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1  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Grease! - Rydell High Cheerleader Costume on: November 12, 2019 02:03:31 PM


My whole department at work decided to plan a group theme (it was optional, but I figured, why not?!), and they went with Grease. I refuse to wear tight leather pants, so it was either regular clothes or prom clothes, but I also don't do pink, so the Pink Ladies' jackets were also out. I re-watched the film to see what else there would be, and I decided to go with the Cheerleader outfit, since it's so rarely seen as a costume. I already owned the perfect cherry red retro-inspired skirt (by the brand Rock Steady), so I needed the top and accessories. I mean, you can't be a 1950's cheerleader without ridiculous pompoms! Wink

Here is the reference image from the film that I based everything on:


You can see that her pompoms are on a central handle with a poof on each side, and they are fairly substantial. I couldn't find anything that looked like this, so I ordered some kid-sized ones from Amazon (small, but cost effective); I got 4 white ones and 4 red ones. They were conveniently held on the handles with zip ties. I separated each one, carefully un-threaded the ties, and removed the fluff bundles (tied with dental floss for bunch-control) from each.




Next, I decided that a single handle was long enough for me to hold, so I picked the nicest-looking two, sawed off the closed ends with a handsaw, and then drilled another set of holes at that end.



Next, I re-used the original zip ties to put two bundles on each side of the handles (so 4 tiny white single pompoms became 1 double-thick, two-ended pompom).





For the top, I decided that since I live in Texas, I didn't want an actual sweater (I would die), so I bought a plain white T-shirt at the craft store to build my top. I found online a nice outline of the Rydell patch from the original uniform, printed it out to scale for my chest (I'm super short), then traced each base shape on freezer paper. I ironed each shape onto my red felt and the cut tightly against each piece.





Once I had all my pieces ready, I very carefully overlaid each piece on a sheet of white felt, and then sewed a straight stitch very close to the edge of each to hold it together. Finally, I cut around the whole outline, leaving a crisp white edge for the patch. It looks exactly like the one in the film! I was so happy! Grin




To attach it to the shirt, I positioned it carefully while wearing it, then laid it flat and tweaked it a bit, pinned it within an inch of its life, and machine-sewed it to the shirt using a medium zigzag. I did this so that if I ever want to change the shirt that it's on, it will be each to remove; but the attachment stitching is fairly invisible on the patch itself.






The last touch was to add a cute red Peter Pan collar. Since, you know, RED, I decided to build it as a separately worn piece. I found a free pattern online, adjusted the size a little, then used scraps of a red cotton I already had to build the collar. I tacked it together in the front with some hidden stitches, and then I added a hook/eye to the back to hold it together. It overlaps the T-shirt collar very well, although having worn it once now for a full day, I think I will add snaps or Velcro at the two shoulder seams on the shirt and matching ones on the collar, as it tends to rotate throughout the day.






I finished off the whole screen look with a ponytail (decorated with an actual vintage silk chiffon scarf!), bobby socks with little pearls, and white tennis shoes (I refused to buy new shoes for a costume like this, so they are actually from a previous cosplay as Hank from the film Lunatics: A Love Story; hence the yellow smiley face tips).

And here is the final outfit!



I had SO MUCH FUN bouncing around, and cheering for people, and posing for photos (people even outside our company, but in our business complex, recognized me and asked for pictures). I even spent a couple hours researching cheers from the 1950's, and built a full cheer and choreographed and learned it, and then performed it for people throughout the day. Cheesy

Here it is (Yes, I'm a dork):

Who are we?
You know us!

Were Rydell!
Were Rydell!
Were Rydell High!
And were gonna beat you til you cry!

Lean to the left!
Lean to right!
Sit down, stand up,
Fight! Fight! Fight!

Gooooo, Rydell!


I didn't expect to enjoy this outfit as much as I did (I have clearly never been a cheerleader of any kind), but it was an awesome day. Grin Here's a final shot with me at work, posing with our office party's pirate skeleton (who I personally own and dressed using all items from my Ren Faire stash; his name is Hezekiah).



