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Dastardly Crafty

Craft, Crochet and Cthulhu.

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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12 Month Craft Challenge July – Beaded bookmark using a bead loom.

I do own a kindle but I still love reading *actual physical books*  The only problem is that I never have bookmark and always end up using whatever I have to hand: an envelope, a bus ticket, a scrap of paper.  So I thought this month I would have a go at making my own using the lots of beads I have that have sat in a box in the spare room unused.

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Equipment needed:

A beading loom,

A variety of seed beads,

scissors,

sturdy thread,

sewing needle,

clear nail polish.

So first of all let’s talk about the loom.

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This is a child’s loom so it is very basic and short!  The only issue with changing styles of craft every month is that I may or may not use equipment again, which could get costly, so hence the cheap and easy option.  If you wanted to make adult bracelets you would need something bigger.  There is a great tutorial on how to make your own cardboard loom for virtually nothing but it seems too fiddly to me.

So the first step is stringing it.  There are instructions with the loom and it is quite fiddly to do.  Basically, you are attaching strands of thread pulled taught across the loom and attached to the pegs like guitar strings.  Your beads will fit in the gaps between the strings

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Now you tie a piece of thread to your first thread on the left, thread a needle followed by five beads, making sure the beads are placed in between the threads, all neatly lined up.  Then insert your needle UNDER the last thread and through the bead.  Do this to all other beads so that you are in effect ‘sewing’ them together.  You will know if you are doing this correctly.  If you do it wrong, the beads will all fall off the thread.  This video explains this technique better than I can in words.

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You can see from the photos above that I tried to arrange my beads to make a pattern.  When it came to the ends, I continued to weave thread through with my needle, just as I had done so before but without the beads.  For the bottom of the bookmark I  added clear nail polish before trimming the remaining thread.  For the top of the bookmark, I tied the end to make a tassel, once again making sure I added clear nail polish to the tips to prevent them from fraying.

This is what the end product looks like:

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It was a fun project to make and I would definitely use the loom again, perhaps to try and make a bracelet next time.

12 Month Craft Challenge – June. Kawaii ice cream felt key ring.

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At the end of last month I got married and we’ve decided to go back to Kyoto in Japan this Summer for our honeymoon!!  So, I wanted this month’s challenge to be something kawaii.  I made this in a couple of hours, but you’ll need quite a few materials despite it being something so small.

What you’ll need:

Felt in beige, cream, red, pink.

Needle and threads in cream, pink, black, red.

Small safety eyes (or you could use black felt circles if you don’t have these.)

Keyring finding (Mine was from The Works)

Toy stuffing.

Red velvet ribbon.

Paper, pen and scissors.  (Preferably scissors designed to cut material)

First sketch out your design on paper. I tried to make mine as simple as possible. Then you need to trace over that design to make up the patterns for your felt components – cone, ice cream, sauce.

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Next cut out your felt shapes.  You will need 2 cones in beige felt, 2 ice cream scoops in cream felt, 1 sauce in red felt and 2 tiny pink circles for the cheeks.  It is handy to put a pin through it to keep your template from moving around while you cut it.

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Start with the beige cone shape, and using your beige thread, sew in diagonal lines vertically down the felt.  Then sew lines across to make a waffle pattern.  This is the MOST time consuming part.

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Now attach your sauce to your ice cream, using the red thread.

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Next you need to add the eyes.  If you are using safety eyes, fold over the bottom third of your ice cream and make two TINY slits with your scissors.  Now push the eyes through, turn over and fix the backs.  You need to push them until they click.  (Behold, you have a zombie ice cream!!)

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You will also need to sew on a smile with your black thread and two tiny pink cheeks.  Then start to assemble your waffle cone and kawaii ice cream by stitching them together. You will need to do the same with the plain cone and ice cream you have left over.  Then stitch them together, stuffing with the toy stuffing lightly as you go.  Remember to leave an opening at the top.

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Thread a small piece of velvet ribbon through the keyring finding.

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Place the ends into the opening you have left and sew round the edge of the rest of the cone to fix the ribbon in place.   And you have a completed key ring!

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12 Month Craft Challenge May – Comic Book Shoes!

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This has been by far my favourite project so far.

I LOVE THESE SHOES!

They are not quite finished as I will need to sand them and find a way of making them waterproof.  If anyone has any suggestions please comment below.

