Saturday, April 30, 2011

What to do with all that leftover Easter egg dye

Egg Dying is one tradition our whole family enjoys, and will probably never be given up no matter how old we get. This year, since it was just my daughter and me, we decided against buying the kits. Instead, we just made our own using ordinary food coloring, vinegar and water. It's very easy. The mix we used was:
  • 10-20 drops food color
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • about 1/4-1/2 cup of water

I put the dye into individual plastic ice cream sundae cups. If you try this, you'll want to put your dunking cups in a larger container or baking sheet to catch any overflow and drips. You'll really only need to make the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue. Redipping will produce other colors. We used the "magic" crayon from one of our previous years egg kits to add some designs. It's just a clear wax crayon. A candle should work just as well. The eggs in the pic were refrigerated after dying, which mottles the colors some (I kinda like the effect, myself). The condensation will make the dye stain your hands, so be sure you let the sit for a bit to warm and dry off. Wipe excess moisture away with a paper towel.

After we dyed our eggs, we still had quite a bit of dye leftover. We wanted to use it up on something else. There are many things you can dye with this stuff. We went ahead and poured some of the dye from each of the three primaries into three more cups to make the secondary colors of purple, orange and green to dye some pistachio nut shells. This was a great way to use us the rest of the dye. We also tried dying some cotton crochet yarn, but cotton doesn't take dye as readily and we're letting it sit longer in hopes it will eventually set.

After soaking overnight, the shells are very brightly colored, fairly permanent and ready to use in some crafty projects. Stay tuned for what we make! :)

And, to add even more resourcefulness to this day, the paper we used to dry the shells on will also most likely wind up as end sheets in a hand-bound journal. With a little forethought, they made a very nice pattern. Another sheet (not pictured) turned out even more unusual when we blew the dye around with a straw (as I'd learned to do in grade school).

Hope your Easter was a good one!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Goggles - A Steampunk's Essential Provision

It seems, to most people, you aren't "Steampunk" unless you sport at least one pair of goggles or some type of eyewear. :) Actually, I think they are so popular because they're the perfect quick way to make any outfit scream steampunk. But for me personally, I haven't found a pair small enough to fit on my mini top hat. ;)

My SO and I have created three pair of goggles so far in our attempt to adorn ourselves in gadgets. These were all HIS ideas. I merely assisted where asked to. I've posted his first, more complex, pair in a previous post (also glimpsed in the last pic of this post). They are still my fav, probably due to sentimentality. But, they are very unique, too. I've never seen a pair like them. This last pair are pretty impressive, too. However, they used the typical welding goggle base that you see just about everywhere steampunks gather. :)

The above pair are the most recent attempt displayed on the hat also his creation. He found a used and rather beat up pair of welding goggles at a fleamarket. They cost us $3. If you look closely at the pic, you can just barely see the deep pits in the lense where they saved the previous user's eyes.

I helped on these by cleaning, sanding and painting the hard black plastic frames. I sprayed them with black, silver and gold paint and applied a little metallic Rub 'n Buff to the high spots for a nice aged feel. He then made the strap and applied the gears and other tid bits.

He also whipped up a matching hat band for his hat while making the strap.

BTW, I just love his hat. I'm still in awe of how this was just about his first experience working with leather. He plans to make another shorter one in the near future. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

Here is another pair of simpler goggles that we experimented on just before making the others. He hasn't added any doodads, yet. I tried to paint them to look like wood. I think I'd like to antique them a bit so they don't look so new. Does the shape in the lens look familiar to you? If it does, you're showing your age. ;) It's inspired by the piece used in the center of a vinyl 45 record.

This hat was one of mine. I've had just about forever. Though it was a wee big, the daughter wore it and this pair of goggles to Scarby (ren faire) for the SP invasion. She looked adorable, if I do say so myself. She had no less than three people actually identify the lens. :)

Grandma wore SO's original goggle masterpiece on her Indiana Jones hat as a last minute attempt to put something together. She was a good sport for participating in the SP invasion with us. She still isn't sure what "steampunk" actually is, bless her.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Stop by and vote...

... for your favorite entry in the "Back to Basics" Craft Challenge!

Daughter and I entered a Craft Challenge. We submitted our "A Fan-tailed Spider-fish Dragon". It's actually two projects masquerading as one. ;) I tell more about it at my Tabistry blog and on the submission post.

Friday, April 8, 2011

2nd Craft Swap with Crafterella

Crafterella (oohmybees on Craftster) and I decided to another personal swap this past March. We agreed to make three items for each other. I think by looking at what we sent each other that we kinda broke the rules a bit. ;) I should correct it to AT LEAST three.

If you haven't already seen my posts, the items I sent are:

Crazy Quilt Binder Cover with Pen

Cinderella's Fairy GodPumpkin

Ladybird House #2

Skelly & Kitty Witch BOO't

I also recieved from her today! Yay! You can see all the awesome goodies she sent me at the Craftster's Personal Swap Gallery! You must go see the wonderful knit and crochet pieces as well as her awesome "instant cemeteries"!

