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1  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / 01100010 01101001 01101110 01100001 01110010 01111001 00100000 01110000 01100101 on: January 13, 2009 03:35:23 PM
...That's "binary pencil holder" for people who actually have a life!

I made this as a birthday present for a friend of mine who's an engineer. It's a pencil holder made from old 3 1/2" floppy disks. I used the two holes on the bottom edge, then drilled two more at the top and connected them together as five sides of a cube with cable ties and superglued the metal slide-y bits so they didn't bend off (seriously. You can make or mend anything with the right combination of cable ties, superglue and duct tape.) I'd already made a non-binary (and not as awesome) pencil holder for myself.

...But where's the binary?
This was a challenge. I converted my friend's name, William, to binary using an online binary encoder (http://www.theproblemsite.com/codes/binary.asp) and cross-stitched it in wool on some massive aida I had lying around. The black stitched are 0s and the white ones are 1s. That was pretty easy, once I'd planned out the chart on some squared paper. What was hard was dismantling the floppy disk without damaging the plastic casing. I ended up using a combination of brute force and really sharp scalpels to cut through the plastic rod bits that hold the disk together. I cut out the portion of the disk where the label normally goes (that was a challenge!), then interfaced the embroidery and sandwiched it between the two halves of the floppy, replacing the metal circle from the back side of it. The cable ties kepts the two halves of the disk together (helped by a generous amount of superglue, of course)/

A closeup of the binary:

And the whole thing! Helpfully modelled by my laptop.

I apologise for the poor photo quality...  :s   
Thanks for looking!
2  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Totally impractical (an inappropriate) birthday presents! (quite a few pictures) on: January 13, 2009 03:10:25 PM
So it was my 20th birthday a couple of months ago. To celebrate, I had a joint birthday party with a friend of mine at university (who also has a house, and seeing as I was planning on using it anyway, it was only fair to invite him!)

Now, Alex is a completely heterosexual male, but ever so domestic. The man cooks (very well), cleans, and enjoys it! It's a running joke in his (mostly female) house that he's more feminine that the girls are. Having brought my sewing machine to uni, I couldn't resist making him something...

The apron I made:

All in pink satin with black lace and grosgrain. Somewhat Chanel - inspired. And totally impractical!
I sewed black lace to the pink rubber gloves to make them a bit fancier. Never again am I sewing marigolds...

...Then I thought "I've got loads of this pink satin (appropriated from the college social committee's store room...) left. And the apron doesn't look like much. Hmm."
...And I made some boxers from a pattern I found on the internets. Worryingly, the majority of lads who saw them said "they look quite comfy, actually." I did have to keep taking in the seams, because he's quite slim, so I went on the theory that if they were too small for me, he'd be fine! ...Just ignore my foot in the picture.

And a closeup of the fly:

The instructions weren't that clear, so I had to wing it, but I'm insanely pleased with how it came out.

Finally, the whole ensemble! Quite a charming Look, I think Wink Not sure who got him the pink hat. I am, by the way, tying the apron for him. Honest. While Captain Jack looks on.

3  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Ultimate geekery - Mario ? bag on: October 01, 2008 06:47:29 AM
It's Freshers' Week at my university college next week, and there's a fancy dress bar night. The theme this year is... "Film and Movie". So, really, this was an opportunity for me to dress as a character I've always wanted to be - SUPER MARIO! ...Nevermind that the film was a flop, that I'm a girl, with purple hair and quite a few piercings... Who cares? I'm wearing a pair of my dad's bib and braces from when eh joined the Fire Brigade (so they're about 33 years old!), and they're got pockets, but how could I pass up the opportunity to make a geeky handbag?

So here it is... the Super Mario '?' Block!

I used brown corduroy left over from a messenger bag I made for the bag body, and yellow cotton for the lining. I basically cut out six squares, interfaced them, then joined them in pairs before sewing them together. Then, once I knew where to put the zip (halfway across the top face of the cube), I cut off part of the top face, attached the zip, then cut out another piece for the other side and attached that to the rest of the bag.
I didn't attach a proper handle because I wanted to be ale to stuff the cube and have it in my room (or play with it. Which will no doubt happen!), so I sewed a loop of grosgrain ribbon and used a slipknot to attach that to the zipper pull.  The bag's about 5" on each side, but the opening's really small - I have fairly large hands, and I can't pull my hand out easily if I put it all the way in! The corners lose shape quite wasily because my interfacing wasn't very thick, but if I'm stuffing it, I'm not that worried.

