Monday, August 29, 2011

Soft Weapons: Medieval Flail

Another one for the Soft Weapons series. I had actually always been calling this weapon a mace. Then when I looked that up, I saw a staff with a metal ball right on it. What I had always thought was a mace was actually called a flail or a morning star. This has always been one of my favorite weapons. It is beautiful in its simplicity but deadly in its execution. This is definitely my favorite stuffed weapon yet. Up next: blow darts!

Doug Trivets

I took a loooong break from making coasters out of perler beads. I had made a bunch of loveable cartoon characters from the days of yore about three years ago and then just kind of forgot about the medium as a whole. Recently, I needed a break from sewing and wanted to do something fun so I thought of perler beads! I love working with these beads. The process of figuring out how to make it look like a character is really fun, constantly switching out beads until the shape is just right.

I love this craft because I made something completely original out of what is essentially a kid's medium. Making character coasters is one of those things I consider to be mine, that no one else does. Of course, I haven't met every crafter in the world so I can't say for certain!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Brass Knucks

Another for the Soft Weapons series! Some brass knucks! I was lucky enough to have both the perfect color in my repetoir and a lazy Sunday to complete these babies. This project was quick but taxing. There were so many holes to cut and recut to get the right shape and as I said in my ninja stars post, that is not my strong point. But, I am getting better. Stuffing this thing was the hardest time and has caused a little sharp pain in my back from hunching so much.

I've already cut out the parts to make a second one, but I think I'm done sewing for the day. Next weapon: Flail. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Swiss Army Axe #86

The fourth in my Soft Weapons series, this axe is based off an actual Swiss Army Axe. On a ridiculous whim, my boyfriend decided he needed an axe and bought this one for himself (eye roll). It worked out for me though, because I got to base my stuffed axe off of a real one. I think it turns out much better when I can see the model in person instead of just pictures online.

I like that I can pretend I'm thwacking zombies without swinging the actual axe because I am a weak girl and that thing is pretty heavy. Also, axes are scary unless they're plush!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Topping it Off

Even More Polar

I couldn't write all the small words on the nutrition facts label, but I did try and make it look as close to writing as I could.

More Polar

Now, I've been called insane more than once on account of my attention to detail while crafting. This label was no exception. At first, i thought I would just make one big Polar section, but then decided to make the two smaller ones that appear on the actual label. I've always thought that if you aren't going to make something right - especially for a friend - why make it at all? I want the things I make to look like the things they are based off of so I try really hard to make that happen. This label is possibly my most proud accomplishment. I really honed my embroidery skills with the writing. Being insane might make me work harder and longer, but I can't argue with the results.

The Polar Bottle that Could

Ok, so I'll start at the beginning. My friend Ellissa and I are huge seltzer heads. And we are seltzer heads for the same reason, we had both been addicted to coke - diet coke in my case - and decided we needed a healthier option. Now we are both ladies who enjoy a little excitement in our drinks, so plain flat water just doesn't work. Seltzer, on the other hand, has bubbles for days that dance and pop on your tongue. Each sip is exciting and fresh!

Anyway, Ellissa went to school in Binghamton with one of my best friends from home, that's how we met. About a year ago, we visited our friend Lauren in Binghamton. Ellissa kept buying this Polar seltzer. I had never seen it before but I needed a seltzer fix so I bought some as well. Oh my seltzer! Polar is by far the best brand of seltzer I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. And, they have the most imaginative flavors....pomegranate (Ellissa's favorite and the bottle pictured above), grapefruit, blueberry, peach...the list goes on and on. Each flavor is as refreshing and crisp as the last, you really can't go wrong.

Anyway, excited at the discovery (or rather, the introduction) to this new and beautiful beverage, I started to search for it in Brooklyn. There was none! The next time Ellissa was coming in form NJ, I asked her to bring me some Polar, I needed my fix! She dealt me a devastating blow, Polar is not sold in NYC or New Jersey. It is sold in Westchester, Upstate NY and Connecticut (at least that's all I know...maybe more of New England).

Our only way to get a Polar is when we visit Lauren or when our friend Greg comes in from Stamford. Ellissa's birthday was recently so I decided to make her a bottle of her favorite flavor so that she could always have it close by!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Perils of Crafting with a Dog in the House

Oh Gums, why did you do me like you did? This is what I get for leaving my crafts out when my dog is home with my boyfriend. I had just finished this project last night after a couple of weeks of work on it and was rejoicing at the accomplishment. I didn't take a picture of it last night and left it on the top of the couch before going to sleep. Then today, I was in a meeting at work and returned to some very urgent gchats from my boyfriend who proceeded to tell me the bad news. Emotional wuss that I am, I actually cried at this picture. After having some time to mull it over though, it really is miraculous that he didn't destroy the cap, the label or the bottom. The label is insanely detailed and is my current pride and joy and definitely isn't something I'd want to try and make again. The bottom of the bottle took some serious math skills to figure out so I'm very glad he didn't get to that.

