Category Archives: Project Post

It was on Pinterest, so it must be a craft; Project 27

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It was on Pinterest, so it must be a craft; Project 27

I must now confess to my terrible habit of divesting myself of socks and … ahem, such … and leaving them in little sock balls on the bathroom floor. So I perked up when I saw an incredibly simple DIY on Pinterest. It was so simple, in fact, that I don’t even think I pinned it.

Someone had taken a large embroidery hoop and attached it to a long pillowcase (a king? a body pillow? Not sure) and then hung it on the wall. I already had a big embroidery hoop (which I’d just barely avoided ruining some jeans with when I started to do a bleach pen craft on my lap but stopped myself just in time) that I’d bought at a thrift shop. A few days later, I’m checking out the flea market where I have my stuff, and there’s a whole rack of old cloth feed sacks from somebody’s farm. And my brain actually makes the connection on the spot.

If you’ll look close, you’ll see the Archer representing Archer Daniels Midland (a name I cannot help hearing in my head in the NPR-guy’s voice. Their slogan refuses to come to mind, but that’s totally okay with me).

Hung it on the bathroom wall with a nail, and there you go. Craft. Done.

I went back and got a few more of the feed sacks, in slightly less awesome condition because they were selling like crazy and the farmer was down to his last few. They washed up pretty well, though not perfectly, so I will be doing something or other with them — maybe tote bags, maybe something else.

Ohhh, halfway there, OHH-OHH! LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER! Project 26: more bleach dye

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Ohhh, halfway there, OHH-OHH! LIVIN’ ON A  PRAYER! Project 26: more bleach dye

Woke up bright dark and early to a deliciously long thunderstorm (which is still going on) and a feeling of accomplishment. Two, count ’em, TWO crafts done! I’ll post them one at a time, though.

I made two new bleach pen shirts last night, since it was the featured craft at our (mostly) weekly art party, and I was showing people how it was done and whipping out all my samples of things I’d done with bleach or bleach and paint or bleach and glitter. I’d had a design in mind using a painter’s tape resist, which completely flew out of my head, and another based on a Zentangle pattern, but then I forgot to look it up before I left for class. So I didn’t really do anything planned, but I liked what I ended up with.

I had a couple of black cotton tees I had bought — one I got at the outlet for one of the catalog companies around here, which I’m not even 100% sure I originally meant as a shirt to bleach. It might have been one of those “can’t have too many black tees” impulses. Oh well, it’s black with bleach embellishments now! Among the goodies at hand in the Fabulous Back Room of Art was a book of lace samples that had been donated from another catalog company (they gift the arts center with various sample textiles, buttons, etc, which are just enough to make some wee thing from, not to use for a sewing project). I found a substantial strip of lace and placed it on the shirt, then put bleach gel in and around the strip. I wasn’t sure how it would come out, because some of the holes in the lace (is there a term for that?) were very small, so I didn’t know if it would go through or all mooosh together or what. Then I watched it for color, and when it looked right (and the last bit I had done seemed to have had enough time to take), I went into the kitchen and rinsed it off the best I could. (At home, this step is just tossing a thing in the wash mashine.)

I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out. The pattern is a bit low, but now I remember I was thinking of flipping the lace and doing the same thing above it, without really thinking about the fact that you have to avoid overexposing the first bit you did while working on the second. If I decide it needs more, I’ll go back and repeat the process. (But the first part should be washed and dried before repeating.) Or maybe I’ll just try on the shirt and see if I like it fine as is.

[Tried on the shirt. It’s fine as is!]

The design had a particularly gorgeous red tinge to it when it was still wet, but it’s still pretty gorgeous.

Come closer, my pretty. Clooooooooser.

