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31  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Not Your Average Rabbit Pillow on: April 02, 2010 12:10:11 AM
Lately I found myself on a bit of a rabbit kick.  I really love rabbits.  I grew up with pet rabbits when I was very young.  Until I moved up to Alaska I had a house rabbit (she went to my best friend who loved her dearly when I moved as I was afraid of what 24 hours on an airplane or in an airport would do to an older bunny).  Unfortunately now I can't have a house rabbit, apartment life can be a bummer. 

Long story short, Rabbit keeps popping up with me spiritually as well.  I ended up with a couple of nice rabbit pelts that wanted to be something.  I ended up with a very soft pillow that will end up being used with my spiritual stuff. 

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Here is the tan side, believe it or not there was a bit of a tear in the pelt.  I stitched it up before making the pillow.  Now I can't even tell where the rip was.  I intentionally kept the shape as natural to the two pelts on hand, so there was a minimal amount of trimming involved.  I rather like it like this.

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The gray rabbit looks like the fur has some rubs or holes.  It honestly doesn't.  The camera picked up any hare (haha) that happened to be out of place on the pillow. 

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I really like the way the side seams went together.  The rabbits' natural coloring meshed nicely.  They almost look like night and day rabbits.

I had a very refreshing time making this pillow, once I discovered some techniques and real details about sewing fur.   My apartment didn't even get covered in rabbit fur when I shaped the pelts.  If anyone is interested feel free to ask and I'll post a little tutorial about hand sewing fur.   


It's not really mature, but I know a lot of people get freaked out about fur - so I added mature tags.  If I messed up, mods please feel free to change them out/tell me to change them.
32  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Needle Size and Thread Type for sewing Rabbit on: March 22, 2010 08:07:13 PM
Out of curiosity, does anyone know off hand what sort of thread (tougher than cotton, thicker, what material?) is best for sewing rabbit fur?  Also do any of you have needle type and size recommendations? 

I'm working on making a pillow, and if all goes well with it, eventually sewing a bunch of them together for a rabbit/hare blanket. 

I keep forgetting to ask the lady I work with who used to work with fur frequently, so I figured I would post it here. 

Also, please don't turn this into a fur debate.  I didn't ask about that.  I asked about needle sizes after doing a search and reading a bunch of posts about fur (rabbit and other) that turned into arguments and none of them had info about needle size and a good thread recommendation.  One had two links, but both were defunct and my google-fu has failed me greatly tonight.   Sad
33  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / A Puppy Welcoming & Tiny Assortment on: November 11, 2009 10:37:10 PM
This summer my mother surprised me with very exciting news - she adopted a new puppy!  (Now I have more incentive to fly back and visit.  I want to see the dog!)  So I decided she deserved a little puppy warming gift for Joy, her new dog!

The frame was a little darker than I wanted it to be, but it was all the store had on hand.  Even so it still turned out pretty well.  The pink lettering shows up a lot better in person and reads, "Welcome Joy!  June 4, 2009" (the puppy's birthday) and has my initials and the month it took me to stitch the piece in the corner.  She was so surprised when she got the package and loved it.  Joy also enjoyed a couple of toys I picked up and has a styleish new collar! 

After a prior winter of one big project, the Tetris heart, I spent my summer working on and off with a bunch of little one night type projects.  They look great on my walls now!

I picked up most of these over Memorial day weekend, so they were really cheep too.

I have a trio of lighthouses hanging around my kitchen sink now.  It's really nice, since it is up against a blank wall and now I have something that is all most as good as a window to look at.

Those are a few more palms added in to the bathroom theme!  The last one that is slightly larger than the rest was a lot of fun.  The kit came with all of the mounting bits, and I rather like the way it looks to cut and glue a piece.  I might have to try that with some other patterns I have floating around.

So that was my summer of minis.  It was a lot of fun and really satisfying to finish something in one or two evenings.  Now I'm onto another epic project.  Hope you get a kick out of these, they were a lot of fun to stitch. 
34  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Help with Junket (rennet) Custard on: September 21, 2009 07:48:24 PM
I'm officially lost.

I saw some Junket http://www.junketdesserts.com/ at the store last week, and decided to snag some, since I always loved it growing up when my mother made it.  All the store had were the rennet tablets which can be used with milk to make custard.  I think my mother used to make the custard mix, because I seriously do not remember this being so persnickety and this much of a pain in the butt to make!