Go, Rydell High! Cheesy
2  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Thanksgiving / Easy Handkerchief Pumpkins on: October 14, 2019 01:57:26 PM


This weekend some friends and I made handkerchief pumpkins! We had a ton of fun, and they make quick, adorable fall decorations for any reason. Inexpensive handkerchiefs are easy to come by (ours came from Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby), although you could absolutely use cute cuts of any fabric you wanted. The tutorial we used just said to make sure that the fabric length is twice the width, and you can then make any size of pumpkin you want. I made three different sizes. My largest fabric piece was about 18" x 9" and the finished pumpkin was about 5-6" across.



For my pumpkins, since I plan to keep them out all season, I wanted colors that reminded me of actual pumpkin colors, so I have orange (traditional pumpkins), white (snowball pumpkins), and a kind of blue/teal (Cinderella pumpkins). Each standard size handkerchief makes at least two pumpkins, but more if you want tiny ones.



After cutting the fabric into appropriately sized strips, I sewed the short ends together to make tubes, for all of them (my friends dont machine sew, so I brought mine and did all the seams quickly to start out). I used a small hem (just the size of my presser foot).



Next, we used 3 strands of embroidery floss to run a loose gathering stitch around one end of each tube, about inch from the cut edge of the fabric. Then, we gathered it tightly, took a few securing stitches, and then tied it off. This will be the bottom of the pumpkin.



Here are my three adorable pumpkin pouches, ready for their squishy innards!



At this point, its time to stuff them. I stuffed mine quite thoroughly, which resulted in wonderfully poofy, rounded pumpkins, which I liked. If you want flatter pumpkins, which my friends went for, just stuff them a little less.



To close your pumpkin, sew another running stitch row on the open edge, about a inch from the cut edge, push the stuffing down out of the way, and then pull the mouth of the tube closed. I used my fingers to push the raw fabric edge in as I gathered it, but youll add a stem over this later, anyway.



I forgot to take actual sewing pictures of this step, but the pictures show your aim. Taking a long length of full embroidery floss (all 6 strands), tie a thick knot and bring the thread up from the bottom all the way through the pumpkin, then wrap the thread around the outside of the pumpkin, and bring it back into the bottom and through to the top. Pull that loop tight, until you like how gathered its made the segment. To make a familiarly shaped pumpkin, made 6 loops total, evenly spaced around your pumpkin. Some of the pumpkins we made only had 5 loops, which is also cute, but requires more tweaking to get them to lay evenly around the shape. Two extra tips: doll-making needles are the best for this step, because they dont get lost inside the pumpkin; make your first outside loop over the seam line, which will pull it tight and hide it completely.



For stems, vines, etc. we used pipe cleaners. In the future, I may keep an eye out for cute sticks that would make cool stems, but for now I am happy with these. I used a fluffy brown pipe cleaner wrapped around a pen to make the stems. I used a slightly thinner green pipe cleaner cut in half and wrapped much more loosely to add a little pumpkin vine for each. At this point, you can hot glue (or fabric glue) to secure the stems more permanently. For mine, since I might display them stacked sometimes, I left my stems unglued, which also will make them easier to store in my fall decoration box!



And here they are! I love that they are pretty universal fall decorations, but you could of course dress them up for Halloween by adding cute little felt facial features to turn them into Jack o Lanterns! Go forth and make festive gourds!
3  NEWS AND DISCUSSION ABOUT CRAFTSTER / Craftster Itself / Friend's Account Not Going Through: Terr-Bear on: September 20, 2019 07:27:45 AM
My friend signed up for Craftster about a month ago, and got an email saying her request would be reviewed, but never got approved. Her user name is Terr-Bear. I vouch for her being a real person I actually know, who crafts beautifully and would be lovely in our community. Wink Could a mod check on her account, please?
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Cool-Toned Gradient Embroidered Mandala on: September 04, 2019 10:40:04 AM