I came home, checked my fabric, and was glad to see I had enough to remake the top. I already cut out all the pieces I need and will begin to sew them together after this post. I will undo the top and sew on the new one when it's done. All in all, it could have been way worse. And I can't stay mad at my boy Gums!

More on the bottle when it's complete!

More shotgun


My biggest ever craft fail! This shotgun took weeks of time and effort, a project I put on hold simply because of the amount of time I would have to spend on it. And it turned out all topsy turvy. It has so many twists, you'd think R Kelly came up with it!

I am proud of the individual pieces though. My stitch-work on the stock (which you can see in the next post) is, in my opinion, really fantastic. The two hammers took some yanking and turning to get in the right position but I really think they turned out just right. And the trigger turned out just as i wanted it to as well.

I love the barrels for their color and the length and the little insets I made at the front to make it look like you could actually look into them. However, since I didn't measure perfect rectangles, they began to twist. At least I got something out of the mistake, I have started measuring all pieces of my projects mathematically and they are turning out much better for it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Crafting Pains

My back hurts. My fingers ache. My eyes are strained. No, I did not just get back from a vigorous fight or running a marathon. I simply crafted yesterday.

This is not a new development of course, I have been crafting for years and have always had the aches and pains that come along with it. I constantly complain of joint pain, sciatica, scoliosis and just about anything else I can diagnose myself with. My boyfriend begs me to get it checked out, assuming anyone who so incessantly complains of pain must have something seriously wrong with them. But what is wrong with me cannot be fixed. I am a crafter through and through, bold and proud, and nothing is stopping that any time soon. I guess I just wanted to vent to a larger audience (probably three people) with this post.

When I work with clay, my fingers tense up to the point where they no longer listen to my commands. My hands form a rebellious claw, confidently illustrating why I should craft no further. Of course, it only takes a few cracks to get them back into fighting shape so I ignore their warning and soldier on. But I crack them back into place so often that they have swelled permanently. I jokingly call them my pregnant fingers and secretly pray they make rings big enough to fit over the biggest humps. Like my fingers, my nails also crack often. They break and bend and no matter what I do, they can't seem to stay more than stubs for any extended period of time. The constant breakage leads to hangnails and loose skin around the anails that I just can't ignore. I pull at them and bite at them until my nails bleed. My finger tips look like a horror movie. Ashamed at the thought of what first impression such gnarled hands make, I have ben trying to improve my nails. I slap myself when I pick at them, I curse myself when I bite them. So far, this self hatred has been improving the overall health of my nails, but we'll see how far I actually take it.

When sewing or beading or animating or clay-ing - basically general crafting - my body is in a hunched position for hours at a time. I like tp picture myself as an evil scientist working in a dank basement somewhere, avoiding detection from my nemeses until my world-dominating creation is complete. Though my illusions of granduer are entertaining, they are obviously not true. And while I have crafted some darker things (weapons, most recently), my actions do not justify the posture of an evil scientist. But what am I to do? Crafting with a stick-straight back is virtually impossible. So the hunchback of crafter fame (another illusion of granduer, but I couldn't resist the loose pun) I will remain, sore neck, sore back, acute scoliosis and terrible posture be damned.

Any crafting position will have you sitting directly on your ass, mostly unmoving, for a good few hours at a time. Sitting for prolonged periods has seemingly given rise to an overly sensitive tailbone. Any time I sit of a hard surface (ie, not my couch or bed), I need to viciously readjust until my tailbone has found some ass fat to protect it from the elements. I sometimes wonder if I have started to devolve and my sensitive tailbone is really just the beginnings of a tail. Though I highly doubt that, I do check on it periodically. The sitting has also given rise to sporaddic and painful bouts of sciatica. Shooting pains down my back and legs so bad they literally bring me to tears. For this, I have used icy hot patches to dull the worst of the pains. I have bought an ergonmic pillow for my chair at work which doesn't do much but make me look like an old ninny. Some cases are so bad, I am relegated to my bed until the pain subsides.

I guess what I'm getting at is that crafters suffer for their art. They sit in the same positions for hours, reeking havoc on their bodies, all to make cute stuffed animals or neat storage devices. While I do love to complain to anyone who listens, I would not change my grandma joint status if it meant giving up crafting.