Thursday, 5 January 2017

Marceline the Vampire Queen amigurumi


Hello! The second edition of what-I-made-this-Christmas is all about Marceline! Marceline is the Vampire Queen from Adventure Time and, hoo boy, was this amigurumi an adventure to make! I made this amigurumi for my mathematical pal, Rebecca ^___^


If you're not familiar with Adventure Time, a picture of Marceline is below! I decided not to make the hat, gloves, or guitar though; mostly because I didn't think I could make the guitar and I kinda ran out of time to finish the hat and gloves.

http://adventuretime.wikia.com/wiki/Marceline_Abadeer


I started off with the Bat Girl pattern by Ilaria Caliri, which was published in the 49th issue of Simply Crochet. I used Patons Dreamtime Merino 4 ply in grey for Marceline's body and a 2.50mm hook. I did add in extra rounds for her legs and arms though, to fit in more with Marceline's proportions. I added wire to her limbs so she is slightly posable.


Marceline's lush hair was easy but time consuming to do; I crocheted a wig cap and then looped lots and lots and lots of lengths of yarn through each stitch of the wig cap. I used three balls of Bella Baby cotton wool 8ply in black for the hair, but I didn't use up the third ball completely. The good thing about this lengthy process is that her hair is super thick and therefore can totally be done up in different hairstyles without showing a patchy looking scalp.

Marceline's boots are simply tubes, with red bows tied onto them. I put a little dab of pva glue on each bow, to hopefully prevent them from coming undone. I used the same Bella Baby brand yarn for all of Marceline's hair and clothes, by the way. It's a 75% cotton, 25% wool blend and it's very soft and nice to work with.

 

I wanted to make all of Marceline's clothes removable so that there is potential for making more of her outfits for future gifts. Her pants were a bit tricky since I've never crocheted any dolls clothes before and had little idea of what I was doing. I crocheted two tubes to go up her legs, and then kinda crocheted a big tube around the tops of them. I sewed up the gap between the pant legs afterwards. I didn't write any of the pattern down though, which I totally should have done. A lot of the time when I am trying to create something without a pattern I just end up trying things and frogging them and trying again until I get something close to what I want, and I am terrible at keeping records during this process.


Marceline's top was very simple; it is just a rectangle with slightly curved in sides (to make it fit to the curve of her torso better) and straps made with a chain stitch. I sewed snaps onto the back edges for the closures.


The last thing to do was to add details to her face; I used embroidery thread to create her mouth, her fangs, and the bite marks on the side of her neck.

Overall I am pleased with how she turned out, although I think a haircut might be needed to give her a proper fringe and tidy up the ends a bit. I did attempt a bit of a trim, but then I was worried I was going to mess up her hair (her time consuming hair!!) and didn't go any further.

The hat and gloves are definitely on my to-make list, and then perhaps I'll do another outfit for her. There is a cute blue dress which I think might be easier to make ...

- Lisa xx

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Cherry Amigurumi


Hello! Now that Christmas is over I can start telling you about the gifts I made! First up is this adorable pair of cherry amigurumi for my derby friend, Cherry! (yeah, I'm not super original ...)


I used a pattern from Amigurumi Food to make these, which a few minor adjustments.


I wanted my cherries to be bigger than the ones from the pattern, so I used Lion Brand Yarn's Heartland Thick & Quick and Hometown USA yarns, both of which are a super bulky yarn. I used Heartland Redwood for the cherries, and Oklahoma City Green for the steam and leaves. I also moved up to a 8mm hook and used larger safety eyes; the ones I used were about a 20mm diameter. Instead of embroidering the mouths and cheek blushes, I cut light pink felt to shape and glued it on with E6000 - that felt isn't going anywhere now! ~___^


Because I find weaving in the ends quite difficult with super bulky yarns, I attempted to reduce the amount I'd have to do by joining the seams to the cherries before casting on. I'm not sure that it looks as neat as sewing them on would have looked though, so perhaps I'll have to look into acquiring a super big needle for the future.


For size reference, the Fire-King bowl they are sitting in is 18cm diameter, so these cherries are more grapefruit sized ~___^

- Lisa xx


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Unicorn and T-Rex Roller Derby Trophies


Hello! As it's coming up to the end of the year, my roller derby league recently had the annual aWARDs ceremony (our league is named WARD, geddit? ~___^), where we recognise excellent contributions to the league! Obviously, we needed trophies, but we had a fairly limited budget. DIY to the rescue!
 

I was originally thinking wood for the bases of the trophies but then I started thinking about cutting thirty pieces of wood ... and sanding them ... and I decided that I didn't want to do that! Plus, not only did I have a limited budget, I also had a very limited time span to actually construct the trophies between work and other commitments (i.e. one day).
 

