Author Archives: Dangerous Crafts for Girls

Brace(let) yourself–here comes Project 31

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At long last, here’s the knotted bracelet I made at the Supernatural fans gathering, which I mentioned last week. We were supplied with a length of hemp cord, a DIY charm made from a decorated washer, and a gun charm to represent the demon-killing gun made by Samuel Colt in the show’s lore. There was a collection of other charms we could use, so I added 3 to make a nice, even number. A wing to represent the angels storyline, a key to represent secrets (or just Papa Winchester’s self-storage locker) and … well, beats me what the big honkin’ bird represents. I just liked it.

Not sure if this is before or after I trimmed the adjustable ends a bit.

The other side of the washer-charm:

This side of the washer has the Solomon's Seal aka the devil's trap

My captions have disappeared, for some reason. This side of the washer has the Seal of Solomon, aka the devil’s trap.

I was going to link to the sites listed on the instruction sheet, but I can’t find where I put my little swag bag from the con. I found some hemp bracelet video tutorials on eHow (and I don’t know about you, but I find I’m much better watching someone make a knot than looking at a diagram of how one’s done), and this is a similar knot to the main part of the bracelet: http://www.ehow.com/video_4433735_making-square-knot-hemp-bracelet.html

The separate piece that the two long strands slide through to adjust the fit is the part I’m not sure where to find. I had a tough time getting that right (and think I screwed up at one point). And now there are a couple of long strings hanging out of that clasp knot, and I’m afraid to snip them because they might be key to the whole thing.

But hey, it works and it is a neat little piece and blah blah blah spirituality of imperfection.

Hitting the fan

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Believe it or not, I am not projectless, just fairly wordless. Spent one weekend away, then every night and half of last weekend madly writing a story that turned out to be an epic. I opened windows several times to post, then just stared at blank screen.

The weekend away was at a gathering of fans in a nearby city. If you think ComicCon or DragonCon, you are WAY off-base. There were fewer than 20 of us, but we had a fantastic time. And luckily one of the activities was the making of a bracelet themed around the CW show “Supernatural.” Profound exhaustion precludes me from getting off my ass to photograph the bracelet, but I’ll do so within the next couple of days.

At any rate, this weekend I encountered a cool multi-fandom craft challenge to make something related to the object of one’s fannish obsession. Anyone reading this who wishes to check it out (either to sign up or to bookmark to check out the resulting crafts) can go here: http://imadeathing.dreamwidth.org/332.html
There are prompts you can choose, but it’s pretty loosey-goosey and you can just use it as general inspiration with a deadline if that’s what it takes to get you moving.

And speaking of fandom and craftiness, GISHWHES is returning this year to haunt us again. Actor Misha Collins and cronies create a list of bizarre things to make, do, document, and send his fans forth to accomplish them. I suspect my craft rate will go way up, but I probably won’t be able to show off what I’ve done until the competition is over.

Pictures or it didn’t happen–Project 30

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Pictures or it didn’t happen–Project 30

I’m still deep in the middle of a writing project I thought would be done by now.

But here’s pictures of my gradient painted chest — it’s got some imperfections (NATURALLY) but I. Love. It.

I now want to get some other stuff painted before it gets too cold. So here goes….

The pink version that was Just Not Me.

Front view.

But I really liked those colors played off the glossy grays and black.

Still some pink, but much more me.

The sides of the drawers show off a bit more of the imperfections of the finished piece. The top drawer is much lighter because I forgot my plan to paint the sides all with the unblended burgundy, then I painted it over with another coat of burgundy. Since it’s not going to be on display in its opened state, really no one’s going to see it who doesn’t already know. And let’s just say I am rather disinclined to mess with paintbrushes again when spray paint is so much fun.

Antici…pation

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Because of commitments, I won’t be able to post the final results of the chest of drawers project for a few more days. While I’m otherwise occupied I’m leaving it in the garage for a little more drying time. When I was finishing the last drawer-front, though, I was thinking, “This is going to look fantastic,” which I had not at all been thinking at any point during the pink version.

Right in the chest

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I made it through most of the frame and 2 drawer-fronts on the chest of drawers before I didn’t feel I had enough light to continue. (And oxygen was an issue.) I probably won’t know until I can haul them out of the garage into daylight to get a good look whether or not the coverage is good enough to do it in one coat, but it looks good at this point. I hope so! I really need gloves and a mask to do any more of that. (Stupid not to in the first place.)

I have one drawer-front left and the rest of the frame, where I ran out of flat black paint.

I think the gray/pink and black/burgundy of the front/sides are going to look kind of cool together, when the drawers are open.

Now I’m off to continue writing a story I’ve been working on. Deadline is Sunday, and my Saturday and Sunday are kind of packed.

Hm. I want some ice cream, but I don’t want to have to go out to buy it. :(

Not-quite project post

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Is there anything more tragic than realizing 80% of the way through a DIY project that you really want it to go in a completely different direction?

Absolutely correct! The answer is “about a million things.”

But it is a large pain in the ass.

I bought this 3-drawer chest for $15 at St. Vinny’s, planning to use it for a night stand. It’s old and beat up, but real wood and the whole deal.

It’s going to be AWESOME!!

My bedspread is burgundy and I’ve got some burgundy accents around, so I decided after obsessing over various ideas at Pinterest that I would do the ombre paint thing that looks so cool here (http://poppytalk.blogspot.com/2012/06/love-is-like-apricot.html), starting with burgundy. I further decided that, instead of buying 4 different shades of paint, I would get a quart of white and blend the tints myself so I’d know they would work together.

