Sunday, July 24, 2011

Turtles! - Personal Craft Swap with rottenlittleboys

Made a new pair of falls for a personal craft swap. My partner is in tribal bellydancing and requested some of our pistachio hair falls. She likes turtles and fish so that is the theme I went for.

From the top loop to the end of the tassels, these falls are about 28" long. I added a black hair elastic to the loop to put around a pony tail.

I have to say I'm not fond of photographing these long falls. It's difficult to get the whole length in the pics. So, let me chop them up for you. :)

I had planned to decorate the falls with some fish charms, wooden beads and silver bells. But, while I was stringing the shells on the top section of the falls I got this great idea to also make some little turtles out of the pistachio shells. I used some shells that I dyed with Berry Blue Kool-aid for the turtle backs. The Kool-aid made a nice bright turquoise blue (and smell great). Then, I went back over it with a dark turquoise and black fine Sharpie marker to draw some shell pattern and covered them with clear gloss spray paint to make them shiny. The turquoise color contrasts nicely with the burgundy beads.

The falls are strung with brown and black acrylic yarns. The wooden beads were taken from some secondhand cranberry Christmas garlands. They're a realty pretty burgundy color. The feathers were leftovers from a bunch I tore apart for the little felt pirate hat I posted about a while back. I put the feathers and the fish charms on clasps so that they are removable. That way she can wear them in other ways.

I really like how these turned out. Might just be my fave pair, yet. I've been making all kinds of colors of shells, but I seem to prefer the look of stringing the natural ones and using the dyed shells as accents. I've got a few more pairs partially finished. But, I'm going to be taking a break from them to paint some witch boots. If all goes as planned I should have some boots posted by the end of the month.

And, now on to what I receive in return:

My swap partner, littlerottenboys, sent me a really nice 12" locker hooked turtle rug that mom and I plan to enlarge to use in our yurt for camping. You can check out the personal/private swap gallery for more info and to see larger images of the rug.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I LOVE getting mail!

There's nothing like going to the mailbox and pulling out packages! :) Today I got two! Yippee!

The first is a prize I won in The Cardboard Crafter's blog giveaway. I won this adorable pillow case dress that she sewed for me! DOn't you wished you'd have entered?! She did a wonderful job on it. I love the fabric choices. I'll be giving this dress as a gift to my cousin for one of her twins. I think they're going to love it. I know my daughter did when I put it on her giant Barbie doll for the pics. She didn't want to take it off :)

TCC's fairly new blog is entertaining and informative with posts about crafting and being a mother. I look forward to reading more of what she posts in the future. She seems like a very cool mom.

I also received some awesome Ameraucana rooster feathers from Connie at Missing Willow Farm. She's another great blogger with the most picturesque farm I've ever seen! She sent these feathers to me from her roosters to decorate some hats I''ve been making. She's so kind and thoughful! The pic doesn't do them justice. They have a beautiful greenish iridescence to them in the light. They're going to look great when I get them trimmed and cleaned up.

I've been enjoying Connie's blog since she started it just after we did a craft swap back in August of last year. I have to mention that not only does she and her husband raise chickens and other farm animals, they do it all! She even keeps bees! I really don't know how she keeps up with all of it and finds time to regularly post such nice pictures and interesting stories and info about farm life. She's always posting their clever solutions for managing a farm. I'm very excited because we have plans for a future craft swap around November. The daughter and I look forward to her handmade soaps!

Thanks so much for sending the great packages! They really made my day!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

gRABBIT - The Bunny-eared Plastic Bag Saver


Tada! Well, it isn't a cute fuzzy bunny I pull out of this hat, but it's definitely more useful! I'm constantly looking for ways to use/store our huge supply of plastic grocery bags before resorting to recycling. Here is a very simple, but useful, project I think you will enjoy!