I was so excited to participate in our recent Embroidered Mandala Swap. After searching my partners Pinterest boards, I found a pin that showed a mandala wall decal and liked its combination of points and curves. I neatened and printed the image to use as a traceable pattern, and I also created a colored mock-up on my computer to take to the store. She mentioned specifically liking pinks, greens, blues, and teal, and I really wanted to get a gradient effect to cycle from the pink, like a flower in the center, all the way through blue at the outer edges. I went crazy in the craft store matching, organizing, swapping out, and re-ordering threads until I found a pattern I thought was pleasant, spread across 14 colors to match the 14 different rounds of line art I identified from the original mandala.




I enjoy stitching on unbleached muslin, when appropriate, and it worked well to trace the pattern lightly in pencil, using my iPad as a light box! I traced the design on the inside surface of the fabric, so that I could lay it flat against the screen. After looking at the outline for a couple days, I decided it was too boring! Grin I made my first attempt at tinting, using Crayola colored pencils, in 15 different shades. I loved the depth that it added to the background, and it made it possible to do open-spaced, lacy embroidery while not looking unfinished

I also set up a little embroidery station for myself using a breakfast tray. It held everything in place, and I could carry it back and forth from the dining room to the couch (my two main working areas) without dropping anything. The white background also made it easier to keep track of threads-in-waiting and dropped needles.



Once I was happy with the colored background, I started in on my stitching. Ive always loved the idea of old-fashioned samplers to show off a variety of different stitches, but find the habit of stitching the alphabet super uninteresting! Wink I was excited to try out some stitches that I dont use often, and some that Ive never tried before. I used 12 unique stitches across 14 colors/rounds (2 strands of DMC floss used for each)! I was also quite excited to see at the end that the back was nearly as pretty as the front, if clearly less colorful.

Stitches, in order:
Continental knots (3354)
Reverse stem stitch (3804)
Seed stitch (704)
Woven back stitch (906)
Reverse split stitch (966)
Back stitch (163)
Whipped back stitch (501)
Chain stitch (319)
Lazy daisy & Reverse split stitches (3847)
Whipped back stitch (943)
Reverse chain stitch (3760)
Open chain/ladder stitch (793)
Reverse split stitch (322)
Long and short blanket stitch (825)



Once I was happy with the mandala, I pulled it out of the hoop (since it was facing the wrong way, due to the tracing method I used), then reinserted it the right way. I used a running stitch with all 6 strands of floss to pull it tight and give a crisp, clean edge.



I cut a round of complementary felt, embroidered it with my personal swap details, and then whip-stitched it to the back side of the fabric.



And here's the finished hooped mandala!



I had such a fun time making this project for tattoedcrafter, and Im so delighted that she was pleased with it. I learned a lot, and got to try out new techniques, and used colors that I normally wouldnt use but looked great together! An all-around awesome swap. Cheesy
5  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Baby Carrots the Mini-Pinata on: August 28, 2019 08:43:02 AM


My nearby library branch started an evening craft night once a month over the summer, and my first opportunity to go was a tiny pinata night! They have all the supplies available, a basic set of instructions, and some volunteers who have already tried the projects. Then you just sit around chatting and crafting, and it's lovely!

Here's the table all set out for us to choose our patterns and supplies, and then the items that I selected. I went with a green and cream theme (I didn't end up using the gold in the picture; the final pinata seemed small enough I didn't want to overwhelm it with color changes).




We made the pinata bases out of recycled cardboard boxes; mine started life as a rice crispy treat package! Wink After tracing mirror images of the pattern I chose, I cut a bunch of tiny masking tape bits and some long strips of softer cardboard and began taping it in a "wall" around the edge of the shape outline.





Once I finished taping the first side all the way around, I laid the other flat piece along the outline "wall" and taped it down, as well. Now he looks like a little donkey! The result was surprisingly sturdy.





