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1  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Steampunk Reconned Ray gun on: October 22, 2007 09:38:59 AM
I'm going to a steampunk vs. cyberpunk themed Halloween party and decided that I needed a ray gun to go with my steampunk getup. So I re-conned a Meet the Robinson's toy into this [photo taken with flash]:

Here's what it looked like before:

Without the flash:

And a detail on the gears and bits:

It was surprisingly easy to work up.

Step 1: Use painter's tape or masking tape to block out any parts you don't want painted [in my case, the entire end bit, around the transparent green end.]

Step 2: Prime with spray paint made for plastic. I sprayed one side, let dry for 90 minutes [it's damp here lately] then flipped and sprayed the other side. I used black, but any color would work since I was going to cover it up.

Step 3: Mask anything you don't want sprayed the second color. In my case, this was all of what is now silver. Note: I did not unmask the green bit at this stage. That stayed covered until I was done spraying.

Step 4: Spray again with main color. I used a hammered bronze textured spray paint. Go slowly with this, I am impatient and ended up with too much paint in some places. This time around I sprayed the whole thing at once and then hung it from the masked off portion. Let sit until good and dry.

Step 5: Remove masking.

Step 6: Use a brush to paint in any details. It was at this point that I painted in all of the silver. I think it took 5-6 coats of regular metallic silver craft paint here. Be patient and let the paint dry in between coats. Let dry.

Step 7: I had been told that Future no-wax floor polish was great for the weathering step. I couldn't find it at my grocery store [it's made by SC Johnson and I'm sure it's probably not too hard to find but I didn't want to drive all over the place.] Instead I bought a can of Old English furniture polish. This seemed to make the paint a little sticky, and help the weathering to stick. I sprayed one side of the gun at a time and then wiped it off. It also made the surface shinier. You just want to make sure it's dry or else your paint will thin too much.

Step 8: I used a mixture of black and forest green craft acrylic paint for the weathering step. Working in small patches I would paint one a lot of the paint and then use a rag to wipe it back off. Repeat until you've got at much weathering as you want. In some places I couldn't get enough paint to stick, so I would take a dry brush with a very small amount of paint on it and paint in the crevices.

Step 9: Add bits. I had some watch and clock bits from my husband's grandmother's house. I used regular ol' epoxy to glue them to the handle of the gun for extra steampunk-y goodness.

My gun lights up and makes sound which pleases me to no end. However, that doesn't stop me from running around making ray gun noises of my own.
2  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Pasta Salad for Warm Days on: July 16, 2007 09:22:36 AM
It's been ridiculously warm here and I've wanted to spend as little time in my overheated kitchen [or overheated chicken, because you know, we all have those moments] as possible. Anything that we eat is either no-cook or stove-top cook only because I refuse to turn on my oven when my apartment is warmer than 85 degrees. Saturday I made this:

I tend to cook by the seat of my pants, but here's my best description of how you, yes you! can make this at home.

Farfelle with Chicken and Asparagus

8 ounces cooked chicken (I used store bought rotisserie chicken)
12 ounces farfalle pasta
1.5 pound asparagus cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup pesto (approximately)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
black pepper
shredded Parmesan cheese

I was lazy and cooked the asparagus in a steamer basket over the water I was heating in order to boil the noodles. I cooked them for about two minutes, just until bright green but with lots of bite left in them. Then I set them aside to cool while I boiled the farfalle according to the package directions [in three quarts of water for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.] While the noodles were cooking I removed the chicken from the bone and chopped it into bite sized pieces (discarding the skin). I mixed the chicken with the cooled asparagus and about 1/4 cup of the pesto. Then, once the noodles were done, I mixed the noodles with the rest of the pesto and then combined everything together in a 2.5 quart casserole dish. I splashed on lemon juice and set to chill. Once cooled to room temperature (or cold, its great either way) I served it in my new bowls with black pepper and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan.

I also think this would be great with peas, blanched broccoli or zucchini as the vegetable either in place of or in addition to the vegetables. The chicken could be substituted out for pork or tofu if thats your leaning. And the noodles could easily be replaced with any other non-spaghetti style noodle although I also think it would be great with asian style egg noodles, the long skinny ones that you use to make chow mein.
3  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Weddings and Bridal Showers / Chocolate + Turquoise + Orange = June 23, 2007 on: March 29, 2007 08:25:51 PM
I've got a lot of things mid-process for the wedding, but I wanted to start my post with my crafty goodness! All photos take you to flickr for bigger and more photos.

