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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Goth outfit in just one and a half days. on: October 21, 2007 12:15:43 PM
Occasionally I get insane ideas that just won't stay buried. What with trying to organise my craft room, they are beginning to happen more and more often as I try to use up my stash.

So I was planning to go to the local monthly goth night and wanted above all else to finally wear my new black corset. Except that I did not have anything to wear with it. Luckily for me it was the Halloween special event and I had large amounts of otherwise useless grey lining fabric. So a plan was born.  Roll Eyes

On the Wednesday I sketched this:

It should be pointed out that Wednesday evening I was out watching films and Thursday evening I was expecting to go to singing class, so I knew I would have only Friday night and Saturday to make this...  Grin

On Thursday after singing I cut out three rectangles that would nominally make the top...on Friday I cut out some rough shapes after a skirt I already owned for the two layers of the skirt and grabbed a rectangle that looked long enough to be the apron. I then went to bed.

So on Saturday I started with the obvious next step of cleaning my bedroom before a friend pointed out that I needed to wear something that evening  Embarrassed

So I sewed the skirts together, as I thought I would then at least have something to wear.

This was the back of the apron, I wasn't planning on putting anything on it but it was just asking for some fabric roses and tails. I also textured the second layer by cutting into it and adding some thin strips.

I just love the apron, it came out so much better than I expected.

So with one hour to spare, I finally finished hand sewing the collar and fastenings to the top, and apart from mirror imaging the design (d'oh was designing in the mirror!  Cheesy) it turned out scarily like what I had drawn.

It was all worth it for the compliments I got when I got there too. Usually I just feel a little like the odd one out, so was quite pleased.
2  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / A chest-bench from an old wardrobe. (5 photos) on: May 07, 2007 06:00:31 AM
This project has led to many giggles when asking if people wish to look at my chest  Grin

Almost two years ago, having only just moved into a new flat, I discovered while walking into work, that the people above us had dumped some perfectly useable pine wardrobe fronts (unfinished) next to the bins. Being me, I left them there a while thinking, they have only put them out for storage while they redo the flat. Well they weren't under cover in the empty garage and they were near the bins, so when they didn't move at all and it became obvious they didn't want them, I swiped them before the bin men came the morning after.

For a year they waited until I needed some storage and seating for our Live Roleplaying events and a plan was born. The concept of the flatpack chestbench was born. To some scepticism from my boyfriend I drew up the plans and then showed them to my dad (who is my guru when it comes to wood) who pointed out a minor flaw in my drawing and then okayed them.

With the plans okayed I measured out and got my boyfriend to saw the doors down into the sides and lid of the chest. In the meantime, I sewed cushions to go on top, thinking this won't take long...
A year later, I got fed up waiting for my boyfriend to buy a new coping saw (the first one was cheap rubbish and three events went by chestless) and used the normal large saw to cut out the supposedly fiddly bits. Suitably embarrassed he went and bought the new saw for the bits we couldn't manage with a normal saw.

Then we bought a house. While packing up, I pushed ahead with the chest. My boyfriend doing the drilling and final coping and myself doing the measuring and sanding (my arms hurt for ages). In the end we had to borrow a drill from the roofing contractor who we had made friends with who happened to be working that day as mine died Tongue
The whole thing was finished with Danish oil.
But it was finished and came with us finally on the first event of the year (along with a table top we made at the same time). So here it is.

The pieces prior to assembly

Step one, putting the sides together with the tabs:

Step two, fixing the sides using rope and spacing blocks (this wasn't part of the original design but due to a slight misunderstanding, and not double checking with me first, my boyfriend drilled the holes in the wrong place so he came up with this idea which worked really well, and  gave us nice handles to lift it with. He would have been in so much trouble if he had not thought of that...  Roll Eyes
The bottom just slots in and sits on two strips of wood.

And then the top slides in with two batons to stop it from slipping away.

Tadaa! And here with the set dressing in the tent.

It worked really well, and will be used as seating and LRP stuff storage in what will soon be my crafting room in the new house when it isn't camping with us Cheesy

What do you think? Not bad for a bit of cheap pine.

3  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Sailor's kit bag, with a twist. [6 pictures] on: March 28, 2007 10:24:22 AM
My darling boyfriend needed a bag to use at the LRP/LARP event we take part in. After much research on my part, everything I suggested (along with trying to make his bag coordinate colourwise with his mostly black outfit) was vetoed. My instructions were as specific as they were simple...or so he thought.

Asked for, one natural canvas sailor's kit bag with nice big eyelets and some tough rope.

