Time Off, Not Wasted?

Alright, so I’ve just come off a month-long vacation, and I was looking forward to jumping right back into the swing of things with work and life, etc, but it looks like that’s not happening right away… so… I’m diving into writing and crafting and catching up with people (and my blog! Yay!) So I’ve been fiddling with my Etsy shop and trying to figure out what exactly I want to do with it now.

Did I also mention that I finally figured out what I was doing wrong while photographing my work? Turns out I was just being stupid and was using ISO settings like a moron. I had it up way too high, I think. I didn’t remember what it did exactly, so my brother had to basically re-explain my camera to me after all these years… But either way, I now have some really beautiful pics of my work for my website and shop, such as:

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(I actually covered that neck form with paper myself and I really love how it looks. Not sure if I’ve mentioned it but I was, at some point, planning to do a tutorial.)

I had a little technique experiment going right before I left on my trip, which I’ve got lots of process photos from. That will be my next post. I’m excited about the possibilities it opens up, but once again, not sure what exactly to make… sigh…

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Back to the Grindstone

Heyyyyy! I’m back!

I’ve been on a bit of an unplanned hiatus from crafting, what with starting a new job, moving apartments, and doing some *serious* overseas travel (lemme tell ya), but it is time to get cracking again! I’ve got goals I want to meet and places I want to be, and I realize that I need to keep working really hard to get there.

Speaking of places I want to be: yes, I do want to do more traveling! But I have to pay rent… So in the spirit of earning my way, I’ve *finally* (and for real this time…) opened my Etsy store! Yaaaaayyyyyy!!!!!!

Follow this link to see it!: Faberge Cloud on Etsy

It’s definitely a work in progress… but I think it will do for now. I’ve put up everything that I’ve created in the last couple of years or so for art sales and such, but my style and direction has changed wildly throughout each phase, which means that the shop is kind of a random selection of unique oddities right now. Kind of cool, I hope?

I’m still working to sort of whittle down to my own unique style, but until then, I’m going to continue experimenting to see what I can come up with (hence, this blog!)

Anyway, just sayin’: “Hello again!”

I just started on my next project last night. I have a technique I’m working with, using glass stones as centerpieces. (You can actually see some of them in my Etsy shop.) I’ll be posting about that very soon!

Beaded Delight

A walk-through of my most recent bead-work projects.

CHOCOLATE RIVER

I’ve been thinking about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory lately…

SEA CRITTERS

DAZZLING CHARMER

 

INDECISIVE GREENERY

 

As you can see, I ended up changing the dangle that I’d originally made. Firstly, because I didn’t like the color scheme as much as I thought I would; it just seemed disconnected. And secondly, because I couldn’t get it to hang properly — something I’ve been really trying to figure out lately because I want to experiment with this look.

BULLET WEB

BUBBLES AND BUBBLES AND BUBBLES!

Some experimentation with asymmetry — a serious challenge for me. I naturally gravitate toward needing to make everything perfectly symmetrical, but I feel so boring when I do that.

ROCK STEADY

LEMON AND INCENSE

This is one of my favorite pieces I have ever made. It is so beautiful and delicate-looking in person. The colors are a bit different and it sparkles. It even feels really nice because the matte finish on the centerpiece feels almost like soft taffy and makes me hungry…

OYSTER CLUSTER

FALLEN ANGLES

I originally had loops hanging from either side of the droplet, but once again they weren’t lying correctly, so I had to remove them. Also, I admit I felt pretty proud of myself for thinking outside the box and using the crystal drop bead upside down so as to mimic the triangular pattern running through the centerpiece. I also love the color scheme on this one. I didn’t know if it was really going to work, but it’s vibrant and gorgeous!

All in all, another huge improvement, and I’m incredibly fond of every piece in this batch. That’s really saying something!

 

 

Ceramicable

This is going to be a shorter post because really all I have to say is that I’ve been experimenting with no-bake clays and polymer clay recipes to try to find mediums that would be good for creating my own pendant focal pieces.