TheBoy and I are getting married outside, in a somewhat casual ceremony, in a stand of old-growth oaks in the Willamette River Valley here in Oregon. On a clear day you can see the coast range out to the west of the ceremony location. (link to photo of the gazebo where the ceremony will take place.)

I've already posted this in the craft-along and as it's own project thread in knitting, but I just finished knitting my shawl for the wedding. Madli's Shawl from Interweave Knits Summer 04. click here for photo.

We have no theme but the aesthetic is classic but funky. I love bright, saturated colors and the idea of having a pastel wedding just didn't appeal to me. The first purchase I made towards the wedding were my shoes click here for photo.

The most totally finished item is our favors. Each guest will get a box with 3 1" button magnets inside, as well as m&ms in our colors. The buttons were a gift from fellow crafster Kaesea; we spent an afternoon putting them together when I went to visit her last month and then TheBoy and I glued the magnets in over the past week. The ant stamp came from MadMatigan79 in the scavenger hunt swap. The m&ms and packaging haven't arrived yet, but here are the boxes and magnets.

A field [okay a cookie sheet!] of magnets:

Magnets mounted on cards:

And the favor boxes. They're 3"x3"x2" Kraft paper boxes [bought on ebay] embellished with a paper band that has been stamped with an ant:

The invitations are in! I gave up trying to get great photos of them, so you'll have to settle for good photos. Smiley It's all printed on natural white, classic columns paper from an offset press. The best man's dad printed them for us as a wedding gift, but I did all of the design work. The logo is a piece of vector art from istockphoto.com that I tweaked to work for us. I can create stuff like that from scratch but decided it was worth the dollar that I paid to save the time in having to do so. Wink Here's everything, the 5x7 invitations, the 4x6 RSVP cards and the 12x6 [folded to 4x6] inserts with all kinds of info on it. They should be going out in the mail tomorrow *fingers crossed*

And just the invitation fronts [the backs are stamped with an orange ant]:

And, the guest book. Kaesea's friend got married a awhile ago and bought these great albums from Old Navy. She decided not to use them and offered them to Kaesea. Kaesea said "gee, TheBon would love these" and hence, they came to me. I found these great metal frames when I was visiting Kaesea in February and decided to use them to embellish the books. Anyway, here's the front:

The first page is going to have the inside of our invitation attached and then the second page will have a polaroid of TheBoy and I, and then has a lyric from one of our songs underneath in one of the metal frames. The polaroid that's in there currently is a temp. We're going to take a polaroid of each guest/couple as they come in and they'll sign on the page underneath where the photo will be inserted. [Yes, someone will be there to make sure folks aren't confused!] Here's our page, Kaesea did the blue stamps, she's wonderful!

I have another item to add here. My mom cross-stitches like a fiend and insisted that she cross-stitch bookmarks to be part of our favors. They came in a mail last week and they are fabulous. She matched the font to the exact font I used on everything. She made 80 of these total:

And not something that will be featured at the wedding, but something my mom made for us:

More photos!
We're not paying the caterer to cut the cake, instead a couple of people who have a fair amount of experience in doing so have volunteered to step up. Because of this, I decided they needed aprons, to keep their "I'm at a wedding" clothes from getting covered in cake and frosting. So, I took our logo, changed the size and printed it on iron-on transfers:

And I took a shot of some of the m&m pouches. They're a glassine pouch sealed with a sticker that I stamped ants onto. They'll go in the favor boxes with the magnets [yipes! gotta finish assembling those!]

Other things I've done or will be doing myself:
  • Save the Date postcards
  • Invitations, rsvp cards
  • Designed and compiled content for wedding website
  • Centerpieces
  • Flowers
  • Cake design [totally paid someone else to execute that one though!]
  • Dyed and embellished napkins as accent under centerpieces
  • Favors
  • Guest book [store bought book embellished]
  • things I am sure I am forgetting

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand! It's over! I don't have time to upload a ton of photos, so I snagged this one that fyberduck took:

Can you tell that I'm thrilled it's over? 95% of everything was great, and I figure that's pretty good!

