Things are Starting to get Frosty!

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Hello Thursday readers!

I have started putting together some holiday gifts for the coming year and I have ventured into some previously unknown territory for me. I’m talking about decorating glassware. I’m doing a project that’s very similar to a post I wrote back for Halloween to make beautiful hand drawn lanterns, and what I’ve realized is that frosted glass spray paint might be one of the coolest things I’ve worked with in a while. It is usually pretty easy to find at a craft store, maybe even a hardware store, and you can do a lot of different things with it ranging from shadow lanterns like the one in the tutorial, to tumblers, jars, wine glasses and decorative bottles.

I’m going to give you a quick DIY for how you can accent any glass really easily, and some variations on the technique to make it even more awesome. So the only tools you need for this is a can of frosted glass paint (which can be bought in spray and brush paint form) and glassware that you’d like to decorate as well as some painter’s tape.  Optional tools include contact paper (like the paper that lines shelves in a cupboard), and coloured spray paint.

There’s a simple step by step tutorial here from Martha Stewart, but it is very very simple. I think that the Martha Stewart brand of frosted glass paint comes in many different colours as well, and so that can make it even simpler. I also believe hers are not spray paints, so will make detail work a little bit easier, so be aware of this when you’re picking out your paints.

If you’re wanting to make glasses that you can drink out of, first you will need to stick a ribbon of tape all around the upper edge of the glass. Notice how these glasses all have room at the top? This is so you don’t need to worry about your lips touching anything that isn’t the glass. This is a super important step if you’re doing it yourself as you are recreating an effect with paint. You don’t want to be drinking the paint or the sealant you put on it. Alternatively, if you’re using a brush on frosted paint, you can do your design on the bottom of your tumbler like gottalovediy who shows how she tapes the bottom of her tumblers and then applies the paint (see below).

If your frosted paint is white frosting, then you have the options to buy other colours to add to your glasses.  If you’re doing a solid frosting, all you need to do is spray or paint your glass and let it dry. If you’re using other colours of paint, you can choose whichever colour of glass paint that you’d like, and do a thin coat of that first and letting it dry before applying the frosting paint.  Just be aware that if you’re using a frosting spray you will need an area that can  ventilate it properly, and you may want to do designs that do not require a paint brush. Sounds easy right? It is. (see an example of a finished project below – design, paint, frost)

Image taken from Something Turquoise

The most difficult part is doing the designs.  If you are using contact paper, you can cut out any designs you’d like. Like polka dots or flowers.  If you want a more geometric look, you can use painters tape to get some nice straight lines.  All you need to do achieve an artistic look is to apply the tape where you don’t want the frosting to be, and paint overtop of it, whether you’re using a spray or a brush paint. Something Turquoise has a great tutorial that shows you all the different techniques mentioned above.

Just think of the gifting possibilities with this, as you can create beautiful housewares for a lot less than you’d buy it in store and it’s made by you!

 

Have fun!

~Megan


Skirtybirt

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When I meet fellow sewers at conventions the first thing I do is flip the seams.  Those that sew know exactly what I am talking about.  For those that don’t it is how we look at the quality of what was sewn.  If the seams are sewn nicely (and reinforced when possible) then you know it is very well made.  So of course the first thing I did when I saw Brittnee Braun’s table at Wizard World Chicago was flip the seams.  I was very happy with what I saw.  Her skirts were some of the best made I have ever seen.

Her skirts are very reasonably priced at $40!  I almost bought a few at Wizard World, but decided I would let my husband pick the fabrics and have her custom make me a few.  That’s right, she makes them to fit your body.  Take a look at her website, Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram to see what she can do as well as some of her cosplay photos.

-Toni


Book Bags

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How about this for a fun turn of phrase? 😀 Moscow-based indie boutique Krukrustudio is known for their wide collection of bags, which resemble cute trinkets or unique memorabilia. Including *dramatic pause* messenger bags that look like books!

Krukrustudio’s pieces have transformed classic literature novels and pop culture icons into an elaborate purse design. The bags are constructed from 100% woolen Spanish felt that is both light weight and durable. The side is lined with cotton and includes one pocket, but they do allow customization so if you want more pockets don’t be afraid to send them an ask. ^_^ To see more of her lovely transformation designs just hop on over to her etsy shop here.