Delivered, one natural canvas bag with big eyelets and tough rope...but not what he had envisioned... Roll Eyes

Firstly, I convinced him that as it was only one pound (1!) from the local charity shop, the plain canvas was instead replaced with canvas type fabric but with a subtle stripe, and the interior was dual coloured:

And I made the base hexagonal, actually not that much harder than a circular base...possibly easier as it was not one long curve:

He did pick out the rope and rivets though and they do look very nice...

Then I realised that the only thing left was how to make the rope neat. As he had done such a great job packing our house up while I worked (work deadlines, always happen when you need time off) I thought I had to try something good. So obviously I tried splicing...for the first time ever  Shocked

The result isn't so bad for just using the internet...I much prefer being shown in real life...and I tried pulling it apart and failed, so I count it a success  Cheesy

He took one look at the bag and said "That is the coolest thing ever!" so I appear to have one happy customer *phew*

Hope you all like it.
4  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / From boring office trousers to gothic bellydancing skirt. (3 pics) on: March 20, 2007 01:41:27 AM
Once a month I get "gothed" up to go to the goth/80s/alternative night for dancing and socialising. Not easy to do with my Scandinavian blonde looks but I do my best...  Roll Eyes
Often this is an excuse for me to wear all the costumes and clothes I don't normally feel comfortable wearing, or are just plain impractical for office wear  Grin
Currently however, a lot of my clothes seem to have shrunk  Wink

So 3 weeks before the event my mate sent me a link to a gothic bellydancing site (The both of us having previously attended the same classes for "normal" bellydancing) and an idea was formed.
That same day I took a pair of old office trousers with worn legs and did this to them:

You would think with so much advance warning I would have finished the entire outfit but I was still at that stage on the day of the event  Embarrassed
So with the support of my friends (who crafted/chatted) alongside me. I finally managed to make this:

and a close up so you can see the details better:

Having cut the top to look like a garter belt and closed the pockets (rather sloppily I know) I hemmed it with black bias binding and then attached 4 reclaimed D rings (two from a belt and two from an old rugsack) to the points. I also swapped the boring office buttons for purple ones from my button box to match the fabric.

The purple is some old acetate (yuck) I had hiding in the closet so didn't really mind cutting up. That is attached in two parts so that there is a slit for the legs at the place where the d rings come down on the front.

The dark blue strips are muslin I bought specifically at the market (and if I see more will buy more, it is such a nice colour) and the wool is from a packet of purple mixed fibers I bought a long time ago and never had the heart to use.

It worked very well for the swishyness (although stairs were an issue) and fits well too. I even got a compliment from a guy who makes corsets for a living  Grin (although his motives were probably not entirely pure).

Unfortunately no action shots as yet, I tried the mirror technique and it didn't work and all the shots from the night are marred by the top being not as nice as I wanted and not showing the whole skirt...will take one later when my boyfriend gets home maybe.

5  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / My very own plush Mumak/Oliphaunt. Rambling, with 9 pictures and some links! on: March 08, 2007 02:49:18 AM
All because he wanted to crush elves beneath his plush grey feet!

I mentioned to my rpg buddies one evening (a while back now) on discovering that it was now safe to mention Return of the King without ruining it for anyone that what I now wanted more than anything was a plush mmak or oliphaunt. After a while this idea took root and I realised that if I wanted one I would have to make one myself. Early on the decision was made not to make the entire thing from scratch. There were two reasons for this.

1) With a howdah to make it was already such a large amount of sewing that making the elephant would be fiddly, especially as I didn't have a pattern for one.

2) The town's only haberdashery did not have plush fur short pile enough for what I wanted.

So for months I went through second hand shops in search of abandoned elephants. I found a mini one and sent it to my friend along with a boxy howdah for her birthday...and still I searched.
Until one day, there he was, trunk raised in the air (and incidentally in the second hand shop I have most luck in buying craft items from) just begging to become a mmak. On mentioning my plans to the lady at the counter she expressed concern that the transformation would be painful and so I reassured her that it would be as pain free and as reversible as I could make it.

The first step were the tusks. As mentioned before the plush fur left something to be desired and he was left looking like santa mmak for a while despite trimming the fur as short as possible. So I turned to felt (which after all the howdah would be made of), and while recovering from foot surgery amused myself by hand sewing his new and improved tusks.

