Category: How to:-


Hey Everyone! Hope you’re doing well – again sorry for escaping off the face of the earth – it happens from time to time with a little baby… ahem toddler on your hands. She’s grown so much, can hardly believe it’s nearly been a year.

 

Anyway I thought maybe you’d like to see what I’ve recently been making, and you know… maybe try it out yourself.

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These guys! Crochet sugar skulls to be exact – you can pretty much do whatever you want with them – garlands, sew them onto things.. the only limit is your imagination really.

So what do I need Gem?

4,5mm hook or there abouts to get the desired gauge.

white wool, black wool, coloured wool (I used acrylic 4ply leftovers)

Embroidery Needle plus a needle for sewing in the ends of the crochet.

Embroidery Thread in various colours.

White skully:-
Row 1chain (ch) 8single crochet (sc), turn and work into chain.
Row 2 ch1, 2sc in first, 6sc, 2sc in last (10 stitches)turn
Row 3 ch1, 10sc, turn (10)
Rows 4-onwards, Continue increasing  for one row, sc the next until you have the desired size, of top of skull, then do several rows just (chain then sc to end and turn) normal, before starting decreasing to the jaw – I decrease in the first 2 stitches and last too stitches.

Once it’s looking skull shaped tie off, and sew in the ends.

Eyes

I start with a magic circle (or you can chain 4, join and work into the hole in that)

Black:-

Row 1 6sc into magic circle (or around 4ch loop)

Row 2 Change to desired flower colour and ch4, slip stitch into the black, repeat going around, slip stitch into first, and tie off. Sew in one end, use other ends to attach to the skull where desired.

Embelishments:-

Use embroidery thread to sew the details onto the sugar skulls – Google is a great inspiration!

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Progress shots of the skulls

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Prototype finished.

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I’ve sewn mine onto blankets as embelishments, but really use your imagination, I think they would make great bunting, in which case you can incorporate them into a long crochet chain.

So I love leggings at the moment, but it means I need to combo a lot of my shorter tops with skirts or dresses underneath so I don’t camel-toe terrify the entire populus of Sweden.  I’ve been on a crafting kick lately and so my cunning plan was to use one of Toomaj’s old jumpers to make a skirt.

Probably the quickest thing I’ve ever made.  All you need is an old jumper, ideally a little bit bigger than your size or a relatively baggy mans jumper with a nice hem at the bottom.  I used a stretchy 100% cotton jumper from my financer.  I’d like to try it with an oversized wool jumper and felt it afterwards for that winter warmness.

Below is my ah-ma-zing picture of how this jumper skirt was made.

And here’s the finished product

And worn for bellydancing class.

Think Point, late night rogue anti-spyware….

Firstly this is just a quick, crappy text only post.  Last night just before I was off to the land of nod my pc had a lovely run-in with the Think Point Trojan.

It managed to get me to think it was ‘Microsoft Security Essentials’ (though I blame sleepytime Emybloom), and a restart of my computer led to a black screen with ‘Think Point’ and ‘Normal mode’ (greyed out) and ‘safe mode’ (clickable).  At that point I knew it was time to play the doom music.

What you can do from this screen is ctrl-alt-delete to the task manager, then end the process ending in *32 which seems to be Think point – you can then start a new task ‘explorer.exe’ and get into your windows (hopefully).  I was able to do this in normal mode, but some sites seemed to recommend starting up in ‘Safe mode with Networking’.  Then I was able to get online and used a program (Think it was Hitman Pro 3.5)  to find and destroy Think Point.

Looking online it seems it’s a pretty new thing, so my stuff on this PC didn’t pick it up *growl*, also I was incredibly wary of the internet sites that my google search brought up (a trojan in a cure for a trojan… yeah that would be nasty, and I’m not superawesome to really know that I haven’t done that anyway)

Evil thing though.

I now return you to your normal programming!

So one of the places I went with Sophie was to visit Greta Garbo’s Grave in Skogskykogården, a world heritage site in it’s own right.  While there my camera got a much needed outing, and I found myself drawn to photographing mushrooms (go figure!).  I’m hoping Sophie won’t mind this picture of her on my blog, aren’t her outfits amazing?  Damn awesome Sophie-ness!

