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Dastardly Crafty

Craft, Crochet and Cthulhu.

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Penguins in sweaters!!

So, I’ve been off work for a couple of days with a horrendous throat infection.  But here’s something that cheered the little cockles o’ me heart.

Behold, a row of adorable penguins in handmade sweaters.

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The sweaters were knitted by a man called Alfred Date (who is 109 btw) to help the charity ‘Penguin Foundation.’  I’m sure you’ll agree, they look pretty darn cute.

The full story is here: http://www.boredpanda.com/oldest-man-australia-knits-penguin-sweaters-alfred-date/

Before you whip out your yarn to make a penguin sweater, the charity behind the drive have been inundated and have said they do not need any more.  So to help The Penguin Foundation you can adopt a penguin here: http://www.penguinfoundation.org.au/

January 12 Month Craft Challenge – The project so far and how you can help me choose a design.

So for this month’s challenge I’m focusing on paper mache.

The main reason I chose paper mache for the January challenge is, that in it’s basic form, the craft is easy and cheap to do.  After the expense of Christmas and the party season, no one wants to go out and buy complicated and expensive equipment. It is also something that anyone can have a go at no matter what age.

Now, for my first project, I confess I’ve cheated a little and used a mache shape underneath my strips of brown paper and glue.  This was one I’ve had hanging around the house for a while after an impulse buy, and I’ve been waiting to use it.  It also means that, as my first project of the year, it guarantees at least some amount of success – at least THIS one won’t end up just a pulpy mess!

So, how was it?  Cold, slimy, but ultimately satisfying to do.  The only disadvantage is waiting for the layers to dry.  This has meant it is taking me a lot longer to make than anticipated.

This is what it looks like so far:

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The only thing to do after the final layers is paint it.  But what should it be?  I’ve got a few choices:

A Panda,

A Kokeshi (Japanese Doll)

Hello Kitty

Please help me choose!! Add your comments below.  Any other suggestions welcome.

New Year Resolutions: Crafty’s 12 Month Craft Challenge #12monthcraftchallenge

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So 2015 is finally here and this year instead of promising myself I’ll exercise more and eat less junk food (which I never keep to) I’ve decided to try a different sort of resolution.

For 2015 I’m going to try a new craft every month and hopefully share with you something that I’ve created using those skills.

January’s Craft Challenge will be… *drum roll*…PAPER MACHE SCULPTURE!

Easter Project: Fimo Creme Egg Keyring

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My cousin is allergic to chocolate (poor thing) so I decided to make this cool non-edible creme egg keyring as an Easter gift.

The creme egg bead is made from fimo.  I bought this one, but they look easy enough to make yourself, just remember to etch the star shape on the egg and prick a tiny hole using a pin in the top of the egg before baking according to packet instructions (to screw your eyepin into when it is cool)  Then attach to a keyring finding.  I bought a packet of 3 for 99p at The Works.  To finish off I used 3mm ribbon in three colours, red, yellow and purple (like the creme egg wrapper) and tied a bow around the chain of the keyring.

I’m pretty pleased with the result.  But it makes me hungry looking at it 🙂

How to make your own Valentine’s/Burlesque pasties.

Ok, ok, I know I spend most of my time defending burlesque and claiming it is not just middle class stripping…and then I go and show you how to make nipple tassels (or pasties as they are known).  The discussion about burlesque as performance art is a discussion for somewhere other than here.  But anyone who claims it is pure titillation (no pun intended) should take a look at Twisted Cabaret before making a judgement.

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Anyhow, I digress…

First you will need:

  • Ready made tassels or thread to make your own ( as explained below).  I used Anchor Metallic thread in Navy.
  • Foam to cut pasties out of.  I used glitter foam from The Works.
  • Sequins or jewels in whatever colours you want.  Again, I bought an entire set of lovely colours for £1.99 from The Works.
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • A lot of patience!

BEFORE YOU BEGIN: you will need to measure your nipples, all the way across.  Everyone’s nipples are different.  If you make them too big, its no disaster, but too small and they will look ridiculous.