The second shirt is a tank top from a local thrift shop. For this one I did a quick-and-dirty version of the process I used making my previous stenciled shirt (https://dangerouscraftsforgirls.com/2012/07/21/dont-worry-its-only-a-nip/). I used two stencils from a pack that Plaid sells of Wingdings-like patterns, flipping one to use it twice. Instead of making a stick-on stencil with Contact paper, I just lifted the stencil off as the bleach did its work and wiped it, flipped it, and did the other side of my pattern. I didn’t do any careful measurements of where to put them, either, just eyeballed it, and it came out well.

It’s a bit more rust than orange, which I’m not sure comes through in the pics.

I get fewer “artifacts” from smeared bleach every time I do this, yay.

So I came out with two shirts I’m very pleased with, despite neither being the things I had kinda sorta planned. Go, serendipity!

The other shirts my fellow art partiers did came out great, too! Too bad we didn’t get a picture of all of them.

Does cooking/baking count?

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I did both today, making brunch for a friend who came out to visit and catch up on some “Supernatural” episodes she missed getting onto her DVR, so she can mainline the whole season.

I have a terrific, adaptable recipe for a frittata that bakes in the oven, which I made with potatoes and vegetables from a Green Giant variety called something like Backyard Grilled Potatoes or something, which had red and yellow peppers and onions mixed in. It may be the best lazy version of this frittata I’ve ever made. The coffee cake was a mashup of a recipe and 2 variations I found on one of those recipe sites. This time out there was no extra creativity involved; I just followed the recipe I had cobbled up before. Still, cooking is work and it’s beautiful and useful. It counts, right?

Also, this long weekend I threw two sweaters into the wash to felt them, and they both came out beautifully, including one I was very dubious about. One had a long zipper, so I cut that off and am going to finish it up into a zipper bracelet, but I need a lobster claw clasp to do so.

Oh, and this Wednesday I’m going to share some of the stuff I’ve done with bleach pen decorating with the art gals.

Yow, total energy drop. I am going to sign off and curl up.

Life’s a bleach and then you dye; project 24

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Life’s a bleach and then you dye; project 24

I was feeling a bit rocky physically over the weekend (and still am), so my belated craft is a fairly simple one. I’ve been seeing some Pinterest pins on tie-“dyeing” with bleach, so I thought that would be a good choice for yet another shirt that had been rack-wrecked with an ill-placed drip of salad dressing. I’d been putting off doing this shirt, because it was pretty much brand new, and I love the color so much, and I didn’t want to do something that would render it completely unwearable.

I loved the way using rubber bands and little glass whats-its made such intricate medallion-like patterns on the silk scarves I dyed a while back, so I placed 5 around the V-neck in the front of the shirt. Following the gathers that made, I pinched the fabric in folds all the way down the front of the shirt, from the center on out. I had a couple of binder clips at hand, so I fastened them that way, just in a couple of spots.

I thought it would be cool to leave the back unbleached, so I put some bubble-wrap between the front and the back. (When I’m painting or using a bleach pen, I usually use a cereal box, but I was afraid some of the color would leach from the box onto the shirt with this one, so I went with the bubble wrap).

Here it is ready to dip into the bleach solution:

I really need to clear an actual crafting surface to work on. Really.

The bleaching directions I got from this DIY project (found via Pinterest): http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-bleach-tie-dye/ (And boy, do I want to do a shirt like the one done here!)

And my advice if you use this method to do a shirt, pay attention to her suggestions about working outdoors and gloves. I was Miss Half-Ass-It, and it wasn’t that pleasant. And the fumes could be seriously not good — I used the exhaust fan in my bathroom as I worked, but it still was headachy.

The two things I think I’d do differently (besides working outdoors and wearing gloves): use a bigger vessel for the solution and clip the pleats all the way along their length. As for the first, I used the bathroom sink, a smallish oval, so I had to keep moving the shirt back and forth to be sure everything got in the bleach. When I checked for color, the back hem got into the bleach too, so I didn’t end up with the full unbleached effect on the back. This shirt was dip-and-check-dip-and-check, rather than the 30-minute resting period of the bleach pen. I couldn’t say exactly how long it was in the bleach solution, but barely over a minute or two. I rinsed it, pulled out the clips and glass bits, then ran it through the wash.