The wiki on how to find her grave was a little misleading to me , (and I’m a geologist with pretty good map sense – this map however shows you much better imo) so it took us quite a while to find it, however it did mean working up an appitete, so it’s not all bad.  If you were to go search yourself – once you pass the big building on your left (next to the cross) you haven’t passed the chapel they mean in the wiki – the chapel is at the bottom of the hill (surrounded by trees, and with a lovely Angel of Death on it’s roof), and the left turn is just beyond it.  The grave itself, while understated, is by itself and in a very obvious position.

What amazed me about the graveyard was how serene it was, and how nature wasn’t shifted away to build it, more that it was all kept together.  I didn’t really take many pictures as I thought it would be odd, but I did get this one:-

Looking through a natural archway.

And of course I mentioned that my camera got a much needed outing:-  I give to you, mushrooms!

So yes, I hope this wasn’t too boring!  Next up Milliesgården and some thoughts on a spa we visited!

To explain this post a little.  It was originally posted by me in a Livejournal community a couple of years ago (before I met Toomaj and moved to Sweden).  There are a lot of tutorials on how to do this on you-tube these days, but I felt like sharing this regardless.


Snip snip!


Front

Back (My tattoo wasn’t even complete here!)

Snip and Twist T-shirt
Requires:-
T-shirt (preferably the errr finer grained type that roll easily when cut), Scissors, something to hold to bottom with (sewing it together, or ribbon or whatever… havent permanantised mine yet! Optional- Ruler and tailor chalk- if you want to cut on lines.


1. The first step I’ve done is to open out the shoulder area- by cutting it open – you can do this as wide or as closed as you prefer ^.^

2. Fold the t-shirt so that the back is folded in half vertically (middle of the back is the ‘hinge’ point as it were)- this allows you to make the cuts in half the number of snips- and allows greater control over ensuring the lengths are right.

( If you want you can mark using tailors chalk the distances between your snips horizontally across the back- and how far across your back you want it to be open- I just snip and see what happens.)

3. Snip horizontally down the back- taking the lengths as far as you want to go (think mine are about 15-20cm in total).  I normally make small cuts all the way down first so i can ensure im cutting the same distance each time.

4. Open the T-shit out so the back is facing you – it should look a little like:-

(added a line where it was folded to before)

5. Now comes the time to twist – take the top cut piece in your hand, and loop it over the second piece down- then taking hold of that second piece through the twist you’ve made, and looping it over the third – then taking the third piece and loop it over the fourth – like this:-


holding the 1st

the 1sthas been looped over, iam now holding the 2nd…

I have looped over the 3rd with the 2nd and am now holding the 3rd- the 4th I am now about to loop over the 3rd

Continuing down.

When you reach the bottom, you will need to somehow stop it unravelling- you can sew it together, or you could just use a ribbon or some such to tie it- I’ve just hasily used some string…..

Et Voila… and of course a worn shot…

There’s no reason you can’t repeat it again to make more detailed patterns- it will decrease the size of the back of the shirt- providing a basic shaping almost!

Done 3 times- made the t-shirt look fitted- drew down at the top, and lifted up at the bottom.

And as worn:-


I didnt do it the neatest- but you can seperate them out or bunch them together as you prefer…


and you can do it a lot neater of course 😛

I hope that makes some sense, or that you can at least follow the pictures to make some sense!

So this is the second part of the tutorial.  By changing the folding method halfway through you can create a slightly different shape, which I’m going to be using for my bouquets.  You can of course play around and create a mass of differing shapes depending on what you fancy – it’s all up to you!

We take this from step 4 of *this* tutorial.

This is 4, just to remind you 🙂

Step 5a – fold this side in on itself – picture above is way better than that explaination!

Step 5a.5 – like so

Step 6a – fold the edge over like so.

Step 7a – on both sides so it looks like this.

Step 8a – as before, stick with needle taking care to get it all, and cut while on the needle as shown.

Step 9a – Sew the remaining petals, and tie off relatively tight.

