Cubes for Desert Bus

It’s Desert Bus time again, and I was thrilled to send in two cat cubes this year.  For those of you that don’t know, Desert Bus is a live-streamed, week long fundraiser for Child’s Play charity, and it is pretty much my favorite thing on the internet.  It’s in it’s 9th year, and for the past few years they’ve sent out a call for crafters to donate crafts to auction and raffle to help raise money, and this year my contribution was these cubes!

There are better pictures on the website, but here are some in-progress pictures from this year’s batch.

The Question Mark Block cube will be up for giveaway sometime today between 1 pm and 9 pm EST , so obviously that means I’ll just have to watch DB all day.  This one came together really well, and I got to learn how to make little plushies!

Edit: The giveaway has finished, and we raised $1739.10! Thank you  to everyone who bid, and congrats to Kuroji Zero who won!

 

The Cat-panion Cube will be in the Cats, Cats, Cats! silent auction lot that runs from 5 am to 1 pm EST on Thursday. I’ve made some improvements to the cube from last year, and I’m hoping the early morning crowd will hype the cat lot and raise at least as much as last year.

Edit: This silent auction has also finished, and we raised $1100!

 

Final edit:

If you have an idea for a custom cube, hit me up on Etsy and we can come up with something awesome. And stay tuned for Desert Bus  next year, I’ve got a few ideas and hope to be able to contribute again. 🙂

Efficient Bunting!

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A few months ago I had a chance to make bunting for a friend’s wedding shower, and it went so well I made some for her wedding too! There are a lot of tutorials on how to make bunting out there, but my goal was to find the quickest and easiest way, because I can always count on myself to wait until the last minute before putting stuff like this together. And besides, who doesn’t want to be known for being able to crank out some emergency bunting? Anyway, here’s my method. It took me about 1.5 hours from start to finish, not including the shopping part.

Tools:

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Fabric, triangle patterns, binding, scissors, marking pencil. Sewing machine optional but strongly recommended if you’re trying to do this quickly.

  • The fabric is 9 inches tall and 60 inches wide, and I was able to get 4 triangles from each strip of fabric. One note of caution – if the fabric has a distinct top and bottom, like with writing or cartoons or anything, you’ll need twice as much fabric.
  • The binding is extra wide double fold bias tape, which comes in 3 yard packets. I put 12 triangles on each piece of binding, but you could probably fit 14,
  • The triangle patterns are simple – 7.5 inches on the short end, 8.5 inches on both of the long sides.

To start, I folded my fabric longways, right sides together, and traced tessellated triangles so that the middle triangles shared an edge. If the fabric has a distinct top, this means that every other triangle will be upside down, so you can either be okay with that or just use right-side up triangles and a little more fabric. Pictures are really better for explaining:

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From there, I used the traced line not for sewing, but for seam allowance. The traced line will end up as the cutting line once everything is sewn together. I left the short edge open so the triangles can be flipped right side out.

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It’s fine for the thread to cross over itself at the tips of the triangle, my assumption is that bunting will not get a lot of heavy use that might cause it to unravel. If you’re really worried about it, just keep the end of the seams inside the triangle.

Once everything but the short edges were sewn, I used the pattern lines as cutting lines, and it only took 5 cuts to get 4 triangles.

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Repeat as necessary – I had 6 different fabrics. At the end I trimmed everything down, including snipping the tip of the triangle flat, and flipped everything right side out. It helped to have a tool to push out the tip of the triangle – I used a closed seam ripper, which was just about the right size.

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After everything was right side out, I realized that I would need to trim the open edge because there were little ears sticking out from the seam allowance. You can see them in the bottom row of triangles in the picture below. Cutting those off makes the next steps so much easier, so it’s worth it to do all at once before moving on. If you’re not in a hurry, it’s also nice to iron everything flat before pinning it all together.

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When my triangles were all triangular, I lined them up in order and marked the middle of my binding with a safety pin. From there, I pinned everything in place from the middle out, making sure the triangles were all the way up inside the binding and right next to each other.  There’s definitely room to move things around a little once it’s in the sewing machine, but getting the basic spacing makes the sewing part easier.

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Sew it up, and that’s pretty much it! For sewing, I had a tail on each end of the binding but I went ahead and started sewing right at the end in order to make it look a little more finished – having the binding loose after the last triangle looked a little weird.

