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11  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Hot Air Balloon Lanterns (Baby Nursery Decoration) on: March 02, 2017 01:09:32 PM
A couple of my friends had their first baby last year in September. I consider myself fortunate/honored to have had opportunity host their baby shower at my home. I've also helped decorate for a couple other baby showers in the recent past, and I always like to make decorations for parties that can be incorporated into the baby nursery later.

For this shower, the theme was pink/gray, elephants and hot air balloons. I decided it was completely necessary to have hot air balloons actually hanging in my house, and wouldn't that also be super cute in the baby's room? Grin I used some $1 paper lanterns from Michael's value bins, some disposable plastic cups, a boat load of gesso, mod podge, and tissue paper, some cheap/tiny metal buckets, and twine to make them. I'm in love with bunting lately, so I also made teeny bunting for them with scraps of paper from a name banner I made them also!

Here's them in their new home! (yes, my living room and the baby nursery have the same light yellow walls somehow Tongue)

And a couple of detail shots:

I wish I had an earlier in progress shot to show the pre-tissue paper, but you can see I had mod podge aaaallll over the place here! Also, the lanterns started out with hot pink and black stripes and polka dots, so there were lots of layers needed before those stopped showing up...

You may notice a little traveler in one of the balloons! She was crocheted by my terrific friend studioANF with a whole family of elephants for the party! Grin
12  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Little Fox Girl Cloth Doll on: March 01, 2017 07:27:16 PM
I decided at the last minute to bring a homemade gift to a friend's baby's first birthday last year. I had less than 24 hours when I started, so some things came out a little wonky, but I think for a simply play doll, she came out okay. My friend and I both like foxes and have swapped each other a handful of fox themed crafted things in the past, so I thought a little fox girl was a great idea for a doll. I used only fabrics from my stash, so there's quite a mix of textures. It was really fun to throw this together and I'm hoping to make more gifts for friends' babies in the future Smiley

The dress is reversible - woodland fabric with trees and animals on the gray side, and mushrooms on the green side. The skirt is made from a vintage handkerchief.   

Her face is all hand embroidered.

I packed her and her extra skirt into a pretty box from Joann's with the hope that in the future I can make her some more outfits and she will have a nice little storage box for all her pieces.

And I also hand sewed on a homemade handmade patch on her little tush. 

I did learn several months later that a ribbon belt was a bad idea for someone who might put any small objects in her mouth, so next time, I'll just sew on the ribbon and snug up the dress so it isn't so baggy. Everything was made using free-handed patterns by me Smiley

And here's an "in action" shot of me and the happy little owner of this fox doll - photo courtesy of her grandma Grin

13   / FIBER ARTS / 2016 Featured Projects in Fiber Arts - 3rd and 4th Quarters on: January 01, 2017 12:12:29 PM
2016 Featured Projects in Fiber Arts - 3rd and 4th Quarters

Here are the featured projects for Fiber Arts from third and fourth quarters of 2016. These projects were chosen by members of the Craftster community by hitting the "This Rocks!" button and leaving lots of replies. Please give a round of applause and some love to these talented artists that represent this board!

Needle felted me! by Belladune

From Fiber to Finished Object: February Lady by Arienna

Rusty the Moth Guy by PerfectlyBohemian

Rust Dye Scarves with Picture Tutorial by Abbeeroad

Needle Felted Chinchilla by ThreeLittleCats

Practice Towels by meleriffic

Too see projects from the first quarter and other years, please visit the archive -->here<--! Smiley
14  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Camping swap on: July 22, 2016 07:44:21 PM
I'm really looking forward to doing some camping during the late summer/early fall, and I'm always looking for fun camping gear. Wouldn't it be fun to have some crafted things like mits/cast iron handles, totes or roll-ups for cooking equipment/camp dishes, bottle totes, socks, gloves, hats, etc.? I feel like people are pretty creative in coming up with things that can be functional and crafted which is my favorite combo. Anyone else interested?
15  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Rusty the Moth Guy - mostly needle-felted art doll on: July 01, 2016 05:39:06 PM