I chose the donkey shape because, as a child, I fell in love with a tiny donkey pinata at our local HEB (Texas grocery store chain) that was part of a Cinco de Mayo display. I would visit him every time we went to the store, and at the end of the display period, I sweet-talked my way into getting to take that pinata home! He's still hanging in my room at my parents' house (not where I live, but I visit often). I named him Carrots, after a little donkey from a PBS kids' show in the late 80's.

To make his pinata outfit, I wrapped several inches of crepe paper around my hand, pulled it off, and cut the resulting tube in half along the width. Then I put both halves on top of each other for faster cutting, and snipped fridge all along the length. Then, using white school glue and a tongue depressor for spreading, I began wrapping and gluing the fridge all around him. I did his legs individually, then wrapped his body, then his head all the way to his ears. For his back and the very top of his ears, I cut short widths of fridge and glued them down like overlapping roof shingles.



And here is the circle of happy donkeys that we all made, as well as the original demo-donkey (who was apparently many years old!). Grin



Me with Baby Carrots the Mini-Pinata (to show scale, yes, but also the unbridled glee this tiny thing inspires in me)!



And finally, Baby Carrots in his new home, where he apparently perfectly matches a painting I did for my Grandmother! I wasn't thinking of this when I picked his colors, but it is a happy accident. Wink



Overall, I thought this was a well-selected craft for adults to complete in the 2-hour block allotted. Kids could easily do it, too, but it would take longer, and probably require some help with the fringe wrapping steps. Overall, I had a wonderful time making him, and I'm absolutely tickled pink with the final result. Cheesy I highly recommend these!
6  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Craft a Craftster Friend Doll: Plants and Sunshine - Mini-Gigglygirl! on: August 06, 2019 10:54:33 AM


I made this lovely little lady as part of the Craft a Craftster Friend Doll Swap this summer. This is Mini-gigglygirl. I learned (among other things) that she loves plants/gardening, and songbirds, and colorful outfits with fun accessories, and always wears jewelry!

I spent a long time deciding what kind of doll base I wanted to use, as I wanted the finished doll to be nicely drape-y like a traditional rag doll, but with some extra pose-ability and body definition. In the end, after experimenting with modifying patterns, drawing my own patterns, and looking at patterns on Etsy, I realized I kept going back to the Cupcake Doll pattern on Ghilies website (https://ghilie.wordpress.com/tutorials/) -- this is the same Ghilie who originated the popular Poppets pattern!

I loved this doll patterns compact size, cuddly proportions, and interesting jointing/limb structure. Also, I knew from the get-go that I wanted to embroider the face, and the fact that the head pattern did not have a mid-line seam was useful for this. After printing the pattern at a few different sizes, I went with the original scale, which gives a finished doll ~11 tall. I personally like to use unbleached muslin for dolls meant to be in a standard Caucasian skin range.



The first construction step I did was to print the pattern, and then trace the face front piece onto my muslin and draw out the facial features/hair line I wanted--I used a mix of pencil and water soluble marker for this. I embroidered the face fully and then erased the marker lines completely. Her eye outlines are done in stem stitch, her irises/pupils and lips are done in satin stitch, her eyebrows are varied-length rows of back-stitch, and her nose is whipped back-stitch. When I was done, I held the embroidered piece up to a strong work light, and then covered it with the back pattern piece to decide how I wanted everything to line up.



This is the first time Ive ever tried freezer paper pattern tracing and assembly (as the doll pattern pieces have no seam allowance). It worked surprisingly well, and I think I will use this method again for other small dolls and similar size plushies. I definitely spent time fighting with a zipper foot, as each leg and arm is stuffed up to the first joint, then sewn across to provide a flex-point, then stuffed the next bit of the way, sewn across again, etc. Trying to stuff each section full enough while still leaving myself room to sew involved a lot of weird squishing and pinning, but I loved the end results!



Her body is a great blend of squishy/pose-able, and she cooperates fully with a simple stand from the hobby store. This is also the first doll Ive done with a hidden button joint using buried shank buttons, but its a lovely technique that I will definitely use again! Given what I had in my stash in the right size, this girl has hidden hearts in her shoulders. Wink Somehow I forgot to take detailed pictures of this step; Im blaming it on trying to juggle all the pieces and not lose the button somewhere in her arm stuffing.



