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21  Re: 44 Cent Swap Rd 3 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Sarcastra on: October 09, 2009 06:43:21 PM
I received from Riffsrevenge today!

The envelope was a thick paper that I can use for paper pieces.  On the left is origami paper, beside it coordinating sequins and ribbon in pink, gold and green.  There are six glittered foam leaves in the middle, and other paper pieces.  The blue square is a holographic piece and I'm tempted to use it for an inchie background.

Thank you, riffsrevenge!  Your envelope has been sitting in the post box and should be in the sorting factory by now!
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22  Re: Giant Multi-Theme Swap Round 2 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Sarcastra on: September 12, 2009 08:17:25 PM
I received from Loobie on Thursday evening and she made a ton of fantastic stuff!
(click for slightly bigger pictures)

She wrapped every single thing in colorful tissue, then in cellophane.  My dining table was full of colorful goodness.  It was like a surprise birthday party just for me.

Theme 1: woodland creatures.

I had an item like this on my wish list.  It is a desktop pincushion.  It is wonderfully enormous.  I never move my pincushion from my desk and I wanted one big enough to fit all my types of pins as well as all my different needles easily together.  This will hold everything!  She made adorable customized pins with wooden bunnies on the ends just for me.  Loobie also stamped and colored little cards and matching envelopes, which I something I always need.  Such cute bunnies.

Theme 2: dinosaurs.

Loobie hand painted two pieces of dinosaur art for me to hang in my workshop and made knotted hangers built on to them so I can put them right up. At the bottom are some sharp dinosaur ATCs.  Dinosaur shape and track print bookmarks are in the middle.  On the upper right is a hanging definition decoration with bits about dinosaurs on them.  It is a bit hard to see in the photo because the pieces are dimensional, not flat, and they hang like a dinosaur information mobile.  Great stuff.

Theme 3: coffee.

Lower left, a pouch for coffee accessories already holding some flavored syrups for me to try.  Upper left, a stoneware coffee mug in a great size.  In the middle is a cross stitched hanging ornament - those stitches are so tiny and perfect!  The other side of the sachet says, "Coffee Crazy" which, yes, I am.  Loobie is a stitching pro, folks!  On the upper right, there is a coffee coaster and hot pad set, four for cups and a big one for our French press.  They are lined with a heat reflective interior so they'll protect my table from the mug heat.  In the lower right she sent some freshly ground coffee from a local company there in her neighborhood, which I have sampled and declare to be quite tasty.

Here is the back side of the coffee mug.  Some days, this is the truth!

Theme 4: travel.

On the right is a snap closure address book covered in old-fashioned maps. The big item there is a crochet project bag so I can take some crafty work with me when I travel, which is often.  It ties closed on the sides and when opened ...

 ...  it holds three separate bags; one for hooks and needles, one for patterns and notes and the big one for the yarn project itself.  All the bags have snaps on them so they can be used individually or be held in place in the bag together and closed up to carry away.  I love this bag and I LOVE the fabrics she has used; they are stellar!  Loobie, you have created an excellent, modular, useful and beautiful project bag here.  I give it my 100% approval as a traveling crocheter.  And without a pattern!  (She made it all up herself - grab her for an IYP, guys!)  This is really just spectacular.  Also, really soft.  I keep fondling it.

Theme 5: combo theme; dreams & sleep and fortunetelling

On the left is an altered mini-clipboard with fortunetelling images and a tissue effect of some kind.  On the back (not pictured) is a decoupage of an old style witchboard. On the upper right is a dream box.  It opens up to small, round discs of paper so I can keep it by my bed and jot down dream notes before I forget them.  I've already used it and have a paperclip separating the written ones from the blank discs, ready to go. Below that is a pair of dangley earrings with clear and black beads and a star at the end.  I've worn them out already and received compliments.  In the middle, a group of semi-precious stones turned in to magnets.  My friends saw these and squealed in delight.  They also love them and will be making their own, since I wouldn't share.  At the bottom are art squares of all the Zodiac signs.

Extras and local items.

