lucet cord clasp
*cardboard interior for covers
*handbound with coptic stitch, waxed linen thread
*papers detailed with photos below

Dedication: A Journal of Writing created for the Viable Paradise Workshop and thereafter in this year MMXI anno Domini by the common reckoning created for [[me]] by her hand, this seventh day of October known also in [[our house]] as the day that the giant cement truck did its best to murder our mighty oak, may it live to shelter many sedges hereafter, and also birds and squirrels.

packing paper from when my parents moved from Hawai'i to Long Island, old archaeological drawings from a fabled project before-my-time

nautical charts retired from the submarine my father was on when I was born

evil contour drawing from middle school art class, historical map of the Ft Meyer area

instructional poster from my brother's late 80s laser tag set

English/Metric cocktail construction chart, just in case
3  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / hanging planter bottles on: April 11, 2011 06:18:30 PM
I've been meaning to make something like this for a while now; I keep seeing little vases with swirly copper wire meant to hang in the windows, and thinking that a) I can do that myself, and b) clear glass vases aren't going to stay clear very long if you hang them in the window...

So here's my version.  They're made with scraps of electrical wire and some old bottles I had in a box somewhere, filled with light weight gravel, and planted with a couple bits of english ivy that I pulled out of my lawn. 

4  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / patchwork lace shirt (lots of pictures, semi-gibbous-inspired) on: February 15, 2011 07:49:19 PM

This is what happens when you organize your craft room and find out that you're hoarded four boxes of random bits of white lace, much of it vintage, stained, and/or in fairly small lengths.  I'm now down to about 3-1/2 boxes...

I started out with a Butterick pattern (B5538), cut all the pieces out of muslin in the next size up from mine, and then collaged lace bits and sewed them down one piece at a time.  This part took about two months, since I'd do one piece and then have to put it down and come back later to give my brain time to recover.  Then all the assembly happened in a day, except for looking through the button jar for odd buttons in the right color scheme.  

The only modifications to the pattern were the ribbon loops sewn into the side back seams for the lacing, and the fact that I cut the side front panels extra long and then pleated them up again.  I also left off the cuff buttons from the original pattern because I haven't seemed to need them.  

Behold the pretty details!  Grin

5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / "Make Crafts not Horcruxes" embroidered T-shirt version on: June 09, 2010 06:50:11 AM
I just made this recently for a swap partner who had wisted the lovely Make Crafts, not Horcruxes t-shirt from jennieingram on the image reproduction board, and I was inspired to make an embroidered version:

The lettering is a simple chain stitch, with a reversible running stitch for the extra thread & the needle.  The background blue was chosen based on the recipient's favorite colors, and the black & gold thread is a subtle tribute to her chosen Hogwarts house. 


6  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / crafty alchemy cabinet on: March 16, 2010 07:48:30 AM
I've had this vision for a while of a better way to spread out my jewelry supplies and make it so that a) I can see them & remember what I've got, and b) they look cool.  About a month ago, I discovered this old china cabinet at the thrift store for about $40, and was even more delighted to find that the hutch on top is a separate piece, so we could actually get it up the stairs and into the craft room.  Smiley  Since then, I have been filling little jars, digging out cool curios, and putting the less aesthetic craft items in plastic shoeboxes to go in the cabinet at the bottom.  It's still a bit of a work in progress, but mostly taking shape:

The interesting bits:  (and for the record, since I know some people are sensitive about this, all the animal skulls in this picture were things I or my friends found in more or less this state, so none of them were killed for display purposes.)

This side is mostly beads:

This side is buttons & whimsies:

And the test-tube rack my husband made me for tubes of seed beads!  (actually this is just a prototype, and both of us keep meaning to get around to making a slightly better one, but it obviously hasn't happened yet...)

Unfortunately, on the other side of the room is my mending pile, and it is going to rise up in the middle of the night sometime and eat me alive:
7  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Self-portrait with doll (version 1) on: October 19, 2009 03:25:26 PM

(Photo with some basic digital manipulation.) 

Click the picture for a larger version (about 900px wide)... it really does look a lot better in the larger size.  Smiley
8  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Red Riding hood chunky book page (pop-up!) on: October 07, 2009 09:22:18 AM
This is a bit old news, but this is my favorite of the pages I made for the second round of the Chunky Page swap last spring, and I thought I'd share.  It was made to fit the theme "fairytales," and I ended up doing Little Red Riding Hood. 