Here goes! I apologise for some of the lens flare and the blurry closeups!

The whole bag:

Top view:

Closeup of the zip (this caused me bother. I have got an invisible zipper foot, but ti woudn't feed, for some reason. Any ideas would be much appreciated - it's a Brother machine):

You can just see the spotty yellow lining material inside.

And finally... a closeup of the '?'

The question mark is yellow craft foam, Copydexed to the bag and then secured with zigzag stitching all the way round.

4  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Octopus diary cover! on: September 24, 2008 10:56:11 AM
From the same material that brought you "Octobag". New this autumn...


"Kept cocking up the measurements" - The Daily Problem

"It'll probably never fit another notebook I buy" - the Realist

But enough with the pessimism and on to the photos!

I followed another of Heartofmary's amazing tutorials, but ended up making my own version to fit my diary.
Yes, it is back to front, because I'm silly and didn't think about whether the pattern would be upside down, but it still opens at the front! The button is from my stash and has "MADE IN ENGLAND" written on it.

And open, revealing the inside of my Violent Veg diary:

I can't wait to get back to university and have a real reason to use my diary!
5  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Lobster bag (pic mildly overweight) on: September 24, 2008 10:38:44 AM
After my Octobag, https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=264300.0, I realised "yes, it's pretty and practical, but I use my messenger bag more, so why didn't I make one of those?". ...So I did. My local market has yet more amazing material in, and I found this brown and red lobster print (I'm a bit of a sea creature freak).
I used the tutorial on the same webpage as my octopus bag's, Heart of Mary's blog. The tutorials are very clear and detailed, although there was a slight error in the first few steps of the messenger bag that led to me unpicking and resewing twice before I realised it! I adapted the pattern slightly, making the bag wider, using a different strap, and making all of the outside patterned. Oh, and I am NEVER putting an inside zippered pocket in a bag again. That caused me far too much stress, especially as my zipper foot decided to hide until after I'd finished  Angry

On to the pictures!

The bag being modelled by my door (again):

The strap was actually an adjustable holding strap type thing my dad was using to keep some bookcases together while we redecorate, and he thought it'd work as a strap for by bag. The metal rings and magnetic snap were poached from an old hangbag I didn't use anymore.

The front with the flap back to show the pockets:

And inside!

(That's a hoodie underneath. My bedcovers are nowhere near as amazing)


...Yeah, not that exciting. My desk, after a couple of days of crafting. It's really too small for a sewing machine or to cut anything big out on! The rice is for stuffing chickens, and the things under the desk are waste paper bins...

And the Peg Bag of Awesome I made for my Gran. I ripped open two plastic wallets to use as a waterproof lining. Material, once again, courtesy of Leeds Market Cheesy The poster in the background is a Discworld Map.

...And I am a donkey and just realised my last photo is the wrong way round. D'oh! The Peg Bag is clearly so Awesome it can defy gravity...

Thanks for looking!
6  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Chicken doorstop with pictures and pattern! on: August 20, 2008 10:12:20 AM
We've all seen the funky chicken doorstops on vrious websites (link to the ones on Refab here: http://www.refab.co.uk/all_products.php?ProductType=chickens), but I cannot, for the life of me, find a pattern for them! When I ws on my sewing kick the other day, I decided to have a go at drafting a pattern for them.

The ones on Refab have only two seams on the body, to hold the beak and comb. While you could make them as a tetrahedron/three-sided pyramid, you'd have too many seams, and wouldn't get the nice rounded shape the chickens have when you stuff them. Also, it's another seam to get straight and neat, and I'm all about time saving and less work!
With the aid of a pair of compasses and some greaseproof paper, I made a pattern by drawing a triangle, and instead of cutting three of them for the sides, I added on half of the third triangle to the other two.

So here it is: The Chicken Doorstop pattern in three easy pieces*!

Oops. The right hand triangle is equilateral, all sides 8" - I forgot to mark it on!   Embarrassed

This is a Paint pattern, but I've included measurements to make chickens the size of the ones on the website. My first attempt was 2" smaller, and didn't weigh enough, but the bigger ones are also easier to sew and the comb is much less fiddly! I'm pretty sure you could copy the picture and scale it up on the computer, but if anyone wants a technical explanation of the pattern (using compasses to draw the triangles and so on), then just ask! Also, if there's anything that's unclear on the pattern, let me know! The grey  dots inside the pattern pieces are where the seam allowances cross - it helps me keep in a straight line and keep the seams even if I mark them on the pattern.