At my request, Loobie went out and hunted down some just released mythical creature stamps there in the UK.  The art is excellent and I will be using these in some collages.  A postcard of Nottingham, a cute bunny card to tell me details about all the items, some funny tissues (which I will be using at work to self-dose with humor!) another cute bunny, a pen from her area, a tiny red UK post box key chain and a pretty watercolor card, again of her local area.  I don't know if I can use that card, I may display it as is!

Finally, everything together.  Loobie, you did a top-notch job on everything in this swap!  I can tell you put a lot of thought, effort and work into every single item and I really appreciate it.  Thank you very much.

Also, thanks again to pinkleo for wielding control over such a big, involved and long-running swap, with finesse.
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23  Origami Lucky Stars standing in as pixels in Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General by Sarcastra on: June 21, 2009 04:05:46 PM
First entry on the papercraft boards.  Hi all.  
A few months ago, I saw a video on the web about making these lucky stars.  They are a great, small craft to do while watching movies or traveling on planes (which I do a lot for work) or car rides.  After I'd piled up a couple hundred, I decided I should do something with them.  I'm always looking for new banners for my blog, so I figured this would work.  

This is the finished banner, about 1120 completed stars.  I made lots more, but I didn't want any patterned papers or too many pastels, so just the bright, plain ones made it into the banner.

I tried to make myself a graph to work from in Photoshop, but one cannot select both custom colors AND custom gradients, so I gave up and just used it to make a general idea of the slashes of color.  I drew out a grid of .75" squares, punched holes in each grid corner and used that as a stencil template to put positioning Xs on a foam board I spray painted with primer.  Then, it was just placing stars where they belonged.  In the above photo, you can see me putting down the text star pixels.

Close-up of the A.
I started the placement by hand, then by dropping them and pushing them into place, but ended up using chopsticks mostly.  Got lots of chopstick practice in!  The little star arms acted like gears - if you turned one the arms would turn the arms of the neighboring stars and rows and colums would start moving along!  Very frustrating when you only want to align one.  Again, chopsticks FTW.

Finished, mostly.  I did a bit of alignment and a few color swapouts right after this photo.  It covered my whole dining table.

The husband was kind enough to climb all over our dining room to get shots of the enormous thing.

I love how they all looked like a colorful star army, lined up in ranks.

Once it was fully photographed - the demolition!  Felt great - just like making snow angels in the first pristine snow of winter.

After playing in the pile of stars for a while, I sorted them back into their plastic baggie by color.  That way, I can use them again sometime for whatever reason might come up.

I was recently in the Crafty Detective Swap; TracyinNH made me this:

She saw my blog banner of stars and used it as a guide for this cross stitched bookmark.  Very cool!  I don't think I can use it as a bookmark though.  I might have to frame it.

Thanks for looking and letting me share!
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24  Re: A crafty detective gallery of sneakiness!! in The Swap Gallery by Sarcastra on: June 14, 2009 03:46:22 PM
Even more goodness!  TracyinNH sent me another bit of package, even though I already got a great bunch of stuff from her.  Seems as though this was taking longer than the other stuff and she didn't want to make me wait. Thus, I present to you my cool paisley apron!

I love this green paisley fabric and the spacious front pocket.

And it ties into a cute, puffy, little bow in the back!

Thank you so much, TracyinNH!  Now I have a sweet apron just for me.  Of course Husband thinks I should wear it with only lacy undergarments, but I'll actually get some normal use with it in the kitchen, too.
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25  Re: A crafty detective gallery of sneakiness!! in The Swap Gallery by Sarcastra on: June 14, 2009 02:22:11 PM
I'm going to jump in here with some crafter-pride for a minute.  I was so very proud of the travel toiletries organizer I made for ckchan that I've got brag about it just a little.  There was no pattern I could find that I liked, so I sketched up one myself.  It was very messy, mostly notes I made as I measured shampoo and lotion bottles at my desk, but if you're thinking of making one for yourself, here are my notes & sketch: http://too-lazy-to-be-evil.com/blog/blogphotos/2009-06-14-Organizer4.jpg
(This isn't a link to my blog, just to my photo directory where I've uploaded the sketch to save craftster some bandwidth usage.)

The top pockets jut out and will hold bottles, tubes and toothbrushes comfortably. 

They are shaped pockets in different widths so as not to distort the shape of the folded up organizer.