I was sooo very excited to participate in the Strange Doll Swap in June, and when I got partnered with petskin for the first time in my swapping career, I was all the more excited. I decided to go with "moths" for the primary theme and "mushrooms" for the secondary theme of her list. I experimented and did somethings I don't usually do, and it was all a ton of fun. I really want to do more projects like this now Smiley

Rusty's body is needle-felted mostly of a plain white core fiber and then a nicer plain white top roving with four natural grayish insect-like arms, and dark natural wool accents around his eyes, legs, and forehead. Around his collar are bits of white wool locks from yet another batch of wool I have to give him a ruffled look. He has a fairly wimpy armature, unfortunately - I didn't realize how weighty he was going to get, and he didn't hold his pose well after handling and moving a lot. He can balance on his own, but his head looks down quite a bit Sad His legs were wrapped in jute twine with polymer clay claws to help provide a stable and durable foot.

For the non-needle felted bits, he has feathered ear tufts - each "ear" is three or four feathers stacked neatly and I built up the felting around them to hold them in and make them stand. You maaaay have noticed that Rusty has some abnormal "growth" on his back - mainly a few slender white mushrooms dotted with green and blue "moss". I made the mushrooms from polymer clay following a tutorial I found here. I added wires to the stems of the mushrooms, which are embedded into Rusty's humped back. The mossy bits are what I like to call "sweater droppings" or "wool pellets". They are the bits of balled up wool left in the corners of my garment bags when I machine wash/wet felt sweaters for craft projects. I have a couple bags of them because I always though I would find a purpose for them. Never through anything away, right? Wink They are also felted down in place. His eyes - which I am in love with - are made from big, flat beads that I had in my stash for a long while with plans to use for some steampunk-style accessories that never came to be. I layered on polymer clay with brushed on pastels to create the eyes. They are slightly insect like but not at the same time. The beads change from orange to green depending on the angle of light.

Now we are getting to the part where Rusty gets his name! The top of his moth wings were created using muslin fabric that I soaked for a few days in water filled with coffee grounds while the fabric was wrapped around rusty nails, screws, and hinges (kindly and gladly donated to me by geekgirl1000100). This was the biggest experiment of the project. I had never really dyed things by intentionally staining with things that tend to stain. I discovered that rust stain does not soak through fabric well. I attempted to get a symmetric look to the wings by doing two layers at once, but I wound up having to do one side and then the other (I had a small supply of rusty bits for this). I was really impressed by the overall result and found some things surprising. I expected the coffee to turn the fabric brownish, but it turned out more grayish. I added vinegar to the water bath because I heard it was good for making dyes brighter/hold better - I don't know about this and I'm not sure if it caused the coffee to change color either. Even though it was unplanned, I really liked the gray tinge around the outer bits of the fabric, but when I cut down the wings, I lots a lot of that. Finally, his wings are backed with felted sweater bits. I decided to intentionally mismatch the undersides of the lower wing parts since he is such a strange character, and it seemed fitting. Smiley

16  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Discussion and Questions / Wool fiber sources on: June 07, 2016 02:55:22 PM
Ok, thanks for the answer. It gives me an estimate: about 15 ounces, maybe more. I would definitively need to buy it online as this stuff is incredibly expensive at my craft store.

I definitely recommend buying online or from a local craft shop (not a big craft chain). I have tried a few sellers on Etsy and usually get my dyed wool in 1 oz bundles for about $3 to $3.50. The wool I started felting with was the Dimensions brand from Michaels and Joanns which was very tiny, expensive, and usually a little dirty/smelly compared to the stuff I get online. I recently bought a pound of cleaned, undyed wool roving from a fiber festival that I'm going to try to dye, and it was a lot cheaper that way. My plan is to dye chunks for trying more felting projects :3 (yet to happen a few months after purchasing though...)
17  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Wet-felted Cat Cave Beds on: June 06, 2016 06:40:34 PM
I'm not much of a wet-felter yet, so these were experimental projects for me. My dear friend geekgirl1000100 teasingly sent me a Pinterest link to a cat cave quite a while ago putting in her "order".