Here’s the front, once dried:

Bleach tie-dye

I’m a little disappointed by the medallions, which are just kind of quavery little rounded boxes. They may need some sort of embellishment. The resist effect only was clear where I had the clips in. I’d do it all the way down another time, but I still think this came out okay.

Jury’s still out on whether I feel there should be more embellishment of some kind on the front.

And here’s the back:

Looks cool, especially close up, but someone walking behind me down the hall at work yesterday thought I’d fallen into a puddle or something.

I learned a few things from this, and got a wearable shirt out of the deal, so it’s pretty much a success.

Hit the deck!

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Hit the deck!

So I have this porch fantasy that I’ve had ever since I lived in NYC. I got to indulge it bigtime during my vacation in Austin this spring, though the balcony was a fairly small one, it was just about perfect. I actually have a deck where I am living now (actually a small upstairs one and a bigger downstairs one), but both of them get a lot of direct sun after about 11 a.m., so I haven’t been using them as much as I thought I would when I was lusting after my very own porch back in NYC.

Spent some time looking at pergolas and quailed to discover they are heinously expensive, so imagine my glee when I found a tutorial through Pinterest on making a simple portable sun shade. So I let my porch lust flower again, this time going into epic Outdoor Living Room mode.

I haven’t done the sun shade yet, I think because I’m intimidated by the cement work that goes with making the shade poles, but I have started on the project nonetheless.

It begins with a relic of my NYC days, a crappy low cabinet of pressboard with white laminated finish. It was half of a two-piece thing, with a shelf hutch on top. The hutch is in a closet pretending to be useful pantry shelving (that is another project which will be an enormous obsession, I can tell). The cabinet has been trailing around with me through the last couple of moves (when a company pays for movers and gives you three weeks to uproot your life, EVERYTHING trails around with you), and most recently it’s been in the basement.

So I finally hauled it out and onto the downstairs deck to spray paint it. My plan is to nail a trellis to it to create a little bit of a screen so neither the neighbors or I will feel on display if we both happen to be out on our decks. There may or may not be outdoor sheer curtains.

So here’s step #1:

Ombre cabinet. I used 3 shades of spray paint.

It’s not smooth and perfect, and I’m totally fine with that. This is going to be sitting out in the weather, so it’s meant to be pretty casual. (The streaks, however, are just where I wiped a bit of dew off the top before toweling it all off.)

It hasn’t been the most awesome spray-paint weather this summer — it’s either too hot or crazy humid or both. We had a cool day so I jumped at it. Next is probably the trellis. Whenever.

Don’t worry, it’s only a nip

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Don’t worry, it’s only a nip

Wednesday night I made another “bleach-paint” tee on another shirt with an unfortunate rack/grease spot OTP, this time using a stencil, and I really like the design I ended up with. It will surprise no one who’s been reading along so far that it didn’t come out perfectly. I was very careful to peel off the stencil carefully, but I still got some marks on the shirt, which don’t look it in the pictures, but came out looking kind of gray.

A little bit of bleed, so this is probably as fiddly a design as I’d be able to do with a bleach pen, but I like it and don’t mind the bleed. There are the grayish streaks, too, so next time I’d probably scrape off the bleach before removing the stencil.

The stencil, by the way, was made with two smaller stencils I got in a pack at Walmart, with lots of fleur-de-lis variations and other swirly bits, plus simpler shapes like the circle. I traced them onto white removable Contact Paper, then flopped the swirly design on the other side of the circle.

Like so.

I don’t have pictures of every step, since I did the Contact Paper bits at my art group gathering Wednesday night. Like I said, the design was a little fiddly, tough to cut out perfectly, but I don’t think it really made a difference with the bleach bleed anyway. But here it is with the bleach on.

