Finished!!! Knitted Shrug

I think that winter is finally over, at least I've convinced myself will be warming up now that I've finished my shrug. I had to use that black box to hide the dorky look on my face, my husband is known for the awful pictures that he has taken of me.
I am so excited that I'm done(except for the horns and I need a little more practice before adding those), this is my first finished knitted item(I'm not counting washcloths and scarves). I feel like I've learned a lot - increasing, decreasing, the mattress stitch, picking up stitches and the kitchener stitch! I really am thankful that I found knittinghelp.com the videos really made the difference for me.BTW I used size 8 needles and Caron simply soft yarn and this pattern as inspiration.


Friday Favorites

I added some new items to my personal favorites. I used thumbalizr to take a full page screen shot and save it to my computer, it is really easy all you have to do is paste the URL in a box and "thumb it". I think it works pretty well, the details about the items are fuzzy, but I may have just made it too small if you want to see the stores and prices you can always check out my favorite items page.


Vintage Styled Half Apron

When my great-grandmother passed away my mother was lucky enough to get some of her everyday aprons, which she has loaned to me to admire and copy. This half apron really caught my eye, it reminds me of a smiley face.

Since it is only a half apron I thought it would be a good one to start with.

I made a practice one with an old sheet and some random bias tape. I had added some width to the original apron and I ended up having to take it in.

This is my first finished apron, it still needs some tweaking(it is still a bit wide and I have not decided what sort of pockets I'm going to add).

Here's a detail of the tie and waistband, I made the ties wider than the band and then gathered them to fit. I like the bow in the back to be kind of poofy.

And here's a detail of the ruffle and the bias binding. I made my own bias tape for the first time and I think it turned out really nice. I may add a large pocket across the center in the striped fabric and some bows at the top of the ruffle. I will be photographing some of the others aprons soon, I just need to find a model, my great-grandmother was a very petite woman and I just don't do them justice.


Book Review: The Art of Resin Jewelry by Sherri Haab

I was really excited to get this book, I have seen some fabulous resin jewelry lately and was interested in the learning basics. There are not a lot of current resin books out there and the reviews of this one were promising. This book is very informative about safety, the different types of resin that are available, and finishing techniques. I also liked how the projects in the book list specific resins and provide the names of suppliers for the findings. There is also a chapter about ready made molds, the author, Sherri Haab also has a website where her molds are available for sale.
I was especially interested in the chapter about making your own molds that talks about several different mold making products. I have seen the commercial molds in stores and it seem like everyone is using the same ones. There are ample pictures with all the projects(I am so visual!) and I like how she recycles food containers the make the molds.
While I may not love every project in this book, it is a good starting point for resin use and I think that it has given me enough confidence to give it a try.
Projects of interest, retro stretch bracelet(page 63), making your own molds for casting(pages 78-105, the whole chapter), and techno polymer clay bezels(pages 113-115).
I recommend this book for anyone interested in starting to work with resin and you can also check out Sherri Haab's website.



New Etsy Purchase - Digital Collage Sheets

I found these digital collage sheets that are royalty free and I was really exited that I could purchase a sample sheet for $1.00 and no shipping since it is e-mailed as a file. I wanted to see the quality and it was also a good way to get a variety of designs.

Piddix's Shop

The images are fantastic I recommend this seller to anyone who is interested in royalty free images for crafting. I was also excited to see that there are a variety of images including pin ups, holidays, birds, butterflies, trees, Japanese wood blocks, mermaids and many others.


Project: T-Shirt into Pants

I really like reusing old clothing and I found a tutorial on making a t-shirt into pants. It has been on my "to make" list for quite a while and today I went for it. I started out with a 3XL tie dyed shirt.

Cutting the pieces was easy enough. I really like tutorials with pictures, I am a visual learner. The pants went together quickly, I would say that a person with average sewing experience would be able to make these in an afternoon. I added in panels on the sides to make the legs large enough. I also decided to make mine into shorts, this particular shirt was kind of short and hit me right at the knee, not a good look for me.Obviously this is the front of the pants, they are very comfy. I am not going to hem the legs, I like the raw edge look. The next time I make these I will start out with two coordinating shirts, I like having a little extra fabric to play with and I think it would make the finished pants more interesting. I think using the same fabric that I added on the side to make a band around the bottoms of the legs would be cute. I will be keeping my eyes open for interesting, super large shirts during the yard sale season, I need some new lounge pants.

I would also like to mention that I found this tutorial thanks to violentjayne on craftster and you can see her results here.


Finished Pop Tab Purse

I finished my pop tab purse, it was a good learning experience. I guess you would call this a prototype. I like how the tabs look woven together and I also like the crocheted edges. I think the strap needs something, I'm just not sure what. I sewed the two pieces together on the sewing machine when I added the zipper and lining and I like the look of that, I'm going to have to think on it some more, refine it a bit.


Project: Decoupaged Pattern Storage Box

I am a commercial pattern hoarder, I don't know why, most of them have never been cut, anyway I am always buying new ones and storage is getting to be a bit of a problem. I guess in twenty years I'll have a great vintage pattern collection. I bought some pattern storage boxes, but they were plain and uninteresting.

I'm not really the blue flower type, so I painted them white, I can't have any of that pattern showing through. It took two coats of cheap acrylic craft paint, spray paint would also work, but it was a bit too cold for that.

I they started applying old pattern tissue with modge podge. I just randomly tore off pieces and slapped them on. I was careful to not add too many layers on the edges of the box.

After several layers of tissue I varnished the box and this is the finished box. Much better and it only took a few old patterns, I think this really improved them. It also made the boxes sturdier. I love modge podge.


Project: Shrinky Dink Charms

I've wanted to make labels for my jewelry pieces and decorative pulls for my sparklicious bags, so I have been experimenting with shrinky dinks. I made some using colored pencils and sharpie markers and when I shrunk them I didn't like the results, specifically the uneven color from the pencils and the bleeding from the markers. I know that they make specific shrinky dinks that can be sent through your printer, but I had stacks of the regular kind (for colored pencils and markers) that I wanted to use. I finally decided to run a regular sheet through my printer to see what would happen and this is what I found out, regular shrink plastics can be used in your home printer, but when you print use the draft or economy ink setting and allow the ink to dry before cutting them out, also remember to reverse any text that you use.

Here are some before shrinking. I really like to use shading to give the charms extra detailing. I punch holes in them before shrinking with a small hole punch. I made these in microsoft word using premade shape templates, changing the coloring and shading, and adding text.Here they are after shrinking, notice how some of them are darker, those were printed without using the draft setting. There are also some that I hand colored on the bottom. To get smooth edges I used a round 1" craft punch to make some and the rest I cut out with very sharp scissors.Here's a detail showing the difference between draft(left) and regular(right). The regular printing makes the ink bleed slightly making some of the charms difficult to read. To finish them I color the edges with a paint pen or sharpie marker and then I coat the back with diamond glaze to keep them from scratching. I like using them for labeling my jewelry and purses because they can be easily removed and I can color coordinate them to each piece.


Still Knitting Away

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.


Project: Mokume Gane Polymer Clay

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.


Thrift Store Finds

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.


Project: More Plastic Bottle Beads

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.


Project: Beads from Plastic Bottles

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!


Project: Pop Tab Purse

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.


Poster Sketch Favorites

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.


Bargain Hunter #4 Update

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.


Project: Recycled Crayons Round 2

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!