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1  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Playing with a new medium on: September 15, 2009 09:16:19 AM
I made this little pendant the other day, just as an experiment.  I think its cute.

A little bit twee and a lot kawaii.

The pendant is a wooden tile, glitter, a sticker, and a nice coat of UTEE.

2  Texas / Texas: Southeast / San Antonio area polyclay-ers on: July 29, 2009 10:56:43 AM
So, I live on the Northeast side of town and I bought the equipment for polyclay before realizing its just not for me.

I thought I might give the boards a shot to see if anyone would like it... for free!  I just want some closet space back.  (Unless you wanted to swap for say sewing supplies, but that would be totally your call)

What I have:
An acrylic roller
Pasta machine
Polyclay in different colors (some packages have been opened, some have never been opened)

I might have some other things.  I need to look.

And I could meet you in a nice well-lit public area if you're afraid that I might be coo-coo for Coco Puffs.  Smiley

3  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Big Cartel, anyone? on: January 27, 2009 01:09:23 PM
Does anyone use Big Cartel to sell their handmade goodness?
What are the pros and cons?
Do you like it overall?

I am curious about this site, because I don't hear of anyone that has store on this site.  (Most people seem to be jumping on the Etsy bandwagon)

I would really love to start selling some of my jewelry and plush, but the thought of calculating paypal fees, commission fees, shipping and handling... wooo... my brain is spinning.

What does Craftster think is the best avenue to take for someone who wants to dip their toes into the handmade game?

Thanks in advance!
4  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Wrist full of mushrooms on: January 05, 2009 06:10:32 PM
Super mushrooms to be exact...

Sanded poly shrink, loose glitter, sharpie, and gloss spray

The stems turned out a bit streak-y, and today was sort of an icky cloudy day for taking pictures.

I haven't been crafting as much, because I've been working on a full-time project for the past six months:

(my little boo-bear)

Comments/questions/criticism (except about the baby, she's perfect  Wink) welcome...

5  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Princess Toadstool's Assault Turnips on: January 05, 2009 04:43:35 PM
Having a bad day? Boss being a jerk?  Mom yelling at you?  Husband not appreciating you?  Why not throw a turnip?

It works for Nintendo characters...

Part of a string of many Mario Bros. inspired projects I've been into lately.

Made with love for my own little Princess Toadstool

6  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Killin' your brain like a poisonous mushroom on: January 05, 2009 04:30:01 PM
*Twenty points if you got my lyrical reference*

I felt like I haven't posted a project in soooo long.

It has been a while, but I have been busy.

I whipped up this guy:

A poison 'shroom from Mario Bros, o'course.

He is sanded poly shrink, Sharpie, glitter glue, and crystal glaze.  He is by no means perfect (I got some glaze on the back of the piece which made the shrink plastic clear in spots instead of the intended white), but it was really a test piece.  (or so I tell myself to feel better about things)


comments/criticism/questions welcome...

7  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Tangy (from Animal Crossing: Wild World) on: November 04, 2008 05:54:49 PM
We wanted our little Clover to be something original this Halloween, and my husband and I are addicted to Animal Crossing, so our end result was deciding on the character of Tangy, a super-cute orange (the fruit and the color) cat.

My inspiration:

What I started with, a $10 pumpkin costume.  At this point, I had removed the stem from the hood and the leaves around the neck.

The front:

The back:

An action shot.  (The photo is blurry, she is a VERY wiggly babe)

My modifications:
Removed the stem and leaves around the neck
Sewed pink and orange fleece ears into the seam of the hood
Added a drawstring to the hood, as it was too large and the ears flopped over
Added fleece leaves to the top of the hood
Removed the cuffs at the ankles and wrists (it is still in the 80's here, temperature wise, and I wanted the costume to be somewhat cool), I cut some of the length with pinking shears, and top-stitched around with red thread
Added an orange fleece tail in the back seam
The "green bar" shirt was an old shirt of mine that, sadly, does not fit my post-baby body.  I cut it through the middle, leaving the bottom hem and made straps from the excess material.

I think that is it.  I don't think my costume is anywhere near as good as some of the other entries.  I just thought I'd share with my fellow dorks gamers.  Cheesy

8  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Help me wash my blanket on: April 30, 2008 11:11:47 AM
Ok, I am leaving this up to the pros, as I do not know how to knit or crochet.
My husband's grandmother just sent us a beautiful baby blanket for the future little, and it feels pretty stiff.
How do I was this thing??

I am pretty sure that she used an acrylic yarn (I'm not completely yarn-illiterate), because I know wool yarn can felt when washed in hot water.

