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1  CRAFTING FOR GOOD AND NOT EVIL / Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK) and Art Abandonment / Superhero-themed rocks on: August 01, 2018 03:17:45 PM

I live in Virginia and I went to Raleigh (NC) Supercon last weekend. I left my superhero-themed rocks scattered down there near the state capital last Friday evening and around the con last Saturday. The GL rock was the last one to be left, in a hall light fixture near our room at the Sheraton. Smiley When we checked out on Sunday morning, it was gone.

The backsides are labeled with the #craftsterrocks tags.

I've got Spider-Man, Batman, Star Wars Rebels, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Star Trek, Robin, the TARDIS, Black Widow, Deadpool, Nightwing (hard to see this in the picture), and Phoenix. Most of the rocks had some glow-in-the-dark paint added to them.
2  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / The Grinch in the Christmas Tree on: November 26, 2016 04:01:56 PM
A couple of weeks ago, my sister sent me a picture from Pinterest and asked if I could make it for her daughter, as a Christmas decoration. It's the Grinch, his rear end sticking out of a Christmas tree, as he presumably gets ready to steal it.

Of course, I couldn't find a pattern online for this monstrosity. So, I had to wing the whole thing. 

The shopping was going to be the easy part. I could break down the various parts in my head before I cut a single piece of fabric. I knew right away the Santa coat would be made from a Christmas tree skirt. I picked one up at Target for $15.99. I think it was 48" across.

The 2 yards of green polar fleece, Fiber Fill and wooden dowels came from Wal-Mart. The feathers were from A.C. Moore. The two Velcro ties came from Home Depot. The thread I used was already mine. I even used the leftover polar fleece pieces as stuffing in the body. None of that green fleece was wasted.

The fact that the Grinch is not a regular person took a lot of the pressure off me. I decided to use a variation on the poppet pattern from Good Cookie Creations. I sketched out enlarged versions of the legs (stopping at the ankles), front and back pieces with a Sharpie marker on the fleece and cut them out.

For the feet, I still had enough green fleece, so I decided to stick with his natural green feet and not make Santa booties for him. I traced around one of my Converse Chuck Taylors on a piece of cardboard. Then I enlongated it and thinned it out, giving it a pointed toe. I made one of these for each of his feet, as kind of an insole.

I traced around those pieces, twice each. One piece became the bottom of his foot, and the other became the top of his foot. I used a small rectangle of fleece for the back of each foot. For the sides, I roughly sketched out on the fleece what the sides of Chuck Taylors might look like.

I sewed the front and back pieces together. I think once or twice, I went back over my stitches to take some of his "girth" in.

When I sewed his legs together, I actually ended up making them a little shorter than originally planned. If I hadn't, his legs would have been longer than mine! Instead of using joint buttons, I sewed the legs into the body like I was making a leotard with skinny leggings, and flipped the whole thing right side out.

I sewed the feet pieces together, flipped them right side out, and slipped in the cardboard insoles. I stuffed them firmly, folded over the top edges of the feet and whip stitched them to the legs.

At this point, I inserted a wooden dowel into each leg and started firmly stuffing around the dowels. At the very top of the dowels, I used Duct Tape to attach them to each other for extra stability. While the dowels do go all the way into the ankles, these dowels are really what makes the Grinch stand by himself. I did try stuffing the legs without dowels, and his just fell over. I think the dowels I used where just over 1/4" wide. I didn't trim them for length.

When I got his legs completely stuffed, I started whip stitching the top (just north of his rump) halfway closed. After I had him stuffed completely, I finished sewing him closed. It didn't matter how neatly this as sewn, because it got covered up anyway. I went back and after adjusting the Fiber Fill, I was able to take his hips in a little more, which actually helped to get that booty of his under control.

Once the entire body was stuffed and sewn shut, I draped the Christmas tree skirt over his hips and rump and started whip stitching that into place. There's no real way to describe how I did it, other than just folding and adjusting the skirt as I went, so that it looks like the bottom portion of a Santa Claus jacket.

But because I can't ever be satisfied with something the first time, I hot glued some green feathers to his ankles, just to hide how they are stitched together. Plus, I wanted another texture on him. In watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" this year, I couldn't decide if the Grinch was furry or had feathers. I didn't bother watching the Jim Carrey version for source material, because I wanted this to look cartoony.

