Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Needle felted Piranha Plant and other gifts

Hello! It's time to show you some more of the Christmas gifts I made! I have a couple more to go, but they haven't been gifted yet (I believe in a very extended holiday period) so I'll show you those next time ^___^

For Scott I made this needle-felted Piranha Plant, of Super Mario fame. To make this, I used a very similar technique from when I made Oscar the Grouch. I used my scalpel to cut out a wedge from a large styrofoam ball which was to become the ... head (???) of the plant and then covered the ball in sheets of red felt. I needed felted the felt together where it overlapped to create a tight casing of felt around the ball. 

I cut out small triangles of white felt and used my needle tool to attach them to the mouth area. I also used my needle tool to ensure the bottom of the mouth was more sharply defined.

I rolled wool fibre into loose sausage shapes and felted them onto the ball to become the lips. I didn't felt the tops of the lips much, but was sure to felt the edges to create a more rounded shape.

To create the spots, I rolled fibre into loose balls and then felted them on. The balls are slightly 3D because I really wanted them to have solid colour so they are made up of a few layers of fibre each.

For the stem I used regular sheets of felt. I cut out a long strip and wound it around a wooden chopstick, needle felting where the sheet overlapped itself. I used a scalpel to cut a hole in the bottom of the head of the plant and inserted the stem. I needle felted where the stem met the head so that the felt wouldn't come loose and expose the chopstick.

The leaves were cut from the same sheet of green felt and needle felted only at the bases onto the stem. This gives them a nice curved shape, which I think helps make them look more leafy.

Once the plant was done, I hot glued the bottom of the stem into a paper mache flower pot that I had painted green. Then I stuffed the pot with variegated green chunky wool; this stabilised the plant so it doesn't wobble around but it's also very light. Scott really liked it and my parents thought that I had brought it. Two lovely compliments for any crafter! ^___^

My dad, Kevin, is pretty difficult to craft for since he mostly likes trees (I really should just stick to buying him a new tree every year). However, he does also like camping and happened to mention that soap on a rope would be useful for washing in the desert.

I used the instructions in "A Little Bit Crafty" by Frankie Magazine for these but they didn't turn out as well as I had hoped; they are a little bit bumpy and a little bit cracked.

If I were to make them again, I would ensure that my soap was in much smaller pieces before attempting to shape them into balls. I think the chunky flakes that I started off with didn't assist with the making of smooth soaps.

I braided cotton string to use as the ropes, which worked out well because all other actual ropes that I had turned out to be way too big. So, another suggestion: either make bigger soaps, or buy smaller ropes! 

For my Nana Alma and my mum, Anne, I made some lavender sachets using vintage look (but not actual vintage) handkerchiefs, ribbon, and lavender (bet you guessed that last bit, huh).

To make these, I cut the handkerchiefs in half, folded them in half again, and then sewed around three of the edges. You could hand sew these, but I used a sewing machine because it is so much faster (and I'm pretty lazy!).

Then I filled them with lavender and tied them closed with a length of ribbon. Easy peasy!

I also made these ink smudging tools for Anne; they are apparently used in scrap booking. I started off with two lengths of pine, one wide and flat and the other not so wide and not so flat, which I glued together.

I used Kevin's bench press to cut them into smaller segments and then stained them with wood varnish. I originally tried to use a saw and failed miserably. Power tools, people! They rock. I used stick on velcro dots cut in half to attach lengths of felt on and around each segment. They were a little time consuming, but once I had a little production line going it wasn't too bad.

My next post won't be until next year ... which starts in one day! OMG! It's time to start thinking about a whole 'nother years worth of crafts to create ... but, until then, Happy New Year and thanks for sticking with this little blog of mine for another 12 months. I hope we can do it all again next year!

Catch you on the flip side!

- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Perler bead sushi magnets and a felt pug hoop

Hello! I know I said you probably wouldn't hear from me this week but, well, I guess I lied! I caught up with a couple of my friends to exchange early Christmas gifts, so I figured I could tell you about the presents I crafted for them now ^___^

For Philip I made these cute little sushi magnets! ^___^ I used a cross stitch pattern from weelittlestitches for these, but made them from perler beads instead of fabric and thread.

