November 4, 2010

Halloween 2010

Posted in Look, Make tagged , , , , , at 8:50 pm by onetinyacorn

Ah, what a difference a year makes. Last Halloween, I was pretty new to town, and bummed that I didn’t have any local friends yet. This year, I spent three fun-filled days with some of my most favorite people. Here’s the breakdown:

Friday: So, one of my jobs at the library is to basically organize and  host parties. Sweet, right? We had lots of attendees show up to carve pumpkins, decorate cupcakes, and make masquerade masks. Afterward, I high-tailed it to a distant, exotic land (Colorado) to catch a late showing of Paranormal Activity 2 (while still wearing my Superwoman costume).

Paranormal Activity 2 was fairly scary, and much better than its predecessor. Although I recommend watching the first one as well, because they pick up some threads from that one and weave them together nicely. One thing that annoys me about both movies are the characters, though. I find them to be grating, and the women come across as hysterical. Weak.

Then there was costume-gazing about town, and giant $2 slices of pizza and cheap beer amidst punk music at Surfside 7 in Fort Collins. I loved that place.

Saturday: Medusa night! We went out to a local bar, and I got tons of compliments on my costume.

Here’s how I made the costume:

Materials: 6 foot-long rubber snakes, lime green duct tape, and green plastic-coated copper wire (20 gauge–it came in a 50-foot spool). Makeup that I had lying around the house.

I unwound the wire, and duct taped it along the bottom of each snake, using 1/4 inch strips of tape and placing them every 2 inches or so along the length of the snake. After all 6 were wired, I constructed a “hat” out of them by weaving them together and using long, thin strips of duct tape where two snakes intersected.

The makeup was just a shimmery gold cream, with iridescent gold-orange powder applied liberally on top so that it wouldn’t smear. I used lots of deep purple eyeshadow in an attempt to create a “smoky eye.”

Sunday: Soooo sleepy. My snowflake friend and I (Superwoman again) left work and grabbed a drink and delicious fried foods at a bar. And then I slept very soundly, for a long time.

And thus ended my favorite weekend of the year. Perhaps next year I’ll make it a whole week. I’m already thinking about my next costume…

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October 28, 2009

DIY Tarot Deck

Posted in Look, Make tagged , , , , at 10:23 pm by onetinyacorn

Learning how to read Tarot cards has been an intention of mine for a few years. It just seems like a fun thing to be able to do. I decided to start by making my own deck, beginning with the 22 cards of the Major Arcana. Now, here is where knowing the symbolism in each traditional card would help. I started with a base image for each concept, and can add symbols as I learn about each card.

I cut 2.5″ x 3.5″ cards out of cardstock, sifted through my substantial collection of magazines for appropriate images, and rubber cemented those suckers on.

Tarot Deck

November 30, 2008

Sweater Project #2: Professor Sweater

Posted in Make tagged , , , , , , at 3:48 pm by onetinyacorn

I’ve always wanted a jacket with elbow patches–the kind that professors are purported to wear (although I’ve never actually seen one wearing them). I decided to use leftover cashmere from my hat project to make my own patches.

Professor Sweater

skill level: intermediate. Beginner if using non-stretchy fabric (corduroy, for instance).

time: 1 1/2-2 hours

materials: 2 sweaters, cardstock or scrap paper, scissors, marker, pins, iron, spray starch (optional), needle and thread (preferably embroidery thread).

1. Lay out what remains of your sweater on a hard, even surface. Use a large-ish expanse of the fabric–enough to accommodate two of your ovals. I used the back of the sweater. Don’t use the arms, as you’ll be using those for project #3. Smooth out any wrinkles in the fabric.

2. On cardstock or scrap paper, sketch an oval shape to the dimensions that you desire for your patches. You could use a template if you’re a symmetrically-challenged artist. Draw a larger oval around your first oval–make it approximately 1/2 an inch larger all around.

3. Cut out your larger oval, and position it on the sweater remnants.

4. Using a marker, gently draw a dotted line around the oval template. Be careful not to pull on the sweater. Repeat once.

5. Using sharp scissors, carefully cut out each oval. Check to ensure that they are the same size.

6. Generally, there’s a “right” side and a “wrong” side for fabric. In knits, the “right” side usually looks like a series of v shapes with a vertical orientation, and the “wrong” side like horizontally-oriented dashed lines.