I also whip stitched a Velcro tie to each side of his front, to help secure him to the tree, once he arrives at my sister's house. He's going to be shipped out on Tuesday.
3  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / What Happens When I Lust After a Jacket on TV on: June 26, 2016 02:09:12 PM
Lately as I watch "The Big Bang Theory," I find myself almost coveting the purple jacket that Amy Farrah Fowler wears. I love purple. I don't think Amy's jacket is denim, but it's definitely cotton.

I realized a few days ago that I have an older men's Levi denim jacket upstairs in our attic closet. My husband bought it years ago, and I never understood why. He swore up and down he'd wear it. In the entire time I've known my husband, I've never once seen him wear a denim jacket. I told him he wouldn't wear it, and that I was going to steal it for myself.

Guess who ended up with a nice jacket?

I've worn it quite a bit over the years and just put it away two years ago to trade it out for a jacket my husband did buy me. And had forgotten all about it until I was watching TBBT again a few weeks ago and saw this lovely purple jacket of Amy's.

I love men's jackets because of how roomy they are and they always have plenty of pockets. There's even two pockets on the inside, made from wisely sewing the pocket flaps back. I'd like to point out that even as a kid, with the girl's denim jacket I had, I actually managed to do this with my own jacket, creating more pockets myself.

I picked up a packet of Rit purple dye from Joann Fabric on Thursday and dyed it finally.

Look at it, in all it's purple glory! Look how well it took the color!! I dare say this might be a better jacket than the one worn by my favorite neuroscientist. Smiley I got a "new" jacket for just the cost of the dye, which I had a coupon for, too. Smiley
4  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / My Very Own TARDIS on: February 04, 2016 03:54:25 PM
Well over a year ago, while doing some Christmas shopping for the 2014 season, we ended up at a store called At Home. There was a lot of interesting things there but I didn't end up buying anything. However, they did have two different sized TARDIS cabinets that I realllllllllly wanted. (They don't show them on their website so, I don't know if they still carry them in store.)

I talked myself out of either of them, because I need more furniture like I need a hole in the head. But the thought of those lovely blue cabinets never left me. Fast forward to about a one month ago. I decided it was time to transform a small cabinet I already had into a version of the TARDIS. (This whole refinishing furniture really caught me hard, didn't it?)

I spent about $28.50 on this refinish.

This is what I started with. I don't believe this is solid wood, but rather some kind of compressed sawdust kind of thing, mixed with something else. It doesn't feel like pure wood. I've had it since probably 2005, if not longer. It was something my mom bought for me at Hancock Fabrics. I always thought it was fairly homely but it's function was too good. It's been where I've stashed my paints and PS2 games in the past.

I primed it on Christmas eve afternoon. It was a really nice day here in Virginia. I was sitting outside in our driveway with a long sleeved t-shirt on.

I used 1 1/2 cans of Rustoleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover.

Sorry for the potato here. I removed the top (unneeded) drawer pull and filled the hole with wood filler. I found the windows, St. John's ambulance, police box signs and public sign on various websites, printed them to fit, and then decoupaged them on with some Modge Podge. The window trim is actually automobile pin-striping tape from Pep Boys.

I liked how the front door of the cabinet had that faux trim and recessed area on it, so I tried to recreate a version of it on the sides. these are $1 wood frames from AC Moore, with thin wood trim, from Michael's, mitered and added to the sides. I thought about adding some simple Home Depot stock furniture legs to it, to raise it up a little bit and give it more of a weight in my room, but I decided against it. I thought it would take away from that perfect "base" it already sits on.

I also tried my hand at some distressing/weathering painting all around the TARDIS. I bought some craft paint in lighter and darker shades of blue. My TARDIS is well-traveled. It's been through a lot.

5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / May the Floss be with you! on: February 03, 2016 07:47:08 PM
Just when I think I can't get any more nerdy...awhile back, I did a swap (I've since forgotten the theme) where I embroidered a hoop of  Bo and Daisy Duke for my partner. I got to thinking that I should do something like that for myself, so I give you...Kit Fisto!!

I found Kit's image by searching Yahoo for Star Wars coloring pages. The fabric is some muslin type that I got from AC Moore, along with the embroidery thread.