The jar for collecting the guest book notes:

Pens for writing on the gift card notes:

The gift card vase. My mom insisted we needed something giant and this vase was on sale at Ben Franklin Crafts. My mom insisted that by paying for it, it made it a wedding gift for us. Now I'm not sure what to do with it but I do love it:

Close-up on the ribbons. The off-white is wired, and glued to the vase with a xyron glue runner. The metallic is hot glued to the ivory [the glue runner did not stick]. This vase has now made 2 hour and a half car rides and two half-hour car rides and the ribbons show no sign of falling off:

The embellishment on the bathroom basket [a tray bought on clearance at Target] Satin ribbons also came from target and were pinned at the joints. The bow is stapled and glued together:

My bouquet. I went to a ton of places looking for ribbon to wrap the bouquets. I wanted turquoise satin but couldn't find it anywhere, until we went into a small, locally owned needlepoint shop. I paid way more for it, but I think it was worth it. My mom helped me arrange these [my brain was FRIED by the time we got to the flower part of the time schedule] and then I wrapped them. Thank goodness for the internet, I'd never hand tied bouquets before. I used double-stick tape [fashion tape actually] to tape the tails down to the backside of the bouquets [no photos of that] but it left it really smooth and tailored looking:

From the top:

Maid of honor's bouquet:

From the top:

Placecards for the immediate family. We opted not to assign the majority of seats and everyone mingled really well. We had computer people sitting with knitters, and my boss with some more distant family, and our friends that TheBoy has known forever jammed themselves all at one table. It was great. We also didn't use table numbers. We had about 70 people for a buffet and we just started eating. Everyone was able to get food in a fairly quick and orderly manner. It was great:

4  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Something Blue -- Madli's Shawl on: March 28, 2007 06:39:08 PM
This is one of my wedding crafts, but it really belongs here in Knitting. I decided when I got engaged that I wanted to knit a shawl for my wedding. We're having an evening wedding and I knew it would be wise to have something to hold off the chill. I spent a fair amount of time searching for a pattern and finally settled on Madli's Shawl by Nancy Bush from Interweave Knits Summer 04. My mom bought me the yarn [Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud in Heaven] for my birthday last June and I finally finished it on Monday night. Knit on size 5 needles it's 19"x62":

And one of it blocking on my yoga mat which seemed to work very very well:

Both of those photos link to flickr where you can see a few more photos for the project.

Oh, and about those nupps...[the bobbles]. I feel like they really make the shawl but boy, are they time consuming! I did pick up this one trick for knitting them though [in case someone stumbles here looking for pointers]--knit them as called for on the right side and then on the wrong side, instead of trying to purl all 7 stitches together, slip 6 to the right hand needle, purl the remaining one and then pass the slipped stitches over the purled stitch. Still time consuming but way way easier!

The wedding is June 23, 2007 so I finished with just under 3 months to spare. I refused to let myself be blocking it frantically the night before the wedding!
5  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Discussion and Questions / Natural Dyes: Tips, Tricks and Resources. on: February 01, 2007 09:42:02 AM
Alright, I've noticed around that there is definitely interest in natural dyeing. Since I have some experience with this, I'm going to compile some useful information here for folks. Feel free to chime in with additional information!

For starters: Natural dyes will dye both protein and cellulose fibers with equal ease.

Mordants: Mordants are what you use to "fix" the dye to the fiber. Vinegar is not a mordant. A lot of people think that it is, but it is not, and your color/lightfastness is going to vary if you use vinegar as a mordant. Common mordants are alum, iron, copper, and chrome. Chrome is very very dangerous so most people don't recommend you work with it. As with chemical dyes, you must wear your gloves and glasses when mixing mordants or when mixing powdered natural dye extracts into liquid states. You do not want to inhale these things.

Some items that will dye without mordants: onion skins, walnut husks, anything with tannins in it. Most natural dyes need a mordant. You may get a pretty color from beet juice but without mordanting it's not likely to stay that way for the long term.

Color: Blue and purple are hard colors to achieve with natural dyes. Just saying. The pH of your water is going to affect what color the dye turns into as well. For instance, cochineal will vary from deep purple-ish to a bright scarlet depending on the pH of the dye bath. The pot that you cook in can also change the color of things, especially if it is copper or iron.

