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Tuesday Night Craft Experiment

Eco-Friendly Yarns March 17, 2010

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If you’re a yarn aficionado like myself,  you get ads popping up on the side of your facebook page promoting hand painted yarn and other hippy dippy eco-friendly fibers. I’m psyched to see these ads because I am fascinated by other “fibers” that yarn can be made from. No, I’m not talking about dog hair yarn. And yes, there is such a thing.

Once at Spark Craft, I found a sock yarn partly made of crab shells. It’s so soft. I still haven’t made anything with it, but I bought it because it is made of crabs. And I hate crabs. It would also be an amazing conversation piece, but someone would have to ask about my socks first. It’s a flawed plan. It was the best  yarn I found made of funny fibers…

….UNTIL NOW………..

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Milk Yarn.

While investigating the projects people have made with this yarn, I discovered that the same company, Kollage, also makes yarn from 100% corn and corn fibers.

So, Kollage, if you’re out there…I love the the teal blue and persimmon colors.

*Everytime I had to write “crab” I wrote “crap.” Yes, even that time.

 

“There are 5 different types of chairs in this hotel room” March 15, 2010

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These last few days in Massachusetts have been a rainy nightmare. I’m writing this post right now because I am home on my day off and my basement is flooded which is preventing me from doing my laundry out of fear I will electrocute myself or burn the house down.

My weekend was mostly spent working and crafting. I thought to myself, just a moment ago, you know what would make everyone suffering from a case of the “OH MY GOD IT WON’T STOP RAINING”‘s happy?

A blog post for every single day this week – well, Mon-Fri, at least.

You’re welcome.

 

Where are we right now? January 31, 2010

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I just spent some time reviewing this blog and the projects that I’ve completed. I’m happy with what I have made, but there is so much more. I want to do larger scale projects. Far more sewing and knitting. Maybe even take a few classes.

February is going to be a tough month for completing projects. I’m moving, have three jobs, and the rest of my free time is devoted to guitar.

At my group home job today I was able to complete 20 rows on my Lace Ribbon Scarf – which sounds like a lot, but is actually a very disappointing 3 inches.

Therefore, February will be known as LACE RIBBON SCARF MONTH.

Hold on to your hats.

 

I know, I know… December 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — momentpunch @ 11:00 am

When I started this blog a few months ago I made a promise to myself that I would not let the content lag. Well, here we are. Two weeks and no recent posts. I’m sorry. This doesn’t mean that I have not been crafting. I just haven’t been crafting anything new to show you.

I’ve recently been wrapped up in the world of craft swaps again. The swap that I chose to participate in is  one where I can post what I want and someone picks something from that list to make for me. I get to pick from someones list as well. This ensure that I get stuff that I want and I get to use supplies that I already have.

I was able to make things for two swappers this past time. To one, I am sending a stenciled skill shirt for her daughter and some crochet hookes. The other, in Germany, got scrapbook paper and soap.

I *should* be receiving a handmade recipe book and hair accessories from one. And a birds nest necklace from the other. For those, I will post photos.

The past two weeks I have been mostly making soap and stenciling t-shirts. I may be in a little bit of a rut as far as picking other projects goes. I am not really in the mood to sew anything. The lovely and light fabrics that I picked up a few years or months ago are not suited to winter skirt making and I hope, as I do at the beginning of every winter, that when the time comes for me to make those skirts, I will be at least 4 sizes smaller. So, why make them now? Welcome to my brain.

I’m bored with jewelry making. I can only make so many beaded necklace strands or put a bead on an earring finding. Boring. Challenge, please.

Knitting is fun. It’s winter. And that’s the best time to knit. Most of my craft supplies are yarn and fiber related. I really, really, really need to finish that scarf. Or rejuvenate with a fresh project.

I’m open to suggestions. Give me some ideas!!

In crafting related news, this Sunday, December 6th, is my favorite day of the year: The Bazaar Bizarre. This event has grown substantially over the past few years as the “craft movement” has become more mainsteam. I’m excited to pick up some handspun yarn! Hopefully the couple that was selling felt mustaches filled with cat nip will be back. Mickey loves those.

The following weekend I will be going to CRAFTBOSTON which sounds ok. It looks like there are more artisans than crafters. I won’t be able to afford a damn thing.

And for eye candy, I would die for this bacon scarf.

 

Sunday Morning Stenciling or How I Learned to Love Freezer Paper November 16, 2009

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Up until Sunday, I had a love/hate relationship with t-shirt stenciling. I picked stencils that were just shapes and used regular paper as my stencil. Terrible idea.

The best resource out there for stencils is stencilry.org. Not only do they have a pluthera of stencils of everything imaginable (including Bob Saget), but they also have tutorials and how-to’s. All these tutorials recommend using freezer paper.

I’m such a minimalist when it comes to crafting. I try to do as much as possible with as little as possible. I never imagined that I would have a use for freezer paper, but upon purchasing it, I’ve found a multitude of uses: stencils, covering soaps in their molds, putting paint on it. Okay, maybe three. Still, that’s more than without it.

For the first freezer paper stencil, I picked one I thought to be relatively easy. These tiny little army men. Looks like a piece of cake, right? Well those little triangles between their legs are a separate piece that need to stay in place. Luckily, my plastic coated freezer paper made this dream a reality.

To start:

1. Place freezer paper over the regular paper print out of what you plan to stencil. Some people actually print it out on freezer paper. I’m too scared.