So, will it be safe in a gentle cycle or should I hand wash?  I have no idea about such things.

Thanks in advance!
9  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Mario Bros.-inspired plastic goodness on: April 30, 2008 07:54:28 AM
A long-time love for old school video games inspired me to make these.  Considering I had three brothers, my actual video game playing time was limited, but I could watch as much as I wanted (Thanks, guys!).  So, I could appreciate the graphics of the game rather than having all this pressure on me to rescue a princess from a dragon.
(And, yes, I am old and had an original NES.  Game not working?  Just blow on it!)

*These are sanded poly shrink, Sharpie, and glitter.

Super mushroom!  (I feel bigger already)

Need an extra life?

Why would you not want to be able to spit fire?

A prototype gone a bit wrong as far as size.  Its pretty big, compared to the others, about 3 inches in width.  My husband claimed it as a yule tree ornament.
*The little Mario heads I tediously cut from plastic bags of Nintendo candies that I found at the 99cent store.  You never know what you will find there.*

10  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Double-baking Tutorial (for shrink plastic) on: April 28, 2008 12:38:11 PM
The weekend got away from me, and I am suffering from a bout of "pregnancy brain", so when I would sit in front of the computer, I totally blanked on what to write. *Blinking cursor of my blank word document, why must you mock me??*

Better late than never, though.

Double baking

Disclaimer:  I did not invent double-baking in any way shape or form.  The directions can be found on any package of Shrinky Dinks brand shrink plastic, although they refer to it as fusing.  I am simply sharing my techniques and my trials with this method of using shrink plastic.

There are two key ingredients to double-baking that you can not buy in the store: patience and flexibility.  You must have both of these things in order to attempt double-baking, because it can be a tedious process that will have you swearing or in tears (depending on your temperament, in general).  I am a swear-er, but I have been known to tear up when things dont go exactly as planned (To be honest, I am a bit of a day dreamer and I have vivid imaginings of myself crafting for Martha Stewart, impressing her into speechlessness, so, perhaps, I should tone down my own ambitions a tiny bit to cause a bit less distress for myself.)

What is this double-baking that you speak of?
It is what it sounds like: baking your shrink plastic, not once, but twice.

Do I need special tools?
The only extra things you will need (in addition to your regular shrink plastic supplies) are a Pyrex (glass) baking dish and an oven that reaches a temperature of 450 degrees F.
I am also going to recommend an oven thermometer for this.  If youre oven is too hot (mine was off by 50 degrees *ouch*) you will get some unwanted results.

I got my supplies, lets do this thing!
Ok, settle down.  I told you, you will need patience.
#1 Decide on a design that you would like to practice double-baking with.  I say practice because you should practice with this technique.  Remember what I said about the swearing and/or tears?  Well, that could happen if you try to make a beautiful piece of art on your first attempt and things dont go as planned.
I find that the best designs are simple geometrics such as stripes, polka dots, squares, etc.  You will get some distortion with double-baking, so keeping things simple is the better way to go until you get accustomed to this method.

#2 There are two types of shrink plastic that work for double-baking: crystal clear/transparent or frosted (the SD rough and ready, if thats what you have on hand).  I also recommend using only markers for double-baking, because the colors do tend to fade during double-baking and colored pencil doesnt always hold up (although, by all means, experiment with different brands if you got em).

#3 Preheat your oven to the regular baking temperature (between 300-350 degrees F, depending on your plastic).

#4 You are going to use two pieces of plastic per one finished piece.  For example, if you would like a nice circular pendant, you would use two round pieces of the same size.  (I like to trace around the lid of a small cookie tin.)  I trace the shape using a ball point pen or pencil, and then get to the coloring.  Only color your design on one of your pieces, though, leaving the other blank.  If you are using frosted shrink plastic, you should color on the smooth side, because markers have a tendency to bleed when used on the rough side.  Once you are happy with your design, your pieces are ready for their first baking.
And, if you would like a hole in your finished piece, punch it now.  I line my pieces up and punch both at one time, so the holes will be aligned.  Also, you MUST use a bigger punch than a regular notebook-paper sized punch.  I use a inch circular craft punch for any double-baked pieces.

#5 Bake your pieces as usual, both your colored piece and your plain piece.  Once you remove them from the oven, you can put something over them to flatten them, but its not totally necessary in double-baking.  Let them cool, and crank up your oven to 450 degrees F.