I had a lot of fun making this, and once I got into the process it was pretty relaxing because there isn’t anything tricky, just a lot of repetition. It is also a pretty inexpensive project – you get to use a bunch of different fabrics, but when you only need to buy 1/4 yard of each the cost doesn’t get too high. Any fabric would probably work, but I stuck with the normal quilting cotton because it holds its shape well and comes in a lot of colors.

Cthulhu Dice Bag

This is a craft that I made for a gift exchange last Christmas – dice bags are relatively quick and easy to personalize, so it seemed like a good fit. I also sent a Call of Cthulhu dice set, which made everything nice and match-y!

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The most fun part of this was getting to use my embroidery machine – cutting out all of those tiny tentacles was too much for me to consider doing this as an applique.

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The most convenient part of making a dice bag is that I had all the materials I needed on hand – the fabric is left over from the purses/shoe bag I made as a gift for my bridespeople, and I’ve always got a ton of ribbon lying around.

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As a bonus, here’s a super short video of the embroidery. It’s always a little nerve-wracking to embroider something, because if the machine messes up there’s pretty much no saving the fabric.  I’ve had this machine for 10 years, and it still makes me nervous.  Usually it turns out fine though 🙂

Baby Blanket!

20141108_095604The craft I’ve probably made the most of is fleece blankets – there are infinite ways to personalize them, and everyone can use a blanket.  I’ve made a bunch with fraternity letters, one for my husband with his name on it, and several smaller ones for new babies, because it’s fun to put their name on things.  The latest one I made (a few months ago) was for baby Everett.  His parents decorated his nursery in brown and green with a forest animal theme, so it was easy to pick out colors and a design.

One thing I learned while searching for a pattern for the owl applique is that coloring book pages can be perfect for finding simple outlines of almost anything.  The owl came from this link: http://azcoloring.com/coloring-page/861692, and it was pretty straightforward to resize it and cut out all of the individual pieces.
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The font is Gotham Rounded Bold, which I really like because it’s easy to cut out and doesn’t look too childish or too serious.

I didn’t think to take pictures of the completed blanket before I gave it to Everett, but here is a re-creation of the reverse side with the scraps I have left over.  It’s a little hard to tell from the picture, but the binding is a satin light green that  mostly matches the front.

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Link and Zelda Costumes!

Link and zeldaThis has been my most ambitious costume to date, and while it’s still technically a work in progress, it’s also been in progress since I last worked on it 2 years ago.  So!  Here’s what I’ve done so far, and the results of an awesome photography session by the even more awesome Stephen Schmidt.  When you visit his website, you’ll notice that cosplay is not is usual subject matter, but he clearly did a great job with Link and Zelda.  The full photo set can be found on Flickr.

On to the costumes!

The Link costume was pretty easy – the shirt was from a tunic pattern, and the pattern for the hat was found online.  It’s been long enough that I don’t have any references to it anymore, but it should be easy enough to find.  Round it out with white scrub pants, pirate boots (most easily found during Halloween), and any of the Link swords that can be found on Etsy. And you’re done!

The Zelda costume was a little more difficult.  I’ll start with the most complicated – the armor.  I started by researching armor-making methods, and found this wonderful tutorial: http://entropyhouse.com/penwiper/costumes/helmsdeep.html.  This is basically all you need to start making metal-looking armor that isn’t made from metal.  As for the pattern for the armor pieces, they came from here: http://zeldaness.deviantart.com/art/Zelda-Armor-Designs-Printouts-79127938.  It also has a pretty good walkthough on how to make this specific armor.

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For both the shoulder armor and the back piece, the raised parts were cut out of another sheet of foam and glued on.  The smaller detail work is done with hot glue.  Everything is then covered in gold Rub and Buff.

20141031_134517I hot glued relatively thick wire onto the inside edges of each piece, which helps it hold its shape and stay in place.  Even with that, when I actually wear the costume I have to tape everything into place.

The headpiece is very similar – thick wire, details done with hot glue, and gold buffing.

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The breastplate and the tapestry holder are still in progress, so in their current state they are super easy – just cut the shape out of foam and make it gold.  The final version will need some hot glue detail and gems.  The shirt is a modified tank top pattern – basically just a fitted top with a V built into the front and the back extended into a point.