I made one batch, hoping I could wing it without a thermometer since you are supposed to only heat the milk, sugar, vanilla mixture to 110*F.  Apparently, I could not.  I think the mix was too hot and killed off the rennet so it did not solidify.  Yay.  I now have a container of frozen sweet vanilla milk to eat.   Undecided

Today I went for round two.  I snagged a nice digital thermometer and had the guy test it at work for accuracy.  I heated everything to the correct temperature.  The milk and stuff was between 110.6 and 110.  The rennet looked quite well mixed and dissolved with the tablespoon of water.
It all looked fine.  I mixed them together and let it set undisturbed for 10 minutes. 

Now it is in the refrigerator and I think all I have is another bowl of sweetened vanilla milk.   Angry  This is not cool.

Do any of you craftsters have a particular tip or trick for working with this stuff?  Should I leave the tablet in the tablespoon of water to dissolve for a longer period of time?  Did I leave it in too long?  How finicky is this stuff when it comes to temperatures?!

If the bowl in the 'fridge ends up working, I'll let you guys know...  I'm just getting frustrated. 
Help please!
35  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Needle Nooks- how do you keep your needles organized? on: August 31, 2009 10:26:54 PM
After snapping the eyes on a couple of needles in the middle of a project, I decided I need to figure out some way of storing various sized needles in an easy to find type index.

Has anyone made their own needle organizer/storage device for the spare needles of various sizes in your stash?  Any ideas you'd like to share?  I love little needle cases, but I never realized how many of the larger sized needles I had compared to the 28s from that project.  It was a bit of a pain to separate the sizes out, especially mid project.

I have a couple of packets, but they don't stay together too well and take up a lot of space for one size of needle.  I've been tossing around the idea of using some scrap evenweave, sectioning it off for each size needle, and making a cross stitch needle wrap much like the large knitting needle cases.  That way I could add a few decorations here and there on it too just for fun. 
36  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Tetris "You Complete Me" Cross Stitch on: July 23, 2009 11:23:16 PM
Have you ever had one of those projects that seem as if they will be delightfully easy during the planning process, and only by the time you are past the point of no return do you realize how mind numbingly insane the whole thing is? 
Well, this was one of those projects. 

I had the most awesome brainstorm around Thanksgiving when I was trying to figure out something to stitch for my fiance.  We are both wicked dorks, and both love playing Tetris (but are not big on much else regarding video games).  So, when I ran across the Gotta Love Geeks Tetris Style You Complete Me, I knew exactly what I had to make.  Check it out if you haven't seen it before:  http://gottalovegeeks.com/pictures/you-complete-me-tetris-style/

I figured, how difficult could it possibly be to stitch Tetris?  They are a bunch of little squares hooked together in very few different colors!  Great idea!  I'll totally finish it by Christmas. 
Then, I had another brainstorm while playing with magnets at work.  It would be even cooler if I stitched something I could cut out and make interactive!  Tetris without any electronics needed!  Wicked!  And if I cut the pieces out and added magnets it would be even better, since it could go on the 'fridge or his gun safe!
Can you all guess where this is going?

Well, the OCD kicked in, and somehow I decided I just had to make the whole damn thing small enough that it would fit on a metal clipboard so he could play with it at break during work.  (This is where I get myself in trouble.)  However, as I play with the pattern, I realize I don't want to sacrifice detail for size.  (Shoot me now.) 

Finally, I test this now hairbrained scheme on a bunch of different stitching mediums.  The punched paper made the pieces far larger than I wanted when I kept the 1 pixel to 1 stitch ratio.  Same goes for the Adia.  I dug further into my stash and whipped out the linen and evenweave.  The linen I had handy has those very slight bumps and imperfections in the threads that I didn't want for this particular project.  Now comes the 28 count Evenweave.  The usual means of stitching with two strands of floss over the usual two evenweave holes was obviously too large again.  Here's where things got crazy-

I ended up doing the entire flippin' thing in petite point.  Yes, that's right, one strand of floss over one hole in 28 count Evenweave.  I didn't think this through all that well.  Each Tetris square consists of 9x9 stitches.  Each little "Tetrid" (the shapes) consists of 4 squares.  The entire project has 49 of these Tetrids, plus 6 single blocks (a'la game B with the floating blocking squares you start with).  All together that makes 202 squares composed of 16,362 individual stitches...  And I thought it would be a quick and easy project.   Roll Eyes

So needless to say, I did not finish by Christmas.  At least I ended up finishing before his birthday at the end of May!  It was a lot of stitching, and I don't think I'll be all that excited to create something else in that particular size again.  I spent a few too many hours under two Ott Lights feeling like my eyes were going to pop out of my skull. 