I used my front door's glass as a projector on a sunny day, taped the picture and the fabric up to it, and traced the image on with a pencil. It's roughly 8.5" x 10".

I love Kit because I thought he was such an interesting character. visually speaking.
My next planned embroidery project will be of William Shatner as Captain Kirk. I think once I get enough of these, I might have to turn them into a blanket of some kind.
6  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / I Made A Crochet Hook! on: December 20, 2015 08:07:50 PM
I recently saw an article about a woman who knits with her arms instead of knitting needles. I thought it was very interesting and wondered if I could use my right arm as a big ol'crochet hook. I haven't tried it yet, but then that got me thinking about making a crochet hook.

I looked around online and came across Jimbo's Front Porch (http://jimbosfrontporch.blogspot.com/2006/08/hook-in-progress-gone-to-crick-be-back.html) and his tute for making a crochet hook. Clearly, Jimbo is an experienced whittler, while I'm lucky to not slice off my fingertip when making supper. However, I decided to try it anyway.

Pen for scale, of course!

This is what I started with: a couple of sticks from my front yard. I believe the shorter stick was maple and the longer one was oak. I wanted to have a back up stick, in case one didn't work out, and I was glad to have thought of that. I left them to dry out on my front step for a couple of days.

After I got the bark off, the maple stick was extremely uneven, because the bark had been uneven. After I tossed that one out, I got to work on the oak stick.

I sanded the oak stick with a hand held "mouse" type of sander, with some coarse sandpaper. I don't remember the grit off hand, and I can't go out to the garage to look it up because that part of the garage is off limits to me until after Christmas, per a standing "order" from my husband.

Anyhoo, I sanded off the outer layer of bark instead of using a knife to cut it off, as I did with the maple. This bark was thinner and more brittle, and was probably out in the elements longer. Maybe that's why it was easier to work with. Who knows...I'm not very knowledgeable about wood.

I actually used a box cutter to notch out the hooked end (the "throat" of the hook). This is where I really should have hurt myself, but because I was working slowly, I was fine.

I used a damp paper towel to wipe away the sawdust, and left it to dry overnight in the kitchen. The next night, I sprayed on a couple coats of a clear semi-gloss poly. The instructions on the can said to sand it one more time and then re-coat. So, I hand handed it first and then used a big heavy, workbench-mounted sander in our garage to finish it off.

When everything was done, it was a really pretty blonde wood, very evenly colored. But I wanted to somehow seal it and make it more slick to the touch. I found the stain I used for my bench awhile back (red oak) and rubbed on one layer of it. The wood dramatically changed color, but in a way that didn't make any sense to me. It came out spotted. It didn't matter but I thought it was interesting.

I finished it off with a couple more coats of the semi-gloss poly and now I have a very rustic homemade crochet hook!

This is now the largest crochet hook I own. It's 12 3/4" long. I don't know the size of it, but I do know it's bigger than a Q sized hook.
7  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Snoopy and His Christmas House on: December 17, 2015 07:05:45 PM
We moved into our house 12 years ago. I think it was our first or second Christmas here in the neighborhood that we went out driving to look at the lights and were inspired.

There was a neighborhood close by that had lines of cars waiting to get into it, and it was all to just look at the Christmas lights there. One little area in particular stood out to us. It was a cul de sac that backed up to the interstate and there were two houses there facing the road at angles. Since then, the city put up a sound wall-barrier-thing, so you can't see the houses from the interstate anymore.

The house on the right had the typical Nativity scene, a whole bunch of lights, and a long series of almost all of the Peanuts characters. I think all of the Peanuts "kids" must have been handmade. The characters looked a little "off," but the whole display was pretty striking. I looked at my husband and said, "Shit, we're creative people. We could make that and have it turn out better than that!" He agreed.

So that's how our Snoopy and his house were "born."

 We got some wood from Home Depot, and after some online image searches, I started drawing. My husband had the hard work of cutting everything out. They were primed and given quick blasts of white spray paint. Everything else was craft paint.

Snoopy and his bowl of bones from Santa actually have pieces of 2"x4" on the back, to keep the wood from warping outside in the elements, plus wedges of wood attached to the "kickstand." On windy days, the kickstand isn't enough to keep them standing, so I can drive the wedge into the dirt for added support.

