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Dastardly Crafty

Craft, Crochet and Cthulhu.

Ooh new tags!

imageI haven’t updated my blog for some time, partly because I’ve been busy working on some stock for my etsy shop. Still need a bit of time tweaking my profile before I’m ready to launch, but in the meantime,  look at the lovely customised tags I’ve just received! I can’t wait to attach these to all the goodies I’ve been making.

My 12 Month Craft Challenge is over! But here are a few things it taught me…

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In January 2015, I decided I wanted a different sort of New Year’s Resolution.  Instead of giving something up, I wanted to try new things instead.  And so I set myself a 12 Month Craft Challenge where every month I would try a new craft.

Well, I managed it!  My first ever resolution to be kept throughout the entire twelve months.

The challenge taught me several things:

  1. Handmade crafts are worth the money you pay for them. If you are one of those people who go to craft fairs or on etsy, look at things and say ‘That’s expensive! I could make that myself!’ then I say, just try it! Some of the ‘easiest’ crafts I tried, still turned out to be as time consuming or fiddly as more complicated crafts. When you go to a craft fair someone else has spent a lot of time, love and care in making that item. They deserve a decent wage in return.
  2. Crafts are a great way to relax. Last year was a tough one for me in some ways. I suffered with stress, developed an anxiety disorder and had depression.  But having a challenge to do meant that at least once a month I made time for myself.  I did something that wasn’t work.  That was mindful. I came out at the other end of it all and whilst I still battle with anxiety on occasion, crafting helps me calm my mind when I feel it creeping up on me again.
  3. You don’t need to be perfect.  I started the challenge with very simple crafts. Paper mache’ and paper flowers. Safe, simple crafts. As I became more confident, I tried more complicated crafts such as beading. Or crafts that used more than one technique. Sometimes, it went wrong.  I learned quickly, to adapt.

The most unexpected benefit I found in the 12 Month Craft Challenge was that over time, my confidence grew. As I tried more and more new things I decided to ‘just have a go’ at whatever I fancied.  This lead to more complicated crafts and in the end I just metaphorically threw the instructions out of the window to make more creative designs that reflected my personality.

So, am I doing another craft challenge this year?

Not exactly.

I still plan to make things and blog about them throughout this year, but not with a rigid schedule like last years.

I still plan to try new things if I get the urge to do so.

But I also want to have time to enjoy and improve on the crafts I already enjoy.

Expect to see more crochet projects and more powertex. And anything geeky or kawaii.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Month Craft Challenge – DEC Candy Cane wreath

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For December’s craft challenge, I made my own Candy Cane Wreath.  Here is how I did it:

 

What you need:

1 polystyrene Wreath

2 rolls of craft tape, one white, one red glitter.

Empty candy wrappers (It’s a hard job but someone has to eat em!)

A small amount of toy stuffing.

Cookie cutters.

White and bronze fimo.

A glue gun and scissors.

A wide red ribbon that matches the red tape.

 

I began by covering the wreath in the white tape.  This is harder than it looks because it is difficult to wrap it without wrinkles.

Once wrapped, wrap your red glitter tape at intervals around the wreath to look like a striped candy cane.  I found this part easier to do with the tape cut into sections.

Once wrapped, tie your ribbon into a bow at the top, leaving enough ribbon to hang it on your door.

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Then you need to add the decorations.  I used cookie cutters to make fimo gingerbread decorations.  Roll and cut out the bronze fimo to make the ‘gingerbread’ shapes.  Then roll thin sausages of white fimo for the ‘icing.’ Push the icing gently onto the gingerbread shapes to ensure they are fixed to the surface. Then cook according to packet instructions.

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Whilst you are waiting for the fimo to cool down, stuff your sweet wrappers with toy stuffing.  Once your decorations are completed, glue them onto your wreath using a glue gun.

The wreath was too pretty and too light to hang on the front door so I ended up keeping it inside the house instead!!

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12 Month Craft Challenge November – Twin Peaks Charm Bracelet

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I’m very late posting this one. Apologies.

Over the Summer me and my husband watched the Twin Peaks box set (following the news that there is to be a new series) and I enjoyed it so much  that I ordered lots of charms online to make this bracelet.

I tried to get charms that had some relevance to the show such as a ‘queen’ chess pieces, guns, owls, coffee cups as well as beads that looked like they were made of fire.

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The hardest part is making the loops for the ‘fire beads.’  All I can say is it took me a few attempts at making the loop to get it right.

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I also wanted the infamous picture of Laura Palmer as part of it so I printed out a picture and used mod podge to stick it to the frame charm.  I also pasted over the top of it to seal it.

I’m pretty pleased with it! It was a lot of fun to make.