STEP ONE: Making tassels

Wrap your thread several times around either your fingers or a small object such as a jewellery box like in the picture below.  Cut three more lengths of thread of around 20cm and tie the pieces of  thread around the loop you have made.

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Pull the threads you have just tied to the top of the loop, make a knot and separate into strands for plaiting.

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Once plaited an inch or two, tie LOOSELY in a knot.  You will need to untie this later on when you attach the tassel.

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Snip the bottom of the loop to make your tassel…

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Then to finish off, measure a cm from the top of the tassel and tie a length of thread several times around, finishing with a knot.  Your tassel is complete!  If it feels like too much work to make another, you can always attach it to a bookmark 😉

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NOW FOR STEP TWO:  THE PASTIES!

Having measured your nipples, draw two circles on the foam, 1.5cm BIGGER than your nipple length.

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Now draw a line from the centre of the circle to the outer edge.  Snip along this line and curve to make a slight cone shape.  You might want to test it for size before sticking down.

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Then to attach your tassels.  Snip a hole in the centre of the cone and undo the knot at the end of the plait of your tassel.  Thread the plait through the hole and retie the knot at the back of the cone.  This is what is going to keep your tassel from falling out.

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If you have used glitter foam like I have, you could just leave them like this.  If not, you now need to stick on your sequins or jewels.  Start from the centre and work your way outwards.  Yes, it’s fiddly.  Yes, it takes time.  Yes, if you use strong glue you will get a headache and may possibly stick your fingers together.  That’s why I’d suggest using tweezers to position your jewels and wear a mask to avoid inhaling fumes if you are using the strong stuff.  This is what it looks like to begin with:

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This is the point where I decided to leave it overnight to dry.  Again, the advantage of using glitter foam is that you could leave it here if you wanted to.

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Once dry, its time to add your final rows in a contrasting colour.  This is where it gets messy if you are not careful.  I would suggest doing half of the edging of one pasty, before leaving it to dry and doing the same with the second one.  Then you can return to the first pasty to finish off and vice versa.

Here are the pasties completely finished.  Now all you need is tit tape or eyelash glue and away you go. Get twirling!

Happy Handmade Christmas!

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‘m super excited about Christmas this year!  It’s my first Christmas in my new house, with my new partner.  We decided we both wanted a real tree and as I’m pretty crafty, I thought I’d have a go at making a few of my own decorations. I ended up enjoying it so much that, aside from the Christmas lights, I’ve ended up decorating the entire tree with decorations that are handmade.

My favourite is definitely the ‘gentlemen gingerbread’ (pictured above) that I made entirely from fimo, using a cookie cutter.  It’s the same sort of design I use for my gingerbread brooches, only with the addition of fimo monocle and pipe.

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Most of the decorations above are made using fimo too. To make the candy canes I took red and white fimo and rolled two long sausages.  Then I twisted the white one around the red one to make a long candy cane stick.  I then cut them into smaller sizes, bent them, baked them and tied a silver bow around each one.

The Christmas trees took the longest amount of time to make.  I used a tree cookie cutter to cut the basic shape and then made multi coloured baubles and a star and pressed them on before baking.

I did however make some other decorations that were not from fimo.  At the edge of the photo above, you can see a decoration that is made by taking three cinnamon sticks and fixing them together with decorative Christmas tape.  I then tied them with red and white string so that I was able to hang them.  They look traditional and smell gorgeous as do these…

I’m not sure how long these will last!  I first tied silver ribbon around the clementine, as you would tie up a parcel.  Then I pierced cloves along the edge of the ribbon.  This helps to fix the ribbon in place and releases the wonderful aroma of oranges and cloves.  They look pretty effective too.

There are several reasons why I’ll be making more decorations next year.

Firstly, it is very cost effective.   Some of these literally cost pence to make.  Even if you have to buy clay,  they are still a lot cheaper than buying decorations from a home store.

