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21  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Lagertha Dotee - Viking warrior on: June 05, 2016 05:13:30 PM
Ah, the joy of creating dolls with no arms or legs...it is so much fun. She comes equipped with her shield and sword, dressed in her mail. She just stepped out of the History channel's Vikings.

22  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Kumihimo Viking bracelet - melding of cultures on: June 05, 2016 05:07:25 PM
In a recent swap, I wanted to make a viking style wrist cuff/bracelet but working in metal was out of the question (and budget). So I made several items using kumihimo weaving, silver satin cord, and waxed black cord. I wanted to mimic the twisted silver look of some of the cuffs.

 I finished the first bracelet and it was too short....and one of the end caps was damaged. Note to self: Inspect jewelry findings before using lots of glue. So it became a key fob. I'm not sure the Vikings had much use for keys...does anyone know?

The second round went much smoother. I made my own weaving disk out of thick foam and it was really easy and fun. I made two sizes, just for fun.

23  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / How to make fake (and comfy) chainmaille/chainmail TUT on: May 22, 2016 07:24:54 AM
When I make costumes, comfort is primary, not realism. I applaud those that make period clothing and strive for authenticity, but those old timey folks were often not comfortable. I mean who wants to wear a stone weight ot chainmaille?

So to create a set of arm guards, I wanted some chainmaille to protect those vulnerable wrists and forearms, but did not like the idea of linking 100's of rings together or sewing with them.

YouTube came to the rescue again. I have to say that my first attempt did not really resemble chainmaille, but was easy and for a costume at a dimly lit party, would do. Especially if drinks are free!

*An old sweater or knitted length of fabric. Garter stitch (knit each row), stockinette stitch (knit one row, pearl one row), or the inside of an old sweater.
*Black spray paint
*Silver spray paint
*Well ventilated area, or do this outside. You will also have to let the fabric breathe and cure for at least a week, mine gave off fumes for quite a while.

The back side of of knitted stockinette stitch, or even better, garter stitch looks rather like chain fabric. A heavy weight yarn and big needles would do the trick. Or a thrift store (or back of the closet) sweater. Turn it inside out and take a look.  The smoother and thicker the yarn, the better the look. Think of comfort too. 100% wool can be scritchy, so a blend, cotton, or a manmade yarn would be best.

I knitted up a length of some 100% wool, rather scratchy, rusty orange wool...it was the thickest yarn I had. In the future, I would use something less fuzzy. Big needles made it go fast. Then the cat helped by becoming quite fond of the sample and mangling it a bit. Did I say this was wool with quite a bit of lanolin still present?

I stapled it to a piece of cardboard and gave it two coats of black spray paint. Depending on the color, you might want to spray the other side as well. I used a rusty color yarn, so my maille looks like it's a bit rusted...I like that.

Then a coat or two of silver. I also added a clear gloss layer that did not really do anything.

Then I sewed it into my wrist guards. Simple. The final fabric is stiffer, but still flexible. As you bend the fabric, more of the original yarn will show. Dying the sweater to a darker or rust color first.

24  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Paper Mache Garden Gnomes for a Spoof! on: April 04, 2016 02:16:04 PM
My  wife is a sexton for a church. This involves maintaining the grounds as well. This winter an area washed out and a member helped shore up and replant an area. As they were working, they decided that the area needed garden gnomes, at least long enough to spoof the building and grounds committee (who don't really go for garden gnomes on church property, I really don't know what is wrong with them!).

But the search for gnomes was in vain, they were either hibernating, on holiday, or down south for the winter. Not one of them were willing to come to the Northeast and stand in chilly mud.

So one Friday evening we raided the newspaper pile, grabbed tape, tubes, and watered down glue and made a couple of gnomes. We definitely had different visions of gnomes, but they both seemed happy. The drying time made us a bit nervous, but they got painted and were in place by Monday evening.

It was a big success. Very stony reception to the gnomes! Until the giggles started. The gnomes refused to stay out overnight and now reside amongst the plants in the office admins office. No one tells her what decorations she can have in her office.  Cheesy

25  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Round Blue House Winter Shrine on: March 05, 2016 06:13:18 AM
One tiny winter thing swaps are fun. Honoring winter and all it's beautiful glory is so much better than actually scooping snow!

