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11  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 37 ENTRIES / Re: Cat-Scratch Fever to Cool Bespangled Couch (pic-o-riffic) on: April 05, 2009 11:48:27 PM
My kitteh is famous on teh internetz!  Please don't worry about Oreo, she is very spoiled with both the treats and the luvs and has many fun things to scratch on, as well as the "kitty sauna" (under a table over the heating vent) to lie in. Plus, we took the winter plastic off the windows this weekend, so she can now perform her other favorite activity, keeping watch to make sure no Other Cats are infiltrating Her Porch.
12  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 37 ENTRIES / Re: Some Buttons For Your Pennies on: April 04, 2009 06:43:53 PM
That's so cute! I love how you used the star-shaped buttons.
13  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 37 ENTRIES / Cat-Scratch Fever to Cool Bespangled Couch (pic-o-riffic) on: April 03, 2009 05:07:04 AM
Meet our  kitty, Oreo:

She mostly enjoys life with her human servants, despite the fact that we are terribly cruel and hardly ever give her more than a bite or two of our sushi and sometimes deign to move when she is trying to sleep on us. But she especially likes the large green-velvet scratching-post in the living room. We like it, too--but we call it "the couch."  Attempts to train her not to scratch it have worked about as well as training a cat not to do something has ever worked for anyone in the history of feline-human relations.


 So when this challenge was announced, I decided to use the buttons both to cover up the scratches and to make the arm of the couch less "scratchable" in the future. I poured myself a glass of wine, put the figure skating championships on tv, and just started sewing the buttons directly onto the couch. (Hint for anyone else crazy enough to try this: a curved upholstery needle makes a huge difference. I got one after the first frustrating, finger-sticking day and it made things so much easier.)

At first I just meant to cover the torn-up corner:

But then I started to get a bit carried away...

I soon used up most of my buttons. A friend was kind enough to donate a bagful from her stash, and I literally jumped for joy when, after a fruitless day scouring thrift stores, I found several packages of them in the aisle at the Dollar store. I filled in the gaps between the buttons with random loose beads and shells I had lying around. I also incorporated some jewelry that I liked but never really wore, like this large Star-of-David pendant I inherited from my grandmother.

And here's the entire couch from the front:

From the side, it looks a little like a frame without a picture. I thought about filling it in with something, but didn't have time before the challenge deadline. So for now it just frames poor dejected Oreo, who has lost her scratching post and must now contemplate the deep ennui of life:

ETA: Thanks everyone for your concern about Oreo's wellbeing! Rest assured, she has a cardboard scratcher now that she likes a lot, though she sometimes stands on it and meows at me until I sprinkle on more catnip!

14  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 33 ENTRIES / Re: Super Awesome and only $5! Felt dress-up board: Mermaids, ahoy! img heavy on: December 02, 2008 03:08:54 PM
Just gorgeous! What a great alternative to paper dolls.

And kudos to you, too, for encouraging him in what he loves rather than trying to steer him towards traditional "boy" stuff. I suspect as this kid grows up, he'll really appreciate having a supportive adult friend like you in his life.
15  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 31 ENTRIES / Re: Art "glass" lampshade--out of Fruit Roll-ups and gummi candy! on: October 07, 2008 05:36:41 PM
does the heat of the lamp cause it to melt? 

The heat actually seems to have hardened up the fruit roll-ups somewhat. That part feels pretty solid now. The gummi candies do get a bit soft when the lamp is on, but they're so well-shellacked they don't "melt" exactly--it's more like a Vitamin E capsule, with a distinct "skin" holding in a gel interior. You can pit it with your finger and it will gradually swell back to its original shape. If it becomes a problem, I'll just replace the candies with a border made of more fruit roll-ups.

16  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 31 ENTRIES / Re: Art "glass" lampshade--out of Fruit Roll-ups and gummi candy! on: October 05, 2008 10:27:18 PM
Thanks, everyone, for all your compliments! I'll try to answer as many of the questions as I can remember.