2. Take an exacto knife (its what I normally use) to cut out your stencil PLASTIC side down. Do not to this on your vinyl table cloth like I did. You will cut it. (If you do this, simply turn the tablecloth around so that it is covered by a bowl or box of wheat thins.)

3. Lay out your pre-washed t-shirt. Lay out stencil on top where you want it and iron the pieces into place.

4. Take your fabric paint and foam brush and apply the paint.

5. Let sit until dry. Peel off stencil. Touch up. Iron design to set paint. Wash.

The toughest part is cutting out the stencil. Since I have no patience, it’s almost maddening. I’m happy with the way that this one turned out and I am looking forward to doing more stenciling….away from my tablecloth.

 

Class: Cold Process Soap Making November 13, 2009

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I’m falling in love with the classes at Brookline Arts Center. As you might recall, I made a ring there in October during my Jewelry/Metalsmithing class. The idea of taking the Memories to Art intensive gets me a little too excited. I mean, putting pictures on tiles and fabric – AWESOME!

This past Saturday, I took a wonderful cold process soap making class with Back Porch Soap Co. founder Marla Bosworth. I was curious about cold process soaps because I’d always done melt and pour and thought I could get a little more fancy with cold process since it’s essentially creating a soap completely from scratch.

I have a soap making book and I’d read about the process on various blogs, but I could never wrap my head around it. I am definitely a learn by doing type of person. Plus, the idea of working with Lye was downright frightening.

Lye is a corrosive substance that is often used in oven cleaner and draino. My grandfather used pure Lye soap to combat his terrible acne. And it worked. Because it burns a layer of skin off of your face. It is currently only sold at Ace Hardware due to the fact it is an active ingredient in some chemical bombs.

Lye is nothing to mess around with, which is why Marla outfitted us all with Judge Doom like rubber gloves, goggles, and a mask. Pretty bad ass for soap making, right?

Based off of Marla’s recipe, we combined the correct amounts of Lye and distilled water together which, on their own, heated to about 160 degrees. While we waited for the Lye concoction to cool, we melted the essential oils (which I believe were coconut butter, olive oil, and shea butter). Once both liquids had cooled to 115 degrees they were combined. (Note: Always, always, always add the lye to whatever you’re combining it with).

After they were stirred together and started to harden (there is a technical term for this) the fragrance oils of peppermint and rosemary were added. And they smelled incredible. This particular batch gave us about 40 bars of soap.

Marla provided us with smallish tupperware containers as molds. We adorned what will be the bottoms of our soaps with rose petals, chamomille buds, cranberry seeds, poppy seeds, etc. Sheets of freezer paper protected the bottom and tops of our soaps.

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Our soaps were then to sit for 24 hours in their molds. I cut mine after about 36 hours after ripping the tupperware apart. I knew my soap would be stubborn. It is now curing on my shelf for 4-6 weeks. Right now, due to the lye, it is the most dangerous soap in the world.

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Soap Making Class (Taken from Marla's facebook page)

I would also like to note that Lindsay posted a really awesome post on her blog about various scarf projects – which I really want to do – and mentioned my post about the t-shirt scarf! Happy Happy!

 

I Made It Over The Course of Three Sundays: My “Jewelry Piece” October 29, 2009

Filed under: Completed Projects,Jewelry,Uncategorized — momentpunch @ 5:29 pm
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Let me preface this entry by saying that this is a “piece of jewelry.” This is not a series of beads strung on some wire and twisted around to make a cocktail ring.  This ring is not made of two pre-made pieces and glued together. This piece gave me the official title of  “Metalsmither” for three Sundays this month.

As I stare at my piece right now I am completely overcome with joy. I don’t ever think I imagined that anything I made from complete scratch could look this good, but it does. And I am very proud.

The process started by cutting a thin piece of silver into the size that I needed to be my actual ring. There was a tool that the teacher provided us with to do this and I chose my own route of not taking measurements.  I hate measurements and find that they are often times not accurate. I would rather wrap a piece of paper around my finger and mark it off accurately. I did just that and it fits perfectly. I did this same method when measuring the circumference of my ring. Take that, math. (An adult ed learner commented that mine was “way longer” than hers. First of all, “thats what she said.” Second, I have huge fingers. Can it.)

One my piece of metal was cut for my ring there was lots of sanding, smoothing, pounding, and SOLDERING. Blowtorch and all. Cover the ring with some flux (a pasty residue used to help your piece from melting and to distribute the heat evenly around the metal), blowtorch, drop in some acid, rinse in some water, move on.

For the stone I picked this rather large metallic black/silver stone. It’s gorgeous.  Next I made a bevel – which is the silver piece that keeps my stone in place by encasing it in a silver tray type object. File, sandpaper, flux, solder were all done mutliple times. And since the bevel consisted of two pieces, you can only imagine how long that too.

After I finished my bevel, I drilled a hole in the back so that I could pop my stone in and still be able to pop it out when I needed to. File, sand, etc the back of the bevel to even off the drilled hole. (Does this sound like a lot of work yet?)

During the last class, I solder the bevel and the ring together, pop my stone in, set, and polish. Simple right? Well all that took about three hours.

The class was awesome and I feel like I learned a lot from it. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to continue with this hobby because of my access to the necessary items in a rentable studio space. Plus, I needed guidance with this. It’s complicated. You can only go in one direction with the file or it scars the piece, which was my most common mistake. I made plenty of common mistakes and some not so common.

I am absolutely thrilled with my piece. I think it looks professional and shiny! I’m glad that I took this class and learned just how much painstaking effort and attention to detail goes into metalsmithing. It’s awesome. I am so proud of it. So unbelievably proud!

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