I also remembered to sign this one (in an inconspicuous spot); this is something Im trying to become consistent about. I always appreciate when art dolls and similar projects that I receive have a hidden tag or signature of some kind so that years from now I will always remember who made it for me, so I try to do the same. Smiley



I waffled several times on how to add hair, as gigglygirl said she had wavy brown hair. I suddenly remembered a tutorial I saw in the early 2000s on DeviantArt for making realistic fur animal tails out of acrylic yarn. IT WORKED! I was super stoked. One wire wig brush and a PILE of brushed out fluff later, I had 10 perfect, wavy hair wefts to use.



I drew the dolls hairline lightly with a pencil, ever so slightly inside where I wanted it to end. Then, I snipped apart the wefts and used heavy craft glue, fingers, toothpicks, and sheer moxie to stick the things to her head. I wove a few around each other to finish off the front of her hairline. Drying overnight was sufficient to hold everything in place, although she looked a bit like shed gotten friendly with an electrical socket



After a gentle brushing, she looked much calmer and more put together. Also, the hair is totally style-able, as long as youre not crazy with it. She had a pin bun for a bit while I worked on her clothes and jewelry.



For clothing, I wanted something that included the colors that my partner mentioned liking, and I found an absolutely perfect fabric in my stash. This is a cutting from a torn aloha shirt (Hawaiian shirt) that used to belong to my Grandpa. It is 100% silk, and had a huge rip in it, and Ive been saving it for something special. I made the sundress by cutting out sections of the print that I liked and then doing some pin draping and fluffing. After machine assembly, I used a length of matching embroidery floss to give it decorative straps and a lace-up back. Even though shes technically an art doll, I wanted her clothes to be fully removable.



Since gigglygirl is up north, I figured she needed a cute wrap to go with her sun dress. I crocheted a little shawl based on the Virus Shawl pattern, done in pink thread I had left over from a project I did years ago. Im not a pink person, so it was just hanging out waiting for the right project/person.

I used a colored Sharpie to paint on her little shoes and then embroidered the flowers on the front with a lazy daisy stitch and continental knot centers. I also added a little memory label to the bottom of the doll stand!

I made her jewelry by hand using jewelry pins, loose pearl beads, jump rings, and a tiny length of chain Id been saving from an actual necklace. This is the first time Ive ever pierced a dolls ears! I used a kitchen awl to wiggle a hole in the right spot without tearing the fabric and then threaded each jump ring with the pearl charms through the hole and used jewelry pliers to close them in her ears. It worked perfectly, and I would totally do this again for doll-sized earrings!



To represent her love of gardening/plants, I decided she needed a little bit of nature. I found this micro-pot at Michaels and couldnt resist. I clipped sections of tiny silk flowers, wired them together in clusters, then wrapped the wires with florist tape. I tucked everything in a ball of foil to hold it down and then finished off the top with tiny pieces of real dried moss.



And here she is, rocking her look and being sassy! Cheesy



Bonus picture! Here are mini-gigglygirl and mini-EriChanHime together right before I packed/shipped. This swap was so awesome! I loved reading about my partner and picking out accessories that I thought could represent her. She totally nailed little me, too, and even my Mom gushed over her. A very cool community-building swap, and I would love to see another someday (But maybe not till next year; I need time to recover!). Grin
7  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Pa'u Hula - Black & White Hawaiian Dance Skirt on: July 30, 2019 12:58:38 PM


For my Hula group, I recently made two reversible, two-layer pa'u (skirts) for dance costumes. They are identical, and were made by measuring and playing with the one my teacher had already made. All seams are hidden between the two panels, so that it is a double-layer black with black and white overlay on one side, but flipped inside out is a solid black (but still neatly and fully finished) skirt. I made one for myself and a second one for a Hula sister who doesn't sew at all.