So I wandered around the hardware store under I stumbled upon the plumbing section and found these push on caps! They are solid white plastic, and pretty cheap! They did come with some raised writing on them, but a quick sand with my Dremel got rid of that! I will note here that if you're going to sand plastic, be sure you wear appropriate safety gear because there was plastic dust EVERYWHERE. A dust mask + goggles are a must, and if you've got one of those CSI style plastic coveralls then that probably wouldn't go astray either! ~___^
 

After sanding (and wiping away all the dust!) I super-glued my animals to the bases. I got my animals at the Reject Shop but unfortunately they didn't have enough horses for the unicorns. So some zebras and donkeys also got re-purposed!
 

I made horns using some Sculpey - I only used a tiny bit from my stash so if you were buying new, one little pack would be more than enough.
 

After baking for about ten minutes on a low heat and letting them cool, I super-glued them onto the relevant animals.
 

And also one dinosaur! Dinocorn? T-rexicorn? Unisaurus?
 
 

A couple of coats of gold spray paint made them look all shiny and special and then all I had to do was stick on the names of the trophies (I printed them onto white card and attached them to the trophies with double-sided tape) and give a quick coat of sealant. 
 

Here they all are, ready to be awarded!
 

Although I made the trophies, I didn't have anything to do with collating the votes to determine the aWARD winners so I was very pleasantly surprised when I was awarded Most Improved NSO! So one of the golden T-Rex trophies came back home with me; we're buddies now.

- Lisa xx

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Louise Belcher costume


Hello! I'm so excited to be blogging about this costume! I started this SO LONG ago; I think I was originally going to wear it to one of last year's comic conventions (?) but then that didn't happen and I set it aside. Uni and life got in the side of finishing it until I needed a costume to wear to the WARD Officials Halloween Quiz Night. So I pulled out my sewing machine again and tried to fit in lots of sewing in between study and work; and this time I finished it! Yay!


If you're not familiar with Bob's Burgers (which, by the way, you should totally be watching!) I am the youngest child, Louise Belcher. One of the awesome things about the quiz night was that my friend Beks and I managed to accidentally co-ordinate costumes! Beks came as oldest child Tina so we were sisters for the night! 



 I drafted the pattern for the dress myself. The skirt is a circle skirt pattern that I have used multiple times but I had to do the bodice and sleeves from scratch since I have lost my old bodice pattern >____<


 I am not totally happy with the fit of the bodice. I think it needs some darts to make it fit a little neater, and the neckline didn't turn out as flat as I would have liked. But it fits and looks fairly correct, so overall I'm happy with the dress! The fabric I used is a cotton drill so it has a nice weight, but I think this dress would also have been good in a knit. I just went with the fabric that came in the right colour!




For the hat (really the star of this costume!) I found this video by Zoe H very helpful. I did draft a pattern to fit my own head, so if you have a 55cm circumference noggin, then feel free to download it and make your own! Just click on the preview picture below to go to the download page on my Google Drive. This pattern is designed to fit onto two A3 sheets of paper, so make sure you print it out using the tiling option for .pdf files!
 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_MO0cK8Qg7mT3NjeGswUDhBaTA/view?usp=sharing

This patterns is the exact one I made for myself, so it has only been tested by me - there may be errors! Let me know if anything seems really wrong, and check out the video by Zoe H for a step by step on how to sew it together.






I also made myself a little Kuchi Kopi handbag. I used polar fleece for the majority of the bag; I originally brought some green sparkly vinyl for it - which I still think would be great! But I needed to finish the bag asap, so I decided to use the fabric which I could sew with my machine.


The bow and facial features are made from felt and were all hot glued on - again, time was of the essence with this project! The handle is ribbon and the loops attaching it to the bag are bias tape. I'm planning on turning this handbag into a plushie now and making the handbag again with the vinyl. If you'd like to make a Kuchi Kopie Bag (or plushie!) you can download the pattern I used by clicking on the preview picture below and downloading the .pdf from my Google Drive. This pattern is designed to be printed onto one A3 sheet of paper, but you could totally print it bigger or smaller depending on what size bag you prefer!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_MO0cK8Qg7mZGIySllHOUdmUlU/view?usp=sharing
To make the bag you need to ...
1. Cut everything out from your desired fabrics.
2. Sew together the arms (I didn't stuff them because my fleece fabric was quite thick enough). I sewed mine right sides together, leaving the straight edge open, and then turned them right sides out. I also top-stitched around them to give them more structure.
3. Glue or sew on all the facial features to one body piece.
4. For the bow, I cut the bow shape from felt, wrapped the bow middle piece around the middle (probably kinda self-explanatory, right? :P), and then glued it onto the bow strap
5. I also cut a rectangle in the back body piece (i.e. the one with nothing glued to it!) and hemmed the edges down so it wouldn't fray. I sewed a flap of polar fleece over the top of this hole to allow access but also to make it easy to sew up for when I make this bag a plushie, but adding a zip would be a better idea for a long term handbag.
6. Cut two short lengths of ribbon or bias tape and hold in half to make the strap loops of the bag. Place them on the right side of the back piece, pointing inwards.
7. Lay the arms on the right side of the back piece, pointing inwards.
8. Place the right side of the front piece down onto the back piece. 
9. Sew around the body shape, you don't have to leave a gap because you can use the bag hole to turn it right sides out.
10. Top-stitch around the entire bag.
11. Attach ribbon or chain to the bag loops for your strap.
 


