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1  Re: Jar of Whimsies Rd 10 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by rvladams on: October 10, 2011 06:14:18 AM
My package from the awesome petskin has arrived!  Lots of pictures to document all the amazing little doo-dads inside.

Here's the outer box all opened up--some great fabric scraps, a creepy little punkin' (I love him!) and lots more squeal-worthy stuff that didn't fit in the flat package "jar":

My little world of goodies, all opened up:

So much awesome stuff!  Corks, ribbon, lace, puzzle pieces, buttons, charms, little plastic flowers, beads, a rubber eye...the list is too long to mention.  Here's a picture of some of my larger favorites, including the little punkin', a tiny felted ukulele (!!!) for this newbie uke player, a little rubber dog running with headphones, a pewter owl box, a milk cap, a Santa cookie ornament, Beauty and the Beast on a weensy sticker, ribbon in the colors of the Estonian flag, bird ribbon, a happy green button topper, a shrinky-dink owl, a rubber squirrel, and a package of collectible Nightmare Before Christmas cards:

And some of my tinier favorites!  Look at that teeny-tiny football charm!  That shoe!

I love all the new stuff and can't wait to get started using it.  Thanks so much for the incredible package, petskin!

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2  Re: Tiny Haunted House Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by rvladams on: October 17, 2010 01:12:08 PM
Just got home from a trip Up North and found a mysterious brown package on the stoop upon my arrival.  Because I had been anticipating the arrival of one (1) tiny haunted house, I immediately vaulted through the front door with the package, leaving my fiance to unpack most of the car.  Here is what I found when I filtered through theMistressT's ingenious internal wrapping:

One incredibly fine flat-packed house!

Here is a close-up of the house's wonderful stone exterior, with a quarter for scale:

The house wraps into a square, holding a crowd of ghostly revelers in behind the front door.  They seem far too serene to be the source of all the blood that coats the walls, but then--Victorian photo-taking does seem to demand a polite exterior...

Here's a picture of the house all lit up and with the wonderful gold-lined roof on.  Note the ghosties buzzing about the upper story:

There are even some medieval demons lurking in the basement!  

I cannot believe how eerie and beautifully detailed this house is.  Thank you SO MUCH, Tara!! I LOVE it (how did you know I love old medieval stone things???) and can't wait to display this in my house--it evens looks disturbingly similar to some of the haunting buildings I admired recently while in Ireland...

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3  Famous Author etched pints (Pic heavy!) in Glass Crafts: Completed Projects by rvladams on: September 22, 2010 01:25:17 PM
I made these pint glasses as a Christmas present for my new fiance (!), who has excellent priorities: me, literature, and beer.  (Possibly not in that order.)  Each glass features the name and portrait of one of his favorite authors: Dylan Thomas, Jorge Luis Borges, Samuel Beckett, and J.G. Ballard.  Here's the finished set, from the front and back:

I've been planning these for awhile.  To make them, I found some internet photos on which to base my drawn silhouettes, cut the silhouettes out of contact paper, and used some ready-made adhesive stencils for the names.

Dylan Thomas:

Jorge Luis Borges:

Samuel Beckett:

Beckett was a pain--I got etching cream on the sides of the glass and had to redo him three times.  Perhaps his nihilism was infectious.  Grin

J.G. Ballard:

And, just for fun, a little bee shot glass I made for myself with the remnants of the etching cream:

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4  World of Warcraft (WoW) Project [Pic Obese!] in Needlework: Completed Projects by rvladams on: September 13, 2010 09:01:01 AM
First, the background blah blah blah:

My best friend and her boyfriend, both gamers and World of Warcraft enthusiasts, recently moved from a humble apartment to a beautiful one.  My friend is very excited to hang things on her new walls, but they don't yet have much art.  What's that I hear?  Empty space?  Walls in distress?  Crafty pal to the rescue!  A teaser of the work:

I turned in my excitement to http://www.spritestitch.com/ for an appropriately geeky pattern I could whip up to adorn one of the naked walls.  I really liked the sentiment of a pattern I saw there by thedomesticscientist, but I wasn't a huge fan of the controller it featured (only the man-side of the couple I was stitching for is big into console gaming).  Here's the original inspiration:

Eventually I decided to tailor the pattern to my friends' interests by replacing the controller in the pattern with the WoW logo.  Unfortunately, if someone has ever stitched the Wow logo, I don't know about it.  I couldn't find a pattern, or even another cross stitched piece, anywhere.  So what's a second-time cross stitcher to do?  Make her own pattern, of course!