I wasn't going to put faces on these, but they really looked like they needed something so ... googly eyes to the rescue! I think it gives them a really funny expression ^___^

I used E6000 to attach the eyes and the magnets and they look good enough to eat ~___^ (Only, you know. Don't).

Using a pattern from Urban Threads, I made this felt pug hoop for Phillipa. I think it turned out really cute! Instead of stitching all of the lines, I cut out shapes from felt and stitched them down. I feel like this is a great way to add colour without having to spend an eternity doing fill stitches.

Everything is stitched down with running stitch, and the roses are 3D which I thought looked really cool ^___^

I feel like the roses could have done with a few more petals, but I didn't want to make them *too* bulky.

I think this pug's silly little face is my favourite part ^___^ The paws are attached with only one stitch so they can be lifted up; I did the same with the tail. I'm not sure why, but having movable parts to an embroidery hoop is so appealing to me. I added some little hearts to the banner because I wasn't sure about the phrase that the pattern suggested ("True Love") but also didn't want to leave it blank.

This photo shows the most accurate colour of the background fabric; it is definitely purple even though it looks blue in most of the pictures I took! The back is finished off with blue felt and the same technique I always use. Boring, yes, but also neat which is what I was going for.

Now, I must continue crafting as I have, once again, left my dad's gift until the last minute. Fingers crossed I get it done!

Best wishes to everyone for whichever holiday you celebrate! I hope you have a lovely one ^___^

- Lisa xx

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Pineapple-shaped pineapple upside-down cake

Listen, I'm not going to lie: I have jumped on the pineapple bandwagon pretty solidly, and have no intention of getting off it. Pineapples have kinda seemed like the theme for this year so it seemed appropriate that for my birthday I make myself a pineapple cake. But not just any pineapple cake: a pineapple-shaped pineapple upside-down cake! ^___^


I gathered around (most) of my pineapple things to have a little cake photo shoot because, as I think you've all learnt by now, I can not bake something without wanting to take a million photos of it. Especially if it comes out well, which I think this did! ^___^

A used a recipe from Taste for the pineapple-upside down cake except the only rectangle baking pan I could find was pretty big ... so I ended up tripling the recipe 0___o Also, instead of placing the pineapple rings whole on the bottom of the pan, I cut them into segments (had I thought of this earlier I could have just *brought* segments!) and placed them in a pattern which I thought was vaguely reminiscent of a pineapple skin.

I also made a small round cake to make into the top of the pineapple; for this recipe I used my basic cake recipe (see below) but added a cup of pineapple juice instead of the water.

Basic cake
1 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup vegetable oil

I cut it into a spiky shape and iced it with green butter icing. I had a bit of trouble with the icing though, because it *really* didn't want to stick to the parts of the cake that I had cut, which is possibly because those parts didn't have a crust on them.

Anyway, the most important part about a cake is taste, right? The verdict on this one: delicious. The pineapple upside-down cake was wonderfully moist (ugh, moist) and the pineapple on top was glazed and oh so tasty! The only change to this cake I would make is to perhaps put some crushed pineapple into the batter so it was extra flavoursome all the way through. As I am a fan of delicious flavour. 

The top cake was also really good; not as sweet as the upside-down cake, but a great accompaniment. However this cake is probably best served at a larger party to since it is pretty big! I ended up taking some to work to get rid of it ... but luckily my co-workers didn't mind! ~___^

Since these photos were taken, I have obtained even more pineapple stuff. This bandwagon ride is far from over folks. Although ... I did also get myself some watermelon duct tape (a highly necessary purchase, I'm sure) so perhaps I'll be taking a side ride on bandwagons of other tropical fruits? I guess we'll see. In the photo below, you can see my pineapple string art, pineapple tea cosy, and pineapple perler bead brooch, as well as the incredible pineapple sunglasses Tanya gifted me for the Giant Pineapple KAL and an awesome poster that I printed out from here.