So this then was my start:

For a second look at him...http://farm1.static.flickr.com/171/414466231_628b5edf5e.jpg

The harness was quickly sewn up. As you can see I made it nice and removable:

To make the howdah I used rigelene boning (mostly rescued from an old corset) wrapped with dark felt and then lighter felt to be the hides. For a look at the process press here:http://farm1.static.flickr.com/187/414466234_cb3657ecc9.jpg
I then pinned the pieces in place to see what they looked like. If you want a better look at how the lowest part of the howdah fits together click the link:http://farm1.static.flickr.com/44/414466235_724fbdb54d.jpg

At this point I panicked and the mmak was left to languish on a shelf for who knows how long, it may even have been a year. Shocked
I had cut out the bottom platform base of the howdah but it was too small and I started to think I would ruin it rather than finish it. So it was left as a work in progress...

...Until my sister came to visit with a pile of crafts to do for a craft swap...as she sewed/glued/etc her crafts, I restarted on the mmak.

I started by sewing on the bits that I had just pinned in place. Here is an elf's eye view of what will become the howdah...

I then finally sewed together the new howdah base and the bits to hold up the second tier.

Inspired for the first time in ages I decided that this sewing wasn't enough so I sewed in some texture to emulate the wicker weave the howdah bases in the film had. For a fuzzy photo of this process click the link:http://farm1.static.flickr.com/146/414468006_7440f117de.jpg

That weekend I almost finished the three tiers on a project that had sat there so long...  Embarrassed
The following day when I went to finish it however I found I had lost one of the poles for the final tier, and I was dangerously low on sewing thread of the right colour.  Cry

The following weekend I decided to bite the bullet and make a new pole with what thread remained, and what luck! I discovered that I had in fact a second reel of the same colour in the 2nd hand stash the first reel had come from so didn't need to pop to the shop. Hurrah  Grin

So finally I had my three finished tiers (the third one is also textured inside):

In a final dash towards the finish I sewed them all together and prepared to attach them to the harness:http://farm1.static.flickr.com/166/414468008_203e8f2012.jpg

Thus the howdah was finished! Just to prove it is still removable (and because it is hard to get a detailed shot of it on his back) here is my boyfriend holding the harness.

For the final flourish I took some leftover black wool and made fake barbed wire to run between his tusks and as the ropes between the various tiers. Link to a photo of him halfway through this while watching the battle of pelenor fields to get a look at the ropes (I covered his eyes for the scary bits with Legolas in them):http://farm1.static.flickr.com/183/414468011_e6df30afa5.jpg

Finally finished, both he and I had far too much fun posing with the peace lily (oh the irony) while he stomped on a model of Glorfindel (don't have one of legolas sadly) in revenge!  Roll Eyes

EDIT: As requested, more in action pictures of the finished Mmak/Oliphant. Click on the thumbnail to see more on my flickr pagehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/midnightoak/tags/mumak.

Poor archer hasn't got a chance...

This is probably too small to see properly but if you click on my flickr you can see the larger version.

6  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / From boring school folder to excellent Christmas storage solution. on: March 05, 2007 01:52:14 AM
This is a little late given it was Christmas related but still. After this rather rushed crafty Christmas I decided I should finally sort out all the magazine cutouts, recipes and bits of old Christmas card that I was storing.
I have no work in progress pictures unfortunately but it should be easy enough to figure out how I did it.

I started with a simple blue cardboard folder, one of those that just folds double with a bit of elastic to hold it shut. This had already been holding my papers but in a loose mess.

I covered the outside with some waxed paper I rescued from an Alhen's Christmas bag while in Sweden visiting my aunt and bits if wrapping paper which I covered with sticky back plastic to make the folder wipe downable (essential if I make Christmas toffees), and put a label on the front (as if it wasn't obvious what the folder was for.) Along with an elasticated ribbon I had received that Christmas it looked like this,

For the bits of wrapping paper and Christmas card that I reuse I taped in a plastic pocket in the back of the folder,

And to separate all the papers into recipes, crafty ideas and decorating ideas I put in three strips of paper.

All in all a simple idea that has made finding what I want so much easier! Now I just have to go do the same to the rest of my crafting paper mountain  Roll Eyes
7  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Wristlet made out of an old tie. on: March 05, 2007 01:33:46 AM
With only a week to spare before one of my best friend's birthdays, I had fifteen other craft projects to do, and no idea what to make her. Luckily I was helping my sister through her first craft swap (she came to visit for support so mostly I watched her craft while I crafted my stuff) and on a brief walk break we wandered into the charity shop along the road to ogle the furniture and vintage travel cases. And what did I see on the tie rack but a tie with HIPPOS on it. As hippos are my friend's new thing (long story) I immediately bought it. Some frantic handsewing on the morning of her party later (my week having been far too busy) I managed to come up with this.