For the curious, here's a nice description of some of the thoughts behind pa'u construction/purpose: https://www.realhula.com/making-a-pau-skirt

The skirts I made are not ceremonial but are performance costumes. I finished the night before a show we did for a local retirement community. We were very warmly received, with many people sharing their own memories of visiting Hawaii or even of different kinds of dances that they love.

Using my teacher's skirt as a pattern, I spent a LOOOONG time measuring sections, hems, overlaps, skirt circumference, etc. as she hadn't written anything down when she made hers! Once I constructed the first skirt and verified all my measurements, I re-wrote the "pattern" and instructions on a new piece of paper to keep for future reference. Here you can see the "notes" version vs. the "to keep" version. Grin



To make the 2 skirts, it took 4 yards of overlay fabric (split in half-width down the full length of the fabric), and 6 yards of black fabric, split into 1 yard sections (3 per skirt).



The fabric tubes were overflowing the sewing machine and table and took quite a bit of wrangling.



This is the first time I have used a tearing technique to make my fabric segments (rather than cutting). Since all the pieces were rectangular, and I was already super tired, I bit the bullet and just started tearing! It worked perfectly! I was so relieved. Cheesy It also saved me at least two hours of cutting time, given the lengths of fabric I was working with.



The sewing for these types of skirts isn't complex, just insanely time consuming, as there were two ~4 yard hems for each skirt plus the fold over at the top, and then the 4 elastic casings to sew. The hemming on these suckers nearly killed me... But I was a good girl and actually measured and pinned everything before sewing, especially since one of these skirts was for someone else.



Once everything was sewn in place, I inserted my elastic. In the past, I've done each channel separately (can take the length of a movie), but one of the other ladies in the class said to just buy more threaders and do them all at the same time. I still ended up one threader short (my teacher's skirt was constructed slightly off from how we usually do them, and I wanted the ones I made to match hers exactly), but I made one out of heavy-duty galvanized picture wire. While it was still an annoying process, it took WAAAAAY less time to do them all together--maybe 20 minutes--so I will definitely do it this way going forward.



And here's the finished skirt! (The one pictured here is mine; I had already handed over the other one at class before I finished taking pictures.)



And a close-up of the finished gathering with little top ruffle (next to a painting I did for my Grandmother a few years ago and just recently got back after she passed away).



And an action shot! This is the skirt I made for my classmate, and her dancing, which is why I covered her face for privacy. Wink For anyone wondering, we are dancing with ipu (hollowed gourd drum); the song is Hi'ilawe.

8  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / At the Mountains of (Cuddly) Madness: Elder Thing Dotee on: July 25, 2019 01:31:40 PM


For our recent 2019 Dotee Swap, I was partnered with The Raging Sloth, who listed (among a bunch of other cool things) the Elder Thing from H. P. Lovecraft's novella "At the Mountains of Madness" and other short stories. I HAD TO! I had just read the novella for the first time a few months before, so the description of these radially symmetrical creatures was fresh in my mind:

Six feet end to end, three and five-tenths feet central diameter, tapering to one foot at each end. Like a barrel with five bulging ridges in place of staves. Lateral breakages, as of thinnish stalks, are at equator in middle of these ridges. In furrows between ridges are curious growthscombs or wings that fold up and spread out like fans ... which gives almost seven-foot wing spread. Arrangement reminds one of certain monsters of primal myth, especially fabled Elder Things in the Necronomicon.
--H. P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness


AND, I have a book with a painting of one (although there are many versions floating around on the internet, as well). I've had it since I was a pre-teen--found it in a stack of books in musty used books store in Alameda, CA--and it's an illustrated encyclopedia of creatures from formative science fiction series:


This was a dotee swap, so I needed to stay within about 6" in size, with some kind of tail. Since these creatures have tentacles on the bottom, with which they can swim and walk, I figured making dangly tentacles would be the way to go!