Skelly & Kitty Witch BOO't

My final project of this past craft swap with Crafterella was another witch boot by request. When I asked her what she'd like on one, she mentioned skeletons and black cats. So that's what she got. And, a lot of them, too. ;)

I did something different, again. I ran the diamond black/while pattern around the top and lace edges. Then, made arches around the ankle of the boot to frame in the three scenes. Both sides have a black cat and JOL pumpkins on an iron fence. One with a hanging spider and one with bats.

The back is a skeleton juggling more JOL's. And, on all around the heel are three skeletons who look to be holding up the shoe. More skulls are dotted around the bottom edge wrapping around both sides.

I even managed to squeeze another juggling skeleton on the tongue peeking out from the ribbon laces which I wrapped the ends of with copper wire.

I painted "Happy Halloween on the tongue with some crossed bones under it and put a skull and crossbones custom polymer clay bead dangle on the toe using some more copper wire. The copper should age in time to a nice darker orange to match the boot.

Well, that's it for this swap! I'll be posting a final post to link all the individual items and show then all together.

Ladybird House #2

The third project I sent my craft swap partner, Crafterella, was this tiny "Ladybird" House similar to the one I posted on my last swap. I made two at the time. They are called that due to the size of the hole that only a ladybug could probably manage to get into.

It's almost made entirely of cereal box cardboard painted, stained and lightly touched with some gold Rub n' Buff in places. The roof and back have some shingles and random details all done layering the cardboard. The chains and jewelry tid-bits were all from my stash.

The top slides up along the chain like the first one so it can hide little secret treasures.

I'll be posting one more project from this swap. Hopefully you'll get a "kick" out of it. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mom's "Fairy Godpumpkin"

For this past craft swap, I was stalking my partner, Crafterella. I was browsing her wist for ideas and came across something that must just have been fate. I had just the thing sitting over here.

She had wisted an adorable set of pumpkins wearing witch hats. Coincidentally, my mother had started one very similar awhile back while playing around with some air-drying clay she had. Her pumpkin was so adorable, I just had to get her to finish it up. Just look at all the detail she put into it! I'd say that is amazing considering the medium she chose was very disagreeably to work with in this way.

I helped her glue it to a resin base that she had found at a secondhand store while visiting my sis in Kansas. It was actually three books fused together, but she had my sis's husband cut them apart. This one is a book labeled "Cinderella" on the front. I think that was just perfect for her little guy. We painted and stained it to go better with the pumpkin's colors.

I was so terribly nervous about this item making to it's new home with Korinne in one piece. I'm so glad it did make it. Yay!

The next item I'll be posting about is much less fragile. It will be another wee house for tiny birds of the six-legged variety. :)

Crazy Quilt Binder Cover

Another craft swap has been sent out. One item my partner, Crafterella (oohmybees on Craftster), requested was a Teesha Moore inspired Journal, or 3-ring binder, cover. She described the style she was looking for as "Goth-hippie". :)

I asked my mom to help out on this one since we had planned to try making one awhile now. I threw a pile of choice scraps in front of her and let her go to work. She didn't follow the thorough directions that TM has on youtube. Instead, she just winged it. I let her go at it until it was large enough to cover the binder. Then, I trimmed it down to fit and backed it with some polka-dot fabric.

We used a removable button-on strap closure to hold the book shut. It was a strap off of one of my mom's coats. Not sure why she removed it when she bought it, but it worked great on the cover.

I tried my hand at personalizing the cover with her name sewn with some of my pathetic freehand embroidery work. I must admire those with enough patience to embroider. I can only tolerate it in small doses. :)

Inside I added two pen/pencil holders and a zipper pocket for other tools/supplies. I thought she could put her hole punch in there if she liked. It also makes a nice place to store the strap when the binder is in use.

I decided that if it's going to have a pen holder, it needs a pen to go with it. So, I made one out of polymer clay according to a tutorial I found on youtube where you roll the clay over the plastic pen barrel. What I liked was that the inner pen part can be replaced if it runs out of ink. I used a Bic Stick Pen like the tute, which are pretty common and easy to find. After completed, I'm not certain about the durability of the pen. There were suggestions that different brands of clay are stronger, but I used the colored Sculpey that I had. It should be alright. **Knock on wood**

Up next, I'll be posting a little something my mom made.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Steampunk Time-Turner

For a friend's birthday SO and I made a steampunk necklace for her. I'm calling it a "time-turner" (like Hermione's in the Harry Potter series). Who wouldn't want a portable time machine? But, according to my SO, it has another function that I won't go in to here. ;)

It's almost entirely made from broken clock parts. The center piece of the pendant is a "balance wheel" that is still intact and can be animated by movement or by finger.

Various gears and other parts were used here and there. The black metal pieces spaced along the chain were brackets that I flattened out with a hammer.

The rest of the parts of the necklace were just bits, rings and chain pieces I had in my stash.

Clockwork parts are so interesting. It's amazing how all these complex shapes all go together to tell us the time. Too bad these particular parts will never tell the time again. :)

I enjoyed putting this piece together. I think I'll attempt another for myself at a later date. Though, I'm sure it will end up looking nothing like this one. I never seem to make two of the same thing very often.

Thanks for taking the "time" to check this out! Later!