Snoopy and his box of ornaments (no kickstand here, just a 90 degree piece of wood on the back) have each been repainted once. For some reason, the bowl of bones have been just fine.

I realized a few days ago, that I need to repaint the red part of Snoopy's house again. That will be repaint #3. That's also the second set of lights' I've been through on his house, and I need to look for a new dome light for the house. I had one here, but I must have lost it during an attic cleaning frenzy during the off season. The house also has 2"x4"s on the back, as well as the kickstands and wedges.

Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking this through when we made the house...it's so big that I can't get it up into or out of the attic here by myself. It's about 4' tall and wide.

We went driving through that same neighborhood again tonight. There's less lights there, and the house where the Peanuts kids were on display was almost completely dark on the cul de sac side. I'm guessing the people who really did up their houses no longer live there. And in return, we have more lights in our neighborhood this year, because of new people living here.
8  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Made a new Christmas wreath on: November 05, 2015 01:25:20 PM

I figure this is our third wreath since we moved into this house. I wasn't planning to make a new one, but I never really liked the second one I made a couple of years ago. I saw it laying in the attic a week or so ago, and I just knew I wasn't going to hang it on our front door. And plus, I've always liked making wreaths for all different kinds of occasions. So, last night, I hit both Michael's and AC Moore for supplies. I figure I spent about $40-$45 on supplies (ouch!), and that was even with coupons at both stores!

The more I saw of those peacock colored poinsettia's at Michael's, the more I knew I had discovered my color scheme.

    --3 of those poinsettia's from Michael's
    --3 peacock feather picks from Michael's (with 3 feathers on each one)
    --1 package of 12 mini glass ornaments from Michael's
    --1 assorted greenery pick (with sticks and the deer antlers) from Michael's--The only things I didn't use from here were the red berries and the lone pinecone.
    --2 frosted holly picks from AC Moore
    --2 evergreen-type picks from AC Moore
    --1 wreath from AC Moore
9  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Who ya gonna call? on: November 04, 2015 07:13:40 PM
I decided months ago I was going to be a Ghostbuster for Halloween, so I set out to build a Halloween-quality (not cosplay-quality) proton pack and gunwand. Despite not coming up with a bumper for the pack, I'm pretty happy with the finished product. I even wore it to work on Saturday and had a few pictures taken with a kid there. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of me with the proton pack on.

Sorry for the potato, but I didn't have anyone to take my picture when I got home from work that night. The flight suit and belt belonged to my husband, the elbow pads are actually knee pads from Harbor Freight, and the patches came from a seller on Etsy. And even though you don't see them, the boots are a women's leather boots that are combat-style that I've had for about 17 years, and I wore them with Ghostbusters socks I got from Spirit Halloween. The nametag says Venkman. It was going to either be that or Spengler (because Egon was my favorite, RIP Harold Ramis), but I thought personality-wise, I'm more of a Venkman. While at work, I also wore a black ball cap that my husband designed a few commands ago, and it had a skull on the front. Smiley

"Somebody call about a ghost?"

One side of the gunwand.

Other side of the gunwand.

Gunbox and Wand
o   washing machine hose--$12 at Home Depot
o   primer
o   black spray paint
o   on/off flip switches from the amp
o   black electric tape--$.50 (Dollar Tree)
o   toilet valve--$3.25 (brand new at Goodwill)
o   Extra PVC pipe--$2.25 (Lowe's)
o   couple assorted PVC pieces from Home Depot

Proton Pack
o   thin wooden board--already had
o   piece of scrap pine wood--already had
o   Sharpie marker--already had
o   pencil--already had
o   backpack--$4.00 (Goodwill)
o   package of washers--$2 (Home Depot)
o   plastic tortilla bowl or microwave cover--$1.00 (Dollar Tree)
o   primer--$1.00 (Home Depot)
o   black spray paint--$1.00 (Home Depot)
o   vacuum hoses
o   colored plastic folder--$1.00 (Dollar Tree)
o   Liquid Nails--$4.00 x 3 (Home Depot) and $3.49x2 at OV Hardware
o   assorted cords--took from stereo amp
o   black electric tape--$.50 (Dollar Tree)
o   empty cardboard tube from foil--already had
o   empty plastic fruit tray container--already had
o   empty Glaceau Smart Water bottle--33.8 oz.
o   extra monitor cord--$2.25 (Goodwill)
o   stereo amplifier--free on Craigslist
o   power drill--already had
o   jigsaw--already had
o   hot glue gun and glue sticks--already had
o   Small ball of foil (optional)--already had
o   clay--already had
o   washing machine hose--$12 (Lowes)
o   clear spray paint--already had

