Modelling clay dragons

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I’ve never worked with modelling clay before but I found some cheap stuff at the $2 Shop (Craft Workshop Make and Bake Modelling Material) so I thought I’d give it a go.

Based on this design by Dragons and Beasties on DeviantART because when learning to use a new material / medium, I find copying the design easier than making my own. And these little dragons are adorable! I have some micro D&D dice, so this little fella (provided he survives the baking process) will keep my D20 safe!

I should have had my finger in there for scale. This dude is small haha.

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Looming deadlines

For a while now I’ve been wanting to try the waffle weave on my loom, and my sisters soon-to-be born twins are a great excuse to learn how to do it, and so this week I warped up my loom in a waffle weave with multi-colored blue yarn and got to it.
It was a very easy and quick weave with a floating selvedge.

The heddles were set up 1,*2,3,4,3,2,1* with a repeat from *to*, and the foot pedals were set up and used *1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2* and repeated *to*

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 4
  5. 1, 2 and 3
  6. 2 and 4
Waffle weave

Waffle weave

One of the things I enjoy most about weaving is the fact that I have boat shuttles and it makes weaving so much easier and quicker.

Warp and boat shuttle

Warp and boat shuttle

After I had woven enough for two blankets, I still had a few inches of warp left over, so I quickly wove off some plain weave with pink and blue.

Left over warp

Left over warp

Artwork in the home

Emmaly laughing

Emmaly enjoying our new artwork

I’ve been happily collating artwork/type on pinterest for my home and finally decided to paint one of them on to one of the plain doors on my bunk/cabinet, at 11pm, as I knew Emmaly would stay asleep and not disturb me.

Painting in progress

Painting in progress

Painting in progress

Painting in progress

Being a stay at home, single mum, money is always a bit tight, so my palette consisted of three heavily discounted tubes of acrylic paint in blue, yelllow and violet. I used regular tape to mark out my lines and then went for it with the paint and brushes – as the cupboard has been finished in fabric, I didn’t have to worry about the tape leaving marks or wrecking my cupboard door.

I found that I really liked the green colour that I made using the blue and yellow.

Emmaly was quite excited when she woke up and found the cupboard door had changed. It’s a great reminder for me to be a bit more patient, and to have more fun with my little lady.

Finished artwork before removing the tape

Finished artwork before removing the tape

Technically not crafting

So, technically this isn’t a post about crafting, but it is a kind of craft, in that I have created it using my hands… and my computer.  My neighbour popped over and asked if I would have a go at redesigning his website based on some images he had sent me and what I thought would look good, and so I came up with this – please note, I have blatantly stolen borrowed images to fill in the blanks on this mock up.

Website designed by me

Kayleigh Designs

I was sent three images, two that his designers mocked up and one that a previous designer had done. I’ve had previous experience with this website and its users, but after a lot of discussion with my neighbour and some website surfing with him pointing out things he liked on different sites and querying if it would work with his, we came up with this. It’s an extremely rough draft, but seeing as it was done AFTER 11.30pm I’m going to cut myself a little slack. Now personally, I like the menu bar on mine, but I do have to say that I like the long dress and the stacked articles, and that the logins at the top are white instead of greyed. What do you think?

My design altered by the website owner

My design altered by the website owner

Origami Easter Baskets

With Easter looming, I had to figure out a way of presenting the small collection of Easter eggs we had bought for our nephews and niece. I decided to make baskets using origami. Originally I had intended just to make a plain old box and attach a handle, but when flicking through my origami book I came across this Lazy Susan style basket. Perfect!

A completed and filled basket.

A completed and filled basket.

The 'ingredients'

The ‘ingredients’

What I used:

  • Instructions for folding – found here or watch a video here
  • Scrapbooking paper
  • Some things to go inside – I had plastic eggs which I filled with small chocolate M&M eggs and other candy-coated chocolate eggs, a Kinder Surprise Egg each, a chocolate bunny, more loose eggs, and some small fluffy chicks we found at the local $2 Shop

I used the scrapbooking paper because it is larger than any of the origami paper I have, and relatively square. Also, it’s quite a bit heavier than your usual origami paper, which makes for a sturdier completed box. I chose different colours for everyone so no one could get confused as to which was theirs!

