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1  Felted Monster - J Monster Baskin in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by marthaaleo on: October 18, 2011 01:00:10 PM
I made J. Monster Baskin for my 2 year old Step Potato who was recently joined in the family by a little brother.  Since Step Potato would not be the only child anymore,  he needed a scary monster to guard him when his parents were tending to little brother.   

J. Monster Baskin is made from a sweater I machine felted.  I cut out the pattern after drawing  guidelines on a piece of plastic. (Can you tell I love Looney Tunes?) I sewed J. Monster up and turned him inside out.  After he stopped crying,  I stuffed him with fiber fill and sewed him up.  I also sewed the hands to look like there were three fingers plus a thumb.  He held back his tears this time and was very brave.  I needle felted in bloodshot eyes and scowling eyebrows, the hallmark of the Clan Baskin.  J Monster had been through a lot at this point so I took a circle of the sweater fabric and fashioned a nose that looked like it had been broken, stuffed it with fiber fill and sewed it on.

J. Monster was eager to meet his young charge and they are getting along quite well well.   

Martha Aleo

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2  Stained Glass Pendants in Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General by marthaaleo on: February 20, 2011 07:47:40 PM

I did a demonstration on how to make stained glass collage jewelry for my local polymer clay guild  and here are some examples.

I passed out a handout with basic how-to information, suppliers I like (I am not connected to any of them) and some tips that I am happy to share.  If you would like the pdf version with clickable links you can download it at  http://ornamento.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/collage_jewelry.pdf

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3  Felted Beacelets and Beads in Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General by marthaaleo on: December 23, 2010 05:19:29 PM
I've been away from Craftster for a while (family stuff) and am rejoining the land of the living.  I decided to put these items here because they are jewelry and one bracelet also includes my lamp worked  and polymer clay beads. (It was a holiday present for my boss.)  I have tried wet felting and  I like needle felting better, although I tend to go ape******* when I get into something and I realized that I need to give my hands a rest and then learn a smarter way of working.  I already made some polymer clay holders for the felting needles and that helps.  I was felting a few hours every night for almost a month.   I also made lots of Christmas ornaments and other beads.

But here are a couple of pictures.  I worked my way through the Polymer Clay Color Inspirations book this year and posted all the work on my blog (the links are gathered on a permanent page).  I think this really helped my color sense in general and it certainly did with the felting.

                                                                                                                             Martha Aleo
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4  Green (read: cheap) Bathroom Redo in Interior Decorating: Completed Projects by marthaaleo on: July 09, 2010 09:42:08 AM
My tiny bathroom was ready for an update.  It was cluttered with toiletries and cleaning supplies.  The paint was 20 years old and the sink had a crummy chrome faucet that flaked and I never could get it clean.  The toilet and tub were an ugly mustard yellow.  (The toilet was white because we had to replace it a year ago.)  

The thought of a full bathroom redo made me ill-the disruption, the cost.  

I was in a home Depot in October 2009 and bought the paint on a whim.  Now I was committed (in my mind, anyway).  I just finished it at the end of June.  I did all my shopping on line and at house sales.  The total came in at a tad under $1,000 (not counting the toilet).  That includes the plumber and electrician.

The wire basket was $3 at a flea market. I made the tiles for the back splash long ago. They're terra cotta in a tessellation design. We replaced the crummy yellow sink and chrome fixtures with a generic white sink and brushed nickel faucet. I got the light fixture on sale and hired an electrician to install it. We had an ugly plastic medicine chest with orb lights. The mirror cost $5 at a sidewalk sale and I hung it myself.  I painted the vanity chocolate brown and decided to continue the color up the wall.  Instead of buying metal knobs for the vanity doors (not in picture) I spray painted wood knobs silver.  This is a cheap way to get the look of metal for less money.

The rug was free. I found it in a free bin at a local thrift store. It was filthy. I cleaned it in my laundry tub by soaking it in a solution of water and dish washing powder. The water turned dark gray and the rug looks almost new.
Rather than buy a new trash can and toilet paper holder. I spray painted the ones I had to go with the nickel fixtures. (I also did this with a towel rack and a light switch). I got the toilet paper holder at a sidewalk sale years ago. It had a holder for one roll. I sawed that off and now it holds three rolls.

 I got the hanging cabinet/medicine chest is from Ebay for $50. It's solid cherry and I was  able to hang it myself. The cabinet below is from IKEA.

 I chose green with brown accents for the walls because I think it is relaxing. The wall hanging belonged to a family member.

I got the shower caddy at K Mart for $20.00 (I had to cut it to fit) and the shower curtain was $6. The shower curtain rings were $1 at a house sale. The frame above the toilet holds tiles from the backsplash that I couldn't use. I made the frame by cutting down a bugger frame.

We saved money by having the tub reglazed instead of replacing it. It was an ugly mustard yellow and now it's white. The tile we had was in good shape and not replacing the tub allowed us to keep the tile.  It's warranted for five years.  They recommend you wipe out the tub after every use-something I have been trying to get my DH to do for years.  Now he does it religiously.

