Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Personal Swap 2011 with Cackle

The last five projects I've posted all belonged to a swap with Lora (Cackle on Craftster). She saw the items I made MissingWillow and requested a boot and spell book of her own along with a few other items of my choice. I've posted each item that I sent in its own post so I don't overload one post with all the pics.

There are five items:

Witch BOO't


"Ladybird" house

Sugar Skull Mask

"Skull Bird" Earrings

I received my package this past Wednesday. She really went all out and made some wonderful things including an "Aura Detector", a "Household Dragon", silver bracelet/earring set, ornaments, and many other items. You can view the items she made in the Personal Swap Gallery on Craftster.org.

I'll have more craft swap results in a couple weeks after I finish up another swap with Crafterella. There will be another witch boot and some sewing involved in that swap.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Birds or Skulls?

This was an unusual project inspired by a tutorial I found at michele made me. She used clear plastic packaging covered in packing tape to create some adorable greenhouses. I decided to try drawing on the plastic with sharpies before applying the tape. It was difficult at this tiny size of a little over 3/4 inch tall.

My craft swap partner collects skulls, but warned me that she can be pretty picky due to the number she's already acquired. I wanted to make skull items that she would not already have anything similar to. :) So, when I decided to put some little birds in the house/cages, these birds were not going to be ordinary birds. If you look at the one on the left facing backward in the pic above, you'll see what looks like a skull on it's back. The one on the right shows the birds profile. It creates a kind of illusion. They dangle from swings on chains inside made with bent paperclips.

This is the last of the items I made my swap partner. Thanks for lookin'!

Sugar Skull Paper Mache Mask

For this past craft swap my daughter, mom and I made a Sugar Skull mask for my partner whose birthday happens to land on Dia de los Muertos, or "Day of the Dead" on November 2nd.

My mom made the mask by forming aluminum foil over her own face and covering the shape in paper mache . Once it dried, she removed the foil, cut around the eye and nose holes and put some extra coats of paper mache. Once completely dry, I sprayed it with black paint and applied a crackle medium so the white paint would crack. Then, I sealed it and passed it off to my 8 year old daughter...

Daughter then applied some decorative patterns in metallic paint all over the mask. I had to fill in some places and add a jewel at her request, but most of it is her art. I used a hole punch to make the holes in the mask. I then cut a skull shoelace in half and melted the ends tied in knots to make the strings. My partner can remove the laces in case she wants to hang it on a wall.

Really enjoyable project. Especially with the family helping. Daughter had fun painting. I think she did a great job.

Hang around for project #5, which will be some unusual earrings.

"Ladybird" House

I'm calling this a "Ladybird House" because that's about all that could live in it. The house itself is about 2 1/2 inches tall. It's made out of cereal box cardboard except for the chains, dangly key and doodads, and the BBQ skewer perch. I forgot to get a pick of the back where there is a smaller decorative keyhole.

This was really fun to make. My partner had wisted a similar smaller silver pendant. I made it after being inspired by a tutorial at Mich L. in L.A., which has a secret space under the roof to hide tiny treasures.

Up next will be project #4 that my daughter and mom helped with.

My 2nd Spellbook

This is a spell book with various removable recipe and poem pages created by request for a craft swap to match a witch BOO't. It is similar to the one I made for Missing Willow a while back.

There is a moon with a spider on top of it on the front and a spider on the back. It is made using cereal box cardboard covered in tissue paper and painted over. The cutout designs on the front and back are something new I wanted to experiment with. I used nail polish remover to transfer b/w laser printouts of drawing I made in Adobe Illustrator to the covers.

I believe there were 32 pages in this book. All pages were printed on a laser printer and colored by hand with markers, colored pencils, and a white paint marker. I aged the pages with watercolor paints.

I took a small sampling of what is in our own family spellbook that I've been working on since before 2006. I wrote most of the poems myself, including the one above entitled "Stingy Jack" based on an Irish folk tale. The left page is a pumpkin carving ritual and directions for baking pumpkin seeds.

The page above is for preparing bugs for food and a couple recipes. This practice is known as "Entomophagy" and is common in some countries. I wrote the humorous poem bordering the instructions.

The above pages were created/included for my craft swap partner whose birthday happens to land on Nov. 2nd, which is the Mexican holiday "Dia de los Muertos", or "Day of the Dead". I wrote my own epitaph known as a "calavera", which is a holiday tradition. Sugar skulls are a very popular decoration in these festivities. So, I also added a couple recipes and instruction for making her own. I also included a page for a wonderful recipe (not pictured) for "Pan de Muerto", or Dead Bread, which is really good.

The pages are removable like some scrapbooks with a ribbon tying the pages into the cover. Right now there aren't a huge amount of pages in her book. But, I'm hoping she will make many more for it with her own recipes.

I'll be posting project #3 next up. It's a teensyny house for teensy living things.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Art Nouveau Inspired Witch Boo't

Yes, it's yet another paper mache witch BOO't to add to the series. This one was created for a craft swap. Knowing this and a couple other swaps would be coming up, I started a stash of boots back at the beginning of this year with the help of my mom and daughter. I took progress pics as we worked to use in an upcoming tutorial. So, you will be seeing many more boots on my blog before October arrives.

my partner liked Art Nouveau style. So, I thought I'd try something a little different with this boot. I did many new things including cutting away parts to make windows, adding brown to the color scheme, texturing the brown parts with tissue paper, lacing the ribbon with beetle beads, and using a transfer technique to apply a few of the images like the lettering and the images repeated on a spellbook cover.

