Monday, June 28, 2010

Credit where credit is due

I have told you about The Man. Keen (hobby) cook, roll- over funny and at times just plain mad.
What I haven't told you yet is how he encourages me.
I have just had a week off work, and on the very first day, the weather was amazing, he dragged me out on a charity shop trip. The Man does not really like charity shopping. Or shopping at all. But he dragged me out on a mission. He wanted to find beads for me to use in future jewellery making adventures.
When I started the Envelope of Doom thingy, he was genuinely interested. Heck, the Travel Tic Tac Toe (see second- but- last post) was based on his crackpot idea of a mouse house bookshelf.
He even went to a bead shop with me- twice! and compared shades of red so I didn't end up buying the wrong stuff.
This lad is amazing, true to the word. When he messes up, he does it real good. ( and bless him ,he had the best teacher, me. Nobody could be messier than me!) And when he is being sweet, he is sweeter than chocolate without the toothache. How many gals come home after a ten- hour shift to a dinner in the garden with tons of candles, Mexican dinner music and a big, fat pottery frog hidden amongst the greenery? C'mon, hands up. He carried chairs, a table and pretty much half of the kitchen interior downstairs to create an atmosphere. And what an atmosphere it was.
For the World Cup, I supported Slovenia. You can kind of imagine that merchandise was hard to come by. So his solution was to "simply" make me a candle in Slovenia colours and then buy me a Slovenia flag in the Leeds market that wasn't only horrendously overpriced but also harder to find than my own backside with a torch. Geez, I was so proud.
And if you stuck with me until now, I will put some icing on the cake, just to top it all up. When I had finished Twit and Twoo (see last post), I stuck them up the living room wall to keep them safe from the cats. They were there for about an hour and I was kinda embarrassed, because Twit, the patterned one, doesn't look anything like I fancied him to. And The Man just turns around after I thought he'd just given into my latest idiocy and says "D'you know what... I'd like you to make three of them and backlight them so we might end up with owl shadows on the other wall."
What more can I wish for?

(and you know there are more owl posts in store!!)

Owlrighty then!

No envelope of doom project this time, just somrthing I've kind of had in my head for quite some time now.

Owls... don't you just love them? I am lucky enough to sometimes at night hear Twit and Twoo somewhere near my garden, and it always puts a huge smile on my face. Whats more, Leeds has owls in its coat of arms and even its own owl trail.

So, of course I had to jump on the huge bandwagon of owls going on in the blogosphere. What I wanted was a shadow box with owls on a twig, and it all started with this:

I can't help it, my owls always look either startled or displeased.

After sketching them, I went on to cut the shapes (bodies, wings, eyes and beaks) and cover them with fabric from two shirts I'd kept in a drawer for far too long.

While that stuff dried, I disassembled the ugliest shadowbox frame thing I've ever seen in my life, so ugly I don't even want to post a picture. Lets just say it combined a green frame with pink paper flowers, 'nuff said.
The frame got a nice, black coat of spray paint, the rest went over the rainbow bridge never to be seen again.

What I needed now was a twig. Trip to the garden, a ninja- like assault on a tree, job done.

The kitchen table work space during assembly:

Boys and girls, I would now like to take the opportunity and remind you that hot glue is called hot glue because it is HOT. Ouch. Don't ask.

After a bit of feeling immensely sorry for myself, trying in vain to get sympathy from The Man without looking too stupid (again: it is called HOT glue for a reason!) and holding on to an ice cube for a while, this is what I had- meet Twit and Twoo!

Clever girl that I am, I dug out some potpourri we bought at ALDI roundabout Christmas time to make the whole thing look a bit less empty. Smells nice, too :)

Here's the final result against the backdrop of my craft box.

A closer look:

For now, it's kept safe from the cats on the living room wall, but I'll find a better place for it. I might even put it away 'til September or so, since the thing looks more like autumn than summer to me. But for now, I have the owl- shadow- box- thing out of my system. Unfortunately, I had another shadow box idea involfing twigs and jewellery storage, but that will be left until my finger has healed from where it was cowardly attacked by hot glue.

Linkin' up:

All Thingz Related

Friday, June 25, 2010

3 out of 3 ain't bad!

... or: hugs and kisses vs noughts and crosses!

My third Envelope of Doom project is done. Help me Rhonda, it took three days altogether to finish, with small interruptions like watching my beloved Slovenia get kicked out of the World Cup and other minor injuries...

I mentioned that Mich had the decency to send me 2 Starbucks cards in her EoD. What the heck is one to do with them? I couldn't figure it out for the life of me. Need a reminder?

 I mean, WHAT?? But The Man came to the rescue. While I was waiting for another project (the mauve plastic flowers of doom) to dry, I was sat on the couch staring at the cards, trying to think of something other than an ice scraper to turn them into. He just looked up from his Final Fantasy game and said "Why don't you cut them up to turn them into an x or a mini bookshelf for a mouse house?" (we don't have mice. There is a cute rat family living somewhere near our garden, and the spiders in the basement are most certainly bigger than your average mouse, but that's it. He thinks in mysterious ways... )
But anyway, and idea was born.