I found a logo image I liked, pixelated it, spent a few torturous hours color-coordinating and erasing in Microsoft Paint, and finally ended up with a 16 color pattern that seemed like it would work.  I kept the lettering from the original pattern and proceeded to stitch.  Here are some in-progress shots to demonstrate my painfully slow work:

After about 15 hours of stitching, I had this:  

Next came washing.  I was terrified, but other stitchers had assured me that DMC floss rarely runs:

Finally, after a date with an iron and the purchase of a cheap frame at Michael's, I had this:

This piece is certainly not perfect, but as it's my first homemade pattern and my first cross stitched work not from a kit, I'm REALLY proud of it.  I hope my friends like it as much as I do--I can't wait to give it to them at their housewarming party next week.

Comments and critique welcome, especially any tips for tidying the knots on the back of my piece.  You don't see any pictures of the back for a reason--it's a horror!  Cheesy
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5  Inspiration Wall in Interior Decorating: Completed Projects by rvladams on: August 26, 2010 06:38:40 PM
I am about to embark on an exciting (and frightening!) project.  After a lot of soul searching, I recently quit my job and resolved to spend 3-4 months working furiously on the novel I have been wanting to write...well, for a long time.

In order to keep myself energized and on track I decided I needed some inspiration.   I wanted to hang framed photographs of three prolific and successful novelists whose works I have loved dearly at one time or another: Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Haruki Murakami.  I didn't want everything matchy-matchy, but I did want it to look simple and elegant.  Unfortunately, however, now that I am unemployed by others I have very little money.  What is a girl to do?

Well, first, through the glory of the internet, she can find three good pictures of her role models:




Then she can head to Value World (a local thrift store) to pick out three roughly treated and unlikely little frames:

I removed the picture glass (and that hideous matted heart) and cleaned all parts of each 80 cent frame thoroughly.  I also roughed up the edges of the white frame to make its scratches look a little more "intentional."  Then I printed my internet images on $2 worth of glossy photo paper and cut them to fit the frame that matched each one best.

The backing of the heart frame was really difficult to get off--the ugly picture was held in with about a hundred staples.  But I was determined.

Once I got all the pictures into their frames, I realized that 1) Murakami was too small for his frame, and 2) none of the frames had hangers in the right places.  I resolved these issues quickly by matting Murakami's picture on black cardstock and scaring up my wonderful boyfriend to help me pound some tiny nails into the frame backs (for new hangers).

I had no idea how these three disparate pictures would look on the wall, but now that they're up I love them!  (Sorry about this picture--my office wall is actually a nice harmonious peach, not this awful shrieking banshee of a color.)

I know this is certainly not the most difficult or crafty posting in the world, but I am extremely happy with how the whole compilation came out.  And for only $5 in total!  I feel inspired to write already.

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6  Ghost Ship & Sailors in Halloween Decor and Parties by rvladams on: October 17, 2009 10:18:48 AM
I made this decoration:

...after reading the 2009 October issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors.  Their featured artist had made little wedding-party Day of the Dead dolls:

I loved the dolls, but wanted to put my own spin on them.  So I decided to make a ghost ship and sailors from old felt scraps and repurposed materials from around my house.  

The dolls themselves are made from wool felt, embroidery thread, stuffing pulled from a dying couch pillow, and vintage buttons I had lying around.  Luckily, I had some great plastic buttons perfect for sailor hats, and some small brass Navy buttons to create their "coats."

The ghost ship is made from the same wool felt, pillow stuffing, and embroidery thread, but I also used a piece of striped postal string (for the rope), one half of a hook-and-eye closure, scraps from my a pair of my boyfriend's old jeans, and, for an anchor, an old key (we have no idea what we ever owned that used that key).

After stuffing the sailors and their ship, I sewed all three pieces to a piece of twine.  I tied nautical knots (mostly square knots, I am no sailor!) in the twine and created a couple of paper "buoy" beads to hang at intervals.  Then I wound the ends of the twine around two large vintage brass keys, so the whole thing would have something to hang from.

Neither the sailors nor their ship wished to hang vertically on their line, so I sewed lead sinkers from my boyfriend's fishing tackle box to the back of the sailor's legs and the bottom of the ship.  I just consider these the weights that drag them even faster to Davy Jones's locker.

Ta da!  I currently have these guys hanging from some curtain hooks to celebrate Halloween, but I think I might just leave them up the rest of the year...

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7  Punk tee and Duck skirt in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by rvladams on: March 02, 2009 06:41:15 AM
Well, I spent the weekend turning old thrifted clothes ($5 worth total) into a punk t-shirt and duck skirt I can be proud of.  The patterns from Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt helped a lot.