(front, closed)

(back, with wolfskin rug)

9  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / patchwork apron with tutorial on patchwork w/ freezer paper piecing--IMG HEAVY! on: September 25, 2009 06:43:44 PM
I borrowed an apron pattern from my mother a while back-- something she'd had sitting in her pattern drawer since before I was born, and that I'd always rather liked.  Then more recently, I got some lovely samples of the Williamsburg Sampler quilting fabrics collection from Ruby Jane's Retro Fabrics in exchange for making something awesome and posting a tutorial about it, and so I dug out the pattern, and this is what I came up with:

Obviously, working from quarter-yard pieces wasn't going to get me a whole front panel, so I did a little patchwork, using freezer-paper piecing techniques that normally get used in quilting.  That way I got to show off bits of all the fabrics, which made me happy because I didn't have to pick out favorites.  Smiley


*freezer paper
*a ruler or two (it's nice to have both long and short ones)
*scissors (both fabric & paper, if you keep multiple pairs)
*several fabrics that you like together; if they're the same weight & type, that helps
*an iron (& ironing board)

Start out by tracing the pattern onto your freezer paper, using the paper side (plastic side down).  Make sure you make any pattern alterations before you start, and if you're working with a piece that gets cut on a fold, that you do both halves.  Trace a dotted line around the edges to mark the seam allowance. (This part is important!)  

Cut out the pattern, notches and all.  (I apologize for the poor photos in this bit, by the way-- there was lots of light, but apparently my camera adjusted for the sunlight just outside of the pictures.  Undecided )  

Now we get to the fun part: designing what your piece is eventually going to look like.

Only one of my five fabrics had a large pattern on it, so I decided to use one of the sampler blocks as a center.  (You don't have to do this-- your pattern can be completely asymmetrical if you want!  I would recommend starting out with straight lines, though, since curved ones can be pretty difficult to get to lie flat.)

In this case, I could see the pattern on the fabric through the freezer paper, so I pretty much just traced it, with a little bit of revision when I hadn't gotten it properly centered.  (oops!)  Remember you can erase and change anything up until you cut it out, so don't worry too much if you need to make revisions.  

Because my center piece was fairly large and rectangular, I just made it into the center of a 9-block grid, but then I added a couple of extra seams across some of the blocks to spice things up a bit.  

A couple things to keep in mind, while you're making your pattern:  

*Straight lines are your friend.  They can go in any direction (diagonal, up and down, side to side...) but you want your final product to be as flat as if you'd cut it all out of one piece of cloth, and that's a lot easier if you draw straight lines than curved ones.  Use your rulers!

*If you can help it, you don't want to sew around corners, either.  When you're designing your pattern, try to imagine cutting things out one straight line at a time.  If you can cut out one piece without having to turn anywhere, then you can add another cutting line in the middle of it, and make sure you sew that first one.  (does that make sense?)

So, here's the finished pattern.  At this point, you probably want to erase any stray marks, or even go over the lines you want to cut with a marker.  (See that double line on the right side?  I really regretted that line a little later...)

You can also mark the pieces, so you won't forget which one goes where once you've cut it all up.  I just numbered them from left to right and top to bottom, with a and b for the diagonals.  

You may also want to draw a little chart of what went where, if that'll help you, or if your pattern is particularly complicated.  You can also mark which seams you want to sew first here, if you have trouble keeping track.

Now cut out your pattern along the lines you've drawn.  

Remember that line I said I was going to regret?  Yes, I forgot what I was doing, and cut in the wrong place.   Roll Eyes  You can do one of three things at this point:

*If it's not going to mess up the rest of your design, you can pretend you wanted to cut there, and just go with it.
*You can re-draw the pieces that you messed up onto another bit of freezer paper and cut them out correctly.  (This is probably the easiest.)
*Or, you can pretend that it will ALL BE FINE, cut on the line you meant to use, and iron the resulting strip at the edge of the piece it really ought to be still attached to.  I don't actually recommend this, for reasons that you'll see in a moment.