There is a witch reaching up to a swarm of luna moths on one side and a rabbit next to a caulron on one side. There are also moths and lady bugs on the heal and tongue. I glues cardboard leaves around the cutout frames. It also has a hand-painted polymer clay spider hanging on the toe and three beetles on the laces.

Above it a close up of the beetles laced into the ribbon to give the appearance of wings, which I did one other time on a different boot. Most of the imagery is hand-painted. Though, as I mentioned, I did use a transfer technique using nail polish remover to apply the praying mantis and luna moths to the corner cutouts and to apply the lettering for "Cackle" to the tongue, which was inspired by an old vintage postcard.

Later I will be posting about the matching spell book that I made to go with the boot. There are be five items total that I created for this swap. So, stay tuned for item #2, which will cover something that is also witchy.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yay! Finally reached over 100 blog followers! (And a teaser!)

Starting this blog has been an enjoyable adventure. I've been at it for a few years now. Thank you kindly to everyone who has taken and interest in my work (and my ramblings) and stuck with me so long. And, welcome to all the new followers who have just discovered my little crafting corner of the net. I hope to have many new projects to show.

Speaking of new projects, I've got a heap of new things finished that I can't post quite yet. I must wait to send the items to their new owners, first. But, have patience. I will get to it. In the meantime, here's a teaser of one of the items I've recently finished:

Thanks again for following me on my crafty adventures!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Steampunk Gadgets, so far

I've been slowly getting some accessories made for my own steampunk outfit. My gadgets aren't nearly as unique as my SO's stuff. Below are a few I've managed to fit in between my other craft projects.

This unassuming arm bracer is actually sporting my revamped Secret Strike Nerf Dart gun. Every steampunk'r needs a weapon, right? I didn't want anything that would be too obnoxious and bulky to lug around. So, I opted for discretion and concealment. :)

The gun is removable from the bracer. I haven't had the SS gun very long, but didn't want to take a chance that it would break and need to be replaced.

I've sorta chain-stitched the gun to the bracer. There is a hook on the back end that the last loop attached to secure it. My SO should get the credit for assisting me with this project. All those rivets are a bear to get attached. He also did the stitching.

I removed the housing of the stock SS before painting it. It didn't really serve any purpose as far as functionality. I also changed out the regular darts for an off brand of chalk darts that I'm storing in clear floral tubes. They leave your choice of pink or blue dots on your victims. I used a little rub and buff to cover the red and blue tips on the darts. Red is now gold, and blue is silver. (Please note that these darts do not work in regular Nerf guns.)

I mentioned in my previous post that I made my sweetie a pen. Below is the results. This last outing, I stole his tool pouch, so ended up with the pen, too. :)

If you can't tell, it's a solder gun that had broke. Makes a great pen barrel. With the screw in the tip, it could also be a potential mechanical pencil.

One last item I had time to make was a reworked bottle. It's an existing bottle that I added a brass candle holder to. I used silicone to seal the neck before covering in suede leather scrap leftover from one of SO's projects. :) It holds liquid successfully. Yay! I probably won't use it for fluids, however. I will most likely store candy or something in it. I'm thinking nerds, pop rocks or tic tacs. Hmm...

I added a small chain to the champagne cork topper, so I won't lose the cork. I'm planning to replace the gold key rings holding the bottle to the chain, as soon as I find more large brass wire to make some rings with.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope I've inspired someone to attempt their own gadgets. Don't forget to check out my SO's Steampunk Gear at:



SO's Steampunk Gear

Since my sweetie and I started on accessories for our Steampunk attire, my craft room has started to resemble a salvage or junk bazaar. I've got dismantled broken clocks, bits and hunks of leather and assorted brass fixtures and thing strewn across my workspace. :) But, I can't complain. The SO is making some pretty awesome things.

My usual tendency is to re-purpose existing things I find. My scatterbrain will see something and say to myself, "Wow, that would make a great....". But, he takes a whole different approach. He likes to build what he plans out in his head. And, where I insist on functionality, he is all about the essence of the piece and his "story". I'll let you hear what each thing does from his mouth. Otherwise, I think it loses something in the translation. :)

This is an ear piece, hearing aid kinda thingy. It was the first piece he attempted and was 1 year in the making. ;) It really didn't take that long. He just kept putting it aside. :)

Then, he started on this arm, wrist watch doo-hickey. (I'm not sure what he's calling these things.) :) The clock actually still winds up and ticks, and you can push the exposed spring-loaded buttons at the bottom

He made some goggles, next. They're seen here stacked on top of an elephant mask he made for a Steampunk'd Mardi Gras party we just attended this past Friday. He's managed to cover up most of the cool details on the mask. It's a sight to see on it's own. The goggles were attached to the strap using some metal parts salvaged from the huge headphones that were attached to a device used to test hearing. I plan to use the box for a backpack in the future.

My favorite piece he has made is this top hat. I was amazed it is made from scratch. He got some help on it form a tutorial on the web. If you've explored any steampunk on the interent, I'm sure you've seen the leather top hats with the lacing up the sides all around. At the last minute he decided to attach the black strips to close up the slits instead of the lacing. I really like it.

The last thing that has come out of our workshop is this leg device. He is claiming it is a pedometer of sorts. The pressure and temp guages don't actually function. :)

He also made his suspenders and I helped him with the bow tie and a pen (not pictured). In the future he plans to make a holster for our Maverick nerf gun that I'm supposed to paint. I've already researched and performed to usual nerdy mods to improve the gun. I have a few other ideas I'd like to do to it before the final paint.

It's nice to do crafting as a team once in awhile. And, the biggest upside is that he can't complain about my overwhelming craft supply stash. 'Cuz he's using it too, now. Muhuhahaha!! ;)