Armed with my inspirational illustration, I built two skeletons out of wire: one for the 5-pointed "head" and one for the tentacle attachment points. I sculpted over the wire frames with heavy-duty bake-able Sculpey clay. Each of the "foot" tentacles has a wire coming from the body end, which I planned to hang from the underside of the main "foot" area. I painted everything with acrylics and then sealed all the pieces.



Next, I made the body. It took a long time to decide how I wanted to render that 5-sided, textured shape. I based my end design on the felt cactus plushies you can find on the internet (they all have 6 peaks), and then once I had sewn everything together, I carefully cut off the extra "stave." Once I stuffed each channel, the tension of the filling hid the cut off seam. The body is made from soft grey jersey knit interlined with plain muslin to reduce stretch.



Next, he needed strange, membrane-y wings. I wanted them to be pose-able, and I didn't want to use fabric. After some experimentation, I decided on two layers of slightly crinkled plastic kitchen cling film (I used Saran), a layer of wire for the veins, covered in a second set of two layers of film. After pressing the layers tightly together, I heated them with a crafting heat gun (meant for stamp powder melting) to fuse the layers together. Finally, I painted them on both sides with a mix of black and white acrylic to get a pleasant grey.



Assembly time! On both body ends, I used a running stitch to gather the openings, ran heavy duty glue around the inside ridges of the clay pieces (I left them slightly hollow on purpose) and then tucked the fabric edges up inside the clay caps. After some drying, I used jewelry pliers to make the tentacle wires into hanging loops, and then attached them to the foot piece. At this point, I also wrapped his extra sensory tentacles (the plain wires sticking out from the clay foot piece) in grey embroidery floss and bent them into more dynamic positions.



For his hanging cord, I threaded several pieces of embroidery floss through one of the body segments, then did a square-4-strand braid with occasional beads added on. I used the good beads, y'all! Wink Lava stones and hematite and sparkly red glass with foil inside to match his coloring. I made a wire hook to hang him from and wrapped it in embroidery floss capped with a extra bead.



At this point, I was thinking: Yay, finished! Started photographing him and all, and then realized he had no arms! Poor darling. The original illustration has hand tentacles, that are described as branching twice (one tentacle that branches into five, that each branch again into five, for a total of 25 "fingers"). Id given up on managing that in clay, but then at the last minute I decided to try floss. I made three to cover the front part of his body that you see. Each tentacle starts with 3 sets of 5 individual floss strands. I tied knots down those to secure them into bundles, and then I wrapped each bundle together to form one main stalk. I used an awl to wiggle a hole in the body fabric, tucked each tentacle bundle into place, and then hand-stitched them down inside. Success! Grin



NOW hes complete. Cheesy Originally I planned to attach his wings, but in the end it worked better to leave them separate. The tension between his body segments means that you can tuck his wings anywhere you want, at whatever angle you want, and they stay in place! (Bonusthey were much easier to ship safely being flat) He totally still counts as a dotee, because he is almost exactly 6 top to bottom, not counting his tentacles (totally his "tail"). Wink The tentacles dangle freely like little wind chimes of doom when he is hanging, but they are strong enough to support his weight, and he can actually stand on them without any additional support.

I must say that he turned out even better than I had hoped, and I absolutely ADORE him. I named him Binky, because I am a sentimental dork, but Im sure Raging Sloth may wish to give him a new name. *snicker* I was so excited for her to have him, and he fits beautifully with her other personal Lovecraft crafts. I had such fun working on him, improving my sculpting and miniature painting skills, problem solving for making something with 5-way radial symmetry, and making my first ever dotee! It was awesome!

9  COOKING / Dessert / Key Lime Pie w/ Coconut Crust on: July 22, 2019 01:46:58 PM


My uncle visited this past month, and he made Key Lime Pie for us all, twice! I asked for the recipe, since I loved the strong lime flavor and the hints of coconut in it. It is a tart, cooling, simple-to-make pie--perfect for summer.