That is the finished product.  I have no idea how many hours I spent on this thing, at least my guy loves it! 

Here's a couple pics from the mounting process.  I had some of it when it was half finished, but they might have been lost when my old computer's hard drive crapped out. 

Stitching completed- that's a whole lot of Tetris!

Dear Gods!  She's cutting it up!  Yup- I mounted it on some of that sticky mount poster board type stitching backer.  Next I cut it apart using some of those gigantic tailor sheers and the larger X-Acto blade for fine tuning.  After cutting out the pieces, they all received a bit of magnetic tape on the reverse side. 

I was surprised how strong the magnetic tape actually is.  I bet I will find more uses for it in future craft projects.  All of the pieces stuck to the refrigerator as I organized them to create the heart. 

Finally, here's the comparison- the print out of the original bit of inspiration, http://gottalovegeeks.com/pictures/you-complete-me-tetris-style/ and my interpretation. 

Whew.  That was a lot of work. 
I probably should have ironed the pieces before mounting them to the backer- some are slightly curved, but at that point I just wanted to get the thing done so I didn't have to look at it anymore.   Grin Er, I mean, so my wonderful loving guy could have his much delayed present.  Really... 

Hope you all get a kick out of it.  It's a lot of fun to mess with on the refrigerator!
37  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Scalemaille and Chainmaille Supplies on: April 13, 2009 10:05:40 AM
When I was in college some friends got me into making chianmaille.  It was heaps of fun to do, and I loved having pieces to mess with after.  Unfortunately life gets in the way, and a ton of supplies and tools somehow vanished in a couple of different moves. 

Thanks to one of the paintball guys, my interest is piqued again about working chainmaille.  I started looking on a couple places to order supplies (I'd rather not cut my own rings, I want something to put off to the side and fiddle with during work, and that might be a bit much), and found out The Ring Lord has the most awesome looking scales to work with!
Unfortunately they also want to bend me over when it comes to shipping to Alaska.   Shocked 

Has anyone out there found another place that supplies the scales like The Ring Lord?  This is the type I am interested in: http://theringlord.com/cart/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=84&cat=Scales&websess=69016513860179
I have looked all over, but only found other suppliers of rings and things so far.  Blue Buddha seems pretty decent price wise for rings to play with, as their shipping direct to AK makes them cheaper per ring than The Ring Lord. 

Am I doomed to have them ship to Indiana, for one of my friends to do me a huge favor and reship via flat rate priority to save money?  Or will this adventure end up with me in the sheet metal shop punching and bending my own sheets? 

Thank you very much!
38  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Test Dragon or My First Critter on: March 29, 2009 11:45:42 PM
After seeing Id's post https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=282578.0 I fell in love with her dragons.  After snagging her pattern on etsy, I just had to give it a shot.  This is my very first time attempting a plushie, and the first time in ages I have hand sewn much of anything (I usually cross stitch, rug hook, or bead!).  He's more of a prototype/test run dragon for me, as I started to make him before having all of the proper tools and ended up putting a lot of him together at work.   

Lessons learned- black sharpie is NOT the best tool to mark patterns out on felt with.  The nice fabric scissors I have at home are a lot better than the beat to heck pair people use to cut wire at work...   Roll Eyes  The next dragon will also be stuffed with actual stuffing rather than shredded (clean) Kleenex.  I got enthusiastic and didn't want to stop and wait for proper supplies. 
Next one is going to look a lot less rough, particularly lacking the black outlines of sharpie, and have stitching that blends in a bit better. 

At any rate, I present to you Proto the Dragon:

He has little orange seed beads for eyes.

Guarding the Ott Light.

I love the pose-able tail.  It's SO much fun to play with!

Just like having a dog, I can even pretend to be pestered in the kitchen when I'm making my sandwich for work. 

There!  He was a ton of fun to make, and a great way to refresh my memory when it comes to stitching other than little X's and backstitching.  I can't wait to make a few others to keep Proto company.   Grin
39  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / DMC Secret Perfume? on: March 18, 2009 07:17:07 PM
Did anyone else get the DMC email about the scented threads? 
Here's the link that arrived in my email:   http://www.shopdmc.com/spec117scentassts.html

I can't decide if they are going to be something I am dying to try, or if they will just smell like a mix of bad perfume and the scented kid's markers. 