I’ve always had a bit of a thing for Wonder Woman.  I have fond memories of watching the old 70’s TV series as a kid with my brother.  And when I used to go to the pub quiz with my old friends our team was always called the JLA, of which Wonder Woman is part of.  So in deciding which comic book to use it was a no brainer.

What you’ll need:

Comics (I used 2 old issues of Wonder Woman that I bought for a couple of quid from Birmingham ComicCon a couple of months ago.  I still have lots of paper left)

Scissors

Mod Podge gloss (I don’t know much about this stuff.  They do make other formulas but this seems to be the one I read about on most tutorials online)

Small paintbrush

A pair of shoes (must have a smooth surface)

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Step One:  Cut out any scenes you like from the comic books into small triangles.  Trust me, the triangle shape makes it a lot easier to stick together and gives aesthetic appeal when you put them all together.  I also separated my shapes into words, characters (I managed to get Superman in there!) and general sections.  If you use more than one comic book, you may get slightly different tones too.

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Step Two: Start to spread a small, thin layer of glue onto the shoe and place your triangle on.  Once in place brush another layer of glue over the top.  Repeat until shoe is covered.  Make sure your paper reaches right to the edges of the shoe.  I tried to put pieces that I wanted to be noticeable on the heel and on the front of the shoes.

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Step Three: Once you have covered both shoes and the glue is dry, you are going to cover the shoe all over with a slightly thicker layer of glue.  This can be difficult to get right – if it is too thick it can go lumpy or dry white instead of clear.  It is also a good idea to put glue around the edges of the shoe first to ensure that there are no gaps.

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Step Four: Once dry, repeat step three two or three times more.

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According to Mod Podge, it can take three weeks for it to cure properly, so I’ll have to wait till then to finish them off.  I can’t wait to eventually be able to wear them out.

THE most useful magazine freebie!

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In this month’s Simply Crochet magazine, not only are there some great patterns this time round (check out that cute teddy on the front) but this month’s freebie is one of the most useful.

 I usually end up defacing my magazines with pen as I tick off the rows I’ve completed but this handy gadget means that you can easily keep track.  It’s such a simple idea.  I don’t know why I’ve not seen these anywhere else before.

12 Month Craft Challenge – April. Creative Candy Melts. #1 Smooch Lollipops

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This just might be the easiest craft challenge I’ve done so far!  I’ve always seen the bags of Candy Melts in Hobbycraft and wondered what on earth to do with them. I managed to make a couple of projects using them this month.

This is the first one: A smooch on a stick

At work, we have a huge cake sale and a whole week of charity fundraising.  I thought it was a perfect opportunity to try out some Candy Melts as part of my challenge.

To make you’ll need the following.  All of this is available at Hobbycraft:

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– A bag of candy melts  (this makes around 6 lollipops)

– A pyrex bowl or jug to melt them in if you are using a microwave (this is the easiest way)

– A plastic mould in the shape of a pair of lips

– Lollipop sticks (you need the long ones)

– Cellophane bags and ties  (optional.  You might want to eat them all straight away)

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How to make your smooch on a stick

Pour half of the Candy Melts into the jug.  Put in the microwave for around 60secs.  Stir with a spoon.

If it needs melting further, heat again 30secs at a time until spoonable.

Meanwhile, place the lollipop sticks in place in the mould.

When the Candy Melts are ready, pour into the mould until they are half full.  Spin the lollipop sticks round to coat them and tap or shake the moulds lightly to remove any air bubbles.

Pour more mixture until the mould is full.  Tap or shake once more.

Put mould into the fridge to set.  This may only take 20-30 mins.

Once set, you should be able to easily lift the lollipops out of the mould.

If desired, put into cellophane bags and tie.

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And that’s it!  We managed to sell all of the ones I made and all of our cakes for the year charity.

OMG Crochet AND video games??!!! Yoshi’s Wooly World

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Copyright Nintendo

One of my other interests aside from crocheting is playing video games.  (As you can see here, I have combined the two before with my Link figure.)

Imagine my delight upon discovering that this year Nintendo are releasing Yoshi’s Wooly World on the wii u. This game not only has a knitted theme to it but also includes a Amiibo that is…made of yarn.

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Copyright Nintendo

To see the gameplay and amiibo in action check out the video below.

I can’t wait to preorder this!

12 Month Craft Challenge: March Paper Flowers

With the days becoming lighter and spring flowers beginning to pop up everywhere, I thought paper flowers were rather apt for this month’s challenge.