And, my new pineapple jar! Pip gave this to me as an early birthday present without even knowing my pineapple filled birthday plans! What a champ ^____^

Since next week is Christmas (uhhh, what???!!) I probably won't post, but I will definitely be back directly afterwards to show you all the gifts I've been crafting. The race is on: will I finish them all in time? (Spoiler: probably not.)

- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Pizza party! Mini clay pizza jewellery

Hello! At the end of November, a couple of friends and I had ourselves a little pizza party. It was such fun; we ate lots of pizza and garlic bread, watched The Craft (which I had never seen before!), and made tiny pizzas from sculpey! ^___^

To make these pizzas, I used a similar method to how I made the donut jewellery for my Princess Bubblegum costume; we made the bases and toppings, baked them separately, and then glued them together using puffy paint! ^___^

I still had some super sculpey in this beige colour left, which is perfect for pizza bases. I'm going to have to get some more soon though as all this fake food cooking is working through it at a very much increased rate! ^___^ I started off by making a flat circle; in retrospect, I possibly should have made this circle thinner as my pizzas have turned out looking very deep dish!

Then I rolled out a thin tube of clay and added that to the edge of the flat circle; this makes the raised edge of the pizza. I used a toothpick to smooth down the join between the tube and the circle.


I used a scalpel to cut my pizza base into eight slices, and then baked them for about 15 minutes.

I also made another pizza base, but this one was a bit smaller and I left it whole.


We also made some toppings and it was cool seeing how differently everyone made theirs! Although, we did end up sharing so I think we all ended up with a bit of a mix! ^___^ On my whole pizza base, you can see that I borrowed a couple of mushrooms from Rebecca; Bec made these perfect little mushrooms one by one and they turned out so cute! I think the green bits on the whole pizza were made by Clare, but all the red toppings I used were made by me. The only topping I didn't underestimate my need for is apparently pepperoni! Or tomatoes, I think Heena designated her red circles as tomatoes! ~___^

For my mushrooms and capsicum, I rolled out thin tubes in white and green and then used my toothpick to shape the entire tube into the general shape I wanted. I then cut the tube into smaller segments, but I did have to slightly reshape some of my toppings as they ended up getting a bit squashed. If I do this again, I might try to bake the tube and then cut off the toppings from it. We baked our toppings for about five minutes; since they are pretty small they didn't take long.

I wasn't able to find any yellow puffy paint at the craft store, so I brought some cream coloured puffy paint and mixed it with yellow acrylic paint. It was less thick than regular puffy paint would be, but it was easy enough to apply to our pizzas with plastic teaspoons. Then we just sprinkled our toppings onto our bases - if you want to get precise here, tweezers would really help!

After we decorated our pizzas, we put them back into the oven; it was off, but still warm enough to help the paint dry a little quicker so that everyone could take their pizzas home! ^___^ The next day, I used some E6000 to add a brooch back to my whole pizza and pendant backings to some of my pizza slices. I kept one for myself, but I've also been giving some away to friends ^___^ To give you a sense of size, my pizza slices are 2 cm x 2.5 cm so they make for quite small and delicate pendants.

I really wish I had remembered to take some photos on the night so I could show you everyone's pizzas, but I always always forget to take pictures when I'm socialising! Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I have more food jewellery in the works now ~___^ For a while I avoided making food jewellery/ clothing/ accessories because I thought people might judge me poorly for being a chubby girl wearing a lot of food but now I've realised that I really don't care that much what strangers think! I know that I eat pretty healthy, exercise most days, and keep my blood sugar levels in range as much as I can so if people want to judge me for wearing a pizza necklace, then they can go ahead. But I think we can all agree that pizza is delicious, and very cute in miniature clay form! ~___^
- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A refurbished school desk for vintage rustic wedding

Hello! So, I have working on this project for a month but now I can finally show you! I had this old school desk in storage with the plan of fixing it up someday and then my brother Brett requested it as the signing table at his wedding so someday finally happened!