If anyone is interested, I've got more notes about how I made the proton pack and gunwand here on my blog (http://amylynn98.blogspot.com/2015/11/my-ghostbusters-costume.html).
10  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / This Year's New Halloween Decoration on: October 29, 2015 04:46:53 PM
I have been wanting the life-size animated Freddy Krueger from Gemmy, but I couldn't bring myself to buy it. I already have the animated Jason Voorhees, and only because I scored him on the cheap from K-Mart a handful of years back because he was a display.

I wanted a Robert Englund Freddy, and this one from Gemmy was Jackie Earle Haley from the 2010 reboot. There's nothing wrong with Jackie's version, but he wasn't the Freddy I grew up watching and loving. Robert gave his version (the original) a great amount of snark and sarcasm that really kind of made Freddy lovable to a demented degree. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a life-size version of Robert's Freddy.

So, what does a crafty geek do when she wants something she can't find to buy? She makes it!

This lovely Justin Bieber hair looking mannequin came from eBay. The hair is actually a wig, and it didn't stay. I tossed that ugly ass thing in the garbage right after I took this picture.

Putting him together was just like playing with giant Ken doll. In fact, his name really was Ken!

He stands 6' tall. He has a small pole inserted into the back of his right calf to keep him upright and he stands on a small glass platform.

I went to the local Spirit Halloween store and picked up the mask, hat and glove. The sweater with tears and exposed burned skin came from Amazon. Amazingly enough, Spirit Halloween didn't have this sweater. I wrapped a little bit of electrical tape around his right shoulder to help keep that right arm up. The mannequin was designed to have his left arm hanging down and his right arm barely bent.

The pants and shoes came from the local thrift store. His unseen belt is actually a length of 550 cord because he's so slender, the pants would drop right off him!

The wounds in the sweater were so bright and raw looking, and the wounds on the mask weren't. I went over them with a red Sharpie marker, some red craft paint, and a back Sharpie to make the mask match the chest a little more.

But the pants and shoes weren't quite enough, as is. In fact, the navy blue work pants I bought were almost too good looking for Freddy!

Once I got home with them, I set up a clothes drying rack in my driveway. I threw the pants on it, front side up, and starting staining them. I sprayed them with some aerosol polyurethane, black spray paint, red spray paint, and even a little green spray paint (down around the hems). The polyurethane really didn't do much to visibly stain the pants because of how dark the pants are, but the black spray paint aged them pretty well.

I did hit the back of the pants a little bit too. When the pants were dry, I took a box cutter and slashed and nicked them up a little bit.

I also hit the front tops of the black shoes with some red and green spray paint. They're men's black leather shoes and they were in decent enough shape for my favorite serial killer.

Because Freddy's right hand has all of the fingers together, instead of spread apart, it made putting the glove on a little difficult. I drilled three holes between his fingers. I was able to get his thumb into the glove, and then I threaded the inside of some 550 cord into those holes. I wrapped the threads around the outside of the glove fingers and then tied them on that way.

Freddy will be standing up by my front door for Halloween night, paired with a strobe light and a "scary" flickering attic bulb, also from Spirit Halloween. I'm going to scatter some leaves around the base to help disguise it a little bit.

While my Freddy doesn't move or make noise, but I think he's going to be so awesome. The really nice things about this mannequin are that his eyes really pop inside the mask, and he's got some nice articulation so I think he's going to look pretty damn good. When everything's said and done, I figure I spent about $200 to make him, spread out over 3 paychecks. The animated Gemmy version runs $500-$1,000 online.

He's also going to be easy to store upstairs in my attic once Halloween is over. I can pop him off the platform and then take his upper body off.

In fact, because of how Freddy turned out, I'm going to order another male mannequin after Christmas to remake my Michael Meyers, and a female one to make a Bride of Frankenstein.
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