First, I went ahead and measured and cut up an old card, a leftover from Germany which won't be missed. Measuring and cutting the bugger took ages! This is what the final result looked like:

Then, they were sanded and spray- painted (in the basement. Remember the mouse- sized spiders? I was in a bit of hurry!) Anyway, after two coats, this is what I had:

At this point, I decided to cheat. Mich, both your Starbucks cards are still alive, I decided to just stick with my prototype. I couldn't bear the thought of two more hours of cutting, running down and up the basement stairs and watching paint dry... I hope that's okay...

Can you guess where this is going?

The next day, I grabbed an old sweetie tin and spray painted it white. When dry, the card pieces got hot glued to some of that black foamy mat and attached to the inside of the lid. Then, I cut an X and an O from yet another piece of foam mat and made a very nifty, extremely imaginative stamp. C'mon, you know what is going on now, don't you?

I know, even I can hardly believe how clever I am, that's okay, folks.

This is going to be a gift for my giftee at the Craftaholics Anomymous Christmas in July International Gift Exchange, so while I was waiting for the stamps to dry, I made a pair of earrings for my giftee which I call "English Rose", so when she wears them, she hopefully feels very english :) Have a look:

What I needed now for my Travel Tic Tac Toe (you guessed it, right?) were Noughts and Crosses. And since I had The Man' s very expensive acrylic paints out anyway (he was cool about it, by the time I started this blog post, he'd almost stopped sweating!), I decided to murder an old necklace from the charity shop and turn the beads into gamepieces. The whole thing looked like this:

See the names on the paint jars? The Man used to paint wargaming miniatures. Skull white is harmless. Wait till you come across stuff like snot green, warlock purple and tentacle pink...

Here's what the game thing looks like. Crosses win. Btw, in real life, the painted hot glue is less prominent, it's the flash that makes it stand out.

 And this is what my giftee will receive, nicely wrapped up and hopefully a little to her liking:

There, you have it. I never want to talk about Starbucks cards again, in fact, I don't even want to drink coffee ever again. And should my giftee read this: I loved making it, sore hands and all. I have never made anything like this before, and I hope you'll have as much fun with it as I had creating it.

There will be more projects of Doom, this was GREAT! But for now, I need a break from paint and hot glue and will treat myself to a nice pint of Guinness.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The mauve plastic flowers of doom

I am not the flowery type. Granted, there are pansies clinging to dear life outside the door and in my garden, but in general, I'm more of a cactus person. The Man will happily agree and nod his head wisely, probably murmuring something to the effect of "a cactus is easier to handle than her"...
Never mind, this is not about me but another doomed project I came up with while waiting for a certain Starbucks card project to dry.  Have a look at this:

Sweet and innocent, right?
It might be if you happen to have a little girl in your life or feel a bit like one yourself. No to both, I'm afraid, so what to do? Mauve plastic flower hair clips normally aren't part of my universe.

But this stuff is:

Twine and beads, the latter courtesy of The Envelope of Doom. Two birds, one stone, can't beadt it.

I cut two circles out of the black foamy mat thing, slightly larger than the flowers, and simply mod- podged the twine to it, a little bead in the middle of each one, and that was pretty much it. After the thingys were dry,one had a little beady accessoire attached and they got hot- glued to the flowers.

Bob luuurves them. I wonder if he'd let me embellish him! *evil laugh*

On second thought... naw, I like my face attached to my head, better give it a miss.

They look better in real life, you can't really see the black foam mat under them when worn.
I think I will send them to a very special friend in Germany who I haven't talked to for ages. My fault, for no reason whatsoever I kinda let the contact die down and I miss the lass a lot. She has the most gorgeous fiery red hair, which is what came to my mind when I made these. Luv ya, Martina!

Mich, it looks like you are re- uniting me with a friend, if she still likes me after disappearing for too long. There's your good deed for today!

Linkin' up here:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The puppy of doom

Okay, so I am impatient. Very impatient.

After finishing my earlier post, I pretty much had to get started immediately. And since the project is supposed to be a gift for somebody, I decided to make something for the delightful people that have invited us to come to their house tomorrow and watch the England- Slovenia match with them.

Meet Carol and Wullie.

They have the most adorable little puppy, a chap called Milo. I am in love.
Last time we went for a visit, I talked Carol into giving me a snapshot of Milo, so I could carry it around with me and drool over him whenever I needed some cuteness, but it wasn't meant to be. Thanks to Mich and her darn Envelope of Doom, I turned the snapshot into a Thank you for having us- gift... have a look at how I spent my afternoon, if you like.

 It started with a frame that somebody had given a makeover, but obviously didn't like it very much, so it ended up in the charity shop where I snatched it up for a mere 50 pence. Steal! (and I can keep the seashells for another project.

See how dang cute that puppy is?? Awww!
So off to work I went, taking it all apart with a little help from The Bob. See that ripped and torn plywood where I had to rip off the Hessian? I mod- podged a few layers of thin paper over it, and the splinters were sorted. (actually, I am too cheap for Mod Podge, I used watered down PVA glue) The frame itself had been painted in some sort of salmon colour, so it got a few minutes under the sander, and that was it. To get some colour back onto the plain wood, i stained it with dark brown furniture polish.