~Nicole


This Rose Will Continue to Bloom

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It will bloom forever as it is frozen in time. Seriously. Argent Rose Studios is a personal favorite Ren Faire haunt of mine if only for the delicious smells. You see, they make metal roses of all shapes, colors, bud sizes, and SMELLS.

I assure you, these do not smell like metal.

I assure you, these do not smell like metal.

That’s right! The artists hand craft each and every one of these little beauties from steel. They are then expertly airbrushed, sealed, and daubed with rose (or other) scent hidden in a cleverly concealed sponge in the center. To renew the scent, you simply drip a little more oil onto the sponge and it smells like new! Truly, these are works of art. They have several bud “sizes” from just a bud to fully bloomed and in all colors of the rainbow. All of the colors are super vibrant and eye catching.

These are very likely to chase your blues away!

These are very likely to chase your blues away!

If a vase is not your style, what about a simple tabletop rose or some rose hair sticks?

ArgentRoseTabletop  ArgentRoseHairsticks2

I think my favorite part of heading to their booth each year is finding out what the new featured color/scent will be! Every year they have a featured collectable release scent and color. This year’s was called “Cherry Cordial” and it looked and smelled just like a luscious cherry candy.

Mouth-wateringly wonderful cherry.

Mouth-wateringly wonderful cherry.

These roses are great for gifts and will most certainly last longer than their real-life equivalents. If you would like to send an undying, sweet smelling pick-me-up, Argent Rose Studios can be found on their website and Facebook. I can’t wait to see next year’s new color and scent!

~Laura

 


Lumen Electronic Jewelry

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Every now and then I see something unique and different at a Convention that I have never seen before.  At Chicago Wizard World I saw Lumen Electronic Jewelry.  Siblings Robin and Marty are fourth generation engineers that created jewelry with LED’s and power them with solar cells.

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You read that right, this jewelry is solar powered so there are no batteries to change, ever.

From the Lumen website:

Geekery and Artsy had a baby. And it’s got pretty blinking lights!

We take the guts of circuit boards and make distinctively awesome designs to showcase the uniquely beautiful and strangely organic soul of technology.  Lumen is the union of function and aesthetics.

But our designs don’t stop there. No, ma’am! Each piece has LED lights connected to a solar cell. So your jewelry charges up and blinks in an ever-so-captivating manner. Interactive fashion FTW!

So each piece runs on an “eternal” power source — the sun! (OK, OK, it’s actually tri-layer silicon single crystals with the right impurities … insert dorky laughter here.) Oh, and if you’re a geek on the run (or just forget to solar charge your bling), Lumen pieces also come with micro-USB charge connectors. Rock!

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So take a look at their Website to look at all of their creations for yourself.

-Toni

 


Max and Benny’s

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When we were in Chicago for Wizard World Laura and I found this amazing bakery that was set up with some pretty cool looking cookies.

We were instantly drawn to their table.  It looked good enough to eat!  So of course we had to purchase one of their Link shields to try it for ourselves.  Not only was it great to look at, but it tasted wonderful as well.  My next question was “Do you ship?”  They answered Yes!  They don’t just make geeky cookies.  They can make any cookie you would want for yourself or a large gathering with a logo, a character, name, etc.

Take a look at their Website, Facebook, and Twitter for more pictures and information.  For the Holidays you would be the hero of the party if you brought specialty made cookies that fit the theme instead of regular boring cookies.

-Toni


Sweater Pillows! – A DIY Tutorial

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Hi there Thursday readers!

 

I found something that I thought was super cool, and easy to do if you have a little bit of sewing skills. It’s also a great way to re purpose your old wintertime sweaters to have new use, or if you’re looking for a great way to give a unique kind of gift, this may be an answer. You don’t need a lot of materials, but you do need some basic sewing know how and a sewing machine.

There is a full tutorial at the Tidbits website here, including lots of photos of the finished products and the process, but I’m going to give you the short version and perhaps some ideas for twists on the idea.  Your materials are simple: an old sweater – preferably one with texture, and one that’s knit. though you can turn any sweater you would like into one of these beauties.  You’re going to need a pillow form of a size that is smaller than your sweater or pillow stuffing. You can buy pillow forms at any local craft or sewing shop.  You will also need some iron on (fusible) interfacing – preferably a light weight.  Interfacing can be found at any fabric store, though you may want to ask an associate for help to find the type that you need. Remember: Fusible and lightweight. You may also want to pick up a piece of fabric chalk so you can draw on the fabric and know it will come out. You’ll also need an iron to heat the interfacing.