I haven't quite got the Kuchi Kopi expression down pat, but we still had a lot of fun together! 

- Lisa xx

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Kitschy celebrity devotional candles


Hello! Goodness me, it's been a long time since I've done a blog post! I tell you what, I kinda thought postgrad studies would be a little harder than undergrad but they are *so much harder*! My butt is getting kicked regularly by this grad dip. So I haven't been doing much crafting, except for trying to churn out a granny square every now and then for the never ending blanket WIP, but my beautiful friend Clare recently had her engagement party and I simply couldn't resist making something for her. Clare's party was kitschy themed and included a long list of things to inspire costumes. Since I couldn't make it to the party, I decided to make some kitschy candles inspired by some of the celebrities on her list and by her love of religious iconography.


I found these great jars at the craft store, along with a couple of packs of rhinestones and some mini fairy wands. I had soy wax and wicks in my craft stash so it was easy enough to whip up some candles to go in the jars. I coloured the wax with some crayons that I ground up really small; the wax looked quite vibrant in the pot but when it cooled it turned out pastel, which I actually really like. The green wax is scented with vanilla, the pink is strawberry, and the purple is lavender.


For the images, I found photos of the celebrities I wanted online and printed them out onto regular paper. Then I covered them in a layer of mod podge and let them dry. Once dry, I cut them into oval shapes and used more mod podge to glue them to the jars. Each jar has two celebrities on it, so either way they are facing you can see an image! 
  

Then I used a hot glue gun to attach the rhinestones, the tops of the fairy wands, pom-poms, and wooden mustache shapes (the last two I had in my stash!).
 






They were a lot of fun to make, and it was interesting experimenting with a style a little out of my regular wheelhouse. And I still have rhinestones left! So I guess more bedazzling isn't off the cards for the future .... ~___^

- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Jake the Dog Plastic Bag Holder


Hello! Do you feel like practical things are made so much better with just a touch of impracticality? Like, I have a rice spoon. Boring. I have a rice spoon that is a pastel pink rabbit and its ears are the spoon scoop - excellent!! I decided recently that I really needed a plastic bag holder - and that it should totally look like Jake the Dog.


My Jake has a 65cm long torso and, including his arms and legs, is about 118cm long in total. He is only 14cm wide though; I can't decide if I like the skinny look best (because it kind of looks like he really has stretched) or if I should have made him wider.
 

To make Jake, I started off by cutting two wide strips of yellow fabric (15cm wide and 70cm long), four skinny strips (2cm wide and 35cm long), and one really long skinny piece (2cm wide and 72cm long).


Then I used a plate to round off both ends of the wide strips of fabric; this will be Jake's head and bottom.
 


In one of the wide strips, I cut two holes with a 10cm diameter. I didn't want to make a traditional plastic bag holder where the bags go in and out the top and bottom because I thought it would make Jake look a bit weird. This solution, to be honest, also looks a bit weird! So I guess it's up to you which weird you like best ~___^
 
 


I sew two of the four skinny strips in half and threaded them with about 27cm of elastic.
 

I folded up the raw ends and sewed them closed, which prevents the elastic from moving around and makes the next step slightly easier.
 

I pinned the elasticated strips in place around the holes and sewed the raw edges together. 
 

The result are these strange scrunchie looking openings. I think I could have made the elasticated strips wider, but these openings work well enough as is.
 

The next step was to make Jake's facial features. To make the ears I drew a square 5cm by 7cm and then curved off one of the short sides. I cut four of them, sewed them into pairs, and lightly stuffed them. I also made a tail, 4cm wide at the base and 1cm at the tip and 7cm long, which I sewed and stuffed the same way as the ears.
 


 Jake's eyes have two pieces each; the black circles are 3cm diameter and the white circles are 2.5cm. His nose is 1.5cm in diameter and his mouth is the same size, but cut in half to make a semi-circle. His eyes, nose, and mouth are all felt. To make the puffy thing that his nose sits on, I drew a circle eight cm in diameter and then turned it into a shallow horse-shoe shape. I cut out two pieces, seamed the raw edges leaving a small gap, turned it right way round, and stuffed it with polyfill. I sewed all of the facial pieces on by hand.


For the legs I used the two leftover skinny pieces; I just rounded off the ends, sewed them up, and turned them right way round to stuff them. I stuffed them pretty firmly, but left a large gap at the top to make them easier to sew to Jake's body.
 

The arms are made from the really long skinny piece of fabric. There is no need to round the edges because both ends are sewn into Jake's torso, but otherwise they are made the same way. I didn't take a photo of the next step (d'oh!) but all that is left to do is to pin the ears, arms, legs, and tail onto the torso and sew the torso together; you don't need to leave a gap because you can use the holes for the plastic bags as turning holes! Then you can turn Jake the right way around and - ta da!


Jake the Dog Plastic Bag Holder!
 



He managed to fit in our entire plastic bag hoard, and he really brightens up the laundry room, so I'm very glad I've made him!
 

- Lisa xx