Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Etsy Store is "On Vacation" Until After the New Year

Regretfully the popularity of my tutorials has caused me some problems with Etsy and Paypal.  I will definitely be back in early January, though sadly I may need a new venue other than Etsy.  I'm looking into a few store options and a site called Craftsy.  If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear your opinion on the best way to go.

If you are curious why, it was like this:

Etsy and Paypal needs my SSN for tax purposes.  That was all well and expected.  My tutorials were pretty popular this year, and I was getting very close to the 200 transaction threshold set be the IRS to file income (Though no where near the $20,000 income limit).  I go to the section on Etsy to give my information, but I had forgotten that we used my mom's name when we set up our accounts thinking she would use it to sell her dolls and other handmade items.  However, the bulk of the transactions were from my tutorials and items that I made. So I called them to have the account switched to me.  Etsy was able to make the info change fairly easily, but tell me that the ONLY way I can submit my SSN to them is via the internet for "security" purposes.  So, they're basically saying that they won't be held accountable if someone steals my identity.  Now, I think most of us have become keenly aware of how secure the internet is these days.  Yes, their website may use the latest encryption techniques, but that isn't the problem that concerns me.  If hackers can hit big name stores like Target with malware, what makes any of us think our own connections or computers are secure?  Am I paranoid?  Maybe I am, but I don't like the way Etsy has set up their "secure" submission process.  When I went to the online form to submit my info, the first thing I see is my full name, address and all other information displayed right there on the screen, in text form no less, on the same page as the submission input box for my SSN.  This isn't looking good.  Say a trojan has found it's way onto my computer allowing some software to record my keystrokes or possibly read/copy the page content I visit.  They've just given them everything they need to wreak havoc on my life.  This is SO unnecessary!  Etsy already has the last four digits of my SSN, which were required on setup.  Why do they need the whole number?  And, why must they display my name and info before I submit the number that is formatted so obviously as a SSN?  If they hadn't, I could possibly have gone to a public computer, logged in, and entered it without risk.

Paypal was a lot more with it.  They will let you give your SSN via the phone, which I find WAY more secure than the internet.  Even if the employee tried to use my info, the company has their info and records of who I talked to.  So, it's a lot less likely, and I have a much better chance of tracking the culprit down.  However, we had also made the mistake of using my mom's name on our Paypal acct.  Though all info, including last name were the same for us both.  And, it only came down to the first name.  They couldn't make the change without requiring all kinds of info be sent to verify the simple change.  On top of this, IRS had made it so no one could change anything until a SSN was given for the name on the acct.  However, the Paypal representatives had three options to resolve our problem.  First was to close the account and open a new one.  They assured me that they would not need to verify my bank acct again and that I could transfer my email, but I had to give my mom's SSN to close the first acct.  NO WAY!!  She was not going to do that!  The whole point of this was to get her off the account.  Second option was to abandon this acct and just open an new one using a different email and bank acct.  Umm...NO!  This is the primary email I use, and I don't need another bank account.  Besides, at some point we surely would like to close this Paypal acct if it's not being used!  And this seems a little too much like tax fraud to me.  The third option is my only hope.  They want to change the acct type to "business" and that would allow for the name change.  I'm very leery of this.  I need to research the repercussions of going through with this.  But, the manager assured me that I could switch it back to a personal acct at any time once the name was changed.  How silly is that?!  But, whatever works to get us back up and running safely.

So, that's that.  I never expected my tutorial to be so popular.  I feel so unprepared for all of this.  Please bare with me while I get this all sorted out.  In the meantime, I'm also continuing to work on new tutorials and many new projects.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Some Action Shots of Our DIY Yurt

This past weekend was the last of TRF for us.  Rather sad, but can't wait for next year.  So much fun!  As I promised, I took some action shots of the yurt with it's new table, stools and shelves.



Here is the current setup.  We store our food under the new table with a plastic trash bag over the crate.  The stack of crates on the far right was used as a small trash.  All utensils and other equipment fit nicely in the others.



The shelf hangs from the top of the yurt wall from two ropes.  And, each shelf has notches that rest on knots in the rope.  I will eventually replace this yellow rope with a better one.  I'd like to make another set for the other side of the door.



We set our propane stove on another crate stool or two.  When I was editing the photos I thought the pattern of light the sun made from the top crown opening was kinda neat.  You can also see the white and red dots that shine through the canvas.



Here is the yurt with the walls removed.  We've found that it's best to put the roof canvas on first and take it off last.  This way we get more light but can pack and unpack in the shade. (Many breaks were taken under the shade while working.)  :)  And, yes, everything fit nicely right inside the Jeep with us.



