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21  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Selling Crafts on Etsy.com / How perfect is "perfect"? on: October 28, 2009 06:13:40 AM
I suppose this question can be answered by both buyers and sellers on Etsy.  I don't have an Etsy store yet, but I've been wanting to sell stuff on Etsy for a while now. 

What holds me back is that in most of the things I make, no matter how hard I try to be "perfect" there are often small imperfections that come from things like: I do not own a laser cutting machine.  So, like, if I made greeting cards, any embellishments would be cut out by hand.  I'm pretty good with scissors, but if you look close you can tell it wasn't done by a machine like with cards you'd buy in a store. 

I also make jewelery, sometimes with shrink plastic, and those of you who are familiar with this may know that sometimes the plastic doesn't shrink completely evenly, so what started as a circle might be more like an oval when it comes out of the oven.

And then, I also want to make and sell coasters, and I glue cork to the back to protect the surfaces they'll be on.  I cut the paper for the front with a rotary cutter at work, so that looks great, but the cork doesn't fit in the cutter so I had to use scissors, and it's not laser-perfect either. 

So my question is, how big a deal are imperfections like this?  Should I wait and save up for some kind of cutting machine so my stuff will look as good as things in the store?  Or should I go ahead and try to sell my imperfect things but sell them really cheap?  Or do people not mind imperfections so much on etsy since the stuff is handmade?
22  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Steampunk airship pirate on: August 29, 2009 01:46:03 PM
I have finally finished my costume for DragonCon!  On time!  woo!

I already posted the gun here and the goggles here.  And now here is all of it all together.

Wings open:

And with wings closed:

And from the back:

Goggles and gun are already explained in their own posts, on to the rest.

Vest: purchased.  Waist cincher: already owned.  Shirt: purchased then dyed a bit duller white.  Hard to see in the pic since I was in the sun, but it's not bright white in real life.  Pants: purchased, then altered.  I cut the bottoms off and made them smaller, grommetted and laced up the sides, and sewed them back on, pleating the legs on the side seams.  I bought the socks, two pairs so one could be arm warmers.  Oh, and I made the gun's holster.  Oh and those shoes are awesome!  They were originally $140, I got them at a discount store for $40!  And for such a high heel, they're actually pretty comfy.  Here's a better pic of the shoe:

The wings!  The wings I've been working on forever, trial and error.  The support frame is made from copper pipes soldered together.  The spines are slats from a broken set of wood blinds I got super cheap at Big Lots. The fabric is just muslin, with grommets to tie it to the spines.  They open and close by pulling a string which hooks onto some jean buttons I hammered into my belt. The black belt with the big grommets is chained to the support frame to help hold it on. There are also brown straps attached with D-rings that are attached to the pipes with pipe clamps.  

Since the wings don't operate by steam power or clockwork, I guess it's not really steampunk, huh. It's stringpunk! Wink
Anyway, comments and critiques welcome, though I don't have time for any drastic changes.  If you're gonna be at DragonCon, see you there!
23  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / My awesome green dining room on: May 21, 2009 10:02:50 AM
I am so happy with this y'all:

To make the leaves images, I used some Photoshop brushes I got from here: http://www.obsidiandawn.com/
I auto-traced them in Illustrator, made them huge, divided them into letter paper sized sheets, printed them out, stuck them to contact paper, cut them out, then stuck the contact paper to the walls to use as a stencil.  Looked like this while I was stenciling:

Two different colors of contact paper because I ran out of the first one, and that's what was in the garage. 

Here's close-ups of the stenciling:

Here's the wall opposite the larger stenciled image, where I framed some pieces of scrapbook paper:

And here's where I was like, "Oops, I already painted the trim and put a bit of the new colors on the walls to show my boyfriend, so I can't get a 'before' pic but I can get a 'during' pic."

Thanks for looking! Comments and critiques welcome!

24  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Wire tree centerpiece on: May 03, 2009 02:36:22 PM
I wanted a centerpiece for my dining room table, and I got inspired by several wire tree sculptures I've seen on here and other sites.  I've never made one before, so if I did it wrong please be kind!

I used copper wire, brown wire, green beads for the tree, and put it on some river rocks on a charger plate I got from Target.

Close up of my not-so-great wire twisting technique:

And here it is on my dining room table:

Please ignore the ugly curtain in the background that will be replaced soonish.  Comments and critiques welcome! 
25  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / New kitchen curtain on: April 26, 2009 11:21:56 AM
A few months ago I moved into my boyfriend's house, and most of the crappy decor was here when he moved in, so he's fine with my upgrading it.   I just made this:

to replace this:

Yeah, that old curtain is lace ducks and hearts.  Not really his style or mine.  I don't have the motivation or the funds yet to redo the wallpaper, so the butterfly border is staying for now, and it will just have to coexist as best it can with my new curtain. Smiley
26  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Steampunk gun on: April 01, 2009 04:50:36 AM
Hey, this is a prop for my steampunk costume that I'm working on in stages.  I already posted the goggles here and I won't post anything else until it's all done. I just wanted to go ahead and show the gun, because I'm really proud of it, even though there are tons of guns like it posted all over the rest of the internet.

