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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / White silk wedding dress on: January 01, 2010 06:13:27 PM
I finished it just in time for my daughter's wedding celebration on Sunday! She emailed me some photos of dresses she liked and I made it without a pattern. To be sure that I could fit her, she had an idea from something she had read: put on an old t-shirt and wrap her body with duct tape and then cut that off. She mailed it to me and I stuffed it with with newspaper and put it on a hanger so I had a dressmaker dummy to work with:

To make sure I had what she wanted I got some inexpensive fabric of the same weight as the white silk of the dress and made a quick version of the dress a little big and mailed it to her. I had her pin it so it would be the right fit and then mail it back. Then I cut the silk sewed the dress.

She didn't want any fancy work--I really wanted to do some bead work and hand crochet on it, but the only "fancy" work she approved was the silk braid I made around the bodice. So it is really quite a simple design, but she is so beautiful (IMHO) that I could have sewed a burlap sack for her and she would have looked elegant! It has a built in bra and is backless. I put in a long zipper in the back.

It was fun making this. I've been making clothing for her since she was a baby (wow, that was 32 years ago!) I was so honored and pleased that she asked me to make her wedding dress. Of course, it got completed the night before the big day (honest, it would have been done way before, but you know how busy a craftsperson gets!) Anyway, I wanted to have her close by to do the final fitting and get the hem length right and she lives clear across the country on the opposite coast, so it makes sense to wait til the last minute, right?
2  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 45 ENTRIES / Ugly foam cooler and box to cool chameleon wall hanging w/secret compartment! on: December 02, 2009 06:58:45 AM
OK, I wanted to do something different, and I really LIKED the idea of turning a couch into a desk, but I couldn't fit one in my car! So, I went to the thrift store and looked and looked and looked, and came up with...turning these junky coolers and little wooden trinket box into a cool wall hanging with a secret compartment for my nephew! And, the price was right--coolers were $0.69 each and the box was also $0.69 so my total investment was $2.07.
After: and Before: .

It has a secret compartment, hidden in it, which is of course something designed for a boy to love:

How I made it:

1. Planning was easy. He likes lizards, so I went onto the Internet, downloaded and printed pictures of Chameleons, and then sketched on the coolers with water color pens.

2. Next I cut each part out using my hot knife (www.hotwirefoamfactory.com)--this is the tool I used the most on the project.

3. Now I started gluing. I got the glue from the same website, you need to make sure you use glue with foam that doesn't eat through the foam, and white glue never dries.  Sad You can use hot glue guns, though.

4. I let the glue dry overnight and then started carving--this is the fun part! I remove all the stuff I don't want. I use the freehand router because it lets me shape the blade and make cuts any way I want, so I can carve out the ribs and round out the edges. I love it because there is no mess.

5. Now I did the coating. I used Foam Coat, which is a hard cement coating. You just mix it up and paint it on. I wanted something really, really tough since it is going into a boy's room, and boys are hard on things. I needed it to be able to withstand being hit by a football or being knocked off the wall onto the floor!

6. I let the foam coat dry overnight. Final step was painting it. I just used acrylic paints. I just did it (the paint isn't really dry, but I took the pictures anyway to put this up!)

I spent about 5 hours total on this project--about 30 minutes at the thrift store, 30 minutes on the Internet, 2 hours cutting and gluing, 1 hour carving and shaping, 10 minutes coating and 50 minutes painting. (Well, I guess 6 hours because it took me an hour to write this and upload my pictures!) It cost me $2 at the thrift store, and maybe $1 worth of Foam Coat, and maybe $1 worth of paint, and my Hot Wire tools (but those were paid for a LONG time ago, I use them ALL the time!) so I would say the project cost about $4 total.
3  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Styrofoam village on: February 16, 2008 09:09:08 AM
Ever wonder what you could make with styrofoam from packaging? I hate to throw it away.

My husband has a small business making craft tools for carving styrofoam into anything you want to make. It is a great way to use recycled packing foam from stuff you buy, and if you go to places like Sears with large items shipped you can often get big chunks of foam. The tools from his company (Hot Wire Foam Factory, at http://www.hwff.com) can be used to easily make displays for Department 56 village houses, like these:

Using a hot wire to craft foam is really not at all messy, unlike any other method of cutting foam. He's got a really big gallery of projects people have done and sent in pictures from, and descriptions of how they made stuff if you are interested:
4  FIBER ARTS / Weaving: Discussion and Questions / Commissioned work? on: February 15, 2008 12:23:14 PM
Anyone have an idea of how I could find a weaver to do a commissioned work? Or a ball park figure of what one would cost? I don't weave, I do lots of other kinds of art, including crochet, knit, quilt, batik, ceramics, water color and murals. Perhaps someone would want to do a trade for some commissioned work I create? I have an idea I want to try out, creating a work that spans a long wall with a variety of the same theme carried out in different media. It's a forest, meadow and mountain scape, so far I've got the fabric and layout for a quilted section, a batik section, and a water color painting section, but I may just stick with fabric crafts and not use any other forms, I'm not sure how they will look together. Plus I want something soft to help absorb sound in the room it is going into.
5  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Discussion and Questions / Mural art--paint questions on: February 15, 2008 12:11:33 PM
Has anyone painted a mural in acrylics and want to share with me their secrets? I am starting a really, really large mural. It is of sea life. The panels are made with polystyrene foam and I'm doing bass relief to make the images dimensional. I want to paint with acrylic and then seal the whole thing with a clear coat so that it is durable. Any idea of the best brand of paint and sealant so that it doesn't fade and doesn't crack or peel?
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