If you care about matching up the sides of the ovals to the sides of the sweater upon which you will be sewing, mentally note which side is which now. Place oval (“right” side down) on an ironing board. Fold in fabric approximately 1/2 an inch around the perimeter, and iron gently. I held the folded fabric, a little at a time, and laid the tip of the iron close to my finger, working my way around the oval. You could also notch the fabric to reduce bulk, although I didn’t and it was fine. Don’t pull on the fabric with the iron, just lay it down and hold for a second or two. If it’s not a perfect oval, don’t worry about it too much–it can be fixed as you sew. If they’re really wonky, though, try to re-shape the oval in the weird spots and iron again (spray starch may help to create a crisper line). When you’re happy with the shape, flip them over and press them for a second with the iron.

patchpressed1

7. Take another sweater (or jacket, or whatever you want to adorn with your new patches). Figure out where you want to place the patches, and pin in place. You may want to carefully try on the garment to check your placement. I went a little overboard with the pins, placing them every 1/2 an inch or so around the ovals.

8. You might be able to machine-sew these in place, but given the stretch of the knits and the placement, I opted to hand-stitch them. I used two strands of embroidery floss (the strands being the individual threads, not the grouping of six that form the floss), carefully sewing about 1/8 of an inch inside the edge of the oval. Any small imperfections in your shape can be fixed as you sew, by carefully rolling the edge of the oval in or out as needed. Remove the pins as you approach them while sewing. As always, be careful not to stretch anything while sewing. If any pin marks remain, a quick press with an iron should remove them.

9. Tie off the loose ends, and admire your new sweater in the mirror.

November 25, 2008

1 Sweater= 4 Crafty Projects

Posted in Make tagged , , , , , , at 10:59 pm by onetinyacorn

Every once in a while, I’ll be standing in a store, fingering some mass-produced item and it occurs to me, “Hey! You’re crafty! Why don’t you just make that thing that you want?” It’s always a little funny to me that this doesn’t neccessarily immediately occur to me, despite a lifetime of Making Things. I think it says a lot about the conditioned impulse towards consumerism, but that’s another post…

So I needed a hat. My beloved cashmere sweater had a tear in the neckline, so I decided to sacrifice it. What resulted was no less than 4 independent items. Today I present to you:

The Little Edie Hat

skill level: beginner

time: 30 minutes-1 hour

materials needed: 1 sweater, scissors (or a rotary cutter and mat), marker, ruler, thread and needle, seam ripper (optional–helpful if there are tags from the sweater to remove), and brooch (optional).

1. Lay your sweater down on a hard, flat surface. Smooth out any wrinkles.

2. Measure up eleven inches from the bottom of the sweater. Use a marker to lightly draw a dotted line across the width of the sweater (uniformly eleven inches from the bottom).

3. Use sharp scissors (or a rotary cutter, if you have one) to cut along the dotted line, being careful not to pull the sweater as you go. Cut just inside of the line, so that no ink shows up on the fabric.

4. You should have a tube of fabric eleven inches high. This will become your hat. Save the rest of that sweater!

5. Mark how wide you want your hat to be. I noticed that by folding my tube in two, I had the perfect width, plus extra warmth from two layers of cashmere. (If you are not so lucky, you’ll just have to cut up one side of the tube. Wrap that around your head, and pinch the edge of the fabric where it overlaps on your head. Add an extra inch in width, cut off the excess material, and stitch it up. Presto).

Back to the doubled-up hat:

6. Turn tube inside-out, so that the side seams are visible. Align those side seams so that one rests on top of the other. You can use a machine to sew along the seams, just make sure to use a stitch made for knits. I opted to use an embroidery stitch and hand-sew up the seams with embroidery floss, for turbo strength.Tie off each end of thread.

Center Stitch

Center Stitch

Close-up of embroidery

Embroidery Close-Up

*Public Service Announcement* When you’re in a craft store, you may eye the cheap thread–maybe Coats and Clark brand. I once did this myself. However, after splurging on Gutermann thread, I will never look back. If you compare the strength of the two, Gutermann is much, much stronger. If any stress will be placed on whatever you’re sewing, I would opt for the latter brand. I don’t work for them or anything–Coats and Clark just really sucks. *End of Public Service Announcement*

7. This part’s a little tricky to explain–it’s like origami. You have a tube, bisected by a line sewn down the middle. Take one of those sections, and fold over the other tube, inverting along the way.

8. You’ve got yourself a hat! You can sew up one end, but I’ve found that my hat keeps me quite toasty without it. I’m on the lookout for a brooch to perfect the Little Edie hat…

All done!

All done!

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