Cheap/green bathroom redo-less than $1,000.  Husband who wipes out the tub after he showers-Priceless.

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5  Resin Experiments in Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General by marthaaleo on: February 27, 2010 09:10:01 PM
I have been experimenting with epoxy resin and molds.  I've bought two molds and I was not impressed.  I have tried just about everything else with better results, including ice cube trays, silicone baking forms, plastic pill organizers, paint on latex rubber (you can pain around  a domino and get a nice shape) and molds made with 2 part RTV silicone putty.  The problem with the latter is, although it works like a dream, it gets expensive if you want to make anything big, like a bangle bracelet.  You can buy a kit to pour a silicone mold (Sheri Haab demonstrates this on her video) only it will run about $34.00.  

I was trolling around the Internet and I found artists who used silicone caulk to make molds.  Some mix it with paint, some with water, some with glycerin  and some apply it to a form in layers with no additives.  I tried my own version:  I got DAP 100% silicone caulk (not latex and no additives to prevent mold and mildew) and mixed it with a few drops of glycerin, added some cheap bouncy putty (you can get it at Oriental Traders for about $1.00 - they use it for kid's party favors) and I mix it in a metal pan with a metal spreader or spatula.  You have to be quick because when it starts to set up, it goes fast.  Then I smear some glycerin on my hands (Rings off or you can use gloves but it will stick without lubrication) and then build it up around the bangle (I've tried it with plastic and sterling silver bracelets) but leave an opening around the top so you can pour the resin.  It can be small because the silicone will be flexible when it cures, but not so small you end up pouring resin everywhere but the mold.

You can pop out the positive after a couple of hours(you could do it sooner, but I like to be safe) and let it sit a day or two before using it.  The silicone smells like vinegar.  I wear a respirator and goggles.  The mold ends up costing less than $5.00.

For the bangle you see here,  I poured some resin and added metal leaf with a toothpick.  Yes, it was messy.  Then I dripped some alcohol ink and swirled it in the mold with the toothpick.  I didn't want to mix it in entirely.  I took it out after 24 hours and let it cure another 72.  I used Envirotex Lite resin.

If you have ever finished a cast metal piece, resin is similar.  You have to sand off the seams and odd flakes and then go to finer and finer grits of sandpaper. ( I started at 320 and ended at 2000).  You can see every scratch in resin; it is not as forgiving as polymer clay.  Then you can buff it.  I read somewhere that stainless steel cleaner or Brasso helps to bring out the shine.  I tried it and it does.

Resin cast in a hard plastic mold comes out shiny, but you have to finish the back. I still have not found a way I like to do that.  That's another post, anyway.

Oh, and a great discovery!!!  White vinegar cleans up uncured resin.  Forget about the acetone and paint thinner.  Vinegar is way safer and way cheaper.

Martha Aleo
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6  Sofa Cushion Covers and Pillows in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General by marthaaleo on: December 28, 2009 06:52:12 PM
OK, it's only 4 years since I bought the fabric, but I finally decided to bite the bullet and make the covers for my couch.  The top cushions are hamburger cushions and they have one length of piping in the striped material separating two halves.  I didn't have any idea how to make them, but I found a page with an old set of directions on Google Books plus I found a sofa someone threw out that had hamburger cushions and snatched one.  I tacked on the striped fabric on the bottom.  I was going to use it as the center of the box cushions with the brown fabric, but I can't sew anything straight, so I decided not to.  I'm not really a sewer, so I have to learn everything over each time I do something like this.  This is the first time I took advantage of all the great sewing videos on YouTube and they really helped.

Martha Aleo
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7  Glass beads made from beer, wine and gin bottles in Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by marthaaleo on: November 04, 2009 08:14:08 PM

Here are some beads I made with glass I found on recycling day.  Brown is from beer bottles, cobalt is from a wine bottle, the aqua is a Bombay Gin bottle and the yellow is from a broken glass vessel sink.  Sometimes when I stick the glass in the torch, the lovely color comes off which means the glass  is coated.  That's what happened with some pink glass I found.  I anneal the beads on a borosilicate schedule and can't mix the glass because I don't know the COE.  Since I use city gas an an oxygen concentrator, the beads cost little to make except my time investment.
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8  Mosaic countertop. in Glass Crafts: Completed Projects by marthaaleo on: September 20, 2009 07:13:45 PM

Recycled glass, tumbled glass tiles, tumbled pottery shards, broken beads and some fused pieces. Grouted with sanded grout and sealed.  I won't be doing any food prep here.

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9  Earrings made from etched copper in Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General by marthaaleo on: June 11, 2009 02:17:29 PM

I am learning how to etch metal and how to fabricate shapes like these cones.
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10  New Polymer Clay Work in Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General by marthaaleo on: May 23, 2009 08:48:09 PM

I made these for the  Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild's  fund raising auction in June.  The findings for the polymer clay disk  earrings are brass, copper, dapped, stamped washers, and silver.  The Necklace is polymer clay in faux ivory, turquoise, coral, jade and amber.

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