Tag Archives: project

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/

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.