Next, I mod- podged PVA'd the scrapbooking paper to the front of the plywood and altered it a bit with the blue ribbon because I wasn't loving the embellishment it had on it. The snapshot of Milo got attached to cardboard, then glued to the plywood and surrounded with twine- messy business! But totally worth the sticky fingers.

Bit empty, isn't it? Good job I am a genius! (err...) When looking for the PVA, I came across a box of almost forgotten plywood letters, so the frame got the ultimate personalization... a MILO on it. Heck, it took me about a century to embellish that dang letter L! The twine wouldn't stick for nothing, and it took every bit of my (almost non- existent) patience to get it done. The M was a lot more fun, I just snapped one of the ladybirds off the rusty wire and bound it with a bit of twine. Love it!

It still seemed a bit too plain, though. So I used the rusty wire and a few faux pearls in (almost) the colours of the dog toy to make a little flower thingy. Why, I don't know, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Well, and this is the final result. Sorry 'bout the reflection, I had to use flash since the sun has moved a little since I started the project- but PVA takes a while to dry, right? Even with a hair dryer aimed at it. I DID mention how impatient I am!

 That's it, my very first crafty post ever.  Nothing out of the ordinary, but I am really proud of myself :)
Thanks for bearing with me, and a big CHEERS! to Mich for getting me started.

Linkin' up to these:

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I am doomed!

These are the contents of an envelope of Doom. Capital D.

Mich L had a challenge up, and boy, I should have known.  The girl is mad (Mich, if you read this, I mean MAD SKILLS! ) and makes jewellery out of stuff you wouldn't give a second glimpse. I mean, a belt? Go check out her blog if you don't believe me!

The challenge is to make at least 3 gift out of the stuff in the envelope. She kept it wide open, so I guess it's fine to use one's own stuff with it (otherwise I'll have myself institutionalized...), and the main thing is about creativity. I will need it... 2 Starbucks cards, 3 glittery cardboard stars, rusty wire with ladybirds, pastic flower hair embellishments, 2 laminated mini- pictures, a string of 4 mm raspberry- coloured glass pearls, ribbons, a colour card, scrapbook paper and, my personal favourites (because I know them from her blog), faux- ivory mini forks. Also, Fimo leaves (Mich, are those hand made?), napkins, a clasp and the most beautiful bobbly wool thingy ever, which also is an old friend from her blog.

The Man is sitting here with me right now, playing Final Fantasy XII on his £12 charity shop PS2 (we are both suckers for charity shops, you'll probably read about it here in the future) and trying his best to encourage me- "c'mon, piece of cake for you, right?" and all I can think is "yeah, but STARBUCKS CARDS??"

I will endeavour. There might be a glimpse of an idea for the scrapbook paper. I charity shopped that frame the other day... well, I guess I better get my behind into gear, folks, and start crafting.

Doom holds no terrors for me!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Welcome to Three Bed Semi!

Right... so, after setting up this blog ages ago and always delaying writing the first post, here we are.

This is going to be another craft blog, with, I suppose, the main focus on jewellery making.
The wonderful Michelle from Mich L in L.A. has inspired me to set up a crafty blog without even knowing it, so please don't hold her responsible for whatever I litter the blogosphere with, okay?

You might or might not wonder what the blog name is all about. Well, that's easy- we live in a three bedroom, semi- detached house in a pretty (to me, anyway) part of Leeds, England. The house is more than 100 years old and has loads of... character, I might say. It can be loving and caring one day and spiteful and bitchy the next, just as it pleases. Big fat spiders come tnd come to mind, I try to avoid trips into the basement.

"We" are The Man, a fantastic hobby cook, Liverpool supporter and the one who brings laughter into the house. Quick- witted and a tad on the mad side, he's one of a kind.

Then there are four (yes, four) cats. Shannon, black and slinky, with a ready purr that can be heard over almost anything, maybe bar a starting plane. Erin, the tricolour princess, who sometimes seems to be chatting away with us and has the cutest pink lellybean toes you will ever see on a cat. Hope, the fat cat, with a tuxedo fur and a wobbly belly, a little shy but cuddlier than a teddybear. And last, but certainly not least... The Bob, a ginger Tom who is almost two years old but still gets shouted at as "KITTEN!!!" when he does all the little things he is not supposed to do at all. Bugger.

And yours truly is Steff, almost 32 years young (ahem...), with a thing for tattoos, heavy metal, bats, rats, cats (do I see a pattern?), photography, Terry Pratchett and, most recently, jewellery. I am a german ex- pat who has been living in England for three years now and I am still trying to figure out how people in Yorkshire tick. My football team is Celtic, for the World Cup I wholeheartedly support Slovenia (I see a post about Slovenia on the horizon, brace yourselves) and there's a treasure chest of football tops in the bedroom with my collection of mismatched goodies, none of which is an England- top. Hey, I never claimed to make sense!

As for the blog, I am hoping to post little tutorials, loads of photos and completely random stuff which is hopefully of interest for somebody out there. I'm looking forward to this, so...
Welcome to Three Bed Semi!