Safety: Dust masks/respirators, safety glasses and gloves are a must! Also, as with non-natural dyeing, you must, must, must use separate measuring and cooking apparatuses than those that you prepare and eat food with. Just because it is natural does not mean it is edible. Plus, you don't want to ingest those mordants! Be careful when combining dye stocks with different mordants in them! They can create bad, evil things if you're not careful. Like mustard gas. So, work carefully in well ventilated areas.

Exhausting the dyes: I can only think of one natural dye that exhausts in the dye stock. It's a shade of blue that is a chemical/natural dye hybrid. Most others will just get weaker, although you can continue to add more extract to them to refresh them. If your dye stock goes moldy it's time to throw it out. If it gets a little gunky, just strain off the gunk and keep going. Your depth of shade is going to be reliant on both the amount of dye in the dye bath and the length of time in that dye bath.

Suppliers and more information:
http://www.earthues.com/ sells a lot of extracts. You can also purchase their products through other folks like Halcyon Yarn.

The Joy of Handspinning has a good list of dyes and the colors you can expect from them as well as mordants and other dyeing chemicals.

A page about Dyeing Chemisty

I don't agree with their fixatives, but here's another list of plants and the colors you can expect from them: http://www.pioneerthinking.com/naturaldyes.html

6  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Sheepwarmers! on: November 01, 2006 08:24:43 PM
No, not cozies for sheep, but armwarmers for knitters!

The point of these was for a friend who has a difficult time keeping her forearms warm. She was struggling to knit with regular armwarmers on because the needles would stick in the palms. My solution to that was to knit them without palms! I started with an 8" circumference, knit a K2,P2 rib for an inch then knit plain for an inch. After that I decreased 2 stitches every inch downward to decrease a total of 2". Then I knit another inch of ribbing. After that I duplicate stitched the sheep from The Baby Knits Book by Debbie Bliss on the upper forearm. Knit in red heart softyarn.
7  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Fiber Friday September 15 on: September 15, 2006 06:37:37 AM

Spun from a Grafton Fibers "poof" About 140 yards, 4 ounces

Approximately 60 yards; colored ply is kool-aid dyed corridale wool, brown is 100% Flint the Llama. Didn't remember to test wpi, but it's pretty fine. Approximately 1 ounce

My first attempt at navajo plying. Roving was Spunky Eclectic's chocolate covered cherries. Approximately 120 yards. 4 oz.
8  Calls for Swap Angels / Swap Angel Archive / The Great Craftster Scavenger Hunt Swap - 1 Angel FOUND on: August 06, 2006 08:18:20 AM
Swap Name: The Great Craftster Scavenger Hunt Swap
Original Thread link: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=97939.0
Gallery thread link: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=106471.0
# of Flakers: 1

1. Shylitlegoddess (angel found- Sweets4ever)
9  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / The Great Craftster Scavenger Hunt Swap Gallery on: July 10, 2006 03:25:07 PM
Link to original post. Everyone loves a scavenger hunt, show off your spoils here!

Purple=Sent and Received
strike-through=finished, feedback given
Sending late, with communication
+1 week late, negative assigned until sent
The Bon <--> MadMatigan79
Aeronberry <--> Rackycoo
KungPow <--> Aphadon
sweets4ever <--> pinkyk
Batgirl <--> Sewpixie
Green monk <--> stifflersmom
SonjaBoo [angel with benefits]<--> evilsarah sending out by 8/14
Kaesea <--> Gingerquilts
shylitlegoddess <--> rbeforeenot yet sent, last communication 7/26
roxybadoxy <--> Highschoolcrafter
Hookin Flamingo <--> kemerald14
missamorphosis <--> xladyluckx
Bigmouth <--> penguino
mollybolly = flaker
10  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Fiber Friday 6/29 on: June 30, 2006 07:41:23 AM
Woo-hoo it's Friday!

Approximately 150 yards, 2 ounces, 18wpi [light sport/heavy DK] Photo of the roving it came from here: Merino/Mohair Roving

Approximately 65 yards, 2 ounces, 6-10 wpi [worsted to bulky] Photo of the roving it came from here: Daffodil Pencil Roving
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