Here is what it looked like to start off with; I had started trying to take some of the paint off on the corner and discovered that there were at least four layers of paint on it. With further work, Scott and I counted seven different colours of paint! I feel like these pictures don't really give justice to how ugly this desk was. The paint was obviously never sanded back before any of the previous layers so it looked crusty, the inside was a delightful combination of paint and rust, and the whole thing was dirty. Gross.

Scott and I started off by coating everything in paint stripper and then stepped back to watch the magic happen! Spoiler: nothing happened. All the paint stripping videos I'd watched on youtube had shown a wonderful bubbling potion like effect, and all we got was a sticky desk. Disappointing. Nonetheless, we started trying to manually scrape off the paint. I was still finishing uni at this stage, so we were mostly doing this on the weekends and worrying that it wouldn't be finished in time. The weekend before the wedding, we realised that there was no way we were going to get all the paint off, plus we still had to paint and seal it. At this stage, we had most of the paint off the wooden top, but the legs were a streaky mess. Luckily, my dad, Kevin, had just recently found a second hand wire brush attachment for his angle grinder so we made plans to head down to the country a couple of days early and get this desk cleaned up properly!

We had managed to loosen up the paint well enough that we could detach the top from the base; the screws had been painted over so much that they were originally completely invisible under all the layers! With some help from the angle grinder, orbital sander, and belt sander, we finally removed all the paint. I swear I heard some of kind of angelic chorus at this stage! 

We painted over the metal again (it was almost physically painful) because otherwise it would have rusted and all that work would have been for nothing! The paint we chose included a primer, is made to prevent rust, and was a very close match for the colour of the bare steel. You can see the hinges and some of the screws in this picture; they were so coated in layers of paint that we had to use the wire brush attachment to grind it all off and, for the screws, file deeper notches in the heads so a screwdriver could actually be properly used on them! Shoutout to Kevin for working that one out! ~___^

We used a sanding sealer on the wooden top of the desk which deepened the colour of the wooden into this lovely golden shade. Since Brett and Lavinya's wedding aesthetic was vintage rustic, we didn't putty up the scrapes in the desk. This desk has gone through a couple of generations of school kids and we wanted that to be evident! ^___^

There is still some work to be done on it though; we painted the desk Thursday afternoon and figured with a 4 hour suggested drying time it would be fine for Friday afternoon. But, it was very cloudy and humid and when it was moved to the ceremony location some of the paint got scuffed up >____< Also, one of the inner corners of the lid is badly damaged and the hinge couldn't be properly attached. So, after the ceremony (which was beautiful!) the desk went back to live in Kevin's shed for a while; I'm hoping to visit again before Christmas and finish up these last remaining touches.

It does look so much better though, Mum and Scott are both wanting to take it home now! I guess we'll have to wait and see who wins this bit of furniture tug-of-war ~___^ Also, can we just stop for a minute to admire Anne and Kevin's garden? The grass was legitimately that green! Brett and Lavinya's reception was held in mum and dad's garden so they did heaps of work on it and it looks gorgeous!

I did make one other small thing for the wedding; Anne had this vintage suitcase for guests to leave their cards in, but it needed a little something-something. I used baker's twine, chipboard letters and hearts, gold paint, and a scrap of hessian to make this little banner. I felt very lucky to be able to sit down and mess about with craft supplies while everyone else was working so hard! But don't worry, I chipped in more afterwards ~___^

As per usual, I completely forgot to take any photos on the actual day! One of Anne's friends, Michele, took this photo of the back veranda where we all had dinner. Almost 70 people were seated here; good thing my parents are fans of a big veranda area!

Anne snapped this photo of Scott and I just after the ceremony; I'm not sure what we're giggling about. Perhaps what a high refraction index my pale, pale skin has?

And, of course, I remembered to take a selfie ~___^ My curls lasted for so long, all I did for the next four days was gently brush them back into place and they looked so great! For my hair this is seriously low maintenance, I want to get my hair set every week now! ~___^

I love weddings; it was so nice to see all my family fancied up and having fun together! I am hoping that the professional photos turn out well so I can have photographic evidence of how well we all scrub up ~___^

I'm quite sure my brother doesn't read my blog, but nonetheless; another big congratulations to Brett and Lavinya!

- Lisa xx