Friday, 15 August 2014

Crochet Instagram Cushion

Hello! Guess what? My Instagram cushion is finally finished!! Omg, I was really struggling through this project; I had forgotten how much time classes and studying actually takes up! I think my next couple of projects better be quick little ones that I can do between classes ~___^

It's looking kinda out of shape here - maybe I shouldn't have hugged it in joy before taking the photos? I was just really happy it was finally done!

Here's how it looks on our, rather overcrowded, couch. Our couch is actually a single bed which a large piece of wood added as a back; I cover it in vintage sheets and tons of pillows and crochet blankets and it's a lovely little nest to snuggle into. Also in this picture you can see my flamingo cross-stitch, my first flower crown (currently worn by Marty the Moose), the Companion Cube, Sweet Tooth, Lumpy Space Princess, the Ctrl Alt Del cushions, and the little ewok pillow. Gosh! It will probably not surprise you that our house is filled with things I have made and thrifted - it has been affectionately described as "walking into some kind of strange opshop" ~___^

To make this cushion, I first crocheted 32 rows of 90 trebles in some creamy white wool that I had in my stash. 12 rows in brown finished off the main part of the cushion. The lens is made with 12 rounds of black wool and finished with two of white.

The corner square is a granny square, made with five rows, and the coloured lines on the other corner were made by doing 31 chain stitches and then making a treble in 28 of those stitches (the other three are used as the turning chain). Since I used different kinds of yarn for each of the coloured lines, they ended up not quite even. I didn't notice this until I'd sewed them down and I honestly wasn't bothered enough to unpick them and do them again. I don't find it super noticeable, but if you were making a version of this and were concerned, I'd use the same type of wool for all colours if possible or at least measure them better then I did! ~___^

Since this project had already taken me longer than I had hoped, I decided against crocheting the back and instead sewed on a piece of black fleece. It's very soft, and makes hugging this pillow extra nice ^___^

Hopefully going into week three of this semester I will be getting the hang of balancing school and life again. One thing that has also been taking up a bit of my time is sports - this is very surprising for me! I used to craft a lot simply because with my chronic fatigue I couldn't do much else (and even then crafting was sometimes a stretch!), but that seems to have gone away a bit and with my diabetes getting under control ( ... mostly!) I have much more energy for jogging, fencing, rock climbing, ten pin bowling ...! I can't be too mad since I've been having so much fun, but I guess it's just another thing that I have to balance against everything else ^___^ Maybe I should craft  myself some fancy new sports shorts?

Anyway, here's to time management and the weekend! I hope you have a good one ^___^

- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Easy loom daisy flower crown

Hello! Today I had my first day back at uni - I can't believe this is my last semester ever!! I only had one class today, but it did go for three hours (gah!). It was totally fun though; I'm doing a cultural studies unit as my elective and for this class we get to spend the entire semester analysing fantasy and sci-fi texts! I'm so, so keen to get properly into it. I decided today to try and blend in with the cool kids on campus who are all wearing '90s fashion (it's everywhere now!) so I made this quick and easy daisy flower crown to wear ^___^

I make it, I wove five daisies using my largest round loom and some white and yellow wool. I have a Hana-Ami loom, which is really easy to use; making this headband took me one viewing of Coraline ~___^ If you click on "Hana-Ami", I've linked to a short video showing what it looks like and how it is used. However, I did my centres a little differently to the all videos I could find; the loom comes with an instruction sheet that shows you different ways to finish off the flowers. It's in Japanese, but there are pictures so you can get the general gist of things. Instead of using the darning needle to sew from the centre of the flower, I used it to tie knots in a circle around the centre. I knotted together four strands of wool with each knot and each knot contains one strand of wool from the previous knot. Hmm. I hope that makes sense. Perhaps I should make a video to show you what I mean, what do you think?

I wanted the centres of the daisies to be a solid colour, so after knotting the circle I used my darning needle to criss-cross the yarn through the centre of the flower. The darning needle I got with my loom has a huge eye on it, which makes threading it super easy, but it's not great for filling in the centres. I recommend changing to a smaller darning needle, if you have one handy.

The actual headband is just a length of crocheted chain stitch; I used a 4mm hook and green yarn. The chain stitched wool is about 70cm long, and I left the 15cm tails on each end to ensure I'd have enough yarn to tie my crown around my apparently massive head ~___^ To attach the flowers, I threaded the chain stitch through the massive darning needle and simply stitched through the back of each flower. You can move the daisies around on the chain to ensure they are positioned well, but they don't move about on their own.

This would also make a really cute daisy bunting, and using the smaller looms produces flowers small enough to be worn as jewellery. Daisy chain necklace, anyone?

Since I'm back at uni now, I'll have less time to craft and blog (boo!); but you can always find me on Instagram and Twitter if you want to catch up! ^___^

- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Pineapple and AT-AT string art

Hello! Today I really felt like I needed a break from my crochet project (so. many. trebles!) so I had a look through my idea notebook and found one that said, in shaking just-woke-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night handwriting, "geometric string art AT-AT". There was also a drawing of what I assume to be the aforementioned AT-AT but it looked more like a cow. Good attempt nonetheless, sleeping-Lisa. A for effort.

