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1  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Re: The littlest pony on: November 13, 2011 07:45:17 PM
Thanks Crazed! I've got to start uploading more pictures, which I think means upgrading to pro on flicker. I've got so many pictures to share of the saddle making process. I learned so much and now I want to share it with everyone. Saddle making is shockingly fun for all it's intricacy and layers of stitching.

So many layers of hand stitching that the side of my finger is still all funny looking and discolored from where it rubbed on the sewing needle! I have no idea why either. It's never happened before and it's been nearly 2 weeks. Why won't this fade?

Suffice it to say, there's literally blood, sweat, and tears in this saddle.
2  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Re: The littlest pony on: November 11, 2011 03:13:59 PM
He knew something was up at that point, but he didn't know quite yet.

My favorite picture of him is when I tried on the saddle tree...with a Jake LIV doll in it. That scowl is pretty serious! It think his real problem is that I made him get up to take the photo at 2 AM. He was sleeping on my bed without being invited up though, so I think it's fair.

This face just says, "Let sleeping dogs lie!"
3  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Re: The littlest pony on: November 09, 2011 11:34:41 AM
Thank you! Halloween is my favorite holiday by far. It's a holiday all about crafting (costumes/decorations/scary looking food like monster toes), and candy AND goofing off with friends. That sure beats the family kinds of stress and mom's raw food only "cooking" on Christmas morning!

I did promise progress shots, and here's the first batch - the saddle blanket! I made the saddle blanket first mostly because I had no idea how to make a saddle, but the prize had just been announced and I really wanted to get started because quite frankly I really want that sewing machine.

I researched saddle blankets for a couple hours. It seems the best ones are made of wool so that the sweat is wicked away from the body and the horse doesn't get chilled. Pretty much all the wool yarn I have in my stash is fingering weight because I like working on bitty needles. I'm a huge miniatures fanatic. I do have a stash of acrylic since people tend to give me their partial balls and on the rare occasions I get low, it's pretty easy to find on freecycle.org in my town. So since dog's can't sweat like horses do, I picked out a few colors of acrylic yarn I liked for the weft and some crochet cotton for the warp. The colors I picked were to roughly match the old Mexican saddle blanket designs, very common in the old west. My inspiration was this photo from this site: http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cott-o/item/el-bl/:

I measured my dog and made a loom out of some cardboard I'd stashed in my craft corner. I notched the ends of the cardboard and made a loom...the kind of loom I hadn't made since probably first or second grade. I warped it with the crochet cotton and started weaving my design. I used plastic yarn needles for the shuttles, but it would have been easier if they were longer. For all but the last few rows, I used a ruler to make weaving in one direction go faster at least.

Here is the blanket still on the loom:

It took nearly 5 hours to weave the whole darn thing!

Then I flipped the loom over:

You can see that I wrapped the warp all the way around the loom so I'd have very long tails. I never thought to do this as a kid, but I wish I had. Back then I'd just weave up then down and when I popped the mini dollhouse rug (that's all I wanted to weave as a kid) off the loom, it would just have a bit more play since the warp was always a little bit long where it ran behind the cardboard notches. So this was my first time every trying to finish a bit of weaving properly. I'm pleased with how well it went.

I cut all the warp crochet cotton strings across the center back of the loom:

Then I very, very carefully freed each bit of crochet cotton from each notch in the cardboard loom and lifted the cardboard off:

Yowsa that's a ton of ends to weave in! I whimpered a little at the idea of even just threading the needle that many times, but I am a perfectionist and I wasn't going to tolerate a shoddy saddle blanket with the ends just cut off close-ish.

My first step was to tie knots in the warp across one end. I used a square knot to tie two neighboring strings together. Because there is an odd number of strings on each side, on one end I had to tie three strings together. I tied two on the end into a square knot and then took the string closest to the inside edge of that knot and tied a square knot with the still free third string. If you do this all the way across you can get a very clean looking edge with the warp showing. I wanted to minimize the visibility of the warp so I only did this where I absolutely had to.

Then I started knotting the other side of warp in the same manner. On the second side you have to be careful to tie your knots at just the right tension so that the saddle blanket can still sit flat but also so that the weft is held tightly enough that the saddle blanket is thick and sturdy, just like a real saddle blanket. You can see how my knots are holding the weft just right. Where I haven't tied it yet the warp still shows through the weft.