Slightly different color results from the previous brown shirt I did, but that could be the smidge of spandex content in this tee.

Love it, totally planned to wear it to work the next day, but when I put it on … well, the combination of the circles, the placement, and the flesh* color (*flesh color according to the adhesive strip bandage industry, at any rate) made it seem just a little … nipply.

See? Or is it just me?

I decided making it not flesh* color in some way would probably decrease that effect, or my neurosis about it anyway. I considered a tie-dye look craft I’d seen done with Sharpies and rubbing alcohol, but the attempt I made on a test piece (I KNOW!! For once I used a TEST PIECE!) wasn’t awesome, so I decided not to go for that.

TEST PIECE! Who would have thought?

So I decided on the lace-spraypaint technique and just plowed ahead with it. I think that solves the prob, or maybe I’ve just stopped being neurotic about it. I thought I’d do something to mask the gray spots, so I moved the lace piece to different spots along the front and spray painted here and there. I ended up with some spots that were spray paint blobs, but I decided (once again) that I really don’t mind that. I have a printed tee I got at Maurice that looks like I rolled around on the floor of a wine bar or something, so it’s not a deal-breaker.

So here’s the final result!

I’m very pleased, all in all.

And a close-up.

Can’t wait to wear it!

Raclette, meet rack

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Raclette, meet rack

Last winter I discovered raclette, the absolute perfect food. Potatoes, melted butter, melted cheese. What’s not to love?

Ah, that. The pure liquid fat dripping off the fork and right onto my chest. And the plain t-shirt I was wearing for the first time. Raclette, just like salad dressing, likes big busts and it cannot lie.

Solid color tees, so great because they go with everything, are always the most endangered item in my closet. If they make it past a third wearing without being consigned to the pile of formerly wearable at work clothing, it’s a minor (and temporary) miracle.

My Pinterest board titled “T-shirt Renovations” is chock full of ideas for t-shirt fixes, so I thought I would share some of my attempts to rescue splattered tees.

The first one I did quite a while ago, shortly after the Raclette Incident. I found a perfect stencil in a pack I had bought, using my oil paint Shiva Sticks. The bigger circle in the center is right where the raclette spot was. It filled in nicely (though the iridescent charcoal and silver paints came out looking pretty matte black and grey on the cotton jersey).

Hit me with your Shiva stick, hit me, hit me!

Until it went through the wash. Then the paint over the grease spot faded out. I started drawing it in with a Sharpie in a moment of boredom, but I figured that might not end well. I have had some thoughts on how to deal with that center bit, but it involves a little something I have lost track of and I didn’t want to go buy another (and the hardware stores are closed on Sunday anyway). It’ll make a return engagement when I find the missing piece and get the project done.

Just recently I saw a P.S. — I made this! post about spraypainting a top through a yard or so of lace. So happens I bought 2 lace curtains at a Goodwill recently for under $5 total, so I cut one of the panels and spraypainted copper fabric paint onto this brown tee. The result is so subtle in person that the lace effect is pretty lost, but it looks like the stain was taken care of.

Um, well.

Neither thing appears to be true in this photo. Haven’t decided if it needs something further, or if I should just wear it as is. Since it’ll be 97 degrees F tomorrow and this has long sleeves, I have some time to think.

I also have a big piece of painted lace to use on some project.

I have some thoughts on that, too.

This last picture is the t-shirt rescue I like best. I’ve seen this one on Pinterest too. You make a design with the Chlorox pen on a colored shirt, let it rest 30 minutes, then wash. I freehanded the design, based on one of my favorite ZenTangle designs, the henna drum. I simplified it way down because the fine point of the double sided bleach pen is still pretty wide — it’s for stain treatment and not drawing, after all. There’s bleed, but I still love how it came out.

Life’s a bleach and then you dye.

I’m really looking forward to wearing this one.

Invisible Project

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I have, in fact, been working on a project all weekend long. You just can’t see it.