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This first one was a test of the Crayola no-bake clay that I purchased at Target. It’s decent for creating really solid, thick objects, but when they are thin like this, they crack and break so easily. I really should have taken pictures of the aftermath, but I put these through a lot of trials — most of which involved throwing them against a wall and snapping them between my fingers. Final verdict: No good.

This second batch however, was made with a polymer clay recipe I found online. It was the only one I found that did not involve cooking it — a fact which is very important to me because the recipe involves Elmer’s glue, and at this moment I am very uncomfortable with the idea of cooking plastics where I breathe…

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I made many more pieces, but most of them were torn apart during the testing phase or just plain ugly. Now I say I tore them apart, but these were actually incredibly strong once they were fully dry all the way through. They just took several days to dry, during which they were still very soft on the inside. Now however, I’ve been dropping and throwing them and trying my hardest to break them with no effects!

The clay is a little weird to work with because it’s basically just a slightly less runny oobleck, but it does set up pretty quickly. Not great for detail work, but impressions and large, chunky shapes work wonderfully. The next step here is to try dyeing or painting them.

I plan to use this for some upcoming puppetry projects. I think it would be great for simple doll appendages and heads.

You can find the recipe I used here: No Cook Cold Porcelain

 

 

Spacial Rainsoning

I’ve been making handmade journals since I was very young, and have been making them with a reasonable level of skill for several years now. I always like to try to find new and better ways of making them though, especially since different formats are often better for various types of projects. So this is something that I’ve been trying recently.

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It started because I wanted to make something for my brother’s girlfriend and I saw it as an opportunity to try out this idea I had. Lately, I’ve been drawn to a lot of felt crafts even though I’ve never had much interest in them before. So I thought this would be a fun experiment to see if I would really enjoy it as much as I thought. Turns out, I do!

The gist of the project is that I bound the journal paper as per usual and employed the same covering technique, but instead of embroidering into the fabric cover itself, I merely attached a felt applique “painting” to the front cover.

Here’s a bit of a step-by step:

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Gluing down the felt shapes.
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Whip-stitching around all the edges.
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Gluing and sewing the panel to the book cloth.

I’ve been writing a show that involves space travel and I thought it would be really great to have a dedicated journal with a fun cover to get me excited to work on it this month. And I think it turned out ridiculously cute. I was concerned about the durability of the felt though (because it’s pretty cheap) so I ended up painting over it with “Diamond Glaze” which made it nice and solid and stiff, but in hindsight, it doesn’t really seem necessary so I didn’t do it with my other journal.

This next one is based on a screen-printed shower curtain that hangs in my room. I made this a couple of years ago for a class and I really love it. Very moody. So I decided to copy it for my day journal.

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A section of the wall hanging.

I chose to make this one a soft cover journal (which I almost never do) because the combination of the paper and felt was just so lovely in that form (Also I was at a loss for book boards…) So I’ve been using this constantly.

I’m enjoying this technique so much that I’m considering making a full size wall hanging/tapestry project because I’ve been looking for things to decorate my walls with. It’s very relaxing and doesn’t require that much finesse or skill because felt is so easy to work with, and I like the sort of child-like quality of the shapes and stitching.

In conclusion: Felt is fun, you guys! Who knew?

 

 

Scratch Circle Skirt

JARGON WARNING: This might get technical…

MISTAKE WARNING: I made a bunch…

Alright, so it’s been a while. Not because I haven’t been doing much, but because I’ve been doing sooo much. I’ve got a huge backlog of projects to write about and show you, I just have to find a minute to really get them organized.

One of the projects I completed (it feels so good to say that) this last month was a circle skirt which I created entirely from scratch (and by this I mean I designed, patterned, sewed, and dyed it myself). I’ve had this huge bolt of fabric of unknown origins lying around for a few years now. It’s sort of a heavy, white brocade and looks like it may have been intended for a wedding dress, but I’ve used it on curtains and stuff before. I wanted to make a big skirt and it was the only thing I had while I was visiting home that was big enough for my goal. So selection by default for the win!

1) DESIGN:

Like I said, the first step was to design the garment. I wanted to do a semi-circle skirt with many panels so that I could make it nice and long (creating a circle skirt with less panels usually ends up as a very short skirt) and I wanted it to have a high waistband. Now, this drawing is the actual sketch that I used to conceptualize the skirt, but honestly I can’t even remember what exactly was going on here because I was being a complete idiot.