Here it is: 

And here it is before, sitting on our old really ugly kitchen table that has since been replaced:

So, yeah, basically I repainted a Nerf gun. Simple, right? But, I wanted it to still work, so I had to take it apart to paint the pull-back piece.  But then, every time I pulled it back, it scraped off the paint, no matter what kind of paint or sharpie I used.   So, I sanded it down smaller, painted it again, then coated it with resin, sprayed it with WD-40, and that seems to have stopped the scraping. 

There's lots of different kind of paint on it: base coat of black spray paint, then copper spray paint, gold and silver paint pens, metallic sharpies, metallic acrylics, and watered down black acrylic to make it look old and dirty.
27  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Short cardboard tubes and tiny flip-top canisters on: March 21, 2009 03:58:55 PM
Hey, I work with kids in 2nd grade, and my boyfriend's mom just gave me some stuff in case I could use it to do crafts with them.

First, a bunch of short cardboard tubes:

These would be great for making adult sized bangles, but a bit too big for kids.  What else could they make with them?

Second, these little plastic canisters/bottles with flip top lids:

Since they're plastic, and black, we can't really decorate them with paint or sharpies, and even if we did somehow decorate them, what in the world would the kids use them for?  I'm stumped.
28  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Living room stuff on: March 12, 2009 12:13:14 PM
Here's this thing I made for my living room wall:

It's kind of like art, I guess? I didn't paint it or draw it. What it is, is scrapbook paper (from a pack called "Pretty Poppies") glued to chipboard which is then attached to a frame.   I made the frame from scrap wood from the garage and painted it black, used spray adhesive to attach the scrapbook paper to the chipboard sheets, and attached those to the frame using foam mounting tape (fingers crossed they don't fall off!)

You can see it in context here, where you can also see the tray I did with the same paper, and one of the pillows I got (which don't go with the poppy stuff but at least they're red!), and our new couch:

Unfortunately, that's the only view of the room worth looking at, since we still need: new entertainment center, new end tables (you can see the folding table we've been using) and a slipcover for the ugly but comfy recliner. 

Comments and critiques welcome!

29  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Tile coasters on: March 11, 2009 07:06:10 PM
I've seen several sets of really cute coasters made from tiles, and I finally decided to try it.  Here's mine:

They're 4 and 1/4 inches square, and here's how I made them: tiles from Home Depot (only 16 cents each!) scrapbook paper cut to size, Mod Podge to attach it and coat it, then several coats of Exterior/Interior varnish, and a square of cork hot glued underneath. 

The reason they have a bit of texture is that I used a foam roller to apply the Mod Podge and the varnish, and that's just what it does.  I like it though, and so far they're standing up to my hot coffee mug pretty darn well!
30  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Orange and green craft space! on: February 28, 2009 07:04:08 AM
Check out my new crafting area! I recently moved in with my boyfriend into an old house he's renting from his parents, and our first project together was redoing the office.

Shelves with various containers holding various craft supplies:

I know they aren't labeled, but I know what goes where.

Under the Ikea desk, you can see the plastic Ikea bins that I originally intended to install below one of the shelves, but then the brackets that make them slide in and out like drawers, which looked like they would fit when we were at the store, magically decided to be too big once we got home. I think I like them under the desk even better. They're holding all the supplies I use the most often, and the stuff my boyfriend is most likely to need to borrow, like scissors, staplers, pens, etc. You can also see my wastebasket and the awesome light box my boyfriend made me for Christmas.

Unfortunately, we both neglected to take "before" pics, but here's a "during":

To get a good idea of what it looked like before we started, imagine disgusting carpet that was soaked with cat pee in one corner from the previous renters (how my boyfriend managed to work in there for a whole year is beyond me) and imagine the bottom third of the wall in very dark blue with a train border separating it from the top part of the wall, and imagine that the train border is already half coming down, and under it you can see another border with soccer balls.  Oh, and the ceiling, which you can't see in these pics anyway, was stained from cigarette smoke.  So, yeah, lots of stripping paper, spackling, sanding, priming, painting, ripping out carpet, installing laminate floor and base moulding.  Whee!  But I'm so happy I have a pretty space now. 

His side of the room, well, that's gonna be a whole 'nother project  Smiley :

Thanks for looking!
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