Here's the recipe, including notes on some of the variations he's tried before:


I used regular limes, and I made a double batch (two pies), so it took 8 large limes to get enough juice, and I used the zest from all 8. Really wakes you up when you eat it!



I really did whip the snot out of it, and it looks noticeably fluffier and more yellow in color that the previous recipe I tried, where I used bottled key lime juice and no eggs.



This is what it looked like before pouring into the crust. I used graham crumbs for mine, but my uncle prefers using a rolling pin to bash graham crackers to bits in a plastic bag, so that's an option if you need the stress relief. I also added a smidge of green gel food coloring, as it has a decidedly beige/yellow look without it. I went for a soft mint green, and then you have the bright green from the zest.



And here they are baking! Note the helpful tea towel from the GBBO swap! Wink It's important to the process, I tell you. And no, the bottom was NOT soggy.

Here's the final pie:



I served it with whipped cream and flaked coconut for toppings. If I'd had more time, I would have made the whipped cream, but it was for a work potluck the next day, and this was faster and easier (and no one at work cares). It went over extremely well, and I still have a smaller pie left for me (I'll share with family...I suppose...)! Wink
10  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Waffle Punk - A Stranger Things Reversed Hoopla on: June 28, 2019 09:25:30 AM


Behold, the glorious reverse hoopla of waffle-y goodness! Wink I made this for Abbeeroad as part of a personal swap in anticipation of Stranger Things, Season 3 coming out in July. Her list of hopes mentioned that Punk Eleven was one of her favorite characters, she loved the quote "Bitchin'" (So 80's! *snicker*), and would be happy to have some kind of hoopla project. BOOM! While it took me a while to decide on how to arrange and execute the various elements, I knew immediately that I wanted to highlight Eleven's iconic oversized punk jacket and adoration of all things Eggo. I usually buy the gluten-free Eggo's (FODMAP friendly), but I carb-splurged for the Homestyle ones this time so I could use the box as a color/visual reference and also as packaging for the swap gift!



I spent quite a while trying to figure out how to beautifully represent a WAFFLE, y'all. Paint? Stitching? Shading? My 2D art skills are lame, so no... And then I realized--felt cut-outs, my favorite and most skilled form of craft applique! This led to the idea of a reversed hoopla. Usually the decorations are added to the fabric secured in the embroidery hoop, and a simple felt backing is added at the end (glued or sewn) to protect the back of the stitches and give a nice, polished finish.

As you can see, my felt circle (the body and under layer of the waffle) is the heavily decorated part of this project, glued to the front of the hoop at the very end, and the fabric secured in the hoop itself is the "backing" part, completed first. It allowed me to give the smooth finish that I wanted, while using the properties of the felt and fabric to their best advantage.

I cut the waffle felt front, drew all the waffle holes to match the box, and then laid my jacket piece over it and marked all the waffle holes that needed to be cut out to show the darker under layer. Then, I glued the waffle "net" over the darker base. I tried yellow felts first, and they just looked gaudy. I think the tan was a much more accurate toasted-waffle look in the end.

Next, I embroidered the quote text on the jacket piece, using floss colors that specifically matched the Eggo logo. I chose a chain stitch for the text, a threaded chain stitch for the B, and a whipped back-stitch for the underline.



Finally, I used a few little spots of craft glue to "baste" the jacket in place, and then stitched around it fully and added some texture details at the collar and elbow bends using a basic running stitch (Virtually impossible to see in a photo, but it's there!).

For the hoop fabric, I pulled plain muslin taught, embroidered my username and the date in the middle, and then trimmed the overhanging fabric about an inch away from the hoop. I used a running stitch to gather the edges inside the hoop and tied it off. Finally, I glued my waffle to the other side of the hoop, making sure to smooth the felt edges cleanly to the very edge of the frame wood.



And here is the final project, front and back! I believe I used a 6" bamboo hoop for this one. In the end, I had fun with the problem solving AND crafty elements of this project, and my partner was happy with it. Grin Definitely a fun thing to do all around, and I'm super stoked for the next season of the show!
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