Step 10a – you can poof out the petals by placing your thumb/finger into the petal and gently pushing down, as shown.

The finished flower – not this one isn’t perfect – the petal on the right had some issues being connected to thread.

Below are some other examples of these flowers that I previously have made.

So, this is the second tutorial on making flowers out of fabric.  The backstory to these posts is that I’m looking to make my bouquet for my wedding myself- and so I’ve been brainstorming idea’s on how best to put together fabric flowers for this purpose.

This tutorial is based on some flowers that I started making a few years ago – the folding technique is Japanese (Tsunami Kanzashi), though I’ve never successfully perfected the art of authentically creating these flowers – instead I opt for larger flowers held together with thread rather than using rice glue.  I love the effect from these flowers, and this is probably the style I will be using for my bouquet. 🙂 For more Kanzashi check out this site, or Immortal Geisha forums for how to make the more authenic varients!

Folded Flowers Tutorial Varient 1

We Start with fabric squares and with a needle and thread.

You will also need scissors, fabric glue, malleable jewellry wire, snips and beads or some such to go in the middle.

My fabric squares are quite big – you can do them at pretty much any size.

Step 1 – fold the square diagonally in half. If your material has a better side then this wants to be on the outside.

Step 2, fold the edges down to the middle. Picture should explain better than my words here!

Step 2.5 – and repeat for the other edge. (THIS IS THE POINT WHERE THE SECOND TUTORIAL LEAVES US)

Step 3 – turn it over and fold the outer edge (with all the edges) in- again photo rocks, words suck.

Step 3.5, and the other one (ooooo it looks like a kite!)

Step 4 – fold what you just folded back on itself (again pic is worth all my words)

Step 5 – this is what it looks like the right way around.

Step 6 – Sew! Take care to get all the layers of fabric caught.

Step 7 – this method involves cutting, I do it now while the material is on the needle – you can see where I’m cutting – this is so the flower shall be a flower!

Step 8 – rinse and repeat 5 times (for a 6 petal) 4 times (for a 5 petal), sew through the first petal again, and tie to create the flower in ze round. A little tighter this time around.

Step 9 – this is the back. These 2 pictures show wrong to the left and right to the right- though if you have a lot of sticking out bits then you can always keep it upside down and use a little glue to secure the petals – its better to take care when you’re sewing to capture all the layers though. 😉

Step 10 – Flower! You can fluff out the petals by placing your finger into the petals like….

so

Step 11 For these guys I threaded a button onto my wire.

Step 12 – Glue on the button, and threaded through – flower is complete.

Here are some wee little alternatives and variants on the theme!

Thanks for looking, any confusion and comments can be directed to me here 🙂

So, I’m rather fond of the DiY and crafting approach to most things – you may have seen these flowers earlier on this blog – but I was asked on another forum to post how I made them – so I figured why not post it here too 😉 I didn’t use another tutorial on this one, rather my own understanding of kanzashi and the want to make something similar but a little easier to put together. There is most likely other tutorials on the interwebs – if they are better, then please link me to them – equally I’d love to know of other ways of creating flowers from fabric!

I hope the wording makes sense, if it doesn’t feel free to comment and ask!

Ribbon Flowers

I used (you can scale this up or down, for whatever purpose ;))

Round nosed pliars and snips

Organza Ribbon – 12mm diameter

Fabric Glue

Pliable Jewellry wire

Oversized bead seperators… hehe

Needle, thread

Scissors! Remember don’t run with them.

Step 1 – cut up your ribbon.  I used the edges of the card it came on to get pieces that were in total about 8cm long.

Step 2 – fold in half  (to half the length)

Step 3 – fold in half so you half the width

Step 4 – fold in half to half the length (im holding the fraying ends and wondering when my nails got so chipped, haha)

Step 5 – Stab it with a needle! (through the end you were just folding with all the frayey bits)

Step 6 – Make up, and stab 5 more pieces of ribbon (so you have 6 petals, unless you want a 5 petal flower, then stab 4 ;))

Step 7 – Tying time! Don’t tie too tight or the flower middle will be a little troublesome.

tied!

Step 8 – Push the petals down, it’s flower time baby!