I'd really like to figure out a better bed setup.  I'm thinking I may use some shorter soda crates to elevate our bed off the ground, but also allow us to stack or rearrange it out of the way during the day.  During nice weather we've just been sleeping on the floor where we placed stacks of carpet padding under the carpet for cushion.  It's okay, but probably not good for rainy camping.

Well, that's it, I think.  I'll be posting Harry Potter stuff soon.  We've got an elaborate 2nd year party planned for later this month.  So much to do!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Yurt Improvements: Camp Table & Stools (plus some other stuff)



I've been busy, but found a little last minute time to make some more improvements to/for our yurt. I've posted about Yurtle a couple times.  This time I painted some stools and a small table.



As you may noticed in the pic above, we've been using milk crates in place of chairs for a while now.  We've pretty much given up on those folding aluminum camping chairs everyone has, because our crates don't walk away on their own or get easily broken.  Not to mention crates are dead useful for packing.  They may not be the most comfy things and a little blah to look at. But, with limited space in the Jeep anything that serves more than one purpose gets a better chance at coming with us.



We had some leftover scrap wood from some previous yurt improvements, so we decided to make our crates even more useful by making wood tops for them.  This way they can be used as a table and some stools without having to dump out the contents and turning them upside down to do so.  These stools are a lifesaver when I need to lace boots.  I can also use them as a night stand next to the bed.  They also keep things out of sight when we are walking about.  Plus, I've found that most 13 gallon trash bags will fit perfectly over the crates.  This is great for storing perishables and items we want to keep dry and bug free.  The stool lids are made with a lip that allows them to sit down in the crate to seal it nicely.



Eight crates pack down to a convenient cube or can be rearranged to fit where ever we can get them in.  It's usually always a game of Tetris to get everything to fit in the car.



We normally bring between 6-8 crates depending on how much equipment we need and how long the trip is for.  However, with nine crates we found we can arrange them into taller bar stools and table.  ;)



But, a six or four crate arrangement fits just right inside the yurt with a couple spare stools for guests.  Later I want to go back and paint some black on the stool tops  leaving the border and center flower designs red for more contrast.  But, ideally I want to make some removable cushion covers.  My sis gifted me some black pleather that will work perfectly.



I think the table top is a wee small.  (Would make a perfect Viking shield.)  I would like to make a slightly larger one later, but it works for now.  This table was actually a round piece cut from the center of our new yurt crown you can see below.  We made the table top design to match.



Not long ago after the storm last year at TRF, we redesigned our yurt crown to make it lighter and more secure.  Since we were redoing it anyway, we thought it could use a bit of dressing up.  The cut out design allows better ventilation and light.  A friend said the design resembles a dreamcatcher.  Since we sleep under it, that would be fitting.  :)  We may just be a bit paranoid after last year, but those cables were added to keep the roof members from pulling out in any strong gusts of wind ripping through the door opening.

 Here's a closer look at the crown.

Also made some red shelves that hang on the wall, but I haven't gotten a pic of yet.  I'll try to get some action shots at TRF in the next couple weekends.  Really looking forward to staying in it again!  Now to get some last minute costuming and packing done!

Friday, October 17, 2014

PUMPKIN PATCH Witch Shoe

Finished a witch shoe that's been in my work space for ages.  I've posted about it before, but finally got the details finished.  I just love how the long narrow shape of this shoe turned out.  (Daughter actually shaped the newspaper toe for me.)



With thirty-one Jack O'Lanterns all over it, I'm calling it "Pumpkin Patch".  Each JOL has a different expression.  Some are happy.  Some are sad, scared, surprised...a little of everything.  It reminds me of a pumpkin jewelry set I created for a craft swap a long while back.  They'd probably go well together.  :)  It's fun to come up with different faces for them.



One is in the center of the buckle in front.  Three in the inside sole.  Three are on the heel.  And, the rest are around the shoe along with various fence posts.



I used four copper wires that sort of sprout out the toe with flower beads on them.  And a black ruffle around the buckle to soften it up a bit.



This one is on it's way to New Zealand over the next week.  Should make it there by Halloween.  Hope it arrives safely.  **crossing fingers**

If you don't hear from me before then... HAVE A CRAFTY HALLOWEEN!!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

SKIPPY SCARECROW Witch BOO't

Finally finished a pair of paper mache witch boots for this Halloween. Whew...it's about time!



I've been working on this pair off and on for more than a year.  But, the illustrations are more elaborate then most of my work at this size.  (My hands and eyes just aren't what they used to be.)  There are four different scenes that tell the story of how Miss Witch meets Skippy, the Scarecrow.



"Miss Witch flew out on broom one day
Over rows of corn and bails of hay,
When she spied a scarecrow all alone
Perched high upon his wooden throne.

Up so high but looking low,
All dressed up, no where to go.
Crows caused him constant dismay,
Clawing and pecking him every day.