Re: how the jar fits. The metal housing of the lamp has three long screws that you can adjust to fit under the "lip" of the original shade. They fit pretty well into the grooves where the top of the jar screws on. As for heat, I have a compact fluorescent bulb in there now, and while the shade is faintly warm to the touch, it's nowhere near hot enough to break the glass.

The fruit roll-ups have hardened somewhat and I think they'll hold up well, but the gummi candies swell a bit when the lamp has been on for a while, and I may have to replace them eventually as they lose their shape. The acryllic sealant seems to work pretty well, though--I'm not worried about anything going bad, nor does it seem to attract bugs. 
17  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 31 ENTRIES / Re: Barack BEAN-bama (High in IMG fiber) on: October 03, 2008 05:17:02 AM
 Shocked This is truly breathtaking. I'm voting for you--and him!!
18  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 31 ENTRIES / Art "glass" lampshade--out of Fruit Roll-ups and gummi candy! on: October 03, 2008 04:55:52 AM

As much fun as I had with the Dollar Store challenge and my crazy conceptual wedding gown, this time I wanted to make something I could actually use. This seemed to eliminate most clothing options (eccentric as my fashions may sometimes be, I didn't see myself getting much wear out of, say, a popcorn-string-fringed flapper dress). But I was looking for a new glass shade for the lamp in the living room. Ever since the old one had been broken some months ago, I had simply draped a scarf over the naked bulb, Bohemian fire-hazard-style.

So I went down to the Fred Meyer, where I bought:
1 jar of Pickles @ $2.00.
3 packages of Fruit Roll-Ups (2 "Blastin Berry Hot Colors" and 1 "Tropical Tie-Dye") @ $2.99 apiece
2 rolls of individually-wrapped "natural" fruit leather (Apricot and Green Apple) from the produce aisle @ $.44 apiece
About 1/3 lb of gummi candies from the Brach's bulk kiosk, $1.20

Total: $13.05

At home, I quickly decanted the pickles into other containers and soaked the label off the jar with hot soapy water. To my delight, I found the jar fit perfectly into the housing of the lamp.

I unrolled the fruit roll-ups (putting them in the freezer for a few minutes first, I found, helps keep them from sticking to themselves and tearing) and sprayed them all over with several coats of clear acrylic spray gloss. (Don't use Mod Podge for this; it just melts into a gooey mess.) I picked out the Orange and Green Apple gummi candies from the Brach's bag and did the same to them. Here they are drying in the sun:

The fruit roll-ups never got quite as stiff as I was expecting--it was more like working with sheets of wax. I used a peacock feather stained-glass pattern I found here http://chantalstainedglass.50megs.com/2peacocksuncatcher.html as a rough guide.

 I cut out the pieces with scissors:

Then, using a generous amount of rubber cement, I glued the pieces one by one onto the pickle jar. The technique felt reminiscent of papier-mch. Rubber cement wasn't quite strong enough for the gummi candies though--those I had to reinforce with super glue.

When I was done, I let it dry, then sprayed the whole lampshade with several more coats of the acrylic gloss. Here it is, finally finished:
And a few close-up details:
It's hard to capture in a photo the richness and subtlety of the layered colors with the light shining through.

I'm really happy with how it turned out--so far no one who's come over has guessed that I made it, much less what it's made of. And best of all, my lamp is no longer pitifully naked in the corner.

Thanks for checking out my entry!

19  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 26 ENTRIES / Re: Here Comes the Dollar Tree Bride! (img heavy): on: April 04, 2008 09:48:14 PM
Wow, thanks for all your wonderful comments, especially those who said you'd wear the dress in your own wedding! I'm afraid it doesn't "pass" quite as well in real life as in pictures (alas, vinyl just doesn't move like silk shantung). But I must admit I have kind of fallen in love with the design. Maybe if I ever do get married, I'll recreate the dress on a "big budget"--like, maybe $50!
20  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 26 ENTRIES / Re: Silk Brocade Corset... for $8! on: April 03, 2008 04:17:55 PM
I want one! Love that brocade.
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