So anyway I gathered my supplies, and got to crafting! It turned out well, but my desire for hitting things with a hammer wasn't yet sated, so I made another string art; this one a pineapple. I'm still not over the pineapple trend, and it works with the 70s-esque medium of string art oh so well! And I even made a little tutorial and a template for you to make your own ^___^

1. You'll need a hammer, upholstery tacks (or some other kind of small nail), string (I used cotton thread), a piece of wood (mine is a chopping board from IKEA), scissors, and a scalpel.

2. You'll also need a silhouette. For my AT-AT I used this one, and for my pineapple I made my own. If you'd like to use my pineapple silhouette, you can download it by clicking on the image above ^___^

3. Add your tacks around the edges of the silhouette. My pine board was soft enough that I could push in the tacks a little before hammering them in; this adds a little bit of stability and reduces the chance you'll hammer your thumb ~___^

4. Once you've got all your tacks in, you can remove the paper template. Just rip it off! ^___^

5. Some of your tacks might have a little bit of paper stuck underneath them. I used a scalpel to cut these little scraps off.

6. To start off the string wrapping, I did an adjustable slip knot which I tightened around the first tack. I wrapped the string around each tack around the outside of the shape and then started criss-crossing through the middle.

7. To finish off, I also used an adjustable slip knot. It can be a bit tricky to get the knot in the right place so that your string is kept tight enough, but it does look very neat once you get it done. ^___^

8. Cut off the tails of your strings, and you're finished! Huzzah!

It's still quite cloudy and rainy here, being winter, but I feel like these little bits of art cheer up the place quite nicely ^___^

I'm back at uni again next week which means that craft will, once again, be relegated to the back burner but until then I shall be working on my crochet project. I hope I can finish it in time to show you soon! 

- Lisa xx

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Time to play video games! An upcyled BMO clock

Hello! As you probably already know, I really like Adventure Time. In fact, I'm watching it right now. And getting very distracted from writing this blog post. Ahem, anyway, turning my back on the plight of Tree Trunks, I was hunting around my craft room for inspiration and found an old metal clock that was truly crying out for a makeover. I didn't take a photo of it before, but it was browny beige and very ugly. I gave it three layers of white spray paint as a primer and then I got to work with my acrylics!

I drew my BMO based on my tiny action figure, but I think the button placement is a little off. Ooops! Nonetheless, BMO is very cute and I like how excited he is! I used Kaisercraft colours for the entire painting; BMO's case cover was made by mixing together "Sea Breeze" and "Spearmint", his face is a mixture of "Spearmint" and "Lime". The buttons are the aforementioned colours, plus red, yellow, and black, and the background is "Hot Pink" mixed with a lot of white. I also gave his screen a coating of glow in the dark paint, so I'm hoping that this evening I will be able to see his screen glowing like he is a real computer ^___^

"Video Games" is written in Lobster font and "time to play" in TallAndSkinny font (which I can't find a link to unfortunately). To transfer the fonts onto the painting, I printed out the phrases and coloured in the back of the paper with a lead pencil. Then I placed the paper onto the painting, and traced around the letters with the pencil. You just have to make sure your paint is really, really dry before you do this, otherwise you might get some smudging around your words >___<

I saved the original hands from the clock and while they don't totally match the rest of my painting I think they still look ok. I am not sure where I will hang this new clock up, but I think it will be best in the lounge room, where Scott and I *do* spend a lot of time playing video games. The great thing about this clock is that it means that every time is video game playing time! ^___^

I'm really happy with how this clock has been transformed and it's great to have another Adventure Time piece in the house. There are so many great characters in Adventure Time, there are plenty of future projects left to create! 

Do you have a favourite Adventure Time character? I've done three Lumpy Space Princess crafts so far (including a cosplay!) so I should continue to craft tributes to some different characters now I think! ^___^

- Lisa xx

Friday, 18 July 2014

Alien, bee, and WTNV hair clips

Hi! Have you noticed that the 90s are totally back? I went to a 90s themed ice-skating night last week that was totally fun (albeit very very cold and we didn't actually end up skating since it was so overbooked) and while researching what people wore back then I started really regretting getting rid of my massive butterfly clip collection realising that so much of the clothes in the store right now are very 90s inspired! This is probably not a revelation to most of you, but I'm usually pretty out of the fashion loop so it was for me ~___^ I wanted to make something to go with my grunge-inspired outfit, but the only 90s crafts I could find were scrunchies and elastic chokers. And then I remembered how all the cool teenagers in my town had alien jewellery. I was both too young and too uncool to keep up with the trends as they actually happened, but now I finally have some extraterrestrial hair clips. And only 15 years after the nineties ended! ~___^

I made these little guys with white fimo, but if you already had a light green shade of clay then that would save you some painting time later on. Even better would be if you had glow in the dark fimo! I didn't know this existed until just now, and I desperately want some. Anyway, I rolled the fimo into spheres, squished them flat with my palm, and then pinched in the sides to give these aliens some Cumberbatch worthy cheekbones. I squeezed a plastic straw into a more oval shape and pressed it into the clay to create the outlines of the eyes and then baked them in the oven.