These are reusable plastic bag dispensers that keep those proliferating plastic grocery bags stored compressed out of the way, yet ready to use. We've dubbed them "gRABBITs". These particular ones are meant to look like a magician's top hat with bunny ears sticking out. If you hadn't guessed, the dispensers are made with nothing more than paper towel or tp tubes. Even the decoration is cut out of the cardboard tube.

These can be stored conveniently in the car, by small trash bins, or in a purse. Or, take them camping. Anywhere bags might be needed. The tall tube holds 10 bags, while the short holds five. But, we really had to cram them tight to get them in. We closed off the bottoms to keep the bags from pushing their way out the bottom.

The bags are interlocked through the handle loops so that when one is pulled out the next pops up kinda like a Kleenex box. Clever, huh? I have to admit that this has to be the most useful and "green" idea we've come up with. Though, I must apologize for taking so long to share it.

We've been using these beside our own trash bins and in the car for years (shamefully undecorated). Back when our daughter was in kindergarten, she started drawing bunnies on the tubes so that the bag handles appear to be the ears. Oddly, I awoke just the other morning with the idea of these magician hats. So, we made a couple just for fun. The black one pays homage to Frosty the Snowman and, of course, the other is Steampunk inspired.

Looking for other ways to use the plastic bags? How about as stuffing? Awhile back, I used them successfully when I posted about my duct tape dressform. In the future, I also plan to post about some flowers we made with the more colorful ones.

BTW, the clothes pin dolls went over so well for the daughter that she is now wanting to try selling our gRABBITs in the bunny and hat bag styles, too. She's intent on saving up some money to buy her cousin a really nice Christmas present this year. I'm pondering whether to make these available in my to help her out. Is this a good or bad idea? Any takers? ;)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Evolution of Pygmy Puffs

Since the first mention of pygmy puffs in the Harry Potter series, we've had to try making one. Okay. I mean a few. :) I thought it would be entertaining to share our progression since the first one.

In order from left to right meet "Nibbles", "Lolo" (Nintendo nod) and last, but not least, Ginny's "Arnold". They were all made using knitting looms. And, these pygmy puffs are unique in that they are hollow with an opening to hide things in. We added hair clips inside each one that poke through the knit to clip them to our shoulders. I started with the largest one, Nibbles, which was created on the Blue KK loom. Nibbles is the only one with an opening at the mouth, which makes him have an adorable frightened or surprised expression. The eyes are just large black beads. You can read about him and and a puffskein I made for a HP swap here.

Lolo, which was originally called "Arnold", was second puff. I made him after the 6th movie "HP and the Half Blood Prince" came out in theatres. He's has had a facelift since (before) then because I wanted to create a body more like what was in the 6th movie. Then, I read somewhere about brushing yarn to make it more hairy. So, we changed out the face on Lolo for large eyes at the daughter's request and put the polymer clay face on the new and improved Arnold.

Arnold and Lolo were both knitted on our DIY flexible loom which is much smaller and finer than the KK loom. The polymer clay face has glass beads embedded for eyes and is glued in place. Daughter thinks he looks kinda mean. Even the Arnold in the movie was not quite as cute as we had imagined by the description in the book.

My daughter and I are kinda partial to Nibbles, our first puff. Guess it's sentimental. When we go to the final movie, she wants to escort Nibbles and I get Arnold perched on my shoulder. Which leaves Lolo for Grandma. :) So, which one do you prefer?

This will probably be my final Harry Potter themed post before the movie comes out. Hope you've enjoyed them. If I have some time to tinker with the Cornish Pixie wings some more, I'll post my results. I've got several projects I need to get moving on. And, it's just about time for me to start painting some more witch boots.

And now, back to our normally scheduled crafting! :D

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Peskipiksi Pesternomi!!

Help! Our home is infested with Cornish Pixies, again!...

