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1  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Party Planning / 5th birthday party dinosaur digs (with tutorial) on: March 01, 2018 12:13:24 PM
My daughter wanted a dinosaur birthday party, so obviously we had to excavate "fossils."  Just about everything I found on pinterest involved making salt dough eggs, tho, and I refuse to use large amounts of 1-time-use kitchen stuff on something I can't put in the compost, so we did some experiments and this is what we ended up with:

*1 part sand
*1 part corn starch
*1 part black tea (for coloring, and to make it smell nice, according to my child; instant coffee would probably work well, too)
*a few drops food coloring if you want your dig to be darker or redder
*Treasures!  (For each kid we had 3 dinosaur skeletons, 2 garden rocks, a whole bunch of marbles, & some natural colored fishtank gravel to give a little more texture)
*Something to use as molds (I pulled out a stack of old takeout containers)

Divide up your treasures into even portions if you're doing this for a bunch of kids.  Then mix up your sand, tea, & corn starch.

Stir!  (a mess will be made...)  

Stir more, until everything comes together into sandy textured goop.  Remember it will get much paler as it dries, and decide if you want to add more coloring.  

Half-fill your molds with sandy goop, then press your treasures into it.  Spread them out so that not everything is in the same place.

Once you're happy with the distribution, pour on enough more goop to bury everything.  A few legs or marble tops sticking out is good, but you don't want to know where everything is when you start digging! Smiley  (We had to mix up another batch of goop at this point, so I added food coloring: 2 drops red, 1 blue, 1 yellow for a red-brown tint.  More might have been better.)

Put them somewhere out of the way and let everything dry.  We did these a week before the party, just in case, but dry times will depend on your humidity.  This dries more quickly than any of the other options we tested.

...And then get out all your toy hammers & crab mallets, paintbrushes, maybe some toy screwdrivers or pliers to pry with, and have at.  For some reason I don't have any pictures of wrangling six small children through disassembling these, but whacking it with a toy hammer seemed to work just fine, & little fingers can crumble up chunks of it with no problems.  

As the kids got done excavating, I dumped each person's container out onto an old metal window screen over a bucket to push the rest of the sand/cornstarch through & make sure they hadn't missed anything fun. The bucket got emptied into the compost, & I spent a minute to sweep the porch before we went on to painting fossil casts.
2  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Completed Projects / Positive affirmation projects on: February 16, 2018 07:44:00 AM
I haven't posted a real thread in *ages*... so here's some love for the machine embroidery board, since I might be a bit obsessed with the embroidery machine I got in November. 

I did these for the Positive Affirmations Swap; each of my partners got a little patch and a larger quilt-pieced bit.

Here's a shot of all three of the big pieces:

"Be Kind to Yourself" mug rug for loves2experiment

"Be someone who makes you happy" mug rug for LadybugsandBumblebees (backed with ladybug fabric, of course...)

And "Be the kind of person that you want to meet" TM-style patch for BigBangMomma

Here are the patches (recipients' color choices on fleece) and an extra tree I stitched out but didn't end up using. 

...and then for me I added a "positivi-tea" patch stitched up on old denim to my bag. 
3  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Discussion and Questions / it's 2018- is there digitizing software for mac yet?? on: January 12, 2018 08:06:25 AM
I have yet to find anything that doesn't either say, "yeah, too bad, we're Windows only" or "Sure you can run this on a mac if you get a windows emulator!"

Has anyone found something else?  Or has anyone gone the emulator route & have opinions to share on the experience?

4  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.  
5  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
6  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. 

7  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

8  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. 


9  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:
10  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
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