Set your iron on low, and iron the shiny side of the freezer paper to your fabric.  You can attach it to either the right side or the wrong side; it's up to you.  It's probably better to stick with one or the other, though.  

Think about which pieces will go next to each other, and try to arrange your fabrics so that you've got space between one color and another.  (You can refer to your drawing if that helps, or just keep your pieces laid out loosely in order before you iron them on and after you cut them out.)

Remember how you drew the dotted line for the seam allowance when you first traced the original pattern?  For every edge of a piece that doesn't have that dotted line on it, you're going to need to cut out seam allowance around the freezer paper.  You can do this as carefully as you want to-- either measure it out and draw lines with chalk or fabric pencil, or just eyeball it.  You can use anything from about 1/4 inch to the standard 5/8 inch, but it will make your life a little easier later on if all your seams are the same width.  

If you iron the freezer paper in the wrong place at this point, you can always peel it off and reset it somewhere else on the fabric.  

Here's the whole pattern, cut out and put back in order.  See how there are seam allowances sticking out from behind the freezer paper everywhere but the outside edges?  I didn't do a really good job of getting them even, but I can live with that.  

On to the sewing!  Line up the edges of the freezer paper, and sew as close as you can to that line.  You can pin them together if you want, but for the shorter bits you may not need to.  (It's easier to line up the pieces if you have your freezer paper on the right sides, but it's easier to see the line to sew if you put it on the wrong side of the fabric...)  In a perfect world, where you got all your seam allowances exactly the same size, you can just line up the edges of the fabric the same way you would if you'd just cut out a commercial pattern. 

Remember the order you worked out when you cut the pieces... in this case, I sewed all my diagonals first.  Then I sewed the top line of three blocks, the middle line, and the bottom three, and then I sewed these three pieces together.  

Once you've sewn your pieces, you should be able to open them out.  At this point, the freezer paper will probably start trying to peel off the fabric.  Handle it gently, and don't let it come off!  You still want it to be there for the next seam.  

If you've sewn too far away from the edge, or sewn through the freezer paper, you may want to take out the seam and re-sew it.  If you only have a few pieces, then you can get away with a little more variation (maybe 1/8 of an inch will be ok), but if you're sewing together a lot of pieces, then all those little bits will add up.  

When you go on to your next seam, do the same thing with lining up your freezer paper edges again.  

Here is where I've got two rows-of-three all sewn together and ready to attach to each other.  

One thing to keep in mind when you move on to larger pieces: pay attention to the way your seam allowances lie on the back, and don't sew one down going one direction at the top and another at the bottom.  Otherwise it won't lie flat when you're done.  

It works just the same way with the larger pieces as it did with the smaller ones-- line up the edges of your freezer paper, and sew in a nice straight line.  I pinned the seam lines together here so that I'd end up with the corners in more or less the same place.  

Once you've sewn all your pieces together, you can finally peel the freezer paper off.  Some of it will probably be falling off already, but if you have some stuck in the seams, you may have to pull it out from both sides; it should tear around the seam line fairly easily.  

Remember how I said I'd regret cutting that line in the wrong place, earlier?  You can see how that little mis-cut strip has been trying to come off the whole time...

So, pull off your freezer paper and iron your seams on the back, and there you are!  One lovely pattern piece, all patchworked and ready to sew.  

One more note: with all those seams, your garment will probably last longer and be more comfortable to wear if you line the patchworked pieces.  

So (what you were waiting for....) Here's the finished apron, full length.  

And the back (um, before I put in a buttonhole so the straps don't have to cross over each other...) with a slightly simpler set of patchwork patterns.  
10  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Spiky porcupine thread rack (with tutorial!) on: August 25, 2009 11:42:16 AM
I've been trying to set up my craft room after moving, and one of the things I needed was some way to store my spools of thread so that I can actually see what I have, instead of hunting in box after box to see if I have anything that'll work for each project.  I also wanted something that didn't take up too much space.  This is what I came up with:

This took a couple hours work, and because I used scraps lying around in the basement I spent a few dollars on the dowels, and that was it.  

Materials: three or four 1/4" dowels (the thinnest ones at my hardware store), a small flat piece of wood for the base, a piece 2x4 or similar about a foot long, a drill, a small saw (to cut the dowels), sandpaper, and two screws

Start by marking out where you want to drill your holes.  This is up to you, and will depend on what size your board is and how many spools of thread you want to store.  I used a 1-5/8" interval between pegs, which turned out to work well for everything I have but the old style of extra-large coates & clarke thread (500 yd spools).  If your spools are mostly smaller, or the new kind, then this interval should work fine for you.  

