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1  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: Octopus Lights! on: October 08, 2016 10:24:09 AM
Congrats! This has been chosen as a Featured ProjectSmiley

2  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: Octopus Lights! on: September 18, 2016 05:38:20 PM
Thanks, guys! Your feedback means a ton. Smiley
3  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: Octopus Lights! on: September 15, 2016 10:21:49 PM
Thanks, friends! Not the deepest of crafts, but it's worth looking at everything with a crafter eye, yeah? Smiley
4  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Octopus Lights! on: September 14, 2016 05:14:28 PM

I have one small bathroom in my house. In the 10+ years I've lived here, this is the second time I've renovated it (after a hack job). This time around, the priority of the priority was...octopus lights.

I researched like crazy, trying to find someone somewhere who made octopus lights I could use as main lighting for the room. No luck. The answer was as it so often is to make them!

After trying out three different octopus plaques/statues, I settled on one that seemed suited for the project: wall-mountable with good tentacles for nestling lights into.

The bronze octo has three spots where bulbs could potentially fit, which would mean 6 bulbs between the two I intended to install on either side of the mirror cabinet. They're still small curls, though, so full-size bulbs wouldn't work. That meant more research on candelabra bulbs to find some that would give enough light, sans heat, and would still look cool.

I got some little candelabra sockets at the local Lowe's, which almost fit into the curled tentacles. The plaque itself is some sort of resin, so I decided I could open the space a little with my Dremel, to get the sockets in there. Luckily, I decided to talk to my cousin Rob about this project, and he said the sockets would be easy to shave down, with less potential for disaster. See, this is why you sometimes just need a second brain on a project!

Rob got interested in the whole idea, so he came over and the two of us sat out on the deck, shaving down plastic lamp bases until they fit nice and snug. Then we filled in any gaps with epoxy to keep them stable.

The sockets were plain black, which worked fine since most of it was behind the tentacle, but the raw top edge was pretty ugly and unfinished, even with a bulb set in it. I found some nice rounded collet nuts at the hardware and decided those would make an appropriate finishing touch, with a little bit of paint. So I spray painted them matte black, and then dry brushed some copper. They really look like a part of the sculpture now!

Rob helped me wire all three sockets together to be suitable for the existing wall location, and they were nearly completed. The last thing I hadn't really figured out was how they were going to mount to the wall itself. Because these were just meant to hang, there was a fabric cord moulded into the back to hang on a nail. Obviously, that wasn't going to work. I thought we might have to install some sort of keyhole hanger, but after looking at how my previous lights were mounted, we figured it out. It was going to involve drilling right between the eyes.

This made me very nervous! Rob found some nice small, and appropriately colored, acorn nuts, though, and after testing out how it looked, not only was I not bothered by the exposed hardware, I decided it really added to the overall look!

Now came showing the contractor.

I told him this room really depended on these lights. All the colors in the room were based on the lights. This whole project was planned around them! He was pretty tickled by them, which made me happy. I was concerned there might be a moment of "what kind of hack job lights are these, you can't expect me to put something like this up!" But no, he was all for it, even though it was going to mean moving everything on that wall over a few inches to keep the much wider new lights out of the shower.

So, this is the new bathroom! I won't bother with pictures of all the other stuff, the new floor, tub, shower tile, etc. Because this is aaaaalllll about the octos. Even the wall color was chosen to highlight the copper shading, and the narrower wall cabinet was also a compromise to get them in there. Yes, that big abstract thing between the lights is a mirror; no one needed to see me standing there with my camera.

Everyone who has seen pictures asks the same thing: "Where did you get those??" Which is my cue to say my favorite thing in the world: "I made them myself."

(An even more verbose version of this post is on my website. http://www.shefightslikeagirl.com/2016/09/octopus-lights.html)
5  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Completed Projects / Re: Embroidered Card Wallet (and matching biz card) on: November 21, 2014 11:21:40 AM
Thanks, folks! He sent me a photo the other day from a speaking engagement he was doing, with the card wallet full of his REAL business cards. Smiley I'm glad he's actually carrying it. I'm not sure I really thought he would, or even meant for him to... I just thought it was a cute idea.
6  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Completed Projects / Embroidered Card Wallet (and matching biz card) on: November 20, 2014 07:09:46 PM

Recently, to make good on a bet, I decided to make a little card wallet for a friend out of state. I decided it should fit a few bills, as well as business cards and a drivers license, just in case he wanted to take it on the road with him. (The $5 bill was the debt; the rest was extra.)

I decided I should embroider the wallet with a custom monogram while I was at it, and make some matching business cards since I already had the graphic.

A certain fandom among us will recognize the origin of this monogram right away. One of my friend's books, the first of his that I read, is Tracking the Chupacabra, the Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore. In it, Ben believes he "solved" the mystery of the (non-existent) chupacabra, which makes him a vampire slayer of a certain sort.

Starting with the Buffy logo, I found an expanded character set, and made outline versions of Ben's initials, BTR. Knowing the logo was also going to be digitized for embroidery, I simplified the design where appropriate so the cards would exactly match. This design is 2-color only, so it was a simpler conversion than my Electric Eel project, but essentially the same process. The embroidery went down without a hitch.

Embroidery accomplished, I built the wallet. The wallet itself is very simple, using only two pieces of fabricthe black for the body (folded in half on the long edge) and a scrap of red & black for the inner pocket (also folded in half on the long edge), along with some interfacing in the body. I started with this tutorial. The trickiest part, for me, was getting the size and the stitching juuuuuuust right so that the longest item to be placed in the pocket, the business cards, were held snugly.

Overall, a fun, uncomplicated project, with very big personal impact. I think so, anywayI know MY socks would be knocked off if anyone made something like this for me! Can I say that? Smiley

(Edited to move finished project photo to top!)
7  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: BRAINSTORM! Making suction cups in fabric tentacles. on: October 31, 2014 11:43:33 AM
The green felt is the Eco felt off the bolt from Joann. It's not craft-felt flimsy, but I didn't want to use stabilizer because I didn't want to burn through too much of the stuff. Likewise suction cupsthere would have been a couple hundred of them!

I have embroidered in felt with my machine and really like the effect. This project was just too big though!
8  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Where do you get fabric like this? on: October 11, 2014 02:24:18 PM
Look for "jersey" or "interlock." It's very popular and there's actually a decent selection at my local Jo-Ann Fabrics.
9  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Any ideas for creating a full skirt? on: October 11, 2014 02:19:08 PM
Seconded: Circle skirt will definitely do what you want. Depending on how long you want it, it shouldn't take up too much fabricsince you want it to sit on a petticoat, you won't want it to be too long. There are a lot of circle skirt calculators online, and they're super easy. When you cut the waist, estimate DOWN because it's much easier to make the hole bigger than to try to gather it if you cut it too big!

Another tip if the tutorial you use doesn't mention: Using bias binding to hem the lower edge is a lot easier than trying to fold up such a curvy edge, and will let you add another pop of detail. You can use wide bias tape to make your waistband, too, especially since you're doing a costume, so it doesn't have to last forever. Smiley Of course, being a costume, you may also get away with not hemming the lower edge at all, just doing a quick zigzag so it doesn't ravel.

Good luck!
10  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Ordered orange knit and got safety orange. Can I fix? on: October 11, 2014 02:15:02 PM
I would be tempted to try dyeingprobably a brown to warm up the orange. I wish I could give a specific recommendation, but I haven't done much dyeing. Definitely would be the first thing I try, though, on a scrap. Maybe even tea dyeing if it just needs to be knocked back a little.

Let us know what you try!
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