I painted the heads with Kaisercolour acrylic paint in lime, the eyes with black acrylic, and then gave them a couple of coats of glow in the dark paint. I used Tarzan's Grip to adhere them to the hair clips and then they were done!

They do glow, but they have a bit of a streaky look so I think the glowing clay would work much better if you were to make these yourself ^___^

For my 90s outfit, I did my hair in what I seem to remember being called "alien buns" (this is probably entirely wrong though); basically two small buns on the top of your head with the rest of your hair out. My clips weren't dry by the time we left though, so I didn't get to wear them that night. Still, I think they're pretty cute (in a creepy kind of way) so I think I'll still get some wear out of them ^___^

I had two hair clip bases left over, so I also made these tiny bee clips. They were ridiculously easy to make! The wooden bees are from the scrap booking section of my local craft store; I just spray painted them silver and glued them to the clip backings.

I really like how these look against my hair, they're so pretty and delicate which is a bit different to my normal creations ~___^ These pictures have also reminded me that I need to redye my hair soon! The red that turned my blue into purple has faded out quite quickly ...

While I do still have purple hair though, this next craft seems especially appropriate!

I wear *a lot* of hair bows (that, and the baby face, probably explains why a lot of people assume I'm still a high schooler) and I hadn't yet made a single piece of WTNV fancraft; two birds, one stone, you know?

I made this by crocheting two tubes, one large and one small. I placed the small tube on top of the larger one, and then pinched and sewed them together. I wrapped some yarn around the middle to make it look a bit neater and then sewed on the little Night Vale moon/eye/thing that I made from felt.

I sewed this hair snap onto the back and it was done! It makes a rather oversized hair clip ...

But it also functions as a smashing bow tie! ^___^ I can really only wear it this way with button up shirts, but basically it just clips in between the buttons.

Scott and I were brainstorming ideas for more WTNV crafts last night, so you may see more of this fandom here soon. I'd recommend listening to the podcast, if you haven't already! And that's it for me tonight, dear readers, so ...

Goodnight, Night Vale. Goodnight.

- Lisa xx

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Braids, cats, and galaxies: jewellery making

Hello! As is apparently typical for me during holidays, I have been suffering a little from crafter's block. It's rather frustrating! As soon as I have plenty of time to work on projects, I start feeling aimless and unsure of what to make; add in a couple of failed crafts and I'm not a happy camper! So I decided to fall back on jewellery making to help me get my mojo back ~___^

Although I did do crafts as a child, jewellery making was what roped me back in as a teenager. There was a huge trend of wearing beaded necklaces and earrings when I was in high school and I gleefully jumped on the bandwagon; I brought tons of tiger tail and seed beads and spent lunch time selling my creations from a small container in my school bag. I still have a pretty extensive collection, even though I haven't brought any beads for years. I think maybe they multiply somehow? ~___^

Anyway, this necklace was super easy to make, and finally creating a successful project was very satisfying! ^___^ To make this, I cut three lengths of tiger tail and formed one end of each length into a loop using crimping beads. I threaded each length with a different colour seed bead (pink, blue, and clear, as you can probably tell) and then crimped the other ends into loops as well. Then I used a jump ring to gather the beaded strings just on one end, braided the lengths, and added another jump ring at the other end.

Once I had my beaded braid complete, I attached chain through both jump rings. If you wanted a long necklace, you could stop here, but I wanted mine to sit higher up so I cut through the middle of the chain and added a lobster clasp. It's a relatively stiff necklace, it doesn't have much drape and it's a little heavier than you would expect it to be, but it's still comfortable to wear and I think it looks really pretty ^___^

Since jewellery was working for me, I decided to make a cute little ring from some shrinky dink scraps. I find it really hard to throw out cut offs of shrinky dink; it's like, that could totally be something! In this case, one scrap I had was large enough to make a tiny kitty face.

I ran out of E6000, and haven't yet gotten anymore, so I used Tarzan's Grip for this, which I hadn't used before. This glue swells up and becomes puffy as it dries, so I would recommend using less than you think you should. I had to cut away some of the excess dried glue from this ring, but at least I know for next time! ^___^

Lastly, I made these galaxy pendants. I found some great images on tumblr of nebulae and since I kind totally missed out on the galaxy trend a few months ago, decided to make something for myself. I couldn't decide between the pictures though (they're all so gorgeous!) and so I ended up making three.

I'm not sure if these are super recognisable as space images though, and I think if I make any more I will add some glitter to the pictures. To make these I used some epoxy stickers which I positioned on top of the images; I trimmed the excess paper and then glued the domes into pendant cabochon settings. I added chain to one of them so I could wear it to work today, and I'm thinking about turning the other two into brooches ^___^ 

I've got some hair clips drying on my craft table at the moment, so I'll show those to you next post. In the meantime, fingers crossed my crafting block is a thing of the past! ^___^

- Lisa xx