– Miriam

Painting fish, or whatever you want

The other week I went to the Kumeu Show here in Auckland, and one of the stalls I came across really captured my attention. There were rows upon rows of plaster-of-paris moulded shapes on the trestle tables, and some tables set up behind with a range of paints and brushes.

I love painting, so you can imagine I was right into this.

I picked up a fish figurine, and for a low $3 I was allowed to take it and paint it.

fish_painting

What you will need:

  • Plaster of paris. This is reasonably cheap from the Warehouse, or any craft store. Haven’t checked out $2 shops for it, but I’m sure I could find one that sells it.
  • Wire (to make the hook to hang it up by)
  • Moulds. Any moulds will do, but I would go for the nice rubber/latex ones work well because you don’t risk breaking the plaster of paris. Two dollar shops, warehouse, craft stores (such as Spotlight), all sell moulds in various forms. Great thing is that this is a one-time investment as you can keep reusing them.

Trim off small bits of wire before starting and bend them into little U shapes (or staple shapes). The spiky ends need to be inserted into the plaster of paris shortly before it hardens. This will create your hook to hang the piece up by. If you don’t want to hang them, you can bypass this. Or you can add the hooks later, though sticking things to plaster of paris is quite difficult as it is very powdery.

I don’t think I need to describe how to mix the plaster (instructions will be on the packet), or how to pour it into moulds (self-explanatory, right?), or even tell you to wait until the plaster is completely dry before removing it from the mould… right?

But once you have a nice collection of blank figurines, it would make a great kids activity. Put out the figurines, put out the paints (you may want a drop cloth, or do this on the back lawn), and let them have at it.

If you want to seal the paint, wait for it to dry completely and cover with a varnish spray. This can be bought from any good craft store (or possibly the Warehouse, too… where everyone gets a bargain).

-Miriam

Knitting socks for Emmaly

Emmaly playing with her sock

Emmaly playing with her sock

I knitted my first sock when I was 12, but after only knitting one, I gave up. I tried again in the next 10 years, but would only ever knit one, or the second sock that I knitted, while made using the same yarn, needles, pattern and knitter, inevitably looked much different from the first one leading to a world of dissatisfied feelings.

Socks, needles and yarn

Socks in progress with hand spun yarn and Addi Pro needles

From there I segued from knitting to spinning yarn with a homemade cd spindle, and then on to spinning yarn with a spinning wheel and then came full circle back to socks. But this time, I had a new trick to try, which has kept me knitting socks for the last 7 years!

I read on a pattern from the website Knitty – Blackrose that there was a technique called Magic Loop, and you could not only knit two at a time, but you could also use one circular knitting needle to do so. Ever since that moment I’ve been a fond knitter of socks, for a few reasons, the decisions you make while you knit are easier to remember from one sock to the next, and when you’re finished you have TWO instead of having to go and knit the second one, and they are an incredibly portable project and can be worked on anywhere. I’ve even knitted on planes post-9/11 (I do check with the airline in advance and again at check in, that I can use them onboard).

Ribbed tops

Socks, showing their ribbed tops

I’m knitting these socks for Emmaly to use this winter when she comes skiing with me. These socks have been knit from the toe up using the magic loop technique and then knit in the round until the heel which has been done in two lots of short rows and then knit in the round using a 2 x 1 rib (knit two, purl 1). This is my favourite method of knitting socks, but there are plenty to try with different combinations of toes and heels, and I’ve found that Knitty.com is an amazing source for inspiration, patterns and tips.

I spun the yarn using some lovely Possum and Merino wool that I bought online from Tally Ho Wool Carding which spins up so easily into fingering weight that I did several 100gm lots, and the knitting needles are 2mm Addi Pro that I purchased in store from Crafty Knitwits, which have been lovely to work with, other than the fact that apparently I am still a little too tense with knitting and have to keep straightening the needles and relaxing my hands.

Addi Pro Knitting Needles

Addi Pro Knitting Needles

I’m hoping that in the next week I will have knitted enough to come up her calf and being able to cast these off and get my loom back into my room!

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