Mine are filled and sewn up with the stuffing inside, mostly because I didn't have a small enough zip! I used rice because we had lots of it in the house, but I think smaller versions with beans would be a good toy for young children, as long as the eyes were stitched securely or silkstitched. I plan to make a set of mini beanbag chickens for my three year old cousin for Christmas, which will no doubt get thrown at the dog!

Here are pictures of the ones I've made so far:

The one on the left is the finished size using the pattern above, the one on the right was the original chicken. The larger one isn't finished - he's  eyeless and not stuffed (although the octopus eye on the material looks quite good, actually... Complete accident!). The material I used was the one left over from my Octobag, in the purses and wallets board. Eyes on the white chicken are silkstitched because I couldn't find teo black beads the same size.

Closeup of the completed (smaller) chicken!

*The beak and comb, I just guessed for sizes and cut freehand from felt
7  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Octobag - with pictures! on: August 20, 2008 09:43:12 AM
So last month, I was in my local market and saw the most amazing fabrics. Now, I'm a bit of a hoarder of fabric (and beads, and shiny things, and Lush products...), so I bought half a metre of two of my favourite materials, intending to make shopping bags. The first was olive green with mustard yellow turtles all over, but the other, and my favourite, was orange with dark blue octopuses!

I used the Pink October tote pattern here: http://mamaspocketbook.com/freebies.htm, and just as I'd measured and cut the pattern, realised I couldn't find the blue lining material I was sure I had. Lesson #1: Make sure you have all the stuff you need before you start!
I went back into the market the week after and bought some blue material to line the bag, then let it sit in my room and mellow for another week. Yesterday, having tidied my room, I thought "I know! I'll do some sewing! And cover my room in bits of material and cotton!" Perfect!

The tutorial, I found, was excellent. The step on boxing the corners threw me a bit at first, but once I worked out how to fold my bag so it looked like the picture, it was much easier than I'd thought. The straps aren't perfect where they're joined on, but I'm really pleased with it!  Cheesy

So here it is, my finished Octobag!

Being modelled by my bedroom door:

And inside (excuse my hand. And laptop. And desk...). There's a large, interfaced pocket inside to hold my purse and a smaller one on the opposite side for my mobile phone.

(An explanation for the papyrus under my desk and the line drawings on my door: My room is Egyptian style, with built in units with wood reliefs of different gods and drawings everywhere!...And an authentic laptop, of course.)
8  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Far, far away... on: November 04, 2007 08:23:09 AM
Not exactly Halllowe'en themed, but I figured this would be as good a place as any for costume help!
My college at university has an informal ball at the end of this term (around the 10th of december, I think, this year), and the theme is "Far, Far Away". It's meant to be fairytale, but being the geek I am, I want to go as Luke Skywalker. I am a girl, but I've got short, quite boyish hair, and every other girl will want to be a princess!



Is the costume I'm looking at, but I'm wondering where would be best to start.
I can probably borrow an appropriate pair of boots off someone, but the rest of the costume presents some difficulty. I'm living in college this year, and I don't have access to a sewing machine. The material will also be difficult to get hold of cheaply, so I may have to resort to finding cheap trousers that would work and cutting up a bedsheet for the tunic. I thought about using a pair of white or cream cotton pyjama bottoms for the trousers, and I may be able to borrow thses off a boy in college.

Any help would be much appreciated!
9  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Waffles without a waffle iron? on: May 31, 2007 04:23:59 AM
This may be a long shot, but here goes!

I've been looking for recipes to make stroopwafels (really thin waffles with syrup sandwiched between them. Tried them in Amsterdam, and I'm addicted!). I've not had a problem finding them, but they all require a waffle maker.  I don't currently own one, and they've proven tricky to find this side of the pond, and seem to be quite expensive.

What I want to know is:

Is it possible to make successful waffles without a waffle iron? I know they'll lost the waffly pattern, but it's the taste I'm after, more than anything.

10  COOKING / Dessert / Pancake mix cookies? on: February 19, 2007 11:02:40 AM
We've got a huge bag of American pancake mix (the joys of Costco), but we tend to eat crpes at home. Does anyone know of a recipe for cookies or cakes that uses buttermilk pancake mix as an ingredient?

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