She asked him, 'How is it up there...
So far up there in the air?'.
Staring down at the ground
As crows cawed, he just frowned.

It did no good to try to balk,
For we all know scarecrows can't talk.
Oh, what poor Skippy Scarecrow would give
To sing and dance...just to live.

Miss Witch sympathized with his plight.
She pondered and conjured with all her might.
To cure him of his dreadful frown,
With a charm Miss Witch, she got him down.

Thanking her he tipped his hat,
Skipping away with a big black cat.
Skippy got his wish to be set free.
And, in the distance, Miss Witch heard... 'WHOOPIE!'"

"Miss Witch Meets Skippy Scarecrow" by mieljolie, © 2014



Here is the other side.  These are actually the first images in the series.



Here's a close up of Skippy just hangin' around.




You can own these boots, if you feel inclined to.  They're available in my Etsy store here.  Now to get a shoe finished!  Until then, keep on being Crafty!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

De-gnoming the Garden Bean Bag Toss Game

Daughter and her cousin enjoyed the Harry Potter party last year so much they requested to have one again this year.  Yay!  Hogwarts 2nd year it is!  We have a lot of planning and crafting to do before November!  We've got games and many many new creatures and objects to recreate.  Here is one project that is probably my favorite so far.



Bean Bag Garden Gnomes!



We made a total of eight gnomes for a "De-gnoming the Garden" bean bag toss game.  There is one large 12' tall one and seven smaller 10" ones.  Four with and three without acrylic eyes that I started putting on them before realizing they will most likely get scratched up when tossed.



Students (Players) will have to hunt down a gnome; tag it; and toss it over a fence (maybe into hoops) for a possible combined Herbology/Care of Magical Creatures Class.  We may have two different versions of the game.  One on timing and one for accuracy that will earn house points.  Students will get extra points for finding the largest gnome ("Arthur")  Yes, we decided to name them all after the Weasleys since they are the ones that introduced de-gnoming to us at the Burrow in the "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets".



Arthur and Bill



Charlie and Percy



Ron and and the smallest one, Ginny  (Didn't get good close ups of Fred and George.)





I tried to alter the pattern to appear more like the gnome illustration in the "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" book.  About 10" tall with a potato-shaped head.  Couldn't figure out how to make hairy or horned feet, yet.  :)



While we were getting the pattern figured out, we made a couple prototypes.  Not knowing what else to do with them, we decided to paint them as golden gnome angels for our Christmas tree.  (Fred and George painted a gnome that bit one of them in "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" book.)



Looks like Fred getting ready to sneak back into the garden!  Bad gnome!  :)

Working on some Witch BOO'ts that I hope to have listed on Etsy this week.  Just finishing up some details and the poems for them.  I'll post when they are available.

UPDATE:  You can now have gnomes of your own from my Etsy store (mieljolie).

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New Witch BOO'ts for 2014 painted by J.Moore of Creepy Creations!


Not only is this pair the first witch BOO'ts finished this year, they are the first matching set of small boots, as well as the first collaboration with my sister, Jamie Moore of Creepy Creations.  My mom and I sculpted this small set for Jamie to paint for a commission.  I then helped put some finishing touches on them.

 

There are two scenes that mirror each other on each boot.  One side is of a witch holding a spider in front of a cat.



The other is a graveyard scene with an owl in a tree and a cat sitting on a tombstone.



For this set I added brass eyelets to the lace holes, which I don't normally do.  It's difficult to get them in those tight spots and tough on my hands.  (You probably won't see these eyelets on many of my pieces.)  I then tea stained some tiny lace for the lacing trying to match the antique white of the moons.  The ends of the laces were wrapped in masking tape and dipped in a metallic gold fabric paint to make them look like metal tips.  I couldn't find a gold to match the eyelets, so I mixed black with the bright gold.  It ended up a pleasantly close match.



Jamie is planning to paint some more witch BOO'ts in the future.  We've been talking of doing more collaborative work together.  So, keep an eye on her Etsy shop, Creepy Creations.  You may see a large boot, another small pair, or even an adorable ornament size we're working on.  Can't wait to see how they turn out.

I also hope to have a pair of small Witch BOO'ts and a shoe available in my own shop this week.  Just need to do some finishing touches.  Wish me luck!  I'll post here on my blog when I do.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

DIY Roller Skate LED Lights - Quick and Simple for $2

video

I hadn't been roller skating in quite a few years.  I'd really forgotten how much fun it can be...and good exercise.  So, we decided to start going more often with the daughter.  We even found a classic pair of roller skates for $10 at the local thrift store!  But, they were looking pretty plain jane.  I wanted to dress them up a bit.  I wanted to paint them!  Alas, the daughter didn't want me to.  Pom poms?!!  Nope. Daughter wasn't having that either.  She did let me change out the white lacings for black metallic ones from a pair of boots she grew out of.  And, we agreed I could add lights!  Woo hoo!  LIGHTS!