This one’s a short story. It’s a gift, part of a summertime gift exchange, and authors can’t reveal their identities until all the stories are posted, which is expected to be in September.

So maybe now is a good time to write about the gift culture of fandom and crafting, as it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Or maybe not, yknow, now, because it’s time to get myself ready for work.

I hope to get some small project done in the next day or two as a visible project, and yes, also a post about gift culture.

Now was that so hard?

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Now was that so hard?

Well…sort of.

I got up first thing and took 2 pictures of my project and as I was cropping them on the computer I noticed something that’s barely noticeable on the actual thing, so I had to fix it. Did that, photographed it, and now I’m ready.

So, the project itself. This is one that started out in one of our women’s art gatherings. I’d brought another project to work on, but I saw what everyone else was doing, and I was all, “Ooooh, shiny!”

Literally, because we were using shiny silver metal tape [tm] to make fake pewter medallions. This was a project I’d seen done before (when I was also hell-bent on some other project) and thought was cool, so I jumped on the second chance. There’s a lot you can do with this method — adding them to altered Altoid tins (and I really would love to have a supply of these tins, but I am not a person who regularly sucks on mints), or make art cards of them, or do what I did here, adding it as a decorative element to a box.

The shiny silver metal tape [tm] can be found at hardware stores or places like WalMart. I hear there’s now a lookalike of plastic so you have to be careful you really have the metal type. It’s on a roll about the size of duct tape.

The big thing you can do with this tape (other than whatever its actual purpose might be) is play with texture. I’ve seen some very pretty cards made where it’s been taped onto card stock and then rolled through an embossing machine. But for this project we used pre-cut chipwood shapes and used little shaped paper punches on card stock. One of our group uses old plastic cards as her design base — used gift cards, stowaway hotel key cards and the like. Some of the group combined different shapes and came up with some really cool abstract designs. I found a paper punch with a tree design (probably for Christmas card projects) and decided to make a wee forest, and I chose a round chipwood precut as my base, since I decided to put it on a round paper mache box.

The box, by the way, was one of those items that sometimes appears in the stash of art materials in the famous back room at these art gatherings. Sometimes people start working on something and then lose interest, or they’re only there for one time (we get the occasional tourist passing through who comes to art night, which is pretty cool). So this box was one of those pieces, with a patchy coating of white paint. I kind of liked the effect, which made me think of birch bark, so I left it as it was. It could probably look more like birch bark, but I decided I’d rather have it be suggestive of such than be taken too far so it looks nothing like it.

On to the fake pewter! One of the regulars taught us this project, which she’d gotten from a show on HGTV before they switched their programming all around to appeal to a different demographic. Take your backing chipwood piece and glue on shapes of card stock or more chipwood, then carefully tape over the whole thing with your shiny silver metal tape [tm]. Your edges will overlap a little bit, but you want to rub them down so they’re hardly visible. We used orangewood sticks like you’d get in a manicure set. The same stick gets rubbed over the shapes around the edges so there’s some definition there. It takes a while to get the tape pushed down over a complex grouping of layers, but you want to be careful not to punch holes in the tape.

Once that’s done to your satisfaction, the next step is to etch some designs into the surface of your medallion. I went with some simpler Zen Tangle filler patterns, varying the patterns in different areas, as I would in a paper-and-ink Tangle. This part of the project I did a while back, so I can’t remember what I used to make the etched parts — something more pointed than the orange stick, but not so sharp it would tear the tape.

That’s as far as I got the night of the art gathering, and the box and the medallion have been sitting among my stash for a while. So finally I pulled it out and finished it, which was pretty simple. The last bit for the fake pewter is to brush on black paint so that it goes into the etched lines, then rub it off with a tissue so that the paint stays in the lines but mostly comes off the rest. It might take a few times to get it right so all the paint doesn’t come off, and if you rub too hard over the seam where the tape overlaps, it can curl up or wrinkle.