I decided to try making one for a different friend in my local craft meetup group when we did a group swap and had a lot of fun with it. Unfortunately, I didn't make it big enough, so her chubby little kitty Vashti just sleeps on top (the little kitty Penelope never had a chance to try it, I think). The colors were chosen to match my friend's living room - coral and green with touches of dark yellow.

A month or two later, I decided to make one again, this time actually for geekgirl as a present for watching my cats for a week while I was out of town. The second try was a little too big, so it didn't hold its shape very well with the amount of wool I used. The colors were supposed to be a little more inspired by several spacey sci-fi shows that geekgirl is a fan of - blues, purples, grays, and flecks of yellow (I didn't tell her my inspiration for the colors Tongue).

I definitely have some more learning/practicing to do with wet felting before I'm comfortable doing it and happy with the finished products.

This is the first attempt (with Vashti as a model). It looked like the perfect size for my kitties to curl up in, so I didn't suspect it to become a much loved pancaked bed Tongue

And here is attempt two with my buff tabbies Gemini and Castor and geekgirl's kitty Rygel testing it out.

(Gemini would only go in while it was upside down)

(Castor had some growing room)

(Even fluffy Rygel had room for a friend)

18  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / You're Oh So Clever - Whimsical Fox Woodland Shrine on: May 17, 2016 10:15:51 AM
In the recent Shrine Swap, I was partnered with kwality570 which I was very happy for. In the Whimsical Shrine Swap a couple years ago, I was her angel after her original partner flaked. I was super excited to make a companion piece for the "Oh Hello Deer" diorama I made her before (with her permission of course). I still had a couple of round boxes that matched the one I used for her first shrine from me and decided to do an opposite-ish night scene.

After doing some initial sketches, I sketched each piece individually, painted it, cut it out, rubbed the cut edges for a nice crisp black line, and proceeded to assemble in a layered scene. The "opposites" in this shrine are that the scene takes place on the other side of the tree from the first scene, it is night time instead of daytime, there is a female cardinal instead of a male cardinal, and the owl in the tree has taken off and is in flight. Previously, the fox was hiding behind the tree, and now he is pouncing around which a rabbit peaks out from a boulder. I tried to keep the feel of the scene very similar. I included mushrooms again, but this time they are slender white clusters instead of the fat spotted red mushrooms. There are a few things I forgot to do - like highlights and fine touches with color pencil after painting - because I was excited to put it together, and the fox looks like a more youthful pup than previously - perhaps this scene takes place first?  But I'm still happy with how it turned out Smiley

See the first "shrine" in the series here: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=435660.0
19  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Woodland kitchen set on: May 15, 2016 02:49:57 PM
This is a set I made for a friend during a round robin style swap with my local craft group. I went with a few fabrics she had on her Pinterest to get started and then chose some lovely coordinating fabrics I couldn't resist. The apron was made based on one I've had for several years and keep tracing to make new apron templates for. This time I added a towel loop, offset the main pocket, and attached the straps on the front so I could put button accents on them. With the leftover and scrap fabrics I made some scrappy quilted potholders to match. I went a little overboard with the quilting, so they wound up being a little overly stiff. I also added a little back pocket for slipping your hand into while taking things out of the oven. I'll talk about the kitchen towel on another board since I didn't do any sewing on it - just hand stamping Smiley

I am in love with the color combo and fabrics in this set. And the theme of the fabric is very up my alley and very fun to work with.
20  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / Woodland Themed Stamped Tea Towels on: March 28, 2016 11:07:48 AM
Another one of the projects I made for the Woodland Creature swap was a set of tea towels using a pair of stamps I carved.

I tried some fabric medium to mix into acrylic paint this time instead of using oil based stamping inks like I usually do to make sure they dried fast enough before I sent them. I'm not really happy with the results of the fabric medium and acrylic combo, but I last minute decided to add these as an extra to my package and didn't have many other options since the oil based stuff takes a couple weeks to fully dry. The fabric medium and acrylic paint didn't stick well when trying to roll it onto the stamps, so it was all uneven and difficult to apply. Anyone have recommendations on fast drying stamping mediums that roll on well?

I'm still happy overall with the results if you ignore the ink issue. I will hopefully make a nice little set of these for myself in the future Smiley And I forgot to take pictures of the stamps, whoops!

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