...And, we're encouraging it! :)

You may remember Frankie Pixie posted about a long while back. He was mom's first attempt at Ghilie's "poppet". And, mom chose to make a pixie like those in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He's still with us (as you can see in the pic below), though not zooming around getting into mischief as much as he used to. He's pretty tame now. Since then, we've also spotted two others that got away before I could catch them for some pics. They stowed away to Kansas to pester my sis's family and Geezer, the house elf.

Now, finally we've caught a fresh one to share with you. We're naming it "Pesky". We had to "clip" his wings to keep him from escaping. (Seriously, I just haven't been able to get the wings just right. I've tried so many techniques, but nothing working for me. I'm up for suggestions. The ones in the cage pics were the best of my experiments made with wire and white glue. Still not sure how to attach them.)

I think this pixie is a wee larger than the last few. Not sure mom used the right version of the pattern. We've gone through a few. His torso seems much smaller than the arms and legs. :) (I think the pixies have been in my pattern box.) Anyway, the original poppet is a great doll pattern. We've used altered versions of it many times to make the pixies, house elves and a few other dolls. The pixies are a much smaller version. We just shrunk the pattern down, altered the ears and nose, and added antennae. We've found the easiest antennae are made using chenille stem. You can curl it up out of the way while sewing. And, what luck! I had this lighter blue "terry cloth"-like pipe cleaner that matched the pixie in my stash for a while.

Let me just nip him back into the cage we found at the flea market. We see these cages quite frequently in our bargain hunting expeditions.This one is a bit small, but our larger wooden cage is housing Hedwig at the moment.

There, that's better. Don't want him tampering with the computer. I think this one broke our modem just the other day leaving me without internet for 4 days! The horror! I'll have one more Harry Potter themed post about magical creatures coming up soon. Again, it's not really a new project. Just an improved one (I hope).

UPDATE:  Now you can own one of our newer pixie versions or make some using our Cornish Pixie Pattern/Tutorial available in my Etsy store (mieljolie).

House Elves and Hallows

Deathly Hallows - part 2 is just about here! Yippee!!

I'm busy getting some tabistry stuff finished up, but I thought I'd celebrate the last Harry Potter movie coming out this month with some HP-themed projects mom and I had set aside about 90% finished. The next few posts will be dedicated to the magical world surrounding Hogwart's. Yay!

Remember back when we introduced you to Geezer, the House Elf? He went to live with my sis and her daughter. Now, meet "Dobby" (pre-clothes) and "Kreacher". ( I must say, it was a real challlenge getting them to sit in the pic together without hurting each other.)

Mom did most of the sewing on these. I really only helped her with pattern alterations and the eyes. You may notice that the two elves have different eyes. For one, Kreacher's eyes are milky looking. I wanted an old cataract-ridden look for him. I accomplished this with white acrylic paint thinned really well with a waterbase gloss varnish. I should have painted the eyes yellow, though. Not sure why we used blue. Also, I decided to try gluing the eye backing to the face on Dobby. This eliminates the stitch rings around the eyes. Much easier to do, too. :)

You may be wondering what happened to Kreacher's ears? Merlin's Pants! Why are they so freakin' long?! Well, there is a perfectly horrible reason. Instead of going back and watching the movie for accuracy, we went by this pic I found online:

Curse them!! Boy, were we wrong about the ears! :) But, you have to admit, it does look like it continues down his back, right? Well, we liked them and we aren't going to change them! :p

There are a few additional things I will be finishing up. The toes and fingers on Dobby need to be stitched. And, his tea towel needs some aging and distressing. As for Kreacher, I think his outfit is a wee too baggy. I'll probably take it in just a hair.

We plan to have these little guys ready and with us at the last movie. Don't worry, though. They won't be taking up any additional seating. They are strictly lap elves. :) BTW, we agreed not to take them to the last movie, even though they were almost finished. I'm sure that Dobby would have been traumatized to find out what happens to him. And, of course, Kreacher wouldn't let him forget it. ;)

Have fun with the fireworks this weekend! I'll be posting another Harry Potter project very soon!