12 Month Craft Challenge October – Fimo ghost in a bottle charm.

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I’ve wanted to make something like this for a while, after seeing miniature bottles on etsy and as it was the month for Halloween, well, why not?

What you need:

Miniature glass bottle

Fimo in glittery white, black, grey and brown.

Sculpting tools (or a biro pen if you don’t have any)

Tweezers.

A headpin.

Beading pliers.

Sewing needle.

Glue.

Using white fimo make your ghost.  Make sure the surface you are working on and your hands are clean as the white will pick up any dirt. Make eyes from black fimo and blend in, once again being careful not to smudge it into the white.  Once done, use your needle to poke a hole through the ghost from top to bottom.  Make sure the hole is big enough for you headpin and your ghost is small enough to fit inside your bottle.

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Now warm up a small piece of brown fimo in your hands so it is pliable and drop it into your glass bottle.  Use your fimo tools or the non pen end of a biro to squish the fimo onto the base of the bottle.  It doesn’t need to be smooth as this is your graveyard earth but it does need to be firmly stuck.

Use white and black fimo to make a tiny skull and a bone.

Use grey fimo to make a gravestone.

Use tweezers to place your skull, bones and gravestone inside the bottle and once again push firmly so that they are attached to the brown fimo on the bottle’s surface.

Now bake your bottle and ghost in the oven according to the instructions on the fimo packet.  Yes you can bake your glass bottle, just let it cool down completely before touching it.

Once cool, push your headpin through the ghost and through the cork lid of your bottle.  Use your beading pliers to make a loop.  (I’ll be writing about how to do this in my next post.) Glue the cork lid to the bottle to seal.

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I really enjoyed making this and would love to make one’s using resin at some point.  If you don’t have a headpin, I have seen some tutorials on youtube that use clear thread instead, although you wouldn’t be able to use it as a charm.

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12 Month Craft Challenge September – Needle Felting

I haven’t been very well these past couple of weeks which is why this one is a bit late.  You might remember me making a kawaii ice cream keyring out of felt back in June.  Well, I decided to have a go at my own felting this month. Continue reading “12 Month Craft Challenge September – Needle Felting”

12 Month Craft Challenge – August Powertex Part Two: plaque inspired by Frank Herbert’s Dune.

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This just might be *the* geekiest craft I’ve done (and I’ve done plenty of Lovecraft crochet).

My husband has phases of going crazy obsessive on things.  Currently, all things Dune are in fashion in our house.  After watching the TV mini-series, the fan edit of David Lynch’s Dune and Children Of Dune on Blu Ray during the Summer, I decided to make a Dune inspired Powertex project.

The plaque is made using Bronze Powertex soaked fabric arranged on a plastic plate.  The plaster face was wrapped to make it look like a shawl. I used the elastic edges of an old skirt to make the ‘sandworms’ that are burrowing through the desert of Arrakis in the background and cut two circles of fabric for the two moons.

Once dried, I dry brushed the gold pigment onto it and of course, painted the character’s eyes bright blue to make her look like a Fremen Sayyadina (a wise woman that is native to the planet Arrakis).

This project was far more difficult to do than the decorative bottle, (and I think it shows) but just as enjoyable to make. Powertex might be one of the more expensive crafts I’ve tried this year but it is well worth it!

12 Month Craft Challenge – August. Powertex Part One: Decorative Bottle

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Apologies for being so late with this one.  Firstly I went on honeymoon and then secondly, Powertex is VERY messy so as our house is small and rented, I had to wait for a dry day so I could do this outside.  It turns out that my little starter pack gives you a lot for your money so I ended up making two projects and I still have more powertex left!

This is project one.  It is pretty straightforward to do. Continue reading “12 Month Craft Challenge – August. Powertex Part One: Decorative Bottle”

Powertex Haul!!

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At the weekend, I visited Leamington Spa’s ‘Art In The Park’ event in Jephson Gardens.  It was my first time and I will definitely be going again.  There were lots of amazing artists there, with lots of affordable artwork, jewellery and crafts to buy as well as some demonstrations.

I’ve had my eye on Powertex products for some time now after my mum bought me an awesome plaque from a craft fair she visited in Birmingham at the beginning of this year.  It looks fairly simple to do, however the supplies and workshops are usually really expensive. So I was really pleased to finally find someone selling a starter kit for a reasonably priced £20.

So, what’s in the bag?

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For £20, the kit includes:

500g bottle of bronze Powertex

Small bag of gold Powertex pigment

3 small plaster shapes (I chose 2 faces and 1 heart)

2 small pieces of cotton fabric

varnish

protective gloves

application brush

information/tips on how to use the products to get the best results.

If you are interested, the artist, Annette Smyth creates some wonderful pieces using Powertex that you can view on her website here.

I can’t wait to get started on a Powertex project for August’s Craft Challenge!  Watch this space!

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