If you are using a pillow form, you will need make sure to leave enough extra room for the fluffiness of the pillow when you cut the sweater.  So make sure that you have a little extra room on your sweater to be able to add seam allowance which – for those who aren’t sewers – is the amount of fabric that you will be sewing inward from the edge.  You will be marking the outline of the pillow on the sweater, so when you do this, you will be wanting to leave a minimum of 1/2 inch extra all around. If you have an extra fluffy pillow, you may want to leave a little more. Keep in mind though, sweaters are stretchy, and though you’ll be using interfacing, there should be enough stretch left at the seams that you will still be able to put your pillow inside, even if it’s a little small.

So like I said above, your first step is to lay your old sweater out flat, and place your pillow form on top of it. If you’re going to be using stuffing, you won’t need to do this step as you will be filling it as opposed to stuffing with a form. Using a fabric marker, or some fabric chalk you will need to trace around the pillow for size. Remember to allow an extra 1/2 inch minimum for sewing space.  As pictured above (and below) if your pillow reaches the sides of your sweater, you don’t need to cut them out. You can leave them closed, if you’d like.

Remember you will be using both sides of the sweater, so if you’re keeping the sides together that is an extra seam you don’t need to sew.

Your next step is to cut out two pieces of interfacing that are the same sizes as the pieces of sweater that you cut (see above picture). This is an extremely important step as this will keep your cushion edges looking sharp and square. When you are ready, crack out your iron and iron these two pieces to the WRONG sides of the sweater. These are going to sit inside the pillow to keep it square.  Follow the directions on your interfacing packaging for how to sew it to fabric. This is going to stick to the sweater, so make sure it’s placed accurately. This will keep the fabric from unraveling and moving when you’re trying to sew it, which is key to having this DIY turn out well. See below for the alternative.

Because sweaters are a knit as opposed to a regular cotton fabric, if you don’t have some kind of stiffener, they will collapse in on themselves like some kind of horrible cotton black hole, as is evidenced by the photo above.  To avoid black holes… interfacing.

Take your sweater pieces with the interfacing fused on, and line them up right sides together.  Pin all around and note a space to leave open for the filling or pillow form.  If inserting a pillow inside, you will need a larger opening.  If simply inserting stuffing, you can leave a smaller opening. Keep in mind, if you’re going to want to have your pillow to have a zipper, then this is the point when you would install it. I recommend this step for more experienced sewers. For less experienced sewers, you can continue on.
Sew all around all four sides, except for the hole that you are leaving for your pillow or your stuffing. Remember that if you’re putting a pillow form inside, you will need a hole that is almost the full length of one side (leaving maybe 2 inches from each corner if you’re planning a zipper. The hole can be a little smaller if you’re not planning to leave an opening).  Trim the edges when you’re done, so that it’s neat and tidy and a little easier to flip inside out.
When your sewing is done, all you need to do is turn the pillow case inside out. You will need to make sure to form the corners so that they have a pointy edge, but you should be able to do that with a finger. If you need a tool, pick something that has a rounded end to push the corners out like the end of a toothbrush or a pen with the cap on. Something that won’t rip through the knit or the interfacing.

Your last step is to pin your opening closed and do some hand sewing to seal that last end.  The only disadvantage to this is that you will not be washing or changing this pillow out. A great alternative to this, if you’re going to be making a number of these, would be  to leave one edge on one side of the pillow about 4 inches longer than the rest.  If you finish the outisde seams that would be left open, you can fold this extra flap over the back of the pillow like an envelope and add some velcro, or some buttons or even some toggles to seal your pillow in. You have lots of different ways this can be done.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I think they’re a really cool winter idea either for your home or for a gift that doesn’t have to be holiday related, and can be done in an afternoon. It also saves old sweaters that you don’t wear anymore from the trash, so what a great way to recycle!

 

Happy sewing!

~Megan


Pattern Review: McCalls M7217 Bodysuit

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It isn’t very often that I find a pattern that I love. I usually have to tweak them somehow. Today’s post, though, is about a pattern that I have been looking for for nearly a year.

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I didn’t know I needed Yaya Han & McCall’s bodysuit pattern M7217, but after three different attempts at making a bodysuit for my Mara Jade costume, I was ready to try just about anything. Yaya Han’s pattern came out, and I purchased it, thinking what’s the worst that could happen?