Finally, before pulling my yarn needles back out to weave in the ends, I tried the saddle blanket on my dog, Sketch, just to make sure I liked the fit of it. There's no sense in spending 4 hours weaving in yarn ends if you don't like the size of the blanket!

I did like the size of the blanket on him, so I set about weaving in every end of crochet cotton and acrylic yarn. I thought I'd never be done weaving in ends.
4  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / Re: Need Help on Making a Zombie Doll on: November 08, 2011 05:05:54 PM
Zombie dolls are easy! First, get your favorite doll pattern. Cut out the pieces. Applique bits of guts or brains colored fabric to the wrong side of the doll pieces so the right side of the guts fabric is against the wrong side of the skin fabric. Then, from the right side of the 'skin' make cuts so the guts show through a bit. You can do gashes, scrapes, and anything else you can think of. It works best if your applique is the same size roughly as the cut will be so you don't make pockets on accident!

Clothes can be any doll clothes that look ratty and torn. You can tear them up, run them through seriously watered down acrylic paint to make them look mud or blood stained, and the like. Literally grind the clothes between two rocks to get them that worn out zombie look. You can also use blood red acrylic paint to add blood drips later. Dimensional fabric paint is even better if you've got it on hand for your blood drips!
5  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / Re: Semi Easy Bed for 25cm BJD? on: November 08, 2011 05:01:24 PM
I do scroll sawing to make furniture for mine, but all you really need is some paint, cardboard (cereal boxes are best here), and foam. Cut the foam to the desired mattress size. Cover it in the fabric you want for your fitted sheet. Then, draw out a headboard (and maybe a footboard too) on the cardboard. Cut out a few of each shape and glue them together. I use mod podge since it doesn't wrinkle up the cardboard like elmers does sometimes. Then paint as desired!

If you really want to get fancy, you can use an embossing tool to get itty bitty wood grain into the cardboard before you paint it as well. Then you can smear watered down darker paint into the embossed bits at the end to really make the 'wood grain" pop!
6  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / Re: Red hair on 18" doll oxidizes and falls out! Help! on: November 08, 2011 04:22:27 PM
I second the idea to buy some wigs. I've not had any luck making them myself Sad
7  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / Re: Yeti plush? on: November 08, 2011 04:20:45 PM
I don't have any tips for you, but I may be making a Yeti or two for Christmas. This is so cute!
8   / TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Re: Featured Projects 2nd Quarter 2011 on: November 08, 2011 04:17:48 PM
These are all so fun! I may have to make a similar table top angry birds game for my friend's kids this Christmas. They go bonkers when they get to borrow mine or their mom's phone. They're three boys aged 6 and under, so while they don't have the coordination to do much on the game, I bet they could take out a ton of green pigs on a table top version!
9  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Misc. Gift Idea Brain Blockage / Re: Looking for Camo related sewing projects on: November 08, 2011 04:11:36 PM
I had my room done in camo at one point. I had a roman shade type thing going with camo fabric and for the 'sheer curtain' under it, I hung some netting I found at a party store in the beach section. It was an army green color and could be used for either beach stuff or army style stuff. My room was specifically themed around the show M*A*S*H.

If you've got scraps of fabric left after doing the bedding/message board type stuff, you can cover storage shoeboxes in it or even sew your own boxes/baskets using heavy interfacing. Cute storage boxes seem to always be appreciated and even guys use them. The same techniques can also be used to cover pencil cups and such too. Don't forget about the bitty details like that in the room. Sure, the pillows and comforters get noticed first, but it's in the details.

Maybe an over the door shoe rack? A hanging sweater storage thingy?
10  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Misc. Gift Idea Brain Blockage / Re: Generic Gifts for Friend's families on: November 08, 2011 04:05:59 PM
If you're staying with a family, game sets are often very appreciated. Checker boards are easy to paint or quilt and tend to become heirlooms full of fun memories. If you're staying with someone with young kids or grandkids, you can make tick-tack-toe games similarly too.

Otherwise, I second the ideas for coaster sets, pot holders, kitchen towels, and the like.
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