The inner pocket is made from fabric scraps and an old jeans zip I tore out of one of the jeans I was already patchworking with. The loop is made from grosgrain ribbon I had in my ribbon box. I had to hem the edge as well unfortunately as the tie was a little worn at the end.

I decided to keep the tie end open as a separate pocket so she can keep coins in the main purse and cards or paper in the back section.

which you can just about see in this photo.
The entire thing was hand sewn as otherwise I would not have been able to attach the inner pocket the way I did. The remainder of the tie was sewn back into a tie shape and given to her as well so she could make her own reconstructed items out of it later. She was pleased by it (hurrah!) and apparently it was just the right size.  Grin
8  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Feegle Mctux an unholy alliance of penguin and pictsie on: March 01, 2007 03:15:22 AM
For Christmas I decided to theme my gifts to people. For my boyfriend, I chose the theme of the wee free men, as after reading the latest book he had gone round shouting "wailey wailey wailey" at every opportunity along with other quotes.

As he is also a programmer obsessed with Linux, I chose to base my "wee free man" on the opensource penguin pattern http://www.free-penguin.org/

Discovering I had just the right shade of tartan I created this strange beastie.

I shrunk the pattern so he is about the size of my palm, and added a few beads and a button pencil for him to make notes with. He is sewn completely by hand as it was too fiddly to do on the machine.

He was happily received I am pleased to say.  Cheesy
9  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Medieval inspired story book made from a red leather skirt. Links and hints. on: February 20, 2007 06:54:02 AM
I wanted a more convincing prop instead of just some tea stained papers stapled together to represent a book of stories and traditions. I also wanted the book to show the wealth of the character using it, so it had to be as shiny as possible, while also being cheap to make and easy to copy should I need to make another one, or an even cheaper one.

At the same time I was working on my medieval history project for university, so was looking for procrastination. The two ideas merged and formed the most over the top plan.

Step one, tea a lot of printer paper.
I used cream paper to get the right richness of colour, but while also allowing shades from the palest cream to the darkest brown.
Myself and my able assistant (my lovely bloke) also used teabags directly on the paper rather than soaking the paper in tea (which also works) as this caused the smooth printer paper to roughen rather nicely. Then when it dried it had just the right crackly feel to it when turning the pages. We made extra to also become random certificates, contracts etc...

Step two, write your stories and paint your illuminated pages.
This was probably one of the two most time consuming bits. Each painting was made much larger than needed and then scanned and shrunk to fit on the computer. Make sure you have a nice font.

Step three, put it all into pdf format.
Some programmes will collate pages into booklet form for you. Mine didn't, so I split the text into sections of five sheets/ten pages. Then I had to organise the text and pictures so that it would print in the correct order. I then turned them into PDFs so it didn't matter what I was using it would still print the way I wanted.

Step four, print onto your tea stained paper and decorate (optional)
I went over some key words in gold paint to make the text even more shiny (as gold won't print on a home computer). Timeconsuming but very nice results.

Step five, when all is dry, sew together into a text block and cut out your boards.

Step six, decorate your cover. For this I used a second hand (but new) suede skirt in bright red and bead cups cut to be flat and with little rhinestones glued onto them like finials. I also cut four to be corner protectors. The cover was then glued on and the corners hammered to take away any rough edges in the metal and also age the book slightly.
The end papers are unsurprisingly, gold. Wink

It should now look like this.

I had to adjust the photograph to show the correct colour of the leather, but you get the idea.

and the inside on an "illuminated" page.

Final step, hand to lots of people wearing stage make up to give it that old "been handled" look.

EDIT: to include picture
10  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Place mat to Bento box bag and accessories. on: February 20, 2007 01:44:02 AM
My first post, here goes. The pictures in the links might be quite big...

In a moment of momentary madness I gave in and bought a My Neighbour Totoro themed lunch box (as well as lunch boxes for my mum and sister). Before it had even arrived in the post I acquired two linen placemats from a second hand shop because they had embroidered leaves on and so would match my box.

When the box did arrive I grabbed a free off cut I had been given at the market, and which was languishing at the back of my cupboard, and got sewing.

This is what I started with.

This is the finished bag (with added soot sprites because I got bored at my sister's house).

A picture of the chopstick holder (in need of new ribbon), napkin and napkin ring, bento strap (the normal ones were too small) and thermos flask/water bottle bag.

and finally because I am so pleased with how it all matches prettily, a shot of all of the accessories together.

Overall I am very pleased with the set, although I kept accidentally cutting the ribbon too short  Angry  as might be obvious from the messy ties on the chopstick holder.
Now I just have to get round to using it, not easy when you work from home mostly...  Roll Eyes
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