You can do one line up each side of your board, or double up if it's wide enough.  My board was a 2x3, which through the mysterious workings of the lumber industry means that it's actually only 1-1/2" by 2-1/2", so it wasn't quite wide enough for two rows of holes on any of the sides.  I have a lot of thread, so I drilled holes along the corners, too.  More about this later.  

Mark in pencil (it'll come off more easily later!) with a cross at the center of where you want each hole to be.  I just drew a line down the center of each side of the board, and then lines around it to make an x at each point.  Then I marked the corners half-way between each line that goes around, so the corner pegs would come out in between the flat side ones.  

When you've marked all your holes (you can see the crosses where I drew a line down the center of the board, and then the lines across the right distance apart.  Drill your hole at the X between the two lines.) then you're ready to drill them.

Get out your 1/4" drill bit, and put it into the drill.  

This part is where it gets interesting.  Unless you want the pegs to stick straight out when you're done, you're going to want to drill the holes at an angle.  Drill a shallow hole (just using the very tip of the drill bit) at each point.  This will give the drill somewhere to stick, so that it won't just slide off the board when you hold it at an angle to drill the hole you want.  

Make your holes about half an inch deep; if you want, you can put a piece of masking tape around the drill bit to mark when to stop.  This doesn't have to be precise, and you don't have to get exactly the same angle each time-- the thread won't care.  Shot for about 45 degrees, but a little variation won't hurt.  

Make sure you remember which end is the top, so you don't accidentally drill holes going both directions.  Also, pay attention to where the drill is going to go in case it slips-- you don't want to run into your hand or your pretty coffee table by accident.  

Corners!  There are two important things about corners:

1) your drill is not going to want to stick to them.  Take your sandpaper and flatten off the edge of the board enough so that you can drill your starting indentation.  

2) Sometimes, the wood splits (like in the picture above.)  This is when it's time to cut your losses and move on to the next hole; if you keep drilling, you're just going to split the wood more.  

Done?  Sand it down to get rid of all your pencil marks and the fluffy edges of your holes.  If you want to put finish or paint on it, this wouldn't be a bad time to do so; you can coat all the pieces (including the dowels) and sand them down for a second coat pretty easily.

Ok, now we're on to the pegs.  Use your favorite method to cut your dowels into roughly 2" segments.  I used a hand saw and a jig (see the mark I made at 2" along the near side of the jig?) but there are a lot of power tools that would make this faster and easier.  Use what you've got.  Remember that you loose a little bit each time you make a cut; each of my 3 foot long dowels ended up yielding 16 even length pegs and one slightly longer one.

If you're doing this by hand, be prepared for it to be somewhat tedious, and take a while.  

When you're done (finally!) cutting pegs, you can stick them into the holes you drilled.  They should fit fairly snugly; I didn't bother to use glue at all.  If you've got any ends that came out looking really uneven when you cut them, you can make sure to put that side in so no one will see them.  Wink

Of course, if (unlike me) you're more clever than you are impatient, you might actually want to wait and attach the base first, before you put in all your pegs...

Next, you want to attach the base.  Thread isn't too heavy, so it's entirely possible that a bunch of wood glue would work here, but I went for something a little more sturdy:

Take two screws that are at least twice as long as the base is thick.  (ones where the head is flat will work best!) Find a drill bit that is just as wide as the base of the screws, but NOT as wide as the threads:

Trace the bottom of your shaft (the piece you just drilled all the holes in) onto the base, and drill two holes through it where you want to put your screws:

Then line up the base and the shaft so that you can see wood through the holes and tell you'll be drilling in the right place, and drill through both layers.  If you're feeling classy, you can also get a larger drill bit and drill a shallow hole on the bottom side of the base to counter-sink the heads of the screws, so they won't stick out enough to rub your tabletop.  Then screw it all together and put in any of the pegs you haven't attached yet.  

I came up a couple pegs short, but it didn't bother me enough to go buy another dowel...

Decorate as desired, fill with thread, and enjoy!

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