The middle section is a zippered clear vinyl pocket for things like makeup and small items that you'd want to see quickly to reach. 
The third, bottom section is a large pocket with a velcro closure big enough for a brush, comb, hair toys, deoderant and a pill bottle.   

The whole thing folds up:

It looks floppy and limp here, but when you put stuff in it it looks proper.

I couldn't believe how lucky I was to find that fabric, a flannel, in my tiny town with limited selection, given that ckchan's likes included cute monkeys and turquoise & brown color combos.

I was pretty pleased with the journals, too.  It was my first exposed tape binding and it turned out well.  Also, my first coptic headband, which I rather like and will use again in the future.

This has been a great swap with some really fantastic work all around.  Good job, crafters!
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26  Re: A crafty detective gallery of sneakiness!! in The Swap Gallery by Sarcastra on: May 22, 2009 12:54:57 PM
Prepare your drool; I have received!  My stalker was the excellent TracyInNH.

The whole shebang with a letter to read after the goodie fit.

Some origami paper (hobby of mine), cute critter dimensional stickers and hand drawn tree tags on a cream background. They are quite attractive, I don't think the picture does them fair.

Inchies!  Personalized inchies just for me! TracyInNH made me inchies based on some of my favorites: Robot Chicken, Battlestar Galactica [Holy frak!], the Sorting Hat from HP, V for Vendetta and Hot Fuzz.  They're charming!

Next up, handmade Sculpey skull  buttons!  They're perky little skulls and I think I have a project in mind for them already.

Thumbtacks!  The USPS was a tad hard on the box and the thumbtacks took the brunt of the smashing.  The coins popped off the thumbtacks, except for one.  It took me a minute to figure out what had happened - I was wondering why she'd put coins in with the thumbtacks until I saw the sole survivor.  It works out though, because I'm planning on making a huge wind chime with all my foreign coins collected over the years and these will fit right in!

This one is an especial favorite because it is a craft based off my craft - awesome!  If you go to my blog  now, http://too-lazy-to-be-evil.com/blog/ you'll see that the banner is a picture of 1120 origami lucky stars I made and laid out to display the name of the blog.  TracyInNH made a cross stitch of that.  It is amazing!  I can only imagine how much time and squinting you put in to that much detail.  Thank you!

A jewelry roll in Day of the Dead fabric.  I've been getting desperate for a safe method of storing my growing jewelry collection and this is perfect.

The roll opened out and showing the earrings and bracelet she made.

The earrings are just the way I like them and the bracelet is an improvement of one I had on my Etsy favorites list.  The disc shows the molecule for capsaicin, to which I am very sensitive.  She also took my whinging to heart about how my bracelets always catch on and clink against my laptop and keyboard. She made it out of a stiffer wire that will slide up my arm and stay out of the way while I type and draw.  So thoughtful!

An upcycled denim wrist cuff.  It is an exact fit and I'll be wearing it out on the town this weekend.  She also made me a pair of pretty luggage tags, but I can't find the picture of those right now.  They are nice, though.  I am so spoiled.

Butterscotch & peanut butter fudge.  I'd never had this before.  Also, don't think she sent a partly empty container - I'd been munching on it the whole time I was taking photos!

Finally, a jar of whimsies geared towards ATC making.  I love keys and bottle caps and stars and those big glass blobs and the beads - well, I just appreciate the whole thing!

Thank you so much, TracyInNH.  You were one of eight people left on my list, but I had no idea it was you stalking me.

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27  Re: Once You Pop Swap Rd8 - HALLOWEEN GALLERY! in The Swap Gallery by Sarcastra on: October 30, 2008 07:21:28 PM
Hello all.  My partner flaked on me, so SunflowerSmiles stepped up to be an Angel for me.  She who crafted up some smashing items for me with amazing speed and sent them Priority Mail so I could have my stuff before Halloween.  Very kind of her.  Below are the awesome goodies!

Here is the freshly opened box with a handmade card on top with a nice note from her inside.

Here is the can, all done up:

A gravestone on the front and a death figure hovering over the contents.  Death's robes are tattered and gray - great!