I made two sorts: one to decorate cards or gifts without wire and the second flower with wire to stand in a vase (or in this case a vintage style bottle.)

What you will need:

Crepe paper printed with a design you like.

Scissors

Glue

Wire (if desired)

Stick on jewels or buttons (if desired)

Both styles are made in more or less the same way.   First cut three equally sized squares of paper.

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Now fold one of the paper squares corner to corner to make a triangle.  Do this twice more until it looks something like this:

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The opening should be placed at the top.  Repeat with the other two squares.

Now, cut each triangle edge into a petal shape.

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When you open it out it should look like a flower shape with clear petal shapes.

With the first piece, cut out one petal.  With the second piece, cut out two petals.  With the third cut out three petals. DO NOT THROW ANY OF THE PETALS YOU HAVE CUT OFF AWAY; you will need them in the next step.

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Starting with the petal on it’s own, roll it into a cone shape and glue the edges.  Do the same with the other petals, so you end up with three cones that increase in size.

Now do the same with the larger flower pieces, applying glue to just one of the petals on each where the paper overlaps.

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If you want a flower to apply to cards/gifts etc, glue each piece carefully together.  You may wish to leave out the smallest cone and glue a gem or button in its place instead.

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If you are using wire, glue the layers together as above, but this time twist the flower at the back to make a point.  Then tightly wrap the wire around the point you have made.  Now you have a stem!

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I made a few of these in different sizes to fill a vintage looking bottle.

 Unfortunately, I had to drink the gin cocktail out of it first. 😉

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12 Month Craft Challenge: February. Stencilling. Hmmmm…

So February’s challenge was to use stencils to make something.

I wanted something practical, so opted to stencil a t-shirt.  First step was finding a stencil I liked.  I love anything rockabilly so I opted for an anchor.  It also meant that the stencil itself was straightforward too.  After a quick google search I found lots of free printable stencils at pixgood.com. I printed it out onto paper and using a craft knife, I carefully cut out the shape, remembering to place cardboard underneath to protect my work surface.

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Now this is where the lesson in common sense and hindsight begins!!

Note to dumbass self: NEXT TIME,  DO NOT PRINT ONTO PAPER, PRINT ONTO THIN CARD.  I didn’t and as a result the cutting out was surprisingly more difficult than I thought, as I had to ensure that I held the knife at a slight angle to avoid creating rough edges.  It turned out okay, but the real problems came later…

Next, the paints.  I found these a few weeks ago in The Works for the bargain price of £4.99.  The set has 8 different colours and it has a spray top, which worked well for my nautical theme.  Only thing is, the set has no instructions at all, other than to say that it is machine washable.

I stuck the stencil to the t-shirt with tape to keep it from moving around.  Note to dumbass self: DON’T FORGET TO PUT NEWSPAPER INSIDE THE T-SHIRT.  I had forgotten this.  I sprayed it, and then realised that if I wasn’t quick, the paint would leak through onto the back of the t-shirt.  I managed to do this just in time.

NOW THE REAL HINDSIGHT LESSON: if you have cut it out of paper, the paper will curl, so you need to spray quick to keep the shape of your design.  Obviously, if you have done the sensible thing and cut it out of cardboard, you won’t have this problem.  Mine LOOKED fine.  But it wasn’t.

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I had to wait for ages for it to dry, but when finally I removed the paper I found that my anchor design looked a little blurry around the edges and in one part, the paint had made a hideous big blob where it had spread out following the curling of the stencil.  DISASTER!  I wish I had taken a photo at this point, but I was so busy trying to think of ways to fix the problem that it slipped my mind.

So, I found some other fabric pens I had hidden away in my craft boxes and tried to think of a way to neaten it up.  I used a metallic grey pen to draw an outline around most of the anchor.  Then I used the vibrant pink colour to paint a flower shape over the large blotch at the top of the anchor.  I added a second, smaller one to add balance to the image.

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This is what it looked like whilst wet.  You can see the blurred blue edges where the paint seeped under the paper.

When it dried the final design looked like this:

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So the verdict: I thought this would be straightforward to do but it wasn’t.  However, this was largely due to a lack of common sense on my part!  Despite this, it was fun to do and I would love to use the spray paints again.

The final thing will be fine as a t-shirt to lounge around in at home but I won’t be wearing it anywhere else.

March Craft Challenge: Paper flowers.

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