#6 After your pieces have cooled, they are ready for further embellishment. Place your blank piece to the side.  He doesnt get any love this time around, either. This is where your imagination really comes into play.  I have used glitter glue, loose glitter, pressed flowers/clovers, cut-outs from plastic candy bags (seek out your local Asian market for super-cute food packaging), and stickers of all sorts for embellishment*. 
*If you would like to use stickers, plastic cut-outs, or the pressed flowers, I recommend starting with a clear piece of plastic.  Simply bake two unmarked pieces of plastic and then embellish.  You can use markers after the plastic has been baked for the first time, as well, if you wish to add color (as for a border, etc.).  I have had problems with marker clouding stickers and other add-ons during the second bake when they were placed on top of the ink. 
If you want to use glitter for most of your embellishment, I highly recommend using markers beneath them.  For example, if you want to make blue, gold, and purple glitter stripes on your piece, use blue, yellow (I have yet to see gold Sharpies), and purple Sharpie on your unbaked piece, bake, then add the colored glitter in this step.  Colors do darken with baking, so I would use a paler marker than your glitter.  The marker behind the glitter helps emphasize the glitters color, but you dont want it to overpower the glitter.
Now, you must let any glitter, glue, or ink that you have used dry COMPLETELY.
I made most of my mistakes not letting things dry.  So, let them dry.  Sometimes, I embellish my pieces in the afternoon, and dont bake them a second time until the next morning so I know that they are, indeed, dry.

An aside here:  If you are using the oh-so-fun glitter glue, you may notice that the glue seems to pull away from itself when drying/dry.  You may be tempted to add more glitter glue to these blank spots, but dont.  The glitter will heat up and spread, filling those empty spaces during the second baking.  If you add too much glitter glue, your colors will run into one another and blend into a weird non-color.

#7 Place your plastic piece in the Pyrex dish (I use an 8x8 in casserole dish) design side up.  Now, take your neglected blank piece and layer it on top of the designed piece, making sure your holes are aligned (it wont be perfect, but try for as aligned as I can get).  Push the top piece gently into the bottom piece. 
Now, place in your preheated 450 degrees F oven.  I set a timer for five minutes and, unlike the first bake, I dont peek at the pieces until the timer goes off.
*beep beep beep*
I squeal, and then look at my pieces.  By this time, your pieces may look a bit strange. Your top piece is probably beginning to curl up and the pieces will look melted.  This is good.  Its just the look youre going for.
But, your piece probably isnt finished.  Turn that timer on for another three minutes.
Take another look.  The pieces should be molding into one another and they are developing a glass-like appearance (even the frosted plastic will do this).
My pieces usually only take about eight minutes  So, how do you know if yours is done?
I like to take mine out when the sides of the two pieces have fused smoothly together.  If your pieces are fusing together and are not completely smooth, but you are happy with the design of the piece and would like to remove it, you can fix the edges later on.

When to take your piece out of the oven, no matter what:
If the piece has a lot of bubbles in the top, take it out.  The oven is TOO hot, and the plastic baked too quickly.  If you want to try and salvage your piece, you can try pushing on the top of the plastic with something smooth and heat resistant (I use a non-slotted plastic spatula).  You will feel the plastic give under your tool, so press gently to avoid completely destroying your design.
If the piece is smoking, take it out.  Once again, your oven is too hot.
Some color loss from the markers is going to happen, but if your piece has turned completely clear, you are probably baking it too long (or using markers that arent great for double-baking).

If you are happy with your piece, take it out, and let it cool on a pot holder or towel.  DO NOT TOUCH!  This plastic is hot, and is somewhat liquid when heated at such a high temperature, so, not only will it burn you, it might stick to your skin as well.  *ouch*
You will hear little tinkling noises and pops as your plastic cools and releases itself from the glass.  This is perfectly normal.  I wait about 20-30 minutes before attempting to remove my piece.

Is my piece done now?
Well, that is entirely up to you.  I keep a lot of double-baked pieces as-is if I especially like how they turned out.  I dont really see the need to seal them, because all ink and glitter is trapped inside.  If you dont like the edges, you can gently sand them, using a fine grit sandpaper (380 grit or above), rinsing the dust from the piece, and then using a bit of liquid triple thick glaze on the edges only (I have had clouding issues when used on the tops of pieces).

Im unhappy with my piece.
Im right there with you.  For every piece I have that I like, I have five pieces hidden in my box of shame that I never want anyone to see.  Like I said at the beginning, this technique is an exercise in patience and perseverance.  Keep trying, and you will soon learn what does and does not work in double-baking.

Cant wait to see what you make!
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