This pattern is incredibly versatile and customisable. In addition to having a number of options to start with, it also has a customisable bust line by cup size, something that I wish more patterns had. Its perfect if you want or need to use more than one type or colour of fabric, like so many superhero costumes do.

The pattern itself is well written and easy to follow. The handy stretch guide on the back makes it easy to find suitable fabric and the fact that it only requires 2-way stretch material made sourcing material infinitely easier.

I think the only thing I wasn’t keen on was the zipper instructions. I didn’t like that they had the zipper put in last, as that’s not how I like to do my invisible zips, but the pattern still worked just fine when I put it together my way. Had I actually done it their way, they still had very clear and easy to follow instructions that would suit even beginner stitchers.

If you weren’t certain what you were doing with it, the McCalls Cosplay Blog has a string of entries to help you figure out the best way to deal with stretchy materials, hints on adding extra details like piping, and general tips to make the construction easier. You don’t have to read the blog to successfully put together the bodysuit, but if you have questions, they’ve covered just about everything.

Would I recommend this pattern? Absolutely. It is the best bodysuit pattern that I’ve tried, and I have tried several including making one specifically to my body measurements from scratch.

I would especially recommend this bodysuit pattern if you’re not a standard sizing or want to alter the seams. The customisation available is just fantastic. I’m a lot curvier than many and I’ve tried a number of catsuit patterns, all of which looked like I’d just wrapped myself in a tube of fabric which was just unflattering. Yaya’s pattern entirely fixed that problem with its bust size choices.

As for my project, the Mara Jade costume I made with it has been a huge success so far. Its comfortable, movable, and hugs in all the right places. I really can’t ask for anything better than that.

~ eliste


Potted Cactus without the Sting

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True story time. When I was about 10, I was visiting my grandma for the summer and next to the bed I slept in was a little potted cactus. Well, the inevitable happened since I move in my sleep and I woke up with little thistles all over me and in my bed. I have had a biased against them ever since, which is sad as they are my kind of plant maintenance (minimal water/care required). Thankfully, I may have found the next best things.

These little guys are the work of amigurumi artist thehobbypanda and they are absolutely adorable! Cacti typically have simple shapes so they translate beautifully into amigurumi, but those lovely and cute flowers are probably my favorite part. 🙂

She doesn’t have a very active etsy store, but if you are interested in picking one up for yourself (of a loved one for the holidays) then keep an eye out. A few were up when I wrote this post, but who knows how many could be left. :3

~Nicole


Joining Crochet Squares

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A quick tutorial method today. As we get closer to colder weather, I’m sure many people will be busting out their hooks to make their own (for themselves or others), so today I wanted to show case a different technique you can use to sew blocks/granny squares together with your crochet hook instead of a yarn needle, while still allowing it to lay flat.

Dedri from Look At What I Made calls her method the zipper method since it, well, looks very much like you are slowly zipping up your squares. Slow is the keyword here too as this method will definitely take some time. The teal color was only used for the images so it could be seen easily.

How to Join Crochet Squares Using the “Zipper” Method

To join the squares using the zipper method, you will place the squares side by side, instead of on top of each other. When you place the squares side by side like this, the v’s formed by the stitches of the last row/round of each square will be parallel to each other. You will be working ONLY into the inside loops (back loops).

Starting with the block to your left , insert your hook from front to back into the inside loop of the first stitch.  Now insert your hook from front to back into the inside loop of the first stitch of the other square.

If you are going to be adding new yarn to join your crochet squares, add it now by placing a slip knot on your hook as in Photo 4.  I like starting with a slip knot.  If you don’t like starting with a slip knot, simply yarn over with your new color.  Pull through both of the stitches (loops) on your hook (Photo 5).

Insert your hook from front to back into the inside loop of the next stitch of the square on your left (see Photo 6).  Then insert your hook from front to back into the inside loop of the next stitch of the other square (Photo 7).  Grab your yarn, which will be at the back of your work, and pull through all three loops on your hook (Photo 8).

Remember to keep your tension loose.  Slip stitches are not as elastic as other stitches, so if you work very tightly, your edges won’t have any “give”. Keep working a slip stitch into the inside loops of each stitch (through both layers) this until you have joined all the stitches down the side of your squares.  When you get to the end, bind off.

You can find more images and pictures at Look At What I Made for the complete tutorial. This method would be great for those who are making pixel character blankets or maybe block scarves too! It’s a very simple technique that looks great, so go crazy!

~Nicole