I admit, the idea of sniff-able cross stitch is a rather fascinating novelty, but I'm not sure how great it would be if there is a lot of scent transfer onto my hands or other things. 
40  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Wolves, and Palms, and a Dragon- Oh My! (Lots of Pictures- be warned) on: February 10, 2009 11:15:51 PM
I figured I'd just create one big post with pictures of my cross stitch pieces, since I've sort of been lurking around.  I'm really not great at taking pictures so some of these sort of look weird.  I'm also pretty lazy about getting stuff like this posted so it's all going up at once. 

Here's my cross stitch portfolio (mostly- my mom needs to send a shot of two I made for her this Christmas, and I need to take one of the small sampler I made my fiance for Valentines Day 07).

This is the first piece I ever stitched during August and September 2003.  I made it for a boyfriend at the time.  Since then I got rid of him and kept the piece.  I think I made the right choice.  This is a Dimensions kit titled "A Pair of Wolves"

For my second piece I started a Native American style spirit wolf.  This one kept getting put down thanks to life getting in the way, but finally ended up completed in September 05.  I messed up the top, but by the time I realized it I just modified it since it was so far along.  It still looks somewhat decent, and I figure it can't be that bad for only my second piece.  This was a Creative Accents kit called "Native Wolf."

During a two week vacation at the end of September and beginning of October 05 I managed to knock this little wolf pattern out.  It was a lot of fun, and I rather like the way the pattern looks on the left side of the wolf.  If I were to do it over, I think I would now add some beads to the pattern, just to jazz it up a little and make it sparkle.  This pattern comes from the Janlynn Wild Life Series and is titled "Wolf."

In between there should be a Remember the Ladies pattern called "My Heart is True."  I need to get a picture of this one so I can show it off.  It came out a lot better than I expected, since it was my very first piece worked on 32 count linen with Kreinik Silk thread.  That was an experience light years away from the prior couple of patterns. 

Next up is a Mill Hill Buttons & Beads pattern called "Lakeside Retreat."
I made this one as a Mother's Day gift before I moved to Alaska in 07.  My mom went wild over it!  I was a little concerned since I had never before worked on that perforated paper, nor had I used beads as a part of my stitching other than an occasional embellishment.  I love the way the beads add such texture to the piece!  This one was really difficult to give away for that reason. 

https://www.craftster.org/pictures/data/500/medium/Chairs_Spring_07.jpg (same piece, different picture, doesn't seem like it has as large holes between the stitches.)

This little piece is one I picked up at the NH Highland Games in 06.  It was a kit by Textile Heritage called "Welsh Dragon."  I meant to pick it up and finish it that weekend, but I didn't have enough down time to do so.  Somehow my stitchin' stuff ate it until I was unpacking from my move during Summer 07.  I needed a distraction from the large piece I was working on, and felt badly that the little dragon wasn't completed so I took a break and finished it in one evening. 

Another distraction piece while I was stitching the Stately Palm.  This one is a little Stitch n' Hang entitled "Good Luck Palm" that I picked up for a penny during a big sale at the Michaels in Anchorage.  It only took a night or two.

This Dimensions piece called "Stately Palm" is the largest piece I have completed (so far).  It took about a year, involved a lot of little breaks and distractions, but really wasn't that bad if I had just sat down and done it.  I'm just glad I DID finish it this past summer.

It looks a lot better than that in person, and I still have to mount it on some of that backing stuff so I can frame it.  I have just been really lazy about that part...  Here's a close up of the palm itself.  I really like the way the leaves look.  I sort of have a theme going with palms as my decor, so I still feel particularly drawn to this one.

Finally here's one last little wolf (all most forgotten!).  This was a little Janlynn kit called "Wolf."  I started this one a while ago. I think it was back in 05 after I finished another wolf piece. It turned up in my stitchin' stuff this winter when I was organizing and I figured I should finish it. Not the best piece I've ever done, it was a true testament to why friends don't let friends stitch tired. I idiotically read the pattern wrong and had a good 50% of the white in the cloud wolf's face stitched in dark blue rather than white. Let's just say it's not as much fun when you have to rip out a ton of stitches and start over the same area again...

I have a couple more small ones I stitched for my mother as Christmas gifts, but now I'm waiting for her to take some pictures for me since I forgot to before I wrapped them. 

Yay!  I'm glad I could share them with you.  Nothing too special or creative so far, just little kits, but I have been getting so many ideas from the rest of you I hardly know which one to begin with!  I have a feeling I will be able to mark my pieces as Before Craftster and After Craftster now.   Grin
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