Archive for March, 2008

Yes, I am still knitting on the sleeves of this striped shrug. I thought I had finally finished the sleeves and so I weaved all the ends in and seamed up the sides. I was so excited to try it on and when I did I realized that I hadn’t made the sleeves long enough and the large buttonhole neck just didn’t look quite right (probably why you’re supposed to knit the sleeves separately, hmmmmm.) and I need some practice doing the mattress stitch to join the edges. So I did what I always do when a project doesn’t work out, I threw it in a heap and ignored it for a few weeks, contemplating what I would do to fix it. It finally came to me, I would cut in apart in the middle and just add more stripes and then sew it together like I was supposed to in the first place.
Here they are separated and being re-knitted, I am still hoping to finish this before July. I have been learning how to knit from the Stitch and Bitch book and from videos on KnittingHelp.com.

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Mokume gane is one of my favorite polymer clay techniques. It is a time intensive procedure, but the finished product is spectacular, with a lot of depth and shimmer.

I started off mixing varying amounts of black clay with translucent clay to get these four shades. The clay is then made into thin sheets by running it through a pasta machine, then it is stacked by alternating clay with silver leaf. The slab is then smooshed (technical term) and poked and then rolled flat and sliced with a tissue blade. The slices can then be applied to any oven safe material.Here’s everything fresh from the oven. It looks good, but it’s not finished yet. I hand sand each piece starting with 200 grit and working up to 2000 grit. Then I buff each piece to a glass like sheen. The sanding and buffing is what really brings out the depth of the layers of translucent clay. This pendant is about the size of a domino and opens to a secret compartment.This is a sleek and modern donut pendant.And this is an upcycled mint tin and is a little over 3 inches wide.
For more detailed instructions for working with polymer clay I highly recommend The Glass Attic.

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I went to my local thrift store today and found some great deals! All their coats were free and I found a very nice faux sheep skin coat that fit me perfectly and it’s machine washable. Here’s everything that I bought, can you believe that I only spent $3.75?

I also found a great pair of coveralls, I have big plans for them, I’m going to cut the arms off and paint a vintage tattoo flash design on the back similar to this. They had some really nice children’s books, there are ten of them. Most of them are board books and they’re all in almost new condition.There are also two vintage floral pillowcases and these fake wood sparrows.When I saw them I thought wow, wouldn’t those look great painted like this clip art. I’m hoping that the wind dies down so I can spray prime them today. I love thrift store shopping, you never know what you’ll find.

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I made some more plastic bottle beads today, trying some different techniques.

This time I decided to color sheets of plastic before cutting them into the triangle shapes so that I would have sets of matching beads. I also just scribbled the colors on, no designs or details. Here are all the finished beads. I have learned that if you keep the heat gun in one place too long the plastic bubbles on the edges and turns milky, I like this look. I also tried wrapping them with the small point in, this made the bead look like a macaroni noodle, not what I was going for. I used the flat parts of two 2-liter bottles and one 20 oz. bottle to get all these beads (54 to be exact). Everyone that has seen them could not tell what I made them from and they all really liked them. I also think that they look like glass beads although they are not as heavy as glass would be. I am anxious to make them into necklaces, but I want to figure out a way to make a focal pendant to go with them. I may just use them to accent my polymer clay pendants or as components in charm bracelets.

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I have had this project for making beads from plastic soda bottles bookmarked forever on Craftster and today was the day to try it. I just got a new heat gun last week at hobby lobby where they were on sale for $9.99.

I had everything else that I needed. I used mostly paint pens in black, white, silver and red, but I did experiment with sharpie markers too. My kitchen shears made it super easy to cut the bottles.

I stayed pretty abstract. I really liked the one on the far left before shrinking. Rolling the plastic up was slightly challenging, but when you heat the plastic up it shrinks down to make the holes smaller. The only difficulty I had was keeping the point of the triangles from sticking out. I ended up heating the point up and then rolling it on cardboard to stick it to itself. Next time I may try rolling them with the narrow end to the inside.

Here’s the finished beads. I think that they look like cocoons. I cut the purple strip in half before shrinking it. This project went really fast.

I think that making lines or random dots is the way to go as more complicated designs are lost in the rolling and shrinking. If you want to make a coordinating set you could color the plastic before cutting it apart. I would also like to mention that to get the shapes even the beads should be rotated and the pliers should be stuck into both ends while melting or the beads tend to curve like crescent rolls. The paint pens worked well and give a more opaque look, but if you overheat the beads the color “burns” off the edges, I actually liked this look. Sharpies gave a more transparent look and the color selection is a lot better. This was just my first try and I will be making more of these beads. I really like how they turned out and I also like recycling. Now I just need some more colors of sharpie markers!

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I have been saving pop tabs for months and I just started working on making them into purses. I have made the sides and the handle and now I am trying to figure out how to put the whole thing together.
I really like how it looks so far and now I just need to get the zipper and lining installed. I’ve looked around on the Internet and I haven’t found anything quite like this but I did find this tutorial for a totally crocheted one on craftster and I also found this little crocheted wristy purse. I like the look of the crochet, but I want the tabs to be more visible. When I get this figured out I will post the finished product.

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I been playing with the poster sketch tool again, so here are some more of my favorites. I love this tool!
There are so many talented people and wonderful items available on etsy and I haven’t even touched the tip of the iceburg.

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My partner received her package and she liked everything and everything fit, yay! Here are some of the photos she took of herself modeling the tops I sent.

Here’s the octopus recon shirt.

The dragonfly shirt.

And the silk top and velvet shrug.

You can see more pictures and read her comments here. I had a great time with this round and am looking forward to the next one.

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After a trip to the Dollar Tree for some supplies I decided to revisit the recycled crayon project. I bought two muffin tins and some heart and star shaped baking cups and did a little more research and this is what I’ve found out…150 is what most people recommend (even Martha Stewart) setting the oven on and that is should take approximately 20-30 minutes for them to melt and this is what I tried. My ovens lowest temperature is 170, but I was not worried about this, after all I know that I can cook them at at least 250 and they won’t burst into flames. It did take longer than 30 minutes, but I was opening the oven every five minutes to peek and take pictures.Here they are in the oven, this is after about 35 minutes, getting runny, but still lumpy on the back. You might notice that the ones on the left are in coordinating colors and the ones on the right are just random colors thrown together, they both turned out great. Fresh from the oven and cooling on the stove.Here is the back of the mixed crayons, not that pretty, but the other side looks great.Here are the finished crayons, aren’t they pretty? Here’s a better detail of the shapes and by the way the crayons in the cupcake tins melted faster.And here are the ones from the muffin tins, the color variations are really noticeable.

Some alternative instructions I found said to preheat the oven to 350 and when you put the crayons in turn the oven off and leave them for about 15-20 minutes, I may try this next time. It has also been mentioned that using silicone bake ware makes it easier to remove the finished crayons and there are also a bigger variety of shapes available. I put mine in the freezer for a few minutes and they popped right out. I also wanted to mention that I chopped these up with a knife into pea sized pieces, the last time I made the chunks smaller and this is not necessary. This is a really fun and inexpensive project (I only spent $5.00 for the tins) I would definitely recommend trying it!

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