I've seen some kids with those light up wheels, so I did a google search.  Some shops want as much as $50 for light up wheels!  Umm...no thanks.  Our plain black ones will be fine for now.  :(  Then, I found some invention that mounts under the shoe between the wheels.  They were pretty cool looking and cheaper than the wheels, but they required somewhat complex installation of the LED strip and a battery pack.  Besides, it looks a bit dangerous with the wires and stuff that could fall and get caught in the wheels.  Eventually, I gave up my search keeping the idea in the back of my mind.  Surely there is a more affordable and less dangerous way.



And, there was!  How simple?!  (Okay, it doesn't look like much in the pic, but turn out the lights and you got a party under your skates! WOOT! WOOT!)



Do you recognize it?  We have a friend we see at many evening events who frequently is wearing, and even kindly gives out, the flashy rubber LED rings.  (She must buy those things in bulk or something!)  One time she gave me one that I wore for about 5 minutes before it started driving me crazy with all the bright blinking.  My eyes were drawn to it like a deer in headlights.  I could hardly socialize or walk for that matter.  I had to shut it off.  I'd take it home for the daughter.  Later, it occurred to me that perhaps we could use this rubber ring on her skates.  I found more of them at the party store for $1 each.  Thank you party store!



I'd originally just intended to weave it in the laces or wrap it around the rubber toe stop in front.  But, it was still rather bright and distracting looking down (and at our skill level we do a LOT of looking down).  So, I wanted to mount it under the skate out of site but still visible lighting the ground under the skate.  So, I found that it's possible to stretch it over the truck part (forgive me for not knowing correct terminology)  without getting in the way of the wheels.  There is a piece that sticks out that is not connected to the axel thingy, so with a little squishing and pulling you can get it between them.  And, being rubber, it doesn't slip or easily budge.    I suppose you could put a 2nd ring in the back in the opposite direction, too.  Being easily removable, you can even use these on rentals.  Then, you just give the back of the rings a squeeze to turn them on.  And.....YOU'RE READY TO ROLL!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

"Coupe de Rum" - DIY Upcycled Daiquiri Cup

I've got a few projects in the works and tutorials to finish, but I wanted to share what I think is a pretty clever idea devised for a camping event with just attended.  Nothing like giving trash a little class, ya know.



Ever found yourself out somewhere without a decent drinking vessel?  We attend a lot of events where it's easy to misplace cups.  And, they usually all look alike.  It's a good idea to have something unique that you can tell from the others and that you don't mind if it happens to walk off.  So, I thought it would be fitting to make a "Coupe" out of a rum and a water bottle.  I mean, after all, what else is more fitting to serve a daiquiri out of then a cup made from a rum bottle.  Can't make a daiquiri without rum, right?  Two things we always have plenty of at our camp...water and rum.  I suppose you could even freeze the water from the jug to use for ice.  ;)



It assembles quickly from four pieces.  And, the only tools needed were a sharp pair of scissors or knife and a permanent marker.  And, the other great part is that when your done with it, it's still completely recyclable.



Screw all the pieces together, and Voila!  You're ready to party!  :)



I even used the bottom of the water bottle to make a rimmer to coat the cup edge with salt or sugar.  Then, I decided the rimmer needed a lid, so I cut another top off of 2nd water bottle to cover it.  Worked perfectly!

Feel free to share this idea with friends.  I made a handy one image tutorial below:



In other news, I've yet to gather enough disposable plastic produce bags to make what I had planned for one of my costumes.  I must be doing something right, if I find myself needing MORE trash.  Hahaha  :D  Anyway, I will probably have another post on upcycled drinking vessels coming up.  I've got a few more designs I think might be fun.  One is kinda steampunk, I think.  Until then, keep being craftastic!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Slightly Strange Crafting Request: PLASTIC NET BAGS

As you may know, I like to reuse everyday discarded stuff in my costuming.  Right now I'm desperately looking for net produce bags?  Those brightly colored plastic net bags you get with various items at the grocery store (not just produce.)




I have a costume in mind for an event at the end of May.  Let's just say it's a sort of circusy theme. However, I didn't have enough of them.  I don't usually make requests on here.  But, if you have them or want to start keeping them for me, I'd really appreciate any I can get.  I'm always happy to trade for other craft supplies or tutorials.

And speaking of craft supply requests, thank you very much to those who have already saved stuff for me.  :)  Sometimes a project becomes a reality solely because of your generosity and thoughtfulness.  What I do wouldn't be possible with out you.  I truly appreciate that you think of me.