Step 8.25 – Open out all that folding and hard work you did…. with smaller flowers and fingers that don’t behave this can be annoying.

Step 8.5 – TADAAAA!  You can either leave it with the two ribbons together, or seperate them out as well for a more flouncy flower (see below for details)

Step 9 – Take a length of the wire of your choosing and use round ended pliers to make an end.

Step 10 – Add the cerntre of your flower onto the wire, and thread the wire through the front of the flower to the back. You can (and possibly should to stop it escaping) put glue on the front of the flower at this point to stick the flower to the wire and to the bead or whatever you’re using as the front.  I normally add my glue as I’m pushing it down to allow the wire to get a little sticky too. It’s best to use glue that dries clear 😉

Step 10.5 – TADAAAA! (I’ve seperated out the ribbon here, and yes you can see the thread. bad gem is bad)

Step 11 – Find somewhere to let it dry upside down.  I recommend oasis (like you use for flower arrangements), but as you can see, it gets to live next to my nail polish and tea.

Again I hope this made sense!

Next up will be these type of flowers that are made from facric and folded ala kanzashi.

(Note: None of these are my own knowing or trial and error, they are just things that I know work that I’ve read in various places online that I figured to put together in one place, if an idea is yours feel free to comment with a link to the original post so I can add it/credit you.)

So Konad, I have mixed results with you to be honest.  Sometimes you work, other times I want to cry just looking at your silver plates.  You show such dashing pictures that I want on my nails now now now, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.  An overall and good tutorial can be found here.

Here are some tips though that I’ve picked up from around the blogosphere that have actually helped – it may be something you already know, but maybe there’s something new here- or something you can add (and please do!)

  • Stamping the day after you’ve first painted your nails the base colour – gives the polish underneath time to be fully dry.
  • Making sure everything is done before you start – give yourself plenty of time! (A lovely lady who does the most awesome multilayered konadicures recommends tongs if you need to do things, hehe)
  • I think doing it on a lazy sunday when I have my tracksuit bottoms or pj-bottoms on is best, for semi obvious reasons 😉 nothing worse than spoiling my nails when nature calls… haha
  • Use a credit card (or some such)  rather than the metal scraper that comes with it. -Plastic won’t scratch the plates, and its a bit bigger and easier to work with.
  • Kitchen towel is your friend.  A couple of layers underneath your plates will hold them in position and it’s great for carefully wiping off excess polish from things.
  • A cotton ball with a hair grip thingy – like a crocodile clip, is great for cleaning off excess polish without getting remover on your nails, also a rubber thimble or two can rock. (From here).
  • I like to have a few q-tips (ear buds) on hand for minor corrections.
  • Slightly roughing up the stamper with your nail file, will help for the image to transfer easier from the plate.
  • Keeping everything free of grease is also very very important to help it sticking where it should (credit to Maan)
  • After cleaning the plate, go over it again with a dry cotton bud/whatever you use to remove any remaining cleaner.
  • When it comes to top coats the trick is apparently to have enough top coat on your brush so that the brush doesn’t contact the design (and smudge), and also not too thick so that the design won’t blur as it’s drying (I have rotten luck with this – but are yet to try out this technique)

Anyways, I hope this maybe helps people a little – what are your favourite tips?

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So it’s maybe been done before, or kinda pointless for people with memories/large nail polish collections, etc etc.  But this evening I put together this little buddy to help me when I’m out shopping for polishes so I don’t end up with 2 of the same!

Essentially I took a piece of plastic from some packaging (from my OPI Hong Kong takeout), cut it into a wallet sized piece, and made a little swatch chart out of it.

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Hopefully it will save me money if I’m out and get the urge to splurge. 🙂 (For those interested the colours are;- Nfu.oh 65, OPI red my fortune cookie, OPI Suzi sats feng shui, OPI, Dim Sum Plum, H&M Bella’s choice, H&M Moonless night, H&M Fashionista, Loreal unknown horrible pale flesh tone, Mavela white, H&M red, H&M Meet me in the dark)

Do you do something similar to keep an eye on what you’re buying, do you have awesome memory skills, or doesn’t it  matter?