For the punk tee I cut up a black metal band's shirt and a blue shirt that matched the graphic, then paired the cut halves like two sides of a life jacket.  The shirt came out a little short, so I added some black lace to the bottom.  The lace came from an old tank I never wear.  It was a NIGHTMARE to sew, since my machine is broken and I had to do all the needle work by hand.

From the front:

The lace:

Some background on the skirt: every summer I spend some time on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  The towns there have great names, one of which is Duck.  When I found a Duck sweatshirt at the thrift store, I knew I had to do something cool with it.  So I made this skirt from a bunch of (rather wonky) panels.  I didn't really use any pattern, but I like how it turned out.  The band at the top is a strip of old white t-shirt sewed to the top of the skirt and folded over.

From the front:

Showing off the duck:

What do you guys think?  Any tips for the next batch of recons?  I'm addicted to reconstruction now!
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8  Boxy sweater into flirty top in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by rvladams on: February 27, 2009 11:50:00 AM
For several months I've owned a boxy, saggy, utterly un-feminine sweater that I haven't had the heart to get rid of a) because I still remember paying for it, and b) because the green color was so completely gorgeous. 

Finally, with the help of several patterns cobbled together from the book Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt, I've turned the frumpy sweater into a cute top I'll actually wear.  I also got the opportunity to include a couple of the buttons I am forever collecting and rarely find use for. 

To make the new top, I just cut the sides out of the sweater, sewed them back together to fit my torso, cut the long sleeves off just inside the seam, and used scraps of them to create ruffled cap sleeves.  This is my first real recon, so please be kind.  Helpful criticism, however, is welcome!

Some pictures:

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9  Capt. Kirk & Alien Mistress in Halloween Costumes by rvladams on: November 05, 2008 08:02:55 PM
So, this year I made my most involved Halloween costumes to date.  My boyfriend, who looks eerily like the Captain, decided he wanted to be James Tiberius Kirk for Halloween.  Not to be outdone, I decided to go as his green-haired alien love.  Below are some shots of us, as well as lists of what I bought and made.


Purchased or Repurposed: second-hand yellow turtleneck, second-hand black dress pants (women's), black boot toppers (from an old Santa suit), black dress shoes.

Made: I removed the collar from the turtleneck and used scraps of an old black t-shirt to create a black collar with a v-insert.  I embroidered the Federation insignia onto a scrap of gold pleather, cut it out, and stitched it to the shirt.  Then I cut other scraps of the gold pleather into rick-rack and stitched three just above the cuff of each shirt sleeve (for Kirk's ranking stripes).  I tucked in the furry tops of the boots and stitched a short piece of elastic to the bottom of each one, creating a stirrup for my boyfriend's black shoe to fit in.  This made sure that the boot toppers would remain looking like boots during wear (and not ride up, exposing the top of the shoe underneath).

BONUS: The phaser is completely hand-made from a styrofoam block, acrylic paint, aluminum foil, a plastic nose-spray topper, scraps of gold pleather, a silver gel pen, a sharpie, and super glue.  It is a faithful reproduction of the deluxe handheld phaser Kirk carries in several TOS episodes.


Purchased or Repurposed: Silver sequined tank top, green rhinestone necklace, strappy silver sandals (only the base), silver earrings, second-hand slip, green hair spray.

Made:  I bought a yard of silver pleather and cut the entire yard into strips about a foot wide and long enough to cover the area between my waist and just above my knee.  I folded a few inches of each strip (lengthwise), and duct taped the folded portion to the back of the strip.  When I had enough strips to create "pleats" all around my body, I whip-stitched them to the top of the slip and cut off the excess.  Then a sewed a much thinner strip into a collar and sewed a snap backing to it.  I made the pleather "flowers" on the shoes the same way I made the skirt, only in miniature.  Then I put on the rhinestone necklace and earrings, did crazy eye make-up, and sprayed the bejeezus out of my blond hair.

Hope you guys like our outfits!  They were a lot of work, but I was happy with them in the end, and I'm a major Star Trek geek. Smiley

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10  Swallows Silk & Paper Journal in Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General by rvladams on: August 27, 2008 11:14:28 AM
This is a 7" x 7" journal I made for a friend of mine a few months ago, just before she left town to move in with her new husband.  The covers are acid-free cardboard covered with hand-dyed art paper I picked up at a local stationary store.  The swallows are purple and blue silk, created by pasting small silk swatches behind portions I cut out of the art paper.  I came up with the design myself--it shows my friend flying across the front of the journal (she's the purple swallow) to meet her husband (he's the blue swallow) who is waiting for her on the back of the journal in their marital home (in this case, perched upon their marital stick).  She really seemed to like it, which was flattering.  What do you guys think?

Front of the journal

Close-up of the female swallow

Back of the journal

Close-up of the male swallow

Interior of the journal
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