Inspired by a picture my partner pinned on Pinterest, I put together this little shrine. The northern lights hang over a little round blue house, tucked in next to a hot spring. Everything came from my stash...except the dowel used for the house. I had to purchase that...just to cut a bit off the end. Anyone need some 3/4" dowel?

The snow was the tricky part, I was afraid to ruin the whole thing. I found a recipe for corn starch and white glue that worked out very well. You just mix white glue into corn starch a bit at a time until you get the consistency you want. It's easy to add more of one or the other to control it. Add a bit of sparkle if you want.

Thank you Wulf for some great pics I borrowed below:

26  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Strong Women: Typography wall art on: March 04, 2016 09:46:53 AM
In a recent typography swap, we had to play with type/words/fonts....all fun stuff. I knew the quote I wanted to use, but struggled with the execution, untill a lucky find at the craft store of 8 x 10 canvases (on sale and cheap).

I planned it all out in Illustrator, layout, possible fonts, etc. and ended up with two canvases to handle the whole quote. I used paint, machine stitching on paper, paper, scrabble tiles, punch out letters...anything I could find in my stash. And lots of layers of gloss medium or mod podge.

The background was painted a tan color, I then glued torn pictures of women, added swipes of bright paint, added more browns over, stamped over that, etc. I designed the drumming and dancing women years ago and they keep showing up in my art! They are stitched on paper, then cut out and glued down. I hand cut some letters out of a background paper, found punch out letters, printed some, painted some, and of course, used a few scrabble tiles. One technique was to letter on tracing paper, then glue down...the paper almost disappears.

Strong Women
May we know them
May we raise them
May we be them
~ Anonymous

27  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Browns and blues for winter warming. Now t on: February 22, 2016 11:43:20 AM
I now work at home and I set up my office in the coldest corner of the house. Well, it was the only possible corner and even though I have a warming panel under my desk, I love a warm lap quilt. I have a store-bought one that is getting a little thread bare, so I'm making a new one to warm me up.

I just have the top done and I am so pleased. It's about 32" right now, and there are additional strips hanging on the right that will be on the top and bottom of the center. I'll finish with more brown and blue borders. I used a charm pack called 'Sticks and Stones", stash fabric, and some additional purchased pieces.

But for now, I am just admiring my work. I'm still a novice at quilting and just cannot get my corners to match up consistently. But who cares? Once it is done and wrapped around me, you'll never notice.

It's finished! See page 2 of this topic!

28  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Aye-Ayes defying extinction on: February 13, 2016 05:53:10 PM
The odd looking aye-aye comes from Madagascar and is endangered, due mainly to the belief that they are evil or bringers of bad luck. They are a bit odd looking, coming from the lemur family with long middle fingers and ever-growing teeth to help them dig grubs and insects out of trees.

I made these for a Junker Jane style doll swap. To me, these little guys look like they've grown up on the streets and are a little worse for the wear. The first one took off to a new home....the ungrateful little imp. The second one was a proto-type that I ended up finishing for me. They do kinda grow on you.

29  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Raven, raven, raven, free. Raven won't you see for me. on: February 03, 2016 12:49:44 PM
In the one tiny bird swap, my tiny bird became a rather large bird. I think I am forgiven.

I started with a purchased doll body from Dharma Trading. They are very cheap, wired, but the heads are creepy and formless. I added a raven head, chopped off the feet and wired in new ones. I wrapped the legs wit floss and painted the whole thing with a layer of gesso, sanded her, then two coats of black with a sanding between coats. The gesso and the sanding make a really nice finish.

Her hood, wings and tail are two layers of a cobweb printed netting and black silk scraps, machine stitched and trimmed close to the stitching. Then I tacked it onto her. Her dress is just cut out and embellished. Jewel eyes, a bit of fluff and she is ready to go.

She's too big for the swap...so here she is trying to fit into a less than 5" space.

30  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 111 ENTRIES / KIng Kong was Cookie Monster's Great Great Grandpa on: January 10, 2016 10:12:36 AM
Yes, this is a little known fact, "KIng Kong was Cookie Monster's Great Great Grandpa". He wasn't going for the girl, she just got in the way...or he hoped she could bake. I made this for the holidays, and the kids loved it. It didn't last very long, we had to do a contest for who got to eat the plane and the King himself. So these are the best pics I got. BTW, it was very warm here in Connecticut on Christmas day, looked and felt more like early October.

So here he is, eating his way up the Empire State Building, which is sticking out of the clouds.

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