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The final piece is the tapestry.  I made this with a lot of fusible backing and careful cutting. A future goal is to add the red detail work that goes around the top.  All of the chain links are hot glued to the back of the foam/tapestry, and are made of chain link which makes it really easy to bend them open to add/remove parts.

20141031_134436And that’s it!  The dress is from H&M, but the great part about that is you can use pretty much any floor length white dress.  Wrap some ribbon in your hair, put on some gloves and call it done!

Link and Zelda 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kingdom Hearts – Sora costume

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This Sora costume was inspired by one of my favorite things – Reddit gift exchanges (the Secret Santa is open, go sign up!) For the Halloween exchange three years ago, I requested that my gifter either send me candy /or/ send me some sort of prop that I could use as a basis for a Halloween costume. He came through in a big way and sent me a Keyblade! It was perfect – he let me know ahead of time what he would be sending, and I had enough time before it arrived to create the rest of my costume. I had a ton of fun with it, and I didn’t have to deal with the indecision of picking a costume.

This costume was also a lot of fun to shop for. The only major modification I made was adding the giant zipper (https://www.etsy.com/listing/103440856/extra-large-zipper-in-grey-fully), but it gave me the opportunity to buy an oversized stretchy red jumpsuit (on sale at Macy’s), extra wide size 14 sneakers (Walmart), and endlessly browse ebay for the right type of jacket.

I cut the front of the jumpsuit open to add the zipper – I initially added it to the back (and was planning on wearing it backwards) because the neckline would make more sense, but I didn’t take into account how baggy the butt area of the jumpsuit would be :p Luckily the giant zipper is much easier to work with than standard sized ones, so it wasn’t difficult to take it out and move it to the front.

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For the poofy pant legs that Sora has, I hemed the jumpsuit to just above the knee and put some heavy-duty elastic in the hem. Once I had the jumpsuit on, I put a ring of foam padding down each pant leg, and that kept it pretty poofy. It helped that the jumpsuit was crazy stretchy – like, you could probably fit two entire people into each leg.

My dress form made it hard to put the foam in both legs, but this also does a good job showing with foam and without:

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Along with poofy pants, Sora has some seriously oversized feet. Clown shoes are expensive and not quite the right look, but luckily Walmart has relatively cheap sneakers for giant feet. I didn’t buy the largest size they had because I was worried about tripping, but I think the size 14 shoes we defintiely oversized enough that I got the point across. They were so big on me that I was able to put another shoe (one that does fit me) fully inside the big shoe, and that made them really easy to wear. I hotglued yellow fleece to the shoes for the accents. The fleece was something that I happened to have, but if I were to do it again I would have bought some yellow vinyl or at least some fabric that isn’t so fuzzy – it looks a little weird if you get too close.

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The jacket was a lucky find on ebay (style info if you happen to find it), and the necklace is a foam cutout with metallic polish. And of course, the Keyblade, which various Etsy sellers sell, and for which tutorials exist.

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All in all this was one of my favorite costumes to make, mostly because of the giant (functional!) zipper. It makes such a big difference to how authentic everything looks, and it was so easy!

Final Result:

Sora Costume!

 

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Halloween!

Halloween is here, and Halloween is the best holiday for crafts!  I sadly don’t have a new costume this year, but at this point there’s enough costume parts around the house that I’ll be able to come up with something to wear for the adorable trick-or-treaters that will hopefully be stopping by.  It’s my first Halloween in this house, so I don’t know what the trick-or-treater situation will be like – either we get to see fun costumes, or we get to eat a lot of leftover candy :p

Anyway, I thought I’d put up a few posts about my costumes from previous years, and a little bit about how they were made.  Let’s start with the generic female pirate costume.

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I made this my first year of college, and wore it for the next two.  This was probably the first costume that I made out of quality materials – I avoided the “Halloween quality” fabrics and went for the good stuff.  I pretty much just followed the pattern, but I was able to learn a lot about working with lace and putting in grommets.

One addition I made was embroidering a pirate flag – I wanted an excuse to use my embroidery machine.

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A store-bought pirate had and a piratey necklace that I had lying around finished it off, and while my more recent costumes have tended away from short and more towards nerdy, I’m still pretty proud of how this turned out.

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