Secondly, there is something satisfying about hanging something that you have made yourself.  There is something soulless about a factory made, polystyrene, sequinned bauble when it lies near a ‘gentleman gingerbread’ that I have made by hand.  And the fact that no two are exactly the same adds to their character. I like that I have made something that I know nobody else has.

Thirdly, the smell of Christmas spices, means no need to buy air freshener or scented candles.

Go ahead and make your own.  It’ll be worth the time and trouble.

And have a very Merry Christmas!

xxx

Tis the season to…get crafty

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Christmas is well and truly on the way.  I exhibited at my first ever craft fair last weekend, after crafting like crazy for two weeks to make enough jewellery to sell.  It was a good experience and the very talented jeweller on the stall next to me gave me some great tips about selling your wares:

1.  Don’t reduce your prices.  The reason why people like handmade is because they know they are getting something original.  Handmade takes time and your prices should reflect this.  If people see something they love enough, they won’t care about the price.

2.  That said…not everyone will like your stuff.  People can be critical, and sometimes downright rude about your products.  Some will say they could make it themselves for a lot cheaper than you are selling them.  You will need a thick skin.  Just smile.

3. Some days you will sell lots at craft fairs.  Some days you won’t.  Make sure you sell other places too, such as on etsy.

Sound advice.

And on that last point, here are some of the latest products on my etsy page.  Find me at http://www.etsy.com/shop/craftybstards

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5 Creepy Crochet Projects For Halloween

I am always surprised that whenever I mention crochet, people still think of granny squares and ill fitting jumpers. So in celebration of Halloween and of my love of all things macabre, here are my favourite creepy crochet projects.

1) Exorcist Play Set

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Every time I look at this it makes me smile.  I think it is the way the priest looks so pissed off at having been barfed on.  Made by the very talented Croshame, you can check out other projects here at http://croshame.com/

2) Sugar Skull Winter Mask

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I think that we British are too afraid of death. I love the Mexican way of celebrating death through the Day Of The Dead, but this mask just gives me the creeps. I love that this was designed to keep her warm whilst she was out cycling in the winter! You can find the pattern by Kourtney Moon here at Sugar Skull Pattern

3) Creepy Cute Pyramid Head

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When my boyfriend was playing Silent Hill late at night, the sound of Pyramid Head’s sword scraping along the corridors scared the crap out of me.  Violent, inhuman and a rapist, he is a truly terrifying character.  Here Needle Noodles has added this pattern to the rest of her awesome creepy cute creations.  You can find it here: http://needlenoodles.com  You need to have bought her book Creepy Cute Crochet first (which I highly recommend).

4) Frankenweenie

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I’m a huge fan of Tim Burton and I’m really looking forward to seeing the animated version of his early short film Frankenweenie.  This is my favourite crochet version by Manualidades.  

5) Cthulhu Mask

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Well there had to be something Cthulhu related here somewhere! Designed by Nancy B Nutt, this full mask is pretty terrifying.  You can find her page through Ravelry or at her site here.

Have a Happy Halloween!

My quest to join the Marmarati!

Loving Marmite sometimes feels like having a guilty secret.  If you dare to come out of the closet about your love of the brown stuff, you can guarantee that at least one person, if not more, will gasp in horror and recoil as though you were some sort of pervert.

Well, fellow Marmite devotees,  that there is no need to feel like a social leper anymore!  The secret society of the Marmarati will indulge your every Marmite fantasy…but like every secret society, there is an initiation test, well, several actually.  No surprise that I’ve taken up the craft challenge and having bought more jewellery supplies, came up with this…

I’m really pleased with it and have been proudly wearing it everywhere I go.  What better way to come out of the Marmite closet?

P.S. The Marmarati is not so secret, if you want to vote for my creation or join the Marmarati yourself, you can find them here: http://www.marmarati.org/list-submissions/?cid=1010  There are some pretty amazing creations on there: a Marmite fascinator and an awesome cross stitch.

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