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As you may eventually realize, this sketch has none of the features of the final piece and that is because I kept trying to make math and physics conform to my desires… Long story short: I was trying to make a half circle skirt out of a full circle skirt without adjusting the curvature of the waistband and I only realized my mistake after drafting the pattern, so then I had to change it back into a full circle skirt but with more panels so that I could fit it all into the fabric I had… yeesh

2) PATTERN:

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This is the pattern draft that I made before I realized the severity of my error — an error that I’ve made many times in my life but never quite solved and have therefore kept coming to the same failed conclusions (but I just completed a project where I managed to SOLVE this problem! Stay tuned in the coming weeks for that!)

Anyway, so there’s that… First stage: success!

3) MAIN SEAMS:

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I cut out the 12 panels and got them all sewn together and luxuriously draped over a chair. Gorgeous.

4) WAISTBAND:

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(Yay, former Christmas tree!)

I cut out a 4″ wide strip to the circumference of my waist, plus a few inches more on one side for the button fastening flap. I ironed interfacing onto one side of it to give it some added strength and stiffness. Then I pressed it in half, lengthwise to cover the interfacing.

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The waistband was sewn to the body of the skirt and the other edge of the band was folded in 1/2″ and pressed.

The zipper comes in about here.

 

5) ZIPPER:

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I used this nifty trick for inserting a zipper. I don’t remember where I oh-so-recently learned it (probably “The Great British Sewing Bee”) or if it is common knowledge, but it has saved my life ever since. Basically, you sew the seam with a basting stitch and press it open,

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then place your zipper face down along the inside seam and pin and baste it along the edges.

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(WARNING: I did this next step wrong because I was once again being stupid and forgot what order the steps come in. Please ignore the fact that the picture shows me having permanently sewn the zipper before removing the basted seam stitches. DO NOT DO THIS. Bad bad bad. Carry on.)

So then you rip open the basted seam on the outside side of the garment, open the zipper, sew the zipper around its perimeter, and remove the extra basting stitches. Complicated as it might sound, it’s honestly such a time (and stress) saver for me because it’s guaranteed to give a really clean, matched edges look every time. (Not this time… because I did it wrong lol)

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Yeah, I had to go back and fix the top edge…

Back to the waistband!

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I pinned the remaining edge to the inside of the skirt and whip-stitched it by hand around the interior of the waistline.

 

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Afterwards, I hand-stitched the edges of the button fastening flap closed

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and added top-stitching around the bottom edge just because.

6) IRONING:

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I proceeded to press the seams on my ironing board. Probably should have done this earlier in the process, really.

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before
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after

Look at the difference! Yay!

(Side note: DO THIS! It has taken me too many years to realize the importance of ironing all of your seams and edges properly. It makes such a difference. There are disastrous projects in my past that I’m now convinced could have been salvaged if I had not been so lazy about this. In fact, there even certain things that will just never work out otherwise — something that I will go into detail on with some of my more recent projects.)

7) EDGE FINISHING:

FIRST: Try it on and check that the hem hangs horizontally to the ground all the way around. If not, you must do something about this — generally in the form of cutting away at the offending fabric. Just, you know, be careful. Don’t get overzealous.

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As you can see here, I made myself some bias binding by cutting 2″ wide fabric strips along the bias grain and attaching them at a perpendicular angle. I made a lot. Not quite sure how much, but that hem is wide.

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I decided to encase the edge evenly on both sides so that the hem would have a little more volume and a noticeable edge. Then I ironed the hem flat.

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And lastly, I sewed the buttonhole and button, dyed it sort of a lilac color (which any sane person would have done first), and here is the finished product! I say this with the greatest surprise, but it fits really well and looks so clean and polished and (albeit simple) is one of the most professional-looking pieces I’ve ever made. So I’m pretty happy with it and ended up basing a more recent piece off of this pattern as well.

But for now, I hope this was helpful and (somewhat) interesting! I’ve got so many exciting projects to share in the future though. I’ll keep you posted!