Painting in progress

So after the paint dried I glued the medallion piece onto the round box, and then it was done.

Done. At least I thought so.

So there was a spot that looking at it in person I thought might pass for a part of the fake wood, but that is one photo that screams “tiny coffee stain!” So this morning I grabbed some craft whitewash and a tissue and dabbed some one, and I think I’ve nailed it.

Are your papers in order?

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Are your papers in order?

When I travel, I still like having my flight stuff on pieces of paper, even though it’s electronic all the way. And you may have noticed a good many airlines save money by not even giving you a little envelope with your gate number marked on it and your boarding pass tucked inside. I like having an envelope with all my documents in it that’s not just a plain white envelope, so when I reach into the chaos that is generally my purse, it’s readily findable. I used to have a pack of long envelopes with a rose design all over them (and a lighter color box in the area where you write the address), but they’ve been depleted after a few years of travel.*

So I just got back from a visit to my longtime friend who lives in the DC area, and my project of the week (last week, ahem) was a pair of envelopes that are made from cute template giveaways on the Hermes website. Found the link on Pinterest, which will come as no surprise to anyone.

The templates are paper clutches called Jigé, an envelope style with side panels that let it open outward a bit, and a tab that goes into an H shaped 3-D clasp. There are several premade designs you can download, as well as a blank one you can design yourself. I decided to make a couple of these as my travel envelopes.

Is it cheating if my craft is cutting out a template, gluing it together and mod podging the whole thing? So be it. Travel weeks are hard. Maybe at some point I’ll do the blank one and tart that up some with Zentangles or collage or something.

So the template prints out on 2 pages, like so:

Body of clutch

Side pieces and clasp pieces

I did some serious rassling with the clasp bits. On one version of the clutch I missed the little blue lines that indicated I should cut little slits on the body of the bag where the H-shaped piece goes. And as it turned out, the one I messed up was far easier to deal with. There was plenty of space for the long tab to slip through (too much, really, to keep the clutch secured), but when I did do the little slits on the clutch and slipped the back tabs of the H piece into it, I couldn’t get the tab in at all. So gluing the piece without slipping any tabs through the little slits seems to work best.

(All the guesswork in this post is due to the fact that there aren’t instructions for how things should be assembled, just a little legend that shows you which lines to fold and which to cut, and where to glue.)

The clasp bit gets the most folding, and winds up a 3-D piece when you get it done.

WHAT THE H?

H yeah, almost done.

Fold fold fold, glue glue glue.

Together at last.

Then I slathered the whole thing with Mod Podge, so it would hold together a little better in transit and usage.

And here are the two clutches I made. The one on the left is the one where I think I did things according to … well, no directions, but where I made the cuts. The right is the one where I didn’t see the cut lines and just glued the clasp on. You can see which clasp actually worked, can’t you?

They got a little battered because the shoulder bag I was using was too small, but they held up decently for paper. One of them had the tab come off, and truthfully, I think I’d rather make a version without the tab and clasp at all. A little dot of sticky Velcro or something would hold it together just fine without the tearing paper, I think. But someone out there might have better luck interpreting how the thing is supposed to be assembled and have a better result.

From what I can tell, there’s not a direct link to the templates, but here’s a way to get there:
http://lesailes.hermes.com/us/en/
After some animated stuff, there will be a grid of pictures without explanation. In the center is an orange circle. Two squares to the right should be an image of a hand and a white bag with the words “I want it, I’ll have it!” Click on that, and you’ll find the templates for the different clutches. You might want to grab them sooner rather than later; Hermes apparently had a previous paper template bag that is no longer available.

And here’s a better look:

I am a sucker for Day of the Dead images, so that’s the other one I made. Cute printed on stitches around the edges make them both look like more work than they were.

*The envelopes get quite battered after a trip to and from, but I’ve saved some of the used envelopes to incorporate rose designs into collaged boxes that I’ve made as gifts. The creases and worn edges add a nice element of age to the project.