Tints of burgundy are pink, yo. I am not so much a pink girl anymore.

And I realized early on that my medium pink was coming out a putrid shade that reminded me of my grandmother’s habit of getting humongous rocks when she and my grandfather would travel in the southwest, then bringing them home and painting them an obnoxious pink, then in gold paint label them with where she’d found them. Urgh.

But I couldn’t think of what else to do or what other color would go with the room, so I kept going. Yesterday I painted the drawers, and today I started on the frame early enough that I could get the second coat of everything in today, but halfway through the frame it occurred to me that I really really wanted to do a black and gray ombre thing. Which made me very sad.

But the idea of starting the whole project over with several coats of paint made me even sadder, because I am profoundly lazy and this project is already stretching the boundaries of my tolerance for painting stuff. So I kept going.

Painting, however, is a very meditative activity — thus the big epiphany about what I wished I were doing instead, and several smaller epiphanies like I suck at wielding a paintbrush and always have visible brushstrokes. I played with various ideas on what to do to improve the chest, like decoupage Victorian crap on it (gag! Plus I am creeped out by a great many bits of Victorian ephemera), or seashells (blah).

See what I mean about, well, everything?

When I was almost at the end of the second coat on the drawers, it occurred to me that I could repaint the fronts of the drawers and the whole frame in the ombre thing, but leave the sides and interiors as they are, for what the magazines call (far too damn often) a pop of color.

The knowledge that I can fix this with little effort, and not have Mexico-rock pink in a visible spot in my bedroom, has cheered me up substantially. So I’m done for the day. I may even get spray paint to finish the job, because boy does my brushwork suck.

Even my helper Harriet got paint in her hair.

Foxy Ladies – project 29

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Foxy Ladies – project 29

Remember the days when ladies used to wear little dead creatures, faces, feet and all, draped about their necks?

Yeahmeneither. I am much too young.

Well, I probably remember when old ladies occasionally did it. I definitely recall when such things turned up at garage sales full of vintage clothes. In fact, I, er, bought a little mink back in the days when I was a college student with a wild assortment of vintage, new wave, proto-goth and own-personal-style wearables. It had a little hingey thing so it could bite its own tail to secure it as you wore it.
Even irony can’t carry off dead things for very long, though, so it has been long gone.

At any rate, I’ve noticed foxes are a Thing now. They have possibly become the New Owl. I recently saw a sweater in a catalog which had a knitted-in design that looked like a fox stole, and I thought CUTE! Ironic dead animals without the animal death!

Which got me to thinking about the merino wool sweater I bought many years ago at the Burberry outlet in Vermont. Gorgeous tweedy russet, my first wool without itch. But it was a size that is distant history, plus pullovers are not my speed anymore, since tearing them off at the first sign of a hot flash is not the most discreet move. So I started playing with the notion of making my own wee fox, starting with an amazingly thick felted raglan sleeve, which already had a critter-suggestive shape.

I kept looking around online for a pattern, but most of those were for knitting or a stuffie, neither of which was helpful. After searching and considering and being very nervous about the whole thing, I took it to women’s art night at the local arts center for moral support, where I hacked one of the sleeves free-handed to make a fox-shape. It came out encouragingly well. I got a tail out of the same sleeve, then cut four legs from the sweater body. All of this was eyeballed and then cut freehanded, and at no time did I feel terribly certain about the whole thing. The tail, in fact, I amended a bit when I looked at some fox pictures online to see how much white I should put at the tip. The ones I looked at had a broader tip than I had made, which was rather pointy. I went into my stash for a white felted sweater, and used the sleeve to create that brushy effect, leaving the seam uncut so I could surround the original tail tip. I had some glossy white non-wool roving in my stash, so I needle felted that onto the white part to give it a more dimensional feel, and obscure the hard-lined border between the russet and the white. I dithered about whether to felt in some white around the nose area to give my fox a narrower looking face, and I’m still uncertain whether I love it or not.

And speaking of eyeballing it, I finished it off with the obligatory glassy eyes, which I got from the hobby store. I measured the distance to get them even, which is the first and only thing I measured in this whole project. After that, I sewed on a couple of pointy little ears, and some velcro hooks under the chin — the felt itself provides the loop part.

So…the finished item:

Craftus Interruptus cured!

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Okay, so I’m back from vacation and before that, from my usual pre-vacation frenzy. In fact, the PVF was so frenzied that I got my craft done but didn’t have time to fool around with pictures or posting.

Here’s a simple jewelry DIY I’ve seen around Pinterest.

Denim, wire & beads

The main thing that surprised me on this one was the fact that it’s the vertical seams you use on this piece rather than the hems. Which is good, since I had been thinking “but my hems have gotten all ratty and worn out!”

And since my favorite jeans which I’d dyed turquoise about 6 months ago to extend their life have finally sprouted a hole near the crotch, expect to see some other recycled jeans crafts around here.

Source for denim bracelet tutorial: The site’s in Chinese, but the tutorial’s all pictures. http://www.duitang.com/people/mblog/15856615/detail/

Not dead

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Just popping in to say I know I’m behind on projects and random commentary and the like, but I do not have regular internet access at the moment and no access to my photos of my most recent project, and so I won’t get a chance to post for a while.

I will be back with new exciting projecty stuff when I can get more internet time.

Have a great holiday, those of you who get US Labor Day off! (And a good Monday for those who don’t.)