And the contents of the can:

Carefully wrapped in tissue paper, we have on the upper left a skull and crossbones fascinator(fortunately, a somewhat lower keyed one than normally seen, which is perfect for me), below that are two hair clips and on the bottom right we have two glass pendants (one snake with gold detail and one subtle rose) strung on velvet ribbon (at my preferred length - how did she know?) with silver toggle clasps.  These are all wonderful and I've already worn the rose pendant and fascinator out tonight!  I am in dire need of accessory & wardrobe help and SunflowerSmiles has given me a big step in the right direction.

Here's a close view of the pendants.

Halloween crafty things!  Stickers, stencils, painted wooden decorations with hanging strings and an excellent altered tag, made of wood, featuring a haunted house under a full moon and a zombie creature in the foreground.  Love it.

Magnets!  Conveniently, I like to put magnets on my giant WW2 era file cabinet and these are already in their new home.  My husband keeps stopping by to move the eyeballs around to look at different things.

Inchies!  Halloween inchies just for me!  Yay.  In that decorated tin at the bottom right were the earrings you see at the top left.  They are pretty and I will absolutely wear them.  She's given me more accessory help!

And at last, Halloween candy, a decorated votive holder with votive and a striking black candle with raised, silver skull and swirl designs.

SunflowerSmiles, you did an absolutely amazing job of crafting to my tastes and in such a short time, too.  You are a rockin' Halloween Angel!  Thank you millions!
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28  Re: Once You Pop Swap Rd8 - HALLOWEEN GALLERY! in The Swap Gallery by Sarcastra on: October 05, 2008 10:21:49 AM
Since my partner received last week, I'm going to put up some shots of what I sent her.

This is the can.  My partner likes sugar skulls, so I thought this would be fun.

She likes cupcakes, so I made some cupcake flags.

Here is what one side of them looked like before getting sticks.  I thought it would be weird to have a stranger touch the cupcake sticks (which were sandwich picks) so I put on sterile latex gloves when I put the sticks into the flags.  They all then went immediately into a Ziploc bag.  So, the part of the cupcake flags that touches the cupcake was never touched by me, they went straight from their container, held with clean latex gloves, then into a new plastic baggie.  I think theyll look very fun adorning a batch of cupcakes.

And the rest of the stuff in the can.  In the back, with orange trim, is a rat hammock since my partner wanted something made for her pet rat. It has a padded snuggle part in the middle for curling up on.The rat hammock is all 100% cotton, including the batting which is organic cotton.  I read that was important in case your rat starts chewing on it.  The cup cozy is lined with a heat-reflective material and is adjustable with the elastic loop.  The special silver material does a surprisingly good job of reflecting temperature.  In the middle, standing up, is a pencil case/cozy which is also the first felted item Ive ever made. It could be used as a crochet hook or knitting needle case, too.  To continue the cupcake decoration, I included some Martha Stewart Halloween cupcake papers.  Also, I threw in some Swedish fish (her favorite candy) and a skeleton stamp.

I've had a lot of fun making stuff for this swap and have enjoyed all the commentary and participation from everyone.  Go craftster.
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29  Re: Altered Tags Swap round 2 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Sarcastra on: September 13, 2008 01:36:43 PM
Here is a group photo of all the tags I received from group 3.  Two you've seen before in the gallery, but two are new.  Plus they look great together.

(from left to right)
* alteredmommy chose my skull theme and made me this great tag of a skull with heart eye sockets filled with stars and hand drawn details. 
* babbetto chose my skull theme and hand drew these skulls coming out of a wisp of smoke.  One of the fibers is especially neat - it might be hand made?  Looks cool, either way.
* amaryllisroze chose my skull theme and stamped & embossed images on my tag with a blended color background and a fat tangle of fibers.
*katcal chose my skull theme and placed skulls against a bright red background, front and back.  A skull charm adorns the fiber as well.

a shot of the tag backs.

Thank you, to all my wonderful partners for creating original art for me to adore and use!  Good job everyone.
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30  Re: Altered Tags Swap round 2 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Sarcastra on: September 03, 2008 08:21:52 PM
Here are the two tags I've received so far:

Left: katcal chose my theme of skulls.  The back has different animal skulls as well.
Right: amaryllisroze I think chose my skull theme, but it could fit my dream theme too.  The colors are subtle, but wonderful.

Thank you both!
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